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Machete - Return of the Celtic (crime/horror)

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#1 AntoineMDevine

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 05:40 PM

[PERSONALIZED PER AGENT PROFILE] I am writing to you because I read on [SOURCES] that you are passionate about horror. I am hoping that mine is one you could also feel passionate about. MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC is a crime/horror novel steeped in Gaelic history (113,000 words).

 

Central Park is the safest precinct in New York. No murders in over a decade. When Mike Saunders and his partner Nick Papadakis respond to a call at Umpire Rock, they are shocked at the sight of a killing so vile and disgusting it defies description. The body was ripped to shreds, blood splatters in every direction. The patrolmen who discovered the scene found two clues – a small purse that held an IDNYC card, and tiny footprints that led from the rock to Columbus Circle, where a witness reported a little girl covered in blood was taken to a nearby hospital.

 

The next morning, they visited 10-year old Beth Shure at Mount Sinai West. Zelda Taafe, her grandmother, was sitting by her side. When Mike asked Beth what had happened, she could only repeat what she told the nurses. “He tried to touch me where Oma said men shouldn’t, then he was gone.”

 

A week later, another killing occurred at Cleopatra’s Needle, followed by several more spread across the city, each one more brutal than the last. The executions followed a similar pattern – a child molester moments away from raping and killing their victim was sliced to pieces with surgical precision, the child left unharmed. The detectives struggle to develop a profile, as the only common threads are a pectoral cross nearly all of the surviving children possessed, and a shared description of a nightmarish creature the newspapers call ‘Machete’ that appeared out of nowhere, killed their attacker and disappeared.

 

The cross holds the key. Discovering its history starts Mike and Nick on a path that begins in the 6th Century, leading to the story of a powerful Celtic monk whose miraculous accomplishments were shrouded in antiquity. They learn there is a cult in Manhattan that believes his powers still exist, and plans to resurrect him to start a purge that will cleanse the Earth of evil. Mike and Nick are convinced a cult member is a religious zealot turned vigilante serial killer. However, the murderer they pursue is more than a man.

 

MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC will appeal to readers who were fascinated by the Mary Magdalene story in The Da Vinci Code, and haunted by the creatures in the walls in Dean Koontz’s Darkfall, stories that have an unrelenting pace, reveal historical secrets, and challenge convention. I have attached the first [PER SUBMISSION GUIDLELINES] of MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC. The full manuscript is available upon request.

 

I graduated from a Top Ten law school, and I have spent my career practicing international securities law. I have authored federal and state legislation, all passed unanimously. Six months out of law school, I won my first motion case before Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Supreme Court for criminal cases. The creation of this novel was spurred by a fortuitous discussion with the Archbishop of the San Francisco Catholic diocese regarding Christian mythology, which put me on the path to discover the relatively obscure source material.

 

Thanks for taking the time to review my query. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Cheers,

 

Antoine Maurice Devine



#2 Springfield

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 05:58 PM

[PERSONALIZED PER AGENT PROFILE] I am writing to you because I read on [SOURCES] that you are passionate about horror. I am hoping that mine is one you could also feel passionate about. MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC is a crime/horror novel steeped in Gaelic history (113,000 words).

 

Central Park is the safest precinct in New York. No murders in over a decade. When Mike Saunders and his partner Nick Papadakis respond to a call at Umpire Rock, they are shocked at the sight of a killing so vile and disgusting it defies description. The body was ripped to shreds, blood splatters in every direction. The patrolmen who discovered the scene found two clues – a small purse that held an IDNYC card, and tiny footprints that led from the rock to Columbus Circle, where a witness reported a little girl covered in blood was taken to a nearby hospital.

 

The next morning, they visited 10-year old Beth Shure at Mount Sinai West. Zelda Taafe, her grandmother, was sitting by her side. When Mike asked Beth what had happened, she could only repeat what she told the nurses. “He tried to touch me where Oma said men shouldn’t, then he was gone.”

 

A week later, another killing occurred at Cleopatra’s Needle, followed by several more spread across the city, each one more brutal than the last. The executions followed a similar pattern – a child molester moments away from raping and killing their victim was sliced to pieces with surgical precision, the child left unharmed. The detectives struggle to develop a profile, as the only common threads are a pectoral cross nearly all of the surviving children possessed, and a shared description of a nightmarish creature the newspapers call ‘Machete’ that appeared out of nowhere, killed their attacker and disappeared.

