Monday, December 14, 2009

Excerpt Monday

Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site or click on the banner above.

This is my second month with Excerpt Monday. It's an excerpt from the First Kiss contest that I am a finalist in. (Rankings to be determined sometime in January I believe.) Sarah snuck out of the house to escape Ethan, and she is coming home to find him waiting for her. So, this is the lead up to Ethan and Sarah's first kiss.

“Do you have any idea what has been going through my mind today?”

Sarah tried to swallow, but something obstructed her throat.

“You lead me to believe that you’re in your room, making phone calls, taking a bath.” His voice hit her ears like broken glass. “You actually leave a recording of your voice on your computer. You sneak out your freaking window, and climb a tree. A fucking tree. All for what? I’d like to know what was so important that you couldn’t wait for me, couldn’t take me. Your bodyguard, the guy who is supposed to keep you safe.”

She tilted her chin up a bit more, in defiance, but realized how close it put her lips to Ethan’s. She wouldn’t back off now. “You can quit, you know. Tell your boss at the security firm I’m too difficult. Tell him I’m a bitch. Better yet, tell my father, he’ll believe you. I don’t care, tell him anything.” Just get the snitch out of her life.

“I don’t quit. This is my job. You know, the thing normal people do to make a living?”

Sarah huffed a bit. He acted like she was taking a weekly allowance from her father instead of working her ass off in the studio every day. “Well, I guess you have to deal with me then.” She waved her hand as if to dismiss him, but he caught her upper arm before she could walk off.

“I’m serious, Sarah. Where were you?”

She looked down at his hand around her arm, the strong fingers wrapped all the way around her bicep. The heat of his hand sent tingles of awareness up and down her arm, and she suddenly realized just how male Ethan was, and how female his size made her feel.

“I was somewhere, and that somewhere wasn’t here. Isn’t that enough?” She struggled to keep hold of her indignation, when the guilt was rising to the surface.

Ethan breathed in deep, and then a confused look washed away the obvious anger and frustration that had been planted there. “What is that smell?”

Sarah bemoaned the fact that she hadn’t slipped back into her room via the fire escape so she could shower. “I don’t know.” It wasn’t convincing, even to her own ears.

Ethan bent his head and inhaled again. “Turpentine? Is that turpentine?”

“No.” It came out too quickly, too defensively.

He smiled, a bit like a shark spotting a school of slow minnows, and uncurled his fingers from her arm. “It is turpentine. Now what in the world would Sarah Blakely be doing all day that would involve her smelling like turpentine?”

Think quickly. “Obviously rolling around in it.” God, why was she having to fight the urge to trust this man? The last time she trusted her bodyguard, it bit her in the ass. Only idiots make the same mistake twice.

“You know, part of a bodyguard’s job is discretion. You don’t have to keep sneaking around just to keep something under wraps.” His face was somber, his eyes almost pleading with her to believe him.

She ached to tell him, just let him see. Show him why she had to escape, what she had to do to keep herself sane. Show him a side of her nobody else go to see, a side her father didn’t want to know about. But she wouldn’t.

“Forget it.” She tugged her arm, and he let go without a fight. A red haze covered her eyesight, and a low buzz was starting in her ears. She poked a finger into his chest, but found it was simply a wall that wouldn’t budge. “This arrangement is not by choice. You had your warning that I wasn’t going to cooperate. So don’t expect me to.”

Emboldened by the fact that Ethan wasn’t putting up a fight, she moved toward him to prove her point. “My secrets have nothing to do with your job.” She accentuated her words with a jab of her finger to his chest again. “My life has nothing to do with your job.” Another poke. The buzzing was louder. “Your job is pointless to me. Just quit!” Rage overruling her judgment, she pushing him with the palm of her hand and spinning on her heel to walk to her room. Unsurprisingly, he snagged her wrist to stop her.

“Whoa, whoa. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” The unanticipated words put a halt to her exit faster than any physical hold.

“You’re…what?” Sarah pivoted back around, blinking, not sure she heard correctly.

Ethan rubbed the back of his neck, and let her wrist drop from his other hand. “I didn’t mean to wind you up. I’m trying to do my job. I’m hoping you can appreciate that. And I’m doing my best to understand that this isn’t what you want.”

Sarah wanted to see him as a reasonable man. The desire to explain to him sat heavy in her stomach, a weight she was desperate to relieve. Instead, she tamped down the urge.

“Just stay out of my way. I don’t know what my father’s deal was when he hired you. But he didn’t consult me, as usual. That, in effect, means I don’t care for your presence in my life. If that offends you, so be it.”

