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 IsabelIbanez » June 16th, 2010, 2:54 pm

Dear Nathan,

During the early 16th century in Spain, when maps still showed sea monsters swimming in the seven seas and suggested ships would fall off the edge of a flat world, Mathias Pellanore is eighteen and wants three things: to learn how to swim, a sense of direction and his own boat (necessary for impressing senoritas).

When his magical family is persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition, Mathias unknowingly sets off a chain of events that kick-starts his own adventure—only it looks nothing like he’s ever dreamed of. For one thing, he’s running for his life and as for the other thing—his family didn’t make it out of Spain alive. And it was entirely his fault. Now he hears the rescue ship he’s on is taking him to Merivale, a continent he’s never heard of or seen on a map.

To make matters more confusing, Mathias learns he does have family in Merivale. Only, he can’t meet them since they’ve been dead for 103 years. Mathias’ bright idea is to offer his services as a mapmaker to learn more about Merivale and his hidden ancestry, all while learning how to cope with the grief over the loss of his family.

As the people of Merivale await his return, Mathias wonders if he’ll be worthy enough to finish the quest he signed up for.

THE MAPMAKER OF MERIVALE is a 76,000 Young Adult Fantasy. Please let me know if you would be interested in reading part or all of the manuscript.

I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Creative Writing. I've worked and published at Vive Magazine, a regional Florida magazine.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Isabel Ibanez

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by HollywoodClown » June 16th, 2010, 7:04 pm

Dear Nathan,

Play peek-a-boo with Robert De Niro. Check. Get held up at gunpoint while dressed as Winnie the Pooh. Check. Have sex with a Hollywood producer while being paid to be Santa Claus at her Christmas party…Ho, Ho, Ho! And check.

My 92,000-word memoir: Hollywood Clown: An Inside Look At The Highly Competitive and Political World Of Children’s Birthday Parties In Los Angeles, is about my life as a struggling actor who unexpectedly finds himself in the very odd and lucrative world of children’s birthday parties.

This book is a cross between People and Parenting magazines on crack with a beer chaser. Working as an entertainer at children’s birthday parties in Los Angeles for several years, I documented all of my sometimes-frightening, often-hilarious experiences. I performed for everyone from Steven Spielberg and Cindy Crawford to your average, Joe-Six-Pack families, in such poor neighborhoods, that everyone on the block had to pitch in just so Barney could make an appearance at their party. Throughout the book I offer tips and suggestions, based on experience, to help the reader with their own parties. Beyond face painting and balloon animals are five kegs or a live elephant really needed to celebrate a one-year-olds birthday? I’m going with, no.

For the past eight-teen years I’ve been writing and performing sketch comedy all over Los Angeles, including at the self proclaimed, world famous Comedy Store. Other than hundreds of sketches, I’ve also written short films, television commercials and have composed many songs. Currently, the concept of my book is being considered for a sitcom I wrote at CBS/Paramount.

In my research, I haven’t found any other books on the market that deal with this subject the way that my book does. There are a number of books that detail how to become a children’s party performer, but none are stories told from a first-hand account, straight from the front lines. Hollywood Clown is geared toward anyone who loves to hear stories about all the craziness that occurs in Los Angeles, as well as anyone with a child, grandchild, who has worked with children, who has ever been to a child’s birthday party or has thrown one. My book is not so much a memoir as an insider’s sardonic look at what celebrities, and even us “normal” folks, will do for their children...and how many parents are bigger children than their own children are. In addition, I believe this book has the potential to do well internationally, since the fascination with celebrity isn’t only restricted to the United States.

The full manuscript is available upon your request. I look forward to hearing from you soon, and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.

Jason Lassen

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Moni » June 16th, 2010, 10:50 pm

Removed because I got an agent! Woot!

Monica Bustamante Wagner
Last edited by Moni on July 8th, 2011, 9:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by derleth » June 17th, 2010, 11:57 am

Dear Mr. Bransford,

The Transference, a completed epic fantasy novel of 106,000 words, tells the story of how a boy fails to become a god—and how he gets a second chance.

