Monday, March 21, 2011

Open with a Bang!



Open with a Bang!

By Missy Tippens

Today, I want to share a writing exercise with you. To help you write a powerful story opening. I love to talk about first lines and first pages and want to give some tips for opening with a bang. I love the opening of my new Love Inspired book, A Family for Faith, that will be available on shelves this week. (Shameless self promotion alert!) :) I wrote the beginning of this book proposal while at a workshop and wanted to share some of what I learned.

For the proposal for this book, I had my characters chosen and all my charts filled out. I knew the GMC, knew the moral premise, knew some of the main plot points. But I needed to write the chapters. I needed to pull the reader in and hook him/her.

I had a hero, Gabe, who was a widower single dad who was still in love with his dead wife and held her on a pedestal. He also had a preteen daughter who was giving him fits and really needed a mother figure. I had decided to open in his point of view because I thought he was probably the most sympathetic character. He was also the one who was being thrown into change at the outset. (And his problem pulls the heroine, Faith, into the story.)

While attending a workshop taught by Dianna Love and Mary Buckham based on their fantastic how-to book, Break Into Fiction, they had us do an exercise to come up with the best way to open our story. I was thrilled with what I came up with during the class, and it ended up in the book nearly identical to the first version I wrote during that class.

One note I jotted during the workshop is to anchor the reader but don’t overdo the setting. (How many of us have written openings of a character driving back into town describing how the town has changed? I know I have.) Only include what is needed. And make sure it packs an emotional punch.

Another thing I noted was not to use chatter. Dialogue must be engaging. Also, if you use introspection (and don’t overdo this!), be sure it’s active and engaging as well.

In my scene, I needed to make sure the reader knows what Gabe’s goal is. I’ve learned to check every single scene in my stories to make sure the character has a goal. So it’s important for the opening as well.

As I was writing this post, I found the notes I made about my story while in Dianna’s and Mary’s class. I thought I’d share them, then let you look at the opening of my book to see if I followed through on all I planned.

My notes while brainstorming during the class (cut and paste):

Opening significance: show his daughter is kicking off or has kicked off the town in prayer for him to find a wife.
Need more… To show him lonely. To show him having trouble dealing with his maturing daughter. To see her straining against his overprotectivness.
Setting: maybe a weekend and she’s wanting to go out with friends? Maybe she’s put on lipstick and he freaks. She tells him he needs a life. Maybe they’re standing in bathroom and he catches her putting on makeup. And maybe she has a photo of mom on the counter and is looking at it!! He feels helpless.
Details: lonely, overprotective, in uniform (sheriff), helpless

Okay, so those are my notes. Here’s the opening of A Family for Faith:

Chapter One

Gabe Reynolds paced the photo-lined hallway, back and forth past baby and childhood pictures of his daughter, past the door where that same daughter did whatever pre-teen girls did behind closed doors. Considering the amount of time he spent coaxing her out of there these days, he figured he’d wear a path in the finish of the hardwood floor by the time his only child was grown and gone—something he intended to delay as long as possible.
He finally stopped and banged on the bathroom door. “Hurry up, Chels. You’ll be late.”
His dear, sweet daughter growled at him. Growled.
With a badge on his chest and weapon at his hip, he should be prepared to deal with anything. But give him a drunk or a thief any day over this soon-to-be-teenaged-girl business.
He pounded the door again. “I’ve gotta get back to the station. What are you doing in there?”
“For the thousandth time, I’m coming.”
He knew without a doubt that she was in there rolling her eyes at him. “What’s taking so long?”
“A work of art takes time,” she said in her best theatrical voice. Then she giggled, more like her normal, little girl self.
This switching from girl to young woman then back to girl in the blink of an eye was making his head spin. “You better not be putting on makeup.”
“I’m a teenager. All my friends wear makeup.”
“You’re not thirteen yet. And if all your friends jumped off—”
She yanked the door open so fast it banged into the wall. She glared at him. “No. If all my friends jumped off a bridge, I would not jump, too. This is totally different, and you know it.”
Her cheeks glowed with a too-bright pink that matched her tinted lips. Her mascaraed eyelashes, clumped into several uneven spikes, seemed a mile longer than usual. She looked grown-up. Too grown-up—the kind that would attract the attention of guys. “All I know is I forbade you to wear makeup and…and...” He jabbed his finger at the pile of containers on the bathroom counter. “That looks an awful lot like makeup. Where’d you get it?”
She huffed and tossed her dark curls over her shoulder. “I bought it with my allowance. And I’m learning to put it on so it accentuates my best features.”
She was accentuated all right. And sounded like she was spouting something she’d seen on an infomercial. He squinted as he checked out her face, so much like her mother’s it made it hard to look sometimes. And even though he had the urge to drop the subject and run the other direction, it was his job to deal with this kind of situation now. “You’ve got on lipstick. Wipe it off.”
“I want to look nice for our youth group meeting at the church tonight.”
“Why?”
She shrugged. “No reason.” She fingered a small picture frame on the counter, then quickly placed it face down before he could see whose photo it held. “Now, please let me finish. I’ll be out in five minutes.”
A boy. It had to be because of a boy. “Who is he?”
“Who’s who?”
“The boy. The one you’re putting makeup on for.”
She rubbed a finger with brown sparkly goop over her eyelid. “No one. I’m doing it for myself.”
“Hand it over.”
She sighed and slapped a little compact into his hand. “There, are you happy? No more eye shadow.”
“No. Hand over the photo. Of the boy.” He reached toward the picture frame.
“No!” She stopped him by grabbing hold of his hand. She looked terrified.
Which terrified him. If the guy was some high school punk, Gabe would be out the door and into the squad car in five seconds flat.
He shook Chelsea’s hand off and grabbed the gold frame. But he didn’t find some guy. All the frustration and fear whooshed out of him along with his breath when he found his wife. His sweet, beautiful wife.
Once he recovered his equilibrium, he said, “Chels, why do you have your mom’s picture in here?”
She gave a little shrug, this time not so rebellious. “I told you. I’m learning to put on makeup.”
Pain steamrolled him flat to the floor as he remembered Chelsea watching her mom put on lipstick on Sunday mornings before church and often asking if she could have some. Tina would smile, kiss a pink lip print on Chelsea’s cheek and promise to show her when she got older.
Now here their daughter was, studying Tina’s face, learning to apply lipstick by herself. Gabe ached for Chels. Ached period.
It had been five years since the accident, and just when he was making headway and felt like he might finally be able to breathe again, this had to happen.
“Please, Dad?” She took the frame from his hand and held the photo up beside her face. “See? I tried to do just what she did.”
He wanted to hug her. To protect her from any more pain in her young life. She needed her mom, especially for moments like this. But no, all she had was a cop dad who didn’t have a guess at how to handle his daughter growing up. He swallowed, then cleared his throat. “I’m sorry. But you’re just not old enough. You’ll have to wash that stuff off your face.”
She heaved a sigh that seemed to start at her toenails. “Okay.” She stared at the photo for a second. “Do I look pretty?” She’d said it so softly he wasn’t sure he heard her right. But then she turned to him and waited, looking everywhere but directly at him.
Oh, boy. “Well, now, I guess you better let me get a good look at you.”
She smiled shyly as she looked up, but then the smile went crooked as she gnawed on her lip. He had a feeling she wasn’t quite as comfortable being in makeup as she thought she would be.
“You look beautiful. Always.”
“I do look a little like Mom, don’t I?”
He breathed in through his nose, then forced a smile. “Even prettier.”
“Thanks.” She threw her arms around his waist, and for a split second, all was as it should be. Or at least it was back to the norm of the last few years. It would never again be as it should be.


