Mar 31, 2009

Revision 2 - BROKEN

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.
Click here to read the third revision.

Dear [agent],

Psychologist Alec Sumner is standing on a busy London street, holding his friend Mirabell’s emerald green purse, and thinking about his last failed love affair when he sees Eli Burke take down a mugger with his cane. Alec is intrigued.

Thanks to the mechanizations of Ilsa, a former classmate and the owner of a house with a room for rent, he soon finds himself living with the handsome young man and races past intrigued to falling hard. Great, right? Wrong. Ilsa wants Alec to use his expertise and help Eli come to terms with seeing his lover murdered and nearly dying himself – all without Eli knowing what he's up to, of course.

Though he doesn’t buy into covert therapy, Alec struggles to find a way to help Eli heal without destroying his own romantic hopes for the two of them.

BROKEN is a 63,000 word work of gay fiction that reminds us that no matter what scars a person may carry, there are people out there who will support you through the pain, guide you past the fear, and love you back to life ... if you’re willing to live.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Mar 30, 2009

Revision 3--Larkin Shift and the Hall of Two Truths

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.
Click here to read the second revision.

An unknowing descendant of the WenWet priestesses, Larkin Shift doesn’t want to be different. She doesn’t want to develop her magical powers, but they have a mind of their own and her 8th grade teacher, Mr. Amurat, the one person that can help her, has been lured to the Egyptian underworld. He is a pawn in Principal Reameny’s plan to overtake Ra, the sun god, plunging Earth into darkness and chaos and it’s up to Larkin and her three friends to get him back safely.

The rescue mission begins with an unexpected consequence—Benny’s death—and though Ra’s light temporarily revives him, there is only hours until his condition becomes permanent.

Hindered by an ever-changing landscape with destructive mythical inhabitants and guided by an untrustworthy shape-shifting cat, Larkin must develop her powers to defeat the evil Principal Reameny, get Benny home alive, and overcome an unexpected betrayal—all before the next sunrise.

Larkin Shift and The Hall of Two Truths is a 45,000 word middle grade novel and is the first in a planned series.

This will be my final revision because I don't want to hog valuable space. Thanks to all who have helped me fine-tune and I wish everyone a lot of success!

Thoughts?

BFrischCPC@nycap.rr.com

Mar 29, 2009

Revision 1-BROKEN

Click here to read the original query.
A second revision has been posted. Click here to read it.
Click here to read the most recent revision.

Dear [agent],
Psychologist Alec Sumner was standing on a busy London street, holding his friend Mirabell’s emerald green purse, and thinking about his last failed love affair when he saw Eli Burke take down a mugger with his cane. Alec was intrigued.
A few weeks later, he finds himself living with the handsome young man and three other housemates: Tony, a self-absorbed gifted artist; Lyle, the artist’s often exasperated best friend; and Ilsa, Alec’s former college chum and owner of the house.
Hoping for romance, Alec quickly learns that Eli is not and the heartbreaking reasons why.
BROKEN is a 63,000 word work of gay fiction that reminds us that no matter what scars mark you, there may be people out there who will support you through the pain, guide you past the fear, and love you back to life ... if you are willing.
Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,

Revised Query--HENRY HAS NO HAIR

Click here to read the original query.

Thank you to everyone who posted feedback on my first query draft. I found the dialogue quite thought-provoking and it led me to do a complete re-write on the manuscript, involving a switch in point-of-view. Below I have included the newly drafted query (which reflects the drastic MS changes) and the first 200 words.

QUERY:

Dear Mr. Agent,

Life must be tough for Henry, the new kid. His baldhead looks silly and a bit odd. Lauren and I giggle about him on the way to school until her brother makes us stop. He said Henry’s probably sick or something.

But he doesn’t act sick. And he doesn’t seem to notice the other kids’ stares and teasing. He’s the best at kickball during recess and he sits with the loner at lunchtime. There sure is something different about Henry, besides his lack of hair. On the bus ride home, I find out what it is. He’s actually happy he’s bald. Weird. He tells me he’s glad there is no hair to get in his face or provide a target for his baby sister’s reaching hands to pull. Apparently, hats always fit him and he makes a great pirate for Halloween. He’s even got me believing that it would be nice to not worry about hair. Henry is most unique because he’s just happy to be Henry—and that makes me happy, too. Funny how that is.

HENRY HAS NO HAIR is complete at 1075 words. Readers witness a young girl’s prejudices and how they are challenged by a boy who does not allow the cosmetic debility of alopecia areata totalis to define who he is. Instead, she is roused by the way Henry embraces his unusual physical trait and is empowered by it. A subject close to my heart and home, my husband and I have the joy of raising our first son, a balding toddler with the spirit to take on the world.

Because of your interest in children’s picture books, as listed on your Publisher’s Marketplace page, I invite you to consider representing this manuscript, which is available upon request.

Thank you for your consideration and time.



FIRST 200 WORDS:

Who is that, I wondered as I walked to the bus stop. I haven’t seen him before. He must be new. I eyed him up and down. What’s wrong with him? He looks funny and a little bit weird. He must be sick, I decided.

After he said goodbye to his mom, he looked at me and smiled. I turned so quickly I almost tripped on my way to stand under the tree by Lauren and her older brother, Thomas.

On the bus, the boy sat a few rows in front of us.

“Did you see his head?” Lauren giggled. “He’s balder than my daddy!”

“Mine, too,” I chuckled back.

“Shh, you guys.” Thomas reprimanded. “He’s probably got leukemia or something. You shouldn’t be laughing at him.”

“He still looks silly, even if he is sick,” Lauren whispered to me with a gleam in her eyes.

I watched him talk excitedly to an older kid in the seat next to him. His book bag rested on the floor in front of him with a red baseball cap hooked to one of its straps.

If I were him, I wouldn’t ever take off my hat, I thought.

Mar 28, 2009

Revision2--Larkin Shift and the Hall of Two Truths.

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.
Click here to read the third revision.

An unknowing descendant of the ancient WenWet priestesses, Larkin Shift doesn’t want to be different. She doesn’t want to develop her magical powers, but they have a mind of their own and her 8th grade teacher, Mr. Amurat, the one person that can help her, has disappeared. Intuition says he’s used an ancient amulet to enter Duat, the Egyptian underworld, and it’s up to her and her friends to get him back safely.

But the rescue mission begins with an unexpected consequence—Benny’s death—and when Ra’s light temporarily revives him, there is only hours until his condition becomes permanent.

Larkin resolves to get Benny out of Duat alive and discovers she’s been lured into a trap by the nefarious Principal Reameny, a dark force disguised as a human with plans to overtake the sun god and rule Earth in eternal darkness and chaos.

Hindered by a dangerous, ever-changing landscape filled with destructive mythical creatures and guided by a shape-shifting cat, Larkin must develop her powers to defeat the true Principal Reameny, rescue Benny from Ammit, the soul eater, and overcome an unexpected betrayal by one of her own—all before the next sunrise.

Larkin Shift and The Hall of Two Truths is a 45,000 word middle grade novel and is the first in a planned series.

I have added a note that I plan to expand this out to be more than a stand-alone book, in spite of some online advice that warns against it. Any opinions on that?

Query - The kitty who lost her purr

Dear wise and powerful agent,

The little kitty named Buttons has lost her purr. She has not purred since she left the pet shelter, and she misses her purr very much. Buttons looks all over her new sunny room, trying to find her purr. She eats yummy food, takes a comfy nap and leaps on a toy mouse, but nothing helps her find her purr again.

The Little Kitty Who Lost Her Purr is the story of how Buttons finally finds her purr through the warm and loving companionship of a young girl. It is a 900 word picture book that will appeal to readers aged 2-5.

Through my research of agencies, I found that the "wise and powerful" agency is highly respected in the industry. I chose to submit to you specifically because you stated in your bio that you love picture books that are real and storytime-ready, so The Little Kitty Who Lost her Purr would be a good fit.

I am not previously published; this is my first book for children.

As requested, the full text of the picture book is pasted below.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you.


Sincerely,


Me

Mar 27, 2009

LAZY CATS (Revision 2)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here
to read the first revision.

Dear XXXXX,
LAZY CATS is a 60,000 word, work of Women’s fiction.

Just Maggie’s luck! Seven years in a comfortable marriage, one night of shamefully exciting sex, then poof, her husband’s gone without an explanation.

Author Maggie Weather’s had no idea her husband Chris had been secretly reading about Sarah.

“An undemanding woman, content living in the shadow of her puffed up husband, keeping a clean house, being the ideal wife, Sarah loses herself and gives up her dream of becoming a famous writer. But when her selfish husband goes too far, stepping out on her, Sarah cleverly plots his murder. Mouse poison should take care of a rat.”

Maggie and Sarah have a lot in common. The women even write alike. There is one big difference though, Maggie is real and Sarah is only a figment of Maggie’s imagination. But both women scare the hell out of their cheating husbands.

Mar 26, 2009

How to Calculate Your Luck

Here's a query tip for you. We all know that there are many extenuating factors that impact our search for representation and publication, and at the end of the day, one of those biggest factors is luck.

Now, this begs the question: How do you know if you are lucky (or unlucky, as it may be)?

Here are several equations to calculate the luck factor in getting published. They use the following variables:

N= Good Luck
X= Bad Luck
D= Dumb Luck
Q= Query
A= Agent Preferences
P= Publishing Industry Demands
C= Contract

So therefore, if Q=(A*P) then N should result, yielding C.

However, if Q+P is not equal to A, then X. Also, if Q+A=C but is not equal to P, then X.

Of course there may be variations on this logic, such as if Q<(A*P) but the result is C, then D, pure and simple.

So you see, it's all very straightforward. N to all of you!

