The Race: An Excerpt From My WIP

I know it’s been a little while since my last release. I’ve been really busy with work and life! But here’s a little (totally unedited – please be aware!) excerpt from the beginning of my current WIP to whet your appetite.

The smell of fresh tarmac after the rain assailed Roy’s nostrils, reminding him to slow down for the corner. The turn from Short Street into Exeter Avenue was sharp, and more than one rider had fucked themselves up taking it too fast, especially in bad conditions. He glanced in his mirror as he slowed, watching Viktor follow suit, slowing just a little earlier to try to take the inside route. Roy grinned.

“Not today, mate,” he muttered as he pulled on the throttle and felt the bike growl beneath him.

Speeding up, he stayed earth-bound over the first speed hump. Not so much the second. The motorcycle jumped into the air with a scent of exhaust fumes as Roy glanced behind and watched Vik closing the gap. It wouldn’t be enough. The other end of Exeter Avenue was in sight, then it was just a short run to the light traffic across the bridge and he’d be at the finish line.

Ten bloody grand. That was the prize money for tonight’s race. All or nothing, one winner and a dozen losers. Coming into it, Roy had been determined. Tonight would be his night. He and Viktor had been rivals for three years, the push and pull between them legendary, setting the London scene alight with unbridled testosterone. Vik had won the last two times they raced, putting him now three wins to the good, and that was unacceptable.

Tonight was Roy’s night.

At the end of the avenue he jumped the pavement, the blare of a horn sounding in the night air as a car behind him slammed on its brakes. Another glance in the mirror and he saw Vik, his black and chrome beast rearing up on its hind quarters like he was some sort of knight in a medieval jousting contest. Vik raised his arm, and for a second Roy thought he was going to shake his fist at him, but instead he extended his middle finger to the car driver before slamming the front of his vehicle down with a growl of power.

“Fucking showman.” Roy laughed, swerving to dive between two SUVs, then leaning to the left and pushing the handlebars right, making a sharp turn onto the bridge.

A little crowd of onlookers had gathered on the other side. Girls in leggings that hugged their arses, short skirts that displayed long legs. Boys in leather jackets and loose jeans, tight black vests that struggled to stretch across slabs of pectoral muscle. Roy didn’t care about any of them. He didn’t care about the risk of the police catching him or the danger to himself or anyone else who dared to share his stretch of twilight tarmac over the river.

All he cared about was right there, ahead.

The finish line.

He was so intent on it, he didn’t even notice that Viktor had closed the gap between them, that there was now barely anything separating first and second place. He concentrated on his own race, pulling the throttle as hard as he could, milking every last ounce of raw power from his engine.

“Nice try, love,” he heard, and turned his head.

Viktor laughed, his visor pulled up so that he could wink at Roy. Then he swerved right as Roy swerved left, both avoiding the same Honda Accord, and somehow the bastard was ahead. Roy pulled on his throttle, but the bike had nothing left to give. Viktor had done something to his ride, tuned it up somehow, that had to be it. There was no other explanation.

But it didn’t matter about excuses. All that mattered was who came in first.

They crossed the finish line almost neck and neck, but almost wasn’t good enough. It was one winner and twelve losers. He watched Viktor grinning and laughing, pushing away the attentions of girls and boys alike. But he wouldn’t stay to see him handed tonight’s purse. That was a step too far.

Frowning, he turned away and almost ran right into some girl he’d seen hanging around before. Nina? Meena? Fuck, what did he care what she called herself? Instead of apologising, he pushed past her, using his size and strength to easily brush her aside.

“He doesn’t deserve this,” she said behind him. “You won tonight. I saw. You crossed the finish line first.”

Roy stopped and turned, took in her little waist, her wide eyes, her heel-enhanced posture. Time was, he would have taken her home and angrily screwed her just to get over what had happened, but not tonight. In all honesty, he wasn’t even a little bit attracted to her. He glanced across to Vik, wobblingly climbing onto the saddle of his bike, raising his arms into the air for silence. Vik’s strong brow, high cheekbones, dark hair tousled from being held beneath a helmet. His jacket, half open, t-shirt pulled up out of the waistband of his jeans showing just a little muscled stomach.

“That prissy prick doesn’t deserve any of this,” the girl said, and Roy’s eyes moved back to her, remembering suddenly that she was there. “If he didn’t have his money, he’d never beat you. We can all see that.”

“We who?” Roy asked, narrowing his eyes.

“Everyone. Everyone who watched the race tonight knows that you’re the better rider.”

He pointed behind her, sweeping his hand over the crowd that was hanging on every single word that came out of Viktor’s mouth. “Everyone, huh?”

Roy laughed, shaking his head, then turned away, making for his bike at the side of the road.

Nice try, love.

The words rang in his head.

