Wednesday, August 19, 2009

15 Secret Agent

TITLE: Once in a Coyote Moon
GENRE: Historical Romance with Paranormal Elements / Steampunk

New Orleans, 1872

How does he do it? Diah Reynolds asked himself as a sting of envy pierced his chest.

Across the polished cherry table, a woman with skin the rich color of café au lait giggled in Cager’s arms and whispered something in his ear. His reply brought more giggling. Then he began nibbling on the woman’s earlobe.

He couldn’t blame the woman for falling victim to Cager’s charms. His brother was a sweet-talking son of a b****, the kind most women found irresistible. No woman seemed immune to his charm. Unfortunately, Cager knew it. The octoroon he held tonight would be no different from the countless others before her.

“I think I’m going to hit the sack,” Diah said, having had just about enough of this. The overpowering scents of cigar smoke, bourbon, and sex that filled the room turned his stomach. He wondered why he’d even agreed to join him at this so-called Gentleman’s Club.

Cager’s eyes never left the woman in his lap. “It’s too early for sleep. But, if you want to go to bed, I’m sure Sophie has a friend who can keep you warm.” He kissed her hand. “Don’t you, chérie?”

“I’m sure I could find one if you made it worth my time,” she replied in a sultry voice.

He grinned. “This is why I love New Orleans. Everything you desire can be found here.”

“I appreciate the offer, but I think I’ll sleep better without a perfect stranger in my bed.”


  1. I'd read on a little further to see where this is going... offhand, I was mumbling to the MC that the answer to his first question should have been obvious. He minded having perfect strangers in his bed, his brother didn't.

  2. I think this is a little over-written. There are details that aren't important, and things said several times, several different ways.

    It's also kind of tell-y. Show, don't tell. Instead of telling us that he wondered, pull us into his thoughts and just write, "Why had he come? This wasn't his idea of a gentleman's club."

  3. I agree with the above comments. This has potential, but I think it needs to be tightened up a bit. You could avoid some of the telling and dialogue tags for example. Hope that helps you out a bit.

  4. Cager gives me the creeps! But I like it! I would ask for more. Though I do agree with Kathleen to watch the "telling".

  5. I love the setting and time period of this one! I haven't read a good New Orleans set story in a very long time, so right off the bat you have me intrigued enough to keep reading.

    It did take me a minute to catch up to your "How does he do it?" opening line because I went, 'How does who do what?' but after several paragraphs I understood.

    I'd definitely read on to see where you're going with this!

  6. Not hooked. It's supposed to be steampunk, but you didn't put one steampunk element into your opening. You might want to get something in there just to say this is 'different.'

    Also, all I got from this is two brothers at a bar, one likes the women, one isn't so interested.

    The idea is to hook us in 250 words and there's nothing hooky here. Let us know why he's not interested. Let us know why they are there in the first place. Give us a hint of what the story is about. Think about setting up the main problem.

  7. I got a good feel for the location, the story feels gritty and sexy already.

    I'm intrigued, I'd keep reading.

  8. Yeah, I'm not feeling it. I wish I knew why, but I guess it's just that the narrative is too busy and I'm not interested in the characters.

    And if you're going to use NO as a setting, I want more of a NOLA feeling aside from sticking an octoroon prostitute in there-- cherry table, cafe au lait skin was too much for me from the start.


  9. I really liked the setting, too, but I wasn't hooked. I got the impression that Diah was a bit of a pushover, which I don't think is what you want for a romance hero. So if he's not, maybe adjust the way he reacts to Cager. If he is, okay, that's cool, but see if you can't give us more of an idea of his more intriguing personality traits in the first page.

    By the way, how do you pronounce Cager? 'Cause i'm reading it like "Kegger," which I find hilarious.

  10. It needs to be tightened. I agree with the others in that you're spending too much time setting the scene than building the story. Think of it this way: if this were a play, the actors would be pointing out the scenery instead of getting on with the scene.

  11. You know, I've never read a steampunkish story before? I'll admit that. And I think I've only seent he one movie with Will Smith (wasn't a fan of the movie but it was nothing against steampunk). I like this. You've started to set it all up and I know we haven't seen a lot of it because it's only 250 words and it's hard to pack a lot into those, but I think you've started it. I would agree with Cynthia about the first line. It's vague but at the same time, it makes me wnat to read more just to find out what this 'it' is. The one thing though that I had a bit of trouble with and it's hard when there's two males in the scene, is all the hes. Like when 'He grinned' I assume this is his brother but it's a bit confusing. Maybe just clear these up. Either way, I'd keep reading.

  12. It intriqued me, I would keep reading.

  13. I am semi-hooked (even though the first line was pretty weak--starting with the image of Cager's seduction might be stronger). I'd keep reading for a page or so just to see what where it was going.
    Side note: one thing really bugged me. "He" is used quite a bit and I found it hard to keep track of which he the narrator was talking about.

  14. I love steampunk and am actively looking to sign some up, so this is a good category in which to be writing. This particular submission isn't ready to take to market, though. The writing felt clunky and awkward; and I didn't particularly relate to the mc, who sounded rather grumpy, critical, and puritan.