Son of a Pitch Team Ursula Entry 1: ALWAYS GRAY IN WINTER

soap-FINALTitle: ALWAYS GRAY IN WINTER

Category and Genre: Adult paranormal thriller

Word Count: 72,000

Query:

The modern day remnant of an ancient werecat clan is torn apart while militaries on three continents vie to exploit their deadly talents.  Were-lynx Pawly, born in an ethnic Chicago neighborhood following her family’s flight from Cold War-era Poland, must return to her ancestral homeland and save the only man she’s ever risked feeling for.

 My 72,000-word adult paranormal sci-fi thriller ALWAYS GRAY IN WINTER introduces Pawly while a despotic Eastern power lays siege to American forces overseas.  Animal-enhanced soldiers developed by rogue scientist and rival werecat Mawro overrun her Navy port security unit after Pawly abandons her post to fight Mawro’s “control subject” tooth and claw.  His superior killed in the battle, Mawro assumes command of the program replicating their clan’s preternatural fighting ability and supernatural senses.  Pawly’s lover Lenny sustains grave injuries, stirring fears he will join her father and uncle on the list of her loved ones claimed by her kind’s feral bloodlust.

 Fearful for Lenny’s safety, Pawly goes underground to foil Pentagon attempts to whitewash the incident by scapegoating him for her mission’s failure.  Mawro meanwhile steals an experimental device which can quell their bloodlust with intent to weaponize it.  A search for the device brings Lenny straight to Pawly, though their bittersweet reunion is cut short when Mawro tricks her estranged kin into capturing the device’s creator–her grandfather.  Pawly’s daunting choice when the search lands Lenny in a shipside firefight:  keep her family secret and forfeit his life or chance her true nature driving him away forever.

 First 250 Words:

The speed and precision of the two combatants surpassed even the human race’s best martial artists and white arms experts.  Mawro stared up at the footage rolling for the seventh time, scrutinizing their fight on the flat-panel display above.  With a growl he leaned back in his rickety roller chair and rested one boot atop the other beside his console.  His stomach gurgled as his mind winnowed down the list of possible explanations for this spectacle.  The probable ones no longer seemed so far-fetched.

 He followed his operative’s movements to and fro across the desertscape.  Hana executed one technique after another, monolid eyes trained on target while her jet black hair bobbed about.  With neither misstep nor hesitation the young woman landed every strike exactly where he expected.  Exactly as he had taught her.

 Her hands moved so fast their surveillance equipment captured only an orange-and-white blur.  Now and again the camera locked on a frame for a split second but would lose tracking right away.  Stripes of black fur on her exposed forearms left artifacts behind, resembling speed lines following Hong Kong Phooey from the Saturday morning cartoons of his childhood.

 Hana’s opponent captivated and chilled Mawro at the same time. The other woman’s digital camo uniform pattern confirmed assertions of his Revolutionary Guard contact. She resembled scores of US Navy sailors sent to guard the Irani beachhead for Coalition supply lines into Afghanistan, but for being covered in silver-gray fur with long white ruffs lining her neck on either side.

3 thoughts on “Son of a Pitch Team Ursula Entry 1: ALWAYS GRAY IN WINTER”

  1. Query:
    The first paragraph is good. This query definitely piques my interest – your concept is really cool and layered – but after the 1st paragraph it reads like a synopsis. It’s not necessary to put all this information into a query – the query just has to hook. I would reduce this to the themes. “Pawly battles animal-enhanced soldiers, and rival werecat Mawro, to stop a program that would weaponize the werecats’ supernatural senses and fighting abilities.”

    In the last paragraph, I’m unclear how the device will weaponize the werecats’ bloodlust by controlling it…and is she risking her family’s secret because she was using the device to control her own bloodlust? I would reduce this paragraph to a couple sentences to highlight the conflict and the stakes.

    250:
    The second sentence, I would condense to something like, “Mawro watched the footage for the seventh time on the flat panel display”

    The rest of this is really cool- I’m getting good images here of the world and your characters- but it might be too much detail for the opening pages. I would cut some of it and get us to the dialogue/action sooner.

    Great entry!

  2. Query:
    The modern day remnant of an ancient werecat clan is torn apart while militaries on three continents vie to exploit their deadly talents. Were-lynx Pawly, born in an ethnic Chicago neighborhood following her family’s flight from Cold War-era Poland, must return to her ancestral homeland and save the only man she’s ever risked feeling for.
    My 72,000-word adult paranormal sci-fi thriller ALWAYS GRAY IN WINTER introduces Pawly while a despotic Eastern power lays siege to American forces overseas. Animal-enhanced soldiers developed by rogue scientist and rival werecat Mawro overrun her Navy port security unit after Pawly abandons her post to fight. ..(Cut – Mawro’s “control subject” tooth and claw. or tinker with sentence) Mawro’s superior is killed in the battle and he assumes command of the program replicating their clan’s preternatural fighting ability and supernatural senses. Pawly’s lover Lenny sustains grave injuries, (**stirring fears he will join her father and uncle on the list of her loved ones claimed by her kind’s feral bloodlust.** this might be extra info here. )
    Fearful for Lenny’s safety, Pawly goes underground to foil Pentagon attempts to whitewash the incident by scapegoating him for her mission’s failure. Mawro meanwhile steals an experimental device which can quell their bloodlust with intent to weaponize it. A search for the device brings Lenny straight to Pawly, **(I thought Lenny was gravely injured?)though their bittersweet reunion is cut short when Mawro tricks her estranged kin into capturing the device’s creator–her grandfather. In a ship side fight, Pawly must choose to keep her family secret and forfeit his life or chance her true nature driving him away forever.(What about Mawro and the device? That felt like the final showdown stake )
    Your query gives us both deep and wide and it’s a lot at once. I get the story line and it sounds solid and well planned, but you may want to streamline a little and hit high points without as much detail. And tinker with removing some of the love interest section.
    First 250
    I loved the voice of the first 250. I though the action was solid, the thoughts/movement good. I would have kept on reading. Thumbs up.

