#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz, and the Name of Our Winner!

Sorry to be so late announcing our winners today. Lost internet reception for a bit, but all is well again, and yes, submissions for #FirstLineFriday are officially closed. My thanks to all who emailed me with their guesses. Today, we have one winner: Priscilla Bettis.  Congratulations, Priscilla, and I hope you enjoy your prize.

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

“Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable.” is the opening line from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The novella was written by Stevenson in 1886, and has been adapted for film and stage many times over the years.

Dr. Henry Jekyll and his alternate personality, Mr. Edward Hyde, is the central character and is a good friend of main protagonist Gabriel John Utterson. Jekyll is a kind and respected English doctor who has repressed evil urges inside of him. In an attempt to hide this, he develops a type of serum that he believes will effectively mask his dark side. Instead, Jekyll transforms into Edward Hyde, the physical and mental manifestation of his evil personality. This process happens more regularly until Jekyll becomes unable to control when the transformations occur.

AMAZON BLURB

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the title of a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that was first published in 1886. The work is commonly known today as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or simply Jekyll & Hyde. It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. The work is commonly associated with the rare mental condition often called “split personality,” referred to in psychiatry as dissociative identity disorder, where within the same body there exists more than one distinct personality. In this case, there are two personalities within Dr. Jekyll, one apparently good and the other evil. The novella’s impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the very phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.

A classic that continues to be referenced today, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will forever be locked in literary history.

Buy The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde HERE

That wraps it up for this week, folks. Thanks so much for taking part, and I hope you’ll stay tuned for another #FirstLineFriday quiz next week. See you then!

#FirstLineFriday #GiveawayContest #FreeDownloads

Welcome once again to #FirstLineFriday, a little quiz designed to help us appreciate some of the best opening lines in literary history. From the classics of long ago to the latest best-sellers, everything is fair game.

As always, the rules are simple:

  1. Be one of the first five people to email me before the game ends at 4:00pm, with the title and authorof 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 4:00 P.M. EST, 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 one of my books for themselves, or for someone of their choice. OR, if they’ve read all of the offered books, they may request a free download of my next publication.
  6. Winners who live elsewheremay request a PDF file of the same books, since, sadly, Amazon won’t let me gift you from the site.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for! I’m predicting this one will be a challenge, but I love it so much, I can’t resist. And besides, my predictions haven’t been right yet, so who knows? Either way, here’s today’s opening line: 

“Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable.” 

Remember, email answers only, please. Thanks! And now off I go to await your guesses. 

#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz.

I had a feeling this one was going to stump a lot of people, but as I promised, this is a book I’d bet that every single one of you has at least heard of. For some reason, it appealed to my wicked sense of humor to use a line from a very well-known book, but which would probably fool all of us, me included. I was willing to be wrong and give away some downloads today, but alas. I called it correctly. Sorry to say we have no winners.

So with that in mind, are you ready to find out which very famous book none of us can recognize from the opening line? Okay. Here goes.

“You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.” is the opening line from Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus written by English author Mary Shelley though first published anonymously in 1818. Her name did not appear until the second edition published in Paris in 1821.

Frankenstein is infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement. Brian Aldiss has argued that it should be considered the first true science fiction story because, in contrast to previous stories with fantastical elements resembling those of later science fiction, the central character “makes a deliberate decision” and “turns to modern experiments in the laboratory” to achieve fantastic results. It has had a considerable influence in literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories, films and plays.

Since the novel’s publication, the name “Frankenstein” has often been used to refer to the monster itself. In the novel, Frankenstein’s creation is identified by words such as creature, monster, fiend, and wretch, but it is the monster’s creator who is correctly identified as Victor Frankenstein. 

There are many editions of this book available on Amazon, but I chose to use the one featuring what most of us think of when we discuss the book or, more likely, one of the many film adaptations. No one can forget Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster, I’m sure.

AMAZON BLURB:

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley about the young student of science Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque but sentient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty.

Shelley had travelled through Europe in 1814, journeying along the river Rhine in Germany with a stop in Gernsheim which is just 17 km (10 mi) away from Frankenstein Castle, where two centuries before an alchemist was engaged in experiments. Later, she travelled in the region of Geneva (Switzerland)—where much of the story takes place—and the topics of galvanism and other similar occult ideas were themes of conversation among her companions, particularly her lover and future husband, Percy Shelley. Mary, Percy, Lord Byron, and John Polidori decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for days, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made; her dream later evolved into the story within the novel.

BUY Frankenstein HERE

And that’s it for this week, folks. (See? I told you this was a book familiar to all of us. I’ve even read it. More than once, back in my misspent youth. But be darned if I recognized that opening line.) Next week, I promise to go easier on you! Hope you’ll join me then for another #FirstLineFriday.

