NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
Tilly G
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HOT GREEK SUMMER: Romantic Women's Fiction

Post by Tilly G » March 6th, 2024, 9:01 am

Dear [agent],

[Personalized introductory paragraph for HOT GREEK SUMMER and metadata.]

Sometimes it takes a change of scenery and a stranger to get over the fear of starting over. Widow Cassie Merrill is in paradise where the best things—the sun and the sea—are free. A chill-out vacation in Crete with her closest friend Bea, ancient ruins, and yummy baklava. No messy flings, despite promising her late husband she’ll open her heart to someone new and live a full life.

But on their first day, Bea dumps her for Hot Guy, and feeling guilty, coaxes Stavros, Hot’s buddy, to babysit the poor widow. Stavros Andinos, dark wavy hair and testosterone, sees past Cassie’s hidden vulnerability and invites her on a tour of the island.

Still not ready to move on she retreats, prompting him to ask, "Cassie, are you afraid of me?" All that masculine beauty awakens pheromones she forgot she ever had. And once Cassie tastes what a connection with Stavros is like, she can’t go back. But it’s a two-week vacation and there are no guarantees.

HOT GREEK SUMMER, complete at 77,000 words, is humorous romantic women’s fiction with steam. It will appeal to readers who love Kristan Higgins for her humor and insight into relationships, and Susan Mallery for her romance and friendship stories.

I have three novels in a series with a small press, and Indie-published one novel in a series with six other authors. In the past three years, I’ve advertised and promoted my books and developed a social media presence. I’m a former teacher who enjoyed a past life on Crete for eleven years and have a degree in journalism. Last August, I returned to Crete to complete research for my novel.

Please let me know if you’d like to see a partial of HOT GREEK SUMMER.
[Personalized contact information.]

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

Post by CapeCodderFodder » March 13th, 2024, 8:17 pm

What is domestic violence? What is it an expression of? How could someone in an intimate partnership come to slam another’s head to the floor? After that, are all bets off? If so, why shouldn’t the worst, most sinister retaliation begin to unfold?

PEOPLE SKILLS is a badass, cutthroat response to domestic violence.

Natasha Boginya is desperately, almost pathologically, in love with her husband Rob Wesson. Seen by many as a fine breadwinner and all-around good guy, Rob turns violent in the marriage, yet Natasha initially feels a strange sense of comfort. Having grown up in a violent household, cruel is the only flavor of love Natasha has ever known. But when Rob nearly breaks her back and Natasha winds up in a shelter, she finally understands she can’t go back.

Enter Anna, Natasha’s best friend and confidante. Anna supports Natasha, but she’s really rooting for Natasha to exact revenge. When Anna comes into possession of a Widow’s Weapon, a brain-eating parasite of Siberian origin that alters personalities and erodes minds, she convinces Natasha to infect Rob. Trouble is, Rob has been posted to Bali, Indonesia. The women travel halfway around the world, where they encounter a highflying expat world that throws their own Soviet backgrounds into sharp relief. Will they pull off the ultimate reprisal against intimate violence, and will their close friendship survive the act?

PEOPLE SKILLS dissects a range of known parasites, starting with domestic violence, both as witnessed in childhood and later tolerated in adulthood. This novel further explores the parasite of rage—that which sparks violence as well as that which violence sparks. And of course there is the parasite of the Widow’s Weapon itself, a brain-eating, personality-shifting parasite that is undetectable in those it infects—until it’s too late.

A parody of contemporary American adulation, and fear, of Russia, PEOPLE SKILLS is a send-up of the American expat kicking up his heels in a distant, resource-rich country in the twilight of the American empire. Based on a true story, PEOLE SKILLS further illuminates a thick-or-thin female friendship that proves our chosen families can indeed be our truest, most dear relations. One part Gone Girl and one part In Cold Blood, PEOPLE SKILLS will leave you contemplating our worst impulses, cheering for unlikely heroes and sleeping in protective earmuffs.

I’m a former UN speechwriter based in Indonesia and current public school English teacher. My fiction has appeared in Kestrel Journal, Little Patuxent Review, Tank Magazine, and Five:2:One. My nonfiction has been published by Guernica, The Washington Post, The South China Morning Post, and NPR. I have twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I share the first XX pages of my manuscript, and would be delighted to provide the entire MS to you if interested.

All best,

Crooked Bird
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Joined: March 14th, 2024, 5:25 pm
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The Dragon and the Crow - Historical Fantasy

Post by Crooked Bird » March 14th, 2024, 11:03 pm

Dear [Agent],

When the king’s men grab Liere Naciane off the street, he expects to be hanged for seditious heresy like his father before him—as all the men of his childhood community were, and the women put to the sword. Instead the king who ordered his people's massacre wants Liere to save his kingdom: only Liere's Gift can turn back the night-dragon that is burning villages at an invading empire’s command.

