So you can read my books

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I've just sent out another query to a new agent. This time for my YA fantasy, THE MOON & SUN AS MY BRIDES. I thought it might prove helpful to those of you out there trying to write a query. Take what you find useful and leave the rest to the winds.

So here is another dream cast onto the mysterious sea of fate :

Dear Ms. ______ :

I know you must be weary of TWILIGHT knock-off's. Me, too. But for different reasons. Although I left my teen years some light years ago, I still enjoy the innocence and the angst of YA. I mean, TWILIGHT is a siren song of supernatural, forbidden love. CITY OF GLASS {Mortal Instruments} is a haunting tale of dove and serpent. But guys like to read, too.

Guys want a read that is a wild beast in the mind, surging along with fast-paced plotting and leaping-off-the-page characters. They want to be thrilled, to be made to laugh out loud, and, believe it or not, to be made to think -- usually outside the box -- but is that such a bad thing? So when they browse the teen section in the bookstore and read titles like WHY IS MY VAMPIRE BOYFRIEND PRETTIER THAN I AM?, they must mutter, "Help!"

Help! We've all cried that either mentally or just flat out loud. All of us have faced moments when we longed to be rescued. But mostly we must rescue ourselves. We must wear our own spandex, be our own hero.

Fifteen year old Blake Adamson has no spandex - only a world of nightmare. In the orphanage that is more prison than sanctuary, he retreats into books. But one night, a fire forces him to face reality.

Or does he face reality at all? Is he awake, or is he lost in the fever dreams of a burn-induced coma? Like Alice over a hundred years before him, Blake faces a world of wonder, insanity, and danger. He feels pain. But is that merely from the injuries of the fire as he lies in some hospital bed, or has the world always been larger, more mysterious than he ever imagined?

In the end, he decides reality is what you make it. It doesn't matter if what he sees are delusions within a coma or a wondrous journey through the worlds suggested by quantum mechanics. What matters are the choices he makes, the friends he holds dear, and the pain he can ease.

But then, he meets the enemy in this strange realm that threatens the two girls he has grown to love : himself. How do you battle yourself? And if saving the two girls you love means death for you, what do you do?

THE MOON & SUN AS MY BRIDES is a 90,000 word paranormal Young Adult adventure. I have just finished the rough draft of the sequel, LAST EXIT TO BABYLON. Thank you for the time you've spent reading my query. To get a better feel for my writing voice and my range, you might want to drop by my blog {Yes I have one of those, too.}

In compliance with your submission guidelines, here is a short sample of my writing. And since you love to take dance classes, here is an excerpt where my hero learns to dance aboard a haunted junk as he sails across the myterious Sea of Fate. He is accompanied by the raven Munnin, fleeing servitude to Odin, the legendary Maori warrior, Hone Heke, and the Sun goddess, Kirika Amaterasu :

What had Napoleon said? That if you pretended long enough, you became what you pretended. Well, then, I would pretend that we would make it out of this mess. All three of us, Kirika, Fallen, and me. I reluctantly pulled back from our kiss, both our mouths wet from it.

"You know what Napoleon told me?"

Kirika slowly stroked my cheek with soft fingers. "What, beloved?"

"That when you fought for love, you always won, even when you lost."

Muninn cawed sharp, "I seem to remember he said --"

Speaking as one, we turned to him and snapped, "Shut up!"

Then, realizing we had acted as one, we both sputtered in sad giggles. Muninn smiled. I nuzzled my head against his. The wise little guy had spoken up on purpose. It was good to finally have friends ... and love.

I wasn't alone anymore.

The next seven days were nothing like the week before it. They were magic, a time of happiness, healing, and laughter. Kirika seemed intent to focus only on the moment, never talking of the past or even acting like there would be a tomorrow. And I was more than happy to let her. But every now and then, I would catch a cloud of darkness flicker across her ivory face. Then, she would notice me looking at her, fling back her long hair, and wisk me away to some new wonder on board or upon the black Sea of Fate. Or more maddening, tease me with playful fingers or lips that would just skim across mine before leaping back in a throaty giggle.

