Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #8

Dear Mystery Agent:

I submit for your consideration my work, BLOOD WAR, an urban fantasy work of approximately 104,000 words.

In the eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived side by side, relatively at peace. That threatens to come screeching to a halt when bodies start turning up. The attacks all bear a striking resemblance to those made by the Aristocrats, vampires who terrorized Europe centuries ago. In an attack that leaves his wife of almost five hundred years dead, and permanently scars him, Jordan MacNaught is caught up in the opening salvo of a war meant to turn the other races against the vampires. He knows beyond a doubt that the vampires of yesteryear are not involved in the current attacks. They're all dead, except for him.

Chris Javert has just learned about several bodies found in America when Jordan turns up in her living room expecting her help in hunting those who murdered his wife and threaten to usurp the memory of his glory days. She's no stranger to hunting vampires. After all, she nearly destroyed Jordan when she ended the reign of his Aristocrats in Europe two hundred years ago.

Barely convinced of his innocence, but determined not to let the interspecies peace she helped foster die, Chris joins forces with the man who once tried to kill her. At, er, stake? Peace, and very likely the well-being of vampires. Humans barely tolerate them now, but if these murders don't stop, it will become open hunting on them once more.

Blood War is intended to be part of my series, tentatively titled The Dream-Walker War. I believe fans of Laurel K. Hamilton's earlier Anita Blake books and Kim Harrison's Hollows series will find a great deal to love in my work.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
T.M.


BLOOD WAR

Ares dumped the third body on the sidewalk. Music from the nightclub a block away pulsed through the balmy night. Even though he was so close to a large number of people, the vicinity immediately around him was deserted. He’d broken the streetlamp above two days earlier and the city hadn’t gotten around to fixing it yet, as expected, giving him the cover of darkness.

The woman, he never caught her name, stared up at him, shock still clear in her dark brown, cow-like eyes. She’d been a fighter, that one. Bruises covered her wrists and ankles, the wounds so rare to find on a vampire. The quad responsible for her capture and death had been brutal with her.

He didn’t approve of rape, even in the war he wanted to start, but he gave his people a free hand, as long as they accomplished the goals he set before them. The quad here in Tampa seemed to glory in the torture side of things.

Aware he wouldn’t have long before someone came upon the scene, he crouched and studied all three bodies. Though most of the injuries varied from corpse to corpse, they shared two specific ones. The death blow on each came in the form of near decapitation. The heads weren’t off, held to the bodies by only a small sliver of flesh.

Ares smiled, looking at the second wound in common each of the three bodies carried: a quadruple claw gouge from right hip to left shoulder.

5 comments:

Kelley said...

The first 250 words are well written and while this isn't something I would normally read I do have suggestions on how to tighten up the query:


In the eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived side by side, relatively at peace. Then bodies start turning up. The attacks bear a striking resemblance to those made by the Aristocrats, vampires who terrorized Europe centuries ago. In an attack that leaves his wife dead, Jordan MacNaught is caught up in the start of a war meant to turn the other races against the vampires. He knows beyond a doubt the vampires of yesteryear are not involved in the attacks. They're all dead, except for him.

Jordan asks for Chris Javert's help in hunting those who murdered his wife. She's no stranger to hunting vampires. After all, she nearly destroyed Jordan when she ended the reign of his Aristocrats in Europe two hundred years ago.

Barely convinced of his innocence, but determined not to let the interspecies peace she helped foster die, Chris joins forces with the man who once tried to kill her.

Blood War is intended to be part of my series, tentatively titled The Dream-Walker War. I believe fans of Laurel K. Hamilton's earlier Anita Blake books and Kim Harrison's Hollows series will find a great deal to love in my work.

Krista V. said...

Interesting concept, and I really liked the idea of old enemies having to team up. However, I stumbled over the wording a few times in the query, so I agree that you could tighten this. (In fact, I thought Kelly's revision eliminated almost all of the rough patches, so that could be something to build on.)

I was a little confused as to the timeline. I assumed we were in the present day, so the reference to the Great Awakening tripped me up. Wasn't that some sort of spiritual revival that happened in the eighteenth century? If it's a different Great Awakening, you might want to make that clearer or even change the name.

As for the first page, I did find it a little odd that we opened with a character not mentioned in the query, but since I could tell that we were dealing with the bodies that start turning up, it wasn't as off-putting as it might have been. Also, I'd set off the clause "he never caught her name" with em dashes instead of commas, since the commas don't imply enough of a break or pause.

Good luck with this, and thanks for entering the contest!

Jack T said...

I think it's a bit dark and am not sure how long I could stand to read it before really needing something lighter to happen. First, the title is oppressive on its own. You have some good ideas that would be interesting to see how well you take them to fruition.

The Agent said...

Your query leaves me with the impression that you know the world in which your story takes place very well. The problem is, you haven't yet explained the world enough for me to understand it. What was The Great Awakening? What significance did it have, that it bears mentioning at the top of your story? Are vampires the only non-humans, or are there others as well? Chris Javert is a vampire hunter, but she herself has been alive for more than two hundred years. So what is she?

Also, in closing your query, you say that the well-being of vampires is at, er, stake... but why should that bother us? Don't take it for granted that you reader will sympathize with a creature that feeds on human blood; you need to give us a reason to care.

Finally, your opening paragraphs focus on a person (man? Vampire? Other non-human?) named Ares, who goes unmentioned in the query. If this is a prologue, that is understandable; but if this is your first chapter, I'm starting off your story very confused.

I'd recommend expanding on your world building in the query, so we are at least somewhat familiar with the setting before we jump into the first pages.

Ben Spendlove said...

The idea of this Great Awakening between humans and non-humans is enticing. There's a lot of potential in that setting. I think I'm missing something, though. Why would framing a dead group of vampires destroy the peace? That's my biggest question. I'm sure you've got the answer.

The second paragraph of the query kind of lost me. Maybe look at cutting the second and third sentences. Not sure the stake joke fits with the tone of the book. (If it does, maybe move it to the end of the sentence following.)

There are some redundancies in the writing. "The vicinity immediately around him." "in common each of the three bodies carried." (That sounds like an editing error.) "Near decapitation" followed by a description of near decapitation.

You say it's urban fantasy, but it starts pretty horrifically. Could it be called horror?