A few weeks ago the BVC authors got together and started talking about their favorite first lines. You know what I’m talking about. Things like “Call me Ishmael,” “I am Born,” or “It was a dark and stormy night.”
We had so much fun, we thought maybe a blog post was in order. But then we decided instead of putting together yet another tired list that probably exists somewhere else on the Internet in much better order and with a nicer presentation, how about if BVC members listed first lines from their own books?
We liked the idea and so we posted it below. Enjoy! I’m sure you’ll find a new favorite.
My name is Ana, and I’m a doormat.
–Evil Genius, by Patricia Rice (available at Book View Café)
It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a Fallen Woman of Good Family must, soon or late, descend to whoredom.
– Point of Honour, Madeleine Robins
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a chap in possession of a suffragette fiance is in need of a pair of bolt cutters. “Which railing is she chained to now, Reeves?”
–Eye of Newt and Red Hot Poker, Chris Dolley (due out 2012)
He had spent a hundred years seeking the woman called Silver; he still didn’t know if he was going to kill her.
–Hidden Fires, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel (available at Book View Café)
The fat lady was about to sing.
–Fools Paradise, Jennifer Stevenson (available at Book View Café)
Summer in Spain: beach sports, sex and slaughter in the sun.
–Light Errant, Chaz Brenchley (available at Book View Café)
The first time I saw the lady with the cake on her head she was going up the escalator out of the subway.
–Cakewalk, Nancy Jane Moore
This is such a remarkably bad idea, there’s no way it will work. It’s no wonder I thought of it.
–The Camelot Spell, Laura Anne Gilman
Stein woke that morning with blood in his piss and the taste of something more insidious deep within his brain.
–Jack Stein Omnnibus, Jay Caselberg (available at Book View Café)
Lord E. Lordy wanted the Wiz. That’s how this last little war got started.
–Taco Del, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff (available at Book View Café)
All Meyers wanted to know was how Kid Willette, that he’d personally educated in the ring his last two years as a trainer, had ended up dead—and not just dead, but beaten, mangled and dismembered dead.
–The Dingus, Gregory Frost (short story published in Supernatural Noir, ed. Ellen Datlow)
The only way to catch dragons is to hunt ‘em when they’re young. Still silvery, you know,” said a one-eyed derelict.
–The Glass Dragon, Irene Radford
I never should have let them talk me into giving blood.
–Eternal, Pati Nagle
Aisha had blown the top off the cliff.
–[untitled space opera in progress] Judith Tarr
She gave up her heart quite willingly. After the operation…
– Superluminal, Vonda N. McIntyre (available at Book View Café)
I was speed-marking a stack of French grammar finals, trying not to think about Marius Alexander Ysvorod, Crown Prince of Dobrenica, when the office phone rang.
– Blood Spirits, Sherwood Smith
A breathless spring twilight crept across the palace on the hill.
– The Casket of Brass (short story), Deborah J. Ross (available at Book View Café)
Brass gears chattered, and the dumbwaiter trundled a leather-bound book up from the library depths. Mike saw the gilt title clearly — A Year in a Den of Iniquity, by A Footman – and congratulated himself. Searching on the word ‘Xanadu’ but excluding ‘Coleridge’ had been exactly right.
–The Maiden Mechanical in Shadow Conspiracy II, Brenda W. Clough (available at Book View Café http://www.bookviewcafe.com/index.php/BVC-eBookstore/Book-View-Press/)
I’m on my third lap in a power jam, skating nine second laps, I mean, I am in the zone, and Fist Kist of all people comes out of nowhere and sacks my ass like a beer truck.
–Welcome to Hel by Jennifer Stevenson (due out Halloween 2011)
“Dezyrah’s Talk Dirty To Me, how may I help you?”
–Dezyrah’s Talk Dirty To Me, Jennifer Stevenson (available at Book View Café)
“If Market Street ever flooded,” said Stanislaus Ouspensky, “South Philly would be an island.”
–A Princess of Passyunk, Maya Bohnhoff (available at Book View Café)
Just watch my feed, Jo. As soon as you see it, I know you’re going to want it.
– The Revelation of Jo Givens, Nancy Jane Moore (due out this winter in Postscripts)
Billy Cotton was dead.
–[untitled work in progress] A.J. Barr
Between the lake of fire and the river of ice, Elen faced the truth.
– House of the Star, Caitlin Brennan
When I say I’m a private investigator, you might think James Bond or Sherlock Holmes. You shouldn’t. But sometimes life insists on imitating art.
–Speak to Our Desires, Brenda W. Cough (available at Book View Café)
Leannis Men Darnak shifted uneasily on his padder. The beast snorted, sensing the repositioning of the Principal’s weight and took a step forward.
–Binary, Jay Caselberg (available at Book View Café)
Jorge had been thinking for a while about how he might change his world. The problem was that the world seemed to have a mind of its own.
–“Fugue” in Angel on the Beach, Jay Caselberg (available at Book View Café)
The second body wasn’t quite dead yet.
–Hard Magic, Laura Anne Gilman
In the middle of a copse of trees, bordered on one side behind her by a dry creek bed and on the other in front of her by a low stone wall covered with moss and bird shit, Wren Valere crouched, her backside an inch off the leaf-strewn ground, her palms resting on her knees, and her knees complaining about the whole situation.
–Blood from Stone, Laura Anne Gilman
It is always possible to spot the newcomers to the city, for when they emerge on the street, they throw back their heads and stare in wonder.
–Changeling, Nancy Jane Moore (available at Book View Café)
George slumped over his third cup of coffee.
–St. George and the Dragon, by Nancy Jane Moore (available at Book View Café)
What yous think yous doin’ here, imp?” the head Kajiri Sasquatch demon demanded. Three of his comrades bore down on me with fangs bared and paws clenched to hammer me back into my own dimension. Two brown and one red. All of them ugly as a twenty-year drought and twice as mean.
–Hounding the Moon, P.R. Frost
It is said among folk of different gifts, those who cannot straddle the worlds, that when a white wizard is born, the very church bells announce the blessed event. Well, maybe.
–Alfreda, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel (third Alfreda novel in the series, this is a work in progress)
I wasn’t there when Papa killed the wolf. But then girls usually aren’t allowed to hunt them.
– Night Calls, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
not quite the first line, but very close:
It’s said that death from exposure is like slipping into warm sleep. Briefly, Titus Oates wondered what totty-headed thick had first told that whisker. He no longer remembered what warmth was.
–Revise the World, Brenda W. Clough (available at Book View Café)
And since I’m here, I might as well list a few of my own. Here are some first lines from short stories in my Book View Café collection, Uncategorized.
Hello? Hello? Is this thing on? (high pitched squeal of feedback) Oh, guess so.
– Letters to the Chintzes, Sue Lange
Just as I was going out of my mind, the shunt dumped me and my peroxide head at 11:15 p.m. local time — three hours out of schedule — on the Central City Intergalactic bubblemac.
– Peroxide Head, Sue Lange
It sounds like an organization for old men who like to sit around smoking cigars, drinking expensive brandy, and watching skin flicks — but it wasn’t that at all.
– The Club, Sue Lange
Zara hadn’t been laid in a year.
– Zara Gets Laid, Sue Lange