Thursday, August 14, 2008

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night . . .

Since we're talking about catchy first lines and opening hooks that grab the reader and don’t let go, I thought I’d take a look at the great beginnings of past and present RITA paranormal romances to see how the winners did it:

Thirteen Great Beginnings from RITA Winning Paranormal Romances
  1. “What if I told you I had a fantasy?”
    Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward, RITA 2008

  2. Sometimes the fire that licks the skin from his bones dies down.
    A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole, RITA 2007

  3. Only fools boast they have no fears. I thought of that as I pulled the blade of my dagger from the Takan guard’s throat, my hand shaking, my heart pounding in my ears, my skin cold from more than just the chill in the air. Light from the setting sun filtered through the tall trees around me. It flickered briefly on the dark gold blood that bubbled from the wound, staining the Taka’s coarse fur. I felt a sliminess between my fingers and saw that same ochre stain on my skin.
    Gabriel’s Ghost by Linnea Sinclair, RITA 2006

  4. The summer I discovered the world was not black-and-white -- the way I liked it -- but a host of annoying shade of gray was the summer a lot more changed than my vision.
    Blue Moon by Lori Handeland, RITA 2005

  5. Lucien Thorpe walked quickly up the walkway toward the address to which he’d been summoned, the bag containing a change of clothes grasped in his right hand, the heavier case containing his equipment in the left. He took in the house before him, a clean and charming two-story cottage gleaming in the moonlight, a downstairs window glowing with welcoming light, the door painted a cheery red. Bright autumn leaves, red and orange, had drifted across the walkway and danced out of his way as he strode purposefully forward. The home before him didn’t look at all like a haunted house -- but then they rarely did.
    Shades of Midnight by Linda Fallon, RITA 2004

  6. The thunderstorm appeared in front of the Boeing 747 without warning. At 33,000 feet, in a calm, clear night over the Pacific Ocean three hours out of Honolulu International Airport, it should not have been there.
    Contact by Susan Grant, RITA 2003

  7. Today you will meet your HeartMate. Rand T’Ash’s blood thrummed in his temples as he stared at the divination dice that he’d just rolled.
    Heart Mate by Robin D. Owens, RITA 2002

  8. Adam Black materialized in the Greathall.
    The Highlander’s Touch by Karen Marie Moning, RITA 2001

  9. In Jillian’s mind, Francis Maguire would forever be associated with the pungent, woolly smell of wet dog.
    Nell by Jeanette Baker, RITA 2000

  10. Few men dared enter the old part of the Castle Leger. The light of a thousand candles would not have been enough to dispel the darkness of the great medieval hall with its lurking shadows and ancient secrets that had gathered for centuries, thick as dust on the rough, uneven floor.
    The Bride Finder by Susan Carroll, RITA 1999

  11. She’d never wanted to kill before.
    Fire Hawk by Justine Dare, RITA 1998

  12. “Damn you, man!” Kendrick of Artane exclaimed. “Have you no idea who I am?”
    Stardust of Yesterday by Lynn Kurland, RITA 1997

  13. Sam Hooker went east from the Choctaw Nation into Arkansas an hour after sunrise. Only his knowledge of the scrub oak, rocky hills, and still-trickling creeks marked the boundary. If he had been on an official mission, that knowledge would have forced him to stop. Members of the Choctaw Lighthorse had no authority outside the Nation.But this was not an official mission. This was a vendetta.
    The Covenant by Modean Moon, RITA 1996

If you’re interested in more great beginnings from romance novels, check out “First Lines from Romance Novels” at

If you want to go beyond the romance genre, here’s the “100 Best First Lines From Novels” as decided by the American Book Review My personal fave and one immortalized by dear old Snoopy, is #22. The title of this Thursday Thirteen probably gives it away. *G*

Lori D.


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  1. Oh, cool, I've read over have of these :). Makes me feel genre-literate.

    Jody W.

  2. I love to read so of course I'll have to check out some of these books. A good opening will make you want the book.

  3. In Jillian’s mind, Francis Maguire would forever be associated with the pungent, woolly smell of wet dog.

    By far my fave... *G*

  4. Happy TT and way kewl idea...since I love to read and have a few favorite first lines I'm going to borrow this for a future TT.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and now that I've met you I hope to stop by yours more often.

  5. Of course I have no idea, lol ! I think we have other books here and they are all in french !

  6. This was awesome, I really think that the first line if it can catch the reader is the best thing a writer can do.
    Hope you'll drop by for my TTs
    The Cafe at the END of the Universe
    Mama Bear Reads

  7. Great list...A great opening line will hook the reader every time.

  8. Thanks. The ending line of HeartMate is one of my favorites, too....