Friday, June 8, 2012

YA Indie Carnival - Round Robin

YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts on what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.

This week the carni's decided to do something really fun. Over the last month we have been sharing the first paragraph or two of one of our books then sending it around each other to see what comes back. Each writer has added a new paragraph to the story turning it into something very different.

This was such a fun exercise. I can't wait to see what each of the stories have turned into and I'm also looking forward to reading the originals.

I used the first paragraph from Forbidden Territory (due for release July 1st). My story ended up being scarily different. For one - the POV changed from female to male. That really threw me... and then androids were introduced. What the?!? 

LOL - I was giggling the whole time I read the story and I had NO idea how I was supposed to rap it up. Hopefully I've done okay :)

Thank you so much to all the other carni members who participated in this Round Robin game. You are all very talented writers and I've had the best time working with you.

I really hope you enjoy what we've come up with. I've put the Round Robin story first, then added my original beneath it.

Happy reading everyone :)


   This party sucked!
   It wasn't that the music was bad. It was actually awesome, pumping through the house with that loud thump that vibrated up your body. I loved that feeling.
   It wasn't that the people were bad. A bunch of my school friends were here and I had spent the last half hour waving and smiling at each of them.
   It wasn't that it was lame. This was one of those, ‘The parents are away! Let's break all the rules!’ kinda parties. The teenagers filling this house were on a liberty high. I could tell that things were going to get wild by the end of the night. Wild and probably very entertaining.
   I looked at the front door with a grimace.
   It was probably too late to make a getaway. Then again, I'd made my appearance, so maybe I could get away with sneaking out. If anyone at school asked me on Monday, obviously I'd been there and could just pretend they'd missed me. The party scene wasn't really my style, though if someone handed me that joint I smelled earlier, I might just have to participate.
   I glanced at the front door again, slyly taking a few steps toward the exit. Just then, the door opened and SHE walked in.
   I froze and cursed under my breath. I knew I should have left earlier. What the hell was she doing here? This was so far beyond her normal scene. I thought for one night I could escape from thoughts of her. The girl I loved. The girl I hated. The girl who left me. My eyes traced along the length of her long legs to the ragged hem of the mini skirt that barely covered the tops of her thighs. The black tank she wore was tight and accented every curve of her luscious body. She'd never worn anything like that the whole time we were together.
   That she was an android was the only thing that saved me in the early beer-soaked hours of the morning when I thought about her. I could tell myself it wasn't really me, that it was her wiring, that it was her programming. That was until the evil voice in my head whispered that even a robot didn't want me. I looked at her legs in her micro-mini and tried to imagine her as just a tower of complicated electronics, with a human covering, except I knew she wasn't,and it didn't help anyway. I knew just what she was capable of when we had been together.
   Thinking about our time together reminds me of the very vivid dreams I began having right after we started dating.  They were bizarre because of their realness, and because they always starred this android's human clone, the person from whom she'd been built to resemble.  
   The law says every adroid must have a human clone and a wealthy family willing to accept financial responsibility for its actions.  There are other laws about the criteria for having an adroid built from your likeness, and they are tragic at best.  You have to have met a premature death or be horrifically disabled from a traumatic accident.  
