May 25, 2012

Wilde's Fire Editor-Judged Query Contest

Welcome! Don't mind the mess, I'm just remodeling. You may want to visit my new author blog where it's not so chaotic. I'm posting the same information there.



“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.

On Sale Now at Amazon

Sharon Bayliss is hosting an Editor-Judged Query Contest on her blog. Krystal Wade of Curiosity Quills Press is the Acquisitions Editor/Judge. She is also the author of the new release Wilde's Fire, and this contest is in honor of the new release.


You don't want to miss out on this great opportunity, because the winner will win a full manuscript request and a chance at publishing! Go HERE to sign up on the Linky List and to view full details of the contest.


Here are the basic rules:


  1. Sign up on the Linky List.
  2. On May 25th post your one-page query letter and first 500 words of your manuscript.
  3. Between May 25 - May 28 visit the participants on the linky list and leave useful feedback and constructive criticism.
  4. On 5/28 Sharon will post and ask you to email her your revised final entries for consideration by editor Krystal Wade at Curiosity Quills Press.
HERE IS MY QUERY LETTER


Dear Editor,


A modern day medieval village teeming with spirit activity is no place for sixteen-year-old ghost whisperer Indigo Eady, not when all she’s ever wanted is to be a normal girl. But normal girls don’t read the history of an object through touch (Psychometry), let alone see, hear and speak to ghosts.


After the death of her father, Indigo almost has the chance to start over and keep her secret, but the ghost of the missing Bart Bagley ruins it all by turning up and begging her to help solve his murder. Sorely tempted to ignore him, she only relents because he was the father of her new friend, Badger. That and the survivor’s guilt she feels over her own father’s death.


A murder investigation is hard enough without the disruption of interfering ghosts and a mysterious soul collector with her name topping its list, but when Indigo’s psychic abilities short-circuit, the sparks start to fly in more than one direction. The resulting mishaps compromise the success of the investigation and the budding but fragile attraction between Indigo and Badger.


When the body count mounts and a suspect ends up dead, Badger becomes a “person of interest" and they must surge ahead to solve the murders before they become the next victims.


GIVIN' UP THE GHOST, a 68,000 word young adult paranormal mystery can stand alone, although it is intended to be the first book in the Indigo Eady series.


Sincerely,


Gwen M. Gardner




HERE ARE THE FIRST 500 WORDS FROM GIVIN' UP THE GHOST:


“What the...” the dude sputtered. I lay sprawled across him, our eyes locked in stunned surprise, our bodies entwined in a tangle of arms and legs. Shock coursed through my veins. My breath came in rasps so I couldn’t speak, but muteness worked just as well. I mean, what could I say? Nice day for a run?


Luckily the early hour rendered the market square relatively quiet. I didn’t think anyone had witnessed my current fiasco. I only wanted to go for a jog. But now I could add “bowling over cute guy” to my mounting list of mishaps, along with, “Get a grip” on this growing problem of mine.


I chanced a quick, worried glance back toward the alley I had barreled from, but the thing was gone. I sighed. Not a graceful escape, I’ll admit. But all things considered, this new situation I suddenly found myself in was a vast improvement, never mind the embarrassment.


The dude beneath me began to squirm.


“I’m sorry,” I gasped, still trying to catch my breath. Now I had to get myself out of this current predicament. Trust me, the extrication process? Not so easy. Our entwined limbs and clothing became like a massive pile of clothes hangers. The more I tried to untangle, the more things got caught.


Plus, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t doing much to help me with the problem. In fact, based on his grin and that little devil dancing a jig in his eyes, I’d say he was enjoying himself way too much.


I tried not to grin back. I should have been thankful he wasn’t mad, but this was no laughing matter. I was extremely uncomfortable, on more than one level.


I didn’t know what the norm was in medieval England, but in this modern day medieval village, lying about on the ground? So not cool. The few people out and about on that gray morning had started to stare. The jettied, half-timbered buildings leaned over us, but it didn’t hide the fact that we were there, lying on the rain-soaked cobblestones, in broad daylight.


“You could help me, you know,” I chastised, my shaky hands working a strand of my braid from his jacket zipper. But with one strand down, I was still attached by another good-sized clump, preventing me from getting up - unless I was willing to rip out chunks of my hair - which I wasn’t.


“Oh, sorry. Here, let me.” All of a sudden he was all business. With gentle fingers he eased long black locks from the zipper, strand by strand. While he worked, I studied his face. He looked familiar. A slight scar above his right brow, about an inch long. Dark brown hair, slightly messy and overgrown. Golden speckles in brown eyes that...


...now viewed me with amusement.


Crap. Busted, checking out the dude I bowled over. So not cool. Plus, I had the feeling I totally missed something he said.


***

THANK YOU SHARON AND KRYSTAL FOR HOSTING!

I hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to critique my work (nicely, of course) in the comments section.

Thanks for stopping by!



83 comments:

M.J. Fifield said...

That's a pretty awesome contest. Such a great opportunity!!

I love your concept and your opening excerpt. Good luck...

Gwen Gardner said...

M.J., thank you. Yes, it is a great opportunity, and one of us lucky bloggers is going to be the winner!

Krystal Wade said...

Very cool intro. I like how you leave us hanging on to find out whatever she "saw".

tueremorton said...

