It’s WIP Wednesday — Share What YOU Are Up To!

Hey friends! Welcome to February and another edition of Work In Progress Wednesday, where I invite you to share a segment of your current writing project! I always love seeing what other people are up to.

As always, it’s fine if it’s rough. Mine always are! Supportive comments on other people’s work are absolutely encouraged. Unsolicited criticism, even with the best of intentions, is not, because this is really just for sharing.

In January I finished Wicked Garden (the title may change), my Southern gothic romance novella about a haunting. It’s still a hot mess and I have a lot of editing to do before I hand it over to my beta readers. And I’ll have a bunch more editing to do after that!

Last month I shared a scary part with my heroine singing, so this month I’ll share a romantic part when she sings a different and much less creepy song.

Although she sang softly, and rushed it a bit, the sweet, pure tone of her voice riveted him. Disappointment shot through him when she stopped. “Go on,” he said, a quiet order he knew he had no right to make.

She sat up a little straighter and continued, her voice louder now, performing the song as it must have been meant to be performed.

Goosebumps broke out across his skin. Her clear voice cut through every defense and subterfuge he had. She was even more radiant when she sang, with warmth and life that lit her up from within.

She finished, meeting his gaze, and then ducked her head as though its intensity was too much to bear. “What,” she mumbled, her cheeks staining pink.

“Nicole, your voice is amazing.” He took her hand, and this time she didn’t flinch, not even when he moved closer. “You are so beautiful.”

She raised her eyes to meet his again, and in their blue depths he read the same longing that filled him. Her lips parted. Adam captured them in a kiss.

Just one short kiss—that was his intention. Nothing that would make her guard go up again. But she pressed her lips more firmly to his, burying a hand in his hair. A tiny, almost inaudible whimper from her, and he damn near lost his mind.

He urged her mouth open under his, delving in to taste her. God, she was sweet. His heart hammered in his chest.

She broke off the kiss, drawing back only enough to look him in the eyes. “Ohh, this is too good,” she whispered. “I’m in trouble.”

“Welcome to the club,” he murmured. “I’ve been in trouble since the moment I laid eyes on you.”

She took in a breath. “You know, I’m just getting over a really bad breakup.”

“He was a jerk,” Adam said promptly, making her laugh. She said, “Can’t argue with you there.”

~ ~ ~

Can I tell you a funny story about this part? The hero has a dog whose name was Beau, but then I switched the dog’s name to Mack. This resulted in him telling the heroine in this scene, “You are so Macktiful.” HAHAHAHAHA.

Okay, your turn to share, if you’re so inclined. Happy writing!

47 thoughts on “It’s WIP Wednesday — Share What YOU Are Up To!”

  1. When they reached the safety of the clearing Ari dropped to her knees sobbing.
    Ta’gosh held her and heard her saying her friends name over and over. For a long time, he just let her cry, until finally she went quiet. He felt battered by the heartbreaking sorrow she suffered.
    “She did not cross over. Her soul is gone. It’s gone. She is lost to me. He took her from me!” Ari’s voice was full of rage. “That staff took her soul and gave it to him.”
    “You think that is why he is after you? To take your soul?” Ta’gosh pulled Ari back to him. The place where her emotions sat inside himself had turned to a cold pit and he guessed that Rahka had been a lot more to Ari than a friend. This was the pure rage he would feel if it had been Gotargh stuck up on that wall. He held her close and spoke in her ear. “I feel as you do. I will help you avenge your heart’s sister. We know the face of our enemy and I will hunt him with you.”

  2. Macktiful! LOL!

    I’ve been working and reworking the first few lines of my classic fantasy novel. Here’s my latest:

    If he was lucky, he could be in and out with no one the wiser.
    It was late, so most of the old men should be sleeping. He just needed to get into the library and find one book. One book out of the tens of thousands of books there.
    But the old men’s lives revolved around organizing and cross referencing. Repeatedly. It should be easy.
    If he was lucky.
    Too bad luck seemed to have a personal vendetta against him. Since that stray arrow over a year ago, not a single lucky thing had happened to him. It had been nothing but searching, failing, trying again, failing.
    He’d never relied on luck, really. Things were accomplished by studying, problem solving and hard work.
    But every once in a while, a little luck would be nice.

  3. I haven’t read other parts of the story. It can be hard to be with the characters in a scene like this when I don’t know them…but I was. Your exploration of their kiss was wonderfully intimate. Nicely done.

  4. I like the title Wicked Garden. I am currently editing The Vi-Purrs, which is due out in March and have begun Me-YEOW!, which sends Xander and Mischief to India. Merlin plans to meet them there, so with two main Purrtectors converging in Mumbai, you know things will go from bad to worse before they get better.

  5. I loved it, Bryn!! Can I bb a Beta Reader on this one when it’s ready? 😀

    I am taking a break from my big projects and experimenting with fanfiction to help combat writer’s fatigue (& put the fun back into writing), so here’s a snippet from my Supernatural-inspired piece called “Brothers Keep Her” on wattpad (WARNING: it’s a bit dark):

    You never should have walked in there. The ringing cell phone should have been warning enough.

    But you can never just leave it alone, can you?

