NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
prowriter6970
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by prowriter6970 » May 15th, 2017, 1:57 pm

Dear:

Imagine being hunted by something you can not see. A specter who disguises itself in the winds which chill and tattoo your flesh with goose bumps. What you cannot see, but yet you can feel like guided faith. It is back. Why did it come back with a vengeance over the lacunae in time? This time it will not leave until it possesses what was taken from its very essence; it’s heart.


The antagonist is a despicable avatar who covets the anger that savagely mutilated and brutally murdered a young man who appeared to be a woman. The only eye witness at the time was the victim’s eight years old younger sibling; now a married woman, Clarke Lattimore Capers. Decades have passed; Aaron Stone has been convicted and sentenced to death. A young trial attorney who seeks infamy through Aaron's cries of innocence has put the lethal injection on hold for one last time. Opening this case again was like opening Pandora's Box. The past clashes with the present and springs Harold Lang Esq. into a world he has never known when distinctions of reality become obfuscated by imposed surreal situations. Clarke’s assiduous task of attempting to permeate past reveries puts her in a delicate dilemma. Betraying her family by telling what she had always felt, or continuing to betray herself by what she thought she saw. There are two women whom emerge from her past with different remedies to what ails her. Dr Gretchen McQueen, a psychiatrist and Claudia Mobei, an omniscient who delves into the supernatural. These two attempt to separate the worlds that have clashed in comity. Is it all in Clarke’s head or is this her anathemic reality? Secrets unveiled will bring together comrades and adversaries. The scientific and the supernatural. But most of all unmask the miscreant who robbed Myair Lattimore of his heart.

This haunting novel will intrigue the same audiences of Tananarive Due and Simon Clark. The agency listed above is one of three queried on this finished project. Excerpts of the completed manuscript and synopsis are available upon request. Thank you for considering my novel, "Twisted Tongue,” for future representation. I look forward to your timely response.

hauntedsouls
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by hauntedsouls » June 28th, 2017, 3:08 pm

My query:

Dear Agent (proper name of course)

Can seventeen year old Leslie Shaw ever break free of her toxic and suffocating life in rural Saskatchewan? For most of her life Leslie has been bound to care for Carol, her irresponsible and alcoholic. Leslie’s life sinks further into chaotic desperation when her mother’s lover from a one-night stand, and her dying grandfather move in to their tiny home. Amidst the turmoil her mother relapses and is sent to rehab – again. In the months of caring for her grandfather, Leslie is entrusted with decades-old secrets, and the shocking choices made by the two men she is forced to live with. Frustrated and angry she enacts a bold plan to become an emancipated teen to finally escape Carol, and the wounded life they have lived together.

Prairie’s Edge a story of inter-generational relationships, the impact of addiction, and a young girl’s desire for her freedom is set in modern-day rural Saskatchewan. It is complete in 80,000 words. As an author, I have published one fantasy adventure novel for middle grade readers entitled The Bridge of Haunted Souls. I have also published several short stories, poetry and numerous articles in peer and professionally-reviewed journals. My writing also includes work as an instructional and curriculum designer. As a native of Saskatchewan, I have infused this story with memories from growing up on the Canadian prairies

In this space, I address my remarks to the agent, why I want to work with them, and the connections between my work and theirs. Then, a sincere thank-you.

Sincerely,

Ilanna Sharon Mandel/encl.

Muse_Clio
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Muse_Clio » May 25th, 2018, 12:37 am

Dear Mr. Bransford,

When war threatened their city, Briseis’ father sent her inland to safety, to an arranged marriage. Briseis had never wanted to be a queen, and the betrothal was her idea of hell. When the invading army sacked her adoptive city, her wish to escape her wedding day came true, but in the worst way. So now she sits, trussed up like a deer for the spit, in a tent on a beach, a war prize, no better than a slave. Her father is dead and her betrothed was cut down with his city; no one is coming to rescue her. Expected to amuse the man she fears above all others, she wants nothing but to be free again.

Prince Achilles has been trained since birth to be the greatest warrior his world has ever known. All he wants is to be remembered, and he’ll take it anyway the gods see fit. Ten years ago, he left home to find honor and eternal glory on the battlefield at Troy; instead he has seen only death and dishonor. But now there’s a kidnapped princess glaring at him from within his tent. She’s dirty; she’s been beaten and she hates him, and, though he can’t explain why, he likes her.

