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MichelleHenrie

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  1. Author: Michelle Henrie Title: The Darcy Diaries: My Deplorable Love Life Genre: Women's fiction with romance and humor Comps: Austenland meets Would Like to Meet and The Austen Escape in THE DARCY DIARIES: MY DEPLORABLE LOVE LIFE, complete at 94,000-words. Hook Line: A hopeless romantic searches for a Regency hero in 21st century Connecticut. Pitch: Caroline Beckworth’s boring lawyer fiancé jilts her. She makes one rule: NO MORE LAWYERS. She meets William D. Fitzgerald IV, her wealthy late aunt’s young brooding lawyer. Caroline inherits the aunt’s fortune, but there’s a catch—to keep it, Caroline must be engaged within three months of the funeral, providing proof to the law firm. As a wealthy heiress, Caroline expects the right man to appear like a storybook romance but instead gets gold-diggers. Creating a historical romance is the perfect solution. Caroline goes on a spending spree, filling her life with Regency frocks and footwear, then peacocks and pigs. While remodeling her aunt’s Victorian mansion, Caroline unearths her aunt’s diary to Mr. Darcy about her aunt’s failed love story, and it impels her to continue the hunt. Caroline has built her Regency life but isn’t engaged, and her aunt’s deadline looms. Desperate, Caroline hires a British fake fiancé to fulfill her aunt’s terms. William and her fake fiancé spin her around at her engagement ball. But Caroline has fallen in love with the wrong man and stands to lose the estate and her heart. Prose Sample: Before PLAN A—The Days of Brandon Brown Dear Mr. Darcy, Sept 13th What do palm trees mean to you? To me, they say honeymoon! I found vacation brochures, and Brandon asked to meet at the lighthouse at 8 pm. After a seven-year engagement, it’s about time to set a wedding date. I’ll finally become Mrs. Brown, and his mother will FINALLY accept me. I’m ready for my DLL: Delightful Love Life. I deserve to celebrate and am going to lunch to tell my best friend. # I rummaged inside my purse, the black hole of chaos, finding three lipstick shades. Whisper, Barely Blush, and Secret Pink. I wore Whisper when visiting Father, Barely Blush with my fiancé, and Secret Pink, the boldest of the light shades, around Jessica. I whipped out the last and smeared it across my lips, then reorganized my handbag. Jessica strutted into The Blue Willow in her tight skirt, carrying her mock-Birkin bag, and snapped her fingers at the server to get his attention. I reminded myself of her good qualities. She saved me from dire embarrassment in seventh grade, and she was terribly funny. But more and more often, she was appalling. “You made it.” I forced a smile while straightening my beige cardigan. “Caroline, your hair is frizzy.” She slid into the gilded chair and unfolded the napkin. “Do you remember the time you stole my high school boyfriend?” She tossed her golden hair. “Oh, Jessica.” I fussed with my chipped teacup. Her perceived wounds weren't on my list to talk about. My sister, Lucy, had told me countless times to snub Jessica, and Brandon became agitated in her presence. But I stuck with her because she’d lost her other friends. Jessica’s expression soured. Did she sense my upcoming wedding bells? The point of having a fiancé was turning him into a husband. Once Brandon and I married, maybe then, he’d let me hug him when we met at our favorite restaurants. But I’d have to remember to adhere to his rules concerning public displays of affection and not give him a kiss. I sipped my cooling Earl Grey. Jessica leaned across the table. “Do. You. Remember. Stealing—” There was no putting her off. “Again, Jessica?” I clinked the teacup into its saucer. The chip blossomed into a crack, splitting the cup in half, spilling tea across the tablecloth. “It was ninth grade, for pity’s sake. I apologized an hour after he kissed me and tried to undo my bra.” I mopped at the mess with my napkin. “I tell you I’m sorry every time things don’t go your way. Like at Senior Prom and dating Brandon in college.” She’d suggested I snag him—her newest version alleged I’d stolen him when she’d already laid her claim. “You’ve got to put this behind you.” She folded her arms and raised a sculptured eyebrow in her don’t-you-dare-attitude. “Please, forgive me.” I stopped fussing with the spilled tea. “I have something to tell you.” BIO: I blog for business and cooking sites, and I write website and marketing content. The L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest and League of Utah Writers have given me awards for my writing. Currently, I’m preparing to teach a workshop on character development for Davis Writing Mini Conference. I’ve served as a judge for Utah’s Romance Writers of America, and I’m a member of SCBWI and WFWA. I taught art to children for twenty years and love to draw and paint in my illustration work with samples on michelle-henrie.com. My childhood summers were spent in Connecticut, and I’m an Austen enthusiast. Thank you for taking the time to review my work. Sincerely, Michelle Henrie
  2. Author: Michelle Henrie Title: Thistle Mountain Witch: A Cricket O'Calleigh Tale Genre: YA coming-of-age fantasy in an alternate 1920s Appalachian Mountain setting Comps: The Nature of Witches meets the Gold Seer trilogy with The Godfather in THISTLE MOUNTAIN WITCH: A CRICKET O'CALLEIGH TALE, complete at 88, 000-words. Hook: A mountain gal rejects her silver magic birthright and escapes the feuds for the city, where she learns to wield her magic to oppose the mob boss. Short pitch: Sixteen-year-old Cricket O’Calleigh fails to claim her ma's silver mine and shuns her magic gift for fear of going mad like her dead ma. While defenseless, a rival Kin Line kidnaps Cricket, plotting for her to wed into their family and continue their feud. Cricket’s kidnapper will murder her granny if she goes home. She decides she must leave the mountains. In the city, Cricket searches for her da’s lost family. But Anton, a new friend, warns Cricket to avoid O’Calleigh’s who lead the mob. Cricket’s Silver Eyes make her an easy target, and the mob boss puts her on his most-wanted list to give him an edge in the war against the mountain people and their silver magic. Cricket has two choices: risk embracing her gift or seeing her kinfolk destroyed. Prose sample: Silver Chance I slipped outta the window to claim my magic in secret. Night blanketed the mountains, but a creaking broke the silence, and I stilled. The breeze ruffled my hair and sent fingers