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Agent query, Road to the Real World

Fiction Adventure Mystery

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#1 Billy robbins

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 08:47 AM

Revised at bottom; See comment # 17.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Jason McCracken is fifteen he’s ridiculed and called ‘string bean’ by bullies at school. He drinks, gets into fights, and then sobers up and tries out for the football team under Coach Brassball’s at Athens High. After he’s investigated on a charge of statutory rape Aunt Theresa lays down an ultimatum, “Buddy boy, I’ve had it with your problems. Get your butt in gear and show me you can make it in The Real World.”

An orphan who is raised by his aunt and uncle Jason becomes an accomplished musical prodigy whose summer adventure catapults him to the West Virginia mountains to play lead guitar in Magic Max’s Musical Tour with Greenie, a rising female star covered by Rolling Stones Magazine.  During Jason’s trip he evolves into a respected leader at Mother Earth, a mountain commune where he rescues an ill woman who’s attacked. His Tour’s triumphant completion is interrupted when Coach Brassballs becomes a person of interest by the FBI in a student abduction/murder case which propels his race to confront his nemesis, and save Rosie, his hometown girlfriend.

  This contemporary picaresque adventure- mystery takes Jason through several romantic peaks and valleys, and is 65,000 words.  Readers of the Wayfarer, and On the Road will enjoy this story. I practiced law for twenty five years, wrote songs for the Nashville Song Writers Association for ten years, and am a first time novelist.  My email is brobbins@robbinslaw.com, and cell phone, 404-357-0531. Thank you for your time and consideration. 



#2 Maggie

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 03:29 PM

I think we need a little more information here.   What makes him sober up?  Why did he decide to try out for the football team?  Why was he a suspect in the statutory rape?   I don't think his aunt's dialog belongs in the query. I would leave it out completely.  The rest of the letter reads the same way.  Just one fact after another with no detail, or reasons why things are happening.  What did he do to become a "respected leader"?   How does he rescue the sick woman?  Lots of good ideas here, but need more how and why.  Hope this helps!



#3 JD McP

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 03:59 PM

I think you have a lot going on here.  It reads more like a summary than a query, which are both valuable tools but serve different purposes.  In my view, the query's job is simply to make the agent take notice and want to ask for pages.  Since Jason has so much going on in this query,pick the one or two key ingredients and then develop them.  Tell what he wants more than anything, what is stopping him from getting it, and how he finally gets it (or not). Remember, you are selling your book to the agent.  When they get done reading your query, the only way you want them to respond is to ask for my pages of your book.

 

Good luck!  If you found my comments helpful please feel free to review my query here



#4 Billy robbins

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 01:41 PM

I think we need a little more information here.   What makes him sober up?  Why did he decide to try out for the football team?  Why was he a suspect in the statutory rape?   I don't think his aunt's dialog belongs in the query. I would leave it out completely.  The rest of the letter reads the same way.  Just one fact after another with no detail, or reasons why things are happening.  What did he do to become a "respected leader"?   How does he rescue the sick woman?  Lots of good ideas here, but need more how and why.  Hope this helps!

LAST VERSION at #17 below 

 ReWrite # 2; I hope the revision is better. Thanks for you comments; I will read your query. Billy

                                      The Road to the Real World, June 19, 2015

 

      When Jason McCracken is fifteen he’s ridiculed and called ‘string bean’ by bullies at school. Upset and angry after the death of his mother he

drinks, and gets into fights to show he’s tough. Then to prove to his parents that he’s not a trouble maker he tries out for the football team under psycho Coach Brassball’s at Athens High as the parents believe Coach can ‘turn boys into men.’  But after almost burning the house down with fireworks Aunt Theresa lays down an ultimatum for him to get a summer job. His job search propels him on an unforgettable musical tour, and life changing adventure in the ‘real’ adult world.

