Dec 6, 2015


Darrin Rhodes is starting out at a new school, in a new country—and he does not fit in. He’s only half-Mexican in a land of proud descendants of an ancient race. And he was born with the rare disability of seeing only in black and white. And he is invincible.

Before his archaeologist father died in an excavation, he left Darrin a talisman that was sacred to the ancient people along with the instructions to never take it off. He also left him a frustratingly enigmatic old teacher who explains that Darrin now holds one of the eight Talismans of Sumer, powerful relics created by the gods at the dawn of civilization to grant their powers to their favorite civilizations.

The power of Time was given to the Aztecs, the power of Nature to the Mayans. But as the centuries passed, the people forgot about the gods and their gifts. Except for a powerful entity called the Shadow King, who has spent five thousand years hunting the Talismans, and a mysterious group of scholars and treasure hunters that call themselves The Hands of God. Darrin has no idea what his dad’s talisman does, but he quickly learns that there are those who do, and they want him dead.

The Powers of Time and Nature is a 110,000 word young adult historical fantasy novel planned for a series to include subsequent titles: The Powers of Earth and Heaven, The Powers of Life and Death, and The Powers of Order and Chaos.

Thank you for your consideration,

Shawn P. Butler
The Powers of Time and Nature
Book One of The Talismans Cycle

May 29, 2013

Picture Book Query

Dear Agent,

In a dinosaur’s grasp there are no second chances. So a mouse, hog and goat thwart his sneaky advances.
Just how will this beast quell his great appetite, if none of his friends will let him have a bite?

In the delicious romp: “Aging, Raging Gluttonosaurus!” an arthritic dinosaur uses odd tactics to trap dinner: he mails invitations; tries a meet and greet; and even throws a tantrum. But none of his antics work on the terrorized creatures of the forest. And though he does not get exactly what he wants, it leads to an unexpected delight.

Hopefully you will find my main character and his story an engaging, laugh out loud read. I was inspired to write it after reading Julia Donaldson’s, “The Gruffalo”, although I make no comparisons.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Mar 30, 2013

Query - Siren Pacific

The epic poet Homer doesn’t exactly paint an accurate picture of Sirens. Arden would know. She doesn’t spend her days sitting on a rock in the middle of the ocean. She doesn’t lure unsuspecting sailors to violent deaths, either. She could, if she wanted to. But she doesn’t.

Much to her chagrin, Arden has to keep her abilities a secret, which isn’t always easy. Of course, the sexy new guy at her high school doesn’t help her plight at all. He makes her insides tremble with longing. But as her clan’s future guardian, dating humans isn’t even an option.

Then, a Siren in her clan is killed, the vocal chords ripped from her neck. Arden knows the identity of her people is no longer a secret. The Sons of Orpheus, a vicious cult bent on killing the few remaining Sirens on Earth, has discovered them.

The Sons of Orpheus plan to slaughter the Sirens. They won’t stop until everyone in her clan is dead. Arden could flee, which means leaving her home and the ocean behind. Her only other choice is to stop the Sons before the Sirens of Pacific Grove are exterminated. Leaving her precious ocean is unthinkable, but staying to fight might end her life.

Complete at approximately 70,000 words, SIREN PACIFIC is a young adult urban fantasy. I teach high school English to precocious ninth graders, and their enthusiasm inspires me to write. They have also assured me that sirens are the new vampires for young adult readers. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Mar 18, 2013


For Delta it’s life as usual. You know, a lifetime of “training” and quarantine, then being cut loose to question violent criminals. Typical seventeen-year-old stuff. The “peace” is shattered by a brother she didn’t know she had, who tries to convince her - get this - that she’s worm food existing in the land of the dead.

I bet I know what you’re thinking - somebody’s certifiable - but he’s right. She’s dead. Well, half-dead, half alive. Her brain is deceased, but her body is healthy. It’s just also strapped to a table by scientists who use her for research.

Tough break. Madmen won’t let her wake up. The dead won’t let her go. Her brother won’t stop pushing her to flee. Delta can’t quite separate fantasy from reality. The usual seems like her best option. Only the threat of termination tests her vision of reality, and breaking out starts sounding really good…but how does a damaged girl - who knows nothing about the world - escape?

At its core PROJECT DELTA is about a girl who desperately wants to fit in, but realizes that the status quo isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair.

This manuscript is complete at 70,000 words.

Query- BOOM

Boom isn't supposed to be a safe cracker. Sure, her nickname comes from her talent with dynamite, but she has an honest job. For almost as long as she can remember, she and her grandfather have worked the Transcontinental Railroad with the other Chinese. But when a friend of the foreman shows up and buys out her contract, she soon finds herself crossing half the continent for a job that's anything but honest.

Miles Anderson's old army chaplain is offering spiritual absolution for Miles' dirty work for the Union. All it requires is one last act of reparation: cracking the safe of a riverboat casino before it gets to New Orleans and donating the cash to an orphanage. With over 1000 miles between Miles and his destination in St. Louis, he's short on time to find a blastman for the job. A 16-year old Chinese girl isn't what he has in mind, but it's the best he can do on short notice.

