Saturday, January 29, 2011

As promised, here's Chapter 1 of my WIP, Three Dogs, which is a follow up to my YA Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award entry, Four Dogs.

It's a lot rougher than the excerpt for Split Ends, and I've only done two chapters thus far, though I've already plotted most of the book through the major conflicts and ending.

Anyway, your thoughts, and especially compared to my adult project, and the market are appreciated.



Paul Douglass stood at the edge of the clearing, smiling. They had come, just as the master said they would. As he watched them step through the clearing and into what had once been a fort he and his friends had built, he marveled at how smart the master was. From the moment he’d met Batu Chinua, everything had gone according to plan.

Well, nearly everything.

The master hadn’t planned on J.J.

And where was the master now for that mistake?

Paul smiled again.

He had figured out a way to outwit J.J. when the master hadn’t. He had played the game.

The three boys climbed up into the fort and disappeared. Paul sniffed at the air, his senses more keen when he took this shape. But he couldn’t stay this way for too long. He let out a brief howl, enough to frighten the boys, but not scare them off and ran through the woods toward the cabin he had built in case the master returned.

As he walked through the cabin door, he retook his human shape.

His mind raced with his power.

“You were never this powerful at my age,” he said.

The empty room absorbed the sound.

He licked his lips and tasted blood; a taste he imagined he’d never grow tired of. It would be dark soon. He had to head back to his home, fall back in line with J.J. and the others. They couldn’t know what he had become.

The master would return—if he could—and Paul would be needed in both worlds. The thought of pretending to be like one of them made him want to throw up.

“If I have to do this on my own, Master, I will. I will continue what you couldn’t.”

A charged ripped through him like a bolt of lightning. He crashed to the floor, writhing, unable to control the spasms that coursed through his flesh.

Thoughts, images, words surrounded him, through him, in him, like a fog of sound, consuming him but without mass. It was like he been punched in the chest by a thousand pounds of pressure.

He saw the knife on the table.

“Master. No. Please.”

“Don’t ever question me,” a voice said.

“I’m sorry, Master.”

“Too late.”

Paul grabbed the knife, raised it into the air and brought it down with all his power. The pain was unbearable.

“You are nothing without me,” the voice said.

When the darkness came, Paul embraced it, hoping it would stop the pain.


  1. Phew! Great first chapter (*he says looking Jeff straight in the eye with great relief and sincerity*) - sets up lots of things in interesting ways without being expository and makes you want to read on, even if it's not your genre, as there is much more at work than shapeshifting whathaveyou's.

    My only paws for concern (sorry, it had to be done) is the ending, as I'm confused about who is being knifed. I'm guessing the Master makes Paul stab himself, but since I'm guessing, maybe a little more mention of mind control would be merited?

    She's a beauty though!

  2. PS - Allen? I wish I had a middle name - the whole "first initial, middle name, last name" thing DOES have a very authorial feel to it. Or serial killer. Either way, pretty cool

  3. Excellent point on the ending of Chapter 1, Mike. I've only written two chapters of this one. Lots of work to do. Good insight, though.

    Re: Author or serial killer name: I wonder if I can be both?

  4. Jeff, very powerful first chapter. Intense for sure. I agree with Mike about making it clear that Paul is stabbing himself. Otherwise, awesome.

  5. I would LOVE this if you take the two "like" similies out. Otherwise, I just LIKE it. Get it? ;)

    Having read Four Dogs, I love this even more. I think you should take the very last sentence out completely. But how often do I say that (and do it to my own :))?

  6. I agree with Gae about taking out the last sentence.

    But here's what's REALLY important and I will personally GUARANTEE:

    J. Allen Fielder has found his voice. I am just plain thrilled.

  7. Totally agree with Jody, the last sentence gave me chills. ;) happy chills!! that needs to go on the back of the book. :D

    Love this paragraph. Love the last sentence. I think it WAS clear that Paul stabbed himself (unless J edited it before I read it). A powerful last sentence.

    wow, J. Your writing is growing more amazing each novel. and you know why? you LOVE this book. this story. and this is what makes good writing. :)

  8. I love this. It leaves the reader wanting more.

  9. Thank you, Elisa. And thanks for joining my blog.

  10. Hi Jeff,

    Dana from ABNA here. I was wondering where I could find your stuff, and I'm glad I found it. So I read the Split Ends excerpts and then I read this one. While I like both humor/satire and thriller/chillers, this one made me catch my breath and made my heart leap in my throat. I wanted to read more! If you can write a teaser like that, you're sure to find success!

    Best of luck in ABNA. I'll drop by again sometime soon.


  11. Thank you so much, Dana. I really appreciate that. I've been encouraged lately on my fiction, and hope to continue. I have the worst time focusing on one project at a time. I just sent the latest issue of AutoArt Magazine to press, and am cleaning up some loose ends, but plan to get back to fiction tomorrow or this weekend. (plans, he said.)