A QUICK LOOK
Professional editor, author of eight books and co-author of six others, Cynthia Gurin is a native Floridian. After college (Miami-Dade) she worked as a Licensed Real Estate Broker and Appraiser of multi-million dollar residential properties.
She has been editing and mentoring talented authors since 1996.
C.K. Gurin has been pro-bono director of The Bedtime-Story Literacy Project, and the award-winning children's story site, since 1996. Yahoo! proclaimed Bedtime-Story the number one children's story site on the web and it was featured by MSNBC, the BBC, MIT's Invention Dimension, and earned the Reader's Digest Editors Choice Award.
She moved to Europe for several years after her husband accepted a position as Managing Director of a large Swiss holding company. They now live in Stuart, Florida, about 45 minutes north of Palm Beach, and share a home with three very opinionated cats.
A more detailed professional history may be viewed by clicking
on the following link
WRITING SAMPLES IN VARIOUS GENRES PROVIDED
(Additional examples along with client feedback may be found on her website TheQuantumCat.com)
SAMPLE # 1
Genre: Medieval Fantasy
A solitary figure in light blue and white leather attempted to remain unseen as he climbed through the snow, ascending the cloud-shrouded mountain. He paused to catch his breath. Looking upward toward the summit he saw ice covered rocks, and jagged peaks treacherously blanketed in snow. He inhaled deeply, quickening his pace, gasping in the altitudes thin air. He was almost there. Dusk had already begun turning to dark and stars were beginning to glitter in the distant heavens. It was still light enough to make out the ruins of Guylin Temple. Its stone stairway was no more than 100 yards distant.
A sound from lower down the mountain captured his attention. The click of a rock, accidentally dislodged by a careless footfall. He was being followed. Pursued would be a better word. He shivered slightly beneath his long cloak. He was running out of time.
A band of armed men briefly emerged from the cloud cover, following the trail he was inadvertently blazing for them. They faded back into the cloud but he knew they were there. He knew they were coming. For him. And for what he had taken from the Bellus Guild.
He quickened his pace. He could see that part of Guylin Temple's staircase was missing. A section of mountain had given way at some point in the distant past and taken a large portion of the stone steps with it. The remainder of the stone staircase was visible across a deep gorge, the base of which was littered with a jumble of broken stones and icy boulders.
There was moonlight now, enough illumination for him to see that the remainder of the stone staircase led directly into the side of the temple which sat on the other side of the gorge. Desperate, he could hear the footsteps of his pursuers. He glanced around. No way to climb and an impossible jump to cross the gorge.
No. Not impossible. The climber took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and exhaled long and slow.
It was a rough four point landing on stone steps on the far side of the gorge, causing him to stumble before managing to regain his balance. He took the stairs at a dead run, crossing the snow covered courtyard, slowing only when he saw stone statues, suddenly imbued with life, temple guardians, armed with stone spears and swords, blocking his entry to the temple.
The newly animated statues, armored and vaguely humanoid in form, had begun dismounting from their pedestals. The stone statues eyes, now trained directly upon him as the intruder, were filled with a piercing white light.
What strange magic was this? Who cast these spells? Instinctively he knew.
The climber, himself a sorcerer, slowly raised his right hand, signaling for them to halt, while allowing a bluish-white light to begin to glow in his palm. It was a signal to the temples stone guardians that he meant no harm.
SAMPLE # 2
Genre Science Fiction / Fantasy
I thought last night's view of the city had been spectacular, but I was totally unprepared for what the daylight view held in store for me. It felt as if I were attending the unveiling of a jeweled canvas. The golden sky formed the backdrop for a veritable rainforest of living breathing, blooming colors. There had to be at least a half-dozen shades of green alone. Cascading waterfalls and waterways added a shimmering touch of aquamarine to the scene, while fruiting and flowering trees and shrubs joyously erupted in vibrant splashes of color.
High-rise and mid-rise buildings throughout the city had been
constructed in a variety of geometric shapes and hues, which took their design
inspiration from nature. A sprinkling of towers and domes and minarets added
a touch of the exotic to the supra-modern architecture of the city.
