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 jaktt12 » April 1st, 2012, 2:50 pm

Dear. Mr. Bransford,

When fourteen-year-old pirate Lesath gets locked in the castle dungeon by Sir Reginald, her first-ever mission could become her last. But if she can escape, she might come away with something more valuable than the treasure she was trying to steal.

Lesath convinces castle resident and bumbling wizard intern Nembus to break her out of the cell. He warns her that Sir Reginald's planning to fulfill a cryptic prophecy to seize power over Vallenta – and manufacturing a war between Vallenta’s bickering warriors and wizards to cover his tracks.

With the country on the verge of civil war, Sir Reginald kidnaps the king. To top it off, Lesath's fish-breathed pirate captain Argh has caught up with her, demanding the treasure she has yet to steal. When Lesath recruits Nembus and irritating young warrior Izar to help her thwart Argh and defeat Sir Reginald, she discovers that her disagreeable companions are actually her disagreeable relatives – and that they are the keys to the prophecy.

The Pirate of Vallenta is a middle grade fantasy complete at 66,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by theepicwinner » April 13th, 2012, 2:33 pm

Everybody has a secret.

When a peculiar couple moves into the derelict house across the street, Mona Black, the only kid resident of Wycherly Terrace, or as Mona likes to call it, the Dullest Place in the Universe, is certain her new neighbours have something to hide.

What she discovers is something not only out of this world, but in another world entirely.

Mona’s unscrupulous neighbours, the Beatniks, have uncovered a connection to The Other Place – a world just like this one, but backwards – in the bathroom mirror. A double of our own world, The Other Place is filled with our reflections: dark, malevolent doppelgangers this world was never ever meant to see.

No sooner does Mona discover The Other Place for herself when she finds herself standing in it. While this first seems like nothing more than a cruel attempt by the Beatniks at getting rid of her, Mona soon begins to realise that her arrival here was no accident.

Mona has her own secret. A big one. She just doesn’t know it yet.

SPURNED is a children’s fantasy novel and is complete at 40,000 words. Thank you kindly for your time and consideration.
"If you can think it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it" - Evan Taubenfeld

Don't give up on your dreams.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Bobcgirl8 » June 7th, 2012, 10:43 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford:

Satani means demon, Thief Guild master Kamen reminds her often. In Satani's opinion, no name is needed to make her differences obvious. Her face, scarred from an accident she can't remember, in addition to sharply pointed ears and cat-like eyes draw plenty of attention—usually deadly.

Satani earns a modicum of safety by remaining useful to Kamen. However, after failing her latest mission, she must make a last-ditch effort to regain his support.

Final orders: Kidnap someone from the king's palace during a masked ball.

Everything is going according to plan until the king's special guests arrive. After an introduction that changes her view of self and the world, a battle, sacrifice, and betrayal lead to Satani's capture by pointy-eared emissaries, who insist she's one of them.

Not a demon. An Elf.

Satani is dragged by her kidnappers toward Ælvenhome and into the middle of an age-old feud between Elves and Starkin. With nightmares plaguing her dreams, new powers awakening, and an annoying Elven child shadowing her, Satani struggles to maintain distance and focus.

She is faced with a choice: escape to find the one who betrayed her or accept that being different isn't the same as being alone.

STARKIN LOST, a fantasy novel of 145,000 words, is the first of three books following five characters: Satani the thief, Dredion the Starkin/Elven heir, Haywen the eldest of the Elves, Oleen the leader of an anti-Elf army, and Kamen, who is Oleen's nephew and enforcer.

Thank you for your consideration,



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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Cricket27 » June 20th, 2012, 1:28 am

Hello Nathan,
I hope to be chosen for a critique of my AQL. I have posted it on AQ Connect but am always looking for additional feedback. Hope this is solid. Going to start my synopsis now using your site as guidance.

Thanks for everything!


One secret splintered her illusion; another destroyed her family. For 17-year old Mayana, the latter sculpted her life; the one she was unknowingly engineered for.

