Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at page 2)

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akila
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Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at page 2)

Post by akila » April 15th, 2011, 1:12 pm

First of all, thank you all for helping me with this query. I very much appreciate any comments and criticisms you may have.

Dear Agent:

Moonlight shatters the clouds the night the woman Fades to Atlanta. Rafi has been missing for three weeks and the loss of her brother cracks her appearance, threading copper-green veins through her brass-flecked skin and shining her hair to strands of silver that reflect the moon. Tears do not drip down her cheeks but, then again, her tear ducts dried twenty years ago when she flushed the salamander-sized fetus into a toilet in the hilltops of France. Instead, red anger and beige fear mist from her fingertips as she arrives in the city she hopes to find her younger brother.

In the morning, she will be Leah Jones with hazel eyes and shoulder-length muddy brown hair but, unfortunately, on this first night, an ordinary man glimpses her unbelievable façade. Mauve smoke clings to Adam Wesley’s broad shoulders, the markings of a man who mourns. His eyes sing like cornflower blue flowers on an early spring day and the faded scent of travel surrounds his patent leather shoes, now used only to traverse the short distance from his bungalow to his midtown attorney’s office.

She does not want distractions but the future pulls her into Adam. She saves Adam from drowning and he makes her dinner. She searches for Rafi in small town Georgia and Adam takes a case in that same town, representing townspeople suffering from insanity. Maniacs who claim that they are descendants of King Solomon prevent her from Traveling and Adam promises to help her. She lies to him and he forgives her.

Despite herself, Leah is interested. It has been too long since she has been with a good man.

Equal parts Islamic mystical fantasy, environmental legal mystery, and old-fashioned love story, MOONLIGHT FALTERS is a contemporary fantasy novel, complete at 100,000 words. This is my first novel. MOONLIGHT FALTERS has been written as a stand-alone novel but I believe has strong potential to be developed into a series.
Last edited by akila on June 14th, 2011, 3:33 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (Contemporary Fantasy)

Post by akila » April 15th, 2011, 1:20 pm

Sorry - I meant to ask a question at the bottom of that last post and forgot. Does it make sense for me to call it an "adult contemporary fantasy" or is "adult" assumed if I call it "contemporary fantasy?" It is definitely NOT a YA novel --- way too much sex and religion --- and I don't want to confuse an agent by calling it a contemporary fantasy.

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (Contemporary Fantasy)

Post by fishfood » April 16th, 2011, 12:32 am

I'll take a quick stab at this. Overall, you need to get straight to the conflict and I fear given the over inclusion of adjectives in your query (which agents hate), your manuscript might have a bit too many as well (which doesn't bode well either...). With that said, some peope like flowery prose, others don't. I'm sort of in the middle. I do think overall you probably have written an awesome romance!
akila wrote:First of all, thank you all for helping me with this query. I very much appreciate any comments and criticisms you may have.

Dear Agent:

Moonlight shatters the clouds the night the woman Fades to Atlanta. ?? This isn't a great opening if I have no idea what this means. Rafi has been missing for three weeks and the loss of her brother cracks her appearance, threading copper-green veins through her brass-flecked skin and shining her hair to strands of silver that reflect the moon. ??? You go from an ambiguous opening line to follow with a sentence that doesn't really follow the opening. Tears do not drip down her cheeks but, then again, her tear ducts dried twenty years ago when she flushed the salamander-sized fetus into a toilet in the hilltops of France. ??? Instead, red anger and beige fear mist from her fingertips as she arrives in the city she hopes to find her younger brother.

All I got from this opening paragraph was a woman is searching for her brother, the rest is totally over my head (However, this may say more about me than you..;) )
In the morning, she will be Leah Jones with hazel eyes and shoulder-length muddy brown hair but, unfortunately, on this first night, an ordinary man glimpses her unbelievable façade. Mauve smoke clings to Adam Wesley’s broad shoulders, the markings of a man who mourns. His eyes sing like cornflower blue flowers on an early spring day and the faded scent of travel surrounds his patent leather shoes, now used only to traverse the short distance from his bungalow to his midtown attorney’s office.

