Query Letters

© Kasey Mackenzie.

Red Hot Fury – the Query that Scored Me an Awesome Agent, 2 agent offers, and a ton of partial and full requests.

In Red Hot Fury, waterproof leather is more than just a fashion statement.  For Furies who shed as much blood as they spill, it’s a necessity.

When the body of a missing Fury washes up in Boston Harbor, it’s Chief Magical Investigator Marissa Holloway’s job to figure out what killed her. But the more Riss investigates, the more she becomes convinced that the corpse resembling her sister Fury is NOT the real thing. Someone has altered it using Sidhe magic.  Only one problem:  the Sidhe are supposed to be extinct.

Revealing this shocker gets Riss suspended without pay–and almost dead.  After her attempted assassin takes a 10-story swan dive to avoid capture, Riss realizes she’s facing more than the average psycho.  She swallows her pride to reconcile with ex-lover Scott Murphy, the mercenary who broke her heart and the only arcane being she can trust to watch her back.  As the two dodge hired hit Harpies, kamikaze Phoenixes, and elevator ambushes, they discover a band of renegade mortals has been breeding–and cloning–the surviving Sidhe in captivity, seeking to unlock their immortality.  If this knowledge becomes public, it will inspire a mortal versus arcane war the likes of which the world has never seen.

Now it’s up to Riss to free the captive Sidhe without causing Armageddon–or winding up a corpse herself.

Red Hot Fury is a standalone 80,000-word urban fantasy with strong romantic elements, although sequels could be developed if desired.  It should appeal to fans of Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, and Jeaniene Frost, although nary a werewolf or vampire stalks its pages.  I’ve seen you mention online that vampires especially have reached a saturation point in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, and agree; one reason my supernatural creatures tend to have pulses and no allergies to stakes, sunlight, or silver.  Please let me know if you’re interested in seeing more.  Thank you for your time.

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Where Angels Fear to Tread – Got quite a few partial and a couple full requests – I did not query this as widely as I could have.

One feisty, half-trained psychic and one fallen angel with the devil’s own charm stand between the mortal world and the forces of evil. Better start praying.

Storm O’Malley’s psychic gifts have spun out of control. Years of abuse at the hands of her grandmother forge her into the metaphysical equivalent of a hurricane–gale-force destructive power subject to the whims of no mortal being. Or immortal, for that matter. The supernatural beings known as Pathlighters are ready to write her off as a lost cause after she nearly kills one of their own. Deciding to give her one last chance, they compel their most unorthodox member to take over her training. There’s just one small catch: Damien’s no ordinary angel.

Also known as the Fallen, the first Pathlighter in a century to betray the Host by aiding a demonic member of the Diablerie, Damien claims he’s seeking redemption and needs her just as much as she needs him. Storm must join forces with this sinfully sexy angel if she wants to control her volatile powers and stop a vicious murderer. But as the two dodge killer demons, a sinister cult, and the half-succubus siren who inspired Damien’s fall from grace, they just might decide the forbidden attraction raging between them is worth giving up life–and heaven–to taste.

Where Angels Fear to Tread is a 98,000-word urban fantasy novel containing elements of romance and suspense that should appeal to fans of Rachel Caine, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Kim Harrison. It is a standalone novel but sequels could be developed if desired. I am including the manuscript’s first few pages with this email for your convenience.

This is my third completed novel and could be marketed as paranormal romance as easily as urban fantasy. I am an avid reader of your livejournal, as well as the journals of a few of your clients. I believe Storm is the type of strong yet flawed heroine that you prefer to read about, and would welcome the chance to work with you and your agency.  Thank you for your time.

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Phoenix in Flames, formerly titled Reborn in Fire – this one also scored me several full requests and a bunch of partial requests (and yes, part of the first sentence of this one made its way into my query for Red Hot Fury).

In Phoenix in Flames, my 85,000-word urban fantasy, mythical creatures walk among us, but none are allergic to sunlight, stakes, or silver.

Cassidy Grant just died for the first time.

Reborn in the ashes of her own death, Cass becomes a human phoenix.  She wakes up in the midst of flame after being murdered:  naked, disoriented, and completely unharmed.  A stranger rescues Cass before her murderers can return.  His touch ignites her as surely as fire’s caress, but he forces her to face facts she would rather deny.  She is no longer quite human, and a group of fanatics will stop at nothing to kill her a second time.  Permanently.

Jake, the man who rescues her, possesses the same affinity with earth that she does with fire.  And though as indestructible as the dragons his kind are named for, he is vulnerable to the magic drawing him to Cass.  A magic that will drive him crazy–literally–if he can’t make her his.  Now his sanity depends upon convincing the woman he rescued that she should bind herself to him for the rest of their not-so-natural lives.

Skeptical Cass must learn to harness her newfound abilities and trust that Jake’s feelings for her won’t flash and fade away.  The only alternatives are madness–or being used as a pawn by her murderers to destroy all she cares for.  Including Jake.

I have attached a synopsis as well as the first three chapters.  While this manuscript stands alone, it could easily become the first book in a series.  Please let me know if you are interested in seeing more.  Thank you for your time.

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3 Responses

  1. kd says:

    Kasey, thanks for posting these. I got a couple of rejection letters this year from the query so I know I definitely have to shape them up. I revamped [5th draft of this query over the last 2 years] and already I see a MAJOR difference and by revising it I decided to add a little spin. So I’ve got a few chapters to rewrite but this definitely makes the overall story better. Rejections are good, because they allow you to rethink your story, through the query submission process and help you tighten your craft for submission. The query is the ‘sales’ sheet so you really have to make sure it delivers. Thanks so much and… a new fan!

  2. Barb MacGugan says:

    just finished reading blackhearted betrayal LOVED the series and can’t wait for number 4 rest assured I will be one of the first in line to buy it when it comes out. The series is well written and attention holding…Thank you

  1. April 19, 2012

    […] used Kasey Mackenzie’s examples as well as instructions found on agentquery.comas references for structure and strategy. […]

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