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May 4, 2012 / scottbwilbanks

Writer’s Voice Contest: Entry #123

Oy!  My foot is so accustomed to my mouth it has a standing reservation.  I woke up to a frantic message from my writing partner to post my Writer’s Voice entry ASAP–living in New Zealand, for all its beauty, does have some disadvantages in terms of the date line.  So, I cut and pasted a draft I’d been fiddling with the prior night lickety-split, only to notice this morning that it had a couple typos.  My life wouldn’t be complete without them.

 

QUERY:

In 1894, David Abbott unwittingly traps a rogue demon in the stage prop he designs for his acclaimed magic show… and it wants out.

A hundred years later, the stage prop has found its way to Annie—an antique door she’s installed at the rear of her house in San Francisco’s museum district.  Stepping through it the following morning, she finds a curious thing in her rose bed—a letterbox perched atop a picket fence, pretty as you please.  But, stranger still, behind it sits a wheat field.

The note inside the letterbox makes a simple request, “Get your damn house off my back forty!”  And, with that, Annie finds herself waging a war of epistolary wit with a cantankerous, retired schoolmarm living in nineteenth century Kansas.  Elsbeth doesn’t care that Annie is, in her own words, ‘a twenty-something bibliophile with a passion for Victorian dresses,’ but she does want to know what caused the hiccup in the flow of time, planting Annie’s house behind her barn.  As they trace the source of mischief to the door, Annie stumbles upon a more pressing concern.  She has five days to unravel the century-old mystery surrounding the famed illusionist’s death, and find his missing daughter, or Elsbeth will be tried for a murder she didn’t commit.

A story in which time conspires with a willful stage prop to create a family of two women at odds with the times in which they live, ABBOTT’S DOOR is adult science fiction with a dollop of mystery for flavor, and is complete at 105,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration.

Scott Wilbanks

Chapter One

“Something Slumbers Within”

March 18, 1895

Kansas City, Missouri

 

Randall-

    I have not forgotten our quarrel, but I’m asking you to put that aside for the sake our shared scholarship.  You were right, I fear.   I meddled in something beyond my understanding.    The conduit works—I’ve shaped it as a door—but not, I suspect, by science or by my own hand.  You are the only person who won’t think me paranoid should I put words to my suspicion.  Something slumbers within it.  Something with an agenda of its own.

    Words have power.  As a priest, you know that.  And I should have been more careful, heeded your warnings, but I thought those the old shaman gave me to repeat were only a formality—a superstition.  I erred.  They were an invocation.

    Please come soon, I beg you.  Or don’t come at all.   And, if you don’t come, then pray for me, father.  Matters are coming to a head, and my instincts say this will not end well.

 

David

*

The grifter lay awkwardly in the muck of the alleyway, legs akimbo and face tilted to the side.  His eyes—cold, glassy and frozen in surprise—looked down the length of his outspread arm while his mouth opened and closed in a macabre imitation of a fish on the chopping block.  Blood dribbled from his nose, collecting in a syrupy puddle that haloed his almost unrecognizable face.

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May 3, 2012 / scottbwilbanks

So, I’ve gone and done it.  I’ve started a blog.  The motivating factor is pretty simple, really.  I want to enter a writing contest that requires me to post my query and the first 250 words of my manuscript as a blog entry.  Here’s the rub.  I haven’t a clue what I’m doing.   Last night was a pretty hilarious example.  I set my alarm for 12:45 AM (yes, you read that correctly) in order to submit my entry into the contest via a “Mr. Linky’s Magical Widgets”–by the way, you are way ahead of me if the two of you are acquainted–that would be posted at precisely 9:00 AM on four coordinated blogspots.  You may ask why I set my alarm for 1:00 AM, then?  Well, I live in New Zealand.  The date line is an unforgiving mistress.  And technology is worse…  Mr. Linky wanted my URL address, and by the time I figured out he required *http://* in my string, all the slots were filled.  Wow!  Never fear!  I will try again at 1:00 PM.

Anyhoo…  Until I get this thing figured out, here’s a rendering I made of my book’s protagonist using magic markers.  Her name is Anastasia Biddleton.  If the image looks vaguely familiar, look up the portfolio of Mary Cassatt–the famed American impressionist.  I kinda borrowed the image from her brain pan, but it evokes the sentimentality surrounding Annie.

Until next time…

May 2, 2012 / scottbwilbanks

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