So you can read my books

Friday, May 21, 2010



Since I'm on first call this Friday evening, I better post my entry while I can.


We, as unknown authors. don't have a name to grab the attention of an agent. We have to do it the hard way. With one sentence that compels the agent to ask for more.

A hook.

Like the eyes of this lovely siren. Something to make the onlooker pause. Piece of cake, right? Yeah, Devil's Food cake.

Quick. Give me one snappy sentence summarizing GONE WITH THE WIND. Yeah. It's tough.

But I have tried my best to come up with a hot logline that you might find on the inside jacket cover of my urban fantasy, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE.

To me a logline has to be short. A blocky, thick sentence might as well be a paragraph. Punish an agent with one, long chunky sentence, and the whistling sound you hear next is your query letter sailing through the air into File 13.

So let's see what I managed to do with the query chore I hate the most : the one sentence logline :

1.) Death calls to death, and in Post-Katrina New Orleans the undead have accepted the invitation with only one cursed man to stand in their way.

2.) In New Orleans as the flood waters recede, the dead begin to rise, and a cursed Texan stands alone to stem the tide : Samuel McCord, the man beloved of Death herself.

3.) Katrina has left New Orleans in darkness, and its only hope lies with Samuel McCord, a man with none of his own.

4.) New Orleans has become a city of drowned hope and the rising dead, with only Samuel McCord, the man with death in his veins, to stop the tide of advancing darkness.

5.) In Post-Katrina New Orleans, the shadows are hungry, and only Samuel McCord, the man with death in his veins, is left to stop them -- if he can.

And to end this post with a flourish, here's an ancient music video. But that's fitting. Samuel McCord is ancient, too.


  1. Those one-sentence pitches are tough. I think you did a great job with those log lines. I was taken with a few of them, paricularly #1 and #4 (although from #5 I particularly liked the phrase "the man with death in his veins).

  2. Wow, I agree completely with Lisa K. Nos 1 and 4 are the best, but I did like that portion of No. 5.

  3. These are great taglines!I still need to work out mine! Bleh!!!

  4. Taking Lisa's and Angie's comments to heart, I changed #4 to bring their wisdom into play. And Jo, taglines are the kidney stones of writing!

  5. I like #2. I feel like it gets in enough specifics to invest us while staying within limits. I feel like it is so hard to judge though, because my decision rests on some assumptions that I am not sure hold true.

  6. Dude, don't you ever get a night off??
    I kinda like #5. Something about it sounds more appealing than the others.

    #3 makes no sense. None of what?

    These things are impossible, aren't they?

  7. Really, I'm with Andrew -- don't you ever have a night when people stop bleeding?

    Come on!

    #1 is great.

    #3 is my second-fav, but should be reworded:

    Katrina has left New Orleans in darkness, and its only hope lies with Samuel McCord, a man with no hope of his own.

    I dig your stories, bro, with or without the tags. You write it, I'll devour it.

    - Eric

  8. I like no.1. It explains your story most succintly. The undead have risen in post Katrina New Orleans and only one man is able to stop them.

    that's how I read it and that's a story for me there!

    Summarising a novel in one line is really really tough (I fail all the time with mine!) so am very very impressed with yours!

    Take care

  9. Number one is my fav - it rang the most powerful to me! They were all really good but I think #1 takes the cake - and I do mean Devil's food cake!

  10. I also like #1 the best - it told me all I needed to know and really got me interested in the book. #3 confused me "a man with none of his own" and I didn't think "the shadows are hungry" in #5 was clear enough about what was happening. Great job - and thanks for the reminder over at my blog!

  11. Definitely #1. It is clear, concise, we have a good feel for what is at stake. Also, the voice matches with what I've read of your work, and that's good.

  12. Hey, Roland! I think I'm feeling No. 2 m'self - though I think I'd like you to be a tad more specific. I get the *mood* but I don't understand enough about the plot. That said, I didn't enter the logline blogfest cuz them suckers iz HARD to write. You doing Sangu's character interview blogfest? What others are you doing?? (SO love how you call me out for these. Thanks!)

