Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The chill, shivery October morning came; not the October morning of the country, with soft, silvery mists, clearing off before the sunbeams that bring out all the gorgeous beauty of colouring, but the October morning of Milton, whose silver mists were heavy fogs, and where the sun could only show long dusky streets when he did break through and shine...
North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell, Chapter 31

Story openings are so important. Chapter openings are just as important, as are chapter endings. It's a fine art to get them right, to lead the reader along and make them anxious to turn that page. The words should even have the right rhythm no matter where they fall. Here are a few of my favorite novel openings...

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. ~Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

If it had not rained on a certain May morning, Valancy Stirling's whole life would have been entirely different. ~The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

A single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. ~Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Davina McKie dropped to her shoulders on the grassy hillock, letting her shawl slip past her shoulders despite the sharp chill in the air. ~Grace In Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs

Here's one novel opening I know you haven't read...

This was madness. Roxanna Rowan leaned against the slick cave wall and felt an icy trickle drip down the back of her neck as she bent her head. ~The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz

Chances are you're reading a novel or writing one. I'd so love to hear your own novel opening, the one you've written or the one you're reading. Or post a favorite from a best loved book like the ones I've mentioned here. You can even make us guess as to which it is:) I can't get enough of all this book talk! Can you tell?

Happy Tuesday.


  1. Congratulations on winning N&S Penguin edition! I just went to the Elizabeth Gaskell site and couldn't believe that out of all those hundreds of entries from around the U.S. (maybe even the world) I would actually know who the winner was! If it's a Christian fiction site I can see where I might recognize the winner, but a secular blog. It was so funny. :)

  2. "Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were."

    GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell

  3. Good openings, and I recognize that last one. Can't wait to see the cover! :)

    "In the Year of Our Lord 1355, three days after the Feast of the Epiphany, God put it in my mind that I must write a book." ~ Opening of A VISION OF LIGHT by Judith Merkle Riley, my current read.

    "Thirteen sleeps into her journey, having resolved upon a solitary life, the woman who had been Burning-Sky sighted the stone that marked the border of her land." ~ Opening of THE QUIET IN THE LAND, by me. :)

    I've been having fun with chapter openings lately. The process goes something like: I stare at the screen, type a few words, don't like them, all wrong, stare at the screen... hem and haw... stare a bit more, until finally the POV character gets impatient and says something unexpected and unplanned, and it's so deep in their voice that I go with it, and it ends up greatly informing the scene.

    Too fun.

  4. I too love a great book opening! I am even entering my WIP in a contest for openings here at the end of the month. :) I love your line! I felt the shiver when I read it. Hmm, can't wait it!! When does it release again?? :)

    My first line:

    Face to face with my worst nightmare.

    From Releasing Yesterday, my current wip.

    Great discussion Laura! Appreciate you, friend. :)

  5. The little log cabin was unassuming nestled in a small meadow which was surrounded by ancient trees.

    The beginning of my current wip

  6. Here's one of my favorites:
    "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

    Love the opening for TCL.

    Lori, I love the opening for Quiet in the Land too. I already want to read it.

    Laura, I just noticed Sylvia said you won the Penguin Classics edition of North and South! You're going to love it! I spent about an hour yesterday reading the introduction. So very interesting. It almost made me want to read literary criticism. Then I remembered how much I hate literary criticism.

  7. I love the icy trickle down the neck---great imagery! Here are mine:

    Celeste “Sassy” Evans might have had her driver’s license revoked for poor eyesight, but she could clearly see something was wrong. (from The Art of Romance by me, May 2011)

    No moon. Wispy clouds hid most of the stars. He could not have asked for a more perfect night. Before him, the house glowed like a lantern atop the hill. Behind him, his men waited for his command. (from Ransome's Quest by me,
    July 2011)

  8. Here are some first lines from some of my favorite books. Laura has already mentioned several of my favorites, so I will mention others.

    "When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home." - The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

    "Everybody has a story. You listen to that story, Honeygirl, and your story will find you." - Gardenias for Breakfast by Robin Jones Gunn

    "The peaceful stillness of an English summer afternoon brooded over the park and gardens at Overdene." - The Rosary by Florence Barclay

    "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." - The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

    "Savannah is my name. It's also my world, my home. I didn't cherish it until I left. And when I returned, it was because I had something to prove." - Savannah From Savannah by Denise Hildreth

    "When first I knew her, I thought her an amusing scrap of girl, silly and a bit grubby from ther monings spent in the gardens." - Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen

  9. I love those first lines! I always try to make my first and last lines of every chapter stand out.

    Here's something new I'm working on, a regency:

    "Don't touch me." Diana Hartwell held up her gloved hands to halt the further advances of her assailant—or her would be rescuer—unable to discern his true intentions.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing the first line of The Colonel's Lady! I'm already hooked!

