Sep 24, 2009

Query for memoir-THE VOICE OF BEAST

Dear [agent's name inserted here],

Beast, a metaphorical character create to speak on behalf of my pain, is birthed the evening Esther, a gifted Christian counselor, asks, "What does the pain look like?" Her bent for asking unusual questions opens doors long shut on my abusive childhood and invites me to know my pain. Admitting I need help, that self-harm is a broken crutch I use to cope, lifts the fog on
my pain because ignoring my past is finally more painful than the perceived risks of facing it. I begin sending Esther regular installments of the Beast's world within my heart and embrace his character as an unlikely ally who leads me to discover the Little Girl within in me, memories of abuse and the courage to confront my father, and forge genuine relationships with
those around me, beginning with myself.

THE VOICE OF BEAST is a 85, 000 word memoir told through both Beast's eyes and my own as I awaken to pain and then surrender it into God's hands; my ashes for His beauty. This book is for those affected by mental illness, particularly those who battle with self-harm or depression and have their own Œbeasts¹ and Œignored little girls¹ living inside them. It offers insider's perceptions to anyone who has a relationship or support and counseling role with abuse survivors or mental health suffers. It reaches out to anyone who has ever had cause to hurt, or ever ached to ask God the difficult questions surrounding abuse and its effects. The foreword is
written by [insert name], BOccThy (UQ), MCouns (CHC), counselor, guest speaker and university lecturer.

I contribute regularly to Footprints Magazine (Australia) and wrote on the topic of Self harm in my article Beast: A Story of Self Harm for their winter 2009 issue. I have also been published in Home Life Magazine (USA) and Parenting Express (Australia).

I am seeking agent representation and would appreciate your consideration. Thank you for your superhuman effort to connect with and support writers via your blog. I appreciate that you represent the works of fine authors like [insert name of author] and [insert name of author], whose soon to be released book promises to expose tough questions about Christianity and her
search for authentic answers.

Included with this email, as requested, are the first ten pages of my memoir.

I look forward to hearing from you.

[insert my name]

(please note that this query is targeted to a specific agent and follows her
guidelines for what to include, thus the mention of target audience for

Query - Save Us - Revision 2

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

Hey guys, I made a few more changes based on some comments from the Evil Editor. Some of the people felt I needed to flesh out the plot a little, and make the names more authentic. I'd love to hear what you think. Thanks-

Dear Agent:

Alexios has had a busy few months: falling in love, dying, and leading a rebellion—in that order.

Alexios is a young, orphaned fisherman living in ancient Phoenicia during the time of Christ. He and his love Korinna drown in a storm, and without a way to atone for their sins, they appear in Hell. Separated from Korinna and enslaved in Hell's mines, Alexios sinks into despair, until one day his pain leads him to fight back against his cruel demon captors. Seeing a demon defeated by a human for the first time, the rest of the slaves rally around Alexios as the conflict snowballs into an unintended rebellion.

He soon meets Duriel, an angel sent on a covert mission to aid him, who informs Alexios that this struggle is meant by God to distract the devil from the ramifications of Christ's death—salvation for all mankind. If he realized this, the devil might try to stop the Crucifixion rather than encourage it. Faced with this new mandate, the desire to find Korinna, and the threat of a growing demon army, Alexios undertakes a task that transforms him as much as it changes the fate of the slaves in Hell. When Jesus' path takes him to the cross, the war in Hell culminates in a clash between the great powers in the universe—with Alexios trapped in the middle.

SAVE US is 75,000 words, and is my first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sample pages- AM I WORTH IT? - young adult

Chapter 1 – "Best Seller in the Making"

I had a song for every mood, for every moment of my life. I could use and artists's or songwriters words and piece them into my day like a puzzle or a map. What's my soug right now? Rescue Me!

"Have you made any connections yet," he asked me, leaning over his desk and pushing his over-priced black rimmed glasses up on his nose- they had to be fake. I took a deep breath letting it out slowly, searching for an ounce of patience. I really wasn't in the mood for his shit today. I reached forward and opened the glass jar on his desk and pulled out a handful of candy, popping one of the little pellets of pure sugar in my mouth.

"Connections?" I asked playing dumb, scanning the rows of bookshelves. I'd spent so many hours here, I had them practically memorized. Right between 'Healing Post Traumatic Stress' and 'Signs Your Child Is Socially Challenged', he sighed heavily, his subtle way of telling me I was being a pain in the ass, yet again. But it's not like he wasn't getting a big fat check every hour we spent together. His eyes zipped to the page of notes in front of him and when he looked up at me again – it was 'return of the concerned and helpful therapist'.

