Friday, August 30, 2019

You Know What I Did Last Summer

by Abir

This year, summer for me began on the 24thof May, when I handed in the final edits for the fourth book in the Wyndham and Banerjee series, DEATH IN THE EAST. Looking at my calendar, I can’t believe how much has happened in the intervening months.

Kiev - of course I tried the chicken
June was a month of book events, starting with the Arsenal Book Festival in Kiev, where the Ukrainian version of my novel A NECESSARY EVIL was being launched. 

Kiev was a revelation. The city and its people were far more European in their outlook than I’d expected, and the welcome was wonderful. Being an ethnic minority, I’m often slightly nervous about venturing into new places which aren’t maybe quite as open and accepting as the UK, but I was amazed at how friendly everyone was: not just at the festival, but in bars and restaurants and on the streets too. I even got to appear on Ukrainian TV to talk about my books.

The make up lady - got her work cut out for her
I'm told these two are the Ukranian Oprah

Since my books started being published a few years ago, one of the most wonderful things has been the amount of travel I’ve done to places I’d not otherwise have had the chance to visit. Growing up during the tail end of the Cold War, the thought that I might one day be sitting in Kiev, on the banks of the Dnieper river, drinking Georgian wine with the wonderful locals, was almost unimaginable. And yet, thanks to writing (and a wee change in global politics), there I was. 

Wife takes a photo of yet another church

As usual though, even at the best of times, I can still manage to mess things up. When agreeing to do the Kiev festival, I hadn’t realised that I’d also agreed to do a talk in Aberdeen, Scotland, essentially 20 hours after the end of my last event in Ukraine. I wasn’t about to cancel, so instead I had to find a way to get from Kiev to Aberdeen in time for my talk there. This involved a train in the middle of the night, two flights (from Kiev to Munich, then Munich to Edinburgh) and hiring a car for the last 100 mile drive from Edinburgh to Aberdeen. I’m happy to say I made it with almost an hour to spare, did the talk, went back to my hotel, collapsed onto the bed and slept the best (and longest) sleep I’ve had in years.

Aberdeen wasn't quite as sunny as Kiev

A week later, I was back on the festival trail, up to Bradford in the north of England for the Bradford Literature Festival. Bradford is a strange place – once, on the back of the textike industry, it was one of the richest cities in the world. Now, as the work moved to cheaper locations around the globe, it’s fallen on hard times. It’s also a very diverse city, with almost half its population being of ethnic minority origin. As a result of the relatively high degree of poverty in the city, ethnic tensions can run high. Yet the book festival is one of the most interesting in the UK, bringing a really diverse gathering of authors, artists, politicians and other speakers from around the globe. And the food was brilliant too!

The final highlight of June was an invite to the Houses of Parliament for the publication of an all-party report into authors’ earnings. The report made for grim reading. Authors in the UK on average now earn less than minimum wage solely from writing. While it’s always been tough to make a living from writing, things are getting worse. I wish I could tell you that the committee came up with some recommendations to improve things, but in my opinion, there was very little in there of practical benefit. Given the dog’s breakfast our MPs have been making of Brexit though, it’s not really much of a surprise that their haplessness extends to things like authors’ incomes too. Still, the bars at the Houses of Parliament are brilliant, and the drink was free, and I drank….a lot.

July saw the UK paperback launch of my third book, SMOKE AND ASHES, and I was thrilled to see it chosen by Waterstones (the UK equivalent of Barnes and Noble) as their Thriller of the Month. This meant the book was featured in window displays and front tables across every branch of Waterstones in the land. 

It was wonderful to see and I spent a lot of time touring the country and going into branches with cakes to say thank you to all the staff. Since the launch of my first book in 2016, Waterstones have been wonderful to me. I might not have a career in writing if it weren’t for their brilliant booksellers.

Much of July was also spent on media opportunities. My friend and fellow author Vaseem Khan and I are launching a podcast from next month, called the Red Hot Chilli Writers. It’s recorded in my mum’s kitchen and features guest celebrities, reviews, rants and good news. It also has regular appearances from some of our friends…and also my mum. July was spent recording some of the interviews and the first few episodes. I’ll update you all when it goes live next week, so please, tune in!

