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Sloane  Virago

Sloane Virago

Sloane Virago has worked as a freelance writer for the last five years. During that time, she has ghostwritten 20 books that hit the best seller's list for their genres. With a degree in history and economics, she writes frequently about topics in these fields.

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Maddest of All

Mouse Universe

Struggling to find inspiration, one writer buys an Idaho town to create a community of eccentrics to drive her plot along.

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Literary Fiction Metafiction
Sedro-Woolley, Washington
55,000 words
75% complete
2 publishers interested

An author with a one-time wonder under her belt struggles to think of her next novel idea. Exhausted from her struggle, she conceives the strangest notion imaginable: she would write fiction from a self-created world of eccentrics. Zara Bliss buys a series of floathomes in Bayview, Idaho and proceeds to fill them with residents. 

As the residents arrive, the plot line begin to move on its own. A beaten wife flees to the commune with her young son, and chickens start to go missing. Across the bay, a mysterious man is seen coming and going from the village. Meanwhile, an influx in drugs spreads through the area, and it seems like the guilty culprit is in Bayview. 

The atmosphere heats up when a sudden death shocks the town. Why did he die? What was he trying to do? And, most importantly, who was responsible? The plot line of her idealized story begins to spiral out of control as Zara struggles to keep her fictional world from harming real people. Despite her reservations, Bliss steps into the tale and breaks her role of being just the observer. 

About the Author 

Born in Texas, Sloane was raised in Washington state. Throughout her life, she has lived in Taiwan, the Dominican Republic, Pennsylvania, Washington and Idaho. Like her fictional character, Zara Bliss, Sloane's life is controlled by an outside force: her cat. Other than sinister musings and murderous thoughts tossed her way by Kitty, she spends her time biking, hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest. 

As for her story, it began when she was looking for inspiration for her next novel. At the time, Sloane had just returned to the United States to marry the love of her life after a year of being in different countries. After the whirlwind of her marriage, she was left wondering: what next? The story came to her following a late night spent writing short stories and evolved from there. 

In terms of career, Sloane has worked as a freelance writer and novelist for the last five years. To date, she has published more than 20 novels as a ghostwriter for better known names. 

The Audience of the Book

Are you tired of knowing the ending from the first page? Sick of novels that read like plots instead of real life? 

In Maddest of All, you are taken on a journey through the lives of 30 villagers as they experience murder, new romance, mystery and intrigue. Multiple plot lines are interwoven in such a way that the novel is a realistic portrayal of real life. Targeted towards the intelligent reader who has "read it all", this novel is a masterpiece of plot twists, character portrayals and ingenuity. By the end of the story, you will be left wondering what is really going on. An author who once lived in Bayview and was there for a murder writes of an author, Zara Bliss, who lives in Bayview and watches as a murder takes place on her watch. Reality, fiction and the in-between world of fantasy blend seamlessly in this one-of-a-kind novel.

Marketing and How Funds Are Used

Funds are used for the editing, cover creation, formatting and marketing of Maddest of All. Marketing will include book reviews and apps like Book Hub. In addition, there will be a word-of-mouth campaign through Facebook and a network of bloggers to help Maddest of All reach the largest audience.

This book targets the market of consumers who like romance, intrigue and danger in their novels, but are tired of the typical romance and thriller plot lines. Instead of one plot line, the book follows a dozen characters throughout the story. It targets the next writing trend, metafiction, while creating a surreal reality and fast-paced narrative.

Chapter Outline 

Chapter 1: 

Orientation. An eclectic gathering of misfits meets in Bayview. Drawn by offers of free rent and a stipend, these individuals become the new “characters” in Zara Bliss’ novel.

Chapter 2: 

A chicken is found strangled. Rumors of a mysterious man sighted down at the docks permeate. Dylan Cook brings Bridget Yaga her herbs, food and supplies before sailing on the lake. Jane Huxley becomes closer to Thomas Monroe since they both enjoy getting high together. Meanwhile, Liam Miller hits it off with Amelie Rand. Already, Amelie is beginning to complain about the dictatorship she has fallen into. The stipend is not enough for Camilla Gitta to take care of her son, Edan Gitta, so she begins working at the general store.

