Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My newest query and sample chapter

My latest novel is written. The major plot treads all come together, the minor ones need a little tweeking to fully integrate them, but I’m done with the major rewrites. Time to start thinking about the next step, getting it published.

So here is the rough draft of my query letter and sample first chapter. Any feedback at all would be appreciated.

Brian was just looking for contentment in his life, and he thought he found it. He was perfectly happy to deliver pizzas to Devil Worshipers, Shape-Shifting Demons, Vampires, and Zombies. His life got even better when a time traveling babe told him they would be lovers in the future.

But his happy carefree life is destroyed when Aliens bent on taking over the Earth open a rival pizza place in town and threaten his peaceful life. Now he must use everything he knows about his hometown to stop them from taking over the Earth and more importantly let him keep his job.

THE PIZZA DIARIES is my 70,000-word horror/comedy novel about love, destiny and pizza.

Chapter 1
Bad Time for Love

Brian was returning to the Pizza Joint after completing his delivery when he was distracted by the billboard that announced, “Coming Soon, Betelgeuse Pizza. Pizza that is out of this world.”

“What the…” Brian exclaimed as he looked back to the road and quickly swerved his little car to avoid hitting the naked figure that had appeared in the road in front of him.

He managed to bring his car to a stop, after it spun around in a semi-circle so it was facing the naked woman who had appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Brian peered out through the fog of smoke that had been created by his tires losing traction in his desperate maneuver to keep from killing an innocent life.

He sat frozen in his seat, his first thought about the situation was to flee the scene as it reminded him of the beginning of a bad horror film. His second thought was that the situation would also make for a great opening scene in a cheap porno.

Ultimately it was neither fear nor lust that dictated his actions, it was his concern for another human being that was obviously in need of help that drove his actions.

“Are you OK?” Brian yelled to the dazed and naked woman who was standing in the middle of the road staring at the headlights of Brian’s car like a frightened deer. Brian looked the woman over feeling a little dirty for blatantly staring at her naked body, but he wanted to make sure she wasn’t injured. Looking her over he figured she was roughly his age early 30’s maybe a little older.

Brian’s question made the woman instinctively look her self over, when she realized that she was standing naked in front of a complete stranger her modesty overcame her shock and she tried to cover herself, but with only her hands and arms she wasn’t very successful.

“Here.” Without thinking Brian took off his delivery driver jacket and offered it to her. As she accepted his help Brian briefly had second thoughts. The jacket belonged to the pizza joint and he would have to pay $150 if any thing happened to it.

“Thanks.” The dazed woman mumbled as she donned his driver jacket.

“No problem.” Brian lied. “What where you doing in the middle of the road at this hour?”

“There was an accident…” She mumbled. “Bright light… twisted images… bad time…yes, bad time!”

“Yes, I can see how a car crash would be a bad time.” Brian tried to humor her, he hoped her incoherent ramblings were from shock and not from any brain injury she had in the crash. “Do you need to go to the hospital?’

“Institute… need to get to the Institute… finding… assistance…” She said.

When she mentioned the Institute, Brian’s earlier fear about this being too similar to a bad horror film returned. His fear subsided when he looked over the woman who might be a deranged lunatic.

She was maybe 5’ 4” and Brian doubted she weighed over 110 lbs. His large delivery jacket which was a little tight on him, made her look like a child with the sleeves continuing 3” past her hands and the bottom which barely covered Brian’s belt was almost short skirt length on her.

To make Brian’s fear seem sillier, enough of the shock seemed to have worn off that she was now starting to shiver.

Brian looked over the poor woman and decided that even if she was an escaped mental patient he could probably keep her from harming him.

“OK.” Brian told her walking over to the passenger side of his car. “I’ll take you where you can get assistance.”

“Thanks.” The woman smiled as Brian held the door for her. “You are very kind.”

“It’s the least I can do.” Brian replied.

As Brian went around to his side of the car he hoped that her responding in a full sentence meant she was getting better and not just an automatic response.

“Where to?” Brian asked settling into the driver seat.

“Where are we?” She asked.

“Highway 2498.” Brian wished he knew more about medicine so he would know if her disorientation was normal.

“South to Planck Road.” She said then frowned. “When is this?”

“It’s a little after 10.” Brian humored her, he remembered reading or hearing that you should keep a shock victim talking to help them regain their mental awareness, he didn’t know if it was true but he couldn’t see how it would hurt.

“No… What year?” She asked.

“Uh, 2010.” Brian informed her as he turned the car around to continue on in same direction he was originally going.

“Good the road has been built.” She smiled.

“OK.” Was all Brian could think as a response.

“More heat?” She asked. “Time steals Energy.”

Brian turned up the heater and tried not to think about her explanation.

