Demon Child

I have finally completed a book that has been two years in the making. Demon Child, the story of Odessa’s earliest days, is now complete. It’s currently been critiqued by a couple of people and I will soon being the process of submitting to find an agent.

Here is the synopsis:

A teenage girl comes to terms with her abusive childhood by seeking emancipation in order to find her first love and embrace her powers as a witch.

Odessa was dubbed the Demon Child from the day she was born in the midst of a thunderstorm on Halloween. She is a redhead with a fondness for rattlesnakes that never quite fit in with her father’s Pentecostal church congregation. After her sister runs away to Raleigh with her boyfriend, Odessa is befriended by Carmella, the new girl in town and the daughter of a Haitian Hoodoo practitioner. Their friendship in the late 1950’s shocks the rural costal town in North Carolina.

Disowned by her father amid accusations of witchcraft and associating with coloreds, she is taken in by Carmella’s family and homeschooled by Mama Jubilee and Tante Effie, a white woman blinded and widowed when her black husband was killed in fire Charleston. In her new home Odessa becomes smitten with Derek, Tante’s biracial grandson and a college student at Fayetteville State.

Odessa turns sixteen in 1960 right before John F. Kennedy is elected as president. On this pivotal birthday she casts a love spell, gets her first kiss from Derek, and is given a journal she is to us to help her come to terms with her abusive past.

Her first assignment is to connect with her mother’s spirit by visiting her grave. Her mother died when she was bitten by Odessa’s favorite rattlesnake right after the woman stood up to her abusive husband for the first time when she tries to stop him from cutting off Odessa’s long red hair. By connecting with her mother’s spirit Odessa learns that her illiterate and troubled mother did the best she could to protect her and is now watching out for her from the other side.

Odessa’s stepmother also plays a pivotal role in the story. Lillian gives an injured Odessa a ride home in the rain and learns her stepmother is pregnant. She also has to turn to Lillian to get her help in getting her estranged father to sign the papers relinquishing his parental rights.

Odessa and Carmella use a trip to Wilmington to see a movie to secretly meet Derek and Carmella’s boyfriend, Jamal. The date doesn’t go so well when she is confronted by racism and what she thinks is Derek’s lack of interest in her. Derek later admits in a letter that he is attracted to Odessa, but is concerned that if they see each other she could suffer a fate similar to his grandmother’s.

Then there is Roger Rohde, the blond and bronzed pro wrestling champion that Odessa first spots on the cover of a magazine. She develops a crush on the superstar wrestler until she learns he is married and has a young daughter. Still, every time she does any type of magick to test her love interests, she always gets the letter R. All of those reoccurring R’s have her wondering if Derek really is her Mr. Right.

Thanksgiving is another big occasion for Odessa when the family goes to Fayetteville to visit Derek and Jamal and most importantly Odessa has an appointment with a judge to see if he will grant her emancipation. She’s also supposed to get to see her sister for the first time since she ran away five years ago. Only Olivia isn’t on the bus and Odessa learns that she won’t be able to come from Raleigh due to an accident. Olivia surprises her by showing up that Friday morning just moments before Odessa’s appointment with the judge.

Judge Chavis is an old friend of Tante and her deceased husband and meets with them in his chambers to hear the case. He grants the emancipation so that Odessa will be able to get her driver’s license, have control of her health care, and make plans for college.

Things also heat up between Odessa and Derek. First, Carmella catches them making out alone in his apartment, and then on her last night in town Odessa loses her virginity to Derek. It wasn’t everything she had hoped it would be, but she is thrilled to finally be his girlfriend, at least until he wants her to go to church with him the morning after they first make love.

Odessa reluctantly goes into a church for the first time since being disowned by her father. The Baptist church is very different from her Pentecostal upbringings, but a flashback to her last visit to a church sends her running out the door. She finds a rattlesnake and cuddles with him as she realizes that she is okay with being exactly who she is, a witch and a survivor, and no longer the demon child.

Derek comes outside to find her and they both agree to accept each other for what they are. She’s okay with his religious beliefs as long as he accepts her path as a witch.

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