Do I have your attention? Good! That’s the purpose of a hook in a novel. I made a note of this one when I read Tricky Twenty-Two, by Janet Evanovich in 2015:

“Ginny Scoot was standing on a third-floor ledge, threatening to jump, and it was more or less my fault.” – Tricky Twenty-Two, by Janet Evanovich

TrickyTwentyTwo
Tricky Twenty-Two, by Janet Evanovich

After reading that opening sentence, you have to keep reading. The next sentence clarifies things a tad for any reader who has not read any of Ms. Evanovich’s previous 21 Stephanie Plum novels:  “My name is Stephanie Plum and I work as a bounty hunter for my bail bondsman cousin Vinnie.”

I read Janet Evanovich when I want something light and amusing to read. She did a good day’s (years’?) work when she came up with the characters in her Stephanie Plum series. Great character development!

Fans of the Stephanie Plum series know there is a story to follow that hook, no doubt filled with numerous missteps by Stephanie and probably at least one blown-up car. The opening sentence introduces Ginny Scoot to you and tells you she is in dire straits. You wonder what has happened to push her to the edge. What in the world did Stephanie Plum do to cause this crisis?

A good hook grabs you. It gives you just enough information that your curiosity is piqued and you are compelled to keep reading. The first sentence doesn’t have to carry the whole load; however, if the reader isn’t hooked by the bottom of the first page, chances are he or she won’t read the second page. That’s a lot of pressure for a writer!

Since my last blog post

I was fortunate to find one copy of The Carolina Backcountry On The Eve Of The Revolution:  The Journal and Other Writings of Charles Woodmason, Anglican Itinerant, edited by Richard J. Hooker in circulation in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library System. It has been useful in my research for the historical novel I’m writing.

More letters have been sent to independent bookstore owners to encourage them to place orders for my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, as spring is finally approaching in western North Carolina.

I’ve continued to hone my new skill of creating graphics for Pinterest using www.Canva.com. In fact, someone at www.Canva.com saw my last blog post and contacted me. She was complimentary of my blog but requested that I give the whole URL (www.Canva.com) instead of “Canva.com” as I had in my blog. I corrected that in last week’s blog post.

Last week’s blog post, How Can a Writer Use Pinterest?, has only been liked by four other WordPress.com (or WordPress.org) bloggers, so Pinterest doesn’t appear to be a popular blog topic for me. I have gained several new followers via email, though, so perhaps it was of interest of a few people. I’ll be watching my Pinterest analytics to see if my original graphics get any attention.

I read on www.Goodreads.com that Jennifer Ryan is considering writing a sequel to The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. I commented on how much I liked it in my April 1, 2017 blog post, The Authors I Read in March. I look forward to reading the sequel, if it comes to fruition.

Going off topic

The highlights of my week were seeing several birds that make rare appearances in my yard. First came a male scarlet tanager to get a drink of water on Sunday. Two days later, two male indigo buntings, and a rose-breasted grosbeak came to eat. The grosbeak usually stops by our bird feeder every spring, but he’s just passing through. The indigo buntings graze on the ground under the feeder.

Sometimes the rose-breasted grosbeak stays for two or three days, but this year I only saw him once. He feasted for a good 15 minutes before flying away. Other birds came and went, but he was not deterred. This is much different behavior than is displayed by the northern cardinal. The northern cardinal is the most skittish bird I’ve seen. We have them in abundance.

I’ve only seen indigo buntings a few times in my life, but this was only the second time I’d seen a scarlet tanager. I didn’t get any photographs this time, but I found it interesting when I looked back in my photo files that the indigo bunting and rose-breasted grosbeak showed up on the same day in 2007. I photographed them on May 9 that year. It was the first time I’d ever seen either species.

This year they showed up on April 24. Concluding that the two species apparently migrate together, I did a little research. I learned on https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/indigo_bunting (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology) that indigo buntings “migrate at night, using the stars for guidance.” Perhaps it is coincidental that they and the rose-breasted grosbeak both show up in my yard on the same day.

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Male Indigo Bunting, photographed March 9, 2007.
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Male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, photographed March 9, 2007.

When I chose the topic for today’s post, I had no idea I would include a segment about birds. I selected the above photo of the grosbeak because it was the best picture I took of him. It just occurred to me that he sort of illustrates the title of this blog post. Okay, use a little imagination. Work with me here!

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good place to watch a variety of birds.

I also hope you have a good book to read. I’m reading the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, Less, by Andrew Sean Greer. I’m usually years behind in reading award winners, so I decided to jump right on this one.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

Feel free to share my blog posts on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or via email.

Thank you for reading my blog! What birds have you seen recently, and what are you reading?

Janet

8 thoughts on ““On a third-floor ledge, threatening”

  1. One of the wonderful things about connecting on WordPress is how we learn rom the interests of others, this was a delightful read and whet’s one’s appetite for teh author and her work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I discovered a nest of around 7 quail eggs in my backyard in Arizona. Now I must ward off the snakes and lizards that would make them their breakfast. Darn this circle of life. I love your bird pics.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is so true. I have learned from writers all over the world.

    Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels have sometimes made me laugh out loud. How often does a book make one do that? After such a long series, I’m finding the plots to be more and more predictable, so the laughs aren’t as hardy. Ms. Evanovich has created a core group of characters who appear in each book, and after reading the first or second book in the series you have vivid mental pictures of each of them. I hope I’ll be able to create characters that well some day.

    Thank you for your comment, and thank you for following my blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m thrilled to know that you have a nest of quail eggs! I am fortunate as an adult to live in the house where I grew up. Every year quail nested in the same place in our yard, and it was a joy to see them walking around with their distinctive head bobbing. Maybe six or seven years ago I realized I was no longer seeing any quail. I haven’t seen one since. Sometimes I don’t fully appreciate something until it’s gone. So I hope your quail and their eggs survive the predators and flourish. Keep me posted!

    I’m glad you enjoyed my bird pics. Thank you for following my blog, and thanks so much for commenting!

    Like

  5. Will do! We have Gamble quail here in Arizona where I live. The mom and dad and all the darling baby chicks never cease to thrill me. But between the coyotes, bob cats, road runners and reptiles, their odds of being hatched runs low.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Janet,

    I know you like those opening hooks, so the opening of this book was perfect for you.

    Like you, I enjoy birds. Such variety of birds you have down there as I have among the many birds that visit my trees. I like to think of you working hard on your historical novel. I’m sure it will eventuate into something really good. I’m looking forward to it. I have written and had published a number of stories and poems, but consider myself mainly a non-fiction writer and fan, particularly of the personal essay. That is my main creative filed at the moment.

    Thanks for the post,
    Best wishes, David

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, David.

    Sorry for my delay in responding to your kind comments. Funny you would mention non-fiction. I’m reading several non-fiction books off and on and enjoying the diversion from fiction. Until about 18 years ago I almost exclusively read non-fiction. I appreciate non-fiction and fiction now to the point I can’t read but a fraction of the books I want to read. The reading continues to rob me of writing time. Those due dates at the library continue to control my life! LOL! I did a bit of brainstorming yesterday, though, and came up with a little different angle on something in my novel.

    Thank you for being a loyal follower of my blog. I appreciate all your comments.

    Like

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