Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 11992
date submitted 17.12.2009
date updated 31.05.2010
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Crime
classification: moderate
incomplete

Snowflake

Ana G. Ram

Congressman Clark knows he must pay for his mistakes. What he doesn’t realize is that his ten-year-old daughter has decided to do it for him.

 

You are the target. Your computer is the weapon. No matter what you do, your actions will be used against you.

Congressman Leo Clark understands that his actions must lead to consequences and when he gets the first blackmail, the question he’s asking is not Why, but How. How do they know? How much do they know? And how can he protect himself and his family?

After Leo Clark disappears following the kidnapping of his wife, the question FBI agents are asking is: How much of what’s happening is done by the blackmailers and how much is the Congressman Clark’s exit strategy.

With the disappearance of both her parents, ten-year-old Amanda Clark watches the world crumble around her. She has no questions, only a conviction that her father has done nothing wrong. There is not much she can do, but when the chance to find the truth arises, she takes it, not realizing how many people she’s putting at risk. Not realizing that her own life is now at stake.

In the world where computers hold the keys to human lives, don’t let yours fall into the wrong hands.

Snowflake is complete at 85,000 words.

 
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tags

blackmail, cyber crime, family, suspense

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526 comments

 

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RobRow wrote 1544 days ago

Ana:

I enjoyed very much reading what you’ve posted of Snowflake; you’re off to a highly imaginative start here. The characters are interesting and believable, the story is intriguing, the pace is good, and the plot is well constructed. The computer tech angle works well, and you may be able to find a niche with it. I’m happy to back this book, and I wish you the best of luck with it. I took a few notes while reading, and I have included them here.

Your prologue works very well, establishing a mysterious tone which prompts the reader to want answers to the question of who killed Harper. Was it Leo? What was the bullet-shaped container he threw into the bush before calling Jason?

You transition into Ch. 1 well, letting the reader understand that time has passed by focusing on the early summer setting; Harper was killed in the wintertime. You put your knowledge of computer technology to good effect here; Amanda’s command of the subject is very convincing. By the time I finished reading this chapter, I had a very good understanding of the main characters—Amanda, Leo, Sally and Jason. You do a credible job of developing them into real people.

Ch. 2: I like the way you’ve meshed the characters’ stories together at the start, showing us Richard Koln helping Scarlet Whitney, then revealing Koln’s connection to Leo and Jason. The child pornography angle is intriguing, and through Leo’s point of view the reader cannot imagine Jason being the culprit; it must be a setup.

You don’t waste any time in Ch. 3 showing how things are falling apart; this sets up a very nice tension in the story since Leo and Sally got on so famously earlier in the book. You really do manage to create palpable fear at the end of this chapter when Sally suggests that Jason may be up to something untoward with Amanda. The book is off to a rousing start.

