There are several of pitch events for authors, so I thought I’d give “Son of a Pitch” a try. I am posting my query and the first 250 words of No Rest for the Wicked for critique, so feel free to leave me comments. (Spoilers galore!)
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Title: No Rest for the Wicked
Genre: Historical, supernatural suspense
Word Count: 35,000
Query (no salutation, bio, or comparisons, and updated 2/15 after feedback):
Vi thought her days of grifting and dealing with the dead were over when she left Peter eating steam on a Chicago train platform. No one west of the Mississippi should know she sees ghosts, but a dead stranger still shows up at her doorstep. Transparent hat in hand, he begs her to recover his buried gold to pay his debt and save a life. What should be an easy buck turns into racing horses, cheating at cards, and tangling with bandits, all before lunch.
Once she figures out who tipped off the ghost, Vi must face the past she thought she’d buried. Peter reveals himself post-mortem to warn her of enemies bent on luring her back to New Orleans and willing to kill to get what they want. Neither distance nor death has tamed Peter’s love, and he’s determined to do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Vi may play the “damsel in distress” for a con, but she won’t let herself be rescued if she can earn his forgiveness and help him cross over. She may have broken his heart, but she’ll atone for the only deception she’s ever regretted—even if it kills her.
NO REST FOR THE WICKED is a suspense novella featuring humor, romance, and supernatural elements. In the series, Mistress of None, fans of gaslight fantasy and uppity women will love following Vi from shore to shore in 1870’s America.
First 250 Words of the MS (updated after initial feedback):
Viola Thorne couldn’t pinpoint the reason she preferred to bathe by moonlight. Perhaps it was the quiet chirps of the crickets, or the splash of stars above her head, but something about the nights here at the end of the world called out to her.
Steam rose off the water, eddying around her head and shoulders while the rest of her luxuriated in the gentle currents. A half-empty bottle of whiskey sat near a waxed paper parcel on the rim of her soaking niche. She reached inside and pulled out a fragrant hunk of soap. This was the last of what she’d brought from back East, and there was no telling when she’d be able to get more, but Vi worked the bubbles through her hair and scalp with gusto. The smell of lilacs rose from the lather to combat the reek of rotten eggs. She breathed it deep into her lungs as she closed her eyes against the tide of foam.
A gentle sensation as light and dangerous as hornet wings fluttered on the back of her neck and slowed her hands. Miles away from anywhere anyone might possibly want to go, she should have been safe from prying eyes even in daylight. Unwilling to let the peeping Tom know she was on to him, Vi went back to washing her hair, listening for the whisper of cloth as the infiltrator approached. If it came down to it, she could always reach out with her other sense, but only as a last resort.