What's Up Wednesday?

First, I need to announce the winner of Bronwen Evan’s INVITATION TO RUIN. Congratulations, Nynke! My DH pulled your name out of the hat. Please email me your mailing address and I’ll see that Bronwen has it.

For everyone else, please visit me next Monday when my guest will be historical author Lila DiPasqua with another great giveaway!

Now on to my small doings… I’ve unpacked my bags, done my laundry and settled back into my routine. My trips to NYC to see the Phantom of the Opera and to Iowa for a family reunion were great fun. RWA Nationals was a whirlwind of activity–parties, dinners, face time with both my editors and agent, signings and workshops! Now I’m breathing a sigh of relief and snuggling into the cocooned lifestyle writers love–writing in my jammies and only putting on shoes when it’s time to take the dogs out. :-)

I’m starting a new project so it’s a delicate time. My characters are stepping from my subconscious nicely, and fortunately, they come with some interesting conflicts and goals. But if you visit me on Red Pencil Thursdays, you know how much weight I put on the opening of any story. I’ve rewritten the first chapters several times and will undoubtedly do so again.

However, I have some great inspiration. Part of the fun of attending a national conference is the seriously wonderful swag you come away with. My suitcase (and my DH) positively groaned under the weight of the new books I brought home. Here’s a smattering of first lines from some of the titles I snagged at Nationals:

“The duke must be here somewhere,” said Mrs. Bouchon, née Lady Anne Lindel, tugging her older sister along like a child with a wheeled toy.” ~ A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James

Once upon a time a child was left on the doorstep of a stuffy London gentlemen’s club with a note pinned to her coat. ~ Scoundrel in My Dreams by Celeste Bradley

Gayle Windham, Earl of Westhaven, was enjoying a leisurely measure of those things that pleased him most: solitude, peace and quiet. ~ The Heir by Grace Burrowes

A good friend lets one spill bile, even if he finds it boring. ~ Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter

As a thief-taker, Jasper Bond had been consulted in a number of unusual locations, but today was the first in a church. ~ Pride and Pleasure by Sylvia Day

Each of these openers sets the tone for the tale that ensues. So I’ve been working on my own first sentence with diligence. Here is the most recent incarnation:

Near the top of every marriage-minded mama’s short list of “eligibles,” Lord James Mallory’s name occupied a well deserved spot. ~ Title TBD by Mia Marlowe

It may well change before I submit the manuscript, but there’s where I am today. Now I’d like to know where YOU are. Quick! Run get the book you’re reading now and type the first line into a comment, along with title and author, of course. We’ll see who’s reading the book with the most intriguing opener. Here’s mine:

“Julia, what in the name of God is that terrible stench?” ~ The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn

13 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday?

  1. Peggy West says:

    “The law be damned, Liam! They murdered him.” From “The Barefoot Queen”, by Jean Harrington

    1. Mia says:

      What a good opening hook, Peggy! Strong emotion always pulls me right in.

  2. Barbara Britton says:

    Hi Mia,
    I liked your opening line.
    I am reading a YA, “The Iron King” by Julie Kagawa–yes, I did receive this at Nationals.
    Opening line…
    “Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.”

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I brought THE IRON KING home for my daughter, Barbara. After hearing the opening line, I may have to borrow it back from her.

      It was lovely to meet you in NY!

  3. Marcy W says:

    “Why is THAT sitting on my fountain?”
    — The Soldier, by Grace Burrows.
    I’m cheating a bit, as I haven’t actually started it yet, but it’s next on my TBR pile, and the other one is The Dark Enquiry, which Mia already quoted. I really liked Burrows’ first, The Heir, so am expecting great things here too.
    Mia, since you put it out there . . . I don’t love James Mallory as a name (the s on the end is part of it, but it strikes me as so ordinary as to almost disappear). And your first sentence doesn’t grab me the way yours usually do. Is this a place for your mantra “show, don’t tell”??
    Glad to have you back, even if my comments don’t show it! :-)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I got to meet Grace in NY last week and she’s just as gracious a lady as her writing would indicate.

      Ah, Marcy! As the proverb says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Thanks, as always for your input!

  4. Mia, sounds like an intriguing opener for your new WIP–why he’s thought to be a catch, but why he’s not really one. Is this another in your TOUCH series?

    I have The Dark Enquiry on my nightstand, but haven’t cracked it open yet. Glad it has a good first line. :) I’m currently reading Loretta Chase’s Silk is for Seduction:

    “In the summer of 1810, Mr. Edward Noirot eloped to Gretna Green with Miss Catherine DeLucey.”

    And The Scarlet Pimpernel (I am ashamed to admit this is the first time I’ve read it):

    “A surging, seething, murmuring crowd of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and of hate.” o.O

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      No, Theresa, all three “touch” books are written. This is a new trilogy and I’m really excited about it. I’ll tell you more when I’m able.

      I’ve been a Loretta Chase fan since I read her Lord of Scoundrels–an instant classic.

      Loved the Scarlet Pimpernel! Sherry Thomas used a few of its elements for her His At Night. Her hero also played the fool, pretending to mild brain damage, while he was in reality an operative for the Crown.

  5. “He had deliberately cut the pad of his thumb open on a sharp edge of stone, then pushed tiny bits of gravel into the bleeding wound so that the slightest pressure would send sharp pains up his arm, commanding his full attention.”
    -first line of In the Shadow of Midnight by Marsha Canham.

    Mia, I like your first line, and look forward to seeing why this hero isn’t what others think he is. The name did make me immediately think of the James Malory from Johanna Lindsey’s Gentle Rogue, but I have no doubts this James Mallory will be equally unique.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Well, shoot! Someone else has used my hero’s name. I’ll have to change it. Thanks, Anna. I hadn’t read that Lindsey book. Well, James is a difficult name to work with because of the s on the end. This gives me another reason to rethink it.

  6. Nynke says:

    I’ll email you shortly, thanks so much!

    I’ve actually read the last three of the books you snagged at the Nationals. Celeste Bradley’s opening line sounds very intriguing; I’ll have to read that one too!
    I like the echoes of Pride and Prejudice and the alliteration in your current opening line :).

    “One English boy shackled to the mast.” That’s the opening line of what I’m reading now: Wicked Seduction by Jade Lee. But I’ve gotta go – I’ve only just finished Madeline Hunter’s Dangerous in Diamonds and I really need to write instead of read!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Oh, I love Jade Lee! She and I had a lovely little tete-a-tete in NYC. She’s the antithesis of most writers. We tend to be an introverted bunch. Jade is larger than life–never met a stranger, always has a well-expressed opinion and is flat out brilliant!

      Echoes of Pride and Prejudice? Oh, no! I don’t want to seem derivative. Does my opener seem too similar to:
      “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

      I only meant to imply that James Mallory is considered no end of a catch–and then show why he’s not!

      1. Nynke says:

        Yay @ Jade Lee :)

        I don’t think you’re ending is necessarily too derivative, but I didn’t get your implication that he isn’t actually much of a catch at all! It said the spot was well-deserved… But if you work that into it clearer, it would instantly hook me. (I’m hooked now! Wonder what’s wrong with him, since he must turn out nice and hot in the end!)

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