Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by shinesteak » June 14th, 2010, 10:05 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Nyiri Koda is the pride of the North American Army, the daughter of two renowned researchers, phenomenal soldier and field doctor, and dedicated beyond belief to her work: hunting down Beasts.

Long before Nyiri or any of her friends were born, The Great Accident, the end of the world, had more repercussions than anyone dreamed possible. The economy halted. The continent lost most of its population. What was left of the human race relocated to a place once called Canada and slowly began to rebuild the United North American Nations. Military bases focused on medical research popped up, and thanks to them and people like Nyiri and her parents, the world slowly came back to life. And then came the Beasts: strong, yellow-eyed monsters that, according to the army, thought only of killing and destruction. The medical research facilities turned to war-houses. BASE, the largest and most prestigious military encampment, is the center of the new world, the government body that rules over the west, where Quebec’s reach cannot extend.

This is Nyiri’s home. This is where everything dear to her lives – until she is captured by the Beasts and taken to their mountain stronghold. Her entire world changes because of a Beast named Cade and his thirteen-year-old king, Doran. She will have to choose: go back to her old life when the passes open, or stay with her friends in the Rockies. Going back is the best choice; loved ones are waiting for her, but there is a catch. She loves Cade, and Cade, like all Beasts, is dying, and soon. She may be the only one who can save him and the rest of his race.

The Soldier is a completed 77,300–word manuscript best suited for older teenagers and young adults. As a huge Science Fiction and Fantasy fan, genre fiction is what I have always trended towards when writing, as far back as middle school. I once took an assignment to write a short story about an opera singer, a missing necklace, a police officer, and a baseball stadium and turned it into a supernatural horror story about witches and magic. (I know, it baffles me too.) The Soldier in particular is a great Sci-fi adventure with a little romance mixed in - because what kind of story would it be without a little love?

I hope you will consider representing The Soldier. I have included (anything requested in submission guidelines). The completed manuscript or any portion thereof is available on your request. Please feel free to contact me any time by phone at (insert phone numbers), or by email at (insert email). I hope you enjoy The Soldier and I look forward to hearing from you.

Cori McWay
What's the point in living if you can't have fun doing it?

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by knight_tour » June 15th, 2010, 12:06 am

I am seeking representation for my epic fantasy novel, The Shard, which is complete at 130,000 words.

Three years ago the minor noble Midas lost a son in an ambush by a troll. Now with his marriage crumbling and the Known Lands threatened by an invasion from a mysterious race of dragon men (called wyrmen), Midas is torn between his duty to raise his two remaining sons to be proper leaders and the insistence of his wife that he keep the boys safe.

He takes his sons to war, but hopes to shield them from the worst dangers. His intentions go awry when a seer involves them in a plan to defeat the wyrmen by finding a shard of a shattered magical relic, lost centuries ago in the lair of Kathkalan, a dragon so vicious it has turned the entire eastern region of the realm into an abandoned wasteland.

After surviving the dragon, cannibals, ice-wraiths that can kill with a touch, and a chase through an underground labyrinth, Midas and his companions find the shard and join the armies of the realm to confront the superior forces of the wyrmen, only to discover that the magic of the shard doesn’t work as expected. Midas is faced with the most excruciating of decisions -- save his sons, or save the realm and risk losing everyone that he loves.

George R.R. Martin has shown with his A Song of Ice and Fire series how hungry audiences are for realistic epic fantasy. I believe that the forthcoming movies based on The Hobbit will form a renewed bubble of interest in this genre. Though my novel can stand alone, I have begun a prequel and also outlined two other novels within the series.


Ted Cross

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Meghan » June 15th, 2010, 1:57 am

Dear Nathan,

I would like to introduce you to Lillian McFarren fresh from her final year in college. Lily is moving back into her adoptive parents’ home and just as she begins to fear that her life will never take off, she is visited by a man from a past she has no knowledge of. The man, Salander Phibbs, introduces himself as a guardian to Lily’s biological parents, and he came to inform her of their deaths and to bring her back to land of her ancestors.

The country is being overrun by the tyrant, Raspirnid, and only after Lily’s return to the throne will the magical community be safe. But before Lily can reclaim her true place in the fantastic world, she must earn her magic through a series of seven tasks that risk not only her safety but the lives of her companions.

THE FINDING will transport it readers into a new world of magic and follow Lily as she learns about her past and future while simultaneously battling against the mystical terrain, new brands of magical creatures, and a villain who will not rest until she is dead.

