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Post some dialogue from your work-in-progress!
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012 3:32 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 353

Hi gang!

I'd love to see all of you post a few lines of dialogue from your work-in-progress. It can be any dialogue: the bit you're most proud of, the bit that's giving you the most difficulty. But please do share with us!



Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012 3:35 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 427

Bumping this up!
GD Deckard
Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 9:33 PM

OK, here's some from The Phoenix Diary to start:

  Back out in the bell tower, he studied the drawing and remembered where he had seen it before: in an old magazine in his father's library.

  The girl studied his face. "You've seen that?"

  "Yeah. But what is it?"

  "A map. We have to go there."

  He opened his mouth to refuse, but her determined expression set in feminine features said his life had just changed. "A map of what?" he grinned, "And who are you, anyway?"

  "Who am I," she thought. She expected the boy to ask her name. She had not expected it to sound so personal. It made her feel a little more in control and a little better about their chances. "Rhia. Rhiannon Dell. My family owns the Vona Tack & Feed store. I found that computer in the basement. Our house is an old one from the Modern Times and Grandpa left so much stuff that Dad is selling some of it off in a bargain bin. But before he brought the computer here to the school to examine it, I found something on it. Something important."

  "This?" He asked pointedly. He turned the slip of paper in his hand. "It's not much of a map. You can't tell a location from this. What's this supposed to be a map of, anyway?"

  She leaned closer and tapped the paper. Her breath felt warm on his face. "No, not that. I traced that from the computer picture. The map shows where the diary is. It’s the diary that’s important. It is a very old diary started before the Modern Times. A very long time before! It tells of things better than the things they had in the Modern Times."

  Otero had been enjoying the company of a pretty girl but now he was more interested in her story. "What diary?"

Nicki Hill
Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 8:04 AM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175

From Strains:   

    “Noah?” a female voice called, footsteps coming down the hall.
    “In here, Chels,” Noah called back, swiveling his chair to face Trev sitting straight-backed on the edge of the bed, as though they’d just been a couple of guys having a conversation this whole time.
    “Hey.”  A woman with shoulder-length hair the same light golden sand color as Noah’s poked her head around the door frame.  “Just making sure - oh, hi!”  She smiled as she caught sight of Trev, hazel eyes crinkling warmly.  He lifted a hand in a nervous wave, not sure what Noah might or might not have said about him.
    “Chelsea, this is Trev; Trev, my sister, Chelsea.”  Noah waved a hand between them.
    “Hey,” Trev said, flashing a small smile.
    “Trev, so nice to meet you.  Noah’s told me so much about you.”
    Trev glanced at Noah, whose cheeks were flushing an incriminating rose.  Oh, just great.  And what, exactly, have you told her?
    But Chelsea didn’t seem inclined to push it, focusing her attention back on Noah instead.  “So, what’s for dinner, baby brother?”
    “Um, I was gonna make spaghetti, but you’re home earlier than I thought, so I haven’t actually started anything yet.”
    “Uh-huh.”  Chelsea flashed him a knowing, mischievous smile, and now Trev was the one feeling himself going crimson.
    “Jesus, Chelsea, just stop, okay?”  But Noah seemed more mortified than angry, glancing at Trev with wide eyes.  
    To his own surprise, Trev returned the look with a helpless snort of laughter.  He felt Chelsea’s eyes on him and glanced at her to see her looking at him approvingly.
    “I like this guy,” she said to Noah.  “He can stay.”

Annah Johnson
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 3:00 PM
Joined: 6/29/2012
Posts: 9

From Slayer:

“It’s okay,” she said and turned toward the door.

 “Catalina, wait,” he called.

 She stopped. “How do you know my name?”

 “I know a lot about you,” he said.

Alarm bells went off in her head. Suddenly Mr. Dreamy became Mr. Creepy. “I don’t know you. I mean, thanks for helping me and everything, but I can find my own way home.”

“Name’s Eric. Now you know me.”

“That’s not what I meant.” She started back toward the bar. “I’ll go call a cab.”

Eric rushed in front of her and blocked her way. “Stop being stubborn. I promised your dad that I would bring you home.”

She looked at him in disbelief. “Do you get a lot of victims with that line?”

“Victims?” Confusion filled his eyes.

“Yeah, you know victims. As in, you lure unsuspecting females with your good looks and charms to your lair and do unspeakable things to them.”

He laughed. “I’m the least of your problems.”

Timothy Maguire
Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 3:58 PM
Joined: 8/13/2011
Posts: 272

Here's something From Scales, one of the many odd moments that pepper it:

life is really interesting, isn't it? I can't imagine what it's

as much as you'd think.” Molly looked down at her drink and voice
lost that playful tone it always had. “I still have the same
objectives as everyone else: live a good life, take pride in my work
and hopefully fall in love. Same as everyone else.”

you punch things for a living.” I didn't like her without that
humorous tone. It just wasn't her.

Nicki Hill
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2012 1:26 AM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175

From the reworked chapter 4 of the Work-Formerly-Known-As-Strains-And-Now-Retitled-Key Change:
  @page { margin: 0.79in }
P { margin-bottom: 0.08in }

    Mr. Tremaine moved away to start class, but Noah still felt somebody boring twin holes into the side of his skull. He looked over to see Livvy staring daggers at him. Her eyes popped wide, accompanied by an impatient little shake of her head. What the hell is going on?
    He shook his head and looked away. A second later, a folded piece of scrap paper landed on his desk next to his elbow. Keeping his eyes on the teacher, Noah carefully palmed it and brought it under his desk to read.
    I knew he was going to hurt you. What did he do?
    He flattened the paper against his leg and scribbled a reply. Yeah, you were so right. He punched me in the mouth. With his lips. He folded it back up and tossed it over.
    Livvy's foot connected hard with his shin, and he winced and pulled his legs out of range, taking the opportunity to flash his own what-the-hell face at her.
    “Oh my God,” she mouthed, waving the paper above her lap. “Are you kidding me?”
    “Miss Stewart, Mr. Thomas, is there a question over there?”
    Noah looked up. “Nope, we're good.”  Next to him, Livvy huffed a breath, and his jilted and persecuted heart swelled a little with perverse delight at the knowledge that, at least for the next fifty minutes, somebody else would be feeling almost as miserable and frustrated as he was.

Elizabeth Moon
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2012 12:12 PM
Joined: 6/14/2012
Posts: 194

As this WIP is on contract, I've redacted some names--thougn it's only first draft and could disappear later anyway.  A- (woman, POV) has been hurt and B- (man) suspects injuries are worse than A- thinks.  They were initially antagonists, but now are on the same side.  Character identity & POV was established several paragraphs ago, along with time, place, situation and POV's internal thoughts/feelings.  B- has just arrived, reacted to A-'s appearance, and offered help.
"If it is poison, I may recognize it--my lamentable past, you know," B- said.

"I suppose.  Go on, then."

"I'll call one of the women."

"No need."  A- grinned at him.  "After all these years, no one is going to think we're lovers."

"Ah, but to protect my reputation...shall I be known as a man reft of his skills?"  He struck a pose.

"Have you been singing to serving girls again?"

"Not since I found my son," he said, this time seriously.
As first draft, this conversation might disappear (the rest of the scene certainly won't--its right square in plot), might be "enriched" with more plot-hooks or other useful stuff.  Right now, I think the lead-in to the conversation will compress, and the conversation stay, but that's preliminary.   Whether, and how, the conversation stays will depend on the balance of the chapter as it goes through the next drafts.  A- and B-'s working relationship is crucial to the resolution of this sub-arc; this conversation may be the best place to show how much their relationship has changed since the last book.  Time will tell.  

All I really needed here were a) the fact that A- has been poisoned (confirmed later in scene), b) B- to be the one who first suspects poison,  c) the change in their relationship from previous book shown, d) change in B- shown/confirmed  by his shift from banter to seriousness in answering A-'s question about serving girls, e) the hint from A-'s question that B- is still not fully accepted. A- will risk herself, but not innocents (which also bears on the characterization of  A-.)  So characterization of both A- and B- is enhanced, and both character arcs and a major sub-plot advanced.

Jay Greenstein
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2012 6:04 PM

This is an accidental hook, one I’d not planned. Samantha is mildly interested in Rob. Now, Rob’s uncle, a storekeeper, has just told her of Rob’s marriage and unhappy divorce. She’s learned that Rob has a six-year-old daughter, Jodie, and here, Sam learns something that partly explains why Rob finds her attractive.
- - - - - - - - -
“Well.” Samantha mentally shook herself and brought her basket to the counter to have her order totaled. “That was quite a story. Thank you.”

The old man hesitated, with his hand on the carton of milk. “He’s a good man, Miss Hanover. A real good man. You could do a lot worse.”

“I know. Thank you again, but I don’t think I’m in the market for a man, good or the other kind.”

“Uh-huh.” He began adding up her order, then stopped, to say, “You look like her, you know.”

“His wife?”

“No, Jodie. You ought to stop out there and meet her. She’s quite a little girl.”

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 9:21 PM
Joined: 7/25/2012
Posts: 25

What the hey?

This snippet takes place between fungaloid thieves called 'sneaks' in a mushroom city. They change colors like cuttlefish and eat rotten food. I use short flashbacks like this sometimes to reinforce the character's motivation, not only for the reader but for him too.

          The breeze shifted carrying with it the scent of fishy cheese. Neeku flared the nostrils of his busted-up nose and inhaled deep. Memories. He could still see Kaliya and himself, age fifteen, sneaking among the empty crates behind the same jug-ju stall. Next to goyans, jug-ju was his favorite – putrefied fish. Kaliya had never cared for it much, and often it served as a point of contention between them. He could still see her rolling her red eyes.

