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It is always such a pleasure to introduce a newbie Etopia Press writer–like I’m an oldie myself that way. So it’s real pleasure today to have guesting a certain Ms Locke all the way from New York.


Yip. The big apple itself, all the way to unsunny today oh yet again,  Scotland.

Maybe the lovely A.J. is new to Etopia, she is no stranger to blogging.  I have to say I totally love her subject. First lines in books. Just think of them for a mo. We all have ones we love. I alone can think of four…including my own of course…well.

My other three respective of Malmesbury and what he was going to do, are, Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again. Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm. And The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there. Although I have to say for me, only two of these books lived up to these beasts of openers.

Before I hand you over to A.J. do you have favorites, because you know where to leave them? Les comment box.

All the First Lines by A.J. Locke

 Thank you Shehanne for allowing me to guest blog today! I thought I would talk about those oh so important first lines. pen-and-paper

A lot can put expected from the first sentence of a novel. You want to capture the reader right off the bat and draw them into the story; not wait two or three chapters to get the momentum going and hope the reader sticks along. But it’s not the easiest thing to come out with a first sentence so dynamic it will knock the reader’s socks off. As a writer, when I’m starting a new story I always think about what I want the reader’s first foray into my novel to be like, the first sentence can definitely set a tone, and you want it to be the right tone.



There can be too much pressure put on how to start a novel, but it gets easier the more you write. There was a time when I thought starting with dialogue was a good idea because you were starting in the character’s voice, but I no longer think that’s the best way to start a story.

I thought it would be fun to look back at all of my novels and their first lines, and share them, not because I think they are all knock out stellar, but because I think it’s a good way to show a little bit of my writing evolution since I’ve been writing books since I was fourteen. I will start with my first book and end with my latest.

  1. Shadow Realm – The night was midnight black.
  2. Devil’s Night – The slap of her bare feet against the ground stirred up soft echoes that cried out to the cold, empty night as she walked
  3. Sanguinarius – It was a forest of black dreams.
  4. NytIf he finds me now I deserve to die, Kymora said to herself as she stared at the dilapidated building in front of her, hoping it only looked like crap for the purposes of being inconspicuous.
  5. Seasons of Magick – “Now you’ve come to help me?”
  6. Broken NytEveryone get down here now!
  7. Nyt III – Even with her mother’s arms tight around her, Kymora could hardly believe she was standing here with her
  8. Black Eden – “I have a clear shot.”
  9. Blood Cherry – “Well Christine, your medical history looks good.”
  10. Wasteland Rhapsody – “You lose and still want a kiss?”
  11. Graveyard Phoenix – “Mrs. Tillar, if you spill the canister of blood before I begin the resurrection, it will be a wasted night for all of us.”
  12. Ravenous Dusk – The room was spinning, no wait, maybe I was the one spinning.
  13. Ravishing Midnight – After a three month leave I was looking forward to going back to work, even though that involved dealing with demon politics that made being stuck between a rock and a hard place look like a vacation paradise.
  14. Immortal Unrest – In less than twelve hours I’d be embarking on a career where following the rules was an absolute requirement, and here I was breaking the rules for the sake of that career.
  15. Trickster’s Renegade – Days like this made me regret my decision to open a deity trinket shop instead of a liquor store.
  16. Black Widow Witch – Today was the anniversary of the worst day of my life, and I was trying to forget about it by consuming a vast amount of alcohol.
  17. Affairs of the Dead – I was in a strip club trying to help a ghost get laid, which was challenging, but not impossible.AffairsOfTheDead_ByAJLocke_200x300


 Help ghosts, stop a thief, and try not to die…

Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can move on. But when breaking the rules gets her in trouble, she’s bumped down to tracking ghosts trying to avoid the afterlife. Ghosts like Ethan Lance, who claims he was kicked out of his body when someone else jumped in. Which might be plausible—if such a thing were possible. And if Micah, Selene’s partner, didn’t pull her into an investigation of brutal murders that lead directly back to Ethan.

But when the whole mess puts Selene’s life in danger, she suddenly has very personal reasons to get Ethan’s body back. Between her uncomfortable relationship with Micah, and problems with her boss, Selene learns just how much trouble it can be when you don’t follow the rules…


I was in a strip club trying to help a ghost get laid, which was challenging, but not impossible. It was just extremely taxing on the necromancer extraordinaire (me) who had to channel energy into the ghost to make her corporeal enough to entice one of the stripper boys. Technically what I was doing was illegal, but it was my job to help ghosts settle their affairs so they could move on to eternally ever after, and Julia’s unfinished business was that she’d died a virgin. I’d made it as easy as I could for her by starting at a strip club; if she couldn’t get some here, I wasn’t sure how much lower I could scrape the barrel.

 Julia’s prolonged virginity was an enigma to me, even though she told me that she’d been waiting for her soul mate. I just didn’t understand why that meant she couldn’t hit up a bar, get drunk, and have a fun, regret-filled weekend that included the walk of shame. At least she’d have been in better shape once soul mate came around.

“What do you think about him?” I asked, pointing to one of the three oiled up men who were gyrating for the benefit of all the screaming women. He had blond hair and green eyes, and wasn’t overly muscular. Julia looked at him then quickly looked away. I took that as a sign of approval.

“I think this was a bad idea,” she stammered.

“This was a fantastic idea,” I said. “And it will work, don’t worry.”

“No, I mean, I don’t think I can do this. I waited my whole life for my soul mate and now you want me to just—” she stole another quick look at the stripper, “I don’t think I can do this with some random…stripper man. It’s so indecent.”

I rolled my eyes. “Julia, you’re a ghost; you no longer have the option of being discerning. And if you don’t wrap up what’s keeping you around, you run the risk of turning into a monster. Then it’s an even bigger pain in the ass to get rid of you. So let’s call our efforts here at Bump and Moan choice A, and murderous monster choice B. Which choice would you like to make?”

“A,” Julia said, but she didn’t sound happy about it. I smiled, and grabbed a couple drinks off the tray of a passing waitress. I set them down in front of Julia.

“Drink,” I said. “This will help.”

“I’m a ghost,” she said. “I thought I was unable to eat or drink.”

“You can feel the effects of the alcohol since you’ll be working off my energy, so drink up. I’ve pegged you as a light weight so I think two drinks will be enough.”

“But how is this supposed to help?” she asked, frowning.

“Because its job is to help,” I said.

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Author Links

Blog: http://iqurae.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  @maqueripe

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17226279-affairs-of-the-dead