Pop Shot by Nikki Dylan
Working with your twin sister isn’t ideal, especially when she’s a demanding starlet who challenges you at every step of the production process, but that isn’t really what bothers Johanna. Astrid is one of the most sought after actresses in the porn industry and Johanna is a gifted director. The two own a studio, where Johanna runs the show and Astrid just shows up. They work together, live together, and share everything… None of this bothers the driven and practical Johanna. What does bother her is that she’s in love with one of the actors and she doesn’t feel like sharing him with her sister. Astrid loves working with Vaughn and their chemistry is off the charts on camera. Especially when Johanna is the one holding the camera. Vaughn and Johanna keep their relationship a secret until he wants more. He wants a future with Johanna no matter what the consequences are. Johanna fears losing the studio, her career, and her sister. Will they risk it all just to stay together? Can love exist in an industry that sells lust?
Pop Shot is the first book in what I envision as a series following both Johanna and Vaughn throughout the course of their relationship, then following up with novels featuring Astrid and Nick, the innocent production assistant that just graduated from film school. The series will challenge views on monogamy, the adult film industry, and gender stereotypes.
The Book Doctors: Yet another story of sisters. And twins no less! Who doesn’t love twins? It might be fun to save the fact that they are in the porn industry until a little later in the pitch. So you set us up for one kind of story, then do the old switcheroo, pull the rug out from under us with some good old-fashioned American porn. Actually, we have a friend who is a female adult film director, and this is a fascinating world. And very different from what people think it is. It’s a great idea to shed light on this much misunderstood industry, to humanize the people who inhabit it. We can absolutely see a book series, and heck, we could totally see this on any of the rapidly proliferating cable TV providers who lust for saucy, eye-catching product. This pitch needs to show us more word pictures from this world. It might be cool to open with Johanna filming a scene with Astrid and Vaughn, to show us exactly how graphic this is going to be. Because the way you deal with sex and sexuality is going to absolutely determine what kind of publisher, agent, and ultimately reader is going to want to take this book to bed with them. And again, comparable titles would be very helpful in this regard. We would also like more about the nature of love and monogamy and gender stereotypes in this actual story, because we’re very interested in those topics, which you mentioned so nicely as you pitch the whole series. But let’s see more of the particulars of how those ideas manifest in this book. Because there won’t be a series, unless this book does really really really well. We feel like we don’t know these main characters well enough. We haven’t engaged emotionally with them sufficiently. That’s what will move this story beyond titillation, and into compelling literature. And, we don’t see enough action to take us through the plot, how this love triangle is going to affect the choices that these people in this strange and fascinating profession make, for better and for worse. Great setting for a love triangle, so many opportunities for penetrating insights into the human condition. Needs more emotional depth, we need to see inside these characters better, and understand how the plot is going to unfold.
Down’s Dragon by S. Schilling-Kreutner
How do you know when somebody pushes “play” on a paused apocalypse? A dragon over the Kansas Flint Hills might be a clue…
Down’s Dragon is an 85,000 word young adult fantasy that combines a “behind the scene” supra-plot like McCaffrey’s YA Harper Hall with edgy, first-person narrative similar to Butcher’s adult series, The Dresden Files.
Friday Jones is perfectly happy kicking her Doc Martens back with a Sunny D at her sister’s bar in rural Miramar, but after she totals her Harley—thanks to a cruising dragon—a new world opens up like a Butler County sinkhole. This time, fracking isn’t to blame. Franky, the hottie motorcycle mechanic, invites her to his grandfather’s place. The surrounding communities think Salazar Ranch is a camp for wayward teens. They’re wayward, all right—way weird. The ranch fronts for a troop of juvenile wizards. Belowground hulks an ancient, magical city. Genies and fairies and dragons… oh, my. Down ain’t the Emerald City.
