Look! It’s a writer challenge – so show me what you’ve got!

Last Monday, I was talking about following your creative dream and taking encouragement from the great works that can come from following your creative muse. (Which is the connection to the picture of a rose. ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’, true; but it took Shakespeare to tell us so.)

This week, I want to see evidence.

The lovely Gabrielle, of Gabbawrites has tagged me to participate in the ‘look’ challenge.  I’m going to participate (you know me, I’ll go to the opening of an enevelope) and my contribution is below (along with the challenge ‘rules’).

But I’ve done this one before, so this time, as well as putting in my two cents’ worth, I’d like to mix it up a bit and offer you, gentle readers, a challenge.

I want you to show me what you’ve got.

Writing-wise, that is. This is a family show.  ;)

If you’re already out and proud with your writing – if you have a novel or a short story or whatever available for sale – I want to know about it.  Not so much the blurb – you can give us a buy link and we can read that there.  I want to know what makes you excited about this story.  Is is your first? Is it your first in a new style? Is it something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time? Is it a subject close to your heart?  This post is all about living the dream of creating, so what about THIS work expresses your dream?

Or maybe your blog is your creative dream project.  When I was younger, I used to dream of having a column in a newspaper.  I never did pursue that dream, partly because much of the satisfaction I imagined I would get from that I know get from this blog.  Is that true for you?  If your heart is in your blog, tell me about it (and don’t forget the link so we can come and see it).

But I don’t only want to hear from people already ‘out’.

I also want to hear from people who are working away, so far unrecognised.  Do you have a novel, a short story, a poem, a play, a stand-up routine, that is hiding, waiting to see the light of day?  What’s your dream for that creation? Is is publication? Is it just to finish? Share it with us!  They say that a trouble shared is a trouble halved.  I believe that a dream articulated is a dream starting to become a reality.  So don’t be shy.  (Bear in mind that I am the person who stood up in a writing workshop and said that my dream was to outsell JK Rowling.  No dream is too crazy, too ‘out there’ for me!)

And if you don’t have writing of your own, but you want to join in, feel free to share some other creation – knitting, sewing, cooking, whittling the bones of your enemies – whatever floats your boat.  Or share something from a favourite book, old or new.  I’m always looking for more things to put on the TBR pile!

So, down to details:

The idea of the original challenge is to find the first use of the word ‘look’ in your manuscript and post the surrounding couple of paragraphs as a little ‘look’ into your work.  the excerpt below is from my contemporary romance – my debut book! Squee! Due out 15th October – Rules are for Breaking. It’s from very early in the first chapter, when the heroine, Jo, is having the hard word put on her to help out a friend-of-a-friend.

‘Your niece or nephew is a concealed weapon, at least as far as my body is concerned. Would you look at me? I am approximately the size of the Hindenburg and I swear I can hear myself creaking when I move. And still your brother insists that I am beautiful. What did I do to deserve him?’

She smiled into the middle distance and Jo shook her head.

‘And he thinks he doesn’t deserve you. You do know that you two are positively sickening, don’t you?’ Jo sighed and tried to look severe, but her friend’s happy glow defeated her and she found herself grinning foolishly. She cleared her throat of the sudden lump that had formed in it and changed the subject.

‘So, remind me again why I am putting up this Doolan —’

‘Declan.’

‘— sorry, Declan character for a few weeks?’

Not the most fascinating excerpt, but I’m sticking to the rules!  (You can bend them, but more on that later.)

Now, on to the second part. This story is special to me because it’s my first published book, of course, but also because it’s a story that didn’t find a home straight away.  The publisher I originally wrote it for didn’t like it and, while I could see the validity of the editor’s criticisms, I decided not to change it as it was the story I wanted to tell.  Then one day, a different editor asked to see it and she did like it. So now it has a home and a cover and, with a bit of luck, soon, readers.  Some of whom probably won’t like it, but some of whom will, I hope.

And now it’s over to you.  If you have a work with the word ‘look’ in it, by all means use that as a way of choosing your snippet.  Or just choose any small sample of your work and share – and don’t forget to tell us why it’s an expression of your dream and put in a link so we can see more.  And invite your friends to join in too.  I’d love for this to become a regular celebration of all that is good about following your creative urges!

