The Writer’s Voice Entry: FIELD OF BONES

Query: 

Dear Wonderful Judges,

Seventeen-year-old Cade Shor just murdered his girlfriend—with a kiss.

He didn't mean to kill Hailey—he's not even sure how it happened. But with new instincts driving him to kill again, he doesn’t have much time to figure out how to stop the bloodshed and the assassin now hell-bent on taking his head.

Cade starts looking for help with his best friend Ana, but neither of them expects punk-ass Malachi to be the answer to their questions. He explains that Cade’s a Reaper—an immortal tasked with releasing the souls of the dying from their bodies. As a Ward, Malachi is tasked with guiding and protecting Reapers—but he hasn’t told them everything.

What Cade doesn’t know is that he’s a direct descendant of the most powerful Reaper on record, and his killings have caught the attention of a formidable group. To them, he’s a loose cannon and a risk to their establishment.

If Cade doesn't learn how to control his body's new addiction to the life force of the living—and fast—an assassin will be the least of his problems.

FIELD OF BONES is a completed 86,000-word paranormal YA novel written in Cade and Ana's alternating POVs, and is a standalone novel with series potential. Thank you for your time.



First 250: 

I don't usually think much when making out with my girlfriend, but right now I think I might be dying.

A part of me has shifted—broken off and crashed over my lungs and heart, leaving shrapnel in the muscles lining my ribcage. Fire drips down my chest and spreads smoothly across my body like God exhaling into me. My skin prickles with electricity and my mind overflows with neon color and laughter. I've never been into drugs, but when you feel like you might explode from the raw power flooding your veins, high barely covers it.

I'm not high—I'm on the moon. I'm on freaking Jupiter.

It’s incredible—too incredible—my heart is seconds away from giving out, my brain on the verge of shutting down, and this kiss. This frickin’ amazing kiss.

I think it’s killing me.

“911, what's your emergency?”

The colors fade from my mind and it's like I'm waking from a dream I could spend eternity in, but the real world doesn't feel right—it's cold, dark, empty. I'm in a car but I can't remember whose it is. Bright street lights from the parking lot loom over me like a spotlight.

Then I see her.

Slumped over in my arms, barely breathing, pale and cool to the touch. As I sit her up, her head lolls on her shoulders, limp, delicate. The crisp smell of autumn wafts through the open window, lingering in my lungs, spicy and fresh; the scent of bright decaying leaves and earth, fused with the haze of stale cigarettes.

59 comments:

Stacey Trombley said...

I'm confused about who called 911 but that last paragraph. Oh that was beautiful! Heartbreaking, but beautiful. This is a good entry, good luck!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you so much! :)

Marieke said...

This is such a great start! I remember seeing this around and your pitch looks so clear and polished now. Good luck! :D

Ava Jae said...

Thank you! The pitch has been through quite a bit. :)

Fida I said...

This sounds interesting! Good luck!

Farah W. said...

I LOVE this. The Voice is memorable!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Fida!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you so much! ^_^ Much appreciated!

Elizabeth Dunn said...

You're query was very smooth and easily understood. Quite a feat! You've got voice in your 250 and just about all the five senses too! Good luck.

Veronica Rundell said...

Great query. Couple thoughts: it s unclear who Malachi is withholding info from--Cade and Ana, or other Reapers.
I really think paragraph three could use tightening, I had to read it three times to make sure I got it. Ana seems like a throwaway, then we learn she tells half the story. You may want to hint why she's got so much real estate in the book.

I think the opening is awesome, and yet I struggled with the 911 call.

Ava Jae said...

Thanks, Veronica! You input is definitely helpful. I'll keep that in mind when revising again. :)

Tinnis said...

When I read this query it makes me want to read the actually novel, a lot. It seems very interesting, a bit secretive and original. What you might want to be a bit clearer about in the query letter is what inner struggels the protagonist actually has. You meantion it a bit in paragrah two and five and I understand that you don't want to say to much since it has to be exciting, but for example it's hard to understand if he wants to kill or if it's just an instinct he has.

Annette Dodd said...

I remember this from WoC. I hope you do well here - good luck! :)

Ava Jae said...

That's an interesting point. Thanks for the feedback, Tinnis! :)

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Annette!

ST Bende said...

This sounds amazing, Ava. I would totally read this book. Good luck!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you so much!! ^___^

Rachel Pudelek said...

I love the premise and the writing! Good luck!

Anne Tedeton said...

Agreed on the placement of "911"--maybe bump that down a bit so it flows chronologically. That's all I got--the rest is great. Love your premise, and keeping my fingers crossed for you!

Talynn at Ink in the Book said...