          “Jug-ju,” he had said, grinning.

          “All you do is eat,” she had whispered, face shaded like his to match the crate’s old planks.



          “But I’m hungry.”



          “Damn it, no.”

          “But I love jug-ju. Jug-ju and goyans. Imagine having to choose between them. Not easy. I think I’d have to go with goyans. Unless I could eat both at the same time, mushed up all together. That would be good. How about you?”

          “Neeku, we robbed that woman twice today already.”

          “But… that’s what we do. We rob people.”




          “Just a quick snack.”


          “Look, if you want goyans instead, we’ll have to sneak all the way up to Meylacap,” he whispered, “and that wouldn’t make a quick snack at all, now would it?”

          “I don’t want anything to eat right now.”


          “Neeku, we rob this woman ev-ery sin-gle day.”

          “No we don’t.”

          “Yes, we do.”


          “She’ll catch on. She’ll set us up.”

          “She sets herself up.”


          “She cures the best jug-ju in all Velsara. Small wonder she gets robbed. She deserves it. Probably expects it. Anyway, she sells so much of the stuff, she won’t care if a few bits go missing. I doubt she even keeps track. I’ve never seen her take inventory. Have you?”

          “You don’t listen.”




          “I’m warning you.”


          In the present, he again rubbed his shoulder, right where Kaliya had punched him.

          “One day they’ll catch you,” she hissed with a cautionary finger in his face, “and I’ll tell you how, stealing food. That’s how. Stealing food.”

          Stealing food. Of all the things she could have been doing when she got caught, it had to be that. She knew he loved goyans even more than jug-ju. It must have seemed like the perfect birthday gift.  

          Not now. He shook his head. No time for this. It’s self-pity, and it’ll get you killed. Anyway, sneaks had no use for tears.

Robert C Roman
Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 6:38 PM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 376

Dialogue between one of my protagonists (Micah) and a local dealer in secrets and favors (Sam). It takes place in Sam's club. Micah has a migraine.


 "Ah, well. I hope you have time to stay for dinner, at least?"

 It wasn't a question, nor a suggestion. When Sammy asked, you did, or his supply of favors dried up. Micah nodded his acquiescence, then took a drink of water to hide a particularly bad spike of pain. He didn't hide it well enough.

 "Is something wrong, Micah? I can't have one of my oldest and dearest friends suffering. Can I get you an aspirin?"

 "Thanks for the offer, but it's nothing. Just... work."

 Sammy grimaced, "I'm glad I've never indulged, then. I'd been told some addictions have bad side effects. I've never had any from any of my vices, but I guess I'm just lucky that way."

 A waiter arrived with a tray bearing a selection of appetizers from Sammy's kitchen. Both men remained silent until the waiter left them alone with the food.

 "I recommend the bruschetta. The tomatoes are fresh from local a farm in New Jersey. The bread is baked daily at Amoroso's, and the chef is using an old family recipe."

 Micah lifted the recommended bruschetta to his nose, inhaling the smell of herbs, the crisp notes of fresh bread lightly toasted, the tang of garlic, and the faintly acrid scent of tomatoes and vinegar. Before he took a bite, he looked at Sammy out of the corner of one eye.

 "The cook's family or yours?"

 Sammy's laugh was a strange thing; half honest mirth, half hints of secret sources of amusement. He waved a hand, indicating his guest should take a bite. When Micah did, his eyes slipped closed in pure gustatory bliss. For a moment, he was unaware of headaches, mortality, or the perils of his wife's unrestrained magic. The only thing that existed was a perfect bruschetta, identical to the ones he'd first had in Italy three centuries before.

 When, two brief bites later, the appetizer was gone, Micah opened his eyes and smiled at his host.

 "Thank you, Sam. That was incredible. Is there anything else you recommend?"

 Sam replied with a Gallic shrug. "Nothing particular. The calamari is acceptable. The small pastries are popular, but I suspect that is more due to the high fat content than any real quality. The pickled vegetables are quite refreshing, if you like that kind of thing."

 "I wish I had time to try all of them, but..."

 "But you do not. Always with the rushing around, Micah. When are you going to retire? Or even take a vacation? For that matter, how long has it been since you took a break longer than a few hours?"

 "I don't know, Sam. It's... It's been a while. Right now, though, this isn't about work. It's about... I need to get in touch with Phil's mother."

Nicki Hill
Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 7:17 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175

Ugh...I want bruschetta now.

Robert C Roman
Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 7:54 PM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 376

Shall I take that as a compliment?

Nicki Hill
Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 7:59 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175

Absolutely, sir. 

Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012 4:40 AM
Joined: 8/2/2012
Posts: 4

Banter between one of my younger MC's and an ageing wagon driver.

“You fell asleep at the reins the other day,” Damian said, coming round the side of the wagon.

“Wasn’t sleeping.” Ciaran smiled beneath his silvered beard.

“Your eyes were closed.”

“Got arthritis in my eyelids.”

“You were snoring.”

“Arthritis in my throat.”

“Never heard of that."

“You ain’t old enough.”

“Sounds like you’ve got arthritis in your head.”

“Never heard of that.”

“You’re not young enough.”

Posted: Saturday, August 4, 2012 4:47 PM
This is from "Destiny's Story" (working title)

On the way to Baxter after, we did the customary Huddle House drive-by, which was overflowing to the rafters with people. Janell made a face and said, "I don't know how people can stand being crammed assholes to elbows like that."

Toby gunned the car over the railroad tracks. "Decision time!" he said. "The loop or the mountain?"

Janell and I gave conflicting responses. So we tried again, reversing our answers. We fell over laughing. Well, as far as we could fall over in the seatbelt.

"So are we going to the school to make out or what?"

"Toby!" I cried. Since I was closest, I smacked him on the arm.

Janell made a big show of adjusting the heat vent on our side of the car. "Don't, Destiny. You know how he gets."

She was right, of course. Calling Toby out when he gets like this only eggs him on. "I shouldn't have smacked you," I said.

"He was just trying to shock you."

I plugged my ears with my fingers so I couldn't hear her lapse into her 'poor little virgin Destiny' rap. As if that would work. I could hear it anyway. Trying not to giggle, I said, my fingers still in my ears, "You know better."

Toby bent over the steering wheel laughing and slapping one of his knees.

"Toby just wants to see us make out." Janell reached across me to turn up the volume on the stereo. "And that's never going to happen."

The car swerved a bit while Toby repositioned himself in the driver's seat. "Hey now."

"You wish, Tiddlywink."

By this time, we were almost in Rosspoint.

"I thought we were doing the loop."

I said, "I thought we were going home."

"Yeah, we can't let Destiny be late," Toby teased. "She'll turn into a pumpkin."

I smacked his arm again.

"Destiny," Janell said. "What have we said about turning Toby on?"

I looked at the ceiling. "He's hard to turn back off."

"Speaking of turning off," Toby said. He jerked the car left onto Highway 421 then left again onto Highway 413. The latter runs on the other side of the Poor Fork and is what some people call 'the old Cumberland road' -- and yes, if you know the song, there is a church on it, several of them in fact. The road is a crumbly, narrow, twisty thing, like so many others in this county, that comes back around to the old county pike in Baxter. "Well, we're at Dairy Queen. Anybody want anything?" Typical teenaged boy. Total bottomless pit.

{{edited because the formatting came out all wonky}}

Posted: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 2:14 PM
* DEMEmrys
I'm lol'ing. Your snippet is wonderful. "..arthritis in my eyelids," indeed!

Olga Godim
Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012 4:08 PM
Joined: 8/15/2012
Posts: 2

This is from my new story. One of the characters, Ayden, is in trouble and he comes to his friend, a young witch Darya, for help.
“What happened?” Darya asked softly and beckoned him in.
He stepped over the threshold and glanced around like a cornered animal, searching for predators, someone who would bite him in half. “She is dead,” he whispered.
“Who is dead?” Darya shut the door.
“Mrs. Krakowsky. Darya, they’ll send me to jail. I won’t survive there.”
“You killed her?” Her throat turned dry.
“No! No, no. I didn’t even see her… her corpse, until I…”
“You went there.” It wasn’t a question. “Idiot. I told you not to. I knew it was a bad idea.”
“Yeah.” He hung his head and wouldn’t look at her.
“Tell me everything while I get dressed.” Darya pattered back into her bedroom but left the door opened. Ayden didn’t follow. She could hear him from the other room, although his story hiccupped periodically, and his tenor was stricken with fear.
“I went there. I tried the door, just in case, and it wasn’t locked.”
“Strange,” Darya commented. “Should’ve been your first clue.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t think. I thought I got lucky. The fool that I’m, I entered and went straight to the back. I didn’t turn on the light in the front room. It was lit by a lamp outside, so I could see my way. Anyway, the front room is for customers; my designs wouldn’t be there.”
“And?” she prompted, when he stopped talking. She could only hear his rugged breathing as she rummaged in her wardrobe for a pair of black jeans and a black hoodie.
“I found the designs and the pattern templates still in their packing box. I had to move quite a few boxes around to get to that box. It was at the bottom of a stack. They haven’t unpacked yet.” He swore and inhaled twice, noisily, before he continued. “I took the box to the front room but I didn’t see where I was going, with the big box in my hands. I bumped into a chair behind the counter, turn to go around the counter, and…”
“And stumbled on her… body. I dropped the box and ran. Gosh, what do I do now?”