Growing up an orphan and musical prodigy raised by his aunt and uncle Jason take a trip that catapults him to the West Virginia mountains to play lead guitar in Magic Max’s Musical Tour with Greenie, a rising female star covered by Rolling Stones Magazine.  During Jason’s trip he evolves into a respected leader at Mother Earth, a mountain commune where his business and bartering skills are used to develop guest tours and a stream of revenue. He rescues an ill woman by grapping her attacker during a dangerous assault. His Tour’s triumphant completion is interrupted when Coach Brassballs becomes a person of interest by the FBI in a student abduction/murder case which propels his race home to confront his nemesis, and save Rosie, his hometown girlfriend.

  This contemporary picaresque adventure- mystery takes Jason through several romantic peaks and valleys, and is 65,000 words.  Readers of the Wayfarer, and On the Road will enjoy this story. I practiced law for twenty five years, wrote songs for the Nashville Song Writers Association for ten years, and am a first time novelist.  My email is brobbins@robbinslaw.com, and cell phone, 404-357-----. Thank you for your time. 



#5 berryface

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 10:30 PM

Interesting character and premise, but there's too much info in the letter.

 

I didn't think the character's backstory was necessary for the main plot, which was Jason trying to save his sweetheart.

 

Start off with his music career, then his critical decision to ditch his tour to save a girl.



#6 Billy robbins

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Posted 03 July 2015 - 06:56 AM

LAST VERSION at #17 below 

I hope the revision is better. Thanks for you comments; I will read your query. Billy

                                      The Road to the Real World, June 19, 2015

 

 

Rewrite 3; Query: Adventures in the Real World

 

     Aunt Theresa isn’t impressed when Jason plays football under Coach Brassballs, and she lays down an ultimatum; “Get your butt moving and get a summer job.” His job search rockets him on an unforgettable musical tour, and life changing adventure to save his friend.

 

Growing up an orphan and musical prodigy raised by his aunt and uncle Jason who is fifteen takes a trip to the West Virginia mountains to play lead guitar in Magic Max’s Musical Tour with Greenie, a rising female star covered by Rolling Stones Magazine.  He evolves into a respected leader at Mother Earth, a mountain commune where his business and bartering skills are used to develop guest tours and a stream of revenue. His best buddy at home, Dude, tries to join the tour, but is busy tracking Coach who was harassing students. The Tour’s triumphant completion is interrupted when Coach becomes a person of interest by the FBI in a student abduction/murder case which propels his race home to confront his nemesis, and save Rosie, his hometown girlfriend.

 

  This contemporary picaresque adventure- mystery takes Jason through several romantic peaks and valleys, and is 65,000 words.  Readers of the Wayfarer, and On the Road will enjoy this story. I practiced law for twenty five years, wrote songs for the Nashville Song Writers Association for ten years, and am a first time novelist.  My email is brobbins@robbinslaw.com, and cell phone, 404-357-----. Thank you for your time. 



#7 Billy robbins

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Posted 03 July 2015 - 06:59 AM

Interesting character and premise, but there's too much info in the letter.

 

I didn't think the character's backstory was necessary for the main plot, which was Jason trying to save his sweetheart.

 

Start off with his music career, then his critical decision to ditch his tour to save a girl.

Thanks for the comments and review which were helpful .



#8 Billy robbins

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 08:48 AM

LAST VERSION at #17 below 

Re:Rewrite 4, query letter for novel, The Road to the Real World, June 19, 2015

 

    When Jason tries to prove he wasn’t a trouble maker by going out for football under psycho Coach Baseballs Aunt Theresa wasn’t impressed. She throws out an

ultimatum, “Get your butt moving and get a summer job in the real world.”  Jason is fifteen when he begins his   job search that rockets him on an unforgettable musical tour, and life changing adventure.

