Friday, September 28, 2012

Face-Lift 1072

Guess the Plot

The Miranda Contract

1. Carmen has ditched the hat and the song-and-dance routine, but Fosse's not ready to let her go yet. Can she get out of her contract to marry John Jakes, the hobo of her dreams, or will she be forced to pretend to be a vivacious Latina till the day she dies?

2. When Arda Arnhem is arrested for a murder she didn't commit, she is offered the right to remain silent. But this contract has a catch-- if she chooses to waive the right to remain silent, anything she says can and will be used against her in a court of law! Fortunately, she has the right to an attorney, public defender and amateur sleuth Wilma Wilkins.

3. When the dead gigolos start piling up at the city morgue, ace detective Zack Martinez knows two things: Guns don't kill people, bullets do; and some gal named Miranda sure had a lot of boy friends.

4. Miranda the Hooker was always getting cheated, beat up, and abused. Taking control of her life, she goes back to school and earns a law degree and an MBA. Now she gets the respect she deserves, because all her johns have to sign...The Miranda Contract.
5. Dan Galkin's grandfather, an evil psychopath known as the Mad Russian, wants Dan to kill pop sensation Miranda. It'll be good publicity for the "family" business. But Dan feels a certain electricity between himself and Miranda, which he thinks may be true love, rather than his electricity-manipulation super power.

6. An exploration of the very different viewpoints in the two original versions of the "Miranda" rights contract, which were eventually merged into the warnings we all know and love. Includes point-counterpoint between 'You have the right to speak, but only in a polite and respectful tone' and 'You have the right -- nay, the responsibility -- to shut the fuck up.'

7. Miranda is a fairy with only 24 hours to live, and though fairies aren't supposed to live as long as mortals, she really is attached to the life she has. She makes a deal with an amateur warlock to extend her life but at the cost of transforming into an imp. After losing her beauty, Miranda realises how shallow the fairy world is and becomes hell-bent on usurping the Fairy Queen to bring in a new regime.

8. Miranda has spent too much time on the Internet, reading about the goofy things people do to make money. When she convinces a local rich family that paying her to pretend to be their cat will be quirky and entertaining to guests, she'll get free housing and food for a year. But can she get out of the contract when she finds out they've also rented her ex-boyfriend as the family dog?

9. Jet-setting businessman Howard Levant usually fathers by phone, but he can't help promising his tearful daughter Miranda he'll be home all day on her birthday. He doesn't plan on having to negotiate the biggest deal of his career while juggling two feuding mistresses and a pissed-off politico demanding Howard's hide.

10. It's 1940. “Lucky” Luciano sends Lenny “Wolf” Lupo to kill Gina Miranda – a jewel thief who burgled the wrong mansion. He watches her and falls in love. When they meet, she tries to kill him while he tries not to kill her. They wed, leave the life, and hide in a sleepy southwestern town. But after the war, change comes to Las Vegas.

11. When the body of crime author extraordinaire Jim Trisham is found dangling from the mast of his yacht "Miranda Contract", Homicide Detective Zack Martinez knows two things: One, Trisham didn't hang himself by the testicles and two, since keeping a 100 foot yacht at Marina del Rey means you have more money than God he probably shouldn't have contributed to the boat by buying Trisham's books.

12. Actress Miranda Gabriel, fresh from her Iowa community college drama department, is discovered and slated to lead in the edgiest new drama of the season. Her agent tells her she first must sign a contract -- in blood. Welcome to the West Coast, he says, it's all part of the biz.

Original Version

Dan Galkin is seventeen and desperately trying to keep his life unremarkable, but when you were a teenage super-villain for two weeks at the start of high school and your grandfather is an evil psychopath hell-bent on making you his successor at any cost, it’s not going to be easy. [No need to say "at any cost," as it was implied by "hell-bent."]

Dan is an uberhuman, born with the ability to sense and manipulate electricity, [For instance, when he gets out of the shower and wants to dry his hair, he senses that there is electricity on the other side of the bathroom electrical outlet. He manages to access this electricity through the use of the metal prongs dangling off of his hair dryer. He then manipulates the electricity into a steady rush of warm air through the use of the on-off switch. Other controls allow him to regulate the air flow and temperature from low to medium to high. He feels it's only a matter of time before he's starring in his own comic book.] [An appendix in the back of the book details how Dan is able to manipulate electricity to create a grilled cheese sandwich.] and when he accidentally rescues pop sensation Miranda Brody from a mob of fans, he is strongarmed into becoming her bodyguard. [When you're desperately trying to keep your life unremarkable, and you become Britney Spears's bodyguard, you weren't trying desperately enough.] Unfortunately, his grandfather, The Mad Russian, has orchestrated the whole thing and wants Dan to kill Miranda and use the resulting publicity to take over the family business. [The business gets taken over by the family member who kills the most famous person?] Dan has no interest in becoming a killer so he and Miranda end up running for their lives, dodging a string of Dan’s childhood team-mates and developing a love-hate relationship along the way. [He loves her; she hates him.]

