The First Lines Meme

The First Lines Meme. And these are only the ones I still hold out any hope for!

key: First line (Title–genre: pen name/Published?, TextNovel? Kindle?)


Novels of every stripe (remember Stripe toothpaste? Yum! Full of cyclamates!)

Jacquidon Carroll could’ve killed her boss. (Nice Work, If You Can Get It–the first Jacquidon Carroll Mystery: Denise)

My life is filled with little rituals. (Little Rituals–literary/paranormal/chick lit/women’s fiction: Denise/TN & Kindle)

All the Underwoods have guardian angels. (In the Pundit’s Corner–screwball comedy/romantic suspense: Denise/TN)

On the morning of her thirtieth birthday, Miranda Callahan came awake with the certain knowledge that her best friend was casting a spell on her. (Miranda’s Rights–urban fantasy/comedy: Shalanna)

By the time Camille MacTavish stepped off the bus in Texas, she was beginning to regret stealing the dragon. (Camille’s Travels–dark YA urban fantasy/magical realism: Shalanna/TN & Kindle)

Paige Campbell was closing up shop when the phone rang. (Song from the Heart–romantic suspense with ghosts/paranormal elements and techie subplot: Shalanna/TN)

My sister June and I are lounging in the treehouse when I spy the black-and-white police car prowling down our street. (April, Maybe June–YA urban fantasy/adventure with a tinge of magical realism: Denise/NaNo site)

“Watch out! You’re splattering. Look at those streaks.” (Murder by the Marfa Lights–an Ariadne French traditional mystery with paranormal elements: Denise/Kindle)

My ex’s reedy tenor blared from my answering machine. “Ariadne, pick up. I know you’re awake.” (Ariadne’s Web–the first Ariadne French trad mystery: Denise)

The blade was sharp. (Unbroken–psychological horror/romantic suspense: Shalanna/TN)

Rhiannon jiggled the key in her lock, then snatched her mail out of the box, certain that what she needed must have arrived today. (The Eve of True Forms–fantasy: Shalanna/TN)

I was scraping orange logan-bark crystals off the coated sides of one of my alchemist’s bowls–a delicate operation any time, let alone in the heat of the harvest-time afternoon–when I heard my Daddoo calling. (Dulcinea: or WIZARDRY A-FLUTE–YA fantasy: Shalanna/P)

The grid lit up the sky as though there were no stars. (Lasernight–SF/time travel fantasy: Shalanna)

Some women pray every night that God will send them a child. (Starla’s Version–literary/Southern gothic: Denise)

“You kids quit that running. Are those my SuperSoakers?” (HAD TO GET HITCHED: Trouble at the Bar-None Ranch–Screwball Comedy/Romantic Comedy: Shalanna)

and the still-in-flux opening to the new Jacquidon mystery:

Jacquidon Carroll was fairly sure that the Seventh Annual National Tree-Trimming Competition was limited to decorated Christmas trees, and felt even more certain that the judges wouldn’t accept a dead body as an entry.

Short fiction

The demon Asperioth felt himself being conjured just as he was finishing up a complex three-day working. (Prom Night–fantasy/magic written for anthology of same name and ending up in two anthologies: Shalanna/P)

WELCOME TO THE ALPHANU SPACEPORT BROTHEL Please Take A Number (Welcome to the Spaceport Brothel–retro humorous SF spoof: Shalanna)

So, like, everyone has this story totally wrong, and I want to set the record straight. (THE TRUTH ABOUT HANSEL AND GRETEL: A Fable Retold–fractured fairy tale: Shalanna)

Jeep Weatherford burst out of the trailer, clattering down the rickety wooden steps from the deck his stepfather had labored so unceasingly to build three years ago. (JEEP, BUDDY, AND PIERCE–literary short: Denise/P)

The two young missionaries pedaled side-by-side down the road in the gathering twilight, cutting through the tree-lined hillsides of the Blue Ridge mountains in West Virginia. (HOME CHURCH–literary short: Denise/P)

My brother and I are begging Mom to let us wait in the car. (Clownshoes–literary short: Shalanna)

“Make haste, prithee.” The fairy Pyx hovered in the air over her companion, her wings buzzing like those of a huge dragonfly. (THE SPLATTERFAIRIES’ HALLOWE’EN: or A MAUL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS–fantasy: Shalanna/P)

The festival float was intended, according to Jalial, to look like a beehive. (A WILL OF ITS OWN–fantasy: Shalanna/P, maybe, if the anthology ever comes into being)

The first three cartoons were progressively more disturbing, but it was the fourth that shattered Deb Stollen’s serenity. (CARTOON LOGIC–woman-in-jeopardy mystery: Shalanna)

“Can you believe all these typos?” Jenny Davenport threw the current issue of the Sproul Investments Monthly back into her IN box and slurped her cold coffee. (The Sleeping News–mystery: Denise)

“For God’s sake, Dete”–Uncle Deke stirred his coffee with his knobby forefinger–“if the child wants to grow her hair, let her. What’s it to you?” (SOMETHING FOR THE GIRL–literary short: Denise)

“I feel lucky today. (8 7 10 16 22 41.)” (HER LUCKY DAY–literary short: Denise)

My mother always opens food and eats it while she’s still pushing our grocery basket around the Piggly-Wiggly. (SHOPPING THE PIGGLY-WIGGLY–literary short: Denise)

I never have known why I was chosen to see the angel. (RAPTUROUS–literary short: Denise)

Clancey Taylor had just finished dumping out the dresser drawers of the efficiency apartment, searching for jewelry or cash or anything pawnable, when he heard her quavery voice. (REVERSALS–literary short: Denise)

The relocation camp was turning out not to be as bad as I’d expected. (TREE OF KNOWLEDGE–literary short: Denise)

Once upon a time a very fat young princess with bad breath sat on the broad stone steps of a castle, between two majestic turrets, playing with matches. She was not very smart, but that, she knew, wasn’t her fault. She was under a spell–Hecate’s personal and private spell. And, as anyone knows, Hecate’s spells are the most powerful of all. (DRAGON BREATH–fractured fairy tale/fantasy: Shalanna)

They say this is a safe haven for healing, a sanctuary just like home. If you live at 13 Chernobyl Place. Radiation Therapy 3 is where they do all the “head cases.” It is to be “my” machine. (THE ZAP PALACE–short essay/memoir: Denise/P)

# # #

I cheated by including more than one line in a couple of those, but that’s because it hardly made sense without a bit of context. That’s a lotta words I typed, too. Man! Somewhere in all that mess, you’d think there’d be something that would interest at least ONE other critter to read it. Woof!!

See anything ya like?


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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