The Trimble Children have always been special blend of high intelligence and athleticism in the little town of Mercury. The eldest triplets, one being fraternal, and their kid sister, share a unique beauty, and all of them with glowing eyes. But the youngest Trimble suffers from painful, mind-twisting headaches which her father, Chief Bio-Tech Engineer for the Hierarchy, has been desperately trying to find a cure for. Questions begin to unveil false truths when he takes her for an ‘office visit’. The Hierarchy, with its surreptitious cruel reign of governmental power, reveals their interest in the family when he does. They’ve always been watching.

With the help of friends and her sister, Mayana discovers how she and her siblings got their unnaturally enhanced abilities and why the Hierarchy wants them so bad.

Cresting 46,000 words, Edits In Mercury is a dystopic tale with a light stroke of romance. I believe my novel has a unique story that compels readers to be thirsting for more.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of my project, and I very much look forward to hearing from you.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by DKrancher » June 20th, 2012, 2:50 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,
Here's my query for consideration.

Dear Agent,

I'm looking for representation with you because ______.

Pid, an abused 14-year-old boy, runs away from home by stowing away in a boxcar bound for San Francisco in 1958. He calls himself Pid instead of Stupid, the name his adoptive father called him. The adoptive father, Sicario, charges him with beating his mother and killing the dog. When the train is blocked, Pid plans revenge, but he's chased by police. He manages to escape on a leg weakened by polio, but a newspaper story trumped up by Sicario calls Pid a violent juvenile delinquent. Pid then sneaks onto a delivery truck and makes it to San Francisco where he's taken in by Rosita who encourages him to write the truth about his abuse. She wants to adopt him, but all he wants is revenge on Sicario, and to find his birth mother—he's been raised as an Indian by the Anglo family who adopted him.

When newspapers print his reply to the original story, the charges seem refuted to him. However, he remains so lost and angry he returns to his hometown to kill his adoptive father. There, he confronts Sicario and a fight occurs. In the battle he discovers why the lies his father told him hide the truth behind his mysterious heritage.

TARDY SON is a 76,000-word literary YA novel which will appeal to readers who enjoy books by John Green and Roddy Doyle. The first five pages are pasted below [or whatever amount is requested by the agency.]

A story related to my novel, Blues Pizza, was published in Wilderness House Literary Review. I've published poems in many journals and Tardy Son contains poems written by Pid, my main character. I edited a literary journal called Dark Horse and was an editor of college textbooks for Ginn and Company.

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Query : Doomsday's Wake

Post by cstuarthardwick » June 29th, 2012, 11:01 pm

On a world destroyed by blind faith, restored by global warming, and threatened again by extremism, a reluctant human savior fights to save civilization in a battle of conscience in which there is no duty greater than survival. Complete at 93,000 words, DOOMSDAY'S WAKE is science fiction, and will appeal to fans of A CANTICLE FOR LIEBOWITZ.

Dylan hadn't planned to lead a band of scientists through an alien paradise and an undeclared holy war. He knows things no one expects, but not how to dogfight with a jetpack and turn tsunamis and alien proteins into weapons. All he wanted was to fall in love, build a family, and keep his secrets--until the last war left him an outsider, squeezed between a cultural revolution and the new-fangled Proselyte faith. He's finally earned a second chance on the frontier of space, but now the expedition has lost contact with Earth, saboteurs are attacking, and an ancient alien race may have fallen prey to an unstable climate—or a war fought over plans to repair it. The most horrific weapons and humblest natural forces are in play, and he'll need courage and luck to keep his people alive long enough to unlock the past and fulfill a duty shared with the last of the long-dead aliens.

I won first place in the Colonnade Writing Contest in December, am an active member of Critters, the on-line critiquing group, and am currently pursuing on a graduate certificate in creative writing from UC Berkeley.

Thank you for your consideration,

Cregg S. Hardwick MBA

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by niklee90 » August 29th, 2012, 11:48 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford:

Dear Agent:

For six months now, the only thing stranger than ten-year-old Ionikus Reaves’s freckles has been his jaw of iron.

It’s heavy, cold, and the only use it seems to have is attracting unwanted attention. Father never explained why he magically attached it. He was drafted into the war outside Atlantis before he could. Ion hates the draft only a little bit less than he hates his jaw, but certainly not more than he hates those who called for it--the gods of Olympus.

