Sunday, August 18, 2013

A flash

On the Writer's Circle forum I hang around at, we did a "flash" this weekend. A flash is where we post 100 words (more or less) from our current WIP based on whatever theme is chosen. This weekend's theme is "After Effects". It can be after a first date, first kiss, first lovemaking, etc. As long as the flash is PG-13.

I picked mine after Devlin & Haley's first kiss. I'm not sure if I'm keeping the song I chose since lyrics & tone don't really match. I chose it at the time based on title only. One of the alternate songs is Springsteen's I'm On Fire but lyrics don't quite convey the feeling either. I could go with Jace Everett's I Wanna Do Bad Things With You. :)

Here's the Flash. I hope you like it.

Although neither one mentioned the kiss, everything between them had shifted and changed. The air between them sizzled and crackled like a Tesla coil. She became aware of every breath he took, every look he sent her way, every time his arm brushed against hers. Carly Simon’s Anticipation played on a continuous loop in her head until she wanted to jump out of her skin. They might walk and talk as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, but she knew they were just biding their time, treading water. Unlike last night, tonight’s activities would not be as innocent as watching movies and eating popcorn.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My New Challenge

I think I'm finished with my latest challenge. I guess I have to be since I hit the 1000 word mark. Can't add unless I subtract. I normally don't change point of view during a scene but I wanted a better sense of Ellie in the 1000 word constraint. Now that I know Ellie better maybe I'll see if I can rewrite it using just one POV.

The premise for the new challenge is to have someone make a wish upon a star. It can be a child or adult, hero, heroine or anyone else.

I enjoyed creating Ellie and Sebastian and hope to someday complete their story and give them their happily ever after. I think their story will be more of a romantic adventure than a true romantic suspense. I guess I was channeling Bruce Willis in Tears of the Sun when I wrote this even though the Sebastian in my head doesn't resemble Willis.

Wishful Thinking
Word Count: 1000

Sebastian stepped through the doorway into the small chapel. Ellie stood in front of the altar, her back to him, the flickering light from the payer candles highlighted her flyaway blond curls. He drank in the sight of her as he approached, then dug deep into the well of anger he carried. He needed it to combat emotions he refused to identify. “I thought I made it clear you were to be on that flight.”
She squared her shoulders then turned to face him. She hitched up her chin, but her gaze didn’t meet his, instead it landed on his chest. For a second he wondered if she could see his roiling emotions. They had been lodged like a stone in his chest since yesterday, making breathing difficult. He shook his head to clear it of such foolish notions. She did this to him, made him feel things he’d thought long dead. Last night he caught himself watching a falling star as it streaked across the inky darkness. At least he came to his senses before making a childish wish. Idiota.
“I don’t take orders from you, Captain, and the State Department’s advisory was just that. An advisement not an order.” She hugged her arms across her chest, raised her head to meet his gaze, her blue eyes brimming with defiance.
He put his hands on his hips to keep himself from reaching for her, torn between wanting to hold her close and itching to throttle her. “And what do Father Joseph and the good Sisters think about this foolishness?”
“They don’t know,” he finished for her and swore under his breath. He wanted to shake some sense into her. Wanted to shout at her, tell her that like that falling star, she’d been a brief light in his dark world and the thought of her light being snuffed shredded his gut. Instead he clung to his anger. “Once the fighting starts the church can’t protect you. You’re not a nun so there’s no superstition or taboo surrounding you. You could be killed…or worse.”
“What’s worse than being killed?”
He stepped closer, invading her personal space. “I’m not sure what magical world you live in, but here in the real world there’s a lot of things worse than death. Do you want me to spell it out for you? Paint you a picture?”
He watched her throat muscles work as she swallowed. “That won’t be necessary.”
Pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, he sighed. “Maybe I can get a helicopter... get you to….”
“But what about the children?”
Was he not speaking English? “What about the children?”
“How can you be so cruel?” She curled her hands into fists.
He towered over her wishing she’d use those fists, give him a reason to touch her. Bad idea. Searching for calm, he inhaled deeply. But that was a really bad idea. Dios, even in the sweltering heat of the jungle, she smelled like citrus and sunshine. Damn he needed to get his head out of the clouds. “I’m a realist, Miss Whitney. Did you really think you could come down here like some starry-eyed do-gooder and save this country from itself? Or maybe you thought you could waive your magic wand and make everything all better? Are you naive or just plain stupid?”
“I can’t abandon the children. I won’t. Maybe you could—”
“I won’t waste my men on a fool’s errand.” But he was already calculating how many men he could spare to defend the Sisters of Mercy Orphanage. Would he even be considering it if Ellie Whitney had left on that flight, if he had succeeded in getting her out of harm’s way? He shoved that thought aside. There’d be time enough later for self-recrimination. If he lived that long.
# # #
Ellie blinked back tears. Whitneys didn’t cry. Weeping never solved anything, Missy. Her grandfather’s voice rang in her ear, when, as a child, she had cried for her parents. She had thought Grandfather Whitney was a hard man, but he could take lessons from Sebastian Navarro.
“Sir?” A young man dressed in combat fatigues poked his head into the doorway. “The transport is ready.”
Sebastian nodded and waved the boy away. “God help you, Miss Whitney, because I certainly can’t.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
“Does it matter?”
“But…if the freedom fighters win then—”
“Then we’ll be trading one despot for another. Neither one is going to change the lives of these orphans. Surely you’ve been here long enough to realize that.”
She flinched as if he had physically struck her. She had realized that but was wanting to make a difference so terrible? She had wanted to change the lives of these children. Her need to matter to someone, or to something had brought her to this place. And it brought her to Sebastian Navarro. She didn’t regret that.
He muttered something in Spanish about irrational women, turned on his heel and strode toward the arched doorway.
Ellie watched him retreat, his broad shoulders stiff and straight. He had mastered the art of pushing people away, playing the consummate hard-ass. But she remembered how he had made sure the orphanage received food and medical supplies even when there was no money left to pay the bribes to get those supplies here safely. And she recalled the day he brought a soccer ball to the boys and helped them set up makeshift goals. Watching him play soccer with the boys, she saw not the hardened soldier but a man who smiled and laughed. And her heart ached for him, wondering what he would have been like under different circumstances.
Her chest tightened when she thought about a world—her world—without Sebastian Navarro. Recalling the wish she’d made on last night’s falling star, she blinked hard and cleared her throat. “Captain?”
He stopped at the sound of her voice but didn’t turn around.
“Sebastian… please…take care…the world needs realists, too.”