Copyright © 2011 Melissa L. Tippens


Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin S.A.



Okay, Missy again. If you’d like to read the entire first chapter, I put it on my website. Click here to read now, but be sure to come back! There’s more! :)

So did I carry out all I wanted to do? I tried to make sure I had important details (photos on wall to show family is important, his badge and squad car to let us know his job, pain of losing wife, his overprotectiveness, that he feels overwhelmed.) I stated his goal: to delay her growing up as long as possible. Also wanted to show her straining against him, making him feel unprepared for her growing up. Also, I included her getting the town praying for him to find a wife, but I ended up saving that for later in the book.

I think I did pretty well managing to get everything I wanted in there. I hope it has just enough detail and makes you root for Gabe. I hope you feel his pain. And I hope you’re starting to wonder how on earth he’s going to deal with this problem—so you’ll keep reading! Yep, that’s the story question that you need to have in there.

When I emailed Dianna Love about including their writing exercise in my post, she was generous enough to share another writing exercise for you to try so you can enhance your opening line. (And believe me, that first line is extremely important! You have to suck and editor or agent right in.) From Dianna:

To create a strong opening line, ask this of the first line in your book –
1)    Is this the most important sentence on the opening page?
2)    What is it about this first line that will make the reader curious about my story if that’s all they read? 
3)    Is the sentence as concise and specific as it can be?

Dianna also shared an example of how you can take a good opening and use specific details to make it stronger.

A)    -       He opened his eyes and slowly took in his surroundings, searching for one thing that looked familiar. 

-       Prince Lucien opened his eyes and slowly took in his bleak surroundings, searching for one thing that looked familiar. 

-       Harry opened his eyes and whistled softly at his opulent surroundings, searching for one thing that looked familiar.

All three include action, but see how you can make a generic opening completely different with those details?

Okay, so take your first sentence and give this a try. If you dare, share it with us! Show us the sentence as you have it now. Then see if you can make it even better. I hope you’ll join the fun! I’ll be doing a drawing from among all commenters (even if you don’t participate) for a copy of A Family for Faith. Just be sure to let me know to enter you.

***********
Missy Tippens’ fourth book from Love Inspired, A Family for Faith, is available at

Check out Missy’s website to read the first chapter. If she did her job, you’ll want to keep reading!

A special thank you to Dianna Love and Mary Buckham! www.breakintofiction.com

142 comments :

  1. Missed today :). But we made it home safely from Denver!

    So happy late birthday to Erica and Mary!!! [Gave Lassoed in TX and Cowboy Christmas to a friend to read ;). She's excited about it!]

    Ruthy - finally caught up on blogs - your frozen custard place CLOSES for the winter?! Darlin' you have my sympathy! I hope you've been a couple times by now!

    Julie - Congrats on your final!

    There was more... I don't remember what else :p.

    Missy - oy this scares me. The whole scenario you've got going there. Because my oldest DD will be 10 this year. And that scares the ever livin' daylights out of me. Seriously. My mom died when I was 10. I'm not scared about that [I'm healthy and 5 years younger than she was...], but the 'talks' that moms have with daughters? I got them from a hodge podge of family friends and a James Dobson book... /sigh/ I'm so out of my element...

    Moving right along...

    Here's *A* first line. Not the one from either of my MSs that have been, like, edited or anything like that b/c they're both in Genesis... This is a first draft first para... We already know these characters from the last book...

    "Be careful today, would ya, babe?" I stretched under the covers and watched Joe move to the bathroom. There was a knot in my stomach I couldn't quite explain. Maybe it was just the weather. We were supposed to get ice, but not that much.

    I've got chocolate chip cookies. And chocolate chip pancakes in honor of yesterday's chocolate extravaganza. And hot chocolate to go with Helen's coffee that she's sure to set up soon.

    I have a feeling that at least one book is going to be hopping in my cart sometime this week... =D

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

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  2. Yep, the coffee's set up.

    I definitely want to read the book, Missy!

    Gotta think about an opening line to share. Two ms are in contests. Three are with editors. Three are not romances. Two have been placed on the dead-end shelf. Doesn't leave much to glean from.

    Helen

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  3. Well, Carol beat me to it, so I deleted my original message crowing about how I was the first commenter!

    The first lines of my latest contemporary release, Love Remains, are some of my favorite I've ever written:

    The sharks were circling.

    Bobby Patterson had been at the party a total of three minutes. But half that time was all it took for the smell of fresh blood to circulate amongst the single women.


    Of course, in a "mock Genesis" that my local group did last year (to help everyone prep for entry), someone teasingly told me that if I'd actually entered that chapter in an unpublished-author contest, I'd get dinged for the was/had construction of those sentences.

    I'm one of those persnickety readers who wants to be pulled in immediately in the first lines/paragraphs. I've deleted ever so many samples off my Kindle after skimming the first few "pages" because it was all introspection or mostly description of setting/characters or dialogue without much introspection/action to balance it and make me care about the characters. (And then there are those with glaring historical inaccuracies in the first few pages . . . but that's a rant for another day!)

    Since I'm going to try to start spending more time here, someone needs to tell me what I can bring to the party. Seems like the sweets are covered---and it's getting too warm for my famous homemade extra-spicy chili. How about warm, gooey baked spinach-artichoke dip with toast points and veggies for dipping?

    (No need to enter me in the drawing---as much as I love new books, I already have enough on my TBR pile to last me for years and years to come!)

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  4. Hey, Carol! Welcome back! Glad you got home safely.

    Now about those girl talks and your 10 year old...it's time. I hate to tell you this, but you just can't wait much longer! Middle school is a comin'!

