Jennifer M Eaton’s doing a blog hop critique–250 words (plus the end of the last sentence)–you post, critique others from the list, and critique back anyone who gives you a critique.


I’ve chosen a snippet from the beginning of the second book in my Witch of Atlas series.

Background: Humans found out 23 years ago that the fey–creatures like unicorns, elves, and pixies–are real, and so is magic. Althea Raven is a witch who works as a consultant, dealing with the problems that arise from supernatural creatures interacting with humans.

Here’s a link to Snippet 1,Snippet 2,Snippet 3,Snippet 4, and Snippet 5, should you be curious. But I respect your time, so…

Bare bones summary: Two FBI agents knock on Althea’s door. As they’re talking, something screams in the backyard. There, they discover another male agent under Althea’s dragon guardian (animated statue). Althea frees him, and reveals that she knows the agents are witches. They sit on Althea’s porch, and the agents ask her to come and consult for them about their fey problems. Althea goes inside to grab her bag.

*    *     *     *

<I knew they’d be fun> Diamond hopped into the bag, emerald eyes alight. <What secrets do they have? Little mice think they’re safe in their holes, but I hear them rustling>

“Watch whose mind you go hunting in, dear,” Althea couldn’t control what her familiar did, but she lived in hope of minimizing the damage. She slid the tote onto her shoulder and stepped outside, patting the dragon on its cool metal head as she passed. “Ready,” she said to the agents, who were standing in a group by the door.

“Our car’s this way, Ms. Raven.” Papadakis lagged behind the others to walk with Althea.

“Does this mean you won’t be following me anymore?” Althea slid into the backseat of the  white SUV with Papadakis, Smith in the driver’s seat, and Lamington in the front passenger.

As the car turned onto the access road to the highway, Papadakis considered Althea for a moment, and discarded artifice. “How’d you disappear in that creek?”

“Nereid portal. As long as they don’t decide to drown you, it’s safe.”

“Couldn’t you tell them it’s inconvenient?”

“Some things you can tell the fey, but they never hear.” Althea shrugged. “You get used to it.”

“Evidence suggests otherwise,” Smith rubbed the lower right side of her ribcage and grimaced in remembered pain.

Althea gauged the level of grimness on all three agents’ faces, and said nothing. Some traumas were better left alone.

*    *     *     *

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

7 responses »

  1. kford2007 says:

    I’m hooked! Feys, dragons, portals. I want more. The only thing I would change in this is the line: “As Smith started driving” Maybe say something like “As the car pulled into traffic” I just feel you mention too many names at once here and they sort of bog down the reading just a tad.

    Great 250. give me more please.

    • caitlinstern says:

      I hadn’t noticed that, good catch! I trimmed out some unnecessary stuff from between those two sentences, and didn’t realize how repetitive the remains were.
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. kford2007 has a point about the list of names…I am hooked as well – lots of intrigue and you are gradually revealing enough detail for me to want more. Hurry up next Sunday!

  3. JackieP says:

    I’m ready for the next part 🙂

  4. Yes, indeed. I’m curious too about what might happen next. The story is filling out.
    One tiny question: in the first paragraph, if the familiar is talking about the agents, I wonder if the sentence ‘…Little mice think they’re safe in their holes, but I hear them rustling>’ needs The or These ( in front of ‘little mice…’)?

    • caitlinstern says:

      You’re right.
      I take liberties with grammar in dialogue, and Diamond has a tendency to fragments and other omissions. As long as the reader gets it, I’m ok.
      So was it confusing/distracting? Or did you just note it wasn’t right?
      Thanks for the comment!

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