As the villains close in, Dan’s powers are acting wildly, but he manages to turn the tables on the Russian and he and Miranda escape the city in a stolen car. They end up at Dan's deranged mother's house where he realises he has gone as far as he can. He stops running - from his grandfather and from his past. Using clues from the previous attacks, [There've been attacks?] his grandfather's contacts, and his ability to tap into the mobile phone network, he tracks the Mad Russian's location to a shopping centre. [Überhumans don't go to shopping centers. They have minions, flunkies and underlings for that.]

It’s here at the endgame that Dan is pushed to his limits keeping the people safe and taking down his grandfather, eventually scrambling the electrical impulses of the Mad Russian's brain, although it nearly kills them both. In the aftermath Dan is labelled a hero. But it’s bittersweet for Dan, as Miranda walks away from their growing attraction, leaving him to find a way to live his own life instead of in the shadow of his past crimes and family. [What?! He saves the world but doesn't get the girl? What was the point?]

The Miranda Contract is a 70,000 word Young Adult superhuman [Überhuman] fiction novel, exploring issues of family pressure, overcoming negative reputation and labels, as well as a healthy dose of redemption, adventure and heroism. [If "fiction" is describing "novel," it's redundant. Or is "superhuman fiction" a single term, like "science fiction"? If so, is "superhuman fiction" a genre, or your opinion of your book?] [I'd go with "superhero novel."]

I have had several short stories published in print and online publications, as well as editing the superhuman fiction ‘zine This Mutant Life for two years. One of my stories, The Scoundrel’s Wife, was short listed for the Chronos Awards in 2011 (Australian science fiction awards).

The Miranda Contract was long-listed for the 2012 Hachette Manuscript Program. [A shrewd but transparent way of saying The Miranda Contract couldn't even get short-listed for the 2012 Hachette Manuscript Program.]

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes,


I would drop the paragraph with the deranged mother, as it sounds too synopsisish and move directly to: In the endgame...

It's better to let the issues explored in your book be obvious from the plot description, rather than to point them out.

Pop sensation Miranda Brody would just go by Miranda.

Not sure the term "Miranda rights" is familiar in Australia, but in the US that title will probably give readers expectations of a police procedural.

Usually in a family business the heir to the throne is the most powerful or the most qualified or the first-born, and whether you've killed a pop star doesn't figure into the equation. What kind of business is the psychopathic Mad Russian's family in?

"Überhuman should have an umlaut, shouldn't it? Wait, should "umlaut" have an umlaut? Even if it shouldn't, it should. And we should spell apostrophe apostr'phe. And hyphen hy-phen. Etc.

From Wikipedia: Über (German pronunciation: [ˈyːbɐ]Thanks, that's helpful.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Success Story

Suzanne van Rooyen reports:
Just wanted to let you know that around this time last you critted my query for my novel then titled Angels in Atlantis: Based on the issues raised in my query and the constructive comments of EE and readers, I revamped the entire book. The new, improved ms went on to become a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2012 and in August, I signed with New York agent Jordy Albert. Just wanted to say thank you for lending a hand in my writing career. I always send aspiring query writers to Evil Editor for a reality check and some good advice before sending their material out into the world.

Thanks again!


Success Story

Dave F reports: What started life as BREAKUP SCENE #3 from June 27, 2010, was published as a short story of 1700 words in SEVEN ARCHON's anthology WRITINGS ON THE WALL. It's an anthology loaded with angry, paranoid, psychotic characters having horrific fun. That bit of writing worked out well.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Word Verification

. . . has been turned on for commenting. Sorry. I've been getting thirty or more comments a day telling me what a great blog this is and linking to other people's sites. Most of these comments are on posts from years past, so even if there were no comment moderation, no one would see them. If people are actually paying other people to do this, they're getting scammed.

Possibly if word verification is on, the spambots will give up and I can turn off WV until they start up again.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

As so often happens toward the end of the week these days...

