An unselfish wish made on the horn of a unicorn will come true. Our wish? To support the writing community by giving constructive tips and criticism through submissions. Check out the submissions tab for more information. We can survive the crucible of fire together.

Friday, August 31, 2012

QueryCon AKA School's In Query Wrap Up

Blogger ate this post, which could be a good thing because now you're going to get the simplified version. :)

What a great three weeks! We hope it helped you understand the importance of the query and helped you move in the right direction with your query. All of us at UB enjoyed the chance to pay it forward and help all of our lovely followers. So much in fact that we've discussed making this a yearly thing titled QueryCon.

Monday we will return to our normal posting schedule and various calls for submissions. Stick around and lets continue perfecting our novels so we can reach our publishing goals.

Our judges have another week to look over the queries and let me know if they want to request pages, so don't give up hope. One judge also issued an open invite to submit to her directly to all who participated (info below).

Here are the queries that have already garnished requests:

#2 Who Is Audrey Wickersham?
#3 Joshua's Tree
#5 Staying Dead
#7 Waiting for Someday
#11 Let My Life Be Proof
#12 Running Down the Dragon

Congratulations!

Nancy Bell of MuseIt Up Publishing invites anyone who wishes to query her after September 1st. MuseIt Up has been closed to submissions and therefore might get bombarded this weekend. Mention the UB contest in the personalized section of why you chose to query Nancy. You can find the complete submission guidelines HERE. That page is very detailed as to what they will and will not accept. Good luck!


But don’t go away just yet. To the sixteen who submitted their queries:
Send your mailing address to beccoff(at)nwmo(dot)net and receive an extremely cool magnet with our logo. Use it to pin the kid’s grade school picture and meeting reminders to the fridge.

Or a copy of your book deal.

Sorry, North America only. 


Monday, August 27, 2012

QueryCon #16--Casualties of Work

Title: Casualties of Work
Genre: Fiction
Name: Loralie Hall


Dear Awesome Editor,

Riley’s To Do List:
- Land that VP of Technology position
- Convince her coworker his “sleep with me or I’ll destroy your
career” pick-up line is repulsive.
- Pretend she’s okay with selling her soul for success

Riley doesn’t mind that her job devours her time; it’s all about paying her dues and earning her next promotion. Still, she’s not about to pass up a rare, free Friday night and the chance to have some fun. She doesn’t expect ‘fun’ to end with a coworker forcing himself on her. News travels fast between corporations and it will only take a rumor that she led him on to earn Riley a spot on the software industry’s unofficial list of ‘Manipulative and Difficult to Work with Women’.

As Riley weighs ethics against career, her friends offer a sympathetic ear. Their support would be fantastic if they would stop pushing her to come forward about what happened. They don’t understand her career can’t afford the whispered questions wondering if she asked for it. But the idea of speaking up – even if it means sacrificing everything she’s worked for – grows more appealing every day. If she can’t decide where her priorities lie soon, rumors will make the decision for her. She doesn’t want to lose her choice again.

The women’s fiction CASUALTIES OF WORK is complete at 90,000 words. My short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including BOUND in WICKED CITY 2 edited by George Wilhite, and SUGAR-COATED DREAMS in GRIM FAIRY TALES edited by Dorothy Davies.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

QueryCon #15--Shadow in Secret

Title: Shadow in Secret
Genre: Historical Fiction
Name: Talynn Lynn


Dear Judging Agent,

Forced to marry the prince merely to produce an heir to the throne, Alura Valdameir is pushed back into obscurity to keep her identity a secret. After the Queen was exiled, only one of her sons stood by her and she promised to return to the throne, even if it meant killing her own children and grandchildren. Alura is successfully hidden but only for a matter of time.

She escapes, only to be sold into a bachelorette-type brothel for none other than the Queen and her favorite son, who was spared from the royal slaughter. Alura is afraid her true identity might be uncovered, but her options seem limited. Mysteriously allured into a crumbling castle, she chances upon a man and follows him into the shadows. There, she stumbles upon a woman who looks exactly like her.

The woman is a spy and was accused of treason under the reign of Queen, before her exile. Alura must prove she is not the spy who was condemned to the gallows all the while keeping who she really a secret. There must be a way she can do this without betraying her husband and son, who are still in hiding. But things turn for the worse when the Queen chooses Alura as a bride for her favorite son.

Shadow in Secret is a 75,000 word Historical Fiction

QueryCon #14--The Refugee

Title:  The Refugee
Genre:  Sci-Fi Thriller
Name:  Sam B. Farkas


Dear Editor,

Ross Chambers is used to dodging bullets. All kinds, too, from musket balls to machine-gun fire.

For years he has been the top agent at Hourglass, an underground organization dedicated to “Protecting the Present by Preserving the Past.” Its teams of highly trained time travelers police history, making sure that it unfolds naturally –without interference from terrorists who wish alternate outcomes upon certain events.

When his fiancé perishes in a fire, Ross will do anything to get her back. Even if it means becoming a so-called terrorist himself. But every time he tries, he spirals to a completely different time and place. Like Paris, 1793, where he is mistaken for a long-awaited hero with a knack for depriving the guillotine of its victims.

Rescuing his fiancé is one matter, but saving total strangers is a whole 'nother –a sure-fire way to get himself killed. Not to mention he spent half his life working to maintain history's established melody. But when he sees firsthand that he has power over life and death, he's not so sure if altering the bloodstained past is necessarily a bad thing. It might, in fact, lead to a better world, one person at a time.

But it doesn't take long for his work to gain him unwanted attention from people like Robespierre, and Hitler, and Torquemada –all of whom want him dead. Though not as much as Dr. Lorraine Field, the director of Hourglass. She wants to feed his heart to Aztec gods and strap his corpse to the hull of the Titanic. To her, his daring adventures through time pose a threat to modern society. Changing history is a dangerous game, and the world's timeline cannot depend on the whims of one man – even one like Ross Chambers.

That's why she'll stop at nothing to make sure he's the Most Wanted Man of All Time. Literally.

THE REFUGEE is a sci-fi thriller complete at 100,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Sam B. Farkas

QueryCon #13--Affairs of the Dead

Title: Affairs of the Dead
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Name: A.J. Locke


Dear Editors,

I am seeking representation for my 85,000 Adult Urban Fantasy novel, AFFAIRS OF THE DEAD.

Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can fade to the afterlife. However, after her often illegal methods of helping her clients lands her in trouble, she’s downgraded to tracking ghosts who hide out, since ghosts that linger too long become murderous beasties. And here Selene thought having an affair with the boss would get her out of trouble, not into it.

While tracking, Selene finds Ethan, a ghost who claims he was ousted from his body and someone else jumped in. Selene suspects reanimation; a power only a minority of necromancers have, including Selene.Reanimation entails bringing a corpse back to life using the soul from a living body, but that doesn’t add up to how Ethan became a ghost. What’s worse, partnered with Micah, a one night stand who turned hostile after, Selene investigates murders where the evidence pinpoints Ethan’s stolen body as the culprit.

When Selene accidentally binds herself to Ethan, she begins to understand the scope of reanimation, and gains power that could put Ethan back into his body. Selene has more than one reason to help Ethan though,because being ghost bound incurs the Rot, which will gradually decay her body due to constant exposure to ghost energy. Throw in a shifting relationship with Micah and a suddenly possessive boss, and Selene will learn just how much trouble you can get into when you don’t follow the rules.

AFFAIRS OF THE DEAD can stand alone but has series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,
A.J. Locke

QueryCon #12--Running Down the Dragon

Title: RUNNING DOWN THE DRAGON
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Name: Laura Hughes



Thalia Drake is the last dragon on earth. Her cover identity as an ass-kicking werewolf in the U.S. Military's elite shapeshifter ranks is in jeopardy. Not even her adopted shifter family know her true form.

When human victims start turning up in the Everglades, Thalia alone recognizes the glyphs burned into their skin. The ritual markings suggest the killer has bigger, more reptilian game on the menu.

None of the shifter investigators suspect what she does, that their modern-day murderer might be capable of killing essentially immortal shifters. Thalia isn't eager to inform them and blow her cover. A thousand years of lies would be tough for her family to forgive, and other shifters wouldn't think twice about killing a recalcitrant dragon. But holding back what she knows will put every shifter in danger.

Thalia and the FBI's shifter division track the killer to the heart of Washington, DC. Every clue seems to point to a U.S. Senator, despite his air-tight alibi. Whatever the senator's involvement may be, if they don't find the killer soon, one of his rituals is bound to succeed. One successful ritual could spell extinction for the shifters.

RUNNING DOWN THE DRAGON is an urban/contemporary fantasy novel of 103,000 words. I have also completed a second Thalia Drake novel, but RUNNING DOWN THE DRAGON can stand on its own. Thank you for your time and consideration.

QueryCon #11--Let My Life Be Proof

Title: LET MY LIFE BE PROOF
Genre: Contemporary YA novel
Name: Connie Michael 


LET MY LIFE BE PROOF is a 60,000 word Contemporary YA novel.  At nineteen, prodigy Emme Sawyer is the youngest girl to graduate from the University of Washington with a medical degree, an honor she’s achieved by giving up the carefree days of high school.  Soon she discovers that being a grown up is a giant bore.  Seeking adventure Emme heads for the Navy. 

Shortly after arriving in Afghanistan, Emme’s mobile hospital is bombed. With a reputation for overlooking regulations, Emme jumps at the chance to be closer to the action and joins up with a Marine unit in need of a medic.  Able to convince the C.O. she’s a medic, not a surgeon; she is placed under the protection of a former Special Ops sharp shooter and joins the team.  With the front lines blurred, Emme accompanies the unit on a mission into the poppy fields of Marjah.

