Friday, October 8, 2010

The Great Query Contest of October 2010

This is it!  Post your query below as a comment by midnight Sunday, October 17th.

The rules:
Post a query for a novel-length work of fiction.  Any genre is acceptable, although I have a greater familiarity with young adult, new adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, science fiction, and chick lit. While you should never query agents until your book is complete and has been polished through several revisions, this contest is aimed at helping writers improve their work, so feel free to enter if your work is nearly complete or still in an early draft.

By posting, you agree that I may re-post your query (in whole or in part) for the critique and the subsequent contest. 

You may post only one query per book, but you may post additional entries for additional books. 

No links or attachments, please!

Your query may be in any style.  While I have some suggestions (Writing Query Letters 101), you do not need to follow them if you feel that your letter will be stronger if you write it another way.

Your query letter must be suitable for online readers (high school age and older)--even if your book isn't. 

Once the first round of the contest ends, you'll have a chance to revise and resubmit your query letter, and we'll put these newly-polished gems to a public vote.  The winner will receive a vicious mauling partial critique of the first 30 pages of his/her manuscript by yours truly. 

Questions? Comments? Just ask below.

Let the games begin!

58 comments:

Jen Daiker said...

What an awesome opportunity!!!

aspiring_x said...

so... we post the queries in the comments?? and it doesn't have to be a finished work???
sorry! my brain's still functioning on slow-mo this morning. need coffee....

Disgruntled Bear said...

You've got it exactly right, aspiring_x! Just post the text of the letter right in the comments. The book doesn't need to be done (for this contest), but you should have several chapters completed, at least, since the prize is a partial critique.

Carole Anne Carr said...

A great opportunity, it will benefit so many people.

aspiring_x said...

ok, then! let's get this party started! (i'm absolutely terrible at query writing- but i could TOTALLY use the crit!) here goes nothing:

Sixteen-year old Haley Martin doesn’t like conflict. She keeps her head down, stays out of trouble. She doesn’t know trouble has been seeking her for generations, and now it has found her.

The rural town of Linney, Kansas guards its secrets well, but the secret things are sick of being hidden. When Haley moves to Linney, the ghosts of the town’s victims begin to creep out of the woodwork to make contact with her, literally.

Just when she’s certain she has lost her mind, Haley stumbles across Beau- a homeless boy- asleep in her shed. Beau tells Haley of a malicious secret society that has controlled Linney since its inception. His father and sister have been murdered by the society led by The Mayor- his mother.

Haley finds herself drawn into the battle between the society and the remnant who still resist them. Ghost stories, magic journals, and local legends blend into reality as Haley tries to figure out why the society orchestrated her move and what exactly they want with her. Pursued by ghosts, cloaked sociopaths, a wicked witch who just won’t die, and the romantic interest of two brothers on either side of the battle, Haley seeks justice, truth, and- above all else- the safety of her family.

Folk Lore is a 95,000 word work of YA Magic Realism. I sincerely appreciate your time!

Disgruntled Bear said...

Thanks for starting us off, aspiring_x! I'll post the critique on Monday. Happy Weekend!

aspiring_x said...

thank YOU kate! *bites nails*

Deniz Bevan said...

What a great idea! But, eek, I'm only the second one? Well, here goes...

Dear [agent],

I am seeking representation for my 90,000 word young adult historical
fantasy THE FACE OF A LION, centred around the time of the Roman
invasion of Britain.

THE FACE OF A LION features 13-year-old Austin and a magical cat named Kedi.

His parents rent a villa in Turkey for the entire summer and Austin
gets set for the most boring vacation of his life, away from all his friends in England. But that's before he rescues a talking cat,
witnesses a bloody ritual that causes two people to disappear, and
suddenly finds himself whisked back in time.

In Ephesus, nearly 2000
years in the past, he makes a new friend, falls in love – and finds an enemy. Evil forces are at work, doing their best to prevent Claudius the Emperor's invasion of Britain, and Austin has to act fast to figure out how to influence the Emperor and ensure that the invasion does take place. It's either that, or time and civilization as he
knows it will never be the same.

THE FACE OF A LION focuses on the themes of friendship and loyalty, as well as exploring the ideas of time travel and the day-to-day
decisions we make, for good or bad, that can have far-reaching
consequences.

Can Austin come up with a plan that will save his world?

Please let me know if you would be interested in seeing the manuscript of THE FACE OF A
LION.

Sincerely,

Deniz Bevan

Disgruntled Bear said...

Thanks for participating, Deniz! I'll post my critique of your letter on Tuesday.

lbdiamond said...

Count me in! Sounds fun!

Here's the body of my query:

A genetic mutation makes seventeen-year-old Justin Talent an outcast—it also makes his anemic blood a drug that can kill his sister’s murderer.
 
In a world where a vaccine-induced immortals drink blood to survive, Justin knows his days in government-sanctioned safe houses are numbered. Especially since he failed to stake Alex, the killer who snapped his sister’s neck. The one thing he wants to do before he dies is get revenge. Justin searches the human slave district, even the wilds outside the city for Alex, but the leech finds him first and decides to keep him around for his rare blood.
 