In anticipation

Imelda

61 thoughts on “Look! It’s a writer challenge – so show me what you’ve got!

  1. ‘That’s it. Oh, yes. Feels sooo good.’
    ‘Do you like this?’
    ‘Mmm. Yes. Just a little lower.’
    ‘Here?’
    ‘Yes. I need you to do it harder…’
    A loud clatter and a curse in a deep voice brought Lauren out of her sensual dream.
    ‘Geeze you two! Can you cut it out? I’m on the phone to my mother. She already thinks I do nothing but watch porn on the internet.’
    Propping herself up on her elbows, she looked over the back of the couch to the dining table. ‘Sorry Paul. Say sorry to your Mum too. Promise her a foot massage from Brian next time she comes to visit.’
    ‘Like she’s going to believe that’s what all the racket was about.’ He returned to his call, uncovering the mouthpiece on the landline.
    Flopping back down, Lauren wriggled her toes. ‘I suppose we better pack it in for the night.’ A large knuckle ran up the arch of her foot and she squirmed. ‘That tickles.’

    This is from Chapter 2 of my entry to SYTYCW 2012

    http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/after-the-funeral/

    This story is special to me because…I just like the characters, love the characters actually. It’s a pretty standard category romance, hero is not Alpha enough for Presents, story is a bit too open door for Sweet so I am trying it in KISS which is a new imprint with variable heat levels.

    • Fi, it’s funny! I love it! And the title is very cool indeed. Best, best of luck with sytycw, but if it doesn’t fly there, don’t forget that there are many other options these days. I’d love to see the rest! Thanks so much for joining in. Imelda

  2. Awesome challenge, Imelda and so much fun. Can’t wait to read everyone’s “look” snippets.

    I’m sharing a snippet from my paranormal romantic suspense novella, TIME THIEF. This story is close to my heart as it’s the very first story I’ve self published! One day soon, I’d love to see it selling like hotcakes on Amazon and know readers are enjoying it (-:

    Anna

    http://www.annahackettbooks.com/

    Bay stole time.
    The world around her froze. People petrified, all sound silenced. Through the large plate glass windows, the cars on the street were immobile. She looked at the oversized railway clock on the wall—motionless.
    She was stealing time.
    And she had work to do.
    She studied her hunter. Three months he’d been after her and this was the closest he’d come. He was far more intelligent than Leven’s usual thugs. She pulled his hand off her wrist and looked again at that rugged face.
    Tawny hair fell over his forehead and his skin was deeply tanned. He looked like he belonged outdoors, climbing a mountain or captaining a ship. Without thinking, she touched a finger to his strong jaw and the intriguing dip in his chin.
    When she registered the warmth of his skin, she snatched her hand back. Idiot.
    His gray eyes still burned. She recognized what lurked there—saw the reflection of it in her own eyes every day—revenge.
    “What did I ever do to you?” she wondered.
    She turned her back on him and headed to the doorway where the two bank employees stood frozen. It gave the perfect line of sight to the vault and its half open door.
    Excellent.
    She cast one quick look back at her immobile hunter. Something told her he didn’t like to lose.

    • oooooh! What a fascinating concept! And a very tantalising snippet! What DID she ever do to him? I must know now! It’s very exciting that you’ve self-published your story, Anna and I hope it goes like hot cakes too. It’s a brave new world out there these days and the wonderful thing about the ebook revolution is that we have time to build those sales. Here’s to finding your dream audience who love your intriguing characters as much as you do!

