My entry for The Writer's Voice

Entry #174--by J.S. Decker--YA (romantic fantasy)

Plot Summary for Finding Mulligan

The guy you like is out of your league? Boo-hoo. The guy I like is from a different universe. Beat that.

Cassandra Howard lives a double life--literally. She spends her days worrying about school, hanging out with her best friend, and sulking in the shadow of her chronically ill (and pampered) younger sister. But at night, she's busy with her charmed life in an alternate universe. In dreamland, Cassie becomes a charismatic, carefree girl named Dia, and she prefers to keep her two lives separate. That changes when she falls in love.

Dia kicks off a fairy-tale romance with Mulligan, dreamland's delicious drummer boy. But Cassie is pretty sick of her other self getting everything good about their shared life, and she talks Dia into helping her find the waking-world version of her boyfriend. All the clues point to Mulligan existing in both worlds, just like Cassie does.

A mysterious portrait of Mulligan leads Cassie to two candidates: is it Terrell, the model who posed for the painting? Or is it Jamie, the artist who painted it? Maddening maybes play tug-of-war in her mind until she finds herself attracted to both guys, and she fears betraying her dream love if she picks the wrong one.

To test her contenders, Cassie dresses up like Dia and tries to act like her, but gets the shock of her life when some of Dia's practically magical charisma and talent transfers to her. When lines of identity start blurring beyond their comfort, they'll have to uncover the nature of dreamland and deal with the repercussions of this love triangle. (Or . . . love pentagon. Whatever.) And one thing's for sure: dreams of "happily ever after" do sometimes turn out to be nightmares.

First 250 Words of Finding Mulligan

Here we go again.

Yet another apartment. The usual: over-enthusiastic leasing rep leading my parents and me up the steps; weak joke from the guy as he unlocked the nondescript brown door; puff of glacial air conditioning rushing out to smack me. But as soon as I stepped into the apartment, something else hit me as well.


All right, I had not been expecting to hear those chimes today. My bored desperation vanished at the sound of the faint, magical bells striking twice, and I froze in the doorway, blocking the entrance.

Okay, stay calm. Something otherworldly was here if I was hearing that noise, but . . . wait, here? What could possibly set off my bells during something dumb like apartment hunting? Did this have to happen in front of my parents, for God's sake? And what was causing it?

My eyes snapped around the room in search of the source, only gathering the usual blank walls, light switches and door frames--nothing important. But when my gaze landed on a doorway next to the bedroom, I lost my breath. Am I hallucinating, or is some guy standing in that doorway? I blinked. He was still there. Looking at me. Smiling. A person! Could anyone else see him? What. . . .

No, it made no sense for a random dude to be standing around in an empty apartment. He shouldn't be there. And he shouldn't be setting off my bells, however he was doing it, dammit.

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