 

The cross holds the key. Discovering its history starts Mike and Nick on a path that begins in the 6th Century, leading to the story of a powerful Celtic monk whose miraculous accomplishments were shrouded in antiquity. They learn there is a cult in Manhattan that believes his powers still exist, and plans to resurrect him to start a purge that will cleanse the Earth of evil. Mike and Nick are convinced a cult member is a religious zealot turned vigilante serial killer. However, the murderer they pursue is more than a man.

 

MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC will appeal to readers who were fascinated by the Mary Magdalene story in The Da Vinci Code, and haunted by the creatures in the walls in Dean Koontz’s Darkfall, stories that have an unrelenting pace, reveal historical secrets, and challenge convention. I have attached the first [PER SUBMISSION GUIDLELINES] of MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC. The full manuscript is available upon request.

 

I graduated from a Top Ten law school, and I have spent my career practicing international securities law. I have authored federal and state legislation, all passed unanimously. Six months out of law school, I won my first motion case before Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Supreme Court for criminal cases. The creation of this novel was spurred by a fortuitous discussion with the Archbishop of the San Francisco Catholic diocese regarding Christian mythology, which put me on the path to discover the relatively obscure source material.

 

Thanks for taking the time to review my query. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Cheers,

 

Antoine Maurice Devine

 

Hi --

 

I'm not going to do a lbl here because I think this is pretty much a scrap-and-redo. It's hugely long, for a start, as is your wc, which means the query should be as tight as possible, it's in past tense, and reads way more like a synopsis than anything else, very this happened, this happened, then this happened, like, through what seems like most of the book. So I'd suggest some research into queries, in the stickies here, the ongoing threads, the archives at queryshark.

 

In the specific, just for the heck of it, I believe there was a murder last summer maybe, heh, and ... that is a bizarre number of murderous child molesters suddenly running around?? That struck me as very strange. 



#3 AntoineMDevine

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 03:05 PM

Springfield,

 

Thanks for your comments. Word count-wise, I realize it's long, but I thought I'd start with more and cut back. Content-wise, I understand. My mental issue with this exercise is thinking creatively (the book) and "letting it happen" vs. thinking linearly and "making it happen." The difference hadn't sunk in, so your light tap on the shoulder is very helpful.  Back to the drawing board.

 

You're correct about the crime stat. It was zero through the novel development period, but the current report shows one unfortunate murder in 2017, the lone incident since 2001. One point of the novel is to illustrate the various ways in which children may find themselves in vulnerable situations. In a city of 9 million, child sexual assault happens all too often. The DA's office has an attorney whose sole responsibility is handling child molestation and human trafficking cases. What's sudden is that they are being killed. That is the challenge the MC faces.

 

Cheers



#4 Springfield

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 05:36 PM

Springfield,

 

Thanks for your comments. Word count-wise, I realize it's long, but I thought I'd start with more and cut back. Content-wise, I understand. My mental issue with this exercise is thinking creatively (the book) and "letting it happen" vs. thinking linearly and "making it happen." The difference hadn't sunk in, so your light tap on the shoulder is very helpful.  Back to the drawing board.

 

You're correct about the crime stat. It was zero through the novel development period, but the current report shows one unfortunate murder in 2017, the lone incident since 2001. One point of the novel is to illustrate the various ways in which children may find themselves in vulnerable situations. In a city of 9 million, child sexual assault happens all too often. The DA's office has an attorney whose sole responsibility is handling child molestation and human trafficking cases. What's sudden is that they are being killed. That is the challenge the MC faces.

 

Cheers

 

Yay for helping. :)

 

As to the latter... child molestation does happen all the time, but not by strangers, that's rare (I'm not saying it doesn't happen, does, but it's a tiny portion of molestation cases). Human trafficking is also pretty much never about random children off the street.

 

If there are several kids being abducted, sexually assaulted and killed, that's such a massive thing it's going to bring people from all over -- and you've apparently got multiple actors doing it, in one city, all at once. I can suspend disbelief but there's only so far it goes.



#5 lnloft

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 10:07 PM

I think Springfield's hit the crux of it, but I'll add a couple things that I noticed in addition:

 

- This is SUPER New York oriented, so names you are throwing out mean nothing to me. A lot of agents are in/around NYC, so they might connect better, but a lot of them aren't, so it just kinda turns me off because I don't know what an "IDNYC card" is, or where Umpire Rock or Cleopatra's Needle are. It's fine in the manuscript, but not for the query.

 

- The title just makes me think of the Robert Rodriguez grindhouse film Machete. Pretty sure that's not the connection you want to be making. And I'm seeing that without ever seeing (or wanting to see) that movie.

