Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Secret Agent #26

TITLE: My Shackled Marquess
GENRE: Regency Romance

London, 1817

She held her head up high despite of the gossip swirling in the ballroom. Mimi Anderson weaved her way through the crowd, acutely aware of the glances thrown in her direction and the snickers that followed in her wake. She ought to tell them to go to the devil. What a lovely idea. Pity she needed a sparkling reputation to stay in society and to capture Ashford Simon Dering, Marquess of Blackstone, in marriage.

She would be lucky if Ash didn't give her the cut direct. That was what they were hoping would happen, what they were all salivating to see. Her legs wobbled at the thought. The smell of candle wax, perfumes, and body odor assailed her nose and tightened the knots in her belly. She swore below her breath. Owning a body full of cowardly parts was quite annoying. She tipped her chin up and squinted at the majestic staircase up ahead.

Ash was not among the latecomers.

Blast the man. He had been back a week, and he could devastate her life again, this time for good. The least he could do was make an appearance so she could... well, see him. She had no
plan in mind. Shameful, really, since she had eight years to prepare.

Squeezing past a gaggle of bejeweled women, she smiled. They returned her smile and prattled behind her back. Not even the lively tune of the orchestra could drown out the murmured speculations of the juicy tidbits the gossipmongers had unearthed.

9 comments:

Lauren said...

Ooh I love Regency Romances. You had me interested with the title alone, but I was even more delighted with the actual reading of your novel beginning. The heroine feels strong minded and willful in a good way and I think that will make for a great book! Also, even though the hero Ash is not yet on the scene, you've done a great job of getting me as a ready excited to see him and already falling in love with him.

Bridget Baker said...

I really liked it-- but maybe give some inkling of what the gossip is about. ?? Otherwise I like the character and certainly she has high hopes to catch a Marquis.

Sharla said...

I have to say, I don't read Regency Romance, it's always so gushy, but this has me wanting to read more. I like the snarky attitude she has, and I like how you show her weakness with the wobbly legs but that we are the only ones to see it. Great description with the aromas of candles, perfume, and body odor...LOL love that.

Curious, though, what the timeframe is? The name Mimi Anderson sounds kind of modern, but maybe that's just me.

I'd definitely keep reading, which is new for me in this genre. I'm intrigued! And you have just enough kick to this girl to make her an interesting read.

Ammy Belle said...

I am in the middle of a regency reading binge, and I find this falls right into it. I like the heroine - I think she's dynamic, and I am not sure whether or not she is evocative of the period, but I like her fire.

The adjectives are also awesome "A gaggle of bejeweled women" etc. Classic!

Thanks!

Margaret said...

Love your heroine! She has backbone and a bit of snark - a winning combination for me. Great job!

Barbara said...

I wanted to know what the gossip was. The whole opening is about the gossip but you don't tell us what they're saying, and your MC seems to know. We should know what she knows. I also wondered, if they're all gossiping about her, how does that keep her reputation sparkling? It sounds like it's being ruined, and in that case, why not just tell them all to go to the devil like she wants?

And since it's been 8 years since she'd last seen him, might that put her in the age group of 'old maid?' Were women in their 20's considered old maids then? (I'm guessing that's how old she is.)

I do think she has a strong personality and could carry a novel easily, and I like that you've opened in the middle of a situation of some sort. But I do wish I knew what it was.

SARA J. HENRY said...

Somewhat mixed feelings here, but this is appealing, and I'd keep reading. This is an odd sentence: Owning a body full of cowardly parts was quite annoying. and it's not quite right, but I like what it says about the speaker.

jenn said...

I really liked it! I don't read much romance but I would continue here. Your heroine seems spunky and strong and I like that. Also I am very intereseted to see why she wants to marry this man because it doesn't sound like it's all for love.
I would consider switching your first two lines or maybe beginning with her name then using "she" in the second line.

Nice work!

Secret Agent said...

RE: title—It makes me laugh! (The image is almost silly. Might just be me.) Definitely a Regency romance title, though.

London, 1817

Great—immediately placed in the story with particular expectations.

She held her head up high despite of the gossip swirling in the ballroom. Mimi Anderson weaved her way through the crowd, acutely aware of the glances thrown in her direction and the snickers that followed in her wake. She ought to tell them to go to the devil. What a lovely idea. Pity she needed a sparkling reputation to stay in society and to capture Ashford Simon Dering, Marquess of Blackstone, in marriage.

You can cut out the words “up” and “of” in the first sentence.

I would switch “She” and “Mimi Anderson” (I immediately think she’s an American based on the name—make it more English if that’s your intention) in the first two sentences.

How/why do you say that Mimi Anderson is “acutely aware of the glances”? Can she see people turned toward her from the corner of her eye? That kind of “sensation” always bothers me because it stems from something concrete.

Love the voice that ties up that first paragraph, though—at the very least, I’m intrigued.

She would be lucky if Ash didn't give her the cut direct. That was what they were hoping would happen, what they were all salivating to see. Her legs wobbled at the thought. The smell of candle wax, perfumes, and body odor assailed her nose and tightened the knots in her belly. She swore below her breath. Owning a body full of cowardly parts was quite annoying. She tipped her chin up and squinted at the majestic staircase up ahead.

I had to reread “the cut direct” to understand what you were saying. Consider being a tad clearer.

Change that second sentence to: “That was they hoped would happen, what they salivated to see.” Immediately stronger.

“assailed her nose” is an awkward image for me.

“Owning a body full of cowardly parts was quite annoying” is also very, very awkward—I want to see these cowardly parts at work, instead of you telling me that, and I would much prefer that awkwardness come through in physical movement, in situations that made her awkward.

Ash was not among the latecomers.

Should this sentence begin with “But”?

Blast the man. He had been back a week, and he could devastate her life again, this time for good. The least he could do was make an appearance so she could... well, see him. She had no plan in mind. Shameful, really, since she had eight years to prepare.

Squeezing past a gaggle of bejeweled women, she smiled. They returned her smile and prattled behind her back. Not even the lively tune of the orchestra could drown out the murmured speculations of the juicy tidbits the gossipmongers had unearthed.


Say “back in London” or “back in England.”

I’m not sure what you’re trying to achieve with that last sentence—What are the juicy tidbits? How did the gossipmongers unearth them? I’m confused a bit and I’d much rather hear the specifics.

Overall, I’d keep reading, but I’m not super hooked. I really like the voice (I’m not sure at this point that its evocative and fresh enough to compete with the numerous romances out there) but this concept has been very much so done before (of course, I understand that I’m making a lot of assumptions based on the first 250 words, but these are the thoughts running through my mind). Good work!