Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

storm moving across a field
August 21, 2013

A Bow To Our Readers: Share Your Writing!

Writing on PaperBy Laura Drake

We love seeing what our readers are up to - so here's your chance!  This month, I'm thinking about middles, since I'm near the middle of my WIP, and worrying about sagging (and for once, it's not about my butt).

So here's your assignment:

Go to your WIP (or one of your other books,) turn to the middle (no cheating) and share a paragraph  or so  in the comments (no more than 200 words, and only one, please.)

Here are ours...

Laura (from my latest, Her Road Home):

The front door slammed open, admitting a woman who, at first glance, looked like a high society matron. A soft pink sleeveless silk shell was tucked into expensively tailored buff linen slacks. Her well-cut hair, with perfect subtle tones of blonde screamed exclusive hairdresser. Her face suggested good breeding, with high cheekbones and a refined nose. She was tanning-bed brown and society thin.

And drunk. Not the falling down variety, or even the speech slurring version, but Sam knew the subtle signs. Her linen slacks were rumpled, and a watermark stain darkened the silk blouse. Her hair pressed flat on one side, and her makeup was smeared. All these could be attributable to the late hour, but Sam knew better.

Sharla (from "Felling A Timberman"):

Noelle stopped dead in the doorway, shocked.

A ledger lay open at the foot of the bed and wads of paper were scattered like jettisoned snowballs all over the floor. An ink-stained sheet covered Vidar’s lap, and his blankets lay in a snarled heap on the floor. Worse, the water pitcher on his nightstand had tipped over, soaking the blankets.

“It’s about time,” he grumbled. “Where did you hide my britches?

A weeks worth of pent up irritation drove into the room. “Listen, Timber Beast, I --” She stumbled and watched helplessly as the tray sailed out of her windmilling hands. Dishes crashed as she belly flopped onto the damp heap blankets beside his bed.

Gulping a breath of air, she pushed to her feet. “Y-e-u!” Syrupy porridge oozed between her fingers.

A bark of laughter followed by chortles and snorts erupted from the miscreant lounging in bed.

Noelle turned on him, raising a sticky fist. “You, ungrateful sidewinder! Don’t you dare laugh at me!” She eyed the mess she’d have to clean up. Too bad the ornery coyote laughing his fool head off had escaped unscathed.

Jenny (from her WIP, A Sister In Need):

Agatha couldn’t help it. She crossed herself. Vigorously. “Child, were you hurt?”

“Christ Jesus. No, I wasn’t hurt.” He brayed with laughter. “You know, my Aunt Genevieve’s a nun and she crosses just like you. They give all you penguins crossing lessons or what? Every time one of us gets drunk and starts cussing – and since we’re Irish, that’s like all the damn time – Aunt Genny practically knocks herself sideways crossing.”

Seeing the sheen of tears in Maureen's eyes, she crossed herself again for good measure, bowing her head and watching the gunman through her eyelashes.

When his laughter cut off midstream, and he ground his Glock into Maureen's neck, Agatha’s resolve began to tremble. Their hostage-taker was either on some sort of substance or he wasn’t quite sane. Neither scenario was going to be good for Mo.

Desperate to keep him talking, she asked, “Does your Aunt Genny wear a habit?”

“She wore a black habit last I remember, with the white thingie around her neck. And a really killer cross. Heavy. It used to whack us when she’d bend over to pick us up.”

Fae (from Contracting Joy, the second in the Keep Sphere novels):

The lights winked off, then the auxiliary power lit them again.  Tanner made for the tube access at a dead run and jumped in.  He’d checked the long range scan just minutes before, but it was possible that another ship had jumped in close beside them.  Too close, unless its crew meant to.  And the only reason a ship would jump so close to another was if they were . . .

Heart pounding, he hurtled himself out of the tube at the bridge opening and made for his station.  Before he settled in the chair, he tapped his screen to get confirmation of his fears.  Swarms of single and two-man ships nipped at the hull of the Cargo Runner.  Without a doubt, they were being attacked by pirates, and there wasn’t a damned thing as tactician he could do.

Orly (from her WIP, The Day The Merry-Go-Round Stopped):

I picture the old Hank with the paper-thin skin on his hands that accentuates every vein and the eyes that water slightly when he’s thinking about something. The Hank who talks to me about the colors he used on the carousel and how he decided where to place each animal. The Hank who asks who I am every couple of sentences. The Hank who squeezes my hand when he knows I need comfort and tells me to let go of the guilt because guilt is a useless emotion.

I picture the young Hank with the strong, wide hands and ready grin and the eyes that sparkle with the fun-to-come. The Hank who talks to Meera about dancing and running in the waves. The Hank who squeezes my hand searching for comfort that he did the right thing in letting me go and asks me to be happy to release his guilt.

Now it's your turn! We can't wait to see your work down in the comments section.

166 comments on “A Bow To Our Readers: Share Your Writing!”

  1. (From WIP, Eli Rising: A Novel of the Watch)

    The Lost, Leo said, were mentally adept human spirits who’d gone wrong.

    “Are all of the dead members of the Lost?” I asked, and he shook his head.

    “There is a tier comprised of innocents—you might call them ‘normal’ dead. Some human souls of that tier are chosen by the Watch, to be waked and brought into service. Most souls simply remain there and dream for eternity.”

    “What do you mean, dream for eternity?”

    Leo smiled. “What did you imagine death to be, my dear?”

    I’d been so close to it so many times in the years with Stan that I could describe a near-death experience start to finish in under three minutes. “I have my own ideas of death. Why don’t you share yours?”

    He rose and paced the large kitchen, his hands clasped behind his back, like a lecturing philosophy professor with his graduate students. “It is as if you sleep,” he said. “Your thoughts slow, and your mind drifts where it will. Then you move into a deeper, unconscious state, and the dreams begin. In ordinary sleep, after a time, you would wake to the real world again. In death, the dreams never end.”

    1. Ouuu, Rebecca, nice. Intrigued by the idea of being "brought into service." 🙂

      1. Thank you much for the kind words. Makes this old lady happy (and hopeful that maybe the manuscript will eventually get published). -- I've learned half of what I know about writing from this site. You guys are a great resource for those of us out here still feeling our way. Thanks again!

  2. From my WIP - FAMILY TREED - it's a short story I'll be releasing next month)

    After yet another awkward pause, Dimitri spoke again. “Since our last meeting, I found time to read your book.”

    Was she supposed to be impressed he’d managed to work his way through a children’s book in just under a month? Nell had learned not to ask, “Did you like it,” but hadn’t come up with an alternative yet. It was Mirabelle who saved her, though Nell was pretty sure she hadn’t meant to.

    “You wrote a book?”

    There was polite disbelief Nell had managed to write a book and the implication that only one book was not something to brag about.

    “She writes children’s books,” Guido said, smiling with actual warmth at Nell, “about an artichoke.”
    A pregnant pause while they processed this. Another while they tried to figure out what to say about it.

    “Do you write under your own name?” Cinzia asked, managing to be bitchy without sounding bitchy.

    “Just my last name,” Nell said. Mirabelle opened her mouth but Nell forestalled her. “Whitby.”
    Nell had chosen to only use her last name as a sort of homage to her parents. Of course, when she did it, she didn’t know the name was as fictional as her artichoke.

    1. Artichokes are fictional? NOOOOO! Say it isn't so!! That's not a world I want to live in. 🙂
      Nicely done, Pauline. I was chuckling about that exchange.

  3. (From Untitled WIP: The Ruth Valley Missing Sequel)

    “It’s a good thing there was a line forming behind us. I don’t think we would have ever gotten out of there.”

    Graeme watched as I placed bags in the trunk. “Poor girl was just being friendly.”

    “Is that what you call it?”

    “Yes. You should try it sometime.”

    I snorted. “Um, no thanks. I’ve no plans to get ‘friendly’ with anyone here anytime soon.”

    “You’re awfully negative, James. Little wonder you’ve no friends under sixty.”

    “I have friends.”

    “Really? Let’s see who you invited to your fancy dinner: a cranky old man, oh, and a girl who’s dating your ex, so we all know that won’t last much longer.”

    “You know me so well?”

    “Well enough. You walked out on this Dylan character, not that I blame you on that one, your last relationship ended so badly you won’t talk about it, and now you seem to spend a lot of time speaking to a man no one is terribly sure exists.”

    I slammed the trunk and spun towards him. “What are you talking about?”

    “That Angie is full of useful information.”

    “She is.” I got in the car and locked the doors, turning the key in the ignition. “Maybe she can tell you the best way to get home.”

