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Today I offer for you my contribution as part of the blogfest inspired by the musical group Devo and their catchy song WHIP IT.  Elise Fallson and I are putting the song title…or rather a slightly altered version of it…to good use by encouraging participants to enlighten the blogosphere about their most recent [W]ork [I]n [P]rogress.  Guiding you through the process are a few prompts we came up with to answer in your own post, along with the opportunity to solicit CP’s (partners who exchange material for detail critique – usually chapter by chapter) or Beta Readers (test readers who read entire manuscripts and offer broad opinions)  if you’re looking for that.   
Without further ado, here are the details about my most recent project:

WIP Title:  Moving Fear (tentative)
Word Count (projected/actual so far): 62,500
Genre: YA Horror
How long have you been working on it?: Ten months. First draft complete, about to begin revisions.

Elevator Pitch (if you came across an agent in an elevator ride, what couple of lines would you use to summarize your book):  I have a book that has the look and feel of Kendare Blake’s ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, the dread and intensity of Stephen King’s IT, and the mystery elements of THE HARDY BOYS.  In it, I pit my sixteen year loner protagonist against a demon who has been destroying families for centuries…specifically families who have just completed a move…by taking possession of a family member and terrorizing the household for a period before finally taking their lives.  Now it has found a victim in my hero’s family and he must figure out who it is, and a way to save them, before it’s too late.     

Brief Synopsis (300 words or less):  We are a planet on the move.  In the United States alone the average American moves 11.7 times in a lifetime.  The length of an average move approximates the distance from New York City to Des Moines, and involves 6,900 pounds of possessions.  It is one of those times when we are most vulnerable, and in people’s lives moving is the third most stressful event, behind only death and divorce.

That’s why IT chooses them.  That’s why IT has remained unnoticed for so long.

To hear other people tell it (including his own family), Chace Gidden is nothing but a sixteen year old military-brat...emphasis on brat. The constant uprooting and moving from state to state and school to school has left him withdrawn, bitter, with a tendency to act out following each of his father’s transfers.  But that was before, and as the saying goes…be careful what you wish for.  It appears his family is finally settling down, but only after losing his mother to cancer and a prank-gone-wrong tragically sentenced his younger brother to life in a wheelchair.  Now Chace finds himself in unfamiliar territory, attempting to make amends for past behavior and doing what little he can to help mend his broken family.

The move to Ox Bow was intended to be a fresh start, but unbeknownst to the Gidden’s something else has moved in with them.  The appearance of a mysterious black box in Chace’s room begins a chain of events that have repeated for centuries. Inside awaits an ancient evil, a demon that has chosen one of the Gidden’s as its next vessel to do its bidding.  It falls to Chace to do what no one has ever done before, figure out who that is and find a way to defeat the entity without killing its human host. His only help comes by way of the socially inept boy next door who’s desperate to make a friend and the girl who’s reluctant to let that happen.   But time is running out for the three of them as the malevolent force draws closer to obtaining the two things it hungers for most, mortal fear…and fresh souls.

Are you looking for a Critique Partner?  I already have a really good one, but the two of us might be interested in expanding.  Leave a note if you’re interested and we’ll see.

Are you looking for a Beta Reader? Definitely, after I finish my next round of revisions.

Please check out the other participant’s WIP’s from the list below.


For The Fallen

Thank you for your sacrifice!

Wipping It Good at the Coffee Shop

Writer Gold: Is that what I think it is?

Writer Black: I don’t know, what do you think it is?

Writer Gold: A whip?

Writer Black: Then yes, it is what you think it is.

Writer Red: What are you doing with a whip?

Writer Gold: Please tell me that’s not something you and your hubby use at night during your bedroom gymnastics.

Writer Blue: And why on earth are you wearing that heavy scarf in this heat?

Writer Black: First off….ewwwww. And this is my favorite green scarf. I’ve decided I don’t want to be Writer Black anymore. From now on I’m Writer Green.

Writer Blue: What’s wrong with being called Writer Black? I think it sounds…mysterious.

Writer Gold: Ominous.

Writer Red: Dense.