They await a reincarnated super-mage. The problem is, she won’t remember her previous life and they’re practically drowning in doppelgangers. Friday’s a candidate—but when the mega-villain attacks, she joins Salazar’s delinquents, instead. Let someone else save the universe. She’s too busy turning Wichita upside down chasing her shadowself, trapping dragons and rescuing “normals” from tantrum-ing genies. …Not bad for a girl from Bofooked. Eat your heart out, Dorothy.
S. Schilling-Kreutner grew up in Sedgwick County, KS, earned a BA from WSU and taught night school students to write before haring off into the world.
The Book Doctors: We find this a wonderfully written pitch. All the particular details really bring it to life. From DOC Martins to Sunny D, to the sinkhole in Butler County. The voice has a wonderfully sarcastic tone, lots of nice wordplay. For example, Wayward = way weird. And finally some great comparable titles. Everyone should pay attention to the way these are presented here. They display deep knowledge of the genre, and call out particulars in these works that will attract similar readers. We love the fact that there is a supra-plot, but we didn’t quite see how this is manifested. The pitch does get a little dodgy as we move below ground (or “belowground” as it says above), into the camp for way weird teens that’s actually a front for juvenile wizards. First of all, as soon as you have a camp for juvenile wizards, you venture into very familiar territory. So immediately we need to see what’s different about your troop of juvenile wizards than all the others we’ve seen through the years. What’s different about your genies and fairies and dragons? And we’re a little confused by the doppelgängers. Might be fun to have us see Friday come face-to-face with her doppelgänger, and later try to chase down herself. We don’t really understand what a super-mage is. Or how one is reincarnated. And what is Friday a candidate for? Even though we love how much fun you have describing it, we don’t understand what a tantrum-ing Jeannie is. We love the saucy allusions to the Wizard of Oz. But when you take us into this new world that you’re building, we need to see it more clearly, understand it more fully. And then there are the dragons. Instead of telling us about her accident on her Harley and tossing the Dragon in as a throw-away in the middle of the sentence, maybe show us that scene, with the Dragon barreling down on her as she’s whipping through Kansas on her her iron steed. Because again, we need to know how dragons fit into your version of Kansas. Cool setting, cool characters, cool voice, just needs to make clear how the magical part of the story is going to play out, and exactly what the heck it would be like to have dragons in Kansas.
Vote for your favorite pitch. The pitch that receives the most votes will be awarded the “Fan Favorite,” and the author will receive a free one-hour consult with us (worth $250).
Killed by a Knish by Carol Novis
What secrets lie hidden in the Jewish Community Archive of Aurora, Minnesota?
Life is ho-hum at the luxurious Minnie and Isaac Memorial Menorah Retirement Home for Ellie Shapiro, until Sam, a popular fellow resident, drops dead after eating a knish that she’s baked. Other murders follow. With her fellow sleuths, formidable octogenarian Riva, ditzy gossip Mollie and Sam’s hapless teen-age grandson Noam, Ellie sets out to find the killer.
But will the disapproval of Ellie’s hunky crush, Hal, stop the motley detection team before the killer gets her? And will the Menorah’s uptight administrator forbid Ellie from doing the baking she loves?
Over the course of the book, Ellie gains confidence, a friend, a new career and yes, the guy, as the action takes her from the Menorah kitchens to an out of control fight at a mahjongg game and a revelatory visit to gambling casino, culminating in a confrontation with a crazed murderer.
You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy this kosher Cozy Mystery, which combines romance, suspense, humor – even recipes – in the first of a series reminiscent of Harry Kemelman’s popular Rabbi Small novels, Sharon Kahn’s “Fax me a Bagel” and Leighann Dobb’s Lexy Bake (“Wedded Blintz”).
Readers who will identify with the heroine of this rollicking, humorous, fast-action plot include seniors, foodies and devotees of Cozy Mysteries with a twist.
