Sunday, September 16, 2012

CAGI Finalist #17

Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 63,000


Seventeen-year-old Melia Dawson has been in and out of the Royal Alexander Center for Mental Health since she was six years old. Convinced she can breathe underwater, Melia has spent the majority of her young life waiting to complete her transformation into a mermaid. What her parents think are multiple suicide attempts, are actually Melia’s way of trying to begin her life, not end it. When a stunt at the local pool lands her back in the Center, she meets fellow patient Kass Mercer. To Melia, It seems like the stars have finally aligned; not only does Kass believe that she can breathe underwater, Kass thinks he can fly.  Somewhere between broken curfews and lame horror movies, Kass and Melia fall in love. Together they explore the boundaries of their supernatural abilities through skydiving lessons and late night swims, all while appeasing their therapist.

When a fellow patient dies unexpectedly, Melia begins to question whether she and Kass are special, or just sick.  Meanwhile, in hopes of curing Melia of her delusions, her therapist sends her on a surprise trip to the ocean, where she can finally complete her transformation. When the experiment doesn’t go as planned, Melia sinks into depression, dragging Kass down with her. Together they teeter between reality and delusion as they struggle to accept themselves for who they truly are, before one of them pushes their limits too far.

My debut novel, Second Hand Lace, is due for release this April from Turquoise Morning Press. 

First 250:

Scaling a chain link fence is a lot harder than the police shows make it out to be, I think as my flip-flop slips out of the narrow diamond gap for the second time. I look down at the ground only a few feet below and contemplate giving up, but the subtle scent of salt keeps me going. Two minute later, I make it to the top of the fence and swing my leg over. I pause, hovering over the twisted points along the top of the fence, and scan the outdoor pool to make sure no one else is around. It’s empty. I bring my other leg over and drop down to the concrete deck.

I peel my t-shirt off as I walk and drape it over the lifeguard tower, followed by my shorts. The second my sandals are off my feet, I sprint toward the water and dive in.

My legs look better underwater, I think as I float directly in the middle of the pool. They swapped out the chlorine for salt water last year, and I haven’t worn goggles since.

I hold my waterproof watch in front of my face. 7:15. I have at least ten minutes before even the earliest of birds arrive at the pool. I break the still surface and look around again, just to be sure. The deck is empty, and the gate is still padlocked. I smile and dive down toward the deep end, the water concealing the sound of a car pulling into the lot.

Maybe this time it will work.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. Please send me your first 20 pages in the body of an e-mail, with your query letter (if you have one), with "CAGI finalist" and the manuscript title in the subject line, to Linda (dot) P (dot) Epstein (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!