Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
priya g.
Posts: 109
Joined: September 26th, 2010, 2:10 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by priya g. » October 8th, 2010, 5:29 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Agora Beckwith can't congratulate herself for being a superhuman- there are just too many like her out there. She can only hide in the shadows and hope that her destiny will lead her to save lives and serve the ultimate purpose of her creation. Being a fire protector doesn't come with many perks: fingertips that give off fire sparks are hardly worth showing off; an inexplicable hunger for flames that can never be satiated is labelled freaky, reincarnation is overrated and an obsession with making checklists doesn't always come handy in this world.

She follows the checklist titled ‘Life’ to the dot, but crumples the same when Dave Douglas enters her life. Falling in love with a water protector was never an option, for has a flame ever lasted on a layer of ice? Every rational thought is clunked into the dustbin- from the knowledge of who she is to how dangerous this relationship can be, if the rulers of their kinds find out.

Protectors are supposed to be selfless; each moment of their human lives are devoted to saving creatures of Earth from the fatal effects of water and fire- from drowning episodes at sea to evacuating residents of a burning home. To fulfil their purpose, they work in harmony, the Water and Fire Protectors, but never cross boundaries that nature has erected between them. Never will a day come that water and fire will stand on the same ground without destroying each other.

When Dave and Agora face the punishment of an untimely end, they have to make a choice- separation and forgiveness or an impending road to doom.

A LULLABY is a YA paranormal romance, complete at 150,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Posts: 16
Joined: October 6th, 2010, 4:18 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by pavloviandoggy » October 9th, 2010, 6:24 pm

Young Deccaura is smitten. From the moment they meet, exotic Piorri captivates Deccaura with his talent for art and archery. As Piorri teaches Deccaura about his tribe’s culture, mundane treks in her father’s groves become grand adventures. Then a foreign plague strikes Deccaura’s family and her childhood swiftly ends.

Still reeling from her father’s death, Deccaura is forced into a marriage to an aloof and bankrupted king that only wants her dowry. Her husband coldly dismisses her even after she bears him an heir. The king’s spiteful mistress turns the court against her. As the king’s advisors deny Deccaura access to her own child, she becomes increasingly despondent. Trapped by her own loneliness, Deccaura finally gains a spark of happiness when a childhood Piorri reenters her life.

Soon Deccaura’s old infatuation transforms into a new desire. Yet Deccaura is gambling with more than her own heart. It is prophesied that an unfaithful queen will bring the goddess’s curse upon her entire country. Deccaura could lose everything she holds dear—her homeland, her child, and her lover—for a few moments of pleasure.

THE BEACON is a high/epic fantasy complete at 120,000 words. I am currently unpublished. I have included the first five pages below. The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Posts: 33
Joined: April 26th, 2010, 3:54 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by CraftyCreations » October 12th, 2010, 2:54 pm

Dear Mr Bransford;

One in three women in the Armed Forces is sexually assaulted or raped by her comrade in arms.

Since 2005 CNN, ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS have reported on rape in the military. The Pentagon investigates, unit commanders try to find a way to stop it but more and more victims still come forward.

I was one of them.

In 1976, at the age of eighteen and fresh out of high school I joined the Women’s Army Corps. I hated Congress’ decision to get rid of the WAC’s and make us a part of the Army. I wasn’t crazy about firing weapons or running but I loved the camaraderie, my work as a pharmacy technician and supply sergeant and the sense of belonging to something bigger than me. I loved my time in Germany with its parties and carnivals but hated Fort Riley with its almost nightly rapes while I was in the field.

Everyone equates rape with violence, but no one thinks about the coercion and threats, something as simple as not going before a promotion board, being stuck on guard duty alone in the middle of the night, or desertion. Not all rapes are violent.

Germany had the reputation for "making" or "breaking" a marriage. Fort Riley had the reputation for "making" or "breaking" a person. I didn't break until my second trip to Germany and the man I broke it on suffered four broken ribs, a broken foot, a black eye, and a massive goose-egg on his head! I still don't feel guilty. I was threatened with courts-martial for causing injury to a superior officer but luckily my commander managed to have everything dropped provided I agreed to get out of the service for being three pounds over weight. I served for twelve years.