 

- Also, the hyphen in the title is really bugging me. Please fix that to a dash or colon. Thanks. :tongue:

 

- But don't throw this away. You've got a good basis to start writing your synopsis from. :biggrin:


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#6 Springfield

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 10:30 PM

Umpire's Rock has me shrugging too. As Cleopatra's Needle is probably most famous as the site of a high-profile murder, seemed an odd choice but... OP, are you in NYC?



#7 Springfield

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 10:31 PM

Springfield,

 

Thanks for your comments. Word count-wise, I realize it's long, but I thought I'd start with more and cut back. Content-wise, I understand. My mental issue with this exercise is thinking creatively (the book) and "letting it happen" vs. thinking linearly and "making it happen." The difference hadn't sunk in, so your light tap on the shoulder is very helpful.  Back to the drawing board.

 

You're correct about the crime stat. It was zero through the novel development period, but the current report shows one unfortunate murder in 2017, the lone incident since 2001. One point of the novel is to illustrate the various ways in which children may find themselves in vulnerable situations. In a city of 9 million, child sexual assault happens all too often. The DA's office has an attorney whose sole responsibility is handling child molestation and human trafficking cases. What's sudden is that they are being killed. That is the challenge the MC faces.

 

Cheers

 

Oh sorry, I also forgot to reply to the bolded before -- do you mean you're still editing and not ready to query (which is totally fine), or that like, you'd cut back if an agent said it's too long?



#8 punitrastogi

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 03:05 AM

[PERSONALIZED PER AGENT PROFILE] I am writing to you because I read on [SOURCES] that you are passionate about horror. I am hoping that mine is one you could also feel passionate about. MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC is a crime/horror novel steeped in Gaelic history (113,000 words).

 

Central Park is the safest precinct in New York. No murders in over a decade. When Mike Saunders and his partner Nick Papadakis respond to a call at Central Park Umpire Rock, they are shocked at the sight of a killing so vile and disgusting murder it defies description. The body was ripped to shreds, blood splatters in every direction. The patrolmen who discovered at the scene found two clues – a small purse that held an IDNYC card, and tiny footprints that led from the rock to Columbus Circle, where a witness reported a little girl covered in blood who was taken to a nearby hospital.

 

The next morning, they visited 10-year old Beth Shure at Mount Sinai West. Zelda Taafe, her grandmother, was sitting by her side. When Mike asked her Beth what had happened, she could only repeated what she told the nurses. “He tried to touch me where Oma said men shouldn’t, then he was gone.” (I am not sure about using exact quotes from the book in the query. It definitely works here, but dont know if it is a good practice.)

 

A week later, another killing occurred at Cleopatra’s Needle, What follows ed by are several more murders spread across the city, each one more brutal than the last. The executions followed a similar pattern – a child molester moments away from raping and killing their victim, getting  was sliced to pieces with surgical precision, the child left unharmed. The detectives struggle to develop a profile, as the only common threads are a pectoral cross nearly all of the surviving children possessed, and a shared description of a nightmarish savior creature the newspapers call ‘Machete’ that appeared out of nowhere, killed their attacker and disappeared.

 

The cross holds the key. Discovering its the cross' history starts leads Mike and Nick on a path that begins in the 6th Century, leading to the story of with a powerful Celtic monk whose miraculous accomplishments were shrouded in antiquity. They learn that there is a cult in Manhattan that believes his powers still exist, and plans to resurrect him to start a purge that will cleanse the Earth of evil. Mike and Nick are convinced a cult member is a religious zealot turned vigilante serial killer. However, the murderer they pursue is more than a man. (Almost perfect ending of the query. I guess you can avoid giving away a spoiler and keep it slightly open ended 'However, they are not prepared for the monster awaits them at the end of the trail. or somthing like that.')

 

MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC will appeal to readers who were fascinated by the Mary Magdalene story in The Da Vinci Code, and haunted by the creatures in the walls in Dean Koontz’s Darkfall, stories that have an unrelenting pace, reveal historical secrets, and challenge convention. I have attached the first [PER SUBMISSION GUIDLELINES] of MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC. The full manuscript is available upon request.

 

I graduated from a Top Ten law school, and I have spent my career practicing international securities law. I have authored federal and state legislation, all passed unanimously. Six months out of law school, I won my first motion case before Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Supreme Court for criminal cases. The creation of this novel was spurred by a fortuitous discussion with the Archbishop of the San Francisco Catholic diocese regarding Christian mythology, which put me on the path to discover the relatively obscure source material.

 

Thanks for taking the time to review my query. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Cheers,

 

Antoine Maurice Devine

I took the liberty to edit out unnecessary details that make your query crisper, without denying it any details that make it interesting.

