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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Birth of a Blurb

Please welcome guest blogger Marilu Mann

Blurbs are meant to be back cover matter. A blurb must hook the reader and make them NEED to read the book—not just want to read it. It’s an author’s first chance to show a new reader our voice, to hint what the reader can expect inside the story.

These blurbs do not spring forth from our foreheads fully clothed. Most often they tumble out in a mismatched array of verbs and nouns that we have to delicately carve and fit back together. Here is a peek at the raw footage for the blurb for Sex and Trouble available April 2 from Ellora’s Cave.

First attempt: January 26, 2010 from Cai.

Marielle Greenlea inherits a creepy old Victorian house and all its contents. Not bad, you say? Well, what if you find out that that house comes with a Demon. Not just any demon, a Hedonae-or sex demon, who has been bound to the house by your estranged father. Now, not only does Marielle have to deal with her inheritance from her father and learning that she's a hereditary witch, but she also has to figure out how to set Rosier free!

Rosier can't believe he's still captive to the Greenlea family. Now he has to deal with a woman who's sexy as all get out but unaware of her own appeal. A fledgling witch who doesn't really believe he's a demon-until she sees his-ahem-horns; and the fact that Marielle has never had an orgasm with a partner. Not only does he have to bring her to orgasm once, but three times—and they must be three simultaneous orgasms! Marielle and Rosier have to find three keys to unlock Marielle's power, defeat a former student of her father's and have mind-blowing sex to affect Ros' release from captivity. What's a girl to do when her inheritance leads her to Sex and Trouble? Enjoy it!

Second attempt: January 28 from Arwen

You know it’s going to be a bad day when:

    1. Your father dies leaving you a creepy old Victorian home.
    2. Butler isn’t a butler and he comes with the house.
    3. Your father’s enemies are after everything in the house—including you and the butler?

Meet Marielle Greenlea. She’s just learned that her inheritance involves not just an old house but also a butler-cum-demon. And not just any demon. He’s a Hedonae—or sex demon—who has been bound to the house by her estranged father. Now, not only does Marielle have to deal with her inheritance from her father which includes learning that she's a hereditary witch, but she also has to figure out how to set Rosier free! Because no way is she keeping a slave—no matter how sexy he is.

Rosier can't believe he's still captive to the Greenlea family. Now he has to deal with a woman who's sexy as all get out but unaware of her own appeal. A fledgling witch who doesn't really believe he's a demon. But once she sees his-ahem-horns, she has to face facts. One of those facts is that the only way he can be released is through sex. But he wants to go home and if that means making her scream with his name over and over, well, he’ll just have to grin and bear it.

Mari wants to help him but as the reigning Ice Queen according to her exes, she knows she can’t. Three simultaneous orgasms when she’s never had even one? Now she has to find the keys to her power, defeat her father’s enemy and have mind-blowing sex? What's a girl to do when her inheritance leads her to Sex and Trouble? Lie down and take it!

Cai’s Response: Was able to see it on here (meaning an iPhone), blurbs are only supposed to be two paragraphs long we'll have to work on this.

Third attempt: January 28 from Cai.

I say we use yours as our Blog entry. Here's my go at the blurb in two paragraphs...

Marielle Greenlea has just learned that her inheritance involves not only a creepy old house, but a sexy-as-hell butler…demon. Ros is a Hedonae, a sex demon, bound to the house by her father’s magic. Now not only does Marielle have to deal with finding out she’s a hereditary witch, but she also has to figure out how to set Rosier free! Because no way is she keeping a slave—no matter how sexy he is! Ros can’t believe he’s still captive to the Greenlea family. Now he has to deal with a woman who’s sexy as sin, but unaware of her own appeal. She’s a fledgling witch who doesn’t even believe in her own power, much less that he’s a demon until she sees his-ahem-horns. But he wants desperately to go home, and if that means he’ll have to pleasure her into a coma, he’s willing to give it a go.

Mari truly wants to help him, but as the reigning Popsicle Queen, according to an ex, she doesn’t believe she can. Three simultaneous orgasms? Three? When she’s never even had one with a partner? Now, not only does she have to deal with her crazy father’s influence, she has to find three keys to unlock her power, defeat her father’s enemy and have mind-blowing sex? What’s a girl to do when her inheritance leads to Sex and Trouble? Lie back and enjoy it, of course!

