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The Hook, the Book, and the Cook...

Updated: Apr 15

One of the agents who spoke at the Writers Digest conference last weekend described the ideal query letter as having “the hook, the book, and the cook,” i.e. a first paragraph with the genre and word count, a second with the book’s premise, and a third with biographical information about the author.

Here’s my stab at it. Any feedback would be welcome.

The Weathermasters’ War is a fantasy / alternate history novel of 99,870 words. Placing magic in an otherwise accurate historical setting, it follows in the tradition of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, the Age of Unreason series by J. Gregory Keyes, and the Alvin Maker books of Orson Scott Card.

In 18th century England, weathermasters control the winds for a small fleet of merchant sailing ships that fly, with the levitation done by a community of Daoist monks living as refugees in Britain. Queen Anne is nearing death without an heir and England stands on the brink of civil war. Weathermaster Ian MacPherson and his lover Lily Trowbridge, the ship’s captain, are hired to transport the Catholic contender for the throne to the heart of Protestant England. Their ship is shot down and they are implicated in the assassination attempt. As they search for the real assassin, a web of deception and political and religious intrigue shakes many of their moral guideposts and Trowbridge is forced to confront a trauma from her past and an old enemy she would rather forget.

The Weathermasters’ War is my first work of fiction. I teach Advanced Placement Biology, Chemistry, and Astronomy at the smallest public high school in Massachusetts. Under my legal name I have published nonfiction essays on Quaker and Pagan spirituality. My poetry has appeared in Friends Journal and I am included in the anthology Celebrating the Pagan Soul by Laura Wildman. My wife and I also maintain a popular blog called Quaker Pagan Reflections (

Cover image by Alexander Sviridov, used under license from

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