Winners: Another Jekyll Another Hyde story contest!

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We’re happy to announce the winners for the Another Jekyll Another Hyde story contest sponsored by Teenreads.com. There were 63 entries and they were all wonderful and unique. It’s awesome to see that so many people submitted entries in the middle of spring projects, papers and exams!  The winner got a Nook and the runner up received a B&N gift card.

Story #1 below is the winner; Story #2 is the runner up. The winners are being notified this week, so we can’t share names! But we thought we’d share the inspirations for some of the stories you submitted. Here’s a short sampling:

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • Belle from Beauty and the Beast
  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf
  • Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh
  • Cinderella
  • Frankenstein
  • Goldilocks
  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • Hansel and Gretel
  • Hercules
  • Humpty Dumpty
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Little Women
  • Lock-Down by Alexander Gordon Smith
  • The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
  • Nancy Drew
  • Pippi Longstocking
  • The Prodigal Son
  • Rapunzel
  • The Robber Bridegroom
  • Robin Hood
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Rumpelstiltskin
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Snow White
  • Swan Lake
  • Theseus and the Minotaur
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Ugly Duckling

Amazing! Thanks to everyone who submitted to this amazing contest! And thank you to Teenreads.com!

Below are the two winning stories:

WINNER: “Another Briar Rose” inspired by Sleeping Beauty

I looked at the beautiful woman who was asleep in the Critical Care Unit. I was separated from her by a glass window. I had stared at her every day since she had rolled in from surgery.  But I was never allowed to go to her side. I was never allowed to enter her room.  I was just a volunteer, they said. I was just a rich boy whose daddy owned the hospital, and got anything I wanted, they said.

So I watched her, when I was filing paperwork at the nurse’s desk. She was in a coma from some sort of accident, and had been that way for over a month. I was never allowed to see her file, but that didn’t keep me from trying. She was a Jane Doe and whatever had hurt her so bad that she was in a coma hadn’t affected her exterior—just inside. But her condition never changed. She never woke up, the machines kept tabs on her, and no one ever came to see her. It was like the world inside her room stopped moving. Doctors rarely went into her room, and it seemed like nothing ever happened.

Thirty six days after she came into the Hospital, she got transferred. She went from Critical Care to long term care. I don’t think the doctors expected her to ever wake up. But because she was out of critical care, I could see her. People who weren’t family were allowed to visit. So one day after I finished my work, I walked downstairs, and found her room. I went to open her door when one of the doctors stopped me.

“Mr. Drummond, what are you doing?” Dr. Hollander asked. He was a younger doctor who thought of me more highly than most of the doctors. I wasn’t just a rich boy. I was a person willing to help.

“I wanted to see her. No one ever does.” I said. My heart was pounding in my ears, and I thought my breathing was too audible. I was confused about what I felt: I was scared about losing this job that kept me near her, but then I wanted to see her so bad, I almost didn’t care. He shook his head and let me pass.

I walked into the sterile room and sat in the chair near her bed. I imagined an older woman who would be her mother sitting in this very chair, holding vigil just as I had from the desk. But I was the only one who came to her side. I reached for her hand, lying on her lap. I figured someone who loved her would do it, and I figured I was sort of their stand in.

I touched her, and I thought I was on fire. Her monitors changed. Her heart beat increased, and her eyelids fluttered. I smiled, but then a doctor I didn’t know walked in and asked me to leave. As soon as I let go of her, she went back to no activity. I headed home and had dinner with my family, all the while thinking of how lonely it must be for the girl at the hospital. Even though the doctors said she couldn’t know what was going on around her, I knew she understood that she was alone. And I was sad for her.

I went back every day for the next three weeks and sat with her. The doctors got used to her fluctuations when I was with her. And I found myself falling in love with her. I never told anyone, never really admitted it to myself either, until fifty-seven days after she came into the hospital. On that day, I did the thing I had secretly desired since I first laid eyes on her. I kissed her.

Her monitors went wild. Her hand moved to my shoulder. I pulled back and saw her eyes. They were white blue, and glassy. I smiled, glad she was awake. Her hand was still on my shoulder, and she was applying light pressure to it. I went to sit back in my seat, but the smile that had found its way onto her face disappeared. “What can I do for you?” I asked, still leaning over her.

“I had a dream about you.” She whispered. Her voice was light and tired. I looked at her eyes and they looked heavy. “You held my hand.” Her eyes drooped closed, and she fell asleep.

A doctor walked in and asked what the commotion was. It was Dr. Hollander. He looked at me and the position I was in, and guessed all he needed to know. “She woke up?” he asked.  I nodded and he walked to her. He checked her vitals and left us.

I waited until I absolutely had to leave. She didn’t wake up again. I drove home on adrenalin high. I had kissed her, she woke up and I talked to her. It was what I had wanted. My parents couldn’t understand why I was so wound up. I couldn’t sit still, through or after dinner. I finally ran through the adrenalin when I sprinted six miles to the beach and back.

The next day set me on the same high as I had before, only it was worse because I was anxious with anticipation. I walked to her room even before checking in with the nurses at my station. She was sitting up, eating breakfast. She looked up at me and smiled. “If it isn’t Prince Charming.” She said.

I laughed and sat down in the chair. “At your service, Sleeping Beauty.” She ate her breakfast like she hadn’t eaten anything in ages; which was true, in a way. She finished, and sat back, seemingly content. “I didn’t catch your name.” I said, trying to keep my anxiety inside.

She smiled to herself. She looked back up at me. “My name is Rose.” I almost laughed. She was Briar Rose. “And if you’re wondering, I was also poisoned.” She frowned. “I knew I was being poisoned. Or I knew it was going to happen. My dad’s new girlfriend hated me. She thought I was trying to convince my dad not to love her. So she kept talking about me getting sick, and asking him what would happen. So I decided to go away. But it was too late. I was thirsty, and I drank some water, but after I had already had some, I realized that it tasted funny. And then I can’t remember anything else.”

She started to say something else when a man behind the curtain coughed. “Is that true?” he asked. She sat up and looked for the voice. When the curtain moved, she perked up more.

“Daddy?” she said. He nodded and hugged her. He explained that the hospital had figured out who she was earlier that morning, and contacted him. After a while, he left to get food. She smiled at me. “Thank you, Prince Charming.”

I laughed. “Anything for you, Sleeping Beauty.” So went our running joke for years. And, as it goes in the story books, we lived happily ever after.

And the runner up, inspired by Hansel & Gretel:

The old woman stared out into the ink black night.  This night had an ominous feeling to it, and the coming storm wasn’t the source of it.  A chill ran down her spine as she spied two cloaked figures appear out of the mist.  The old woman relaxed as she saw that the two figures were merely small children.