  3. From Taming the Tiger, my SYTYCW entry:
    “Ouch,” she muttered just as it gave way and two firm hands grasped her shoulders. The hands spun her around firmly. She looked up. A long way up. The muscular frame of her impatient visitor blocked the doorway.
    “Tiffany-Jane Stevens?” His voice reverberated through her, deep and rumbling. Not unlike thunder —which matched the expression on his face.
    She shivered. “Yes?”
    “Scott Devin. Tie your damn shoes, take off that ridiculous skirt and meet me in my office.” With that, he spun around and stalked off.
    TJ stared at his departing back with a sinking feeling in her stomach. Scott Devin. Her new boss. He was a week early. It was going to be a bad day.

    http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/taming-the-tiger/

    This story is special to me because somehow the characters managed to breathe new life into it that sooo wasn’t planned! I love TJ and Scott so much, they’re fun to be around. They also have a purpose, a goal they have to achieve together that catapults them into dangerous situations to fight their way out of. I love a bit of spunk and kick-ass action…and they have plenty of both ;)

    • I’ve read the rest of this entry Juanita and I love it. He’s such a grouch at the start and she’s clearly in more trouble that just he is bringing. It’s very intriguing. Isn’t it great when your characters take on a life of their own and get away from you? One of my favourite comments from a beta reader when we were chatting about a character was, ‘oh no. Jo (character) would never do something like that.’ That the person I created was real enough for them to know what she would and wouldn’t do off the page was music to my ears. Best of luck with sytycw!

  4. Hi Imelda
    Here is my ‘look’ snippet from lots of bits and pieces which hopefully will join together to become my first book!
    Kerry

    ‘I hate shopping for swimmers, everything’s gone south and I need a bloody corset in my swimmers to bring them north again.’
    ‘You’ve got nothing to whinge about, mine are as far south as Antarctica and I can’t even get them close to New Zealand is this pair I’m trying to get on.’
    Anne and Julia were shopping for new swimmers as they were heading away for a weekend with no kids, husbands or responsibility. The biggest decision to make would be which cocktail to drink by the pool and would they even venture to the beach to risk getting sand in their cossies.
    ‘I haven’t done this in years and now I know why. It’s a nightmare.’
    ‘Why are we even doing this? Do we have to swim? Why can’t we just sit by the pool and look gorgeous in a caftan that covers everything up?’
    ‘Trust me,’ Anne responded. ‘The water will be warm, there will be no one there who knows us, it will be the perfect time to get in the pool and get some exercise and enjoy ourselves.’
    ‘Enjoy ourselves doing laps up and down a pool. You have got to be kidding.’ Julia was sure this wasn’t her idea of enjoying herself. She still remembered how humiliated she felt when she last went to the local pool. As she walked across to the pool a number of her students called out ‘hello Miss’ and all their parents turned to look at her. She jumped into the pool as fast as she could and didn’t get out again until most of them had left. She never went back.
    She was looking forward to this weekend away. Anne was her best friend and even though they only met a few years ago when Anne and her family moved to town, they had immediately clicked and become friends. They both had been caught up with work and family during the last few months and had not spent much time together so when Anne suggested the weekend away at a new B&B she saw on the internet Julia didn’t hesitate to say yes.
    Getting organised for the weekend wasn’t that easy though.

  5. This excerpt is from FAST FORWARD, a story that is special to me because it was so much fun to write and took half the time of my other ones!
    On New Year’s Day when I had planned to do nothing but lie around and read, my mind started thinking of story ideas and I was wondering which novel I’d write next. I’d had the seed of an idea about a beautiful young woman waking in the future to a life (and body) she didn’t expect, and as I was flipping through a magazine, I saw an ad for an interior design and decorating course, and I’d already decided that my character would be in the homewares business, so this piqued my interest. I was literally thinking to myself, ‘Which story should I write next?’ when I flipped to the next page in the magazine and the article was called ‘Fast Forward’ – the title I had already planned in my mind! That was it. I opened my laptop and wrote the first chapter that very day and a few months later it was finished.

    Here’s my ‘look’…

    I laid the dress on the bed and examined it with my hands. It was stretchy, it might fit. I could possibly squeeze into it if I had some sort of figure-squishing support underwear underneath. Or a portable liposuction machine even.
    I pulled open the drawers of the dresser and rummaged through each one, quickly closing the first one when I came in contact with Will’s underwear. The third one housed various singlets and stockings, and voila! This looked promising! I pulled out an unopened cardboard package with a picture of a slim woman wearing a skin-coloured support suit on it.
    SlimFX Magic Suit – drop a dress size and reveal your slim inner goddess!
    It must be related to the YouthMagic Facial, I thought, as I peeled off the plastic and withdrew the beige suit, which looked tighter than the red dress. I might need support underwear to be able to fit into the support underwear, and that could go on and on. I’d be my own Russian doll.

