Thursday, April 21, 2011

Favorite First Lines

Here are some of my favorite first lines in books I've loved.

  1. In the deserted men's restroom at the back of Middleton Community College, Sam Keller knelt on the tile, braced his hands against Keith Jameson's thighs, and broke his mother's heart. - Special Delivery, Heidi Cullinan
  2. I'll write you every day. - Beyond Eden, Kele Moon
  3. I, Amanda Wilkinson, hereby give the instructors of San Francisco Sex University permission to fuck me in the ass. - Sex University: Physical Education, Louisa Bacio
  4. Jason Carrillo walked around the block a third time, working up his courage to go into the brownstone. - Rainbow Boys, Alex Sanchez
  5. The bomb detonated while Grier was still two blocks away. - State of Mind, Libby Drew
  6. From the second he set foot in my classroom, I knew he was trouble. - Allegro Vivace, Cat Grant
  7. You're going to want to split those bitches up. - Belle Starr, Belinda McBride
  8. You have to understand, Max, this has nothing to do with you." - A Little Harmless Sex, Mel Schroeder
  9. Satira would have been on a horse and halfway into the sunset by now if the lift from the laboratory hadn't broken. - Wilder's Mate, Moira Rogers
  10. The land of my people was surrounded on three sides by mountains as dark as my skin. - Captive Spirit, Liz Fichera
  11. Keith's alpha rocked back in his chair and watched the harried-looking man and his young daughter walk out the back door of the bar. - Cry Sanctuary, Moira Rogers
  12. Oh God, I'm drowning. - Dreaming in Color, Cameron Dane
  13. The wiry kid almost got away with it. - Coming Home, Cameron Dane
  14. On the night it began, I bounded up the stairs to my two-hundred-year-old colonial town house in the heart of Philadelphia. - Menage, Emma Holly
  15. My name is Monroe Davis, and this is the story of how I found home. - Nowhere Ranch, Heidi Cullinan
  16. I sat at a table in my shadowy kitchen, staring down a bottle of Boone's Farm Hard Lemonade, when a magic fluctuation hit. - Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews
  17. Father Weston Scott wasn’t sure if this was his fourth or fifth pint. - No Fear In Love, Jamie Craig
  18. Micah Ferguson had counted three vineyards, two herds of sheep, a Roman aqueduct and five churches as the train sped from Calais to Paris when his boyfriend said, "We have to talk." - Something Beautiful, Jenna Jones
  19. The tall mahogany clock made the customary ominous tick as Ian waited in front of the equally foreboding desk. - An Improper Holiday, K.A. Mitchell
  20. Ryan didn't do random hookups. - Custom Ride, K.A. Mitchell
  21. The smaller man clawed at the leather as Leland Hawkes wrapped it tight around his throat. - Blood Slave, Kim Dare
  22. Ryan has a thing about one-night stands. - Resistance, LM Turner

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Writing to market?

Photo courtesy of Beauty in Everything
I think all of us, at one point or another, can remember a book we could not put down. That story whose characters beckoned you to keep reading and whose plot was so intriguing you could NOT look away. You lose yourself in the story and when it's over feel a little sad about putting the book down and walking away from it.

While reading queries and submissions by my clients over the past few weeks, I've realized that the stories I want to sell are the ones I feel saddened by walking away from after reading them. The stories whose message resonates with me and makes me physically ache for more. I've found that these stories are usually the ones the authors did not intend to write in the first place but the stories their characters wanted to tell. They're not always written for a specific market or genre (often times they straddle genres and break all kinds of "rules" in the genres they want to sell them in) but they're always compelling.

Once authors are published the demands to continue to sell grow to a point where they can be all-consuming. They may choose to write to a specific market because they "hear" it's where all the sales are or write to a genre simply because it's "known" to make more money. These authors soon find themselves burned out or suffering from writer's block as they struggle to make money because the book they thought was going to get them money in the market they wrote to is not doing so well. Why? Readers can spot a fake a mile away and when an author is not true to their characters and to themselves, it's evident in their work.