    Graeme jumped back as I threw the car in reverse and left him standing in the grocery store parking lot.

  4. I'm tingling from Orly's passage. How many times do we read about that paper-thin skin, yet here, the image was brought to life. Wow.

    I'm not here often, but my good friend Gloria Richard scatters enough comments around the blogiverse for the both of us. And so, I share a passage from page 191.5 of my WIP. Yes, I had to take out the calculator to figure out the middle of my ms. From Homecoming:

    Philip gripped the dashboard as we swung around a curve. “You drove from Winnipeg in this thing?”
    “Don’t make fun of my car.”
    “Wouldn’t dream of it. Runs smooth for a buggy.” He craned his neck, looking left then right, out the back window. “Where do you hide the wind-up key? Whoa! You missed the turn.”
    I downshifted, looking for a place to turn around. “You were supposed to be giving me directions, not hanging your head out the window like Bowser.”
    “Can I help it if there’s not a lot of head room?”
    “Don’t exaggerate.”
    “Exaggerate? You could fit this car into the box of my truck. Seriously. Airlines would consider it carry-on luggage.” Philip drummed his fingers on the window frame. “We should have taken the Shelby for a spin. Much more masculine.”
    The Mustang, still in the shed, the keys still on the ring by the door, untouched. I shot Philip a look, yanked on the stick as though it were attached to his groin. “Masculine enough for ya?”

    1. Thanks so much, Sherry! 🙂

      LOVE this. As someone who drives a teeny car - and a manual at that - this had me laughing! Thanks for sharing.

  5. (From WIP: Hunter Moon)
    Marce was uncomfortable in the nakedness of the field with no cover to shield her from view, giving her no element of surprise. The deer that were feeding sprinted to the forest cover on the far side of the field. They didn't know that they were safe today, that her quarry was not food. Today's hunt would end in useless meat, wasted seed, and when it was over, no one would benefit.

    She would benefit the least from this hunt. She rode her horse quietly across the open, flat field toward the stand of trees. It was too close to the border for her comfort. The twelve-foot, moss-covered stone wall was the definitive southern border where Archerwood Province of Kymora met Somorland.

    The late-winter air was cold enough to bite Marce's cheeks and make her breath visible. It was almost cold enough to keep her focused on finding the fugitive she hunted rather than on what she would lose by killing him. Almost--her eyes unfocused and she caught herself thinking about what the Somorlander might have provided her.

  6. (from the smack-dab-middle of my debut THE ART OF FALLING, due January 7, 2014 from Sourcebooks)

    She let out a long sigh. “What would I have to do?”

    I took her around the room and led her through a pretty easy program. I didn’t want to be the one responsible for her heart attack after berating her for all the damage she’d done to herself. I had her finish on the exercise bike and showed her how to set it at the easiest level. I had to break away to tend to another client, though, and when I returned, sweat was trickling down her face.

    “You have to start slowly.” I turned the intensity gauge back to where I’d left it.

    “It must have slipped.”

    “Right.” I handed her a towel. “That’s enough for today. How do you feel?”

    “I never thought I’d be in a gym in my life. It feels weird.”

    “Weird good or weird bad?”

    “I don’t know. My heart is pounding, my lungs are on fire, and this sweat is coming out everywhere. Even my eyeballs.” She dabbed at her eyes with her towel to convince me.

    “You described what it feels like to be alive, Mom. Really alive. It’s about time.” Something about our role reversal emboldened me to close the deal. “It’s forty-five dollars a month.”

    She dismounted. “That’s a lot of money.”

    “You used to spend more on my toe shoes.”

    “But now I have to save for retirement.”

    “So you can do what, sit around, bored? You need to get in shape so you have a retirement to enjoy.” She wanted to sit, but I made her walk around the room with me until she looked less flushed.

    1. Oh gawd, Kathryn - were you in my house this morning???? I'm reading this after a session on the treadmill. Even the cats looked worried about my well being at one point. 🙂

      I can't wait to get a copy of this book!!

  7. (From WIP: Boots of Spanish Leather)
    'Keep up Franco,' the Abbot said.
    He followed a twisting and turning route deeper into the seedier parts of Segovia. The tall stone walls of the city were getting closer. Was he to be rid of me?
    He stopped at a large wooden door with heavy metal locks and rapped upon it. He patted his thigh as though calling a stray dog to his side, and I stepped forward. The latch slid aside and an older woman, her face hideously painted, opened the door.
    ‘Dear Abbot?' she said. 'What brings you to the rear door on this cold night?'
    He grabbed me by the collar of my jerkin and pulled me forward.
    'The old trouble,' he said with a sigh. 'Make sure she is clean but not pretty.'
    He handed her the purse and left me standing there in the doorway. A cruel smile distorted the woman’s face.
    After a few steps he stopped. 'That should suffice until he leaves my care. I do not expect to hear from you again.'
    'Yes Father,' she called after him.
    She looked at me and then jingled the purse.

  8. From WIP: Town Without Mercy

    I interrupted the exchange between my wife and my child's father. I crossed my hand in a T. "Hey, time out you two. There has to be a logical explanation for all of this. Just calm down. If Harold did have anything to do with this, I'll find out. I'm a reporter, remember? It's what I do."

    "That's why I told you Adele. I knew you would find out something."

    Jodi reared up like a bronco. "What a minute. Just how do you expect to find him? Traipsing around chasing leads? Leaving me here alone with Mercedes? Adele . . .you can't be serious? You need to be here, right beside Mercedes when she wakes up. Let the police do their job."

    Oh boy. Here we go. Jodi didn't understand. The best thing I could do for Mercedes was to find some answers. Not to sit here on my duff with my finger up my nose.

    "Jo, I've got to do this. Don't you understand?"

    "No, I don't. When Mercy wakes up she can tell us why she did it. We don't need Harold. We don't even need you Paul . . . no offense. Please. don't leave Adele - not now. we need you, I need you here."

    I watched as this big beautiful blonde crumbled before me. Before she could say more, I wrapped my arm around her shoulders. "Jo" I whispered. "You have to do this your way, I have to do it mine. I gotta go."

  9. From Texas Tango (Releases Nov. 5)

    “Here,” he said, handing her a set of keys.
    “What are those?”
    She rolled her eyes. “Yes, I got that part. To what?”
    He grinned. “Look, I’ve got a car I never drive. Take it until we know about yours.”
    “I don’t know, Travis.”
    “Don’t argue, and don’t make more out of this than it is. Your car died. We’re friends. I’m loaning you my old car until you get yours back.” He made his way over the coffee. “No big deal.”
    Friend. There was that word again. Funny how much it hurt to hear that word this morning.
    Screw it. She needed wheels.
    “Thanks. I’ll take care of it. What am I driving? Old truck?”
    “2012 Porsche 911.”
    She handed him the keys back. “Uh-Uh. No.”
    He pressed the keys back into her hand. “It needs to be driven. You’d be doing me a favor. Really.”
    He closed his fingers around hers. The emotional jolt had her shaking. She pulled her hand away, taking the keys with her. “Insured?”
    “Of course.”
    “Ever want it back?”

  10. From WIP YA Fantasy Queen of the Night

    “How old is the boy?”
    “Twelve, my lord. Kevin is twelve and my only son!” She pressed her head to his feet, insensible in her hysteria.
    Devon looked down at her, expressionless. “Mercy? The Night is not known for the weakness some call mercy, but perhaps we can make an exception.”
    He glanced at the other members of the Powers, who nodded, but whose evil smiles cast a chill over me. I turned back toward Devon, but found myself distracted by Ty, who had pushed his way to the front of the hall and stood in the front row of the crowd. The ill concealed look of hatred that he directed at Devon I expected, but then he returned my gaze and I felt the weight of his disgust leveled at me.
    The flash of a dagger, followed by a thud as the boy crumpled to floor, shot me to my feet.
    “No!” Was it me, or the mother who screamed?
    “Mercy has been shown! A quick death for a traitor!” Devon announced in the mother’s upturned face. He yanked the dagger out and turned to stride back up the dais steps, droplets pinging on the floor beside him.


    Mike rolled the brown lump around on his palm. He hadn’t eaten a Raisinet since Naima had convinced him they were chocolate covered ants, a delicacy in Africa. And sometimes the company shipped the wrong ones to America. He gulped once and tossed it in his mouth. He blinked and worked his tongue, swallowing repeatedly. It clung to his throat and squirmed like it was alive. By the time it was down, Mike’s brow was beaded with sweat. He wasn’t sure whether to be mad at Naima or Grimon for this one. He said no bugs.