Fourth attempt: March 2 from Arwen. We are getting serious now because we are counting words.

This is yours and mine combined. :) 254 words total.

You know it’s going to be a bad day when you learn that your inheritance from your estranged dad involves not only a creepy old house, but a sexy-as-hell butler…demon. A Hedonae--sex demon-- is bound to the house by her father’s magic. Now not only does Mariell have to deal with finding out she’s a hereditary witch, but she also has to figure out how to set Rosier free! Because no way is she keeping a slave—no matter how sexy he is! She’s doesn’t even believe in her own power, much less that he’s a demon until she sees his—ahem—horns. , she has to face facts. One of those facts is that the only way he can be released is through sex.

Ros can’t believe he’s still captive to the Greenlea family. Now he has to deal with a woman who’s hotter than any human he’s ever known and completely unaware of her own appeal. But he wants to go home and if that means making her scream with his name over and over, well, he’ll just have to grin and bear it. Mari wants to help him but as the reigning Ice Queen according to her exes, she knows she can’t. Three simultaneous orgasms? THREE? She’s never had even one. Now she has to find the keys to her power, defeat her father’s enemy and have mind-blowing sex. What's a girl to do when her inheritance leads her to Sex and Trouble? Lie back and enjoy it, of course!

Fifth Attempt: March 2 from Cai. You will see a back-and-forth on how we first introduce the heroine in the next few versions.

A few changes/corrections (spelling of Heroine's name for one!!) - 253 words:

You know it’s going to be a bad day when you learn that an inheritance from your estranged dad involves not only a creepy old house, but a sexy-as-hell butler…demon. A Hedonae—sex demon—is bound to the house by her father’s magic. Now not only does Marielle have to deal with finding out she’s a hereditary witch, she also has to figure out how to set Rosier free. Because no way is she keeping a slave—no matter how sexy he is! She’s doesn’t even believe in her own power, much less that he’s a demon until she sees his—ahem—horns, then she has to face facts. One of those facts is that the only way he can be released is through sex.

Ros can’t believe he’s still captive to the Greenlea family. Now he has to deal with a woman who’s sexier than any human he’s ever known and completely unaware of her own appeal. Still, he wants to go home and if that means making her scream his name in ecstasy over and over, well, he’ll just have to grin and bear it. Mari wants to help him but as the reigning Ice Queen (according to her exes), she knows she can’t. Three simultaneous orgasms? THREE? She’s never had even one! Now she has to find the keys to her power, defeat her father’s enemy and have mind-blowing sex. What's a girl to do when her inheritance leads to Sex and Trouble? Lie back and enjoy it, of course!

Sixth attempt: March 2 from Arwen

More alterations. Changed the opening line. :) 237 words. Tightened and emphasized.

You never sleep with the help. When Mari learns that her inheritance involves not only a creepy old house, but a sexy-as-hell butler…demon, she may have to break that rule. A Hedonae—sex demon—is bound to the house by her father’s magic. Mari has to deal with finding out she’s a hereditary witch and she has to set Rosier free. Because no way is she keeping a slave—no matter how sexy he is! She’s doesn’t even believe in her own power, much less that he’s a demon until she sees his—ahem—horns, then she has to face facts. One of those facts is that the only way he can be released is through sex.

Ros can’t believe he’s still captive to the Greenlea family. Even though Mari’s sexier than any human he’s ever known and completely unaware of her own appeal, he just wants to go home. If that means making her scream his name in ecstasy over and over, well, he’ll just have to grin and bear it. As the reigning Ice Queen (according to her exes), Mari insists she can’t. Three simultaneous orgasms? THREE? She’s never had even one! Now she has to find the keys to her power, defeat her father’s enemy and have mind-blowing sex—all in two weeks time. What's a girl to do when her inheritance leads to Sex and Trouble? Lie back and enjoy it, of course!

Attempt seven: March 2 from Cai.

Just changed her name at the very beginning since I think we need to put her full name in there at least once...If you disagree, change it back.

You never sleep with the help. When Marielle learns that her inheritance involves not only a creepy old house, but a sexy-as-hell butler…demon, she may have to break that rule.

