Thursday, October 23, 2014

SPOTLIGHT: At Hell's Gates

Halloween is just around the corner, and in anticipation, I'm dedicating this week to horror writer Stephen Kozeniewski, writer of creepy chills and gruesome thrills. Part 4 of this series is a spotlight on At Hell's Gates, which features Kozeniewski's latest short story.

When evil overflows from the deepest, fiery pits, the battle will be At Hell’s Gates…Whether you are a zombie aficionado, or you feed on horror, there is something for everyone. We've summoned some of the top Zompoc authors, masters in horror, and even some new talent to strike fear into even the most jaded soul. Dare you look, let alone approach, the dreaded gates? 

Each skillfully crafted vignette showcases previously created worlds in the individual author’s works. If you've ever yearned for more back story or ached to learn what happened to a peripheral character; your wait is over. But, as they say, “Be careful what you wish for”. Once it has been seen, you cannot go back. And once infected; there is no cure. 

This collaboration is in honor of the brave men and women in our Armed Services who willingly lay down their lives for our freedom. Words could not possibly express our undying gratitude, so we have banded together, doing what we do best, to show our appreciation. All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to serve wounded soldiers and their families. This is for you, those who have truly been…At Hell’s Gates.

For more information on this release, future anthologies in the At Hell's Gates series, and how to get involved with the project,

For more information on The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund,

Here is Kozeniewski's contribution: 

Exploding Shit Zombies by Stephen Kozeniewski
In the space of a 24-hour period, Stephen Kozeniewski was once asked: "Can zombies poop?," "Would you survive your own zompocalypse?," and "Would you be willing to reinvent the zombie yet again?" In answer to all three he is proud to present EXPLODING SHIT ZOMBIES, a story which delivers exactly what it says on the tin. Outlining the fate of the residents of Kozeniewski's current home Harrisburg, PA, this story expands the universe of his magnum opus, THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO.

And below are descriptions of the other sixteen authors.

Black Crow Laughing by Devan Sagliani
Tyler, a high school student living with his family in Pasadena, risks his life during the zombie apocalypse to find and rescue his girlfriend Emily. Stuck together in a small wooden shack behind her parents house they wait for the right moment to make a break away from the hungry hordes pressing in and threatening to tear them to pieces at any moment.

Black Crow Laughing is set in the Undead L.A. universe. 

No Shelter by Lesa Kinney Anders and Matthew Kinney
A charity mission at a homeless shelter soon becomes a nightmare as the dead begin to walk in Lansing, Michigan. A group of bikers led by an aging Vietnam vet makes a stand as the plague spreads and the reanimated dead fight to get inside. The carnage that ensues rocks the foundation of the group’s beliefs, and they begin to question their purpose in the world.

Ollie Ollie Oxen Free by Shana Festa
After dismissing shocking news coverage as marketing for Southwest Florida’s upcoming Zombie-Con, Ollie Laurence wakes to discover she was wrong – dead wrong. The newly risen undead are knocking at her door.

In what has been the most-asked question from fans of the Time of Death series, Ollie Ollie Oxen Free will unlock the mystery of Ollie’s fate. Will she survive the outbreak? Or will she fall victim to the hordes, only to rise again?

Nefarious by Stevie Kopas
Moira Eckhart has lost everything, including her mind. Nefarious tells the story of the unraveling of a trophy wife thrust into the zombie apocalypse, a mother with an undying love for her children, and how she will do anything to ensure those children remain cared for, despite the apocalypse unfolding beyond her mansion walls. Remember: The end of the world is not glamorous, even for the glamorous Moira Eckhart.

Set in the world of The Breadwinner Trilogy by Stevie Kopas, this short story gives the reader a harrowing glimpse into the unraveling moments of Book One’s most detestable character. “I chose the world of The Breadwinner and the character of Moira, simply because she has one of the smallest parts in the book and still left one of the biggest marks on my readers. I wanted to give them more. I wanted to deliver them the moment during the zombie apocalypse where Moira officially crosses the point of no return.” Says Kopas, of Nefarious.

Home Defense by James Crawford
Frank and Shawn are characters from my Blood Soaked series, available on all e-pub formats. The Blood Soaked novels follow the gruesome, raunchy, comedic, and touching moments of his community as they cope with life beyond the appearance of zombies.

This short story takes place well before the events in my first novel, Blood Soaked and Contagious, available on all e-pub formats, and Audible. Frank has only been a member of the survivor’s community for a month or so, but is quickly gaining their trust, and making friends.

