I wanted to give you all a head's up that we'll be doing things a little differently for this week's guest blogger. We are honored to have Laura Blake Peterson, literary agent from Curtis Brown Ltd with us to take your questions and queries. Now is your chance to hear straight from Laura 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 your query, she'll give you some insight here into why.

Here's how it will work. By 5:00 pm central time on Thursday, 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. I will compile the questions and queries and send them to Laura. She will answer as many 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.

In the meantime, 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.


Good luck!!
Naughty Nikki

Comments (29)

On February 17, 2009 at 4:06 PM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

Posted for Tracy.

Hey ladies! Looks like I'm the first to lay my head under the guillotine. Here's hoping for a pardon:

Dear Ms. Peterson,

Abby Winslow almost has it all; beautiful kids, the two-story in suburbia, a growing bank account and at the young age of thirty-four, the body of a college cheerleader. But when a strung out mess of a woman comes knocking on Abbyʼs door, she soon discovers the one thing she doesnʼt have. A faithful husband. Suddenly, the numbing rut of a life this housewifeʼs been living is thrown into a tailspin, as truths become lies and trust is harder to find than a good babysitter.

Drew Winslow denies all and pleads his innocence. But Drewʼs a power-playing, hot shot lawyer who makes his living off flashy smiles and quick answers. Whoʼs a woman to believe?

To find the truth, Abby must use more than her Yard of the Month gardening skills to dig into the past and uncover things best left forgotten. With the help of her estranged sister, headstrong best friend, and a fast talking psychic, can a soccer mom outwit the man she loves, but no longer feels she knows? And at the risk of losing the picture perfect family, comfortable lifestyle, and amazing sex, should she even try?

Sleeping in the Wet Spot is a sexy, 80,000 word womenʼs fiction story about catty women, lying men and the people who live among them. Set on a quiet street where apple pie is served up with a big ʽole scoop of deceit, it is a tale of cat and mouse dinner conversation, suspicious glances, and lots of hot sex. A place where you discover things are never what they seem and the most amazing transformations come from the most unlikely of circumstances.
****
There's the overview. Thank you so much for the opportunity to get professional feedback!

Tracy A. Ward

 
On February 17, 2009 at 4:32 PM , Sir John said...

Dear Ms. Peterson

In the spirit of books written by such writers as Julie Garwood and Sandra Brown, Boy Toy is an 94,500-word romantic thriller set in St Petersburg, Florida during the real estate meltdown. Rachel Contino is a highly professional, thirty-eight year old Realtor and like many of her professional girlfriends have no time for a life outside of their profession. When she meets Carlos Martinis, a twenty-three year old mortgage broker, she yields to the teasing of her friends and attempts to make this stud her boy toy only to discover he’s much more of a man than a boy.
Her world falls apart when her main client, developer Jonathan Harrell dies in an apparent suicide. New evidence surfaces that it wasn’t a suicide but murder. This is soon followed up by the murder of Jonathan’s partner. These murders inside a condo complex hosting her largest number of listings, as well as the real estate meltdown, makes her sales all but disappear, forcing her into a deep financial turmoil.
In her darkest hour she has to depend on a guy she wanted to make into a toy—one that she hopes that she has not lost forever due to her rude behavior. Relying on love rather than her money is a hard lesson to learn, but one that she has to before it’s too late and he leaves forever.
With national attention on the housing crisis and my years of experience in real estate sales as a Certified Residential Specialist and Certified International Property Specialist this book will target a wide audience with solid expertise in the workings of the real estate market. There are over one million Realtors in America.
I am a full-time award winning writer with a passion and a thirst for life and adventure I love to share with my readers. Please find a synopsis and opening chapters attached. I’ll be happy to send you the entire manuscript should you wish to see it, and very much look forward to hearing from you. My previous novel, The Salsa Connection, recently won the Florida Writers Association’s Royal Palm literary Award for best thriller in 2008.
Thank you for your time and sincere consideration.

Sincerely,

Sir John

 
On February 17, 2009 at 7:53 PM , Lilly Cain said...

Dear Ms. Peterson,

Rebecca (Becca) Dorsey is all about the money, and it looks like this might be her biggest take yet. Who cares if her psychic mother has warned her once again about the negative energy she's sending out as a con artist?

