The Evolution of a Query DESERT SNOW


Half-blood Brisana de la Cerra hides in the jungles of Cielito Lindo. Concealed in the misty mountains of Old Mexico, El Lindo is birthplace of earth gods, dwarves like her father, and the were-jaguars now hunting her. She alone has the human blood that can be used to release the were-jaguars’ imprisoned master: an ice god bent on unleashing a second ice age where he and his followers will reign. But she’s more at home in El Lindo surrounded by her much shorter family and friends than she ever was with her mother’s human kin. She’d rather hide there in danger than live safely anywhere else.

However, the were-jaguars have allies around every dark corner: giant birds of prey blocking the sunlight, blinking eyes in the shadows, waiting for her. Legend says that her dwarf ancestors knew a way to defeat were-jaguars. If she’s going to stay in El Lindo without ending up as an ice god’s key or worse, dinner, then she will have to figure out how they did it. And whether or not a half-blood chica can do the same. Estúpido human blood.

IN HER BLOOD is a multicultural YA fantasy at 95,000 words, paralleling my own multicultural teen experience. Minus the were-jaguars.

There is still revision needed on this, which also exposed a problem with the story as a whole - I need a more active MC. This one received two no's, but I only sent it out to two agents who were not interesting in this type of epic fantasy. Lesson: do you homework on which agents will like your type of work. I changed the name of the book here because I thought it flowed better, but I'm still partial to the old title. Read on if you'd like to see how this all started. Thanks for looking!


Growing up in Mexico when giants still lived in the mountains and kings still ruled the land, Brisana isn't your typical sixteen-year-old: she’s only half human. Her late father belonged to a forgotten race of swarthy, short, passionate people created before mankind. After her mother's death leaves her with no real connections, Brisana journeys to her father’s fabled homeland, a hidden piece of paradise from the world’s beginnings. There she finds unimaginable beauty and the family, friends, and first-loves she’s always wanted. Unfortunately, something else finds her – were-jaguar followers of an imprisoned ice god, who discover a way to use her human blood to release their master. But there’s a secret within her blood that can defeat these monsters and keep their master from unleashing a second ice age upon both worlds, if only she can discover it before they do.

HOW SNOW CAME TO THE DESERT is a multicultural YA fantasy complete at 109,000 words and is part of a multiple query submission.

SNOW captures the magic I found growing up in a multicultural home and feeling accepted in a world of different foods, customs, and language. Only when Brisana comes to terms with her own heritage is she able to save the world and the people she loves, not by force of arms nor by being rescued, but in her own way as only she was created to do.

Thank you for taking the time to consider HOW SNOW CAME TO THE DESERT. I look forward to hearing from you.

Getting better, but still lacks focus and doesn't get to the conflict fast enough. Also, mostly telling instead of showing. But to be fair, this one did attract the attention of one agent who requested a partial but ultimately gave a very kind and personal rejection. That was the book's fault not the query's. Like the query, the book starts with a huge info dump. This is where you can see what needs fixing in the book by what needs fixing in the query. 


I would like to introduce you to my first novel, HOW SNOW CAME TO THE DESERT, a YA fantasy about finding one’s place in the world, even if you have to go to another world to do it.

Brisana isn’t your typical teenager – her father died before she was born, she has no real friends to speak of, let alone a boyfriend, and she is only half human. When the death of her mother reveals this family secret, she finds herself on a path to a hidden world she’s only heard of in fairytales. Once there, she stands out terribly, looking and sounding different from everyone else. But it’s her differences and the magic she works with food, that are cause for her new found celebrity. Quickly, she catches the eyes of the two most eligible bachelors around, who go from best friends to bitter rivals. In the midst of deciding who she loves, a forgotten evil arises, bent on using Brisana to unleash its power upon our world. However, there is a secret inside Brisana that even she is unaware of, which can destroy this monster and his followers, if only she can figure it out before they do.

Even while being pursued by were-jaguars, Night Raptors, and razor-toothed underground dwellers, Brisana finds that the real nightmare is falling in love.

What makes SNOW unique among modern, and mostly Euro-centric fantasy, is its setting: Ancient Mexico. Not Aztec Mexico, but Mexico re-imagined as if it was always the unique mixture that it is today. Aztec/Mayan and Hispanic images, customs, and folktales permeate the story, as well as the food, taking inspiration from the homespun Latin magic of LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE. And given the appetite of today’s YA readers, they’re sure to devour SNOW’s 140,000 words

This was horrible - I had no idea what I was doing, but you have to start somewhere. And did you see how long my book was?! So take heart :)

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