Stories from the Apocalypse by J. Rudolph
These entries are an example of how Cali viewed surviving life following the end of the world, and how she continued to try to hold on to the human side of her even though humanity was dying out. The Reanimates, the series that focuses on Cali's story, will be released by Permuted Press in 2016.

Journal of the Undead: The Beginning by S.G. Lee
Decades prior to the uprising in Littleville and the outbreak in New York, Dr. George E. Mitchell wrote, Journal of the Undead: A Survivor’s Guide. Before he was able to write his guide, he had to live it.

Princess and the Flea by Paul Mannering
In the world of Tankbread, where intelligent zombies have ruled for 200 years, a stranger from a distant land arrives on an isolated farm and finds a shocking secret.

Hour of the Beast by Joe Martin
This tale explores estrangement, betrayal, loss, and isolation, all from the perspective of a young wife heavy with child, whose world crumbles as she makes dark discoveries about a husband haunted by his misdeeds.

The Err Apparent by Tim Marquitz
Sent to investigate a satanic cult blamed for a spate of brutal murders, Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg finds nothing is what it seems. A supernatural creature has been set loose in the woods of Ruidoso, and it won’t stop until the last of its prey is dead. Unfortunately for Frank, he’s been added to the list of victims.

Cracked by Rachel Aukes
As the world succumbs to insatiable zombies, the remnants of the U.S. military forces switch gears from stopping the spread of infection to eradicating infected zones. A National Guard platoon, led by Captain Tyler "Maz" Masden, is trapped in Des Moines and has ninety minutes to escape the city before the Air Force rains H6 hellfire upon their heads. 

Undead Britain (Surviving The Evacuation) by Frank Tayell
One by one nations fell. In Britain, the press was nationalised and broadcast the message; ‘There are no reported outbreaks in the UK’. Martial law, rationing and curfews were implemented. It was not enough. The inland cities of Britain were to be evacuated to the more defensible, and more easily supplied coast.

Charlotte and Trevor decided not to take their children on the evacuation. They thought they would be safe. When their food runs out they are forced to scavenge for scraps left behind after weeks of rationing, they find out how wrong they were. The Emergency Broadcast lied. Zombies stalk the streets of Britain. Nowhere is safe from the undead.

The Weight of Darkness by Sean T. Smith
Set in the smashed world of the WRATH Trilogy, this story belongs to Sonja Larson, a battle hardened soldier fighting to survive one night and one day in the Vatican while THE WEIGHT OF DARKNESS crushes in.

Seth by Jacqueline Druga
When a mysterious stranger appears at a coffee shop, Psychic Jena believes she she merely helping out a man in need. There is more than meets the eye and the deeper she digs, the darker things get.

Fertile Land by Jacqueline Druga
On the other side of the yellow zone, lies a forbidden world that was at one time peaceful. Until the giants took over. Now a young warrior, his tribe starving, must brave the dangerous world of Nam to find fertile land for his tribe.

The Wife by Jacqueline Druga
Mariam was fed up. Her perfect life just wasn't perfect for her. And with years of pent up frustration, she reclaims her life.

Welcome to Hell by Sharon Stevenson
It’s Halloween and twin demon trackers Shaun & Sarah Gallows are sent to take care of a vampire problem in White Oaks. It’s a busy Friday night and Shaun would rather be sleeping, but there’s no rest for the wicked when Sarah’s in charge. 

This story is set before the first novel in my Gallows modern fantasy series and follows the twins on their first job after Shaun’s near fatal encounter with a vicious pack of wolves. I wanted to write it as an introduction to the characters for those who haven’t met them and as a little extra adventure for those who have.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

REVIEW: Billy and the Cloneasaurus / Stephen Kozeniewski

Halloween is just around the corner, and in anticipation, I'm dedicating this week to horror writer Stephen Kozeniewski, writer of creepy chills and gruesome thrills. Part 3 is my review of Billy and the Cloneasaurus, a dark, dystopian satire about capitalism.

TITLE: Billy and the Cloneasaurus
AUTHOR: Stephen Kozeniewski
PUBLISHER: Severed Press

Science Fiction - Dystopia/Satire


Billy and the Cloneasaurus takes science fiction back to its satirical roots. Much in the vein of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451, the story uses a richly imagined futuristic world to hold a mirror up to today's world. The parallels are not hard to see - William clones are created for the sole purpose of becoming contented consumers controlled by The Corporation. The titular character, officially known as William-790, is an office drone whose sole purpose in life is to be a good little worker ... Just as Corporate America would want its employees to be.

That is, until one day, an accident leads him to form independent thoughts.

