Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance (2nd Try)

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Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance (2nd Try)

Post by gonzo2802 » March 17th, 2010, 11:42 am

The pitch revision is the third post down, on the second page. Thanks for all the help so far!


Hey all, this is not my first attempt at this query, but it is the first time I've put it out there for review ... so let me know what you think. I'm at the point where I can't really read it objectively anymore. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

**********

Dear Wonderful Agent:

Every twenty-three years, Anna Rodwen has to set out on a new search to find the man she loves -- and it's been that way for almost five centuries.

Growing up in Tudor England, Anna never believed she was destined for love or marriage, let alone having babies, and her first meeting with Thomas left her far from convinced he'd be the one to change her mind. Though absolutely gorgeous, he was moody, sarcastic and positive he knew better than everyone else. Yet to her surprise, he also proved to be witty, charming and playful, and soon had her yearning for things she never thought she wanted. The course of their relationship led Anna to duel a jealous witch, battle a deadly epidemic, and put Thomas in his place when needed. When a cursed spell leaves them with opposing immortalities, Anna resigns herself to their inevitable periods of separation. For five hundred years she's done everything within her power to bring them together as often as possible, but soon Anna will be asked to sacrifice the one thing she may not be willing to give. If she refuses, the decision could end up costing her Thomas' company forever.

GEMINI CURSED is a 92,000 word paranormal romance. It is my first novel and currently a stand-alone. In a similar vein to Anne Rice's "The Vampire Lestat", the main character narrates the story through from a mortal past to an immortal present. At the same time, it is a work that should appeal to readers who enjoy a good star-crossed love story. According to your bio on ________'s website, I believe my story may be a fit for the type of work you represent.

I thank you for your time and consideration.

**********
Last edited by gonzo2802 on March 24th, 2010, 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by theWallflower » March 17th, 2010, 2:20 pm

Every twenty-three years, Anna Rodwen has to set out on a new search to find the man she loves -- and it's been that way for almost five centuries.
-I don't like how that last clause is phrased. It's implies "it is".
-Remove "almost"
-"set out to" is not necessary. Eliminate unnecessary words.
-I might phrase it like "It's been twenty-three years and Anna Rodwen has to find a new man to love--and she's been doing this for five centuries". But YMMV
Growing up in Tudor England, Anna never believed she was destined for love or marriage, let alone having babies, and her first meeting with Thomas left her far from convinced he'd be the one to change her mind. Though absolutely gorgeous, he was moody, sarcastic and positive he knew better than everyone else. Yet to her surprise, he also proved to be witty, charming and playful, and soon had her yearning for things she never thought she wanted. The course of their relationship led Anna to duel a jealous witch, battle a deadly epidemic, and put Thomas in his place when needed. When a cursed spell leaves them with opposing immortalities, Anna resigns herself to their inevitable periods of separation. For five hundred years she's done everything within her power to bring them together as often as possible, but soon Anna will be asked to sacrifice the one thing she may not be willing to give. If she refuses, the decision could end up costing her Thomas' company forever.
-Remove "absolutely"
-What does having babies have to do with anything? What did Anna believe she was destined for?
-Here's one of the fundamental problems Nathan just mentioned on his blog: people not being specific enough about the plot points. How does she meet this witch? Where does the epidemic come from? What are it's effects and consequences?
-You switch tenses too often. You shoudl stay in present tense.
-What does "opposing immortailities" mean?
-Rhetorical questions are a no no. I don't know what she's not willing to give, and thus I don't care.
-This needs to be broken up into more than one paragraph. Two, maybe three.
-I don't know who the protagonist is--I don't know what kind of character she is. I don't know what immediate problem she faces. She has some sort of separation from her love, but who is going to ask her to sacrifice something? Do the witch and epidemic have anything to do with this, or are they just seemingly random plot events that don't tie into the overall story (as they currently appear to me). I don't know what Anna's going to do about solving the problem, or what she does to solve it. These are the three questions you need to answer before you continue.
-I recommend looking at this post viewtopic.php?f=12&t=894 for tips on constructing a query from a logline.
GEMINI CURSED is a 92,000 word paranormal romance. It is my first novel and currently a stand-alone. In a similar vein to Anne Rice's "The Vampire Lestat", the main character narrates the story through from a mortal past to an immortal present. At the same time, it is a work that should appeal to readers who enjoy a good star-crossed love story. According to your bio on ________'s website, I believe my story may be a fit for the type of work you represent.
-Remove "currently a stand-alone". That is implied
-Use all caps for the title, not bold. Many agents still use plain text emails.
-Dont mention it's your first novel, it makes you look amateur
-Dont compare your novel to others, it will either confuse the agent because what you're writing doesnt sound like what you're comparing it to.
-There are some long sentences in here. Cut sentences longer than 20 words.
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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by gonzo2802 » March 17th, 2010, 8:58 pm

