Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Face-Lift 1200!!

Guess the Plot


1. Finding out your second grade teacher was secretly a porn star in unsettling, but nothing compared to learning that her buff stallion was your own father. Dom Scorlini's first taste of Internet mischief results in a serious upset in his family's equilibrium.

2. When workaholic pediatrician Dave Marzotti falls in love with Katie, the mother of one of his patients, she brings a new balance to his life. But then Katie and her daughter are kidnapped, and Dave must rescue them, for their DNA holds the key to the fate of the entire human race.

3. In the competitive world of international equine high-wire performance art, Jamie Lancaster thinks he has the next grand champion in Dapples, a feisty little horse he rescued from a pony ride concession. But when vertigo strikes, can Jamie and Dapples recover their . . . equilibrium?

4. Klutzy fashion model Crash Bang can't stay on her feet long enough to complete a runway walk. She's sure her career is over until a quirky, new designer announces a line of "walker" dresses for drunk celebutantes. But can she make it through the go-see without toppling over?

5. Single Mom Shauna-Lee was happy for any sort of work, even scrubbing floors in the strange laboratory deep in the Arizona desert. Flirting with the cute scientist makes her day bearable. But when her kids are kidnapped, the only way she will see them alive again is to steal details of Project Equilibrium.

6. When psychic Malora tried to fight off the wizard's advances, she not only lost, she got turned into a statue as punishment. Now she's the Justice figure in a family courtroom. By day she listens to the cases. At night, she uses her still-formidable powers to manipulate the papers so the right party wins.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Pediatrician Dave Marzotti is content with life as a workaholic until he falls in love with Katie, the mother of one of his patients. Their whirlwind romance is cut short when Katie and her daughter are kidnapped.

Dave must risk everything - his medical practice, his relationship with Katie, even his own life - to rescue them. [Why does he have to rescue them? How does he know where they are? Do the authorities know about the kidnapping? Usually kidnappers contact a family member, not the family's pediatrician. If I tried to contact a pediatrician to announce I'd kidnapped one of his patients, I'd get the person who answers the office phone, who would tell me Dave was with a patient and I'd be forced to leave an incriminating or extremely vague message.] For it quickly becomes clear that their lives are not the only ones at stake. Their DNA holds the key to the fate of the entire human race. [How does this quickly become clear to Dave?] [More importantly, WTF? You can't just toss that out and expect us to buy it. What does "key to the fate" mean? Key to our survival? If the villains know about the DNA, wouldn't the good guys also know? Wouldn't they have Katie and her daughter in protective custody in a fortress on a mountain surrounded by a shark-filled moat?]

EQUILIBRIUM is a commercial novel, complete at 65,000 words.

I am a member of the [XYZ] association. My blog is available at [URL].

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Have the kidnappers contacted Dave? If they've got the fate of the human race in their hands, they have enough leverage to be contacting governments or billionaires. What they can get from Dave is chicken feed. If they haven't contacted Dave, what's preventing Dave from calling in someone who's better than he is at rescuing people?

If they haven't contacted Dave, have they contacted the press or anyone to make their intentions known? If so, what do they want? Money? Are they threatening to destroy the human race? We need to know if Katie was kidnapped for ransom or if some evil overlord kidnapped her to destroy humanity. Either way, we need to know what's so special about this DNA and we need to know: Why Dave? If the fate of the human race hangs in the balance, I want James Bond or Ethan Hunt on it, not some schmuck named Dave.

How many people are aware that Katie and her daughter hold the key to the fate of the entire human race? Do the kidnappers know, or did they just get lucky? Do governments know?

As you see, the plot sounds incredible, and not in a good way. Fortunately, your query is so short that you have plenty of room to fill in the holes so we don't find ourselves asking all these questions.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The 4th Annual Evil Editor Auction

As usual, some of the items I offered to the Brenda Novak Auction were rejected, and I'm forced to conduct my own auction, which, like Brenda's, will run throughout the month of May.

Here are a few of the items up for bid, just to whet your appetites.

Solid gold Egyptian funerary mask of pharaoh who resembled Evil Editor.

Trust me. Nothing can inspire you to finish that novel like a death mask hanging in front of your computer, especially when that death mask looks a lot like your nemesis, Evil Editor.

One ticket to the Evil Editor Writers Conference on the isle of Crete.

Transportation, food, lodging not included. 

*Evil Editor's appearance at conference subject to availability.

A critique of your application to compete on Hell's Kitchen.

Not every heavy-smoking, loudmouthed emotional wreck makes the cut. Let Evil Editor help you book your personal 3 months of abuse.

*Winning bidder not guaranteed to appear on show.

Pressure washing of one computer keyboard.

Bad enough that dust gets in the cracks between the keys, but if you're a regular at EE's blog, you've probably spewed coffee on the keyboard a few times. Let me get your keyboard looking like new.


Name Evil Editor a character in your will.

It's one thing, having to think of all those names for fictional characters in your books. But your will needs names of actual people. I'm talking about people who are going to get your best stuff unless you stop them by specifically leaving that stuff to Evil Editor.

Ornate Picture frame with Picasso watercolor of Evil Editor

#27 in Picasso's Evil Editor series.