August has been a month of change. For the first time in fifteen years, my wife, kids and I moved house. We moved out of London to lovely, leafy Surrey. Coming from working class Glasgow, moving to a genteel, middle class English town has been a big change for me – I feel as though I’m selling out - but I have to admit, I’m enjoying it!

Now, with September almost upon us, and the kids going back to school next week (thank the Lord!), I’m looking forward to a bit of normality. I spent much of whatever free time I had over the summer, ruminating over plot ideas for my next book, and earlier this week, I finally put pen to paper. I’m going to try and have a first draft done by January, but that’s going to be tough, given that November will see me on the road for two or three weeks around the time of the launch of Death in the East, but as usual, I’ll tell my editor that I’ll hand it in on time, and then completely miss my deadline and panic. So normal service will be resumed!

Digging holes... by Cathy Ace

What did you do this summer? Did you take a break from writing? Continue to write while you were on vacation? Change your writing habits at all?

What did I do this summer? No writing at all. Plotting, yes. Outlining, yes. Writing, no. (Other than blogs, articles, interviews etc., that is.)

What did I do instead? I planted. Well, Husband and I planted. Well, OK then, Husband dug big holes in the spots I picked out, and I sort of whined and criticized as he placed plants into said holes. In my defence I also brought trailers of soil, plus all the associated bone meal/feeds, mulch and water to the planting every good “helper” does. 

Not dressed for being helpful!

It doesn’t sound like much. But we have poor, clay-based soil in many parts of our property, so each hole can become a nightmare to dig, has to be two or three times the size of the pot from which the plant is being taken (some holes have been a few feet deep and wide), and we’ve repeated this process with more than a hundred plants. (Good-sized maples, ornamental evergreens, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, forsythias, hostas, hibiscus, pots of canna lilies and tender hibiscus, and planting out our perennial seedlings of rudbekia, lavatera and the annual petunias, nasturtium and marigolds…for the gardeners amongst you.) 

It’s been a LOT of work. Then there’s the watering, of course…and our well ran dry at the beginning of July. So…lots of water trucks delivering water. And lots of hosepipes.

It’s been a BIG planting year, and next year will be too. Why all this activity? Well, we’re pretty serious gardeners (OK, like all gardeners, we’re addicted – and we have five acres with which to indulge our addiction) and a good friend of ours died last year; he’d begged us to save the plants from his commercial-sized greenhouses, which we did. We over-wintered them in pots in a safe spot, and are now doing our best to get what we can into the ground, where it will be happiest. It’s a mammoth undertaking. In April this year I counted around 350 pots. We’re down to something over 200 left. Still a long way to go. 
Our friend David, who died last year, having given us hundreds of plants

The task continues – and we do love the end results. Even though we’ll have to wait until next year to see the blooms on the shrubs, and it will take many years for the maples to create the sort of canopy we’re aiming for, we can be patient (not that it’s easy!). Sorry the photos aren’t full of dazzling blooms or spectacular foliage – you’ll have to use your imagination, as we are!

Hopefully my next novel will bloom into something you’ll enjoy reading next year, too!

If you'd like to read some of my work to date, you can click here.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Is It Safe?

Any humorous/interesting/exciting tales to share from your summer?

From Jim

It’s been a busy summer, quite different from recent years. Since 2014, I’ve had a book launch every May or June, except this year. My forthcoming Ellie Stone mystery, TURN TO STONE, was pushed from June 2019 to January 2020, meaning for the first time in five years I have no new book to promote. Instead, I had a book to edit. And revise. Over and over. Again and again. Which made for a summer more relaxing than usual, if somewhat tedious. There was no travel, no putting on my game face for book signings or readings. No dreading a bookstore event with no attendees. Or worse, with only one. I’d rather no one show up than just one person. At least that way, there are no witnesses to your shame.

But I didn’t have any of that to worry about this year. So I revised my 110,000-word novel nine times. Full revisions. I’m sure my editors are quite annoyed with all the changes I’ve made. But there’s nothing more important in making a novel than revision. At least for my novels. And this one more than any other. I’ve written before that TURN TO STONE is the first book I’ve written without an outline. And I paid the price. When you plot out your book before writing it, you front load a lot of the work. There’s a lot of thinking and staring into space as you decide what’s going to happen in the story, which themes you intend to explore, and what the perfect resolution should be. But when you write by the seat of your pants without a roadmap, much of that same work is pushed to the end of the first draft. The holy mess of a first draft.