Chapter 3: 

A small fire surrounded by small bones is found again. Bridget Yaga is heard crying out and talking loudly above the docks while the mystery man is spotted again. Down at the Captain’s Anchor, the bar is broken into and syringes are left behind. Zara hosts a party at Maria’s Mexican Restaurant to get residents to interact and drive the plot along. Carefully, she nudges Julie Lind toward Camilla Gitta. Camilla remains uncomfortable and shy due to her history with an abusive husband. Despite her reservations, she begins to open up to Julie. Edan (Camilla’s son) reacts violently to seeing his mother pay attention to someone other than him and “accidentally” knocks the food table over. Everyone moves over to the Captain’s Anchor to have a few drinks. Thomas disappears from the party. Hours later, he returns in a truck with Dylan Cook.

Chapter 4: 

Bridget Yaga, the batty, old lady, has become convinced that evil spirits are taking up residence in the town. She decides to call a seance and exorcism. The only person who joins is Amelie Rand. A mysterious, dark forecast is called forth about Amelie, and she leaves visibly shaken. Leaving, she sees Thomas comatose on the grass, gazing up at an apple tree inexplicably. Mystery scene occurs where the mystery man is in sexual congress with a woman, presumably from the village. As he kayaks away from the floathome, Amelie catches sight of him and realizes that he is more than just a rumor. Jane Huxley stops by Liam Miller’s home to bring over special brownies. They talk, relax and are interrupted by Amelie. Apparently, she has set her sights on Liam and is unwilling to let others be around him. Liam, in his typical fashion, shrugs it off and invites Amelie in. After Jane leaves, Amelie and Liam get intimate. Already, her abusive, controlling side is making itself apparent.

Chapter 5: 

Camilla Gitta’s ex-husband appears at the general store. He saw an article about the strange experiment online and her name was listed. Things heat up and he begins to beat her. Bridget Yaga walks in with a broom to help Gitta close the store, and she hits him with it. Camilla breaks down and shows her vulnerable side as Yaga tries to comfort her. Together, they close the store early and get a drink. Afterward, they end back at Yaga’s house where she makes a potion-like tea to soothe Camilla’s nerves and lays crystals on her body. Despite the strangeness of the situation, Camilla feels slightly better. On the lake, Dylan Cook returns from a day of sailing and runs into Thomas on the docks. As Amelie approaches, she hears them arguing and Thomas leaves in a huff. When she asks what is going on, Dylan says nothing.

Chapter 6: 

A fire is started on a floathome. Luckily, no one is inside. In Bayview, the rule of the town is never to call the police and to sort things out as a town, but the string of fires, robberies and animal deaths has the town worried. Everyone meets as a group at Zara’s floathome to demand that something be done. Amelie mentions the outsider/mystery man she saw and says that it could be him doing the fires. Reluctantly, Zara tells her that the mystery man is someone that she is seeing. He was supposed to be on the list of residents, but they started dating. Not wanting to intrude on the plot line, Zara told him to stay separate from the rest of the town. Zara calls him, and the town meets Erasmus “Ras” Doyle. Amelie is instantly attracted to the newcomer, and it gives her yet another reason to resent Zara’s influence.

Chapter 7: 

On a cloudy night with no moon to light the way, Camilla is closing up shop. Fog rolls over the water as a lone truck is heard crossing the roadways. A sudden crash is heard as another car pulls into park and slams into the curb. Drunk, Camilla Gitta’s husband gets out and demands that she return home with her. He grabs her by the hair as she tries to fight away. From a distance, her son watches, frozen in place. Up above on the hill, Bridget Yaga sees the commotion and hobbles her way the quarter of a mile down the hill to the general store. Wheezing, she struggles to get there in time. Edan Gitta becomes unfrozen all of a sudden. As his father lays into the curled up figure of his mom, he swings a bat at his dad’s head. In seconds, the man is out cold. Camila leans over his body and begins to cry. Confidently, Bridget Yaga walks into the store and dials a number. She speaks for a few moments before hanging up. Gathering a tarp, rope and stones, she tosses them behind the store before going to the front to move the body. Racked with sobs, Camilla tries to help her. Edan, the stress now gone, merrily picks up the feet and helps the body to be moved and wrapped. In shock, Camilla just follows Bridget’s lead. Dylan Cook shows up in his truck (he was the person Yaga called, since he is technically her husband) and they load the body behind the store. Dylan drives to where his sailboat is docked and they unload the body. With no winds available, they toss the body in the front of a two-seat kayak. Dylan silently gets in the kayak and rows out to the deepest part of the lake.