 Take Evil Editor on a world cruise aboard your yacht.

I promise to do all my barfing over the side if you promise not to bring your unpublished novel aboard.

An evaluation of a tweet.

Once you tweet, you look like a twit if you screwed up. Let Evil Editor turn your twitness into litness.

Box containing numerous books I bought because I liked the authors' first books, only to discover they were one-hit wonders.

Help me create room in my bookcases for other books by authors who started phoning it in after first-book flukes.

Breakfast with Evil Editor's Chiropractor.

Who knows? Maybe EE will show up and join you!

*EE unlikely to join you.

The Evil Editor Kaleidoscopic-Image Area Rug

Give your living room a touch of sophistication and a splash of color.

*EE not responsible for rug burns resulting from spontaneous love-making sessions.

One Marine mammal.

Dolphin or whale.

*Our choice.

Bubble Bath with Evil Editor.

Nothing beats a soothing, relaxing bubble bath. Unless it's a soothing, relaxing bubble bath with your secret crush.

New Beginning 1028

It’s generally not a good idea to hide from someone by crouching at the bottom of the pool. Firstly, in case you hadn’t noticed, water is usually transparent and doesn’t provide much cover from prying eyes. Secondly, you can’t really stay there for very long. Not unless you were okay with turning blue. But I guess then you’d camouflage nicely with the colour of the pool and it might actually be a great place to hide.

But today it worked. I slid into the far corner of the pool and huddled on the gritty concrete floor and Mum dashed right past me before I got even close to turning blue. Once I was sure she hadn’t just pretended to not see me, I kicked-off and stuck my head out. She’d dashed out the back gate and was looking around wildly and hollering "Ben - Ben!". Probably to see that I hadn’t done what I had promised and crossed my heart I’d never do. Like hop into the pasture with those unbroken horses Dad brought over last night. Wild things, she said. Stupid idea to get within a mile of ‘em.

At least her panicking like that gave me a chance. I could sneak back into the house, dry off and get some clothes on. If I did it fast enough she’d never see where the huge stallion had took a huge chunk out of my back. It was stinging real bad from the pool water too, but I had to suck that up. Who’d have thought an animal that only ate rabbit food could get so mad so quickly?

Actually, now I think about it, Michael Phelps probably would have. They say he's a dab hand at figuring out conundrums when he's not swimming or spelling out his surname over the phone.

Yeah, he'd say, "I'm 100% behind the concept of rabbit food producing madness. If I was forced to eat rabbit food 24/7 I'd go crazy. If I chose to eat it myself I'd already BE crazy, so the conundrum here would be figuring out how rabbit food could make a crazy person even crazier, and I guess it would depend on whether there's a max-out ceiling for craziness beyond which no amount of rabbit food (or pet boosting stimulant of any kind) could ever have any effect."

But that's just supposition I suppose. My stallion wound is not. And turning blue isn't such great camouflage now that the water's turning red.

Opening: Jo Antareau.....Continuation: Whirlochre

Monday, April 28, 2014

New Beginning 1027

Marcia Weston, thirteen years old and wearing a damp purple bikini, mixed martinis on top of her parents’ stereo cabinet.

“Isn’t she something?” Mr. Weston said. “Sophisticated, eh?”

“Yes, sir,” I said automatically. I had never seen a bottle of hard liquor before, much less anyone my age mixing drinks. Mr. Weston put his hands on my shoulders and steered me to Marcia's side. “You two girls go play now.” He picked up the tray of martinis and nudged open the sliding glass door to the patio.

Marcia looked me over, taking in my peter-pan collared shirt and corduroy play pants. “Where’d you move from?”

“Raleigh, North Carolina.”

“Oh my God, you sound like the Andy Griffith Show. No, Gomer Pyle. Here, Rah-lee, take this.” She handed me a shallow dish of green olives and grabbed two bottles of cola. “Come on.”

We retreated to a playhouse in the narrow side yard, shaded by a eucalyptus tree. “What’s with the ‘yes, sir'?” Marcia asked. "Is your dad in the military?" She placed olives on her fingers and waggled them. “Eat one. They're soaked in gin.”

In retrospect, it should have been obvious she was talking about the olives, not her parents, and a bit of  intuition on my part would have prevented the horrors that were to follow.

Opening: IMHO.....Continuation: Anonymous

Friday, April 25, 2014

Practice Query #9

Dearest Ms. Rogers:

May I massage your feet? Does your floor need waxing? Would you like a box of fine chocolate? If you said no to all of the above, then please take moment to read my query. It will delight you. This query will make it to the bestseller list, get a movie deal, and float forever in time.

It's a beautiful day outside and Kasee and Klaire are stocking shelves in their Granpappy's country store, Buck Country Beer Store. He's a fine man they think, and he funds their tattoo and plastic surgery requests, but jeez, when is going to stop stinking up the back room.

It's deer season and hairy, hungry men clamor at 4am to get into the store to get their grub. Sometimes they grab, but Kasee knows that a shotgun dance calms them down. Most of the men are harmless, but when Ted, one of their favorite guys, comes running out of the woods covered in blood, no one is sure whom to trust.