#

Query - Embrol (Revision 1)

Click Here to read the original query.

Olivia Ryan doesn’t know she’s a guardian of Earth. She doesn’t even know she’s not human.

After nearly dying in the car accident that takes her mother’s life, Olivia just wants her normal, happy life back. Jack Ellis, the new boy at school who is responsible for the accident, only compounds her pain. She feels drawn to him for reasons she cannot explain, but his revelation that she is an alien from the planet Hielos is difficult to accept. Despite Olivia’s conflicted desire to ignore him, her mother’s journal confirms her alien ancestry, and she learns that, like Jack, she has been endowed with many alien abilities.

Even after discovering she can control at least one of the five elements, Olivia resists the idea that she could be any kind of superhero. When a rogue Hielosian threatens her life and almost kills her friend, she is forced to accept the responsibility. With Jack’s help, she must find a way to stop the homicidal alien before he hurts anyone else. In the midst of all of this, Olivia struggles to understand her feelings for Jack and fights against the only thing she knows for certain--they belong together.

EMBROL, complete at 111,000 words, is a work of YA Science Fiction. While it is a standalone novel, the potential is there to extend it to a three book series. This is my first novel.

REVISION 1-Query-Larkin Shift and the Hall of Two Truths

Click here to read the original query.
A second revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Agent information,

Larkin Shift doesn’t want to be different. She doesn’t want to develop her magical powers, but they seem to have a mind of their own. She feels like a danger to everyone around her and the one person that can help her, Mr. Amurat has disappeared into Duat, the Egyptian underworld, leaving it up to her and her three friends to get him back safely. But the rescue mission comes with an unexpected consequence—one of their deaths.

As the myth goes, Ra travels through Duat at night reviving the recently deceased to make their journey to final judgment. When Ra’s light temporarily revives Benny, Larkin’s deceased friend, he has only hours until his condition becomes permanent unless she uses her unique abilities to make it to the Hall of Two Truths where she must face an omnipotent nemesis, thwart a plot against her, and overcome an unexpected betrayal—all before the next sunrise.

“Larkin Shift and the Hall of Two Truths” is a 45,000 word middle grade novel. Thank you for your consideration.

Thanks to the couple of people who left comments. I would love to hear if you feel this is more clear than the previous version because I definitely don't want to lose a potential agent because of confusion. I'm really glad I posted.

As for the change from YA/middle grade, I am really targeting the early teens (12, 13) and am having a hard time differentiating. Some sources say the genre is based on the age of the main character (13, in my case), but, to me, the story feels like intelligent middle grade.

Mar 25, 2009

SUCCESSFUL QUERY! THE PANAMA HOTEL

I have recieved permisson through an intermediary to post the following query by author Jamie Ford. This was posted on Anita Laydon-Miller's Blog, and both the author and agent have agreed to let me post it here. The author signed with the agent, and the agent sold the book, which is what we all yearn for. Presumably, they are all living happily ever after!
- Rick Daley

Dear Ms. Nelson:

I must admit I hate Asian stereotypes. You know the ones. Good at math. Hardworking. We all look alike. Come to think of it, that last one might hold water. After all, my father once wore a button that read “I am Chinese,” while growing up in Seattle’s Chinatown during WWII. It was the only thing that separated him from the Japanese, at least in the eyes of his Caucasian neighbors.

Sad, but true. Which is probably why my novel has a little to do with that particular piece of history.

Anyway, the working title is The Panama Hotel, and when people ask me what the heck it’s all about I usually tell them this: “It’s the story of the Japanese internment in Seattle, seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old Chinese boy, who is sent to an all-white private school, where he falls in love with a 12-year-old Japanese girl.”

But it’s more complicated than that. It’s a bittersweet tale about racism, commitment and enduring hope––a noble romantic journey set in 1942, and later in 1986 when the belongings of 37 Japanese families were discovered in the basement of a condemned hotel.

This historical fiction novel is based on my Glimmer Train story, I Am Chinese, which was a Top 25 Finalist in their Fall 2006 Short-Story Competition For New Writers. An excerpt was also published in the Picolata Review.

Think Amy Tan, but with a sweeter aftertaste. Thank you for your consideration and time, Jamie Ford

Query--Larkin Shift and the Hall of Two Truths

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.
Click here to read the second revision.
Click here to read the third revision.

Intro

Larkin Shift is in danger, threatened by innate magical powers with a mind of their own and helpless without Mr. Amurat’s expert guidance. Aided by an ancient amulet, Mr. Amurat has gone to the underworld to retrieve his deceased wife and daughter and it’s up to Larkin, Caitlin, Benny, and Trent to get him back safely. But her rescue mission comes with an unexpected consequence—Benny’s death.

A mythical revival puts Benny up against dwindling mortality with only hours until his condition becomes permanent unless Larkin embraces her unique abilities and makes it to the Hall of Two Truths where she must defeat an omnipotent nemesis, thwart a plot against her, and overcome an unexpected betrayal—all before the next sunrise.

“Larkin Shift and the Hall of Two Truths” is a 45,000 word young adult novel.

Thanks to everyone for feedback!

QUERY: EDEN'S KILLERS

Dear Agent,

In the city of Eden Island, there are only three types of people: pedestrians, assassins, and the men who hire the assassins. Rita Jennison is an assassin. One of the best in a city divided in two by rivaling families.

Rita knows that there are five rules to being a hired killer, but when her daughter’s school bus is caught in-between a crossfire, she decides that she has to break one of these rules to protect her daughter. The consequence for breaking a rule: death. Her actions cause the six assassin companies to send their best killer after her, each one more deadly than the next. With her daughter in hand, Rita must escape the very city she was born in before it becomes her grave.

EDEN’S KILLERS is a 140,000 word novel.

0 Prelude to a Death

The bullets entered Rita like the fangs of a snake into a rat. She had watched the act of nature many times before on T.V and not once did she feel sympathy for the rat. Not once! Instead, she figured that’s the way things go and how they happen. Now, though, she felt sympathy for the rat. She now knew how it felt to have the snake’s fangs digging deep into her stomach.

Rita collapsed to knees, clutching her stomach. She could feel the blood trickle down through the cracks in her fingers, and she clutched tighter, thinking that somehow the bleeding would magically stop. It wasn’t stopping. She could still feel it. As she closed her eyes, she could feel the tears fall, and she opened them just in time to watch them splash against the park grass below her. It was the first time she had ever cried, and it was beautiful. They were little droplets of life, her life, escaping from her body, and as they splashed against the cold earth, they disappeared into the soil, as if they were dying with her right then and there.

Someone was coming. Rita could hear the grass crunch beneath slow moving footsteps. Her breaths began to quicken, a hurricane of wind passing through her lips and melding with the night air. It was beautiful, and it hurt. Every breath felt as if it was pushing the bullet deeper and deeper into her stomach, like some deranged acupuncture. A pair of black shoes stopped right under her eyes, looking proud to be standing where she was dying.

“It’s a beautiful night, isn’t it?” a man’s voice said peacefully, yet sounding tired and raspy. “There aren’t many nights like this. You picked a goodnight to die.” He reached down and cupped her chin and lifted her head up, showing her the sky above where stars glittered against the black backdrop.

He was right: it was an amazing fall night. He bent down to get a better look at her, a few tears trying to escape her eyes before it was too late. The man’s brown eyes were barely visible under the covers of the night. But she was well acquainted with him and his eyes. A coconut aroma wafted of his hand.

“Your hand smells good.”“You simply amaze me, Rita. Even when you’re dying, you’re still observant.”Rita laughed. Not observant enough, she told herself. The pain in her stomach immediately came back. “Well, Marshall,” she said, wincing at the pain, “aren’t you going to kill me?”

Marshall ran his hand through her black hair, admiring the beauty of his kill. Rita looked up and stared. Her killer was handsome, and in some strange, twisted way that sounded romantic to her. Rita took her hand away from her stomach and touched the side of his face, leaving strawberry colored fingerprints on his face. With his other hand, he took Rita’s hand—caringly, not threateningly—and placed it back over her wound.

Standing up, Marshall looked away from her and reached into his coat and pulled out his Browning Hi-Powered pistol. But for the brief second he turned away, Rita made her move. She reached into her coat and pulled out her pistol. She pulled her coat across her body and pressed the barrel of her pistol against the inside of her coat.

The barrel of his gun lined up between her eyes, causing her to go cross-eyed for a brief second as her eyes searched in the darkness for the metal pill inside. She kept her finger on the trigger, waiting for the right moment to pull it.

“I’m sorry, Rita,” Marshall said. “I hope you’re not mad, but it’s just business. You know that. If it were me, I would want you to be my killer.”

Rita smiled. “I know. I’m glad it’s you.”

“Me too,” he replied. “But in the end, one of us has to go.”

“You’re right. One of us has to go.”

Then there was loud crack! and a brief flash of light illuminated a small part of the fall night.

Query- Dreaming Dark (Revision 1)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Agent,
Meredith is convinced she's a normal seventeen year-old, until smouldering but silently threatening Eirich moves into her northern Ontario town.

The problem with Eirich's arrival is that whenever they touch - which isn't nearly as often as Meredith would like – she is filled with a strange and tempting feeling of power. Meredith can't even figure out why she gets these feelings, let alone explain them to anyone. So when her best friend Ally falls hard for Eirich, Meredith decides it would be best to stay away from both of them.

To escape Ally and Eirich, Meredith starts spending time at the cottage left to her by her mother. She quickly discovers that it comes with unexpected magical protection, and learns that she's so far from normal, she's supernatural: the last member of an ancient race with the power to control and create dreams. Meredith's mother starts visiting her dreams to teach her to use these powers, but Meredith, unable to control her new strength, starts pulling wild, violent dream magic into the real world. Worse, Eirich needs Meredith's powers to revive his own ancient race, the dark counterpart to Meredith's, and he's taken Ally to get to her.

