WIP Wednesday — Share What YOU Are Up To!

Hey, it’s time for WIP Wednesday, when I share a little from a work in progress, and you do the same if you want to! Don’t critique anyone’s stuff, because that’s not what this is for — it’s just for inspiration and fun. But if you want to leave someone an encouraging comment, that’s great (and good writer karma!)

First, I want to talk a little bit about goals. At the beginning of the month, I often plan to work on one project at a time, setting a word count goal for myself. Then I wind up flitting between two or three projects anyway. I’ve decided to just go ahead and embrace the fact that I’m always going to multi-task, and I’m just going to write for a set amount of time during the week.

I’ve added a word counter to the blog (down there at the lower left) to keep me motivated! Here’s where my word count was on Sept. 1, and next month I’ll post where it is on Oct. 1.

 

WIP Wednesday Bryn Donovan #paranormal romance #manus sancti

 

This month I’m sharing a scene from The Phoenix Codex, a paranormal romance. It involves a centuries-old secret society that fights modern-day supernatural evil. I’m rewriting the completed novel from 1st person to 3rd person in alternating points of view, because it’s the first of a trilogy and I realized the whole trilogy is not going to work in 1st person. The switch is making book one a lot better — it’s  been really great to get the guy’s experience and feelings in there.

In this scene near the beginning, Jonathan West has gone into the psyche of Cassie Rios, whom he wrongly believes to be a murdering witch.

 

 

Jonathan stood facing Cassandra Rios. The scents of creosote and ozone, smoky and fresh, surprised him. It wasn’t a bad smell at all: the desert after rain.

Around them, many-armed ocotillo cacti, fuzzy teddy bear cholla, and rough shrubs dotted a rolling plain. No roads, telephone poles, or other signs of human habitation marred the landscape. No sound intruded upon the silence. Cobalt blue and bright pink streaked the sky, and near the horizon, the clouds glowed like orange flames. Near his feet on a prickly pear cactus, pink-red fruits ripened. They reminded him of hearts.

Doubt coiled in his gut. This wasn’t the soulscape of a killer. At least, it wasn’t like any he had ever seen. He’d expected ugliness inside her, even if it didn’t show on her outside.

In her photograph in her file, she’d struck Jonathan as more attractive than the usual target. She had big brown eyes, a prominent nose, and long dark hair, and in the picture, she was laughing and full of life.  A pretty woman is just as likely to be evil as anyone else. He’d reminded his younger brother that, on the drive from the middle of New Mexico to Phoenix.

Of course, it had been an imagined conversation, the only kind he could have with Michael now. His brain kept playing tricks on him, though, making him think he would see his younger brother again, as if he were merely outposted in Manila or D.C.

Cassandra Rios’s soulscape wasn’t perfect. Scarred black trunks of trees covered one mountain. A wildfire had blazed through. But even that looked like damage, clean and simple, more than anything else. What had hurt her?

Wrong question. He had to find out how she’d caused the animal attacks. They couldn’t be a coincidence.

Far in the other direction, about a dozen horses grazed. No saddles, no bridles, some of them tawny, some extravagantly spotted. They threatened no one.

She’s a bruja. This is a trick. He had never heard of anyone being able to conceal the truth of their own psyche before… but after hundreds of years’ worth of carefully documented missions and the study of ancient and obscure lore, Manus Sancti still occasionally encountered something new.

“You killed me?” Cassandra demanded. “This is heaven?”

“If this were the afterlife, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “I’d still be alive.”

“True. And I’m pretty sure you’d go somewhere worse than this.” If she’d been innocent, he would’ve admired her spirit. “How did you get me out here?”

“It’s not out anywhere. We’re inside you.”

“What?” She closed her eyes as though willing reality to return.

“This is your psyche. It feels familiar, doesn’t it?”

Her brow creased. “You gave me some kind of drug.”

“You know I didn’t.” This conversation was pointless. With most targets, just asking them a few questions while inside their psyche proved their guilt. In her case, he’d been assigned to go through her memories first to understand exactly how she was doing the spells.

One of the horses spooked and ran away, and the others followed him in a panic, rumbling toward the far hills. The saturated colors in the clouds tumbled and shifted in a rhythm like music: sapphire, tangerine, fuchsia. A dark hawk cut across the swath of color, not hunting, just flying. He couldn’t remember when he had been in a more beautiful place.

She said, “You have no right to be here.”

Maybe she was right. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was trespassing on sacred ground. “It isn’t what I expected.”

 

WIP Wednesday Bryn Donovan

 

If you’d like to share a paragraph of your work, or even a page or two, go right ahead in the comments section. Either way, thanks for reading, and happy writing!

84 Replies to “WIP Wednesday — Share What YOU Are Up To!”

  1. I LOVE your word counter idea! How’d you get it on your blog? This seems like a wonderful motivator. Like you, I want to only work on one story at a time, but find instead that I write several different stories in a day: my blog posts, a piece of flash fiction, my WIP, and perhaps a short story that just flips into my mind. Challenging, but fun. I’m working on my current WIP – sometimes fast, sometimes I drop it for a month, which is maddening. This novel – As Lovely as a Lie – is a sequel to my published book THE RIGHT WRONG MAN. The genre is romantic suspense. In this piece I share, we’re in the 3rd POV of Bea, the main female character, who is a high school special education teacher. Unknowingly, she has an uncover DEA agent in her classroom, posing as a special ed tutor.

    ~

    Bea woke up scratching her arm, leaving marks on her skin. She looked down in the dark, expecting to see a large exotic insect walking up her arm. Confused, she closed her eyes and opened them again, then looked around her bedroom. She was here, in her home, dawn just beginning to show some light around the edges of her shades. She squinted and checked the time on the clock. 6:05. Five minutes before the alarm went off.
    A dream. That’s what woke her, scratching her arm and expecting to see a strange world. As she curled her legs up to her chest, allowing herself to rest for just four more minutes, she went back into the dream. She was an astronaut about to set foot on Mars – the first woman to explore one of the planets that surrounded the earth. As she left the spaceship and took that first step, a strange-looking bug landed on the sleeve of her spacesuit. For some reason, in the dream, she assumed it was an insect, but in reality, maybe it was an intelligent creature trying to communicate. Hell, maybe the planet’s civilians were insects. Bea scoffed at herself, stretching her arms and legs as far as possible, readying herself for the day ahead.
    She checked the clock. Two more minutes. She relaxed again. Bea loved to interpret her dreams, and sometimes even wrote them down. This was one of the stranger ones she’d had in a while. What had happened in her life recently to create this kind of dream?
    Well, she’d just begun a new semester at school, but that wasn’t really different. This was her fifth year teaching English in the special ed department. Claire was finishing her last year at pre-school. Next fall, she’d be ready for kindergarten. But for now, Claire was attending the same school as last year, same hours too – 7:30 to 3:30, so no changes there.
    Then a face popped into her mind. A male face, with a soft grin and confident eyes. A man who was new to the school, new to the special ed department, and at times seemed new to teaching a special needs student. Who was this guy? Was he the insect in her dream – the exotic creature walking up the sleeve of her spacesuit? Was the spacesuit a symbol of her defenses, her armor so to speak against being hurt again? She didn’t want to meet a man who interested her.
    Bea sat up straight in bed. Did Matt interest her? Interest her how? She felt a red blush creep from her neck up to her cheeks. He interested her that way? No. She wouldn’t let him. She was a teacher. He was a tutor, in the same school. Right there was reason enough not to date the man. Date? Who said anything about dating? But he had asked her out, in a way, when he suggested they have dinner together and talk about Colin. But that wasn’t a date, really, that was a work meeting. And he still didn’t know that she had a child in her life.
    A piercing scream made her jump out of bed. Oh, it was the alarm clock. Time to get up. Time to stop fantasizing about silly dreams and a man that she had no business dreaming about.
    Besides, there was no man in that dream. Just a beautiful bug, trying to say something to her. If she could only understand it.