Justin has no intention of becoming the bloodsucker’s drug dispenser. He’s got a great plan to kill Alex—overdose him with his own blood—but he’s got to figure out how to get close enough to do it without losing his own life in the process.

Thanks!

lbdiamond said...

Lol! I forgot the word count & genre bit!

My YA Dystopian, TALENT'S BLOOD, is complete at 64,000 words.

kimysworld said...

Thank you for this opportunity! Here is my query letter:

Dear Agent,

In 1925, Liz Grayson succumbed to poisoning.  In 1955, she burned to death.  Today, she fears for her life.

Liz and her boyfriend, Chris Edwards, are ready to make their senior year at Jackson High a memorable one.  But when perfect-in-every-way Mina Manson moves to town, she sets her sights on Chris and warns Liz to stay out of her way.  Liz digs into Mina's past and discovers the three of them are trapped in a recurring love triangle that spans lifetimes where Mina gets Chris—and Liz ends up dead. 

Mina isn't her only problem.  Chris doesn't believe in past lives and thinks Liz is just jealous of Mina.  Every step Liz takes toward uncovering the truth pushes Chris one step further away.  Liz must find a way to prove the truth to Chris and expose Mina before history repeats itself and Liz loses everything. Again.

SOUL STALKER is a 67,000 word young adult paranormal romance. This novel is a standalone with series potential.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you.

Amie B said...

great contest! i do free query critique (or first page) on my blog every friday. i think everyone learns from it - myself included!

i may have to write a query for a WIP and get back to you!

Disgruntled Bear said...

Thanks for taking part, lbdiamond and kimysworld! I'll post the critiques on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Thanks for telling us about the query critique, Amie B--can you post a link?

Okay, we have one more spot to finish the week. First come, first served for the Friday post!

lexcade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lexcade said...

Dear Agent,

Subject Thirty-one wants her life back; if only she could remember it.

The Humani Project’s latest success believes she's human, but the panther DNA spliced to hers dictates otherwise. Jet black fur instead of skin. Claw-tipped fingers and toes. Fangs. A tail. Her only clue to a previous existence is the name “Janelle,” uttered by a brunette scientist with a tear rolling down her cheek.

Imprisoned in a sinister lab where failure equals termination, Janelle's survival depends on balancing her warring human and animal halves. But she doesn’t know the first thing about taming a wild animal, especially when it’s a part of her. And fantasies of escaping the lab become unbearable when it means leaving lead scientist, Lorenzo Fernandez, behind.

After Lorenzo breaks protocol to save her life and calls her by her name, the woman she was rises up in a determined hunt for the truth. Why does the one scientist she should hate above all others love her? Why does she feel the same? As time runs out, her only hope is to harness the animal within to protect herself and the man she loves.

Good thing cats have nine lives. She’ll need every one of them to uncover the truth.


DIRGE OF THE DESERT is a science fiction novel complete at 114000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Disgruntled Bear said...

Thanks for taking part, lexcade! I'll post the critique of your letter on Friday. We've had five wonderful contributions now--thanks, everyone!

If you still want to participate it's not too late! I'll post critiques of every letter I receive between now and October 17th. Then we'll start round two!

rkollman said...

I really appreciate this opportunity! Here is the "meat" of my query for commercial fiction/crime fiction, 70,000 words:

Dear [Name of Agent]:

Latina defense lawyer Gianne Noble thinks the stakes are as high as they can get when she takes on a capital murder case that forces her to save fallen Tejano star Benny Benavides from himself as well as from the needle. She's wrong. Gianne's legendary client faces execution for a double murder. He refuses to tell Gianne what happened, choosing death row over letting his daughter learn the unimaginable family secret that drove his desperate act. Then Gianne uncovers the gut-wrenching truth during trial. She has to decide: Turn away from her client for a chance to prove him innocent, or stand silent by his side and leave a young girl forever unaware her father sacrificed his own life to protect hers.
 
SHADOW OF TURNING is based on an actual case pulled from the files of an FBI profiler. Set in the Texas Hill Country, it juxtaposes the vibrant world of Tejano music with the stark evil of a depraved killer.

I live and practice law by the sea in Corpus Christi, Texas. My education in literature and law took root in my native Texas but was cultivated at Oxford. Here are [agent's requirements] of SHADOW OF TURNING for your consideration. Thank you for your time.

Let 'er rip! Thank you so much.  
 
 

lexcade said...

thanks for the opportunity, bear! looking forward to it!

Jennifer Armentrout said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer Armentrout said...

Thanks for the opportunity!!

Dear Agent,

Dying sucks. High school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. She died in a car accident two years ago, but her little sister’s touch brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies, and that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no touch policy with all living things—including boys. Until Daemon Cromwell breaks into her house, claiming she is gifted and his family can help control her gift. There’s just one catch. Ember has to trust Daemon’s father, a man she is sure has skeevy reasons for collecting gifted children like action figures.

Learning to control her fingers of death holds a powerful allure. Ember is willing to do anything to be able to hold her sister's hand again. And heck, she'd also like to be able to kiss Daemon. He's hotness incarnate and she's falling for him. But when Ember learns the accident that made her a freak wasn’t an accident, she’s not sure who to trust.

