Hello, all! Christmas vacation is in full swing here at the Jackson household, and so is my deep-dive back into the Tome of Greystone work. As you might have read, I have been actively querying literary agents and publishers (the few publishers that don’t require agent representation) about the completed manuscript of Emergence. As expected, my queries have resulted in a LOT of rejections, but to my surprise I have also seen some interest on several fronts. Only time will tell if any of those leads will pan out, but I will keep you posted.
In the meantime, though, I have decided to re-tool my query letter and start a whole new wave of submissions. My initial query letter from the June-July 2011 time-frame was pretty poor, and that’s not just my opinion. I came across an expert in the field of getting published here in the Cincinnati area, and he was nice enough to review and edit mine at no cost. I have taken his suggestions and written a much more detailed query that tries to summarize Emergence while teasing the greater story arc to come.
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Dear So-and-So of the Such-and-Such Literary Agency,
Allow me to introduce Emergence, a completed 125,000-word fantasy novel the begins a planned series of books called The Tome of Greystone. While Emergence is technically epic fantasy, it is part of a multi-generational story arc that has a very urban/contemporary fantasy feel. The books are set in a world of kings, queens, and mounted knights, but lack many of the trappings of traditional fantasy (such as pre-existing magic systems and Tolkien-esque non-human characters).
Emergence introduces the Land of Greystone via the stories of three groups of young men that begin to manifest magical powers during a time when any belief in the supernatural is considered a sign of dangerous insanity. Argand Mason, an accomplished swordsman at only 20 Summers old, and his close friend Kosin Fletcher are traveling through the Land seeking their fortunes. Through encounters with murderous thieves and river pirates, Argand discovers that he can detect the presence of others through strange, pulsing sensations in the ground. Kosin is increasingly shocked by his own extreme accuracy with bows or throwing knives. Despite their concern that they are both losing their minds, they know that their abilities are keeping them alive.
Loric Sarindon, the son of a famous huntmaster, believes his career is already at an end. He has begun hearing a voice in his mind, a known sign of impending madness. Loric intends to check himself permanently into Greystone’s royal cuperative (hospital) before he becomes a danger to others. Two of his good friends, West Currier and Surk Brayburn, agree to accompany him on this last trip together. But to Loric’s shock, West discovers that he can change the form of ordinary objects with nothing but his thoughts, and Surk learns that he has supernatural strength.
Within the ranks of Greystone’s army, the Grey Shields, we meet Max Chemael and his friends Brien and Varix. Max, nephew of one of the five Dukes of the Greystone Protectorates, has been hiding the fact the he seems to have the gift of foresight and often hears the thoughts of others. A disastrous fire in a crowded tavern reveals that both Brien and Varix also have special talents, and that Max can sense their various abilities.
The three groups of travelers are drawn to the capital of Greystone City in order to register for Venture, the dangerous journey into the Black Mountains through which brave souls prove their worth and earn knighthood. A series of assassination attempts near Greystone Castle itself thrusts all eight young men together. They soon discover that they have more than special talents in common; they have also each noticed menacing, black and shimmering silver-clad figures darkening their trails.
As the story unfolds, Queen Lorillin Greystone and her daring daughter Princess Darian are introduced as they struggle to maintain control of their increasingly lawless nation. In addition, tensions are growing between Greystone and its historical enemy, the nation of MasMindon to the west. We meet King Balon of MasMindon, strangely active despite his advanced age and questionable sanity, as he plots against Greystone with his advisor Pinneron and eight young grandsons known as the Blood Knights.
As Emergence closes, Argand, Loric, Max, and their friends have yet to learn that their powers, the growing troubles of the Land, and the dark plans of King Balon are all connected. But they will soon discover their roles within a millennia-old battle for the future of mankind that will be decided by the cataclysmic confrontation of supernatural powers… and by the choices made in the hearts of everyday people. The Tome of Greystone series continues in book two, Knights and Watchers (about half-finished at 55,000-words), as the young heroes realize the true nature of their powers and of the challenges that lie ahead.
If you are interested, I will gladly send you a synopsis, additional chapters, or the entire manuscript and glossary of Emergence. Thank you very much for your consideration.
Kevin E. Jackson
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What do you think? Too much? Too little? Just right? Any comments are welcome!