I think your query does a good job of reflecting the story in that I think you're showing us how you write, but this doesn't necessarily actually tell or show me much in the way of what the book is about. The last thing you want to do in a query is be mysterious and creative.

She does not want distractions but the future pulls her into Adam. She saves Adam from drowning and he makes her dinner. She searches for Rafi in small town Georgia and Adam takes a case in that same town, representing townspeople suffering from insanity. Maniacs who claim that they are descendants of King Solomon prevent her from Traveling and Adam promises to help her. She lies to him and he forgives her.

Despite herself, Leah is interested. It has been too long since she has been with a good man.

Pretty much lost here, so I'm not sure really where or how to comment other than here is what I sort of get as the conflict.

She's actually the moon at night, but by day is an average woman who is searching for her brother (why and how does she have a brother?) Then Adam discovers she's the moon when he sees her transform and she saves his life (why was he drowning?). Adam is representing an entire town in a case? What is the case? After that there's something about maniacs and Adam wanting to help her travel (why does she need to travel, I thought she was the moon?). Then you throw out random sentences like: she lies, he forgives her. Okay, took care of that conflict. But what does she lie about and why does he forgive her?


Equal parts Islamic mystical fantasy, environmental legal mystery, and old-fashioned love story, (um, I'd leave this out, it's sort of mashing too many odd thing together--leave it at fantasy) MOONLIGHT FALTERS is a contemporary fantasy novel, complete at 100,000 words. This is my first novel. MOONLIGHT FALTERS has been written as a stand-alone novel but I believe has strong potential to be developed into a series.
As you can tell, I was waay confused about what's going on. Even though it's fantasy you HAVE to try and explain as simply as possibe and give us CONFLICT!
As for calling it "adult" you could say it's "erotic" although I think you could probably leave it at just Contemporary fantasy.

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (Contemporary Fantasy)

Post by AllieS » April 16th, 2011, 3:40 am

Most of my comments will probably restate what fishfood has said, but I figure I'll go over it anyway.

Moonlight shatters the clouds the night the woman Fades to Atlanta. Absolutely no idea what this means. You need to start with something straight and to the point, or else an agent won't bother reading any further. That being said, it does need to be interesting enough to catch their attention. Rafi has been missing for three weeks and the loss of her brother Is Rafi the brother who is missing, or is Rafi the girl? Who is her? cracks her appearance, threading copper-green veins through her brass-flecked skin and shining her hair to strands of silver that reflect the moon. Pretty words, no meaning. Tears do not drip down her cheeks but, then again, her tear ducts dried twenty years ago when she flushed the salamander-sized fetus into a toilet in the hilltops of France. From what I can understand of this line, it sounds interesting, but you don't follow it up with anything to help us make sense of it or understand why you included it. Instead, red anger and beige fear mist from her fingertips as she arrives in the city she hopes to find her younger brother. Red anger, beige fear. These are adjectives that don't have any purpose as far as I can see. Like fishfood mentioned, I have to wonder if you use excessive adjectives in your manuscript as well. I also like a happy medium between too little and too many adjectives.

Unfortunately, I've gotten to the end of the first par, and the only thing I can clearly make out is the last part of the last line: as she arrives in the city she hopes to find her younger brother. That clearly tells me her younger brother is missing, which I couldn't really tell from what you said before.

In the morning, she will be Leah Jones with hazel eyes and shoulder-length muddy brown hair Unless it's significant to the story, physical descriptions don't have a place in a query. but, unfortunately, on this first night, an ordinary man glimpses her unbelievable façade. I don't understand what she was before. Mauve smoke clings to Adam Wesley’s broad shoulders, the markings of a man who mourns. His eyes sing like cornflower blue flowers on an early spring day and the faded scent of travel surrounds his patent leather shoes, now used only to traverse the short distance from his bungalow to his midtown attorney’s office. Doesn't tell me anything.

