Author's Name: Kristin Clouthier
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Stage of Completion: Somewhere between 8th draft and on the road to being polished.
Preferred Critique Style: No holds barred. Honest feedback, no matter how brutal, is always the best!
Cats or dogs: If I ever own a cat please institutionalize me.
Tea or Coffee: I’ll take leaf water over bean water any day.
Raised by a grave-robbing uncle and a revolving door of smugglers, seventeen-year-old Charlotte is perfectly capable of handling illicit goods and shady characters.
Until one tries to kidnap her.
Her rescue comes with a heaping dose of delusion. There is no way she is some Gatekeeper destined to protect an ancient prison, especially one with the father of all evil sealed inside.
But when her attackers capture the only family she has left, she can’t deny who she is any longer. Charlotte must decide: unseal the Gate, or let her uncle die. One choice damns humanity, the other, herself.
The map almost had me believing in magic. That splotched and tattered scrap of paper was weighted with enough coffee stains and memories to keep me grounded every time “uncle Elijah” told me to run. I didn’t care that it’d been folded so many times the lines had begun to tear, or that Texas was practically split in two and Cuba had fallen victim to a cigarette burn. It was our map, and it had the power to turn any god-forsaken place into a home— a tent pitched across the dunes of the Gobi Desert, an overturned boxcar on a Kentucky plain, and as of late, a starless motel with a pay-by-the-hour standard, and a rat colony with boundary issues. The map, with all its imperfections, kept me sane when life couldn’t.
The ants and I had an understanding. They took the bathroom, the dresser, and half a shelf in the mini-fridge, but the bed… that was mine. The small scouting party making their way across my pillow was an act of war and I crushed them accordingly with the package Eli overnighted. The box should’ve been covered with stamps considering the distance it traveled, but some things were too delicate for UPS hands. When asked in polite company, Elijah was a dedicated archeologist. When dealing in back alleys, he preferred treasure hunter, or grave robber, or collector of unauthorized goods. Whichever title best conveyed the illegality and risk involved with his line of work.