Rob

Mardi wrote 1548 days ago

Hi Ana, I have read your ‘prologue’, your first and most of your second chapter and will be backing this, happily, when I finish my comments. You are a very talented writer. You have introduced several important characters and I am having no trouble at all keeping up with the storyline. All of your characters are developing nicely without using the horrible info-dumps that some authors mistakenly utilize. Instead, we are learning, bit by bit, more and more as we read along. The suspense of the corpse and the involvement of Jason and Leo in that scenario offsets the innocence of Leo’s homelife with Amanda and her puppy nicely. Not sure where Scarlett and Richard fit in…but I have confidence that you will reveal all shortly. I have made a few comments per chapter, but please note I am no expert. However, many authors have told me that I’m pretty good at this. Let’s see what you think…
CHAPTER ONE (incl. ‘Prologue’): ‘to avoid looking at the reflection’ What reflection? Is he standing at a window? If so, tell your reader that. ‘small white pills’ Where did these pills come from? Were they inside the bullet-shaped container? Or in his pocket along with the container? Again, explain to your reader. I would delete ‘pollinating’ for tension. Besides, not all buzzing bugs pollinate, right? I would delete ‘misguidingly’ but add ‘misguided’ to the previous reference ‘occasional misguided bee’ for tension and it eliminates the troublesome adverb. I do like the idea of misguided bees, tho! ‘A sudden burst of sound..’ I know the feeling! But don’t forget to tell your reader that the sudden sound came through the computer and not from somewhere else. I would add ‘, Amanda’s mother,’ between ‘Sally’ and ‘stood’ for clarification. How are we to know who Sally is without you telling us? Maybe Sally is an aunt or a friend? ‘mousse of his lips’ Change ‘of’ to ‘off’…just a typo. Add ‘it’ after ‘Leo opened’…I think another typo. I would change ‘a strange noise’ to a more descriptive ‘tiny whine’ or ‘what sounded like a little yelp’ or something like that. I think most young girls would have opened the cage without asking, would have just opened it to hug the wiggling and licking puppy in their arms, deciding to deal with permission afterwards. ‘check on two of them’ I think you have left out ‘the’ before ‘two’. I would delete ‘digital’ from ‘digital computer’ as I think most of your readers probably just refer to it as ‘computer’. Wouldn’t the term ‘laptop’ be better than ‘portable computer’? Great ending to this chapter! (You didn’t tell us how old Amanda is…and it would have been easy to do so, seeing as it is her birthday.)
CHAPTER TWO: ‘gates of a cemetary’ I would change ‘a cemetary’ to ‘the cemetary’ for immediacy. Rather than tell your reader she hadn’t heard the motorcycle’s approach, which is hard to believe, since motorcycles, as we know, are quite noisy vehicles, why not say that ‘even the roar of the motorcycles approach didn’t intrude on her thoughts’ or something like that? ‘instead of going home he got here.’ This reference is a little awkward. How about smoothing it out with something like ‘instead of coming home, he ended up here.’, instead? ‘it has already decreased threefold’ Again, for a smoother sentence, how about ‘…our stock has already dropped through the floor…’ or something similar? ‘the news are more likely’ Shouldn’t ‘are’ be changed to ‘is’? In this case ‘news’ is considered singular so I think it should be ‘is’. ‘than Jason had imaged him to be’ Change ‘imaged’ to ‘imagined’. I would change ‘and at the office’ to a more personal ‘or at his office.’ I do like your description of his home, though. It brings to mind the image you are conveying. I also like the next scene with Amanda and the new puppy. ‘being so unserious’ Awkward choice of words. Perhaps ‘being so flippant’ or ‘being so lighthearted’ would be better? I really like how you have presented Amanda as a child who is practically a computer genius! I would add ‘started’ after “What do you need to get?” ‘wind tuned fine drops into sharp needles’ I think this idea would hold more tension as ‘wind turned innocent rain drops into sharp needles’.
Well, that is all I have time for today. I would like to caution you a bit regarding your uses of ‘-ly’ words such as ‘finely’, ‘occasionally,’ ‘misguidingly’, ‘slightly’ and more. In almost every case (dialogue being one exception), a sentence becomes stronger, carrying more literary tension, when these pesky adverbs are deleted. Try it and I think you will see what I mean. Also, consider that your chapters, especially the second, might be a little too long. Rather than cut storyline, maybe just divide split them into two shorter chapters. I hope you can decipher my comments and I hope some of them will be of help. All in all, though, I really feel that, with just a bit of editing, your story will soon become just the type of suspense and character driven story that many publishers would love to snap up. Keep up the good work and I’m hoping to go to my nearest bookstore and see this on their shelves sooner than later. Good Luck and I'm backing this right now…..

Andrew W. wrote 1585 days ago

Snowflake

Hi Ana,

Flipping hell this is accomplished stuff, the first line is genius and that first paragraph is very effective in both giving us an impressionistic grasp of the scene and indicating to the reader that we are in the confident hands of an excellent writer. Your prose is sparse, effective, story is to the for. I actually forgot to crit this mid way through and simply went with the story. I don't normally do thrillers but from the get-go with your intriguingly shaped pitched I knew this was going to be good. Intelligent, economical, effortless (and yet I know how hard it is to make prose read effortlessly, you must have read this out loud to death) and completely engaging. Anyway I must stop criting now as I have just realized that all you have given us so far is three chapters, we are going to need more than that Ana. Excellent writing, this should find a publisher, I want to read the whole thing.