She does not want distractions but the future pulls her into Adam. Huh? She saves Adam from drowning and he makes her dinner. Disconnect between these two lines. Jumps from Adam to Rafi. She searches for Rafi in small town Georgia and Adam takes a case in that same town, representing townspeople suffering from insanity. Maniacs who claim that they are descendants of King Solomon prevent her from Traveling and Adam promises to help her. She lies to him and he forgives her.

Despite herself, Leah is interested. It has been too long since she has been with a good man.

Overall, I'm just too confused too understand anything. You say a lot, but I have trouble seeing through the adjectives and flowery writing. What might help is if you write the driest, simplest, most straightforward query, just stating the main character and her conflict. Limit yourself to as few adjectives as humanly possible. Look it over, and see if it gets the point across. Then, if you want, add just one or two. The fewer the adjectives, the more they'll stand out to an agent, but make sure they're relevant. But like fishfood said, I'm sure you've got a rockin romance here.

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Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at post 4)

Post by akila » April 16th, 2011, 8:45 am

fishfood and AllieS, thank you so much! This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear because I obviously didn't spend enough time researching queries before posting this. Both of y'all are so nice to be so nice to me in your critiques. I apologize for making y'all read that first hot mess --- I am seriously cringing now when I read back through it. I went through Janet Reid's entire site and Nathan's site and more and I've completely rewritten the query so that it is focused on the plot with a strong indication of my writing style (which is definitely not as flowery as the first query made it out to seem.) One of the things I realized after reading Janet's site was how short and to the point all of the winning queries are and I think this reflects that approach. I would love to get feedback from y'all on the new one. Thanks!

Dear Agent:

On the sixth anniversary of his wife’s death, attorney Adam Wesley glimpses a seven-foot-tall woman’s hair shine like a polished silver plate in the moonlight. When he meets her in the daylight, she is five-foot-five with mud brown hair; she introduces herself as Leah Jones, a photographer searching for her missing brother. Four days later, men claiming to be descendants of the Biblical King Solomon reveal her lies.

They call her a jinn. Leah retorts that she is a teleporter. Adam thought she was just a nice pretty woman, the first to intrigue him since his beloved wife.

Adam does not want to tangle his tenuous heart and Leah does not want distractions. But, when they realize that her ancestry might be connected to Adam’s partner-making mercury contamination lawsuit and her brother’s disappearance, they must work together to discover her identity and whether their budding romance can survive the supernatural.

MOONLIGHT FALTERS is my debut contemporary fantasy novel, complete at 100,000 words. MOONLIGHT FALTERS has been written as a stand-alone novel but I believe has strong potential to be developed into a series.

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at post 4)

Post by fishfood » April 16th, 2011, 10:23 pm

Ah! This is SOO much better!!
akila wrote:fishfood and AllieS, thank you so much! This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear because I obviously didn't spend enough time researching queries before posting this. Both of y'all are so nice to be so nice to me in your critiques. I apologize for making y'all read that first hot mess --- I am seriously cringing now when I read back through it. I went through Janet Reid's entire site and Nathan's site and more and I've completely rewritten the query so that it is focused on the plot with a strong indication of my writing style (which is definitely not as flowery as the first query made it out to seem.) One of the things I realized after reading Janet's site was how short and to the point all of the winning queries are and I think this reflects that approach. I would love to get feedback from y'all on the new one. Thanks!

Dear Agent:

On the sixth anniversary of his wife’s death, Does it really matter if it's the death of his wife? As an aside...I feel like the only way to make a male protagonist angsty these days is to have a dead wife/girlfriend/mother. (*guilty of this myself*). I'd just start the query here --> attorney Adam Wesley glimpses a seven-foot-tall woman’s hair shine like a polished silver plate in the moonlight. Where does he see her--on the street? When he meets her in the daylight, she is five-foot-five I've been told to avoid describing someone's height with numbers, seven-foot-tall is fine because it's abnormal, but I'd just say, "average height" with mudbrown hair; she introduces herself as Leah Jones, a photographer searching for her missing brother. Four days later, men claiming to be descendants of the Biblical King Solomon reveal her lies.