The Book Doctors: Oy! What a fun pitch – we plotzed – we’re verklempt. Publishers, agents and readers are looking for things that are familiar and yet unique. There is a tried-and-true audience for a great cozy mystery. An established audience. But I have yet to see anyone exploit the Kosher Cozy Mystery niche on the world wide bookshelf. And to place it in Minnesota, which we associate so heavily with those flat, WASP tight lipped Lutherans that inhabit the Cohen Brothers’ Fargo and Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegone, seems so humorously antithetical. I love the specificity of it. The mahjongg, the menorahs and the knishes. And you do make it clear that there is a madcap plot, with a little bit of romance, and a plucky heroine at the center trying to do what she loves (baking), and get the guy. And I think you have very good comparable titles. Now, how do I make it better? First of all, don’t tell me she gets the guy in the end. That’s like pitching me a mystery and saying, “And in the end, the butler did it.” Does she get the guy? The answer that question is: You have to read the book. I don’t like it when you tell me it’s rollicking, it’s humorous, you just have to show me the machinations of the plot without revealing too much. In that language is so generic, you see that in 1 million pitches, if you’re away from your hook, which is the Minnesota Jewish subculture. “Oy, you betcha!” I don’t like it when you see a crazed murderer. Again, too generic. How is your crazed murderer different than all the other crazed murderers I’ve seen in a million mysteries? I think when Sam drops dead, it’s not dramatic enough. You have a dead body. It’s your job to show us you can either make us laugh or take our breath away with that dead body. Or possibly both! And the first sentence is too long. Very good pitch, really fun story, needs a little tightening, and a little polishing.
Vote for your favorite pitch. The pitch that receives the most votes will be awarded the “Fan Favorite,” and the author will receive a free one-hour consult with us (worth $250).
By Madison Russel
The first thing she notices when she walks into the room is that she’s the only woman. The second thing she notices when she walks into the room is that she’s the only Hispanic. The third thing she notices when she walks into the room is that no one wants her there.
At twenty-six years old, Abbie Acosta has the perfect life. She lives in an apartment in Los Angeles with her best friend, Juli. She has a loving family and a great job as a sound producer at the public broadcasting station. The problem is, it’s not enough. In an industry dominated by men, Abbie wants to stand out, not be pushed back. She steps out of her comfort zone, taking jobs she never thought would come her way. With Juli by her side, Abbie begins to believe that maybe she can have it all. This is a story that will resonate with every girl, young and old, who has ever dreamed of working in the field of technology.
The Book Doctors: The story of a female who wants to work in a male dominated field is very fresh and timely. We like how your pitch starts, with her walking into a room and being the unwanted, reviled Other. (For the sake of economy and redundancy, you don’t need to have the phrase “when she walks into the room” each time.) We are absolutely rooting for Abbie to succeed because she’s the underdog, she’s the little person fighting against an unjust corrupt system. The problem with this pitch is that you don’t give us enough. For instance, in the first scene, show us a word picture of how these men are looking at her–give us a few of the snide underhanded comments that are made. We don’t understand why she loves being a sound producer so much. Give us some insights into what it’s like to be our heroine. And we want to know what it means for her to step out of her comfort zone. What are the particulars of the jobs that she takes? When you tell us that she lives in an apartment in Los Angeles with her best friend, that sentence seems very flat. Give us the details of the life she has built for herself with her friend. Show us some of the conflict. Show us the failures and the difficulties. Show us the pigheaded man she’s going to have to overcome. Better not to tell that your story will resonate with every girl, young and old, who has ever dreamed of working in the field of technology. Instead show it to us. Again, no comparison titles. None whatsoever. Wonderful story about a woman entering a male-dominated field and having to fight prejudice to pursue the things she loves in life. The pitch is much too short, and it needs to be filled in with details of what our plucky heroine has to fight against and overcome.
