Who really runs the world? THE ILLUMINATI GARDEN CLUB (64K) begins with SAMANTHA PENDRAGON (17) a girl who longs for a traditional family life, not the free-range Bohemian one her mother, CLAUDIA (36), has created far from their wealthy, estranged family in Savannah. Dad is out of the picture so when Claudia is the victim of a hit and run, Sam has nowhere to turn. Foster care looms imminent until long-lost aunt, CHARLOTTE WESTCOTT(65), appears out of nowhere to save Sam from social services.
Charlotte is everything Sam admires. She's a self-made millionaire, an elegant socialite, and respected by everyone. Sam relocates to Chatham House, the family mansion in Savannah, where she discovers an enchanting world of cotillions, and what it means to be part of a powerful, Southern family. Dreams become reality with instant popularity at Sam's new prep school, the promise of her dream college, and a fledgling relationship with the perfect boy. Why would Mom want to leave all this? Life is as sweeter than a fresh-picked peach until things start to take a strange, and dark turn.
Slowly, Sam begins to discover the sinister truth behind her family's riches, and the real reason Mom ran away. But the clock is ticking as Charlotte's garden club declares Sam the Foxglove Queen for a clandestine Spring ceremony. Using Savannah's storied tunnels, and dark alleys; and with the help of an unlikely ally, can Sam escape the terror Charlotte's friends have in store for her, or will she end up a monster just like them?
On its surface, THE ILLUMINATI GARDEN CLUB is a Southern Psychological Thriller blending suspense with a dark family secret. Every element of IGC story is drawn from real happenings throughout history. Furthermore, at the heart of my story is a social commentary that explores the role of older women in society, and defining 'family' today.
Please find below a sample of my MS. Thanks for taking a peek. I know you are hard pressed for time. I truly appreciate yours.
THE FIRST 250:
I’m standing there reflecting over the past year of my life. Never mind that the standing is more like kneeling, and the reflection is quite literally in a pool of blood. My head is starting to spin as I realize what I’ve just done. And what I have to do next.
It isn’t as if I have a choice. The wheels are in motion; the ritual begun. According to the rite, if I don’t go through with this, what they call the End of Days will begin, as in fire and brimstone. Believe me, I know how this sounds, but if you’d seen what I have in the past year, you’d be a believer too.
From the small cellar window I could see the Equinox moon rising. There wasn’t much time left. I had to hurry.
The Order had been comprised of eight people. I was to be the ninth. Now I was the last one standing, and I had to finish the ceremony alone. Only then could I clean up the grisly mess all around me. You know how people jokingly say, ‘I threw up a little in my mouth’? Well, I just did.
The signs were everywhere that something wasn’t right, but instead of listening to that little voice inside me, I just took what I wanted. The money. The attention. The parties. The power. The more I got, the more I craved. I was becoming one of them, and I didn’t even realize it. By the time I figured out what was happening it was too late. Now, I have blood on my hands, literally. Lady Macbeth’s not nothin' on me.