Query Critique, Anyone? A Christmas Gift for Writers Looking to Get Published.

Quite some time ago, I wrote the first novel that I wanted to query to literary agents. (Note: not the first novel I wrote, just the first one I thought was worth sharing with the world.) I researched “how to get an agent,” and then “what’s the difference between a query and a synopsis?” I looked at sample query letters on agent websites about how not to do it, and then I took my first stab at my own.

If you don’t know, a query letter is what you send to agents in the hopes that one will agree to represent you to editors at publishing houses. Most houses won’t even look at un-agented writers, so sending query letters is the typical process for writers who yearn to be “traditionally” published. (It is unnecessary if you’re going to self-publish.)

The letter itself is a bit formulaic, and it has to capture the soul of your story in 1-2 paragraphs, similar to what you might read on the back cover of a novel and entice the reader to want to read your manuscript. This is not to say that they will automatically agree to represent you (far from it), but a good query letter is the first step that gets you on the path toward traditional publication.

My first steps were…shall we say…much like someone staggering home at two in the morning with their shirt sticking to their midsections from too many body shots.

After much rejection to my letter (so no takers on anyone even taking a peek at my actual manuscript), I reached out to a published writer I had had some inconsequential Twitter conversations with in the past. I asked if she would be willing to look at my query letter.
To this day I have no idea why she agreed. I am eternally grateful because she tore that sucker apart and told me how to put it back together again.

Learning how to write a query letter got me to the point where agents would read my manuscript. There were still a lot of rejections, but all it took was one “yes” from an agent, and then another from an editor.

So now I’m at a point where I can pay it forward. I’ve written numerous queries, pitches, and back cover copy at this point, and my sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth novels will all be published this summer (from different publishers).

As my Christmas gift to my readers who are also struggling writers, I am offering five (5) query critiques. Interested? Email me at asgreenbooks@gmail.com for adult contemporary or at annegreenwoodbrown@gmail.com for young adult contemporary and paranormal.

P.S. – I’ll update this blog post if/once I get five takers. Until then, feel free to get in touch!

Sometimes a Good Book Doesn’t Find a Home

Hello. This is a short blog post on perseverance. It’s short because the book behind the post is not yet a “done deal,” but I still want to take the time to make a point.

Sometimes a good book doesn’t find a home. Maybe it’s because the publisher deems there’s no audience for it. Maybe it’s because there are too many similar books coming out at the same time. Maybe it’s because its time has not yet come. I wrote a good book seven years ago. It’s the book that got me my agent, but it didn’t sell to a publisher because it was deemed too “quiet.” It was a book about characters, more than plot. At the time, that wasn’t a winning proposition in the particular genre I was writing. I shelved the book and wrote something else. I wrote a lot of something elses.

Then I took the book out again a few years later, dusted it off, and brought it to my critique partners. We punched up the plot. It got more interest, but now there were too many similar books. I shelved it for a couple more years and we sent it out again. Now it’s getting traction because one small nugget of the story (something I hadn’t really thought about) is now hitting on some current, newsy topics. Suddenly I might be…(hold onto your hat)…topical?

I still don’t know what the fate of this book will be, but I tell this story to encourage you to not give up on a good book. If you know it’s quality, it will likely find a home. Eventually. Some day. If you’re patient and persevere.

Join my Street Team!

WILD CHILD (coming June 2018)

Jackson Sparke, former Navy SEAL now private investigator, has lost everything. Could the one woman who promises to give him the world be more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far?

Hello all,

I’m reaching out to see who might be interested in joining my street team as I prepare for the launch of WILD CHILD, the sequel to SUMMER GIRL.

Don’t know what a “street team” is? It’s a group of people who hit the streets (literal or virtual) to help promote a new book in exchange for the early peeks and the chance to win *fabulous* prizes like gift cards, books, and swag. (I’ve got some awesome swag, by the way.)

I’m looking for people who love to read, love romance, are active on social media, and might even love having a supporting character named after them.