Writer and Reader

I'm pretty sure all writers are also book lovers. I never leave home without a book or e-reader tucked into my purse. You never know when you might have to wait in line for something. Of course having that book with me is like insurance against having to wait.

At the moment I am reading Her Road Home by Laura Drake. It's an august Harlequin Superromance and it's available now. I am about halfway through it and loving it! This is Laura's second published book. Her first, The Sweet Spot, is also available and it blew me away! It came out in May and was an RT Reveiws recommended Top Pick. Not bad for a debut book. Laura is also a contributor to the awesome Writers In the Storm blog. Wonderful tips and advice for aspiring and published authors. 

Another Superromance out this month is Staying At Joe's by Kathy Altman. This is also Kathy's second published book. Her first, The Other Soldier, also a Superromance, was nominated as a Best First Book by RT Reviews. I highly recommend both books. And don't let the cover of Staying At Joe's fool you, this is not a fluff piece but a deeply moving story about flawed people whose road to happily ever after has roadblocks and detours.

I'm looking forward to more amazing books from both these authors.

Another first book I'm looking forward to is Man Of My Dreams by Faith Andrews. It's not out yet, but since I have an "in" with the author (she's a critique partner-hey, waving at Faith) I have had the pleasure of reading it. I'll be sure to let everyone know as soon as MOMD is available.

I'm still putting the finishing touches on another one of my writing challenges and will post it here when it's ready. I also have a couple of older ones I can dust off and post. I belong to a wonderful local writing group and each month we do writing prompts of approximately 500 words. Although somehow i also manage to go over a wee bit. We've decided to stretch and flex our writing muscles so we're choosing different genres for our prompts. For August we have to write a historical using the prompt. I did but as usual it turned into more a historical romantic suspense. 

Thanks for stopping by! And I'll post my challenge soon.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Writer's Challenge Winning Entry

As promised here's my winning entry for the Challenge at the Writer's Circle. Not crazy over the title but I only had a few days to think of something to slap on there. And I think of Jack as a devil. I hope to someday turn these two into a full length romantic suspense. Piece of cake since the first 1,000 words are done that leaves only at least another 70,000 to go. Ok, the final count was 978 but, hey, who's counting? Oh, the challenge was to have a "wet male chest".

Devil's Bargain
Word Count: 978

Maggie Reilly’s fist curled around the thumb drive. A triumphant smile stretched across her face. What was that phrase about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat? The information contained on this little device represented vindication.

Behind her the noise escalated First the obnoxious scrape and ping of metal, then the harsh hiss of the fire extinguisher. She kept her eyes focused straight ahead as she strode down the darkened hallway. The kitchen staff had discovered the small fire she started as a diversion. Milo, the sous-chef, barked orders as everyone scrambled to douse the blaze.

When the building’s sprinkler system kicked on, the chaos and clatter increased. Maggie narrowly avoided getting wet as she shoved the rear door open. Exiting the building onto the alley, she paused to pull on her wool coat as her vision adjusted to the midday sun. She turned left, tossed the pink bow tie and black vest into an over-flowing dumpster, spared one quick glance over her shoulder and hurried toward the anonymity of the busy street. Foot traffic along the sidewalk would be heavy with the noontime crowd. She could blend right in.

As she neared the busy street, Maggie buttoned up her coat against the March chill. Almost there, a dozen more steps. Snatches of conversation drifted to her from office workers on their lunch break. 