    Ms. Thomas tries to stop you. Not that she tries very hard, but she does try. Bennet may have tried to stop you too, but you can’t understand a word he says between gasping for air and his blubbering sobs.

    You should have stayed outside.

    Your heart pounds in your ears as you push the door open, splashing through the inch of water pooling on the floor. The ringing stops. Ms. Thomas’s call must have gone to voicemail, you think. You feel the frown creep over your mouth like it has a will of its own as you look down at thick veins of pink liquid dissolving in the water around your feet. Every hair on your body stands on end, and the back of your neck prickles as if someone is poking at you with a thousand icy needles.

    Bennet’s partner stands rigid, frozen in shock in front of the open handicap stall. His chest moves in tiny hitches, the only visible sign that he’s alive. You gulp down the hard lump that rises in your throat – one of your biological warning signals that you stupidly ignore.

    You step gingerly. You don’t want to make too much noise, and even now you don’t know why it would have mattered. The pink water darkens the closer you get. You already know that it’s not pink at all; it’s red. You stop right behind the maintenance guy and brace yourself to peer over his shoulder. Part of you is scared to death.

    You should have listened to that part. It’s the smart part.

    At the sight of the professor’s twisted corpse head-first and upside-down in the toilet, you make a retching sound that snaps Bennet’s partner out of his statuesque daze. He freaks out. You catch his elbow in your ribs and hit the wall hard as he runs howling out of the bathroom. You smack your head against the cinder block and slide to the wet floor. You’re dizzy now, and can’t get up. Not that you could move if you weren’t dizzy; all you can do is sit and stare. The professor’s chest is flayed open in a way that tells you right away: his heart is missing.

    Missing. There’s a bloody, gaping hole where it should be.

    His lifeless, bulged eyes paralyze you, impaling you with an anguish darker than anything you’ve ever known. When you scream, the only sound to escape your throat are breathy rasps of air.

    1. Oh man, I would love it if you would beta read! Fair warning, it does have one explicit sex scene – not everybody likes to beta read explicit material, which is totally understandable! It also has scary parts, but you’re clearly okay with those 😀 If you’re into it, email me at bryndonovan1@gmail.com — happy to beta read something in return!

      You said “fanfiction” and I was like “please be Supernatural fanfic.” 😀 But it’s so original, does it really count like fanfic? I love the assured voice, and the descriptions of the physical reactions – so nicely done!

  6. Bryn, that’s beautiful! Loved It! 🙂

    Here’s a small bit of what I’ve been working on. It’s a Christian Romance and this is the point where the main characters meet. She makes chocolate and owns a candy shop. He’s a chocolate recipe tester who wants to help her win a regional competition.

    “Are you Natalie Brooks?”
    The velvety baritone voice seemed to affect her muscle control. She felt as though her legs would melt, causing her to crumple to the floor in a heap. Again, she hadn’t heard the chimes as the door opened. What was that all about? Better yet, why was she getting so deep in thought the last few days that she was blocking everything else out?
    Summoning all her will power, she regained her self control, then lifted her head to respond.
    “Yes. I’m Natalie.” Thankfully, she sounded normal.
    Then her brain kicked into gear, and she noticed the man was holding out his hand. Grasping it, she felt a calm, soothing heat emanating from him, and thanked God again that she was able to maintain control of herself.
    “Pleased to meet you. I’m John Thomas. Jennifer Morgan sent me.” He released her hand.
    She felt a smile play with her lips, momentarily wondering why. The reason hit her a second later. The grinning man on the other side of the counter was more than simply handsome.
    He was six feet tall, well proportioned, and seemed to be everything she’d dreamed about as the perfect man. His wavy, raven hair was clipped short and well styled. The square, clean shaven jaw line gave the sense of confidence and strength, but there was something about those pale azure eyes that seemed familiar somehow. Or was that just her imagination? It must be. He appeared to be thirty-one—the same age as her— and she was certain she’d never met this man before.
    “I’m pleased to meet you, as well.” Good. She still had control over her vocal chords.
    He indicated something in front of her. “Is that a sample of your recipe?”
    She glanced down, remembering the mixing bowl containing four cups of the chocolate she’d been preparing. How had she forgotten about it for the last several moments? Probably because she’d been busy admiring him.
    “Oh. Yes, it is. I thought it would be helpful to have it ready when you arrived.”
    “Definitely. It saves us some time.” His smile never wavered. “May I come around so we can get started?”
    “Sure.” She paused to step aside and take a quick breath, wiping her hands on her apron, then retrieving one she’d set aside for him. “I’m a little nervous about this, but excited, too. I thought you might also want a printed copy of my recipe, so I have it right here.”
    “Perfect.” He came around to her side of the counter, accepted the apron, and donned it. “I’ll start with that, then go from there to see if we can figure out what it is that Jen thinks might be missing.”
    She picked up an index card with her handwritten ingredients, handed it to him, and noted he stopped just a little too close for her to breathe easily. What was it about this man that made her feel so much like an adoring fan meeting a favorite celebrity for the first time? And why did he have to wear a cologne that made it seem as though he’d just stepped out of the shower?
    He studied the card for a few moments, then found a spoon to taste the sample she’d spent the morning to prepare. She watched as his jaw moved from side to side, a look of concentration taking over his face.
    What was he thinking? Would he tell her she needed to completely revise her recipe? Or had she somehow overlooked a key ingredient all these years? Better yet, why was she torturing herself with these questions? Her business would never have gotten started if her chocolate hadn’t been good. Nor would she have placed second every year in the competitions.

