Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CAGI Entry #76

Genre: Commercial fiction with supernatural elements
Word Count: 127,000


United by one family, hunted by another. He's the only one who can heal her. She's the only one who can redeem him.

Liv Gilchrist hopes moving halfway across the country to Black River, Montana will be an escape from her nightmares. After her baby daughter died in her arms and her husband left without explanation, she needed a new beginning. She didn't know she could be running headlong into her own demise.

Trey Bevan also has a tragic past, but he's chosen revenge as his route to healing. His powerful family murdered his wife and baby, and he’s spent the past fifteen years killing the assassins they send after him. It's hardly a challenge anymore. His rage has mutated into a worse enemy—apathy. But he's become too lost in his own bitterness to care.

Trey finds a reason to care when he crashes into Liv on her first day in town. His enemies spot them together and focus on her. If they kill her, they’ll expose him—supernatural abilities and all. He’ll have to kill her himself. With the plan of her death in motion, the next assassin attacks, and Trey falls off the roof and is knocked unconscious. When he awakes, he falls for Liv, and realizes she is the missing piece in an ancient design.

A celestial alignment triggers an ancestral Bevan spell created just for them, binding them with undeniable attraction. With nothing left to lose, Liv chooses to become a willing participant in his world. One cube of dissolving magic and one psychic connection later, Trey crafts her into the perfect companion weapon to confront his family and their decades of deception. Liv learns her tragic past was merely a stepping stone in her destiny, and Trey discovers the secret to his revenge lies within her.

First 250:

He’ll never find me here. If he does try to hunt me down, rural Montana is the last place he’ll look. Yet I didn’t decide to drop everything and move here for that reason. It was something else entirely.

I stand on the shoulder, staring at my deflated tire. To drive fourteen hundred miles only to blow a tire in the last fifty might be considered a bad omen. Another tractor-trailer rumbles by, changing to the other lane so it doesn’t pick me up like one of the scrubby plants my car has collected on its front grill. The big trucks don’t stop, but every car and pick-up has since I pulled over.

“The tow truck’s on its way,” I’ve hollered into twenty lowered windows, mentally recording each driver’s physical description and license plate just in case he’s a serial killer. Those details would only be useful if I escaped—an unlikely idea out here. Any sicko could drag me off the road, dump my body in the bushes. No one would report me missing. No one would miss me. My friends in Chicago don’t expect to hear from me again. They all know what happened. Why I’m out here.

I open the trunk to free my spare, trapped under a three dimensional puzzle of my belongings. Like luggage unloaded by airport security, it will never go back the same way again, and there’s no empty space in the backseat or passenger seat for overflow.

I don’t notice it until it’s already on me—a black motorcycle headed the opposite direction, its engine winding down like a swarming wasp.


  1. How am I the first comment?? I love this! The query was great. The first line got my attention instantly. The query is clear and to the point and I completely understand what the story is about.

    Great voice in the first 250! This is definitely a book I would keep reading. The only confusion I had was if the MC was male or female. Give a hint somehow so the reader knows who they are dealing with. Awesome job!

    1. Thanks, Crystal. You're right. My chapter heading has her name, but you can't see that here. I should work something in.

  2. Us middle posts seem to get lost. Hello from #78! This sounds very interesting, but I personally think you can cut a lot of the first two paragraphs of the query, they are almost like backstory. While I like them, the story doesn't start until the third paragraph. That's where the hook is.

    Just my opinion though =)

    1. Yes, we're like middle children, aren't we? LOL

      Thanks for your comments. Darn backstory. Hard to find a balance between setting up the characters and drowning readers in backstory. Ugh. Thanks again.

  3. Hi! I am trying to hit everyone so they have some feedback :)

    Your first 250 were great. There is really not a thing I would change. I love the voice and I love the opening. It's perfect! If this is dual POV you just need to make sure Trey and Liv's voices are very different.

    Now, your query is a bit on the long side. I feel like you can boil a lot of it down into a few hard hitting sentences that really make people pay attention to your query. I am going to try and write what I think would be good. Feel free to take it or leave it :)

    United by one family, hunted by another. He's the only one who can heal her. She's the only one who can redeem him.

    Liv Gilchrist thinks moving from Chicago to rural Montana will cure her of the nightmares she's had since the death of her infant daughter and her husband's departure. Trey Beven's tragic life has lead him to want only one thing, revenge against the people who killed his wife.

    When Trey bumps into Liv on the street, the people who killed his wife think he's found a new lover. Trey decides the only thing to do is kill Liv before she exposes him, supernatual abilities and all.

    Instead of the murder he plans, Trey finds himself attracted to Live because of an ancestral spell created just for them. Liv feels like she has nothing left to lose and joins Trey on his mission to expose his family's decades of deciet.

    Those are my thoughts. Obviously, you don't have to take this. I was just showing you what I believed were the most important parts and the ones you want to focus on most in your query.

    Best of luck!
    Jessica #96

  4. You had me at Montana. :) I spent 8 years of my adolescence there, so I'm a wee bit biased.

    I'm with Jessica -- I thought your first 250 were money, and I was refreshed to see an adult novel after a couple pages of YA (I love YA, but I prefer to read adult). I also agree that the query is a bit long and could be boiled down. I agree that your hook is in the third paragraph, though I see why you wrote it that way originally. With two focal protagonists, it's tough to craft a tight query.

    I think all your elements are there, but they can be distilled. The only problem with leading with the third paragraph would be if Liv is the primary POV character for the novel -- you want to make sure your query showcases whoever's head you'll be occupying the most.