Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #12

Dear Ms. Smith:

I understand you are looking for contemporary young adult, science fiction and romance featuring minority characters. I hope you will enjoy a blending of these genres in FIRE IN THE WOODS.

When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky--literally, since he’s from another planet. But David’s not here to find a girlfriend, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but a military lab and the pointy end of a dissection scalpel.

Racing through the woods with the army and the air force one breath behind them, Jess and David cling to each other for survival and form a bond stronger than either of them bargained for. But David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, Jess is in handcuffs and alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she's to save the boy she's come to care about without sacrificing Earth--and everyone on it.

FIRE IN THE WOODS is a 68,000 word stand-alone novel for young adults. My story LAST WINTER RED is published as part of the Make Believe Anthology. PAPER WISHES will be released in August, 2013 from Astraea Press, and my story THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW TOMORROW will be available in late 2013 from Muse It Up Publishing.

I am an active member of South Jersey Writers, The New Jersey Author’s Network, and South Jersey Women Authors.

Thank you for your time and consideration.  Please find the first page of my novel attached.



My mattress vibrated beneath me as the scream of jet engines ruined a perfectly good daydream.

“Dad! The stinking Air Force is flying over the houses again!”

I turned up the volume on my MP3 player, leaned back on my pillow, and lost myself in musical bliss--until Dad’s heavy footsteps jolted me back to reality.

He plucked my pink earphones out of my ears. “I said, what do you expect me to do about it?” Dad dropped the earbuds on my lap and folded his way-too muscular arms.

“I don’t know. You’re the Army, aren’t you? Go invade them or something.”

His lips set as his eyebrows rose, twitching the spikey hairs where a normal person’s bangs would be. “Invade them?”

“I don’t know. Do something. It’s annoying.”

A smile almost crossed his lips. “How about we…”

The walls shuddered as the engines of another plane throttled overhead, followed by another. Dad crouched as if ducking, his six-foot body folding with military precision.

I grabbed my pillow and clutched the warm case to my chest. “What…”

“Shhh.” His hand shot out, silencing me as a rattle broadcast through the clouds. “That sounds like…” His eyes widened. “Jess, get down!”

The pictures on the walls shook as a deadening boom carved through the neighborhood. Dad’s hand gripped my arm, pulling me to the floor as he shielded my body with his own.

The ground quaked as if a thousand tractor trailers passed the house.  A soda can shimmied off my dresser, crashing to the floor and fizzling Coke all over the carpet.


Anonymous said...

Goodness, I so want to read this.

Jocelyn Adams said...

This query definitely caught my attention, and the 250 kept the voice going.

Kelsey-plain and simple said...

Wow! That was an awesome first 250! Definitely got the action in right away. Very well done.
The query also got to the point of what your story is and was very well put across.
Wonderful job :)

Anonymous said...

Great query. You hooked me here: "When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky--literally, since he’s from another planet." Love the beginning too. I would love to read more!

Anne Tedeton said...

Fantastic query, fantastic action. Seriously, I've got nothin'. Good luck to you--I'm pretty sure this'll go far :)

JasonMWeibel said...

The query was really good, but the 250 words drew me in. I can see grabbing this to kill some time and then getting lost reading it if the rest of the book draws you in as well as the first page.

Megan Reyes said...

I’m hooked!

“with nothing to look forward to but a military lab and the pointy end of a dissection scalpel.” I like this a LOT—it lays out the conflict really well and gives me the shivers (in a good way!).

Ooh… “genocide-sized secret” is great too. Leaves me wanting to know more!

GREAT opening pages. You introduce the main character, then jump right in to the action! Not sure if things happen a bit TOO quickly? I might like to know a bit more about Jess before she's suddenly fearing for her life.

All in all, the query and first 250 words are really well done.

I would absolutely keep reading this if I picked it up in a bookstore!

Julie Reece said...

Sounds like a fun adventure, and the opening got my curiosity up. I'd love to read more!

Melinda said...


One small thing:
I grabbed my pillow and clutched the warm case to my chest.
--'warm case' didn't make sense to me at first. I guess you mean pillowcase, but she's not just clutching the case, it's the whole pillow. You could say: I clutched my warm pillow to my chest.

Conspiracy theorist said...

Definitely got my attention! Great query and opening section. I think you might have something with this one. Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

I found the 250 words really strong. I like the voice, the action. I learned a lot about the two characters in a short amount of time.

I didn't get a good sense of the voice in the query. Jess seems a little bit spoiled in the 250 words (who demands her father go stop the military from doing...anything?). Spoiled is fine, but the query should have some sense of that.

I was a little confused about her betrayal and the impending genocide. You don't want to show your hand in the query, true, but I needed more about what the crisis is that she solves.

Good luck, I love a good strong female protag!

Mandy P. said...

I really loved this. I just had one minor nitpick in the query. In the third paragraph you say "army and air force." This could be my military indoctrination talking but I'm pretty sure Army and Air Force should be capitalized.

Keep up the good work and good luck!

Bridget Smith said...

The query makes the story sound exciting, but it’s not standing out to me. I don’t think I have enough of a sense of the characters’ personalities to be invested in them. The plot and the stakes are clearly depicted; can you introduce just one or two lines to give us a sense of the people(/alien) who will be living them?

In addition, Jess’s dialogue doesn’t ring true to me in this brief sample. It’s only two lines, so take this with a grain of salt! But it makes her sound like a difficult character to follow. This is why I need a stronger sense of her in the query: why should I want to read her story?