Wednesday, July 29, 2009

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.


  1. I really liked your first line - good hook :)

    You've got a good voice coming through in both the query and the sample.

    I found the 2nd query sentence threw me off a bit. You've said she no longer knows what mist and magic can do because she's lost her rolodex. I know what you mean, but I think you could find a better way of saying it. Hope that helps a bit - I think you've got really good start here.

  2. You show me two characters, very vividly portrayed, but I've no sense of whose story this is. Why spend so much time on the conflicts of who ever the story is not of? If you've got two protags - find a way to clue us in from the beginning. If one, let your otherwise excellent query show us just that one - and if you must mention the other - do so from the protag's perspective.

  3. Query – interesting concept, but which character is the MC? Or is the story told from both Rob and Tessa’s point of view?

    Sample pages – love the first paragraph! Interesting start to a story with good dialogue. I’m curious though if he’s so powerful, why there aren’t some witches after him for his money.

  4. For the most part, the query is intriguing. The only thing I'd recommend is to limit the use of "repo/reposession". I also noted a POV switch at the end of the second paragraph.

    Because the query got my attention, I read the frist page. The first line of your manscript almost caused keyboard damage when I made the mistake of reading while drinking iced tea. Love the humor. I'd read more.

  5. The first paragraph is tight--good hook, good explanation of conflict. With the second paragraph, this is a romance story and the second paragraph of romance queries are frequently used to explain the love interest and the conflict of why they can't be together. If you can smooth the link to Rob and why his money problems are a concern to Tessa, I think your query will be really sharp.

    And the first page is hilarious. I'd keep reading.

  6. I thought the first sentence of your query was really strong, but the switch from Tessa to Rob threw me off. I lost some interest during the second paragraph and didn't read the sample.

  7. Hooked.
    The light-hearted fun of the book comes across in both the query and the first page. I agree on the question about who the protagonist is. There's almost if not more discussion about Rob than Tessa. Great humor and entertaining dialogue.

  8. Love the voice and the energy of the query and the first page. The title is cute and sassy too and gives a good sense of the type of story to expect.

    You actually have so much good stuff, I'd suggest cutting some lines to tighten the blurb.

    Cut: "To connect with an important client cavorting in the fifth dimension" -- the sentence is wordy and not needed since we understand she needs her Rolodex to do business.

    From Rob's paragraph, I'd cut this sentence. We already have a feel for the paranormal elements of the story and this isn't central to the conflict, plus it's a bit word heavy.
    "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. "

    From what I've heard, agents don't want to stop and struggle over a sentence.

    You've got a great thing going here. Good luck!

  9. Query: HOOKED. Sounds charming and fun!

    Sample: Hooked! Great first lines, funny tone, I'm in!

  10. Not personally hooked, but this sounds fun. :]

  11. I'm hooked - what a clever idea! I really liked the voice in your query and sample pages. I was not confused over the MC - it is Tessa based on the query and the title of the work. Rob, to me, seems an integral part of how the story will unfold and the conflict so I don't see including him in the query as a problem.

    Good work!

  12. I bet this would be very entertaining in a humorous way. Good job.

  13. Your premise hooked me, and your opening line had me howling. If I picked this book up in a bookstore, I'd buy it on the strength of these 250 words. Good job!

  14. You had me laughing, so I'm hooked. :-)

  15. I'm hooked. I hope the whole book is from Tessa's POV--I like her perspective. Good luck!

  16. The Query: I would recommend personalization in greeting and maybe a sentence as to why you choose a specific agent.

    The first paragraph showed a great premise. I also liked the concept of the matchmaker re-evaluating her beliefs regarding the ideal man.

    The Sample: Fantastic first paragraph. The entire snippet had good pace and was very engaging. I absolutely found myself agreeing with the MC and drawn into the story. I would definitely read more.

  17. I'm hooked. The query strikes me as light and amusing (just like you want, I'm sure) and the sample page was great. I laughed out loud at your hook. Good job!

  18. Hooked on both the query and excerpt. Very funny, light and charming. Love the premise as well.

    Good job!

  19. Are you still in IA? I'm in Ames. If so, we need to figure how to contact outside Miss Snark.

    Query loved it. (One beef, 'knows a little mist'? not sure what that meant.)

    250--great. good work #42 and I loved the intro paragraph of your sample especially.

  20. I would probably read more. The humor throughout made this stand out to me. Good job!

  21. I was hooked.

    And I laughed at your opening paragraph. I would definitely read on.

  22. Nice job. Hooked on both, and the premise is original and something I would definitely read.

  23. This is cute, and the pages show a nice voice, but for some reason, I'm just not in love. It's probably one of those right desk right day things.

    While I understood this was the structure of a romance query, Rob's paragraph was a little unclear to me. Perhaps keep his things all together, and then have a third paragraph to show how everything fits?

    Just a small thing, really. I don't think you'll have trouble getting attention on this manuscript.