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First Page: Immortal Gambler (unpublished manuscript)

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Immortal Gambler: Blurb


Ariel: Ariel is broke, in debt and comes home from closing the doors to her dreams to find her apartment destroyed, her step-father tied up and three Russian thugs threatening his life. To save herself, her step-father and pay back his debt, Ariel agrees to enter the world of prostitution without fully grasping the consequences. There, she is bought by Drake, a handsome jerk with a secret that could make her life even more dramatic than it already is.


Drake: For more than twenty years, Drake has been tormented by dreams of an elusive red haired beauty who is also the key to breaking a hundred fifty year old curse put on him by his vengeful ex-girlfriend. Now that he has finally found her, he will do anything and everything in his power to keep her by his side but finding her is only the beginning. Drake realizes that in order to fully break the curse, he has to do more than just give Ariel powerful orgasms every night.

Ariel’s life was not turning out the way she wanted it to, the way she had always imagined it would turn out. She wanted a do over. If it were possible, she wanted the universe to reverse its laws and take her back in time so she would amend all the bad decisions she had made. Her over ambition had made her want to start a business soon after college. In a recession no less. She would reverse that decision. She would also reverse the decision of employing her less than helpful step-father who had done more harm than good to her business. What had she been thinking? It seemed like a good idea at the time, but with hindsight, she knew that it was more of his dangerous charm that had persuaded her to employ him.

She wanted to forget it all, if only for a while. Her mind drifted to her dream coffee shop. Not the one she had just closed doors for the last time but the one that was always perfect in her dreams. Filled with customers on every table and smelling always of fresh coffee and confectionery. Ariel could almost smell it. Her mind almost managed to obliterate the unpleasant stench of body odor and a tiny hint of urine that dominated the bus until a woman brushed her arm as she walked past, jolting her back to reality. The bus had stopped and she got out of it as quickly as she could.

She had already sold her car so she could pay Sue, the coffee shop’s only waitress, her remaining salary. It was only half of the actual amount but she had understood Ariel’s plight and had not pressed for more. Ariel had to lie to Sue where she had gotten the money; she would have refused it if she knew.

Whilst on the subject of employees, Ariel thought, it was about time she and Lionel had the talk. She was not sure how to gently tell a stepfather, a man who had raised her as one of his own, who was currently living on her measly income that he was no longer welcome to do so. He had to know that either he had to look for a job, a real job not gambling, or he would have to look for his own place. Just anticipating telling him that felt harsh, but she conceded that he had to understand that she could not support him anymore.

She walked down the familiar streets of Flamingo road, dragging her feet as the Nevada sun warmed her back on its way down, thinking of excuses to give Lionel but none plausible came to mind. Eventually the inevitable happened. She had reached Mel Groove’s place.

As she reached the door to her apartment, Ariel took out the keys from her handbag, inserted the key into the keyhole and turned it. The door was already unlocked. Lionel had left it unlocked again, she thought. Ariel scowled silently, sometimes the man behaved more like a child than a man. She had told him countless times about the dangers of leaving the door unlocked in a neighborhood such as the one they were living in.

When she opened the door, tiny pieces of form rubber went straight up her nose causing her to sneeze. Ariel flicked the light switch on to brighten the matchbox kitchenette. Books, DVDs and lots of broken glass where all scattered on the floor. Either her apartment had been ransacked or Lionel had gone on another one of his self-loathing, alcohol and cocaine binges. She reluctantly took two steps further and turned into the living room.

Duct taped to a chair in the middle of the room was her stepfather, face bloodied and swollen with bruises. On his right was a tall, lanky, blond, middle-aged man clad in a black Italian style silk suit, holding a gun to his head. Ariel let out a scream which she quickly muffled by closing her mouth with her hand a little too late because the man turned to face her.

‘Ary!’ He beamed, opening his arms wide in a mocking welcoming gesture.

She cringed in fear and revulsion at the nickname Lionel so loved to call her by which she so hated.

‘We’ve been waiting for you.’ The lanky blond smirked.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Katie T.
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 04:47:12

    The writing is in need of sone serious editing. It reads like a 9th grader writing a story. The sentences do not flow, are in segments, and it could benefit from the use of a large number of commas. I see grammatical errors and spelling errors (form rubber, for instance).

    The blurb alone just makes me wince. The heroine sounds like an absolutely idiotic moron of a girl…who the hell goes blindly into prostitution? I kind of lost it laughing at the last line:

    “Drake realizes that in order to fully break the curse, he has to do more than just give Ariel powerful orgasms every night.”

    Powerful orgasms!!

  2. SAO
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 07:08:56

    This is backstory and Ariel sounds like a naive, spineless nitwit. She employs her gambling, drug-using stepfather, who ruined her business and she can’t work up the nerve to fire him? He’s so addled by drugs that he leaves doors unlocked in crime-ridden places, and her only reaction is to wish she could turn back time?

    I have no sympathy for heroines who martyr themselves for self-destructive family members. Look up co-dependency. Your blurb suggested she’s going to turn prostitute to save this loser from the consequences of his multiple addictions. Why not just have her turn tricks to support his habit?

    My verdict: Wall-banger!