    Love you opening lines. I'm already worried about your characters! Now, if that's not what you were going for, then oops. But if you were, you accomplished it! :)

    Thanks for the pancakes! I hope you'll keep till I get up in the morning. Gotta go night night... (big yawn)

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  5. Helen and anyone else who has something in a contest right now, just try having fun with something new and off the top of your head! You never know what you might end up doing with it. :)

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  6. Okay, I am guilty of reading about six Seeker books at one time. And two of the most recent remembrance (I'm not as young as I used to be) that immediately come to mine are Family for Faith and Glynna Kaye's Second Chance Courtship. They both had really, really strong opening hooks.

    Good post, Missy.

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  7. Oh, and Helen, thanks for the coffee!

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  8. My copy arrived yesterday and this made me want to read it even more :o)

    Love the tips about the first sentence and chapter. I love how you used objects and such show more about the character.

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  9. Kaye, what a fun opening! I'm already hooked.

    Hey, you can bring anything you're in the mood for. The dip sounds perfect!

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  10. Kaye - I'd feel bad... but... Um... Well...

    Did I mention I loved Stand-In Groom? I was going to loan it to the same friend who took Mary's books [and Audra's and Tina's and... well, a bunch of others... including Julie's because her mom and grandma took off with her copies of Julie-fic...], but the book is actually sister's...

    There's always room for more sweets. Especially since all Seekerville sweets are both calorie and fat free while retaining yummyness. Right? Someone tell me I'm right!!!!

    Missy - /cry/ She's only in third grade! I'm trying to stay in denial! [While also staying in denial about her two little sisters... Her little brother her dad can handle... right?!]

    And yep. Worried is good :). I may have to see what random first lineness I can come up with in my dreams - just for the fun of it...

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  11. Thanks, Tina! I do the same thing on reading all the books at once! Each time I get a new one, I start it. But then I go back pick up on the one I started first. I started your book when i first got it. Put it in the car to have with me whenever I was waiting for kids. But ended up bringing it in the house the other day to keep reading! I've got several more Seeker books right here beside me. :) But I'm almost finished with The Rancher's Reunion. And I'm loving it!

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  12. Yay, Christy! I'm so glad it arrived! I hope you like it. (she says nervously!)

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  13. Carole, 3rd grade is still little. They grow up a lot in 4th, though. And 5th, they seem like big kids!

    Enjoy it now. Of course, every age is fun, but it flies by.

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  14. And now I really am going to go to bed...and dream about pancakes and coffee!

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  15. Missy, this was very helpful to me, thanks so much !

    I will work on an opening line, and come back to post.

    Id like a chance to win the book :)

    I have been spending alot of time here :D

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  16. WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE. Congrats on coming out of lurking....


    1f73f84c-50e1-11e0-8316-000bcdcb471e


    But what do we call you for short?

    That's a mighty long name.

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  17. Wow, thanks for sharing the opening of your book with us. And thanks for sharing what should be included. I'll have to go back to the stories I've written and reread the openings.
    Please enter me in the book drawing.
    cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

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  18. Missy, I'm traveling today so I'm promising here and now (on a box of See's, Lindt's, Freia's, Godiva's or whatever) I WILL print this out later and practice.

    Thank you!

    Happy Monday everyone!

    Congrats Julie, and all those who will be getting calls this week. Can't wait to hear!

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  19. Missy, you always have great openings! I remember the opening line from your debut novel even after all these years. It was something about the heroine being able to smell a guy with money, and the guy who walked in smelled like Fort Knox. (How close was I???)
    Camy

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  20. Carol you comments got me wondering what frozen custard is must go google that along with funnel cake do you know how many books I have read in the past week or so that mentioned funnel cake (I have an image of a cake in the shape of a funnel.)

    Oh I loved Kayes book Love Remains and the description sure was good.

    Having just read Tina's book I would say she had a strong opening also.

    Missy I would love to win your book but even if I don't I am ordering it. I have a list of books ready to order as soon as they are available at Christianbook of course it will then take about 6 weeks to arrive.
    PS what state is the book set in?

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  21. Oh, wow! I want to read this book! I have an eleven year old and she sounded just like that... Did you creep in my house, Missy??

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  22. Blogger ate my comment.

    And it was really good. And now I have to leave the computer.

    Dagnabbit!!! Missy, Carol, Helen: I gave you all shout outs. I'll return.

    Although maybe Blogger's trying to tell me something.

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  23. Great post! I'm looking forward to reading this, Missy. Please enter me in the drawing.

    Here are my opening lines for my Christian mystery

    Shattering glass sprayed around me as the shaving cream can splintered the bedroom mirror. His words pelted me but I refused to allow them to sink in. I had had enough.

    I have reworked these lines so many times, I'm not really sure how to do it again. I'm sure there is a way, I just can't think of it.

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  24. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraMarch 21, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    What a great beginning! If I don't win I am going to have to go out and get a copy of your book Missy. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

    fantum2004ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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  25. Missy, I love this opening!! It definitely pulled me into the book. A Family for Faith is a wonderful story!!

    I brought bagels with cream cheese from Panera.

    I'm off to look at my opening line in my wip.


    Janet

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  26. Guess what I'm reading right now????? And guess what I was thinking when I read those first couple of pages? I actually thought what a brilliant opening it was. Fresh, different and it portrayed both angst and humour. It really definied Gabe for me and definitely set the stage.

    Interesting choice to start with the hero and not the heroine. I noticed Ruthy did that too. Is that a new trend in romantical writing?

    Hoping blogger will not eat this. He gave me fits yesterday -- said something nasty about my cookies. Humph. Here goes, pushing send now.

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  27. 1f73f... I hope you have a great time working on it and will come back and share!

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  28. Overnight inspiration!

    It was a dark and stormy night...

    Oh. Wait. No. That's not it...

    Here's one so rough and raw it's not even in my computer yet... it's still just scribbled on a piece of notebook paper. It's the sequel to the one up there... book 3 in the series [you know, the one I haven't sold book 1 of yet...]

    I wasn't actually timing the contractions, but I knew they were coming too close together to be false labor.

    =D

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  29. Cynthia, thanks! I hope you'll come back and share. :)

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  30. KC, safe travels! We hope to see you later.

    Camy, you got it right!! Great memory. :)

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  31. Jenny, thanks! The book is set in a fictional town in Georgia. It's a series of 3 books I have planned (have sold 2 of the 3 so far) that take place in a town I named Corinthia. The theme verse for the whole series is First Corinthians 13:13...

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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  32. Virginia, my daughter was 13 while I was writing this book!! So no creeping needed. LOL

    Oh, and just wait until 14! Oh, my.

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  33. Oh, Ruthy, I've wondered the same thing!! Does the all-knowing Blogger know when we should be working instead of being online??!! ;)

    I've learned to copy long posts before sending. I've had too many eaten up in cyberspace.

    Hope to see you later!

