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Author Topic: Adult sci-fi fantasy: AETHER UNLOCKED  (Read 884 times)
melissa_haegert
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« on: April 14, 2018, 05:26:39 PM »

LATEST VERSION: http://querytracker.net/forum/index.php?topic=22784.msg261127#msg261127

Thanks in advance for feedback!


AETHER UNLOCKED is a 130,000-word steampunk fantasy and space opera mash-up, the first installment of a completed duology. After an abduction attempt gone awry, a space soldier teams up with her target—a ballet-dancing vigilante wizard—to save both of their colliding worlds.


Tamera Glade is a paratrooper assigned to a specimen retrieval mission on a backwoods planet, stalking her target from the perimeter of an old-fashioned ballroom, a corset strapped around her combat suit. The assignment seems easy enough: grab the primitive party boy and shuttle his biologically-advanced backside up to the space station for genetic dissection. She’s in position, undercover, plotting her alien abduction—then the target asks her to dance.

Locke’s life is great: former ballet legend by day, rogue wizard by night, on a clandestine quest to rid his world of its dark magical forces. But then he recklessly asks a pretty alien to dance and flips her ensuing kidnap attempt on its head, publicly outing his vigilante alter ego. Now he’s got an entire Guild of legalistic wizards on his ass, along with the malevolent deity he’s spent the last few years imprisoning in his basement. And, for better or worse, Locke’s cute alien captive is his best hope for piecing his life back together, the perfect life she ruined by dropping by. From outer space.

Tamera plays along with their new partnership, telling herself she can haul his backside into orbit as soon as the opportunity arises. But Locke’s backside isn’t cooperating, and neither is his world’s unruly “Aether” magic, an invisible energy with a personality and a penchant for tucking itself away inside Tamera’s oblivious alien self. When Aether’s dark nemesis heads for Tamera’s space station and the freedom of the stars, Locke and Tamera must chase it across airships and spaceships to save his world, her world, and the rest of the worlds.


AETHER UNLOCKED captures the playful duo dynamics of DC’s Wonder Woman, reimagined as a clash of steampunk and space worlds, with a vivid magic system reminiscent of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, and the witty energy of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. As co-authors we’re a dynamic duo of our own: one of us with a half dozen sci-fi manuscripts and an astronomy PhD, the other with a dozen fantasy manuscripts and only the fun half of an English major. [Personalization]
« Last Edit: April 26, 2018, 03:22:16 PM by melissa_haegert » Logged
RockinRobbie
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2018, 03:26:32 PM »

I like it, especially the humor and voice. I think it's intriguing enough to generate some requests from those agents who can get past the steampunk/space opera mash-up (which you probably know is in and of itself a hard sell). My only suggestion would be linking the Tamera and Locke paragraphs together more succinctly or being more clear that Tamera is Locke's captive and Locke is Tamera's target. In other words, I'm not sure it works that Tamera and Locke have separate paragraphs about how they view each other without naming names.

Anyway, be sure to keep the humor and voice in your edits because that's definitely the strong point here!
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mgmystery
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2018, 07:36:15 AM »

Assuming your ms is dual POV, I like this style of query!

I think you'd be better off to skip the first paragraph and add your word count/genre to the final paragraph. Also, the phrase a corset strapped around her combat suit could be worded differently since I imagine she's actually dressed for the ballroom--Maybe something that describes her corset loaded with combat gear? I like the way you've written the final paragraph, but I think it needs more clarification. Will the details about your names and relevant publications be in the actual query?
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melissa_haegert
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2018, 03:20:07 PM »

Thanks everyone for feedback! We rewrote a new version below, significantly shorter, hopefully punchier, without losing too much.
Link to your queries in comments -- we'd be happy to help revise if we can!

-----------------

Locke Attenmoor is a ballet dancer turned vigilante wizard, on a clandestine quest to rid his steampunk world of its dark magical forces. He’s armed with Aether, a wand, and a dazzling smile—hopefully enough to disarm the cute alien who’s just arrived to abduct him.

Tamera Glade is a paratrooper from outer space, on her first solo retrieval mission, stalking a specimen whose intriguing biology will fuel the future of her interstellar race. She’s confident her tech can trump anything this primitive planet can throw at her—until it’s a chandelier flying at her face, hurled by a sexy dancer with a magic stick.

