Okay, so this thread's all about synopses that SOLD a book or series. All of us have been forced to learn to write a synopsis, and everyone hates it.

But I thought that seeing some different examples would help a lot of aspiring authors, because there are as many ways to write a synopsis as there are ways to write a book. So, here's the first of what I hope will be many examples of synopses that either sold, or helped sell a romance/women's fiction novel! I should note that my co-author Cie and I had already sold two books to Tor when I wrote this. The sale of our first book was an anomaly that didn't play by the regular rules of publishing. But to sell the SECOND series, we did have to play by the rules.

Now, you're going to find that I don't write a synopsis like any you've probably seen. I'd never read any books about how to when I wrote it, and hadn't yet joined any writing forums like AW to ask questions. However, I still like our method better than others I've seen, so feel free to use the format for your own synopsis. This is exactly 2 pages, single spaced. But the story changed a bit from the synopsis to the final version, because it wasn't completed when this was written.



This first in a series, full length (100,000+) paranormal adventure is set in the city of Denver, CO. It’s told in first person, from the heroine’s POV. It is late summer in the present time, in an alternate reality.

Mary Kathleen ("Kate") Reilly: The female heroine is approximately 28. She is a former professional beach volleyball player, who retired after severe shoulder injuries. She is presently self-employed as a bonded air courier. She’s 6'1", with green eyes and red-gold hair that she often wears in a braid. She continues to keep fit by running and working out in a home gym. She is a devout Irish Catholic, and owns a converted warehouse in lower downtown ("LoDo") in Denver. In addition to her own apartment, she has four other rentals in the building. Kate has a great abundance of psychic talent, which was discovered by the Thrall, a self-aware parasitic society which preys on humans. Kate has been attacked in order to make her the Thrall queen. But to become the queen would mean that she would lose her own consciousness, and is the equivalent of being dead to her. She is considered, "Not Prey" by the queen collective, because she killed the previous Thrall queen of Denver, but has a penchant for wearing biker leathers due to her paranoia of future vampire attacks.

Tom Bishop: Tom Bishop is approximately 30 years old. He is an extremely handsome firefighter in Denver, with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. He is a known lycanthrope. Tom is the ultimate search and rescue dog during fires and disasters. He retains his mental capability, which is unusual for a wolf in this reality. Tom is one of the tenants in Kate’s building. He and Kate have flirted for over a year, and he’s very interested in her, but he has not been allowed to do so by his pack leader. In this reality, the wolf pack is a matriarchal society, but the females are sterile, and they must have a human surrogate to increase the pack size. The female leader, or "Acca", will not allow Tom to date until the surrogate has chosen a mate from among the single males.

Dylan Shea
: Formerly Kate’s fianc
é, he cheated on her with Kate’s best friend Amanda Quinn, and left Kate when he chose to become part of the Thrall herd – a blood donor to the queen. He is approximately 29, with wavy black hair and sapphire blue eyes. He’s regretted leaving Kate for Amanda, but knows he’s hurt her too much to go back to her. Or has he?

The book opens with Kate returning home from a delivery of gemstones to Tel Aviv. At the airport, she discovers she is being followed by a Thrall Host. Her psychic connection to the Thrall collective acts as an "early radar" for nearby humans which have been absorbed by one of the parasites. She is able to escape the Host, but in her trip home from the airport (miles outside the city), another Host runs her off the road. While she is not injured, the police insist she be checked at a hospital. Kate has two brothers, Bryan and Joe. Bryan is a mental invalid who is cared for at the local church. Joe is a doctor at a particular hospital, so that’s where she goes. She’s attacked there by the Thrall queen, Monica, who uses one of the nurses under mind control to attempt to inject Kate with a drug to make her woozy so that Monica can implant queen eggs in an arm vein. Monica hates Kate with an almost psychotic passion. When Kate killed the former queen, all of the Hosts and Herd which were attached to the former queen also died, leaving Monica alone, and driving her nearly insane. Making Kate the next queen is the perfect revenge.

Once home, Kate receives a message from her former fianc
é, Dylan Shea, asking to meet with her the next day. He doesn’t give a reason. Considering the difficult way they broke off their engagement, and the fact that they haven’t seen each other since, Kate is more than a little nervous, but also curious. The following day, she runs into Tom Bishop in the lobby. He invites himself to her apartment for breakfast. Kate is surprised, but pleased at the turn of events, since he hasn’t ever shown much interest in her other than as his landlord and running partner. He seems to struggle within himself, but eventually kisses her. An erotic scene ensues which is interrupted before consummation by the arrival of Joe, ready to accompany Kate to meet with Dylan. This is not what Tom wanted to hear, and he leaves in a huff.