When Boom learns what she's been hired to do she faces becoming a criminal for charity or a very long walk home. Taking a riverboat south brings Miles closer to the sins of his past and vigilantes out for his head. Then there's the little matter of breaking into the monstrous casino safe without ending up in prison or at the end of a noose.

BOOM is a western novel, complete at 71,000 words.

Dec 14, 2012


Attn. ****

I am happy to be able to submit my 71 000 word urban fantasy novel, Sirus, to you after reading that you enjoy ****

Sirus. Aged 22.

That was the only information which the nightshift nurse had provided him with when he had roused in one of the dingier hospitals of Specter City. With no prior knowledge of who he was or where he came from; Sirus, a dark-skinned, tattooed, Mohawked hipster, sets out to uncover his true identity. One explosion, five murders, and two unearthly visits later and Sirus realises that there is much more to his dilemma than meets the eye.

At a time when Specter City, and the Earth itself, has sunken into a hellish pre-apocalyptic spell of murder, mayhem and devastating climatic displays of fury, Sirus rises, wielding a power which may either save or utterly obliterate everything he holds dear. Sirus must choose between the forces of ‘good’ – the Infinites – or the forces of ‘evil’ – the Demoniacs – whilst desperately trying to discover his origins and keep his beloved stripper girlfriend, Vixen, out of harm’s way.

Set against the backdrop of a war between two powerful otherworldly powers vying for control over Earth, the novel, Sirus, explores one man’s struggle to find and accept both himself and his past. It is the first of three novels of its kind, where the final instalment culminates in an action-packed battle for the control of Earth.

Sirus gravitates towards the themes of self-discovery, action, adventure, romance and betrayal. It is both character- and action-driven and it contains scenes of sexual innuendo as well as strong, yet comical, language.

I am a citizen of the Republic of South Africa, a single mother, and an avid reader and writer. I have had poetry published in the Poetry Institute of Africa’s Anthology: Soulfully Seeking, have won awards in two English Olympiads and have completed an Honours degree in Behavioural Genetics. I use this scientific background as a basis for some of the concepts in my novels, and as a means to control my invariably quirky characters, which often enjoy giving me lip. I am highly connected on social networking sights such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and WEbook, and generally love to aid my fellow writers in their endeavours. All of this may aid in marketing my novel.
I thank you for your time and consideration, and look forward to hearing from you. The full manuscript is available upon your request.

Miss Caitlin White

Nov 15, 2012


Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read a previous revision.

To most, the monsters that lived under the bed or in the closet were just a part of their imagination, but for fourteen year old Amelia, the monsters were very real. Night after night they would terrorize her from within the shadows of her closet, calling her Amélie and telling her that their King wished to see her. They would tell her, gently and calmly, that she was the daughter of a hero, and that it was time for her to return to her people. Each time, though, she would turn them away and plead with them to leave her alone. Not that it mattered. She knew they would be back and that her time to follow them peacefully would soon come to an end.

It isn’t until her cousin Lily comes to stay that the monsters finally attack, returning in the middle of the night and taking Lily from her room and bringing her back to their world. Forced to face her fears, Amelia must enter the monsters’ world to rescue her cousin, discovering a tangled past that connects her to the world beyond her closet and the one they call Amélie.

AMELIA’S MONSTERS is a 79,000 world young adult fantasy.

***Note: I have posted this query on this site a long time ago; you can probably still find the original one still hidden within the depths of this website. I have started submitting and have received a good amount of rejections and figure it's because of the above query. I will thank all of you now for your time and feedback as I won't be able to respond to your comments and your own queries for I will be away on vacation for a few days. So once again: thank you!

Nov 12, 2012

Romance Query: Conquered

Dear Agent:

I am currently seeking representation for my novel Conquered. Conquered is a 78,000 word romance, set within a fictional civilization that mirrors the ancient times of Rome and Persia.

Amarah is haunted by loss, as her village was destroyed by the tyrant King Xavier. Just as she forces away images of war Xavier emerges once again. The king becomes captivated by her innocent beauty and steals her away. During the voyage to Xavier’s land of Etheridge Amarah develops feelings for Kaiden. Kaiden is a lower rank Etheridgian soldier who becomes challenged by his love for Amarah and his duty to his king. When Amarah arrives to the palace she is thrown into Xavier’s world of women, where ultimately she must yield to him. Through her submission Amarah learns she is more than a concubine to the king. She is not flattered by his adoration and when Kaiden returns to her life, Amarah will do anything to be with him. She will risk her life, and even con the king with seduction and promises of devotion. As Amarah’s plot unravels she finds Xavier is not as blinded by his affections for her as she assumed. Amarah must decide what is important, the love she possesses for Kaiden, or her safety as her plans of deceit is uncovered.

I studied with the Institute of Children’s Literature and I am a member of several online critique groups. I am the author of the recently published science fiction romance, Beyond Gavia.

Thank you for your time and attention.