Chapter 8: 

Amelie is intent on finding the chicken killer. During the day, she sits at Ray’s Coffee House as she watches the town members walk by. Erasmus stops by for a cup of coffee, and her demeanor changes. Whether it is for revenge or love, she has decided to win his heart. In their conversation, it is revealed that Erasmus and Zara have an open relationship. Smiling, she invites him to her house later. In the floathomes, Thomas is preparing to go to town with Dylan. A new shipment has just arrived, and he is aching to pick it up. When Jane stops by, he fibs and says that he is just getting weed, but his addiction goes much farther than that.

Chapter 9: 

Amelie is hiding in camouflage across from a chicken coop. After quizzing visitors to the cafe all day, she has figured out that there is only one other chicken coop in walking distance. Assuming that the chicken killer won’t go to the same place right away, she expects him/her to strike here next. At the general store, a lone cop car drives up. The town is immediately interested--who called in the cops and violated Bayview’s only rule? Inside, Camilla is approached by a police officer. Thankfully, her bruises have healed significantly. He wants to know what happened to her husband. Shrugging, she says she has not talked to him for a long time. The cop, unfortunately, knows that her husband came up at least once to get her back. Being a rural area, he has also heard the rumors about the domestic abuse. As he leaves, the cop sees Edan and asks him a few questions. Sullenly, Edan toes the line and does not say anything incriminating. Camilla rewards Edan by releasing him from his chores (sweeping the general store, etc.) for the day. Immediately, Edan takes off.

At the chicken coop, Amelie is almost ready to give up for the day when she sees something move. Edan, it seems, is breaking into the chicken coop in broad daylight. Quietly, she watches as he takes a chicken out to kill it. When she is certain he is the culprit, she approaches him.

Chapter 10:

It snows, and the town looks magically silent amid the flurries. In his floathome, Thomas is huddled in a ball as he goes through withdrawals. Jane walks into his home and sees him huddled on the floor. She tries to revive him and get him to tell her what is going on, but he can barely speak. Upset that he hid his drug addiction from her, she goes to find Zara and get help. Zara returns with Ras Doyle, but they can’t find Thomas. Every townsperson gets involved in the search for Thomas. With the constant snowfall, people cannot go in or out of town until the snow plows, so he’d have to be somewhere nearby. They can’t find him.

Chapter 11:

Julie Lind is bored because the snow means she can’t go anywhere. She wanders down to the Captain’s Anchor for a game of pool and a drink. On the patio, she finds Camilla Gitta smoking, drunk and crying. Slowly, Julie draws out Camilla’s story about the death and her son’s involvement. Holding her close, she dries her tears and kisses her. Surprised, Camilla jumps. After years of living with a man she didn’t love, the sudden kindness and gentleness appeals to her. She returns the kiss.

At Thomas’ floathome, Jane Huxley is searching through his things about where he might have gone. She is thinking of breaking Bayview’s unwritten rule by calling the cops, but she wants to finish searching through his things first. In a cupboard under the sink, she finds a large stash of heroin, meth and weed. Shocked, she decides to move the drugs and hide them in case the police do show up. Calling Zara, she asks for another town meeting at the Captain’s Anchor.

