Friday, April 24, 2015

New Contract Signed + More to Come!

I've been sitting on this project for some time, hoping I'd have good news to share. Today is that day! I'm happy to announce that Harmony Ink Press has offered me a contract for my YA novel, The Night Screams.

The first burst of inspiration for the book came in the form of a mental image of a terrified boy running naked through the woods. I knew, in the same way one knows things that they have no way of knowing in a dream, that his name was Cal. I didn't know anything else about him. But I wanted to. At the time, I was working on a sci-fi novel that was so much fun to write and just needed a few more chapters before it would be complete. Being a disciplined and fairly responsible writer, I said to myself, as I do occasionally when these sorts of bursts of inspiration hijack my imagination, "Thou shall finish the project you are working on!" I pushed through my sci-fi novel, but something about this simple image of the boy kept calling me, demanding my attention. In an effort to vanquish it from my thoughts, I decided to write a few pages. Surely, such a simple image wasn't enough to become a novel. That was clearly just a fantasy, because some tens of thousands of words later, I realized I was mistaken.

Cal's story is about his recovery after he escapes a sadistic man who tortured and raped him. When I was finished the first draft, I thought, What have I done? No one's going to publish this! I loved the characters and story, but I feared regardless of how tastefully I'd handled the dark themes, it would be quite a risk for a YA publisher to take on the manuscript. That said, I was relieved when an email from Harmony Ink assured me that The Night Screams had a home. Thank you so much Elizabeth North and Anne Regan for giving me the opportunity to share Cal and Jake with the world.

With that back story aside, I give you the working synopsis for The Night Screams:

Sweating. Panting. Running.

Cal runs naked through the woods, fleeing the sadistic man who abducted and tortured him. When he breaks into a convenience store to steal food and clothes, he encounters a young clerk who knocks him unconscious. He wakes in the home of the clerk's uncle Gary, the owner of the store he tried to rob. Realizing Cal needs help, Gary tries to communicate with him. But Cal's trauma has left him unable to speak. He writes down his experiences. Horrified by the perversion Cal endured, Gary takes him to the police, who track down his tormentor.

Gary and his wife take Cal in. But Jake, the clerk who attacked him, doesn't trust him and let's his concern be known through his harsh criticisms and insults. However, as Cal comes to know Jake, he realizes he might be the very person who can heal the deep wounds left by his horrifying experience. Can he move forward from his trauma or will he be haunted by the painful memories for the rest of his life?

I'm so excited about sharing this project with you guys, and thanks again to Harmony Ink Press for helping me do just that!