I had no idea what construction materials had been used for the various exterior finishes, but one building, a massive, open centered octagon shaped high rise, the base of which spanned one of the many waterways, particularly fascinated me.
I couldn't decide whether it reminded me more of a stained glass Ferris Wheel, or a giant, blueberry colored candy Lifesaver, balanced on end. I simply shook my head. This approached sensory overload. The underground city on Mars was nothing short of breathtaking.
SAMPLE # 3
I ran my ad for just that one day, just that one Sunday. My
ad wasnt very long, and unlike other advertisers, I didnt specify
what I was looking for, I simply tried to give enough of a description of myself,
so that the right person would be able to recognize me.
My ad read;
Long auburn hair, longer legs. Personality shy to outrageous. Blue jeans to ball gowns. Enjoys sailing, power-boating, quiet evenings at home. Plays terrible tennis. White horse, shiny armor and vast kingdom considered charming in a respondent. Former Boy Scout given equal consideration.
SAMPLE # 4
Drama - Overcoming all odds
The last thing sitting on the lace tablecloth which covered the dining room table was a small but valuable old vase.
Sarah was only seven but she knew to be extra careful. She had done this before. She would carry it into the kitchen and carefully set it on the breakfast table.
Sarah had firmly grasped the little vase with both hands and was walking slowly, headed down the hall to the kitchen. Her spoiled and spiteful five year old sister Jackie had snuck up behind her and deliberately lodged a vicious kick at the back of Sarahs right knee. Sarah had screamed in pain when the hard-soled patent leather Mary Jane shoe struck, rupturing a small vein in her leg in the process. Her leg had buckled, pitching her forward, and the valuable old vase had gone flying, jettisoned from her hands onto the cold porcelain tile floor, shattering into a thousand pieces.
Five year old Jackie had launched the sneak attack on her sister, then turned and sprinted stealthily back into her own bedroom to establish her alibi. She had kicked off her Mary Janes, thrown herself on the floor, and pretended to have been playing with her dolls.
Naturally everyone came running at the sound of the scream and the crash. Everyone but Jackie, who finally padded out of her bedroom, wearing her lace-edged white socks, timing her arrival on the scene about a minute after everyone else had shown up.
What happened, Mommy? little Jackie had asked her mother, feigning wide eyed innocence as she looked at the debris field. Oh NO! Did Sarah break your special vase?
Sarah was gasping with pain and shock. She was literally covered with streaks of blood, having landed on the sharp porcelain shards.
There was much screaming and gnashing of teeth, and when Sarah had struggled to her feet she tried to explain that Jackie had run up behind her and kicked her with her hard Mary Janes.
Pauline had flown into a full blown rage, screaming at the top of her lungs, and slapped Sarah so hard the blow had literally knocked her halfway across the room. Her father had run over to her, yanked her up by the arm and whaled the living daylights out of her butt, screaming in outrage that nobody had wanted her and he wished she had never been born.
Seven year old Sarah had washed the blood off all by herself, applied iodine and band aids to the largest cuts, put her jammies on, then crawled into bed and pulled the covers over her little head.
She dared not allow herself to cry. She didnt want to make anybody mad.
SAMPLE # 5
David, my other Vet Tech and I will come by after the clinic closes. Around six thirty.
Well take Sylvester back to the clinic with us afterwards. Youre going to want him cremated, right? And his ashes returned to you?
She nodded yes to both.
The office will arrange that for you, he said.
Are you going to be OK? he asked gently.
She shook her head. No, she said sadly. No. Im not.
Sarah dialed the phone.
Dr. Wilson and his assistant David had just come and gone. He kept his promise. Sylvesters passing had been both peaceful and painless.
Sarah had been sitting on the floor, Sylvester cradled in her arms, his tail gently wagging. His eyes were peaceful as the Vet administered the shot, and she watched as the light, that lovely dancing light in his beautiful brown eyes quietly went out.
The loss of Sylvester, her buddy, her best friend, her baby dog, had been devastating beyond words for Sarah. She was emotionally shattered.
Sample # 6
They opened the door to the magnificent, but curiously decorated 6500 SF Zeus suite aboard the newly built luxury starship Athena.
The suite was . . . strangely fascinating, even weirdly beautiful in its own way. It had sort of a Star Wars Hogwarts Disneyworld Titanic thing going for it.