When the bullets start to fly Emme learns that medical school doesn’t prepare you for war and being a girl doesn’t make getting killed off limits. Emme struggles against the cultural biases of a foreign land and the limitations her unit is put under while trying to push the Taliban out.  After her guard is killed by an IED, Emme shuts off her emotions—until her commanding officer, Raven takes the job of looking after her, arousing feelings she doesn’t want and isn’t supposed to have.  As Raven begins to reciprocate Emme realizes she missed out on a lot more than classes when she skipped high school. When Emme sustains life threatening injuries in an IED attack, and is shipped home, her life begins to crumble.  Faced with the nightmares of her deployment and unresolved feelings for Raven, Emme must choose to move forward in a world she no longer feels a part of or figure out how to get back to the men she left behind, risking never being with the man she has begun to fall for.

I am a member of YALITCHAT.org and volunteer in the Submission Mailbox.  Thank you for your consideration.

QueryCon #10--Golden Dawn

Title: Golden Dawn
Genre: Paranormal
Name: Aldrea Alien



Dear Guest Judges,

Herald, eldest son of a bloodthirsty strigoi, endured two centuries of hell before escaping into the human world. He watched, helpless, as his twin brother was murdered by the very villagers his father insists on raiding. Though he has reservations about his father's human-only diet, Herald has nevertheless devoted all of his 1100 years towards protecting his family from outsiders.

Bewildered by his orders to guard the giant crystal held within the castle, Herald doesn’t expect it to hold the spirit of an angel. She is his father's failed attempt to gain true immortality. One he cannot be rid of. Breaking the crystal would free her, but the uncontained magic would level their sheltered valley. Herald's deranged sister doesn't care. She'd rather risk destruction than let the angel influence another sibling.

When the angel's continued existence becomes more important to Herald than his siblings, it results in that sister's death and his banishment. But the angel has taken mortal form in preparation to leave this world and her immortal-gifting blood is free for the taking. Now Herald must decide whether his true loyalty lies with his family or his heart. Either choice will demand death. Only the right path will ensure the life taken is not his.

GOLDEN DAWN, complete at 33,000 words and the first in a trilogy of novellas, is a Paranormal with romantic elements, loosely set in the 1500’s.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Thomas (Writing as Aldrea Alien)

QueryCon #9--Race To Butch Cassidy's Gold

Title: RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY'S GOLD
Genre: Middle Grade Mystery
Name: Emily Cushing


Twelve-year-old Maggie McCoy wants to be brave and spontaneous. But she’s not. Especially when it comes to school bullies and flying by the seat of her pants. So when she and her fearless cousin Jake stumble upon century-old clues leading to gold coins hidden by Butch Cassidy—farm boy turned infamous bank robber of the Wild West—she crumples her ‘to-do’ list to prove that she really can be daring and impulsive.

And at first, searching for gold with Jake and their quirky Grandpa Jim in his beat-up motor home is the grand adventure she has always wanted. But Maggie’s new found courage falters when she learns they must outsmart and outrun a dangerous thief who is also after the treasure.

The race is on. But, just as Maggie and Jake think they have solved the mystery, Jake is captured and all the ‘to-do’ lists in the world won’t save him. Only Maggie can, if she finds her bravery.

RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY'S GOLD is a 40,000-word middle grade mystery where Maggie's present-day adventures parallel Butch Cassidy's past until mystery and history collide.This book stands alone, but can open the door for a series that exposes readers to fast-paced adventures across the fifty states.

With a Master’s degree in Elementary Education, I have been both an elementary and middle school teacher. I am a regular attendee of writers’ conferences and have three published magazine articles. I created the successful marketing website, Giveaway Today, with an apex of 176,000 page views per month.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

QueryCon #8--And Jakob Flew the Fiend Away

Title:  And Jakob Flew the Fiend Away
Genre:  Historical fiction, Bildungsroman
Name:  Carrie-Anne



Dear Guest Judges,

Jakob DeJonghe can think of nothing but revenge when the Nazis coerce his father into suicide and his little sister mysteriously disappears the day before Yom Kippur.  As conditions in Amsterdam worsen, Jakob is determined to fight back and be the master of his own destiny, just as his heroes the Maccabees did in ancient times.

While en route from Westerbork, Jakob finally takes action, jumps from a death train, and breaks his foot.  As he’s limping for his life towards a forest, he’s found by four young resistance fighters and taken to a safe house.  Even though Jakob has been left with a permanent limp,he’s still determined to defend his country and track down the men who killed his father.

His dream comes true when he joins his new friends’ resistance group, but when he runs into Rachel Roggenfelderon one of his missions, he starts to feel the slow reawakening of emotions he thought he’d buried.  After being recruited into the Princess Irene Brigade and made a real soldier, Jakob realizes his battle is only half-won. If he ever wants to survive a world that will never be ordinary again,love and not hate will have to carry him through.  And if he finds his dream girl again, this painful readjustment just might be easier.

And Jakob Flew the Fiend Away, a historical fiction Bildungsroman spanning the years 1940-46 and set in the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies, is complete at 120,000 words.

I have a BA from [redacted] in history and Russian and Eastern European Studies, with a focus on 20th century Russian history and the World War II/Shoah era, and worked in the production room of an Albany,NY-based newspaper, The Jewish World, for five years, writing, researching, and proofreading articles.

Thank you for your time and attention.

QueryCon #7--Waiting for Someday

Title: Waiting For Someday
Genre: Women's Fiction



Like a blade of grass pushing its way through a crack in the sidewalk, sometimes the buried past has a way of resurfacing... 

Thirty-eight-year-old Valene DelMonaco is a talented expert when it comes to designing the interiors of luxury homes for a small list of New York clients. She satisfies their needs with all the extravagance their lifestyles demand.  Yet when it comes to her own surroundings,she likes her life just the way it is—ordinary. 

But life hasn’t always been ordinary for Valene.  Surviving an abusive stepfather, a teenage pregnancy, and an abusive marriage-of-convenience, she’s determined to suppress her troubled past and keep it where it belongs—buried, along with the rest of her romantic notions. 

Everything changes when she receives a mysterious letter from her ex-best friend, Allyson. No communication for over twenty years since their friendship-ending quarrel had all but convinced Valene she would never hear from Allyson again.  Dredging up the past is the last thing Valene wants, but unless she’s willing to return to California to gain closure with Allyson, she fears the haunting memories of her past can never be put to rest. 

Valene may be resigned to let bygones be bygones, yet nothing prepares her for Allyson’s revelation, her true motive for reconciliation—their rekindled friendship has an expiration date stamped on it, a date of Allyson’s own choosing. 

Complete at 93,000 words, WAITING FOR SOMEDAY is a poignant journey in women's fiction, intertwining the stories of two women whose friendship comes full circle.

QueryCon #6--Tagestraum

Title:  Tagestraum
Genre:  Fantasy
Name: T.L. Bodine


Dear Guest Judges,

When social worker Adrian Montgomery's seven-year-old client Nathaniel disappears, he jumps on the chance to aid in the investigation. He doesn't expect the search to lead him to another world.

At the scene of the boy's disappearance is a doorway that only Adrian can see.  On the other side is Tagestraum, a faerie realm fed by the energy of children's imaginations. Without their dreams, the whole kingdom would be plunged into the sort of Darkness where monsters are born and nightmares become real.  But Tagestraum's been suffering an energy crisis lately because someone has been stealing dreams – and the kids who make them.

In order to find the dream-thief and rescue Nathaniel, Adrian must journey through a savage wonderland of flesh-eating unicorns, dream-addicted faeries and corrupt monarchs. Worse, Tagestraum itself assaults the sanity of rational minds, and Adrian's is made up of locked doors and labeled file cabinets. At night, the Darkness drags him through his darkest memories, forcing him to face horrors from his own troubled childhood.

As the search unfolds, he realizes that he's not here by coincidence. And if he can't stop the dream thief, Tagestraum isn't the only world that will be overrun with Darkness.

TAGESTRAUM is an 80,000 dark fantasy that would appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman and China Mieville.  My short stories have previously appeared in the Dark Valentines anthology from Whortleberry Press as well as Freedom Fiction Journal and MicroHorror.

QueryCon #5--Staying Dead

Title: STAYING DEAD
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy
Name: Kristy and Bryce

Dear Awesome Guest Judge,

Persephone Mead wakes up in a house with no ceiling, a bed covered with flowers, and a giant shard of glass embedded in her chest. Normal fifteen-year-old girls would start freaking out here. Persephone is not a normal fifteen-year-old girl.

She's back. It worked. After everything she's been through, she's finally made it.

But it doesn’t last. It never lasts.

And soon enough, she’s thrown back. Back down towards Earth. Back down towards a world full of smoke, debris, and wailing ambulances.

Persephone is not a normal fifteen-year-old girl.  Because she just can’t seem to stay dead. And she has no idea why.

STAYING DEAD is a completed YA Dark Fantasy with a word count of 82,000. It was selected as one of the winners for Krista van Dolzer’s “An Agent’s Inbox” contest, judged by Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,

Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung

QueryCon #4--The Curse Merchant

Title: The Curse Merchant
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Name: J.P. Sloan


Dorian Lake has spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America.  However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian's disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.

His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn't be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian's captivating ex-lover. After two years' absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back.  Hoping to win back Carmen's affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation... with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.

Complete at 82,000 words, THE CURSE MERCHANT is an urban fantasy novel with series potential, that propels the reader into the trials of a charming man in a bastard's profession.

