Entry #5: ALMOST ROCKED
For guarded audiologist, Victoria Wakefield, accepting the marriage proposal from her college sweetheart was supposed to be a lifeline, not a blow to the heart.[TS1] But three weeks from her wedding, she’s left with nothing but her guitar to keep her company.[TS2] She realizes her engagement was a safe replacement for the dream she has always wanted. She aches live out the life of a rock star, performing music in memory of her late friend. [RB1][KP1] If she keeps denying her dream, her nights will continue to be filled with the slow burn of whiskey, and her apartment littered in tissue-stuffed pizza boxes.[KP2]
Throw-your-panties-worthy frontman, Nate Baylie, needs a break. If he can score a contract from of a certain record producer, he’ll have enough money to buy the bar and musical hotspot of his dreams. He doesn’t stand a chance unless his bandmates stop fighting and start showing up to rehearsals. In thirty days, the bar will be turned into an all-you-can-eat tourist trap, and Nate will be forced to find a job that doesn’t revolve around his musical passions.
When Nate saves Victoria, a beauty with endless legs, from getting hit by a car and plays nurse to her after, she isn’t shy about groping his ink-coated muscles. But all action screeches to a halt, when unknowingly, Victoria auditions for his band and nails it. Neither of them can risk breaking the silent code: never hook-up with a band mate. If they can keep their hands on their instruments and off each other, they may have a chance at success. If they choose love and the romance flops, they risk losing more than just their hearts.
ALMOST ROCKED is an adult contemporary romance with a heat level of steamy, written in first person, dual POV, complete at 79,000 words. [RB2][TS3]
RB1: I’d take a quick peek at the rest, but I’m not looking for Rockstar romances right now so it’s uphill from here with me. Others might be seeking them though, so it’s not a testament to the quality of the query.
RB2: It’s a well written query, but just not a fit for me personally, so I’d pass.
TS1: I liked this sentence.
TS2: A common trait in all these queries is not ending on impact/power words. You want me to feel something for the characters. To do that, the query needs to generate a “can’t put this down” kind of urge in me. Ending this sentence at “guitar” would make me wonder, “Wow. Did the fiancé die? Did he kick her out? Did she lose her house? Is she living on the street?” My point is, I’m now worried about her being “left with nothing.”
TS3: This one needs more editing to streamline the pitch. At times it tries too hard (“throw your panties worthy,” beauty with endless legs”). Also, the query really needs to show how this book is different than the flood of rocker romances on the market.
KP1: Is it her dream, or her late friend’s dream that she’s trying to live out?
KP2: Cut this sentence.
Slouching over my coffee table, I crunched on my raisinless multi-grain bran-loaded whatever cereal. Alone. Fiancé-less. The cardboard flakes scraped the roof of my mouth. I shoveled in two more spoonfuls, chomping harder, trying to break pain with pain, but it was hopeless. Even the healthiest of breakfast choices had their limits; mending broken hearts wasn’t one of them.
My chewing played out like a melody. Crunch. Crunch-ity. Crunch. Crunch. [KP1]I pushed the cereal bowl away and leaned back, letting the couch cushions swallow me whole before I forced down the pain. Everything scratched my throat like sand; especially the fingers of whiskey I used to fall asleep at night. I wanted to get past this ache, start living again. If only I had the strength to move.
Cocooned by oversized pillows flaring outward like blinders, I thumped around for my safety net. My hand struck the corner of a cardboard box, then another, and another. Wedding presents. Stacks of unopened wedding presents littered my apartment, clogging my airspace, blocking me from the one thing I needed to breathe, my electric guitar.
At last my fingers met the smooth neck of wood and the grit of the strings. Whole again, I tucked the guitar close and strummed. My sadness resonated in the chords, flowing out of me in waves. The notes slipped through the knot in my neck, the tear in my heart. I drifted, losing all sense of where I began and the music ended.
KP1: Cut the beginning of this paragraph.
Your query is pretty sound. It gives us a good grasp of who your main characters are, while still keeping us guessing. Your first pages are also well done, intermixing voice and description, showcasing Victoria’s struggles and fuzzy reality. I would probably request more pages. My one resignation is that I’m not sure it would quite stand out enough in the romance market to sell. I wonder if comparing your manuscript to The Exes from Nashville might be helpful. There aren’t many romance novels I can think of that focus on two rockstars playing together, rather than swooning over a hot, male lead singer or guitarist. This may be a great angle to really stress! Please send the first 50 pages to email@example.com with the subject title "ATTN: Kelly - Requested Pass or Pages"