Nicki Hill
Posted: Friday, August 17, 2012 11:35 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175

I've jumped onto a third project...the current two need some breathing room and a back-burner-brain approach right now.  I just started committing these characters to paper today (though the plot has been swirling around in the ether for maybe a couple of months now), and I am so excited with how perfectly they play off of each other.  This excerpt takes place right after Ezra and Drew have enjoyed a fantastic sack session:

    “Remember the first time we did that?”
    “God.  I don't think you're ever going to let me forget,” Drew groaned against the back of my neck, dropping his forehead against my shoulder.
    “I'm just thinking it's hella good we were in my room and not yours.”  I was eying the easy four-foot drop over the edge of Drew's standard twin XL bed frame, flipped upside-down for more under-bed storage.
    “Well, we didn't exactly do it in your bed, either,” he pointed out.
     “Yeah, well, the futon was there.  Easier than trying to squeeze into a loft.  Where else in here would we have done it?”  I scootched around until I was facing him.  “Over your desk?”
    He cocked an eyebrow.  “There's a thought...”
     I laughed.  “Yeah, now.  Not for my first time.”  My fingers brushed his cheek.  “Not when you're such a gentleman.”
     “You could not have thought that back then.”  He grimaced before catching my hand and kissing my fingertips.  “You know you were – are – a first for me.  I was used to being with other...jocks, I guess.”
     “I know you were trying very hard not to scare me away.  And it helped that, while you were the one who dropped me headfirst off the futon, you were also the one who took me to the ER.  I was a little worried when we first met that you would be one of those dudes who would try to cover up for an underage friend with alcohol poisoning by ignoring it, but you busted that stereotype.”
     “And your head.”  Drew touched his fingers to the back of my scalp as though the long-healed wound might have split open again simply under the power of suggestion.  “Are you sure you didn't just stay with me because the head damage made you too stupid to stay away?”

Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2012 8:35 PM
Joined: 8/3/2012
Posts: 8

The shorter, detective rolled the stool away a few inches. “Look at me Steve. Try this on. Phones don’t kill people. People kill people. Right? Do you believe that?

Steve wanted to agree, he wanted to nod and smile like any sane man would, knowing that what he said was true, but he couldn’t. “Detective…. please, just hear me out okay.” No one intervened. He continued.“You can ask my boss at work, he can verify the things I’m saying about the phone. A few weeks ago we were all sitting…”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake! Can you believe this? Can you?” It wasn’t meant for anyone but the Hawaiian sighed loudly and shook his head. 

Philip Tucker
Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012 3:11 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 77

From Shortfall, which is about hominid slavery in the future.  It takes place at New Berkeley, the only one of the New Worlds to have emancipated its slaves.  Ramjet Howler is a macaque, and the houseboy of the protagonist, Django Boldt.   Silica Yardboy is a runaway slave from Earth, and she is in the house, but Ramjet Howler doesn't know her name...

The pounding on the door was meant to intimidate. Ramjet Howler was glad he'd locked the house, because this was no time for intruders.  He stood up on a stool to peek through the hole in the door and saw what he expected to see.  An orangutan was outside, three times his own mass, with another behind for backup.  Howler opened the door, stepped out, and locked up again behind him.  The sun was setting, and flat reddish light lit the ancient redwoods.  The tang standing on the steps was nursing his forefist.  "Vigilant Constable Mutterbord," said Ramjet Howler, "did you hurt yourself?  You should put ice on that."

"Listen Howler, we've got questions for you," said Karl Mutterbord.  He threw a chronically baffled look at his partner, Vigilant Constable Kurt Quant, who declined to catch it.  "Where's your master?"

"If you mean Master Boldt, well he's not my master, is he, no matter if I say master to him.  Why not?  He says mister to me."  Howler's eyebrows went up and down.  "What's master and mister matter, Mutterbord?"

"It's not a batter of bist - of bast -" Mutterbord sputtered.  "That has nothing to do with it!  Where is he?"

"Do I look like an organoid to you, Mutterbord?  Do you think I can see from the sky like a sat?  No indeed I cannot."

"Listen, Howler, we know you know where he is, see?  He's in New Berkeley!  We want to know what you know about it!"

"Vigilant Constable Mutterbord," said Ramjet Howler.  "If you already know where Master Boldt is, it can hardly be the most efficient use of your time to ask his whereabouts of me."

 Karl Mutterbord spread his arms and lunged toward Ramjet Howler, but Kurt Quant intervened.  "Let me, Kalle," he said.  "Open the door and let us in, Howler.  We know you've got her in there.  Open up."

"At last, a chance to cooperate," said Ramjet Howler.  He grinned to show his great square teeth.  "I wish I could, Constables, I do wish I could, but as you no doubt know, the house is not mine to open and close at the command of others.  That privilege belongs to Master Boldt.  Have you put the issue to him?"

"He's not here!" shouted Mutterbord.  "We're talking to you!"

"But I cannot commit an illicit act, Constables, especially in the presence of the law!  You might arrest me!"

"OK, snarker," said Quant through his teeth, "maybe you can't let us in, but you can tell us.  Is Silica Yardboy in there?"

"You ask the impossible, Constables!"  Ramjet's eyebrows bounced like trampolines.  This time Quant could barely restrain Mutterbord, and Ramjet Howler retreated to put his back to the front door.  "Wait!" he squeaked.  "I'll answer your question!"

Mutterbord and Quant stared at each other in astonishment.  Could they be about to get a clue?  "All right then!" said Quant, "Tell us!  Is she in there or not?"

Ramjet opened the door behind him.  "I'm gratified to be able to answer frankly and fully," he said, stepping over the threshold.  "I don't know," he said with a grin, and slammed the door.

From the sounds of impact from the outside, the Constables would need more than a little ice.

Tawni Peterson
Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 1:50 PM
Joined: 5/10/2011
Posts: 69

 This is from Hindsight. This couple has suffered 3 miscarriages in the last 5 years.  Their marriage is on the brink of collapse.  They have just visited a new fertility specialist adn on the way home, Claire recieved a call that her mother is in her final days.

    The ceiling hadn’t changed. I’d been lying here starring at it for a good fifteen minutes and no matter how badly I wanted it to change, something to change, nothing moved.

    “Honey,” Grant hollered from the office down the hall from our bedroom, “This travel site has two tickets for New Orleans for less than three hundred dollars. That’s with a car! I’m going to put it on the credit card.”

“No. Don’t.”

    Grant made his way through the minefield of unpacked boxes that lined the hallways of our new brownstone.  A celebratory purchase after Grant made partner, I should have been ecstatic to get us unpacked and settled in to our new home.  Instead, boxes have lined the walls for a full two months now.

    Leaning his forearm against the top of the door jam, his tie loosed and his button up pinstripe shirt un-tucked, he was the epitome of clean cut, classic, and gorgeous. At 6’2’ with thick broad shoulders and a strong jaw, he stood at least half of a foot above me. His wavy caramel colored hair a little tousled, and blue eyes alight with his customary optimism, I couldn’t help but recognize just how fortunate I’ve been. This man loved me like crazy. He has always taken meticulous care of me, and himself.  He would do anything for me.  Any girl would be over the moon to have him. And yet, I might as well have been looking right through him.

“Well," Grant began slowly, testing the waters of my mood, "Do you want me to just pull from savings? I was just thinking it would be good to get double miles if we—‘

“We aren’t going,” I muttered, throwing my arms out to my sides, and grabbing the pillow next to me to cover my face with.

“What do you mean we aren’t going? Your book tour can wait a bit, for this I mean, it can wait.”

“I mean we aren’t going. You aren’t going.” I bellowed into the pillow.

“Of course I am.” Grant crossed to the bad and sat at my feet and began rubbing my feet.

“No, Grant, you aren’t.”  I sat up, pulling my feet out of his hands,  and looked him in the eyes, tucking the pillow beneath my arms in front of my stomach, an effort to hide somehow.  “Look you just made partner, you can’t just go running off to be by your ailing mother-in-law’s side. Why can’t you just hate your mother-in-law, like a normal husband?”

“Nope. Not gonna happen. I am not going to let you make this about me.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“You always do this! You make me out to be the bad guy so you can, I don’t know, feel better about keeping this distance between us or something.”

 “You done?”

 “Dammit, Claire, just talk to me! You can’t just put me on the back burner.” Exasperated, Grant was on his feet, pacing back and forth at the foot of our bed.

“Really? We are back to this again?”

“Look, I am going through this too.  I am here. You have to deal with me.”

“Actually, right now what I have to deal with is my mother. Dying. I have to deal with packing. I have to deal with my publisher who is not going to be happy about postponing the tour. In fact, I have a whole hell of a lot to deal with right now so I would rather not deal with you.”

    At some point during my rant I had made my way to my feet and began, scurrying about collecting who knows what—I hardly had the energy to care-- to throw in my suitcase and distract myself with packing.  I grabbed it down from the closet shelf and threw it open on to the bed in a huff. Why wouldn’t he just walk away? Just leave me be. Let me wallow and huff and pack in peace.

            “I am going with you.  You shouldn’t be alone.  You’re going to need me.”

            “I don’t need you.  I need space.  I need to be able to breathe and to think and I need you to leave me alone.”

            “I can’t do that. You’re pregnant, and stressed, not the best combination for you.”

            “Right.  The best combination for me.  The poor broken, barren wife.”

            “I never said that. I never have said that.”

            “You don’t have to. I feel it every time you look at me.” I bit my lip and swallowed hard, holding back the tears that threatned to burst out at any moment.

            “I have no idea what you are talking about. Those thoughts have never even entered my mind.  You are my wife. I love you. You are not broken!” He reached out to grab both of my hands, and I quickly averted them, grabbing a pair of jeans from the laundry basket sitting at the foot of our bed, and stuffing them in my suitcase.