Crystal Parney

Aug 10, 2012

QUERY: REIGN OF MAGIC (revision 2)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear ****,

Lewan gasped as a mysterious force ripped through the army, killing thousands of men instantaneously. He was only a volunteer, answering his king’s call to war. Why was he the only one spared? And how did this happen? Magic was just a story told to scare small children, but what else could kill an army in seconds?

Lewan flees the battlefield and reports the events to his king, but no one believes him. No one, that is, except the watchers – a secret organization dedicated to destroying magic. The watchers are unable to eliminate the magical power, and must contend with politics and internal coups as they struggle to contain the situation. To make matters worse, a sorcerer appears in the land after centuries of absence with an agenda of his own. A power struggle ensues, a fight between men and kingdoms to control a force long hidden from the land. Magic devastated the realm in centuries past, and without interference it will happen again.

REIGN OF MAGIC is a completed 75,200 word fantasy for adult readers. It is told from three points of view: Lewan, the watchers, and the sorcerers. I have one published short story in Byline Magazine.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Aug 7, 2012


Dear ****,

War was supposed to be glorious. Lewan volunteered gladly to fight for his king, but nothing could have prepared him for the cold brutality of battle. His regiment retreats and seeks shelter in an old crypt, accidentally activating an ancient power that kills thousands of men instantaneously. Lewan, the only soldier spared, flees the battlefield in a panic. Magic was just a story told to scare small children, but what else could kill an army in seconds?

Frightened and confused, Lewan reports the events to his king, but no one believes him. No one, that is, except the watchers – a secret organization dedicated to destroying magic. The watchers want to eliminate the source of the magic, but a sorcerer long since thought dead appears with an agenda of his own. On top of that, the king begins to suspect the true cause behind the slaughter and seeks to understand its meaning. A power struggle quickly ensues, a fight between men and kingdoms to control a force long hidden from the land. Magic devastated the realm in centuries past, and without interference it is posed to do it again.

REIGN OF MAGIC is a completed 75,200 word fantasy for young adult readers. It is told from four points of view: Lewan, the watchers, the sorcerers, and the kings. I have one published short story in Byline Magazine.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Jul 31, 2012

Query - Merm-8 (second revision)

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

Mermaids do not exist. No one knows that better than Gene, who's scrounging out a living on the flooded future Earth with salvage and smuggling jobs. He's traveled everywhere with his AI companion, Stitch, and never seen anything more majestic than a barnacled whale. So how and why did an honest-to-god mermaid get stuck in his ship's exhaust port?

He has no idea what to do with her, but she's frantically gesturing about something. So he takes her to Carl Rance, a scientist on a sea station, who grows obsessed with her beauty and mystery. Gene, too, must control his growing affection, which conflicts with his bachelor lifestyle.

Before anyone solves her mystery, an unknown silver ship attacks and destroys the station. Gene narrowly escapes with the mermaid, becoming the only person who can help her. But once Gene figures out what she wants, she'll lead him to a secret the world isn't ready for. One that has the potential to destroy the remnants of the planet.

MERM-8 is a 86,000 word science-fiction novel. I have been previously published in Electric Spec, Flash Me, The Dunesteef, and received an honorable mention in the 2010 Writers of the Future contest.

Thank you for your consideration.


Jun 10, 2012


Dear Agent,

I hope you will consider my young adult fantasy novel, Anomaly.

16-year-old Maya is an Anomaly—superhuman. Her ability to teleport, called “shifting,” is a rare and extraordinary one. While adjusting to her new home in London and learning how to control her ability, Maya has to juggle two Anomaly boys: a hunky albeit nerdy Italian who can become transparent, and a sexy British rocker who can nullify electricity but always seems to have a motive other than love. Maya is also targeted by Aristar Industries, a corporation of Anomalies hell-bent on stealing DNA, cloning abilities, and storming the British government. Aristar wants shifters in their ranks—which means they want Maya… or rather, her DNA. A cat-and-mouse chase for her genetic material thrusts Maya into a world of deception, kidnapping, murder, and world domination, where the stakes are high and the consequences of failure deadly.

Being an optometrist and a former National Science Foundation Fellow have groomed my brain for the scientific ins and outs of this novel. I’m a member of SCBWI and when I'm not writing, I'm figure skating or blogging at I hope the sample pages will interest you in the full 80,000-word manuscript, which I believe has series potential. It is a simultaneous submission. Thank you for your time.



May 22, 2012


Dear Agent,

We are pleased to submit for consideration our young adult paranormal romance KEY OF EDEN. In this 70,000 word tale of violence, miracles, and romance, seventeen-year-old Ava Monroe must defeat the fallen angels before the world is destroyed and the forces of the apocalypse are unleashed.

When she is attacked by a group of blood thirsty angels called the fallen she is rescued by Barak and his three heavenly sidekicks, the guardians. They ambush the ungodly creatures and send them tucking tail and licking their wounds. Ava learns that she is the key to Eden and the catalyst for defeating the fallen and their attempt to regain power over mankind—what does that even mean?

