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Best First Line Contest Winners!

By On Jul 9 2007, 12:00 pm

Thank you again to everyone who participated in the Best First Line Contest. The response was amazing and certainly more than we ever expected. As we’ve gone through the rounds, it’s shown me quite dramatically just how subjective and different each editor’s tastes are. From almost 300 entries down to just 10 was tough work. I don’t know about the other editors but I enjoyed every round, seeing what would come next.

Though we did end with only ten people who will be invited to submit their manuscript for this contest, Samhain will be re-opening submissions in the next month and everyone is invited to submit at that time , whether you moved on from the first round or not.

We ended with ten winners, since we currently have ten actively acquiring editors. Below, I’ve posted the editor’s name and who they chose. When you are ready, please visit our submissions page and follow the submissions guidelines/instructions given there. Please include the name of the editor who’s invited you to submit. Congratulations to all of the final winners, I can’t wait to see what comes of these manuscripts.

Without further ado…

Imogen Howson chose:

Lia Sebastian.

Do you think I won’t find you? Kendra Douglas jerked awake, almost feeling Adam’s heavy breath on her neck. She froze, listening for any movement, and heard only her own jagged breaths. Her gaze scanned the room. Wood nightstand, pastel painting over the bed, suitcase by the door—yep, another hotel room.

Carrie Jackson chose:


Claw marks separated the shirt into three pieces. Dark green blood dripped from the ends, hitting the cement in an annoyingly cheerful beat. Meg Summers rolled up the mess and tossed it into the nearest dumpster before shrugging back into her leather jacket. A slight cut down its left sleeve and a broken zipper were the extent of the damage the ghoul managed before she’d killed it. She half-heartedly attempted to wipe away the splotches of rancid blood decorating her jeans while keeping an eye on her surroundings.

Jennifer Miller chose:

Jeanne Laws

Sam felt the engine sputter and then die — exactly according to plan.
Of course, this may not have been his best plan ever.
Through the windshield he could see the deserted country road shimmer in the afternoon heat, the nearest gas station at least a mile away — why the hell was he doing this?
He knew the answer though, and it wasn’t the need for gas that had him walking down the road, empty gas can swinging at his side.
It was a second chance and, flawed plan or not, this time he wasn’t going to play it safe.

Anne Scott chose:


Aneirin saved my life the day I met him, and saved it twice again before he finally killed me. It’s a chance encounter: I’m in a seedy little pub on the edge of Montmartre, drowning my sorrows in a pint of ale, when a stranger sits down next to me and slings his arm around my shoulders like we’re old friends. Beneath the table, I feel the point of a dagger press against my ribs.

I know what he wants, of course — money — and it’s a pity for us both that I have none.

He decides to rough me up as punishment for my poverty, and that’s when Aneirin steps in, though neither of us saw him coming.

Sarah Palmero chose:


It was the kind of day that poets never write about. Jimothy could think of half a dozen ballads, at least four epic poems, two sonnets, and a limerick, all of which related to the weather, but none of them recounted the sort of relentless drizzle that had assailed him since before dawn. He knew the tale of a blasted, desert country, cursed by its own gods. He was positive that
he could sing at least a song apiece about hail, sunshine, snow, and even ordinary overcast skies. This, though.this frankly sucked.

Linda Ingmanson chose:


Seated across the bar from Mariana was her target, the most dangerous pirate in the galaxy. He was here now, weeks before she’d expected him to take the bait, and neither his decade-long reputation nor the grainy holos in his Unipol dossier had prepared her for the sheer physical presence of the man. Jared LaFleur wasn’t the tallest or the strongest man she’d ever met, but his implacable air of command and wintry dark gray eyes had her fidgeting in her borrowed waitress’ uniform and wishing she were anywhere but here.
Mariana cursed the slight tremble in her hand as she slid a shot of whiskey across the bar to him, remembering at the last moment to rotate her wrist so he could see her alexandrite signet ring.
His eyes narrowed, and a wolfish grin spread across his face as he called to the bartender, “Logan, how much for an hour upstairs with this Imaran?”