They call her a jinn. Should you capitalize Jinn? Leah retorts that she is a teleporter. Adam thought she was just a nice pretty woman,I think it's cute if you just leave it here. the first to intrigue him since his beloved wife.

Adam does not want to tangle his tenuous heart (not sure what I think of the illiteration of "tangle and tenous") and Leah does not want distractions (you subtly switch to her pov in this line). But, when they realize that her ancestry might be connected to Adam’s partner-making mercury contamination lawsuit that's kind of a mouthful and I had to re-read it a few times to get it, Can you just say, Adam's newest lawsuit and her brother’s disappearance, they must work together to discover her identity (I thought we knew her identity?) Can you just say, the truth? and whether their budding romance can survive the supernatural. Hmm, maybe it's the melodramatic nut in me, but I was hoping for more of a punch ending. I think it's a great conflict to end on, since that's the crux of all romances, but I'm struggling to find a suggestion, so you can ignore me if you want. :)

MOONLIGHT FALTERS is my debut contemporary fantasy novel, complete at 100,000 words. MOONLIGHT FALTERS It has been written as a stand-alone novel but I believe has strong potential to be developed into a series.

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at post 4)

Post by sarahdee » April 17th, 2011, 4:25 am

I'm terrible at queries but I've had a go.
akila wrote:
Dear Agent:

On the sixth anniversary of his wife’s death, attorney Adam Wesley glimpses a seven-foot-tall woman’s hair shine like a polished silver plate in the moonlight. I'd agree with the other comments, with the height description in gets complicated When he meets her in the daylight, she is five-foot-five with mud brown hair; she introduces herself as Leah Jones, a photographer searching for her missing brother. Four days later, men claiming to be descendants of the Biblical King Solomon reveal her lies. Is there any reason why Solomon is relevant to the story? Without giving everything away you could really use this to hint at the Islamic history side of it here with just a quick one line added

They call her a jinn. Leah retorts that she is a teleporter. To me that shouts Sci Fi but I don't think it is that sort of novel? Adam thought she was just a nice pretty woman, the first to intrigue him since his beloved wife died.

Adam does not want to tangle his tenuous heart and Leah does not want distractions. But, when they realize that her ancestry might be connected to Adam’s partner-making mercury contamination lawsuit Yup, that's a helluva mouth full - I'd shorten it to Adam's current environmental case and her brother’s disappearance, they must work together to discover her identity and whether their budding romance can survive the supernatural.

MOONLIGHT FALTERS is my debut contemporary fantasy novel, complete at 100,000 words. MOONLIGHT FALTERS has been written as a stand-alone novel but I believe has strong potential to be developed into a series. I think this can be said of most manuscripts. I'd rather have a bio line or a bit more about the potential market here
Hope that helps?

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at post 5)

Post by AllieS » April 17th, 2011, 6:32 am

Woo hoo! This is so much better. Great job cleaning it up!

On the sixth anniversary of his wife’s death, I agree with fishfood about dropping this part and starting with the next. Unfortunately, I wish this line would grab me a little more. I feel as though you could find a way to phrase it to make it stand out. Maybe something like, "One night Adam Wesley glimpses a seven-foot-tall woman with hair like a polished silver plate. The next time he sees her, she's average height and looks completely normal." Obviously it wouldn't be exactly like that, but that's just one way to try it. attorney Adam Wesley glimpses a seven-foot-tall woman’s hair shine like a polished silver plate in the moonlight. When he meets her in the daylight, she is five-foot-five with mud brown hair; she introduces herself as Leah Jones, a photographer searching for her missing brother. Four days later, men claiming to be descendants of the Biblical King Solomon reveal her lies. Putting a semi-colon there seems out of place. Also, I wish there was more of a transition between the events in the two sentences.

