Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Jim Luck is trying life out as a girl, desperate to improve his circumstances. He's got a huge wig, a fabulous outfit and a blind date -- with Ike Tarina. Little does Jim know, Mr. T is a notorious drug dealer looking forward to a night of crime.
2. During the French revolution Count Tarina hid his family treasure under a Parisian mansion. The family was killed by a mob, but the treasure was never found. Centuries later a ghostly countess urges Tiny Jim to excavate the cellar. Will he find gold and jewels? Or will the undermined house collapse in a sinkhole, killing the tragic figures who dwell within?
3. Jewel thief Bud Winkerstein and cat burglar Stella Deluxe join forces to relieve a ruthless billionaire of the painting Tarina's Lady, but plans change when they discover a gallery full of stolen masterpieces in the billionaire's basement -- masterpieces which hold encoded secrets that spell d-o-o-m for an unbearable cooking show hostess.
4. The cruel Lord of Tarina Manor dies of Plague. His oppressed wife takes over and manages the estate very well -- simultaneously inventing the pop-over, increasing chicken and barley production, decoding the secrets of strange relics from an ancient barrow, and carrying on torrid affairs with numerous well-endowed neighboring royals.
5. After Jasper the Jubilant gets thrown out of his home, his ex-lover, Madi, lets him move in with her. Out of gratitude, Jasper the Jubilant writes a song to honor Madi, titled "Tarina's Lady." Will Madi be impressed? Will she want to rekindle their romance? And what about the children?
6. The tiny Italian mountain town of Tarina was bombed to splinters in World War II, but the town's statue of the Virgin Mary survived without a scratch. Now a descendant of the statue's sculptor wants to know who stole her so he can retrieve the ancient fortune hidden inside.
Tarina’s Lady is set in a world where magic is commonplace, and offers its own challenges to the inhabitants. Jasper the Jubilant senses his brother’s impending death but is helpless to prevent it. [For his brother is named Irving the Incurable.] A penniless bachelor, Jas defies tradition in order to raise his brother’s orphans himself. When his landlady throws them out, Jas has no one to turn to except his former lover Madi [the Magnanimous]. Jasper has his doubts about the wisdom of moving in with Madi, but the security of the children is more important than any risk to his heart.
A corporal in the city guard, Madi prides herself on being as tough and ruthless as her job requires, but she can’t resist playing the gallant knight to Jasper’s damsel in distress. She welcomes Jasper and his niece and nephew into her home, expecting them to be nothing more than a temporary nuisance. [Don't you just hate it when you invite your ex-boyfriend to move into your house, and he never leaves?] Then her feline familiar spots a corpse floating in the river. Madi performs a ritual on the body and discovers that the death was no accident. Shaken by what she has seen, [She prides herself on being tough and ruthless, but she's shaken at the discovery that a body floating in the river is murder?] Madi returns home and finds unexpected comfort in Jasper’s arms -- a comfort that is shattered when Jasper’s sister Ingrid [the Ignominious] catches them together and demands the return of the children. [Return of the children . . . to her? When did she ever have them? They can't be the children of Jasper's brother and sister. Unless . . . Ewwww.] Outraged by Ingrid’s behavior, Madi vows to help Jas keep the children.
For his part, Jas refuses to surrender his niece and nephew to his unfeeling sister, but the case against his guardianship claim grows stronger by the day. In a desperate bid to strengthen his claim, Madi proposes marriage, [She dumped this guy a year ago because he was a penniless mooch. Now he's a penniless mooch with two kids in tow, and she's willing to marry him? Basically to irritate his sister?] and Jasper has to decide just how far he will go to keep the children with him. Can he really trap the woman he loves into a marriage of convenience? [Hey, that was her idea.] Or worse yet, condemn his bereaved niece and nephew into the hands of a woman who cares more for the dead than the living? [I assume you mean Ingrid, but it's not clear what you mean by she cares for the dead.]
A fantasy novel with a strong romantic plot line, Tarina’s Lady is complete at 92,000 words. I am currently working on another novel set in the same universe. [Thanks for narrowing down the setting of your next book to only one universe. Could you go a little farther and reveal whether it's set in the same galaxy as this book?] Thank you for your time and consideration.
[note on the title: Tarina is the name of the patron goddess of female warriors, and "Tarina's Lady" is the name of a song Jas writes about Madi.]
If the corpse in the river is a vital plot point, tell us more about it. Who is it, and what does it have to do with these characters? If it isn't, drop it from the query, because right now it's creating more questions than it's answering.
I'd like more about the ramifications of magic being commonplace. Madi has a familiar and performs a ritual. Who else has magical powers? Everyone? Ingrid? If the Jas-Madi relationship (Jas-Madi? Isn't that a brand of rice?) is the main plot thread, how is it, specifically, affected by magic?
What's Ingrid's motivation? Is she better able to support the kids? Does she have a long-standing feud with Jas? Jas being penniless, you might make it clear why the kids are better off with him. There are hints that Ingrid is an ogre, but why not spell it out?
Is Jas pronounced Jass or Jazz? And what's he got to be so jubilant about?