“Hello,” one of them called out.  “Do you have a place where we can stay?” the other asked.  Poor things thought the old woman, trapped out in the rain all day.  “Of course, come right in,” she said as she gestured toward the abandoned factory she called home.  “Thank you,” the children said.

Inside, the two children pulled down their hoods to reveal themselves.  They both had cherubic faces with soft brown hair; they looked so similar, the old woman assumed they were siblings.  Their small bodies looked plump and surprisingly healthy; the old woman thought they looked good enough to eat.

“What are your names?” the old woman asked.  “I’m Trevor,” the boy said, “I’m Kaitlin,” the girl added; as she said this, Kaitlin peered deep under the hood to see the old woman’s face, and what she saw there made her shrink back away in horror.  The old woman’s appearance was ghastly, like something from a nightmare.

“What’s the matter child?” the old woman asked.  “N-N-Nothing ma’am,” Kaitlin stuttered.  “Where are your parents dears?  It’s dangerous out on the streets nowadays,” the old woman said.  “Gone, they abandoned us a long time ago,” Kaitlin stated coldly. “Good riddance,” Trevor added.  “Stories like that are becoming more and more common now, unfortunately,” the old woman sighed.  “Yes, it seems the apocalypse has come and gone, leaving us behind,” Trevor said sadly.  “Well I would rather be alive than dead!” Kaitlin interjected as she lightly nudged her brother.

“What about you ma’am, why do you live here?” Kaitlin asked curiously.  “I’ve lived here since I was a child, more than eighty years… at least that’s about the time that I lost track of the years,” the old woman said.  “And you live here all alone?” Kaitlin asked.  “Indeed child, my parents died when I was but a child myself,” the old woman explained.  “Don’t you ever get lonely?” Trevor wondered aloud.  “Occasionally, but I’ve long grown accustomed to solitude… though it’s always nice to have visitors,” the old woman added.

Kaitlin glanced around the factory with a curious look on her face.  “What is it child?” the old woman asked.  “I was just noticing how clean this place is” Kaitlin replied.  The old woman answered “Indeed, as my parents before me, and my grandparents before them, I have taken care of this place… my home.  It breaks my heart to know that it will fall to pieces after I pass on.”  “How sad,” Trevor sympathized.  “Yes indeed,” Kaitlin agreed.

“What’s that in the corner?” Trevor asked as he pointed to what looked like a giant oven.  The old woman explained “Oh that, it’s a very old blast furnace.  It was used to melt metal when this factory was still active.  Mostly, I use it as a fireplace in the winter.”  The two children exchanged a quick look that the old woman didn’t understand, it seemed almost happy?  “It’s getting dark, why don’t we retire for the night?” the old woman asked.  “Sounds good to me,” Trevor said yawning.  “Me too,” Kaitlin said, echoing Trevor’s yawn.

Kaitlin fell asleep staring at the old blast furnace.  She could tell that, at one time, it had been an imposing monster.  The size of an average room, it still seemed to breath on its own.  The outer edge of its iron shell had rusted and gave it an eerie glow in the dim light.  It was icy cold now, but just looking at it, Kaitlin could almost feel the incinerating heat it had radiated so long ago.  A glint of gold caught her eye moments before she fell asleep.  It was a number that had been painted on long, long ago.  Number thirty-seven, my favorite number Kaitlin thought as she fell asleep.   The old woman stared at the slumbering children for a moment, a smile on her face (although it looked more like a grimace) before falling asleep herself.

“Ma’am… ma’am?” Kaitlin said, waking the old woman from her slumber.  “What is it dearie?” She asked.  “I dropped it in the furnace…” Kaitlin sobbed.   “Dropped what?” The old woman asked.  “Her precious teddy bear, but I’m too afraid to go in that thing and get it and…” Trevor trailed away.  “Don’t worry, munchkins, I’ll go get it,” the old woman said.  “Oh, thank you!” The children exclaimed.

So the old woman climbed slowly into the ancient blast furnace.  With the amount of broken parts it wouldn’t be dangerous unless everything was turned on, so she wasn’t worried.  “It’s too dark in here to see anything, can one of you hand me a candle?” The old woman asked.  “Sure, Trevor said sweetly.

Then as the old woman watched in helpless horror, Trevor slammed the door shut.  At the same moment Kaitlin was flipping switches and spinning nobs on the furnace like she’d spent hours studying it.  As Trevor secured the door, flames began to bloom inside the furnace.

“Wha… stop!” The old woman coughed as smoke began to creep into her lungs.  The children didn’t reply and simply continued with their work.  “Stop!  Please, please, why!” The old woman howled out desperately.  The rest of her agonized pleas were drowned out by the roar of the flames, and did not reach the sibling’s ears.  A horrifying smile illuminated by the flames spread across Trevor’s face as he said: “Why you ask?”  Kaitlin continued, laughing: “Because we’re starving.”  As if to exaggerate her point Kaitlin licked her lips in anticipation.  “Even though you won’t be much more then a mouthful,” Trevor added.  “You’re almost not worth the effort,” Kaitlin finished, still laughing.

Outside the storm had begun; rain was falling from the sky like God himself was crying, and as these tears fell upon the blackest of nights, the old woman’s screams finally ceased.

Before the sun rose the next morning, two cloaked figures disappeared into the dark, gone as suddenly as they had arrived.

Have a great summer!!

D&D


Contest – write your own retelling!

Hi everyone,

Quick post about two exciting things (besides the fact that AJAH went on sale this week!!). First, check out Seventeen Magazine‘s awesome blurb about Another Jekyll, Another Hyde!

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Another Jekyll in Seventeen!

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Pretty exciting, but even better is this amazing writing contest by TeenReads inviting you to write your very own retelling! Check it out. The prizes are incredible: a NOOK eReader and a $50 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble! The deadline is May 15th at noon.  So hurry up and submit your short story to TeenReads.  Here’s the link for all the information on the contest and how to enter:

ENTER TEENREADS RETELLING CONTEST!!

Good luck!

D&D


Another Jekyll, Another Hyde, the last book in Another Series coming March 2012!
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An elusive stalker is prowling the halls at Marlowe – and something unearthly has gotten into its wealthiest student.

Released in March, 2012.
Order Now!

