Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Face-Lift 365

Guess the Plot

The Love Possessed

1. Ventriloquist Kenneth Darby's wife needs an exorcism, but there are no priests at their Antarctic base camp. Can a demon be tricked into thinking a penguin is a midget in a cassock?

2. An insipid teen whose best friend is a hamster, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to save the wee beast after devastating earthquakes, fires, and floods flatten Los Angeles. Plus, a barbeque.

3. Doug's in love with three different women, but little does he know that each of them was possessed by the same ghost at the time he fell for them. Now the ghost has taken possession of yet another woman in hopes of marrying Doug--but Doug won't be marrying anyone unless he can beat a murder rap.

4. Annabel Holland has been playing the dating game for too long, and charming lawyer Alex Miller seems to be her ticket out. As their courtship progresses, though, he begins to display some disturbing quirks: an aversion to holy water, a tendency to vomit on all her best clothes, and an ability to stare up at her while she gives him a backrub. Will she make him choose between her and the Dark Lord, or will she decide that at her age she can't afford to be picky?

5. When a Dutch band called The Love makes a pact with a minor demon, they rocket to superstardom. But when The Love go on tour, the demon and his pals possess the band members and terrorize their calm, elderly audiences with acid rock from Hell. Also, a bellhop with a speech impediment.

6. Demon hunter Dylan Ghostlight has killed dozens of demons – but never a Succubus –until he heads to a small Kansas town where the townsfolk are having orgies non-stop until they die of exhaustion, and finds himself fighting demons in a way he never has before.

Original Version

Dear Admired Agent/Esteemed Editor:

I was delighted to read on your blog that paranormal romance continues to be a hot genre. THE LOVE POSSESSED, complete at 85,000 words, is a spicy contemporary paranormal romance -- without a vampire in sight.

After her soul mate is killed while serving overseas, Callie wonders if she will ever fall in love again. When she dies shortly afterward in a car crash, it appears she'll never find out. [Usually in a romance you don't want your hero and your heroine to be dead by chapter 2, but this may work out.]

But dead, she's getting another chance at love [thanks to a necrophiliac mortician]. Possessing the living is easy -- if you can catch them when they're vulnerable, like during an alcohol blackout. Not particularly ethical, even if it is just temporary. [Other unethical actions by the dead:

Possessing someone because you desperately need a cigarette.
Possessing someone to see if those Jimmy Choos can possibly be comfortable.
Possessing someone in order to murder everyone who ever annoyed you.

Possessing someone in order to check your email.]

Still, it's the only choice she has if she wants to feel again. And, while sex in a different body with a different man every night proves fun, [sex with a different woman every night proves even better.] it isn't totally satisfying. Because when material things no longer matter, love really is all there is. [Well, love and revenge.]

An overachiever who's burned himself out at work, 40-year-old Doug starts frequenting the corner bar, ready to find something more meaningful in life. [Because, when you're looking for meaning in life, what better place than a bar?] What he finds are three women he clicks with, who are not only amazing in bed but who have him seriously thinking [Bigamy? STD?] marriage.

Except one of the women turns up dead after spending the night, and he's the last person seen with her. Now it's up to Callie to find a way to make Doug believe in ghosts so she can help clear him as a murder suspect. Make him realize the "it" factor in those three women is all her. And figure out how to make their unconventional relationship work.

That's when fate throws a suicidal woman Callie's way. [The woman jumped off a building just as Callie, in possession of the body of the driver of an open-bed truckload of pillows drove past.] Depression makes the woman's possession easy. And her body's a comfortable fit -- for both Callie and Doug. But is it wrong to use someone else's body to fulfill your own passion, even if that someone is willing? [I need someone to take over my body when I'm working. I can handle the passion fulfillment all by myself.] Or can Callie, after all, wind up with a happily ever afterlife? [Admit it: you came up with that line before you even started writing the book.]

THE LOVE POSSESSED is my first paranormal romance, although several of my fantasy/science fiction short stories have been published in various royalty-producing paperback anthologies and professional magazines (list at [website]). Chapter One is available to read at [website]. [I'm more likely to look at your chapter and credits if I don't have to go to your website and find them.] I'm of course happy to send more pages at your request.

Kind regards,


Was Callie still in possession of the dead woman when she was killed? If not, how does she know Doug's not the killer? If so, can she possess the real killer and turn "herself" in to the cops?

How does she know the suicidal person is willing? Can she communicate with the person she possesses? If you can communicate with the person you possess, one way to convince Doug that ghosts exist is to possess him and tell him.

If it's so easy to possess the living, why doesn't Callie's soulmate possess someone (Doug, for instance) so they can be together? Or did I just spoil the ending?

In a world where it's easy to possess the living, you'd think there'd be millions of ghosts possessing people. Screw ethics; Callie can't be the only unethical ghost.

Of course none of these questions matters if this is a light comedy, but with a dead soldier, fatal car crash and murder, it may be dead serious, in which case you want to be sure there are logical answers to questions about the world you've created (in the book--in the query it may be better to leave out stuff that leads to questions, rather than try to answer them).

I found switching to Doug a bit jarring. Possibly you could transition into that paragraph by saying, When Callie meets Doug in the corner bar, she likes him so much she goes back every night as a different woman so . . .


writtenwyrdd said...