I am currently a fourth year student working toward my Bachelor’s degree in creative writing and this is my first novel. THE FINDING is 100,000-word work of fantasy which captures the reader within my world of make-believe.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Meghan Morrow

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Poisonguy » June 15th, 2010, 5:32 am

Dear agent extraordinaire,

Natural Selection is a 100,000-word mystery that follows Dragan Sakic’s personal struggles as he joins a police investigation into a series of bizarre deaths.

When Dragan, an ER physician, agrees to have a child with his girlfriend, thoughts of his childhood molestation flood his mind and he does what he’s always done. He hides in his protective shell.

Then a rogue cop full of hunches but short of details pressures him to look over the autopsy of Salt Lake City’s district attorney. When he does, he notices three substances camouflaged in the toxicological report—no more than remedies when taken separately—that mimic a heart attack when combined. As he gets pulled deeper into the investigation and learns more about the dead DA, Dragan comes to believe it wasn’t chance that brought him and the victim together. It was a buildup of countless imperceptible changes and, like evolution, inevitable.

Dragan provides an ailing investigation much needed momentum by revealing more poisonings. In doing so, he unearths a new species of killers: one that uses tiered poisonings unseen before in ingenuity, one that goes to painstaking lengths to disguise murders as natural deaths. The ensuing investigation saps Dragan’s spare time, leaving his relationship in shambles.

Though Dragan doesn’t know it, the victims were part of a secret cabal with plans to release anthrax at the Utah-BYU football game. Fearing he may lead the police to them, the surviving members send out their henchman to take care of Dragan.

When the police find his girlfriend near death, evidence implicates him in the anthrax attack and the murders he’s been investigating. To avenge the woman he loves and clear his name, Dragan is forced to leave his protective shell to track down a radical group of killers and bring a cunning poisoner to justice. The week that follows surfaces old scars and rips them wide open.

I have more than ten years experience as a banned word in poison information. The full manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

The guy who wrote this.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by *kristen*isbell* » June 15th, 2010, 8:00 am

*deep breath*

Good Afternoon, Mr Bransford.

Scottish university student Nicola Graham doesn’t understand why she’s having such intense dreams involving her young Modernism and Modernity professor, Jamie Ryan.

He’s arrogant and pretentious and has been rude to her on several occasions. Nicola’s best friend, Gilly, and Gilly’s usually naked and inhibition-free housemates, Jess and Kim, think she should do it. Just sleep with him. After all, sometimes it’s better when you can’t stand them. But Nicola can’t ignore the crowds of freshman female hottie always waiting outside his office or the air of scandal that seems to surround him.

Professor Ryan stumbles through office hours and discussions on modern poetry and Modernism, Ashbery and Eliot, until he declares his feelings for Nicola just as she discovers accusations from his past that seem to confirm her worst fears. More recent evidence and a run-in with a glass (or three) of Jungle Juice just drive them further apart.

Nicola throws herself into the lush, designer-fringed melee of sorority life at her exchange university in Northern California and the waiting arms of hot university fullback, Kyle Boyd- only to find out that neither are what they seem. She realises how involved her sorority is in her life in unexpected ways in time to save her relationship with Professor Ryan- the climax *ahem* of the novel and a happy ending that will come to have consequences for them both.

RUSH is modern women’s fiction; a steamy 'Sexinthe'Sity' aimed at twentysomethings. It's complete at 150,000 words. I’ve also written 70,000 words of the sequel, RUSH: Junior Year, among other projects.

I have a BA in English from UC Berkeley (please, don’t hold that against me! I love Stanford) and a Postgraduate in Education from a university in Ireland, where I now live. RUSH is my first novel.

I've sent this for your consideration before sending it elsewhere because I love your blog and what I know about your list and I'm hoping this atypical, irreverent ‘chick lit’ may appeal to your sense of humour and love of literature.

I appreciate your time and consideration.

All the best,
Kristen Isbell
(Address, website, phone number, email, etc)

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by cjtrapp » June 15th, 2010, 9:31 am

Jake Wakely is no stranger to being a stranger. He’s lived abroad for the first thirteen years of his life. But after being sent to his father's childhood hometown of Sleepy Valley to live with his grandparents, his ‘new kid’ mystique is fading fast.