One Last Breath by Chelsea DeVries
I’m pleased to introduce my memoir, One Last Breath. One Last Breath is the story of life, death, and the undying hope of first love. At the young age of twenty-one, I woke up on August 11, 2012 and couldn’t breathe. It felt as though I was breathing through a straw or an elephant was sitting on my chest. It was the first real near-death experience. The memoir introduces my near-death experience and then takes the reader down memory lane through different illnesses I faced throughout my childhood: premature birth, lazy eye, and strep throat, the flu, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and all leading up to my diagnosis with a thyroid disorder. Through chapter length anecdotes, we see how I faced childhood bullying and self-esteem issues. With a face to face visit from Jesus, I get saved and start living my life with a greater purpose. Call it divine intervention or meant to be but in my freshman year of college, I meet Judas, and fall in love for the first time in my life. The story follows not only my near-death experience, but a second chance of life, and my undying hope for true love with Judas. The story runs about 74, 747 words.. I’m a recent graduate of Saint Leo University and hold a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in International Hospitality.My first two YA novels were self-published by Outskirts Press: Dream Girl (2006) and Jessica’s Choice (2008). I currently work as a freelance writer for Outloud Multimedia.
The Book Doctors: You have an incredible true story. We’d like to say how sorry we are that you had to live through all that. The silver lining is, this is absolutely the stuff of memoirs. Our brave heroine overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to find happiness. We have divine intervention, Jesus, Judas, a lazy eye, a disordered thyroid and, of course, true love. With a twist that it may be Judas and not Prince Charming. We also like your title and how you plant its flag right at the beginning of your pitch. But that first line is just so familiar, not just in content, but in the actual language. Think of all the stories that are about life, death, and first love. We think that it would be great to take us a little further down the road of your near-death experience. We’ve heard so much about what that is like. There’s a light you’re walking toward it, there’s people waiting for you, we are told. But give us a little taste of what you are adding to this discussion. There is a tendency to redundancy here. You mention the phrase “near-death” twice in the space of about 10 words. You only have 250 words, and as Arielle famously said, (it bears repeating which is why we are repeating it) a pitch is like a poem, every word counts. When you name the disorders you lived through, we don’t get a sense of the struggle and difficulty. It just becomes a laundry list. You need to give us a sense of what all this was like so we can feel it, and you need to do it in a few concise words. When your pitch is general and vague, we find ourselves disengaging. We’ve seen stories about bullying and self-esteem issues a million times. How is yours different? God and the Devil are in the details. We want more details. That’s what makes any story come to life. But particularly a memoir. We want to know how this man is Judas. We want to feel and see the particulars of falling in love with Judas. And we hate to say it, but unless you’ve sold tens of thousands of copies, there is still kind of stigma around self-publishing. Better to leave the YA titles out if you are using this pitch for agents or editors at larger houses. Fascinating memoir about overcoming physical difficulties, illness and disease, finding Jesus, and falling in love with Judas. Perfect for the Christian market. Pitch needs to be more specific, character more revealed, writing more visceral and immediate.
Find Me by Haley Bonner
When her older brother tragically dies in an accident, Emily flounders in the wake of her grief and guilt. Her family, though well-meaning, doesn’t help her either. After an “accident” of her own, Emily finds herself on regimented doses of antidepressants and a round-the-clock suicide watch. Content to float in the numb awareness of her meds, Emily plays along for a while. But when faced with how much her continuing apathy wounds her family, she reaches her breaking point.
Running from the reminders and the blame, Emily leaves her family. Taking up an alias, she finds herself taken in by another well-meaning family. It seems like the perfect place for new beginnings, but home isn’t content to stay away and her ghosts aren’t done playing.
My writing credentials include one short scene piece and various poems published in a literary arts magazine. I graduated from Wayland Baptist University with a B.A. in English. I currently work as a web writer, but my free time is taken up with writing and reading creative works. As my fist completed novel, Find Me is my greatest accomplishment to-date.