For instance, since the girl's grand mother is not mentioned again, I removed her and just focused on the girl's statement

 

But I do have one observation - You say that your book is a crime/horror story. But except for the "nightmarish" creature and the vile murders, there is not much horror in the query.

Is there something that you can add to move this query from "Hound of Baskerville" to "The X-files"?

 

Hope it helps.

 

Please have a look at my query too :)



#9 Carney

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 12:45 PM

[PERSONALIZED PER AGENT PROFILE] I am writing to you because I read on [SOURCES] that you are passionate about horror. I am hoping that mine is one you could also feel passionate about. MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC is a crime/horror novel steeped in Gaelic history (113,000 words).There is nothing specific wrong with this, but I recommend moving it toward the end of your query. You are selling horror/crime so you want to immediately setup the scene to capture the agent's interest.

 

Central Park is the safest precinct in New York. No murders in over a decade. When Mike Saunders and his partner Nick Papadakis respond to a call at Umpire Rock, they are shocked at the sight of a killing so vile and disgusting it defies description. The body was ripped to shreds, blood splatters in every direction. The patrolmen who discovered the scene found Watch your tense switches! You switch between present and past -- I would recommend staying in present, but don't switch back and forth. two clues – a small purse that held  holding an IDNYC card, and tiny footprints that led from the rock to Columbus Circle, where a witness reported a little girl covered in blood was taken to a nearby hospital. You are retelling the story here and you don't want to do that. Leave the agent wanting to know what happens. If you leave at "tiny footprints leading toward...whatever... it will lead into the story better.

 

The next morning, they visited 10-year old Beth Shure at Mount Sinai to get away from this being just a NYC story, try to add hints so non-New Yorkers will have an idea of what happens. Mount Sinai Hospital. West. Zelda Taafe, her grandmother, was sitting by her side. When Mike asked Beth what had happened, she could only repeat what she told the nurses. cut the details and save for your pages. She tells the detectives, “He tried to touch me where Oma said men shouldn’t, then he was gone.” This would compel me to keep reading -- 

 

A week later, another killing occurred can you just say in Central Park? at Cleopatra’s Needle, followed by several more spread across the city, each one more brutal than the last. The executions followed a similar pattern – a child molester moments away from raping and killing their victim was sliced to pieces with surgical precision, the child left unharmed. The detectives struggle to develop a profile, as the only common threads are a pectoral cross nearly all of the surviving children possessed, and a shared description of a nightmarish creature the newspapers call ‘Machete’ that appeared out of nowhere, killed their attacker and disappeared.

 

The cross holds the key. Discovering its history starts Mike and Nick on a path that begins in the 6th Century, leading to the story of a powerful Celtic monk whose miraculous accomplishments were shrouded in antiquity. They learn there is a cult in Manhattan that believes his powers still exist, and plans to resurrect him to start a purge that will cleanse the Earth of evil. Mike and Nick are convinced a cult member is a religious zealot turned vigilante serial killer. However, the murderer they pursue is more than a man.

 

MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC will appeal to readers who were fascinated by the Mary Magdalene story in The Da Vinci Code, and haunted by the creatures in the walls in Dean Koontz’s Darkfall, stories that have an unrelenting pace, reveal historical secrets, and challenge convention. I have attached the first [PER SUBMISSION GUIDLELINES] of MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC. The full manuscript is available upon request.  At every workshop or writer's conference I've attended, agents have urged writers not to just cite comps for their work, but to briefly state why they chose  those comps by selecting a common element from the comp. I think you do this very well here. Just leave out the "upon request" bit since the agent already knows this

 

I graduated from a Top Ten law school, and I have spent my career practicing international securities law. I have authored federal and state legislation, all passed unanimously. Six months out of law school, I won my first motion case before Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Supreme Court for criminal cases. The creation of this novel was spurred by a fortuitous discussion with the Archbishop of the San Francisco Catholic diocese regarding Christian mythology, which put me on the path to discover the relatively obscure source material.  This is not relevant to the story, so leave it out. The bio section should only include info that relates to your qualifications for writing the book, your publishing experience (if any) and anything else specific to the story. 

 

Thanks for taking the time to review my query. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

CheersSincerely,

 

 

Antoine Maurice Devine

 

The biggest challenge of this query is you add way too much information and thus making it far too long. Certainly, the story itself is engaging interest. You just need to edit this down to the essentials necessary to capture the agent's interest. If you do this, s/he will request pages (partial or full manuscript) and then can read the full story. Think in terms of key points: the murder of would-be child molesters; the connection to ancient mythology; the existence of some avenging monster/savior and the impact on those involved. The details of the children, the families, the location and even the monster/savior can be left to the imagination until an agent is hooked and needs to read the full story.

