WE ARE MONSTROUS

(Adult Gothic Fantasy)

CURRENTLY SEEKING BETA READERS

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR FROM BETAS:

Draft will be beta-ready by April 19th, 2019. I would beta reads to be completed by August 1st, 2019.

At the moment, I do not need line edits or detailed notes. I’m looking for general impressions and over-arching issues. Any areas you found confusing, plot holes, the parts you loved or sections that lagged. Do the characters feel real? Is the atmosphere and setting conveyed well? General feedback.

If you are interested in beta-reading, please fill out this form here.
(This isn’t like a job application or anything; the form just makes it easier for me to keep emails all in one place).

I will send you the first three full chapters on the 19th as a test sample. If you feel like we’re not a good fit after you read the sample chapters, no problem. Just let me know so I can remove your name from the list.

BASIC INFO:

We Are Monstrous is a dark fantasy that toes the lines between horror, fairy tale, and erotica. With heavy gothic undertones, this 65,000-word novel is a retelling of two classic fairy tales with a Dracula twist and an all-female cast.

This book does bear trigger warnings for violence and sexual scenes, some of which involve blood play (one character is a vampire, after all). This one is for the monster-lovers out there. You know who you are. 😉

SUMMARY:

Any living thing Lyra touches crumbles to ash, its life force drained by the demon that clings to her and whispers thoughts of killing in her mind. After several horrific incidents, she has sequestered herself far from any potential victims in a dark and magical woodland.

But the Church’s witch-hunters have heard rumors of a demon’s host hiding in the forest. When they find her, Lyra flees to the mysterious, enchanted castle that lies at the heart of the haunted woods. Her deadly touch forges a temporary path through the magical brambles that circle it, sheltering her from the hunters who cannot pass through the thorns.

The castle is a hollow, eerie place, its citizens trapped in time like flies in amber. All save one: the castle’s deadly protector. The Beast, as she calls herself, is also host to a demon–one that cursed her home and twisted her into a hideous creature with a craving for human blood. The undead creature is the first person who has ever been able to bear Lyra’s touch and survive.

The moody, arrogant Beast offers Lyra sanctuary, knowing that the witch may be her only chance to break the curse and free her from the demon’s grasp.

Lyra and the Beast become intimately entangled as they race to outwit their demons and solve the castle’s mysteries. Despite the Beast’s grotesque appearance and a number of suspiciously missing castle inhabitants, time spent with the creature begins to spark something new inside Lyra.

The Beast bears many secrets, corpses best left unearthed. But when Lyra’s bloody past comes to light, the Beast wonders if perhaps she has met her monstrous match.

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

Nothing feels cold to the dead.

My fingertips were as chilled as the stone wall they caressed. While I walked down the darkened hallway, I trailed my hands along the ridges of the mortar and the smoothness of the polished blocks.

Shirryn followed behind me, a faithful lapdog of a demon. Or perhaps I was the dog, paraded before her on an invisible leash.

You’re exceptionally melancholy today, Shirryn complained. Even for you.

I ignored her.

I skirted around the blonde seamstress in the narrow hallway as always, caressing her warm cheek lightly with a clawed nail. She didn’t so much as flinch when I touched her. No shiver, no wince, nothing. She stood in the exact same position she had for ninety-nine years, her lips frozen into an eternal ‘o’ of amused surprise while she stared at an empty space.

It was empty, of course, because I had already claimed her companion. Someday, I’d come back for her, too. I couldn’t even remember her name, though I was certain I’d known it once.

I tugged on my velvet coat, settling it into its proper place. A few wardrobes in the castle fit me passably well, but the tailoring was always just a bit off.

Why do you even bother? Shirryn asked. I’m the only one who sees you.

I passed a mirror and admired the snowy white of the jacket, the deep purple of the embroidery and trim. A rich color. An aristocrat’s color.

My eyes skated past the horror that was my face. “It pleases me.”

Finally frustrated with my mood, Shirryn left. She knew I’d not feed her tonight, not so soon after the last.

I welcomed the silence that fell in her wake. The eerie quiet probably should have left me unsettled, but one could become used to anything, given decades.

I hadn’t yet decided what to do with my day. It was all such a dreadful monotony now. Idle board games played by myself, books to read, languages to learn, tidying to do. Today, I wandered without purpose until my steps took me into the great hall.

Here the silence was broken. The large clock at the front of the hall still ticked, still chimed the hours. It even counted down the days and years. The device had been spared the curse only to torment me, to let me know just how long I’d been trapped in this endless purgatory.

Soon enough my failure would be complete. Shirryn would win, and we both knew it.

As if summoned by my thoughts, the demon darted through the stone wall, the flickers of red inside her shadowy form sparking madly in irritation.

Someone comes!

“So?” I barked a bitter laugh and gripped the back of an empty chair hard enough that my claws dented the wood. “They’ll be turned aside by the brambles, just like all the others.”

No, Shirryn spat. She’s already inside.

I was embarrassed at the flicker of hope in my breast. I should not still feel such useless things. But there it was all the same. “What? How?”

She is also host to a demon.

Cursed, as I was. What did the intruder want of this place? Others had tried to get in, of course. Shirryn had gleefully informed me of each attempt, each failure, every gruesome death at the mercy of those enchanted thorns that surrounded our walls. I wondered what they all expected to find in the enspelled castle. Riches? Magical wonders?

I didn’t know. Trapped here as I was, I hadn’t the faintest clue what rumors flew out in the wide world. Perhaps the Church’s influence had swept across the kingdom, and they merely wished to cleanse the land of this magical, unholy blemish.

Then the hall echoed with something I hadn’t heard in a very long time.

Another person’s footsteps.

She entered through the main doors, cautious and curious. The woman didn’t look like much. But as unimpressive as she was, my heart swelled.

A chance.

Whether she knew it or not, this woman was my one and only possibility of salvation.