I took my oath seriously but rape changed everything for me. It left me quiet, alone, in fear and angry at myself. No longer did I want to die for country, I just wanted to die. Haunted by memories I remained silent for over twenty years.

SILENT NO MORE: A SOLDIER’S STORY OF SURVIVING MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA is a 100,000-word memoir of my career in the Army and how I went from victim to survivor.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I can spell - my keyboard can't.

Posts: 8
Joined: October 13th, 2010, 8:43 am

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by robyn » October 13th, 2010, 8:57 am

Dear Mr. Bransford,
Thirteen-year-old best friends, Anna (a diabetic) and Claire have almost perfect lives, until their world is blown apart. They’re lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains―and nighttime is fast approaching.
A massive thunderstorm strikes and they have gotten off the security of their trail, ensuring they will be forced into life-threatening circumstances, including the fact that Anna’s insulin pump only has enough insulin to last a few hours. Without it, she will lapse into a diabetic coma. Time is their enemy.
The girls own insecurities and fears drive them apart. Anna lets her pride and independence overrule her common sense. Claire isn’t much better. They go their separate ways, not realizing – at first-- that they cannot survive on the mountain alone. They need each other.
Can they find their way back to each other, past their pride and petty arguments, and somehow make it back down the mountain before Anna lapses into a diabetic coma?
An adventure novel for middle graders, SEVENTY-TWO HOURS is complete at 35,000 words. Fans of Gary Paulsen’s HATCHET and Daniel Defoe’s ROBINSON CRUSOE will enjoy some of the same elements of adventure, with a strong young teen voice.
I am a horse owner and veteran trail rider. I also have type one diabetes and have experienced the physical and psychological symptoms associated with insulin deprivation.
If you would like to consider SEVENTY-TWO HOURS, I’d be happy to send the complete manuscript to you. It is a multiple submission.
Thank you for your time and consideration. As per the guidelines on your website, the first ten pages are included in the body of this email.
Robyn Campbell

User avatar
Posts: 69
Joined: July 17th, 2010, 10:01 pm
Location: Pekin, Illinois

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by arbraun » October 22nd, 2010, 4:04 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford:

Alex Benson just lost his wife to suicide. With his spouse’s death haunting his heart, he can’t live a peaceful life, so he goes to an Apostolic Pentecostal church hoping extreme faith will help him heal. But when an adolescent Wiccan hypocrite named Kaitidid Rogers develops a crush on him, pursuing him with psychic powers, being a widower is the least of his worries. Now he faces the fight of his life to get rid of an insane schoolgirl who thinks she’s in love with him.

When Alex finds Drucilla Powers, she fills the void his wife left behind. Also a Wiccan, she initiates him into her coven when he leaves Christianity. Fat lot of good church did him with an underage psycho on his heels. Upon coming clean about Kaitidid when Drucilla spies her in the background of a few pictures she’d taken of him, she rushes home to cast a counter spell on her to bind her.

Alex descends back into grief when Drucilla spontaneously combusts before she can cast the spell. He knows Kaitidid is behind the “accidental death,” and, not thinking, calls the police, who take her side. Lucky for him, God doesn’t. Alex repents with a contrite heart and begs Him for the strength to overcome.

Since Alex tattled on her and Kaitidid can’t break through with her powers anymore, she comes after him with a butcher knife. Now he’ll have to kill or be killed if he ever wants to live a normal life again.

BOOK OF SHADOWS is a completed 66,000-word horror novel similar to novels such as CARRIE by Stephen King and THE REACH by Nate Kenyon.

I’m querying you because you said you’re looking for not only the genres you favor, but also whatever you might like. I used to be a serious Wiccan, and I have a background in the Apostolic Pentecostal faith, so I’ve been on both Alex and Kaitidid’s sides. I have ten short story publications, plus a chapter of a guidebook soon to be released.

I also can’t stand the Lakers.

I appreciate your time in considering my query.

Best Regards,

A. R. Braun

User avatar
Melissa LR Handa
Posts: 37
Joined: October 25th, 2010, 4:04 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Melissa LR Handa » October 25th, 2010, 4:24 pm

Dear Nathan,

Although she is a talented painter, Daly prefers to live her life in black and white—her journey to India, the irrepressible land of color, just may change things a bit.

