Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Set that HOOK!

Welcome to one of the stops on our Valentine's Blog Tour. Don't forget to leave a comment to enter the prize contest. One winner each week plus a grand prize winner. The more blogs you leave comments on the better your chances of winning. Prizes begin at $20 value, increasing each week to a grand prize of over $50. At the end of this post, I'll list the other stops on the tour so you'll have even MORE chances to win!

I'm so pleased to have author Jennifer Jakes as my guest.  We're kicking off our blog tour discussing that oh so important first line and how it's so significant.  Jennifer: what are YOUR thoughts?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I have ADHD. Or maybe it’s just the “give-it-to-me-now” world we live in. Whatever the reason, I have the attention span of a hummingbird jacked-up on Mtn. Dew. If something doesn’t grab my interest immediately, chances are I’m moving on to something that does. This applies to First Lines too.

Oh, no! An author might think – I know I do – how can I accomplish this in one line? Let’s be realistic. It’s not probable that every story ever written will hook the reader with the first line. But with a little luck and a lot of work, I think it’s possible to interest the reader after the first page. At least I hope.

I will spend hours, days, coming up with a first line, then the first page, trying to find the perfect combination of words to “set” the entire story. That’s how important I feel they are. First lines or pages should draw a reader into the world, into a problem or make us need to answer a question. What kind of question? I think that depends on the genre. If it’s Romantic Suspense, then it might be a life or death question; if it’s Category Romance, then it might be a more common problem but with devastating effects on the heroine’s world. And if it’s erotica, then it might be a sexual question, one that the heroine must explore with a hero. Or two . :-)

Think of first lines like a first meeting, a first date. You’re looking for a promise of something great. So for now I’m going to leave you with a few first lines that I think are great.

“I should warn you about my cousin.” From ROMEO by Gail Faulkner

“Oh, my God, what have I done?” From BOUNTY HUNTER’S BRIDE by Carol Finch

“Unhand her this instant!” From A REPUTABLE RAKE by Diane Gaston

“Father must protect me or I am dead.” From HER ONE DESIRE by Kimberly Killion

“I’m going to have to shorten his willie.” From DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS by Emily Bryan

Love that last one! What reader doesn’t want to know why the hero’s “willie” has to shortened? Please share some of your favorite lines with us! If you do, you’ll be entered into a drawing for some great gifts!

Thanks so much for having me here today, Maeve!

About Jennifer:

After trying several careers—everything from a beautician to a dump truck driver—Jennifer finally returned to her first love, writing. Maybe it was all those Clint Eastwood movies she watched growing up, but in her opinion there is no better read than a steamy western historical.

Married to her very own hero, she lives on fifteen acres along with two beautiful daughters, two elderly horses, two spoiled cats and two hyper dogs.

During the summer she does Civil War re-enacting and has found it a great research tool, not to mention she has continued appreciation for her microwave and hot water heater.

You can also find Jennifer at these places:
FB: Jennifer Jakes
Twitter: @erotichistory

And check out her upcoming release RAFE'S REDEMPTION - available from The Wild Rose Press on February 25th.

He rode into town to buy supplies, not a woman.

For hunted recluse Rafe McBride, the raven-haired beauty on the auction block is exactly what he doesn't need. A dependant woman will be another clue his vengeful stepbrother can use to find and kill him. But Rafe's conscience won't let him leave another innocent's virginity to the riff-raff bidding. He buys her, promising to return her to St. Louis untouched. He only prays the impending blizzard holds off before her sultry beauty breaks his willpower.

She wanted freedom, not a lover.

Whisked to the auction block by her devious, gambling cousin, and then sold into the arms of a gorgeous stranger, outspoken artist Maggie Monroe isn't about to go meekly. Especially when the rugged mountain man looks like sin and danger rolled into one. But a blizzard and temptation thrust them together, and Maggie yearns to explore her smoldering passion for Rafe.

But when the snow clears, will the danger and secrets that surround Rafe and Maggie tear them apart?


Maggie wanted freedom, not a lover…Oh, Lord. He was going to kiss her. She shouldn’t want this. She was confused enough. Respectable women didn’t kiss men they barely knew, certainly not men who made them have wild, exotic dreams.