A hand clamped down on her shoulder, stopping her dead in her tracks. Her heart stuttered to a momentary stop, then galloped ahead at warp speed.

The hand spun her around as effortlessly as a lazy susan. The thoroughly soaked but no less impressive male chest blocked the bright sun. The white cotton that must have been pristine minutes ago clung to his chest, emphasizing the banded muscles underneath. 

Maggie had no need to look into his face. She knew that under the expensive, water-logged fabric a light spray of dark hair covered the rock hard chest, knew an apostrophe shaped scar above his left nipple marred the perfection.

“You’re in an awful hurry. Where’s the fire?” Even the soft Irish lilt couldn’t mask his sardonic tone.

While her heart continued its drum solo in her too-tight chest, she gave in to the inevitable and lifted her head. Her gaze collided with eyes as blue and deep as the waters of Killary Harbor.

“Your reputation isn’t an exaggeration,” she observed, grateful her voice didn’t betray the conflicting emotions tumbling through her. She reminded herself she and Jack were through. Finished. Put a period on it.

Jack’s blue eyes sparkled with amusement. “I assume you’re referring to my ability to blend in with my surroundings. Which, of course, would explain how I escaped even your keen detection skills.”

She rolled her shoulder to shake off his hand, but couldn’t budge it. “Actually, I was referring to your reputation as an unprincipled son of a—” 

“Tut, tut, keep that up and Father Francis will have you saying Hail Marys…on your knees.”

She cursed the tell-tale heat rising in her cheeks. “I hope you don’t think you fooled anyone with that pathetic disguise.”

He sneezed, sending water droplets flying off his thick, black hair. “Actually it was quite successful, but then not everyone knows me as well as you do, Mary Margaret.” 

Maggie opened her mouth for the automatic correction, but the words died on her lips. How did he manage to make her old-fashioned, parochial name sound so sexy? She grit her teeth. “What do you want?”

“Aww, luv, you know what I want. You have something that belongs to my employer and I’m going to need it back.” Strands of wet hair stuck to his forehead.

He shivered and she buried the automatic flare of concern. Good, maybe he’d catch pneumonia. He sneezed again.

“What you need is to get out of those wet clothes.” What happened to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat?

In a flash, he let go of her and ripped open the wet shirt, sending buttons ricocheting every which way. When he tugged it down his arms, gold cufflinks clinked and skittered across the pavement. 

He toed off his shoes, unbuckled his belt and hesitated. “I may need your assistance with these pants.”

Her gaze followed a fat droplet of water as it traveled down his chest until it disappeared under his waistband. Her throat went dry. Unable to swallow, she croaked, “In your dreams.”

“Oh? You know about those?” Never lifting his gaze from her, he pulled his pants down, tossed them aside. Standing in nothing but black boxer briefs plastered to his sinewy body, he leaned toward her and lowered his voice. “Don’t tell me you have those dreams too. Care to share? I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”

Don’t look below the waist. Don’t look below—Aw, geez, you looked. Obviously the cold hadn’t affected him.

When she lifted her gaze, he had the audacity to wink. Her hand tightened around the thumb drive. He might treat this like a game, but she didn’t have that luxury. But then, Jack treated everything like a game, even when his own life was on the line.

She refused to be deterred from her goal by traitorous, unwelcome emotions. Careful, or you’ll be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

“Not interested in sharing?” He reached out and traced a finger down her cheek as he whispered, “Grá mo chroí.

The endearment washed over her, daring her to trust him, take a chance and —No! She cut those thoughts off before they could blossom and grow. Her battered heart wouldn’t survive another betrayal. “You’re a real swine, you know that?”

“Ouch.” He clutched his chest. “You wound me, Mary Margaret.”

She ground her back teeth and plastered a smile on her face. “Oh, when I wound you, Jack Reilly, I guarantee it won’t be with words.”

Welcome to my aspiring writer blog!

For years I've been a fan of romances and I've loved writing and creating stories. Lately I have been combining the two. I am currently at work on a romantic suspense. Whenever I enter into contests, I use the title, Heroes and Heartache, but when I'm writing or working with my critique buds (Hi Ruthie, Faith, Audrey, Susan, Olga, Heather, Angeline and Stephanie!!) I refer to the work in progress (or WIP) simply as Devlin & Haley. As you may have already guessed, Devlin in my hero and Haley my heroine.

I also love doing writing challenges and prompts. I recently joined the Writer's Circle at and entered my very first Writer's Challenge and won! I will come back in a little bit and post my winning entry. The Writer's Challenges are a maximum of 1000 words. As a winner I get to conduct and judge the next challenge. Although I can't participate since I'm judging, I couldn't resist writing one and am currently hard at work on that. Why am I hard at work writing something that can't win? Because I love doing it and I am currently procrastinating getting back to work on the current WIP.

Thanks for stopping by. I am sure in the upcoming weeks, I will be sprucing the place up and making it more my own.