Liere thinks, Let them burn.

But a young noblewoman—beautiful, ambitious Ravanna de Talleben, her dark skin proof of ancient imperial blood, who wishes she could save her nation instead of manipulating some heretic gutter-rat to do it—pries into his mind with her Gift and changes it by bringing a refugee from the bloodstained border to his cell. Shaken, Liere swears to do what he can.

Which may be nothing. The hatred he’s breathed since his family’s deaths blocks his Gift. Mingling Ravanna and Liere's mind-powers—and those of a third, a ten-year-old child—may bypass this blockage, or lead all three to a fiery death far from home. As they trek through forest and ravine behind enemy lines toward the lair, the truth becomes clear: unless Liere and Ravanna, nurtured in traditions violently opposed, can open their minds to each other, that death is assured.

Complete at [projected 100,000] words, The Dragon and the Crow is historical fantasy set in a version of 17th-century France, using echoes of real-world religious conflict to explore themes of empathy and hate. Pitchable as “Tolkien meets Wolf Hall,” it also resembles [Future Comp 1] and [Future Comp 2.]

I’ve had no previous representation. I’ve traditionally published three works of Christian historical fiction, a market in which my sales declined as my themes became more complex. My first was a Christy finalist and a ForeWord INDIES bronze medalist; my third won ForeWord gold and basically sank without a trace. I’m still convinced there are many, many readers with whom questions (not assertions) of faith deeply resonate, but who’ve seen too much to put on the required Sunday smile. But I don’t know who to go to, to get my fiction to them. I’m truly hoping you do.

Thank you so much for your consideration,
Heather Munn
Last edited by Crooked Bird on March 15th, 2024, 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by LizaJane » April 5th, 2024, 12:41 pm

Dear [Agent Name]

I write to submit Time’s Double, a YA time-travel novel of 83,000 words, for your consideration. I am reaching out to you having read, on MS wishlist and then on your website, that you were interested in YA, time travel books, and historical fiction. Also, you are the only other person I know (of) who loves Behind the Attic Wall. [or some other thing]
On the morning of her first day of 10th grade, San Francisco teen Cass Lowenthal wakes up as Cassie Follett, a London teen-ager in 1938. She has no clue how this happened, but she does know that World War II and the Holocaust are imminent. And like the ancient prophetess Cassandra, if she told the truth nobody would believe her. Cass/Cassie finds four other girls named Cassandra who have come from the future, and organizes them into a confused, angry, and not-very-cohesive group. Their goal: rescuing German Jewish children and returning to their real lives. Cassie is helped by Philip, the intriguing brother of another Cassandra. Meanwhile Vero, the Hitler-loving bestie of the original Cassie, is trying to undermine her plan.
If Maureen Johnson and Elizabeth Wein got together and rewrote Outlander, Time’s Double would be the result. Time’s Double focuses on what creates a sense of self and family and the trauma of loss, with a narrative that weaves together the history of the Second World War with the universal themes of love, friendship, and finding out what it means to be your true self.
An agent in London, Charlotte Colwill, would be happy to discuss working with you to sell the book in the UK. I have submitted to two other U.S. agents.
I have three published books about art history, two from academic presses and, most recently, a more popular non-fiction book from Reaktion in London which has been reprinted in paperback. I am working on a sequel to Time’s Double. I have three children adopted from abroad at older ages, whose experiences informed my sense of what Cassie goes through in her sudden life change. I look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards,

jksavitch
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Joined: April 11th, 2024, 9:51 pm
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MY OTHER KIDS: A MEMOIR ABOUT CHILD ADVOCACY, CONNECTION AND CONSISTENCY

Post by jksavitch » April 11th, 2024, 9:56 pm

Dear ----

I’m seeking representation for my debut memoir, complete at 94,000 words. MY OTHER KIDS: A MEMOIR ABOUT CHILD ADVOCACY, CONNECTION AND CONSISTENCY follows my transformative journey as a volunteer court-appointed child advocate (CASA). Through the heart-wrenching realities of poverty, substance abuse and mental health crises, I struggled to affect change where I had little control and learned that showing up was my power. Like INVISIBLE CHILD: POVERTY, SURVIVAL & HOPE IN AN AMERICAN CITY (Andrea Elliot), over seven years I forged a deep connection with one family in crisis. Like SAFE: A MEMOIR OF FATHERHOOD, FOSTER CARE, AND THE RISKS WE TAKE FOR FAMILY (Mark Daley), I faced the maddening bureaucracy of a broken child welfare system. My story adds the perspective of a child advocate to the growing list of memoirs by former foster children and parents.

