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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Robert Meacham
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Joined: June 14th, 2010, 7:11 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Robert Meacham » June 18th, 2010, 9:22 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford:

Candida- The Making Of A Princess

When twenty-seven year old Candida began pondering her place in the universe, she had no idea that her energy would attract Belial, the demon of destruction. He came to her with voiceless messages, tempting her with power beyond her imagination. The more she listened to the whispers in her soul , the more she became seduced by the idea of power.

Belial warns her that her journey will be a war with the hierarchy of the souls of hell. She would need Arioch, the demon of vengeance as her protector.
He would see that she made it safely past the most powerful of dark gods, Atazoth, and then she would have powers and magic equal to Lilith, the Princess of hell.

Candida began the self-initiation rite and committed her soul to the red one of darkest brilliance, the Prince of Darkness. The wars began. The seduction for power soared in Candida’s energy as did her love for Arioch, the greatest seduction of all.
After nearing completion of all the battles, Candida had one last act to complete; she must destroy Arioch to receive her powers and stature from Satan. Only then would the veil be lifted and the gates of hell opened for Candida.

Mr. Bransford. I have been following your blog for some time and believe it to be entertaining and helpful in this industry. That is why I am choosing you for a go at my query of this 54k paranormal work.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Robert Meacham
City & state zip
Cell phone #
Last edited by Robert Meacham on August 22nd, 2010, 12:27 am, edited 5 times in total.

Posts: 1
Joined: June 18th, 2010, 9:22 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by kkeelin » June 18th, 2010, 9:32 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford:

When A.C. – short for Anna Catherine – is shipped off to her aunt’s house for the summer, the 16-year-old encounters a family secret that threatens her new relationship, her safety and everything she believes to be true about her family.

Things have not been easy for A.C. since her father disappeared three years ago. Her mother has gone back to work and she is stuck spending the summer with her eccentric Aunt Sylvie: loving, half-blind, semi-alcoholic, and – apparently – a time-traveler. If Aunt Sylvie can be believed (and frequently she can’t) then A.C. has inherited this family gift (curse?) as well.

Now, just when her summer fling with Jack is starting to show some potential, she finds herself abducted through the folds of time by a 19th century madman bent on using her as a weapon against her missing father. As her love for Jack grows, she is forced to make painful decisions about their relationship, her father’s actions, and whether to pursue her destiny in the present or in a time long past.

PAST PERFECT is a YA novel complete at 98,000 words and set in both present-day and 19th century Massachusetts. Steeped in humor, romance, and magical realism, PAST PERFECT will appeal to fans of Libba Bray and Stephenie Meyer.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I welcome an invitation to send you my manuscript in its entirety and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kathleen M. Keelin

Posts: 2
Joined: June 18th, 2010, 9:18 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by KareeniaRN » June 18th, 2010, 9:36 pm

June 18, 2010

Karen Nolan
258 Ovidio Court
Merritt Island, Fl 32952

Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent

Dear Mr. Bransford

My life had been drastically changed forever because a government agency maliciously committed a criminal act. They crushed me, destroyed my faith in everything good I had ever learned or believed in growing up with the following phone call I cannot stop playing in my head.

“Your child was accidentally killed on May 18th riding his bicycle, but I can’t tell you any further details because of the adoption.” “What adoption, you must have the wrong person. My son wasn’t anywhere to be adopted.”

He was only supposed to be there for a couple of days and now they tell me he had been adopted and he was dead? How in the world did that happen? They had no right, they stole him from me, his mother, and because I wouldn’t give up the fight, they killed him. In my mind, and the belief of my entire family, that is what happened. The Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services had gotten away with murder. My life destroyed, my family suffered deeply and everything around us turned upside down. I was determined to find out the truth no matter how long it took or how much money it consumed. There was only one thing to do, go forward with every thing I had in order to expose those responsible from an agency that was created to help people.
I also needed some sort of closure, if I could only have the file opened, I could find out where my little boy was buried. Maybe I could at least put my little boy to rest. Was there no one out there that could help, that cared enough to dig deeper than anyone else, to take on a government agency and get to the bottom of this heinous crime? There was one, and I had found him. Neither of us would rest until the truth was exposed.

The Stolen Child is a true life experience, my life experience and every word of it is true. The Stolen Child, at first was just a painful experience, one I had wished I could forget or at least, bury deep within my subconscious so I wouldn’t have to face or deal with it, but a friend said to me, “write it down, every sordid little detail so others can learn from your experience, share what you have dealt with. Maybe there are parents out there that have experienced the same event and needs your help to move forward.” “Someone else with the same experience, no way, that can’t be possible! But yet, what if…what if someone else had experienced this same horror, this same extreme destruction of heart and family that I had? Could I possibly help?”