A turn of the century house, its hidden treasure and a confused but deliciously hot renovator are ripe for the picking. Everything can be hers if she plays the con right. Maybe, just maybe, she'll have enough to get out of the game forever. The trick is simple. Pretend to be an old ladies’ long lost granddaughter, convince the woman to let her restore the house, use the hot local renovator to find the treasure, grab it and run. She wouldn’t even have to resort to fraud – house stealing – or go back to pretending she was as psychic as the rest of her family. It would be her first real con, and her last hopefully. Heck if you look at it right, the place should belong to her family anyway.

Too bad the house is haunted.

Becca’s psychic abilities begin to emerge as she spends time in the house looking for the treasure. The ghosts are scary enough, but when they begin to drag her into their conflicts, it becomes terrifying. Add in a strange lawyer who is after far more than hidden money, and a mark that comes to mean more to her than the con, and Becca is in a lot of trouble.

Kevin Brooks gets more than he bargained for when he deals with Becca. Kevin's well aware Becca's not what she seems, but he's dreamed all his life of owning the last house his great-grandfather designed. He'll do what he has to in order to get it. And if it means working with one sexy little psychic wanabe, well, that might just be an added benefit.

But between soul sucking demons and abusive spirits Kevin discovers that Becca's mother was right - sex, lies and pissed off ghosts just don't mix. Kevin and Becca must work together to save it all, even their very souls.

Thank you for your time,
Regards,
Nancy Cassidy
Writing as Lilly Cain
www.lillycain.com

 
On February 18, 2009 at 10:05 AM , Deborah Blake said...

Dear Ms. Peterson,

Best-selling author and a practicing witch Deirdre Connelly’s life is suddenly turned upside down when she finds herself with a powerful magical talisman inside her, a deranged billionaire after her, and a gorgeous actor she’d love to have on top of her.

Stewart Tyler makes Deirdre an irresistible offer: in exchange for working a simple bit of magic, she gets dinner with Robert Daniel Addison, the TV actor who’s starred in her daydreams for years. It seems like a harmless request, but the treasure her magic reveals, the otherworldly Star Stone, ends up permanently inside her instead of in the hands of the man who feels entitled to it.

Now she and Rob are unwilling guests at Tyler’s isolated Montana ranch and Deirdre must find a way to return the Stone. Or Tyler will take it back by force—over her dead body, if necessary. She must master the powers of the Star Stone before it masters her, driving her insane or bringing harm to those around her. Even the help of an unexpected spiritual guide, the Anasazi warrior who last carried the Stone, may not give her the answers to the crystal’s long-lost secrets before it’s too late. Deirdre and Rob’s feelings for each other grow despite the magic and mayhem, but it hard to make a move on a guy when you keep setting him on fire. In the end, Deirdre must choose between fighting a battle she may not win and putting her trust in the magical stone that will leave her life forever changed.

Witch Ever Way You Can is a completed 80,000 word paranormal romance. Like Candace Havens’ Charmed series or Julie Kenner’s demon hunting soccer mom, this book takes a strong, appealing and intriguing woman and throws her into a mix of adventure, romance and just enough magic to keep things interesting.

Witch Ever Way You Can recently won the 2009 Emily contest and the full mss has been requested by contest judge Patience Smith of Silhouette. My award-winning short story, “Dead (and Mostly) Gone,” is included in The Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction: 13 Prize Winning Tales (Llewellyn 2008). I have also published two non-fiction books; Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice (Llewellyn 2007) and Everyday Witch A to Z (Llewellyn 2008), my third will be out in May 2009 and I am in the process of contracting for a fourth. I was the featured author in Laurell K. Hamilton’s October newsletter. As an established writer, I have a website, blog, do author appearances and am a RWA member.



Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Deborah Blake
www.deborahblakehps.com

 
On February 18, 2009 at 1:15 PM , Vicki said...

Dear Ms. Peterson,

Mallory Donovan’s “life is good” world is thrust into the unknown of the mystical when she travels to Ireland to settle her deceased grandmother’s estate and learns she’s inherited the haunted Grayson castle. Unaware of the blood spell placed on her family centuries ago, she encounters freezing mists, out of body experiences complete with an evil narrator, and messages warning her to leave or die. Add to that, her dead grandmother is carrying on conversations with her from a video and she’s sure her next home will be an eight by ten padded room. Issues of trust are put to the test, as Mallory must decide to stay, risking her life to claim what’s hers, or leave the place to the evil inhabitant dooming the castle and its past to the blood spell forever.