Here’s the working back-cover blurb for WILD CHILD, though it may ultimately change closer to next summer’s publication date:

I have never been to a place so tiny. So backward. So…insignificant. Compared to New York, Chicago seemed pint-sized. This Little Bear Island could fit in Chicago’s armpit. Still, a job is a job. After surviving Afghanistan, what’s twenty-four hours in po-dunk hell?

Tonight, my company Sparke Investigations is providing private security for a celebrity bride and groom who wanted their nuptials to be off the grid. Mission accomplished. This is where I come face-to-face with Natalie O’Brien. “The hostess with the mostess,” they tell me. Truer words were never spoken, at least in the looks department. She might be ten years younger, but this redheaded bombshell could seriously knock me off my game, that is, if it wasn’t for that sharp tongue of hers.

I’d keep dodging those verbal bullets, except the woman I hired to assist me on my next assignment bails. Natalie is the only woman in a 100-mile radius who not only looks the part but has the steady nerves and rebel attitude I need to get the job done. Couple that with her desperation to get off this tiny island, and the deal is done.

Now we’re stuck in my Escalade, criss-crossing the country with her sweet scent filling the cab, and her smart mouth making it hard to stop fantasizing about what could happen when the job is done. Good thing it will all be over soon. I can get back to New York, and she can get back to that tiny island of hers. So why does the thought of saying goodbye make my blood run cold? Couldn’t have anything to do with the pregnancy test I found in the bathroom.

Interested in joining my street team? Sign up here!

Wondering Why I was Inspired to Write Summer Girl?

When I talk to book clubs, the most often-asked question is: Where do you get your ideas?

The seed idea for SUMMER GIRL came from the lighthouse on Sand Island, which is part of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. In the 1920s, my great-great aunt Florence was one of the so-called “summer girls” who would come up to the island for the summer to tend the lighthouse.

It seemed like such a romantic idea and location that it quickly turned into the love story between Katherine D’Arcy, the naive and misguided summer girl, who falls for Bennet, the secretive but ruggedly handsome ferry boat driver.

What is the most romantic location you’d like to read about?

My Favorite Summer Dessert Recipe

“Iced Coffee Pie”

1/2 C. chocolate wafer crumbs
6 T. butter
(Or just buy a pre-made chocolate cookie crumb crust)

1 C. whipping cream
2/3 C. sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C. STRONG cold coffee
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 Heath Bars, crushed (about 1/2 C.)

If you’re making your own crust, melt butter and add chocolate crumbs. Press mix firmly into a 9-inch pie tin (sides and bottom). Chill.

To make pie filling, combine whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, coffee, and vanilla on slow speed until thickened (it won’t get totally stiff). Set aside 2 T. Heath Bar crumbles, then mix the remainder into the pie filling. Pour mixture into chilled crust. Sprinkle top of pie with the reserved Heath Bar crumbles. Freeze several hours, or overnight. Soften slightly at room temperature before serving.

A Great Summer Recipe to Bring to Your Next Party


“Summer Noods”:

One box Rotini

2 cups Purple Grapes (seedless)

3 cups Turkey (diced) (pre-cooked turkey breast works well)

1 cup Mayonnaise (or to your liking), not Miracle Whip.



Cashews, if you’re feeling fancy

1/2 cup Celery (diced), if you like it


Cook pasta. Dice the turkey. Drain and rinse the pasta in cold water. Once it’s cool, mix with grapes, turkey, and mayo. Add optional ingredients if you like them. Salt and Pepper well. Addicting!


My Favorite Summer Drink Recipe

“Strip and Go Nakeds”

1 can Frozen Limeade

1 can of Vodka (the frozen limeade can)

2 beers

Mix it all in a pitcher. This is super delicious though, admittedly, it sounds really horrible.

5 Things Most People Don’t Know about me:

  1. I’m descended from the minister on the Mayflower, and my family has kept detailed genealogy records for generations. One of my ancestors was hanged as a witch in Salem; another participated in the Boston Tea Party
  2. I raised chickens when I was little.
  3. I’ve been a bone marrow donor for a cancer patient.
  4. I’m terrified of fish.
  5. I can read Braille.