Writer Black/Green: Black is depressing, and I wanted to be a color that better suits my personality.

Writer Red: Is transparent a color?

Writer Blue: Well I think green looks lovely on you. Good choice.

Writer Black/Green: Thank you.

Writer Gold: So, what gives with the whip?

Writer Black/Green: This is Franks. He’s had it for years, ever since his Indiana Jones fanboy days. I was hoping Red would help me take a picture of it and do a little photoshopping so I could use it in my blog post promoting Elise and DL’s blogfest.

Writer Blue: Wip It Good? Oh, that would be so cool.

Writer Black/Green: I know, right?

Writer Gold: Thank you, now that song will be stuck in my head all afternoon.

Writer Red: That’s a great idea Black…I mean Green. We can do it right after we get finished here.

Writer Gold: So what has everyone picked to post for the blogfest? I’m highlighting Out of the Rabbit Hole…my YA Fantasy.

Writer Blue: I’m posting about Jitters…my YA Paranormal Romance.

Writer Black/Green: I’m going to write about my Erotic Adventure novel.

Writer Gold: I don’t remember you telling us about that one. What’s it called again?

Writer Black/Green: Swollen.


Writer Gold: Uhhhhhhhh….What are you writing about Red?

Writer Red: I don’t think I am. I don’t have anything far enough along to talk about.

Writer Blue: That’s silly.

Writer Gold: Read my lips…it’s called WIP…Work In PROGRESS! It doesn’t matter if all you have is an outline, DL and Elise just want us to tell the blogosphere what kind of material we’re working on.

Writer Red: I’m not even sure I’ll keep working on it. I’ve ditched the last two, so who’s to say I won’t do it with this one.

Writer Black/Green: But maybe you won’t. It really doesn’t matter.

Writer Red: I don’t even have an elevator pitch yet.

Writer Blue: Then leave that part blank. Just tell us what you do know.

Writer Red: Okay…okay, you convinced me. When is it again?

Writer Gold: Next week, Friday May 31st.

Writer Red: I guess I’d better get writing then.

Writer Black/Green: Good, because then I won’t have to use this whip on you.

A Call for WRiTE CLUB Volunteers

WRiTE CLUB is just around the corner, which means I'm starting to get my ducks in a row. It also means I need some help. The biggest change to the contest this year is that I'm heeding past participants suggestions to limit the bouts to a set number (16) spanning a reasonable time period (8 weeks) to prevent interest from spiraling downward. In order to do that I must narrow down what I estimate will be 100-125 entries (500 word samples) to just 32...and that’s where you come in. In order to go about this is a fair and unbiased manner my plan is to create a central repository (via Dropbox) where I will store all of the submissions, then have a selection committee of 12 judges read all of those entries and vote on their favorites, which I will then use to select the top 32. I already have six judges on-board and now I’m looking for six more.

Before you raise your hand, I want to fully explain what you would be volunteering for. This is a big commitment! First you must be open to installing and using Dropbox (a free file sharing program that I will provide complete instructions on how to use). Then you will have the month of June to read what could be 125+ entries, each one approximately 500 words long -- which equates to the length of a small book – and select 32 of what you believe are the best ones.

Oh...there's one more thing...another change this year is that I will be offering everyone who votes during the contest a chance to win a prize. Each vote places their name in a hat for a drawing at the end of the competition. The prize...a choice between an Amazon Gift certificate...or a fifty page critique from EACH OF THE SELECTION COMMITTEE MEMBERS (performed at your leisure). So not only are you volunteering to help pick the 32 fighters, but also providing a 50 page critique.

So, what do you say? Interested in helping shape how WRiTE CLUB plays out this year? If so, leave a comment below (be sure to include your email address), and I will be in touch by the end of the week.

Have a great week everybody!

Guest Post - Nicki Elson

Hey everybody! Hope the weekend was pleasant for you.  Today I’ve asked Nicki Elson, a long-time blogging buddy and author of two novels (Three Daves and Divine Temptation), to take the reins and give you a tour with some different scenery.  Ironically she’s chosen a topic that is near and dear to my heart, so I hope you enjoy it.  Please make her feel welcome!