Ethan took a step toward her. Though Sarah knew she could easily move away and escape his body heat, she chose not to. She didn’t know why, except that there was almost a sort of comfort from his closeness.

“Can’t you accept that my being here, in your life right now, is for your own good?” He said the words almost pleadingly, as if he wanted her to understand.

She shook her head. “No. I won’t accept this. This isn’t what I want. This added control, it’s not for me. I’m not a child, and my father lost his authority over me long ago.” Except they were still here, having this conversation, which was a testament to how much authority her father really did wield over her still. It drove her crazy.

For a moment, Sarah thought she saw something light Ethan’s face. Was it pity? Understanding? Confusion? It drew her, that flicker of humanity. And for a moment she forgot that he was up-tight, that he was a product of her father’s high-handedness, that he was here taking away her freedom. She forgot to guard her heart, and she simply wanted. Wanted to ignore caution and just move with emotion, move with the fact that her body was craving his heat. Wanted

She looked up into his eyes, and saw that he was reading her mind. He looked…hungry. Something they had in common, finally. Both hungry for something, and both knowing they should leave it buried. So why, if she knew better, was she pressing forward, drawing her right up under his chin?

Neither spoke, but Sarah could hear their breathing, both deep and a little unsteady, as if they had both run a race. Who won the race was anyone’s guess.

“Nobody wants to take away your freedom, you know,” Ethan said. His voice sounded husky, and it sent a chill down her spine. She resisted the urge to shiver.

“Feels like it, especially when I have you as a reminder that I’m always looking over my shoulder.” She was a little embarrassed to realize she was breathless. Sarah wanted to look away, break eye contact, but for some reason she couldn’t. Those eyes, so surprising in their blue clarity, kept her gaze locked.

“I don’t want to be that kind of reminder.” Ethan shook his head, and Sarah’s lips tingled as if he had brushed his mouth across hers. She wanted…she felt herself lifting on her toes, like some invisible puppeteer was guiding her with strings. Part of her wanted Ethan to step away, and a shameful part of her was relieved when she noted his head dipping slightly to meet her.

Right before Ethan’s lips touched hers, a sound penetrated the spell…a small voice in her mind that told her this was the worst idea possible. Ethan was a man who liked control; Sarah was a woman who liked to live in the moment, act on impulse, let her creative muse move her. A man like Ethan would stifle her, make her forget who she was.

Not to mention the fact that he was probably reporting her every move to her father.

She jumped back, ran a hand through her hair and did her best to control her rapidly beating heart. She glanced up at Ethan, and realized that was a mistake, when her goal was to settle herself down.

Ethan’s face was set. His jaw was clenched and his eyes were intense. She shivered, and at that moment she knew exactly what he was thinking. And God help her, she was thinking the same thing. She reached her arms behind her and placed her palms on the closed front door. Ethan’s eyes read the challenge, that she wasn’t willing to give in to his whim without being convinced, and she saw that he was willing to pick up the gauntlet.

He paced forward, and she knew he was giving her the chance to leave, to back out, escape. Her mind whispered that she should leave, but her body screamed for her to stay. She didn’t move, couldn’t move, all while he prowled up to stand in front of her. She tipped her head back to meet his gaze, cursing that she wore flip flops instead of heels.

Ethan placed his hands on the door beside her shoulders, caging her between his arms. Despite the dominant position, she knew instinctively that if she said the word, he would let her go. And it was only with that knowledge that she had the courage and fortitude to lift on her tip toes and brush a light kiss on his mouth, breaking contact as her heels came back down to the floor.

She had been careful not to touch him in any way except for her lips. His body hummed with restraint. But even though she knew it was a thin line, she chose to cross it by placing her hands gently on either side of his face, feeling the scrape of the bristle he hadn’t shaved off that morning.

She waited for a sign that he wanted her to stop or that he wanted her to continue, but his eyes gave away nothing. She couldn’t stand not knowing. Before she could think, before she could second guess, she whispered, “What do you want?”

Links to other Excerpt Monday writers

Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back to Rom Com

Well, my First Kiss entry was edited, critiqued, edited some more, critiqued some more, and then polished up more. Gotta say, there were some great pieces of advice in there. Which, if I return to Sarah and Ethan any time soon, would definitely help the story out. But other comments made me crack up, just proving how subjective reading/judging is.

For example: One judge said that she liked we could see both points of view in the ten pages. The other said they felt it was a cop out and not to do it. hahahaha

In the end, the entry was given my best, it's turned in to go to the final judge, and that's all I can hope for. I do think the edits will help out a lot. But I'm sure the competition for the top 3 is stiff so, who knows. It's just nice to have been chosen for the final 6.