And that was the case for me. TURN TO STONE ended up being the hardest book Ive ever written, partly—though not entirely—because I did not outline it in advance. But, I must admit, it’s turned out to be the best book I’ve ever written. In my opinion, anyway. Maybe that’s because I had the freedom to follow Ellie and the other characters wherever they took me. Or maybe it’s because I’m maturing as a writer. You really can’t help but improve with repetition, right? So I have a new appreciation for pantsers. I’ll never say again that plotting is a better strategy than pantsing. But that said, all of the struggles—the false starts, the re-writes, the re-imagining of characters and storylines—all of that left me feeling exhausted from a creative standpoint. I don’t know if I could do it again. In a way, the holy mess of the first draft, followed by its nine revisions in three months, has made me dread starting another book. I know I will, but it’s with great trepidation that I commit to another marathon. As I always say, I love having written. I don’t love writing.

So I spent my summer revising and editing. I’m now on the very last pass. Should be done tomorrow. I call it the robot read. And it’s the most painstaking, tiring edit of them all. But I recommend it to all writers. Here’s how it works: Once the manuscript has been revised by your editor and all the plot holes and continuity issues have been resolved; and once the line editor has gone through the book word by word; you clear the decks for five or six full days (eight hours each) of reading your masterpiece with your finger tapping each word. I averaged about ten pages an hour doing this. And, to reap the maximum benefit, you must read it in a robotic monotone. Why? Because this is the only method I’ve found to catch 99.44% of errors.

Especially the missing words. Those pesky little “the”s and “a”s and “of”s that evade our eagle-eyes. I’ll let you in on a secret. After the eight revisions and the line edit of TURN TO STONE, I found ELEVEN missing words in the first 200 pages! Eleven words that were missed by me, my beta readers, and my editors.

I like to think we all missed them because the story and the writing were just so damn good that our eyes raced over the text and filled in the blanks unconsciously, all in attempts to see what happens next. (Just kidding, of course.) But I found so many errors with the robot read. Repeated words, compound nouns that should have been one word instead of two, missing hyphens, mysterious carriage returns, italics problems, and even flat-out incorrect word choices. The robot method is like a root canal procedure: painful but, in the end, a salubrious decision. 

Is it safe?

Yes, that’s how I spent my summer vacation. If it hadn’t been for several enjoyable books I read in between the revisions, I would have gone crazy. I wrote about those books just two weeks ago in this space. Take a look here:

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Dog days

The end of summer is fast approaching. Did you find a happy balance between writing and social/family time?
Any humorous/interesting/exciting tales to share from your summer? What are your writing and publicity plans for the fall?

by Dietrich

It’s always about a happy balance. Naturally, I want to get outside in the nice weather as much as possible and work on my writer’s tan. So, I use the mornings to write and the afternoons to play outside. There’s nothing like going for a long walk along the seawall or through the woods in the summertime, sitting under a shade tree or lying in a hammock with a good book and a cold drink. The evenings are a good time for family, friends and socializing.

On my walks, I’ve had the good fortune to watch a pair of eagles nesting near my home. I never get tired of hearing their calls and seeing the adults fly to the nest.

I’ve also been working on a draft for a new novel. It’s still in the early stages, and I’m still playing around with some key details. All I can say so far is this one takes place in my own backyard, and it’s set in present-day Vancouver and involves an old man, a young kid, some sketchy characters, along with one killer motor home.

For publicity plans, I’ve got a new book coming out this fall. Call Down the Thunder will be released October 15th by ECW Press, and I’ve been putting together a book tour around its launch, in other words I’ll be following the sun down the coast to California. They’ve got some of the best beaches in the world and some of the best book stores to boot. There will also be a blog tour just ahead of the release. If you’re interested there will be more info on my website.

Okay, now that I’ve stirred your interest, here’s the elevator pitch: Sonny and Clara Myers struggle on their Kansas farm in the late 1930s, a time the Lord gave up on. The land’s gone dry, barren and worthless. And the bankers, greedy and hungry, make life even more impossible, squeezing farmers out of their homes. The couple can wither along with the land, or surrender to the bankers and hightail it to California like most of the other farmers. But Sonny comes up with a way for them to stay on their land and prosper while giving the banks a taste of their own misery.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Dreaming the Past

Terry, here, musing about the end of summer.

