Wednesday, August 19, 2009

9 Secret Agent

TITLE: My Shackled Marquis
GENRE: Historical Romance

London, 1817

Miracle Anderson weaved across the center of the ballroom and froze at the sight of three debutants slicing through the crush. Dear God in heaven. They looked like rambunctious poodles eager to gnaw on her bones. Biting back a scream, she ducked behind a plump giant who reeked of tobacco and searched for escape.

The dancers reeling in tune to the orchestra blocked her from the terrace. To her left, radiantly-gowned, bejeweled women and black-clad men with pristine-white cravats barricaded the majestic staircase. Blast and damn, she inwardly swore as she rocked on her tiptoes. Then she aimed for the opposite end of the glittering room with the skirt of her primrose satin gown swooshing about her feet.

“Miss Anderson, please wait. Is Lord Pirate…?”

The moniker suited Ashford Simon Cantrell, the Marquis of Blackstone. After all, Ash plundered her heart years ago and sailed away with her fortune. Self-disgust, anger, and resentments heated her flesh. Struggling to keep her calm mask in place, she continued to snake though a garden of perfumes, pomade, and body odor as if oblivious to the chatter and giggles trailing after her.

She glanced over her shoulder and groaned. Instead of eluding her pursuers, she garnered more followers, and within moments of breaking out of the dense crowd, they sprung on her like a rainbow of sails unfurling in the wind.

“Where is Lord Pirate? Why can you not tell us? Is he joining us tonight?”


  1. I really enjoyed this excerpt, particularly the 'rambunctious poodles' - fantastic imagery.

  2. You have me hooked with Lord Pirate. :) Really nice evocative imagery; I feel the crush of the (smelly) crowd. I am wondering why she fears the debutantes in particular - is it because everyone wants to talk to her about Lord Pirate? I'd definitely read on.

  3. Hooked. I like Miracle's voice and the image of her being chased through the room and the crowd getting bigger and bigger made me smile and want to read more.

  4. I chuckled a little at the poodle line. I really liked the imagery in "plump giant who reeked of tobacco."

    However, some of the next paragraph feels really heavy in its description.

  5. I love her name. Different from the usual 'Mercy' or such*.

    Also I liked the setting and beginning with a pursuit. Made me wonder why the debutants were chasing her around.

    I did raise my eyebrow at her inward cursing which didn't seem to be ladylike.

    *That said - I kept glancing up and trying to decide why the name seemed odd to me. I think it's mainly because the first name seemed to indicate a puritan type setting. Also the last name may not be a usual thing in 19th England. Or that was my first thought. It sounds Swedish to me.

  6. I'm not one for regency-type books but I like this.
    It seems much less 'fairy-tale, rose-colored glasses' and much more how I imagine it would've been at one of those balls. People may look pretty but they do smell!!!
    My only niggle is with the name 'Ashford', would it have been used as a person's name back then?

  7. I'd read on - but the Weaved jumped out at me right away. It felt like the wrong tense.

    I'm curious to know why Lord Pirate isn't there too!

  8. Hooked. I liked the story line, and you presented me with great images, decent writing,and a sense of what this is all about.

    I liked the image of her weaving thru the room and the debutantes slicing, but the giant is searching for escape, not her, and she's pointing her skirt to aim, rather than aiming herself. Think about commas so your sentences will say what you want them to say.

    And I do wonder how she's still living a grand lifestyle when Lord Pirate has stolen her fortune, but perhaps that comes out later?

    I'm not sure about the name Miracle. Somehow, I can't picture her name being said over and over in a serious way.

    I'd ask to see more.

  9. I thought it was all a little over-dramatic, even considering the genre. Afraid I wasn't hooked. But I'm clearly in the minority :-)

  10. I liked this, especially the line about poodles, but there was quite a lot of sloppy writing which needs fixing.

    weaved is wrong. weaved her way would be better.

    Biting back a scream, she ducked behind a plump giant who reeked of tobacco and searched for escape.
    - sounds like the giant is the one searching for escape.

    she inwardly swore - should be she swore inwardly,

    I'm also not keen on 'heated her flesh' about made ber flesh hot?

  11. I'm hooked as well. I like the name Miracle, it makes her sound a little eccentric, which is definitely a trope of this genre. She's got a great voice and I like that she's not an inexperienced 18 year old (implied by her past with Lord Pirate).

    I would keep reading.

  12. I'm chiming in with everybody who mentioned "weaved." I would use "wove."

    Well written and entertaining. Good luck!

  13. Heaven should be capitalized.

    This sounds good, but I'm not entirely hooked. I think if I perhaps knew the premise of the story I would be, though. Right now the writing makes it stand out (poodle imagery, etc.), but the plot doesn't. If, from the query, I could see that the plot was original and exciting, I'd read on.

  14. Thank you all for taking the time to critique my work. I appreaciate it. "weaved through" or "weaved her way," is definitely better. Wove doesn't give a picture in my opinion. Both tenses are correct. Again, thanks.

  15. She's American, and only her mother calls her Miracle. She uses the name the hero gave her years ago, which is Mimi.

  16. Historical romance is a strong category, so it's a good place to be as a writer. This material doesn't quite feel ready though. The language felt somewhat overwrought. I can't imagine the heroine actually being tempted to scream in a ballroom. Laugh, maybe. Her criticism of the other girls seems rather ungenerous. In the second paragraph, you could cut "pristine" and "blast and damn." "Resentment" needs no "s". The last bit of dialogue felt just a bit too old-fashioned. In all, this is another case of the material being not quite ready yet.

  17. Thank you, secret agent and everyone, for your help. Revisions, revisions, here I go again:-)