Once again, I’m working on the elevator pitch to Shifting Mars’ Sands. The revision below more accurately reflect the contents of the story, hopefully highlighting the compelling aspects of it.
Fresh off the end of her marriage contract, Gretchen Blake is unable to get archaeology work on Earth because her last dig leader refuses to be upstaged by her discovery. She travels to Mars to help a struggling company, named MarsVantage, to leverage a large cavern of energy-producing crystals by deciphering strange symbols on a cave door fronting the cavern. Once inside, she finds a message whose meaning is unclear. Before she and Frank, her current project leader with whom she’s falling in love, can return to Mars City to claim the crystals, MarsVantage’s competition sabotages them, aiming to murder them and steal their discovery. They capture the saboteur and escape his trap. After analyzing the cavern message, Gretchen catches a MarsVantage employee spying for the competition before she and Frank lead a team to excavate a buried alien city. They encounter a centuries-old caretaker and strike a deal to take control of his city after he leaves to search for his people. Gretchen remains on Mars where she can reap the rewards of her work to understand a civilization.
I’m more pleased with this elevator pitch—I’m closing in on the final version. I have a shot at memorizing it too, though memorization was never a strong suit of mine. Perhaps I can get a portable teleprompter… 🙂