EARLY REVIEWS:
From Booklist:
Concluding the story line of Another Faust (2009) and Another Pan (2010)—but perfectly readable as a single title—this book brings back the sultry demon Nicola Vileroy, as she faces off against billionaire teen Thomas Goodman-Brown. While the literary references made in the first two volumes were a bit obscure, the Nayeris find a clever, accessible way to put a fresh spin on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic. Thomas is given a designer drug called “W” by a girl at a club, and his growing addiction to the pills coincide with increasing blackouts. Soon he is hearing a voice in his head: Edward Hyde, Nicola’s son, who wishes to be reborn through Thomas’ body and begins to take physical control of it in order to do some very ghastly things. The world of New York City kids is mercilessly drawn, and the authors have quite a bit of fun when Thomas and Edward begin fighting for control of their shared mouth, often within the same sentence. Never too scary, this is solid, nonromantic paranormal fare.
From Kirkus:
Following his sudden break-up with Belle Faust in Another Faust (2009), Thomas Goodman-Brown hasn’t been the same. Everyone thinks him constantly intoxicated (without justification; it’s only occasional), but really he’s reeling from the after-effects of the magic the Faust children used on him. A combination of his presumed guilt and the strain of his father’s marriage to the missing Belle’s governess Nicola Vileroy leads to Thomas’ acceptance of a mystery drug at a club. Soon, Thomas is blacking out, students are being attacked and Vileroy drops a bombshell: There’s a new stepbrother for Thomas, apart from her adopted Faust children. With help from briefly returningAnother Faust and Another Pan (2010) characters, Thomas slowly pieces together how his troubles tie into Vileroy’s motives. The prose is peppered with delightfully witty one-liners—the humor goes a long way toward keeping Thomas likable. The narration mostly follows Thomas, creating a focus that both enables his believable disorientation from the drug and allows his personal risks to elevate the story’s tension. The preludes at chapter beginnings complete the story of who and what Vileroy is, building upon each other until questions raised by the previous novels have been answered.

A high-stakes conclusion that satisfies. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

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Another Faust in Chinese, Another Pan in paperback, Another Jekyll ARC.

The series has now sold in the following countries: China (two languages), Vietnam, Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria.


Another Pan; Another Beef Jerky Tour!

Hi Everyone!

NYC Fall 2010

NYC Fall 2010

Spiderman sighting in Central Park

Spiderman sighting in Central Park

Happy Thanksgiving from New York City, where we’ve just finished our second whirlwind book tour, this time for ANOTHER PAN, the Second of Another Series. After last year’s insanity (which you can read about here), we decided that this year we would stay within the New York tri-state area over a two week period, and would do mostly school visits, which for us proved to be the most fun part of touring last year.  Since Another Series is all about retelling classic works in a modern New York, we decided to focus our talk on writing, retelling, and specifically on Peter Pan, which is the inspiration for our second book.  As always, it was tremendous fun to hang out with students, hear about their writing and creative projects, and to write a story together (which we did with every school!)

After a brief Spiderman sighting in Central Park, we grabbed our extra strong, extra sweet cups of latte and headed to Connecticut, where the fall foliage was just coming to a beautiful end.  It took about five seconds in the car before the trauma of last year’s beef jerky tour hit us and Daniel started making the little noises again.  Thankfully, we are both now well-versed enough in the ways of the sibling road-trip to know to bring plenty of junk food. Not only was the car full of it, but we also stopped at one of the most amazing burger joints ever, for a paper bag full of salty, greasy fries.  Of course, as a resident of Amsterdam, Dina knows her fries, but a whole paper bag full?  God Bless America!

In  New York and New Jersey we visited some of our favorite schools from last year, and many new ones too!  Over the course of the dozen or so schools that we visited, we met some amazing librarians and teachers, and thousands of students across three states in grades ranging from 8th to 12th.  It was truly a rewarding and fun experience.  But the best part was the activity we incorporated in our speech this year, called “Write your own Novel proposal.”   At the end of every speech, we gave the kids an opportunity to come up with themes, characters, and situations for their own novel. Then we turned these ideas into a “back cover paragraph” right there, so that they can see how stories are formed.  Frankly, we were amazed by some of the creative ideas that came out of this. Here are three examples:

1) There was the story about a girl who wants to be a dancing pediatrician on Broadway, who ends up breaking her leg and missing the prom.

2) There was the papaya salesman trying to find true love in a zombie wasteland who finally finds his soulmate (a coconut saleswoman), just as he discovers that his mother is the zombie queen.

3)  There was the story of Snuff, the invisible boy who is in love with a visible girl. Unfortunately, her boyfriend, Juan, is the only person who can see him, and the only person who has the cure for invisibility. Of course, Juan uses this fact to blackmail Snuff. Until one day, a mysterious accident leaves the whole town wondering how Juan could have been killed by a driver-less car. When his girlfriend attends the funeral, she meets one of Juan’s old friends. He introduces himself as Snuff.

WOW!! How awesome is that? Kids, if you’re reading this, YOU ROCKED IT!


Later, when we came home, we found lots of lovely and touching emails from the students we had visited.  We loved reading them, and we will save them in our file of wonderful memories. Thank you, everyone. Here are some of the super nice things we heard from the kids we visited:

“It was an amazing experience and so many things I had been wondering about had been covered. I’ve always loved reading and when Another Pan came out, I was ecstatic because Peter Pan was one of my favorite stories and a rendition in a modern setting was sure to be interesting and it was. My friends thought it was strange when I liked Tina the most, but it was because of the contrast to the original Tinker Bell that I loved her.  I can’t wait for Another Jekyll because that would also be a story I would love.  I think I’d love to see a rendition of Alice in Wonderland because it would be quite interesting to see that in a modern setting.   I hadn’t been too sure what to expect when I first heard about you both coming to our school. After your visit, the kids in my class couldn’t stop talking about it.  You were so relatable and the fun interactive group activity was great! It helped me think as a writer and I felt as if I was actually writing it on my own. Thank you for allowing me to feel like I was a writer and increasing my love of reading and writing even more.  I can’t wait to read your next book.”
-Middle school student in NYC

“I would like to thank you for coming to talk about the book you have written and for giving us more knowledge about the pros and cons of the writing career.  Daniel’s sense of humor made of all of become engaged during your visit and Dina’s comments on her own experiences helped us better understand the steps of writing a book that everyone will desire to read. Your presentation has provided a valuable educational experience for everyone.”
- Middle school student in NYC

Now that our tour is wrapped up and we are back with our family, about to celebrate Thanksgiving, we can’t help but think of how great it is to have such welcoming and enthusiastic academic communities to visit during our tours.  Thank you teachers, principals, and librarians for having us!  We are so grateful.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FRIENDS!
D&D


P.S. In other news, during this tour the rights for Another Series sold to Vietnam and Russia, in addition to both Cantonese and Mandarin in China, and Turkey.   Plus we got some great reviews for Another Pan, which you can buy here.  Those reviews are below, as well as a gallery of photos from our tour.  Hope you enjoy!


