Friday, June 29, 2012

Our First Fiction Femme Fatale Winners!!!

Announcing the winners of our very first contest:

  • The Diviners ARC - Anonymously Yours
  • The Land of Stories ARC - bwahahahaxd
  • Query critique by literary agent Lucienne Diver - Books Blog
  • First chapter critique by Amy - Nicole Zoltac
  • Critique of choice: query or first chapter by Stefanie - The Original Mama Drama

ARC winners, please email us with your mailing address.
Critique winners, please email us for instructions on how to submit your work.

Email address:

If any winners do not respond by Monday, we will draw new winners.

Thank you to everyone who entered! The month of August is another 5 Friday month, so stay tuned for another contest then, including more critiques and ARCs!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Meet My Awesome Agent: Lucienne Diver

Our very first Fiction Femme Fatale giveaway is just about here which means we are just about to give away:

An arc of Libba Bray’s latest, THE DIVINERS

An arc of Chris Colfer’s THE LAND OF STORIES

One query critique from Lucienne Diver

One first chapter critique from our own Amy Christine Parker

One critique of your choice: a query or first chapter critique from our own Stefanie Jones

If you haven’t entered yet, what exactly are you waiting for? Click here and follow the directions, but do it fast because you only have a few days left to be eligible!


As we count down to this Friday when we announce all of our lucky winners, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight my wonderful agent Lucienne Diver who has very generously offered up a query critique as one of our prizes. So without further ado, allow me to introduce you to the lovely and talented Lucienne!

Lucienne spent fifteen years with New York’s prestigious Spectrum Literary Agency before joining The Knight Agency in 2008. She has a talent for spotting new and original voices (if I do say so myself) and represents over forty authors, including the very talented young adult authors Rosemary Clement Moore and Rachel Caine. Lucienne is one of the most well respected agents in the industry. It didn’t take me long to realize how grateful I am to be represented by her because her enthusiasm for the books and authors that she represents is obvious and infectious.

Over the course of her dynamic career she has sold over seven hundred titles to every major publisher, and has built a client list of authors spanning the commercial fiction genres, primarily in the areas of fantasy, science fiction, romance, mystery, suspense, young adult, and erotica. Her authors have been honored with the RITA, National Readers’ Choice Award, the Golden Heart, and the Romantic Times Reader’s Choice, and have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. A publishing veteran, Lucienne has superb industry knowledge, numerous editor relationships, and a keen understanding of the foreign rights market. She is a member of the Association of Authors Representatives, RWA, MWA and SFWA.

You can find her here:

Here’s what she would love to discover in her slush pile:

I’ve got a pretty full list, though I can rarely resist taking on something truly unique and wonderful. I work with a lot of paranormal fiction, which I adore (fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, steampunk), but I’m also a big fan of suspense and forensics. I’d love to see something more mainstream along these lines, whether middle-grade, YA or adult. (For example, the last novel that I read was I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga.)

***Be sure that when you query Lucienne you check The Knight Agency submission guidelines and follow them exactly.

Here are a few great blog posts from her that I love on craft:

As well as being an awesome agent (and person I might add) Lucienne is an author in her own right and has a successful young adult series as well as a new adult series to her credit. I’ve had the pleasure of reading all of her books to date and have really enjoyed them. They are fast paced reads with characters who keep you laughing and capture your heart.

Here are her books:

Her latest book for adults:

Tori Karacis is a little more than your average private eye. Among other things, her family line may or may not trace back to a drunken liaison between the god Pan and one of the immortal gorgons. It may be just coincidence that her glance can literally stop men in their tracks, or that her family sports enough irregularities to keep the Rialto Bros. Circus in business. Then again, maybe not.

Tori’s debilitating fear of heights has kept her out of the family acrobatic troupe, but her extreme nosiness fits right in with her Uncle Christos’ private investigation business, where she was apprenticing when he disappeared on an Odyssean journey to find himself. Muddling through on her own, she’s reduced to hunting (not stalking, as that would just be weird), brass-bra’d Hollywood agent Circe Holland in order to deliver her a message…only to witness her murder by something that looks like the creature from the black lagoon.

