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The Writers Voice Entry – Recompense

I am so excited to have an entry in this year’s The Writer’s Voice!  Off to enjoy the other contestants.

Dear Writers Voice Coaches,

Curiosity and secrets were ever Lillian’s downfall.  When ancient rumors of what lies in the heart of Gold Mountain  resurface, she’s even willing to team up with three classmates to discover the source, a revelation that will prove far more dangerous than she expects.

Lillian Pratt, the Pratt Brat, must reconsider every constant her life: her family heritage, her social standing, her worth as a young woman.  With the help of her new friends, she will uncover a forgotten secret that is once again turning the small town of Gold Hill, nestled at the foot of Gold Mountain, into a community of nightmares and arguments.  She will call on every resource at her disposal only to discover that her greatest resource lies within.  Her new-found knowledge forces Lillian to decide if she will risk embracing her own truth (and secrets) to protect the people she’s come to love from an unspeakable evil.

If you are interested in Lillian’s journey, a literary young adult novel with a supernatural twist, I am happy to send the completed manuscript of 63,000 words.    Set in a small town in Northern California in 1952, Recompense is the coming-of-age story of a self-imposed social outcast.  Her tale might appeal to readers of The Secret Life of Bees and is unique in that it’s not about the monster but the responsibilities we embrace on behalf of those we love.

I write for corporate, non-profit, and educational websites in addition to having written essays and fiction for most of my life.  I have led writers groups and remain active in a critique group.  Recompense is my first novel submitted for representation.  Thank you for your consideration.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Hannah Scott

First 250 words:

Never let it be said the good citizens of Gold Hill didn’t try to provide their children with a way out.  At least, that’s what Annual Career Day was supposed to accomplish.  It’s not an easy task when the same handful of presenters made it a yearly outing, but already held the jobs in our town of twelve hundred.  I think they got a free lunch out of it.

Chief Tucker’s droning voice irritated my ears like so many bees, and I rolled my eyes when he felt the need to tell us the two-man police department in sleepy Gold Hill needed more funding.  It wasn’t as if we had anything resembling a crime rate.  Even gossip was sleepy around here.  As usual, he squeezed every drop of interest from the topic of law enforcement.  I think even he was relieved when a hurried knock rattled the glass in the classroom door.

The chief went out into the hall, wedging his foot between the door and frame.

“There’s a tramp living up at the cave,” our principal’s voice echoed slightly in the corridor.

“Not likely, Herschel.” said the chief.

“Vincent just brought word.  He was chasing a missing snare when he ran across the trail.”

“Well, shoot.  I’ll head up there now.  Nobody goes near that cave.”

“Maybe that old grizzly dealt with him.”  The unexpected and ugly humor in our principal’s voice shocked the class into a low murmur.  We strained forward as one.

“We can only hope,” muttered the chief.

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Theme Change

I know the new theme is jarring if you are expecting the old one.  I got really tired of the small print and never could get it to enlarge.  Forgive me, I’m getting older and small print is no fun.  I think this theme will work better for those of us getting “up there.”

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That is Wrong on SO Many Levels

Ya know, I’m going to stick my neck out here and give a personal opinion.  I know, I know, you probably won’t like this opinion, but I have to get this off my chest.

I was recently (two days ago) doing some research for a character in my current WIP.  I asked my favorite deputy and my favorite bomb squad Staff Sgt a few questions, then got on the internet.  Now, I’m thinking that an AR-15 might be the right  rifle for my character to carry, so I hit Google and then click images.

Wow.  Yeaaahhhh.  No, I don’t think so.  In fact, I was struck speechless, horrified, and terribly embarrassed.  What had me so upset?

A pink Hello Kitty rifle.   Let that sink in for a minute.  Yes, read it again.  A PINK rifle with Hello Kitty and flowers on it.  Oh, I see, you doubt me.  I had a hard time believing it also.  Here’s proof:

hello kitty 1hello kitty 2

Now, I found the man who says he customized this gun for his wife.  I even found the comments interesting.  And yet, despite my love for Calvin & Hobbes, I would never them put on a weapon.  That…that’s like eating jello with onions.

Listen, He customized it, she loves it, it’s all good.  But here is why you will never see one in my house.

A gun is a deadly weapon.  A deadly weapon might get personalized, even cherished, but to make a gun CUTE??  Really?  It can be fun to practice and improve skill with a gun, make them less scary or you more confident.  There are plenty of acceptable reasons for wanting to know how to shoot one well and to stay in practice.  However, my respect for a weapon’s potential in human hands does not allow me to risk any part of that respect…even by making it more attractive.

