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.