Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

storm moving across a field
September 1, 2014

A September What's-In-Your-Chapter Writing Challenge

We decided to have a bit of fun on this first day of September (right after hyperventilating that we're already in September) and issue a friendly 9-1 flavored writing challenge.

Here’s how it works: Go to your work in progress or upcoming release or recent release. Pick the 9th paragraph of chapter 1 OR the 1st paragraph of chapter 9.

Post it in the comments below. And please cheer on all the brave writers who share their paragraphs with us.

We’ll get the party started:

Cover SweetonYouLaura Drake, Sweet On You (released August 26!!! and yes, that's a live link)

Murphy grinned from the seat of the Jeep he’d commandeered—best not to ask where. Last night in the ER, when he’d invited her on a trip to town, she couldn’t resist. Most soldiers longed for a taste of home. They cheered when fast food franchises opened on base. Not Katya. She loved unfamiliar spices and exotic local dishes. She’d even tried the boiled sheep’s head a street vendor once offered, finding the flavor of the facial meat fabulous once she got past the staring white eye and the grinning exposed teeth.

Jenny Hansen, A Sister in Need

The woman in front of her wore a pink mini-dress. Agatha tried hard not to focus on the pert bottom playing peek-a-boo with the hem. When the bells on the door jangled again, Agatha jumped, swiveling toward the sound. The woman who entered had a towering pile of red hair secured in glittering clips. Her dress was nearly a replica of the blonde’s, but in a vibrant sapphire blue.

Orly Konig-Lopez, Healing Hoofbeats

I turn and I’m face-to-chest with the man I adopted to be my grandfather. “Simon.” I look up into the same brown eyes that had given a timid girl the confidence to get on a horse for the very first time.

Fae Rowen, Keeping Athena

She saw the Keep ships streak above her then whip around to engage her battle group’s defensive formation. The enemy fighters concentrated their fire on the luminous Wraith. Its hull temperature rose until the safety board sensors screeched.

Okay WITS readers, your turn. Post your paragraph in the comments, below. 🙂

Hope all of you in the U.S. are having a great Labor Day!
~ Fae, Jenny, Laura, and Orly

124 comments on “A September What's-In-Your-Chapter Writing Challenge”

  1. Vicky Burkholder - Crystal Keys : The Ruby Key

    “Plan what?”
    “Our revenge,” she said. “Those witches will regret the day they sent us away. If they’d been really smart, they’d have killed us like we did William, but since they didn’t… Fair game as far as I’m concerned.”

  2. How wonderful. My first day back, my firs blog comment !! From a WIP ... A Step in Time:

    I woke near dawn on Monday, dreading the carnage just outside my bedroom door. I mustered all my courage and walked through to the kitchen, gingerly stepping over broken glass and the confetti of paper strewed in every direction. Like a horse being walked through a blazing fire, I let imaginary blinders block out the sight of my beautiful cottage reduced to ruins. Not bothering to shower or change, I grabbed my bag and rushed towards the comfort of another retail blitz.

  3. Beige Wishart, ALIENS READ

    Not noticing their direction, not noticing for how long, and not noticing anything in the passing landscape, Cat and Amy marched at a steady, hard stride. The dog did her sniff and pee but eyeballed Cat. She sensed something not right with her owner. Cat's brain like a front-loading washing machine, colorful images swirled. Surprised she stopped in front of the same coffee shop where handsome John flirted her up. Here by accident, but she could use a caffeine drink. A soy latte ordered from the outside window, found a small table for two, and planted her butt in the patio chair. Amy nested on her lap giving her comfort. She sipped coffee trying to sort out Sam's revelation. Trying to figure out her next step, and then he appeared like he stepped off the cover of a romance, fantasy novel.

    1. "like a front-loading washing machine, colorful images swirled" <-- Love this!!!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Lynette M. Burrows, My Soul to Keep

    She preferred the garrote. The feel of a soul leaving his body gave her more of what she craved. Curling her gloved hand into a fist, she dipped the edge of her hand in his blood, then gently pressed it to his forehead, and murmured, "Thy will be done."

    1. Wow, Lynette! That gave me shivers. I'll have that in my brain for a while. Thanks for sharing - I think. 😉

  5. From Given to the Wind, Book I

    Giggling, they elbowed one another. Not making the slightest effort to step out of our way. Followed by outright laughter, the kind of sniggering you don’t need telling is at your expense. Habibi came toward me, exaggerating her swaying hips beneath a gown giddy with color. My flat-eyed Daharshan stare only served to provoke a greater display. As if by raising the heat of her provocation, she would shatter my guise of uncaring.