    “Yuck, yuck, yuck. Slimy. Nasty. Like fried okra. And I swear it tried to crawl back up my throat. This had better be good.”

    Lane giggled. “Your tongue is green. Great start!”

    Mike stuck his tongue out—it had stretched long enough to see the tip. Great, I worried about turning purple, and instead I’m turning green. He inspected his hands, and indeed, his brown skin had taken a greenish hue. A tingling sensation gripped his fingertips.

    Pop! Pop! Pop!

    Green suckers emerged from Mike’s fingertips.

  12. While chopping onions and green peppers for Spanish rice with pork chops, I lean against the sink and stare out the window.

    Why should I keep trying? It’s hopeless. Might as well curl up in a dark hole and die. My dreams of love and safety are shattered into a billion pieces. Diane thinks I should wipe my past from memory and get on with life. Fat chance of that. She says, “I’ve gone out of my way to give you a good life and this is the thanks I get? Wish I never got involved.”

    Me too. Why’d I tell her about the notebooks? If I had amnesia, I could escape my past. But, no. All it takes is a word, a touch, a nightmare and it’s as if I’m back in that house. If only Diane would cut me some slack.

    If I were dead, I’d be out of her hair. I wouldn’t feel any pain. Death is easier than life – just slip into sweet nothingness, no feelings, no hurt, no suffering.

    I rinse rice, mix in vegetables, place the pork chops on top, and slip the casserole into the oven. After I wash up, I hold the paring knife next to my wrist. One swipe and I’ll escape. So tired of fighting. So tired of the nightmares of Daddy. I hate waking up and feeling the impression of his hands on my body. I put the knifepoint on a vein. If I slice lengthwise instead of across the wrist, there’s less chance of being saved.

    One slice and I’m free. None of this stuff will matter.

    Keith slams the backdoor, races down the hallway, and runs to the bathroom.

    I drop the knife I’m clutching. My hand’s shaking. What was I thinking? It wouldn’t be fair to the kids if they came upon a bloody mess. I need to find a place where I can be alone to die.

    Keith runs back through the kitchen and I shout, “Don’t slam the door.”

    Bam. I think all he heard was slam the door.

    I’m so tired of this shit. There’s no hope, no joy, no happiness, no nothing.

    1. Sorry - should have said this is from middle of memoir - Tell me what He did - at this point I was 16 and was terribly depressed - I'm now 61 and have a great life, healed by God.

      1. I'm so glad life is good for you now, Heather. Isn't it amazing to look back at how far we've come--and what we've overcome! Congratulations for winning your struggles.

  13. From my WIP, working title ROYAL ORLEANS:

    Arms folded across her chest, she watched from under lowered brows as Geoff got to his feet and approached with slow, deliberate steps. Though his tawny eyes held nothing but faint amusement, Spencer was familiar enough with him by now to recognize the tight set to his jaw, and took a quick step back.

    With a sigh, Geoff came to a halt and stood regarding her, hands on lean hips. “You could have said something, you know, instead of snatching the phone from my hand.”

    “I did say something,” Spencer countered. “I told you breakfast was ready, and you … you dismissed me by doing this.” She thrust a finger in the air, putting as much arrogance and condescension as she could into the simple gesture. “Like I wasn’t even really here.”

    “Now that you bring it up, honey, you’ve not been here much since I arrived.”

    “I do have a job, you know.” The tips of Spencer’s ears grew hot with the flush of anger that swept up her neck to her hairline. “I can’t just decide to blow it off when you come to town.”

  14. From the middle of my NA PNR Dangerous Temptation:

    "Let me get this straight. Our souls are bound to one another from birth and you can read my thoughts. Anything else?"
    "Caspians can only procreate with their truemates."
    "Back up, we're not even having that discussion right now." She scooted away from him.
    "I didn't mean to frighten you," his voice softened.
    "You feel my emotions too?" She paled, breath turning rapidly.
    "Easy, Kate," he soothed, keeping his hands up in a non threatening gesture.
    "That spark-thingy when we first met. Is that part of it too?"
    He nodded.
    "Then, you've known from the beginning who I was?"
    "At first I didn't understand it. The spark through me for a loop."
    "You hid it nicely."
    "So did you," he reminded.
    "This attraction thing-"
    "It's not a thing, Kate. It's real, instinctual, and intensifies during the heat cycles."
    "Heat cycles?" She paled. "You're telling me I'm basically going to turn into a bitch in heat?" She scowled, clearly not happy with the idea.
    "That would require you be a dog. We're tigers."
    "Does it happen around any guy?"
    "Only truemates."
    "I'm still not sure about all of this truemate business." She breathed a little easier.


  15. (From WIP "The Dark Lord's Sacrifice"--a futuristic romance)
    With raucous squawks of delight, the Aviani converged on the pair of humanoids.
    Preparing for the onslaught, Russ tightened his hold on the girl. Face white, Toshi raised her hands in a fruitless warding gesture.
    The birds swarmed them. The lass whirled, seeking an escape, but with such a throng surrounding them, there was nowhere to run.
    These creatures would tear them apart! Russ spread his arms in front of Toshi, hoping the Felinians would guard their backs.
    Bloody hell, what if I’m wrong? What if we’re food?
    The bird people gabbled in excitement, reaching out with clawlike hands. Their round eyes—red, orange or yellow—sparkled with excitement. Short vestigial beaks clattered; crimson wattles danced beneath their chins while they whistled and clucked.
    More of the bird-people trotted up, shoving to pass those in front. Russ and Toshi stood at the center of a seething mob, all mindlessly converging, intent on their goal: making physical contact with the strange human creatures.
    Even if it resulted in crushing them.

    1. Oops, that didn't post the way I wanted--lost the lines between paragraphs & the line beginning "Bloody hell.." was supposed to be in italics to indicate a thought. Oh, well, you get the gist. And by the way, these other snippets are so good, I feel a little embarrassed to post my paltry effort.!

    2. You're writing my genre, Kaye, and it sounds really cool. I bet there are lots of interesting things in this world. Jenny's right, don't apologize for your writing. Everybody's always growing. Tomorrow's pages will be better than today's. And isn't that wonderful?

  16. Wow! I'm actually intimidated by all the awesome in the comments! And, Marlene, I want to read your book just because of the title (though the excerpt reinforced this:))

    From THE GIFTED (WIP) pg 34:

    Ever since Dad died, Mom had taken me to a bunch of different churches. She wanted to find a reason why he had been taken from us I guess. But no matter what church we went to, she tired of it eventually and we moved on to another. Throughout it all, I never believed. It wasn’t that I didn’t think God existed. I just didn’t think he cared.

    But in that instant, I prayed. I prayed Lord Finn would change his mind. I prayed someone would come sweeping in to the rescue. I prayed this was all a nightmare, and when the guard’s sword pierced my body, I would wake up covered in sweat and only a cramp in my back.

    It never occurred to me to pray for the woman kneeling next to me.

    I never asked her name. That was all I could think of when I watched the sword slice through her as if she were made of air. It’s the only thing I could think of when my mouth opened to scream, but all that came out was the high-pitched whine of a throat too tight to make a noise.

      1. Thanks! I've gotten a couple of her classes, but I haven't done them yet. I'm finishing this before I go through and do them and apply what I learn to the edits=)

    1. This certainly took a different turn than I expected. The first paragraph so connected with my life and then, Wham! your world skewed everything--in a very interesting way. Well done.

  17. From my WIP, REMEMBRANCE

    “Aiden, I am not going to argue with you. I am going back to London. If you want a ride I’ll be glad to give you one.”

    “You're such a son of a bitch. How dare you?”

    “How dare I what," Tiernan spat back. Offer Ari comfort? Support? What? Tell me what's rambling around inside that brain of yours.”

    Poking him in the chest, Aiden bit back, “You know exactly what I am talking about. You said you were going back to London but surprise, surprise. I find you here, groping and kissing her like a hungry wolf.” He raked his hand angrily through his hair. “What am I supposed to think? A little tête-à-tête for Tiernan. Decided to pick up where you left off huh?”

    “Humph…judging by your anger, looks like you’re picking up where you left off as well – all that’s needed is a sword and for me to turn my back so you can dig it in again.”

    “You prick!” Aiden grabbed Tiernan's shoulder.

    “Me?” He yelled back. Noticing the stares of passerbys he toned down his voice. “Remove your hand Aiden. This isn’t the medieval ages.”

