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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Heart of Stone description
Genre: SCIENCE FICTION; TECHNO-THRILLER
Length: NOVEL - 343 pages (novel) + 34 pages (bonus short story) + 5 pages (excerpt)
Rating: NC17 for language and sexual content
---
A man sails the world to fulfill a promise to his dead lover - and hide her secrets.

A beautiful Russian agent seduces him to learn his secrets.

And a Chinese spy will kill them both to steal those secrets.

To fulfill a promise to his dying lover, Graham Connor Stone steals Joyce - the world's only sentient computer - from a U.S. Air Force lab and ships her aboard an oceangoing sailboat in order to "show her the world." But can he save Joyce from an ambitious Chinese police officer, a rogue spy, and U.S. government authorities who want to use her for their own purposes?

Follow Stone and Joyce as they sail the world searching for a safe harbor.

+++++
After reading the product description ...
1. ... do you want to buy the book?
2. ... do you want to read the sample?
3. ... do you want to read the reviews?

What would you change? How?
 

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Too complicated, methinks. I'm scratching my head over who is what. I think you mention too many characters, especially in the first three sentences. Also, I don't get a sense of place and/or purpose. Why is anyone sailing the world? Or do you mean metaphorically? Where is this set? On a boat? What's the secret? Of course, you can't say that, but I'd like a glimpse of why the secret is important or what it might be.
 

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Unfortunately: No, no and no.

Without giving a hint as to the importance of the secrets, it all falls apart. The blurb lacks tension. If the secrets were discovered, would the world/free world/western society/someone be imperiled? If so, why not say so?

I know nothing about the plot of this story and am a pathetic blurb writer. Still, I know this one doesn't pass muster. You want it to be a hook, to get readers to ask questions that only reading the book will answer.

Here's my lame attempt (guessing what the book might possibly be about):

'Before her death, Jane Doe forced her lover to make a promise. To keep that promise, Graham Connor Stone steals the world's only sentient computer, Joyce, mounts it in a sailing ship and sets off with US, Chinese and Russian agents in pursuit. The Russian offers her body, the Chinese agent promises death, and the Americans will let him live--if he gives up Joyce. If any of the agents succeed before Stone completes his personal mission and fulfills his promise, the world will live to regret it.'
 

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I like D.A.'s take on the blurb.  In the original, I would get rid of the opening three lines which become confused with the description below them.  I would also use more powerful language when you write it.  For example, instead of "ambitious" Chinese police officer, go with something like "deadly" or "maniacal" or whatever word most closely captures his/her character.  Also, "to show her the world" doesn't make much sense to me.  I'd be more clear on the purpose of putting the computer on the boat...maybe "to keep it from the clutches of..."
 

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Michael Scott Miller said:
. Also, "to show her the world" doesn't make much sense to me. I'd be more clear on the purpose of putting the computer on the boat...maybe "to keep it from the clutches of..."
I'm guessing that 'show her the world' means exactly what it says and is very important. Those with self-serving intentions want to use the computer as some means of domination and by 'showing her the world' this 'sentient' computer will develop empathy with humans (and perhaps other beings) and not allow herself to be used in such a fashion.

That's just a guess but, if correct, it's too important a plot device to be given away in the blurb. That's something that will give the reader an 'Aha!' moment when he figures it out.
 

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It's always a good idea to work the title into the blurb somehow, like this, which is from my book The Mountain::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

To Eddie Marshall, the idea seemed ridiculous: hitchhike to the mountains of North Carolina to help his lifelong pal haul a truck load of Christmas trees out to Louisiana.

But Mark Rockley had a way of making the ridiculous seem perfectly reasonable. And what did Eddie have to lose anyway? At least up here he could take his mind off crooked managers and bickering band-mates, and the conniving woman he'd left behind.

Had he known what happened to Harold and Maggie on the mountain this morning, he would never have agreed to go up there tonight. Even if there was a patch of trees free for the taking.

If Mark and Eddie had known what waited in the shadow of Rickert's Peak, they would have stayed far, far away from that place.