            “Stop. Just stop!” I snatched up my favorite black riding boots off the floor and slammed them into my suitcase. Along with my grey cable knit cardigan and my cherished houndstooth fedora. I escaped back into the closet, pretending to look for something. "Have you seen my black pashmina?

            “Stop what? Telling you I love you?” Grant was hardly thrown off by my aversion tactics.

            “Stop feeling sorry for me! Dammit, Grant.You are not obligated to love me. You don’t have to stay with me. You can find someone else to give you babies! Lots and lots of happy, smiling, living babies!”

            Frantic now, I tore through every hanger in my closet searching for the pashmina. Grant slumped over on the foot of our bed, his head in his hands, silently running his fingers through his hair. He sat there painfully silent for a long time as I slammed through drawers, cursing and stomping around grabbing whatever I saw and tossing it in my Louis Vuitton.  If I thought there was even a slight possibility I might need an item I stuffed it inside until it would barely shut. He said nothing. Just sat and watched me self-destruct. His silence was worse than yelling. I knew what to do with yelling.

Angela Martello
Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 9:06 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394

Some dialog from A Kaliphian Matter: Revelations (book 1 of the trilogy).

From a conversation between Ben (main character) and Zephtep ai Lazan ((Prince of the Atroyan Empire and diplomat) when Ben tries to explain to Zeph why he feels he must return to the planet Kaliph:

“So your foster parents thought it best to send you here to keep you safe. And now this Azar gives you a magic plant, pops in for a visit at the admiral’s request, and tells you it’s dangerous here and that it’s time for you to go home. And let me guess, you’ve decided to go.”

“I have to. I have to get some answers. There are so many things that just don’t make sense.”

“Like what, for instance?”

“Like what happened on Antua.”

Zeph shifted his weight on the ground. He had always known that Ben was hiding something with respect to what happened on the Kargin homeworld. He also knew that, eventually, Ben would tell him.

“Go on.”

“The Forensics report was correct. My weapon was almost spent. But it should have been fully charged. I checked it. That priest was about to kill Jeremy; I never lied about that. He would have killed him if I hadn’t done something.”

“What did you do exactly?”

“I’m not sure. I aimed again, even though I knew the weapon couldn’t discharge, and yelled. There was a bluish-white fire. It arced across the clearing and hit the priest. Disintegrated him. I think that strange energy came from me. I felt it in my hand. I felt it in my whole body.”

“People, well, human people, don’t have that kind of power.” Zeph was struggling to accept Ben’s story; even though he knew that Ben was, finally, telling the truth—mostly.

“I don’t think I’m human,” said Ben softly.

A stray strand of stubborn sunlight broke through the gathering clouds and reflected off Ben’s glass-like green eyes, making them more striking than usual; making them almost other-worldly.


This is part of a conversation between Jason (the Treilgar of Earth) and Zeph:

Jason paused as his thoughts drifted to the small ship that he had piloted to Kaliph. He thought it odd that the Crown Prince of the most powerful empire in the galaxy would choose to travel in such a tiny, vulnerable vessel. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Of course.”

“Why don’t you travel in one of the large diplomatic vessels with all the secretaries and other support staff? Something big enough that could accommodate your guards? Why the Starfarer?”

The Atroyan stared into his glass as he seemed to collect his thoughts. He must have had his reasons, Jason was sure of it. Perhaps they were too personal? Perhaps he had touched a nerve?

“Let me preface this by saying I adore humans,” Zeph said. He raised his eyes. In that moment, Jason felt as if he were truly seeing their blue brilliance for the very first time. “You’re probably one of the most fascinating races in the galaxy. You’re, and please don’t take this the wrong way, not as developed physically or mentally as many other species. You can’t fly; adapt to life in water; survive extreme ranges of temperature. You’re not telepathic or empathic or telekinetic. But what you lack, you more than make up for with your ingenuity, creativity, endurance, and pioneering spirit. By Aleir, your race spawned Mozart and Michelangelo, Shakespeare and Joyce. You built Venice! A sparkling jewel on a beautiful blue lagoon that has lasted through the centuries!” He paused and traced the rim of his glass with the tip of one of his fingers. “That said, however, when I am with large numbers of you, especially in situations when tensions run high, such as when preparing for a major treaty or diplomatic conference, your heightened emotions prick at me until every neuron of my brain is raw. It hurts. A lot. On the Starfarer, I’m traveling with a crew of people I know intimately. People who know my moods, who know when to leave me be and when to coddle me. We’re in constant contact with my secretaries, so I’m always well prepared when we reach our destination, but I am also well rested; my mind is at ease. And, there is the bonus that the Starfarer is far too small to accommodate more than one member of my Imperial Guard.”


From a conversation between Ben and Azar (Ben's mentor) after one of Ben's not so successful training sessions:

He [Ben] was still thinking of contacting Earth when he became aware of Azar lowering himself to the bench next to him.

“Tell me what is troubling you,” said the old man.

“I wouldn’t know where to begin.” Ben’s stomach twisted as a horrible realization struck him. “Azar, I could have killed you.”


“That’s all you have to say? I have no control, yet you tested me. I could have killed you.”

“I assure you, when you agreed to begin studying with me, I took certain precautions.”

“Precautions? Because you realized I’d be that terrible of a student?”

“No, my lord. I took precautions because I knew you were, indeed, still are, unaware of just how powerful you are.”

Ben thought of what he had done to the Kargin priest and shuddered despite the heat.

“That day in the woods. Those men you killed. I’m assuming you did that on purpose. I mean, couldn’t you have just incapacitated them in some way? Knocked them out?”

“Yes, I could have done so,” replied Azar without any hint of regret.

“Why didn’t you?” He found Azar’s answer and tone unsettling.

“Because, my lord, I was angry. You had been here but a couple of days and already your enemies had sent their assassins to do away with you.”

“You were angry. Good to know. I’ll try to stay on your good side.”

GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 9:30 AM
Well done, Angela. The dialog flows, informs and carries the story. I like it!
Angela Martello
Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 8:19 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394

Thanks, GD!

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012 7:42 PM
this is from a piece i've been toying with just to get stuff out of my head:

"What do I call both you?" he asked, his voice quiet, his features stern.

"Mom One and Mom Two?" I joked.

Janell said, "She doesn't mean that."

Allen pretended to consider the names, then smiled his beautiful smile.

I hit the top of his head with a paper wad.

Everything was okay.

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012 6:30 PM

Daddy lingered, taking longer to hold me and tell me goodbye than he probably should have. "Are you doing okay, sweetheart?"

"I guess," I said with a shrug.

"That means no," he said with a grin. "You know you can call me whenever you want."

I said, "Or e-mail or text or smoke signal."

"Just don't burn down your mother's house. She might get upset."

We smiled.

"I was thinking about using the fireplace," I said.

He laughed. "Smart!" He hugged me again. "I'll see you this week, okay? It's been a while."

It sounded good to me. I locked the front door behind him after he went out, his hands in his front pockets and whistling a Tom Petty tune.

From the kitchen, Mom said, "Steve and I will clean up."

"Okay." On my way up the stairs, I considered doing my laundry. With all the clothes I'd bought, my hamper was overflowing. If I got it out of the way, I wouldn't have to deal with it Tuesday night, and I could wear one of the new outfits to school Wednesday. Also, I wondered where my friends were and what they were doing. Before I sorted my laundry, I sent Janell a text. S'up?

She pinged back. Toby's getting laid.

I typed. My gods! My eyes! My eyes!

Nothing came back. I gathered up my clothes and my laptop and made my way downstairs. And now I'm sitting here typing all this up. I'll be typing until my fingers fall off.

Sarah Rachel
Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013 4:47 PM
Joined: 7/23/2012
Posts: 6

"Sarah, it's your mother." As if Sarah wouldn't recognize her voice.
"Hi mom, how are you?" Trying her best to sound polite as the feeling of uneasiness washed over her.
"It has been a week since I last heard from you, I even called you yesterday, but you did not answer your phone. Where were you?" Catherine asked with authority.
"I'm fine mom, no need to worry about me.  I'm a big girl who can take care of herself." She replied. Very much irritated by the way in which her mother spoke.

Lynn Montagano
Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 5:00 PM
Joined: 12/22/2012
Posts: 15

Hi everyone! This is such a fun topic. Here's an excerpt from my novel, Catch My Breath. The MC, Lia, is out for her morning jog and runs into the mystery man she met at an event the night before. Enjoy!

