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You've Got Five Pages...To Tell Me It's Good

You've Got Five Pages...To Tell Me It's Good

By Jean Lee
Formerly Story Cuppings! Every week we visit the local library to randomly select a new release and read its first chapter. As writers, we are told that those opening pages are crucial to hooking readers. So, let's see if the first chapter successfully hooks picky readers as well as teaches fellow hardworking writers. Cheers!
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You've Got Five Pages, The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi, To Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! Okay, I laughed multiple times while reading aloud the opening pages of The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi, and I'm not sorry! No, we've not met any Kaiju in the first chapter, but we have met our protagonist Jamie, who sees his confidence and place in life shattered when his boss sacks him. The scene is masterfully done, with touches in setting and word choice speaking a lot to the character Jamie as well as his boss. By utilizing a relatable situation for the opening scene, Scalzi has more freedom to mess around with characterization, so we get a lot about Jaime's character in a brief amount of time. By the end of those five pages, we can understand why such a person has nothing to lose and would therefore take a risk with an old friend...and meet creatures from another dimension in the process. And what storytelling insights will you discover here? Let's find out!
21:56
May 25, 2022
You've Got Five Pages, Wayward by Blake Crouch, To Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! Honestly, this was a curious find. It's plain to see we're not starting with the regular protagonist, but that outsider perspective does provide a unique look at the setting for this trilogy. For all the quaint beauty of this small town, there is a very real, very lethal menace in all the razor wire and posted snipers. To begin the story with one of those snipers immediately establishes the high stakes involved with surviving this mystery. We may be entering this story arc in the middle (it is Book 2, after all), but the first chapter does its job in establishing some major ground rules for a reader uncertain of the road ahead. We have action, we have monsters, and we have an unsuspecting populace. Sounds like a recipe for mischievous disaster to me!
16:55
May 18, 2022
You've Got Five Pages, The Shattered Skies by John Birmingham, to Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! With The Shattered Skies by John Birmingham, we have a unique situation. This is a new release in Science Fiction, but it's also the second book of a trilogy, which means a lot of establishment of character, conflict, and setting have already been accomplished. So, we've got to seriously temper our expectations when it comes to worldbuilding and character development, for much of that could be present in the first book, The Cruel Stars. That said, the conflicts and worldbuilding alluded to by the first chapter's primary character sound epic in their scope, and the character's voice certainly fits a military mind. I just wish this character could have interacted with someone instead of reflecting on it all while waiting to land on a planet! You know me--I'm a sucker for a beginning with some action. :) And what will you, fellow creatives, make of these first five pages? Let's find out!
20:14
May 11, 2022
You've Got Five Pages, Riley's Ghost by John David Anderson, To Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! Yes, this is an MG novel, but a paranormal mystery for a kid can be a fun read for an adult, too! My daughter Blondie has been on my case to share this book on the podcast, so this week I'm buckling and here we are. :) Honestly, though, I'm glad I did. The book Riley's Ghost by John David Anderson begins with a graphic description of a dead body...a dead frog body. It's a wonderful way to set the tone for this school setting: the "barbarian" seventh grades, the disconnected teachers, and Riley, who just doesn't feel like she belongs and would rather forge an adult's signature to escape accountability rather than get help. Blondie promises very creepy moments are in store for anyone who loves a ghostly read, and if you've listened to my December 2021 collabs with Blondie, you know she wouldn't gush about a story if it wasn't worth reading!  And what will you, fellow creatives, make of these first five pages? Let's find out!
21:11
May 04, 2022
You Have Five Pages, Revelator by Daryl Gregory, to Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! The first sentence of Revelator by Daryl Gregory alludes to a kid meeting "the family god," so I just don't know how the stakes can go down from there. This story's got a feeling of the Southern Gothic in its voice and style, a dark, murky magic hidden in its green Kentucky valleys. The first pages not only provide an authentic voice for the little girl Stella, but a sense of true dread as we follow the adventurous child down a path into a church embedded in the mountain. What could possibly go wrong in such a place? I'm going to guess a lot.  And what will you, fellow creatives, make of these first five pages? Let's find out!
