What the Judges Are Saying:
~ After the Fall ~
WOW! Your 50 pages just flew by so fast! Trust me when I say that NOT all of the submissions read this quickly. Your writing style really moves at a fast clip - well done. Of course, your story premise will be compared to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series. But unlike Ms. Gabaldon's first book, I did not have to suspend reason and believe that her heroine fell into a historical group of people who spoke and understood modern English. Gigi has to learn Latin! With the advent of HBO's series "Rome", there is an audience for this time period and you do a great job of depicting the realities of this time.
When I can read quickly through scene after scene, devouring a story, not only are you a good storyteller, but the mechanics of writing don't show - it's effortless in feel and I literally want to gobble up the novel.
The unfolding of story and this romantic relationship, as well as the protagonists’ higher purposes, is done so well. Intriguing? Page turning? Sustain a 300+ page novel? Yes, yes, yes. I’m not usually a reader of historical epics, especially set in ancient cultures, but this is a novel I wouldn’t put down till the end. Congratulations.
The writing was very good and the characters distinct. Gigi is a wonderful, sympathetic and likeable character. Regarding being punk’d - great idea. Where is Ashton Kutcher when you need him!
After I started reading I couldn't stop and wanted more. Gigi thinking she was being punk'd was great. Author... you have done a ton of research on this and it shows. Good job and I wish you all the best with this... I haven't read a time-travel that I liked since Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I liked this one...
Your characterization is very good. Goal/Motivation/Conflict: Distinctive and creative! Pace great; I was moving right along with the story. When I read the synopsis, I was not sure I would like the story. I am not extremely familiar with 400 AD, the development of the Catholic Church and Roman history but you made it seamless and real for me. I like the use of pagan and Christian - it lends a division that builds tension and political intrigue. I actually looked up some facts (beginning of the church, etc.) just to check and you were smack on. Your voice is easy to read and comfortable. I didn't have any problem believing Gigi and Magnus speak different languages but I understood everything said with an easy flow. Nice touch. It is clear there will be a romantic link between Gigi and Magnus. He cares. She is lost. Good plot.
~ The Other Side of Heaven ~
This is by far the most engaging contest entry I've read - ever. A riveting story.
Your opening scene rocks!
Time travel and witches are popular now. It is different that the action is in Italy and not the usual Scotland or Ireland.
What a wonderful story! You have a delightful voice. There is little to quibble with here and I'm privileged to have the opportunity to read your submission. I hope that you will soon find representation and get "the call."
Excellent work that overcame my distaste for time travel; intriguing concept incorporating song lyrics. Professional presentation, clean copy, well researched and written. I’ll look for your work on bookshelves in near future.
Your writing reminds me of Maria V. Snyder and her Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study series. Well done!
And, from Author Debbie Macomber:
(The Other Side of Heaven)... isn’t my cup of tea, reading-wise, but you’ve done such a good job that I wanted to keep reading. Overall impression, excellent. You did a wonderful job. I could almost believe I was in pre-Renaissance Italy. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this story sold.
~ The Thornless Rose ~
The only way this story can be improved is to be printed. If the rest of the manuscript continues with the same quality then it is ready for publication. I want to read more, please J
This entry has the makings of a great story; an intriguing mystery and lost love. The writer has a way with language and is able to describe a location so that the reader feels a part of the action. The dialogue is fun to read. The reader can distinguish between the different classes of speech. The heroine Anne is a powerful modern woman, witty, resourceful and smart. The prologue and descriptions of Jonathan make him an interesting male lead. He is an obvious hero, but also strong enough to know when to save himself.
Great writing. Nice mixture of today with history. Time travel scenes are handled well. It reminds me of the Meg Ryan movie "Kate and Leopold."
This was a really well written story that had enough intrigue and romance to keep the reader going. The writer has a great way with language and was able to create physical and emotional descriptions that gave the reader great insight into the characters.