    1. Hi Pamela! The word counter is a plugin on WordPress.org (actually called Author Wordcount), but there are probably similar things available for other blog platforms too? It’s so satisfying!

      I love your titles and they are so perfect for romantic suspense. I love it that she’s dreaming about a bug when she has a spy in the classroom!

    2. Interesting. I want to find out more but you shouldn’t have told us what he really is because I have a memory like an elephant for stuff that I’m interested in. I like to find out when the characters do. Mind you, Bea does a better job at interpreting her weird dreams than I do -laughs-

  2. Hello Bryn, and all,
    I’ve just completed a synopsis for my novel, a little premature but the current assignment for the writing course I’m following. What does anyone think?
    Anne Harrison, student no. 4440760 Assignment 15 (F7)
    Synopsis of Poc a Poc, a new life in the Spanish pre-Pyrenees.

    Name: Anne M. Harrison
    Title: Poc a Poc, a new life in the Spanish pre-Pyrenees
    Word Length: 50,000
    Genre: Travel

    PETE has had enough of teaching and the absence of mountains in East Anglia. It’s his turn to choose where he and his wife, LIZ, move next. They know nothing of Spain but on their first visit find the ideal ruin in which to start a new life. This travel memoir describes the cultural readjustments needed to live and establish a business in a land which feels half a century behind northern Europe. The mañana attitude is both a delight and a frustration.

    The year is 1991. Pete and Liz are moving themselves to inland Catalonia in a seven tonne truck. Their ruin is located high in the pre-Pyrenees, approached by a ten kilometre dirt road and with no electricity, water or sewage outlet connected to the property. The intention is to renovate the huge, four storey property themselves and convert it into holiday accommodation. No-one who sees the property believes they will succeed but Pete and Liz work steadily and poc a poc, little by little, the house is renovated to result in three self-catering properties plus accommodation for themselves.
    The second chapter explains the reasons for leaving their stable lives in the UK to move to an uncertain future, Liz’s fretting and research into the practicalities of moving to and becoming resident in Spain and the relatively low costs involved at that time when tackling most aspects of the move yourself.

    Despite living in a sparsely populated hamlet with the population of cuatro gatos, four cats as the locals say, there is rarely a dull moment, much to Pete’s frustration. They discover that the first Catalan couple to befriend them have a slightly unsavoury background. Another neighbour uncovers a skeleton when excavating an unapproved drainage pipe. One English friend has a spirit guide and eventually emigrates to the USA to marry a native Indian imprisoned for murdering a police officer. Pete and Liz are present at the slaughter of a pig they buy from an English family who attempt to compete with the locals in various farming enterprises. The husband of this partnership later dies in tragic circumstances.

    In an effort to help with some financial support, Pete and Liz offer to manage holiday rentals for their property but come to deeply regret their offer. In the summer there is an influx of residents to their village, both Catalans and foreigners. A Dutch couple are good friends and proud owners of a tiny pedigree Dachshund named Brutus. The villagers are torn into two opposing parties when Brutus is ripped to pieces by dogs owned by the chairwoman of the residents’ association and Brutus is laid out in state in the Dutch couple’s living room until Liz advises that the smell is becoming unbearable. Both Pete and Liz experience working in the local community and during their time there both have medical ‘emergencies’. There is also, of course, plenty of partying and fiestas.

    In Spain there are a lot of regulations but they are inconsistently enforced. A whole class of professionals, gestors, manages everyone’s paperwork but even they seem unfamiliar with the best way to progress a particular task and the outcome is different every time the process is followed. The authorities turn the process into a guessing game; they don’t inform you which category your business fits into, you have to go through a trial and error process. Meanwhile, careless errors made by officials become entrenched in your documentation.

    The upside of the system is that you can continue with your business whilst all this is ongoing- usually. As well as the drawn-out procedure of obtaining and maintaining residency permits and business licence, Pete and Liz decide to import a car from Germany. The export process takes one hour. In Spain they spend three days chasing from one side of the provincial capital to the other and still fail to complete the import process.

    Despite the stresses of establishing a business in Spain, neither Liz nor Pete regret their decision. Working for themselves is much more satisfying than spending a 9-5 life working for others. There is great satisfaction in the achievement of both the renovation and establishing a business and they meet a great many interesting people along the way. Their unusual experiences continued until the end. When they advertise their property and business for sale they are approached by a group claiming to be diamond dealers but who are in fact con-men, as exposed later in an article in the Telegraph newspaper. The eventual new owner of the business is informed that she has the wrong license!

    Travel writing is a genre enjoyed by many, who look forward to the next true-life tale they can experience along with the writer. A well-written story of the experiences of living abroad never outlives its fascination for those of us who love to dream.

    1. Hi Anne! I don’t want to get too much into critiquing on the blog, and in this case it’s just as well because I am the worst at critiquing synopses. Even in an online writing group I’m in, when someone asks for feedback on their synopsis I just step back and see what everyone else says. 😀

      In the romance genre, the trend seems to be toward shorter synopses lately, so one of this length for 50K would need a bit of trimming… BUT, that might not apply to an assignment or this kind of fiction at all!

      Are you almost finished with the story? If so, awesome! And if not, it’s great that you have such a good handle on what you’re doing!

      1. Yeh, I feel you’re right about the length! It’s not easy this writing and publishing lark is it? I enjoy the writing side of it though. The course I’m following doesn’t have enough writing in it, for me, and concentrates on getting yourself published, which is the point of it all I suppose.

  3. Hi Bryn! I really like the images you evoke at the beginning of the passage. It really paints a picture in my mind.
    Here’s a bit of mine. Prince Edmund is defending his choice to invite Neri the mermaid back to the palace:

    The king closed his eyes for a moment, then sputtered, “What is the matter with you, boy?”

    “The matter with me? Something has to be the matter with me to stand up for an innocent young girl?”

    “No one is saying that,” his mother said quickly. “And no one is questioning your motives–“

    “I am.”

