Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Era That Gave Life to The Romantic Query Letter

The Prince Regent turned King George IV
 George IV painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence

1811 to 1830 during the reign of George, Prince of Wales as Regent for his ailing father and the years of his own rule as King George IV. George ruled over a period of ideals, were all was possible even if it was fleeting.

To most it was a time of careless excess that gave rise to the Brighton Pavilion and its stable done to resemble Indian grand castles Jane but for me it will always be Austen’s timeless novels and rise of the romantics.

It was also the time of Keats and his longing to create poetry that would express heart and lust, of Shelley’s questionable conduct and the Duke of Clarence ten illegitimate children with the talented actress Mrs. Jordan. Of that awful business concerning Frederick, Duke of York being made to leave the army after it was discovered by Parliament that his mistress Mary Anne Clarke was selling military promotions.

Not one to be outdone by the rotten royal dukes the Regent built a pleasure palace in Brighton he could not afford and separated from his reckless wife to covert with demanding married ladies. Of Byron’s rumored affair with his half-sister, his marriage to the priggish Anne Isabella and his subsequent exile but it wasn’t only the gentlemen who were behaving badly.

Lady Caroline Lamb had her part in Byron's undoing, what with her adherent pursuit that bordered on predatory. Sending him, clippings of her pubic hair and mooning over him though he turned her over for the Countess of Oxford a lady’s who children were rumored to have so many different fathers they were called the Harleian Miscellany.

Then there was the Wilson sisters, three successful courtesans acquainted with gentlemen from the divine Duke of Wellington to that stylish dandy George ‘Beau’ Brummell. Oh, and of the religious charlatan Hannah More who found success in terrifying the masses with her pious rhetoric.

All that and there was also a war, a murdered Prime Minister, and the locomotive. We will dissect it, see if we can't unearth the cause for the decline of England's Romanticism.
I hope you are have a lovely week

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Novel Synopsis For Leeds My Second Novel And Latest Attempt At The Romantic Query Letter

Our hero: Lord Broderick Sterling Ashbourne, the new Marquess of Leeds is as tragic as Atlas, the titan made to bear the weight of the world for his sins and that of his family. Once a magnificent naval officer, Broderick has become an infamous mercenary and prodigal son due to a secret held for his wayward brother Alan. Broderick, heartsick from loss of Inez, returns to England with little but the love of his life in mind but is soon embroiled in his family’s insanity, yet again.

His heroine: Miss Inez Archer, his childhood friend, who at the tender age of sixteen, in order to save him from heartache, selflessly offered him her hand. Despite her own tragedies, she had never stopped being his champion. Regardless of her poor birth, she was beautiful, independently wealthy, and could have long ago married. Still, she remains a spinster at twenty-seven for love of Broderick.

The Novel: Is based primarily around Rick and Inez’s romantic relationship. The first few chapters introduce and give, in detail, the foundation of the two such as who they are, and where their heart lies. There are secondary story lines but their sole purpose is to add to the lead characters’ interaction so the story remains focused on their development.

Together: Rick and Inez hold passionately. They are faithful to each other and the love they share. They greatly value their families, especially the one they hope to create, and are endearingly romantic without being trite or overly sentimental.

Their story: Leeds opens in London late spring 1820 as the two, recently reunited, ride silently towards a piece of property that Inez only recently discovered among her inheritance. They arrive at the house at Berkeley Square, he distant and reeling from the sad news that landed him in her care while she is watchful and sympathetic.

She calls him to attention and offers him the option of taking her carriage or her company. He chooses the latter and stays with her without hesitation. Soon inside, the grand townhouse, the two fall into easy albeit often contentious conversation about their fathers’ questionable conduct.

This leads to him revealing the cause for his distress. The resurrection of his believed dead, older brother Alan. Before long, their talk of willful relations turns to matters far more personal. Some of it introspective, others confrontational but there could be no denying how intimate everything would be.

All the past hurts and disappointment. Her anger for what she believes to be his rotten treatment. His anger for what he now perceives to be her callous indifference. Then right when they were about to call it a day her Uncle Mitchell, fresh from Vienna happens upon them at the house which, as it turns out, was given to him fifteen years prior by Inez’s father.

Mitchell is suspicious of them being there alone without a chaperone but is not given the full opportunity to inquire why because of their hasty departure. A little while later, the two in the carriage heading for their individual residence in St James Square discuss the possibility of consequences stemming from Mitchell finding them alone together.

Well aware of the precarious position in which they have now found themselves Rick responsibly sets forth an offer of marriage, which is instantly set aside by Inez. Who swears to him she would take care of it long before it got to that and then the two parted company.

Only for her turn up on his steps, a few hours later in a full panic at the prospect of being made to marry him while they were so unsettled. After some initial resistance to her being without a chaperone in his company, the two spend the evening coming to terms with some difficult truths.

