Oct 27, 2009

Query Revision #2 - NO DARKER FATE

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

After a home intruder murdered his family, Lucas Fowler became obsessed with death. Germs, slippery steps, strangers, there are a million ways to die and he's determined to avoid them all. Even if it means boarding himself off from life.

When the image of a stranger arrives on his cell phone, Lucas thinks it's harmless, misdirected. But that night he feels changed. Suddenly fearless, able to outrun cars, punch holes in concrete, and shift into a blighted alternate reality, Lucas transforms into the thing he fears most--a killer. He tracks down and stabs to death the man in the picture.

Another picture comes, another murder. Lucas can't control his new abilities or stop the killings. Each time he learns a little more about what's happening to him. But to discover it all—the secret society of Scions, the rogue Scion controlling him, the super-powered undead he's creating with each murder, and the remedy to his own cowardice—he'll have to keep on killing. And he'll need to be fearless all on his own.

NO DARKER FATE, an urban fantasy, is 95,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Re - Query for Mourn Their Courage

Dear Agent,

When Liu Jie vows to serve his Emperor, he embarks on an epic journey where ghosts are guides and heroes are traitors. Jie endures the brutality and anguish of war before facing his greatest fear: must he sacrifice his family to save his empire?

"MOURN THEIR COURAGE" is a 104,000 word fantasy novel based on the Chinese folktales collectively called "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms." Though adapted for film, television and video games that have enjoyed world-wide popularity, there are not yet any modern novelizations of this treasure. I write with the same appreciation for character emotional development as Guy Gavriel Kay and believe his fans will enjoy my work.

I am a member of the Wuxia Society and The China History Forum Online, where I contribute book reviews. I have studied Tai Chi and Mandarin, traveled to China twice, and corresponded with Rafe DeCrespigny, one of the leading authorities on the Three Kingdoms period. I have published book reviews on my blog and fiction in online markets and can furnish those references upon request.
I understand you are interested in historical fiction and fantasy and I want to introduce you to my vision of China.

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

- Author

Chapter One

In the Ron Empire, wars did not erupt over cups of rice wine. Since the Peach Orchard Inn's modest, tamped-earth structure promised rest from months of travel and skirmishes with bandits, Liu Jie signaled his men to stop for the night.

Despite a guard’s protest, Jie dismounted and opened the inn’s courtyard gate himself. The cold, flaky metal felt good and solid after hours of leather and horsehair under his fingers. His wife and son’s litter entered the courtyard where Jie freed them from the stuffy sedan chair. Mei and Shan took a deep breath as a breeze blew the smell of earth and peaches through the courtyard. Together, they entered the inn.

To his right, five men gathered around an unrolled silk scroll mounted on the wall. The ivory fabric's weave was intricate, and the Imperial Chop blazed like a crimson brand in a corner. He read it in a glance.

The Son of Heaven requires the aid of all men as sons might come to their father. Rebels assault the people and threaten the capital. All districts report.

Beside him, his wife blanched. “No,” she whispered.

Jie read it again and clenched his hands. "You were right, Mei. War was inevitable."

"I'd hoped-"

Jie nodded and took her hand in his for a quiet moment. When servants brought in the family’s luggage, Mei and her servant followed them past garish red pillars and up the stairs. He knew Mei wanted to avoid the noise of the tearoom and the implications of the notice.

Their son, Shan ran outside to play in the last rays of sunlight. Jie bought a cup of rice wine and sat at an empty table. He contemplated how to respond to the summons. Servants lit paper lanterns and the tearoom filled with more men who crowded the notice.

A group of boisterous young men sat at a nearby table and a game of sixes commenced with a clatter of dice.

The voices and noise blended into a monotonous drone. When the innkeeper brought him a plate of dumplings and a set of chopsticks, he barely tasted the food. Instead, he used the chopsticks and wrote plan after plan in the congealing sauce. He abandoned every scheme as impractical.

He did not have enough money to fund a campaign against the rebels. He had to continue to the capital and sign up. Jie longed to respond now, before Imperial troops slaughtered the Turbans.

The inn door slammed open and Shan rushed inside.

Bemused, Jie smiled as his son looked around the room as if all the demons of hell chased him. *After all, he is eight.*

Then Shan's wide-eyed expression found him, and Jie knew something was wrong.

"Papa, come outside, quick!"

"It's dark outside, Shan. There’s nothing to see."

"There’s a body!" Shan said. "A dead boy is in the garden."

Query - They Say

Dear Agent,

If asked, sixteen year old Mattie Loisel would have a hard time telling you what she wanted most in life: the lead in the school play, the designer clothes her family would never be able to afford or for her mother to have never been in the accident. She might not be able to tell you her number one, but she’s definitely made a list. Mattie itemizes and enumerates because she doesn't know how else to understand or control her life. So when her boyfriend scores an invitation to the biggest party of the year, Mattie lists everything she needs to make the day fabulous. Using her meager life savings to buy just the right dress and shoes, Mattie has the perfect day. Perfect that is, until she loses a borrowed Louis Vuitton purse.

Without any other options, Mattie makes a deal with the Irish Annies - three girls who control her high school with the power of a dictator and the mystique of the Fates. The Annies buy Mattie a replacement purse and give her two months to repay them the three thousand dollars or suffer the consequences.

But as the summer progresses, juggling four jobs isn't all that Mattie needs to worry about. When her boyfriend dumps her and already strained family relationships begin to deteriorate further, not even a list can solve Mattie's problems. To top it all off Mattie needs to worry about the new guy, the one who sees through her guises and challenges her to be more honest with herself than she's ever been before.

They Say is an 88,000 word YA retelling of Guy de Maupassant's classic The Necklace and it is my first novel. (Reason I am querying this particular agent.) I have included below the first # pages of my completed manuscript, and would be happy to send more if you are interested.