Update: I cannot recommend this enough, because I found my agent through this contest!

Thrills! I was chosen (okay, by random) to take part in the Writer’s Voice contest. Below you can find my query letter and first 250 words of my novel Heart of Iron, posted as part of the contest requirements.

Query letter

I am seeking representation for my 91,000 word steampunk novel, Heart of Iron.

Marriage was never on Lady Neva Fairfax’s list of priorities – even had there been a man in London willing to marry such a bookish oddity. That changes when her uncle decides that either Neva or her sister will marry the Governor of Nan-qing, the distant Zhonggua colony. Knowing it would kill her sister to leave her love and her laboratory, Neva reluctantly volunteers. At least the aeroship trip will provide plenty of time to work on her studies.

Or so she thinks. When the aeroship is shot down in the Egyptian desert, Neva quickly discovers that her escort Will is a spy who can change his very face, her servant Qin is a martial arts expert who can kill men with her bare hands, and the three of them are the only thing that can prevent a mysterious enemy from unleashing the lost Iron Army on an unsuspecting world.

The only way they can survive is to trust each other – but with so many secrets in the air, how can that happen?

I am a member of the Romance Writers of America (Toronto chapter), internal communications and freelance writer.

Thank you,
Alana Delacroix

First 250 words

HEART OF IRON

When the sharp knock rattled her bedroom door, Lady Minerva Fairfax had just enough time to drop her skirts over her mud-caked petticoats and paste an innocent look on her face.

As it slowly opened, the door revealed no need for subterfuge. Outside stood the mechanical Susan, brass limbs gleaming under a crisp white cap and black dress. Its metal face was impassive, as any good servant should be. Burnished hands held a small silver tray with two notes on creamy white folded paper. Neva picked up the one inscribed with her name and read the sharp slanted script. Mr. Louther asks that if Lady Fairfax is not occupied would she please attend him in the study.

Neva sighed before she carefully initialed the card and placed it back on the tray. Usually, her uncle’s conversation revolved around tedious comparisons to other, more feminine women – not something Neva relished hearing. She flicked the switch that would send the Susan away and watched it plod towards her sister’s room. The new steam-powered marionettes were much quicker, but Uncle refused to part with his old-fashioned wind-ups, insisting on their superior gentility. What his measure of that trait was, Neva did not know, nor did she bother to ask.

The ruined layers of her petticoats clung with unpleasant clamminess to her ankles. For once she’d shown some foresight when dealing with her wardrobe and had remembered to sew flounces in at the bottom.

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