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The Maya Fantasy Opening

Revision #113 or something like that. 

It’s just that pesky first line and the next few paragraphs.  So small, yet so important.  They must set the mood, the language, the character…they must be compelling, moving, tempting you to continue turning the page.  I sat over lunch today with a notebook and pen while I scribbled, doodled, crossed out, ripped, wadded up, and started over again until I finally settled on this.  What do you think, compared to the old opening here?

He never hated his magic until it compelled him to kill.
From the broken shadows of his temple, the once all-powerful priest watched the encroacher attempt to work the same doomed magic.  Brilliant ruby pooled in the pocked basin of the altar and overflowed, streaming the hand-carved stone in vibrant filigree.  The blood glowed like molten rock hot from the earth’s heart, releasing magic into the night.
The priest shuddered, his skin crawling in the caress of power.  His nostrils flared to catch the faint tantalizing scent of sweet copper.  Such temptation.  He tightened his grip on the starved jaguar pacing within him.  Such power. 
The city once known as the Mouth of Creation had kept his secrets for a thousand years.  Now he must kill this man to protect that forbidden knowledge.
Keeping to the shadows, the priest called out, “As Gatekeeper of Chi’Ch’ul, I command you to leave my city or die.”

8 thoughts on “The Maya Fantasy Opening

  1. Hi Joely! I just discovered your books from being sent to your publisher when I discovered yours there too! I love reading fantasy romance and just downloaded your free reads and hooked already! I’m looking forward to getting yours and reading them as soon as I can. Great to meet you!

  2. Joely, the first book in the series is Survive My Fire, right? And for the other trilogy, The Rose of Shanhasson?
    I only could find that on Fictionwise (ROSE) so don’t know if the others will be there soon? Thanks!

  3. Wow, good on May for spotting those things! I wasn’t even thinking in that direction. Makes a lot of sense though.

    I definitely see how this opening is more personalized, and the new first line is very “hook-ie”. You were more sparing with the bit of back story too this time around. It feels faster paced. I’d say its a job well done.

  4. Caffey, thanks so much for stopping by! The Shanhasson trilogy and the Keldari Fire stories are set in the same world with two different cultures, and they don’t really intersect much into the final book of the trilogy (which isn’t even to Drollerie yet). You could read Rose first, or Survive My Fire first. The story lines are not dependent. If you want to read in true “chronological” order as far as the world is concerned, Survive My Fire does happen first, but you don’t have to do so in order to understand Rose. Different set of characters entirely. Thanks again!

  5. Soleil, I wasn’t either, obviously. 😆 I wanted a “fantasy” opening, but you’re right, it had too much backstory. This opening is more in your face and personal to the character than the other. The only tricky part is his name. I can’t come right out and start saying he’s “Ruin” without explaining why! So I left him as the priest, etc. until he does that little distraction thing with Blood Gatherer as he locks the Gate.

  6. Caffey, I should add that the Keldari novellas aren’t at Fictionwise because of size constraints (they’re too small independently). Eventually–as in, when I finish a third novella–we plan to bundle all three Fire novellas together for wider distribution.

  7. Joely, thank you!! I’m one who really likes to read in order. If the 3rd isn’t soon, I’ll probably go for getting the first so I can start! I don’t want to miss these. I’m really thrilled to have found yours! I will go check if they will go into my reader (I use the EbookWise reader). Sorry I’m just thrilled to find yours as I have gotten into fantasy and fantasy romance and just love it! You have a great evening!

  8. Oh I like that opening better than the last one you shared. I think it’s much stronger.

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