It's here!! I'll be doing a limited number of query critiques in the next few weeks to celebrate spring. Right now I have no spots open. Keep watching and it's likely I'll reopen in a week or two. Or if you can't wait, I have an editing service. Contact me through the twitter or the contact form on this blog. Query critiques are on sale for $20, payable through paypal, and include two revisions.
Participants must comment on other Spring Query entries to pay it forward. If I notice someone not leaving comments, their query will get skipped.
Now to the fine print:
All query critiques are subjective. And rabbits don't come out of my hat, but I'll do my best. Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear. Buy one and I'll throw in a set of free steak knives, just pay separate shipping and handling fees. Plus, you know, I'm leaving pink comments in celebration of spring so you have to be able to tolerate pink.
As sent to me:
Bred to strike hard and fast, Lysander belongs to an elite guild of assassins known as The Shadows. When their latest mission goes awry, he’s betrayed by his own and left for dead. From the depths of oblivion, Lysander awakens to a ravishing angel caressing him in the most intimate of places…and to find he’s crippled and immobile. With the police hunting The Shadows, he’s trapped with no choice but to claim he has no recollection of who he is.
Spirited country miss Lady Olivia Woodward is mortified when she’s caught stroking him down there. In her defense, she was bathing him. The enigmatic hero saved her father from a harrowing assassination attempt; the least she could do is nurse him back to health. But the man defies all rules of convalescence. He’s arrogant. Exasperating. Infuriating. And gorgeous as sin. Attraction sizzles as tempers fly, clashes of ire caving to torrid, delirious pleasure.
Drawn by her tender compassion, Lysander knows every kiss is stolen, every touch forbidden. His past will resurface, and when it does, it will destroy Olivia’s trust...for he was sent to kill her father, not save him. As the police close in on unraveling his identity, The Shadows lurk in the darkness, reminding Lysander to finish his task. But they’re not the only ones after Olivia’s father. A deranged madman is on the loose and will stop at nothing to annihilate Olivia’s entire family. With the clock ticking down, Lysander must choose. His loyalty torn, will he betray his brethren and risk everything for Olivia? Or will he stand by his allegiance, and lose the only woman he’s ever loved?
With my crazy comments:
Bred to strike hard and fast, Lysander belongs to an elite guild of assassins known as The Shadows.(Solid. Nothing bad or great here, except I've seen a lot of assassins in the slush lately. Doesn't stand out.) When their latest mission goes awry, he’s betrayed by his own and left for dead.(Same here.)
From the depths of oblivion(cut this? You need one sentence with a straight start and this adds nothing.), Lysander awakens to a ravishing angel caressing him in the most intimate of places(Ok-ay. That made me smile. It's very specific.)…and to find he’s crippled and immobile(Zap! Here's something different. This would make a hook to lead with. From assassin to cripple, Lysander's lost in blanky blank. Lysander was once an assassin, now he's a cripple on the lamb. Or something much better than those attempts.). With the police hunting The Shadows, he’s trapped with no choice but to claim he has no recollection of who he is(to claim memory loss and hide his identity).
Spirited country miss(I think you need hyphens there. Spirited-country-miss) Lady Olivia Woodward is mortified when she’s caught stroking(She seems too proper for 'stroking.' Heaven forbid. Maybe 'touching'? On another level, is she mortified she was stroking or caught stroking? Ignore me. I digress. ) him down there. In her defense, she was bathing him. The enigmatic hero saved her father from a harrowing assassination attempt; the least she could do is nurse the arrogant and infuriating man
him back to health. (But the man defies all rules of convalescence. He’s arrogant. Exasperating. Infuriating. And gorgeous as sin. Attraction sizzles as tempers fly, clashes of ire caving to torrid, delirious pleasure. You've gone too deep into character. This is too much in other words. Give us the gist and leave off the extra. The direction is pretty clear.) And what does 'saved' dad think of this stroking? :-) I can't help imagining he's not pleased. Digressing again, sorry.
The writer mentioned this is a historical romance in her email. Besides the "Lady" and the bashfulness I'm not seeing anything historical in this query. The writing has a feel of Austin and the Napoleonic Wars but that's inconclusive. There's nothing to set what time period we're set in. Lysander is an ancient Greek name and Olivia (it means Elf Army. How awesome is that!) is English. Not much help there.
We've got voice in this query. Trim it down. Add some historical features. Don't forget the cripple part at the ending (even if Lysander's better). Then you'll be well on your way.