    I welcome any comments. 🙂

    1. This is sweet in so many ways. ☺ What a cute way to meet! And owning a candy shop is one of those “dream jobs” that appeals to so many people… I think that will draw in a lot of readers right there.

  7. What a sweet scene! I’m giggling over your find/replace issue. My day job requires that I use Excel and I do a lot of creative find/replace operations…sometimes with disastrous results. haha!

    I’m still plugging away on A Twist of Wyrd, starring your unintentional namesake, Bryn. 🙂 Here’s a snippet from where Bryn is setting out to rescue Trygg from a serious situation that he’s gotten himself into. She’s getting help from a woman who has infiltrated the bad guy’s lair for her own purposes. Btw, Bryn just learned that magic is real, too. The night has been REALLY eye opening for our girl. 😉

    Naoko pulled the lid off the shoe box and handed it to Bryn.

    “Brass knuckles? I was hoping for something like pepper spray or a stun gun. Something with a little range.”

    “Iron knuckles to be exact. No range on these, but they pack one helluva punch.” Naoko pulled them out of the box. “See these designs across the punching area? They’re runes.”

    Magic again. Naoko held the brass knuckles out for her to take, but Bryn hesitated. If she took these and used them, she’d have to do more than admit that magic existed. She’d have to become someone who used magic and she wasn’t the type to do anything half-heartedly. The thought of inviting magic into her everyday life terrified her.

    “They won’t bite you, I promise. I’m going to teach you how to use them.”

    She needed a weapon if she wanted to save Trygg’s life and apparently, this was the only choice she had. Bryn’s hands trembled as she took the brass knuckles.

    “Okay. Teach me magic.”

    “That’s my girl.” Naoko patted her shoulder. “All right. A great deal depends upon intent when using magic. You can go through all the correct motions, but if your intent isn’t clear, then the magic will fail.”

    “I intend to beat the crap out of some bad guys. Is that intent clear enough?”

    Naoko giggled. “Close, but not exactly the right for this weapon. Those runes call upon Thor.”

    “Thor, the Norse god?”

    “Yes. Son of Odin, the Allfather.” Naoko gave a graceful bow of her head. “Thor is the god of thunder and lightning. It’s his lightning that you want to channel as you strike out.”

    Bryn blinked at her. “Are you telling me that these are some kind of magical stun gun knuckles?”

    Naoko’s eyes gleamed and her lips curled. “Bloody brilliant, aren’t they?”

    “Did you make these?”

    “Yes. They’re my own personal design.”

    “You are one scary bitch,” Bryn said, eyes wide.

    “Thank you, m’dear. Now, let’s continue. Your friend is running out of time.”

  8. I could really feel the passion in that kiss! Even without knowing anything about the characters. Here’s the beginning of a short story I’ve been working on for around two years now (I just come back to it here and there when I feel like it). It actually started as a Halloween writing prompt, I may try to submit it somewhere this Halloween.

    I stood in the doorway of my mother’s room, the smell of burnt sage luring me in. My mother held the bundle of dried leaves in her hand and waved them in a circular motion, the smoke swirling away into the room’s atmosphere. A single incandescent bulb on the ceiling cast black shadows under her eyes on her sunken yellow skin, and her black wiry hair stood chaotically about her head. She whispered words I could not hear while scrutinizing the smoke drifting up to the corners of the ceiling.
    “Mum—” my timid voice began. She jumped and turned to glare at me Her eyes moved up and down, studying my little white dress as if, for a moment, she didn’t know who I was. Then her scowl relaxed and she rushed over to her vanity table and placed the sage into a gold dish.
    “I told you to go outside and play,” she said, distracted as she shuffled the items on the table around. A tarot card dropped to the floor and landed at my feet: the ten of swords. I looked up and watched my mother’s reflection in the mirror as the embers on the sage began to die out.
    “I was wondering if you could push me on the swing.”
    “Later. I’m busy now.”
    I sighed and observed her features tightening into a focused scowl. At once the sound of footsteps down the hall caught my attention and I turned and left, leaving behind the smell of sage and my mother in her strange routine. When I walked into the kitchen my sister was standing by the door to the backyard. She reached up for the door handle and twisted it open with both hands. It clicked open and the autumn air swept into the house, ruffling the bottoms of our matching white dresses.
    “Race you,” she giggled, running outside. I chased after her, down the wooden steps and across the lawn, leaves crunching beneath my bare feet. When I got to the swing she was standing on top of it, the wooden plank creaking underneath her.
    “No fair you had a head start!”
    She just grinned at me and pulled back on the rope, rocking the swing back and forth. A gust of wind blew her hair in front of her face and bright orange leaves rained down from the tree the swing was tied to. When the wind settled the leaves that were caught in the air drifted slowly down around us. With a turn of her head she flicked her hair out of her eyes, looked behind me, and her smile suddenly disappeared. I turned around and saw mother standing in the doorway, her arms crossed tightly over her chest.
    “Layna you left the door open!”
    “Sorry I—”
    “Come now it’s time for lunch.”
    I turned back towards Lori standing on the swing, “Come on sissy, let’s go.” She stood there and shook her head. Lori was always quiet when mother got mad at us. Even if it was just me she was mad at. “Okay, well mother’s going to be mad if you don’t come eat soon.”
    When I walked in the kitchen there was a bologna sandwich waiting for me on the table. I sat in the chair facing the window and watched Lori standing on the swing, rocking back at forth. The wind blew across the prairies and shook the old house, making it groan with the effort of holding its ground. I worried that one day the wind would blow so hard that the house would finally give up and collapse.
    I finished the last bite of my sandwich and noticed Lori was gone from the swing. It kept rocking, lonely in the wind.

