Summer Writers Club 2014
Summer Writers Club 2014 Excerpts
Summer Writers Club folks!
Post a short excerpt from your WIP here. Show off what you are working on this summer!
Book Country Community and Engagement Manager
This is for my historical romance, Reaching for the Moon. It's a new scene in the earlier half. The premise is that my heroine has decided to make her new husband fall in love with her--by using an out of date book of marital advice. The problem is that she's not in any way meek or unassuming, as the book instructs. So it's a challenge for her. Both she and the hero are very good card players. He's made a tidy sum of money gambling at his club, and she and her mother belong to a card club of their own.
This is rough. I've already caught some annoying repetition.
didn't realize you brought a cribbage board," he said.
looked to the corner of the bed. It was the board her mother had given her on
her sixteenth birthday. Made of mahogany, it featured a secret drawer in the
side to hold the pegs, and hand-painted London icons along the top.
walked over and picked it up. "Would you like to play?"
would be lovely," she said. "What shall the wager be?"
shifted. "I hadn't thought to play for any sum."
tongue. "My apologies. I am accustomed to playing for small amounts, but
that's fine. Have you a shilling?"
course." According to the Lady's Guide, she should not in any way show her
intelligence, especially in areas of logic or reason, lest the men of her
acquaintance feel inferior. She thought quickly. "Would you be amenable to
playing Piquet instead?" Both games were played with only two players, but
it would be more difficult to lose at Cribbage without appearing to lose. Thomas was too well-versed at cards and would
surely notice if she was losing on purpose.
the cards they would not use, then set the deck in front of Thomas. He cut the deck and
revealed a six. Her cut revealed a Jack, and Thomas took the deck and shuffled.
His hands worked the cards easily, with practiced movements and she watched his
fingers. Long and sure. Those same hands, those same fingers, had stroked her
hair, her skin, her most private regions, until her nerves danced. She shook
her head to clear the memories. Thoughts like that would interrupt her focus,
and while she had no intention of playing to win, she needed to pay attention
so she didn't slip into bad habits. She was naturally competitive. It was a
trait her parents had encouraged. "There's no point to playing if you
don't try," they used to say. As an adult, she realized they didn't mean
one must win all the time, but from childhood, that sentiment went together
with their saying.
finished dealing and Anne reached for her cards. He already held his and had
started sorting them, so she took a moment to look at him. Concentration
furrowed his brow, but otherwise, he was as handsome as always. Those intent
golden eyes on his cards, the slight twitch at the corner of his lips. If she
hadn't spent a majority of her time prior to The Incident staring at his mouth,
she would have missed his slight smirk. He must have a good hand.
you want to play, or do you want to get ravished?" he asked without
startled at being caught watching him without realizing it. "Play,"
she said, her voice wavering.
stop staring at me." He smiled as he finally met her gaze. She returned
the smile and then looked at her cards.
would have it, she was dealt several high cards. She allowed herself a moment
to think about how she would play the hand if she were in her drawing room at
her parents' estate. The lowest numbers discarded, the high cards in each suit
kept. She calculated the points she'd earn for her sequences and sets. Then she
stopped and sighed inwardly. She wasn't playing to win. She was playing to
lose, but without letting Thomas know. It would be a blow to his pride if he
noticed she wasn't truly trying.
quick calculation and she knew what to do. She discarded all but her hearts,
and chuckled to herself at the irony. To win a man's love, she was going to
lose with a handful of hearts.
Thomas discarded and drew his replacement cards, she announced the points in her
largest ruff. Thanks to the way she planned to lose the game, the next two
rounds were going to give her an advantage. She just hoped it wouldn't be too
much of an advantage. Suddenly, this game didn't seem like such a good idea.
sequence round gave her even more points than the ruff round, and she pegged
her score on the cribbage board. Three points away from a repique. If he didn't
score in the next round, the game would be over, and her plan would backfire.
Luckily, she didn't have any sets with which to earn points.
didn't seem to mind, however. He still focused on his cards, but she knew he
was aware of everything she did. Every movement, every facial expression. And
her one problem with playing cards had always been her facial expressions. Her
father teased her about it every time they played whist with her mother and
trick hand gave Thomas nearly as many points as she'd earned in the last two
rounds, and she exhaled her relief steadily to appear normal. The tricks should
be easy to run. She had all but three of the hearts, and she had to lead.