22:38
April 27, 2022
You Have Five Pages, Joan is Okay by Weike Wang, To Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! The first pages of Joan is Okay by Weike Wang are unlike anything we've read on previous episodes of this podcast. We're not diving into genre fiction here--no fantasy, no science fiction, no horror, etc. This is life, and it's the life of an Asian American woman who is forced to take on the journey of grief by returning to China for her father's funeral. The prose is sharp and cuts to the bone in its lack of emotion, which makes readers wonder just what the relationship between the narrator and her family had been. As one who also lost her father suddenly, the journey of grief is not an easy one to walk alone, so I am naturally drawn to Wang's storytelling here. What will you, fellow creatives, make of these first five pages? Let's find out!
20:52
April 20, 2022
You've Got Five Pages, Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes, to Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! The first pages of Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes are brilliant. In the first three sentences alone, we have an injured protagonist hallucinating a dead person. By the end of two pages, we find out our protagonist is being interrogated because the rest of the character's crew was murdered...in space! Mystery fills the cosmos here, for we do not know how much we can trust this crew, this company, or the very soul telling us this story. What will you, fellow creatives, make of these first five pages? Let's find out!
19:53
April 13, 2022
You Have Five Pages, The Berlin Exchange by Joseph Kanon, to Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! The first pages of The Berlin Exchange by Joseph Kanon bring readers to the 1960s and the height of the Cold War. We are to witness a prisoner exchange...only we are quickly transported back in time to before that exchange with the briefest allusions of what has brought one of the prisoners to that moment of exchange. Despite Kanon's writing choices not following my preference for sensory detail and action in the first paragraph, I cannot help but be intrigued with both our narrator and enigmatic protagonist, Martin. What will you, fellow creatives, make of these first five pages? Let's find out!
21:37
April 06, 2022
You Have Five Pages, The Tenant by Katrine Engberg, to Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! The first pages of The Tenant by Katrine Engberg are...well the first THREE pages are marvelously done. I was lulled into impatience following an elderly character, but by the end of the third page we made the "grisly discovery" promised in the blurb and I found myself happily corrected on pacing. Then the next two pages happened. So this story's start is something of a mixed bag. Feel free to connect with me on my site jeanleesworld.com to voice your agreement or disagreement on the matter. I love when we writers talk craft together!
22:43
March 30, 2022
You Have Five Pages, The Silent Sisters by Robert Dugoni, to Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! The first pages of The Silent Sisters by Robert Dugoni transport us immediately into a dangerous, bloody territory. Who is really on the meathook--the enemy, or the ally? We do not know. While I do have a minor niggle about the pacing, this prologue definitely promises a taut thriller for all the espionage-lovers out there. What will you, fellow creatives, make of these first five pages? Let's find out!
22:27
March 23, 2022
You Have Five Pages, Quan Barry's When I'm Gone Look for Me in the East, to Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! The first pages of When I'm Gone, Look for Me in the East by Quan Barry contain beautiful prose with a mysterious narrator who has a journey he must complete. This journey's goal we do not know, but we do know this monk protagonist is driven to move forward despite the memories of his brother rooted in the past. What will you make of these first five pages? Let's find out!
19:36
March 16, 2022
You've Got Five Pages, The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart, to Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! The first chapter of The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart starts with some beautifully dangerous prose, and when time-jumping is part of the protagonist's universe, we know we'll have to constantly question what's real and not, what's present and what's not. What will you make of these first five pages? Let's find out!
21:18
March 09, 2022
You've Got Five Pages, Fatal Lies by Frank Tallis, to Tell Me You're Good.
The first chapter can make or break a reader's engagement with a story. We as writers must craft brilliant opening pages in order to hook those picky readers, so let's study the stories of others to see how they do it! The first chapter of Fatal Lies by Frank Tallis has some beautiful elements as well as some befuddling distractions I can't ignore. What will you make of these first five pages? Let's find out!
20:58
March 02, 2022
Sipping the First Chapter of I Must Betray You, by Ruta Sepetys
A new year means new reads! Let's spend the winter wrapped up in New Releases available through the local library. Will I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys warm up our imaginations? Let's take a sip and find out!
21:29
February 23, 2022
Sipping the First Chapter of The Push, by Ashley Audrain
A new year means new reads! Let's spend the winter wrapped up in New Releases available through the local library. Will The Push by Ashley Audrain warm up our imaginations? Let's take a sip and find out!