This would absolutely hold its own in the crowded thriller market, well done.
Best wishes
Andrew W
(Sanctuary's Loss)

ccb1 wrote 1283 days ago

The editor’s desk, was it worth? Was your book reviewed by HarperCollins? Did you receive a book publishing offer, or have other publishing houses expressed and interest in you book? We have found the comments and suggestions from the other authors on Authonomy helpful in revising our book, but were just curious as to the benefits of landing at the top.
CC Brown
Dark Side

LonnieNonnie wrote 1335 days ago

You bait the trap very skilfully, expertly done... reading all the * books - was this published? What did HC say? I think it looks excellent, seems to me a done deal?

PCreturned wrote 1346 days ago

After peeking at your book, I'm v surprised that english isn't your 1st language. It makes your work all the more impressive. I could never manage to write a book in any language but my own.

There's a nice quality to your writing. I like the sudden switch from the peaceful imagery of floating snowflakes to a dead body. It's a good intro that's all the better and more surprising for the contrast.

Your prose describes vividly and clearly. Your characters feel fully fleshed out and are interesting. And your dialogue feels genuine and has some real snap to it. :)

I have a couple of tiny suggestions, though, if that's OK

Right at the start, I'd replace the 2nd "Leo" with "he" since we know who he is at this point.

In chapter 1 "Amanda squeezed her eyes tighter" reads a bit strangely. It sounds like she's grabbing her eyes with her hands and squeezing them. I think something like "Amanda squeezed/screwed/scrunched her eyelids shut tighter" would work better.

I would be very happy to back your book, but I see you no longer need backings. So I'll just have to content myself with wishing you the best of luck getting published. Actually, on 2nd thoughts, I'll put this on my shelf anyway to provide a bit of visibility. Backed.:)

Pete

RonParker wrote 1370 days ago

Hi Ana,

For someone who claims in her profile that English is not her first language, this is brilliantly written and I'm not surprised it reached the top in the ratings. Because you've already made it to the desk I won't be backing it, but that is the only reason. Good luck with it.

Ron

Stephen P Burns wrote 1374 days ago

Ana, Dont mean to be rude, honest, but the thing which stops me, and I would reckon would stop a great many of the reading public from reading your book were it to be published whichj i am sure it is worthy of, is your pseudonym Ana G Ram; I would drop that for something else.

CG Fewston wrote 1376 days ago

How's the editor's desk?
CG

Missy Haney wrote 1405 days ago

Ana,

An amazing read, and an interesting story! You have great talent for fiction. :) When you get a chance, please view People Are From Earth and tell me what you think!

Thank you,

Missy

Aly Carey wrote 1416 days ago

Ana,
This story is addictive. The style and narrative flow are so smooth. IT's the perfect pace for a thriller.
But my favorite aspect of this story is that, despite the fact that the prologue is so exciting and stressful, the following chapters fully live up to that first impact. Each one is more intense than the one before.
And now I will take this opportunity to beg you to put the rest of this book up. Or get published very fast so that I can buy it.
Wonderfully done, backed with pleasure (although you've already got your pretty gold star),

Aly Carey (Redeemed)

LRM wrote 1416 days ago

Congrats on your gold star!
~LRM
Finding Beth

Trish Finnegan wrote 1418 days ago

Grabs you right from the start. Great pace and believable characters.

Eileen Kay wrote 1418 days ago

hello and well done. Although i'm not usually a thriller reader, this is intriguing from the first line of the short pitch. there are so many themes, so many intrigues, so much going on, and yet it's all kept quiet clear, without any muddiness or fog - and just enough questions to keep the reader eager to find out more. I am keen to find out what happens to this family, to all these various traps and mazes and dilemmas, and most of all, to the little girl at the centre of it all. best of luck from
Eileen Kardos (The Noodle Trail)

Eileen Kay wrote 1418 days ago

This has great ideas, from the very first line of the pitch. I am already interested in this family, this trap, and the little girl at the centre of it all. There is so much going on, so many plot-twists, so many themes, so many intrigues - there is plenty to make readers eager to know how this all spins out. well done. backed.
Eileen Kardos (The Noodle Trail)

DeJarnett wrote 1420 days ago

Ana,
good read... kept me involved with how well you crafted the tension and storyline.