Suddenly, all of her family’s tall tales seem a bit more believable, especially when Apollo—the Apollo out of myth and legend, though now hiding out among humans as a star of stage and screen—appears in her office, looking to hire her. She knows the stories and that tangling with gods never works out well for their human lovers, but she’s drawn to Apollo in a way she can’t resist, even given her feelings for one very hot and hardened cop.

Her love life has to take a backseat to the danger at her door, though it’s a toss-up which will kill her quickest.

You can buy it here:

Her young adult series:


     You can buy any of the above here:

I’d like to thank Lucienne for taking part in our contest and for taking me on— I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I still can’t quite believe that she did!  Hope you enjoyed our very first spotlight!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Flash Fiction Chain Story


There weren't any reader submissions this week for today's story so how about if we do something just for fun? We were thinking it might be interesting to do a flash fiction chain story. Basically if you're here reading this and want to participate, we'll be creating a story in the comments. I'll post the first line in the first comment and then if you're up for the challenge, you put a line, a few lines, or a small paragraph in the comments that builds on my line. There are no guidelines other than our basic request to keep things PG 13ish. Our picture prompt will be  this month's inspiration picture, the one below, but veer into something totally different if you feel like it. Go creative, wacky, funny, scary, strange. The sky's the limit here. Take a break from your regular manuscript and all of the pressure you feel to make it agent-worthy and have a little fun! I know that all three of us are dying to see what you come up with!

On a side note: Don't forget that our very first giveaway ends next week. The winners will be anounced on next Friday's post! If you haven't entered, please follow this link to see what we're giving away and enter today.

Friday, June 15, 2012


We should be wearing black. It feels disrespectful not to. Funerals usually demand it and in a way, isn’t that what this is? Not for us…but for all the others? I try to imagine that my white sundress is really black like the sunglasses the guards are wearing. But it isn’t working.

I have to squint to see even with my parasol positioned low enough to shade my eyes. The day is painfully bright. It feels as if it’s getting brighter every minute—or maybe I’m just imagining it. All around me others stream past, their faces trained on the enormous space shuttle in front of us, idling on the tarmac just long enough for us to board. We are the last ones, the lucky remnants of the government’s lottery. Today we survive. To symbolize the clean slate we’ve been given, they’ve dressed us all in white. We look like a blizzard of horizontally fluttering snowflakes—at least I think—it’s hard to know for sure since I’ve never actually seen snow.

 I glance beyond the bobbing collection of parasols to my right where our parents and others are pressed against the chain link fence.  Some are wailing, demanding another drawing. Others, mostly those with children boarding the shuttle, are waving and pretending to smile. Tonight they’ll all go home, shutter their windows against the never-ending bright and take the little blue pills that the government issued them. They will sleep and it will all just end. Some have vowed not to take the pills, but I think all of us feel sure that they’ll change their minds. By tomorrow the sun will be too close. If they don’t choose the final sleep, they will burn. Of course in the end they’ll all burn, but I’m told that it makes it easier for those of us leaving to imagine them drifting off into a dreamless sleep—which is probably why some are refusing it. I get it. I wouldn’t want to make it easier on us either.

I grip the handle of my parasol tighter and shiver. It’s so hot that I’ve got fever chills.  Walking forward is difficult in the unforgiving heat and I want to quit. How can I do this? My parents told me to harden my heart, to surround it in ice, but freezing anything is impossible here. Now my grief threatens to boil over and drown me. I search the faces behind the fence, try to spot my parents. If I see them once more I’ll find my courage. At least that’s what I keep murmuring to myself.

“Meara!” My mom’s voice disrupts my heat stupor and I look harder at the crowd. I spot her. She’s standing next to my dad. Both of their faces are scrunched up and their eyes are narrow slits. They’re risking blindness, standing out here without even an umbrella to shade them. Their heads and bodies are draped in long cotton rags, but they don’t cover all of their leathery brown skin. Even after years of exposure, they’re still growing steadily pink.

Without thinking, I push past the kids beside me, my parasol tangling with one of theirs briefly before it bounces free and I’m able to hurtle forward. I’m panting already. It’s like being in the middle of a bonfire. The air feels devoid of oxygen. The heat has leeched it out.

When I reach my parents I stick my fingers between the fence’s open spaces. The metal is uncomfortable, searing. I almost pull away, but then my mom laces her fingers with mine, sandwiching the metal between our palms and branding us both with the same diamond shaped burn.