22:24
February 16, 2022
Sipping the First Chapter of Beasts of a Little Land
A new year means new reads! Let's spend the winter wrapped up in New Releases available through the local library. Will Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim warm up our imaginations? Let's take a sip and find out!
22:16
February 09, 2022
Sipping the First Chapter of As the Wicked Watch, by Tamron Hall
A new year means new reads! Let's spend the winter wrapped up in New Releases available through the local library. Will As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall warm up our imaginations? Let's take a sip and find out!
22:55
February 02, 2022
Sipping the First Chapter of Bough Cutter, by Jeff Nania
A new year means new reads! Let's spend the winter wrapped up in New Releases available through the local library. Will Bough Cutter: A Northern Lakes Mystery by Jeff Nania warm up our imaginations? Let's take a sip and find out!
18:46
January 26, 2022
Sipping the First Chapter of The Island of Missing Trees, by Elif Shafak
A new year means new reads! Let's spend the winter wrapped up in New Releases available through the local library. Will The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak warm up our imaginations? Let's take a sip and find out!
22:20
January 19, 2022
Sipping the First Chapter of Nanny Dearest, by Flora Collins
A new year means new reads! Let's spend the winter wrapped up in New Releases available through the local library. Will Nanny Dearest by Flora Collins warm up our imaginations? Let's take a sip and find out!
20:56
January 12, 2022
Sipping the First Chapter of The Hidden, by Melanie Golding
A new year means new reads! Let's spend the winter wrapped up in New Releases available through the local library. Will The Hidden by Melanie Golding warm up our imaginations? Let's take a sip and find out!
21:24
January 05, 2022
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of Wizards of Once, by Cressida Cowell
This is the twelfth and final episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life. Blondie's twelfth choice is Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell. Blondie explains: It is about a young Wizard boy and a young Warrior girl, how they meet, and how they save their world from Witches. (Not the ones from the fairy tales, I can tell ya that)
25:26
December 23, 2021
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of Warriors: Into the Wild, by Erin Hunter
This is the eleventh episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life. Blondie's eleventh choice is Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter. Blondie explains: It is about a house cat finding out about a whole secret world of cat warriors (hence the title) and has the choice to be accepted or to return to his kittypet life.
23:36
December 21, 2021
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of Unplugged, by Gordon Korman
This is the tenth episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life. Blondie's tenth choice is Unplugged by Gordon Korman. Blondie explains: It is about a spoiled brat who is sent to the Oasis of Mind and Body Wellness and he is forced to hand over his electronics. He hates it at first but he eventually grows used to it and makes friends after finding a baby alligator turned pet, called Needles. He finds out the adults at the resort are acting kind of weird... But can he convince his friends that he's no longer a spoiled brat?
25:09
December 19, 2021
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of Scary Stories for Young Foxes, by Christian McKay Heidicker
This is the ninth episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life. Blondie's ninth choice is Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker. Blondie explains: It is about seven young foxes listening to a storyteller tell spooky stories that are horrifying to foxes if they focus on the dark parts, but there are bright sides to every scary story.
21:16
December 18, 2021
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of Woof, by Spencer Quinn
This is the eighth episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life. Blondie's eighth choice is Woof by Spencer Quinn. Blondie explains: It is about a dog and his trying to solve the theft of a stuffed fish that may potentially lead to a secret treasure.
21:58
December 15, 2021
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of Foxcraft: The Taken, by Inbali Iserles
This is the seventh episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life. Blondie's seventh choice is Foxcraft: The Taken by Inbali Iserles. Blondie explains: It is about a young fox that learns a magical secret about her kind and needs to use her gift to rescue her brother and perhaps the entire world.
22:38
December 13, 2021
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of Catalyst, by Sarah Beth Durst
This is the sixth episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life. Blondie's sixth choice is Catalyst by Sarah Beth Durst. Blondie explains: It is about a girl who loves animals and her smart friend that finds out about a magical secret about animals.
