Tag Archives: novel

My Novel – The First Lines

Good morning Everyone!

I am working on my first mystery novel.  In fact, I’ve finished it twice already in the last twelve months and I’m just digging into my third go-round.  Naively, I thought that the major part of the work involved in writing a book came while working on the first draft.  Alas, that is not so.  I thought I’d share you with the original opening lines, and then the new revision opening lines to get your comments on the changes (if you want).  There’s also a poll so you can vote for the opening you like best.


The 2011 annual Christmas dinner for the local Webster County bar was memorable. Due to a hectic trial docket, the dinner was held December 23, much later than normal and a rare dusting of snow greeted each of us as we entered the venerable, but still elegant, Radford Grill. The party’s attendance was up that year; William Henderson, the esteemed local bar president for the last 15 years (mostly because no-one else could be bothered with it) and head of the local Democratic party for the last 20 years (mostly because nobody was better at it) had arranged for an after-dinner speaker of national prominence, an unusual treat for our normally cash-strapped local association.
Memorable achieved never-to-be-forgotten status after the national speaker (who was every bit as good as anticipated) stopped talking. As the applause died down, William stood up from the white clothed head table and went to the podium.
“I’d like to thank my good friend, Tim Tolar, for that wonderful presentation. Now, folks, it’s up to you whether you want to…”
At that  moment, Jackson Herring threw the double oak doors at the entrance to the meeting room open with a bang and strode purposefully towards William at the podium.


Christmas, cocktails and crime are a curious combination and one that none of us – not me, not Boyd and especially not William – were ready for. When I first arrived at the Christmas Dinner for the combined Webster and Windover County bar, the most trying ordeal I anticipated enduring was coping with Boyd’s latest dating partner, Cindie with an “ie.”
I had counted myself lucky, though, when Boyd sat by me, and Cindie with an “ie” sat on his other side at the half table allocated to our firm. I would like to be able to say that I couldn’t understand what Boyd saw in Cindie with an “ie” (she had introduced herself that way to so many people that I couldn’t separate the name from the qualifier), but the reasons were self-explanatory. Boyd certainly hadn’t been looking for character or intelligence when he asked her out.  As president of the Webster County bar, William, our senior partner, and his wife Molly, along with Molly’s guide dog Sidney, were at the head table.
We had made it through dinner and finished listening to the nationally known speaker that William had persuaded to speak to our always cash-strapped local association, when it happened.
“I’d like to thank my good friend for that wonderful presentation. Now, folks, it’s up to you whether you want to…”
At that moment, Jackson Herring threw the double oak doors at the entrance to the meeting room open with a bang and strode towards William at the podium.

Thank you for your help, and have a great day!


Bibliophilic Friday: R. F. Delderfield’s To Serve Them All My Days

Good morning Everyone!

R.F. Delderfield To Serve Them All My Days

It’s 1918, and on the Western Front in Europe, millions of men are engaged in life and death struggles in the most brutal of conditions for only inches of territory.  But in the uplands of England, an elderly station master gently awakens a solitary soldier as his train pulls into the station.

With that, you have the beginning of R. F. Delderfield’s To Serve Them All My Days, an intimate fictional portrait of the inter-war career of one David Powlett-Jones, a Welsh miner’s son who obtains a position teaching history at a private school in England named “Bamfylde” after he was wounded on the front during World War I.

This book is one of my all-time favorites, a book that I have literally “read to pieces.”  The first version I owned was a paperback, which these days is growing harder and harder to hold together because I have read it so much.  I bought it in Kindle format a couple of years ago, which I suspect has greatly increased the paperback version’s longevity.

The fascination in the book lies in many different aspects.  First, there is David Powlett-Jones himself,  intense, likable, intelligent and dedicated, his growing family  and the growth he experiences throughout the book through cycles of tragedy and healing.  Second, there are the boys at the school and their relationship with David Powlett-Jones.  Who can’t love a book with characters such as Winterbourne, the millionaire’s son who paints water colors and has his own private campground on the moor to escape to when things get to be too much or Chad Boyer, who introduces himself to David in their  first class together with a fake epileptic fit.  Third, the other teachers in the school are characters in their own rights, including the headmaster, Algy Herries, who has built the life up on the moor into a vibrant world of its own, irascible Howarth, amiable and erudite Barnaby and a French master with the carefully hidden first name of “Aloysius” to name just a few.  Finally, there is the story itself, an intimate history of a man that also provides a panoramic view of the times he lived in.

One of the thrills of reading is the way it can carry you into other times, places and minds.  To Serve Them All My Days does so effortlessly, providing you with an entertaining, satisfying story that leaves you, at the end, with new friends that live in on in your imagination long after the pages are closed.

Try it sometime!  You’ll like it.

Have a great weekend!


P.S.  If you do read the book, I’d love to hear from you to learn what you thought about it!