“Well hello.” His rich, velvety voice swirled around me. I swallowed hard.
He smiled, unleashing a gathering of teeth so brilliantly white it was blinding. “I thought you looked familiar. Have any more encounters with wayward carpets since last night?”
“No. I walk exclusively on hardwood now.”
“Wise choice.”
Without my heels on he towered over me. The delicious scent of cedar wood and spice mixed with his post-game sweat and pheromones was so intoxicating I had to look away from him briefly. When I looked back, his eyes were solidly fixed on me. Part of me wished I wasn’t a hot, sweaty mess.
“I’m afraid I didn’t catch your name.”
“Oh. I’m Amelia Meyers. But please, call me Lia.”
“Pleasure to meet you Amelia.” My name rolled off his tongue readily, like he’d been born to say it for all eternity. “Do you live nearby or are you here on holiday?”
“Holiday. We’re here for my sister’s wedding.”
He slung a gym bag over his shoulder, grasping the strap. The small movement caused his muscles to flex. Every fiber of my being gravitated toward him as though he were the sun and I was in desperate need of his heat.
“Yeah. My best friend and I. She’s—.”
“She,” he said quietly and grinned. His gaze was penetrating as he traced one of his slender fingers along his mouth. A flurry of nerves ran through my stomach. It’s not physically possible for someone to get more attractive overnight, is it? Electricity hummed between us.
“Oi! We’re off to eat, mate. Come on!” An impatient, stocky man yelled.
Tall, Dark and Sexy clearly didn’t enjoy being at the receiving end of that. His face hardened briefly as he turned around. I can only imagine the look he gave the other guy. It must have been scathing because the poor soul abruptly left.
When he faced me again his eyes were blazing hot. I inadvertently took a step closer to him and that tractor-beam stare.
“Do you need a ride back to your hotel?”
“No, thank you. I want to finish my run.”
The thought of sitting in an enclosed space with him was too much to handle. Standing this close to him in an open field was challenging enough.
“Okay. Nice to see you again.” He grinned facetiously and sauntered off toward the parking lot leaving me in a funk. I turned up my iPod and ran like hell.
Stephanie was awake and all bright eyed and bushy tailed when I got back. She buzzed around the suite in a huge fluffy robe, laying clothes on the couch.
“Hey! How was your run?”
“Oh really?” She stopped fussing with the clothes. “How so?”
Since we didn’t get a chance to fully chat about what happened at the benefit, I quickly relayed the story, and then told her what happened at the field. She blinked at me like I had fifty heads.
“Did you get his phone number?”
“Did you at least get to ask his name this time?”
“Honestly Lia,” she huffed. “It’s like you forgot the innuendos of flirting.”
“Don’t be silly.”
“The old Lia would not only have asked his name and gotten a number, she’d be out having drinks with him right now.”
I fought back a smile. “I hate it when you’re right.”
“Maybe he’ll be at the soccer game. Darren did say he was bringing a friend.”
“Yeah, right,” I snorted. “Because he has nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon.”
“So jaded,” she sighed. “Good thing you’re cute.” 

Nicki Hill
Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013 10:33 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175

From le current WIP, working titled First Comes Love.  The narrator, Cohen, has just come face-to-face with his college roommate, Josh - who also happens to be his ex-best friend from high school - for the first time, and his boyfriend Kayne tagged along for the meet'n'greet.  They all get along like a herd of tomcats in an alley.

Kayne nudges me with his pelvis.  “Can we go already?  Your flirting is starting to make me nauseous.”
    I’m not flirting is the first thing that wants to come out of my mouth.  But knowing how juvenile - and guilty - that will make me sound, I settle for bumping him back with my ass instead.  Then I untangle all but one hand from his grasp to snag my hoodie from off the end of my bed.  “Got it.  Let’s go, Papa Bear.”
    “And you,” Kayne adds, as I tug him toward the door.  He plants himself to stare at Josh.  “You’d better not fuck with him, or I will fuck you up.  Got it?”
    Josh glances at me, a cool, level gaze that makes my guts pinch up a little.  “No worries.”
    “Let’s go, Kayne.”  I pull again, and after a second he turns away and follows me out, slamming the door behind him, which makes me jump.  “Jesus, was that really necessary?”
    “Was what necessary?”
    I pull my hand away as we start down the hallway so I can spread both arms in a universe-encompassing gesture.  The hoodie in my right hand flies out wildly, the zipper nearly catching me in the eye.  “Any of that.  All of it.  You might as well have pissed on his bed.  Or mine.”

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 7:26 PM
Joined: 2/6/2013
Posts: 3

From THE GIRL WITH NO NAVEL, of which the first two chapters are posted in the Sci-Fi section. This dialogue is from the third chapter:

“We need to pack up camp and move on,” Gingus said.

“What? Why so soon?”

“The food supply is getting too scarce.”

“How can that be?” I said. “We’ve only been here a month.”

“I know, Tala. But the scouts have come back with news that the food in the area is being depleted somehow, and soon there won’t be much left, so we must move on.”

“Do they know how it’s being depleted?”

“It’s not clear.”

I shared a look of concern with Lya and then spoke again. “Don’t you think maybe we should find out? There was plenty when we got here. We should have been able to stay here for six months at the least.”

“I’m afraid it’s too dangerous,” he said, and the fear in his voice was nearly masked by its tiredness. “The best option is to move on.”

Carl E Reed
Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 11:44 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608

A brief snippet (from chapter 2) of my novel-in-progress, The Case of the Missing Zeppelin:

Reverend Mike grabbed my arm. “Haven’t seen you in church in awhile. What’s the deal?”

“Look, pal.” I gave it to him straight. “Last time I was in there [No-Creeds-R-Us Unitarian Church] I listened to a Hindu who waxed eloquent on the death-life-death-life cyclical nature of the universe, a Buddhist urging others to walk the eight-fold path of Siddhartha Gautama and a drunken Catholic who roared fight challenges at anyone he suspected of thinking the ‘Virgin Mary’ wasn’t.”

“This bored you?”

“Hardly. I was so hyper-stimulated I couldn’t sleep for a year.”

Atthys Gage
Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 12:05 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467

A bit from Spark:

“Jeez, Francy!  You go to all that trouble just to play in the rocks?  What kind of a wierdo is he?”

“He’s not a wierdo!  He’s nice.  And he's interesting.  He’s...I don’t know – deep.”

“Deep?”  Brooke’s voice dipped and then rose again during that single syllable.

“Well, yeah." 

The three of us sat on Brooke’s half-made bed.  There really wasn’t anyplace else to sit.  She had a chair but it was heaped with unfolded laundry.  She had a desk as well, but its top was lost beneath a scatter of papers and several teetering stacks of books.  Atop the tallest stack perched a cereal bowl, empty except for one dried cornflake and a spoon.

“Okay,” said Brooke,  “He’s deep.  He’s the Grand Canyon of boys.  Did Mr. Deep try to kiss you?”

I suppose I blushed.  “No,” I admitted, “not exactly.”

“What does that mean?  It wasn’t exactly a kiss or it wasn’t exactly you or...?”

“He kinda seemed like he was going to there – a couple of times.”

“Kinda?” Brooke asked.  “Did you kinda sorta chicken out or did he?”

I twisted my mouth a little and sucked on my teeth.  “Little of both I guess.”

Terri Gostola
Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 8:28 PM
Joined: 2/26/2013
Posts: 4

Hello everyone! I'm new here to Book Country. Here is a snippet of dialogue from my romance, "The Wolf Eye Lighthouse Lovers."

     He stepped closer. "Another thing we should work on is kissing. We need to make it convincing. The occasion will arise when folks will expect us to kiss."

     "Considering this town, you are probably right," Annie said with a frown.

     "I think we should practice to make sure we get it right. We want to look like we are comfortable with it," he told her persuasively.

     "I don't need to practice. I know how to kiss," Annie assured him. She felt a warm blush creeping across her cheeks.

     "I'm sure you know how. As do I. But we don't know how we will kiss each other," he pointed out.

     "What difference does it make?" Annie cast him a doubtful glance.

     "It makes the difference between being comfortably convincing or nailed as frauds." Jamie's eyes twinkled as he drew her closer.

    "I don't think practicing is necessary. I'll pull it off when the time comes. I know your style. I saw you kissing someone last night, remember?" She stepped back nervously.

     Jamie's eyes narrowed. "That wasn't kissing. I wasn't even participating."

     Annie smirked. "It looked like kissing to me."

     "I'll show you the difference," he notified her in a dangerous tone. He caught her into his arms, intending to kiss the smirk from her lips...


GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 9:59 AM
Nicely done, Terri. Welcome to Book Country. With writing like that, you are in the right place here.
Terri Gostola
Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 2:53 PM
Joined: 2/26/2013
Posts: 4

Thank you for the kind welcome, GD. I've been lurking for a while, a little shy to speak up. I've been reading posts and I am finding lots of great information. I am extremely impressed by all the talented writers on here!
Robert C Roman
Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 9:19 AM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 376

I'm actually having fun with one character in Blue Bloods - Steve Chambers. When writing him I turn off all my filters and turn the 'offensive' dial up to eleven... and so far I think it's working pretty well. It's refreshing to write a reprobate, especially a non-stupid one.


"Steve, I need to get back to the hospital!"

"No, you need a shower. You stink."

Angela knew she couldn't smell her own body odor, but she took a sniff anyhow. Her hunger, whetted by the scent of the fast food, died instantly. She reeked.

"Oh, god. Why didn't anyone tell me?"

"Because you've been the only doctor on staff since you put Wilson in ICU."

"I... I did what?"

Steve shook his head and snorted with laughter. When he could control his voice, he explained. "No, Mega-Moppet wasn't involved. He collapsed, you had the nursing staff put him in the ICU and run some tests. While you were busy Mercy told me; he came within a few hours of having a heart attack. They've got him on blood thinners until they can get a cardiac specialist in."

"I wish you'd stop calling me that."

"Why? She's not really you. She's a five year old with twenty five year old boobs and a twenty five ton grip." Steve raced around a curve, and she pulled the boxes back into her lap. She'd get him to check them out later. She took a deep breath, set the boxes on the floor next to the cooler, and turned to face Steve.

"That's just it, Steve. I've been thinking about what you said. About me being... headstrong when I was younger."

"I didn't say you were headstrong."

"Yes, you did."

"No, I said you were a stubborn bitch. Headstrong makes you sound too classy."

"Okay. Fine. I was stubborn..."

"And a bitch." If he didn't shut up, she swore she'd smack the smirk off his face, Hippocratic Oath or no.


"Fine, fine, misquote me."

"I'm trying to open up to you, asshole!"

He glanced her way, one eye wide, the other squinted. He never could do the eyebrow thing right. "You're getting all touchy feely warm and fuzzy with the guy you called an asshat for saving your life."