Ted falls, foaming at the mouth, into Klaire's wrinkled button down plaid shirt and dies. The Clockwork Shadow is in the woods again, and he's not going to stop eating hunters. Kasee and Klaire question the situation: should they tell the rude dudes to stay out of the woods, or let them be gone forever amongst the bloody trees? They also wonder how a shadow can eat flesh, and where does Granpappy disappear to at odd hours of the night?

My fictional novel, HUNTING SEASON, of 82,000 words, is sure to delight adults of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Please remember me when cooking bacon because I know you're a bacon fan and so am I. I like biscuits and gravy too.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pratice Query #8

Fy year, Dr John Allcock has taught at Notre Dame, where this bespectacled man of letters has sought to mold the still impressionable minds of young people before the ice-hearted world assaults, incidentally becoming involved in the lives of some of them far beyond what the Dean approves of. Notre Dame is his home, hearth and love and he will not see her sullied by the unclean hands of the ponderous world.

Dr Allcock's Religious Studies classes are always full as word of his unique teaching method of summoning angels to his room draws many curious young people who are skeptical of the appearance of such heavenly beings in our confused world today. But they are real, and not people from the Theatre Department in costumes and so it is with trepidation that Sharlene and Jeff decide to take the class. they are joined by their friends the Warley brothers, twins with red hair and bright green eyes.

But Patrick Warley has a secret and that is that his mother called him the antichrist and now that he is 21 he believes that this might be true. So he tells Dr Allcock that his brother Shamus is the antichrist and hopes the professor kills the right one in class.

Murder 101:Introduction to death is my first non fanfiction novel. I would like it to be published by someone who will pay me money. Thank you.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Practice Query #7

I’d like to tell you about my Urban Fantasy novel, Guardian of the Lost Parakeet (185,000 words in three parts). In my research and pursuit of the genetics of parakeets, I’ve found that own one and share an interest.

When Perry Twitter, a former astronaut and test pilot, returns to Denver after his six month stint on the ISS, he discovers that he can understand the language of his pet parakeets Kiwi and Budge thanks to a stray cosmic ray that altered his genetic structure while on his last assignment, the ISS.

Unknown to any man and most of the governments of the world, parakeets and their enforcers, the secret Brotherhood of Werewolves, rule the world. However, the Malevolent Murder of Crows is challenging the parakeets power over the peoples of the world. Their only salvation is a prophecy that the chosen one, the Perspicacious Panjandrum, will rise form the mundane humans to defeat the murderous crows, acting as the amphotericin B of the human race. However, the Malevolent Murder of Crows are not only using fungal spores to sicken mankind but have enlisted the aid of a Cult of Vampires who have been lying dormant since the Inquisition staked their bloodthirsty hearts to their coffins.

Perry’s initial attempts at revealing the plot gets him crowned King of Comedy Night at the Fun Palace and a $500 award for the best Kevin McCarthy imitation. Proving the plot to the procrastinating world powers requires a leap of faith. Since the Malevolent Murder of Crows is rapidly spreading disease across the world, Perry has only a scant few days to physically join with the parakeets as the prophesied Savior-To-Be-Chosen-One. In his kitchen sink, Perry begins his first molt which will result in his ascending to the heavens giving him the power to defeat the crows and their evil allies, the vampires.

Guardian of the Lost Parakeet is a first novel and is written as emails and tweets. I’d be happy to send you a partial or complete copy of the manuscript for your review.

--Dave F.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Practice Query #6

Dear Evil Editor,

After faking his own death, Dan Duggen learns that a distant relation has left him a stock portfolio worth millions. Now Dan wonders how he can fake his own resurrection without attracting too much attention.

He makes a deal with Josh, an illusionist, and sets a simple plan: Josh has to pretend he’s a medium able to resurrect the dead.

While the Duggens are gathered in the family crypt, Josh puts on his show. But something goes wrong. Josh really manages to raise the dead, and Dan finds himself surrounded by zombie relations.

Whatever Josh has started doesn’t stop. Soon, all the graves in the cemetery are empty and zombies roam everywhere. And when Dan and Josh behead them, they rise again. Josh is one hell of a dead raiser.

Dan has to admit it; family reunions have never been much fun and old aunt Bessie trying to eat his brain is not an improvement.

And if Dan can inherit that money, why can’t aunt Bessie? Should she be discriminated against just because she has an eating disorder?

Now it’s up to Josh and Dan to send the dead back to their graves before all the dead of the world wake up or, even worse, one of Dan’s zombie relations gets the money.

Rest in Peace, Dan Duggen is a fanta-horror novel complete at 90,000 words and can be considered the prequel of World War Z.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Practice Query #5


When, Joanas and Moses Criist, the owners of the popular S&M nightclub Dominion extend the basement, they inadvertently open a portal to Hell. The Devil, or Bezel as his friends call him, doesn't see a conflict of interest between paying customers and lost souls. That is until The Church of You Know Who comes knocking. The signal might as well be worth the Shave and a Haircut riff. Two bits.

The Devil takes Dominion viral as mortal man cries for more debauchery. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse arrive, closing their tour. Imagine a thousand years of exquisite pain. Times are good, Bezel makes money hand over fist and parlays his popularity by opening Dante's Timeshare condominiums. To hell with goodness, the end of days have arrived.

