As I’m ringing in another, hoping there are still plenty of “firsts” ahead of me, I thought I’d share with you some of the first lines in my books. Every author knows that we have one line, one paragraph and if we’re lucky–one page to grab you, the reader and keep you turning pages. I can spend days tweaking and reworking the beginning of my stories. When you look at them individually what do you think? Does the line make you want to keep reading or not so much?
1. Jahara Khateri’s life was over. As she stared out the windows of the crowded helo-train, she knew nothing could change the course of her life. She felt the hollow reality as obvious as the barren expanse of the desert stretching between her and the horizon.
2. Nicholas Gradin III splashed three more finger of thirty-year-old scotch into the crystal tumbler sitting on the antique desk, not bothering to add ice. He didn’t need some watered-down version of liquid courage. At this moment, he needed straight up, balls-to-the-walls confidence that everything would work out in his favor.
3. Margaret Callaghan hid her heartache behind dark sunglasses and the Starbuck’s double-double mocha latte she carried like a shield. The steaming coffee hadn’t helped dislodge the hot coal of despair burning her throat or soothe the quiver of her bottom lip. Mercifully, the front receptionist’s desk of Summit Rehabilitation and Wellness Clinic was empty at this hour of the morning, giving her hope that she just might be able to reach her office and pull herself together before anyone could question her misery.
4. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…”
How could this have happened to someone so young? Julie Tilling dabbed at the tears ruining the makeup she’d meticulously applied to her rounded cheeks. She stared at the coffin suspended eerily over the marred earth of the cemetery, not sure what to make of this farce.
5. Sara Lancaster had definitely made the wrong decision. Less than twenty-four hours ago she was sure this weekend was just what she needed. Eight hours ago, excitement had fluttered in her stomach as she’d left Boston, overjoyed to accept the invitation. Hell, just two hours ago she’d been giddy with anticipation as she’d collected her bags at the Key West airport and caught a taxi to the boat landing. But her tiny apartment and the bungalow where she currently stood weren’t merely thousands of miles apart—a whole world separated the comfortable life she’d finally made for herself and the fantasy she was standing in.
6. It wasn’t much of a noise, just an inconsequential thump in the night that was enough to rouse Professor Paul Morgan from his dreamless slumber. Still cradled in the gentle arms of sleep, his blood thick with sleeping medication, he wasn’t sure if he’d simply imagined the sound. But when another muffled bang was followed by a whoosh of air—he had no doubt the commotion coming from the first floor had nothing to do with his mischievous tabby, Zeus.
* UNCONTROLLED BURN *
7. Meghan Tilling’s body quaked with fear and the bone-chilling thirty-eight degrees of the cooler where she was trapped. She pressed her forehead against the icy metal of the door, her palm caressing its pebbled surface, trying to fight the panic lurking like a sinister shadow and threatening to overwhelm her in despair. How ironic that the annoyance of driving in a Maine snowstorm had kept her at Tilling Gardens and Plants, the business she co-owned with her two sisters. Finishing the shop’s holiday arrangements and festive decorations had seemed a better alternative to a white-knuckled drive home in the heart of a nor’easter. Except now, instead of being stranded in a ditch on the side of the road with a chance of being rescued, she was going to freeze to death alone in the walk-in cooler that was the lifeblood of her business.
8. Jesus. Even though Jonathon Brierton wasn’t particularly religious he prayed for Divine intervention. Not that he wanted any lightning strikes or halos of light illuminating the shadowed corner of the club where he’d hidden himself, but a little more help in the patience department would certainly go a long way at the moment. It went against his baser nature to sit back and wait rather than walking over and convincing the copper-haired beauty leaning over the railing across the way to put on his collar and join him in one of the private dungeons below.
9. Lilly D’Angelo wasn’t expecting a trip down memory lane when she sauntered into the dingy tavern, but the acrid stench and gruff hum of the Friday night crowd carried her back to one of the seedier establishments on Chicago’s south side nonetheless. Except for the clientele, the owner had managed to replicate nearly every detail right down to the blue haze of cigarette smoke and the soft crooning of a jazz band on the corner stage.