through the cabin’s walls, but my granny didn’t stir, and I breathed easier. I’d get back from Meadow Lark Mine afore she knew I was gone. The trees’ shadows beyond the common road offered refuge if I could get there. An owl swooped ahead on silent wings—its feathers reflected gold and copper like witches’ eyes. The owl’s call echoed in ghost whispers. I bolted, not heeding the mythic warning of trouble heading my way. These deer trails were as familiar as my name, and I dashed toward the meadow. My granny, Mimi, would be fit to spit if she knew I was out alone, though I’d turned sixteen a few days ago. She claimed I’d have my best year yet now that my eyes turned silver. I stopped among the bare-branch trees now that I was outta sight of our cabin. A raven cawed, startling me. Fluttering came from the undergrowth. I spied twine covered in silver, trapping a bird by her foot. “Hush, girlie. I’m here.” I tried loosening the loop, but it stuck fast. “This will be over quick. Who did this to you?” I kept crooning words of assurance. “Caw, caw.” With Mimi’s ingot in my veins, I pushed a bit of metal into the snare to break the spell. She stretched her wings, lifted her foot, nodded, then flew into a tree. “You’re welcome, Miss Raven.” It was a crime to catch ravens. When I returned, I’d tell Mimi someone was trapping birds in our territory. I sprinted to the creek that grumbled down the mountainside. The water led to the spring next to Ma’s mine. Thoughts about her silver had me worrying if claiming her mine was the right choice. I’d flopped like a fish on the end of a line about having magic. As a young’un, I’d thirsted for my eyes to turn bright, same as Ma’s metal. Then when I learned how Ma and my Kinfolk died cuz of their power, I changed my mind. Course, Ma passed from Silver Sheen Fever instead of a battle wound. Afore Ma died, she went mad as flying frogs, and I took it for a bad sign. Folks said I was like Ma—criminy, I hated that. Sure, I’d grown to look like her twin, a scrawny gal with silvery-blond hair and Silver Eyes, but that didn’t mean I’d live her life. Dwelling on her made my stomach flip. I couldn’t go crazy, not for love nor ingots. I reckoned I had to claim silver magic cuz there wasn’t much else for a gal in the Thistle Mountains. The contract coin necklace buzzed. Cold from the silver coins seeped through my fingers while I rubbed my name —Cricket Liberty O’Calleigh—etched below Ma’s. There wasn’t no escape from the Kin and their feuds. BIO: I blog for business and cooking sites, and I write website and marketing content. I taught art to children for twenty years and love to draw and paint in my illustration work with samples on my website, michelle-henrie.com. I’ve served as a judge for Utah’s Romance Writers of America, and I’m a member of SCBWI and WFWA. Currently, I'm preparing a workshop for Davis Writing Mini Conference on character development. The L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest has given me awards for my writing. Thistle Mountain Witch received an award from The League of Utah Writers’ first chapter contest. Legend says my family owns a lost silver mine in the Appalachian Mountains, sparking the magic for this story. Thank you for taking the time to review this project. Sincerely, Michelle Henrie
  3. I love this! My YA fantasy actually talks about foxes as their antagonist. haha
  4. The family drama getting repressed is coming through and tells me it will be a rocky road for Janie and her mother. In ways the opening was punchy but also misguided me on who was the main characters in the story. It led me to believe Nancy was going to be one of the most important characters and possibly the main character. I love your writing! Knowing about Nancy's affair gives such another dimension to where this story is heading. My ancestors are from the south, specifically Georgia, so I always love stories in Georgia.
  5. I think you have a solid fantasy beginning with the naming and world details. I was clear that the protagonist was leaving, but I didn't know why since The Zenith was considered a sanctuary until the girls death or where he/she hoped to go. You could consider if the description of how the mountains go from coast to coast paragraph is an info dump. I think the scene of finding the girl's body is enough to focus on, and possibly how that changes The Zenith from being a sanctuary. I thought the protagonist's reaction to the murder was spot on. I think the last bit after the reaction could be made punchier and part of the reaction if that makes sense. The protagonist seems to analytical in the situation for the "knew how The Zenith functioned" paragraph. Running sounds like the right reaction to me.
  6. I thought you did a great job setting the scene. The powerful moment of the child with the knife was chilling. And her resolution of wanting to see a therapist worked so well since she'd wanted you to guess. Beautiful work! I don't know if I missed it, but I didn't realize the child was a girl until toward the end. Maybe we could hear her name earlier or receive another clue unless you wanted that to be a mystery.
  7. Nice work setting up how Emily feels about Sky and the divorce. The plane having a problem in the air was great to get reactions. We have friends who own a fishing lodge in Alaska, and this reminded me of them and how their daughter can out-fish and out-gut any man since she's done it all for so long. I think you've struck the perfect voice for YA!
  8. Very intense read and realistic. The situation with the food worked well to show the abuse, consequences of running, and as a moment for the two young boys to connect before they are used. Also, the dialogue was brilliant.
  9. I'm liking the relationship of Emma and Jane. The world building sucked me in. Jane trying to help Emma out of her grief with some humor is working for me. Depending how dark the story becomes when Emma goes to Nantucket might determine if you need to tweak the tone of the story. I loved how the work "Nantucket" is what popped out of her mind after the sensory details of the gulls, a boat, and the waves. I thought this was handled with a deft hand.
  10. Hey Brian, I'm intrigued with how he has the same dream and is somewhat lucid to recognize he's snoring. Maria sounds like a great character and is Whitman's foil. From our discussion tonight, I wondered if this was an actual phone call or within his mind. Nice voice in this piece. The wistfulness of the closing line is excellent.
  11. Here's the first chapter of THE DARCY DIARIES.

