Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Face-Lift 211


Guess the Plot

Belladonna Dreams

1. Living next to a floodlit marshalling yard, the Whillikers find it hard to get to sleep at night. When Jean suggests to her husband they try using the night-shade, a simple miscommunication leads to tragedy.

2. Organic, all natural, but it's more than lemonade that little Timmy Leary is selling at his roadside stand, Belladonna Dreams and Coca-Delights.

3. Poisoned with deadly Nightshade by his jealous lover, Mark Rover slips into the netherworld between life and death, Can he navigate his dreams to return to the land of the living?

4. Ghosts Ellen Crosley and Doctor Edward Adams both lust after the same gardener. But so does ghostbuster Sapph Pendragon, who's out to save the gardener and eliminate her competition.

5. Belladonna Butz dreams of being a supermodel. But her weight, the four kids, and her boyfriend, Goober Joe work against her. Will a lethal dose of poison and Jennie Craig solve her problems? Or will she get them mixed up again?

6. When Norton Bupp married the beautiful Amaryllis Belladonna, he didn't know her common name was "Naked Lady." Now the firm's Christmas party is on the calendar, but Amaryllis isn't shopping for a dress.


Original Version

What do an old farmhouse, the ruins of an insane asylum and a pond with bottomless sinkholes have in common? [Wouldn't all the water drain out of a pond with bottomless sinkholes? Wouldn't it be more of a swale with bottomless sinkholes? Or a desert?] Together they hold pieces of a story that draws paranormal investigator Sapph Pendragon into a web of murder, madness and lost love that has stretched over more than a century in rural New Hampshire.

Belladonna Dreams is the first in a series of six paranormal romance novels featuring Sapph Pendragon that I am seeking representation for. Part ghost story, part romance, Dreams is an 80,000 word novel that follows Sapph as she moves through the murkiness of the Ghostlands, searching for both a killer and the person she once was. [The person the killer once was, or the person Sapph once was?]

Four years after her bodyguard and three of her best friends were killed investigating a haunted house with her, Sapph responds to a call for help from an old college friend. She and her current bodyguard [This woman goes through bodyguards like Evil Editor's minions go through keyboards.] [Is a bodyguard that useful against ghosts?] [The five most dangerous jobs in America:
5. Roofer
4. Steelworker
3. Fisherman
2. Timber cutter
1. Bodyguard to Sapph Pendragon]
Maggie head up to Springton, NH, where they discover two psychopathic ghosts hell-bent on coming through the World Walls to reclaim their mortal lives. Ellen Crosley, murdered by the ghost of her sister a hundred years ago, wants to reclaim the life and the man she feels was stolen from her. [Why has she waited a hundred years? The man is long dead now.] Dr Edward Mac Adams wants the secret to immortality.

Both Ellen and Edward are lusting after James Tucker, a handsome landscaper with no time for “psychic crap,” a strong telepathic talent he doesn’t know he has and a deep family connection to the Farm. So is Sapph. But if the ghosts succeed, Crosley Farms will be cut off from both the Ghostlands and the mortal world, trapping everyone within in a Hell with no way out. [Not clear how anyone would know in advance that two ghosts reclaiming their mortal lives would cause this.] Sapph must put aside everything she thinks she knows about ghosts and meld with the spirit of a witch to gain the strength to defeat both Ellen and Edward and free Crosley Farms and James from the shadows. [The shadows? Is that the place between the mortal world and the Ghostlands? Maybe it should be capitalized.] [And where do the insane asylum and sinkholes come in?]

Belladonna Dreams is my second novel. My first novel, Not Your Father’s Horseman, was published by Dragon Moon Press in July 2005 and is currently a finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category. It is into its third print run [Unless you announce the size of the print runs, this is meaningless.] and Dragon Moon has optioned the following two books in the series. I also have co-edited The Fantasy Writer’s Companion and have a chapter in The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy, both from Dragon Moon Press. [I'm querying you because just once I'd like to get something published by someone--anyone--other than Dragon Moon Press.] Both have also been nominated for the Book of the Year award in 2005 and 2004, respectively. The first three chapters and a complete chapter outline are available upon request.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,


Revised Version

Belladonna Dreams is the first in a series of novels featuring paranormal investigator Sapph Pendragon. Part ghost story, part romance, Dreams follows Sapph into a web of murder, madness and lost love that has stretched over more than a century in rural New Hampshire.

