Wednesday, July 20, 2011

GUTGAA Query Finalists Picked Today!


Ok, the finalists are in. Thanks so much to everyone for entering. I can't tell you the hard time Lora had in breaking the  four way tie. If you didn't make the finalists please don't let this little ole contest ruin your spirits. Keep working on those queries. You are all fabulous!

Friday we will be picking one of these to win the grand prize of a query critique or a first five page critique of your wip by Lora Rivera!

In alphabetical order:

Alexandra Villasante

Dear (Agent),

Finial Smith lives in a world where discarded book characters, called Quasi-Reals, come to be recycled or pressed into servitude. The Smiths are the last natural-born family living in a village of QRs. Their Farm is renowned for the fine quality of QR workers they produce. But being the only real boy for miles is getting on this sixteen year old’s nerves. Fin’s missing his dead mother, bored at school and tired of hearing his Da tell him about Nobless Oblige – the duty all natural-borns have to care and defend the dependent and weaker QR creatures.

When Fin meets Anne, a QR who breaks away from the herd, he finds a girl who is more alive and real than anyone he's ever met. A revolution is brewing in BookEnd with QRs determined to fight for the same rights as natural-borns. Fin has to decide whether to stand with his family and let Anne be destroyed, or to endanger the world he knows to save her.  

BOOKEND is a YA Fantasy novel complete at 75,000 words. As requested on your website, I am enclosing a synopsis and sample pages.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Alexandra Villasante 

Alexia Chamberlynn

(Mr./Ms. Last Name of Agent),
Finding out she’s a witch is pretty much a complete mind blow for Eva Westvale. After all, she was just a normal Manhattanite moving up the corporate ladder and planning her wedding to her college sweetheart.

And discovering she’s lived countless lifetimes, hunted through the centuries by a sorcerer intent on possessing her soul? The icing on her perfect paranormal cake.

Now all she has to do is evade the cloaked figure that seems to show up everywhere, avoid becoming too physically entangled with the sexy shapeshifter who’s decided to help her, escape the rival shifters she’s pissed off, fit in with the other witches, learn coven politics – oh, and regain a millennia worth of memory and power so she can stay alive, soul intact.

COUNTLESS is a 75,000 word Urban Fantasy novel. Per your submission guidelines, I've included (sample pages, synopsis, whatever they've asked for on their website). I appreciate your time and consideration.


Alexia A. Chamberlynn
(phone number)
(web address)

Amber Plante

Dear [Agent],

After having visited your site, I see that you are looking for paranormal romance and adventures, and I’d like to show you GLOW, complete at 80,000 words.

Sundae has accepted her high-society life as a publishing exec, living out her father's dreams while giving up her artistic ambitions. Until, that is, she meets Brendan, a superhero-ish bartender who makes her question her choices. He’s statuesque, strong and confident – and could quite possibly be the first real man Sundae has ever dated.

But he’s not a real man at all. Brendan is an alien sent from another realm to adjudicate whether Earth is worth saving from a dark entity taking over the universe – and that's just the cherry on top. Beneath his human guise, Brendan and his crew must decide whether to allocate the Council’s protective powers – but, in order for Sundae to convince him her world is worth the risk, she must first convince herself.

With a dollop of humor, a drizzle of danger and a sprinkle of sweet-and-salty supporting characters, GLOW is a paranormal romance with depth, adventure and intrigue sure to satiate readers’ appetite for a unique voice and a compelling page-turner.

In addition to years of professional magazine, newspaper and online editing with Gannett-owned Captivate (those cool elevator screens), the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Eagle Tribune Newspaper in Mass., and multi-media technology company TechTarget, I have also published writing in both traditional print and online media.

Attached below is [requested materials], as per your request. I would be honored if you would consider representing GLOW.

Thank you for your consideration and attention,
Amber Plante

Laura Barnes

Dear Agent,

Mina Bevins hasn't leaked any magic like the other girls, earning her the status of weirdo in the world of witches.  When her thirteenth birthday passes, and she still lacks any power, the Coven Seer looks into the past for an explanation: Mina’s not really a witch at all; she was switched at birth with another baby in the mortal world hospital.  

Somewhere there’s a young witch leaking magic all over the place, exposing the witch world.  Secrecy is essential to keep the coven from persecution and the only way to ensure it remains safe, the coven decides, is to track this girl down and remove her powers. 
Having just learned that she will never come into the power she so desired to possess, Mina thinks stripping someone of her magic on purpose is horrible. Together with the help of her friend Porter, a male witch, Mina uses the limited power available to them to find the other girl and warn her before the coven takes away her magic life too.

