Super helpful beats guide: Emotional Beats by Nicholas C. Rossis

There’s no better way to introduce this super useful book than give you the author’s book description right away. In the words of Nicholas C. Rossis:

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Publication Date: September 11, 2016

Purchase Links

Ebook: Amazon US Amazon UK

Paperback: Amazon US Amazon UK

Book Description

Because of the way our brains are wired, readers empathize more strongly if you don’t name the emotion you are trying to describe. As soon as you name an emotion, readers go into thinking mode. And when they think about an emotion, they distance themselves from feeling it.

A great way to show anger, fear, indifference, and the whole range of emotions that characterize the human experience, is through beats. These action snippets that pepper dialogue can help describe a wide range of emotions, while avoiding lazy writing. The power of beats lies in their innate ability to create richer, more immediate, deeper writing.

This book includes hundreds of examples that you can use for your inspiration, so that you, too, can harness this technique to easily convert your writing into palpable feelings.

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I don’t know about you, author friends, but when I edit my first draft, one major roadblock I need to overcome is finding fresh ways to show not tell feelings. I write in “deep point of view”, and I can’t have my characters be “surprised”, “sad”, “angry” or “frightened”. But they tend to “look” a lot or express their feelings through their eyes, and it’s only so many times one can “narrow her eyes” or “widen her eyes” before the reader will, well, roll her eyes.

To me, this guide is a life saver. I’m definitely getting it in paperback because I want to be able to physically turn the page to the relevant emotion and see what kind of language beats best portray it. And if you need an example of the wealth of beats included in Emotional Beats, here it is:

Surprise

  • He shot up an eyebrow
  • He whipped his head around
  • She clamped her mouth shut, but her jaw went slack when she saw him. “You!”
  • His face remained a plank of wood, his amazement hidden by a slow breath.
  • His mouth slackened.
  • Her brows shot to her hairline.
  • She slapped a hand over her mouth.
  • He facepalmed.

And that’s just a selection.

Fastest one-click ever! Here are those purchase links again:

Purchase Links: Amazon US Amazon UK

MM Jaye

How to be a Productive Writer at Home: Workplace Organization

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

While stateside today is a day to lay back and feast, for the rest of us it’s business as usual. The “as usual” part can be seriously improved, though, following simple, doable tips. And what’s a better way to digest them than an infographic?

photoToday, I’m pleased to welcome Emily Johnson from Omnipapers.com, a website about writing life of students and everyone who creates content for the Web. Emily also is a contributor to many websites about blogging, writing, and content marketing. She shares her writing experience with others, and you can always find more works of hers on G+.

In this article, she will give us insights on how to boost our writing productivity through paying more attention to the organization side of things. She’s also sharing a great infographic to illustrate her points. Emily, the floor is yours.

How to be a Productive Writer at Home: Workplace Organization

Every writer wants to be creative, innovative, and interesting. The most common way to achieve these goals is to boost productivity. There are many writers who work from home where it’s nearly impossible to stay focused. However, there are several tips that might help you become a productive writer.

In fact, a well-organized workplace impacts your attention, cleverness, and productivity.

While you are thinking about the best ways to organize your workplace, pay attention to OmniPaper’s infographic ‘Your Writing Cabinet Organization’, as here you can find an incredible piece of advice. Keep on reading to reveal more.

Clean Your Writing Desk Up

Being a writer means thinking about new ideas, insights, and creative drafts. A writing desk is an important workplace for all writers. Sometimes you can turn your desk into a messy table where you can’t find anything: drafts, utensils, gadgets, cups, etc. If you want to stay productive and don’t waste time, form a habit to clean up your table every day. Use lockers, boxes, and bookshelves to keep everything organized.

Organize Your Writing Cabinet

The writing process is not just creating drafts and texts, editing, proofreading, and publishing. It is also communicating with clients, setting up goals, learning something new, and boosting inspiration. Thus, you need to divide your workplace into two zones: computer and non-computer ones.

  • A computer zone is for work;
  • A non-computer zone is for inspiration and relax.

Add Comfort

If you want to stay healthy, you need to add some comfort. Your office chair should support the lower back to reduce a risk of health problems. Plus, you need to work standing sometimes to prove upper back and neck pain relief. Take care of your health!

Check out more interesting ideas about workplace organization below. Let’s boost productivity once and for all.
ways to organize your writing cabinet

Definitely not following most of this advice. I have to step up to the plate and become more oganized if I really want to meet my goals for 2016.