    1. Thank you! And how exciting — good luck on the novel! I hope it’s a lot of fun to write.

      Can I tell you a secret? I was researching SEO on Amazon the other day and “romance for men” is a common thing that people search for on there! I found that so interesting.

  9. Everyone’s WIP is so compelling! Lots of very concrete worlds, and lots of questions raised.
    Here’s mine, from the project I’m working on for Blank Page to Final Draft.

    I struggled to breathe and my mind spun quickly through the problem. Pearl was under the misunderstanding that she had been summoned to replace the Fairy Godmother who had just retired. But I had received a letter from the Head Fairy Godmother herself. She would not make such a mistake.
    “I received my letter a week ago.” I said, slowly, because I wasn’t sure how Pearl would take the news.
    She blinked. “I did as well.”
    I tried again. “My letter is from the Head Fairy Godmother herself.”
    “So is mine.”
    I studied her carefully. She did not look like the kind of fairy who would pretend to be me—no, then she would have introduced herself as Henrietta Shaw.
    Pearl’s voice was again under control, “No one has questioned my being here.”
    “Perhaps there are two openings?” I asked. Even I could hear the desperation in my voice.
    The strange woman stepped forward. Pearl twitched slightly with surprise.
    “There is only one open position,” the woman said.
    “How could she do this?” I asked, pressing my hands to my face. The Head Fairy Godmother must have a good reason.
    The strange woman didn’t look at me. “The two of you will be guided and test by the other fairy godmothers until Head Fairy Godmother Augusta returns to test you herself.”
    “Where is she?” I asked. To keep my hands busy, I smoothed my skirts. Even so, I could feel them shaking. I didn’t want to look at Pearl.
    The woman’s eyes rested briefly on my shoulder. Her mouth tried to smile, but the rest of her face stayed in a frown. “Business. Important, secret business.” Her eyes darted away, dropping to focus on Pearl’s belt.
    “Can’t you say where?” Pearl asked. Her voice was so quiet, if I had been breathing I couldn’t have heard it. As it was, I couldn’t seem to make my lungs function.
    The woman ignored Pearl’s question. “When Augusta returns, she will install the next fairy godmother. Until then, the two of you are expected to prepare.”
    “Both of us?” I asked.
    “Yes.”
    My heart sank. I could do magic without a wand, but Pearl’s wand was pretty impressive. And by the look of her clothes, she came from a family who could afford a spare-no-expense education. I was good with the magic I knew, but could I really compete with her education?
    This morning I had been so excited to see my dream come true. Now my dream was a nightmare.

    1. Ohhhh I’m really loving this project, Eileen! It’s an honor to help with it even a little. 🙂

      If BPFD ever feels off with the timing, please let me know — I’d like to perfect it!

      1. Thank you! And thanks for giving me the kick-start I needed to start working on it again. So far, everything makes sense the way you’ve laid it out. I’ve had a lot of fun figuring out what happens next, and it was great to start writing these past weeks.

  10. Skylar held her as her cell door swung open. Fear pulled at her insides until she saw that it was Jag, the man who had been feeding her. Skylar slumped against the wall in relief, reaching for him she found herself falling into darkness. The last of her strength had been depleted. Jag Keller grabbed her just as she fell forward. Jag had found her by accident a few months ago. He had no idea how long she had been there, or why she was in his dungeon, but he knew who she was, and feared war with those at Serenity found her here. War was the last thing he wanted or needed. He had bided his time until he knew he could get her away safely. There was a traitor at RavenShire, someone who wanted to start a war with the Vampire’s but knowing that hadn’t got him any closer to finding out who. The vampire’s were hated by the jaguars. Jag had offered his daughter Ashlynn to King Rage in hopes they could find some common ground for peace, but the hatred Jag’s people felt ran too deep. Rage had terrorized his people for too many centuries for his people to forgive so easily. He scooped her up, laying her on the pallet, he opened his wrist. Jag put his wrist to her mouth forcing it down her throat until she was able to drink on her own. It didn’t take long before she began to regain her strength, and her eyes fluttered opened. Jag hardened as he gazed into her eyes. He hadn’t felt an attraction of this magnitude for any woman, not even his late wife had stirred him the way Skylar did. When she was done her tongue snaked out and closed the wound, causing him to shiver with desire. God how he wanted her, but he knew she was off limits to him. The best he could do was get her back to Serenity without implicating himself, or the other jaguars.