Dodging the steroid driven jock that is stocking her, evading her guidance councilor’s suspicious questions, obeying the rules of the guardian dictatorship (she doesn’t mind if the rules involves exile with the Sexy Barak), and passing the SAT’s—leaves Ava little time to for much else. But, when Ava’s BFF (more like sister from another mother) Erica is captured by the fallen she has two choices: to join the fallen angels and save her friend or join the guardians and save all of mankind.

KEY OF EDEN was the joint effort of Stacey Hays and Jennifer Nichols. We are cousins-turned-writing-partners. We are both from the Bowling Green area, members of SCBWI and contributing authors to the blog Our Pages Aren’t Numbered.

We would be happy to send you the manuscript upon request. Thank you for your time.

May 11, 2012



Dear _______:

All Buck and Bonnie Diddley wanted were three well-behaved children. Instead, they ended up with twenty-four, each one more eccentric than the first. The Diddley family members live in a former funeral home, and they split their time between having outlandish misadventures around the house and running the Ice Creamatorium, an ice cream shop set up in the funeral home’s old crematory. The bizarre escapades they create make up TALES FROM THE ICE CREAMATORIUM, where each chapter is its own stand-alone vignette that highlights one member of this lovable, engaging family.

If you would like to meet the Diddley family, I can furnish the 30,000-word middle-grade manuscript at your request. Thank you for your consideration.


May 10, 2012

Query- On the Surface

Dear [Agent Name],

Graham is a vampire; he just doesn’t know it yet. He was captured by werewolves and given a drug named, "The Cure." Now he is human and has no memory of the past two thousand years. With less than sixty vampires in existence, and Graham being one of the three original creators, his disappearance doesn't go unnoticed for long.

The wolves stationed Graham in an apartment just outside the city and as the first subject "The Cure" has successfully changed, he is closely monitored by his kidnappers. When Graham's vampire companion, Karl, discovers his location, he must find a way to get close enough to his friend to remove the drug-induced transformation.

After "The Cure" is forcibly removed and the human side effects begin to wear off, Graham must accept the creature he is, but the terrifying changes from human to vampire are enough drive him to the wolves, seeking a normal life. But the experiment he underwent has been ruined and now the werewolves want him dead.

With no other choice, Graham is forced to return to his vampire friends and attempt to go back to a world he doesn't remember yet.

My contemporary fantasy novel, On the Surface, complete at 79,000 words, is about a man striving to learn about his past and then cautiously coming to terms with the creature he turns out to be.

I received my B.A. in English writing from [omitted] and have had short, non-fiction pieces published on a locally-based website [omitted].

Thank you for offering your time to read a little about On the Surface.



May 1, 2012


Dear Agent:

I thought you might be interested in DAMSEL TO THE RESCUE, a gender-role-bending YA fantasy adventure.

Terrilyn Darkhorse comes from a long line of successful, prince-rescuing damsels. Now that she’s sixteen, she’s expected to uphold the family tradition. But Terri dreams of being a gardener and would rather remain at home, tending her garden, perfecting her plant magic, and staying far away from the highly competitive world of damsels.

Then the local prince is kidnapped and Terri’s mother makes her an offer: Beat the other damsels and be the one to rescue the prince, and Terri can have the family’s second estate, Trellis, to turn into her own gardens. Terri has wanted Trellis since she was a little girl, so she sets out with her best friend Rune as her official sidekick, hoping to avoid the other damsels altogether.

Before long, Terri and Rune are set upon by hordes of trolls and find themselves rescuing rival damsels from man-eating trees. As the onslaught of enemies grows, Terri learns to rely on her magic and an unexpected source of aid—her rivals—to conquer each challenge. Because she is determined to succeed, even if it means coping with snotty elf princesses, chainmail bikinis, and the most powerful Dark Lord the world has seen in five-hundred years.

DAMSEL TO THE RESCUE is complete at 83,000 words. It will appeal to readers who appreciate Tamora Pierce’s strong heroines and Patricia C. Wrede’s quirky sense of humor.

Included are the materials you request in your submission guidelines. Thank you very much for your time.


Apr 27, 2012

Query- Modern Medicine (Revised)

Click here to read the original query.

Medical charts tell only a skewed fraction of what actually occurs during a patient’s hospitalization. Contained within this file are the complete stories of what befell seven patients treated at the University Hospital and their role in transforming an innocent medical student into not just a physician, but something much darker.

Raj Mok never knew colostomies could be prostituted, cancers infested by maggots, or that TEN is the most lethal number … until he began medical school. Having spent more time interviewing prostitutes than treating heart attacks, Raj’s first year of clinical medicine taught him one thing: outrageous patients make for excellent training.

Seven patients. Six stories. One hospital.

Not for the faint of heart.

Mar 30, 2012

Query - King's Mark (revised)

Click here to read the original query.

Hi all! Someone suggested I try the query from one of my other POV characters. Since it's an epic fantasy, I just happen to have 3 of equal weight to choose from. Here's a completely different query for the same book. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Chay isn’t blind; he’s just pretending to be. Some street flies fake disabilities to earn sympathy and extra coin, but that’s not why Chay took up the blindfold. He did it to hide the birthmarks that identify him as the lowliest scum in the city – a Marked, servant to the absent King. If he slips up and someone realizes what he is, he’ll be starved, tortured, and killed as a traitor.

