Title: THE ALTERAE
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy with romantic elements
Word Count: 64,000
When sixteen-year-old Emma Hawthorne finds the body of her best friend, Lily, floating in the river, her hard-fought control of her empathic ability crumbles. Capable of picking up emotions from other people like a radio signal, she is too damaged to tune out the constant static. Now all Emma wants is to move beyond her grief and be free from everyone else’s feelings.
Then an encounter with a stranger’s violent emotions triggers a vision of Lily’s tortured soul and Emma is faced with a terrifying sense that the drowning wasn’t an accident – and that Lily isn’t resting in peace. Emma’s search for answers attracts unwanted attention from Patrick, a man without emotions. Simultaneously repulsed and intrigued, she allows him into her life. And when he offers to take away her ability, along with the pain it causes, she is ready to accept.
But Lily is trying to warn Emma from beyond the grave. Patrick’s offer isn’t without a price – a price that may have cost Lily more than her life. As Emma unravels the twisted threads connecting Patrick to Lily, she discovers he’s more dangerous than she ever thought possible. Emma must find the strength to fight the growing supernatural hold Patrick has on her, not only to give Lily the peace she deserves, but to save her own sanity – and possibly her soul as well.
After earning my B.S. in journalism, I followed my husband to Los Angeles. Along the way, I have co-written two independently produced short films and published articles in two weekly newspapers. I am active in several online writing communities and workshops, including AgentQuery Connect and WriteOnCon.
Emma hadn’t slept in three days. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw the river again. Saw her again.
She shuddered and forced herself to watch the mourners gathering around the grave at the base of the hill. The black-clad figures clung to one another, finding comfort in knowing they didn’t mourn alone. Comfort Emma couldn’t share. Even from where she stood at the crest of the cemetery, their shock and grief and anger pounded against her.
The wind shaped Emma’s dark hair into softly waving tendrils and she brushed them away from her face with the back of her hand. She shifted and the frozen dew clinging to the grass crackled under her feet.
Emma knew she should join the other mourners. She knew they expected her to share in their public display of sorrow.
But she couldn’t.
The slightest touch, the slightest betrayal of emotion and she would lose everything. Even a hug, meant to console, could send her spiraling out of control.
She remained frozen, a silent witness to their grief. She saw everything in stunning clarity, the delirium of her sleepless nights drawing details into sharp focus. The lurid green carpet covering the hole in the ground and the cold, dead coffin that held her best friend. The dull, grey sky burned in her mind. Overwhelming sorrow surrounded her, but she refused to absorb any of it.
Her silence, more than tears or anger, terrified her parents. Not that she blamed them for worrying.