We are careening toward the end of summer, when my actual summer begins. Here in the Bay Area we often have cool days all summer and then in the fall we have hot days. (Although last week we had a string of days in the 90s), so my husband and I generally stay put all summer and travel when the weather elsewhere is acceptable.

Summer is always an odd time for me. I hate hot weather, and I remember in school always feeling at loose ends in the summer. My family couldn’t afford summer camps, so my sister and I were I were left to our own devices. These days kids are much more programmed during the summer. Oddly, my own son refused to go to summer camps, preferring to “fool around” all summer. At the time, it frustrated me, but now I see his wisdom.

One thing I notice now is how early kids start back to school. When I was a kid it was well after the first of September when we started back. Whatever the reason for this, I feel bad for the kids who have to go back to school when summer is at its peak. For me, the memory of those last couple of weeks of August in Texas is about being drowsy with heat. I’d lie around and read most of the time.

We didn’t go to the pool much, but we lived near a beach on the gulf coast. My parents must have had some early idea of how bad the sun was for your skin, because we’d head for the beach about four o’clock in the afternoon, when everyone else was headed home. To my sister and me it seemed like torture waiting for my mother to pack the picnic and my father to spend “just a little more time” on whatever project he was up to. But there was some method to their madness.

There was still plenty of time to jump around in the water and eat our picnic. After that the magic began. We’d watch the sun set and sometimes watch the moon rise, with its silvery sheen on the water. Then we would head for the jetty to watch the shrimp boats go out. It was family time of a sort, but more important it was a time to dream and think.

There’s nothing like that dreamtime in summer now. Because we don’t travel much in summer, I write a lot in those months. The exception was last week when my sister and her grandson were here. We discovered the delight of a beach nearby. I got to watch my grand-nephew “fool around,” making a sand castle and then lying next to it in a drowsy state that I remember so well. During that week, with an eight-year-old boy to entertain, I got exactly no writing done. A vacation for me.

We travel in the fall, when the weather heats up here. In September we’re heading for two weeks in the Bahamas—just in time for hurricane season!

We’ll be back a week, and then headed off for a week in southern Utah to visit Zion and Bryce National Parks before the Trump administration shuts them down (oops, sorry, politics slipped in).  I keep promising myself that I will take a break from writing on these trips, but I know from experience that I’ll sneak in an hour every morning before everyone gets up. There are always so many writing projects I want to accomplish that taking two weeks off seems like a travesty.

This summer I’ve been feverishly working on my domestic suspense /thriller/ whatever novel. I’m in the third round of deep edits, and will be ready to send it to….I don’t know who. Can’t decide between an editor or beta readers or…whatever.  I definitely want to sharpen it again (and again?) before I wrap it in velvet, tie it with a satin bow, and send it to my agent (the Shark) who will no doubt send me back to the drawing board. And I wrote a short story that turned out to be more fun than I thought it would.

Maybe because of all the years of starting school in the fall, more than any other time of year the end of summer and beginning of fall always fills me with excitement having to do with beginnings—even more than the transition between December and the beginning of a new year. So, happy end of summer everyone! On to new adventures.

Terry Shames

Monday, August 26, 2019

Summer in the City

Question: The end of summer is fast approaching. Did you find a happy balance between writing and social/family time? Any humorous/interesting/exciting tales to share from your summer? What are your writing and publicity plans for the fall?

Brenda here.

When I was a kid, summer seemed to go on forever -- and now? Now it feels as if summer only gets nicely started when we're looking at back to school commercials.

This summer did not include any travel, which is unusual, but my husband is still working and wrapping up jobs before he retires on towards autumn. Ted is a sheet metal worker for commercial buildings and they make hay while the sun shines, and this has been a terrific summer weather-wise. I took the time to write as well as work with my editor on Closing Time, the last of the Stonechild and Rouleau books. It's release date is in the spring, but my inbox is already full of requests for publicity material so this is next on the to-do list.

I'm also off to a writers' festival called Women Killing It at the end of this week in Picton, Ontario. In addition to the author speed-dating and panel, I'm teaching a workshop on point of view Sunday morning before I catch the train home. If you don't know Picton, it's a town in Prince Edward County, a beautiful wine-growing region between Kingston and Toronto that abuts onto Lake Ontario with a fabulous beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park.  We used to take the kids camping there and more recently spent a few nights at a winery-motel outside Picton.