And that's where the story really starts moving. Billy finally leaves the confines of his captalist dystopia and discovers a whole new world. Or should we say, a Brave New World? This book reminded me a lot of Huxley's classic sci-fi novel, but with more black humor (and a more straightforward storyline!). The narrative is told in a tongue-in-cheek third person with Kozeniewski's signature wit. The juxtaposition of this society's horrors and a glib attitude give the story a darkly comedic ring.

A satirical criticism of capitalist greed set against a disturbing dystopian future, Billy and the Cloneasaurus is a witty and intelligently written novel with echoes of the sci-fi Grand Masters.

Stephen Kozeniewski (pronounced "causin' ooze key") lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor's degree is in German.

He is also the author of Braineater Jones and The Ghoul Archipelago

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

REVIEW: The Ghoul Archipelago / Stephen Kozeniewski

Halloween is just around the corner, and in anticipation, I'm dedicating this week to horror writer Stephen Kozeniewski, writer of creepy chills and gruesome thrills. Part 2 of the series is a review of The Ghoul Archipelago, the zombie-ridden tale of a society in ruins. 

TITLE: The Ghoul Archipelago
AUTHOR: Stephen Kozeniewski
PUBLISHER: Severed Press
AVAILABILITY: Amazon (Kindle e-book), Amazon (paperback)

Horror - Post-apocalyptic

Once upon a time, there was a planet called Earth. Then, for some reason, the dead started rising again, becoming vicious, flesh-eating ghouls. Zombies. Walking dead.

Reactions range from "Hallelujah, the Second Coming of Jesus is nigh!" to "Whatever, how can I turn a profit?"And, of course, there's "Holy f***, there are ravenous corpses everywhere!"

The first of these comes from Reverend Sonntag, a religious zealot who sees the zombie apocalypse as a Biblical event. The second from Rand Bergeron, a businessman who made his fortune selling machines that whisk users into virtual reality sex dreams. And the third from pretty much everyone else.

The Ghoul Archipelago follows the mad power struggle between Sonntag, Rand, and a lunatic politician (not that Sonntag and Rand aren't lunatics as well). Caught up in all this is Captain Henk "Howling Mad" Martigan and his scrappy freighter crew. Sailing through the South Pacific, Martigan and company combat pirates, ghouls, and each other in an effort to survive.

If the above plot description sounds a bit windy, that's because the book itself is anything but another straightforward "oh no, the dead are rising" zombie novel. At first glance, it's a tale of horror that delights in shocking its audience. Look past the worm-filled eye sockets and limb-tearing scenes, and you'll see a clever sci-fi political satire.

Now, admittedly, doing so is very, very hard, especially if you're squeamish like me. I know the author (full disclosure: Kozeniewski's Braineater Jones is published by Red Adept, who's also my publisher for the Jane Colt novels), and as I was reading Ghoul, I found myself regularly Facebook messaging him to let him know just how traumatized I was. If Professor X were to listen to my thoughts as I was reading, he would have heard something like this:

"AAAAAAHHHH!!! Why, Steve, why? That's gross! Okay... just breathe... moving on... okay, that's kind of cool... WHAT THE HELL?! Steve, what's wrong with you?! *inhales* It's just a book it's just a book it's just a book... HOLY $#@*!!! Did that really just happen? There's an image I'll never get out of my head... Hey, that's interesting... whoa, WHAT! I need a drink..."

The definition of "horror" is to, well, horrify people, and Kozeniewski has a special knack for that, it seems. Just when you think you've seen it all, he thrusts another scream-inducing, lunch-losing piece of madness in your face. After I post this, I'm going to message Steve again, this time asking what I did to deserve this trauma. Steve, whatever I did, I'm sorry!

Moving on from all that...

If the fabric of Ghoul is a worm-eaten, bloodstained black sheath, Kozeniewski's unique, tongue-in-cheek writing style is the glitter sprinkled across it. Even the most violent scenes of horror aren't without their witty quips and snappy comebacks. And he bestows each of the book's many characters with sharp dialogue that rings true. This book really comes to life on the page, which could be why I required hours of cat therapy after reading it...

Ghoul is not for the faint of heart, but if you enjoy the dark and twisted, then I recommend you give this book a try. 

Stephen Kozeniewski lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. He was born to the soothing strains of “Boogie With Stu” even though The Who are far superior to Zep, for reasons that he doesn’t even really want to get into right now.

During his time as a Field Artillery officer he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where, due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. The depiction of addiction in his fiction is strongly informed by the three years he spent working at a substance abuse clinic, an experience which also ensures that he employs strict moderation when enjoying the occasional highball of Old Crow. 
He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s is in German.