Meredith is left with a choice. If she doesn't fight Eirich with her fledging dream magic, he'll try to use his own powers to trap Ally in her dreams, feeding off her emotions and growing with power until he and his ancestors can take over the world. If she does fight, she might be able to stop him and save Ally. But if she succumbs to his dark strength and joins him they can rule together, and Meredith will be filled with the power for which she longs.

DREAMING DARK is a work of YA urban fantasy, complete at 57 000 words.Thank you for your time and consideration.

Mar 24, 2009

Query - Embrol

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Olivia Ryan doesn’t know she’s a guardian of Earth. She doesn’t even know she’s not human.

After a car accident nearly kills her and takes her mother from her on her eighteenth birthday, she longs to find peace in an uncertain future. Jack Ellis, the new boy at school who is responsible for the accident, only compounds her pain. She feels drawn to him for reasons she cannot explain, but his revelation that she is an alien from the planet Hielos is difficult for her to believe. Despite her conflicted desire to ignore him and get on with her life, her mother’s journal confirms her alien ancestry, and she discovers that, like Jack, she has been endowed with many alien abilities.

She resists the idea that she could be any kind of superhero, but the appearance of a rogue Hielosian forces her to accept the responsibility. When he almost kills her friend and threatens her life, she, with Jack’s help, must find a way to stop him before he does any more damage. In the midst of all of this, she struggles to understand her feelings for Jack and fights against the only thing in her life that she knows for certain--they belong together.

EMBROL, complete at 111,000 words, is a work of YA Science Fiction. While it is a standalone novel, the potential is there to extend it to a three book series.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

1 Eighteen

“Good morning, birthday girl!”

I forced my eyes open and groaned. My mother had the video camera pointed right at my face.

“Go away.” I covered my head with my pillow. “It’s not even light outside yet.”

She ignored me, just like she did every year. “On this day, eighteen years ago, Olivia Noelle Ryan was born to Thomas and Lily Ryan in the great state of Arizona. And there was rejoicing throughout the land!” This was her favorite and most annoying birthday ritual. “Today she is officially an adult. Would you like to add anything, Livy?”

“For once, could you just let me sleep in on my birthday?” I lifted the pillow and opened one eye. “In fact, in celebration of the joyous occasion, I should probably just stay home from school. Turn the light off on your way out.” I waved my hand toward the door, letting the pillow drop back down on my head.

“Don’t be a spoilsport, Livy.” She laughed as she pulled the blanket off of me.

I reached for it too late, and it fell to the floor at the end of my bed. “Hey, it’s freezing!”

She gave me a quick swat on my backside. “Come on, time to get up. You’re going to be late for school.” Her voice still rang with laughter. “Being an adult means being responsible.”

“Seriously, Mom. Are you starting on that already?” I pushed myself up to a seated position and rubbed my eyes with the heels of my hands. I wondered if she had increased the wattage in my light so she would have better lighting for her little show. “Will you please turn that stupid thing off?”

“You used to love this part of your birthday.” There was a slight downturn to her lips as she turned the camera off, but her ever present smile returned quickly. “I made you some birthday French toast, if you’re interested.”

I covered a yawn with my hand. “Tell me again. What makes it birthday French toast?”

“Because I made it on your birthday, silly girl.” She bent to kiss me on the forehead. “Don’t be too long. It’s getting cold.”

“Thanks, Mom.” I tried to smile as she turned to leave. “I’ll be down in a few minutes.”

I stumbled to the bathroom and examined my face in the mirror. I didn’t look any different. Not that I’d really expected to, but there had been a lot of build up to this day. It just seemed like there should be some noticeable difference.

I flipped off the bathroom light and followed the smell of French toast down the stairs, listening to the sound of my mother’s cheerful whistling. I stood in the doorway and watched her as she danced about the kitchen. I often wished I could be more like her, so happy all the time.

We were similar in some ways. I inherited my wavy golden-brown hair and blue eyes from her, but regardless of the countless times I had been told that I look like her, that’s where the similarities ended. She was much more petite, barely reaching five feet tall, and she was exceptionally beautiful, with small, delicate features. Despite being in her forties, she looked like she belonged in a college dorm rather than the mother of someone who would soon be there. Strangers often accused her of being my stunning older sister.

She turned to me and smiled. “Oh, there you are. Everything’s on the table.”

I sat down in my usual spot in the curve of the bay window. “Thanks for breakfast, Mom. Are you sure you don’t want me to stay home today? You could call in sick and we could go shopping.”

“Sorry, Livy. You know I can’t call in sick on a Monday. Besides, you have finals coming up. You shouldn’t be missing school right now.”

“Fine, I guess you’re right. But I don’t think missing one day would make that much difference.”

“I’ll make it up to you tonight. Maybe I can get off work a little bit early and we can go shopping before we go to dinner. How does that sound?”

“Okay, that’ll be fun.” Not exactly what I was hoping for, but it was better than nothing.
“You better hurry, Livy.” She pointed at the clock with her fork. “Amber’s going to be here in less than fifteen minutes.”

I swallowed my last bite of French toast. “Thanks again for breakfast. Love you, Mom.” I gave her a quick hug before heading upstairs to get ready for school.

She’d already left for work when I came back downstairs, but she left me a note on the front door.

Happy Birthday, Livy! Have a great day!

Love, Mom

I smiled as I shoved the note in my pocket and opened the front door. Amber wasn’t there yet. A quick look at the clock told me I was running even further behind than I thought. She was almost twenty minutes late, and thanks to her ability to drive like a deranged lunatic, Amber was never late. I pulled my phone out to call her and she honked. Somewhat relieved, I ran out to meet her.

“Hey, Livy! Happy birthday!”

“Thanks, Amber.”

“Sorry I’m late.” She tossed her ginger curls with a flip of her head. “Devan thought it would be fun to play hide and seek with my keys this morning. I finally found them in his toy box.” She flashed a metallic grin that I think was supposed to be sinister, but it only emphasized the cute dimples in her freckled cheeks. She always said they made her look like a little kid, but she just wouldn’t be Amber without them. “My mom wouldn’t let me choke him, but that’s probably good since it would have taken more time. Don’t worry. I’ll get us there on time.”

“Oh, good.” That’s precisely what I was worried about. I would rather walk the three miles to school on the hottest day of the summer, than be in a vehicle with Amber when she’s running behind. Best friend or not, her driving terrified me.

I made a mental note to bug my mom again about getting a car--if I lived long enough.

Mar 23, 2009

QUERY- MENALI

Dear Agent,

One year—that’s all Anslem has before the deadly curse set upon him consumes and blackens his heart. War has defined him and his skill in battle has propelled him into a life full of wealth and power. Men respect him and women desire him. But he was loyal to his wife and desire could not change him. Of course, it was this loyalty that took his wife and placed this curse upon him.

When the goddess of desire tried to seduce Anslem, she was appalled to hear him turn her away in favor of his wife. Enraged, the goddess took Anslem’s wife away and imprisoned her where he would never find her. As he swore to the goddess that he would find and rescue his wife, she placed a curse on his heart to make sure he would never succeed. One year—that’s all Anslem has to find his wife and stop the curse before it consumes his heart entirely.

MENALI is a high fantasy epic inspired by THE ODYSSEY and the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in a fictional world with an ancient Greek setting.

REVISED QUERY - WHEN HEARTS CRY OUT

Click here to read the original query.

Dear (Agent’s Name):

If making women laugh and think were Olympic events, seventy-four-year-old Liz McCall would win the gold. If she could change anything about her life, she’d change damn near everything.

Born in Mississippi, divorced from several well-heeled Texans, and a source of wit, wisdom, and imperious advice for the black and white staff and clients at the salon, Liz takes a special interest in Leah Starks, a twenty-six-year-old whose life has been burdened by abandonment issues and doubts about her self-worth. When Leah’s emotionally distant mother is killed in an automobile accident, her life changes for the better after Liz unravels a family secret that lies in the spelling of Leah’s name. With her health deteriorating, and estranged from all but the youngest of her six sons, Liz has to decide to whom she will bequeath her wealth—if, when, and how she should reveal the family secret she has kept for almost fifty years—and how she will want her epitaph to read.

WHEN HEARTS CRY OUT, a 79,000-word novel written for the commercial and women’s fiction markets, centers on an agnostic beauty salon denizen, the influence she has on the lives of saints and sinners, and the six things in life that are free.

I hold a BBA from the University of Texas at Arlington. Privy to the humorous conversations, philosophical musings, and stories women tell while getting clipped, rolled, tinted, permed, manicured, and pedicured, I’ve had a standing Saturday appointment with the same hairstylist for twenty-five years and a standing appointment every other Saturday with the same nail technician for fifteen years.

Some of life’s greatest lessons and best kept secrets can be learned at the beauty salon.

I appreciate your time and consideration.

Regards,

R. Battles

Mar 22, 2009

Angel Undercover (Revisions 2 & 3, Please Compare)

This query has been revised once before, and the author requests feedback comparing the revisions 2 and 3, posted here. Click here to read the original query. Click here to read the first revision.

Angel Undercover (Revision 2)

Dear Mr./Ms. Agentperson

A heart of gold and shy as a mouse. That was Paige Moss before the adventure that led to her save her city and become the hero no one, leastwise herself, ever thought she could be. A real angel undercover.

Getting kidnapped turns out to be the best thing to ever happen to Paige. She is taken from her dangerous city to the relative safety of an exotic rainforest, full of myth, magic, and adventure. She is joyously reunited with her missing older sister, Savannah, who arranged the abduction. And best of all, she seizes the chance to be something she’s not – brave like her heroes.

