Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Shiny New Query Letter is a Blogfest Finalist!

Thanks again to everyone who helped me tweak my query letter during Week Three of Deana Barnhart's "Gearing Up to Get an Agent" Blogfest. I just learned my letter is a Top Ten Finalist (!!), and I will find out tomorrow if I win a free query/first five page critique from Lora Rivera, writer of literary adult and children's fiction, freelance book editor and Life Book writer for Aviva Children's Services. (Read the other finalists' amazing query letters here: GUTGAA Query Winners Picked Today.)

Here's my shiny new query letter:

Dear Agent:

An arctic mermaid is the last thing seventeen year-old Kai Murphy expects to glimpse when she joins a beluga whale research team in Alaska.

An aspiring scientist, Kai dismisses Anchorage's mermaid myths until the late-night sighting of a silvery, speckled tail threatens her convictions. Teamed up with flirtatious twin deckhands Noah and Aidan Fischer, she decides to investigate.

Turns out a mermaid sighting isn't her research team's only mystery. There are also secret closets filled with hunting rifles, blood-filled plastic bins and shadowy poachers haunting the inlet's icy waters.

As Kai searches for answers and begins falling for Noah, she realizes even he isn't above suspicion. The fate of the research team, her beloved belugas and the mysterious creature in the inlet just may rest in her hands.

THE MERMAID GENE is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 98,000 words. I have worked as a zookeeper and educator at many facilities, including the Alaska Zoo of Anchorage, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums published my article "The Dangers of Human Interactions with Marine Mammals" in its 2007 Ocean Literacy and Marine Mammals: An Easy Reference Guide. This experience sets THE MERMAID GENE apart and allows me to take readers behind-the-scenes into the thrilling and often-misunderstood world of beluga whale research.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


The most amazing news is that this query letter has already received some great positive reinforcement.  I fired off a query to an agent in NYC at 11:30pm MT Tuesday night and received a full manuscript request by 5:45am MT Wednesday morning. Not a bad thing to see in your inbox first thing in the morning!

Thanks again to everyone for your help. Even if I don't win that free critique, I already feel like a winner!


Beckah-Rah said...

Yaaaay!!! Congratulations!!!! :D

Perri said...

Congratulations! That's an awesome query. Good luck with the full request!

Anita Grace Howard said...

AWESOME and congrats, girl!!

Donna Perugini said...

Yay! You won the contest!! I just saw Deana's pick and you were it!! This is what she put on her blog:

and the WINNER IS.....
Query for The Mermaid Gene

Angie Cothran said...

Congratulations on the win! So exciting :)

Bethany C. said...


That is a tight query--and your story sounds so fun & exciting!


RAD - Dot Painter said...

Congrats on the WIN! So, cool. This is Rachel Dillon over from You mentioned you had a ton of photos of your first student, the Bactrian Camel. Do you happen to have a close up of his eye? I'll be sure to show you the finished painting. my email is: art @ racheldillon . com. I can give you credit in my picture book.

LisaAnn said...

Oh my gosh, thank you sooooo much for your congratulations! I am so honored, and I had so much fun participating in this blogfest! :)

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