Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Surprise Agent Invasion #51

Genre: Young Adult Romance 
Word Count: 59,000 


When Death falls in love with mortal Roxanne Vetrario, he is certain that his centuries-long loneliness has finally been dispelled. The youngest daughter of a Venetian glassmaker, Roxanne is everything that has fascinated Death about the humans; she is bohemian and bold, and a summer at her side amid the sparkling canals of turn-of-the-century Venice is enough to bring out the hopeless romantic in anyone. Even Death.

Before summer has turned to autumn, Roxanne’s dying day arrives, and Death is expected to part with her forever on the edges of the afterlife. But he isn’t ready to let her go without a fight.

Death begins searching for a type of glass believed to grant the holder power over death, hoping to save his love before her time runs out. But he is not the only one searching for truth in legend. Roxanne’s father is hunting too, certain he can fulfill a prophecy made on the founding stones of Venice. A prophecy that the Vetrarios would destroy Death forever.

First 250: 

At first, he wanted to paint everything.

The laced colors of sunset, the blushing green of the trees, the shimmer of every dust particle scattered across a beam of sunlight. And the humans – they were wondrous, with their wrinkling skin and aging bodies and emotions that bled seamlessly one into the next. He wanted to paint them all, every soul that he saved, for those were the days he still thought himself a savior. Those were the days when, if asked to describe his work, he would have layered his reply with words like privileged and rewarding.

But then, as the history of the world unfolded at his fingertips and the paint congealed upon his brushes, he found there was more he wanted to scrub away than preserve. How difficult it became to find beauty in all that suffering. And there were suddenly so many more of them – so many humans with stories to end that he lost track of them all. How heavy his hand felt as he raised it to their lips, or raised his brush to canvas, weighted by the cemeteries he had scattered behind him. He was splattered with too much blood to feel he would ever be clean. 

He painted the good days. They were few. He tried to paint all the bad days as well, but found he ran out of canvas. He painted, hoping that it would ease the pain of each day being slapped in the face by their hatred as they spit at him, cursed at him, wrote sermons and poems and volumes warning him away.


  1. I thought the writing was lovely and evocative, very lyrical. However, I had difficulty seeing Death, as this opening depicts him, as the hero of a young adult romance. He simply seems far too ancient in spirit. Though he may be timeless, I'm feeling him as old and world-weary, too much so to pull me in for this.

  2. I am gonzo-crazy for Venice as a setting and I love historical YA. I agree with Gina that Death does seem rather aged in spirit but since you hit a time period/setting hot button for me, I want to take a closer look. I'd like to request the 1st 50 pages + synopsis (and a cover letter that references that this is an Agent Invasion entry). Please send it hard copy. My address is on my website, www.bradfordlit.com

  3. I'm intrigued here. I don't feel that the query's suggestion of young romance fits the tone of the opening page, but I'm very interested to see how it does develop. I'd like to read further. Please send the first 50 pages, attached as a Word document (.doc), to submissions@fullcircleliterary.com. In the subject line, please include my name and Agent Invasion. Looking forward to hearing from you!
    All my best,
    Taylor Martindale
    Full Circle Literary

  4. The whole concept and setting sound really fantastic. I would like to request a full.

    I will email you with more information and submission instructions.

    Best regards,
    Patricia E. Riley
    Associate Editor, Spencer Hill Press