Most of it things left unsaid between them and others having to do with him giving her the full breath of what she would have to contend with should she decide to marry him. The most pressing of which was the return of his thieving brother, whom he confesses to have kidnapped with the hope of brokering a deal to save them all from ruin.

So touched is she by this new reviling Broderick who now confides in her all his deepest secret that she agrees to marry him and not only because of his problems either. It was because at the heart of it and despite their time apart there was no one else with whom either would rather be.

Optimistic and half-sorted the two are soon setup on by an opportunistic Mrs Brandon who was using her knowledge of Alan’s return to extort marriage from Rick for her daughter. Rick terrifies the greedy woman and her daughter away only to have his lunatic relations descend with want for Alan’s blood.

Then there was his murderous Uncle Andrew, who felt he was the only rightful heir to the title and wanted not only Alan but also Rick out his way. An awful situation now made worst because of a long held family secret about Alan’s true paternity and the appearance of Alan’s wife and daughters.

Soon the ton was alive with rampant speculation about the validity of Alan’s much exaggerated reappearance or his believed widow with his very young daughters in tow. Once it became apparent that the girls where Alan’s and that the lady’s claim was authenticity the gentlemen from the Committee of Privileges where around asking all kinds of question about Alan’s whereabouts.

In the midst of all this Rick and Inez marry and rediscovers their passion for each other only to have the whole thing threaten when he shuts down from the stress of it all and starts keeping things from her. She remains patient resolving to support him until the matter with Alan is taken care of only just about the time when Rick had Alan on a boat to exile and was busy settling all else they learns that Uncle Andrew murdered Alan.

Alan’s dead comes the knowledge that he had escape to India all those years ago in order to protect their mother’s brother that had been cruelly placed in an asylum to stop him inheriting. Wounded that Alan did not feel he could have trusted him with this Rick shut Inez out further still.

Their marriage now reduced essentially to nothing but sex, secrets and silence forces Inez into action. The leave London for Suffolk, which give them enough time away from the constant bombardment from their outrageous life to reclaim some the easy intimacy they use to share.

Their love renewed and stronger than ever, Rick now the undisputed Marquess Leeds, holds tight to his wife and happy ever after they had so tirelessly fought for.
The end.

Have a great week,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Harlequin Historical Undone and the writer of the Romantic Query Letter

Harlequin has forced me to look, once more, at that most pressing question: How much sex is too much sex? Especially in a Regency historical romance particularly now that the requirement is for a more sensual story?

The story is meant to be ten to fifteen thousand words. But, now I ask you, after plot, back-story, initial attraction and open lustful desire, how much actual sex could the editors be expecting?

They don’t want vulgar or gratuitous but then again both are so very subjective, which makes it sort of like that quote about pornography that says ‘you’ll know it when you see it.’ And this raises yet another question: will I know it when I see it? Or rather, when I write it.

Decisions had to be made.

Do I write a virgin heroine?

According to my research, the readers prefer virgin heroine in a Regency romance, but I must remember not to write a widowed virgin, which do exist by the way. And she is always a most contentious character, I assure you.

It’s that or the unhappily married wanton Lady seeking her pleasure. Or the lovely miss who lost her virginity by some happenstance. Or the widow who never experienced true pleasure but is now ready to do so. Or the bluestocking, spinster miss that knows far too much about sexuality for the time period. And trust me, the list or heroines and subtle variations on the stereotypes, does go on… So many heroines, but so few words.

In the end, I decided that my girl would be a conscientious virginal miss with an eager body and an unsure heart.

She meets her hero while engaged to the friend she settled for after years on the marriage mart and now she too had to make some decisions.

Should she choose the possibility of love with this stranger and, in the process, abandon the friend that offered her companionship in return for the financial security her fortune would offer?

Both she and I struggled with our decisions in an attempt to see to it that all ended well and all the while, this sex question stood as though haunting over the proceedings. The struggle was good for us and it helped us to bond so that we were able to make some decisions.

I made her hero constant and true so that it was easy for her to love him. Then I found that once she loved him, the sensual matters easily followed the emotional from enflamed first kiss, to impassioned lovemaking in a carriage in the middle of the afternoon.

Very hot… Or so I thought until my sister, the writer of erotica that she is, read it and essentially called it vanilla.


Now, what?
Here's hoping you have a good week,

Thursday, August 13, 2009

August Blog Chain

Hi All,

Here's the question for you (and for Simone, if she wants to answer):Why do you think readers have such an insatiable need for romance stories?

Our answer

In a word - escapism. People want to believe in love and the happily ever after and romance novels often portray this in an attainable way. Some flawed heroin, whether thin or pretty, will find someone who loves her for who she is on the inside. A man who will understand her and appreciate her for all that she is. And in turn, the reader is able to live vicariously through this person who gets to go on this adventure for a few hundred pages and find the romantic ideal.

For myself, as a writer, and a fan of the genre, it has always been about the magic of the romance and the wonder of two people finding happiness together out of friendship and through tribulations. They overcome differences and come together, builiding a life for themselves. I love the extent of the possibility that romance novels show us and I suspect that many readers feel the same way.

