Jul 8, 2009


Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read revision 2.

Jamie Kidd, a thirty-something writer, thinks life is sweet until he wakes to discover that his business partner and secret lover has left town after emptying the company bank account which leaves him heartbroken, penniless, and somewhat suicidal, so he escapes to the infamous South Beach where he finds fleeting success and celebrity as a nightlife columnist for SOUTH BEACH STAR but falls victim to a life of debauchery.

Jamie Kidd left his heart in the small Virginia town that he called home for the past six years. Heartbroken and drowning in despair, Jamie could barely face himself or deal with being dumped by his secret lover, so he packed his car and drove until he landed in Miami. Jamie felt out of place in the tropical paradise known as South Beach but found a job as an editor’s assistant at a local trendy tabloid staffed with a motley crew of competitive social-climbers. Promised writing assignments never materialized so Jamie turned an invitation to a VIP party into an opportunity and a job promotion. His coverage of the celebrity party transformed Jamie into a weekly nightlife columnist and toast of the town.

Jamie’s old life was quickly forgotten as he hurled himself into his fabulous new lifestyle covering the infamous celebrity-studded party scene where he nightly mingled with beautiful shallow fashionistas, famous models, and wealthy jet-setters. Not accustomed to being fabulous or a party boy, Jamie gradually morphed into a nightlife aficionado named “Kidd” with bleached hair, designer fashions, celebrity friends and invitations to every party in town. His coveted lifestyle, in reality an out-of-control roller coaster ride of late-night-parties and photo-ops, fueled by his addiction to crystal meth, soon crashed leaving him jobless, lonely, and in a situation far worse than the one he had left in Virginia. With the gutter looming ahead, his former lover arrives to save the day offering Jamie a job as a writer in New York.

As a South Beach nightlife columnist, I covered the waterfront (low tide and high) from 1995 to 2006. I moved to South Beach from Virginia where I was the editor of a statewide arts & entertainment publication. For over ten years, I covered South Beach nightlife for several publications including the weekly tabloids The Wire and Sunpost. I’ve been a contributing writer and photographer for publications such as Miamigo, Ocean Drive, D’Vox, Genre, SKIN, Contemporary Woman, Scoop, Groove, Fashion Times, Miami Metro, Where Magazine, LRM (Lincoln Road Magazine), Closer Magazine, MAP (Music Art People),Where Guestbook, Public Magazine, Ego Trip Magazine, and Miami Herald as well as websites like MiamiArtZine.com, cooljunkie.com and MiamiStar.com. SOUTH BEACH STAR is approximately 65,000 words.

Query-A Profusion of Want

Click here to read the first revision (Retitled as KINGMAKER).
Click here to read the sample pages.
Click here to read the second revision (KINGMAKER).

Dear [Agent],

When sixteen-year-old Shale Peterson really wants something to happen, it does. That’s how she wins every competition she enters, from tennis to chess. According to her soon-to-be stepfather Grey, it’s also the reason her mother Leah is still alive long after doctors say that a brain tumor should have killed her. Shale admires Grey, the head of an international corporation and the only person she’s ever known as strong-willed as she is. But she mistrusts him too—because he seems to care more about becoming Shale’s father than becoming Leah’s husband.

Bit by bit, Shale’s doubts melt away as Grey draws her into his world of power and possibilities, of duty and privilege—a world hidden in plain sight and filled with people who believe that willpower and magic are one and the same—a world which, unbeknownst to Shale, Grey intends for her to one day rule. Shortly after Grey and Leah leave on their honeymoon an attempt on Shale’s life lands her in the hospital, and repeated covert attacks after she is released prove that she’s not safe anywhere—and worse, that she can’t trust anyone. What galvanizes Shale to action, however, is not fear for her own life but for her mother’s: because Grey and Leah have disappeared on their honeymoon and Leah is still very sick.