Thanks, Wallflower.

I knew I was off...didn't realize I was that off, but you've definitely given me a lot to think about and attack in the next revision. Obviously, I'm still having a difficult time figuring out how much information is enough to get the general gist of what is involved across, without including too much and making it overly jumbled. Time to go re-evaluate.

Only advice you gave that leaves me confused is to not mention this being my first novel. I've actually read on several agent websites to mention it is your first novel, instead of a paragraph about your credentials if you don't really have any. I guess it's another one of those situations where there is all sorts of conflicting information out there.

Thanks again for taking the time to give me your thoughts. Much appreciated!

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by Bron » March 18th, 2010, 6:36 am

I love your first sentence. It really hooked me. I was wondering why she needed to find love every 23 years, then the part about the five centuries really piqued my curiosity. It sounds like you have some interesting plot points in there too.

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by gonzo2802 » March 18th, 2010, 1:20 pm

Thanks, Bron! I really liked it too. Now I just have to whip the rest of my pitch in shape.

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by Matthew MacNish » March 18th, 2010, 2:10 pm

gonzo2802 wrote:Hey all, this is not my first attempt at this query, but it is the first time I've put it out there for review ... so let me know what you think. I'm at the point where I can't really read it objectively anymore. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

**********

Dear Wonderful Agent:

Every twenty-three years, Anna Rodwen has to set out on a new search to find the man she loves -- and it's been that way for almost five centuries.

- Have to disagree with Wallflower here to me it's = it has, seems obvious.
- "Almost" does seem unnecessary, or maybe it just feels clunky. Try "nearly" to see if you like the sound/rhythm better.


Growing up in Tudor England, Anna never believed she was destined for love or marriage, let alone having babies, and her first meeting with Thomas left her far from convinced he'd be the one to change her mind. Though absolutely gorgeous, he was moody, sarcastic and positive he knew better than everyone else. Yet to her surprise, he also proved to be witty, charming and playful, and soon had her yearning for things she never thought she wanted. The course of their relationship led Anna to duel a jealous witch, battle a deadly epidemic, and put Thomas in his place when needed. When a cursed spell leaves them with opposing immortalities, Anna resigns herself to their inevitable periods of separation. For five hundred years she's done everything within her power to bring them together as often as possible, but soon Anna will be asked to sacrifice the one thing she may not be willing to give. If she refuses, the decision could end up costing her Thomas' company forever.

- I love your use of the term Tudor here I feel that is sets the scene perfectly, except does most of the novel take place in that period or is that just the backstory. It will still work I think though.
- Agree with Wall about the motherhood, unless it is important to the story and you just need to elaborate.
- Agree with Wall again about this next sentence "The course ..." The witch, epidemic battling and putting in place seem to come out of left field. Obviously you have to introduce the paranormal part at some point but it seems abrupt this way.
- You do switch back to present tense here. It didn't jar for me personally but agents can be picky.
- I like the idea of "opposing immortalities" but like Wall I don't get it without a little more detail to explain. Also spell check says that's not a word and tries to insert immoralities. Who knew?
- I don't see the rhetorical question. Wall what are you talking about?