Jake’s unpopular friendship with Simon, a native Duwali Indian from the Plateau, disrupts the town's spurious peace by exposing their prejudice. The unrest leads Jake to a government plot to keep the public segregated and dazedly productive in the town’s pharmaceutical factory.

To expose the conspiracy and awaken the people, Jake and Simon must convince the two societies to complete an unfinished lacrosse game from generations past, with Jake and Simon playing in place of their fathers. But when Jake uncovers his father’s fateful role in the unfinished game, he gets caught between his friendship with Simon, the greedy factory owners and his own family legacy.

THE DREAM PLAYER, a YA adventure, chronicles Jake’s miraculous journey. Readers may find this similar to HOLES, with a touch of dystopian flavor a-la LORD OF THE FLIES or BRAVE NEW WORLD. The completed manuscript is 76,000 words. This is my first novel.


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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by bdwood » June 15th, 2010, 12:12 pm

Dear Nathan,

High school is tough. Hormones running wild, teachers out to get you, and girls—well, they’re crazy hard not to look at, but impossible to understand. For Trayvian James, it’s worse than normal. His parents are awol, he doesn’t have a single person he can call a friend, and the only girl that will talk to him is pretty enough, but crazy (even for a high school girl).

Luckily for Tray, his real life isn’t the only one he lives. Tray isn’t normal. Not even close. Every night when he falls asleep, Tray dreams himself into Havehn—a world created in his own mind—to a life filled with magic and adventure. In Havehn, Tray attends the Academy, the premier school in the entire realm, and is about ready to take the Test to become a Warrior Mage (the biggest bad asses of all the Three Orders of Magic). No one ever takes the test at Trayvian’s age, but there is no time to waste—for signs of an ancient prophecy start falling like dominoes. For over a thousand years The Darkness has been imprisoned. Now prophecies say the Dreamer (who Tray figures has to be him) must stop The Darkness from escaping or face the evil God in The Last Great War.

While Tray gets more than his fill of excitement and adventure in his dreams, his boring real life is altered when an amazing girl arrives at his school. Tray falls hopelessly in love the first day Claire walks into his history class, and she makes him question which life he holds most dear—because falling for Claire could mean losing his dreams forever.

While struggling to just utter the word hello to Claire in between math and English while awake, Tray, along with his best friends Damon and Trill, must fight to save the entire kingdom in his dreams. When evil slithers its way into Tray’s real life, threatening the only person he’s ever loved, he finds nothing is as it seems. He must unlock the secrets of his own past to save the girl he loves.

Dreamworld is a fast-paced YA Fantasy complete at 130,000 words. Tray’s is a tale laced with humor, wit, and bravado only a seventeen-year-old boy can manage.

This is my first novel. The second book in the series with the same characters is nearing completion and the rest of the series is in outline form.

I chose to query you for many reasons, but I’ll keep the flattery brief. You obviously have a sense of humor. So does Tray. I think you will like each other. Oh, I also hate the Lakers. Especially the Black Mamba, whom I find to be more than a little contrived.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes,
Brian Wood

Nicole Zoltack
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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Nicole Zoltack » June 15th, 2010, 3:32 pm

Dear Nathan Bransford:

Assassin Lorna McCloud has an advantage over her victims – the power to create and hide in artificial shadows; however, the one target she longs for most remains elusive – her father's murderer.

With no leads, Lorna continues to accept assignments including a small island king with a high price on his head. King Alaric is everything Lorna isn't – noble, kind, good. When she falls for Alaric, Lorna distances herself from her assassin lifestyle but cannot escape her past. A massive gravesite on the island provides clues to her father's murder.

Lorna has never before desired to live a normal life. Torn between murder and love, Lorna cannot escape her ardent desire for revenge even if it means losing her only chance of living a happy life with Alaric.

HIDDEN IN SHADOWS is a complete 96,000-word urban fantasy novel with romantic elements.

I am the author of a medieval fantasy romance series, The Kingdom of Arnhem — Woman of Honor (2009) and Knight of Glory (2010) with Desert Breeze Publishing. I have also sold six short stories and two flash pieces for anthologies, two of which are under the pen name Nicolette Zamora.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Nicole Zoltack
(address, phone number)
Last edited by Nicole Zoltack on August 23rd, 2010, 6:06 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by dorettaz » June 15th, 2010, 4:27 pm

Query: StarGRAZING

Too tall, conflicted prep school teacher changes her outlook, her behavior and her destiny thanks to Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Ryan Gosling, Nicole Kidman, Jon Lovitz, Humphrey Bogart and a host of other Hollywood influences in this 79,000–word humorous, sometimes salacious pop-culture-filled novel set in Southern California.

You might say that 29-year-old Liberty Smith earns her second M.A. from College of the Hollywoods.

After her fiance leaves her for another man, to fortify her emotional teeter-totter she models Angelina Jolie in Salt because, she says, “Nobody takes down that steely-eyed glamazon. Just look at her and you’re sure she ate a brain tumor for breakfast.” To have more fun, she models Cate Blanchett from Bandits who metamorphoses into Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton’s quirky, extroverted playmate.

Other current and classic Hollywood icons – along with list-making, rule-breaking dedication to accomplish her goals – help Liberty progress from nowhere to somewhere. By the time she and snarky actress friend Justine Starr meet comic entrepreneur Jon Lovitz at Rick’s Café Americain in nearby Brentwood, she can hold her own; Jon becomes a stepping stone into her future renown. Before she can enjoy the fruits of her labor, though, she has one last mission: to dethrone the headmistress at her posh private school, a woman so callous that heart surgery would open her up only to discover the whereabouts of Joesph Goebbels.

Liberty’s journey is actually a humorous take on famed Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura’s “Observational Learning” proven behavior mod method for success: People acquire new behaviors, cognition, and attitudes by observing others they admire.

I’m a licensed psychotherapist; professor of psychology, pop culture and film studies; and journalist with more than 200 published newspaper and magazine articles (M.S./ Psychology; M.A./ Creative Writing). There’s no psychobabble in the novel, though, only fictionalized fun and working through life’s maze to step into one’s intended future.

Women, film lovers, and People magazine-type readers will laugh, enjoy the many references to film and film stars, identify with Liberty, find inspiration in her dedicated trek and, maybe, learn from her.

Thank you for your interest. Upon request, I am prepared to send the complete manuscript, Doretta Simone Z

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by ashleezak » June 15th, 2010, 6:30 pm

Whoever said that technology makes life easier was full of it. For the Colonized Planets, the Artificial Intelligence programs monitor and assist the Colonies, allowing them to remain united and simplifying most daily tasks by administrating the System. With travel, communications, and information networks all automated, humans have very little to worry about. The AIs aren’t quite what they seem, though, and one person knows that better than anyone.

Maj. Leisha O’Davoren is an undercover operative in the Peacekeepers, the law enforcement organization charged with service and protection for the Colonies. She is very good at her job, especially since she can access the AIs without a computer. Secure in her abilities and her job, she heads off to her next assignment, only to be attacked as soon as she hits the planet.

Nothing about this operation goes according to plan. Leisha is distracted from her primary goal of tracking a drug ring by an attractive stalker, programmed assassins, and a menacing voice that only she can hear. With her sanity under attack, she tries to focus on her job, which is easier said than done, especially after she’s ordered to investigate her shadow, a hacker named Wynn Corriden.

When the System is shut down, Leisha is forced to team up with Wynn to return control to the AIs. However, when the real danger is revealed, she finds that following the law has little to do with doing what’s right, especially if it means a sacrifice that leaves her broken and alone.

Whispers in the Dark is my third novel and is complete at 87,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by rmorris » June 15th, 2010, 11:21 pm

Dear Nathan Bransford,

ISABELLE DONHELLE is a professor of ornithology at the prestigious Hawthorne University in Boston. On her twenty-ninth birthday, Isabelle has finally come to the conclusion that her life so far has lacked any kind of significant, meaningful change. But following a chance encounter, she falls for TEMPLETON RATE, a struggling student of hers, and quickly finds herself tangled within his uncontrollable reality. Things are not always what they seem though, and this newfound relationship is much more than Isabelle wanted to believe it was. Now she must realize that change, whether desired or not, is always more complicated after the fact.

It’s obvious that Templeton Rate is wrong in every way for Isabelle; he's rude, virulent and utterly self-sufficing. Still, she can't help falling for him, mostly because he reminds her of a boy she once loved. What ensues is property damage, bird-napping, science experiments, a murder or two and maybe worst of all — some hurt feelings. With a first-person narrative, Isabelle guides us through her incredible transformation and towards the horrible secret behind Templeton Rate.

A haunting, contemporary and psychological suspense story, at its heart MOLT is really a story about change, and the uncertainties that lie in giving your heart to someone. 94,300 words.

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing back from you.


Ryan Morris

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Daibhin » June 15th, 2010, 11:41 pm

Dear Seeking this Story,

I am seeking representation for my 40,000 word YA historical fiction, IN THE SHADOW OF VESUVIUS.

Short piece on personal details here.

Mira, a teenage slave with power to see the future, must flee Mt. Vesuvius' eruption and her stubborn master to save the baby boy she cares for.

On 24 August 79 CE, shortly after noon, superheated gases from Mount Vesuvius shoot ash and pumice twenty-four miles into the air to form a churning cloud. Fifteen-year-old slave, Mira, has seen the death of Herculaneum in a vision. With Vesuvius’ awakening, she knows she must act to save Remy, her one-year-old charge. Because the Master has set another slave, Levi to watch Mira, her window of opportunity is shrinking. When Remy’s mother goes into labour, having dreamed her own death, she becomes an unexpected ally. Mira is given a purse of gold and told to save the child. Levi is to protect them. Before leaving the town they try to send transport for the Mistress. Levi steals a horse to help them move faster. Mira sees her chance to return home to the family she never forgot. The responsibility she takes on, and the promises she makes to Remy’s mother, push Mira into maturity. Vesuvius, however, does not easily surrender its victims. When the cloud of debris collapses the race for survival is on. One violent surge after the other, destroying everything in its path, follows seconds behind the fleeing trio.

Please let me know if you are interested in reading the full manuscript of IN THE SHADOW OF VESUVIUS.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by ajculey » June 16th, 2010, 1:40 am

Last edited by ajculey on April 8th, 2016, 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by aswiebe » June 16th, 2010, 10:05 am

Dear Mr. Bransford:

Valinda only remembers life as a vicesteed, living in a theme park of depravity where her experiences are broadcast to a discerning audience. One of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed severely injured. During the routine clinic visit afterwards, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augments she's been given to survive being a vicesteed, she breaks out and flees. She finds herself in an unfamiliar Victorian world where she must fight to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed.

Rosemary is a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to an anti-homechulus rebel underground. Troubled by what she experienced during sensorium treatments intended to make her more ladylike, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy.

Quincy is hired to investigate the mysterious death of the Prince Consort. The answer lies with these two very different women. To find it, he'll have to rise to investigate a conspiracy at the highest levels, and he'll have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that the society depends upon.

Vicesteed is a steampunk locked-room murder mystery of about 125,000 words.

My short stories have been accepted at publications including Jim Baen's Universe, Art Times, Allegory, and Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. I also maintain Aswiebe's Market List, a resource for science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


Abra Staffin-Wiebe
[contact info redacted]

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by shalgia » June 16th, 2010, 11:11 am

Tiffany Bowman’s luck in life is next to nil. Coming of age meant running away from home, hanging around the wrong crowd, hustling men and excessive partying. After ducking out on an abusive, drug dealing ex-husband, Tiffany finds herself in a new city with old troubles. Swearing off men and vowing to change her circumstances, Tiffany rolls up her sleeves and focuses on walking the path of the straight and narrow; only to find that it too is a winding road of chaos!

Can a tigress change her stripes? Deception, confusion and manipulation make Tiffany Bowman’s mission as tough as nails to accomplish. Throw in two tall, dark and handsome Adonis’ each with agenda’s of their own, and it becomes next to impossible!

This is the foundation of my newly completed novel, Blessed Assurance, a powerful 75,000 word romantic suspense. Blessed Assurance is a novel of personal growth which will be well received by those who enjoy reading about triumph in the face of adversity.

Set in Boston’s historical Cambridge area, this is not your typical coming of age story. The constant battle between doing the right thing and reverting back to her old ways leaves Tiffany in a tailspin. After a horrific accident, Tiffany firmly takes control of her destiny, emerging as a woman who has found the true meaning of life. Proving once and for all, a Tigress can change her stripes.

My writing credentials include four years as Editor of REALTOR News in Syracuse, New York. At present, my work is not under consideration by another agency.

I enjoy writing about strong female characters that face life challenges, take their lumps, and come out ahead in the end. I am an avid reader of mystery and romance novels and have written Blessed Assurance with this in mind. I hope you enjoyed this overview and are interested in a more in-depth review of this novel. I look forward to hearing from you soon.



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