Query blurb for "Not a Mother"

Eighteen months ago, Lisa Menlo lost her much-adored older brother, her sister-in-law, and her left hand.  She inherited her brother's life insurance proceeds, his mortgage, his two teenagers, and his dog.

Going from carefree law student, two hands, and no dependents to unemployed, one hand, and three-dependents-if-you-count-the-dog, isn't quite the life change she expected at age 28 when she graduated.  And the book “How to Raise Adolescents from Scratch” hasn't yet been written.  She knows, because she looked for it.

To fulfill her promise to her brother, Lisa wants nothing more than to give her niece and nephew a strong family foundation--preferably before Patrick, recently graduated from high school, leaves home.  Unfortunately, this turns out to be sooner than she expected when he announces a desire to join the Navy.

While Lisa searches for employment as a brand new lawyer and helps Patrick navigate enlistment requirements, 14-year-old CarolAnn drops a bombshell that forces Lisa to chose between two options, either of which will result in tearing the family apart, again, and making Lisa a failure at the only thing that really matters.


  1. Dena I wonder if you need para 1? All of that information is conveyed in the 2nd and that will bring you down from 4 to 3 which might be more manageable in a query? Just a thought.
    Sounds good though!

    1. Interesting idea. I'll definitely consider it. Glad to know you think it sounds good. Thanks.

  2. Fantastic concept! I want to read the book. Found this page after reading your A to Z reflection post.

    1. You want to read it? Wonderful! Thanks.

  3. Okay, two things:
    1) You write really, really well. Those first two paragraphs display that in a hurry. I'd keep the first paragraph. Heck, the first line is so dramatic, there's nothing else for a reader to do but go on to the second line. Exactly what an opening line is supposed to do. If the ms keeps up with the first two paragraphs, I'm all in. Except ...

    2) what the hell is this book? On the chart of vague-to-specific, "dropped a bombshell" doesn't even find its way to the v-a of vague. Show someone your query and ask them what the story is. Me? I'd say it's about a woman who unexpectedly inherits a family and accompanying problems. Oh, so it's the Brady Bunch minus Mr. Brady? I have no freakin' idea.

    Your query, imho, has a hole the size of that canyon in Arizona. It's supposed to entice me to read, not make me wonder the book is about. You don't have to give away the ending, but you need to give away the premise. Right now, the only CONFLICT you have isn't on the page. It's implied there's gonna be one, but I don't know what it is. Lemme know. You don't have to show me how it's resolved in the query (you do in the synopsis), but you have to tell me what it is. I don't think agents will give you a second chance to tell them. Gotta get it in there. And you'll be able to, no problem. Because, remember...

    1) You write really, really well. I'm serious. I read those first two paragraphs and I was salivating to learn what the conflict was going to be. So tell me!

    Good luck.

    Also, all of the above is coming to you from some guy who has absolutely no idea what is correct, incorrect or insane. So, uh, grain of salt.