Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #17

TITLE: Codename: Christmas
GENRE: Adult Romantic comedy

Though there are thousands of places to enjoy a white Christmas beyond Belle Valley, Virginia, Cara Gardner couldn’t imagine why anyone would. Her picturesque hometown, hugged by the snow-capped Blue Ridge mountains, was always scenic and pretty, but there was an extra layer of sparkle and shine during the holidays. Especially this year.

    It seemed like everyone in the city was determined to make this season one to remember as they rolled out the red carpet to welcome devoted fans to the annual Arabella Winter Literary Jubilee. Though the Jubilee had begun years ago as a modest affair, it had grown every year since. With the added allure of this year’s Winter Auction, which would feature dozens of items that the recently-deceased last heir of the Winter Estate left to the town of Belle Valley for fundraising purposes, they were expecting a healthy crowd.

Cara had always loved being from the same city as her favorite writer, but the truth was Miss Winter wasn’t just a hometown hero. The author’s celebrated series of children’s books, Christmas in Belle Valley, first published in the 1940s, had generations of dedicated readers. After Miss Winter’s death several years earlier the town council thought it fitting to host an annual event for the legions of literary tourists that flocked to Belle Valley every Christmas in her honor. When this year’s call went out for volunteers to help with the weeklong celebration, Cara, as always, was the first of many locals to sign up.


  1. Excellent set up. Love the snark in the first line--it gives us an idea of the tone and personality of the story right off the bat. I understand your target audience immediately, which is excellent. Great job.

  2. This is all narration and mostly backstory. I would suggest you start in the middle of some action and then give her a reason to think about these things. For example (and I'm not saying you should do this), if she was driving into town, she could see the mountains as she came in and maybe she could see a sign for the Jubilee which would give her a reason to think about why she's returning for the event (and possibly what she's returning to/leaving from). The point is to introduce us to your character here, not the Jubilee.

    Good luck!

  3. This just reads like a history / primer of the town. Not a very dynamic start...I think it would be better to start with Cara and work the rest in more naturally, using dialog and action. This comes off like nearly a newspaper article.

  4. Well, this is delightful! Charming set up and equally charming writing! I do see room for some small action that would allow the reader to visualize/be drawn into the scene further as they are given this information, but incredibly promising start!