Friday, February 18, 2011

A Very Bad Place To Start

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

Tomorrow (the 19th) my fabulous critique partner Jo-Mama and I are giving a presentation to our local Romance Writers of America chapter. We were asked, along with another chapter member, to talk about contests and critique groups.

I am concentrating on contests for my portion of the panel, specifically contests for unpublished writers. One of my topics covers things in contest entries that drive judges BONKERS. But as I was going over my speaking notes, it occurred to me that this could just as easily be things in books that drive readers BONKERS.

Editors and agents aren't the only ones who make decisions on books after reading a page or two. I can usually tell right off if I'm going to like a story, and I know I'm not the only person who stands in the aisle of the bookstore reading the opening page.

It is so true that an author must hook the reader on page one. There better be something compelling, fresh, or different on that very first page for me to keep reading page two. I don't know about you, but lately, I've run across waaay too many stories whose beginnings leave me scratching my head or yawning. I've seen or read these openings too many times before, and I'll bet you have as well:
  • A big fight is going on or a huge chase, but I (the reader) have no idea why or who these characters are, nor do I care.
  • The heroine (or hero) looks in the mirror or out the window and contemplates her past and/or future.
  • The heroine (or hero but again usually it's a female) is late for work or an important function.
  • The heroine hates her job (usually justifiably), has just been fired or is about to get fired.
I'm not saying I won't read a book with one of these openings. Matter of fact, I have read GREAT books with all of these beginnings. But I've seen each of these scenarios so many times that the author better have a very unique twist for me to keep reading a story that opens with a such a cliche.

What about you? Is there a particular opening scene you've seen too often lately? Have you read a good book with one of Aunty's openings and it totally worked for you? What are some other things in books that drive you BONKERS?

In keeping with our Go Red celebration, Aunty is giving away a red box of six pretty lip glosses from Ulta and an AHA pin to one lucky commenter!
~~~~~~~~~~
The healthy heart tip for today is: If you want to get a start on health for your heart, take a walk! Walking costs nothing to get started and can be done in your very own neighborhood. Walking for as little as 30 minutes a day provides heart-health benefits.

Sign up for the Go Red Better U Program and receive two free romance e-books.

From Feb 1 through May 31, 2011, receive one free romance e-book when you sign up for the American Heart Association's Better U Program and one after you complete week six of the program. And look for the Eat Smart for Your Heart limited edition magazine (that features this offer) on newstands and in a grocery store near you.

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76 comments:

BJ said...

I've had a few that have started that way and have been pretty good....I try not to judge until atleast a few chapters in....
But so help me when I can figure out the end by page 30...URGH!!!!!
That drives me INSANE!!!!!
(sorry had a rotton book last night....lol)
Anyways....you would think that there are tons of things other than the basics going on in the world that one could use....I mean I'm not a writer (yet, but who knows...lol) still there's always time for a vacation, living life...no need to be fired...take time off...no need to start off upset...start off happy...go for it...who knows....it might work.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey BJ,
You got the GR AGAIN! I would think he is driving you BONKERS by now! LOL!

And I'll admit that I can usually figure out the ending before I get there, but I HATE figuring it out too soon. Usually if you can see it coming by page 30, it is soo not worth all the reading to get there! :-P

AC

BJ said...

I thought I had wrote enough that by the time I had posted someone else had snagged him....lol
I guess I'll guess have to feed him chocolate and make him watch more retro movies....LOL
He's so unloved here!!!!!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Oh LORDY, NOT chocolate! He is even WORSE when he is on a chocolate high. And I sincerely hope none of those retro movies are GANGSTER films! I can just see him now strutting around in a zoot suit with a tommy gun... ACK!!!

AC

jennifertanner said...

Hi AC!

My peeve is the heroine waking up and going through her morning routine or when there's too many people in the first scene, and I'm not sure which character's the heroine/hero.

My favorite opening scene of yours is in The Treasures of Venice...gosh, who wouldn't want to be sitting at a cafe in Venice and be approached by a handsome stranger?

Cheers!