BRISEIS is YA Historical fiction/Mythical retelling, complete at 40,500 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

jcostello7
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by jcostello7 » July 18th, 2019, 8:20 pm

Dear [agent]:

[mention something from their MSWL or a client I admire]

Brandy Kellner is happy to not exist. Unwilling to acknowledge the pain of losing her mother to cancer and her sister to marriage, she soothes her loneliness by writing empowering novels and reinventing both her on- and offline identities as Renee Jansen, author, influencer, carefree spirit. Her millions of fans and her few new friends don’t need to know her Boston high-rise is a lot lonelier than it looks on Instagram, none of her anecdotes ever happened, or the woman they think they know is writing her escape from a past she can’t talk about.

Then that past resurrects in the form of her almost-lover, another writer with his own mistakes to outrun and a request to interview everyone’s favorite author. Now, maintaining her image means Brandy has to lie to someone who already sees through her. That’s good practice for her upcoming book tour, but bad for her sense of what’s real and what’s fiction. If her ruse unravels, she’ll have to pick up the pieces of a shattered career and confront the personal issues she’s ignored for years. Things only get more complicated when her sister, seeking to heal their rift, connects Brandy with an obsessive fan who blurs the lines separating her worlds. As a new secret threatens both, Brandy must choose to maintain her deceit for the sake of her career or to heal her relationships while she has the chance.

Told in two points of view, WOMAN OF WORDS is upmarket women’s fiction complete at 82,000 words, reminiscent of WE CAME HERE TO FORGET with ELEANOR OLIPHANT. I’ve included the [sample material] below.

[My bio will go here]. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best,
Jess

Jessica Costello
[contact info]

jcostello7
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by jcostello7 » July 18th, 2019, 8:32 pm

Dear [agent]:

[mention something from their MSWL or a client I admire]

Brandy Kellner is happy to not exist. Unwilling to acknowledge the pain of losing her mother to cancer and her sister to marriage, she soothes her loneliness by writing empowering novels and reinventing both her on- and offline identities as Renee Jansen, author, influencer, carefree spirit. Her millions of fans and her few new friends don’t need to know her Boston high-rise is a lot lonelier than it looks on Instagram, none of her anecdotes ever happened, or the woman they think they know is writing her escape from a past she can’t talk about.

Then that past resurrects in the form of her almost-lover, another writer with his own mistakes to outrun and a request to interview everyone’s favorite author. Now, maintaining her image means Brandy has to lie to someone who already sees through her. That’s good practice for her upcoming book tour, but bad for her sense of what’s real and what’s fiction. If her ruse unravels, she’ll have to pick up the pieces of a shattered career and confront the personal issues she’s ignored for years. Things only get more complicated when her sister, seeking to heal their rift, connects Brandy with an obsessive fan who blurs the lines separating her worlds. As a new secret threatens both, Brandy must choose to maintain her deceit for the sake of her career or to heal her relationships while she has the chance.

Told in two points of view, WOMAN OF WORDS is upmarket women’s fiction complete at 82,000 words, reminiscent of WE CAME HERE TO FORGET with ELEANOR OLIPHANT. I’ve included the [sample material] below.

[My bio will go here]. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best,
Jess

Jessica Costello
[contact info]

eklekman
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by eklekman » July 27th, 2019, 5:29 pm

Dear [XYZ],

If you can imagine a combination of Hatchet and The Lightning Thief featuring a female protagonist, and aliens and Sasquatches instead of mythical creatures, you'll get MERCEDES, my 57,000-word middle grade fantasy novel. After reading your submission guidelines, I felt that my novel would be a good fit for your portfolio.

Sure Mercedes is unpopular at school but she still never could have imagined that a gray alien would turn out to be her best friend.

Mercedes doesn’t know how she does it, but somehow she always messes everything up. This time, her screw up has gotten her shipped off to the remote Alaskan wilderness enduring the Worst Summer Ever in her mean uncle’s dilapidated old shack while her parents slave away back home at five jobs between the two of them to fix what she’s done. Riddled with guilt, Mercedes is desperate to do something to repay her parents, and to make sure they don’t foreclose on their house. So when she hears a rumor that there’s gold in the surrounding forest’s rivers, Mercedes becomes obsessed with digging some up to undo the mess she’s made.

