Guess the Plot
The Astrologer's Death
1. I was an innocent teenager when the astrologer forecast I would meet the last of the big-time spenders. Now I'm not, and I didn't, and someone's gonna pay.
2. An astrologer decides he wants to study the powers of the undead. But how? Then he hits upon an obvious solution. Step one: die.
3. On a United flight to LA, on the cusp of joining the Mile High Club, celebrity astrologer Mazel Tov learns that he was actually born an hour earlier than he thought. His corrected horoscope warns of an early demise in a plane crash. Hilarity ensues as he makes the most of his last minutes on earth.
4. Maxine Tuttle is shocked to read the date of her own demise. Monday! She buys a lot of skimpy clothes, a wig, and dark glasses, flies to Paris, and has a blast pretending to be a glamorous superspy. But Tuesday morning she wakes up next to a dead Saudi prince and realizes she was wrong about Venus and her troubles have only just begun.
5. After predicting his own early death, an astrologer seeks to become an astronaut so he can blow up the moon, thus rearranging his fatal starchart.
6. Emperor Myrmyx the Ever-Victorious has a secret weapon. His anonymous prisoner is the astrologer Goshdaarf the Unerring. When Goshdaarf is found slain in the palace privy, Myrmyx calls on his second most trusted adviser, Norroming the Nosy, to unravel the mysterious death.
Dear Perfect Agent,
In early seventeenth-century England, magic is real, as are other, darker things. THE ASTROLOGER'S DEATH is an 80,000 word historical fantasy set in a passionate, fearful time, when witchfinders reigned and even a King's head was not secure. [You know, they probably wouldn't behead the King or Queen of England in modern times, but think about it: you can't buy the kind of publicity that would generate.]
Village midwife Nan Moray does her best to avoid trouble and the suspicion of witchcraft. When runaway apprentice Tom begs a night's shelter, her kind heart overrules her good sense and she lets him stay. [Her good sense is telling her, If you let this guy sleep in the barn, you'll be accused of witchcraft?] But Tom is pursued not only by his angry master--a secret magician--but by that master's new allies: undead revenants. [Undead revenants? No one knows what that means. Most people are going to read "undead revenants" and think "undead ruminants," aka zombie cows. In fact, while you'll probably think I'm joking, I have to say it anyway: Your book is guaranteed to be better if you change the undead revenants to zombie cows.]
Armed with Tom's half-learned sorcery and Nan's herb-lore, the two survive the first attacks [Nothing beats half-learned sorcery and herb-lore when it comes to thwarting a series of attacks by the undead:
Tom: The house is surrounded by zombie cows!
Nan: Quick, check the spice rack. I'll need some cumin and some figwort.
Tom: Abra ca . . . Hocus . . . Damn it!]
and learn the nature of their enemy. Tom returns to the home he fled, [The magician and the undead are attacking them in Nan's house, so Tom ditches her and goes home?] taking the battle to the revenant stronghold, and earns a brief respite. [How is taking the battle to the revenant stronghold a respite?] As witch-fever grows in England, [Salem had witch fever. I'm less inclined to call it a fever in a world that has powerful magicians, undead revenants, and zombie cows. Evil Editor would be burning witches and cows right and left if magic really existed.] Tom and Nan discover that the living can be crueler than the undead. When Nan is imprisoned for witchcraft, Tom makes the revenants his tool for vengeance, risking his life and soul. [This is where the zombie cow idea would be brilliant. Think Tom riding the foremost zombie cow as the herd stampedes through the witch hunters' stronghold. Let's turn this into a screenplay and get Oliver Stone interested.] [If you thought mad cow disease was bad, you should have been here when undead cow disease was around.] [British tabloid headline, 1618: Revenant Ruminants Running Rampant.]
I have attended ________
(Explanation of title: Tom's master, Gybbins, is ostensibly an astrologer, secretly a magician. He dies purposely, in order to gain and study the powers of the undead.)
I know you're not going to change the book so it has zombie cows, but as an experiment, send out a couple queries with zombie cows, and report back your results.
You can do without the first sentence. It's not clear what you mean by "other, darker things."
It could use more specificity and information. I know the opening situation, but I don't know enough of what happens.
What did Nan do that got her accused of witchcraft? Must be the old Catch 22: If the zombie cows can kill you, you must not be a witch. If you manage to thwart the zombie cows, you must be a witch, thus you must die.