Someone wanted Ember dead, and they still do. The closer she gets to the truth, the closer she gets to finding out why Cromwell is interested in gifted kids like her sister. And the truth may cost her not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.

DMC said...

Thank you for holding this contest.

Dear Ms. Agent:

After surviving a year defending her bra-clasp against over cologned, under IQ-ed football players, Teagan declared her days of being a cheerleader and fighting trolls officially over. That was before her Grandmother’s 15th century antique globe teleported Teagan and her best friend Rachel to the mysterious island of Candleflora, where she learns her family tree overflows with monstrous secrets. Lost in a forest amidst real trolls dressed in bad fur coats, but expensive Donald Trump wigs, their rescue’s aided by Thomas, protector of the Candle Light Realm who recognizes Teagan as his sovereign princess. Teagan’s shocked because his Queen just happens to be her ailing grandmother. Her grandmother unveils another surprise: Teagan has a twin sister, Princess of the Candle Dark Empire who’s determined to make Teagan’s visit her last, desiring all of Candleflora for herself.

The sibling’s armies go to war, wearing magical hand guides which allow them to transform into different animals or warriors. The Empire’s elite poison billed Black-chinned Hummingbirds capture Rachel, and the sister tricks her into switching sides by painting her fingernails in black wax. Rachel steals the grandmother’s hidden hand guide depository of WMDs (Wickedly Massive Dragons), shifting the balance of power. The situation turns desperate when Teagan discovers their common enemy, the cannibalistic Bone Cutters, are planning to attack. Now Teagan must convince her sister to merge their forces before they strike. Unfortunately the twins are unaware of a final Brobdingnagian skeleton in the monarchical closet--their grandmother hoping to put some color back into her cheeks wants them both dead.

THE CANDLE DARK WICKED is a 89,000-word young adult fantasy novel. I was the founder and president of Strategy First, a worldwide publisher of entertainment software for twenty years. Our franchise titles, Disciples, a fantasy, and Jagged Alliance, an adventure role-playing release, sold over one million copies worldwide respectively and were geared to a young adult audience.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

mickip said...

Dear Dream Agent,
When Dotty and her two friends embark on an adventure to a remote African island, never in their wildest dreams do they imagine it might mean their demise.
From the outset of their travels, nothing goes to plan. Dotty expresses her concerns and her two friends question her crap judgement of character and self professed psychic abilities. First Lucas, the stranger she meets and implicitly trusts to organise their holiday, and then Raymond Milestone who they encounter in the coffee shop. His interest is their itinerary while Dotty’s are her hormones doing the tango.
Dotty placates her friends and interrogates their guide. He reveals they are guests of Major Milestone. Shock horror, Dotty’s wild assumption believes Milestone is a kidnapper for devious deeds. She schemes a hasty foolproof escape plan to find Lucas, which develops from one disaster to the next. But when her harebrained jaunt finds them in a notorious jail because she thinks the opium parlour is a perfume factory, the world falls out their bottoms. Their trusted guide negotiates their release. Meanwhile, Milestone pulls his hair out; the wretched women are about to blow his covert military operation and risk the lives of his personnel. He eventually engages the trio to explain his modus operandi for his clandestine protection. Lucas, head of the island’s drug cartel was to keep them hostages to abort the military’s destruction of his opium. Now Dotty has just one more scheme - how to capture the handsome Major’s heart after her reckless stupidity.
THREE BROADS AND A FRAUD is an 85,000- word comedy about three audacious sexagenarians whose wild imaginations run away with them.
Thanks you for your time in reading my query.
Sincerely
Micki Street

Natasha said...

Dear, Agent

If seventeen-year-old Sharlet Gales had known she was dating the son of the devil, she might have reconsidered.

After being stalked by him for weeks, Sharlet finally meets Kalav Devilson when she threatens to kill him with the tip of her mascara pen. Nevertheless, she can’t go through with it because he’s just the thing she needs to add some excitement in her life. And before she knows it, he turns her world upside down. No, literally—the trees hung down from the sky while they walked on top of the stars. They fall in love.

Kalav admits that he doesn’t want to be evil and promises to change. But after her best friend finds out that that he is carrying out his father's agenda, Sharlet learns that she may not have known Kalav as well as she thought. Unfortunately, Satan doesn't like the changes Sharlet is trying to push on Kalav and kidnaps him, hoping to lure her into Hell so he can dispose of her. Although she is livid with Kalav, Sharlet falls for Satan’s trap, and finds herself navigating through Hell—a world with mermaids, deserts made of honeycomb, and carbonated lakes. The thing is, everything beautiful here has its evils.

Sharlet believes Kalav can rise above his birthright. If he doesn't, however, she'll be a prisoner of hell for eternity—and the world will be taken over by the Anti-Christ. Sharlet's problem? Love might not actually be enough for him to change.

AMETHYST is a YA paranormal romance novel complete at 70,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration.

Zooks said...

Thanks for doing this!

Dear Ms. Agent,

DEATH AT THE DRIVE-IN is a slice of Billie Jenkins’ life. When she loses the lease on her Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre, Billie’s tempted to go into her usual shut-down mode. Like she did two years ago when, out of loneliness, she invented a son. Without income and a cast and crew depending on her, Billie must find a new theatre and write a new hit play that won’t require expensive sets and costumes, or she risks losing her beloved log cabin and defaulting on her student loans.