    Caroline’s life belongs in a chamber pot with a boring job and dull lawyer fiancé, but if she had the means, she’d chuck her jeans and live like it was 1820, dancing with her own Mr. Darcy.

     

     

    THE DARCY DIARIES - ch 1 - NY Pitch.docx

  12. 1 STORY STATEMENT Caroline must release her fears of not being good enough and embrace who she is to find love. After Caroline’s father abandons her and her fiancé jilting her for her best friend, she doubts self worth, and is ready to retreat into her old pattern of disappearing. Her late aunt’s will forces Caroline to push herself to figure out who she is and find love, or she’ll lose the inheritance. 2. ANTAGONIST STATEMENT Caroline is her own worst enemy. She is riddled with doubts and cannot believe William could love her unless he has ulterior motives. Instead of facing her problems and attempting to find love, Caroline spirals into chaos by focusing on living her Regency dreams. Her choices complicate the problem she faces. The farm animals are a nuisance. The Peacock is mercenary. And Caroline is not telling the people she trusts about her problems, and continually makes worse choices by not using a sounding board in the belief that she is making progress by not relying on others like she did with her ex-fiancé. The stipulation to find love in Aunt Diana’s will is a secondary antagonistic force. Caroline is pressured to act quickly to find love. But because she is uncomfortable with herself, she avoids the core solution which would be to date, and instead runs off on wild tangents. Other people like the gold-diggers, the money-grubbing cousin, and fake fiancé influence Caroline’s decision to pursue a loophole to her aunt’s contingency. 3. WORKING TITLES The Darcy Diaries: My Deplorable Love Life Regency Rewritten Pretense and Propriety 4. COMPS Austenland (in reverse) by Shannon Hale Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters 5. LOGLINE After getting jilted by a "Mr. Collins" and gaining an inheritance with a caveat to find love, Caroline recreates Regency England in Connecticut to find a "Mr. Darcy"—but she's fallen for the wrong guy and stands to lose the estate. 6. INNER CONFLICT Caroline doesn’t feel like she is worthy of love and compares herself to other. She has continually tried to remake herself to fit others’ expectations. Her sister is loud, beautiful, and vivacious. Her father is demanding and controlling. Her fiancé expected her to remain drab so he would shine. She doesn’t know who she is. Through getting to know her late aunt, she discovers it’s okay to be unique, to speak up, and take a chance to find love. Caroline knows she can’t accept a gold-digger, but when William shows genuine interest in her, she pushes him away. Instead, she accepts a counterfeit love by hiring a fake fiancé who will fulfill her Regency role playing and cover the stipulation in the contract. But the lies eat at her because she strove to be honest in the past. Her inner conflict narrows her options down to two choices: continue lying to retain what she thinks she wants or be true to herself and risk her heart. 7. SETTING The setting is contemporary Old Saybrook, Connecticut—which features spots with small town charm, grand estates, and the Sound. Old Saybrook is also close enough to Hartford to attend events such as the ballet and airport. Caroline’s normal life is at the bank, her apartment, and visiting her sister’s house with post modern furniture. Stepping into a Colonial building at the attorney’s office sparks Caroline’s imagination of belles at balls. The majority of the scenes take place at Caroline’s Victorian mansion, including a gourmet kitchen, sumptuous master bedroom, a dream closet, music room, parlor, a secret passage, her sailboat, and “farm”.
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