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A DARKNESS IN SPRING (dark fantasy); new draft (05/24), post #1


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#41 slinke13

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 05:23 PM

REVISION #4 (8/28):



Dear [agent]:

Reality contains holes just like the ozone layer—and one of them resides over Jean’s new apartment complex. [I like this!] 

Flutes trill within the walls. Dark shapes watch her as she sleeps. Worst of all, she keeps seeing the ghost of the kid who wandered up a nearby mountain and died of exposure.  It all reminds Jean of the “Fair Folk” legends—woodland spirits who steal children’s souls and take them to the Otherworld. I don't see what this adds. 

Even so, that rotting inn she bought across town isn’t going to repair itself. Nor will the women she’ll soon shelter there. After all, she moved to rural North Carolina to ditch security [comfort?] and truly help people.[as opposed to what? I don't think I understand her motivation.] Plant gardens, raise consciousness, start a revolution. [too vague- what kind of revolution? consciousness of what?]

But when dead bodies start piling up at the apartment complex, Jean begins eyeing her neighbors suspiciously. There’s Miles, her roommate, who is (ugh) falling in love with her. There’s Crazy Mad, an elderly recluse who communicates with a lump under her carpet. There’s Devin, an adorable single father who convinced his wife to commit suicide. And there’s the psychedelic entity that visits Jean in her bedroom—an entity that calls itself “the Landlord.”[I found this paragraph really amusing. But after reading the rest of the query I'm not sure how it fits in and it takes up quite a bit of your query... I really like it but I need to see more of how it connects to the conflict.]

Pagan, hostile forces are commencing their own revolution, and Jean has been chosen to help.[and they've chosen Jean to help. - less passive.] She knows a renewed devotion to nature might be the only thing that can save the dying planet. [There is a leap here that I don't quite follow. How did she come to this conclusion? What do you mean by devotion to nature?] But at what price? [I don't get what the stakes are. And I think that's because I don't know what the pagan forces want or really what they're doing besides maybe killing people?] There isn’t much time to decide where she stands. [Again not sure what even what the two sides are...]

Because soon the mountain will open up. And the culling will begin. [Sounds cool, but ultimately vague.] 

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a horror novel of 75,000 words. Thank you for your time.

 

I was really digging this till the 'Pagan' paragraph. You've set up some great mood and I like all the creepy details, but I'm unclear on what exactly the plot is and what role Jean plays in it. I'd try to keep as much of that atmosphere you have while clearing up the main drive of the novel. 

 

And thanks for critiquing my query. I'll use your suggestions in my edits :) 

 

Good luck! 

 

Slinke



#42 MICRONESIA

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 05:35 PM

Thanks, Slinke. If you scroll through some of the previous posts, you'll see that the last paragraph has ALWAYS been a problem. I want to strike that elusive balance between clarity and "explaining too much." 

 

The MC is a Neopagan/Wiccan. She worships nature, basically. I'm wondering if I should include that information or not.

 

And yeah. I need to keep that "Fair Folk" sentence in there since THEY are the "monster" of the book. I guess that wasn't clear either!

 

 

 

EDIT: query updated.


A Darkness in Spring (query | synopsis)


#43 smithgirl

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 06:21 PM

Hey, which is the most updated query?



#44 MICRONESIA

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 06:23 PM

Hey, which is the most updated query?

 

It's always the first post. I find it's easiest this way, since I'm always updating it.

 

Speaking of which: just added a few changes, haha.


A Darkness in Spring (query | synopsis)


#45 Ireth

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 06:30 PM

REVISION #4 (8/29):


 

 

Dear [agent]:

 

Reality contains holes just like the ozone layer—and one of them resides over Jean’s new apartment complex.

 

Flutes trill within the walls. Dark shapes watch her as she sleeps. Worst of all, she keeps seeing the ghost of the kid who wandered up a nearby mountain and died of exposure. It all reminds Jean of the “Fair Folk” legends—woodland spirits who steal children’s souls and take them to the Otherworld. (Eeeee, the Fair Folk! I like this already.)

