Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Become An Agent (Beta) 2017 Post #1

Review our guidelines for critiques and submissions here!

Title: I, Aneksi
Age Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Alternate History
Word Count: 119k


To use the Black Death as a weapon, one needs the cure to shield their own — and so the undertaking of medical research becomes an act of war.

Seqenenre, an Egyptian scientist, learns a terrible secret about the plague destroying the remnants of the Teutonic Roman Empire. But before he can use it to find a cure, his city Alexandria is ransacked by an Arab General, his plans stolen, and himself held prisoner in his own home.

Haider, the scientist son of the Arab general and an ambitious Persian governor, comes into possession of Seq’s secrets. His pride recoils at the thought of using the ill-gotten spoils as a road map, but his ambition to be the first to find the cure overpowers his arrogance.

Once Seq is saved by his sister, Nilofer, and the incorporeal spirit of their thousand-year old ancestor, Aneksi; he will race against Haider to find the cure first.

Both scientists are materially aided and ethically shackled by their governments. What was once a philanthropic aim to save lives becomes the keystone to an engine of death. Battles are fought, alliance shift, and plots are hatched to give the scientists — armed with their intelligence and the scientific method — time to claw their way to a working cure. Only their mistrust for each other stands between mutually assured destruction and a chance for peace.

I, ANEKSI is a 119,000 word novel set in an early-gunpowder alternative history Egypt and Persia with some magical elements. It follows the points of view of a diverse cast of scientists, supersoldiers, nobles, and the incorporeal spirit Aneksi — she who was once a Roman legionary and now a demigod to her people — as they fulfill their own ambitions in this shifting techno-political status quo of the post-plague world.

As a biotechnology researcher, my struggles in the lab have bled through to the depictions of gritty perseverance of the scientists in the story. My short stories have previously been published in [pro-publishing market]. My experiences as an immigrant in a racially diverse country serve as inspiration as well.

This story is an ode to, and a celebration of, the ones who influence the trajectory of human advancement one failed experiment at a time.

First 250 Words (Optional):

Nilofer jumped off the sandstone wall into Nekhet Senakhtener: her family’s fortress, her home — now a garrison of the invading Sassanid-Gupt alliance.

 Her scimiset slithered down her right arm and locked into place with the tip of the wide blade an inch lower than her tallest finger. She clenched her fist and the weapon came to life with electricity coiling and spitting around its serrated edges, forming a necklace of red lightning.

 Mothernode Aneksi’s cavernous voice filled Nilofer’s consciousness: <Gupt guard to your right, coming closer>

Nilofer took a deep breath and let her synapses link with the blade. She raised her scimiset arm, cocked her head towards the guard, and pulled a phantom trigger. A bolt of red sparks leapt off the blade and struck the man’s chest with the dull crack of a whip hitting leather and the body crumpled to the floor in a soft thud. Nilofer left her arm raised, her scimiset roaring and crackling along to her thudding heartbeat.

Mothernode’s urgent command cut through the numbness of her first kill: <Southeast tower, now.>

Nilofer sprinted past the dead man’s body, smoke rising from his chest. She made a point to memorize the Gupt soldier’s face under the sheet steel helmet; she owed him at least that small courtesy. She snuck into the Nekhet’s corner bastion and climbed the spiral staircase unchallenged to the top, calming her frizzled nerves with every step.

(You Can Still) Become An Agent!

"We will not go quietly into the night!"

Deb here. While our Querypalooza, sadly, had to be canceled, we aren't giving up the fight in helping our fellow writers of color! What we will do for now is focus on you all one at a time. That means for those who submitted, you still have the ability to receive help, and for those who wanted to help, you can still Become An Agent!

But here is how it will work:

For those writers of color still brave enough to have your queries critiqued (putting your baby out there is a big step, we know): please send the meat of your query and, if available, the first 250 words of your manuscript to soovingqueries (at) gmail (dot) com . Feel free to let us know that you've sent it also, just in case it falls into the spam folder. We will post your submission on the blog for other writers of color to critique as early as the next morning!

