Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #23

Dear Sara Sciuto:

Thank you for taking part in “AN AGENT’S INBOX.” I hope you find lots of stories that whet your appetite, including A ROYAL TREASURE HUNT, a MG fantasy adventure complete at 30K.

Twelve-year-old Princess Cassandra prefers the wild outdoors to her stuffy castle and sneaks out on crazy adventures with the farmer's son, Vance, every chance she gets. When the reckless royal and Vance leave Sun Haven to explore the Falls in search of mythological creatures, a unicorn tramples Vance. His injuries are too severe for the noble healers, so Cassandra turns to goblins, a race known for their powerful healing abilities. Unfortunately, Sun Haven is a poor kingdom, and the greedy goblins refuse to help without gold, and lots of it.

Determined to find a way to pay them, Cassandra "steals" a horse and sets out to find treasure. Convincing a dying witch to give her a treasure map is the easy part. Now she just has to endure weather that's trying to kill her and travel through a dangerous enchanted jungle. Add a bear-dog hungry for her and a baby griffin starving enough to eat her horse, and Cassandra's latest adventure is even more of a misadventure than her previous one.

But time is her biggest enemy. With each passing day, Vance nears death. Not even goblins healers can bring someone back from the dead.

I am the author of a fantasy romance trilogy, Kingdom of Arnhem--Woman of Honor (2009), Knight of Glory (2010), and Champion of Valor (2011)published with Desert Breeze Publishing. Fifteen of my short works have appeared in various anthologies, including Holiday Magick by Spencer Hill Press, and many collections by Pill Hill Press. The first book in another trilogy, Black Hellebore, will be published in October by Desert Breeze Publishing.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,


Princess Cassandra's horse thundered along the green path. With a whoop, she glanced over her shoulder. Her friends never could keep up with her. She stopped her horse. "Come on, Kylie, Vance! You're too slow!"

"It's not fair," Vance grumbled. "Our workhorse has to carry two of us." He tsked with his tongue. "Horse thief."

His sister Kylie covered her mouth as she giggled.

"I'm not a thief! I'll bring the horse back like I always do." Cassandra crossed her arms, still holding onto the reins. Since her parents refused to give her a horse due to her running off, she was forced to "steal" from the pages. "Hurry! We don't have all day."

I wish we did. Ever since the three of them had decided to see all of the creatures in her bestiary up close, they had been sneaking out of Sun Haven every chance they could. So far, they hadn't seen any of the unusual creatures from her book. Cassandra hoped today they'd see one. Or two.

Flicking her wrist, Cassandra urged her horse forward and weaved through the trees. Once she reached the Falls, she pulled back on the reins. The teal water flowed forward as it churned, wild and desperate. Like her. Obedient with her royal duties--most of the time--yet restless for adventure.

Today was far too glorious a day to be sad. She called over her shoulder, "Let’s race to see who can find a magical creature first."

"Yes," Vance shouted.

"Hurry, Vance!"


Unknown said...

I like the idea of a princess treasure hunt.

I noticed some run on sentences in your query letter.

Cassandra seems to be a wild princess. I was confused about who the "I" was in the middle of the story.

Good luck!


I found the query and premise intriguing. Who doesn't love goblins, unicorns, and mischief.

The writing is solid, too. I did find one little spot where you jumped from past to present tense (I wish we did). I think if you just make a quick change to I wished we did, you'd be good to go.

I liked his a lot. I've always wanted to write an MG.

ami said...

This is a very fun and clear query!
My only (nitpick) issue with the query was that the info about the novel is at the top--so I almost forgot about genre word count and such once you got into your bio. I would have that info right before the bio.

Good Luck!

Agent Sara Sciuto said...

Right away I was excited by the words "treasure hunt" and "MG fantasy adventure". I was intrigued by your pitch as well and thought it sounded like a fun world and I like that you also gave me a clear sense of what the main conflict of the story was going to be. The pitch perhaps could have been a tad shorter but it did hold my interest and I read all of it. I was glad to see your publishing history as well.

I did enjoy your sample pages, although there were a couple problem areas that threw me out of the story a bit. I was missing a stronger sense of place--who, where--and I would have to go reread previous lines to see what I missed. For instance when her friend mentions the cart carrying two of them, I had picture her being with just one friend. You also switched to first person for one line which threw me off. Make sure you proofread, proofread, proofread, your sample pages before sending to an agent as any little error can make them think you're less experienced as you perhaps are, and make them pass. Still this project kept my interest and I thought was fun!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks, everyone for your comments! The line "I wish we did" should be in italics since Cassandra's thinking that. Sorry about the formatting!

Elizabeth Prats said...

I'm in agreement above. A few run-on sentences within the query--especially toward the end. But overall, it sounds like an adorable idea. Someone already mentioned the tone shift above. I think the query starts off strong but could be tightened. You list a lot of the fun adventures (the witch, baby griffin etc.) but not all of that is necessary. You could cut a couple things here and there.

"Add a bear-dog hungry for her and a baby griffin starving enough to eat her horse, and Cassandra's latest adventure is even more of a misadventure than her previous one." <--Consider rephrasing this. It sounded a little awkward.

:) Super cute!