Coco

Green H wrote 1422 days ago

reviewed by harper colins wow wow wow, i had to take my work off cz my poetry was just too little to only put some one, i wish u all the best

Keri Kern wrote 1423 days ago

Congratulations on reaching the Editor's desk, very well done and the best of luck
Keri Kern

Tom Bye wrote 1423 days ago

congratulations
tom bye 'from hugs to kisses'

sharon cooper wrote 1423 days ago

Congratulations Ana, and good luck!
Sharon Cooper
Seka

writingbear wrote 1423 days ago

Ana,

Congratulations! You made it. You wrote a very fine book, SNOWFLAKE. I wish you the very best of luck in your publishing ventures. May your book rise to the top of the charts quickly and stay there for a very long time. I hope you remember me, because someday I'll make it to the published world too and then we can reminisce about our early days on authonomy. Best of luck and again congrats.

Dwain-Thomas
DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS
MY GENTLEMAN FRIEND

ray burke wrote 1424 days ago

Oh come on Ana, post the rest, it was just getting exciting! Hopefully read the rest soon. Backed and anticipating more. Cheers,

Ray
The Starguards

mr.shelley wrote 1424 days ago

This, as others have already stated, is a class act, Ana. Extremely well constructed and written (difficult to believe that English isn't your first language). I look forward to seeing it in print and buying it for a weekend such as this. Gripping stuff.

glenn1862 wrote 1425 days ago

I love the characters and the story flows and keeps you engaged. Backed!

wespollet wrote 1425 days ago

Hi Ana, A very timely book in light of all the infidelity going on in the U.S. government. I like the book. Harold Alvin(ICON)Wesley

Robert Anderson wrote 1425 days ago

Thanks a million for your support Ana – much appreciated. Just backed yours to help it across the finish line.

You must be pretty nervous - 1 day to go. Can you imagine if there was an authonomy website crash and the ratings were suddenly jumbled - there might be a book in that.

Extremely well done - I worked in Kiev, Ukraine for a few years, so it doesn't suprise me at all to find a Russian in the number one spot - eductaion is so highly respected.

As with most folk, the usual suspects: work, child, sport, eating, sleeping, and… trying to write, restrict my time to critique someone’s full upload.

Some industry advice I’ve picked up along the way. Possibly not applicable to you - apologies if patronising. I’m no expert, but you might find it useful - here goes:

Generic advice:

You need an arc (clear thread) to your story. Meander and you risk losing the reader.

Watch over describing. It can overpower the plot.

Some say to use adjectives and adverbs sparingly.

Watch under-describing. It can leave the plot flat.

Avoid exposition – don’t explain things or tell the reader how to feel.

Attempt to define the genre of your book within the first page.

Try not to use ‘seems’ and ‘just’ – beginners speak.

Editors don’t tend to like overlong narratives – mix it up with dialogue – if possible.

You really need to grab the reader’s attention on the first page. Upbeat, positive and thrilling situations tend to hold attention more than the mundane and depressing.

Visualise, and then write what you see in your mind.

Cut out the dull stuff – be ruthless.

We’re all different – write what you know, and what you like to read.

Practise, practice and praktise – grammar, spelling, punctuation and format are vital to success.

Happy writing, and all the best,

shasleeva vam - Rob (When…?)

P.S. Appreciate it (after your celebrations) greatly if you could find time to feedback on my first outing When…?


Gary Morris wrote 1425 days ago

Basically this well crafted book takes the cyberpunk thriller to a new level. It depicts a realistic chain of events. Is it happening now? Well done!

Author apart from the rest wrote 1426 days ago

Ana,

What a fascinating piece of literature-very well crafted. I love the title of your book, and the plug keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. I have placed you on my watch list, because I try and give everyone a fair share of time on my bookshelf.

Regards,
Rob

Geoff Thorne wrote 1426 days ago

WOW.

No complaints. No notes. No critique. This is precisely the sort of book, the sort of prose, that I want to see and you were confident enough only to post three chapters. Three chapters is the MAXIMUM I give a writer to convince me that I should take their book home with me. You did it in two. Less than.

Well done.