My answer came from God above, maybe not out loud in a male thundering voice, yet in a subtle way from many others, “Yes, it can help in more ways than you know.” I have listened to this statement from family, friends, counselors, priests, my children, and many others that know my story, over and over again.

As for me, I am a certified surgical trauma nurse and this is my story. I was on the staff of my high school year book for two years and wrote short stories, as well as some poems. A few of my poems have been published; last one was in The Lakeland Ledger Newspaper in 2004.

The Stolen Child needs to be told, because this was done to me. I think of other parents whose children are missing. I want those parents or families of whose child is missing to read my story and say, “What about my son or my daughter, could this have happened to us?” The public needs to know how corrupt and deceitful people working for those “protective” services can be. I feel I am just one of many innocent mothers’ whose lives have been forever changed by sadistic malicious people.

Thank you for your valuable time and consideration.

Karen Nolan, RN
321-305-5625 Home
863-206-1804 Cell

Posts: 2
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 2:58 pm

Query: The Second Bat Guano War

Post by foobard » June 18th, 2010, 9:41 pm

Attn. Nathan Bransford:

Rats ate his baby daughter while he partied in a disco. Now Horace "Horse" Mann is a drugged-out expat teaching English to criminals in Lima, Peru. Oh, and doing the odd favor for the CIA.

When his drinking buddy and CIA contact, Pitt Watters, goes missing, Horse's efforts to find him hit a snag. He comes home to find his lover, Lynn -- Pitt's mother -- strangled in his apartment. Arrested and charged with murder, Horse escapes Lima and follows his only lead to a Buddhist ashram on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

There Horse uncovers his friend's involvement with a group of Gaia-worshipping terrorists who want to kill off the human "disease" infecting the earth.

The group's leader, a world-famous vulcanologist, explains that only a new generation of lithium-ion batteries can replace the dwindling supply of fossil fuels. The group plans to set off a volcanic chain reaction that would destroy the world's most promising lithium fields, and thus ensure that man pays for his polluting sins.

Horse finally finds Pitt on top of a volcano, his thumb on the detonator. Pitt confesses to killing Lynn, begs Horse to join him in the purification of Gaia. Horse must choose: end the world, himself, his guilt? Or forgive himself the death of his daughter, and find a way to live again?

Complete at 80,000 words, THE SECOND BAT GUANO WAR is a hard-boiled thriller set in South America, with an environmental twist. It belongs to the same sub-genre as Roger Smith's Cape Town novels.

I am the author of five Lonely Planet guidebooks to Latin America. I lived in Colombia for many years, and have travelled extensively in Peru and Bolivia.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Jens Porup

Helen Rina
Posts: 2
Joined: June 13th, 2010, 9:33 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Helen Rina » June 18th, 2010, 10:44 pm

Dear Nathan,

I am writing in the hope that you will be interested in representing my novel, ESCAPE # 59. It is a paranormal romance for young adults. It is complete at 94,000 words and could either stand alone or be developed into a series.

Arney Keydana is about live through another normal day at her boarding high school—combat training with werewolves, hanging out with mind readers and darkness makers, looking at a fake landscape in a fake window (because the world outside is too dangerous to be seen, or so the werewolves say). But Arney doesn’t make it past breakfast when something extraordinary happens—her boyfriend breaks up with her. His reasons? She shredded his heart and threw it into the garbage. He refuses to say how or when; he only rolls out a foolproof scheme to repay Arney for all his hurt by making her his slave.

Thus, it’s not even lunchtime, and Arney is already facing the toughest choice in her life: staying at school and becoming a slave, or running away and dying. But hey, the croaking part is not certain—the werewolves would have said what was outside if it were that dangerous. And so begins Arney’s escape to the outside, which, as it turns out, has a mind—and an appetite of its own. And what’s it hungry for is anything with a heartbeat.

I hope this will be of interest to you. Thank you for your consideration.

Helen Rina

P.S. Thank you for doing this, Nathan. You're the best.

Jeanne Bannon
Posts: 17
Joined: June 18th, 2010, 11:01 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Jeanne Bannon » June 18th, 2010, 11:08 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford:

Please consider representing my novel Darkness Becomes Her.