The Book Doctors: This story is happily right in the middle of a very fertile part of the publishing kingdom: books that appeal to women. And since the one thing we can count on in life is death, there will always be people wanting to read about other humans dealing with family, grief and loss. Additionally, the over-medicating of America is a fascinating and hot-button topic. But this pitch deals so much in generalities that we don’t make enough emotional connection with our main character. Everything is told and little is shown. It opens with the phrase “tragically dies,” which is a cliché. Then you take what seems to be a fantastically dramatic and mind-blowing event, and reduce it to something that our eyes just skim over. Display your writing chops for us by showing this death, and Emily’s part in it. Later you hint that she’s dealing with the guilt. Is she responsible in some way? Does she think she’s responsible? And then she has an “accident.” We don’t know what that is. Does she try to take her own life? This has been done in so many stories, we have to know how yours is different; we have to know that you can take us into that dark heart where these kinds of things happen. And we think you can do a better job of describing that narcotized feeling of being on drugs than “numb awareness.” We don’t know exactly what that means. We also don’t get a series of events that lead to a fiery climax. We don’t understand what the ghosts are who follow her to her next well-meaning family. Lastly, you can also have some more fun with your bio. Be more specific about where you were published. We wouldn’t put that this is your greatest accomplishment. And there’s a spelling mistake in your bio. David always has someone read his stuff before he sends it out anywhere because he’s a terrible speller, and a worse proofreader. Know thy strengths. Do not make spelling mistakes. Promising family story with unexpected twists, the pitch doesn’t have enough depth of character, doesn’t show enough of the plot.
By Sara Pierce
The city is alive. And it’s trying to kill Shasta Kachtouri.
But he doesn’t know it. After all, it’s hard enough being a newcomer in a school where social tensions are as incomprehensible as city streets; but besides that Shasta’s also got the Sim, a weekly virtual-reality competition, to worry about. Not to mention his chronic panic attacks, which are growing worse. So when strange things start happening at the Academy—mysterious messages, unsolvable puzzles, and mechanical spies—Shasta assumes he’s just hallucinating. That is, until a simple question about the school turns into a harrowing race for his life.
He loses his pursuers in the Lair, a sentient corner of the city that changes its geography to keep him from finding the exit. There he meets Angel, a young girl presumed dead in a factory fire five months ago. She explains the awful truth: not only is the Lair connected to the Academy, but it also grows each minute students spend inside. If Shasta doesn’t find a way to escape the Lair and shut down the school, the Lair will absorb the rest of the city in a matter of weeks. Except now Shasta is also trapped. And even if he can find a way out, he’ll have to dodge assassins, Academy masters, and various school cliques; all while keeping the panic attacks—which are growing more debilitating by the hour—at bay. Time is running out. The Lair is coming.
The Book Doctors: We love how you open this pitch–that the city is not only a character in your story, but a killer who’s trying to snuff out our hero. Speaking of heroes, we really get attached to Shasta. You do a wonderful job of weaving him through this story. And the fact that the city is sentiment is so cool. You’ve got mean teenager cliques, assassins, panic attacks, and a ticking clock. Brava! Now let’s dial down. We don’t know exactly what “social tensions” are. We need more detail, otherwise take it out. The whole of the second sentence is way too long. Because the weekly virtual-reality competition doesn’t seem to play out anywhere else in this pitch, maybe just take this clause out. You only have 250 words, you have to use every single one of them wisely. Don’t tell us about the panic attacks, show us one. It’s very important for us to see that you are capable of effectively rendering this event which has plagued so many people for so many hundreds of years. You don’t want to tell us that something strange is happening, and then show us the strange things. Just show us the strange things. Redundancy is the enemy of every pitch. We want to understand more about the mechanical spies, we don’t exactly see in our minds’ eyes how excellent and awesome and amazing they are. Same with the messages and puzzles. And there’s something off about the whole idea of the simple question turning into the harrowing race for our hero’s life. It’s confusing, and not in a good way. It feels awkward. Show us what’s different about your assassins, Academy Masters, and school cliques. Show us how the panic attacks are escalating. We really like the last two lines. You can almost hear the organ playing three ominous notes at the end. You do a very good job of building tension, showing us what the stakes are. But we’d still like to understand more about how the city is alive. Maybe you could give us a quick couple of images of him trying to leave and the city shutting doors or changing train lines or whatever it is. Because we don’t quite see how cool it is yet. And we want to understand more of what’s going inside our hero, what he is striving to overcome in his inner life, not just that he’s trying to save the world. Very intriguing premise about a living city that can change at will, a creeping evil taking over the world, a sinister Academy, and one young man who’s got to stand up to it all. Needs more details about how the city comes to life, and more intimate portrait of our hero.
