He pressed his full, warm lips against mine so hard that my words of protest were stifled. And then he was swiftly gone, slipping down the dark tunnel and disappearing into the shadows.
You cannot leave, I think, my soul weeping for him. They will catch him surely, and they will know what he has done. To think the king would show any sympathy would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.
I must stop him. The thought rings through my head more clearly than anything I’ve ever known. Whatever the cost, I must stop him.
I don’t hesitate, but rather, I plunge into the darkness after him, feeling along the walls, heading straight to the dungeons of the castle.
It was hot the day we met. You had a thin line of sweat above your brow, and I remember thinking you tasted like the ocean when we kissed.
One too many margaritas under the sun is what happened.
You were riding your board along the shallow surface of the water close to shore, and I was lounging under an umbrella because I didn’t want to risk frying in the sun. I remember seeing you fall – that’s when you caught my eye. You went crashing into the sand, rolling, and then you hopped back up with a broad smile on your face as your friends laughed and jeered.
You shook it off, sticking your surfboard nose-first into the sand at a sharp angle, then floating over to the nearest drink shack.
That’s when I got hit with the volleyball.
I cursed loudly, sitting upright and rubbing the top of the head where it’d smacked me. I remember feeling dizzy, but my greatest concern was that I’d spilt my drink all over myself. The guy who came to get his ball didn’t even apologize, and I was glaring at him as I cleaned myself up. I didn’t even see you walk over.
“Here you go,” you said, extending your arm towards me with an oversized margarita in hand.
I’d been drinking mojitos, and I was pretty sure what you were offering me would give me a brain freeze that would amplify my already aching head.
I tried to wave you off, but you sat down in the sand, drinking from one margarita while you held the other, keeping it ready for me, though you didn’t pester or insist.
I asked your name and you said Josh. Of course, it would be Josh. You were like a walking cliché – chiseled abs, golden hair, bronzed skin, and shockingly straight, pearly teeth that went well with your dimples when you smiled.
I told you my name was Amanda, but it wasn’t. You decided to call me Holly instead, and I liked that you thought I looked like a Holly. I liked that you knew by the way I said Amanda that it wasn’t my name.
I liked you.
We stayed at the beach all day, and I remember being surprised that the sky was getting darker – and even more surprised that we were surrounded by empty cups that, at one point, held a variety of margaritas. We tried every flavor.
You had talked someone into sharing some steak kabobs with us earlier, but I remember feeling hungry then. Famished, actually. You asked me if I wanted to find some cheeseburgers somewhere – that your car wasn’t far.
You were so gloriously beautiful with the wonderful topic of food leaving your lips, and I suddenly found my face very close to yours. I’m sure I’m an expert at timing, but it was nice, nonetheless, that you didn’t flinch away when I smooshed my lips against yours.
You laughed a little, telling me I was tipsy even though you hadn’t moved your lips from mine. Your lips felt rough, like you were dehydrated, and I remember thinking I wanted to lay in the sand and kiss you, so everything felt rough like that.
But then you hoisted me to my feet, helped me gather my things, and lugged our stuff to your car. Your friends were leaving too, and you called to them to grab your board, eliciting more jeers when they saw you were with a girl.
You asked me if I had a phone – whether I wanted to call someone – and I sent a text to my roommate. You opened the passenger door for me, and I slinked towards the seat, but I was worried about the sand.
You came up behind me then, subtle and sweet, and you curled an arm around my waist. “It’s okay,” you murmured into my ear. “I’ll clean it later.” You tossed a towel across the seat anyways to make me feel better, and I turned and kissed you again.
This time you let me. Your breath was like warm strawberries as your lips parted, and you leaned me back against the car. I couldn’t get enough of you, and it was dark enough that no one noticed us. I bit your lip and pressed myself into you, letting your hands roam over me, squeezing gently. I knotted my hands into your hair, and when you cupped my ass and lifted, I gasped, my eyes popping open in surprise.
You grinned at me then, pulling back and shaking your head. “Food,” you reminded me. “And then I have to take you home, please.”