An amateur sleuth, Billie’s frustrated when the cops refuse her help in solving a local murder. One mention of her psychic visions and they scurry, but when a body from a cold case appears in her backyard, they’re all ears. In all this turmoil, Billie realizes her accountant, Emmett, is sweet on her. She’d like to let him know the feeling’s mutual but doesn’t remember how; it’s been decades since she dated.

Just when Billie thinks she’s getting her life under control, the death toll mounts when her newly widowed sister arrives. In touch with her inner detective, Billie knows something’s fishy when her sister reveals she scattered her husband’s ashes before the funeral. When Billie suspects her sister of murder, her need to solve the mystery intensifies.

A number of my short stories (or excerpts of other novels I’ve written) have been published, and a humorous play I wrote was recently produced. Am a member of SCBWI. I was recently a guest on LTV’s The Play is the Thing and discussed my various writing projects.

DEATH AT THE DRIVE-IN is 56,000 words of quirky women’s fiction that I believe will appeal to readers of Carrie Fisher’s writing.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

kdosh said...

Kate Dalton always thought Jake Bailey was her boomerang love – the person who was meant to be because they came back when you set them free. So what if he left and came back over and over again? Kate knew one day the timing would be right and they would be together.

Although she’d had a lot of practice at saying goodbye to Jake in the past, this time was different. As she watches Jake fight for his life, she faces letting him go forever. And not just because he might not make it, but because she’s trying to reconcile the love she’s always felt for him with the nagging questions about why they can’t ever seem to make their relationship work.

A dual narrative follows Kate as she meets and falls in love with Jake eight years prior and goes through the frustration of all their starts and stops. As the storylines merge, Kate is confronted with choosing between Jake and Charlie Tucker, her childhood best friend. When Charlie moves back to town and surprises her with a kiss one night, her schoolgirl crush on him comes flooding back to the surface. Instead of being excited at the prospect of moving on, however, Kate is terrified that letting Charlie into her life means leaving Jake behind forever.

BACK TO ME is women’s fiction and is completed at 80,000 words.

I lead a double-life as an attorney and sports analyst. My nonfiction book, Balancing Baseball: How Collective Bargaining Has Changed the Major Leagues is due out with noted sports publisher McFarland & Company in early 2011. I also write for Forbes in their SportsMoney section, and have been published by a leading national legal journal, an online magazine and a number of news outlets and blogs for my work on collective bargaining and other legal issues in sports. I make weekly television appearances with Comcast Sports Southeast and maintain a blog for their website. In addition, I maintain a blog where I write fictional characters who are not a part of any of my current works-in-progress (www.bluejeansandpearls.com).

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours truly,
Kristi Dosh
www.kristidosh.com

jennamattison said...

very cool! here goes....

When Liza Radley realizes it’s cheatin’ season and no self-respecting detective’s gonna spy on her husband for the $800 and change she has hidden in a plastic soap dish, she does what any normal transplanted Georgia Peach would do--she becomes a private eye.

While downing her fourth maple glazed curbside, Liza discovers “Eye Spy” , a shop for the self-motivated sleuth in the heart of Boston Common. Inspiration strikes and she enters the world of Jack Parella, the cocky yet sexy owner/operator who talks like Humphrey Bogart but with a Southie accent and is more than willing to train Liza in the ways of amateur sleuthing, while simultaneously infuriating and titillating her. Though Liza starts the journey intending to rebuild her crumbling suburban life, she finds herself thrust into a fiery mystery as head of "Crimes of the Heart Detective Agency" with Parella by her side. Thus our dynamic duo is primed for their next adventure, which I am currently writing.

EYE SPY is a 74,000 word women’s mystery. Though it is my first novel, I have written several feature films and have been reviewed as having “an ear for how women talk”; I also won a best screenplay award for my first film available on DVD, “Fish Without a Bicycle”. My second feature “The Third Wish” released by the Hallmark Channel, was called “ A delightfully frothy confection fairytale”. My latest project “For The Love of Money” is currently shooting in Los Angeles.
I can send the full manuscript if you like.

Mai said...

What a great opportunity and a fun contest!

Here goes:

For London Howell, it's hard enough just being sixteen without also worrying about an indifferent uncle and a dad who doesn't recognize his own son some days. London just wants to keep his head down and get by, a simple desire made impossible when a strange girl appears and claims he 'created' her. Whatever that's supposed to mean.

His plan to dump her off with the police gets derailed when he learns he's drawn the attention of the House of Dering, the family that rules over the city's mages. The measure of a mage's power lies in his soul--power which can be ripped free and exploited--and they think London's got one hell of a repository. They want him to find a Sieve to siphon his magic, but seeing as the family's got enough secrets to fill the Thames, London's pretty sure their intentions are less than benevolent.

Then his dad goes missing. With demons whispering in his ears, nightwalkers dropping him into shadows and the House of Dering on his back, London has no idea whom to trust. But he will make or break whatever alliances necessary to find his dad, even at the cost of his soul.