  6. Jack R. Cotner, The Corpsemakers

    The richly paneled dark walls of the office of the Bishop of the Great Church of Hierlaneum was a splendid backdrop for the silver and gold items set out for display on finely woven runners of silk and linen. Religious themes of the Great Church adorned them all. On the walls hung lavish gold and silver ornate icons and richly colored plaster and wood statues, all demonstrating the power, wealth and status attributed to the worldly religious organization and the privileged elite who ran it.

      1. Thank you, Jenny. This is Chapter 9, 1st paragraph of The Corpsemakers, second book in the Runevision series. The description of this Roman church and those who run it stand in stark contrast to the protagonist Celts of the series.

  7. The Heroic Adventures of Horatio Lee

    The pirate interceptor had put up an impressive fight, but there was no way the Royal Navy would to let this man get away. Hence, on top of the clout provided by the two inbound man-o-wars, a trio of fast and highly manoeuvrable Chaser class corvettes was also standing by in case the pirate should attempt to wriggle free.

  8. The Vault House (work in progress)

    Again the foreboding structure captured my attention drawing me in with some unspoken chant. The blaring of a horn jerked me from the spell sending me an inch above the ground as I pressed my body against the car to keep from being hit by a vehicle speeding down the main road leading into the heart of Killany Pointe. I really need to get moving. With one last glance I climbed into the car, started the engine and pulled out onto the now deserted highway to handle some business before becoming reacquainted with my new home.

      1. Sometimes I feel that way. There are other times when this house sends me running to the hills to duck and cover because I never know what will peep from around the corner or go bump in the night.

  9. Safe Within These Walls: The story of Rahab.

    By the time he made it to the far entrance, the woman over his shoulder no longer felt light. A thin sheen of sweat coated his body as he bent down, setting her on her feet. This time, she seemed able to stand on her own. His sister blinked up at him. Her eyes were still vague and clouded, she didn't seem to recognize him, but at least she followed him without question.

  10. Michelle Lynn

    Hello everyone.
    My first attempt at a historical romance - To Cage a Butterfly

    Two weeks later another seafaring man walked into her shop.
    This time a flamboyant Frenchman who introduced himself with great flourish.
    "Capitaine Mercier, at your service" he bowed, sweeping his plumed hat with the
    panache of a seventeenth century musketeer.
    Taking note of his brightly coloured outfit and exotic accessories Jaseenah realised he was no ordinary trade merchant’s Captain.
    Probably one of the many dubious characters that scourged the oceans to prey on ships, Jaseenah thought as she acknowledged his greeting with a polite nod.
    Her instincts cautioned her to be wary. His showy manners and French accent just proved too captivating.

  11. Sitting With the Dead

    I turn the TV so I’ll have something to look at besides poor Sienna. On it, there’s Randy Travis, who has been arrested in Texas, buck naked and drunk. His mug shot is awful, bruised face and hurt eyes. I had a man who used to sing “Forever and Ever” to me. He had a good voice, no Randy Travis, but good just the same. If I could find him again, I’d apologize for every mean thing I ever said. I’d touch his cheek and I’d look into this dark eyes and I’d run my thumb across his lips. I’d tell him what a fool I was to up and leave. Housework, I’d tell him, is like forgiveness. It makes your bones ache, but in the end you sit back and you feel something like you do in church when the preacher’s on the right track. I’d say it, and then I’d wait for him to decide if he could take me back again. If he did, the whole world would shift, and I’d been on top of it for once.

    1. Neat how the Randy Travis mugshot took her into a smooth snippet of backstory, Marla. Beware the dreaded "I, I'd" curse of first person though - think you could edit one or two out?

  12. Finding Rose Rocks

    Jennifer remained sitting in the patio chair, deep and low, with her feet propped on the table in front of her. Fuego leapt up and settled himself on her lap and she stroked his soft fur. She looked toward the western horizon where the night wind blew across distant counties and state lines, knowing it to be the way her path led.