Not wanting to be on the wrong side of history the Almighty turns a new leaf and buys a lifetime membership in Dominion. Now that's a lot of money.

Moses is perturbed at his followers. S&M is his art, his love and muse. He wants to go back to when whips weren't an allegory and decides to go and live in the desert. Joanas is hung up, in denial. All Moses ever wanted was to get his rocks off the front porch and shut the front door. He wonders, will Joanas ever wake up from denial, and will Bezel ever become the friend he said he'd be? Moses isn't sure he'd bet his soul.

Irreverently yours,


Friday, April 18, 2014

Practice Query #4

Dear Evil Editor,

I am seeking representation for my 80,000 word YA paranormal romance, “Stronger than the Night.”

Ella Van Helsing has always slept with a light on. As a child, she sobbed at every sunset. Ella suffers from nyctophobia, an abnormal fear of the night. But Ella isn’t a child any longer -- she’s sixteen, and she wants to ask hunky Taylor Smith to the end-of-term school dance. Ella must overcome her self-imposed ‘home-before-dark’ curfew, or kiss any chance of romance with Taylor good-bye. Adding to the pressure, Ella’s dad is famous vampire-hunter Abraham Van Helsing IV, and he’s deeply ashamed of his daughter.

Ella’s first planned foray into the night, a quick trip to the grocery store, becomes a life-or-death chase through the streets of modern London when she witnesses a trio of vampires kidnap her little brother. In Hyde Park she loses sight of the vampires, but stumbles into a werewolf pack meeting — Taylor’s pack. Her school crush turns out to be the son of the pack’s alpha female, who takes pity on Ella and commands a resentful Taylor to help her.

Ella’s desperate race pushes her to the breaking point, but aided by her wits, Taylor’s supernatural senses, and the garlic marinara sauce in her shopping bag, Ella prevails. She not only rescues her brother and vanquishes her fears, she wins her father’s respect – and Taylor’s adoration.

Thank you for your consideration.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Practice Query #3

Dear Agent,
I am writing you for representation of my murder mystery novel, The Burning of Issobell Key. I am writing you, because in my search for an agent I discovered that you really like spicy food.
When Amelia Pettipants's sweet elderly neighbor Issobell dies in an exploding gas cooker accident, Amelia starts to investigate the odd circumstances around her death. Firstly, the police said that a cigarette ignited the gas fire, but Issobell never smoked, and secondly, Amelia has read enough murder mystery novels to know that nothing ever happens accidentally. Although she is convinced that Issobell was murdered, she struggles to find a motive. Issobell was the kindest old lady in the village of Boring-On-End and had never upset anyone in her life. Except she did make the hottest curries that Amelia had ever eaten. Amelia’s only lead to find the culprit is that one of Issobell’s recent dinner guests must have gotten chronic stomach problems from the intense spice. To track down the killer, Amelia throws a curry-making competition in Issobell's honor. It fails miserably when only three people enter the competition and none of them use chilies in their curry. Amelia finally comes to the depressing realization that everyone in the village is a suspect.
Frustrated and worried about her inability to uncover Issobell's killer, Amelia comes up with her most nefarious plan yet. She will host the entire village for a giant feast of her signature dish, Buffalo wings. To find out who would kill over a case of chronic indigestion she adds a secret ingredient to the wings sauce, a bucket full of the world’s hottest peppers. When she doubles over 75% of the villagers with her aggressively hot Buffalo wings, she realizes that infuriating the killer might be a mistake. But that worry is short lived, because now she won't be able to work out who the killer was as the whole town is out for her blood. Can she fend them off by throwing insanely hot Buffalo wings, or will they cook her up and turn her into the bland meal they all desire?
The Burning of Issobell Key is complete at 70,000 words. I have attached the first five pages of my manuscript, and the Buffalo wings recipe that I modelled Amelia's wings off. Please write back if you would like to request the rest of the manuscript or Issobell's Yorkshire pudding recipe.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Practice Query #2

Dear Evil One,

Apologies for the small handwriting but I am seeking representation for my 80,000 word thriller THE LEPRECHAUN CONNECTION and I'm not the tallest guy in the world.

See that last d? And the period? Took me half an hour to paint those. Ma said it'd be quicker to use a yard broom but that feels disrespectful given your credentials. So I'm sticking with a regular paintbrush. Horse bristles.


So. Anyway. My thriller.

I figure a hard-boiled private eye will play well in the current socio-political climate. Vampires and werewolves are so yesterday. And thanks to the British royal family, interest in princesses has blossomed worldwide, so (genre bust ahoy!) my thriller combines the two.


Back hurts a little. Will return tomorrow. I suppose I should have written 'tom' there and kept things simple to demonstrate my understanding of conciseness and editing etc but I left it in because industriousness and tenacity are bigger hitters in my book, especially when it comes to other people's books. Take Grisham. The guy's a sticker, a worker, a winner.


Apols. In hosp.


Eye rescues princesc
godam yard broom

If U want more, doc says I'm gtg for visits after 5pm.

Thx 4 tm & cons.

