Friday, November 28, 2014

(22) Urban Fantasy: HOT FLASHES FROM HELL

TITLE: Hot Flashes From Hell
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

A woman discovers her hot flashes are opening portals to hell in her kitchen appliances.

I stopped wishing people would go to hell when they actually started going.

Reality went sideways, backward, and upside down on a Monday. It started with the worst job interview in the history of employment.

My resume mainly consisted of running my husband Ty's dental practice for the last 15 years. In fact, I'd changed my college major to business for just that purpose. I'd taken night classes in accounting. I'd driven through snowstorms to sign paychecks. I'd placated patients, vendors, and landlords with a calm yet cheerful demeanor, handing out calendars, pens, and homemade cookies at strategically appropriate occasions. Didn't matter. When Ty decided to divorce me for his assistant, I lost my marriage and my job at the same time.

So Monday morning. Cloudy skies and stiff breeze, unusual for Colorado Springs where we get roughly 370 days of unrelenting sunshine a year. As a new visitor to the land of the hormonal hot flash, I took the cooler weather as a good omen. My mistake.

My friend, Alicia, was retiring from SmileBrite Orthodontics in two weeks. I needed a job. Seemed like a perfect match. But I knew there was trouble as soon as I arrived. Alicia didn't offer me any coffee, wouldn't meet my eyes, and kept fiddling with my hastily assembled resume until she tore a corner off.


  1. Okay I have to be honest, I am not normally a big Urban Fantasy person, and this is HILARIOUS. I also like that it's an Urban Fantasy with a more mature protagonist...I feel like that is on the rare side, and it just sets a unique tone.

    My only comment is to change the part where it says "Cloudy skies and stiff breeze, unusual for..." I feel like "unusual" should either start its own sentence, or come after some additional transition. It was the only sentence that tripped me up.

    Good luck!

  2. I almost skipped this entry because I don't read urban fantasy, but the first line grabbed my attention. You've got a great comic voice and a sympathetic narrator. I want to know what happens at this job interview!

  3. Same here, including Jayme's comment re: the "unusual" line. This is not the kind of book I'd normally read, but your title, logline, and first line grabbed my attention. I'd keep reading!

  4. You have devised the best opening line I've read in a long while. It's wonderful. The synopsis is also wonderful, especially given its extreme brevity, normally a difficult thing to accomplish.

    The hyperbole of the second paragraph continues the fun and gives me incentive to delve further into the otherwise snooze-inducing idea of working in a dentist's office. It's a wonderful contrast from the profane to the mundane and highly effective. I'm also intrigued by the freshness of a late-middle-aged protagonist. It's a point-of-view that promises something different.

    Like others, I'm slightly put off by the 2nd sentence of the 4th paragraph, but not for the same reasons. Partial sentences strung together can evoke a sense of being inside someone's head, but if overused, can also become distracting or even irritating. In that particular paragraph, three of the four sentences are partial. The whole paragraph may be more effective if you alter the second sentence to express a complete thought, particularly because it's providing setting details rather than the protagonist's close point-of-view. One possibility: "With cloudy skies and a stiff breeze, the day was unusual..." Or preferably, something better of your own devising. But give us a subject in that sentence and then the first and last sentences--which put us firmly inside the MC's head--will stand out even more brilliantly.

    I see a similar issue in the last paragraph. The 2nd sentence is short and strong, but both the 3rd and the 4th are partial sentences and I'm not sure it's helping your narrative in this case. I'd suggest combining the 2nd and 3rd sentences or, alternately, the 3rd and 4th to prevent overuse of the nonstandard structure and retain its "punch" for when it contributes the most to your narrative line.

    All that said, this is a highly entertaining logline and excerpt and if I were an agent, I'd request a full manuscript immediately. Wonderful voice and wonderful concept. Good luck in the bidding!

  5. I absolutely love your pitch. As far as I'm concerned, hot flashes open portals to hell everywhere. But kitchen appliances? Perfect.

    I love how you cunningly set the scene, giving us just enough back story so we know what's going on, but not so much it's infodump.

    And the last few sentences tell me things are about to kick into high gear.

    I don't have any suggestions for improvement; you've nailed this already.

    All the best on Tuesday!

  6. Loved your logline and opening sentence! Not a genre I normally read, but this excerpt would make me buy the book. Good luck!

  7. Hi, fabulous opening line. I loved it!

    The only part that threw me off a little was the partial sentences all in a row. I agree with what AuthorPassingBy said on that.

    In the log line, I would change "in" to "through" as:
    A woman discovers her hot flashes are opening portals to hell [through] her kitchen appliances.

    I liked: "Seemed like a perfect match. But I knew there was trouble as soon as I arrived." Because just when things seemed they might get a bit boring, you foreshadow something interesting.

    Great job!

  8. I loved this entry. Your first line drew me into the story at once.

    I felt for the protag because of the little bit of backstory in the fourth paragraph, so it worked for me though common advice says to wait for pages before giving any history. That last line of that paragraph is memorable! It could work as a first line hook, too, though it wouldn't capture the fantasy element nearly as well as the one you have.

    I didn't have a problem with "partial sentences." At all! LOL It is how we think, so I felt drawn into the voice of the protag.

    The logline caught my attention, too, but it doesn't express what the character wants or what action she'll take. I suppose stakes are somewhat implied. Anyway, that line has a place in selling your story, no doubt, but for a snapshot of the story, I'd want more

  9. I love everything about this from the title to the logline to the opening line to the voice. Wow. Sorry that I have nothing constructive to add. I just want to read this book!
    Good luck in the auction!

  10. All right- you got me. The premise is crazy enough to be fun. Opening reads well and I'd like to see more.

  11. HA! The greatest log line in the history of log line-dom. And the first page keeps the fun going. And I love the older heroine. Those of us over 40 are people, too!

    I don't have a problem with the short sentences in general, but think Author Passing By makes good points about the areas where they cause some confusion (or at least, the parts that APB notes are the same ones that tripped me up.)

  12. I wanted the entire 250 to be about the horrible job interview. I felt like the husband, the assistant, and the Colorado Springs weather could wait until later. There's a wonderful tension to a bad job interview that I feel would stand on its own in this scene. I didn't need to know why she was there or why she needs the job so badly -- just yet.
    And I want whatever Muse you've got working for you because this is SO AMAZINGLY AWESOME I nearly couldn't type my comments for laughing. Talk about a premise that would make me part with my money in a bookstore in a heartbeat. Please get this on the shelf.

  13. I really like how you set up your story with the fantastical element of going to hell with the equally horrible mundanity of a bad job interview.
    I like the sardonic nature of your character's voice and because of that, I could see the believability of your wild premise being plausible.
    Great beginning that makes me want to read more!

  14. Fantastic first page. Loved it. And having been a sufferer (and survivor) of the perilous hot flash, I can so relate to this poor woman's plight.

    My only quibble is with the 370 days of sunshine since there's only 356 days in a year. It may be a purposeful exaggeration, but it still bugged me.

    Great voice, great writing.

    Good luck!

  15. 50 pages

  16. 100 pages

  17. 150 pages

  18. you know....we need to have words, woman.

  19. CLOSED! Full goes to Stefanie Lieberman.

  20. This is super fun. If this came through our slush pile, I'd have a hard time not asking for more. Original premise, laughed through the entire thing. Sharp, witty writing.