I couldn’t help but imagine the Stephanie Meyer/J.K. Rowling scenario for Age of Darkness, but I never once believed it would actually be a reality. I imagined that my query letter would be rejected time and time again. After all, Frank Herbert’s Dune (my all-time favorite story, along with Where The Red Fern Grows) was rejected 23 times. I knew that a pile of rejection letters was in my near future, and I felt ready to receive them. I was confident that a beacon of acceptance would eventually shine through those dark letters.
I couldn’t have imagined how defeating it would be.
Here’s the first query letter I sent (feel free to comment on it):
I read on the JABerwocky Website that you are looking for books with a strong magic system, a complex web of characters, and a unique world. With this in mind, I am submitting for your consideration The War of Ages Saga: Age of Darkness, a 146,000-word epic fantasy that I believe will appeal to fans of George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan, and Frank Herbert.
Fueled with hatred for the citizens who have enslaved her people, a young phaerian girl seeks revenge for her father’s murder, inadvertently awakening an age-old prophecy that could destroy the world. The words of the prophecy are obscure at best, but two things are certain: the world must be cleansed before it can be saved, and only the prophesied Light can save it.
Enter our two heroes: Kael is a citizen of the empire and a powerful shaper; Jouler is a simple phaerian farmer whose people have been despised and oppressed by citizens for ages. Kael on his way to complete his training as an assassin in the Crimson Guard when a horde of undead creatures with powerful magical properties attacks his caravan, slaughtering all but him. Stabbed through the gullet and left for dead, Kael is brought to the hidden village of Headwater, where he is nursed back to health by a wise old phaerian, his lovely but surly assistant, and the young phaerian, Jouler. Jouler and Kael meet when Kael awakens from his wound, and despite their opposing backgrounds they become friends, shattering each other’s preconceptions and prejudices. When Kael kills the archon’s son in defense of a phaerian, the two unlikely friends must forsake the loyalties of their past and seek new lives to escape certain death from the Crimson Guard. It is along this journey that they uncover truths that have been buried for centuries under lies and deceit—truths that reveal the empire for the evil entity it is. When they discover that Kael is the prophesied Light, they set out to overthrow the corrupt empire and save the world. It is a feat made even more daunting when they learn the most devastating truth of all, that Jouler is the prophesized Harbinger of Death, destined to kill the Light.
I am a US Army combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient with a degree in philosophy of ethics from the University of Arizona. I use my experiences from two years at war to parallel current issues and create vibrant scenes, with an aim to elicit new modes of thought from my readers. I am currently at work on the next novel in the saga. May I send you the completed first manuscript?
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.