WIPpet Wednesday: Genie on the Doorstep

Happy Wednesday! I’m thrilled to be back. We took a trip to Cooperstown for the baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I’m back, better rested than I was on Monday. But I’m still very, very sore from the sunburn. Note to self: 5 hours is too long without reapplying sunscreen.

ROW80 Update:

Due to travel, I missed my writing goal, and I’m not sure if I’ll get to a blog post this week. We’ll see.

  • Write in Passing on Faith one hour/day: Nope. Missed Saturday and Sunday due to travel.
  • Read 30 min/day: √ Yep! Finished the book I was reading. Go, me!
  • Write one non-ROW80/WIPpet post/week: Not yet. I’ll let you know Sunday.

On to the WIPpet!

For this week, I’m sharing part of Chapter 2. Micah is surveying the horribleness of the house he inherited and wishing he didn’t have to deal with it. I tend to think he’s avoiding dealing with a lot of things at the moment. This is still fairly lighthearted, but the story itself is overall taking a somewhat more angsty turn than I expected. This is a good thing, I think, but we shall see.

My WIPpet math: (7 + 3 + 0) + (1 + 4 – 2) = 13 sentences.

Although he knew he should get to work, that was the last thing he wanted to do. He flopped down on the couch, sending a puff of dust into the air which caused him to cough. Surveying the rubble from his meltdown the day before, he curled his lip in disgust. He leaned back, groaning, and ran a hand through his hair. It would be the perfect time to discover a magic lamp in among the knickknacks. If only he could produce a genie to make everything disappear.

A knock on the door startled him out of his miserable reverie. Hauling himself up, he slumped over to the door and opened it. There stood his new neighbor, notebook and cell phone in hand. This time, Cat was dressed in a vivid orange t-shirt—how he got away with that given his hair color was anyone’s guess, but it looked surprisingly good—and a pair of well-worn jeans. His Converse were the same shade of orange as the shirt. Under the v-neck collar, a thin gold chain peeped out. He still had the same dangling leaf earring he’d been wearing before, and now Micah had a better look, he saw exactly what it was.

I’ll bet you can guess. 😉

Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting, as always. Don’t forget to check out the other entries and add your own. Just connect it to the date (see my math above for an example) and link up with us. Happy writing!


WIPpet Wednesday: Fix ‘Er Up

Hooray! It’s Wednesday! Time for a new WIPpet and ROW80 check-in.

My goals:

  • Write one hour/day in Passing on Faith The plot bunny still won’t leave me alone, but I used it to my advantage to work out a key plot point. So, win.
  • Read 30 minutes/day Haven’t missed any since last check-in.
  • Write one blog post/week other than WIPpet/ROW80 Yep, posted it on Monday.

I’m skipping my Sunday post because we are going to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame inductions. That’s going to derail my goals for the weekend as well. I’ll still get my reading in, but no writing and probably no extra blog post next week, since I’ll be catching up and the kids will be done with camp.

I admit I’m struggling with this novel. I’m over halfway through, and this is the point where my last one hit a bump, too. I began having it beta read in order to overcome the slump, but I’m not at that point with this one for a number of reasons. Consequently, today’s snippet is a little dull. I’m just posting what comes immediately after last week’s. Part of the problem is that I don’t want to reveal too much too soon, and some things I’m not sure about revealing at all. This damn story has too many potential spoilers!

Boring math, too: 7 + 2 + 3 = 12 paragraphs. Sigh.

Cat’s eyebrows shot up, but he didn’t ask for more information. Instead, he looked around. “This place is a dump.”

“Tell me about it,” Micah grumbled. “That’s part of the problem. It’s truly not livable. I have to go back to town and get a hotel room until I’ve cleaned out most of what’s in here.”

“You want some help?”

“With what, finding a room? I’m an adult. I think I can manage.”

Cat rolled his eyes. “No. I meant fixing this place. I’m actually pretty handy with a trash bin, and I know just about everyone in town. We’ll get your house in shape.”

Micah desperately wanted an excuse to say no. He wasn’t anxious to get acquainted with the locals, nor was he interested in being indebted to Cat for his help. On the other hand, he had no idea what he was doing. If Cat—or anyone else, for that matter—could assist him, he might be able to get the house ready by the end of summer.

He found himself saying, “All right.”