    “Rupert!”

    The king examined Edmund through narrowed eyes. “You saw what she looked like, Celia. He’s nineteen, not a priest.”

    “What she looked like,” Edmund repeated stupidly. “You think that’s what this is about?” He had a vague impression of fair skin and dark hair, but couldn’t summon the memory of the girl’s face.

    It kept being overwritten by the memory of another girl, the one who had saved his life.

    “You invited a stranger into our home. Our palace. Boy, where was your head?”

    “Under water.” He closed his eyes and saw it again, the confused mingling of sea and sky, the imagined glint of silver scales, the flash of sea foam that might be white skin. He remembered drifting in and out of consciousness, how his body’s instincts were to go down, down to the bottom, but she wouldn’t let him. She kept his head above water and she carried him, until at last they made it safely to the shore. And there, like a mother to a frightened child, she had sung to him and cradled his head in her lap.

    Edmund had never mentioned that part.

    He opened his eyes again to find both parents staring at him. His face grew hot, but he kept his voice level. “She was in a wreck, too. It brought to mind the courage of the maid who’d saved me. I had to help her in any way I could.”

    “And ‘any way you could’ meant inviting a stranger into our home,” the king said. “My home. No, my palace.”

    “A mute stranger who can barely walk. She’s not a security risk, Father; you’ll barely know she’s there.”

    “That is not the point.”

    “Then what is?” It had been a long day, and a frustrating one. Edmund was tired of being looked at and gossiped over, spoken to very little and listened to even less. “You’re the king, not I. If you don’t want her there, rescind my invitation. You have the authority.”

    “You actually think I can undo this?” His father pushed his hair back, encountered his crown, and stopped with a sigh. “Dashing young prince swoops in to save a fair maiden, and I am supposed to brook public disfavor by telling him no?”

    Edmund felt his cheeks warm. “I wasn’t being dashing. I wanted to help, that’s all.”

    1. I love mermaids – just posted a story about one a couple of weeks ago. This is a sweet story that makes me wonder what trouble Neri the mermaid has already gotten into!

  4. Trying to connect a domain to my site. Gawd, I hate being a bloody old codger with a fading mind and I am definitely not ‘growing old gracefully’. Anyways, here are the opening lines to a new novel.

    She was changed one late July evening, when it was still clear and bright at 9.30 pm. The slightly chilly breeze could have been natural for that time of year, under a cloudless sky, or it could have signalled an arrival.
    She was walking the family collie, Rafferty, around a local park and, being the most obedient of canines, the dog was only on a loosely held light leash, as always. When a breeze disturbed the still air, her animal broke away and ran to a copse of trees. Naturally, she assumed it was emergency toilet time. When Rafferty had been in the copse two or three minutes, she called his name before blowing the small, tin whistle she and her husband used to underline the canine must return to his master. Nothing. She walked 40 feet, entered the trees and called again. Nothing.
    She ventured deeper into a thickish copse she had passed many times, but never entered, on their evening stroll. Indeed, she knew the park well since woman and dog walked the area five evenings a week. She stopped. It was as if someone had turned the volume of life to zero. No birdsong, no rustling of leaves, in fact none of the normal sounds associated with nature. A feeling akin to fear enveloped her. Her voice sounded too loud when she shouted for the dog once more. Nothing. She blew the whistle and in that quiet, enclosed area, it sounded shrill. If Rafferty had been within 300 feet, he would have heard it. Nothing. She ventured deeper.
    “Your pet is sleeping for the moment.” She was startled and could see no-one. She began reversing towards where she had entered the trees. “It is too late to go back to where you entered. That exit is closed for the moment.”

      1. An old man thanks you, Pamela.

        I used to sing a song in the late 1960’s with my band. It was recorded by Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders.
        It went, Pamela, Pamela, remember the days, Of inkwells and apples, And books and school plays etc.

        The Mindbenders left the UK and went off to the USA in the early 1970’s where they changed their name to 10CC. (some useless trivia)

    1. You’ve done better than me here anyway. The text of my synopsis re-formatted in the process of copying and pasting. I could have re-introduced the spacing between paragraphs to break the text up before posting but I was so nervy about the process of copying and pasting that it didn’t occur to me to check the end result until it was too late.

      1. Hi Anne! Although I’m at work and can’t read all these till I get home, I saw your comment here and I went back and put some spacing in your piece. However… I don’t know if I put it in the right place, so SORRY if I’ve made the wrong paragraph breaks! I was just trying to help. 🙂

        1. Hey, thanks. I saw that the layout was better this morning. I wondered how that happened.
          (How do you get the smiley emoticon to come up? I don’t see any formatting options on my screen.) Anyway- Big Smiles.

    2. All right now, Lawrence, don’t call yourself names! This is my blog and I can’t allow you to insult people I like! 🙂

      This is a great way to open a story! And you always do such great things with sounds. “It was as if someone had turned the volume of life to zero.” Love it.

      1. When I’m struggling to return to the pencil or keyboard, one of your bright email posts pops up and I’m inspired to write a few more pages, until you give me another hit by entering my life again. Thankyou, Bryn. I have a friend Edward who also inspires me (no, not gay) and I named my new heroine in honour of you, him and where I was born in Northern Ireland. So, Edward – ED, Bryn – you get a YN and the village – Portmore Hill. Thus, my heroine is Edlyn Portmore.

        If anyone wishes to view my books, type, Lawrence Clarke – Wix, into your search engine. For some ungodly reason, typing the domain name doesn’t work. I know it’s connected and I’m trying to solve the problem.
        Because I don’t comment on every post, doesn’t mean I don’t read them because I do.

  5. I’m working on grief, an emotion I’ve had very little personal experience with. My male MC, Bryan, has just lost his best friend (Joana) three days earlier and he’s trying to tell the woman he’s got a crush on (Sara) that they’ve lost that mutual friend. Meanwhile he’s had a combat-filled three days and has been trying to keep his friends safe as they tried to get home.

    “Bryan,” she said, her eyes on her task. “Welcome home.”

    Her voice was warm—it always was—but it was an impersonal, friendly warmth. Not the warmth of a dear friend, for all he’d known her a decade. Not the warmth of a lover. He wanted her—but it was impossible.

    “Is everyone all right?” she said. “I heard Miguel and Joana are in the clinic. What happened? Why are you late back?”

    He opened his mouth to answer, but no words came out. His heart lurched and then collapsed, falling in on itself under the weight of what he had to say.

    Sara looked up when he didn’t answer, her large, dark eyes startled. “Are you all right?” She set down the knife and rose, draping the cloth across the back of her chair, alarm flooding her expression. “Bryan? What happened?”

    He couldn’t speak.

    Sara hurried to him, put one hand on his arm. She hadn’t touched him in three years. “Are they okay? Are you okay? What’s wrong?”

