Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Fricassee

Wow. Aren't you just loving this query thing?

I'm not going to blabber today; I'd rather open the floor to my readers:

  • What new insights into the query-writing process has this week's contest revealed to you?
  • What new insights into the query-READING process, from the viewpoint of an agent, has this week's contest revealed to you?
  • How has this week's contest impacted your own querying process?
As for me, I'm hoping to get my act together and finish rewriting a chapter today. Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that my plotcards were lost for several days. I found them yesterday. In my purse.

Right. How I continually reached in for my wallet without FEELING my plotcard case is beyond me.

Well, not really. It's kind of in character.

Anyway, I'm happy now. I kissed my plotcard case when I found it. Yes, I did.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the contest--and excited for the announcement of Jodi's winners on Monday!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

58 Query Contest

"Refuge" is an 83,000 word women’s/mainstream novel about a man who must reconcile his adult life with an impulsive teenage decision. When shy Wes Darino is pressured by his parents to find a girlfriend for his impending graduation festivities he announces he is gay. It is a claim they cannot tolerate and Wes uses their rejection as an excuse to move out. For a decade he lives alone except for his four canine companions, training and exhibiting them at dog shows and obedience trials. When repeated attacks from an unknown source are made on his dogs and home the police recommend he find other accommodation for the duration of the investigation, so he takes refuge working at a remote northern fishing lodge. There he encounters new dangers as well as the unexpected possibility of romance. As he contends with both he learns that not all decisions are irrevocable, and who he is means more than who he was.

An optional section at the end of the book includes several of the protagonist's favorite wilderness-cooking recipes.

I am a member of the Federation of B.C. Writers and the Langley Writers' Guild and for the past ten years have been writing for various Canadian magazines. Two of my non-fiction pieces were shortlisted as finalists in recent Surrey International Conference writing contests. My experience working with purebred dogs and owning a dog show business, plus years of wilderness living provide both background information for the story and exposure to a potential audience.

I look forward to your response.

Warm regards,

[Contact Info]


A premonition would have helped — some kind of warning that death was within arm's reach. Then when I found the broken padlock I might have been better prepared for what happened next. But there was nothing. Of course there wasn’t. My life is never that simple.


Darcy’s whining reminds me of the three other dogs. As the geriatric member of our Doberman clan he has the privilege of sleeping in my bedroom but the garage doubles as a makeshift kennel for the others. Most mornings our usual routine is to let them out first thing. Instead, this morning I started a quick shovelling of the mounds of crusted wet snow on the back patio.

“Not yet, Darcy. I’ve gotta get rid of this before the others stampede around in it.”

In the dim pre-dawn light I ram the shovel into the heavy snow and force it ahead of me, pushing until the mass is piled into the back corner of the yard. That’s when I notice the back gate is standing slightly ajar.

“What the heck!” Not only is the gate open, but there are two different sets of tracks in the snow, one of footprints alongside another of tire treads, leading from the gate to the garage’s side door. And there on the concrete stair I find the discarded padlock.

“Ah, shit! Why didn’t the dogs--?” Suddenly I’m struggling to breathe. I remember the barking last night; remember ignoring it, thinking the dogs were complaining about a prowling coyote.

57 Query Contest

Dear [agent],

I am seeking representation for my 70,000-word urban fantasy, THE INFERNAL FAMILY.

Like all half-demon infernals, Johann Stark is barred from churches, the name of God burns his tongue and his killing instincts kick in at the least provocation. Unlike his murderous kin, Johann is determined to stay human: his rag-tag family of infernal fosterlings depend on his protection. As long as his family are happy and safe, Johann can believe he’s risen above his infernal heritage to become a good person.

Then a pissed-off angel crashes his territory on a mission to annihilate all infernals. He sets Johann an ultimatum. Hand over his eleven-year-old foster daughter, whose powers the angel can use to ID and toast infernals, or the angel will butcher his way through Johann’s family and take her anyway.

When Johann hands over his daughter he makes himself a promise. He’s coming back to save her. Whatever the cost. He’ll kill angels, deal with his hated demonic father and sacrifice what’s left of his humanity to put his family back together.

But if he ever saves his daughter, he may no longer be human enough to be the father his family needs.

Thank you for your consideration.




It was just sunlight, Johann told himself. He didn’t jump at flashes any more.

He tossed the cards on the kitchen counter in an arc of white. “You’re cheating. The kids are young and impressionable, you could lure them into a life of crime.”

Kate bit the corner of one card, her smile a half-glimpsed curve like the sun. Johann suspected she nibbled cards to track them as she dealt, unless aces were disproportionately delicious. “My Alix is an angel. I blame your miscreant son for any crime.”

The open window framed a cluttered city skyline burning in the summer sun. Johann liked Bristol -- the steep streets and green places, even the deluges making roads rivers and windows waterfalls. Rain on the roof was the sound of home.

Best of all, nobody had tried to snatch Kate’s daughter Alix. It’d been months since the hunters last struck.

Flash. The mirror was reflecting a glitter from across the street. Like gunmetal.

Johann angled his chair to watch the mirror. Kate was close enough to touch, television babbling in the background. He wasn’t going to scare her over nothing.

It was just -- last time’d been quick. He’d been watching the lights of Portland harbour at dusk, tiny Alix leaning into him for warmth. They’d hit from the road: three men to snatch her, a van to bail out. If Johann’d been tired or drinking or distracted, if he’d left her to walk along the beach, if they’d had five clear seconds --


56 Query Contest

Greetings, Ms. Meadows:

My name is ---- . I would sincerely appreciate it if you would give the following query a moment of your time:

She was the best of the best: Captain of Temple City’s Guard, lover to an influential political figure, hand-picked envoy to a foreign nation.

Jennavaise had it all.

And then it was taken from her.

Broken, bound, and near death. That was how she was found at low tide, a continent away from everything she had known. Bereft of belongings, her past, even her name, she woke lacking anything to explain what had befallen her.

She was not alone.

Love took root in her shattered heart through the hands of her saviour, the beautiful healer, Arissa.

Friendship blossomed at the ready smile of Arissa’s apprentice, Sugan.

Intrigue spun its web in the graceful machinations of Bautain, the lovely and deadly Committee member who sought to win her from Arissa.

With their help, she pieced together her missing past, discovered how she had cheated the Hag of an early death. Memories returned like small tokens, precious in their scarcity.

But they were dark, hinting at blood and pain, at terrible loss. She had been a pawn in the hands of those she’d trusted. Having expected to be received as an envoy of peace to the foreign ruler known as the Konig, she had instead been delivered as a war-bride: the opening move of a treasonous plot by one of her own. Abandoned to the hands of this tyrannical ruler, her troops were murdered and Jenna herself was tortured and enslaved.

Five long years had passed at the hands of the Konig. Frustrated by the many pieces still missing to the mystery, Jenna turned her back on the past, believing that part of her life to be over. She was wrong. Little could she have guessed at the monstrous chain of events she put into motion by wedding the fate of her new friends to her own.

On the horizon, beyond the ocean known as the Sorrows, the avaricious reach of an old enemy threatens this new life. With the help of his Red Priest, the Konig had put his mark on her once already, leaving scars that run more than skin deep. Now his greed for conquest imperils the entire nation of her People.

By the vow on her sword, Jenna had once pledged herself to be a protector of the Faith. Now the Mother calls on her to finish what her near death left undone.

She must decide which she values more: the love she discovered on the Blessed Coat, half a world away from all she had once known, or the need to answer Her call.

But will the Goddess allow Jenna to make that choice, or will She make it for her?

JENNA’S SONG is a completed epic fantasy novel. It is the first in a planned trilogy, but can stand on its own.

Previous to this, I completed two short stories as well as a science fiction novel.

Inspiration and research for JENNA'S SONG has been part hobby, part invention. I am a member of a group that recreates realistic, full-contact medieval combat. Sword fighting is well-known to me; I use that knowledge to make combat scenes as realistic as possible. Three years of Reserve Officer Training in college also assists in understanding the relationship between a military commander and her troops.

I would be happy to send you partial or full manuscript of JENNA’S SONG at your request.

Your time and consideration are sincerely appreciated.

You can reach me at:

Thank you,


It was the death of summer, a season which the People called the Mother’s Dance. Languorous warmth gave way to chill, blustery days and the occasional coastal storm, both heralds of winter, the Dance of the Crone.

One roaring example of just such a storm had swept through the prosperous port town of Sisafer the night before Festival, leaving in its wake a tangle of smashed fishing boats and debris. Nets were found strewn across neighbors’ rooftops, missing sheep and goats had to be searched out among the scrubby inland cliffs. What should have been a time of preparation for the coming festivities was spent instead in repairs, cleaning, and the whispered suggestions of omens.

Out on the storm-littered beach, a strange bit of flotsam bobbed gently against the outgoing tide. Cold currents swirled and nudged, tucking the limp body into the boulders as neatly as a doting parent before retreating for deeper ocean. A scavenger crab, questing for tidbits, investigated closer. There was no resistance from the still form, yet something made the tiny creature scuttle away as if stung. In its wake came two strolling humans, incongruous against the lowering brood of sunrise.

‘Foul time for this,’ Sugan complained aloud. The gusting breezes muffled his normally jolly baritone. ‘Wouldn’t you rather be inside with a cup of something hot?’

There was no immediate response from the slender figure ahead. Seemingly oblivious, Arissa continued to walk, stooping every so often to dig in the sand before tossing a wet, wriggling prize into a bag at her waist.

55 Query Contest

I am seeking representation for my 55,000 word Series Romance, Love In The Spotlight. I’m targeting the Silhouette Special Edition line. I know many authors submit directly to Harlequin, but I believe an agent would be able to help me better guide my career.