Unfortunately, Mercedes soon discovers that she isn’t the only one who’s on the hunt for gold. Her competition comes in the form of a mysterious and very old gray alien as well as a disgusting, stinky, and brutal Sasquatch. Mercedes soon figures out, however, that there is more to the gentle gray alien than she realized, and that they both will stand a better chance at finding gold — and surviving — if they can learn to look past the glaring differences that could so easily pit them against each other.

My short fiction has been featured in Enchanted Conversation Magazine, and I have received two honorable mentions from the Writers of the Future contest. MERCEDES is my third completed novel. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,

Elsie
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Elsie » July 27th, 2019, 8:27 pm

Dear Agent [name],

Seeker, the boy who has risen to command the Resistance, tells no one where he came from or why he why he joined the rebellion. His army wouldn’t be so loyal if they knew he wasn’t fighting to restore order to the lawless human kingdom, but for the chance to assassinate the king, who kidnapped him as a child.

Far away, in a beautiful forest full of demons, lives the ghost of a dragoness named Caja. Nothing interesting has happened in her life for centuries, until the day Seeker visits to recruit a dragon for his war, breaking the rules keeping humans and dragons apart. Caja’s dying for adventure and wants to do something important, and she agrees to help him win his war. She soon learns she’s in over her head. A traitor lurks in the Resistance’s ranks. Communications from Seeker’s spies are being disrupted. Something about it all points to inhuman interference, but only Caja seems concerned.

Seeker finds himself in a precarious position as well. He cannot hide his secrets from a dragoness the way he can from humans. Caja slowly loses faith in Seeker and threatens to abandon the Resistance. If Seeker and Caja are to save both their worlds, they must learn to trust each other before the rebellion crumbles or the dragons reignite their old war with the humans.

ALL THE KING’S NAMES is the first book of an outlined YA fantasy trilogy, though it works as a standalone. It is complete at 90,000 words. I have included some sample pages below, and if you are interested in reading more, I can be contacted at [contact info]. Thank you for your time and consideration.

dhamm29
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by dhamm29 » September 5th, 2019, 4:52 pm

I would like to nominate my query for critique. Thanks!

Ms Literary Agent(name):
I am sending you this query seeking representation for my completed first novel, Heaven, Hell or Nothing, an 83,000-word Psychological Crime Thriller with elements of Southern Gothic. My novel shares similarities to popular books like, The Devil All the Time, Fight Club and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

After a lifetime of mistreatment, painfully withdrawn Shelley Popper experiences feelings of rebirth when his abusive father is killed in Afghanistan and voices emboldening him to strike back against a childhood nemesis, Dalton Moon, who has grown to become a ruthless human trafficker.

The novel is set in rural Ozark, Alabama a quiet town, easy to miss and known mostly as a place one drives through on the way to the Florida panhandle beaches. Unspeakable evil can exist in the unlikeliest of places. Shelley Popper is a bright but awkward young man growing up in Ozark with crippling social anxiety. He has endured a childhood of abuse at the hands of his army pilot father who is unexpectedly killed in Afghanistan, triggering Shelley to experience a surge of confidence. Shelley is cheered on by Ichwurd, a mysterious hitchhiker he picks up on a dark highway, to fight his fear and seize his moments. Shelley has had a lifetime of being bullied by his nemesis, Dalton Moon. Dalton has grown to become a drug dealer and human trafficker navigating his way around the law, the Cartel and his own sociopathic ambitions. Small town life and a gulf hurricane seem to have surreptitiously placed Shelley in Dalton’s world, forcing Shelley to consider the voices of his dark angels and violently settle an old score.
I have enjoyed a career traveling the cities and towns of the South. I have met its characters – characters full of charm and contradiction. My experiences in the South and a degree in psychology inhabit and compel my work. I recently had a personal narrative memoir published on al.com.
As per your submission guidelines, I have included the first two chapters of Heaven, Hell or Nothing. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Sincerely,

Dave Hammond

Shani
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Query

Post by Shani » September 6th, 2019, 2:56 am

(Nathan, thank you for your helpful blog)

Dear [Agent],

I am seeking representation for my paranormal mystery novel, THIEF OF BREAN. The book is complete at 75000 words and is first in a planned duology.