I made a mistake that first day of telling her about my spooky dream. She laughed til tears came to her eyes as I spoke of Muninn dancing a waltz with a tiny Bast. But I left out what the cat goddess had said to him. Muninn glared at me as if willing the whole tale back into my mouth. And afterwards, I wished I could have oblidged.

She insisted on teaching me how to waltz. I was wooden-footed and awkward. Kirika was patient. Muninn was mocking. And Hone? He gleefully helped stoke the fires by playing waltz after waltz on a pipe he magically pulled out of his inside shirt pocket. Slowly, as hour followed hour, I got better until by the end of the first day, Kirika was satisfied enough with my progress to switch to something she called the Rumba.

I protested, trying to keep my voice from sounding like a little girl's, as she demonstrated the swaying hip movements. "I can't move like that!"

She giggled, swaying up to me, pressing her lower body against mine. "Of course, you can."

Hone started to pipe a wild gypsy tune as she smiled, "The Rumba is several dances melted into one. The guaracha --"

Her hips began to gyrate in a way that made me tingle all over. "The Cuban Bolero ---"

She swirled around me, rubbing her, ah, bottom against mine. "And the rural Rumba, which is really a dance of exhibition, not of participation."

Hone stopped playing, "I don't know, honey, your tush seems to be participating with his just fine. Too fine. You know, there're no cold showers on this tub."

She giggled and swirled in front of me. "The steps are quite simple, Blake. Here, see? The rhythm is set in counts of four of equal time. Look, the basic footwork is even more simple. Three steps taken on the first three beats of a measure, with a hold ---"

"A what?," I frowned.

She moved in, kissing me lightly, nipping me sharp on the upper lip as she pulled away. "A hold, silly rabbit. No step on the fourth beat."

"Oh, sure. I knew that."

She laughed throaty, moving her hips in a way that made me want Hone to turn away. "Of course, you did."

Her eyes grew heavy somehow, as her hips began to sway hypnotically. She moved closer and closer to me. She reached out to my hips, grabbed them, then, started moving them in time to her own.

"Let me help," she breathed. "That's right. Move, flow with the music."

"Wh-What music?"

"Can you not feel the pounding of the blood in your ears? Listen. Listen as I rub my hips against yours. Now? Can you hear it?"

I nodded slow, caught in the spell of her brown eyes. "I thought you could. Oh, now, you're doing even better."

She ran her hands up my sides, then back down to my hips, guiding them into hers. "The Rumba is an old, old dance. Long ago, we Ningyo's gave it to the Cubans as a way for the woman to attract and ultimately dominate her man with her ---"

She tickled my ear as she whispered into it, "--- her feminine charms."

Hone was suddenly right by us, pushing us apart. "Alright, that does it. No sex standing up. Not unless I can jump in."

"Hone!," I sputtered.

He winked. "Just kidding, kid."

He laughed deep. "Now, I'll teach you a Maori war dance."

Kirika scowled, "Fitting, old man. I am in the mood for war right now."

He laughed cruel. "Thought you might be. Here, watch how a warrior does it."

He bent in a fluid flourish and picked up his staff. "Can't do it right without the traditional Maori Killing Stick."

He grinned at me. "Last time, I remember doing this, poor Hina lost her hula skirt."

He rolled his eyes. "She almost killed me when she found out I had untied the knot when she wasn't looking."

He spun his staff in a blur. Twisting at the hips, he jumped and spun in the air like a jungle cat, landing like one on the balls of his feet. Jungle cat? My scalp began to prickle at a ridiculous idea. But he spun me around, up, and over his shoulder, then stomped happily with both feet. He broke out into a roaring chant.

"Kamate. Kamate.

Ka Ora. Ka Ora.

