PW #118: Adult Women’s Fiction/ Book Club Fiction: WORN OUT WISHES

Manuscript Status: 2 weeks delivery

Mentor Name: Tracey Enerson Wood

Mentee Name: Em Shotwell


Category: Adult

Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Book Club Fiction

Word Count: 95,000 words


It’s been ten years since Milly ditched town, leaving behind her beloved sister, an imprisoned mama, two eccentric, pot-peddling great-aunts, and a bleak future reading tea leaves to make a living.

But when her estranged sister shows up on her doorstep, bruised and beaten by her politically-connected husband, Milly will do anything to protect her—even when the tea leaves suggest murder.


We had pancakes for breakfast the day Mama killed Daddy. They were my favorite—made from scratch, with blueberries me and Mama and Francis picked from the bush that grew in the back corner of our yard. They were in the shape of lopsided hearts, and so large that the pointy end hung off my plate.

If I’d been older or wiser, I’d have known something important was bound to happen. Mama only made those pancakes for special occasions. Later, when the officer who talked to me and Francis at school asked if I’d noticed any odd behaviors in my parents that morning, I would think of the pancakes but keep my mouth shut.

It was the same morning we’d lived for as far back as my eight-year-old mind could remember. The four of us sat around the table in our eat-in kitchen. Francis sat on her knees, silent as usual, mashing her pancakes into a sticky mess with the back of her fork. Daddy read the Lundinville Record without looking up, while Mama sat across from me, sipping her coffee and smiling her clipped smile. As I chattered between bites, she listened—never saying or doing anything to give away the fact that she’d finally had her fill as Daddy’s punching bag.


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