“Did your car crash up here?” Brian asked her. “Do I need to be on the look out for it?”

“I don’t have a car.” She said.

“Was it someone else’s car? Were there more people involved in the accident?”

“It was the accumulation of years of work.” She told him. “The tipping point of humanity.”

“OK.” Brian wondered if he was in the same conversation. He scanned the road looking for her car as he drove. “I’m Brian by the way.”

“Dr. Rayburn.” She responded. “I’m glad you take an interest in my work.”

“You’re a Doctor?” Brian asked. “Do you think you could be in shock, or is it worse?”

“Yes there was a shock and bright lights. It was a fold that transformed into a ripple.” Her voice was steady and authoritative even if Brian couldn’t make any sense out of the words.

“Is that so?’ Brian thought it best if he could keep her talking.

“Yes that could be the key, Space and Time unleash waves when disrupted.” She excluded Brian from the conversation as she got caught up in her thoughts. “A cosmic resonance that doesn’t like to be disturbed…It releases Bad Time… Need to find a source to counteract its influence…need Good Time!”

Brian had to slam on the brakes as he spotted a small road sign partially covered by a tree limb saying “Planck Road”. As he looked down to shift into reverse he couldn’t help notice his jacket had ridden up her thigh leaving her exposed from the waist down. The idea that this could be the opening scene from a cheap porno popped back into Brian’s mind.

“The Bad Time causes an angry resonance throughout the entire continuum straining the n-time superstring! That explains it. Good Time could tune the string.”

The image of a steamy sex scene with the female lead spouting out complete gibberish stopped any thoughts Brian had about the situation being like a porno, or if it was it would be the worst porno ever.

Brian ignored her gibberish as he drove down the narrow, twisty road. He was thinking this was looking like a horror film again until he saw the lights of what looked like a large military base. He was so intent on looking to see where he would need to check-in he didn’t even notice that his companion had grown silent.

“State your purpose!” The guard said as he stopped his car at the gate.

“I was bringing Dr Rayburn…” Brian gestured to his empty passenger seat. “Where’d she go?… She was right here!”

“Dr Rayburn you say?” The guard’s eyes grew wide. “Stay here and do not move. I’ll be back with you in a minute.”

The guard went back into his booth and made a quick phone call. Brian looked all around to see if he could find out where his passenger went. His first concern was that the delay in getting her treatment would permanently harm her, and then he had a thought that made him feel guilty about how selfish it was, he realized he would never see his delivery driver jacket again, and half his paycheck would go towards getting another one.

“Is your name Brian?” The guard said returning to his car window.

“That’s right,” Brian was shocked that they could track down who he was in just seconds. “How…”

“Proceed through this gate, to the first building on the right.” The guard instructed him. “Park your car immediately in front of the entrance in the area marked in yellow lines that says. ‘No Parking at anytime’. Leave the keys in your car and someone will move it for you.

“Proceed directly to the entrance and someone will buzz you in. Any deviation from this procedure will result in your arrest. Have I made myself clear?”

Brian thought briefly about protesting having his humanitarian deed turn into a threat of arrest, but looking at the stern face of the guard made him think twice.

“I understand.” He said and proceeded to follow the guard’s instructions. Driving to the building he had to nervously chuckle as he thought how stranger things had happened to him, but not much.

He approached the door and was shocked as an alarm went off, a yellow warning light started flashing and the door opened on its own.

He walked through the open door, scared of what might be waiting for him inside but even more scared of what would happen to him if he didn’t follow the guard’s instructions.

The door clanged shut behind him and he found himself in a 10’ x 10’ room with a gray door in front of him with a sliding tray sticking out into the room, next to it.

“Remove all items from your pockets and place them in the tray in front of you.” An authoritarian disembodied voice boomed.

Brian reluctantly emptied his pockets and glanced around the room, there were cameras in all four corners of the room. He almost protested when he pulled his tips out of his pocket, then he figured the large military base didn’t need to steal his $35 in tips.

The tray slid back into the wall and a second later the door in front of him clicked open a few inches.

Brian took a deep breath to prepare for the search that he knew would be coming and opened the door.

He was completely shocked to see a balding man in his 50’s with glasses and a lab coat waiting for him.

“Sorry for the formalities.” The man gave him a warm smile. “But the military people aren’t the most trusting of strangers.”

The uniformed guard that was putting Brian’s belongings into a manila envelope looked over to glare at him for a second, then continued to write down Brian’s belongings on a clipboard.

“I’m Dr Hyams,” The man told him. “If you will come with me I will let you know why you came here.”

Brian was speechless as he followed the man into another room.

The room was a small conference room with a large table, a 60” monitor at one end and a mirror taking up one wall. Brian knew that the mirror would be two-way and on the other side people would be observing them.