It was crazy. He was making her want crazy things. Making her not give a damn about her reputation or her virginity. Or her long-awaited freedom. All she could think about was that dream, and the way his sinful mouth had felt. The table was only a step away, and honey was just as sweet as peach juice…

She swallowed hard and looked up into his hooded eyes.

“Maggie,” he groaned. “Don’t be scared. I’d never hurt you.”

Her mouth parted to object, but firm lips covered hers, hungry, demanding. She gasped, shocked at his hunger, but even more at the illicit response coursing through her. An aching heat unfurled low in her stomach, pulsed between her legs. Oh, yes. It started just like in the dream.

He deepened the kiss, coaxed her lips with his warm tongue. Long, languid strokes teased the inside of her mouth, encouraging, tempting before he pulled back to nibble the corners of her lips.

Oh, God. Is this what all kisses felt like? Hot, lethargic? Melting her like molasses over warm bread?

“Kiss me, Maggie,” he breathed.

Whew! Wasn't THAT an awesome excerpt? Thanks for sharing it with us, Jennifer. Okay, folks. Here's those other links I promised so you can leave comments and increase your chances of winning those lovely prizes:

Meet contemporary YA an adult romance author Linda Kage at
Meet contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance author Caroline Clemmons at
Meet historical and paranormal romance writer Lilly Gayle at
Meet Amie Louellen, author of fun and whimsical contemporary romance at
Meet author AJ Nuest at
Meet author Lynne Roberts at
Meet paranormal romance author Maeve Greyson at
Meet author Amy Corwin at
Meet contemporary and paranormal romance author Jill James at
Meet romantic suspense author Kat Duncan at


  1. Wow, what a great excerpt!! Rafe's Redemption sounds like a FABULOUS book!! I will definitely be checking it out!!

    Wishing you much success!!

    Andrea :O)

    One of my favorite lines- from MARKED by P.C & Kristin Kast.

    "Just when I didn't think my day could get any worse I saw the dead guy standing next to my locker!"

  2. Great post & excerpt! Can't wait to read more.

  3. Rafe's Redemption sounds awesome. I love the first line examples you gave as well. The last one made me LOL.

    Good luck with the blog tour everyone!

    GeishasMom73 on twitter

  4. Love that opening line! Congrats on the release of "Rake's Redemption!"

  5. Great post!!!

    Like you, I can spend weeks on that first line. I always start in the wrong place, but at some point during writing, that first line jumps off the page and screams, "This one!"

    Good luck with the launch even though you don't need it. Rafe is too sinful and delicious to miss!!


  6. Love the first line of the blurb too! Congrats.
    Joy Held
    Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Creativity
    Who Dares Wins Publishing

  7. Thanks everyone!
    Chicks - Loved the example of the first line!!
    Gale - Glad you liked the excerpt;)
    GeishaMom - I agree.It is so funny I laugh every time I read it!
    Tracy - Thank you!! It's been a wild and fun ride!
    Kim - Can't thank you enough for all your support;)
    WriterW - Thanks so much and thanks for stopping by!

    Stay warm! I'll drop by later to see what's up!

  8. Must read! Already added release date to my calendar. Yummy.

  9. I suppsoe my all time favorite first line is from A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." And now we're told that some editors would immediately discard any author whose sentences start with "it was." The times they are a changing.

  10. Loved the first line of the excerpt!

  11. Jessa Slade's SEDUCED BY SHADOWS opens with...
    "The end is nigh."
    Ferris Archer braced his shoulders against the Chicago wind that whipped straight up to whistle around the balcony railing with savage glee. "Never nigh enough."
    I walked around for weeks afterwards with the phrase "the end is nigh" rattling around in the back of my brain. Now that's story resonance.
    Loved your blurb's opening line, Jenn, and I can't wait to get my hands on Rafe's Redemption come February 25th! Not long now!!

  12. Jennifer,

    I loved your comparison of the first line to the first date or first kiss. We all know how important those are. Good luck with your book. Can't wait to read it.


  13. I so hope that someday a first line will jump out at me... right now, not so much...

    Great post Jen... Looking forward to reading Rafe!


  14. First I must say this cover is perfectly beautiful! Makes me want to snuggle in for a hot read. And I'm glad to see another western hit the shelves. What inspired you to write in this era?