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  34. Christine, that's some great action to open with! And she makes a decision right then and there, so we know what her scene goal is probably going to be--to get away from him. Or get rid of him. :)

    Nice work! Thanks for sharing.

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  35. Thanks, Laura! I hope you enjoy it.

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  36. Mmmm, thanks for bringing bagels, Janet! I hope you brought me the cinnamon crunch bagel with some hazelnut cream cheese!! My Panera favs. :)

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  37. Kav, thank you!! You must made my morning. :)

    You know, I tend to start my books in the hero's pov. I don't really know why, except that in some books, he's making the bigger journey. Maybe men need to make a longer, harder journey to end up at romance!! LOL (Okay, I'm waiting for Vince and Walt to rake me over the coals for that.) :)

    Actually, as I thought about all my books, I realized they mostly open in the heroine's pov. But one of those I stared in the hero's and my editor had me add another scene to open the story.

    As I write, I always ask myself who changes the most in the story--who has the bigger character arc. I want to start and end the story in that person's pov. And to give a circular feel--open and close in similar settings or circumstances so we can see how that character has changed.

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  38. Carol (and I'm sorry I keep spelling your name with an e on the end!),

    That's another great action packed opening that promises some excitement!

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  39. well dang now I gotta get that book! I haven't caught up on my other stuff yet either!

    personally I'm caught if there's a cowboy, soldier, or cop in the story - guess I'm pretty easy ;-)

    Susanna

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  40. Oh, Missy, that is one of the sweetest scenes ever!!! Brought tears to my eyes!!! GREAT JOB, girl!

    Okay, I haven't worked specifically on my first line yet for my new WIP, which is a Snow White story. I'm about 3/4 of the way through the first draft, but I think the opening line for this book is going to be hard. I need to read over your post and work on it.

    I REALLY need to work on the first line for The Merchant's Daughter. I haven't done the edits on it yet, but it comes out in November. And I've never been satisfied with the opening line. Will work on it and may come back and post it.

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  41. Susanna, I'm a sucker for a man in uniform as well! :) And if he's a tortured soul, then all the better. ;)

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  42. Okay, WAIT ... am I the only emotional basketcase who cried????

    MISSY!!! You reeled me in, stomped on my heart and cooked me for dinner -- YIKES, what an opening!!! I LOVE Gabe and LOVE Chels!!! Cannot WAIT to read this one ...

    KAYE ... I absolutely LOVE that first line of yours and even used it in one of my Seeker blogs as an example of a GREAT opening!! Sooo glad you plan to spend more time here, my friend.

    CAROL AND KC, thanks for the congrats, and CAROL ... hand me a chocolate chip cookie, will you? Oh, the heck with Atkins ... hand me two!

    MISSY, I just wrote two openings that I really like for an upcoming series, so since you asked ... :) As anybody who's read my books know, I like to open with introspection because I think it can really give a reader an idea what the story will be about in a sentence or two. Here they are:

    Book 1: Sweet thunderation—deliver me from pretty men! Twenty-two-year-old Cassidy McClare peered up beneath the brim of her beige felt cloche, legs and luggage spread-eagle on the dirty platform of Oakland Pier train station. Reining in her temper, she forced a smile at a gorgeous man in a stylish brown fedora who had just swept her off her feet — literally.

    Book 3: Close your mouth, Devin Caldwell, you’ll swallow a fly. The very thought twitched the edges of Meghan McClare’s mouth with a smile that tingled all the way to her toes.Cocking her head, she studied her best friend Bram Hughes who had been there for her through thick and thin. Her smile crooked. Thick before Paris, thin after. Eat your heart out, Devin Caldwell.

    Thanks, Missy! GREAT post!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  43. Missy -- I LOVE opening lines that pull you immediately into the story. Always have fun working on my own.

    My "Dreaming of Home" begins ... At precisely one o'clock on a sunny September Saturday afternoon, Megan McGuire spied the pirate.

    "Second Chance Courtship" starts with ... Cowboys ain't nothin' but trouble.

    And my August release, "At Home In His Heart" begins... Oh, man. Just his luck. Sandi Bradshaw. Keith's widow.

    This will be a fun day reading everyone first lines!

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  44. Oh, Julie, I just love those! You're the master. (see me bowing at your feet!) :)

    And you're not doing static introspection. Yours is engaging and funny and tells us a lot about your character! It also shows action.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

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  45. I love those lines, Glynna! Thanks for sharing! I can't wait for you next book.

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  46. Great post, Missy!

    I have your book on my TBR pile. Love the opening. I'm sure the rest will be just as great.

    It is gloomy & rainy here. Need to find something to perk up my spirits on a Monday!

    Thanks guys!

    Sue

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  47. No, Julie, you're not!!!

    Missy I've never read any of your books before but that excerpt made me an instant fan! You had me smiling and laughing, completely unaware of what was coming, then you drop one line that hit like a physical blow and had me crying like a baby, barely able to make out the screen through my tears. Steamroller emotion - thats what I like in a book, so thank you for my first cry of the day - notice I said "first" :)

    Off to Amazon to buy A Family for Faith!! But maybe I should hit Walmart first for some tissues...

    Blessings,
    Amanda

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  48. I would love to read this book. Count me in on the giveaway!

    plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  49. Sue, thanks so much for getting it! I hope your weather clears up. It's spring now, so why won't this weather cooperate?

    On Saturday, it was sunny and 83 degrees here in Georgia. My daughter and and I put on shorts and tank tops and sat outside to read. Heaven!

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  50. Oh, Amanda, I'm so glad to make you laugh and cry (that sounds mean, doesn't it?!). LOL But that's my goal. :)

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  51. Hey, Melanie! How did I miss your comment?

    I hope you will come back and share your opening. You're such a great writer!

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  52. Patsy, thanks for stopping by! I've got you entered.

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  53. No, not mean at all! Like I said, I love emotion in my books :) I'm so excited to read this!! But it seems through all my tears I missed the whole "giveaway" part of your post, LOL! So, if it's still okay, I'd like to enter :)

    mrose608{at}gmail{dot}com

    Blessings,
    Amanda

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  54. You ABSOLUTELY nailed it, Missy! sooo good. And PLEASE enter me. Gotta read the rest!
    joanne(at)joannesher(dot)com

    Can't enter my first line cuz it's in Genesis. But yours is better :)

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  55. Oh my stars!!!

    I'm repeating what got eaten this morning:

    Missy, wonderful, wonderful post and OPENING CHAPTER, OH MYLANTA, I CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS!!! I'M DYING TO JUMP INTO THE PAGES AND HELP CHELSEA! I'LL TEACH HER HOW TO APPLY MAKE-UP, MAKE FUDGE AND BUY UNMENTIONABLES!!! OH, OH, LOVING THIS!