Ryan, a young farm boy, quickly ends up in the king's army. His main conflict is with a knight he is apprenticed to: the knight resents having to foster a squire, and mistreats Ryan. Ryan's response starts with patient suffering in the beginning of the novel, but resentment builds quickly.

Renek, a young man, wakes in a monastery while recovering from disease. He, too, quickly ends up in the king's army. His primary conflict is with the king himself, although he does not know it. The unjust king has a lust for power, whereas Renek is a true hero who does his best to save lives. He eventually defies the will of the king to benefit the kingdom.

The two stories intertwine around the central plot line: the search for a pair of legendary swords that will make their bearers into gods. Both Ryan and Renek search for these swords, and the reader is led to believe that they are searching at the same time--perhaps the two will even meet each other inside the mountain sanctuary where the swords were forged. However, as they enter the mountain, it becomes clear to the reader that they are entering at different times. Ryan finds only one sword, with an empty space next to it; Renek finds no swords at all. There is more going on than has been revealed...who are these people? How are they related? Where is the second sword?

The last section of the traditional agent query letter is supposed to be the author's literary credits, and so I will get right to it: I have none to speak of. Well, perhaps tiny, barely-related things: I have published engineering papers as part of my duties as a NASA engineer; I won a college essay award at St. John's College in Annapolis writing about the character of Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey.

Thank you for your time, Mr. Bransford.

Karalee Thornock
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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Karalee Thornock » June 18th, 2010, 3:00 pm

Dear Nathan,

Beca has discovered a life she is meant to live, and now she must keep her father’s secret safe, at the same time figure out what her visions are trying to tell her. Beyond Normal, is an 88,670 word young adult, paranormal novel.

The day of her father’s viewing Beca meets those who hold the keys to this new life – she just doesn’t know it yet. She moves in with two strangers, grandpa figure Jake and Chase, an orphan like her – whom she has made some kind of magnetic connection. In less than a week, Beca discovers that her life has been a lie, she really belongs with gifted people, and her dreams are not just deep intuition – they are visions of the future. The last thing she needs is a killer trying to kidnap her. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she gets, but can she piece together her visions in time to save those she loves.

On a personal note, this is my first novel. I am on the home stretch, and will soon have a degree in the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. I have been fortunate enough to travel to Mexico, America’s vacation destination, and exotic Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia.

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


Karie Thornock

PO Box 1106
Glenrock, WY 82637
(Cell) 307-702-0503

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by csabiad » June 18th, 2010, 3:16 pm

A dystopian djinn universe is the last thing Sybil Gardner expects to discover in her past.

Sybil Gardner is an exchange student in Istanbul, exploring the ancient sites, the chic society, and subconsciously searching for her true identity. What she finds is a summer fling with Haydon Silvester, a young Turkish financier who has an inexplicable connection to her recurrent dreams.

Sybil’s strong intuition tells her Haydon is a good thing and the strange energy awakened by his touch only adds to her curiosity. But her pragmatic side struggles to keep a safe distance. Matters get even more complicated when he reveals her djinn nature and her birthright as Queen of Cilicia. She promptly rejects the role and the djinn world. A byzantine power struggle with her father’s rival, Konstantin, ensues, and Sybil is faced with a choice: forget Haydon or humanity. She needs to act before her options disappear or someone she loves will be trapped forever between the worlds.

BURNT AMBER is a YA fantasy novel of 75,000 words, inspired by historical characters and landmarks. It’s written for Team Edward, but pays homage to The Handmaid’s Tale and some versions of Robin Hood.

I used my experience living in Turkey to add authentic details. This is my first novel and I’m working on the sequel, tentatively titled Mavi. More information about the places and Turkish customs described in the book can be found at

My sincere thanks for your consideration of my work,

Carolyn Snow Abiad

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Post by NHWriter » June 18th, 2010, 3:20 pm

Hello Mr. Bransford

Nashau and Podome, two out-of-work prophets, have a plan to get their jobs back. They must find a chosen one to complete their quest. The problem is they can’t find one. So they hire Bastin the Bold, a renowned flimflam man, to play the part for them.