Jeffrey simply burst out laughing.
Possibly they changed interior designers three or four times while it was under construction.
And truthfully, until after nearly having a heart attack when a colorful school of parrotfish suddenly materialized underfoot and swam up the sweeping staircase to the second floor, I didn't even know that animated three dimensional virtual reality floor art even existed.
Sample # 7
"Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?" asked
the cat who had accidentally tumbled through a dimensional portal and inadvertently
landed on my doorstep.
It was Monday morning and I was pouring a glass of orange juice, while browning a couple slices of some off-brand corned beef hash I had decided to try. I looked up. The cat was seated on one of the stools at the tall wooden breakfast table.
I shrugged. "Go ahead, ask away."
"How can you eat that crap?"
I burst out laughing. "This from the guy who just ate a bowl full of something that smells like roadkill."
"I'd have preferred bacon and eggs, had it been offered, he replied haughtily.
"Well why didn't you simply say so? I thought you liked it!"
"I attempted to bury it," he replied.
"I thought you were just being sarcastic."
"I was," he said flatly.
We stared at each other.
I turned back to the stove to flip the sizzling corned beef hash patties in the frying pan. "What are your plans for the day? I inquired politely.
He yawned. "I'm going back to bed, he said. He jumped down and stalked out of the room.
He's right, I realized, as I took a bite of the corned beef hash. This stuff does taste like crap.
Sample # 8
Genre: Adventure / Character Description
Jeremiah Reason was thirty-two years old. His parents, a handsome, well-educated bi-racial couple, had adopted him in Paris immediately upon his birth.
Adoptions of French orphans by American citizens are virtually non-existent. France is a party to the Hague Adoption Convention, which basically ensures that French children available for adoption will be adopted by French parents.
Jeremiah fell into a different category. First, he wasnt an orphan. Second, his biological mother had been an American student living abroad and studying at the Sorbonne. Both of Jeremiahs adoptive parents had been American educators who spent a year teaching English at the Sorbonne.
The Paris-Sorbonne or Sorbonne, as it is traditionally known, is the largest institution in France dedicated to the study of literature, languages, civilizations, arts, humanities and social sciences. The university encourages its students to think freely, to construct their own judgment, so that they may become responsible and inventive citizens who can promote dignity and a culture of peace.
Detailed information about Jeremiahs biological father had never been forthcoming from his biological mother, but for the sake of the adoption proceedings, a notarized statement from the mother had been provided, stating that Jeremiahs father had also been an American citizen. There was no way of knowing whether this was actually true or not.
She confided to Jeremiahs adoptive parents that Jeremiahs biological father had never known that she was pregnant. There was only that one memorable weekend together in Paris. The only other tidbit volunteered was that Jeremiahs father was a tall, good-looking pilot with a sky high I.Q. He had mentioned in passing that he flew jets, but she hadnt thought to ask which airline he was with.
Jeremiahs biological mother, a very bright, and very pretty, blue-eyed blonde, had died in an automobile accident in London, a mere six weeks after his birth. The attorney who had handled the adoption recognized the name and photograph in the French daily newspaper Le Monde. The article mentioned that an American student studying at the Sorbonne had been killed instantly when a vehicle she was a passenger in was broadsided by a taxi during a visit to London. He had mailed a clipping of the article to Jeremiahs adoptive parents who were back in the U.S. by then. When Jeremiah was old enough to understand, his adoptive parents told him what little they knew about his biological parents.
As to Jeremiahs actual heritage, it was anybodys guess. He had an exotic look about him. He was 64, weighed 220, and worked out on a regular basis. His skin tone was bronze, his hair was jet black with loose waves, and he had inherited his mothers striking, cornflower blue eyes. His IQ was literally off the charts. From a biological standpoint, the child of that amorous union in Paris had basically won the genetic lottery.
Jeremiah also lucked out with his adoptive parents. They had simply adored him.
After college, having achieved advanced degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics, Jeremiah earned his pilots license and then spent a few years in the military, doing some covert work and learning to fly things that most people on this planet firmly believed were just science fiction. He had also traveled to places that few people imagined even existed.
