Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Ranee StemannTHE BLACKSHIRE THREESarah DanielsYAHorror65000

Ten years ago, Hannah unknowingly created the Blackshire Three to protect her mother from her abusive father. She never intended for them to kill him. Ever since, the trio of avenging wraith-like women have been murdering the violent men of her small-town community.

Now sixteen, Hannah has always believed the women to be good and just, eliminating only the most depraved men of Blackshire. That is, until she witnesses the murder of an innocent man, and she realizes her creations are more malevolent than she ever imagined. As more innocent men die, Hannah must work alongside the murdered man’s attractive but vengeful grandson to discover how she created the Blackshire Three so that she can destroy them.

Failure will mean losing everyone she’s ever loved. But stopping the Blackshire Three may mean sacrificing herself. 

THE BLACKSHIRE THREE is a young adult horror novel, complete at 65,000-words. In addition to being selected as a mentee in the 2020 WriteMentor Summer Program, I also attended Wordsmith Workshops in 2019, where I worked closely with three established authors on an earlier draft of this novel. I have a BA in English, and my short fiction has been published in various literary magazines. I’m also a member of SCBWI as well as a local writer’s group. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Ranee Stemann

THE BLACKSHIRE THREE

The first strike of the broken clock tower tolls at midnight, loud and unapologetic in its promise of death.

I bolt from my bed, yanking my robe from the hook on the back of the door. I stagger through the hall, shoulder knocking into the wall as I shrug my arms through the sleeves. A picture frame crashes to the floor, but there’s no time to clean it up. They’re almost here. Cold from the air conditioner wafts over me as I slip into my mom’s room.

The third toll bellows as I grip her shoulder and shake. Why does it always take so long to wake her?

“Hannah?” Her voice is heavy with sleep.

“The clock,” I say, as the fourth toll rumbles the hardwood beneath my feet. “They’re coming.”

Her eyes widen. It’s been over a year since the clock has made a sound.

She scrambles from the bed, stumbling in her haste, and I grip her elbow to steady her. She grabs my hand, the bones of my fingers crushing together. We race down the hall, barrel through the living room, and out the front door. My bare feet press into the concrete of the sidewalk, my steps quick and anxious in my need to find out who’s going to die.

The humidity slithers over my skin, and the dark clouds overhead whisper of a storm rolling in. The air is tinged with the smell of rain.

The sixth toll rings out.

It’s almost time.

The door of the neighbor’s house opens, and Fred emerges. The porch light makes his hair appear more silver than gray, the wrinkles of his face more prominent. He grants me a nervous look, not quite smile, not quite frown.

I drag my mom closer to the curb, my toes curling over the edge, desperate for a glimpse of the clock tower half a block over. Desperate to see them. The tower stands tall and lean, a facade of red brick, a clock near the steeple. A simple construction. My favorite part of Blackshire for as long as I can remember.

I search the other homes, people spilling through doors in nightgowns and bare feet, boxer shorts and t-shirts, robes and slippers. Hair set in curlers. No one considers their appearance on these nights. Some porches remain empty, the residents ignoring the tolls, not wanting to see.

“How many times has it chimed?” an elderly woman across the street asks.

“Seven,” someone else says. A man. A distinct quiver in his voice. He’s nervous, just like every other man here. Each wondering if he’s next.

No one asks the question we’re all thinking. Who are they coming for?

My eyes flick to the power lines overhead. I swear I can hear them buzzing, excitement pulsing through the wires, as if they, too, know what’s about to come. 

I catch sight of the turquoise first, and my heart lurches in my chest. The Blackshire Three glide down the street, feet seeming to hover.