Throughout her life, Daly English has faced continual set backs including the death of one parent and the emotional estrangement of the other, abandonment by her long-term boyfriend, and unemployment. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Daly decides to numb herself to the world by locking any bout of emotional intensity away in her journal. Safeguarded from both pain and joy, this technique works well until Daly meets someone who cares too much to let her fade into the background of her own life.

A light-hearted charmer from India, Kashi is a firm believer in the power of destiny, refusing to take Daly on a date until they have met a chance total of three times. Comforted by his perennial optimism and carefree attitude, Daly allows herself to fall in love. Their romance unfolds quickly after a captivating first date at the zoo and a sensual second date at a starlit summit. Together they travel to the vibrant, enchanting city of New Delhi, where Daly must win the approval of Kashi’s family so that the two may wed. But finding happiness now would have been too easy for Daly. First she must face the ghosts of her past, if she is to build a future that she can live through.

THE IRON PILLAR is an 85,000-word piece of multicultural women’s fiction.

Like my protagonist, I have been captivated by India, my husband’s homeland. In our seven years together, Hitesh has taught me his cultural customs, religious philosophy, and even his mother tongue. When I’m not working feverishly on my second novel, I serve as the Lead Books Contributor for

Thank you for your time and your consideration.


Melissa LR Handa, MA
Last edited by Melissa LR Handa on December 15th, 2010, 10:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 2
Joined: October 27th, 2010, 10:11 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by jef » October 27th, 2010, 11:09 pm

The alarm Eddie Watson woke to could signal any number of things: the air conditioner overheated, a computer malfunction, another storm—problems he could fix. It turns out to be Marauders staging a raid, more perilous, but still something he can handle. He hopes. Why they’d mess with a small place in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, he didn’t know, but no one else is stupid enough to be outside in one hundred twenty degree heat. And that belief, along with the bullet he shot into the town’s new militia commander, is what sets a price on his head.

Eddie isn’t a fighter. He grows plants and fixes motorcycles. Running from the enraged Captain Logan is the only thing he can think of. To his relief, he doesn’t have to go alone. Plenty of friends (specifically, adult friends) decide to go with him, helping him fight off the soldiers sent to apprehend him.

While he escapes, Logan is demoted for his inept management of the town. He decides the only thing that will fix his career is dragging back the boy who ruined him. As the hunt goes on, first east and then south, he realizes obtaining Eddie won’t solve his problems. Nothing will. The only thing he has left is revenge. And he’ll destroy anyone who gets in his way.

All this under the glare of an unforgiving sun. For Eddie, freedom is South America. And the price is every person he calls a friend.
A SAFE PLACE IN HELL is a 75,000 word dystopian/YA novel. Thank you for taking the time to look at my submission. The full manuscript is available on request and I am submitting it to other agents at this time.

Posts: 3
Joined: October 4th, 2010, 4:54 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by IanDGSandusky » November 2nd, 2010, 10:34 pm

Mr. Bransford,

I would like to submit for consideration for my novel, Bare, a Thriller complete and edited at 64,000 words.

Morgan Lee, a twenty-one year old stripper, spends her nights prowling the floor at Bared Intentions. In the club, she's a veritable hunter, stalking her grounds for men willing to part with their money, yet when first light breaks, her outside life, devoid of friends and the family she left behind, comes into focus. She sleepwalks through her days, waiting for the next shift when her power over men creates a high to mask the pain.

When girls begin to disappear from Bare amid suspicious circumstances, Morgan knows the police are the least likely to care. No one writes a eulogy for a missing stripper. She must untangle the intricate web of lies strung between her former-savior employer, and the undercover cop who recruits her as an informant. When lines of allegiance blur and human trafficking becomes involved, Morgan must find the truth before sunrise, lest she be the next sold into sexual slavery by the one she least expected.

My writing credits include the publication of my first novel, "Grey Dogs,” a psychological horror-take on the traditional zombie apocalypse theme, with a worldwide print release through the Severed Press on October 31st, 2010. As well, I have a story included in the forthcoming "Strange Tales of Horror" Anthology soon to be released through NorGus Press.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Upon your request, I would be more than happy to send you the full manuscript.

