Welcome to the blog tour for CONSTELLATIONS OF SCARS, a standalone adult dark fantasy, by Melissa Eskue Ousley. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
About the Book
Title: CONSTELLATIONS OF SCARS
Author: Melissa Eskue Ousley
Publisher: Midnight Tide Publishing
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
“An indelible story of loving yourself in a world of dreadful realities.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Not all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse.
When Amelia turned 12, she began growing pearls. Every month, a crop of beautiful pearls bursts from the skin on her back. Her mother, Denise, believes her daughter is blessed, and sells the pearls to put food on the table. Amelia sees her condition as a curse. As the pearls form, her body aches and her skin grows feverish. The harvest of pearls brings temporary relief from the pain, but leaves her back marred by scars. Denise hides Amelia away from the world, worried that Amelia’s gift will be discovered and she will be abducted for the wealth she can provide. Now a young woman, Amelia realizes she has become her mother’s captive, and plans her escape. When she runs away from home, she finds a new family in a troupe of performers at a museum of human oddities. She soon discovers the world is much more dangerous than her mother feared.
The pearl looked luminous—it seemed to glow under the harsh light of the bare bulbs in the rusty fixture over the mirror. There was something almost magical about it. It had come from my body, which was a revolting yet thrilling thought. I slipped the pearl into a cabinet drawer, hiding it until I could figure out what to do with it.
Two days later, other lumps on my shoulders and back swelled and festered. I would have wondered if they too contained hidden treasures, but my body ached so bad, I could barely think. The slightest movement sent tendrils of pain down my spine. I stayed home from school.
Mother drew me a hot bath and was helping me undress when it happened. The sores opened, one after another, spilling new pearls to the floor. Mom jumped back and shrieked. I groaned with relief as the blinding pain suddenly eased.
Mom picked up one of the pearls, still slick with blood. “Is this what I think it is?”
I nodded. “I’m a human oyster.” I didn’t feel human though. I felt like a sideshow freak.
Mother’s eyes were fearful, but her tone was angry. “Don’t be ridiculous.” She gingerly placed the pearl on the countertop, as though it might bite.
“It’s true.” I opened the drawer where I’d stashed the first pearl. I held it out to her.
She touched it and then shook her head. “No, they’re not pearls. They’re part of the infection you’re fighting. Some kind of organic…” She didn’t finish the sentence. She just stared at all those pearls on the floor. Including the one I held in my hand, there were 43 of them.
Mom decided to have the first pearl assessed. It was the only time she took me with her.
Mr. Whittier, the jeweler, studied it, gauging its worth. “Big one, isn’t it? Fourteen millimeters. High luster…round…free of any defect I can see. Where’d you get this, Denise? Indonesia? The Philippines? Looks like a South Sea pearl to me.”
“How much is it worth?” Mother asked. There was a hunger in her eyes I’d never seen before. It scared me.
About the Author
Melissa Eskue Ousley is an award-winning author living on the Oregon coast with her family, a neurotic dog, two charming cats, and a piranha. Her suspense novel, Pitcher Plant, is set in Seaside, and won a 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award. Her young adult novel, Sunset Empire, debuted in a bestselling boxed set. Her short stories have been included in Rain Magazine, The North Coast Squid, and various anthologies. When she’s not writing, she can be found volunteering for her local wildlife center, caring for injured owls and hawks.
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