 

#FirstLineFriday #GiveawayContest #FreeDownloads

Sometimes it takes a while to get here, but sooner or later, it’s Friday again, and time for another #FirstLineFriday quiz. Today, I’ve picked an opening line which amuses me, and I’m going to enjoy seeing how many of you recognize it. Let’s play!

As always, the rules are simple:

  1. Be one of the first five people to email me before the game ends at 4:00pm, with the title and authorof 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 4:00 P.M. EST, or when I receive 5 correct answerswhichever comes first.
  5. Winners who live in the U.S.may request a free download of any one of my books for themselves, or for someone of their choice. OR, if they’ve read all of the offered books, they may request a free download of my next publication.
  6. Winners who live elsewheremay request a PDF file of the same books, since, sadly, Amazon won’t let me gift you from the site.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for! Here’s today’s opening line: 

“You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.” 

There you have it. Remember, email answers only, please. Thanks! And now off I go to await your guesses.

 

#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz, and the Names of Our Winners!

The good news is, we’ve already had FIVE winners this week! The bad news is, this means submissions are now closed for today’s quiz. But congratulations to our winners: Jeanne Owens, Joan Hall, Darlene Foster, Mae Clair, and Trish Power. Thanks for playing!

Hope everyone enjoyed this week’s first line, even if it was totally unfamiliar to some. But take it from me, it really is a classic line from a classic book, by a very famous author. And it contained an important clue, too.

“To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.” is the opening line from The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck.

The Grapes of Wrath is an American realist novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1939. The book won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and it was cited prominently when Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962.

Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, agricultural industry changes, and bank foreclosures forcing tenant farmers out of work. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they are trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California along with thousands of other “Okies” seeking jobs, land, dignity, and a future.

The Grapes of Wrath is frequently read in American high school and college literature classes due to its historical context and enduring legacy. A celebrated Hollywood film version, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, was released in 1940.

 

AMAZON BLURB: 

The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers. Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

A Penguin Classic:

First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.

This Penguin Classics edition contains an introduction and notes by Steinbeck scholar Robert Demott.

You can buy The Grapes of Wrath HERE

Thanks so much for playing this week, and I hope you’ll join us next time for another #FirstLineFriday challenge. See you then!

#News #AlertTheMedia #FirstLineFriday Quiz is Now Open Longer!

This just in from management (me): I’ve been thinking about extending #FirstLineFriday’s deadline for submissions, and today’s post is tricky enough that I think I’ll go ahead and do so. From this point on, the quiz will run until 4:00pm EST or until I receive five correct answers. That way, some of you who aren’t able to check it out until a bit later will have more of a chance to play, unless I’ve already gotten all five winners. (That doesn’t happen often.) 

SO, today’s quiz will not close until 4:00pm or those answers all come rolling in. Have fun!! 

#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz, and the Names of Our Winners!

Time to close today’s #FirstLineFriday quiz. I’m happy to say we have three winners today, and they are Harmony Kent, Darlene Foster, and Trish Power. Congratulations to these ladies who each knew the correct answer:

“No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were being scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.” is the long but very intriguing opening line of The War of the Worlds, by famed English Sci-Fi writer H. G. Wells. 

The novel’s first appearance in hardcover was in 1898 from publisher William Heinemann of London. Written between 1895 and 189, or more than 120 years ago, it is one of the earliest stories to detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. Believe it or not, this book has NEVER been out of print in all those years, and has been adapted for film at least twice, in 1953 and more recently, in 2005.

This is the book that spawned so many of our favorite science fiction stories, novels, and movies over the decades. I’m ashamed to say that while I’m familiar with the book, of course, I’ve never read it. It’s definitely going on my TBR pile! Hope some of you will check it out, too.

BLURB:

A beautiful and rare edition that includes 130 illustrations by Henrique Correa
SeaWolf Press is proud to offer another book in its H. G. Wells 100th Anniversary Collection. Each book in the collection contains the text and illustrations from the first or early edition (but it is not a photocopy.)Use Amazon’s Lookinside feature to compare this edition with others. You’ll be impressed by the differences. If you like our book, be sure to leave a review! Our version has:

  • 130 original illustrations. Don’t be fooled by other versions with missing or made-up pictures.
  • Text that has been proofread to avoid errors common in other versions.
  • A beautiful cover that replicates the first edition cover.
  • The complete text in an easy-to-read font similar to the original.
  • Properly formatted text complete with correct indenting, spacing, footnotes, italics, and tables.

The War of the Worlds is a captivating science fiction novel that appeared in hardcover in 1898. It is one of the earliest stories to detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. The novel is the first-person narrative as southern England is invaded by Martians who possess devastating weapons. The novel has been variously interpreted as a commentary on evolutionary theory, British imperialism, and generally Victorian superstitions, fears, and prejudices. The story has also been made into a number of movies, TV shows, and radio dramas. It was most memorably dramatized in a 1938 radio program that caused public panic among listeners who did not know the Martian invasion was fictional. The novel has even influenced the work of rocket scientists in their quest to land on the moon.

