Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CAGI Entry #62

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 81,000


In an attempt to save her floundering lingerie business, Mia suggests a radical idea: a custom-designed sex toy. She just didn’t expect to be the one to test out the prototypes, or find love in the process.

When her widowed business partner is emotionally unable to help with the hands on research this venture requires, it’s up to Mia to have sex with the potential “Spokespenises,” whose presence in the store will be just as important as their toys on the shelf. But once the first bedroom interview is complete, she realizes it’s not as easy as she thought to keep these trysts all business and no pleasure.

Oliver thought he was talking to a random stood-up woman at a bar, but when she mistakes him for her interviewee, he can’t resist going along with the charade. The business proposition is too enticing to pass up. For once in his life, he’s doing something that makes him happy, reputation be damned. And maybe it will also rid him of his evil, lying fianc√©.    

I've published two full-length novels and two novellas with Lyrical Press, Inc. Also, my work appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Voices from the Herd, and Nickel City Nights: Erotic Writing in Western New York. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and the Western NY Romance Writers subchapter. 

First 250:

Mia Montanari had never been on an actual blind date before, and knowing her first would end in pre-planned sex didn’t ease her anxiety at all. What the hell did I get myself into? And this wasn’t even sex for pleasure. It was a job requirement and she’d yet to decide if it was a perk or not.

Not a perk. Definitely not a perk.

Though Mia enjoyed sex with hot guys, she normally liked to get to know them first. She was old fashioned like that.

The bar was kind of dead for a Friday night. She’d chosen this particular place for its proximity to her apartment. The closer her place, the less chance she’d chicken out. She couldn’t chicken out. Too much rode on this. She’d have to suck up her anxiety and just do it. Like a machine. A sexual robot.

Mia knew the bouncer at The Red Brick Inn pretty well. If the blind date guy seemed even the tiniest bit psycho, Thor would throw him right out on his ass, even if it was picture perfect.

She had a file for each of her “interviewees,” as she’d decided to call them, complete with photos of their naked bodies. After all, she wasn’t just looking for an able penis, she needed a spokesperson for this new venture. And the new venture would require them to be mostly naked.

She checked her phone. Almost quarter after eight. Where was this guy? Punctuality was huge for her. 


  1. I was slightly confused because I got the idea she was starting work as a prostitute or something (I read the 250 first). Nice concept though - it seems like a sexy start!

    1. :) Thanks so much! I can see now how that start does make it sound like she is a prostitute, which is not the case at all :)

  2. I don't know if I would call this a contemporary romance by what you describe in your query or your first 250. I find it implausible.

    She's going to a bar to meet up with some unknown guy to have sex with him for her business? Yeah, maybe a prostitute could do that, but not the average business woman. Therefore, I find it difficult to relate to your MC. Sorry. :(

    1. I can see how the first few paragraphs make it sound like she is a prostitute, but I do tell the reader she is interviewing these guys. There is a good reason for her doing what she's doing, unfortunately it is backstory that I give the reader right after this sample ended.

      I'm fully aware the story is a far-fetched idea, but it seemed fun and sexy, so I went with it. :) The genre thing is scenes are not quite hot enough, not quite long enough, and not quite frequent enough, to really classify as er rom.

  3. I think you should leave a little to the imagination in the first pages. This would avoid the issues you had above, don't assume your readers will read the synopsis. So instead of saying it out right ("preplanned sex" doesn't sound good for a character we don't know or understand yet.) Tell us she is meeting a hot guy for a buiosness, imply a little sex but not much, then let us learn the truth with the guy (I bet that's an awesome scene lol)
    I also think you should leave out the fiance in the query, however you describe it here he will look like he is a jerk and is cheeting on his fiance. Let that flow from the story itself (im sure it makea more sense once we get the whole picture)

    Also, sorry, this was written from my phone and I had some issues. I know there are some typos!

    Oh, and p.s.s. Are you sure this isn't Erotica?

    1. I do run into some genre issues, since my stories are pretty high on the heat scale, but judging from the other erotic romance I have read, my scenes are not quite hot enough, not quite long enough, and not quite frequent enough, to really classify as er rom.

      Thanks for the suggestion :) I see what you're saying. I tried to dive right into the story and make the opening mysterious...make reader want to read on and find out what is actually going on. This sample is kinda tough....barely even two paragraphs later you get some of the backstory of why she's there and doing this...which is something she's not comfortable doing. I tried to convey that right from the start, but maybe it's not coming through. And I didn't want to throw the backstory right at the read first page in. The story is a pretty far-fetched idea...but I thought it was fun and sexy and went with it!

  4. The query is well-written and caught my attention. There's one thing that stood out for me, though, that could use some tweaking. We don't get a sense of Mia as a character from the query, beyond what she does. We don't know what else is going on in her life and what drives her. I think a few more well-chosen details about Mia as a person (and not just her work) would help readers draw a connection to her.

    I know she's got personality because it comes across in her voice in the first 250. Already we know she's kind of a paradox: she's old-fashioned and a stickler for details, but yet she's open-minded and modern enough to be embarking on this very unusual professional project. I think this tension could be played up even more in the opening paragraphs.

    And just to prove that this writing and reading business really IS subjective, I'm gonna put it out there that it doesn't bother me that we don't yet know exactly why Mia is at the bar and what she's doing. I think not knowing adds to a sense of intrigue, which is good in an opening.

    1. Thank you Susan! I think you really get what I was trying to do...that intrigue! :) As a reader, I don't like having everything right up front...I like the mystery...I like to think "Oooh, I wonder how that's gonna play out!"

      Thanks for the advice...I see what you mean about not enough of Mia is in the query. :)

  5. I actually kind of dig this idea. Typically, I'm not a huge romance fan and at first I wasn't completely sold. When I got to Oliver's part about not actually being the interviewee I got interested. I thought that idea was a very good one.

    I didn't really have a problem with the first 250. I thought it read well, but I am one of those people who always reads the backjacket, so I would've known why she was in the bar.

    I do agree that your query lacks some voice (no worries, mine does too!) I think if you just change the discriptions a tiny bit, it would help. Instead of saying "she didn't expect to be the one to test out the prototype" you could do a more Mia thing by saying "Trying out the prototype of her idea, however, was not exactly on her To-Do list." But obviously better than that haha.

    Best of lucK!
    Jessica #96

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Glad you like my is kinda wacky, but that's what I love about it! I see what you're saying about the query...thanks!