    “When night falls, and it’s safe I’m getting you out of here, and back home. My people and yours will be headed to war if they find you here.”
    “Don’t leave me alone here until then. I can’t take the loneliness anymore.”
    “Very well I will enjoy your company until we leave.”
    “Jag can I ask why you are so afraid of me.”
    “It’s not you beautiful that I’m afraid of.”
    “Then what is it?”
    “It’s the way I feel when I’m close to you. God, it’s so many things, and I have no idea where to start.”
    “I feel the same way Jag. I have never had these kinds of feelings before, but when you are near sometimes I find it hard to breathe.”
    “We must fight whatever it is. These feelings have to be ignored. You are off limits to me. Your father would have me executed if he even knew the things that I would love to do to his daughter.”

    Skylar moved closer to Jag, and her lips softly touched his. He moved into her kiss, finding her tongue, and pulling it into his mouth. His hands roaming down the soft contours of her body. Skylar squirmed in delight as Jags hands sent waves of electricity to her every nerve ending. Small gasps escaped Skylars throat as tiny convulsions began to ripple through her sex. Jags cat senses became keenly aware of her innocence as her arousal assaulted his nostrils. Having never tasted the nectar of a virgin it threw his libido into overdrive. Jag broke the kiss and pulled away fearing that any longer he would not be able to stop himself. He saw the disappointment in her eyes.

    “I’m sorry Skylar, but I won’t steal your innocence.”
    “You can’t steal something that is being offered to you. Please don’t leave me with this emptiness in my core. Make the ache go away Jag.”

    Skylar stood removing her tattered dress. Jag’s eyes looked past the dirt, and the bruises that the months in his dungeon had caused her body. In all her naked glory Skylar was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. Jag knew the consequences but still he couldn’t help but inch closer pulling her back into his arms. Jag was ready to sacrifice everything if only for just this one moment in her arms. His heart pounded with fear, but he would gladly take death tenfold over never bathing in her vampire essence.

  11. I am really enjoying reading everyone’s excerpts! Can’t wait to read the finished books.
    Here’s mine:

    When Edmund awoke for the second time, he was lying alone on the sand.
    He could hear singing in the distance, but it wasn’t for him any longer. She wasn’t cradling his head in her lap, her hand cool against his cheek, fingers tangling in his hair. And though he was grateful to be alive, the sense of loss overwhelmed him, overflowing his senses like he was drowning again.
    “Fair goddess, sweet goddess, Atar of the sea.
    I bring to you this offering, that you show my love to me.”
    The chorus of female voices rang sweetly across the island. Edmund closed his eyes again, but the spell was broken, and he couldn’t get the moment back. He would have cried, but he was too dehydrated to muster a single tear. Really ought to do something about that, and soon.
    “Receive our gifts, oh goddess fair
    We bring with love and gentle care.”
    The song grew louder, the harmonies filled with both reverence and joy. With an inward sigh at having to move, Edmund rolled over onto his side. His diving suit was stiff with salt, wet sand clung to his hair and back; his rescuer must have pulled him to safety, but no further. He couldn’t blame her; lanky Edmund must have been quite a burden for a young maid. He could only hope he hadn’t thrashed about too badly while she saved his life.
    She had been a young maid, hadn’t she? He’d only a moment to look before she covered his eyes. A flash of fair skin, tangle of dark hair, that’s all he could recall.
    That voice, though, that would never leave him. Surprisingly deep, rich and intoxicating, like honeyed wine. With the voice of a temptress, she had sung her lullaby, and Edmund, delirious, water-logged Edmund . . .
    Had he really told her, “It doesn’t rhyme”?
    Recriminations were for later. Right now he’d best get up before the tide came in. Edmund pushed himself up on his elbows, cursing at the stiffness, then onto his hands and knees. A wave of dizziness hit him and he nearly retched. Gentle probing told him there was a large bump just to the right of his temple, and he dimly recalled banging it on the side of his boat. It could have been much worse. He was lucky to be alive.
    He didn’t feel so lucky as he stumbled to his feet and found himself face to face with a long line of young girls. Robed in white, garlanded with flowers, the epitome of demure maidenhood . . . That is, until they started to scream.

    1. Oh wow, what a great ending! I really loved this, too:

      “Edmund closed his eyes again, but the spell was broken, and he couldn’t get the moment back. He would have cried, but he was too dehydrated to muster a single tear.”

      What an intriguing story.

  12. I took my time in the shower, taking extra care to shave my legs and bikini line properly. Tyler may want to have a little private celebration to commemorate our engagement when the night is done. I decided to keep my hair and makeup simple. One of the advantages of having naturally curly hair is that it more or less styles itself. A little moose, a defuser, and a couple minutes with a blow dryer and I was well on my way to a nice curly up do.
    The dress and heels had been picked out the night before. When I’d modeled them for Derek, he’d suggested the shimmery blue spaghetti strap that I’d worn to his birthday party a few months ago. Tyler always liked how I looked in purple, so I’d decided to go with an elegant long sleeved number the stopped just above my knees. True it wasn’t as fancy as the other one, but it was still really nice.
    I put on my black strappy heels and looked at the clock. Ten minutes to spare. Damn I’m good. I gave myself one last look over in the mirror. I added a second coat of mascara and a little more lip gloss before moving to the couch to wait for Tyler. It only took two minutes for me to get bored and turn on Food Network to pass the time. I checked the clock again after the second commercial break. Tyler was running late. I pulled out my phone and looked to see if there were any messages or missed phone calls telling me he was going to be late. Nothing. Five more minutes passed before I decided to call him.
    “Hello,” he answered on the third ring.
    “Hey babe,” I said. “Are you on your way? I don’t want us to be late and miss our reservation.
    The unmistakable sound of cursing came from the other end of the line.
    “I’m sorry Ally. I’m stuck at the office. I’ll, uh, I’ll take you to lunch tomorrow.”
    It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I’d been looking forward to this all week. I took a look down at my dress and sighted. “Okay. Just don’t work too late okay?”
    “I won’t.” I thought I heard another voice in the background. “Hold on,” he hissed at them. “Look Ally, I’ve got to get back. I’ll see you at lunch tomorrow. There’s something I want to talk to you about.”
    “Okay. Love you.”
    The line went dead.