At 45,000 words, sWITCH is middle grade fantasy adventure that brings to life a matriarchal world of witches hidden among humans.

I am a marketing consultant and maintain a blog that gives advice to writers as they build their platform.  I am a member of SCBWI.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. 

Lisa Chickos

Dear Agent:
An arctic mermaid is the last thing seventeen year-old Kai Murphy expects to glimpse when she joins a beluga whale research team in Alaska.

An aspiring scientist, Kai dismisses Anchorage’s mermaid myths until the late-night sighting of a silvery, speckled tail threatens her convictions.  Teamed up with flirtatious twin deckhands Noah and Aidan Fischer, she decides to investigate.
Turns out a mermaid sighting isn’t her research team’s only mystery.  There are also secret closets filled with hunting rifles, blood-filled plastic bins and shadowy beluga poachers haunting the inlet’s icy waters.  

As Kai searches for answers and begins falling for Noah, she realizes even he isn’t above suspicion.  The fate of her team, her belugas and the mysterious creature in the inlet just may rest in her hands.
THE MERMAID GENE is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 98,000 words.  I have worked as a zookeeper and educator at many facilities, including the Alaska Zoo of Anchorage, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums published my article “The Dangers of Human Interactions with Marine Mammals” in its 2007 Ocean Literacy and Marine Mammals: An Easy Reference Guide.  This experience sets THE MERMAID GENE apart and allows me to take readers behind-the-scenes into the thrilling and often-misunderstood world of beluga whale research.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Nancy Thompson

Dear (Agent):
Vengeance tastes anything but sweet the day Skylar Karras pledges the woman who killed his pregnant wife to San Francisco’s Russian mafia.  Experts in human trafficking, they offer Sky a deal he can’t refuse.  In exchange for the girl, they vow to let his brother leave the business for good—with his heart still beating and his legs intact. 

There's just one problem:  Sky grabs the wrong woman. 

Now he must protect Hannah Maguire from the very men he's mistakenly set upon her.  But the Russians are holding his brother as leverage to force Sky to complete their deal.  Caught in a desperate dilemma, Sky must choose:  save his brother, save the girl, or save himself.  With the Russian underworld, even two out of three makes for very long odds.

THE MISTAKEN is a psychological thriller of 91,000 words.  I believe my novel would appeal to fans of Greg Iles’s Turning Angel, James Scott Bell’s Try Dying, Neil Cross’s Burial and even Alexandre Dumas’ classic, The Count of Monte Cristo.
Though I no longer live in San Francisco or have ties with its Russian underworld, I have loosely based my novel on villains and events from my past.
(Insert agent's personal info here followed by the appropriate submission pages.) Thank you for your time and consideration.
Best Regards,
Nancy S. Thompson
(personal info redacted)


Nicole Zoltack

Dear Agent:

Eleven-year-old wanna-be novelist Elena loves the colorful pen the mysterious new kid Artex gives her, especially after she writes that that the class bully gets detention and a few minutes later, he does. Elena now thinks the pen is magical and tries to write with it again, only this time, the pen writes of its own accord about the All-Knowers, a peaceful race who can read minds and heal. Demons have invaded their homeland, intent on enslaving and killing them.

Elena knows the pen’s story is true, that the All-Knowers and their Land of Imagining are real, and are in very real trouble. She is tied to this Land by more than just the pen — she is an All-Knower, as is her mother and Artex. Elena figures she can use the pen to help the All-Knowers until she discovers that the pen’s power comes at a cost – each time she writes with it, an All-Knower becomes a demon. After a demon kidnaps her family, Elena must go to the Land of Imagining. She will do anything to save her family and her people, even if it means using the pen and risking her mom or even herself turning into a demon.

ELENA’S PEN is a 80,000-word fantasy MG standalone novel with series potential.

I am the author of a fantasy romance trilogy, WOMAN OF HONOR (2009), KNIGHT OF GLORY (2010), and CHAMPION OF VALOR (2011) published with Desert Breeze Publishing. I have also sold nine short stories for anthologies, including MERTALES by Wyvern Publications, and many collections by Pill Hill Press.

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

Best regards,
Nicole Zoltack
PK Hezro

Dear agent,
Thirteen year old Xavier Dare thinks he’s played every video game out there, until one day a mysterious tattooed man gives him a classic game console and a never before completed video game called The Keys to Nin. Alone in his room, X is mesmerized by a beam of light that pops up from the console after powering it up. And since life at home is tough with all of his disabled sister’s needs, X can’t resist seeing what’s inside.

