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Kinky Victorian Romance- revised 10/16


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#21 Bibliophyl

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 09:51 AM

So I don't hate my previous version, but I've revised this to make the kink/BDSM element more front and center to reflect the themes of the story. Would love any thoughts!

 

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Cherry, a housemaid in Victorian Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. For Thomas, Cherry is a welcome distraction from his lustless marriage. When Cherry accidentally discovers Thomas' suppressed masochistic desires, she begins to explore her own sadistic side. Their flirtation culminates in a tryst on the floor of Thomas' study. But Thomas, ashamed, dismisses Cherry the very next day. In one crushing betrayal, Cherry loses her job, her home, and the man she thought she loved.

 

Heartbroken and angry, Cherry struggles to survive on the streets of Boston until she finds employment at a brothel which caters to men like Thomas—men who would rather pay for pain than pleasure. Thomas, unable to resist the lure of submission after his tryst with Cherry, seeks out the brothel, only to find himself faced with his angry former housemaid. Wracked with guilt ever since he dismissed her, he offers her a heartfelt apology, and his words win her over. They strike up a relationship full of pleasure and pain.

 

When Thomas' wife dies in childbirth, Cherry dares to hope that she and Thomas will finally share the life she dreams of. But in a devastating blow, Thomas remarries for business interests rather than love, spurning Cherry for a second time. Determined to exact revenge, Cherry hatches a desperate plan to expose his darkest secrets and ruin his life, even if she takes herself down with him.



#22 Kimseal

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 11:03 AM

A kinky Victorian romance sounds fun! It's hard to know how to advise you on the query without having a better idea of the target audience. I'm not sure if this is erotica, in which case the focus should be on Thomas getting his kinky comeuppance at the hands of his housemaid. In that case, I'd guess that the problem facing Cherry would be balancing her anger versus a desire not to go too far? 

 

Then there's the wife dying in childbirth, which isn't really featured in erotica, and it seems to be more of a romance. Romance demands a happy ending though and there's no happy ending here, which makes it seem maybe more historical fiction with a kink angle. In that case, we probably need more details about that final plan. What's the choice Cherry faces? What will happen if she does it? What will happen if she doesn't?

 

Overall, I think this is a good query. I came away from it with a good sense of what happens at the beginning of the book. I understand the characters and the situation. It's just hard to know how to angle the query without knowing what type of book it's supposed to be.

 

 

 

Cherry, a housemaid in Victorian Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. For Thomas, Cherry is a welcome distraction from his lustless marriage. When Cherry accidentally discovers Thomas' suppressed masochistic desires, she begins to explore her own sadistic side. Their flirtation culminates in a tryst on the floor of Thomas' study. But Thomas, ashamed, dismisses Cherry the very next day. In one crushing betrayal, Cherry loses her job, her home, and the man she thought she loved.

 

Heartbroken and angry, Cherry struggles to survive on the streets of Boston until she finds employment at a brothel which caters to men like Thomas—men who would rather pay for pain than pleasure. Thomas, unable to resist the lure of submission after his tryst with Cherry, seeks out the brothel, only to find himself faced with his angry former housemaid. Wracked with guilt ever since he dismissed her, he offers her a heartfelt apology, and his words win her over. They strike up a relationship full of pleasure and pain.

 

When Thomas' wife dies in childbirth, Cherry dares to hope that she and Thomas will finally share the life she dreams of. But in a devastating blow, Thomas remarries for business interests rather than love, spurning Cherry for a second time. Determined to exact revenge, Cherry hatches a desperate plan to expose his darkest secrets and ruin his life, even if she takes herself down with him.



#23 Bibliophyl

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 12:19 PM

Thank you! To clarify the genre, I'm planning on pitching it as historical fiction with romantic elements. It's definitely not erotica. There is a HEA, but I tried to end the query at the darkest point. Thanks again and I will return the favor shortly.



