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Let’s say an author has spent about 100,000 words give or take to tell a story about her favorite 8th century dysfunctional royal family and now must distill it to a heck of a lot less than that. This has been my task as I get Queen of the Darkest Hour ready for publication this summer. I’ve come up with a few options.

Short version for Amazon listing and my homepage (no tagline)

Option 1 (78 words, about 63-66 will show on a laptop, even less on a smartphone)

Francia, 783: As wars loom, Queen Fastrada faces a peril within the castle walls: King Charles’s eldest son, Pepin. Blaming his father for the curse that twisted his spine, Pepin rejects a prize archbishopric and plots to seize the throne. Can Fastrada stop the conspiracy before it destroys the realm?

Based on historic events during Charlemagne’s reign, Queen of the Darkest Hour is a story of family strife endangering an entire country—and the price to save it.

Option 2 (92 words, again about 63-66 will show on a laptop)

Francia, 783: Haunted by the Saxons’ attack on her home fortress, Fastrada marries Charles, king of the Franks. As more wars loom, Fastrada’s greatest peril lurks within the castle walls: her stepson Pepin. Blaming his father for the curse that twisted his spine, Pepin rejects a prize archbishopric and plots to seize the throne. Can Fastrada stop the conspiracy before it destroys the kingdom?

Based on historic events during Charlemagne’s reign, Queen of the Darkest Hour is a story of family conflict endangering an entire country—and the price to save it.

Longer version (with tagline, for website and maybe other places, like the back of the book–128 words total)

Family Strife Imperils the Realm

Francia, 783: Haunted by the Saxons’ attack on her home fortress, Fastrada obeys her father and marries Charles, king of the Franks and a widower with seven children and an eighth on the way by a concubine. As more wars loom, Fastrada’s greatest peril lurks within the castle walls: Pepin, son of Charles and the first woman he divorced. Blaming his father for the curse that twisted his spine, Pepin rejects a prize archbishopric and plots with his uncle and mother to seize the throne. Can Fastrada stop the conspiracy before it destroys the kingdom?

Based on historic events during Charlemagne’s reign, Queen of the Darkest Hour is a story of a family conflict endangering an entire country—and the price to save it.

I would love to know what you think. The top question: Do you want to read the story after reading a few words?

19th century illustration of court ladies

From Braun and Schneider’s 19th century History of Costume (public domain image)

 

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