As for humorous stories, I guess that would have to be the hot Saturday in July when Ted and I decided to go on a pub crawl. Yup, just the two of us although recruits (including my youngest daughter) joined us at bar five. Can't say I've ever been on a pub crawl before but better late than never. We walked about an hour into a neighbourhood called Hintonburg and worked our way home on foot. The rule was one drink per establishment. We started at 3:30 and lasted until about 11:00, managing eight bars in total. We wisely snacked at three of the pubs and I drank a lot of water, making the next day a piece of cake. We now have our neighbours asking to join us next summer in what could become an annual event. I have to say that walking the route gave a perspective on the neighbourhoods that you don't get in a car.

I managed a fine balance between writing and family time this summer, settling in at the computer most mornings by ten o'clock and writing off and on through the afternoon, sometimes into the evening. I'm working on a thriller and finding it immensely entertaining. I also had to prepare that workshop on point of view and edit and respond to numerous publicity/marketing  requests, including this excerpt from Turning Secrets that ran in the Ottawa Citizen last week.

I have two Anna Sweet adult literacy novellas being released by Grass Roots Press this fall to end the series. I also plan to finish my latest manuscript and will spend some time editing it. I don't have a contract for this one so I'll see about finding a publisher as well. The publicity will heat up after January for Closing Time although behind the scenes work is already underway as I mentioned earlier.

So lots of work and fun behind and lots of each ahead as we round into autumn, which is always a spectacular season in the Ottawa Valley.

Twitter: brendaAchapman
Facebook: BrendaChapmanAuthor

Friday, August 23, 2019

It Was the Best of Lines, It Was the Worst of Lines

Paul's taking a bit of a break this week (his treatment is proving to be a bit exhausting, however he WILL be back) so here's a post - following this week's theme about openings - that he posted in August 2019. Depending on your perspective that's either "not every long ago" or is eons ago, in the "pre-COVID period". Either way, it's a fascinating, and insightful post. 

Readers often read the opening few lines or page to a book before deciding to buy. What makes an opening sentence stand out above the rest? Give examples of openings, including your own, that you believe work brilliantly. Any tips or lessons learned for new authors about what to avoid on that first page? 

by Paul D. Marks

“It was the best of times,
It was the worst of times.”

I don’t think you can beat Dickens and that opening line. And despite the title of this post, I’m not doing the worst lines here.

It’s interesting, when I first started writing this piece I went back to a lot of mystery/crime (and some non-mystery) books that I really like. And I found that a lot of them didn’t have what I would consider particularly catchy or hook-y opening lines. Though I did find some (see below). Yet for one reason or another I was still hooked into those stories. So this leads me to believe that, while a good opening line is a good thing, it’s not the only thing that one needs. Maybe these days it’s a little more important because everything is moving faster and people need to be hooked quicker. But I’m thinking that a good opening paragraph or even a few pages will do the trick.

Also, some of the lines I would have used have been snatched up earlier in the week. Not wanting to repeat those, I’ve come up with some other examples.

Re: my own openings, coming from a screenwriting background, I do usually try to open a story with a hook or teaser. You need something to draw readers in and give them a little taste of what lies in store for them. Like some of my fellow Criminal Minds have noted, it doesn’t have to be a body or a murder, but something intriguing has to happen. There has to be a compelling reason to keep reading. And clearly the style or genre of the story will make a difference in terms of the opening. So let’s get to it.

Here’s the openings from some novels that I like:

The Poet  – Michael Connelly:

Talk about a great opening line—the first sentence really intrigues you. You know this character is involved in crime—maybe a cop, a newspaper reporter? Death is a normal occurrence for him, but then comes the reversal, “But my rule didn’t protect me—.” Now the reader knows something unusual is happening, something different and this is not going to be your run of the mill murder story. This is, however, my favorite Michael Connelly story of all of them.

Nightmare Alley – William Lindsay Gresham:

Stan Carlisle stood well back from the entrance of the canvas enclosure, under the blaze of a naked light bulb, and watched the geek. 

This geek was a thin man who wore a suit of long underwear dyed chocolate brown. The wig was black and looked like a mop, and the brown greasepaint on the emaciated face was streaked and smeared with the heat and rubbed off around the mouth.

