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 tcharla » June 22nd, 2010, 10:22 am

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Enclosed is an illustrated picture book: Dingo Goes Surfing.

Dingo Goes Surfing was recently named Finalist in the 2010 Tassy Walden Awards: New Voices in Children’s Literature. After reviewing ‘Dingo,’ one judged noted simply that it was “Lots of fun.” Once you have a look, I think you’ll agree.

Dingo Goes Surfing is an uncomplicated story of how the family pet makes the best of a very awkward predicament. And the cast of characters the reader meets along the way helps bring the story to life.

‘Dingo’ uses rhyming text to create motion to match the book’s easy pace. It includes repetitive lines that let the child anticipate and, more importantly, participate as ‘Dingo’ is read aloud by an adult. The story also uses a few larger words and concepts that will resonate with the adult reader. This helps to create a more enjoyable reading experience for both parent/guardian and child.

Simple illustrations, drawn in cartoon fashion using colored pencils, soften the entire book bringing the reader into the story without the distractions sometimes brought on by bold colors and cluttered pictures.

In addition to writing and illustrating ‘Dingo’, I am also a regular contributor to Living Without, a specialty food and lifestyle magazine distributed through national retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods. My essays and articles provide a father’s view of raising a young child with food allergies.

Thank you for taking the time to review Dingo Goes Surfing. I appreciate your consideration, and I look forward to the ‘lots of fun’ we’ll have publishing ‘Dingo.’

Tom Charla

Dingo Goes Surfing text (449 words / children age 3 – 6 years)
Dingo Goes Surfing dummy (32 pages total with 14 illustrations [low res scans])

Emily J
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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Emily J » June 24th, 2010, 2:27 pm

This is such an awesome idea! Pick me pick me :)

Dear Mr. Bransford:

Eighteen-year-old Erica Ann Dawson falls asleep in her bed in Batesfield, Connecticut and awakens to find herself driving down a four-lane highway.

Plagued by inexplicable blackouts, she begins losing hours, even days, with no memory of what transpired in the intervening time. As the blackouts worsen, she starts to doubt her own sanity. But the truth is even crazier.

Erica is slowly being replaced from her own life by a creature known only as a Changeling. This doppelganger has bewitched Erica’s name and is using it to steal away her memories, her life – her very soul.

To save herself from being completely consumed, Erica is forced to make a terrible sacrifice; she gives up her name, and with it, relinquishes all rights to her own identity.

Now, nameless and forgotten by friends and family alike, the girl is plunged into a world of magic where a Sharpie and a book of matches could mean the difference between life and death. She must learn to harness the power of names and sigils to fight back against the Changelings and the dark force invading Batesfield. But if Erica stands a chance at reclaiming her former life, she will need to discover the truth behind what the changelings really are. If she fails, she will remain nameless forever.

THE NAMELESS is a YA fantasy novel complete at 60,000 words. The manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Emily J

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by shadow » July 11th, 2010, 10:52 pm


Vitiosus, the dark warrior prince, is feared by all of Lassertian. But in this war-loving land, where the lesser humans are hunted and hanged, Vitiosus secretly longs for something no warrior would ever consider–peace.

No matter how many lashes Vitiosus takes or how many scars mar his body, he will never be what his father wants him to be: a cold blooded killer. When the clock strikes midnight and the nightmares begin, Vitiosus resents his father for his hate and tyranny. More than anything he wants to bring justice by liberating and freeing those who suffer under his father’s command.

To the humans the Lassertian kingdom is known as the Realms of Hell and Gabriel is out to change that. Being the top human warrior, hunting the Lassertian Prince, Vitiosus is the goal of his life and the light of his career. When they clash swords for the first time, sparks fly. Out of respect to his first equal adversary, Vitiosus leaves Gabriel alive but badly wounded. That night a shaman tells him of his human mother and half-brother, who is known to be the top human warrior.

