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First Page: unpublished Paranormal titled Daughter of Fire

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Kea'au 1778

Waves crashed hard against the lava cliffs. The earth rumbled deep in its belly. The volcano shook. Ribbons of lava, dark and bloody, streaked down the mountainside. Pele stared out over the angry sea. Her enemy was out there. Waiting, plotting. The fire goddess stared down at the gashes latticing her arms and her legs. Blood oozed down her limbs, mimicking the lava flowing down her mountain. It had been a mighty battle, one Pele was not sure she could win. A contraction ripped through her body. Pele bit back a cry and placed a comforting palm on her overripe belly. Pain subsided as if the child understood. Pele had to keep the baby safe and away from Namakaokaha'I.

A flash of lightening split the sea as a war cry pierced the air, followed by a low chanting. A steady beat warring with Kanekili's thunder. The chanting grew louder and closer. The villagers had run in fear as twin goddesses fought across the mountainside, hiding themselves away under the protection of their kahuna. Foolishly they believed the mortal man would protect them from the elemental battle being waged.

Pele turned away from the sea and faced her mountain. Her home, her beautiful Halemaumau, was under attack. She had to flee the churning waters and reach the fire pit. Only then would Pele have the power to stop Namakaokaha'I. Her sister, the goddess of the sea, had chased her across oceans to these islands thousands of years ago. Now she was back for her ultimate revenge. Vengeance drove Namakaokaha'I.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. AnneD
    Jul 24, 2010 @ 05:40:10

    Love the idea of a story based around the Hawaiian Gods. Liked the basis of the imagery (blood/lava reference), but all those short fractured sentences turned me off as I didn’t flow into the scene. Instead of urgency I felt as if I was standing very much outside it all.

  2. Heather
    Jul 24, 2010 @ 07:24:57

    I really like the premise. I like the descriptions. But I’m not feeling the urgency she’s supposedly feeling in regards to getting back to the mountain. If you could find a way to weave that emotion into what you’ve already got here, I think it would give it that extra edge.

    Regardless, I’d keep reading just because it did spark my interest. I’m just not sure how far I’d get without that extra bit of connection to the characters.

  3. Gwynnyd
    Jul 24, 2010 @ 08:29:37

    Love the setting. Hate the little sentences with the same structure over and over. The wording is very emotionally flat. There is not much to feel connected to.

    And I am completely mystified at what the heck is going on in that first paragraph. It had been a might battle, one she was not sure she could win? If the battle has already happened and is over, surely she should know whether or not she won it! If this a lull in an ongoing battle, why describe it with a wimpy “had” as if it were over? Is this a lull in between battles in an ongoing war? Then say so! Don’t conflate the battle with the war.

    I would also like some clue what Pele thinks and feels about this. The sea is angry, but Pele is just a detached observer. Her sister is driven by vengeance – for what? -but Pele didn’t even seem particularly interested in the imminent birth of her child. Did Pele steal her sister’s guy before she was chased across the sea thousands of years ago? if so, that’s the longest pregnancy evah! Is she preventing the baby from being born because….? Or…? no, I have no clue what motivates Pele here.

    Are the people under her protection? Has she tried to keep her sister’s wrath away from them, or does she not care about their fate either? I can’t tell. Unless it’s a plot point that she does not care about the people at this time, her, “oh well, they’re gonna die” attitude caused me to not like her very much.

    I like the Hawaiian setting. I like the goddesses battling it out trope. I wonder who fathered her baby and where he is. But over all, I might not continue reading because the short sentences were already starting to annoy me and I didn’t connect with Pele.

    I also wondered, since this was a prologue, if the story was about Pele at all, or if this was just a mythological background for characters who had not been introduced yet. I guess it would have depended on what it said in the back cover blurb.

  4. Lori S.
    Jul 24, 2010 @ 09:26:22

    I really like the setting – how refreshing! But, the writing has a bit of a “spectator” feel to it. A deeper POV and more variation in sentence structure would turn this into a “must buy” for me.

    Good luck!

  5. okbut
    Jul 24, 2010 @ 09:53:35

    I like this.
    Needs polishing, as already pointed out, and some words are repeated unnecessarily, but on the whole it’s an interesting premise, the characters have lots of potential and this would make a really good story.
    You have me hooked in spite of the roughness and need for editing.
    Thank you for presenting your work and good luck.

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    Jul 24, 2010 @ 13:18:43

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  7. katieM
    Jul 24, 2010 @ 17:25:01

    What a novel and interesting premise! I really like the idea of goddesses from the South Pacific fighting it out! I agree that the writing could use some polishing as there are too many choppy sentences. I think that first and second paragraphs could be switched for a smoother flow. I love to read the whole story.

  8. sao
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 23:35:43

    I suspect this is a prologue for a book about something else entirely. Prologues tend to be a bad idea. By definition, they happen before your story starts. When Prologues are about Gods that aren’t characters in your story, it’s worse. If we care about the characters in the prologue, then the start of the story is a disappointment. If we don’t care about them, you’ve tried our patience before we got to the real page one.

    I didn’t find Pele very human, so if this is about her, I have not developed any sympathy for her. Lava and crashing waves and what I pictured as a mountain body are just not very human to me. I don’t find myself really caring about the fate of the baby, which I presume is an island.

    Because Islands, rocks and sea don’t seem human to me, I can’t imagine that the conflict between Pele and her sister is anything but a mythical they-always-hated-each-other thing that won’t have nuance.

    So, I skimmed this, looking for the start of the story.

    I do like the idea of a romance set in Hawaii.

  9. Maura
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 11:09:15

    I’m turned off by the sentence structure. The sentences are all roughly the same length, and the word choices feel flat to me. This should be an urgent scene, yet I don’t feel any urgency or connection with it. Would not read on.

  10. A nonny mouse
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 14:46:17

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate the suggestions and will go back and look over the piece keeping them in mind.

  11. Cynthia
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 19:05:51

    I like the premise of a Polynesian island romance but I don’t feel that Hawaii is right for it. There has been so much tourism-type stereotyping and hype about Hawaii that I think it could stand in the way of the story. And naming the goddess Pele. Come on! It’s like naming a fictional baseball player Babe. Your imagery, however, is excellent.

  12. A nonny mouse
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 19:16:11

    Thanks Cynthia. The character is the actual goddess Pele, not just a name. :)

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