A serial murder case with no witness or evidence is Detective Carleton Lavely’s last shot at keeping his job.

The murders have a common pattern—a slit on the wrist. But the case isn’t his only concern. He is also experiencing voices and images in his head; he can talk to fire and draw people’s past with soot—all triggered by the consumption of a magical drug at the height of inebriation.

When Carl finds Lily—a victim of mafia mugging and attempted murder, he draws a similarity between the killing patterns—slitting of the wrist. Lily’s claim about the killer mafia gang seems to be straightforward. But Carl must know better. He must see through the deceit. Finding the real killer could require Carl to do more than just mortal investigations. And facing the killer could mean facing one’s own death.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

denizb33
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by denizb33 » September 6th, 2019, 9:32 am

Dear [agent],

Enclosed please find my query for THE CHARM OF TIME, a contemporary romance for adults complete at 76,500 words.

Late one evening, Christianne Morand, police detective, shows up with her broken down car at Rory MacDonald’s garage and auto body shop. The last thing she expects is a second chance at love. Yet their sudden attraction leads them to dinner, hours of conversation and, after she invites him up to her place, a long night of intense passion.

It seems like a happily ever after, but even while they attempt to learn about each other and maintain their newfound closeness, past secrets and mistakes begin to hound them. During a weekend getaway in the Alps, the world-famous chef at their hotel is found dead. Christianne and Rory are beset by danger when the murderer realizes they are witnesses. Worse, he’s recognized Christianne as the investigating detective in a past case. She failed to convict the man he thought responsible for the death of his family, and he’s determined to find justice.

As threats to their lives come swifter and closer, Christianne and Rory’s newfound love is tested. They must reveal their deepest selves and trust each other, in order to work together at securing their best chance at forever.

THE CHARM OF TIME would appeal to all readers of travel-based romance, deeply emotional stories such as T. L. Watson’s Going Back, or romantic suspense along the lines of Lara Lacombe’s Pregnant by the Colton Cowboy.

Thank you for your consideration.

dhamm29
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Joined: September 5th, 2019, 4:45 pm
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by dhamm29 » September 12th, 2019, 4:08 pm

Ms. Literary Agent:
I am sending you this query seeking representation for my completed first novel, Heaven, Hell or Nothing, an 83,000-word Psychological Crime Thriller. The novel share elements with: The Devil All the Time, Fight Club and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

After a lifetime of bullying and castigation, painfully withdrawn Shelley Popper experiences feelings of rebirth when his abusive father is killed in Afghanistan conjuring visions and voices emboldening him to strike back against a dangerous old nemesis, human trafficker, Dalton Moon.
The novel is set in rural Ozark, Alabama a quiet town, easy to miss and known mostly as a place one drives through on the way to the Florida panhandle beaches. Shelley Popper is a bright but awkward young man growing up in Ozark with crippling social anxiety. He has endured a childhood of abuse at the hands of his army pilot father who is unexpectedly killed in Afghanistan, triggering Shelley to experience a surge of confidence. Shelley is compelled by Ichwurd, a mysterious hitchhiker he picks up on a dark highway, to fight his fear and seize his moments. Shelley has had a lifetime of being bullied by his nemesis, Dalton Moon. Dalton has grown to become a drug dealer and human trafficker navigating his way around the law, the Cartel and his own sociopathic ambitions. Small town life and a gulf hurricane seem to have surreptitiously placed Shelley in Dalton’s world, forcing Shelley to consider the voices of his dark angels and violently settle an old score.
I have enjoyed a career traveling the cities and towns of the South. I have met its characters – characters full of charm and contradiction. This experience and a degree in psychology inhabit and inspire the stories I have inside me. I recently had a personal narrative memoir published on al.com.
As per your submission guidelines I have included a brief synopsis and the first thirty pages of the novel. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Sincerely,
David Hammond

vldixon
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by vldixon » September 19th, 2019, 6:12 pm

Dear [Agent,]

In a land where necromancers are reviled and the dead feared, Lord Liu Jie keeps a secret. The spirits of his dead follow and talk to him. When his nephew, the Emperor, summons Jie to civil war, his survival seems impossible. If he's not killed in battle, his secret may force his men to kill him. Then the usurping Chancellor's attacks increase the number of ghosts. But the ghosts offer aid against the demon possessing the Chancellor. If Jie exorcises the demon, his people will kill him as a bone-dancing necromancer. If he doesn't, he and everyone he's fought to protect will be damned for eternity.

