Monday, October 30, 2017

NoQS Minion 11: Lies We Tell, YA Contemporary Mystery Ownvoices

Genre: #Ownvoices YA Contemporary Mystery
Word Count: 83,219

My MC and MP (main protagonist?) are dressed as: I’m getting some seriously strange looks at this party. Has nobody seen an Asian Beyonce before? I know the curly brown wig’s a little janky, but there are definitely worse costumes here. Like--that guy and girl in the corner. Who comes to a dress-like-your-idol party as Norman and Norma Bates from that Hitchcock movie Psycho? So creepy. And I don’t like how those two keep looking over at me...

Query Letter:

Dear Mentors and Agents of NoQS,

Hailed as one of the most diverse institutions in the world, Brookings University is where Amelia Xu plans to spend the best four years of her life. But Amelia’s freshman year is off to a rocky start, between rooming with a dorky, fresh-off-the-boat Chinese cousin and butting heads with a too-Kpop-for-his-own-good dance team leader.

Then, college drama turns deadly when a rash of hate crimes breaks out over campus. International students' nameplates are torn off their doors, the students labeled as terrorists. Violent words of “make America white again” translate into violent ambushes on students of color. Without knowing who's behind these crimes--or if there's more than one criminal--the students at Brookings panic. Race turns on race as fear reveals that the harmony of diversity is nothing more than a mirage.

Amelia becomes determined to unveil the culprit. Meanwhile, she's joined an Asian interest dance group and struggles to embrace her Asian American identity through music, after spending seventeen years wishing she were anything but. Suspicious behavior makes her almost certain she's pinpointed the culprit. But as Amelia soon discovers, enemies are not quite who they seem to be, and catching the criminal might not end the crimes.

Caught in a web of lies, Amelia must expose the true source of the crimes--before someone gets killed.

As a first generation Chinese-American horrified by the surge in hate crimes across college campuses since 2016, I wrote LIES WE TELL as a response to #weneeddiversebooks, to spark conversation about the ways in which we can find love and acceptance even in dark political times.

First 250 Words:
Three hours. One hundred miles. Five mini-meltdowns from my weepy, emotional mother. That was what it took to arrive at my final destination:

Prison. Or--as the rest of the world liked to call it--college.

The thought of making a last-minute escape crossed my mind as I stood underneath the sweltering sun, my suitcases and boxes piled up around me. I stared at the tall, barren white building that stood before me, and felt more apprehensive than ever.

“So what do you think of the dorm, Amelia?” panted Ariana, a college sophomore who’d been assigned to assist with my move-in. She tossed my box of dance shoes into her large blue moving bin. Her voice was chirpy, but the smile she’d plastered on was strained, as cracked as the sun-beaten sidewalk.

“Oh, you know. It’s very...building-like.”

Ariana laughed and straightened, wiping a sheen of sweat off her forehead. “Trust me, all the freshmen dorms are hell-holes. But you’re lucky you live so close to the frats. The students there throw the best parties, and--” Ariana’s face paled, as if she’d let something slip; she glanced nervously at my parents, who were busy taking pictures of everything that stood still long enough. “What I meant to say is that Brookings is like one big party--of education.” A jittery laugh. “Our school ranks among the most diverse and inclusive institutions, with huge communities of international students.”

Ariana sounded like she was reading off a brochure. In fact, I was pretty sure those had been the exact words that screamed out at me on the front cover of my orientation packet: DIVERSE! And INCLUSIVE!


  1. SCREAM. I can't wait to read. Please send the full manuscript to me at with the query letter in the body of the email, a word document attached, and #NoQS in the subject. Thanks! Jess

  2. SHRIEK! Please send the sample and a full synopsis to crubinobradway AT lkgagency DOT com!

  3. Scream! Please send the full manuscript to my QueryManager link for the contest.

  4. SCREAM. Please send query + the full manuscript as a word doc attachment to Looking forward to reading more!

  5. Scream! Please send the full ms as a word attachment with the query in the body of the email to kristy[dot]hunter@knightagency[dot]net. Please put "NoQS: TITLE" in subject line. Thanks! Looking forward to reading.

  6. Shriek! Please send the first fifty pages of your ms as a word attachment to I look forward to reading.

  7. Shriek! Please send me first 50 pages (Word attachment works) via email to Include a query letter and please indicate #NoQs in the subject line. Thanks!

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. SCREAMing for this one! Pleas upload your full at Looking forward to reading.

  9. Please email the query letter and full manuscript my way!

    To tell you a little bit about our literary agency, which closes more deals for authors than any other agency worldwide:

    Trident Media Group (TMG) is a prominent literary agency located in New York City that originally formed in 2000. TMG represents over 1,000 bestselling and emerging authors in a range of genres of fiction and nonfiction, many of whom have appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers Lists and have won major awards and prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the P.E.N. Faulkner Award, the P.E.N. Hemingway Award, The Booker Prize, and the L.A. Times Book Award, among others. TMG is one of the world’s leading, largest and most diversified literary agencies.

    For more than ten consecutive years, TMG continues to rank number one for sales according to in North America. TMG is the only U.S. literary agency to consistently be in the top ten in both UK fiction and UK non-fiction and has ranked as highly as number one in UK fiction deals.

    Bio: Mark Gottlieb has ranked #1 among Agents on Publishers Marketplace in Overall Deals and other individual categories. Using that same initiative and insight for identifying talented writers, he is actively building his own client list of authors. Mark is excited to work directly with authors, helping to manage and grow their careers with all of the unique resources that are available at book publishing’s leading literary agency, Trident Media Group. Since his time at Trident, he has represented numerous New York Times bestselling, as well as award-winning authors, and has optioned and sold numerous books to TV and film production companies. Mark is actively seeking submissions in all categories and genres.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    All the best,


    Mark Gottlieb
    Literary Agent
    Trident Media Group, LLC
    41 Madison Avenue, Floor 36
    New York, NY 10010
    (212) 333-1506

  10. I'm SHIVERING for this! Please send your query, 1-2 page synopsis, and the first ten pages to queries at azantianlitagency dot com with "NoQS: TITLE by Name" in the subject line. Thanks! I look forward to reading on! -Jennifer Azantian

  11. SHRIEK for me, here! Please send the query, including the synopsis, and the first 50 pages to Please include NoQS in the subject line. Looking forward!!