#24 bookgirl_kt

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 03:40 PM

Thanks for taking a look at mine! Hope you find this helpful:

 

Cherry, a housemaid in Victorian Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. For Thomas, Cherry is a welcome distraction from his lustless sexless marriage. Optional change only suggested because I read "lustless" as the more common word "lustfull" at first. When Cherry accidentally discovers Thomas' suppressed masochistic desires, she begins to explore her own sadistic side. Their flirtation culminates in a tryst on the floor of Thomas' study. But Thomas, ashamed, dismisses Cherry the very next day. In one crushing betrayal, Cherry loses her job, her home, and the man she thought she loved.

 

Heartbroken and angry, Cherry struggles to survive on the streets of Boston until she finds employment at a brothel which caters to men like Thomas—men who would rather pay for pain than pleasure. Thomas, unable to resist the lure of submission after his tryst with Cherry, seeks out the brothel, only to find himself faced with his angry former housemaid. Wracked with guilt ever since he dismissed her, This slips from Cherry's POV to his he offers her a heartfelt apology, and his words win her over. They strike up a relationship full of pleasure and pain. This second paragraph is great! You've done an amazing job getting rid of the synopsis-like elements to make it feel like a query letter. You also have lots of great lines in here.

 

When Thomas' wife dies in childbirth, Cherry dares to hope that she and Thomas will finally share the life she dreams of. But in a devastating blow, Repetitive after "Crushing betrayal" Thomas remarries for business interests rather than love, spurning Cherry for a second time. Determined to exact revenge, Cherry hatches a desperate plan to expose his darkest secrets and ruin his life, even if she takes herself down with him. Nice ending line, too.

 

I see a huge improvement here and I'm impressed! Great job!



#25 Bibliophyl

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 03:49 PM

I let this sit for a few weeks/months, and decided to dial the query back so it focuses more on the first 50 or so pages. I think my main problem before was trying to summarize too much of the story. Will gladly return any critiques! My main concerns are: does it make sense? does the writing flow or does it sound stilted?

 

Minor adjustments (mostly to the last paragraph) 10/20:

 

Cherry, a housemaid in Gilded Age Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. When she stumbles upon Thomas' kinky secret—a penchant for pain—she uncovers her own sadistic side. Their simmering flirtation boils over into a tryst on the floor of Thomas' study. But Thomas, ashamed, fires her the next day. In one crushing betrayal, Cherry loses her job, her home, and the man she thought she loved.

 

Heartbroken and furious, Cherry struggles to survive on the streets until she finds employment as a maid at an upscale brothel. But it's not just any brothel: the establishment caters to men like Thomas, who would rather pay for pain than pleasure. When Thomas himself walks through the door, Cherry thinks a vicious beating will satisfy her hunger for revenge, but he offers a heartfelt apology. Despite herself, her anger softens, tempered by a desire she just can't quash.

 

Still drawn to Cherry and the pain she can inflict, Thomas proposes an arrangement: he'll pay her generously for her sadistic services. The money could change her life, but accepting it means abandoning her dreams of revenge and risking her heart on the man who took everything from her once before.

 



#26 Dollophead

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 05:46 PM

Cherry, a housemaid in Gilded Age Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. When Cherry stumbles upon Thomas' kinky secret—a penchant for pain—she uncovers her own sadistic side. Their simmering flirtation boils over into a tryst on the floor of Thomas' study. But Thomas, ashamed, fires Cherry the next day. In one crushing betrayal, Cherry loses her job, her home, and the man she thought she loved.  

First paragraph is great! Nice set up and then you go smoothly into the problem. 

Heartbroken and furious, Cherry struggles to survive on the streets until she finds employment as a maid at an upscale brothel. But it's not just any brothel: the establishment caters to men like Thomas, who would rather pay for pain than pleasure. Unable to resist the lure of submission after (we can kind of guess his motivations for going to the brothel already, so you probably don't have to include that detail) his tryst with Cherry, Thomas soon seeks out the brothel, only to come face-to-face with his angry former housemaid. Cherry thinks a vicious beating will satisfy her hunger for revenge, but Thomas offers a heartfelt apology. Despite herself, Cherry's anger softens, tempered by a desire she just can't quash. 