Tonight, reason turns to madness, madness gives way to terror.

And bad things happen on… The Mountain

I couldn't figure out a way to do that with your sample, well, i did, but it's kinda lame :eek:)... Here's what I did come up with:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

'Save her,' his dying lover said.

And James Conner Stone promised he would.

'Show her the world.'

Now the the world's only sentient computer has been spirited away from a U.S. Air Force lab and stored aboard an oceangoing sailboat, safe and secure in a place only James Conner can reach. But nothing can ever be safe in this world. Nothing and no one. Certainly not James Conner Stone and his 'Joyce', who now have a rogue spy and the United States government hot on their trail. Not to mention an ambitious Chinese police officer who'll stop at nothing to get his hands on such a prize.

Give no quarter.

Expect no favor.

For none will be forthcoming from an emeny with a... Heart Of Stone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@ Patty Jensen, Mel Comley, D. A. Boulter, Michael Scott Miller, 1st Author Interviews, wm ollie, DebBennett: Thank you each and all for your critiques. I am in your debt.

Round 2:

Heart of Stone description
Genre: SCIENCE FICTION; TECHNO-THRILLER
Length: NOVEL - 343 pages (novel) + 34 pages (bonus short story) + 5 pages (excerpt)
Rating: NC17 for language and sexual content
---
"Save her," his dying lover said. "Show her the world. Promise me. If you ever loved me, promise me this."

And Graham Conner Stone promised.

So from an Air Force lab he spirited away Joyce -- the world's only sentient computer -- and shipped her aboard his oceangoing sailboat where he can keep her safe. But nothing and no one is ever safe in this world. Certainly not Stone and Joyce, who now have the CIA and the DOD hot on their trail. Not to mention a beautiful Russian agent and a Chinese spy who will stop at nothing to get his hands on such a prize.

They give no quarter.

They expect no favor.

And none will be forthcoming from a . . . Heart of Stone.
+++++
And please let me know if Part 1 works for you. It will be included in the product description.
Part 1:
Heart of Stone description
Genre: SCIENCE FICTION; TECHNO-THRILLER
Length: NOVEL - 343 pages (novel) + 34 pages (bonus short story) + 5 pages (excerpt)
Rating: NC17 for language and sexual content
 

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Re: Round 2.

Again you make no mention of why we should care if the CIA, DOD, Russians or Chinese should get this computer. Why shouldn't Stone just give the computer up? Yes, he stole it to fulfill a promise, but when the possible consequences of that act jump to prison or death, what's keeping him going?

Let's put it in a different form. My dying lover makes me promise to take my daughter (from a previous marriage) to the big city, to 'show her the sights'. I'm poor, but I scrape together enough money to do this. Suddenly, due to circumstance, others warn me off, threatening me with foreclosure on my house and land, a prison sentence for custodial abuse (the divorce settlement says I can't take my daughter out of the jurisdiction without her mother's permission--and she won't give it) and, naturally, loss of custody of my daughter. I continue on, regardless, because of the promise I made my lover.

The conclusion: I'm an idiot. I'm risking it all . . . for what? To keep a promise?

Now, if my daughter were ill and she needed medical attention--something that my religion, my wife's religion and my daughter's religion forbid--in order to live without pain or handicap, then I have a reason to risk all. Now it makes sense. I'm willing to sacrifice my home, my place in my church, my liberty and custody of my daughter in order to keep her alive and well. Anyone reading about this will agree that my quest is reasonable -- even if they disagree with my methods.

In your blurb, we have no threat that makes Stone anything other than an idiot for stealing the computer and enraging just about everyone. I don't want to read a book about an idiot; your blurb, therefore, would not convince me (in and of itself) to buy your book.

You don't have to give the reason Stone is bent on keeping his word, you don't have to tell exactly why everyone is after the computer--other than it's valuable, but you MUST let us know that should Stone give it up, there will be dire consequences of some sort to someone. Otherwise, you leave us with the impression that Stone lacks something in the brains department.