No one in town knows--or admits knowing--how the drugs got into town. One person suggests that maybe Thomas was responsible for the chicken killings, fires and robbery. Thomas can’t drive though, so someone else must be driving the drugs into town. An argument breaks out as Amelie accuses Zara of deliberately encouraging or letting this happen so that she could have a plot line in the book. Erasmus does not side openly with Zara, which makes her upset. She leaves the bar, and most of the townspeople leave as well. Erasmus and Amelie stay behind and begin drinking. One thing leads to another, and Erasmus ends up in Amelie’s bedroom. Afterward, she goes to Liam Miller’s house. Walking in drunk, she finds him dressed in . . . unusual attire, to say the least. She belittles him and storms into the bedroom. Liam, embarrassed and upset, walks to Zara’s floathome. Erasmus is out, presumably looking for Amelie again, and Liam confesses his secret to Zara. An intimate moment occurs between the two of them as Zara’s attempt to be supportive turns into something more.

In the forested hills, Amelie and Edan hike up to the top of a mountain. They rig a lightning rod to a tree and wait to see what happens. As lightning strikes the tree, they whoop and holler as it burns brightly. Down below, everyone sees the fire and wonders what is going on.

Chapter 12:

The snow has melted, and the roadways open up again. After the stressful meeting of last night, many of the townspeople are still asleep and/or hungover. Jane awakes to a knock at her door and meets two police officers. The body of Thomas has been found along the roadway dead. She struggles to clear her mind of the vestiges of sleep as she answers their questions--avoiding the drug offenses, of course.

With the winds at their backs, Dylan and Ras sail out to the lake. The wind is high, the waves are rough, but they are happy to be out on the water after the last few days of snow.

Amelie is still not talking to Liam, but she remains at his house all day just to remind him, by her presence, of his mistakes.

The boat capsizes on the water, and Dylan and Ras have seconds to get the kayak out. Miles from home, they shiver as they struggle to get their hands to hold the oars. Little by little, they make their way back. In Bayview, Bridget Yaga and Zara are growing nervous around nightfall. The waves are too rough to send out a search party, so they wait alone. Happily, Dylan and Ras return. After showering and warming up, Dylan sneaks into Thomas’ house. Loud noises are heard as he begins to grow infuriated. It seems that he is searching for something and can’t find it. The house is torn to pieces before he leaves to meet with his somewhat-estranged wife, Bridget Yaga. Casually, he turns the conversation to Thomas’ friends, and it is mentioned that the brown-haired girl, Jane, was seen with him frequently.

In the dark, Dylan stumbles to his truck. Sometime in the near future, he has to find this Jane and get his drugs back. A lone figure is seen approaching him with brown hair. Pulling out his knife, he steps up to her and demands the drugs. She denies that she has any involvement in drugs, and he becomes enraged. Knocking her out, he takes her to his floathome for privacy. Questioning her again, he tries to get her to tell him where the drugs are. When he goes to hit her again, he hits the vagus nerve unintentionally. Realizing she is dead, he leaves under a rowboat on the back so that it stays cold. The waves are too rough today to drop her body, but he will handle it before long. Drunk, he passes out on the bed.

Chapter 13:

The sound of sirens wakes Dylan up. Mika Millay, it seems, is missing. The town is searching everywhere for her, and Amelie darkly mutters that it is unsurprising that another person is missing in this crazy town. Too late, Dylan realizes his mistake. The description given by Bridget Yaga unfortunately matched Mika Millay as well, and he never thought to ask the girl’s name in his drunken stupor.

Dylan is now worried about how he will get the body out without anyone noticing. The snow is starting to melt, which means he does not have long until the body begins to decompose.

Most of the town is gathered around the docks and floathomes for the search, which makes Dylan even more worried. A fortunate twist of fate intervenes. Amelie and Edan had used the opportunity when everyone was distracted to set fire to the general store. Seeing the smoke rise up, the townspeople ran with buckets, hoses and burlap sacks to the general store to put out the fire. Amid the flames, Amelie and Edan are secretly smiling as they watch their work take hold. Without realizing it, Amelie had dropped her engraved watch from her father. She only realizes it afterward, and realizes with horror that it was dropped exactly where the fire had started.

