Monday, October 1, 2012

GUTGAA SPP #30 - Lies of the Ball

Lies Of The Ball
Historical Fiction
87,000

Query:

She’s a runaway slave.
The man she loves is the one who could destroy her.

Southern beauty Mercedes Albright lives in the prettiest plantation house Mississippi has to offer. She hosts the most beautiful parties in the entire South, and dances as though she were the belle of the ball. Mercedes is the most eligible bachelorette in town. And she has a secret that if ever found out, it would ruin her for the rest of her life.

Careful laid plans put Mercedes in good standing with the wealthy socialites of Vicksburg. To her downfall, the man she falls desperately in love with is the man whose father sold her mother years before at the slave market. Mercedes was bought by another man and sent to live in another town.

Returning to the place of her birth, Mercedes has only one thing on her mind: revenge on the family who stole her childhood and ripped her mother from her arms. She never intended to fall in love with her enemy. She never expected he would learn her true identity. Now, she’s on the run again, but this time, it’s for a different reason.

Lies Of The Ball is an 87,000 word historical fiction set during the Civil War era.

First 150 Words:

Tangled undergrowth and briars scraped at Mercedes' leg and snagged her dress. The woods closed in on her, twisting and turning the overhead branches into ghostly silhouettes. Climbing vines wrapped around the swamp dogwoods creating a canopy above her, blocking even the smallest slivers of moonlight. Something slimy brushed against her arm and she clamped her hand over her mouth to muffle a scream.

Wood smoke filled the damp air and squinting her eyes, Mercedes made out the flames of a small fire sputtering through the thick brush. She began to run away but tripped on a half-rotted log and fell into a clearing. The men on the other side stood in a circle, spewing filthy words.

“He won’t run no more,” one man said, throwing his head back in dark laughter.

Shadows danced across the ground and looking up, Mercedes froze in fright. A slave hung from a rope.

12 comments:

Slave to the Muse said...

I like your premise, but I think your query would read smoother and with more impact if your opening lines came after the first paragraph:
"Southern beauty Mercedes Albright lives in the prettiest plantation house Mississippi has to offer. She hosts the most beautiful parties in the entire South, and dances as though she were the belle of the ball. Mercedes is the most eligible bachelorette in town. But she has a secret that if ever found out, would ruin her forever: She’s a runaway slave and the man she loves is the one who could destroy her."

Also, a couple of spelling issues threw me in your opening sentence. I believe you meant "scraped" vs. "scrapped". And I'm used to the "a" spelling of briar. That may just be a personal preference. Still, you want to be sure those opening lines are perfect! Great work. I'll be voting later so check back to see if you get another comment from me.

author of Lies Of The Ball said...

I'm not for sure if we are to make corrections or not? But I've noted the advice below:

Southern beauty Mercedes Albright lives in the prettiest plantation house Mississippi has to offer. She hosts the most beautiful parties in the entire South, and dances as though she were the belle of the ball. Mercedes is the most eligible bachelorette in town. And she has a secret that if ever found out, it would ruin her for the rest of her life. She’s a runaway slave and the man she loves is the one who could destroy her.

Careful laid plans put Mercedes in good standing with the wealthy socialites of Vicksburg. To her downfall, the man she falls desperately in love with is the man whose father sold her mother years before at the slave market. Mercedes was bought by another man and sent to live in another town.

Returning to the place of her birth, Mercedes has only one thing on her mind: revenge on the family who stole her childhood and ripped her mother from her arms. She never intended to fall in love with her enemy. She never expected he would learn her true identity. Now, she’s on the run again, but this time, it’s for a different reason.

Lies Of The Ball is an 87,000 word historical fiction set during the Civil War era.

First 150 Words:

Tangled undergrowth and briars scraped at Mercedes' leg and snagged her dress. The woods closed in on her, twisting and turning the overhead branches into ghostly silhouettes. Climbing vines wrapped around the swamp dogwoods creating a canopy above her, blocking even the smallest slivers of moonlight. Something slimy brushed against her arm and she clamped her hand over her mouth to muffle a scream.

Wood smoke filled the damp air and squinting her eyes, Mercedes made out the flames of a small fire sputtering through the thick brush. She began to run away but tripped on a half-rotted log and fell into a clearing. The men on the other side stood in a circle, spewing filthy words.

“He won’t run no more,” one man said, throwing his head back in dark laughter.

Shadows danced across the ground and looking up, Mercedes froze in fright. A slave hung from a rope.

Donea Lee said...

I also really like the concept ~ the torture of falling for the enemy leaves this story wide open for some awesome drama and romantic entanglements! From the set-up of the query, however - am I right in guessing that Mercedes looks white? Which is why she is able to reinvent herself and host parties in the Civil-war-era South? I wonder if you should include that in the query...?

And while I really like the atmospheric opening and some nice descriptions, I think you might be focusing on the landscape a bit too much for an opening. I think you could break it up a little with some internal thoughts/fears from Mercedes.

Best of luck to you! :)

author of Lies of the Ball said...

Thanks Donna! Just so you know, the very next sentence begins her internal doubts and fears. After seeing what she just saw, she definately wonders if she's doing the right thing.

VikLit said...

I think this sounds really interesting. I love a 'falling for the enemy' story. I wish you luck with it!

(Nice atmospheric opening, as already commented on be nice to have her thoughts more so glad to hear that's coming soon!).

Best of luck.

Tamara said...

I really love this. The idea of her falling for her enemy. I mean, that happens a lot in YA, but the enemy is always a vampire or something. haha. This feels really fresh and like it would have a lot of depth.

I actually disagree about changing the top lines though. I liked it better the original way, although I thought this sentence:

And she has a secret that if ever found out, it would ruin her for the rest of her life.

Could be cut to: And she has a secret that could ruin her life.

To me, the sentence has more impact if it's shorter. I loved the opening 150. You write really beautifully!!

Rose Cardinal said...

YOU HAVE MY VOTE!

This is so compelling that I was pulled right along. Beautiful descriptions, heart pounding tension, great job. With just a touch of editing to smooth it out it would be perfect.

Ink in the Book said...

Oh my! Thanks. Thanks so much! I'm so thrilled to get a vote. So one more vote might at least put me in the running. If I make it I'd love to ask about your suggestions for the edits.
Thanks:)

Kinderella said...

I really like this concept and you left me wanting to know what happens. Your prose is beautiful. You have my vote!

Ink in the Book said...

Well, I accidentally slipped up and forgot to sign out of my account before posting earlier, so I guess there's no need "sneaking" my comments:)

Thank you Kinderella! Thank you for the compliments and thank you for voting for my story!!

Escape Artist said...

I like your setting and conflict. I'm wondering if you should research the name Mercedes for historical accuracy. I haven't, but it threw me because it sounds so modern. I enjoyed your query and first words.

You have my VOTE!

Ink in the Book said...
This comment has been removed by the author.