Anyway, that's my personal opinion and as such is worth what you paid for it. Consider it or trash it; it is up to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Round 3:

Heart of Stone description
Genre: SCIENCE FICTION; TECHNO-THRILLER
Length: NOVEL - 343 pages (novel) + 34 pages (bonus short story) + 5 pages (excerpt)
Rating: NC17 for language and sexual content
---
"Save her," his dying lover said. "Show her the world. Promise me. If you ever loved me, promise me this."

And Graham Conner Stone promised.

So from an Air Force lab he spirited away Joyce -- the world's only sentient computer -- and shipped her aboard his oceangoing sailboat where he can keep her safe. But while Joyce holds secrets that can change the balance of world power, who is safe? Certainly not Stone and Joyce, who now have the CIA and the DOD hot on their trail. Not to mention a beautiful Russian agent and a Chinese spy who will stop at nothing to get his hands on such a prize.

They give no quarter.

They expect no favor.

And none will be forthcoming from a . . . Heart of Stone.
 

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I think 3 is better. However, you want to watch your punctuation and tense. Blurbs tend to be in present tense, but you mix present with past.

"Save her," his dying lover said. "Show her the world. Promise me. If you ever loved me, promise me this."

And Graham Conner Stone promised.

So, from an Air Force lab he spirited spirits away Joyce -- the world's only sentient computer -- and shipped ships her aboard his oceangoing sailboat where he can keep her safe. But, while Joyce holds secrets that can change the balance of world power, who is safe? Certainly not Stone and Joyce, who now have the CIA and the DOD hot on their trail. Not to mention a beautiful Russian agent--and a Chinese spy who will stop at nothing to get his hands on such a prize.

They give no quarter.

They expect no favor.

Alternate last sentence: Not to mention a beautiful Russian agent and a Chinese spy who will stop at nothing to get their hands on such a prize.

Without the dash, the 'his hands' applies to both the Russian agent and the Chinese spy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Round 4:

Heart of Stone description
Genre: SCIENCE FICTION; TECHNO-THRILLER
Length: NOVEL - 343 pages (novel) + 34 pages (bonus short story) + 5 pages (excerpt)
Rating: NC17 for language and sexual content
---
"Save her," his dying lover said. "Show her the world. Promise me. If you ever loved me, promise me this."

And Graham Conner Stone promised.

So from an Air Force lab he spirits away Joyce - the world's only sentient computer - and ships her aboard his oceangoing sailboat where he can keep her safe. But while Joyce holds secrets that can change the balance of world power, who is safe? Certainly not Stone and Joyce, who now have the CIA and the DOD hot on their trail. Not to mention a beautiful Russian agent and a Chinese spy who will stop at nothing to get his hands on such a prize.

They give no quarter.

They expect no favor.

And none will be forthcoming from a . . . Heart of Stone.
 

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I did like the first three sentences (although the last one should be "try to kill them" !!!)

But now I don't know - the Russian agent is the computer? I can't quite see the connection between the three sentences and the blurb in the sense that on one hand you have a Russian agent and on the other Joyce, a computer without a Russian name...

No idea if this helps!
 

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I would just go with:

'To fulfill a promise to his dying lover, Graham Connor Stone steals Joyce — the world’s only sentient computer — from a U.S. Air Force lab and ships her aboard an oceangoing sailboat in order to “show her the world.”

But can he save Joyce from an ambitious Chinese police officer, a rogue spy, and U.S. government authorities who want to use her for their own purposes?'

And then maybe add something afterwards to show tension/suspense. But I'm having trouble with my blurb, so I'm out of ideas as to WHAT exactly you could add.  :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks all.

The road forks here. If I take one fork, I repack my kit. On the other, I strap on my kit and go.

I choose to strap on my kit and go with what I have. Round 4 is my product description.

Thanks again to all. Added thanks to D. A. Boulter, who screamed at me until I listened; and to wm ollie, who showed me a better way. (I must say that I was naturally inclined to listen to wm ollie. My godfather's name was Ollie. He was a great and good man, and I honor his memory every day.)
 
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