Mar 25, 2009


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.


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!


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.