  18. Really enjoying the excerpts. Here's mine from my WIP:

    "I know…it sounds hokey as all get out but he said it’s all about cause and effect. Lives touch other lives that touch even more lives. He said, what if I was supposed to do something really important like cure cancer or even something as simple as…as—” she was scrambling now as her lie started to take on a life of it’s own, “—stopping a little kid from running into the street.”

    “Cause that little kid might cure cancer.”

    “Exactly!” Lethe beamed, relief flooding her. “You gotta hang on, girl. There’s something out there for you. I promise.”

    Bebe still didn’t look convinced; she leaned against the car again and a small frown puckered her eyebrows as she stared at the ground. “What if you saved a little kid who was supposed to die? Then what?”

    Lethe felt herself deflate like a popped balloon, but she wasn’t ready to give up. “You called me,” she said, eyebrows raised. “I told you to call anytime, and you did. That means something. You’re no more ready to quit than I am. You’ve still got some fight in there somewhere, girl.”

    “Some days I feel so weak,” Bebe whispered.

    “Some days we all feel weak.”

  19. Loving the wonderful excerpts!

    Here's mine from WIP, Working title Guardian

    They reached the edge of a river. The white water flowed at an alarming rate over rocks—falling, churning, spoiling her hopes. She groaned. “We’re going to get drenched—again.” Her bra had started to chafe from being wet yesterday.

    “We can’t cross here. We’ll have to find a safer place.” Aiden had raised his voice over the thunderous water.

    And lose precious time! Be wet all night with no sun time to dry in. Die of hypothermia? “We could walk for miles and never find an easier crossing, Aiden. The river stretches as far as I can see.”
    “We don’t have a choice, Jess.”

    “I say we chance it. We have sunlight for a while yet, and the mountain doesn’t look as dense on the other side.” It would be heaven just to walk in the sunshine on flatter terrain without having to push through undergrowth.

    He shot her a look that questioned her sanity. “Says the self-declared city girl.”

    “I may be a city girl, but I’m no lightweight.” Her competitive ego-driven self kicked in. She reached down to unstrap her sandals. “The water doesn’t look deep.” If she kept her purse up high and lifted her skirt, she may keep dry. “Come on, let’s just try it, Aiden.”

    With an irritated snort, he crossed his arms over his chest and watched her. What did she expect? He was from the nineteenth century where city girls were frail like petals.

    1. Oh, Sharon. Why do I suspect Jess will end up losing more precious time, narrowly escape the hypothermia she fears, and never, ever, be dry again? Do hope that skirt's not dry clean only!

  20. This is from Bitter and Sweet, A Family's Journey with Cancer.... I literally opened the book to the middle.

    "Tim and I were truly transforming our relationship in many, many ways. Reading together was one of those ways. Every once in a while throughout our ten years of marriage I would ask him to read with me. Of course they were topics men aren't usually interested in- like "What to Expect When You're Expecting", or some marriage self-help book and he would not-so-graciously decline. Now we find we really love this time together. Tim can tire easily so eventually I just do most of the actual reading out loud rather than taking turns.

    Thursday July 15, 2010
    Hello friends and family!
    So today is Tim's first day off chemo; he has one week without it which he always looks forward to; he was a bit more nauseous this time, but overall it seemed to go by more quickly than the first round did.

      1. Fae,
        Thanks for your comment... the feedback i get often is about the honesty and rawness of it; so much of it comes from the journal entries my husband and i wrote while it was actually happening so that is where the punch is... thanks again!

  21. It was quiet, almost nine and dark outside. His paragraph almost finished when she sat down. The two of them on opposing sides of the long table. He brought his eyes to her as she dropped her books on the table in front of her. Her hands on the books, in repose. Nails covered in red tapped the top book, impatiently. His eyes traveled to her face, her chin jutting out defiantly. Her lips in a pout tinted with the red of her nails but faded from a long day at work. Her eyes met his and they watched each other, silently. He thinks about her looks, her smile, and her body. She thinks of him confident and sure, which made her vulnerable and weak. Her womanhood was captured she felt the heat and the damp of her slavery.

    He reached out for her hand and she gave it, letting him pull her to her feet. As they walked, his arm around her waist, their hips bumped. The cold night air did nothing to control her feelings and she knew he would take her again, as he always did, without even asking. She hated him and she loved him. It didn't mean anything to him, and that hurt her inside in a place she would never show him.

  22. I'm new here, but I thought I'd jump in! From my WIP: Out of Time: Changelings, Book 2:

    “What did Mr. Ballard have to do with all of this – what did he say? How did he convince you?”

    Mother Bernadette looked as though she had been expecting this question. She smiled and reached into a drawer. Two yellowed slips of paper, much creased and almost delicate with age, emerged. She opened them carefully and slid them across the desk to Maureen.

    Maureen held her breath and leaned in – she didn’t want to touch the paper, didn’t trust her fingers not to tremble.

    "Package delivered for Aunt Jenny [stop] She offered us work and sends her love [stop] Remember what Maureen said and stay safe [stop] Regards Sean [stop]"

    Maureen remembered that telegram. She’d helped Sean write it - had convinced him that helping Jenny, which meant helping the leaders of the 1916 Rising, was a good thing.

  23. from "anodyne" (the first Jake Calcutta mystery, a Chandleresque cozy)

    I always carry a book around in the car. Never know when, just like now, you'll be waiting for someone with nothing else to do.

    My knees hit the steering wheel and I threw the book against the windshield when he knocked. Then he stood there laughing as I put the window down.

    "Interrupt your nap, grandpa?"

    "You're very amusing for someone your age. Come around and get in."

    By the time he did, I'd wiped the drool from my chin and rescued my book from the warm dashboard.

  24. From my recently released novel, AFTER ALEX DIED
    I could feel my heartbeat quicken as I entered the auditorium. The kids were talking and messing around as they waited for the class to begin. The other counselors, with the exception of Cameron, were also seated in the audience with the kids. Cameron was standing at the podium with Dr. Jones.
    When Cameron saw me walk in, he winked at me. I didn’t know whether to slap him or hug him. Therein was the problem.
    Dr. Jones waved her arms to get everyone’s attention. “Quiet everyone. We have a special presentation today. Cameron is going to talk to you about bullying and how it impacted his life.”
    “Who would bully him?” one of the kids cracked and the other kids laughed.
    “Enough,” Dr. Jones reprimanded. “I expect you to give Cameron your attention and utmost respect.”
    Cameron took the podium. “Thank you, Dr. Jones. I’m here today to talk about bullying. Not because I was bullied when I was your age but because I was a bully. And it ruined my life.”
    When I looked out over the sea of faces, all eyes were trained on Cameron.
    “I thought I had everything. I was one of the school’s first string basketball players. We were all-state champions. I already had a full basketball scholarship to Penn State. I was popular. I had tons of friends. I could get a date with any girl in the school. And I lost it all.”

  25. This is from my fantasy romance WIP that's just a little over half finished. It's from a scene I wrote on Monday:

    "Now that I know what was really going on, I do forgive you." She tilted her head back to stare at the smoldering desire in his eyes. Her own eyes must have looked the same because he drew her even closer, his breath soft against her face. His hand skimmed up her back and settled at the base of skull, his fingers combing through her damp hair.

    Her gaze dropped to his parted lips. She wanted so badly to kiss him. Remembering what his kisses had been like sent a shiver through her body and her legs quivered with need. She craved the closeness they used to have, in body and mind, but right now it was his body she wanted because that's where his heart was. It beat in rhythm with hers, their hearts pounding so hard she thought they might burst through their chests just to touch.

    "Are you still mine, Alice?" he asked, the words themselves vibrating against her mouth because he spoke them so close.

    She swallowed and whispered, "Yes."

    He crushed his lips against hers, their breaths mingling, their tongues tasting. There was desperation in the way they held each other. If she let go she was afraid she'd fall into the same deep well of loneliness that had taken years to climb her way out.