GEMINI CURSED is a 92,000 word paranormal romance. It is my first novel and currently a stand-alone. In a similar vein to Anne Rice's "The Vampire Lestat", the main character narrates the story through from a mortal past to an immortal present. At the same time, it is a work that should appeal to readers who enjoy a good star-crossed love story. According to your bio on ________'s website, I believe my story may be a fit for the type of work you represent.

- Agree about the stand alone part but I think you can leave the first novel part in. It might be obvious if you have no publishing credits but you also could be a vanity publishing maniac so I think this clarifies that.
- Have to disagree with Wall about the comparisons. I think you put it well here.
- Not sure what you mean by star-crossed.
- Wall always says that about sentences longer than 20 words and he is right, they sound and look better, usually making more sense. Personally I consider it a guideline, not a rule.


I thank you for your time and consideration.

**********
Looking forward to your revision. It sounds like a cool premise but I can't really tell much of what happens.

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by Ellie G » March 18th, 2010, 5:08 pm

gonzo2802 wrote:Dear Wonderful Agent:

Every twenty-three years, Anna Rodwen has to set out on a new search to find the man she loves -- and it's been that way for almost five centuries. This is potentially confusing--it's not clear that she's looking for the same man every time, or whether she's doing it voluntarily.

Growing up in Tudor England, Anna never believed she was destined for love or marriage, let alone having babies, Saying "let alone XXXX" implies XXXX is the most astonishing thing, yet it sounds like having children is never a plot point and her first meeting with Thomas left her far from convinced he'd be the one to change her mind. Though absolutely gorgeous, he was moody, sarcastic and positive he knew better than everyone else. Yet to her surprise, he also proved to be witty, charming and playful, and soon had her yearning for things she never thought she wanted. The course of their relationship led Anna to duel a jealous witch, battle a deadly epidemic, and put Thomas in his place when needed. This is all past tense. Is it part of the plot, or just setup? Also, it's heavy on description, light on action. You're losing momentum. When a cursed spell leaves them with opposing immortalities, I'm not sure what that means, or more importantly, how it shapes the plot Anna resigns herself to their inevitable periods of separation. For five hundred years she's done everything within her power to bring them together as often as possible, Past tense again--backstory or plot? but soon Anna will be asked to sacrifice the one thing she may not be willing to give. If she refuses, the decision could end up costing her Thomas' company forever. This implies there's something she wants more than Thomas's company. What is it? What's her difficult choice?

GEMINI CURSED is a 92,000 word paranormal romance. It is my first novel and currently a stand-alone. In a similar vein to Anne Rice's "The Vampire Lestat", just italics, no quotes the main character narrates the story through from a mortal past to an immortal present. If all they have in common is the narration, I'd lose this. However, if you think Gemini Cursed and The Vampire Lestat will appeal to a lot of the same people, it works. At the same time, it is a work that should appeal to readers who enjoy a good star-crossed love story. According to your bio on ________'s website, I believe my story may be a fit for the type of work you represent.

I thank you for your time and consideration.

**********
There's an interesting premise in there, but I can't tell what's backstory, what's setup, and what's plot. I don't get a real sense of what Anna is like or what problems she'll have to get out of by the end of the book.

Looking forward to the next version!

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by eringayles » March 19th, 2010, 6:04 am

gonzo2802 wrote:Thanks, Wallflower.

I knew I was off...didn't realize I was that off, but you've definitely given me a lot to think about and attack in the next revision. Obviously, I'm still having a difficult time figuring out how much information is enough to get the general gist of what is involved across, without including too much and making it overly jumbled. Time to go re-evaluate.

Only advice you gave that leaves me confused is to not mention this being my first novel. I've actually read on several agent websites to mention it is your first novel, instead of a paragraph about your credentials if you don't really have any. I guess it's another one of those situations where there is all sorts of conflicting information out there.