  15. Clancy ~ Hi! And YAY! Glad you like RAFE'S excerpt.
    Caroline ~ Yes, when I was writing this post I thought of Tale of Two Cities and Moby Dick......the classics that would probably get a big rejection now.
    Emma ~ Thank you!
    Jacqui ~ Yes, great example of opening line! And thanks.:)
    Lisa ~ Thanks;) I think I'm as nervous writing first lines as I used to be on first dates. lol
    Anon~ Thanks so much. That line WILL jump out at you. Keep the faith!
    Marci ~ Thanks! I think they did a great job on the cover. It's just as I had it pictured in my mind. So big thanks to cover artist Angela Anderson!!
    As for the era, I'm just totally obsessed with all things western -- anything from 1850 to 1900. I'm even a Civil War re-enactor just so I can "live" it a little;)
    Thanks everyone! Back in a bit.........

  16. First of all, with a cover like that, it'll take me awhile to get to the first line;> Then, of course, I'll be awake all night, reading the hot story. Rafe sounds sexy as heck. Can't wait for the release date!!!

    I know what you mean about working forever to get that opening line or first few pages just right. Until I feel good about my beginning I just can't get into really writing the story.

    Best of luck on your debut. First of many!!!

    As for first lines, there are several I like--your blurb's first line, Emily Bryan's which you quoted, and the first line of Sharon Kay Penman's medieval mystery, Cruel as the Grave. "They were intimate enemies, bound by blood." I really like the alliteration of this--and the intimate enemies idea. It's not a romance--it refers to Eleanor of Aquitaine and her youngest son, John, who would one day sign the Magna Carta.

  17. How have I not seen that awesome cover! Wow! You nailed this post, Jennifer! I love your excerpt and blurb too! : )

  18. Glad I didn't have a soda on hand for the 'willie' line. LOL So funny.

  19. Barb ~ Thanks so much. And that's a very intriguing first line. I'd have to keep reading:)
    Lynne ~ I'm glad you love the cover! Have to say that snow scene resembles my yard right now. Minus the hot guy/beautiful girl clinch of course;)
    Jill ~ *snort* I know. Funny, huh?

    Stay warm everyone! Back in bit.........

  20. Great post, Jennifer. Love the hummingbird/Mountain Dew line. YOu have got to use that as a first line in a book. So funny!

  21. Jennifer,

    Great first lines! I can't wait to read Rafe's Redemption. One of my favorite lines is from Kresley Cole's WICKED DEEDS ON A WINTER'S NIGHT. Just be forewarned, it's a paranormal.

    "It wants to mark my flesh . . ."

  22. Hi again!! :)
    Lilly - Thanks! Wish I could, but I write historical. Hmmmm. Maybe a hummingbird jacked-up on moonshine. LOL
    Sherry - Thanks! And that is a great first line. It sets up those all-important questions in my mind and I'd have to keep reading.

    Off to cook supper. Chili for a cold, winter night. Back in a bit.............

  23. I LOVE the Rafe's Redemption cover. Wow. As far as first lines the one about the willie is great. LOL I have a WIP I'm working on that I just want to start with "The bastard." LOL

  24. Thanks so much, Brenda! I thought the artist did a fantastic job of capturing what I envisioned.
    Love "The bastard" for an opening! You should definitely go with it:)

    Off to bed, but I'll check back tomorrow!
    Night all -- stay warm!

  25. Love everything about your book, from the cover to the title to the subject matter. Just ordered my copy from TWRP...can't wait to get it in to read it. I have spent weeks agonizing over the opening lines of my manuscripts. I know that first page has to jump out at me or I won't put the book in the basket.

    I'm wishing you fabulous success!

  26. Yea, Jen, so happy to "see" you on tour. You're on your way, girl! I, too, love your first line and LOVE your book cover. TWRP artists are good!

    Congrats. I'm so happy for you. (I see I need to work harder on my opening lines.)

  27. Jenn, I'm about to pre-order Rafe's book and I cannot wait to read it! I'm absolutely ecstatic for you!

    Its funny how you were talking about opening lines, when I just came up for a new one for one of my WIP's. Will have to share it with you later!

    Trish aka wackycajun

  28. Hi, ladies!
    So glad you stopped by :)
    Lori - Thanks! And YAY! So glad you're excited about RAFE. He's a hottie that's for sure.;)
    Beth - Thanks for all your support :) Yes, the cover artist did a great job! I was VERY pleased;)
    Trish - Yes, send me your new opening line! And thanks! Having all of you guys support means more to me than you know.