Dickey rubbed the balloon against his head. He pressed it to the wall and it stayed there, magically. Dickey wondered what other powers his hair had been keeping from him.
And that's when a sound like the mating call of a lemur in a mall rent the air.
I've been seeing the "And that's when" technique used over and over again and I like it so much that I now use it myself.
And that's when I realized it might be overused.
What I think is happening is writers have read advice from so-called experts to avoid using the word "suddenly" and the phrase "all of a sudden" (or as one of my third graders wrote it "althesuden"). And so, dutiful little sheep that we are, we go forth and smite all of the suddenness from our stories and replace them with "And that's when"s.
So, anyone have any great ideas for fresh ways to introduce something that throws a scene in a new direction? Feel free to use the lemur in your example.