“Good.” Cat stood up. “Let me make a few calls, and I’ll tell you what I’ve got. We can at least figure out what needs to be fixed.” He cringed a little. “Um, can I have my glass back?”

Micah laughed. “Sure.” He drained the last of the lemonade and handed Cat the glass. “I’d wash it for you, but I’m not sure what would come out of the tap.”

“No problem. See you around?”

“Yeah.” Micah offered a real smile this time, and Cat returned it.

Maybe, just maybe, he could get through the summer after all.

I’ll try to find something a bit more interesting for next time. If you want to read some less dull entries than mine, go here. Feel free to add your own, associated with the date however you choose. Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting, as always. Happy writing!

WIPpet Wednesday: Lemonade and Sympathy

Big news this week: I’m about to have a web site of my own! My amazing graphic designer finalized my banner this week, so as soon as everything’s in place, I will do the big drum roll and reveal. Stay tuned, because my web site (and its name) are a-changin’.

On the ROW80 front, I managed to meet my goals so far. (You can read other updates and join in here.) Refresher course:

  • Write in Passing on Faith for an hour a day: Also wrote a bit on a short story
  • Read a book for 30 minutes a day: I have two going now
  • Write a blog post that’s not WIP/ROW80 once a week:  Posted my review of Across Worlds: Collision, an erotic sci-fi novel

For today’s WIPpet, I’ve got another bit between Micah and Cat. In case you missed it, ages ago I posted about Micah discovering the inside of the lake house is pretty bad. He made it worse by smashing stuff his father and stepmother were packing up before Dear Ol’ Dad died. Let’s just say he’s not in a good mood. Maybe Cat will cheer him up…or make it worse. WIP math is 7 – 1 + 6 = 12 paragraphs.

Micah stood up, wiping his eyes with the heels of his hands. He sighed and yanked the sheet off an old chair. He flopped down in it and buried his head in his hands, still sniffling a little. He decided he would sit right there until he was struck with a brilliant plan for how to manage his misfortune. It might have been a whole two minutes before someone knocked on the front door. Huffing, he rose and went to answer it.

He held back a groan when he saw who it was. Cat, his oddly chipper neighbor, was back. He had a glass of what might have been lemonade in his hand and a lopsided smile on his face. When he looked up at Micah, his expression changed. His smile slid away and his eyes widened.

“You okay?” he asked.

Micah ran a hand through his hair and contemplated telling Cat it was just allergies. Instead, something made him say, “No. I am not okay. But if you want to come in and sit down on my couch, risking black lung from all the dust, by all means.” He stood aside and swept his hand, indicating Cat should join him.

Hesitantly, Cat stepped over the threshold. He extended the glass to Micah. “Thought you could use this. Maybe you need something stronger, though.”

Micah snorted. “Yeah, probably, except I don’t drink.” He accepted the lemonade and took a sip. The tart liquid was refreshingly cool against his burning throat. “Thanks for this.” He tilted the glass toward Cat.

Cat grinned. “I was a little worried for a minute there. Want to tell me about it?”

“Not really.” Micah dragged the sheet off the couch, and Cat perched on the end as though he thought it might contaminate him.

“Fair enough.” He continued to watch Micah, though.

Micah sighed heavily. “I inherited this house. My father just died.”

“I’m sorry,” Cat said, his voice soft and warm.

“I’m not.”

And I’ll just leave it there.

On a completely random note, here is a video for your amusement.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by the excellent K. L. Schwengel. You can read the other entries and add your own here. Just post a bit of your work-in-progress, connect it to the date any way you can, and share it with us. Happy writing!

WIPpet Wednesday: Unhelpful Thoughts

It’s that time again—another Wednesday, another week down. So far, it’s been a little challenging, balancing writing and editing with having both kids home. Next week, the kids are at camp, so that means a whole 7 hours a day to work. Good thing, because I keep having projects land in my lap. At the moment, I’m working on stuff with several other writers: three novels consistently, one inconsistently, and three fan fictions (those are also inconsistent, though).

I settled on Passing on Faith for the new title. Others seemed to like it, and I’m partial to its lovely multi-layered meaning to the story.

I thought for this week, I’d give you the bit that immediately follows last week’s snippet. I posted the beginning of this scene some time ago. In case you’ve forgotten, I’ll recap: Micah has gone to the lake house he inherited. His neighbor stopped by. Micah’s first impression was to be caught off-guard (Cat’s irritating, but he is adorable)—until he opened his mouth and Micah just wanted him to close it again.