  26. I'm enjoying the excerpts as well! From my new release, CODE OF HONOR:
    Graeme sank into the leather seat of the Lexus parked in front of Maggie's house and scrubbed his hands over his face to clear some of the early morning cobwebs.
    Elliott let out a long low whistle. "What the hell happened to you?"
    "Had an untimely meeting with a steering wheel and a dashboard." He swatted his brother's hand away from the neck of his shirt. "I survived, but last rites for the truck may be pronounced sooner than later. What's so important that it supersedes coffee?"
    "We discovered the computer files and the information on the SD card are encrypted. All, that is, except a letter addressed to you and me." Elliott held up the card between his thumb and forefinger. "I think you'll find it interesting."
    "Did you bring a computer?"
    "Right here." Elliott reached behind Graeme's seat, and pulled the laptop to the center console. He raised the lid, turned it on and, after it booted up, he inserted the card.
    Profound loss and regret wrenched Graeme's gut as he started reading. He recognized Wyatt's manner and tone, and easily visualized him speaking.
    Hey, dickheads, if one or both of you are reading this, then

  27. Read every one. Lots of talent, here. Here's the smack middle of my WIP, Going Commando.

    The word yikes, crawled up Laurel’s throat. The look he gave her was meant for low lights, soft music and a mutual understanding of how the encounter would end. She took a small step backward, glad she’d stopped to brush her teeth before coming downstairs.
    He invaded her very personal space, his sleep-induced warmth and masculinity coming off in waves. “Hi. Miss me?”
    Somewhere in the back of her brain, Laurel dredged up a scene in a romance novel she’d secretly read in high school. The hero’s smile had been described as sloe grin fizz. Intoxicating. That description was dead on for the mouth six inches from hers and closing fast. His hands came next. One sliding around her at waist level and one moving up her back. She barely had time to nod in answer to his question, when he bent her over backward and covered her mouth with his.
    Her mother’s gene went into hiding as Laurel’s arms held on tight for one long, Hollywood-worthy kiss.
    Blood started returning to her brain cells as Cam righted her. “Missed you, too,” he murmured.
    “Now, that’s what I’m talking about,” Nori crowed. She cast a smirk in Tawni’s direction. “I knew it.”

  28. Here's my WIP:

    RIP left just as Chaos entered the room followed by Nadia. “You got some explaining to do boy.”

    Marius eyed his Godfather not backing down. At that moment, the man must have noticed the bandage on Nita’s arm because his attitude mellowed. Concern replaced the anger as Chaos claimed the seat on the other side of Nita. He placed a hand over the bandage glancing over his shoulder at Nadia who appeared to be just as confused as he. When he looked back over at Nita her eyes moved between her arm and his face.


    She gave him a worried smile, her brow furrowed as she felt Marius place a comforting hand on her upper arm. He leaned down and whispered that it was okay for her to tell him, that he’d understand.

    Again she turned worried eyes to her father. This wasn’t exactly how she’d pictured their first meeting. She’d had it all planned out in her head. The minute she saw him she’d stalk right up to him and give him a piece of her mind. It had been an image that had gotten her through many hard times.

  29. Fun idea! Here’s an excerpt from a book I’m currently shopping. I just rolled my cursor down to the middle and grabbed a piece. It’s about vampires who play professional hockey.

    Ms. Pressman cleared her throat into the slowly falling quiet. “Now. We all know we’re playing Detroit tonight, right?” She glanced from face to face. Travis wondered if they actually showed up for games not knowing who the opponents were. Now that he thought about it, it seemed likely.

    “Did anybody watch game tape?”

    Travis raised his hand. So did Marc and, surprisingly, Booch.

    “We remember how they play from last time,” Sanderby put in.

    Ms. Pressman sighed. “Well. It’s not like they change the roster very often. However—” She held up a finger, stilling the stir of voices that started again. “This lack of attention to detail is why we didn’t make the playoffs last year. Which is fucking sad, since four out of six teams always make the playoffs. Now.” She began to pace, her presence commanding the room now that everyone had finally settled down. “I don’t want to see us get spanked again tonight. I think we learned a few things in practice yesterday—let’s put some of them to use. Starters—I want Cleo, Bambi, and Millsy, then I want Sandman and Lava on D. Bobo, you’re in goal. Are we good?”

  30. From Eternal Blades, Sekhmet's Guardian's - Book 3 (coming Nov, 2013)

    “Can you see inside the car? Is Unab inside?” interrupted Gabe.
    “No it’s dark outside and the car is already inside the building... As I mentioned, we’ve had a malfunction with our surveillance equipment. Something is jamming the signal. We can’t hear or see anything inside that building. That’s why I called Lance the first time. Lance, are you aware the phones in the control center are not being picked up? I even tried the hot line. It just kept on ringing… didn’t go to voice mail or anything.”
    “Ah, shit, you’re kidding me!” Lance said as he bounced out of his seat and dashed towards the command center.
    “Crawford, you did the right thing. Now, you need to calm down, We’ll be there in less than five,” Gabriel said.
    He turned his attention to the other phone lying on the table, “Black, you still with us?”
    “Yes sir, I’m still here.”

  31. From Adrienne Morris, The House on Tenafly Road Amazon.com:

    Old stains on Katherine’s dress where Eliza had rubbed her face repulsed him.
    “This place is filthy,” Weldon said. “Katherine, have you been DRINKING?!”
    “So what if I have?”
    “You’re drunk!”
    “What does it matter? Why do you care?”
    “You stupid, stupid girl!” He grabbed her wildly and shook her. “I WILL NOT take care of a DRUNK EVER again! I can’t and I won’t! You were different and I depended on you! Are you even listening, you stupid bitch. Tell me? How can you let this happen? I did everything to make things different and you—you drink? No, that’s it for me. That’s it!”
    “I had only one drink!” Katherine cried. “Our children, you say? My children! You don’t care about them. You go off and have your fun while I suffer here in this hovel that you’ve given us for a home!”
    “The way you clean and cook you’re not fit for a real home! You sit here drinking while Willy goes unfed and unwashed? What kind of mother are you?” he yelled. “Kate, has anyone been to see you? Anyone?”
    She shook her head and poured a drink. “No, not since Dudley left…”

    1. Holy cowbell, the original was 500 words. Since I'm sure this was simply a pasting mistake, I took the liberty of putting you in line with the 200 word limit, Adrienne. I kept all the dialogue. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing with us!

  32. From my Regency Historical A FAMILY AFFAIR

    When she spotted Rake still in the room, she
    started to tremble, and this time Caroline obviously
    didn’t want to let her disobedient brother-in-law have
    his way.
    “Get out. Now!” was all she said, but Rake didn’t
    obey. Instead, he took a step closer to her, letting go of
    Penelope started to sob again, and Fanny rushed to
    her friend to comfort her. When Penelope fell into her
    friend’s waiting arms, Caroline relinquished her and
    rose slowly to confront Rake. He glared back, his face
    hard and obstinate.
    “Now,” Caroline said.
    This time he didn’t answer at all, and his gaze
    never left Penelope.
    “I said now!” she snarled between closed teeth.
    And with more force than anyone could have
    imagined in her small body, she shoved Rake hard on
    the chest, so hard he lost balance and tumbled
    backwards through the doorway. Before he could
    recover from his astonishment, Caroline closed the door
    in his face, and locked it.

  33. I slept easier last night in the cave. Leya’s house is so elegant and fine but I felt out of place there and dogs weren’t allowed inside so Jack spent the night guarding the front door. Sleeping on the cool ground with Jack by my side felt right to me. The familiar smell of earth and dampness was comforting. My sleep was uninterrupted until the rain stopped just before dawn. I lay on my back for awhile waiting for the others to wake up, rolling our plan over and over in my mind, looking for anything we might have missed. One more day of grey skies would have given us an edge. Rain and wind provide good covering for a band of outlaw travelers. It doesn’t matter. Sunshine is our lot for today. We’ll have to make the best of it.

    I roll over on my pallet and reach around to hug Jack, but his spot is empty and cold. I raise up on one elbow. I call for him, “Jack.”

    Jack leaps into the cave opening and sashays up to our pallet. His tail wags so hard that half of his body sways side to side as he lays a big, fat squirrel at my feet. “Come here, boy.” He pounces on top of me, knocking me flat to the ground, rubbing his face against mine.

    Stone glares at us while he packs the supplies. “There’s no time for playing around, Kate.”
    Jared, the last to wake up, uncovers his face and rubs his eyes. “What’s for breakfast,” he asks.
    “Squirrel,” I say. He flops back to the ground and grunts, “Again.”

      1. Fae, you're so sweet to take the time to encourage me. I am a greenhorn fiction writer. Yesterday when I read this post I decided to share a passage for the experience of putting myself in a vulnerable place with my work. No one has ever read anything of mine. Therefore, your words are very dear to me. Thank you.
        I have a non fiction book coming out next Friday and I don't know which is greater, my excitement that the day is finally here, after three long years of writing and preparing or the whirl of butterflies in my stomach because my work will be public. I'm such an introvert in that respect. Is that crazy or what?