REVIEWS:
From BOOKLIST:
Returning to the Marlowe School, we meet Egyptology expert Professor Darling and his children, Wendy and John. Darling has spent his life trying to prove his theory about an ancient text, and his two children are helping their father ready the Egyptian artifacts for exhibition when they come across the secret that unlocks a frightening underworld maze where myths come to life. All the players are here, including the Lost Boys and Peter — a mysterious character with a hidden agenda. The evil Ms. Vileroy also returns. Similar in style but with a backstory more accessible than that in Another Faust (2009), this unique twist on a classic story should find even wider appreciation.

From KIRKUS:
Peter Pan is reimagined and set at the tony Marlowe School in New York. John and Wendy Darling are the children of Marlowe’s resident Egyptologist, and Peter is the new resident advisor. In the process of archiving some artifacts for their father, Wendy and John uncover a secret maze that hides bone dust, which Peter uses to stay eternally young. John and Wendy get clues to where they should go in the maze through their father’s classroom Egyptology lectures, but a cranky museum curator and an evil woman who poses as the school nurse are determined to stop them. The adventure and Egypt-as-life parallels keep the pages turning, but they sometimes get tangled in the subplots of romance, family and popularity. John, Wendy and Peter, though, are sympathetic characters who make Peter Pan’s themes of growth and fear of the unknown come alive.

From SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL:
In this eerie fantasy, the second one set in the elite Marlowe school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the authors interweave Egyptian mythology with the story of a contemporary Peter Pan and a boarding-school counselor with an international gang of teenage boys (the Lost Boys)… The synthesis of Egyptian mythology and Barrie’s story becomes interesting when it becomes clear that the mysterious new school nurse with the damaged eye is connected to both the Egyptian god of the dead and Peter’s nemesis, Hook, and that Peter is searching for the secret of eternal youth in the pyramids of the underworld. The authors succeed in creating a sense of danger that builds to a suspenseful climax…. the characters are fleshed out more successfully, and Wendy’s love interests and her competition with Tina will help to hold readers’ attention. The authors have left the door open for a third book with their assertion that evil remains in wait in the school basement. Teens who like their fantasy layered and with multifaceted characters will enjoy this thought-provoking read.


Gallery from D&D’s ANOTHER PAN Tour 2010


ANOTHER PAN!!!!

Hi everyone,
Candlewick just told us that Another Pan is in stores and on Amazon now! So, we are officially unveiling our new novel, Another Pan: the second of Another Series, which is a retelling of Peter Pan (not a sequel to Another Faust.  In fact, you don’t need to have read one book to enjoy the other!) Below is a review by Kirkus reviews, as well as the cover photo.  And you can order your copy here.

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FROM KIRKUS:

Peter Pan is reimagined and set at the tony Marlowe School in New York. John and Wendy Darling are the children of Marlowe’s resident Egyptologist, and Peter is the new resident advisor. In the process of archiving some artifacts for their father, Wendy and John uncover a secret maze that hides bone dust, which Peter uses to stay eternally young. John and Wendy get clues to where they should go in the maze through their father’s classroom Egyptology lectures, but a cranky museum curator and an evil woman who poses as the school nurse are determined to stop them. The adventure and Egypt-as-life parallels keep the pages turning, but they sometimes get tangled in the subplots of romance, family and popularity. John, Wendy and Peter, though, are sympathetic characters who make Peter Pan’s themes of growth and fear of the unknown come alive.


We’re back (and we’ve got book jackets)!

Hi everyone,

It’s been a busy season of writing and traveling for Dina and Daniel, but we’re finally back with some new and exciting information.  This fall marks the launch of the second book in our series ANOTHER PAN (October 2010)!  We are also welcoming the paperback edition of ANOTHER FAUST in the coming fall (both books are now signed and on their way to our contest winner, Sabrina, along with cut scenes!!).  We’re so excited about these new covers, and we can finally share them with you now!

Stay tuned for more updates on our ANOTHER PAN book tour this fall 2010!

D&D

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Paperback cover for Another Faust The First of Another Series (fall 2010)!

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Introducing the fabulous cover for ANOTHER PAN, the Second of Another Series (coming in October 2010)!


The Winners’ Interview

Hi everyone,

As you know, Sabrina Hua from Bard High School won the ANOTHER FAUST writing contest, and Felipe Camelo was selected as our Middle School winner.  As promised, we have interviewed them for the blog, and here are their answers!  You can read Sabrina’s winning entry in the previous post (and see her picture too!)….  and in just a few weeks, we will post the newly designed book cover of ANOTHER PAN, as well as the paperback cover for ANOTHER FAUST!

Stay tuned:

D&D

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INTERVIEW WITH SABRINA AND FELIPE:

1 ) Tell us a bit about yourself, your favorite activities, and the things that are most important to you.

SABRINA: My name is Sabrina Hua, and I’m a junior at Bard High School Early College. I love to read, write, draw, and dream (via sleep). I’m addicted to manga, sweets, and green tea. I love school sans the homework. I don’t know where I would be without my family and friends; I owe them so many thanks that I’ll never be able to say them all.

FELIPE: I have a huge sense of humor (a little too much!) and I love to be around my friends. I like to read text books when I am bored and cannot go on the computer. School is one of the most important things for me since I LOVE learning

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2 ) What are your aspirations, in writing and otherwise?

SABRINA: I would love to be a published author to share my ideas and work with a larger audience. Instead of preying on the heartstrings of young adults with crude romance, I want to write stories that aren’t painfully clichéd or shallow. My greatest aspiration as a writer is for my stories to be remembered. I also aspire to be the best daughter, friend, and student that I can be.

FELIPE: I desire to go to Harvard University and occasionally write stories

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3 ) What do you like to write about? What inspires you to write?

SABRINA: I write whatever comes to me; if I don’t, I feel as if I’m suppressed by my unwritten words. If I have a vivid dream, I try to capture it in words, and so, my dreams usually become the basis for a plot. I also write fan fiction inspired by my favorite mangas, video games, and novels.

What really inspired me to write was good writing (or the lack thereof). I love to read and reading keeps my imagination running. I was a voracious reader when I was younger, and while some stories left me in awe, others left me thinking that I could do much better. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I had thought that such a goal was far-fetched. What gave me the push to follow my dreams was seeing novels that I found undeserving of praise dominating the market. Then reading amazing fan fiction written by talented amateur authors, I was inspired to give it a try.

FELIPE: I like to write stories that are exciting and sad sometimes. Authors that write great books such as Another Faust inspire me to write stories

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4 ) What is your favorite work of fiction and why?

SABRINA: As of yet, my favorite novel is Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Whenever I read The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilde’s smooth and detailed writing allows me to travel into a dark, yet beautiful world. With every wrong that Dorian commits, I question my own integrity. Yet, the best part about it is that even though I have read it many times, each read feels like the first.

