Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana Flegal

Welcome to Would You Read On? where we publish the first pages of brave authors books; fiction and nonfiction.

Today's submission is an Historical Romance:

Harney County, Oregon, 1918

Obsession was the way in which madness lay.

Despite that annoying truth, Gracelyn Riley couldn't stop scanning the train platform for Special Agent Striker as she disembarked. People bustled everywhere, stirring up dust. Nearby, a mother held her toddler close while passengers crowded around her. Boards groaned and voices rose as people scattered, looking for their luggage and rides.

The whistle shrieked a warning to those lagging on the platform. The train had stopped briefly at this desolate Oregon county station before continuing on to California.

Gracie had hesitated traveling to this vast and untamed land until she'd learned Special Agent Striker lived here. He was the only reason she could endure going to a place as dreary as this. Though her parents considered traveling alone unsafe, even in these modern days, the threat of influenza loomed larger than their worries and prompted them to send their only daughter west. Had the fear of grippe not been so severe, her parents would surely still have her strapped to their sides.

Once she'd learned Striker made his home here, her plans changed.
She'd finagled the promise of a coveted position as a staff writer with the Woman's Liberator if she could procure an interview with the elusive agent. Sweet independence was within her grasp.

Unfortunately, she didn't see among the passengers anyone who looked dangerous enough to be the mysterious Striker.

She stood on the platform until the crowds thinned and the train rolled away on a cloud of steam. Squinting, she turned a slow circle. Though several wagons parked nearby, they all looked full and their drivers busy.

Where was her ride?

Gathering her things, she walked to a bench situated outside the station door and sat. Her trunks remained inside. No doubt when the driver arrived, he'd go in and retrieve them. In the distance, mountains jutted into a never ending sky. Sparse landscape surrounded her.

She shuddered and pulled Jane Eyre from her Dotty bag.

A shadow fell over her. "Ma'am, is this seat open?"

She looked up. The man beside her waited for an answer. With the setting sun behind him, the broad brim of his cowboy hat shadowed his face and hid all but his straight nose and strong chin.

Comment below and let us know if you would read on.

Last weeks brave author was Mary Netreba.
Thank you Mary for allowing us to review your first page.


Timothy Fish said...

It was a no for me from the statement "Today's submission is an Historical Romance." But that being said, I think it has potential within the genre. It does, however, need to be cleaned up. I got the feeling in the first few paragraphs that we were stuck in a loop. We don't need to be told more than once that she is looking for Striker, but the author tells us at least three times that Striker is here.

Caroline said...

An interesting start. I agree w/Timothy about the Stryker remark. Good potential here.

Sarah Thomas said...

I'm intrigued! There's always room for improvement, but I think the author does a nice job of giving us a hint of the main character's motivation, background and fears. There are a few lines that clank. "Her parents would surely still have her strapped to their sides." But beyond that, I really like it.

And a Special Agent in 1918 Oregon? Well, that does sound interesting!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Yes, I would read on. It fits the stated genre.

David Stearman said...

I like it, especially the little first-page twist where Striker appears to be a cowboy. Or is the cowboy Striker after all? Who knows? That's the kind of stuff that keeps me reading.

jill said...

Not really, for me. It's kind of cliche in the descriptions, and I don't feel an urgency to care about her. The plot hints at being interesting, though.

sally apokedak said...

Definitely I'd read on. I loved this.

I find myself disagreeing with other comments though. The "strapped to their sides" line was wonderful, I thought. And I thought the "looking for Stryker" remarks were not too many, though I do think an edit is in order and the transitions and flow can be improved.

Anonymous said...

I would read on, just to find out what the big deal is about Striker, and who is the cowboy.

I'd deepen the main character. Why is she so desperate to get away from her parents? How'd she find out about Striker? A woman not wanting to follow the norms of society is fairly typical of fiction from this time period, so her characterization must be deep. Plenty of time for this in pages to come, though. I'd read on.

Anne Love said...

I'd read on if the writing was improved, get rid of cliches. Work on making the descriptions draw the reader in deeper--people bustled, boards groaned, dust stirred, mothers held--blech. Make them consistent with the setting. I thought Oregon was wet and rainy, thus "dreary" fits, but not dusty if its damp.

I'm not a grammar queen by any means, but the verb tenses seem to need work to me (and I might be wrong!). "had hesitated traveling to"? But that can all be worked out with a crit partner and good edit.

I liked the word play with the old diagnosis term for influenza--la grippe, and wondering what made her parents release their "grip" on her instead of holding on tighter?

I liked the opening line (except this non-grammar queen had to reread it 2-3 times thinking about the use of lie vs. lay). I'm wondering what has made her this obsessed with Striker? It seems her obsession with him has landed her at the Woman's Liberator, which I assume she could care less about the paper. Perhaps she's actually a traditional woman, and he'll mistake her for a liberal woman. That would spice things up!

Has potential. Time period not overdone. Influenza epidemic interesting.

Linda Glaz said...

Tim, I'd have to agree with you. I don't see this as being your genre either. And yes, I would read on. Actually, I did read on, and what a great story it is! Woohoo!

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I'm not sure. There isn't anything about it that makes me not want to read on. But, it didn't grab my attention, either. My decision would probably be based on what I had read about the book, such as the back cover. I'd need something to draw me in a little further.

I agree with the comment that a special agent in 1918 is an interesting idea--but I would need to know something beyond that, just in the form of a teaser, to make me read on.

Linda Glaz said...

Bonnierose, you make a really good point, it IS hard sometimes to know where these stories are going from just the first page. Diana, is there any chance we could have the book blurbs ahead of the first page???That would really help us know where the story's doing. Good thought, BR

Sharon A. Lavy said...

I would turn the page because I want to know if someone is going to pick her up. I also want to know who the cowboy is. Is it her ride, wanting to tease her first? Is is someone dangerous? so yes, I would turn the page.

Sharon A. Lavy said...

I suggest you disable the robot catcher. It is almost too hard to bother posting anymore.

Took 5 tries to post the first one and now this is #4 for this one.

Carole said...

A true Anglophile, I typically read British Historical Fiction. I find that I want to read on and see what happens to Gracelyn.

Lynn Donovan said...

Yes I'd read on. I agree the scene where striker is revealed needs tightening but the writing is good and with editorial improvement will be really good. I sense Gracelyn has some growing up to do. Like maaybe she'll have to tote her own luggage. She is out west now! I anticipate this to be a good read!

Lynn Donovan said...

Yes I'd read on. I agree the scene where striker is revealed needs tightening but the writing is good and with editorial improvement will be really good. I sense Gracelyn has some growing up to do. Like maaybe she'll have to tote her own luggage. She is out west now! I anticipate this to be a good read!