Pink

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Pink!

Glad you liked the opening scene of TToV. That's one of my frequent fantasies -- being approached in an outdoor cafe by an Irish hunk... MMMMMMM!

And I gotta AGREE! I want it clear right from the get-go which character is the H/H. ;-) Can't waste my energy on some secondary who is gone by Chapter 2!

AC

Sheree said...

Sometimes, it's best to avoid the first couple of pages altogether (actual advice I read about a YA book: to skip the first chapter)...

All I want to know in the first few pages is the main character (the hero or the heroine) and the setting (historical, contemp, etc).

desere_steenberg said...

I have seen the "she is about to loose her job " so many times and where is is interesting to see where loosing her job takes her is does get a bit annoying at sometimes and I do wish for something different. I hope that you find it for us !

All the best
Desere

Christine Wells said...

Cindy, I have to agree about starting a novel sitting and thinking--that can rarely be good!

A peeve of mine is the 'save the orphans' scene. I know, I'm a heartless wretch, but that instant grab for reader sympathy doesn't work with me.

But the thing that always makes me put down a book is poor (or no) characterization. Don't care how good the plot is, the characters have to engage my interest.

Congrats BJ!

Leanne109 said...

I don't like a book that starts with describing the sky and water and so on for more then 2 paragraphs. Makes me want to close the book.
I love a beginning that makes me laugh.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I put the book down when they are either having sex or contemplating it in the first 5 or 6 pages. I love a good sex scene but not in the first chapter please.

Aunty I agree with Pink, being approached by a handsome stranger in a cafe is a favorite fantasy for lots of people.

Maureen said...

I've read a lot of historical romances that start with the heroine about to do something to get out of a marriage.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, BJ, enjoy the chook!

Cindy, I'm in the middle of unpub contest judging at the moment for RWOz. I must say I've had some brilliant entries - always wonderful when that happens.

Something that drives me bonkers is the coffee scene. You know the one. Heroine (nearly always the heroine) at the start of the book is making coffee (sometimes in great detail - amazing how unriveting the reporting of someone making a hot beverage can be) and telling her best friend/sister/mother about the set-up to the rest of the story. You know, obnoxious guy at work. Unhappy at work. Sore toe in the morning. Doesn't really matter. Even if it's something exciting to hear about, those scenes are NEVER exciting! Nothing actually happens in those scenes. You don't get to see the sore toe in action. It's almost always a great big pile of stinkin' info dump ordure. I could go on as to why I loathe coffee scenes!

I have a domestic goddess friend who wrote and I used to crit for her - I remember banning coffee from her books forever! I know it's tough love, but someone has to do it!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey AC!! What a cool topic. I do hate it when I can either figure it out or it is really whiny or depressing up front. Urg.

I'll give most books 50 to 100 pages, but if you can't hook me by then....

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

BJ!! Another day with the GR? Yikes!

Nancy said...

BJ, congrats on the bird!

Cindy, I don't, as a rule, like openings that are long passages of narrative. I want something going on. It's fine with me if the main character is onstage alone, but I want that character to be doing something or handling something or trying to fix something, and I want at least internal dialogue. Show me, don't tell me.

An exception would be science fiction and fantasy, when the author has to build a complex world and drop the reader into it fast. Then I can go with narrative as long as it's interesting and moves along. And something happens soon.

I once read a partial ms. that opened with 8 pages of narrative. Things were happening--the hero was doing things--but every bit of it, including the dialogue, was shown, not told. The ms. was in Times New Roman, which meant it was the equivalent of 10 or 12 pages in Courier. All narrative.

If I open a book and find a character feeling sorry for himself or herself, that book doesn't go home with me.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Leanne! You said: I love a beginning that makes me laugh.

Me too!

Nancy said...

BJ, if you can't figure it out by page 30, why bother with page 31?

The older I get, the less patience I have for books that don't hold my attention or that involve things I find annoying. I take this as a lesson, that my books better hold people's attention and not annoy them. *g*

TerriOsburn said...