But all is not well in the forest paradise. Paige can’t understand why Savannah is acting so aloof or why she’s training an army and upsetting the locals. When Paige discovers that Savannah is working for Maisen, an ends-justify-the-means visionary, she becomes a threat and a target. After enduring harm to body and mind, Paige exposes Maisen, who flees into exile.

Weeks later, an entire city is leveled overnight by rogues. Positive Maisen is involved, Paige returns home to defend her turbulent city, a shy girl no longer. With her sister at her side, Paige expects one final showdown with the person she fears most, but it turns out that Maisen has become the victim of one of his own plans. The rogue firestorm he sparked is out of control and it’s up to Paige and her allies to stop it.

Angel Undercover is a YA fantasy and is complete at 90,000 words. It is the first in a planned quartet.

Kind Regards,


and


Angel Undercover (Revision 3)

Dear Mr./Ms. Agentperson

A heart of gold and shy as a mouse. That was Paige Moss before the adventure that led her to save her city and become the hero no one, leastwise herself, ever thought she could be. A real angel undercover.

Paige doesn’t know it yet, but she’s exactly the sort of person the angels are looking for. After she gets kidnapped by her own sister, Paige decides to make the best of the situation by emulating her favorite hero, putting on an unnatural bravado. At great personal cost, she hunts down and exposes the villain who’s been using her sister for his own underhanded means, validating the angels’ choice in her. She already had will to do what’s best for others, and now even she can’t deny that she’s shown the courage to follow through. In her foray far from home, Paige learns that shyness is not a state of existence, but a choice; that her character is really the sum of her actions. When her city is threatened, Paige returns, a shy girl no longer, and leads her allies to victory. The angels invite her to become a fledgling and she accepts. A millennia of serving others suits her new view of herself perfectly.

Angel Undercover is a YA fantasy and is complete at 90,000 words. It is the first in a planned quartet.

Kind Regards,

Query- Underground

Dear Agent:


Ally’s little brother has been digging a hole in their back yard for months. Ally’s parents think digging is good for him; at least he doesn’t play video games all day. Ally thinks it’s weird… until she realizes that all the boys in the neighborhood, including the cutest boy in her class, also have mysterious infatuations with digging.

One evening she goes out to examine her brother’s “hide out” and realizes it’s not a hole, but a tunnel; a tunnel that connects to other tunnels that attach the yards of all the boys in the neighborhood.

Ally joins the tunnel diggers and in doing so she inadvertently trades in her set of movie watching, happily ever after planning, drama creating friends for a bunch of… well… boys.

Ally knows she shouldn’t go along when the boys decide to dig a tunnel that will lead to an abandoned steel mill. She doesn’t like steeling wood from an old barn to construct supports in the tunnels. And she definitely doesn’t feel comfortable lying to her parents about what she’s doing everyday. But she’s curious.

Underground is a middle grade novel and is complete at about 35,000 words.



Chapter One

I was two months away from my grade school graduation when the Gauze Men robbed the Carston First Memorial Bank. Some people worried Grantsville might be next. I was more worried about the massive mound of dirt taking over our back yard.

Eric was still digging. Mom and Dad were happy he didn’t play video games all day. They thought it was good for him to have a hobby that required going outside. Plus, Dad reasoned, the larger the mound grew, the less grass he’d have to mow. My parents weren’t big gardeners or anything.

I thought it was weird that Eric was so into digging. He’d done the same thing every day for the last six months: come home from school, grab a snack, and dig… for hours.

At first I thought it was kind of cute. He and his fourth grade friends wanted to build a fort. I thought maybe he’d dig for a few days or maybe even a week and then he’d get bored and do something else. But he didn’t get bored. He dug. The tiny pile of dirt beside his hole grew and grew until it engulfed the back corner of the yard from the lilac bush to the maple tree.

“I need a new shovel,” Eric announced at dinner as he bit into his taco. It was kind of gross to watch him eat. Mom made him take a bath everyday when he came in from the hole but he didn’t do a very good job because his fingernails were still caked with dirt.

“Another shovel?” Dad asked.

“Yeah,” Eric said, his mouth still full of taco.

“Are you sure you can’t fix the one you have?” Dad asked.

Eric got up from the table and walked to the sliding glass door, opened it, and reached for the pieces of his shovel. He held up them up so Dad could see. The place where the stick was supposed to attach to the head was bent pretty badly, the stick was broken in half, and the head was seriously beat up.

“What have you been digging in?” Dad asked, laughing.

“Just dirt, mostly, there are some rocks every now and then and they really mess up the shovel.” Eric said.

“Okay then,” Dad said with a shrug. “I’ll pick one up on my way home tomorrow.”

That was how it always was with Eric.

“I don’t think it’s fair that you buy Eric new shovels all the time.” I said. “You never buy me things.”

“Of course we do Ally. We pay for your piano lessons every week.” Mom said.

“But I hate piano lessons,” I said folding my arms and furrowing my brow.

“You’ll thank us for them when you’re older,” Mom said.

I doubted that. Sometimes my mom was ridiculous. She had it in her head that one of her children should be a famous pianist someday. And she decided I should be the one to do it. And I was fairly certain she picked me just because I was a girl. She pretended to be all progressive and feminist but deep down I think she clung to a belief that girls should be musical and boys should be athletic.

Unfortunately I stunk at the piano, regardless of my supposed feminine propensity for musical genius. I think it’s possible that Eric could have been good. He had big hands and his fingers were already longer than mine even though he was two years younger than me. But mom chose to put all her eggs in my basket…a basket, which I dropped repeatedly. And Eric was free to dig, and dig, and dig while I practiced the stupid piano.

I had almost dismissed Eric’s digging as a weird eight-year-old boy obsession, but one day the gigantic mound where he’d been dumping his dirt stopped growing. It settled between the lilac bush and the maple tree and never gained another inch up or out. Mom and Dad didn’t seem to notice, and I may not have noticed at first either. But when it stayed that way for a month I noticed. Eric was still coming in every evening exhausted and dirty but there wasn’t any more dirt coming out of the hole.

Mar 21, 2009

Query--HENRY HAS NO HAIR

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

(Personal reference to agent/agency), I invite you to consider representing my picture book manuscript, HENRY HAS NO HAIR.

Life should be hard for Henry. It’s his first day at a new school and he has nothing to wear—nothing to wear on his bald head, that is. But that does not stop happy-go-lucky Henry. When a classmate asks him the inevitable, but awkward question, he responds in stride. Being bald is actually pretty great. There is no hair to get in his face or provide a target for his baby sister’s reaching hands to pull. Hats always fit and the heat never bothers his neck in the summer. Above all, Henry is happy to be Henry—and that makes others happy, too.

HENRY HAS NO HAIR, complete at 375 words, illustrates how a young boy allows the cosmetic debility of alopecia areta to not only define who he is, but to empower him. A subject close to home, my husband and I have the joy of raising our first son, a balding toddler with the spirit to take on the world.

Per your submission guidelines, the full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your consideration and time. I look forward to hearing from you.



[I posted a shortened version of this pitch paragraph on Bookroast's March 17 Pitch Party and received several comments. See http://bookroast.blogspot.com/2009/03/welcome-to-our-pitch-party.html ]

QUERY - WHEN HEARTS CRY OUT

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Dear (Agent’s Name):

If making women laugh and think were Olympic events, seventy-four-year-old Liz McCall would win the gold. If she could change anything about her life, she’d change damn near everything.

WHEN HEARTS CRY OUT, a 79,000-word novel written for the commercial and women’s fiction markets, centers on an agnostic beauty salon denizen, the influence she has on the lives of saints and sinners, and the six things in life that are free.

Born in Mississippi, divorced from several well-heeled Texans, and a source of wit, wisdom, and imperious advice for the black and white staff and clients at the salon, Liz takes a special interest in Leah Starks, a twenty-six-year-old whose life has been burdened by abandonment issues and doubts about her self-worth. When Leah’s emotionally distant mother is killed in an automobile accident, her life changes for the better after Liz unravels a family secret that lies in the spelling of Leah’s name. With her health deteriorating, and estranged from all but the youngest of her six sons, Liz has to decide to whom she will bequeath her wealth—if, when, and how she should reveal the family secret she has kept for almost fifty years—and how she will want her epitaph to read.

The third of five sons of a Pentecostal preacher with a BBA from the University of Texas at Arlington, I’ve had a standing Saturday appointment with the same hairstylist for the past twenty-five years and a standing appointment every other Saturday with the same nail technician for the past fifteen years.

Some of life’s greatest lessons and best kept secrets can be learned at the beauty salon.

I appreciate your time and consideration.

Regards,

R. Battles

FIRST FOUR PAGES

August 1998

Standing near the receptionist’s station jacked on caffeine, Margie had watched Liz McCall circle the parking lot six times while hammering on her steering wheel and cussing with her windows rolled up.

“Mornin’ Liz. You doin’ okay?”

“Fair to middlin’.” Liz patted the sides of her hair, the color of which resembled an uncirculated silver dollar and stiff enough to withstand an F-2 tornado. “I swear . . . some of those fools must’ve gotten their driver’s license out of a box of Cracker Jacks.”

Parking usually wasn’t a problem, but a new Tuesday Morning store in the strip mall was conducting its grand opening.

“Why didn’t you take that spot?” Margie said, pointing to an empty parking place only a few feet from the salon.

Liz took a big Barney Fife-like sniff. “Do you really think I’d park my Cadillac next to that big old bucket that Vivian’s husband is driving?”