But soon, Ionikus discovers he’s a lot weirder than he fact, he’s weird enough to be a god. And not just any god, but a reincarnated one, bound to serve and protect the Olympians. Without much of a choice, Ion’s rushed off to the Achaean Academy, where his godly training begins. But the more he watches and learns, the more he sees the Olympians aren’t what he thought they’d be. They’re old, they smile, and they’re completely obsessed with macaroons.

Ionikus Reaves has never gotten to choose who he wants to be. But when he stumbles upon a forgotten hall in the academy, where he meets the spirit of his fallen mother, he gets just that choice. Ion must decide: remain the Iron-Jawed Boy and continue training under the Olympians, or do as Mother has asked, and betray them to free Father from the war.

THE IRON-JAWED BOY AND THE TOMB OF FORGOTTEN HEROES is an upper middle grade fantasy complete at 75,000 words. I’ve attached the first ten pages below, as your agency has requested. Thank you for your time and consideration.


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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by mamajess » October 12th, 2012, 9:52 pm

Dear Nathan Bransford,

When Anna took on the daunting task of restoring Matt to a state of sobriety, she never expected to fall in love; and she certainly wouldn’t have guessed the object of her desire would be Matt's father.

Before passing out and hitting the floor, Matt drunkenly declares his love for Anna. Knowing that Matt is tottering between depression and sanity, she wishes she could fix everything by telling him she loves him back, but she just can’t. So she decides to search for someone who can.

Perhaps the solution lies with Matt’s father, Tom. Despite the fact that everyone believes he is dead, after finding his old journal Anna has reason to believe otherwise. Embarking on a search through shark infested waters to a hellish island in the middle of nowhere, she discovers that the man she is looking for is indeed alive. A father’s love certainly isn’t the same as the love of a woman, but Anna hopes it will be enough to bring Matt back to himself.

However, a wrench is thrown into her plans when she finds herself falling for Tom. Now the man who is supposed to be Matt’s saviour could be the man who ends up bringing him more pain and heartbreak.

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Sent ten queries, only one response. HELP

Post by Philabuster » December 3rd, 2012, 5:03 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford

Martin’s gambling addiction costs him his girlfriend, his job, and every last penny to his name. Isolated at the Hotel Reverie, and grappling with the choice to take his own life, his seemingly empty future takes an unexpected turn when he encounters an equally unstable, yet far more crass waitress named Janice. Throughout the night several other quirky characters emerge including a hopelessly romantic gay concierge, two argumentative cocaine dealers, several men with mismatched personalities in a bachelor party, and one horribly drugged out man whore. Things become even stranger for everyone when the power inexplicably goes out and Martin is forced to reevaluate what’s important as he attempts to save Janice from her own suicidal destiny in this edgy dark comedy where everyone is separated by only six degrees.

Till the Sun Comes Up is an 81k word work of adult commercial fiction involving love, death, drug use, sexual situations, and adult humor. It encompasses the everyday realities of normal American lives while demonstrating spectacular moments in which we have no control over. Think Snatch meets Hotel Noir.

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

Jason Shprintz

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Kristina » March 21st, 2013, 8:22 pm

Dear Mr. Ginsberg,

I am excited to be submitting my novel to you because it is similar to
Po Bronson’s WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE? Since you represented this
brilliant book,I am hoping you will love my book, entitled MY STORY WITH

Just as the title suggests; this book is a completely honest and uncensored
account of my life. These 80,000 words tell the compelling, slightly humorous and
emotional journey that I have personally gone through in order to better understand
who I am and ultimate find peace. My life has proven to be “stranger than fiction”
and no part of my story has been embellished or diminished. There was no need to
do more than tell the truth.

Most people’s lives slowly evolve and transcend into different shades. Mine is blocked
into contrasting colors; like a Piet Mondrian painting. I feel as though I have lived many
different lives inside my own. Each wedge contributes to different parts of my personality.
I was born into poverty. My mother was from a family of religious extremists and she married
an abusive, alcoholic man. She eventually left my father and married a wealthy man. We ascended
from extreme poverty to wealth. My new father was a workaholic and moved our family all across
the USA. I observed many contrasting worlds and found inconsistency in each society. At one of the
Catholic schools we attended, my older brother was molested by the priest.