I admit, I am breathing a sigh of relief that I did not start my MS with any of these scenes. Whew!

I'm not reading enough these days to answer this question. I've no complaints as of late. But I also like a slower start to a book. I don't need explosions or bank robberies to get me in. Actually, one good joke and I'm in.

Although, too much heat up front bothers the heck out of me. When the H/H see each other on the first page, usually for the first time, and it's "jumping bones" city.

I find that really annoying.

jo robertson said...

Good post, Aunty Cindy! What's more disappointing to me than cliched openings is beginnings that seem unique, interesting, and unusual, and THEN -- after I've bought the danged thing -- fall into the trite story lines and don't live up to the promise of those first pages.

jo robertson said...

Congratulations on getting the rooster today, B.J.!

BTW, Cindy, meant to say I love the title, the riff on The Sound of Music's "Do Re Mi."

June M. said...

I will generally give a book about 50 pages to draw me in, unless during that time the book is so wierd/hard to follow that I have no idea what is going on.

Janga said...

I'm with Dianna and Terri on the sex-at-first-sight scene. That's a certain way to have me toss the book and move on to one that lets me become engaged with the characters and root for their relationship before the sensuality meter edges into the red zone.

While it's not the opening scene, the heroine of my first ms. does long for her coffee and contemplates her image in a mirror in the first chapter. I knew those choices were taboo when I wrote them, but I felt they worked for my character.

Anna Sugden said...

How funny, AC. Only today I was complaining about a book by a well-known author (admittedly it was a book in a series) that had 12 characters named in a meeting on p3! Now I know that people who've read the series will know who all those people are, but 12?!

Guess, once you've earned your stripes, you can get away with things the rest of us can't!

One of my favourite openings still is SEP's Natural Born Charmer - it makes me smile just thinking about it.

Anna Sugden said...

There is one thing worse, BJ, and that is when you get to the end and you go "huh?". Or "is that it?". I hate twists for the sake of it and I hate rushed endings too, where you can almost see the author panicking to hit deadline and/or word count!

I'm like Nancy - these days, I have so many books to read that if it doesn't grab me in the first few chapters, I can't be bothered. Unless, it's in a series - then I tend to struggle through to the end.

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Jo - I read one of those this week too! I was so cross, especially because I'd thought the premise was fab and the opening was great. *sigh*.

PJ said...

Congrats, BJ!

Unless I'm reading erotic romance (like Suz's), I don't want the sex too soon. I want to get to know the characters and have them get to know each other before getting down to business.

Figuring out mysteries too soon drives me nuts but I've learned to keep on reading because sometimes the brilliant author (Duchesse) throws in a late twist that I never saw coming.

AC, count me among those who love the beginning of TToV!

PJ said...

One of my favourite openings still is SEP's Natural Born Charmer - it makes me smile just thinking about it.

I agree, Vrai! One of my all-time favorite openings!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Sheree,
INTERESTING advice you received about skipping the first chapter! YIKES!!! If between the writer and her editor they can't come up with a decent opening chapter, I'm afraid they've lost me as a reader. :-P

Thanks for sharing,
AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Desere,
Do you think it is the bad economy and authors trying to be topical that has resulted in the rash of job losses in the beginning of books? I swear, last time I was in the book store I picked up 5 or 6 that opened that way! :-(

Meanwhile, I will continue in my quest for unique beginnings. When I find one, I will definitely report back here!

AC

Joan said...

Whew, AC....relieved not to find the ole hero about to be crucified opening...I'm off (or on) the hook!

:D

And LOL Anna C. on the "sore toe in the morning" and the coffee banning.

EARLY in my writing of my first Roman mss, the hero...a slave...had been lashed and the heroine charged for caring for him. The girl I was critiquing with read that scene and said "her comes my little nurse JOanie"...when I re-read it you could almost see the MD orders for wound care written out! No Neosporin in those days.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Mme on your hard-hearted stance on "save the orphans." ;-) I'm the same way in movies, whenever there's an eager young partner or side-kick and especially if he is newly married etc., I always tell the DH, "Well, that guy is toast!" Just like that 5th member of the Star Trek landing party... SO PREDICTABLE!

