Saturday, February 10, 2007
Guess the Plot
Spoil of War
1. After enslaving Elsbeth's people, murdering Elsbeth's beloved father, and burning down Elsbeth's house, King Leo tries to win the heart of . . . Elsbeth.
2. People are dying left and right, but Toto has a more immediate concern on his mind. How to camouflage the green spots on the hamburgers.
3. Raiding pirates discover the legendary spoils of Figueira da Foz just aren't rich enough to be plural. They then sue the town for false advertising. Also, an angry homosexual duck.
4. After a 47-day stint without cheesecake or bananas, sergeant Luke Winkle designs and builds the world's first armored freezer unit and tows it behind his tank on the battlefields of Iraq.
5. Two countries war for six centuries, each fighting to win a coveted object they believe the other to possess, only to discover that neither country has the object, that the object does not exist . . . and never existed.
6. Jean Volerie invents tinned beef for Napoleon's army--but is he loyal to L'Empereur or is he Wellington's spy, intent on decimating the French army with botulism?
Set in Southern England during the early 5th century, SPOIL OF WAR is a highly sensual historical romance that dovetails with the popular Arthurian Romance Cycle -- differing from most related works because it doesn’t try to retell any of the established legends; instead, it builds upon them, expanding the genealogy of the Arthurian family tree.
Eighteen-year-old Elsbeth, daughter of a duke of the Old Blood, sees her beloved father slain, her people felled or slaved, and her home torched by order of a young Roman-Christian king, Leodegrance. [However, as Leo is rather hunky, all is forgiven.]
Leodegrance, besotted by Elsbeth’s Northern spirit, claims her as a spoil and steals her away to Cameliard, his home. [Which got its name because it smells like a camel yard.] There, the king, a man of studied conscience when not pressed by rank or oath, undertakes to win her love. No matter their differences in heritage or religion. No matter that duty forced him to take her father’s lands and life. [Forced him? He's the king. He can't exactly say, "Sorry hon, I was just following orders.] And no matter the wife he has already wed to unite two kingdoms.
[Leodegrance: Darling, I realize I enslaved your people, murdered your father and torched your house, but if you could set that aside a moment . . . Will you marry me?
Elsbeth: You gotta be kiddin', pal.
Leo: Seriously, I thought those were someone else's father, people and house. Imagine my embarrassment when I found out they were yours.
Elsbeth: You're already married anyway, idiot.
Leo: Hey, I'm the king. Wives come and go in this business.
Elsbeth: Then if I agree to marry you, you'll agree to renounce your heritage and religion, kill your wife, and set my people free?
Leo: Consider her dead.]
Only the knight errant who arrives wounded to the castle and forces his advances upon Elsbeth can turn Leodegrance from his desire. [Wait a minute. You've been wounded in battle. You somehow manage to drag yourself twenty miles without bleeding to death, and as you're about to collapse, you spot a castle. With the last of your strength you swim across the moat, climb the wall and bang on the castle gate. The king is kind enough to give you sanctuary. And before he's even shown you around the place, you're out of your cuisses and braies, forcing yourself on his babe?] [As I recall, the last time I was wounded, I didn't feel much like a roll in the hay. Especially with an unwilling partner.] Jealousy and distrust kindled, Leodegrance drives Elsbeth from him [From him . . . self? Or the knight? "Drives Elsbeth away" would be more clear.] -- and into the chains of an enemy duke’s prison. [Why would the king's enemy imprison Elsbeth?]
Now, if Elsbeth can’t find a way to escape the duke’s designs, find her tangled way to forgiveness with Leodegrance, and become queen to Leodegrance’s king, then the babe destined to surpass her mother and become queen over a united Briton will never be conceived, never be born, and never carry the name Guinevere throughout the ages... [An effective surprise ending to the query, but what about in the book? Are the last two paragraphs:
"She has your eyes, sweetheart," Leodegrance said. "What shall we call her?"
Elsbeth smiled at her husband, the man she had grown to love despite his having enslaved her people, murdered her beloved father, and torched her home, and replied, "Guinevere."]
[I can find no evidence that the country was ever spelled "Briton"; that seems to refer to a person, or to be an adjective. Of course, my research consists entirely of Wikipedia, so . . . ]
SPOIL OF WAR is my first effort in the historical romance genre, although several of my fantasy/science fiction short stories have been published in various paperback anthologies and for-pay magazines. This is a multiple submission. ____________ at Kensington is currently reviewing the full manuscript at her request [but if I can sell it to you before she finishes reading it, it would be like you pulled the rug out from under one of your most hated competitors].
Thank you for considering the completed, 110,000-word SPOIL OF WAR for your own review.
You've given me no reason to believe that if Elsbeth escaped the duke she would want to return to Leo (You don't mind if I call him Leo, do you?) What's he ever done for her? I mean besides enslave her people, kill her father, burn down her home, and drive her into the duke's dungeon?
Although you call it highly sensual, it's not clear (except from our knowledge that there is a Guinevere in the Arthurian legends) where the sensual part comes in.
The big problem is going to be convincing anyone that Elsbeth will ever want anything to do with Leo. Maybe he should just imprison her father, and drive her people off their land. He wouldn't seem so bad, and he could later release her father. I'm sure he must have some good qualities in the book, but if you don't show them in the query, it'll be hard for anyone to buy a romance between these two.