QueryCon #3--Joshua's Tree

Title: Joshua's Tree
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Name: Neil Harris



Dear Guest Judges,

Set in the distant future, Joshua’s Tree is a YA science fiction at 75,000 words.

When a skateboarding accident hurls 17-year-old Joshua Tyler into a dismal future overrun by flesh-eating mutants, he taps into the strength and courage hidden within him and manages to stay alive, only to discover his horrifying relationship to the scientific genius that brought all life on Earth to the brink of annihilation.

Josh is aided by a beautiful warrior student, Nadia, who believes he may be the prophesized savior sent to rescue her people. While struggling with doubt about her role as his guardian, Nadia takes it upon herself to teach him to fight so he can fulfill his destiny. Terrified by the constant threat of a violent death, Josh wants nothing more than to get back to his own life. But the longer he survives in this strange place, the more he learns about its creation. Charged with the job of assassinating the enemy’s leader, Josh begins to uncover his connection to the army of cannibalistic monsters—a nightmarish truth that could prevent him from ever finding his way home.

Joshua’s Tree is the first book in a potential trilogy and will appeal to readers of books like Divergent and The Scorch Trials. An earlier revision was selected as a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012.  I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and would be happy to provide a copy of my manuscript for your consideration. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Neil Harris

QueryCon Final #2--Who is Audrey Wickersham?

Title: Who is Audrey Wickersham?
Genre: Horror/Paranormal
Name: Sara Shrieves


Dear Guest Judges,

Fifteen-year-old Audrey Wickersham loves books, horror movies and anything supernatural, and she’s finally decided to try her first spell. She heads to her favorite hangout, The Magick Eye, to find the perfect one. She encounters Agnes, the old Gypsy who offers to create a custom spell for her. Audrey is thrilled until she encounters an ancient yet totally disgusting parasite called the Zomorwai.While messing with the jar they are contained in, a warning shout from Agnes causes her to spill the creatures, allowing them to invade and attack her system.

When she begins to forget basic words in her vocabulary—even what her cat is—she must tell her overly protective yet devoted father what happened. Their only solution is to confront Agnes, but when they discover that Audrey is becoming a zombie, they will try any spell Agnes can come up with to stop it. Audrey’s eccentric neighbor volunteers his skills as a nurse, and her best friend proposes an alternate solution in secret. The only problem is she would still have to die.

But Audrey holds a secret of her own. She’s developing a taste for humans, and those closest to her are in the most danger. She must decide quickly. Will she go with magick, or death?

WHO IS AUDREY WICKERSHAM? is a young adult horror/paranormal novel with elements of comedy, complete at 64,000 words. It can be opened to a series, and I have already begun writing the second book.

Thank you so much for this opportunity!! 

QueryCon Final #1--Escape From the Forbidden Planet

Title: Escape From the Forbidden Planet
Genre: Upper MG Scifi
Name: Julie Grasso

Dear Guest Agent,

“ESCAPE FROM THE FORBIDDEN PLANET” is an Upper Middle Grade Science Fiction at 53,000 words.

12-Year-Old-Caramel Cinnamon, a telepathic elf from the planet Cardamom thought the worst day of her life was the day her grandparent’s the King and Queen of Cardamom went missing.

She was wrong!

It is the day she spills a sticky toffee syrup onto her father’s computer, that's when her worst nightmare begins. Suddenly she finds herself marooned on a forbidden planet called Earth by an evil clone with a very sticky secret.

Caramel is desperate to find a way to escape and rescue her grandparents. If she doesn't she will lose her dreams of returning to Cardamom to become a healer like her Mum.  With the help of her motley crew of Earth friends Caramel embarks on an outrageous plan to defeat the Alexander clones and rescue her grandparents.  No problem piece of cake. Except her grandfather is wounded in the rescue and the spaceship they jumped on to escape is now hurtling out of control towards Cardamom. 

Luckily, she has a secret of her own and the lives of her family and friends depend on it!

I would be very pleased if you would like to view the full manuscript, but I would suggest you have a snack nearby if you do. My elves are quite partial to sticky date and chocolate with caramel syrup and reading may induce a sugar craving.

Yours faithfully
Julie Anne Grasso

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Counting Down

There is just about 35 minutes left until the submission window opens for QueryCon Finals Week.

Here is something to help a little with figuring out the time slot. 

2:30 Eastern
1:30 Central
12:30 Mountain
11:30 Pacific

Alaska, Hawaii, and everywhere else are going to need a time zone calculator.

Good luck!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Get Those Queries Ready

It's almost here...

Finals Week!


I hope you've had enough help this week that you feel good about your query. We've had a lot of fun playing the part of teacher's assistants. Before I go into the submission guidelines, I wanted to say one more thing about dealing with critique.

You guys were amazing! No dirty emails berating us for being unkind. We really tried to be kind and helpful. If you cried any tears, you did it at home and then got to work. Good for you!

But here's the thing.

You have to remember that although we've had some experience, our comments are still just our opinions. We haven't read your novel. We don't know what THE most important thing is about it. YOU do.

I spent a year trying to make my query and my book fit into what everyone else said it should be. After about 20 crit partners--yes, I am a glutton for punishment--there was nothing left of ME in my story. Why? Because I tried to change everything that someone said I should change.

Guess what? That doesn't work. You will never be able to make everyone "get" your novel or your query. When it comes down to it, follow your heart. Polish and perfect, but do it in your style. Your voice. It is after all your story.

To tweak Peeta's words: If you're gonna get published, you wanna still be you.

Wow, that didn't sound as cool as I thought it would. See, it doesn't pay to try to be someone else.

Now, on to how and when to submit your queries for Final's Week (of what we are thinking of dubbing QueryCon), and grading by our fabulous judges.

Rules and Submission Guidelines :

1. Must be a follower of UB
2. Manuscript  must be complete and polished
3. Manuscript must fall into the genres our judges are looking for (see below)
4. Please do not comment on the posted queries--this week is for the judges only
5. Put Finals Week--(Name of Novel) in the subject line of the email.
6. Start with:
Title:
Genre:
Name: (name will be posted unless you tell me not to)
Then paste the query in the body of the email--no attachments.
7. We will accept the first 20 queries sent to unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com after 1:30 PM US Central time On SUNDAY, Aug 26th. Each person is responsible for figuring out their time difference as I will go by the time stamp in my email.
8. I will send an email confirming receipt of the query and your number for "Finals Week"
9. Queries will go up by 6am Monday morning and stay up all week.


Reminder of what our judges are looking for: 

Krystal Wade from Curiosity Quills
Andrew Buckley from Curiosity Quills
Nancy Bell from MuseItUp Publishing
Amy Lichtenhan from SapphireStar Publishing
Donna O'Brien from Crescent Moon Press

Krystal--I love older mc's (18+)! I'd like to see some good dystopian, more male mc's too, and then of course anything scifi/fantasy/paranormal with something new and unusual.

Andrew--I’m looking for adult fiction be it paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy and/or anything quirky or humorous. No YA or NA please. I like strong protagonists with a unique voice and wonderfully evil antagonists. Please, please, please, no in-your-face sword and sorcery type pieces. They’ve been known to cause sharp pains in my posterior. I’m also looking for cookies. Oatmeal raisin are my favorite.

Nancy--MuseItUp is looking for more dark fiction, horror, as we are light in that department. However, romance, historical romance, YA/MG from a male POV that will entice that sector. Of course, we are open to anything that is well written and crafted. We don't publish literary fiction or poetry.

Amy--We're especially interested in contemporary romance and paranormal romance at this time, although we are accepting submissions in all fiction categories.

Donna--Currently, we are looking for voice rather than specific genre requirements, though we are primarily a boutique publisher of high quality fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal fiction. We are interested in urban fantasy, dystopian, futuristic science fiction, steampunk, mind-bending time travel, space operas, mythological as well as historical retellings with a twist, epic high fantasy, and the paranormal. We are also interested in paranormal categories of suspense, thrillers, gothica, and mystery. CMP also accepting submissions in the YA and New Adult categories of the above mentioned genres.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Query Workshop 27--Race to Butch Cassidy's Gold


Title: RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY'S GOLD
Genre: MG Mystery



Twelve-year-old Maggie McCoy wants to be brave and spontaneous. But she’s not. Especially when it comes to school bullies and "flying by the seat of her pants". So when she and her fearless cousin Jake stumble upon century-old clues leading to gold coins hidden by Butch Cassidy--farm boy turned infamous bank robber of the Wild West--she crumples her “to-do” list to prove that she really can be daring and impulsive.

And at first, searching for gold with Jake and their quirky Grandpa Jim in his beat-up motorhome is the grand adventure she's always wanted. But Maggie’s newfound courage falters when she learns they must outsmart and outrun a dangerous thief who is also after the treasure.

The race is on. But, just as the cousins think they have solved the mystery, Jake is captured, and all the lists in the world won't save him. Only Maggie can, if she finds her bravery. 

RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY'S GOLD is a 41,500-word middle grade mystery where Maggie's present-day adventures parallel Butch Cassidy's past until mystery and history collide. This book stands alone, but can open the door for a series that exposes readers to fast-paced adventures across the fifty states.

With a Master’s degree in Elementary Education, I have been both an elementary and middle school classroom teacher. I am a regular attendee of writers’ conferences and have three published magazine articles. I created the successful marketing website, Giveaway Today, with an apex of 176,000 page views per month.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Query Workshop 26-The Curiosity

Title - The Curiosity
Genre - Horror (historic)



Revision 1

Dear Unicorn Bell,
Anthropology Professor Duncan Clarke discovers, inside an antique journal, a drawing of an emaciated child with terrified eyes. Intrigued, Duncan becomes determined to unveil the identity of the strange child.

