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Monday, February 15, 2016

#sonofapitch Neodymium Exodus Query For Feedback

Title: Neodymium Exodus
Age and Genre: YA SF Space Opera
Word Count: 95,000


Showdown in the ice cream parlor. Jungle-world in peril. Lem's diseased, and she's not interested in a cure. They say she's got a contagious brain infection, or maybe she's a witch, a portal for an evil energy-being invading our universe--but actually Lem's a freedom-fighter who's spent her childhood evading the paramilitary group that hunts her for talking to her invisible friend, Njandejara. Njande's kind and strange, like that odd sunbeam in the middle of a rainstorm, and he's only interested in knowing Lem better, not destroying her world.

When the paramilitary group captures Lem, she's sent to a re-education camp to be "cured." Lem resists the treatment--and fed up with her shenanigans, Lem's captors kidnap her space-lemur adopted brother, Cinta. If Lem bows, Cinta goes free. As Lem's resolve fails, Cinta warns her there's more at stake than his life: their connection to Njande might be key to saving the universe from impending thermonuclear collapse. Lem questions his sanity (and her own!) but if he's telling the truth, she'd better find a third option fast--or she'll lose someone she loves either way.

First 250 Words:

Lem wasn't a big fan of warnings, but the people who ran her life were, so she gave the meat-market businessman a loud one the moment he made eyes at her little sister.

“She ain't for sale, Skins,” she said, stirring the dregs of her shake with her straw. She said it for everyone in the ice cream parlor to hear.

The businessman's green hair puffed in offense; his slit-eyes gleamed bright as his ruby scales. “Mind yourself, witch,” he sneered.

Witch, huh? Lucky for him he didn't call her crazy.

A loud slurp silenced the whole parlor as Lem finished off her shake.

Four seconds later Lem had chopped down the businessman like an overgrown holly bush. No one interrupted. No one helped, either. The space-lemur policeman in the corner stared at the phone in his paws, ears perked even as he pretended not to see; the Wonderfrog server behind the counter tapped his bulging fingertips on his skull like desserts really worried him.

Lem tightened her grip on the meat-man's wrist, spitting through her teeth as she ground his face harder into the plastic table. “Whatever I am, everyone in here knows you're selling little girls to the greys, and one day I'll prove it and get Officer Scritch there off his duff for a change.” Her voice dropped to a husky whisper. “But the day you talk to my sister again? Officer Scritch won't be lookin' for you. Won't be a you to find.”

Meat-man grunted.


  1. I'm very curious to read more, I must admit!

    When I first read this line: Lem resists the treatment--and fed up with her shenanigans, Lem's captors kidnap her space-lemur adopted brother, Cinta.

    It came off a little awkward. I know what you're trying to say, but it you might rearrange it... When Lem's captors become fed up with her shenanigans and resisting treatment, they kidnap her space-lemur adopted brother, Cinta.

    Good luck!

    1. = ) Many thanks! I posted a response to your query on your blog, but it's not showing up. Let me know if you don't get it--I want to make sure I thank you for giving me feedback by giving you feedback! Also, you should check out queryshark.blogspot.com.

  2. Wow thats an awesome concept.But I am a bit confused regarding the first two lines.Maybe you should add some context?

    Otherwise I think your excerpt is pretty point on.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Heading up to your blog now to return the favor!

  3. I wish I could give a longer review with lots of tips, but I honestly can't. Your query and first 250 are pretty solid!

    Here are the few tips I can offer:

    Someone in a prior comment noted that this line seemed a bit confusing: "Lem resists the treatment--and fed up with her shenanigans, Lem's captors kidnap her space-lemur adopted brother, Cinta." I think it is okay as is, but if you wanted to make it clearer without losing the ordering (which I actually do like as is) you could possibly edit like this, 'Lem resists the treatment. Fed up with her shenanigans..."

    I love that you use the word shenanigans. Somehow I feel that it echoes the personality I get from Lem in the first 250. She seems to be the tough, don't care what anybody thinks, protect my own, your bs is amusing type of person. Antics that are probably actually pretty violent in 'resisting treatment' being referred to as shenanigans feels like it might echo her personality.

    I think you're really close with this. Honestly, other than nitpicky things, you might be there already. Good luck in the contest!

    1. Oh! I did want to mention one other thing. It might be a good idea to mention a couple comparable titles so the agent knows where to place your book on the shelf.

    2. Now THAT is a winning suggestion! I'll make that sentence-break change. Am concerned no agent will be familiar with my comps (space opera is...an esoteric field), but I might go for that, too. We'll see on that one. Thanks!

  4. Wow. This is unapologetically intense. It's not at all the sort of thing I'd normally read...yet I want to read more. Kudos!

    That being said, you might want to tighten up your query just a bit. Fewer hyphens would be very helpful; right now you’ve got “freedom-fighter,” “energy-being,” “jungle-world,” etc. It’s distracting, and breaks up the flow. You also might want to ease people into the weirder aspects just a *little* more. The way you introduced the invisible friend—that’s interesting, and made me read it twice to be sure. The space-lemur (another hyphen) adopted brother, however…maybe rephrase this somehow? Even just dropping the hyphen and putting “adopted” before “space lemur” could help.

    You might want to mention the sister in the query if she’s at all integral to the story. I was very surprised to hear about Lem’s sister in the very beginning of your book when there was no mention of her in the query.

    Also, I love the vernacular. I think you did an excellent job with giving us just enough to hear Lem’s accent without going overboard and making it unbelievable.

    I just want to reiterate—this isn’t at all something in which I’d normally be interested, but I really want to know more. In fact, not to play favorites, but I think this might be the most interesting query I’ve come across in this contest. Best of luck :}

    1. All really good suggestions on the hyphens and the adopted brother thing--I'm kind of bummed I didn't see this comment until after the submission window opened today. I had my e-mail sent in at 10 AM sharp. = / But it's really great feedback I can use when I'm hitting the slush-pile! That's when I'm going to go ahead and add in the comps, too, I think.

      Thanks again!

  5. Historically, women were too polite to utter such vulgarities. Men insulting men is an expression of male aggression that goes back to pre-civilization. Males and their mothers, typically have a stronger emotional bond, thus the insult "hurts more" when directed at the mother. "Your Dad/Brother is a real prick" would just get a shrug and a "so?" from most men but they feel the need to defend their wives, sisters and mother's honours. ;-)