Chay will do anything to protect his family of guttersnipes, from taking a beating to blackmailing a member of the Broken Court, the city’s underground society. His super-human intuition usually warns him of trouble before it arrives and keeps him one step ahead of his enemies, but it can’t protect him from his own bad choices.

When Chay picks a fight with a rival in order to protect a new find, it escalates and triggers the deeper magic lying dormant within him. Although he struggles to remain free, Chay knows it’s only a matter of time before he’s caught – but he doesn’t expect to be betrayed by one of his own in return for food and safety for the rest of the ring.

Luckily for Chay, his captor is a rebel leader who has no interest in dealing with the authorities. Instead, he wants to use Chay’s newfound powers as a rallying point for his insurgency.

Chay finds he has talent and passion for stirring up trouble. He sets out to make a better world, because though he’s angry with his traitorous friend, he’s furious with society itself. But the government is the least of his worries – another enemy hides in plain sight, and the rebellion is playing right into her hands.

KING’S MARK, complete at 90,000 words, is a stand-alone epic fantasy with room for a sequel. Additional material is available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration (and thanks again everybody here at PQS)

Feb 27, 2012


Click here for the original query.

The language here hasn't been polished. I'm just trying to see if I'm moving in the right direction.

Without further ado --

Beth Macdonald is inexplicably rescued from the world of temp work with an offer of lucrative, permanent employment from successful art dealer Dorie Campbell. The next day, Mrs. Campbell's gorgeous and über-rich accountant appears at the shop and quickly launches into ardent and confident pursuit. Perhaps now Beth can tell her parents that her Ph.D. in pre-modern Scottish history wasn't career suicide and not everyone thinks she's a pedantic wiseass (or at least, someone finds that trait endearing). She could be so happy if only she didn't suspect her new boss, her new beau, or both are up to no good.

It sure seems as if they're covering something up. Beth's predecessor supposedly trashed the inventory records and has gone missing. The records Beth reassembles are cryptic, duplicative, and inconsistent, and are promptly snatched away by Mr. Campbell. The IRS is sniffing around, as are a couple members of a reputed Mob family. The Campbells are commonly believed to have a thriving a horse business, but their big barn is almost empty. Meanwhile, their supposedly empty guesthouse is occupied. And a friend emails Beth to report Mr. Perfect is a "Bad Boy" who may have an ulterior purpose (or three) for his sudden infatuation.

The last time a Macdonald trusted the Bloody Campbells didn't work out that well. Beth doesn't want to blow this first chance at permanent employment, but she doesn't want to work for crooks either–particularly not when they're suddenly determined to go into business with her father. She knows she has to figure out if the Campbells are crooked and, if so, what crimes are involved. She just needs to avoid whatever happened to Mrs. Campbell's last assistant, also once wooed by the stunning accountant.

A TEMPORARY CONVENIENCE, a 104,000-word mystery full of sarcasm, Scotch, sexual obsession, and a bit of Shakespeare, is able to stand alone but intended as part of a trilogy.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Feb 26, 2012


Life is frustrating for Beth Macdonald. As her attorney father says, a law degree would have yielded better employment opportunities than a Ph.D. in pre-modern Scottish history. Her mother declares Beth's moribund love life is due to her unwillingness to eat meat or to stop being such a pedantic wiseass. Then successful art dealer Dorie Campbell inexplicably rescues Beth from the world of temp work with an offer of lucrative, permanent employment. A day later, gorgeous, über-rich Ted Bruce -- the Campbells' friend, accountant, and banker -- appears at the shop and quickly launches into ardent and confident pursuit.

Beth can't take solace in either development. At work, she faces confusing files, an IRS accountant telling her to quit, her father's Mob-family client asking for a favor, and lies from Dorie and her husband piling ever higher. Meanwhile, a friend emails Beth to report his former classmate Ted is a "Bad Boy" who may have an ulterior purpose (or three) for his sudden infatuation with her. Unfortunately, no one can find Dorie's previous assistant, a woman Ted once wooed.

The last time a Macdonald trusted the Bloody Campbells didn't work out that well. But running away wouldn't protect her or her family and would give the Campbells a pass. She knows she has to investigate–and resist the hot Mr. Bruce who might be part of the Campbells' schemes, if schemes there be. The last bit will be harder.

A TEMPORARY CONVENIENCE, a 104,000-word mystery full of sarcasm, Scotch, sexual obsession, and a bit of Shakespeare, is able to stand alone but intended as part of a trilogy.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Feb 10, 2012


Dear Oh-All-Mighty Agent,

After Amarris watches blood collectors slit a boy’s throat, she wants nothing more than to escape her destiny as the Mezaran Empire’s future leader. She cuts her hair, disguises herself as a boy, and apprentices with a thief, a man who rescues sacrificial slaves as a pastime. But her new life doesn’t quench her blood-burning addiction, and the Empire won’t just let her go.

