Monday, October 8, 2012

Small Press Finalist #21 - Blackout

Adult Urban Fantasy


People say God doesn’t ask more from you than you can handle. Well, those people never got drafted into a millennia-long battle because the angel of death needed a new body for his lieutenant. Malcolm Anders is a math teacher and a part-time gymnast, at least when he isn’t cleaning the blood off of his hands after waking up over another body. He struggles to keep his sanity and his life while a supposedly divine spirit, Saraqael, wages a holy war using Malcolm’s body. Saraqael costs Malcolm his stability, his plans for the future, and the woman he thought he’d be with forever. Malcolm seeks the help of a priest to get his life back and expel his unwelcome celestial visitor, but what they discover only draws Malcolm deeper.

The demon Andras, Saraqael’s eternal foil, has chosen Philadelphia for this century’s uprising. His infernal legions possess the weak, the angry, and the criminals. With an army of demon-possessed puppets, Andras plots to disrupt the divine plan and begin Armageddon before the world is ready. Using Malcolm, Saraqael hunts down Andras’s legionnaires one by one, leaving Malcolm terrified of the day when the cops show up at his door wanting to ask questions about a dozen unsolved murders. When the demons discover Malcolm’s identity, they bring the fight to him and kidnap his friend and wannabe lover, Pae, forcing Malcolm to change the rules and bring Saraqael into his waking mind. Together, Malcolm and Saraqael fight to save Pae, Philadelphia, and the world in the midst of a city that doesn’t even know it’s under siege.

First 150 Words:

I snapped out of it Thursday morning with a pain in my jaw. Someone had punched me in the face. The adrenaline coursing through my veins was all too familiar. Damn it. The man underneath me moved. Wait, he
wasn’t dead yet? That was a first. My victim clawed at the ground, desperately reaching for… oh shit, a gun. So much for trying to stop.

I hit him hard in the back of the head. It was frighteningly exhilarating. Despite my history, violence is kind of a new thing for me. Blood splattered out beneath him. Something cracked. He screamed.

Why? Why can’t I just go out to a movie like a normal person, you know, one who goes right the hell home after the show ends? I hit him again. I’d like to be merciful, but by now I had faith that I was here for a reason. Besides, it’s not like I could just get up and apologize.


Mallory Braus said...

I love the concept for this story. And I think you have strong, unique voice driving the narration.

However, I found myself a bit concerned with the frequent changes in tense in such a short amount of time. I would suggest reviewing the manuscript with this in mind, as it has the potential to read jarring.

Having said this, I'm very intrigued by the premise of Blackout and would love to read more of the story.

Please send me the complete manuscript in an .rtf file, along with a synopsis, to Address your query to my attention and indicate in your first sentence that you’re enclosing requested material from the GUTGAA pitch. In the subject line of your email, please type the manuscript's title, your pen name and the genre. All submissions will receive an auto-response acknowledging receipt. Please allow up to 16 weeks for a editorial response to your submission. We appreciate you patience while we give your project our careful consideration.

Mallory Braus
Editor, Carina Press

abuckley23 said...

I like the basic premise but found the query jumped around quite a lot and I started to get lost. I wouldn't request more right now but if you can clean up your query a little I'd love for you to submit to CQ Press.