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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘Lake Of Fire’ by Mark Stevens
Book Beginnings / First Lines


Cover Image Of The Book 'Lake Of Fire' By Author Mark StevensWednesday, Late Afternoon

Nature kills as mean as man.

A one-hundred-foot spruce exploded like a giant sparkler. Smoke flowed thick like London or San Francisco fog. Take your f***ing fog pick. The cloud stung her eyes and for a moment the burning lollipop bubble of orange on the tree faded behind the wall of smoke and she slowed to a walk, unable to see much beyond Sunny Boy’s snout.

Pincers of flame threatened to close off the mouth of the ravine that she needed to clear in order not to become a fleshy morsel of skin and bone amid the fire’s otherwise steady diet of  crispy-dry timber.

Her heart flared. Sweat coated her forehead. Smoke whipped around and another tree caught the lollipop disease with a snarling crackle. High definition 3D movies rolled in her head that showed various scenarios for how the next minutes might play out. None of the clips ended well.

I’m afraid that I did decide to * out one of the very first words in this extract, which doesn’t mean that it isn’t exactly the first word which would come to mind if I found myself in a similar situation, however it isn’t a word which I personally, particularly wish to commit to print.

Being trapped by fire has to be just about everyone’s worst nightmare and having personally known someone who died trapped in a domestic house fire, is definitely my one of my own worst fears – after drowning that is, as I am even more petrified of water!


A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City ReaderWould the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?

If so, would you like to share them with us, (without revealing too many spoilers of course) ?

Click here and visit your host, Gilion @ Rose City Reader

You can then leave a link to your own book beginnings post, or just browse for some great reads, there are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

Don’t forget that Gilion and all the other contributors to this meme love to hear from you, so why not leave a comment or two at the same time?

I can’t wait to do a little blog hopping myself and check out all the great Book Beginnings you have!


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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Fire is one of those things I have a very healthy respect for, if not outright fear of. I can’t even imagine dying that way and would hope I’d succumb to smoke inhalation before it came to that. The thought of drowning seems almost peaceful in contrast. Neither a way I want to go! So… based on this beginning, I’m not sure if it’s a book for me or not.

    Here’s the opening of my current novel:

    “It was far too high to see Old Broad Street down below, but the windows that traveled all the way around the lozenge-shaped room gave as great a view of London as he’d ever seen. The Thames, Westminster, St. Paul’s, Southwark, everything miniaturized. He was so high up he fancied he’d almost had an attack of vertigo on the fast elevator that made only one stop, and that one at the top of Tower 42: Vertigo.” ~Vertigo 42 by Martha Grimes

    • Hi Kelly,

      I know that we complain bitterly here in the UK, about our often changeable weather and the amount of rainfall it is perceived we get. However, when I read each year, about the vast swathes of land, property and life, destroyed by fire in many parts Australia and the US, for me it kind of gets things all into perspective … is a bit of rain really all that bad after all ?

      Mind you, I can see nothing peaceful about drowning I’m afraid!! My worst fear in all the times we have flown trans-Atlantic, was that the plane would come down over the ocean and that I wouldn’t die instantly before I hit the water. I can’t swim and have a terrible fear of water. Whilst I can wash my face under the shower, I can’t use an eye-wash to bathe my eyes and I hate getting water in my ears!

      Perhaps if I revealed that this is the 4th book in the Alison Coil series and that she is a hunting guide in Colorado, committed to defending the conflict between preservation and development – you might change your mind about this one?
      Your opening lines deal with a completely different fear, which would find my husband glued to the floor in the centre of the room, if you could have got him up that far in the first place – Vertigo!

      I have only read one book in this series and that was many years ago. It was book 8 out of the current 23 stories, was written way back in 1986 and was called ‘I Am The Only Running Footman’ and I only remember that because of the distinctive title. I do remember enjoying it though, so perhaps Jury is a character worth re-acquainting myself with, although being so far along in the series, they would probably need to work as stand alone stories for me now!
      Phobias aside, have a great weekend and thanks for taking part 🙂

    • Hi Anne,

      I don’t tend to read a lot of non-fiction, however I always have a couple of shelves for reference books, that I can browse whenever the mood takes me!

      How the fire brigade ever manages to determine the cause and ‘seat’ of a fire amazes me and I have nothing but respect for their forensic capabilities.

      Luckily for us, here in the UK, forest fires are not a regular occurence by any means, which is good because I’m none too sure that we are really geared up to deal with any large conflagration.

