NAME: Marianne Sheldon
MENTOR: Krista Van Dolzer
TITLE: Toenail Pie
GENRE: MG Contemporary Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 52,000
Semi-orphaned Oliver’s plot for revenge against his housekeeper goes awry, transforming her into a powerful demon. Now, to save his father and sister’s lives, Oliver must find the courage to battle Mrs. Grimm alone.
FIRST 250 WORDS:
Claire’s good mood bugged Oliver. He leaned in the kitchen doorway, sneering as she pulled ingredients from cupboards. When she didn’t notice, he made a scoffing noise. He still got no reaction, so Oliver sauntered to the table. He picked up a small plastic container and gave it a shake.
“Give me that!” Claire grabbed for the container, but Oliver held it out of her reach as he peeled off the lid.
Toenail clippings. Lots of them. Tiny, translucent crescents mingled with thick, yellowed fragments.
“Jeez, Claire. You got a real collection going.” Impressed in spite of himself, Oliver handed her the container.
She resealed it and pressed it to her chest.
“You do know this is crazy. Right?” he said.
Eleven-year-old Claire sniffed and pushed up her glasses. Behind them her green eyes glowered.
“If she catches on and tells Dad, you’re toast.”
“I don’t care.” Her tone was defiant.
“Well, I do. Cuz he’s gonna blame me, you know.” Oliver scratched his thumbnail against a lump of old food on the table. “He always does,” he muttered.
“I won’t tell him you knew.”
“He’ll say I should’ve known. Anyway, that’s not the point.” Oliver tried to sound reasonable. “You can’t do this. It’s probably against the law. You might make her sick. You could get us all, even Dad, in big trouble.”
Claire’s expression darkened. She picked at a scraggly eyebrow.
Oliver grabbed her hand. “You gotta stop that habit, Claire. People think you’re weird enough already.”