by D. D. Falvo on May 17, 2013 | @ddfalvo

Only a new blog hop from Heather Webb has the magical power to lure this reclusive writer out from her cave. Why? Because Heather’s got mad editing skills that she generously shares with others, and she’s a sweetheart.

It’s all about the voice this time! 15 authors have posted the first 250 words of their novels for your entertainment and feedback. Come on over to Heather’s blog, Between The Sheets for the linky list of participates and join the creative fun.

I’m skipping my prologue for this blog hop, and diving right into chapter one. Advance thanks for your time and comments! 😀 (Note: Rhys is pronounced Reese, which, IMO, is way better than Rice. 😛)

Title: Lumen, Genre: High Fantasy

Chapter One, Regret

Rhys Anders should have ducked, but stubborn pride kept him stiffly unbent. He braced, for what whistled toward him was gonna hurt like hell. The oncoming fist charged with the force of a steed at full gallop, slamming his nose with a sickening crunch. His eyes watered. A searing pain spread, then dulled, and he gasped as the ballooning appendage joined his alarming collection of damage. Bound and surrounded, he swayed—battling only for balance.

Where is she!”

The cry was not so much a question as a primal roar.

The interrogator paced before him like a provoked lion, moving with sinuous grace, panting with rage. Torchlight spilled over the stockade, burnishing their sweat-soaked skin. A tawny mane crossed his captor’s face with ragged shadows, but did not hide the wrath-filled features.

Rhys cobbled his resolve and held silent. Words would not alter his fate. The night reeked of steel and bloodlust. With or without answers, the warrior, Aiden, lusted for his death—a sentiment also reflected on the callous faces of those gathered, the ones watching with postures of repressed violence and hatred in their hard stares. Gaelts. A fierce hunting clan, allies of the noble house of Ehlenroed. Border guards for the northern nation of Éland.

Where is Rhiannon?” Aiden bellowed.

Where indeed? Rhys wondered. His head dropped low, throbbing as blood rushed to meet gravity. He sucked breath open-mouthed and tongued a loose tooth, all the while considering possible whereabouts for the woman in question.



{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebeca Schiller May 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Well, I know who the first prize winner is. Denise, this was fabulous! Wow. Talk about getting right into the action with punches and blood. You put me right in that stockade and I feel the pain in my sinuses. I live this line: “A tawny mane crossed his captor’s face with ragged shadows, but did not hide the wrath-filled features” Also nice touch with “tongued a loose tooth.” Exquisite detail that doesn’t slow down the action. Great job, my friend.

<3 R.


D. D. Falvo May 17, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Aw, (blushes) you are so sweet Rebeca! Thank you for your kind comments, and your wonderful friendship. I loved your ghosty Alvah, and props for mastering the daunting 2nd person POV.


Heather Reid May 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I want more, Denise! I want to know where Rhiannon is and who she is. Great detail that puts you right in the action. I actually cringed when his nose was broken. Awesome! I love the title, Lumen, too. Thank you for sharing your beautiful prose, my friend.


D. D. Falvo May 18, 2013 at 12:02 am

Thanks, Heather! This means so much, because I really respect your opinion and your work. You made me laugh, re: the cringe, and said the magic words every author wants to hear, re: liking my title. 😛 Sending out good vibes for continued success with your amazing new book, Pretty Dark Nothing.


Jamie Raintree May 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Ooo! I like it! So many questions already swirling through my head, like who Rhiannon is and why Rhys cares so much. And why he would take that terrible punch to protect her! Well done!


D. D. Falvo May 18, 2013 at 12:08 am

Hi Jamie! 😀 You have me grinning from ear-to-ear. Thank you for visiting, and for the vote of confidence–it’s sooo appreciated. Zeb says hi, you won him over with your beautiful post on a Muse as a place. <3


Heather Webb May 17, 2013 at 9:52 pm

WOW! This has come SO FAR from the last round I saw many many months ago. Crisp, vivid details and great pacing. I connected with the voice instantly! “For what whistled toward him” is literally the only tiny little thing I’d change. I truly love this, Denise. Bravo!! 🙂 And thank you for participating!


D. D. Falvo May 18, 2013 at 12:22 am

Lol, Heather–I still suck at queries and pitches, but right now, I’m floating around the room, filled with happiness over your comment. Thank you so much for this fun opportunity to connect with other writers and learn new things. I really love that about you, you’re always finding ways to lift writing up to higher levels, and then generously share that wealth of wisdom. I’m looking forward to reading Becoming Josephine in 2014. xxxd

Eee! If you see this, I need a little clarification–remove the whole sentence with that phrase in it? Or replace just that part of the sentence? TYSM.


Heather Webb May 18, 2013 at 10:49 am

Not the whole phrase, just the preposition! 🙂 It’s really wonderful, D. xo


Alec Breton May 18, 2013 at 12:47 am

The contest’s 250 word sample size is just big enough to whet people’s appetites, so what follows mostly is my projecting into your story.