What’s something people don’t know about you?

Bonus Scene: Katherine and Bennet’s Fabulous Fourth of July Wedding

July 4th


“You sure do throw the best parties,” Natalie O’Brien says from behind me.

I don’t look away from the window, too taken by the lit scene in front of me: one hundred chairs covered in white organdy; round tables set with red, white & blue sprays of gypsy flower, arrowhead, and lupine; the silver moonlight flashing off the dark lake, the perfect backdrop behind it all.

Everything turned out exactly as I planned for this Fourth of July. Right down to the weather, which has decided to hold off. Good thing, too, because I’m one party tent short for the number of guests who rsvp’d. If it had decided to rain… I can’t even.

“And now for the grand finale,” I murmur to myself.

“You keep pulling off show stoppers like this,” Natalie continues, “and your party planning business is going to do so well you’re going to get celebrity clients.”

This gets her a smile, and I tear myself away from the window. All the preparations are complete. There’s nothing more for me to do, or even worry about.

“Great dress, Nat.” I can’t help but admire how amazing she looks in yellow. No one should be able to pull that off, but her red hair, which has recently lost the blue streaks, and tanned skin set it off perfectly.

“Thanks. I know it’s off your color scheme. You don’t mind?”

“Of course not. You look perfect.”

You do, too,” she says, breathing out a sigh of relief.

“What? This ol’ thing?” I ask, gesturing down the length of my body.

Natalie shakes her head at the age-old joke, and my gaze jumps to some movement just beyond her shoulder. The door creaks open and a face leans in. It’s a face I haven’t seen enough of in the year since I moved to Little Bear Island, and then only in video calls when I’m at my newly constructed office on the mainland.

“Macie! You made it!” I exclaim. I didn’t realize that this is where my last bit of anxiety was coming from. Now that my best girlfriend from home is here, everything is perfect.

“Just barely.” She opens the door more fully and, before she closes it again, I catch a glimpse of a handsome man, tall and built, waiting for her outside. It must be her date, but ever since Macie dropped out of college and moved to Hollywood (or sometimes New York or London) she’s been super mysterious about her love life. I don’t trust what I read in the tabloids. I want to hear it from her.

As soon as dinner is over, I’ll make her spill. Or maybe I’ll go straight to the source.

“I know you’ve got last minute stuff to do,” Macie says stepping quickly into the room, “but I had to say hi as soon as I got here.” She wraps her arms around me, and I hold on tight. We’ve both moved away, but Macie will always be that little bit of home that anchors me to the earth. Andrew, too, who has reconciled all past hurts and is here, sitting out there next to my mom.

Macie releases me first. “This party is going to be amazing, girl. Please tell me you had help.”

“Ah, yes. Mace, this is my friend Natalie. She helped a ton. I couldn’t have done it without her.”

“Hey,” Natalie says, her eyes wide. Natalie and I went to see Macie’s first movie on opening night. Natalie’s been geeking out for weeks, ever since I told her Macie’d rsvp’d as a “yes.”

They shake hands, then Macie gives me one more hug before quickly heading back for the door. “I’ll let you two finish up then I’ll see you outside. This will be the best show of all time and, trust me, I know of what I speak.” She glances toward the window, and her eyes go wide. “Oh, crap. Everyone’s finding seats, and I want the front row.”

As Macie whips opens the door, I hear the music starting. Andrew steps into the room, passing Macie in the doorway. He’s dressed in a navy blue tux, and he looks divine. He always did. He always will.

“Oh, hey, Andy,” Macie says, pushing that button of his that she loves so well.

Andrew narrows his eyes at her in a playful way, then turns toward me saying, “Show time!”

He holds out his arm, and I take it. Natalie hands me my flowers. They’re a mix of all-white wildflowers, but the stems are wrapped in thin red and blue ribbons.

The three of us step out of the bride’s room and into the warm night air. It’s ten o’clock––probably the latest wedding of all time––but it had to be dark because I’ve got something special planned for the end.

“In the past,” Andrew says, “when I thought about walking you down the aisle, this isn’t exactly what I expected.”