Laurie M. Rauch chose:

On an average day in the US, you would never walk out your front door and find a llama waiting for you. The sun shone like a ball of white fire overhead, making me squint at the tequila bottle in my hand for a moment, but no, not a hallucination — he still stood right beside my trailer, wearing a straw hat and aviator glasses. This could mean only one thing.
My archenemy, Finneas Q. Rucker, (well, if I cared enough these days to devote myself to a nemesis, it would be him) was back in town.
The llama curled back its lips and spat; for once, we were in complete agreement.

Eve Joyce chose:


The Reverend Mother used to tell acolytes that if men were going to brawl, they should at least be naked and glistening with oil.

Leda’s money was on the hulking brute with the Cydian blade, but right now she needed the other guy to win. That one had information she needed, and she wasn’t going to get it if he got himself killed. She was just about to intercede when her quarry tripped on his feet and knocked himself out cold.


Heidi Moore chose:

Rebecca Carrie

If there was one thing that Kelly Rawlins knew, it was that when you got home from work on a Friday night, you were not supposed to find the man that took your virginity and dumped you the next day sitting on your couch. So when she saw Jake Caine lounging against the cushions, his eyes caressing her with wicked delight, she froze for what felt like an eternity before her gaping mouth closed with an audible snap.

“It’s good to see you, Kelly,” he said, standing to approach her
with a long, lazy stride. His voice was just as deep and husky as
she remembered and her breath caught at the sound of it.

Making sure her own tone was laced with just the right amount of
sardonic amusement, she replied, “I’d say the same to you, but we both know I’d be lying.”

Lindsey McGurk chose:

Mitzi Flyte

The early spring day started out sunny and normal – not the kind of day that would end with me soaking wet and curled up in the trunk of my own car. But my life lately has been anything but normal. I’m Elizabeth Montgomery Peacock – I know – I’ve heard all the jokes and even made up a few myself. My parents are to blame for the first two names, not knowing that by the time their daughter was in elementary school, a more famous Elizabeth Montgomery would be twitching her witchy nose on TV. The last name came from my late husband, George – George Peacock, accountant extraordinaire, or at least I’d thought until he died and left us virtually penniless.


33 Responses to “Best First Line Contest Winners!”

  1. Grace Draven says:

    I didn’t make it to the final 10, but I want to say thanks so much to Samhain for hosting this contest! It was fun to submit and check each Monday to see if my entry made it to the next round. And there were some incredible entries. There were several not here on the final ten that I hope will be submitted to Samhain once submissions reopen and considered for publication. I’d love to read the rest of the story.

    And many congratulations to the final 10 contestants. Great job, folks. Brava!

  2. Ann says:

    Congratulations to the winners! This has been great fun. Here’s to your future success!

  3. Ember says:

    Big congratulations to the winners! Best luck to you with the next step :)

  4. Twitter says:

    This contest was such fun! Congratulations and good luck to the winners – and to others. It was a treat to see such a broad scope of writing. Thanks to Samhain for running it, and to the writers who entered.

  5. This was a wonderful opportunity and loads of fun in the process. I had to keep coming back to check on the winners. Congratulations to everyone who went to the final ten.

  6. Congratulations to all the winners!

  7. Aurelia Abbott says:

    Thank you to Samhain for the opportunity. Congrats to all the winners!!!

  8. Marie-Nicole says:

    Congratulations to all the winners and great success with your future writing.

  9. Congratulations to the winners! Thanks for the opportunity.

  10. This has been such a fun contest to watch! Congrats and best wishes to the ten final round winners!

  11. Liz Falkner says:

    Congrats to the winners! The contest was so much fun and I’m glad I wasn’t the one doing the choosing. There were quite a few that piqued my interest and made me want to read more.

    Good work all!!

