When sixteen-year old Torrance Olivia Maddox, self-confessed news junkie, figures out that the mysterious and deadly New Flu is being spread by dogs, she has one question—if the danger is that obvious to her, why hasn’t the government revealed the truth and taken action?
Her search for the answer will take her farther than she ever imagined. But then again, she never imagined that man’s best friend could become public enemy number one, that men in black might show up in her cozy suburban neighborhood, that she’d spend her sixteenth birthday as a teenaged runaway, and that her effort to save one dog would become a mission to save them all.
Liz Coley, author of the thriller Pretty Girl-13 has one foot in traditional publishing and the other in self publishing. Her brand new series Tor Maddox is self published. Check out this deleted scene.
On the chopping block – Deleted Scenes
Once upon a time, I sent out 42 query letters in the hopes of gaining representation. Within a month, I got “the call.” An agent was offering me representation. She had only two questions: “Can we change the title?” (Best Friends) and “Can you cut 15,000 words?” She didn’t tell me which ones. “You’re the writer,” she said. A good working philosophy.
To a writer who prefers drafting to revising, this was terrifying. But hey, to get my first agent after years of trying, I would have renamed my firstborn. I grabbed the scissors.
It’s always interesting to me to watch the deleted scenes from a movie—stuff the director and writer originally thought was brilliant which ended up on the cutting room floor.
Here’s a glimpse for you of my sweepings.
TOR MADDOX: UNLEASHED (deleted scene)
My cell phone vibrating in my jeans pocket gave me a cheap thrill, and I heard my Sioux ring tone, an old one-hit-wonder tune, “She blinded me with science.” I debated for a second whether to answer, but hey, Sioux’s my best friend.
“Yo, Sioux-san,” I said.
“Yo, yoself,” she said. “How was it?”
Decision point. Truth or fiction. “It was a great dance,” I said. Semi-truth. Yes, there is such a thing.
“Did a lot of guys ask you to dance?” she asked.
“Yeah, actually. But Sasha wouldn’t let me.”
“Tyrant!” Sioux was outraged on my behalf. “Why not? Was he jealous?”
“Don’t even go there, Sioux,” I warned. “He was protecting me from their dangerous advances, or something.”
“So it was like going to a dance with your big brother, or something?” she asked.
“Or something.” Semi-truth.
“Wow. I’m sorry. But at least you went. Did he kiss you goodnight?” Her voice took on the sound of a wink.
“Sioux-san! What do you think? We made passionate love in the back of his car for hours.” If only. A little blood leaked out around the knife wound in my chest, but at least I could joke about it.
An old man walking his poodle passed me at that moment and gave me the most peculiar look. Oops. I always forget my imaginary phone booth isn’t soundproof.
“Really?” Sioux replied in fascinated shock. “Really?”
“Of course not,” I said.
“Duh. My dumb,” she said. “Anyway, are you up for movies or the mall later?”
I thought about it. It would be distracting, but not the right kind of distracting. Plus I was afraid I’d accidentally weep all over her if we were together, and I wasn’t ready to face my idiocy publicly. “I’m sorry. I think I’d better get a good start on my story for English class. I won’t have a lot of time during the week, with ballet and all.”
“Gotcha. See you mañana.”
“Mañana, chica,” I replied.
Dad was reading the L.A. Times comics when I got back from walking.
“Up early, punkin. How was the dance?”
“Okay,” I said.
“More details?” he requested.
Sigh. Fine. “The music was too loud,” I added.
Yes, I know that was like throwing blood to a shark, but I had to lead him off subject. He was already worried I’d be deaf by eighteen because of the volume of music during dance classes. I got him started on a good tirade (his favorite rant, actually) about safety standards for noise. I nodded and agreed with everything he said. It worked. If he’d asked me any more details about the dance, I know I would have broken down.
When he finished his harangue (see tirade), I gave him something else to sink his teeth into–my ongoing search for the truth (cue dramatic music) about the New Flu.
That was 478 words down, and 14,522 to go!
Liz is offering a copy of the first book in her new Tor Maddox series. To enter, leave a relevant comment below. You can talk about your opinion of “hybrid authors”, self publishing, the topic of the new series, whatever. And don’t forget to leave your email!
US Only. Liz will ship you your book. Giveaway ends next Monday.