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Sunday, May 2, 2021

April novel releases and opening lines

cj Sez: My second thriller/suspense, DEATH ON THE YAMPA, LAUNCHED! 

   Find out where you can grab a copy of your next new adventure here: (Also available on Kindle)

Another thriller/suspense story with a touch of romance, THE DAWGSTAR, launched April 15, 2021. 

The Dawgstar is a Jane Bond-ish read. Find your favorite retailer, including Kindle, here: 


Excerpts from one of my archived posts:

   The importance of a good, inviting opening line, opening paragraph, or opening chapter probably can’t be stressed enough.

   There’s a lot of advice that says writers should start a story in the middle of a drama, some captivating situation. This is the hook with which a writer can snag the reader’s or agent’s interest.

   Ken Follet, in The Pillars of the Earth, starts off with “The small boys came early to the hanging.” Wouldn’t you want to find out more?

   This one from Toni Morrison’s Paradise speaks volumes:  “They shoot the white girl first.”

   One of my personal favorites is from Prison Letters, Corrie ten Boom’s memoir of her time in a WWII concentration camp: “From time to time, I wrote short sketches on scraps of paper.”

    Stephen King is quoted as saying: “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story.” He goes on to say, “For me a good opening sentence really begins with voice.” He believes readers are drawn into a story because the voice of the writer appeals to them.

   In each of the opening-line examples above, I believe you get a good sense of the author’s voice and how the rest of the story is going to be told.

   Here’s my first line from The Dawgstar, my thriller/suspense:  “I am not going to die; I am not going to die.”

   And from Death on the Yampa:  "Bryn McKay’s body ricocheted off the passenger door as the pickup, engine roaring, veered from one side of the Colorado mountain road to the other."

   Do you start your stories in an active scene? Or are you in narrative voice? Whichever it is, please make sure the opening is not in backstory.


 Writerly quotes: 

   The Six Golden Rules of Writing: Read, read, read, and write, write, write.” — Ernest Gaines


 On the home front: 

   Son Jeff D. Johnston’s photo that he titled “The Chase,” because one of those eagles has the fish the other one wants. 

   And this is not a Photoshopped image. It’s a live-action shot he was lucky enough to catch in Homer, Alaska. 


That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. 


P.S.  TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here:

   The store has re-opened to limited hours (and they have an awesome bookstore kitty, Mr. Bingley), so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

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➜ on Goodreads: under re-construction



  1. Congrats on your new publication, C.J.!

  2. cj Sez: Thank you, Becky! I certainly appreciate the applause, and thanks for stopping by.


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