This is one of those stories that’s come a long way. “Made of Shadows” is the first paranormal romance I ever attempted, and it’s currently on its fourth draft. I will always have a special place in my heart for these characters and their story, which is why I’ve returned to it this year, determined to revise it and begin another round of submissions. I got amazing feedback from two editors a couple years ago, feedback that helped me to identify a few key issues with the story and to grow as a writer. I’ve learned a lot from the stories I’ve written since, and I’m ready to take another pass at this one.

For those who aren’t familiar, WIPpet Wednesday offers writers a chance to share excerpts from their works in progress. The only stipulation is that it must have something to do with the date. It’s also a blog hop, so click here to see other WIPpeteers’ work.

I’d love to get some feedback on the newly revised opening of this WIP. Today is the 28th, so here are ten paragraphs (2+8=10) from the first chapter of “Made of Shadows.” Thanks for reading!

Zoe Donovan cradled the golf-ball-sized crystal sphere in her hand. Either she’d gone mental from years of overwork, or her baby brother was playing the world’s cruelest practical joke.

Ever since she’d read his letter, the world around her seemed to stop, standing still as a photograph.

Hey sis, his letter began, handwritten on the ivory stationery she’d bought him last Christmas.

I wanted to write, to say I’m sorry for the things I said. I hadn’t meant to leave things between us that way. If I haven’t already called and made nice with you, then you should keep reading.

Zoe snorted, but it wasn’t out of amusement. Demetri’s apologies were usually less direct—a gift from this place or that, Lima or Athens or Glasgow. Her brother was the king of asking forgiveness later rather than permission first—like the time he’d decided to spend a summer in Italy and hadn’t bothered to tell her until the bank called her to confirm a string of overseas purchases on the credit card she’d co-signed—the one for groceries and books and normal college-student stuff.

Guilt momentarily flooded her as she thought of their last conversation. She wasn’t particularly good at giving permission, was she? Still, he was the one who’d ambushed her in her office in Boston. She’d given in to so many of his whims—and he’d thanked her by dropping out of Harvard with only the vaguest explanation. To finish mom and dad’s work, he’d said. But hadn’t the whole point of his time there been to follow in their parents’ footsteps and become a world-renowned archeologist?

The last sliver of daylight trailed over the hills stretching out beyond Donovan manor, shadow and sun spilling through the tall windows and French doors of the dining room. The table’s dark wood shown freshly polished, its surface now strewn with unopened mail and the contents of the package her brother had left her.

When he’d told her, Zoe had lost her temper. He was an adult, he’d reminded her, although she’d been quick to point out a host of immature acts and ill-planned schemes that often ended with a panicked phone call asking his big sister to send money, and fast.

If Demetri were a different person, Zoe would’ve thought his letter was a joke, meant to teach her a lesson or exact revenge. But however immature Demetri could be, revenge was never his style. He never meant to cause her pain; he always attempted, however clumsily, to make nice after he’d screwed up.

That was what she’d thought the package was—another gift meant to deflect his sister’s wrath. Instead, she’d opened the box to find a letter and the crystal sphere.

Lastly, a midweek ROW80 check-in…

Writing goals

1.) Make measurable progress on one of my WIPs. Wrote 2,295 words in “The Phoenix Feather.”

2.) Read two books on the craft/business of writing. 2/2. Finished reading “How to Market a Book” by Joanna Penn. Started reading “Beginnings, Middles, and Ends” by Nancy Kress. Planning to increase this goal to four books, since there’s still plenty of time left in this round.

Social media goals

1.) Check in on Twitter or Facebook daily. On track to meet this goal.

2.) Blog twice a week. On track to meet this goal.

3.) Comment on three-five blog posts daily, Monday-Thursday. On track to meet this goal.

Life goals

1.) Do yoga or tai chi or meditate three times per week. 1/3.

2.) Do morning pages in journal Monday-Friday. On track to meet this goal.

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A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop! Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

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