Hopefully, Thomas had the Ace of hearts, and she led with her King as bait.
on her side, and he took the trick. Now, all she had to do was keep from
getting the lead again.
strategy worked so well in the first hand, she repeated it in the second. If
they scored similarly, the game would be over after this hand, with Thomas
winning by more than thirty points. She'd made a strong enough showing to
appear to want to win, but without actually winning.
appears rumors of my skill were greatly exaggerated," she said, forcing
her smile downward, and fishing a coin out of her pocket. "Your shilling,
stared at her hand as though she held an asp. His eyes widened, then he blinked
and shook his head.
it," he said.
the wager was—"
don't want your money."
cringed, recalling her accusation a few nights before, and shoved the coin back
into her pocket. "Thomas, I never—"
sighed and raised his hands to ward off her explanation. "Forgive me,
Anne. I just meant that it was a friendly game, and no wager needed to be
nod, she fell silent, but his reaction to taking her coin caused her some
concern. Men were prideful creatures, after all. Certainly there were fortune
hunters, but Thomas did not seem the sort. As her husband, he was owed the
money, though he didn't marry her for that reason. He didn't compromise her—if
anything, she compromised him.
met in the library during a house party, to discuss new ideas to force her
cousin Selina into the proverbial arms of Thomas' best friend. She tripped over
her own feet, fell atop Thomas, and had the unfortunate luck of being caught in
that position by a notorious gossip. One who already disliked Anne. None of it
was Thomas' fault, so it was unfair for her to even consider the notion that he
married her for her dowry. He was a good man.
looked up to see he'd cleared the table while she'd been lost in thought. As he
reached for some of her belongings to replace them in her valise, she realized
he was about to find her books—both of them. She jumped up to circumvent him.
can tidy up. Why don't you sit and rest?"
sat long enough today in the carriage." He paused to look at her.
"Would you like a bath ordered?"
blinked, the question surprising her. Why would he suggest a bath, unless…
wrinkle his nose when he looked at her? She hadn't been paying close attention,
so perhaps she missed his tell. Heat flooded her face and she avoided his gaze.
They'd been traveling all day and she likely smelled like a…like…one of
Selina's horses. She refused to consider anything worse than Eau de Equine.
would be lovely," she choked out.
the bath arrived, she scrubbed herself until her skin was pink and raw, and
dressed in her night rail to wait.
the second time in three days of marriage, her husband did not return to her
--edited by NoellePierce on 6/4/2014, 9:36 PM--
Time then acted as it always does; it begins to accelerate and somehow, the pedal becomes lodged into a position in which it is only ever hastening, ever quicker. The long days of childhood, filled with new wonders experienced with an optimistic, curious approach at every turn, become the mid-length days of adolescence, filled with a new experience approached with the cynicism of one who knows all, and in turn, we arrive at the point which all of us inevitably arrive-the locus of existence where the days have become too scanty to approach any new experience with anything short of disdain and one comes to only hope to accomplish all that is necessary in the span of day, a once protracted period that has somehow been reduced to a compressed cacophony of moments.
just my favorite sentence from the last few days of writing....
There's a bit longer except posted for review here, which I would love to get feedback on, but here's the current first chapter...
Wishes and Things Long Past
On the very evening of attaining her sixteenth year Moira Kincaide dutifully climbed to the top of Wisher’s Hill, just like every other girl her age had been doing since time immemorial. She was quite positive though, that if it had been up to her, she could have come up with a much better name for it - something exotic and more impressive sounding. Of course it hadn’t been left up to her, so Wisher’s Hill it was. Ironically, named for the Mister Thaddeus Wisher who had previously owned it, and the surrounding town of Wisher’s Grove, at some point in time several hundred years before, rather than the legend inspiring activity that took young women up its gentle slopes as they turned the corner from childhood towards the slow blossom of womanhood.
It was an old wive’s tale to be sure, but what girl can resist the possibility of attaining her heart’s truest desire?
o’ the eve of your turning
as day kisses night
speak your true heart-felt yearning
on the first star in sight
Not much of a rhyme, as those things typically go, but there you have it. More than enough to fuel a fanciful rite of passage on an already special day, and if nothing else the view from the top of Wisher’s Hill was pretty spectacular.
No one kept any official records of course, but it was said that the wishes made, more often than not, came true. Why just last year, Miss Fenella Smythe made her trek up the Hill, and everyone knows it was granted within the year. Hers wasn’t the only story that kept the legend alive, though how long it took for each to achieve their desires varied exponentially, but even so, the long history of Wisher’s Grove was full of them. Enough anyways that it seemed sheer folly not to go and at least try, especially for a girl like Moira who had always dreamed of doing great and impossible things.
So there she was, gazing up at the slowly darkening evening sky - the blazing orange and pink tones shifting into the deep blue and purple hues of twilight, her back pressed against the grassy hillside, waiting patiently for the first star to appear. The prickly blades, still warm from the heat of the fading sunlight, poked at her bare arms and legs, but she did not mind. Not on this day.