It's been a year already?

That was a year ago! A year ago I was sitting in the top five, frantically trying to make sure everything was ready for when HarperCollins read my book. A year ago! So much has happened to this book since then.
Like, the writing. I feel like my writing developed a lot. And the book itself has changed so much. When HaperCollins read my book, this was the opening.

            She closed her eyes and stood there. Tonight would be the night that he’d come for her; there was something in the air that said so. For a year and a half he’d slapped, screamed and abused her into telling him what he wanted. He had even locked her in a house, away from the world, hoping to get “it”.
            But she didn’t know what “it” was. Whenever she’d ask him what “it” was; he’d say that she knew.
            As much as she told herself; she couldn’t be brave. It was all an act, Please, Lord, please forgive him for what he is going to do, she prayed, but she wasn’t going to be the one forgiving him for all the things he had done to her.           
Pulling the apple out of the fridge, she walked to the counter and began to cut it. She placed the knife back down on the counter and turned to wash her hands. It just needed to be over, the agony and anxiety; she just wanted it to end.  The only thing that mattered was that her baby survived. Her baby would be okay, she could see these things. She knew that her baby would be destined for great things, depending on what one would call “great things.”
            The slamming car door made her jump, and she listened for the sounds of his footsteps approaching the front door.  He jiggled the door, but the lock held. Angry, he began to bang on it; each bang making her heart beat faster and faster.
“Sarah, come answer the goddamn door.”
            “No!” Sarah cried. She wasn’t going to let him in. That would be like letting the devil in. She could not welcome evil into her house, not willingly at least. “Please, don’t let him have a key, Lord,” she whispered. She knew that he wasn’t going to let her live much longer.
            She wanted to live. She was going to put up a fight, even if she knew it wasn’t worth it. 
            The door opened and closed quietly and her heart began to beat faster.
            “Where is it?” Three little words had enough power to send chills down her spine. It amazed her how one man could cause so much fear and terror in her life.
“It’s not here,” she said. “I don’t know what you think I have, but I don’t have it, and if I did, I most certainly would not give it to you.”
            She could feel his gaze on her. “Very funny, Sarah, but I don’t have time for this,” he said.
            “You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?” Sarah knew better than to ask the question, but it was too late.
            “I won’t if you tell me where it is.”
            If only it were that simple, she thought. Then she snapped.
            “For the last time, I don’t know where “it” is. Goddamn you! Having the nerve to lock me up in a house expecting me to give you whatever it is you want! Well, I won’t deal with it anymore! Get out of my house!” She swung the knife at him, trying to get him to back off.
            He took a step back then stared at her in amusement. “Calm down, it’s all okay, if you don’t know where it is; I guess there’s only one thing to do then.” He grinned.
            “You kill me with that thing,” she gestured to the gun hidden in his jacket- “You’ll be sorry. I’ve seen it. You think you’ll be the one with the last laugh, but you won’t be. You better not come anywhere near me with that thing!”
            Sarah was tired of this. She could either kill him, or let him kill her. But that was the difference between them. He killed people for a living; she couldn’t even kill a fly. She respected life, he destroyed it. 
            “Really?” he asked her, “And I suppose you think you’re going to tell me that you had another vision.”
            He thought her “visions” were nothing but crap. They didn’t mean anything. She’d been right before with her visions, but Brent refused to believe in such things. He simply believed it to be all coincidental.
            “Yes, I did. You kill me, and she,” she pointed to the baby, sleeping in her crib in the living room, “will be better at your stupid little game than you.”
They both turned to listen to the infant girl, now awake at the sound of the arguing. Sarah moved to go pick up the baby, but he stopped her.
            “Excuse me?”
            “I know you kill people. If you kill me, you will be caught. And she will take your place, and she will be a better assassin that you could ever imagine. You will try to kill her, try to stop her, but you will be stopped.”
            “That is crazy.” He raised the gun and aimed it towards her head.
            “No, you-”
            She crumbled to the floor, and the knife she had just threatened him with slid across the tile.       Blood rushed from her head, down onto the floor. He gave her a kick in the side and leaned down. “Looks like everything is finished here.”  
            He stood up, made his way to the door, and then stopped. He turned back to the baby, staring at it. He thought back to what Sarah had said, something about that baby being a better assassin than him. It made him laugh. After all, that baby was just a baby, a baby girl. She’d never be able to kill.
            After a moment, Brent decided to leave the baby where it was, in the crib, she would starve to death. No one would ever have to know about her, or her mother.
            Brent opened the door, and without another glance, he walked into the dark, cold night.

This prologue hasn't really changed over the years. Sure, it's been rewritten twenty thousand times. but the basic essence has stayed the same. When my HC editor talked about it, she/he had really nice stuff to say about it:

 The prologue is chilling and a wonderful set-up as you thrust the reader into the action right away, and we witness the gruesome murder of Cassie’s mother by her father. Cassie’s mother’s premonition that her baby is destined to outshine her father in her abilities is one that is haunting. What will become of this poor abandoned child?  

Now, with some minor tweaking, that prologue is the third chapter. I shared this before, but this is the new chapter and I love it.

