January 26, 2012

Opening Lines

Put your hands together for the lovely Ms Devon Rhodes!!

Thanks, Gabrielle, for having me on today! I can’t wait to give away a book and share a naughty excerpt (complete with man in…and partially out of…uniform). But first I wanted to take a look at opening lines…the pick-up line between an author and their reader. What can I say that will make you want to hop into bed with…my book? J

What Do You Say With the First Line of Your Book?

I did a great meme last year that really made me think about my writing. The gist of it was to list the first lines of your books and draw some conclusions.

I think most writers really try to draw the reader in with the first line, and in my case, many times the first line has come to me and I then go write a story around it. :) With most of mine, I seem to try to give you a sense of the character right off the bat and what they're doing/feeling. Here they are (in a couple instances I added the second line if the first was a thought or dialogue that didn't let you know who the speaker was):


There must be an easier way. Valerian grimaced as he retracted his fangs, sealed the punctures with a flick of his tongue, and let his inebriated, middle-aged snack slide down the wall to rest in a heap at his feet. ~A Pint Light

“What?” Luke shouted incredulously, grabbing Mario by the upper arms with no little force. ~Rough Riders

“This is going to be so cool!” Cameron exclaimed, his jaw slack with shock, eyes sparkling with surprise and growing excitement as he regarded his best friend’s smug face. ~A Detour Home

“This one really has nice kerb appeal. Beautiful landscaping, and it looks like the owner really enjoys gardening. Let’s see here.” The garish, loud real estate agent consulted the sheet on her clipboard as she minced her way up the front walkway. ~Through The Red Door

“Ohhh.” Tori couldn’t stifle a moan as the almost-pain of exerting muscles that seldom got use kicked in. ~Sex On Summer Sabbatical

A cool waft of air on her shower-warm skin was the only warning Erica received before large hands cupped her bare shoulders. ~Falling For the Other Brother

Loving the crisp, autumn smell of a distant leaf pile burning, Vance inhaled deeply, relishing the cool air carrying the scents of fall. ~Pride and Joey

Rhea leaned her forehead against the inner hatch door after she secured it against the coming MetaWave storm. ~Wet Your Whistle

God, I hate Muzak. Maggie switched her cell phone to the other ear and pushed her fingers through her dark, irritatingly frizzed-out hair, automatically loosening yet another snag. ~Winter's Thaw

GEOFFREY Radcliffe stared intently into the mirror, grimacing at the reflection, then wincing as the grimace accentuated his laugh lines. ~Silver and Gold

"I don’t know how you talked me into this,” Rory grumbled as Benny made wide, innocent eyes at him from the passenger’s seat of the SUV. ~One Wild Wish

“I threw up.” The quavering voice brought Corbin jackknifing up out of a sound sleep, struggling to get his bearings. ~Making His List

JASON surfaced from sleep gradually as usual, barely slitting his eyes open to ascertain that it was still just after dawn in the lengthening days of spring. ~Neighbors By Day, Naughty By Night

IT was after midnight, and Chaz Warren groaned with frustration as he removed his hand from his cock and gave up his fruitless quest for orgasm… yet again. ~Remarkable Restraint

Jim stopped short at the threshold of his boss’s office, his heart seizing with dread at the sight before him. ~The Swap

“Heads up, it’s a bunt! He’s putting it down!” Teri screamed, cupping her hands around her mouth. ~Spring Training

This is probably the worst idea I've ever had.

"You know, I think this is the worst idea you've ever had." ~Stranger In Black


So what do you think? I see a trend. I've heard you aren't supposed to open with monologue/dialogue, but I tend to do that, right? I think it gives a sense of immediacy and is intended to pull the reader in right away.

Here are some I’ve written since then:


The view beyond the window, beyond the spindled railing around the wraparound porch, was right off a Currier and Ives print. ~Let It Snow

IT WAS the fourth day of having his bandmate, Rory, as his pretend “boyfriend,” and Benny had to admit it was going better than he’d hoped. ~One More Wish

Cary felt a trickle of sweat rolling down the centre of his back as he and his uniformed classmates baked on the unseasonably warm day. ~A Ring and A Promise


Though I’m not sure it’s from the meme, I can see a bit of a change in style. Do you guys agree?

