A Factoid and a Blurb

on April 28, 2013 in Misc

First, a FACTOID.

Sometimes I come across odd little facts that may not be right for me but  might come in handy for a fellow writer, so I’ll present them here.  This one is from the January issue of National Geographic

Evolutionary biologist Jaroslav Flegr (I couldn’t invent a name like that) discovered he was infected with a parasite that can jump from cat to cat by using rats.  When “toxo” infects a rat, it hijacks its brain, making the rat more active, less risk averse, and sexually attracted to the scent of cat urine.

Why did Flegr think he was infected?  Because he’d been exhibiting strange behavior.  “I would cross the street in traffic but not jump out of the way when cars honked… People infected with toxo are 2.6 times more likely to get into a traffic accident.”  See, in humans toxo greatly slows reaction time, makes them less conscientious and more prone to risks.  Oh, and male subjects like the smell of cat urine.  Sadly, there’s no cure, and this parasite may be causing many deaths and also cases of schizophrenia.

Sounds like something out of Stephen King novel, doesn’t it?  Only this is real and especially scary when you consider the statistical likelihood that there are other parasites, viruses, or other tiny bugs that can alter human behavior while remaining virtually undetectable.

And now for the BLURB…

As most of you know — ’cause I’ve been talking about them more than I’ve been working on them — I’ve got two manuscripts I’m going to publish this year:  Charity MacCay and the Almighty Dollar and its sequel, Charity MacCay and Holy Relations.

Well, I’ve finally written the blurb for the first book.  It’s still rough, and I’d really appreciate any feedback you might have for me.  Here it is:

The Civil War has ended, Charity MacCay is eighteen years old, and everyone in her hometown expects her to settle down and become a dutiful wife.  But what Charity wants is the thrills, fortune and romance she reads about in dime novels.  One night they inspire her to perform “a courageous act” that backfires and lands her in a scandal.  To save the family reputation, her mother packs her off to live with relatives in New York City.  Once there, Charity wastes no time falling in love with a dashing, mysterious man, inspires a friend to become a pool shark, and adopts the new American philosophy of getting rich quick while pulling herself up by her high-heeled bootstraps.

This is a rollicking memoir of a woman coming of age just as modern America is being born.  A time when greed spins out of control on unregulated Wall Street.  When Charity can make a small fortune, lose it in a stock scheme engineered by corporate Robber Barons, and plot to get back every penny while trying to stay out of jail.  All she needs is the help of the man she loves and that of the richest man in America, Cornelius Vanderbilt himself. The problem is, she doesn’t really trust either one.

So waddya think?  Pretty good?  Sucks like a sponge?  Start all over or just tweak it?  Whatever your reaction is, I’d love to hear it.

Have a great week.

16 Responses to “A Factoid and a Blurb”

  1. Scary virus indeed.
    Quite a departure in genre for you. I liked the blurb. My only suggestion is in the first line, change it to “The Civil War has ended, and everyone expects eighteen-year-old Charity MacCay to…”

  2. Hart Johnson says:

    Oh, you’re right–that disorder/parasite sounds exactly suited for fiction! And I LOVE the sound of your novel! If you need a beta reader just shout!

  3. Gina says:

    I found the blurb extremely interesting! I believe that if you expand it a little more, it can turn out to be a great idea!

  4. Okay the blurb (from what I know of them) is HUGE. We need to cut cut cut. Lemme see…

    In the years following the Civil War, most young girls are expected to settle down and become a dutiful wife. Charity MacCay is not among them. Desiring adventure and romance, she unwittingly embroils herself in scandal. To save the family reputation, her mother packs Charity off to live with family in New York City. In the land of the Robber Barons, Charity falls in love, makes a fortune, and plays hardball with the richest man in America, Cornelius Vanderbilt. Charity MacCay and the Almighty Dollar is a rollicking memoir of a woman coming of age just as modern America is born.

    Anyway, that is my rewrite suggestion.

    The book sounds intriguing. I’ll definitely read it.

  5. Helena says:

    Alex – Yeah, I’m not nuts about the first sentence either, so that’s gotta be fixed.

  6. Helena says:

    Hart – I would love a beta reader! Maybe I can send the ms electronically to you sometime in May?

  7. Helena says:

    Gina – Well, rather than expand I should probably cut, ’cause I noticed there’s a big difference between the blurbs on hardcover books (the inside flaps, where the blurbs are a few paragraphs) and the back of a trade paperback (where the blurb is shorter). Right now I’m kinda inbetween the two. But I’m so happy it grabbed your attention!

  8. Helena says:

    Michael – I love that you took a shot at it, Michael, and yes, it’s too long. But as I told Gina there’s a difference between hardcover inside flap blurbs and the back of paperbacks. So my blurb can be longer than what you’ve written, but it still has to be shortened. I really like how you’ve abbreviated my facts, and I suspected I was giving away too many specific plot points like about her friend becoming a pool shark, etc. And the first sentence wasn’t good, as Alex pointed out, and yours is definitely better. So now I’ll use your paragraph as a strong guidepost for a rewrite. Oh, and I really like “in the land of the Robber Barons.”

  9. I copied your blurb to my computer, and I’m going to give it a go later today or in the morning. I’ll post it back here once I have unless I can find an email address for you here someplace.

  10. Helena says:

    Carol – Thank you SO MUCH! And now we know you’ve found my email, so I’m eagerly waiting for your rewrite.

  11. Ciara Knight says:

    I loved the blurb. Sounds like a fantastic read! Oh, that virus thing is scary. I worked on a locked psych ward. I’ve always believed that there was a cause for many disorders that were not identified.

  12. Helena says:

    Ciara – The possibility (likelihood?) that there are people in psych wards or prisons because of a microscopic bug is scary and sad. And I’m so glad you like my blurb.

  13. Nas says:

    I found the blurb extremely interesting and intriguing!


  14. Helena says:

    Nas – Thank you! I just hope the book measure up too.

  15. Old Kitty says:

    Cats are innocent! LOL!!

    LOVE your blurb – but what is this courageous act she does to bring such a fate to her family?!?! Yay!! Intrigue upon intrigue!!!!

    Take care

  16. Helena says:

    Old Kitty – Charity “rescues” a couple from drowning, but in fact they can swim and are having an illicit affair. Instead it now looks as if she’s the one having the affair.

    Carol Kilgore wisely pointed out that I should have this detail in my blurb, so I’m putting it in. I’m glad you like my blurb. Say hi to Gumtree and Charlie!