Amarris is the Empire’s most talented lestari, able to absorb human blood and create divine fire. She can create invisible fire, fire that consumes any material, and even fire that burns out another lestari’s powers. If her master knew what she was, he’d probably kill her. And creating fire comes with a price steeper than blood. The more fire Amarris uses, the more the Mezaran god manipulates her, until she’s not sure which thoughts are still her own.

When she discovers the Empire plans to invade Darsia, the only country that’s ever repelled it, she crosses the ocean in an attempt to both break her ties with the Mezaran god, and to warn them. But her penchant for thievery entangles her in Darsia’s tempestuous politics, and she’s increasingly unsure of who she can trust. Amarris’ arsenal whittles down to one weapon: divine fire. If she runs, the Empire will kill everyone she’s come to care about. If she fights, she risks succumbing to the Mezaran god, destroying the people she is trying to save and losing her free will in the process.

LESTOOR’S CHOSEN is a fantasy novel that is complete at 140,000 words. This novel is a stand-alone work with trilogy potential.

Thank you for your time.

Jan 31, 2012

Query: King's Mark

There is nothing Leti loves better than hunting along the river and practicing his stone carving. Until now, his clan’s protection has allowed him to do just that.

But when visiting traders discover the otter-print birthmarks on Leti’s hands, they kidnap and smuggle him into a hostile city where the King’s Mark is the sign of a traitor. And the Steward doesn’t tolerate traitors.

Instead of being executed, Leti is sold to a rebel leader, who plans to use Leti’s existence as a rallying point. Leti escapes, only to find his home destroyed and his clan scattered, killed, or sold into slavery. Instigating change suddenly becomes personal.

Aided by another Marked, a ruthless, charismatic guttersnipe-turned-revolutionary, Leti begins to work with the insurgency. Little does he know that the Steward is the least of his worries – another enemy hides in the shadows, and the rebellion is playing right into his hands.

KING’S MARK, complete at 90,000 words, is a fast-paced epic fantasy. Additional material is available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration (and thank you Rick & blog commentators for your feedback!)


Click here to read the original query.


...or any other evil apocalyptic sounding name...

Dear "****",

Cara, a rebellious and stubborn fifteen year old, has recently decided that there is no Creator. Her beliefs, if discovered, are considered high treason and grounds for exile in her village. Desperate to protect his daughter, the High Priest confronts Cara about her beliefs, but she refuses to conform and runs away. She finds shelter with an old man in the hills, another non-believer who was exiled from the village years ago. By the time her father finds her she has become close friends with the heretic.

When Cara is dragged away from her new friend and forced to return home, an apprentice priest, Leolin, is assigned to babysit Cara and help recover her faith. He follows her to school and watches closely as she completes her chores, all while extolling the virtues of the Creator. Needless to say, Cara isn’t pleased. But her anger is quickly forgotten when foretold signs of a coming apocalypse, the Durstorung, begin to appear. The village animals are slaughtered. Lightning from clear blue skies burn down multiple houses. Cara is frightened by the events and is relieved when the old man arrives in the village, looking for shelter after his cottage was burned down. But before she can confide in her friend, the Durstorung arrives.

The villagers flee from the devastation and shelter in nearby caves, praying for redemption. The Durstorung is a blur – no one can remember what happened or how, but they all believe the Creator has decided to end the world and there is nothing they can do to save it. The food supplies in the cave won’t last till the end of the week. Cara, however, realizes something is amiss. Why do people have claw marks on their arms? And why were the animals slaughtered like prey? She tells everyone that the Durstorung might be a magical beast and tries to organize a scouting party, but only the old man believes her. Leolin refuses to let her out of his sight, and Cara is furious. With time running out, Cara must find a way to defeat the Durstorung on her own to save her village from certain annihilation.

COMING OF THE DURSTORUNG is a completed 53,000 word fantasy for young adult readers. I have one published short story in Byline Magazine.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Jan 17, 2012


Sorry for the delay in posting, I was traveling and the hotel WiFi kept dropping my connection.  I have another query scheduled to post tomorrow afternoon (revision to COMING OF THE DUKEBARR).
- Rick

Dear Agent:

Gail's life has not been perfect. She might have avoided making a few important decisions, like who to marry and where to live. After her arranged marriage fails, she is paralyzed with fear and spends the first three months hiding behind the pages of her Harlequin romance novels.

Encouraged by her best friend, Gail makes the decision to strike out on her own. She gets a little unexpected help from a strange cast of characters, her over-the-top grandmother, and Tony Cimino, the man who waits patiently for her to finally see him.

Both over-shadowed by siblings, Gail and Tony have learned to settle for what they were told was all they could expect from life. He hides landscape magazines behind the ovens of his father's pizza and sub joint on Broadway. She hides behind thick lenses and dreams of studying graphic art.

Gail did not expect to love her new life, and never expected the love of another to find her. She cannot believe he is her chance at happiness and tries to push him away. But Tony, a man who knows what he wants and sees it in Gail, is not going to give up so easily.