For those writers of color who would like to critique: UPDATE: Post your comments below, but please visit the rules found below before doing so.

Of course, there are a couple of changes, as this is no longer a querypalooza:

1) As we're only looking at one query at a time, there is no limit to how many times you can say you would or wouldn't have wanted to see more from the writer, but you can still do so.

2) There isn't a minimum number of times you need to critique another's submission, but I would ask that you at least critique ONE in order to submit one yourself. It's still a give and take process.

Now for some rules:

I'm big on two things in the critiquing business: usefulness and etiquette. With that said:

1) Be honest, but be kind. Kindness is relative, but we've all had a jerk critique our query before. So don't be that jerk.

2) Don't just say that you liked or didn't like something. Explain why. What stuck with you? What turned you off? You've seen some personal (and form) rejections in your day, I'm sure. What would an agent say?

1) A thick skin and a slow reaction time are important. Yes, this is your baby, but if people are taking time out of their day to help you and give you that honest and kind (even if brutal) feedback, do not throw a fit over what they said. The last thing I want to see or hear is someone on social media ranting about a critique they were given and find out it was from this project. No. Don't be that person. Because we will have receipts, which will be the query and critique in question.

2) Do not brush off the critters as though they don't know what they're talking about because your friends, mother, or beta readers liked it. These critters aren't here to validate you; they're here to help you write better. I don't know about you, but nothing annoys me more than the ungrateful person who asked for help in the first place.

Believe it or not, we do have a submission up to bat, so the next post you see, we will be in full swing! Questions are always welcomed. Please ask, and we will respond as quickly as possible.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Agents and Editors (and More) that are Looking for #OwnVoices Books

An #OwnVoices book means different things to different people. One definition is that the book has a major character who shares very similar experiences of identity-based marginalization with the author.

The people on this list have not been screened. Please make informed decisions when submitting. The resources listed on the (being updated) Preditors and Editors site is a great place to start.)

Anyone who wishes to be on this list, please leave a comment.


Adriana Domínguez
Alyssa Jennette
Amy Boggs
Caitie Flum
Cate RB
Christa Heschke
Courtney Miller-Callihan
Eric Smith
Fiona Kenshole
Full Circle Literary Agency
Gordon Warnock
Hannah Fergesen
J. Johnson-Blalock
Jennifer Azantian
Jess Regel
Jessica Watterson
Jill Corcoran
John M. Cusick
Kate Testerman
Katelyn Detweiler
Kim-Mei Kirtland
Kira Watson
Kristy Hunter
Laura Crockett
Lauren Abramo
Lauren Spieller
Lilly Ghahremani
Lindsay Mealing
Lisa Abellera
Lydia Moed
Maria Vicente
Marietta B Zacker
Michelle Richter
Nicole Payne
Pam Howell
Patricia Nelson
Quressa Robinson
Rena Bunder Rossner
Renee Nyen
Saba Sulaiman
Sara Megibow
Sarah Lyons
Shannon Powers
Susan Graham
Taylor Martindale Kean
Tracy Marchini
Veronica Park


A.C. Wise
Alissa Davis
Amanda Jean
Ashley Hearn
Aubrey Poole
Carlisa Cramer
Diana M. Pho
Donna Bray
Eileen Rothschild
Eliza Kirby
Emilia Rhodes
Jeffrey West
Jerry L.Wheeler
Jessica MacLeish
Joyce Chng
Karah Sutton
Lydia Shamah
Lydia Sharp
Mackenzie Walton
Melissa Frain
Niki Daniels
Patrice Caldwell
Richard Shealy
T. S. Ferguson
Tiffany Liao
Trisha T.

Both Editor and Agent-Affiliated

Amy Jameson

Book Bloggers

Bogi Takács