"Your uncle says you've joined the jazz band, and made the team for the school trivia bowl?" He asked narrowing his eyes at me. I threw a couple more pieces of candy in my mouth and chewed slowly. I loved leaving him in that uncomfortable silence, watching him squirm in his chair. It was so fucking funny- about the only entertainment I got these days.

"Yep, I'm aiming for extreme popularity. Can you tell?" I said tossing one of the candies in the air and catching it in my mouth. His face relaxed into an expression I knew all too well – he was trying to get intimate again. Discuss the dark side of Dan, pour out our hearts and souls until we're weeping uncontrollably in each other's arms. It was so touching I thought I might vomit on his spotless white carpet.

"Dan," oh here it comes, the tight ass therapist is going to tell me he loves me and I'm not alone. If I'm lucky he'll hold my hand. They're all so predictable. I could've saved him a hell of a lot of money on that stupid piece of paper hanging on the wall. I almost felt sorry for the guy. Almost, if he wasn't so freakin' annoying. I groaned and rolled my eyes.

"Dan," he said again, "you've been at your new school for two months now. Haven't you made any friends?" No, thank God!

"A few," I lied. He narrowed his eyes at me. He was smart enough to at least know I was full of shit. But then why even ask?

"What about girls?" He asked ignoring my lie.

"You're kidding right?" I said exasperated he would even bring that up, "Is this some kind of test?" He ignored my sarcasm.

"You're a smart, good looking guy. There must be someone you've thought about asking out?" I shook my head in disbelief.

"It's a curse I wish I didn't have," I muttered then immediately regretted letting the words slip out. He now looked honestly concerned.

"When you say things like that, I think you want to talk, but you never do. What did you mean by that – why do you think being smart or good looks are a curse? I don't know any seventeen-year-old boy who would wish that."

"You just don't get it," I said, no one did, "I can guarantee both intelligence and being physically attractive to the opposite sex can be a curse." This was what I did best- give him little snippets of information or just a half second glance in to my mind and then I slam the door in his face. He was frustrated now. So was I. But who gives a damn if I'm frustrated as long as I behave? It's not like I didn't deserve some kind of punishment.

"Look, Dr. Stevens," I said hoping to calm him down a little. I hated to admit this, but the time I spent with him was the only time I did anything out of impulse or acted like I used to – though it was for good reason, it still felt nice having a glimpse of some of that normal teenage rebellion. Like seeing an old friend after a summer apart, "I know what you're trying to do, it's the same plan that all three shrinks tried on me in California. I'm not ready for any of that – I don't think I'll ever be ready, so lay-off. I do everything I'm supposed to. I'm the model teen. Any parent would love to have me." Any parent but my own. He raised his eyebrows probably guessing what I was thinking – damn shrinks! Just when you think they're complete idiots they go and read your mind.

"Have you talked to your parents lately?" He asked

"They sent a check, a credit card and a note asking me if I was working on my college applications," I said mechanically.

"Well, that's good they're communicating with you," he said, though he frowned like he was disappointed – maybe he thought they should do more? Interesting. I assumed he was all about the money. He probably has a 'ladder of healing' I need to climb for his achievements – maybe a book deal? If I'm not healed and perfect in a few months he won't have shit to write about. Whatever. This was so pointless.

"Can we finish a little early? I've got my first practice for the trivia bowl in twenty minutes," I said leaning back and putting my hands over my eyes. He looked a little sad, which surprised me, but I didn't have the energy to analyze his behavior, besides I didn't care.

"Fine," he said pulling his glasses off and rubbing his eyes, "I'll see you Thursday afternoon." I nodded and grabbed my bag and keys and pulled the book I was reading in the waiting room out from underneath my chair.

"What's that you're reading?" He asked me before I could leave. I flashed the cover in front of him. "War and Peace," he said raising his eyebrows. I smiled not being able to help myself.

"Do you honestly think I could go from popular jock to geek without having something of substance between my ears?" I asked laughing a little at the irony. I used to hide books from my friends, not wanting them to see me reading classics like Tolstoy.

