Today's the last day to post your questions, pitches, or queries for Laura Blake Peterson!

At 5:00 central time this evening I will be compiling all the questions, queries, and pitches and sending them to Laura for her answers. She will try to answer any and all questions you have and she will respond to as many queries as possible by Monday morning.

Now is your chance to hear straight from Laura what she's looking for in this market, what her preferences are, and find out if she would request your partial or full manuscript based on your query letter. If she would pass on a pitch or query, she'll give some insight here into why.

Here's how it will work. By 5:00 pm central time today, post your query letter/blurb or your question here as a comment to this post or on Thursday's blog post (it will be a repeat of this post). If you're more comfortable, you can email the query/blurb directly to me at nikki@nikkiduncan.com, but the answers will be posted here.

Laura will address as many posts as she can by Monday morning. I will post her answers in a special blog post on Monday.

Make sense? If not, let me know.

To help you out, here is a little more information about Laura and what she is looking for.

I am a 22 year publishing veteran at Curtis Brown, Ltd., where I began my career in publishing as a summer intern. I am a graduate of Vassar College. I represent a broad range of fiction and non-fiction for general trade as well as some children’s books, primarily for the older age groups, always with an eye for originality and strong, literary prose. In general, I am taken by – passionate about -- strong story-telling. When it comes to queries, among the first things I look for are proper grammar and spelling and a clear, concise description of the plot. I am entirely dismissive of queries that insist that it’s something I’ll love, that it’s sure to be a best seller or that it would make a great movie. I want to know this author is serious and professional.

I’m always looking for commercial fiction – tightly crafted plots with fresh characters that come alive off the page. I have a soft spot for smart, coming-of-age literary fiction and material where nature plays as much a part in the unfolding plot as anything else. I usually steer clear of science fiction. I’m not a huge fan of historical romance; so much of the material I see feels too familiar, like I’ve read it before. I appreciate taut mysteries, particularly where there might be an unlikely sleuth or plot presented in an unusual way. Young adult fiction which is smart and distinctive is a favorite of mine as well. In the end, for me it’s about whether or not I connect with the material somehow. It’s hard to describe, though I always know it when I see it.

Enjoy the blog!
Naughty Nikki

Comments (12)

On February 19, 2009 at 10:33 AM , Judy said...

I have written a trilogy of middle-grade, novels set in prehistoric times about three young people–two boys and one girl–who are sent out by their clans to learn things about the world in which they live so their knowledge can help ensure the survival of their people. In the first book, Land of Fire and Ice, among other adventures, they rescue a beast with a golden horn from hunters determined to kill it. In these coming-of-age stories, the kids learn to survive on their own as they discover the wonders of their world. A project list for teachers and parents accompanies each book, relating their world to ours. Is this anything you might be interested in?

 
On February 19, 2009 at 10:53 AM , Angi said...

I'm sending my query directly to you, Nikki.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:17 AM , Melinda Leigh said...

Dear Ms. Peterson,

No one expects to acquire a stalker, especially horse trainer Rachel Parker. She has no social life and rarely leaves her farm. She doesn’t even date. So when Rachel begins receiving threats, she assumes the culprit is her alcoholic brother-in-law, Jimmy, the only person she can name with a grudge against her. Rachel isn't afraid. She can handle Jimmy, but Police Chief Mike O’Connell isn't so sure Jimmy is the perpetrator.

When his investigation uncovers the violent past Rachel keeps carefully hidden, Mike quickly finds himself in the unusual predicament of having too many suspects—and too many feelings for his temperamental victim. Mike must narrow the list down before the stalker makes good on his threats. He also has to break through the thick shell Rachel has built around herself, for she is much more vulnerable than she is willing to admit.

Where There’s Smoke is a 95,000 word mainstream-leaning romantic suspense that recently won first place in both RWI’s Where The Magic Begins contest and The Missouri Romance Writers' Gateway To The Best contest. It also took third place in the Washington Romance Writers' 2008 Marlene.

I hold a black belt in Kenpo Karate and also train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A former financial analyst and equestrian, I'm a member of RWA, Kiss of Death and Liberty States Fiction Writers.

A partial or full manuscript and synopsis of Where There’s Smoke are available at your request.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Melinda Leigh
melindaleighauthor@yahoo.com
www.melindaleighauthor.com

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:54 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

While you wait for me to compile my next list for Laura, you should check out what she had to say about the letters and questions posted on Tuesday. http://hookedonromance.blogspot.com/2009/02/this-weeks-guest-blogger-laura-blake.html

We will be posting one large post either tomorrow or Monday depending on how quickly Laura is able to respond, so be sure to check back.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:58 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

Posted for Carolyn:

Laura Blake
Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Ten Astor Place
New York, NY 1003

Dear Ms. Blake:

I usually only query with one novel at a time. However, at the Fun in the Sun Cruise Conference where I was a speaker, three editors asked for partials based on the blurbs I presented which appear below. After reading about you, I believe I'd find your representation very helpful.