  13. #2 is my favorite. It is the most information-dense of the five. In a few short words, you have told me that this is a zombie/undead story about post-Katrina New Orleans; that the hero is a man named Samuel McCord who is cursed and alone; and that he is the object of personified Death's love. There's a lot of conflict pressed into a concise sentence. I would say #2 is definitely the best IF all of that information is central to the plot.

    #1 is okay, but I'm not feeling "Death calls to death." Does it? I like the sound of #5, but it contains less information than #2. The rest of the lines are a bit vague.

    All in all, it sounds like a cool story!

  14. Those are all good, but my favorite is #2 and #5 is my second choice.

    You’ve inspired me to get back to work on writing the hook for my second book.

  15. Nicely done - I'm not very good at these.

    #1 is my fave.

  16. Hey there,
    my favourite is number one, it just calls to me somehow. I'd definately pick up that book. I kind of like nr 2, also, although I'd rephrase it a bit:

    "As the flood waters recede from New Orleans, the dead begin to rise and only one cursed Texan stands fast to stem the tide: Samuel McCord, Beloved of death herself."

    And yes, I agree what you said in a comment on another blog (sorry lost sight of which) writing these things is like a long, painful visit to the dentist, without the narcotics.

  17. These are great one liners. #2 gets my vote, but certainly keep playing with ideas as you are doing. I met an author who was selling her book at a comic-con or some such type of conference, and she repeated her one sentence novel summary to about 1,000 people in one day. Sounds exhausting, but isn't that what we're all hoping for?

    Also, thanks for following my blog! The PUSH story is something I needed as well, and I'm glad someone else could benefit from it.

  18. I think #1, #2, #5. I can't make up my mind but any one of these is great.

  19. Oh, #1 definitely. Great opening, and it totally intrigues you!

  20. I think #2 and #4 are the most clear and compelling. But since your votes are all over the place, good luck with sorting this out!

  21. Nice work.

    I'm gonna be a little different in that #1 confuses me. "Death calls to death"? I don't get that part. I like # 2 up until the ":" and don't feel the rest is needed. #4 is pretty good too. Even though I don't read zombies, I think having the information about there being undead is a good bit to have in the logline.

  22. OMG wow NUMBER ONE definitely was calling to me. I read it and then immediately wished I was reading this about a book I could buy. It's just got everything.

    Also I really liked number 2 and 5, but all of these loglines were really good to me. You're good at this ;~)

    AND, you're so sweet Roland, thanks for the encouraging comment today :)

  23. It's the weekend for most of you. But for me it is another day in my gauntlet. I deeply appreciate all your comments. All of you who come after this, please comment.

    When I drag in later on tonight, feeling like a horse that's been rode hard and left wet, those comments will mean more than you know.

    Whew. Well, like Sam might say, "Time to get to it and do it." Wish me luck out there, Roland

  24. They're all well done, but I like #2 best.

  25. I'd combine 1 & 5, but you've got evocative descriptions here regardless.

    Nice job, and thanks for joining the blogfest!

  26. Your descriptions are always the best and even more so here. #3 is the one that did it for me.

  27. I'm going with number 4. Loglines are SO difficult to write. You've done a great job.

  28. Liking number four the most. The death in his veins comments makes me wonder how he's been touched by eternity.

  29. Number four is my favourite: boy is it strong!

  30. I came by to check you out. My vote, #4 hands down.

  31. I like the imagery of number 5. "the shadows are hungry". It creates a provoking and powerful impact by personifying them. I'm definitely intrigued! But I do wonder what you mean by "death in his veins"...

    Tell me what you think of my logline! ;)

  32. all do the trick, but something's still missing to take it over the top

  33. So the logline is supposed to be our elevator pitch. If an agent said, "What's your book about?" and you said - "Death calls to death" -hmmmm. Along those lines, #2 def stands out. I could see that one being close. We all would change up our loglines to fit our speech, but #2 could come out pretty natural. Really great! I wanna read your book!! Agents snap this baby up.

  34. My head's a little light-headed from all the fun and games of blood-running and filtering. But I want to say thanks to all of you who cared enough to visit and comment.

    Kitty : I like number one best myself.