Trevor Riley, International Realtor, seals deals, big deals, not caring who he hurts along the way. His motto: wine them, dine, gain their trust, but never become emotionally involved. And he thinks he’s just the man to schmooze the new owner, Mallory Donovan, into selling the estate. That is until she uncovers his motivation for lavishing so much attention on her. Now he’s caught between protecting a woman he hardly knows from the very place he wants to buy, leaving her on her own, making the deal of the century and losing the one love, he never knew he wanted.

After Thoughts and Before is a completed 90,000 word paranormal romance, which I believe will target both romance readers and paranormal readers alike.

I am currently writing my next stand-alone novel, a sequel to After Thoughts and Before, in which the characters multi-cross from this manuscript.

I’m the Vice President of Tampa Area Romance Writers and a PRO member of RWA. In my day job of twenty-four / seven television, I write copy edits, and screen crawls, as well as other task for the .com side of the business.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,

Vicki Lane
http://vickilane.blogspot.com

 
On February 18, 2009 at 6:36 PM , Anne-Marie said...

Dear Ms. Peterson,

A winner in The Heart of the Rockies and 2nd place winner in the Gotcha and The Gateway to the Best RWA chapter sponsored contests, The Gavel’s Echo is a 85,000 word, dark contemporary romantic suspense.

We’re brought up to believe that blood is thicker than water, but what do you do when a relative is out for your blood and will stop at nothing until you’re dead? Literally.

Assistant District Attorney, Madison Montgomery, pledges to unveil the corruption in the New York City’s police force. Twelve years ago, the cop who killed her father had walked with only a lost badge. She’s determined to stop another of New York's Finest from getting away with murder. All the evidence makes vice cop, Joshua Baldwin's, guilt unquestionable. When the jury acquits him because of weak evidence, she remains determined to prove he doesn't deserve a badge.

All he has left is his freedom and integrity. Tried for a murder he didn't commit, Joshua Baldwin has lost everything else – his job, his reputation, life as he knows it. He struggled through life's misfortunes to find his destiny. His entire adult existence is about being a good cop. It's all he knows. He'll do whatever it takes to find the real killer and prove his innocence to recover what was stolen from him.

When Madison lands in the killer’s crosshairs, she must look through the obvious to see the truth of Josh's innocence. She lets down her shield to the man she mistakenly prosecuted for murder and who represents everything she swore never to trust. Together they search for evidence to put the person behind her threats and the real killer away. Evidence shows her mysterious threats come from someone who knows everything about her past. A past she buried long ago and wants to keep buried. They race against the clock to stop the madman from murdering again and to save themselves from being next on his trigger list.

I’m an active member in Romance Writers of America and Tampa Area Romance Authors. Non-fiction publishing credits include a “Career Resource Guide” and a “Resumes for Success” manual.

Thank you for your valuable time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Anne-Marie Carroll

 
On February 18, 2009 at 7:02 PM , Nikki Duncan said...

Posted for Rhonda.

Dear Ms Peterson,

Dangerous Moves is set in southern Louisiana and is the first in a series set around Chandler Bayou Resort featuring a group of friends formerly know as the Rowdy Rushers. They spent the spare time of their youth trying a variety of extreme sporting events. As they head into their thirties, can each find the one woman who makes him think twice?

Running the family campground was the last thing Brock Chandler wanted. But now that he’s running the show he has big plans. With a top-notch golf course, coastal frontage, thriving restaurants, and hunting and fishing packages adding extreme sporting options is the key. Selling the idea to his grandfather seems simple. Until Granddad, majority stockholder, says he’s got a corporate buyer for Chandler Bayou and is ready to sell out. If the sale goes through Brock stands to lose close to a half of a million dollars he's already invested in renovations and updates.

Delaney Breaux is giving up the rat race in Manhattan and heading home to New Orleans. Leaving her job as a busy marketing executive is the one thing she’ll miss. A few years ago, her life took an adventurous detour. She shared a one-week affair with Brock Chandler, a walking ad for danger. It was her one secret adventure, her one dangerous move. But danger is something she can’t afford in her life. She’s been there, done that and lost a fiancé in the process. Her life’s never been the same since. But when their worlds collide for a second time anything can happen. He is not anything she wants in her life on a permanent basis. A few weeks of great sex, sure. A lifetime of danger, hell no.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 
On February 18, 2009 at 8:42 PM , Sue said...

