Thursday, 30 June 2011

Books - Memorable Opening Sentences

This week we are discussing my favourite fiction genre – category romance novels. More specifically, the ones you pick up and never want to put down. The ones you go back to again and again when you want to have a good laugh, cry happily or general feel good. The memorable ones.

This time it's all about memorable opening sentences or first chapters. As a writer, I know how important it is to hook a reader within the first chapter, so I'm always interested in seeing how other authors do it so well.

The most memorable opening line I've ever read in a romance novel comes from Mackenzie’s Mountain. It's a romantic suspense novel by Linda Howard.
It's available in 2 anthologies, The Mackenzies (UK) and Mackenzie's Legacy (US).



Here’s the blurb:

Still paying for a crime he didn’t commit, Wolf Mackenzie has a chip on his shoulder the size of Wyoming. But Mary Elizabeth Potter doesn’t see Wolf as the dangerous man the town has branded him. Then a series of violent acts against women makes the townspeople question whether Wolf has reformed – and Mary must prove them all wrong.

And here is the opening sentence:

He needed a woman. Bad’

I read that and I was totally hooked. I wanted to know who ‘He’ was and why he needed a woman that badly. LH set my expectation with those simple words. The rest of the chapter goes ahead to introduce the reader to the hero Wolf and heroine Mary. The book did not relent but delivered on the promise made in the first few words of the first chapter. The story was packed with gripping suspense, emotional tension and dare I say hot sex up until the last page. I read it and finished it on the same night.

The book was just that fabulous. Five stars all the way.

In fact this is how Wolf declared his love for Mary on the last page when she refused to marry him because she didn’t want to marry someone who didn’t love her.

“Hellfire!” he roared and jerked her up against him. “Not love you? Damn, woman, you have been wrapping me around your little finger since the first time I set eyes on you! I’d have killed Bobby Lancaster in a heartbeat for you, so don’t you ever say I don’t love you!”

Now, how’s that for a declaration of love? It certainly got my vote. If you haven’t read this book yet, pick up a copy. You'll love it like I do.

So have you read any books where you remember the opening line or the first chapter vividly? Please share them with us.

Have a thrusty Thursday.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Thrusty Thursday - Inspirations

Welcome back to Thrusty Thursday (TM). This week we are talking about inspirations.

What are the things that inspire you as a writer?

I’m a very visual writer. I like to see things, colours, shapes, movement, lines, etc. Most of all as a romance writer, I like to see people and places.

When an idea comes to me, the first thing I visualise is the hero or heroine. In most cases it’s the hero first. Then I scramble around trying to find an image that closely matches what I picture in my head. On days like that I am thankful for Google. I am thankful that I don’t have to trawl through loads of magazines or slide images at the library. I simply have to type in a keyword into a website and my screen is filled with images of gorgeous men instantly.

WARNING: Don’t try this at home with little children hanging over your shoulders. You never know what image would be thrown into the mix. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. LOL

Anyway I digress. So, back to my inspirations. Last week I introduced you to Kola from HWB. This week I want to introduce you to the hero of a paranormal historical romance story I’m also writing. It is set in pre-colonial West Africa and is part of an epic series.

The hero, Ebube, is a fearsome Ure warrior, a guardian of the gateway between the physical and spiritual realm. The precarious peace on earth is under threat and he is on a mission to prevent a war breaking out when he encounters the heroine Ugo.

When I started the story I searched for an image that was close to the one I had in my head and eventually found this. As soon as I saw it I knew it was Ebube. The markings on his body are slightly different from what I had pictured in my head but trust me, everything else is him. It was as if the illustrator (Jenny Dolfen, I think) drew this for me. So say hello to Ebube.


Oh and did you guess right? Ebube is a shifter. His spirit beast is a leopard. So you can imagine how accurate I thought this picture was.

And now for the excerpt

***

 After bathing and getting dressed again, she left the pool and walked towards the stream. A movement in the periphery of her vision made her look upwards. Her footsteps and heart faltered to a halt. At the top of a hill of large boulders that separated the farmlands from the dark forest was a man.

At least she thought it was a man.

He was crouched low on his haunches. He rose slowly and stretched languorously. There was something about the physical dexterity of the man that kept her attention.

Ebube!

Recognition dawned on her. Her heart pounded in her chest erratically.

What was he doing up there? How did he get up there?

The early sun rays shimmered off his dark body and for a moment she held her breath. He was a sight to behold. With a grace she couldn’t describe he stretched out his body upwards again. His muscle movement was fluid as he leapt of the boulder onto another and yet another before landing on the red soil on the bank of the stream. When he looked at her his eyes had the catlike glint she had seen last night. Mesmerised, she stood still as he strode towards her.

He didn’t say anything until he reached her. Heart still pounding, she watched him walk around her slowly his chest brushing her shoulders. The warm tingles swarmed her body again. He sniffed the air around her and she heard something that sounded like a grunt and turned to face him. Filled with expectation but not sure for what, she could feel her body start to quiver, her nerve endings on alert waiting for his touch. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could stand upright.

As if in response to her thought, he lifted her up into his arms. She yelped and hung on to him as he carried her up the rocky hill, her ite abandoned by the footpath.

“Where are you taking me?” she asked with bewilderment.

“Be patient, precious one. You’ll soon see.” His voice had an edge to it like someone was sawing wood.

Copyright Kiru Taye 2011

***

So what inspires you as a reader or writer? Are you a visual reader or writer? Share your thoughts with me.

Wishing you all a very thrusty Thursday.