Ian DG Sandusky

User avatar
Posts: 58
Joined: August 14th, 2010, 7:38 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by airball » November 4th, 2010, 1:19 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

It is 1644, and Parliament’s armies have risen against the King and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels’ hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget’s friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and – like other mutinous women – is sentenced to be burnt alive. Esther proclaims her innocence and begs Bridget to help clear her name. Bridget believes that her friend has been wrongly convicted, and sets out to find the real killer.

Bridget is joined in her search by a new apprentice, Martha Hawkins, who has fled to York to start a new life. Martha proves a quick study in the delivery room, and Bridget has high hopes for her protégé’s future. But when the two women are attacked in a dark alley, she sees another side of Martha, as she shows herself far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be.

To save Esther from the stake, Bridget and Martha must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha’s past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city’s most powerful families to the alleyways and brothels of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esther’s murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a multitude of sins, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand.

TREASON is a 90,000-word historical mystery, and the first in potential series set in Revolutionary England. I have a doctorate in history with a focus on early modern Britain, and have published articles on the history of midwifery in top historical journals.

Sincerely yours,

Sam Thomas
Author of The Midwife's Story: A Mystery due out from St. Martin's Press in 2013
Team Blog=

Posts: 15
Joined: November 4th, 2010, 3:46 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Erin » November 4th, 2010, 3:55 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Emily Hennas has the power to ease a man’s suffering--the man responsible for murdering her family.

After her husband, son and daughter are killed by a drunk driver, Emily is left alone to raise her youngest son. She moves to New York, to be near her brother, and faces the most difficult decision of her life: keep fighting for the justice her children deserve, or forgive the driver, Conway Duke, for causing their deaths.

Driven by anger and survivor’s guilt, shadowed by the memory of her emotionally abusive husband, Emily engages the legal fight. Forging an unlikely friendship with her neighbor, complications ensue when an unwanted attraction develops. But Emily has "rules" for their friendship. And friendship is all it must be.

The legal battle ignites and the emotionally charged case changes course in one explosive moment. Conway Duke is seriously ill and might never stand trial.

My 87,000 word women's fiction novel, TRIAL OF THE HEART, explores a mother’s love, a woman’s heart and the obsession for justice.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


John Dillon
Posts: 28
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 7:25 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by John Dillon » November 5th, 2010, 12:17 pm

Last edited by John Dillon on December 29th, 2010, 8:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 9
Joined: September 22nd, 2010, 11:15 am

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by unprintableme » November 9th, 2010, 3:56 pm

Dear Mr. Bransford,

If Richard slips up and reveals his telepathic abilities, the inevitable witch-hunt for his kind could tear society apart.

The trouble is that Richard doesn't know he's a telepath. He's just an eleven year-old orphan who hears whispers. That couldn't be telepathy, could it? However, when Richard finds himself in the custody of Dr. Holmes, he realizes he's in trouble. Dr. Holmes appears willing to do anything to prove telepathy exists, using a scalpel if necessary.

Dr. Rothchild doesn't believe in telepathy. Despite that, her desire to work with children finds her assisting Dr. Holmes with his research. Dr. Rothchild soon polarizes with Dr. Holmes over his ethics and his treatment of the children. Somehow Dr. Rothchild must find a way to protect Richard and the other children from Dr. Holmes's zeal while not getting fired.

What Richard and Nancy don't know is that others are looking for a way to terminate Hugo's project. The way these 'others' seek is one that will escape the notice of the media and the government, so they can continue living in safety while listening to our thoughts.

HEARING VOICES is a paranormal fiction novel, complete at 84,000 words. I have appended <X> for your consideration.

Clinton Forsythe

Neil Larkins
Posts: 15
Joined: August 17th, 2010, 2:13 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Neil Larkins » November 19th, 2010, 5:55 pm

Mr. Bransford:
This is my query/synopsis. Thanks for making this possible.

