authors · books · cowboys · reading · romance · writers · writing

You’ve got the “LOOK”! – a ziggy zig zag tag post

romance, romance novel, romantic novel, cowboy

Thanks, Marie, for tagging me!

As part of this tag, I need to take my most recent work in progress or my current manuscript and search for the word “look,” then post the surrounding paragraphs/text.

(Please check out the next five blogs in the “tag”, which are listed below)

Now, I’m going to do something a little sneaky with the tag I’ve been given! Below is the opening of my current manuscript, The Cowboy Romance,  and do you know what?  I’ve reached that dreadful stage of writing where I think every word I’ve written is total dross. I may just throw in the towel and start something completely different – even though this entire book is just about finished.

I’m sneakily using this tag to ask if you’d do me a massive favour.  Please could you read through this extract and let me know what you think?  An honest opinion – really, I can take it!  If you agree with me that this is rubbish, please don’t hesitate to let me know.  If it’s genuine dross then I need to jack it in.

So, enjoy! (Sort of…)

romance, romance novel, romantic novel, cowboy, writing

“See that guy who’s just walked in?” Penny gave a tilt of her head in the direction of the doorway, before lowering her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “I’ll bet he’s a cowboy.”

There was the noise of the shop’s bell jangling, closely followed by the sound of a pair of battered leather boots striking the wooden floor.  When her assistant failed to look up, Penny turned and tapped her on the arm. “I said he’s got to be a cowboy.  What do you think?”

Tehmeena raised her head from emptying coins into the cash till and proceeded to roll her eyes.

“Why don’t you take a look outside the window?” she asked her boss caustically. “See any white horses tethered up?”

Penny made a pretence of swivelling her head to scan the street outside.  She’d worked this shop-floor since leaving school and knew exactly what she was going to see.  Sure enough, there were the crowds of exhausted shoppers crammed onto the pavement, a never-ending line of stationary cars and red buses, and drizzle.  Endless drizzle.  Yep, everything just normal for a Saturday in London.  Plenty of traffic, but a distinct lack of horses.

She turned back with a sigh.  “I guess not,” she conceded.

Tehmeena frowned.  It was never a good sign when her boss started day-dreaming.  She glanced over at Penny’s desk in the corner of the shop, which was piled high with paperwork.

“Is everything OK, Pen?” she asked, taking in Penny’s tired features.  “Anything I can help with?”

“No, no!” Penny’s reply was instant.  “You’ve got enough to do.  I just need to get to the bottom of all this.”  She waved a hand towards the mountain of paper  and smiled a little wryly.  “Sorry to leave you in the lurch.”

“No problem.  And don’t apologise.  It’s not your fault, it’s David’s fault for walking out on us like this.”

Penny grimaced an acknowledgement before shifting herself up from the counter to make her way back to her desk.  Her business partner’s sudden and inexplicable storming out had certainly left them high and dry.  She took her seat behind the tower of paper, determined to give the accounts her utmost attention, but despite herself she found her gaze drifting back to the customer in the battered boots and denim shirt.  The guy had to be a cowboy, despite Tehmeena’s scornful reply.   He had the boots and he definitely had the walk.  Penny allowed her eyes to linger as he made his way around the shop-floor.  He had the loose-limbed gait of a cowboy, as though used to striding through wide open spaces, not constantly sidestepping litter on a city street.  It seemed a waft of fresh mountain air had blown into the shop in his wake.  There was something about the way he’d stood in the doorway, the way his keen grey eyes had swept over the interior before he’d stepped inside with a slow, easy stride.  It hadn’t taken much for Penny’s hungry imagination to transport her instantly to the Wild West.  With the rain darkening his blonde head and spotting his faded blue shirt, with his leather satchel slung casually from one broad shoulder – yes, Penny thought, surely this customer had ridden in from the plains especially to rescue her from the accounts.

She brought her gaze back to the files on her desk and choked down a sigh.   No point dreaming.  The dull truth was she was struggling with her accounts in an antiques business in south west London, and just about a million miles from the mountains of Virginia.

Now it’s my turn to tag five more ziggy zig zag writers and let them know I tagged them so that they can share their work in progress with the blogging community…. (Heather Haven) (Angela Dean) (Lola Dodge) (Rechelle Owens)  (Madeleine McLaughlin)

10 thoughts on “You’ve got the “LOOK”! – a ziggy zig zag tag post

  1. I like the story. Tight writing, good look at the characters, I can just see the women. Keep going, is my vote. (Opinion)


    1. Thanks for your comment and for taking the trouble to read, Madeleine. I’ve agonised over this for too long – you know how it is. Am looking forward to reading everyone else’s zig zag post! I like this idea :)


  2. I think this is great! I’m intrigued enough to be eager to read on. There is a certain appeal in the wittiness of your prose. You have already brought Penny and Tehmeena to life in a few short paragraph, but it is the cowboy I want to know more about. I would have preferred him to have had keen green eyes, though.


  3. I don’t think you should give it up at all! I agree with Andy, there is appeal in your writing and in your characters. I’d like to read on and know more about them. Do you have a critique partner? (I’m currently looking for one…).

    Thanks for tagging me. I’m working on my post at the moment and trying to find my five tag “victims” . . . This is definitely a challenge for me at the moment, but I’m always up for a challenge!


    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment, Angela. It means a lot. Am looking forward to reading your post – am glad you liked the “tag” idea! I do have a critique partner, and she also enjoyed what I’d written, with a few caveats, so I’ll carry on with the suggested amendments. If you’re looking for someone to critique your work let me know. I’m trying to get this ms polished and sent off by end November, but after that I shoud have more time. I’ve never “critiqued” before, though! I can recommend this scheme for new writers, which might be of more help:


  4. Just wondering how your MC is going to find a cowboy in the middle of one of the world’s business capitals would make me turn the page. I wonder if you could break up the paragraph that starts:
    ‘Penny grimaced an acknowledgement’
    That may improve the flow. That’s the only thing I see that could potentially stop a reader.
    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your suggestion and for dropping in on my post! My book is published now, and so I can’t change anything. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. If I re-release it, I’ll take another look at that paragraph!


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