    Harley : Yeah, glad you liked the Devil's Food Cake in-joke.

    Susan : So great minds run in the same circle, huh. It's #1 for you, too.

    Charity : I liked your post as well. #1 seems hot so far.

    Zoe : Yes, I'm doing Sangu's interview fest, though I have forgotten what date it is. Could you let me know? Always good to hear from you.

    Genie : I got a bit poetic with #1. And when you have the blood of the angel of Death mingled in your veins, death does call to death. So you like #2. I put a lot of effort in that one as well. Thanks.

    Jane : I wish you luck on your logline for your second book. Like Zoe said those things are the kidney stones of writing -- at least for me.

    Jemi : Thanks for liking #1. I do, too.

    Tessa : I like your re-write of #2. Wanna be my editor?

    Bria : Your PUSH story was excellent and timely for me. Thanks for liking #2.

    I have to split my thanks in half this time, Roland

  35. Anne : So it's 1, 2, or 5 with you. Well, those seem to be the favorites of the five. And always good to hear from you.

    Sangu : You and I think alike. Oh, and when is your character interview blogfest slated to start?

    Tricia : Yes, my votes are all over the place. Ha. Ha. But hey, at least I see a bit of a trend.

    Dawn : Thank for explaining your thinking on my loglines and how they misfire when they do. You're a champ for writing.

    Mia : I think you're right : #1 is the lead horse here. And you have a lovely, zesty, and fun blog.

    Kathryn : So it's #2 for you. Thanks for writing and telling me so. And don't be a stranger.

    Bryan : Thanks for giving such a mind-stretching blogfest. And combining 1 and 5 would make a good one paragraph summation. Thanks.

    Myne : Thanks for the kind words. And I'm heading your way after saying thanks here.

    Ann : You're right. These suckers are hard to write. Thanks for saying I did a good job with mine.

    Shalena : Like Bryan you like 1 and 5. Thanks and come back again, hear?

    Raquel : You like #4. Thanks. The Angel of Death took a sword thrust meant for Samuel. The blade still went into him, and the angel's blood on the blade mingled with his own.

    Elaine : #4 is your choice. Thanks for saying it is strong.

    Girl with One Eye : Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Please come again if you liked what you read.

    Elizabeth : I was aiming to arouse the reader's curiosity {my take on a logline is that it is the one sentence set apart from the rest of the description on the inside jacket blurb. Thanks for visiting,

    Laughing Wolf : Something's missing? I know. A picture of Angelina. There. Now, it's perfect!

    RaShelle : Well, three sentences/one paragraph is the elevator pitch. To me the logline is the one sentence set apart from the rest of the inside jacket blurb that hopefully will get the browser to read the whole description on the jacket blurb. Thanks for commenting.

    And thanks for wanting to read the whole book. That means a lot. And if you know an agent whose arm you could twist, there's a box of chocolates in it for you! Thanks for liking #2.

    Everyone, thanks. I'm on call tonight, work all day tomorrow, and on call tomorrow night. My head is spinning. I better crash before the phone rings. Roland

  36. Roland, I've stopped by your blog previously - fascinated by the art at the top.
    Pilgrim, that's art with a capital A!
    I liked all of your loglines, btw. Hmmm. Which one was best? For me, I think #4 with #5 as a close second.
    If I speak to you by loving the Rockies, you speak to me with the art and music that you post. Picture that beautiful blue-eyed woman with the Tetons in the background and a full, bright Rocky Mountain moon reflected in her eyes, Moonlight Sonata floating softly on the breeze that gently swirls her veil away revealing... ok. Enough. You finish it.

  37. Hey, Roland! Sangu's character interview blogfest is June 15 :d And guess what? MY blogfest (cognitive dissonance) is on June 28 - it's how I'm celebratin' my birthday this year. I'd LOVE it if you signed up. No pressure, right? :D

  38. My fav is #1, second fav #2, leaving out the word 'man': Samuel McCord, the beloved of Death herself. I'm guessing you stacked them this way for just that very reason? Or not...

    Either way, great job!

    ~That Rebel, Olivia

  39. I like the first one best. It packs in the most important parts while remaining concise.