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I finished writing Father of Malice in February. If you haven't read the ad nauseum entries below, I wrote the entire thing (just over 90,000 words) in two weeks. 
That's all well and good, but I hate writing query letters (essentially a four or five-paragraph pitch to agents asking them to represent the book. I wrote a query letter toward the end of February, and sent it to one agent, which was a mistake. Because the query letter sucked. It focused on the protagonist and his struggle, which isn't a bad thing on its face, but the danger in the book, the horror, stems from a much larger picture than the main character, and the query letter I wrote back then woefully failed to capture that.
So last week, I gave it another shot. I haven't sent it out to any agents yet, but I thought I'd post it here. Somehow, seeing something in public helps me view it with new eyes. So here it is:
Haskell City is being stalked by an evil so ancient, the darkest recesses of human nightmares can't recall it—a shadowy malice that spreads, both killing people and replicating itself with brutal efficiency. The malicious force is infiltrating surrounding cities, including the strange cult outside town that worships it. 
Scott Drury, a big-city editor forced to take a job at the tiny town’s newspaper after a scandal at his old paper on the west coast, is thrust into the middle of a supernatural war he doesn’t believe in, much less understand. The mysterious antique library at his new house seems to compel him to fight the son of an archangel — just as his new girlfriend wants to pull him away from the fray. Could the demigod embattling the city be using Scott as a pawn in a celestial war to instigate an epoch of evil on the earth?
In Father of Malice, (90,000 words), the reluctant and unlikely forces of good face off with a tangible evil intent on foisting a 700-year reign of terror upon mankind.
I am the author of two trade-published novels — Minister of Justice (Moonshine Cove, 2016) and Robby the R-Word (2017, Promontory Press) — and a true crime book, Deadly Vows (2015, New Horizon Press).
I'm not sure if this is the final form the letter will take or not. Right now, it's just an exercise to get my mind working so I can refine it to send to agents. I don't allow comments on this site, but if you want to tell me what you think, email me here
UPDATE: Now that I've let it sit for a few days, I see a lot of weaknesses in that letter. The first two sentences repeat each other, and the first one is too long. With too many adjectives. The third sentence should end at "supernatural war," and should delete "on the west coast," since Scott was already established as a "big-city editor." No need to belabor the point. The fourth sentence should change "at" his new house to "in". That sentence should also delete everything after "archangel". No need to introduce a character here that doesn't get mentioned again. Fifth sentence, "embattling" is a weak word; "on the earth" could go, too. These are all just notes for me. Feel free to ignore them.
UPDATE 2: Here's my new iteration of the query letter:
Haskell City is being stalked by an evil so ancient, the darkest recesses of human nightmares can't recall it—a shadowy malice lurking just outside our most animalistic fears. When a man is instantly mummified in a seedy motel, the malicious force infiltrates the small town with a speed and force no one can resist, including the strange cult outside town that worships it. 
Scott Drury, a big-city editor forced to take a job at the tiny town’s newspaper after a scandal at his old paper, is now unwillingly thrust into the middle of a supernatural war. The mysterious antique library in his new house—and the ghosts of the people dying in the city—compel him to fight the son of an archangel. Could the demigod silently slaughtering the city be using Scott as a pawn in a celestial war to instigate an epoch of evil?
In Father of Malice, (90,000 words), the reluctant and unlikely forces of humanity face off with a demigod intent on foisting a reign of terror upon mankind.
I am the author of two trade-published novels — Minister of Justice (Moonshine Cove, 2016) and Robby the R-Word (2017, Promontory Press) — and a true crime book, Deadly Vows (2015, New Horizon Press).

REBOOT: Blah. I hated both of those. So I completely rethought my thinking, or whatever. Here's the new one:
The last situation Scott Drury thought he’d find himself in was a fight with an angel’s malicious spawn, who invades the minds and bodies of regular people, inciting them to viciously murder those they love most. They don’t teach that kind of stuff in journalism school, and he certainly never ran across any half-angels or spirits at his old job as a big-city newspaper editor. Now, however, in a small town in Oklahoma, he has been thrust face-to-face with the offspring of the Angel of Death.
What’s Scott supposed to do—critique the thing to death? The ghosts of the recently killed who are haunting him don’t seem to care that he’s not qualified, as they beg him to stop the spreading malice before it infects even more people. Digging deep for courage he’s sure he doesn’t have, he must stand up to the evil, or face becoming its captive for the rest of his life. 
In FATHER OF MALICE (90,000 words, horror), humanity collides with supernatural powers bent on foisting their wills on humankind, and Scott Drury must come to grips with a sullied past that cost him everything once and threatens to do it again. Combined with themes of workplace trysts, teenage angst and coming of age, the terror comes from the depths of depravity lurking inside humans.
I am the author of two trade-published novels — Minister of Justice (Moonshine Cove, 2016) and Robby the R-Word (2017, Promontory Press) — and a true crime book, Deadly Vows (2015, New Horizon Press).
I think that's much better.
UPDATE: No. Those all suck. I'm working on an entirely new idea. Ignore all the shit that precedes this sentence.
Father of MaliceQuery Letters