      ‘The Lake Of Fire’ is set in the Colorado Flat Tops Wilderness, which I have to say, does look stunning and is the 4th book in the ‘Alison Coil’ series, with Alison being a hunting guide in the area.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I always appreciate your comments 🙂

  • My immediate thought was that I still think man is meaner than nature 🙂 But yes, natural disasters are horrifying and I like that the intensity, fear and destruction come through in the passages you excerpted here.

    “having personally known someone who died trapped in a domestic house fire”

    I’m so sorry.

    • Hi Hila,

      I totally agree with you … Natural disasters are destructive, horrifying and can be so completely catastrophic … However, man’s inhumanity to man, never fails to amaze me!

      The person who was killed in the house fire, wasn’t a close friend and in fact we had only met him socially once and said a passing ‘hello’ on other occasions. However because of his own personal circumstances, his very young age and the nature of his death, it nonetheless came as something of a shock.

      I guess this is a combination of circumstances, which offers another perspective on our discussion. The natural / accidental disaster which ended this person’s life, was in part brought about by the mean nature of man and the influence that had on the person !

      Thanks for the interesting debate. I really think you would enjoy the author post which I shall be publishing soon. Mark Stevens also chooses to delve into the depth of man’s thoughts, in his article 🙂

  • We had devastating wildfires in Washington State this past summer, and I’ve worried about the people and animals who suffered during those disasters. This book sounds like a chilling account of what it feels like to be in the middle of a conflagration. Good beginning, and scary.
    My Friday post features HOOT.

    • Hi Sandra,

      Most of the fires we get here in the UK, take hold in the National Parks and are mostly started deliberately. It is therefore very rare that we experience the devastation that we see on our television screens, from around the world.

      Mind you, this last few years, we have had our fair share of flooding, which causes almost as much loss, misery and suffering. Although, in retrospect, I do agree that getting caught in the middle of conflagration must be more scary!

      So far, so good, with the descriptive quality of the writing. If the bulk of the storyline is about the area in which Alison lives and works, then I hope that the style of writing stays as good!

      Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend 🙂

    • Hi Maria,

      I quite often find myself face with the same dilemma … I really like the sound of the opening lines of a book, or even teaser lines from the book, which have been shared … However, then when I actually check out the synopsis, the storyline doesn’t sound quite so appealing and not my cup of tea at all!

      Oh Well! It wouldn’t do if we all enjoyed reading from the same genres, or followed the same group of authors, would it? … It definitely helps in keeping the ‘Want To Read’ list to slightly more manageable proportions, although one average lifetime certainly isn’t going to make much of a dent in mine 🙂

      Hope you had a great weekend and thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • This sounds intense and like you say, being trapped by fire has got to be utterly terrifying. “Nature kills as mean as man”…very true. Natural disasters can be devastating and so unexpected.
    I’m sorry about your knowing someone who passed away in a fire.

    I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I’ve been off the grid for a little while but doing some blog hopping today.

    • Hi Naida,

      I can’t imagine being trapped by fire, it must be so frightening and I have every respect for the firefighters and indeed all of the emergency services, who attend such incidents on a daily basis.

      A forest fire is a wholly different ballgame however, as often the emergency teams can’t reach the more remote areas, or often the seat of the fire, to hope to bring things under control.

      The premise of this book breaks new ground for me and I am keen to get started with reading it

      I have stopped by your site a couple of times, as I was beginning to worry that you might be ill. I really enjoy our little chats and I appreciate that you take the time to step back and vist earlier published posts, as well as the current article.

      I hope that you are well and enjoying your weekend 🙂

  • Hi Yvonne. I was away from blogland for a few weeks. Now with the cooler weather rolling in, when I get home from work I tend to cook dinner and relax in my pajamas with my book or my crochet in the evenings. I don’t have a laptop, so I have to get onto my computer to do my blog hopping, which I have neglected. This weekend I worked up a review post as well as a Mailbox Monday post for tomorrow and I visited a few blogs. I always like to look back on the previous posts I have missed 🙂
    Happy Sunday.

    • Hi Naida,

      I already spotted your review post and I’ll look out for your MM post on Monday 🙂

      I do spend most evenings after dinner and chores, on the PC, organizing posts, replying to comments and paying return visits to commenters sites. However, that is becoming more and more time consuming and as traffic to the site isn’t increasing any, I have begun to wonder if it is all worth it …. Then I think about the great blogging friends I have made along the way, the publishers and publicists who are in regular contact and some of the fantastic authors who continue to put their faith in me and with many of whom, I have become virtual friends …. I can’t give all that up, can I?

      So long as you are well, that is all I was worried about and I look forward to talking with you whenever you get the chance 🙂

Written by Yvonne