This opening sets an atmosphere that’s mysterious and piques your curiosity. You have no idea where the story is going, but the description gives you a visual image that is so strong you feel like you’re there and you want to know who the geek is? What’s he going to do? And where is this story going to take me?

Tell No One – Harlan Coben:

This opening creates so many questions. It lets the reader know that they’re in store for a mystery that will be complex and multi-layered. It sets us up to wonder what happened in the past and what happened that altered everything? Already your imagination starts going into overdrive.

The Grifters – Jim Thompson:

Three paragraphs into the story and we don’t know who Dillon is yet or what his problem is, but we immediately know he has problems. And we know they’re not your ordinary type of problems. And we’re sucked into Dillon’s life and dragged into all his issues. Again, this opening sets a tone and mood. You know you’re in for a rough ride.

Down There: A.K.A. Shoot the Piano Player – David Goodis:

Why were there no street lamps? Why was the man kneeling at the curb, spitting blood? That intrigues me in this, my favorite David Goodis novel. And don’t go by the movie where the action was changed to France.

This is an example where the opening starts at the end of the story and we go back to find out what led up to this. A great opening sets mood, tone and makes us ask questions. It draws you in.

Devil in a Blue Dress – Walter Mosley:

Here you have a great example of voice. We get a taste of the narrator’s (Easy Rawlins’) personality and we want to know more about him. Yes, we are intrigued by the white man who walks into the room, but the real grabber is Easy’s reaction and the little tidbit of his history that we learn about. His character draws us in.

And one I always site from Raymond Chandler’s short story Red Wind:

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Ana's that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.

This is the classic opening that I’ve been inspired by again and again. What do I love about it? It describes a mood and setting that is so real you can feel it, taste it and smell it. And, of course, there’s Chandler’s voice, his acerbic wit and keen observation of human nature. He’s a master at openings.

Here are some openings from some of my novels:

Broken Windows:

The Hollywood Sign beckoned her like a magnet—or like a moth to a flame. The sign glowed golden in the magic hour sun—that time of day around sunrise and sunset when the light falls soft and warm and cinematographers love to shoot. Like so many others, Susan Karubian had come here seeking fame and fortune, hoping to make her mark on the world. Oh hell, she had come to be a star like all the others. And she would do it, just not quite in the heady way she’d anticipated.

I mostly write things set in L.A., so I like using film terms like “magic hour” to set a tone for the story. And I try to set up the mood and tone and describe the scene so readers can feel like they’re there. I want the reader to feel like they are in Susan’s place and empathize. And to wonder what she’s doing at the Hollywood Sign and why.

White Heat:

My father always said I was a fuckup, that the only reason we get along is ’cause he keeps his mouth shut. Maybe he’s right:

I fucked up high school.

Fucked up college.

Fucked up my marriage.

Fucked up my life by leaving the service.

And now I’ve fucked up a case.

Fucked it up real bad.

Teddie Matson was different. She had a golden life, until her path had the misfortune of crossing mine. I sat staring out the window of my office, k.d. lang playing in the background. It was a while till the sun would set, that golden hour when everything takes on a gilded glow.

Golden hour is the time when the light hits just right in the early morning or late afternoon. The time when movie cinematographers most like to shoot. The light is tawny and warm. Gentle. It makes the stars shine brighter.

Golden hour is the time when Teddie Matson was killed.

This opening introduces my character Duke and hopefully draws readers in in response to Duke’s voice. Again, I’m using film terms like “golden hour’ to set a tone and to contrast the illusion of the film world to the harsh reality of real life.


All I wanted was to forget the past. Put it behind me and never think about it again. But you can’t forget the past. Not really. It’s always there inside you, like a leech holding on, sucking blood and life from you every minute of every day. Sucking down part of your soul, holding you back and keeping you from moving forward. Like a shark, if you don’t—or can’t—move forward you die. The past is one harsh mistress. And it won’t let you forget it either.

I came home from the war and felt like I was on the front line again. To hell and back and back to hell again.

I guess this opening sums up my character’s philosophy and maybe makes you want to read more. It makes you wonder what happened that could be as bad as being in a war?

So, there you have it. What are some of your favorite openings?


And now for the usual BSP:

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