In other news...
I like goals. They really help me stay on track. So my goal now is to complete the romcom manuscript I'm working on (full length, shooting for 85-100K) and ready to submit by the time my husband gets home. That gives me until about the first-ish of May. So, around 4.5 months. I think that's a good time length. Sure it might take longer, but this is my goal. I've already got about 15K written, and the whole thing is loosely plotted, so I'm not pantsing it. But there it is.

I wish I could get to Nationals this year with a completed manuscript to pitch, plus the conferences and classes I would like to take advantage of. But with a baby and an unreliable husband (not personally, but professionally he could be called in to work at any point, WHEN he's home) it wouldn't work out. So, maybe next year.

Look tomorrow for my next installment of Excerpt Monday! yay!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Nano was a....bust.

haha Alright not really. I made it to about 31K. Missing those 5 days for Thanksgiving travel really put me back and I just realized that I wouldn't catch up, no matter how many all-nighters I pulled. Plus, let's face it...I'm not in college anymore. I have a baby and a dog and, uh...stuff to get up in the morning for. So all-nighters are no longer an option.

But the good thing is that I like the direction my story is heading. I've found that I'm a little stronger currently in Brett's voice than I am in Christina's, but that's okay for now. I've received some very nice compliments from the gals in chat on Romance Divas, and that's always an encouragement.

More encouragement, I found that I am in the final 6 for the First Kiss Contest, held by RWA's New England Chapter. I can't remember how many entries there were, but my 10 page scene where Ethan and Sarah (my other story) first kiss made it into the finals. Now it goes before the final judge for the rankings to see who placed in the top 3. I was mostly just happy to get my entry back with comments on how I can improve. But to be in the final 6 is a definite self-esteem boost! :)

For December's Excerpt Monday post, maybe I'll post the kiss scene. :)

Have a good weekend!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Halfway through Nano

Ah, yes. That halfway point in Nano where I start to panic and realize that if I fall behind now, it's not going to be pretty trying to catch up.

I am currently at 30K total. I started another short story (more for practice) and that ended up at 25K. Now I am on to my romantic comedy that I plotted most of October for. It's still currently untitled (I hate thinking of titles!) and it's about two high school coaches.

The head football coach (Brett) is an ex-NFLer who came back to his hometown after he had one concussion too many and was forced to quit playing the sport he loved. The end of his career was the end of his marriage, as he realized his wife wasn't in it for him so much as for being Mrs "The Wall" and the status that came with it. He's vowed to avoid another gold digger/status whore/pro sports groupie if it's the last thing he'd do.

Christina (Chris) took the open girls' tennis coaching spot. The team's lack of funding (along with every other sport that doesn't start with "foot" and end in "ball") forces her to crusade for more evenly distributed funding. Oh, did I mention she just got out of her relationship with an NHL stud? The unsupportive a-hole showed her that jocks were only out for #1...or whatever number was on the back of their jersey.

I'm only 6K in with this one, they just met and I'm getting some very interesting layers from these two. I'm thinking this one will be a full novel, aiming at 90-100K.

Most importantly, I think I did find my niche. I thing romcom (or romantic comedy) is for me.

Maybe for EM next month I'll have an excerpt of what I'm working on. Still need a working title for this sucker too!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Excerpt Monday

Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You=2 0don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site or click on the banner above.

This is my first try at Excerpt Monday, and I’m very excited to be grouped together with these other great writers. What an awesome idea this is! Definitely click on the link to see what others have to offer.

This excerpt is from a manuscript that I have, for now, set aside to work on my Nano project. But I plan on returning to Ethan and Sarah soon.

Setup: Sarah is the governor’s daughter. He has hired a bodyguard (Ethan) to keep watch over her, and she resents the intrusion on her life, vowing to get rid of him in any way possible.

Sarah and Ethan have gone to a bar, and she is determined to shake him loose. After a romp on top of the bar, Ethan is pissed that his job has become exponentially difficult.

“What the hell was that?” he shouted.

Sarah shrugged nonchalantly. “Just having some fun.” Fun that she was well aware would be talked about for days in the paper and in blogs. Oh well, nothing new there.

Ethan grabbed her wrist and tugged. “We’re going. Now.”

Sarah gasped as she was pulled behind Ethan, and attempted to relieve her arm from the strong grip. “No we’re not. At least I’m not. I haven’t even paid my tab!”

“Pay it later. I’m sure he knows you’re good for it.”

