As both a reader and a writer, I admire authors who can hook a reader in a few sentences, so I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite openings. These are openings that make me want to keep reading to find out more, or surprise me with the unexpected, or make me feel something. The authors whose work I’ve cited include Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Eloisa James, Rachel Gibson, Linda Lael Miller, Jennifer Crusie and Elizabeth Lowell. For a little fun, try to match the author with her writing. I’ve given the answers, listed in order, at the end of this article.
Ready? Here goes:
(1) She found the paper while she was sorting through the personal things in her father’s desk. Michelle Cabot unfolded the single sheet with casual curiosity, just as she had unfolded dozens of others, but she had read only a paragraph when her spine slowly straightened and a tremor began in her fingers. Stunned, she began again, her eyes widening with sick horror at what she read.
(2) Devon Hamilton-Zemaitis was a beautiful woman. Being dead didn’t change that.
(3) One hot August Thursday afternoon, Maddie Faraday reached under the front seat of her husband’s Cadillac and pulled out a pair of black lace underpants. They weren’t hers.
(4) “Don’t move. Don’t even breathe.”
The man’s low, emotionless voice was enough to freeze Sarah Kennedy in place. But even if his voice hadn’t stilled her, the rest of him would have.
(5) He wanted a drink. Whiskey, cheap and warm. After six weeks on the trail, he wanted the same kind of woman. Some men usually managed to get what they wanted. He was one of them. Still, the woman could wait, Jake decided as he leaned against the bar. The whiskey couldn’t.
(6) Knowing precisely why no one wants to marry you is slim consolation for the truth of it. In Lady Roberta St. Giles’s case, the evidence was all too clear—as was her lack of suitors.
(7) The noose lay heavy around Jolie McKibben’s neck, smelling of sweat and horseflesh and hemp. Frantic protests of innocence had long since rendered her throat too raw to speak, and she felt nothing except a certain defiant numbness as she stared back at those who had gathered to see her hanged.
Now here’s an opening excerpt from my story in the anthology Return to Wayback, just released TODAY at the Wild Rose Press and available on www.amazon.com. It contains three stories about three hard-driving men with three different reasons to return to Wayback and the women who could give them a reason to stay. Besides my story, Re-ride at the Rodeo, Return to Wayback also features two other great Wayback stories, Payback in Wayback by Lynda Coker and Roped and Tied by Mallary Mitchell.
“There he goes, ladies and gents. Tyler Wright has done it. An eighty-five. That’s about as good as it gets,” the announcer blared over the loudspeaker.
The cheers from the crowd were deafening, but Dusty didn’t care to notice. She’d heard it all too many times before. Since the start, just about any weekend from March to November, it seemed she’d been at the rodeo arena. First watching from the stands. Now as barkeep handling the beer stall. There was no escaping the rodeo if you lived in Wayback. It was the only game in town, except for Friday nights at the high school field during football season. It was also the major source of the town’s revenue. One way or another, if you lived in Wayback, you were connected to the rodeo. She was connected in more ways than she cared to count. More ways than she cared to remember.
Here’s the list of the authors and the book the opening hook was taken from—how’d you do?
(1) Linda Howard, Heartbreaker
(2) Rachel Gibson, Not Another Bad Date
(3) Jennifer Crusie, Tell Me Lies
(4) Elizabeth Lowell, Winter Fire
(5) Nora Roberts, Lawless (her only western, I think)
(6) Eloisa James, Duchess in Love
(7) Linda Lael Miller, Daniel’s Bride
Now, any of those openings that you liked? Want to share any favorite books whose openings hooked you? What makes a good hook?
Leave a comment and you could be a winner. Because to celebrate the release of Return to Wayback, I’ll randomly choose one lucky person who leaves a comment to get a free copy of Return to Wayback and I’ll announce the winner tomorrow, Saturday, on my blog at www.annecarrole.blogspot.com! So comment!
Book Purchase urls to insert with underlines above:
The Wild Rose Press: http://www.thewildrosepress.com