Transported through a wormhole to another solar system, X finds himself on a planet in turmoil and without leaders. He soon learns the only person who can transport him back home is a man called the Gatekeeper, and the Gatekeeper could be anywhere on planet Nin. X isn’t the only one looking for the Gatekeeper, either. The rebel leader, Penumbra, is determined to get to Earth herself, where her powers will dominate, and if she finds the Gatekeeper first, X may never get to return home. Aided by a quirky band of misfits, X navigates the diverse seven realms of Nin in search of answers and a way home. But when X faces Penumbra in a final showdown, he will learn how he really fits into this world, and it will change his life forever.
X Dare and The Keys to Nin is a 65k word MG science fiction / fantasy story. In its own unique way, it could be described like The Neverending Story meets Stargate with some unexpected twists. It is a standalone work with series potential. I am a member of SCBWI and I’d be delighted to send you the full manuscript. Thank you so much for your time.



Rachel Dillon

Dear Agent Extraordinaire,
Sixteen year old Renna Healy has anger issues, but when she becomes part-lion, controlling her temper becomes impossible.

After moving to Kenya with her doctor father, Renna, a California girl, falls in love with the country’s people, wildlife, and her neighbor Sean McCloud. But her world is shattered when she and her dad are viciously attacked by a lion.

Her dad does not survive the mauling, and Renna’s left with more than green bite marks—she now has attributes of the diseased lion that bit her. Sounds are amplified, her vision is magnified, and her sense of smell is overwhelming. But it isn’t until she breaks Sean’s hand with a simple squeeze, and sprints past a truck to escape from the hospital, that she realizes she’s more than just an ordinary girl at a glance—she’s somehow been changed to a lion within.

Renna moves to Wisconsin to live with her only relative, her uncle. The stress of the relocation and loss of her dad is topped off by catty high school girls, hormone-driven boys, and bad timing. Renna becomes destructive to herself and others, frequently reacting before thinking. She doesn’t wake up worrying about taking tests or if her clothes match, she worries that if someone pisses her off she’ll accidently kill them. When a love triangle shoves her over the edge, her greatest fear comes true, and changes how she deals with her temper forever.

The Lion Within is a 67,000 word, young adult contemporary fantasy.
Personal stuff…Published children’s book author and illustrator, etc.

Thank you for your time,
Rachel Dillon

Sharon Bayliss

Dear Agent,
With a budding career as a pop singer and a boyfriend who is the heir to the most powerful political dynasty in the Republic, Lena doesn’t have much to complain about.  But Lena is still haunted by nightmares of the bomb that destroyed her home country of Stormland and it’s hard to forget that her boyfriend’s father was the one who ordered the attack.

Then members of the Wilde family, the Stormland royalty, appear on live news and Lena fears that her nightmares may soon become reality.  Not extinct as people thought, the Wildes’ return brings the threat of war along with a young Wilde prince with bizarre electrical powers…and his powers aren’t the only thing about him that give Lena the tingles.  Swept up in a dangerous love triangle, Lena is already in over her head when both of the men in her life are kidnapped.  She dives into a centuries old rivalry between the world’s most powerful ruling families to save the men she loves.  With the two countries playing a game of chicken with bombs, Lena knows one false step could ignite war.

STORMLAND is a 70,000 word upper young adult science fiction novel set in an alternate world similar to present-day United States. STORMLAND was a runner-up in the agent-judged Made of Awesome blog contest and I have been published in small press magazines such as Nerve Cowboy and Nomad’s Choir
At your request, I would be pleased to send you more of STORMLAND.  Thank you for your consideration.

Sharon Bayliss

I know, because I have entered these contests too, that those awaiting the results are ready for the list RIGHT NOW!

I'm sorry to say you are going to have to wait a tab bit longer.  The judges worked hard, and I am sooo grateful for all the hard work they have done, but there were just too many great queries. So I am calling in Lora Rivera, the judge of all judges for the contest, to help out.  As soon as she gives me an answer on a few close calls I will post the winners here.  TODAY!

Thanks to all of you who entered and have been a part of the blogfest up to this point.  I wanted to put you all through!

Oh and don't you love the intitals of the blogfest?  GUTGAA:)  I do.  One of you had it on your blog (I can't remember who so if you know please tell me) and I thought I would use it too:)  Thanks!


Unknown said...

GUTGAA is easy to say too! I love it!!!

What fun! I can't wait to see the winners!!! Do you plan on having links for the fabulous queries! I'd hate to know the great queries I missed!

Is Lora choosing based on who she would have accepted a full from? Just curious how you went about choosing!