Soon, Duncan realizes he's on the verge of an anthropological breakthrough; the child is an alleged 19th century Haitian Voodoo Zombie. Now Duncan must authentic the findings before he reaps the rewards.

However, unlike his usual research, this case challenges everything he thought he understood about science, the human body and the depravity to which a desperate man would sink.

Sucked into a dark world, Duncan begins to change from a conventional professor to one who would risk his family, his job and even break the law to find out the truth of the past.

Finally, when faced with the horrific truth, will Duncan's choices lead him to scientific glory or inextricable hell?

The Curiosity is a 110,000 word historic horror frame story that takes place in both 1865 London and 1990 England as Duncan Clarke brings into his day a macabre tale from the past. It can stand alone but I am exploring the concept of a sequel or two, as the conclusion of the story easily lends itself well to that.

Original
Dear Unicorn Bell,

Professor Duncan Clarke, head of the anthropology department at England's Cambridge University is looking forward to a restful two-week sabbatical when on his way home he stops at a private residence to pick up a donation of strange artifacts and journals for his department.

When a disturbing drawing of an emaciated young boy with terrified eyes falls out of one the journals, Duncan is immediately mesmerized  and dives into the journals to discover the identity of this horrific looking child.

What Duncan is to learn from the journals is like no other anthropological find he has ever come across. They reveal the century-old recorded case of Henri, an actual Haitian Zumbi. The journals, belonging to a Victorian London curiosity dealer named Edward Walker, document the boy's rescue and his attempted rehabilitation in England, where he is kept in seclusion, nursed and studied by the eccentric Mr. Walker.

On the verge of an anthropological break through, Duncan becomes obsessed with trying to authenticate the tale he reads in Edward's journal, using the devices at his disposal as a department head together with the clues that seem to be lying at his fingertips inside the crates of artifacts, if only he can piece the bizarre facts together.

As Duncan gets deeper into the journal and the strange facts of the case, he begins to change from a by-the-book professor to one who will risk his family, his job and even break the law to find out the truth of Edward's Zumbi.

Finally, Duncan's curiosity will alter his life in ways he never anticipates when in the final conclusion he realizes his obsession has damned his life forever.

The Curiosity is a 110,000 word historic horror frame story that takes place in both 1865 London and 1990 England as Duncan Clarke brings into his day a macabre tale from the past. It can stand alone but I am exploring the concept of a sequel or two, as the conclusion of the story easily lends itself well to that.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Query Workshop 25--The Eldritch Tales

Title: The Eldritch Tales
Genre: YA Fantasy 


Dear (Agent),

A thief longing for redemption, a girl with no memories, and an evil god stricken with mortality are all chaotically intertwined; one could save us, one holds a secret, and one seeks to destroy us.

After a case of mistaken identity Tristan Storey finds himself on the gallows for a murder he did not commit. Moments before his execution a stranger falls from the sky kidnapping Vespa, daughter of the man Tristan ‘murdered’. Wanting nothing more than to escape his grim fate Tristan pursues the two only to find himself trapped in an enslaved world known as The Black. This world is ruled by an evil god who seeks an eternal soul which now lives within Vespa. Upon Tristan’s arrival the god’s plans are thwarted by three angels, but not before the kidnapper makes off with one crucial item, Vespa’s memories.
     
Seeking redemption for his sins, Tristan becomes entwined in a frantic scheme to recover the stolen memories. The very memories holding the secret a god seeks so desperately to hide, his mortality.
       
Completed at 84,000 words, The Eldritch Tales, is the first segment in my YA fantasy Trilogy. The full manuscript is available for viewing upon request.
        
I have included a SASE for your convenience, and thank you for your generous time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Cordially,

Query Workshop 24--The Very First

Title:  The Very First
Genre:  Upper MG historical fiction



When German-born Katherine Brandt immigrates in 1938, her dearest wish is to become a real American girl. She even accepts the American nickname Sparky to try to gain acceptance. But before she can realize her dream, she’s going to have to learn the ins and outs of the unusual town and group of friends she’s joined.

Sparky is taken under the wing of Cinnimin Filliard, who teaches her a thing or two about American life and their strange Atlantic City neighborhood. Sparky wants to believe Cinni is steering her right, but Cinni has some conflicting attitudes. Cinni is nice and intelligent, but she often assumes a superior attitude just because she was voted Most Popular Girl. In particular, she seems to hate their rich neighbor Violet, whom Cinni is convinced is after her title.

Sparky will do almost anything to fit in, except compromise her Judaism. She longs to be Sparky to her friends while remaining Kätchen to her family and staying true to her values. Along the way, Cinni, who tries to tempt her into wearing shorter skirts and eating non-kosher food, slowly begins realizing that there’s more than one acceptable way to be a real American. Only one thing is for certain—on Sparky’s upcoming birthday, she’s going to wish to be a real American girl, and she wants that wish to come true, even if she has to make some modifications she once thought she’d never make.

THE VERY FIRST, a work of upper MG historical fiction with elements of social satire, is complete at 60,000 words.

I have a BA from [redacted] in history and Russian and Eastern European Studies,with a focus on 20th century Russian history and the World War II/Shoah era,and worked in the production room of an Albany, NY-based newspaper, The Jewish World, for five years, writing, researching, and proofreading articles.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Query Workshop 23-On Common Ground

Title: On Common Ground
Genre: Speculative Fiction/ Urban Fantasy



Officer Grace Rayne doesn’t know that her guardian angel Gabe exists. Nor does she know that he has fallen in love with her, until it is her time to die in the line of duty at the hands of vengeful gang members. Gabe breaks the rules of heaven and puts his own life, as well as his job, in peril by saving her. Hunted by his best friend who vows to steal his powers, it is now Grace who guards her falling angel.

Her house grows even more full when she harbors a good-hearted, half-breed demon named Luke whose incubus father is determined to either turn him evil or kill him. The gang, developing mysterious ties with certain supernatural individuals, is out for a second chance at Grace. The brooding angel must team up with his natural enemy, the jovial half-demon, to protect the mortal police officer they both care about.

ON COMMON GROUND is a 62,000 word novel of Urban Fantasy / Speculative Fiction. This is written as a stand alone, but sets up a good opportunity for sequels in the same world, with the same main characters.

Sincerely,

Query Workshop 22--Who is Audrey Wickersham?

Title: Who is Audrey Wickersham?
Genre: Horror/paranormal




REVISION 3

Audrey Wickersham loves books, horror movies and anything supernatural, and she's finally decided to try her first spell. She heads to her favorite hang out, The Magick Eye, to find the perfect one. She encounters Agnes, the old Gypsy who offers to create a custom spell for her in the Annex. Audrey is thrilled until she encounters an ancient yet totally disgusting parasite called the Zomorwai. While messing with the jar they are contained in, a warning shout from Agnes causes her to spill the creatures, allowing them to invade and attack her system.

When she begins to forget basic words in her vocabulary--even her cat--she must tell her overly protective yet devoted father what happened. Their only solution is to confront Agnes, but when they discover Audrey is becoming a zombie, they will try any spell Agnes can come up with to stop it. Audrey's eccentric neighbor volunteers his skills as a nurse, and her best friend proposes an alternate solution in secret. The only problem is she would still have to die.

But Audrey holds a secret of her own. She's developing a taste for humans, and those closest to her are in the most danger. She must decide quickly. Will she go with magick, or death?

WHO IS AUDREY WICKERSHAM? is a young adult horror novel with elements of paranormal and comedy, complete at 64,000 words. It can he opened to a series, and I have already started on the second book.


Revision2

Fifteen year old Audrey Wickersham loves books, horror movies and anything supernatural, and she's finally decided to try her first spell. She heads to her favorite hang out, The Magick Eye, to look for the perfect one. She encounters Agnes, the old Gypsy who offers to create a custom spell for Audrey in the Annex. Audrey is thrilled until she encounters an ancient yet totally disgusting parasite called the Zomorwai. While messing with the jar they are contained in, she is jolted by a warning shout from Agnes, which she responds to by accidentally knocking the jar over, spilling the creatures all over herself, allowing them to invade and attack her system.

When she begins to forget basic words in her vocabulary--even what her cat is--she must tell her overly protective yet devoted father what happened. Their only solution is to confront Agnes. But when they all discover that Audrey is becoming a zombie, they will try any spell that Agnes can come up with to stop it. Audrey's eccentric neighbor Bruce volunteers his skills as a nurse, and her mysterious best friend Kirk offers an alternate solution, proposed in secret to Audrey. The only problem is she would still have to die.

But Audrey holds a secret of her own.  She is developing a taste for humans, and those closest to her are in the most danger. She must decide quickly. Will she go with magick, or will she go with death?

Revision1
Fifteen year old Audrey Wickersham has finally decided to try a spell.  She heads to her favorite hang-out,The Magick Eye, where she encounters Agnes, an old Gypsy woman who is the creator of all things magical for the shop.  She offers Audrey a personalized spell, made in an area of the shop previously unknown to Audrey called the annex.  Audrey is thrilled until she finds herself victim to an ancient yet totally disgusting parasite called the Zomorwai, which she seemed to be drawn to the moment she stepped foot into the annex.  She is attacked by the creatures and is unable to defend herself.