Bastin's girlfriend, Jara, is an alewife determined to live a life more meaningful than that of a cook in a taproom kitchen. She insists on accompanying them on their quest. She is also the true chosen one Nashau and Podome need. No woman in history has ever been anointed, but until one is, chosen ones everywhere will continue to fail at their quests and die.

To break the “curse,” they must escape the assassins hunting them, survive the labyrinthine catacombs where a forgotten god is entombed, and come to terms with Jara as chosen one.

WANTED: CHOSEN ONE, NOW HIRING is a 150,000-word fantasy about the things people do for a job. Readers of Lois McMaster Bujold’s CURSE OF CHALLION will enjoy this story. This will be my first novel publication.

Thank you for your time and consideration. And thank you for the hard work you put into your blog. It is sincerely appreciated.

Joe Selby
[contact info redacted]

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by pattyblount » June 18th, 2010, 3:33 pm

Oh, this is fun! Here's query for current WIP "SEND":

Daniel Clements knows nothing can ever absolve him of the sin he committed when he was thirteen. He clicked Send and a classmate committed suicide. He served time in juvenile detention and changed his name to spare his parents more shame, but his past keeps catching up.

He begins senior year at yet another new school, hoping for a fresh start. The first day, he sees a bully about to pummel a skinny freshman. Stepping in risks the whole school finding out who -and what - he really is, but he just can't live with more blood on his hands. That’s when he notices another bystander lurking in the shadows, a girl. Outraged by her inaction, Dan is still seething when forced to work with her on a class project but quickly falls for the girl, and falls hard.

Julie Murphy, the other witness to the bullying, has her own secrets. She knows exactly who Dan is; he’s the bully who drove her brother to suicide years ago. Getting close to him was all just a plot to make him pay. Only falling in love with him wasn’t part of the plan.

SEND is a YA romance complete at 80,000 words.

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Kat-tastic » June 18th, 2010, 3:40 pm

Dear Nathan Brandsford,

I've read on your blog that you are interested in young adult fiction, and I would like you to consider THE TEMPER, my YA fantasy novel. The manuscript is complete at 50,000 words and available upon request.

Fifteen-year-old Connor “The Temper” Thomas has a unique superpower: he can heat or cool things with a touch of his hand. When he gets a sidekick job to the legendary superhero Captain Power, he thinks he'll be saving the world. He's less than pleased when he discovers his main responsibilities are keeping the coffee warm and acting as a human ice pack when the Captain's shoulders are sore.

But when Captain Power gets himself killed during a publicity act gone wrong, his final request is that Connor assumes his identity. Without a hero-- or at least the illusion of one-- the city would fall to the villains. As Connor fumbles his way through a robbery and saves a life or two, he has nearly everyone convinced he's Power. Only Freezepop, another sidekick, suspects there's something different about the Captain.

When Freezepop discovers the truth, she urges Connor to go public before he gets himself killed trying to keep up with the heroic persona. But identity theft quickly becomes the least of Connor's troubles when an actual villain comes to town. Blaze Blitz is the real deal-- ruthless, determined and diabolical. And he has his sights set on Captain Power.

Connor is no match for Blaze, but when Blaze kidnaps Freezepop and threatens the town, Connor knows what he must do: defeat the bad guy, rescue the girl, save the city. And hopefully survive long enough to see the age of sixteen.

Keeping coffee warm never seemed so preferable.

I am unpublished, and while THE TEMPER is a standalone novel, I believe it has sequel potential. As per your submission guidelines, I've included the first five pages below. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kat O'Keeffe

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by kersley.fitz » June 18th, 2010, 3:41 pm

Mr. Bradford,

It takes long sight to see the truth, and a strong heart to follow it.

Before he died, Sana’s father told a story that has haunted her ever since—Sana will one day grow wings. The dark-haired, web-fingered Sea Swimmers, her mother’s people, live by stories, and Sana tries to follow them. But Sana’s father had been a Sky Flyer, and his daughter is a pale, long-sighted girl with the unheard-of impulse to defy the elders and protect a thunderbird fledgling from the boys sent to destroy it.

