Excerpt from “Reborn” by Cherie Reich

Reborn, the first book in an exciting new YA epic fantasy series, The Fate Challenges, is out on ebook and paperback. Reviews are already looking good and it’s high on my To-Read list. The author, Cherie Reich, has been kind enough to share an excerpt with us (see below).


To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

On the day of Yssa’s death and rebirth, the god Apenth chose her as the Phoenix Prophetess.

Sea serpents and gods endanger the young prophetess’s journey and sour the omens. Yssa is cursed instead of blessed, and her duties at the Temple of Apenth prove it. She spends her days reading dusty scrolls, which does nothing to help her forget Tym, the boy back home. But the annoying yet gorgeous ferryman’s son Liam proves to be a distraction she can’t predict, even though he rarely leaves her alone for two sand grains.

Her boring temple life screeches to a halt when visions of her parents’ murders consume her. Yssa races across an ocean to stop the future. If she can’t change Fate, she’ll refuse to be the Phoenix Prophetess any longer. Fate, however, has other plans for her and the kingdom.

Yssa must either accept her destiny or fight to change Fate.

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Reborn

We steadily filled buckets as more people helped us. The storm continued to weaken. Rain trickled to a soft patter. I hadn’t heard thunder in the past few minutes. Was I wrong? Doubt lingered in my belly and crept along my spine. Just because I had a vision didn’t mean it would come true right away. Could I have gotten everyone worked up over nothing?

“It appears the storm is fading.” I didn’t want a fire, of course, but I knew what I’d foreseen.

“Maybe it’s a lull, sweetheart.” Dad filled another bucket.

“You saw somethin’, and you aren’t wrong often.” Water sloshed over Tym’s feet as he plopped another pail upon the ground.

Often? Thanks a lot, Tym.” I punched him lightly on the arm. Was I ever mistaken about my premonitions? Not that I could remember. They always happened… eventually. But if I was incorrect, the people of Guntas would never believe my visions again. What use would I be in Guntas or Amora? Maybe the prophecies dictating my birth and life were false. Apenth had chosen the wrong girl. I didn’t want to be special. Not being the Phoenix Prophetess would be better for everyone. Then I could stay in Guntas with Tym and everyone I loved.

When I handed Dad another pail, the hairs on my arms and back of my neck lifted. The sky brightened. A wicked-looking lightning bolt streaked across the sky and struck the inn’s roof.

Thean’s realm! My heart sank at the fruition of my prophecy. I was right once again.

To purchase:

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Are you ready to challenge Fate?

Cherie and the authors of Untethered Realms are giving away over $50 worth of books to one lucky winner. The giveaway is open internationally.

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CherieReichAuthorPictureA self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror collection Nightmare, a space fantasy novella collection titled Gravity, and the fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles and The Fate Challenges. Reborn is her debut novel.  She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms.

Contact Cherie: Website | Blog | Newsletter signup


First and final draft

EditingSomebody recently asked me how much the final draft differs from the first. Great question! Here is a snippet of the first and final drafts:


First Draft

She sat up, her head held high. Alice wasn’t going to win! She thought of Mampalo, and the physiker and the klynaks. They all believed in her, and there was one thing that she was determined to master. But first she had to prove Oban wrong. That wasn’t going to be easy, but she would start now!

When she emerged from the hatch onto the outside deck, there was a strong wind that blasted her with dust. She coughed and turned downwind. The crew worked furiously, reminding her of a nest of hive bugs. They had stowed the canvas awning that had shaded the deck, and men were aloft handing down globe lights, securing ropes, and lashing equipment to ladders and rails.

They seemed oblivious to the dust blowing around them, whipped up into eddies and finding its way into just about everything. Hazy circles, low in the sky, marked the position of both suns shining dimly through the overcast. Storm clouds threatened the aft starboard side of the ship, as if chasing them. Lightning crackled above her, arcing with a bright flash into the dust ocean. Her head began to throb once again.

She jumped in surprise, and then darted amongst the crew to the stairs. She ran up them two at a time, even though the ship pitched heavily. She turned her back on the flying dust, and knocked on Oban’s door.

Upon his command she marched boldly inside and shut the door behind her. The noise of the wind subsided immediately. The rear windows had been fastened shut and the drapes pulled closed, as if such an act could end the storm biting at the ship’s heels.

Oban looked up at her and scowled. “Are you going to annoy me every time you see me?” he said. His eyes flicked to her hands as if expecting a tray. “What do you want now?”

She took a deep breath, and dared look him in his black and purple-blotched eyes. “I want to fix your book, sir. It was my fault that it got wet, and I intend to repair it for you.” His glare and pursed lips drained her courage. Her shoulders dropped, and she almost ran from the room.


As Published

She bolted upright and blew all the air out of her lungs. Alice wasn’t going to win. Mampalo and the physiker believed in her, even the Klynaks did. The navigator didn’t, but she would prove him wrong.

She jumped up and headed topside. When she emerged from the hatch, a strong wind blasted her with dust. She coughed and turned downwind. The crew worked furiously like a nest of hive-bugs, as they took down globelights, secured ropes, and lashed equipment to ladders and rails. They wore bandanas against the swirling dust, but their skin was bright red. Sheets of the grey powder lashed over the ship and swept across the deck to pile up in the corners.

Hazy circles marked the position of both suns above the overcast. Inky clouds chased the ship, flickering white as lightning stabbed within them. Thunder crashed, rumbling across the sky like the Gods at war. Her head throbbed.

She clasped one hand across her nose and mouth and ran up the aft stairs two at a time, gripping the rail as the ship pitched. She knocked on the navigator’s door. Upon his command, she marched inside and the wind slammed the door behind her. The howling of the wind subsided. She brushed a thick layer of dust from her clothes. He had fastened the rear windows shut and pulled the drapes, as if doing so could deter the storm biting at the ship’s heels.

His head jerked up. “Are you determined to pester me at every opportunity?” His eyes flicked to her empty hands. “What do you want?”

She met his gaze. “I want to fix your book, sir. I allowed it to get wet, and I intend to make it good.”


Several things to notice here:

  • The final draft is less verbose, with much of the filler removed. I hope you’ll agree that it is easier to read
  • The verbs in the final draft are more active, more exciting, e.g. “bolted upright”, rather than “sat up”
  •  The final draft is more dramatic, with greater atmosphere
  • The dialog is snappier

I think this is a good example of how the first draft is meandering and definitely not polished enough for publication.



Fight! Fight! Fight! Excerpt from Ocean of Dust

Anyone want to read another excerpt from Ocean of Dust? Sure you do :)

Pop over to The Book Hookup and take a look. A little while ago, Celeste over at The Book Hookup did a review too.

After reading the excerpt, stay there and scroll down for a giveaway, but only if you like winning free stuff!

That scene required help from my writing group to get right. Not being a girl (duh!), I didn’t know how they fought. In my original draft  I had them punching each other and all sorts of things. The women in my writing group (bless them!) explained to me “that isn’t how it works”. Apparently girls go in for hair pulling and hair dragging. Who knew? So hopefully you female readers are now nodding your heads in agreement in that fight, perhaps remembering your own school days?

I recommend you add The Book Hookup to your RSS reader or follow it by email. It’s a great review site. Thanks, Celeste.

How dirty did you used to play in your fights as a kid? Please leave a comment below. Maybe I can feature your signature move in a future book. That would be fun. :)


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