WRiTE Club - The Contest that Keeps on Giving
Some of you may know me better as Sissy Grimm or Art Gallery. Oh, how I love a penname, but that’s only one thing I enjoy about WRiTE Club — that nifty brainchild of Mr. D.L.H. in which writers polish up their 500-word samples and square off against one another. When I first joined the contest, I expected to get a few writing pointers and gain insight into readers’ brains, which I most definitely did, but I also got something unexpected — an entirely new editing technique that I now apply to everything I write.

Five hundred words isn’t much, so if you want to leave an impression, you’ve got to make every single one count, which generally means giving several the ax. Polishing those short pieces becomes sort of like a mini-WRiTE Club in itself, with each word fighting for its right to stay in. The dreaded -ly adjectives GONE; they’re unnecessary if the dialog and action already convey “emphatically” or “quickly.” Passive writing KABOOM! Why use two words to say “was walking” when “walked” reads better and takes only one?

Now, we obviously can’t give such intensive attention to each 500-word segment in a 75,000-word novel — we’d never finish — but I find that isolating key segments of the story and putting them under the microscope reveals personal writing rough spots that I wouldn't necessarily note when tackling an entire chapter. Realizing that I’m overly zealous with dialog tags or that my characters are frequently nodding their heads and shrugging their shoulders (what else are they going to nod or shrug?) helps me to be more aware of these weaknesses as I read through the bigger piece, thus making my overall edit more thorough.

One key segment that got the WRiTE Club treatment is the opening scene to my new release, Divine Temptation. This section is important for obvious reasons — it’s the readers’ first taste — but for this story, it’s especially key because it’s far different in tone than most of the rest of the story. DT is a romantically-inclined women’s fiction, but it goes a shade darker later in the book, so I thought it was only fair to give readers a hint of that darkness up front, and yet I wanted to keep the hint streamlined so that it wouldn't be overwhelming.

So who’s up for a little WRiTE Club-style critique? Below is the final version of that 444-word sample — how did I do?


Clawed feet landed with a muffled thud atop the January snow. His balance was instantaneous. Surveying the still forest around him, he watched the pale morning sunlight filter through the bare branches, illuminating nothing but the trees, the forest floor, and him. All active life had vanished from the area moments before his arrival. To joggers along the perimeter of the preserve, the distant ruckus of fleeing animals had registered only as a minor disturbance to the music blasting through their earbuds. His entry point was good.

He shook the white crystals from his talons and stepped through the snow. As he walked, his true form mutated, adapting to the world he had entered. By the time he reached the edge of the forest, he looked like any other man, complete with a pair of black dress shoes, a wool overcoat, cashmere scarf, and fedora. His power in this world had become such that all he had to do was think it, and it was his—for such minor details, anyhow. But acquiring what he truly desired would take more finesse.

The streets along his short walk to the historic part of town were already alive with cars pushing through the slush, carrying their contents to work. It was a new year—time for humans to get back to the old routine and make more money. They had Christmas bills to pay off, after all. His mouth twisted into an unpleasant smirk. This time he wouldn’t fail. This time they’d practically beckoned him forth.

He reached downtown Prairie Oaks, and as he traversed its sidewalks, a glass door swung open in front of him. Along with the earthy aroma of coffee drifted something else. He halted his steady gait and swiveled his head to peer inside. Shooting through the collection of people, his gaze landed on two women. Both of them were middle aged; one was modestly plump while the other was of a leaner build. The latter was the one he sensed. There was nothing in her appearance to set her off from anyone else—thick waves of caramel-colored hair ending just below her shoulders, medium complexion with a dusting of makeup over straight, long features—but there was no mistaking that she could suit his purpose.

While he watched her laugh and talk with her friend, the door swung shut and then open again. This time he detected something new amid the warm air seeping out from the shop, something exceedingly unwelcome. He shuddered and moved on. He had plenty of time; there was no need to jump on the first possibility to present itself…particularly if that possibility came mixed with complications.


Thank you so much for having me over, D.L. I'm looking forward to WRiTE Club 3.0!



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