 

Now, on a different, but related topic: yeah...child predators exist and yes, they do target children unknown to them. There have been many cases of child predators operating in towns and cities across the US, seeking children who are momentarily isolated or unwatched. Certainly, children are at greater risk of assault by someone known to them and to their parents, but there have also been numerous cases of stranger on stranger molestation and assault. BTW: How do I know? I've spent the past thirty years working with child victims of assault and other trauma. It can take longer than one would like to believe for law enforcement to recognize patterns in child assault cases and thus to connect what may appear to be isolated cases of assault to one another. Nothing in what you present here is remotely unbelievable to me --- sadly. Well, perhaps the avenging monster, but I'd have to read the full story to know whether that felt possible to me. Anyway, this is fiction, so it doesn't really matter, yet. Frankly, despite the less than perfect query, the story itself has me intrigued enough to want to read more. But, I'm not an agent! 



#10 AntoineMDevine

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:15 PM

Thank you all for your highly inciteful comments and advice. I would have returned sooner, but a serious medical issue has arisen, so I've been dealing with doctors all week. I am taking a different approach and resubmitting. Interestingly, the revised version takes account for many of your heretofore unseen observations, which I hope means I'm heading in the right direction. The new (and hopefully) improved version will be posted very soon.



#11 Springfield

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:23 PM

Hope you're doing ok!



#12 AntoineMDevine

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 04:35 PM

Umpire's Rock has me shrugging too. As Cleopatra's Needle is probably most famous as the site of a high-profile murder, seemed an odd choice but... OP, are you in NYC?

Yes, I live in Brooklyn. Just FYI, the Needle is one of three that I have seen. The others are in London near the Embankment, and Paris in the Place de la Concorde. There's also one in Italy near the Lateran Palace. Couldn't find anything regarding a murder. It would be interesting to read.



#13 AntoineMDevine

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 04:38 PM

Oh sorry, I also forgot to reply to the bolded before -- do you mean you're still editing and not ready to query (which is totally fine), or that like, you'd cut back if an agent said it's too long?

I'm starting from scratch. The comments here have been very helpful with the redraft. 



#14 AntoineMDevine

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 04:56 PM

The biggest challenge of this query is you add way too much information and thus making it far too long. Certainly, the story itself is engaging interest. You just need to edit this down to the essentials necessary to capture the agent's interest. If you do this, s/he will request pages (partial or full manuscript) and then can read the full story. Think in terms of key points: the murder of would-be child molesters; the connection to ancient mythology; the existence of some avenging monster/savior and the impact on those involved. The details of the children, the families, the location and even the monster/savior can be left to the imagination until an agent is hooked and needs to read the full story.

 

Now, on a different, but related topic: yeah...child predators exist and yes, they do target children unknown to them. There have been many cases of child predators operating in towns and cities across the US, seeking children who are momentarily isolated or unwatched. Certainly, children are at greater risk of assault by someone known to them and to their parents, but there have also been numerous cases of stranger on stranger molestation and assault. BTW: How do I know? I've spent the past thirty years working with child victims of assault and other trauma. It can take longer than one would like to believe for law enforcement to recognize patterns in child assault cases and thus to connect what may appear to be isolated cases of assault to one another. Nothing in what you present here is remotely unbelievable to me --- sadly. Well, perhaps the avenging monster, but I'd have to read the full story to know whether that felt possible to me. Anyway, this is fiction, so it doesn't really matter, yet. Frankly, despite the less than perfect query, the story itself has me intrigued enough to want to read more. But, I'm not an agent! 

Carney,

 

Thank you for your comments and your encouragement.  I consulted with the NY Asst. District Attorney who deals with these types of cases early on in the process, and learned more than I wanted to know about the horrid realities these abused children face. My hat's off to you and organizations like NCMEC that are working so hard to stem the tide.



#15 Springfield

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 10:28 PM

I wasn't suggesting kids aren't abused, or aren't abused by strangers. It does happen. It happens much more infrequently that kids are molested by strangers.

 

Abduction, rape and murder of children by a stranger happens something on the order of under 100 times a year in the U.S. -- that's been a pretty static statistic for ages. Hence, a bunch of different actors suddenly doing this in one area, and all around the same time no less, would be remarkable indeed. 

 

The Cleopatra's Needle-related murder was the 'Preppie Murder' -- Robert Chambers. 



