First Sentence Friday!

Before my brother and I learned to drive, we used to ride the bus to school.  Occasionally Mom would work out a ride situation with our neighbor, Mrs. Spears.  One week Mom would take us along with Mrs. Spear’s son, Mike, and the next week, Mrs. Spears would do it.  We preferred rides like this versus the bus, which was always loud, crowded and stuffy.  Sometimes you didn’t get a seat if you were at the end of the route, which we usually were since we lived only a couple miles from the school. That meant we might have to stand.  Whenever I had to do that, I felt so conspicuous, like the ugly red pimple on prom night.

Dixie and her brother, AJ, are no different.


“Uncle Ray had made it his job to take us to and from school, and despite my nervousness around him, I couldn’t contain my excitement when I’d see him standing by his car in the afternoons.”

the education of dixie dupree

***I’m using #FirstSentenceFridays on Twitter and tagging @Kensington Publishing Corporation.  Follow along and tweet out/share if you’d like!***



I’m just wandering around the blog. Kick me out if you wanna lock the door and go home.


We seem to be getting to the meat of the story. We get to find out about Dixie’s reaction to the stimulus of Uncle Ray shining down upon her.

I was lucky enough in grade school to live just under 2 miles from my school so I got to ride my bicycle. I only had to ride the bus for field trips and those were usually fun.

Can’t wait to see how the story progresses with these little teasers. For me it makes the wait for the book harder. I want to see how your mind works . The important part, to me, is the emotional roller coaster I know is in there.

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    In some future chapters, with the first sentences, I have to eliminate key words to keep the spoilers out. Those will be interesting. Without the ability to say much, so as to not give away what’s going on, I’ll tell you, like I told a neighbor, “it gets pretty rough.”

    I used to dream about riding my bike to school! But, like I told Lucie above, that wasn’t going to happen b/c by the time I was old enough, school went from being only a few miles away to all the way across town.


Like Colin, I have a bad feeling about Uncle Ray. The last two week’s sentences have made me nervous/uneasy for a reason I can’t quite place.

I continue to marvel at the tension sustained with these damn brilliant first sentences!

Me, I hated riding the bus. It came ridiculously early, we had to transfer at this big, intimidating bus compound, and none of my friends from school rode the bus.

Good thing Dixie comes out soon-ish ….

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    I’m staying quiet about Uncle Ray, but I’m glad there’s tension there! I’ve done my job. 🙂

    I hated and loved it. I was “bussed” during the integration of schools here in NC. When I had a seat, I loved staring out the window – the ride was almost an hour of meandering up and down streets I’d never been on before. I hated worrying about fights.


I can’t wait for your book. I am so excited. And I love the idea of “First Sentence Friday”. It got me to working on all the openings for the chapters in my WIP. It’s fun to be working on a new book.

I rode the bus when I was tiny (age 6-9). There was an older boy in the neighborhood who used to make me give him a nickel or he’d hit me. The one day I tried to fight back, my mom showed up to pick me up. The bully had me on the ground and was punching me bloody. My mom picked him up by his ears. She’s a tiny woman, five foot nothing, 100 lbs, but boy, I never saw her like that before. That boy never bothered me again. My mom turned into a mama bear, and the next week, I was in a carpool and my dad had to ride the bus instead.

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    Awww, thank you Elise! The publishers liked the idea too, but I’m (evidently) not the first one to do this. I can’t be THAT original.

    I pay attention to first sentences (for each chp, as you mention) but also for the last sentence in a chapter. Course, I want all of them in between to be stellar too. Yet, it’s those sentences which set up things, and then prepare the reader for what’s coming in the next part of the story. I’ll work on an ending sentence just as hard – making sure it leaves a question, or hints at an upcoming scene, or tugs at the heart sort of thing. It can be all over the place.

    And, go Mama! When you’re a kid, this sort of thing is so scary, our perception distorts it to levels we think of as adults – like being robbed at gun point level of scary. Picked him up by the ears. LOL! That’s a great mental image. 🙂


I have a bad feeling about Uncle Ray, which, if I’m right, shows how much Dixie doesn’t want to ride the school bus.

My wife didn’t ride the school bus much, and hated it when she had to. We vowed (well, she did, and I went along because what do I know? I never had to ride an American school bus!) if we sent our kids to public school, we would NEVER make them ride a school bus. EVER. Given we ended up homeschooling, it didn’t become an issue. 🙂

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    Verrrrry astute, Mr. Smith.

    I’d say riding the buses here in the U.S. can be even more tricky nowadays. Depends on the route, depends on who rides, depends on how long that ride is. In my time, there were fights occasionally. There were things going on in the back that shouldn’t have been. There was seat “control.” As in, some picked “their” seat and heaven help you if you tried to sit there. Homeschooling is not an easy job. Kudos to your wife for doing it!


Okay, my curiosity is aroused in a whole different way with this blog entry. So, would your brother recognize himself in your story? That was my original question. But then your use of past tense in your answer to Lilac makes me wonder if you’re just recalling your childhood or if there’s a different reason.

Back on topic, I appreciate the dichotomy of Dixie being at once nervous and excited. Makes ol’ Uncle Ray an interesting character without him even appearing in the scene. You must be a deft writer to pull that off! So many subtleties, I love it.

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    That’s so interesting – this shows me my comment to Lilac presumes a lot. As in, I used past tense b/c as adults we no longer have that closeness since he lives about two hours away. We’re close, but not like when we were growing up. He’s alive and well, if that was your other thought! 😉

    These first sentences, as you can imagine, are like dropping crumbs along a trail to follow – except the dropping of the crumb only happens about every fifty feet. Ha! How helpful is that? Not much. But I’m glad you’re loving it. 😉


Fantastic first sentence, Donna! And I loved to read about you and your brother as well. By the way, I have a theory as to who Uncle Ray is and how Dixie is going to get rid of him. I’m probably wrong, but it’s fun to guess. ❤ ❤ ❤

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    Thank you Lilac! There’s a lot about this story that was similar to the relationship I had with my brother. He’s older by about 18 months, but we were close b/c we had no one else to play with!

    It’ll be fun to see how close you were to the actual story! ❤ ❤ ❤

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