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Thrusty Thursday


Welcome to Thrusty Thursday (TM) with me Kiru. Yes, and before you say it, there isn’t a word like Thrusty in the Oxford English Dictionary. I made it up. Well... come on. I’m a fiction writer. What did you expect? We make up things all the time, don’t we?

And another thing, you should get your mind out of the gutter. It doesn’t mean what you think it does. *Shakes her head as she laughs*

So here is my definition of the word Thrusty as it relates to me and my writing.

Thrusty (TM) means moving forward with purpose, breaking down barriers, flying high with success and in the process having loads of fun. It’s about writing stories that readers love as well as I do and sharing the fun of getting from ‘Chapter One’ to ‘The End.’

Maybe one day you’ll find the word in the Oxford English dictionary. Just remember you read it here first.

So every other Thursdays I’ll be sharing my writing journey with you here. There will be news about book releases, book reviews, excerpts from my works, my inspirations and much more.

To kick off, I’d like to introduce you to the hero of one of my current WIP titled Her Weekend Bodyguard. It is a contemporary romance set in Lagos, Nigeria.

Kola, an ex-soldier now bodyguard, is dark and dangerous, a tortured soul who finds it difficult to trust anyone especially women. Yet he can’t stop himself falling in love with sassy and troubled heiress Tari, during a sizzling weekend together with her. She is a woman he has known most of his life but believed was out of bounds. Someone he has always protected as a young girl. Now that he’s crossed the invisible line separating them, he wonders who’s going to protect her from the darkness that rages within him.  

Here is an excerpt from my WIP Her Weekend Bodyguard. Enjoy.

***

“What would you like to do today?” Kola asked her as he moved to the table and sat on the chair opposite her.

“I don’t know. I haven’t thought about anything yet.”

Tari’s hazel eyes lifted to look at him. He felt a thrill of awareness unlike any he’d felt before. She lowered her eyes coyly but not before he noticed the way her eyes had darkened and her colour peaked from her neck upwards on her flawless caramel skin. He felt his body tighten in response.

Blast.

He had to get a grip. There was ‘enough on his plate’ right now without complicating it with a ‘roll in the hay’ with Miss Hazel Eyes Heiress here.

Before Tari had called him last night, he’d been on the phone trying to arrange a visit with his daughter Nike. He’d only recently found out he was the father to a ten year old girl. A daughter he hadn’t been aware of until a few weeks previously. The initial shock of finding out via a seemingly casual telephone conversation with his ex-girlfriend Sarah whom he hadn’t heard from in so many years had quickly transformed into anger that she’d kept such a secret from him for so long.

He’d had a right to know something so basic and yet so life-changing as soon as she’d found out she was pregnant. Yet Sarah had chosen to keep it a secret for so long for her own purposes. In the end he had been saddened about all the years he’d missed out with his daughter. He was now faced with having to learn all about a child who would be a teenager in a few years.

Kola physically flexed his shoulders to shake himself out of the dark mood threatening to blanket him and refocused on the woman opposite him.

“You’ve probably already seen the swimming pool outside. There’s also a gymnasium in the basement. Feel free to use it if you wish. If you’d like to go out let me know and I can take you anywhere you wish to go. Do you need anything from the shops?”

“No,” Tari shook her head. “I think I’ll just chill for now. I noticed some books on the shelf in the study as I walked past. Do you mind if I browse and help myself?”

“No, do. If you need me, I’ll be outside in the pool.”

Kola stood up. He needed to get some distance between the two of them. His body was way too aware of Tari – her feminine scent tickling his senses, her body’s warmth seeping into his. If she was staying indoors then he’d stay outdoors. Moreover in the pervasive heat of the day, the swim would hopefully help to cool his body as well as his libido.

“Kola,” her voice was soft and velvety setting the hair on his back at attention. “Thank you.”

Tari reached out and touched his arm before he could move away from the table. It seared him like a brand and sent warm blood rushing off in one direction, straight to his groin. He had to physically stop himself from flinching and pulling his arm away. Instead he stood there and stared at her soft full beguiling lips and wondered why she was thanking him. He hadn’t done anything special. Moreover if she knew what he was thinking about doing to those lips she wouldn’t be thanking him so readily.

“What for?” he asked stiffly and raised his brow.

“You didn’t have to come and pick me. You didn’t have to bring me here to invade your space and disrupt your life with my troubles.”

She looked away from him. For the first time since he’d picked her up he could see how truly unhappy she was as her eyes looked up at him again dolefully. He responded the only way he knew without even thinking about it. There would be consequences later but for now he didn’t care. He pulled her up and wrapped his arms around her.

“You are welcome to invade my space and disrupt my life any day. You should know that already,” he spoke into her dark curly hair gruffly and with a ragged breath inhaled her oh-so feminine fragrance that had a hint of strawberries.

Tari pulled back slightly and frowned up at him. “Do you really mean that? It’s just that last night you were a bit abrupt and quiet. I thought you didn’t want me here. I know I’m imposing. If you want me to leave I-.”

He sighed in resignation. “Stay. You’re not imposing. Last night I had a few things on my mind that’s all.” When she looked like she was going to ask him more he continued. “It’s nothing for you to worry about. You’re welcome to stay here for however long you feel is necessary. If you need anything, all you’ll have to do is ask.”

A smile brightened her face as she nodded. “Thanks, I will.”

“Good. If you need me, you know where I am.”

Kola took one last look at Tari as she walked towards the kitchen sink before walking out. The cautious side of him prayed she wouldn’t be taking him up on his offer anytime soon.

Copyright Kiru Taye 2011