#16 Heliagrey

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 10:24 AM

[PERSONALIZED PER AGENT PROFILE] I am writing to you because I read on [SOURCES] that you are passionate about horror. I am hoping that mine is one you could also feel passionate about. MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC is a crime/horror novel steeped in Gaelic history (113,000 words).

 

Central Park is the safest precinct in New York. No murders in over a decade. When Mike Saunders and his partner Nick Papadakis respond to a call at Umpire Rock, they are shocked at the sight of a killing so vile and disgusting(these basically mean the same thing- I'd replace one with horrific, esp since I recommend cutting the descriptive bit next) it defies description. The body was ripped to shreds, blood splatters in every direction. I don't think you need this. The previous sentence is strong enough without it- and you DID say it defies description. Then you described it. ;) The patrolmen who discovered the scene found two clues Two clues were found a small purse that held an  with an IDNYC card, and tiny footprints that led from the rock to Columbus Circle, where a witness reported a little girl covered in blood was taken to a nearby hospital. If the purse isn't a clue, just mention the card. Also, in one sentence, you've got small purse, tiny footprints, and little girl. If you need to say they're all small (or allude that the items belong to the little girl, do it a little cleaner- or just outright say it. Because here you risk the agent reading fast and going "jeez, he didn't catch that he's repeating himself a LOT here."

 

The next morning, (Don't need to say it happened the next morning) they visited 10-year old Beth Shure at Mount Sinai West. Zelda Taafe, her grandmother, was sitting by her side. (If you don't need this detail, don't have it. If you do, roll it into a more succinct sentence- preferably the prior one. When Mike asked Beth what had happened, she could only repeat what she told the nurses.  “He tried to touch me where Oma said men shouldn’t, then he was gone.”  Okay, I'm struggling with this whole  paragraph. I've read down and understand why you need it, but it's reading very exposition-y. You only need the facts- Beth Shure is in the hospital, and she's not giving answers- but mentions her Oma's rules (or something like that- and try not to put it into dialogue itself. 

 

A week later, (Don't get bogged down by dates/how much time is passing between things. You can just say "After" another killing occurred occurs- keep it present tense, even if the story is written in past... at Cleopatra’s Needle, followed by several more spread across the city, each one more brutal than the last , but executed in a similar pattern -e executions followed a similar pattern – a child molester moments away from raping and killing their victim was sliced to pieces with surgical precision, the child left unharmed. (When you say 'child left unharmed' you don't need to say the interim bit, it's implied.) The detectives struggle to develop a profile, as the only common threads eh, you already mentioned that they follow a pattern- that's a common thread. And the children's Machete description is also a common thread. are a pectoral cross nearly all of the surviving children possessed, and a shared description of a nightmarish creature the newspapers call ‘Machete’ that appeared out of nowhere, killed their attacker and disappeared.

 

The cross holds the key. Discovering its history starts Mike and Nick on a path that begins in the 6th Century, leading to the story of a powerful Celtic monk whose miraculous accomplishments were shrouded in antiquity. (This sentence is cool, but a little clunky. Try to tighten it up a little.) They learn there is a cult in Manhattan that believes his powers still exist, and plans to resurrect him to start a purge that will cleanse the Earth of evil. Mike and Nick are convinced a cult member is a religious zealot turned vigilante serial killer. However, the murderer they pursue is more than a man.

 

MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC will appeal to readers who were fascinated by the Mary Magdalene story in The Da Vinci Code, and haunted by the creatures in the walls in Dean Koontz’s Darkfall, stories that have an unrelenting pace, reveal historical secrets, and challenge convention. (Shorten this/separate the sentence.) I have attached the first [PER SUBMISSION GUIDLELINES] of MACHETE-RETURN OF THE CELTIC. The full manuscript is available upon request.

 

I graduated from a Top Ten law school, and I have spent my career practicing international securities law. I have authored federal and state legislation, all passed unanimously. Six months out of law school, I won my first motion case before Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Supreme Court for criminal cases. :) You're clearly a badass- awesome! But this doesn't really have much place here. Keep just enough to prove- hey, I know what I'm talking about here.The creation of this novel was spurred by a fortuitous discussion with the Archbishop of the San Francisco Catholic diocese regarding Christian mythology, which put me on the path to discover the relatively obscure source material. (This is great to keep in. Don't let anyone talk you into taking out the 'where this came from".)

 

Thanks for taking the time to review my query. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Cheers,

 

Antoine Maurice Devine

It's long, it could use tightening-

 

But I'd completely read this book. Feels like one of those I'd devour and it'd keep me up at nights. Keep revising! 