Monday, October 20, 2014

REVIEW: Braineater Jones / Stephen Kozeniewski

Halloween is just around the corner, and in anticipation, I'm dedicating this week to horror writer Stephen Kozeniewski, writer of creepy chills and gruesome thrills. The first part in the series is my review of Braineater Jones, Kozeniewski's debut novel, which is currently being adapted into a cartoon series.

TITLE: Braineater Jones
AUTHOR: Stephen Kozeniewski
PUBLISHER: Red Adept Publishing
AVAILABILITY: Amazon (Kindle), Amazon (paperback), Audible (audiobook), and other online retailers

Horror - Noir/Mystery


Full disclosure: Red Adept Publishing, which published Braineater Jones, is also my publisher for the Jane Colt series, and I know Steve personally. The below represent my honest opinions. Man, I hate writing disclosures.

Okay, now that I've gotten that over and done with, let's get on with this review, which I've been meaning to post since the book came out in October 2013 (sorry, Steve!).

Imagine waking up with amnesia – with no clue as to who you are, where you came from, or what the hell you're doing in some rich guy's pool. Now, imagine realizing you're actually dead… well, undead. A zombie. You'd have a hellova lot of questions.

This is what happens to the titular character in Stephen Kozeniewski's novel, Braineater Jones, which follows the investigations of a man – well, zombie man – trying to figure out what the devil happened to him. Who is he? Who killed him? And why? Not knowing even his own name, he adopts the moniker "Braineater Jones" even though in this world, "Braineater" is a derogatory term for zombies.

Let me elaborate on the world a bit, because it merits a bit of explaining. Kozeniewski's story takes place in a gritty 1930s American city, though which one is unspecified. The setting is a nod to film noir, inspired by old black-and-white Humphrey Bogart movies. Prohibition is in full effect, and fedoras are in fashion. In a paranormal twist, this city is also the home of zombies. No one knows exactly how these zombies come into being – dead people just kind of wake up and start wandering around. However, their sentience is dependent on alcohol. Without booze, the zombies become mindless monsters who attack living humans – hence "braineater." And so the zombie community congregates in an underground speakeasy, run by a mysterious master.

Braineater Jones is written in a cynical, tongue-in-cheek voice with ample use of exaggeration and sarcasm. The whole story is very pulpy, and the author himself has said that it's not meant to be taken too seriously. It's pure entertainment, full of humor, plot turns, and gory zombie horror. Because zombies are at the center of the story, the book falls into the "Horror" category. But it's not Stephen King-style suspense horror. The horror elements – bloody severed body parts and the like – are meant to shock and disgust rather than to scare.

All in all, Braineater Jones is a fun and well-crafted bit of pulp fiction. Its goal is to entertain, and in that, it certainly succeeds. The mystery of who Braineater Jones is and how he ended up dead keeps the story moving, and between that and its concise structure, it's a very quick read.

Stephen Kozeniewski lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. He was born to the soothing strains of “Boogie With Stu” even though The Who are far superior to Zep, for reasons that he doesn’t even really want to get into right now.

During his time as a Field Artillery officer he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where, due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. The depiction of addiction in his fiction is strongly informed by the three years he spent working at a substance abuse clinic, an experience which also ensures that he employs strict moderation when enjoying the occasional highball of Old Crow. 

He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s is in German.

Click here to watch the Zigzag Timeline video interview with Stephen Kozeniewski

Friday, October 17, 2014

REVIEW: Stone & Silt / Harvey Chute

As part of Red Adept Publishing's Young at Heart blog tour, I'm reposting my review of Stone & Silt, an excellent historical fiction mystery rich with culture.

TITLE: Stone & Silt
AUTHOR: Harvey Chute
PUBLISHER: Red Adept Publishing
AVAILABILITY: Amazon (Kindle e-book), Amazon (paperback), Amazon (Audible audiobook), Barnes & Noble (paperback), and more

Historical Fiction - Young Adult/Children's

This book falls into either the Young Adult or Children's (including Middle Grade) category depending on your definitions. The protagonist, Nikaia, is 16 and dealing with her first love, which puts it into YA by the classic definition. However, knowing that the YA definition has narrowed lately to include only the edgy, cynical, not-safe-for-children books, I am confident in saying that this is one that crosses the divide. It is 100% G-rated (no sex, very mild adventure-style violence, no bad words, unless you count "half-breed") and absolutely appropriate for young children.