SOUL SIFTER is a YA urban fantasy at about 86,000 words. This is my first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Jeanne Lyet Gassman said...

Thank you for doing this. It's always nice to have fresh set of eyes take a look at the query.

Dear Agent,

Didymus of Tiberias is a successful caravan driver in Galilee who has created a new life and new identity for himself until his closest friend, Nathaniel, exposes his criminal past.

Didymus wants to forget his father sold him into slavery for the price of a broken donkey and a few coins. He wants to erase his memories of murdering his abusive master to escape to freedom. But when his fellow former slave and co-conspirator, Nathaniel, acknowledges he's confessed their crimes to a man named Jesus of Nazareth, Didymus fears he will lose everything he has so carefully crafted. If Jesus turns him in to the Roman authorities, he faces arrest and crucifixion. He will do anything--even kill again--to prevent that gruesome fate.

Using his caravan as a cover, Didymus pursues Nathaniel and Jesus from Capernaum to Jerusalem. But he never expects to fall in love with Tabitha, a former leper who has been healed by Jesus. He knows her first loyalty is to Jesus. He longs to make her his wife, but he doesn't know if he can trust her with his secrets. If she betrays him as well, it could cost him his life.

Complete at 95,000 words, THE BLOOD OF A STONE (historical fiction) was long-listed for the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project.

I hold an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and am the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. My short story, "First Flight," was a literary fiction finalist in the Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Other short pieces have been published in print and online.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

raquelhert said...

Well here's mine.

Dear agent,

Nine years without magic. Not such a bad price to pay for failing the Ordeal – the final test to become a magician, especially since Aaron hates magic.

But his magic is returning, whether he wants it to or not, including his gift of foresight. Through it he sees a war between magic users that will wipe all magic from the planet, including the last living wizard... his grandfather.

Somehow he must find a way to stop it. But his foresight is not helpful, and each time he tries to defy the visions it only leads him closer to the wars that plague his mind.
As he searches for answers he discovers the reason he failed the Ordeal. He is a wizard, or at least he can be, if the dragon who guards the wizard tower doesn’t eat him first. If he makes it through he can find the answers he seeks, and stop the wars that are prophesied through his visions. But he must embrace his magic and become a wizard himself.

Great. More magic. Just what he didn’t want.

DARK VISIONS is a fantasy novel completed at 101,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,

Shannon Schuren said...

Thank you for this wonderful opportunity!

Dear Agent,
I am seeking representation for my middle-grade fantasy novel, The Totally True Tales of Tansy Berry, Tooth Ferry.

When Ruth Canal takes over as CEO - Chief Extraction Officer - at Tooth Central, Tansy Berry is fired from the only job she’s ever loved. After a brief wallow in self-pity (and the North Pole Spa molasses pool), she’s ready to get her job back. To do so, she’ll need the help of Dr. Chip, an elf dentist with a temper and an obsession with the mythical Sweet Tooth.

But when they go undercover to infiltrate Tooth Central, they discover something rotten about the new management. And her ex-boyfriend, the cool but fickle Jack Frost, is involved. Not only is he following her, but he’s dating the Ferry who took over her route. And he seems to have more than a passing interest in the fate of those collected teeth. He’s up to something, or her name isn’t Tansy Berry, Tooth Ferry. Well, maybe it isn’t right now. But it will be again. She’ll bet her two front teeth on it.

This is a stand-alone novel with series potential, and will appeal to fans of Michael Buckley’s Sisters Grimm series. The manuscript is complete at 42,000 words and is available at your request.

I recently attended a 6-week revision class taught by NYT best-selling author Lani Diane Rich, as well as a Breakout Novel workshop with literary agent Donald Maass. My short stories have appeared in various journals such as Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, Big Pulp, The Binnacle, and Concisely Magazine.

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

Eliza Faith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eliza Faith said...

Dear Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Avikar has always dreamed of being an adventurer, but after his brother’s death, he stays home and accepts his life as a stable boy. Until, his beautiful sister Jeslyn is kidnapped, and the fear of losing another sibling sends him on a journey to rescue her. After failing to save his brother two years ago, he just can’t fail again. To find her, though, he must take on an unlikely ally--the man who kidnapped her.

His search for Jeslyn leads him to Eden--a secret paradise ruled by a young tyrannical, half-human lord named Lucino. Lucino has a hobby of collecting pretty girls, and has sent his men out on his latest request. Many girls are taken from their homes, but his desire to have the prettiest bride, makes Jeslyn the only girl worthy.

In order to reach Jeslyn, Avikar will have to face an ancient guardian snake, seductive dark haired beauties, and a battle where he is hopelessly outnumbered. He begins to realize that he is in way over his head, and questions his ability to save her. He will have to overcome his fear of inadequacy and believe that he can be the hero he was born to be, or else Jeslyn will be lost forever.

WINDS OF CHANGE is a complete, 65,000 word YA fantasy, with outlines done for future books.

I don’t have any fancy credentials, unless not dying in the first few chapters of a Choose Your own Adventure book counts.

Thank you for your time and consideration

Disgruntled Bear said...

Whoa--I take a sick day and end up with more than a dozen new queries!

Cool!/Yikes!

