Opening Lines

Chuck Wendig frequently posts some of the funniest, most helpful writing blogs on the internet, and he has no problem encouraging writers to come together on his site to trash out common issues either.

Recently, he had a fun challenge about loglines and I posted my own and had loads of fun reading others. After that, he asked everyone to post the opening line of their Work In Progress (WIPs), and help each other critique them, so I jumped in again with both feet.

It got me thinking about how one size does not fit all. The short grabby first line is great, but not all stories need that or should begin that way. There’s a lot to be said for opening lines that gradually draw the reader in. After, nobody picks up a book to read one line, so why act as though that opening line is make or break? It’s the knob on a door, and you have to get people to turn it. Nothing more, nothing less.

So without further ado, and just for fun, I’m posting the opening lines from three of my novels, and you can judge for yourself if I live by my philosophy.

Do  me a favour and post your opening lines in the comments too. I’d love to read them. It’s just for fun–no critiquing by anyone unless you ask!

“Death came for Michael while he slept.

He woke, gasping and trembling, from a dream of being pushed out the airlock. His fingers were cold and numb; the weight of his head on his arm had cut off his circulation. Michael sat up, wiping sweaty strands of hair off his forehead. Shifting his feet out from under him, he cursed as pain lanced up his leg.

Shit. I fell asleep. I can’t sleep. How long was I out?”

Excerpt from ‘Lex Talionis’ – Space Opera Mystery 

“Princess Viyella of the Court of Hamber, Divine Spirit of the Six Queendoms and future ruler of the High Court of Dun, stuck out her tongue at her exasperated personal bodyguard.

“And if I do not choose to go?” she asked taking another backward step up the crumbling spiral stairs to the tallest, oldest tower of the High Court.

Dagen Kemp only just managed to keep his hands by his sides instead of snatching the precocious six year old over his knee and spanking her.

“Queen Elise has requested that the Princess be taken to the baths in plenty of time for the festivities this eventide.  The Dowager House Mother has indicated her readiness to assist you in your preparations, so the Princess must come with me immediately.”

Excerpt from “The Hand of Gaia” – Science Fantasy

The technician screamed, the smoking stump of his hand smearing his lab coat as he held it to his chest.  Through watering eyes, he looked up at the two soldiers standing over him, their faces hidden behind the wavering diamond reflection of distortion masks.  The ship’s flashing emergency lights limned their black armour, turning the figure-hugging contours scarlet, then black, then scarlet again.

He could smell his own flesh cooking, and vomit scratched at the back of his throat even as pain tore his nerves to shreds.  If he turned around, he knew he would see what was left of his hand lying on the floor of the corridor behind him.  But there was no point in turning around.  His hand was gone for good.  And he was a dead man.

The one on his left lowered the massive lasrifle to his waist, still keeping it at the ready.  The soldier on the right held his weapon with the business end pointed at the floor.  The soldier was silent for a moment longer, apparently studying the tech, though it was hard to tell through the distortion masks.

“Are you ready to speak to me now?” he intoned, his voice flat and expressionless through the mask.”

Excerpt from “Warrior” – Science Fiction 

Stay thirsty, my friends!

 

New Stuff!

Hey!

So it’s been terribly exciting around here lately. I have a new Facebook page for Lex Talionis which you can find here.

I’ve also updated the blog–as you probably noticed!–and added links to all the places you can find the book.

As soon as it’s available for pre-order, I’ll let you know.

I also had a whole bunch of Very Important People agree to read the book and say nice things about it if they liked it. Shockingly, one of them did like it. Even more shockingly, this very nice important person went over to my Goodreads page and left a short review.  You can find that here.

And just because some people are truly awesome, that person told the world about my book in a lovely tweet some of you might have seen. If you haven’t, here it is:

So I promptly fainted away.

And then when I woke up, I wrote this post. Just so you know every little thing that’s going on.

And I promise it’s the last time I dance around here blowing my own horn and getting drunk.

At least until my birthday. Which is in two weeks.

:-)

 

My First Review Is Up on Goodreads!

