Dangerous Waters by C M Michaels
For Emily Waters, a nature-loving, small-town girl with an overprotective father, heading off to Boston University to study conservation biology is a dream come true—until a chance encounter catapults her into a mythical world she’d do anything to escape.
The latest victim in a rash of abductions near campus, Emily is brutally attacked before being rescued by a powerful new friend. She survives the ordeal, only to find herself held captive and presented with an impossible choice. While preparing for the unimaginable life she must now embrace clues soon emerge that Emily may not be entirely human, and her physical transformation awakens goddess-like powers that her new family cannot begin to explain. Dealing with her human first love, the not-so-platonic relationship with her coven “sister,” and her new vampire sort-of-boyfriend further complicates matters, not to mention being secretly hunted by the psychopaths who attacked her. And as the only known offspring of a once all-powerful race, the climactic battle is only the beginning of her journey.
“All rise!” the bailiff bellowed out through the hall. “This court is now in session. The honorable global court inquisitor O’Callaghan presiding.”
An imposing figure with short, golden locks entered from behind the bailiff, motioning for people to take their seats. He gathered his floor-length white and purple robes in his left hand, made his way over to the furthest prisoner and yanked the hood from her head.
“So this is the all-powerful Sienna,” the inquisitor mocked, squeezing the bound woman’s cheeks with his hand. “How disappointing.”
Her once beautiful face was disfigured by several charred-black electrical burns. Blood and pus oozed out of the open wounds. The pungent salve packed into her broken nose made her eyes tear up and prevented her from smelling anything.
“Do you have anything you wish to say in your defense before I render my verdict?” the inquisitor asked, deactivating the device around her throat so she could speak.
“This will never work—she knows her life is far more important than mine.”
“It’s possible she’d let you die,” he acknowledged. “But both of her parents, her mate and her best friend? No, I think that’s far too much to expect her to endure. Sooner or later she’ll come, and the world will celebrate her execution.”
Sienna snapped to attention, her green eyes widening in horror at the news of who else had been captured. “You have no idea what you’ve done—everyone in this building’s going to die.”
The crowd erupted at her outburst, and the inquisitor held up his hand to silence them. “And how exactly is your precious queen going to manage that? She’ll be welcomed to our fair city by twenty thousand volts from the first alarm she trips. Not enough to kill your kind, but plenty to leave her unconscious until—”
“Sir, a perimeter alarm’s been triggered just outside the north gate,” a soldier interrupted from the gallery.
He wheeled on the man in a fit of anger. “Interrupt me again, and I’ll disembowel you! People have been jumping the fence all day—contact the guards at the gate and have them check it out.”
“We tried sir. Calls have been placed to the guard desk, the three closest perimeter sweep teams and the north tactical unit—they’re not responding.”
“Who’s not responding, you imbecile!”
“Any of them.”
“It’s too late,” Sienna said, gazing at his panic-stricken face. “She’s here.”
My take on critique groups
In my opinion, the ability to get real-time feedback from people knowledgeable about your genre that you trust explicitly—but who are still willing to offer constructive criticism—is the most helpful tool in a writer’s arsenal.
For a critique group to be successful, each of the conditions summarized above needs to be met.
- Composed of people you trust – I’ve seen a lot of online critique group sites pop up recently. These sites make the formation of groups far easier, but they miss out on one of the most essential requirements for collaborative input to be effective. Trust. I’m not just speaking of the risk that someone you have never met will pilfer your amazing idea for a new book (or even actual chapters), which is all too real. The lack of trust also makes you more defensive and less open to receiving even well intentioned feedback that they share. Selecting a critique group comprised of close friends and relatives alleviates both issues.
- Composed of people knowledgeable in your genre – So you’ve taken the first step and found a group of close friends and relatives who are willing to join your new critique group. That’s wonderful! Are all of them familiar with your genre? If not, I’d suggest that you keep looking. That may sound harsh (especially if they volunteered for your non-paying gig) but if they aren’t fans of the genre the pushback you receive could have as much to do with their dislike of your type of book as with what you are actually writing. Even if they are just uninformed about the genre rather than being biased against it, they still don’t have any benchmark to gauge your book against. Contrast that with someone who has read all the popular series you aspire to emulate. They can give you candid feedback that draws upon a mutual understanding of the essential elements for a book in your genre to be a hit.
- Composed of people willing to offer constructive feedback – This makes the selection of your critique group members far more difficult, as you need to ensure that the relatives and close friends you select are going to be willing to share negative feedback and take you to task. Getting a bunch of “this is great” comments may boost your ego, but it does nothing to improve your novel. No one is inherently excluded—your parents, sister, brother, boyfriend, may make great group members—it just depends on the nature of your relationship. And you also need to be open to receiving constructive feedback from them. If your boyfriend tells you he kept falling asleep during your prologue, as he didn’t see where you were going with your in depth knowledge dump on the Greek pantheon, will you listen to him and make the chapter more focused, or will it start a fight between you? Be honest with yourself. Having people tell us our creations are less than perfect stings. Make sure you select people you will not hold a grudge against.
- Able to provide real time feedback - We all know it’s much easier to make major storyline changes before the entire draft is written, and input on dialogue, narrative voice, syntax and character development received for one chapter can be leveraged as you work on future chapters. So in order to be effective your group needs to meet regularly, once every 1-2 weeks. As an added bonus, meeting frequently also gives you intermediate deadlines to target, since you need to have written something for them to review. Posting the chapters out on a Skydrive a couple days in advance of each meeting will give everyone a chance to read it beforehand and come prepared with their input.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
C.M Michaels grew up in a small town in northern Michigan as the youngest child of a close-knit family of seven. He met his wife, Teresa, while attending Saginaw Valley State University. Together they’ve provided a loving home for several four-legged “kids”, including Sophie, their eternally young at heart, hopelessly spoiled Spaniel.
He has always enjoyed writing, and still has fond memories of reading his first book, a children’s novella, to local grade schools when he was 14. Dangerous Waters, the first book in the Sisters in Blood series, is being published by Freya’s Bower on September 5th, 2013. C.M. is currently working on the second book in the Sisters in Blood series along with a Fantasy romance.
When he’s not writing, C.M. can be found curled up with a good book, watching movies or hitting the hiking trails with his wife. An avid reader since discovering Jim Kjelgaard novels in early childhood, his favorite authors include Kelley Armstrong, Peter V. Brett, Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine, Cassandra Claire, J.R. Ward, Laini Taylor and Tessa Dawn.
C.M. currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky.
The author will award a $50 Amazon or BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter. (Three randomly drawn hosts will win a $25 Amazon/BN GC).