Any thoughts on what sort of start you prefer or what might put you off from the get-go? Authors out there, I'd love to see some of yours as well if you care to share!


Speaking of sharing…I’d love to share a copy of my latest release with someone here! The His Hero Anthology released last week and contains my story, A Ring and A Promise. Here is the blurb and a NSFW excerpt:
A Ring and A Promise

Careers in military service are never easy on relationships—even less so when both lovers are in different branches…and both are men.

Naval Academy graduation now under their belts, Cary Barrientos knows the reality of the upcoming separation from his roommate of the past four years. Owen is more to him than just his best friend—he is the one person Cary can see spending his life with.

Owen Marsh knew that when he became Cary’s lover, the day would come when he would have to walk away. Now that day has come, and he’s having a hard time convincing himself that it’s just sex between them. Even with DADT repealed, there is no way a Marine and a Navy flier can be together. He’s just being realistic not expecting more.

When Cary switches their Academy rings, hoping Owen won’t notice, he makes a vow—he will do whatever he has to do, including believing enough for the both of them, to make their unlikely relationship stand the test of time. But when his Marine is called up for duty overseas, can a piece of jewellery and a promise be enough to get them through?

Adult Excerpt:

He slid his hands along the sleeves of Cary’s uniform jacket down to his the cuffs then grasped his hands while he continued the heartfelt kiss. God, he loved the way Cary looked in his dress uniform. He wore it well, as though he’d been born to wear it. It was bordering on a fetish for him, and had made it damned uncomfortable this past week when they’d worn their dress uniforms for so many Commissioning Week occasions. But right now their privacy was guaranteed, and Owen wanted to indulge in a bit of fun while Cary was still so sexily attired.

It was too bad that Cary was without his hat. They’d both had fun adhering to tradition before the ceremony and had tucked an envelope with some money and a letter of advice inside both of their caps for some lucky kid to claim. Maybe they’d hear from them someday.

Cary gave him an enquiring look before tossing the bag to the ground in the direction of the dresser. When he turned back, he grinned and lowered his gaze to the front of Owen’s khakis. Cary pursed his lips briefly before giving his lower lip a quick swipe of his tongue.

Hat or not, Cary was absolutely the sexiest man he’d ever seen.

Maybe he’d fuck Cary with his new officer’s cap on someday.

Groaning, both at the mental image and the sure knowledge that that day would be far in the future—if at all—he took Cary by the biceps and firmly placed him against the wall with one last hard kiss, then knelt before him.


“Mmm…” He slid the belt latch and undid the buckle, pulling the end out of the clasp. Then he unhooked and unzipped the fly. He bracketed Cary’s hips with his hands and glanced up. Cary’s blue eyes were wide and a bit wild. Holding his gaze, Owen leant forward and mouthed his hard cock, faithfully outlined by the white cotton. Cary’s lids slid closed and Owen took that as the invitation it was.

Without lowering the trousers past Cary’s hips, he pulled the tighty whities down just enough to expose Cary’s erection. After a moment’s thought, he did a bit of manoeuvring and was able to lift Cary’s balls up over the wide elastic band before letting it gently retract against his skin once again.
He stood and backed far enough away to get a good look. From the waist up, his lover was still attired according to regulation—minus the cap. Pretty much regulation, anyway, considering he was wearing his now-defunct midshipman’s uniform instead of one for the officer he now was. Still…he was all nicely turned out on the top half.

But below the belt…

Owen caught his breath at the vision of decadence that was his handiwork. Cary’s hard and reddened cock and his balls sac were protruding lewdly from above his underwear. With his pants still mostly on, still wearing his polished white shoes, he looked debauched, as though he’d been caught unawares hard at work and enticed into forbidden play.