    Carol, they're open now, only been there ONCE, but maybe this week. Solace in case no kids show up for the high school gig on Wednesday!

    1f73f84c-50e1-11e0-8316-000bcdcb471e ...

    Great name. ;) I think we can nickname you "onesie"... Because you start with number ONE....

    Christine, have you tried going third person? Just a thought.

    Helen, proud as punch with your hard work, woman. You're amazing. And nice. And really cute.

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  56. Okay, since Blogger likes me, here's the opening paragraph from Yuletide Hearts, "bad-boy" Matt Cavanaugh's story:


    Complete and utter desolation.

    Peering through the driving November torrent caused by remnants of Hurricane Karl, Matt Cavanaugh surveyed what might be the biggest mistake he ever made as sheeting water sluiced from unprotected roofs. Wind-driven storm rains pummeled gaping window openings. Expensive, irreplaceable topsoil washed down unprotected berms, each muddy water trail sweeping centuries of rich, organic soil into the watershed.

    Basically he was watching a large share of his life-savings drip away in similar fashion. What in the name of all that was good and holy had he been thinking?

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  57. Joanne, thank you! I'm glad you liked it. I wish we could read yours but totally understand.

    I've got you entered!

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  58. Nice, Ruthy! We feel his agony and care about him already. Love it!

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  59. It's raining in Georgia, Missy.

    No, wait, it's not rain. But teardrops.

    You had me at "Gabe Reynolds paced the photo-lined hallway..."

    I choked up, lump in throat. Actually had to blow my nose!

    Always love your stories with teens who need to be loved and heroes who never know how to handle their problems.

    Another great Missy Tippens read! Can't wait to get my hands on the book!

    Hugs and congrats!

    Thank Dianna and Mary for their input, as well.

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  60. Your first few lines hooked me! I'll have to pick up a copy of this because I already care about the characters :)

    Would love to win a copy! ksmiley2[at]kent[dot]edu

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  61. Ruth - The prologue and epilogue are in first person. The rest of the book is in third person. I saw this technique in a mystery. It added so much depth to the story, I decided to use it.

    I'm writing the sequel which opens the same way, in the first person.

    I was trapped. My head knew it but the rest of me just couldn’t accept it.

    I haven't worked on that one much since I'm still in the writing stage, not editing.

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  62. Here's the first line of my May LIS, THE OFFICER'S SECRET:

    The night lay cold and dark outside the car just like the layer of regret that hung around Maggie Bennett’s heart.

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  63. Hi Missy:

    I wish you had posted this last Friday!

    I spent the weekend revising my opening chapter and now I see where I need to go back and revise it again.

    I spent a day changing to the present tense to get rid of the ‘was’ and ‘had’ words. Now it sounds stilted. I think I need to go back and use past tense again plus make the changes your post inspired.

    Perhaps you can help me. Here is my opening in present tense.

    Victor Hart has no idea that the world is about to end. He’s not dead yet. He’s just dead tired.

    And past tense:

    Victor Hart had no idea that the world was about to end. He’s not dead yet. He’s just dead tired.

    What do you think about writing in present tense? Is it done much? I see your opening is past tense.



    BTW: Here is the start of “Second Change Courtship”

    Cowboys ain’t nothin’ but trouble.

    (Italics in original).

    I liked this opening so much I used it as the headline of my review:

    “Cowboys are Trouble – But Isn’t that the Point!”


    ALSO: I can’t find my copy of “Her Unlikely Family”. I remember the opening about Fort Knox and smelling like money but I thought someone else said it. Did the heroine say this? Do you happen to have a copy of “Her Unlikely Family”? : )

    Vince

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  64. Pardon

    It’s “Second Chance Courtship”!

    I have this thing of writing ‘change’ for ‘chance’ and I can’t seem to fix it!

    Vince

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  65. Missy, I love the opening of your book!
    I just went and ordered it online. I prefer buying the books in bookstores but I've been having trouble finding the most recent LIs I want...my personal theorty is they are FLYING off the shelves.

    So I went and caught up on a few Seeker books that have yet to come my way through a bookstore.

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  66. Here is the opening of Deep Trouble, coming in May...

    “Where’s the gold!”

    Shannon Dysart fell back a step in the face of her guide’s fury then squared her shoulders. Showing weakness to Lobo Cutter was a mistake. Hiring him was a mistake. Leaving St. Louis was a mistake.

    “Mr. Cutter, I employed you to help me find an ancient city. We’ve done that. It’s spectacular. Imagine the research—”

    Cutter stormed right up to Shannon’s face. The spurs on his boots made an ugly metallic ring with every step. “A city of gold, them was your own words when you asked me to sign aboard this trip into the west.”

    His fists clenched and moved too close to the Colt six shooter in his holster.
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Give me another two paragraphs and Shannon is ... hanging from a cliff of course. Cliffhanger...hello....

    I might be over doing the cliffhanger thing. I need to check the next few books. Shannon spends way, way, way too much time hanging from cliffs in Deep Trouble.
    And poor heroic Gabe Lasley is kept busy saving her.
    I had waaaay to much fun writing that book.

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  67. Thanks, Debby. You're sweet! I won't be at GRW this month or next or I'd bring you a copy. I need to mail you one!

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  68. Noseinanovel, I have to first admit that I thought your name said nose in a navel! LOL Sorry about that. :)

    I'll enter you. But for any of you who don't win today, I hope you'll still pick it up! :)

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  69. Great one, debby! I want to know what she regrets so much. Nice hook.

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  70. Vince, Love Inspired wants us to write in 3rd person, past tense. So that's what I do. But I love first person. However, I always prefer past tense. Ask my cp, Lindi. We "argue" it all the time. :) Although I have to say I just critiqued her full manuscript (first person, present tense) and loved it! The tense didn't bother me at all this time because she did it so smoothly. Maybe that's the trick.

    For your opening, I liked it better in past. But did you realize that first sentence is in omniscient POV? Of course, authors do that. I just wanted to make sure you realized it. I could probably help you more if I knew the setup, because I don't really understand what's going on.

    Here's how I'd do it in past tense:

    Victor Hart had no idea that the world was about to end. He wasn't dead yet. He was just dead tired.

    Do you maybe mean something like this?...

    Victor Hart felt as if the world was about to end. But he wasn't dead yet. He was just dead tired.

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  71. Vince, I dug up the file for Her Unlikely Family. Here's the opening line:

    If there was one thing Josie Miller knew, it was the smell of a rich man. And whoever had just walked into the diner smelled like Fort Knox.

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  72. Missy, great blog, "right-on" is what I say. Here's the first line of my fourth Frivolities book, this one with suspense elements:

    A sudden shuffling outside the cabin
    heightened all of Beth Phillips’ senses to full alert.