Thank you, Emily, and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating!

 

How I wrote 28K words in two days – Guest post by Ivy Sinclair

I got you there, didn’t I? I can picture those of you who know me doing a double-take. It famously took me four years to write my first book, but I’ve been hanging out with a crowd that really really pumps out words, and their attitude towards writing has rubbed off on me.

Ivy Sinclair is the author of shifter suspense and paranormal thriller novels. She published this post of how she churned out 28K words in two days in one of the author groups I follow, and I just had to ask for it. Read through and get inspired. Duplicating her feat sounds next to impossible, but her attitude and determination have inspired me into quadrupling my daily output. Ivy, take it from here:

How I Wrote 28,000 Words in Two Days

by Ivy Sinclair

Greyelf

This post isn’t intended to be a braggery kind of post, but hopefully offer up some helpful tips for any writer who wants to write faster and get a ton of words down on the page. The way I do this isn’t for the faint of heart and isn’t something I just woke up one morning and said “I’m going to be a crazy ass writing fool today.” I write fast- and this just tells you how fast and how much I can write when I’m properly motivated.

Even if you have no desire to ever try any of this kind of lunacy (much like I enjoy running well enough to do a 5K, but I have no desire to run a marathon), you might find a tip or trick here in any case.

Prior to this particular 2-day writing marathon, my personal best for 2 solid days of writing was in the 20-22K word range. I had done that several times, and I honestly thought this marathon was going to be the same. Turns out, because I needed to get to “THE END” no matter what- I needed to go longer than I anticipated. Luckily, I had set myself up to do it and out popped the necessary 6,000 more words.

Let’s dig in.

deadline

The first piece of the puzzle involved the dreaded “D” word: DEADLINE

Whether self-imposed or put on you by someone else (I’m looking at you, Amazon- stupid 10-day pre-order window deadline), having a deadline creates a sensation of what I’ll call positive anxiety. Your deadline should be publically announced somehow- tell your family or friends, tell your fans. Absolutely, write it down. Put a note in your calendar. Make sure it’s visible there in front of you all the time.

In my case, I’d written half of my novel already but had slacked off a bit. When I was 10 days away from the promised publishing date that I’d given my fans, I knew I was quickly approaching the point of no return. It was disappoint my fans or get the manuscript done. That deadline set the fire under my ass.

prepareThe second piece of the puzzle is SCHEDULE.

You have your deadline. You (hopefully) know enough about yourself and your writing process to know how long you realistically need to accomplish your goal, and you know what you have going on in the rest of your life around that time. Strategically pick days/times that work best for you to focus exclusively and wholeheartedly on your story.

That means you might have to have some tough conversations with the people around you to tell them to leave you the heck alone—of course, I’d soften that by sharing with them the importance of what you’re trying to do and how they can best support you. Get their buy-in and make them your cheerleaders. Promise them updates in-person (if you live with them) or via text or social media. Having a cheering squad is kind of fun— and also serves the purpose of keeping them out of your face.

I picked a weekend where I had no commitments on Sat/Sun, and the kids were with my husband’s ex. Quiet house. I encouraged my husband to rev up his Xbox One and have at it for the weekend. Win-win.

outlineThe third piece of the puzzle is PREPARATION.

Now, this is the point in the post where I expect to lose the pantsers, so I’ve got to say something brilliant. How about, I’ll give you some thoughts on how to make a tiny, little, minimal outlining task fun? (I promise—practically painless.)

I was scarred for life by the horrible outlining requirements for school papers back in junior high/high school. If I never have to look at main bullet + 3 required sub-bullets format again in my life, it’ll be too soon. I vehemently opposed doing any kind of plotting ahead of time with my books, and I did okay with that for a long time.

Then I started interviewing other authors earlier this year, and these were people who were seriously killing it in terms of sales and building a rabid fan base. Almost without exception, every one of them plotted their books out in advance. Some of them went far more in-depth than others, and everybody’s process seemed a bit different. That’s when I realized that I could make plotting what I wanted it to be in a way that worked for ME. Suddenly, my opposition to the idea waned.

Here’s what I do. (This is the FUN part.) I put a big whiteboard up on the wall of my office. I separated it into the 3-act story structure. (That’s a whole other post, but that has completely changed the dynamic of my writing.) Then I bought a stack of brightly colored post-it notes. On each one, I wrote one sentence describing a scene in my story. (In black sharpie, so the sentences aren’t that long.) Then I stuck the post-it up on the board where it fit in the story.