I knew you meant alone. That you wouldn’t be joining me in my bed, even though I could tell you weren’t quite ready to be done with me. But that’s what we did. You bought me a cheeseburger and drove me home, helped me carry my things to the door, and asked me to meet you at noon the next day.
And it was just my luck that something came up, and I never saw you again. I didn’t make it to the beach the following day, but I went every day for a month after that, hoping I’d see you. And I was disappointed every time.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I looked up from an appetizer at dinner three months later, and I see you making your way through the front door of a restaurant, especially since we’re two towns away from where we’d met. And you can understand the absolute panic I felt when I saw the girl next to you, recognized her as the best friend of my date, and realized we were about to be on a double date.
But based on your expression, you’re not panicked at all. No, you seem devilishly pleased that things turned out this way, and your attention seems to be pinned to me as you find your seat across the table.
She knew it before she’d even walked out onto the pier. She could feel it.
But he had promised. No matter how much he hated this little town, no matter how stuck he felt – she didn’t think he would actually leave her. Not again.
She let her feet carry her cross the planks of wood, but her vision glazed. She hardly let herself see the people scattered about – some fishing, a couple linked arm-in-arm as they grinned at each other, a mother giving her child cotton candy from the busy vendor. None of them seemed important. None of them wore his smiling face.
She let herself drift to the very end, and she sat down, letting her feet dangle high above the water. She had been so sure he would stay. Now, she just felt stupid.
Humbled again, it would seem. She would be stuck in this sorry little town forever. Without him. Again.
She waited until the sun started to go down, sitting at the edge of the pier for almost half an hour. Then, when there was little left to do, she pushed herself to her feet and made her way back towards the parking lot.
She was lost in the flow of people, nearly to the start of the pier, when she heard a familiar car lock beeping. Her head jerked up in alarm, her eyes widening in disbelief.
And there he was. Running towards her and shaking his head, his arms half-lifted in a shrug of apology.
She didn’t even hesitate to run to him, and a grin stretched across his face just before he wrapped his arms around her, picking her up and spinning around.
“I couldn’t go,” he says, the words muffled by her hair. “I couldn’t leave this stupid town after all.” He laughed, and when he looked down at her, his eyes were bright, without any sign of doubt.
“You’re staying?” she asked, still disbelieving. “You know all the reasons I can’t leave.”
His eyes softened, and he slipped a hand into her hair, lifting her face to his. “Then we’ll be stuck together,” he says, and he brought his lips to hers, tasting of sun and love and kept promises.
As a writer, I feel it’s important to read constantly, but as a writer with very limited time, it’s hard to give up those precious moments of free time to reading. However, I’m making an effort this year to read more – read more popular books, read more books by friends that deserve more recognition, read outside my typical genres, and read books set in other countries that celebrate other cultures and show parts of the world that I’ve never experienced.
My reading goal is pretty hefty (at least for me) at a book per week. I know some of you surpass this number easily, but as a single mom trying to pursue a career in writing, that’s a pretty big number! We’ll see what happens, but I know I can do it with the right focus.
Whatever your goals are, I hope wonderful books find their way into your lives. Happy Wednesday and happy reading!
If you’re looking to heat up your winter with an adult (18+) romance, check out my series, The Pell Playhouse, available in paperback and FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
Is it determined by time? Is it determined by word count? Are you trying to do a little more than yesterday – or more than last week? Are you keeping track of a larger goal to reach by a later point?
No matter how you break down your goals, it’s good to have a predetermined point to reach to tell yourself, “I did it!” Goal setting can become daunting – especially during the first few weeks of the year – but when you set small, attainable goals, it can be such a rewarding feeling to meet them.
What do I do?
What do I do? I use my Sundays to set a weekly goal (usually my weekly goals are pretty consistent because I break down my year goal into months, then weeks), and then I adjust my goal for the day each morning to make that weekly goal attainable by the end of the week. I also try to reach that weekly goal ahead of time, so I’ll have less work at the end of the week when I want to relax.
