Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Agent's Inbox #7

Dear Ms. Marini,

I am seeking representation for my novel, FINDERS KEEPERS, and since your website mentions you like urban fantasy as well as mystery, mayhem, and romance, I thought you might be interested. FINDERS KEEPERS is an 82,000 word urban fantasy.

After a near-miss with a nervous breakdown, Brenna Moriarity gave up magic, and her life has been much easier without it, thank you very much. And it's not like she's wanting for things to keep her busy. Between her duties as an on-air radio personality, hitting up Seattle’s clubs with her friends, avoiding a tyrannical coven leader, and keeping away from her delicious boss, there’s no time for practicing the craft.

But her gift won’t let her go so easily. See, Brenna can find things when no one else can. Things that may be better off lost.

Unbeknownst to Brenna, her best friend and fellow witch steals Merwyn's Ruby, a gem so powerful that in the hands of a lesser witch, it can control the user, instead of the other way around. Brenna's on the verge of having to leave town to avoid joining the local coven, and he thinks if she can wield the ruby, the coven leader will have to leave her alone and she won't have to move. His plan dies a quick death when someone steals it from him. Now he’s desperate to get it back, and Brenna’s the only one who can help him.

Having a gem as dangerous and seductive as Merwyn's Ruby loose in the city is bad enough. Having it fall into the wrong hands would be even worse. Trapped by love and loyalty to her friend, Brenna agrees to help, even though the search may rip her sanity to shreds.

I am a member of PNWA and RWA, and my work has finaled in the Emerald City Openers Contest and the FF & P's On the Far Side contest. I have included the first page below. Thank you very much for your time.

Best regards,



“Brenna, come on. When have I ever led you wrong?”

I scowled at the wall, wishing Jared was in front of me instead of on the other end of the phone. I wanted him to see my face. “How about more often than not?”

“Look, just because there was that one time the spirit got loose and wrecked your mom’s pantry--”

“And the time where I had to go searching through your ex-girlfriend’s bedroom. And the time we had to break into the school. And the time you lost your keys at that party, only to remember you’d lent them to your brother, leading him to get in the accident...” S***. Should not have gone there. “Jer, I’m sorry.”

The line was quiet except for the faint background noises on Jared’s end of the phone. “‘S okay, Bren. That was pure stupidity on my part.” The accident, a massive back end collision on a slick road in the middle of January, had ended up putting Jared’s younger brother, who hadn’t had his license long, in the hospital for a month. While he’d fully recovered, it was still a “no-go” subject between us.

I took a deep breath. “It’s still a no, Jared. I mean it. No more magic for me.”


Janice Sperry said...

When you say best friend and fellow witch in the query, I assumed it was another woman. It took a couple reads to figure out it was a man. That's my only complaint about the query.

The 250 sets up their friendship nicely, but I wonder if there is a better place for you to start? One with more action and less reflection? It wouldn't stop me from reading on, though.

Mystic Wyngarden said...

I kind of agree about getting right into the action more quickly in the 250, but I like your query.

Accept for the nervous breakdown part, I loved your first paragraph, especially "Brenna Moriarity gave up magic, and her life has been much easier without it, thank you very much."

DMcWild said...

I was also confused with the best friend and follow witch line. You should name the person to avoid confusion.

Although, I'm usually not a big fan of stories starting with only dialogue your 250 worked for me because of the importance of her not wanting to practice magic.

I would continue reading. Good Luck.

Danielle La Paglia said...

I'm with the others, I wanted some kind of heads up the BFF was a guy. I had to stop and re-read the sentence a few times because I thought there was typo. Other than that, I liked the query. I like the voice and the stakes. The opening was fun and felt like real dialogue. I would keep reading.

Good luck!

Carmen said...

The query is great. It has plenty of voice and sounds like a fun premise.

Like some of the other commenters though, I'm wondering if you could start the book in a different place. The dialogue also felt a little young for me, but it may just be the banter in the dialogue.

Good luck!

rlynn-solomon said...

I love the voice of your query and your first 250. Like others had mentioned, the guy BFF could probably be clarified a bit.

I too also find it tricky to get into books when they hit you with the dialogue right away -- but you make it work fantastically here! I love the first few lines of dialogue because it corresponds with the query and Brenna giving up magic.

I really like your query. I don't read a ton of fantasy, but I understood what was happening the entire way through. I think part could benefit from a little bit of tightening -- example, in the first paragraph (which overall is fab), maybe mentioning just three things Brenna does to keep herself busy instead of four:

"Between her duties as a Seattle radio personality, avoiding a tyrannical coven leader, and keeping away from her delicious boss, there's no time for practicing the craft."

I was also wondering what exactly the ruby would do. You say it can control the user and having it loose in the city and in the wrong hands would be a disaster, and while these are fantastic stakes, maybe adding a detail about what it would do would heighten the tension. Are you talking big-time death and destruction or controlling everyone's minds or what?

Overall, though, I was hooked by this, and even as someone who doesn't read a ton of fantasy, I'd definitely keep reading!

Victoria Marini said...

I'd keep reading this. Like the others, I was confused about who this mysterious "he" was and it took me a minute to understand she was talking about her BFF. Otherwise, I think it was successful.

Thank you!