When you have that done for every scene (or chapter), you have a lovely visual diagram of your story. You can move bits around if something doesn’t make sense or add something in if you see a gap. This whole process can take me anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on the story length.

Then I open up my pre-formatted Word document and align chapter headings to my storyboard. I type in my one sentence summary for each chapter/scene. I take a break. Later, I come back and flesh out the chapter summaries a bit more- usually 200-250 words per chapter.

That’s it. That’s the extent of my outline, and I made it as painless as possible.

Now, if I’m doing a preorder, that’s what I use for my drat file upload. I know some folks will probably flip about that, but I’ve used this process over half a dozen times, and it works for me. I’ve never missed a deadline, and I don’t plan on it. I put a warning note at the top that if they’re seeing that message to contact Amazon because they got the wrong file (in case Amazon messes up the draft vs. final file for some reason.)

Now we are really for the crucial piece of the puzzle: SPRINTS.

You’ve scheduled your time and cleared your calendar. You’ve committed publically and to yourself you’re going to do this thing. You have your outline (however bony or robust it is) ready and raring to go.

It’s time to strap your butt to your chair and get the job done. I haven’t found a more effective way to do this than Pomodoro sprints. 25-minute writing sessions following by a 5-min break before starting again. After having used sprints for a couple of years, I know that I average 1250 words in a single sprint. I realize that not everyone is going to hit that, but if you know what you’re going to write (see PREPARATION above), and you keep practicing, you will get faster than you are right now.

When you know your average wordcount per sprint, you can divide that by the number of words you need to get in, and that’ll tell you how many sprints you need to do in the time you have allocated. During my massive wordcount days, I usually plan on 10K words per day. That’s 8 sprints of 1250 each.

I break it down like this: 4 sprints in the morning while I’m fresh. 2 sprints in the afternoon because that’s when my energy is low, and my attention span has a tendency to wander. 2 final sprints in the evening before I give myself the reward of having a glass of wine and watching one of my favorite TV shows or movies.

Honestly, when I do it like this I still have time to have proper sitdown meals with my husband, putter a bit on the internet, and go to the gym or run errands. Or sit my lazy butt on the couch and stare off into space. It doesn’t feel that strenuous. The thing is, you can’t let yourself get distracted so much that you don’t come back and do the work. (Very important!!)

I’d recommend changing the scenery up throughout the day too. I usually write those first 4 sprints at my local Starbucks. Then I do the afternoon/evening sprints in different places in my house. I listen to either baroque or early jazz music with headphones during my sprints (also effective for giving my husband a clue that I am busy…) and that is the only time I listen to those genres of music. That’s a productivity brain hack I read years ago to help train my brain to focus on writing. Do whatever you need to do to fight any kind of desire to be distracted.

When I had my 28,000 word weekend, I wrote 10K words on my first day and realized that if I did the same on the 2nd day, I still had too much runaway left on the story to finish it out. My whole goal was to get to the end of the story. So I did more sprints to fill-in during the afternoon and evening. I wrote “THE END” on the manuscript about 11pm that 2nd day, and I had done 15 sprints. (Some were a bit shorter because I got interrupted btw.)

My eyes were blurry. My brain was mush. But it was done.

Don’t miss the final step of the puzzle: CELEBRATE

My favorite way to celebrate completing the first draft of a manuscript is to open a bottle of champagne and have a toast with my husband. Know that if you attempt anything like this, the day after you’re done your body will probably be sore, and your brain pretty fuzzy. What tempers it is the giddy feeling of kicking ass and taking names for a job well done. 🙂

I’d recommend taking the day off work completely and being kind to yourself. Sleep in. Get a massage. Take a long walk. Go shopping. Take a nap. Veg in front of the TV. Whatever strikes your fancy but recognize that it is important to do that if you ever think you’d do it again.

So that’s it. How I wrote 28,000 words in two days and some thoughts on how you could do the same. Happy Writing!

Recommended Resources: 2K to 10K by Rachel Aaron for rapid writing, 5,000 WPH app from Chris Fox for timing sprints and tracking wordcounts

So what do you think about that, folks? Outworldly? Impossible? Doable? Whatever you think, let’s all give Ivy a round of applause because a feat it is. Bravo, Ivy!

