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PECULIAR DESIRES - historical fiction - revised 3/14


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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!

 

___________________________

 

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.



#31 Bibliophyl

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 11:33 AM

So I've been querying for about a month and have racked up around 15 rejections. I know that's nothing in the big picture, but I wanted to get some fresh eyes and fine tune the query! Per advice on another forum, I've moved away from the historical romance label since the MMC is married at the beginning, and I've been told that's a huge dealbreaker for romance readers/agents. I so appreciate any and all thoughts! 

 

Cherry, a housemaid in Gilded Age Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. When she stumbles upon Thomas' 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 nearly starves on the streets until she talks her way into a job 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 lift her out of a life of hardship and drudgery, but accepting it means putting herself back in the employ of the man who took everything from her once before, and—worse—risking falling for him all over again.  

 

PECULIAR DESIRES is historical fiction with romantic elements, complete at 72,000 words. 



#32 callalilly

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 05:32 PM

Hi Bibliophyl. Hoping to offer you some suggestions. Though this subject of book is one I am not often a reader of, I hope the below will help if nothing more than with the aesthetics of the query. Should my suggestions not read right to you though, please delete my post and ignore :)

 

 

So I've been querying for about a month and have racked up around 15 rejections. I know that's nothing in the big picture, but I wanted to get some fresh eyes and fine tune the query! Per advice on another forum, I've moved away from the historical romance label since the MMC is married at the beginning, and I've been told that's a huge dealbreaker for romance readers/agents. (Really? Huh I didn't know this. I'm a touch surprised since the marriage of the MMC can create conflict for the story. But since I'm not often reading these generas, I can't say much on the subject) I so appreciate any and all thoughts! 

 

Cherry, a housemaid in Gilded Age Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. When she stumbles upon Thomas' 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 the heat between them cools quickly and Thomas, ashamed of his actions(?), 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 nearly starves on the streets until she talks her way into a job as a maid (I would like to know how she talks her way into this position) 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 (Like this line). When Thomas himself walks through the door, Cherry thinks a vicious beating will satisfy her hunger for revenge (So Cherry is more than a maid? She's working as a brothel girl? I think including that in the first line here is key, also maybe include how Cherry feels about doing such work -is it emotionally straining? Physically? Is she comfortable with it?), but instead 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 in exchange for her sadistic services. The money could lift her out of a life of hardship and drudgery, but accepting it means putting herself back in the employ of the man who took everything from her once before, and—worse—risking falling for him all over again. (I kind of what to add a last "punch" of a line, just something that sums up her stakes. Maybe: "Cherry will have to decide if money is worth more than her own heart and soul". Not great, but maybe one more line to wrapup could really drive the ending home. Just a suggestion.)

 

PECULIAR DESIRES is historical fiction with romantic elements, complete at 72,000 words.

 

 

As I said -I'm a little out of my element here, still I hope the above helps some. It seems in pretty good shape, I'd just suggest a few add-ons if you feel them just. If not, again please ignore; this is your work and you'll know what is best for it. Best of luck!


 ,Query I'm fighting with: http://agentquerycon...-post-22/page-2

 


#33 kathleenq

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 01:35 PM

Hi! Thanks for looking at my query! Here to return the favor. I haven't read any of your previous versions either, so just looking at the latest version.

 

It seems a bit tame for something that's focusing on BDSM. I also agree with callalily about her marriage bringing tension into the query that could be interesting. Some questions that I have: If cherry is married at the beginning, how is she on the streets after Thomas fires her? How does she get the maid job at the brothel and if she's only a maid there, how can she be the one to give Thomas a beating?

 

I'm also not sure "historical fiction with romantic elements" is quite the right label. This seems much more full on "historical romance" to me, and I know you said you were trying to shy away from that label because of the marriage, but if you don't mention the marriage in the query, maybe going back to "historical romance" would work for the query?

 

Hope this helps!


Query: Glass Domes


#34 Bibliophyl

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 04:34 PM

Thanks, Kathleen! I'll definitely give some thought to everything you brought up. Re your comment about the marriage, I should have clarified: Thomas is the one who's married, not Cherry. :) 



#35 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 01:59 PM

Cherry, a housemaid in Boston during the Gilded Age Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis, who is a wealthy entrepreneur(Nothing really pops out at me during the first sentence. Might want to try to have more of a hook here.) When she stumbles upon Thomas' 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. (Why is he ashamed?) In one crushing betrayal, Cherry loses her job, her home, and the man she thought she loved.  (I get plot, but I don't feel much tension.)