“No!” She wrenched her arm from his grasp. “I am not leaving without paying, and without checking with Micki.” She stalked back to the bar, trying to hide the feeling of panic she had been engulfed by, trying to hide the tremor of her hands as she dug into her wallet for the envelope with her usual payment.

“Dale!” She waved, relieved to see that her hand looked steadier than it felt. “Dale, I’m closing out!” She slid the envelope across the bar to him and he looked at Ethan.

“You alright, doll? If you don’t want to go…”

She smile, trying to reassure him with confidence she didn’t feel. “No, Dale that’s sweet but no. I’m fine, I swear. Really.” She turned to find Micki, surprised to see her still making moon eyes with Beanpole.

“Micki! I’m leaving! Do you need a ride?”

Micki’s eyes barely left her companion’s. “No, I’m good.”

“Call me later, when you get home!”

“M’kay.” Sarah could have been a brick wall for all the attention she was receiving from her friend.

Sarah stalked past Ethan and out the door like a woman on a mission, determined to not break stride or give him a reason to pull her. It’s not that she wasn’t ready to go…she hadn’t really been jazzed to go to the bar in the first place. The bar scene wore thin years ago for both her and Micki.

But that wasn’t the point. It was the principle of the thing, and she was damned if she would let Ethan know she had been ready to leave already. The only good thing was, his insistence on their leaving was a sure sign of his anger at her actions. Excellent.

He whirled her around when they reached the car, and the fire she saw in his eyes made her think that excellent was a bit of an overstatement. If looks could kill, she would no longer need a bodyguard, because she’d already be six feet under.

“What. The. Hell. Was. That?” he said through clenched teeth.

Sarah batted her eyes and gave her best innocent look. “Just having some fun. It’s what we do.” At least, it’s what everyone expects.

“You’re under protection. Did you ever think how easy it would be for someone to take you out like that? How easy it would have been for someone to grab your leg and pull you down? You could have hurt yourself, minimum.” His face was contorted by rage.

But really, he was overreacting a little, wasn’t he? Wait, why did she care if he was overreacting? This was exactly what she wanted. So why did she feel partly guilty, and partly angry at his expected reaction?

“Dale would have stopped it. He looks out for us.” She forced a flippant inflection to her tone.

“Dale was stuck behind a bar. Fat lot of good that would have done you if someone hauled you off out a back door.”

Sarah struggled to keep cool, to act indifferent. “Look, you told me yourself you’re not here to be my social director. This is how I roll, so if this disturbs you, then you can resign.”

“No.” His resolve was frightening.

“Well, then I guess you’re stuck with my horrid behavior.” She moved to pat his cheek in that condescending manner that drove men like him nuts, but he grabbed her wrist before she could. His grip was strong, unbreakable. She didn’t even bother struggling.

“Listen up, little girl,” he said with venom. “I’m here to do a job. I have never resigned, and I’m not going to now. I have never failed, and I won’t start. So you’re going to learn that any trick you throw at me, I’ll catch. I won’t give in to a spoiled brat. I’m not leaving.” His eyes were flashing, the fire in his gaze an interesting contradiction to his ice blue eyes. He never blinked.

It was then that Sarah realized how close they were. His body was right up against hers, as she sagged against the side of her car. Body heat radiated off of him like flames, scalding her. Her breasts felt heavy, and she wondered if he could feel her nipples, which had tightened into hard points, through her top. Sarah was still breathing deeply with the effort of power walking in heels, and Ethan’s breath was coming fast from rage.

It was the most intimate of portraits. And it was exactly what Sarah had wanted to avoid. She had to diffuse the situation, and quickly.

She leaned up on her tip toes, proud that she estimated Ethan wouldn’t back off, wouldn’t give ground. Her breasts slid up his chest seductively, and she had to fight the sexual pull it gave her low in her stomach. This was business.

Sarah reached until right before her lips would have touched Ethan’s, and noticed his breath had started to become a bit unsteady. Good. She turned her head right before their lips met and came over to his ear and breathed, heating his ear. She let her tongue dart out and delicately touch his lower lobe. And when she heard his breath hitch, she smiled to herself.

She had no clue what Ethan was preparing himself for, but it certainly wasn’t what she planned.

Sarah took another breath, let the air brush over his ear, then whispered, “Bite me,” seconds before her knee came up and made contact with his groin.

Ethan let out a painful grunt and released her wrist, folding over, but not falling to his knees as she would have liked. Sarah turned and walked around to the driver’s side, opened the door and slid in. She started the car and rolled down the passenger window. Feeling safer and more herself in the car, she knew she could taunt him again.