I thought you had a GREAT opening to DD with your hero holding the guy over the banister by his ankles! Now THAT grabbed my interest and kept it. ;-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Leanne,
"Back in the day" authors could get away with that leisurely description of the surround flora and fauna or the heroine's flawless skin and fashion accessories. Now, when everyone has the attention span of a gnat, authors have to jump in and hook readers immediately.

I'm not complaining, since my attention span tends to be on the short side also and I always have too much to do and too little time. Get on with the story, PLEASE!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Dianna,

My BFF LIKES the jump into bed first and explain later. Her biggest complaint about my books is that the H/H don't get busy sooner! I'm definitely on your side. I want these characters to know and care about each other a bit before they 'do the deed.' :-)

Glad you share my fantasy about the handsome stranger and the cafe.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Maureen,
INTERESTING observation about historicals. I don't read that many (except those by the FABULOUS Banditas) so I hadn't noticed this particular opening. Now that you've brought it up, I'll be looking for it, and not in a good way. :-P

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Fo,
LUCKY you that you got some good unpubbed entries. I've judged lots of unpubbed contests and the majority of my entries are pretty bad! Pay attention you BBs who write (and I know some of you write very well)... AHEM!

I'm ROFL over your "coffee" scenes because I've read waaay too many of those too! The whole issue is TELL instead of SHOW isn't it? SHOW me that nasty, black infected toe with the nail hanging by a thread and I MIGHT be interested (in an EWWW GROSS kind of way). But you are SOOO RIGHT, hearing about ANY scene is never exciting. :-P

AC
glad she doesn't drink coffee and her characters seldom do either

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Duchesse,
You are FAR more generous than I am if you give a book 50--100 pages. I'm usually through after 5, less if the heroine is whiny. :-P

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Good point, Nancy!

I think I'm a bit more tolerant of long descriptions in fantasy novels. However, I agree that the H/H needs to be in the scene DOING something. There are ways to accomplish this. I KNOW because *I* had to learn them!

Okay, maybe I'm not all that tolerant after all... ;-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Oh, and Nancy, it's not that you are getting older. You are busier and much more descriminating. ;-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

ROFLOL TerriO over the "jumping bones city." :-)

And of course your manuscript would NEVER have a cliched opening. Your CP wouldn't allow such a thing! Same as MINE wouldn't. ;-) THANK HEAVENS for diligent CPs!

AC

Beth Andrews said...

Great topic, AC! One of my favorite openings is SEP's Ain't She Sweet? when Sugar Beth is driving back to town *g*

I'm not a big fan of a book starting out with a character (usually the heroine) looking in the mirror - although I'm sure there are instances of it being done well :-)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Speaking of diligent CPs... (Aunty waves madly at Jo-Mama)

You know me TOO WELL! That's exactly where I came up with the title of this post. I'm surprised Fo didn't latch onto that one. ;-)

And I hear ya on the book having a GREAT beginning then turning to dreck along about chapter 4 or 5. VERY disappointing!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Sorry Everyone,
I have to run out on an important errand. I'll be back in a couple of hours... Keep the great suggestions and comments going!

AC

catslady said...

I liked your beginning paragraph in The Wild Irish Sea. You get to know the main character and he's in danger - very exciting and pulls you in :)

What I dislike is when they throw in tons of people in the beginning and you don't have a clue who they are and as yet you don't even care.

Donna MacMeans said...

Great topic AC. I bet you and Jo will present a dynamite presentation.

I'm reading a book for the RITAs that has me grumbling a bit. Both the hero and heroine are introduced in very unflattering terms. I find I don't like them very much. I would have quit reading after the first chapter but I'm obligated to read the complete book for the contest. Now - mid book, I'm starting to like these characters and root for their success. I figure the author thought this change from unpalatible to nice is part of their character arc. Maybe so - but I wouldn't have stayed with the book long enough to get to the good stuff.

Helen said...