I picked up on what some have already pointed out, but the premise and voice is just fantab!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Rachel!

Ava Jae said...

Thanks so much, Anne! I appreciate the feedback. :)

Ava Jae said...

Thank you!!

Hannah Scott said...

Very intriguing premise and some really nice imagery. Good luck!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you!

Alison Miller said...

Love the voice in the 250 and I am incredibly intrigued by the premise! Good luck!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Alison! :)

Michelle4Laughs said...

Very intense First 250! You sure use all the senses to describe it!

Ava Jae said...

Thanks, Michelle! I do enjoy taking advantages of the senses in my writing. :)

Mari Clark said...

I remember this, too, (from Writeon Com?) and thinking it sounded so interesting. I love the concept, and especially the first line of your query. I echo the others' comments about the 911 call, but other than that, a great beginning! Good luck!

Ava Jae said...

Probably WriteOnCon. :) Thanks, Mari! I'll have to figure out what to do with that line as a lot of people seem to be tripping over it. I appreciate the feedback!

Caitlin S. Jennings said...

I agree, that last paragraph was very well done. :)

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Caitlin! Much appreciated! :)

Tom (Copernicus) said...

Wow, this sounds awesome. The first 250 is really powerful, and your query reels me in from the first line. Great opening.


Love it! good luck!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you so much!! ^_^

Michelle Merrill said...

I think your query is definitely clearer than other versions I've seen :) I love the premise. And it's great to read your first 250 too. It jumps right into the story and hooks the reader.

Wendy Spinale said...

Killed by a kiss...can't wait to hear why and how. Good luck!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Michelle! The query's been through quite a bit of tinkering, so I'm glad to hear it's working better. Yay! :)

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Wendy! ^_^

Lucas Hargis said...

Outstanding opener. Def feels like you're starting this story in the perfect place. Reaper tales don't seem to be getting much love anymore, but I hope your rockin' voice helps FOB break through. G'luck, Ava.

Lucas Hargis said...

Also, the 911 call didn't bother me at all. I rather enjoyed it. Heard it my head. I dig the juxtaposition.

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Lucas! Paranormal novels in general have been pretty difficult the past couple years, but I'm hopeful. And good to know about the 911 bit. I really appreciate the feedback! :)

Jamie K. said...

Wow you're first 250 just grabbed me and reeled me in. I was slightly jarred like others said about the 911 line, as it seemed to have no reference and he never responded to it, but it's clear from what's surrounding the line, that his world has fallen apart a little and the lines aren't clearly connection. Great voice and great entry. I wish you the best of luck. :)

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Jamie! I'm thinking I might push the 911 line a little lower because the context clears up after the 250, but I can see how it's confusing in the first 250 without the later context. Regardless, I'm really glad to hear that the opening pulled you in. Thanks for the feedback! ^_^

Diana Sousa said...

Amazing start! With that and the query I certainly want to read more!
Best of luck!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Diana! ^_^

Jenny Kaczorowski said...

Very intense 250! Good luck with this!

Ava Jae said...

Thanks! :)

Katy White said...

I know I don't know you, but dude. Yes. Good luck!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you so much, Katy! ^_^

Laura Rueckert said...

Sounds great. I would love to read it. Agree about moving down 911, but great job.

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Laura! Much appreciated. I think I'll probably move the 911 line down past the first 250.

Leslie S. Rose said...

I said "Wow" aloud when I read the first line of your query. Super!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Leslie! Much appreciated. :)

farhan said...

Ya the opening sentence is intriguing.



If it's complete then why don't you consider self-publishing? I mean as far as I know you haven't struck a book deal yet.



And, how did you manage to use those en dashes on a webpage? They look nice and professional.

Ava Jae said...

Thanks for the feedback, Farhan! I have my reasons for not self-publishing. And I type everything up in a word processing program first, then copy and paste it into blogger, which is how I get the em dashes. :)

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Anne! I really appreciate the breakdown. Very helpful to see what's working and what tripped you up. Now for those adjustments...

LittleSinner said...

I know I am late to this party, but I just found your blog via pinterest and I can't stop reading it. You have so much helpful advice! Anyway, just wanted to say that when I read this post I immediately opened a new tab and searched for where I could buy the book. I am just as shy online as I am in person so I never comment on blogs, but I had to make an exception to let you know how interested I am in hearing what happens with Cade, Malachi and Ana. I hope their story gets published soon.

Ava Jae said...

Oh wow! Thank you so much! I'm delighted to hear that you're enjoying my blog and I'm flattered that you liked this sample so much. :)


This book has been trunked for now, but I do hope to get it published one day in the future. But thank you for the kind words! I do appreciate it.

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