Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Susan StaabNormal is RelativeDestinee ShrinerYAContemporary 70000

Trying to keep your grandmother out of jail for indecent exposure isn’t what sixteen-year-old Daisy had in mind as being normal. But neither is best friend Charlie cheering her on. Maybe Daisy could deal with all of this if she wasn’t late for the big announcement from her two fathers. 

Daisy is stunned to find out she’s going to be a big sister through a new surrogate. This stirs memories of asking about her own birth mother only to be told it was better not knowing the truth. Before the announcement she’d shrugged it off, her dads were extremely loving parents if not quirky. Still, the new baby meant Daisy wouldn’t be the center of their world anymore. 

But when Daisy discovers more answers about her birth mother, she’s determined to track her down and get the whole story. Daisy must uncover the hidden truth of her past and come to terms with her very unusual family before a new member comes and changes everything.

I live in Tennessee with my husband of 28 years, two teenagers, a demandingly affectionate cat, and I teach full time at an inner-city Nashville school. This will be my debut novel.

Thank you for your consideration,
Susan Staab

Chapter 1
Grandmas Ain’t What They Used to Be 

Thank God Grandma agreed to this retirement home. After being kicked out of the other three, the family had one nerve end left and she pecked at it like a starving chicken.

Madison Manor looked more like a three-story resort hotel than as she put it, ‘a place for old farts to go die’ so I had hope. 

Afterall, miracles happened every day.

Sucking in a breath, I swung the Grounds for Reading delivery van into a front parking spot. When I turned off the ignition, it rattled, shook, and coughed in protest before it shuddered to a halt.

“Their Christmas party is hoppin’.” Charlie rolled his shoulders and wiggled his hips in the passenger’s seat as he watched Madison Manor’s couples twirl in the lobby to big band music. 

I kind of liked the old timey tunes, except one song. I hoped to never, for the rest of my life, hear it again.  

“We’re not here to dance. Grandma retrieval only,” I said, redoing my ponytail. “My dads would shoot me and throw my carcass on the back porch if we showed up late. This last-minute big announcement they’re making must be big deal. The entire family is there.”  

“It’d be fun to learn some ancient moves. I bet your grandma would love to cut a rug with me.” 

“Cut a…what? Charlie, focus.” 

“Ugh, fine.” Charlie slouched. “Remind me why we’re friends again?”  

“You did not just say that to me.” I crossed my arms and faced him. 

He grinned, snatched the keys from the ignition, and bolted. 

“Seriously?” I got out and slammed the door behind me. “You’re supposed to be helping me. This is not helping.” 

Charlie dangled the keys in front of him on the far side of the van. “Come on, live a little.” His words rose as steamy wisps in the grey winter light.

“Give me the keys.”  

But before Charlie could give a smart comeback the music inside the retirement home stopped and a new song began. I froze. 

Oh no, no, no. It couldn’t be. The notes clawed at my ears. 

“Daisy?” Charlie stopped circling, stood straight up, his face dropping. “Dude, are you okay? Here, here take the keys. My bad.” 

“Shh, shh, let me listen.” Was it…Oh shit, it was Sonny Lester and his orchestra. “Does she have the fans? Did someone give the fans back?” Each note tightened around my throat like a hangman’s noose as I sprinted for the front doors. 

“Fans? What are you talking about? What fans?” Charlie chased behind me.

I poked in the entry number on the keypad. The pin light flashed its evil red eye. I entered the number in again, slower. It blinked, once again denying me entrance. 

“Oh my God.” I jabbed at the keypad. “1. 4. 7. 4. Can you see her? I don’t see her.” I squinted through the glass. 

“See who? Your grandmother?” Charlie asked. He looked from me to the lobby then back at me.