When the paparazzi follow Hollywood bad boy Teague Reynolds to sleepy Willowbrook, he hires Kate Riley to pose as his girlfriend for the summer so no one will know why he’s really there. Kate’s desperate for cash to pay off her stepfather’s tax bill. Otherwise, he goes to jail, and her pregnant teenage stepsister is left with no one to care for her but Kate. So Kate reluctantly makes a deal with the handsome devil and flies off to L.A. with the movie star heartthrob. Kate’s determined not to fall for Teague, a gorgeous womanizer like her stepfather. Her mother may be dead, but Kate will never forget the pain he caused her.

Teague is intrigued by beautiful, funny Kate; but he didn’t earn his nickname T-Rex for his romantic ways. He’s left a trail of broken hearts across tinsel town. Teague has worked hard to keep anyone from getting close to his heart. Hell, his own mother gave him up for adoption when he was just one year old. That’s a lifetime of hurt he’ll never get over.

But this jet-setting farce he’s created with Kate is the perfect setup for two wary hearts to find love—until Teague’s secret back in Willowbrook threatens to ruin everything.

I am a member of RWA and my local writer’s group. I’ve had thirty romantic short stories published in the True Confessional magazines in the past two years. Woman’s World magazine published my romantic short story “Picture This” in June 2009.

I’ve attached the first 250 words of my manuscript. Thanks for your time and consideration.

Kate Riley parked her Jeep in front of the restaurant and glared at the old brick building. This is where she’d be spending her summer. Normally, the break from her job as middle school nurse meant a breather from moody tweens and time for a few hot books at the beach. Not this year.

“Thanks for the ride,” Dina said, hopping out, nearly tumbling forward from the weight of her baby belly. “I can find a lift home.”

“Maybe from the baby’s father?” Kate asked. “Ready to tell us who that is?”

Dina rubbed her stomach and shook her head.

“Can your father drive you home?”

“George was gone when I got up.”

Kate’s stepfather was so unreliable. “Out getting a job?”

“Doubt it.” Dina paused. “The boss is in, if you want to ask about that waitress position. It’ll be filled if you wait.”

That’s what Kate was hoping. Working with her step-sister Dina and a bunch of surly teens just might kill her. But Kate did the mental math again. She needed an extra twelve thousand dollars by summer’s end to help a man she couldn’t stand. Why, why, why did she make that promise to her mother before she died?

She leaned against her car, willing herself to go inside and fill out the application. But she was distracted by a tall, handsome man hurrying toward her. He grinned in a practiced way that undoubtedly made women swoon. Dumb women, anyway. “Can you give me a ride?”

54 Query Contest

Dear Ms. Meadows,

Do you remember that house at the end of your block, the one your friends dared you to enter and your parents warned you to stay away from?

Maybe it was a stately mansion haunted by the ghostly victims of a murderous caretaker. Or maybe it was an abandoned hunting cabin tucked away beyond the treeline, housing some deranged killer. Perhaps it was a sand-blasted beach house where the spirits of sailors past still walked upon the foggy shoreline. Whatever the building, every neighborhood has that house upon the hill, a house of mystery and murder. “Crawl” is the tale of one such house in a community not unlike your own.

“Crawl” stands apart from the same-old horror story by giving readers intimate access to the observations and thoughts of the title character, a primitive monster in contemporary times. She roams the close, dark spaces between the walls of a dilapidated Victorian era house, with nothing to keep her company but the vermin she hunts for food and a pile of dusty bones she calls Mother. She is alone in the dark, until one day a young family comes knocking.

Will the creature’s horrific origin be revealed? Will the not-so-wholesome suburban family bring Crawl out into the light or join her down in the darkness? The answers will leave you not only stunned, but questioning the assumptions you’ve harbored all along.

I am currently seeking representation for my debut novel “Crawl,” a horror tale complete at approximately 70,000 words and a recent quarter-finalist submission in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. The subject material in “Crawl” is nearly as dark as the hidden spaces she calls home, so this particular novel is best suited for adult readers.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon!


Her first memory was of Mother. So still, Mother. Always staring, always smiling. Quiet Mother.

She could also remember hearing muffled noises from the Others outside. Screams mostly, sometimes crying. But that was long ago. After a while the sounds had stopped, leaving just her and silent Mother. That was fine. More food for the two of them.

Her room was small and cold and very dark. No windows, no doors she could open. One way in and one way out. The flies and spiders found other ways, yes, but through paths too small even for her.

She had learned to be quicker than those she stalked. Starvation through failure, survival through success. The eight-legged weavers taught her patience. The winged ones preached quickness and vigilance. The hard-backed scavengers showed her that a meal can always be found when you really need it. The creatures of the dark were her teachers, her friends, her food. She turned on them in order to survive.

She grabbed them before they could scurry back into the shadows, back through the cracks in the wall. The spiders, grown fat on flies, squished soft and spindly in her mouth. The flies themselves, helplessly wrapped in silky coats, easily plucked from their captors’ webs. Beetle shells crunched between her teeth. Worms slithered down her throat. They were her prey, she was the hunter. She had no name. Mother had not given her one, silent Mother. If she had a name, it would be for what she did best. It would be for the way she moved on the hunt, the only way she knew how to survive.

If she had a name, it would be Crawl.

53 Query Contest


I contacted you after your interview with mediabistro, and I assume you are enjoying the role of agent vs. XXXXXX--given how often your name ticks up on At that time, you kindly suggested I send you a query when I completed my young adult manuscript. I’m hopeful that Roman Magic, a DaVinci Code style mystery/suspense with magic will perk your interest and passion. The characters can easily adapt into a series format—all involving magical mysteries with clues, history, exotic locations, and mystery style twists. I am submitting with multiple agents.

XXX XXXXXXXX, author/teacher /editor at Balzer and Bray graciously offered that I mention her name. I wrote this manuscript from start to finish in her class and then worked with an editor who is a graduate of IA Writer’s Program.

Fifteen-year-old Eve and her eleven-year-old brother Kai arrive in Rome to find that their parents are missing. Meanwhile, people are dying in ritual sacrifices within the famous sites of Rome. Randon, a seventeen-year-old boy whose father has also disappeared, joins Eve and Kai as they follow clues left by their parents in an attempt to unravel the mysterious killings and reunite their families.

Eve also discovers that her parents, rather than being anthropologists, as she has always believed, are secretly paranormal investigators with magical powers. Their most recent case involved the ghoul Erichtho, who has captured them in order to exploit their powers for her murderous rituals. As Erichtho’s rituals become more powerful and the sacrifices more horrific, the clock pushes the intense action to the final confrontation.

Eve’s must use her wit and tenacity to solve the clues left by her parents and find new ones at Rome’s famous sites. She will need her new magical powers too, once she learns how to use them. Her efforts culminate in a final battle at the Pantheon, where she is joined by Randon and Kai, two spirit guides—Randon’s mystical wolf and her own dove, the goddesses Isis and Minerva, and the angel St. Michael from Castl Sant d’Angelo. Michelangelo’s Pieta comes to life, ghostly Christian martyrs rise from their graves, and an army of gladiators and lions from the Coliseum all come to Eve’s aid in the climactic Narnia type battle scene. In the end, however it comes down to Eve’s ability to fit the pieces together and make the difficult choice.

Total manuscript is 54,133 words in length and pages can reach you with a click. Isn't technology amazing?

Recent biography:

XXX XXXXXX, author, young adult class Jan-April.09

AZ State's Desert Nights, Rising Stars writers workshop, Michael A Stackpole, author, small group instructor Feb.09

Univ of IA's Summer Writing Workshops, weekend event with Brett Anthony Johnston, author and currently with Harvard and a National Book Award winner July.09

Mediabistro class with Nicole Bokat, author, nominated for a Hemingway/PEN award and Janet Heidinger Kofka Prize for Fiction award. 2008

Roman Magic

Forward Flash – Chapter 20

Dec. 20th - Santa Maria of the Angels and God’s Martyrs

Rome, Italy

“Kai, stay here.” Eve’s brother wore his obstinate face that said, “Don’t mess with me.”

“Mom and Dad are in there being used in some kind of ritual that kills people. I’m not waiting out here.”

Randon, two years older with one year of magic under his belt said, “He’ll just follow us in.”

Eve bit her lip and nodded. They crept into the dark church. Luminous blue light arched over a ritual circle, increasing in size and intensity as it fed on those within.

Fodder for the feeding, and bound with vines, Eve’s parents and Randon’s father slumped at equidistant points inside the circle. Wicked, sharp thorns sprouted from the vines, piercing their parents’ bodies. They convulsed with agony. The nightmare scene froze Eve in place.

Inside the circle stood a tall, pallid, grotesque ghoul, supporting in her powerful arms an older man. As Eve watched, his baldhead fell back. He blinked and stared at her. Blood dripped from a fresh cut across his neck, staining his suit, trailing down and mixing with the blood her parents shed.

Eve’s stomach heaved at the disgusting scene and the enormity of her task. She forced it to stay down—Eve didn’t have time to get sick. She’d just found out about magic, and she’d just found out that her parents were wizard investigators of the paranormal.

52 Query Contest

Dear Ms. Meadows,

My middle grade fantasy novel, A PRINCE FOR DENNIWIG COUNTY, is complete at 41,000 words.

The easiest ways to become a prince are to be the son of a king or marry a princess. Neither of those options are available for 12-year old Timothy, a miserable orphan at The Reformatory Home for Unwanted Boys.

Timothy spends his days scrubbing sewers and cleaning grimy toilets with his toothbrush. Becoming a prince is an impossibility he does not even consider until he stumbles into Denniwig County, a magical land filled with goblins, castles, and wizards. Timothy inadvertently enters a competition to become Denniwig County’s new prince. Timothy has to prove his worthiness by completing a series of increasingly difficult challenges. In between those challenges, Timothy must contend with the jealous son of a Duke, a suspicious headmistress, and the mystery of the previous prince’s disappearance. Timothy has no idea how he could possibly succeed, but that is not going to stop him from trying.

I’d welcome the opportunity to send you a larger sample of my work. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

A brown, gooey substance sat on the plate in front of Timothy. He poked it with his spoon. The entire pile quivered. He scooped the tiniest of bites onto his spoon and inched it towards his mouth. His stomach knotted as the disgusting stuff got closer.