Sana’s last hope of acceptance flies away when wingbuds sprout from her shoulders. The clan leader’s grandson exposes her deformity, and her grandmother accuses her of luring the Myst, malevolent forest spirits, to the village. Sana knows no story to explain this cruelty, or why her grandmother declares a seal offering is not sufficient and insists on sacrificing the source of the trouble. The drums beat, the Myst lurks in the shadows, and the elders march Sana into the woods. She calls out to a Story Weaver she doesn’t know in hopes that her story—of the thunderbird and the Sea-Sky Girl—is not over yet.

Thunderbird is a completed 69,000-word young adult novel about learning to find your place in the world. Like Michelle Paver’s series “Chronicles of Ancient Darkness” (2006-2009), it is inspired by Native American stories, but includes a fantastical world. Young adults and tweens will identify with Sana as she grows to understand the Story Weaver wrote a story in which she is not an outcast, but a hero to her people.

I grew up in Oregon, where native legends are almost as common as European fairy tales. Thunderbird has been edited by a writing group led by Donita K. Paul and received good reviews in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award quarterfinals. My first story was featured in the November, 2009, edition of the online magazine Digital Dragon, and the second in the January, 2010, edition of The Cross and the Cosmos. The Thunderbird manuscript is available upon request.

Kersley Fitzgerald

Kimberly Kincaid
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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Kimberly Kincaid » June 18th, 2010, 3:56 pm

Sasha Arrington is up to her eyeballs in misery when it comes to men, always managing to choose the worst possible candidates in the dating pool. When the latest in a string of nothing-but-trouble boyfriends leaves her high and dry, Sasha decides to take action by getting no action. She adamantly swears off anyone with a Y chromosome…anyone other than her best friend, that is.

James Sullivan can count on two things in life with absolute certainty. One is his friendship with Sasha. The other is that when she breaks up with someone, she’ll end up on his couch, nursing a pint of Cherry Garcia. Although Sasha talks a tough game when it comes to relationships and love, Sully knows better. But who is he to spill her secret when he’s got a whopper of his own? Since the minute he laid eyes on Sasha, Sully’s been head over heels in love with her.

Sasha’s vow of abstinence comes just in time for her to land smack in the middle of single-girl hell, a.k.a. bridesmaid’s duty at her brother’s fairy tale wedding. But since Sully is the exception to the rule, bringing him as her not-a-date seems like the only thing that will save Sasha’s sanity. When their weekend together takes her from hot under the collar to weak in the knees, Sasha finds herself faced with a risk that could make or break everything she knows about happily ever after.

THE MOMENT OF IMPOSSIBLE MOVEMENT is a contemporary romance novel, and is complete at 86,000 words. The manuscript is available for your review should you decide that you'd like to see how Sasha and Sully fare together. Thank you for your valuable time and consideration.

Warmest regards,

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by DuhAussie » June 18th, 2010, 4:08 pm

Dear Mr Bransford,

I am a Los Angeles-based fiction writer seeking representation for my recently completed novel, KNOCKING ON THE GOLDEN DOOR. (Complete at 107,000 words.)

In January of 1927, Alla Nazimova, who at one time had been the highest paid and most famous actress in the world, converted her Sunset Boulevard mansion in Los Angeles into a hotel and called it ‘The Garden of Allah’. It soon became a fabled residence-of-choice for hopeful and ambitious arrivals in Hollywood. Among the Garden’s residents were Tallulah Bankhead, Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall, Clara Bow, Ronald Colman, Gary Cooper, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Errol Flynn, Ava Gardner, Dorothy Gish, Garson Kanin, Lillian Hellman, Harpo Marx, David Niven, Sergey Rachmaninov, Leopold Stokowski, and Orson Welles.

My novel is set during the reign of The Garden of Allah: from the late 1920s to the mid-1930s. KNOCKING ON THE GOLDEN DOOR is the first of a several books in my series that will follow the lives of three fictional residents of the hotel: an MGM screenwriter, a gossip columnist for the Hollywood Reporter, and an aspiring actress, as they each try to find their own path through Hollywood’s golden doorway.

I would be happy to send you sample chapter(s) of KNOCKING ON THE GOLDEN DOOR, a synopsis of the book, of the first three books, or of the entire series.