“We love you so so much. Live well, Meara. Take care of your sister,” my mom whispers over and over like a prayer. She said this all last night when we said our goodbyes on screen and I tried to memorize their faces without having the benefit of actually touching them. My dad’s hand comes up to join ours. I thought being able to really see them again, to touch them would somehow make me ready, but now I can’t let go, even when I hear the guard coming up behind me and the click his gun makes when he cocks it.

“Go on. It’s time,” my dad says, his voice cracking even as he smiles.

“I can’t do this,” I press my forehead to the fence. The people on the other side grow increasingly agitated. They grab at me, at my parents. I can feel someone’s nails scratch my face.

“You will step away from that fence now!” the guard shouts.

“Your sister’s waiting at the space station. She needs you,” mom says quickly and pulls her fingers from mine. Her eyes are red, but she doesn’t cry. “Tell her we love her. Tell each other. It’ll be okay.”

 I don’t have time to protest. Another guard rushes me, pulling me away from the fence with enough force to wrench my fingers painfully. He pushes me back into line. I stumble forward. My parasol is spinning in a circle back beside the fence. I can’t see, but I don’t need to, the crowd around me is moving quicker now, pulling me along. The people beyond the fence are yelling. The fence is shaking, I can hear the metal groaning. It won’t hold. I have time to think before I’m thrust onto the ship’s loading ramp.

 I open my eyes once I’m inside the shuttle. Someone hands me a small bouquet of flowers, a symbol of my new life. They brought them down from the station’s greenhouse. They are the first flowers I’ve ever seen. I rub a velvety purple petal between my fingers and a smell, both powdery and sweet emanates from it. I feel sick.

The loading dock rumbles beneath my feet and I take a step backwards as it slowly lifts into the air. The fence collapses then, the people spilling over it and each other as they clamor for the shuttle, but it’s too late. The heat coming off of the tarmac ripples in front of me blurring the bodies rushing towards me and making the flowers look as if they’re on fire.

Story by: Amy Christine Parker
Picture by: Amy Haslehurst

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our First Fiction Femme Fatale Giveaway!!!

This month is one of those five Friday months that leaves us with an extra Friday and no instead of a story, how about we have our very first giveaway? In order to thank those of you who are checking in and taking the time to read our stories (and for those of you who are just about to discover us), we have compiled a list of truly impressive giveaways for this, our first contest.


An arc of Libba Bray's newest, THE DIVINERS!

An arc of Chris Colfer's (Kurt on Glee) new book, THE LAND OF STORIES!

A query critique by Amy's agent, Lucienne Diver with The Knight Agency!(stay tuned as we do a spotlight interview with her in the coming weeks)

A first chapter critique of your manuscript by our own Amy!

A critique  of choice: query or first chapter by our own Stefanie!

That's FIVE awesome prizes given out by the Fiction Femme Fatales on the Fifth Friday of this month!!

Like how we managed to tie all these F words in here and none of them are even dirty?!

And here's all you have to do to be eligible:

Tweet, blog (Live Journal, Blogger, Wordpress), or Facebook this contest (any public site that we can view the link to will do) and then post a comment to this post with the links before Wednesday, June 27th (we'll accept entries all the way up to 11:59, Eastern Standard Time).

 You only have to post one link in the comments, but if you chose to do more than one, we'll enter your name into the contest again for each extra one that you do for a total of four entries each person.

You may also specify in your comment whether or not you want to be eligible for all the prizes or just certain ones.

Following this blog isn't required, but we'd love it if you decided to anyway:)

The winners will be drawn using and will be posted on Friday, June 28th.

So what are you waiting for? Go. Seriously. Get busy and ENTER!