Backed.

eloraine wrote 1426 days ago

Gald to back this wonderful book, good luck with it and keep in touch when your a best selling author! E.Loraine Royal Blood Chronicles book one

Stec wrote 1427 days ago

It's hard approaching the 'Number one' book on here. Even harder when you are number zillion and wonder how this book arrived here, and by what means.
Well, it got here because it reads like an updated Lulum with the literary version of a Greengass' killer update.
The opening paragraph is so, so good--I'd buy a copy on that alone--which is the point of opening paras. Your techno background means you are writing what you know so its all assured and clinicall good, as the best examples of this genre are..
This all leads me to say 'Ana' , and I want to believe you are Ana; the hot techno chick that has English as a second language but...
Whatever the case it is very, very good for what it is...your persuer at number two has written a better book but yours is better in all that the industry will hold dear..potential sales.
A real achivement all the same--whoever you are.

Steve

Gauis wrote 1427 days ago

Ana,
Obviously pretty good stuff - tight, well written, etc.
My feeling is you could lose a few adjectives - eg. Take out the word 'unassuming ' in the first para, - and our grey suited man fades further into the background?
What do you think?
s
ps.sorry for pevious typos, trust this is clear

Gauis wrote 1428 days ago

Ana,
Obviously pretty good stuff - tight, well written etc.
My feeling is you could lose a few adjectives - eg. Take out the word 'unassuming ' in the first para, and outr grey suited man fades further into the background?
What do you think?
s

Theuns wrote 1428 days ago

Lovely first chapter ... I liked the family setup, then the action started ... hope its successful.
Theunis P Botha
THE COPPER SCAM

shawnapiranha wrote 1428 days ago

Fantastic opening... I can't wait to read more!

You have a lot of promise! Best of luck on here!

Shawna Logue
It's a Kind of Magic

Ideas Man PhD wrote 1428 days ago

Yikes --- as a father, I felt Sally's fear in the end of the section you've posted. I hope you'll post chapter 4 so we can find out if she's ok...

Ideas Man PhD wrote 1428 days ago

Yikes --- as a father, I felt Sally's fear in the end of the section you've posted. I hope you'll post chapter 4 so we can find out if she's ok...

Huseyin Angay wrote 1429 days ago

Nice story and you tell it well.
It would however help to have a really serious look at some of the quirks in the text.

Some examples:
- Strange phrase: 'Her hands, with the skill of their own, worked on decorating a cake...' I think you're referring to her working without thinking, but it sounds odd.
- Over egging the pudding: 'Jason's mouth opened and closed without producing a sound, his voice cords unable to work.' How about 'Jason's mouth opened and closed, unable to make a sound.' or even just 'silently' instead of 'unable...'


Amanda needs some counselling, I think. She is lost between the ages of ten and twenty. One moment, she is dying for a puppy, next she says things like: 'And what, might I ask, you doing here? Food fighting?' (The sentence also happens to be quite awkward as dialogue goes.)

Best wishes.
Huseyin
All Things Noble

Sonnet60 wrote 1429 days ago

Hey Ana,
You have awesome imagery! The story sounds awesome so far, and I hope to see more soon! The only thing I would watch out for is the dialogue. Sometimes, (Forgive me because I don't remember when), you didn't write who was speaking and it was distracting.
Great job and good luck with editors!
Katherine Sonnet60 (Crimson OCean)

Du5T1n wrote 1430 days ago

Ana,

I enjoyed your start. The transition between the first and second scenes creates some dramatic tension and makes me curious to read more. I could use a little more concrete environmental descriptors (I enjoy your use of figurative language and metaphors, particularly the recurrent symbol of snowflakes re: the title); set the scene a little better for me. Show me what I'm seeing, if that makes sense. I get the room with the girl in bed and the light through the window but then the scene picks up a lot of speed with new characters coming into play and a lot of banter and without the anchor of some description of the scene (other than people's actions and words) I got a little lost and had to struggle to stay engaged.

Still, interesting characters and a teaser of an intro that really gets things moving!

I think you might like my book, Dreamland. Either way, I'm backing Snowflake.