Just for fun, my math is 9 (for the day) + 1 + 4 (for the year) = 14 sentences. Um…I could’ve just used the year, actually. But it’s more fun and convoluted this way. Which kind of describes Cat, so it fits.

Cat’s mouth twitched like he might smile; he didn’t, but his eyes twinkled. He turned around and retreated up the walkway. Micah was certain he saw Cat sway his hips flirtatiously just a little, but by the time he’d convinced himself, the moment was gone. Cat rounded the front hedges and disappeared from view.

Cute, a traitorous part of Micah’s brain supplied helpfully. He forced the rational portion of his mind to answer that thought with, No. He’s more like a damn chipmunk. Right…a sexy chipmunk. Wait. No. Not at all. That just sounds wrong. Plus, he’s too young, as well as nosy and annoying.

Micah let out a frustrated growl and unlocked the front door.

For a bit of clarification (before someone comments to that effect), when Micah says “too young,” he doesn’t mean Cat is a child or even barely legal. Micah’s a couple of years younger than I am, and Cat’s twenty-seven—about an eight- or nine-year difference. There’s nothing creepy going on, but there’s a reason Micah’s wary of the age gap that I’m not telling you yet.

WIPpet Wednesdays are hosted by K. L. Schwengel, so be sure to go see what she’s up to on her page. If you want to join us, post a bit of your current WIP, associate it somehow with the date, and add it here. Don’t forget to read the other entries and leave some love on the authors’ blogs. Happy writing!

WIPpet Wednesday: Nosy Neighbor

Happy Wednesday! Sorry I flaked out last week. I knew I didn’t have time to post or read the other entries, so I skipped it. Good thing I did—I ended up with all five of my beta-reading projects in my inbox at once! I also managed to get my second draft of my novel back to the publisher. Whew! Now that those things are done, I’m back to working on my new-ish story (the Puss in Boots one). Or, rather, I’m staring at the screen and wishing the words would magically appear.

I’m renaming this novel. The working title was A Worthy Inheritance, which is cheesy and doesn’t fit the tone of the story. But I had to name my file something. So now I’m deciding between Passing on Faith and A Passable Faith. The reason behind both is the double meaning, which is very important to the story. If you have a preference, let me know in the comments.

When we last left Micah, he had just met his neighbor—the mightily irritating Cat. We join them again, still on Micah’s front porch. My math is pathetic today: 7 + 2 + 2 (from 2014) = 11 short paragraphs.

Micah hesitated He scrubbed the side of his face, trying to think of an explanation; he felt tired and far older than his years. After a minute or two he said, “I inherited this house, and I haven’t been here in—” he calculated quickly in his head “—twenty-two years. I’m pretty sure no one else has been here in at least the last few.”

Cat nearly choked. “What? That’s crazy! Well, now that you’re here, I’ll show you around. You’ll like Debbie, she’s great. And Angie and Mark, in the house at the end of the lane, and—”

Micah cut him off. “I’m really only here to fix this house and sell it,” he said, trying to make it clear the conversation was over. “I don’t plan to live here.”

“Oh. Okay, then.” Cat almost sounded disappointed. “How long will you be staying?”

“Just for a couple months. I have a job to get back to.” Micah turned toward the door.

“Really? What kind of job?”

Micah ground his teeth together to keep from swearing at Cat. He lowered the hand holding his key and glanced over his shoulder. “I’m a teacher.”

“Ooh!” Cat’s face lit up. “Yeah? What do you teach?”

After taking a deep, calming breath, Micah replied, “Fifth grade. Look, I really don’t want to talk right now. I need to get inside and see what state the house is in.”

“Got it. Well, I’ll leave you to it, then. See you around?”

Micah shrugged, relieved to be nearly rid of Cat and his incessant questions. “Probably.” Under his breath, he muttered, “I’ll be here all damn summer long.”

Yeahhhhh. Is it wrong for me to be glad he’s not my neighbor?

All the thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. Link up with us here, and don’t forget to enjoy the other entries.

WIPpet Wednesday: Unnecessary Step

Why, hello there, Wednesday! You sure crept up on me.

Today, my son’s school is having a fundraising event for cancer. His jazz band is playing again, so a bit later I’m off to his school to hear them.