I managed to become close with a girl (in one of my passing schools) named Sara. She confided in
me that her older brother had molested her. I was a child, but I helped her as best I could. I found
myself in Europe. When I returned to Ohio, I fell in love. Meanwhile, my older brother got addicted to
drugs. Before I got married, Sara confessed to me that she was gay and in love with me. I got married
anyways. My husband and I had a son. I started college and became bulimic. My husband and I had another
son, and I came to grips with my bulimia. We had a third son and he was diagnosed with Leukemia. While
our whole world was falling apart, my older brother came to us because he was running from the cops. I
made the very emotional choice to turn my brother over to the police. (And inhale)

I have worked hard to accomplish the dexterity to be honest with myself and about my life. The ability to
look at my world and improve upon my own flaws has helped me to find inner peace even though there is
obviously much that I cannot control outside of myself. I have included a small excerpt from my novel and
I hope to have the ability to share the full journey with you.

Thank You,

( I plan on providing the first five pages of my book along with this query)

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by ollinone » September 6th, 2013, 7:32 am

Dear Mr. N:

Two lovers lie upon one another, the cold embrace of death making their tangled bodies white as they floated in the cooling waters of a bathtub, while a husband stumbles out of a dark motel room, his mind reeling with past guilt. A Cuckoo by the Window, a dark literary drama of 35,186 words, is a story where a life time of secrets are uttered to an almost-stranger, lies are uncovered to the ones they hurt most, old and new betrayals are laid bare and a happy life is bought by an unacknowledged good deed.
When Charles Radcliffe, the richest man in Silver River, falls for his suspicions and tries to find out why his soon-to-be ex-wife was lying to him, a series of inexplicable events lead to his killing both her and her lover by accident, and with almost no one to witness the deed. Why did a wife who had long been separated from her husband feel the need to hide her lover from him? And are the accidents that kept happening in the small, sleepy town truly what they seem? Or is there some shadow in the darkness pulling all the strings that lead to death? In this book, you will find the answers to these and more questions, when secrets begin to uncover, spilling lives in their wake.
My name is Osman Welela, and I currently live in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In closing, I want to thank you, Mr. N, for your time and consideration. I chose to send you my query because you represent/represented Mrs. J who made me want to write this book in the first place and whom I like to think has influenced my work. And, at last, I want to remind you that the full manuscript of my book is available upon request.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by candygirlraupp » October 22nd, 2013, 5:42 pm

Dear Nathan Bransford,

Ever wake up with a vague feeling of unease that you can’t quite put your finger on? When your inner voice is screaming at you to be careful, for something is lurking in the shadows, stalking you. If it's Cendall, tell your loved ones goodbye, she’s about to check you off her list.

There are many times in a human’s life that they're given warnings that signal their soul is in a vulerable state. It’s at these times that a battle is raging on between two forces that are invisible to the human eye. When the guardian angels side wins, you hear stories of humans escaping death. When Cendall’s side wins, there is no story to tell. Some call them the angels of death. She prefers reaper, but if you want to be technical you can throw the word grim in front of her name. Humans view them as the evil, but there are two sides to every story.

Cendall thought her biggest challenge was being the only female to ever finish training, and earn the title of grim reaper. Though nothing could have prepared her for the unique challenge of collecting Lacie’s soul. Her soul is protected by multiple guardians, wanted by demons, and she can do the impossible: see Cendall. It's a soul that screams, "extremely experienced reaper needed", but Cendall refuses to ask for help, afraid it would make her look unfit for the job. This ends up being the first mistake in a long list of reaper rules broken. That leaves Cendall blackmailed into working with her natural born enemy, to protect a soul that she’ll eventually need to check off her list.

DEATH HAS A DAUGHTER is young adult paranormal novel complete at 61,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by McGigs » November 14th, 2013, 1:07 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Vincent is a super-being. A cactus that has been genetically engineered to absorb the power of Field energy. But he doesn't know that. All he knows is that he's tired of being trapped in the underground military lab where he's been kept since he was a seedling. So, hungry for sunlight and freedom, he escapes.

