After her mom’s death, Jen McKenna developed an obsessive fear of losing the people she loves. Forced to make a decision that could put her grandmother’s life in jeopardy, her fear becomes justified.
The last thing she needs is another complication, but
Unfortunately, twenty-two years ago her mother made the ill-fated decision to tell a college classmate about the Bullaun Stone. Now he is blackmailing Jen. Either she uses the stone for his benefit, or Jen will lose the only family she has left.
That's not blackmail, it's extortion.
THE BULLAUN STONE is a mystery with magical elements, complete at 90,000 words.
This isn't a mystery. You're not trying to figure out whodunit. It's more of a suspense novel: how will it end.
And what's Mike's part in the plot. If he holds the key, he's got to be an integral part of the plot but we don't see that.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
There's nothing enticing here. The stakes are too low and grandma (beloved only to Jen, not me) should have kept her trap shut all those years ago. She caused all this ruckus and now we have to care if she lives or dies? Not bloody likely. Defenestrations all around.
Jocularity aside, if the stakes are that Gran dies, we better care about her.
And I've cut and chopped and sliced and diced enough on this query to have a suspicion that the writing isn't yet ready for publication level consideration. You absolutely must develop an ear for what makes good sentences and paragraphs.
Your query is about the book but it shows your writing. It needs to be precise, elegant and full of voice.
This isn't and doesn't.
This isn't an improvement on the initial letter.
Take some time to really work on this.
An old diary, a stone bench, a poisonous flower, Irish folklore. Jen McKenna has to find the connection in order to save her grandmother’s life and possibly her own.
I'm voting for both of them to die in a wolverine attack.
The problem with starting out with stakes like "she'll die" is that I don't yet give a rat's patootie about the characters. Thus I can channel my inner Queen of Hearts and shout "off with their heads" with nary a second thought.
That response (and believe me it's not a response limited to sharks) is why you start with the main character and the problem s/he faces.
Further, the list itself is just plain boring. Now if you started with: a wolverine, a shark, an author and a jetpack, I'd be intrigued. You absolutely positively cannot be boring in the first line of your query.
Jen hasn't been back to her grandmother's house since the car accident that took her mom's life, an accident for which Jen blames herself. Now she returns to care for the homestead when her grandmother is hospitalized.
Ok, here's the sentence you should have started with. Jen is at Grandma's house and she's in distress about killing her mother. Ok. Now, what's the problem?
Her curiosity is aroused when she finds her grandmother's dairy (best typo of the week) and an old burlap bag containing a tin box and a worn stone. But right now Jen has a bigger question -- why are her cuts and bruises disappearing overnight?
huh? what? These two paragraphs don't flow at all. You've done more than take a right turn at
Jen becomes romantically involved with Mike, who offers to help piece together the clues that unlock the mystery of her grandmother's past and Jen's present. Irish folklore becomes reality when they discover the slab bench under the willow tree is a Bullaun stone. Gifted to her grandmother by her first love, it endows her descendants with special powers the year they turn twenty-one.
Gifted is not a word, and I don't care who says otherwise.
And this paragraph doesn't really explain anything about the cuts and bruises does it? And Mike is sort of thrown in there without having a real purpose.
Her grandmother's health is deteriorating so Jen devises a way to use ther new-found gift to keep her alive and young forever. And maybe assuage the guilt she feels over her mother’s death. But Jen and Mike aren’t the only ones who know about the Bullaun stone. Twenty-two years ago, Jen’s mom made the ill-fated decision to share her secret with a college classmate. Now he’s willing to kill for its power.
You might want to get to this a little sooner.
When Jen’s plan to save her grandmother begins to unravel, she must decide to what length she’ll go to preserve the life of those she loves.
Let me guess here--she'll go to GREAT lengths. She might even volunteer for dangerous duty. This is too obvious to be enticing. Only if she would NOT go to great lengths to save the ones she loves would I find this enticing. Me, I'd just throw them to the wolverines and swim off into the sunset.
THE BULLAUN STONE is a women’s light fantasy, complete at 83,000 words.
I don't know what light fantasy is but I'm sure the blog readers will. (Is it like light bondage?)
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
A word about your typos:
dairy for diary. This tells me you didn't read this aloud before you hit send. You're either writing too fast, or not letting your query sit long enough before sending. Fresh eyes would have caught it.
ther new-found gift. This tells me you didn't even run spell czech, and that's a problem.
I'm not rabid on the subject of typos unless they indicate you simply aren't paying attention. These two say exactly that. The reason this is a red flag for me is that I envision copy-editing your manuscript for these little errors, and honestly that's not the best use of my time.
Your query letter is NOT the time to be casual about spelling.
This needs to be tightened up to focus on the things that matter. You also need to avoid unenticing cliches and obvious stakes. Your job in a query letter is to entice me: obvious things and cliches do not do that.