After leaving active military service, Jeremiah had become a private consultant to several of the nations most powerful aerospace firms. He held a Top Secret security clearance, which, along with his specialized knowledge, experience and expertise, allowed him to charge his clients accordingly. Financially speaking, Jeremiah was, as they say, extremely comfortable.
Up until a year ago, Jeremiah had been in a long-term, and what he had naively assumed to be a happy relationship. He and his fiancé had shared his spacious home on the water in Palm Beach.
Jeremiah had come home from a business trip one day, to find the joint bank accounts empty, the house newly devoid of all its expensive furnishings, and a six week old black and white tuxedo kitten, who had apparently wandered in through a door left ajar by the movers, sitting in the middle of the cavernous living room.
He had taken a deep breath, christened the kitten F.U.B.A.R., a name aptly reflective of the days events, put the house on the market, and moved to another county in Florida.
Jeremiah actually counted himself lucky. He had been just about
to suggest to his fiancé that they set a wedding date.
Sample # 9
The front door was the only way in, and Barry was extremely security conscious. It was a pawnshop after all. His exterior polycarbonate display windows were indistinguishable from glass, but they'd take a shotgun blast, or a sledge hammer, or even a .44 Magnum bullet without yielding an inch to a smash and grab robber. His transparent bulletproof door was similarly protected. It was fabricated from ballistic glass, and mounted in a bullet resistant frame with both a standard bolt lock and an automatic magnetic locking system.
Barry eyeballed and mentally screened everybody when they first approached the bullet-proof glass door before hitting the under-counter button that released the magnetic door lock. He'd had an uncanny knack for judging people. If you didn't look right to Barry you simply wouldn't get buzzed in.
There wasn't even a way for anybody to get behind the counter once they were inside. One literally had to back up to the chest high counter, put his hands on the edge, hoist himself up, spin around on his butt and then hop down on the other side.
There was no way in hell that Barry, even though he was in his sixties, wouldn't have sensed that kind of movement. Barry still had the reflexes of a cat. He'd have instantly spun around and confronted an attacker, yet the police report had attributed his death to a point blank gunshot wound, effectively a contact shot, into the back of his head.
For some reason the cops who responded to the call had also made no attempt to preserve or recover fingerprint evidence either from the front door or from the countertop.
Barry's ex-wife, with whom he had still been on good terms, hadn't been asked to identify the body. It appeared that nobody had. No autopsy had been ordered, which Jeremiah thought particularly strange, and bizarrely, the body had immediately been cremated, without the family's permission. They had simply been handed a white cardboard box full of ashes. OK, Jeremiah reasoned, with that close of a shot, it certainly wouldn't have been an open casket funeral, but still
Genre: Humor Bernard Bearcat - "I Found Your Phone" and advice column "Go Bother Bernard"
("I escaped from an exotic animal pet shop. I had the run of the shop. The guy who worked there had a smartphone. He let me play with it. He wanted to see if I could be taught to communicate, you know like that gorilla, but typing instead of sign language." )
Sample # 11 - Excerpt: Tragedy/Heartache
Timothy Gray and his sister Amanda burst into their grandmothers den.
"Gram...on the news..." Amanda began breathlessly.
"There was a news report, Gram," said Timothy, his eyes wild. "We were at Billys house...and Billys father said we should come home right away...because...he heard...we heard...something happened...and it was on the news...and they...they said that...that..." faltered Timothy.
Timothys face was flushed. His heart was pounding wildly, and his hands were beginning to shake.
Timothy and Amandas grandmother sat very still in her big wingback chair. She stared out the window at something very far away. As if frozen in place, her hand clutched the telephone receiver that lay in her lap. It was making those beeping sounds, the way it does when you forget to hang the phone up.
With a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, Timothy quietly took the receiver from his grandmothers hand and hung it up.
"Gram" Amanda rattled nervously, "It happened where they are, right? So we better call to make sure theyre OK, hadnt we? Gram? Well call them up and see if maybe they knew the ones it happened to...I mean, because...because...we know that it was some other people this happened to, right, Gram? Weve gotta call right now, because...its not...it wouldnt be...it couldnt be...them..."
"It was, honey," she whispered.