    PS: your blurb is all set-up. It says nothing about what I presume is the main issue of the book, the conflict between Drake and Ariel. You summarize your two paras with, “Forced into prostitution, Ariel is bought by Drake, who believes she can rid him of a curse.” and then move on to some details about your story.

  3. Maria M.
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 07:11:18

    This is supposed to be escapist fiction? The blurb alone would turn me off. If there is one thing I hate, it is main characters who are prostitutes. Who would choose such a life of degradation for the sake of a stepfather? To save a child, a mother or brother, I could just buy the premise. But for a stepfather she was going to throw out anway? (OK, there are real morons around who might act like that, but they are not heroine material, and I don’t want to read about them.)

    As said above, the style is also in need of editing. The paragraph about finding the door unlocked, for instance, is much too long and repetitive.

  4. Lynne Connolly
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 08:48:01

    She’s a classic martyr. While waif heroines are in right now, they’re no pushover, and your heroine wouldn’t survive a brisk wind.
    I also read romance, and there’s scant mention of it in the blurb or the page. Romance is about the characters, not the situations. I like some of the writing, but yes, there’s a lot of editing needed here. You even have the where/were error.

  5. wikkidsexycool
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 10:51:04

    Hello Author,

    Thanks for having the courage to submit this. I think you had an idea for a story, perhaps based upon other books you’ve read. The first thing I liked about your story was the title. It has so many possibilities, that I think it’s a keeper. I’m new at writing romance also, so I think first off you’ve got to remember that Ariel will need to be someone readers can related to. Right now she comes off as a dreaded trope initially, by blindly agreeing to prostitution without so much as a fight. The stakes are upped by a member of her family being threatened, but then again, it still isn’t justification (at least in my mind) for her deciding to go along, “without fully grasping the consequences.”

    I cringed at that, and also, since rape and sexual slavery are a problem worldwide, perhaps I’m biased. So by just reading the blurb I already had reservations when I got to that part.

    Then there’s the hero Drake, who again seems to fall into a trope. That of the hero who can claim Ariel is his by right of a dream which predicted their pairing, or the “Mine” cliche. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t say not to use these tropes. It’s just that by having the male lead want the heroine simply because he’s been told she’s his destiny, it apears as a way not to explore just what there is about her that makes her “the one” imho. What makes Ariel so much more than just a damsel in distress? Or a prophesy?

    As I read the piece, I think the voice could be stronger with a bit more revisions. One would be starting when Ariel is arriving at her apartment without all the backstory. You can insert it, so just don’t delete it, but it’s possible you can use it a bit later on when Ariel is thinking of what she should do to get out of this. Your story picked up for me when she entered her apartment, so imo that’s where I think you should start. Again, thanks for submitting it and I wish you all the best with this.

  6. Lia
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 10:53:48

    I wouldn’t want to read about a heroine prostituting herself for whatever reason, so this book wouldn’t be for me.

    There’s a lot of info dump on the first page. If you want to tell this story, I would start at a different point in the story.

  7. Lucy Woodhull
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 12:17:05

    I’m afraid the hero buying the heroine for sex is an automatic no no for me. Sexual slavery does not a hero make. I’d suggest more study regarding the nuts and bolts of writing, and read a lot more of the kinds of books you’d like to write. And maybe start with the kind of hero you’d want to sweep you off your feet. That’s what I did when I undertook my first book. Good luck and keep at it!

  8. Loreen
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 13:03:00

    No. I hate the Pretty Woman narrative. Prostitution is the least romantic and sexy situation I can imagine. Maybe I’d read an incredibly well written story in which the hero rescues the heroine or better yet, helps her escape on her own terms and get revenge on the people who exploited her. I wouldn’t read such an unrealistic account. Plus, most prostitutes start as children or teens and the average life expectancy is 5 years (!!!) so I don’t get why this seemingly adult educated woman would get into the business so late. Unless she is dealing with childhood trauma somehow….why not just go to the FBI?
    Also sick of the whole prophesied soul mats narrative.
    Sorry to be so harsh – your writing itself is fine so find a different story line.

  9. Mary
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 23:10:47

    Okay, unlike some of the other commenters, I don’t have a problem with prostitute heroines-if they’re done well. In my mind, a heroine who is a prostitute (or courtesan in a historical, etc.) has to be even stronger than a normal heroine, and she really needs a good backstory as to why she chose that path. Or a really good reason why she had to become one and stated one, that is believable. At the moment I’m not sure if her backstory is strong enough. Then again, we also don’t have the scene where she decides to go along with whatever- if that’s written well then maybe. At the moment the character herself is not like able or interesting enough for the reader to feel for her or understand her choices. Which is a problem as I’m assuming she has to make that choice within the next few pages.

    At the moment your writing is also not my favorite-I did a lot of skimming. There is a lot of her thinking about things, but not much reason for her to be thinking them, if that makes sense. Also there are sentences that could be really lovely and well written but have small word order or basic structure problems that make them a little awkward. Honestly, this sounds weird, but read it out loud. Anything you stumble over or think sounds strange-reword.

    Good luck and kudos for sending this in!!!

  10. Maria
    Apr 29, 2013 @ 04:20:18

    This chapter started with Ariel with the key, but it needs to be tightened. Imagine that you are in the audience, watching Ariel. Show us what she does. The first half would be her standing in one spot, thinking to herself.

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