Saturday, August 26

Blurb Hell - Part One

A yellow canoe plays a big part in my romance series.
Reading Ava’s post last week about writing blurbs made me realize I couldn’t put off writing the blurbs for my three-book series any longer. Can you tell how enthusiastic I am about blurbs? Not.
After going back and forth with my editor and friend Janet, I’ve renamed the series. I was calling it the Love in the North Woods series, but I’ve decided to rename it Love at Solace Lake, after the lake where the stories take place. I’ve read that the name of a series should be tied to the names of the books, so with that in mind I’m going with Lies and Solace, Secrets and Solace, and Truth and Solace. 

So here’s what I’ve got for the overall series blurb:

 When their grandfather dies, the Lindquist sisters, Harper, Scarlet and Maggie, inherit the northern Minnesota fishing lodge that had been in their family for three generations. The inheritance is bittersweet. They were raised at the lodge by their grandparents. The natural beauty of the place hasn’t changed, but the building itself is crumbling and desperately in need of repair. The lodge also reminds them of what they lost. Twenty-two years previously, their parents died there in what was ruled a murder/suicide.
 As the sisters struggle to breathe new life into the failing lodge, old fears and questions rise to the surface even as new love presents itself. Why did their father murder their mother? What truths did their grandparents keep from them? The sisters must fight to keep the wounds of the past from putting their futures, and their fledging relationships, in jeopardy.  

Okay, does this intrigue you? Does it sound like a series you’d be interested in reading?
On to book one, Lies and Solace. I’m really worried about this blurb. When I went to the Surrey International Writers Conference last October and pitched it to an agent, she said it sounded like the whole conflict was based on a misunderstanding. Ouch! I think the book’s conflict is bigger than that but the blurb doesn’t reflect it. Here’s the original blurb:

When Ethan James arrives at her Minnesota fishing lodge in the middle of a blizzard, Harper Lindquist believes he’s the answer to her prayers; an honest man with money. She and her sisters inherited the crumbling Solace Lake Lodge and unless much needed repairs are made she’ll lose the home she loves. The company Ethan represents has the money, and she’s determined to convince him the lodge is a sound investment. But the more time they spend together, the more Harper wishes for a personal relationship with Ethan as well as a business one.
Ethan isn’t who he says he is. To protect himself, he hides behind a phony name. But there’s nothing phony about the money or the way he feels about Harper. The trauma in both their pasts means that neither can fully trust the other, no matter what their hearts are telling them. Can they find the courage to love, to have a future together, or will they let yesterday’s sorrows keep them apart? 
Okay, so I’ve done some work on the blurb and have come up with the following in Version #2:

When Ethan James arrives at her Minnesota fishing lodge in the middle of a blizzard, Harper Lindquist believes he’s the answer to her prayers; an honest man with money. Unless she gets an investor to pour cash into the crumbling Solace Lake Lodge, she’ll lose the home she loves. The company Ethan works for has the money, and she’s determined to convince him the lodge is a sound investment. As they get to know each other, Harper wishes for a personal relationship with Ethan as well as a business one. But she’s afraid the things she’s hiding from him will prevent them from having a future.
Ethan has secrets, too. Though he’s initially uninterested in saving the lodge, Harper convinces him her ideas have merit. The more he gets to know her, the more he wants to make her dreams come true, and the more he wants a life with her. But the trauma in both their pasts means neither can fully trust the other, no matter what their hearts are telling them. They must find the courage to love, to trust and to accept, or yesterday’s sorrows will keep them apart. 

Is that any kind of improvement? I’d love your opinions on my series blurb as well as the blurb(s) from Book one, Lies and Solace. Any suggestions are appreciated. Comment away!

6 comments:

  1. I like the second one better, but I'm not sure my opinion counts for much--I'm even worse at blurbs than I am synopses. FWIW, I think it sounds like a fun series!

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    1. Thanks Liz. I hope the second one is better because I spent a lot of time on it! But that doesn't mean it doesn't need more work.

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  2. Oh, the blurb struggle!! I like the 2nd one, too, Jana! Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Kristina. Yes, right now I'm struggling. Back to it!

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  3. Hey Jana! You know how much I love to write blurbs!!!

    First off your series sound wonderful!! One little thing about the titles...I actually like Love in the North Woods better, but I understand your reasoning for changing it.

    A couple of things. I think you should have the name Solace Lake in there somewhere. The first line is a tad awkward. Also, I wanted a hint as to why the sisters choose to restore the inn rather than cut their loses and avoid a very costly rebuild? I'm assuming when they start the process they don't realize there are lies and secrets to be revealed, so that wouldn't be the reason?

    The Lindquist sisters have inherited their grandfather’s crumbling northern Minnesota fishing lodge. But the pristine beauty of Solace Lake and a decrepit inn aren’t the only things passed down to Harper, Scarlet, and Maggie. In it's depths, the lake holds tragic memories of their parents’ alleged murder/suicide twenty-two years ago.

    Each of them face a crossroads when presented with plans for a restoration of their beloved grandparents’ legacy. But as the sisters struggle to deal with the failing lodge, old fears and questions rise to the surface. Why did their father murder their mother, and what important truths have been kept from them? Soon the sisters are fighting to keep the past from putting their future, and their fledgling relationships, in jeopardy.

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    1. Hi Karen! I love your reworking, especially the first paragraph. About your question: Harper, the oldest, is the only one who really wants to save the lodge. Maggie and Scarlet moved away years ago and were all for selling it. By the end of the first book, they have decided to help, though Scarlet only commits to a six months leave of absence from her job. So you think I should put something of this in this blurb, or in the blurb for the first book? Thanks for your help Karen!

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