    ~ Thanks for the opportunity, Imelda :)

    • I love a story about serendipity and the muses knocking on the door – nice when they do that rather than you having to hunt them down with a hatchet!

      I’m really laughing out loud at this snippet Juliet! Love the image of the Russian doll of underwear. Cracked me up. I want to see this story!

  6. Hi Imelda! Thank you for a great challenge and opportunity. There’s no “look” in it but here’s my excerpt. It’s a part of a short story i have written. But I would like to turn this short story into a novel… When I was writing it, I fell in love with the characters and I feel the need to write more about them. This story is not published anywhere so no link for that but here’s the address of my blog: http://thecraftyexpat.wordpress.com/

    “You remember the first day you met him. It was at the gallery where your sister was exhibiting her artworks. You were staring at one of her sculptures: a tall man with one eye and a long tail wondering what she wanted to represent through this creation.
    He came to you and said you have a delightful profile. You looked in his eyes and knew something was happening.
    He called you the next day and asked you to come for coffee. You were intrigued and met him at his studio. It was then you discovered he was a well-known artist.
    He kissed you and the relationship started. For days you stayed in his studio hiding from the judgement of the people. There were no barriers between you, no age, no race, no religion.
    You spent days in bed and he got up only to paint you.”

      • Oh, I love the sound of only getting out of bed to be painted! I’m also intrigued: is the story written in second person, or is this one character talking to another? Either way, it sounds very interesting. I love that once you met your characters you wanted more of them. That’s the way the madness starts, Rita. Before you know it, there’ll be novels coming out your ears! Go! Write!

        • The story was all written in second person which was quite an interesting exercise I wanted to try. But the novel will probably be written in first person.

  7. Imelda, good for you for knowing how much your readers love a challenge! As you know, I don’t have a work in progress (at least not one that I’ve actually sat down to pen, though I have a half dozen ideas floating in my head). Nevertheless, my last post does include the word “look.” I’ve decided to include it because I think it exemplifies how any situation, good or bad, crazy or sane, funny or sad, serves to call out to a writer’s muse. I admit that there are times when my creativity has gone for an unannounced vacation and I find myself searching, thinking, praying, that inspiration will knock on my door. Alas, it is only when I let things flow, stop trying to force and elbow my way into being inspired, that an idea is born. One thing that always works for me is to have an “out of body” experience. That’s when I have a look at what’s currently taking place as if I were a spectator of the tragedy or comedy unfolding before me. No longer am I the protagonist, but instead, a bystander who is able to observe so she can later recount what she has witnessed. Before I know it, a post is born. This is exactly what happened in my last post. You have to read it beginning to end to fully grasp the mirth I’ve tried to infuse it with. Nevertheless, here is an excerpt; one that includes the word “look”! ha! Let me know if you can see the correlation. And thank you for inviting me to join the fun, my friend! :)

    Excerpt from my latest blog post titled “How does one makes synchronicity’s acquaintance?”

    Ten minutes later, I was on a gurney being told to prop my legs on stirrups and relax.
    (An oxymoron, if you ask me.)

    Metal clamps waving ominously before my eyes, I realized today was not the day.

    The day when synchronicity makes the world a perfect place.

    When a stranger who looks like Javier Bardem looks at you admiringly and asks, “How you doin’?”

    When butterflies land on your shoulder and little children smile at you sweetly.

    Today was a day when birds poop on your head.

    • Hahaha! I love it, Bella! But then, that’s no great surprise – you know I love your blog. I love the idea of observing oneself to release the creativity too. I will definintely try that. I think it could work for characters too. When I get stuck, if I loose myself to be a fly on the wall of the scene, instead of standing in the room stressing, as the author, I think that could work very well indeed! Thanks for the idea! And for joining in.