“Come on bodyguard boy. Let’s go. You can play with yourself later.”

Thanks for reading my excerpt with Sarah & Ethan. Now, if you have time, click on the banner above or below to check out all the other wonderful writers who have signed up for today's Excerpt Monday. And let me know what you think with a comment!

Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Coming up this Monday...

I will be participating in my first ever Excerpt Monday!

Excerpt Monday is a great idea where a few writers got together and wanted to create a place for authors to link posts to excerpts of their work. One blog can take you to several different writers and you can sample all of their work. Pretty cool idea, right?

So on Monday morning, my first Excerpt Monday post should be up. (I hope!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy (almost) Halloween!

I was sent this cute picture, which is extra funny because my daughter's name is actually Ruth.

And yeah, there are some days I would love to give her away to gypsies! :) A witch would do, though.

(No, but really, I do love my child. Swear! haha)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The great thing about deployments...

Surprised by the title? Aren't I supposed to be over in a corner weeping and rocking myself back and forth while curled up in fetal position? For the next 6 months?


Deployments, while a drain emotionally at times, can be a beautiful thing. Do they have their low points? Absolutely. If I could have my husband home at all times, I would. So don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm sitting here going "Oh, if only this deployment could last forever!" Not quite.

But at the same time, why not embrace the great points of a deployment?

1. The house stays cleaner. Way cleaner. Without my husband's uniforms everywhere, his socks draped over lamp shades, making the bathroom three times as dirty, and spilling food all over the place, it's way easier to pick up after just me! (He's really not a disgusting pig, but he's a man. haha A man's man, who just doesn't realize it sometimes.)

2. I have more motivation to get projects done around the house. Organizing the dreaded office closet, attacking the stove, banishing dirt from the garage. All things on my list while he's gone.

3. It's a great way to spend time bonding with my child. When he's home, she is a daddy's girl, all the way. (Ungrateful creature, who carried you for nine months, I ask?!) But now, it's my turn.

4. Last, but absolutely not least, my writing has grown leaps and bounds just since he left a month ago. I mean, seriously. Weird, isn't it? But the stress sometimes just pushes me to write. Emotions tend to be a little more raw without my helpmate to bounce them off of, and you have to channel that energy somewhere. So, pen to paper. (Or, rather, fingers to keyboard.)

There's nothing quite like a bout of anger because you have to hire someone to fix something your husband would take care of in five minutes to make writing a good fight scene easier. Missing him, wishing he could snuggle up with me in front of the TV translates into a beautiful love scene. Having a good laugh at my own expense because something ironic just went wrong turns into a slapstick moment.

This doesn't even include the practical fact that without him here, why bother going to bed early? I don't have anyone to talk to after the baby goes down for the night, so why not write (or pretend to write while chatting in the diva's chat room)? I literally just have more time, period. Not that he didn't respect my writing when he was here, but you do tend to spend time with your spouse when they're present. :)

There's no point in fighting the feelings that wash over you rapid fire during a deployment (or any long separation from your helpmate) so why bother? Go with it. I've learned to let it work for me.

Here's to 6 more months of inspiration!!! :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Balancing Act

I'm finding the balance between getting a good amount of writing or writing-esque work done and keeping the house running smoothly and caring for my daughter to be somewhat challenging.

Some days are good. The house manages to stay clean, the dishes are done, the baby had a good day and I got a nice chunk of writing done. Others are pathetic. A tornado swept through the house, the cat broke a lamp, the baby is grumpy and I wrote three sentences that I'll probably end up deleting tomorrow. On these days, the only thing I can do is turn in early, hit the reset button, and try again the next day.

It might be because I'm doing this on my own. Who knows? With my husband deployed, he's not here to help out with chores or watching the baby while I take off for a few hours to write uninterrupted. It's frustrating at times, exhausting at others.

But, there's no point in dwelling on what can't be changed. I just have to figure it out, make it work (as Tim Gunn would say) and do the best I can.

Hopefully, the best I can includes being published and raising a happy, healthy daughter!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Hello all!

My name is Jeanette Murray, and I am an aspiring romance novelist. I write contemporary, mostly comedy and suspense. I am currently unpublished, but definitely looking to change that!

I am 25 years old, married with one beautiful daughter. My husband is a Marine, so we move quite a bit. We are currently in North Carolina. The traveling and time alone through deployments has definitely been an inspiration for writing. You meet so many different people and experience so many different things.

Well, that is all I can think of for now. Have a good day!