Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Agent's Inbox #10

Dear Ms. Amazing Agent,

When Juhan and his twin sister Chosi are stolen from their planet of psychics by slavers, their only comfort is the fact that they’re together. But even that small bit of sanity is taken when they are separated at auction.

Juhan is bought by political scion Sadi Renult, a girl willing to lie to the entire galaxy in a desperate bid to win Juhan’s people’s freedom. Caught in her glittering world of intrigue and politics, Juhan swears to find his sister. But as that vow and Sadi's scheme takes them across galaxies, he begins to realize that his young owner is more than an arrogant rich girl. And he has to consider the cost of his promise--especially when people they both care for begin to die.

Meanwhile, Chosi is sold into blood sport. With her psychic ability, she earns a precarious position of value within the gladiator school, training the draken--wild creatures of smoke and fire--for the arena. In the midst of that hell, she forges a friendship with the slave Jemes and the draken she cares for. But when her defiance results in Jemes’ brutal killing in the arena, Chosi contemplates suicide as an escape from her chains. Yet, she can't forget the brother who promised to find her and even as she welcomes death and risk, she clings to that promise.

When Juhan demonstrates just how far he’ll go to rescue his sister, Chosi begins to reconsider what she is willing to do to help herself.

BEYOND CHAINS AND STARS is a young adult sci-fi complete at 90,000 words that should appeal to fans of Glow and Sisters Red. I am an active member of YaLitchat and a founder of the blog Writerly Rejects. Thank you for your consideration.



Creatures of the sky are not meant to be submerged, and yet--here I am.

I fight the urge to gulp for breath, forcing myself to relax and let the amphibious gel filter oxygen from the water. An eel darts past, and I shy away. As it vanishes into the water, I look around--I’m alone. Which means Juhan’tr is about to go back on my dare that brought us here.

Get your skinny a** in here,- I demand on a psychic thread, my mind to his, twisting to look through the water to the surface.

I feel the wicked edge of intent before he dives and I jerk backwards, almost out of his grasp. His long hands close around my ankle and I thrash, irritation swamping me. I open my mouth to inhale and shout at him.

It breaks the amphibious gel seal that lets me breathe, and water floods into my mouth and I choke.

Close your mouth, you idiot,- my brother orders, you’re not a fish.- I glare at him and he smirks, This was your idea.-

He mellows the harsh words by twisting to grasp my hand. It is familiar enough to settle me and I glance around again. The water, tinted a soft orange by the Eltei roots, tickles as it disturbs my fur.

I glance at my brother and see the look of awe in his eyes. All around us, swarms of kenkark swim by, silently sucking at the water. Deeper?- Juhan nudges and I smile, nodding.


G.B. Skye said...

This seems like a great example of a dual POV book reflected excellently in the query! My only nitpicky comment is that I wanted to know what they looked like, since it sounds like they aren't human. But I would read more and wait to find out.

I haven't read a lot of query letters showing that dual POV, but I think yours balances it really nicely! It was perfectly clear and set the stakes well. I'm intrigued! Good job!

Ashley Turcotte said...

Your query really drew me in! I'm not usually a huge one for sci-fi, but this sounds like a fascinating premise. Also, you managed to charge your query with quite a lot of emotion, which made me even more interested. Awesome job!

I enjoyed the voice of the 250 and would definitely keep reading. You have enough early world building to keep me intrigued, but not enough that it's moving toward info dump. I'm interested to see how you handle the dual POV, since this is in first person. Usually dual POV books are in third.

Kristy Shen said...

Interesting premise! I'm intrigued by the world building so I would definitely read on :)

Deserae McGlothen said...

The query reads well but I wasn't compelled to read on. I personally am a fan of SISTER'S RED but apart from the sibling bond, I can't think of anything about that story that would attract me to this. It even FEELS completely different (whatever that means, right?). I would just be careful with comparisons--- sometimes they work to one's advantage but often they're unnecessary. I just want to be drawn to your book and as is, I'm interested. You do a really great job of painting what's going on without bogging us down with unnecessary detail. This kind of story may not be for everyone, but I can see the appeal for a specific audience. Aliens and space... it's all very fascinating. I was surprised though that the first 250 reflected an alien race that spoke, acted, behaved just like our teenagers do.

Not that that's a bad thing. Of course, I love being able to connect with the characters I'm reading about foreign or not. But I wouldn't suspect they weren't human unless I was told by the way this starts out. She may have fur, but in this day of all things paranormal, that's an easy detail to glance right over.

Best wishes, Author,

Robin said...

I didn't realize they weren't human until that last little bit about the fur.

I think the query is pretty solid although the line "he begins to realize that his young owner is more than an arrogant rich girl" seemed out of place-we already know she's trying to save his people in the 1st line of that paragraph.

Love the sibling connect and working to find each other.

Good luck!

The Agent said...

I think this query is quite strong. I really love YA sci-fi, and I enjoyed the balance of Juhan's political machinations and Chosi's gladiatorial combat. It's not clear to me, however, when Juhan and Chosi are reunited, or what the stakes are--my sense is it's more than just freeing the two of them from slavery, but that could be clearer. I'd like them to be fighting for more than each other. But the concepts here are strong enough I'd keep reading.

I also enjoyed the first page, and thought it showcased both the world and the character personalities well. That said, I didn't realize from the query that the main characters are aliens, and I think it's very difficult to sell a book with an alien protagonist. In general, I think the worldbuilding might be stronger if this were only a human galactic empire, rather than one with aliens in it.