I enjoyed the writing. I like her voice. Very authentic. It's a nice beginning and leaves me wanting to read on more. :)

Gwen Gardner said...

Krystal, thanks. Here's hoping you like it a lot, lol! *crosses fingers*

Tueremorton, thank you. Are you participating? If so, I'll be by for a visit. Well, even if not, I'll be by for a visit, lol:) See you soon.

Jade Hart said...

I love Indigo's voice, and name. I thought your 1st 500 words were very well done, my only critique is the name badger. Is this a nick-name? Just wondering cause it's an unusual 1st name. Awesome work, love the series idea too. Very Nancy Drew

Gwen Gardner said...

Jade, I'm so used to the name Badger now that I don't think about it being unusual. It kind of grew on me, really. But it's a family name and they have a family pub called The Blind Badger.

Sharon Bayliss said...

Hi Gwen, don't know exactly what to say since you've already got a mouthful from me. :) But I think this is coming along beautifully. Do you want me to change the link in the contest linky to your new blog? Up to you.

Gwen Gardner said...

Sharon, thanks. I don't think the link needs to be changed. I'll be posting on both blogs for a while, at least until I can rebuild my followers on my new blog.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Love the psychometry, how interesting. Good luck!

Gwen Gardner said...

Nicole, thanks and good luck to you, too:)

meredithmansfield said...

Really great way to start this.

On the query:

I don't think you need to put Psycometry in parantheses after the description. Just let the description stand as it is.

And I'm not sure you need that third paragraph at all.

Georgia Summers said...

I really loved the first five hundred words! Indigo seems like such a charming character; you've really got the voice down well. I'd certainly read on to find out more.

Juliana Haygert said...

LOVE the voice!
"that little devil dancing a jig in his eyes" << awesome description!
Wow, I'm intrigued. Great job!

Larissa said...

I LOVE the voice of the excerpt. And the "massive pile of hangers" is a PERFECT description!

However, I didn't get ANY sense of the voice in the query. In fact, the query felt very middle grade to me, and the wonderful voice of the piece didn't match at all.

But, like I said, I love the excerpt and would definitely read on! Good luck!

mindthagap said...

This was really good Gwen... the only suggestion I have is to take out the Psychometry part from your query. I don't think it's necessary to give us the word in that brief explanation.
Your premise is really interesting though and I like the humor a lot! My only other question is how are they living in a modern medieval village? Is this something that will be explained later on? Good luck on the contest! :)

Jessa Russo (Stadtler) said...

I agree with Larissa - I wasn't intrigued with your query, but I was sucked right into your first 500. In fact, I'd say I absolutely LOVED your first 500. I really want to see what happens with these two!

Good luck int the contest!

Gwen Gardner said...

Meridith, I can see that Psychometry in parentheses is a bit awkward - I'll re-read the third paragraph to see what can be done. Thanks for your comments!

Georgia, thanks. It's the first time Indigo's been described as charming, but I think you got it exactly.

Juliana, thanks for the lovely comments:)

Larissa, you're right, the query doesn't have voice. I had a difficult time between keeping the query professional yet not boring! Back to the drawing board:)

Minthagap, you're right, I think the word "Psychometry" could come out of the query. Also, Europe is full of medieval villages, many still occupied (in my book, both living and dead, lol!). Hopefully the reader gets a sense of it in the novel.

Jessa, I guess I need to infuse some voice into the query:)

Hope Roberson said...

Your voice is excellent! The first 500 were descriptive and humorous, nicely done :)
I agree about taking Psychometry out in line one, possibly breaking up a sentence or two in the third paragraph (...its list, but when...), and tighten up paragraph two if you can (there are a lot of pronouns forcing me to read it twice).
Good luck and again, wonderful voice!

meradeth said...

Warning: I'm lousy at queries, so whatever I say must be taken with lots of salt :) Anyhow, I really adore your excerpt--the voice is wonderful. I am a little confused in the query and opening about the modern medieval village? Maybe a bit more explanation in your query as to what that is? Also, I'd really like to see more of a hook in the opening of your query. Something that sets your story apart (and I can tell there's plenty of fun things that do!) more than wanting be normal. Just my initial thoughts on this!

Ink in the Book said...

I struggle with queries also and need to add that "voice" to mine. So I can't offer comments on that. As for the first words, I thought you did a great job introducing your characters. I hope I have the chance to read the rest of the story!

Amber said...

why does her dad's death almost give her a normal life? It seems like it would have the opposite affect for a ghost whisperer...but other than that I thought this was great. I loved the opening for the query! It instantly captured my attention:)

Rebekah Loper said...

haha, how perfectly awkward that opening scene is! I'm an expert at embarrassing myself, and just plain lucky that I don't do it with bodily harm!

I think your query would read smoother without putting the term psychometry in there - it's not relevant at this point.

Gwen Gardner said...

Hope, thanks, I'll be working on my query some more.

Meradeth, I'll think on a better hook, thanks.

Ink, I wasn't sure about adding voice to the query - I guess it's a fine balance trying to stay professional but maintaining voice. Thanks!

Amber, I guess I better make it clearer. When her dad dies she moves to a new town and has the chance to start over where people don't know about her gift.

Rebekah, the general concensus is that I should take it out. Thank you:)

Gwen Gardner said...

Thanks for your helpful and kind comments everyone!

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