Monday, January 28, 2013

Bouncer Post #95

Genre: Romance
Word Count: 84,000


Beautiful, independent, and once confident, Emma Peroni is determined to find herself again after a brutal stalker attack has left her shaken, untrusting, and searching for refuge on the island known as a sanctuary for souls . . . Sanibel Island.

Unwavering in her decision to avoid close ties with anyone, she manages to resist the charms of Sheldon Barringer, a handsome local real estate investor with a passion for windsurfing.

However Sheldon’s intoxicating sense of humor and protective bearing eventually sweep Emma into the delightful experience of falling in love, causing her recurring nightmares to diminish . . . for a time.

Plagued by the past, will she trust a new future in her safe sanctuary, or be shattered by the man who is out to get her?

First 250:

The creamy citrus taste of Key lime pie charged my senses as I drove over
the Causeway onto the island. Memories of Nonna and I making pies flooded my
memory, causing a giggle to escape my lips. “It has eggs and fruit,” I could
hear her say, trying to justify our choice to have a slice for breakfast.

My reverie was shaken as The Cowboy Junkies began singing “Sweet Jane” over
the radio, the mellow relaxed melody instantly transforming my mood, like
water seeking its own level. I started to sing along until my thoughts
returned to the reason I had been driving for hours, away from my hometown
toward an island that I used to dream of one day calling home. Many things
beyond my control had changed since that day on the sand as a little girl
with Nonna.

I had missed the island so desperately and wondered if it would be the same
after all these years. Fear and excitement of my unknown future filled me. I
didn’t know how long I would be able to stay on Sanibel. I would have to
find a job at some point before my money ran out and settle somewhere . . .
wherever that might be.

I rolled the windows down and let the fresh salty air permeate the inside of
my silver Volvo C70. The thick sweet air warmed my skin and my soul as I
breathed it in. All doubt was gone as the lighthouse came into view, letting
me know I was almost there.


  1. Nice story...Key Lime Pie has eggs and fruit. Great imagery. Made me think of the taste.


  2. Love the idea of using a lighthouse as her keep-from-crashing-on-the-rocks totem... want to read more!

  3. Hi,
    I loved the query. Only suggestion would be to infuse a bit more sense of danger in the last paragraph. Is her stalker still after her? Does he know where she's hiding out? Just a clue, to make us worry for her all over again. Suggestion - She sees a familiar face in the crowd (or gets a letter, etc.). Then you could show her fears coming back, the newly-found happiness threatened.
    With the 250, I'd suggest start with her driving down, as you did with the last paragraph. Show us the atmosphere, her sense of finally being free. Then show the memories. Just a suggestion.
    I love romance, and this is my kind of book. Best of luck!


    1. Thank you for the feedback and suggestion Suja! Actually, my first 250 were exactly what you suggest and of course I changed it at the last minute! :)

  4. I agree with Suja, about ramping up the tension in the query a bit more, more of a sense of danger. The rest of the query flows nicely, but you could definitely torch up the ending of the letter.

    I like the writing in the first 250, but I think it could definitely be "grabbier." The last paragraph was good, and I actually adore the first paragraph, about the MC and Nonna having Key Lime Pie for breakfast, it's so touching and heartfelt, but maybe it could be moved down a little? I think you write beautifully, but the first 250 could be rearranged to be more immediately engaging, you know what I mean?

    The second paragraph doesn't do as much for me because to me mentioning a song is a big hit or miss. If your reader knows the song, then they are going to instantly connect to what the MC is feeling, listening to, it has a good effect. However, on the other hand, if you don't know the song, like I do not know that song, it has the opposite effect, where the reader feels like they're missing out, and thus I kind of glazed over that paragraph because I personally couldn't relate. Just my two cents. I hope the advice helps, my intentions are well-meaning.

    Virginia, #91

  5. Thank you Virginia!

    I am super proud of the entire novel, except the first 250 which I keep changing.

    I'll talk with my editor about your suggestions and make the necessary changes.

    I covet honest feedback so I can put out my best work.


  6. Love this book. Well written, with a languid feel, and evocative images of a sunny island, intricate, skillful depictions of surroundings and local foods. It is full of romance, excitement, anticipation and it made my heart skip a beat!

    1. Roxana,
      Thank you so much! You are an amazing author and I value your opinion.

  7. Wow! I have to say that I absolutely love where you're going with this. Your query and first 250 have left me wanting to read immediately.

    Just to touch on the query, I love how you added a question at the end, it makes me want to read on to find out the answer.

    For the first 250 I have several things to compliment you on.

    I loved how you described the key lime pie - creamy and citrusy - it definitely made my mouth water! And I enjoyed the memory of Emma reminiscing about Nonna, it's almost like I can feel the connection!
    I loved how you referenced to The Cowboy Junkies, they actually were one of my favorite bands! I laughed a little when I read that (in a good way)! Again, I liked how you had more memories of her Nonna when you were driving over the causeway, it seems like this book will have many touching moments.

    Overall I just enjoy the way you write. I feel like this book will do very well when published, and I cannot WAIT to read it! Thank you so much for entering this contest because I was thrilled after I read your entry. I will keep up with your work and I look forward to reading this novel.

  8. Thank you so much for your kind words!

    It always feels good to get positive feedback on something you are so passionate about!

  9. You had me at Key lime pie . . . Anytime you mix good food, an escape from danger to a beach setting, a protagonist who swears off romantic ties (and we know how THAT usually works out), and the nostalgia of a long-ago maternal relationship, then I'm ready to be swept away in a great read. The underlying element of facing one's past while embracing the future has me wishing for a sanctuary for my own soul.