TREACHEROUS SHOALS: After crashing on a rainswept road in Galveston Island, Texas, a woman wakes in the hospital, her face swathed in bandages, and her memory blanked out. Rich, charming Dr. Derek Devereau claims she's his new girlfriend, Christina Bradford. As she recuperates in Derek's spooky Victorian mansion, Chris wonders about her mysterious accidents, the weird mortuary worker stalking her and, most important, who she really is. (Romantic Suspense approx. 85,000 words, requested by NAL editor, Kerry Donovan)

TAKING CHANCES:Tossed aside in favor of her sister, Valerie Trumbull reluctantly teams up with her ex-fiancé's brother, attorney Matt Larson, to hunt her missing sister and save his brother from a murder charge. Their hunt is threatened by Mexican bandits, a border drug lord, and the brother's political rival, who will stop at nothing, including kidnapping Valerie. During their search Matt and Valerie are challenged to trust each other and discover love, but can they stay alive long enough to find her sister? (Romantic Suspense - 85,000 words, requested by Rose Hilliard of St. Martin's Press)

PRETEND PRINCESS: During intermission at a performance of Carmen, handsome Prince Lawrence bumps into Tricia Parker in Cordillera, a small country nestled between Spain and France. Awed by her amazing resemblance to his cousin, he asks Tricia to impersonate the missing princess Alicia for a few days. Tricia struggles to be graceful, gracious and interact appropriately with servants and a charming, but arrogant prince. (Romantic suspense / action adventure, 104,000 words, Rhonda Penders at Wild Rose Press, who earlier indicated an interest if I revised it following her suggestions also wanted to see a partial. )

I wrote the text for There IS Life After Lettuce (Eakin Press) a cookbook for heart patients, diabetics and dieters. I belong to the DFW Writer's Workshop, two local RWA chapters, and the online mystery suspense chapter of RWA. My profile and travel articles have been published in AAA World, Hawaii and Alaska, Romance Writer's Report, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and The Dallas Morning News.

Would you like to see a partial of any of the above? Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely,
Carolyn Williamson

 
On February 19, 2009 at 12:02 PM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

Question: As an agent, you are understandably selective in the projects you request and offer representation for. How much more selective are you being given the economy? Will you still offer representation if you love a project that crosses your desk now, even if you don't see an immediate placement for it? (I think that last one made sense. lol)

 
On February 19, 2009 at 12:21 PM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

Multi-part Question: Several agencies say that a rejection from one agent in the office is essentially a rejection from every agent in the office, while other agencies do not have that same practice. Some agents (agencies) will occasionally recommend a project to another agent in their office or another agency if they see promise in the project but feel it's a better match for someone else. Can you tell us how things work at Curtis Brown Ltd?

Is a decision to represent an author yours alone or is the decision made as a team?

What makes Curtis Brown different?

What are your preferred query/submission guidelines?

What is one question you never get asked, or one thing you notice authors tend to not take into account, in this business?

 
On February 19, 2009 at 1:21 PM , Mia Rose said...

Ms. Peterson,
I was also wondering about your opinion on novels that might not fit in an already established genre. Does that affect your decision at all, especially in these hard times, or is it the opposite in revealing something new?

The following are blurbs from my novels, in hopes one of them might be something you would be interested in. :)

In MISTRESS IN LOVE Lady Allison Bramley can’t seem to figure out love. The debilitating past with her late husband forced her into the life as a mistress, where she believes she has found true love in the arms of her paramour - the illustrious Duke of Kingsley. Until she hires Ramsey McGowan, the handsome, albeit mysterious, Scot she met through her late husband. He's the only person she'll trust to conduct a very private, and very personal, investigation. But in the midst of startling attempts on their lives, it just might be Ramsey MacGowan that provokes in her the growth needed to discover the love she has always chased. Can they ignore the chains of their respective pasts and learn to love before danger catches up to them?

HOT SHOTS is the ongoing story centering on Jordyn Bailey Jameson, a soon to be agent for a covert branch of the CIA & FBI. When the opportunity from her newly discovered, albeit newly deceased, dad brings a new career opportunity to her life – she doesn’t hesitate.
Not even when she finds out the requisites include a Top Secret clearance, familiarity with firearms... and a mysterious partner hand picked by Daddy with his own agenda. But when the men in her life, both alive and dead - past and present, are intent to hold her back what’s a Secret Agent in training supposed to do?

Thank you for your time Ms. Peterson.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 2:48 PM , Nancy Kay Bowden said...

Thank you, Nikki and Hooked on Romance for this opportunity to query. I've sent my query via private email. Good luck to everyone! Thank you, Ms. Peterson!

 
On February 19, 2009 at 2:58 PM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

Question from Anon: Will you be attending RWA National?

 
On February 19, 2009 at 6:06 PM , Cynthia Justlin said...

((Ugh. I might be too late. But, if not, please include my query. Thanks!))

Laura Blake Peterson
Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Ten Astor Place
New York, NY 1003

Dear Ms. Blake Peterson:

Her job: create defenses. His job: crack them. What could possibly go wrong?

Nanotechnologist Dr. Audra McCain attributes her success to her ability to distance herself from messy emotional entanglements that threaten her focus. But when she is framed for the theft of her dynamic armor prototype, she finds herself on the run with a man whose talent lies in hacking through the toughest of defenses.

Ever since a shattered knee ended his career in the Special Forces, Cameron Scott has felt like an intruder in his own life. Hiding his discontent behind a need-to-win mentality, he earns his living testing security systems by breaking them. When Nanodyne hires him to evaluate their system, Cam discovers someone has already breached the company at the highest level. Now he's on a mission to find out who.

As Audra and Cam play cat and mouse with a ruthless thief out to use Audra's prototype for his own agenda, the two form a tentative friendship. But Cam wants more, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to break through Audra's impenetrable emotional firewall and teach her that he's the one person she can count on.

INTRUSION is a 90,000-word romantic suspense that delves into the cutting edge science of nanotechnology. It was also a recent finalist in the 2008 PASIC Book of Your Heart contest.

I would be pleased to send a partial or the completed manuscript upon request. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Cynthia Justlin

 
On February 19, 2009 at 7:15 PM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

I've got you added, Cynthia.