Guess the Plot
1. Vesper Fitzhawke swore an oath to the new King of England, and is now honor-bound to marry a Scotsman! What was she thinking? Will she honor her oath or will she fall in with Odo the malevolent bishop?
2. Christy never wanted an arranged marriage, even if it is to the elf prince. She doesn't believe in this "fate bound" nonsense everyone is gushing, so she resolves to run away. Can she find true love amongst the magic and sorcery of the enchanted woods?
3. The six girls at Springdale Reform House swear never to reveal which of them is the vampire, but the zombie can't get anything straight and blurts it out. When junior counselor Tabitha Thompson realizes a third of her charges are already dead, she must decide, among other things, whether to tell Nurse Williams to skip their flu shots.
4. Rubi Stevens is a housekeeper by day, dominatrix by night. When one of her clients turns up dead and Rubi is framed for murder, she must unravel the mystery before she loses both her jobs.
5. The 4:00 stage to Honor, Texas rattles across the desert. On board are four passengers: a shotgun-toting killer, a chain-smoking pyromaniac, a whore who won't shut up, and a bible-quoting dynamite salesman who just wants to get his 200 pounds of product safely to town--and maybe save a few souls on the way. This is their story.
6. A giant, mutant serpent is slithering through the sewers below the beautiful duplexes of Pleasant Pines. First cats, then dogs, then children disappear. It's not until the serpent rears its head out of Miss Honor Wilhelmina Pringle's toilet that it meets its match.
As William the Conqueror’s sons battle for his throne, Vesper must prove her honor to others and her worthiness to herself. Interweaving fiction with actual events and historical characters, Honor Bound (about 130,000 words) is a historical fiction that blends political intrigue, feudal honor, and romance, set in a world where treacherous plots abound and misplaced trust is fatal. [I would put the second sentence at the end of the plot. Or put the first sentence at the beginning of the plot.]
The year is 1088 and England is torn asunder by rebellion. To keep her estate Havre de Grace—[Translation: Graceland.] the most important thing in the world to her—Vesper Fitzhawke gives her oath of fealty to the new king. [We don't need the part about her estate being important to her.] Once she is honor bound to obey him, the wily ruler commands her to wed against her will and sends her on a dangerous, clandestine mission in his fight to save his throne from his brother’s efforts to supplant him.
Grim Eryvine, the exciting, but infuriating Scottish warrior she is forced to marry, [One wonders if she'd have pledged her loyalty to the king if she'd known she'd have to marry a Scotsman.] [Though it could've been worse. She could've been stuck with a Welshman.] [You can be pretty sure your marriage is gonna be grim when you marry a guy named Grim.]
[King: I've chosen a husband for you.
Vesper: Who is he?
King: He's Grim.
Vesper: Damn. What's his name?
King: It's Grim.
Vesper: Yes, but what is it?
King: I just told you.
Vesper: His name is Ijus Tolju?
King: It's Grim.
Vesper: You can say that again.]
is a wanderer and a loner. He scorns the role of estate holder and adamantly opposes being bound to one person or one place. For those reasons—and because Grim believes that women do not have the necessary sense of honor to hold true to a sworn oath—he clashes with Vesper and sparks fly. Even so, Grim is irresistibly drawn to the beautiful and strong-willed demoiselle he is forced to marry. As he plunges deeper into a web of desire and longing for her, he grows to fear that she loves Havre de Grace more than she could love any man and would even commit treason to possess it. [She already possesses it, having pledged fealty to the king, so why would he be concerned with her committing treason?]
Vesper and Grim immediately find themselves entangled in the Machiavellian schemes of Odo, the malevolent Bishop of Bayeux. [This scene from the Bayeux Tapestry shows Odo; if you look closely you can see him on the king's right. Click on the picture for an enlargement.
Odo being one of the great characters of all time, it's a mistake to not even mention him until paragraph four. A better opening hook for the query would be: When the mysterious Odo takes the shape of the Bishop of Bayeux, it's just a matter of time before the English throne falls, in my novel Odo is in this Book; You Simply Must Have It. Note that I managed to work Odo into the title to ensure readers will grab it from bookstore shelves.] The devious bishop secretly leads the rebellion against the untried English ruler [by shape-shifting into the king's most trusted servant] and seeks to suborn Vesper into treason with a tantalizing promise. In exchange for her help, the would-be usurper will grant her control of her land unencumbered by an unwanted husband. Vesper now confronts the draconian choice of fulfilling her oath to the king and performing the difficult tasks given to her, [That last part is vague; delete it.] or committing treason in exchange for a most enticing reward.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
I look forward to hearing from you. [Delete that. As you may have noticed, we're trying to shorten this.]
Very truly yours,
Is this historical romance or a historical novel with some romance thrown in? It sounds like the former, as you give more play to the Vesper/Grim relationship than to the political intrigue and treacherous plots, so call it a romance if that's what it is.
It's well-written; just get it down to three plot paragraphs and one concluding paragraph and trim it a bit.
Vesper loses her estate if she doesn't marry Grim, but Grim has no interest in estate ownership or marriage, so why would he marry Vesper?
The king sends Vesper on a clandestine mission, the bishop recruits her to help him oust the king . . . Why does everyone want this woman on their side? What is it about Vesper that qualifies her to do stuff that would normally fall to James Bond?
Fitzhawke. Vesper Fitzhawke. Nope, doesn't have the same ring to it.