  13. First Encounter: 1st book in the Brown Rain Series http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MW8AYOK

    After that Kyra and Barbara had to be careful. Ruth made sure the two didn't work together. If they were on the same job, such as scrubbing the dining room floor, she made sure the were at opposite ends of the room. Barbara passed whispers to Kyra as they passed each other in the hallway, the kitchen or the nursery. Tiny bis of food passed hand to hand or were left in places Ruth wouldn't think to look. Three days later, the guards stopped following her around. Joseph had decreed that it was unnecessare so she was left in peace at least when she was moving from one part of the factory to another. In the kitchen, as Kyra was collecting the scraps for the compost, Barbara whispered, "I have two friends to help us."

    1. Connie, I am intrigued! I totally want to know where this factory is and why they are there. Great job. 🙂

      Also, if you get the chance to correct these, I wanted to let you know these words are missing letters (see caps below):

      Tiny BITS of food passed hand to hand, or were left in places Ruth wouldn’t think to look. Three days later, the guards stopped following her around. Joseph had decreed it UNNECESSARY, so she was left in peace when she moved from one part of the factory to another.

  14. Murder By Magic (Book 1 of Witches and Weres)

    It didn’t take much for Hayleigh to call up her power. It was more a letting down of shields, letting her true self free. Well, leashed, she amended. She could never let her shields down completely. Things happened when she let herself loose. Dangerous things. Uncontrollable, deadly things.

  15. Ooouu! Love games! From my WIP: Tears of a Mermaid

    “Hey, Lollipop!” He’d call out the obnoxious nickname he’d given me. Molly Poppy Brennan. Yep, that was me. Dad once remarked I popped right out, two days early, which was why I had been born in the car at a gas station rather than the local clinic where Mom had planned. But it was Mom who had named me after the California state flower. I’d been born with a head full of sunshine hair and an apricot glow to my aura. Both reminded Mom of home. We’d been living in Minnesota before Mom moved us to California to live with Nana Mary.

  16. Oh dear, my WIP doesn't have a Chapter 9 yet, and the 9th paragraph of Chapter 1 is one line. So here's Paragraph 9, Chapter 1 from my forthcoming novel, THE GOOD NEIGHBOR.

    My world had seized the moment I realized I was sharing Noah with someone other than Bruce. One day I watched my small child look up at Amber and reach for her hand. He smiled at her, and her meek grin widened. Amber took his hand in her own and patted it with the other. I was awestruck. Or maybe dumbstruck. I was not surprised Amber warmed to Noah. That part, I understood. But I was surprised how easily he reached for her. He held out his hand. He trusted her. He was a little boy who needed to be safe and happy and included. Yet, instead of feeling a rush of warmth, gratitude, and momentary freedom from responsibilities, I burned, singed by an unlikely betrayal. Did he call her mommy by mistake, or worse, not by mistake? Get a grip, I’d thought, in an effort to allay my own fears. Bruce will have many more Ambers. Then I realized that for Noah’s sake, I didn’t want that either.

      1. Thanks Orly and Laura -- I wish I knew! I hope to a pub date in the next week or two and I am hoping for Spring 2015, but thinking Summer might be more realistic considering I don't have copy edits yet... 🙂

  17. Here's Chapter 9, paragraph 1: fun challenge!

    The staircase had never seemed so foreboding. Each step was a mountain leading out of the fortress to the sky. When I climbed each mountain, they seemed to have words inscribed on them: Fix the ship. Fix the ship. Fix the ship. Fix. Fix. Fix. Every word created more tension in my chest.

    1. Ooooh, Abby, I totally want to know more!! What is the time frame, on planet or off? This is coolness.

      Question: Do you want your staircase to be "forbidding" or "foreboding?"

      1. Yay! That always makes me excited for someone to say that!

        Foreboding 🙂 on planet, but a planet way far away and thousands of years in the future.

  18. My daughters, who accepted me as a second mom, weathered my learning how to be a mom. I remember the stark terror I felt when my oldest daughter handed me a Barbie, inviting me to play with her. I had never played dolls with anyone in my life, and I knew nothing about being a child. She was very gentle with me, explaining the rules, “Barbies are plastic, so they can’t talk back to us. We can imagine them talking, though.”

      1. Yes, Jenny. I forgot to say where it came from, but it is from the memoir. It's coming along. I'm glad you like it. I have posted several excerpts on my author blog, and it seems to hit a note with folks.

