WIPpet Wednesday: To Ask a Question

It’s Wednesday again, and you know what that means!  Time for another little bit of my novel and an update on my progress.  If you want to join in the fun, link up here or pop over to K. L. Schwengel’s site and find the linky there.

I’m pretty excited because this novel has been in beta forever and the first draft is finally almost done!  There’s a chapter out now and three more to go.  Meanwhile, I’m trying to get back to writing short/flash fiction for this blog, and I have an old NaNoWriMo novel that I can play around with to improve its quality.  I’m also working my way through my 2014 reading list–my goal is to read only novels that are from authors I’ve never read before.  I have two in my queue and one more I want to buy, two of which are self-published.  I’m aiming for a dozen new books this year…we’ll see how that goes!  Obviously, I’m looking for 9 more, so if you have a novel out and you want to plug it, feel free to do so in the comments.

Now for my WIP.  When we last left Phin, he was about to get down with Gia and the old folks.  Today, he seems to have other ideas about what he and Gia might do for some…er…extracurricular fun.  That is, if he isn’t already smitten with someone else (or maybe even if he is).  My WIPpet math: (29-1)/14=2, so 2 paragraphs from the next section.


He would take her home and walk her to her door, where she might coyly suggest he come in for a bit. They would pretend to watch a movie while they made out on her couch. They wouldn’t have sex; she wouldn’t want to, and he wouldn’t pressure her. But she wouldn’t turn him down if he offered her pleasure with his hands and his mouth. She might be willing to return the favor. The thought made him stir a little; it had been too long since he’d enjoyed mutual stimulation. When they were through, they would finish the movie, half watching, leaning against each other. In the quiet place after orgasm, if he asked the right questions and offered her just enough to draw it out, he might be able to find out who knew about his father’s company and how much information they had.

They reached the bottom of the hill and Gia turned to him expectantly. All it would take was a few simple words, but they stuck in Phin’s throat. Even studying her lovely face and her open, warm hazel eyes, he was torn. He knew that she understood this wasn’t permanent—just two people, crossing paths. He also knew that it was just a job. But something nagged a little; something made him hesitate. For the first time, he wasn’t sure he wanted to resort to his old methods. A memory of the night before, of Alex offering a tentative genuine smile, came unbidden. He didn’t want to entertain thoughts about what it would take to court Alex’s trust the way he had already started to with the women because if he did, he was afraid he might want it to mean more than a business transaction. Heading down that path was far too painful.


And there you have it.  That’s certainly one way to get information out of someone.  Hey, I never said Phin was the most scrupulous person.  Happy Wednesday, everyone!


WIPpet Wednesday: Dance Fever

Hooray!  It’s Wednesday again, and you all get a BONUS!  In addition to today’s installment of WIPpet, you can also read the first 3 parts of my new short story series, Taboo (also linked at the right under Story Series).  Warning: The series features lots of implied sex, and not all of it is your typical married missionary position type (which is kind of the point of the series anyway).

Anyhow, today is the 22nd, so you get 4 lines (2+2) of the next chapter.  Enjoy!


Léon Bazille Perrault [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It took several minutes to find Gia’s dance class, but when Phin finally located it and peered through the window in the door, he had to laugh; he understood why Alex had poked fun at her. He had no idea what exactly she and her class were doing, but somehow, it involved three elderly women and two elderly men hopping around to the beat of something vaguely techno-punk. Whatever it was, it didn’t look like any traditional form of dance he had ever seen. He watched for another minute or two until the song ended then knocked on the door.


And there you have it!  I can’t decide if I feel sorry for Phin getting sucked into so many odd things or whether I think he kind of deserves it.  You be the judge.  Happy writing, everyone!

WIPpet Wednesday: Dinner

Woo hoo!  It’s Wednesday, so that means I can share the latest installment of my WIP.  If you’re writing along, come share with us and add it here.

Today is 1/15/14, so here are 14 lines from the 15th scene.  I promise, Phin is only an ass to adults.  I honestly couldn’t write a character who is nasty to small children, probably because I just don’t understand that level of heartlessness.  (I get not liking kids; I just don’t know why people have to be horrible to them.)


