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Two beginnings -- help

I have written two different opening chapters -- they have the same content, just a different order of information.  Please let me know which you prefer.  I am posting the whole chapter for both, but you only have to read one all the way through -- they end the same.

Version ONE:


She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before looking at the screen again.

Dead. She had read it correctly. Thomas Wylie was dead, and she found out from a blurb on her computer screen.


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Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake

~Henry David Thoreau

Feedback for the opening of a mystery

I think I have finished a rough draft of my first chapter.  Chapter two will be the interview with the agent...

Please let me know how this works as a mystery.  Thanks :)


A much needed day off was not supposed to start with an urgent phone call from one’s boss – especially not one at 6:00 am.



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Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake

~Henry David Thoreau

A first attempt at mystery

I am new to the idea of writing mysteries, but after reading mystery books almost exclusively for the last year, I'm ready to give it a go.  Here is my first attempt at opening a story.  Please give me some feedback. 

A much needed day off was not supposed to start with an urgent phone call from one’s boss – especially not one at 6:00 am.

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NEW YORK -- Publishing tycoon Travis Wiley was found dead in his New York Penthouse by his housekeeper. Wiley, believed to be 52, had no known health problems according to longtime friend and company spokesperson Ralph Edgerton. A full autopsy will be performed later this week.

Richelle lowered the newspaper and looked at her mentor. “I’m, wow, I just don’t know what to say.”

“I feel quite flabbergasted myself.” Penderly sighed and lowered his gaze to meet hers. “Obviously, the authorities suspect foul play.”

“Really? Was something missing? Did someone steal any—“

“No, his collection was surprisingly untouched.”

“Then why do they suspect,” Richelle paused as she lowered her eyes to continue reading.

“An investigator called last night, Chelley. “ Penderly adjusted his features. “While looking for evidence last evening, one of the detectives noticed that some of the art hanging on the walls was double framed.”

“Double framed?”

“Yes, the investigator removed one of these double framed items to find that behind the piece on display was another piece of art.”

“Another piece?”

“Yes, Picasso’s Tete de Femme.”

“But that was stolen in 1997.”

“Now you see the problem. Mr. Wiley was not quite the noble art collector we thought him to be.”

“I feel like such a fool.”

“Don’t be too hard on yourself, dear. After all, Mr. Wiley came to us as a highly recommended client – he purchased from both Perls and Weber, not to mention myself. “

Richelle sat with her head in her hands while Penderly continued talking. Suddenly bolted upright. “What was that, sir? I’m sorry; I was a bit lost in my thoughts.”

“I said that the FBI was sending an agent from their Art Crime Team to interview us this morning. He should be here by 8:30. I just didn’t want you to be surprised.”

“Thank you, sir, that’s very considerate of you.”

“Since you’ve come in today, dear, why not take tomorrow off. I know you need some time to work on your dissertation, The Treasures of Saint-Dennis can be daunting since so many are lost.”

“Not lost, just ‘location unknown’.” Her eyes moved to the rock crystal vase that sat on the shelf behind his desk.

“You know where I got this, Ms. Braxton, yet you still suspect.” He raised both brows.

“I just want to know why my mother had a precious, yet broken, missing artifact in our home and why you wanted it so badly after it was smashed.”

“I always thought it was pretty.” His eyes twinkled and his lips curled in a devilish grin.

“Yeah right.” Richelle stood. The knot that always formed when she thought of her parents’ murder threatened to form. “I’ll go pull my files on Travis Wiley and the pieces we sold him.” 


Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake

~Henry David Thoreau

Addition to "The Pearls"

This is a scene that I've added to my story "The Pearls" in an attempt to make the ending more believeable.  Let me know what you think!


“Mary Catherine, I said no, and that’s final.”  Eliza slammed the tea glass on the counter.

“Mom, it’s only the prom.  Everyone goes.  It’s a rite of passage.” Mary Catherine sighed and tilted her head to the right, just as she did everytime she wanted something. 

“You have no rights.  I went to the prom, you know.  I know what happens at the prom and you won’t go.”  Eliza wet the sponge in the sink and started scrubbing the counter.

“Mom, I am eighteen now.  I can go to the prom if I want to.”  Mary Catherine squared her shoulders, waiting for her mother to face her.

“You live under my roof, Miss Priss.  You will do what I say.”  Eliza’s eyes didn’t leave the sponge.

“That can change, you know, Mom.”  Mary Catherine stood and banged her chair under the table. “ I have listened to you, done what you’ve said over and over again.  I want to do something for me.  I want to go to my Senior Prom!”

Eliza turned to her daughter, her nostrils flaring and eyes narrowed.“You ungrateful little bitch!  All I do is for you!  Everything in my life for the past eighteen years has been for you!  If it weren’t for you, do you think I’d be working at the fish factory?  If it weren’t for  you, I would have gone to college and been a nurse or something.  If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be stuck!”

Mary Catherine just turned and stormed off to her room, the thud of the door pounding shut resounding throughout the tiny house.

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake

~Henry David Thoreau

A new story from an old idea...