She is immediately faced with confronting her overly protective yet devoted father, along with their eccentric friend Bruce, with what’s happened to her.  Once they are convinced that she is transforming into something they don’t understand—something not human—Audrey will have to decide if she is willing to fight against the consequences of the attack using the skills of those willing to help, or if she will choose another option entirely, proposed to her secretly by her best friend Kirk.

But Audrey still holds a secret of her own.  She is developing a taste for humans, and those closest to her are in the most danger.  She must decide quickly.  Will she do what everyone is expecting of her, or will she lie and do the unexpected?

Original
Audrey Wickersham loves books, horror movies and anything supernatural.  This is what has driven her to try out a spell, which brings her to her favorite hang out, The Magick Eye.  On this particular day she meets Agnes, the old Gypsy woman who makes all of the spells for the shop over in another area (unknown to Audrey until this time) called the annex.  Audrey is thrilled until she finds herself victim to an ancient yet totally disgusting parasite called the Zomorwai, which she seemed to be drawn to the moment she stepped foot into the annex.  She is attacked by the creatures, which changes her life forever.

She is thrown into an unimaginable situation, along with her overly protective yet devoted father, her mysterious best friend Kirk and her eccentric neighbor Bruce.  With all of their help, Audrey will have to decide if she is going to try and live through her attack and all of the consequences that come along with it, or if she will choose another, more unconventional option, proposed to her secretly by Kirk. 

But Audrey still holds a secret.  She is developing a taste for humans, and those closest to her are in the most danger.  She must decide quickly.  Will she do what everyone is expecting of her, or will she lie and do the unexpected?

Query Workshop 21-Revival: The Donald Braswell Story

Title: Revival: The Donald Braswell Story
Genre: Memoir


Revision 1--down from 411 words to 206! Great job!
Dear Agent,
In 1995, a handsome, up-and-coming tenor, performing with the Welsh Opera was out cycling when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Suffering only cuts and bruises, Donald Braswell, described as “the next Pavarotti,” was relieved until he realized the accident stole the irreplaceable – his voice.
Doctors told the Juilliard graduate he might never sing again, yet Braswell, a life-long Christian, never lost faith. His journey back to a professional stage took thirteen years of menial jobs, one musical miracle and a 2008 audition on America’s Got Talent. That first AGT performance almost ended before it began as a restless, tired crowd heckled the “Texas Tenor” before he sang a note. But, after he finished Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up,” the jeers became cheers and Braswell’s improbable ride to the Final Four was underway.
Today, Braswell, 49, is again a full time entertainer with an annual schedule that includes many charitable concerts to further his goal of “paying it forward.” An inspirational story of perseverance and chance, it is no wonder then-judge Piers Morgan once called Braswell, “The Rocky of our show.”
A former journalist and current blogger, I am co-writing REVIVAL: THE DONALD BRASWELL STORY. The 67,000-word memoir is complete and polished.*###
(*Imagine it’s Feb. 2013 :)
 
Best regards, and aloha!
Original
Dear Agent,

In 1995, a handsome young tenor, performing with the Welsh Opera was cycling when a hit-and-run driver struck him. Suffering only cuts and bruises, Donald Braswell, described as “the next Pavarotti,” was relieved until he realized the accident stole the irreplaceable – his voice. New York doctors confirmed the million-to-one throat injury. The Juilliard graduate was told he might talk, but would never sing again. An immediate $50,000 payday was lost, as was the long-term career of “the American Corelli.” Braswell refused to quit. He relearned speech, rediscovered song and regained self-respect in the following years. Working as a plasterer’s assistant, he also sold insurance, pools and used cars, anything to provide for his growing family.


In 2004, Braswell met Walter Lucas at the car dealership, and agreed to the homeless-looking man’s request for a test drive. Hearing Braswell’s story, Walter, a former musician, told him to contact a local, Grammy-winning music studio. Executives said producing a CD would cost $50,000. Could Braswell contact a trusted client to bankroll the project? Calling his first sale at the Jaguar dealership, the woman was shocked – but not due to Braswell calling – she’d just bought that music studio. Struggling for nine years to regain a toe hold in the world of opera, Braswell inked his first record deal just two weeks after what he dubbed “The Miracle of Music.”


Overall, Braswell’s journey back to a professional stage took him thirteen years and a first audition on America’s Got Talent (2008.) During his first performance, the restless crowd heckled even before Braswell sang one note. After finishing Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up, the jeers became cheers. Eliminated in the next round, the “Texas Tenor” was voted back on the show following an emergency Wild Card round. A fan favorite, Braswell sang his way to the AGT Finals, where he placed fourth overall. Today, Braswell, 49, is again a full time entertainer with three CDs and much more to his name. Blessed with this second chance, his annual schedule includes many charitable and Christian concerts to further his goal of “paying it forward” to those less fortunate. (His most recent lead role was Cornelius in a June 2012 charity musical, The Centurion.)


A former journalist, current blogger (and an ex-Irishman living in Hawaii,) I am co-writing REVIVAL: THE DONALDBRASWELL STORY. The book proposal for this memoir is complete and 47k words are“in the bank.” The 67,000-word ms will be ready by Jan. 15, 2013.

Query Workshop 20--Wish

Title: Wish
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy


Revision 1
Most seventeen-year old girls receive gifts on their birthday. Not Prism Chase. She is the gift. She's a Fairy Angel, and it's her turn to reply to the birthday wish. It doesn't matter that it's her birthday too, or that it's the eve of her graduation from Fairy Academy.

Ten years earlier the lie of an Unseelie fairy, masquerading as a palace cook, condemned Alexander Ryan's mother to death by starvation. He's sought vengeance on all fairies ever since. On his seventeenth birthday, he blows out all his candles and wishes for revenge. It's up to Prism to fulfill the wish and teach him that not all fairies are evil.

Alex believes falling love in love with a fairy would betray his mother, but he can't resist Prism's charms and beauty. Now he must convince Prism he loves her. But that may be impossible because she thinks all he wants to do is kill her.

Wish is a 57,000 word YA retelling of the fairy tale The Pink.


Original
Most eighteen-year old girls receive gifts on their birthday. Not Prism Chase. She was the gift. Fairy Angels answer the birthday wisher who blows out every candle on his cake and it’s Prism’s turn to reply to the wish call. No one cares she was supposed to be celebrating her own birthday, or that it was the eve of her graduation from Fairy Academy.

Ten years ago, a scheming fairy lied about Alexander Ryan's mother.As a result, his mother was sent to the dungeons and stripped of her crown. Now it was time for payback. On Alexander's seventeenth birthday, he blew out his candles and asked for a fairy that could make all his wishes for revenge come true. Out of all the wishes Alex could imagine, he never planned to fall in love. Loving a fairy means betraying the memory of his mother.

All Prism wished for was to live life as herself and not as some desire of an unforgiving wisher. When Alex promises he will grant her every wish, Prism hopes her dreams will finally come true. What really surprised Prism was how she could actually consider forfeiting her graduation and asking to become human to marry a man who wanted to kill her, but now says he loves her.

WISH is a 57,000 YA retelling mash-up of the fairy tale The Pink

Query Workshop 19--Soul Driver

Title:Soul Driver
Genre:YA Historical Fantasy


Revision 2
River Morgan received an extraordinary gift for her sixteenth birthday. Her grandfather gave her a Memory Book and taught her how to erase memories. To keep the memories from becoming her own she must write them in the Memory Book. When the Book is stolen and her Grandfather disappears, River is no longer able to tell the difference from her memories from those she's wiped away. Unless she finds the Memory Book, her identity will be lost forever.

The Book becomes a memory-stealing book when placed in the wrong hands. Shae Conniers thought she had swiped a cool looking journal but instead she got nothing but trouble. The powers of the Book intrigue Shae. But when the memories swirling in her head turn scary, she's glad they lead back to River so she can rid herself of the nightmares. Their personalities clash. Big time. But they must unite to fight the book. And solve the biggest problem; why hasn't River’s memories returned?

Underground forces claim they have the answers River needs to unlock the Book and regain her memories. But when they learn Shae is the daughter of the missing Queen Rose, the underground realm promises to help River in exchange of little Miss. Princess. River must choose between finding her own memory or saving Shae.

Memories of Me  is a YA mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and The Shadowy One, a Celtic myth, and is complete at 60,000 words. 


Revision 1
River Morgan received an extraordinary gift for her sixteenth birthday. Her grandfather gave her a Memory Book and taught her how to erase memories. To keep the memories from becoming her own she must write them in the Memory Book. When the Book is stolen and her Grandfather disappears, River is no longer able to tell the difference from her memories from those she's wiped away. Unless she finds the Memory Book, her identity will be lost forever.

The Book becomes a memory-stealing book when placed in the wrong hands. Shae Conniers thought she had swiped a cool looking journal but instead she got nothing but trouble. The powers of the Book intrigue Shae. But when the memories swirling in her head turn scary, she's glad they lead back to River so she can rid herself of the nightmares. Their personalities clash. Big time. But they must unite to fight the book. And solve the biggest problem; why hasn't River’s memories returned?

Underground forces claim they have the answers River needs to unlock the Book and regain her memories. But when they learn Shae is the daughter of the missing Queen Rose, the underground realm promises to help River in exchange of little Miss. Princess. River must choose between finding her own memory or saving Shae.

But when they learn Shae is the daughter of the missing Queen Rose, the underground realm promises to help River only in exchange of little Miss. Princess. River must choose between finding her own memory or saving Shae.

Memories of Me  is a YA mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and The Shadowy One, a Celtic myth, and is complete at 60,000 words.