One epic ballroom duel (and one epic magical hangover) later, the unlikely pair hit the ground running from bounty hunters, angry wizards, stellar strike teams, and the malevolent deity that Locke had carefully trapped in his basement. When the liberated Dark Aether heads for Tamera’s space station and galactic domination, Locke and Tamera must chase it across airships and starships to save his world, her world, and the rest of the worlds.

AETHER UNLOCKED is a 130,000-word steampunk fantasy and space opera mashup, the first installment of a completed duology. The book’s witty duo dynamics, cultural clashes, and rich worldbuilding will delight fans of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series or DC’s Wonder Woman, steampunk-style. As co-authors we’re a dynamic duo of our own: an astronomy PhD and an English major, a wordsmith and a worldbuilder, a collision of complementary skills. [Personalization]
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koji
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2018, 12:42:31 AM »

I much prefer the shortened version. It is less overwhelming and clearer.

The only thing is that you never explain what Aether is in this version, so that kind of throws me off. Even though it is the title of the book, you could replace it with a 2-3 word description in the query instead of saying he is armed with Aether, to say he is armed with an unruly magic or some such.
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mgmystery
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2018, 08:17:44 AM »

I love the paragraphs introducing the characters, but the third paragraph throws me. It could be my lack of knowledge in these genres but I have a hard time following the plot.

One epic ballroom duel (and one epic magical hangover) later, (nice! Smiley) the unlikely pair hit the ground running from bounty hunters, angry wizards, stellar strike teams (Why? Were all these people at the ball?), and the malevolent deity that Locke had carefully trapped in his basement. When the liberated Dark Aether (Is this the guy form the basement?) heads for Tamera’s space station and galactic domination, Locke and Tamera must chase it across airships and starships to save his world, her world, and the rest of the worlds.

Okay, I went back & read the original and as a reader inexperienced in magic, I agree with Koji--for me Aether needs an explanation. I also liked the part about the deity/energy getting into Tamara. Although, you should know, I'm picturing this as an invisible force taking her over to do his dirty work...similar to demon possession? Lol, if i'm totally hopeless in this genre and this is useless to you, I get it  embarrassed2 Always only use the advice you can  Smiley
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Laura R
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2018, 10:41:06 AM »

Hello Dynamic Duo! This sounds fun, and I love the humor in it! I added a couple of comments below.
Best of luck!

Thanks everyone for feedback! We rewrote a new version below, significantly shorter, hopefully punchier, without losing too much.
Link to your queries in comments -- we'd be happy to help revise if we can!

-----------------

Locke Attenmoor is a ballet dancer turned vigilante wizard, on a clandestine quest to rid his steampunk world of its (<-cut?)dark magical forces. He’s armed with Aether (<-could you mention what this is?), a wand, and a dazzling smile—hopefully enough to disarm the cute alien who’s just arrived to abduct him.

Tamera Glade is a paratrooper from outer space, on her first solo retrieval mission, stalking a specimen whose intriguing biology will fuel the future of her interstellar race (<-this is a really interesting sentence. I'm not 100% sure what it means, but I'm not sure you have to describe it. The mystery might be part of the charm). She’s confident her tech can trump anything this primitive planet can throw at her—until it’s a chandelier flying at her face, hurled by a sexy dancer with a magic stick. (love this!)

One epic ballroom duel (and one epic magical hangover) later, the unlikely pair hit the ground running from bounty hunters, angry wizards, stellar strike teams, and the malevolent deity that Locke had carefully trapped in his basement. When the liberated Dark Aether heads for Tamera’s space station and galactic domination, Locke and Tamera must chase it across airships and starships to save his world, her world, and the rest of the worlds.

AETHER UNLOCKED is a 130,000-word steampunk fantasy and space opera mashup, the first installment of a completed duology. The book’s witty duo dynamics, cultural clashes, and rich worldbuilding will delight fans of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series or DC’s Wonder Woman, steampunk-style. As co-authors we’re a dynamic duo of our own: an astronomy PhD and an English major, a wordsmith and a worldbuilder, a collision of complementary skills. [Personalization]

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@LauraRueckert
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