Sep 1, 2010

Query - Live Action Pick-Up

Okay, y'all can have a chance to punch me back now. The destination-specific bit at the bottom is for the first place I intend to ask, Carina Press. They DO publish stories this length, so yeah, it's okay that it's not a novel.

Devan is only good at two things: martial arts and fantasy gaming. He's learned the hard way that he's not what women in their twenties want. When he meets a girl at a gaming convention, he's glad he's wearing a ninja costume so she can't see his face. He agrees to play linked characters in a live-action roleplaying game because she let him budge in line and it's too hard for an introvert to say no.

The longer he plays with her, though, the more he's impressed by her enthusiasm for the games they both love. All he knows about her is what he can tell from her costume and what leaks through the character she's playing. She knows how to wear heels. She loves the same books he loves. She's a good actress. In other words, she's out of his league. He thinks only chance is to impress her by playing the game well. That means using his luck with dice and his eye for intrigue to defeat the aliens and solve the murder mystery--without letting what he knows out-of-character influence what he knows in-character.

Live Action Pick-Up is a 19,000-word love story without explicit sexual content. I'm excited about the way Carina is opening up established publishing and strong editorial support to online markets that can offer readers stories too long for anthologies and too short for print on their own. The personal tidbits about the process that I see on Twitter and Facebook always impress me with both the commitment to quality I expect from professionals and the warmth that makes reading and selling romance so rewarding.


Zee Lemke

Query - Tainted Legacy (1st Revision)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear (named agent)

It’s 1912 and Lizzy Parker’s first day as a scullery maid at the Cheshire home of the Creswell Family is suitably inauspicious: before she even sets foot in the house she manages to make an enemy of ambitious kitchen maid, Ruth. And, as time will show, Ruth is a dangerous enemy to have.

Lizzy’s talent for minor trouble soon overtakes her ability to control it, and in a frightening step into deeper waters she finds herself in the dock for a crime she did not commit: the theft of a priceless diamond necklace belonging to the Creswells.

With Ruth only too keen to see her sent down, Lizzy’s only alibi hangs on the word of Creswell family friend, Jack Buchanan, and the below-stairs rumours about him are frightening to say the least – one such story declares him to have killed his best friend during their tour of duty in Africa.

But for his own shadowy reasons, Jack has disappeared and Lizzy is convicted of the theft and sentenced to five years in Holloway Prison.

Shortly after her release her sister is kidnapped – the kidnappers believing Lizzy to be in possession of the diamond and demanding its return. Having no other option, she tracks down Jack and calls in the debt, and he agrees to help her find Emily and the diamond.

Then she finds out those stories about Jack are true. The death of his friend in Africa was no accident; Jack admits he’d pulled the trigger himself.

Already in love with him, Lizzy has to make a choice: trust her instincts, or assume he knows more about the theft of the diamond, and the kidnap, than he is giving away. Either way, she and Emily are now in the hands of an extremely dangerous man.

Following your guidelines in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, I am pleased to enclose the synopsis and first three chapters of my 98,000 word historical novel TAINTED LEGACY, for your consideration.

Many thanks for your time and consideration.

QUERY - SUB ROSA (First Revision)

Click here to read the original query.

The dinner party didn’t turn out the way Aemilius Valerius expected. He didn’t expect a place at the main table. He didn’t expect to drink that much. He didn’t expect to hook up with one of the scarier dancers. And he certainly didn’t expect to trip over the bloody corpse of his host on the floor of the informal dining room.

Rome, 58 AD. Valerius is back from the army. He is young, wealthy and has a pedigree stretching back to the founding of Rome, but unless he can get a job offer soon he’ll never have the career expected of a man of his rank.

One man’s grisly murder, it turns out, is another man’s opportunity. Valerius finds himself working with the investigator Atreus, a plebeian with a chip on his shoulder, to discover the killer. Mad Uncle Maro promised it would be a smart career move, but that was before a second senator turned up dead. Now everything points towards a corrupt legion, an imperial assassin, and the emperor Nero’s mother Agrippina. It might have been smarter to accept that honorary priesthood, stupid hat or not.

There are the added complications of an ex-brother-in-law who fell on his sword, a slum gangster who wants Atreus dead, political pressures, class divisions, and Valerius’ ongoing domestic hassles with his wife, sister, stepdaughter and assorted slaves.

Sub Rosa, a historical mystery, is complete at 129 000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

The Crystor (1st Revision)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Agent:

Seventeen-year-old Kira Edwards can deal with her friend, Lydia, having two spirits—one of whom hates her—but when she finds out Lydia’s brother wants to eat her, well, that’s just not acceptable.

When Lydia is severely injured, Kira chooses to accept the Crystor, a magical healing charm that not only gives her the power to heal Lydia, but enhances Kira’s natural ability to sense danger. Good thing, because Lydia’s brother, Octavion, is the victim of an ancient curse that gives him the heart of a wild cat and if he can’t control his primal instincts, Kira may be his next victim. But Kira can see through his tough exterior and has a plan. If she can find a way to tame the beast raging within him, he might let her into his heart. If not, she’ll pay the ultimate price.

THE CRYSTOR is a YA paranormal romance at 103,000 words that has the potential to cross over into the New Adult market. It will appeal to the same audience as Shiver and Graceling.

The completed manuscript is available for your review.



Click here to read the original query.


After PERSONAL TIDBIT, I believe my 80,000 word urban fantasy novel, GREEN-EYED MONSTER, may be a good fit for your representation.

Rookie detective Lucy Santone measures everything with the black and white rulebook of the Detroit Metro Police Department. Since tangling with a homicidal carjacker, she also sees demons crawling on suspects, a halo above the cleaning lady, and a stalker-angel who claims to be her Guardian. Denial’s easy until the delusions try to kill her.

During an arson investigation, Lucy uncovers the involvement of Levi Johanneson, the director of an NPO that renovates dilapidated houses. It’s all from the goodness of his shriveled heart until the contract comes due: one soul, a bit singed. Caveat emptor takes on new meaning when dealing with the agents of Good and Evil.

But Levi's not the only player in town. Another demon is vying for control over the broken souls of Detroit. Combined they have too many minions, too much power. She refuses to back down, but Lucy is in over her not-so-delusional head.

When each demon offers her an alliance, she is forced to make a choice: the citizens she swore to protect, or her own ticket to the pearly gates. Suddenly the rulebook looks a little gray.
GREEN-EYED MONSTER is a fantastical twist on detective fiction, researched through interviews with police/arson experts. I have a synopsis for a potential sequel.
The first five pages are included below. Thank you for your time.
Mesmerix @ Scribbler to Scribe