S.B.Niccum said...

I didn't participate, but I'd love to read the Queries! I've always been mystified by the art of writing a good one!
S.B. Niccum
Author Website
Author Blog
Chicks In Lit Blog

Lori M. Lee said...

I forgot D8 *facepalm* Oh well lol. Good luck, everyone! :D

Emily R. King said...

There's more than one?

Deana said...

Sorry it's taking so long guys. Lora pulled a muscle in her neck and is in some serious pain. The finalists will be listed shortly.

Jen- She said she is factoring that in but more than anything she is picking what looks like the most solid piece to her.
Also, yes I will be giving links for the top ten

Lori- I'm so sorry you missed the turn in time:(

Silvina- It astounds me too, how a winner can come from such a small piece of a very large project

Emily- Whoops, I guess I should reword that title. These aren't the winners, but the finalists. The winner will be chosen Friday by Lora.

Lori- I'm so sorry

Christina Farley said...

Lots of really great queries. Good luck everyone!

RAD - Dot Painter said...

Oh my gosh! Thank you so much! I'm so excited to be included on the list. Thank you so much! I'm so sorry to hear about Lora. Neck pain bites, and no, I'm not writing a vampire book.

Laura Barnes said...

Oh, thank you so much for including me as a finalist! Congratulations to all the others posted. I agree with all these choices and I know there were other really good ones that didn't make it here, so I can understand the tough decision. Good luck everyone, and thanks again!

Alleged Author said...

Yay for everyone who is a finalist!

alexia said...

Oh, wow! I'm so honored to be a finalist!! There were so many awesome queries, I know it was really hard to narrow it down. Thanks to everyone who worked on this!!

Unknown said...

Congrats to the finalists!

Michelle Fayard said...

I'm glad I didn't have to choose, because these are great; congratulations, everyone!

Jennifer Hillier said...

Woo hoo! Congrats to the finalists! Well-deserved!

Deana said...

Yes congrats! I wish everyone could have been picked. I really do!

Andrea Mack said...

Wwo - these queries are impressive! Even though I didn't participate, I've learned a lot from reading and seeing how they've improved. Congrats to everyone who was brave enough to put their query out there!

amber said...

Thanks for including me on the list :) Really, it's a great compliment given the other finalists -- I would read any of those books based off their queries!

Sylvia Ney said...

New follower here. I wish I had found you sooner. This is such an interesting blogfest. I'm working on a query letter as well and these examples are great. Thank you for sharing!

Alex Villasante said...

SQUEEE! I'm so excited to be shortlisted! Thanks Deana and Lora! One small thing - you've misspelled my last name, it's Villasante!
Thanks so much!

Alex Villasante said...

Oh and I think GUTGAA was my creation. Because I'm really, really lazy ;)

Unknown said...

Thanks for your patience with me, everyone. You all did such a wonderful job on these queries, it was super-hard to break the four-way tie for the finalists. I'm going to be biting my fingernails over the winner. So please feel encouraged--if it was this hard for us judges, you all have at least hit the 90% mark or higher in terms of showing up in an agent's inbox. Here's to my fellow blogfesters! *raises water glass and downs another muscle relaxer* ;P

Nancy Thompson said...

Thank you for including me as a finalist. (I must say, I feel rather like the old den mother among a nest of young chicks.)

To be honest, I have to give most of the credit to Robin Weeks. I'm feeling more than a little guilty about hijacking her suggestions.

I wish all good luck to the other finalists. Having read your queries, I feel humbled to be in such awesome company.

LisaAnn said...

Woohooo!! I am so honored to be included as a finalist among so many amazing query letters! Perhaps we should start our own bookstore here... I've already got lots of your books on my mental "To Read" list!

lindy said...

Congrats to all the finalists and to everyone else who participated this week! Great job all! Can't wait to see who wins this--I feel sorry for Lora, it must be so difficult to pick only one.

Deana said...

Magpie- Well we can't have that...misspelling your name! I'm horrible:)
I love that you're lazy, it's the creatvie kind of lazy:)

Lora- I'm so glad you said that! I couldn't agree more, but it sounds so much better coming from you:) Get that nexk well too by the way!

Nancy- The guilt runs high for me as well. I love Robin's query! And her wonderful advice! If I had all the say in the competition I would have given all 30 entries to Lora and told her I couldn't pick...seriously.

Good luck to the final 10 tomorrow!

Unknown said...

Nancy! I just got around to reading the finalist queries. I'm so thrilled for you! You are very welcome to use my suggestions and thanks so much for letting me play in your query. Your story premise is awesome. Good luck! :D

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