  10. "'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."--from one of my all-time favorite reads!

    And how about this for a beginning: "I come from a family with a lot of dead people."--from Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles

    And now I can't wait to read your next book! Thanks for a peak, Laura!

  11. I love first lines.

    Here's mine from CAROLINA DREAM, my current WIP:
    "Who needs a man when I've got a great big hunk of dog to keep me company?"

    Sometimes they make me laugh, sometimes they're just so poignant that they draw you in.

    This one always gets me, from PRINCE OF TIDES, by Jack Conroy:
    "My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call."

    Do you know, I think I rewrote the beginning of my book more than any other part? And it was the first line that made both appointments smile when they read it.

    BTW, I can't wait to read TCL!!!!! And Kaye is just toying with us, putting RQ and ART OF LOVE lines out there... Lori, love the "thirteen sleeps." It just SOUNDS historical, from the very beginning!

  12. Here's the opening to my historical novel I'm soon to be sending to editors:

    Ezra Jackson grunted against the explosion of pain. ~~ The Healer's Touch

    I started watching North & South and I'm enjoying it. Just waiting on the next DVD to watch the last episodes.

  13. I love all this book talk, too! :D The opening line of your next book sounds so good, and I'm certainly intrigued!!! Loved all the examples you shared, too. :)

    Here's the first line of the prologue of my WIP:

    "Forgotten. As much as David disliked the word, all that it stood for and the painful memories he associated with it, he could not seem to let it go."

    OK...so that's technically two lines! ;)

    And here's the first line of the first chapter of my WIP:

    "Elizabeth Lawson sat on a stool on the porch, peeling potatoes."

    If that doesn't intrigue you, I don't know what will! ;) Just kidding! My hope is that the prologue draws the reader in through intrigue, compassion, etc., and that the first chapter draws the reader in to a normal day of this Kansas farm girl. :)

    I love talking with ya'll about books, so I hope you don't mind me sharing a little bit of my WIP with you! :D


  14. Oooohhhh...I love reading the opening lines to everyone's WIP. This is a talented bunch to be sure. I love all your lines.

    Yay, on the Penguin edition, Laura!! They are still my absolute favorites...love the footnotes.

    A few of my favorites:

    To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.-Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

    Marley was dead, to begin with. -Dickens, A Christmas Carol

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.-Austen, P&P

    Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.-Dickens, David Copperfield

    OK, I thought about putting up my first line...but now I cannot. Dickens is an act that just cannot be followed. :)

  15. Oh, I just love opening lines! Thank you so much for sharing all these great ones- especially The Colonel's Lady!! Here are just a few of my favorites that instantly grabbed me...

    "I would rather boil in oil than marry Noah Brenin." Surrender the Heart by: MaryLu Tyndall

    "Heart pounding with fear and regret, Olivia Keene ran as though hellhounds were on her heels. As though her very life depended upon her escape." The Silent Governess by: Julie Klassen

    "Sisters are overrated, she decided. Not all of them, of course, only the beautiful ones who never let you forget it." A Passion Most Pure by: Julie Lessman

    And, one of my absolute favorites, that I think captures both beauty and danger, the familiar and the unknown, and instantly sets your heart to pounding: "In the fading lavender twilight, at the edge of a clearing, stood half a dozen Shawnee warriors." The Frontiersman's Daughter by: Laura Frantz ;)

    It was these captivating words that first introduced me to who would quickly become my favorite author AND a very dear friend :)

    Laura, you have been a blessing in my life since the opening line and I'm thanking Him for you!!

    Amanda Stanley

  16. Amanda, I was just waiting for you so the party could begin and here you are so guess I'll start backwards:) Bless you, bless you, bless you for saying such encouraging things!! The Lord knew I needed a reader like you!! Wish I had a million more Amandas:) But at the risk of sounding cheesy I'll admit you're one in a million!

    I confess I remember the opening line for TFD all too well but had to look up Morrow's and Roxanna's! Something about that first book...

