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!