  8. Nice twist Imelda… Here’s my offering

    Set up: h is having lunch with her BFF:

    Their salads arrived with another smile from the waiter.
    “I’m so proud of you – you’ve accomplished so much. My Doberman wrestling superwoman. You got out of PR, head held high and started your new life. Top of the class at the dog training school and now building your own business. Look at you now. You’re not that mousey junior media buyer who was crying into your cappuccino in the break room at Forward Motion PR. You’re beautiful and any man worth his salt would fall down at your feet for a chance with you.

    I chose this snippet because I share a vague similarity with my h. (write from the heart eh?)

    While I neither worked in PR or cried into cappuccinos (and btw I have been happily married now for close to 20 years…) I did take the personal leap similar to that of my h. It was a HUGE step … a little nerve wrecking … and I was a little mousey once upon a time.

    Thanks Imelda, Cheeries Gab

    • Thank you for sharing that, Gabrielle! That’s a lovely thing to know about the background of your story. At the conference once, someone said that to write stuff that will touch others, we need to dive into, not our physical experience so much, but deep into our emotional experience, then ‘come back and tell what we know’. Sounds like you’re doing just that and that is absolutely going to make for a great story. Thanks for inviting me into this – I’m having a ball reading all these contributions!

      • Sweet, my pleasure … even if the challenge seems to have traveled around the mullberry bush a couple of times. Glad I was able to inspire the new ‘twist’ you came up with. Cheeries, Gab

  9. You guys are all amazing! Thanks for contributing. I’ll come back to reply to each personally when this mental day is over. And I’m hoping for more, so come back to check them out too!

  10. The pounding on the door pulled her from her thoughts as it echoed through the building. It interrupted her thinking, but given it had continued for a while, she just couldn’t ignore it any longer. She rose from her chair, and making her way toward the front of the store, she muttered under her breath, “It’s Saturday, people.” Couldn’t they see the shop was closed? Opening the blind on the door, she peered out to see a man on the step. “We’re closed!” she called. He looked at her and made a move to open the door.
    “We are closed.”
    She repeated herself, and then heard a mutter of “You have something…”
    She lost the gist of what he said as she got a good look at the muscular man with black hair and piercing green eyes standing on the stoop. God, he looked so sexy!
    “Can you let me in?” she finally heard.
    “What? Oh sorry,” she said, quickly unlocking the door and opening it a crack. “Now what
    did you say?”
    “You have something that belongs to me,” said the impossibly sexy man, and she wondered if he would think her nuts asking for a photo.

    I love Mellissa and Duvall. She is a strong woman who has challenges she never thought she would have to face. It is a snippet from my first book Starline.

    • Ah, you interest me strangely, Imogene! What is it with these blokes showing up all sexy and demanding? There seems to be a lot of it about. Thanks for sharing your snippet with us. Is Starline available anywhere?

  11. Hi Imelda!

    What a great idea. It is nice to share our bits with others and see what everyone is working on. I’ve been working on a paranormal suspense since NaNoWriMo last year, tentatively called Guardians. I just joined a writing collective to try to push me to finish, and I am also doing NaNo again this year, in hopes to finally finish this story! You know, I have YET to finish a full-length novel yet? I’ve written a few short stories but I have yet to finish a novel. This is the year!

    I want to be able to say that this will be the first novel I’m publishing, but I’m not there yet. However, I am not going to say IF I publish, because I will eventually. Just a matter of when and how many edits the story has to go through before it hits shelves. :P

    I’m excited about this because it has some of my best writing in it and I am really digging my characters. Alana Bachman is such a strong, young woman. She thought she had her life planned out, great job, friends, boyfriend but after struggling with the loss of her beloved grandmother, she quits her job and leaves to come back to home. She has to fight the onslaught of what she thinks is mental illness while learning that there was a lot more to her grandmother than she ever realized … and there was a lot more about her family and the significance of a dear family keepsake than she was ever told. The male, main character, David Ward, remembers Alana as a small child and is intrigued by the woman she has become. He has a part in the mystery of her family, he just doesn’t know yet. His family and her family both held secrets, secrets that will all have to come out before the end.