Tenei te tangata


nana nei i tiki mai

I whakawhiti te ra

Upane Upane

Whiti te ra!"

Thanks to Solomon's gift of Tongues, I knew what Hone was singing. And singing in not a bad voice either. Kirika wasn't so blessed. She pouted.

"It is impolite to sing so we cannot understand. For all we know, you could be shouting the recipe for penguin soup."

He laughed and twirled her in a square dance kind of circling loop. Despite herself, Kirika giggled, caught up in his genuine lust for life and the dance. He swung about and, dropping his staff, looped his right arm through mine. Then, we found ourselves skipping and dancing all about the deck as Hone bellowed in English this time.

"It is Death! It is Death!

It is Life! It is Life!

This is the hairy one, (he mussed my wild hair as he sang those words),

Who caused the sun to


Abreast. Keep abreast!

The rank. Hold fast!

Into the sun that shines."

Hone swung us all about, while impossibly stamping his feet merrily and shouting, "Kia korero te katoa o te tinana. (The whole body should speak.)"

"What you said," giggled Kirika.

Hone swept us around some more as he bellowed out again :

"Ringa pakia

Uma tiraha

Turi whatia

Hope whai ake

Waewae takahia kia kino."

Kirika punched him in the ribs, and he chuckled out :

"Slap the hands against the thighs. (Which he did gleefully.)

Puff out the chest. ( I thought Hone's shirt buttons would pop off.)

Bend the knees. ( I almost fell as he dragged us down with him.)

Let the hip follow. (He frowned as Kirika swayed much too sexy.)

Stamp the feet as hard as you can. (We all laughed as we did just that.)"

Hone yelled, "Now, the pukana." (And he dilated his eyes like a guy with a thyroid condition.)

As Kirika pulled away giggling, Hone laughed, "Next, the whetero!"

And he stuck out his tongue so far I thought he was a human lizard.

Kirika folded her arms. "By no means! I am quite careful where I stick my tongue." (And she gazed at me in such a way, I tingled in places I hoped Hone didn't notice.)

"That's alright, honey," smiled Hone, slapping, puffing, bending, and stamping away. "The whetero can be only done by men."

Her eyes narrowed. "Oh, really?"

She stuck out her tongue right at him, looking not a bit fearsome, but like a mad little girl.

He reached out and swung her in a happy circle. "Yeah, who cares about centuries of tradition when I can finally see that cute little tongue of yours. Ouch!"

She had kicked him in the shin. And Hone added a few new dance steps to the Peruperu, the war haka of the Maori. He glared at her.

"You know, princess, there's the potete that only women can do."

She looped her arm back with his and smiled like a happy cat with canary feathers in her mouth. "Oh, and what is that?"

"The closing of the eyes -- like you're gonna do now!"

And with that, he swung her over his shoulder and around his waist to set her right next to me with a thud.

She steadied herself against me with a shaky hand. "No, I think I'll just do the whetero again."

And she proceeded to stick out her tongue at him, lunging in a blur and slamming a foot right into his other shin. "Oh, look, Blake, some more new steps for us to learn."

And she spun me around, leaping up and down, rubbing her own shin bone. "I like this new step!"

"I hate it," Hone grumbled, then held his sides laughing.

He reached out and hugged the two of us. "Now, that's how the Maori dance!"


I am a former high school teacher, family counselor, and now a blood courier. The last a result of being evacuated from Lake Charles due to Hurricane Rita and having to support myself any way I could. I found I liked the job and the people with whom I worked. I stayed.

Thank you for taking the time to read my query. I would be happy to send you sample chapters or the full manuscript. I hope that you find some gem in the flood of submissions that pour your way. May your Spring hold only happy surprises with some relief for punished eyes and swamped workloads.

Roland D. Yeomans M.A.

