My Query is the Winner! + Week Four of the GUTGAA Blogfest

I am beyond excited that Lora Rivera picked my query letter as the grand prize winner during Week Three of Deana Barnhart's "Gearing Up to Get an Agent" Blogfest last week. I received so much helpful query advice from everyone, and Lora just finished my free five-page critique, so I feel jazzed, refreshed and ready to take on some agencies! (Check out Deana's blog announcement here: GUTGAA Query Winner! + Final Week Around the Corner.)

Lora's feedback was invaluable, and I am so appreciative for the time and effort she and Deana have put into making this Blogfest a success. I am also indebted to the talented writers who have stopped by to give me so much great advice. What a great opportunity to hone our skills, meet other bloggers, build our platforms and learn about all the other awesome stories in the works!

Week Four of the Blogfest has now begun, and this week, we are all posting the first 200 words of our manuscripts in order to receive feedback. Two winners will be announced at the end of this week, and each will receive either a query and 30 page critique from agent Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, or a 10 page critique from Monica Bustamante Wagner, YA writer represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary.

Here are the first 200 words of my YA urban fantasy, THE MERMAID GENE, and thanks in advance for your help!

Photo Courtesy of marfis75

The dolphin twists sideways in my arms. Eyeing me through one widened, gleaming black eye, she opens her blowhole and gurgles. Her voice sounds breathless and weak, and the tips of her flukes feel hot against my fingertips.

“What are you waiting for, Kai? Tighten up on her, or she’s gonna bolt.” My father’s warning booms from a nearby research vessel as I struggle for footing in the tea-stained waters of Tampa Bay. “Do it quick; she’s baiting you.”

The concern in his voice sends a fresh wave of anxiety grinding through me, and I wrinkle my nose in protest as I realize the truth of his words. Growing up watching him perform countless catch-and-release medical exams just like this one, I know researchers only have four, maybe five seconds to restrain a bottlenose dolphin before it fights back and escapes capture.

Wrapped around this animal’s tail, I should follow protocol by pulling her flukes into my chest and bracing myself for her inevitable thrashing. Instead, I find myself lost in her plaintive, lucid eye contact. Her pupils, shrunk into tiny circles in the sunlight, roll back and forth as she cranes her head, and a shallow scar splits the silvery bulge of her forehead.

Hesitating, I loosen my grip on her dorsal ridge and exhale. Poor thing’s exhausted. Isn’t even fighting anymore.

That's my first mistake.