21:31
December 12, 2021
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of Writing with Rosie, by Patricia Reilley Giff
This is the fifth episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life. Blondie's fifth choice is Writing with Rosie by Patricia Reilley Giff. Blondie explains: It is about Patricia trying to teach young writers some tips but her big labrador retriever Rosie keeps interrupting with her antics.
09:43
December 10, 2021
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of Endling: The Last, by Katherine Applegate
This is the fourth episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life.  Blondie's fourth choice is Endling: The Last by Katherine Applegate. Blondie explains: It is about a young dairne and her friends (I won't spoil any names) and their quest to find more endangered dairnes and to save their world from an oncoming war.
15:51
December 07, 2021
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Capture, by Kathryn Lasky
This is the third episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life. Blondie's third choice is Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky. Blondie explains: It's about four young owls who were kidnapped and they have to escape their prison and find a noble group of owls that vanquish the evil. 
22:45
December 06, 2021
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy, by Tui T. Sutherland
This is the second episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life.  Blondie's second choice is Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy, by Tui T. Sutherland. Blondie explains: It is about five dragonets that were destined to save their world from a huge war.
21:49
December 04, 2021
Blondie's Books! Sipping the First Chapter of How to Train Your Dragon, by Cressida Cowell
This is the first episode of Blondie's Books, a series dedicated to Middle Grade reading recommendations. Blondie's been asking to join me on the podcast, and we thought December was the perfect time to share her favorite stories so that you, my fellow creatives, can sip samples of fiction perfect for the young readers in your life. Blondie's first choice is How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. Blondie explains: It is about a boy named Hiccup that lives on the Isle of Berk. He is starting the Dragon Initiation Test, a test where you catch your very own DRAGON.  Cheers!
21:48
December 01, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Jack Hughes and Thomas the Rhymer, by Paul Andruss
Welcome back, my fellow creatives! We've time to enjoy one more magical brew before we leave the cups of indie fiction behind. Last year I interviewed Paul Andruss on my site https://jeanleesworld.com/, so I'm really excited to try one of his stories today. Let's savor the flavors of the opening pages from Jack Hughes and Thomas the Rhymer. Cheers!
21:38
November 24, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Voyage of the Lanternfish, by C.S. Boyack
Welcome back, my fellow creatives! Let's take a magical turn with our indie brews today. I recently interviewed C.S. Boyack on my site jeanleesworld, so I'm really excited to try one of his stories today. Let's sip the first chapter of Voyage of the Lanternfish together, shall we? Cheers!
19:22
November 17, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of The Snow White Tigress, by Michael Steeden
Welcome back, my fellow creatives! Let's continue sipping warm brews of indie wartime fiction. Michael Steeden is a wonder who's written lots of poetry and flash fiction on his blog, and I even interviewed him for Poetry Month a while back on jeanleesworld.com. Today, let's enjoy the first chapter of his wartime story The Snow White Tigress. Cheers!
19:29
November 10, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Where Shall I Flee?, by Anne Clare
Happy November, my fellow creatives! I wanted to spend these final chilly weeks of fall showing gratitude to my fellow indie authors who have supported me through the years. Anne Clare is a beautiful soul who enjoys writing wartime fiction. You can see my interview with her at her first book's release at jeanleesworld.com. For now, let us take a sip from her second book, Where Shall I Flee?. Enjoy!
22:06
November 03, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury
One last frightful read to savor, my friends, before November arrives! This one's a perfect brew for All Hallow's Eve, when spectres and spooks run rampant with our children in the pursuit of tricks and treats. Let's take a sip from The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury.
20:13
October 27, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Begone the Raggedy Witches, by Celine Kiernan
We find ourselves in the middle of October, my fellow creatives, and lost amongst a variety of freaky reads! Let's steal away the witch's brew that is Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan. I'm so thankful I had a chance to interview Celine a few years ago, so if you enjoy this tale, please stop by jeanleesworld.com to read our chat. Let's sip and savor this spooky brew!
22:21
October 20, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Hex, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
October's chill is settling upon us all, my fellow creatives. Time for yet another spooky read! Let's take a sip from the witch's brew that is Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. This story was recommended by Connie over at Seasons of Words, and the premise of a witch's curse lasting through the decades into the modern era--who can pass that up? Will this potion bedazzle you? Let's find out!
