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Author Topic: Star-Spangled Hearts  (Read 699 times)
gckatz
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« on: November 22, 2017, 09:18:13 PM »

(Hopefully I won't be querying again anytime soon. But in case I am...)

When 18-year-old June Calhoun lies about her age to enlist in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps, she's planning on serving her country, not falling in love--especially not with another woman. But the brash, trouser-clad German refugee who calls herself Bobcat sweeps her off her feet and into a side of the military June never imagined.

For Bobcat's circle of lesbian friends, the WAAC provides a unique chance to mingle with other women, wear a uniform, and work in a male field. But not everyone in the Army believes that women belong there, and some are looking for any opportunity to shut the whole experiment donw. One false step could lead to a military tribunal and a humiliating—and potentially dangerous—public outing.

June has barely begun to navigate this minefield when she catches Bobcat making contact with Nazi operatives who she insists are defectors but June is convinced are spies. June must decide whether to set aside her suspicions and stand by the woman she loves or turn Bobcat in and risk an investigation that could destroy both their futures.

STAR-SPANGLED HEARTS is a YA historical novel complete at 72,000 words.  I worked extensively on this project with my uncle, a cofounder of the GLBT History Museum, as well as drawing from my own experience as a neurodiverse queer woman. My first novel, AMONG THE RED STARS, was a 2017 Junior Library Guild selection.
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jldelozier
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2017, 06:35:26 AM »

gckatz, I honestly think this is excellent. You don't need to change a thing other than the one small typo in the 2nd paragraph (donw.)
If I HAD to suggest a change, I would mention a villain/antagonist to up the stakes, if one exists. In the 2nd paragraph, the implication is that the villain is the whole, sexist, prejudiced system: "But not everyone in the Army believes that women belong there, and some are looking"
So if there's a particularly evil commanding officer or someone similar who serves as the villain, I would mention him. Of course, Bobcat may also serve as the villain, depending on how the story turns out, and if so, I would leave the query like it is. It works well.
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Falthor
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2017, 10:28:54 AM »

Gonna second JDelozier on this.   

This isn't even in the field I would normally read and I was interested in the story. 

I'm not sure if it's possible but if there was a way to include something more about why June is sure the Nazi's are spies, and Bobcat's side of the conflict I think it would be even stronger.  That being said, I'm thinking this is already at a level where you could take it out for a test drive if needed.

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MKWrites_318
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2017, 01:55:35 PM »

Very, very good in my estimation. The only thing I would change for sure is that "down" in "shut the whole experiment down" is misspelled.

The one thing I would suggest shifting, purely based on my taste, is the first sentence in the 3rd paragraph - "June has barely begun to navigate..." It's just a little long and clunky for me. But this is just me nitpicking, because it really is a well-written query. Smiley

Best of luck whenever you decide to start submitting it!
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Kjk
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2017, 12:46:35 PM »

It's a very good and clean query. Besides the one typo mentioned above nothing is wrong with it at all. And it sounds like a really entertaining story.
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gckatz
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2017, 02:12:51 PM »

Quote
The only thing I would change for sure is that "down" in "shut the whole experiment down" is misspelled.

I is smart. Thanks for catching that.
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deutschlandchick
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2017, 01:22:07 AM »

Great job!
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mgmystery
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 07:49:00 AM »

Nicely done!  Thumbs Up
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Curious Author
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2017, 09:31:19 AM »

I love this query and would definitely read this novel. clap
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MookyMcD
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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2017, 12:25:02 PM »

(Hopefully I won't be querying again anytime soon. But in case I am...)

When 18-year-old June Calhoun lies about her age to enlist in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps, she's planning on serving her country, not falling in love--especially not with another woman. But the brash, trouser-clad German refugee who calls herself Bobcat sweeps her off her feet and into a side of the military June never imagined.

For Bobcat's circle of lesbian friends, the WAAC provides a unique chance to mingle with other women, wear a uniform, and work in a male field. But not everyone in the Army believes that women belong there, and some are looking for any opportunity to shut the whole experiment donw. One false step could lead to a military tribunal and a humiliating—and potentially dangerous—public outing.

June has barely begun to navigate this minefield when she catches Bobcat making contact with Nazi operatives who she insists are defectors but June is convinced are spies. June must decide whether to set aside her suspicions and stand by the woman she loves or turn Bobcat in and risk an investigation that could destroy both their futures.

STAR-SPANGLED HEARTS is a YA historical novel complete at 72,000 words.  I worked extensively on this project with my uncle, a cofounder of the GLBT History Museum, as well as drawing from my own experience as a neurodiverse queer woman. My first novel, AMONG THE RED STARS, was a 2017 Junior Library Guild selection.


It's been a long time, but I still remember what your last book was about (the Night Witches). You have a knack for picking topics (that appeal to me, anyway).

On the query side, I'm not a big fan of first sentences that follow the "When person did X, the last thing she expected was Y" formula. That may just be personal bias. It needs to happen--probably in the first paragraph--but I'd consider breaking it up so it goes:
1) Lies about her age and joins the WAAC
2) Enter the brash German chick
3) Oh, crap, I'm in love with anther woman.
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I put the nati in Illuminati
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2017, 01:45:06 PM »

I wish I had some sort of feedback to give you but I don't. I wish this book was on the shelves now! It sounds amazing!!!
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2017, 01:55:25 PM »

oh sh**, girl. I'm here for this.

This is the ms your agent doesn't like?
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gckatz
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2017, 02:14:33 PM »

Quote
This is the ms your agent doesn't like?

Yep.

(She likes the concept--she's just not there for the execution.)
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2017, 07:51:15 AM »

Ugh. That's no fun.
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Repped by Mollie Glick of CAA
ASSASSIN'S HEART 2016 HarperTeen
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Tigerlily1066
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2017, 08:09:28 PM »

I'm with everyone else--this sounds faboo! I hope you can work out a path forward with your agent!
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