 

Even so, that rotting inn Jean bought across town isn’t going to repair itself. Nor will the women she’ll soon shelter there. After all, she moved to rural North Carolina to ditch comfort and security and truly help people. Plant gardens, teach Wiccan wisdom, inspire a renewed devotion to nature.

 

But when corpses start piling up at the apartment complex, Jean begins eyeing her neighbors suspiciously. There’s Miles, her roommate, who is (ugh) falling in love with her. There’s Crazy Mad, an elderly recluse who communicates with a lump under her carpet. There’s Devin, an adorable single father who convinced his wife to commit suicide. And there’s the spectral entity that starts visiting Jean in her bedroom—an entity that calls itself “the Landlord.”

 

Ancient spirits of nature The Fair Folk (if these are your bad guys, make that clear; otherwise the mention at the beginning feels out of place) are ready to reclaim the Earth from defective humanity. Jean, along with the remaining tenants, must choose between the survival of the planet and the deaths of billions. Their reward will be a permanent stay in the Otherworld: the paradise sought for centuries by poets and dreamers. They don’t have long to decide.

 

Because soon the mountain will open up. And the culling will begin.

 

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a horror novel of 75,000 words. Thank you for your time.

 

Holy crap, I love this. Stories of the Fair Folk are my jam. :D If you want to reciprocate critiques, please check out my query for Winter's Queen (very top link in my signature). Thanks!


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/


#46 smithgirl

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 07:10 PM

Found it! Everyone does this differently.

Dear [agent]:

 

Reality contains holes just like the ozone layer—and one of them resides over Jean’s new apartment complex. Good hook.

 

Flutes trill within the walls. Dark shapes watch her as she sleeps. Worst of all, she keeps seeing the ghost of the kid who wandered up a nearby mountain and died of exposure. It all reminds Jean of the “Fair Folk” legends—woodland spirits who steal children’s souls and take them to the Otherworld. Jean doesn't mind all this weirdness? Sounds unpleasant.

 

Even so, that rotting inn Jean bought across town isn’t going to repair itself. Nor will the women she’ll soon shelter there. The women won't repair themselves? Assuming that's not what you mean, you should rephrase. If it is what you mean, I don't understand. After all, she moved to rural North Carolina to ditch comfort and security and truly help people: plant gardens, teach Wiccan wisdom, inspire a renewed devotion to nature. After reading the rest of the query, I don't see how the inn and the shelter relates to the overall story.

 

But when dead bodies start piling up at the apartment complex, Jean begins eyeing her neighbors suspiciously. There’s Miles, her roommate, who is (ugh) falling in love with her. There’s Crazy Mad, an elderly recluse who communicates with a lump under her carpet. There’s Devin, an adorable single father who convinced his wife to commit suicide. Nice contrast of adorable and man who drives his wife to suicide. And there’s the spectral entity that starts visiting Jean in her bedroom—an entity that calls itself “the Landlord.” This is a fun paragraph, but I wonder that she eyes her neighbors before the hole in reality. And is the spectral entity also her neighbor? I'm not sure, because you also classified Miles as her neighbor, but really he's her roommate, which seems different from a neighbor. I also don't see that any of these people/entities are main characters. Your query should only have the most essential characters to tell your story. 

 

Ancient spirits of nature are reclaiming the Earth from defective humanity. Jean, along with the remaining tenants, must choose between the survival of the planet and the deaths of billions. Their reward will be a permanent stay in the Otherworld: the paradise sought for centuries by poets and dreamers. They don’t have long to decide. This last paragraph was too vague. Why must they decide? Why will billions die?

 

Because soon the mountain will open up. And the culling will begin. You need to somehow integrate this into the previous paragraph.

 

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a horror novel of 75,000 words. Thank you for your time.

