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I’m at a conference this weekend, so I’m going to make this short and sweet.
The 7 elements I think are essential in any great romance story.
- a heroine with backbone that I can imagine myself being
- a hero I can fall n love despite foibles and flaws
- a villain/protagonist who isn’t a characature
- a plot that is plausible with conflict that is real not contrived
- a setting that is real
- an HEA ( duh!)
- secondary characters that are more than just walk-ons and that enrich, contribute to, and foster the h/h’s journey to love
Check out the other authors in this hop to see some of their favorite “7 things” Seven Saturday
I’m that girl who picks up a book in bookstore and turns to the first page, not the back blurb, first. If the book gets me with the first line, I’m sold. Here are my 7 favorite opening lines in books. ( I really have about 1,000 but this is Saturday Seven not Saturday 1,000, so…heehee)
The seven best opening lines in books.
- Call me Ishmael – Moby Dick by Hermann Melville
2. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
—Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
3. “It was a bright, cold day in April. And the clocks were striking thirteen.” 1984 ~George Orwell
5. “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.'”
—The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
6. “We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.”
—The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
7. “It was a dark and stormy night” Snoopy via Peanuts & Charles Shultz
Since this is a progressive blog hop, let’s see what some of the other authors’ seven favs for the week are: SaturdaySeven
I may write romance but I lovelovelove to read MYSTERIES. This love was created when I read my very first AGATHA CHRISTIE novel when I was 10 years old. She died when I was 16 but before she did I’d found and read every single one of her books in my local library. The way she constructed her plots; the over-the-top characters she breathed life into, even her protagonists like Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple and Tuppance and Tommy, were all valued friends to me during my teen years. So, in no real order, here are my 7 favorite Agatha Christie books
The ABC murders
There’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card he leaves beside each victim’s corpe the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place.Having begun with Andover, Bexhill and then Churston, there seems little chance of the murderer being caught – until he makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans…
Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Then, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with an apparent drug overdose.
However the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information, but before he could finish reading the letter, he was stabbed to death. Luckily one of Roger’s friends and the newest resident to retire to this normally quiet village takes over—none other than Monsieur Hercule Poirot.
Murder on the Orient Express
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.
Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again
Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a isolated mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…
Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?
***this was a great stand alone book and has been made into innumerable movie & television adaptations.
The crime-fighting careers of Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings have come full circle—they are back once again in the rambling country house in which they solved their first murder together.
Both Hercule Poirot and Great Styles have seen better days—but, despite being crippled with arthritis, there is nothing wrong with the great detective and his “little gray cells.” However, when Poirot brands one of the seemingly harmless guests a five-time murderer, some people have their doubts. But Poirot alone knows he must prevent a sixth murder before the curtain falls. *** Poirot’s last case.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorp and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Suspects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary—from the heiress’s fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary.
With impeccable timing, and making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is on the case. *** His very first case.
Miss Marple ( in her very first appearance) encounters a compelling murder mystery in the sleepy little village of St. Mary Mead, where under the seemingly peaceful exterior of an English country village lurks intrigue, guilt, deception and death.
Colonel Protheroe, local magistrate and overbearing land-owner is the most detested man in the village. Everyone–even in the vicar–wishes he were dead. And very soon he is–shot in the head in the vicar’s own study. Faced with a surfeit of suspects, only the inscrutable Miss Marple can unravel the tangled web of clues that will lead to the unmasking of the killer.
Since this is a blog hop, hop on over to the other writers in the series to see what they’re writing about today concerning the number 7! SaturdaySeven
Plot twists that lead to endings where you scream out, “NO FRIGGIN’ WAY!!” are just delightful to me. Remember the Agatha Christie book The Murder of Roger Ackroyd? At the time, many book reviewers accused Christie of playing unfair and being underhanded with the ending. But I’ve re-read that book recently and my thought: it’s masterful the way she manipulated the reader. If you’ve never read it, you should.
Because I like twisted endings, the kind you really should have seen coming, but the writer/director was so brilliant in how she laid out the story you didn’t, I give you my favorite 7 movie endings that you should have seen coming – but probably didn’t!
The Sixth Sense – really, folks, you should have realized where the movie was heading the minute the kid said, “I see dead people.”
Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is haunted by a dark secret: he is visited by ghosts. Cole is frightened by visitations from those with unresolved problems who appear from the shadows. He is too afraid to tell anyone about his anguish, except child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis). As Dr. Crowe tries to uncover the truth about Cole’s supernatural abilities, the consequences for client and therapist are a jolt that awakens them both to something unexplainable.
Shutter Island ( the book and the movie!) “Baby, why you wet?” One of the classic lines in fiction!
The implausible escape of a brilliant murderess brings U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner (Mark Ruffalo) to Ashecliffe Hospital, a fortress-like insane asylum located on a remote, windswept island. The woman appears to have vanished from a locked room, and there are hints of terrible deeds committed within the hospital walls. As the investigation deepens, Teddy realizes he will have to confront his own dark fears if he hopes to make it off the island alive.
The Others. When you watch a movie about ghosts, you expect to see ghosts, no?
Grace (Nicole Kidman), the devoutly religious mother of Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), moves her family to the English coast during World War II. She awaits word on her missing husband while protecting her children from a rare photosensitivity disease that causes the sun to harm them. Anne claims she sees ghosts, Grace initially thinks the new servants are playing tricks but chilling events and visions make her believe something supernatural has occurred.
The Prestige. So bloody obvious…so bloody brilliant!
Psycho. The movie that made the American public switch to taking baths!
Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the lam after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), is overcome by exhaustion during a heavy rainstorm. Traveling on the back roads to avoid the police, she stops for the night at the ramshackle Bates Motel and meets the polite but highly strung proprietor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a young man with an interest in taxidermy and a difficult relationship with his mother.
Seven. The last 90 seconds are everything!
When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills (Brad Pitt), they discover a number of elaborate and grizzly murders. They soon realize they are dealing with a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who is targeting people he thinks represent one of the seven deadly sins. Somerset also befriends Mills’ wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is pregnant and afraid to raise her child in the crime-riddled city.
Planet of the Apes ( the 1968 version with Charleston Heston, not the asinine remakes. ) Can anyone say, “it’s the future?”
Complex sociological themes run through this science-fiction classic about three astronauts marooned on a futuristic planet where apes rule and humans are slaves. The stunned trio discovers that these highly intellectual simians can both walk upright and talk. They have even established a class system and a political structure. The astronauts suddenly find themselves part of a devalued species, trapped and imprisoned by the apes.
This post is part of a blog hop. Click on to see what some other authors find 7-worthy! SaturdaySeven
Nora Roberts/JD Robb is my favorite author of all time. Bar, none. Many of her books deal with families ( as do mine) and as secondary characters with investment in the plot resolution, she typically adds children into the mix. Gotta love a bad boy who loses his heart to his lover’s kids! So, in no real order, these are my favorite Roberts/Robb books with kids as a major driving force to the story.
The Heart of Devin McCade
Sheriff Devin MacKade has always known his destiny was to serve and protect the small town of Antietam, Maryland—and for a long while he thought that future would include Cassie Connor. But when Cassie married the wrong man, Devin did the honorable thing and kept his feelings to himself. Now that Cassie’s divorced, Devin can finally follow his heart. Question is, can Cassie? Cassie’s children, Connor and Emma love Devin and he them. I sigh every time I read the interactions between him and Emma.
All I want for Christmas
Single dad Mac Taylor is about to find out the lengths to which his mischievous twin boys, Zeke and Zach, will go to find him the Christmas gift of new love when they send a special wish for a new mom to Old Saint Nick… The twins wish for a mom for Christmas from Santa. Le sigh…..
The Next Always
The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett has little time for a social life. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was sixteen.
After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Though busy, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look…at both the building and the man behind it… The scene where Beckett asks Clare’s boys if he can marry her is so heartwarming, I’m sighing writing this just remembering it!
A champion boat racer, Cameron Quinn traveled the world spending his winnings on champagne and women. But when his dying father calls him home to care for Seth, a troubled young boy not unlike Cameron once was, his life changes overnight.
After years of independence, Cameron has to learn to live with his brothers again, while he struggles with cooking, cleaning, and caring for a difficult boy. Old rivalries and new resentments flare between Cameron and his brothers, but they try to put aside their differences for Seth’s sake. In the end, a social worker will decide Seth’s fate, and as tough as she is beautiful, she has the power to bring the Quinns together—or tear them apart… The relationship between Cameron and Seth is more father and son than brother to brother, and it’s endearing. Talk about a bad boy with a heart of gold!
Hayley Phillips came to Memphis hoping for a new start, for herself and her unborn child. She wasn’t looking for a handout from her distant cousin Roz, just a job at her thriving In the Garden nursery. What she found was a home surrounded by beauty and the best friends she’s ever had—including Roz’s son Harper. To Hayley’s chagrin, she has begun to dream about Harper—as much more than a friend…
If Hayley gives in to her desire, she’s afraid the foundation she’s built with Harper will come tumbling down. And that wouldn’t be the only consequence, since her dreams are tangled up with Roz and the nursery. Hayley will have to put the past behind her to know her own heart again—and to decide whether she’s willing to risk it…
The In Death books – Bella Eve (Born in Death)
Just as Eve Dallas begins to investigate the grisly double homicide of two young lovers—both employees of the same prestigious accounting firm—her friend Mavis need a favor. One of the moms-to-be in Mavis’s birthing class has gone missing. Normally, such a case would be turned over to Missing Persons. But Mavis wants no one else on the job—and Eve can’t say no.
Now Eve’s trying to track down the missing woman, while simultaneously unearthing the deals and double-crosses hidden in the files of some of the city’s richest and most secretive citizens, in a race against this particularly vicious killer. Luckily, her multimillionaire husband Roarke’s expertise comes in handy with the number crunching. But as he mines the crucial data that will break the case wide open, Eve faces an all too real danger in the world of flesh and blood..Mavis goes into labor and Roarke and Dallas are her birth coaches, which, if you’ve read any of the series, you know is so comical it’s more than laughable! But the first time Eve holds her name sake in her arms is the stuff great writing is made for!
(Apprentice in Death)
The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice-skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.
Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD but never one like this. A review of the security videos reveals that the victims were killed with a tactical laser rifle fired by a sniper, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the list of locations where the shooter could have set up seems endless, the number of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.
Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil… the last 10 pages of this book are priceless as Roarke and Eve finish up the case they are on and then hastily make their way back to Bella’s birthday. When the toddler sees their bruised and battered faces, she kisses their bruises away and even the perpetual snarky Dallas looses her heart.
Since this blog hop is inspired by the Long and Short Reviews site, click on these other authors and see what their #Saturday Sevens look like
|1.||ELF the Reading Addict||4.||Marianne Arkins||7.||Megan Slayer|
|2.||Lisabet Sarai (giveaway too!)||5.||Welcome to my World of Dreams|
|3.||Peggy Jaeger||6.||Lydia Schoch|