A bug wriggled out of the goo and a fit of nausea shook Timothy. He dropped his spoon. It clanged against his plate, an enormous racket in the otherwise silent dining hall. His dinner sprayed across the table.

Everyone in the room stopped eating and waited for disaster to unfold.

The click-clack of shoes smacking against the rickety wood floor let Timothy know the noise had been noticed by the worst of the worst, the awful headmistress, Ms. Pritchard. She stopped right behind his chair and Timothy felt her angry breath on his neck.

“Apparently, Timothy thinks he’s too good to eat his turnip stew like everyone else. He’d rather sling it all over the table like a messy little baby,” Ms. Pritchard said in a horribly shrill voice that sounded like nails scraping across a chalk board. Timothy cringed.

There was a smattering of nervous laughter from the other boys in the dining hall. They were afraid to not laugh when Ms. Pritchard ridiculed someone else.

“There was...” Timothy started to defend himself. Ms. Pritchard flicked his ear to silence him.

“I don’t want to hear your excuses,” she snapped.

The headmistress’s hand reached out, quick as a snake, and snatched his plate.

51 Query Contest

Dear Ms. Meadows,

Stone Kissed, an 85,000 word paranormal romance, tells the story of how a witch who brings statues to life finds love with a treasure hunter who has a heart of stone.

Delia Forrest talks to statues--and they talk back. She is forced to abandon her business in restoration, cleaning and placement of marble and granite statuary when her ancestral home is damaged by arson, with her father inside. The Forrests can't afford to pay for either his medical care or the reparations to the historic house. When Delia's childhood fantasy returns as very real man with an offer to buy Steward House, he seems like her only hope. Delia's heart and power are seated in the house. To this dismay of the stone faces, marble busts and granite graveyard statues that make up her adoptive family, Delia commits herself to do anything she can to keep the estate--anything Grant Wolverton wants.

Wolverton has a knack for finding the rough diamonds and the treasures in the trash heap. He has built his family's antiques concern into one of the largest auction houses in the country. In Steward House Grant sees a haven for his younger sister and him to retire and find stability. The eccentric and innocent Delia Forrest is an added bonus: To gain her love and trust, he simply must pretend to believe her outrageous claims that the statues of Stewardsville are coming to life--walking in the night, singing in chorus and even making love.

Grant and Delia aren't the only ones vying for control of the Steward Estate. Delia's distant cousin Cecily has dark powers of her own. The succubus will lie, cheat, seduce and steal to possess the Steward Estate, hoping its unlimited powers will remove her need to seduce men to death.

In 1995, I completed the coursework for an M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Arizona. Since then I have been writing professionally: In addition to grants and other contract work, I write fitness and wellness articles for my own business, Radiant Fitness. Through my membership in the Ohio Valley chapter of Romance Writers of America, however, I have found the support and education to tell stories of the power of love.

"Yes. Right there, again, please!” The marble satyr moaned his pleasure as Delia gently scraped away bits of lichen from the groove of his outer thigh.

“Just shut up,” she said, smiling as she reached for her boar’s hair paintbrush. She had been cleaning the lewd little flirt for two hours now, and he was relentless--as were most statues, she had found. This satyr was four feet tall with beautiful lines. He had been sculpted mid-leap, his arms outstretched for the nymph who stood on her own pedestal five yards further around the turn in Mrs. Hansdorf’s garden maze. He was doomed to chase the nymph forever, and her voice taunting him through the hedge didn’t help matters.

“Hurry, Delia. I’ve got an itch,” the nymph called back, forever giggling over her right shoulder.

“You shut up, too,” Delia laughed and returned to the task at hand. The enormous task: from what she could remember of sex, this fellow was disproportionately large. Where Mrs. Hansdorf had found these particular reproductions she didn’t know, but Delia suspected she had commissioned them privately. They were less than forty years old, but already showing the signs of damage from the elements. She knew it would ruin the lines of the maze, but she simply had to convince Mrs. H. either to move them indoors or to build a pergola to shelter them. Delia could get most of the streaks off, but the silver-gray marble was more fragile than it looked.

When her cell phone rang out Mozart’s “Minuet in G” it took Delia a moment to answer.

50 Query Contest

Dear Jodi Fabulous,

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them.

Ever since the fae discovered her talent ten years ago, McKenzie has fought to balance her normal life with her life as the Court’s best shadow-reader. She has things almost under control until she’s abducted from her college campus by Aren, a charismatic and dangerously attractive fae who’s set on overthrowing the king.

Aren's determined to make McKenzie help him. She’s determined to stay loyal to the Court. After all, this is the man responsible for importing the human technology which has damaged the fae’s magic and led to a bloody civil war. Or so she’s been told.

Aren’s methods of coercion – and his devilish smiles – rattle McKenzie’s faith. Instead of hurting or threatening her, he teaches her his language and claims the Court has told her lies. Now, McKenzie must decide if she can trust the fae she’s falling for or if his seduction is part of a strategy to lure her to his side of the war.

FISSURED is a paranormal romance novel complete at 95,000 words. As per the guidelines on Miss Snark’s First Victim, I’ve pasted the first 250 words below. Thank you for your time and consideration.



My skin tingles a moment before a slash of white light flashes at the front of the lecture hall. I clench my teeth and keep my eyes locked on my scantron, refusing to acknowledge the fae entering my world through that fissure. I don’t give a damn if it’s the king himself, I will pass this test tonight.

I darken in C on my answer sheet then read the next question.


My heart clenches at the familiar voice. It’s Kyol. Why the hell is he here? I’d made it clear I never wanted to see him again.

“McKenzie,” he says. “We must go.” No one else can hear or see him, not even my professor who stands less than two feet to his left. All the other students remain bowed over their desks, completely focused on their final exams. I grip my pencil and bubble in another circle.

Kyol climbs the steps to my fifth row seat. Still not meeting his eyes, I shake my head. Never mind that I’m pissed at him, I’d told him – I’d told all of them – not to call on me this week, but none of the fae understand why I need this degree, not when the Court takes care of all my needs. I’ve tried to explain that I’m human, that I have human dreams and need a human life and that it shouldn’t take anyone eight years to earn a Bachelor of Arts in English. They hadn’t listened. At least, Kyol hadn’t.

49 Query Contest

Dear Ms. Meadows,

Nikki’s lost her mother and sister to the aliens who massacred all humanity except her hidden, defenseless world. Marooned two hundred years out of her time when a mission at relativistic speeds goes wrong, branded a berserker for refusing to accept defeat, she volunteers for an experimental program that rates to maim or kill her. If she survives, she'll spend the rest of her days alone in a small ship, hoping to find and map the enemy’s worlds before she perishes. A grim destiny, but hate is all that keeps Nikki going--until love tricks her.

Together with her man, Nikki sets off on her mission with a new hope for life. When they are discovered, she may have a chance to escape alone, yet, even if she returns to her lover from a black hole's rim, can they, and humanity, build a future?

Complete at 130,000 words, Return from Eternity spans one woman's time-dilated lifetime of total war and love. Two separate chapters were selected as Editor's Choice at Online Writing Workshop of Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Horror.

Thanks for your consideration,


Author’s full name

Nikki strained to see through the tangle of leaves. A highway of wood spread ahead, branches the size of Earth trees jutting everywhere. More than thirty yards above, a final swath of purplish bark straightened its canopy against a teal sky darkening with the dusk. She'd better hurry.

Her sneakers gripped the rough bark well, and the vertical shoots provided convenient handholds. Nikki raced down her branch, slowed only by the ankle-twisting unevenness of the rough cracks. Far ahead, small triangular leaves glinted brighter, marking the path to Stella's setting. A sunset bonus. _Take_ that, _traitor Kallia!_

The giant branch split and Nikki took the southern fork, hesitating where it narrowed to three feet wide. At home that would've been easy, but up here the third of a mile drop yawned like a scary mouth.

She wasn't going to give up now, not after hours of climbing. Nikki swung the strap so the binoculars rested on her back, and crawled along the narrow section, gripping her handholds and avoiding looking down. Falling would bang Dad's binoculars, and she'd really catch it then.

Ahead, her way widened again, and the leaves finally thinned. Nikki crept the few yards to the final knotting. _Yes!_ The wood sloped downward, ending in a big bushy tuft. To the South, the Rim Mountains glowed gold in the sunset, distant water glinting through the break called the Splice, gateway to winter storms. There, after dark, she hoped to catch Earth’s dim sun peeking over the horizon.

48 Query Contest

BOOBS OVER HOLLYWOOD is the whacky story of Lena’s journey from working on a cheesy reality TV show to becoming a cellist with the L.A. Philharmonic. If Nora Ephron and Carl Hiassen, in some parallel universe, decided to collaborate, this book might be the result.

Lena Carmichael, 34, has dreamed of becoming a cellist with the Los Angeles Phil for as long as she can remember. While she waits for her big break, she works as a “go-fer” on the wildly-successful reality TV show The McBoob News Hour, where big-haired, big-busted women vie for a news anchor position. “Think Barbara Walters, but with really big titties,” quips Tony, her idiotic boss. Her husband, Max, who is opening a chain of Chinese-Mexican fusion restaurants in Southeast Asia, urges her to forget the cello concentrate on the TV show, because “that’s where the money is.” What keeps her going is her up-coming recital, which could be her big chance to impress representatives of the L.A. Phil. At the recital, a fistfight erupts between Lena’s father and Casey O’Casey, her mother’s new lover, a little troll of a man who just happens to be the world-distributor of garden gnomes. The recital ends up looking like a hockey match with wardrobe by Dolce & Gabbana. When O’Casey later mysteriously dies, Lena and her entire family are placed under an “umbrella of suspicion.” Lena manages to untangle herself from O’Casey’s death, a failing marriage and her all-consuming job. Finally, there is the tiniest hint of harmony in her life. And maybe a little romance with the handsome detective who bears an uncanny resemblance to Al Pacino in SERPICO.

