Friday, May 25, 2012

Wilde's Fire Editor-Judged Query Contest

Welcome to my new blog! Most of you know me as Lady Gwen from Run Gwen, Run! Write Gwen, Write! I am still maintaining that blog, but it became over-crowded so I have split the blog and added this one as my author blog. You will find this post on both sites.

Now on to the real reason for this post!

“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.

Sharon Bayliss is hosting an Editor-Judged Query Contest on her blog. Krystal Wade of Curiosity Quills Press is the Acquisitions Editor/Judge. She is also the author of the new release, Wilde's Fire, and this contest is in honor of the new release.

You don't want to miss out on this great opportunity, because the winner will win a full manuscript request and a chance at publishing! Go HERE to sign up on the Linky List and to view full details of the contest.

Here are the basic rules:

  1. Sign up on the Linky List.
  2. On May 25th post your one-page query letter and first 500 words of your manuscript.
  3. Between May 25 - May 28 visit the participants on the linky list and leave useful feedback and constructive criticism.
  4. On 5/28 Sharon will post and ask you to email her your revised final entries for consideration by editor Krystal Wade at Curiosity Quills Press.

Dear Editor,

A modern day medieval village teeming with spirit activity is no place for sixteen-year-old ghost whisperer Indigo Eady, not when all she’s ever wanted is to be a normal girl. But normal girls don’t read the history of an object through touch (Psychometry), let alone see, hear and speak to ghosts.

After the death of her father, Indigo almost has the chance to start over and keep her secret, but the ghost of the missing Bart Bagley ruins it all by turning up and begging her to help solve his murder. Sorely tempted to ignore him, she only relents because he was the father of her new friend, Badger. That and the survivor’s guilt she feels over her own father’s death.

A murder investigation is hard enough without the disruption of interfering ghosts and a mysterious soul collector with her name topping its list, but when Indigo’s psychic abilities short-circuit, the sparks start to fly in more than one direction. The resulting mishaps compromise the success of the investigation and the budding but fragile attraction between Indigo and Badger.

When the body count mounts and a suspect ends up dead, Badger becomes a “person of interest" and they must surge ahead to solve the murders before they become the next victims.

GIVIN' UP THE GHOST, a 68,000 word young adult paranormal mystery can stand alone, although it is intended to be the first book in the Indigo Eady series.


Gwen M. Gardner


“What the...” the dude sputtered. I lay sprawled across him, our eyes locked in stunned surprise, our bodies entwined in a tangle of arms and legs. Shock coursed through my veins. My breath came in rasps so I couldn’t speak, but muteness worked just as well. I mean, what could I say? Nice day for a run?

Luckily the early hour rendered the market square relatively quiet. I didn’t think anyone had witnessed my current fiasco. I only wanted to go for a jog. But now I could add “bowling over cute guy” to my mounting list of mishaps, along with, “Get a grip” on this growing problem of mine.

I chanced a quick, worried glance back toward the alley I had barreled from, but the thing was gone. I sighed. Not a graceful escape, I’ll admit. But all things considered, this new situation I suddenly found myself in was a vast improvement, never mind the embarrassment.

The dude beneath me began to squirm.

“I’m sorry,” I gasped, still trying to catch my breath. Now I had to get myself out of this current predicament. Trust me, the extrication process? Not so easy. Our entwined limbs and clothing became like a massive pile of clothes hangers. The more I tried to untangle, the more things got caught.

Plus, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t doing much to help me with the problem. In fact, based on his grin and that little devil dancing a jig in his eyes, I’d say he was enjoying himself way too much.

I tried not to grin back. I should have been thankful he wasn’t mad, but this was no laughing matter. I was extremely uncomfortable, on more than one level.

I didn’t know what the norm was in medieval England, but in this modern day medieval village, lying about on the ground? So not cool. The few people out and about on that gray morning had started to stare. The jettied, half-timbered buildings leaned over us, but it didn’t hide the fact that we were there, lying on the rain-soaked cobblestones, in broad daylight.

“You could help me, you know,” I chastised, my shaky hands working a strand of my braid from his jacket zipper. But with one strand down, I was still attached by another good-sized clump, preventing me from getting up - unless I was willing to rip out chunks of my hair - which I wasn’t.

“Oh, sorry. Here, let me.” All of a sudden he was all business. With gentle fingers he eased long black locks from the zipper, strand by strand. While he worked, I studied his face. He looked familiar. A slight scar above his right brow, about an inch long. Dark brown hair, slightly messy and overgrown. Golden speckles in brown eyes that... viewed me with amusement.