The familiar, black, 1968 Mercury Parklane Brougham had a faded, fourteen-year-old REAGAN-BUSH rear bumper sticker and looked like one of the cars Steve McGarrett drove on Hawaii Five-O.

“I understand. C’mon back,” Margie said in a rush. “We’re busy today. I’ve been running my ass off.”

“Dear, you ain’t got no ass, but I know whatcha meant.”

Possessing an average build, an eye for trendy apparel, a cultured, heavy-pitched voice, and a dowager’s hump attributed more to age than anything else, Liz’s striking blue eyes had faded to a smoky, bluish-gray as the years had gone by.

Teal, salmon, and beige wallpaper, a sandstone tiled floor, white antiques, art, and an assortment of bric-a-brac gave the salon a quaint, 19th century charm. Three hair styling stations eight feet apart lined one wall. Each station included a large, French Proven├žal commodore. One of the stations belonged to Margie. One was leased to Dorothy Curtis. The third was leased by twenty-four-year-old Dekoda Mills, a former waitress, a former bartender, and a former dancer at places where men drool and women rule.

On the opposite side of the room were three antique white, single pedestal shampoo basins. Four hair dryers were situated on a third wall that separated the main part of the salon from the customer waiting area. In the nail room, which was located at the back next to the break room, were two manicure stations and three armchairs. For the comfort and privacy of Leann Wells’ and Cookie James’s customers, two plush, Italian designed pedicure stations with adjustable reclining seats and drop-in, self-cleaning basins resided in an alcove.

Liz took a seat at one of the shampoo basins and leaned her head back as Margie released the leg rest.

“We missed you last Saturday,” Margie said. “I believe it’s the first Saturday that I haven’t seen you in . . .”

“Seven years.”

“How was your trip to D.C.?”

“It was good. I had planned to get back Friday night so I wouldn’t miss my appointment, but my flight was cancelled at the last minute due to bad weather somewhere between Washington and Dallas.”

“Thanks for calling to let me know you wouldn’t be coming in. I wish all of our clients were as considerate. Didcha go visit some of your people?”

“No. Just a nice family that I’ve known for many years. A husband, a wife, and their two daughters. The girls are almost grown now. When they were little, they used to call me Miss Liz.”

“I’m sure they all love you,” Margie said, showing a toothy smile. “You have a way with women, young and old.”

“Humph. Too bad I wasn’t as good with the opposite sex.”

Margie shampooed, rinsed, and conditioned Liz’s hair, then escorted Liz to her styling chair.

* * *

Vivian Dewese’s husband came in to use the restroom. An elastic band held his black-framed, trifocals tightly to his head and face. Victimized by male pattern baldness, a few unusually long strands of hair on the right side of his head were combed over to the left side. Otherwise, the top of his head looked like a sun roof. His yellow and kale plaid beltless pants were pulled damn near up to his chest. Black argyle socks barely covered where his anklebones connected to his leg bones. The scent from the excessive amount of Old Spice he was wearing hung in the air.

Margie, Liz, Dorothy, and Dorothy’s walk-in client held their breaths and avoided looking at each other to stifle their snickering.

Moments later, Norbert and Vivian ambled out of the nail room. Five years into her sixties, plump, low breasted, sallow complexioned, and garbed in a loud red and yellow pants suit and a matching fanny pack around her waist, Vivian’s wide, yellow, Minnie Mouse looking orthopedic pumps had seen better days. Born and raised in a town in East Texas where cattle outnumbered people, and more familiar with Oscar Mayer than Oscar de La Renta, the small, tight curls in her cayenne pepper colored hair were just the way she liked them, although they didn’t flatter her at all.

“Vivian, your hair looks good.” Margie took a purposeful step forward to give Vivian a hug. But with her small frame, and barely standing five feet with her shoes on, she was unable to get her arms completely around Vivian’s waist and back. “We’ll see you in two weeks.”

“I’ll be here,” Vivian said, “if my arthritis ain’t acting up.”

Assaulting the senses of everyone who was in their path or in their direct line of sight, Vivian pulled up the elastic waistband of her all-you-can-eat pants and scratched an itch that appeared to reside somewhere between her anus and her small intestines.

QUERY - BAGASTANA (Revision 1)

Click here to read the original query.

There is a huge grizzly bear in the bedroom.

Mina and Darwin don't have time to think much about this before they and the bear fall through the portal into another world, Bagastana, "the place of the gods," where the supernatural beings from all the world's mythologies live. Getting back home is going to be a challenge, even with Bear's grudgingly offered assistance. The only known portal back is far away; it is guarded by a powerful creature who calls himself “The Maker,” and he will kill Mina and Darwin if he discovers who they really are.

Along the way, the twins encounter shape-shifting animals who worship a deceitful tiger; they are kidnapped by giant ants, forced undercover by misogynist horses, nearly devoured by eagles, and asked to make a great sacrifice by evangelizing fish. Mina and Darwin begin to develop their own magical abilities, and as they grow in power and knowledge, they begin to understand why the Maker would want them dead. They also learn how the Maker imprisons some of those who challenge him in his Living Clay, where they are unable to see, hear, breathe, or die.

BAGASTANA is the story of two young people who, while trying to get home, discover who they really are. The story is multi-layered with deeper religious and political meanings, and this YA fantasy novel is complete at 73,000 words.

I was born and raised in suburban New Jersey, but I managed to escape. After attending Yale as an undergraduate and getting my Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers, I taught in several different countries and cultures, many of which I've drawn on for this novel. I moved back to the U.S. in December.

Mar 20, 2009

Query - shadowland (revised)

Click here to read the original query.

(Personalized comments to the agent…) shadowland, is a young adult urban fantasy.

Tian, the new guy in school, is fascinated by the way Jordan’s eyes change color with her emotions—something only he can see. And Jordan barely notices her mind translating his words when Tian speaks the ancient language of his birth. As their relationship deepens Jordan learns that Tian is a knight from Annwn, the otherworld of Celtic mythology, who has come to stop the increasingly frequent attacks on mortals by the dark ones, evil creatures from his realm.

A supernatural storm on Samhain Eve opens the way for Jordan to enter Tian’s world, and while on the other side impulsive declarations of love magically bind them. As Jordan’s life becomes more intertwined with Tian and his world they become the focus of attacks by the dark ones, particularly one powerful creature that stalks them in both realms. It is part animal, part human, able to change not just form but gender—and she has murder on her mind.

Query - Just Maybe (revised)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Mr./Ms. Agent,

Lisa is caught between two worlds.

Outside her front door she’s just an average teenager doing her best to get through high school. Inside her house, it’s more old world Asia than modern America.

Lisa is exactly what any first generation Asian American family would expect from their only child. She’s good in school, respectful to her elders and most of all, obedient. Her priorities were handed to her when she was born and ever since her mother’s death, everything she’s done has been for her family. When everyone’s happy, she’s happy. Or so she thought.

No one understood her life, except her best friend Samantha. Despite their cultural differences, Sam was always there to listen. After Sam is involved in a devastating accident, it became Lisa’s turn to listen.

She heard more than she expected.

As Sam’s recovery progresses, Lisa finds her friend is not the only one she’s supporting. Sam’s brother Tony, home for a semester off from college, is in need of someone to talk to. That someone turns out to be Lisa. What begins as a friendship verges on more and when Tony shows Lisa a glimpse of what life could be, she begins to question everything she’s ever known. For the first time, she feels like she’s living her life for herself.

When Tony goes back to school and an unexpected family move arises, Lisa’s forced to let go of the little bit of a life she’s found. She reverts back to being the daughter her father always expected. When Tony surprises her with a visit and reminds her of what life should be Lisa wonders, can she be happy and still live up to all her family’s expectations?

Just Maybe is a young adult novel and stands complete at approximately 89,000 words. I’d be happy to provide a partial or complete manuscript for further review. Thank you for your consideration.

QUERY: AMELIA'S MONSTERS (Revised)

Click Here to read the original query.

Dear X,

Since she was twelve, Amelia’s nights have been plagued with visits from monsters. Each night they would terrorize her through the darkness of her closet, calling her Amelie and telling her that they’ve been waiting for her. No matter how many times she turned them away, they would return, angrier and more violent than before. And they followed her no matter where she went.

Now fourteen, Amelia is getting a fresh start in a brand new home in a gated community. Sadly, not even the gates can protect Amelia from her deepest fears. When her cousin Lily comes to visit, the monsters return and steal Lily in the middle of the night. With Lily’s life in danger, Amelia must face her fears and enter the monsters’ world to rescue her cousin. But with each step into their world, Amelia discovers a tangled past that connects her to their world and the one they call Amelie.


AMELIA’S MONSTERS is a 90,000 word young adult fantasy.

Mar 19, 2009

You...the guy who started this site, where is your query?

Well, I'm glad you asked, actually. I am not above shameless self-promotion.

I have two queries posted, FATE'S GUARDIAN and THE AMAZING TALE OF RUDY TOOT-TOOT.

FATE'S GUARDIAN was the first query posted on this site. It's a supernatural thriller about a man whose soul is in danger, and the only way he can save it is to die. The query that is posted got a request for partial, but it was rejected. I did get some very useful feedback, after some polite and professional groveling, and now I'm revising the manuscript (again). The sample pages posted here are the revision, not what I queried with at that time.

THE AMAZING TALE OF RUDY TOOT-TOOT is a manuscript for a picture book. I don't do illustrations, but it's a cute story about manners (or lack thereof) inspired by my two sons.

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Will you delete a comment from my query post?

I reserve the right to delete any comments from any posts for any reason.

OK, the power trip is over. That was kind of fun. But that being said, the only comments I foresee myself deleting are those that are demeaning and without any respectful tone or constructive criticism. This is a forum for professional writers. You can (and should) act in a professional manner, even if you are not yet published.