He met Cary’s eyes once more and could see the effort it was taking Cary to hold himself there, exposed to view without the reassurance of touch. Owen suddenly had no wont to prolong the foreplay any longer.

He hit his knees then took Cary’s cock deep.

A strangled cry was his reward, enticing him to use his tongue to wet the hard length then slide down. He repeated the action, gliding with firm pressure downwards and adding suction on the way back up to the head, gradually taking Cary most of the way down to the base.

With Cary’s balls hiked up as they were, Owen could feel the hot skin of his lover’s sac on his bottom lip at the furthest point. On the next pass downwards, he opened his mouth a bit and was able to stroke his tongue across the taut skin, feeling the closest orb shift with the pressure.

“Ah! Oh fuck, Owen.”

Tasting a bit of saltiness on the way up, Owen grinned around his mouthful and looked up from under his lashes. Cary was behaving himself and letting Owen take the lead. Time for a change of scenery, though. He pulled off with a smack of his lips.

“Please tell me you brought supplies.”

“In our kits,” Cary panted.

Owen rose to his feet and pulled Cary in for a slow, involved kiss that sent an emotional wave of warmth through him. In the room they shared at the Academy, Owen rarely felt comfortable enough to take his time with simple affectionate caresses. Mostly, their physical contact had been hurried and silent, the sole purpose being coming to completion without being caught.

“Why don’t you grab the stuff and get out of that uniform?” He gave in to impulse and cupped Cary’s cheek, pulling him back in for another kiss as Cary began to move away to follow his suggestion. He didn’t want to be apart from him for a moment…

The realisation hit him like a ton of bricks, and he abruptly dropped his hand and span around to hide what had to be a shell-shocked expression. Maybe it was the emotional culmination of their schooling at the ceremony today. Maybe it was the knowledge that their separation was looming. But when he looked at Cary, when he touched him, he was finding it hard—no, impossible—to keep from turning what should be companionable sex into lovemaking.



The His Hero antho is now available at Total-E-Bound! Six stories about men on men in uniform...military, fire fighters, police and paramedics... Go HERE for more excerpts and information.

And I’d love to give away a copy to one commenter! So let me know your thoughts on my one-liners or just say hi, and Gabrielle will enter you to win His Hero. J

Thanks for stopping by! You can find me at:

My Website:
My Blog:

Comment below (and please remember your contact info) to win an ebook copy of the His Hero Anthology!

Contest ends January 28th at midnight EST.


  1. Anonymous1/26/2012

    Men in uniform....awesome! I am adding your books to my wish list.

  2. Hi Devon,

    For me as a reader, I don't particularly mind if a story starts with a monologue/dialogue or with a description. I think it all depends on the characters themselves and how they wish their story to be portrayed.

    I've read a few of your books and really enjoyed them. Will have to add the Men in Uniform to my TBR list, :-)


  3. I don't know about openning lines. I'm enticed, and caught, first by the cover, and then by the explanatory blurb that goes with the cover. Sometimes I'll read an exerpt from a publisher's, or author's website.
    With the price of books, and the economy, one has to make sure before they buy that the book will interest them.

  4. Loved the excerpt..sigh...
    I don't mind dialogue as an opening line - I think it does give you an insight into the character.
    Hugs xx

  5. Demetra1/26/2012

    Opening lines draw you into the story - i first look at the cover, then read the blurb, and its terrible to say, but i read the last few pages before deciding to buy a book. Now that i am an ebook addict i can only look at the front cover and blurb only. I love your books Devon and can't wait to read Men in Uniform.

  6. The anthology sounds great, nothing better than hot stories about men in uniform.

  7. Personally, i love when the first few lines of a book catches my attention and just hooks me. At that point, im glue to it & along for whatever ride the writer is taking me on.


  8. Anonymous1/26/2012

    I am a die-hard vampire/werewolf/paranormal reader, but Gabrielle's guests on her blog have convinced me to 'branch' out, pun intended. Men in uniform is definitely a category I am adding! Ms Rhodes, I think I will become a great new fan!!