   Damn salesmen!  I, like most people, hated the companies that prayed on these tragedies.  They swooped in quickly and sold their high-dollar droids by convincing the grieving parents they could bring their children back.  Fill a void that was never meant to be filled.  The whole agreement was unnatural and reeked of desperation.
    “Wanna dance?” a soft voice asked.
   I’d been too distracted by the hot android to notice I hadn’t yet made my escape. My eyes lifted and met with a pair of baby blues...that looked exactly like hers. My knees weakened as my focus shot to the android and then back to the girl asking me to dance. It couldn’t be! It wasn’t possible! Had she really not died? My hands shot out to her arms as I feared she wasn’t real, a ghost. Shock lodged in my throat as my fingers curled around a pair of warm arms. “Beth?”
   Beth frowned and her eyes, Beth’s eyes, dropped to my hands nervously. “No, I’m Caitlynn.”
   A strong hand, far stronger than any human's, took hold of me, turning me away from the girl next to me. Impossibly blue eyes, empty of empathy, stared back at me.
   "Hello, Bradley Simpson," she said in Beth's voice but without the softened inflection of a real person. The techs still sucked at making the bots sound right. "I have been looking for you."
   As I tried to pull away, Caitlynn slid her hand up my back, something sharp pricking my skin. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "But you need to come with us."
   "Not tonight, ladies," I smirked. "I'm immune to Nightdust."
   I pulled my lucky magnet from my pocket and slammed it on Beth's forehead. She wobbled back then collapsed to the floor. It wouldn't be long before her Restart procedure was complete.
   I would have raced out the door only the android had me in an extremely strong grip.  Her fingers encircled my wrist.  It felt like the bone would snap at any second.  She said, "You have to come with us.  There is no choice.  You know once you are paired with someone it is forever."
   "What are you going to do to me?"  My voice shook a bit as Caitlynn recovered and grabbed my other arm.  "Are you going to kill me?"
   "Don't be ridiculous. If you die, we die.  Those are the rules."
   “We have someone we want you to meet,” Caitlynn said.
   The tugged on my arms and we walked out of the kitchen together arm in arm in arm.
   I won’t lie to you. Even with all the drinking and partying going on, even as late as it was, even though I had two gorgeous bots on my arms, I wasn’t too wasted to notice almost everyone in the house stopped and stared. At me. It was shocking. I’d been such a Boy Scout since the accident. I literally could not go there with another girl. Not after Beth. Dating just felt wrong. Hooks ups felt wrong. Nothing felt right.
   Caitlynn winked on our walk up the stairs. The music downstairs got louder. So loud I felt the beats in the soles of my shoes.
   Pulling me closer, she put her hand on the doorknob of the last door at the end of the hall. She pulled the door partway open and said with a smile, “Meet you... only better.”
   In that instant I couldn’t hear anything. I couldn’t see anything either...except my twin, standing in front of me, dressed exactly like me.
   I gazed down at Caitlynn, the image of my Beth then looked back to my twin. With a very slow smile, I nodded at each member of the room. Maybe this was the out I'd been looking for.
   My twin smiled and flicked his head towards the window. "It's time for you to leave now, Bradley. I'll take it from here."
   "What are you doing?"
   The two female androids grasped my arms in shocked displeasure.
   "You have no right to make these decisions." Caitlynn frowned.
   My android's eyes turned dark. A high-pitched squeal filled the room, making me wince. The two girls beside me dropped to the floor.
   My look alike placed a small remote back in his pocket and bent down to check the androids. "You don't have much time. You must go now. There is a car outside that will take you where you need to go."
   "Why are doing this for me?"
   "Because she told me to."
   My twin's head tipped to the side, his eyes lighting with a small smile. "Beth."

