First Line Friday Full of SF and F Love Stories

February’s First Line Friday Full of SF and F Love Stories is part of a series of blog articles posted on the first Friday of every month. The first line of a story, we’re told, must hook the reader. Implied is that the reader will not buy the book if the first line isn’t great. These entries are from Amazon, my personal library, or other online booksellers. Do these first lines hook you? Do you want to read more?


Cover of Shades of Treason by Sandy Williams has a woman glaring at the camera and holding a futuristic weapon. The background shows a futuristic city. It's a story full of SF and F Love

When Commander Rhys “Rest in Peace” Rykus walked back into her life, Ash smiled because she knew it would piss him off.

Shades of Treason: An Anomaly Novel by Sandy Williams

“Lady Mother,” Adena whispered, lips barely moving. “I don’t think I can do this.”

Chosen by the Rakian Commander: Rakian Warrior Mates by Elin Wyn

Not long ago, the sweaty hand snaking up my skirt toward my ass would have turned to mummy dust on contact, but I restrained myself.

To Catch a Stolen Soul: A djinn haven story by R.L. Naquin

“Mom?” I pushed my headphones off my ears and looked at my bedroom door. I could have sworn I heard a scream.

Defy the Ravaged: Matron’s Watchmen Book 1 by E.M. Raegan

Last month, Cupid shot my size-six ass with an arrow and saddled me with the soul mate from hell.

Struck By Eros: Redeeming Cupid: Book 1 by Jenn Windrow

The ash gathered on an empty road road that ran through the desert. It fell with a muffling effect, like heavy, dense snowstorms.

To The North by Bruce W. Perry

Humanity was dying but it seemed like no one else could see it.

Leaving Earth: Leaving Earth Series by J. W. Scarpacci

Zayn worked the chains fastened around his wrists, feeling the weak spot he’d made over the past few weeks with a loose shard of steel.

Exposed: Tribute Brides of the Drexian Warriors Book 3 by Tana Stone

Please Note

There are no affiliate links in this post. I don’t make a cent off of the books listed on this page. These titles are here for your enjoyment. And to entice you to buy more books.

Of Course, if you buy one of my books… that will put a little money in my pocket. And a gigantic smile on my face. I love my readers.

Do You Want to Read More?

I hope you enjoyed this First Line Friday Full of SF&F Love Stories for February. First Line Friday is a series of blog articles posted on the first Friday of every month. In the comments, let me know which first lines appealed to you. Want more? Check out previous First Line Friday posts. And come back next month.

Will You Buy These Books Based on the First Lines?

Buying books is a personal thing. What one person loves the next one hates. Why you buy this book instead of that one isn’t the same reason I buy those books. Covers, descriptions, reviews, word of mouth are all used to make buying decisions. But will you buy these books based on the first lines?

Image of an open book with a pirate on an island standing on one page and a pirate ship on the other page--but will you buy these books based on the first lines?

First Lines

The alley was dark and stank of piss and vomit. It was home for quick-footed rats and the bony, hungry-eyed felines who hunted them.

J.D. Robb, Rapture in Death

He, or very possibly she, was known as The Rose Thief. 

 Claire Buss, The Rose Thief 

Gramp Stevens sat in a lawn chair, watching the mower at work, feeling the warm, soft sunshine seep into his bones.

Clifford Simak, City

I was loving this. First day on the job and I was off to a possible location of the vamp killers.

Rose Montague, Jade

book cover The Left Hand of Darkness

I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness.

Kamakzi.

The word looped in my head, and I tasted it. Kamakzi.

Elin Peer, The Ruler (Men of the North Book 2) 

“Everywhere I turn, all I see is black. My vision drowns in cascading waves of darkness.”

Stella Fitzsimmons, The Plantation 

Note

All these books are available on Amazon. Interested? Copy the author name and title and paste it in the search bar of your favorite book selling site. 

There are no affiliate links in this post. These quotes caught my attention. I thought maybe they’d catch yours too. If you’d like more reading recommendations check out “Which Great Line Would Make You Read the Book?, my  Going to Mars Word-by-Word book reviews, and my Story Time Reviews series. And don’t forget to take a look at my own books, My Soul to Keep and Fellowship.

Will You Buy These Books?

Based on the First Line, these books sound interesting. I hope there’s at least one that spoke to you. Will you buy these books based on the first lines? Please share a favorite first line from a science fiction book you’ve bought and loved.

Book Cover Reveal: My Soul to Keep

I’m delighted to present the book cover reveal for my debut novel, My Soul to Keep.