By Joe Mabel (Photo by Joe Mabel) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Without stepping any closer, Phin crouched down to be closer to the boy’s eye level. “Do you remember me? I was in your class today.” The boy nodded, and Phin continued, “What’s your name?”

“Jake,” he whispered.

“It’s nice to meet you, Jake. Is it okay if I help you with the table?”

The boy shrugged, and Phin stood up. He took a stack of plates from the counter and carried them to the table. He looked back over his shoulder at Jake, who stood next to Dani and tugged on her arm. She leaned down toward him.

“Mama, that’s the man from school today,” he said. “He played the rubber chicken game with us.”

“Rubber chicken game?” Dani asked, peering over Jake’s head at Phin.

Phin chuckled. “Cross between tag, dodge ball, and capture the flag, only with rubber chickens.” He shook his head. There was no escape from endless activities involving farm fowl.

The boy giggled. “I got him twice,” he said. His eyes widened, and he clapped a hand over his mouth. He looked at Phin, who nodded and winked. Jake relaxed.

“Did you?” Dani asked. She glanced up at Phin again. “Hm.” She smiled.

Behind him, Phin heard someone laugh softly. He turned around and found himself face to face with Alex. “Yeah, it’s hilarious,” Phin said, making a face.

“It is,” Alex agreed. “I have to admit, I’m impressed you participated.”

“When in Rome,” Phin replied. “Just getting a sense of what it’s like from the kids’ perspective.” He called to Dani, “Anything else I can do to help?”

Without preamble, she handed him a basket of dinner rolls. While everyone was busy preparing the table, the doorbell rang. This time, Alex answered. Phin glanced over to see Alex showing Gia and Eunice in. He raised his eyebrows. Dinner had turned into quite a gathering.


The game I referenced is real.  My son has played it at school, but I can’t remember what it’s actually called–he just refers to it as rubber chicken tag.

WIPpet: More Chickens

I almost forgot! But here I am with another WIPpet.  In case you’ve forgotten over the last 3 weeks, this is a little bit of our works-in-progress.  Add your own here, and don’t forget to read the other wonderful entries!

Today, I have 14 lines of dialogue (because this is the first WIPpet of 2014).  Just for context, my main character, Phin Patterson, is an educational consultant.  He’s observing classroom practices of a school in a small town in the Southern Tier of NY.  In this scene, he’s observing a lesson in which a kindergarten teacher has read a story about a woman who rescues chickens and has a couple as pets.*  She’s given her students a related activity, and Phin finds himself drawn in and paired with an enthusiastic student.


By Kate Sheets from Izmail, Ukraine (Fuzzy Chicken) [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

“You can be my partner,” she informed him.  “Ms. Scuderi says everyone participates, even if it’s just a picture.”

Startled, Phin replied, “All right. But I’ll need a pencil. Do you have an extra?”

The girl pointed to a cup on the table. “There’s some in there.” She leaned a little closer and said in a loud whisper, “They’re for people who don’t remember to bring one.”

When they had finished, the girl examined Phin’s work and said, “You draw pretty good.”

He smiled. “I’ve had a lot of practice.”

“Does your chicken have a name?” the girl asked.

“Hm…I’m not sure,” he admitted. “I didn’t give him one.”

“Are you sure it’s a him? Because I think it’s maybe a girl chicken. It doesn’t look like a boy.”

Phin laughed. “You got me. Maybe it is a girl. What should we call her?”

The girl looked thoughtful. “Dandelion,” she said.


“Yeah. Look, she has one of those fuzzy heads, like the one in the book. It looks like a dandelion.”

“Sounds good.” Phin took his pencil and wrote on the lines below the picture, “Mr. Patterson and his pet chicken, Dandelion.”

The girl giggled. “Good job,” she said.


*The book is real.  It’s called City Chickens, by Christine Hepperman.  I’ve read it with my own daughter.

WIPpet Wednesday: Cautionary Tale

I’m a day late due to illness; winter colds just suck.  Today’s WIPpet is 18 lines (yesterday was the 18th) from the next chapter of the novel.  You can follow along with the other WIPpet-ers and add your own.  Be sure to read them–there is fantastic stuff in there!

I called this one “Cautionary Tale” as the warning not to store your entire life on your iPhone.  Let’s hope Phin learned his lesson.