  34. From my romantic suspense, Heroes and Heartache

    Trent looked over at Devlin sprawled on the bed, his legs still hanging off the side and threw Haley an easy grin over his shoulder. “Ma’am, looks like you got yourself a soup sandwich.”
    When the meaning of his words sank in, Haley grinned back, “A bit of a mess, yes.”
    He let the bags slip off his shoulders and they hit the floor with a load thunk.
    “Better not mention food around Haley.” Devlin struggled to sit up. “She just spent the past half hour puking up her guts in the bathroom.”
    Haley felt compelled to defend herself. “Bloody bullet wounds aren’t my thing. Neither is getting shot at.”
    “I’m with you there, ma’am.” Trent winked at her as he squatted down and unzipped one of the duffels. “Can’t blame her for tossing her cookies after putting up with your sorry *ss, O'Shea.” He pulled out a giant first aid kit.
    “Please can you drop the ma’am and just call me Haley.”
    “He can’t help it,” Devlin told her. “He’s a Georgia boy. It’s in his blood.”
    “Nothing wrong with a little politeness. And if you weren’t such a damn Yankee, you’d understand that.”

  35. From THE LAST RESORT (WF). I opened the middle chapter and scrolled to the middle. Can't get any more centered.

    Rye halted halfway across the steaming asphalt. “Was that your stomach? Or is there an angry monkey hiding in one of the shoe boxes?”

    My cheeks flushed before I could spit out a word. I stared down at my new shoes. “Why do you make me turn red every time I see you? It's rather embarrassing. And infuriating. And yes, that noise is my stomach. I can't help it, I'm hungry.”

    “I think we can fix that.” He opened the Jeep door and propped the seat back into its upright position. “Can you hold out another fifteen minutes or so? I know a great place on the way home.”

    This wasn't a date, right? I wanted to kill Zoe, wring her scrawny neck with one hand. I—I stopped myself, stopped the crazy anxiety flooding my hungry system. It was a quick lunch, not senior prom. “Sure.” Deep breath. Smile. “I can last a little longer. Back home, I never leave the house without a couple of snacks shoved into my bag. Usually the kid's the one dying of hunger though, not me.”

    Rye paused, one leg propped up on the running board, and dug around in his cargo short pocket. He tossed a crinkly yellow package into my lap.

    “Oreos!” I gasped with delight. “Oh, I think I love you.” The words somehow just slipped out while I tore into the packet and grabbed my first cookie.

    Rye slid behind the wheel. “And to think, I didn't even have to buy you lunch.”

    I choked on my first bite. If I didn't watch out, I'd turn into one of those women who slipped into bed with the first guy who splurged on a Coke slushie and a Slim Jim.

  36. WIP = epic fantasy _Initiate of Stone_ Ella = former goddess trapped in the body of a giant eagle

    I sat heavily, put my head on my knees. Ella said I had the power to affect, but not how, or whether I would save or destroy. “Then I was the cause.” I felt like a swarm of bees had taken up residence in my head and took slow, steady breaths to calm them.
    “The cause of what?”
    I looked up. The words hurt. “I’m the reason my village was razed, most of my friends and family dead.”
    “No.” Ella shook her feathers into spikes for emphasis. “That burden is not yours to bear. Kane’s army annihilated many villages besides Hartsgrove, and many greater and smaller places as well. Regardless of whether you were there or not, your home would have been attacked. Perhaps even more people would have died; you can’t dwell on it. Remember destruction is my brother’s goal. Every death, no matter how insignificant, is a joy to him.”
    Khaleal’s words burned in my mind: Is there no joy in this pain for you? You have to love pain to love Yllel, and he so wants you to love him...

  37. From my soon to be published novel Path Unchosen - 200 words from the exact middle:

    “I am in here,” Evie’s voice said. “You can come in.”
    I nudged the door open.
    Worn linoleum curled up at the edges of the floor and around the rusted claw feet of an old iron tub. Water dripped into the tub. Each plop echoed a menacing counterpoint to my thudding heart.
    Next to the tub, a blue-encrusted copper plug swayed from the end of a chain below a yellowed sink. Swayed in a breeze I couldn’t feel.
    “Evie,” I whispered, “we need to leave.”
    I pressed my back against the wall. Rough plaster crumbled against my fingertips and dropped noiselessly onto the floor. I stretched out my senses. Water filled the bath and turned red. The hair on the back of my neck lifted, and coolness brushed past my skin. There was no anger here, just sadness and loss.
    Icy fingers touched my face. “Someone told me it would be quicker if I lay in hot water.”
    I stifled a scream, jumped away from the wall, and gripped the rim of the bath. Long black hair appeared in the red water, floating like riverweeds around her colorless face. Blood still seeped from deep gashes in her wrists.

  38. This is so much fun! I love this glimpse into everyone's WIPs.

    From my WIP, The Real Deal:

    "And wait, I thought you didn't have 'problems.'" She used her fingers to make quote marks. "I thought they were all 'challenges.'"

    "Yeah, well, sometimes I'm full of crap," Dan said.

    The unexpected note of bitterness in his voice surprised her. Normally Daniel J. Esposito, go-to realtor for Manhattan's wealthy and powerful, was a motivational tape come to life. Never in the two years she'd been The Adler Agency's CPA had the smooth, warm baritone voice that so beguiled homebuyers sounded anything other than rah-rah positive. And not once had she ever heard the word 'problem' pass those sensual, well-shaped lips.

    Not that she'd ever thought about his lips that way.

    Well, not much.

    It wasn't that she didn't see his appeal; she'd have to be dead not to notice his thick, wavy black hair, strong cheekbones, and masculine jaw. Or the way his custom-made suits emphasized the arrogant set of his broad shoulders and his wiry, athletic frame. And no female with a pulse could be completely immune to the intense, expressive hot-black-coffee eyes that were so good at making a woman feel like he saw only her, even in a room filled with other women.

      1. No, nothing that interesting, unfortunately, Fae. It's what's in the middle of my WIP as it currently is, since I've only got a couple of chapters written. 🙂

  39. From my WIP 'The River'

    Annaka shook her head at the memory before continuing, “In the morning we heard people calling out to us. They said the town was safe and that we should come out and start helping to mend things. Sian and Daniel were ready to rush back home. They were desperate to find you both. But dad and some of the others weren’t sure. We didn’t recognise the voices and in the confusion nobody knew who had stayed hidden and who had been killed in town.
    In the end I volunteered to go and look. That was when they took me. I was hiding in the fringe of the forest and a couple of soldiers came up behind me and grabbed me. Then they fired their guns into the forest hoping to hit people. I don’t know if they did. They gave up after that.”
    “So you don’t know what happened to mum and dad?” Jedda asked hollowly, Annaka shook her head. “They’re probably dead then,” he added. No one argued with him and he felt a weight settle on his chest and shoulders.

      1. Mmm, it's difficult to give a good sense of the story in just 200 words but you're right, things are about to go from bad to worse. Jedda is a child soldier in a civil war so I guess dystopian would be accurate. 😉

        It's so exciting to be able to put your stories out there in a forum like this! I love it.

  40. WIP - Epic Fantasy: Sera Raven Ewen a noblewoman and mage uses street urchin Coryan to continue her quest. BTW: Sera is a title, like Sir or Madam, for nobles of this fantasy nation.

    The girl shook her shoulder, "Sera! Sera, you must stay with me. I will bring help!"

    "No!" the woman exclaimed as she opened her eyes and gazed at the girl, "It is too late." Her strong grip took Coryan's wrist. "Honor. The honor of my House...must be maintained."

    Coryan tried to wrench from the woman's grasp, but failed. The noble mage reached into an inner pocket with her free hand and removed a silver chain. Dangling from it was a glittering blue gem that glowed within. The light was hypnotizing. Coryan could not take her vision from it. The woman pressed the gem into Coryan's skin.

    The world vibrated and was filled with a myriad of bright colors. Coryan tried to scream, but no sound would issue from her dry throat. Then the lights were gone and she was once more bent over the body of the mage. But wait, it was not the Sera that laid there on the street. It was herself, Coryan the street urchin. Backing away from the body, Coryan looked at her hands. They were not the thin fingers and pale white skin of a child, instead they looked creamy and were toughened by many fine lines caused by years in the sun.

    "What have you done to me?"

      1. I'm not sure if it is YA or not, however the protagonist is a teenager. I'm still working on it, don't even have a proper title for the story yet. 🙂

  41. From Transitions (http://www.mundania.com/book.php?title=Transitions)

    It was then that the light leached out of Brendan's eyes and he seemed to sag, losing the firm purposefulness he had previously possessed.

