Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor: Jennie Nash
Mentee: Emma Nelson
Title: SOLSTICE SISTERS
Category/Genre: Adult Supernatural Suspense
Word Count: 86,000
After her grandmother passed away, Cici Dardompre left America’s most haunted city in search of proof that death isn’t as final as her mortician father believes. But when an upstart eco-friendly funeral home threatens the family’s traditional business, she returns to Salem and finds a haunted tour-guide job to keep her quest alive. As spirits of Salem’s legendary witches begin hunting her, Cici jumps at the chance to slip through time in search of Granmè and prove that what matters in death, as in life, is defining your own narrative.
Witches Lore is a cluttered tourist shop, made to look like the inside of a crone’s cottage, with colorful spell candles, satchels of divination herbs, and burlap poppets. During the day, we sell passers-by their witchy souvenirs and magic needs. By night, we lead haunted tours where visitors can seek out the otherworldly.
It’s not where I’d imagined myself a month ago while entrenched in finishing my PhD—at a minimum-wage, storytelling gig, wearing Halloween props year-round—but somehow it’s the perfect fit. Granmè always said when night falls, you must tell stories. History, myths, folktales—it doesn’t matter, as long as storyteller and listener enter the darkness together.
I step out of the shop and scan the tourists’ faces with my all-white-iris, zombie-lensed eyes.
“Let’s get this show on the road,” I call, and they snap to attention.
“I can’t follow you,” an amply-pierced teen fake whines. “You look like aliens sucked out your soul.”
I hiss and flare my eyeballs, hoping the contacts take full effect against my dark skin as I adjust the witch hat over my springy hair. “The better to scare you with. Now, off we go. Salem’s full of ghosts—let’s not keep them waiting!”