She shook her head. "Yeah. What was I thinking."

"That you're trapped in your own body with your pre-superego self."

Ian Nathaniel Cohen
Posted: Saturday, July 27, 2013 9:13 PM

This scene comes from early on in The Sherwood Hunt.  Lady Marian Fitzwalter, in her introductory scene, is practicing swordsmanship in her chambers late one night when she gets an unannounced visitor.  After a brief, spirited duel...




After a long moment, the hooded man disengaged and bowed to Marian, ending the stalemate.  “You’ve been well trained, milady,” he said softly, as he sheathed his sword. 


“Thank you,” Marian said with a playful smile as she laid her own sword down on the table.  “It’s useful to know how to use a blade in these dangerous times, what with outlaws such as Robin Hood running rampant through the shires of England.” 


The man in the cloak chuckled.  “And what would you do if you were to come across this Robin Hood?  Would you be afraid, despite all your skill?” 


“Afraid?” Marian exclaimed.  “I’d have him at my mercy within moments.” 


“I have always been at your mercy, Lady Marian,” Robin said tenderly as he lowered his hood.  He took Marian in his arms in a tight, desperate embrace, as if he feared she’d disappear forever from if he let go.  “We didn’t wake anyone, did we?” 


“Oh, the servants have gotten used to hearing me use the walls and furniture for sword practice all hours of the day,” Marian replied with a giggle.  “Anyway, my father is in Bath, and isn’t here to be awoken.” 


“You mean he left you here alone without suitor or guardian looking after you?” Robin said in a mock-scandalized tone. 


“I don’t think there’s a maid or matron left in England who wants that job.  My past guardians were too busy guarding themselves from me, and felt it was more trouble than I was worth.  As for suitors, they haven’t been coming by as often as they used to, despite my father’s best efforts to marry me off.” 


“I can’t say I blame them,” Robin laughed.  “You’ve become quite the shrew, I hear.  Is it true you shot one of them in the rump with a crossbow?” 


“Of course not!” Marian replied indignantly.  “I used a longbow.” 


“An excellent choice of weapon.” 


“While he was in the middle of bargaining with my father for me, no less, without ever having said a word to me!  It would have served him right if I truly had shot the man, instead of just giving him a fright.  And speaking of rumors, I’ve heard some of my own today.  The raid went well on the tax wagon?” 


“Thanks to you,” Robin said.  “How on earth were you able to find out which wagon was the right one?” 


“One of the servants at Nottingham Castle has three children to feed, and he can’t do it on what the sheriff pays him.  A few silver marks and some food every month, and he’s all too willing to keep me informed of de Wendenal’s activities.” 


Robin shook his head.  “You know, I’m almost sorry for the sheriff this time.  He’s not usually that inventive.  He seemed to have put a lot of thought into that one, and I hate to see that kind of effort go to waste.” 


Marian laughed before her expression turned serious.  “Did you have to kill anyone?” 


“Only a water skin.”


“Don’t joke about this, Robin,” Marian said, pulling away slightly from Robin. 


“Nobody was harmed, Marian.  Although I doubt de Wendenal will show those poor devils the same courtesy.”



--edited by Ian Nathaniel Cohen on 7/27/2013, 10:43 PM--

Ian Nathaniel Cohen
Posted: Saturday, July 27, 2013 9:25 PM

Another scene from The Sherwood Hunt, this time featuring two of the bad guys.  This is also one of my favorite scenes that I've ever written.  (Picture Sam Neill as the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Kelsey Grammer as the Bishop of Hereford.)




“This is an outrage, my lord sheriff!” William de Vere, the Bishop of Hereford, bellowed as he paced the hall of Nottingham Castle.  “A complete outrage!” 


De Wendenal kept an impassive face as the bishop vented his anger.  De Vere was a portly, pompous man with a round face, thick jowls, and dull blue eyes which were currently clouded with rage, which had the unfortunate effect of making him look rather comedic.  His bishop’s finery was rumpled and dirt stained, and it was all too obvious to the sheriff how he had come to be in such a state. 


“Let me guess,” de Wendenal said.  “You were robbed by Robin Hood again.”  


“Oh, far worse than robbed this time!” the bishop barked.  “Humiliated!  Shamed!  Disgraced before those wretched...!” 


“You’re lucky that’s the worst they did to you,” the sheriff replied, cutting de Vere off in mid-sentence.  He remembered all too well that it had been the bishop who helped mastermind the scheme with Lord Henry Fitzwalter that resulted in making Sir Robert of Huntington an outlaw.  “Let’s have the details, then.” 


“I was returning to St. Mary’s, crossing through Barnesdale, when I came across a pack of poachers who had just killed a deer in the woods.  My aides and bodyguards surrounded the varlets, and I vowed to see them lose their hands for their crime.  Oh, they pleaded and begged, but I’d hear none of it.  The next thing I know, I’m surrounded by Robin Hood and his infernal outlaws, and my men and I are dragged into the forest!  And after they took every penny I carried, do you know what they made me do?  They made me dance a jig for them!  A jig, my lord sheriff!  While poking me in the legs with their bloody arrows!” 


De Wendenal struggled not to laugh as he pictured the scene.  Had anyone other than Robin Hood done such a thing to the bishop, he would have thought the matter extremely amusing.  The bishop was a useful ally with a considerable degree of influence, but the sheriff could not stand the man’s pompousness and never-ending bellyaching where anything concerning Robin Hood was concerned.  


“By Saint Thomas, I want these brigands found and stamped out!” the bishop screeched, continuing his rant.  “Do you hear me?  I want you to grind this villain into the dirt like the dog he is!” 


“And what exactly do you think I’ve been trying to do these past two years?” de Wendenal snarled.  “If you have any suggestions, my lord bishop, I’d be all too happy to hear them!” 


“Drive them out!” the bishop roared.  “Send your forces into the forests to purge them of these bloody wolfsheads!” 


De Wendenal glared contemptuously at the bishop.  “Oh yes, I could do that – if I wanted them all to be slaughtered!  I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, my lord bishop, but those forests are a natural labyrinth, with a thousand places for an archer to hide!  I have learned that the hard way, and so have far too many of my soldiers!  I will not throw my life away in a pointless attempt to hunt down the menace you helped created!” 


“You didn’t think that way when Lord Fitzwalter and I came to you,” the bishop grumbled, somewhat deflated.  “You agreed to frame Huntington readily enough, and you profited quite well from the bargain, as I did.  So don’t you point your finger at me and act all sanctimonious as if I’m the only guilty party!  You’re just as much to blame for this Robin Hood fiasco as me and the Fitzwalter girl’s father!” 


Now it was de Wendenal’s turn to be angry.  “And yet, you expect me to be the one to fix it for you, while you sit in your abbey counting coins, safe from Prince John’s wrath!  I’m the one whose position is at stake every time Robin Hood strikes!” 


“I am not the sheriff!” the bishop thundered.  “My task is seeing to men’s souls, not hunting outlaws!  That is your responsibility!  Or it’s supposed to be, anyway!  But instead you sulk in your castle like a whipped hound while Robin Hood runs rampant across the forests of England!  Are you a coward, de Wendenal?” 




--edited by Ian Nathaniel Cohen on 7/27/2013, 9:27 PM--

Lucy Silag
Posted: Monday, July 29, 2013 9:02 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1356

I am loving this thread--great idea, @Colleen!


Keep these posts coming--it's such a fun intro to everyone's WIPs!



Book Country Community and Engagement Manager

Timothy Maguire
Posted: Monday, July 29, 2013 8:50 PM
Joined: 8/13/2011
Posts: 272

This came up while I was writing Demons and quickly became a lot more meta than I really planned. Still, it's funny and gets into the setting without loads of exposition, so I shouldn't complain:

“I mean, seriously, does it even occur to anyone to simply write a manual for us newbies?” I asked as Baz glared up at the lights. We'd split up at the office, with Molly and Rick heading off to keep looking for the girl, while the two of us were looking for some demon-hunters. I knew make-work when I heard it, but it was a relief to do something about all this. I don't know what I'd do if I was forced to stay at home while the others deal with it.

“If we wrote a manual, most people wouldn't believe it,” Baz said evenly, smoothly accelerating away as the lights changed. “We'd spend even more time arguing with them than we do already, or do you not remember how well you took your Awakening? Because I'm pretty sure you lost your temper once or twice when it happened to you.”

“Yeah, okay, that wasn't my finest moment.” I hadn't exactly reacted well to what had happened over the weekend, to be honest. I still owed Molly some profuse apologies for the splash damage from that. “But, still, there needs to be some sort of training you could do.”

“What do you think we're doing now?” Baz pulled up on the side of the road popped his door. “More importantly, if someone, like, say you, wrote a manual for being Awakened, what do you think would happen if you lost it?”

“Point,” I muttered as I climbed out of the car. We were on one of the side-roads near the town centre, close enough that there was parking spaces on the side of the road. Despite it being a Tuesday, the streets were busy, thanks, no doubt, to the influx of students. Yet again, the simple sight of familiar streets reminded me just how much my life had changed. The Shadow clung to buildings and shops, throbbing with the emotions they engendered. The shop we were next to stank of exhaustion and simple, everyday pleasure, full of the empathic detritus of modern living.

“”You know if you dressed it up right, you could make sure it's only a manual if you know,” I suggested. The problem was due to the nature of Awakening. Every human's capable of seeing the Shadow, if they're introduced to it, but the results aren't always pretty. I was one of the lucky ones. If someone's Forced like I was, there's a good chance they'll just go crazy. If everyone else is really unlucky, the Forced Awakens and go crazy. It's not a good combination.