About the Author

Ivy Sinclair is the author of the Greyelf Grizzlies bear shifter suspense series as well as the necromancer and demon paranormal thriller serial, Protect Her. She is a firm believer in true love, a happily ever after ending, and the medicinal use of chocolate to cure any ailment of the heart. Ivy’s guilty pleasures include sushi, endless Starbucks lattes, and wine. Connect with Ivy on Twitter @Author_Ivy or on Facebook.

Do you give a LOGLINE when you’re asked for a TAGLINE?

I’ve seen the issue of tagline vs logline raised in forum conversations, so I did some research on it. Apparently, if you pitch a movie script, and you claim that a logline is a tagline, it can be instantly rejected. I hope that when it comes to books this is not set in stone, but knowing what you’re talking about is always a sign of professionalism, and that’s what we’re all striving for.

TAGLINEvsLOGLINE

So what is the difference between a tagline and a logline?

Tagline

It’s a short catchphrase (or two but not more than three) that captures the essence of your story. Think about what you’d put on the cover of your book.

What to consider when creating a tagline

  • Hooking your reader (how? use puns, fresh language, incite feelings)
  • Serving your genre (how? use genre keywords)

Examples:

Tired of seeing him go through women like water, can she convince him to pull her out of the friend-zone? Blue Streak – Jules Barnard

In one sentence, the author “screams” romance and gives us a strong grasp of the premise—girl wants promiscuous boy to see her as more than just a friend. Note how the author hints at the heroine’s timid nature as she needs him to pull her out of the friend-zone.

Love will go on forever seeking another chance. The Lady of the Pier by Effrosyni Moschoudi

This is a romance with a paranormal twist. Note the key phrase that denotes the sub-genre: love will go on forever

An unshared smile is a wasted smile. Runaway Smile — Nicholas C. Rossis (Children’s book)

Tragedy awaits. The Search by C.H. Little (Thriller)

What you mustn’t do

  • Don’t make it too long which would mean applying a smaller font for your cover (not readable in thumbnail size)
  • Don’t try to describe the plot (or you’ll get into “logline” territory)
  • Don’t make it too obscure (i.e. use a gimmick that makes no sense unless you read the book)

Logline

This is the shortest description possible of your plot. It has to be one sentence only of up to 50 words. If you go over, it becomes a synopsis. Less could be a tagline.

Whereas in the tagline you want to hint at what’s there and leave an aura of mystery, here you have to establish your protagonist and antagonist and explain why the reader would want to read your book. I’ve also seen it called “the elevator pitch”. Think about meeting an agent in an elevator, needing to answer the dreaded “what’s your book about” question.

The logline is not suitable for your book cover. You will want to include it in your Media Kit, though, together with the tagline and your official blurb.

What you should consider when creating a logline

  • What drives your MCs (internal drive)
  • What makes your book exciting (the conflict)

Here’s what I plan on using for my upcoming novella Fate Captured (a romance).

A young woman will stop at nothing to make the stubborn Greek man she’s fallen for see the truth about his family even if it means losing him forever.

My heroine’s internal drive is a need to uncover lies (she’s been lied to by her family, and it’s the one thing she cannot tolerate). My hero’s main personality trait is his stubbornness (well, his Greek DNA is not a big help in that area). Showing the premise for their clash and what that entails (her losing him forever, him hanging on to a distorted view of people that matter) is–hopefully–what makes the book an interesting read.

Now, the tagline for the same book would be:

She wants him to see the truth. He wants her out of his life. Even if she gives it meaning.

Here, the romance branding takes front seat. She gives meaning to his life, ergo his life is empty. He needs her, but he’s too stubborn to see it.

See the difference?

I found an interesting article in pdf form presenting various famous film loglines with comments about their effectiveness. It’s an excellent guide to help you create effective loglines.

http://www.norman-hollyn.com/535/handouts/loglines.pdf

If you’d like to bounce tag- or logline ideas off me, just use the comments’ section.

Thanks for reading!

GIF Friday: Beat It #4 (Matt Bomer)

Last week’s winner of a free book promo: David Proser. Check out the other awesome offerings of last week’s Beat It #3 with Emma Stone. This week, it’s Matt Bomer. Okay, you may just look at him… 🙂

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Don’t you sometimes struggle to add the right body language description (beat) to amp up your dialog? One that conjures just the right image, is not cliché and sounds fresh?

Then this meme-type exercise is for you. Read on for a quick how-to.

