#37 Dying to Find You (Revised)

>Dear Secret Agent,

After a witch’s spell leaves Karie in someone else’s dying body, she manages to yank her spirit out in time to avoid the afterlife. Since, technically, her body hasn’t died, she’s not a ghost. Of course, that distinction won’t matter if she can’t track down the witch and regain her body before her spirit dies in one week. What she doesn’t know is that the witch is in league with an immortal diabolist who is determined to sacrifice Karie in order to save himself from eternal damnation.

She enlists the aid of some new friends—including sexy college classmate and demon-hunter Rafael—to track down the witch and stop the diabolist from releasing the demons of Hell on an unsuspecting world.

DYING TO FIND YOU is a 90,000 word urban fantasy novel inspired by a parable from the Bible, “The Rich Man and Lazarus”. My story infers what happens after the rich man, who is damned for eternity, strikes a deal with a devil to gain his freedom at the expense of his brothers’ souls.

I am a reformed accountant who made the leap into freelance writing full time last year. I have two short stories published in anthologies by Indie publisher Twin Trinity Media. “Fly” was published in Elements of the Soul in 2009. “The Ring” was published in Elements of Time in March of 2010.

Thank you for your time.


Dying to Find You

Karie had faced down death twice in her life already, so dealing with a frat house full of drunken college students should have been no sweat for her. She wiped her damp hands on her ultra-skinny denim leggings for the third time and searched the smoky room for her BFF, Lily.

“Karie, you finally made it. I was about to send out a search party,” Lily yelled as she stumbled around other equally drunk partiers to cross the living room. The house probably started out with tasteful furniture before years of keggers and spoiled rich guys trashed it.

Lily’s attire was classic urban skank. The micro-mini she wore barely covered her thong, and her low cut shirt revealed a black, lace push-up bra. The mighty powers of the bra pushed “The Girls” together so tightly her cleavage could hold a single piece of thread upright. An unfortunate fact Karie learned when Lily forced her try it.

“Oh, look Jell-O shots. Let’s grab some. The alcohol burns away all the calories.” Lily snatched several of the colorful offerings from a tray circulating nearby.

Karie waved away the Jell-O shot and sipped at her bottle of Diet Coke. She shuddered at the thought of it. Jell-O tasted too much like Kool-Aid. Besides, there was no way she would blindly drink anything anyone handed her ever again. Drinking one glass of poisoned Kool-Aid in her lifetime was enough to make her suspicious of everyone. Sure, she had trust issues, but if you couldn’t trust your own mother not to poison your drink, who could you trust?

14 Responses to “#37 Dying to Find You (Revised)”

  1. Dorothy Dreyer says:

    >I like the premise, and I think the query starts out strong. The only thing I might do is change the third paragraph from a question to a statement. "Now Karie must find the strength to get her body back …"

    Otherwise, good job.

  2. Rachel Lee says:

    >I like the title, and the premise sounds interesting…I would read this book with interest.

  3. Anonymous says:

    >Love the start to your query. Grabs your attention right away.

    The bit about the slice of bread between 'the girls' was great.

    Great job.

    Melissa Murphy

  4. Amalia T. says:

    >I think your query is great– it captures your character's voice really well and it gives us all the information we need to hook us into reading more.

    Your first 250 keep the voice going! I think you've got a great sprinkling of humor in this, too, that really works with your MC. I'd keep reading!

  5. Annarkie says:

    >Excellent voice in this. The only recommendation I have is to change the question in the query to a statement.

  6. Libbie H. says:

    >If I were an agent…

    The query:

    It sounds like a pretty cute story, and while the query isn’t compelling me dramatically to read on, it sounds like it could be kind of fun. Round your word count to the nearest thousand – that’s industry standard.
    The sample:

    Not really my style – too “chick-lit,” and I tend not to like stuff that dates itself by describing fashion in too much detail. But another “agent” might feel differently. I’d say this one probably deserves to go onto the second round, even though it’s not one I’d request.

