Monday, March 19, 2012

A Revised Introduction

"If a teacher told me to revise, I thought that meant my writing was a broken-down car that needed to go to the repair shop. I felt insulted. I didn't realize the teacher was saying, "Make it shine. It's worth it." Now I see revision as a beautiful word of hope. It's a new vision of something. It means you don't have to be perfect the first time. What a relief!" - Naomi Shihab Nye

As I mentioned in my previous post, I made some changes to Cataclysm in order to make the beginning shine, as Ms. Nye describes.  It took a few days to get it just right, but now I'm ready to release it, both in the 2nd edition of my novel, and right here for those of you who've already purchased a copy.  Please, enjoy.

CATACLYSM: Return of the Gods
Crystal braved a glance at the chaos that surrounded her.  She was past the initial we’re all going to die panic and was now curious to see if the others were experiencing the same wondrous and terrifying sensations that filled her. 
To either side, and facing north also, stood John and Birch, both good friends but from different places in her life.  Birch, the druidic practitioner and expert on all things mythological, she’d known for years, while John was a new acquaintance.  Both men, though, appeared as she thought she must, enraptured expressions molding their faces as magical powers they’d never felt before coursed through their bodies and minds. 
Crystal could barely hear the incantation the twelve people recited in unison over the wind that whipped both inside and outside the protective bubble they had created with the new-found power they wielded.  The words were being supplied telepathically somehow by Matthew, in a language that had started as English but now seemed to be Latin—“seemed to be” because the conjugations and sentence structures didn’t fit with what Crystal had learned in the one Latin class she’d taken.  She doubted they had any meaning at all, in fact, in part because she could see that the multi-colored energy flows that melded into the protective hemisphere weren’t affected at all by the chanting.  Mostly, though, she knew her husband well enough to sense the ironic lilt in his telepathic compulsion. 
Matt was playing with them.
While, that is, he was saving their lives, a conflict that she put aside to worry through later.  For the time being, she continued wrestling with magical forces and participating mindlessly in the chant, whatever it was, while she watched the cataclysm in the form of plunging temperatures and a great tidal wave slam across the world she had known, turning structures both man-made and natural into shredded mockeries of what they had been.  The raw power of the earth’s forces—wave, wind, and temperature—crushed and dominated, destroying everything the people in the circle had ever known. 
Everything was gone, or would be very soon.
But they were all going to live.  It seemed.
It had taken so little time to upend Crystal’s world.  She’d been sitting calmly in her craft room just minutes ago when the lights had gone out and it had become strangely dark for the middle of a pleasant spring day.  Suddenly a light, round and brilliant, had shown through a portal that opened in the center of the room.  Her husband’s voice called to her through it, inviting her to come to the light. 
Weird, that.  And it just got weirder after.
The day had started so—so normally. 
* * *

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