Dear Ms. Peterson,

Desperate to get a story, freelance journalist Aspen Dove dresses like a hooker and steals a bag of stolen money from a mobster. Escaping before she ends up in his bed, she hides in a hearse, driven by a rookie cop, and is taken into custody for being in possession of stolen goods.

At the police station, she calls her boss, a man who makes snakes look un-slimy. He wants more—a story on Justiceman, a vigilante killer who shoots convicts as they’re being released from prison after serving their time. He offers her a front-page exclusive, which is her dream.

She dives into the investigation and straight into the arms of a hunky FBI agent who tries to keep her alive as the list of people wanting to kill her grows by the hour: The mob, a gang of vigilante bikers she accidentally crosses, a less-than-brilliant serial killer, hit men with temporary children's tattoos on their faces, and Justiceman himself. Her dream of a front-page exclusive turns into a cat and mouse nightmare, and she resolves to come out of it as the cat and not the mouse.

‘Justiceman’ is a 96,000 word lighthearted mystery, set in Las Vegas.

I'm a member of the Romance Writers of America and have written many articles for various newsletters and online sites.

Thank you for your time. The full is available upon request.

Sincerely,

Sue McKlveen

 
On February 18, 2009 at 8:45 PM , Sue said...

Dear Ms. Peterson,

U.N. interpreter and curmudgeon Harley Black has a few vices to help her deal with stubborn and obnoxious people. She likes to drink and smoke and no one had better cross her when she’s PMSing. Everyone in the office knows that…except for unsuspecting Department of Homeland Security Agent, Jim Bond (no relation to James Bond and don’t ever mention the movies to him or he’ll pull a gun).

After putting Jim on the ground with her heel in his back for touching her arm, he apologizes to Harley, then explains that her name’s been in the center of the underground terrorist chatter. He's been sent to protect her and find out why she’s been targeted while playing her boyfriend. It isn't until a fellow employee's body is dumped at their feet that she starts to trust her life to Agent Bond.

The Russian and Chinese diplomats want her to interpret between them, to test her loyalties, making Harley realize she’s in over her head when they start talking about killing people and bombing the United States. Between having her cigarettes and alcohol pulled from her and being forced by the diplomats to reject America as her country or face certain death, she decides she has to take the problem into her own hands, trying to save the United States and people marked for death.

‘Deadly Interpretations’ is a 95,750 word mystery/adventure, set in New York City.

I'm a member of the Romance Writers of America and have written many articles for various newsletters and online sites.

Thank you for your time. The full is available upon request.

Sincerely,

Sue McKlveen

 
On February 18, 2009 at 9:06 PM , Jo said...

Here I go. Jumping into the deep end of the pool.

Rachel has flaws. She's bossy, has a prickly temper, and hates to shop, even for groceries. Oh, and thanks to an aggressive rodeo cowboy she met at seventeen, she's not keen on dating. She's only twenty-seven, but her mother fears Rachel will end up an old maid.

Mac's not perfect either. He gambles, has an Audrey Hepburn fetish, and after the dissolution of his twelve-year, not-so-perfect marriage, is under the delusion that "Wanna get naked?" is the ultimate come-on.

Only on his worst day would Cupid shoot arrows at these two.

But desperation creates odd alliances.

In spite of the carnage that will undoubtedly follow, Rachel agrees to teach Mac to date if he'll pose as her beau for her brother's wedding.

The resulting fallout surprises even them when he discovers that the kisses he wants can only be found on her lips and she decides that getting naked with him might not be so terrible.

Set in Galveston, Texas, Gambling On Love, is a 85,000 word contemporary romantic comedy.

Thank you for your consideration. The full is available upon request.

Sincerely,

Jo Vandewall

 
On February 18, 2009 at 9:41 PM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

I admire your bravery for posting your queries and pitches! Putting yourself out there by sending your babies off to an agent is one thing. Putting yourself out there on a public form is another. Awesome stuff!

Don't forget that Laura is also willing to answer any questions you have about writing, publishing, the expectations an agent has for authors, and so on.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 2:54 AM , Ms Menozzi said...

Dear Ms Peterson:

A transportation strike can be damned inconvenient, but can it help someone find love?

Desperate to leave Italy and her bad marriage behind, Emily Spadon is stranded in the Bologna train station on a frosty February morning due to a strike. Without her gloves, her cellphone, or the emotional energy to produce an alternative travel plan, her last ounce of reserve is slipping away fast and she’s not sure she can overcome any more obstacles set in her path.