 

Your story sounds intriguing and your query has a nice voice, but I'm lacking a clear picture of the actual story, any sequence of events. I just a have a few snapshots: Jean has weirdness in her building, she bought an old inn that she wants to restore and use for a women's shelter, she left her old life behind, dead bodies appear in her building, she has strange neighbors, a weird visiting spectral entity. But how do these events fit together to make a story? Also, Jean seems like the only character. Is there an antagonist? You need to cut your query down to basics, be specific as to exactly what the story is. I know this is hard. Good luck!



#47 MICRONESIA

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 11:22 AM

I think I'm about to send a few "test queries" with the most updated version (updated today). If anyone has any final suggestions, I'll gladly reciprocate the moment you do!


A Darkness in Spring (query | synopsis)


#48 slinke13

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 11:57 AM

REVISION #4 (8/29):
 

Dear [agent]:

 

If reality contains holes like the ozone layer, one of them must reside over Jean’s new apartment complex. [I like it better the way you had it! So much bolder and interesting to say: Reality contains holes... Screw 'if' ;)]

 

Flutes trill within the walls. Small figures watch her as she sleeps. Worst of all, she keeps seeing the ghost of the kid who wandered up a nearby mountain and died of exposure. It all reminds Jean of the “Fair Folk” legends—woodland spirits who steal children’s souls and take them to the Otherworld.

 

Like the old legends, Jean recognizes nature’s divinity. She moved to rural North Carolina to ditch city comforts and truly help the planet: plant gardens, teach Wiccan wisdom, inspire a renewed devotion to the mountains and trees. [She ditched city comforts and moved to rural North Carolina to plant gardens, teach Wiccan wisdom, and inspire a renewed devotion to mountains and trees. - how about this? I just keep getting tripped up every time I read 'truly help the planet'. It's not unique to your character, so I think it sounds better withou it. And I think including she's Wiccan is the right choice.]

 

But when corpses start piling up at the apartment complex, Jean’s focus shifts indoors. [good!] Suddenly, she’s eyeing the other residents suspiciously. There’s Miles, her roommate and sometimes-lover. There’s Crazy Mad, an elderly recluse who communicates with a lump under her carpet. There’s Devin, an attractive[comma - maybe you got people who said the opposite, but I kind of like what you had before - there was more of a startling contrast] single father who convinced his wife to commit suicide. And there’s the Landlord—a spectral entity that begins tempting Jean with visions of a better world. [is there something more specific than better world? I'm assuming it's something with improving the environment. a healthier world? a more sustainable world? It's not bad the way you have it, but it could be better I think]

 

The Fair Folk are poised to reclaim the planet from humanity. Jean, along with the complex’s remaining tenants, must choose between nature’s survival and the slaughter of billions. Her reward will be a permanent stay in the Otherworld: the paradise sought for centuries by mystics and dreamers. She doesn’t have long to decide. [I know you said the final paragraph was causing you problems before, but I think you nailed it! I get it, I understand the stakes, and I think it sounds like a super interesting reading. Well done!]

 

Because soon the mountain will open up. And the culling will begin.

 

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a horror novel of 75,000 words. Thank you for your time.

 

Hey Micronesia, I agree that you're ready for some 'test queries'. It is vastly improved and most of my comments were just little ways I think it could be tweaked. Good luck out there :)

 

I'd love for you to take a look at my revision as well. It's at #25



#49 MICRONESIA

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 12:56 PM

Thanks, slinkie! Great calls. Yeah, some of those were last-second changes. I changed the hook because a reader thought the "hole in reality" thing meant everything that followed took place in some kind of fantasy world. But I guess it was fine as it was. 

 

How does "a more vibrant world" sound?

 

Will look at yours now.


A Darkness in Spring (query | synopsis)


#50 Chloe Kleine

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    Do please take a look at my new query : RED MOON

Posted 20 September 2017 - 07:45 PM

Hi Micronesia,

I'm a bit late to the party, but since you critiqued my query I am returning the favour!

I hope my comments below are useful..

Chloe :-) 

 

 

Dear [agent]:

Reality contains holes just like the ozone layer—and one of them resides over Jean’s new apartment complex. (Very nice. Short succinct, pithy and you've managed to show some of your voice already)

Flutes trill within the walls. Dark figures watch her as she sleeps. Worst of all, she keeps seeing the ghost of the kid who wandered up a nearby mountain and died of exposure. It all reminds Jean of the “Fair Folk” legends—woodland spirits who steal children’s souls and take them to the Otherworld.

