Murder at Tulip Time by Myron Kukla
Murder at Tulip Time was written during NaNoWriMo 2014 and is a murder mystery romance set against the pageantry of the annual Dutch Tulip Festival in Holland, Mich.
Drawing tens of thousands of tourists, this year’s flower fest gets off to a disturbing start when the body of the town recluse is found strangled and planted in a tulip bed in the shadow of the towering DeZwaan Windmill.
Digging for the truth behind the murder, local crime reporter John Garth battles for the big stories against his arch competitor and girlfriend Jennifer Jono Ines as the body count rises. The motive could be the discovery by the deceased of a century old fraud that could make him and others multi-millionaires but rip apart the fabric of this God-fearing community. Things get personal for Garth when his car is rammed into the path of a speeding semi truck and he has to solve the murder himself before he gets killed. Prime suspects range from the city’s brash Irish mayor to a rich businessman who could lose everything by the revelation. Or, is it a competitive tulip grower seeking to create the illusive black tulip? There are plenty of suspects. But Garth pins it down to one improbable killer and a fight to the death on the spinning blades of the DeZwaan Windmill.
I am a full-time author and freelance writer living in the Tulip Capital of the world, Holland, Mich. I have 9,000 bylined stories online.
The Book Doctors: We love the hook of this pitch. The Dutch Tulip Festival. Holland, Mich.. Not only is this just cool, it has regional appeal, and what the heck, you could actually sell this book at the Dutch Tulip Festival, if there is one. It has a great team at the center of it: an arch competitor/love interest, speeding 18 wheelers, black tulips, and murder, murder, murder. The specificity of the black tulip, and the DeZawaan WinMail are what set this book apart. But again, too much telling and not enough showing. We want you to paint us beautiful pictures of what the tourists look like, what the flowers look like, and instead of telling me it’s disturbing to find a body strangled and planted in a Tulip bed, really show it to me, show me the Windmill, and make me disturbed. Because we didn’t feel a jolt at this murder. “Digging for the truth behind the murder” feels redundant because that’s what every crime reporter does. Don’t tell us things we already know. And show us our heroes together, maybe finding the body, so we can feel confident that you can create a scene full of sexual chemistry, tension and suspense. We don’t really know enough about our hero, or his love interest. What are the inner demons they are fighting against? We don’t really understand who the “him” is who’s going to get rich from the century old fraud. You haven’t really told us enough about the God-fearing community for us to care about them. We are not emotionally invested in those people. And we think that the speeding truck should be presented much more dramatically, so it gets our heart beating faster. The villains, frankly, seemed rather like clichés that we’ve seen 100 times. Also, we don’t really get a sense of the series of harrowing, crazy, madcap tulip-centric events that are going to give us plot twists and turns which will be exciting and satisfying, yet wonderfully unexpected. Plus, there’s a spelling mistake. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is proofread when submitting. And please, someone explain this to us, because we don’t understand it, where are all the comparable titles? We are very impressed that you have 9000 bylined stories, give us a couple of examples that display your self-deprecating humor, and the wide swath of your interests and expertises. Great hook for a murder mystery, interesting dynamic with the main characters, needs more specificity, local color, and some idea of the madcap plot twists that are going to entertain and delight us.
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