GIF Matt
Matt Bomer @Jean_Nelson (depositphotos.com)
  • Take a good look at the GIF below.
  • Using the scene set up I give you, describe the body language you see just as you’d do if you were writing out the scene yourself.
  • Post your “beat” until Wednesday as a comment here, blog it, post on Facebook, wherever.
  • If you don’t post here, leave a comment with a link to where you posted, so I can find you.

I will then update this page to include all offerings I gather with links to participants’ sites or social media.

No judging, no winners. My aim is to gather lots of different body language beats describing a visual action/reaction for my readers (and yours) to read and maybe learn. An added perk: each week, I’ll choose a random participant who will get FREE book promo on my promo blog mmjayepresents.com.

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GIF Friday #4 starring Matt Bomer

Source: idk-lets-just-do-it.tumblr.com

“Are you properly warmed up?” My trainer’s smirk smacked of arrogance, expecting me to stumble over his suggestive words and embarrass myself like I did yesterday. His white tank top made an even stronger statement.

I focused my gaze on the framed painting on the wall. Anywhere but on him. “Five-mile workout with increasing interval runs, fifty crunches and twenty push-ups.”

(insert beat) He motioned me to enter his studio.

Better not mention the million-calory, death-by-chocolate waffle I gobbled up right after, I thought, closing the door behind me. If I had to resist an eyeful, at least I’d have my stomach full.

_____________________

I wonder why I suddenly have a strong sugar craving. Hmm… Your turn now. Remember to add a workable link in your comment so that I can credit you properly.

GIF Friday: Beat It #3 (Emma Stone)

Last week’s winner of a free book promo: C.H. Little for her newly released The SearchCheck out the other awesome offerings of last week’s Beat It #2 with Kristin Kreuk. This week’s star is Emma Stone. She has such a mobile face, I couldn’t resist.
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Don’t you sometimes struggle to add the right body language description (beat) to amp up your dialog? One that conjures just the right image, is not cliché and sounds fresh?

Then this meme-type exercise is for you. Read on for a quick how-to.

SCULPTURE & ART (1)

  • Take a good look at the GIF below.
  • Using the scene set up I give you, describe the body language you see just as you’d do if you were writing out the scene yourself.
  • Post your “beat” until Wednesday as a comment here, blog it, post on Facebook, wherever.
  • If you don’t post here, leave a comment with a link to where you posted, so I can find you.

I will then update this page to include all offerings I gather with links to participants’ sites or social media.

No judging, no winners. My aim is to gather lots of different body language beats describing a visual action/reaction for my readers (and yours) to read and maybe learn. An added perk: each week, I’ll choose a random participant who will get FREE book promo on my promo blog mmjayepresents.com.

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GIF FRIDAY: BEAT IT #3 starring Emma Stone

I led her on. I kept the stutter, blinked whenever she looked at me and let her choose from the wine list. She went for the $100 Château Clinet, her eyes twinkling, probably relishing the prospect of embarrassing me when the bill came. She kept her condescending air throughout the meal, her speech over-enunciated as if talking to a hearing-impaired toddler. Either that or my affected stutter was infectious.

“And what … are your plans after graduating? Will you … still live … at your mom’s?” Her nodding was nothing short of patronizing.

I took off my glasses and tucked them in my breast pocket.

Showtime.

“Actually, it’s my mom who lives with me. It’s temporary until she fully recovers from the accident. Jobwise, I’ll take over this restaurant, since I own it.” I held the wine bottle in my palm and shook my head. “This wine list needs serious upgrading.”

(insert beat)

_________________________

Well, turnabout is fair play, as they say. Here’s how writers described this:

Nicholas C. Rossis

Her breath exploded from her mouth. “Wow!” she mouthed, then turned away so I wouldn’t see her expression sour as if her Château Clinet had somehow turned into a bucket of vinegar. Somehow, I managed to keep my own face expressionless as I pretended to study a tiny crimson drop rolling down the inside of my glass.

David Prosser

She stood up her face reddening. “Hell” she said “”wow, I’m astounded. You do realise I’ve been teasing you all night don’t you”? She sat down again with her jaw still opening and closing from little gasps of breath like a fish out of water.Gradually she paled and her shoulders slumped knowing she’d gone too far.

Andrea Cooper

At my news, her eyes widened and “wow” popped out of her mouth like meeting a rock star for the first time. Then the realization of my words sunk in and her mouth stayed agape for a second too long. She glanced away with her face holding the appalling thought that she’d just blown it.

