#44 Crapometer

Category: single title romance

After a rootless childhood being dragged to a new city with each of her mother's five marriages, Daisy Richards is firmly planted in a suburb of Los Angeles. As head of a small library, her goal is to revitalize reading in the lives of children and adults. She believes popular culture is directly responsible for dumbing down America. Her quiet controlled life changes completely the day sports entertainment star Mike "Goliath" Morgan walks into her library.

After a wrestling accident on live TV, Samson and Goliath's careers may be over. With bills for his brother Sam's care piling up, Mike has been offered a part in a movie, which would more than help to pay for things. He just has one problem; he needs to learn how to read. He's relieved when the cute but fierce librarian says she'll help him, and she won't reveal his secret shame.

In no time, Daisy's neatly ordered world starts to come unglued. Goliath takes up too much space in the conference room at their reading lessons and in her kitchen when he helps her niece, Amy, make cookies for a Bake Sale. Children love him, her cat adores him, and the neighbor's dog does what the big man tells him to. Even she is beginning to warm toward him. When Mike reads his first picture book and impulsively kisses Daisy, the librarian discovers she's in big trouble.

Since receiving an earful of Daisy's sentiments about pop-culture in general--and Hollywood in particular--Mike hasn't told her about his upcoming movie role. As he slowly learns his lines, he discovers the script doesn't resemble the high-concept pitch. What's worse, he--a committed vegetarian--is playing the part of a cannibal! But he signed on for this supporting part, and he needs the money for Sam.

As a big library fundraiser nears, Daisy puts out one fire after another. Then, in a stunning blow, her emcee is arrested.

For the second time, she spies Mike in the children's section. This time he's acting out a story while her niece reads to an enthralled crowd of kids and their parents. Daisy asks Mike to emcee, and he agrees.

Ticket sales explode once word gets out that Goliath is part of the event. Daisy is happy, yet dismayed that the draw for the evening is wrestling and not books.

Knowing this, Mike hurts for Daisy. When the big night arrives, he goes public about his illiteracy in an emotional and unplanned testimonial about the value of reading and libraries. He tells the audience to give until it hurts, and they do.

Daisy is profoundly touched by this tribute. There's a sellout crowd and the silent auction items--including Mike's wrestling workshop--are going for overvalue.

Later that night, intoxicated by success from the fundraiser and no longer able to control their growing passion and feelings for each other, they make hot, tender love.

The next morning over breakfast with Mike, Daisy reads a mention of Mike's upcoming film in the paper. At first she doubts it--after all, you can't believe everything you read. But he confirms the truth, and she can't contain her disappointment.

She'd thought that in teaching him to read she was changing his life for the better, even changing the world for the better. But wasting his talents in a cannibal flick shows he's not as smart as she thought he was. Daisy is upset that Mike is a philistine after all. Since she knew she had no business getting involved with him, this hurts all the more.

Mike knows Daisy is right. It's a stupid film and he's stupid for being in it. And it's painfully clear that as much as he admires and respects her, they don't belong together.

Two weeks later, filming is done and the day of the Wrestling Workshop has arrived. Mike is surprised to see Daisy with the parents. Impulsively, he asks her out to dinner and surprisingly she agrees.

That night, Mike tells Daisy he's leaving in the morning; he's going back to wrestling. He wants nothing more to do with movies or Hollywood. The experience was awful, and he'd just as soon never do it again.

Daisy is stunned. She'd come to apologize, prepared to accept his burgeoning career, now she must accept he's going to be wrestling again? To bleed for money? What's worse, it means he'll be leaving and going back on the road.

Knowing it's their last, they spend the night making love with bittersweet tenderness. Mike uses his finger to trace "I love you" on a sleeping Daisy's back before he leaves in the morning.

Daisy's life feels empty with Mike gone. When her gypsy mother arrives out of the blue, Daisy unburdens herself. She realizes that in trying not to be like her mother, she's not been true to herself. She loves the big man with all her heart. Changing her life so there's room for him is the smart thing to do. She must tell him she can't live without him.

Life on the road is grueling. Mike misses Daisy. He loves her, but that isn't enough. They are in two different worlds. If he were smarter he would have more options. He can only read at a second grade level. He doesn't have enough to offer a woman like her.

Then at a match, in the sea of signs held by the fans, he spots one that gets his attention: "Mike Marry Me?" He catches a glimpse of Daisy just before he's knocked cold.

Mike regains consciousness to hear Daisy telling him she loves him just the way he is.

A letter brings good news: because of his impressive work with the children at the wrestling workshop, a private school in L.A. wants to hire Mike as their coach. Now he can grow roots with Daisy, finish school, even get a teaching credential.