Uncertain of whether her strong will really is a form of magic, Shale must overcome an unfamiliar enemy, doubt—because, magic or not, the only thing she can rely on now is her considerable willpower. With it, she’s going to lay a trap for her mysterious assassin, and she's going to ensure that they can never touch her again. With it, she is going to get Leah back.

And if they've hurt her mother? Shale is going to burn their world down.

A PROFUSION OF WANT is a young adult novel, complete at 80,000 words.


A revision of this query has been posted, click here to read it. It's the same one posted in the comments below.
Click here to read revision 2.


To become a star is everyone’s dream. To become a star in New York you have to make it on Broadway, in Hollywood you need a hit television show or a top grossing movie, in Milan you have to be a world renowned fashion designer but in South Beach everyone, well practically everyone, thinks that he or she is already a star or at least has dreams to become one. South Beach, the home of the beautiful, flamboyant and fabulous, was once the playground of models, celebrities, playboys, drag queens, gay circuit boys and millionaires. Today the party is over, well almost, and the developers have taken over, but in 1996 everyone was a star and the parties were incredible. And I was at every party.
As a South Beach nightlife columnist, I covered the waterfront (low tide and high) from 1995 to 2006. I survived the millions of air kisses and late night parties but like a war correspondent I have plenty of memories and scars. I’ve written an adventurous fictional tell-all of the real behind the scenes South Beach. They say that truth is often more unbelievable than fiction but while much of this story rings true it’s pure fiction. Or possibly it’s all true as my memory has been warped by years of living in a world where lies passed as truth. Fantasy or reality, it didn’t really matter as everyone looked great and I had a great time. Or did I?
SOUTH BEACH STAR is a fictional account of a nightlife writer’s adventures in wonderland and is filled with quirky characters reminiscent of Holly Golightly of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and Little Kiwi from Ethan Mordden’s BUDDIES. Imagine THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA but the main character gets a job as a nightlife writer and suddenly finds himself fighting to survive in BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY while partying with the crew from CELBUTANTES. SOUTH BEACH STAR is approximately 64,942 words.

Agent Interview- Jessica Faust of BookEnds, LLC

Attention Slushpile Readers:

Jessica Faust, a literary agent with BookEnds, LLC, was gracious enough with her time to respond to an interview request. Thank you Jessica!

She also maintains the BookEnds blog, which is well worth your time (if you are not already a regular reader...I see some of your names in the comments regularly.)

So without further ado...

1. What is the most recent novel you’ve read (that was not directly
related to your job as an agent)? I’ve actually just started My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Piccoult. I’m embarrassed to say this has been sitting on my nightstand since the book was first published and I’m just now getting around to it.

2. What did you like best about that book? So far the best I can say is that her writing is really amazing.

3. What is the most challenging aspect of your job these days? I think it’s keeping all of the balls in the air. My inbox right now has 300+ unanswered emails and there are a stack of requested proposals sitting in my office. Unfortunately, those all have to wait while I work with my clients to revise and edit their proposals and manuscripts (sometimes multiple times), negotiate and review contracts, and generally answer any and all questions they might have. Of course, adding the blog to my daily to-do list certainly doesn’t help keep my schedule light, but it’s something I love so I think I’ll keep it.

4. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job, overall? It’s that I get to do what I love every single day. As a child I loved nothing more then losing myself in a book and now I get paid to do just that. I admire writers because I know I don’t have the fortitude to sit and put 100,000 words on paper and have them make sense so in my mind I get to do the next best thing and it appeals more to my strengths, I get to be the right hand woman to those writers and really work with them to make their dreams become reality.

5. How do the following factors influence the genres you rep:

- Network of editors you know While there’s no doubt that comes into play the truth is that I don’t worry about it too much. If I really love a project I can always add new editors to my network and I do on a daily basis.

- Current / anticipated market conditions To some degree. Certainly, when erotic romance first started to hit big I was lucky enough to have seen it coming and have a couple of really great authors in my stable ready to go. However, as I will always say, we can’t write or agent to the market so while I’m less likely to take on a book if I think the market might be tough, if the book is really great I’m going to go for it anyway.