They call her a jinn. What is a jinn? Leah retorts that she is a teleporter Hmm. Something about that line feels too dialoguey, not queryish enough (I know those aren't actually words) . Adam thought she was just a nice pretty woman, the first to intrigue him since his beloved wife. I think overall this paragraph just doesn't work for me.

Adam does not want to tangle his tenuous heart and Leah does not want distractions. I agree with fishfood about the use of tenuous in this line, also about the switch in the POV, but I'll mention that at the bottom. But, when they realize that omit her ancestry might be connected to Adam’s partner-making mercury contamination lawsuit Huh? and her brother’s disappearance, they must work together to discover her identity and whether their budding romance can survive the supernatural. Do they really discover if their budding romance can survive the supernatural. I feel the better word for that would be learn. Maybe you could include those ideas in two different sentences.

MOONLIGHT FALTERS is my debut contemporary fantasy novel, complete at 100,000 words. MOONLIGHT FALTERS has been written as a stand-alone novel but I believe has strong potential to be developed into a series.

Much, much better, for starters, but now I have to ask: whose perspective is the novel written in? The first query was in Leah's, this one is in Adam's. If the novel is in both, you could try switching between the two, but typically you write a query in the POV of the main character. You're making great progress!

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at post 5)

Post by akila » April 17th, 2011, 10:43 am

Thank y'all so much again. Your comments are really helping me figure out exactly what's wrong with my query and how I want to represent it to agents. The first thing is that I want to get away from the romance aspect --- yes, there is romance threaded throughout the novel (as in most novels), but, first and foremost, it's a supernatural mystery --- kind of John Grisham meets Dan Brown meets the supernatural. Second, the book is written in third person limited between both Adam and Leah so both of their POVs are important to the story. I think I was trying to oversimplify on the last round so now I've added some more details in to make the query flow with the core of the story (and thanks Sarahdee for the point on the religions - that helped me think about the mystery at the center of the novel). Adam's widowhood is also a common refrain through the book --- I can definitely cut it out of the query but I think this version might reflect it better.

Sarahdee: On that last line, I copied verbatim something from Nathan's post about representing your novel as a series so I'm interested to hear your thoughts on it. I do think it has potential to be developed as a series but I don't want to turn off an agent with that innocuous line.

Dear Agent:

While drowning six years of widowhood into beer bottles on his front porch, attorney Adam Wesley glimpses what he believes to be an alcohol-flooded vision: his new neighbor is a seven-foot-tall woman with hair that gleams like a silver plate in the moonlight. When he meets her the next day, she is of ordinary height with mud brown hair and introduces herself as Leah Jones, a photographer searching for her missing brother. Four days later, men claiming to be descendants of King Solomon reveal her lies and demand her servitude.

The Muslim descendants call her a jinn. The Christian descendant brands her a demon. Leah insists that she is merely a teleporter. Adam thought she was just a nice pretty girl.

Adam’s staid world flips inside out as he helps Leah escape her would-be captors, find her missing brother, and discover her connection to the madness plaguing the plaintiffs in his new lawsuit. Adam does not expect her to ensnare his tenuous heart as they struggle to answer a question at the mystical core of two religions: what is Leah Jones?

MOONLIGHT FALTERS is my debut contemporary fantasy novel, complete at 100,000 words. It has been written as a stand-alone novel but I believe has strong potential to be developed into a series.

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at post 9)

Post by AllieS » April 19th, 2011, 9:15 pm

While drowning six years of widowhood into beer bottles I think this might make more sense if you say "in beer." Otherwise, all I can think of are the bottles. on his front porch, attorney Adam Wesley glimpses what he believes to be an alcohol-flooded vision: his new neighbor is a seven-foot-tall woman with hair that gleams like a silver plate Why a plate? Couldn't it just be "like silver"? in the moonlight. When he meets her the next day, she is of ordinary height with mud brown hair This part still sounds awkward to me. It doesn't flow as well as the previous parts. Using mud brown in a query still seems too specific. and introduces herself as Leah Jones, a photographer searching for her missing brother. Four days later, men claiming to be descendants of King Solomon reveal her lies and demand her servitude.