I can’t believe it!

Someone read my book–it’s on NetGalley if you’re a blogger and want to review it–and decided to post a review.

Icing on the cake? Four stars!!!

*Faints with joy*

Is that even possible? To faint with joy? Oh who cares! I’m pretty sure I just did it :-).

You can read the review here.

They never tell you how great it feels to know that someone in the world liked it. Even if no one else ever does, I know someone in the world was moved by my story.

That’s just priceless.

Thank you, awesome reviewer!

Excited reaction gifs

Amazing Things That Happened Since We Last Talked

Science has ticked another scifi concept off its list. Yeah, rail guns have been around a while, but now they’re going to test them out as a weapon for the US Navy. 

No, it doesn’t look as cool as the one in ‘Eraser’ did, but hey, a rail gun is a rail gun, you ingrate. Put that together with the teleportation we’re trying to perfect and we’ll be ready to invade Mars any day now.

And then there’s this development about growing organs from mature stem cells that has made me rue the day I decided to trunk my stem cell story.

I could have been regarded as a visionary back when George the Second was laying down the law for American scientists and making them play with only a couple dozen stem cell lines. *Shakes fist at the sky*

Too bad I was some years away from selling my first story then. I’m sure a short about androids running an underground railroad to hide the inventor of immortality (courtesy of stem cells), so that humans would learn to appreciate death would have just rocked the world.

Some day I’ll post it so you can have some amusement while waiting for ‘How I Met Your Dad’ to begin filming.

In any case, I find that stem cell development right in line with what I was expecting from the science, if researchers found their theories to be correct. The idea that you could replace your own organs eventually–there are no words for how much death and devastation could be avoided. And to think–no more waiting for someone to die so you can get a new heart. Here’s hoping the technology continues to be be successful.

And finally, the most amazing thing of all.

Game of Thrones premiered Sunday night! There were thousands of tweets, hordes of loyal watchers and series high ratings–and that was just at my house!

Seriously, I have never been so worked up for a season. My little cousin has started watching the series on HBO On Demand at my house, so for the first time, I had a chance to re-watch the first season and part of the second season. I plan to watch everything over with him, so that he can join in during this fourth season.

I understand completely now why superfans re-watch previous seasons before the new season starts. There was so much fore-shadowing in season one–in the first episode!–that it was amazing to realise they told you who was important and hinted at what was going to happen ages ago. Sure, it’s easy to do this when you know exactly where you’re going, but you have to give props to the writers for cutting down those massive books to such elegant and deftly circular storylines. I’m even more impressed with the series now than I was before.

And wow! Talk about hitting the ground running! Usually they take a few episodes to get back up to speed, but not this season. I guess that’s what happens when you are just halfway through a book. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s up with Bran and Stannis, but in the meantime, thanks a mil for letting me have some Dany right up front.

And no, I haven’t read the books yet. But my sister got a great deal on the entire series so far–5.99 for all the ebooks!–so I will be starting them soon. Just don’t want to get ahead of the series and turn into a jaded superfan. Yeah, it’s cool to be able to say, ‘the books are better’, or ‘just you wait until…’, but it’s even cooler to get to see it for the first time–and know you can READ it after!

I have to say, reading after seeing the movie is better. You won’t be disappointed, and it will be like the first time all over again. And who doesn’t want that?

Anyway, I’m off to do some writing. In the meantime, enjoy my favourite shot of the entire episode. Naturally!

Burn, Lannisters, burn!! (I hope!)

I Don’t Like Cricket…I Love It

Yes, you read that right. I am a die-hard cricket fan.

For those of you from North America out there, I can see the puzzled looks on your faces.

For those of you from Australia and India, I know you are nodding sagely because you know that anyone from the West Indies is most likely a cricket lover. And even if they don’t love cricket, they follow the West Indies team and have an extra bounce in their step when they win.

I have a reason for bringing this up, and no, it’s not to clue my blog friends into just how uncool I am (because you probably figured that our already). I bring it up because right now, my mind is pretty much focused on cricket 95% of the time, and I’m fairly sure it will affect my blog posting, at least until Sunday.