His blood is impure and in the Lassertian Kingdoms breeding with the lesser humans is punishable by death. Vitiosus isn’t just a warrior anymore; he has a mission to find his brother and free his nation from his father’s clutches. He is a symbol of freedom to his people. But his father sends assassins to kill him and frames Vitiosus with the blood of the men he never killed and Vitiosus’ brother Gabriel only knows him to be the cruel prince. Hunted by his brother and father, Vitiosus wants bloody revenge.

OVERCAST SHADOWS is an 88,000 YA Fantasy novel.

All things writing, visit my blog


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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by emarrow » July 12th, 2010, 11:11 am

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Adam Archer moved home to Scranton to live peacefully in the suburbs. His return lasted three months...
The demon burst out through the window, taking most of the wall with it. It left Adam and Moiré Archer sprawled on the bedroom floor in a spreading pool of blood.
“Save me.” Adam’s wife said to him as they died.
Adam awakens in a strange place, and is greeted by a being named Sheppard. Sheppard gives Adam a choice. He can go to the afterlife alone, or go back to Earth to hunt his killer. All returning will cost him is his soul. The prospect of an eternity alone makes Adam long for revenge, whatever the cost. It’s not like, with his past, he was going to heaven anyway. He signs the contract, and is sent back with a new body and new abilities.
However, Adam finds his new abilities aren’t free. To fuel his new body, he must feed from the souls of humans, specifically female humans. Sheppard never mentioned this little treat, or the unique way this energy must be harvested.
Immediately, Adam’s investigation turns up questions. The demon was already tearing his wife apart when he got home. Adam was just in the way. Why Moire? What was their connection? What other secrets did she have?
Hellhounds, Soulless Minions and Demonic Mobsters stand between Adam and his killer, a demon named Valentine.

American Faust is an urban fantasy complete at 84000 words. My goal is to develop a relationship with an agent for a long career. Thank you for your consideration.

Ed Marrow

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Bohemienne » July 20th, 2010, 6:50 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

UNDER A DEAD MOON is a 100,000-word dark fantasy epic that will appeal to fans of Patrick Rothfuss and Jacqueline Carey. A young mage turns to dark magic to restore order to her troubled kingdom, but the cure may be worse than the disease.

Young noblewoman Fierine wants no part in the political turmoil, marriage alliances, and encroaching demons that threaten her home of Elanthine. She plans to fulfill her father’s legacy by training as a mage, and avoid her mother's schemes. But the forbidden magics that claimed his life become harder to ignore.

Fierine can play her mother’s political games at the Court of the Sun, and try to stop the wave of reform that will rob them of their privileged, pampered lifestyle. She can seize control of the mage order of the Silver Dawn, and foil the ruthless Justicars in their crusade to outlaw nearly all forms of magic. Most tempting of all, however, are the dark magics lurking in the Kirazhon Mountains, where the demons of Elanthine’s past have long been sealed away. Claiming them will give her the power to change everything, but the cost may be more than her kingdom can pay.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by WilliamMJones » July 23rd, 2010, 1:22 am

Dear (Agent name):

Dominic Taylor is able to do strange things, such as opening locked doors and passing by security cameras undetected. He’s never been able to explain his powers. When he discovers that one of his classmates, Jennifer, has these powers too, he follows her, hoping to find some answers. She leads him through a gate to a new world.

The Fey, the powerful inhabitants of this world, hate the humans of Earth. They believe that humans are a disease, polluting the world they were given. When HEROS, a human organization against magic, develops technology that allows them to pass between worlds, they attack the Fey and start a war. The Fey lock the gates between worlds, trapping Dominic in enemy territory.

As he searches for a way home, Dominic learns that his deceased father was one of the Fey, and that he was a traitor. Working for HEROS, his father researched the Source of Magic, which could be used to wipe out the Fey and half Fey in a single strike, Dominic included. To find the Source and prevent HEROS from destroying it, Dominic and Jennifer must team up with a hyperactive Fey princess, a short tempered Royal Guard, and a pair of suspicious HEROS scientists. If they fail, it will be the death of an entire world.