The Muslim descendants call her a jinn. The Christian descendant brands her a demon. Leah insists that she is merely a teleporter. Adam thought she was just a nice pretty girl. I like this paragraph, but I have a few quibbles with it. What does Leah do that would make them think she is a jinn/demon, when all she can do is teleport? I like Adam's line, but I feel that nice and pretty put together like that is too much. You could leave it at pretty girl, or nice girl. I prefer pretty girl, because all he really knows about her yet is the way she looks.

Adam’s staid world flips inside out as he helps Leah escape her would-be captors, find her missing brother, and discover her connection to the madness plaguing the plaintiffs in his new lawsuit. Adam does not expect her to ensnare his tenuous heart as they struggle to answer a question at the mystical core of two religions This part sounds a little pretentious. I'd change the phrasing, especially when it comes to "ensnare" and "tenuous.": what is Leah Jones?

MOONLIGHT FALTERS is my debut contemporary fantasy novel, complete at 100,000 words. It has been written as a stand-alone novel but I believe has strong potential to be developed into a series.

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at post 9)

Post by Falls Apart » April 20th, 2011, 2:58 pm

Really interesting premise! A couple things I'd say would be . . .

The last sentence in P1 really confused me. "Reveal her lies" seems a bit awkward. Maybe be a bit more specific about what the lies are? Also, I've never heard people refered to as Muslim descendents and Christian descendents. It makes it seem like they're Muslim/Christian solely by heritage, and in the context, it seems like they're practicing to at least some degree. Just me, though; overall, really, really good!

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at post 9)

Post by dragoness » May 23rd, 2011, 10:11 am

Why is Adam the protagonist and not Lea?
What is his motivation for helping her so much?
What is his conflict? Which critical decision he has to make?

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at post 9)

Post by akila » June 8th, 2011, 2:02 pm

Hi guys, I know it's been a while but I wanted to let you know that I've started querying last week and so far haven't gotten any nibbles (7 sent, 3 form rejections, 1 personalized rejection) . . . meaning that I think I need to tighten up my query. So, here is a new version:

For the first time since the death of his wife, luck soars through attorney Adam Wesley’s veins. He has brought in a mercury contamination lawsuit that should guarantee partnership and landed a date with his neighbor Leah Jones. But, Adam should have known better than to bank on luck.

Men claiming to be descendants of King Solomon interrupt their first kiss and reveal that she lies. They brand her a jinn and their slave. Leah admits that she is a teleporter. Adam thought she was just a nice girl.

Adam’s staid world flips inside out as he helps Leah escape her captors and connects her brother’s disappearance to the madness affecting the plaintiffs in his new lawsuit. His work and heart crumbles as they struggle to answer a question at the mystical core of two religions: what is Leah Jones?

MOONLIGHT FALTERS is a 91,000 word contemporary fantasy with legal mystery elements, written from the dual perspectives of Adam and Leah. Though written to stand alone, I believe it has strong series potential.
Last edited by akila on June 14th, 2011, 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at post 9)

Post by michelleimason » June 9th, 2011, 3:25 pm

Hi akila! I'm just looking at this version so I can be like an agent who doesn't have any other background on your story.
akila wrote:LATEST VERSION

For the first time since thehis wife's death of his wife, luck soars (not sure about "soars" as a word choice) through attorney Adam Wesley’s veins. He hasHe's brought in a mercury contamination (Is the type of lawsuit important? If not, I'd suggest you refer to it in terms of how much money it will bring in or something else) lawsuit that should guarantee partnership and landed a date with his neighbor Leah Jones. But, Adam should have known better than to bank on luck. Like this line.