Then he saw something that made him forget about everything else. In the middle of the table was his delivery jacket.

He felt a little guilty that his first thought was that the jacket wasn’t lost forever. Then he realized what it must mean.

“You found Dr Rayburn.” Brian smiled. “Is she going to be alright?”

“No and Yes, thanks to you.” Dr Hyams told him. “But before I can go into details, the guys with guns out there want me to tell you that everything you see and hear at this Institute is absolutely Top Secret and if you tell anyone anything about what I’m about to reveal they will lock you up and throw away the key.

“I’m not worried about that, Dr Rayburn wouldn’t put her confidence in you if you couldn’t be trusted.”

“OK.” Brian wondered which confused him more, that they already had time to talk to the naked lady that he brought most of the way here, or that she vouched for him after a conversation that he wasn’t totally sure she knew he was a part of. “Scout’s honor I won’t tell a soul.”

“In order for you to understand why you came here I will have to let you know a little bit about what we are doing here.” Dr Hyams told him.

Brian was getting a little tired of the Doctor constantly saying that he didn’t know why he would come here but he just nodded and said. “OK”

“I’m sure you are familiar with Science Fiction shows, and how they travel the galaxy by ‘warping’ Space-Time around them or punch a hole through alternate dimensions.”

“I’ve seen different shows but never paid that much attention to their techno-babble.” Brian told him.

“That’s OK,” Dr Hyams assured him. “The warping of Space-Time on those shows is just a fantasy, the reality of what happens is of course much more interesting. A reality that we are making here.”

“Uh, OK.” Brian started wondering if his original thought that “The Institute” was an insane asylum was correct, only the inmates were running it.

“If you think of Space-Time as a elastic sheet we should be able to pull one part of the sheet over so that it touches the part we are on.”

Brian could only nod.

“Then you could simply step over from one point, say this room…”

“This Room.” Brian was so dazed from the events of the last half hour he just did as he was told, not thinking about if it made sense of not.

“Yes,” Dr Hyams continued. “This room would be one point and maybe a spot on a planet around Alpha Centauri would be the point that you pulled over, and it would be one small step, so to speak, to travel over 4 light years and walk from this room onto the surface of a planet circling Alpha Centauri.

“Of course, we knew before we started this project about some of the small problems we would run into, superstring resonance, ripples across the fabric of Space-Time, that sort of thing.”

“Of course.” Brian was wondering if this gibberish was supposed to make any more sense to him than what Dr Rayburn had been saying in the car.

“What we hadn’t been expecting was a new type of Time!” Dr Hyams paused for emphasis.

“We found that there are actually two types of time.” Dr Hyams continued after seeing Brian’s puzzled look. “Orderly Time that we are used to, where things move forward with a so called normal cause then effect relationship. Dr Rayburn liked to call this ‘Good’ time.

“The type of time we discovered was Chaotic Time or ‘Bad’ time as Dr Rayburn called it. In Chaotic Time Past, Present, and Future have no meaning a person caught in Chaotic Time will bounce around time and space like a ping-pong ball appearing briefly in our time only to be thrown out again to land at another point in Space and Time.”

“This is all very fascinating, but what does any of this have to do with me?” Brian asked.

“Dr Rayburn was researching this Chaotic Time when there was an accident, she was sent out of Orderly Time into Chaotic Time, leaving only her clothes behind.”

“Why weren’t her Clothes sent with her?” Brian had to ask.

“That is a very good question, Dr Cameron has some interesting theories on that, at first we thought it was a property of the living cells that made the transition into Chaotic time possible. But we’ve had a team of men investigating her panties for months and they don’t agree.”

“You’ve had men whose job was to examine her panties?” Brian was a little surprised at his anger. He was more than just being shocked at how causally Dr Hyams talked about something that sounded a little perverted, he was angry at them for violating privacy of a woman he knew, if only briefly.

“Yes, all in the name of science.” Dr Hyams defended his actions. “Her panties were made of cotton and if it was something to do with living tissue, her panties would go with her.

“We thought that it might be that dead tissue would be unaffected by the Chaotic time, but if that were the case she would leave a layer of dead skin behind. Of course a year and a half after the accident we knew it didn’t have anything to do with that when this jacket was delivered to the lab.” He pointed at Brian’s delivery driver jacket. “This traveled through Chaotic time with no ill effects.”

“But I was wearing that less than an hour ago.” Brian told him.

“Less than an hour ago in normal time, yes. But this jacket has been through Chaotic time.” Dr Hyams told him. “Would it surprise you to know that we have been studying it for the last six months?”

“At this point nothing could surprise me.” Brian sighed.