“It's been done,” Baz said with a dismissive wave. “It ended badly, trust me.”  

Kathleen Shaputis
Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:31 AM
Joined: 1/17/2013
Posts: 10

I'm working on the sequel to "Her Ghost Wears Kilts" - here's a scene with the two main characters:




   Annie stretched her arms over her head hooking the boughs of plastic pine threaded with white lights across the curtain rod when she stepped on the edge of her dress losing her balance from the six-foot ladder. A second of “This is really going to hurt,” ran through her middle-aged mind during the slow motion tumble.



   The floor rushed into view just before her sudden stop a foot from the carpet, knocking the wind from her. She blinked frantically trying to draw a breath, as her body was slowly set down.



   “Dinna know ya decorations were a wee bit dangerous,” Kai grinned down at his flustered, grateful wife. “Could’na wait until I could help, ya stubborn lass?”



   Annie gulped in precious air taking stock of her unhurt legs and arms but twinges of muscle pulls in her back as she looked up at her gorgeous Lord Baillie of the seventeenth century. “It’s these long skirts of your era that are the danger zone. I’m use to decorating in jeans or sweatpants.”

Toni Smalley
Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2013 7:03 PM

@Ian: The interaction between Robin and Marian had me swooning at first, and then it had me giggling. Very nice exchange of dialogue, which showed quite an array of emotions in such a brief span of time.


@Timothy: The Awakened and these Shadows sound like interesting concepts. I wonder how the MC was able to survive her 'forced' Awakening.

@Kathleen: Congrats on your release of "Her Ghost Wears Kilts!" Good luck with writing the sequelhappy

Toni Smalley
Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2013 7:11 PM

This is from Smoke and Needles, a comic sci-fi/fantasy novella. I'm in the process of revising the first draft. Here's a small snippet (Warning: the narrator is a potty mouth).


"That will be twenty thousand dollars and three cents," Herb, the robocashier, recited.


"Are you an idiot?" I asked. I know mistakes happen, and the inept cashier was most likely malfunctioning, so I shouldn't be rude, but come on! These roboworkers needed to stick with their maintenance schedules. It was either that or he'd recently been doing E, in which case, there was no excuse.


Herb blinked several times rapidly like he had an extreme case of dry eyes. The robocasheir had been working at Smoke and Needles since my freshman year in college, so he had to be at least a 2040 series. He looked human enough, except for his solid, gold-plated eyeballs. I was so annoyed right now, I just wanted to poke my fingers in his sockets and see if I could pop them babies out.


"Hey, Herb, your brain isn't working right. It's twenty dollars," Murray said.


"No, no, no," Herb droned.


"Friggin' robofucktards." Okay, majorly rude, but nothing stands between me and my sexy vampire. I grabbed the needs and threw down twenty dollars and three cents. "Now, Herb, you might want to cut back on electrocuting yourself. And, don't look at me like that. I know how you robofucktards get high." I didn't even want to think how these older models got down and dirty. Probably some type of kinky, high-voltage bondage, tying each other up in electrical wires, and attaching hover-autopod jump-starters to their robonipples.


"Christ, Aurora, you're making a scene." Murray grabbed the bags and shoved me away from Herb as he nodded politely and apologized.


"Oh, don't apologize to that robofucktard." I waved my hands in the air. "I'll steal your gold eyeballs and cash them in Herb if you don't get off the E!"


"You're drunk." Murray scolded me with actual sternness in his voice, which made me come to my senses as best as a drunk person can come to their senses.

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 5:23 PM
Joined: 9/8/2013
Posts: 4

I've got a series of short stories on my blog, some of which I'm now trying to combine and retool into a longer single work with a frame story. I use dialogue quite a bit, but sometimes I think it comes off sounding contrived and forced. It's something I need to work on. In the meantime, here's an example from a story about furniture shopping:


When we were stopped at the light on Rt.94 in Warwick a ball of feathers bobbing wildly up and down caught my eye. It couldn't have been ten feet from the car.


"Hey look" I said to NewWifey(tm) who was intently trying to get through her next Candy Crush level in the passenger seat. "Those birds are having sex!"


"What kind of birds?" she asked, not looking up.


"What kind of birds?" I said. "What difference does it make? It's birds! Having sex! LOOK!"


"What kind of birds?"


The light was about to turn green.


"I dunno, robins maybe? Tough to - ah shit, he pulled out and flew off. What, bird sex only lasts like 8 seconds? Is this their version of bull riding? It looked like a robin, though. You'd better be thankful I'm not a robin."


The light flipped green and off we went.


A minute later: "Are you sure it was a robin? Not a red-breasted nuthatch?"


"A red-breasted what-hatch?"


"A red-breasted nuthatch" she said. "They look kinda like robins, but with a black stripe over their eye. And they're smaller. If they'd have been red-breasted nuthatches I would have looked."


"Black stripe over...have you taken up ornithology behind my back?"


"No. I just like red-breasted nuthatches."


"Not robins?"


"Ew. No. Red-breasted nuthatches are much cuter. And they're really hot when they mate."


"Wait - you''re into bird porn?"


"Don't judge me, mister. I've seen your search history on RedTube. But no, I am not into "bird porn". I just think red-breasted nuthatches are hot when they fuck."


"And not robins."


"Eww. I told you, no."


"But I thought bird sex was all the same: the boy bird brings the girl bird a half eaten worm, she falls for it, and he hops on. A week later there's an egg and tearful recriminations."


NewWifey(tm) looked at me like I just told her I'd dug up my mom's corpse and was taking it to a Gwar concert after dinner. "Don't talk to me" she said, and went back to crushing candies.

--edited by Sherpat on 9/10/2013, 5:25 PM--

Posted: Saturday, October 5, 2013 12:21 PM
Joined: 9/24/2013
Posts: 3

Vasia awoke and tried to move, but couldn’t.  Nor could she remember where she was at first.  So she looked up and saw the star filled sky.  From a life spent outside she was able to tell it was near to the mid-night. 

Then she realized that she was being held.  At least her head.  Whoever was holding her was asleep, her head down on her chest.  Slight snores could be heard.  Who?

Then she knew.  She reached out and touched the girl’s arm.  “Mori?”

Then girl stirred, eyes fluttering.  She had trouble speaking out first, her lips parched and sleep-gummed together.  Then she looked down.


“Yes girl.  Where are we?”  She asked in a low voice, surprising clear.

“In the winter camp.”

Ah, yes.  How are you?”

“How am I?  I am fine my dear.”  She had been unable to keep the emotion out of her words.  “How are you?”  Asked in a failed effort to sound unconcerned.

“I am well, for one about to enter the shadows.”

“Aunt, no do not speak thus!” This as a cry, low in volume, but a cry.

“Hush little Mori.”  Vasia spoke as if talking to the little girl.  Neither spoke for a moment.  Then Vasia spoke again, her voice so low that Morita had to bend closer to hear her.  But the words were clear.

“Did I ever tell you how I felt when I knew I would not roam freely anymore, when I learned I would be caring for you?”

All the younger woman could do shake her head, biting her lips so as not to cry.

“Glad.  Sorrowing for your mother, my little sister, but glad that we would be together.”  The woman paused as pain racked her body.  She grabbed the offered hand and squeezed it until the hurt left her, or at least subsided.  Then she continued-

“Everyone thinks I am so tough-and I am you know!  But do not think I did not care for you, you know, in my heart.  Or that there was ever a day that went by that I did not grieve for my little Mata, your mother.”

Fighting to control herself Morita shook her head -“I knew, I always knew” she said, whispering the words through clenched teeth.

“I could not look for her; I was caring for you.  But soon perhaps I will find her.  Or maybe she is not with the dead, and maybe you will find her.  For it seems you will be doing some roaming.”

“Vasie” tears now welled out of the girl’s eyes and fell onto her aunt’s face.

“I am fine.  I lived, Mori, I lived.  Did I ever tell you that I had gone as far as the Pillars of Hercules, and there I rolled with a Lord and a Lady!  But now I think I will rest” And with that she closed her eyes.  Soon her breathing told Morita that she had fallen asleep.
Posted: Saturday, October 5, 2013 12:23 PM
Joined: 9/24/2013
Posts: 3

 Vasia awoke and tried to move, but couldn’t.  Nor could she remember where she was at first.  So she looked up and saw the star filled sky.  From a life spent outside she was able to tell it was near to the mid-night. 

Then she realized that she was being held.  At least her head.  Whoever was holding her was asleep, her head down on her chest.  Slight snores could be heard.  Who?

Then she knew.  She reached out and touched the girl’s arm.  “Mori?”

Then girl stirred, eyes fluttering.  She had trouble speaking out first, her lips parched and sleep-gummed together.  Then she looked down.


“Yes girl.  Where are we?”  She asked in a low voice, surprising clear.

“In the winter camp.”

Ah, yes.  How are you?”

“How am I?  I am fine my dear.”  She had been unable to keep the emotion out of her words.  “How are you?”  Asked in a failed effort to sound unconcerned.

“I am well, for one about to enter the shadows.”

“Aunt, no do not speak thus!” This as a cry, low in volume, but a cry.

“Hush little Mori.”  Vasia spoke as if talking to the little girl.  Neither spoke for a moment.  Then Vasia spoke again, her voice so low that Morita had to bend closer to hear her.  But the words were clear.

“Did I ever tell you how I felt when I knew I would not roam freely anymore, when I learned I would be caring for you?”

All the younger woman could do shake her head, biting her lips so as not to cry.

