Dear Ms Snark (snarl)
I am seeking representation for our fantasy manuscript, Potion, complete at 140,000 words.
"Don't mess with River elves," Blade's elf friend had told him. "When your usefulness is finished they will spit out what is left and leave you to manage if you can. Surviving is your problem."
But the offer had been too good to refuse, and Blade Hiresword found that being retired wasn't the dream he'd expected it to be, so he had taken a job as bodyguard to Prince of Elves. The son of the man his friend hated.
(here's your lead)
It was supposed to be a simple rescue mission -- a quick trip to the Morning Land, a fast return with the Elf Prince's aunt -- but nothing in life is ever that simple. Potion is the first of two books about the Seal of Sovereignty, the ruling symbol of the Elf house of Chandra. For those who like their traditional fantasy tempered with light-hearted fun. (and their sentences fragmented)
Most love potions do not work. Few mages can make them properly. They need godscurse to set, which few can afford. They are made by witches and apprentices. They have a bad reputation -- good for a few nights of lust, little else.
Braycarlia's "Definitive Guide to Love Potions".
A drop of burning liquid splashed her hand. Tegan cursed and jerked back. Too hot. (I'd be much more interested if it was too cold. I'd think maybe you were doing something fresh and interesting..but no)
She muttered a quick spell to ease the burning. Her hand itched, but she couldn't take time to do anything about it. If she stopped now the potion would be useless. She tested again half a minute later, angry at herself for giving way to impatience, angry at agreeing to this. Mixing
love potions like some witch or final year apprentice.
Someone knocked at the door. Tegan jumped guiltily. Who in the powers would call on her now, here in this run-down inn, miles from any real civilisation or place of magic? (The Avon lady--she heard you needed anti itch powder)
River of the Meadows. Young, anxious and, as from today, her new employer. She ignored him.
Would it never be ready? The stench of magic was strong; the overriding herbs of the potion clear on the air. She would have to remove all traces before elf prince Alun Sol Del Chandra
arrived. He would notice it.
Would he recognise it, though? Love potions were made by the lowest of mages. The prince was acknowledged the best mage in the known worlds. He'd probably never even heard of love potions.
Even so, she had been a lowly apprentice herself once, mixing potions for her employer, and now she knew more about them than anyone. What chance the ever-so-perfect elves had omitted that part of their prodigy's education? Not likely. Tegan whispered spells to clear the
air. Just in case.
Finally the thick scarlet liquid was ready. Now she had to wait for it to cool to blood temperature. Too hot and the godscurse would not mix. Too cold and the effect would not last.
The knocking grew louder, more intrusive.
"Enchanter. Are you there?" River sounded worried now, even frightened.
Tegan couldn't stand it any more. She stalked over to the door, hauled it open. River overbalanced mid-knock and sprawled at her feet.
"What do you want?"
He recovered quickly, more credit to him, though the undignified tumble had left him pink cheeked, with his loose blond curls disarrayed. Once he got past the awkward, gawky stage he'd turn into a polished courtier. He stood up, half bowed.
"Madam Enchanter. I was worried. Are you all right?"
"I am busy."
River looked past her to the herbs and mixtures spread out across the dresser. He didn't recognise anything, thank the powers. Not an ounce of mage in him or he would have.
"Summer and I are downstairs. I thought you might like to join us for dinner."
He talked about food, when she had a time sensitive spell half set.
River looked at her face, stepped back nervously.
"I will be down," she said, teeth clenched, "When I am ready and not before."
He flinched at her tone.
"Meantime, I have work to do. And if you disturb me again I'll turn you into a ..." She couldn't think of a punishment drastic enough. ( I can: slush pile reader)
You realize of course that your first page bears no resemblence whatsoever to what you describe in your query letter? Watching someone brew up a love potion, being interrupted in the casting of spells, being interrupted by an idiot are so cliched that even I, SFF nitwit, recognize them.
You've got my attention for ten seconds. Don't waste it bouncing your balls and spitting on your racket. Serve!