 

 Jason is a musical prodigy who’s raised by his aunt and uncle. He travels to the West Virginia Mountains to play lead guitar in Magic Max’s Musical Tour with Greenie, a rising female star covered by Rolling Stones Magazine.  His best buddy Dude wants to join him on tour, but he’s busy tailing Coach who’s suspected of harassing students. The Tour’s triumphant completion is interrupted after Coach becomes a person of interest by the FBI in a student abduction/murder case. Jason’s race home is propelled to confront his nemesis, and save Rosie, his hometown girlfriend.

 

  This contemporary picaresque adventure- mystery takes Jason through several romantic peaks and valleys, and is compete at 67,000 words.  Readers of the Wayfarer, and On the Road will enjoy this story. I practiced law for twenty five years, wrote songs for the Nashville Song Writers Association for ten years, and am a first time novelist.  My email is brobbins@robbinslaw.com, and cell phone, 404-357-----. Thank you for your time. 



#9 Tanja

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 09:24 AM

I haven't read the previous version and seldom do.

I know writing a query letter is a lot harder than writing the book itself and I'd like to help you a little with the basics

First of all I think you need to know how a query letter is formatted. You don't put this in a query letter

Re: query letter for novel, The Road to the Real World, June 19, 2015

You put

Dear (name of agent):

Then you put your query.

 

This sentence doesn't make much sense to me

When Jason tries to prove he wasn’t a trouble maker by going out for football under psycho Coach Baseballs Aunt Theresa wasn’t impressed

It was better in the first version you had.

Try to avoid dialogue in a query “Get your butt moving and get a summer job in the real world.”

 

I would suggest to read the successful query part of this website and study, yes I mean study, queryshark as well. That's where you get a lot of very very helpful hints for a good query. And from both those sources, and with help from all of us, you'll grow and get a good query. Right now it's lacking detail and it's lacking why Jason is racing home to save Rosie. I'm missing the love he feels for her. I'm missing his connection he has for music. I'm missing the conflict and what's at stakes. Since you are a songwriter, I have the feeling it might even be your own story. Feel it and put it down the way you felt. Or put it down the way you felt when you wrote the song. You got me :-)

 

good luck


Query:  10 DAY BETRAYAL

             10 DAY CONSPIRACY

             RABBIT 76 (NEW PROJECT)

 

Twitter: @tccorrey


#10 moonim

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 09:35 AM

Be aware of proper query formatting. Check out the site http://queryshark.blogspot.com/  She is like a Query guru / agent who helps people fix up their queries. Usually before you write your first query you spend hours stalking that blog, reading her suggestions, and going through all the queries on her site. It will help you understand things like formatting, basic structure, etc.

 

When Jason tries to prove he wasn’t a trouble maker by going out for football under psycho Coach Baseballs Aunt Theresa wasn’t impressed. (This sentence doesn't make sense. What? Are you missing some comma,s and even then I don't know what you're trying to say -- which might be okay, I think the ultimatum might be where you should start Aunt Teresa throws Jason an ultimatum when he  (does this bad thing.) then a sentence with the ultimatum)) She throws out an ultimatum, “Get your butt moving and get a summer job in the real world.”  (Or what? ultimatums come with a OR something really awful) Jason is fifteen when he begins his   job search that rockets him on an unforgettable musical tour, and life changing adventure.  (This sentence needs to be more like,  Jason finds a job using his musical talents doing ____. )

 

Jason is a musical prodigy who’s raised by his aunt and uncle. He travels to the West Virginia Mountains to play lead guitar in Magic Max’s Musical Tour with Greenie, a rising female star covered by Rolling Stones Magazine.  His best buddy Dude wants to join him on tour, but he’s busy tailing Coach who’s suspected of harassing students. The Tour’s triumphant completion is interrupted after Coach becomes a person of interest by the FBI in a student abduction/murder case. Jason’s race home is propelled to confront his nemesis, and save Rosie, his hometown girlfriend.