Feel free to keep 'em coming all weekend. I'll post critiques for every query I receive.

Clutzattack said...

So cool that you're doing this contest.

Dear Ms. Agent,

The last place Evvy expected to find love is in the arms of the fairy prince...which probably means she shouldn’t have rejected his marriage proposal.

In fairy tradition, the worth of a fairy girl is determined by the beauty of her flower, which is quantifiably measured by the number of human shoes paid to her father in exchange for her hand in marriage. With a blossomless flower, Evvy can hardly be considered worth a shoelace, let alone the shoe it came from. So when Evvy is kidnapped by Weeds but isn’t ransomed, she is certain she will never get a respectable husband, and the only thing she wants in life, is to be worth a pair of Converse High Tops.

While a prisoner of Weed outcasts, Evvy begins to feel acceptance, and possibly even loved by her abductor. However, in her decision to also become an exile, she hadn’t counted on the fairy prince showing up a season later to rescue her and declare her his intended bride.

Evvy rejects the prince’s proposal in favor of the home she’s found among his enemies—a decision she regrets after learning that the prince’s proposal was not shallow as she’d thought. Unfortunately, the prince is now rumored to have found another bride, one appropriately with a flower blossom. If Evvy can reconcile with the prince before he resigns himself to the love of another, true love might not be lost to Evvy forever.

SEEDS OF EDEN is a 75,000 word young adult fantasy novel, and can either be a stand-alone story or the first book of a series.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

My Name

lsmurphy.com said...

Cool Contest.
Dear Awesome Agent,

Quincy Amarante’s only goal in life is to be the “It” girl of Rancho Valley High and she’s determined not to let a little thing like the afterlife get in the way.
Unfortunately, Destiny has other plans. He shows up on her sixteenth birthday to ruin it with the news that she’ll become the fifth grim reaper.

Forced to learn the family business from a crabby dead relative, Quincy struggles to keep her status even while her priorities shift from who she wants to be to who she really is. After getting swept off her feet by the hot new guy in school, Quincy discovers that her romantic ideals are just another illusion to overcome. With her world unraveling one carefully placed thread at a time, she loses her best friend, falls in love with the last person she expected, and must make a decision that could cost her the most precious thing in the world: her life.

REAPER is complete at 66,000 words and is for young adults who enjoy urban fantasy.

Jess said...
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Jess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jess said...

Woops--having a little troubling pasting...sorry :)

Thanks so much for doing this!

Dear Agent:

A young girl strives selflessly (okay, it’s for a class project) and truthfully (okay, so she may tell a whopper or two) to rid her town of big fat liars in REGINA BRINKWELL & THE TRUTH BRIGADE, a 35,000-word middle grade novel.

Twelve-year-old Regina is sick of adults telling fibs. When a flexible community service requirement comes along in school, she jumps at the chance to form a Truth Brigade, exposing all dishonest grown-ups in Fredalia. The list of offenders includes soccer referees that make bad calls, dentists/doctors who lie about pain, and shoe stores with inconsistent sneaker prices. With best friend Skippy reluctantly by her side, Regina approaches the creepy town librarian for help—he’s been around forever and has the goods on everyone in town. Thanks to the old man’s diary of observations and a few aggressive picket lines and flyers, things get a little sticky and she may have said a couple of things that weren’t exactly, well, true. Regina vows to redeem herself.

Shady behavior of the Mayor, the Principal, and a teacher catches her attention and she orders a secret Brigade investigation; the other busts have been small potatoes, but this could be big. Making an teensy-weensy exception to their mission of honesty, she and Skippy break into the school to gather evidence. What they find isn’t pretty: one person is a blackmailer, one is a cheat, and one is covering up a heartbreaking secret. Disillusioned by the findings, Regina strives to turn her project into something positive before Fredalia has an honest-to-goodness breakdown.

I am a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Jess

Disgruntled Bear said...

Twenty one! Wow! I'm torn between the awesomeness that everyone's taking part in my contest and the ohmigosh that I now have to critique them all.

Thanks for posting, everyone!

rkollman said...

Bearfriend. You're in charge. Don't kill yourself here. Maybe you should consider explaining that due to an unscheduled sick day and the wholly unexpected and overwhelming response, to be as thorough as your own standards, as well as those of your blogfans and the participants expect, your are extending the time frame? Then figure out something that will work for you, if this doesn't. IMO, just because you announced one schedule doesn't mean you have to stick with it. Everybody not only will understand, it will rain kudos on you for garnering such a large response and for being so sensitive about it. Besides being a great role model for when things don't turn out quite how you expect. Just a thought.

rkollman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet Johnson said...

Wow you got a lot of these . . . hopefully you won't mind one more. :)

Dear [Agent],

Unable to ride a horse or wield a sword, seventeen-year-old Prince Bob—a.k.a. Prince Charming's little brother—is as steeped in failure as his brother is in success. Getting left behind in the face of war shouldn't shock him. And it wouldn't have if Charming (his ever encouraging brother) hadn't been the cause.

Humiliated and sent to drum up militia, Bob's out to prove himself, and hopefully lose his nick name (Prince Boob) along the way. But with villagers ready to mutiny and mysterious mishaps wreaking havoc on the soldier's unit, Bob realizes just how in-over-his-head he is. He's certain Charming would have handled the situation with ease.

