#FirstLineFriday – A Clarification

I have had a couple of people mention that they felt bad for winning more than one prize in our new #FirstLineFriday Trivia Quiz, and wondering if they should not play every week. Folks, to me, that would be like penalizing those who are well-read and have a good memory. NO ONE should feel guilty about winning multiple times. (Ask Ken Jennings!)  In fact, I’m thinking of having a Grand Prize Winner now and then just to reward those who do play often and well. 

You may enter only ONCE each week, of course–make your first guess a good one–but you may enter every single week for as long as we have this contest running. And I don’t care if you win every time you enter. It’s not like you’re stacking the deck in your favor, and we aren’t talking the Power Ball Lottery here, anyway. This is meant to be fun, and every person who enters has an equal chance of getting the correct answer. The earliest entries with the correct answer will win, but that just means you should all immediately start setting your alarms on Thursday night, so you can be ready at 8:00am sharp on Friday morning. 😀 😀 😀

Seriously, please do not feel “guilty” if you have won more than once. We’ve only had 2 Fridays when all five winning slots got filled, anyway, so it’s not like you’re keeping anyone else out of the running. The goal is to test your memory of great lines, AND to give everyone a chance, whether they recognize the line or not, to see some super examples of how to start a book.

I’ve gotten a wonderful response to this idea so far, and I would DEARLY LOVE to continue this game for some time yet. There are so many worthy opening lines out there, and this is a chance for us to focus on them, while digging deep into our memory banks for the answer. The free downloads are just meant as a way to thank you for playing.

So, let’s have no more worrying about whether you’re playing too often, or winning too many times. You aren’t. Just jump in and give it a try. Guess, if you want. There’s no penalty for being wrong. No one will even know but me, and I promise I won’t tell a soul! 😀 

Now, stay tuned for next week’s #FirstLineFriday. I might leap forward in time a bit with my selection. We’ll see. Hopefully everyone will play and we’ll have five happy, non-guilty feeling winners! 

Have a great weekend, everybody!

#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed – I’m Back Now, With Our Winners & Today’s Answer!

Thanks for playing everyone, and this wraps up our 5th  #FirstLineFriday Trivia Quiz! Again, this quiz is about more than getting the right answer. It’s an opportunity to really think about what makes up a good opening line, and that’s something important to each of us, both from a writing standpoint, and a reading one. I have been pulling these lines from several lists of the Best Opening Lines of All Time, so far. I may branch out to my own favorites at some future point, but for now, all of the lines I’ve shared with you are famous in one way or another. 

Today, we have three winners: Jeanne Owens, Staci Troilo, and Deborah Jay. Congratulations, Ladies! Well done! 

And here’s the answer to today’s quiz:

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since”  is the opening line from the quintessential novel of the American Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

The book was published in 1925  and has been made into at least two films (one with Robert Redford and one with Leonardo di Caprio) and countless stage productions. As first lines go, it isn’t my favorite, so maybe this is the contradiction that proves the rule. I read and thoroughly enjoyed the book more than once, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because this line riveted my eyes to the pages. Maybe that’s just me? But if you’ve never checked out this classic, you probably should add it to your list. It’s a powerful, beautifully told tale.


A true classic of twentieth-century literature, this edition has been updated by Fitzgerald scholar James L.W. West III to include the author’s final revisions and features a note on the composition and text, a personal foreword by Fitzgerald’s granddaughter, Eleanor Lanahan—and a new introduction by two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. First published in 1925, this quintessential novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

Buy The Great Gatsby HERE

And there you have it for today’s #FirstLineFriday quiz. Hope you enjoyed it, and also hope you’ll check out The Great Gatsby. It’s one of those books everyone should read, whether the first line grabbed you or not. (In fact, I wouldn’t mind hearing how others felt about that line.)

Be sure to tune in next week for another of the 100 Best Opening Lines of All Time. See you then. 

#FirstLineFriday No. 5 – #Giveaway #FreeDownloads

It’s Friday again, and time for our fifth #FirstLineFriday Trivia Quiz. I’ve given up trying to guess which opening lines are hard ones and which are easier, but it doesn’t matter a lot. The point is, they’re ALL considered great ones, and worth taking a look at, especially for those of us want to understand how to give our books a first line that will pull readers in as soon as they read it. 

And today, I have some special news. Harmony Kent has generously offered her book, Polish Your Prose, as one of your prize choices. So you winners may select from one of my books, as always, or choose Harmony’s book on improving your craft. (If I were the one choosing, I’d take advantage of her offer, since it’s good for today only, whereas my books will always be up for grabs by winners of the quiz. Just sayin’ . . . ) 😀

(Polish Your Prose may also be purchased HERE )

Whichever book you choose, here are the rules for how to win it:

  1. Be one of the first five people to email me before the game ends at noon, with the title and author of the correct book. 
  2. Do not reply here on the blog. Email only: marciameara16@gmail.com
  3. Honor System applies. No Googling, please.
  4. Submissions end at noon, or when I receive 5 correct answers,whichever comes first.
  5. Winners who live in the U.S. may request a free download of any of my books for themselves or someone of their choice. OR, if they’ve read all of my books, they may request a free download of my next publication.
  6. Winners who live elsewhere may request a PDF or Mobi file of the same books. 
  7. Winners who choose Polish Your Prose as their prize will be sent a PDF, Mobi, or ePub file, their choice.