Thanks again for taking the time to give me your thoughts. Much appreciated!
Gonzo, you are not THAT off. You are writing a query, not a synopsis.
Babies ARE relevant! Romance publishers actually welcome them.
Anna seems to be a very strong heroine, and that's a plus. The hero's blend of arrogance and softer characteristics is, too.
Many hist.rom. submissions rely too much on the macho hero, and it's a common criteria for rejection. It was mandatory in the old romances, but not today.
You really need to request advice from published authors of the romance genre, as it is so specific. Get guidelines from the big houses - Harlequin, Avon, Warner, Dorchester are some, and query the Seymour agency - she's actively seeking all sub-genre romances. I think your query has merit - just a little polishing required, but you certainly don't need to give reasons for the plague (or discover a cure!). Your info is good - just needs a tad of polish.
'It's' is correct - 'it is', OR 'it has'.
No need for 'cursed spell'. Either 'curse' or 'spell'. 'Curse' is more ominous.
I love paranormal romance - you can really fly with it. Also, p.m. genre is popular at the moment - as is romantic suspense.
Regards.

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by jessicatudor » March 19th, 2010, 9:46 am

gonzo2802 wrote:Hey all, this is not my first attempt at this query, but it is the first time I've put it out there for review ... so let me know what you think. I'm at the point where I can't really read it objectively anymore. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

**********

Dear Wonderful Agent:

Every twenty-three years, Anna Rodwen has to set out on a new search to find the man she loves -- and it's been that way for almost five centuries.

I like the hook. Agree with everyone about cutting 'almost,' and here's where I stand on the "it's" debate: your sentence, removed of clauses, is literally, right now, "It has been." Reword so that the important part IS the sentence, or use it as a clause for the first, "and has had to for five hundred years," maybe?

Growing up in Tudor England [Yay!], Anna never believed she was destined for love or marriage, let alone having babies, and her first meeting with Thomas left her far from convinced he'd be the one to change her mind. Though absolutely gorgeous, he was moody, sarcastic and positive he knew better than everyone else. Yet to her surprise, he also proved to be witty, charming and playful, and soon had her yearning for things she never thought she wanted. The course of their relationship led Anna to duel a jealous witch, battle a deadly epidemic, and put Thomas in his place when needed. When a cursed spell leaves them with opposing immortalities [what does that *mean*?], Anna resigns herself to their inevitable periods of separation. For five hundred years she's done everything within her power to bring them together as often as possible, but

If this were a critique of the book, I'd put a little "your story starts here" note. That's why your tenses are messed up. You've spent your query giving is relevant backstory. We need to know it, but we need to know what happens in the present MORE. Condense this into a sentence or two.

soon Anna will be asked to sacrifice the one thing she may not be willing to give. If she refuses, the decision could end up costing her Thomas' company forever.

This, here, is your plot. THIS is where you need the specifics already mentioned, not above. What is her goal? You give us what's at stake nicely, her relationship with Thomas. Who's opposing her, and why?

GEMINI CURSED is a 92,000 word paranormal romance. It is my first novel and currently a stand-alone. In a similar vein to Anne Rice's "The Vampire Lestat", the main character narrates the story through from a mortal past to an immortal present. At the same time, it is a work that should appeal to readers who enjoy a good star-crossed love story. According to your bio on ________'s website, I believe my story may be a fit for the type of work you represent.

I'd cut from "It is my" right to "star-crossed love story." Don't tell. And I can see now why you put such emphasis on the back story, it's sort of present, too. It's hard to do a query for such a long time frame and figure out what's important, so you DO need to look hard at what Anna's major conflict is. That's where your summary should focus.


I thank you for your time and consideration.

**********
'The world is but canvas to our imaginations.' - Thoreau

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by gonzo2802 » March 19th, 2010, 11:54 am

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions, they really are helpful!!