If criticism is pointed, but still done in a manner that promotes improvement, I will probably let if fly. If something is downright mean or defacing, it's gone.

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Query - shadowland

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

(Personalized comments to the agent…) shadowland, is an urban fantasy, YA with paranormal tendencies.

Tian, the new guy in school, is fascinated by the way Jordan’s eyes change color with her emotions—something only he can see. And Jordan barely notices her mind translating his words when Tian speaks the ancient language of his birth. As their relationship deepens Jordan learns that Tian is a knight from Annwn, the otherworld of Celtic mythology, who has come to stop the increasingly frequent attacks on mortals by the dark ones, evil creatures from his realm.

When Jordan impulsively says “I love you” to Tian the moment is magic, literally; she doesn’t realize she’s left the familiar forest near her home and crossed into another realm. When Tian says he loves her, too, falling leaves spiral around the young couple’s joined hands as the watching trees unite them in a handfasting ceremony. Tian and Jordan don’t immediately grasp the significance—they find out they are all but married only when Tian’s mother sees gold light circling their wrists and asks when they did it. They already planned to marry, so as far as Jordan and Tian are concerned this simplifies everything.

Tian’s father, the Lord of Annwn, doesn’t approve of his son marrying a mortal but reluctantly realizes it isn’t his decision to make. As Jordan’s life becomes more intertwined with Tian and his world, they become the focus of attacks from the dark ones, particularly one powerful creature that stalks them in both realms. It is part animal, part human, able to change not just form but gender—and she has murder on her mind.

YA Fantasy: The Mansion

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

There's a statue in the gardens that used to be a girl.
When six teenagers learn that their parents participated in a dangerous experiment before they were born, the news is life-changing. But the experiment isn't over, and now these 16-year olds must live in a creepy mansion for a year, to undergo observation. They aren't sure who is observing them or why, but when Ward and Quita start sharing visions, and the voices in Sami's head keep leading her to strange diary pages, they know that something huge is going on. Between rescuing a girl that's somehow been turned to stone, and trying to figure out why they all seem to have special abilities, these six teenagers try to deal with life and high school when everyone around them is keeping secrets.

The Mansion vol. I: The Experiment is a 55,000 word YA Fantasy. It is the first in a 3-5 book series. The original rough draft was published one chapter at a time as a Sims 2 story. It was voted Featured Under Rated Story and also became Featured Story (for multiple chapters, as determined by reader ratings at thesims2.com). A series of Sims 2 machinima were created as a result of winning The Make My Movie Contest run by GospelSims.com. All of the videos are available on youtube, if you're interested in seeing them, though the current manuscript has changed a lot. I do want to point you to one of the promo videos that she did. It's about a minute long without the end credits and does a really wonderful job of capturing the feel of the book. It is here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D39suMxt9KM&feature=channel_page in case the link doesn't work).


Full manuscript, synopsis, and outlines of further novels in the series are available upon request. Thank you for your consideration.

Do you limit the number of queries you post?

I've had several people ask me if I plan to limit posts to once per day, or put some other volume control policy in place. The concern is that many of you want to read and comment on every query, and fear that you won't be able to keep up.

For now, I don't plan to limit the posting. When I get a submission, I post it as soon as I see it and can get it up there. I read most of them, but I admit there are a few that I just posted and didn't read because I had several at once and just wanted to get them up on the site. I want to comment on all of them, too, but I've only been able to comment on about half of them so far.

I do read all of the comments, and in blogger I can see all of the posts and number of comments per post. So far every post has comments. If any queries go a couple days with no comments, I will put up a special post with links to those queries to call special attention to them.

The reason I want to do it this way is to provide everyone with a chance to get their query online, and to minimize the queue. I've submitted to other query review sites where there is a single reviewer, and I have waited days for posting / feedback on some, weeks on some, and I am still waiting on others (read: I have given up hope on others). No fault to the people who tend to those sites...Until the earth's rotation slows and we get 30 hours days, we will have to deal with the constraints of the 24-hour clock as it relates to families, day jobs, other hobbies, etc.

Most of us play the waiting game a lot...waiting for responses to queries, responses to manuscript submissions, etc. My hope is that this site will not be another line to wait in.

One thing that makes this work is the basic format. I post the queries, but there are 50 followers to the site and a couple hundred unique visitors per day (thanks mainly to a mention by Nathan Bransford on his blog). No one person can shoulder the burden of commenting on every post, but as a group we can take care of each other.

If this system starts to fail, trust me, I am resourceful and I will find a way to fix it!

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QUERY - JULIE’S JUXTAPOSITION (Revised)

Click to Read the Original Query

Dear Agent { },

Julie Mc Nally has a lot to learn about being a cop. She is the rookie detective with the Pittsburgh P.D. when she is sent as liaison to assist with the nearby Bradford P.D., where she is paired with Michael Nolan. When they are assigned to the embezzlement case against Bradford’s former mayor, they discover he was part of a highly classified government program. The ‘Crowe Project’ is such a guarded secret that those involved are willing to commit murder to avoid exposure.

My 70,000-word suspense/thriller, JULIE’S JUXTAPOSITION, is the story of overcoming obstacles, asking for forgiveness, and falling in love. It has a strong female protagonist, a ruthless and terrifying villain, and a progression of disturbing setbacks that culminate to an uncompromising ending.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

QUERY: DEATH AND ME

Dear Agent,

Death follows Charlotte—literally. When Charlotte was twelve, an intoxicated Death accidentally took her parents instead of another couple in a car crash. Due to his negligence, Death has been sentenced to be Charlotte’s temporary guardian till she finds a permanent home. Responsibility, though, isn’t Death’s top priorities. Instead of finding her a new home, he uses Charlotte as way to scam and steal from others to fuel his gambling, smoking, and drinking habits. With each bad deed, the ever impressionably, enthusiastic, and indecisive Charlotte finds it harder and harder to find her place in an adoptive family.

But just when Death begins to grow attached to Charlotte and feel responsible for her, a family wishes to tear their friendship apart when they begin to turn Charlotte against Death. When the family frames Death for a crime and Charlotte believes it, Death knows that Charlotte’s soon-to-be family is not who they seem to be at all. In a race against time, Death must clear his name and win Charlotte back before she is lost forever.


DEATH AND ME is a quirky 55,000 word novella.

Sincerly,

"E.Reliant" (fake name.)

Guess the Genre.

Mar 18, 2009

Got Questions?

No, this isn't a query, just a note from your friendly neighborhood Slushpile Administrator.

Here are some things I will do in the near future to enhance the site. By "the near future" I mean "when I have time," and by that I mean "sometime between right now and never."

- When revisions are posted, I will include a link to the original query, and likewise I'll add a link to the revision on the original query.

- On the sidebar, I will add in links to Agent Blogs, and Editor Blogs, Query Tips (may include specific posts from Agent/Editor blogs as well as my own input and submissions from you fine folks), and last but not least, Writer's Resources

- I will expand the site FAQ's

Now, specifically in regard to the latter most item, I need your input. What questions do you have? Particularly about the site, but if you want to ask about life, the universe and everything, I'll respond (NOTE: the answer is 42).

Submit your questions, suggestions for links, and query tips in the comments to this post.

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Query: Just Maybe

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Dear Mr./Ms. Agent,

I am caught between two worlds.

Outside my front door I’m just a high school student, doing my best not to flunk out of Physics. Inside my house, it’s more old world Asia than modern America.

My priorities were handed to me when I was born. Everything I’ve ever done has been for my family. When everyone’s happy, I’m happy. Or so I thought.

No one understood my life, except my best friend Sam. She always listened to me. Until her accident. Then it was my turn to listen.

I heard more than I expected.

In JUST MAYBE Lisa is exactly what any first generation Asian American family would expect from their only child. She’s good in school, respectful to her elders and most of all, obedient. Since her mother died, everything she’s done has been for her family.

After her best friend Samantha is involved in a devastating accident and turns to Lisa for support, she finds her friend is not the only one she’s supporting. As her closest friend’s recovery progresses, Lisa stumbles into something she never expected and begins to question everything she’s ever known. Can she take this chance to discover what life can really be or will she succumb to her family’s expectations?

JUST MAYBE is my first novel and stands complete at approximately 89,000 words. I’d be happy to provide a partial or complete manuscript for further review. Thank you for your consideration.

Query - Dreaming Dark

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Meredith is convinced she's a normal seventeen year-old, until dark, terrifying, and unbearably beautiful Eirich moves into her nothern Ontario town.

The problem with Eirich's arrival is that whenever they touch - which isn't nearly as often as Meredith would like - he fills her with a strange and tempting feeling of power. Meredith can't even figure out why she gets these feelings, let alone explain them to anyone. So when her best friend Ally falls hard for Eirich, Meredith decides it would be best to stay away from both of them, choosing to spend time at her sister Val's old hangout rather than admitting that something really, really strange is happening.

But something really strange is happening and the new hangout makes it stranger. The cottage that Meredith thought belonged to Val's friend actually belongs to Meredith, and it was left to her by her mother with the promise that it comes with magical protection. Meredith learns that she's so far from normal, she's supernatural: the last member of an ancient race with the power to control and create dreams. Worse, Eirich needs Meredith's powers to revive his own ancient race, the dark counterpart to Meredith's, and he's kidnapped Ally to get to her.

So Meredith is left with a choice: does she preserve the dreams of mankind and, more importantly, rescue her best friend, or does she succumb to the beautiful Eirich and fill herself with the power she's always longed for?