. . . we've run out of queries and openings. One of your fellow minions has suggested we fill such voids by offering our opinion/advice/expertise on Kickstarter projects. Starting with hers.

"I can't seem to muster a novel but I am getting ready to post my first Kickstarter project, which is 'storyteller's kit.' The material is primarily graphic, the text is minor.

Here is a link to the Kickstarter preview page. The Preview page will exist for about another week, and then the project will go live."

Editorial suggestions may be made as comments to this post.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Face-Lift 1071

Guess the Plot

The Gone

1. We hear plenty about the experiences of teenaged mothers-- but this haunting, gritty non-fiction narrative chronicles the trials and tribulations of six teenaged fathers. 

2. A personalized review of your 401K and pension plan over the last decade.

3. Keeping a vow they made 45 years ago, six zoned-out stoners meet on Fisherman's Wharf and provide meandering accounts of their lives, loves, and drug experiences.

4. Professional bedtime story reader Lee Vipond suddenly finds his home gone when a real estate speculator buys his apartment building and evicts him.

5. Felipe, Hambone and Lucas all join Occupy San Bernardino, figuring they'll meet girls, score some pot, play drums, and camp in the park. Everything is fine, until some lady from TV interviews Hambone. Now Lucas's dad wants to know why he isn't in class, Baby Smiley wants to know why Felipe is with that gringa, and Hambone's mother has no idea who the hell he is.

6. In the darkened pantry of the old Moore house, naught but shadows and cobwebs can be found. The cupboards sit hollow on the walls, vacant as eyesockets in a rotted skull. The refrigerator ... also empty! Am I the only one who goes food shopping around here?!?

7. After a 3 day binge in celebration of the first request for her novel by an actual famous literary agent, Janice wakes up, has 6 cups of coffee, and prepares to email the manuscript. OMG. What happened? Some evil drunk went wild and replaced the file with X-rated smut.

8. In a post-apocalyptic world, three quarters of the world's population die from the go-away bombs of the Go-Away War. Their spirits remain in other dimensions. They see into the remaining real world but can only interact with each other. They quarrel then form into factions which make war on each other.

Original Version

Dear EE:

As a post-dotcom tale of working-class tenants caught in the crosshairs of real estate speculation, my debut literary novel THE GONE explores a topic woefully ignored in fiction. [Considering the vast quantity of fiction published every year, I don't see how anyone can know that a topic has been ignored. If anyone does know, it's probably the person to whom you're writing, so there's no need to state it.]

Ex-gardener Lee Vipond reads bedtime stories by the hour to pampered adults. [By the hour? If I'm reading you a bedtime story and you're still awake after ten minutes, I'm turning on the audiobook and going downstairs to watch The Daily Show.] His upstairs lifer girlfriend, Jane, puts herself through acupuncture school slinging hooch at the neighborhood dive, while her mumblecore teenaged son, Shaun, holes up with his formerly-homeless boyfriend, the obsequious Cody. [We once did a writing exercise whose challenge was to write a 250-word piece of fiction that used the words "Acupuncture," "hooch," "mumblecore," "obsequious," "upstairs," and "homeless." No one could do it. And you managed it in one sentence.] And everyone’s favorite abuela, Mrs. Padilla, manages a derelict corner store. [I don't see "derelict" as a good adjective to apply to a store. "Abuela" should be italicized to alert those who of us who don't know the meaning that we might need to use a foreign-language dictionary. My research reveals that "mumblecore" is a film genre. And I don't see that any of these words is improving the query. Never give me the choice between looking something up or moving on to another query.] But when their apartment building is sold out from under them and they’re faced with eviction, this cohesive band of neighbors find themselves in emotional freefall as they scramble to find new homes in a city they can no longer afford.

No one appears more impacted by the ticking clock than Lee. Accustomed to merely cracking storybooks in the bedrooms of strangers, urgency and need now place him between the sheets of “big tipper” clients. Meanwhile, he struggles to keep his unraveling neighbor family intact in the only true home he’s ever known, or be forced to leave town in a diasporic flight. ["Diasporic" seems a bit overboard to me. Like calling a dozen deaths from West Nile Virus a Holocaust.] Then he meets Arlo, and the growing intimacy between the two men triggers a seismic shift at the core of Lee’s identity, finally propelling him toward his uncertain future. [It seems to me that the loss of his home has already propelled him toward an uncertain future, while his new relationship might make his future a bit less uncertain, especially if Arlo has a stable life. Unfortunately, we don't know, as you tell us nothing about him, even though he seems to be the main force for change.]