My young adult fantasy novel, I’M A NOBODY, is complete at 60,000 words. I chose to submit it for your consideration because (Insert personalized reason)

Thank you for taking the time to consider my work.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by MAlexander » July 26th, 2010, 1:43 pm

Dear Nathan,

Doubting River is a 98,000 word mainstream novel. Former runaway, Charm Freeman, returns to his old life in Nowheresville, MS, after his sister Marlie's husband is killed in a car accident. Initially planning to fulfill his brotherly obligation then disappear for another twenty years, Charm reluctantly agrees to stay and help with Marlie's injured son, but they clash over how to best help the nine year old deal with the death of his father.

Before the accident, the boy and his father were training a neighbor's retriever for a field trial. The boy desperately wants to fulfill his father's dream, but his mother believes anything to do with the dog is a setup for heartache. The past belongs in the past; the way forward is forward. Against his sister's wishes, Charm and the boy join together to turn an injured retriever into a champion, a journey that forces the family to face the issues that tore them apart, only to find salvation in the past they tried to forget.

An excerpt of this novel won the mainstream category of the 2010 Sandy literary contest. I am a former dog trainer and the author of Click for Joy, the winner of the 2003 "Best Training/Behavior Book" award presented by the Dog Writers of America. I am also the owner of the 7000-member ClickerSolutions (dog training) mailing list and its associated Web site (avg. 120K hits per month), and I have published numerous articles in the magazine "Teaching Dogs."

My contact information is below. I look forward to hearing from you!

<contact info>

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by jduff » August 2nd, 2010, 4:41 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Sydney has been plagued with depression since her parents separated her freshman year. She’s found that by keeping her life in control she can stay off meds and avoid the detestable therapists that bring disorder to her life. That is until two new love interests enter the picture and threaten to shatter her control.

Love interest number one, a secret admirer, sends Sydney cryptic letters and leavers her flowers on more than one occasion. As she begins to obsess over figuring out whom he is, Sydney finds herself falling back into the throes of depression and doesn’t know where to turn for help.

AJ, Sydney’s best friend and love interest number two, watches her decline. AJ knows if he can get Sydney to see past her own carefully built walls she will find out he can be the support she needs to overcome her depression.

TWISTED SUMMER is a young adult novel complete at 55,000 words. I’d be happy to send a partial or full manuscript at your request.
Thank you.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by glasshut » August 3rd, 2010, 11:45 pm

Dear Nathan,

Growing old is not for sissies, as Cecelia “Sissy” Cavanaugh is about to find out. When her husband steals her designer luggage and runs off with a younger woman who has a tight tush and perky tatas, Sissy Cavanaugh’s posh road to happiness veers off course. She must decide whether to ask her manipulative mother-in-law for a handout or get a job. Sissy chooses the path of least resistance—a job. A job that includes cleaning crime scenes. Only she doesn’t know that part. Yet.

Instead of enjoying manicures and sipping margaritas, she’s mopping floors, scrubbing toilets and trying to balance an empty checkbook. Fearing that her country club membership will be revoked, Sissy begins to build a life that doesn’t include tee times and garden parties. As her career takes off, so does her personal life. She finds herself caught between three men: her cheating husband, a wealthy widower ready for love, and a handsome cop who gives new meaning to the words hot flash.

After investigators name a close family friend as a murder suspect, Sissy is assigned to clean the crime scene. When her daughter finds out, she urges Sissy to embark on a mission to find evidence and steer the investigation in another direction. Sissy finds a clue in the most unlikely place—her own home. Armed with this new information she sets out to solve the case and comes face-to-to-face with the murderer.

Complete at 77,000 words, my novel Mental Pause is women’s fiction. A formerly pampered woman discovers inner strength and self-reliance while learning that crime—someone else’s— does indeed pay.

As a former technical writer and instructional designer, my experience developing manuals and training courses has taught me to work on deadlines and with editors. My essays and shorts stories have appeared in Sasee, ByLine, and Seven Hills Review.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my submission,

Tricia Sanders

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by erica.c.woo » August 16th, 2010, 6:04 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Loathe is what you make it.