My biggest problem, as a lot of you have pointed out, this story is one that takes place over a range of time (darn those immortals with unnaturally long life spans), so it can be confusing with some of the plot points the way I've described them. Though the book is normal length, it covers several hundred years worth of living (all in regards to Anna's relationship) and leads up to the final conflict/conclusion of the book.

So that's what I'm working on now -- with all the suggestions and tips mentioned here -- hopefully, in a few days I'll be back with the newest version. First I have to let it all permeate, percolate ... and any other "p" word that fits.

Thanks again,all!!

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by mmcdonald64 » March 20th, 2010, 4:48 pm

I was playing around with the query, and since I haven't read the story, my suggestions may be totally inappropriate for your manuscript. As always, take what makes sense and leave the rest.


Every twenty-three years, Anna Rodwen has to set out on a new search to find the man she loves -- and it's been that way for almost five centuries. You say she has to set out--why? Is she forced to? Compelled by some inner drive? I'm asking because maybe there's a stronger verb to describe that. 'Has' is very bland. Also, makes me wonder, is there a reason why it's every 23 years? Not that you have to give all that away, but you might be able to add urgency if, say, she only has that one year to find her true love, and if she can't she must wait another 23 years. It sounds like a cycle, like every time the Earth is so in a certain phase or whatever. For instance: "Every twenty-three years, Anna Rowden embarks on her desperate search to find the man she loves. It's been that way for the last five hundred years--it's cycle Anna longs to break.

Growing up in Tudor England, Anna never believed she was destined for love or marriage, let alone having babies, and her first meeting with Thomas left herfar from convinced he'd be the one to change her mind cold. Though absolutely gorgeous, he was moody, sarcastic and positive he knew better than everyone else. Hmmm, what if you say something like, 'Her first impression of Thomas left her cold. Gorgeous, but moody, sarcastic and cocky, she despised him until she saw his other side. The charming, witty playful side. Soon, she was yearning for things she never realized she wanted

Yet to her surprise, he also proved to be witty, charming and playful, and soon had her yearning for things she never thought she wanted.

The course of their relationship led Anna to duel a jealous witch, battle a deadly epidemic, and put Thomas in his place when needed. When a cursed spell leaves them with opposing immortalities, Anna resigns herself to their inevitable periods of separation. For five hundred years she's done everything within her power to bring them together as often as possible, but soon Anna will be asked to sacrifice the one thing she may not be willing to give. If she refuses, the decision could end up costing her Thomas' company forever. This paragraph left me confused. Were she and Thomas cursed by the jealous witch?

GEMINI CURSED is a 92,000 word paranormal romance.It is my first novel and currently a stand-alone. In a similar vein to Anne Rice's "The Vampire Lestat", the main character narrates the story through from a mortal past to an immortal present. At the same time, it is a work that should appeal to readers who enjoy a good star-crossed love story. that Personally, I would hesitate to compare my novel to a famous work, however, I know that some agents do want to know that info so they know how to market it, so no advice there. According to your bio on ________'s website, I believe my story may be a fit for the type of work you represent.

I thank you for your time and consideration.

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by gonzo2802 » March 24th, 2010, 10:28 am

Thanks for the suggestions, Mary. Believe it or not, I had just changed my hook sentence to include the word "embark" and I wasn't sure if I should go with it or not ... then you threw it out there, so it totally settled my mind on keeping it. Woohoo!

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by gonzo2802 » March 24th, 2010, 10:40 am

Okay, so I switched some things up ... hopefully, this version is a bit closer to what it needs to be. I'm just going to throw the pitch in here and not worry about the rest of the book description, etc.

*******

Every twenty-three years, Anna Rodwen embarks on a new search to find the only man she's ever loved -- a pattern she's been forced to repeat for five centuries.

Growing up in Tudor England, Anna is far too independent to believe in the notion that marriage will equal happiness. Then Thomas comes along, with his sarcastic and playful nature, and complicates things. Changing the way she looks at love is easy, but building a life with him proves difficult. A powerful witch wants Thomas' affections for herself and a curse from their fallout leaves Anna immortal. When a fatal illness sweeps through the country, Anna attempts to use a magic she doesn't understand, in order to save Thomas' life. A mistake on her part leaves him with an existence far different than her own, and sets the irreversible pattern into motion.