    Her touch loosened something within him, something he needed to stay in place, something necessary if he was to function, to be there for Sara, for his friends. He pulled away from her as his mind extracted the words from the tar that held them down and shoved those words out his mouth. “Joana died.” He cringed at the bluntness, at the finality. Now Sara would go to pieces and it would be his fault.

    Sara gasped and her eyes widened in shock. “Dead? She’s dead?”

    He crumpled, his knees striking the floor, his body drooping forward. Tears poured out of his eyes and soaked into her blouse as she pressed his head into her shoulder. She had knelt when he fell and now her arms were around him, holding him in place as his grief ran him through.

    1. Ohhh man, TM. Between his grief for his friend and his feelings for her, there’s so much emotion going on. And I love how he thinks she’s going to fall apart and then he does in the next moment… I don’t think I’ve never seen that before and it really gets me.

      Thanks for posting!

      1. Thanks! I never know when I have too little or too much emotion going on. 🙂

        I bought your novella and look forward to reading it this weekend.

      1. Thanks! I keep a file of grief memes and I’ve read books on grief by CS Lewis and such to try to get it right. I’m glad I live such a charmed life, but it does make writing this sort of thing hard.

  6. Hi Bryn!
    I really like how you painted the landscape in your excerpt. I can really imagine how it looks.
    And I’d like to know how you got that word counter. It’s a good motivation indeed and I’d like to use one as well.
    Last month I passed the 70.000 words in my main project Fantasy’s Tales, A One-way gate. I’m aiming for 90.000 or over, and there’s still plenty of story left to write. But school’s started here in the Netherlands again so I’ve got less time for that.
    For now I’ll share a little bit of another project I’m working on, a retelling of the Swan Lake story that ties in with A One-Way Gate, which also uses some characters from Swan Lake. I’m planning on writing it in three third person POV’s, Morgan, Odille and Odette. In this bit, Odille brings Odette and the other cursed girls to the lake.

    She settled for a magical tent, summoned from the tower. As for the girls, she took the time to rip out a bunch of reeds and willed them to arrange in rough piles on the ground. She kneeled on one of them, just experimentally. The roughness of the “bed” surprised her. She didn’t want her heart to play up like that, but she went outside again. The grass around the tent seemed soft enough, so she mixed it with the reeds and created some softer bedding. Her own bed looked very comfy now that she was so tired. When her head hit the down-filled pillow she heard the familiar swoosh that signaled the change.

    ‘Oh, look at what our captor has done for us.’
    A lot more than you deserve, Odette, Odille thought.

    ‘She has even… eh, brought dinner.’ The disappointment in Odette’s voice when she stepped inside the tent almost made Odille smile. She closed her eyes and sighed. A stuck-up princess, that’s what you are, she thought. The cracking of the reeds when the girls sat down on them was so annoying that she opened her eyes.

    One of the smaller ones, Lysbet, rubbed her arms. ‘Odette, it still hurts,’ she said.

    ‘It will go away soon.’ Odette laid her arm around the smaller girl’s shoulders. Odille hated how that affected her so much.

    ‘Odille, did you bring us honey cakes again?’ Lysbet’s innocent voice was almost as annoying.

    ‘No, the honey cakes were a one-time thing.’ She turned on her side and stared at the tent wall.

    ‘Aww.’

    ‘Come on, little one.’ Odette led the girl to her bed. Then she sat down herself, cross-legged. Why did you have to choose the bed closest to me? Odille thought. It was even worse when Odette asked her: ‘And, do we get something to eat, black swan?’

    ‘Tomorrow morning.’

    ‘Then we will not be able to fly.’

    Odille closed her eyes, ready to sleep. ‘You won’t fly tomorrow. Father will come and stay here.’

    ‘Then we are at the special lake?’

    ‘Yes.’

    Odette’s bedding cracked, which meant that she sat up. ‘I do not see a reason why you would not give us dinner now.’

    The bed was too comfy to move again, but Odille turned with difficulty to the swan queen. ‘I’m tired.’

    Odette’s ice-blue eyes locked with hers. It was as if she was trying to see into Odille’s mind. ‘Tired? I think you mean magically exhausted.’

    She had guessed right, if she had guessed at all. You probably know more of that than I do, Odille thought. She still hated to admit it, but when she sat up to be at the same height as Odette, black spots swirled before her eyes. ‘Eat your grass, swan.’

    ‘Or you are just too vain. Is it not nice, to submit us to your will?’

    Then Odille’s temper snapped. She jumped out of her bed and grabbed Odette by the collar of her dress. Her hand unintentionally sparked with black magic. ‘Listen, I am tired and I am magically unable to do much. Be happy with your grass, I could’ve just let you sleep in the mud outside!’

    She threw Odette flat on her back and fell back into her bed. The sun had disappeared and the other girls looked at her, frightened.

      1. That’s okay; it’s a WIP, and an interesting read as it is. Good tension. If you want to practice italics in the future:

        To use italics in online comments: (1) type the letter i inside left and right carrots (Less Than Sign and Greater Than Sign on your keyboard—they look like sideways vees) in front of the word you want italicized. (2) type a forward slash / and the letter i inside left and right carrots after the word you want italicized. Forget the slash, and the rest of your post will all be in italics.

        Here’s a visual: https://dafan7711.tumblr.com/post/150081087386/how-to-use-italics-in-online-comments-this

    1. Kiete, great work on passing the 70K mark! The word counter is a widget for WordPress.org called Author Wordcounter, but I bet there are similar things out there (maybe apps too? I should look into this!) Anyway 90K or a little more is a great length for fantasy, but you probably already knew that, haha!

      I don’t know the story of Swan Lake at all, and this made me so curious! (Don’t worry about the italics, it was easy to tell where the internal monologue was.) Thanks for posting!

    2. I like. Was it you who shared the parade scene x number of months ago? I’m sure it was as this seems familiar and connected to that. I had enjoyed that too. Sorry if I’ve got the Wong person though.

  7. Hi Bryn! Your description of the desert was amazing! I’ve never liked the desert so much. 🙂

    Here’s another excerpt from my Tomkin and the Dragon story that will go along with a novel I published this summer.
    ***
    The dragon’s head turned like a snake’s, pinning Tomkin with an unblinking stare. The wood he was holding cracked again and Tomkin grabbed at it with both hands, letting go of the sword. His heart stopped completely as he watched the silver blade glint and tumble, impossibly slow, down towards the dragon’s side. Growing smaller and more insignificant the closer it got.

    The dragon’s eyes followed the blade as well. It did not shift or cringe. For the briefest moment Tomkin imagined the blade piercing the dragon’s scales, driving deep into its body, delivering a death blow. But the sword twisted, the heavy hilt tumbling down below the blade and when it hit, it was the garnet at the end of the hilt that tinked harmlessly off the dragon’s scales. The blade clattered down the dragon’s side and there was a flash of orange as the garnet stone, emblem of Tomkin’s family, skittered away over the dragon’s back.

    Tomkin stood rooted to the crumbled ledge. His eyes staring at the dark corner where the garnet had landed.