    And I just LOVE Marylu's opener you shared - wow! I have that book in my stack and need to get started! If it's anything like the first 10 words... And I like the name Noah Brenin for a hero. I imagine it's the one she ends up with:)

    I know both Julies would love the mention here. I omitted one of my very favorite novels - Christy by Catherine Marshall. Will have to check that first line as now I'm so curious. Bless you bunches!

  17. Julia,
    I so understand your reticence after Dickens. I couldn't have posted either. Mine seemed somewhat wimpy and histrionic after North & South above, etc. It's so interesting that several of my openers from the classics and your Steinbeck have to do with the weather/setting:)

    LOVE your first lines!! They say so much about a novel, particularly the author's voice. I would love to hear your opener if you ever want to post. Women's fiction is your forte, so I learned today, and that intrigues me mightily:)

  18. Amber,
    Oh I'm so, so glad you shared some of your WIP. I've had the privilege of meeting David and Elizabeth and they have so much heart and soul!!

    Personally I love prologues and feel certain books need them. Yours fits so well with what's to come in your novel, Amber. It really does set the stage and act as a delicious appetizer prior to the main course:)

    Praying you are having a great semester in every way! Bless you for taking time here in what I think is one of my favorite post discussions to date:)

  19. Winter,
    You have me hooked in only 8 words!! I am hoping/praying this is a historical! I am thinking Civil War? Love your character name, the force of those few words, the way it grabs the reader and pulls them right in:) THRILLED it will soon be in an editor's hands!! Please let me know how that goes. I'm so excited for you.

    Oh, and the title is really, really good and gives me a glimpse into the heart of the novel.

    I'm so glad you are liking North&South. I confess I'm in withdrawal and need to watch episode 4 about 10 more times. Once this deadline passes...

  20. Regina,
    YAY! You're here! I've been missing you:) And long before I read that those appointments smiled, I was smiling and chuckling when I read your first line and then immediately thought of Kav who loves this sort of thing. Lorna also! And your title says so much. I'm so excited to hear where you are with all of this! Good things ahead:)

    That's the most interesting line from POT which I've never read! Think I may have seen the movie?

    I've had to write my first chapters/lines over and over, too. Morrow's was actually written after the last chapter because by the time I reached the end, the original first chapter no longer worked.

    OH MY, I haven't read Kaye's and Lori's and whoever else's excerpts yet! Onwards and upwards:)

  21. Renee Ann,
    Oh so happy you're here! I laughed out loud at the second quote and the first is from one of my favorite novels, too, so I felt a little nostalgic twinge. Wish I could go back and recapture the joy of reading Little Women for the first time.

    I'm still working away at The Colonel's Lady (deadline soon) and hoping I get to post that cover pretty quick:) So glad to know you're looking forward to reading. That is bound to make me write faster!

  22. Carla,
    Oh, you're not the only one hooked! I'm so thrilled you're writing a Regency! That first line just nabs you and leaves you wanting more. I guess Regency romance is really making a big comeback. I think of Catherine Palmer who you introduced me to. I know you're loving her new series. The covers are so pretty. Like something out of a BBC production.

    Anyway, bless you for sharing those winning words! And for being excited to read TCL. That gives me such encouragement.

  23. Sylvia,
    WONDERFUL quotes! I bet it was hard for you to limit yourself to a few (I sure had problems). Some of yours just reach out and shake you. I've heard so much of Robin J Gunn and that opener makes me want to know more:) Some are so evocative and beautiful - all are interesting.

    And thanks for the congrats on winning that Penguin edition:)! I didn't know I'd even entered the drawing! But I've had so much trouble getting a Penguin copy. I ordered 2 copies of N&S from Amazon and they came and aren't as advertised (long story). They contain so many typos and errors, etc. So I am just thrilled to be getting a good edition! And I bet you did do a double take when you saw my name as winner. I sure did:)

  24. Kaye,
    THUD! Did you know I have a bit of a swoon over your WR just as I do John Thornton?! They're obviously cut from the same cloth though your hero minds his temper a bit better. And I laughed out loud at Sassy:) I don't know how you make the leap from writing 2 such distinct genres but YOU DO. And you do it WELL.

    But oh, what a tease! 2011 seems way too far off for me!

  25. Michelle,
    Anna K kept me up many a night in my college days. I think I had to write a term paper on her and that is one big fat historical! Bless Dostoyevsky! Not sure if I even spelled that right but I'll never forget that opener. Sad but interesting book.

