Wednesday, September 14, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #6

Dear Ms. Johnson-Blalock:

Harry Strickland is very methodical about hiding the cash and jewels that he and his gang of thieves steal during their high stakes jobs.

Harry thinks stashing their loot for a few years is the way to go. By laying low and staying under the radar, he and his boys will have a chance at the good life, with no one on their tail.

But Harry's gang will never decipher his trail of clues that point to their hidden loot. One by one they fall prey to Anthony Russo, an angry mob boss who will stop at nothing to revenge his son's death. Knowing he is next on Anthony’s list, Harry accepts a plea deal with the FBI in exchange for all he knows about Russo and his mob connections. 

Will the loot still be hidden when Harry gets out of jail? 

Or will the reader find where Harry Hid It?

Harry Hid It is a unique opportunity for the reader to find the clues hidden within the chapters and claim a growing cash prize that starts at 5,000 and can go as high as 500,000.

As a writer, editor, and consultant I have contributed to the success of many books within a variety of genres and categories.

In addition to my writing, I advise businesses and organizations on management techniques; helping them implement better people skills. 

I have a background in theatre as well as an MBA and PhD and enjoy speaking in front of audiences on a variety of subjects.

The other rewarding part of my time is spent in career counseling. Helping people gain clarity on what they want to do in life and by structuring their resume to target employment. Both tasks are very fulfilling, whether they are fresh out of school or displaced from a 25-year career.

I hope this query sparks your interest in learning more about Harry Hid It. I believe strongly that this story, as well as the interactive aspect of the book, has the potential to encourage people to read and bring them together in a healthy debate and fun challenge.

I am the proud owner of JJ Writing-Consulting and currently live in New Jersey. I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my query, I am available at your convenience for further discussion.



Harry Strickland eyed the tollbooth coming up. The sign cautioned him to approach at 15 mph. Harry glanced down and saw that he was only 80 miles an hour above that restriction. Looking quickly at the rear view mirror, he saw the red lights of the state trooper following him and trying to keep up. Instead of touching the brake, Harry stomped down on the gas pedal, straightened the car out so that he could smoothly enter the tollbooth area, and held his breath. He zipped past the tollbooth and concentrated on zigging in and out of traffic on the Meadowbrook Parkway. Looking behind him, he saw that the cop car had slowed down a little to negotiate the toll area. Harry had put a little distance between himself and the trooper. Figuring the cop had radioed ahead for help, Harry maneuvered the Mercedes C450 so he could access the parkway area and turn the car around. 

It was a good thing he was driving a graphite gray model car and it was nighttime. When Harry was 100 feet from the turnaround, he shut down all the running lights of the car. He pulled the emergency brake up to slow the car down without his brake lights shining. As he came to the turnaround, he threw the car into low gear. The tachometer maxed out as he entered the turnaround and he yanked up on the emergency brake again. The Mercedes started to spin around.


CFBDouglas said...

Hi JJM! This is a thrilling book and with a reader's prize! That is terrific. The first 250 has me captured and even participating in the chase. Nice beginning. Last week I read an article about what words to eliminate b/c they slow the pace. For example, you may want to think about eliminating some of the "down," "up," and "around" words while keeping "stomped on the gas" and "yanked the emergency." As an interested reader in Harry's exciting predicament, I am speeding along nervously but also noticing those extras.

Love the fact Harry uses the emergency brake so his rear lights don't come on - brilliant!

On the query letter, love the setup, introduction of Harry's "planning personality," the mob boss and the deal with the FBI. I like Harry a lot. I haven't yet written a successful QL that caught an agent's attention, so please take this with that grain o' salt. From what I've read, less about your job background and preferences and more about what makes you a great potential client (massive education, experienced editor and book consultant--also, name those books if you can).
I look forward to reading this book and giving it as gifts for my reader family.

Jennifer Johnson-Blalock said...

Thanks for your entry, J.J.M.! This is a very unique concept, and I'm a huge fan of puzzle-type mysteries. I think you could do more to establish the tone, though--the events seem serious, but the tone isn't feeling dire. I also want to know more about the characters. If Harry is sitting in jail, presumably the reader will be traveling along with the other thieves, so their personalities and arcs are actually more important than Harry's--who are they? You can tighten up your bio to just a couple sentences in one paragraph to give you more room for describing the book. Then my final question is how the prize will work. It's an interesting idea, but you'd be hard pressed to get a publisher to turn over a cash prize. If you have a plan for that, you should discuss it in the letter.