Wednesday, August 3, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #10

Dear Ms. Nelson:

Sixteen-year-old Brooke Wagner’s perfectly privileged world dies when her parents are ruthlessly murdered in front of her in a random attack.

Brooke helps the police locate the shooter and is on the scene when he’s gunned down. Only she hears his last confession--her parents were targeted--but the police are all too eager to close the high-profile case.

Desperate to find the real killer, Brooke takes to the streets. Since she can’t exactly bring her fencing epee everywhere, she convinces an old boyfriend to teach her self-defense moves, and she fights back against purse thieves and muggers, all while still seeking clues.

Her search leads her to multiple dead bodies of young girls hidden at Wilderburn Cliffs. In any other city, the police would be glad to crack the case, but corruption is rampant in Glenvil. If Brooke, now dubbed The Marvelous Menace, wants to have any kind of justice for her parents or the girls, she’ll have to get it herself.

MARVELOUS MENACE is a YA thriller, a gender-swapped Bruce Wayne/Batman story complete at 109K.

I have two trilogies with Desert Breeze Publishing. Astraea Press published a YA novella, two Regency time travels, and republished two Regencies (previously with Swoon Romance). Fifteen of my short works have appeared in various anthologies, including Holiday Magick by Spencer Hill Press.

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

Best regards,


“Brooke Wagner, get down here right now!”

It was the fifth time Mom yelled for me, but I still wasn’t ready. I grabbed a necklace and earrings--would have to put them on in the car--and rushed downstairs. “This acceptable?”

Mom eyed me critically, probably comparing my out-of-control locks with her flawlessly coiled hair. Her gaze lingered on my eyes, and her mouth tightened. Guess the blue eyeshadow to match my dress wasn’t the right choice. Unlike her, I couldn’t apply my makeup so perfectly it looked like I wasn’t wearing any. Her gaze shifted lower, and she shook her head and sighed.

“What’s wrong now?” I asked. Yeah, okay, by her standards, my dress was way too tight and a little short, but it wasn’t that low cut, and I thought I looked good with my sweet boots.

“There’s no time for you to change.” Her pursed red lips relaxed into a smile. “I really am glad you changed your mind and decided to go with us.”

I stopped myself from rolling my eyes. In eight days, I’d turn sixteen, and the best way to get my parents to throw me the huge party I wanted was to be the obedient daughter and join them for some boring play.

The fact that hunky Sebastian Karr was rumored to be there didn’t twist my arm any. Nope.

Mom patted her strawberry blond hair before donning a feathered hat. “Shall we?”


Leslie S. Rose said...

I'm a superhero nut so the vibe of your story is my happy place. I'd follow your snappy MC on her journey in a heartbeat.

JFC said...


"Gender-swapped Bruce Wayne/Batman" sends chills down my spine! :)

I feel like I want just a bit more reveal on what the villainous force is in Glenvil. Brooke finds "clues," but by the end of the synopsis we don't really have any clue as to whether the villain is a serial killer or a multi-national crime organization. It's hard to get a sense for the stakes here, partly because if Brooke is out for justice for all these young girls, it seems there would be other people in Glenvil who come across her path--people that this mission would matter to. You mention the old boyfriend, but his presence seems fleeting, and I'm wondering where the relationship is that shows us how Brooke changes as a character. (Even Batman had Robin to humanize him.)


Katherine T. said...

I think your query is very catchy, and I'm drawn in by the premise. Minor detail: I find it hard to believe that a few self-defense moves from an old bf could allow Brooke to take down criminals. Batman had much more intense training.

First 250 words: Also good! You're a little sparse on the details. I know what color mom's hair is but not anything else about what the two of them look like, even though I know what they're wearing.

I really like this concept. Good luck!


KEM said...

I really liked your concept right away and the idea of a gender swapped Batman Begins sounds very intriguing. In your query, I also thought it switched quickly to young girls being found, which seems very different than her parents being murdered, so not a clear villain. Queries are so hard! Great job catching interest.

I liked the teenage voice in your 250 words and it gave a good sense of your protagonist's personality.

I would want to read more, great job.

Ranee` said...

I have to be honest, I was uninterested in the story the query is unfolding until you said it was a gender swapped Batman, then I wanted it all. I'd love to see more of that twist showing in the beginning of the query. Some examples, instead of being told that her parents were high profile, show us how. Like, "When Brooke Wagner's tech-firm CEO father and socialite mother are gunned down in front of her, her privileged world dies with them." The same with "corruption is rampant." Something like, "But with the Specific Mob in bed with all the right politics, nobody wants to crack this case in Glenvil."
My humble advice would be to show from at least paragraph two that Brooke is out to get vigilante justice on this.
In any case I LOVE THIS.

K. said...

I love everything Batman, so I love you're doing a gender-swapped story! Great concept! :) It might be a little long for YA though, but that's my only concern regarding the query.
As for the 250, very strong. The comparisons between mother and daughter were great.
Good job! :)

Patricia Nelson said...

The most interesting thing here for me is the gender-swapped Batman angle - I would lead with that! I'm also curious about Brooke being dubbed "The Marvelous Menace"... it's not totally clear to me if this would feel more like a superhero story or a thriller in tone, which is throwing me off a bit. But that "gender-swapped Batman" line (what a great hook!) would get me curious enough to take an extra-close look at the sample pages. For me, though, the voice in the first 250 feels a bit more stereotypical teen that I prefer. "Sweet boots", "some boring play", "hunky Sebastian Karr" - this kind of sassy, slightly sarcastic voice is one that I see often in YA and it just isn't quite to my taste, so that's the point where I would pass. But again, it's important to keep in mind how subjective this is: the fact that the voice isn't to my taste means that there IS a noticeable voice - it's not bland or flat - and that bodes well for another agent feeling differently.