A Teaser of My BRIDGER Novella

Hey readers!

If you've read the Bridger series, you'll know about Memaw, my kick-arse ninja granny. :) This novella is tentatively titled Assassin Rising, and if you guys like this, I might have to release the novella. Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading,


The blood in my veins went cold. Air hitched in my throat. My stomach felt as though it was filled with lead. Panic sunk in. “This isn’t MaKenna!”
My husband ran into the room. “What to do you mean that isn’t MaKenna?”
“Paul, I know my daughter, and this isn’t MaKenna! Her eyes, look at them!”
The child I held in my arms was withering before our very eyes. I looked up to see the terror-filled eyes of Paul. He looked as though he had seen a ghost. He raised a hand shakily. “A-A-Ank…”
He didn’t have to finish his sentence. The air around us grew cold. The water that was in the cup on the nightstand froze over on top. Ankou was here.
“I have her, Emily. She’s safe. She’s better off now.”
I didn’t look behind me to see him. Instead, I gazed down into the coal black eyes of the Changeling that manifested in my arms. I dropped the filthy thing on the floor, disgusted by what I thought was my child for the past two months. How could I have missed the signs? Was I that blind, or had I just denied the fact that I knew? What kind of mother was I?
Paul’s face contorted in rage. “You bastard! You told us we were safe if we followed you!”
Ankou chuckled. “I said you were safe. Not your child, stupid human. She will be used to strengthen our bloodlines. We’ll be better with her. Thank you for your generous contribution.”
That was it. Ankou may have shown me his power multiple times, but he was also half my size. He’d taken my only child – my reason for breathing – and it was more than I could bear.
I grabbed him by his hair and held him in the air. Before he could disappear or say an incantation, I snatched up the iron chain on the nightstand by MaKenna’s crib. We had always kept iron in the house to defend ourselves against the Fae; how could one have infiltrated and we not notice? In one swift movement I wrapped the chain around Ankou’s neck and ran into the living room.
The only chance I had was to use the incantation I’d watched Ankou use to bring Morgan, or as we called her, The Fates. “Arcessere quas!”
There was no reason to think she’d side with me. We both worked for Ankou. I could only pray she had some sense of a soul within her. Her sister, The Morrigan, certainly didn’t.
Paul was wide-eyed in the doorway. He sobbed, but the betrayal he felt shone through his eyes. “Emily, what have you done?”
“I’m getting our daughter back!”
Ankou cackled as he struggled against his bonds. “You’ll never find her, and I don’t know why you’d want to. You should be honored to have her strengthening the Changeling bloodlines. That’s what you wanted, right?”
Morgan’s silvery grey wisps began to appear, then her jet-black sheet of hair, and finally her body. The grey mist hovered around her feet until she stepped out of it. “Ankou? What is this?”
“I called you here, Morgan,” I said as I clamped a hand over Ankou’s mouth. “He kidnapped MaKenna and won’t tell me where she is. He needs to pay.”
Morgan stood there, silent. Panic was taking over again. I shook Ankou wildly. “Look at him! Look at what he’s done! Do you think he’ll keep any promises he’s given you?”
I threw Ankou to the ground, the iron still in place, which rendered him helpless. He grabbed at the iron, but it singed his hands when he gripped it. He writhed on the ground as smoke rose from around his neck. “You treacherous human! Do you really think I’ll let you get away with this?”
“You won’t have a choice. You’re done here.”
Morgan’s proclamation shocked me. I looked up to see the resignation etched in her face. She was forming a red sphere in her hands. “I don’t like doing this, Emily, but you summoned me. I’m bound to do what you want. I don’t appreciate this.”
She irritated me. I needed my daughter back and she was talking about whether or not she liked the situation.
I’d reached the end of my rope. “Fine. Fine. I’ll do it myself.”
Without another second passing by, I picked Ankou up and threw him in the fireplace. The fire was nearly dead, but when Ankou hit the embers, flames licked up around him. He screamed in agony.
“Now will you tell me where MaKenna is?” I yelled over his shrieks.
He writhed in pain and tried to escape the flames. “You’ll pay for this!!”
“No, because you’ll be dead,” I spat.
Morgan stepped between us and looked back at me. “If you kill him, what really have you accomplished? There are worse things than death.”
She turned and slathered her whole right arm with the red smoke ball she’d created. With her arm covered, she pulled Ankou out of the fire. “Ankou, you will be unable to die, yet unable to heal from these wounds. You will always be mutilated. You will never find the peace of passing over, but you will be in charge of making sure everyone finds peace in their deaths.”
Ankou let out a furious scream, but then the power of Morgan’s proclamation took effect. His body went rigid, and he hovered in the air in a trance. Morgan reached out to grab him, but without warning, he opened his eyes and smiled an evil smile. “You think you can defeat me? I’ve taken precautions against traitors like you! You can’t invoke my own spells on me!”
“Oh yes I can,” Morgan countered. “You gave me more powers than you know. I will make sure you are taken out, one way or another.”
Morgan filled her hands with white light and shoved it into Ankou’s face. With a sudden crash, his body hit the floor and exploded into dust.
“You killed him, Morgan!” I accused. “You killed him when you said you wouldn’t!”
“I didn’t kill him, you fool,” she countered, “Didn’t you listen to what I said? He’s not able to die. For now.”
“What do you mean, for now?”
Morgan shrugged, seemingly not worried at all. “That spell will a few months at best. I don’t know enough to really cause much damage.”
“Are you kidding me?”
She put her hands in the air. “I didn’t want to be part of this. You summoned me. I had to obey, so I did enough to get by.”
“I need my daughter back!”
“Not my problem. You sided with faeries. You, of all people, should know we faeries are not to be trusted.”
Without saying another word, she disappeared into the grey wisps of smoke that signaled her arrival not ten minutes before. I stood there numb, covered in dust, and nowhere nearer to my daughter than I had before it all began.
Before I sided with the wrong people.
I’d forgotten Paul was even here. He reminded me of it in a cold, cruel tone that I’d never heard from him before. “I hate you, Emily.”
My skirt swirled around me as I whipped my body in his direction. “What… what did you say?”
“I hate you. You did this. You caused all of this. We’ve lost our daughter because of you.”
Tears began to fill my eyes. “No, no, no, Paul. You know why I agreed to work for Ankou. I was trying to protect you. Protect MaKenna. Protect us.”
“And a fat lot of good it did, didn’t it?” He spat, “You’ve lost my daughter, Emily! You know spells and people I never dreamed of. You said you didn’t know any spells, but how did that Morgan woman get here without you calling on her? You’ve lied to me from the beginning!”
“Paul, I didn’t mean for it to be this way. You’ve got to understand – “
He held up his hands to stop me. “No, you’ve got to understand me, Emily. I’m done. I’m done with this. The lies, the trickery, the deceit that comes with associating with faeries. I want none of it. You’re on your own.”
I fell to my knees, unable to move. “Paul, no, if you go – if you leave – I’ll have no one.”
He didn’t even turn to look around as he walked away. “Which is what you deserve.”
Silence filled the now empty room.
Tears spilled over. I was alone. I’d caused this. My intentions had been pure: protect my family. But now, because of me, I was alone.
I needed help. I needed to fix this.
Without thinking it through, I stood weakly and stumbled my way to the door.
Desire for revenge and hatred of what I’d become fueled my steps. Ankou talked of another faerie race – one he loathed for their benevolent interest in humans – and I thought I knew where one could be found.
I tripped over tree roots blindly and waved my arms in front of me to feel my way through the pitch black forest. Desperation filled every ounce of my being. I would do anything to save MaKenna. Anything.
Movement. I heard movement ahead. There was a crunch of underbrush, and I ran toward it. “Help, please! Please stop! I need help!”
I tripped over a tree root. Mud filled my mouth. Still, I gurgled out pleas of help while trying to spit out the goo. “Please, I know you’re a Glaistig. I’m willing to do anything. I can help you defeat Ankou. Please, let me help you in your battle.”
The crunching stopped, then began again. It came closer, and for a split second I wondered if I’d made the right decision.
A woman’s sweet voice filled the air. “You can help us stop Ankou, you say?”
“I can,” I sputtered. “I know him personally. Where he’ll be, what he does. You need me.”
The woman laughed. “I don’t know if we need you, but if you can provide that kind of information, it’d certainly be helpful.”
She cracked her knuckles. “I really hope the Committee doesn’t get upset about me creating another member without it going to a vote. They’ll be disgruntled if you have no outstanding abilities. Please don’t be a waste.”
The woman’s face illuminated by the orange light she created in her hands. Her bright red hair fell in waves around her beautiful face. She smiled, and her perfectly aligned, pure white teeth gleamed in the moonlight. “This may hurt a bit when it fills your nostrils, but don’t try to hold your breath. It just prolongs the pain. Good luck.”
The orange light covered me. I didn’t even have time to argue. I opened my mouth to scream, but the orange light was thick and filled my mouth. The words she said rang in my ears.
Don’t try to hold your breath.
I didn’t have anything to live for anyway, so I listened to her advice. The orange substance danced around my nose, so I took in a deep breath.
Everything went black.

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 299
Received: Purchased
Rating: 4 out of 5 Books

Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don't kill him first, that is.

Ms. Armentrout is a phenomenal storyteller! The narrator of the book, Katy, is great, and keeps a fresh feeling sense of being a teenager throughout the book. I really enjoyed the relationships that were built throughout the book, and I loved Dee. She kind of reminded me of Alice from Twilight, but that isn't a bad thing...I think Alice was one of my favorite characters from that series! BUT! Obsidian is NOTHING like Twilight, so don't be scared if you didn't like it, and don't be bummed if you start reading this, looking for a Twilight-esque book. Armentrout is a strong writer and gives so much life to her characters, that you want to root for them all throughout the book. There are plenty of one-liners throughout that make you laugh at the wittiness of her characters, but it isn't over the top. Her world-building is fun and I enjoyed every twist and turn of this ride. You'll more than likely but up late into the night reading this. I know I was!

I didn't like that in a few places Armentrout just expected her readers to accept that things "just were." I marked four different places where Daemon or Dee expressed that the bad guys (the Arum) "didn't need a reason" or that their own abilities were "just because we can." Once even Daemon says, "Matthew explained it to me once. Honestly, I wasn't paying attention." If you have abilities, wouldn't you know how they worked? Why would Katy just accept this cop-out of an explanation? I wasn't necessarily left out of anything that was detrimental, I don't think, but I really feel like Armentrout could have done a little bit better with her explanations on why things in her world were the way they were. She also used the phrase "Sweet Baby Jesus" at least five times, and while it was funny the first two or three, I got tired of reading it over and over. Just my opinion. :)

Armentrout's voice was great and I loved reading from Katy's POV. She was an excellent narrator and held my attention. The sexual tension was great between her and Daemon, and I enjoyed waiting on that big kiss to happen. I think she lightly touched on what will become the crux of book two, and I wish she would have given me more, but I totally get why she ended where she did. She's got me hooked for the second installment for sure!! :) I had to take away a star for what I explained in "the bad" section, but this was a very entertaining read that you won't want to put down! Armentrout is an excellent storyteller and now I'm going to have to go get Half-Blood and see what that series is all about.

"Beautiful face. Beautiful Body. Horrible attitude. It was the holy trinity of hot boys."
* * *
"It was either him or me and my friends. That alien asshat had to go."

RATING: 4 of 5 Books

Wordsmith Wednesday (#3)

The objective:
Show us a scene from your current project. It can be creepy, adventurous, romantic, etc. Just a snippet to let readers see what they're in for!
The guidelines:
* Must be from a current work-in-progress (WIP). Nothing already published.
* You may choose from any section of the manuscript, but be mindful not to include spoilers.
 * Keep it clean and YA audience friendly, please. No erotica.
* Stay under 300 words or about one page. It can be as little as a few lines if you prefer. We just want to give readers a chance to see everyone's selection.
* Link back to Chirenjenzie to enjoy others' work as well!