That’s because the ICC World T20 tournament is winding up to the finals this weekend, and my team, the West Indies, has two semi-finals tomorrow. The women play the second best female team in the world, Australia, early tomorrow morning, and after that the men play the second place team from the last tournament, Sri Lanka.

West Indies is one of the most beloved teams in the world of cricket, and once upon a time, for a very long time, we were the undisputed best team that ever walked the earth. But now we are trying to rebuild our lost legacy, and the newest cricket format–called 20/20 or T20–is giving us a chance to do just that. Eighteen months ago, we won our first World title in a long while in this very competition. There were doubters then and now, so it is very gratifying that we have once again made it to the semis, and more gratifying that once again,  both the men and the women have qualified.

However, these matches will be very difficult, and if we win, I will be on tenterhooks until Sunday, so don’t be surprised if I don’t post much after this.

If we lose, I will be crying into my beer, and be completely unable to post due to my soul-crushing sorrow.

So do me a favour. Whether you’ve ever really heard of cricket before this or not, feel free to say a little prayer for my teams tomorrow. Every little bit helps, after all.

And as a little thank you, enjoy the sounds of 10cc and one of the most popular cricket songs ever written below. If you’re from the Commonwealth, you know it already, so just sing along with me:

I don’t like cricket…ah, oh no. I love it!

‘Lex Talionis’ Is Now On Goodreads

Feeling very proud of myself as I took the first step yesterday toward posting my novel Lex Talionis on Goodreads!

I totally figured out how to do this on my own.

What? It’s hard! You try it!

In any case, I’m waiting for them to let me join the author programme now, so I can update my profile and everything.

If you want to take a look at it being half-way official and everything, you can head over here. Feel free to add it to your ‘to read’ list, or like it, or say nice things about it if the spirit so moves you.

Seriously, I feel so accomplished.

High five reaction gifs

Now I only have to get a Facebook page going.

Lord, I hate Facebook ::sigh:: But I don’t hate connecting with people, so wish me luck!

 

LEX TALIONIS by R. S. A. Garcia is now on NetGalley

RSAGARCIA:

Oh. My. God.
So excited.
So freaking excited.

Originally posted on Dragonwell Publishing Blog:

Upcoming on May 30:

Deep in space, a young woman emerges on the other side of death with no memories of her identity and no recollections about her past. To regain them, she must relive her worst nightmares and face the only survivor of a terrible massacre, the only link to her abductors.

Prepare for an emotional roller-coaster in this thrilling, romantic, disturbing tale of young Shalon, known to her friends and enemies as Lex Talionis. The Law of Revenge.

COVER

To request an advance review copy of the book, follow this link to NetGalley:

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/show/id/45097

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To Read a Lot…Or Not

My sister and I were talking about series today because our beloved cousin who happens to be a librarian called for advice about what to buy at the bookstore. Her only caveat? No series. She had been devouring a lot of YA for some time, and was all tapped out on multiple book stories.

This got me thinking. I sort of knew where she was coming from. Growing up, I couldn’t really afford to buy books. The library was my almost sole source of reading material. But it was hopelessly outdated. That meant, if  a book was part of a series, I was highly unlikely to ever find any of the others, or more than a couple or so of the sequels / prequels. In fact, they were so behind, it took a recent Google search for me to realise that one of my favourite series I thought I’d read the entirety of as a teen actually had another book I hadn’t read because the library made no mention of it.

So I have a great appreciation for writers who tended to do stand-alones, like William Goldman or Stephen King, or writers like Ed McBain, whose 87th Precinct novels could be read out of order without feeling like you missed important stuff.

Still, I read a lot of series growing up, and I remember enjoying them all and actively wishing there were more books. I cannot tell you how depressing it was to get to the end of every Sherlock Holmes story ever written. It seems a lot of people agree with those sentiments because a recent poll I read said that most people (more than 50%) like reading series. And my debut novel is actually the first book in a series (I hope!), so I’m certainly not averse to them.

