IWSG – November 2021 – Blurb

IWSG was created by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh — because Alex understands we need a safe place to congregate, insecurity is part of our creative nature, and together we’re stronger.

On the first Wednesday of each month, you can write on any subject related to your writing journey or adopt the option of answering the month’s question. Either way, you’re in safe territory.

If this sounds like a good place to be, sign up here.

IWSG’s Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and the hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, a question is announced that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or a story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

November 3 question – What’s harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

Alex’s awesome co-hosts for the November 3 posting of the IWSG are Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie Lees, Erika Beebe, Lee Lowery, and me, Joylene.

I find writing blurbs to be painful and exhausting. Luckily, I’ve always had beta-pals, editors, or publishers who could take my poor effort and turn it into something awesome.

In contrast, coming up with a title has been easy.

Dead Witness, my first novel, was about a woman forced into Witness Protection. The investigators made her pretend to be dead to her family so the killers would surface.

Broken But Not Dead; despite the threat of death, Professor Brendell Meshango goes after the man terrorizing her when he threatens to harm her daughter.

Matowak: Woman Who Cries; Sally Warner has lost her husband and her children and may just lose her faculties.

Kiss of the Assassin; Assassins are deadly, but they’re still human. Does that mean they deserve to be happy?

I could come up with titles all day long. … Blurbs? Not so much.

Hoping to change that, I’m excited about the release of Kiss of the Assassin and therefore will continue to work on this blurb until the cows come home. I spent years trying to get it published. Now that it’s going to be, I feel I owe it homage. If that makes any sense.

Thirty-plus years later, this is the blurb I’ve got so far. It can only go up from here:

Kiss of the Assassin is a political thriller that spans 10 years and tells the story of Marina Antonovna, a Soviet spy, and Mateo Arcusa, an American homicide lieutenant. They first meet in Cambodia during the Vietnam War as enemies. Fearful that the most powerful man in the Soviet Union, KGB Chairman Vladimir Kurenkov, has ordered her death, Marina risks everything to defect to the United States. She promises Mateo that her days as an assassin are over. Vladimir is determined to do whatever it takes to bring her back and, by threatening Mateo’s life, forces Marina to break her promise.

The moral of my story is: it’s never too late and you’re never too old.

Happy IWSG Wednesday, everyone.

–namaste

joylene

Comments 74

  1. I love writing blurbs. I have a harder time filling in the details…
    Here’s a micro-blurb for Kiss of the Assassin, maybe it will spark something for you:
    Natural enemies, a Soviet assassin evades an American detective. Over time, she has a change of heart and defects to the US where she must save him to escape her past.
    Just a thought – sounds like a great story!

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  2. Amazing–your books are amazing, Joylene! Lucky you to have beta-pals, editors, and publishers help with those blasted blurbs. Kiss of the Assassin sounds great too.

    Try trimming it to begin with: Two Vietnam War enemies meet again as Marina Antonovna, a Soviet spy, tries to defect from the Soviet Union to the United States. She promises Mateo Arcusa, an American homicide lieutenant, many things to help her, as KGB Chairman Vladimir Kurenkov hunts Marina down.

    Something like that.

  3. You sound like me in regard to this. Sometimes I’ll just come up with titles that I think sound cool that maybe I can use someday. I can’t think of a time that I ever wrote a blurb that I thought was especially good. I’d rather write a whole story or book than write a blurb for one.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  4. One thing I noticed about your titles is that all have two opposite elements, and you could almost sum up the story with just the title. That’s a gift to be able to do that!
    Your new book sounds intriguing! I minored in Russian and love anything with Russian characters or setting.
    Congrats!

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  5. Ooooh – Kiss of the Assassin sounds like it is right up my alley!

    I’m with you – titles are easy, blurbs, not so much.

    Together we are stronger. So true. I love this IWSG community!

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  6. I’m excited about the release of “Kiss of the Assassin,” Joylene! I will buy it, so be sure to let me know when it comes out! I think the first line in your blurb needs to be stronger. “Is” and “tells the story” are more passive.

    I’ll take a stab at it:
    Soviet spy Marina Antonovana first meets American homicide lieutenant Mateo Arcusa as an enemy in Cambodia during the Vietnam War in “Kiss of the Assassin,” a political thriller spanning ten years.

    I don’t know if that is an improvement (It feels too long a sentence.), but I was trying to work around the more passive words. It’s so much more fun to play with someone else’s blurb than work on my own ~ LOL! Good luck ~ I know you’ll find the magic words.

    Thanks for co-hosting today! Hugs to you!

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  7. Terrific post, Joylene! The beauty of having ‘extra eyes’ is that they see (and pick) the flowers you grew in the forest you planted. Like how someone comments on how tall your kid has grown when you know more about what ‘phase’ he’s in.
    Best wishes, and thanks for co-hosting!

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  8. Thanks for co-hosting! Blurbs, synopses, taglines, and pitches used to be really difficult for me, but titles are a bit trickier now. I particularly need a lot of new titles for older drafts in my editing queue, to replace the cliché, corny, insipid nonsense I originally called them when I was much younger.

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  9. Joylene, you don’t need that first sentence. (in my humble opinion)

    Marina Antonovna, a Soviet spy, and Mateo Arcusa, an American homicide lieutenant first meet in Cambodia during the Vietnam War as enemies. Fearful that the most powerful man in the Soviet Union, KGB Chairman Vladimir Kurenkov, has ordered her death, Marina risks everything to defect to the United States. She promises Mateo that her days as an assassin are over. Vladimir is determined to do whatever it takes to bring her back and, by threatening Mateo’s life, forces Marina to break her promise.

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  10. You’re a shining example determination and talent. I’m sure the Kiss of the Assassin blurb will be polished to your satisfaction. Wishing you total success as you move through the publication process.
    Thank you for co-hosting this month. I know it’s a busy time for you.

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  11. Yeah, titles are all about the feels, while the blurb feels too much like a book report to me. The artistic side of us loves to create titles, the analytical side tries to take over when we write blurbs.

    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!

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  12. Your one-liners (tag lines) completely encapsulate each story. Excellent job. I love the moral of your story. You could add that old dogs can learn new tricks. LOL Thanks for cohosting this month.

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  13. Hi,
    Your first statement describes exactly how I feel about writing blurbs. I am thankful that I know two publishers and one of them wrote my blurb for Turn The Light On. That gesture saved me lots of sleep.
    Thank you so much for co-hosting.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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  14. Hi Joylene and thanks for co-hosting this month!
    I love the sound of your book. Perhaps the first line isn’t punchy enough but the rest is great! And congrats on finally getting it published.

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