Here's a snippet from something I just started toying with, which is untitled at the moment. It's my take on Beauty & the Beast. Hope you enjoy it! :)

The bleachers filled quickly with classmates dressed in varying degrees of purple. Two guys had on full body spandex suits, and their buddies that surrounded them were in Halloween costumes.
I thought we were at a basketball game. Apparently this was something of a different breed.
“Does everyone dress like that for games?” I wondered aloud to Lucy, who stood beside me, giving directions to another friend on where we were in the stands.
She waved animatedly. “No, you dork, right here!” She jabbed her hand in the air and swung it around like she was directing an airplane. “Right! HERE!”
I followed her eyes to the other side of the gym, where I saw a girl wave in acknowledgement and put her phone back in her pocket.
That’s when I saw him.
Of course he was here. He was like the opposite of those MasterCard commercials; he was everywhere I didn’t want him to be.
That didn’t mean I minded looking at him, though.
His wild, tawny hair was gelled into points all over his head and made him look like a human hedgehog. The silver ring in his bottom lip glinted when it hit the light just right, and he toyed with it as he focused through the lens of the camera he held in his hands.
“Seriously, don’t waste your time,” Lucy said through an audible sigh as she gave me a jab with her elbow. “Channing is so not worth any amount of effort you’d put into it.”
“That’s his name?” I asked, not looking away from the boy I now knew as Channing.
My phone dinged and vibrated in my pocket. I pulled my gaze away long enough to check the text message.
Earth to Sam, he’s not worth your time.
I looked up to see Lucy grinning from ear to ear. “Really? You text me when we’re standing next to each other?”
“It seemed like the only way to get your attention.”

There you have it, folks! What do you think? If you're a writer, take part in the meme, or add a little of your latest WIP to the comments.
Hope everyone is having a great week!

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Legend by Marie Lu
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 305
Received: Purchased
Rating: 4 out of 5 Books

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Ms. Lu's imagination knows no bounds, but here's the thing: she makes it all BELIEVABLE. Everything she said, I felt myself thinking, "Oh man, what if America ended up like this?" I can see it, and that kinda freaks me out! She builds her world exquisitely, and her characters are always on point. Day is absolutely the most awesome character I've read all year. He is just amazing. The way he grows through the story is awesome, but I think June is the one that grows the most. She is such a BA heroine, and I like that you see her discover the world around her.

Nothing was necessarily bad, but I did feel like June came to the major revelations all at once, in an info-dumpish kind of way. That was just me, though. Some may like it. I would have liked to have seen a redeeming characteristic in Commander Jameson, and I didn't like that Thomas was so cold-blooded, although I suppose that was the goal of Lu. So you see, the "bad" wasn't bad, it was just personal preferences. :)

I really enjoyed Lu's world, and I will definitely be getting the second installment when it releases. This was a fun book to read, and by the end I was totally invested. It was a little slow at the beginning, but the world building was necessary, and I appreciated it when the book really started moving. Like I said, Day is probably my favorite character of the year. I would have loved to watch him pull off more shenanigans, and I hope that the second book will provide that. Lu wrote a great book, and I am looking forward to reading the next one.

RATING: 4 of 5 Books

EXCITING NEWS! (How It Happened + the Query Letter)


I have some exciting news. If you missed it, I've been working on a WIP titled STEEL LILY. I actually posted a short teaser from it in this post, so if you're curious, go check it out! :) Well, I'm excited to say that Steel Lily landed me an agent!!! ::does a happy dance::

I am officially represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management! ::throws confetti::

When I tweeted about it, I had a friend ask if I would blog about it. While I hadn't planned on it, it seemed like a good idea, so here we are. :)

When I started querying, I had a friend of mine go over my query with me. She helped me make it shine. When we were finished, I thought we had put together a pretty darn good query...definitely the best one I've submitted with. So, with much trepidation, I hit the "send" button to agents. But this time, unlike the others, I only queried agents I *knew* were people I liked. People I knew would be great to work with, had qualities I wanted, and that were well versed in the literary world.

