Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Agent's Inbox #39

Dear Agent:

In return for helping an earthbound spirit, a traumatized opera diva demands the identity of her birth mother, a woman whose past will cause the diva to question everything she believes about her personal moral compass. GHOST SAVIORS is an Adult Contemporary Urban Fantasy novel complete at 96,000 words. It is a stand-alone novel with series potential.

Sixteen years ago, opera diva Krista Bonner banished her beloved guardian ghost Owen when he refused to identify her birth mother. Now traumatized with the loss of her singing voice after witnessing her husband’s murder, Krista is grateful for Owen’s return, but balks when he asks her to help an earthbound spirit in a secluded mountain mansion. Yet she recognizes an opportunity to get what she’s always wanted: in exchange for her help, Krista demands Owen reveal the woman who gave up Krista for adoption. Krista is convinced that the love of her blood mother will ease the pain she’s carried for years of an abusive childhood and prove the true catharsis to regain her voice.

Owen is Krista’s only connection to the world of spirits. She dreads interacting with this new ghost. But with the New York Met awaiting Krista’s spring performance, and fearing she may never sing again, the opera diva struggles to overcome paralyzing inner turmoil, all while navigating the threats and regrets of the living and the dead.

The GRAVE series by Darynda Jones and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman contain similar content and themes as GHOST SAVIORS.

About me: A former legal secretary with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a DDS degree, I practiced cosmetic dentistry and oral surgery for twenty-five years. Now my focus is on writing novels and perfecting my craft by attending intensive workshops and writer’s conferences.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,
D.L.G.


GHOST SAVIORS

“Krista!” My psychiatrist raced toward me, her long white coat flapping about her legs like an apparition in the fog. “You left without saying goodbye.”

“They said you were tied up in meetings.” A scattering of late morning clouds spat intermittent rain onto the parking lot’s pavement and kicked up a chill breeze. “You’re sure about this?”

“About releasing you? You’ve always held the power to stay or go.” She met my stare and pulled her white coat closed. “The real world is out there waiting.”

I considered a small piece of gravel near the toe of my shoe, then kicked it to the side. The real world. Would the supernatural fall into that category? They were real enough for some of us. Could I manage two months of dealing with the dead? Maybe they’d make me feel more alive.

I looked up. Mirth played in her smile.

“The world needs your beautiful voice. I feel guilty denying anyone the privilege of hearing it, so focus on your singing.” She hesitated. “Something else you should know. A woman called every week to check on you. With patient privacy laws, we said we had no one registered by that name, but she never stopped calling.”

“A woman?” 

My attorney Tess Lange waited in the car a few feet away. She raised her hands in question; I shook my head. Other than Tess, every so-called friend and acquaintance had vanished from my life, one by one, after my husband’s murder.

6 comments:

Erin Craig said...

I'm so intrigued by this plot!

Your query makes me wonder several questions about the world you've created. Why does Krista have a guardian ghost to begin with? Did he personally know her birth mother? If she only has Owen as a connection to the spirit world, how is she meant to help a ghost at the mansion and why is she specifically meant to save them? I think having a bit more clarification would help the summary.

I really like your comp titles!!!

K. said...

Query: But with the New York Met awaiting Krista’s spring performance, and fearing she may never sing again, the opera diva struggles to overcome paralyzing inner turmoil, all while navigating the threats and regrets of the living and the dead. - This sentence is a mouthful. Can you split it into two? Also, I'd really love it to connect back with her desire to find her birth mother.

250: It's good, but I would like more setting. I feel like it starts a bit abruptly, and I'd like to be grounded a bit more. The dialogue is interesting, but I want more description - not just of the scenery, but of our characters. Also I'd like to know more of our MC's thoughts. It's first person POV so let us get into her head a bit more.

Interesting premise though! Good luck! :)

Jessica said...

I loved the 250 words! But the query has a lot of confusing sentences. Erin voiced my concerns, but now that I read the sample, I'm also wondering why she'd book such an important gig if she knew she was struggling with the trauma of her husband's murder. Show biz is rough, but I think some kind soul would have let her postpone the concert.

I'd suggest paying special attention to that second paragraph. there is a *lot* going on there, so maybe you can break it up into two? Or cut some of the information? Either way, it's good; it just needs some editing and paring down. Good luck with your revisions!

Perrin said...

Thanks so much, everyone, for the excellent feedback. Will incorporate changes and sharpen the query, plus deepen the opening. Thanks again!

The Agent said...

I like how you tell us not just what your novel is about, but also the genre and word count, in an engaging and interesting way. I'm hooked already!

This is a good solid query and everything hit the right notes for me - including the comp titles. I'd definitely read on.

The text:

Avoid phrases like "like an apparition in the fog" and "mirth played in her smile" - they feel like cliches.

Instead of "A scattering of late morning clouds spat intermittent rain onto the parking lot’s pavement and kicked up a chill breeze" - say: "Late morning clouds spat rain onto the parking lot's pavement. There was a chill in the air." - or something like that.

Great ending - it's an interesting hook! But I'm not sure the writing here is strong enough. Focus on tightening your prose and avoiding cliches. This is definitely a case where I felt the voice in your query was stronger than the one in your text! Try to work on the text so that they match!

Perrin said...

Much thanks to The Agent for your time and insightful feedback! I'll get to work on the prose immediately.