I am the recipient of an EMMY and a Writers Guild of America Award, working in television for over twenty-years. Sadly, my portrayal of TV isn’t that far off the mark. I am also the co–author of Letters from Cleo and Tyrone (St. Martin’s Press, 2000).

With all the cheesy reality shows out there, the timing seems perfect for BOOBS OVER HOLLYWOOD. Isn’t it about time for something a little goofy, a little absurd, a little satirical -- and a lot funny?

Thank you for your time, and I would be thrilled to send you a portion or the completed 72,000 word manuscript. I look forward to hearing from you.


The kitchen timer buzzed, a jangly, discordant contrast to the strains of theBarber Cello Concerto. Startled by the ugly, instrusive noise, Lena’s fingers fell off the cello’s B-Flat, resulting in a painful howl from the instrument. She quickly shut off the timer and set the cello down gently, then glanced down at her flannel Garfield-inspired PJ’s and frog-shaped slippers and considered -- for about the bazillionth time -- that this was not what she imagined the life of an aspiring cellist to be. She looked at the wall clock. 8:53. Running late. As usual. Time to forget Bach. Time to forget Beethoven. Time to forget Barber. Time to scurry off to work. Time to deal with boobs.


Winded and sweaty from her long trek from the peon parking lot, Lena flew into Building Three, the home of Tony Brewer’s production company, Pilfered Projects Productions. The reception area was starkly modern. Black and glass and chrome with all the warmth and charm of a bus station urinal. She grimaced, as she always did, when she spotted the posters of Tony’s many successful TV reality shows lining the walls: American Icon, Prancing with the Stars, The Incredible Marathon and Endurer: Topeka. Geez, she thought, if you’re going to rip off other shows, couldn’t the titles at least be original?

In her usual uncoordinated style, Lena skidded across the shiny, slippery marble floor toward the reception desk, her long arms and legs flailing in all directions.

Bitsy, the reluctant receptionist, was at her desk watching Lena’s acrobatics through disapproving and decidedly uncharitable eyes. Bitsy was overweight, wildly gothic with dyed black hair and a smorgasbord of body piercings and tattoos.

47 Query Contest

If Claudia’s best friend, Selma, had never accidentally revealed that she could talk to plants, then she never would’ve been arrested. Claudia wouldn’t have had to go after her or be imprisoned herself. She wouldn’t have met Erik, escaped from the fire that killed the prison guards and supposedly both of the king’s sons – Erik being one of them.

If Claudia hadn’t discovered that she too had a special ability – to persuade people with words – they wouldn’t have survived the fire, the king wouldn’t have committed suicide, and the power-hungry council wouldn’t have had the opportunity to steal the throne and plunge the world into another century of oppression.

But Selma did accidentally reveal that she could talk to plants, and the effects of the discovery are bigger than the two teenagers could imagine.

Andra is a 75,000 word young adult fantasy. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

The first moon, Aikia, was already in the sky when I left school that night. Soon Aikia’s sister, Ladia, would appear and it would be after curfew. Here in Sicyon curfew is not something to be ignored on a whim or even a need. The scars on my back are proof enough of that.

The kids pushed and shoved as they poured out around me, all anxious to get home with their tattered clothes and government-issued school books. None of them were willing to be late and be the latest punching bag for the Bevak, the law keepers of our world often got out of hand with their punishments.

I glanced around for my best friend, Selma, and finally caught sight of her walking away with her head down. She too wore clothes sewn by her mother, though hers and mine were a little better made on account of both our mothers worked as seamstresses in a clothing factory.

“Hey wait up!” I called, running after her. She paused, not looking at me. Her black hair shone like a polished piece of onyx in the moonlight and her features were cast into shadow. Selma had always been a pretty girl, but never returned the affections of any of the boys around our school. We’d been through thick and thin together, friends since the cradle as our mothers often said.

“Hey,” she mumbled not looking at me.

46 Query Contest

Dear ms. Meadows,

My completed 110,000 word soft sf novel THE WAN is about a failing human colony marooned on a distant world ruled by the Wan, many-formed fungus-based creatures that communicate by feeding each other bits of their own flesh. It’s similar to the surreal imagination of Cory Doctorow's work, it has the easy reading and engagement level of Stephanie Meyer's the Host.

Ing, former biologist, was infected by the alien Wan fungus many centuries ago, when she first arrived from Earth. To save the humans from extinction, she wants to convert every man, woman, and child into a deathless Wan. Firdaus, deposed ruler of White City and devoted father of ten, desires nothing more than to be reunited with his children, but feels compelled to thwart Ing's coldly logical plans. Slavegirl Frog, used, maimed, and discarded by Ing, vows to save Firdaus and avenge herself on Ing.

The alien fungus turns out to be less tame than Ing thought: the Wan's once-in-a-millenium nature of reproduction threatens to destroy all human life on the planet. Firdaus has to choose between transforming his beloved family and people into cadaverous toadstools, or watching them all die in a planetary holocaust– unless he can come up with a third solution.

In December 2008, I won Best New Writer and Best Overall Short Story in the annual Paul Harland Contest with my story Satyricon.

I'm a long-time member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Online Workshop and founded a private novel workshop.

Below you find the first 5 pages of The Wan. I'd be happy to send you the complete manuscript.

Thank you for your consideration and time,


Chapter 1

Ing licked the sheen of moisture seeping down the cave wall. It tasted of slick obsidian with a coating of sour chalk and brine. The exact place she marked yesterday.

Her companions shuffled their feet and whispered to each other, apparently unaware of the importance of the occasion - and not doing what she'd told them to a dozen times before. She wanted to ream out their sorry asses, but she knew that would only make things worse. How did it go again? Praise first, then reinforce the commands.

"Good work so far, guys. They saw you, they sent out a hunting party. You remember what to do next?" she asked.

Harpa nodded, but she didn't quite believe him. A man of many promises and few results. Tembo shrugged. In spite of the highly reflective whiteness of his face, she couldn't see his expression well enough in the cave's semi-darkness. With a sigh, she broke off two ringfingers – again – and fed them one each. Their stances righted as the knowledge sped through their bodies.

"I lead him off," Harpa said.

"I lure the others away from the leader when he follows Harpa."

Finally. "Good," she said. "Now off you go. I can smell the hunters coming."

They loped off, two dancing white outlines in the gloom.

She groped along the rough stone of the cave wall until she found the smooth track through the thicket of stalagmites, a natural path between the stony teeth on the cave floor. The perfect spot for an ambush.

45 Query Contest

Good Morning Ms. Rappaport

I am seeking representation for my science fiction novel, XLI. Based on your genre and character interests as listed in the contest guidelines, I think you might like the novel. I would like to invite you to review the manuscript and hope you will consider representing me.

Monk and warrior, knight-errant and priest, policeman and philosopher, Bertram Do'Shire (Tram) is a Protector of Astori. He will give everything he has and is to save his people from the pirates who have conquered them. Nomads and storytellers, refugees and dream weavers, The People of the Ships will do anything to escape the ancient threat that has pursued them since the dawn of their history. Assassin and hedonist, Tenly is the self proclaimed most feared woman in known space. She would do anyone, pirates and ancient threats included, for a decent cheese steak.

XLI is the story of Tram, a Protector from the world of Astori, who has come to the world of Penance, where anything can be had for a price, seeking mercenaries to liberate his world from a brutal band of pirates. While on Penance, he is manipulated into hiring Tenly, an assassin, thinking that she is a mercenary captain. Tenly insists on Tram himself as part of her price for liberating Penance, a price to which he reluctantly agrees. During the voyage back to Astori, Tram begins to notice unusual things about Tenly and begins to have a series of strange dreams. On their return to Astori, they gather the dregs of Astori society and form them into a force to defeat the invaders.

XLI is written as an action adventure, but the technical elements contained in the book are based (at least loosely) on current scientific theory, and the future history has been plotted out from the present time to the time at which the story starts. In short, it's hard science fiction candy with a swashbuckling chocolate coating and a creamy nougat center of romance and just a bit of nutty philosophy. XLI is a complete 136 KWord novel intended to be the first in a five book series. While XLI is my first novel, I have already received very positive feedback from Pamela Uphoff at Baen books, who recommended I rewrite it with specific edits and find an agent. The rewrite completed, I am now looking for an agent. She also said very plainly that she wouldn't mind seeing the novel again, but hinted that it might stand a better chance if represented by a professional agent.

I've come to writing via a long and checkered career as a student (seven majors over ten years, culminating with a B.S. in Biology) and a professional (General Contractor, Lab technician, IT Consultant, Project Manager). I read voraciously, mostly science fiction, fantasy, technical / scientific journals, and socio-political commentary, but also everything I can find about the craft of writing itself.

I'd be glad to send you a complete copy of the manuscript for review. Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Chapter One

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Mahatma Gandhi

Tram closed his eyes leaned his head back against the smooth, cool tiles of the wall. The tile felt strange against his close cropped sandy hair, strange because of the unfamiliar lack of texture in the ceramic, but mainly strange from most of his hair being gone. He rolled his head gently back and forth, the chill easing the ache even as the motion and the gentle bumping caused a faint nausea.

After a few moments, he opened his eyes and looked toward the receptionist. By that gentleman's collar tab's insignia, Tram supposed the man had a job title that sounded a bit grander and far more militant, but to Tram, anyone sitting at a waiting room desk greeting visitors was, by definition, a receptionist. Tram took himself to task briefly for allowing his thoughts to wander, then realized that the middle-aged man behind the desk was trying, subtly, to get his attention.

Tram made eye contact, then glanced at the man's hands, which had been raised above the desk as if he were about to rest his chin on them. One finger pointed to the timepiece on his wrist, then the opposite hand flashed three fingers then clenched. A ghost of a smile, a ghost of a nod, and the man behind the desk went back to being a study in attentive non-communication.