Feeling angry, nervous and afraid, Kate travels to a local pool hall to meet Dylan. She is pleased at her lack of emotion at seeing him again. She’s introduced to Dylan’s brother-in-law, Matt Quinn. This is quite a shock to Kate, who hadn’t realized that Dylan married the woman he left Kate for. However, it makes her life easier, knowing there’s no future with him. Dylan convinces her to help he and Matt find his young niece, Dusty Quinn. Kate realizes through a mental impression from Dylan that somehow the Thrall hive is involved with Dusty’s disappearance, but she doesn’t know in what way, because Dylan is suddenly paralyzed by Monica, making further questioning impossible. Eventually, Kate realizes that Monica is at the end of her life. In case she cannot capture Kate, she has arranged another possible queen candidate, Dusty.

Kate soon learns that Dusty is being protected by the local werewolf pack after agreeing to become their human surrogate. Kate uses all of her sources in Denver to find try to find Dusty, and it sets her at odds with Tom, who is protecting the girl. Kate doesn’t know that Tom has been forbidden from pursuing her by his pack leader, the Acca. But he’s afraid that the situation will prevent him from ever getting a shot at Kate, and gives in to his feelings for her, in an intense lovemaking scene. But he doesn’t know how his pack leader will react.

Dylan is intent on keeping Dusty safe. But as part of Monica’s herd, he fight her mental commands to deliver either Kate or Dusty. He does the only thing he can think of – he contracts with another Queen and becomes a Host, severing him from Monica’s influence, but guaranteeing his death. When Dylan meets Kate in a clothing store to give her information to help her find Dusty, they end up kissing passionately. Neither of them realized that his transformation makes him able to feel things for Kate that he’s never comprehended, and her attraction to him in return unnerves her because of her disgust for any Thrall and the fact that he’s married.

Kate finally arranges with Tom to meet with the Acca of the werewolves to prove to herself that Dusty is safe and unable to be turned by Monica. The meeting doesn’t start as planned, because of several subplot stalls, the first of which involves Kate being pressured to deliver divorce papers to a long standing client, despite her reluctance. Next, one of Monica’s Hosts has kidnaped Kate’s brother Bryan and Kate must rescue him. Fortunately, manages to get him back before the Host delivers him to Monica. When she finally reaches the werewolf meeting, she learns that the Acca is not pleased with her or Tom for becoming involved. She warns Kate that despite their feelings for each other, Tom is not yet available and any further interference by Kate will have dire results. Kate doesn’t know how to respond to this ultimatum, but does ensure that Dusty is safe with the wolves.

Kate spots a glint of light in a nearby window and recognizes it as a rifle scope. She yells a warning just as a shot rings out. Dusty is only shot in the shoulder due to the Acca’s quick action, and the wolves change in a flash and attack the gunman. The police arrive because of the gun shot, and Kate is taken to a room to await interrogation. She spends the time trying to sort out her feelings for both Tom and Dylan. She is fortunate that the detective who arrives to question her is another Not Prey who recognizes her. They agree to assist each other in removing Monica from Denver, however they must. Monica arrives at the scene just as they are leaving. She has captured Tom and has brought dozens of Hosts with a final threat: agree to be queen or she’ll order the Hosts to slaughter Tom, the police, the other wolves, and every human in sight. Monica has nothing left to lose, and Kate knows she will carry out the threat. She agrees to allow Monica to lay eggs in her vein, with a number of stipulations. Only the wolves, the detective and Father Mike are allowed to help.

But Monica didn’t plan on Dylan’s free will as part of another hive. He manages to free Tom, but the reader later learns that he was killed during the rescue. Tom gets into the church via the belfry and attacks the vampire who is keeping the others from helping Kate. In a tense scene, Kate’s brain fluctuates between her own thoughts and that of the queen hatchling. The detective is able to remove all but the strongest queen hatchling by dissolving the eggs in whiskey. A tourniquet prevents the hatchling from reaching the brain, so it explodes through her skin and tries to crawl in her mouth. But Bryan throws the bowl of whiskey into Kate’s face, killing the hatchling. The ending is tinged in sorrow for Dylan’s death, but is warm when Tom reveals his love, despite the future wrath of his Acca.