 

and you kinda lost me. You need to clear up how the coach relates to his music tour, and why it is affecting jason. As is, I dont see how the coach abducting kids directly interrupts the music tour, unless one of the band members is abducted? You need to make the second paragraph about the coach and the conflict of the book, which is dealing with the coach and FBI -- and intermix how that is causing trouble in Jasons's goal to go on tour. Also, you don't mention rosie until that last sentence, and it feels thrown in. )



#11 Billy robbins

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 09:53 AM

I haven't read the previous version and seldom do.

I know writing a query letter is a lot harder than writing the book itself and I'd like to help you a little with the basics

First of all I think you need to know how a query letter is formatted. You don't put this in a query letter

Re: query letter for novel, The Road to the Real World, June 19, 2015

You put

Dear (name of agent):

Then you put your query.

 

This sentence doesn't make much sense to me

When Jason tries to prove he wasn’t a trouble maker by going out for football under psycho Coach Baseballs Aunt Theresa wasn’t impressed

It was better in the first version you had.

Try to avoid dialogue in a query “Get your butt moving and get a summer job in the real world.”

 

I would suggest to read the successful query part of this website and study, yes I mean study, queryshark as well. That's where you get a lot of very very helpful hints for a good query. And from both those sources, and with help from all of us, you'll grow and get a good query. Right now it's lacking detail and it's lacking why Jason is racing home to save Rosie. I'm missing the love he feels for her. I'm missing his connection he has for music. I'm missing the conflict and what's at stakes. Since you are a songwriter, I have the feeling it might even be your own story. Feel it and put it down the way you felt. Or put it down the way you felt when you wrote the song. You got me :-)

 

good luck

Thanks for the good comments. I will keep working at it.



#12 Billy robbins

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Posted 14 July 2015 - 09:07 AM

LAST VERSION at #17 below 

Re Write 5;;

Thanks for the suggestions:

Re: query letter for novel, The Road to the Real World, June 19, 2015

      Dear Agent,

 

Jason is bullied in eight grade and called string bean because he tall and thin. He’s got a plan: Start working out, get pumped up, and go out for football under psycho Coach Brassballs. Cool. But after too much partying, beer and fireworks he almost burned the house down. Oh shit.  Auntie wasn’t impressed. She tells Jason to get his butt in gear- get a summer job in the real world. Jason is reluctant to leave home, and Rosie, his first love, and Dude, his best bosom buddy.  But, his summer quest rockets him on an unforgettable life changing adventure.

 

 Jason is a fifteen year old musical prodigy and orphan raised by his aunt and uncle. He throws his jeans in his backpack, caution to the wind, and hitches from his home in Athens, Georgia to the West Virginia Mountains to play lead guitar in Magic Max’s Musical Tour with Greenie, a rising female star. Bad. They're covered by Rolling Stones Magazine. Holy cow.  Dude promises to join Jason’s tour, but he’s busy tailing the Coach who’s harassing Rosie.  Psycho’s suck. After Coach becomes a person of interest by the FBI in an old abduction/murder case, and Rosie is missing  Jason quits the Tour to confront his nemesis,  save his girlfriend, and earn a new name, Big.

 

  This contemporary picaresque adventure- mystery takes Jason through several romantic peaks and valleys, and is compete at 67,000 words.  Readers of the Wayfarer, and On the Road will enjoy this story. I practiced law for twenty five years, wrote songs for the Nashville Song Writers Association for ten years, and am a first time novelist.  My email is brobbins@robbinslaw.com, and cell phone, 404-357-----. Thank you for your time. 



#13 Tanja

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 07:36 AM

I am really suggesting to spend a few nights reading through query shark http://queryshark.blogspot.com.au/ Best place to learn about queries. It is worth it.

Formatting is still an issue with your query. Commas. And in general, too much stuff that's not needed. A query is about facts, not much room for 'color' like you're trying with your query.

 

Re: query letter for novel, The Road to the Real World, June 19, 2015 You're writing an email. So you don't write this.