Original
River Morgan received an extraordinary gift for her sixteenth birthday. Her grandfather gave her a Memory Book and taught her how to erase memories. To keep the memories from becoming her own she must write them in the Memory Book.When the Book is stolen, River is no longer able to tell the difference from her memories from those she's wiped away. Unless she finds the Memory Book, her identity will be lost forever.

The Book becomes a memory stealing book when placed in the wrong hands. Shae Conniers thought she had swiped a cool looking journal but it ends up she gotten nothing but trouble. The powers of the Book sound intriguing to Shae but when the memories swirling around her head turn scary, she's glad the memories lead her to River so she can rid herself of the nightmare memories. Although the girls personality clash big time, they know they must unite to fight the powers of the Book. River has the Book back, why hasn't her memories returned?

To unlock the powers for the book, River connects with some underground forces who promise they have the answers she need. The choice comes at a high price for Shae. Now River must choose between finding her own identity or doing what is right for Shae. Or, she can search for the answer that will save them both.

SOUL DRIVER is a YA mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and The Shadowy One, a Celtic myth, and is complete at 60,000 words.

Note: This author is considering a title change. Which of the following draws you in more?
Soul Driver
Memory of Me
Sweet Sleep

Query Workshop 18--Joshua's Tree

Title: Joshua's Tree
Genre: YA Science Fiction


Revision 1

Dear Ms. (agent's name),

Set in the distant future, Joshua’s Tree is a YA science fiction at 75,000 words.

When a skateboarding accident hurls 17-year-old Joshua Tyler into a dismal future terrorized by flesh-eating mutants, he taps into the strength and courage hidden within him and survives only to discover his horrifying relationship to the scientific genius that brought all life on Earth to the brink of annihilation.

Josh is saved from the cannibalistic monsters by 17-year-old warrior student Nadia, who believes he may be the prophesied savior sent to rescue her people. While struggling with doubt about her role as his guardian, Nadia takes it on herself to teach him to fight so he can fulfill his destiny. Terrified by the constant threat of a violent death, Josh wants nothing more than to stay alive and get back to his own life. But the longer he survives in this strange place, the more he learns about its creation. Charged with the job of assassinating the enemy’s leader, Josh begins to uncover his connection to the flesh-eating mutants—a nightmarish truth that could prevent him from ever finding his way home.

Joshua’s Tree is the first book in a potential trilogy and will appeal to readers of books like Divergent and The Scorch Trials. An earlier revision of was selected as a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012.  I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and would be happy to provide a copy of my manuscript for your consideration. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Original
Dear Ms. (agent's name),

Set in the distant future, Joshua’s Tree is a YA science fiction at 75,000 words. It is the first book in a potential trilogy and will appeal to readers of books like Divergent and The Scorch Trials.

When smart but timid 17-year-old Joshua Tyler is forced to tap into the strength and courage hidden within him, he discovers an evil that has brought all life on Earth to the brink of annihilation.

After a skateboarding accident leaves him unconscious, Joshua wakes up to find flesh-eating mutants hunting him. Trapped in this strange future, Josh is saved from the monsters by17-year-old warrior student Nadia, who believes Josh is the prophesized savior sent to rescue her people. To keep him alive so he can fulfill his destiny, she teaches him to fight the monsters. Terrified by the constant threat of a violent death, Josh initially doesn’t care about saving this world—all he wants to do is to stay alive and get back to his own life. But the longer he survives in this dismal place, the more he learns about how it was created. The nightmarish truth Josh begins to uncover might ruin everything he has worked toward and prevent him from ever finding his way home.

An earlier version of Joshua’s Tree was selected as a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012.  I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and would be happy to provide a copy of my manuscript for your consideration. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Query Workshop 17--Darkling

Title: DARKLING
Genre: YA Fantasy


Dear Awesome Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Taela does what she has to survive, but she doesn’t think of herself as a murderer. When the sister she idolizes is executed for treason, Taela vows to avenge her death--even if it means killing the kingdom’s only hope for salvation. Some believe renegade leader Hawke is destined to save their land from an ancient evil. To Taela, the drunken ass who charmed her sister and left her to die is no hero.

With the element of surprise on her side, Taela sets out after the seasoned warrior, determined to thrust her dagger into his heart. The road to revenge leads her to the mysterious Darkling Forest where, lost among shape-shifting trees, Taela has disturbing prophetic visions. When a soldier with no soul attacks, she learns innocent men are being turned into drone soldiers for the king’s army. She puts her vendetta aside to make a truce with Hawke. Their fragile alliance will be put to the test when Taela discovers the truth about her sister’s death, and it forever ties Taela’s destiny to the very man she wants to destroy.

DARKLING is a YA Fantasy novel, with series potential, complete at 72,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore or Leigh Bardugo.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Query Workshop 16--Tagestraum

TITLE:  Tagestraum
GENRE:  Fantasy



Dear [agent]

When social worker Adrian Montgomery's seven-year-old client, Nathaniel, disappears from his backyard, he jumps on the chance to aid in the investigation, but he doesn't expect the search to lead him to another world.

At the scene of the boy's disappearance is a doorway that only Adrian seems to be able to see.  On the other side is Tagestraum, a realm fed by the energy of children's imaginations. Without their dreams, the whole faerie kingdom would be plunged into the sort of Darkness where monsters are born and nightmares become real.  But Tagestraum's been suffering an energy crisis lately because someone has been stealing dreams – and the kids who make them.

In order to find the dream-thief and rescue Nathaniel, Adrian must journey through a savage wonderland of flesh-eating unicorns, dream-addicted faeries and corrupt monarchs. Worse, Tagestraum itself assaults the sanity of rational minds, and Adrian's is made up of locked doors and labeled file cabinets. At night, the Darkness drags him through his darkest memories, forcing him to face horrors from his own troubled childhood.

As the search unfolds, he realizes that he's not here by coincidence. And if he can't stop the dream thief, Tagestraum isn't the only world that will be overrun with Darkness.

TAGESTRAUM is an 80,000 dark fantasy that would appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman and China Mieville.  My short stories have previously appeared in the Dark Valentines anthology from Whortleberry Press as well as Freedom Fiction Journal and MicroHorror.

I have attached [whatever you're looking for] per the guidelines on your website.  The full manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Query Workshop 14--Let My Life Be Proof

LET MY LIFE BE PROOF
YA Contemporary Fiction


Revision 1
LET MY LIFE BE PROOF is a 60,000 word Contemporary YA novel.      

At seventeen, brainiac Emme Sawyer is the youngest girl to graduate from the University of Washington with a medical degree, but quickly discovers being a grown up is a giant bore.  Seeking adventure Emme heads for the Navy.  Convinced she will be deployed in the safety of a hospital, her parents sign early enlistment papers.  But shortly after arriving in Afghanistan, Emme’s mobile hospital is bombed.  Jumping at the chance to be closer to the action she joins a Marine unit.  Placed under the protection of a Special ops sharp shooter, Emme accompanies the unit on a mission.  Through her deployment Emme learns her schooling could never have prepared her for the pain and suffering she must try to heal.  After her guard is killed by an IED Emme shuts off her emotions.  But when her commanding officer, Raven, takes the job of looking after her, the feelings she tried to bury begin to emerge.  The only problem is it’s against regulation to fall for him.  When Emme receives life altering injuries while saving the life of a child, she's shipped home.  Faced with the nightmares of her past, unresolved feelings for Raven, and the possibility of never being able to practice medicine again, Emme struggles to move forward in a world she no longer feels a part of.

I am a member of YALITCHAT.org and volunteer in the Submission Mailbox.  I am  Nationally Board Certified in Early Childhood Education and currently teach. 

Thank you for your concideration.

Original
LET MY LIFE BE PROOF is a 60,000 word Contemporary YA novel.

Emme Sawyer graduates from medical school at seventeen only to discover her early introduction to adulthood is one giant bore.  Seeking adventure, she enlists as a medic in the Navy.  After the mobile hospital she works in suffers major loses, Emme is attached to 3rd Bravo Company, a Marine Infantry Unit.  Placed under the guard of a Special Ops sharp shooter, Emme accompanies the unit on a mission to run the Taliban out of the city of  Marjah.  Through the tragedy of war, Emme learns lessons beyond her years as she faces the pain of loss while fighting to save the injured men in her unit.  After she suffers a life changing injury, Emme returns home, faced with the nightmares of her past and the fear of how to move forward in a world she no longer feels a part of.

I am a member of YALITCHAT.org and volunteer on the Submission Mailbox.  I am Nationally Board Certified in Early Childhood Literacy and have a book review blog called Loco for Libros. 

Thank you for you consideration.

Query Workshop 13--And Jakob flew the Fiend Away

Title:  And Jakob Flew the Fiend Away
Genre:  Historical fiction, Bildungsroman


Jakob DeJonghe can think of nothing but revenge when the Nazis coerce his father into suicide and his little sister mysteriously disappears the day before Yom Kippur.  The situation in occupied Amsterdam soon worsens, with increasingly restrictive laws and barbed wire around the Jewish Quarter.  Jakob is determined to do something, anything, to fight back and be the master of his own destiny, just as his heroes the Maccabees did in ancient times.

While en route from Westerbork, Jakob finally takes action and jumps from a death train.  As he’s fleeing to safety with a broken foot, he’s found by four young resistance fighters and taken to a safe house.  Even though Jakob has been left with a permanent limp, he’s still determined to defend his country and track down the men who killed his father.

His dream comes true when he joins a resistance group specializing in assassinations and sabotage. But when he runs into Rachel Roggenfelder, a beautiful, spirited young woman, on one of his missions, he starts to feel the slow reawakening of emotions he thought he’d buried.  As much as he tries to deny it, he can’t stop thinking about her, even during the dark days of the brutal Hongerwinter. 