At least, that’s what I usually do. If I’m completely honest, the beginning of this year has been a whirlwind so far, and some nights feel like I’m working backwards with how sluggish my brain has felt. This week, I felt like I finally had a break through and have gotten back into my regular flow of writing. Hurray!
So, what was different?
I usually determine my writing goals by setting a specific word count, or if I’m editing, I’ll set a number of pages, chapters, or sections.
This week, I told myself I was going to work on things for at least an hour each night. Having a stopping point that was determined differently from my usual stopping place was so refreshing, and it had taken so much stress off my mind that I could actually write! Such a great feeling!
What should you do to get out of a slump?
Try changing how you set your goals!
If you usually write for a certain amount of time, choose a certain amount of words instead – or vice versa. It’s surprising how much it can free up your mind. You might be shocked by exactly how much stress you’ve put on yourself without even realizing it, and you can always switch back to your old goal setting ways when you’re needing to switch it up again.
Thanks so much for reading, and I’m wishing the best for you on your writing journeys! Don’t forget to love your writing as you work – it’ll shine through in the finished product!
If you’re looking for a hot, steamy romance series (adults, 18+), check out The Pell Playhouse series, on Amazon – FREE with Kindle Unlimited and available in paperback. I’m currently working on book three every day, and it’s getting closer and closer to being complete!
Hope you’re reading some good books and having a happy 2022!
Writing Prompt: Write a short fight scene between two characters, where neither of them say anything negative to each other.
“You’re faster now.” The sweat leaked from his brow as he circled her in the sand. His blade hung low, nearly drawing a line in the ground as he held it behind him, aggression abandoned.
“You’ve gotten stronger,” she replied, but there was a hint of regret within the playful banter. “You were always stronger than me. I’m happy to see that I’ve yet to surpass you.”
“Perhaps we could step back – return to our training days.” It was a long shot, and he knew it. He could see it in her eyes. The determination. The harsh pursuit of the path she’d chosen – the path he should have chose.
“It’s not too late,” she whispered, barely audible over the whisper of winds against the sand. “You would not be an man without loyalty if you turned against a corrupt king.”
Her blade was still gleaming with the blood of his men, crimson dripping into the white sand. Yet there was hope in her eyes – the same hope he’d seen in her face when he took her in as a young girl.
“You have become everything I hoped you would be,” he said, his voice wavering as the words caught in his throat. “Do not hold back, child. I will give you my best, now.”
Understanding shone in her eyes, and her lips pressed tightly together, her face paling. Then, she lifted her blade and shifted her feet, ready.
Their blades came together swiftly, a dancing clash of metal that sang through the day. She was the perfect mirror of him – a student that studied her master to religious extent. The footwork; the angle of his blade. Nothing was foreign to her. So when she made a lethal swipe for his midsection, half a pace faster than what was known, she knew he would fall. She heard the impact as he fell to his knees, and she dared not look over her shoulder.
“Rest peacefully, father,” she said, eyes fixed on the castle before her. “I will right the wrongs of this kingdom in your name.”
There was a soft moaning sound and a thud as he fell into the sand. “You have made me proud, fierce child,” he said, the words strained with effort. “He keeps a dagger on his hip.”
She listened to his last sigh, the way his breath caught and shuddered. There was silence, and she bowed her head, processing the loss. Then, she lifted her attention to the gates ahead, filled with new purpose and loathing.
The king would pay for this one. Yes, the king would pay, indeed.
I think my writing, in general, is less dialogue-heavy than this scene, but I might be obsessed. Is it okay to love your own writing?
If you don’t love it, how can you expect anyone else to?
Originally, I did not think my response would include so much dialogue. I read once, that if your scene can happen without dialogue, let it, and I’ve tried to follow this rule. Whatever was coming to my mind at this point definitely did not follow this rule, and I think that’s okay. Sometimes, you just have to follow your heart… or your mind… or instinct.
What did you come up with? Give the prompt a go! It’s a fun challenge!
It’s here – November! An entire new month, or an entire new chance to reset your goals from the month before if you didn’t quite meet them. Maybe you weren’t even halfway to achieving your last month’s goal because it just seemed so overwhelming.
