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Pepper North

Sorry, Linnea!  I was at a writing retreat and then scrambling to edit the book I’d finished and send it off to the beta readers.  I’m back now!

Lesson 2:

I was being chased by a pissed off naked guy with a knife. A really big knife.
His being naked was expected since I was doing my ducking, weaving, and dodging down a hall in the
Isle of Mid’s finest bordello. You’d think that the worst that could happen to me was acute
embarrassment and possible death. But this naked guy was possessed by the specter of a threethousand-year-old, evil elven sorcerer who’d turned Mid’s red-light district into his personal playground.
I’d interrupted recess, and he was mad as hell.
My name is Raine Benares, and I’m a seeker. Tonight I’d found what I was looking for, as well as things I
never wanted to see. The men who frequented The Satyr’s Grove were here because they had money,
not muscle tone. These weren’t your finer specimens of manhood. And believe me, I got to see enough
manhoods and fleeing pasty white posteriors to last me a lifetime.

Answer:  There is definitely a reaction to a threat here and the change is both fascinating (we all want to see inside the bordello) and scary (knife wielding possessed one).  The emotions run the range of fear, disgust, humor, etc. to make the reader turn pages fast!  I liked this one especially because it had so many reactions wrapped up together.  I immediately liked the main character who could keep their crap together while being pursued by a possessed, knife-wielding man and yet have a dry sense of humor at the surrounding scene.  It reminded me of Jim Butcher’s books – who I love.


Chapter One
Alona Dare
Dying should have been the worst moment in my life.
I mean, hello, getting run over by a school bus full of band geeks while wearing the regulation gym
uniform of red polyester short shorts and a practically see-through white T-shirt? It doesn’t get more
tragic than that. Or, so I thought.
On Thursday, three days AD (after death…duh), I woke in the usual way—flat on my back and just to the
left of the yellow lines on Henderson Street with the heat of a bus engine passing over my face.
It wasn’t “the” bus, obviously. The one that killed me was probably still being repaired or maybe
decommissioned or whatever they do with vehicles that now have bad juju.
I coughed and sat up, waving the hot plumes of bus exhaust away. I know, weird, right? No lungs, no
body, no breathing, but hey, whatever. I don’t make the rules, I just live here…sort of.
I got to my feet just in time for Ben Rogers’s Land Rover (his dad owns a dealership…lucky) to pass right
through me. I flinched, but it didn’t hurt. These days, nothing did, but it was taking a while to get used to
that. Ben, of course, didn’t notice a thing, just kept jabbering on the cell phone pressed to his ear. He
couldn’t see me. Nobody could.

This obvious change is death.  It pulls on a variety of universal emotions… the loathing of school gym uniforms and envy over a student’s car.  The statement that this character’s death wasn’t the worst thing that had happened draws you in to find out what is the worst.  Instantly, you want to know what’s the upcoming threat and a morbid fascination sets in!


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