FELIPE: My favorite work is The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins since it is very exciting, scary, and detailed.

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5 ) Tell us something surprising about yourself.

SABRINA: Although I’m usually practical, I’m unreasonably superstitious. I go on a wood-knocking spree at least once every three days, grimace whenever I’m assigned the number four, and would much rather force myself to watch a boring television show meant for toddlers than a paranormal television program.

FELIPE: A big portion of what I eat is “junk food”

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6 ) What’s your favorite midnight snack?  Your favorite TV show? Your favorite song?

SABRINA: I love clementines. They just happen to taste  better at midnight. Now that I understand the inappropriate jokes, my favorite TV show is Two and a Half Men. Favorite song: “Only This Moment”- Röyksopp

FELIPE: My favorite midnight snack is cereal and milk, favorite TV show is George Lopez, and favorite song is “Poker Face”

(Felipe, we join you in saluting cereal and milk as the best midnight snack ever. But props to Sabrina for being healthy!)

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7 ) If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?

SABRINA: I would want a necromancer’s powers. With it, I would summon the spirits of the people I miss and the spirits of authors or historic figures that I admire.

FELIPE: Teleportation since I love to travel and see interesting places

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8 ) A writing challenge: In six words, describe yourself ten years from now.

SABRINA: Intenyears Iwishthat Icouldbea successful, eccentric, author-artist.

(Sabrina, you are a clever one! That’s cheating :) )

FELIPE: Intelligent, cofident, kind, quick, protective, and fun

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CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU BOTH!


And the Winner is….

Finally, the time has come!  Of the many applause worthy entries received, the winner of the very first Another Series writing contest is:

SABRINA HUA

BARD HIGH SCHOOL EARLY COLLEGE

New York, NY

Sabrina Hua - Winner!

Sabrina Hua - Winner!

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Below, you can read Sabrina’s full story, which we loved because of its beautifully written style, its carefully chosen characters and plot, and the very devilish antagonist. The Faustian Bargain in this story is very creepy and ironic, and best of all, there is a wonderful psychological element to it (an element that is in fact the central conflict of the story), which is a sign of a talented budding literary writer!  There was so much to love about this story, but we’ll let you judge for yourselves!  And please take a moment to congratulate Sabrina, who was surely inspired by the ghost of her school’s namesake, The Bard. :)  As promised, we will post a Q&A with Sabrina in the next few days!  And in a week or two, we will be back with Another Series news and the official book jacket for Another Pan (which Sabrina will be reading early!!) and the paperback version of Another Faust!

Keep writing!

D&D

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Untitled by Sabrina Hua


With a sweep of the baton, the concert began with the violinists’ calloused hands gently coaxing rich notes from their instruments. The baton twirled, and the strings slowly died down like embers as the horns’ soft murmurs became more vibrant. The conductor’s grip tightened on the baton and with another wave, the violins revived with loud trills. Delicate clinks soon joined the pool of sounds, mirroring the melody made by the sweeping bow; the pianist played the black and white keys like a lover.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Leben, was without a doubt, one of the century’s finest masterpieces. Music, thick with emotion and obviously composed with genius, filled the orchestra hall. Even the hardest of hearts were moved, albeit reluctantly, by the swelling sounds. This, the members of the audience had thought at least once during the lengthy piece, is the sound of life.

The music mellowed to an end, and the audience sat tensely, unsure of what to expect. With the sound of silence ringing in their ears, they watched as the conductor stiffly turned and bowed. At the sign that the performance had indeed ended, two of the audience members immediately leapt to their feet, clapping with gusto. The other two remained seated. Their eyes watched the composer with mixed feelings, but their hands nonetheless moved with accolade. The last of the five, a doctor, however, remained silent.

Beethoven, a man in his early forties, smiled. His smile was bright; to his audience, it seemed insincere. The man reached out, clutching at the air before him and a young man, half the composer’s age, dashed across the stage. In his hands, he clutched a white cane, which he presented to Beethoven with reverence. The blind man groped for the cane, and his apprentice slipped it into his waiting hands. Beethoven nodded with gratitude, and fingers, rough from years of practice, curled tightly around the handle.

“Maestro, do you need help walking to your guests of honor?”

The musician clutched onto his disciple’s shoulder, but instead of using the younger man as a guide, he used his strong, youthful frame to support himself as he struck the stage’s polished floor with his cane. The audience stared at him with uncertainty. With a character like Beethoven, no one could be sure of what to expect.

The music prodigy gave his audience a toothy smile before singing, “Ah-ta-ta-tuh-ta-ta-Ah-tut-tut-tah!”

Three of the critics, Joseph Smith, William Lee, and Paul Jackson, exchanged looks of confusion. Their lips formed silent words as they shrugged in reply to each other’s questions. The fourth critic, Don Jacobs, seated next to the apathetic doctor, glared at the man onstage. A heavy scowl and a crinkled brow marred his face. Beethoven made beautiful music, Don would give the genius that much, but the critic couldn’t help but to feel resentment bubbling furiously in his chest with every “ta” the blind man uttered.

A cough and a wheeze interrupted his thoughts, and the critic tore his gaze from the man onstage.
The doctor peered at him. “Is something the matter?”

The doctor seated next to him wore a wrinkled medical jacket and was hunched over with age. He made Don uneasy, and his discomfort was perfectly visible on his still scowling face.

Suspicious murky brown stains dotted the man’s white clothing and his pockets seemed to be bulging with dangerous objects. Don could have sworn that he saw a scalpel. The elderly man was balding, and the few clusters of salt and peppered hair that he had were tousled and greasy. Why, Don wondered, would the famous Beethoven invite a shabby looking doctor to such an exclusive gathering?

The doctor seemed unperturbed by the critic’s gawking and answered dryly, “Ah, you, Mr. Weekly Classical, must be wondering why I, a humble doctor, is here, sitting amongst you music connoisseurs.”

Don tensed and forced himself to maintain eye contact with the doctor. While the man wasn’t hideous, he certainly wasn’t pleasant to look at. His skin was sallow, and his face was gaunt. For a doctor, he certainly looked unhealthy, not to mention unhygienic. The man’s eyes seemed to be bulging out of their sockets with curiosity, but it was the intensity in those dark eyes that scared Don the most. His calculative stare, to Don, seemed heavy with disdain. The smile on the doctor’s face was equally unnerving. Yellow teeth shined between the parted lips, curved upward in a wide grin.

Don extended a hand in greeting. Even though the thought of having to feel the doctor’s bony fingers and sagging skin made him queasy, the critic remembered his manners. The doctor’s wrinkled, discolored face looked away, and Don’s hand was left hanging. The old man, Don thought sourly, was as rude as he was odd.