ACTUAL VERSION (Ch 1 of Forbidden Territory)

   This party sucked!
   It wasn't that the music was bad. It was actually awesome, pumping through the house with that loud thump that vibrated up your body. I loved that feeling.
   It wasn't that the people were bad. A bunch of my school friends were here and I had spent the last half hour waving and smiling at each of them.
   It wasn't that it was lame. This was one of those, ‘The parents are away! Let's break all the rules!’ kinda parties. The teenagers filling this house were on a liberty high. I could tell that things were going to get wild by the end of the night. Wild and probably very entertaining.
   I looked at the front door with a grimace.
   There were two things bugging me... one was the fact the he had just arrived and the other was the fact the one person I needed to help me through this disaster was the one person I couldn't find.
Stupid Suzanne Feldman. If she hadn't invited Tom to the party, we wouldn't even be here. Lexy usually hated this kind of thing, but as soon as Tom said, "Well, that sounds delightful," in that posh pommy accent of his (he's too polite to respond any other way), she just HAD to come... and of course I just HAD to be her wingman... or winggirl. Whatever.
   I huffed.
   So much for wing-anything, my best friend had disappeared with none other than Tommy boy.

   We got separated in the dining room when I was pulled aside by Kenny to ask if ‘Sexy Lexy’ would be interested in a ride home.
   I rolled by eyes and slapped him on the shoulder as he passed me a cup of beer. "Kenny, I love you man, but get it into your head." I raised my fingers one at a time, listing each reason. "Lexy is not into you. Calling her Sexy Lexy is only damaging your chances. She's basically with Oxford now... and besides, she brought her car... and after the sheep incident last month, there's pretty much a snowball's chance in hell of me ever being able to drive it again."
   I frowned.
   "Who's Oxford?"
   "Really, Kenny?" I tipped my head and patted his shoulder. He was such an idiot. I looked at his sad confusion and relented with a sigh. "Tom, aka Oxford, is the British exchange student... from Oxford. In England."
   He still looked blank.
   "Oh come on, Kenny! He's been living at my place for weeks now! He comes to school with me every day! He's even come to a couple of our band practices. Are you blind?"
   The long-haired bass player let out a wistful sigh. "I only ever see Lexy."
   "You know you're pathetic, right?"
   He gave me one of his dopey smiles. I couldn't help adoring him.
   "Plenty of fish, mate. Just let that pretty little one go and you'll catch another." I followed my pointing finger and was surprised to find the pretty little fish was nowhere to be seen. Neither was Tom.
   I wandered into the lounge looking for the leggy brunette, sipping my beer and teetering on my stupid heels. Why we had convinced ourselves to dress up for this thing was beyond me. Lexy and I lived in normal clothes. We weren't huge fans of make up or skirts, but just occasionally we got a little nutty and tonight had been one of those nights. Lexy wanted to look pretty for Tom. She's been so giddy over the guy, I couldn't help getting excited too, so we donned our minis, I forsook my beloved Doc's for a pair of ridiculously high platforms, which admittedly made me as tall as Lexy, but also made me feel like a total idiot. Besides, she decided to wear heels too, so I was back to being ‘the short one’ again. I'd have done anything to be short at this moment. What was it about my ripped jeans, scuffed boots and Ramones T-shirt that made me feel so safe?
   I stood in the lounge, fluffing my mass of curls, not knowing what else to do with my spare hand. My finger caught on one of Lexy's hoop earrings.
   I rubbed my sore lobe and scanned the couches. They were strewn with teenage bodies, some looking more drunk than others. I saw Suzanne in the corner, wrapped within the arms of a sleazy looking creep in a leather jacket. He was rolling a cigarette as she whispered in his ear and giggled. I shook my head, wondering what had happened to the straight-A, goody-two-shoes who used to walk the halls with her nose in the air. She'd certainly taken a step down.
   With an irritated huff, I realised I couldn't see my bestie and was about to walk back through the dining room when the front door flew open, followed by a loud laugh.

   "Uch!" I shivered. The person I hated most in this world had just strolled inside with a perky blond beneath his arm.
   So he was the star winger on the rugby team. He scored more tries last season than ever before and held the school record. Big deal. The guy was a total dickhead... pus-brain, tosspot, moron, prick. Screwing up my nose, I ducked around the corner before he spotted me and continued with my list of insults. They were getting dirtier by the second. I had to find Lexy. I couldn't handle an entire party with cheating Rob here. He was supposed to be totally in love with me. Well, that's what I thought until I found him practically having sex with Lizzy McKay at the Valentine's dance. I swear if I hadn't walked in, they would have totally done the dirty on the floor of the music room... next to my Fender Stratocaster guitar case. The insult was too much to bear.
   I blinked at tears that rushed up, unbidden. Where was Lexy?! I took a large gulp of beer. I didn't actually like the stuff that much, but it was in my hand so I took another swig. It didn't make me feel any better.
   I continued my hunt down the hallway and stopped outside a closed bedroom door. They wouldn't, would they? Lexy wasn't like that. They weren't even really together yet, but she was pretty in love. I mean I'd never seen her like this before. But...
   I placed my hand on the knob and listened against the wood, but couldn't bring myself to believe that those moans belonged to the girl I'd been attached to since I was eight.
   Stepping back, I headed down the stairs to the rumpus room, thinking about how much things were changing. I liked Tom a lot. He was an awesome guy and I wanted Lexy to be with someone that cool. What she didn't know about him was the fact he was a thief. Not the smash and grab kind, but the subtle kind who came into your life and stole your best friend without even meaning to.

To check out the other Round Robin stories, just click on the links below.

And don't forget to check out the latest news on the YA Indie Carnival Blog.


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