The Moon Ran After Her by Jan Flynn
In her village in eastern Anatolia, fifteen-year-old Ani is proud of her reputation as a tomboy, climbing trees and hatching plans to join her brother in America and become a nurse. Her sister Mariam, a young mother and teacher, looks forward to reuniting with her husband in faraway Constantinople. But it’s 1915 and history is about to take a horrific turn. The sisters are wrenched apart and their family shattered as the Ottoman oppression of Armenians escalates to wholesale slaughter. Traveling different paths, each sister faces a wrenching choice.
Set against the backdrop of the 20th century’s first genocide and based on firsthand accounts of the author’s relatives, The Moon Ran After Her is an unflinching yet uplifting tale of survival.
The Book Doctors: First of all, we love that this is about a tomboy in Anatolia. And that you’re shedding light on human horrors that have been forgotten. It’s so important to tell your story. It’s so important that these voices are heard. And we can see seeds of what’s happening in the world today planted in the fields of these atrocities. So we definitely believe there’s a book here. But this pitch does not do your book justice. First of all, you have 250 words. So right now it’s way too short. We need to know more about our hero and her sister. Paint us a picture of what their life was like using beautiful language to describe that world, which is absolutely foreign to us. Show us the scene where they are wrenched apart and their family shattered, show us the Ottoman oppression. We need to see that you can create a scene in a very short amount of time, using very few words, which wrenches our heart. It’s not enough just to tell us that they travel different paths, and that they faced wrenching choices. One could say that about hundreds of thousands of books. There’s not enough proof in this pudding. Give us images of what the sisters will face, show us the consequences of the war-torn, ravaged country they leave behind. Show us the ghosts of the dead that haunt them in their new lives, the yearning they feel for each other. That’s what will make this pitch soar. Powerful, devastating, relatively unknown story of a people brutally destroyed, and the consequences for two sisters. Pitch needs to be fleshed out, characters illuminated, action revealed.
The Tattered Box by Paul Schumacher
THE TATTERED BOX is about a young man named John who is desperate to understand and connect with his Grandpa Bill. John is unexpectedly granted that chance when he is transported back to 1941. Both he and his grandpa are 18 years old, and he gets to experience firsthand his grandpa’s stories. They play baseball together in the snow and enjoy a double date with a woman John later figures out is his grandma.
They also confront a few tragedies. Bill attempts to rescue a little boy who falls through thin ice, forcing him to reconsider his love for baseball. He also faces an unsuccessful engagement to a woman he thought he loved. All of this is enveloped with the imminent threat of war, as John knows how World War II will forever impact his family.
The story is partially told through mementos contained in a box, a gift fron Bill to John to highlight important events in his life. But the items take on a life of their own. The muddy ball becomes a real-life story of baseball and perseverance. The toothpick transforms into a story of family and laughter, and the small, wool mitten changes into a story of rescue and heartbreak.
I am an active member of the Northern Colorado Writers and have been published in over 25 technical journals and proceedings around the world. I have really enjoyed extending my writing skills to fiction, and I look forward to collaborating with you to share this story with others.