    "What the hell are you talking about?" he asked, confused. "This is not Isengard."

    Chris didn't even miss a beat as he responded to the change in situation.

    "It so is! Look, think about it. Tolkien went to school just over there," he pointed vaguely in the direction where he believed the school he was talking about could be found, ending up with his finger waving randomly in a wide, erratic arc that almost unbalanced him. "King Edward’s private school. You can see the tower from there easily. He clearly used this tower as inspiration for Isengard!" He was shouting now, he realised, mostly through hysteria.

    "What about Sarehole Mill?" Brendan was defiant, determined not to lose this debate for all that he was tired and aching.

    "That was the inspiration for the dark tower of Mordor, not Isengard."

    "Damn." Brendan’s brow furrowed, Chris could see he was searching his mind for another argument. Then he brightened, he had obviously found one.

    "Isengard was not the tower. Orthanc was the tower. Many people make that mistake." He stared straight at Chris, defying him to respond.

    Chris just sagged and then shrugged. "Good point, if a little pedantic…" Then he collapsed, wheezing and chuckling to the ground.

      1. Oh no... not at all. That happens... [Spoilers] 🙂 He's just tired, poor man, after a quite energetic fight that is not included here for word count reasons 🙂

  42. Oh I just came back from vacation and hope I'm not too late to share! This is from my Regency romance, The Duke's Frozen Heart:

    The laughing girls ran out of the room to get their bonnets. Tristan strode over to Victoria, pulled her up to his chest and kissed her until she was breathless and giddy. Her face burned hot with a furious blush when he let her go.
    “Don’t do that,” she said, forcing a half-hearted protest. “Someone could come in and see.”
    “I care not. I needed to taste your lips. I must warn you, once we are married, I plan on doing all sorts of wicked things to you all day long.” His devilish grin melted her.
    “Oh go on with you,” Victoria swatted at him, but caressed his face as she withdrew her hand. Just the touch of his lips rendered her helpless. She couldn’t resist him when he was near.
    He strolled out of the room with the gait of a sleek hunting cat. As he looked over his shoulder, he blew a kiss and winked.
    Victoria laughed and shook her head. What a rogue he was. A bloom of joy welled up in her heart. She couldn’t ever remember being as happy as she was right at this moment

  43. Exact middle of 827 pgs. (413 1/2) 🙂 from: "The Timothy Trilogy" by R. J. Jones

    “Hey, anybody gonna take care of my foot?” Post
    growled. Bandit barked and showed his teeth. M&M followed suit.
    “Leigh, would you grab my first aid kit?” Jeanne asked. While Leigh retrieved the kit, Jeanne removed what was left of Post’s boot while Post did some howling himself. “Gives a whole new meaning to tenderfoot, don’t it Mr. Post?” Jeanne asked with anything but sympathy in her voice.
    “Serves ya right, shooting yourself in the foot like that, damned clutz,” Miles guffawed.
    “Shut up…wasn’t my fault you chose this stupid mission to include me on.”
    “You can both shut up or I’m gonna demonstrate a whole new use for duct tape to the two of yas. And trust me, makes eating and drinking more than a little difficult!” Jeanne wasn’t kidding.
    “I gotta use the restroom,” Miles said.
    “Not falling for that one fellas,” Jeanne responded. “Until someone shows up to pick you boys up you can either hold it or relieve yourselves in your drawers…doesn’t matter to me.”
    “Aw come on, we gotta be able to…” Post began protesting, but that was all he got out before duct tape cut him off.

  44. Okay - here we go:

    Page 185 - The Ties That Bind by Jansen Schmidt

    As Shiloh watched the loving exchange, a pang of longing stabbed at her heart. Had her dad ever tickled her tummy? Had she ever giggled like Ada? When her eyes met Luke’s, their gazes held. As if she were completely transparent and he could see every emotion coiling and slithering around inside her, he offered a sad smile designed to comfort.
    She blinked a few times, but Luke continued to watch her. How unsettling that a simple look can create havoc inside a person. Despite the fact that she was sitting, she clasped onto the edge of the coffee table for balance. When had the air in Twisted Fork become so thin? She felt as if her blood had been infused with helium and all of it rushed at once to her brain making her dizzy.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  45. Thankyou for this post! The responses were so interesting 🙂 I would share my work too I just don't have access to it just now but will deffo post when I do 🙂 well done to all the writers good work!

  46. I just got back from vacation and saw this opportunity. I hope it's not too late!
    Page 292, WIP: The Texas Problem, an historical fiction novel set during the Texas Revolution.

    Later that night, long after camp became still and quiet in sleep, Melina, herself unable to sleep, sat up. She had been tossing and turning, unsettled and disturbed, as she kept hearing Walker tell her that he had changed.

    Her eyes glanced where he lay a few feet away, his back toward her. In the dim light his breathing was slow and easy in sleep.

    Finally she rose and made her way toward the creek. The moon hung low in the western sky, a deep yellow sliver. The water at her feet gurgled softly. She tried to think but even here, her mind was going round and round.

    Finally she reached in her shirt and pulled out a necklace with a small ring on it. She lifted it up in and turned it. A single diamond sparkled in the faint moonlight.

    Would it be so terrible to hope?

    She waited for an answer but there would be no answers tonight. She wrapped her fingers around the ring for a moment then put it back in her shirt. After a little while longer, she rose and went back to her bedroll. This time Walker was facing her direction and she could swear she felt his eyes on her.

    She stared hard at him for a long while but his breathing never wavered. Finally she gave up then exhaustion took over and she fell into a fitful sleep.

    Walker smiled.

  47. (very rough draft of untitled WIP)
    “Sounds a fun-filled day for me, I can’t wait,” Nicole said with a twinge of sarcasm. “I suppose you could stop and buy some hamburger then we could have a cook-out, too.”
    “Oh, that is a great idea, Mom, We’ll be there in about an hour then. Love you. Bye.”
    “Bye,” Nicole said to the dial tone as she hung up the phone. She looked at the book on the table and sighed as her quiet Saturday afternoon of historical romance lustiness was doused. “Damn,” she muttered as the book was getting exciting.
    “You will enjoy the cook out more,” a young woman’s voice said and Nicole looked up to see Rose standing in the doorway of the kitchen.
    “Oh, great, been a week and it’s now that you decide to show back up,” Nicole threw a hand up in the air in frustration.
    “I thought about returning sooner but … well, I was scared.”
    “Scared? You are a ghost. Aren’t you supposed to be scaring me instead of vice-versa?”
    “And you claimed I was the one being sarcastic,” Rose quipped while arching an eyebrow in Nicole’s direction.

  48. From "The Singing Dagger", by Kylie Sabra

    “Yes, they’re headed straight for the meadow as if they know exactly where to find us.”
    “Come back. We’ll ride out to meet them.”
    She and Bradach touched down and she transformed into human form as soon as she plucked off her mask. Aidan and the Unseelie were already gone.
    Bradach led her to the waterfall and they slipped underneath its waters and took shelter in a concealed cave. He handed her a sword and knife. “Don’t come out until one of us comes to get you.”
    Erin glued herself to the back wall. I feel so useless, hiding like a scared little girl. Then her son reminded her, with a sharp kick, that he was the one she was protecting.
    I wonder how long they’ve been watching us? She willed herself to connect to Aidan. She heard his heartbeat racing as he rode to meet the enemy. “Can you hear me, Aidan?”
    “Take some alive for questioning. We’ve got to know what they’ve been able to report back to your father.”
    “We’ll bring back as many as we can. Stay hidden, love. I’ll be back for you soon.”

  49. Page 112 of Unforeseen Consequences:
    Oh my God, she thought and then aloud, “Oh my God,” and again “Oh my fucking God!” She dropped the newspaper haphazardly on the floor and walked to the television. She turned it on and turned immediately to CNN. The same story, which was plastered all over the front page of the newspaper, was being covered on CNN as a late-breaking story. She tried to sit, nearly missed the chair and finally fell onto the chair planted in front of the television.
    The telephone rang. She picked up the phone and said only “What?”
    “I take it you’ve seen the news then,” Charlie answered.
    Amy nodded but then remembered that Charlie couldn’t see her and said “Yes, just now.”
    “What are we going to do,” asked Charlie except it didn’t sound like a question. It sounded like something between a plea for help and an outburst of tears.
    “I don’t know. I just don’t know.”
    They both stayed on the phone, without saying anything for a few more seconds, although it could have been minutes or hours and they wouldn’t have known it. Finally, Amy roused herself from what felt like a deep sleep. She visibly shook her shoulders and spoke with false confidence into the phone. “I’m coming over. We shouldn’t talk on the phone about this anyway.”