 

Heartbroken and furious, Cherry nearly starves on the streets until she talks her way into a job as a maid at an upscale brothel. (How did she do that?) 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 instead he offers a heartfelt apology. (But if she's a maid, wouldn't she not be the one doing the beating? I'm confused.) Despite herself, her anger softens, tempered by a desire she just can't quash. (Explain these last two sentences more.) (It also seems like you're going through a lot of your plot already. Like...just want to make sure you haven't told the plot in the middle of the book yet. )

 

Still drawn to Cherry and the pain she can inflict, (This sentence changes the POV which I would not recommend.) Thomas proposes an arrangement: he'll pay her generously for her sadistic services. (Why? Is this in secret?) The money could lift her out of a life of hardship and drudgery, but accepting it means putting herself back in the employ of the man who took everything from her once before. And—worse—she'd have to risk falling for him all over again.  

 

The query overall is good. I understand the plot, but I never felt much tension at all through it. I did have to look up some words, but that's probably because this isn't the genre for me. You have a good start though, good job!



#36 Bibliophyl

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 07:00 PM

Thanks for all the comments! I've been playing around with this and came up a new version which incorporates another plot thread. My intent was to heighten the stakes, but I worry it's lost focus by bringing in a third character. 

 

Cherry, a housemaid in Gilded Age Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. When she stumbles upon Thomas' 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.

 

While struggling to survive on the streets, Cherry runs into her childhood friend, Trudie, who has also fallen on hard times. After being maimed in a factory accident, Trudie can't work and has become gravely ill from her infected, mangled hand. Cherry is desperate to help her friend, but she can barely feed herself.

 

Cherry manages to talk her way into a job as a maid at an upscale brothel which caters to men like Thomas—men who would rather pay for pain than pleasure. She tries to save up enough money to get Trudie to a doctor, but the pay is meager. When Thomas himself visits the brothel, Cherry's first instinct is revenge. But he offers a heartfelt apology and proposes an arrangement: he'll pay her generously for her sadistic services. The last thing Cherry wants to do is put herself back in the employ of the man who once ruined her life, but the money could mean the difference between life and death for Trudie.

 

When Cherry accepts Thomas' offer, her old feelings for him soon return, but she worries he'll never see her as anything more than an employee, no matter who wields the cane.



#37 epercak

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 01:57 PM

Thanks for the feedback on my query!

 

Thanks for all the comments! I've been playing around with this and came up a new version which incorporates another plot thread. My intent was to heighten the stakes, but I worry it's lost focus by bringing in a third character. 

 

Cherry, a housemaid in Gilded Age Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. When she stumbles upon Thomas' 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.

 

While struggling to survive on the streets, Cherry runs into her childhood friend, Trudie, who has also fallen on hard times. After being maimed in a factory accident, Trudie can't work and has become gravely ill from her infected, mangled hand. Cherry is desperate to help her friend, but she can barely feed herself. I think this paragraph could be pared down a bit. The first two sentences are somewhat redundant and, while the third sentence adds emphasis, it only repeats information.

 

Cherry manages to talk her way into finds a job as a maid at an upscale brothel which caters to men like Thomas—men who would rather pay for prefer pain than to pleasure. She tries to save up enough money to get Trudie to a doctor, but the pay is meager. When Thomas himself visits the brothel, Cherry's first instinct is revenge. But he offers a heartfelt apology and (this feels a little weak and unnecessary) proposes an arrangement: he'll pay her generously for her sadistic services. The last thing Cherry wants to do is put herself back in the employ of the man who once ruined her life, but the money could mean the difference between life and death for Trudie.

 

When Cherry accepts Thomas' offer, her old feelings for him soon return, but she worries he'll never see her as anything more than an employee, no matter who wields the cane.

 

 

This does a good job of setting up the main conflict and I don't think adding the third character detracts since it clarifies the stakes. However, it seems like the plot hinges on the relationship between Cherry and Thomas but there's not much here about Thomas that makes us care about him or their relationship. A few details that give us insight into their dynamic could improve the intrigue. 



#38 G A Johnson

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 03:33 PM

Howdy! My suggestions are based merely on the economy of words and pacing. Of course, everything is my own preference and you are free to disregard. Overall, I think you've got a very well polished query!

 

Cherry, a housemaid in Gilded Age Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. For a housemaid in Boston's Gilded Age, such a love is complicated to begin with.  When she stumbles upon Thomas' 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 He fires her the next day in an effort to hide his shame. In one crushing betrayal, Cherry loses her job, her home, and the man she thought she loved. (The only reason I restructured is because I feel there is a few to many comma's that impede flow.) 

