Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Query 39: Redux

Lilith Rising

A psychic vampire born from a union between a human mother and vampire father, Samantha Sheridan’s birth breathed life into an ancient prophecy naming her the second coming of Lilith, the mother of all vampires. There’s a high price to pay being spiritually tied to an entity as ancient as Lilith and Samantha fears that the price may just be her soul. After spending half a century refusing to embrace her destiny out of fear of becoming like the monsters touched by Lilith in the past, destiny catches up with Sam. Whether she likes it or not she must accept herself and her power, or more than just her life will be at stake.

A threat is made against a U.S. Senator’s life by two prominent vampire radical groups, and while the Virginia and Washington DC Archelaos, vampire leader, is away campaigning for the Vampire Equality Coalition, he’s left Samantha in charge in the hopes that her “talents” may scare these groups into backing down from their plans.

Not soon after putting her life on hold to deal with her newfound leadership position, Sam is visited by an agent of the FBI’s Paranormal Defense Unit, who also needs her help and expertise. There’s a zombie in custody, and Sam knows that there are only a few vampires in the world capable of raising the dead; one of which just happens to be Seraphine, the vamp that failed in an attempt to assassinate her when she was only a child.

As Samantha uncovers Seraphine’s plot piece by piece, she finds that the vampire’s reasons for returning go well beyond simple vengeance. There’s a horde of undead heading for DC, and only she and a mysterious elf stand between them and their buffet-o-flesh. Sam knows that the key to defeating Seraphine and the horde lies within her; the only question is how much of herself will she have to sacrifice in the process of accepting her calling?

LILITH RISING, complete at 94,000 words, is a stand-alone urban fantasy with series potential. I look forward to sending you the completed manuscript.

Thank you for your time.


You've filled in some of the details, which is great. Now we just need to work on making this sound more action-y and thrillerish, which is how you described it in your original version. Shorter sentences and more selective word choices will go a long way toward sweeping the reader up in the action and leaving them breathless to read more.

My Revision

Samantha Sheridan is the thing undreamt of: a psychic vampire that feeds on living energy, a half-breed, and the second coming of Lilith, the mother of all vampires. Problem is, every being touched by Lilith in the past has wound up a soulless monster, something Samantha refuses to become. For over half a century she's been running from her demons, her destiny -- and herself. But the time for running has ended.

When a prominent group of vampire radicals threatens a U.S. Senator's life, the leader of the Vampire Equality Coalition calls in Samantha to povide damage control. The simple assignment to scare down the radicals uncovers a plot that reaches far beyond current political tensions. With the help of the FBI's Paranormal Defense Unit, Samantha discovers an old enemy at work -- a powerful vamp so afraid of what the new order under a reborn Lilith will bring that she tried to assassinate Samantha when she was just a child. Now, Seraphine has begun resurrecting the dead and amassing a zombie army. Her target: the bureaucrats -- human and vampire alike -- who advocate stripping the power from vamps and turning them into the same tame, submissive vessels as humans. Only when the wrongs of a history of repression and marginalization have been quite thoroughly righted will Seraphine be satisfied.

Samantha is all that stands between the nation's capitol and a horde of undead marching toward DC. She knows the key to defeating Seraphine and the horde lies within her. What she doesn't know is how much of herself she will have to sacrifice to unleash the monster within. Or, once unleashed, whether the monster will even be biddable.

LILITH RISING, complete at 94,000 words, is a stand-alone urban fantasy with series potential. I look forward to sending you the completed manuscript.


Anonymous said...

Hello Phoenix,

This is Jeff, the writer. I absolutely love the way you put it together! You really found a great way to blend the two queries and provide exactly what was needed. I think I was just so focused on fitting all of the information in the space constraints that I forgot to show the action, thrills, etc.

I also really like how you summed up a lot of things that I was struggling with. For instance, when the state's Archelaos calls in Samantha for damage control, she actually takes on a temporary role of Archelaos (vampire leader) for the state while he's away campaigning for the VEC. I wanted to find a way to shorten that part and was struggling with whether that big of an explanation was needed or not. I agree with your version, though. That will just be details they will learn when reading.

You've really made this a great learning experience for me, and taken away a lot of my jitters. Thanks so much, again! You are fabulous!

Phoenix said...

Hi Jeff! Glad I could help you focus. It took me 5 tries on my last query working with critters to get the focus right. Having an outside perspective is so necessary.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff,
There is not doubt you can write. Phoenix, the Divine One fixed that opening sentence. I'm seeing the importance of opening sentences. And everything that comes after. She makes it look sooooo easy. Good luck, have a good feeling on this,

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bibi! I hope your good feelings are right! Yes, she definitely did. I'm so glad to have found this site!

- Jeff