Genre: Adult Literary
Word Count: 74,000
Pitch: An orphaned Jin meets the Kitchen God who teaches him to cook food that sings on the tongue. Jin gains fame and purpose until tragedy strikes, threatening his love, his gift, and, ultimately, his life.
A fortuneteller foretold Mei’s fate but her mother-in-law sealed it. Mei’s pregnancy was almost at an end, the baby was sure to come any day now. She lowered her gaze and fanned herself, keeping the sweltering heat at bay.
“Did you drink the tea before we left?” her mother-in-law asked.
Earlier, Mei held the delicate tea cup in her trembling hands. Her tongue rejected its bitterness, curling into itself while the tea drained into her throat. Mei failed to proved the Tan family with a son and drinking the vile concoction was part of her penance.
Inside the rickshaw carriage, her skeletal mother-in-law stared at Mei’s distended belly. The tea had been taken too late in the pregnancy and would not affect the sex of the baby. No doubt Mei was full of ill luck. Three daughters and still no sons. If not for her considerable dowry, her husband would have taken a concubine by now. Dowry or not, this marriage was cursed. The family line must continue, with or without Mei’s womb.
The wheels bounced along the dirt road, rattling the passengers inside. Mei played with the wooden fan’s tassel on her lap while the older woman gazed into the distance. When conversations were disguised as forms of condescending guidance, Mei welcomed the silence.
Soon, the farm fields swallowed the two-story family compound from her view before giving way to the stilted village with its slanted, tiled roofs. The fluttering of Mei’s sandalwood fan attempted to mask the scent of the seaside fish market.
MURDER MOST FOUL
Mr. Boddy is found in a chair in the study, there are two punctures in his pant leg, and blood trickles onto to his shoe. His hand rests on the desk atop an open Molskein notebook. In the notebook is scrawled one sentence: It was a dark and stormy night in Africa.