Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #4

Dear Ms. Smith,

The Second World War looms large as the Uberreich mobilizes in Europe under the command of  Hitler’s right hand, the mad scientist Dr. Bosende. Whispers of Otto Hitler's zombie armies and deals with the Devil swirl through England and its sovereign nation across the Atlantic, New Britannia.

In Boston, Duna O'Malley could care less about the war in Europe. Or Hitler's monsters. She has lost her grandparents to a savage influenza and she's entirely alone. Then an old fortune-teller appears at the wake and tells Duna there's more to her past than she knows.

It seems this awkward 17-year-old is the last Lumenvox, the prophesied defender of humanity against her dark counterpart, the Nox. If she can learn to wield her power--to cast her light body into battle--she will stop Hitler's horrific plan to enslave the world with his nightmare monsters. Duna doesn't have long to learn the path of light before Hitler and Dr. Bosende realize their plan to destroy the humanity, starting with the Jewish captives in the work camps.

DAUGHTER OF LIGHT is an alternative history fantasy YA, which is complete at 70,000 words. It is my first novel and intended to be part of a trilogy, though it can stand on its own.

Thank you for your time and consideration. The first page is pasted below.



The Beginning

The moon was still a dirty pearl in the sky when they crept through the shadows.

“Leave her there, Lorna." Her mentor's voice was firm in the darkness.

The basket in Lorna's arms was heavy with woolen blankets, and heated stones to ward off the late March chill.

The old woman behind her, Lorna stole through the shadows and moved up the steps, gripping the basket. Her heart blazed wildly in the cage of her chest. The houses were all dark this time of night but in a few hours, the lights would wink on, the day would begin to stretch and awaken. The couple who lived here would find the baby.

At the top step, she hesitated. What if…?

The woman behind her insisted, “She is the Celestis Nativite. She will be the savior of this world. If you keep her with you, he will find you. He will kill her then he will kill you. He knows--”

“How do you know that?” Lorna hissed over her shoulder. “What if he doesn’t know about the prophecy? It's been a secret for so long.” But Lorna knew it was no use. Her baby was going to be raised by her own grandparents, people Lorna barely knew anymore – almost strangers, here in this tiny cottage. Her daughter would smell fish on her clothes every day of her life, and salt water, and lye soap. How long until she would learn she was born to fight the darkness?


JasonMWeibel said...

"...and Dr. Bosende realize their plan to destroy the humanity, starting..." Either you're missing something after 'humanity' or the 'the' should be removed; otherwise very interesting, sounds like a title I would read.

Megan Reyes said...

Wowsers—Hitler and zombie armies! Sign me up! I am super intrigued! I really like “Whispers of Otto Hitler's zombie armies and deals with the Devil…” It’s wonderfully creepy!

Suggestion: perhaps “…and she's entirely alone. Then an old fortune-teller…” can change to “…and she's entirely alone. UNTIL an old fortune-teller…” UNTIL tells us there’s a shift in the story—something is about to change for Duna!

Hmmm… “this awkward 17-year-old” is kind of disconnected. Try working into more specifics about Duna.
Also… “…Hitler and Dr. Bosende realize their plan…” Did you mean “realize,” because, I imagine they DO realize their own plan. :)

I’m curious who teaches her about her powers? Who teaches her where it came from and how to use it? Is she going through this journey alone or does she have any friends or mentors at her side (if so, you need to mention them in the query).

Overall, this sounds SUPER interesting and—as a history lover myself—I would definitely want to read the first chapter about Hitler's zombie army--yikes!

Jocelyn Adams said...

I really like the premise of this, kind of out there and not in a bad way.

My only suggestion on the query would be to combine and condense the first two paragraphs. Perhaps use the "In Boston, Duna O'Malley" sentence to open & work in a few details from paragraph 1.

Good luck with this!

Anne Tedeton said...

Everyone has already mentioned anything I could add, so I'll just say this:


Really hope you get some bites because I need this on my shelf! :)

Alexa D. said...

Very intriguing premise! Also props for basically naming your mad scientist Dr. Evil :P (sans umlaut)

I had a bit of a disconnect between New Britannia = alt history = Boston is in New Britannia in this alt history. I got it on the 2nd read, but it could be easy for an agent to miss if they are skimming. Could you make it more explicit? It's the alt history aspect that really hooked me, once I got to your genre.

I liked your 250 a lot, though I would say whenever possible, steer clear of a prologue/flashback. As a reader, I far prefer to be throw right in with the main character in present day, and found out the other stuff later.

Karen Clayton said...

My 13 year old said the story sounded pretty cool. He says they have Nazi zombies in Call of Duty (which we don't have - must have played it at a friend's house) so your idea would appeal to the boys at there as well.

Jane said...

Your query certainly caught me attention. Personally I liked the way you started with the broad stroke of Hitler/zombies in the first paragraph and then zoomed in on your protagonist in Boston in the second. Possibly these two paragraphs could be tightened to make this honing in even stronger.
For the first 250, I love the scene. But if Duna is your protagonist, I feel like she should be mentioned in some way other than just 'the baby" in this opening. I wonder if you could keep this scene but insert something just prior where perhaps Duna is learning of her powers/role and the bearer of this news could flash back to this?
I love your writing and the contrasts you weave into the details, love the "smelling fish on her clothes every day of her life".
I think this has great potential--good luck!

Bridget Smith said...

You’ve built a very cool picture of the world here! Sounds like a fascinating alternate history. (I’m guessing Hitler is massacring people to turn them into zombies and build his armies?) I’d like to know more about the prophecy, though, and what makes it stand out from other books with a similar plot. Agents and editors are getting a little burnt out on Chosen Ones, and I personally would like to know what makes your plot as distinct as your fabulous setting. Similarly, does the story need to start here? Does this prologue introduce anything that we can’t find out later? It might be more compelling if we find out her fate at the same time as Duna: that way we can be shocked and overwhelmed together.