    His father was going to kill him.

    That thought was so stupid that Tomkin let out a short laugh. It echoed off the walls, sounding unhinged.

    The dragon, who had been considering the useless blade, slowly raised its head to Tomkin. Tomkin felt its gaze rise from the blade, moving slowing up until it skewered him to the wall. Its gaze bored into him, its reptilian eyes giving away nothing. The rest of its body lay perfectly relaxed.

    It’s going to eat me. Tomkin imagined the mouth, opening, the dragon’s head striking forward impossibly fast. The teeth sinking into his body.

    But the dragon didn’t move. It didn’t even twitch the end of its tail. Didn’t dragon’s always twitch their tails?

    Maybe that was cats.

    The pressure of the dragon’s eyes grew. Tomkin felt it like a heat pressing against him, like standing in front of the baker’s oven when the very air seemed to lean against his skin with the potential to destroy. The break baking inside had always seemed brave.

    That was the moment when Tomkin realized he was not brave. Others were made to be the bread, Tomkin was made to stay up in the library reading and waiting for someone to fix him a sandwich.

    No, that metaphor was just weird. That would leave Tomkin eating the hero.

    Tomkin blinked. The dragon did not.

    The silence and stillness stretched on and on, building its own sort of menace. Tomkin’s heart had somehow ended up too close to his ears and he could hear it pounding. Maybe it had swelled to fill his entire body because he could feel it pounding everywhere. In his ears, in his fingers, his entire chest thrummed with it. His throat was so full of his heart that it didn’t have room to take in any air.

    Still the dragon stared. The silence grew so terrible that it was worse than the scales, worse than the shockingly green unblinking eyes, worse than the slitted, unmoving pupils. Everything inside of Tomkin changed from wanting to run, to wanting to break the silence.

    It rose like a wave inside him, an irrepressible urge. Tomkins pressed his lips together, but it was no good. He’d never really been able to keep his mouth shut. The pressure built and built until it squeaked out of him. Like a mouse that was being strangled.

    “Hellocchh.” Tomkin clamped his lips shut. That had not been a manly noise.

    The dragon’s head cocked ever so slightly.

    Tomkin cleared his throat and tried again. “Hello.”

    The dragon did not move, but Tomkin couldn’t stay frozen any longer. The stillness was as bad as the silence. Tomkin pulled one hand off of the wood and gave a little wave.

    The wood splintered completely and Tomkin scrambled, reaching for any handhold he could find. His fingers scraped over the rocky wall, scattering dust and pebbles.

    The wood beam broke complete and Tomkin fell.

    1. Nice excerpt, J. I liked, “But the dragon didn’t move. It didn’t even twitch the end of its tail. Didn’t dragon’s always twitch their tails?

      “Maybe that was cats.” And “Tomkin blinked. The dragon did not.”

      Fabulous paragraph: “Still the dragon stared. The silence grew so terrible that it was worse than the scales, worse than the shockingly green unblinking eyes, worse than the slitted, unmoving pupils. Everything inside of Tomkin changed from wanting to run, to wanting to break the silence.”

      Great closing paragraph. I love it when a short, powerful sentence works like that.

    2. JA, hi! And thanks! I got my MFA in Tucson, so I do kind of have some feelings for the desert.

      Tomkin is so likeable. Especially here:

      That was the moment when Tomkin realized he was not brave. Others were made to be the bread, Tomkin was made to stay up in the library reading and waiting for someone to fix him a sandwich.

      No, that metaphor was just weird. That would leave Tomkin eating the hero.

      I hope you share some more in the future!

      1. I could tell you’d actually been in a desert and loved it. It felt so vibrant and alive – which is astonishing for a desert. 🙂

        I love your WIP Wednesdays, so I’ll try to be back. It helped that you reminded us yesterday so I was ready.

        Tomkin’s story is a companion story to my first novel which has an MC that’s a historian and storyteller. In that book they talk about the story of Tomkin and the Dragon several times, so I thought I’d write the story. I’m having so much fun with it. There’s an equally likable girl involved, but she and Tomkin don’t get a long, which is always fun.

        I’m still thinking about your story with the knight frozen in the statue…

  8. Compelling premise, Bryn! It’s going to have my pre-order.

    I posted the final chapters of Courage, My Heart on my blog last month, plus a couple of short stories in the Dragon Age universe. Here’s the opening of my latest WIP, Warrior Dove:

    The possessed hounds gained on them, driving Theo and Culver toward the cliffs. Dripping from the grey mists, the warrior and rogue ran for the gorge, dodging pine trees and stumbling on the undergrowth.

    They neared the precipice. Still running, Theo sheathed his sword and hooked his shield to his back while Culver slid her dual daggers into her shoulder harness.

    He held out his hand for her to grasp as they increased their speed, hurtling toward the edge.

    The howls and demonish snarling were right on their heels.

    They jumped.

    Theo brought his arms around her neck. Culver shot magic fire down from her hands, catapulting them up and over the chasm between the west and east banks.

    Then they were falling. Fast.

    Culver wrapped her arms around Theo. He shoved his hands outward, conjuring wind to slow their descent. They bent their knees and rolled across the rocky, muddy ground.

    Angry barks echoed across the cliffs, but the dogs could not follow.

    “Yes!” Culver sprung to her feet and offered him a hand up. “Want to go again?”

    “Not really,” he gasped out, but smiled, heart and breath still racing. “How long have we got until his friends find us?”

    “An hour, maybe—if he doesn’t have any scouts on the east bank yet.” She mussed her short black hair with her bare hands, brushing long pine needles from her curls. “You good to go?”

    He bowed and gestured for her to lead on, “After you, Your Highness.”

    She laughed and slipped into the deepening shadows. He followed, hands steady, but heart quaking.

    They’d never had such a close call before. Had one of them tripped, or not had enough mana, they’d be demon fodder or a stain of broken limbs at the bottom of a gorge in the Frostback Mountains, far west of their home in Ferelden’s capitol city of Denerim.

    Worse, someone had set them up: rumors of a stranded mage traveling from Val Royeaux home to the College in Lothering turned out to be a pack of demon-wielding blood mages …

    Queen Sera would be pissed.

    If they made it home alive to tell her.

