Monday, January 28, 2013

Bouncer Post #90

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 100,000


When Cleo Compton wakes up to a hangover and an eviction notice, she realizes her thirtieth birthday isn't going to be the auspicious launch into maturity for which she'd hoped. Since the absolute last thing she wants to do is move in with the folks, she accepts the first offer of help she receives, even though it's from Julian Wheaton, a guitarist sporting even more red flags than he has tattoos - and he has a lot of tattoos.   

With severe synesthesia, Julian doesn't see the world through rose colored glasses. He views it through kaleidoscope lenses. Seeing every sound he hears as multitudes of colors made growing up in London as a prodigy violinist pure hell. It made life as an iconic rock guitarist in Los Angeles a trip beyond hell and straight to rehab when he discovered a single hit of heroin was all it took to make the colors go away. Retired from the chaotic limelight, the last thing he wants is to hook up with a thirty-year-old laid-off college professor who never quite got her groupie career off the ground. But when Cleo ends up working for him, Julian finds that old Mick was right - you can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. And Julian needs Cleo. For one thing, her tantalizing tangerine scent makes the colors go away. For another, he's in love. Willing to do anything to keep her, he hits the road with a band again. Because without fame, he thinks he's just a freak.

Cleo is left to wonder if the man she's fallen in love with will turn into the one thing she can no longer abide: a rock star.

First 250:

Julian could tell that Addie was nervous. He hoped it wasn't because of him. "Sis, I'm not going to shag any of your friends, so don't worry," he said as they walked along the sidewalk.

It was dusk, a hot and humid San Antonio summer evening, and Julian's long-sleeved white shirt was already soaked through. He undid his cuffs and rolled them above his wrists, exposing the beginning of the dark tattoos that snaked up the length of his forearms. He should have worn a t-shirt, especially with Addie's insistence on walking in this heat.

Glancing up, he spotted the first star of the evening. Looking across the street, he spotted the first dealer. And the dealer had spotted him. The twitchy kid raised his eyebrows. Interested?

Julian looked down at his black Converse high-tops and focused on putting one foot in front of the other. Addie marched along at his side, seemingly unaware of the young men and boys on the corners, slapping palms and hanging out. She didn't notice the cars that slowed down to let off a passenger only to cruise the block and pick them up further down the street. Julian, however, felt the electrical currents of all the activity around them sizzle along every nerve of his body. He reached in his pocket for the comfort of his guitar picks.

"I'm not worried about you jumping my friends, Juli," Addie said. "They're hardly your type, of course."

"Of course," he agreed, suppressing a small grin.


  1. "A thirty-year old laid-off college professor who never quite got her groupie career off the ground." I LOVE that. Your query does its job perfectly. I want to find out more about Cleo and Julian.

    Your first 250 are also great! It's all showing and no telling with a cool setting. I can't wait to find out who Julian's type is! I'd bite.

  2. I love the premise and, as someone from San Antonio, I love the setting, too. :) A rock star with synesthesia sounds really fascinating and I think it's sweet to have a brother and sister relationship in the story. I'd definitely keep reading!

  3. The tattoo line in the query--very cute. But I have to say that I really struggled with this bc I kept coming back to the big, basic question of WHY Julian would stick with music when it's such a unique form of torture for him. I think you at least need some kind of explanation for that in the query, however brief. If I knew it's the only thing he really loves--in spite of it being such agony--I might be better able to suspend disbelief.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment! As to why Julian sticks with music - he's retired from the performance limelight. Going back into the limelight is a desperate choice - and the conflict in the story. Music isn't what is difficult for his synesthesia - it is the stress of performance and touring. Interestingly - a large percentage of synesthetes are musicians. Isn't that fascinating? Thank you for presenting me with a great opportunity to hone my query.

    2. This one really caught my eye when it first went up, but I have to agree with Anonymous. I struggled with the concept of him being a violinist when it was such torture. I see you've explained that it was performing and touring that was hell, but that's not how it reads in the query.

      Other than that (and the fact he was wearing a long-sleeved shirt when it was so hot and humid!), I think the writing is wonderful, and I too love the idea of a brother-sister relationship carrying through the novel. :)

      Good luck, Carol!


  4. Carol, I think your concept is very cool and your 250 really popped.

    I think you need to make the end of the query clearer, the lines "Willing to do anything to keep her, he hits the road with a band again. Because without fame, he thinks he's just a freak" really confuse me. These are two different thoughts here and it makes the last paragraph hard to understand. Because from the above line, it makes it seem that he has to go on the road again to please her or prove something to her. Then there's a disconnect because at the end of that sentence it goes to say that he thinks he's a freak without the fame, which has nothing to do with keeping his relationship going. In the very last line of the query, it sounds like the conflict from her point of view is him becoming a rock star again, which contradicts the whole premise of him touring again to keep her. I think your story's probably very emotionally moving, thus tweaking the query will just make what you want to say stand out more.

    Again, the first 250 are great, and I'd read on if I had more to read. I hope what I said about the query helps.

    I'm your neighbor, #91

  5. Thanks so much! Extremely helpful. He believes he needs to be famous in order for her to love him, but of course he's wrong ;).

    1. Ah, I see. That makes sense, thanks for letting me know! Weave that into your query and it'll be great.