LIKE, LOVE, & LOATHING is a 55,000 word young adult contemporary novel that follows sixteen year old Bee Hewlett as she falls in and out of like, love, and hate, and starts a bizarre relationship with the person making her life hell.

Worried that her self harming, anorexic sister Matilda will end up joining the wrong crowd, again, Bee transfers schools to watch over her. One misplaced love letter and too tight pair of jeans later, Bee becomes the target of school bully and narcissist Chris, who decides to make Bee his girlfriend—whether she wants to or not. Bee is oblivious to the previous relationship between Chris and Matilda, and how they both know her boyfriend Mark. Bee develops an offbeat relationship with Chris as he saves her from the weird situations he secretly places her in—being harassed by the school sluts, bullies, and Romeos.

When a Chris ordered attack goes too far and leaves Bee bruised and bloody, Chris confesses he has been behind her horrible experiences at Forrester High. They begin an awkward truce until he begins to target her friends and boyfriend, ultimately revealing that he hasn’t been the one calling the shots all along.

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

Erica Woolridge

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by amyashley » August 27th, 2010, 2:22 pm

Dear Agent,

A vampire mama craving chocolate, coffee, and retail discounts more than blood, Reece Paine isn’t eager to disclose her status. What would the neighbors think? Hubby’s a demon, her toddler flies, but life in the Paine house is red-blooded American. They sleep in on Saturday and have spaghetti night. They’re normal, for paranormals.

Reece works at a secret paranormal aid bureau as an all-species banned word investigating the odd cases stumping the suits. Trolls on protest or succubi with flashing fetishes are typical for her docket, while she still juggles diaper duties at home. Things turn serious when she’s asked to check out a string of kidnappings, and the case has her spooked. Human crooks are after paranormal kids, and they’ll need to be turned over to the cops when the job’s done. It’s almost guaranteed exposure for the paranormal who takes on the task.

This mom of three might be scared of the neighbors’ gossip, but she’s more afraid of leaving the bad guys free to commit crime. Reece ropes in some paranormal pals to employs tactics like genii hypnotism and angel terrorism and nab the nappers. This week has been a major pain, but she sucked down an extra latte today, and she’s ready to rock and roll.

WHAT A PAINE! is a 71,000-word urban fantasy. I appreciate your consideration.

Amy Ashley
Last edited by amyashley on September 14th, 2010, 1:18 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Lea McKee
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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Lea McKee » September 2nd, 2010, 9:10 am

Hailey Wittlow is a loner. Which is okay with her, everyone is safer that way.

Ask Hailey about parties, drugs or boyfriends, she won't have a clue what to say. Ask her about evil beings like Vampires, Lycans or Fae and she could tell you a whole hell of a lot. No, Hailey is not the poster-teen for normal. But it's not until an Elf named Tobias drops in that she learns just how messed-up she truly is. It’s not only her curse of second sight, there's more: Hailey is discovering sinfully unacceptable feelings for Tobias and an ability, difficult to tame and coveted by all; to bend the elements to her will.
Oh, and then there’s Lance, her ex-boyfriend and only friend. He's been taken by Vampires who want to use Hailey's abilities. Save him and risk falling into a trap? Or let them turn the boy she loves to save herself?

A FATE MOST FEARFUL is a YA fantasy of 75, 000 words.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by danielsmi » September 2nd, 2010, 3:23 pm

Dear Ms. Agent,

Recipe for Clandestine War

2 secret societies
1 arcane treasure
2 holy women
1 Celebrity Chef w/ military experience

Mix secret societies together then heat to a boil. Add arcane treasure. Add holy women and Celebrity Chef. Sprinkle with menace. For extra flavor add havoc and spread across at least five North American cities.
Celebrity Chef Cameron Kincaid is a former Legionnaire who thought he had traded peril for peace by swapping careers. When the Rex Mundi attempts to assassinate a UN dignitary and her entourage in his New York restaurant, Cameron takes it personally and is drawn by honor into an 800-year-old clandestine war.

