I like this. Apparently there's a thing going around where people put up the first lines or paragraphs on anything they're either working on, or that's unfinished, unpublished or whatever. It came via Charlie Stross' blog, I think. So here's my contributions:

THE FRACTURE (unfinished novel)
Jacob gripped the shunt unit in his hand and glanced up, seeing a baneful Chicago moon hanging low over the alley. The unit pulsed red against his skin. He closed his eyes, and when he opened them, bright afternoon sunshine spilled across crumbling stonework and mossy flagstones. He put a hand up to shield his eyes from the sudden light and turned in the direction of the stables.

WESTERN GOTHIC (unfinished wild west horror fantasy)
Rain slashed down on the south-east coast of China, turning the sky into a slate-grey wall that extended from the top of heaven down to the waves that crashed against the pebbly beach. Lawton pulled the hood of his cape tight around his neck, rivulets of rainwater somehow still finding their way inside. He felt cold, damp and miserable; under the cloak, his wet cotton shirt stuck to his skin. He cleared his throat and tasted salt.

There were memories here.
If it had a name, it would be Teacher. Humans called its kind Baskers. It lifted its pale-furred snout and scented the remembrance of other times, carried to the rocky ridge on which it stood by warm, sulphurous winds blowing up from the lake below. The Basker tasted memories and snatches of thought, pissed or spat onto rocks and the wide roots of the canopy trees that towered over the landscape.

Lian stood on the roof of the only world she had known until the age of thirteen, and felt the wind lash at her face like a frozen whip.

Jonah woke suddenly to darkness, wondering just what it was he'd heard.
The back of his head rested against the scarred and beaten leather of the couch he fell asleep on most nights, usually to the serenade of police cars wailing their way downtown. The sound of the sirens always made him think of listening to Charlie Parker, forlorn yet also hopeful at the same time. He stared up at the cracks that patterned the ceiling, like the relief map for some river valley hidden for centuries from the sight of man. The plaster was now streaked with pale moonlight that drifted through tall windows overlooking a fire escape. Jonah shivered, the gas fire to one side of the window cold and inert as an empty promise. Here and there, beyond the narrow pool of illumination cast by the single bulb hanging above the coffee table, could be seen several tall canvases, all shrouded in white sheets.

Sonja looked up, and saw stars.
Her breath frosted in the cold night air, puffing out from behind the scarf wrapped tight around her neck and chin as a chill winter wind whipped across the darkened courtyard. Dark blonde hair spilled out from under a knitted cap pressed down over her head. Tutor Langley stood next to her, the craggy features of his face rising above the upturned collar of his heavy black coat like an island of basalt above a wine-dark sea.

Funnily enough, Stross isn't the only writer I've found who seems to keep two blogs - one regular one, one on LiveJournal. I'm not sure why. Just one is a bad enough excuse for excessive procrastination.


RWM said...

Perhaps its the need for a 'public' persona and one for friends?

BTW I noticed that most of your openings involve the character being up high and or looking at the sky/upwards.

paul f cockburn said...

Two blogs?!

I know Stross can write fast, but how on earth does he find the time? :-)

Millo said...

Dropped in from a link to your blog and i enjoy what ive read. I'll look for your book next time im out shopping. I look forward to a good read.