22:02
October 13, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of The Final Girl Support Group, by Grady Hendrix
October has come, my fellow creatives, and with it a month of freaky reads! Let's start with Grady Hendrix's The Final Girl Support Group. This story was recommended by Tammy over at Books, Bones, and Buffy, and the premise of what happens to survivors of the slasher style of tale was just too good to pass up. Will you enjoy the taste of this spooky brew? Let's find out!
21:30
October 06, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Picky Eaters, by S.J. Higbee
Welcome back, my fellow creatives! Let's take a sip from that very relatable experience of bratty children and cranky grandparent--only, this brew's got the surprising flavor of dragons in the mix. Enjoy Picky Readers by the amazing writer and book reviewer S.J. Higbee. Proceeds from this story support Mental Health Charities, so I do hope you check it out. Cheers!
22:41
September 29, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Oil & Water, by P.J. Lazos
Let's save the world and solve a mystery today! Take a sip with me from Oil and Water by P.J. Lazos to see how this first chapter's strategy can pay off for both readers and writers alike. If you'd like to learn more about Pam and ways to save the world where you are, do check out her beautiful blog Green Life Blue Water. Cheers!
17:42
September 22, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Following the Green Rabbit, by Chris Hall
Twenty episodes? Oh, my goodness! Thank you once again for stopping by, my fellow creatives. Today we continue sipping from beautiful indie fiction, this time a fantastical adventure for any age. Let's savor Following the Green Rabbit by Chris Hall. For more on this author and other amazing creative souls, please visit jeanleesworld.com. See you there!
17:25
September 15, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of The Unraveling of Lady Fury, by Shehanne Moore
Welcome back, my fellow creatives! I'm so excited to share a beloved indie author's first book with you: The Unraveling of Lady Fury by Shehanne Moore. Shey has gone on to write several more amazing historical romances, but I wanted to start at the very beginning here with the first chapter of her first book to show what makes Shey such a lovely read for writers and readers alike. For a delightful interview I had with Shey some time back, please click here. Cheers!
27:10
September 08, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of In the Land of the Penny Gnomes, by Wesley T. Allen
Welcome back, my fellow creatives! Today we continue sipping fiction with fantasy undertones, but this time with the quirky flavors of gnomes--coffee-loving Penny Gnomes, that is. I hope you enjoy this sip of In the Land of the Penny Gnomes by Wesley T. Allen. Cheers! 
22:24
September 01, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Beyond the Elven Gate, by Jason Savin
Let us dive into the world of indie authors with this week's selection, Beyond the Elven Gate. I do hope you enjoy taking this sip with me, and stay tuned for my interview with the author Jason Savin in September on jeanleesworld! 
21:57
August 25, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
Hello, one and all! Today we continue with reading recommendations from fellow creatives, this time being The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. The book was recommended to me by indie author S.J. Higbee, who recently reviewed The Witness for the Dead, the sequel to The Goblin Emperor. Please check out her amazing books when you have the chance. Cheers!
21:37
August 12, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Welcome back, my fellow creatives! I continue perusing reading recommendations you amazing souls have sent me. Today's selection is A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. This story was recommended to me by fellow indie writer Paul Andruss--I do hope you'll check out his work here! What shall we taste in the prose of this story? Let's find out!
24:51
August 07, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of The Glass Room, by Simon Mawer
Welcome, my fellow creatives, to a month of recommended reads! I'm excited to try some unique flavors you have sent my way. We'll begin with The Glass Room by Simon Mawer. If you'd like to recommend a read to me--or perhaps recommend your own writing!--please reach out to me at jeanleesworld.com. See you there!
23:10
August 04, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of The Murder at the Vicarage, by Agatha Christie
It can't be the end of Private Eye July already! As I taste stories to accompany me on the road next month, I finally take up my husband's challenge and sip the first chapter of The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. Can this story, almost 100 years old, engage the picky readers and working writers of today? Let's find out! If you're an Agatha Christie fan, I've got oodles of Christie posts on jeanleesworld.com. Stop by and check them out!