If your aspiration is to be an author, it’s easy to get discouraged when you see endless indie authors producing several books a year (or traditional authors signing an astounding number of contracts!). You’re still struggling with your initial draft while your social media friend announces her tenth book. If they make it seem so easy, why is it so hard for you?
The good news is, regardless of skill or talent, to finish a book, you really only need a solid plan to make consistent, forward movement. Below are some tips and strategies to help you finish that pesky, overwhelming first draft of your current work in progress.
Determine/Estimate Approximate Word Count
If you’ve never written a book before, you might be completely baffled by this step. Isn’t it about telling a story rather than meeting some minimum word count requirement? Yes, it is, but determining a word count goal will allow you to see your progress and set goals to reach by a time of your choosing. A quick search will show you the breakdown of average word counts for different genres. You might even notice that many people have made charts with this information – and it’s all slightly different numbers. That’s because word count expectations for different genres are just a guide, not a rule.
A lot of first time authors will find it easier to meet a smaller goal, but if you’re dreaming of writing an epic fantasy, there’s nothing stopping you from exceeding those average word count expectations. Just keep in mind that editing should shave off quite a few space-filling words, so your sentences flow smoother. Don’t get discouraged if your word count shrinks! You may even need to eliminate scenes completely if you find they disrupt the flow of the story.
Pick a date that you would like to complete your first draft by, and calculate minimum word count per day.
Now, if you have Scrivener as your writing software (it’s what I use!), you can enter in your word count goal and draft completion date, and it will calculate it for you. It will even adjust the number of words that need to be written that day if you decide to skip a day or two. But if your writing softward doesn’t have that tool, it’s easy to calculate yourself.
Pick your day, choose what days of the week you’re going to write on, and find out how many days you are planning to use as writing days between now and your goal date. (Maybe you can only realistically write four days a week.) Divide your word count goal by the number of days, and that’s how many words you’ll need to write on each of your writing days to meet that goal.
You should be able to tell relatively quickly whether that’s an achievable and realistic goal. You may need to adjust your finishing date if your minimum daily word count is too high – and that’s okay! It may feel like a race, but slow and steady is a safe way to keep yourself from giving up or getting overwhelmed.
Set a time of day.
Whether it’s the morning, evening, in the middle of the day, or split between times, having a specified time of day for writing will help you be more consistent on a regular basis and moving steadily towards your goal.
If reaching a specific word count goal is difficult or overwhelming, choose an amount of time to write instead.
Different approaches may seem daunting to different authors. Perhaps a word count goal makes you feel stressed. Instead, set a timer for a pre-determined amount of time, and write that entire time. Once the timer goes off, give yourself an additional ten minutes to finish up, if possible, and then stop for the day, so you won’t feel overwhelmed or burn out. The goal is consistency. An hour every day will get your further than sporadic days of three to four hours, especially if you go for long periods of time between those lengthy spurts.
So, if you’re noticing dozens – or hundreds – of other authors are reaching their goals, just remember, you have the ability to be one of them, too. Find consistency in your writing life, and you will quickly see a change in your productivity. You’ll be reaching those goals much faster!
Thanks for taking the time to read, and good luck on your writing journeys!
If you’re in the mood for a “spicy” romance series (18+ audience), check out my series on Amazon by clicking here. It’s FREE with Kindle Unlimited and also available in paperback. Happy reading!
It clung to her with a vengeance like a vile creature from hell. Her ears rang with the shrieking, a maddened sound that grew with fury. Clutching her head, she could feel it digging into her brain, little more than a leech determined to prey upon her last shreds of sanity.
So I might have been feeling a little dramatic at two o’clock in the morning.
I’d spent a couple hours working on my WIP (3rd book of my romance series), and I somehow ended up with less words than I started with at the beginning of the night. (Don’t edit until your first draft is done!) I moved on to creating some Instagram posts, and then I wrote this lovely little bit.
