Cut Her Out in Little Stars by Daniele Kasper Genre: Science Fiction, Light Romance
A woman lost in time. A star system on the brink of war. A man haunted by past sins. Traitors lurk in the shadows while secrets threaten to put everyone's life in danger in the cold depths of space. Can a woman trapped in a strange new future be the one to save them or will be she the spark that ignites the war?
After an accident on a New York subway, Cara DeLeon finds herself in the future, but not the one she dreamed of. Fleet Commander Nikolas Caine defends the star system he calls home from space raiders called Hostiles until Cara's arrival sets into motion a chain of events that will change his world forever. Cara uncovers dark secrets that threaten to tear the star system apart. She must fight to survive if she wants to get home to her family. Battling a looming war and his growing feelings for Cara, Caine must finish his mission. Of course, Cara would end up falling for the one man dead set on sending her home. As the ghosts of his past catch up to Caine, Cara finds herself struggling to face an uncertain future.
First, I want some questions answered," Cara told him, chewing.
He was quiet. His face stayed blank; his emotions well hidden.
"You get three," he finally agreed. The cool tone to his voice told her he wasn’t pleased with her request or with the fact he was granting it to her. She tried to think of questions that would give her the answers she wanted.
"Who are you?" she asked first.
There was no change in his features, but something in his eyes shifted. "I am Commander Nikolas Caine," he responded. Even though it was an intentionally short answer, at least now she had a name and knew he was military.
"Okay, Commander, where am I?" She hadn’t meant for it to come off sounding so sarcastic and hoped it wouldn’t ruin her opportunity to get some information.
"On the U.C.S Archon."
He was being deliberately vague. She still couldn’t understand how she was on a ship. New York was surrounded by water, but why would the military be involved with an accident cleanup. She was reasonably sure American ships were labeled U.S.S., but she had only taken one year of college history. Paired with his accent, it confirmed her suspicion he was foreign.
"Are you American?" she ventured.
"I am a citizen of the Confederation."
She was right. He wasn’t American. How had she managed to go from a New York subway to a foreign ship?
Caine was confused by the woman's strange question. He recalled no place in the Confederation called America, but the name sounded familiar. She opened her mouth to speak, but he held up a hand.
"I agreed to three. My turn now."
There was no use in arguing, so she glared at him instead.
"Who are you?” He turned her own original question against her.
Playing word games wasn’t the smartest idea since he had the upper hand. Still, she couldn’t help but try and twist the situation in her favor just a little. She didn’t want to make him angry, but she hoped to at least find a little ground to stand on.
"Cara." She deliberately responded with an answer as equally ambiguous as the ones he gave her. “My name is- “
He sharply cut her off. "Yes, I know. Cara DeLeon. Who are you actually?" She looked unsettled; her forehead all scrunched up.
"I told you who I am. I live in New York, and I was on my way to work when I think I was in a subway crash."
Caine’s nerves were getting frayed. "Who do you work for?" The color drained from her face, and her eyes widened.
Dread twisted her gut. The situation she’d had some hold on slipped through her fingers. The tables had turned. She was at a loss. He did believe she had something to do with the train crash. The military would have gotten involved if they thought it was an act of terrorism. Shit. He was accusing her of being a terrorist.
He stood and turned away, walking over to the counter. More out of shock, a bubble of incredulous laughter worked its way up her throat. She couldn’t hold back the nervous giggle, and it escaped.
He whirled, eyes ablaze. “You think this is funny?”
“No, no. I swear.” The hostility directed at her caught her off guard. “Look, I don't work for anyone. I'm just a telemarketer. I don't know what you are talking about. I had nothing to do with the train crash, and I don't understand why you think I’m involved."
Caine stared at her for a moment, his mouth set firmly in a straight line. He was getting nowhere. The time had come to push further.
Daniele Kasper’s travels have taken her around the world and back again, but her favorite adventures will always be found between the covers of a good book. From rescuing dolphins in the Florida Keys, to getting chased by grizzly bears in Alaska, Daniele has taken her adventures and used them as inspiration for her writing. Eventually, she married a horse trainer and settled down in central Michigan. She is now a farm girl with her husband, The Cowboy. They have four rescue dogs, a multitude of cats and chickens and a couple of cowponies. Daniele loves reading and writing fantasy and science fiction. She also loves all things Outlander and Disney, can’t grow a garden to save her life and occasionally moonlights as an elementary teacher.
So you’re finally done with your book and you are ready to query. But where do you start? Here are some tips to help you through the querying process and landing the agent of your dreams.
1) Refine your query letter. Just like you revised your book, do the same thing with your query letter. Edit, edit, edit. Think of your query letter like Gandalf the Grey from Lord of the Rings, if it doesn’t wow an agent, you shall not pass. They won’t request to read your book. In a way your query letter is as important, if not more important than your book itself. You want the agent to want to read your book and the query letter is how you catch their attention. Learn how to write a query letter. I spent six months researching online, writing and editing, then researching some more and I still got over eighty rejections. That doesn’t even count the agents I never heard back from.
2) Research your agent. Look at the books and authors they represent. Don’t just pitch your book to anyone and everyone. Many agents will have lists of works and authors they currently represent. Check to see if your manuscript aligns with what they represent. For example: I am a science fiction and fantasy author and many agents will list themselves as SFF agents but will lean heavily to preferring one over the other. Check what kind of books they currently represent. If they represent mostly fantasy novels and you are pitching a science fiction novel, chances are they will reject it simply because it doesn’t fit their personal tastes. Remember, getting an agent is very subjective and all about personal preferences so you have to query agents that will fit with your book. Use the two websites Manuscript Wish List and MSWishList or the hashtag MSWL on Twitter to find what agents are specifically seeking. If they are looking for a modern day spin on Romeo and Juliet with zombies and that is what you wrote, then that might be the agent you query! Check out Writer’s Beware for a list of bad agents and bad publishing companies. There are tons of scammers out there so do your research to weed out the good from the bad.
3) Use tools to help you keep track. Query Tracker or Query Manager but you can also use an excel spreadsheet or an old fashioned spiral notebook to track who you queried, the date and their response. Many agencies have strict rules about querying other agents after a rejection. A rejection from one agent in the agency means a no from the entire agency. Read their rules and guidelines so that you do not accidentally query someplace or someone you shouldn’t. Organization is key. It doesn’t look good for you if you query the same agent twice by accident or send a query letter with the wrong name at the top or company name within it. Do your research into pronouns. Many agents will have them listed. When in doubt, address the letter directly to the agent by name.
4) Make sure your book is edited before you submit query letters. An agent will be less than impressed if they request to see your book and then get an unfinished manuscript or a manuscript filled with errors, spelling and grammar mistakes.
5) Be prepared for rejections. Be prepared to not hear back from many of the agents. Be prepared to wait. And wait. And wait. Some agents have a six month window before you should consider yourself rejected and to move on. Remember, this is a highly subjective business so just because this agent didn’t like your book it doesn’t mean someone else won’t! Don’t give up. It only takes one yes to land an agent!
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