    Here is a snippet of Guardians from the very beginning of the first chapter, after a short intro:

    The lock moved smoothly as Alana unlocked the front door to her grandparents’—no, her—house. As the door swung open, Alana was surprised at how nice the place looked for being shut up for the past year; the whole property looked like it had been maintained regularly. The air in the house smelled old and stale, but not horribly so, certainly not as bad as she expected. Alana wondered if her probate lawyer had made arrangements while she decided what to do with the house.

    Various memories trickled through her mind as her eyes examined the various surfaces of the house. She didn’t have a lot of memories there, but they were important, from some of her earliest as a small child to the funeral for her grandmother. Alana closed her eyes and put those thoughts aside as she tried to focus on the present.

    As she unlocked some of the windows to let fresh air in, she noticed the detailed engraving of the window sills. There were shepherds crooks in each side of the window frame. It was peculiar. She had never heard of this kind of detailing being done before. She shrugged her shoulders and chocked it up to an eccentric architect who had a thing for shepherds, which somehow made her feel safer. She wasn’t sure why, but she did.

    The air in the house started to smell much better, certainly better than what the moving truck smelled like after she practically lived in it for the past several days.

    If you liked what you read above, you can check out other snippets on my blog at: http://mlgammella.blogspot.com/ or catch me in some of the flash fiction contests that are hosted throughout the twitterverse. I can also be followed at @MLGammella

    Thanks for reading and thanks for the great idea, Imelda!!

    • Thanks for sharing that! I was really interested to see what you were up to, because I knew you’d been beavering away at something. I love old houses and secrets and I really want to know what those shepherd’s crooks are about. Good on you for doing NaNo and best of luck with finishing the ms this year. There’s nothing quite like getting to the end of the story, especially for the first time. No matter what happens to that story next, once you know you can do it, there’s no stopping you! I’ll definitely be over to check out some of the other snippets, but I would much rather see the finished version… (hint, hint, encourage) ;)

      • LOL I’ll take all the encouragement I can, especially when doubts plague me. And I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as it’s finished and available for consumption. :P

        I can already see there are bits I’d trim from the excerpt but it is only the first draft. I want to get it all down before I start clipping. It is so hard to NOT edit as I go. It has been the biggest thing I’ve fought against, and is probably one of the reasons why I have yet to finish a novel. I tend to go back and edit and revise and revised again before I’m done writing the piece.

  12. Okay, so this is from my current work in progress, the one I have (against my own better judgement) entered in SYTYCW, called Rules of Engagement, starring Wolf and Abby.

    Friday morning came around disturbingly fast, and Jane and her bubbly personality arrived at the house disgustingly early. Abby was barely awake when she heard Jane’s jeep pull up out front, the honking horn shattering what little hope she’d been clinging on to of dozing off to sleep again. She strained her neck to see over the top of Wolf’s prone body, searching for the time. The red digital numbers on her clock radio flashed at her with their usual acuity confirming her suspicions.
    It was too damn early.
    She flopped back against her pillows and pulled the doona over her head. She didn’t want to go shopping. She didn’t want to buy a new dress. She already owned one and that was one too many. She wanted to stay in her nice warm bed and let the soft music and morning news broadcast waft to her ears at seven o’clock sharp when her alarm went off. And then she wanted to pretend to still be asleep when Wolf started kissing her from her navel to her nape before slipping inside her and waking her up properly, just as he had every morning since his arrival.
    As if on cue he turned to her and slid his big hand between her legs.
    “Good morning,” he murmured in her ear as he pushed her legs apart and thrummed his thumb across her clit. Abby moaned as the most exquisite sensations began unfurling through her body making her limbs tremble and her breathing stagger—
    That was until she heard the front door slam shut.
    She groaned as Jane’s lyrical voice sang out to them to, “Hurry up and get your butts in gear,” and all sexual desire deserted her.
    Wolf growled his displeasure at the interruption. “How upset would you be if I strangled your best friend?”
    Abby smirked even as she considered doing the strangling herself. “Given the circumstances…? Not very. But if we don’t get out there soon she will come looking for us.”
    Now it was Wolf’s turn to flop back against the pillows and groan. “Fine. Go. I’ll join you after I take care of this,” he said as he slid his hand back under the covers. “The last thing I need is to walk around town all day with an erection.”
    Abby’s smirk broadened into a grin, and faded just as quickly. “What do you mean walk around town…? You’re not coming with us, are you?” she said as she slung a pair of jeans and a t-shirt over her arm then dug through a drawer for clean underwear.
    “Yes, I am,” he said, and when she glanced at Wolf he was grinning.
    She frowned. “But your book…your work…”
    “Is ahead of schedule,” he said, the look he threw at her daring her to contradict him. “Now unless you’re about to get over here and help me…”
    “Okay, okay, I’m going.”