Rafferty O Flafferty O Lafferty


This dbls as follow-up 4 in 3 months.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Practice Query #1

It was a typical morning in Marion, Iowa, when John went out to the fields. Warm, pleasant, soft clouds on the horizon. No one ever saw the tornado that slammed him onto the corn crib. It was just a 'freak accident'.

At the hospital, they give him a choice: spend a miserable life as a quadriplegic, or permit experimental cyborg surgery. Unable to face a life without motion, John opts for the surgery.

Melded to a harrow, with small pitchforks for hands, he grows restless for his farm. But before he can return to his beloved land, one scientist makes him an offer. Join the underground Cyborg Fight Club, where he can make a small fortune that will allow him to expand his farm and truly live comfortably.

The fight club is easy money and no worries, at first. Until the day he meets Suzy Cola, a lovely vending machine cyborg. Unfortunately, her unscrupulous handler is forcing her to dispense her favors for anyone who can put in enough coins.

Determined to save her, John makes a rash vow--to meet the deadly Jean-Luc Zamboni in a fight. If he can beat the ice crusher, Suzy will be free and they can escape to his farm. If not? There's no 'if not'. He's taking down that Canuck junkmobile, or going to the scrap heap trying.

Cyborg Harrow is complete at 143,000 words. I'm a small time farmer who practices cyborg taxidermy, so this story is close to my heart. May I send you my MS?


Monday, April 14, 2014

Query Writing Practice

Help us get through the current lull in query submissions.

Go to this random integer generator.

Click "again." It should give you a number between 1 and 1199.

Search this blog for the Face-Lift with that number.

Choose one of the fake plots, pretend it's the plot of your just-completed book, and write a query letter that's sure to garner requests for the book from literary agents.

As always, humor is appreciated.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Face-Lift 1199

Guess the Plot

Alpha of the Lost Clan

1. Alpha is sooo tired of chicks banging her door down. Really. Just because erotica is all the rage and every Joan, Eve and Sally thinks she needs an Alpha to get her rocks off doesn't mean a gal should have have to keep her number unpublished. Sheesh!

2. If you'll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal.
I can call you Betty,and Betty when you call me.
You can call me Al-pha of the lost clan-pets.
Well the first thing you know ol' Jed's a millionaire,
His kinfolk said, Jed, move away from there,
Said Californy is the place you oughtta be.
So, they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly. Hills that is...

3. What happens when you're the alpha of your werewolf clan, but you're also the only member of your clan still alive? Who do you bully? You can either give up, or take your shot at becoming king of all the werewolves.

Original Version

Dear agent,

I’d like to tell you about my Urban Fantasy novel, ALPHA OF THE BLOOD CLAN (85,900 words). [What makes you think I'm interested in urban fantasy?] In my research and pursuit of an agent I’ve found that you are interested in that Genre. [I knew I shoulda put "memoirs of Saharan skiers" on that AgentQuery questionnaire.]

When Fudo Nagato, an Ex-Soldier and Alpha Werewolf,
[He became an ex-soldier when the other soldiers found out he was a werewolf. Don't ask don't tell policy wasn't keeping guys from having their throats ripped out.] returns to St. Louis after a relentless [Fruitless?] quest searching for more of his kind, ["His kind" meaning alpha werewolves, werewolves, or werewolves of his clan?] he is suddenly thrown into a war that could lead to the extinction of his race.

Hidden from the humans of St Louis is a secret civilization of Werewolves, [How come "Werewolves" is capitalized and "humans" isn't? For that matter, how come "Ex-Soldier," "Urban Fantasy" and "Genre" are all capitalized?] [You gotta feel pretty stupid to go on a quest for werewolves only to come home and find an entire civilization of them living in the place where you started.] engaged in a struggle to thwart a malevolent entity known as the Darkness, by the supernatural world, which is dedicated to destroying humanity. [I can't tell if it's the Darkness or the supernatural world that's dedicated to destroying humanity.] [I'd get rid of "by the supernatural world." I assume it modifies "known," but that's not totally clear, and dumping it may solve the previous problem.] Fudo is approached by a delegation of Alphas from the Council of the High Wolf nation and is informed not only is he the Alpha of the Blood Clan, which was thought to be extinct, [Being the alpha isn't such a big deal if you're the only one left.] but heir to the Kingship of his race. [The race of all werewolves?] [When you return home from a long quest and a bunch of strangers declare you their king, you can bet what they're really after is someone to fight their battle against some evil entity dedicated to destroying humanity.] Their vicious adversary stretches out its evil power and its most ruthless minion, the No-Name-Nomad [No ruthless minion would call himself the No-Name-Nomad. He needs a name that will strike fear into the hearts of humans. I suggest Korlach. Lord of the Dark Realm.] is able to touch our plane of existence to work his dark will. [Whose dark will? The Darkness's or Korlach, Lord of the Dark Realm's?] The Utopia Agency, a secret government group, who are aware of the Werewolves, tries to capture Fudo for experimentation purposes, leaving him no course but to fight back. Fudo, realizing the odds are growing increasingly against him, gathers his strength knowing the battle for the leadership of the High Wolf Nation is at hand. [What battle? The High Wolf Nation declared him heir to the kingship. Now he has to battle for the position? Does he even want the position?]