  19. The Winter Loon

    It wasn’t just her intensity that intrigued me. Glancing at her from time to time, I gathered small details. Smooth skin, high cheekbones and an almost but not quite beautiful face. Her expression remained neutral. But when she pursed her lips, maybe disagreeing with something she was reading, I glimpsed deep dimples in both cheeks. Thick honey-colored braids crisscrossed neatly over her head, every strand in place. I pushed my damp curls, frizzed out of control from the humidity, away from my forehead—Harpo Marx to her cool Garbo.

  20. BLOWN AWAY (July 2015)

    Eli glanced out the window at the desert landscape. New Mexico always looked caught between centuries and droughts. The landscape was as foreign to him as Houston would be to his brothers. Here in Tucumcari, the wide plateau created a backdrop decorated with cedar shrubs, barbed wire fences and black gramma grass. Cows outnumbered people twenty to one, and if you didn’t drive a pickup, you’d better be riding a horse.

  21. Love the contrast between your characters, Lori, especially the references to Harpo Marx and Greta Garbo.
    Paragraph One, Chapter Nine of my WIP: Three Letters
    Two hours later Starr and Priscilla were still debating the most logical strategy to stop Lance from coming to Georgia and detonating the land mines of Priscilla's past. They had discussed every tactic in their limited playbook. None seemed viable. Lance had always been a cool operator. As the shepherd of a large suburban congregation, his motto had been "Never let 'em see you sweat." Priding himself on being a self-taught man, he was quick to remind his flock that he had not gone to seminary and that he was accountable to no one but God, and God had his restrictions.

  22. Carlene Eye - Against All Odds (WIP)

    The ground swayed and spun. I bent over, grabbed my knees, closed my eyes and swallowed. My stomach twisted and heaved. Vomit caught in my throat. I smelled the blood, heard the blowflies buzz. I opened my eyes hoping Stonewall wasn’t dead. But it was real, too real.

  23. Paragraph One, Chapter Nine of my WIP and first place award winning manuscript for "Footprints In The Frost" in the PSWA Writers Competition in July 2014 Las Vegas:

    Christmas was only two weeks away and Sami was totally unprepared. She and Max had planned to go to Colorado for the holiday, but now those plans had to be cancelled and new ones made. They couldn't just pack Ruth up and take her along anymore because her congestive heart wouldn't allow her to go into the altitude.

  24. The Raven Wizard - Chapter 1 - Paragraph 9 (WIP)

    He reached toward the mirror. The hairs on his arm lay still. Not a prickle stirred in his blood. The magic was gone.

  25. Yiayia took two streetcars, then a bus. She got off the Western Avenue bus at Lawrence, arriving at an area on the North Side of the city that had a large population of Greeks. It was a bustling community. Being a Greek neighborhood, no one would think twice about seeing this little old woman all dressed in black, walking down the street looking like she were on a mission. She had some friends there, and they’d surely know more about Dimitris.

    1. Sounds like they should think twice about this particular little old lady.
      Thanks for sharing, Maria!!

    1. I threatened to join a convent when I was 16 as well. Although being Jewish, my parents didn't take it as a serious threat. 🙂
      Thanks for joining our September Challenge, Kathi!

  26. What fun! This is paragraph 1 from Chapter 9 of my WIP, a crime fiction novel set in Romania in the mid 1990s.
    Matt was one long streak of energy as they left the hospital. In just three strides, he caught up with Eli, grabbed her arm and swung her round to face him. ‘What was that all about? Did I read this right - did you really signal to me to shut up in there? Why didn't you back me up and tell them that Cristina would never have got that drunk or taken anti-depressants?’

  27. What fun! This is Rescuing Riley.

    Meg swung her legs over the side of the bed and wrinkled her nose at the ratty old chenille bathrobe flung across a chair beside the bed, Not exactly the kind of thing one wore to meet a legendary Norse god. Would Thor wait while she dressed?

      1. Yup, I'd be worried about meeting Thor in my bathrobe as well. 😉
        And always, Carol, that's just a given - like the typo you spot as the window closes and the computer swooshes the email away.

  28. This is from Sailor Home From Sea, the fifth in the Surf City Mysteries series.

    I took the tiny camera into the garage and put it in a metal toolbox, closed the lid. Then I closed the garage door and went back inside. I went through the house thoroughly and found nothing that didn't belong there. I logged into my security system -- some of those times the police have been at my place have convinced me I needed a good one -- and checked the activity log. No breaks. And my cameras covering the driveway only showed a figure in a black hoodie sweatshirt who turned and ran as the door came up. Then I rolled out from under the rising door and sprinted away, exit stage right. Now what? The obvious answer: surf.