  12. Congratulations to the winners, it was quite exciting to make it to the final round!

  13. Kristi says:

    Huge congrats to the winners – all of the entries were great!! And it was such fun to come over here every Monday to see who was moving on…and reading all those next lines. :)

  14. Natalie says:

    Thank you to Samhain for this interesting and exciting opportunity. I wish all the winners luck with their submissions!

  15. Congrats to the winners! I agree with the others in thanking Samhain for the fantastic contest. It was an honor to be in the final 22 and I’m looking forward to reading more from the winners soon! Have a wonderful day guys, and thanks again for the fun time! I look forward to Samhain’s submission reopening.

  16. Mitzi Flyte says:


    With all the great entries, I decided to be happy with being in the final group. I kept scrolling down to read the winning entries and saw….MY name.

    For once I’m speechless – but, as you can see, not “wordless.”

    Thanks to Samhain for this wonderful opportunity.


  17. Jackie Colt says:

    I didn’t go past the first round, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the contest. One of the entries I picked as a fav of mine went into the finals. I want to read that one. Congratulations to all the entrants and winners. Good luck and happy writing.

  18. Congrats everyone! I wish you all much luck and success with your submissions.

    Much Love Always,
    Rose Marie Wolf

  19. Jeanne Laws says:

    What fun!

    Congratulations to everyone who entered — I look forward to reading many of these stories in the future!


  20. bettie says:

    Congratulations to all the winners! There were so many great entries. It was fun to see the beginnings of stories develop line by line from one week to the next. They rarely went where I’d have expected them to go, and that was the fun of it. You all are a creative bunch.

    I know I’m not the only one out here with her fingers crossed hoping her favorites get picked for publication. Congrats.

  21. Congratulations, finalists. And congratulations to the runners-up as well. It takes a lot to post your babies in an open forum like this, so hats off to you and best of luck.

    I really enjoyed watching this progress. Can we do it again now?

  22. Barbara Craig says:

    This was a lot of fun. I honestly didn’t think I would make it as far as I did since there were so many other entries that I wanted to see more of. (Ok, I am still the writer who is only loved by family and friends… But I am honored to have made it to the top 22!

    Congrats to all the winners! I hope to see your stories available soon.

    As to the others…I do hope you submit and get published later on for there were many other stories I wanted to keep reading!

    This was so much fun though and I will be looking for the next oportunity! (I always have other stories in the works…..large hard drive)

  23. Congratulations to the winners! ~Mel

  24. Dee says:

    Wow. Almost eight hours later and I’m still in shock. :-)

    There were many fabulous entries in this contest, and I’m deeply honored to have participated alongside you.

    Thank you, Samhain, for running this contest. And thank you to everyone who entered. You guys rock!

  25. Congrats to all the winners. Good luck with your submissions.

  26. Congrats to everyone…the winners and the ones brave enough to put their work out there for all of us to see.

    Best of luck to the winners on their submissions!

  27. amme says:

    Congrats to all the winners!

    Thank you, Samhain for giving us this chance!

    It was very fun and interesting seeing everyone’s different lines every week. :)

  28. I’m with Grace.
    Thank you.
    A fascinating contest.

  29. Annie says:

    Congratulations to all the winners.

    As a reader, I pick up books based on first lines so I was very intrigued by this contest and really enjoyed seeing everyone’s submissions. I had my favorite from the get-go and am so glad to see it’s been selected for submission! So thank you, Samhain!

  30. Congrats to all the winners! Tough job, choosing between the entries.

  31. Gina Leuci says:

    Congratulations to the winners. I only made it to the 2nd round, but had a blast checking in to see who the winners were. Best of luck to you all.


  32. Caffey says:

    I’m missing some great fun!! Hopefully it will cool off here so I can join in more often (too hot with a laptop!) But congrats too to the winners.

  33. Margo Lukas says:

    This was a great contest to follow. It was fun to see if my favorites made it through to the next week.

    Congrats to the final winners and all the other participants who made this such a fun contest! Well done!

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