I received a very encouraging rejection letter from the publisher who asked for the first three chapters of "Let's Do Lunch." Here is the good news: "We loved the opening pages, the setting, your (sic) writing style and the premise."
It seems that I have corrected the hook issue on the opening pages – but there are still problems. Pacing is the big problem, but then there was this:
"We also could have sworn the scruffy ponytailed customer was going to come back the next day (cleaned up and looking stunning) as the hero who was interviewing for the cook position! As a secondary character, he really took over the scene and left us a little disappointed with the actual hero."
That rascal Tag McTaggart stole the show so thoroughly that Brandon fell flat on his pompous rump. No one wants Lindsey to fall for Brandon; everyone likes Tag, even when he's waitress-baiting.
I wrote them a thank you note – with this caveat : "That first act is a bit of a fooler. The scruffy customer is Tag McTaggart, the Hero. He is a very strong and compelling character, isn't he? Brandon, the cook, is the villain, he uses the restaurant as a front to sell drugs. I guess that plot twist didn't work, so sorry." Then I told them I was grateful for the encouragement.
I thought that would be the end of it – guess not. This came in: "We're excited to know Mr. Scruffy turns out to be the real hero! If you can tighten the pace, that plot twist will likely work well, and we'll look forward to your resubmittal. Thanks, again."
WOW! I have work to do.
FYI - I will be in Ashtabula from July 15th through the 20th – researching the Harbor for "Swallow the Moon" and going to a high school reunion. I need to take some pictures of buildings, specifically the old Fire Station, and the Iroquois Club. I'm playing with the idea of creating a Face Book page for "Swallow the Moon" as a promotion.