I give his white lie a closed-lip smile. If Andrew had ever actually thought about walking me down the aisle, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be where I am right now. And I’m exactly where I want to be.

The guests turn and stand as we take our first steps onto the walkway that’s strewn with more red gypsy flowers. There are so many candles lighting our way that I have no trouble seeing Bennet at the end of the path.

He’s also in a navy tux with a crisp white shirt. The top two buttons are undone. He’s effortlessly sexy. Somehow simultaneously pulling off wedding formal and island casual. He lifts his head when he senses us coming and when our eyes lock, his lips part in both surprise and relief.

That look. It’s everything.

Andrew’s bicep tightens under my fingers, then relaxes. We walk slowly, on pace with the music. Even with all my planning, the reality of it is completely surreal. When I get to the front, I don’t even know how I got here. Andrew unthreads my arm from his and passes my hand to Bennet.

Bennet’s other hand slides behind my neck, and he pulls me to him, kissing me long and hard before the minister even starts his introduction.

Our guests start clapping.

Mooshy Moran, who’s out on the launch barge three hundred feet from shore, must assume it’s his signal. There’s a tiny flash of light, a hiss, and then a high pitched pfffffffffffft before a massive explosion goes off in the sky above us.

Bennet breaks away from our kiss, and we both tip our heads up. Reds and blues, whites and golds, stream out of the sky like a bouquet of light. I laugh at the unexpected deviation from my carefully choreographed plans.

Bennet pulls me back against his body. He leans his head toward mine and whispers in my ear. “Poor Mooshy’s never going to hear the end of it, is he.”

I shake my head, then lean back so I can see Bennet’s face. I take in every detail––the chestnut hair now more carefully arranged than I’ve ever seen it; the swimming pool blue eyes; the knife-straight nose––and I blink away happy tears. “I lost all control of my plans the moment I first laid eyes on you.”

Bennet’s head jerks, a little surprised by my confession, but when he sees the look on my face, he kisses the moisture off the tops of my cheeks then touches his lips once more to mine.

The minister clears his throat, and another quiet round of amused laughter runs through the crowd. Bennet turns us both to face front. All business now, except for the way his thumb strokes against the side of my hand. A promise of what is to come.

That’s my man.


A.S. Green’s Favorite Scene from Summer Girl

favorite summer girl scene

favorite summer girl scene

This is one of my favorite scenes from Summer Girl. First kisses are always a mix of emotions: excitement, terror, confusion, joy.  Being happily married for over twenty years myself, my first kisses are long behind me. I think that’s why they’re so much fun to write.

Bennet must sense me watching him because he turns his face toward me. His eyes gaze into mine, holding them for an eternity, then they drop for a second to my lips, then back up again.

“I like you,” he says. Just like that. No messing around.

“Right,” I say, trying to be equally cool but failing miserably. “Because you find me entertaining. Isn’t that what you said?”

A grin slowly pulls across his face. “Yeah.”

There is an agonizing moment of hesitation. My stomach tenses then flutters. I don’t even know who moves first, only that the next thing I know his lips are crushed against mine, and they’re warm and firm and—God—they know exactly what to do.

His tongue slips past my lips and tastes sweet, like chocolate. My fingers press the defined muscles in his shoulders, one hand sliding down to his chest, feeling his heart beating against my palm. He is gentle, but I can sense the growing intensity in him.

Kissing Bennet is like stepping into the lake. First shocking, then slowly I acclimate, sinking into the luxury of it. His hand wraps around my ribs, right below the swell of my breast, and I’m in way over my head, drowning in the sensations that overrun my body. No one has ever kissed me like this. Not even Andrew in all my wildest fantasies. Andrew. Andrew! Oh my gosh, what am I doing?

“Bennet?” I say, pushing myself away from him.

His breath is hot against my goose-bumped flesh, and a tingle of electricity races down my spine as his hand cradles the back of my neck. “Hmmm?” His eyes are still on my lips.

I keep my palm against his chest to maintain some distance. “I’m sorry. I don’t do things like this.”

“Well, you can not do it again, if you’d like.”