Saturday, June 9, 2012



      A butterfly smacks against the windshield of Granda’s speeding Lincoln Towncar, leaving a smudge of guts across the already bug covered glass. The butterfly’s wing dust glitters in the sun like tiny crystals, leaving taunting remnants of the creature that had just been alive. I shudder— I hate when that happens. It always makes me feel like I’ve just witnessed the murder of Tinkerbell.
      I wipe the beads of sweat from my face for umpteenth time since arriving in this armpit of a state and frown as I see the smudge of black eyeliner across the back of my hand. Great. Now not only am I burning alive in the ninety-four degree heat— despite the fact that it’s September— I’m going to look like a raccoon by the time we finally get to Granda’s house. As I dig in the console for a tissue to wipe the eyeliner off, I spot a bright pink, plastic cigarette lighter in the cup holder. When I’m sure Granda isn’t looking, I slip it into my pocket.
       I cross my arms over my chest and lean my head against the edge of my open window, watching the endless oaks and pines fly past. The bouquet of flowers in my lap feels heavy, despite the fact that they’re only wilted wildflowers that my mom pulled from our yard. I wanted to throw them away at the airport, but when I’d dangled them over the trashcan, I couldn’t make my fingers let go.
 Last week, my so-called mother had told me that she was sending me to live with Granda. In Alabama. Alabama. Ala-fracking-bama. Where you have to drink your oxygen instead of inhale it.
             Krista— I stopped calling her Mom the day she decided to stop being a parent in favor of alcohol— had told me that my life would be better here, but from what I've seen so far, it can't be that much better. Granda has barely even spoken to me since she picked me up from the airport.
            Granda lives over an hour from the closest city in a town that has only one gas station. A deep longing for home aches through my chest, but I know I can’t go back there anytime soon. Just before I boarded the airplane to Mobile, Krista told me that she’d come and visit soon, but I wondered how “soon” it would be. She said that she wanted to get better, she’d promised it, in fact. But I saw the fire dancing behind her sea green eyes, and that meant that she was lying.
      I stare at myself in the dirty side mirror, studying my face. My eyes match my mother’s—green as jade gemstones against the contrast of the tan skin I inherited from my father. A different ache pulses through my heart at the memory of him. I haven't yet perfected the art of thinking of that man without remembering what he used to do to us. A hot tear runs down my face, but I wipe it away before Granda notices.
             Granda's car slowly turns onto a small road lined with magnolia trees. The long, menacing branches stretch towards me as if they’re pointing their fingers and laughing about what a joke my life has been so far. Granda shuts off the car and climbs out without so much as a blink in my direction. I grab my duffle bag and the pitiful bouquet of flowers, and follow Granda into the shabby house. Everything is covered with a thick layer of dust, and the tattered, sun-faded curtains reek slightly of mildew from where the rain has leaked through the open windows.
"So, where is my room?" I ask, shifting my duffle bag on my shoulders. I've only visited here once, and I was five at the time. I don't really remember where anything is.
Granda opens her mouth to speak, but changes her mind and snaps it shut. 
"My room?" I ask again, annoyed that she's clearly ignoring my question.
I see the hug coming before it actually happens, but my hands are too full to stop it. Granda throws her wrinkled arms around my shoulders and pulls me in close. I stiffen and try to pull away from her, but she doesn't release me.
            After a few moments, I let my body relax a little. Her hair, which is pulled tightly into a bun at the nape of her neck, smells of lavender and peppermint. Much better than the stale vomit and bourbon smell of my mom’s.
            "Um, Granda?" I mutter. Hugs aren’t my thing.
            “I’m so sorry about what’s happened to you, darlin’” she says, her mouth pressed into my shoulder.
            I just nod. How do I respond to that?
            Granda releases me and nods towards the door on my left. “That’s your room. I’ll let you get settled.”           
I drag my bag into my new bedroom and collapse onto the twin sized bed with the flowers in my hand. I dig the pink lighter out of my pocket and flick the lever until a small flame jumps out of the little hole.
It only takes a nanosecond for the entire bouquet to become a flaming ball of fire. For a fleeting second, I consider dropping it onto the bed and letting the whole house burn.
“I’m making us some lunch, baby!” Granda calls from the kitchen. “Do you like fried squash?”
I shake the thought from my head. I can’t do that to my grandmother. She’s never done anything bad to me.
“Sure, whatever!” I yell back, running towards the bathroom with the flower torch. I throw it into the bathtub, just as the flames start to lick at my fingertips.
I turn the water on and watch the ashes splatter across the white ceramic surface. Maybe it won’t be so bad here. Maybe I can reignite the flame in my heart that was put out so long ago that I don’t even remember what it feels like to feel. Maybe a small, sweltering town is just what I need to start over, as Granda helps to wash the ashes from my soul down the drain.