    Still subject to change, of course.

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  73. Mary, bless you for buying it!!

    I love your opening! So fun. And love those actual cliff hangers, too. :) :)

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  74. Hi Missy,

    Loved the first chapter to A Family for Faith! I'm hooked.

    So many great openings here today. Sorry I'm running a bit late to the party, but I've been at the dealership for five hours getting new brakes. YUCK!

    Okay, here's the first line to my new wip. I just started the story Saturday.

    Tipi or log cabin neither kept the cold from Nathan’s bones. More than before he didn't belong either with the white man or the Sioux. He belonged six feet under with the only warmth he ever knew, his sweet Sarah and Emma.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share and I'd love to be entered in the drawing for A Family For Faith.

    --Kirsten
    kanavyhist[at]aol[dot]com

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  75. LoRee, love the suspenseful opening! We can all relate. We've been there--with a sound outside and we're trying our best to figure out what it was. :)

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  76. Kirsten, great way to pull us in and make us sympathize with your character. I feel the pain, the grief. Keep up the good work!

    Thanks for reading my chapter! I'll enter you.

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  77. Wow!

    I was in that class. I'm not sure I can use the first line I came up with from that class in this blog. (It will definitely open a novel.) However, I will share the opening of my India-based WIP.

    “Stop! Thief!”
    Merinius choked on his breath, arms flailing, as the shove from behind sent him facedown into the street.


    I'm definitely entered.
    wmussell(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  78. Since Mary wrote more than her first line, I will as well.

    Here's the first paragraph for THE OFFICER'S SECRET...

    The night lay cold and dark outside the car just like the layer of regret that hung around Maggie Bennett’s heart. She had left Fort Rickman as a young teen, vowing never to return. Too many painful memories were associated with the army post, memories Maggie had secreted away in the deepest recesses of her heart. Tonight, she prayed those memories would remain hidden forever.

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  79. Okay, I'm back. I said I'd work on my first line and come back. Now, this is for The Merchant's Daughter but it hasn't been edited yet, so this is not set in stone by any means. And it's still not that good. But here it is:

    “Annabel!”

    What did her brother want now? Just because he was the oldest, he thought he could shout at her and push her around.

    Annabel Chapman came from the kitchen into the spacious front room of their stone house. She watched Waldemar clean his fingernails with a sharp stick and waited for him to speak.

    His green eyes fixed Annabel with a hard look. “The new lord is coming here himself, and we have not fulfilled our duty these three years.”

    “I have already decided I’m going to help with the harvest this year. We should all help.”

    He thrust the stick in her face. “Do you want to end up sleeping in ditches and begging bread? Help with the harvest? It’s too late to start doing your share of the boon works now, little sister. If you are wise, you will try to think whose bread you need to butter to see that you have a home after today.”

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  80. So, Missy, Tina is the dead mother?

    That seems a little harsh.

    I have a Missy in my work in progress. She's eight and cries over everything. The half brother she never knew has found her, or rather they've found each other, adn all she can do is cry.

    He's at his wits end.

    But my Missy is very much ALIVE!! Thought I did kill off a Myra once. Sorry about that.

    Love that beginning, Missy. Love it.

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  81. Yikes! I already see something I want to change. "She watched him" is telling and not in deep POV. Tsk tsk tsk.

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  82. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  83. Hi Missy:

    My story needs the omniscient POV. I hope this is OK. I don’t use the omniscient often. In most cases I write in 3rd person with only one POV per chapter. The book is a paranormal romantic comedy. The omniscient is very useful in this respect.

    Set up:

    At the end of the second chapter a ‘cosmic black moment’ destroys the world and all the fictional characters get knocked out of their novels and get mixed up with real people. No one knows who is real and who is fictional and they can think of no way to prove who is who. Both real and fictional people have amnesia issues.

    Everyone wants to get ‘home’. In this sense the book is like the Wizard of Oz. There is an adventure in each chapter. One adventure is a visit to Romancelandia. (Romancelandia is a country that exists solely to supply the world’s need for romance novels.)

    Another adventure has to do with the Wicket Witch of the Eastern Establishment who leads a crusade against the romance novel (as the president of the most prestigious woman’s college she also gives classes on why romance novels are bad for women) while at the same time she owns and controls all the romance publishing houses in Romancelandia.

    This should give you an idea of the story.

    I have no intention of writing this story in first person. However, I love the first person, present tense, POV and I wrote a blog about how well Hank Phillippi Ryan does it. I used “Prime Time” as an example. Perhaps your CP would like to read it.

    http://vmres.blogspot.com/2010/04/how-to-write-great-first-person-present.html

    Hank’s books are the best I’ve read in that POV. ‘Hank’ is a woman and she really did the job as an aging newscaster that her heroine plays in her novels. (She may still be doing it.) There’s lots of ‘insider’ facts that add to the fun and realism.

    Josie Miller was the heroine. I was sure that the Fort Knox comment was said by an older waitress friend. I just don’t think of Josie as saying something like that.

    I think I edit my memories when I’m sleeping.

    Vince

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  84. "Tiffany crumpled the note and tossed it in the trashcan."

    Attempt at improvement:

    "The anxiety coiling in Tiffany's belly sprung loose and surged through her as she crumpled the note and flung it into the trashcan."

    Please count me in, Missy!

    Lr dot mullin at live dot com

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  85. Wow, great post, Missy. I was so caught up in your scene that transitioning back to the blog post caught me off guard a little. I'll have to get the book to read the rest!

    Here's the opening line to my current WIP:

    Josie Peretti spent the last ten years trying to forget Nickolas Brennan existed, only to learn he worked less than two hours away. And now she needed him more than ever.

    Lisa

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  86. I just went to your site and read the full first chapter. Great job, Missy! Can't wait to read your book!

    When does this book come out? I've signed up for Love Inspired reader service, so if it's coming to me in the future, don't bother putting my name in the hat. Let me know.

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  87. I love Missy Tippen's books...and I can't wait to read this one. Thank you Missy for offering this one to us!
    Blessings.....Joy
    ibjoy1953{at]yahoo[dot]com
    http://splashesofjoy.wordpress.com/

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  88. Oh Missy.....what an amazing opening!! I finally realized I'd been sitting here holding my breath (sounds silly, but sometimes when I'm REALLY into a story I do that unintentionally, LOL). I think you definitely did your job to make readers yearn to read more! Thank you for sharing--not only part of your story but the wonderful tips too. Please enter me in the drawing!
    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

    pattijomoore(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  89. Great opening, Missy! I agree with Julie. Lots of heartstrings tugging there.