Darkness Becomes Her is a paranormal thriller of 105,000 words. It tells the story of Dane Westwood, a spiritual warrior/vigilante. Dane possesses the ability to not only peer beyond this reality into the world of spirit, but she’s able to see entity attachments in the energy fields of those around her. Dane and her best friend June are dispatched on a mission to save humanity by the mysterious Dark Angel. The Dark Angel guides the women, leading them to Costa Rica and a handsome and gifted healer named Gregorio Pappas. Although Gregorio can perform miracles, he is also tangled up in a plot that involves reducing the world’s population. The book culminates with Dane’s decision to abandon June to join the handsome healer in his diabolical plot. She believes she loves him, but it is a power beyond her that’s driving her into Gregorio’s arms and for nefarious reasons.

Presently, I work as a freelance editor and have done so full-time for almost twenty years. I am a former freelance writer with a journalism degree and have published several short stories and articles.

You can contact me at any time. I hope my book’s premise has intrigued you. I look forward to your response.


Jeanne Bannon

Posts: 1
Joined: June 18th, 2010, 11:00 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by aubre8788 » June 18th, 2010, 11:10 pm

Since the selection is random, I couldn't resist saying, go Lakers!! Please don't hold it against me.

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Reawakened friendships…
One phone call is all it takes to alter Claire’s steady existence into an unrecognizable disaster zone. Alice, the best friend she betrayed, has woken up from her coma. Jackson, the love of her life who deserted her without a second thought, has returned home. The last ten years, Claire has prayed for Alice’s recovery and teetered between a desperate longing for Jackson’s forgiveness and his demise. However, once her greatest wish is a reality, all she wants to do is run like hell.

Reawakened secrets…
Now, Claire is forced to deal with the consequences of her past actions. There is no where to hide her guilt, her betrayal, her lies, or more importantly, her nine year old daughter with Jackson’s eyes.

Reawakened desires…
Claire’s only hope is to be strong enough to resist the one thing her heart has always desired – the guy that should belong to her best friend. After all, her love for Jackson has long been replaced with hate. Or at least that’s what she thinks until she takes one look into his eyes.

REAWAKENED is a 65,000 word contemporary romance novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Shannon Moore
Last edited by aubre8788 on June 19th, 2010, 10:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 4
Joined: June 18th, 2010, 11:21 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by DarinKennedy » June 18th, 2010, 11:33 pm

Dear Nathan:

I am a frequent reader of your blog and appreciate the opportunity to participate in this exercise.

Steven Bauer always thought chess was just a game, until the sexy brunette in the black dress did her level best to incinerate him. He is rescued from this literal baptism of fire by a world-weary mystic known only as Grey, who introduces Steven to the world of the Game, an ancient conflict that takes the form of a nightmare version of chess. Steven draws his preordained chess piece from Grey’s mystical pouch and assumes the role of the White Pawn, the first of a chosen few fated to take their places among the White and fight until only one side remains. Before the Game can begin, though, the remaining Pieces must be gathered, and that job falls to Steven. Armed with only the weapons of his station, he goes in search of the others. But he isn’t alone in seeking his brethren among the White, as the opposition led by his attempted assassin, the Black Queen, is also on the hunt. At every turn, the stakes get higher, leading to a showdown in the heart of Atlanta between the forces of light and darkness for the fate of the world.

My contemporary fantasy novel, PAWN'S GAMBIT, complete at 115,000 words, should appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman, Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series and Piers Anthony’s “Incarnations of Immortality” series. It is a complete story with a satisfying ending, though I do imagine this book as the beginning of a series, all culminating in the playing of the Game in the final book. Of note, I had the pleasure of meeting Lou Anders, the editorial director at Pyr, last September at DragonCon. He found the concept of my story interesting and asked that I submit there once I obtained representation.

When I’m not writing about mystical chess games, I work as a family doctor based out of Charlotte, NC. I recently finished eight years as an Army physician during which my ten and a half month stint in Iraq allowed me to write the first half of my novel. I have spent the last couple of years completing and preparing this manuscript for the next step and am excited to share it with you. With my background, you might ask why I’m not writing medical thrillers or military memoirs, but telling Steven’s story has become my passion. Thank you for considering my manuscript.


Darin Kennedy

Posts: 5
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 6:48 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Betrisha » June 18th, 2010, 11:37 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Little Polly Wild so enjoyed chewing on her prized gumball. After all, she’d scraped more bubblegum from the pavement than her best friend, Gertie. With sticky nails and a big smile, she did what any seven-year-old would - she bragged to Aunty. Maybe that wasn’t such a great idea after all. Aunty takes away the thing that Polly loves most in the whole world. She bans her from playing with Gertie, ever again. What a horrible babysitter. Well, poo to her ‘cause Mum and Dad will be back next week. Polly can’t wait that long. She sneaks off with Gertie and rides in the basket on Gertie’s gigantic tricycle. It wasn’t their fault the brakes didn’t work. Now they’re in big trouble with the headmistress and the police, but no way is Polly hanging around to get arrested. She runs away with Gertie. Okay, so that wasn’t very smart. Now they’re stuck in a sinking boat and Polly can’t swim.