As an urban dweller, and having myself weathered a no-fault eviction, I bring to THE GONE an insider’s view of what it’s like to unexpectedly lose one’s home in a financially challenging time. Not an uncommon modern story, I’ve yet to find this wrenching experience of loss and discovery given voice in literature. [With the possible exception of almost everything written by Charles Dickens. Also, The House of Sand and Fog.]

THE GONE is complete at 134, 000 words. Thanks for taking the time to review my query.

Kind Regards,


If Lee is your main character, focus on him. We don't need a tidbit of information about each of his neighbors. Just refer to his neighbors as his neighbors. The long paragraph could be condensed to something like:

When their apartment building is sold out from under them and they’re faced with eviction, a cohesive band of neighbors find themselves in emotional freefall as they scramble to find new homes in a city they can no longer afford. No one is more impacted by the ticking clock than professional bedtime story reader Lee Vipond.

Now you have plenty of room to tell us about Arlo and what happens after he shows up and after the evictions.

Few people will want to read an entire book about a character whose last name is Vipond. Come up with a better name. I suggest you choose from among Granger, Charles and Bandicoot.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Beginning 971

"What did I ever see in Jace Mingo?" The thought passed through Logan's mind as he regarded the figure cowering in the cell, the once fine silk suit threadbare, filthy, the shoes holey, his hands a mass of dried blood from scraping the gratings of his cell, a gaunt face, rodent-like beard. The man who would be, the once and future, the master of rebels, defender of humanity, now fallen and defeated by his own devices.

"He's not eating sir. Do you want us to force feed him?" the guard asked.

"Why? He wants death which is forbidden but he will not be denied," Logan said. He hated Federal Prison, hated dealing with the rebels, hated that they viewed conversion as defeat and death as victory. Life and death weighed his conscience. He held it dear and kept it close. There would be no slaughter.

He closed the door's view port and walked the metal hallway to the Judge's Chambers. The new boots gave better traction but being metal and lacking rubber soles, he clanked. A constant audible reminder of his inhuman newness augmented the whirring of motors, the soft gush of hydraulics, the sameness of their metal bodies.

"Why, Logan?" Mingo's wavering voice echoed against the aluminum walls. Logan stopped and listened. "Why do you do this to me? We were friends. Close. Closer than friends, Logan. I gave you energy when your power was gone, and this is how you repay me?"

Tiny pneumatics hissed as Logan rolled his eyes. He turned and shuffled back to the viewport, mimicking the gait of a man in pain.

"Why?" Logan said, recalling the humiliation. "Point one, Jace Mingo, that is not where my batteries go. And point two, Jace Mingo, that was not a fucking battery."

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Anon.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Face-Lift 1070

Guess the Plot


1. The Hunger Games meets Steel Magnolias as one spunky girl gets stranded in post-apocalyptic Queens, New York with two dozen Guatemalan lesbians.

2. After years of abuse and humiliation, a mattress at a seedy motel tells its story in its own wo-- [Insert Another Quarter To Continue]

3. Spunk is the worst band in Liverpool. Maybe that's because they've got a musical imbalance: three drummer guys, one guitar chick, and that kilted bagpiper. Whatever. The 19th Battle of the Bands is still a good excuse to spend an intoxicated week in London.

4. New ]ork model Davendra Fetlock inherits her uncle Spud's Kentucky farm. Once a top Thoroughbred breeding facility, the farm now has only one stallion, swaybacked old Hunk o' Love. But Hunk harbors the rare Man-o-War gene, and Davendra seizes the chance to restore the farm to its former glory — by selling Spud's old stud Hunk's spunk.

5. A major furniture company, buys 5000 acres of Alleghany Valley’s cherry tree forest. They begin clear cutting. Spunk, a porcupine, organizes a resistance movement. They fail to stop the timbering but strike back at the retail outlets. After dark, Spunk’s porcupine patrols break into stores and chew up their finest furniture. It’s a prickly situation.

6. When class brain Maria got stuck with class clown Travarious for their Science Fair project, she knew it was going to be a long weekend. And when he came up with the idea of analyzing spermatozoa, she knew they were in for a rough go--until he demonstrated his technique. Now she can't wait for their presentation on Monday.

7. The knowledge that Todd thinks she's no good for him does nothing to dissuade Tiffany's pursuit of his love. She is a cute spunky witch and she loves a challenge. When all else fails, will she wear that magical miniskirt?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

If you're the sort of person your blog indicates that you are, then you are the perfect person to entrust with negotiating my six-figure publishing deals. [The sort of person I am will gladly see that you get published if you're willing to fork over six figures.] I know people; and I like you.