Vikings and ancient Celts are often portrayed as “kick butt slave takers” in some people’s stories. However, archaeological discoveries highlight amazing things left behind by these ancient raiding peoples. I suspect your work shows characters which go beyond the visceral and delves into their deeper sides. So, it would be interesting to see where you take this rich territory for your story world.

I’m presuming your work:
– Has a cosmology of good and evil between the factions.
– Brings in the cultural and material refinements of the age, which the elite of the “ancients” enjoyed. Or, at least, they did until some cleverer and swifter character takes their treasures away from them.
– Gives a sense of place.

In other words, an advantage of taking on a setting lost in antiquity — a “less traveled” story world — is that each vista in the story has a fresh feel for the reader.


D. D. Falvo May 18, 2013 at 1:40 am

Hi Alec! Thanks for coming by. I enjoyed your thoughts and really appreciate the time you took to give me all of that info. Do you know Vaughn Roycroft? He’s a talented author who loves the ancient worlds like you do. My fantasy world is set in the future where two warring cultures–science & technology vs primitive & supernatural–are both in danger from the same enemy. But no matter the time setting, there is always much to be learned from ancient cultures–I promise my view is a fresh one. 😀


Nicole L. Bates May 18, 2013 at 2:04 am

What an exciting opening! There’s no doubt you know how to hook the reader. I already like Rhys, and don’t like Aiden, and who is Rhiannon? I must read more!!!

Best of luck to you in the contest! This is a fantastic entry.


D. D. Falvo May 18, 2013 at 2:37 am

Thanks, Nicole. You are always so kind, and I loved your blog from today–it just puts everything into perspective, doesn’t it? That little girl is amazing. Do you remember that this is how we met–through Heather’s first blog hop? Best decision ever for me. <3


Kris Mehigan May 18, 2013 at 2:31 am

Hi Denise, Wow, you can really pack a punch! Starting with a blow to the face is powerful. By the end of the page, I want to know where Rhiannon is too! The one thing I stumbled over was that I thought “Where is she?” was roared by Rhys. It wasn’t until the second time when you specify it was Aiden that I realized my mistake.
Great voice!


D. D. Falvo May 18, 2013 at 2:39 am

Hi Kris, I know I was late making the rounds, so I really appreciate you stopping by. Thanks for the solid feedback, re: speaker confusion–these are the kinds of things I want to know. 😀


Vaughn Roycroft May 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

OMG! This SO makes me want to read on, D! I already know a bit about Rhys, but WOW (have a few people said that in this comment thread? Yes, because WOW just falls out of all of these slack-jawed readers!). This is really beyond fabulous! 😀

I do agree with Heather’s (Webb) noted sentence, but it was my only mild stumble. The rest is powerful, engaging, intriguing. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a voice I know I can trust to tell me an epic tale!! (And, um, ready to read whenever you’re ready to share… Just saying. 😉 ). Congrats, D! Well-d0ne!


D. D. Falvo May 18, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Your comments always brings a smile to my face, and brighten my outlook. This praise makes me feel like a giddy kid, filled with happiness because I picked a bunch of dandelions and someone noticed. Thank you for your faithful support, for fostering an amazing Tribe we all enjoy, and for the inspiring posts you write so eloquently. You’ve got it, Mister! Once this WIP is whipped into shape, your feedback is something I truly look forward too. 😀


Rhiann Wynn-Nolet May 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm

AWESOME! I’m also very fond of the “tongued a loose tooth.” It’s a very engaging scene with which to start a book, great stakes right from the get go. And of course, fab names, lol. Good luck!


D. D. Falvo May 18, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Rhiann. Thanks for stopping in and helping me dust off this blog. I’m excited for Thursday’s Children this week. Gratitude for the love. <3


Chris Todd Miller May 19, 2013 at 3:38 am

The first half of the first paragraph is great. I think you can cut all of this:

His eyes watered. A searing pain spread, then dulled, and he gasped as the ballooning appendage joined his alarming collection of damage. Bound and surrounded, he swayed—battling only for balance.

Or even move it to after this line: The cry was not so much a question as a primat roar.

Where is she! I know the next line explains it, but I think it should be a ?. It stopped me and I think the next line still works.

cobbled his resolve – LOVE it

This is a terrific paragraph:

Where indeed? Rhys wondered. His head dropped low, throbbing as blood rushed to meet gravity. He sucked breath open-mouthed and tongued a loose tooth, all the while considering possible whereabouts for the woman in question

the phrasing and the details with tongue and tooth, well done. Well done over all.


D. D. Falvo May 19, 2013 at 4:20 am

Hi Chris! It’s nice to meet you. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and give me feedback. 😀 I tried to leave you some also, but the comment link isn’t working tonight. I’ll try again in the morning.


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