Sunday, December 12, 2010

Query Letter Blogfest

This Query Letter Blogfest is courtsey of Jodi Henry's blog. Here is my entry:

Dear Agent:

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

As a paranorm with the ability to create and hide in shadows, Lorna has been searching in vain to find her father’s murderer when the Paranormal Intelligence Agency tries to recruit her and her power. Lorna distrusts the agency and continues to accept assassin assignments including an island king.

King Alaric is everything Lorna isn't — noble, kind, good. When the two fall in love, Lorna tries to hide her past. When Alaric learns she is the world famous assassin, he wants nothing to do with her.

The PIA gives Lorna a deal. If she will kill an innocent person, they’ll tell her where here father’s murderer is. The old Lorna would have killed without a second thought, but now she finds herself conflicted, forced to decide if her thirst for revenge outweighs the love she never expected to need.

HIDDEN IN SHADOWS is a complete 97,000-word urban fantasy with romance elements. It is a standalone novel with series potential.

I am the author of a fantasy romance trilogy, The Kingdom of Arnhem – WOMAN OF HONOR (2009) and KNIGHT OF GLORY (2010) published with Desert Breeze Publishing with CHAMPION OF VALOR coming in 2011. I have also sold nine short stories for anthologies, including MERTALES by Wyvern Publications, and many collections from Pill Hill Press.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Southpaw said...

What a dilemma. Great premise!

Charity Bradford said...

First *drool* that you have credits. Nice work!

This is really good, I love the premise and would read something like this. There are just a few really picky things, and those aren't much.

P2-would "has been searching" sound better as just "searched". It would get rid of the passive. Would have to reword the rest of the sentence a bit.

P3-is King Alaric the island king she's supposed to kill? That might be important and it isn't clear here.

P4-now the PIA wants her to kill some random innocent person? there must be a reason they picked THAT person.

Patricia A. Timms-McGehee said...

Hello! New follower and fellow query blogfester here.

The thing that truly makes this query sound like an interesting read is that she's a world famous assassin.

The only problem is that I didn't realize from the first two paragraphs that she was an assassin at all. Not because I'm a dummy, but because it didn't stand out and I've been through a lot of the blogfest queries today. That means that an agent might overlook it after they've read through a lot of queries.

Great job on all your published works.

Steena Holmes said...

First off - you know I want to read this right? You should send this to me, seriously. Second - and don't hate me for this - but the voice is lacking in your query. It READS well, it interestes me, but it doesn't jump out and grab me. I don't get a 'feel' for her voice at all.

But ... other than that, I love it.

Dominic de Mattos said...

Hi Nicole

This sounds like a great read and the query really draws me in.

I'd like to offer a few thoughts

P1 great (The statement that she becomes an assassin couldn't be clearer!)

P2 I feel that the three distinct pieces of information in one sentence would be better separated. Also she is not searching because she is a paranorm (inferred by the use of "as"). If you forced me to write it, I might put Lorna has been searching in vain for her father's murderer, aided by her paranorm ability to create and hide in shadows. When the PIA try to recruit her and her power, Lorna distrusts them and continues to accept assassination assignments.
A question here: "assignment" suggests she is working for someone who "assigns" her work. If she is freelance it would be a contract, surely. (assassin assignments feels cumbersome btw)

P4 a deal is "offered" isn't it, rather than given?
typo on her father
Why use kill here, rather than assassinate? I know that you want to ramp up the conflict, but putting innocent person almost suggests victims are not usually innocent. I agree with Charity that stating that the PIA ask her to assassinate a specific person would be good if your story allows that.

We are left to make the extremely tenuous link that giving up this assignment (this really would be an "assignment" from the PIA!) would make King Alaric want to have something to do with her again. It depends if his disgust is at what she does or at what she has done. I am not querying the basis of you novel here, just pointing out the sort of questions that might go through someone's mind as they read the query.

Sorry I have rambled on a bit.

The more nit picky the comments, the better the query in the forst place!

Well done


Ann said...

Okay, now I need to read this. What a great letter. I have pondered over query letters. I enjoyed reading yours. Congratulations on all your credits too.

Tracy said...

Hi Nicole, I could have sworn I posted on your query yesterday, but I guess not.

For starters, I think the opening line is a great hook. You fit a good deal of intriguing information that raises questions into one sentence. Good job!

The only part that confused me is the beginning of the 4th paragraph. As far as we know Lorna's been trying to steer clear of the PIA, but now they are cutting deals with her.

I think you need to have this piece in there because it's a huge dilemna. Just wondering if there is a way to smooth out the transition and explain how/why she came to know this.

Great job and good luck!

lexcade said...

Hey, Nicole! Awesome premise here. There's always a reason behind why someone chooses to become an assassin. Always. Putting Lorna's in the very first sentence helps us understand the rest of the query. She's not a heartless assassin. She's experienced something traumatic and is fighting to use her anger and grief for something good. Kinda like Dexter, but without all that Dark Passenger stuff ;)

I like that Alaric is the exact opposite of how Lorna sees herself. But I wonder. If she's world-famous, then why doesn't he know who she is right away? Is the island remote, difficult to access? Small details like that will help us make more sense of that portion.

Also, the PIA's deal comes out of nowhere. Like Tracy said, we need to know that she's been dealing with them, whether it's simply ignoring them UNTIL they make that offer or something. Until this point, we know she distrusts them and refuses to accept assignments from THEM (as opposed to...whom?).

Otherwise, the conflict is great and the story sounds great, too.

Jodi Henry said...

I love the idea of this story. A female assasin, fabulous.

I agree w/ Tracy and Lexcad we need some lead into the PIA bit.

I too was wondering who was giving her the assination assingments?

BTW- your blog is so beautiful :)
and I am jealous, you published author you.


*scurries off to look up books now*

J.C. Martin said...

I wish I had publishing credits like yours! Wow!

I can't see anything glaring in this query letter. I think it's pretty good. The conflict is clear, as are the antag and protag. The only thing is the sentence "Lorna distrusts the agency and continues to accept assassin assignments including an island king." It seems a bit awkward to me. Maybe re-write it along the lines of "Lorna distrusts the agency and continues accepting assignments, including assassinating an island king."

Seeing as you have been successfully published before, I'm sure you know what's best for your query letter! Good luck!