    I know you'll love Lori's historical when it's on the shelf. And it will be:)

    As for that Penguin edition, I'm still pinching myself! I chuckled at your literary criticism comment. I don't like criticism either, literary or otherwise. And I'll fight anyone who says anything remotely negative about our hero, John Thornton:)

  26. Laura,

    You've almost made me cry--in a good way! Thank you so, so much for your encouraging words! To hear you say that you think David and Elizabeth have so much heart and soul...oh! it just blows me away! I love my characters, but to think that a wonderful, exemplary author such as you felt drawn to them, too... You are such a blessing!

    And I'm so glad you liked the prologue. :) On another blog there was a series a while back about the problems with sharing too much back story, and I was afraid I might have done that. But I'm willing to take that risk right now, because I feel that the prologue really sets the stage, as you say. :)

    I agree that this is a great discussion, and I hope to contribute more to it soon! :D I probably should do my Literary Criticism homework now, but I hope I can come back later!

    Thank you again and again for your kind words! :D


  27. Rainydame,
    Now YOURS is a line that made me read again and again and AGAIN. Because it's the stuff I love. Love the wording, especially "ancient" and "unassuming" and "meadow." You've made me intensely curious! I want to know who is in that cabin and those woods. I think it must be Washington woods:) Next time I'm going to ask for a whole paragraph and not one tiny first line...

  28. Casey,
    I can't get enough of your title! It has such a lovely sound. And that first line is a line to beat all lines! I want to know what comes next, right this minute!! I think it's so interesting that we are a blend of contemporary and historical writers/fans.

    Will be thinking/praying for you in that contest! So glad you are entering:)

    TCL is due to release next August but that really means July, probably. And I get to post the cover soon! Woo-hoo! Bless you, dear Casey.

  29. Lori,
    You find the most interesting books! For a moment I thought Judith's was the new one you are brainstorming! And I love the opening for Willa ~ only you've changed her Indian name! I remember you were planning on that and I like this one even better. Very evocative and rich.

    I may have to try your little chapter intro thingy:) Sounds good to me. Highly creative!

  30. Britt,
    As soon as I read your opener I wanted to jump up and down:) And I was torqued I hadn't remembered it!! If you knew how many times I've watched GWTW:) And then there's the book (and the sequel). Was there ever a novel like it?! Not for this southern girl. You either, I'm thinking.

    I'm hoping you are doing well and enjoying a beautiful Smoky Mountain fall. I know you're getting ready for NNWM. Bless you for blessing me by your being here!

  31. OK, here goes.

    Unnamed as of yet:

    "I left that day, I just hadn't realized it yet."

    ...I have an idea brewing for a historical fiction, a someday thing. I would love to write a series about the wives of some of the reformers. Katie Luther, former nun...Susannah Wesley...Sarah Edwards. I think I'll start up a little notebook with "someday" ideas. The ideas are in much larger supply than the time...and I wouldn't have it any other way.

  32. Heavens, it's late and I hope I haven't overlooked anyone. If I have I'll be back with you in the morning. Thanks so much for blessing me with such great comments! Book talk is bliss:)

  33. The last book I read was wonderful, the characters captivating, and the story one that kept me turning pages more and more quickly as I raced to The End. I finished Courting Morrow Little yesterday, and I was smitten. Morrow is delightful, and Red Shirt is sigh-worthy. Well done, Laura. =)

  34. Amber,
    I love backstory and feel it's far more important to include it than omit it. I just finished reading a CBA novel, a historical, where there was so little backstory it gave me no empathy or understanding for the characters and made me realize just how vital it is. I think backstory, when used properly, enriches the book in countless ways. So keep your backstory as you can always edit it or thin it later:)

    Loving your characters is THE most important thing you can do for them. That spills over to the reader and then they fall in love right along with you!

  35. Julia,
    OH, that first line!! It is slightly humorous in a tongue in cheek kind of way but has very serious overtones! As a reader I would read on to try and determine just what was what...

    Your "someday" folder is a wonderful idea. And I just LOVE the Reformer's wives series idea. I've always been fascinated with Martin Luther as he was such a rebel of a monk and then married that nun:) It's the stuff of which great novels are made. You and I have a heart for missions/Voice of the Martyrs, so am thinking that ties into our interest.

