Sex with a Stranger: Chapter One


Rule #1: No real names

Sadie Van Der Zee stood outside the bar, inhaling the cold air and steeling herself. She felt this every time. The excitement that verged on anxiety. The butterflies that started in her stomach, then fluttered lower and lower. The sense that she shouldn’t go in and the knowledge that she would anyway. She took a final deep breath, patted the dark brown curls that were normally dead straight and stepped in through the street-facing entrance.

Inside it was dark and crowded. The only lights were on the walls at intervals that meant they didn’t illuminate much. The effect was a muted feeling; long shadows fell from the patrons who were standing and over those who were sitting. It made it hard to distinguish features – one dark-haired man looked a lot like the next. But Sadie found the dark-haired man she was looking for on her first scan.

He was standing at the far end nearest the other entryway to the bar, the one that led into the reception of the adjoining hotel. He looked a little different from his photograph – broader shoulders, clean shaven, better dressed – which surprised her a little. Usually, the reality couldn’t live up to the promise. Even Sadie looked better in her online profile than she did in real life. She felt those butterflies again as she thought about peeling his shirt from his shoulders and seeing if they matched what she was imagining. Continue reading

Liberty’s Secret: Chapter One


I wrote Liberty’s Secret thirteen years ago when I thought I was going to be a romance writer (before I got bored by the formula). But when I decided that wasn’t the kind of writing I wanted to do, my completed genre novel was essentially abandoned and forgotten. But sometimes I get nostalgic about the path I’ve taken as a writer (and that includes the path not taken). So over the next two months, I’ll be posting it here a chapter at a time.

This is Chapter One. Continue reading

Stevie and Alex: Chapter One


This is one of the old practice novels I started writing when I still thought I was going to be the next queen of romance fiction and I’d considered posting it before and dismissed it as just too awful.

But then as I was researching names for my 200 Thank You’s on the Occasion of my 200th Blog Post post (because I’m terrible with names if you’re someone I’ve met personally – you’ll have to become famous if you want me to remember your name for all time), I pulled out a bunch of amateur publications from when I was at Holmesglen TAFE. And there, amongst them, was a collection of first chapters from my Novel 2 class. And this was in it.

I shuddered. But I figured if it was already out there, it might as well be out here, too.

It’s way too long for a first chapter of a category romance novel and it’s unnecessarily complex because both the main characters have men’s names even though one is a woman. But aren’t these exactly the kinds of things in relation to which we insist on sticking to our guns when we’re young and learning to write and don’t know any better? Continue reading

Trine: Part Two, Chapter One


A couple of days ago, I discussed the age old question of whether women can write male characters and men can write female characters.

In the novel I am currently writing, Trine, a novel in three parts, the first part is from the perspective of a woman and the second and third parts are from the perspectives of two different men. I’ve finished writing the first part and I’m extremely happy with the result. I’m about half way through writing the second part from the male perspective and I’m just as happy. But I thought I’d let you be the final judge on whether I am effectively conveying the male voice.

Continue reading

White Wash: Original Chapter One


Two days ago I posted the first chapter of White Wash, the currently unfinished sequel to my currently unpublished next novel, Black Spot. What follows below was originally the first chapter of White Wash until I realised it wasn’t working. It wasn’t working, I believe, because this series of books is Livia Black’s story, not Sebastian White’s story. I hope you agree that I’ve made the right decision. Continue reading

The Cassandra Syndrome: Chapter One


Having grown up as an American in absentia, Cassandra Broderick knew she had avoided some of the strange quirks that seemed to afflict so many of her fellow citizens. Such as still hanging on to the Yankee and Confederate historical divisions. Surveying the packed Memorial Court at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, she was almost positive this was a room full of Confederates. She was less sure about which side of the divide she fell into. Continue reading

Enemies Closer: Chapter One


Chapter 1

A little learning was a dangerous thing. It was something her father had often told her. He had been a literature professor before the dementia. After the dementia had taken hold, it was the one thing he seemed able to remember. Not her face. Not even her existence. Just the importance of those seven words. In the nursing home, she had sat through, continued to sit through, lecture after lecture on its origins in Alexander Pope’s writings, its subsequent corruption – now a little knowledge was a dangerous thing and a little learning got you elected to Congress – and the all-important meaning of the phrase. Continue reading