When I met my CASA family in their Philadelphia home, Dawn battled mental health and substance use disorders, and her four young children were on the brink of a third foster care placement. For four years, I worked to keep the family together. I advocated for the siblings’ educational needs, ensured that they received proper health care and built a trusting relationship through monthly visits. But when Dawn’s erratic behavior escalated and she was incarcerated, I struggled with the limits of my advocacy and questioned whether Dawn’s home was the safest option for her kids. When they were evicted and fled the state, our case closed.

Six months later, Dawn was reincarcerated, and the kids were placed into two separate foster homes, the outcome I tried desperately to prevent. I faced an impossible choice - abandon the kids when they needed me most, or continue with the familiar chaos of their family. I chose to be reappointed. I spent the next three years as the only consistent and trusted adult in their lives, guiding them through the trauma of separation and the upheaval of foster care on their road towards permanency.

This is my eleventh year as an advocate. I have my Master's Degree in Special Education from Tufts and a Doctorate in Education from Penn, and I’m currently working my way through my do-it-yourself degree in writing a memoir. I studied with a private writing coach and participated in a workshop at the Key West Literary Seminar. I have attended the Non-Fiction Writer’s Conference, Rutgers Community Writing Workshop, AWP Conference, three Deep Dive Workshops, and many classes. I live in Philly with my husband, where we raised our three adult children. In my free time, I feed my soul by throwing pots on the wheel, taking my puppy on meandering walks and smashing tennis balls.

Attached are my first five pages. If you are interested, I would be honored to send you the full manuscript.
Thank you for your time and consideration,

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

Post by bethshannonwriter » April 12th, 2024, 3:10 pm

Dear Agent,

PLAYING FOR KEEPS, a whodunnit with a twist, is a 80,000-word mystery set in Arlington, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., and will appeal to fans of both JUST THE NICEST COUPLE by Mary Kubica and NO ONE CAN KNOW by Kate Alice Marshall.

Living in one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, financial advisor Alicia Mann and lawyer Curt Holly appear to have a fairytale power couple marriage, but they each hold secrets that threaten to shatter the life they appear to have. When Curt collapses at his lavish birthday party, and it is discovered he was poisoned, Alicia becomes the prime suspect when her secret is leaked to the police. As a child, she spent five years in juvenile jail for killing her abusive father in order to protect her mother. While grieving Curt, his secrets threaten to ruin her friendships and her finances. When a friend from her past resurfaces, she latches on to him as a much-needed lifeline. When she realizes she's being framed for Curt's murder, she no longer knows who to trust.

Like my protagonist Alicia, I live in the Washington, D.C. area and received my Bachelor's Degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am a member of The Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. My personal essay "I Have an Emotional Attachment to a Jar of Petroleum Jelly" was published by the Zibby Owens online publication Moms Don't Have Time to Write.

Please let me know if I can send you the full manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.

rrc8u@virginia.edu
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by rrc8u@virginia.edu » June 8th, 2024, 7:23 am

Dear Agent:

Mira, twenty-two, taught herself to draw before she was old enough to talk by copying art from magazines and postcards. She lives in the conservative household of 23 Chowk Goli in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh where if the scarf that covers her head slips down to her shoulders, she is banished to the kitchen by her unsympathetic aunt to polish silverware for the rest of the day. Mira wants to draw professionally but out of respect for her aunt and uncle who took Mira in when she was orphaned as a baby and who do not believe in women in the workplace, Mira keeps her drawings to herself.

When twenty-five year old American photojournalist Jonathan Whitman, arrives in Old Dhaka and saves Mira from accidentally tumbling off a slippery roof, neither of them is prepared for the connection that this experience sparks between them. John shows Mira his photographs from the trip and something inside Mira slips, like the string of a kite hit by a gust of wind. Up until this point, her life that she lived for others and the sacrifice of her art had seemed tolerable to Mira but no more. When John asks Mira to leave 23 Chowk Goli and come with him to New York, Mira chooses herself over familial duty.

R.K. Karm is a formidable man who at his most relaxed state looks like a panther lounging on a tree branch. He is known in Old Dhaka as a man who will stop at nothing, not even murder, to achieve his goal. R.K. Karim is also Mira’s uncle. R.K. Karim has promised Mira’s hand to Parvez Mustafa, the leader of a major trade union who believes women are born to serve, in exchange for votes in the upcoming election for Ward Commissioner.

In order to escape from Old Dhaka, John and Mira must escape R.K. Karim. Once, many years ago, Mira’s mother had tried to do the same with Mira’s father, but their love story had met with a tragic ending. Now, it is up to Mira and John to change history.

A SONG OF OLD DHAKA is an 80,000 word multi-generational commercial novel that will appeal to fans of Khaled Husseini’s books because of its immersive setting and to anyone who loves love stories. I was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh and lived there for the first nineteen years of my life. Thank you for taking the time to read my query.

Best,
Rikhia R. Fisher

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