    Bless you for teasing us with that first line of yours!! I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I'd love to know what's behind it:)

  36. Oh Keli,
    You've sure blessed me this morning! Thank you so much for reading Morrow's story. I miss those characters. Glad you found Red Shirt a worthy hero:) Morrow had a lot of growing to do but she found herself at novel's end. I treasure your comments as you are such a voracious reader and writer. You are a dear friend!!

  37. Here's the opening from my current read:

    "Esther's father halted the lazy swaying of the porch swing. "Listen," he said. "There's something I need to tell all of you." The darkness in his voice made Esther's skin prickle. He had used the same phrase, the same tone, when he'd told her that Mama had gone to live up in heaven.

    I know that's long...but I couldn't chop up the paragraph! ;)


  38. RUTH!
    This excerpt is wonderful...
    There's something that just got me when I read the "lazy swaying of the porch swing" and the "skin prickle." Well done:) Now I'm puzzing over the author and title!
    I now wish I'd posted first paragraphs as that is even more a delight/tease!

    I am DYING to post that TCL cover. Last time I think you and Rel saw Morrow up on the web before I did. Rel is like a new cover magnet! I've been checking the Revell site which is where it appears first. I should offer a prize for the first person who finds it (am sure it won't be me). Here's hoping it knocks your socks off:)

  39. Oh Ruth, Speaking of having one's socks knocked off ~ that Richard Armitage clip you posted was certainly swoon-worthy! Only I was too rattled by it to comment:)

  40. Some of you mentioned Catherine Palmers's new series where the covers look like something from a BBC drama. How new is this? I've read her wonderful Miss Pickworth series. Does she have a new historical series that I don't know about?

  41. I think I may have told you about this but I had the most fantastic lady that helped me out with research. She lives in Utah and runs a ministry called A Shield and Refuge. If you ever have a chance to watch the videos on the site, they are heartbreaking and beautiful. She left an FLDS-type cult...20 years later she fell in love with Christ and began this ministry. She is involved with the police to help those in cults leave dangerous situations, but her love is to reach them with the gospel (even though most sadly do not convert). She is trying to build a safe house for these women and children.

    Here's my story synopsis:
    Synopsis: Rachel is a Mormon fundamentalist fourth wife to Jed, but dreams of living a different life. Before marriage she loved the kind Michael. Their dreams are dashed when Michael is sent out of town on a quest as a lost boy and Rachel is instead forced to marry much older Jed. Jed torments and abuses Rachel almost to the point of death forcing her to realize she must escape. Knowing she only has an 8th grade education and can't provide for her children, she leaves them behind. After risking her life in a harrowing attempt to escape Utah, Rachel finds herself struggling to make ends meet, working in the Walmart checkout lane where she meets Lila. Sparkling Lila witnesses to Rachel and offers Rachel the first real home she's ever known. Rachel comes to know Christ as a result of the witness of Lila...and comes to the life-altering realization that she must forgive her ex-husband to come to know the true bounds of freedom Christ offers her.

    I am flirting with the possibility of a trilogy as she falls in love and experiences the beauty of marriage in Christ and then reaches out to start a shelter to others in abusive situations.

    OK, now I wrote you a book :)

  42. First line of the very first chapter in the book I've started reading:

    My Sisters, if I began this tale at the end, you would know my heart is full of love even though nothing went as planned.

    The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson.

    Kinda fun, reading the first lines from everybody's books! You always get us involved in the ongoing conversation, Laura!

  43. YEAH *giddy clapping* I can't wait to see it!!!!!! Don't hold us in suspense too much longer! :)

  44. Sylvia,
    Oh my, I think you know more about CP than I do:) I thought she had another Regency series coming up with Tyndale but when I went to her site and checked a couple of other places I don't see it. But I really did stumble across something that said something was in the works so if I see it again I will wave a red flag:) Now we have more than one CP fan among us!

  45. Julia,
    As I read your very fine synopsis (you covered all the bases!), it sounds like it would make a fine series. Wow! And you have the perfect research contact with an amazing ministry. You did share that with me a few months ago and I found it fascinating (and new to me). That is SO needed. Mormonism is exploding in other countries, too, like Latin America where my brother ministered, etc. But Utah is the hot spot. Am wondering if you've read Sister Wife? I am not sure I have the title right but it's fairly new and you might be interested given this. I remember Janette Oke saying we are "paper missionaries" and this certainly is a ministry of its own in the area you are writing about. Love the names Lila and Rachel and am already wondering about Michael!

