Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #19

Dear agent:

Two weeks before high school graduation, Eve skips school and the country.

Her grandfather disappeared eight years ago somewhere over the Atlantic. He left behind a scribbled message about family business and an ancient coin Eve swore to keep secret. With no other family or reason to stay, she accepts a mysterious job offer that takes her to Rome, back to familia origins and her grandfather’s missed destination.

Working as an antiquity’s courier at La Galleria seems like a dream come true. Eve wastes no time to make use of her three talents: an innate knowledge of ancient languages, a wonky sense of psychometry, and the ability to eat her weight in pasta. She could go pro on the first and last, but the middle gifting was a problem child.

When handling historical relics, Eve expects the familiar buzz. A flash of lace, inexplicable emotions, but never words and definitely not sentience. She discovers souls embedded within relics. They plead, asking to go home. Ignoring them would have been safer. But she can’t dismiss the Sumerian tablet etched with the same symbol as the coin hidden inside her pendant. Now she must find a way to free the souls and discover what part her grandfather plays.

Eve follows the clues from La Galleria to high profile clients with royal titles and descendants of pharaohs. She must trust her extrasensory perception as she becomes embroiled in an underground soul-trafficking syndicate where souls are power and her’s may be next.

SOUL RIPPER, a 75,000-word young adult speculative novel with thriller elements like A Drop of Night and the international thriller of The Conspiracy of Us. 

My short stories have been featured in Go Read Your Lunch, The Urban Liaison, and The Idaho Magazine. I am also a contributing member of Treasure Valley Critiquers. 

I look forward to hearing from you.




Turns out, using a shoe to find a loved one will get you blown up. No wonder Prince Charming sent someone else. Then again, I’m no princess. If my life were a fairy tale, it would be the Grimm variety. 

The name on my airplane ticket stub said Genevieve, but no one called me that. Most call me Eve. Other regrettable monikers like, Ton of Beef, were given by the all-state quarterback during a particularly ravenous lunch break. He shouldn’t have put his throwing hand where it didn’t belong--between my fork and last chicken nugget. The minor scratch reverted him back to kindergarten. The bovine simile stuck.

Mom said I made an easy target, impossible to miss really. It came with the territory of being over six foot tall. You get used to it, sort of.

No, I don’t play sports. 

No, the air isn’t better up here. 

No, that isn’t an Adam’s apple. 

It’s Eve. Just Eve.

Until yesterday, I was a high school student with a major case of senioritis. Today? A suicide mission flying the friendly skies. 

My legs pretzeled into the confined space littered with peanut wrappers and crumbs from a meal I didn’t remember eating. A generous Italian flight attendant took pity once we reached international waters and kept the vino flowing. My airline-assigned “friend”--the lucky person assigned to seat 44 A, mercifully shifted in her seat, taking her angry art deco earrings with her. For the last several hours she slept, snoring against my shirt, as her hostile drop earring pressed against my shoulder, yelling at me.


Bruce Pollock said...

This story has a lot of great potential, even though I have no idea what psychometry is. A weight challenged main character is also a definite plus. It's refreshing in YA not to see any obvious romantic relationships right off the bat. The writing on the first page is kind of hit and miss. I'm not crazy about the first line, but I love the fourth. I like the line about the quarterback and his hands. I generally like her whole air of sarcastic self-deprecation. But the mysterious job offer troubles me--sounds like something tendered by a Nigerian prince. Although the idea of someone following up on one of those scams, to the extent of tracking down the person offering the cool million no questions asked is a big winner to me.

Ashton said...

This is some excellent magical realism and I LOVE the premise of your story! From what I know of trends agents are starving for anything with magical realism in it so maybe just adding that to your pitch could help. Another magical realism title I can think of.. though maybe not the best comparison title for your story is " Walk The Earth A Stranger " by Rae Carson it's about a girl who has a sort of magical ability to divine gold during the gold rush.. your gold coin made me think of it.. the MC also goes on a journey far away from home alone at a young age...

As far as the pages go I am totally drawn in and I LOVE the voice.. I might just a little bit of clarity in the first paragraph or two as to what you are talking about with using a shoe to find love.. it just threw me off a bit cause I thought .. is there more to this? As your MC used a show to find love and been blown up?

Other than that Great! I'd love to read more !

Ben Langhinrichs said...

I like the premise a lot, and think the query works pretty well. A sense of voice comes through, and is carried into the first 250 as well. My only problem with the first 250 is it sounds like you have a couple of different great opening lines, but didn't choose which place to start. If you had chosen Until yesterday, I was a high school student with a major case of senioritis. Today? A suicide mission flying the friendly skies. as a start, it would sound great, but several lines down, it sounds a bit jarring. Since the shoe reference isn't immediately clear, I'd take it oput from the beginning and move this line up there. Then find a place for the shoe and fairy tale reference closer to where it will make sense.

Overall, I'd request more pages if I were an agent.

Susan Paxton said...

The first and second paragraphs of the query cause some confusion. Why is the job offer "mysterious?" What is psychometry and what is middle gifting? The third and fourth paragraphs are solid. There is good voice here, but I think the first page would be stronger if you started with the sentence that begins "Until Yesterday..." and follow with the 2nd paragraph and then the 9th.

The Agent said...

The query does nothing for me. Based on it, I would pass IRL. BUT, since I read the sample, I have to admit that I would have made a mistake. It reads quite well, and kept my attention. I actually want to read more. So, my advice: rewrite the query. Get to the point and don't sound so mysterious. Hit me with the hook and make me want to read the sample right away.

Jessi said...

I love, love the voice in your sample, but was surprised by it after the query, which definitely doesn't have the same light, snarky feel to them. Good luck with this! We need more YA where the (female) protagonist eats.

Katherine T. said...

I enjoyed your voice and sense of humor a lot, in both the query and the sample page. I loved the line "She could go pro on the first and last, but the middle gifting was a problem child."

In the paragraph where you introduce souls in relics, I became confused and had to read it twice to get it. I recommend moving the souls to the first sentence of that paragraph so it's not confusing.

Also, in the 250 words, the transition between the hook in the first sentence and the introduction of the main character in the second felt abrupt.

Those are the only comments I have. Overall, I really enjoyed this. Your main character feels utterly unique and very likeable.

Angela D'Ambrosio said...

Thank you all for your comments! I'm going to rework my query and tightened up my prose.

Charles Kowalski said...

Sorry to be late to the party, but I'll add my voice to the chorus: I LOVED the sample, from the attention-grabbing first line to the descriptions (I'll never look at earrings the same way again!) to the humor that manages to be self-deprecating and defiant at once. The query could probably be made stronger by bringing the unique elements closer to the front; the first indication of the supernatural or paranormal comes in paragraph 4. Good luck with this and looking forward to seeing it in print!