“Yes, I was,” Don admitted; he paused, eyed the doctor once more and added, “But really, who are you? You know of my magazine so I assume you already know who I am.”

If possible, the corners of the doctor’s lips widened, and a chill ran down the critic’s spine. Don barely knew him, but he had a feeling that the man was no good.

“My name is Victor, but I insist that you call me Doctor,” he crooned, his voice thick with phlegm.

Don forced a smile, and replied good-naturedly. “Victor, what brings you here?”

Doctor’s smile twitched. Humanity was irritating, and people were obnoxious, especially snotty professionals. He tugged the collar of his jacket testily and sighed bitterly. There was a good reason why he was a misanthrope.

Regardless of his dislike, Doctor replied, “Beethoven and I have a history together.”

Don looked at Doctor with widened eyes; his interest was piqued. “Really? For how long did you know him?”

Doctor grinned. Humans were easy to understand. For complex creatures, their minds and thought patterns were surprisingly simple. Their intent always shined clearly in their eyes, and their thoughts were often reflected on their faces. When people behaved like fools, Doctor couldn’t help but to feel the want to play around with them. If he lied to them, they would believe his every word. Yet, if he told them the truth, they would be skeptical. Age, experience, and wisdom did nothing to improve their insights. Middle aged music critics, Doctor noted, were just as foolish as children.

“I met him a little over a decade ago.” Doctor glanced at Beethoven, who was still tapping his cane. “I suppose you can say he owes much to me.”

Don nodded; his face bore a forced smile. “Over ten years? Did you know that he was an aspiring musician then? Have you heard any of his past works?”

Doctor loved the way Don spoke; it was humorous. Did the critic really think that his animosity could be hidden with casual talk? It was clear that Don longed to hear Doctor reply, “Yes, I did. He was awful.”

Instead, Doctor answered with another question. With a shrewd smile, he asked, “What are you trying to say, Mr. Jacobs?”

Don took the bait and eagerly leaned over the seat’s armrest and whispered in the doctor’s ear.

“He was a failure.”

Doctor leaned back with mock surprise. He gave Don an owlish blink before gesturing at himself. “I’m not much of a music man, Mr. Jacobs. You see, I’m more of a visionary. I don’t quite understand you; you’ll have to explain this to me in further detail.”

Don directed his attention to Beethoven; the blind man seemed to be using his cane for everything with the exception of walking. The sight provoked his anger even further, and the critic spat through clenched teeth, “When I first met him, his hearing was impaired. I’m not trying to insult him; it was true. He had gone to many hospitals and otologists, but nobody could solve his problem. Perhaps he could have gone under the knife, but even so, it probably wouldn’t be enough. He wasn’t deaf, but he was close. Because of that, he couldn’t compose music. He couldn’t even play a piece properly! Imagine my surprise when I read the newspaper a few months later and saw his face in a picture next to an article about a blind composer that had recently debuted. It was as if his hearing became acute when he became blind.”

Don firmly pulled on Doctor’s sleeve; he needed somebody to believe him. “People thought that he was a newcomer to the musical world, a real prodigy. Let me tell you; he is everything but. I tried to look up his past, but I couldn’t find any documentation, any proof that he existed before he took on the name of Beethoven.”

“Maestro!”

Beethoven had dropped his cane. As his apprentice scampered about to retrieve the fallen cane, Beethoven slowly turned to face the critic that had been slandering him. Don froze in his seat; it was as if Beethoven could see him.

“Mr. Jacobs! Must you torment, Doctor? Must you disrespect me? Doctor is a busy man that had kindly taken the time to see me perform.”

The critic fumed and struggled to keep his temper under control. His efforts, all which the musician could not see, resulted in his flushed cheeks and his trembling figure. Don’s eyes narrowed into a glare and he pointed a finger at the man onstage. Paul, who sat on Don’s other side, tried to soothe him with a hand on his shoulder, but Don’s words of anger sprang free.

“It’s hard to disrespect the epitome of disrespectful!”

Beethoven’s form shook unsteadily. Beethoven was more than appalled; his body ached as if the insult had physically struck him.

Don stood up and chuckled. To Beethoven’s ears, the bitter laugh resonated without an end.

“You are a liar, a thief! There’s no way that you could have made so many wondrous pieces, one after the other, on your own. Whose work have you been stealing and playing as your own?”

Beethoven pressed his long fingers against his chest; the beating of his heart had suddenly become painful.

His voice was shaky, but Beethoven finally mustered the strength to reply. “M-mr. J-j-jacobs. D-don’t you t-think you’re being irrationally rash? I have g-generously invited you and your c-colleagues to hear me p-play. I-is h-how you thank me?”

Don haughtily crossed his arms. “You can’t fool me. I know perfectly well that you invited us here to prove us wrong. You just want to rub into our faces that we misjudged you.”

“W-what? To spite you? That was never my intention!”

His apprentice nodded fervently. “Maestro would never!”

“Don’t think I’ve forgotten! Ten years ago, you couldn’t even distinguish a flat note from a sharp! Ten years ago, you begged for the four of us to listen to you. We gave you a chance and reviewed your music honestly. That’s why we wrote poorly of you, Nicolas Gray!”

Beethoven stiffened; it had been years since somebody had called him that.

Joseph responded quickly, he rose from his seat, holding his hands up as if to comfort the blind man. “Beethoven, don’t be bothered by Don. Listen, you have proved me wrong. Unlike Don, I appreciate your music.”

William’s head bobbed up and down like a floating cork. “I agree with Joseph. Pay no heed to Don!”

Paul grimaced. He remembered Nicolas Gray, but he couldn’t afford to make enemies. Joseph and William gave him expectant looks. A sigh passed his lips and he muttered, “Likewise.”

Don was disgusted. Had they no pride? Doctor stood from his seat to let him pass. Don thanked him and turned to face the three critics. “Fine, be arrogant. Turn a blind eye to the past!”

The critics avoided his gaze, but amused, Doctor watched with interest.

“Nicolas Gray,” Don called over his shoulder as he was on his way out, “do you know what I hate the most about you?”

Beethoven was silent and seemed to be in deep thought.

“What I hate the most about you the most is your gall.”

Don leaned against the heavy door, and it creaked open.

“Like the rest of these shameless dolts, I, too, would compliment your music. But taking Beethoven’s name, the name of a true genius, a real musician, is unforgivable.”

The door shut with a slam, and to the remaining audience’s surprise, Beethoven seemed unperturbed. They had expected him to defend his name, but he didn’t. Blinded in many ways, Beethoven hadn’t even acknowledged that Don had left. His senses felt numbed; somebody was calling his name, but the voice sounded faint. His mind, flooded with memories of the past, snippets of the unforgettable, felt disoriented.

“My name is Victor; call me Doctor.”