ONCE MORE AROUND THE BLOCK, complete at 80K words, is a love story about two people who find the courage to start over. I would be happy to send part of all of the complete manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.


II was certain something lethal was about to hurl through space and split me in two. As it turned out, Ben didn't need a ballistic missile or a grenade launcher, he only needed a piece of notepaper.

Dear Gail, I wish there was something more I could say. Have a great life. Benjamin Silverstein.

The phone in the apartment was dead, so I used the cell to call my friend, Marcy. "He did what?"

"That lousy bastard. He left me a Dear Gail note and signed it Benjamin Silverstein, like I didn't know his last name."

"Where are you?"

I paced around in a circle by the wall phone near our pass-through. "I'm in our apartment … our empty apartment. He cleaned me out. You've got to come and get me."

"Aw shit Gail, there's a blizzard out there."

"I don't care. You said your friend has a heavy all terrain vehicle. Please Marcy, you've got to get here."

"Hold up." She covered the phone, but I could still hear. "Bruno, we can play French Maid all night."

"Yeah, but I gotta get the truck back."

"No, you don't. You'll tell him it's under three feet of snow, which is where I'll put you if you don't get your pants on and get me over there."

She got back on with me, "No problem, Gail."

"French Maid, Marcy?"

"Yeah, he's tired of the Cowgirl. Good thing, those chaps were killing my thighs."

After she clicked off, I roamed through the rooms. The only things left were four boxes, shreds of excelsior, packing tape, a week-old Daily News, and three empty beer cans, not his brand.

Ten days basking in the sun and lounging on the pristine beaches of St. Croix, ten days to work on my life plan and decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, shattered by a three by a three piece of paper. I looked through our bedroom window to the black late afternoon sky, willing myself to picture Ben's face as he wrote his final farewell to our bogus marriage. "Yeah, well fuck you too."

Jan 10, 2012

QUERY – Merm-8 (Revision)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Agent,

Gene, an ex-boxer, has made the most out of life on an Earth almost completely covered with water--salvage, smuggling, and avoiding the mafia he owes a debt to. Until he got himself a mermaid.

He didn't want her – the damn thing swam up his ship's vent. She only speaks gibberish, so there's no telling where she came from or how she could exist.

It's bad enough he has to eke out a living on the ocean with only his portable AI assistant, Stitch. Fortunately, there's a sea station nearby where Gene's scientist friend works. Could be a lot of money in it. Meanwhile, Gene could lay low, scrounge for jobs, and fix his spit-and-chewing-gum boat.

But he keeps finding reasons to visit the mermaid. Something draws him to her – a need to know what she keeps gesturing about. A need to protect. Especially when the general populace learns about her. Everyone wants to know if she's a fantasy come true or the bad omen sailors believe she is, especially the scientist who grows more obsessed.

Just as they discover the secret of her existence, a mysterious silver ship attacks the station. Gene attempts to escape in the chaos, like everyone else, and rescues the mermaid on his way. But his scientist friend won't let him through to his ship, accusing him of stealing his find. Gene has an instant to decide whether he will betray his friend or save himself before the station collapses.

MERM-8 is a 86,000 word science-fiction novel in the vein of "The Little Mermaid" meets "Waterworld". I have been previously published in Electric Spec, Flash Me, The Dunesteef, and received an honorable mention in the 2010 Writers of the Future contest.

Thank you for your consideration.


Jan 8, 2012

QUERY: Coming of the Dukebarr

Dear *****,

Everyone believes in the Creator. Everyone, that is, except Cara.

Cara, a rebellious and stubborn thirteen year old, has recently decided that there is no Creator. Her beliefs, however, are considered high treason and grounds for exile in her small town. Desperate to protect his daughter, the High Priest of the village assigns an apprentice priest to babysit his daughter and help to recover her faith.

Needless to say, Cara isn’t pleased. But her anger is quickly forgotten when foretold signs of a coming apocalypse, the Dukebarr, begin to appear. Cara finds herself questioning her beliefs in the face of these events as her society begins to crumble around her. Will her faith, or lack of it, be able to prevent the destruction of her village?

COMING OF THE DUKEBARR is a completed 40,000 word fantasy for middle grade readers. I have one published short story in Byline Magazine.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Jan 1, 2012

QUERY-His Muse(Revision)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear [Editor],

Coralie Boisson has one night in Arles to sign a deal with the handsome, and possibly mad, artist Jonah Struik. It’s her big chance to finally prove to her father that she is just as good of an art dealer as the men at their Paris art house. The fact that Jonah is the biggest rival of the secret lover that spurned her only sweetens the deal.

Jonah Struik, who abandoned the fashionable society of Victorian Paris after his fiancée jilted him, only agreed to deal with Boisson & Cie. in order to pay back his debts. When Jonah finds out that Denis Boisson has sent his daughter to broker the sale, he knows that his former employer must be playing games with him. Only a strange feeling that he knows Coralie from somewhere other than the art world keeps Jonah from walking out of their meeting.