    Here's my first draft, very rough opening:

    The fifty-something widow winked at him, her thick false eyelashes brushing the top of her reddened cheeks. What would she do if those things fell into the cupcake batter? His stomach churned as she flashed a toothy, hot red smile.

    Here's the revised version, based on your post:

    Gavin eased his gaze away from the widow winking at him more than she concentrated on the batter in the mixing bowl. Her creepy-crawly lash looked sure to fall in any second. Not quite the splash he’d had in mind for his grandmother’s award-winning cupcake recipe. His mouth set, his jaws burned. No need to give the wrong impression and nothing to gain by offending a paying student, one of the very few.

    It can definitely use work, but I think it's better already. Thanks for a fun exercise!

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  90. Missy -- I'm having so much fun swooning over Gabe in Daddy angst (as Ruthy might say -- stinkin' adorable) and finding Seekervillians in the pages. I've spotted Hannah, Walt, Vince, Audra and the poor departed Tina. It's like playing Where's Waldo while reading. LOL.

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  91. Sounds like a great book! now I have to read it!
    I'm going to request it at my local library right now!
    Your advice was great:)

    Faye

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  92. I went to Walmart and there were no new books to hop in my cart yet. Janet's was still there. But two of them already followed me home so... =D

    Let's see... potential opener for another storyline that may or may not ever see the light of day...

    Fear knotted in my stomach as I stared at the stick sitting on the bathroom counter.

    And I love this story. I hope it gets fully developed someday. It's another sequel so hopefully we have at least some clue about the characters before coming to the book...

    As with most mornings since... that night, tears threatened before I even opened my eyes.

    [... stuff that'll likely get cut]

    The pounding in my head made the tears filling my eyes about something besides Ben.

    The pounding on the door and the yelling I couldn't quite make out weren't helping matters any.

    And then I heard it.

    And felt it.

    A groan and a shifting on the other side of the bed.

    Had the last two months all been a bad dream and Ben was still there with me? [...more stuff that needs deleting to get to this next line sooner]

    And if it wasn't Ben, who was it and why was I in bed with him?

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  93. just wanted to stop by and tell you I"m not ignoring you! I've been to a park dedication, the funeral home and my daughter's tennis match. Now I have to feed everyone and go to a meeting at church. I'll be back to check in a little later!!

    I can't wait to see the first lines!

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  94. I love reading everyones openings.

    And Vince, "...destroys the world and all the fictional characters get knocked out of their novels and get mixed up with real people." is a wonderful premise.

    Here's the opening lines for my Western Historical, Husbands May Run...But They Can't Hide.

    “You awake?” Even in a whisper, his voice rumbled.

    Savannah’s heart quickened. Lying on her side, she remained perfectly still, hoping he would believe her asleep. But to her dismay, a hand traveled up her thigh and settled on her hip. Nervous sweat beaded across the back of her neck. Clad only in a flimsy nightgown, she struggled to maintain her death-grip on the edge of the sagging mattress.


    The heroine had switched places w/her older sister and married the groom. This is early the next morning before the groom realizes his mistake.

    Connie
    bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com

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  95. Oh, this sounds so good, Missy...please enter me! Since I live in GA, I am even more anxious to read it. Read A Forever Christmas and loved it; am anxious to read more of your books!!

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  96. Great post, Missy! I always have a problem with the first few sentences of chapter one. I always have to go back and work hard at making the beginning interesting.

    It's evening now, but I'm still bring coffee. We'll just have to stay up all night!

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  97. I'm at Panera [is anyone REALLY shocked by this?!] so I'll have breakfast for tomorrow covered.

    Connie - I <3 that kind of set up! Not necessarily the tricking the groom thing [though I'm guessing there's a good reason for it and not that sister whapped the bride upside the head and took her place...], but the sudden, unexpected marriage thing.

    Grace Livingston Hill's Marcia Schuyler is one of my very very faves. I do it in at least two books so far [see post above ;)]. One of them even references one of the most famous of those scenarios [at least in my world...] - Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly.

    And Tom and Mandy Linscott has got to be one of my very favorite couples ever /big waffy sigh/. Hmmm... Mary seems to like to do that kind of thing too... I can think of at least 4 books off the top of my head that she's done something like that in...

    But since I'm at Panera, I should be doing something more productive than 'just' commenting on Seekerville ;).

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  98. Hi, I'm back, I didn't have time to leave a longer comment before but,I really liked this post. I loved the advice on not over doing the setting as I tend to do that, because I am very aware that I tend not to set the scene very well, so I try to fix it and I try too hard.
    I really liked the excerpt. And can't wait to read it.
    Thanks so much for the advice!

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  99. I'm baaaack! Will catch up now. :)

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  100. Walt, I love that opening! It leaves me curious to know more!

    I can't remember what all is in chapter one, so maybe you don't know yet. But my heroine's ex-husband's name is Walt! :) I had fun with that. hehe

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  101. Thanks for sharing more, Debby! I wonder what those regrets are... :)

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  102. Hey, Melanie. Glad you came back! Oh, now I'm wondering what the brother is going to force her to do!! :)

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  103. Okay, so I'm a cry-baby, huh, Mary? I love to see what kinds of characters y'all come up with that you name Missy. So fun!

    Yes, poor Tina met her demise in backstory. Thankfully I don't kill people on the page--at least not yet! :)

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  104. Vince, what a wild, fun idea for a story!! I love it. :)

    As for omniscient... I think it's used well to lead into and out of scenes. That's the most common way I've seen it used. So go for it! :)

    I've shared the link with Lindi. Thanks! I'll be sure to check out Hank's books. I'm pretty sure she was at the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference last year or the year before.

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  105. What a great blog today Missy!! I think it's the opening line that makes or breaks you wanting to read more. If I read the first line of any book, and I breathe out saying "Wow, this is going to be a fun ride"... you are good to go!!

    I don't know what I would say if I ever wanted to write a book. How about if I just "enjoy the ride" of reading? ;)

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  106. Linette,

    I almost like your first one better! :) But maybe you can add a couple of little things. How about this:

    "Coiled anxiety sprang loose as Tiffany crumpled the note and flung it in the trashcan."

    That's adding just a bit to your original, which was already pretty strong. This just shows a little more about the character (that she's not casually tossing something in the trash.)

    Nice job!

    As for the book club--thank you for subscribing!! All us LI authors appreciate the support. Did you just recently subscribe? Or do you only take 4 books? The April books would have gone out to the book club in February. Mine was the 5th book for the month, so if you only take 4, you wouldn't have gotten it.

    I'll enter you!

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  107. Linnette, I'm sorry I spelled your name wrong! This is just not my day for spelling.

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  108. Nice hook, Lisa! I'm wondering why she needs him and why she tried to forget him. :)

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  109. Thank you, Joy! I appreciate your kind words!