Photo by: Amy Haslehurst

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Climb

by: Krystalyn

I grab the rock just above my head and hoist myself up. My muscles shake and my foot slips on some loose dirt before it finds purchase inside a crevasse. I take a moment, though I'm not sure why. I can barely breathe, and I can't swallow. Fear has sucked the moisture away. I look up, hoping to see the top in sight. But I don't.

Last month, I never would have dreamed of scaling Mt. Vestra. But last month, I still had my brother.

Today, I have a leather bag swinging at my waist. I have blisters bleeding through the gauze on my palms. I have mud clumping my hair and sulfur stinging my nose.

And I have the warning that Susanna gave me when I went to her hut pleading for help.

“Hadara, the past does not want to be retrieved.”

“But mistakes long to be corrected.”

“What you are asking is dangerous. I won't be held responsible.”

“I promise you, we will disappear into the forest. The village will never see us again.”


For every inch I climb, I think of every person that is lost.

I held Madame Joubert's hand when little Bastien disappeared. I cried beside her when he was found. I read scripture at his burial.

And I'd done the same for Madame Lefevre, Madame Thomas, and Madame Perault.

My brother, Dashiell, wrote songs for the lost children, and while he sang, he cried real tears. He didn't remember the terrible things done by the wolf inside him.

I was the one who told the Council about him. I'd woken one night and discovered him gone. I watched out my window, and when the wolf returned some hours later, I saw him transform beneath the full moon, the blood from another victim disappearing along with his fur.

The Council promised they would free my brother from the curse. It turned out they had a perverted definition of freedom.


I see the top of the volcano now, maybe 200 feet away. The heat sears my eyes. My fingers are slick with blood. I cling to the rock wall, unsure if I should stop for a moment or keep moving. I'm dizzy from the height and the fumes and the weight of survival.

I was dizzy the day they burned Dashiell at the stake. Everything piled up on me then too: the smoke, his silence, my wicked eyes refusing to release my tears. I may not have had a wolf inside me, but there was still evil in my soul. I had to make amends for betraying my brother to his murderers.


I'm not sure if I can make it to the top. Part of me wants to just let go, but the other part knows I need to feel this pain.

Once Dashiell's secret was revealed, he spent three days locked in a room in the church. Our village didn't have a prison, and the Council figured God's word was enough to keep us all safe. That, and the four men with broadswords stationed outside his door.

I brought him dinner every night but he refused to eat. His conscience kept him full of regret, so there was no room for bread. He took a sharp piece of straw from his mattress and scratched the number of deaths the wolf was responsible for into his arm. He did this over and over, never allowing the wounds to heal.

I cleansed his arm the night before he was burned. “Mother would have stopped you.”

“But you haven't.”

“No.” When Mother succumbed to the sickness two winters ago, Dashiell and I promised her we'd look out for one another. I tried so hard.

Dashiell took my hand. “I see the guilt in your eyes. It is not your fault.”

“I should have done something.” Though I didn't know if I was talking about the wolf or the cuts.

“You did. The only blood I have on my hands now is my own.”

That was the last time I saw him before the burning. He died with a clear conscience. It was time I cleared mine.


I keep climbing. I cough and gasp, but once I reach the top, I will be rewarded a thousand fold.

Susanna was not easily convinced of my plan. “Unnatural spells have ways of going wrong.”

“My brother is dead. I have failed him and my mother. There is only one way to make up for that.”

“Death changes a creature. You don't know what you will get back. And with the wolf inside of him –”

“We both made a promise. Death doesn't change that. Not for me. And not for him.” My voice trembled with desperation. “Please. I will make this right.”


I swing my legs up and over the ledge. A plume of smoke rises from the center of the crater, hot enough to sting my skin, even from fifty feet away. I open the leather pouch at my waist and retrieve its contents: a bundle of flowers from my brother's grave, a powder made from the items on Susanna's shelves, and two stones that when beat together will start a fire.

I swirl the flowers in the powder. Susanna gave me a chant, and I mutter it under my breath, making certain my intentions are pure.

I light the bouquet on fire, mesmerized by the power radiating up my arms and through my body.

I walk into the wall of smoke and heat. It singes the hair on my arms as I drop the burning flowers into the crater. And when I am finished, I return to the edge to wait for my brother to rise from the ashes.

Photo by: Amy Haslehurst