Sunday, September 16, 2012

CAGI Finalist #1

Genre: NA paranormal
Word Count: 100k


Practical Magic collides with Romeo and Juliet in THE CURSE, a modern love story where witches time travel, jaded ghosts misbehave, and young love must win over warring bloodlines.
Execution for the crime of witchcraft is a thing of the past.  Still, Ophelia and her family of witches shroud their identity.  A silence that has held Ophelia safe, until now.

For centuries Ophelia’s family has hidden their secret. So well, they’ve lost the ways of the witch.  But their past pursues them.  A dead relative haunts Ophelia, the same witch who, by cursing another coven, forced Ophelia’s family into hiding.  The spirit visits with a purpose: to protect Ophelia from a killer.

When Ophelia falls in love with Elwyn, she has no idea that he too is a witch or that their families share a dark history; the curse is slaying the men in Elwyn’s coven, leaving him the last of his line.  Knowing death stalks him, Elwyn has one mission – kill the witch to cure the hex.

Ophelia is that witch.  

When the truth is divulged, Ophelia faces a curse of her own: a choice that risks condemning a dead woman, murdering Elwyn, and ending her own life. 

First 250:

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Exodus 22:18

Hartford, Connecticut. 1652.

At the bow I sit, unclothed, not a thread of dignity left. Hunched and mortified, hands and ankles trussed with rope, their eyes weigh heavy on my back. Storm clouds tumbling over head, a chill in the air, I look down at my body. My skin is gray with filth, sickly and goose-fleshed, bruised and cut. My hair too is in a miserable state: matted and dangling, the red mesh of curls not doing well to conceal my bare breasts.

The boat, large enough to support myself and seven others, rocks as the wind whips up into my face.

Along with the rocking, I receive a taste of what is to come. Beneath my bare feet washes the river water. The cold of it trickles from my toes up my spine, cursing me with a shiver.

Lifted by gloved hands, I am hoisted onto the splintered edge of the sailboat, sharp wooden picks poking my backside.  A yelp escapes my lips.

In an instant I am face to face with my accusers: friends, the minister, fellow townspeople. They’ve taken my Jameson and now they will take me.

Convulsing from cold and nerves, the men work to untie me, only to retie my limbs in an uncomfortable and humiliating fashion: nude as sin, with my right thumb bound to my left toe and my left

thumb bound to my right toe.

I am left twisted, crouching like a toad, all my secrets revealed.