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,


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.