A gun is also a weapon with the potential to kill anything it is pointed at.  Truly deadly things are often fascinating or beguiling (think tornados and brightly colored frogs), but deadly is not cute.  I cannot, in good conscience, allow something as serious as a gun to be cute or pretty lest I lose even a milimeter of the respect it deserves.

Also, if you work hard to be competent in a gun world still ruled by men, are you going to handicap yourself with Hello Kitty?  The Easter Bunny might take you seriously.  I won’t.

So, just what if you ended up in a “situation,” and you grab your Hello Kitty pink assault rifle to defend yourself or your property.   Do you really want your intruder to think you are holding a TOY and have no respect for it as a weapon?  Now, true, he might be laughing so hard you can drop him easily, but he might just think that your toy gun is in the way and grab it away from you.  If he thinks it is a toy, he will have no fear of it. If you have never been in a real situation, don’t assume you would keep the upper hand and shoot first.  You have no idea how you will react.  You freeze for the wrong microsecond, Hello Kitty is warming your enemy’s palm and turned on you.

If I am ever in a situation to draw a gun against another human being, he had better be afraid of it, because I won’t do it unless I am prepared to kill.  I sure as hell won’t be drawing anything pink if I must defend myself with deadly force.  I am sadly out of practice, but I know how to clean, load, aim and fire.  I was also raised to believe that pointing that chunk of steel at anything, from a paper target to  another human being is serious as a heart attack.

I’m sitting here shaking my head.  This is not about gun control or the second ammendment.  This is about making something used for hunting, sport or defense look so innocent, sweet, appealing, attractive, benign, and “cute.”  To me it is making a gun look less like a gun, not for tactical advantage, but as a preference.   Deadly things can be attractive, but I am not comfortable with the idea of deadly things being cute, cuddly, or appealing.  These are weapons!  I don’t have any other words for it, just a deep heavy feeling that it is wrong, I couldn’t do it, wouldn’t own it, and fear anyone handling a gun because it is cute.  If Hello Kitty on the side changes your attitude from “meh” to “omgihavetohavethatgungetitiwilllearntoshoot,” please don’t ever pick up a gun. Ever.

I could write a thousand words to explain why this bothers me so much, but I think the core issue is the most important… Respect your weapon.  Respect your skill.  The potential to end a life is not cute and it is not pretty.

Hello Kitty indeed.

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How Good is Your Password?

I found this while working on my main blog’s Weekender.  Skip to the middle if you aren’t interested in the background, but do consider the subject.

The Simplest Security:  A Guide to Better Password Practices

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So Ready for Spring!

Spring cleaning is something I used to enjoy.  I get the itch, and I have it really bad this year…the urge to air out my life and my home.  Unfortunately, my schedule, an apathetic and depressed spouse, and my own body will keep me from getting much done or allowing spring inside the house.  For now, I have my pictures.

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bw-orange

green-flower

iris

terracotta

blue-vase

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In My Dreams: A Long, Hot (uninterrupted) Soak

stairwaybath22

What can I say?  Sometimes the only thing in the world that is “just right” is a long hot soak.  Whether a glass of wine or an instrumental CD is your thing (don’t forget the book!), you just can’t go wrong.

Alas, my tub is not big enough, long enough, or kept clean enough for a good soak, and the overflow drain is too low to get much water.  These pictures are amazing, and perhaps I’ll sit in one in my dreams.  Just a note:  I cannot abide metal next to my skin except for gold and sterling silver (can’t even use metal pens), so this copper lovely would have to be redone for me.

victorianbathtt_13000_marmaidThis next one is so beautiful, but it looks fragile and thin (as if it might not stay warm or a slipping foot might go through it).

soakingart

And the ellipses…can’t forget those!  The last one on the list, Chromatherapy, comes in blue, green, and orange.  I am definitely a green gal, but I’d take the blue, too!

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balneo_sanos_flat_2tt_13000_marmaid1

teaktub

ayoura7838_chromatherapy_green

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Human…Aren’t We All?

gavel-and-striker

I really liked this recent post at Mindblink.  Even when the subject is not broached from a faith standpoint, it has merit.   It is only when we can know ourselves for the fallible human beings that we are, that the tendency to judge others loses its hold.

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