When professor Davide Magnani offers his help in rearranging her travel plans, her gut tells her to trust him, in spite of the constant, nagging voice of her husband telling her otherwise. Taking that chance leads her to spend the day with her knight-errant, on an impromptu tour of the city. The more she learns about the kind professor’s life, the more she feels a connection that draws her to him.

As evening falls, Davide’s own façade slips, revealing a wounded bitterness which contrasts with his easygoing nature. Emily’s imminent departure on an evening train looms ahead, and she finds the strength to make a break with the ghosts of her past. When she opens her heart to her new friend she learns that he feels the same for her. So why is he so determined to make sure she catches her train?

“Connections” is a 12,000 word commercial fiction short story. This story was among the 12 titles selected to represent Harper Collins’ Authonomy.com venture in promotional materials prepared at the end of last year. I believe this story would also work well as the basis of a screenplay.

Although I am originally from Kentucky, I have been living and working as an English Conversation teacher in Reggio nell’Emilia, Italy for the last five years. I am a member of the writing community “Romance Divas” and a member of the critique groups found at Authonomy.com and The Book Shed. I would be pleased to send a complete copy of the story manuscript for your review.

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

Best Regards,

Kimberly Hudson (Menozzi)

 
On February 19, 2009 at 3:17 AM , raine said...

Dear Ms. Peterson:

They’re not the monsters you think they are.

The modern vampire is urbane. Discreet. Intelligent. Refined.

They live among us without fear, without equals. They hold prominent positions in society and rule from the shadows. In the face of all pretenders to the throne, they are truly the master race.

And they intend to keep it that way.

The Dhampir, half human, half vampire, are the only threats to their supremacy—but not for long. The Royals have ordered the extermination of all Breeds and recruited their deadliest warriors to carry out the ‘cleansing’ in a secret battle that rocks the underworld.

However, when Pardo, leader of the Death Squads, meets half-breed Laryn McCade, his resolve is shaken. Not only is he captivated by her beauty, but bewitched by her hybrid blood that’s both intoxicating and addictive.

Laryn is a ‘feeder’ in an elite club that caters to vampires. As a Breed, her blood is prized for its human sweetness and vampiric potency. Becoming serious about Pardo is not an option, despite the feelings she develops for him. He is, after all, the commander she’s been assigned to seduce and kill.

In the dangerous world of “BREED”, money and sex are trinkets, blood is a designer drug, and immortality is a given—unless one makes the mistake of falling for the enemy.

Writing as Raine Weaver, I’ve e-published five books with Loose Id and Samhain Publishing, two of which have gone into print. I’ve also finaled in the Lori Foster Brava Contest, Karin Tabke’s First Line Contest, the RWA Gotcha! Contest, and The Clarity of Night short fiction contest.

“BREED” is a paranormal erotic romance of approximately 76000 words. I’d very much like to submit it for your consideration.

Thanks for you time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

best,
Raine Weaver

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:38 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

The first responses from Laura:

Just a brief disclaimer before we start… I want to thank you all for taking the time to send me your pitches. It was good fun to read and comment upon them, and I hope you’ll take these meager thoughts in the right spirit. I’m just one reader, and Lord knows there are more agents than ever out there so I hope to encourage all of you to keep at it. I hope you’ll forgive the economy of my responses – there were a lot to go through and I wanted to make sure everyone got my attention and something more or less constructive out of this!

Thanks again, and I wish all of you the very best with your work!

Laura Peterson
Curtis Brown, Ltd.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:39 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

Dear Ms. Peterson:

As an agent interested in YA novels, you may be interested in my YA fantasy, Mistress of the Wind.

Hags are old, ugly and - powerful. When the most powerful hag of them all is murdered, with her dying breath she passes her mantel on, to someone who is the white to her black. But Astrid doesn't know what she has inside her. She grows up, forgetting the strange circumstances of how she came to understand the wind, feel a bond to it. But she will soon be forced to remember. Because change has come in the form of a white bear, who dazzles her family with enough gold to make it impossible for Astrid to say no to leaving with him.

Bjorn, the Mountain Prince, is more than an enchanted bear. He's trying to hold back a vicious change in the balance of power, to protect the realm he's been responsible for since his father's death. And he knows Astrid is the key. But in taking his prize, he's placed her in incredible danger, and soon he realizes that she is not just important to him, she's as vital as the air he breathes.