    You can watch for updates on my Tumblr blog and read my stories as a free guest or registered user (NO junk mail) on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/DAfan7711/works

  9. I love WIP Wednesdays! Here’s my wip-in-edits.

    It really wasn’t a proper paranorm party until a troll took a dump in the middle of the room. Or blood was spilled. The great cavern was huge but distance didn’t eliminate the tear-inducing odor—yet the angry bellows of the two, squared-off paranorms had distracted the throng from the pile in their midst. Blood did always win out with this crowd. But times were changing—brut force and savagery could no longer be the norm, not if the paranorm species wanted to reveal their existence to the flighty humans and survive.
    Libra stood at one entrance watching the various paranorm species surrounding Lyon, his fellow Zodiac Assassin and the leader of the InBetween. More raised voices responded, their agitation echoing—the sharp, deep caws of the angry Corvus Ward males punctuated the nasal grunts and growls of the native Kellas Cat tongue. Together they drowned out the hiss of the vibrantly colored, reptilian-humanoid Aspis.
    Ethereal Portends had pressed their gossamer-clothed backs against the rough cavern walls, their faces screwed up in pain, cringing from the anger and agitation buffeting their delicate senses. The demon-soul sucking Innocent Demonica delegation—a haunting primal species who came in two physical versions: pale white skin with crooked black cracks in a random pattern over their faces and bodies, and the reverse black with white—were as far from the mind readers as they could get.
    Libra adjusted his tie, and tugged on his suit jacket, smoothing the non-existent creases to ease the strummed nerves vibrating through him. Lyon’s face was inches from the Corvus Ward king, both men flushed, the king’s ink-black scalp feathers standing straight up. Not a good sign of either males’ mood.
    Only weeks ago a demon army had punched through the roof of the paranorm subterranean world and into the human world, and they had only just set their violated home to rights in time to get the numerous species together. This was an unprecedented meeting—a gathering of most of the better-known paranorms, groups that historically never shared the same square footage. But history was just that—they all had a new future to mold.
    Lyon and the Corvus Ward king bumped chests.
    Aw, hell.
    Libra stopped fidgeting. His knees bent, his heart rate spiked—pounding against his ribs as if the organ was demanding he leave, as if it knew this confab was a bad idea. Instincts, bah. He hadn’t indulged in instincts or gut feelings since they were beaten out of him as a child.
    Before he could take a step, the air around him was disturbed. The cloying smell of gardenia worked hard, but failed, to disguise the rotten flesh stench of carrion flower nectar. Only one person he knew favored that particular combination, and he hadn’t seen her for years—had hoped he’d never see her again. Perhaps he should have taken up prayer, or destroyed his sense of smell, because in one whiff he was jetted back to his childhood. The sting of her slaps, and punches, and kicks—the fear that they would never stop, the hope that he might die before the next beating.
    Adrenaline surged through the shock obliterating the emotions of the boy he once was, for the numb of a man grown and in control. A trickle of sweat formed between his shoulder blades and inched and itched down his back, but he refused to acknowledge the physical betrayal of his body, his emotions. The day he escaped her, he swore no one would ever touch him unless he desired it, hit him without repercussion, or elicit a physical response that he didn’t welcome.
    Her breath tickled his ear. “I know why you’re here.”
    He moved his tongue around to wet the desert that was his mouth, but his lips stuck to his teeth. “You know nothing about me.”
    “You are just like your father—wanting what you can’t have. Leading the paranorms, advising them, standing as their representative to the rest of the world will take a strong hand, a courageous heart. You have neither, so I’m here to make sure you don’t get what you seek. I am here to protect the paranorms from a male so afraid to embrace his greatest gift that he lives a half-life. ”
    Libra took a slow even breath. He would never let her see how much her words had hit home—how they burned like acid on his skin, flayed it, penetrated the crevices to seek out the dark hollows inside him, filling them until they were sated. “Thankfully, I am nothing like you or my father, making me the perfect candidate for the job. That, and my aftershave doesn’t smell like rotten meat.” He snorted. “Funny how the humans don’t like the stench you favor. Says a lot, don’t you think?”

    1. Well I love it when you post, Artemis! Your creatures are so easy to imagine. And I really love your descriptions of physical actions and how emotions feel physically. Like:

      Libra adjusted his tie, and tugged on his suit jacket, smoothing the non-existent creases to ease the strummed nerves vibrating through him.

      That was quite a first sentence, by the way, haha!

  10. This particular type of story, I’m not usually into but I want to know what happens. Interesting.

    Anyway, here is a snippet from the same wip I shared in last month’s post.

    ~*~*~*~

    On the bed, staring up at the ceiling, I’d just finished emailing my report to the BHA. Along with it, I requested time off since I have months accumulated. I figure the Bounty Hunter Association could do without me for a while. Maybe some time up the Sunshine Coast would be good and help me shake off this disgruntledness I’m feeling. Besides, my parents will be happy to see me.
    Minutes later, an email pops up telling me my leave is granted. From the bedside table, I grab my mobile phone and dial.
    “Scottie, me boy. How are ya? When will we get to see you?”
    I laugh as Pop bombards me.
    “Is that Scott? What does he say?”
    I laugh harder at Mamma’s enthusiasm.
    “He’s laughing his head off.” Pop grouches, but I know he’s grinning like an idiot.
    By this stage, I am gasping for air.
    “Geez, I love you guys.” I manage to get out.
    Pop laughs. “We love you too, Son.”
    “How would you like to have me for a month or more?”
    “YOU SERIOUS?!”
    I yank the phone away. Pop is obviously sharing the phone with Mamma.
    “Uh? Waddya say? I just lost an eardrum.” I say a little loudly.
    They laugh.
    “Don’t be a smartarse.” Mamma chuckles.
    “Heh, at least some part of me is.”
    “Yeah, yeah. Old joke.” They chuckle again. “When would you be coming up if you did so?”
    I can hear the hopefulness in her voice. As much as I want to tease her, I don’t. Just not in the mood for it.
    “Is tomorrow too soon?”
    “What’s wrong, Son.”
    The seriousness in Pop’s voice hurts sometimes and this was one of those times. Even now, I don’t understand how he manages to know when something’s not right with me.
    “Nothing’s wrong, Pop. I’ve got holidays due and thought I would use some of them.”
    “Ahuh. When can we expect you then?”
    “How’s breakfast sound?”
    Mamma starts clapping in the background and I can’t help but grin.
    “We’ll see you at eight then.”
    “See you then. Bye.”
    Having made them happy, I go make myself a cuppa. A nice strong tea will go down well. Hmmm… Have I polished off the last of the lamington jam roll yet? As the tea steeps in the pot, I peer into the fridge and can’t stop the grin splitting my face as I spot the cake.

    1. Hi KC! And thanks!

      Ha, as soon as I started reading my brain snapped right back into this story again, based on what you shared last month. It’s funny—I don’t read a lot of stories where the characters have healthy relationships with their parents (a lot of times the parents are dead), so that’s kind of refreshing.

  11. Your stories are always so imaginative, Bryn. I love reading your posts. I can’t decide if I want her to be the “good guy” or not. Your descriptions of her soulscape are perfect – I can see it all. Very cool.