A Hedonae—sex demon—is bound to the house by her father’s magic. Mari has to deal with finding out she’s a hereditary witch and she has to set Rosier free. Because no way is she keeping a slave—no matter how sexy he is! She’s doesn’t even believe in her own power, much less that he’s a demon until she sees his—ahem—horns, then she has to face facts. One of those facts is that the only way he can be released is through sex.

Ros can’t believe he’s still captive to the Greenlea family. Even though Mari’s sexier than any human he’s ever known and completely unaware of her own appeal, he just wants to go home. If that means making her scream his name in ecstasy over and over, well, he’ll just have to grin and bear it. As the reigning Ice Queen (according to her exes), Mari insists she can’t. Three simultaneous orgasms? THREE? She’s never had even one! Now she has to find the keys to her power, defeat her father’s enemy and have mind-blowing sex—all in two weeks time. What's a girl to do when her inheritance leads to Sex and Trouble? Lie back and enjoy it, of course!

Well, finally! We had a blurb! Full of happiness and enthusiasm, we sent it off to our editor…only to get this response:

I have this, but it is far too long. The blurb for a book this length needs to be 120 words or less.

Want to take another crack at it and resend?

So, it was back to the drawing board! Now we had to condense the blurb even more.

From Cai:

Per B’s email—stripped the blurb. Could only get it to 127 words—we need 120 or less. Here’s what I came up with. See what you can do with this.

Marielle’s inheritance involves a creepy old house and a sexy butler…demon. Finding out he’s bound to the house by magick and that she’s a hereditary witch only compound her problems! Mari doesn't believe in her own power, or that he's a demon until she sees his…horns. Then she has to face facts—one of which is that he can only be released is through sex.

Though Mari's sexier than any human Ros has ever known, he just wants to go home. If that means making her scream in ecstasy, he'll just have to deal. Now they have to find three keys to Mari’s power, defeat her father's enemy and have mind-blowing sex! What's a girl to do when her inheritance leads to Sex and Trouble? Enjoy it!

Arwen’s response:

Marielle just learned she's a hereditary witch whose inheritance involves a creepy old house with a hot butler who happens to be a sex demon. Mari doesn't believe in magick or demons. Then she sees her butler‘s—ahem—horns. Then she has to face facts—one of which is that he can only be released through sex.

She's sexier than any human he's ever known, but Rosier just wants to go home. If that means making Mari scream his name in ecstasy, he'll just have to deal. First they have to unlock Mari’s power, defeat her father's enemy and have mind-blowing sex within two weeks! What's a girl to do when her inheritance leads to Sex and Trouble? Enjoy it!

After a few more back-and-forth emails to tighten even more, here’s what we finally sent to our editor:

Marielle has just learned she's a hereditary witch whose inheritance comes with a creepy house and a hot butler who’s really a trapped sex demon. Mari doesn't believe in magick or demons. But once she sees her butler‘s—ahem—horns, she has to face the facts. And, he can only be released through mutual sexual pleasure.

Although Mari’s sexier than anyone he's ever known, Rosier wants to go home. If that means making Mari scream in ecstasy, he'll just have to deal. It’s simple…they have to unlock her powers, defeat her father’s enemy and have mind-blowing sex…in the next two weeks or he’s trapped forever. What's a girl to do when her inheritance leads to Sex and Trouble? Enjoy it!

This last one IS the final version. What do you think? Do you prefer one of the earlier versions? Does your reaction to a back cover blurb really influence you to “buy the book”? Are you ever disappointed by the blurb not having anything to do with the actual story? Tell us your thoughts and if you like our final blurb.

Official Bio:

Marilu Mann brings the steaminess of the Louisiana bayous to her books and she doesn't stop there. Marilu's willing to travel to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin to heat up those northern nights and melt a little snow. She'll also circle the world to Wales, Ireland, Scotland and back just to bring you books that make you sweat.

Currently residing in Texas, Marilu is an avid armchair traveler. Her sexy shifters will set your blood to boiling in no time. Owned by one Diva Teen and various animals, Marilu keeps busy writing the novels her readers beg for.

Marilu is thrilled to be a part of the Ellora's Cave family and loves to hear from readers.

Read the real bio here. http://www.greatmta.com/bio.shtml