Title: Destiny's Hammer
Genre: Epic YA Fantasy/Adventure
Length: 183,000 words, Prologue, 35 Chapters in 4 parts, 2-part Epilogue

Extended synopsis -

"It is 1963. Frances is a lonely fourteen year-old struggling for survival in a small, mid-central Kansas town. Taunted by schoolmates and abused by family, Frances longs to find happiness and freedom from her life constricted by a physical handicap, but convinced it will never happen. Then her world is turned topsy-turvy by the arrival of a mysterious history teacher who challenges Frances to follow her dreams and take hold of her destiny. When she accepts that challenge, she - along with her best and only friend - is taken on an adventure ride of such an unlikely nature that even she finds it hard to believe. But happen it does, and through her courage and fortitude Frances is changed in a way that she could have never imagined...or expected."

Short synopsis -

"'Destiny's Hammer' is a Young Adult novel about Frances, a physically-challenged teen who rockets back to the twelfth century to steal a priceless artifact, gets stuck there and through her wits alone has to figure out how to get home."

Neil Larkins

Posts: 5
Joined: November 30th, 2010, 8:18 pm

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by kbaumeister » November 30th, 2010, 8:21 pm

Dear Mr. Agent,

Set in 2034 in an America drunk on religion and consumerism Virtual Jerusalem is the tongue-in-cheek epic of Ken Clarion, a retiring spy on a seemingly simple final mission that blossoms into a global crisis, forcing Ken to choose between his life and the plans of enemies who see the Apocalypse as a winning business model. Combining elements of commercial and literary fiction with wit, mystery, philosophy, and politics, and written in sparkling prose, Virtual Jerusalem is a fast-moving, dialogue-rich novel of 117,000 words.

Accepting his final mission with the sort of ambivalence that can only lead to trouble, Ken and his young, evangelical partner, Tuck Squires, travel to Boston to retrieve the victim of a failed kidnapping attempt, Dr. Diana Cross. Learning firsthand that Diana’s technology, SpiritWare, allows its users to communicate with something that may or may not be God (and that the President sees SpiritWare as a way to head off a rapidly-escalating crisis in the Middle East) Ken and Tuck are nonetheless convinced that the bungling kidnappers have long since given up. When a second kidnapping attempt succeeds Ken and Tuck set off on parallel investigations that lead them to New Orleans, the Caribbean, and beyond. Winding their way through a world gone horribly yet comically wrong they ultimately come face-to-face with Diana’s kidnappers, Christian mogul and Jesus Burger founder, Ravelton Parlay, and his chief henchman, Iraq War hero, Jack Justice. Featuring an ending filled with high stakes political intrigue, biting satire, and revelations about the nature of humanity itself, Ken’s final mission forces him to come to terms not only with death but the meanings of justice, sacrifice, and freedom.

I hold an MFA in Fiction from Emerson College. A few years ago I left a career in corporate strategy to write full-time. Virtual Jerusalem is my first novel. Authors that have influenced my work include Martin Amis, Don Delillo, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you.

Best Regards,

User avatar
Posts: 741
Joined: November 27th, 2010, 8:25 am
Location: Plantser-ville

Re: Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Watcher55 » December 2nd, 2010, 12:08 am

Dear Specific Agent,

After reading your interviews with _____ and ______ I wanted to query you first. THE NINTH ADDICT is a 75,000-word historical science fiction novel.

Ted is a 17-year-old boy. At six feet tall, with his straight nose, dark green eyes and jet-black eyebrows, he resembles an emaciated wolf. Most 17 year olds gifted with his intelligence know things – like their name. The gods took Ted’s away from him after they took him from his own time in their effort to create a species of man whose body is an entire universe.

Ted escapes, but finds himself in Nero’s Rome at the flashpoint of the infamous nine-day fire that claimed a third of the city. Ted finds he has the power of Zeus and it frightens him to the edge of madness. He doesn’t want power, he just wants to go home, but the gods have declared war on him and, he’s told, they are willing to murder thousands in order to kill either of Ted’s ancestors. If the gods succeed and Ted ceases to exist, he can’t ruin the gods’ original plan by doing something he’s apparently already done. What neither the gods nor Ted know is that if Ted fails, for any reason, the universe will rip itself apart and drift into Chaos.

I hold a BA in History from Freed Hardeman University, and after fifteen years of research in preparation for this work, I can say that First Century Rome is more like 21st Century Western Civilization than we might care to admit. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

Last edited by Watcher55 on December 3rd, 2010, 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests