A big southern welcome to New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown! I had the very good pleasure of sitting next to Carolyn at Sourcebooks’ author dinner at the RWA conference. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. She’s great fun and a super gal. She’s also extremely generous. Carolyn’s giving away a copy of her newest release RED’S HOT COWBOY to two commenters!
So help me give a great big holler out to Carolyn!
Good morning everyone at RU and thank you for inviting me to stop by today. I’m delighted to be here. In two days the second book in my Spikes & Spurs series, Red’s Hot Cowboy, will hit the bookshelves and I’m so excited about it. It’s the second book in the new Spikes & Spurs series that is now up to seven books and hopefully still growing since there are more cowboys whispering in my ear and telling me I have to write their stories.
It was featured at the Book Expo of America and David Finkle, drama critic, mentioned it in his article about the affair. He said that he “accepted a copy of Red’s Hot Cowboy because the first line is ‘The lights went out in Henrietta, Texas,’ and who knows what illicit or otherwise can happen then?”
When I read that I felt like I had arrived!
Many years ago I was in a bookstore and looked at all the covers on the shelves, like all readers do. Covers grab the eye first and foremost. Speaking of which, don’t you just love those red boots on the cover of Red’s Hot Cowboy?
Back to the bookstore…there was a Nora Robert’s book entitled Montana Sky that I hadn’t read so I slid it off the shelf, checked the back for the blurbs and it sounded like a pretty good book.
So I did what all readers do, I opened the book and read the first line: Being dead didn’t make Jack Mercy less of a son-of-a-bitch.
I was hooked!
And right there in that bookstore, I realized the importance of that first line which draws a reader into the book. I had to buy Nora’s book even if I didn’t have potatoes with my beans that week. I had to know why Jack was a son-of-a-bitch and if I agreed with Nora on the issue or if I was going to have to write her a long detailed letter on why he got such a bad rap. By the time I finished the book, I thought she could’ve added a word because he wasn’t just a son-of-a-bitch he was a SORRY son-of-a-bitch!
So when Mr. Finkle made that comment about the first line in Red’s Hot Cowboy, I could have danced a jig in a pig trough on the Oprah show. He might not agree with a word in Red’s Hot Cowboy but he liked my first line. I swoon even yet, just thinking about it!
The first book in the Spikes & Spurs series is Love Drunk Cowboy (which was on the NYT Bestseller list in ebooks and on the USA Today in paper and yes I’m bragging!).
I had the entire first chapter written before the first line came to me like a lightning bolt out of a clear sky: The Lanier gut was never wrong. And it wasn’t! Austin Lanier could feel it in her bones that something wasn’t right while she was sifting her grandmother’s ashes out over the Red River. Little did she know that her whole life was about to change.
The third book coming out in December, Darn Good Cowboy Christmas starts off with: It was just a white frame house at the end of a long lane. But it did not have wheels. Okay, that’s two sentences but hopefully the reader won’t shut the book before she realizes that second line supports the first one. All Liz Hanson ever asked for at Christmas was a house with no wheels, and later when she was old enough to date, she added a sexy cowboy to the list.
Let’s say you’ve never been interested in cowboy romance, but you were drawn to those sexy hunky men on the cover of my books, or maybe the red boots and you picked it up for a closer look. Would you read one on the basis of the opening line?
And now for another question: Would you read a mainstream book that started out with? Aunt Mabel should have never put Snookie on the prayer list down at the Pentecostal Church in Durant, Oklahoma.
Nora of course still wears the crown for the best first line with the comment about the deceased Jack Mercy. But others come to mind as I think about first lines today.
See if you recognize any of them:
- In the dark green shadows of the deep woods, an hour before moonrise, they met in secret.
- A chicken will never break your heart.
- If it had not been for my fiancée’s alcoholic cousin Mookie I feel quite sure that my daddy would still be a member in good standing at the Oconee Hills Country Club.
- It wasn’t by chance. There wasn’t any part of it that just happened by chance.
- “Watch out!”
Does that make you want to add five books to your TBR list? What is your very favorite first line in a book that you’ve read? I’ll be around all day and I’m really interested in your comments so come on in, get a cup of virtual coffee and some of those cute little cupcakes and let’s visit.
Don’t forget–leave a comment for a chance to win Carolyn’s newest release RED’S HOT COWBOY (U.S. and Canada only, please).
Stop back on Monday for C.J. Redwine’s monthly column on craft!
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New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Carolyn Brown, has published more than fifty books. She has written single title historical, historical series, single title contemporary and contemporary series all for the library market and now writes best selling western romance with sexy cowboys and sassy heroines. She and her husband make their home in southern Oklahoma. They have three children and too many grandchildren to list! She attributes her eclectic family for her ideas. Check out her website at www.carolynlbrown.com for reviews, new books or what’s happening next, or drop her an email at ccbrown66 @ att.net. She loves to hear from readers.
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