I created a backstory and a character that I love for a fanfiction that I wrote for fun. The story kind of died there, but I want to bring the character back to life. Let me know what you think -- would you read more. I think this would be a prologue...


“Silence, Richards,” Gavin Doyle hissed and reached into his pocket. He was irritated by the ludicrous scheme – the not knowing and following someone else’s orders yet again.
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Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake

~Henry David Thoreau
 Deck the halls with boughs of horry – fa ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra

What are your traditions? We have several in our house including exchanging Christmas ornaments, baking orange pie, and eating sausage balls until it feels like we will soon become one ourselves. My favorite holiday tradition is watching the movie A Christmas Story. I actually saw that movie in the theater and have loved it more with each viewing. Each year, we tune into TBS’s 24 hour marathon of the movie. We usually catch the last half of the first showing after Christmas Eve services at church and then have it on all day on Christmas Day. No matter what I am doing, I always stop to watch my favorite scene – when Ralphie gives the teacher his theme about the BB gun. I laugh as I see so much of myself exaggerated in Ralphie’s fantasy teacher [“listen to this sentence…poetry – sheer poetry!”]. Of course, there are other things about this movie that are just precious to me. I see so much of Will in Ralphie [beyond the blonde hair, blue eyes and glasses] – especially when he doesn’t want to talk to the Oz characters at the store. When Claire was about three and we were taking her to visit Santa, she told us that she liked Santa but didn’t want to see the Jingles. We did not have a clue until our Christmas Eve viewing of the movie that the Jingles were the elves that put the kids on Santa’s lap. Who would like them? The best things about traditions are the memories they form. I have no doubt that one day, as our children watch this movie, they will think of us and remember fondly the Christmases of their childhood.

Will is such a well-rounded boy. This spring, he had a role in our school’s production of Mulan. He played one of the soldiers who befriends Mulan and in the end dresses as a girl to help “save China.” He had a lot of lines to memorize and a few solo singing parts. He continued to play soccer through the spring. This fall Will was a part of our school’s inaugural middle school football team. I think Will has a new respect for the game he loves so much. He also played soccer for the school and made honor roll. Another achievement for Will this year was that he managed to talk us into adding another pet to our family. In August, our schipperke puppy Sirius joined our family. It’s taken awhile, but our kitties Molly and Scooby now seem to like him [as much as cats can like a puppy].

Like her brother, Claire continues to thrive. Last spring, John took her to an event to hear Dr. Joseph Lowery, one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s contemporaries, speak. She went there, pulled a pad of paper out of her purse and took notes. The next day she wrote her own speech and delivered it to the entire elementary school imploring them to remember to care about each other. When we were in DC this summer, she told our tour guide at the Capitol that she would be our first female president – she is out to conquer the world. Claire was proud of her straight A report card and loves school. She stays active in dance and is on the performance team for her studio. She also participated on our school’s pep squad – she really loved cheering at Will’s games.

John and I, well we just trudge along trying to keep up with our bambinos. These are the glory years with our children, and we know it, so we’re just enjoying the ride for as long as it lasts. We will both turn 40 soon and it doesn’t seem possible – didn’t we just get married? John stays busy with work; I stay busy with work and writing [I have a website now to feature my writing www.jenniferdosher.com], yet somehow we find time for each other too. I am truly blessed!

Our sincerest hope is that 2008 was a good year for you too. Drop us a line; we would love to hear from you.
Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake

~Henry David Thoreau

Happy Birthday!

Hope your day was great!  I've been off line for awhile because we're traveling.  I look forward to catcing up on your writing when I get home.
Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake

~Henry David Thoreau

My husband is so awesome!

So, my husband works in cable tv.  Last week, he was going to have the opportunity to meet some of the cast members of HBO's True Blood, and I wanted to go.  Of course, he said no.  I protested.  I whined, but in the end I resigned myself to knowing that I couldn't go to the party. 

Enter my husband the hero.

He somehow got word to the HBO people that I was a big fan of the series [not just the show but the books], and voila!  I got to go to dinner with two of the shows stars.  

They were absolutely delightful and made me feel like an old friend, not some crazed fan. 

In the end, I got hugs from both and felt like I was reliving the Brady Bunch episode where Marsha met Davy Jones and swore she'd never wash her face again.  I think I'm dating myself there!

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake

~Henry David Thoreau

What I'm reading

There are many times that when asked what I am reading I can proudly answer some beautiful literary story.  I loved The Alchemist and Atonement  I read both of those recently, and they were amazing stories.  

Yet, now I find, that in being so busy, I am not wanting to think during my free time.  So, my current reading...The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Catherine Harris.  The quality of the writing is not so great, but the characters are engaging and somehow I lose my stressful existence when I step into Sookie's world.  I'm on the second book now, and I must say I really enjoy the plot -- these novels inspired the new HBO series True Blood.

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake

~Henry David Thoreau

A request for feedback

As always, I'm requesting some feedback.  I have been so busy that I've truly neglected my story...so....I decided to revise an old short story.  Please let me know what you think.  I've wanted to rework this for years.  Also, I need a title, so suggestions there would be helpful too.


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Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake

~Henry David Thoreau