MOURN THEIR COURAGE IS a 100k-word tale based on popular Chinese folk stories. I describe the novel as a cross between “Red Cliffs” and “The Sixth Sense.” It will appeal to fans of Ken Liu, R.F. Kuang, and Guy Gavriel Kay.

I am a 2010 Sandy Writers Finalist and received Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. Publications include online magazines and Nature Futures. In addition to my research, I have traveled to China, learned some Mandarin and founded the online group, Authors of Asian Novels.

lac582
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by lac582 » October 8th, 2019, 6:37 pm

Dear [Agent],

Reggie Kaplan is a Conjurer--one of a rare cohort who possess a telekinetic ability to manipulate atoms and molecules, and who are conscripted into public service converting waste into resources for communities across the nation. After violating Guild law by accidentally injuring another person, she was stripped of her power and indentured for the rest of her days. Years later she has settled into a quiet life as a wife, mother, and laboratory grunt when the Guild approaches Reggie with an offer. The Conjurer of Los Angeles has gone missing, and if she can serve dutifully in his interim she can have back her freedom.

While she’d be foolish to turn it down, the work is arduous and isolating. Reggie struggles to serve her constituents and still be there for her young children, while also enduring being shunned by her own staff and much of the larger Conjuring community. Her new position also puts her in the crosshairs of Carolina Reyes, the prodigy industrialist she maimed so many years ago and inventor of a new technology meant to compete directly with the Guild.

Soon Reggie uncovers evidence that the Mayor of Los Angeles may have been blackmailing her predecessor and driven him into hiding. Much as she wants to toe-the-line as not to jeopardize her agreement, she believes that exposing the corruption may hasten his return and her own redemption. However the more she digs, the closer she gets to a much larger plot that threatens irreparable damage to the discipline of Conjuring itself and the economy that depends on it. Unsure who she can trust--and get to trust her--Reggie must finally decide if the only one who can save a system is the one willing to break the rules. Even if it means endangering not just her livelihood, but her very life.

“The Conjurers” is a work of contemporary science fiction, complete at 90,000 words. It has a diverse cast of characters and is a standalone with series potential. [Bio goes here.]

Thank you for your consideration.

bankoferin
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by bankoferin » October 24th, 2019, 4:55 pm

Dear <Agent>,

<INSERT how I found the agent, something specific, e.g., “I saw you are looking for xxx from your recent #mswl tweet… because you represent xxx comp author, I think my novel will be a great fit for you.>

Eliza Clark is a 32-year-old alcoholic who believes that she must not deserve to be loved. After all, her mother abandoned her in the middle of a snowstorm, her father merely tolerated her when she was being helpful around the vet clinic (and when he wasn’t passed out drooling on the kitchen table), and her musician husband who’d promised her a new life got killed. Through her vodka-induced haze, Eliza pieces together enough of a life in Brooklyn, NY to convince herself that she’s better off alone, away from grief, away from the rural ranching town she tries not to call home.

But when a will and a letter from her father are found under his mattress, a year after his death, she is faced with the possibility that she’s misinterpreted her past and underestimated both her parents. Eliza returns to her father’s house and clinic to get the lawyers off her back, but finds herself surrounded by friends still willing to welcome her with open—yet brutally honest—arms. She has the opportunity to look at her past with new eyes and decide, for once, what she wants in her life. Eliza must first accept her pain and realize the world doesn’t revolve around her grief in order to accept the love that she’s deserved all along.

PROOF OF LOVE, complete at 75,000 words, is a poignant character-driven literary fiction/women’s fiction novel with a strong female protagonist and themes of grief and complicated family relationships. It will appeal to readers of Anna Quindlen’s STILL LIFE WITH BREADCRUMBS and <COMP 2>.

I write for the Sunset Beacon and Richmond Review newspapers, and I’ve been published in the Adelaide literary journal. I’m active in the San Francisco writing community through classes at the Writer’s Studio, Writing Salon, and the Grotto. I have participated in writing retreats led by Jen Louden, Lisa Jones, and Marianne Elliot, and I’m involved in Louden’s robust online Oasis community for creatives. I blog and write other articles at bankoferin.com.

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