On sale: August 2018
Artist/Illustrator/Designer: Elizabeth Leggett
Publisher: Rocket Dog Publishing

Book Cover Reveal for Lynette M. Burrows' spine-tingling science fiction thriller, My Soul to Keep. Coming soon!

ABOUT MY SOUL TO KEEP

Miranda Clarke lived a charmed life…until she broke the rules.

It is 1961 and America’s a theocracy controlled by the Fellowship and its tyrannical council of eleven men. Miranda Clarke’s family is part of the ruling elite, wealthy and privileged.

Miranda wants nothing more than to stay out of the public eye, but her power-hungry mother has different plans. She forces Miranda into an engagement to an up-and-coming Fellowship member and schemes to get Miranda’s father elected President of the United States.

To escape the arranged marriage and the repressive Fellowship, Miranda makes a break for freedom. But lurid family secrets and a dead man lands her in prison. She not only must escape prison and outwit her mother’s ruthless ambitions but avoid the deadly Azrael, the Fellowship’s enforcers who Take unbelievers.

Will Miranda survive ‘outing’ the family secrets?

Told from four different perspectives, My Soul to Keep is a spine-tingling science-fiction thriller and will be available in all your favorite online bookstores.

My Soul to Keep is the first in a series about the struggle to survive repression and violence on a personal, regional, and national level.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Elizabeth Leggett Elizabeth Leggett is a Hugo award-winning illustrator whose work focuses on soulful, human moments-in-time that combine ambiguous interpretation and curiosity with realism.

Her first paying gig was painting other student’s tennis shoes in high school.  She charged $10 a single shoe and she loved it when they wanted their boyfriend or girlfriend’s name because she knew they would be back again a few weeks later!

Elizabeth has been nominated for the 2018 Chesley Award for best book cover presented by the Association of Science Fiction Artist. The winner will be announced at Worldcon xx in San Jose

Check out Elizabeth’s other art at Portico Arts Illustrations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynette M. Burrows writes stories of empowerment and survival spanning space and time.

Her publishing career was nearly crushed before it started when a large regional magazine rejected her 500-word children’s story. Then, a writing instructor urged her to change one word and re-submit the story. She did and that story was published by that magazine.

Since then, her children’s stories have appeared in national magazines and an anthology. When she co-authored The White Box stories with Rob Chilson, those were the longest things she’d written to date. By the time the White Box stories appeared in Analog Science fiction Science Fact magazine, Lynette’s days of short-short fiction were over. Don’t worry, she’s not writing anything that approaches the length of Game of Thrones…yet!