I thought it'd take a while to get bites, but thankfully, I was wrong. I queried Lauren on April 12th, and got a request for the full the same day. I was beyond thrilled! I also got other requests (8 total, I believe) for fulls as well, so I was pretty excited!

Then came the first email. The agent was VERY excited about my book, but wanted some revisions. I agreed with them, so I set to doing them. All the while, Lauren had my manuscript. We'd tweeted about random things, and she was fun. I wondered if she was liking the book. I got a couple declines, and then it came.

"The Call."

I missed it, because my phone was on silent.


I checked my voicemail and there it was, Lauren Hammond telling me she wanted to talk about representing Steel Lily. I squealed. I scared my 9 month old child with my giddiness.

And I called her back. :)

We talked for quite a while, and it was great to chat and hear her vision for Steel Lily, as well as get to know her style as an agent. I got off the phone wanting to tell her yes, but wanting to give the other agents time to read, as well as sleep on the decision. (ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS give the other agents that have your MS time to read. It's just the nice thing to do. If you physically/emotionally/mentally cannot do that, then at least email them and tell them you're pulling it from consideration. Don't waste their time by having them read something they won't even be able to acquire if they do like it.)

We agreed we'd reconvene in two weeks. I notified all the agents that still had my MS. But...I started to really look into Lauren's other clients. Talked to a few of them. They were all super positive about their experiences, and Lauren's deals on Publisher's Marketplace made me confident in her abilities (ALWAYS check your agents on PM. If they're not recording deals, then will they be able to land one for you??). I talked to my husband, my writer friends, heck, even non-writer friends about it. I really liked what I was seeing, but I thought I should wait.

I made it through the weekend.

After an email came from an agent who declined, I breathed a sigh of relief. I had told my husband I was going to feel bad having to tell them no, because I wanted Lauren. He looked at me, with all his sensibility (God love him), and said, "If you know who you want, then why don't you just accept her offer?"

Made sense to me.

So I emailed the remaining agents and let them know that I was going to accept Lauren's offer. I couldn't wait. I knew who I wanted.

I called Lauren, we chatted, and I said "HECK YEAH I WANNA BE ON TEAM HAMMOND!"

Or something of that derivative. :)

So that's my story. I'm thrilled to have Lauren as an agent, and I can't wait to see what she does with Steel Lily. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to tell you that it has a home, and you'll be able to pick it up in a bookstore near you!

As for any writers that may be reading who are still looking for an agent, don't give up. It only takes one yes. :)


I had a fellow Tweep ask for me to post the query letter that I sent to Lauren. Here it is! :)

Dear Ms. Hammond,

Fifteen-year-old Avery Pike is the most powerful girl in Dome Four, only she doesn't want to be.

Steam is all that's left as a resource after a massive war has left the world in ruins, and Avery's ability to control it is the best hope that her Dome has to survive. But providing steam power for an entire city taxes Avery's body, leaving her exhausted for days afterward.

Enter Atticus Riggs, the enigmatic headmaster of Chromelius Academy who's promised her a new life, far away from the Dome and free from being a government tool. But Atticus's estranged son, Jaxon, has other plans for Avery. He presents her with two choices: trust him with her freedom, or remain under a regime of uncertainty and fear. It seems as though everyone but Avery is in control of her future. But when you can control steam, you can learn to control anything; including the fate of your world.

STEEL LILY is a 95,000 word YA dystopian steampunk fantasy. I've published three novels. My BRIDGER series is a consistent Amazon best-seller in multiple categories, and have sold over 5,000 copies. The first book, Bridger, has sold over 4,000 and Traitor was just released in March. I have a growing social media platform, with nearly 4,000 followers on Twitter, and an active blog and author website. Per your submission guidelines, I have included the first three pages of Steel Lily for your consideration. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Megan Curd
(Insert phone number)