Tag Archives: W.I.P.

Works in Progress Blog Hop: and a Look Inside

I’ve been nominated by two very lovely bloggers, Marie Bailey and Barb Taub, to participate in this W.I.P. blog hop and have been so busy with my local writers’ group and spring break and my grandchildren (as anyone who follows me on Facebook knows) that I have not given much time to blogging for two weeks.

So, just what have I been up to?

I completed a crime novel. It’s been beta read, edited and proofed and is waiting on me to complete two more novels in the same genre. I have other works in progress and one of these is a sort of sequel to Red Clay and Roses. Also set in Georgia, it is in the same time period, 1950s-60s, and involves two sisters, one of which is the mother of Hannah, the nurse/narrator from Red Clay and Roses.

In Part Two of Red Clay and Roses, there is a relationship involving my cousin, Sybil, (the only real name in the book—she’s an eighty-three year old woman now in real life) she was a high-spirited, fiercely independent, white woman and an entrepreneur in those times.

She became infatuated with Nathan, a black man, and Nathan was enamored with her. Nathan was a medical student and active in the Civil Rights Movement.

When I finished the book, I sent it off for editorial reviews. Kirkus and Reader’s Favorite were very kind to me. Another set of professional editors weren’t. Their primary complaint was that Nathan and Sybil got only a chapter or two of getting to know each other before they were throwing down for fast sex in the middle of a pine forest.

Now, I was telling the story as Sybil had told it to me.

And quite frankly, though a jolly old married woman now, in my single years I was a bit of a slut. So I had no problems with Sybil’s story. But these editors were critical and felt I should have built up to Nathan and Sybil’s interlude with more romance.

Romance has just never been my thing. Some people love it. But I’m out of my comfort zone.

In my sequel, my work in progress, one of the sisters gets deeply involved with a man. A romance develops. And I have to write it. To hone my craft and develop my skills, I’ve been practicing by writing little romantic short stories. I had opportunity to read one of these to an audience of about 60 people last week. What fun!!!

Sebastian's birthday and reading at Stardust 004

They laughed at the funny parts, wept at the emotionally moving parts and came up to me afterwards with wonderful compliments and expressions of appreciation, so I must have done something right.

This spurred me to get back to my W.I.P. The TENTATIVE Title is “Surviving Sister” and I must tell you that every word you read here is subject to change at this point. The two sisters personalities are night and day, but they share a mental illness that manifests itself differently, and each has their own way of coping.

Here’s what I have:

Chapter One:

Time had a way of taking a perfectly good moment and turning it into something terrible. Not that all moments in time were bad ones. Many were wonderful. But in an instant, all that seemed beautiful could change. It happened so quickly, like lightning hitting a tree, splitting its trunk and splaying its branches. Sometimes it was insidious, the unpleasantness creeping up and then, unexpectedly, there was a pinnacle moment of certainty that life was never going to be the same. It happened all too often for Barber sisters, Claudette and Carol.

Chapter Two:

No police arrived on the scene. No neighbors came calling. Mama woke up lying in the floor with her head propped on several pillows, disoriented and confused, an hour after the incident. Claudette and Carol had already changed her clothes as she had soiled herself. This was not the first time Claudette had seen her mother in this condition, but it had been a very long time. Mama had not had such a fit since she was married to her last husband. The medicines had been effective, up until now. It did not take Laura Belle long to get up, reorient herself, and recall what had occurred. The first thing she asked, “Did anyone get hurt?”

Chapter Three:

It was early yet and moonlight glistened across the damp lawn. The shadow of the great Victorian house loomed over the driveway in front of the carriage house that had been converted into a garage. Uncle Durham parked the car. Laura Belle and Claudette had drifted off to sleep and did not immediately stir. Carol leapt from the car the second it stopped, spying Miss Josephine sweeping the back porch steps.

“Lawdy chil’, how you have grown,” Miss Josephine said, halting her chore and holding still the broom. “You’re taller now than your mama!”

“Five foot two, but I’ll never be as tall as Claudette.” Carol shrugged, ran to the porch and gave Miss Josephine a warm hug.

“I know’d y’all was a comin’ today, but I had no idea y’all would be here afore the rooster crowed. I best put on another pan of biscuits!”

The next part of this blog hop is to nominate three more people to tell about their works in progress. A few lines about the first few chapters.

