Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #15

Dear Ms. Martindale,

When newly deceased Rebecca learns she must play matchmaker for an entry ticket to Heaven, she’s totally up for the challenge. Armed with a handful of enviable abilities and charged with finding true love for a pretty college student, Alexis Beckman, Rebecca assumes her task will be fun--and easy. That is, until the boy meant for Alexis steals her own heart instead.

At first, Rebecca thinks Michael’s tendency to turn her insides to melted butter is a freak side effect of Alexis’s obviously growing feelings for him. But the first time Michael and Alexis kiss, only one girl walks away insanely jealous, and it isn’t Alexis.

Feeling cheated of life and love, Rebecca bends Heaven’s rules to get closer to Michael. In the process, she uncovers a haunting secret: not only was Michael’s brother killed six months earlier, but Alexis might have unwittingly played a role in his death. Rebecca knows she holds the one card that could tear Michael and Alexis apart, and must decide if a last chance at love is worth breaking Alexis’s heart…and enduring the h***ish consequences of failing Heaven.

As three fates hang in the balance, Rebecca is only certain of one thing: nothing about her mission is as simple as she thought it would be--especially letting go of life before death.

LIFE BEFORE DEATH is a 78,000 word paranormal romance, with POV alternating between Rebecca and Alexis.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


Of all the white things I would’ve expected to see in Heaven--brilliant white light, fluffy white clouds, angels in white robes--the rear ends of two massive white horses weren’t on the list. Yet there they were, swaying from side to side as they towed the carriage I sat in.

It should have struck me as odd that the man at the reins, dressed in a red tailcoat and black top hat, grinned at me with warm familiarity in spite of the fact that I’d never seen him before. And the fact that I had no idea how I’d wound up in that carriage. It was as if I had materialized from thin air, landed in this moment, and one by one, my senses became aware of everything around me.

Every one of those senses told me I hadn’t gone to Heaven after all.

I’d died, and that much I knew. But the white clouds and white-winged, white-robed angels? Not a one. There was a white light, though--in the distance, emanating from a marbled moon. It bounced against the sky in rhythm with the carriage, causing the ocean beneath it to shimmer. Stout cliffs formed shadowy bulges along most of the shore, topped with palm trees and more glowing dots of light from buildings and streetlamps and cars.

Cars. Not carriages.

Fingers of chilly apprehension uncurled in my stomach, but I forced them down. I wasn’t in Heaven, but I knew a place this beautiful couldn’t be Hell.


Leigh Ann said...

Wooooooot! LBD!!!

(Just a CP here to cheerlead. Go G Go!)

Maggie Hall said...

Yay! As a lucky CP, I know that this book really is as fun and romantic and awesome as it sounds--and I think you did a great job describing it in the query. :)

Cynthia said...

Love both query and 250. Would love to read it.

Lyla said...

I love both the query and the first 250 words, as well!

For the query: the premise sounds intriguing and great, there's just the right amount of voice, and it makes me want to read your book.

For the 250 words: the first two lines crack me up, I love the voice already, and the ending is intriguing enough to make me want to read more and find out where she's going.

Good luck!

Tara said...

I liked the voice in the query from the first sentence. However, I found this sentence really confusing: “But the first time Michael and Alexis kiss, only one girl walks away insanely jealous, and it isn’t Alexis.” Why would there be any chance that Alexis would be the jealous one if she just did the kissing? Who would she be jealous of?

I was also surprised to learn that the novel alternates POV between the two girls, since the query seems to be all about Rebecca’s side of the story. I think that it’s a strong query as is, so I’m reluctant to suggest a major rewrite, but I wonder if there’s any way to get Alexis’s side in
there, too.

The sample is terrific and I’d totally read on. The setting is really vivid and I’m left with lots of (good!) questions. Good luck!

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I like the premise and thought the page was great. One thing in the query threw me, though. When you say: "only one girl walks away insanely jealous, and it isn’t Alexis." I get what you are trying to say, but it doesn't ring true for me. It might be the "one girl" thing. I'm assuming as I read it that Alexis isn't going to be jealous. (She is the one getting the action after all. =) Other than that, I like it.

Sandra Cormier said...

By reading the query, I believe Rebecca must inhabit Alexis' body to make the chemistry happen. Am I right?

This is a great premise. The query is straightforward and the opening lines drew me right in. Descriptive without being too wordy.

*sparkly high five*

Cortney said...

Your query sounds great, and I agree with the others one the "one girl" thing. I have oodles of questions rolling around in my brain right now, and they're all things that will hopefully be resolved by reading it, which I would love to do! I'm drooling over your story! The first paragraph, I said an audible, "Ooo," because it really appeals to me!! Nice work!

(Does Michael know she's dead? How is that love thing going to work when she's dead and Alexis and Michael are not, and is she going to give up Heaven for him? Ack, I want to know!!) :D

Gina said...

This is my entry, and I just wanted to thank everyone for the helpful and encouraging feedback.

I can see how that second para is confusing. What I meant is that when Rebecca starts feeling all a-twitter when Michael is around, she assumes she has some supernatural ability to feel what Alexis is feeling. But when Michael kisses Alexis and all Becca can feel is rampant jealousy, she realizes those feelings were her own all along.

I'll keep that in mind when I revise. Thanks again!

Elizabeth Briggs said...

I'm intrigued and mainly wonder, how is she supposed to find true love for her. Is she like a guardian angel? What are her powers? Maybe that would help clear up the 2nd paragraph. Also, how does she bend Heaven's rules?

The end of the query is great. Really clear high stakes.

I really enjoyed the opening pages. I'm curious to know how she died, so I would hope that gets answered soon.

Escape Artist said...

I thought you did a terrific job with the first paragraph in your query! Good job!
From reading that first paragraph, I thought it would be an intriguing 'light' read, but as I read on, I saw that it gets a bit more complicated than first set out. In a way, I wished there was something that hinted at that developing complexity in the first paragraph, because as I read on it started feeling like a different book. Could just be me and the way I'm reading it at the moment, but it was my immediate response.

In regards to your opening pages, it had a very light feel to it again, and yet, she died. How did she die? Wouldn't she be just a little bit upset with what was happening to her and yet there was a laissez faire attitude to her death that left me curious.

Hope this helps and best of luck!
: )

Francesca Zappia said...

Whooooo! LBD!

(Another CP here. LBD definitely is just as fun and awesome as it sounds. Go Gina!)

Creepy Query Girl said...

Other than the jealousy line, i thought your query rocked and I absolutely LOVED your first 250 words! Made me want to read more!

Taylor Martindale said...

This is a strong, well-written query and first page. I like the premise, and I like the tension that’s being set up here. I might like to see a little more voice on the first page (i.e. something more personal from this character), but thought it was still a strong opening. I’d keep reading this query.
Thank you for participating in this Agent’s Inbox!
Taylor Martindale
Full Circle Literary