WIP Roundup

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Let’s go around our virtual room and hear what everyone’s working on these days. Tell us the title of your current project and a lit bit about the story. Time to toot your own horn!

43 thoughts on “WIP Roundup

  1. Two veterans of WWI were hired by a scholarly professor to accompany him during his search for a lost tomb in western China. It’s 1927.
    The professor has died of a fever when the story begins and our adventurous heroes have decided to find the tomb for themselves, not for the sake of archeological discovery, but for the vast horde of jade and gemstones rumored to be buried with the ancient queen.
    Our heroes spend the night as guests of a magistrate near their final destination. While there, they both fall head over heels for the magistrate’s beautiful daughter.
    During the night the daughter visits the room of our POV character to tell him the other adventurer has offered a large dowry to her father for her hand. He is reputed to be wealthy. She does not wish to marry the older man. She tells our POV character that she would rather be with him… She has shown up dressed only in a thin silk gown …. very revealing of our POV’s possible future bliss. She leaves his room with a sensuous kiss.
    Our POV character is a poor man. The treasure in the tomb however, once found, could win him this beautiful prize. But of course, something must be done about the competition…

    This is an adventure pulp style story, running about twelve pages. I am about halfway through the first draft.

  2. I am working on a project that is huge and I’m having great fun with it. It may be a trilogy, it may be one big ol’ book, I don’t know yet.

    It’s the story of a doctor and her family, a police officer and his family, and two politicians of different parties who are lifelong friends and what happens to each during war. Part One is Descent Into Hell, Part Two is Live Free or Die, Part 3 is tentatively titled The Rebels.

  3. Is Pietr Fendl Lisa’s father? Did he murder Lisa’s mother fourteen years ago? Lisa finds herself trapped between the murder investigation and her search for her father. After a childhood in foster homes fantasizing about a family of her own, she’s desperate to find Fendl once she learns about him. Sheriff’s Detective Bartkowski has fallen in love with the newly-widowed Lisa. But he believes Fendl is the killer. Why is Fendl hiding? Is he a killer?

    • She’s had a rough life.

      Sometimes I feel bad for my characters – all the hardship they go through – but it can’t be helped. If they wanted peaceful lives they should stay out of my head.

  4. I’m currently sending out “Janus Arrival”, the concluding part of a SciFi trilogy, to beta readers. “The final stage of an exodus of the planet’s best and brightest (and richest and best connected) to a far star. A group of security agents have secured places on the final ship and fought multiple battles to keep the mission on course. On arrival, things are very far from what they expected.”

    Have been working on a 1950’s noir in the background and am about to start attacking the first draft. “Down-at-heel private detective takes a job he doesn’t want but can’t afford to turn down. His client is lying, the cops are lying, and the mob is becoming interested in him. He can’t trust anyone, perhaps not even himself as he might be seeing ghosts…”

    And… simmering away in the background is a 7-part far-future space opera series I hope to start publishing during 2018. The overall theme is the repeated rise and fall of dictatorships over a thousand years and the people who stand against them.

    A busy 2018 for me!

  5. Title? I’m only 62K words into the novel. Titles are usually last. The WIP is the 8th book in my Blackthorne, Inc. covert ops romantic suspense series. It’s been a challenge because my h/h have a history–they used to be partners on a police force, but have gone their separate ways. She hires Blackthorne to protect her from a drug lord, and he’s charged with keeping her safe. Then a bunch of bad stuff happens. Eventually, they’ll prevail.

    • Right!

      Sometimes I think that is how I should describe a story – A new client walks into an attorney’s office with a problem – everything gets worse – then it gets better – the end.

  6. In late 1918, a nurse at a rural clinic is murdered during the last days of the flu epidemic. She is mourned but her death doesn’t become a mystery until her fully-uniformed body emerges at the top of a 1918 mass grave opened in 1976. A precocious, oppressed anthropology professor and a paraplegic medical examiner must bond and slay their personal dragons to solve her murder and move on with their lives.

  7. My story is called ‘Galaxy Girls and the Black Star’. Its about five friends who have to rescue a girl who is supposedly the ‘most wanted girl in the galaxy’. And they also have to return the Heart to its proper home or the whole galaxy will die.