"So I've heard," he said shaking his head and writing it all down in that notebook of ingredients for a bestseller to cure crazy kids- and make millions in the process. I didn't want to smash his life's work or anything, but he had a long way to go before he was Dr. Phil. I walked out into the cold November air. I hated cold and Chicago had more cold days than anything else.

Honestly the weather here was so fucking unpredictable. In San Jose, where I spent most of my life, until a few months ago, you get between sixty and eighty degrees most days. Today it was twenty-two, yesterday it was sixty-five.

I sat in my car pulling out my hundredth draft of the letter I may never finish and made yet another attempt.

Dear Hannah,

I know I'm probably the last person you ever want to open a piece of mail from. I'll understand completely if you tear this to shreds the moment you receive it. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of you – think of that night. I wake up seeing your face, horrified and it hurts so much, I think I'll never breathe again. I'll never forgive myself for what I did, but it doesn't compare to your suffering. I'm so sorry –

"Stupid idiot!" I said banging my head against the steering wheel a few times. I tore up the letter, throwing the pieces on to the floor. Who was I kidding, I hardly knew this girl and besides it would never be enough. But I had to try, didn't I?

I put the car in gear and headed back to school for trivia bowl practice, AKA – social suicide. If it was my choice I'd go to class and nothing more, but when I thought of my Uncle Steve worrying about me being alone and, well. . . miserable, I had to show some sign of life. He had done so much for me- sometimes I wished he was ashamed of me like parents. It would make my descision much easier.

Right now, my life balanced somewhere between purgatory and Hell. It's exactly where I needed to be, I didn't deserve anything better.

Query- AM I WORTH IT? - young adult- attempt #2

Click here to read the original query.

**Thanks for all your great feedback on the first attempt! I knew I would need those first impressions to see if it needed to be toned down a little. word count is 330, is that too much???

Seventeen-year-old Dan has never been punished for what he did to Hannah last spring while drunk and high at a party. He barely knew Hannah and now her life is ruined and no one will listen to Dan, not the judge or the four shrinks he's seen since that night.They all say the same thing, "It's not your fault." It's up to him to create his own miserable existence – to make sure he's punished, but he's too much of a coward to do what he should.

Instead, he leaves behind his comfortable California life, his high-profile parents, and every ounce of joy, to move to the north suburbs of Chicago, before his senior year. Dan has a brilliant mind and a gift for music. He also has a carefully crafted plan to remain in his unhappy existence – number one on his list: commit social suicide by going from cute, popular jock to most valuable member of the Trivia bowl Team. Only now, for the first time he isn't hiding his good side- he's finding it.

His plan is failing. He's surrounded with people who care for him, maybe even love him. And he can't help thinking about Claire – beautiful, kind, funny and looking at him in a way he doesn't deserve. When she leans in to kiss him, he sees Hannah's face. His mind swims with the memory of that night and he can't breathe.

Dan's slowly walking a plank and buying time in purgatory until the decision is made - either forgive himself or drown. He's knows what he deserves, but everything is off-balance now. He may have someone amazing like Claire trying to pull him from his miserable life sentence, but he can't stop asking, "Am I worth it?"

AM I WORTH IT is a 60,000 word young adult novel telling the story of a boy's ability to emerge from a sea of guilt and come out a better man.

Query - Llona Reese: By the Light of the Moon, young adult

Dear Agent,

I’m seeking representation for my 94,000 word young adult, urban fantasy, LLONA REESE: BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON, about a young girl who just wants to live a long life without the constant fear of being murdered for her unique gift.

LLONA REESE is not your typical seventeen-year-old high school girl. She is an Aura, a female who contains the ancient and powerful Light. Where other teen age girls have to deal with changing hormones and growing boobs, Llona has to figure out how to control Light’s power… and fast.

Strange and frightening things begin happening and she suspects a Vicen has discovered her true identity, despite her extreme efforts to protect herself. Vicens are strong, evil beings who kill Auras for the Light in their blood, which in turn gives them great power. With the help of her first real friend, MAY, who she met under unusual circumstances, and CHRISTIAN, the mysterious boy who knows more than he’s telling, Llona decides not to run. She does, after all, deserve one normal year of school, doesn’t she? By choosing to stay and fight, she risks the lives of everyone she loves and ultimately changes her life forever.

LLONA REESE: BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON is the first in a series of three, but could stand on its own. It will appeal to R.L. Stine fans and any teenager who has felt out of place. Upon your request, I am prepared to send the complete manuscript. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you.

(personal info)