Me? That's easy.

I'm the sort of person who, after a career publishing educational books and rhyming poetry for children, would write a post-apocalyptic, dystopian fantasy and call it Spunk. (Yes. That kind of spunk.) [Yes, which kind of spunk?]


Sex, cannibalism, infanticide, and boozing it up are all comme il faut [Not everyone is up on their French, so you might want to go with de rigueur.] in the world in which our heroine, Senga, finds herself stranded, along with a troop of Girl Scouts, some lapsed Catholic peace demonstrators, and two dozen Guatemalan lesbians. [This list sounds comedic. Does it have to be in the same sentence as the one that describes a world where cannibalism and infanticide are acceptable?] Senga and the Abbess, her nemesis, engage readers in a classic confrontation between good and evil, [I'm guessing they engage each other in this confrontation, rather than readers.] [Although it might be cool to be confronted by some characters in a book you're reading, especially if you read erotic romance novels and not dystopian novels about marauding gangs of serial killers.] set among the survivors of a global cataclysm in one small pocket of Queens, New York in the 1970s and 80s. Black humor and brutal violence coexist in this story, along with explicit sex and a poetic narrative lyricism. [I predict bestseller. You've got the big three: brutal violence, explicit sex and poetic lyricism.] Think of it as The Hunger Games meets Steel Magnolias. [I have to confess I wouldn't mind seeing the women from Steel Magnolias participate in a death match. I see Daryl Hannah and Sally Field getting killed in the opening melee at the cornucopia.  Olympia Dukakis would take out Dolly Parton with an ax to the head, but would then be bludgeoned to death by the Julia Roberts/Shirley MacLaine alliance. The winner would be Julia because she has the most spunk. Also because it's my blog so I get to choose.]


We need to know something about what happens in your book. We know Senga's situation: She's stranded in Queens with Girl Scouts and lesbians. Now we need to know her goal and what happens if she doesn't reach it and how she plans to defeat . . . The Abbess. Tell us the story.

Possibly you should call this alternate history if it's set in New York after a global cataclysm in the 1970s. Of course, I was a little out of it in the 70's, so maybe I missed the apocalypse.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Beginning 970

My bottle popped open. I whooshed up, like there was a rocket strapped to my back, and burst into a sparkling blue-sky day. I laughed and somersaulted through the air. A zingy breeze always makes me want to dance and sing.

Below, a smelly fisherman, ankle-deep in flip-flopping fish stared up at me. He clutched my bottle in one hand, and a mass of fishing net in the other. I guess he’d hauled my bottle out of the ocean.

“I am genie Zinnia. I will grant you three wishes, master.”

His jaw hung open. It looked like he had a row of crooked old-fence posts growing out of his gums. “Take your time and choose carefully.” I dived and corkscrewed around the mast of his boat. The breeze whipped my hair. The longer he took deciding meant more freedom for me. Once the wishes were granted, the spell would suck me right back into my dusty bottle.

A flounder struggled free of the net. "Master," it said, "I am a magical fish. Use your three wishes to spare me and my two brothers, and I will grant you not three wishes, but four! Four wishes!"

The fisherman rubbed the stubble on his chin. There seemed to be no downside. He ordered Zinnia to put the magic flounder and his two brothers back in the ocean. 

A deal's a deal. Into the water the three fish went, and a crestfallen Zinnia was sucked back into her bottle.

And to this very day the fisherman can oft be heard on the deck of his trawler calling out his wishes, refusing to acknowledge that he was flimflammed by a flounder.

Opening: JAS.....Continuation: Anon.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Beginning 969

Edward Krenshaw leaned against the pump handle and scanned the western horizon as the sun set. He looked at his wristwatch and sighed. The search party was overdue and so were the library’s audio books.

“Say there, Dad, help me pump water for supper?” Frederick walked from the back door toward the well. His crisp plaid shirt and creased khaki trousers gave the appearance of a city dweller trying to look country.

“No. I can’t because you’ve just gone beyond the pale.”

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to offend but I need help. Burned my hand yesterday and it’s all bandaged up.” Frederick lifted his arm to show his father.

“Huh?--Oh, I ain’t upset.” Edward spat in the dirt. “But you walked right past the pail. It’s on the back steps.”

“Okay, I’ll fetch it. Thought I'd insulted you or something.”

Frederick put the bucket under the facet. “Think they’ll find one?”