I’m looking at Craig Boyack at Entertaining Stories, who always has something interesting going on.

K. Leigh Michaels, a Y.A. writer with a house full of inspiration.

and Tim Baker, of Blindoggbooks, who has a set of awesome crime novels with iconic character, Ike, and is currently working on something he describes as quite different concerning Karma.

Rules are simple:

  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Write a little about and give the first few lines of your first three chapters from your WIP.
  • Nominate some other writers to do the same.

I’ve done my part, won’t you join me and let us into your storytelling process?

Need for Objective Eyes: Prologue: Crime Novel


Independence day, 2005

Maria touched the diamond pendant on her chest, adjusted the rear view mirror, and drove to the nearest 7-11. Not wanting to wake the children, she pulled the car far around to the left side of the store in the last parking space next to the dumpster. She would only be a few minutes, they would be fine. She rolled down the windows a crack and locked the doors. The store was having a slow night for a holiday, and there was no one at the gas pumps. When she rounded the corner, the clerk was standing at the front door smoking a cigarette. He opened the door for her, tossed his cigarette away, and came inside.

Maria quickly grabbed the items she needed and made her way to the counter. The clerk rang up her purchase and she left the store holding a big bag full of groceries, a gallon of milk, her purse on her shoulder, and her keys in her hand.

A car had pulled up alongside of the BMW. She made her way not noticing if the car was occupied or not. She stepped between the dumpster and the BMW, and began fumbling to get her key in the door. It was an old Beamer without remote access. She managed to get the door open. Then she heard a kind voice, “Here, let me help you with that.”

“Sure,” she said, half muttering some sort of expression of appreciation as she handed over the carton of milk and the bag. She didn’t notice the gloved hands or think of them as odd in Florida in July. She turned to her car, leaned in, and flung her purse onto the car seat. She started to turn back to retrieve the items from the kind stranger.

She heard the bag tear, the crash of the plastic container, and felt the cold milk hit her bare legs. Startled, she looked around to see the silver blade glinting in the dark of the night as it came up to her chest. Shadowed by the figure, she saw no face. First the pressure, then the sharp pain, someone had her by the right shoulder; the pressure again and again. Oh, the pain! She pushed away against the door; was trapped, and too weak to fight. She wanted to scream, but found herself voiceless. There was no time to think. It happened in a flash. There were too many shadows swirling in her mind. Wanting to fight, she felt her grip tighten on her keys, her nails digging into her flesh, but the pain in her chest was sudden, intense, like a fiery hot coal exploding in her heart. It was blinding, this pain. Crippled by it, her hands relaxed. She dropped the keys. The perpetrator held to her. The scent of sensuous cologne and her own blood filled her nostrils; hard and heavy breathing in her ear. There was heat from the breath on her face, warmth, wet and trickling, now gushing down her abdomen, onto her thighs, and then nothing.



“It’s been pure hell. We’ve been the prime suspects for three years. It was a vulgar crime. The children lay sleeping in the back seat while the criminals abducted, murdered, then urinated on their prey, leaving her dead body on the front seat of the BMW in a pool of blood. Torn grocery bag, busted gallon of milk, loaf of bread, donuts, cereal boxes scattered between the dumpster and the car. It appeared that she had fought them off furiously. Upon the supposed safety of her vehicle, she had attempted to find refuge there in escape. The perpetrators of this crime were brutal, far more hostile in their display of enmity than I could have been. Though, there were tormenting times when I thought myself to have conjured them, to have called them up from deep sub consciousness. Eerie, it was, to see the photos of her sprawled there on the car seat looking so helplessly frail. She was stabbed seven times in the chest. Dreadlocks lay loosely in a right hand that was once so tightly clinched in fight that her own nails marked her palm. Her wedding ring was missing from the left hand. Her purse and cell phone were gone. The diamond pendant she wore around her neck had been taken. There was some talk among authorities that she had been sexually assaulted, as well, but it was such a difficult scene to imagine in the side parking lot of a 7-11 at near midnight. DNA from hair and urine samples taken at the scene matched, but did not match the semen sample, giving rise to the notion of at least two, or more, abductors. None of them were either one of us.”


  1. Does it make you want to read more?
  2. Is it cohesive enough between the actual murder and the suspect’s recollection of the police report information.
  3. Did it leave you with questions?
  4. What do you feel you need to know now?
  5. It is 800 words.  Too long or too short?