Title: Warden of the Lost
Entry Nickname: I'll Stand Bayou
Word Count: 99K
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Thaddeus Fortier is a Warden of New Orleans, guardian and peacekeeper to all things that go bump in the bayou. The job’s got terrible benefits: zero sick days, no dental, and it comes with a sort of compulsive conscience that keeps Wardens walking the straight and narrow. Murder, mayhem, even little white lies—all off the table for the city’s supernatural guardians. Which is downright problematic for a man like Thad, who’s hell-bent on avenging the murders of his mother and brother. He’s got the whodunit down; all signs point to the city’s resident racketeer, a bougie backwater baron named Papa Ru. The trick is convincing the spirit of New Orleans that there’s more to Thad’s mission than a good old-fashioned revenge plot—preferably before Papa Ru makes good on his promise to turn Thad into gator bait.
Thad’s got a plan. Wardens and supernaturals are going missing around town, and they’re turning up dead if they turn up at all. It stinks of Papa Ru and his one-man war on all things otherworldly, and if Thad can connect the dots back to him, it might be just what he needs to convince the city to let him have his vengeance. But with Papa Ru’s threat hanging over his head, and more pissed-off supernaturals than he can stir with a stick, it might just be Thad who’s next on the list of the lost.
The taxi driver blinked at me in the rearview with glazed-over eyes. “Where to?” he asked. His voice had the dull monotone of somebody who’d said the same two words so many times they’d stopped sounding like words. Just reflex, now. The bless you after a sneeze that just wouldn’t quit.
Three pine tree fresheners dangled from the mirror, and I still smelled something rancid-sweet wafting up from the upholstery.
“Belle Knoll cemetery,” I said.
The driver’s eyebrows ticked up toward his hairline. “Funeral?”
“Yeah.” Not exactly tough math to do: black suit, dark tie, headed to a graveyard. It was the kind of no-shit question that begged for a sarcastic answer, but I’d lost my sense of humor with my luggage at the last layover.
I looked away from the rearview to watch the airport traffic give way to good old New Orleans highway. Flat land, green grass, that unlikely mix of palm trees and crepe myrtles growing side-by-side—I’d figured I wouldn’t ever see it again, but the city had her own ideas. And Lord, she could be a real bitch about getting her way.
"Friend or relative?” the driver asked. The question fell on the wrong side of personal, but neither of us batted an eye. Taxi drivers are the bartenders of the road: you sit in their seats, you tell them your woes, and you walk away with a lighter heart—and a lighter wallet. It’s a pine-scented taste of everyday magic, and it’s true what they say: all magic has a price.
Entry Nickname: Hungry Ocean Gods
Word count: 77K
Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy
In 1913, Henry Hamilton disappears while traveling on business. His sister Sorrow defies her controlling father’s orders to stay home and travels to the last place Henry is known to have visited – Tidepool, a shabby shore town near Ocean City, Maryland.
After corpses wash up on Tidepool’s beach looking as if they’ve been torn apart by something not quite human, Sorrow is ready to run home to Baltimore. But then she meets Mrs. Ada Oliver, a widow whose expensive black dresses and elegant manners set her apart from other Tidepool residents.
A terrifying encounter with the daughter Mrs. Oliver keeps in her basement leads to Sorrow’s discovery of the town’s secret: the sacrifices Ada Oliver makes protect Tidepool from the horrifying creatures living in the ocean. And if the Lords Below don’t get their tributes, they will rise.
Sorrow wants to stop Mrs. Oliver and get justice for her brother, but doing so will doom all the town’s residents. And the denizens of Tidepool—human and otherwise—are hell bent on making sure Sorrow never leaves.
Gender-flipped Lovecraftian dark fantasy meets American Horror Story in TIDEPOOL, an adult novel complete at 77,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Eric Scott Fischl’s DR. POTTER’S MEDICINE SHOW and Cherie M. Priest’s MAPLECROFT.
Sorrow Hamilton stood before her father’s enormous oak desk, feeling like a misbehaving student as he frowned up at her. The odor of stale pipe smoke—a smell she had grown to detest—hung heavy in the air of the study.
“It is unsafe for young ladies to travel alone, Sorrow.” Winslow Hamilton folded his arms over his chest. “And unseemly.”
I’m twenty-one, for God’s sake, she dared not say. You cannot stop me.
“Betsy Mueller travels alone and has encountered no trouble.”
“Betsy Mueller is not my daughter.”
Sorrow’s fingernails dug into her palms. Winslow had definite ideas on what young women could and could not do, and his much longer “could not” list included many of the things that interested Sorrow—such as traveling alone.
But she’d heard nothing from her brother Henry since his stop in a town called Tidepool, and a sick, cold dread intensified inside her as each day passed with no word. Surely Winslow didn’t expect her to sit in their house like a lump of suet while Henry was missing? She intended to look for him, and this Tidepool was where she would start.
“It’s been over two weeks. We should have heard something by now, Father.”
Sorrow often thought that Winslow’s steel-gray eyes and matching hair suited his personality perfectly. He had all the warmth of a slab of granite as he stared at her.
“I know that. But what exactly do you think you’ll be able to find out?”
She raised her chin. “Whatever there is to know.”