“Detailed Carbon dating of the stains on it have shown that it has dirt from the earliest parts of the Phanerozoic Era as well as dirt from thousands of years in the future. Your jacket has traveled though millions of years of Earth’s history.”

“Exactly, when did this accident occur?” Brian asked hoping to get the Doctor talking about something he could wrap his head around.

“A little over two years ago.”

“But I just saw Dr Rayburn an hour ago.” Brian told him.

“An hour ago in Orderly time, we believe in her time you saw her right after the accident.” Dr Hyams informed him.

“What makes you think that?” Brian asked.

“We have top mathematicians who have worked out how the ripples of Space-Time would have effected her.” Dr Hyams told him then pulled out an envelope. “Plus she left us a letter in the jacket saying how ‘Brian’ was the first person she saw after the accident.”

“OK I can see how you would want to find out what she told me so you can work on a way to rescue her, but I’m baffled as to what else you want from me.” Brian needed his long night to end.

“I think it would be easier if Dr Rayburn explained it.” Dr Hyams told him.

“She’s here and OK?” Brian smiled.

“No she left you a video in your jacket.” Dr Hyams handed clicked the remote to turn on the 60” monitor.

On the monitor an image of Dr Rayburn appeared, she looked gorgeous, with light make-up and clothes that were conservative yet still made her look even sexier than when he first saw her naked in the middle of the road. He was so captivated with her looks it took him a second to identify where the filming was taking place. He was shocked when he recognized his own apartment. He felt a vague feeling of relief when he saw that it had been cleaned up before the video was filmed.

She stared right at the camera and addressed him.

“Brian, it seems strange addressing you in the past, when you are standing here filming me, but there is a lot I need to tell you.

First off, I want to thank you in advance for the tireless work you will do in order to get me where I belong.

I know you’ve heard the expression showing a girl a good time, well in the coming months you will literally show this girl “Good Time” as you meet with me regularly to relay information from the guys at the institute to me and give my observations back to them.

I’d also like to thank you for being supportive of me as I bounce through Bad Time. I don’t know if I’d be able to withstand what I am going through without you. It is or will be only due to your strength and attitude that I don’t, I mean won’t go crazy. You have been… I mean, will be a dear friend.

We are going to go through a lot together and I want you to know that I deeply appreciate everything you will do for me.

Try to remember that on our third meeting I didn’t mean to skip out on you it was just n-space superstring resonance.

Dr Hyams is going to tell you that the reason I keep being drawn to the point in Space-Time where you are is that as the first person I saw after the accident and you have acquired a Bad Time harmonic frequency, but I know it is more than that.

The two of us have more than chemistry together, we have the entire fabric of Space-Time uniting us. What we have, I mean will have together could never be explained away as just random chance. It’s the universal fate, or n-string karma as I like to call it, that has bonded us together from long before we met.

And to answer your question; Yes, this does turn into something similar to the movies you're thinking of, and not the horror film.

I’m forever in your debt for what you will have done.

And remember I’m am forever, and always have been since the beginning of time, your girl.”

Brian looked up at Dr Hyams after watching Dr Rayburn’s video.

“I’m afraid none of us here have been able to decipher that reference about the movie.” Dr Hyans said.

“Oh don’t worry, I figured that out. And it definitely gives me encouragement to save our girl.” Brian smiled, if he was destined to save a damsel in distress he certainly could have done worse.

“We will need you to carry this with you at all times.” Dr Hyams told him handing him a suitcase, “It has the things that Dr. Rayburn will need to help her adjust to bouncing through time.

“I want to caution you according to our calculations she won’t appear to you in a normal sequence, she will sometimes come to you after you’ve met several times, then the next time you see her it will be before that for her and the things that happen in your previous meeting won’t have happened yet.

“No matter how confusing things get, remember to tell no one of your meetings with Dr Rayburn.”

“How am I going to explain what happened to my jacket?” Brian asked looking at the soiled and ripped up delivery jacket on the table.

“To investigate it we needed to compare it to several original jackets,” Dr Hyams said, “We will give you one the ones we haven’t used.”


“What took you so long?” Bernie, the night manager of the Pizza Joint, asked Brian when he returned to the Pizza Joint.

“Bad Time.” Brian told him truthfully, “That’s all I can say.”


Stephanie Barr said...

Interesting concept. Surprised he's not a teenager (which would tie in with the uber-hot YA market right now), but I can understand why not.

I like the premise, but the query might be spiced up a bit. And I have some comments on the chapter. I'll send 'em via email. Still, I like the idea and the concept very much.

Project Savior said...

There is a reason he needs to be close to the same age as the physicist, since they were bonded since birth and it was a stretch as it was to have the world's leading Temporal Physicist be in her 30's. I also pick on some of the YA novels later in the book so aiming it at that audience might get me lynched.

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