A tear rolled quietly down Grandmas cheek as she fought for control.
Amanda gasped, trying to understand.
"This is not happening," Amandas mind said calmly. "Rewind. Select alternate ending."
"So...so...when...this happened...they...they got hurt...right? Amandas voice began to shake. "But theyre...theyre gonna be OK, right, Gram? And well go to the hospital, right? And well tell them theyre gonna be OK."
Amanda was finding it hard to breathe. "Theyre gonna be OK, arent they? Gram? Grandma?"
Amandas grandma turned to the two of them, and her eyes were filled with pain. She shook her head slowly.
"No, honey," she said softly. "Theyre not going to be OK."
"Theyre not dead?" blinked Timothy, shaking his head as if to deny this was happening. His anguished grandmother closed her eyes to the words.
"Theyre dead?" he said, dazed. "They cant be dead, Grandma," Timothy said firmly. It was not possible to comprehend this. His head was beginning to spin.
"They cant be dead," he said again. "Grandma, theyre young," as if the inherent logic in that statement could somehow overcome the horror of the news he was struggling to deal with.
"Grandma, theyre young," it was a whispered plea.
Timothys knees went weak. He doubled over as if hed just been hit in the stomach. The pain was so awful it made him want to throw up.
Amandas hands curled into fists, instinctively rising to her head, as if to ward off invisible blows to her mind. "NOOOOOOOOO!" she wailed. "NOOOOOOO!"
Amandas scream was like a knife to her grandmothers heart. She held her arms out and gathered the pair to her. As she did so, she closed her eyes and offered a silent prayer.
"Dear God, help us get through this."
Amanda leaned back and took her grandmothers face in her both her hands. "You make this not happen, Grandma. You make this not happen," she pleaded with a sob.
Amandas voice began to rise.
"Make THISNOT --- HAPPEN--Grandma!!" Amanda commanded, her voice shaking.
"MAKE ...THIS...NOT...HAPPEN!!" she shrieked hysterically.
Her grandmother cradled her in her arms.
Timothy sat down on the floor with a thud. He drew his knees up and wrapped his arms around them, absentmindedly rocking to and fro as he sat there.
"Not even Grandma can make this not happen, Amanda," he said woodenly.
His body felt like lead. His mind was numb. His rested his forehead on his knees. He couldnt think past the words "This cant be happening. No way can this thing be happening."
"Im so sorry, love," said Grandma, with a sob. "Im so sorry. For us, and for them. For everybody." She reached out and touched their faces, stroked their heads.
Timothy drew back, looking at his grandmother with fury in his eyes. "You cant be sorry for anybody who did this?!" he demanded.
Amanda collapsed onto her knees on the floor and sobbed uncontrollably. Her head lay in her grandmothers lap, and like a drowning child, she continued to hold on to her grandmothers hands for dear life.
"Everyone's family is going to have to live with what happened, Timothy," she said with a ragged sigh.
"Why did this have to happen?" he shouted angrily. "How could it happen?"
Timothy balled up his fist and hit the arm of the chair as hard as he could. "Why would somebody want to hurt innocent people?"
"Why them?" he screamed.
He rose up on his knees and hit the arm of the chair again, this time with both fists, screaming "Why hurt people WE care about? Why would somebody do this? What did it accomplish except to hurt us, and everybody else this happened to?"
"Grandma..." Timothy wailed in helpless anguish, "What's the matter with somebody's head? What would make them do this?"
"Damn them!" he raged. "Damn, damn, damn!" Timothy hit the chair again and again, sobbing, overcome with rage and grief.
"Bad people," moaned Amanda. "Bad people did this."
Amandas grandmother held them close again.
"So many lives shattered," she thought wearily. "And for what possible purpose?"
Sample # 12
Excerpt: Carefully researched descriptive passages
Jeremiah pulled the Mercedes into the empty hangar, shut off the engine and dialed his cellphone. "Stanley? You ready? I'm here. Let's blow this pop-stand."
At only 723.5 miles from Witham Field to Nashville, this was going to be a fairly short trip.