  29. The Christmas Puppy, P 1 Chap 9:
    Anne frowned as she assessed her face in the airport restroom mirror. After that eight-hour overseas red-eye, she was a mess. She’d been unable to sleep on this flight, where usually she had no trouble. The turbulence in the air and in her stomach kept her awake all night.

  30. Since I don't write in a linear fashion, my WIP has bits and pieces all over the place and I'm not sure what will end up as Chapter 1 or Chapter 9. (I just heard all the plotters heads explode. I'm sorry. 😉 ) So here's the 9th paragraph of Chapter 1 of my latest release, Sister Golden Hair:

    Well, thank God Lilith’s degree wasn’t in financial planning with that attitude. Rhett was proud of her twenty-four year old daughter, and pleased she worked at what she loved, teaching eighth-grade science in one of Fort Worth’s private academies. But Lilith just didn’t seem to understand her mother’s situation. She seemed to think, as so many others did, that Rhett would live comfortably on Todd’s insurance, a lady of leisure with no worries in her head. No one had any idea of the reality of the financial uncertainty of being a relatively young widow. Not that they cared. Rhett’s tiny circle of friends faded away soon after Todd’s death. Screw ‘em. She didn’t need them anyway. Much.

    1. Great paragraph, Juli! Thanks so much for sharing.
      I'm not a plotter, but my little brain cells squealed in horror at the non-linear approach to writing. 🙂

    2. Juli - that's why I had to use the 9th paragraph of my 1st chapter, too. 🙂 I have a ton of *scenes* - no clue how they will end up in *chapters* yet... I think I have them in a linear fashion, and I think they have beats and pinch points, maybe, but chapters?? Chapters confuse me. I may need an editor for chapters.

  31. This is a work in progress. Ch 1, 9th para:

    Pansy was asleep on the bed. Cookie found a pipe on the top of the dresser, along with a Bic lighter. She sat down on the floor, pushed the rock into the pipe and put the flame to it. As the smoke began to form, she inhaled the dancing whiteness into her lungs. Immediately a clam and a warmth came over her, She sucked every bit of smoke out of that pipe in a matter of a few minutes. Electricity raced through her body and she felt little tingles all over. She put the pipe and lighter back on the dresser and threw the little plastic packet under the bed. She didn't want to have any evidence around her which would indicate that she had partaken, just in case the guy downstairs, or anyone else, wanted to accuse her of stealing their stash. Her awareness of the room began to dim. She lay down on the floor and curled into a protective scrunch and was out like a light.

    1. "Immediately a clam and a warmth came over her" <--- Pamelia, this line made my day! This may just rival my "throwing her brains over her shoulder" line for the Awesome Typo Award. Absolutely brilliant! So glad you came to play with us!! 🙂

  32. From chapter 9 of ,Black Country, the opening book in The Asbury Triptych Series:

    Dividing the gentle nation of Ireland almost completely east and west is the majestic River Shannon, the river that draws its name from the Celtic goddess, Siona. There are two well-known versions of the legend. One tells of a brave woman who broke custom by catching and eating one of the large salmon that consistently return to the waterway from the open sea each autumn. Another story tells of an audacious female who dove deep into the well of knowledge at the source of the Shannon, again an act that went against the norm. The common element of the stories is the bold rebel breaking with tradition and eventually heading westward. In one account, she is forever searching at sea; in the other, dead from drowning.

  33. This is the 9th paragraph from the first chapter of my romantic comedy WIP.

    But that was my first impression. That was before he stomped on his floor when I plugged my iPod into its dock and cranked it up. And before I noticed that he never returns my smiles when he returns my hellos. In fact, most of the time he has this distant look in his eyes, like he doesn’t even see me. And I’m cute, damn it. Even perfect strangers tell me I look like Shakira, except my hair is short, and sometimes I put blue or magenta streaks in it, though I’m kind of liking the platinum trend, so I might go there next, and I think her eyes are darker, more brown than hazel like mine. Anyway, back to Mr. High Tea’s faults.

  34. I gave him a thumbs-up behind my back.

    This is the ninth paragraph of chapter 1. If this doesn't intrigue people than I don't know what will.