When Bob stumbles on a traitor, then learns of the enemy's imminent attack on the town, the once-mutinous villagers turn to him for leadership. His chance has finally come, but Bob has other things to worry about. Like the enemy's plot to kill his father.

With the future of the nation in his hands, and his father's life on the line, failure is not an option. It's just all Bob has ever known.

The Other Prince is a fantasy novel for young adults of 108,000 words. Fans of Shannon Hale's Princess Academy, and Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted will enjoy this spin-off of Snow White.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

steph_mantle said...

Query Contest

Dear Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Haithem knows the warnings; use the stone and risk corrupting your soul -its too bad Haithem needs its magic to fulfill his destiny.

Haithem never fit in with his quiet rural community, so although he was shocked by the news that he was a member of an ancient magic-wielding race, he knew it to be the truth. He was awarded his birthright - a strange green gem, said to be imbued with the power to change its keeper's destiny. But is the stone a blessing or a curse?

Haithem sets out on a perilous journey to find his kin and request their aid against Gorthok, the Evil King of Suendra. He is not aware that Gorthok hunts the stone he carries until Gorthok sends his depraved wizards and barbarian soldiers to wreak havoc on the countryside and its peaceful inhabitants.

With the aid of companions he meets along the way, including a young rogue fighter, a beautiful warrior woman, and an ancient magical beast, Haithem finds that the story of the stone runs deeper than he could possibly have imagined. Now he must risk everything - including his soul - to save the land and the people that he loves. He hopes it will be enough.

DESTINY STONE is a 104, 000 Young Adult fantasy. It is a standalone with series potential. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.

Sincerely,

XXX

Deb Salisbury said...

Wow, you got a lot of response! Thank you for holding this contest.

Sixteen-year-old islander Denton is stunned when a grieving father demands he steal the holy Blue Anchor, which legend says can restore life to the dead. If Denton refuses, the blackmailer will murder his family. If he’s caught robbing the temple, the priests will throw him into the Pit, where he’ll be eaten alive.

But the Blue Anchor can’t revive the dead; instead it anchors an ancient imprisonment spell, and by removing it from the temple, Denton unchains a murderous wizard. When the wizard crawls out his prison and kidnaps Denton’s cousin, Denton blames himself.

He doesn’t have a speck of magic, but when sorcery sticks an oar into his affairs, he’s not about to let it scuttle his boat. Denton swears he’ll rescue his cousin, even if that means facing down the wizard. Alone.

ANCHORING THE RAIN is a 97,000 word fantasy that will appeal to fans of Patricia Wrede and Mercedes Lackey.

My story, Amber Profits, was published in Aurora Wolf’s first anthology, Aurora in the Dawn.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Disgruntled Bear said...

OMG! I'm so psyched to have gotten such a great response! I'll continue to post 1-5 critiques until I've gotten them all (it may take a few extra days). If you haven't posted yet, you have a few more hours. If you HAVE posted, keep an eye out--I'll respond in the order in which they were received.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Dear Agent:

When fifteen-year-old Alexia finds a portal, she discovers the mystical, but real, Land of Imagining.

Alexia is drawn to this world -- it's far more fascinating than the worlds in her stories. Her aspirations to become a best-selling novelist are forgotten when she learns she is an All-Knower. The rest of the peaceful, magical All-Knowers are in terrible danger. The Head Demon seeks to enslave and kill them, determined to rule the Land of Imagining.

A magic pen unleashes Alexia's hidden power: everything she writes with the pen comes true, giving only Alexia the ability to protect the All-Knowers as their Chosen One. Scared, Alexia hates her new power, worrying she is too inexperienced to wield it correctly.

After the Head Demon steals the pen and kidnaps her family, Alexia confronts her fear and travels to the Land of Imagining. The Head Demon wants her dead, but Alexia only cares about her family and her people. To save everyone, Alexia must locate the demon's secret lair and secure her pen before the Land of Imagining becomes the Land of Terror.

ALEXIA'S PEN is a 78,000-word fantasy YA standalone novel with series potential.

I am the author of a fantasy romance series, The Kingdom of Arnhem -- Woman of Honor (2009) and Knight of Glory (2010) published with Desert Breeze Publishing. I have also sold nine short stories for anthologies, including Mertales by Wyvern Publications, and many collections by Pill Hill Press. I have a blog with over 220 followers.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Dear Agent:

Traumatized by witnessing her father’s brutal murder, Lorna masters her feelings of powerlessness by becoming an assassin.

Lorna soon discovers she can create and hide in shadows, giving her a distinct advantage over her targets; however her father’s killer remains elusive. With no leads, Lorna accepts assignments including a small island king with a high price on his head. King Alaric is everything Lorna isn't — noble, kind, good. When she falls for Alaric, Lorna distances herself from her assassin lifestyle but cannot escape her past. A mass gravesite on the island provides clues to her father's murder and why people want Alaric dead.

As Lorna grows closer to finding her father’s murderer, she struggles to master her shadow power. But enacting her revenge would destroy any chance Lorna has of being with Alaric, leaving Lorna torn between murder and love.