Just Write

Race. Masturbate. Gun. Hospital. Roy’s. Fight. Explosion. Hotel. Sex. Fire. Kidnap. Gunpoint. Rescued. Race. Sex.

Not just a collection of random words or some sort of attempt to fool the search algorithms. This is actually the entirety of the plan for my current WIP. Which is surprising, given that I’ve spent the last few years working as an editor and writing assistant, detailing every bit of my clients’ character histories as they’re currently known, making note of their desires and motivations, outlining scenes and chapters and character arcs.

But since Christmas and New Year, while I’ve had no end of ideas for stories, and have actually gone as far as to have covers made up for some of them, what I’ve found is that the planning process has killed my creativity. The ideas I had for scenes when I started planning seem dry and boring, the characters with their detailed histories seem difficult and unwieldy. In short, those stories are sitting unwritten.

On the other hand, this current WIP has, in the space of a couple of days, started to take some real shape. I’m excited about where it’s going, the characters are difficult to like but easy to love, and grudgingly I’ve had to admit that I kind of admire them for the way they live their lives, despite not condoning it one bit (you’ll have to wait to find out what I mean by that).

All of which brings me back to something I read, probably from another writer, in the past. I’m afraid I don’t remember who it was to give proper credit, but the gist of it was this: planning isn’t writing, thinking isn’t writing, only writing is writing.

I have no doubt there will be big changes to make when it comes to editing this one, because the plan is vague and I’m likely to go off on tangents and information dumps. But at least it will get written. The point being, sometimes (especially if you’re finding the current process isn’t working) it’s worth changing things up. Try a different method. Sit somewhere else. Drop the planning and jump into the story, or the other way around. Find something new that works this time, even if it’s not going to be a permanent fixture of your process.

Write a string of random words that each bring up the key turning points in your head, just to keep you on track, and then just write.


Just write.

Writing Sex Scenes Is Hard (As In Difficult)

Are sex scenes necessary? I think so. But also, who cares if they’re necessary so long as they’re fun?

I’m not sure if you know about it, but there’s been some stuff lately on social media about writing sex scenes. Basically, someone wrote a thread of “writing advice”, with a whole load of personal tips. One of those was that sex scenes are never necessary in books: if you want to write one because you’re horny, that’s fine, but it’s not needed.

For as long as there are people writing stories about other people, those characters are going to have sex. That’s a fact.


They got a lot of backlash.

Personally I totally disagree with their opinion. I think sex scenes can be necessary and often are. What’s more, one person’s idea of what’s necessary isn’t going to be what everyone else thinks is necessary. That’s the way of the world. And if you’re going to cut out every scene that’s not strictly necessary, you’re going to need to do a lot of pruning, right?

I mean, if you don’t like sex scenes, that’s absolutely fine. Avoid books that have them, or authors that often write them. But just don’t try to make that a rule for everyone to follow.

The thing is, for as long as there are people writing stories about other people, those characters are going to have sex.

That’s a fact.

Like it or not, it’s going to happen anyway. Characters have sex in all kinds of genres, and even when they don’t it’s implied that they do, or we can assume that they have or will in the past or future. That’s the same across age groups and themes. Pretending otherwise is just burying your head in the sand.

So, the only question that remains is whether the book cuts away, leaving the characters to have sex “off screen” or whether we get to watch.

I’m going to level with you: I find sex scenes really hard to write.

As a romance writer, this question will probably never go away, because romance characters have sex at probably the highest frequency of any genre. After all, adults in adult relationships do frequently have sex as a part of that relationship. Obviously, it’s possible to write a romance without any, but even if/when you do I think most of your readers will assume that the characters are going at it at some future point unless you explicitly state otherwise.

Today, as I’m writing this blog post, I’m particularly thinking about the sex scene I in the middle of writing in my current (Christmas themed) romance. I’m going to level with you: I find sex scenes really hard to write. I have no idea how erotica authors do this on the regular. Maybe that’s partly a “me” problem, but I also know that most (if not all) authors have the same issue. To be clear: it’s not the mechanics of the thing that are particularly difficult. But making it fun and interesting, as opposed to a list of actions? That’s the tricky part.

It’s supposed to be fun, interesting and entertaining.

And in the end, that’s really what we want from a sex scene, right? Just the same as we do from any scene in a book: it’s supposed to be fun, interesting and entertaining. If we discover something about the main characters in the middle of the throes of passion, all the better, but those “unnecessary” sex scenes, if they’re fun, are still a valid part of the book. Personally, if the sex scene is entertaining I’ll forgive it not having any deeper meaning.

So what do you think? Would you stop reading romance by an author who always shies away from those scenes? Or would you embrace it? Do you prefer your romances to be chaste and cute and wholesome, or sexy as hell?