    I've got you entered. :)

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  110. Thanks, Patti Jo! I'm so glad you liked it. :)

    I've got you entered.

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  111. Missy and Vince,

    Missy-Well, you know I love your opening. You have such a charm about your writing. I love it.
    Vince-thanks for the link to your blog post. I didn't know Hank wrote first person-present. I liked what you said. And I'll have to pick up one of her novels. You have me intrigued.

    Here's the beginning of the ms I'm revising right now.

    How can a simple knock at the door undo nine months of therapy? I immediately recognize the annoying tap, pause, tap, tap, tap pattern my manager, Coleman, uses. Of course his knock didn't become annoying until I became sober. But I guess noticing is part of recovery.

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  112. Patricia, I feel the same way about yours as I did Linnette's. I think I like the first version better. :) But maybe you could pull out just a few of the details and scatter them in. I do like that hint you dropped about the few paying customers as well. That tells us a lot about what's going on.

    How about this:

    The fifty-something widow winked at him, her creepy-crawly false eyelashes brushing the top of her reddened cheeks. What would she do if those things fell into the cupcake batter? Not quite the splash he’d had in mind for his grandmother’s award-winning recipe.

    His stomach churned as she flashed a toothy, hot red smile. He locked his own smile in place. Nothing would be gained by offending a paying student, one of the very few.

    What do you think about something like that? I liked your first concise lines but added some of your fun details. :)

    Nice work!

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  113. LOLOL, Kav!! It is like playing Where's Waldo of Seekervillians! :)

    Tina--the dead wife on the pedestal
    Vince--the good guy who's the boyfriend of the coffee shop employee
    Walt--the evil ex ;)
    Hannah--the woman everyone tries to fix up the hero with
    Audra--the youth worker who is moving away

    Who knows who'll appear in the next story!! Of course, I don't suppose it's a spoiler to say that Hannah will be the heroine of the next book (Feb. 2012) :) Go, Hannah! :)

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  114. By the way, I only borrow names. No characteristics or real life stuff. :)

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  115. Faye, thanks so much for requesting it at your library!! I really appreciate that. :)

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  116. Carol, I hope they're in Walmart asap! Maybe end of this week? I would think definitely next week so they can hop right into your cart. hehe Isn't it funny how books do that? Happens to me all the time. ;)

    Love your other openings as well.

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  117. Connie, love the opening! I can just hear his rumbly voice! :)

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  118. I can't ever find the Love Inspireds large print in stores (not that I"m old enough to need large print but well ok my eyes just ain't what they used to be!) I'm still young though!

    not fair posting teasers for yuletide book titles Ruthy - it's only March!

    Susanna

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  119. Thank you, Jackie! My towns are fictional, but I love to base them on places around me. When I'm writing a downtown scene, I'm usually picturing Dahlonega or Madison. Or sometimes Monroe. I hope you'll recognize them! :)

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  120. Thanks for the coffee, Cara! I actually poured creamer just a little while ago and was about to make coffee but changed my mind at the last minute. Was still too full from dinner.

    But now...your offer is sounding too good to refuse! :)

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  121. Heidi, so glad to have you reading!! That sounds good to me. Enjoy the ride! :)

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  122. Hey, Lindi! So glad you dropped by. As you know, I always love your openings! And this one is probably my fav. Just love it!

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  123. By the way, y'all, Lindi will be a guest poster later this month!! Woo hoo! We'll be celebrating the upcoming release of her debut novel, Her Best Catch. :)

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  124. Susanna, in case you ever want large print for your grandmother (wink, wink), you can have your local bookseller order it for you. :) I have quite a few readers who like them, so my local indie bookseller always orders several copies to keep on hand with the others.

    Yep, gotta wait a while for Ruthy's Christmas book. Have you read her April book yet, though? It's available now! :)

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  125. Missy Ruthy's is on it's way! I think the post office is still holding my mail. when I picked it up last week they said they wouldn't hold it after that but I've gottn nothing - not even junk mail! I'll go by there this afternoon and see if it's arrived - I've been working day shift til 7 pm and yesterday drove my dad and dogs up to his place and didnt' get back in time to go by the post office or I'd have already been!

    Susanna

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  126. Wow, Missy....I am so glad you told me that...how you "picture" towns!!! I am very close to Madison so am sure I will recognize that and will certainly be reading more of your books!!!
    Keep up the great writing!!

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  127. Missy, I'm just now getting to stop by, but I HAD to read your opening.

    If bang means slap me upside my heart with a tearjerker opening that has me rooting for Gabe and Chels to find a wife and mother figure as soon as possible, then BANG, you have mastered the technique.

    Off to find the Kleneex...

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  128. Thanks, Missy! I just joined and received three freebies. Two came a week or two ago and then a third one just came a on Saturday, I think. Weird. Anyway, does that answer the question for you? Sorry I'm just now getting back to you.

    ~Linnette

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  129. Thanks, Pam!

    Linnette, I'm so glad you joined the club! You'll be getting books about 2 months before they officially release. So I guess your next shipment will probably be June books. :)

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  130. This looks great! I love the beginning! Please enter me.

    lizzielaura17(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  131. HI Missy, Sorry I missed you yesterday. Loved your beginning and can hardly wait to read your book. I need to get online or to a store to buy it.

    Have a great day. Hugs

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  132. Thanks for the feedback, Missy. Sometimes I feel as though when I try to make my writing "better", I suck the life out of it. Maybe one of the Seekers could do a post on that. :)

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  133. Patricia, you didn't suck the life out of it! I just liked the clarity of the first one. Of course, mine is just one opinion, too! :)

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  134. I've got you, Jordan! Thanks for stopping by.

    You, too, Sandra!

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  135. I'm a reader not a writer. I'd love to win this book. Love the love inspired books. thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  136. we're glad you stopped by, Apple Blossom! We have readers that hang out here as well. :)

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  137. Hi. Thank you so much for the tips!!! I need some tips on an opening scene, and I think my boring beginning needs some work! I tried to dramatize, but my rambles on about the dreary, desolate weather outside and the dismal mood inside aren't exactly catching. I defintely think that the first sentence is one of the more important parts of a story. It can hook a person on the story or send the story down. I definitely loved your beginning. I loved the drama, loved the plot. Will you enter me in the drawing for your book? Thanks.

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  138. Loved your comment! Great opening for A Family For Faith! It's one of those very rare, really, really good openings that make the reader feel like they can't stop reading! It's a better opening than an average good one; it's great!!!

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  139. My e-mail is (concerning the drawing)

    julgretch@yahoo.com

    Thanks!!! I hope to see more posts from you. I think this one will really benefit my manuscript!

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  140. Thanks, Gretchen! I hope it helps you with yours. Thanks for stopping by!

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