HIDDEN IN SHADOWS is a complete 97,000-word paranormal romance standalone novel with series potential.

I am the author of a fantasy romance series, The Kingdom of Arnhem – Woman of Honor (2009) and Knight of Glory (2010) published with Desert Breeze Publishing. I have also sold nine short stories for anthologies, including Mertales by Wyvern Publications, and many collections from Pill Hill Press. I have a blog with over 220 followers.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thank you so much for this contest!

candie said...

Dear Ms. Agent,

ToR Sa has no sulking vampires glittering in the sun, no dark wizards on the prowl or alien clones controlled by human hosts, what it has - is irresistible magic and uniqueness.

Promise Halle doesn’t know she’s special- can't comprehend that she’s a psychic scientist-reincarnate from the year 2132. Intensely vivid dreams and an overwhelming sense of déjà vu only add to the chaos of turning sixteen and falling for a guy who has yet to admit his feelings for her. And as if she needs more turmoil, her childhood nursemaid tells her that she is some prophesied quintessence of an ancient magic. Confiding in her true love Takoda Manning seems to be her only option, but the results are not at all what she expected. A hidden cave containing the first books seen in a millennium provides the proof to Promise that she has the magic Nushah, but also warns her of the evil Ayin Ha’ra and the Shadow Rider whose mere existence could destroy the world.

Her mission, unlock the path to the Crown Crypt, master the technology buried in its depths, stop the Shadow Rider and his army of point-tailed dwarves and save the last remaining people on earth. The problem: no one will follow her unless she marries Takoda, but she has apparently blown her chances with him by impatiently accepting the Binding Bracelet of another. If she can’t convince Takoda she loves him and only him and persuade her people to leave the Isle of Devon before the Shadow Rider’s inevitable return, the unparalleled secret she’s been keeping will have been for nothing.

ToR Sa the Keys of the Crown is a YA Fantasy complete at 75,000-words and is the first book of my ToR Sa Saga. My other works in progress are ToR Sa the Reign of Desire and ToR Sa thy Signs of Twelve.

I am a début author and regretfully all I can offer you in lieu of credits, are articles and news stories I have written for The XXXXXXX XXXXXX in XXXXX. I can tell you however, that I retired two years ago to commit my time to accomplishing my dream of becoming a master novelist. I am flexible and eager to follow the guidance of those who are willing to take this journey with me.

If ToR Sa the Keys of the Crown is of interest, I would be pleased to send my full manuscript at your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Nervously Biting Nails

candie said...

Dear Ms. Agent,

ToR Sa has no sulking vampires glittering in the sun, no dark wizards on the prowl or alien clones controlled by human hosts, what it has - is irresistible magic and uniqueness.

Promise Halle doesn’t know she’s special- can't comprehend that she’s a psychic scientist-reincarnate from the year 2132. Intensely vivid dreams and an overwhelming sense of déjà vu only add to the chaos of turning sixteen and falling for a guy who has yet to admit his feelings for her. And as if she needs more turmoil, her childhood nursemaid tells her that she is some prophesied quintessence of an ancient magic. Confiding in her true love Takoda Manning seems to be her only option, but the results are not at all what she expected. A hidden cave containing the first books seen in a millennium provides the proof to Promise that she has the magic Nushah, but also warns her of the evil Ayin Ha’ra and the Shadow Rider whose mere existence could destroy the world.

Her mission, unlock the path to the Crown Crypt, master the technology buried in its depths, stop the Shadow Rider and his army of point-tailed dwarves and save the last remaining people on earth. The problem: no one will follow her unless she marries Takoda, but she has apparently blown her chances with him by impatiently accepting the Binding Bracelet of another. If she can’t convince Takoda she loves him and only him and persuade her people to leave the Isle of Devon before the Shadow Rider’s inevitable return, the unparalleled secret she’s been keeping will have been for nothing.

ToR Sa the Keys of the Crown is a YA Fantasy complete at 75,000-words and is the first book of my ToR Sa Saga. My other works in progress are ToR Sa the Reign of Desire and ToR Sa thy Signs of Twelve.

I am a début author.

If ToR Sa the Keys of the Crown is of interest, I would be pleased to send my full manuscript at your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Nervously Biting Nails

Disgruntled Bear said...

WOW! Be careful what you wish for...

Thanks for posting, everyone! The First Round of The Great Query Contest is now CLOSED TO SUBMISSIONS. I'll post critiques throughout the week (in the order they were received) and then we'll start Round Two!

Disgruntled Bear said...

The first 15 are now up--only 12 more to go!

Not every one of the 50+ comments here is a query--thank heavens! :)

rkollman said...

Bearfriend! You go bear. You must know this is going viral -- or whatever in the blog world --

Disgruntled Bear said...

Thanks, rkollman!

I hope to get them all up this week. That might be foolishly optimistic, but I live to dream. :)

rkollman said...

Me, I dream to live. But whatever floats your Bearboat. I know everybody is grateful for this opportunity. Thanks so much. We all appreciate how this turned into a much bigger project than anyone imagined.

Disgruntled Bear said...

Thanks! It's been a while since I graded papers, but the skills all come back.

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