44 Query Contest

Dear Ms. Meadows,

Always Kiss Me Goodnight is an 88,000 word contemporary romance. This is a personal journey of strength, pluck, and adventure portrayed by a captivating fictional cast. Morgan Reynolds found her world stripped bare in twenty-four days. She slipped Ben’s wedding ring off. No longer the same person, she leaned over and kissed him, then turned and walked out of the room, not looking back. Waking up in a foreign land, she didn’t speak the language. The part of him that was part of her was gone. Only questions that had no answers remained. Death, guilt, passion, sex, and deceit challenge Morgan’s future.

Vulnerable and alone she opens her heart to second chance love. The love doomed from the start by a master manipulating man sparked Morgan’s fury. Trapped in the wake of a killer hurricane with no means of escape Drake Taylor's touch ignites a liquid fervor her body can’t deny. Linked by the passionate sensual fire he awakened in her she challenges his womanizing. She becomes her own rival in her quest to settle the score of a broken heart.

Morgan’s journey takes her full circle when Drake agrees to meet the other woman at the Beau Rivage casino on the Gulf coast in Biloxi, Mississippi. A touch of humor, a splash of comedy, an abundance of confidence, lots of sass and once again we find the game of love is a spine-tingling gamble with an unsuspecting grand prizewinner.

Always Kiss Me Goodnight, my first novel, is inspired by personal experiences and challenges. Thank you for reviewing my work. I'm look forward to hearing from you and would appreciate your guidance and expertise.


Her heart raced, the normal rhythm now erratic, pounded in fierce uneven beats. She sucked for air, and tried to get a breath. Beads of hot, sticky perspiration drenched her clothes. Clenched fists turned her knuckles white, she grasped her trembling knees, and tears streamed down her cheeks.

The intercom speaker crackled and vibrated, a voice told her to brace. Morgan Reynolds squeezed her eyelids tight, afraid to look. Her body throbbed and pulsated with fear. She tucked her head low on her lap.

The silver jumbo jet engines were silent. The wide wings baffled by turbulence, fought to find balance. The plane buffered from side to side, then descended; slow at first, then more rapidly. Morgan glanced out the window, and dropped her face low. Treetops snapped, swiftly extinguishing the emerald green forest below them.

Wind gushed, the sound deafening, her ears rang with the shrill whistling reverberation. Morgan braced and rocked in her seat. Her arms quivered trying to hold her legs tight. She anticipated the final collision. They were about to crash. Fear gripped her; beads of sweat covered her forehead. She froze in the moment. Seized by terror she waited for impact.

The metal shrieked. The fuselage scraped and tore as they bounced up, then down. The plane swayed and pitched as it scuffled with the ground. The motion stopped. Lights went off. The plane was dark – swallowed in blackness.


Morgan stirred and reached for Ben. Her hand shook on his chest. She waited, trying to feel movement. Please breathe!

43 Query Contest

Dear Agent,

When you’re a witch named Trouble, chaos follows.

Arden Lesstymine (known to everyone as Trouble) likes attention as much as the next girl, but this is getting ridiculous. When an insane stranger is murdered in the inn where she works, Trouble becomes the next Soulbearer for the disembodied god of chaos, Loku. Yes, it comes with the ability to channel the god’s limitless power, but at the cost of her sanity -- literally. Now she has a sexy but cynical knight claiming to be her protector, a prince trying to seduce to his cause (and his bed), and a snarky chaos god who offers a play-by-play commentary on it all, whether she wants to hear it or not. To make matters worse, a necromancer wants to capture the soul of Loku for his own dark purposes, and the only way he can get it is by killing her first.

A SOUL FOR TROUBLE is a 100,000 word is a fantasy romance targeted for Ace, Tor, Lovespell, and other fantasy lines with a large female audience and would appeal to fans of Lisa Shearin and Dawn Cook.

I’m an active member of the RWA (PRO), the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Romance Divas, and AbsoluteWrite. I currently have several shorter works contracted to be published later this year by Phaze Books and by Liquid Silver Books.

I look forward to hearing from you, and I appreciate your time and consideration of my novel.


“Hey, Trouble, it looks like your usual clientele just sat down at one of your tables,” Hal said as soon as he entered the kitchen.

Arden Lesstymine, known to everyone in the village as Trouble, wrapped up her meager meal of bread and cheese in a cloth. “Please don’t let it be Conn again; my ass is still sore from his pinching.” She peered out of the cracked door, praying the lecherous blacksmith wasn’t sitting in the main room.

“No, this one’s a stranger, and a real kook at that.” The beefy inn-keeper leaned against the door frame and pointed him out. “You must be some kind of magnet for the crazies.”

“Why do you think I ended up here?” she replied with a smirk. She smoothed her apron and shoved the swinging door open.

Arden approached the table and studied the new customer. His frail body trembled like the last leaves on the branches outside, and his snow-white hair stuck out in every direction. What troubled her the most, though, was his constant muttering. She waited for a lull in his private conversation with no one, but when it never came, she cleared her throat. “Can I get you something to eat or drink?”

His body jerked at the sound of her voice, and he lifted his head. Feverish bright blue eyes ringed by a yellow-green halo stared back at her so intensely, she took a step back. Yep, definitely crazy. And definitely a foreigner with his coloring.

42 Query Contest

Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my urban fantasy YA novel TINKERS, complete at 55,000 words.

For thirteen-year-old twins Ben and Emma Hawthorne, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then they meet Jacob Rhodes, one of a group of Travellers who live in the woods nearby. Jacob’s family have guarded a small band of faeries for centuries but after Jacob’s father is sent to prison, the Travellers have trouble finding enough food (lightning stones) to sustain the faeries.

When a photograph is found that links the Hawthorne’s to the Rhodes, Ben and Emma open their eyes not just to the secrets of the faeries but also to the heritage that awaits them.

After Jacob’s father escapes from prison with the help of a rouge faerie, Ben and Emma must cram a lifetime of Traveller instinct into just a few short weeks if they are to beat Jacob and his scheming father at gathering lightning stones and rightfully securing their place as heads of the family.

TINKERS is a richly layered tale of traditions, betrayal, and adventure. Authentic details about the Traveller people, their private languages, and way of life, give TINKERS a starkly real context, drawing the reader into Ben and Emma’s world and not letting go until the very end.

I have recently completed an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and have a short story that has been published in Lit by New Writing North in conjunction with Newcastle University. Also, several works have been published in Blackberry Winter, an annual chapbook of Rochester College where I earned my BA in English and Professional Writing. This is my first novel.

Upon your request, I am prepared to send the completed manuscript. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.


Emma sat beside me. Neither of us had spoken or moved from our chairs in hours. I squeezed my toes as hard as I could again; a trick Mom had taught me to hide my nervousness or embarrassment. Everyone could see you cry, but no one knew if you curled your toes. Boys arn't supposed to cry.
My toes started to tingle as I scanned the group of grownups at the back of the room. They were all Dad’s family, cousins, older people we saw sometimes at holidays, and a lot of people I didn’t recognize. Most of them wore black, some of the men in dark blue suits. I unclenched my toes. The heat spread and stung. Emma told me there were bodies in the basement, other dead people. Mom wasn’t a body anymore. She was ashes.
Dad said that Mom wanted to be ashes. He said that everyone in her family were ashes, it was tradition. But none of her family is here. I’ve never met any of them. You’d think that if they cared at all, they’d be here now, but they’re not. Or maybe they’re ashes too.
Another man entered the room. I could see his face, but it was like I was looking through him. He wasn’t a ghost, but it was hard to describe his face, like as soon as I thought of the right words, he seemed to shift somehow and I had to start over. I watched as his outline moved quickly to the sideboard and began reading the small cards in the flowers. His back was turned to Emma and me.

41 Query Contest

Supernatural matchmaker Tessa Dandridge knows a little mist here and a little magic there will help reckless werewolves and precocious pixies find love. That is, until her magical Rolodex is lost in her repo’ed car and she can’t contact her V.I.P. clients. To connect with an important client cavorting in the fifth dimension, Tessa must depend on handsome Rob the warlock repo man to enter Limbo and find her Rolodex.

Rob has money problems of his own, thanks to the bank determined to foreclose on his elderly aunt and uncle’s home. Repossessing magic wands and cursed pianos from disgruntled warlocks isn’t the best pay, but the Navy SEAL works well as a repo man to pay off his family’s debts. Rob's repossession jobs catch up with him when a powerful warlock seeks to end his life for his constant meddling, drawing Tessa in the middle. With Tessa also growing increasingly unhappy with her "perfect" handpicked boyfriend, she’ll question both her matchmaking skills and what she believes is the ideal man.

MEMOIRS OF A WITCH MATCHMAKER is a complete 80,000 word light paranormal romance. I am a former staff writer at The Iowa State Daily, for which I generated over sixty articles, and am a member of the Romance Writers of America. Thanks for your consideration.


Dating Tip #24: Witches hate warlocks who want to jump into bed after the first date. Just because you can pull a rabbit out of your hat doesn’t mean you can pull something magical out of your pants.

From behind the desk in the main office of my agency, Magical Moments Matchmaking, I thought I’d heard it all until my client blurted, "My last date had National Geographic boobs."

I leaned forward as my assistant took notes. "Liam, you’re a five hundred year-old warlock. You can’t be picky when it comes to witches. I understand some women tend to decline and often use glamour to portray themselves as something they’re not, but you shouldn’t close yourself off from perfectly good witches."

"Tessa, after all these years, I feel like I’ve obtained a status that should attract younger witches who aren’t hags—no offense, ladies."

"Don’t talk that way about the women I represent. The simple fact is that you won’t be able to relate well to most of the younger women in my club. They have a lifestyle which you don’t follow anymore. I think you would be better suited to an older witch."

Liam shook his head and stroked his salt-and-pepper-colored beard. The wealth and power he’d accumulated in the magical community hadn’t produced any quality women—one who didn’t need an enchantment spell to force her to date him. A few witches in the club would suit him, but the older ones were much less likely to take his superficial crap.