    All suggestions are IMHO and are meant to be thought provoking, maybe helpful, but not gospel. Take ‘em, leave ‘em. This is your rodeo, so it’s up to you. Best of luck

  3. Query:

    (The modern day remnant Why is the “modern day” in there? Can you just say…) Remnants of an ancient werecat clan is torn apart while militaries on three continents vie to exploit their deadly talents. Were-lynx Pawly, born in an ethnic Chicago neighborhood following her family’s flight from Cold War-era Poland, must return to her ancestral homeland and save the only man (name? And save him from whom?) she’s ever risked feeling for. (Okay then, let’s go!)

    My 72,000-word adult paranormal sci-fi thriller ALWAYS GRAY IN WINTER (introduces Pawly while a despotic Eastern power lays siege to American forces overseas.- shows Pawly’s journey to *insert what she wants* while…overseas. Or can you move the My 72,000-word adult paranormal sci-fi thriller ALWAYS GRAY IN WINTER to the very beginning? In my… thriller…WINTER, remnants of an ancient…talents. Just throwing ideas around.) Animal-enhanced soldiers developed by rogue scientist and rival werecat Mawro overrun her Navy port security unit after Pawly abandons her post to fight Mawro’s “control subject” tooth and claw(Mawro sends his “control subject” to attack? Pawly leaves her post to intercept because…why?…and then the unit is overrun? Is this necessary in the query?). His superior killed in the battle, Mawro assumes command of the program replicating their clan’s preternatural fighting ability and supernatural senses. (This is a dual POV ms? If so, we’ll want to set up Mawro’s character, give what he wants.) Pawly’s lover Lenny sustains grave injuries (In the battle with Mawro’s beastie?), stirring fears he will join her father and uncle on the list of her loved ones claimed by her kind’s feral bloodlust.

    Fearful for Lenny’s safety, Pawly goes underground to foil Pentagon (the Pentagon is in on this?) attempts to whitewash the incident by scapegoating him for her mission’s failure. Mawro meanwhile steals an experimental device which can quell their bloodlust with intent to weaponize it (How would he turn that into a weapon?). A search for the device brings Lenny straight to Pawly, though their bittersweet reunion is cut short when Mawro tricks her estranged kin (He uses her family?) into capturing the device’s creator–her grandfather. Pawly’s daunting choice when the search lands Lenny in a shipside firefight: keep her family secret and forfeit his life or chance her true nature driving him away forever. (Lenny doesn’t know she’s a were-lynx?)

    There is a lot in this query and I got a bit lost. I loved the opening paragraph…Pawly is going to Poland to save Lenny from some bad guy…YEA! Second paragraph…what is stopping her from saving him? What problems does she face? She finds out about Mawro and his experiments…who tried to kill them? She doesn’t want to lose Lenny so she leaves to find Mawro on her own? Learns he is looking for a weapon to quell their bloodlust? And the whole thing with Pawly’s grandfather?!?!?!!
    Anyway…do we need all the info on Mawro? Focus on the main story line. What does Pawly want (save Lenny?)? What does she have to do to get it (face Mawro and his troop of experimental beast and stop him from killing?)? What big event brings her to face a choice (the fight at the end?)? Always remembering why she is fighting. Love?
    The idea is really cool!

    First 250 Words:

    The speed and precision of the two combatants surpassed even the human race’s best martial artists and white arms experts (white arms?). Mawro stared up at the footage rolling for the seventh time, scrutinizing their fight on the flat-panel display above. (This is dual POV! The query should have Mawro’s story too.) With a growl he leaned back in his rickety roller chair and rested one boot atop the other beside his console. His stomach gurgled as his mind winnowed down the list of possible explanations for this spectacle. The probable ones no longer seemed so far-fetched.

    He followed his operative’s movements to and fro across the desertscape. Hana executed one technique after another, monolid eyes trained on target while her jet black hair bobbed about. With neither misstep nor hesitation the young woman landed every strike exactly where he expected. Exactly as he had taught her. (So he knows who he’s watching on the screen, I thought he didn’t know and was confused as to how they were moving so fast.)

    Her hands moved so fast their surveillance equipment captured only an orange-and-white blur. Now and again the camera locked on a frame for a split second but would lose tracking right away. Stripes of black fur on her exposed forearms left artifacts behind, resembling speed lines following Hong Kong Phooey from the Saturday morning cartoons of his childhood.

    Hana’s opponent captivated and chilled Mawro at the same time. The other woman’s digital camo uniform pattern confirmed assertions of his Revolutionary Guard contact. She resembled scores of US Navy sailors sent to guard the Irani beachhead for Coalition supply lines into Afghanistan, but for being covered in silver-gray fur with long white ruffs lining her neck on either side.

    This is interesting. Who is this Mawro and what does he want? Monolid eyes…stripes of fur on her arms…neat-o. And fierce fighting!

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