This week’s WIPpet is from a scene that gave me a lot of trouble. It felt dry, so one of my betas suggesting adding heat to the argument. I struggle to write good fictional fights—it’s why I write love stories and not action! My beta was right, though, so I added a lot more tension.

When I changed the scene, I realized that I had an angsty teenager on my hands who was likely to say some things for the purpose of being as hurtful as possible. I’ve been back and forth on this one, and I’ve changed it more than once. I sensed it would be true to his character to use a particularly awful homophobic slur. However, I felt that it would be inappropriate and offensive for me to actually write it, for a number of reasons. So I didn’t; I implied. Today’s bit is the rest of that argument.

The title of the post is what my kids say whenever someone has taken things too far. Simple math: today’s the 18th, so 1 + 8 = 9 dialog paragraphs.

The blood drained from Alex’s face; he put up a hand. “Don’t you dare ever call me that again.”

Michael made an irritated sound in his throat. “I’m done listening to anything you have to say.”

“Was there a time when you did?” Alex snapped. He wanted to take the words back the moment they left his mouth.

Michael’s expression darkened. “Screw you,” he spat.

“Your mom wouldn’t be too happy if she heard you say that to me.”

“You know what? I don’t care. I don’t need you to tell me what to do, and neither does Mom.” He pushed away from the wall and stepped close to Alex. “Don’t you get it? We don’t need you.”

Alex stared at him, his mouth open, trying to find words. “I—”

Michael huffed and rolled his eyes. “I’m going to wait outside.” He turned around and stalked off.

“You’re still wearing your tap shoes!” Alex called after him; Michael gave him the finger.

Be sure to go here and read the other entries. You can add your own if you like—just post a bit of your WIP, connect it to the date by whatever tangled means necessary, and enter the link in the collection. Thanks again to K. L. Schwengel for hosting!

WIPpet Wednesday: Just Doing My Job

I usually throw my post together Tuesday and schedule it for Wednesday morning, but I didn’t have time yesterday because my son had his last (*sniff*) concert of elementary school. Here’s a video of him performing a song he wrote himself, with a little help from his teacher tweaking it. (Apparently, they changed some of the ti’s to la’s to fit typical folk song melody patterns.)

It’s hard to hear, but this is the transcript of the talking at the beginning:

J: My great aunt and my uncle host a big party where a whole bunch of people get together. And every night there’s a giant bonfire, and the adults sing and hang out. The festival is called Swampstock, and um…

Teacher: Where’s it happen, J?

J: West Virginia.

Teacher: So, what’s the name of your piece?

J: The Treetops of West Virginia.

Teacher: For?

J: Swampstock.

Teacher: All right. I like to think of this as the next great American folk song.

To take my mind off how very sad I am (*sniff*) that my boy is “graduating” in two weeks, here is today’s WIP. This is another one of the added scenes from Alex’s POV. In this one, he and Phin are with Dani’s kids so she can go make things right with Vic. What starts off as a board game and goofing around ends with something different.

WIP math: 11 short paragraphs for the 11th.

Phin shifted and rolled onto his side, propping himself on one elbow. Alex shivered at the loss of contact and turned over to face him.

“You really do like them, don’t you?” he asked, tipping his chin toward Carlie and Jake.

Phin reached out for a moment, his hand hovering, and Alex thought he might touch him. He stiffened, but Phin merely placed his hand on the carpet between them. “I really do,” he replied.

Alex nodded. Very quietly, he said, “Why are you here?”

“Helping you out with the kids like I said I would.”

“But why? You have no obligation to fulfill.” Alex moved a little closer.

Phin drew his eyebrows together. “You promised to make me understand. I’m trying.” He leaned in as well.

Alex swallowed. His head felt thick and his pulse jumped. “I—” he started.

“It’s part of my job,” Phin interrupted.

Sighing, Alex shifted away slightly. His mind began to clear. “Your job. Right.” He ran a hand through his hair. “Like all your other jobs. Are you actually here to help us? Is that what you think this is?”

There was a long pause. Phin curled his fingers and dug them into the carpet. “I always believe it is,” he answered. Sadness flickered in his eyes, but the moment passed as quickly as it had come.

And there you have it. Thanks to Her Royal Awesomeness K. L. Schwengel for hosting us. Don’t forget to post your WIP, connected to the date, and link up here. Happy writing!