#17 AntoineMDevine

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 01:16 PM

I wasn't suggesting kids aren't abused, or aren't abused by strangers. It does happen. It happens much more infrequently that kids are molested by strangers.

 

Abduction, rape and murder of children by a stranger happens something on the order of under 100 times a year in the U.S. -- that's been a pretty static statistic for ages. Hence, a bunch of different actors suddenly doing this in one area, and all around the same time no less, would be remarkable indeed. 

 

The Cleopatra's Needle-related murder was the 'Preppie Murder' -- Robert Chambers. 

Thanks for the 'Preppie Murder' story. I remember it now. Big news then just as the Reagan Recession was kicking off. Chambers is a walking disaster.

 

The abuse incidents are purposefully varied among many types of cases, and all but one are in the "people you know" category. 

 

Thanks for the note on my health. Things that happen with age that have to be addressed. 



#18 AntoineMDevine

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 07:22 PM

Thanks to everyone for your comments, insights, and advice. I've gone with a different, more traditional approach with a great deal more brevity. I look forward to reading your thoughts.  

 

[PERSONALIZED PER AGENT PROFILE] I am writing to you because . . . . MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC is a horror/crime novel steeped in Gaelic history (113,000 words).

 

Detective Mike Saunders has two choices – retire with a full pension or accept a promotion to Central Park Precinct Captain. The park is the safest assignment in the city, but one night in the early spring, Mike and his young partner Nick Papadakis are called to a grisly murder scene at Umpire Rock. Mike now faces the greatest challenge of his career.

 

The initial investigation reveals the dead man is a pedophile, ripped to shreds while attempting to rape a 10-year old girl who is left unharmed. Soon, more murders occur in the park and around Manhattan, leading Mike and Nick to believe a vigilante serial killer is hunting sexual predators. The survivors claim a monster rescued them, but Mike doesn’t believe in gods or ghosts. The local media pressures them to stop the butcher coined “Machete” before the city enters a panic state. Forensics offers no significant evidence.

 

Each of the children possesses a pectoral cross. Tales surrounding the ancient symbol reveal the existence of a cult whose members believe they are resurrecting a powerful Celtic saint and his cohorts who will cleanse evil from the world. They learn the cultists are planning to unleash a purge that will cause global mass murder. The pair risk their lives when they confront the cult and discover a power beyond Mike’s belief.

 

MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC will appeal to readers who were captivated by the Mary Magdalene story in The Da Vinci Code, or terrified by the creatures in the walls in Dean Koontz’s Darkfall, stories that have an unrelenting pace, reveal historical secrets, and challenge convention. [I have attached the first [PER SUBMISSION GUIDLELINES] of MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC.]

 

I graduated from a Top Ten law school, and have spent my career practicing international securities law. A deep discussion with the Archbishop of the San Francisco Catholic diocese regarding Christian mythology helped me discover the relatively obscure source material.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,



#19 lnloft

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 09:37 PM



Thanks to everyone for your comments, insights, and advice. I've gone with a different, more traditional approach with a great deal more brevity. I look forward to reading your thoughts.  

 

[PERSONALIZED PER AGENT PROFILE] I am writing to you because . . . . MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC is a horror/crime novel steeped in Gaelic history (113,000 words).

 

Detective Mike Saunders has two choices – retire with a full pension or accept a promotion to Central Park Precinct Captain. The park is the safest assignment in the city, but one night in the early spring, Mike and his young partner Nick Papadakis are called to a grisly murder scene at Umpire Rock. Mike now faces the greatest challenge of his career. So it seems like the choice you presented in the first line isn't really relevant because he's chosen the promotion by the second sentence. And the last sentence is too vague.

 

The initial investigation reveals the dead man is a pedophile, ripped to shreds while attempting to rape a 10 ten-year old girl who is was left unharmed. Soon, more murders occur in the park and around Manhattan, leading Mike and Nick to believe a vigilante serial killer is hunting sexual predators. The survivors claim a monster rescued them, but Mike doesn’t believe in gods or ghosts. The local media pressures them to stop the butcher coined “Machete” before the city enters a panic state. Forensics offers no significant evidence. I'd take the first sentence of this paragraph, move it up the previous one to make your hook. In rough terms, the hook should be "Detective Mike Saunders thinks he has the safest assignment in NY, but then he and his partner find a grisly murder where a pedophile was ripped to shreds, the little girl left unharmed." Write it better than that, but take that concept. Then the next paragraph can basically be the rest of this one.

