Friday, February 17, 2012

1st Page Contest

Today Jamie Ayres is hosting a first-page contest on her blog, to be judged by author Heather Burch. Five random winners will receive a personal critique from Ms. Burch.

Here's my first page, from my current WIP:


Escalante, Colorado.
Tiny. Beautiful. Remote.
Not the kind of place where women vanished into thin air.
Until now.
In the last two months, a pair of teenagers, a stay-at-home mom and a waitress from the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon all vanished without a trace. Four women with no connection between them as far as anyone could tell.
Jamie English straightened her white Stetson, took a deep breath and pushed open the glass doors leading to the sheriff’s office. As the new sheriff in town, she had a big job to do. One a lot of people thought a young woman couldn’t handle.
Especially one who left town in disgrace.
She lifted her chin. That was five years ago; a lot had changed. She’d grown up, matured. Motherhood at a young age did that to a person. So did getting elected to a job almost no one else wanted.
The sheriff’s office had been held in low regard since Tate Peterman had been arrested, tried and convicted. Five years ago, he’d looked the other way while his men harassed Mexican-Americans, including rancher Cordero Ybarra. Peterman even allowed two men named Spike Warner and Buford LaDelle to brand Ybarra’s back and later hang an immigrant worker. His subsequent replacement hadn’t been much better. Not crooked, just lazy.
She was sticking tight, Jamie vowed, for her town. And she was going to solve the disappearances of the four women. She had to. Any other outcome was unacceptable. Unlike Peterman, and the others after him, she wasn’t going to look the other way while crime was committed in her county.

47 comments:

  1. Oh, wow! I love the fact that this is her hometown & she's returning to it w/ a mission (like the hint that maybe she left in disgrace b/c she was a prego teen in a small town??). The only thing I'd say to tighten it up is don't be concerned w/ too many specifics yet (i.e. Name of diner, names of Warner & LaDelle). ~Hope you win the critique from Heather Burch or her new book, Halflings:)

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  2. I'm interested in reading more of this story. I think that stories with a female lead, or leads, will be in greater demand in the near future.

    Including a discussion of the tension between Hispanics and whites in Colorado could prove to be a unique aspect of your story. Here in Texas we don't hear a lot about immigration being an issue anywhere other than in Arizona, California and Texas.

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  3. Great hook. Let us read more.

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  4. Thank you, MK. What you suggest about the hispanic/white tension is explored in the sequel to this book, Branded.
    Thanks again!

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  5. I love this beginning, simply because it makes me want to keep reading.

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  6. Love the female sheriff in the west. Lots of implied conflict. Great idea!

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  7. Love the concept of the female sheriff. Page draws reader in - want to know what's next.
    Good job and Best of luck.

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  8. I love it--you really have me hooked. I love the idea of a female sheriff and the fact she had left town in disgrace. Lots of potential for high tension!

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  9. D'Ann... I love this story and that first page rocks... Good luck, my friend!

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  10. Like that she's strong (returning after leaving in disgrace), honorable (wants to do right, unlike her predecessors), and the sheriff.
    Definitely draws me and makes me want to 'turn the page'.

    Good luck

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  11. Go get 'em Jamie English! Love it!
    Great job,
    Neecy

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  12. Good luck, D'Ann! Love this story!

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  13. Sounds like a great read! I agree with the others - female sheriff, tainted past - all the makings of a great story that would keep me reading!

    Good luck!

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  14. I really like to first few lines. Grabbed me, pulled me in, kept me reading. Great job!

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  15. Good Job, D'Ann, I loved it!

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  16. Really really like this...you've set the scene well. I'd definitely keep reading.

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  17. You know how much I love this first page!! Pulls me right in and makes me want to read more!! Great job!

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  18. Wow, this is really good. There wasn't anything that struck me as needing work here. I was drawn in and already feel invested in the Sheriff and her plight. Way to rock the first page!

    Fly me to the Moon Saloon - LOL. You are funny!

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  19. Thanks, Daryl! Appreciate your comments!

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  20. Anya~
    Yes, Jamie's coming home in disgrace!

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  21. Great beginning, D'Ann! I remember Jamie from Branded, so I'm sure this is going to be another sizzler! Looks like she's changed a lot in 5 years! Good job at sucking me in. :)

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  22. Thanks, Kristi!
    I appreciate it.

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  23. Jenn~
    Thanks so much!
    I hope you win!

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  24. Thanks so much for coming by, Shell!

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  25. Jenna!
    Yes, Jamie changed a lot!

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  26. You got me with the female sherif.. loved the beginning and I so want to know more:)

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  27. Very well written. I love it and would read more. Good job!!

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  28. Oooo, I like this! A strong woman with a past and a mystery - what's not to like? :D

    Many of your sentences are short and choppy at the beginning, so you might vary the lengths some. Also, maybe save the Tate Peterman part for later since it appears to have nothing to do with your hook.

    I wish you the best of luck!

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  29. I really like this. You give hints about her past and I love that she's the sheriff.

    Your short sentences have a lot of impact so I would try to tighten as much as possible. For example - Four women with no connection between them as far as anyone could tell. you could delete as far as anyone could tell.

    You might want to mention her name.

    Just a few suggestions. :)

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  30. Enjoyed it, sounds like it will be an interesting story. My only suggestion would be to cut out some of the backstory about the previous sheriffs. it stops the action while we're being told about this. Is there a way to show this backstory through dialogue or action? One rule of thumb is to only give the reader what they absolutely have to know in order to understand what's happening in that scene.

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  31. Stacey~
    Thanks for the suggestions!

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  32. Nicloe~
    Thanks for the suggestions, I'll use when I revise!

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  33. Angela~
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll keep in mind for revisions.

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