STAR CROSSED RASCALS is a Chapter Book, complete at 12,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I would be absolutely thrilled to send you my full manuscript.


Patricia Puddle.
Last edited by Betrisha on June 19th, 2010, 6:29 am, edited 4 times in total.

Posts: 5
Joined: December 9th, 2009, 9:01 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by PatriceFitz » June 18th, 2010, 11:39 pm

Vice President Catherine Young has just been anointed the Democratic nominee for president when her past comes roaring back to haunt her -- in the form of a gorgeous Brazilian woman claiming to be her illegitimate child.

This political bombshell blows the race wide open and leaves Young vulnerable to the darling of the far right, surging third-party candidate Jerusha Graham. What follows includes blackmail, the murder of an F.B.I. agent, a cocaine-fueled chase across the nation’s capital, and media both old and new foaming at the mouth to cover the candidate’s “black love child.”

RUNNING is a political thriller, complete at 85,000 words.

My background includes stints with the Federal government in the security office of the State Department, 15 years as an attorney, and 15 years of writing professionally.

Below are sample pages. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Posts: 5
Joined: June 19th, 2010, 12:51 am

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by carolm » June 19th, 2010, 12:59 am

Thank you so much for the critique opportunity. Here goes nothin...

Dear Mr. Bransford:

I am seeking representation for UNBREAK HER HEART, a completed 70,000 word Christian romance novel. I recently discovered your blog and while it says you 'don't rep romance', it also says 'when in doubt, query me' and that you love query letters so here we go.

Hot on the heels of her broken engagement to Mark, Mandie Jackson comes face-to-face with Nate Roberts, the childhood sweetheart who once shattered her dreams, as her twin sister accepts his twin brother's marriage proposal.

It's been five years since Mandie received Nate's 'Dear Jane' letter just six weeks after he left their small Midwestern town to attend college 2000 miles away. She believed she'd finally found love again until Mark's infidelity made her call off the wedding. Nate has spent those years regretting what he did to the only girl he ever truly loved. When his brother tells him there's no hope of reconciliation, he tries again to move on – something that is much easier said than done. Mandie and Nate had grown up believing they were meant to be together, but can they overcome their past and find common ground as they help plan their siblings' wedding? Can their relationship, fractured by broken trust, somehow be repaired or are they destined to spend their lives wondering what could have been? Set in the author's semi-rural hometown near Springfield, Missouri, UNBREAK HER HEART explores the relationship of two people whose lives were irretrievably intertwined, for better or worse, long before their first date.

UNBREAK HER HEART is a novel that could stand alone, but is the first of a planned five-book series. The story of Mandie's twin sister, Liz, is partially completed and tentatively titled TRIED BY FIRE. Book three is Nate's story, while book four focuses on Mandie's other sister, Jasmine. Books three and four are outlined. Well-developed and approximately half-written, book five continues and concludes Jasmine's story, however, it could be revamped as a stand-alone. All are similar in tone to the work of Lori Wick. The romance found in Dee Henderson's novels may be another apt comparison, without the mystery found in her work. There are several unrelated books in various stages of plot development but not yet written.

I currently teach at a community college in Springfield, Missouri, having lived, studied, worshiped and worked in the area for over fifteen years. I have my B. S. in History and Secondary Education and my M. Ed. in Secondary Social Studies from a local university. I have taken numerous courses in creative writing and English. I have written for online publication and have done some professional editing as well as tutoring in creative writing and English. I am a part of a group of authors who work together to help each other improve plot development, characterizations, grammar and punctuation, as well as fiction writing in general.

I thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you in the near future.


Last edited by carolm on June 21st, 2010, 8:51 am, edited 7 times in total.

Posts: 1
Joined: June 19th, 2010, 8:47 am

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by sevennblue » June 19th, 2010, 8:52 am

Dear Mr. Bransford,

I am a big fan of your blog. Thank you for doing this exercise.

Going out to party on a school night is just a regular evening for totally scene sixteen-year-old Myla Blackbird. She likes to drink, smoke and cut class because anything else is too predictable, responsible, and worst of all….boring.

One night, she meets Christian Lunatic, a handsome tattoo artist, who tells her that life, as she knows it, is about to forever change. Myla shrugs off his bizarre statement, but when she gets home she discovers both her parents are mysteriously dead.