Crap. Busted, checking out the dude I bowled over. So not cool. Plus, I had the feeling I totally missed something he said.



I hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to critique my work (nicely, of course) in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I posted about this contest this morning and one of my followers has already posted her entry! Very cool.

  2. Thanks for sharing about the contest.

    Love the premise and great start. I love the voice!

    Good luck with the contest.

  3. Alex, thank you so much. You truly are the Head Ninja. Let the competition begin!

    Stina, thanks. I hope you join:) Oh, and I'm glad you found my new blog!

  4. Great entry. I have no suggestions so good luck! I love your site and am a new follower:)

  5. Interesting premise and fun voice in the first 500 (although I could not stop thinking of The Big Lebowski there with all the dude-age - but I'm sure that's totally just me since I love that movie :D)

    Your query is strong too, but I think you could get rid of the first paragraph. It's backstory and set-up and the "supernatural girl who really just wants to be normal" set-up can feel a bit cliche. If you can work the MC's abilities into the rest of the query I think it will feel a bit more natural and also put the reader right into the story and hook from the very first sentence.

    ps. I think you have a great title and your MC's name is unique (in a good way) too :)

    Best of luck in the contest!

    1. Dude-age, lol! Yeah, the beginning has a lot of dude-age. At first I had "boy" and then "guy" but I didn't think either fit very well. But yeah, I need less "dude-age."

  6. Jamie, thank you so much for commenting and following:)

    A.K., I see what you mean. I'll have to think on it and see if I can work the first paragraph into the body. Thank you!

  7. Hi Gwen, yours is a very good entry I wish you the best of luck in the contest!

  8. Hi C.M., thank you very much. Such an exciting opportunity. Good Luck to you, too!

  9. awesome story! ghosts in modern medieval what a great combo!

  10. Tara, thanks for reading it. Yes, I've rather enjoyed being in a modern day medieval village. Love the architecture:) Also, I know you're following my old blog, but I hope you'll come back and follow my new author blog, too. Thanks!

  11. Hey there! Nice to meet you! Sounds like a really fun story. I did feel like there was a tad too much voice in the first 500...maybe that sounds weird, but I kind of lost the flow of the scene. I'c omit the word "relatively" too.
    Just as suggestions intended to be helpful. :)
    Anyway, super duper good luck to you!! And love the name Indigo btw.

  12. Pk, the voice is really strong in the first 500, maybe a bit overwhelming, huh? I'll check it out. Thanks for the comments:)

  13. Hey :-)
    I REALLY enjoyed your first 500 words. I love your character's voice, and what a fun way to have two characters meet! (Well, fun for readers ;-) ) Also like the "little devil dancing a jig in his eyes" ;-)

  14. Hey Gwen! I was pretty drawn in by your first 500:) Love that they got all tangled up so early! I did, like the others, think that the voice seemed a bit much. I like it, don't get me wrong, but I don't kniw if it seemed a tad forced toward YA. I think it is an easy remedy however and I would still have continued reading:)

    I liked the query though, I agree that you could probably cut out some of it.

    Good luck and I really love ghost story type books!

  15. Rachel, thanks. Meeting like that has to be love, right?

    Deana, I've heard several times that the voice is too strong. It does mellow out a bit as I move through the book, but the editor is only going to see the first 500 so I'll take another look at it. Thank you!

  16. I read this on my phone over the weekend but have yet to work out how to comment by phone LOL I love your query and really enjoyed the 500 words. Great voice. How is the meditating going? I am managing it nearly every day - hopefully have a slight habit formed, we'll see.

  17. Claire, Thank You:) Meditation? I sort of forgot about it after Day 10 - I need to get back. The weekends throw me off:)

  18. I enjoyed your query and first 500. I'd have to reiterate what has been mentioned. You could probably do without the first paragraph and add the age of your MC in the second paragraph, making it the first paragraph. A reader of your query can infer the MC's ability to commute with the dead because of what is mentioned.

    I, too, am partial to your MC's name and quite fond of the name of your book. I wish you much success. Very excited to read more about this great story.

    1. Angela, thanks. The queries and first 500 went to the editor yesterday, but I did some change-ups first. Sort of took what everybody said and gave it a makeover. AND I won a signed copy of Wilde's Fire in the drawing, so I'm already a winner!

      But it's so freakin' hard to write a query!

  19. Wow! This site is VERY pretty. I appreciated meeting you during this contest, I gave you an award here Hmm, I came to tell you I'd given you an award @

    1. Awww, thanks Tuere, that is so sweet of you! I have the perfect spot for it on my "shelf". I'll post about it soon:)


Yay! You left a comment! I love comments.