  50. I just wanted to say that I've enjoyed reading everyone's work so much, I saved the WITS email & have come back every day to read the new postings!

  51. From my September 15 release: Sailing out of Darkness
    Lonely isn’t lonely if one looks from outside in;
    It’s just the inside out that makes a person feel so thin.

    Theodore Anderson clawed his way up the bank, grabbing handholds and pressing against rock with his bare feet. Why wouldn’t his legs work? Come on, move, move.
    Kicking only tightened the bindings around his ankles, at his thighs. What was wrong with him?
    The hulk skidded along the asphalt. Tires shrieked and air brakes hissed as the engine howled in protest. Teo turned. The massive silver grille reflected oncoming headlights, blinding him, and all he could do was raise his arms to protect his face, because he was too late. He’d never escape.
    And, dying, he woke.
    He inhaled slowly, letting the breath whoosh out between pursed lips. He was in his room, wrapped in a sheet. No demons roamed, and, while that truck may have jackknifed years ago and thousands of miles away, it was not here in Reggio sul Mare, on the Italian Riviera.
    So, why the dream now and in this place?
    He tossed off the covers, slipped on a pair of jeans and a shirt, and slid his feet into loafers. He couldn’t run off the tension, but he could walk. The tap of his cane on the sidewalk echoed in the pre-dawn.
    Like eyelids closed against the night, metal shutters hid the shop windows. He could picture the butcher’s just there, slabs of meat hanging from hooks, fowl complete with head and feet, prices by the kilo. He passed the greengrocer’s, two stores down. Next, the tabaccaio, which reminded him that he needed to buy stamps when they opened. He knew the shopkeepers by sight after five years of walking these streets, even if he didn’t know all by name.
    In the distance, an engine revved. Most in town would stretch and yawn as they slowly woke. The bakers, though, were even now sliding dough into ovens, yeasty morsels he could buy in a few hours to nibble with a strong espresso. But not yet.
    His tap-tap continued down the hill to the shore where he stepped onto the rocky sand and rebalanced. Waves crested and broke, hidden by the fog, though lights from the nearby hotel illuminated enough beach to keep him from falling. He kicked off his shoes and moved to the water’s edge, then whispered, “Sono qui.”
    That elicited a smile. “I am here,” he repeated.
    Not there. No longer there.
    “Okay, I’m up and out.” He aimed this message skyward. “I assume that’s what you—or someone—wanted.”
    The sea wrapped his ankles and splashed the tip of his cane. The walk had cleared his soggy brain, and the eerie quiet of a mist-clad sea sat well with him. He stood still and listened to the soft slosh as the waves hit sand. But no one spoke, neither God nor man.
    He’d begun to turn away when she stepped out of the fog, white on white with a touch of gray, followed by a flash of light skin and dark hair. Puzzled, he stared.
    Slowly, her form emerged, and a bright smile bridged the dimensions. She beckoned. Did she wave at him? Teo peered over his shoulder and down the beach, but he was alone with only the sand and the sea and this vision before him. He expected to hear witchy moans next—or see a bubbling cauldron. Surely, this wasn’t an angel.
    “Che succede?” he called, wanting to know what was up, along with a why or two, but she didn’t speak. Perhaps she couldn’t.
    The sea sucked the wave, as if the sand inhaled then exhaled, breathing in water and filtering it out like a fish’s gills. He backed away, sliding damp feet into his shoes.
    Lights from the new hotel, the Albergo dei Romantici, illuminated the froth, showing off upturned rowboats that lined the sand like an army slumbering till day. Teo rarely ventured close to the developed boardwalk, but at this hour it seemed appropriate. No one else stirred. He was free to explore.
    This stranger’s appearance wouldn’t seem so odd if she had flesh and form that he could touch. Instead, she shape-shifted in the half light, one moment showing no more than a wispy outline, in the next, substance.
    There, now: a three-dimensional image. She didn’t possess Sophrina’s soft curves or that long, wavy hair. Her lips eased without seduction, an art she didn’t seem to know. Her lashes lowered, but not to shadow Sophrina’s penetrating stare. They dropped to hide her pain.
    How could he know that? He shook his head, puzzled when the understanding dropped into his mind with no prompting from either of them. His eyes snapped closed, then opened to scan the area. Perhaps he was merely dreaming.
    A pleasant dream to make him forget the nightmare? His mind playing tricks?
    He kicked the sand, then scored a trench with his cane. The effect seemed too real for a dream. Besides, a dreamscape normally stopped and rewound before either repeating the sequence or adding some new element.
    Why did his sleep-deprived brain conjure this woman, whose image he didn’t recognize? He’d left his bed, full of the need to walk. He should return and hope for rest.
    Right. As long as this haunting didn’t follow him into sleep.
    Someone laughed from around a corner. A second hushed the first. These two may have been the only others yet abroad this night, their voices echoing in streets silent except for Teo’s tap-tap-shuffle as he headed home. He leaned heavily on his cane. The damp had crept in, knife-like to his bones.
    Unlocking and pushing open the heavy outside door took energy, but the elevator to the penthouse floor chugged on its own, gears squeaking, to drop him in the small foyer. He used a second key, and he was home, wishing his eyelids felt as heavy as his body did.

  52. From the finished-but-still-editing: Tree of Life: Book One in The Order series

    My heart leapt and began pounding in my throat. He was different than I expected. He had black, messy hair. A thick, unkempt beard. He wore loose clothing over his thin frame. If I didn't know better, I'd think he were homeless. But then again, I knew the type. The professor-living-on-the-outskirts type. His smile made his eyes crinkle in that way that makes you want to trust somebody. He walked toward us with an outstretched hand. We shook with him; Baron introduced me as Mandi, like we had planned. He asked us to call him Jim.

    (Take 2: a continuation. UGH)

    "Shall we sit down?" Jim gestured to the front row. The only sound was the shuffle of our feet and the pop of candles as the wicks burnt, sending ominous shadows across the dim sanctuary. We sat in the pews, pivoting to face him. I stayed behind Baron, close enough to have my hand on his lower back without being obvious. I wanted to stay arced with him, even though it was clear to me by now that I couldn't pick up anything from the professor: he was a Normal.

  54. Carew was closer to Mother and Grizly than any of the rest of us, but what good could Howard the Coward Carew do against an enraged stallion? He had no weapon either except his great walking stick. To my astonishment, he came up behind Grizly and swung the stick hard against the muscled gray rump.
    Grizly gave a shriek of rage louder even than Carew’s, and spun to face his attacker. Again and again, Carew swung the walking stick, stumbling backward, somehow managing to stay on his feet.
    And then an angry braying split the air, and Bonesy and Pippin exploded out their open gate. My colt’s ringing neigh caught Grizy’s attention, spinning him to face this new challenge.
    Philip threw the pheasants off his shoulder, and drew an arrow on the gray stallion. Yet how could he hope to take down Grizly, and do it without striking either Carew or my mother?
    Bonesy had spun himself around. The mule struck out with two massive hard-driving rear hooves that knocked the rearing Grizly’s hind legs out from under him.
    Carew backed away, just missing being toppled himself by Grizly’s collapse. He dropped his stick and bent to scoop Mother into his arms. “Kill the beast,” he shouted at Philip.
    The big gray struggled to get up, but Bonesy’s kick had broken one of Grizly’s hind legs. “You must shoot,” David called out. “He is beyond dangerous, beyond saving.”
    Philip’s arrow struck the massive gray neck. The stallion thrashed, screaming with pain.
    And then I realized I had raised my own bow, and drawn an arrow from my quiver. I thought about Cinder. How could I do this? How could I kill any horse? And what’s more, to do it this way?
    There was another way, if only I had what was needed. Father had once made up a concoction of herbals and poison that he hoped could be a humane way of delivering a last kindness to a suffering animal, but he had found it difficult to determine the correct dosage for an animal as large as a horse. As far as I knew, we had none of it on hand. Nor would I have known how much it would take to put this huge stallion out of his misery, or how to safely administer it. Grizly was lying on the ground, but striking out with teeth and hooves wherever he could reach.
    I closed my eyes, whispered a quick prayer asking for Father to be my guardian angel, opened my eyes, and let the arrow fly. It struck Grizliard square where his heart would be. He thrashed once, and was still.

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