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26 March 2011

The Next Clash of the Titles Conqueror Is...

Today's host: Jennifer Slattery

This was yet another close clash! All our finalists had excellent excerpts, but y'all felt one resonated deeper than the others.

Congratulations to Diane Graham, author of excerpt one!

And, congrats to Joanne Sher, winner of Mary Connealy's Sharpshooter in Petticoats!

Diane writes Christian Speculative novels. She was co-winner of MLP's Premise Contest and an original contributor of NAF. Her fiction is steeped in allegory.

Here's her excerpt again, in case you missed it the first time. After you read it, be sure to answer the question she poses at the end.

The darkness of my abyss consumes. Direction is irrelevant and time is worthless. If only I could pinpoint the moment when it all faded, then maybe I would be able to crawl back into existence. I slip in and out of reality. My heartbeat taunts me with hope for life, but the aches and emptiness of the rest of my body only offer death.

I am. That I know for sure. As I sit in this prison, no other memory surfaces. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get past the imaginary barricade in my mind’s eye. The only sound is the drip, drip, dripping in the distance. The moisture leaks down the walls like tears unshed for too many years.

I am all alone in this hell. They will come for me soon and then, I will be no more.

A few minutes, hours, or days later, I could not tell you, there are footsteps far away. My lungs labor. My breath is kept shallow by the splintered shards of my ribcage. Each intake of air is a reminder of my frailty. I hurt from head to toe but I am separated from the pain by a thick haze.

Where am I? How did I come to this place? It is dark, damp and moldy. The cold seeps deep into my bones. My teeth chatter, and my body shakes. The room in which I am imprisoned has a cavernous echo, and my pulse pounds rhythmically against the walls. Memories do not surface.

The footsteps are closer now, but all I can do is sit in a heap against the slimy interior of the chamber and wait. The fog of my mind thins. There is my heartbeat again. I am indeed alive. Water drops, footsteps and heartbeats play a syncopated tune. Plop! Smack! Smack! Thump! Thump! Plop! Smack! Smack! Thump! Thump!

Are they coming for me now? I almost hope so.

A flicker of light crosses under the door. My tired limbs move. I cannot stop them, even though my muscles rip with pain. I cry out in agony. The door is a great wooden beast, but I grip it to gain something to hold on to. Splinters pierce my fingers.

The smacking footsteps cease. The heavy bolts scrape as they move. The metallic clatter vibrates the door.

The light. I want it. I need it. Something in my head connects light to comfort and safety. It is a compulsion that must be soothed. I claw to get to it. The skin splits and tears on my hands but I cannot help myself.

About the novel this excerpt was taken from:

- Five hundred years ago, five kingdoms were cursed by a dark stranger when he failed in his plot to overtake the world. He vanished, slipping through a rip in time leaving behind devastation that separated the five kingdoms. Rumors spread of his return and a desperate search for the Chosen One begins. For only the Chosen One can fulfill the prophecy and free the world from the evil one’s grasp.

How important is a name? For Ocilla, it’s all she knows of her life. Trapped in a dungeon, she remembers nothing else, and in her darkest hour she believes dying is so much easier than the fight to live. But destiny will soon change everything when the search for the Chosen One brings two strangers to her cell door.

Travel with Ocilla on a fantastical journey to find herself and her true value, as she enters a world where darkness has descended, but the bright light of hope shines through for those willing to believe… a world where nothing is quite what you think it is, and fantasy is truly reality.

Set out on a quest of faith, not common sense.

Now, Diane has a question for you:
This passage is all about feeling. What do you feel when you read my words?

Have a great weekend and be sure to come back Monday for another great chance and more chances to win a free book!
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Item Reviewed: The Next Clash of the Titles Conqueror Is... Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jennifer Slattery