DREAMING DARK is a work of YA urban fantasy, complete at 57 000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

QUERY - JULIE’S JUXTAPOSITION

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Julie Mc Nally has a lot to learn about being a cop in a predominately male world of police enforcement. She is the rookie detective with the Pittsburgh P.D. partnering with seasoned Detective Ross Maddox. When a kidnapped seven-year-old boy is accidentally killed in a police shootout, the entire community anxiously awaits the outcome of the evidence findings. Had this young boy died at the hand of Julie or her wounded partner Ross Maddox? Julie, herself, is unsure of the answer. When Maddox dies, most of the cops believe it was Julie’s bullet that killed the boy, and they intend to make life difficult for her.

Since none of the other detectives are willing to partner with her, Julie is challenged to bring in suspects single-handedly. And, her requests for backup are mostly ignored. Each day Julie must face the mounting pressure that she cannot trust or depend on her fellow cops. The situation comes to a breaking point when she is asked to assist in an interrogation. She is left alone with the suspect who attacks her, as her fellow detectives watch from the two-sided mirror.

To make matters worse, Julie finds her attorney boyfriend, Nick Falco, in bed with one of his clients. This looks like the right time to get out of town for Julie.

Her requests for transfer are denied, but she is assigned to assist with the nearby Bradford P.D., where she is paired with Michael Nolan, the town’s most sought after male. Working together they manage to catch thieves, burglars, and even nudists. The department nicknames them ‘Hot & Spicy’. They learn to trust and depend on each other.

When they are assigned to the embezzlement case against Bradford’s former mayor, they discover he was part of a highly classified government program. The ‘Crowe Project’ is such a guarded secret that those involved are willing to commit murder to avoid exposure. The investigation takes Julie and Michael to Las Vegas where they are aided by Michael’s police academy friend, Josh Kelly, and a stripper named Roxy, who is we learn is Michael’s estranged wife.

My 70,000-word womens' fiction titled JULIE’S JUXTAPOSITION, explores just how strong and resourceful a woman must be in a predominately male world of police departments.

I am in the Information Technology field and have authored procedural/technical white papers. If you would like to consider JULIE'S JUXTAPOSITION, I'd be happy to forward the complete manuscript to you.

Sincerely,

QUERY: AMELIA'S MONSTERS

A revision has been posted, click here to read it.

Dear X,

Since she was twelve, Amelia’s nights have been plagued with visits from monsters who lurk in her closet and try to lure her away from the safety of her bed, calling her Amelie and saying that they have been searching for her, waiting for her return. Two years later, at the request of her therapist, her and her family—along with her adopted cousin, Lily—are moving for a third time.

With a fresh start in a brand new home in a gated community, Amelia hopes that all her fears and problems will go away. But when the monster returns one night and takes Lily away, Amelia must face her fear of the dark and enter the monster’s world to rescue Lily, all along the way discovering a tangled past and an unresolved fight between a great hero—Jeanette—and the Monster King that connects her to their world and the one they call Amelie.

AMELIA’S MONSTERS is a 90,000 word young adult fantasy that explores the rationalities and irrationalities of our fears and how we can overcome them to save and protect the ones we love.

Mar 17, 2009

Query- YA Urban Fantasy

17-year-old Drew Donovan has an absolutely perfect, not-at-all-dangerous plan for her last real summer vacation (library job, reality show marathons, rinse, repeat). Her plan does not include working at Wylde Lake summer camp (as Drew’s pretty sure the forest gives her hives), nor does it include getting caught in the boys’ bathroom on her very first day by the hot-camp-boy-perfection that is Liam Walsh. And in no way does her plan include being chased across camp by a giant black dog that can make people disappear.

But Wylde Lake doesn't only have monsters. When Drew finds a pixie in her cabin, mermaids at the lake, and fairies in the forest, she starts to think that all of the Faerie Tales her dad told her when she was little might just be true, and that Liam, who seems to know all about this Faerie world, may actually be one of them. When Drew and Liam realize that all of the monsters coming out of the forest are actually coming for her, Drew decides to follow the clues of an ancient Alfar prophecy to stop the darkness from taking over the Fae, and save Liam from the darkness within himself, even if, as the prophecy predicts, she’ll have to give her life for his.

Mar 16, 2009

Query: KRELIS (Revision 1)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Agent,

Once every hundred years, Comet Orel blazes across the sky, calling to the heavens the souls of deceased dragons. During this time, an opportunity opens to imbue dragon stones with the souls, creating powerful talismans. Krelis and six wizards embark on a journey to collect the elusive dragon stones, which are formed from the hearts of dragons, but the power they yield proves to be too enticing, corrupting one of their own.

Krelis’ innate, magical ability earns him an apprenticeship with the great wizard, Antigonus. He lives in the conservatory on a small remote island where he practices the art with his friends. His life is simple, free from the conflicts that plague rest of Known World.

All of this changes when his mentor brings Krelis and his friends together to reveal the real reason for their selection; a dream of everlasting peace between the races of Known World that can only become a reality with the power of the dragon stones.

Krelis and his peers leave their home and undertake the quest filled with danger and ultimately…betrayal.

KRELIS is an 80,000 word, young adult fantasy.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Query for Love.com

Dear Agent:


Marsha Underwood is one of those people who actually can sell iceboxes to Eskimos. So it’s logical that she is recruited as Director of Marketing for the San Francisco based Internet dating service startup, LOVE.COM. The startup’s founder, Paul Latimer, has loved Marsha for her strength and beauty for more than ten years since their college days, but Marsha doesn’t consider Paul to be marriage material. Paul is desperate to win the approval of his own powerful but remote father as well as Marsha’s affection. Love.com becomes the vehicle for both of his desires. Paul also recruits Marsha’s father, the noted relationship expert Dr. John Underwood to develop matching protocols. The company becomes an overnight sensation after adopting Marsha’s novel pricing strategy: allow subscribers unlimited use of the site for free, and charge them only after a successful match is made. But such a pricing strategy proves an irresistible temptation for Paul to tinker with Mother Nature. Of course, he can’t let Marsha or her father in on the plot. They wouldn’t understand. They have morals.

A slick advertising campaign and the Company’s controversial ‘Soulmate Strategy’ isn’t enough to account for the Company’s success. Soon, subscribers begin marrying in numbers far greater than anyone can fathom. When Marsha and her father question why, danger and death are right behind. With Love.com now a worldwide phenomenon, Marsha is afraid for her life from the man who purports to love her. Will Marsha save her own life, discover the secrets of Love.com and perhaps even find her own soulmate?

LOVE.COM is a romantic suspense complete at 99,000 words. It will be of particular interest to the millions of women and men who have dabbled with Internet dating (we all know at least one). It is the first work I have submitted for representation. I was previously Vice President of Marketing for an information technology consulting firm, which not only is relevant to the story, I also have an excellent marketing plan for the project. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,


Author

QUERY - BAGASTANA

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Dear Ms. Agent:

There is a huge grizzly bear in their parents' bedroom.
This comes as rather a shock to Mina and Darwin, but they don't have time to think much about it before they and the bear fall through the portal into another world, Bagastana. As soon Bear sees what has happened, she begins to swear in quite forceful and creative ways, because getting the kids back home is going to be a challenge. The only known portal back is far away; it is guarded by a powerful creature who calls himself “The Maker,” and he will kill Mina and Darwin if he discovers who they really are.

Along the way, the twins encounter shape-shifting animals who worship a deceitful tiger; they are kidnapped by giant ants, forced undercover by misogynist horses, nearly devoured by eagles, and asked to make a great sacrifice by evangelizing fish. Mina and Darwin begin to develop their own magical abilities, and as they grow in power and knowledge, they begin to understand why the Maker would want them dead. They also learn how the Maker imprisons some of those who challenge him in his Living Clay, where they are unable to see, hear, breathe, or die.

BAGASTANA is the story of two young people who, while trying to get home, discover who they really are along the way. Like Pullman's GOLDEN COMPASS or L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME, the story of Bagastana is multi-layered with deeper meanings. This novel is complete at 73,700 words; it can be marketed in the commercial-literary genre or as YA fantasy (no sex or profanity, although the religious symbolism might be a bit controversial).

I was born and raised in suburban New Jersey, but I managed to escape. After attending Yale as an undergraduate and getting my Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers, I took a job with University of Maryland's overseas teaching program, living in several different cultures, many of which I've drawn on for this novel. I moved back to the U.S. in December.

Please contact me if you are interested in receiving a partial or the complete manuscript. The first chapters also are available on my website at http://www.mywebsite.com/writing.

Thank you for your time, and take care!

Query for Demon Dreams, main stream paranormal fiction...

Almost thirty years ago Margaret Turner left the occult world and the duties of being a Guardian for a normal life. Two marriages and three kids later she’s still trying to find normal.

Late one night while relaxing and reading a good book an old friend pops in to pay Meg a visit. More curious than scared of the demon, Meg agrees to a battle of wills and quickly gains control of the situation. What she learns from the demon under her control makes her less than thrilled. Hell is in danger and needs her help.

A power hungry warlock has been killing demons and assuming their powers. He’s somehow blocked the higher level demons from leaving hell on their own and any move they make to attack him misses. Having exhausted every evil plan they can think of, Satan and his minions turn to their earthly counterparts for help.

The idea of returning to her duties as Guardian of the Way makes Meg pause. She left all of that behind to live a normal life. As she wonders if she can pick up where she left off, she realizes that if she doesn’t help everything she knows and loves will die. So with help from her psychic friend, druidic boss, a few demons and angels, Meg immerses herself into the world she left behind. Can she find a way to defeat the warlock at his own game before hell takes over earth?

Demon Dreams is a finished 65,000 word paranormal/fiction manuscript that follows Meg Turner, witch and Guardian of the Way on a wild ride to save Hell. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely Yours,

QUERY - XENOLITH

Bearing flowers to the cairn erected in his vanished wife's memory in the wilderness of Belize, an ambush awaits Dr. Robert Bowen and his heart.