 

While struggling to survive on the streets, Cherry runs into her childhood friend, Trudie, who has also fallen on hard times. After being maimed in a factory accident, Trudie can't work and has become gravely ill from her infected, mangled hand. Cherry is desperate to help her friend, but she can barely feed herself. (Again I feel that you cram too much in a sentence at times. You could unpack them a little, because the info is great!)

 

Cherry manages to talk talks her way into a job as a maid at an upscale brothel which caters to men like Thomas—men who would rather pay for pain than pleasure. Men like Thomas. She tries to save up enough money to get Trudie to a doctor, but the pay is meager. When Thomas himself visits the brothel, Cherry's first instinct is revenge. But until he offers a heartfelt apology and proposes an arrangement: he'll pay her generously for her sadistic services. The last thing Cherry wants to do is put herself back in the employ of the man who once ruined her life, but the money could mean the difference between life and death for Trudie.

 

When Cherry accepts Thomas' offer, her old feelings for him soon return, but she worries he'll never see her as anything more than an employee, no matter who wields the cane.



#39 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 08:47 AM

Thanks for all the comments! I've been playing around with this and came up a new version which incorporates another plot thread. My intent was to heighten the stakes, but I worry it's lost focus by bringing in a third character. 

 

Cherry, a housemaid in Gilded Age Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis.  obviously everything is subjective but I am not a big fan of the name Cherry especially for a romance. Too many associations for me like the vulgar 'popped her cherry' When she stumbles upon Thomas' secret—a penchant for pain—she uncovers her own sadistic side.kinky this isn't my thing personally but I'll try to get past that 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.for me this part is the best hook. consider starting here? After a tryst with her employer, Cherry is dismissed, losing her ...

 

While struggling to survive on the streets, maybe give us some hint of the hardships this entails Cherry runs into her childhood friend, Trudie, who has also fallen on hard times. After being maimed in a factory accident, Trudie can't work and has become gravely ill from her infected, mangled hand.great this works for me as well, nice Cherry is desperate to help her friend, but she can barely feed herself.

 

Cherry manages to talk her way into a job as a maid at an upscale brothel which caters to men like Thomas—men who would rather pay for pain than pleasure. She tries to save up enough money to get Trudie to a doctor, but the pay is meager. When Thomas himself visits the brothel, Cherry's first instinct is revenge. But he offers a heartfelt apologynot buying it, actions speak louder than words and proposes an arrangement: he'll pay her generously for her sadistic services. well on the plus side at least she gets to have revenge AND get paid for it The last thing Cherry wants to do is put herself back in the employ of the man who once ruined her life, but the money could mean the difference between life and death for Trudie. good

 

When Cherry accepts Thomas' offer, her old feelings for him soon return, ugh he's a jerk, Cherry! but she worries he'll never see her as anything more than an employee, no matter who wields the cane. eh weak ending for me but maybe it will work for others? to me the best parts are feeling sympathetic for Cherry and Trudy. i don't like Thomas at all, he treats her like crap, then happens to fall back into her presence, gives her a couple of nice but hollow words. if that's what you intend, I would make it clearer, as to me it reads like she is going to get together with Thomas for a happy ending, which to me is really off putting, but that all just might be me. see how others feel.



#40 Bibliophyl

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 07:07 PM

Still fiddling with this, I'm actually happy with this one (for now), but please, tear it apart!

 

Cherry, a housemaid in Gilded Age Boston, is hopelessly in love with her employer, wealthy entrepreneur Thomas Ellis. When she stumbles upon Thomas' 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 nearly starves on the streets until she talks her way into a job as a maid at a 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 visits the brothel, Cherry wants to shut the door in his face, but he offers a heartfelt apology and a business proposal.

 

Still drawn to Cherry and the pain she can inflict, Thomas offers to pay her generously for her sadistic services. Cherry is tempted to reject his proposal out of hand, even though it could lift her out of a life of hardship and drudgery. But Cherry is caring for a childhood friend who is unable to work after being maimed in a factory accident. The money could mean the difference between life and death for her friend, but accepting it means putting herself back in the employ of the man who ruined her life once before, and—worse—risking falling for him all over again. Because no matter who wields the cane, Thomas may never see Cherry as anything more than an employee.

 

PECULIAR DESIRES is historical fiction with romantic elements, complete at 72,000 words.






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