As Astrid gradually discovers more about herself and the lover who comes to her at night in darkness as a man, and during the day as her fierce bear guardian, she learns her connection to the wind is stronger than she could have imagined. And when Bjorn is stolen from her, she is forced to confront every aspect of her new self to find him and bring him back.

Loosely based on the Scandinavian fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon, with some Inuit folklore stirred into the mix, Mistress of the Wind is complete at 90,000 words.

I currently live on the west coast of Australia with my husband and two small children, although I was born in London and grew up in South Africa. I have an MA in Translation, and previously worked as first an editor and then a publisher in the law publishing division of a South African academic publishing company.

Thank you for your time in considering this query.

Yours faithfully
Michelle Diener

From Laura: This letter is a solid description of your novel, but this genre is really not my specialty. There are some agents out there who specialize in this area, but it’s not me, so I am not in a position to judge. Sorry!

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:39 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura in response to Tracy:

There’s a lot here that might work: a sexy, smart female caught up in the world’s oldest melodrama – is my husband faithful? -- but for me it feels way too familiar. The audience for this book can watch Desperate Housewives for free and get the same guilty pleasure out of the experience without having to spend $15-20. It may be a sound story and a fun read, but it also has to be something readers can’t live without. I’m not convinced that’s the case here. Plus you have to change the title. It’s too raunchy. No editor I work with would tell you any different.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:40 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura to Sir John:

This storyline, while cute, has been done so many times before – even if it’s flawlessly done it will be an uphill climb to get the attention of an editor. I would also remove the reference to the housing crisis and this novel’s potential market of realtors. It’s just not how books are marketed and sold. John Grisham was not a best seller because millions of lawyers bought his book; it was because he wrote great novels. I don’t see it standing apart, though, from what else is currently out there.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:41 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura to Lilly Caine:

I like this letter, though it’s not entirely clear from your letter which way this story is going. Quirky romances with cons, spirits and psychic impersonators (and the like) have a tendency to be campy and fun and light. I don’t think that’s what you’re writing, but this letter isn’t definitive enough a description of dark romantic suspense. Hope that helps.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:42 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura to Deborah Blake:

Your letter is certainly commendable and your credentials are quite likely to land you representation. I’m just not taken sufficiently by the story. There’s nothing I would say to improve it – there’s nothing flawed about it. Just not my cup of tea. I’m so sorry. Someone else will pounce on you for their list, I’m sure!

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:42 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura to Vicki Lane:

I think this letter starts out quite strong in the first 2 paragraphs with your plot description but loses energy immediately. The rest of the letter should be combined into one final paragraph (and take out “stand alone” and “multi-cross”). There’s a lot here that feels like I’ve read this story before but your writing is concise, clear and well-crafted. Good job!

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:43 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura to Anne-Marie:

This is a good description of what seems like an intricate plot – very tough to do with any depth. Your letter is comprehensive and professional, and the type I’d respond to favorably if I were more inclined toward police procedurals. A very effective job.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:43 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura to Renee:

Q for Laura from Renee: Hi: Thanks for this great opportunity. I write paranormal romance but I also write YA. I’m wondering from an agent’s perspective if you view a writer who writes both adult romance and YA fiction as a marketable writer. Thanks again.

Hi Renee: I think it’s important to stick with one genre at the early stages of your career, since it’s about building readership and a relationship with an audience so it’s not entirely helpful to have an author step out into other genres right from the start. Later on, well that’s up to you. Otherwise it tends to call into question your commitment and focus.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:44 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura to Renee:

Here is my adult paranormal romance pitch:
Immortally cursed and exiled to Earth realm, Cael’s wish – death. Dying never looked so sweet until the once proud Fey found the lush lips of a Highland lass. When vile creatures from his homeland are unleashed, Cael discovers one kiss has awakened an innocent’s passion that could destroy two worlds. Fairy Curses: Kissed is a contemporary, sensual paranormal at 105,000 words. Sourcebooks and TOR have asked for the entire manuscript.

From Laura: Scotland sells, but this description is so slight I can’t tell if it’s for me or not.

