I read on your bio that you are an avid baker/cook and hoped I could offer you some baked goods (home made from scratch of course) as well as a good story! I am seeking a home for my YA urban fantasy BONE CONJURER.
Wake is a new drug that allows users to connect subconsciously in the Nexus in the best role-playing-game ever made, but no one knows it’s been engineered by witches to harvest souls.
Alice Dahlin is drawn into the Nexus by a foster boy, Dar, who uses the drug. She inadvertently learns, when Dar is shot, that she can raise the dead. There are several problems with having this power but of the utmost importance is that she’s not powerful enough to bring back the person’s soul with their body. Dar is dying and Alice needs to find out what she is--a witch or a necromancer or both--to save him.
In order to control her power, Alice must face her birth mother and a coven of witches. To save Dar and her adopted family, she will have to walk the veil between life and death in the Nexus. Along the way she’ll have to face a sensual warlock from her past and the reason why she was given up for adoption. She may be the key to preventing a coven war that’s been brewing for centuries.
BONE CONJURER is complete at 78,000 words and will appeal to fans of A.G. Howard’s SPLINTERED and Rin Chupeco’s THE BONE WITCH. I have been published previously with BLUE MOON (2012) by Crimson Romance and THE CATALYST (2013) by SilverTree publishing. As an adopted Korean American it's a topic close to me but, of course, I can't resurrect the dead.
I’ve brought my murdered mother back from the dead for about thirty seconds and yet I freeze at the sight of students gathered at the exit of the school. There are only about two dozen hostiles between me and freedom. Senior year and I still haven't mastered the anxiety that creeps in my stomach at the possibility of making small talk or worse hearing the whispers.
I wait for a sarcastic quip about my spinelessness from the young man’s voice in my head that I’ve heard for six years--ever since the night Mom died. Why his voice started to speak to me I still don't know but I've come to rely on him sometimes. Mom didn’t remain alive, thankfully, because really how would I explain that whatever came back wasn’t her? But, the voice doesn’t say anything. I haven’t heard his voice in two whole days.
Friday any week of the month is a reprieve, drinks all around, fling your messenger bag anywhere kind of affair. The spring winds are hinting at summer in late April. It’s my senior year at J.A.S. High (colloquially pronounced Jazz by all the students) and the sun bakes on my dark head of hair while sweat beads on my forehead. My Dad’s black Ford Explorer sits by the curb, engine idling and he’s searching for me in the crowd. It’s the day. The night my Mom died and I know that’s why he’s here to pick me up.
Williamsburg is a small town so everyone who doesn’t know I’m adopted gets the picture as soon as they see James Dahlin. He has seal brown hair, sometimes tanned skin and tall build. My almond eyes, ebony hair and distinctly shorter frame are clearly not Caucasian. It’s funny that my Mom died six years ago but the town they still talk about my adoption like it’s a plague they can catch.
I hike my bag on one shoulder and march straight through kids and parents. I don’t care if I knock someone’s pack, step on shoes or whack someone with my long braid of hair.
“Hey, Alice.” Trina’s voice stops me mid-step and I glance back.
“Hey,” I say cautiously, as I rack my brain thinking of a reason she’d want to talk to me. It’s certainly not for my fashion advice. I mentally go over my outfit of choice: black leggings, striped skirt, tank top, leather jacket and tall boots.
Trina made the Varsity Cheer team this year but not the captain’s position. Only seniors have that honor of taking the stressed out, jumpy skinny girls to state meets. I’m a senior and the only achievement I’ve made is not killing the perky girls who get in my way.
“Is that your Dad?” Trina eyes my Dad, who’s walking purposefully towards us.
Dad’s hair, flecked with gray, is so unlike my own black. His tall build towers above most of the students and he holds a bouquet of flowers.
Without waiting to answer, I shove past but it’s not fast enough. Dad hands me the flowers, “Happy start of break, doodle bug.” The nickname for my constant drawing has stuck to this day. He doesn’t give any indication of his emotions; just that pleasant smile and easy manner.
“Thanks.” I inhale the sweet aroma of the blue and yellow flowers. Most girls might be embarrassed their Dad is picking them up but I don’t care.
“Mr. Dahlin?” Trina asks. Her brows rise in an innocent, pretty way.
“Yes.” Dad smiles and spreads his hands apologetically. “I’m sorry I didn’t bring flowers for all the almost-graduates.”
Trina giggles as if it were a very high compliment.
“It’s nice to meet you, I don’t see you around much, I’m Trina Sullen,” Trina says and looks at me.
I shrug, wondering why she even cares.
“My Mom wanted me to ask if you’d want to sign the campaign we’re starting for cheer this fall at the junior level. I think juniors should be able to be elected as captains. And we’d require mandatory drug testing--this whole Wake rage is getting out of control.”
I roll my eyes. If my Dad thinks this is worth his time, then I’ve got to find a new father. Although she has one point. Wake usage has been running rampant in Williamsburg and the cops are up to their teeth in paperwork over it. The big towns with big guns tend to over look us and the local police force like it that way. They won’t admit they can’t handle this new drug that causes people to see “heaven” or whatever their version of heaven is.
“Tell your Mom thanks for thinking of me. Send over the papers to our house if you’d like and I’ll be happy to read up on it.” Dad gives her his polite smile but moves me towards the car. Thank God.
“I never made the connection before since Alice doesn’t frequent the gym hall much. Your wife’s picture is still up there,” Trina continues, oblivious. Or overly confident, either one is getting me annoyed. Now I understand why she wanted to talk to my Dad--to get in her jab about my dead mother. I keep my eyes down.
Dad’s jaw tenses and he moves slightly to block me from Trina.
“If Alice hasn’t spoken any further about that, that’s her choice. Have a good day,” Dad replies firmly. He puts a hand on my shoulder and I scuttle towards the car. Whispers trail us like smoke.
The car door shuts and seals me off from h*** for at least the next two and a half days. I slump in the seat but I can’t bring myself to be upset with him. He didn’t do anything wrong. This day has got to be hard on him too. The car glides from the curb towards our house, on the other side of town.
“It’s a small town, honey. People like what they can hypothesize about. There are five other adoptive families in our neighborhood and more are fostering kids every day,” Dad says.
“Then ,an become Wasters too,” I mutter.
“What?” He gives me a sharp frown.
“Wasters--people who pick up other people’s trash like foster kids, adopted kids. Kids no one wants.”
“Oh, Alice, you put too much credence into names. We are not “wasters.” We do not take in discarded children. We wanted you…and Maddie and Dar.”
I don’t doubt my adopted parents wanted me but it doesn’t dispel the unease of gossip; gossip about Dar the young man who shouldn’t still be a foster and Maddie, the girl who killed Mom. I can’t stand her name.
That night lives forever in the dark corners of my mind. And so does the face of Madeline Horton, the girl responsible. That night Mom drew the door shut with a rattle of the padlock but no click. That night Maddie came out with a pair of scissors. That night she told me to let go. I never should have let go.
A horn honking blasts me back to the present. Maddie’s been in White Bend psychiatric facility for years now but I never visit her. Her insanity plea still stands but for a child of eight to have stabbed a grown adult there is something deeply disturbing.
Dad still has foster parental rights to her but the social workers mandate what happens to her at the Moment. He’s had his share of hardships being around Maddie but I know he thinks Mom wouldn’t have given up on her.