  13. I’ve been working on like…three different short stories for my school’s literary magazine, but I thought I’d be different and maybe share something I’m weaker in (aka poetry). I have a poem due for a class on Friday. Still hammering out my last stanza…

    (Haven’t finalized a title. I’ll either call it Fryderyk (after my fave composer) or just Waltz in A Minor

    Gliding on ivory elephant memories
    Dripping with bloody indifference ecstasy
    Dreadful adrenaline pulsing, abounding in
    Endless monotony stopping and starting been

    Stressing, obsessing incessantly pounding my
    Fingertips raw from the practice. I’m dying by
    Flames revolution is coming potential soon
    Staring and stopping. Oh CRAP the transition tune’s…

    After I finish my last stanza, the next step is to figure out where I want my punctuation. And then edit…and edit….and edit…

  14. Pingback: Work-in-Progress Wednesday | Laura Michaela Banse, Author

  15. (everything after “I am.” is completely off-the-cuff made up as I shared it on another blog. Agonizing!)

    “You are leaving.” It was not a question.

    Their gazes met across the length of the room. Rupert’s large frame filled the doorway leading to her bedchamber, and she took a step back, bumping into the small table by the balcony doors. Briefly, she wondered if he could see the evidence of her earlier tears. It was a thought most quickly dismissed; newly engaged women often shed tears of joy, so it was of no matter.

    She owed him an explanation, and opened her mouth to give him one, but found herself saying only, “I am.”

    He scowled, but did not protest, and her shoulders fell. She leaned against the window, letting the cold seep into her burning skin. She owed him an explanation, and yet, could not speak. She closed her eyes, blocking out

    She owed him everything, but could offer nothing in return.

    “Fithian takes you to London, then?” Again, it was not a question. Likely, Lord Fithian had already apprised the others of their plans.

    “Only briefly, to obtain a special license.” Perhaps he did not know the plans.

    “And your father?”

    Her eyes flew to his face, and there she saw her own pain echoed. His hands clenched at his sides, and a bead of sweat trickled down the side of his face.
    She stepped forward, to close the distance between them, but he stopped her by throwing up one hand.

    “Do not,” he said through clenched teeth.

    (And I’m not sure where I’ll go from there. I’m still trying to rein myself in and stop writing all willy-nilly through the book so I can get the first 5 chapters done for a beta read.)

  16. Lovely excerpt, Bryn. Thanks for sharing the “Macktiful” tidbit!

    In “Heal My Heart” (Chapter 13), Commander Cullen agrees to infiltrate the classiest brothel in the capitol to investigate an assassination plot targeting the royal family (there’s some cussing). His love interest is Healer Evelyn:

    All Cullen had to do was walk in there, give the proprietor a bag full of gold, and request he be uninterrupted in an upstairs room for an hour before she sent in one of her . . . staff. In that hour, he should be able to hear enough through the thin wall to confirm the origin and nature of The Pearl’s wealthiest “guest,” and, if he was alone, apprehend him and haul him off to the fortress for questioning.

    Alone. With no shield, and only a jerkin for armor. If this Tevinter was a mage . . . Cullen hadn’t called on his Templar talents for a while, but he was fairly certain he could handle a basic spell purge, even without Lyrium.

    “You can do this, Rutherford,” he mumbled to himself as he turned the doorknob. “You’re just requesting a private room for an hour.”

    He pulled the brothel door open to find the last person he’d expected.

    “Ev! What are you doing here?”

    She huffed out an amused snort.

    “None of your business,” she answered with polite formality. “Good day.”

    As she made to walk past him, he grabbed her arm.

    Quicker than lightning, he found himself slammed against the wall, a short blade at his throat.

    “No one touches me without my consent,” she growled in his face, all laughter gone, eyes burning with white-hot anger.

    “Of course, Evelyn,” he raised his hands in the air. “I’m sorry.”

    She stepped back several paces. When he didn’t follow, she slid her knife back into her boot and whirled out the door.

    “Fucking Templars,” said a scantily clad elf woman who sat by the fire. “They’ll never leave her alone.”

    “Hey, asshole,” her human friend said, “We like the Healer and don’t like people pestering her. You’ll get no services here.”

    Face red, Cullen rushed back out into the street. He’d known going to the brothel was a bad idea. He hadn’t known it would be a complete disaster. Not only had he ruined his chance to help investigate the assassination plot against the royal family, he’d maltreated Evelyn and she’d probably never want to see him again.