BJ Honestly watch him with the chocolate it really hypes him up LOL

Aunty Cindy
Great post and I have read lots of books that start this way but as long as the book gets me into it with emotions and feelings by the first couple of chapters I am fine with it. There are not too many books that I don't enjoy of course some better than others and of course the first chapter should drag you into the story. I gotta agree with the others as well the start of TTOV is great

Have Fun
Helen

Anna Campbell said...

Anna and PJ, Natural Born Charmer and the girl wandering the highway dressed in the beaver suit? Absolutely classic!

There's a wonderful category by Susan Napier called Secret Admirer from years ago that hadd one of the best openings I've ever read. It's a heat wave in Auckland and the heroine is caught in a stuck lift with the hero wearing nothing but a mink coat. Yup, that's right, she's wearing fur, underneath the coat she's naked, and it's sweltering.

Actually I've read books where they have sex in the first chapter where it's worked really well. As a few of you have said, all these rules are rules until somebody breaks them and does the breaking with pizzazz.

I'm off for a cup of tea. But I'm not going to write about it! LOL!

Laurie Faelan said...

I don't know that there is any particular scenerio that bothers me. If it's interesting, I like them all - even the cliches. But I can't get into opening scenes that are heavy on description (or backstory!). Not that I don't like descriptive books but I like to be into the story first and have a bit here and there.

I also have problem with complicated "world building" during that first scene. I don't like to work that hard to figure it all out before I even know about the characters (or care).

Good post!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

June,
You have way more patience than me to give a slow start 50 pages. I'm sure I may have missed out on some good reads by not hanging in past the first chapter, but I figure my time is valuable too. ;-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Janga,

Like I said in the post, just because I mentioned those openings doesn't mean lots of writers haven't made them work. Since you were well aware of what you were about in your opening chapters, I'm sure you pulled it off with aplomb!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Great minds, VA!

I plan to mention Natural Born Charmer's opening in my talk tomorrow!

And yes, worse than figuring out the ending is the WTH?!?! ending. :-P

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey, thanx PJ!
Another thumbs up for TToV's opening and for Natural Born Charmer!

Hey, I love those twists you never see coming too, and Le Duchesse is VERY clever with hers. :-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Joanie,
Nope, can't say I've EVER read another opening quite like your "hero about to be crucified." You've penned a grabber there, girlfriend!

And LOL on the wound care. Some habits are hard to break. :-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Beth,

That SEP sure knows how to write interesting openings! We can all aspire to her level. ;-) And I can't think of any good books that start with the heroine looking in a mirror myself, but I'm sure their must be some. Cliches have to start somewhere...

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

AWW, Thank you for mentioning TWIS, Catslady!

Prologues in general are a no-no and thus far, this is the only book I've written that opened with one. Glad it worked for you as Parker simply INSISTED that the story open with him. My characters are notorious for having minds of their own. :-P

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey, Thanx for the vote of confidence on our presentation, Donna! We will be giving it the rowdy Bandita rendition. ;-)

I'm with you on not liking the characters. Even if it IS part of their character arc to become nicer people, I'm not sticking around long enough to find out. Unless, of course, I'm judging a contest like you. I've had a couple of disappointing Rita entries too. :-(

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Helen,
You are a very generous reader for sticking with books even if the opening is slow.

Thanks for mentioning my opening for TToV. :-)

AC

Louisa Cornell said...

BJ, you are definitely a glutton for punishment giving chocolate to the GR AGAIN !! Lock him in the den with the remote and run for your life!!

I am definitely taking notes on all of the openings people hate!

I discovered recently when one of my GH loops was discussing opening lines that my first three manuscripts start with a line of dialogue. Not intentional on my part, but funny to discover I have a pattern. The fourth manuscript that I started but had to put on hold to revise #3 doesn't start with dialogue so I did manage to break the pattern!

I definitely want to see the hero and/or heroine in action. I can find out more about their character watching them with others than any other way and I like it!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Fo,
The heroine in a mink coat and nothing else, sweltering in a stuck elevator?!?! That is right on par with the heroine in the beaver suit!