  7. catehart says:

    >The query did piqué my interest. Like the others have said I would change the question to a statement. Also you might leave off the reformed accountant bit. It doesn't seem relevant. You pub credentials is important.
    The first 250 felt more like info dump. And the dialogue got lost in the first paragraph. I think that needs to separated. her movement through the frat house and that description was good. I just suggest trimming a bit.

  8. Liz Czukas says:

    >The query starts out strong. Great hook in the first sentence. I don't care for the wording of the second paragraph's first sentence. It's got good voice, but it weighs down the story. I would say:

    Now, the immortal diabolist, Yasir, is stalking Karie to save himself from eternal damnation.

    And I agree that the third paragraph shouldn't be a question if you can find another way to phrase it.

    The title should be in ALL CAPS, and the word count rounded to 89,000.

    Personally, I loved the bio paragraph, and I think you should leave it as is. Not every agent will care you were an accountant, but the ones with a sense of humor will enjoy your description of yourself.

    First 250:
    I'm with one of your previous commentors about not liking a thorough fashion description, but that's a personal taste issue. I would separate the dialogue and associated beats from the rest of that paragraph. And, I don't know if you've been in a lot of frat houses, but the furniture might have been tasteful a decade ago. They don't upgrade every year.

    There's a lot of great voice here, but I'm just the tiniest bit confused on the POV. It's obviously third person, but the commentary is so voice-y and personalized that I feel like Karie should be the narrator. I'm not at all talented with close 3rd person POV, so it might be fine, but IMHO it feels like it's telescoping in and out of her head. I'm not sure that's clear, sorry.

    Anyway, excellent start on the query, original concept and great voice. Good luck with this query!

    – Liz

  9. Jamie D. says:

    >This query hooked me from the start – love it. The premise is great, and without having read a word of the actual story I want Karie to succeed.

    The sample left me wanting though. After reading in the query that she yanked herself out of a dying body, I'm confused that she's in a body. Who's? Where did she get it? I thought maybe she hadn't lost it yet, but it says she faced death down twice already…

    I'd still be interested in reading more though – your query makes me want to dig into the ms and see if there's something there.

  10. Lucinda Gunnin says:

    >This query really makes me want to grab the book. I liked the voice and think it would be a great night of light reading.

  11. Angel says:

    >I love the synopsis and think this would be a book young readers would enjoy.

  12. Denise says:

    >I found the query interesting and would read the first few pages based on that. I might leave out the bit about your former profession because it has nothing to do with this story or your writing, but I do think it is funny. Also, I think we are supposed to round up to the nearest 500 words on word count, though some of the others suggest 1000. Not sure now.

    The writing sample itself: I like this story so far. I'd like to read more. I don't mind the fashion bits and think they work fine. The thing I am wondering is why is she there if she doesn't want to be. Maybe we should know sooner? Anyway, I'd like to see this one in the next round.

  13. Anonymous says:

    >I am curious to see how the story plays out. I too would change the question to a sentence.

    I like the humour in the small part we are being shown and hope there is more of it throughout the story. It sets a fun tone.

    I have a feeling there would be more than one person in this household wanting to read this book, one adult and one teen. It sounds like a fun, easy read, young book.

    I think the fashion parts fit with the feel of the characters.

  14. Deborah says:

    >The query starts off with a bang. However, I believe you can safely leave out the second paragraph:

    "She enlists the aid of some new friends—including sexy college classmate and demon-hunter Rafael…"

    To me, it's redundant; the first paragraph says it all. I would also cut the next two paragraphs down, so they contain only the essential information of interest to an agent:

    DYING TO FIND YOU is an urban fantasy novel complete at 90,000 words. I am a freelance writer published in [local/regional/national]anthologies.

    Thank you for your time.

    As for the sample: I like it. Especially the last line about being poisoned by her mother. Great attention grabber. I would definitely like to see more were I an agent. 🙂

    Good luck!