After being recruited into the Princess Irene Brigade and made a real soldier, he bumps into Rachel again.  Finding his dream girl again seems like a dream come true, but soon another separation looms.  While Rachel is an ocean away in America, Jakob is called to a tour of duty in the Dutch East Indies and begins the painful process of relearning how to be a part of humanity in a shell shocked postwar Amsterdam.  Only this time, love and not hate carries him through.

And Jakob Flew the Fiend Away, a historical fiction Bildungsroman spanning the years 1940-46 and set in the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies, is complete at 120,000 words.  It will appeal to fans of World War II-era sagas such as Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge and Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

I have a BA from [redacted] in history and Russian and Eastern European Studies, with a focus on 20th century Russian history and the World War II/Shoah era, and worked in the production room of an Albany, NY-based newspaper, The Jewish World, for five years, writing, researching, and proofreading articles.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Query Workshop 12--The Refugee

Title:  The Refugee
Genre:  Sci-Fi Thriller

Ross Chambers is used to dodging bullets.  All kinds, too, from musket balls to machine-gun fire.

For years he has been the top agent at Hourglass, an underground organization dedicated to "Protecting the Present by Preserving the Past," as its motto goes.  Its teams of highly trained time travelers police history, making sure that it unfolds naturally -- without interference from the skilled terrorists who wish alternate outcomes upon certain events.

But when his fiancé perishes in a fire, Ross will do anything to get her back -- even if it means becoming a so-called terrorist himself.  That is, changing the past.

Which wouldn't be too difficult, were his memory of the tragedy not as black as smoke.  Every time he tries to return, he spirals to a completely different time and place.  Like Paris, 1793, where he is mistaken for a long-awaited hero with a knack for depriving the guillotine of its victims.  A Scarlet Pimpernel in Nikes and blue jeans.

Rescuing his fiancé is one matter, but saving total strangers is a whole 'nother -- a sure-fire way to get himself killed, that's what.  Not to mention he spent half his life working to maintain history's established melody.  But when he sees firsthand that he has power over life and death, he's not so sure if altering the bloodstained past is necessarily a bad thing.  It might, in fact, lead to a better world, one person at a time.

Worth a shot, in his eyes.

But it doesn't take long for his work to gain him unwanted attention from people like Robespierre, and Hitler, and Torquemada -- all of whom want him dead.  Though not as much as Dr. Lorraine Field, his former boss and the director of Hourglass.  She wants to feed his heart to Aztec gods and strap his corpse to the hull of the Titanic.  To her, his daring adventures through time pose a threat to modern society, or so she tells her agents.  Changing history is a dangerous game, and the world's timeline cannot depend on the whims of one man -- even one like Ross Chambers.  Especially one like Ross Chambers.

That's why she'll stop at nothing to make sure he's the Most Wanted Man of All Time.  Literally.

THE REFUGEE is a sci-fi thriller complete at 100,000 words.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Query Workshop 11--Finding Meara

Title: Finding Meara
Genre: Urban Fantasy



Revision 1

Dear Agent,

Twenty-six year old Hazel Michelli lived her dream life, full of easy money and cool Denver parties, until a winged creature kidnapped her and took her to the Realm, a parallel land where magic and monsters exist.  But the creature screwed up – she isn’t the girl named Meara he sought.

Narrowly escaping back to Colorado, Hazel’s reality becomes crazier still. She learns the creature got the wrong girl for the right reason. She’s adopted and her birth family is dysfunctional with a capital “D”. 

Meara is her much younger half-sister.  Her mother is a murdered Earth force magician,and her father, Lucian Rosen, a sadistic Life force magician, desperate to sacrifice one of his daughters to maintain immortality. The Earth force magic in Hazel’s blood provides the added bonus of unrestrained power with which he could take over the Realm, and moves Hazel to the top of the sacrifice list.

All Hazel wants is to forget the Realm and reclaim her comfy life, but Meara remains in danger, and Hazel’s the only one who can return to the Realm to save her.  Hazel races between the two worlds, searching for the little girl while attempting to stay one step ahead of Lucian.  Their lives, and the future of Realm, leave her no room for failure.

FINDING MEARA is an adult contemporary fantasy complete at 80,000 words similar in style to Janet Evanovich’s Wicked series.

In 2011, two of my short stories, The Copier and Phantom Deposit, were published in the print anthologies Daily Bites of Flesh 2011, and Steamy Screams, respectively.  My contemporary fantasy short story, Bear Hug, was published in the February 2012issue of the online journal, Hogglepot.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Original
Dear Agent,

At the tender age of twenty-six,Hazel Michelli has achieved her dream life. A bull’s-eye intuition wins her easy money through online horse races; she lives in a penthouse apartment, and gets invited to all the cool parties around Denver.

Her idyllic existence begins to unravel the day a winged creature mistakes her for a girl named Meara and kidnaps her from her apartment.  Taken into the Realm, a parallel land where magic and monsters exist, she’s horrified to learn her sadistic father sent the creature to recapture Meara, who turns out to be Hazel’s four year old half-sister. He needs a daughter to sacrifice in his quest for immortality and unrestrained power.  Unfortunately, Hazel becomes his preferred choice.

After narrowly escaping back to Denver, Hazel wants to forget the Realm and reclaim her comfy life.  She could go into hiding until the sacrificial window closes, but Meara is still out there. Daddy dearest is searching for the little girl, and Hazel is the only one who can return to the Realm to save her. Sure, Hazel can have her old life back, but at what cost?

I am a school social worker and a married mother of two young boys.  In 2011, two of my short stories were published in print anthologies (The Copier in Daily Bites of Flesh: 2011 and Phantom Deposit in Steamy Screams).  My urban fantasy, Bear Hug, was published in the February 2012 issue of the online journal, Hogglepot.

FINDING MEARA is an Urban Fantasy, complete at80,000 words.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Query Workshop 10--Times None

Title: TIMES NONE
Genre: YA Fantasy


Revision 1
Dear Agent:
Amanda Leonard doesn't know who her mother was. She wishes she did.

Amanda does know when the world is going to end. She wishes she didn't.

As long as she can remember, Amanda has been aware of a clock inside her head counting down to the apocalypse. She has never told anyone--not even her only family, the four "uncles" that adopted and raised her after her mom died. She's spent most her life trying to ignore it, but time is finally running out. The clock will strike midnight shortly after her upcoming eighteenth birthday.

Desperate for answers, Amanda digs through the remnants of her family's history, unearthing dark truths about her childhood, her uncles, and even her mother.  Amanda learns that she is no mere bystander to the approaching apocalypse, but its harbinger. Amanda is going to lose something in the coming days: her life, her family, or her world. As the harbinger, she will have to pick one, or risk losing everything. The walls of isolation Amanda spent her whole life building will come crashing down when she finds that the end of the world starts at home.

TIMES NONE, complete at85,000 words, is a YA contemporary fantasy that examines the end of the worldthrough the lenses of small-town intrigue, the bonds of family, and one young woman's journey to adulthood.

Sincerely,
  

Original
Dear Agent:

Amanda Leonard doesn't know who her mother was. She wishes she did.

Amanda does know when the world is going to end. She wishes she didn't.

As long as she can remember, Amanda has been aware of a clock inside her head counting down to doomsday. She has never told anyone--not even her only family, the four "uncles" that adopted and raised her after her mom died. She doesn't know why she's been given this knowledge of the future and noway to change it. Given that the clock will strike midnight shortly after her upcoming eighteenth birthday, she decides to drop out of college after only a semester and return home, hoping to find answers, and with them, some relief.

But Amanda's search for answers offers no comfort. As she digs through the remnants of her family's history, she uncovers dark truths about her childhood, her uncles, and even her mother.  Amanda learns that she is no mere bystander to the approaching apocalypse, but its harbinger. As the doomsday clock ticks down to midnight, Amanda will be forced to make an impossible choice, one that will either cost her life, her family, or her world. The walls of isolation Amanda spent her whole life building will come crashing down when she finds that the end of the world starts at home.

TIMES NONE, complete at 85,000 words, is a YA contemporary fantasy that examines the end of the world through the lenses of small-town intrigue, the bonds of family, and one young woman's journey to adulthood.

Sincerely,

BWC

Query Workshop 9--The Curse Merchant

Title: The Curse Merchant
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Dorian Lake has spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, twisting karma for jilted divorcees, vengeful fathers, or anyone who could pay his modest fee. But when a corrupt soul monger horns in on both his territory and his personal life, will his brilliance and his charisma be enough to save his career… and his soul?

Dorian’s unscrupulous rival, Neil Osterhaus, wouldn't be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian's captivating ex-lover. After two years' absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back.  Dorian must weigh the prospect of winning back her affections against the sinister trade of soul-trafficking. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how dark he is willing to paint his soul in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation – a task made difficult when he discovers that the last two years of his life have been a lie.

Complete at 81,800 words, THE CURSE MERCHANT is an urban fantasy novel that propels the reader into the trials of a charming man in a bastard's profession, while raising the question of where one's ethical line should be crossed.

Query Workshop 8--Running Down the Dragon

Title: RUNNING DOWN THE DRAGON
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Crime Thriller



Thalia Drake is the last dragon on earth. Her cover identity as an ass-kicking werewolf in the U.S. Military's elite shape-shifter ranks is in jeopardy. Among shifters, only dragons can take on other animal forms. Not even her adopted shifter family know her true form.