A soft cold breeze blew Edward’s white hair against the part. “If there’s a zombie out there, they’ll find it.”

“Zombie?” Frederick looked shocked. “Thought they wanted a Zamboni for the ice rink.”

“Yeah? That makes more sense. My hearing’s gone all to hell since the explosion.”

* * *

Deke Metzler wiped the sweat from his forehead and sighed. The light was almost gone. He was about to give up and signal the search party to return home when he saw it -- little more than a dot on the horizon. But he knew instantly. A Zamboni! Maybe the hockey game could go ahead after all.

"Excuse me."

Deke turned in the direction of the voice. "Huh?" he said to the short, stocky man in a suit.

"My name is Irwin W. Marshall. I represent Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc., who own the trademark Zamboni, registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I must inform you that the frequent and inappropriate uses of the term Zamboni throughout this blog infringe upon my client's rights, and you must cease and desist forthwith."

And this is why you will never hear the story of the Zamboni Apocalypse.

Opening: Mister Furkles.....Continuation: anon.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Beginning 968

When the world came to, it came, not to its senses, but to its madness. Those who were left alive learned what their needs were—these of course, were the same as they ever had been, as the nature of the ones left behind was no different from the nature of the ones who had gone on—and from one’s nature come one’s needs. They learned what their true needs were, which was almost as important as learning how to get them met.

Air, of course, then water, then food. Those who were left alive were at the mercy of place, and some lingered long enough to learn how to get their needs met in the place where they were; others did not, and died. Still others began to travel the broken roads, to band together, to beat back or be beaten back, to become victims or victors. Eventually, life resumed its potent, inviolable rhythm. And eventually, the things that had been left behind began to become normal.

The crone’s name was Senga. That’s what everyone called her, anyway. She was not quite the eldest of their group, but if she wasn’t, no one knew anyone older.

Senga knew what life had been like in the old days, the days before the days of now and the days before the days of before the days of now and even the days before the days of before the days of before the days of now. She could teach us how to function again. We could emerge, blinking, into the light. Society could regain its structure.

Our future depended on Senga's memories, and on only one other thing: that she could finish imparting these memories before we could no longer resist eating her.

Opening: Helen O'Reilly.....Continuation: anon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Face-Lift 1069

Guess the Plot

A Rose by any Other Name

1. The genus Rosa has been the reigning queen of flowers for centuries. But now plant taxonomists are battling to have the common Tea Rose reclassified as a noxious weed. With the help of her gardening association, Rosalie Jenalds must stop these "scientists" before they make cultivation of her favorite plant illegal.

2. Rose Smith is used to getting beaten up on account of his name. Deciding on a moniker with more guts to it, he finds that "Osama Bin Assange" has some unexpected consequences.

3. Disgraced baseball great Pete Rose changes his name, grows a beard, and works his way back into the game playing for a Triple-A farm team.

4. Rose Pederewski, wanted for check fraud in 28 states under 39 different aliases, suddenly finds herself the chief suspect in a nasty murder. How can she clear her names of the crime she didn't commit?

5. 32 year-old Jennie Rogers lied about her age to land a part on TV's "The Rose", a vampire musical dramedy aimed at teens. When hunky production assistant Gabriel Lopez threatens to expose her ruse to the director, Jennie has to decide whether to sleep with him or kill him.

6. Emma comes home for her ten-year reunion, hoping to reconnect with her best friend, Rose. But she didn't count on Rose being a zombie queen who has turned all Emma's closest relations into flesh-eating undead who want Emma as their next snack.

Original Version

Evil Editor,

Emmaline Fay left town to escape her best friend Rose Briar's shadow. That and she fell in love with Rose's man, Jason Prince. Now it's ten-year-reunion time and Emma is still stuck in her shell. She's coming home to reconnect with Rose and help her win Jason back. Too bad Jason's pining for a certain wallflower and a decade old prophecy is going to turn Rose's beauty rest into an undead awakening.

Within days, Emma and Jason must track down the creepy school janitor who predicted Rose's departure from the living and devise a solution to kill their closest relations-- before they start looking for snacks beyond small town Charming. Their only hang-ups? [Obstacles?] Being in love with each other and suffering the mother-of-all-guilt-trips, while justifying the need to kill for survival. This geeky chem engineer and once upon a time All-Star jock are desperately trying to avoid becoming loyal subjects in Zombie Beauty's court. But their attempts to put this flesh feasting princess to sleep may end the romance before it takes off.