In an epilogue, they marry in a small ceremony in Daisy's garden.

This is a good crisp synopsis. Not much voice, but as I recall, the first page of this is pretty good, so you'd be ok with this.

I’d be watching very very carefully for clich├ęs and snobbishness in the novel itself; it’s pretty easy to get worked up about “dumbing down” and “crass cannibal movies”. The trick is to give Daisy enough substance that her antipathy toward pop culture feels real, not just a set up for the eventual character development.

Plus, not many librarians I know are snobs. Literary agents, university english professors, and writers of literary fiction--snob with a capital Sneer, you bet. Librarians, nope.

Your whole premise is based on Mike's brother Samson not having medical insurance. I'm guessing those guys are insured to the max if only for the liability issue of the wrestling federation.


Simon Haynes said...

I'm no romance reader, but this synopsis is the first through the crapometer which hooked my interest. Maybe I'm a sucker for libraries, wrestling heroes and cannibal movies ;-)

Anatidaeling said...

I love librarian romances, and I can't wait to read this (once it's published.)

Other good ones from this subgenre

The Dewey Decimal System of Love by Josephine Carr

The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken

Demented M said...

I thought this was great, but the 'obstacle' to their love felt fabricated. Surely in our modern society, rational people can understand that it's possible to be a reader and a pop culture addict? I manage to balance the two quite nicely, thank you.

Or is the heroine a wingnut who thinks TV is Satan?

So, believeability (sp?) was iffy for me, puritans like Daisy make me nervous. The romantic conflict felt contrived.

Good synopsis though. Good luck with it, sounds like there's a market for it. I never knew librarian romances were hot.



Bernita said...


Beth Amos said...

Two thumbs up!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I'm not a romance reader either, but that was great!

I got a shiver when he revealed his inability at the fundraiser, and the "Marry me Mike" sign drew and Ahhh.

I hope you find success with this!

Anonymous said...

I loved this! I hope the writer reveals her identity so we can look for this when it is published!

Anonymous said...

I am a romance reader ;-) and while this looks to be an entertaining read, the thing that stuck out to me was that it appears to be more of a category romance than a single title. No subplots, secondary characters, etc.

Douglas Hoffman said...

It seems to me that romances often fall down at the boy-loses-girl phase. To me, that was the only weak point in this synopsis. What, she's not understanding enough of Mike's financial needs to overlook the fact he's not in a Merchant Ivory film? This did not seem like a convincing enough reason for them to break up. When the boy-loses-girl part feels forced, I feel manipulated.

Anonymous said...

Librarians are the bomb!

And yes on writers of literary fiction being major major snobs.

McKoala said...

What happens to Sam?

Gina Black said...

Answers, comments here...

Simon: I confess. I'm a sucker for librarians, wrestlers, and cannibal movies too. Plus, this is actually a pirate and cannibal movie, which is even better.

Bernita, Beth, and Bonnine: so glad you liked it.

anonymous #1: 'tis I. :)

Anatidaeling: thanks for the booklist. I haven't read any of those.

Demented M: actually, it's probably me who is the wingnut who thinks TV is Satan...but then again, I've worked in television for 30 years, so I've earned the right to think so. ;) My heroine thinks people are wasting their time by watching TV when they could be reading books. I have to agree--although there are exceptions.

Anonymous #2: thanks for your comments. There are secondary characters and subplots, but there isn't room to explore that and the relationship in less than 1000 words. At least I haven't figured out how to do that.

Douglas: I'll work on that aspect of the synopsis. Truly, there's a huge educational divide between the two, plus Mike's need to be on the road and Daisy's need to be rooted are at odds.

Anonymous #3: Are you a librarian by any chance? ;)

McKoala: Although Sam makes slow but steady progress in the rehabilitation center, it's clear he will never fully recover. If this book (which, BTW, is called Daisy and Goliath) sells, Sam gets the sequel, which is Samson and Delaney. It's going to be quite a challenge to write a romance with a brain injured hero...

Everybody, thank you for taking the time to comment. Best to you in your own writing endeavors.

And Miss Snark, thank you so much for spending your winter holiday reading all these synopses and providing critique. I have learned so much by being a Snarkling. Applause, applause, applause.

madame manga said...

Pro wrestlers do not have company-provided medical insurance. They are independent contractors, legally speaking, and the wrestling promoters don't have to provide any sort of workman's comp (though WWE tends to keep injured wrestlers on the payroll just to avoid looking like Scrooge.) So this element of the story is unfortunately accurate.