40 Query Contest

Dear Mrs. Meadows,

Discarded as an infant, Paul's miserable existence of begging and
thieving is turned inside out when he takes on the identity of his
mentally handicapped twin, the Crown Prince, but finds that his skill of
going unnoticed is now his greatest liability.

When his father the king is kidnapped by a vengeful sorcerer set on
destroying the royal family Paul learns fast how to take control putting
his life on the line repeatedly.

Time runs out after the sorcerer unwittingly unleashes an uncontrollable
ancient evil everybody thought banished for many generations. Paul has
to surpass himself to start and end a war in order to free two kingdoms
without losing the most important people in his life: his family.

My stand-alone MG-novel "Thicker Than Water" is complete at 70,000
words. It is a Historical Fantasy with the background based on 12th and
13th century Europe. Details about everyday life in the Middle Ages add
authenticity to the story.

By all I read about you, you seem to be devoted to finding new voices
and I do hope you'll like Paul's.

I am a published German author but this is the first novel I wrote
exclusively in English. Several of my short stories and a historical
novel were published by small press publishers in Germany. I also
translated my historical novel "Ann Angel's Freedom" and self-published
it in the US. Since it was only intended for the main character's
descendants, I was surprised and excited to receive praise for it by
Fantasy-author Holly Lisle.

I included a sample chapter and a one page synopsis (in this case 250

Thank you for taking the time,

Chapter 1: Mother’s Day

Paul woke with the town’s outer wall against his back and wolves gnawing
at his intestines. That was nothing new to him. Last week he had had a
lucky day. First Lilla had given him a whole loaf of bread then he had
been able to steal another. Yesterday, he had eaten the last, moldy
slice. Now he wished that he hadn’t. He pulled his skinny legs closer
until the pain subsided, then he sat up and looked at the other kids of
his chosen family. Beggars and thieves like himself, they were sleeping
on the bare ground beside him. All of them were skinny and unkempt and
smelled of stale sweat and dirt.

Seraphina’s wound was still festering. She hadn’t been able to use her
leg for two weeks now. Her nimble fingers and fleet feet had been sorely
missed, since she was one of the best providers of the Gang. Her wound
smelled nasty. In the early morning twilight Paul could hardly make out
the grubs eating the rotting flesh. The girl clung to her sister Amanda
as if her life depended on it, their auburn and brown curls mingling on
the ground. Seraphina moaned in her sleep and Paul’s heart ached at his
inability to help her. He knew that the flies’ larvae would do a much
better job at cleaning the wound than he could.

Maybe, I can find her something to eat. Another pang of hunger made him

39 Query Contest

Dear Mrs. Jodi Meadows,

THE UNICORN TAMER is where Greek mythology meets Pokémon, a middle-grade fantasy that will appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen's HOOT and Brandon Mull’s FABLEHAVEN.

When her parents mysteriously disappear, 13-year-old Emma Brown is catapulted back to her birthplace - a steampunk version of our dimension that blue whales, centaurs, and griffons call home. In the wonderland called Drualtys, teenagers study to become Tamers - people who form unique bonds with legendary animals to protect them from extinction. Through this bond, Tamers absorb the creatures' magic, special powers ranging from the ability to control lightening, run on water, or see through skin.
Emma begins taming lessons to help rescue her parents from the Hunters, a ruthless clan of humans determined to prove that man is the most powerful beast of all. Their mission: murder the creatures of Drualtys and steal their magical abilities. The prize: a unicorn's cloak of invisibility. Together with her newfound friends, including a half-pixie who's too pretty for his own good and a whimsical boy who can talk to animals, Emma must stay one step ahead of the Hunters, save her parents, and the unicorns - before she is hunted herself.

THE UNICORN TAMER is complete at approximately 95,000 words and is the first in a trilogy. Upon your request, I'd be more than happy to send you the manuscript.

I graduated from Santa Clara University with a Major in Communications and a Minor in Creative Writing. I worked on my university's literary magazine as well as a Children's Storyteller at Barnes and Noble. I also used to contribute to the Google Video Blog.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.


What the Dragons Heard

Dragons are actually more curious than cats.

They proved it now, the hour before dawn in a land called Drualtys. This was the time when animals stirred, in the quiet, cool moments where the world seemed most like theirs. In the darkest corners of the Dreugan caves, the dragons pretended to sleep. Though they were very good pretenders, they could still not control the occasional twitch of excitement that tickled their ears as they eavesdropped on a very important conversation.

Eight clusters of fire the size of soccer balls whizzed silently under the cavern’s ceiling, giving light to an otherwise forebodingly black room.

“How is a dad supposed to react in a situation like this?” asked a man with eyes the color of violets. His name was Benjamin Brown, and anxiety vibrated from his thin frame as he paced the chalky cave’s floor. He stopped and snapped the shiny black arrow he held in two. That same arrow hours before had pierced through his daughter’s crib, missing the slumbering infant by mere inches. Disgusted, Ben threw the arrow against the cave’s wall, and the pieces rattled where they fell.
Perched nearby, the phoenix they called Phyress eyed the broken arrow and shook her ruby and plum feathers as if in disapproval. Sparks emitted from her and the embers flickered stubbornly mid-air, like a trick birthday candle.

The young woman named Aurora mirrored her phoenix’s reaction. She shook back her hair and lifted her chin defiantly. “It’s Emma’s destiny.”

38 Query Contest

Dear [Agent name here]:

When Marian isn't helping her mother with her herbalist trade, she retreats to the forest. The woods hold a secret for her alone, a crying voice that echoes her own loneliness. When she overhears plans to cut down the forest, Marian is determined to find a way to stop it. Unbeknownst to her, the Fey have their own agenda for saving the forest. They burn the village to protect the spirit of their banished goddess. Marian helplessly watches the fire rage, knowing her mother is inside. Furious at the loss of her mother, Marian is filled with a surge of unfamiliar power. As she learns about her magic, she struggles with the desire to use it to help others at the risk of revealing herself to the Enchanter Council.

The Fey seek the hope of their race, a woman with magic, who can initiate the return of their goddess. The Enchanters fear the Fey goddess and kill every female born with magic in order to prevent her return. Marian is sought after by both; the Fey come to her for help, and the Enchanter Council wants to kill her. If the goddess isn't brought back soon, anything touched by fey magic will be affected, including Marian. The Fey will slowly lose their magic. Most will die of despair. Can Marian forgive those who killed her mother, in order to save herself? Marian sees Jex, a thief with debts to the Enchanter Council, at every turn. Though at first an annoyance, he helps her in ways she never expected. She'll need to open her heart to his advice and his love in order to fulfill her destiny.

EMERGENCE OF THE FEY is a fantasy novel complete at 97,000 words. The opening page is below. I am a moderator for, an online writing community, where I also served as a Fantasy Newsletter editor for two years.

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

Best wishes,

[Contact info]

Chapter One

Marian knelt by the small stream, watching the puddle jumpers. The blue sparks danced just out of reach as she dipped her hand in. The only sounds were the trickle of the stream and a pair of birds singing courtship.

She stood and wiped her hands on her long tunic. Why were the trees so silent today? Odd that the absence of resonating cries caused a different kind of sorrow. An emptiness. Marian caressed the smooth bark of one of the oaks.

Rushed footsteps interrupted her musing. "Marian... Marian." Her sister came into view, cheeks flushed and dark hair loose from its braid.

"Terra, what's wrong?"

Terra stopped to catch her breath. "Mother... needs help... Glenna... baker's wife... having baby."

Marian gasped. "Has it been ten moons already?"

Terra shook her head. "Only eight and a half. Mother is over there now. She needs an ointment made and fresh water."

Marian didn't need to hear more. "You get a bucket from the well. I'll make the ointment and meet you at Glenna's."


Marian knocked on the door as she entered the room. Her mother looked up from her tea preparation at the hearth and motioned her daughter over. A ribbon held her dark brown hair out of the way. She handed Marian a ribbon to do the same.

Glenna squatted at the end of a worn bed. Her husband sat directly behind her, ready to brace her during her struggles.

37 Query Contest

Dear Ms. Meadows,

All Cheyenne Butler wants is to be a normal teen: hang out with friends, sleep in class, maybe even date. But after spending five years in juvenile hall for accidentally causing her aunt’s death, she knew it would be a challenge.

A few days after Cheyenne is released into her Uncle Andy’s care, her ailing father passes away, leaving Cheyenne an orphan. After her initial visit with her new therapist, she avoids going, convinced she can handle everything on her own. From her cousin Joey’s accounts, North Maltwood is so bland it’s earned the nickname “Normal,” so it can’t be that hard to adjust to the outside world.

And it wouldn’t be if the people in school were as normal as the town’s nickname. Her cousin’s extraordinarily dim girlfriend, Kelly, is a constant bone of contention within Joey’s, and now Cheyenne’s, social circle – a subset of a school club only known by D.M.S. After a close friend from this tight-knit group goes missing, Cheyenne’s life begins to fall apart. Through all this, Cheyenne discovers that the common definition of a normal teen may be the most abnormal thing of all.

As a native middle-class suburban Bostonian, I bring some of my own adolescent experiences into Cheyenne’s world.

I have been published in Commonthought two years consecutively and studied under author Laurie Foos for one semester at Lesley University. I am also a member of SCBWI and Grub Street, Inc. In addition to working on the sequel to FALLING TO NORMAL, I am currently co-authoring an adult novel that explores romance and the quarter-life crisis.

Thank you for your consideration. If you would like to read the entire 55,000-word manuscript for FALLING TO NORMAL, or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I truly look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for your time.

In December of 1993, it was official; I was no longer a ward of the State. After four and a half years being locked away, the time had finally come.

I looked at my uncle Andy, who nodded. He was sitting in a chair next to me, both of us across from Director Lady.

I couldn’t believe it. “I’m done?”

