Friday, April 12, 2013

#Pitchslap 1: Wicked Stepmother

Thank you so much to everyone who bravely submitted their queries to me for #pitchslap!  I think this weekly installment will be fun and informative, so without further ado, let's get slap-happy.

Today's inaugural #pitchslap comes from my twitter pal, Liz Lincoln (@lizlincolnwritr). 


(I've omitted the agent-introduction segment)

For homicide detective Amanda Schreiber, fairy tales of the wicked stepmother were more than just bedtime stories. They were her reality. Ok, I think you could possibly combine these two sentences.  Also, I'm not 100% sure how adults could relate to Amanda's plight, since once you're a grown-up, a wicked stepmother seems like she'd just be an annoyance rather than someone who ruined your life ona daily basis.  Please give us a LITTLE about how awful Amanda's stepmom situation is so that we can sympathize.  But when she’s called to her latest crime scene, she never expects to find her stepmom’s dead body.
The case is reassigned to sexy newcomer, Greg Cole. Amanda should be out of the loop, but Greg agrees to keep her informed. Is this a major no-no?  Should you say he "secretly agrees to keep her informed"? I assume he's not supposed to do so and is taking a great risk.  Because that's sexy.  As the attraction between them heats up, the investigation turns toward someone in her family. And when  To improve flow, cut these sentences down and combine the lead suspect turns up dead, she begins to fear the killer is her brother. How can she choose between the only person in her family she ever trusted and finding the justice she has trained so hard to defend? The clock is ticking on Amanda's reputation as a cop. And possibly her life.
Wicked Stepmother is a romantic suspense of 100,000 words. It explores the meaning of family and loyalty while delivering a gripping mystery and sizzling romance. Nice.  Do you want to throw out any comp titles?  "Fans of ________'s __________ series would be likely readers of this mystery... something like that.  Also, the only real sizzle we get in the query is that Greg is a "sexy newcomer".  Can you give us any more?  Something for us to hold onto and sniff and go "oooh, Greg"?
I've been a member of RWA for 9 years and am active in the WI chapter. VERY GOOD!  I'm also a graduate of the Milwaukee Police Department's Citizen's Academy AWESOME DETAIL!!!! have a friend on the MPD who helped with the police procedure aspects of the book. Ok this part's not so awesome.  Agents/editors assume you've done your homework.  I think all you need is your comment about the Citizen's Academy. 
This query is tight, intriguing and well-paced.  It's short enough to keep us from being bombarded with details, but also gives us enough plot to see how the moment-to-moment would play out.  Kudos, Liz!
Spanktastic readers, what do you think?  Any insights to add?
PS-- Looking forward to next week's pitchslap already. :) If you submitted to #pitchslap and weren't selected, don't lose heart-- the pool just keeps getting bigger so I may use you next time. Remember, all you have to do is email the body of your query to minavaughnwrites at gmail dot com and put Pitchslap in the subject line.  Good luck and slap on!