  35. Hi there - I've never posted here before but love the WITS blog and forum and love this idea!

    Here's my chapter 9 paragraph 1 from my current WIP

    Shadows moved in the darkness outside. Man-shaped but not men. They boiled over the earth like a plague of cockroaches on the scent of something juicy and rotten, swarming over and around the car, closing in on the house. Moonlight glinted on skin that was too shiny to be human.
    Very faintly, Cale caught the stench of carrion.

  36. From my upcoming release The Wicked City, the first of the Siren Song trilogy (urban fantasy). Chapter 9, paragraph 1:

    Morning light warmed June’s eyelids; she opened them and winced. When she’d gone to sleep, the world beyond the windows had been black and glittering with snow. Now the sky was white, sudden and bright like a nuclear flash. She stirred, became aware of her surroundings--the scent of another person, the heat of a body pressed against her side, silken hair on her shoulder--and her stomach sank. She looked down at the top of Micha’s head.

  37. Deception - available from amazon

    This is the first paragraph of Chapter 9

    Alex controlled his anger and focused on the tasks ahead. It was time to do more than just a light background check on Amanda Glenson. He never took risks when working with strangers and she was no exception.

  38. From my YA Fantasy Elemental Fire, Chapter 9, first paragraph:

    I wanted to go home. I wanted Vienna. I wanted Mom. Dad could stay in this world if that’s that mattered to him. This world killed my mother. How could Dad care about this place and keep it a secret? Madalyn had to send me back home.

  39. Monroe scowled down at his legs, they weren’t bad. Hairy but not hideous. He pulled a face. “It’s hot in the summer.” He reached in a large pocket on the hip of the olive drab kilt and pulled out his mobile, smiling. “And pockets to store stuff.” Reached in again and pulled out two Fireballs. “Want one?” Shamus shot a dubious look at the kilt as he popped the red candy in his mouth. “Pockets ye say? More like a purse if ye ask me.”
    “Bugger off, Shamus.” He mock-scowled at his friend glad he wasn’t acting odd after the past months of drama with him leaving the job, Amy, and the Shadow Walkers.

  40. This is the 9th paragraph from Chapter 1 of my current WIP Beyond Eden:

    She quickly discarded the thought that she should call Beam’s parents. Their overenthusiastic excitement over being first-time grandparents drove her crazy when she wasn’t in labor. There was no way she’d be able to handle them right now. It should be against the law for people to be so perky all the time, but perky ran through the Garrett clan like blood through veins. They were the happiest, most annoying people on the face of the earth and she’d married smack into the middle of them. Yahoo.

    1. Oh, Tina, you made me laugh! " It should be against the law for people to be so perky all the time" <-- Yes! 🙂

  41. From chapter one, paragraph 9 from "His Gift."

    Doug chuckled as he pulled out a chair from the dining room table and took a load off. At this lower altitude he was assured easy access to an eye to eye discussion with his grandson. “You need to leave the bowtie on,” he said. His hand wacked the ray of sunlight perched on the seat of a chair to his right, like a flyswatter. “Come sit with me while we wait for your Grandmother and Dad to come back.”

    Lots of interesting paragraphs today! I hope y'all had a wonderful holiday weekend! 🙂

  42. Clotho dropped her special piece of fluffy roving, which looked so like all the pieces of stinky sheep’s wool. She set about cursing and sweating some more, trying to figure out which one it was.
    From my WIP, The Damnation of Bronte Grey. Paragraph 9 of chapter 1. I kind of wish my paragraphs weren't so short, LOL.

    1. It's not the size that matters, Laura. 😉
      This sounds great. I'm glad you joined the challenge!

  43. This is the 9th paragraph from Chapter 1 of my current WIP - Not a Mother:
    “C'mon Captain, your turn.” I lifted him off the shelf, slipped into his harness, and gave him a kiss on what would have been his wrist. Then I pulled on an appropriate t-shirt that read “Will Litigate for Food,” went downstairs, and grabbed my purse. I had almost made my way to the garage when I was stopped by a scratching at the back door, followed by a whine and a bark. I opened and shut the door quickly. A blast of air too hot for this early in the morning accompanied Shadow inside. Air conditioning was a wonderful thing, especially, I assumed, if you were a black labrador retriever.