This is a bit awkward because you talk about her, then talk about him with no apparent link to our dead girl. Then, after the murder suspicion arises, you mention the ghost has something to do with his interest in the women. However, YOU NEVER SAY IT OUTRIGHT.

This is a bit vague. Still, it might work. However, you must not be familiar with the New Age idea of "walk ins." Look that up and maybe rethink the ghost-in-possession idea to be her becoming a walk in?

Rei said...

I love the first para. I agree with EE on the rest.

Anonymous said...

It's definitely a different twist on paranormal. I'm not sure I'd call it a romance though. Since hot sex is the theme, seems like it would fit better in erotica. (Or does it just seem like that to me because Callie's main goal in the query seems to be as much sex as possible?)


Anonymous said...

Why does Callie want to marry a man who would pick up and sleep with a different woman every night (whether or not they were all her)?

Blogless Troll said...

Maybe I'm from the wrong part of the globe to get it, but a bellhop with a speech impediment wears thin after the third or forth time.

Author, I think you need to mention that Callie couldn't find her soul mate--or at least she tried to look for him in the afterlife--before she goes whoring. Maybe it's in the story, but without something to that effect in the query it sounds like another logic problem.

Beth said...

Anon 1:11 said Why does Callie want to marry a man who would pick up and sleep with a different woman every night (whether or not they were all her)?

I had the same question. And sorry--I guess I'm old-fashioned--but the idea of a ghost taking over someone else's life to satisfy her own selfish desires is just not very appealing.

There's probably a market for this, but it doesn't include me.

Evil Editor said...

Actually, the search function reveals there've been no bellhops with speech impediments on this blog previously.

Anonymous said...

a spicy contemporary paranormal romance -- without a vampire in sight.

Awesome line!

Blogless Troll said...

Alright, it's in the comments somewhere. Maybe it was an Asian deli worker with a speech impediment. It just seems that every time one of the anonymi whine about their GTP not being used it involves some dude with a speech impediment. Forget I mentioned it.

Evil Editor said...

Interestingly, the search function reveals there've been 37 Asian deli workers with speech impediments on this blog previously.

Anonymous said...

Hey, speech impediments are funny. A Fish Called Wanda. Porky Pig. George W Bush.

Anonymous said...

When I use the search function, it tells me nothing has ever been posted at this blog. Weird.

Evil Editor said...

I never have any success searching from the published blog itself, but it works fine searching from the dashboard.

Anonymous said...

Blogless, what happened? You used to be so much fun!

Blogless Troll said...

Blogless, what happened? You used to be so much fun!

I've recently developed a speech impediment.

Bernita said...

"Soulmates" seem so transitory these days.

Dave Fragments said...

I'll only say one thing: The author is battling "By Love Possessed" for the title. It's both a book and a movie.

something about love counquers all, I think.

Anonymous said...

"The author is battling "By Love Possessed" for the title. It's both a book and a movie."

I figured that's why the author calls her book The Love Possessed instead of By Love Possessed.

I was thinking that if it were a romantic comedy, Happily Ever Afterlife would be a terrific title.


Anonymous said...

I figured that's why the author calls her book The Love Possessed instead of By Love Possessed.

OMG, Pulp. It's funny how the smallest thing can sometimes make you sit back and go 'wow.' You are right on the mark. Uncanny. I thought, what do I call this, and first thing that popped in my head was 'By Love Possessed.' So, like Dave, I google and, darn, already taken in the early 1960s. Can't copyright a title, but neither book nor movie was apparently well received, so better to distance myself at least a little from them. Hence, 'The Love Possessed.' Not in love with the working title, but it's an early work in progress. Not really so much a romantic comedy. But not overly dark. Certainly not enough blood and gore. And not overly fraught either. Man, this is definitely NOT my comfort zone.

RT: You're kind of right, too. The idea did start out as erotic romance, then I decided to back off the sex just a little and focus more on the romantic story and the underlying "morality" questions. Guess I didn't back far enough!

WW: I haven't heard about "walk-ins" so I'll need to explore that. Thanks for the heads-up.

Still working the kinks out of this one. I was just thrilled to have found a halfway unique hook for a contemporary story. However, I am MUCH more comfortable with swords and vambraces or nacelles and quasars than purses and Jimmy Choos.

Now, if I wanted to go a little darker, I might just have to "borrow" GTP #6!

Thanks, EE and minions all!

none said...

So now it's "whoring" to have sex three times with the same guy? Wow, mores are getting tough.

Bernita said...

Maybe the poster was referring to the line "while sex in a different body with a different man every night proves fun," Buffy.
What would you call it, gymnastics?

Dave Fragments said...

Sexual mores depend on the time period.
In the late 70's and early 80's, anonymous sex with multiple men several nights in a row was very gay. Then AIDS arrived and ended that.
In the early 70's wife swapping parties was very popular. That ended of course because people discovered just how bad threesomes were for keeping marraiges together.
Nowadays, James Bond is still a hunk but not bedding every girl in the movie.
The point is, times change. So do sexual affairs.

none said...

One thing however doesn't change. Women who have sex are called whores. Men who have sex are