Jeremiah's Learjet Bombardier 45XR had a top speed of 535 mph, with a range of 2,301 miles and it could reach an altitude of 51,000 feet. Whatever Jeremiah was likely to need in the air, the Bombardier 45XR, considered the "Swiss Army Knife" of jets, probably already had it. It comfortably sat 8 but it could carry 9 passengers in a pinch.
It fell into the "very light" class of jets, which require less runway space. The operating cost for fuel was economical and the 905 gallon tanks could be filled and ready for takeoff in a mere ten minutes. Since very light jets also have access to a network of over 5,000 smaller local airports, that made for a pretty user-friendly personal jet.
Unsurprisingly, the Learjet Bombardier 45XR came with a bear of a price tag. New, the price was eleven million dollars. Jeremiah had picked up a mint condition two year old 45XR at a government auction a little over a year ago.
While lying in bed casually browsing through auction listings late one Sunday evening, the online notice for the 45XR had caught his eye.
The U.S. Treasury Department doesn't fool around with their weekly auctions. Bidding instructions state "All Offers Must Be Accompanied By The Entire Purchase Offer Amount."
On a whim, his gut instinct telling him to go for it, Jeremiah had emailed a buddy and arranged to have the jet inspected first thing the following day. By 8AM Monday morning he had already received word that the plane checked out and that it was in pristine condition.
Jeremiah downloaded the bid form, filled it out, faxed it back, and wired the full amount of his bid, a lowball offer of five hundred thousand.
Serendipitously, as a result of a clerical error by a new government employee, a typewritten zero had been missing on the government's original auction authorization, which specified the minimum reserve.
Instead of a minimum reserve of five million dollars for this auction, the minimum listed in the government's file had been typed as $500000.
Jeremiah had been the only bidder. The Treasury Department's paperwork showed a 5 and a bunch of zeros, Jeremiah's wire transfer payment showed a 5 and a bunch of zeros. The two numbers matched. His offer was accepted. The aircraft title was delivered to him, and the document was properly recorded.
The Treasury Department eventually figured it out of course, but by then it was too late. The Learjet Bombardier 45XR was his fair and square.
The 45XR taxied up to the hangar and Stanley dashed down the steps to help Jeremiah with his bags. When he saw Fubar on Jeremiah's shoulder he burst into a wide grin and held up his hand. "Fubar! How the hell are you, man?"
"Rowf," the cat replied, and raised a paw to high-five the Captain. Stanley shook his head. "That is the weirdest damn cat I have ever seen, Jeremiah."
"Thank you. I think," Jeremiah replied.
Sample # 13
Logan Forrest of Forrest Robotics had been putting in long hours lately. It was after midnight and he was still sitting in front of his computer in the den. The weather was pleasant so he had the sliding glass doors to the floodlit pool patio area open.
That's probably why he heard the splash.
Rufus, a zaftig rescue dog of indeterminate parentage who had been peacefully napping until the sound of the large splash, quickly leapt to his feet.
Rufus was affable, he made good company, and he was a reasonably decent guard dog, but his spatial reasoning was markedly deficient.
If you grabbed a yardstick and measured Rufus's height from the floor to the top of his head, you'd notch the 20" mark. The height of the glass-topped coffee table he often napped under was 18". The problem was self-explanatory. Fortunately the glass was thick.
Rufus shook his head and made a beeline for the dog door in the screened slider.
"Bloody hell," came an annoyed voice from the pool.
Startled, Logan grabbed an old wooden baseball bat that was leaning against a wall and headed for the patio.
Rufus stood at the edge of the pool steps, his entire chubby butt wagging with absolute delight as he watched a lone figure slogging its way through the water, heading for the pool steps.
The figure in the pool appeared to be female, slim, petite, and highly annoyed.
"Where am I this time?" she demanded.
"Excuse me?" Logan asked as he extended a hand to the sopping wet intruder.
"Who are you and how the hell did you get in here anyway?" he asked. "There's a six foot wall and the alarm system is on."
His dripping wet guest sighed heavily, and gratefully accepted the large beach towel he'd retrieved from the back of a patio chair.
"I don't suppose this is part of Cliffside Castle, is it?" she asked dejectedly.
Logan shook his head slowly. "You haven't answered my question," he said suspiciously. How did you get over the wall?
Sample # 14 - Fantasy