Cheers,

Dustin Panian (Dreamland)

Desdemona wrote 1431 days ago

I have only read the first few pages of this book, and without a doubt this is very good writing. The characters are 'real' right from the word go. If I picked this book up in the library and read the first page, I would definitely take it home. I have only just joined the site, and already I am amazed at the quality. I have backed this. There is no trying to be clever with this story. It just is.

t0hierry wrote 1432 days ago

I like your book. From the first sentence on. Reads like a classics, and backed!

Mr. Nom de Plume wrote 1432 days ago

Only three chapters posted and the invention of an e-puppy shows talent anyway one looks at it. I think that I backed this work before, but I'll back it again although with the TSR rating over time held by the author, my remarks are unnecessary. I expect to see it in bookstores in the future. Chuck (Paperboy Adventures)

Vanessa Darnleigh wrote 1432 days ago

...misguidedly entered... = how about 'accidentally navigated itself...'?
...threw a guilty glance at the door... = how about 'looked furtively at...?'
...I don't like that she's spending... = how about 'she shouldn't be spending...' ?
'And what might I ask ARE you doing here?
I hope you don't mind my observations which are made only as suggestions and nothing more...I guess it's the teacher in me! Thank you for supporting the Chronicles...given your elevated status among authonomites and the quality of your prose, I regret that you are unable to comment further since I am always keen to improve my manuscript and would value whatever feedback you were able to pass on to me. This is my first effort and so I am in no doubt that it has its shortcomings. Anyway, thank you again and may I wish you every success with 'Snowflake'
Stewart

DJay wrote 1434 days ago

Nice work, Ana. Terrific dialogue and characters you can care about from the start, very interesting plot line. Based on the first chapter, I'm backing your book.

Your comments and backing of my book if you like it would be helpful for a newbie on this site.

All the best,

Djay - "Fine and Shimmering"

Theuns wrote 1436 days ago

Lovely stuff ... liked it! All the best for the future ...
Theunis P Botha THE COPPER SCAM

speaksthetruth wrote 1437 days ago

lookin good

Hypo99 wrote 1437 days ago

Hi Ana and how are you? I don't think I have backed thisa work before! Anyway, I want to back it now. I read a little this morning and obviously, you have talent. I want to wish you the best of luck on the editors desk. I shall keep my fingers crossed. I shall, indeed be reading more.

Hope you get a little chance to peek at mine. I need all the help I can get. Arghhhhhh

Good luck again.
Brendan Doherty
The Russian Hat

Quenntis wrote 1437 days ago

Hi, I've read chapter 1 and have time to comment now. There is much to commend in the first chapter. For example the way pace is varied by the contrasting of dialogue and description. Each character is clearly introduced and the reader is left caring about them. Touching on modern tech terms and the varying of scenes already starts building the thrill factor from the start. Well done. Well written work. Sorry I took so long to comment. Q

Michael Polansky wrote 1437 days ago

Ana:

I'm new at this sight. Yours is the first book that I read all that was available. I read a part of another book and had to stop. I just couldn't get interested. I an looking forward to the rest of the book when it's available.

I wish you all the best in your writing career.

I just went live with my first novel. The title is "Referendum For Murder." Please read and comment. If you don't agree with the issue that I'm writing about; Remember it is a piece of fiction even though there could be a smither of truth within the scope of this novel
Michael Polansky

HK Rogers wrote 1437 days ago

Ana:
Great read so far! The suspense is killin me, especially after reading your description above.
I like the tech angle, but not having a high tech mind, some of the terms or descriptions were above my head. This isn't a bad thing, but it did make it a little harder for me to grasp the tech specific dialogue.
Your character development is solid and I appreciate how you only give us what we need to know and let our imagination do the rest regarding their looks, personality, etc. I can't stand it when authors describe characters in such depth that I have lost the plot line and a I am no longer a participant in the story, but an observer only... hope that makes sense.
Great job, great read. I can't wait to finish it!
Backed emphatically,
HK

sirhardbody wrote 1439 days ago

Ana
Unique, interesting, complex and very well done.
Your characters are believable and the dialogue is realistic.
The pace of the story feels right and the plot appears to be developing well.
You are able to draw the reader in during the first chapter and keep them reading.
Backed with pleasure
Njoy
Larry HCC Butt Naked

Deepta wrote 1439 days ago

Pacy and keeps u hooked ..Way to go girl! What happens next? :-)