See? Still easy-peasy, but with more prizes! Ready to play? Here’s today’s #FirstLineFriday opening line:

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.”

Good luck!

#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed – We Have Our Winners & the Answer to the Quiz!

Hope you enjoyed our fourth #FirstLineFriday Trivia Quiz! Remember, it isn’t ONLY about winning. It’s about sharing some great opening lines that make you want to come up with ideas for your own books. Some of these are so beautiful or intriguing, they almost demand a reader dig into the story. And that’s the kind of thing we should be looking at and learning from. So play the game, for sure, but also study these lines as ways to improve your own skills. There’s value in that as well. 🙂

Today, we have two winners: Darlene Foster and Bette Stevens, whose book club just happens to have chosen this very book for their monthly selection. What are the odds! Congratulations, Ladies, and I hope you enjoy your prizes.

And here’s the answer to today’s quiz:

“In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.”

This is the brilliant and curiosity-arousing  opening line from  the 1976 novella  A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean. It was made into a very popular film roughly  20 years later, directed by Robert Redford, and starring Tom Skerritt. (Oh, and some guy named Brad Something-Or-Other. 😀 )


From its first magnificent sentence, “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing,” to the last, “I am haunted by waters,” A River Runs Through It is an American classic.

Based on Norman Maclean’s childhood experiences, A River Runs Through It has established itself as one of the most moving stories of our time; it captivates readers with vivid descriptions of life along Montana’s Big Blackfoot River and its near magical blend of fly fishing with the troubling affections of the heart.

“A masterpiece. . . . This is more than stunning fiction: It is a lyric record of a time and a life, shining with Maclean’s special gift for calling the reader’s attention to arts of all kinds—the arts that work in nature, in personality, in social intercourse, in fly-fishing.”—Kenneth M. Pierce, Village Voice.

Buy A River Runs Through It HERE
(You owe it to yourself to read this one!)

And there you have it! I hope that if you’re unfamiliar with this story,  you’ll consider adding it to your TBR pile. It’s well worth a read! Thanks for playing and see you next week, 8:00 am sharp, with another #FirstLineFriday quiz.

#FirstLineFriday – And We Have Our FIVE Winners!

I knew this week would be much easier, and you guys proved me right. We have our five winners, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the contest! Next week, we’ll aim for harder than this one, but easier than the last one! “Just Right” will be the goal! 😀 

Our winners this week: Darlene Foster, Mae Clair, Joan Hall, Jeanne Owens, and Alex Craigie (alias Trishthetrout). Congratulations to all!

Also, as a bit of a tease, we WILL have books by other authors to offer as prize choices in the weeks ahead. So even if you’ve read all of my books, you’ll have additional books to choose from. 

And the answer to this week’s puzzle is:

“When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.” is the first line of To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

Voted America’s Best-Loved Novel in PBS’s The Great American Read:
Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred.

Buy To Kill a Mockingbird HERE

Thank you ALL for playing, and I’m so happy to have winners this week! 

#FirstLineFriday #Giveaway – #FreeDownloads

It’s time for our 3rd #FirstLineFriday Trivia Quiz, and I’m going to try to do this as simply and neatly as possible. You may refer to the Rules in the Black header bar at the top of the page if you have questions on how this works. The most important thing is please do NOT post your answer on this blog where others can see. Email me instead. marciameara16@gmail.com 

The first five emails I receive giving me the correrct title and author of the book quoted below will win! Easy as pie!   Winners will receive a free download of one of my books for themselves or someone of their choice. (If they prefer, I’ll add them to a list to receive a free download of the next book I publish, instead.)

I know last week’s first line turned out to be even harder than I expected, so I’m going easier on you guys today. MUCH easier. 🙂 No more clues, though. Those resulted in too much cross-posting. If you don’t know this week’s answer, just try again next week. I plan to be doing this for a long time, and you’re sure to win now and then. 😀 

Remember, honor system applies. No Googling, please. THANKS!

Now, are you ready for what will surely be much more familiar to many of you? Well, here you go then, and good luck!

“When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”




#FirstLineFriday Submissions are Now Closed & We Have Winners!!

Wow, it has been interesting seeing how my new idea worked for today’s trial run, and I’ve already made a list of ways it can be better by next Friday. A tweak here or there will make it smoother on both your end and on mine. I will be posting mid-week to let everyone know how it’s going to work going forward, so you can all mark your calendars. That way, you’ll not miss out on getting your answers to me. More on this later. But not to worry. I really want to make this a fun thing each week, and I WILL figure out the best way to do that, so no one misses out.

Thanks for the great response so far. Our winners are: Harmony Kent, Staci Troilo, Jeanne Owens, Deborah Jay, and Bill Engelson. Jeanne, Debby, and Bill, email me with your book of choice, and let me know if you want it sent to you, or to someone else. 

THANKS so much for playing. Have a nice night, everyone!

Huh? What’s that? Some of you would like to know the answer???  😀 Okay. I suppose I can give you that. 😀

*ahem* “It was a pleasure to burn” is the opening line of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. One of my favorite authors, btw, and a most excellent book. 🙂 

Next week’s challenge might be harder. It might be easier. Depends on which one I pick. The post will go live at 8:00am, and submissions will close at noon, which I think makes it 1:00pm to 5:00pm in the U.K.  Mark your calendars. And keep an eye out for a mid-week post with more details. Got some ideas for ways to make it all even more fun.

Stay tuned for more, and whatever you do, don’t touch that dial! 😀