  8. I’m doing my final upload for CRESCENT CITY MURDER on sale 2/15. It’s a story set in New Orleans and it’s the unexplained death of an agriculture inspector that my protag is called in on as a consultanting forensic pathologist. It’s book 8 in the Jill Quint, MD series.

  9. Murder at the Marina is winging its way to the editor. It’s a cozy mystery, the first in the Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery series.


    Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem – she doesn’t know anything about boats.

    When Mollie finds someone murdered onboard, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea with Mollie.

    Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on Florida’s Gulf Coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about boats than she ever wanted to.

    Can Mollie discover who the killer is before her nosiness gets her in trouble?

  10. Death By Proxy – Tawny Lindholm is sent to investigate her boss’s estranged father, a cranky hoarder with nine cats. He should be wealthy but is losing his home to foreclosure. She soon uncovers evidence of elder fraud. Then he’s charged in a fatal hit-and-run. But is the old man a victim or a villain?

    I plan to enter Death By Proxy in the Kindle Scout contest soon. Instrument of the Devil, the first book in the series, won the contest last year and was published by Kindle Press. Fingers crossed that lightning strikes twice.

  11. Working on sequel to last year’s Thomas & Mercer stand alone SHE’S NOT THERE. Yesterday I threw out the first four chapters and today am starting over. Really having trouble finding a good entry point. It never gets any easier.

    • Comforting to know a seasoned pro like you has the same struggle. For every project, I create a sub- folder called “Openers” that fills up fast, sometimes exceeds a dozen trials. Ain’t it fun?

      • Dan,
        Some come easy. Some come hard. This one is fighting me every inch of the way. 🙁

  12. Eden’s Promise is a cart-before-the-horse project, the novel-length backstory to my trilogy that begins with my already-published historical, Eden’s Bride. It began as an afterthought idea for a novella, but grew legs on its own, as often happens.

    The challenge, beyond simply writing a compelling story, is to pick up answers to clues and questions raised In Book 1. I’ve had to review that first book (112K words) several times to make sure I didn’t overlook a salient point that might confound or disappoint an astute reader.

    A third challenge is to develop 10 years of childhood and adolescent evolution without slipping into YA or coming-of-age themes. I’m having fun with this precocious youngster who continually surprises and amazes the adults around her, including me, with her uncanny wisdom and youthful candor. Now at 60 K words, it’s rapidly shaping up to the conclusion I’ve already written at 80 K.

    I didn’t plan for this…

    • Although a series should be read in order there is no reason it should be written in order.

      I have 3 books (at different stages of development) about a family and I wrote book 2 first.

  13. Crossed on Edisto. The 5th in the Edisto Island Mysteries, but what’s unusual is that this protagonist runs across the protagonist from my other series, The Carolina Slade Mysteries. It’s a crossover. In two POVs. A challenge indeed, but I’m looking forward to it. My publisher’s request.

  14. Maybe it’s because of my old screenwriting days, but I never talk about a project in detail until after I’m finished with it. But… editing two stand-alones (a full and a novella) and working on the new Romeo.

  15. I am working on the first draft of a tender romance about a young widow who finds clues that help solve the mystery of her childhood buried inside the walls of the old beach house she just bought, and goes on to find love again in Charity Bay . . . A place for hearts to heal.

  16. It has taken me several tries on my WIP. I am starting over once again. It is a historical mystery set in the Old West in Nevada in 1871. It’s funny, most authors seem to have a problem with titles. That was the one thing that I have never scrapped. Madam Detective is about an ex-Pinkerton detective with a troubled past who becomes a madam in a bloodthirsty mining camp. She is about to come out of retirement with the murder of one of her girls. This is my first novel and has been in the works for a few years.

  17. VI like to work on a few things at the same time – is it a lack of focus, POSSIBLY. Here is a little on two of them. Also, I can never commit to the names for my characters until I have finished the first draft. What’s that about?

    UNDER ONE FLAG – a not so distant future mystery.

    Secretary Mackenna Lee is a decorated war hero, the mother of two and discretely dating one of the country’s most eligible bachelors, Miquel de la Vega. In 2065 every law enforcement officer in the United States of North America works for The Department of Criminal Justice and everyone at DCJ works for Mackenna. She is ‘role model extraordinaire’, that is until the public finds out there is an active serial killer roaming the country for the first time in a decade and she has kept it a secret, even from the President.

    Besides the ritualistic killing, the only link between the murders is the Pheromone Ionization and Mapping Probes (PIMP), which can identify any individual by scent, has malfunctioned at each of the known crime scenes. Mackenna is certain the problem with several machines is neither a coincidence nor a design flaw. She fears the problem is with the pheromones.

    With the help of the PIMP designer, Mackenna discovers the killer is corrupting his distinct individual scent by ingesting fresh flesh from another person. The combinations of the degraded scents examined from three previous crime scenes are identical. Mackenna is horrified with the knowledge that somewhere, among the people she is sworn to protect, someone is being eaten alive.

    The morning after Mackenna’s fiftieth birthday ball a missing member of the wait staff is found cooking in her daughter’s kiln. Trouble with the PIMP tells Mackenna the killer she’s been hunting crashed her party. However he made two serious mistakes, he provided a fresh crime scene to analyze and when he abducted the Governor of Arizona, Miquel de la Vega, from her home, he made it personal.

    LIES ON THE SEINE – Mystery – this story is told from both POVs

    To his family and friends, Joe Smith is an adoring husband and loving father who operates a multinational corporation providing highly confidential security related services. To the world of counterintelligence, he’s The Facilitator (need a much better name – too cliché) and indirectly responsible for the death of thousands. His greatest fear isn’t ending up dead over some venture gone wrong, or even prison, it is seeing the look of horror on his wife’s face if she ever learns the truth.

    Sue Smith is an American housewife living just outside of Paris, France. To her friends and family, she’s the mother of two and a talented, if not fully committed, culinary student. To her employer she’s an undercover operative keeping track of a dangerous man. Her assignment was to gather intel. It was her decision to marry The Facilitator. Sue believes if her husband knew the truth he would kill her.

    Blissful denial turns to terror for each of them when Sue’s car is run off the road and gun wielding masked men grab her friend Analise from behind the steering wheel. The authorities are doing everything they can, but both Joe and Sue are certain they are looking in all the wrong directions.

    Joe believes enemies made by his illegitimate enterprise are involved. Joe knows he should assemble the right team to track down the abductors who meant to take his wife, put an end to them forever and rescue Analise. However, saving her means risking everything Joe holds dear.

    Sue fears someone from her past may be set on revenge, but her boss at the CIA tells her to consider Analise collateral damage and cut off her usual resources. To get Joe’s help, Sue may have to drop the pretense of a naive spouse. Unfortunately, confessing to the father of her children that she knows he runs weapons and mercenaries could lead a very dangerous man to realize his wife is the traitor for whom he’s been searching.

    • Both stories sound promising, Michelle. Keep working those ideas until one of them says, “Write my story FIRST.” ?(And thanks for all your contributions to the discussion today, btw). Write on!

  18. Just finished a novella in my Angela Richman, Death Investigator series called ICE BLONDE. The development editor has it now. Currently finishing up the short story anthology I’m working on for Crippen & Landru: “A Deal with the Devil and 13 Short Stories.” It will be published this May.

  19. Just finishing up the 3rd and final installment of ICE HAMMER, where a lot of people die, but a lot more people don’t die, and a few hearts are pretty badly broken, but some others aren’t, all in the name of freedom…and revenge.

    Then jumping with both feet back into a modern language thriller translation of Ivanhoe. Still all medievally and such, but trimming it from roughly 200K words of tell, to 100K words of show…with really intense fight scenes.

  20. Remember my universal writing advice,. If all else fails, toss in a werewolf. First line: I saw it before it saw me. Then I crapped my pants.

  21. Sorry I’m late! I’m editing SCATHED, the next book in my Grafton County Series. I haven’t written a description yet, but here’s the (very) basic gist. A crime writer who studies serial killers rages against an elusive killer who turns murder into a game. Answer right, save a life. Answer wrong, and someone she loves may not live till dawn.

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