Enjoy your tea without TELLING us about it! LOL!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Laurie,
I think you've mentioned the key to a great opening -- make the reader CARE! Cliches can work, action can work, descriptions can work as long as WE CARE! :-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Louisa!

Isn't it amazing sometimes that we aren't even aware of what we are doing in our own writing?!?! I always find it fascinating when readers point out things to me that I didn't even realize. :-)

AC

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey AC!

My problem isn't so much with the openings of books, but I have sorta given up reading Romantic Suspense, because I knew the moment the female cop/sheriff/deputy walked onto the scene, she was going to be the antagonist.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Diana: I put the book down when they are either having sex or contemplating it in the first 5 or 6 pages. I love a good sex scene but not in the first chapter please.

Oh boy Diana, you've nailed my book with that one, LOL!

traveler said...

When a book starts with the protaganist complaining about their life and then just folowing the same old routine.

petite said...

The Treasures of Venice has a wonderful opening scene. One that is trite is the bar scene.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Jeanne:I'll give most books 50 to 100 pages, but if you can't hook me by then....

You're more generous than I am. 25 tops. Why I could never get into the Twilight series. Bored the snot out of me.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Oh boy Diana, you've nailed my book with that one, LOL!

Oh no, we were talking about regular romance novels Suzanne, you don't expect them to start like that. Your novel is a whole different genre. It is all about expectations. If I pick up an erotica then I totally expect it to start out hot and heavy. I don't expect a historical romance to start that way and I don't like it when it does because it blows my expectation out of the water.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Suz!

I'm afraid I've seen too many of the "Bad Cop" villains in romantic suspense too. In fact, I've even written one! ;-)

And Dianna is right, with erotica the reader EXPECTS the book to be hot right from the start. It's all about reader expectations.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Traveler,
I agree, nothing worse than a whiny protagonist! Also, haven't some writers heard of that old rule? Start with the day it is DIFFERENT! :-P

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thank you Petite!

I'm sooo happy that the opening of TToV worked for so many readers. That is one opening that I saw very clearly before I ever put it on paper. ;-) And you are right, bar scenes tend to be all the same. Maybe I don't like them because I've never been comfortable in bars and can't identify with characters who are.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Suz,
Your 25 pages is more generous then me! And Twilight was so poorly written I could NOT force myself to plow through more than 3 chapters. I told the DH I would be embarrassed to give those chapters to my critique partner as rough draft!

Apparently WE are in the minority. :-P

AC

Caren Crane said...

BJ, I'm going to start a rumor about you and the GR! I think it will start this way:

BJ stared at her reflection in the mirror, admiring the fall of blonde curls from her elegant chignon.

Would he like her hair up like this? Would he even notice she no longer wore it in the mohawk he had so despised?

No matter, Ernesto was her past. The Golden Rooster was her future. She knew he enjoyed four-inch stilettos and skirts slit up to her hip. She dressed for him and he rewarded her richly. He was hers every night - and the following day - as long as she kept him happy.

She pulled out a cigarette and snorted as she flicked her gold-plated lighter. Ernesto wouldn't recognize the rooster-pleasing nymphomaniac she had become. She barely recognized herself.

But she couldn't deny the pull of that golden-feathered cockerel and she didn't want to try.

Caren Crane said...

Guys, all I have to add about "Natural Born Charmer" and its opening: grape lollipop eyes. I LOVE that description! I also love that, although the hero is nigh-on irresistible to every woman on the planet, the heroine is too pissed off (and humiliated and pissed off at men in general, not to mention miserable) to find him AT ALL attractive. Great stuff!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

ROFLOL at your opening, Posh!

I'd keep reading, if I could stop laughing. :-)

AC

BJ said...

OMG....LOL
Too funny Caren...I Love it :0)

Anna Campbell said...

Caren, killed myself laughing at the BJ/GR romance! That's got bestseller written all over it! Perhaps we can get KFC to do some toy merchandising for us!