And yet…

I think writing a series now is a big risk. Readers probably are getting fatigued. Every YA novel is part of a series now, it seems, and even romances are getting in on the act. Slyvia Day or E.L. James anyone? I can see how someone would get fed up of having to wait years to get to the end. Am I right, Song of Fire and Ice fans?

So to try and address the things that concerned me about recent popular series, I decided to try and write one that, much like Ed McBain’s work, could be read as stand-alones. Each book would resolve the central plot question and action so that the reader can move on having read the beginning, middle and end of a story. Sure, I end it in such a way that you know more is coming and hopefully, you’ll want to check out what comes next, but it was important to me make sure you got the answers you tuned in for in this book.

Another big risk in writing a series is the whole ending thing. I mean, I may be wrong, but it seemed to me that when I was growing up, a series ended very satisfactorily for the most part. Now, I think most series hit their best book around the second novel, and sort of take a dip by the end. See Hunger Games or Divergent, or even the very beloved Harry Potter. They were all very popular, but I think a lot of fans could talk your ear off on how to improve the endings.

The reason the end of a series might not quite live up to the books that came before could be because when a book is popular now, millions can obsess about it 24/7 on multiple social media sites, and find millions more people to exchange theories with. With all that written down, creating hype and a huge excited din, can any writer really live up to the shared thoughts and expectations of millions of minds?

Or is this recent perceived failure due more to the fact that writers have less support in creating their books now. Gone are the editors who were willing to mold and shape a career and an author. Now, there are publishing houses just looking to turn as quick a profit as possible, or writers who started out on their own, and because they found success, are left to their own devices as an independent money-making machine and expected to be the arbiters of their own work entirely, whether they switch to traditional publishing or not.

I think a lot of writers could really benefit from some editorial guidance when they are starting out, and most publishing houses simply don’t do that any more. Independent authors sometimes shun that guidance, or they try to pay for it, in which case, they get the luck of the draw depending on what they can afford.

It’s a conundrum I wonder a lot about because I’m both a reader and a writer and the thing I would love to see most is quality books out there that end as spectacularly as they begin, no matter if they’re being published traditionally or not. Nothing would make me happier than to have people read my books, get to the end of the series, and say, ‘Wow, I never saw that coming. That was SO much better than I imagined it would be. I don’t want this story to end.’

I think most writers want to do this. But how do we get there in a world where criticism can go viral in a matter of hours, and everyone seems to be trying to take the same path to success, sometimes to the detriment of originality and freshness? I mean, how many love triangles in post-apocalyptic YA do we really need? Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with such a set-up, but in the last year I read Hunger Games and Fifth Wave and a bunch of books that feel like varying degrees of quality in a very similar storyline.

What do you think? Do you think there are too many common trends in multiple book stories? What are you tired off? What can’t you get enough of? As a reader, do you think it’s still worth it for writers to do multiple book series? Or are you ready to set a dragon on the whole bloody pile of them?

Wut confused reaction gifs

You Probably Haven’t Seen These Trailers

But you should have.

So I’m bringing them right to you.

First up, another book I haven’t read made into a movie that looks fairly interesting.  Dystopian? Post-apocalyptic? Both? Who cares, I’m in!

Next, we have something that looks like a mash up of Chronicle, The Goonies and ET. We may have seen this before. Yet–I find myself drawn to the kids and that cute as hell creature. Skip if you hate Spielberg, but me, I loved me some Goonies.

Those two were just to build up to this one. Seriously, this is YA the way I want to read and see it. I have heard of Maze Runner, but never read it. This trailer has convinced me to pony up my money at the cinema.

And now for one you weren’t expecting.

Yeah. I know. I’m SO watching that.

Whether or not I figure out what it’s about.

And finally, here’s one for the grown ups. Seriously. This is a red-band trailer. Boy is it ever.

But it’s James McAvoy losing his cool and way too much weird stuff to describe.

And after that, all I could do was:

Omg reaction gifs

Yes, Dorothy. We are not in Kansas anymore.

Go forth and stay thirsty my friends.