And not to leave my favorite character, Sam McCord left out totally, here is his favorite scene from the ancient movie, THE ELECTRIC HORSEMAN :


  1. I love your spirit, Roland, and I hope you have every success with this manuscript!

    Two small concerns, if you don't mind my saying so: 1) I think it's generally considered a bad idea to mention any iconic bestsellers in a query, even if it's to point out how your book is different. and 2) is excerpt you've included the opening of your book? Because in my experience, I've found that it's pretty standard that if an agent asks for sample pages, they want the opening and will usually ignore or reject anything else.

    Query Shark ( is a brilliant place to look at critiques of queries and see what agents want from a letter. Everything I've mentioned above is pretty much what I've learned from trawling through agent blogs and from my own experience with querying.

    That said, I think the story sounds like an awful lot of fun (and a blessed change from Twilight-esque derivatives) and it would be lovely if we heard more about this!

  2. what sangu said... and, watch those errant apostrophes... i know the editors will catch em for you, but....

  3. I hope it going well with the manuscript. And I love the blue picture in top:-)
    Thank for your nice comment on my blog.
    Wish you a great evening from Norway:-)

  4. Sangu : You're right on both counts, of course. I just sometimes get weary of pretending not to see the elephant in the front room. It was my way to empathize with a weary agent. But I will prune that out of my next query.

    Same for the dancing scene. Few novels I know start out with one. And yes, I broke yet another rule by adding a later scene. So if I get rejected on this, at least I will know why, right?

    Laughing Wolf : Your echo of Sangu tends to make me believe I strayed from the path for certain. I've looked for those darn apostrophes, and I couldn't find them. Freudian blindness I guee.

    Thanks Eric and Spiderdama, a blood run just called and I have to warp speedd out of here!

  5. I've always heard shorter is better....

    Good luck with this process. I'll be crossing my fingers and toes for you!

  6. Good luck with your manuscript, you really deserve it, the way you write is incredible, you have an innate talent. It's been a while since I don't visit your blog, just a lot of work.

    Thoughts of a Career Woman

  7. I'm back for a moment of catching my breath between runs. Whew!

    Everyone, the query letter before this one is the one to look at when you're shaping your own. It follows all the conventional wisdom plus personalizing it to the specific agent I was addressing.

    The query in this latest post breaks rules as some have wisely seen.

    I broke them on purpose. Not that I'm suicidal, mind you. First, I wanted to mention that the iconic hits lately have been geared to girls. Well-written though they are, they hold little for the young adult reader.

    I wanted to point out my YA fantasy was geared to the male YA readers. I read in several interviews that the newer agent I was addressing loved dancing classes. In my novel there is a fun dance lesson.

    I went, "Oh, what the h___, Roland, send the scene to her. It might interest her on a personal level. Always good to connect to an agent on that level.

    And, yes, my query is almost certainly guaranteed to be rejected because it is not the first scene. But it's not like I've been getting accepted in droves by playing by the rules. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut, knowing that the rules are there for a reason.

    And this is an agent who will only respond if she likes the query. Why not push all the chips on red and go for broke. Dare to go with your heart, so to speak.

    But for you, Wendy, B. Miller, and Scott : On your first outing, play the odds, write by the rules, write a query by the four P's --

    Personality :(make your MC intriguing and someone the reader can root for.)

    Primal : Make the stakes high, life, sex, death, the I.R.S. (just kidding on that last to see if you were paying attention.) And make the outcome look dismal for the hero.

    Pressure : escalate it in geometric porportions, never letting up. Even in a brief query, let your agent see that the MC's troubles brew like a massive storm, threatening to break loose at any moment.

    Precise : Be precise, direct, and most importantly, short. A long query is death. When we're Dean Koontz, we can go on about our dog. Until then, the meter is running, and the agent's patience is short.

    I hope this comment helps counter the bad example of the query in this post, Roland

  8. Good luck to you! I hope it works out for you!

  9. Good luck, Roland!! I hope things go well for you! (I love YA, too!)

    And, I've tagged you on my blog...