The last few remains of sunlight reflected off of the building across the street, glistening in pink light and mixing with the dark colors of the building to create a rainbow. In one room, a light burned inside. It added a flame to the rays of color. If I held my hand up, I could put the fire out, and the whole rainbow would be ruined.
As the last sliver of light disappeared into the night, I took my spot in the kitchen, in between the refrigerator and the wall. The tight spot would be missed.
The metal of the refrigerator was cold on my arm. Cold and sleek like the rest of the apartment. It lacked a homey feeling and screamed of a bachelor pad.
The couch was an off-green color with modern wood framing and stiff cushioning. A glass table sat in front of the couch. Another table with sat on the side. It was inside its single drawer that I’d found gun number one. The other was stuffed in his bedroom dresser.
Throughout the entire apartment, there’d only been one item that made it seem like a home, and not just a place to live: the picture of his fiancĂ©e. Deceased now, she had been pretty, to say the least. Looking at that picture while covering the apartment, I’d wondered if her death had anything to do with the way Jonathan Walker had turned out. A man with a successful life ahead of him, and he threw it all away to try and help some budding terrorist group in the Middle East.
A terrorist mastermind, right in the middle of New York City, and the United States government was keeping his identity a secret. Exposing him would lead to panic, and in a town as scarred as New York, the last thing they needed was a panic of another terror attack. It was much easier to pay an anonymous killer. Someone who wasn’t linked to the government so they wouldn’t have to worry about retaliation.
The sound of a key turning brought me back to focus. I hid back in the crevice between the refrigerator and the wall, readying myself as the door swung open. The lights came on and I saw him walk in from the hallway out of the corner of my eye.
“He shoots…” Jonathan tossed his keys across the room into a bowl on the table. “And he scores.”
He slid out of his jacket and placed it on the hook next to the door. He walked toward the kitchen, which connected to the living room, and I wrapped my fingers tighter around the dagger in my hand.
Crash! Jonathan spun around, falling into the kitchen counter. He stared across the kitchen to the balcony doors, almost panting. “What the hell was that?” he asked in a whisper, then louder, he asked, “Who’s there?”
My thoughts matched his. I’d scanned the whole apartment before he’d arrived. No one had been in there.
“My gun,” he said. As he cautiously headed for the bedroom to go search for it, I came out from between the refrigerator and the wall, hugging the wall to remain unseen, my dagger ready.
Seconds passed as he went searching for his gun in the bedroom. At first, there was silence, but it soon gave way to the frantic sound of drawers being yanked open then shoved closed. I managed to hold back a sigh of relief. The silence only made my heart beat faster; this wasn’t going the way it was planned.  “Where the hell is the gun?”
A slow smile crept across my face, as I looked toward the balcony where the guns were.
Footsteps echoed from the bedroom, giving me the spare moment I needed to dive back to my hiding spot.
Jonathan came out of the bedroom and yanked more drawers open, including the side table’s.
Pacing the length of the couch, he griped the phone as he dialed. He held the phone to his ear, trying to calm his breathing. “Yeah, I’d like to report a robbery.” He rattled off the address to the dispatcher. “Yes, my name is Jonathan Walker, and I have two guns that have been stolen. They’re nowhere in the apartment. And…And on top of that, there was a crash outside on my balcony. That…that’s why I realized the guns were gone. I went to go look for them to protect myself…” he rambled on.  The pacing stopped when he turned around and started at the doors to the balcony. If something outside had caught his hearing, I’d missed it.
He walked over, pushed the curtains aside, and then froze. Standing on the other side of the glass doors was a man, pointing a gun right at Jonathan Walker’s chest. One bullet would be enough to kill him right then and there.
Jonathan Walker dropped the phone as his arms went up in surrender.
The man on the other side slid the door open and walked in; his thick boots made no noise. “Jonathan Walker,” he said, more of a statement than a question.
“Yes…yes…yes,” Jonathan said, taking a step back.
“I know.” A shiver went through my body as the man took another step forward. He held his gun up, silencer at the end, and pointed it straight at Jonathan. Jonathan’s back was turned toward me, but I was willing to bet that gun was touching his chest for a fatal blow.
A moment later, Jonathan fell over with the low crack of the silencer. Anyone in the neighboring apartments wouldn’t be able to hear it.  The man stuffed the gun in his pants then reached down with a gloved hand and picked the phone up. He hung up and placed the phone back in the cradle on the table. “
I crept back further into my little cave and waited. I could only hope that he hadn’t seen me.
He headed through the kitchen without noticing me, and then out the front door.
After a minute, I stepped out and walked toward Jonathan Walker. Blood was oozing from his chest; a large red spot had already formed on his white shirt.
My hand instinctively went to my mouth and I turned around, running toward the door.
Jonathan Walker was dead.
This didn’t happen. At least, it wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Someone had ripped me off. Why had someone else done it? It didn’t make sense, no one was supposed to even know that he was supposed to die.  How could someone just come in and kill him like that, no rhyme or reason. Killing him was my job. I was the Assassin. 

I can't believe it's been a year. A year since I convinced my parents to let me stay up on a school night to watch it change, to get my star. I can't believe it's been a year since I was in such a rush to get it edited. (Ironically, what am I doing now? Editing it). Life goes by so fast.


Bianca McCray said...

I remember when Inkpop looked like that. This year went by pretty fast, and now the HarperCollins people aren't even critiquing like they should.

Paige said...

I remember when that was in the Top Five. It's hard to believe it has been a year. Congrats on that! You should be really prod of yourself that you achieved that. I wish the old inkpop design was still there :( I hardly even go online anymore.

Miss Emily K. said...

So are you an actual author? like could i find that book in a store? or online?

Quinn said...

Hahaha, WOW. It feels like forever ago since I joined inkpop. Going on two years. I miss the old layout though, so I don't really get on anymore. I feel like the community died when the layout changed. *sigh*

Great writing by the way!!

Ashley said...

I remember being the first ever Top Fiver in Inkpop history. Sigh. That feels like so long ago.

Now I'm showing my age.

It's really wonderful how writers change so much over the course of a single year. Congratulations! <3 May the next year bring many more improvements!

Miss Emily K. said...

Oh, and can you PLEASE POST MORE?!?!?!?!


Mrs. Pancakes said...

oh wow..i need to read your blog from now...i would love to be a published author someday. way to go lady!

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