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


Studio City, CA

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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by SariahStillwell » June 18th, 2010, 4:10 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

I am seeking representation for THE CITY OF LIFE: REVELATION, a completed 77,000 word Science Fiction novel set on the planet Domus.

Escape from the City of Life has always been on Kiera Mosely’s mind but she’s been warned countless times that such thoughts are pointless and can only lead to trouble for everyone. For hundreds of years, nobody has considered leaving the city.

Jorem Stately is the head politician for this well organized and peaceful city. Everyone has a job to do and they all do their jobs well. Unfortunately, space is running low and they’ve resorted to population control methods that are unappealing but necessary for survival. Because of the horrible plague that ravaged their planet, the citizens have been taught to fear the very air outside their dome.

When her own parents are chosen for population control, Kiera resumes her dream of exploring her planet, to see what lies beyond her walls and to find other survivors. At that point, she feels she has nothing more to lose.

When a ship crashes into the wall and breaks it wide open, Kiera jumps at the chance to flee the rigid confines of her city, leaving behind the comfort of the known for the excitement of the undiscovered.

Without thinking of his own safety, Jorem goes through the wall to investigate the strange machine that has invaded his orderly city and finds himself stuck on the outside with no way to get back in.

At first, they are both excited about the discoveries they make and Jorem wants to learn all he can in order to bring the newest technologies and advancements back to the city with him. Before long, they realize that their planet is nothing like what they were led to believe it was. They are disheartened to learn that the basic foundation of their city was based on a lie. Their city was built as a penal colony, not as an escape from the plague.
They meet people who can walk through walls, heal people with just a thought, control solid objects with their minds. They find themselves in the middle of a tug of war between two powerful groups of Overseers who would use them as pawns in their twisted game of domination.

One group wants to use them to prove that criminal tendencies are not genetic. One group wants to bury their existence so they can’t tell others what they’ve learned. One man is playing both sides in an effort to bring peace to the planet.

At the end of the story, war is waged between the two major factions and Kiera and Jorem are lucky to escape with their lives.

Thank you for the opportunity to interact with you. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing my entire novel with you soon.


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Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Christina » June 18th, 2010, 4:19 pm

“A princess, a ghost, and an enchanted wolf are walking down the road when…” may be the beginning of a joke, but it is also the mess ten-year-old princess Isa finds herself in when she is saved by a wolf mage. The wolf takes her to a sorcerer ghost who is imprisoned by his own spell. The wolf frees him because only he can help her protect Isa, but they are rival magic wielders who want to battle each other almost as much as they want to save the kingdom. It is up to Isa to lead them.

Fairies are colorful and wispy, but in Isa’s world they are also evil. Four generations ago, they came to Land and destroyed the magic wielders. Since then their numbers have grown. Now they are ready to claim the Kingdom as their own and enslave the humans, but first they must kill the last of the royal line.

If the trio is to survive the monsters that keep the night or stand against the fairies that hold Isa’s kingdom, it will take a lot more than magic; it will take teamwork and leadership. In helping an outcast Duke save his son, Isa and her companions learn the power they have when they work together, as well as a key to fighting the fairies.

THE WOLF MAGE is a completed 32,000-word, middle grade novel and the first in a trilogy. I use my background in biology and environmental education to infuse the magic in my book with science.

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


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Joined: June 18th, 2010, 4:47 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by RainyDay26 » June 18th, 2010, 4:51 pm

My 62,000 word novel Murder And Mayhem The Southern Way is a humorous glimpse into small town life. It spans a two month time period in the months of October through December set in modern day Southern Georgia. With a touch of quirky humor, and a bit of my own brand of romance, this novel should fit right in with your agency.

Melinda Barnes is a 26 year old slightly overweight librarian who lives with her grandmother in a mobile home park in the fictional town of Red Fern. She lives a quiet, structured life until the discovery of not one but two dead bodies in her back yard creates an impromptu shindig with the whole town inviting themselves. Then add to this the discovery of an older sister she never knew about as well as the growing desire for the new town sheriff and Melinda is one flummoxed gal.

This novel is complete with nosy neighbors, a coffee drinking mutt, and quite possibly the dumbest set of twins on the planet.

If you would like to see more, please contact me using the information below.

Thank you.

Misty Lanier


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