Dear Miss Snark,
Rosalia is a finished 56,000 word work of commercial fiction set in modern day New York and written in the tradition of The Godfather. (wtf?)
19-year-old Ro Bellidonno never expected to see the man who killed her brother again, so when her father brings Mickey Sguglia home for dinner one evening, her world is flung upside down for the second time by the same man. (gasp for air here--that's one long sentence) Seven years is a long time to be angry, and in a world where justice is often delivered with a bullet, she intends to see him pay for the death of her twin.
But his return is no accident, and he’s working on a murderous plan of his own. For decades the name Bellidonno has been synonymous with the east coast’s most powerful criminal organization. Now he wants that power for himself, and he’s willing to kill patriarch and heir to get it. Helped by an embittered inside man, Sguglia aims to finish the job he began seven years ago.
Will Ro get her revenge before Sguglia makes his murderous mark on her family again? With deadly intentions from every direction, only one thing is certain: the last word will be spoken in blood.
I have enclosed sample pages and a SASE. Thank you for your time and consideration.
there's no plot. There's no nuance. There's nothing new here to make me want to read on.
You tell me this is in the tradition of The Godfather, but what you describe doesn't sound anything like that.
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…"
Her mother smiled brightly over the cake she balanced carefully as she came into the dining room, her expression oddly lit by the candles arranged around the frosted edge.
The room, meant for entertaining a good sized crowd, was crammed full of her siblings, aunts and uncles, friends of her parents, and cousins, all singing, perhaps all the more boisterously thanks to the wine that flowed freely for the occasion.
"Happy birthday, dear Rosalia…. Happy birthday to you!"
The cake was set before her, and her mother pressed a kiss to her temple with a smile before straightening. Ro tensed at the gesture.
"Alright, then, how 'bout a wish?" Her father came to stand beside his wife, smiling kindly at his youngest daughter. The girl, eyes dark in an echo of her father's, looked at them both quietly, then down to the cake. "Happy 19th Birthday, Rosalia!" was piped across it in red frosting, neat script letters that filled the whole of the cake's surface. No space remaining.
"Remember, Ro, don't tell nobody, it won't came true!" one of the cousins called out, eliciting a few laughs. She did not glance up, only looked over the cake, her gaze moving over it almost methodically. The silence settled, and those huddled close in the crowded room shifted uncomfortably, waiting for her to blow the candles out.
Ro lifted her gaze from the cake and looked around the crowd of people. Familiar faces, background at every event like this her whole life. This was a small gathering, really, low key as Bellidonno family celebrations went. But it was a celebration, a birthdya, and here they were.
At her left, her cousin Dino leaned close for a second. "C'mon, Ro. Make a wish." She glanced over at him, dark eyes cool and placid and slicing, and he sat back. She reached for his glass, and, without a warning or hesitation, poured the wine onto the cake, dampening the candles.
What had been rustling quiet was now silence as rivers of faint red-pink ran among the white and red frosting. "Happy 19th birthday, Rosalia!" the words bled.
Her chair scraped against the floor as she stood, and she shoved through the crowd, out of the dining room. Behind her, her brother wondered again under his breath why they bothered to try, while her father put his arm around his wife, and aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends exchanged looks that spoke a thousand words.
The dark look that clouded the girl's face as she moved quickly through the house and up the stairs was not one unknown to her family. Indeed, they saw it, or some variation of it, often enough to think of it as something close to usual. Perhaps, though, they had hoped for better on her birthday.
and yes, this is why I always ask for pages. That query letter sux big time, and this writing doesn't. It's probably not going to make the cut, but it's a whole lot better than the query letter led me to believe.
I'd read the rest of the pages for sure. You've got action, you've got an interesting take on the tried and true birthday cake image. I'd want to find out why she poured the wine on the cake and why her family has come to expect that kind of thing from her. It's good show, not tell.