    What did it say about him that the latter loss bothered him more?

    [The first 12 chapters are posted at http://archiveofourown.org/works/5728576/chapters/13199938%5D

    1. I’m glad you posted the link to the rest. I am not familiar with Dragon Age (which I think I’ve said before, haha) but this is so intriguing. And I loved this:

      As she made to walk past him, he grabbed her arm.

      Quicker than lightning, he found himself slammed against the wall, a short blade at his throat.

      “No one touches me without my consent,” she growled in his face, all laughter gone, eyes burning with white-hot anger.

      “Of course, Evelyn,” he raised his hands in the air. “I’m sorry.”

      ~

      Thanks for sharing!

  17. Hi, Bryn. I have been avid reader of your blog for a while now. I love this excerpt from Wicked Garden. I write Romantic Suspense novels as a general rule. My fourth is currently in rewrites. Here is the opening scene. I’d love your comments.

    She never should have opened that damned letter.
    In the six years since she’d dragged herself, naked and bleeding, from a cabin in the woods, Maisy Sloane had learned to control the fear that settled over her like a second skin. She couldn’t claim victory. Some days, the darkness ambushed her. Terror won. A quick movement behind her or a song on the radio would prompt a catch in her breath. A smell or an ill-placed touch would send her senses reeling. Except now, she no longer fell apart at the seams at every reminder of that man-made prison or the devil who reigned over it. Memories, once sharp and unyielding, had been stowed in the corners of her mind. Wounds ripped deep into flesh scarred over and faded.
    The letter tore through her composure and left her quivering on the floor.
    A thin, inexpensive envelope affixed with a yellow forwarding label, it looked harmless. Maisy was intrigued by her former address written in neat artistic strokes. Having left Raleigh almost a year before, she hadn’t received mail routed from her childhood home in months. She thought, perhaps, a friend from school had finally reached out. She gave into the surge of excitement by slipping a finger under the flap and tearing through the paper.
    The smile on her face died as she read.
    I know it’s been a long time, but I still think of you every minute, my love. The picture of you I keep in my mind prevents me from succumbing to the madness of your loss.
    Maisy’s lungs froze. Her heart stuttered. He didn’t sign his name, but she knew who’d written it.
    So young. So innocent. You snared me from the moment I saw you. I loved you before I ever gave in to the need to touch you.
    Nausea rushed up her throat. She scrambled to the kitchen sink as vomit exploded from her gut.
    The bastard’s face danced in Maisy’s memory, even as she squeezed her eyes closed against it. She retched again and again, emptying her stomach on the morning dishes.
    Hollow, exhausted, Maisy slid to the floor and pulled her legs to her chest. Her body shook. Her pulse sprinted.
    Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
    She couldn’t remember when she’d last experienced a panic attack, but the anxiety spouted inside her now. Maisy lowered her head between her knees and concentrated on the effort to breathe. Her chest tightened. Sweat leaked from her pores. Fear prodded from a thousand different angles.
    Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
    She tried to shake him from her mind. His image laughed at her effort.
    No! No! No! Not again!
    Maisy sucked air in her nose and exhaled through her mouth as she’d taught herself. Little by little, in what seemed like hours, she felt herself beginning to calm. The darkness which had pulled her under gave way to light.
    Only then did she notice the crumpled letter, still clenched in her hand.
    Standing, Maisy tossed the paper aside and scrubbed her hands with hot water until her fingers were raw and sore. Still, she could feel him on her skin, sense him rummaging through her head.
    She knew how to combat the memories. She’d performed the ritual many times before. Maisy grabbed the liquor bottle. When she’d downed a couple of shots, she mentally selected a dress.

  18. This is very rough yet, and will probably change at least a half dozen times before I’m through. This is chapter 17. Ricky had just watched his secret agent girlfriend kill someone for the first time, and after trying to clear his head, he ends up going to another woman’s house in hopes she will lead him to the bad guys.