    There is more than a little bit of me in Abby. She’s a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal with the occasional girly whim. And I am totally in love with Wolf. He’s tall, he’s strong, he’s smart and he’s not afraid to just be himself and speak his mind…kinda like this other bloke I know who lives in my house from time to time =P

    If you want to read the first chapter and (hopefully) vote for me, go here: http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/rules-of-engagement/

    Happy reading,
    Jennie =)

  13. Well, that was a surprise! I was just settling in to a grump about shoes and all of a sudden there was action in that bed! Excellent startlement, Jennie! And I loved the line about one dress being one too many. These two sound like fun and I love it when they have other people in their lives as well, so I even like the hideously early Jane. Best of luck with putting it out there, Jennie. You’ve got to be in it to win it!

  14. Okay, here’s an excerpt from a work in progress (too soon to call it a manuscript!):

    I looked at the girl again. She seemed to be watching me. She reminded me of Sally from the Dick and Jane school primers we’d used in first grade. The girl’s blue ribbon was coming undone but she didn’t seem to notice. She was unabashedly looking right at me, eagerly smiling and trying to coax a smile out of me. I wanted to, but couldn’t muster more than a half smile. My bashfulness was getting the better of me.

    I noticed she was carrying a little, blue purse with a red cherry embroidered on it. I wondered if she had bought it here, at the mercado libre, or if she had brought it with her, from the states. I wanted to ask her, but was unable to speak. Then, as she opened her purse and pulled out a stick of Juicy Fruit gum, my favorite, she turned to a woman standing behind her and asked,
    “Mommy, how do you say gum in Spanish?”

  15. Sorry I’m so late! I’m cheating and giving you the 2nd look because the first one many have already seen…

    Ali glared at the stranger with all the animosity she could muster. Having spent eight weeks hiding in her neighbor’s attic, living like a rodent while the world fell apart outside, there was a hoard of hostility at her disposal. An ample amount of petrified too, but hostility came in handier.

    Do it the hard way? The f*cker. She wanted to go medieval on his ass, but oh man, he was big. She wasn’t tiny by any standard, but her neck ached from looking up at him. On a good day she would barely reach the notch in his chin. Today was not a good day. It did nothing for her terror levels. Her heart tripped about in her chest like she was having a coronary.

    She should have stayed at Mary’s house, safe and sound and starving. How could she have missed him even crouched down, rifling through the cupboard? All of the trying to be hyper vigilant on her few trips out into the world, and yet, here she was, caught. She had to escape. Civilization was gone. Law and order a distant memory. Who knew what people would do now that the rules did not apply?

    That’s from my debut novel which was released just yesterday. It’s $2.99 and here’s a link to where to buy it… http://momentumbooks.com.au/books/flesh/

    Flesh is the story of two guys and girl surviving post-zombie-apocalypse. It’s gritty and a bit smutty and even scary now and then. Flesh was a big learning experience for me and I’m very proud to see it finally out being read and hopefully enjoyed. That’s a huge buzz. Thanks for posting the challenge, Im!

    • Ha! I’m cheating a bit too, because I’ve already read it. And it’s good, people, really good. VERY steamy, so approach with extreme caution if you like your romance with the bedroom door shut. But if your mind is open, it’s also very touching and full of drama and danger and things that go bump in the night – of all descriptions! You deserve to be proud, Kylie m’dear!

  16. I’m game =) This one is for my next release (only because my work in progress is on another computer…)

    Behind the Courtesan (Carina Press, April 2013)

    “I don’t think this is a good idea. I’m really heavier than I look.” Would his fingers curl about her back and legs? Was he as warm as he looked?