Family secrets and lies begin to surface when Myla learns what she really is, an Innocent: a unique breed of witch who must steal the sanity of mortals for her own survival.

Myla is left with no choice but to run through the streets of San Francisco’s seedy side to find her parents’ murderer, struggle with her personal demons, and learn the truth about her herself. She must piece together a dark past she has never known, and a frightening future she has yet to discover.

THE INNOCENTS is a 60,000 word young adult urban fantasy written in first point of view. It explores themes of alcoholism and insanity and will appeal to readers of Holly Black’s Tithe and Valiant as well as Neil Gaiman fans. THE INNOCENTS recently made it to the top 5% in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2010 with flying reviews.

I graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelors degree in Creative Writing. One of my long form poems, “Love in the Times of Exhaust,” was published by Minotaur Press for the Sacred Grounds Anthology Quarterly in San Francisco.

Kindly, Seven N Blue

Posts: 1
Joined: June 19th, 2010, 10:23 am

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by TaffyLovell » June 19th, 2010, 10:32 am

Mr. Bransford,

STANDING ASLEEP is about a girl who saves her town from aliens, one of which is her mother.

18 year-old Mandy doesn’t know her mother is an alien but her dad does and if he tells anyone, another child will disappear. Mandy has no idea of the danger she’s putting her dad and others in when she begins research for her final English paper on local missing youth. All she’s thinking about is graduating so she can leave her small hometown and its secrets behind.

But as she delves more into the mysteries of Holden, she finds herself in the middle of lies and deceit. She soon learns more is at stake than just her grade when she becomes the next abduction victim, and her mother and boyfriend are the abductors.

STANDING ASLEEP is a 45,000 YA Sci-Fi work. The complete manuscript is available on request.

Thank you for your time!

Taffy Lovell
945 E Center St
Pleasant Grove UT 84062

Posts: 2
Joined: January 15th, 2010, 4:47 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Sanna44 » June 19th, 2010, 11:09 am

Thanks, Nathan! Here goes:

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Maggie Stern prays for her abusive husband to drop dead.

He does.

She prays for her children’s adjustment to their father’s death and for herself, a kind and sane lover. She also prays for mischief against the adversaries she doesn’t know how to confront. When these prayers come true also, she almost believes she enjoys powerful but bloodthirsty protection from a heavenly patron.

Then Maggie’s sadistic boss fires her. One child develops anorexia, one slugs his girlfriend, and the third can’t make friends. Maggie’s sneaking fear of her patron’s vindictive rage deepens when she declares that her boss deserves to be hit by a truck – and she is. Terrified that her children and lover will be the next victims, she prays for her patron to stop, but the deaths continue. Now facing tyranny from her former patron instead of her husband, Maggie digs deep into her violent past to confront the sources of her passivity and victimhood.

As the film MEAN GIRLS comically dramatizes QUEEN BEES AND WANNABES, Rosalind Wiseman’s non-fiction book about girl-on-girl aggression, UNWELCOME MIRACLES (94,000 words) dramatizes a battle-bruised family’s recovery from domestic violence. A work of literary fiction, UNWELCOME MIRACLES will appeal to book clubs and readers of Alice Hoffman.

I have personal experience with the fallout from domestic violence. By day, I write about financial services and health care. I am a graduate of Columbia University (BA English). Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,


Posts: 11
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 7:32 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Ce3 » June 19th, 2010, 12:10 pm

Title: Living With a Positive Power

Two days after a Heart Transplant was indisputably declared my future, I settled into a coarse hardwood chair located in the congested St. Paul’s Heart and Lung Transplant Center’s sterile waiting room. I was waiting my turn― over two hours now and counting― to see my cantankerous Transplant Cardiologist.
Observing the depressing scene of extremely sick patients brought me to the quick conclusion what I needed most was to get the hell out of there, and fast. I tried my best to come prepared with a positive attitude but the dour mood of the room seemed to suck life right out of me. I made eye contact with a few people there but most just stared straight ahead in some catatonic stupor.
The scene reminded me of a book on the power of positive thinking. A book stating that one of the most important things you can do to be positive about your life is to surround yourself with positive happy people. Nobody was happy at St. Paul’s that morning, each person was thinking morose thoughts of their ultimate demise―about things they really had no control over and most looked as if they were a cough away from giving up. I thought more about the book’s advice and decided to be positive whether they were or not.
Now understand, I did not want a transplant, I hated the idea of one and I was scared to death, but thought if I could just jump right in and face the devil I would at least give myself a chance. Knowing my personality, for me to survive, I would have to get passionately mad and fight the despair upfront and head on.


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