24:19
July 28, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Death Stalks Door County, by Patricia Skalka
Greetings, my fellow creatives! Let's shift away from the fantastical this week and focus purely on a mystery, and a Wisconsin-based one, at that. Take a sip from Death Stalks Door County with me and see if this Midwestern cozy is the right flavor for you. Interview with author Patricia Skalka coming soon on jeanleesworld.com! Also, for another unique look at Wisconsin's setting, check out my post about Neil Gaiman and House on the Rock. See you there!
24:55
July 21, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of The Last Smile in Sunder City, by Luke Arnold
Let's continue Private Eye July with another mystery steeped in fantasy: The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold. My awesome friend and fellow indie author S.J. Higbee provided a complete review of the book, so please stop by her site for more if you'd like! If you'd like to explore some other ins and outs of writing, meet other brilliant authors, and listen to music to inspire your storytelling, stop by jeanleesworld.com any time. Cheers! -JL
21:44
July 14, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero
Welcome to Private Eye July, my friends! I'm excited to share a mix of fantastical mystery and the recommendations you've started sending me for these first chapter reviews--many thanks! Let's start things off with a supernatural mystery that must be solved by none other than those Meddling Kids. For more meanderings through mystery and fantasy alike, be sure to visit jeanleesworld.com. Cheers! -JL
24:33
July 07, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Infinity Son, by Adam Silvera
Let's wrap up Pride Month with an urban fantasy featuring twin boys. What flavors will we taste in Infinity Son by Adam Silvera? Take a sip with me and find out! For author interviews, novel analyses, music inspiration, and more, please visit jeanleesworld.com. See you there! 
21:16
June 30, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Crown of Feathers, by Nicki Pau Preto
We return to fantasy with a firey novel of war and wings: Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto. For more on lessons learned in storytelling, inspiring music, and more, please visit jeanleesworld.com. Cheers! -JL
19:52
June 23, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison
It is an honor to take a sip from this powerful story with you! Juneteenth holds a special place in my heart not just for what the day stands for in this country, but for the care I saw my father put into helping others understand why Juneteenth matters. I hope you all find a way to spread hope and heart this day and every day. Cheers -JL
19:11
June 16, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland
Welcome back, my fellow creatives! We continue exploring fantasy lit this Pride Month with the YA novel Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland.  If you have any recommendations for first chapters to read and review, please let me know at jeanleesworld.com. Cheers! -JL
17:55
June 09, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Spellhacker, by M.K. England
Welcome back, my fellow creatives! June is here, and with it comes Pride Month and a delightful assortment of summer reads. Let's start with an urban heist with a current of magic: Spellhacker by M.K. England. Will the story match its enticing tagline? We'll find out! If you have any recommendations for first chapters to read and review, please let me know at jeanleesworld.com. Cheers! -JL
19:43
June 02, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Joust, by Mercedes Lackey
I hope you enjoyed this first month of fantasy fiction podcasts! If you have any recommendations for upcoming episodes, feel free to reach out at jeanleesworld.com. My site not only has information about my own books, but interviews with other authors, analyses of fiction, and music to inspire your own writing. See you there! Cheers -JL
19:58
May 26, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Everyone has their opinions on this story, sure, but I'd love to share a sip with you to discover what it is about the voice of this novel that brings readers and writers back time and again. (Thanks for your patience during my reading, by the by. There will always be those words that trip me up!) If you'd like to read my blogpost about The Hobbit's worldbuilding, you can read click here to visit my site, jeanleesworld.com. Cheers! -JL
21:10
May 19, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of The Midnight Bargain, by C.L. Polk
Click here to check out fellow indie author S.J. Higbee's review of The Midnight Bargain. You're also welcome to visit my website for more analyses of fiction, music to inspire your writing, and lots of author interviews. Are there any books you feel are worth sipping from on this podcast? Let me know at jeanleesworld@gmail.com. Read on, share on, and write on, my friends! -JL
20:03
May 12, 2021
Sipping the First Chapter of Raybearer, by Jordan Ifueko
Today on Story Cuppings, we take a sip from Jordan Ifueko's Raybearer. For more on the celebration of Fantasy fiction known as Wyrd and Wonder, please visit the blog There's Always Room for One More. For more lessons learned from fiction, author interviews, my own fiction, and other creative whatnots, please visit jeanleesworld.com. Read on, share on, and write on, my friends! -JL
19:56
May 05, 2021