* A TOUCH OF LILLY (An All Romance Ebook BESTSELLER!) *
10. Deirdre Tilling slammed the spade into the soil. Her booted foot thumped down on its metal edge, driving it deeper and transferring her frustration to the wounded earth. She’d been working the flowerbeds around her farmhouse since noon. And though the sun stretched the shadows of the maples long across her lawn, painting their leaves a deeper crimson, the hours of heavy labor hadn’t helped ease the pain of loneliness.
In this crazy world of publishing it’s getting harder and harder to know which way to turn. There’s confusion over which road to take or even whether we should stop, take a look around and maybe change direction completely.
Yeeeeah, that’s kind of where I’m at.
Eight years ago, at the end of December, my first book was published. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Liquid Silver Books had taken a chance on an unknown author, held her hand through editing and cover design and released this book:
People often ask me why I chose romance when I decided to write books. The answer was easy–it’s what I enjoy reading! And let’s face it, there’s nothing that makes my heart beat a little faster than a sexy hero (like Mr. Nina) and a romantic gesture.
I didn’t come at romance through the usual avenues of Judy Blume or sneaking Harlequin novels from my mother’s stash. Nope. I jumped right into romance around the age of 13 with The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. What’s not to love about family saga, a forbidden love affair with a priest and illegitimate babies? This romance had it all! I was hooked. I spent summers throughout high school and college poring through every book of Danielle Steel’s and moving onto Nora Roberts (I bow to the queen of romance) and Sandra Brown.
It still eludes me exactly what makes a best seller in this market. It’s not only a great cover and catchy blurb. Not just wonderfully well-written story and great reviews. It’s not social media and guest blogs. You know how I know that? Because none of that is working for me. Been there. Done that. Have the bruises to prove it.
So I’m trying something again. I’m giving away one of books for FREE. That’s right, “BLIND HER WITH BLISS” is now free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, All Romance Ebooks, and iTunes How long will I keep it free? I’m not sure.
IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! When the concept of this firefighter box set stole into my brain back in May, this day seemed a loooong way off. But it’s finally the release day for UNCONTROLLED BURN, my firefighter novel found exclusively in the INTO THE FLAMES anthology.
1. The smile was reptilian, as if Satan himself had taken possession of this wayward soul.
… than an interview with Reese Colton, the hero of my firefighter novella, UNCONTROLLED BURN? This sexy vampire arrived on the page as a complete surprise (who knew somone this dark, sexy and irresistible hero could also be an immortal?)
Nina: Welcome to my corner of the internet, Reese. I know a lot of my readers have been looking forward to your visit.
Reese: Nice to be here. I’ve been wondering why it’s taken so long for you to invite me. *leans forward and whispers* You know all my secrets, you’ve delved into the deepest part of my psyche, don’t you think it’s time to share? *leans back with a satisfied smile*
So I was challenged to find 7 words, 7 sentences or 7 paragraphs of sexiness from one of my books. Since I’m totally smitten with Brenimyn, the hero in my romantic suspense novel, GARDEN OF SERENITY, I thought I’d share a scene and give you a sense of this sexy man.
Patience. That’s what was required of him. But damn, he’d been treading water a hell of a long time while he waited for destiny to change the course of his life.
One of the things I love about self-publishing is the freedom to design my own book covers. Making the decision of how to present my books to the public is HUGE! Though my publishers have been good, there have been several of my covers over the years that have disappointed me. Those are the covers where I felt the publisher wasn’t considering the marketing of my book when they sent me the final draft. And unfortunately, after the initial paperwork, there is no changing a cover once the design department has finished with it. 🙁
So now, I’d like to share with you how I go about creating a book cover … or more accurately … how I share my vision with my cover artist.
So this 50 Shades of Grey craze continues to explode. My sister-in-law (who doesn’t have time to read in her busy life) is now carving out some precious minutes to read this trilogy. These books are EVERYWHERE! And of course this month is the release of the much-anticipated movie!
So I’m doing my usual surfing around this morning and what do I stumble upon? Several erotic books jumping into the waters and riding EL James’s wave of success. It’s not plagiarism. It’s commercialism. And if I could write fast enough (or had thought of it), I totally would be grabbing my bathing suit (though I didn’t say I’d actually put it on) and jumping into these waters as well. Doing a parody of someone else’s work seems to be “in”. I haven’t read anymore than the sample and the reviews of the following books, but I’m thinking of picking up the first. It looks hot … and rather amusing. Frankly, I’m thinking of buying it just for the cover art!