New Agent Contest – Critique Blog Hop

Recently, I participated in Michelle Hauck’s ( #NewAgent Twitter contest designed to bring aspiring authors together with literary agents who are new to the industry. Although I didn’t move beyond the first round, I made new connections with other writers, and received some very encouraging comments from one of the team coaches. All in all, a positive experience, so thanks to my fellow competitors, contest host Michelle Hauck, the team coaches (Laura Heffernan, Dan Koboldt, Natasha Raulerson, Wade Albert White and Max Wirestone) and the participating agents.

In a continuing effort to improve my work, my contest entry is below for your feedback.

Thanks, y’all,

Title: Electric Freedom
Word count: 112,000
Genre: Adult Science Fiction


Certain individuals divide society. Whether they were born with the ability to fly, vanish from sight or manipulate the fundamental forces of reality, they differ from the rest of us in profound ways. The scientifically-disposed call them “Hyperhumans”, and view them as the frontier of humanity’s limitless potential. Those more inclined to believe in a higher power refer to these unique few as “Anointed”: mortal manifestations of God’s might, majesty and mercy.

Alex Anastos is not inclined to believe in a higher power. His innate ability to manipulate electricity has never struck him as “divine”, probably because his inability to control his talents has driven him to isolate himself from human contact, hiding out in a studio apartment and a work-at-home telemarketing job. So it’s a shocker when his invisible life gets noticed by world-famous industrialist Dr. Martin Reiss. Dr. Reiss believes Alex might be one of the most powerful people on the planet, and invites him to join a team of Hyperhuman Investigators: bonafide superheroes licensed to protect Marathon City from threats microscopic to megalithic.

But if Alex is going to have any prayer of making the leap from shut-in to savior, he’ll have to withstand a toxic relationship with his would-be mentor, and avoid getting pulped into a stain by a gargantuan teammate who knows too much about his past. And his new beginning will still come to a dead-end if they can’t prevent Anubis – an Anointed zealot and terrorist who’s not only every bit as powerful, but also a decade more experienced – from executing history’s greatest prison break and unleashing an unstoppable army.

First 250 Words:

800 feet below, the Okeanos River waited patiently to claim Alex Anastos.

It could afford to be patient. Falling from this height, its surface would be as merciful as concrete.

Not that he was in any condition to fight back. Less than a sliver of moonlight penetrated his swollen left eye; his fractured ribs seared with each faltering breath; lifting an arm to shoulder height was an Olympian feat – even if impact weren’t a death sentence, drowning was a guarantee.

Still…sputtering out before he’d made it halfway through his twenties hardly seemed fair. Didn’t he deserve at least a failed marriage, a corporate downsizing, a middle-aged meltdown? Even unhappy endings felt like fairy tales now that the river was only half as far away.

That was when the “ifs” came. What if the accident had never happened? What if the riot had never happened?

And the “if” he could have controlled: what if he’d never walked into that diner?


Alex scoured the diner for an escape.

Even at 2 AM, The Golden Mile bordered on a capacity crowd, and exit strategies became exponentially more difficult when you had to account for innocent bystanders that could get caught in a crossfire. Having zero clue what you were doing didn’t help either.

He hadn’t paid the two newest arrivals any attention at first, not until the Voice started its buzzing. Normally, it started small, like a fly divebombing his ear.

The Voice was no fly tonight. Tonight, it was a swarm of them so dense everything else went mute.