 

Still drawn to the pain Cherry and the pain she can inflict, Thomas proposes an arrangement: he'll pay her generously for her sadistic services. The money could change Cherry's life, but she must decide if it's worth risking her heart and her livelihood how would her livelihood be at risk? this is the only part that confuses me on the man who took everything from her once before. Earlier I saw that you had her enacting revenge on him for not marrying her--I think that's still a relevant detail to include. Consider putting that in here instead of "it's worth risking her heart and her livelihood." 

 

As someone who doesn't really read kinky Victorian romances, I think this query is substantially good. Congratulate yourself! (Also, love the name Cherry for your protag)



#27 ScarlettLeigh

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 07:47 PM

Hi Bibliophyle! Thank you for taking a look at my query. I'm happy to return the service—I love historical romance!

 

Cherry, a housemaid in Gilded Age Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. When Cherry stumbles upon Thomas' kinky secret—a penchant for pain—she uncovers her own sadistic side. Their simmering flirtation boils over into a tryst on the floor of Thomas' study. But Thomas, ashamed, fires Cherry the next day. In one crushing betrayal, Cherry loses her job, her home, and the man she thought she loved. Love the setup here! This reads very clearly to me!

 

Heartbroken and furious, Cherry struggles to survive on the streets until she finds employment as a maid at an upscale brothel. But it's not just any brothel: the establishment that caters to men like Thomas, who would rather pay for pain than pleasure. (I almost want a paragraph break here because it feels like we're switching POV's from Cherry to Tomas... otherwise, I'd see if there's a way to reframe the next sentence in Cherry's POV) Unable to resist the lure of submission after his tryst with Cherry, Thomas soon seeks out the brothel, only to come face-to-face with his angry former housemaid. Cherry thinks a vicious beating will satisfy her hunger for revenge, but Thomas offers a heartfelt apology. Despite herself, Cherry's anger softens, tempered by a desire she just can't quash.

 

Still drawn to Cherry and the pain she can inflict, Thomas proposes an arrangement: he'll pay her generously for her sadistic services. The money could change Cherry's life, but she must decide if it's worth risking her heart and her livelihood on the man who took everything from her once before. (How does the arrangement put her livelihood at risk? It seems Cherry gets everything she wants out of this arrangement. I just need a more clear understanding of what she has to lose—the why not—in order to feel the stakes shine through)

 

WOW! I would read the absolute heck out of this! And I'm so happy to see more historical kinky romances with submissive men! It reminds me of a Regency-era novella I read called The Devil's Submission, which I loved and have been looking for more of. Typically the romance queries I've read are dual POV, and you do switch to Thomas' for at least one sentence in the second paragraph. Something to consider, but I'd read this regardless :) Hope to see it on the shelves someday!



#28 ScarlettLeigh

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 10:51 AM

Hi Bibliophyle!

 

Just focusin on the last paragraph because I think the first two are excellent.

 

Still drawn to Cherry and the pain she can inflict, Thomas proposes an arrangement: he'll pay her generously for her sadistic services. The money could change her life, but accepting it means abandoning her dreams of revenge and risking her heart on the man who took everything from her once before.

 

I'm still not quite sure how Cherry's goal relates to what's at stake—how does accepting the money mean abandoning her dreams of revenge? The thing that's currently at risk—her heart—is what's always at risk in romance. Is there something else she's risking that could up the stakes? The answer could lie specifically in "how the money could change her life". If there is a reason why Cherry needs the money—like she's supporting a sick loved one, her family is in debt, she owes someone money, etc.—that instantly makes her goal more concrete. "She needs the money or X bad thing will happen, but accepting it means risking her heart with the man who took everything from her once before."

 

Hope this helps, and I'm happy to look as many times as you want/ need :)



#29 Bibliophyl

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 10:59 AM

Thanks! She is using the money to take care of an injured friend, but I was worried including that would muddy the waters...I'll have to give it some more thought!

#30 ScarlettLeigh

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 12:14 PM

Nice! Yeah, I think you could easily pull this into the first paragraph to make Cherry's goal more personal without muddying the waters. Something like: "But Thomas, ashamed, fires Cherry the next day. In one crushing betrayal, Cherry loses the job she needed to care for her injured friend and the man she thought she loved."

 

Then bring it back at the end in relation to why the money is so important.






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