Quest for a Queen

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chounzet
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Quest for a Queen

Post by chounzet » July 20th, 2012, 6:55 pm

The sing-song Muslim call to prayer wakes the reader in present-day Jerusalem. In the night, a wealthy Arab merchant has died, leaving behind a deadly secret, pieces of which lay with a disappeared artifacts dealer, a half-cocked homeless man, and an aged Rabbi.

The Quest for a Queen leads American tourists Maylee and Smith to team up with Israeli teen, Fakhir, in a deadly game of hide-and-seek through the Garden of Gethsemane, the caves at Qumran, and the streets of the bustling Mahane Yehuda marketplace. They hope to find The Queen before it’s too late and protect her from a growing number of enemies who hope to make her disappear again…this time, forever.

Quest for A Queen is a mid-grade historical fiction novel, complete at approximately 40,000 words with potential for a three-book series. I am sending the first ten pages of the novel, and the full manuscript is available upon request. I am in the process of looking for an agent and publisher and am currently making multiple submissions.

I have a M.A. in Spanish and Latin American Literature, teach French and Spanish at a title one high school, and have been writing poetry and prose since I was a child. This novel is for my nephew, a brilliant 12-year-old with ADHD who actively lives his own life to the fullest and still makes time to live vicariously through literature.

I wrote this book for a children’s audience, but my hope is that adults will also enjoy it for its historical glimmer and for a love of the characters. Quest for A Queen accepts a similar vocabulary and writing tone as seen in The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke. Readers who enjoy the 39 Clues series might also enjoy Quest For A Queen, and it is similar in genre to the film National Treasure and Dan Brown’s novel The DaVinci Code.

Thank you so much for your time!

chounzet
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Re: Quest for a Queen

Post by chounzet » July 20th, 2012, 10:11 pm

I'm offering an alternative, this is something I have been working on for a while. Which one works better?

Not all of Maylee Tayten’s problems started when she snuck out that night, but the fact that she just witnessed a murder trumps her other issues. Even worse, she knows why they killed him. With the help of her brother, Smith, and Israeli teen, Fakhir, Maylee must discover the truth about a 2,000 year-old secret and protect it from a growing number of enemies who hope to make it disappear again…this time, forever.

With a solitary clue in the Garden of Gethsemane as their lead, they set off in a deadly game of hide-and-seek. Danger lurks in the caves at Qumran and in the streets of the Mahane Yehuda marketplace. A half-cocked homeless man, an aged Rabbi, and an artifacts collector guide them on their journey. But who is friend and who is foe on this Quest for a Queen?

Quest for A Queen is a mid-grade historical fiction novel, complete at approximately 40,000 words with potential for a three-book series. I am sending the first ten pages of the novel, and the full manuscript is available upon request. I am in the process of looking for an agent and publisher and am currently making multiple submissions.

Mark.W.Carson
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Re: Quest for a Queen

Post by Mark.W.Carson » July 21st, 2012, 9:21 am

Queries are not an extension of your story. The first one reads like it is a page out of one. Agents are busy and don't want to have to guess what you want to tell them. They reject hundreds of queries a day. Make it easy and yours will be in the pile marked for deletion.

Start with a hook, lead in with the character, the conflict, and the antagonist -- THEN and only then (normally) should you go into the details. If you start by setting a scene, you've likely bored them and made them reject you.

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Re: Quest for a Queen

Post by Mark.W.Carson » July 21st, 2012, 9:27 am

I have not had a chance (the time, really) to look at the second one in enough depth, but THAT is a query. The first one, not so much :).

Some notes:

Quest for A Queen is a mid-grade historical fiction novel, complete at approximately 40,000 words with potential for a three-book series. I am sending the first ten pages of the novel, and the full manuscript is available upon request. I am in the process of looking for an agent and publisher and am currently making multiple submissions.


NO, just no.

The first line is all right, but you may want to change the idea of coming out with the three book series part the way you have. You may want to approach it as "This book is complete and stands alone, but there is potential for more to be made into a series"

The next lines must NEVER make it to your query.