    Thirty minutes later, Ricky found himself knocking on Camila’s door. He had called her and said he had changed his mind about getting together with her this weekend. It made his skin crawl just thinking about it. She had squealed on the phone and told him how excited she was that he had changed his mind. There was something hidden in her voice, beneath the fake excitement that made him sick to his stomach.
    Camila opened the door and smiled “Ricky,” she smiled, “I’m so glad you changed your mind, you won’t regret it I promise. Come on in while I get ready.”
    He hesitated at the door, everything about this felt wrong.
    She grabbed his hand, “Seriously, I won’t bite, not hard anyway,” she laughed as she drug him into her house.
    He cringed. He tried his best to hide his emotions, knowing full well she was capable of feeling them. He wasn’t sure how deeply she could feel, if she was as good as Laura at probing deeply, somehow, he suspected she wasn’t. He held on to his anger just in case.
    “I’m just going to change, it’s going to be a bit cool this evening where we’re going.” She went into her bedroom and purposefully left the door open wide enough for him to see her reflection in the mirror as she undressed.
    He knew what she was playing at, and he played along. There was no denying that she was a physically attractive woman with perfect curves and ample breasts, but her emptiness and incongruent body language was a turn off to him. But, he could play the part if he needed to.
    “You seem upset,” she called from the room as she took her shirt off.
    Ricky watched as she pulled the tank top over her head, she was not wearing a bra. “Laura’s not the person I thought she was,” he said.
    Camila stopped undressing for a moment. “That’s not surprising,” she said. She then pulled off her shorts, leaving her standing in just a small pair of black panties.
    He allowed his body to respond lustfully to the sight of her naked body. He knew she could feel it when she smiled, then made eye contact with him in the mirror. He faked a cough and quickly averted his eyes, then turned his back to the door.
    “I imagine there’s much she’s not telling you,” Camila continued. “So you broke up with her then?’
    “No,” he answered truthfully, he didn’t want to risk lying just yet. Not until he could determine just how much would slip by her. If he was going to help Laura, he needed to find out what Camila knew and he wasn’t going to risk gaining that knowledge by lying to her.
    A few moments later, he felt her standing behind him. She whispered in his ear, “So, if you didn’t break up with her then, why are here… watching me undress?”
    He cleared his throat and moved away from her, hoping she’d take his actions as a denial of his lust for her.
    “Hmm… that’s what I thought.” She moved around to face him and traced her fingers seductively up his arm. She was wearing jeans, a three-quarter sleeve shirt, sneakers and holding a lightweight zip-up sweater over her left arm, “Well, when you’re finally tired of her lies, I’ll be waiting. But, I might not be willing to wait much longer.”
    He felt slightly dizzy, but held his composure. His head was clearer than it had been during their last few encounters, perhaps because he had come to her, rather than the other way around. He cleared his throat again, “So where exactly are we going?”
    “Oh, just to meet a few friends of mine. I think you’ll be interested in hearing what they have to say,” she answered.

  19. This is the first time I have seen your blog and I think it’s great. I love all the stories you have all been writing and I hope they give me inspiration . I haven’t done any writing for quite a while and when I did I knew just what I wanted to say but I could only manage about a page and then the idea just went even though I was quite pleased with what I had written. So I am hoping that by listening to your advice Bryn I may get back into a “writing” frame of mind. I came across this website by accident tonight but thank you I have really enjoyed it and hope to sign in again .joanstorer

    1. Hi Joan! Welcome to the blog 🙂 It’s great to hear that you like it!
      I hope you do get into the writing frame of mind, and maybe sometime
      you’d like to share your own stuff here —
      WIP Wednesday is the first Wednesday of every month.
      You can follow the blog if you want — there’s a place to sign up on the right hand of the page.
      Or maybe you already did that, haha.
      Anyway, so nice to meet you, and thanks so much for the kind words!

  20. Hello Again Bryn,
    I am such a BIG Romance reader, and I love that little excerpt of yours. So my little scene is when Jo, there Heroine meets Phoebus and Diana aka Apollo and Artemis. Then the next scene is Apollo and Artemis thinking they’ve found the girl they’ve been searching centuries for.

    “Alright, hush now,” she said. “As you all know, today we have two new students, please give a warm welcome to Phoebus and Diana Helios.”

    The door opened and a boy and girl walked in. Other classmates gasped and gaped at them. It wasn’t until they came up front till Jo could see them and her eyes widen. It was the girl who ran into her moments ago. Now that she got a good look at them, she couldn’t believe how beautiful they were. Diana looked like a model who stepped out of a Vogue magazine. Long, straight hair that was a coffee brown color. She had sweet honey colored eyes, and a perfect toned hourglass figure. Her brother Phoebus on the other hand looked like the sun incarnated. Sandy blonde, shaggy hair, with sky blue eyes. His skin was as if the sun kissed it with the perfect golden color. He was tall, and the way his shirt clung to his torso he definitely worked out. She noticed he was staring at her and she looked down away from him.

    “Thank you for the warm welcome Ms. Stanton, my sister and I are happy to be here.” Phoebus said, then the two of them walked to the back of the class and sat down in the two empty seats available.

    ~~~

    After English class was over, Apollo and his sister Artemis left the classroom quickly. He couldn’t believe they might have actually found the girl that would save Olympus.

    “Phoebus!” Artemis said, getting him out of his thoughts. “She can’t be it.”

    “Why not? You saw her hair, I haven’t seen hair like that in all the years we’ve been searching. It looks exactly like Ambrosia.”

    “Did you even notice her eyes?” she asked.

    “Yes, they’re vi–”

    “Green.” she interrupted him.

    He was confused at first. “Green?”

    She nodded. “Maybe she just saw the color on Pinterest and decided to get it.”
    Apollo looked at his sister. “Pinterest? Seriously Artemis?”

    “Don’t hate on it Brother, it’s absolutely amazing!” She smirked.

    He rolled his eyes. He guessed it wasn’t a bad thing his sister was into it, considering they had to blend into the modern era culture, they even had to buy a cellular phone or as the kids called it Smart Phone. It was just too much sometimes. “Anyways, what’s our next class?”
    Artemis pulled out the schedule and looked at it. “Government, ugh what a bore.”

  21. Well, first I had read all of the stories in question — no small feat, especially with Varney, whose serialized adventures are massive! Otherwise, I did internet searches on the books to find some of the background information that I needed; some of the results of those searches are found in the links within the post.

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