Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so thrilled to have this guest return to Escape With Dollycas. We learned in her previous guest post she had a little trouble at first defining her writing genre but she sure has that down pat now. She also has ventured into the thriller category with Mortal Deception and will soon be adding a paranormal series. She is one busy lady and I am so happy she could take time today to drop by and visit. She needs our opinion on a very important issue. I know you will all take some time to help her out. Please help me welcome Liz Lipperman.
First of all, it’s a pleasure to be back with Dollycas and all you readers. I decided to go right to the horse’s mouth (I can see my editor cringing at that cliché!) A while back I posed a question on Mysteries and Margaritas where I blog with four other authors, and I got the writer’s perspective. Now I’d like to find out what you voracious readers like to see when you open up a book.
In case you don’t know, I sold book 4 in my mystery series with a title and a one line blurb. Here’s the blurb for CHICKEN CACCIA-KILLER.
When an international playboy ends up dead at the International Italian Festival, and Alex’s sister is accused of the murder, Jordan and the motley crew of neighbors hatch a plan that leads to the Godfather himself knocking at her door.
Okay, that’s what I had to work with. Knowing where to begin has always been a problem for me. In the past, I’ve struggled with wanting to put in too much back story too soon, but I think I have finally killed that demon. I write mysteries, so I know the first three chapters are set up.
In Beef Stolen-Off, there was no question in my mind where I should start. I wanted my heroine to go the Cattleman’s Ball where I introduce all the new characters. The lead in for this is Jordan talking with the Empire Apartments gang (recurring characters) about her assignment. I’m always so conflicted about how much I need to retell about the main characters. On one hand, I hate to bore those who already know these characters, but on the other, I have to assume some people are reading this book without having first read Liver Let Die. (What are you waiting on??)
In Murder for the Halibut, book 3, the setting is a culinary contest on a cruise ship. (Think Top Chef meets my Clueless Cook.) I went back and forth as to where to actually start the story. Should I put them walking onto the ship? What about starting out with the first competition which I called the Greased Lightning Elimination Round?
I finally settled on a scene on a fishing boat the day before the cruise when my heroine and the contestants spend the day drinking, eating, and trying to get bonus points by catching enough fish to feed the judges and 25 tasters in the elimination round. Of course, with contestants who will do anything to win the prize, all is fair in love and cooking competitions, and somebody ends up with a huge saltwater fish hook in his thumb. Did I mention booze plays a big part in the fishing trip?
Which brings me back to my original thought about where I should start book 4. There are several ways to start a novel. Here are a few of them with a made-up example.
1. Open with narrative.
The Texas heat burned down on the plains with the vengeance of Satan himself.
2. Open with dialogue
“Damn, it’s hotter than hell today.”
3. Open with action.
She grabbed her arm as a bullet pierced her shoulder, and she fell to the drought-hardened ground, feeling the heat of the Texas sun caking the blood as it ran down her arm.
Okay, I know these are lame examples, but you get the point. Although my writing style is to start with action, I have used every one of these in my books. The second one below is the first book of my new Dead Sister Talking Mystery Series coming from Midnight Ink next summer.
Liver Let Die– Single white female stuck in a dead-end job, looking for tall dark rich guy… (Narrative)
HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE—The first wave of light-headedness hit like an out-of-control hangover when she leaned forward to put the half-empty glass on the coffee table. (Action, albeit not much!!)
Murder for the Halibut — Whose hair-brained idea was this, anyway? (Dialogue)
I believe first lines are so important I change mine at least five or six times before I settle on one. I’m thinking for my new story I should open with my heroine Jordan meeting her love interest’s sister and mother for the first time. Maybe something like.
“So you’re the girl Alex has been shacking up with.”
Just kidding. These are cozies, remember??
Anyway, I’m really curious what you like to read right out of the box when you start a new novel. Narrative, dialogue, or action? Does the genre make a difference to you? Is that first line really important to you? Have you ever passed on a book after reading that line at the bookstore? I’ve decided I’m going to take your responses and write a post for my group blog. Writers are always interested in reader preferences. So, bring it on.
O.K. the second line in Beef Stolen-Off “What? That old bat kicked the bucket?” and we are off on another adventure with Jordan McAllister. It doesn’t matter how Liz starts the book because so are off on a amazing trip.
Liz, I hope you will visit again soon and often. You always make us smile!!! or laugh or have soda shoot out of our noses. (Well me anyway, when reading about the duck in the first book.)
Now be sure to answer Liz’s question!!!
Bonus Entries in the giveaway for comments!!
(A Clueless Cook Mystery)
2nd in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Ben Perini
Cover Design by Sarah Oberrender
Jordan McAllister is the food columnist for the Ranchero Globe even though she is a pretty clueless cook.
She may not know much about cuts of beef but Lucas Santana, cattle baron, thinks her column may help boost beef sales so he invites her to the Cattlemen’s Ball. He even sets her up with a date for the evening. Unfortunately she doesn’t get to know him very well. Shortly after the dinner starts he starts to sweat and have trouble breathing. She winds up at the emergency room where she finds her date was dead on arrival.
It is not long before she realizes his death was no accident. She decides it is up to her to take the bull by the horns and lasso up the killer.
This release date of this book couldn’t have been planned better. The tv show Dallas is back on the air and in the very second episode the Ewings are at the Cattlemen’s Ball. I didn’t see Jordan hanging around but it sure wasn’t hard to imagine that a murder could occur there. The author tells me there was no coordination between the show and this book release, just a happy coincidence.
This installment really has the Big Texas feel. Hunky cowboys, huge ranches, and of course Texas BBQ. The new characters in this book were so well defined it was hard to believe we just met them. The Empire Apartments gang was back in full glory and we even got to spend some time with Jordan’s brother, Danny. Jordan’s love life was kind of hit or miss in this installment. Hard when the guy you want to get to know so much better has a job that can need him in an instant and keep him away for weeks. Jordan also finally makes a friend at the paper.
The mystery is USDA Prime as well. Plenty of diversions to keep the reader on their toes. We learn a bit about cattle raising too, some of it hair raising as well.
Marbled through the entire mystery are touches of humor I have come to expect from Liz Lipperman. She has the gift are creating sassy dialogue, unique observations and circumstances that can make you laugh out loud. In this edition, the brother/sister pranks and commentary were so entertaining.
About Liz Lipperman
Liz Lipperman writes mysteries to die for. Beef Stolen-Off is the second book of her Clueless Cook Series about a wannabe sports reporter who ends up writing the culinary column at a small town newspaper in Texas despite the fact that she can’t cook a lick. Her Romantic Mystery, Mortal Deception, written as Lizbeth Lipperman, is available now at Amazon and she’s just sold a paranormal series titled A Dead Sister Talking Mysteries Series to Midnight Ink. The first book, HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE, also written as Lizbeth Lipperman, will release in May 2013. SHATTERED DREAMS, a Romantic Suspense will be available in the Fall. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her grandchildren and watching any and all sports.You can find her here.
Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!
U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.
Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.
Answer Liz’s question for 5 Bonus Entries !
If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.
Contest Will End August 1, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”