You are looking for an agent and publisher? Of course you are. That is why you are querying. The part about multiple submissions will likely have them laugh at you. Of course you are. Don't hurt yourself by putting in things that will make the agent/editor think you are amateurish.

They don't need to know any more than what the book is about, how long it is, etc. The rest you can discuss over espresso while you discuss how many millions the publishers are offering you.

chounzet
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Re: Quest for a Queen

Post by chounzet » July 22nd, 2012, 12:15 am

Thank you so much, Mark. I appreciate your feedback!!! :D

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Shipple
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Re: Quest for a Queen

Post by Shipple » July 22nd, 2012, 9:19 pm

Just a little note. I agree that saying you're looking for an agent and/or publisher is redundant, based upon the fact that you're querying, but I have actually seen a few agents who say they want to know if you're making multiple submissions. Check the agents' guidelines! I would guess that if they don't say you need to tell them then you don't need to tell them.
(Response to below-my main point here is that you always want to check guidelines to see if there are any unusual requirements b/c you don't want to miss those! Certainly it is very unusual to see that the agent asks you to let them know if you're making multiple submissions, but always do what the guidelines tell you to do and always make certain you're using an agent's most up to date guidelines).

I also agree that setting the scene is a bit boring and that your second query is much better. However, your second query doesn't make it clear that your book takes place in Jerusalem. You definitely should include that information.

Also, "half-cocked" means "premature" or "not ready". I don't think the term makes sense when applied to a homeless man.

Given the fact that you point out one of your characters is an "Israeli teen", I have to wonder what nationality your main character is. Perhaps you should mention that as well. Or possibly why they're in Jerusalem if they don't live there.

The second query also doesn't make clear why it is a "quest for a queen". What queen?

By the way, the length of your second query is much better too. Cut whatever you can (and I know exactly how hard that can be!)
Last edited by Shipple on August 12th, 2012, 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - J.K. Rowling (an awesome opening line)
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Shipple
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Re: Quest for a Queen

Post by Shipple » July 22nd, 2012, 9:22 pm

Ah, I now see from the first query that they are American tourists. (I was primarily focusing in on the second query letter in my critique b/c it was better)
You should definitely include that info in your second query.
"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - J.K. Rowling (an awesome opening line)
Me: http://sarahhipple.blogspot.com/ and http://shipple.tumblr.com/

Mark.W.Carson
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Re: Quest for a Queen

Post by Mark.W.Carson » July 22nd, 2012, 10:30 pm

Shipple,

At the query stage, I could probably count on one hand, the number of agents who assume you are only sending to them. They may want to have exclusive reads, but at that point, they've already contacted you and told you as much. I don't think there are sane agents that would expect you to query them and only them, because then that process would leave the author more in the lurch than they are in a process where no answer is usually a no, but could also mean any number of things.

Let's not get this guy/gal in a bind before they're even on that rejection slate yet. Query about a half dozen agents at a time, honing your query either from feedback, or lack of feedback, etc because the last thing you want to do is send 50 queries out and find out you made a glaring typo that made a word become snort-worthy.

chounzet
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Re: Quest for a Queen

Post by chounzet » July 23rd, 2012, 2:01 pm

Thank you for your input everyone :) I appreciate. Here is another shot.

Not all of Maylee Tayten’s problems started when she snuck out that night, but the fact that she just witnessed a murder trumps her other issues. Even worse, she knows why they killed him.

The time is now, the place is Jerusalem, and the problem has a code name—The Queen. American tourists Maylee and Smith must discover the truth about a 2,000 year-old secret and protect it from a growing number of enemies who hope to make it disappear again…this time, forever.

Maylee’s journey through the caves at Qumran and the streets of the Mahane Yehuda marketplace requires a little help. Sexy Israeli teen Fakhir knows the streets and knows how to get what he wants. Right now, he has his sights set on Maylee. They both have a goal in mind when they set off on the QUEST FOR THE QUEEN—and it isn’t necessarily the same one.

QUEST FOR A QUEEN is mid-grade historical fiction. The novel stands alone at 40,000 words with series potential.

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