dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author
Today Nicole Zoltack is here with the first page of her adult steampunk romance, ROSE AND WATCHES.
Cage wrinkled his nose at the stench of rotting food, then adjusted his goggles, the green shifting around and made his stomach churn. His Stygian Specs allowed him to see the paw prints on the dirt ground; without them, tracking at such a late hour would be impossible.
He intended to find out why such a large animal haunted London. Rumors of a huge wolf beast—one with intelligence, capable of human speech, a fierce solo predator—had circulated lately. His great fear was that this beast and the creature he was tracking were one and the same.
Not that he hadn’t hunted other odd, powerful creatures and always emerged the victor.
His fingers brushed against the handle of his six-shooter. Shadows crept along the alley. He stalked along the trail, his cape fluttering behind him. Down the next alley, he spied wetness on the stones. He bent down and touched it, brought his finger to his nose. Tasted metal. Blood. But whose? The animal’s or a victim’s?
Cage quickened his pace through the lonely alleyways. This late at night, most of London was either sleeping or partying. He wasn’t much the partying type and refused to believe they were worth the extravagance most boasted of them.
Rubbish.
The trail broke here and there, with larger and larger gaps between. When it disappeared, Cage punched a gloved fist into his other hand. A wasted expedition. Nothing did he hate more than time spent in an inefficient manner.
Hurmph. He removed his Stygian Specs and tucked them into one of his inner vest pockets. With a jerk, he pivoted and returned to the previous unoccupied alley.
Only it was no longer unoccupied.
There is a lot of very good description here and a strong voice that conveys character on this first page, but I think the first two paragraphs need some tweaking. The first sentence gives us too much unexplained information and should probably be broken into at least two sentences. What is giving off the stench of rotting food? Is it the alley itself, or something left behind by the beast? What is the green that shifts around and makes his stomach churn? Is it a green color caused by looking through the lenses – or “green” in the sense of a common grassy area in a city?
I also thought that “haunting” might not be the right word in the second paragraph. The beast is hunting in London, not haunting. And since it’s clear that Cage, in turn, is hunting the beast, it’s not correct to say he “fears” these tracks belong to it, right? That’s why he’s here. He’s looking for it.
The only other thing I’d suggest for this page is removing the one word paragraph: Rubbish. It’s not needed.
Nicole has certainly left us off at a suspenseful moment, so there’s no question I’d be turning the page to see what happens next! Readers, what do you think?

Nicole, thank you for sharing your first page with us! Nicole can be found at her blog, Where Fantasy and Love Take Flight, and don’t forget to check out Marcy’s critique of this page at Mainewords.