Now, for the first time in five hundred years, Thomas is nowhere to be found. Frustrated and worried, Anna turns to her son, Tristan, for a sympathetic ear. When Tristan goes missing as well, she's convinced neither disappearance is an accident. Anna has no idea what forces she may be up against this time, nor does she care. All she knows is she must find a way to locate the two people who matter most -- or face eternity alone.

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance

Post by Matthew MacNish » March 24th, 2010, 2:44 pm

gonzo2802 wrote:Okay, so I switched some things up ... hopefully, this version is a bit closer to what it needs to be. I'm just going to throw the pitch in here and not worry about the rest of the book description, etc.

*******

Every twenty-three years, Anna Rodwen embarks on a new search to find the only man she's ever loved -- a pattern she's been forced to repeat for five centuries. I like this much better, it's not perfect yet, and you still might find more vivid verbs than embark and forced, but they're much better than the states of being you had before.

Growing up in Tudor England, Anna is far too independent this is a little confusing - being independent doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that would maker her wise enough to know marriage does not equal happiness. It seems to me being independent would mean she would not even get married. Maybe it's just me. to believe in the notion that marriage will equal happiness. Then Thomas comes along, with his sarcastic and playful nature, and complicates things. How? Changing the way she looks at love is easy, but building a life with him proves difficult. Why? A powerful witch wants Thomas' affections for herself and a curse from their fallout leaves Anna immortal leaves Anna cursed to suffer immortality. When a fatal illness sweeps through the country, Anna attempts to use a magic she doesn't understand, no comma necessary in order to save Thomas' his life. A Her mistake on her part leaves him with an existence far different than her own, is there some way to contrast their juxtaposed immortalities more descriptively? and sets the irreversible pattern into motion.

This idea of their opposite - or different, whatever - immortalities sounds really cool, for me it is the hookiest (word?) part of the query. The problem is I don't get it. It sounds like he gets banished to another dimension or something except for a short window every 23 years. Why? How? I would love to know more about this and I think it would make the query much stronger if you could do it right; unless there is some reason you're leaving it out on purpose.

Now, for the first time in five hundred years, Thomas is nowhere to be found. Frustrated and worried, Anna turns to her son, Tristan, for a sympathetic ear. When Tristan goes missing as well, she's convinced neither disappearance is an accident. Anna has no idea what forces she may be up against this time, nor does she care. All she knows is she must find a way to locate the two people who matter most -- or face eternity alone. I like the sound of this conclusion but you might give a little more info about what she has to do to locate them. I know you don't want to give away the ultimate conclusion, save that for the synopsis, but it feels like a little more here might help.
Please keep in mind this is all subjective and only my opinion. I think your query is much improved already though.

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Re: Query : GEMINI CURSED - paranormal romance (2nd Try)

Post by JTB » March 24th, 2010, 4:32 pm

It sounds really complicated and difficult to follow and raises too many questions as people have already pointed out. I think, I might be wrong, that it should be considerable shorter and pitched to garner interest. Here's my attempt, I do hope it helps ....

Gemini Cursed

"In Tudor England an independent woman called Anna Rodwen falls for the handsome Thomas. Building a life with him proves difficult. After falling out with a witch Anna is left immortal and when a fatal illness sweeps through the country Anna attempts to use a magic she doesn't understand to save Thomas' life. It’s a mistake. Anna turns to her son, Tristan, but when Tristan goes missing as well she knows that she must find a way to locate the two people who matter most, or face eternity alone."

Set in Tudor England and against the backdrop of, covering five centuries if etc etc .... this is you second para that covers more about the book, words, genre etc

this can be tidied up and embellished but, from what i know, it shoudn't much more than 3 - 4 sentences
Keep going

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