“Doctor, I heard that you work miracles.”

“Ha! Are you looking for one? Have you tried praying to God?”

“Yes. I need it! That’s why you have to help me!”

“Are you sure you need it? Is it need or want?”

“I think you want it. You want it so badly that your insides quiver in the thought of never being able to have it. Those silly emotions of yours make you think you need it. You don’t need it.”

“You don’t understand. I need it.”

“If you insist.”

“I insist. Help me, Doctor. Please, I need this more than anything.”

“Tell me then, what will you give me?”

“What will you give me for the gift of hearing? What will you give to hear those sounds, those lovely sounds that you cannot? What will you give to hear the music that will make you beyond brilliant?”

“Anything!”

“Specify, my dear.”

“Oh? That does strike my fancy. You are quite the interesting one.”

“Will you? Can you?”

“Yes, I will bless you. Using the hands of man, I will give you a gift from God.”

A wad of papers, their edges yellowed and frail with age, were in his calloused hands. Nicolas was sick of practicing until his fingers bled. He was tired of knowing that his skills would never improve until he could hear the beautiful sounds that everybody else could hear. Doctor rummaged through his bulky pocket for a pen. His wrinkled hand found one and he passed it to the amateur musician with a seedy smile. Nicolas flinched as Doctor’s knobby hands brushed against his.

“Do sign. We wouldn’t want any last minute regrets, would we?”

Red ink formed letters, a name, and bled through the sheets.

“Nicolas Gray, eh?”

“Yes, that’s my name. Is this it?”

“All I need is a name; it has to be legal.”

“It seems a bit too good to be real though.”

“If it’s fair, it’s real. It is as the saying goes, ‘An eye for an eye.’ Yet, in your case, I suppose it would be, “Eyes for ears.”

“Yeah, eyes for ears. You’ll make it so my ears are perfect in exchange for my vision?”

“Do you doubt me, Beethoven? Or do you doubt yourself?


“I have no doubts, none at all, but Doctor just to clarify, my name isn’t Beethoven.”

“How are you feeling, Beethoven?”

“Dizzy.”

“Ah, that’s the anesthetic.”

“Try not to move, I don’t want to accidently cut anything.”

“Satana, Pape Satan, Pape Satan, aleppe!”

“D-doctor? What was that?”

“A blessing, Beethoven, a blessing.”

The doctor called it a blessing, but Nicolas knew better than that. Though there had been IV drips and bloody latex gloves, Nicolas knew that there had been more to it. Supposedly, his name was needed just for legal consent. There weren’t supposed to be any consequences; it was a fair trade. But he knew better than that; there were always consequences. And he ignored them when he signed the pact.

On that day, with his rightful name, he swore away his soul. And he gave it to a creature worse than a devil—a human.

Tears fell from his sightless eyes, and he fell to his knees. His breathing became shallow; his body felt cold and heavy. He struggled to press his hands against his ears. He had to stop the ringing; he had to silence the silence.

One of the critics, by now, the ruined man could not tell who was who, asked meekly, “Beethoven? Are you alright?”

Nicolas thrashed on the floor and pawed at his eyes. His words were garbled with sobs and terrified pants.

“D-don’t call me that!”

“Beethoven? Calm down!”

Nicolas frantically pulled at his hair, hoping that the pain would bring him back to his senses.

“Beethoven! Stop, you’re hurting yourself!”

Nicolas looked around, but all he could see was the same darkness that he had been seeing for the past ten years. The darkness seemed even more frightening than ever.

“DON’T CALL ME THAT!”

His apprentice gently patted his back, but Nicolas swatted at him.

“I’m not a genius! Leave me alone!”

The critics left their seats and clustered around the composer. Beethoven had been fine moments ago, but now, he was in hysterics. It was as if he were a completely different person. It was as if he were Nicolas. The critics exchanged glances and shook their heads. Nicolas was in the past; this was Beethoven.

“Beethoven! Breathe, calm down.”

Doctor picked at a dry bloodstain on his jacket before leaving his seat silently. Man was always like that. He acted before he though, regretted after he acted, and believed in shallow lies instead of concrete thoughts. All men were the same, and they never learned from their mistakes; humanity blinded itself.

“Damn you! Damn you!”

Nobody saw when Doctor left with a smile.


D&D Writing Contest FINALISTS!

As you know, January 31st was the official deadline for the D&D writing contest to tell a Faustian Bargain story. We were happy to receive over fifty entries that met the criteria for the contest, and the caliber of writing blew us away! Thank you all for entering, and giving us the pleasure of reading your wonderful work. We were so amazed to discover how talented you are, and in fact, the job of choosing finalists was much harder than we had imagined. We received stories set in modern times and ages past; stories about animals and humans, gods and monsters; love stories, action adventures, comedies and tragedies. The entries were set in places all over the world and beyond: Alaska, London, Oklahoma, California, a Germanic village, a school in the middle of a big city, a concert hall in centuries past, heaven, hell, and alternative universes… Needless to say, we had fun reading!  Best of all, we had such fantastic interpretations of the Faustian Bargain!  Bravo to all of you for being so creative with such an old concept.

Now, we won’t keep you waiting.  Below are the five finalists for the contest, as well as our middle school winner.  We had a few entries from middle-schoolers and we decided that those entries should be judged separately from the work of older students.  For each finalist, we have included a short excerpt from their work and a reason why we loved their story.  Feel free to tell us what you think of each one.   The grand prize winner will be announced in about a week, and as promised, we will post their FULL STORY, followed by an interview, photo and other fun information!  The winner will also receive a signed ARC of ANOTHER PAN, as well as a signed copy of ANOTHER FAUST with a deleted scene.

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The Finalists (in no particular order):

“CASINO” by CALEY SCHEPPEGRELL:

We chose “Casino” because of the clever take on the Faustian Bargain. This story is full of tension and Caley closes the story in a brilliantly ambiguous way. (Here is a sample:)

He ushered me to a table with an empty chair to begin a game of blackjack.  In a blur of introductions and cards I had suddenly won, and was being cheered as I collected a handful of green chips marked One Day and two or three blue chips that represented five days.  And then I was at another table and another and another, and faster than I could think I lost and won and won again.  I knew I should stop, quit while ahead, but I couldn’t; it was so addicting to have that power, to be able to gamble with my life, so incredibly addicting and achingly wonderful.  I could see it in their eyes, the feverish, blazing eyes that looked right through me and mirrored my own; we were all drunk on the game.  And then before I knew it I was seated at a poker game with the hundred-and-fourteen-year-old and five other people, with a pile of chips amounting to almost forty years on the table in front of me.

