I hope this letter finds you well. I’m reaching out to you in light of your passion for young adult novels with lyrical voices and fantastic settings. I’m also betting that a Southern Gothic with witches, imps, war-mongering angels, and a time-traveling black female heroine that saves herself in the end is a cocktail you can’t resist.
Years ago, witch hunters came to Carolina and devoured the Willows. Sixteen-year-old Collette, a powerful empath, was one of them. A part of a long line of witches that stretches back as far as the slave auctions of Charleston, she was especially gifted.
Decades later, a series of strange kidnappings prompts a member of her secret coven to make a plea for help and Collette is chosen to answer the call.  But things have changed. Angels have come out of the divine closet and everyone is on the lookout for the supernatural.
Snatched from the Void, she has to choose between a normal life and following the warrior path of the Willows, a coven she didn’t know she belonged to. Soon, problems pile sky-high as she struggles to keep the boy who could blow her cover at arm’s length and her sanity as family secrets come to light in the midst of a serial killer.

In the end it all comes down to destiny, death  and the grey places between good and evil. But then again, when you’re Willow Born death can be just the beginning.

WILLOW BORN is a 77,000 word stand-alone Paranormal Fantasy with series potential. Fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver and  Cassandre Clare’s City of Bones will be delighted with the book’s mix of supernatural drama, romance and Southern fantasy.
My main occupation is as a high school librarian in Atlanta, Georgia and I set all of my novels deeply in biscuit-and-sweet-tea country. Please note that this is a multiple submission. 
First 250
PART ONE – I’m Beginning to See The Light
Lake Murray, South Carolina One Summer Night
The imp prowls anxiously behind the ancient Willow tree, his muscles rippling under his too-tight feline skin. He knows the old witch isn’t as skilled as he needs her to be, but the pickings these days are slim. She’s the best of what’s left.
Warm breeze scatters scorched sections of the day’s newspaper, creating tiny cyclones around the bonfire. A photograph of a young girl with thin dreadlocks floats on dusty air before lighting and turning to ash. 
Miss Collins picks up her bottle of hooch. She drinks quickly, spitting the rest into the flames. The cat who is anything but a cat chases the darkness to keep hidden, shielding his emerald eyes from the flares. 
“They call them ‘Dolls’, Lord! ‘Dolls’! It is the coven who hears their cries.” The old witch wails into the darkness as starlight dribbles like sweat through the boughs of the tree.
Herb perfumed smoke rises thickly to the heavens. This is what he’s been waiting over half a century for. This night. This spell.
“Lord, fourteen precious girls have gone missing, then dead. My task is great, but your mercy is greater. I come to you a daughter of Odion, the first of our kind!”
At this she pulls the tree-shaped dagger from her waistband. Without taking her eyes from the sky she slices open her palm and flings the first drops of blood into the flames. Glittering blue flares erupt where blood meets ash.

9 Comments

  1. Copil Yanez

    Love, love, LOVE this cocktail! Great setting and rich detail. Good luck with the contest!

  2. shannamiles

    I'm so glad. Thanks for the well wishes!

  3. Leandra Wallace

    Very atmospheric, and I love your descriptions! Would read this in a heartbeat, as I love stuff set in 'biscuit and sweet tea country'! 😉 Good luck!

  4. Annette T. Dodd

    Good luck in the contest!

  5. Katharine Manning

    Great setup, sounds like a fun read. Good luck!

  6. Laura Rueckert

    I have a Void in my ms too! Your story sounds great. Best of luck in the contest!

  7. shannamiles

    Thanks for the good luck folks! I'm excited about the contest. There is a lot of talent here!

  8. Melody Marshall

    Good luck, Shanna! 🙂

  9. eldonhughes

    Coolness. Good luck in the contest and mad props for being a librarian. Curation is power!

Comments are closed.