Dear Agents,

Adrian Cooper is the world’s worst serial killer, and he knows it. He’s socially awkward, allergic to garlic, and resorts to devouring little old ladies to keep from starving. With blood on tap from the local senior home, Adrian contents himself with a lonely life in the coroner’s attic until a barefooted, blue-eyed juvenile delinquent snoops her way into his hideout. Sure, Gilly Patterson unwittingly delivers him to a band of murderous cultists, but anything can be forgiven in the name of friendship—especially when you’re a 73-year-old teenager with no friends.

Gilly’s on the run from her own troubles, and to atone for her crimes, she determines to make Adrian a model citizen. Casting an undead fugitive as the lead guitarist of her brother’s rock band seems like the perfect way to integrate Adrian into mortal society, but there’s one helluva catch: his insatiable hunger for human souls. If Adrian can avoid summoning flash-mobbing zombies and ripping out Gilly’s throat, the two of them may have a chance at putting their unhappy pasts to rest—and becoming more than just friends.  

But unnatural pairings have dangerous consequences.  

When paranormal poachers arrive on Gilly’s front porch with a list of blood-drained victims, Gilly must decide whether she believes in Adrian’s goodness more than the monster lurking inside him. To turn him in would mean losing him forever, but standing up for him could very well make her his next victim.

SWEETBLOOD is an 87,000-word young adult gothic fiction set in the longleaf pines of southern Alabama. Written in alternating views of the living and the not-quite-dead, this book merges dark comedy with a smattering of morbid romance in the style of WARM BODIES and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS.

Though being a warm-blooded human gives me no qualifications to write about an undead guitarist, I am a part-time ghost and have had experience in both music and the mystical kingdom of Alabama in my years as a naval officer.  

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Hannah Kates

Adrian Cooper wasn’t just a serial killer—he was a professional. No one ever asked what differentiated him from the run-of-the-mill throat-slashers and skin-aficionados, but if they had, he would have given them one simple reason: customer satisfaction.   

Adrian was a natural killer. A conscientious one. He was thorough in his methods, courteous in the reaping, and tirelessly concerned with his clientele’s comfort. When he strolled through the empty halls of Holy Hectare Hospice, he did so in his socks. They were old, darned, and in bad need of retirement, but the last thing he wanted was the clacking of loafers to rouse the residents. His socks were clean, his sleek, three-pieced suit pressed to an undertaker’s perfection. He brought a handkerchief to wipe his mouth and a toothbrush for after the fact.

Cleanliness next to godliness, Iggy always said, though fruit bats were largely heathen creatures.

The corridors of the hospice were silent and bright, livened only with the buzz of long, fluorescent lamps. Adrian wanted to whistle, then thought better of it. Silence like this was a holy thing. His socks slid over the linoleum in a whisper. The oaken doors parted their frames without a sound. The only thing quieter than a hospice was a cemetery, and the two weren’t far-between.

Adrian was being followed. He knew it the moment he stepped into intensive care. His pursuers came with a rustle in the shadows—flickering, bobbing blobs he caught in the periphery of his vision. The bats kept their distance, but Adrian could hear their dainty veins sing. They had flittering, fluttering heartbeats.

“You know,” said Adrian, “you don’t have to hover. I’m doing just fine on my own.”

A squeak sounded from the ceiling, and a fluffy orb the size of a mango dropped from the sky and straight onto Adrian’s head.

“Balthazar!” Adrian twitched and swatted, but the fruit bat took a lazy swoop and landed on his shoulder. “I had it combed down!”

He ran his fingers through his hair in a desperate attempt to salvage his work, but the effort was silly. There was no use in pausing to check his reflection in the darkened windowpane.

“If you’d cut it cleanly, you wouldn’t have to worry about such things,” said a voice, prim and trimmed with a stiff sort of confidence.

“This is how humans wear it,” Adrian said. “It’s style.”

The bats were hardly capable of facial expressions, but Iggy still scoffed. “Since when? Feudalism? Humans are still trying to justify cargo shorts.”

Adrian glared up at the specter dangling from the hot water pipe.

“You know,” he said, “it’d be awfully tragic if one of your wings slipped into the juicer.”    

Iggy wrapped herself up and stuck out her tongue. She squeaked something in her own language, and Adrian didn’t have to translate to catch the insult. He took no offense. He just laughed and scratched Balthazar behind the ears.