Lynette lives in the land of Oz (Kansas) with her artist husband and their three rocket dogs (Yorkshire Terriers).

~~~~

The live book cover reveal for My Soul to Keep occurred at ConQuesT Science Fiction Convention on Memorial Day weekend.

My Soul to Keep is currently in my copy editor’s capable hands. When she’s finished I’ll make all the necessary tweaks and send the manuscript to my proofreader. Once she’s done her magic, I’ll add the final spiff and polish. The book will be published at the end of August.

If you’d like to read more about the research and read a snippet please go to my sneak peaks and inside writing the books page.

If you don’t want to wait that long, join Burrows Insiders (see the sign-up box on the top right). You’ll get an advance copy for free with no obligation, but reviews (positive or negative) would be greatly appreciated. A written review helps the readers and the author, especially when the novel is her debut novel. *grin* Thank you in advance.

Please share your thoughts and reactions to my book cover reveal in the comments below.

It’s Reading Season!

Mea Culpa! I’ve been nose to the grindstone and completely forgot to double-check that Thursday’s post went out as scheduled. And I was caught! It wasn’t scheduled. Totally my fault, but I did meet my deadline for completing my final revision. Yay! And I’ve been preparing for Reading Season. 

It's the reading season. Jan S Gephardt, Holly Messinger & Lynette M Burrows will read from their novels or works-in-progress.
Jan S Gephardt reading, by Judith Bemis

It’s time to start practicing. A new season of readings approaches rapidly. That means I need to find scenes or chapters from my work that are relatively self-contained and appropriate lengths (usually 20-30 minutes), then start practicing, so I can read smoothly and clearly, and also build up my voice so it will last 20-30 minutes.

In addition to the conventions I’ll attend (I already know I’ll be scheduled for a full hour of reading at DemiCon 29, and I’ve requested to do readings at other conventions through the summer), I’ll also be participating in a panel discussion about writers’ groups, and doing a short reading at a meeting of the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society (KaCSFFS), April 21.

That’s Saturday, April 21, 7:00 p.m., at The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111.

At the KaCSFFS meeting, I’ll share the “reading chair” in the Library at The Writers Place with two friends who also are writers.

Holly Messinger

It's the reading season. Jan S Gephardt, Holly Messinger & Lynette M Burrows will read from their novels or works-in-progress.
Holly Messinger

One is Holly Messinger, author of The Curse of Jacob Tracy (2015 from Thomas Dunne Books) and the upcoming sequel, Curious Weather (due in 2019 from St. Martin’s Press). Holly plans to read from Curious Weather:

“When Jacob Tracy—Civil War veteran, ex-seminarian, and reluctant psychic—agrees to move into Miss Fairweather’s St. Louis mansion and study magic with her, he has one purpose in mind: to hunt down and destroy the necromancer Mereck, a predatory madman who has twice tried to make a meal of Trace and trapped Trace’s partner Boz in a monstrous half-life.

It's the reading season. Jan S Gephardt, Holly Messinger & Lynette M Burrows will read from their novels or works-in-progress.“Sabine Fairweather has her own grievance with Mereck, though Trace doesn’t know the details and doesn’t particularly want to. The woman may be a brilliant scientist and a powerful witch in her own right, but there is darkness in her and bitter secrets that threaten the tenuous faith Trace has in her.“With Mereck’s minions circling ever closer, and old allies posing unexpected threats, Trace knows he and Sabine have no choice but to trust each other. But for that to happen, he will have to lay bare all the deepest secrets of her soul…and quite possibly her heart.”

Lynette M. Burrows

It's the reading season. Jan S Gephardt, Holly Messinger & Lynette M Burrows will read from their novels or works-in-progress.
Lynette M. Burrows

The other is Lynette M. Burrows, author of My Soul to Keep, an alternate-world thriller set for release from Rocket Dog Publishing this summer (stay tuned to her website for details). She will choose a reading from My Soul to Keep:

“Miranda Clarke lives a charmed life . . . until she breaks the rules.

“It is 1961 but the world isn’t the one you know. The Prophet Josiah Shepherd, backed by billionaire J. D. Wagner and the Isolationist movement, kept the United States of America from entering World War II. The Nazis control Great Britain, Europe, and Northern Africa. Unopposed, Japan rules the east. America is a theocracy, a land of righteous repression led by the Fellowship and its council of greedy white men.

It's the reading season. Jan S Gephardt, Holly Messinger & Lynette M Burrows will read from their novels or works-in-progress.
A concept drawing of one of the deadly Azrael, by Lynette’s husband, artist Robert Burrows.

“Miranda’s parents are part of the Fellowship’s elite, the inner circle. Her father, the nation’s premier preacher-politician, is on his way to the presidency. And Miranda’s hope of living a quiet, private life vanishes. But when Miranda makes a break for freedom, she learns everything she thought she knew is a lie:

“Her vengeance-seeking aunt isn’t dead.

“Her parents and the supposedly benevolent Fellowship Council aren’t benevolent.

“And the terrifying tales of the angel-assassins called Azrael aren’t just stories.

“Miranda must escape a religious re-education prison, discover the truth behind her horrifying nightmares, outwit her mother’s deadly ambitions, and destroy the ruthless, cloned angel-assassins who pursue her—or die.”

I promise–having seen advance peeks of both books–they will be delightful reads.

Jan S. Gephardt

It's the reading season. Jan S Gephardt, Holly Messinger & Lynette M Burrows will read from their novels or works-in-progress.
Jan S. Gephardt, by Colette Waters

