Pitch: Eighteen-year-old Ida is on her way to becoming a wife when her mother’s madness turns violent. Now Ida must work for a witch in order to provide for her sister. As the witch trains Ida in magic, she must decide what lines to cross, what love to keep, and who to burn. TIFFANY ACHING meets FEMALE OF THE SPECIES.
First page of manuscript:
My mother stands in the living room, her body pointed towards the window with her fists clenched and back straight, making her body seem alert and steady. Her eyes, however, are the exact opposite. They are unfocused, unseeing, like she’s under a spell. Sometimes people stop in alarm when they see her through the glass, thinking she’s staring at them. But she isn’t looking at them. She isn’t looking at anything. It’s unsettling.
I walk to her and tap her shoulder. She gasps as if I snuck up on her. “Oh, Ida, you’re awake.”
She holds my cheek in her hand. I press it to my face and close my eyes to take in her scent. She smells like a warm carpet, and I love it. It’s so familiar that it almost makes me feel like nothing is wrong.
She tilts my head with her palm, probably to examine the freckles on my dark skin. While I hate them, my mother adores them. Her fingers grip my face tighter and tighter, and then it’s too tight. Her nails dig into my skin. In alarm, I take a step back so her hand falls away. For a moment, she looks confused. That emotion seems to pass quickly though, because she sighs a second later and says, “My darling, you’re so beautiful.”
Her switch so sudden, but I let myself fall for it. I ignore the chills running down my spine and I say, “Thank you.”