Not sure whether I will fit it into a whole story. I definitely have several books outlined that a struggle against insanity would fit into, especially with the implied external factor of a creature or paranormal demon of sorts. Wanted to share it for now, but every time I write something short and sweet (or not so sweet, in this case), I always end up with a whole new story! Maybe I’ll have yet another side project to work on to keep me balanced so my romance projects don’t become redundant.
Read and write outside your genre. My published series (still more to come) is an erotic romance, but most of my projects are high fantasy or paranormal/supernatural stories that alternate between fantasy worlds or an urban world such as ours. I’ve noticed that when I allow myself to spend time writing in more than one genre during the week, my vocabulary is fresher, my sentence structure is more diverse, and I’m more creative in general. Reading also enhances these qualities. I was actually reading Wuthering Heights when I wrote most of my first published book, and if you’ve read it, you’ll know it’s about the farthest thing in the world from that classic.
So if you’re struggling with writers block, feeling redundant, or just want to spruce up your writing in general, take time to write in a different style and read in a different genre.
Thanks for reading!
I appreciate your time! Feel free to browse around and check out the books I have currently available!
Happy writing to you all, and have a wonderful Tuesday (or whenever you see this)!
Sometimes, I stare at the sea and I wonder. I wonder how the stars look from just below the surface. I wonder whether the sea can feel sad. The sea will never kiss the stars, no matter how much their light is reflected in its skin. The sea knows the soul of the stars like we know the backs of our hands. It knows their brightness and radiance and shares it with the world each night, bragging like a hopeful admirer. But the stars don’t appreciate the sea at all. The stars don’t even know the sea exists.
Today, write approximately one hundred words about the sea. It can be educational. It can be fantastical. It can be mystical or horrifying.
If you’re having trouble getting started, search for pictures of the sea , ocean, or bodies of water as inspiration. It’s amazing what other forms of art, such as photography, can do for the art of writing.
What do you do to stimulate your mind when you experience writers block?
If you don’t have a solid method for escape the traps of your own mind, here are some things I do to refresh myself or push through the struggle of writers block.
Spend time outside. It’s a great way to destress. You can also find motivation and inspiration in nature, and pleasant whether has a way of relaxing the body.
Journal or free write. Pick up a pen, and put it to paper. Write whatever words come to mind. If nothing comes, start with “I don’t know what to write.” You may be surprised how more words come to you once you actual go through the motion of writing a few down.
Write the crappy, choppy paragraphs that are making you cringe. If your writing sounds awful, it’s okay. That’s what rough drafts are supposed to be like! I like to call my rough drafts, “crap drafts.” It takes the pressure of the perfection of wording. Even if you think you’re going to have to re-write, scrap, or edit, push through for an hour and then stop for the day. Getting something written down might open up your mind to what you really want to write.
Take a break for the day. Set a timer the next day, and write for thirty minutes. Then, take another break if you need it. You can spare half an hour of suffering for your story to be told one day.
Don’t forget to read.
Try to read daily. Read fiction and non-fiction. Read blogs, read books, read the news. Read anything. But if you’re going to write, you need to read. Writing is the exercise of writers, but reading is their nutrient supply.
My name is Olivia Cook, and I’m dating the proprietor of sexual deviancy amongst the wealthy.
Months into their relationship, Olivia couldn’t be happier. Jack spoils her, teases her, and pleases her while discreetly balancing his work at the Playhouse. But when a Playhouse party becomes a little untamed, Olivia starts to wonder whether she’s enough for the carnal desires of Mr. Jackson Pell.
When Jackson’s past catches up to him, he leaves Olivia wondering where they stand as he tries to regain control of a situation that brings threats of imminent danger to those he cares about. Struggling with confessing more secrets of his past, Jackson seeks to find a way to reconcile with Olivia – without putting her in harm’s way.
But darkness from the past is hiding in the shadows on both sides. Will the world tear them apart? Or will it bring them closer to an unbreakable bond as they face their pasts head on?
Paperback $12.99 eBook *FREE* for Kindle Unlimited subscribers (or $4.99) CLICK HERE to view purchasing options on Amazon.