Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Things sure are dull around here

My fault, I know. Mea culpa and all that. I've been busy (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it). I'm going through the edit phase on a new book. Part of the process is writing a spiffy query letter. For the uninitiated in the arcane rites of trying to get an agent, a query letter has to be short and attention grabbing. The first paragraph is supposed to contain a reason why the particular agent is the best choice for your book. That part is personalized, obviously, every time you send a query. The almost last paragraph contains relevant publishing credits. So, if I had a tome published on using database software (which I have), there's no reason to include it in a query for a middle-grade fantasy.

This particular query has not gone out to any agents (I'm still editing the book, right?), so I'm completely open to anybody's thoughts on changes to it.

Dear Ms. Agent:

(things personalized about agent) I believe you might be interested in BAD SPELLING, a completed 40,000 word MG/YA fantasy novel about a girl witch who can’t spell right.

Katya lives on the polar island of Galdurheim, a haven settled by European witches in the bad old days of the medievel witch hunts. Every spell Katya tries backfires on her. While she would like nothing better than to be a good witch and a credit to her race, her half-human parentage has put a kink in her abilities. Her brother, Rune is only half Warlock, with a vampire father, but he’s a super speller and everybody, especially picky Aunt Thordis, thinks he’s wonderful.

Another village witch discovers that a shaman from Katya’s Siberian family had cast a protective spell around her dead father’s body, unreachable since it is suspended inside a glacier. The protective spell not only puts a damper on Katya’s magic, but is spreading to the village. Katya knows she must do something fast, before the spell dooms the village’s existence. She decides she must find her father’s family and stop the witch-hating, spell-casting Shaman.

She and Rune race across the polar ice seas, fighting off polar bears, giants, trolls, and werewolves, not to mention that nasty shaman. In the end, Katya finds her Siberian family, defeats the shaman with help from an unusual source, gets her first kiss, and finally realizes she just might be a good speller after all.

I have published over thirty-five stories in a variety of print and on-line publications. My short stories have appeared in Weirdly (Wild Child Publishing), Wondrous Web Worlds 7 (Sam’s Dot Publishing Best of anthology), and A Time To... (Eppie finalist Best of anthology from Lorelei Signal). Sam’s Dot Publishing has scheduled two of my novellas for publication this summer: The Seven Adventures of Cadida (middle-grade fantasy) and First Duty (YA science fiction).

Thank you for your consideration and I hope you’ll want to see more.

(mailing address)


  1. Your letter looks excellent, Marva. I've been back three times since my last comment. :-)

  2. Seems fine to me, Marva, although I'm not too sure about the cordial at the end.