    Blake raised one dark brow, his gaze contemptible as he took in her grey half boots, her ruined, travel-stained gown, lingering on the swell of skin rising above her neckline to finally—finally—meet her eyes. The swirling color nearly swallowed his pupils whole, fairly stealing her breath away.

    Until he spoke.

    “If I can handle the cows in the paddock, I think I can handle you.”

    The guffaws of laughter and back-slapping made Sophia’s cheeks hot. Her anxiety made her words harsher, more childish, more defensive. “You cannot speak to me like that!” she huffed. “Where is the owner? Perhaps he will be a gentleman and rescue me.”

    “I doubt it, Duchess. Now will I carry you or would you like to go over my shoulder?”

    This one is a darker Regency, the story of a woman who returns home fourteen years after fleeing and has to face the people she left behind, only now she makes her profession as a courtesan.

    • I like courtesan stories. I love the escape of the Regency romances, but I also like the ones where people have to deal with the world as it must have been for many of them in real life: desperately short of money and having to make tough choices to survive. It wasn’t all new bonnets and flashing fans, I’m sure! Sounds like a fun meet! I look forward to seeing where this relationship goes!

  17. ‘Look’ is actually one of the words I try to avoid. I am sure I have used it but can’t recall where (and I did a quick glance to see if I could spot it in my last book) so I will have to skip that. Sorry.

    What excites me about any story are the characters. I like to feel I am bringing a slice of humanity not seen like a doctor looking at individual cells instead of the whole body. As a rule, I want each character to be interesting enough – even if they only have a couple lines – that if I had to I could write a story on them.

    • Get out, really? You managed to write a whole book without it? I was surprised to find how many times it appeared in my ms. go you!

      I love the idea of all the characters being real enough to have their own stories. I heard someone say once that every character in the scene thinks they’re the protagonist and you need to remember that when writing them – even if they have only a couple of lines. It’s good advice!

      Thanks for taking the time to come by! It’s lovely to see you here!

      • I am sure I used it and I tried to browse through the last book to find a place where but I couldn’t find one. Like I said, sure it is in there in a few place but it is one word I do try to avoid. Was glad to stop by and always happy to hear from you! Seems like you had a good response which was great.

  18. Hi, Imelda! I learned of your existence from our mutual twitter pal Susan Tsui, and I’m glad I did! I’m also happy to play along. The excerpt is from my debut novel, IT’S ALWAYS DARKEST:

    [The outer office was a spotless model of efficiency, an antiseptically clean and well-lighted place that would have made the one in Hemingway's story LOOK like a Bowery flophouse. The walls, devoid of any type of decoration, were oyster white; the short-pile carpet, navy blue. What little furniture there was consisted almost exclusively of glass and stainless steel. Deep in the background, so deep and quiet as to be almost subliminal, a piped-in music channel played the Stan Getz/Astrud Gilberto version of their 1964 top five hit, "The Girl From Ipanema."

    Two women standing near a large gray file cabinet looked up at my entrance. One was a blonde with a short asymmetrical gamine-style cut; the other had straight, shoulder-length hair, dark red or auburn, perfectly parted down the middle. They wore identical short-sleeved white blouses and navy blue skirts that just brushed the tops of their knees, and either of them could have spotted the Girl from Ipanema seven and a half points when it came to being tall, tanned, young, and lovely.]

    What makes this one special is that a) it’s my first; and b) this scene wasn’t even in the first draft, since I began the story much farther along. Silly of me not to realize until much later that the job interview was the right place to begin things…it’s a much better story for the addition. :)

    • Ha! Stephen I love it! ‘…would have made the one in Hemingway’s story look like a Bowery flophouse.’ Classic.

      If you haven’t finished this, you need to do so, post-haste. I want to read it! Thanks for joining in and congratulations for discovering that your story needed a scene ADDED! ;)

  19. Pingback: Wednesday WIP: Unexpected writerly inspiration and ideas from my friends | Wine, Women & Wordplay

  20. Pingback: Hey Everybody Look Over Here! | Read Tom Lucas

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