A good romance story is like a drug and, let's face it, we're always looking for an eternal high and the zenith of happiness. When I go to book stores and I see readers searching through the stacks they are always willing to share their love for the genre they prefer whether it be paranormal or historical. The fans are often like the books themselves, hopeful, lovely, well-read, and contrary to popular belief, not always just single women or lonely housewives.

Readers love romance novels because of the endless possibilty they offer. Through romance novels, anyone can live out or share a fantasy. We are all searching for an ideal and romance is ever-changing. There is a writer out there for everyone and if not in real life, readers can find, in print, something that lives up to their ideal.

Razibahmed - My question to you is, where do you go to find inspiration for your writing? Is it music, other novels, food, etc?

- Claire and Simone

Hello all, Claire here.

I’m thrilled to be joining Simone here at the Romantic Query Letter. She and I have been writing at the same Toronto area chapter/starbucks on Tuesday for over two years without introduction then we meant on a mutual and fellow writers blog nearly two months ago. We have been tight ever since.

Now let me tell you a little about myself.

· I’m a foodie who doesn’t cook
· A teacher
· Amateur historical romance writer with two completed manuscripts
· A newlywed
· DISCO freak
· And recovering shopaholic
· Who suffers from bouts of wanderlust and reads travel magazines with open desire. I dreams of the day when I’ll be able to winter in Monte Carlo and summer in Northern Italy.
· Also I’m in awe of my new friend’s talent and can’t wait for her to find an agent who will champion her work to great success.
· All that and I want to be a yoga master

Simone keeps encouraging me to start my own blog but I’m too unfocused to so this is perfect for me. I hope to contribute frequently say once a month - trust me that’s plenty for a scatterbrain like me. That and I promise I’ll stay vigilant were my commitment to AWWC chain-blog is concerned.

Till next time
Claire C

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Friend and Enthusiastic Supporter of the Romantic Query Letter

Delphin Enjolras' A Son Bureau

An introduction to my fantastic new friend Claire Crossdale who I met online only discovery we write at same starbucks/chapters in Toronto. She’s more editor than writer which is great for me – dyslexic that I am. She's brilliant, very supportive of my attempts at blogging all that and she’s a Leo so we get on famously. She’s a member at Absolute Write Water Cooler and as signed us up for a blog chain which I’m at once excited and trepidations about since neither of us done anything like it before. She says it’s good networking…I don’t know… we well see.

She promises to write and tell you a little about herself very soon. I only hope you like her as much as I do.

Welcome Claire
My gratitude to you all,

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Querying My Second Novel Thou I've Yet To Sell My First

Delphin Enjolras' La Lecture Au Clair de la Lampe

This is not an admittance of defeat only a new approach. I’ve started querying my second novel Leeds. It the sequel to my first novel Ellesmere and I'm hoping that it will garner the adoration its predecessor was unable to. I don't know it's the right thing to do but I'm without end and feel I must be proactive.

This is the first draft of the second set of Romantic Query Letters

Sample Query Letter
10 Agents queried

Dearest Dearest Agent ,

It was the greatest surprise of Lord Broderick Ashbourne’s life to discover that he had fallen in love with his childhood friend Miss Inez Archer. But, more surprising than that would be the journey that they would take to each other.

In the spring of 1816, he, the second son of privilege, and Inez, the woman of his life and the daughter of a lowly merchant, shared a passionate night only to be forced apart in the cold light of reality. Now, heartbroken and separated due to their mounting personal tragedies, the two settled in to their prospective lives as his troublesome family takes centre stage and she comes to terms with the loss of both of her parents.

Broderick contends with his parting from Inez by rebuilding the fortune his older brother Alan stole when he faked his death to run off with his cousin’s wife.

In the mean time, Inez contemplated moving on with someone less emotionally taxing.
Years later, Broderick is back on English soil, as an infamous Lord with rumours of piracy following him. Upon his return, he finds a captivating Inez who had, in his absence, evolved from a pretty young girl into an elegant, grounded woman approaching life with a sense of humour and a thoughtful sensitivity.

The novel Leeds is a 100,000+ words historical romance set in 1800’s England when the two reunite after a chance meeting and spend a soulful afternoon alone discussing loss and love. Unfortunately, before they are able to find new resolve, they are discovered alone and are forced to contemplate a marriage that neither believes the other wants.

They marry, days later, after old passions are made obvious along with the desire and love that they both still held for the other. However, they are prevented from settling into their happily-ever-after when the misguided Alan reappears, bringing with him new troubles, the most pressing of which being the inheritance of the title now that their father is dead and how Broderick will prevent Alan’s murder, when his victims get wind of his return.

Through it all, Rick and Inez maintain an unflinching support for each other and soon triumph over all obstacles, proving once more that love conquers all.

Attached are the novel synopsis and the pages as specified. The manuscript is complete and available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Yours Sincerely,