HH Com 202 (198)

Email Enticement puts the relationship between a Greek billionaire and a Dixie Darlin' on trial and shows why sending love letters by email may be more dangerous than hanging onto that blue dress.

On his deathbed, a father sought one promise from his only son - that he continue family tradition by marrying the lady he loves at first sight. Years of failing to keep that promise finally end on a fuzzy night in Vegas when Alex Angelis weds a Southern belle in a gin soaked act of rebellion. After settling unhappily into marriage, he rescues his wife's half sister from a precarious foster home and the promise he couldn't keep is fulfilled in an instant. No longer a child but not quite a woman, Rachel seizes his heart at first sight. Still, he honors his marriage and fights his feelings until he learns that his wife takes her lovers in his bed. Then he files for divorce.

Conscious of her youth and restrained by his conscience, he plays a waiting game by dabbling in romance in private until she gives him an ultimatum. To keep her, he must court her publicly. When he does, he is arrested for using email to entice her to commit sexual acts. Her consent would refute the charge - if only she hadn't disappeared. Now he faces a trial where he must admit the jury and the viewing world into his heart and his bedroom. Rachel's testimony would clear him, but where is she?

Lolita meets You've Got Mail.

This is a mess. Start with Alex meeting Lolita, wait I mean Rachel. All that other stuff about his father and his impetous marriage is backstory.

Then figure out a plot that doesn't depend on the police suddenly swooping in to arrest a guy for emails. You're really confused on how that kind of sting operation works. The police (or in that case in Idaho-the newspaper editor) are on one side of the conversation, the target on the other. In your case you've got email between two people. How are the police even going to know?


cm allison said...

Unless you're the Chief of Police in Portland OR, where the female calls the news WITH the e-mails....Ouch! Otherwise, someone looking over someone's shoulder as they send love letters? Breaking passwords? key stroke sofeware at work? (Hope not at mine, I'm supposed to be working as I type this! But it's deader than a door nail today)
So, how do the e-mails get public?

Anonymous said...

I also have to say that I can't see this working in the romance market. Most editors won't touch forced consent with a bargepole these days, never mind a love-story for the grooming paedophile market.

I'd suggest making the girl older - younger than him but legal - and making the problems something to do with the media or his divorce.

wavybrains said...

What's your target market for this? Is this a romance targeted for the adult market? Because underage heroines (under 18) are a big no-no. If she's over 18, there's no taboo, but also no problem with enticement and no crime to prosecute. The YA market is also unlikely to touch anything with a more than five year age gap. There have been a number of hollywood movies that successfully played this card (Shopgirl, My First Mister etc)--but I've seen it less in fiction. My two cents would be to try to hook this as a literary fiction--right now it sounds like traditional romance which is going to be a hard sell for you.

If you really want to pursue this, you're also going to need to commit to some more research in the area--talk to someone in a U.S. Attorney's office about the internet crimes they prosecute. They'll tell you that if she's under 18, her consent doesn't mean anything. Dude gets a one-way ticket to conviction if she's a minor. Pick a specific state to set this in and follow their laws about consent/solicitiation. They'll also tell you that they need a tip or some other piece of evidence to seize his computer. Do your legal research.

XIQAY said...

I'm finding it hard to like a guy who's attracted to a too-young girl.

This would be a NO.

Twill said...

Of course, there's also the question of whether they can demonstrate that he knew she was under age, and the question of whether she really was under age.

It's clear that the plot point you left as a mystery (how'd the police know about he emails) is what ties the story together. I assume you know the answer, and I assume that's the key that gets him out of the jam, but that's also the key that makes the plot believable or not.

Good luck!.

Crys said...

she's too young! gak!

Anonymous said...

Actually, the case of the mayor getting ousted from office due to inappropriate e-mails and being outed by the newspaper was in Spokane, Washington. Not Idaho. We have enough troubles here. Washington can keep theirs.


Anonymous said...

Thanks to Miss Snark for the review. Sorry it took a couple of days to post but the end of the year is tough going even for me -- and I'm not facing 700 of these!

The book is based in SC where this is a crime - a felony actually. SC's version of the FBI (SLED) and the real life FBI have a joint task force housed here. I'm a lawyer and this offense was presented at a CLE. The interesting issue at the seminar was that the crime is accomplished by pressing "send". No intent is required; no travel is required. It criminalizes the communication. First Amendment anyone? Consent is a defense under the statute if the minor is 16 or over. I made Rachel 17 because that's the niche in the statute where a story would be.

How'd they know about the emails? Well, Rachel is the ex-wife's half sister, after all and the ex was pretty upset after the divorce. 'Course, after Alex went public with courting her half-sister, the ex was ready to spit nails -- or bullets as the case may be. Inflicting a little pain, or a lot of it, on her half-sister to produce such scandalous information was a small price to pay for a chance at revenge.

Thanks to everyone and a million thanks to Miss Snark. I learned that I can be wordy (and semi-coherent) or brief (and babble).


Anonymous said...

wavybrains suggested "making this literary fiction", but you can't just wave a wand and make it thus. If your writing is like this hook, agents will tell you you've got a contemporary, not a literary, voice.

And the plot doesn't sound very literary. It sounds like chick-lit or mystery.

Anonymous said...

The story opens during the divorce and relates that trial. Then it follows the courtship which is cut off by the female protagonist's disappearance and the criminal charges. The story proceeds with the criminal trial where the male protagonist learns that perception is in the eye of the beholder.

I've been thinking of it as straddling the fence between contemporary/mainstream and literary. However, I'm about as far from an "expert" at pinning down a genre as it comes, so it is always possible (perhaps even likely) that I've been thinking of it bass-ackwards.........


Anonymous said...

ewwwww! never in a million years would you sell this, it's utterly distasteful and says far too much about the author's fantasies (after all, if you wanted to write about the criminalisation of the communication, you wouldn't have to make your bloke-who-wants-to-commit-statutory-rape the hero...)