A Rose By Any Other Name is a retelling of the fairy tale classic Sleeping Beauty [in that it involves a beauty who does some sleeping,] and is complete at 31,000 words.

I'm an avid reader, romance enthusiast, and reviewer for The Season and IndieBooksRUs sites. Zombies frighten me beyond reason, [Zombies want you to fear them. It's the one thing they have going for them. If more people knew zombies can easily be defeated with flamethrowers or Chinese finger traps, the fear would be gone.] but I love fairy tales and couldn't resist the opportunity of this submission call.

 [Data trapped in Chinese finger trap on Star Trek TNG.] 


Presumably this was a submission call for zombie novellas inspired by the titles of fairy tales?

I think you need to make the chronology clear. Emma shows up in her home town and discovers...what? That everyone's a zombie and Rose is their queen? That her closest relations are zombies and Rose is predicted to become one on reunion night? That no one is a zombie but there's a prophecy saying tonight's the night? You say, "Within days" the situation is X. I'm interested in what happened in those days.

Why do they need to find the janitor? Does he hold the key to dezombification?

Face-Lift 195 was for a book titled My Big Sucky Undead High School Reunion. Sadly, it turned out to be vampires instead of zombies, but it was a better title than A Rose by any Other Name. You need a title like Emma and the Flesh-eating Zombie Princess. It is a comedy, right?

Change it from a reunion to senior prom. Emma moved away after junior year, but Jason invited her to the prom. Now it's YA. Double the length, get rid of any obvious Sleeping Beauty references, and I think you've got something.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Back to Work

Submissions have been so light, the minions have apparently stopped checking to see if there are any queries in the queue (needing fake plots) or openings (needing continuations). Turns out there are.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Evil Editor and Hannibal Lecter Get Snowed In

Vacation season is over. Perhaps now people will resume working on their writing careers, and submitting their queries and openings to Evil Editor. If not, perhaps it's time to shut this blog down and start Evil Sports Fan or Evil Advice Columnist. Or maybe moving from Blogger to Tumblr would bring in new blood. In any case, when there's nothing to do, you can't beat watching an old movie.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Face-Lift 1068

Guess the Plot


1. The woes of Skippy the toy poodle, who must share his humans and his sofa with the laziest, most idiotic, and annoying being on earth -- Antoine, the calico cat. Also, an invasion of mice.
2. Hedgely inherits a farm in Ohio from Uncle Dave. Sounds good, but it turns out to be the former site of an Indian village, now haunted by 483 angry ghosts.

3. The lives, loves, and seething hatreds of the people of Burden, North Dakota are explored in this rather rambling epic.

4. Forty-year-old Sally Heart finds her life enriched when she opens her home and her heart to the dying mother she never knew. Hard-partying Todd Singer learns the value of life and love when his latest one-night stand shows up at his office to say she may or may not have HIV, but she is definitely pregnant. Lisa Digger finally gives in to her son's relentless begging for a puppy, and when he soon loses interest she finds she just might be a dog person after all. Bullshit ... total bullshit.

5. No burden is he to bear. He ain't heavy. He's my broth-- . . . Unnghh. Unnnnngggghhhh, Jesus Christ, he's heavy. Let's leave him here.

6. Ryder learns that the king she has served for sixteen years wasn't the rightful heir. So she sets out to raise an army and take him down. If she fails, all her recruits will be severely punished or killed. Can she live with that . . . Burden?

Original Version

Dear Agent,

Ryder is both the daughter of the king's seneschal and a powerful mage. Waiting for her are any [any?] easy job as King Marek's bodyguard and a comfortable castle life. But when she discovers that Marek stole the throne from his cousin, the rightful heir Caerus, she realizes that she should be fighting Marek, not serving him.

[Caerus: Hey, where's my throne?

Marek: I stole it. Which, as you know, makes me king.

Caerus: Rats.]

Ryder publicly denounces Marek and vows justice. She sets out to find Caerus and raise a secret army to take on Marek's soldiers. [Wouldn't it be easier to raise a secret army if she didn't publicly denounce Marek and vow justice?

Marek: Where's my mage? 

Adviser: She's down in the public square, denouncing you and vowing justice.

Marek: Chain her to the wall in the dungeon.]

[I like guessing at a book's dialogue. How'm I doing?]

But Caerus hasn't been seen in sixteen years and Ryder faces a widespread distrust of all things magical- like her. And with each new recruit, there is one more person who will be severely punished if Ryder fails.

[Ryder: I'm recruiting soldiers to dethrone the king.

