Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An Agent's Inbox #19

Ms. Jeglinski,

Since historical romance is on your #MSWL, I thought you might be a good fit for my novel. THE SAPPHIRE LEGACY is a 75,000-word historical romance set in Victorian England.

Mae Blackthorne has been taught how to ride dressage, embroider pillows and dance the waltz. So when her brother’s death puts the family’s shipbuilding business in her hands, it isn’t long before the business is in bankruptcy and Mae is penniless. Forced to take a post as governess, Mae thinks she’s doomed to a life of poverty. That is, until she meets Ethan Locke, a pirate who offers her an enticing opportunity to recover her wealth.

Unbeknownst to Mae, her family had been using their shipbuilding business to shroud generations of successful piracy. Locke, who was once partners with her father, has an old score to settle. He claims that her father stole from him an object of great value: a sapphire that can give its owner eternal life. As her father’s last surviving heir, Mae is Locke’s only hope of finding it along with her family’s secret fortune.

Agreeing to work together and split the fortune amongst themselves, there’s no denying the spark of attraction between them. But they’re not alone in their search. The true owners of the sapphire, who operate an elite secret society, are far more powerful than Mae and Locke could’ve ever imagined. And as the dangerous men close in, Mae fears she has much more to lose than just a second chance at luxury. She could lose any chance she has for love, or life.

THE SAPPHIRE LEGACY has similarities to Amanda Quick’s successful Arcane Society novels.

My query and the first 250 words have been featured in both the "Sun Versus Snow" and "Writer's Voice" query contests. With a degree in journalism, I have written for various publications including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Session Daily, a news service provided by the Minnesota House of Representatives. As an undergraduate, I also received an award for writing about women’s issues.

The first 250 words are below.

Thank you for your consideration.



May 1836, somewhere on the Atlantic

Ethan Locke tightened his grip on two leather bound books, ready to run. The distant high pitch screech of a whistle signaled departure. He had only a few minutes to make it back to ship so he and his crew could set sail.

But he couldn’t go. Not just yet. Mixed in with the mahogany furnishings of the captain’s quarters, he caught a flash of gold. Behind red velvet curtains swaying with the ship, a small gold chest fell in and out of view. It was hidden for a reason. Without a doubt whatever was inside would be valuable indeed.

Of course he couldn’t leave now. Greed beckoned him. Disregarding his need for haste, he inched his way to the chest, pulled back the curtain and lifted its unsecured lid.

Disappointment dropped through him. Without a lock, it might not have been valuable after all. But as soon as his eyes met the contents, his breath caught. The books he had been so grateful to find thudded to the floor.

Two items were suspended in black velvet. The first he noticed was a small blue bottle strangely attached to a silver chain. That didn’t seem worth much. But the other item, also on a silver chain, was a sapphire and blue like the deepest ocean. As if in a kind of protection, it was wrapped in swirling silver filigree. Though the lamps in the cabin had gone dim, it sparkled nonetheless. Deep within, a dazzling fire blazed.


black cat said...

This sounds GOOD. (naturally, I had a flash of the old lady from Titanic throwing the sapphire necklace into the ocean, but it passed quickly, haha)

This sounds like a good heroine to root for, and an exciting plot.

Best of luck.
Ann Noser

Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Ann!

Jaime said...

This looks like a good query and on-point writing. My only quibble is that the novel starts on Locke, when the query makes Mae out to be the main character. If you switch POVs in the novel, I'd at least make a nod to that in the query.

Spike Taterman (M.P.) said...

Although this doesn't start with a strong hook, I think the query is very strong, and therefore, it works.
The first 250 words seem to suffer from a tad of over-writing, which would make me wary of this tendency throughout the draft. However, were I an agent looking for this genre, I would request a partial.
Overall, a very nice job of it here.
Good luck,
Spike (M.P. -- my query is #12)

Laura Moe said...

This is a book I want to read! It put me in mind of Elizabeth. Gilbert's The Signature of All Things. Your query and sample engaged me throughout.
Best of luck and let us know how you fare in this contest.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Laura. I will have to check out that book for sure!

Melissa Jeglinski said...

Query thoughts: Well written query giving me all the information I would need: hero/heroine/conflict. Maybe just a tad too much information but not overdone. Good intro and good bio information.

Pages: I don't love the way this opens. A discovery never really captures my interest because I don't yet know the characters or why this discover is interesting. From query I thought maybe we'd start with the heroine. This made me feel the book would be more adventure rather than romance.

Overall: I think this has a very strong premise from the query but I wouldn't read on from this first page. I think you would need to start elsewhere to hold my attention.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks everyone for commenting, especially Melissa. I believe it might be time to scrap this prologue once and for all. :)