Like the old "Fair Folk" legends, Jean recognizes nature’s divinity. That's why she She ditched city comforts and moved to rural North Carolina to plant gardens, teach Wiccan wisdom, and inspire a renewed devotion to the mountains and trees. 

But when corpses start piling up at the apartment complex, Jean’s focus shifts indoors. Suddenly, she’s eyeing the other residents suspiciously. There’s Miles, her roommate and sometimes-lover. There’s Crazy Mad, an elderly recluse who communicates with a lump under her carpet. There’s Devin, an adorable single father who convinced his wife to commit suicide. And there’s the Landlord—a spectral entity that begins tempting Jean with visions of a more vibrant world.

The Fair Folk are poised to reclaim the planet from humanity. Jean, along with the complex’s remaining tenants, must choose between nature’s survival and the slaughter of billions. Her reward will be a permanent stay in the Otherworld: the paradise sought for centuries by mystics and dreamers. She doesn’t have long to decide.
Because soon the mountain will open up. And the culling will begin.

But the mountain will soon open up and the culling begin. She doesn't have long to decide.

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a horror novel of 75,000 words. Thank you for your time.

 

This is a good compelling query. I've tweaked it a little for easier readability.

Good luck!


Please critique my query, and I will return the favour!

http://agentquerycon...n-bdsm-romance/

 


#51 jaustail

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 07:35 AM

JMO:

 

 

Dear [agent]:

Reality contains holes just like the ozone layer—and one of them resides over Jean’s new apartment complex.

Flutes trill within the walls. Dark figures watch her as she sleeps. Worst of all, she keeps seeing the ghost of the kid who wandered up a nearby mountain and died of exposure(exposure to? sun's ultraviolet rays?). It all reminds Jean of the “Fair Folk” legends—woodland spirits who steal children’s souls and take them to the Otherworld.

Like the old legends, Jean recognizes nature’s divinity. She ditched city comforts and moved to rural North Carolina to plant gardens, teach Wiccan wisdom, (and) inspire a renewed devotion to the mountains and trees.

But when corpses start piling up at the apartment complex, Jean’s focus shifts indoors(wouldn't the cops bring attention of the police?). Suddenly, she’s eyeing the other residents suspiciously. There’s Miles, her roommate and sometimes-lover. There’s Crazy Mad, an elderly recluse(Is she Jean's neighbor?) who communicates with a lump under her carpet. There’s Devin, an adorable single father who convinced his wife to commit suicide(not so adorable). And there’s the Landlord—a spectral entity that begins tempting Jean with visions of a more vibrant world.

The Fair Folk are poised to reclaim the planet from humanity. Jean, along with the complex’s remaining tenants, must choose between nature’s survival and the slaughter of billions(either nature survives means either the plants win or the slaughter of billion? who billions will get slaughtered? in both  cases it seems nature is winning?). Her reward will be a permanent stay in the Otherworld: the paradise sought for centuries by mystics and dreamers. She doesn’t have long to decide.

Because soon the mountain will open up. And the culling will begin.

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a horror novel of 75,000 words. Thank you for your time.

 

 

I think this is a subtle book and not on something as loud as Avengers or X Men. Overall the query gives fair idea of the novel. Not many points from my side. Good luck!!

 

Link to the latest revision of my query is in my signature, in case you want to have a look.



#52 MICRONESIA

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 08:36 AM

Hmm. Jaustail, I think you make a good point. The choice could absolutely be clearer. What it I change it to:

 

The Fair Folk are poised to reclaim the planet from humanity, and Jean has been chosen to help. In order for nature to survive, billions of people must die. 

 

Hopefully, that's clearer.

 

 

Also: I know that in the Western world, "exposure" as a cause for death is almost always synonymous with "exposure to the elements." I looked it up! So far, no one else has been confused over that. Does anyone else want to chime in here?