Men claiming to be descendants of King Solomon interrupt theirhis first kiss with Leah and reveal that she lies (or "is lying"?). They brand her a jinn (not sure what this means) and their slave. Leah admits that she is a teleporter. Adam thought she was just a nice girl. I'm not sure about this last line. I think you could have a more interesting reaction from Adam.

Adam’s staid world flips inside out as he helps Leah escape her captors and connects her brother’s disappearance to the madness affecting the plaintiffs in his new lawsuit. Her brother's involved now? I think you need to lead into that a little more. Also, do you mean literal madness? It sounds like the plaintiffs are going mad. If you mean the case is crazy, rephrase. His work and heart crumbles as they struggle to answer a question at the mystical core of two religions: what is Leah Jones? I'm wondering what this question has to do with his work and heart. Maybe rephrase as: As his work and heart crumble, they struggle to answer... Also wondering what the two religions are and why her identity is at the core of them.

MOONLIGHT FALTERS is a 91,000 word contemporary fantasy with legal mystery elements, written from the dual perspectives of Adam and Leah. Though written to stand alone, I believe it has strong series potential.
I like the fact that you focus on Adam's viewpoint in the query even though your story is told from two viewpoints. It leaves more mystery than if you start with Leah. I've also seen agents say it's better to focus on one with the query letter. It definitely sounds like an interesting story. Good luck!

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Re: Query - Moonlight Falters (new version at post 9)

Post by Quill » June 9th, 2011, 11:44 pm

akila wrote:LATEST VERSION

For the first time since the death of his wife, luck soars through attorney Adam Wesley’s veins.
Awkward image, luck soaring through veins. Veins are filled with liquid, they are like underground rivers. How could anything soar through them. Soaring is usually associated with air and flight.

He has brought in a mercury contamination lawsuit that should guarantee partnership and landed a date with his neighbor Leah Jones.
These don't sound like the products of luck. They sound like the results of work and chutzpah.
But, Adam should have known better than to bank on luck.
It doesn't feel like he is banking on luck despite you saying he did.
Men claiming to be descendants of King Solomon interrupt their first kiss
This is abrupt and requires rereading to determine if what we are reading is really what you are saying. And this interrupts the flow.

Refresh my memory, who was King Solomon?
and reveal that she lies.
They actually reveal it? Or merely claim this? Also, what is she lying about. We haven't heard her say anything at all. Something about the kiss? The dinner?

They brand her a jinn and their slave.
How do they brand her? With an actual branding iron?

Refresh my memory, what is a jinn?
Leah admits that she is a teleporter.
But not a jinn or their slave?

What does teleporting have to do with anything?
Adam thought she was just a nice girl.
Not sure the offhand humor works here. It's like we haven't gotten enough info about her for the joke to really land. Like, where is she from and what is she doing here?
Adam’s staid world flips inside out
His world hasn't come across as staid. He lost his wife, then landed a huge lawsuit and a hot date, that's all the background we have on him. Those don't say "staid" to me.
as he helps Leah escape her captors and connects her brother’s disappearance to the madness affecting the plaintiffs in his new lawsuit.
Okay, but the sentence is feeling stretchy with this new character introduced kind of indirectly.
His work and heart crumbles as they struggle to answer a question at the mystical core of two religions: what is Leah Jones?
An awkwardly constructed sentence right where you need to nail us with the crux of the matter.

1. Crumble, not crumbles. Work and heart, they crumble.

2. As written it seems to say that his work and heart (they) struggle to answer a question.

3. Abrupt: "at the mystical core of two religions". You haven't really set the stage for a "DaVinci Code" religious heaviness, in my opinion. Could be a smoother intro than the "Men claiming" line and this one.

4. "what is Leah Jones" doesn't make sense to me. Is the identity of his teleporting neighbor really at the core of two religions? Why? How so? Is she thousands of years old? Are these a couple of the more modern religions, like, Scientology? Give us a clue.

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