      Dear Agent,

 

Jason is bullied in eighth grade and called string bean because he (is? was? some word is missing here) tall and thin. He’s got a plan: Start working out, get pumped up, and go out for football under psycho Coach Brassballs. Cool. But after too much partying, beer and fireworks comma he almost burned the house down. Oh shit.  Auntie wasn’t impressed. She tells Jason to get his butt in gear- get a summer job in the real world. Jason is reluctant to leave home, and Rosie, his first love, and Dude, his best bosom buddy.  But,no comma his summer quest rockets him on an unforgettable life changing adventure. Generally, not bad. But get rid of all the extra bits and try to get it more fluent and less comical. You throw in Rosie, and Dude.

 

 Jason is a fifteen year old musical prodigy and orphan raised by his aunt and uncle. He throws his jeans in his backpack, caution to the wind, and hitches from his home in Athens, Georgia to the West Virginia Mountains to play lead guitar in Magic Max’s Musical Tour with Greenie, a rising female star. Bad. They're covered by Rolling Stones Magazine. Holy cow.  Dude promises to join Jason’s tour, but he’s busy tailing the Coach who’s harassing Rosie.  Psycho’s suck. After Coach becomes a person of interest by the FBI in an old abduction/murder case, and Rosie is missing  Jason quits the Tour to confront his nemesis,  save his girlfriend, and earn a new name, Big. Problem here. You're trying to do a quick rundown of the entire book. Stick to the facts. Stick to the plot. Best advice I was ever given. What's happening in the first fifty pages in your book, that's what you want in your first two paragraphs of your query. The last you use to hook the agent in case he/she has doubts.

 

  This contemporary picaresque adventure- mystery takes Jason through several romantic peaks and valleys, and is compete at 67,000 words. Debatable. I have seen successful queries doing it this way. Generally, you would put down the word count and genre Readers of the Wayfarer, and On the Road will enjoy this story. I practiced law for twenty five years, wrote songs for the Nashville Song Writers Association for ten years, and am a first time novelist. Big no  My email is brobbins@robbinslaw.com, and cell phone, 404-357-----. Put your email and phone after your name

 

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

Like I said earlier, read query shark to get a better idea and go to the successful query part on this website as well. That way you get a better idea. Queries are hard and it's frustrating. But you'll get there


Query:  10 DAY BETRAYAL

             10 DAY CONSPIRACY

             RABBIT 76 (NEW PROJECT)

 

Twitter: @tccorrey


#14 Chloe Kleine

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    Do please take a look at my new query : RED MOON

Posted 15 July 2015 - 07:21 PM

Hi Billy,

 

Wow - there seem to be a LOT of adventures going on with this guy.  My question is WHAT is the real story?

 

- is this a story about an orphan who is bullied, screwed up, but thanks to his aunt pulls himself together and, discovering he's a music prodigy, shoots for the stars.

Or,

- a guy who started small, made it big, but whose life got turned upside-down when his school days' sweetheart gets abducted?

 

Honestly, if i read your query and saw 67,000 words, as an agent i would think 'phew - that story is gonna be crammed full of stuff..' and would probably pass on it. It also makes me wonder, how far into the book do we have to read to get to the main plot...

 

Work out your main plot, what is Jason's main conflict and how does it affect him. Your query should focus on that.

 

I'm being a bit harsh and direct, so forgive me..

 

Please do be equally brutal with me if you have time to critique my query too :-) in the link below.

 

regards

Phoebe  :-)


Please critique my query, and I will return the favour!

http://agentquerycon...n-bdsm-romance/

 


#15 dizzywriter

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 05:21 PM

Redo;

Thanks for the suggestions:

The Road to the ReRe: query letter for novel, al World, June 19, 2015 If this is an email query, the subject line should read Query: Name of Your Book

      Dear Agent,

 

Is Jason in 8th grade or 15? There are too many names in this. You need to distill the whole book into the first line/graph then summarize the first fifty pages in the second one. Focus on one conflict, if you can.