And, here is my YA pitch:
Degrassi High set in Smallville except the only person saving this small town is Gemini – a lost Siren princess – a Goth-teenager who wants to pass her first Algebra test and ends up forced into the sea to kick some serious sea witch’s tail, who wants to claim all the oceans for herself. Sea gods and dragons no longer just occupy Gemini’s time in her English literature class…they are her new reality. Siren’s Lure: First Test is a paranormal young adult book and the first book in my new young adult series and it will be 90,000 words in length. Synopsis and first three chapters available upon request.

From Laura: It’s a little long at 90,000 words, but I really like how you combine Gemini’s very real teen-age issues (like passing Algebra etc. and defeating a force of evil simultaneously). The mid-air collision of those two worlds is what made Twilight series so effective (among other things) so feel free to send that along to me.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:45 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura to Rhonda:

Dangerous Moves has been a title of numerous projects and a least one movie. If it were a project I was representing, that would be the first necessary change, and I suspect other agents and editors would agree as well. I’m not as taken by the story here – your description is a little flat (though I know it’s hard to write these, I really do) and it feels like I’ve read this novel many times before.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:46 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura to Sue re; Justiceman:

There’s a lot of energy in the writing here, which I like. The story sounds like a fun read though I’m concerned it’s a little out of control with its mobsters/bikers/the FBI/a serial killer premise. This is a strong letter nonetheless.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:46 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura to Sue re Deadly Interpretations:

The story and characters here feel too much like caricatures to me. I’m having trouble finding someone here that I connect with. It’s ambitious and brash, but a little too over the top for me. Sorry!

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:47 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

From Laura to Jo:

This is pretty well-written and a cute premise. I felt from the start I knew these characters, but they are not too familiar and just quirky enough to make me smile as you describe them. The cowboy angle makes me think this is intended as a category romance (due to the over-abundance of cowboy books in category romance) but the length would indicate otherwise. Good job.

 
On February 19, 2009 at 11:48 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

Kimberly and Raine, I'll be passing your posts on in the next batch. I didn't forget you. :)

 
On February 19, 2009 at 1:36 PM , Houston A.W. Knight said...

Sage De Faber’s love for Beowulf bound the future with the past,
yet it all took place in the present.

Welcome to A Lover’s Paradox, Ms Peterson.

The year is ten thousand twenty-four A.D., in a futuristic world of supernatural Kymry whose blood seeded the ancient Druids of Earth. Their purpose is to join The Three Columns of Truth and advance the surviving humans into the eighth root race.

To succeed, their best remote viewer (psychic spy) Sage De Faber must find and join the Columns. But Sage has a few troubles of her own. She’s feeling overwhelmed with her solitary life, and now she’s experiencing failed missions. Strange and dangerous images keep popping up in her viewings. Visions she can’t explain. She suspects sabotage by her new trainee, until she remote views her leader in the act of murder. Incensed, Sage set out to prove the murder she saw wasn’t done by her beloved leader but by a doppelganger; a very physical and dangerous ghostly apparition who has used her leader’s life-force to build a physical body of his own. Determined to fulfill the Kymry's goals and her own, Sage leaves the security of the marble palace and goes to the land of the barbarians.

An antagonist attempts to use her as a pawn in his deadly ambition to wage war with her country. Sage can save herself from his evil ways but doesn't, once she discovers the handsome and sinfully muscled pirate, who had pillaged her ship and her heart, has now come to her rescue to save her from death.

Motivated by love, the pirate risks his life and bravely fights in a competition he knows he cannot win…without magic. Sage finds true love in his arms, but to fulfill her people’s goal she will have to divulge her non-human bloodline and risk losing the pirate of her deepest desire, Beowulf.

This completed single title novel of 98,000 words, twist imagination and reality. I’ve created a futuristic semi-paranormal world with sweet romance and titillating sex. Conflicts are numerously entwined when three different worlds collide, merging mystical Kymry with Druids. A swaggering pirate and evil king match wits, and three men who look alike discover who they really are. The solution – can only be solved when my protagonist joins the Three Columns of Truth as one.

A Lover’s Paradox is available on request, and has a sequel near completion.

I am a member of RWA and its affiliate Florida Chapter, Tampa Area Romance Authors (TARA) since 2004. I have taken several English classes, home schooled with several authors, Lyon, Stein, Lefcowitz, and Michaels. I’m a full time writer. I meet with a weekly critique group to perfect my craft in what I intend to make a life long career. A Lover’s Paradox is my second completed full-length novel. My first submission was a short story, published in a Tampa Literary Magazine.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely

Houston A.W. Knight (Hawk)