Four years after her bodyguard and three of her best friends were killed investigating a haunted house with her, Sapph responds to a call for help from an old college friend. She and her current bodyguard, Maggie, head up to the Crosley Farm, in Springton, NH, where they discover two psychopathic ghosts hell-bent on coming through the World Walls from the Ghostlands. Ellen Crosley, murdered by the ghost of her sister a hundred years ago, wants to reclaim her life and the man she feels was stolen from her. Dr Edward Mac Adams wants the secret to immortality.

James Tucker, the handsome landscaper at the farm, has no time for "psychic crap," but his untapped telepathic talent may well be the key to stopping Ellen and Edward. If the ghosts succeed, Crosley Farm will be cut off from both the Ghostlands and the mortal world, trapping its occupants in a Hell with no escape. Sapph must put aside everything she thinks she knows about ghosts and meld with the spirit of a witch to defeat Ellen and Edward and free Crosley Farm and James from unimaginable peril.

Belladonna Dreams is my second novel. My first, Not Your Father’s Horseman, was published by Dragon Moon Press in July 2005. I also have co-edited The Fantasy Writer’s Companion and have a chapter in The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy. The manuscript is complete at 80,000 words, and available upon request. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,


Notes

Who is the killer Sapph is searching for? The ghost who killed Ellen? I can't tell if Ellen is supposed to be a sympathetic character or the scourge of Crosley Farm. And I have no idea why the other ghost is involved. Does Edward have a connection with Crosley Farm, or is it just a coincidence that he's trying to come through the World Wall here?

Aleister Crowley's first novel, Diary of a Drug Fiend (1922) was about a character named Peter Pendragon. And Crowley's real first name was Edward, and he had a daughter who had Sappho as part of her name. Crosley/Crowley? Coincidence? I don't think so. Homage to the man dubbed "The Wickedest Man In the World?" Maybe. Or is there a connection between Crowley and this book?

There's also a Pendragon fantasy series already, by D.J. MacHale, starring Bobby Pendragon.

8 comments:

Dave said...

Sorry, I just can't follow the plot but then, I couldn't follow the plots of Charmed, Buffy and Angel either.
It's like all this fantasy stuff is made up and doesn't follow physics or science or the real world. . .

Bernita said...

Think it has the potential to be a fascinating plot, but the synopsis confuses me.
Perhaps you should emphasis your paranormal investigator in your query - since it is a series - and reduce the other characters?

~Nancy said...

I liked the idea (fantasy is my favorite genre), and I liked how EE cleaned up the query.

Question about the plot: Like EE asked, why did it take the ghost a hundred years to decide to go after "her man"?

Also, just a nitpick about the query itself (this is just me): The sentence, "Dr Edward Mac Adams wants the secret to immortality" seemed to come from out of nowhere, like it was just kind of arbitrarily stuck at the end of the paragraph.

I like what EE did with the credits: The writer kind of OD'd on Dragon Moon Press. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it got tiresome for me to keep reading the same name over and over.

~JerseyGirl

Rei said...

I like the title (as well as your previous book's title) and the opening paragraph. The rest, however, becomes confusing.

HawkOwl said...

Good thing I'm not the target audience, because I hated the Guess the Plot and then it went downhill. #3 has awesome potential, though, in a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas sort of way, and #5 was hilarious. I hope someone makes a NaNoWriMo out of them.

December Quinn said...

I'm a little confused about how you can have a series of paranormal romances with the same MC, since by definition a romance ends with a HEA (happily ever after) romance. Do you mean there are other books planned with different MCs but with this character in the as a supporting character? If so, I'd say you have other books set in this world.

Anonymous said...

What's worse than a ghost love story? A gay ghost love story. -JTC

Bernita said...

It's just as longer story arc, December, the promise or indication of a HEA is there between major characters, but not concluded until the end of the series.
Elizabeth Peter's series featuring Vicky Bliss, though not a paranormal, illustrates the technique.