To celebrate, a collection of some of the more laugh-inducing items to have appeared here.
Dear Cruel Lord of Print:
Your profile at Agent Query indicated you had an interest in urban fantasy. Please consider representing my contribution to the genre, The Wayfarer, an adventure novel told in 100,000 words.
Mallory used to be a vampire. Then his brother, Veratrum, a stronger vampire (perhaps the strongest vampire) [Dracula is the strongest vampire. Don't you know anything?] killed him. However, Mallory rose again, [Was he killed with a stake through his heart? Because if vampires can return after that, there's no hope for humanity.] this time as a wayfarer, one who stalks the physical and astral planes. Possessed of humanity, he condemns the sins of his former life and swears vengeance on Veratrum [Who would name their kid Veratrum? I Googled it, it's a plant. Also a homeopathic remedy for dozens of things, and that's just under the heading of "Stool." For instance, you supposedly should take Veratrum if your stool is any of the following:
Strong and sharp (acrid), corrosive, wearing away skin; bilious; black; brown; copious; flaky; forcible, sudden, gushing; frequent; green; hard; involuntary; involuntary during flatulence; large; mucous, slimy; odourless; thin, liquid; watery; like rice water.
Veratrum is also recommended for the following symptoms (among hundreds):
Feeling excessively religious; vomiting during diarrhea; face that appears dead; craving refreshing things; imperceptible pulse; collapse after diarrhea; shrunken hands; shrieking; melancholy, with stupor and mania; sits in a stupid manner; notices nothing; frenzy of excitement; aimless wandering from home; delusions of impending misfortunes; mania, with desire to cut and tear things; cursing and howling all night; nose grows more pointed; rattling in chest; blue face; coughing upon entering warm room; neck too weak to hold head up.] and all who serve him. Over a century of failures has stretched Mallory’s patience and forced him to compromise more and more of his ideals in service of his oath. [A century? If you've been seeking revenge on someone for over a century and consistently failing, you have to be the most incompetent wayfarer of them all.] [A zombiefied vampire stalking the astral plane in search of vengeance needs a scarier name than The Wayfarer. He'd have killed Veratrum long ago, but he walks in and it goes:
Mallory: Prepare to die, Veratrum.
Veratrum: Who's gonna kill me?
Mallory: It is I . . . The Wayfarer!
Veratrum (laughing): Hey minions, check it out. The Wayfarer. Run for your lives!
Minions (laughing hysterically as they pummel Mallory): Ooo, the Wayfarer. Save us Master.]
The final assault begins with the rescue of Aethe, a woman Veratrum wants as more than just prey. What exactly he wants with her, Mallory does not know, and when she refuses to tell, Mallory keeps her with him under the guise of protection. The same for Claud, a bystander Mallory carjacks in his flight with Aethe, who manages to get bit by one of Veratrum’s minions. The bite, of course, infects Claude with the Nosferatu. [Quick, give him two tablespoons of Veratrum.] In order to keep the man pacified, Mallory claims there is a cure, but really he wants to use the disease in Claud’s veins to track Veratrum. [The closer they get to Veratrum, the brighter Claud glows.] [Make up your mind how Claud(e) spells his name.]
They take shelter with Mallory’s friends, who are happy to help until they discover where they rank in relation to Mallory’s fevered thirst for revenge. Unable to hear their words over the roar of his obsession, rationalizing his every betrayal, Mallory makes a bargain with another vampire: Aethe for Veratrum. [How can this other vampire deliver Veratrum? Veratrum is stronger. Is it just because it's two against one? In an entire century of trying to kill Veratrum, this is the first time Mallory's thought of enlisting help? What about Veratrum's minions? They're not going to stand by while Mallory and Claud kill Veratrum.] Can he go through with it? At what price vengeance?
I am as yet unpublished. The first five pages are enclosed, as well as an SASE for your response. Thank you for your time,
TITLE: Shadow of Doubt
Query - Plot: [If these two lines are part of the query, get rid of them. They're wasting space.]
What happens when you fall for the one you are forbidden to love? [In my case, I sit around my home every night watching TV and wondering if Julia Roberts will ever remove the restraining order.] When destiny takes over everything you fought to control, that which was forbidden could now destroy you. [This is all too vague to have any meaning, and will presumably be restated below with specificity. Dump it.]
Erebus is a Shadow, an immortal night dweller, walking the Earth for the last century. [You don't need to be immortal to have walked the Earth for the past century. Just really old.] By day he is the occlusion of a payphone, [Say what? What does that even mean? I can only assume it's a typo and it's supposed to read: By day he is an octopus made of Play Doh. Or he's the clue gun of a peafowl. An accused Hun from Plano?] and by night he returns to human form. [When did he ever have human form? I assumed he was this immortal night-dwelling Shadow creature when he wasn't a payphone.] He’s different than other Shadows, [which are, by day, reflections of coffee makers.] solemn when Shadows are meant to live for personal fun and satisfaction. That is, until he meets Aurora, a young law student at Cornell University, a human girl. His entire world is shaken. Human feelings he's never had, and urges he’s never understood, like wanting to have a place to live of his own, [Does he live in a phone booth in the daytime?] drive him to question everything about himself and his kind.
Prohibited by the Night Council to have a relationship with a human that involves more than just sex, [Even phone sex?] Erebus is risking severe punishment to be with Aurora [Sounds like he's really hung up on her. Ba dum ching.] on a completely different level. [Even a sex-only relationship with a human can be problematic--if you're still going at it when dawn arrives and you suddenly turn back into a payphone.]
When a jealous old flame, Nanny, stalks back into his life, [I could never date someone who went by the name Nanny. Although it's better than dating someone who goes by the name Mommy.] Erebus breaks the most important law set by the Shadows and reveals his secret to Aurora. [Are we talking about the secret that he's immortal or the secret that he's a payphone?] [I'm thinking if you tell your true love you're a payphone, it doesn't matter whether she believes it's true or not. She's gone.] [I'm not sure whether I'd rather my mate be immortal or a payphone. Immortality would be good because funerals are expensive. On the other hand, it wouldn't hurt to have a steady influx of spare change.] By telling her, he jeopardizes everything, and must protect her from Nanny and the judgment of the Night Council. [The only thing he jeopardizes is his relationship with her. No way Aurora bought his claim that he's an immortal nightcrawling payphone.] His biggest fears are realized when he sees that [Aurora has her own cell phone, and thus won't be pushing his buttons.] his desire for Aurora could destroy her, or worse, erase his own Shadow forever.
SHADOW OF DOUBT is complete at 52,000 words and falls into the category of young adult fantasy. The storyline has a unique twist [I'll say.] that goes beyond the traditional fantasy, with pure love that can conquer anything in and beyond this world.
What would happen if humans found out Shadows existed? What's the punishment for telling a human you're a blender? In other words, what's at stake?
Usually authors go with a human being as the main character if one is available. Especially when the alternative is a payphone.
Whatever the occlusion of a payphone is, the query is better off without it. We also don't need Nanny. She's a subplot.
What's the difference between a Shadow and a human at night? Besides immortality. Do Shadows have any powers? Can they have relationships with each other? Are all Shadows occlusions of payphones, or are some occlusions of gas pumps? Are all objects Shadows? Or are there a limited number of Shadows?