    I have three WIPs going at the moment, but the latest is one that just came to me a few days ago. The other night I sat down with a glass of wine and some of my favorite music from the time period it starts out in and banged out two chapters. Sarah and Ben are two completely different people, but this is the story of their unlikely bond of friendship that spans over fifteen years. In this particular scene, Sarah unexpectedly comes face to face with her ex-boyfriend at her workplace. She works at a popular bar and works the front door on the weekends, checking IDs and collecting cover when they had live music. The working title is Finding Ben:

    She hadn’t noticed him watching her while he waited in line because she was busy with the people right in front of her, but when it was his turn and she looked up, her heart dropped into her stomach.
    “Hi,” he said, his eyes gentle as he looked at her with his hands in his pockets and a small smile playing on his lips.
    She couldn’t move.
    Greg noticed the disruption in the flow of the line. “Are we good?” he asked, eyeing Scott up and down.
    Sarah shoved the money into Greg’s chest and jumped down from the stool, pushing people out of her way as she ran to the kitchen, shaking. Adrenaline coursed through her from head to foot. ‘No,’ she thought, pacing the kitchen. ‘Why now? WHY would he come here?’ Her knees buckled. A million different scenarios stormed her brain, some of them still holding a candle for the hope she’d get him back. But seeing him, even after all these months, reopened the hole in her chest.
    She moved to the wall and leaned against it, clasping her hand over her mouth. She wanted to punch something. Or kick, kicking was good, too. She thought she was over this. It’d been months since he dropped the news that broke her heart. A burst of noise filled the kitchen as the door swung open, but she didn’t care.
    “Sarah?” Melissa called out as the door swung shut, muffling the rock music and the crowd. “Where are you?”
    It was hard to breathe. “Right here,” she said, and slid to the floor.
    “Oh, my god. You’re white as a ghost, girl,” she said, joining her on the floor. “The guys told me what happened.”
    “Why?” Sarah asked, her hands trembling with anger she pressed them between her knees. “Why would he show up here?”
    “I don’t know. He’s stupid. But, hey: Greg wanted me to tell you they didn’t let him in.”
    Some distorted version of a laugh bubbled out, and the first tear fell. But it was the only one. “He’s got his own fucking bar. Fucking stay there.” She rubbed her eyes with the palms of her hands and balled her fists.
    “Come on.” Melissa pulled her to her feet. “Let’s go out back.”
    Sarah nodded and followed her out back to the pile of pallets. As they sat huddled together in the humid night air, Melissa asked, “Did he hurt you? I mean, hurt you?” She lit two cigarettes and handed one to Sarah.
    Sarah scoffed. “No. It wasn’t like that.”
    “Okay, good. Because I was about to make a few phone calls. You scared the guys up front, too, you know.”
    “Did I?” Sarah chuckled, coming down from the tension.
    “Greg sent Derby to get me.”
    “Hm.”
    “Are you okay?”
    She took one last deep, shaky breath and pounded her fist on her thigh. “The fuck does he want?”
    “We can ban him. He’ll never be able to get in again.”
    It was a nice thought, but she wasn’t ready to put that wall up just yet. “No, don’t do that. I don’t want to make that big a deal out of it.” She smashed the burnt down cigarette against the sole of her shoes before flicking it into the butt bucket. Really, she wanted the chance to tell him off one day, on her own terms.
    “It’s an option. If you need it. Jay’ll do it in an instant,” Melissa said, putting hers out too. “You ready?”
    “How do I look?” Sarah asked, turning her face side to side.
    “Perfect. And your color is coming back,” Melissa laughed. “And your nostrils aren’t flaring anymore, so there’s that.”
    Sarah chuckled. “You’re sure he’s gone?”
    “Cross my heart, girl.”
    “All right.”

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Nicole!

      Wow, how great that inspiration struck you like that! It sounds like you knew right away who these two people were. That’s a really nice moment when they first lay eyes on each other and it’s disruptive externally as well as internally. Hope I get to see more 🙂

    2. I love it when the inspiration hits like that, Nicole! Don’t you wish that it was always like that? Two chapters, just like that…It definitely piqued my interest. I would like to know the history of this couple and why his sudden appearance was so disturbing to poor Sarah. More please…

  12. Well Bryn, I have quickly become a fan of your writing, having purchased all of your books, including “Master Lists for Writers”, your novella, and “Sole Possession”; so it doesn’t surprise me how much I know that I will enjoy “The Phoenix Codex”. I agree with an earlier comment made about your amazing descriptions. They are so vivid and carry the reader right into the story, providing an experience of the event, rather than a mere attendance to the event. I am already anxious for more.

    My severe A.D.D. is definitely evident in my project’s file, and I love it! I flitter back and forth deciding what story I am in the mood to play with and go for it. This is my first WIP and it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet all of you. My initial inclination was to take one of my more developed works-in-progress to use for this post, however when I actually sat down with my computer, this is what came out. It is barely more than a paragraph, but I hope you will enjoy it. I think that eventually it will make a good story.
    *************************************************************************************************************************
    She stood with an aloof air about her; leaning up against the brick column, waiting for a someone, perhaps a even a stranger, to approach. Her dress was deep green, and hugged every curve of her luscious, trim body. She wore a pair of earrings and a bracelet made of gray agate orbs, faceted brass cubes and lava beads that spiraled three times around her tiny wrist, adorning her olive green complexion. She was a natural beauty, and she seemed aware of just how little effort it took to bring out her best features. Her hair was dark brown with curly ringlets that brushed her shoulders, and flowed midway down her back. Her lips were full, and inviting, in a shade of dark rose that made me want to taste them and feel them against mine. Her eyes were gorgeous and hazel, framed by dark eyelashes and thick brows. Watching her, I couldn’t help but feel drawn to her bewitching allure.

    My name is Mac Stattin and it’s my job to notice the details. I am a former prosecuting attorney, turned Private Investigator; hired to find a killer. Unfortunately my path has lead me here. The beautiful girl I am tailing is Cynthia Randall, a thirty-something, promising young attorney that I believe may be his next target.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Yay, your first WIP! I hope it’s not your last!

      This is really fun because I didn’t know at first that we were in Mac’s head. He’s trying to sound all professional, “it’s my job to notice the details,” but he’s totally smitten! Haha, I love that.

      And oh my gosh, thanks for saying what you did. I am so flattered. Thanks for buying my books, and thank you for the kind words! It means a lot to me.

    2. Wow, Elizabeth!! I think you’re really onto something with this. The line: “… it’s my job to notice the details” hooked me. Because now I want to know all about this job. It sounds so ominous with just that little line. Thanks for sharing!!

  13. Intriguing. I’ve played with some of that in my story, but not to the extent to which you have done it. Mine is in 3rd person, and the thoughts of the individual doing this are not yet known. They will be in the sequel, which will explore that particular character further. The first book focuses on Ricky & Laura. Here is an excerpt of when Ricky is confronted by telepathic twins. I’ve been told that dialogue is one of my strong suits, and I’m hoping this particular scene leaves the reader a bit dizzy, but not so much that they quit reading it.