Can he prove to the disbelievers of his race that the Thirteen Clan has indeed arisen from the ashes? [I thought it was the Blood Clan. What's the Thirteen Clan?] Can he find courage and overcome his constant doubts about his Werewolf’s animalistic instincts to lead his people in the ongoing war before he and all he cares about is destroyed? [Is that the ongoing war for the leadership or against the Utopia Agency or against the Darkness?]

ALPHA OF THE LOST CLAN is a first novel [So now it's the Lost Clan? Either distinguish between Blood, Lost and Thirteen, or stick with one of them in the query. And especially in the title. I'd go with "Lost" as it tells us a little something.] and has twenty two chapters. [Chapters don't matter. Words do.] I’d be happy to send you a partial or complete copy of the manuscript for your review. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you,



When the plot description begins, Fudo is suddenly thrown into a war that could lead to the extinction of his race. But later the enemy is said to be out to destroy humanity. Is Fudo's race humanity or werewolves?

Hard to believe no one knew who was heir to the kingship until Fudo happened along.

Is Fudo an ex-soldier in the US Army or the High Wolf Nation?

This is stuff you want us to keep straight while also following your plot:

Nations                               Races                        Clans             Organizations

USA                                     Humans                         Blood              Utopia Agency
High Wolf                           werewolves                  Thirteen           High Wolf Council
Supernatural World        malevolent entities        Lost                 Chapter 22

We can't be bothered.

Why are werewolves taking responsibility for defeating an entity set on destroying humanity? Why isn't humanity chipping in? They have better weapons.

Focus on Fudo and his goal. If you had to tell us his main goal, would it be finding others like him or defeating the Darkness? I can't tell if the Darkness is one obstacle blocking his path to finding others of his kind, or if fighting the Darkness is the main storyline.

Possible organization:

1. Setup: Who is the main character, what's the situation, what does MC want?
2. Plot: What's MC's plan? What keeps him from succeeding?
3. Wrapup: What happens if MC fails? Is there a Plan B? What's the new threat?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Password Update

Okay, it now appears the hacking of evledtr took place on an email account I rarely use anymore ( not my current account. So apparently I changed the wrong account's password, but now I've changed the other one as well.

Password changed

So yesterday Google informed me that someone tried to log on to my account with my password from Barcelona. I changed passwords. Today two people informed me that my account is sending them spam. Not sure whether that's spam that took its time getting there or spam from someone who already guessed my new password. Google security says there's been no activity on my account that didn't originate from my home since the Barcelona incident, but I changed the password again anyway, this time to something no one will ever guess: rutabag#*&^a54321bla$t0ffff(rockett$cience).

Monday, April 07, 2014

Face-Lift 1198

Guess the Plot


1. Farmer Hank whispers everyday, "If I'd a seen it long enough, I woulda been able to get a pitcher." His wife Carolyn keeps a picture of it--an undocumented UFO--in her lingerie drawer. Will she finally show it to her husband, or will the men in black get it first?

2. Adyseen, daughter of Archangel Gabriel, is not your typical college sophomore. She's not into vampires, werewolves, or boys in general. But when a young man with disturbingly smoldering green eyes becomes her Chem 1 lab partner, she begins to thaw. Wait till she finds out he's really Beelzebub's son.

3. Simply rub Adyseen all over your writer's block and WITHIN SECONDS you'll be transformed into an author of such prodigious proportions that only Evil Editor would dare to spurn you! Bonus! This free 750 word sample comes with full instructions for making it as a haiku enthusiast in the Afterlife!

4. Ady was a breech birth. At five she went to first grade before kindergarten. When she learned her numbers, she started at infinity and counted backwards. At sixteen she crashed her car in reverse. Ady earned her PhD before she was a freshman and quit a job before starting it.
Now, she's missing. Has anyone Adyseen?

5. Adyseen wants nothing more than to be invisible to her fellow middle-grade students. She's got braces, squinty eyes, and worst of all -- her skin is green. But the kids who taunt her with cries of "AdyGreen" will soon learn -- superpowers tend to arise at puberty.

6. The Adyseen people's pantheon of gods has been wiped out, all except Haott, the war god. And he's pissed. Now it's up to one young woman with no special powers to defeat vast tribes of fiendish creatures and Haott himself thereby leading the Adyseen to a glorious future with new and better gods.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Greetings, I am looking for an agent who will work with me to publish my epic fantasy novel, Adyseen, and two sequential novels that will complete a trilogy. The manuscript for Adyseen is complete at a traditional word count of 170,000. [When did 170,000 become the traditional word count?] I have completed an outline for the trilogy and am currently working on producing the second novel.