Vicki Jamieson

She recoiled from me as I spoke, the confidence draining from her body. She tried to hold my gaze and some measure of composure on her face, but as I finished speaking we both recognised my revelation had caught her off balance. She turned away from me, drawing breath and trying to compose herself, but she couldn’t hide the widening horror in her eyes and the way her shoulders slumped forward as her misjudgment sank in.

Anke

Her eyes grew to the size of saucers. “Wow!”, she yelped, all pretence forgotten. Then, als the impact of my revelations fully hit her, she turned away. She wasn’t as much amazed as outrightly shocked. Her mouth opened to let out a moan of incredulous surprise. She was defeated, and the vertical line that appeared between her eyes gave away the anger she felt at herself. She had chosen the wrong tack with me, and the horror at having missed her chance crept all over her face.

Rebecca McKinnon

Her eyes immediately widen in shock at the grossness of her misconception. Her shame is palpable; she can’t continue looking at me under the weight of it. She turns her head away and downward, her awkward reply making a circular O of her mouth: “Wow…”

_________________

Thanks to all writers who came out and played this week!

GIF Friday: Beat It #2 (Kristin Kreuk)

Don’t you sometimes struggle to add the right body language description (beat) to amp up your dialog? One that conjures just the right image, is not cliché and sounds fresh?

Then this meme-type exercise is for you. Read on for a quick how-to.

  • SCULPTURE & ARTTake a good look at the GIF below.
  • Using the scene set up I give you, describe the body language you see just as you’d do if you were writing out the scene yourself.
  • Post your “beat” until Wednesday as a comment here, blog it, post on Facebook, wherever.
  • If you don’t post here, leave a comment with a link to where you posted, so I can find you.

I will then update this page to include all offerings I gather with links to participants’ sites or social media.

No judging, no winners. My aim is to gather lots of different body language beats describing a visual action/reaction for my readers (and yours) to read and maybe learn. An added perk: each week, I’ll choose a random participant who will get FREE book promo on my promo blog mmjayepresents.com.

Two science fiction writers are last week’s winners: Margaret Fieland and Nicholas C. Rossis, who will both get free book promos. Check out GIF Friday: Beat It #1 to see how they described last week’s GIF.

Would you like to join the fun? Then go ahead and “beat it”.

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GIF FRIDAY: BEAT IT #2 starring Kristin Kreuk

My temples pounding in sync with the banging, I reach the shed and swing the door open. Yup, I found the source of all the noise that woke me, and boy, is she worked up.

“Jesus. You assembled the bookcase by yourself?” I ask. The thing ate up the entire space.

(Insert beat) “What? You thought I couldn’t wield a crowfoot wrench? By the time you got around to doing it, it would have turned moldy-green.”

I scratch the back of my head. “Umm, okay, but how are we getting it out? It won’t fit through the door.”

She stands up and brushes her hands on her jeans. “Well, I’ll leave you to ponder on that. You woke up at two in the afternoon. I’m sure you’re full of productive energy.” Passing by me, she pinches my cheek. “Just make sure it’s in our living room by five, before your parents arrive,” she says oh so sweetly. “I did promise them you’ll have it on display today. They paid for it, after all.” She leaves, closing the door behind her.

I guess she found out Doug’s bachelor party wasn’t held at his basement.

_________________________________________________________________

And here are the awesome offerings:

Nicholas C. Rossis

She blows off an errand strand of hair that tickles her nose. Her gaze bores two holes into my skull. Ants crawl up and down my spine.

C. H. Little

Those catlike eyes flash with fury she doesn’t bother to conceal. I’m in real trouble this time. An errant strand of the hair she never seems able to tame falls across her face and she blows it away impatiently, a challenge blazing in her eyes.

Rebecca N. McKinnon

She didn’t look up from her work so much as she could’ve broken her neck with the force of its upward trajectory. Her unblinking eyes bore into mine in silent challenge. She huffed powerfully, sending a loose strand of hair shooting above her sweaty brow.

Vicki Jamieson

She looks up at me, a determination I haven’t seen before burning behind her eyes. She fixes me with her gaze, pouts her bottom lip and blows an errant strand of hair from her face defiantly. Her eyes are hard and her gaze doesn’t shift; only a twitch of her eye gives away any emotion as speaks.

Anke

She looked at me defiantly. A loose strand of hair got in the way of her stare. Normally, she would sweetly tug it away behind her ear. Not now. She did away with it with a forceful blow of air from her mouth. The agressive, unyielding twitch of her eyes warned me not to mess with her, either.