    “Hmm…” Ricky wanted to leave, and get very far away from this whole thing, but he knew he needed to stay. He knew somehow that there was more to them than meets the eye, but it was not to be found in their body language or voice inflection.
    “Our employers need your knowledge…” the second man began.
    “… and your skill at identifying potentials,” the first man finished.
    “Potentials?” Ricky asked.
    “Children who show tendencies…,” the second man began.
    “… for special abilities,” the first man finished.
    “Ah. I see. And why exactly should I help?” Ricky asked
    “As a sign of good faith…” the second man began.
    “… your sister’s financial troubles will disappear,” the first man finished.
    “… afterwards, with your continued help…,” the second man continued.
    “… other incentives will be made available,” the first man finished.
    Camila moved away from the men and towards Ricky. She was smiling an empty smile. That added to the dizzying technique of the men, made him feel very uneasy. He fought to keep his composure.
    “And if I refuse to help?” Ricky asked.
    “Well, now, that wouldn’t be a good idea…,” the second man began.
    “…Our employers are very powerful…” the first man continued.
    “… Very powerful indeed…” the second man continued.
    “…Crossing them would be very detrimental…” the first man continued.
    “…We know many things about you,…” the second man continued.
    “… and your family…,” the first man continued.
    “… things you do not even know…,” the second man continued.
    “… it would be a shame to see harm come to them…,” the first man continued.
    “… particularly your father…,” the second man continued.
    “… someone who has many, many more secrets than your girlfriend,” the first man finished.
    Ricky tried to keep his emotions in check, but what they said took him by surprise. Their alternating conversation was taking a mental toll.
    The men laughed. “Of course, the man who is trained to observe others…,” the second man began.
    “…is too close to observe his own family,” the first man continued.
    “Like the doctor who can’t treat his own relatives…” the second man continued.
    “Ricardo Santistevan, Jr., is too close to see what his own father is hiding.” The first man continued.
    “Who do you think planted…,” the second man said
    “… those tracking devices on you, Ricardo?” the first man asked.
    “It was not your secret agent girlfriend…,” the second man continued.
    “It was your own father, Ricardo,” the first man finished.
    Ricky took a step back.
    “Your father is a spy, Ricardo,” the second man continued.

      1. Thank you. It was interesting to write, especially when I was trying to make sure they alternated correctly. Going back and making changes to the dialogue meant that I had to also go back and make sure the correct twin was speaking. We don’t get to know their names until book 2. There is a lot more of that type of dialogue in that chapter.

    1. Hi Sara! I had fun imagining two characters who speak as one. I’ve always heard about twins being closer than normal siblings, too, which makes it that much more convincing. Thanks so much for posting!

      1. Thank you. It was a lot of fun to write. I was quite proud of myself actually. When I shared it with my hubby who is helping me with a lot of ideas in this book, he was impressed. I did sometimes have difficulty keeping track of who was speaking, especially when I made changes, I had to make sure I changed the speaker as well, so that they would alternate speaking. They have quite a big role in the plot, but we don’t get to know their names until book 2. For now, they’re just known as “the twins,” and it isn’t until the end of this book that we get to know just how dangerous they really are.

    2. Sara, I can picture three faceless men, in suits sitting in an office. In my mind’s eye, the twins are verbally ganging up on Ricky. They are sitting on the edge of the desk while Ricky sits below them, at a strategic disadvantage, in a chair. Their banter is a great use of intimidation skills to manipulate Ricky to comply. I see real potential in this story and look forward to reading more.

      1. Thank you,
        This scene actually takes place outside at a river’s edge, at night. In the beginning of the chapter, I have the twins come out of the bushes from either side of him.

  14. Bryn, KC, Elizabeth, Pamela,
    Are any of your books available world-wide or on amazon? I’d like to read something complete.

    Part two of my earlier post.
    “Your pet is well but sleeping for the moment.” She was startled and could see no-one. She began reversing towards where she had entered the trees. “It is too late to go back to where you entered. That exit is closed until our business is concluded.”
    Bravado seemed to be her only weapon. “Show yourself, you bloody coward.” From behind a tree trunk a man, similar in her height to her, emerged. He had no startling features but his outline appeared to scintillate with a silvery light. The woman was frightened and speechless. She looked upon herself as down to earth, with no belief in the supernatural, yet the figure embodied something approaching such a thing.
    His voice was softly modulated. “Like all creatures of your species, you assume to be the lords of your domain because you have evolved minimal intelligence. I am not afraid of anyone on this world.”
    “Well, what are you? What is that light? And are you here to do me any harm?”
    “I will do you no harm but I do need you. It is rare on this world to find a suitable supplicant. I was about to move on to other places when I felt, rather than saw you.
    “We have yet to overcome the visibility of the aura. What am I? In the physical sense, you are similar to my kind and yet, a small quantity of your number are merely tools. What you see before you is not my physical form, rather a dimensional projection. Long, long ago, before your kind evolved into the simple life forms you are now, even before this world was born, we had visited the furthest reaches of the great vacuum and then, out of the black, one of our number discovered what, in your language, would be titled Indeterminate Dimensional Projection. A machine, to use a term you understand, enabled us to place our physical bodies in inertia and project our souls to any point in eternity. The drawback to this new form of travel was discovered quickly when many of our number were unable to reverse project. They were left with life and a lost soul. It was decided to destroy the empty shells and cease any further attempts at soul projection. Approximately, five hundred million of your years ago, a solution was found, the machine upgraded and we commenced our wanderings once more.”
    “What was the solution?”
    “The silver shimmering you see is part of a protective radiation shield which, as I said, we are working to eradicate. To maintain the strength in my life force, and those of my fellow travellers, we need to enlist the assistance of the chosen from your race and many others. For my work in this locale, you fit my needs, Female. You will become my cutter, or harvester, if you like.” And before she could find voice again, to raise an objection concerning Rafferty’s and her welfare, the woman fainted.
    When she became slowly aware again, night had fallen and the woman was sitting, shivering, on a park bench. The dog was at her feet, staring up with concern in his trusting eyes. She felt … changed. A name was at the forefront of her lethargic thoughts; Consumer of Souls.

    1. Oooo, that was a twist I wasn’t expecting. It will be interesting to see where that goes.

      You can find my four books here: amazon.com/author/kcrileygyer
      Book 1 can be read separately but books 2, 3 and 4 must be read in order. They are paranormal romances set in Brisbane Queensland Australia.

    2. Thanks for asking about the books, Lawrence! Are you in the UK? Both my novels, An Experienced Mistress and Sole Possession, are on Amazon UK, as well as the new novella in the boxed set.

      1. I’m in Perth, Western Australia but I think I can reach Amazon UK. I will look at the outlines of yours and KC’s books. Thanks for this blog. xx

  15. Hey Bryn, I loved your excerpt; so novel which I love. Soul scapes and psyches, a beautiful description of the desert. My fav lines were these: “Doubt coiled in his gut. This wasn’t the soulscape of a killer. At least, it wasn’t like any he had ever seen. He’d expected ugliness inside her, even if it didn’t show on her outside.”

    The ugliness hidden on the inside. How many of us have known someone just like that. The surprise when you see the truth, the pain that follows after that. Very cool idea!!!!

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