Query Entry #12

Dear Ms Resciniti,
 
When God goes AWOL, the race to take over the throne causes the righteous demon Liam to become more than just an amused bystander. The lead contender is Liam’s sworn enemy, the archangel Gabriel, and his tactics are far from angelic. After Liam scarred him in their last battle, Gabriel’s brothers deemed the angel worthless. He’s been trying to make Liam pay ever since. If Gabriel succeeds in taking control of Heaven, everything Liam has is at risk: his position, his life, and most importantly the one being he’s come to love despite their differences. Hiding his centuries-old relationship with the angel Mikael just got a whole lot harder.
 
Thus far, Gabriel’s attacks against Liam have been more a source of mocking by the demon towards Heaven’s less-than-competent solider. Liam was satisfied to just travel the Midwest on his motorcycle, secretly saving more souls than he condemned, while the archangel had his tantrum. But now, with Heaven in disarray, Gabriel must prove himself worthy as a leader . Finally figuring out how to kill Liam will do just that. So he takes a new approach to an old problem. The next soldier to go up against Liam will be trained by the best teacher in heaven—Mikael. As Liam watches Mikael struggle to decide how far he can go to protect his lover while also serving Heaven, Liam must save him from having to make the choice.
 
THE FORCES OF HEAVEN AND HELL ALIKE is an 82,000 word completed urban fantasy which stands alone, but has series potential. I appreciate the fact that you have embraced social media as an agent and, after reading multiple interviews that you have done since becoming an agent, I think that my manuscript would hold particular appeal for you as it includes elements of fantasy, action, and romance.
 
I am a member of the Works in Progress critique group, as well as a beta for the Book Country site. I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2001 with a double minor in Religion and Creative Writing and have always been drawn to the interrelationship of the two.
 
My complete manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.
 
Sincerely,
 
Kimberly Lynn Workman
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14 comments on “Query Entry #12

  1. First of all, who wouldn’t be drawn in immediately with “When God goes AWOL” ? And then to follow it up with knowing that it isn’t a just a phrase, but something that actually happens? Love it. Of course, there is the risk right now that I am more interested in what God is doing than the rest of your actual story… but that is only after contemplating it right now. Haha!

    Moving onward… I am liking this concept. I will admit to getting a little lost within the query, though. Here are a couple of places that threw me:

    “If Gabriel succeeds in taking control of Heaven, everything Liam has is at risk: his position, his life, and most importantly the one being he’s come to love despite their differences. Hiding his centuries-old relationship with the angel Mikael just got a whole lot harder.” — 2 things in this… 1) I don’t feel entirely clear about how everything for Liam is at risk under Gabriel… or rather, how a demon who is likely already at risk under God’s rule, would be more so under Gabriel. I get that they have bad blood between them… but what will Gabriel do? 2)The last 2 sentences might work better – be tighter – if you combine them somehow. When I first read it, I saw “the one being” and interpreted it to mean he had more allegiance to God instead of Lucifer, or whomever is ruler in the underworld. But then I saw you meant his relationship with angel Mikael – and that is equally interesting.

    And given this, wouldn’t Liam actually face a lot of trouble with Lucifer (or whoever), too? Maybe you have this element in your story, too, I don’t know… but the Romeo and Juliet-esque relationship is a good one regardless.

    “Thus far, Gabriel’s attacks against Liam have been more a source of mocking by the demon towards Heaven’s less-than-competent solider.” — Idea you are trying to convey is fine, but wording feels awkward to me. I had to re-read.

    Love the conflict that you portray next. As I read this, I see a well seasoned plotline, but you give it a great twist and I’m pretty sure I want some of your pages now myself. I will confess that I feel a bigger pull to the whole idea that there is this secret relationship going on between demon and angel in the first place and that Liam is basically defying his demon position… and that might not be your story.

    My own distractions notwithstanding… I think the primary work on this query would be simplification of ideas in tighter sentences. And believe me, I totally get how hard this is to do!

    Cheers and good luck to you!

    • Thanks for your critique! I will look into simplifying and making it clearer how the threat to Liam is amped up as a result of Gabriel’s push for power. You’re getting the meat of the query in your comments. The story has the over-arching themes of political power struggles between Heaven and Hell, threats from all sides, but at the heart it is indeed the story of Liam and Mikael and how they navigate their relationship against these changing issues, as well as how they’ve changed through each others’ influence 🙂

  2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your first line!!! Agree with Janet’s comments totally. I’d be even more intrigued if it was a love triangle between the 3 characters . . . but I’m a sucker for romance:) GOod luCK!

  3. Awesome first line…then I got a little muddled by who was doing what to whom. Liam is the main character, yes? A little tightening would really help clarify, I think, as well as a little less backstory. But ‘When God goes AWOL’….freaking priceless. 🙂

    “If Gabriel succeeds in taking control of Heaven, everything Liam has is at risk: his position, his life, and most importantly the one being he’s come to love despite their differences – his centuries-old relationship with the angel Mikael.” To me, this seems to be the crux of why Liam can’t let Gabriel win, and is a key sentence to the query. Am I on the right track?

    I think this sounds like a fabulous premise, and I would be very interested to read more!

    • Yes, Liam is the main character and losing Mikael is the main reason why he can’t let Gabriel win this fight. I’ll work on trying to tighten it up and put in a bit less backstory. Thanks!

  4. This title didn’t really grab me. Query-wise, I found this to be more of a plot summary than a blurb. I think there is promise here as I detected a lot of conflict between the characters. Conflict is good.

    • Thank you for your comments. I am taking all the comments under consideration in order to trim down the query to more of a blurb rather than a plot summary.

      I look forward to sending you my first three chapters and synopsis. Thank you for taking part in this contest.

  5. Yes, that first line knocked my socks off! Well done. Then I got a little lost. There’s a bit too much going on in here, I think. And I was kind of confused when the perspective switched from the first para to the second, from Liam to Gabriel. It just needs some smoothing out and a bit of tightening. But man, the story sounds magnificent. I’m a little unsure about the vague scope of the relationship between Gabriel and Mikael though, considering the religious tone of the novel.

    • I’ve been tightening it up today, taking out extra information on Gabriel’s backstory in order to just get to the meat of the query.

      “I’m a little unsure about the vague scope of the relationship between Gabriel and Mikael though, considering the religious tone of the novel.”

      Can you clarify this? I’d like to get it clear in the query if there’s some vagueness or confusion. Thanks!

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