Daughter of the God-King

Daughter of the God King

Author Anne Cleeland is offering a book giveaway for her second book in the Regency series titled Daughter of the God-King. The first five people to contact Cleeland through her website—http://annecleeland.com—with their name and address will receive a copy of Daughter of the God-King. Please type DGK Giveaway in the subject box of your email. Names of winners will be posted like this: Melissa C. from CA.

This is one of the most romantic books I’ve read in a while with mystery and adventure.

In Anne Cleeland fashion she creates mysterious characters that will keep you guessing the true identity of the hero and the other characters, whom the hero says cannot be trusted and the sassy heroine who tries to find out the truth about her parents and herself.

Hattie Blackhouse has been left behind by her famous Egyptologist parents at their Cornwall home with a governess who can’t handle her. She grew up with the boy next door, Robbie, and his parents watching over her. She has turned eighteen and decides to take her new governess and friend Bing to Paris to meet up with Robbie at a party of consuls familiar with her parents and convince him to marry her. She changes tactics when she finds Robbie with an unanticipated fiancé and says she is there to visit her parents. Robbie’s fiancé, more à la mode than Hattie, says her parents aren’t in Paris. It seems that all but Hattie know what has happened to her parents.

Monsieur Berry is the man who is watching her and then fetches a haquenee for her and her companion Bing. Berry visits Hattie the next day at her parent’s Paris home questioning her about her parents. She asks him if her parents ever spoke of her. Without directly answering her question he tells her they were fond of her. To spare her embarrassment he says, “Hathor; an unusual name.” She smiles at him with her dimples saying in a voice I can hear so sweetly in my mind, “My friends call me Hattie.” By this point, I feel sympathetic for Hattie because she has no relationship with her parents. She’s angry, but holds in her feelings. I want her to cry, but she isn’t sure if her parents are dead and Berry won’t tell her.

Baron du Pays comes calling and suddenly wants to be Hattie’s friend and show her the world. He is off-putting, but Hattie can’t figure out why. He offers to drive her to Versailles the next day. She politely accepts knowing she and Bing will have escaped to Cairo to find her parents.

Bing, who is a bit nerdy and gawky, is willing to go because her brother Edward Bing worked with Hattie’s parents in Egypt. Edward sent Bing letters telling of his work in Thebes.

A pleasant surprise to find Berry on the ship to Cairo. He tells Hattie to trust no one and not to tell them anything. She asks him questions, but again only he gets his questions answered. Even though she has her moments of impatience for the most part she is polite. I want her to scream and lash out at everyone for not answering her questions. Taking matters into her own hands she answers the questions for herself.

Meanwhile, she knows she is a foolish girl for trusting Berry. She is pleased he is weakening a little bit more with every meeting. She can’t wait for the moment he gives into temptation. Their first kiss is very passionate and they agree not to speak of it again. The second kiss is revealing and sexy. His mysterious identity adds romance to the relationship. At some point he is rescuing her on a horse in the Valley of the Kings. They end up making love in a small get-away boat at a dangerous moment with a bit of humor.

The use of different languages adds another layer of luxury. Berry uses a French accent, but speaks in Egyptian and his own language. There is also a puzzle involving artifacts that Berry, Hattie and Bing try to figure out to find the daughter of the God-King and perhaps a secret chamber that Napoleon is hiding to fund another war.

The romance, adventure and the setting among the tombs reminds me of Indiana Jones and his romantic adventures. Daughter of the God-King would make a beautiful movie with Thebes as the back drop. Hattie in her feminine, yellow dress and matching parasol against the Egyptian desert would make a stunning scene.

This ordinary, sweet, feisty and cheeky, young woman fights through unusual circumstances making her palpable for today’s twenty-first century woman.

Query with Author Anne Cleeland


I had the pleasure of hearing Author Anne Cleeland speak at an RWA meeting. I learned so much from her fresh experience that I thought the information should be passed on to aspiring authors. It’s my pleasure to introduce Anne Cleeland, author of a historical fiction series and a contemporary mystery series. Here’s Anne in her own words.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Querying

After a few years of trial-and-error, I had two series debut in print this year.  Getting published takes luck and a lot of perseverance, and I weathered many a rejection along the way.  I also perfected my query strategy, and I thought I’d share the main takeaways from my experience.

I have an 80%/20% philosophy—80% of your sale relies on the strength of your story, but 20% relies on the packaging that will convince an agent or editor to open up your story in the first place. These five questions help you to focus on that 20%.

1.  What?

What do you have?  Is it Romance? Historical Fiction? Women’s Literature?  First, figure out the genre and subgenre, and remember that the editors are trying to fill predetermined slots in a publishing line.  It helps your credibility if you can identify what you have:  a “sweet western;” a “Georgian historical;” a “contemporary category.”

Do you have a “hook”?  It should be short and pithy, and give an indication of the subgenre. Remember, you are not telling your story; you are trying to get them to open up your story.  (And you are showing them how they can pitch your story to others.)  The hook for my first sale was: “A Regency version of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.”  It’s very brief but gives the agent/editor an immediate sense of who the readers would be.

2.  Who? 

Do you want to pitch to an editor? To an agent? An agent is helpful to steer you in the right direction, and agents usually have relationships with editors.   To find a suitable agent, use www.publishersmarketplace.com (which costs a nominal fee, but is worth every penny) and http://www.agentquery.com, or any other useful sites that you may find.  Try to have a reason that you are targeting this particular agent, and make sure to tell them what it is. 

3.  Why you?

How can you set yourself apart from the other 100 queries the agent or editor sees every week?  There are different ways to build your own momentum. Personally, I think RWA writing conferences are the best—nothing beats face-to-face contact. Make sure to volunteer at the conferences, and sign up for pitching appointments.  Print up cards, start a website/twitter feed, and meet as many people as you can. Then query the people you meet, and remind them who you were.

Contests are another good way to get noticed; if you final, oftentimes an agent or editor will read your entry.

Do you have an interesting day job? Are you an expert in your field? Make sure to mention this in your query letter.

4.  When?

There are seasons to the publishing industry, so be aware of the times and days that may give your query the best chance.  Avoid the weeks surrounding the RWA national conference, because no one will be reading their email. Also avoid the time of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the London Book Fair, or BEA (Book Expo America).  The publishing industry slows down in summer, December, Mondays or Fridays.  I always had a good response if I queried on a Tuesday, but test it out and see what works best.

5.  Will you violate taboos?

There are certain taboos that everyone will advise you not to break: (1) one query at a time; (2) do not send pages until asked; (3) don’t query the same agent/editor after a rejection; (4) don’t send an email to an agent who says “don’t send me emails” or “I am taking no new clients.”

Personally, I broke every one of these and no one ever was upset with me.  The important thing is to have a good reason as to why you are targeting this particular person, tell them briefly and politely what it is, and (for me, anyway) paste the first chapter of your book at the bottom of your query. My philosophy was nothing ventured, nothing gained, and in the end it paid off.

Please visit www.annecleeland.com, or http://tinyurl.com/lqlumdv to order her books.