Farmer: How many have you got so far?

Ryder: You'd be the first.

Farmer: Come back when you have 40,000. We'll talk.]

Too many good people will die for her cause, no matter the outcome. With so much loss necessary for her to win, she isn't so sure she can truly achieve victory. [How will things change if she achieves victory? How does her father, the king's seneschal feel about this? And why is Blogger telling me I spelled "seneschal" wrong?] As for Ryder herself, what could happen is clear: succeed, or die. Or both. [It seems to me that a powerful mage should be able to avoid death even if her mission fails. What are her powers? Can she become invisible? Turn into a bird? Transport to another kingdom? Or is her magic all illusions? I suppose if David Copperfield were chained in a dungeon that wasn't built by him and his staff, he'd have trouble escaping.]

BURDEN is my debut novel and is a 145,000 word fantasy. Thank you for your time and consideration.



If Ryder is a teenager, declare this YA.

Maybe Marek usurped the throne because Caerus was corrupt and evil. Maybe the kingdom is better off with Marek. If you tell us how bad things are, we'll better understand Ryder's motivation. I'd rather think her cause is to rescue her people from oppression than merely to see that the true heir gets what's his.

It took sixteen years for anyone to discover that Marek isn't the rightful heir? Or is Ryder the only one who didn't know this? Seems like the identity of the rightful heir would have been known to everyone. Why are they all putting up with a usurper?

Monday, September 03, 2012

Guess the Title

Below are seven descriptions of books about parenting/ relationships, and other crap like that, taken from their write-ups at Barnes and Noble dot com. Your job is to guess which of the given titles is the book's actual title.

1. The author can spell, do math, and run faster than your kids—and he is here to show you just how inferior your kids are. Why reward weakness and mediocrity with gold stars? No child is safe from the scrutiny and critical gaze of the world’s foremost authority on children’s crappy artwork.

What’s wrong with American kids?
I Am Better Than Your Kids
Why Your Kids Suck: A Manifesto
My Kid’s Okay; Your Kid Sucks
Your Kid is Worse at Art than Jackson Pollack

2. What kind of mother feeds her kids dinosaur chicken nuggets . . . three times a week? What kind of mother lets hand washing slide after using the toilet, as long as it was just Number One?

Parenting: Filth, Fat and…Ah, Who Gives a Shit.
How to raise a CEO.
When Did I Get Like This?
Rules for Redneck Mothers
Screw It: They'll Probably Turn Out OK

3. A hilarious take on that age-old problem: getting the beloved child to go to sleep.

Go the F*#K to Sleep.
Go To Sleep Or Spongebob Dies
Chloroform: The New Wonder Drug
Improved Parenting through the Wonders of Sedatives
Why Don't They Make Flintstones Sleeping Pills?

4. This amusing shower or new baby gift celebrates the ups and downs of breastfeeding and gives the rapidly growing number of breastfeeding moms something they can really use-a good laugh!

Milk Duds
You’re not alone – breastfeeding Does Suck.
Got Breast Milk?
Your Rack: More than a Man Magnet
If These Boobs Could Talk

5. Once the zigzagging hormones and endless, bleary-eyed exhaustion of the first year have worn off, you're left with the startling realization that your tiny, immobile bundle has become a rampaging toddler, complete with his or her very own, very forceful personality.

What to Expect When Your Toddlers Take Over
Adoption Agencies: It's Never too Late
Naptime is the New Happy Hour
Yes! Someone Will Still Adopt Him!
Why Isn't Daycare 24-7?

6. The Guy's Survival Guide to Getting Engaged and Married

Writing the Ironclad Prenup
Life Sentence
Yes, Dear
Hey, Let's Elope!
How to Get a Free Maid and Save Money on Dating

7. For all those who make an annual ritual of avoiding spring cleaning, liberation is at hand! Instead of arranging the stuff in your house to improve your inner harmony, let everything go to hell-and learn how to feel good about it.

Feng Sh*t
Mrs. V's Handy Household Hints
The Lazy Woman’s Guide to Insurance and Arson
The Tao of Housework
When You're Dead, No One Cares Whether You Dusted

Answers Below

Fake titles were submitted by Mister Furkles, Khazar-khum, Evil Editor, Anonymous, and Rachel6.

The actual titles are:

I Am Better Than Your Kids
When Did I Get Like This?
Go the F*#K to Sleep.
If These Boobs Could Talk
Naptime is the New Happy Hour
Life Sentence
Feng Sh*t