Jun 7, 2018

QK Agent Round: Hungry Ocean Gods

Title: Tidepool
Entry Nickname: Hungry Ocean Gods
Word count: 77K
Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy

In 1913, Henry Hamilton disappears while traveling on business. His younger sister Sorrow, who sees Henry as her true parental figure, defies her controlling father’s orders to stay home and travels to the last place Henry is known to have visited – Tidepool, a shabby shore town near Ocean City, Maryland.

After corpses wash up on Tidepool’s beach looking as if they’ve been torn apart by something not quite human, Sorrow is ready to run home to Baltimore and let her father send in the professional detectives. But then she encounters Mrs. Ada Oliver, a widow whose expensive black dresses and elegant manners set her apart from other Tidepool residents.

A visit to the widow’s home and a terrifying encounter with the daughter Mrs. Oliver keeps in her basement lead to Sorrow’s discovery of the town’s secret: The sacrifices Ada Oliver makes protect Tidepool from the horrifying creatures living in the ocean. And if the Lords Below don’t get their tributes, they will rise.  

Sorrow wants to stop Mrs. Oliver and get justice for her brother, but doing so will doom all the town’s residents. And the denizens of Tidepool—human and otherwise—are hell bent on making sure Sorrow never leaves. 

Gender-flipped Lovecraftian dark fantasy meets American Horror Story in TIDEPOOL, an adult novel complete at 77,000 words. It will appeal to fans of H.P. Lovecraft, Eric Scott Fischl’s DR. POTTER’S MEDICINE SHOW, and Cherie M. Priest’s MAPLECROFT.

First 257:

Sorrow Hamilton stood before her father’s enormous oak desk, feeling like a misbehaving student as he frowned up at her.

“It is unsafe for young ladies to travel alone, Sorrow.” Winslow Hamilton folded his arms over his chest. “And unseemly.”

I’m 21, for God’s sake, she dared not say. You can’t stop me. “Betsy Mueller travels alone and has had no trouble.” 

“Betsy Mueller is not my daughter.” 

Sorrow’s fingernails dug into her palms. The odor of stale pipe smoke—a smell she had grown to detest—hung heavy in the air of her father’s study. 

Winslow had definite ideas on what young ladies could and couldn’t do, and his “couldn’t” list was much longer and included many of the things that interested Sorrow—such as traveling alone. 

But her brother Henry still hadn’t returned from a business trip, and she’d heard nothing from him since his stop in a town called Tidepool. Surely Winslow didn’t expect her to sit in their house like a lump of suet while Henry was missing? She intended to look for him, and this Tidepool was where she intended to start. 

“It’s been over two weeks. He wouldn’t simply stay away with no word to us, Father.”

Sorrow often thought that Winslow’s steel-gray eyes and matching hair suited his personality perfectly. He had all the warmth of a slab of granite as he stared at her. 

 “I know that, Sorrow. But what exactly do you think you’ll be able to find out?”

She raised her chin. “Whatever there is to know.”

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