When human victims start turning up in the Everglades, evidence suggests the killer has bigger, more reptilian game on the menu. Thalia alone recognizes the glyphs burned into the victims skin. Thousands of years ago, the sorcerer who murdered her grandparents carved the same glyphs into the door of their tomb.

The ritual to kill a shifter was supposed to be lost to antiquity, along with all sorcerers capable of pulling it off. Naturally none of the shifter investigators - who also happen to be Thalia's adopted family - suspect what she does: that their modern-day killer might be capable of killing essentially immortal shifters with human magic. Thalia isn't eager to inform them and blow her cover. A thousand years of lies would be tough for her family to forgive, and other shifters wouldn't think twice about killing a recalcitrant dragon. But holding back what she knows will put every shifter in danger.

Thalia and the FBI's shifter division track the killer from South Florida to the heart of Washington, DC. Every clue seems to point to a U.S. Senator with an anti-shifter bias, despite his air-tight alibi. Whatever the senator's involvement may be, if they don't find the killer soon, one of his rituals is bound to succeed. One successful ritual could spell extinction for the shifters.

RUNNING DOWN THE DRAGON is an urban/contemporary fantasy novel of 103,000 words. I have also completed a second Thalia Drake novel, but RUNNING DOWN THE DRAGON can stand on its own.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Query Workshop 7--Bound

Title: Bound
Genre: Young Adult Fiction


Dear [Agent]:

Ghosts don’t exist. At least, that’s what seventeen-year-old Emma Harris thought before one hurled her and classmate Daniel Wyatt back in time. Now in 19th century America, the ghost is a living, breathing, flirting girl named Lucinda Sutton. The same Lucinda Sutton who disappeared on her wedding night, according to town legend.

Of all the people to be stuck with in the past, Daniel Wyatt was not high on Emma’s list. His dodgy reputation and temper are enough to keep her away, but stranded in a foreign world of petticoats and pantalettes, he’s the only anchor to her time, a place she’d do anything to return to.

After exploring Lucinda’s life, Emma and Daniel believe their only way home is to help Lucinda marry, but Lucinda’s fiancé is more than gentility and smiles. He may have been very person who made her “disappear.”

Unless Emma can overcome Lucinda's treacherous suitor while coping with her growing feelings for Daniel, she may be stuck in the past forever.

Complete at 69,000 words, BOUND is a young-adult novel with a ghostly historical twist.

Sincerely,
[Insert Name]

Query Workshop 6--The Proper Way to Say Goodbye

Title: The Proper Way to Say Goodbye
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult

Only one person knew Chloe was gay, and his love and support disappeared when he hung himself.

When she starts college, eighteen-year-old Chloe continues to hide her sexuality, afraid it may affect her current friendships and jeopardize her mother’s job. Unable to deal with the loss ofher brother Brock, she tells nobody of his suicide.

Chloe is stunned to learn her crush, and graduate teaching assistant Sasha, knew Brock. As their relationship deepens, Sasha reveals the reason behind Brock’s suicide, that he was sexually abused as a child, something he admitted to nobody before Sasha. Chloe refuses to believe it, until she reads Brock’s journals, but even then, nobody knows what pushed him over the edge.

She continues to lead a double life, ignoring that her own secrets are hurting the ones she loves most. Her girlfriend Sasha,who is comfortable being a lesbian. And Murphy—the boy she’s pretending to date—is becoming her best friend, but is unaware Chloe is gay.

After finding Brock’s last journal, she is consumed with his plan to take revenge on his molester. But Chloe’s obsession comes at a cost, and she might have to give up everything she’s ever wanted, her girlfriend, her best friend, and her sanity, in order to discover Brock’s final secret.

Query Workshop 5--What Silence Heard

Title: WHAT SILENCE HEARD
Genre: YA thriller with elements of fantasy


Revision 2

Dear Agent:

Staggering away from her emptied village, Nyah knows she was left behind on purpose.  The entire silent world is hers, but for an actor and scribe, it’s a gift she can’t accept.

And then she finds another.  Shade, a left-behind from a different village, is as gentle as he is evasive.  He's determined to bring together and provide for all of the left-behinds, to ease his remorse about cursing them to this barren world. 

Only they're not as alone as they first thought.  The loved ones who abandoned them, cruelly transformed and vicious, are returning for something.  There are nine left-behinds, but there should only be eight.  A vision of Nyah's little brother tries to warn her, but she can’t accept that her life will be ripped apart because of a baby, again. 

The left-behinds must fight together or sacrifice the one who was never meant to be there.  Either way, the existence of the ninth ensures their failure.  Nyah and Shade, denial and guilt, will see to that. 

Set in the wilderness of a pre-industrial civilization, the left-behinds run from the obvious danger, but discover it is impossible to run from themselves when silence is their most steadfast companion.

WHAT SILENCE HEARD is a YA thriller with elements of fantasy, and is complete at 80,000 words. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, Me
Revision 1


Dear Agent:


Staggering away from her emptied village, Nyah knows she was left behind on purpose.  The entire silent world is hers, but for an actor and scribe, it’s a gift she can’t accept.

And then she finds another.  Shade, a left-behind from another village, is as gentle as he is evasive.  He's determined to bring together and provide for all eight left-behinds, to ease his remorse about cursing them to this barren world. 

Only they're not as alone as they first thought.  Some of the loved ones who abandoned them are returning, cruelly transformed and vicious.  A vision of Nyah's little brother tries to tell her why, but she can’t accept that her life will be ripped apart because of a baby, again.

Either the left-behinds fight together or sacrifice the one who was never supposed to be there.  Either way, the existence of this ninth left-behind ensures their failure.  Nyah and Shade, denial and guilt, will see to that. 

Set in the wilderness of a pre-industrial civilization, the left-behinds run from the obvious danger, but discover it is impossible to run from themselves when silence is their most steadfast companion.

WHAT SILENCE HEARD is a YA thriller with elements of fantasy, and is complete at 80,000 words. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, Me


Original
Dear Agent:

Staggering away from her emptied village, she knows she was left behind on purpose.  The entire silent world is hers, but for an actor and scribe, it’s a gift she can’t accept.

And then she finds another.  She renames herself Nyah, and discovers the stillness makes it easier to recognize treasure.  Shade, a left-behind from another village, is as gentle as he is evasive.  As they navigate the emptiness together, the other left-behinds rally around them.  The world isn’t as quiet as Nyah first thought.

Then some of the loved ones who abandoned them begin creeping back, cruelly transformed and vicious, and the left-behinds are their quarry.   Monsters are coming to rip Nyah’s family apart, again, to collect the one who doesn’t belong.  There are nine left-behinds, but there should only be eight.  Shade knows this, because he’s the one who chose them.  Nyah knows, because she’s been through this before.   But admitting what they know means accepting the pasts that led them here.

The left-behinds have to either fight together to the inevitable end, or sacrifice the ninth and give up everything they discovered was worth fighting for when the world disappeared.  Either way, the existence of the ninth ensures their failure.  Nyah and Shade, denial and guilt, will see to that. 

Set in the wilderness of a pre-industrial civilization, the left-behinds run from the obvious danger, but discover it is impossible to run from themselves when silence is their most steadfast companion.

WHAT SILENCE HEARD is a YA thriller with elements of fantasy, and is complete at 80,000 words. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, Me

Query Workshop 4--The Legacy of the Eye

Title: The Legacy of the Eye
Genre: Science Fiction


Revision 1
David and Catrine were more than friends and schoolmates – they were a team. At least until the day he kissed her.

That was the day David noticed the tiny tattoo hidden in her hair. He recognized the symbol from a book that implied a single family had been ruling Demia since colonization. But David had never believed the book before – it contradicted the core principles on which the planet was founded. Demia was a school-planet. It was supposed to value merit, not birthright. How could all Headmasters have been from the same blood line?

Now David is certain Catrine is next in line for a hereditary throne that should not exist. And he is sure his own accomplishments will count for naught when the next head of the Academy is chosen. How can he love her if she represents the hypocrisy of the utopic society he had always believed in? To make matters worse, David discovers his parents are conspiring to make him king by marrying him to Catrine. He flees Demia to avoid getting involved in the planet’s politics. But he knows one more kiss is all it would take for him to relinquish his ideals. How long can he evade those who are determined to lure him home if the bait might just be more than he can resist? Or should he try to fix Demia with Catrine's help?

THE LEGACY OF THE EYE, complete at 82,000 words, is a work of social science fiction based on Plato’s Republic. I also work with science fiction in test tubes.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Original

Dear[Agent Name],

David and Catrine were more than friends and schoolmates – they were a team. At least until the day he kissed her.

That was the day David noticed the tiny tattoo hidden in her hair. He recognized the symbol from a book that implied a single family had been ruling Demia since colonization.But David had never believed the book before – it contradicted the core principles on which the planet was founded. A hereditary rule was standard everywhere else in the Tetracoil Galaxy because the other planets were commercial ventures, custom-designed for those with enough money to buy their own kingdom. But Demia was a school-planet. It was supposed to value merit, not birthright.

Now David is certain Catrine is next in line for a hereditary throne that should not exist. To make matters worse, he discovers his parents are conspiring to make him king of Demia. If only he could have told Catrine, they might have figured out a way to thwart his parents’ plan together. Instead, David feels the need to flee the planet to avoid being part of a hypocritical government.He knows one more kiss is all it would take for him to relinquish his ideals.But how long can he evade those who are determined to lure him home? The bait might just be more than he can resist.

THE LEGACY OF THE EYE, complete at 82,000 words, is a work of social science fiction based on Plato’s Republic. I also work with science fiction in test tubes.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
[name]
[my contact info]