Thursday, May 21, 2015

Another (Techno) Thrilling First Line

I'm onto a Clancy (sanctioned) techno-thriller. This time Threat Vector. It's a typical and expected beginning to a typical and expected Clancy novel.

The five Americans had been lying low in the decrepit hotel room for hours, waiting for nightfall. 

Sheets of warm rain rapped on the window, generating the majority of the sound in the dim room, as there was little talk among the men. This room had served as the base of operations for the team, though four of the five had stayed at other hotels throughout the city during their weeklong stay. Now that preparations were complete, those four had checked out of their quarters and consolidated their gear and themselves here with the fifth man in their group. 

Though they all were still as stones now, they had been a blur of activity over the past week. They had surveilled targets; developed op plans; established covers; memorized their primary, secondary, and tertiary exfiltration routes; and coordinated the logistics of the mission to come. 

But preparations were now complete, and there was nothing left to do but sit and wait for darkness.

Clancy, Tom; Greaney, Mark - Threat Vector

What I can never be sure of is, which first line to take? The prologue first line:

These were grim days for former operatives of the Jamahiriya Security Organization, the dreaded national intelligence service of Libya under Moammar Gaddafi. Those members of the JSO who had managed to survive the revolution in their home nation were now scattered and in hiding, fearing the day when their cruel and brutal past would catch up with them in a cruel and brutal way.

Or the first line from chapter 1. I chose chapter 1 if only cause the prologue one was so damn boring. I guess Greaney and Clancy split the difference. One on the "good first lines" list (here) and the other on the "bad first lines" list (here).

Monday, May 4, 2015

Joe's First Line is Great

I love cataloging first lines (see here and here) and I'm really looking forward to this next book, have been for some time now (see here and here), so I'm glad that The Forever War starts with such an intriguing first line:

‘Tonight we’re going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man.’ The guy who said that was a sergeant who didn’t look five years older than me. So if he’d ever killed a man in combat, silently or otherwise, he’d done it as an infant. 

I already knew eighty ways to kill people, but most of them were pretty noisy. I sat up straight in my chair and assumed a look of polite attention and fell asleep with my eyes open. So did most everybody else. We’d learned that they never scheduled anything important for these after-chop classes.

Haldeman, Joe - The Forever War

This reminds me of a shirt I almost bought. It said "I may look calm, but in my head I've killed you three times" (see here). When I told my wife about it she yelled that it was perfect for me. Whether due to my time in the military or thanks to my liking to write murder mysteries, I'm always thinking about how to kill people.

I'm glad to see that the character in my next book seems to think the same way.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Guest Post: Aimee Conner

My wonderful friend and accomplished author Aimee Conner has been mentioned on this blog several times (see here), wrote a fantastic psychological thriller, Scrapbook, that you can purchase here. Today's she has provided a post on the live of a writer. 

The first vivid memory I have of being a writer is of me, age 12, burying my first novel at the foot of an old Juniper tree that stood on the northwest corner of the 160 acres I grew up on. It was a defining moment because I knew then that nothing could stop me from being who I was born to be: not my abusive parents, my inherent loneliness or the fact I was growing up secluded on the wastelands of Central Oregon. Writing was my escape and salvation, my little secret that I guarded closely. There was the occasional poem I would share with the family to appease their curiosity. The novel, a slew of dark poems and my journals are lost forever. Under constant scrutiny and monitoring at the hands of my parents, I found ways to express myself on paper then destroy it before it could be discovered. I would burn some of my writings in the wood stove but my novel was too thick to dispose of quickly. That’s why I buried it during a nature walk, one of the few activities I was permitted to do alone.

Later on in life as I started defining myself as a writer, my identity went through the growing pains of bad and good advice, some of which came from best-selling authors. I threw myself into the machine, never shying from lengthy discussions with agents and publishers. I sustained the social discouragement of comments from ignorant people. A date’s quip during dinner tops the list of my favorites, “So what are you going to do after being a writer?”

Going through the writer’s fire I’ve learned one truth that keeps me focused and confident. In this short piece I have shared with you intimate details of where I’ve come from, who I am and a taste of my personality. It takes a certain amount of vulnerability to put it all out there but it’s worth it. Fiction or non-fiction, every writer has an opportunity to share their experiences and perspective and that is what connects you to your reader.That is the magic of writing for me. That is my truth, my rule, my strength in this craft. Now a published novelist and travel columnist, I’ve had the great honor of speaking with people from all over the world who have been impacted on a very personal level by my work. It is the greatest high in life for me to know someone read the words I wrote and felt something because of it.

A saying I once heard goes something like “There is no such thing as a former writer.” Fellow wordsmiths, we were born this way and we are here to stay.

Aimee draws upon her own experiences as well as stories she's heard along the way. She uses organic themes and relatable, flawed characters. She strives to provide a voice for victims of abuse and increase awareness. Her debut thriller 'Scrapbook' follows the life of Hannah Dormer, a young woman living in quiet desperation until a family of serial killers opens her eyes to her Shadow Self.
To discover Ms. Conner's lighter side as a travel columnist, visit to catch her latest ramblings from Walla Walla Washington. 

10% of 'Scrapbook' digital sales are donated toward helping victims of abuse and violence.