“Glad.  Sorrowing for your mother, my little sister, but glad that we would be together.”  The woman paused as pain racked her body.  She grabbed the offered hand and squeezed it until the hurt left her, or at least subsided.  Then she continued-

“Everyone thinks I am so tough-and I am you know!  But do not think I did not care for you, you know, in my heart.  Or that there was ever a day that went by that I did not grieve for my little Mata, your mother.”

Fighting to control herself Morita shook her head -“I knew, I always knew” she said, whispering the words through clenched teeth.

“I could not look for her; I was caring for you.  But soon perhaps I will find her.  Or maybe she is not with the dead, and maybe you will find her.  For it seems you will be doing some roaming.”

“Vasie” tears now welled out of the girl’s eyes and fell onto her aunt’s face.

“I am fine.  I lived, Mori, I lived.  Did I ever tell you that I had gone as far as the Pillars of Hercules, and there I rolled with a Lord and a Lady!  But now I think I will rest” And with that she closed her eyes.  Soon her breathing told Morita that she had fallen asleep.
Bret Plate
Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 6:13 PM
Joined: 9/9/2013
Posts: 5

Hi all.  Trying to integrate into the community as a new member.  Thanks for the invite, Colleen.  Here is a passage from the book I just completed, THE GELDED AGE.  Looking for some reviews and feedback - it's in the Comedic Novel section.:



          “I read something once,” Katherine said finally.  “The only thing worth stealing is a kiss from a sleeping child.  I read it in high school, I think, and I could never get it out of my head.  I never understood why until now.”

            Jimmy saw tears splashing into her lap and he yearned to put his arm around her and comfort her, but it was simply beyond anything his fourteen year old confidence could muster.  So he just sat there in silence, waiting for her to explain.

            She turned and looked at him.  “Did any adult ever tell you something, Jimmy, that just…ripped all the magic out of your childhood?”

            Jimmy didn’t know why she was asking him this strange question, but he felt the pain instantly all the same.

            “Yeah.  It was an adult who told me there was no Santa Claus.”

            Katherine stared at him in something that seemed to Jimmy to hold disbelief, recognition and disgust in equal measure. 

            “Really?  An adult?”  Jimmy nodded.  “Who would tell a child that?”

            “Tom did it.”

            “Tom?” she said, trying to shove the disbelief back down her throat.

             He nodded.  “It was early February.  His dad had died about two weeks before and he was just…we were all worried he was going to kill himself.  We were hanging out one night and I decided to try and cheer him up.  I asked him if he wanted to see some of the stuff Santa Claus had brought me.  He looked at me…with this look in his eyes I’ll never forget.  It was like he wanted to choke me or something.  And he said, There’s no fucking Santa Claus, Jimmy.  There’s no magic fat man in a red suit.  There’s no fucking magic at all.  We’re just a bunch of chemicals, and the shit that killed my father was a bunch of chemicals and sometimes all that shit just doesn’t mix.”

            Katherine stifled another sob but her tears were suddenly for Tom, not herself.  She turned away and looked at the fireflies swarming around them.  There were so many of them now she thought she could feel puffs of air from their beating wings, as if they were working together to dry the tears that were coursing down her cheeks.  Jimmy had fallen silent, somehow understanding that the moment called for no more words, and in the still quiet of the dark, Katherine could almost hear the tiny voices of little magical beings calling to her, trying with their fragile wings to pull her back to a place she had been forced to abandon years before by a father who knew nothing of joy and compassion and magic.

            “Tom said that?” she finally said.

             Jimmy nodded.  “He was totally locked down in his own grief.  I understood.  That’s how I felt when my dad died.  I don’t even think he realized what he was saying.”

             Katherine started to cry again.  Then, finally, she whispered, “No.  They never do.”


            Inside, Joyce was still watching her daughter.  Across the room, Claudia saw her standing at the window and walked over.  She followed Joyce’s gaze into the backyard and saw Katherine and Jimmy sitting on the wall.

            “What’s going on?”  Claudia asked Joyce.

            Joyce’s gaze stayed locked on her daughter, but Claudia saw a tiny smile creep into her face. 

            “The fog is lifting, and the planes are beginning to land.”


--edited by Bret Plate on 10/17/2013, 6:22 PM--

Posted: Friday, October 25, 2013 6:08 AM
Joined: 9/17/2013
Posts: 104




Marilee looked from Glenn to Chief Charley, and back again. “Glenn, let’s do it, just as you say, and I hope you find Paul in good shape. I want you to bring him back here today. I think I’ll move into my office right now. We’re in recess until, well, until I say so. Thank you everyone for your work today.” Marilee got up from her chair and left the courtroom quickly.


Marilee went to her office and sat on a green couch on the side of the room. Alone, she leaned forward and covered her face with her hands. How will this work its way out, she wondered. Was she doing the right thing?


There was a light knock on the door. Marilee sat up and composed herself, and said, “Come in, Janice.”


Janice opened the door, looked in, and entered the office and closed the door behind her. The court reporter had come to be with Marilee. She had been watching the judge in the court room. She knew Marilee well, and sensed a detachment from the news that Paul was missing. “Are you all right, Marilee?”


“Yes, Janice. I’m fine. Thanks for coming to sit with me.”


Janice sat down on the couch and looked at Marilee. “I’m thinking that Paul is fine. I think he’ll be fine. What do you think?”


“Thanks for coming to sit with me. I think Paul will be found today, and he will be fine.”


Janice watched Marilee closely. “What do you think of their story, the story of those two men?”


“They’re probably telling the truth, from what they know. But they don’t belong here. I’m guessing that they must have been pretty scared in the woods, and they didn’t get much sleep. They think Paul is dead because they would have drowned if they had fallen in the creek. That’s not Paul. He’s not going to drown in a creek, even in the dark.” Marilee smiled, and Janice saw the confidence in the younger woman.


“Marilee, Paul is a handsome man, don’t you think?”


Marilee could not stop the beginning of a smile, and Janice noticed that, but then Marilee looked away and regained her composure. “I don’t know. I suppose so. I suppose he’s handsome enough, if that’s what you mean.”


Janice looked earnestly at the younger woman. “Marilee, I’m your auntie. I know you. You need to find Paul, and you need to be with him.” Marilee looked at Janice without saying anything.  Janice went on, “Paul’s a good man. He’s a smart man and he will be good for you. You and Paul have been flirting with each other since you were in school. It’s time for you to be with him.”


Marilee smiled, and then asked Janice to tell her about her garden, and about her kids. Janice knew that without protesting, Marilee agreed with what she had said about Paul. The two visited quietly in Marilee’s office, while the search for Paul consumed the afternoons of several young men.


K, Murphy Wilbanks
Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 6:20 PM
Joined: 12/12/2013
Posts: 15

But Cat tossed the purse to Maura, who caught it with an evil laugh.  "It's for your own good, ya fuckin' eejit," Cat informed her tartly.  "I've seen those guys.  She's right.  Can't decide?  Then you need serious help."


Maura cackled as she fished out Linnea's cell phone.  "And we are come to your rescue, you poor silly woman.  So which one, Cat?  Not personal preference, now.  Exercise your powers of empathy.  Who do you think is more right for your sister?"


Cat clicked her tongue.  "Trouble is, I've never met either one of them."


"Pretty, witty, narcissistic, and aloof -- or brash, manly, alcoholic womanizer?  Go!"


"Jesus.  Really?"  Cat asked, brows raised.  "I mean, when you put it that way…"


"Thank you," Linnea muttered.


Maura waved a hand impatiently.  "Neither is as bad as I'm making them sound.  This is just an intuitive exercise.  Trust me and just roll with it."


"The witty narcissistic one, then.  He probably understands her better."


"Oh my fucking god, no," Linnea growled trying to crawl across the table, but Cat pushed her back and Maura scooted neatly out of reach with the phone.  Now everyone was looking at them.  Not just the others at their table.


Maura touched the screen on the phone a couple times before jabbing frantically at it.  "Shit, she's got this thing locked up tighter than Fort Knox."  She shot Linnea a dirty look.  "What kind of crazy paranoiac actually uses the passcode function on their phone?"


"One  in close contact with a lunatic loud-mouthed meddler like you."  Linnea grimaced and subsided back into her chair.  She punched that password on autopilot so often that she'd forgotten it was even there.


"What do you think it could be?" Maura asked Cat.


Cat bent over her shoulder.  "Here, let me see."


"Don't even bother.  There is no way in bloody fucking hell you will ever figure it out.  No way, I assure you.  Might as well give it here and save yourselves some grief."


"Oh, I'm not grieving," Maura said. 


"She's not going to be one to put her birthday or her soesh in there."


Linnea rolled her eyes. "Like you know my Social Security number anyway."


"Yeah, but …how about this?"  Maura hurriedly punched something in.  "Shit."


"No, no.  Spell it out.  She'll do it alphanumeric with mixed case."


Maura's thumbs danced on the screen again.  "Nope."


"Put Thomas Francis in there before it," Cat whispered loud enough to be heard.


"No, that didn't work.  Maybe the date is sandwiched between the two," said Maura.


Pressure bloomed in Linnea's chest, and cold anger snaked through her so that her veins seemed filled with ice.  Suddenly the whole thing wasn't funny anymore, and she didn't so much as raise her voice when she spoke. "I didn't use Thomas' name or death date in there, you fucking assholes.  So stop insulting his memory."  Linnea reached over and very slowly, very deliberately opened her palm for the phone.  "Enough."


Cat and Maura regarded her with identical looks of stunned surprise.  Maura pressed her lips back together and placed the phone into her outstretched hand without another word.  Linnea tossed it back into her purse, which she jerked from the table and into her lap.


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