  44. From Ch. 1, Par 9, THE CATTLEMAN, Book #2 of the "Sons of Texas" trilogy. Release date: 9/15/2014

    Mom drained the contents of her glass—probably Crown and water—and set the heavy empty tumbler in front of Dad with a clunk. “Order me another drink.”
    Pic set his own glass on the table, leaned sideways toward Troy and said sotto voce, “Mom’s hitting the sauce pretty hard today.”
    Troy swallowed a sip of his own drink. “Guess she’s upset. She lost control of ol’ Drake and look what happened.”
    Pic snorted. “She hasn’t had control of Drake since we were kids.”
    Drake. The oldest Lockhart son and the reason for today’s gathering. Pic’s thoughts traveled up the street to the Tarrant County Courthouse where William Drake Lockhart, III, was getting—or by now had gotten—married. He was due to show up any minute with his bride. Their father had insisted on a family dinner though Drake had neither asked for nor wanted a party. In the Lockhart family, what the bride might have wanted hadn’t been considered or discussed.

  45. From Ch. 9 Par1, WIP
    Zahara didn’t hear from Aland over the next week. Perhaps he distanced himself from her to sort out his feelings so she resisted several times to holo him and let him be. She continued her preparations to time travel to the time of Christ. She also started a new book on ancient Egypt which would focus on the female deities because the Institute would expect something from her. They would also questioned why she hadn’t return there and she could use the book as an excuse saying she had gathered enough information and was taking the time off to write. She had enough to do to keep her busy and her mind off Aland. The problems she had left behind in Egypt paled in comparison with her problems with him.

  46. Ch. 1 Par. 9, WIP, The Bone Garden:
    A few minutes later we were settled in the cheerful kitchen at a round oak table topped with sunny yellow placemats and a sweating pitcher of iced tea. As my great aunt lifted the full pitcher with thin arms, I watched her closely. No shaking, no tremors. She appeared healthy, strong, and, so far, in possession of her wits. Perhaps Mom was wrong.

  47. From my WIP The Real Deal - Chapter 1, Paragraph 9:

    Kelly knelt and swept her nieces into a hug, their golden-blond curls tickling her nose and filling her head with the delicious scent of baby shampoo and sweet innocence as she rained kisses on their little faces. The girls giggled in delight.

  48. I'm new at this, but here goes -- From my WIP, The Kudzu Killers:

    Down the block, the ladies of the Athens Georgia “Pink Flowering Amaryllis Garden Club” met at the home of its president, Mrs. Priscilla Higgenbotham, who, at that moment, was not her usual unflappable self. In fact, with her clenched teeth, flushed face, and squinting eyes, she looked downright incensed. The memory of having her beautiful and surely award-winning garden disqualified – no, worse, laughed at – by the judges of the Athens Best Garden of the Year committee was driving her a little insane. The few club members who had dared attend the hastily-called meeting cringed in their designer gardening suits and kept their eyes open in case they had to duck flying debris. “It’s the fault of that damned Kudzu Lady! I could just kill her,” Priscilla said. With the word “kill,” Priscilla’s eyes opened wide, and she gazed at the other ladies in the living room with a wide smile. “Of course," she said, suddenly calm. "Why didn’t I think of that before? We’ll just kill her and be done with it.”

  49. From my WIP on my Blog (Legends of the Wordsmiths):

    Come Hell, High Water, or Both, Chapter One, Paragraph Nine

    I did my best to keep eye contact and not look down at my faded t-shirt and jeans, and lack of shoes. There was something about not wearing shoes that inspired a sense of vulnerability, not to mention being around someone you knew could clean your clock.

  50. High Cotton Country- First Paragraph, Chapter 9:

    This world is not my home, I’m just a’passing thru…

    The lyrics of the hymn came from somewhere in the warm blackness, beginning like a soft breath against her ear. Then, ever so slowly, the voice grew into her Mama's throaty, crystal clear alto she knew so well. The sound filled her heart and mind, spilled over and enfolded her in a velvet web of the most spine tingling alto voice she would hear in her lifetime.

  51. Judi Brett WIP Levels of Truth 9th paragraph Chapter 1
    “Yes, I’m Caroline Ferraro.” I’m not in Kansas anymore. I’m in town less than 24 hours and a man knows I am here and who I am. She had lived in the same spot in Seattle for ten years and no one noticed her comings and goings.

  52. Chapter 1 - paragraph 9 of Unshielded

    Though her long brown dress hung shapelessly on her small frame, its removal was guarded by an army of tiny buttons stationed from hem to chin, elbows to wrists. And the army was apparently making a stand. She growled as her fingers wrestled with the stubborn things. Maybe this was a sign that she’d made a terrible mistake by coming here.

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