I am intrigued by the concept of the destruction of religions. [Unfortunately my attempts to destroy a few have failed miserably, mostly because I spend all my free time writing 170,000-word novels.] What becomes of the gods that are destroyed when a pantheon is wiped out? What if you missed one? What if the one you missed was a god of war? [What if you answered these questions instead of asking them?]  Let’s face it; an angry god is daunting whether you are an antagonist or a hero. Following an effect and cause motif, [Unlike the chicken-or-egg controversy, there's a solid answer to which comes first, the cause or effect.] Adyseen is the tale of two souls, Raizsha and Torwand, who are separated by an age [Not clear whether that means one is from the Bronze Age and the other from the Iron Age, or one is fifteen and the other is sixteen.] but bound by the vengeance of Hā′ŏtt, a powerful god of war who suffers [survives] the destruction of his pantheon [Apparently he wasn't powerful enough.] to become a solitary god. [I would say ...Hā′ŏtt, the last surviving god of his pantheon.]

Raizsha is a spirited young woman born of the Adyseen, a people that exist in a hellish realm roamed by vast tribes of fiendish creatures. [That sounded like a good sentence with which to begin the query.] She is the unwitting pawn of Haott, who created her [Is there no contradiction between saying she's born of the Adyseen and created by Haott?] for the sole purpose of rectifying [restoring?] the past that has been buried by the treachery of Haott’s own priests. [I see Hā′ŏtt decided to drop the weird diacritical marks. Historians will be eternally grateful.] [A truly evil god would instead have added an umlaut, a tilde and a cedilla.] [Also, If you have the ability to create a being to help you gain revenge on those who destroyed your pantheon, can't you come up with something better than a young woman? Like Godzilla or Superman?] Driven by the fear [Fearing] that the fate of the Adyseen is to end up like the fiends they abhor, Raizsha casts herself into the embrace of a war that will break her body and test her resolve to its limits. Her trials bring her into conflict with the fiend that drives the fate of her people, and an unforgettable encounter with love, [Of the fiend?] as she draws ever closer to unraveling the will of Haott. [She doesn't sound like an unwitting pawn. Why do you call her that?] [Why haven't these vast tribes of fiendish creatures wiped out the Adyseen yet?]

Formidable, if somewhat moody, Torwand is the High Priest of Haott. Betrayed by the queen he loves, he struggles to unveil the evil that she has invited into their land. Torwand endures his culpability when his indecisiveness leads to the demise of twelve of the thirteen Gods his people worship. Torwand will set the wheel of fate in motion that will divide his people, casting his followers into a foreign land to pursue a fiend, while leaving the rest to the whim of an enemy king that seeks to destroy their religion and bring a great evil to power in its place. Torwand’s struggles construct the history that Raizsha must discover to break her people free from the bonds of their past. [The Torwand paragraph should come before the Raizsha paragraph if his role was played out first.] [The fact it's in present tense is confusing if it came ages before the Raizsha part. I read most of the paragraph thinking R and T were contemporaries.]

I am an aspiring fantasy novelist, however; [However?] my passion, creativity, and strength in writing has earned me monetary awards in several competitive essay contests covering a variety of subjects. [Get rid of that; it probably wouldn't be helpful even if it weren't so vague.]  I thank you for your time and effort in reviewing my submission. If you find that my story excites your interest, I would be happy to supply further materials for your consideration.



I have very little idea what happens in this book. The first plot paragraph suggests this is the story of Haott, the war god who survived the destruction of his pantheon, and who is now pissed. I wouldn't mind reading about how he takes revenge on Torwand and all the other Adyseen. Then we get Raizsha, who was created by Haott, but seems more interested in fiends than the war god. If she's Haott's pawn, she should be helping him get revenge, not battling fiends. Then we have Torwand, who is to blame for Haott's being a solitary god. Putting him at the end is like putting the tornado scene after Dorothy gets to the Emerald City.

I suggest organizing the story as follows:

Paragraph 1 (setup): In the fiend-infested kingdom of Adyseen, the high priest Torwand does ____________, destroying the pantheon of gods--all except Haott, god of war. Haott didn't like that, he said I'm gonna get that boy.

P2 (main storyline): _____ years later, Raizsha, a young woman created by Haott to help him in his plan to restore the past, does _____________, in hopes of ________________. But her plans go awry when ______________ happens.

P3 (wrapup): Raizsha comes up with Plan B: _________________. If it works, ____________________ happens, but if it fails, __________________ happens.

Once you fill in the blanks and make it sound like a professional writer wrote it, you still have room to add a few details about the war or the romance.

Do the people still worship the one god who survived? If not, what is their current religion? A religion installed by the enemy king who destroyed theirs?

How is it that one specific fiend is driving the fate of the Adyseen? And if a fiend is driving their fate what's this "wheel of fate" that Torwand set in motion?

Long sentences with big words may be the style of the book, but try to keep things simple in the query. From the "Driven by fear" sentence on, it's hard work for the reader, and too vague to reward that work.

The question What if you missed one? and the phrase "the treachery of Haott's own priests" suggest wiping out the pantheon was intentional. The claim that Torwand's indecisiveness was responsible suggests he wasn't trying to wipe them out.

Raizsha casts herself into the embrace of a war; Torwand casts his people into a foreign land. I'm not sure "casts" is the best word in either case. Is it casting like casting a fishing line? Like casting a magic spell? Like casting as in giving a role to play? I can see them all making sense, though with different meanings.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Success Story

I've already posted about Jennifer Buhl's book Shooting Stars (queried in Face-Lift 1028, officially released yesterday). Jennifer appeared yesterday on Entertainment Tonight to promote the book. You can watch the full episode here.   Or fast-forward to her interview, which is about 16 minutes in.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Face-Lift 1197

Guess the Plot


1. His name is Mallet. Duke Mallet. Follow the adventures of the baddest parking inspector along the mean streets of Hicksville.

