Mentor Name: Ashley Hearn
Mentee Name: Alexis Henderson
Title: YEAR OF BONE
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Romantic Horror #ownvoices
Word Count: 85,000 words
In Bethel, where blood buys forgiveness, witches burn, and the prophet’s word is law, Immanuel knows the key to salvation is total conformity.
But when an undead witch reveals grim truths about the church, Immanuel’s faith is shaken. Torn between the witch’s plight and the prophet’s holy creed, Immanuel must team up with a devious apostle to save Bethel from the darkness within itself.
Feminist. Black girl horror. THE HANDMAID’S TALE meets BLOOD AND SALT.
She was born breech, in the deep of the night. The midwife, Martha, had to seize her by the ankles and drag her from the womb. She slipped out easily, dropped limp into Martha’s arms, and lay still as stone.
The child’s mother gave a low groan, a cry that bubbled up from her belly. She grasped at the folds of her nightdress, its hem soaked black with blood, but she made no move to reach for her child. Instead, she turned her head, cheek pressed to the tabletop, and stared across the kitchen to the window above the sink, gazing into the woods.
“Her name,” she demanded, eyes sharp with moonlight. “Give me her name.”
The midwife took the babe, cut her cord, and swaddled her in a scrap of burlap. The child was cold against her breast, and she would have thought her dead if it weren’t for the name that rattled at the back of her throat, its flavor bitter as bile, and yet sweet as wine. The taste of the name the Lord had chosen for her. But she didn’t want to say it—not out loud.
With the last of her strength, the mother twisted to face her. “The name, Martha. I want her name.”
“Immanuel,” she finally bit out like a curse. “She will be called Immanuel.”