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

  46. Lisa,
    I hope your littles are all well:) You and little Miss L must have a quiet house for a few hours!

    I think Lisa is a Kentucky author? I've heard good things about her writing style/book and believe it was Brenda who told me about her. That's certainly an unusual first line! I had to reread it to get the gist of it! Like a book that makees you think:)

    So glad you joined the discussion! It's always far more fun when you come round:)

  47. Casey,
    Oh I'm so ready for the cover reveal. Bless u 4 your excitement. That just fuels mine!!

  48. As for Catherine Palmer I must confess that out of all her books I've only read her three-book Miss Pickworth series. She does have another series that I think is Regency, but I haven't read that one. It's the English Ivy Series. Speaking of Regency have any of you read Julie Klassen's books? Wow! I've read all three, just finished a re-read of Lady of Milkweed Manor, and am greatly looking forward to her new one in December.

  49. Sylvia,
    I'm glad you found Julie:) But once again, you're way ahead of me! I've only read Lady of Milkweed Manor thus far but love the cover of The Girl in the Gatehouse (it's late so hope I'm not mangling the title)! Did you have a favorite of the 3 so far? I might have to go with your suggestion next:)

  50. Laura, I love all three of them, so I don't know if I can choose a favorite of Julie's books. In the next few weeks I plan to re-read the next two, so maybe I will be able to say. I'm leaning toward The Silent Governess, but I guess I will see.

    I went and looked at the synopsises for the English Ivy books by Catherine Palmer and realized that I have read one of them.

  51. Laura, I'm reading it right now, in fact! It bothers me that this is exploding on TV with some show on HBO and now I've heard a reality show. Saddens me so much to see this glamourized when as Doris says, "these people are living hell on earth, only to head to hell in death." We've had some opportunities to talk with Jehovah's Witnesses lately, too, and you know I really think they and the Mormons put us to shame with the training they give in doctrine...and their persistence in witnessing. OK, heading off my soapbox to start the homeschool day. Bless you today, Laura. Praying for you as you write.

  52. I love a good opening! Oh, they can be agonizing! But you're right, they so set the tone and either draw you in immediately or leave you feeling luke-warm. The P&P opening is so classic, and as true now as it was way back when.
    I love your opening and cant wait to meet your new cast of characters! I'd be curious to know how you come about your opener, do you wait for something spectacular to pop into your mind and then write? Or is your opener something that is a constant revision?

    I will share with you my tentative little opening (although its very much just in a rough state):

    Bailey McClellan’s mother always said she had a way with words. And on that breathlessly hot July afternoon when she first saw the house, that gift didn’t fail her.
    “It looks like a wedding cake. A giant haunted wedding cake.” Bailey sighed, her head tilted back in wonder she made slow circles in the yard, taking in the yawning bulk of the mansion before her.

  53. Heather, You ARE certainly a writer!! As well as an artist! What a perfect description of a house - likening it to a wedding cake (and a haunted one, at that:)! Bailey is a strong character name - oh, I could go on and on. Not rough at all, dearie! Keep on going. Am wondering if it gives you the same thrill as your dolls or paintings? Ah, love looking inside your head...

    As for those pesky openers... This one for TLC is the one I kept. Morrow's I had to redo several times and even wrote the first chapter when I finished the book as the original no longer worked! In TFD, those Shawnee had been standing at the edge of the clearing for 25 years till it came to print so was unaltered:) Oh, the JOY of beginnings. They are much harder for me to write than endings!

  54. Julia,
    I was horrified when I saw the ad for the Mormon wives or "sisters" show the other day. What a shame to glamorize or trivialize something with such terrible consequences like you said. Doris's quote is so memorable and so true. And you're right - they do put us to shame with their outreach and their focus on the family. I see Mormon youth here so often in their suits walking with their backpacks and fulfilling their missions requirement. That is the "light" the enemy uses, I think, to lure people in.

    No soapbox at all - just TRUTH. And bless you for it!

  55. Laura, I agree with Sylvia, I love all 3 of Julie Klassen's books! She is an AMAZING author!!! I love the the depth and richness of what she writes! The first book I ever read of hers was "The Apothecaries Daughter" (the cover is one of my all time favorites!) and I LOVED it!!! John Keates even has a cameo in it :D

    All 3 books are all wonderful in their own right, but, TAD is definitely my favorite! But... that might change in a few months ;)

    Amanda Stanley

  56. Sylvia,
    I'll wait for your recc:) The Silent Governess is my favorite of her covers though this upcoming one is quite nice.

