Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CAGI Entry #50

Genre: Historical Romance with Paranormal Elements
Word Count: 76,000


In Regency era London, where the smallest faux pas can cause irreparable scandal, half-elven Katherine Sinclair has more to hide than anyone else; especially when drawing notice by the wrong people can get her killed.

With the ability to harness the power of nature and even heal others, ruining her family’s good name isn’t the only thing she must guard against. According to her late mother’s enchanted journal, a secret brotherhood exists amongst members of elite society, some who even feed on the magic energy of others. When two suitors present themselves, Katherine is understandably suspicious. The Duke of Thornewood is as arrogant as he is darkly handsome, and the Earl of Byron is charming and the clear choice of her society-savvy grandmother, but Katherine fears her attraction and prejudice will lead her astray.

But Society intrigue can be just as threatening. Her grandmother has secrets of her own and is willing to force Katherine into an arrangement with a dangerous man to keep them hidden. Katherine never believes she’ll succeed—until Katherine heals one of her fellow debutantes after a riding accident, with the Duke of Thornewood as a witness. After such a catastrophic mistake, Katherine believes her reputation—and any chance at love—has been ruined for good. Such a misstep puts her at the mercy of not only her grandmother’s machinations, but the brotherhood who could drain her magic. Since Katherine's magic is irrevocably tied to the energy which keeps her heart beating, she risks death if caught.

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First 250:

The horse's hooves thunder across the hillside, and my heart pounds with each bunching of his muscles. My hair breaks free of its pins, pale strands sweeping across my cheek. Though the cold wind breaks through the thin barrier of the breeches and tall boots borrowed from my brother’s wardrobe, the wide smile never leaves my face. Mild discomfort is a small price to pay for a ride unhindered by the thick skirts of my riding habit.

I glance at Robert, who is keeping easy pace with me.

"Careful, dear sister," Robert calls out, the wind snatching at his words, "I'm gaining on you."

I laugh. "Serenity will refuse to jump this next bank, just as she always does."

I press my booted heels to Orion’s sides, and a little thrill jolts through me as he charges forward. His excitement bubbles over my skin, making it hard to distinguish from my own. Magic derived from the warmth of the sun cloaks us both, its invisible golden bands connecting us until we are nearly one creature. He floods my mind with his every thought: the way the light layer of snow gives way beneath his hooves, how crisp the air smells when he takes deep breaths, the light pressure of my weight on his back. The mare behind him is on his mind too, a speck of awareness I take advantage of; it tells me how close I am to reaching the creek before my brother, therefore winning our little race. 


  1. I dfinitely like the premise here - I'm not a fan of either historical or paranormal romance but for some reason the thought of combining them intrigues me. One thing I'm not sure about is the dialogue - for example 'gaining on' stood out for me. I'm a huge Austen fan, and taking the language that far might make it less accessible, but 'gaining on' seems to modern. I could be totally, utterly wrong of course - that's just how it struck me. Also, using 'dear sister' seems right, but then seemed at odds with her jumping on her horse - not the most genteel way to ride. Some nice description and overall I enjoyed reading.

  2. Great hooks at both the beginning and end of your query! I don't usually read historical, but I think you've done a nice job with this!

    Best of luck to you.

  3. I really enjoy your writing style. I love when an author gives me not just an image, but a feeling- almost like I am a part of the work itself just by reading it. I love your concept- good job with this overall!

  4. Hi! I am pretty sure I stalked around this MS at WriteOnCon, and I'm back to tell you I love the changes you made! I think this is a really interesting concept. I would love to keep reading because the first 250 already have a million questions popping into my head, which is always a good thing to me. Good luck!

  5. I really enjoyed the way the setting comes alive in the last paragraph. Quite gripping.

    Best of luck!

  6. This was awesome. I think you're going to do really well with it. The query was intriguing and I especially enjoyed the first 250 words. You brought the character and setting vividly to life in this. Great job.

    I'm number twenty nine if you want to check it out.

    Good luck and, again, great job. You wouldn't happen to be looking for a beta reader, would you? I'd love to see what happens next.

  7. I find your writing to be clear and easy to read, which is great. My only words of advice would be to watch the word "even" in your query, and to maybe rephrase the last sentence so it's a little more punchy. Overall great job though!

  8. I like your premise, it has a similar flavor to Robin Bridge's The Gathering Storm (which has a Russian setting but combines historical with paranormal--it might be a useful comparative novel).

    I think your query is pretty strong, I can tell you've put work into it. There are words you can still cut to streamline it, but overall the elements are all there. For an example of streamlining, take this:

    With the ability to harness the power of nature and even heal others, ruining her family’s good name isn’t the only thing she must guard against.

    You could say:
    With the ability to heal others, ruining her family’s good name isn’t the only thing she must guard against.

    I don't think you need to say how she heals others, the important part is she is a healer. Those world-building details can come in the story. Then you can get to that secret society and her shady grandmother :)

    I enjoyed reading the first 250. I would watch some of the adjectives; in one sentence you have a lot: cold wind, thin barrier, tall boots, wide smile. You could show a little more about how the wind whipped through the thin barrier of her shirt, etc. I like the opening, something is happening and the pacing is good. Best of luck with your entry, I think it sounds great.