Bound and bruised on the forest floor, he battles a potentially fatal arrhythmia while his captors bicker in an obscure tongue. They ignore his wallet and passport. He thinks they might be drug runners. He couldn't be more mistaken.

For millennia, the Philosophers of Ubabaor denied the existence of xenoliths -- stones rumored to mediate convergences between worlds. For centuries they had witnessed the advance of earthly technologies and summarily rejected them.

When a brutal invasion overwhelms their country's defenses, their military commandeers the stones to open corridors through our world to support the covert strikes and strategic evacuations that enable their country to persist under siege.

Robert's exile to Ubabaor for witnessing a convergence rekindles hope that his wife still lives. Seeking other exiles who might have seen her, he roams a war-ravaged landscape, facing Ubabaor's enemies, as traces of Elizabeth, faint but unmistakable, lead him closer to a possible reunion, if he can keep his balky heart beating long enough.

XENOLITH, an urban fantasy, is complete at 110,000 words. I am a Harvard-trained, tropical disease ecologist whose many forays in developing countries and innumerable bouts of culture shock help inspire my depictions of exotic cultures and settings.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please let me know if you would like to see more.

Query: YA Fiction: Fault Lines

Sam can’t imagine her ancient grandmother, Granny Franny, or her mother, Angela, as teenagers. To Sam's mind, her grandmother was born an old lady and her mother has always been a bordering-on-boring single mother. But the discovery of a photo of a teenaged Franny kissing a cute boy and a look through Angela's high school yearbook now have Sam resolved to learn more about her grandmother's and mother's younger years. Her voyages through the past coincide with her finding her first boyfriend.

Sam discovers more than just exciting first kisses and tender hand-holding. She learns secrets with the power to destroy her fragile family. After Granny dies, petty arguments, old jealousies and unraveling secrets threaten to explode into intractable family feuds.

Fault Lines tells three interwoven stories of love, loss and identity, each echoing the shiver-inducing electricity of young love, the plaintive ache of lost innocence, and the ongoing struggle to become an independent, self-assured adult. Fault Lines is around 60,000 words long.

I have twelve years of professional writing experience, the bulk of which has involved writing instructional manuals for the computer software industry.
My freelance work has appeared in magazines such as Boys’ Life, Chicago Parent, American Health & Fitness, Bride & Groom, and Delicious Living.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Mar 15, 2009

Query: LAZY CATS (Revision 1)

A second revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.
Click here to read the original query.

Dear XXXXX,
LAZY CATS is a 60,000 word, work of Women’s fiction.
Just Maggie’s luck! Seven years in a comfortable marriage, one night of shamefully exciting sex, then poof, her husband’s gone without an explanation.

Did he run off with his secretary, Tracy Morgan?
Perhaps Maggie’s own wanton behavior drove him away.
Could Maggie’s latest story have anything to do with her husband’s disappearance? YES!

Maggie had no idea Chris had been secretly reading about Sarah.

“An undemanding woman, content living in the shadow of her puffed up husband, keeping a clean house, being the ideal wife, Sarah loses herself and gives up her dream of becoming a famous writer. But when her selfish husband goes too far, stepping out on her, Sarah cleverly plots his murder. Mouse poison should take care of a rat.”

Maggie and Sarah have a lot in common. The women even write alike. There is one big difference though, Maggie is real and Sarah is only a figment of Maggie’s imagination. But both women scare the hell out of their cheating husbands.

Thank you for your time. My contact information is listed below for your convenience.
raymond@threeriver.net

Too much is never enough

I've received several comments asking if I plan to regulate or suppress the flow of new queries posted to the site.

For the time being, I don't. I know many people would like to critique all of the queries posted, but for most of us there just isn't time. I've struggled to find fifteen consecutive minutes of free time this weekend, so trust me, I'm playing in the same ballpark as you are.

I understand better than ever why agents send form rejections. I'm not saying I would be issuing rejections for all the queries posted here, what I mean is that reading a query takes time; providing concise feedback triples that time, at least.

If you ever wonder why agents beg us not to reply to a form rejections asking why, then do this:

Log onto this site. Read and critique five queries. Time yourself. Then pretend you have to do 95 more today. And tomorrow, another hundred. And another hundred every day after that...

As a courtesy, if you are submitting a query, please take the time to critique another query (or two, or three...). Any one of us can't critique them all, but as a community of readers and writers, we should be able to get through the slush.

So far I've posted 16 queries, counting two revisions. I've commented on about half, and I want to get tot hem all. There is only one query that has not received any comments, but in all fairness I only posted it 15 minutes ago.

If the volume of queries zaps the value from this project, I'll find a way to deal with it. I'm solutions-oriented.

Until that time, don't feel obligated to read everything. Just read something, and I think it will be fine.

Thanks again for visiting!

Query: KRELIS

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Dear Wonderful Agent Person

Once every hundred years, Comet Orel blazes across the sky, calling to the heavens the souls of decease dragons, and during this time, an opportunity opens to imbue dragon stones with the souls, creating them into powerful talismans. Seven wizards embark on a journey to collect the elusive dragon stones, which are formed from the hearts of dragons, but the power they yield proves to be too enticing, corrupting one of their own.

Krelis’ innate, magical ability earns him an apprenticeship with the great wizard, Antigonus. He lives in the conservatory on a small remote island where he practices the art with his friends. He enjoys his simple life, free from the conflicts that plague rest of Known World. All of this changes when his mentor brings Krelis and his friends together to reveal the real reason for their selection; a dream of everlasting peace between the races of Known World that can become a reality with the magic of the dragon stones.

Krelis and his peers leave their home and undertake the perilous quest filled with danger and ultimately…betrayal.

KRELIS is an 80,000 word young adult fantasy.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.

Mar 14, 2009

Query: LAZY CATS

A second revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.
Click here to read the first revision.

Dear XXXXX,
LAZY CATS is a 60,000 word, work of Women’s fiction.
Author Maggie Weather’s glass (slipper) would be more than half full if it wasn’t for those pesky mice.
Just Maggie’s luck! Seven years in a comfortable marriage, one night of shamefully exciting sex, then poof, her husband’s gone without an explanation.
Did he run off with his secretary Tracy Morgan? Highly unlikely, she was just a temptation that got out of hand.
Did Maggie’s wanton behavior drive him away? Possibly, Chris had always kept Maggie on a pedestal. Their one night of uninhibited sex might have tarnished her halo.
Did he get tired of the peaceful country life where Maggie insisted they live? Doubtful, he seemed to enjoy the quiet after a busy day in the City.
Did Maggie’s latest story have anything to do with her husband’s disappearance? YES!
Maggie had no idea Chris had been secretly reading about Sarah.
“An undemanding woman, content living in the shadow of her puffed up husband, keeping a clean house, being the ideal wife, Sarah loses herself and gives up her dream of becoming a famous writer. But when her selfish husband goes too far, stepping out on her, Sarah cleverly plots his murder. Mouse poison should take care of a rat.”
Maggie and Sarah have a lot in common. The women even write alike. There is one big difference though, Maggie is real and Sarah is only a figment of Maggie’s imagination. But both women scare the hell out of their cheating husbands.

Thank you for your time. My contact information is listed below for your convenience.

QUERY- The Amazing Tale of Rudy Toot-Toot

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Dear Agent XYZ,

Please consider my 500 word picture book, THE AMAZING TALE OF RUDY TOOT-TOOT. This quirky comedy will make little boys giggle, but the laughs come with a lesson on manners. I chose to query you based on the interests listed in your bio on the 123 Literary Agency website.

Rudy Toot-Toot was born on a bean farm. He has an amazing gift - at least he thinks it is amazing – but I’ll tell you about that in a second. He also has an amazing problem: Rudy Toot-Toot does not know how to use any manners. His family tries to eat dinner, but can barely even get started because of Rudy’s antics. “Rudy Toot-Toot! How rude!” the family exclaims repeatedly, a fun phrase that kids can say, too. But then when Rudy starts eating his beans, his amazing gift takes over…and the family had better run for cover!

I have been writing professionally for business for the past eight years, including copywriting, press releases, and proposals. THE AMAZING TALE OF RUDY TOOT-TOOT is my first picture book manuscript, inspired by my own two sons.

Thank you for your time and consideration. The complete manuscript follows, per your submission guidelines.

Regards,

Rick Daley

Query- DON'T LET THE BEDBUGS BITE!

Dear Editor/Agent,

If you stop and think about many of the old sayings we use to calm and soothe our children, you will find that most of them don’t really include much by way of comfort. For example, why do we sing our babies to sleep with a song about them falling “cradle and all” out of a tree? One saying that always gave me the creeps is the one about not letting the bedbugs bite. If there are bugs in my bed, should I really be sleeping there? And yet, I find myself muttering that same old phrase each night when putting my own kids to bed. Therefore, I’ve decided to make the bedbug seem a little less scary and a lot more fun.

I have written a picture book entitled, DON’T LET THE BEDBUGS BITE! It is a quirky, fun bedtime story written in verse with a twist. In it, mom puts her child to bed and spouts the old bedbug adage. Sure enough, the anxious child soon discovers there is indeed a bedbug in her bed. But this is no ordinary bug. Dressed in her own frilly pajamas this weary insect isn’t thrilled to find a human in bed with her either! Can these two adversaries iron out their differences before another night-time fable comes a-calling?

My manuscript is approximately 400 words and is written for the 4-8 age group. It can be sent to you immediately upon request by email or regular post. (Publishing credits go here.) I have enclosed a SASE for your convenience and look forward to hearing from you soon.