 

Jason is bullied in eight grade and called string bean because he tall and thin. He’s got a plan: Start working out, get pumped up, and go out for football under psycho Coach Brassballs. Cool. But after too much partying, beer and fireworks he almost burned the house down. Oh shit.  (I wouldn't use profanity in the query, but that's me) Auntie wasn’t impressed. She tells Jason to get his butt in gear- get a summer job in the real world. Jason is reluctant to leave home, and Rosie, his first love, and Dude, his best bosom buddy.  But, his summer quest rockets him on an unforgettable life changing adventure.

 

 Jason is a fifteen year old musical prodigy and orphan raised by his aunt and uncle. He throws his jeans in his backpack, caution to the wind, and hitches from his home in Athens, Georgia to the West Virginia Mountains to play lead guitar in Magic Max’s Musical Tour with Greenie, a rising female star. Bad. They're covered by Rolling Stones Magazine. Holy cow.  Dude promises to join Jason’s tour, but he’s busy tailing the Coach who’s harassing Rosie.  Psycho’s suck. After Coach becomes a person of interest by the FBI in an old abduction/murder case, and Rosie is missing  Jason quits the Tour to confront his nemesis,  save his girlfriend, and earn a new name, Big.

 

  [insert the title of the book in all caps] This contemporary picaresque adventure- mystery (what's the mystery?) takes Jason through several romantic peaks and valleys, and is compete at 67,000 words. (this is probably too short for adult fiction but given Jason's age, it could work as YA depending on the theme)) Readers of the Wayfarer, and On the Road will enjoy this story. I practiced law for twenty five years, wrote songs for the Nashville Song Writers Association for ten years, and am a first time novelist.  My email is brobbins@robbinslaw.com, and cell phone, 404-357-----. Thank you for your time. As a former lawyer, I can relate but your legal careers does't seem relevant to this particular story. In an email query, put your contact information after your signature.

Queries are hard but you'll get there. Good luck!



#16 Billy robbins

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 10:51 AM

Queries are hard but you'll get there. Good luck!

Dizzy: I appreciate the good advice, and comments. If I can put the same time into reviewing the MS it would be much better. I think I will hold my next revision for a few days before posting it. If I don't revise it two days in a row it may be ready. Billy 



#17 Billy robbins

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 11:31 AM

Revision, July 27, 2010:

Re: query, THE ROAD TO THE REAL WORLD

      Dear Agent,

 

  • I wrote you because of your (specify reasons)

               Fifteen year old Jason is busted after a major blow up with auntie and given an ultimatum: get a summer job or get the H _ _ _ out of the house. Crap. To redeem himself this musical prodigy seeks a paying gig on the road. He picks up his guitar, and hitches out of Athens, Georgia. He leaves behind his buddy, a girlfriend, and an asshole coach who’s been harassing him and his friends.

              His contacts with The Magic Max Musical Tour transport him to West Virginia to play lead guitar with a frisky female costar. After The Rolling Stone covers the Tour he gains respect as a talented musician. Cool. He rescues a pregnant woman who’s assaulted, and receives media praise and attention for his courage. At home Jason’s good buddy wants to join the Tour, but he’s tailing coach Rotworst who’s despised, and searching for clues in a student murder case. When coach becomes a suspect by the FBI in an abduction- murder case, and Jason’s girlfriend mysteriously vanishes he must decide whether to finish the Tour or confront his nemesis, coach. Jason’s quest is a life changing quest which he won’t forget.

     THE ROAD TO THE REAL WORLD is contemporary adventure- mystery and is complete at 67,000 words. Readers of On the Road, and Forrest Gump will enjoy this picqueresque story. I wrote songs for the Nashville Song Writers and won the Pitch to Publisher and am a first time novelist. Thank you for your time.       Sincerely,                                                                                                                                                             Name, phone,email  







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