Surviving are a young woman and her escort, members of the Cathari, a faith once thought exterminated in a 13th century crusade. The Rex Mundi believes the Cathari possess a treasure that can transform the world and that the women know its location. They intend to wipe out the Cathari and take their treasure. Committed to protecting the women, Cameron escorts them on a five city flight. Relentlessly pursued, shot at, and nearly blown up, Cameron chooses to confront the Rex Mundi, only then can he complete his quest to see the women safe.

CAMERON KINCAID AND THE PERFECT TREASURE is a 75,000-word adventure novel with potential for series mates, or even a sequel. The action is set in northeastern cities of America and Canada, which are diverse in culture and tradition. This novel will appeal to fans of Clive Cussler’s larger-than-life heroes, conspiracy buffs, and possibly foodies. French festivals, Dan Brown books, and an upcoming Johnny Depp film are fueling the popular resurgence of the Cathari and the Rex Mundi, making this Cameron Kincaid adventure propitious.

My expertise of Cathar and Rex Mundi history and beliefs stems from an education in philosophy and comparative religion. My knowledge of urban locales is from travel to over 300 cities in 22 countries and residences in Los Angeles, Kalamazoo, Prague, Crete, and my current home New York.

It would be an honor to work with you on this novel.

Kind Regards,

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Jaligard » September 3rd, 2010, 1:02 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Tessa is young, talented, and blind. She walks alongside the canals of Beldessario and plays her dulcimer for strangers, seeing only their auras and relying on their generosity to survive. Gazing into people's souls may not win her many friends, but being able to spot the blackened heart of brigands keeps her safe in the besieged city. All she wants is to play her music and maybe to marry a certain one-legged soldier-boy.

Those dreams are shattered when she meets Raz, the would-be conqueror of her city. Ambitious, evil, and powerful, the world's last fire wizard can see auras, too. Raz is trying to bring the world back under the rule of wizards. He is well on his way to conquering the world, but—he lacks the wizards. Every city has magical trinket mongers; reading auras separates the amateurs from the truly powerful. Tessa has enough potential to move his plan forward twenty years. Not only is she untrained and malleable, but she can be the perfect breeding stock to make new wizards.

Standing in Raz’s way is Alli, the Harlot of Beldessario, the city’s resident water wizard. Passionate, kind-hearted, and wise, she’s been waiting for the right moment to train Tessa herself. With Raz in her city and his army at the gates, she cannot afford to wait any longer. She must stop Raz, but she will need Tessa’s untapped power over air to tip the balance.

THE HEART OF BELDESSARIO is a 90,000-word fantasy novel set in a Renaissance pseudo-Venice, complete with courtesans, sword-fights, wizard duels, and a bucket of water.

Thank you for your consideration.

John Goshorn
Last edited by Jaligard on October 27th, 2010, 7:15 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by otherside89girl » September 8th, 2010, 2:07 am

Dear Mr. Bransford,

RONNIE FOR REAL is a 90,000 word young adult novel told in two parts: Freshman Year and Senior Year.

Freshman Ronnie Gold wants high school to change her. She wants to grow up, to learn about photography and French, to talk to boys without melting in embarrassment. If someone had told her she would meet the love of her life that very first day… that Marco, a dark, talented senior, would profess his feelings for her in the tea kettle room of the Kingsley Art Museum… or that he would disappear to Mexico after an immigration scare, leaving her heartbroken and feeling much too old for her fourteen years… Well, she probably would have been too nervous to go to school at all.

By senior year, Ronnie’s excitement about high school is long gone. She expects tedium and homework, not romance. So she surprises herself when she lets Michael, a popular soccer player, draw her in. She hasn’t given any boy a chance since Marco, and suddenly she’s tired of being alone. Michael’s confession of his suicidal depression piques Ronnie’s sympathy, and she’s caught up in her new role of girlfriend-slash-therapist.

And then Marco returns, pulling Ronnie back into a world of dreams and uncomplicated happiness. Ronnie knows Marco is the one, but breaking Michael’s heart is messier than expected. When a vengeful Michael finds out Marco is in the States illegally, Ronnie wonders if she’ll ever find her happily ever after.

Thank you for your time. May I send you the completed manuscript?

My Name & info


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