The Book Doctors: We like that you put your title first. We like to mention our title several times during a query, because it makes your book seem like a book already. We think you have a good story on your hands here, a classic time slip tale where a guy gets to be the same age as his granddad, and there’s a boy falling through a crack in the ice who our hero must save from drowning. We really like the memento box. But some of this plot is just too familiar. When our hero goes back and has a double date with his own dad, it feels derivative of Back to the Future. And Back to the Future had a better payoff because the hero’s mom had a big crush on him and tried to make out with him. Totally gross! The lack of payoff plagues the entire pitch. You have this great premise but you don’t make us see what you’re going to do that’s unique and new and different. Some of it is just so general. Don’t tell us that things are desperate like you do at the beginning of the pitch. Show us a scene of desperation between a grandfather and his grandson. Show us the kid falling through the ice, make our hearts race and make us marvel at the beauty of your imagery. And let us in on why this might put somebody off baseball. The bottom line is that you don’t give us enough to hang our hat on. This is your audition to show us how you can create a scene quickly and economically that moves us, dazzles us with your storytelling skills, how you paint word pictures that linger in the mind and heart. It would also be great to have some comparable titles so we understand where this books sits on the bookshelf. Lastly, we would have some fun with the stuff you’ve written for technical journals. Trot out one of the most obscure or ridiculous titles of an article you’ve written. And you can just nix the part about how you enjoy extending your writing skills.
Deadspace by James O’Fallon
How many millions of murders since the first man (certainly a man, not a woman) picked up a rock? In 2018 Los Angeles, James Decker and Sarah Silverman uncover a murder never seen before. A young woman wearing only a black cocktail dress, Petra Cowpertwaite, floats in space, slowly rotating, a death mask for a face, blonde hair luminous in a weightless halo, on an orbit that will loop her around the sun for centuries.
Her husband, Reid Cowpertwaite, builds rockets and capsules in Carson, California, the private sector now dominating the space business. He hired them months ago to find his then missing wife. Only Decker and Sarah have come to believe their own client is the killer. Reid is an arrogant elitist in a Tom Ford suit, what kings wear now instead of fur. Decker is an ex fighter who favors jeans and a leather jacket, Sarah’s a girl who can break your nose while stylish in all black, a tough and smart duo.
But the dead girl haunts Decker, so like the ex he never got over. The two swirl in his head along with margaritas. Across the bar both women seem to walk toward him. Time to stop drinking. Another LA blonde slides onto the stool next to him, a town full of them. He glances over.
Petra Cowpertwaite. Then who is the dead girl floating in space? “You won’t believe what I’m about to tell you,” she says, trembling.
The Book Doctors: We absolutely love the image of the young woman in the black cocktail dress floating in space, slowly rotating. We’re always looking for something new in a genre, a story, a character. And this is definitely it. We think you should actually open your pitch with that. It’s so visual, stunning and unique. Of course we have no idea how many millions of murders have happened since the first man (yes, we agree, it was probably a man) picked up a rock in anger. But who really cares? The cool thing you have going for you is that corpse floating over the earth. It’s really important to begin a pitch, and a story in fact, with a bang, a hook, something that grabs us by the back of the neck and won’t let go. You have also given us a classic partnering of James Decker and Sarah Silverman. We can absolutely see a series with those two. You give us some of an insight into who James is, and that’s great, we really need that. In fact, we’d like more. But we would like more information about Sarah as well, besides the fact that she can break your nose while looking totally hot. Are they cops? Are they private detectives? Not quite clear. It would be great to have a little bit more information about why his ex haunts Decker. But we love the fact that his mind confuses the girl in his head and the girl who’s floating dead. And it’s such a fantastic ending, when she’s standing next to him, trembling. Very well done. Would love to get more of a sense of who Reid is. We’re assuming he is the villain, but all we really know about him is that he’s an arrogant elitist in a Tom Ford suit. Make us hate this guy. Make us want to hiss at him. No comparison titles. That is never a good thing. We’d love to have more specific incidents which lead up to the twists and turns that will rivet us as your book climaxes. Very promising murder mystery set in California, with a fantastic hook, full of intriguing possibilities. Not a bad enough villain, not enough information about our hard-boiled detective in the middle of the story.