Mentor Name: Sarah Cannon
Mentee Name: Relly Annett-Baker
Title: THE UNWILLING GODDESS
Word Count: 79,000
Thirteen-year-old orphan Clementine spends vacations in Mexico with her grandmother, who claims to speak to the dead. After a weirder-than-usual séance, Clementine finds herself in a modern Aztec underworld. No one will explain why the one person Clementine needs to find now, her mother, is conspicuously absent. To track her down, Clementine will have to take the fight to Lord Mictlan and his pantheon in the only place and time she can: Mexico City on Dia de los Muertos. Trouble is, that’s two realms over and only five days away.
This time it wasn’t the sacrificial chickens that disturbed Clementine. It was the tone-deaf chanting.
She lay on her stomach in the scratchy, scorched grass of her Abuelita’s yard, trying to read a passage from her Spanish textbook. She shouldn’t be surprised by now. She knew her grandmother was busy with this kind of stuff all through October. A breeze rippled through the garden, catching a sign hung on groaning hinges:
“Señora Marguerite Sanchez, prophetess of Xochiquetzal. Communications with the dead held Thurs, Sun and by appt.”
The chanting was travelling through the open windows from her grandmother’s dining room. Clementine wasn’t sure really why the dead were so keen on chanting, or bumping off poultry for that matter, but it always seemed a big part of the ritual.
Abuelita had said that because of Dia de Los Muertos next week, she had additional séances “by appointment” for those wishing to speak to the dead and make arrangements for the festival.
“Tonight, I have some people coming over for the rituals for Los Muertos.”
Clementine rolled her eyes. “Chicken for dinner again, then?”
Who seriously believes in this talking-to-the-dead stuff?