- Personal reading preference I think this is probably the greatest influence, but what I think authors need to understand is that it’s different then say, your personal reading preference. What I read for pleasure and how I read for work are two very different things. When I say personal reading preference with my agent hat on I mean books that I enjoy, that I get excited about and that I think I can sell. It doesn’t necessarily mean a book I can just curl up on my couch and read. That would be too easy.


Click here to read the queries. Link goes to the revision, and the original is linked there.

So in the next coming months I’m going to finish polishing up my manuscript and send out the query letter to see what happens.

To make sure I’m heading in the right direction, I thought it would be a good idea to post the first few pages on here for all you wonderful people to view and critique. So here it is and thank you for your time and comments.


Monsters were following her right now. Amelia knew it. It didn’t matter where she went, or how far she traveled; they were following her, like wolves on the hunt. Daylight could only last for so long, and once it ended, and night took control of the day, she knew they would find her and continue to terrorize her from inside her closet.

Amelia rolled down the window and stuck her head out a little ways, the rushing wind drying out her eyes, causing them to water a little. Houses whizzed by her like a slideshow that showcased the city’s richness. Bright blue and yellow houses seemed as if they were going to collide with one another as the car drove by them. Sprinklers chattered in an attempt to keep the lawns quenched and satisfied from the summer’s heat. At first glance it seemed as if things were going to be different here for her and her family, but Amelia knew this wasn’t the case.

The car rolled up to a stop sign and Amelia pulled her head back into the car, tucking her brown hair behind her ears.

“You’re going to like it here,” Amelia’s dad said, peering through the rearview mirror.

Amelia looked back outside the window at the next row of houses that stretched out like a tie-dye wall on the other side of the intersection. She turned and looked at her cousin Lily sitting next to her and gave her a nervous smile. Lily tried to do the same, but it came out more like a twitch than a smile.

“Beautiful neighborhood, nice people, and a peaceful atmosphere,” Amelia’s dad continued to say. “Just what you two need.”

Amelia thought maybe this was what they needed. They grew up in the city—only five houses away from one another—where car alarms sounded, music blasted from nearby houses, and people screamed at one another. It was stressful and it didn’t help her or her cousin’s problems. The neighborhood did look quiet and peaceful; Amelia gave it that much.

Amelia turned once more to Lily and said, “Are you ok?”

Lily hadn’t said a word since they had gotten in the car, and that was over two hours ago. She turned to Amelia, brushed some of her blonde hair away from her eyes, and just nodded at Amelia.

Lily had always been quiet, and she kept to herself most of the time. The therapist tried to get her to talk, but she never said a word. When Amelia had sat on the couch in the waiting room of Dr. Ivan’s office, she could hear bits of Dr. Ivan’s conversation with Lily from inside his office. And from what Amelia could gather from listening, Dr. Ivan had seemed to do most of the talking, and not once did she hear Lily’s quiet chatter. The only time Amelia really heard Lily was when she had shifted in the squeaky black leather chair.

Amelia turned away from Lily and pressed the button to roll down the window, the soft electric hum ruining the silence as the window scrolled down till it slipped between its thin rubber doors.

There weren’t a lot of trees around, Amelia noticed, and she didn’t know how to feel about it. Her father told her that Evelyn Heights was a gated community and it was a lot different from their previous homes and neighborhoods. Here, Amelia noted, different must mean the same. It seemed the more they moved the less and less unique the neighborhoods became.

Before the monsters began to lurk in her closet and conceal themselves in the shadows of her room, and before they ever thought about moving, they had lived in a town where houses were all different shapes and colors and trees surrounded their old home. All day she would roam through the woods, looking at birds, bugs, and insects, inspecting dead trees and holes in the ground.

Of course, she didn’t do that anymore.