 

Each of the children possesses a pectoral cross. Or they were marked with a cross by the vigilante? I'm not quite sure what you mean. Be clear. Tales surrounding the ancient symbol Is it a specific kind of cross? I'm just imagining a simple cross carved into the skin above their pectoral muscle, which, while the cross is technically an ancient symbol, doesn't really fit with the context of what you're saying. reveal the existence of a cult whose members believe they are resurrecting a powerful Celtic saint and his cohorts who will cleanse evil from the world. This is a long, cumbersome sentence. They learn the cultists are planning to unleash a purge that will cause global mass murder. The pair risk their lives when they confront the cult and discover a power beyond Mike’s belief. This is too vague, especially the latter sentence. Stakes gotta be clear.

 

MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC will appeal to readers who were captivated by the Mary Magdalene story in The Da Vinci Code,  or terrified by the creatures in the walls in Dean Koontz’s Darkfall, For comps, you want to pick recent books (past five years tops, sometimes I've heard no more than two or three years), and that haven't been made into movies. stories that have an unrelenting pace, reveal historical secrets, and challenge convention. [I have attached the first [PER SUBMISSION GUIDLELINES] of MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC.]

 

I graduated from a Top Ten law school, and have spent my career practicing international securities law. A deep discussion with the Archbishop of the San Francisco Catholic diocese regarding Christian mythology helped me discover the relatively obscure source material.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

So, first off, this is loads better. You've actually got a query to work from now rather than what was basically a synopsis. Well done. But obviously still some heavy lifting to do. I'm not clear on how the two halves really connect. It seems we have these grisly vigilante murders, and then one clue leads to a completely different storyline about an evil cult, and the first plot is dropped. Either intertwine them better, or end the query at an earlier point in the book, where Mike starts to realize that the clues are leading to something far larger.

 

I might also recommend dropping Nick's name from the query. I'm guessing he's more prominent in the book proper, but for here he just feels tacked on, since he's only ever just doing what Mike does. Just referring to him as "Mike's partner" will help keep the focus on Mike. That will allow you to say stuff like "Mike learns" instead of "they learn", which again helps give Mike more agency.

 

Hope you're doing better health-wise, and good luck with the query.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#20 Springfield

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 03:13 PM



Thanks to everyone for your comments, insights, and advice. I've gone with a different, more traditional approach with a great deal more brevity. I look forward to reading your thoughts.  

 

[PERSONALIZED PER AGENT PROFILE] I am writing to you because . . . . MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC is a horror/crime novel steeped in Gaelic history (113,000 words).

 

Detective Mike Saunders has two choices – retire with a full pension or accept a promotion to Central Park Precinct Captain. The park is the safest assignment in the city, but one night in the early spring, Mike and his young partner Nick Papadakis are called to a grisly murder scene at Umpire Rock. Mike now faces the greatest challenge of his career. So... he didn't retire? Why does the captain of the precinct have a young partner?

 

The initial investigation reveals the dead man is a pedophile How does an initial investigation reveal that?, ripped to shreds while attempting to rape a 10-year old girl who is left unharmed. Soon, more murders occur in the park and around Manhattan, leading Mike and Nick to believe a vigilante serial killer is hunting sexual predators. The survivors claim a monster rescued them, but Mike doesn’t believe in gods or ghosts. The local media pressures them to stop the butcher coined “Machete” before the city enters a panic state. I don't get this -- why would the media, or the public, want the cops to stop someone killing this pop-up band of sexual predators? People are usually on board with that. Forensics offers no significant evidence.

 

Each of the children possesses a pectoral cross. Eh? I don't know if this is meant to be connected to the offenders, the vigilante, what. Tales surrounding the ancient symbol reveal the existence of a cult whose members believe they are resurrecting a powerful Celtic saint and his cohorts who will cleanse evil from the world. They Who? What? What happened to a cop investigating stuff?  learn the cultists are planning to unleash a purge that will cause global mass murder. Huh? The pair of? risk their lives when they confront the cult and discover a power beyond Mike’s belief. I've got no idea what's going on here.

 

MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC will appeal to readers who were captivated by the Mary Magdalene story in The Da Vinci Code, or terrified by the creatures in the walls in Dean Koontz’s Darkfall, stories that have an unrelenting pace, reveal historical secrets, and challenge convention. [I have attached the first [PER SUBMISSION GUIDLELINES] of MACHETE - RETURN OF THE CELTIC.] Bad comps.

 

I graduated from a Top Ten law school, and have spent my career practicing international securities law. A deep discussion with the Archbishop of the San Francisco Catholic diocese regarding Christian mythology helped me discover the relatively obscure source material.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

This does have less superfluous stuff, but what's here is disjointed.







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