Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana Flegal

Thank you for joining us. Please leave a comment after reading today's First Page submission. Let us know if you would read on.

Chapter One


S-s-shut up and f-f-forget it! You’ve s-s-seen nothing and know nothing! G-g-got it?”

The whispered words radiated out in waves of malevolence, like heat rising from a country blacktopped road in midsummer. The air vibrated with a pregnant sense of malice, shifted, then swirled in ghostly forms around her.

An unexpected mental vision of a deadly snake intent on its victim slivered in her mind, and Tara Layne shifted her gaze to the ground, hoping no snake would materialize.

Was this Montana land holding its breath, waiting? Waiting for what would come next? Waiting to see what she would do?

A sense of evil washed over her, and she shivered. Parts of the blue sky peeked through the tree branches, yet beneath those branches the light seemed to have dimmed. Had it? No leaves stirred. The chirping birds, the clattering insects, hushed, as if an early evening had set in.

She leaned forward and strained to hear.


No more stuttering words.

Yet someone was out there.

Tara eyed the northwest forest. Brian Jamieson’s private hunting and entertainment grounds. She slowly spun in a circle. No sign of human inhabitants. As far as she could tell, Hickory, her pet mouse, was the only living creature around-other than herself.

Who had breathed those words a moment ago?

Someone close by.Would You Read On?

Last weeks submission was the First page of Stolen Woman, the first in a series of 3 Christian suspense/romance novels on international human trafficking and missions. Find out more at, or check out Kimberly's blog at


Kristen Joy Wilks said...

It feels a little too melodramatic to me. At least...I need to know what I'm getting into. Is this a real life villian, a demon, a fantasy kind of villian? If it is a fantasy or demon and is supposed to me this dramatic, let me know so that I can adjust my reading expectations. If this is a human vilian give me a clue maybe by making it a bit less dramatic and giving a hint that this fearful occurance has grounds in reality. I would read on if I knew how to react as a reader. The premise is interesting.

Timothy Fish said...

No, I wouldn't read on. I had trouble getting interested in the character as a person and I also had trouble seeing the location.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I would read on. Although it's a bit wordy, which slows the movement down, I am curious about what's coming next. But if no further action takes place in the next two pages, I'd probably put it down.

Kathryn Elliott said...

I’m on the fence. The description feels heavy – a bit too much of a mouthful to digest in one page. If there were less, yes, I would read on.

Katherine Hyde said...

I don't like being plunged into such an intense situation without knowing anything about the character. This page tells us literally nothing about the character except that she's female and she's scared. Why should I care?

Also, it's not clear whether the evil is human, animal, supernatural, or what. I don't know what kind of story I'm getting into, so I would probably put it down.

Linda Glaz said...

If this is suspense, and I'm guessing it is, I want to get socked right between the eyes with the suspense. I don't want any extra description, metaphors, etc. Not in the opening pages of suspense. And the whole pet mouse really snatches me away from the suspense. So, for me, tightening all this would creep me out in a wonderful and good way:
The whispered words radiated out in waves of malevolence. The air vibrated with a pregnant sense of malice.
Was this Montana land holding its breath, waiting? Waiting for what would come next?
A sense of evil washed over her, and she shivered. She leaned forward and strained to hear.
No more stuttering words.
Yet someone was out there.
Tara eyed the northwest forest and slowly spun in a circle. No sign of anyone.
Who had breathed those words a moment ago?
THIS would grab me a lot quicker, and I wouldn't be concerned about where I was or anything else. I'd be afraid for you immediately!

Diana said...

Linda, that's a great re write.

kay Moser said...

I absolutely agree with Linda Glaz! As the page now stands, it's overwritten--too much. And I have to confess, the pet mouse thing really confused me. It suddenly sounded like a children's book; my mind went to Beatrix Potter. If there's going to be a mouse, I need to be prepared for it.

Having said that, I'd encourage the writer to re-work it because she/he has a gift for suspense!

Linda Glaz said...

Thanks, Diana, and I agree, Kay. She had all the sound elements there for suspense, just too many. I want to be REALLY scared in suspense and not sidetracked. I'd love to read this novel.

Cheryl said...

I agree on the overwritten part. I also don't like not knowing the character. Why should I care if she's scared if I don't know who she is? The use of "human inhabitants" tends to lend itself to a sci-fi kind of feel, but I didn't get that from the rest of the writing.

I wouldn't continue as is, but Linda's rewrite makes it more appealing.

Heather Marsten said...

Probably wouldn't read on. I think the second paragraph could be dropped - it is more author, less character. I'd like to see her reaction to the words. Or her reaction to the words. In order for me to care, I'd need to know what she supposedly saw,

Perhaps showing the scene first, then the voice scaring her would have a stronger impact.

Patty Kyrlach said...

Lots of suspense and vivid images. I want to read more.

Karen said...

I would give it more than a one page read mainly because I liked the descriptive language even though some think it overwritten. The pet mouse did throw me a bit too though. I liked Linda's comments.

Lisa Karon Richardson said...

I'd read on.

Starr said...

Yes, I’d read more. The first page has me curious about this character, Tara. She seems young and imaginative. The first page gives me the impression she is out of her comfort zone in a new territory of some kind and walking into danger. Tara’s story seems like it will be filled with suspense and imagery.

Christiana Krump said...

Nope. It's too wordy. I like literary terms as much as the next person but it feels like there's too many of them here. Similes, metaphors, and personification all within the first few paragraphs. It's slowing down the story. If you're going to have a high pressure situation and you want things to feel intense, not overly dramatic, they need to get into things a little more quickly.

Sharyn said...

If I had picked this up at a bookstore or library, I would have stopped reading where the air vibrated, shifted & swirled. I would have spent about 30 seconds trying to figure out what that looked like ... & put the book back on the shelf. Unless, of course, the back cover was so intriguing I couldn't resist reading a bit more, just in case it started getting better.

Mary Ellis said...

Yes, I would definitely read on. I enjoyed the suspenseful intro, the setting of the scene. I like mystery to build before the action takes over. So, yes, this book would be my cup of tea.

Nancy DeLaval Miller said...

I must be stubborn, Diana, because I would read on to find out who was talking. However, I would need more complete sentences and a few less trips to the thesaurus,or I wouldn't go on to page 3.
Nancy Miller

Donna Alice said...

I'd certainly read on - it's suspenseful and I want to know what happens next. Loved the descriptions and the setting - can feel a sense of impending doom!