Commander Rout is furious. His greatest weapon has vanished. And if he doesn't find Vincent soon, the cactus will become too powerful for his men to capture. Then he’ll have no choice but to release Steve, a parasitic, Field energy enhanced orchid capable of hijacking animals' nervous systems. Steve is pure evil, but he's the only weapon Rout has that can defeat Vincent. And if Vincent can’t be controlled, he has to be destroyed.

Together, Vincent, his creator, and a young couple who get pulled into the adventure flee to China to escape the Commander’s reach. That's where they meet the Tara-Chi, an ancient tribe of warrior monks sworn to protect the Field. Through the Tara-Chi, they learn that a hole has appeared in the Field's fabric. And if it isn't mended, it will mean the end life on earth.

The fate of the Universe rests in Vincent's stubby arms. To save it, he'll have to face his greatest enemy, and be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I have a B. Comm. from the University of Calgary, and an M.B.A. and J.D. from Dalhousie University. As a former staff writer for the Fraser Institute’s Canadian Student Review Magazine, I have published numerous articles on economics and public policy. My academic work has also been published in the Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management.

RISE OF THE SUCCULENT is a young adult Science Fiction novel, complete at 55,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Anigirl » November 29th, 2013, 7:42 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford

In the mid-1970s, thirty years after the end of World War II, Konrad Franks is living a peaceful, happy life with his wife and son in New York City--until he meets a Jewish boy named Alex.

Soon after meeting the boy, Konrad begins to notice odd things happening to him. At first it’s small oddities. A shadow on the wall, a window left open…but as stranger and more hazardous incidents occur, Konrad soon finds out that he’s being haunted, and the spirit is angry one.

The spirit's actions become increasingly violent until it reveals it’s true identity to a terrified Konrad. It is called a Dybbuk, a vengeful Jewish spirit.

His name is Devin, and he is seeking vengeance on the Nazi soldier who murdered him and his entire family during the Holocaust…Konrad Franks.

As the Dybbuk seeks justice and Konrad’s vile past comes to light, Konrad finds his life falling apart and ultimately learns the meaning of an eye for an eye. Now Konrad has to find out a way to get rid of Devin before the spirit gets his revenge…that is, provided the Dybbuk is even real, and not just a figure of his guilty imagination.

THE DYBBUK, complete at over 63,000 words, is a suspensful psycological thriller.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Elyse Hoffman

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by tomnoir » July 18th, 2014, 1:33 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Based on your representation of X and your interest in Y, I think I might have something that’s right up your alley:
The world of Season of the Demon Moon is a post-apocalyptic fever dream. Fifty years after the moon shattered, the survivors live among the ruins. Cities are overrun by giant insects and mind-controlling parasites. Mankind is reduced to barbarism and superstition. The strong prey upon the weak.

But atop the last intact skyscraper in London, the shinobi master called Old Man MacKenzie has taken three teenage pupils under his wing: brothers Thanatos and Erebos and their fiery adopted sister Nyx. The Old Man has schooled his talented pupils in his secret arts. He’s also passed onto them the vanishing culture, science and history of the world that was.

But when the Old Man is killed by riders on giant dragonflies, things spin rapidly out of control for the young MacKenzies. Obsessive Erebos wants to rebuild and defend what they had. Brooding Thanatos wants to keep his talented but impulsive siblings safe. And as for Nyx… well, she just wants revenge. Torn between the new world and the old, the three teens find themselves fighting the odds and each other. But they’ll need to find common ground: a sinister plot is unfolding in the ruins of London which will pit them against an enemy like none they have ever faced before.
Season of the Demon Moon is an epic, tightly-wound 93,000 word YA fairy tale… with chainsaws.

By day I’m a computer programmer living in Florida. By night I write. I’ve been penning short stories for over a decade and have previously managed to place one called “The Comfort of Mirrors” with sf/horror ezine Electric Spec. Demon Moon is my first novel, intended to be the first in a series.


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