On the docks, Dylan seizes the distraction to load the body up. Everyone is gone except Bridget Yaga, and she sees him from above. She calls out, but no one notices--they are used to her insane mutterings and shouts from above. Yaga tries to hobble out of the house, but trips. Extremely superstitious, this modern-day witch/shaman takes it as a sign that she should just let the matter be--after all, what is done is done. Too late, she thinks it over and realizes that the questions about Jane yesterday and the similarity between Jane and Mika may have something to do with the matter.

With the fire out, the cops are surely on their way. Amelie returns to the Liams’ floathome flustered. Pacing back and forth, she is not sure what to do. Liam is still afraid to talk to her after the embarrassment of before, so he says nothing and hides in the kitchen. Turning the corner to the kitchen, Amelie pours a glass of wine and takes a sip. Suddenly, her eyes focus on Liam. She tells him that he can finally show that he is a man and worthy of her if he picks up the watch from the fire. He starts to argue and ask questions, but realizes automatically what she means. She was the fire starter, and she wanted him to cover it up. Motioning to her to pour him a cup of whiskey, he tosses it back in one gulp. He decides to get the watch--after all, he didn’t start the fire and it could mean that the awkward part of this relationship would end. She’d owe him now just as much. Leaving, he slips unnoticed to the general store and gets the watch out just as the fire inspectors show up.

Chapter 14:

Bridget Yaga receives Amelie for a cup of tea, just as Dylan was leaving. Through the walls, she can hear faint sounds of their argument. It seems that Dylan is threatening to take away the allowance he gives Yaga. The reason why is not clear--Amelie must have missed that part of the  argument. Dylan leaves in a huff, and Yaga invites Amelie in. Together, they complain about the uselessness of men. Yaga also mentions the novel aspect of the project--if the townspeople are the plot, why can’t they decide how things go? Couldn’t they take on a more active role? This comment leaves Amelie with something to think about.

Ras is in for unexpected news. After the disturbances of the last few weeks, he expects a relaxing day with Zara and perhaps some kayaking or sailing. Zara sits him down to share the news: she is pregnant. Surprised, Ras does not know what to think. The brief fling that they had enjoyed and casual relationship had just taken on a deeper meaning. After seeing a look at Liam toward her the other day, he wants to ask if the child is really his, but he does not want to answer any questions about his faithfulness considering the Amelie incident. At any rate, they had been together often enough that it was likely that it was his child. They decide to make the relationship official.

Chapter 15:

The police want to interview everyone in town about the recent deaths. There are so many hidden deals and secrets in the town that everyone seems suspicious, which makes no one stand out. The interviews are conducted at the Captain’s Anchor since it is the largest place in town. As the townspeople finish their interviews, they order drinks amid the subdued atmosphere. Amelie remarks on the fact that Zara is not drinking, and she shares the news. While Amelie pretends to be happy about it, she does not like the idea of Ras being permanently with her. Amelie might be with Liam, but she does not want anyone she has dated to ever be taken by someone else.

Chapter 16:

Amelie decides to write a different ending to the tale. Breaking into Zara’s floathome, she searches for where the story is kept. Knowing that Zara went to the doctor with Ras for an ultrasound, she has plenty of time to read through it. Her particular character leaves her upset. Crossing out sections, she rewrites portions of the tale. Doing her best to copy Zara’s handwriting, she writes out an end to the story.

Amelie hears Zara arriving home with Ras and hides in a closet. Zara realizes she forgot to buy extra fruits and vegetables for her healthy pregnancy goal and leaves to go to the store. From behind, Amelie uses a heavy-duty fishing wire as a garrote on Ras. He struggles, but it is useless. When Amelie returns, she looks for Ras, but does not find him. Entering the study, she sees his body across the novel she was writing with the note “Read Me”. In shock, she reads through the ending that was added. Looking around, she realizes that she is no longer safe and goes to leave. Amelie steps from the shadows and hits her across the head. Afterward, she hanged Amelie to complete the ending. Outside, Liam is waiting in his old jeep, ready to drive Amelie away. Smiling, she rearranges the crime scene to suit the story she just wrote out. Together, Amelie and Liam drive away from the town.  

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