 

I'll look at your query again here in a bit.


A Darkness in Spring (query | synopsis)


#53 Ireth

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 11:29 AM

Also: I know that in the Western world, "exposure" as a cause for death is almost always synonymous with "exposure to the elements." I looked it up! So far, no one else has been confused over that. Does anyone else want to chime in here?

 

Maybe "died of hypothermia" instead, to be a wee bit clearer?


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/


#54 hgsylvan

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 06:42 AM

Hey there-

 

This is not a genre I am very familiar with, so take this with a grain of salt.  I know that I am in the minority about the hook, I just don't find it clear. Like are the holes in reality - a foreshadowing of what is to come? That reality is filled with blank space? Is it the hole in the ozone above her a apartment the cause for all that is going on?  I am not sure what it means, it sounds cool, but it doesn't really tell me anything - I was just sort of left me scratching my head. I know most everyone else on here loved it, so what do I know. Personally i felt the line you had about the MC leaving San Francisco ditching the ubers and internet cafe was more intriguing and gave me more information about the starting point for the MC.

 

I agree with the other posters about there not being a clear reason as to why MC has been the chosen one. I see in your latest draft that you tried to avoid that question by lumping her in with the other tenants of the building - it's become a collective "they must decide" which I think is actually make her seem less interesting and less important-there is nothing really special about her, which i think weakens her character a little bit.

 

I think you have a really interesting premise and I hope you have a lot of success with the query. And like I said I am not familiar with this genre. 



#55 MICRONESIA

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 06:56 AM

Nice timing, hgsylvan! I've been working on the first and last paragraphs for the last hour or two. Original post has been updated. Is it clearer now?

 

I'm wondering if people will make the nature/magic connection with the Wicca mention before. People generally know what Wicca is, right?

 

 

 

@hgsylvan: I looked through the first few pages but can't find your query. Got a link?


A Darkness in Spring (query | synopsis)


#56 jaustail

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 07:59 AM

I don't know what's Wicca.



#57 hgsylvan

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 08:01 AM

wow, that was fast. In my opinion, it is much better I finally see that she is needed because of her magic. Nice work. I'd read it!!

 Good luck and I hope you get a good response. 

 

 

I know what Wicca is and I got the nature/magic connection. 

 

and you've already sort of commented on mine. If you want you can look at it again. http://agentquerycon...n-memoir/page-2



#58 MICRONESIA

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 07:40 AM

Quick question: does the new "hook" sentence work?

 

Reality contains holes like the ozone layer—and one must reside over Jean’s new apartment complex.

 
Originally, it stated the fact outright: "resides." In this version, I've changed it to "must reside." As in, she doesn't know for sure; such a thing would explain the weirdness, though. A few people, like several above, have taken the reality-hole for blunt fact -- which would put this clearly in the realm of fantasy. Does adding "must" indicate that the reality-hole is only a theory on her part? Does it convey anything at all?

A Darkness in Spring (query | synopsis)


#59 jaustail

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 08:39 AM

The new hook confused me. I prefer 'One of them'

When you say 'One must reside' I thought, 'One' as in 'the reader or the viewer' like One must live in the desert for some period of life. Or something like that.



#60 Chloe Kleine

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    Do please take a look at my new query : RED MOON

Posted 23 September 2017 - 08:48 AM

Just a quick note on the hook:

Previous hook:

Reality contains holes just like the ozone layer—and one of them resides over Jean’s new apartment complex.

New hook:

Reality contains holes like the ozone layer—and one must reside over Jean’s new apartment complex.

 

The previous hook works better. I understand why you've made the change to 'must', but when I first read the newer version I interpreted 'must' as 'has to do'. It kind of wrong foots the reader. The previous version was more readable. If you have to include an element of doubt, then you could say -and one of them probably resides over Jean's new apartment complex.... OR -and one of them almost certainly resides over Jean's new apartment complex.


Please critique my query, and I will return the favour!

http://agentquerycon...n-bdsm-romance/

 





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