Jonah soon realizes that Coralie is not the silly or manipulative dilettante he thought she was. And Coralie realizes that Jonah isn’t the madman the art world has labeled him as. The two come to find that they might just be the cure to each other’s loneliness.

HIS MUSE is a historical romance novella complete at 12,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.


Dec 31, 2011


Dear [Editor],

Acquiring the work of Jonah Struik is Coralie Boisson's big chance to prove to the other art dealers at Boisson & Cie. that she is just as good at the job as any man, if not better. But more than that, Coralie can't wait to help her former lover's biggest rival steal the spotlight of the Parisian art world.

When Jonah finds out that Denis Boisson has sent his daughter to broker a deal, he knows that the meeting must be a joke. But there is a familiarity about Coralie that keeps Jonah from walking out. He senses he knows her, but how?

Can the two begin to trust each other with their sordid pasts or will it end up another lonely night in Arles for the both of them?

His Muse is a historical romance novella complete at 12,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.


Dec 15, 2011

Query- White Trash Beautiful (Original)

Dear [Agent name],

Trey Aston has stolen from the mob.

Desperate to save her life, she begs her father for help, and agrees to sell her body as repayment. Every penny she earns goes into making up for his sacrifice, but when Trey discovers he hasn’t been making the payments, she’s forced to turn to the one man she hoped never to see again.

As a deputy of the Parkvista Police Department, Luke Johnson refuses to acknowledge his high school sweetheart is a prostitute and is determined to make Trey see it for herself. That is, until she starts treating him as a client. His faith in his ability to know right from wrong is challenged and he isn’t the only one who’s noticed. His brothers on the force don’t have his back where Trey is concerned, leaving him to fight against them for a criminal.

The Family is out to make her pay, her father’s drunken rages are getting worse, and the town is cracking down on prostitution, but what really has Trey on edge is the fact she’s falling for the deputy who wants her behind bars.

WHITE TRASH BEAUTIFUL is a romantic suspense short story complete at 17,000 words.

[Pub creds, etc]

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Dec 14, 2011

Query - Merm-8

Gene has managed to make the most out of life at sea--salvage, smuggling, and the occasional crab shipment. Despite his incredible debt to the Black Lagoon mafia and the tricks his AI assistant plays on him, things are good. Until he finds a mermaid stuck in his exhaust pipe.

But this is not a world of magic and dragons. The Earth is almost completely covered with water. Most of the population has been driven out to corporate-owned Seaplexes--giant, spherical atolls that combine malls, mines, and shantytowns. But this appears to be a genuine half-woman, half-fish.

Gene brings the mermaid to a scientist friend on one of these stations. He studies her while Gene tries to secure his next job. As they decipher this affectionate girl's origins, complications arise when she is discovered by the seaplex's populace. More complications arise when Gene's land-born status earns him the ire of the station's riff-raff. Even more complications arise when rumors of sinking ships start to emerge.

Gene discovers more about the mermaid and has to reconcile his feelings for this non-human. He must return her to her home. But her home is something he never expected.

Dec 6, 2011


Sometimes, Anthe wakes up covered in blood, wandering the desert alone. But no one from her tribe worries about the scout. It’s all the work of demons and outside their interest. They have something more important to worry about.
They are the watchers for the land, bound since before history to keep watch on the massive sandstorm that surrounds the desert land. It’s known only as the Wall. Legends say that it has moved before cleansing the land of any life. And it is set to move again. The first sign has been seen.
As part of the two person scouting team who discovers the discoloring of the Wall, Anthe is sent to warn Center and the leaders of the land so that they have enough time to gather everyone and get ready to move on the next Passage. But it has been so long that legend has become myth and tales to frighten children. Even Anthe has trouble accepting what she saw.
But she accepts, only wanting to get it over with and return to her quiet desert life of sand and demons. Dnoces, her scouting partner, relishes the chance to claim his own place in history.
Now they need a way to convince the populace of the land and save everyone’s lives, as well as help Anthe control her demons before they control her…

CHILDREN OF THE RED SAND is a 126,000 word Sci-Fi manuscript.

Oct 25, 2011

Query: Possessed

Dear Agent,

Julia knew something was wrong when she woke up in a haunted forest, but she never would have guessed that her life as an eighteenth century novelist was a lie.

When Julia and two other volunteers - Caleb and Gabriel - awaken prematurely in a research laboratory, the scientists want them dead.

Barely escaping, Julia and her new friends fight to stay alive in post bombed Dallas while coming to terms with their disturbing pasts, which was why they decided to do the psychological study in the first place.

But angry scientists and a psycho stalker are the least of their worries. There are much more powerful beings after them. Physically helpless after a serious accident, Julia, Gabriel, and Caleb are brought by their demoniac pursuers into the supernatural realm. And this time, there is no way out.

Possessed is a supernatural thriller that is 60,000 words long.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

QUERY: Amelia's Monsters

*Note* I posted this a long time ago on this site, but I am re-posting this to see how it has held up before I finally submit it.

Dear Agent,

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, bringing with them the terrors of the night. 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 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.