“We think it’s best you stay for another two weeks and continue with the program,” she said. “This is a probation period, Cheyenne . Craig has voiced his concerns regarding this move. You will need to continue with your therapy.”

I wrinkled my nose. “With him?” Craig was the psychiatrist on staff and looked like Jerry Garcia’s long-lost pedophiliac brother. Whenever I met with him, I couldn’t get past the way he looked and that made it hard for me to take anything he said seriously.

Andy spoke, his Canadian accent a little thicker than normal. “I’ve set up an appointment with Dr. Kleghorn.” I groaned before he quickly added. “She’s not like the one you ‘ave ‘ere.”

I didn’t want to examine my inner workings anymore, but if that was the condition on me leaving, I would suffer meeting the family therapist. “When do I need to go?”

“You have an appointment with her next week,” Director Lady said. “One of the direct care staff will bring you.”

“Great.” What else could I say?

“It will be under her recommendation whether or not your tenure in North Maltwood will be temporary.”

36 Query Contest

Dear Ms. Rappaport:

Starting high school is scary enough. The last thing fourteen-year-old Reta Morse needs is for evil shadow people to ruin everything.

Reta knows that an arsenal of toilet paper will be the perfect payback when her cousin bans teens from his music lounge- until a secret army called the Shadow Regime starts to stalk her for it. On overhearing that these immortals have enslaved her cousin and strive to oppress teens everywhere, she convinces the school to campaign against their system. When Reta learns too late that the Regime’s leader abducts everyone who stands up to him, she must shatter all the rules to escape.

RETA MORSE AND THE SINISTER SHADOW is a 67,000-word young adult contemporary fantasy. It can stand alone or as part of a series. It may be enjoyed by adolescents who like stories about good versus evil but who wish to go beyond traditional ideas such as magicians, vampires, and dragons.

I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Enclosed are the first ten pages of my novel. This is a multiple submission. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your time and consideration.


(Name and contact info here.)

Someone banged on the front door so hard it rattled. Reta jerked, sending a huge pencil line across the warrior drawing she’d slaved at for two days.. She dropped her sketchbook onto the couch, marched over to the door, and yanked it open only to find nobody on the porch.

“Very funny, Ryan.” Leaning out into the cool morning air, Reta hunted the front yard for her friend. Instead, a flash of bright blue on the steps caught her eye. Someone had left behind a folded paper and weighted it down with a rock. Sighing, she picked it up and made to open the folds. This had better be worth ruining her drawing for.

A prickle raced across her scalp. Reta looked up and nearly dropped the paper to the porch. Someone stood just across the street, and it definitely wasn’t Ryan.

The silhouette of a tall man seemed to stare back with an inky, featureless face. Tall jackboots outlined his shins and the sharp edges on his shoulders made Reta think of the armor she’d just drawn. It looked like the solid shadow of an ancient soldier.

She squinted and rubbed her eyes, praying that the pale light had just played tricks on her. Oh, crap. The shadow man remained.

The man shifted leg to leg and took a step back. He whirled around and dodged behind a fat pine tree. Twigs snapped as he vanished into the underbrush of the woods.

Reta fought to lift her feet, which…

35 Query Contest

Dear Mrs. Meadows,

In the middle of the 13th century, when men would go to war over
questions of faith, five brave women set out on a pilgrimage as
perilous as any crusade. To save the life of the unicorn who had
walked in Eden before humanity’s fall, they seek to return to Eden
confident that the fruit from the Tree of Life will restore him to

Each has her own reason for attempting this. Gwenaella, a scholar,
must keep a promise to a sorceress at the peril of her soul. The Lady
Élise would prove her worth to her betrothed. Adelie, a beggar, wants
to do this holy deed to find a place within society. Galiana, a
prostitute, hopes to undo a life of sin. Kavundi, an ascetic, joins
them at the command of her goddess. With them travels a unicorn,
Britomar, who hopes to save her father’s life.

Their journey takes them across Europe, the decaying crusader states,
a decadent Caliphate, war torn India into the mountain kingdom of Lo
Mantang. The danger increases with every step that brings them closer
to the Himalayas. Kavundi must surrender her asceticism, Adelie
abandons her faith and the dream of a place within society, Galiana
sacrifices her beauty and one of her arms, and the Lady Élise lays
down her life, so that Gwenaella might stand before the Tree of Life.
There she is faced with the choice to take its fruit to the ailing
unicorn, or to her beloved who lies dying. Gwenaella finds the
courage to choose the unicorn, keeping her promise, and is rewarded
with the restoration of her beloved to her by the touch of a unicorn’s

The novel was a quarter finalist in the recent Breakthrough
Novel contest. In their review of the complete manuscript,
Publisher's Weekly wrote: "A sprawling, advantageous effort similar
to, and obviously inspired by, Tolkien’s “Lord of Rings” series as
well as the “Narnia” books” and “this is a solid mystical adventure
that will interest readers from start to finish with its likable
protagonists and constant twists and turns."

Complete at 144,000 words, The Garden at the Roof of the World will
appeal to adult readers of many tastes.


Gwenaella was the first to receive the call to serve the unicorns, and
she alone received hers from the first woman herself. It began for her
the day after she scrambled over the convent's wall, clutching the
manuscript her dear love had given her in their tryst under the fig
trees. She never would have given into its urgency had it not been for
this gift she carried, the embrace she imagined she still felt, his
promise of marriage and his kiss.

Gwen clutched the manuscript to her bosom as she pulled herself up the
rose covered trellis. Years of use by other students had provided a
thorn free path that she'd learned for her weekly trysts with
Guillaume. She pushed herself up another rung and slid the book onto
the top of the wall then pulled herself up besides it. She forced
herself to lay still, to quiet her breathing. Below she could hear the
soft crunch of a foot on the path along the wall. One of the nuns must
be patrolling for students like her, trying to avoid punishment for
leaving the convent. Guillaume's gift would doom her to dual
punishments, as not only would she be obviously guilty of leaving the
convent, but also of possessing a romance. She smiled at this, for
Guillaume had written this romance specifically for her. Reading this
would be worth any penance.

34 Query Contest

I'm seeking representation for my 26,000 word middle grade novel, WHITE ALLIGATOR, set in the bayou country of my native Louisiana. Twelve year old Joe finds a baby alligator out in the swamp the likes of which no one has ever seen—a foot long and solid white.

Joe swears to protect it and keep it hidden. He is in need of protecting himself. His violent father, Conway, has returned to town and his mother, tired of their poverty, is letting him back into their lives. A young couple takes Joe on a nighttime trip alligator spotting in the swamp. He recognizes one of the poachers they hide from as his father.

His mother discovers the alligator as a hurricane approaches and surprises Joe by sharing his feelings of wonder and by having opened her eyes to her husband's character. When they go to help neighbors after the storm—Conway steals the alligator. Joe goes alone to the abandoned diner where the poachers are staying and almost rescues it. With police outside demanding Joe's release, Joe's father takes him and the alligator on a mad drive that ends with them all in the swirling flood waters.

I am a children's librarian and a member of SCBWI. Thank you for your time and attention, I hope you share my enthusiasm for this book.

Joe was drifting. He rested his head on a balled up poncho in the prow of the skiff, his cap over his face, and his knees across one of the seats. He felt like the sun was going straight through him. If he opened his eyes he could see dots of the blue sky that stretched over the swamp through the mesh of the baseball cap. That it was a school day and not his skiff didn't bother him at all.

The faint sound of an outboard motor made him to sit up. Running into anybody he knew was the last thing he wanted. He squinted at the far end of Long Lake. In this spot he always felt like he could sit here in Louisiana and see clean to Mississippi on one side and Texas on the other.
Today he could see a fishing boat coming towards him. Joe reached for the pole and winced. His shoulders still hurt. He pushed up his sleeve to see if the bruises looked any worse.

They did. Deep blue and purple where his father, Conway, had grabbed him this morning. Conway, who wasn't supposed to be in the house at all, was in the kitchen when Joe got up.
Joe said he wasn't going to school, said he felt sick. He didn't want to leave his mother alone with him. Conway had sunk his fingers into Joe's arms and shook him, all the while yelling at him what a worthless kid he was.

33 Query Contest

Times like these bring out the bitter in all of us—at least that's the story Nora McLorn is telling herself. Being a bartender in a Hollywood hot spot has morphed her into the queen of snark.

But who wouldn't be a tad bit resentful about serving suds to a bunch of badly behaving B-list actors, wanna-be Jonas Brothers, unwashed tribal tattoo chicks, meaty-faced bartards who try to climb over the bar, and people who over pronounce while ordering Pina Coladas—the same ones, mind you, who say Grande Carmel Macchiato with an accent?

What is a girl to do besides turn territorial and sharpen her tongue?

The trouble isn't that Nora has an alter-ego whom she christens Bitter Bar Girl; or that her New Age-addicted boss wants to lay her off until she reads a bizarre self-help guide; or the fact that she's conjured the book's quirky author; or even that Bitter Bar Girl's scope extends beyond the bar to affect not just her relationships with her family, friends and those with potential boyfriend possibility. Okay, perhaps these are the real problems.

Honed in the UCLA Writer's Program, BITTER BAR GIRL is a 67,000 word novel inspired by my years as an LA bartender where I gleaned a razor sharp insight, a dull headache, and an enviable list of hangover cures. I would love to send you a quick shot or are you in the mood for a bender?

I should just ignore the guy waving his twenty, but he leans so far over the bar I’m afraid he’ll fall into the ice bin.

“Weiss Bock,” he orders by way of a greeting.

“Sorry,” I say, “all we have is what’s on the list.”

He squints at the carefully hand-printed menu board. “You don’t have Moretti,” he says.

“It must be Bug the Busy Bartender Day,” I counter.

He doesn’t take the hint. Instead he runs his fingers through his tell-tale center part.

“What about cream stout? Irish oatmeal? Imperial?”

“No, not and none.”

“Fine,” he whines. “Just give me something Belgian.”

