Ask Daphne! About My Query X

May 27th, 2009 • Kate

lame1920sSweet vintage 1920s gold lame shoes for C.D., our next About My Query participant. I don’t need to go over the rules again, do I? Let’s just remember to be nice and helpful, and get right to it!

Dear Ms. Unfeasible,

I am seeking representation for JAZZ BABY, a fast-paced story of speakeasies, Prohibition agents, mobsters and most importantly love in the Roaring 20’s. JAZZ BABY is an historical romance, complete at 76,000 words.

Running herd on the family speakeasy and her alcoholic brother, Kate Kirkland has everything under control. What she doesn’t have is time for smooth talking Micah Trent, her rumrunner. An undercover Prohibition agent, he hesitates at busting the fiery woman’s juice joint and can’t figure out why. When a local gangster attempts a takeover of the speakeasy, Kate and Micah work together to protect it.

Under my pseudonym, Lorelie Brown, my novella TARNISHED ANGEL was featured at, as the March-April 2008 selection for The Serial. I am a member of Romance Writers of America, and have been a member of the Online Romance Writers Circle since its inception.

Thank you greatly for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


Thanks for sharing this, C.D. There’s some great period language — juice joint, rumrunner — but I want to get more of the story, of what makes this unique. The key words in the hook line are repeated in almost the exact same order in the next paragraph — what else can you tell me about? Reading it now, it feels like a category historical romance to me, quickly read and quickly forgotten. I don’t want to forget stories I’ve read, so really hook me with more about Kate (great name!) and Micah.

You have a nice credit to your name, but not such a big one that I wonder if there’s some reason you’re not telling about why you haven’t been represented in the past. (It’s not a common concern, but it does happen sometimes.)

This basically just feels a little slight to me — maybe that works in the category romance world, but in my search for standalone women’s fiction, I want more.

What do you guys think?

Filed Under: About My Query, Ask Daphne!, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

6 Responses to “Ask Daphne! About My Query X”

  1. jimnduncan Says:

    I think it needs a greater sense of the conflict. Mobsters attempting to take over the speakeasy just doesn't grab. Are there lives at stake here? Is family threatened? Punch up the conflict. I also assume this is a romance or at least that's a heavy element. What's the romantic conflict? I'm assuming that it's the fact the guy is an agent sent to shut her down, but something specific about the romantic conflict should be in there too. This isn't my genre particularly, so take it with a grain of salt. Just my two bits worth.

  2. David Dvorkin Says:

    I don't read the romance genre, so take my comments with a grain of salt.

    I loved the second paragraph. If I were an agent, I'd ask for a partial just to see if the beginning of the book grabbed me as effectively as that paragraph did.

    (So maybe I shouldn't consider the agenting biz?)

  3. Moth Says:

    To me the period feels very fresh (I know I for one am all Regency-romanced out) and as a reader if I picked this up in the store I would probably give it a try.

    If I were an agent, though, I think I would want a bit more detail. Maybe elaborate more on your characters? Is Kate a control-freak? An easy-going flapper? And your hero? What does he see in her that makes him hesitate to turn her in?

    Basically give us a bit more than "fiery" and "smooth-talking". What qualities attract these people to each other? In a romance that's probably the most important thing to get across.

  4. Samantha Clark Says:

    I don't read romance either, but I really like the sound of this. The voice sounds fun with all the period talk.

    But I agree with the others that the query could use more detail to bring in the reader more. Also, the part that stood out most to me was the last sentence in the story blurb: When a local gangster attempts a takeover of the speakeasy, Kate and Micah work together to protect it.

    Before that, you've set up that Kate and Micah are on opposite sides of a battle and that there's an attraction they're both trying to ignore. However, with this last line, I read it as the story was over. The work together to protect it … the end.

    I'd work on trying to build the tension of the story more and maybe leave it open ended. Something like, when local gangsters attempt a takeover of the speakeasy, Micah and Kate must choose between …

    Or whatever's right for your story.

    It definitely sounds fun, though. Good luck

  5. Jamie Says:

    I guess I want the hook, but that isn't uncommon for me to want in a romance novel. I think the story premise is interesting though, and it sounds promising!

  6. Lorelie Says:

    Hey everyone. Thanks for the advice. 🙂 And sheesh, I hadn't even noticed that I'd echoed my key words so precisely.

    I've slowly (probably too slowly) been coming to the realization that y'all are pretty much right – this book might be a little light on h/h conflict and it's time to focus on my new WIP and where I can go with that.

    One thing, though. "You have a nice credit to your name, but not such a big one that I wonder if there’s some reason you’re not telling about why you haven’t been represented in the past." I'm not sure I understand – I'm not represented 'cause this 20's book is the first full length I've finished, and therefore I've never looked for an agent before.