#33 Secrets Revealed

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Dear Secret Agent,

     Cathleen Wilson died.  Twice.  First, giving birth to her only child.  And again, willingly sacrificing her own life to save that of another.  Each time she was chosen, as only the purest of heart are, and given another chance at life, at happiness.  Now, she has come back once more, her final chance.  With her memories wiped clean, as each time before, she struggles just to survive the less than ideal hand life has dealt her.

    Desperate and penniless, two young sisters embark on a journey to a new land.  The older sister, Cathleen, affectionately called Cat, plans to try and pass herself off as her former employer, a self-centered wealthy heiress, to the woman’s
betrothed.  Theirs was an arranged engagement and neither had seen each other since childhood.  The groom-to-be, Duke Samuel Epworth, proves to be more than the sisters bargain for, though.  The dangerously astute and devilishly handsome womanizer quickly becomes the one man Cat finds it impossible to fool or refuse.  His persistence and charm soon wears downs her resistance.
    
     At first, seeing her as a challenge, Samuel is determined to learn the secrets behind the man who is following Cat and what lies in her past that makes her so untrusting of men.  But, when his feelings become engaged, he realizes that the challenge just may be getting her to let him inside of the protective walls she has built around her wounded heart.  In the end he must enlist the assistance of the secret protectors of the Dark Forest to aid him in his quest to save Cat from her pursuers and even…herself.

     Secrets Revealed is a 96,500-word paranormal romance set in the mid-1800’s and in a fictional land called the Dark Forest.

     I am a member of the Romance Writers of America and RWA’s online chapter.

     Thank you for your time and consideration.  I would be pleased to send a full manuscript.

                                                                      *************
     At times, one can work to create for one’s self a second chance to right wrongs, and in doing so attain inner peace.  Other times, the opportunity comes about purely by luck.  Sometimes though, second chances are granted to the uniquely deserving by the greater powers whose existence most are completely unaware of.  For one woman, a third is granted.
                                                                        #
     October 1840
 

     The sound came again, echoing through the long hall. Cat’s fingers tightened on the rag in her hand, the bucket of soapy water all but forgotten sitting behind her beneath the window.  She inched forward, dread driving her feet towards the woman’s muffled cries. Careful to step lightly so her oversized, second hand shoes would not clack on the tile floor, she made her way to the end of the corridor.  Her limbs trembled and her breaths became short as she approached the closed door.  With trembling fingers she reached for the knob.  A man’s voice, his voice, froze her in place.  Lord Gilmore’s nasally words rose above the woman’s sobs.
    
“You truly thought I would make you my mistress?  Good Lord, woman.  Are you daft?  You are a servant.  A bloody servant.”  The room grew quiet behind the door.  “By God, you should consider yourself lucky that I am giving you a letter of recommendation and twenty-four hours to find a place to go.  If Anna had her way, you and those two sniveling brats of yours would have been tossed out onto the street last night with nothing.”

7 Responses to “#33 Secrets Revealed”

  1. Amalia T. says:

    >I think your premise is interesting– I'm a sucker for reincarnation themes. I think your query could probably be tightened. You're giving us a lot of information here, and it seems a little bit bogged down. I'm also not sure how her being reincarnated is doing anything for the story if she doesn't remember anything about her past lives? Unless she learns about them later in the book…

    In the first 250, I wasn't really a fan of the introductory paragraph. You are introducing some good conflict in the opening that follows, but I'm not sure I'm hooked.

  2. Annarkie says:

    >I thought the query was a little dijointed and hard to follow, but I enjoyed the 1st 250.

  3. Willow Cross says:

    >I liked the query. The second paragraph threw me a bit. It might be clearer if instead of two young sisters, you said: Desperate and penniless, Cathleen and her younger sister embark….

    Then we'd know right off the bat who you're talking about.

    I enjoyed the 250 and would have kept right on reading!

    Good Job!

  4. J.S. Wood says:

    >The query started great and lost me at the second paragraph since Cat was being introduced again. I think it could be more concise but still has all the elements of a good query.

    The beginning pages are good, I felt bad for these girls.

  5. Jordan Deen says:

    >The query completely lost me- the 250 was excellent and I would really want to read more. The query seemed to run on it felt that you were trying to add too much in. The first part really threw me because first, if she was selected to be saved for being pure- they why is she put in a less than ideal situation if whoever saved her wants to be happy? And Second, it talks refers to Cat in the first paragraph and then refers to her as one of ths sisters?

    I'd tighten up the first paragraph and quantify what is going on that she must be reborn into a miserable existence.

    It is a great premise though and I would read more! Good luck!

  6. Libbie H. says:

    >If I were an agent…

    The query:

    You appear to have three very different stories here, based on the way your query reads. 1) Cathleen is the best kind of person, has died twice before through no fault of her own, and has again been reincarnated with one more chance to find happiness in life (why only one more chance if she’s such a great person? I don’t know.) 2) An older sister puts up a front to help out her penniless sisters, but meets a womanizer who sweeps her off her feet and makes it impossible for her to keep up her façade. 3) A man must use paranormal powers associated with a forest in order to save the woman he loves from a man who is pursuing her. These three storylines appear to have absolutely nothing in common except for the name of an important character in each storyline. There is total disassociation between the three plots, to the point that I’m really not sure they all belong in the same book.

    Show how one incident leads Cat into the next incident. What is the cause of each effect?

    The sample:

    Honestly, I found the first paragraph so unclear that I stopped reading there. I think this manuscript could benefit from a beta reader who won’t pull any punches and will point out any and all areas that trip her up as she reads. Clarity of communication seems lacking from the query and from the sample.

  7. Jamie D. says:

    >If it were just the sample words, I'd want to read more. I like the voice and conflict.

    The query was disjointed though, as stated above. I liked the first paragraph – it drew me in, made me curious. The second confused me, and by the third, I wanted to know what the first one had to do with anything.

    As I said though, the sample intrigued me.