My temples begin to pulsate as I contemplate my fate. I can hear the murmur of the unserved; feel their scathing looks pinging off my skull as the swarming crowd five deep forms en masse to stampede. Something inside me gives way. A fissure opens and Bitter Bar Girl, my alter ego gushes forth.

“Are your parents siblings or are you just a dickhead?” she asks.

“Uh, I…” he sputters.

“All we have is what you see listed. So either cowboy up or get the hell out.”

“Heineken,” he bleats. I oblige and then leave to let him stew in his barley.

Good thing the owner is out of town because lately Bitter Bar Girl has ripened into a connoisseur of the cutting remark and once she unleashes, it’s hard to rein her in.

32 Query Contest

When twelve-year-old Carlos makes a wish to be a man, a masked swordsman who calls himself The Fox appears from the nineteenth century to help.

In I AM THE FOX, a completed 40,000-word middle grade, reality-based fantasy, almost teenage Carlos is the man of the house for his mother and eight-year-old brother. After Carlos sees a young boy almost killed on the street, then he knows he must take action so his little brother is not lost. He can’t sleep that night and watches The Adventures of the Fox on TV. He makes a wish to be like this man, able to help others in need. When he wakes up the next morning, The Fox appears in his bedroom and agrees to help him become a man.

My writing-related experience includes: living and working in New York, including at Metropolitan Hospital, where one of the characters is taken after being hit by a truck; publication of a short story in the University of South Florida’s writing journal, PALM PRINTS; fiction awards from the National Writers Association and the Florida State Writing Competition.

Thank you for your consideration.



Word on the street: My eight-year-old brother is joining a gang.

I took to the New York streets to stop him, zigzagging around shoppers and food vendor carts in Spanish Harlem. The aroma of toasted tortillas and roast pork filled my nose. My mother bought me a pork-filled quesadilla once when she had extra money. How good it tasted.

No time to think of food now no matter how empty my stomach. The wind howled in my ears and nipped at the back of my neck. I zipped up my Jets jacket and pulled up the collar. I had a hunch where Manuel might be and headed in that direction.

My feet stiffened on the cold cement, but I raced across the cracked sidewalk. I’d accepted a mission and would not stop. Three years ago my dad abandoned us and I took over at age eleven as the man for the family. That made Manuel mine to find.

Soul, salsa, reggae, and rap music tumbled from windows above and blasted from cars alongside me. The “you’ll-grow-into-these jeans-and-jacket” my mother bought me made me feel small and skinny. Small or not, I could run fast enough to catch Manuel and teach him a lesson, even if I still hadn’t figured out how to handle the bullies at school or throw a fast ball.

My heart thundered and my lungs ached. I dashed around the two-for-one evening

gowns and overcoats that hung on racks, the bins of herbs, pots for potions, and other

magical items.

31 Query Contest

Teen searches for her missing brother and uncovers a startling conspiracy in the magical underbelly of New York City.

With some beyond-the-grave assistance from her dad, eighteen-year-old MIRANDA CUNNINGHAM, telekinetic expert and kick boxer turned private investigator, searches for missing persons in Kroy Wen City, the magical underbelly of Manhattan. She joins forces with an attractive Samson-like strong man and a ditzy antiquities expert to uncover just what technicians are draining from the city’s young people and why.

My writing experience includes short stories published in PALM PRINTS, the University of South Florida’s writer’s journal and online at RIVERWALK; first place in paranormal romance category, the Virginia Romance Writers of America; attendance at several writers’ conferences; participation in creative writing courses, and membership in online fantasy and mystery critique groups.

THE MISSING is a young adult urban fantasy complete at 92,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration.



The hush that settled over the late night crowd when I stepped into Turtles nightclub should have tipped me off.

The smells of stale beer and rank body odors pushed their way up my nose, and the sound of my heels clicking across the gritty floor echoed in my ears.
I’d come to Turtles for an appointment, venturing into the magical underbelly of New York City called Kroy Wen. Private investigators have to take a lot of risks. Comes with the territory. At least that’s what my dad taught me.

I peered through the darkness. Somewhere inside, my client should be waiting for me. Good thing I looked older than my18 years or I’d be thrown out, investigator on a case or not.

“What are you looking for?” The deep voice had that nonhuman quality of paper rattling against a drainage pipe.

“Trouble,” would have been my response with friends. Here, I could feel the tension in the room building, so I held back.

I took a few steps toward the voice, hoping he really wanted to help, but worrying he didn’t. “Manasuko?

“Come straight ahead. Ask the bartender.” In the dim light I saw a hand or what could pass for one waving me on.

He had to be Seducca, a clan of nasties that had been taking over this part of the city.

They played by their own rules but I had a few ways to defend myself.

30 Query Contest

Att: Ms. Jodi Meadows
Dear Ms. Meadows:

A woman’s past unfolds as she faces her stalker in my 100,000 word novel for the woman’s commercial fiction market. Told with comic relief NO GARDEN OF EDEN IN PARADISE is a saucy tale of murder, mystery and romance among the rich and infamous, the likes of an Agatha Christie’s multi-character whodunit.

World famous artist Dorian Oberon avoids photographers and refuses to give interviews even to Barbara Walters. Guilt over an ill-begotten affair and a closely guarded secret is buried is buried beneath prized canvases and tattered brushes. After twenty years abroad she returns to America where circumstances take her to a posh suburban community, not the Garden of Eden one would imagine. With a cast of irreverent characters with secrets to die for…or kill for…Paradise Park’s lush terrain veils a black hole of chicanery, wanton sex, and uncommon romance.

When a dim-witted peeping tom gardener digs up some dirt the killing he hopes to make is his own. Unwittingly at the scene of his murder Dorian spies a fleeting figure in the shadows. Lest her past be dredged up like the body found at the bottom of the pool she foolishly refuses to admit anything. Hounded by a horny cop, courted by a duplicitous suitor, and stalked by a vengeful predator her carefully fabricated life starts to unravel.

I live in a densely populated suburban community and am a member of ORT, an international retraining organization that sponsors a multitude of book and author seminars. A previous novel was represented by the late Bertha Klausner; a breakout piece was published in Marriage Magazine.

I would appreciate submitting for your consideration NO GARDEN OF EDEN IN PARADISE and thank you for your time and consideration.




If she had never left Paris. If she had not lied to the detective. If she had heeded her own warning…if she had never fallen in love…she would not now be staring down the barrel of a gun and a face leering with undisguised loathing.

“You don’t seem surprised to see me; thought you would be,” the voice jeered.

“I was expecting you, though not quite this way,” she said.

A grin. “What did you expect? A singing telegram?”

“Next time I’ll remember to lock the door.”

The reply chilled. “Doubt there’ll be a next time.”

“What will you gain by killing me?” she said. “It won’t change anything.”

“On the contrary, I’ll sleep better seeing your name on a tombstone.” A laugh. “Dorothy Oberlander or the very famous Dorian Oberon…whatever name they’ll put on it.”

“You won’t get very far. After you poisoned my cat I called the police.”

“That dick-head sergeant and pussy-chasing cop? I’ll be far and away before they can zip up their pants.”

The gun was cocked, a steady finger curled about the trigger. “Anyway, who’d ever suspect me? You never told anyone.”

“You know damn well why.

“I counted on that.” A wave of the gun. “You know, I tried real hard to be friends with you.”

“We could never be friends,” she seethed. “You’re insane.”

“Still so high and mighty. Even now with a gun ready to splatter your brains.”

Keep talking, stall for time, the police will be here soon.

29 Query Contest

CHECK MATE, 82,184 words, Romance with suspense, paranormal, and comic elements. Since my heroine is an exotic black, white, apache, Filipina, add multi-cultural.

Dear Ms. Meadows,

A guy can write romances. I did for NBC years ago.

A brilliant soldier in her early thirties, Bekah Carthage commands everything except a love life. An explosion robs her sight, but leaves her with a vision of a dog trapped by the explosion. Now kicked out of the Army, she struggles to understand her visions. She rescues and adopts the dog.

Before she can leave for the States, she’s captured. An unlikely hero, Jimmy, who teaches Unexplained Phenomena at NYU, and runs a paranormal op for the government, rescues and recruits her. He harbored a huge crush on her when they played chess in high school. Both chess masters now, mating is inevitable.

Love arrives after a bumpy ride. Together and apart, they confront assassins, pick up two zany computers who claim to be alive, and figure out how she saw the dog.

Sincerely yours,

Sunday May 4th Baghdad 1202 hours

Rebekah glanced back at the sweaty-balled men following, trusting her. The morsels of hot dust painting her lungs, tasted like death, her death.

Thank God, it’ll be mine alone. In maybe, ten minutes.

Plodding forward, she closed her eyes and “saw” a doomed sniper on the cratered street, no equipment necessary, no instructions supplied. Unexplained phenomena or hunches were her calling card. Nine minutes.

Sprinting ahead to scout, she rounded a building. A raven pushed off a putrid cardboard box, spewing soda and cigarette-butt slurry on her uniform. Disgusting. She shook her head; too soon for an improvised explosive device. Seven minutes.

Superstitious, she plucked a moment, rummaging through memories of her multi- racial history for a remedy to the feathered apparition. A blackbird pie might work, if only she could stop time, and knew the recipe. Five minutes.

Her dad created this mess, by ramming through the U.S. Senate, a bill eliminating age, sex, and talent discrimination in the military.

“Talent? . . . Three minutes,” she panted.

She couldn’t afford love affairs for her now ending career, sexism being alive and sick. Two minutes.

Tomorrow, she’d turn over a new jock-strap, God willing.

Doing whatever she wanted, she took point by the front door. No minutes.

“Fall back, now.” Running, she watched the slowest soldier flop over the courtyard wall one stride away.

Didn’t hear the explosion. Pieces of flying building pounded her armored suit. No pain. Eyesight: gone. Senses: collapsing. With one last desperate grab at brain function, she “saw” a pup trapped in an oven, then nothing.