2. He's  tough, a loner, a PI who doesn't play by the rules. Criminals and other bad guys fear him. Men admire him. Women desire him. He's not just an action hero, he's...Mallet.

3. Parolee John Mallet sets out for Manitoba to hunt down his ex-wife and reconnect with his daughter. Of course, Sandy's remarried, and her new husband, Mark Hammer, has convinced Shelly that her dad is a tool. Can he find redemption, and a place in Shelly's life?

4. Johnny fishes all day, everyday, in the brackish waters of Florida'a estuaries. Oh, sure, he's caught Chinook and Tarpon, but Johnny just throws them back. He's after the elusive Mallet. He's tried worms, shrimp, minnows and every jig ever made, but no Mallets. Until one day, when a weathered old man walks up and whispers the secret word to catch Mallet. "Mullet." Confusion ensues.

5. Murder by polo mallet is all too common among the British upper crust. So when billionaire polo fanatic John Rouge gets a craving for fish and chips and flies his plane into town for take-out, and disappears, the worst is feared. But if he was bludgeoned to death with a polo mallet, where's the body?

6. When Josh shows up with an ironic mullet at his company's annual party, the CEO shows up with one too, and instantly gives Josh the promotion he deserves. But will the mallet-wielding intern Josh just fired ruin his chances with Kate, the hot executive assistant?

7. It’s 1923 and Hank Mallet is a private investigator in San Francisco. He’s hired by a Chinese lady, Madame Mu Chu, to find her missing daughter. But she isn’t. Hank digs deeper and discovers a sex slavery ring and an opium smuggling rival gang. Several attempts are made on Hank’s life as he unravels each layer of these criminal organizations.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

When Amanda’s best friend Dionne and her millionaire boyfriend John Rouge disappear while taking a float plane to get fish and chips, Amanda wants to be concerned. But she’s more worried about staying alive.

Dionne invites Amanda to a charity polo match, where she meets John’s dysfunctional family. His brother Adrian is a money pit, losing John’s loan money in bad bets and investments. Daughter Lilian won’t get a job, but has no trouble spending her daddy’s money. Old army buddy Barry Morgan hangs onto his past as a British rock star, and won’t accept the fact he’s a dried up has-been [and not even British]. [In my neck of the woods, it's "washed-up"; "dried-up" refers to a face so wrinkled it looks like a prune. Except when it refers to a source of money that is no longer gushing forth.] [In any case, if you call him a has-been, we will assume he's washed-up.] This doesn’t stop him from vying for Lilian’s affections.

Amanda also meets Connor West. At first, she takes him for a groom, but he is a polo star, and John’s protégé.

When a real groom turns up dead at the polo tournament, the police immediately suspect Connor, since he was found unconscious on the scene. [The most likely suspect is a guy who wasn't conscious? That's like someone asking who won the swim meet, and you say, "I'm not sure, but if I had to guess, it was the guy who drowned."] As the investigation drags on, Amanda is invited to accompany the group to John’s remote lake island. A series of strange events [Such as?] result in accidental – or possibly deliberate – deaths. 

[Detective 1: The victim was bludgeoned to death with a polo mallet.

Detective 2: Deliberately?]

By the end of the weekend, Amanda is forced to match wits with two members of the group who will do anything to grab John Rouge’s fortune. [Which two? Are the two collaborating? You can't just grab someone's fortune. Explain how they can get the fortune. And why is Amanda matching wits with them? She has nothing to do with John's fortune.]

MALLET is complete at 65,000 words. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards,


If you want to call it Mallet, but want it to be accessible to more people, change it from the cutthroat world of high-level polo to the cutthroat world of high-level croquet.

We have a list of suspects, which is good for a murder mystery, but what they're suspected of is a bit nebulous. Did the death of the groom bring anyone closer to John Rouge's fortune? Who is dying on the island, and who is closer to the fortune because of it? To grab the fortune, do you have to be mentioned in John's will? Were the victims in the will? Why is Amanda worried about staying alive? She's not standing between anyone and the fortune.

When do John and Dionne disappear? Before or after the group go to the island? You'd think a billionaire would have a kitchen staff on call and ready to whip up some fish and chips at a moment's notice, and wouldn't have to fly into town for some take-out fish and chips. If he wanted to disappear, taking Dionne sightseeing in the plane is a better excuse than picking up some fish and chips. Unless . . . was he flying to this place, winner of the best fish and chips award three years running? (Of course they won; their fish cakes are always 50% fish.)

This needs to focus more on Amanda. Why is she involved? Why is she in danger? What's her plan? Have any authorities been summoned to deal with the numerous deaths and disappearances?

Your best friend invites you to join her and her boyfriend and his dysfunctional family on a remote island, and then leaves the island with the boyfriend, leaving you alone with his family who are complete strangers to you? Shouldn't that be former best friend?