By ALT1040 from Blogosfera (Cropped by uploader from This is madness! (pt. 2)) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By ALT1040 from Blogosfera, via Wikimedia Commons

Frustrated, Phin tossed the phone onto his bed and stood there in his towel, still wondering who might have had reason to snoop in his phone. While he was puzzling over it, there was a knock on the door. He called, “Who is it?”

“It’s me, Vic,” came the reply.

Phin barely restrained himself from stomping over to the door. As it was, he hauled it open forcefully. Vic looked Phin up and down and snickered. “What, no time to get dressed?” he asked.

“Oh, shut up,” Phin grouched. “It’s been a rough day. What do you want, anyway?”

“You didn’t stop by the desk on your way in, so I came to see if you got Dani’s invitation.” He crossed his arms.

“Yes, I did, and I’ll be there, fully clothed. Was there something else? Because I need to put something on.”

“Go right ahead,” Vic suggested. His lips twitched.

Phin glared at him. “In private.”

Vic laughed. “It’s not like there’s anything I haven’t seen before. How long were we friends? I was actually just going to ask how things were going, but I guess whatever I want to say to you can wait until you’re not half-naked.”

“Fine. Then get out.” Phin ran a hand through his damp hair. He wasn’t being fair to Vic, and he knew it. He relaxed his posture. “Wait. I’m sorry. It’s just that I misplaced my phone this morning, and by the time I got it back, someone had looked through it. I have no idea how much other information they managed to get, but my contacts list was open to my father’s number. Someone knows.”

Vic’s eyes widened. “I swear, I didn’t tell a soul. You know I wouldn’t. I already told you I can’t get involved in that again.”

“I know. That’s why it’s so weird. I’ve been trying to figure out who might want to know about that.  If anyone makes the connection, I’m screwed.”


WIPpet Wednesday: Detective Work

By Wordbuilder (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

It’s time for another installment of my WIP.  This week, we join my other MC as she tries to figure out just what the heck is going on.  For some context, she found Phin’s phone and did some snooping, and now she’s using what she learned to do a bit of detective work.  This scene was my husband’s idea–does that say something about him that he would go digging around if he found a phone belonging to his possible nemesis?  Anyway, this is 11 sentences from the 12th scene of the story (today is 12/11).  I’d have done it the other way around, but I posted from the 11th scene last week.

If you want to play along (and I hope you do!) post a bit of your WIP (your snippet must have an association with the date) and link up here.  Be sure to read the others; there are some absolutely fantastic WIPs to enjoy.


Dani opened up one of the tabs on her browser. She had done a quick search for Donald Murdock’s name, hoping for more information besides his position with the Department of Education. She hadn’t been expecting to find much, but when she saw his name associated with a school district in the Albany area, she clicked the link.

By the time she was three sentences in, she was frowning. Murdock appeared to have been involved in the conversion of several elementary schools into charters. That wasn’t uncommon; with the new standards, many schools had failed to pass. Closing and reopening as charter schools was among the valid options. The problem was that Murdock seemed to have had a hand in at least three districts converting multiple schools to charters. Dani wasn’t sure if that was strange or not, but she decided it warranted further investigation.

It wasn’t until she clicked the link about Lorne Patterson’s company, EduText, that she made the connection. A news report from two years prior showed Patterson at the ribbon-cutting of a brand-new charter school near Buffalo.

WIPpet Wednesday: Chicken Not-So-Big

Happy Wednesday!  Adding another snippet of my WIP today.  Join in and add your own link, and don’t forget to read the other posts.

Today’s excerpt is 4 lines of dialogue (today is 12/4).  Enjoy!


By Charles M. Sauer via Wikimedia Commons

Phin pulled open the door to see Alex standing there. He groaned. “Can I help you?”

It was obvious from the way Alex’s lips twitched that he was trying not to laugh. He leaned closer and whispered, “What happened to you? Get in a fight with a feather duster?”

“No,” Phin said through clenched teeth. “I helped put chicks back in their pens. Why the hell are there live farm animals here in the school?”

“No idea. Must be Jean’s idea of teaching the kids about the life cycle.” Alex straightened up and raised his voice. “Would you mind getting Carlie Roberts for me? I need to see her for a moment.”