>Dear Secret Agent,

High school sophomore, Kat Gamble is exceptional at everything she does.  Gymnastics.  Cheerleading.  School.  Everything.  Until the day she totally screws up the one thing everyone else seems to get right – death.

Killed in a car crash, Kat finds herself in the hospital being jolted awake by a handsome stranger named Jack, who says he can help, but she must go with him immediately.  Forced to choose between him and a doctor – who comes complete with his own Children of the Corn hospital staff that makes her hair stand unattractively on end – Kat opts to take her chances with Jack.

After all, he’s so much cuter.

In a whirlwind escape, Kat is whisked away to Wagner Academy, an elite finishing school for the undead.  There, she learns about the strange new abilities they all possess, along with the history behind the Romulaires – the beings who want to feed on the souls of the newly undead, in order to become more human.

But she won’t be expected to do this alone.  No, she’ll trudge through the following three years Linked to the next unlucky dead kid…who just so happens to be Kessler Gray: only the biggest news to light up the silver screen since RPat came to town.

Oh, and her creepy doctor?  Yeah, he’s not done with her yet.

Gaining a second shot at life, all Kat really wants is to make it through high school, preferably in one piece.  But being hunted by the legion of Romulaires for the tattered remnants of her soul – not to mention surviving her bond to one of the hottest, most arrogant teen celebs to ever grace the tabloids – well, that just might be what kills her.  Again.

KAT GAMBLE AND THE RISE OF THE ROMULAIRES is a YA Urban Fantasy complete at 104,000-words.  I’m an active member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, as well as the SCBWI.

Thank you so much for your time; I look forward to hearing from you.


     “What do you mean I’m dead?  What the hell is that supposed to mean – and I’m sorry…but who are you?” I scoffed at the potentially gorgeous guy that for some reason was standing in my room.  I say potentially gorgeous, as right now I wasn’t too impressed with what he’d been saying.   
     I wasn’t trying to be rude or anything, but come on!  What normal person waltzes into someone else’s room, wakes them up from an incredible dream about almost naked male movie stars, and announces to them that they’re dead?  I mean, who does that?  Unless of course, I wasn’t actually awake – which I had to admit, was entirely possible.
     But as I blinked almost in slow motion and scanned my surroundings, I suddenly realized something that was stranger than the fact that this guy was telling me I was dead.
     We weren’t in my room.
     Oh, my head was starting to hurt.  And as I raised my hands to my temples, to rub away the soon to be headache I knew was coming, I felt the scratchy plastic bracelet that circled my wrist.
     Huh.  That pale yellow color was so not in season right now; I mean after all, it was mid-August and nowhere near spring time.  So why would I be wearing a bracelet that wasn’t remotely chic or in fashion, let alone made of plastic?  Ew.
     I rolled the bracelet around in my fingers and realized it was a hospital I.D. band.


  1. Laura Pauling says:

    >Query: I like your concept, but 3 summary paragraphs is long and it's a bit like you're trying to explain too much. I'd stick to the main character, her goal, the conflict, and the personal stakes.

    I love the first line. And I like your premise. The voice is there but it feels like your trying too hard with it. And if this potentially gorgeous guy is standing in the room, maybe they should start dialoguing?

    What about the senses? Does she smell anything? Is she in pain from the accident? Those details might help. Because she sounds rather healthy. Best of luck!

  2. K says:

    >First thing's first: I liked the premise. A lot. Good sense of Kat's voice; nice, witty, a little snarky. You have teenager down to a T.

    The first half of sentence 1 (in the second paragraph) could be cut-we don't need to know that much so early in the game.

    I don't think your query is too long, and I don't think you're overwhelming us with information.

    I do think it gets a little gimmick-y near the end. The last sentence, "Man, and she thought" could be cut. Then we get the main threat (creepy doctor) a lot more.

    Also, the bio part, starting with "Don't be fooled," and ending with "Interested" should be cut. It's a bit too casual, and honestly, Zombies hadn't entered my mind at all until you mentioned them. I get that you're trying to be playful and putting in more voice, but it comes off as borderline disrespectful and overly casual.

    First 250:

    The thing that got me most was that even though the main character started out asking a question, almost 250 words later we haven't got an answer from whoever else is in her room.

    The rest of the narrative is confusing, and the playful teenage voice of the query has become a tad annoying. I think if you tone it down a little, you can make it work. Also, a lot of the narrative can be told through dialogue, or shown in a less obvious way. Mainly, I think that you could hike up the action with a continuation of dialogue instead of the exposition you have.

    Good luck!

  3. Dorothy Dreyer says:

    >Cut the "don't be fooled" and "Interested?" out. Other than that, it sounds great, I love the concept, and I would definitely read on. I feel like it's Beetlejuice with teenagers, which sounds like a lot of fun. 🙂

  4. Kate Larkindale says:

    >I like the idea very much, but feel that your query could be tighter. There are a lot of superfluous words in there. Also, I'd lose the last couple of lines in the final paragraph; they're too flippant for this kind of letter and sound like they would be more at home on a movie poster.

    In your excerpt I like the voice, but found some of he lines to be a little clunky. Maybe try reading it aloud to get a feel for how the writing flows. That always works for me.

    But that said, I love the premise and would read on just to see what you do with it.

  5. Tuuli says:

    >Query: Sound good except cut everything in the last paragraph after 'my hometown.' The rest is unprofessional. It sounds gimicky.

    Love the voice. I didn't get the last line though, but I would definitely read more.

    Good luck!!!!!

  6. Ebyss says:

    >I really like the concept of a high-school for the dead. I also really love the name of your MC.

    The first sentence of your second paragraph is super long and it's a little confusing. I had to read it a few times before it sunk in. I think because of this part….she learns that for teenagers that (so forth). And although I'm not a comma expert, I'm pretty sure the comma between over and there is not needed. I'd shorten it up just a bit. Make it a little more simpler.

    I'm assuming the celebrity in the second paragraph and the third are the same, so I'd tie that fact together.

    Overall on the query…I like your voice.

    Overall I like the first 250. The only thing that I noticed is…if her head hurt, then she already had a headache. It's not soon to be coming. Maybe change it to migraine or something.

    Also, there are a few comma errors. ie: No comma between..And as I raised my hands to my temples to rub away (so forth)

    I don't get the last line either about The New Busy. Maybe rest of the paragraph would have explained the jump there.

  7. Hanna C. Howard says:

    >Query: Make sure you watch out for tense. Present tense is generally expected in queries, and you begin with past. Make sure it's uniform. Also, I felt like your description of the premise was a bit foggy. I had to re-read it to understand that she wasn't just dead; she was the paranormal type of undead. But if you tighten it a bit, I think it would be great.

    And definitely drop the last bit… way too wacky salesman.

    Sample: Your character definitely has voice. Again, just keep it tight. Best of luck!