From MURDER WITH GANACHE, coming February 2014:
"This is the Key West police. Come out with your hands up," shouted a fierce voice, its volume magnified by a megaphone. "Trained police dog here. Put down your weapon and come out or we let him run."
The man in the room with us fired his gun through the door and both Daisy and I screamed. I pressed her to the ground, my body shielding hers, my ears ringing painfully in the silence after the blast.
"Back off or I kill them both," our man yelled.
(Me Lucy again--can you tell I'm using what I learned in my Citizens Police Academy?)
HALLIE EPHRON: Wow! Love it, Lucy. (But what are they having for dessert??)
So here's the opening of my novel, working title NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT, coming out some time after I finish writing it...
Arthur Unger slides open the glass door and steps out onto his flagstone patio. He's had a few drinks but he doesn't feel them. It's late at night, and though the sky is clear and there's no moon, there are no stars, either. There never are. Between ambient light and air pollution, he'd have to drive to Mount Baldy to see Orion's Belt. The sky is . . . he gazes up at it. Opaque? Pitch black? Inky? He shrugs. His ex-wife wrote their scene descriptions. He was always the plotmeister, architect to her decorator, though at that moment he thinks it's obvious what's going to happen next.
RHYS BOWEN: I have just started a new Royal Spyness book (Queen of Hearts) this week so anything I share here is subject to being ripped apart and substituted but here is my current opening paragraph.
I was sitting in white wicker chair under a spreading chestnut tree on a manicured lawn. Behind me the stately battlements of Kingsdowne Place, seat of the Dukes of Eynsford were reflected in the perfect mirror of the lake, its surface ruffled only by a pair of gliding swans. Before me was a tea table, groaning under tiers of cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches, strawberries and cream, eclairs, Victoria sponges, petit fours and scones with clotted cream. It was about the most perfect afternoon one could wish for, one of those rare English summer days when the only sounds are the buzzing of bees among the roses, the clickety clack of a distant lawnmower and the thwack of ball on bat at the cricket match down in the village.
LUCY BURDETTE: Oh, I love these! Hallie, you don't usually write in first person, do you? And Rhys, can we all come for tea? I'm sure that beautiful scene is going to be blasted to smithereens soon though...(and PS Hallie, they are having chocolate ganache for dessert in my book, of course...)
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, THE WRONG GIRL comes out in September, and I am so excited! But I am in the midst of what MIGHT be titled TRUTH BE TOLD. And this opening is EARLIER than a first draft. It's just--MAYBE what it might be.
(And it is incredibly fascinating to see how different we all are!)
“I know it’s legal. But it’s terrible.” Jane Ryland winced as the Sandoval’s pale wooden bedframe hit the tall grass in the overgrown front yard and shattered into three jagged pieces. “The cops throwing someone’s stuff out the window. I mean, please. It’s right out of Dickens, you know? Eviction? There’s got to be a better way.”
Terrible facts and great pictures. A perfect newspaper story. She turned to Casey. “You got that on camera, right?”
Casey didn’t take his eye from the viewfinder. “Rolling and recording,” he said.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: You gals are much braver than I am. I would never dream of showing any early versions to anyone.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Here's part of a scene from To Dwell in Darkness, due out sometime in 2014. This is in my "Unplaced Scenes" in Scrivener, so not sure yet where it will go, or even if it will stay in the book, but I like it.
--Wren. The girl from nowhere. Too thin, although they didn’t suffer lack in the flat in the Caledonian Road. With her wispy brown hair that never stayed in place and eyes the color of dark honey, she did make him think of a small brown bird. Her movements were quick, too, and often eerily quiet. When he’d asked her, early on, if that was her real name, she’d just smiled and said, “I was given it,” leaving him to wonder what she meant.
She never talked about herself. Not that everyone in the Caledonian Road gave out a potted history—and even if they did it didn’t mean it was true—but Wren said less than anyone. But they shed clues just as they shed skin and hair, unconsciously. A word here, a word there, a reference to a mother or a father or a sister or something that had happened at school. But not Wren.
He started to watch her, first with a copper’s curiosity, because she was a challenge, a puzzle to be solved. She was a Londoner, he was sure of that from her accent. Middle-class. But then they were mostly a middle-class bunch, living in pseudo-squalor, and he thought that any of them could have gone home to beds more comfortable than sleeping bags on the flat’s old board floors. Except Wren.
And then he began to watch not just out of idle curiosity, but because he realized he liked her. They all had motives, this bunch, they always did. Rebellion, idealism, a need to be different, a need to be noticed. But Wren, Wren simply was, and he thought he’d never known anyone with such a talent for living in the moment.--
Rhys (Debs here again,) I want to live in the opening scene from your Georgie book:-)
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Well, I have just barely begun working on the 9th Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne book. I've been spending lots of time researching popular culture and policing as they were in 1952 and 1970, and trying to figure out the crime - always the hardest part for me! I usually start with an image and work out from there. The picture in my head for this one (tentatively titled HID FROM OUR EYES) is the body of a young woman left naked in the middle of a country road in the small hours of the night. How she got there and why, I have no idea. Yet. The (also tentative) beginning:
It always starts with a birth. And a death. The old man held the paper in his hand and weighed the two ideas in his head. Birth. Death. He had known some hippy chick back in the day who’d been into Indian religions. She had told him the goddess Kali was the goddess of both birth and death, because every life brought into the world carried its own ending. What she didn’t say – and hell, maybe the Indians had already figured this out and she just didn’t know it – was that every death was also, potentially, a birth. A new life for somebody. Freedom, money, the end of guilt and shame – there was a lot of stuff came through the back door when the body was carried out the front.
He folded the paper and stood up slowly. He had arrangements to make. It was time to go home.