    BTW, does anyone have a Kindle? I don't think there's anything like holding a REAL book in your hands, but my lack of shelf space may force me into it. My brother's just broke, however, so I am not sure I want to go that route. If you have one, I'd love to know what you think.

  57. Amanda,
    So glad you're a JK fan:) When I first saw the cover for TAD I sighed:) It is a really dreamy cover with her looking out the window, etc. And that dress! You've probably seen her upcoming cover. It's very intriguing. Love that little bit of mystery in her books. I don't think there's another author out there that writes the kind of fiction she writes, at least in the CBA. But I'd love to be corrected if I'm wrong:)

  58. Thanks Laura :) Im still not sure if that will be her last name, but I recently went over a bridge called "McClellan-Kerr" and thought it sounded interesting.

    Love hearing about your openers. Wow, those Shawnee were hanging outside that cabin for a good long while! But its a very epic image!

  59. Heather, You've said the magic words - epic:) Those natives were very patient, to be sure! Had to let Lael's hair grow - lol! Love the name McClellan-Kerr. It just has the right rhythm. Last weekend I went to a family reunion with Randy and we unearthed the most interesting names ~ Elon, Lute, Creed Rankin, and Prather. Novel worthy names, I'm thinking...

  60. Been a while but here's mine:

    "Seated at the mahogany counter on a wobbly barstool, I wait for Mr. Wealthy and Available."

    Hatteras Girl by Alic J Wisler

    I liked this one because it made me smile because who hasn't had that thought at some stage of their lives!

  61. Elon is a Bible name. There are lots of neat names in the Bible once you look past the usual ones and the strange ones. The name Elon is in Genesis. He is the father of one of Esau's wives.

  62. Rel,
    LOL! I was just looking at the cover for HG today and admiring it. Quite coincidental you'd show up and introduce the first line! And yes, more than a few of us have thought that very thing once upon a time:)

    Thanks for that. BTW, FF and YOU did a stellar job with their online mag, etc!! Kudos to you all!!

  63. Sylvia,
    Isn't Elon beautiful? I'm glad it's Biblical as I was wondering if anyone would be able to pronounce it correctly. I'm going to go to Genesis and look up, thanks to you:) You are my "GO TO GIRL" for things like this. I bet you are KILLER at Trivial Pursuit!! I'm probably dating myself but used to play that and love it.

    I need to do some looking up the name of my new hero, Silas, which is definitely Biblical...

  64. Rel and Laura,

    Ooooh, I just signed up not that long ago to review Hatteras Girl for Bethany House, and I'm hooked with that line! ;) I think I can relate...

    And I absolutely loved Rain Song by Alice J. Wisler (which is why I think I'll also love HG)! It was different than a lot of other Christian fiction, but in a profound way that I really liked. :)


  65. Fun conversation!

    My own opening lines are so mangled they are not fit to be read by anyone at this point, but here is the first paragraph from my all-time favorite book:

    "Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York in the summer of 1912. Somber, as a word, was better. But it did not apply to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Prairie was lovely and Shenandoah had a beautiful sound, but you couldn't fit those words into Brooklyn. Serene was the word for it; especially on a Saturday afternoon in late summer."

    ~A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith

    Loved reading the opening of TCL! I'm anxious to know what madness has Roxana hiding out in a cave!

  66. YAY! Mary's here! I was hoping if I left this post up a bit longer (it's one of my favorites thus far because of the comments), that you'd come over. And I just KNEW this was your best loved book and with good reason:) It's such a classic and is timeless as all really beloved books are.

    So glad I hooked you with that little bit of TLC. Can't wait to show you the cover! It's sooo different but no spoilers here... I'm afraid I'm getting too good at that. Have a wonderful weekend there, dear friend!

  67. Amber,
    Now my toppling pile is really toppling with these next reads you and others have mentioned:) I'm so glad you're part of the blog tours!! I wish I'd been as savvy when they started those and joined up for Revell and other houses. It's really a book lover's dream, not to mention great training for we writers.

  68. Those of you who were talking about the novel Hatteras Girl by Alice Wisler have a chance to win it in a giveaway at the following blog.


  69. Sylvia, Bless you for being so thoughtful and sharing the giveaway news! That is so very nice!!