But wait. What about that third woman on the program? What’s her book about? Yeah, well, that would be me. My book is called What’s Bred in the BoneIt’s a space opera/mystery set in a future when Humans have found or created other habitats in the reaches of space. If all goes well, it’ll be available in summer or early fall 2018:

“XK9 Rex is a dog who thinks too much.

“When a spaceship blows up among the docks at the Hub of Rana Habitat Space Station, the implications reach to the highest levels of the tiny sovereignty. But Rex is sidelined by a rookie mistake that puts his Human partner Charlie in the ICU.

“Now he’s on the outside looking in: worried, lonely, desperate to get back to his Pack and his life’s-work. He and his Packmates have been engineered and cyber-enhanced to be the most advanced forensic tools available to law enforcement, by a famous genetics lab—underwritten by the military intelligence of Transmondia, the Chayko System’s dominant power.

It's the reading season. Jan S Gephardt, Holly Messinger & Lynette M Burrows will read from their novels or works-in-progress.
Rex in a happier moment: giving Charlie’s niece Sophie a doggie-back ride, as envisioned by Lucy A. Synk.

“But the XK9s are more than forensic tools, and more than their owners, the Ranan Orangeboro Police Department, ever bargained for. When Rex strives to prove just how capable he and his Packmates truly are, he unmasks a secret that could destabilize the entire System—and places all XK9s everywhere in mortal peril.”

I hope you’ll join us–we’ll also conduct a short panel discussion about writers’ groups, possibly with Dora Furlong and Rob Chilson joining the panel. Remember, that’s April 21, 7:00 p.m., at The Writers Place in Kansas City.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Judith Bemis for the photo of me at the NASFiC last year (reading an announcement of Chesley Award winner–but it’s the best “reading” photo I have!); to Holly Messinger for the photo of her; to Macmillans for the Curious Weather cover image; to Lynette M. Burrows for the photo of her, as well as the photo of the Azrael by her artist husband Robert Burrows; to Colette Waters Photography for my head shot; and to Lucy A. Synk for the whimsical vision of XK9 doggie-back riding.

Going to Mars Word-by-Word: the Landis Way

The next stop in our Going to Mars Word-by-Word tour is Mars Crossing by Geoffrey Landis. Published by Tor Books in 2000, this is the first novel by an experienced and award-winning short story author. It won a nomination for a Nebula and won the Locus Award for best first novel in 2001.  Hop aboard for a gritty, near-future science fiction tale of the exploration of Mars the Landis way.Lynette M. Burrows, Science Fiction Author; Lynette M. Burrows, action-suspense science fiction

 

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

By 2028, two missions have been sent to Mars. Both the Brazilian and the American expeditions met with catastrophe and death on the Red Planet. A NASA-private venture hopes the third mission to Mars will be the first to return. Their plan relies on a return vessel sent to Mars years earlier, capable of manufacturing fuel for the return trip from the Martian atmosphere.

The mixed-gender, multi-national crew of six lands on Mars successfully but their celebrations are short-lived. A catastrophic failure kills one of the crew and causes irreparable damage to the return ship. And there is no hope of a rescue mission coming from Earth.

As a last-ditch effort to survive, they set out to cross 4,000 miles of Mars to the north pole in the hopes that the abandoned Brazilian vehicle will be operational. Limited supplies and equipment, alien terrain, the ever-present dust are only a portion of the hazards they face. The Brazilian vehicle can only carry two.

Using alternating viewpoints and flashbacks, Landis slowly reveals each surviving astronaut has a painful secret from the past. The isolation and desperation of their trek, combined with their secrets, create tension and intrigue on every step of their journey. And one of the crew is willing to commit murder to ensure a place on the return trip to Earth.

HOW THE RED PLANET IS PORTRAYED

Mars Crossing conveys an authentic, fully-realized Martian landscape. The terrain crossed in the story includes familiar landmarks and a few surprises. Landis describes a place of beautiful desolation and isolation, a harsh and unforgiving land. It feels accurate. It feels real. And it’s no wonder, the author is in the know about real Mars exploration.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Geoffrey Landis wears many hats: He has published more than 80 short stories, nearly 50 poems, one one science fiction novel, and more than 400 scientific papers. His short fiction has numerous awards including a Nebula and two Hugos. See his bibliography here.

Landis can write authentically about Mars because he is a physicist at the NASA John Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of the science team of the Mars Exploration Rovers mission that landed rovers Spirit and Opportunity on Mars. Opportunity is still working after nine years! Landis also worked on the Mars Pathfinder project. You can read more about the projects he has and is working on here.

CONCLUSION

For me, Mars Crossing has a nice balance of characterization, science, and drama. The novel has been compared to the greats of the field. The most fascinating part of it was the intriguing questions it posed about sending humans on  interplanetary journeys:

Would you take a trip to Mars knowing that the two previous missions failed?

How would you decide who could go home and who would face certain death on the Red Planet?

What would you be willing to do to secure a seat on the trip home?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Have you read Mars Crossing? Won’t you share what you thought of it? If you haven’t read it, will you?

This is the final novel I had planned for this blog series. Yet there are many more novels I could explore. Tell me, would you like this series to continue?  If so, what novels or stories about Mars would you like for me to cover over the next few months?