Buy The War of the Worlds HERE

Thanks so much for playing, and I’m already looking forward to next week’s #FirstLineFriday quiz. Stay tuned!

#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our #Quiz, and the Names of Our Winners!

Our 2nd #FirstLineFriday quiz of 2020 has now come to a close. Happily, we have four winners for this one. It could have gone either way, because it’s a pretty well known book. I honestly thought the opening line might be a dead-giveaway even for those who hadn’t read it, but it turned out to be just tricky enough. Not so easy that I had a million guesses rolling in, but not so hard that we ended up with no winners. Just right! 🙂

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.” is the opening line of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

This week’s winners are Jeanne Owens, Patt Kline, Darlene Foster, and Ashlynn Waterstone. Congratulations and thanks for playing!

And here is what Amazon has to say about the entire collected set of novels, which, btw, I just ordered for myself. (I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read these, and me an enormous fan of weird British humor, a la Monty Python, etc. )

BLURB:

In one complete volume, here are the five classic novels from Douglas Adams’s beloved Hitchhiker series.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read)
Seconds before the Earth is demolished for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is saved by Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised Guide. Together they stick out their thumbs to the stars and begin a wild journey through time and space.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
The moment before annihilation at the hands of warmongers is a curious time to crave tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his comrades as they hurtle across the galaxy in a desperate search for a place to eat.

Life, the Universe and Everything
The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky– so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals can avert Armageddon: mild-mannered Arthur Dent and his stalwart crew.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Back on Earth, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription thrusts him back to reality. So to speak.

Mostly Harmless
Just when Arthur Dent makes the terrible mistake of starting to enjoy life, all hell breaks loose. Can he save the Earth from total obliteration? Can he save the Guide from a hostile alien takeover? Can he save his daughter from herself?

Includes the bonus story “Young Zaphod Plays It Safe”

“With droll wit, a keen eye for detail and heavy doses of insight . . . Adams makes us laugh until we cry.”—San Diego Union-Tribune

“Lively, sharply satirical, brilliantly written . . . ranks with the best set pieces in Mark Twain.”—The Atlantic


Buy The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy HERE

And there you have it for this week! Hope you enjoyed playing along, and that some of you will be inspired to check this infamous series of books out. 

Stay tuned for more #FirstLineFriday next week! See you then! 🙂

#FirstLineFriday #GiveawayContest #FreeDownloads

And once again, folks, it’s Friday. Time for another interesting, intriguing, mysterious, humorous, or otherwise engaging first line for you to consider. Today’s is just weird enough that I suspect a lot of folks will recognize it, though I have to admit I haven’t read this one. Yet. It’s been on my list for a long time, though. Maybe today’s contest will be the push I need to get busy and check it out. 

As always, the rules are simple:

  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 one of my books for themselves, or for someone of their choice. OR, if they’ve read all of the offered books, they may request a free download of my next publication.
  6. Winners who live elsewhere may request a PDF file of the same books, since, sadly, Amazon won’t let me gift you from the site.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting all week for! (You have been waiting for this, right?) Well, here it is. Today’s opening line:

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.”

Remember, email answers only, please. Thanks! And now off I go to await your guesses. 

#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz, and the Names of Our Winners!

Woohooo! So happy to have #FirstLineFriday back, and this week, I’m also happy to announce we have some winners! Four, to be exact, which is great since I consider this opening line to be pretty tricky. Everyone should be familiar with the title of this one, since it has been around a long time, and was published in 1951, nearly 70 years ago!

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” is the opening line of J. D. Salinger’s award-winning novel, Catcher in the Rye. 

The book was included in Time Magazine’s 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923,  and it was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th Century! I read Catcher in the Rye in high school, in 1961 or 1962, so nearly sixty years ago. I suppose that’s why I didn’t recognize that very unique (and unbelievably LONG) opening line, either. I’m planning to read it again, because any book that’s still being acclaimed after all these years is worth a second look, even if Salinger ended up as one of the most famous hermits of his generation. 

There is a certain amount of controversy about this book, given today’s vastly different cultural climate, but this isn’t the place to discuss that, thanks. Our contest is about testing our knowledge of book trivia, seeing the vast differences in ways to open a novel, and studying what makes opening lines effective. 

Congratulations to this week’s winners, Olga Nunez, Teri Polen, Flossie Benton Rogers, and Darlene Foster. Way to go, Ladies! Be on the lookout for your gift from Amazon or for Olga a PDF file of your choice. 

BLURB:

Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger’s New Yorker stories–particularly A Perfect Day for BananafishUncle Wiggily in ConnecticutThe Laughing Man, and For Esme With Love and Squalor–will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is full of children. The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield.

Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.

There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

Buy Catcher in the Rye HERE

Thanks so much for playing, and I’m already looking forward to next week’s #FirstLineFriday quiz. Stay tuned!