  9. Andrea1/26/2012

    Yum a book about men in uniform. This should be good. On another note I like stories that start with dialogue. It seems to draw me in faster than one that starts without it.


  10. I'm not to concerned when a story starts with a dialogue or monologue. It all depends on what is being said. You have a couple listed that grabbed me and now I need to go look up the books. Thanks!

    I am looking forward to payday to get the anthology. I have been looking forward to that one. Thanks for sharing.


  11. I don't mind what a books starts with monologue or dialogue. As long as it is interesting. I'm looking forward to your next book. I really like your books.


  12. Anonymous1/26/2012

    Looking forward for reading it.


  13. Nothing beats men in uniforms :)
    I personally like when a book starts with a question, some insight of inner monologue because as you are there on that first page you will ask the question or where it is coming from so in my case I’m hooked.

  14. That was heartfelt and lovely, Devon. A beautiful excerpt, and makes me want to read more. And who doesn't love men in uniform? :)

    The best of luck!


  15. Yes, I do like a man in uniform. Can't wait to read this anthology. Great excerpt!

  16. Anonymous1/26/2012

    Absolutely love the excerpt, i can see im gonna be buying a lot of your books soon. Cant wait to read this, i just know its gonna be amazing.

  17. I as a reader don't really care if the book starts with monolgue or dialogue, if the character is good then it's all good.

    I have a feeling I will be reading your book A Ring and A Promise if I win a copy or not, the excerpt was so...ummm...Yeah....
    Thanks for sharing some of your opening lines...

  18. You are so right! First lines are extremely important and really set the tone for what's ahead. LOVE many of the lines you listed and will definitely put your new release on my wishlist. Great excerpt you brought us and awesome book cover too!

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  19. I like to read the blurb and if it sounds interesting then I'll buy it.

    Love you books.


  20. Love men in uniforms and then watching/reading them out of them..LOL


  21. Have heard about "catching" the reader with the first line, but honestly if I've liked the blurb enough to buy the book I'm going to read it. If the writer hasn't got me in by about 1/4 or 1/3 the way through then it's not good:(


  22. Hot men in uniform is always a good idea! Yummy! If the cover is crazy terrible I don't bother reading the blurb. If it is great, or even just okay, then I check on the story from the blurb!

  23. I do see a difference. :)

    The most memorable first sentence I've read lately was from Lou Harper's Academic Pursuits:

    "It's hard to talk with your mouth full of cock."

  24. I really want this book so sign me up for a chance to win
    And to Gabrielle Evans I own all of your books and congrats on so many awesome books

    Joanie mills

  25. I so loved the blurb ... men in uniform ... sigh


  26. Holy moley that was a HOT excerpt! *fans self* Wow....

    I don't mind dialog or monologue starts. I just don't care for first person for some reason. *shrugs*

    Looking forward to reading your books!

    Stacy Wilson

    dragn_lady at yahoo dot com

  27. I loved the excerpt for this one, please count me in!



  28. I don't mind dialogue either as an opening either. I actually rather like it. :D

    Eek! looking forward to reading the anthology!! (which you don't need to enter me for because I had pre-ordered it) xD Just dropped by to say hi. lol..


  29. Men in uniform and a giveaway, plus m/m romance, of course I'm in! :)



  30. Who doesn't love a man in uniform!

    While I love it when a book pulls me into the story right from the first line, I certainly wouldn't give up on one that took a little longer to grab me!


  31. Love men in uniform. It doesn't get any hotter than that. Great excerpt. Put this book on my wishlist.


  32. Ooooh....I think it depends on the writer and the content. Monologue or dialogue is definitely not as important as the content....and your content is always great! I can't wait to read this anthology!!! Thanks Devon!

  33. Anonymous1/27/2012

    That was quite an excerpt, lol =) I will definitely make sure I check this out.


  34. Please who would refuse a man in
    uniform certainly not me :)

  35. I don't judge a book by it's first line. Sometimes they grab me and I don't like the book; sometimes they seem "OK" and the book rocks.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.