With a smirk, the ancient blonde folded, and a man with a backwards baseball cap and three gold teeth followed her lead.  I didn’t know much about poker, and to be honest sheer luck had handed me most of my previous wins.  I swallowed, wondering if what seemed like a good hand was really a few crap cards that would doom me.  A woman in a cocktail dress with a birthmark by her eye raised the bet slightly, and with a twinge of nervousness I laid my last five-year chip on the table.  I was left with just twelve days as a grey-haired grey-suited man folded and the rest of us revealed our cards.

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“Disillusioned” By Amy Dickerson:

This story is not only wonderfully written and full of great characterization, it has a twist ending that will send chills up your spine!

Choices, choices. I could be good, D4 Apple. Or I could be bad, B5 king size Milky Way. If a night like tonight didn’t call for a candy bar, I didn’t know what did. I put in my change and pressed the buttons. The wire coil holding my lifeline turned, but not enough. The candy bar teetered, stayed put. Suddenly tears sprang to my eyes, flooded down my cheeks. Surely anyone passing by would think, what a pathetic person, crying over a candy bar, but they’d have been wrong.

Summer’s headaches had started just before they got the letter congratulating them on their selection to compete on Illusions. She’d complained to me and I’d brushed her off, told her it was stress. When she told me her eyes were acting funny I’d told her it was stage lights. I’d been wrong, and now she was maybe dying because of me. Now she was in a hospital room and doctors were trying fervently to break up a blood clot in her brain.

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“A Blessed Soul” by Ninfa Hayes:

The twist in this story is that it is the opposite of a Faustian Bargain, in that the Faustian element is in getting (instead of losing) a soul!  How clever!

Humans would call it Death,and Hell,but Immortals could not die in the same way. They could be killed by other Immortals,or by magical means,but did not die like humans do.

They would pass into Oblivion,and she would be the one to make sure of it, as it was her duty. She knew them all by name and deeds.

Zeus, father of all, wielder of thunder,who now lived as a bachelor in a mansion full of human females, ready to please his every perversion for the promise of a wealthy husband. If only they had known his wife, glorious Hera, was behind their embittered divorces, running the largest international firm of Divorce lawyers in the world.

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Untitled by Sabrina Hua:

This story was not only well-written, but it was well-researched and full of intriguing period details. The ending was also very gripping!

With a sweep of the baton, the concert began with the violinists’ calloused hands gently coaxing rich notes from their instruments. The baton twirled, and the strings slowly died down like embers as the horns’ soft murmurs became more vibrant. The conductor’s grip tightened on the baton and with another wave, the violins revived with loud trills. Delicate clinks soon joined the pool of sounds, mirroring the melody made by the sweeping bow; the pianist played the black and white keys like a lover.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Leben, was without a doubt, one of the century’s finest masterpieces. Music, thick with emotion and obviously composed with genius, filled the orchestra hall. Even the hardest of hearts were moved, albeit reluctantly, by the swelling sounds. This, the members of the audience had thought at least once during the lengthy piece, is the sound of life.

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Untitled by Ethan Carter:

This story was just plain exciting and had a great voice. But, Ethan, we have to hand it to you for quoting one of the best lines in movie history.  Long live Princess Bride.

As far as I can remember, Mitch and I were friends in Junior-high and High school.  He was always the big and tall, pale, blonde kid with an attitude.  He had some anger issues at first, but with a little help, learned to channel that hate.  The football coach called his the bull-dozer, because he ran over the defensive line like nobody’s business as the middle linebacker.  All the other Oklahoma City schools were afraid of us because of him.  We went to John Marshall High School.  When he took Mary, he hadn’t changed much.  He still looked the same, only stronger. And that didn’t help my case, because I could never pick a fight with him for fear of losing.

So Mary left me for him, and I wanted revenge.  But I was smart enough to know how not to get killed by a six foot four mountain with a vengeance, as he was called.  Instead, I walked around the city, looking for an easy way out.  Then I thought I found one.  An old woman found me.  She was the type of person that one didn’t want to meet in daylight, for fear of their reputation.  So I talked to her, and found out she was an Atheist.  Which was alright with me, because I really didn’t care for all the religious Devil is evil God is good, and those who don’t believe end up in Hell jazz.  So I let her lead me back to her “Church”, but I don’t remember why.  Maybe I had had a few drinks, or maybe I was possessed.  I probably won’t ever know.  But I do remember going into the basement because of a tornado warning that went through all of downtown.

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GOOD JOB EVERYONE!

We’ll be back in about a week to announce the final winner. In the meantime, these finalists deserve a big congratulations on some very well-written stories. Also, we should mention again that all of the entries were so good that we had a very tough time choosing.  Whether or not you were selected, please keep producing wonderful work!!

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FINALLY, OUR MIDDLE SCHOOL WINNER IS:

FELIPE CAMELO!!!

Felipe is 12-years-old and he wrote a touching story about a boy and his dog in WWII.  Good job Felipe!  We will email you with details about your prize!


Some Writing No-No’s for D&D Writing Contest

**** FOR WRITING CONTEST, GO HERE*****

Hi everyone,

We have received some wonderful writing contest entries for our January 31st deadline,  but we are eager to read more! So please, keep them coming.  We will post the top five entries on our website, and there are lots more cool prizes (All contest details, prizes, deadlines, and rules are HERE!)

But for now, here are a few random and completely arbitrary guidelines we threw together while we were touring… for all the hundreds of times people asked us, “Hey D&D, what are your favorite writing rules?”  We picked out eleven out of the ocean of potential no-no’s, just because these are the ones we hate most:

STUFF NOT TO DO WHEN WRITING

1) Blithely shoehorning adverbs, unadvisedly throughout

2) Naming the hero after yourself and the villain “mom”

3) Writing every detail in dialogue, like when two people meet and they say, “Hi,” and then the other one, a redhead, says, “Hi,” and then the first one says, “Howsit going?”

4) Characters who say everything they are thinking (“Hello Jim. I just wanted to tell you that I would rather go to Sizzler than IHOP because when I was a child I fell into a vat of pancake syrup and now I associate all breakfast cakes with the memory of my negligent father.”)

5) One exclamation point for every three pages! (At most!!)

6) Names/Places no one can pronounce (like Korialstrasz, or Bicé)

7) Surrendering diction to the Thesaurus, in the vainglorious endeavor to appear excessively erudite

8 ) No cliché’s (Dance to the beat of your own drummer, please)

9) Words to avoid: fecund, moist, blogosphere, wowza (Why? Because these words creep us out… most likely, everyone else in the world would disagree)

10) Characters who are all bad or all good (Except if one of them is Satan)

11) In the end, discovering that it was all a dream, you were in the Matrix, or turns out the characters were dead all along

Okay, there you have it!

Happy New Year, Happy Writing, and click here to learn how to enter the contest!

D&D