I know I'm technically not allowed to rate or OFFICIALLY review this book, since Harvey and I share a publisher (Red Adept Publishing, who published my sci-fi series) and house rules say no, but can I please please please gush for a moment? Pleeeeeeease? I'd doing it with full disclosure! Okay, just in case, here are a few more disclosures: Harvey and I are both published by Red Adept Publishing. However, Red Adept Publishing did not ask me to read or review this book. I bought this book on with my own cash monies because I felt like it and read it on my own volition because it seemed like just my kind of book. Neither Red Adept Publishing nor Harvey asked me to review this book or say nice things about it. I swear I swear I swear. All opinions below are my own, and I may get in trouble with one of my bosses (Red Adept Publishing) for writing this, but... I must! Because this book is sooooooo good!!!

Let me start by saying that I was a total Frontier Girl growing up. Like, an American history NUT. I was so into 1800s frontier-type stories, I asked my mother to make me a Laura Ingalls costume when I was a kid and didn't relent until she gave in. I still have that dress, although sadly, it doesn't fit me anymore. I was also a total sucker for Mark Twain's tales of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and on top of that, I was really into Native American history. I watched Pocahontas more times than I can count (all the while knowing the historic inaccuracies, privately detailing them in my diary, and analyzing which ones were okay for the stories and which ones were just Disney laziness). I own native Alaskan art.

So for me, Harvey Chute's STONE & SILT totally hit the spot. It's the story of a young girl living in 1860s British Columbia. AND, she happens to be biracial - half white, half Caucasian. Which, of course, makes her the victim of cruel discrimination. On top of that, she has a major crush on Yee Sim, the nice Chinese boy next door, who has his own worries, being of a much discriminated-against immigrant culture. As a person of Chinese descent myself, I find it wonderfully refreshing to see the Chinese immigration in the 1800s ACTUALLY ADDRESSED. With a REAL LIVE CHARACTER. Because as much as I loved frontier stories, it always bugged me that "Chinamen" were relegated to background roles. And WHAT! A Chinese boy actually gets to be the ROMANTIC LEAD?!?!?! I was totally grinning ear to ear. For real.

On top of its diversity cred (Nikaia's native heritage is explored at length through her mother's family and through rituals/traditions), STONE & SILT is also a fantastically written peek into the past. Perfect for young readers looking to explore American (and when I say American, I mean the whole continent of North America) history. Depictions of 1800s life are gorgeously detailed, and yet the tone is innocent enough to be appropriate for kids of all ages. The heavy theme of racism is explored, and it's handled very well, in a manner appropriate for children and middle schoolers (it reminded me of how slavery was addressed in the American Girl books about Addy, another childhood favorite of mine). 

And then there's the plot. It's a classic whodunit that keeps the reader wondering and the pages turning, especially in the last quarter or so of the book (where there's some fantastic action... and I'm saying that as an action/adventure buff here). The mystery of who stole the gold and murdered the man takes a bit of time to really get moving, and I personally think it's only half the point of the book. The book is really about life in another era, historic traditions, and young love.

I would heartily recommend this book to fans of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (Little House on the Prairie and its sequels), as well as fans of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer. And anyone interested in American history. Especially if they have kids, but even if they don't. Because I don't, and this book made me feel like a delighted little girl again, reading about the curious lives of the people who were here all those years and years before me.

Harvey Chute grew up in the Fraser Canyon village of Lytton, British Columbia – a town rich in native culture and colonial gold rush history.
In his high school and university years, Harvey spent his summers guiding whitewater raft trips on the Thompson and Fraser rivers.
He works as a program manager for an Information Technology consulting firm. Harvey also created the web’s largest independent Kindle user forum,, which is popular with both readers and authors.
Harvey lives in Bellingham, Washington, with his wife, three daughters, a lovable golden retriever, and a stern cat. He enjoys walking mountain trails, learning blues guitar, and being surrounded by great books.
Harvey’s previously published works include five technical guides in the “For Dummies” series by Wiley Inc.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Release Day: Glass House StoryTime Fall 2014

Release day is here for my second novella, Tell Me My Name! So excited! This one was really new territory for me, since not only is it full-blown high fantasy, which requires a slightly different writing style from the scrappy sci-fi/dystopia I'm used to, but it's also a departure from the action-packed plots I usually write. Can't wait to hear what everyone thinks of it!

Details below in the official release:

StoryTime is a tri-annual event created by Glass House Press.  All proceeds from the StoryTime events will be donated to SDDAS Spirit Fund, a nonprofit society dedicated to giving homeless animals the medical care they need. For more information, visit their website at

In Mary Fan’s second novella from Glass House Press, a teen girl wakes up in an icy cell, alone and frightened. She has no memory of who she is or how she came to be there.

She does know that she must get out, at all costs. And that escape must start with remembering the simple things – her own name. Her place of origin. Her possible powers.

When a group of dark magicians reveal themselves to be her captors, she finds herself in the clutches of those who will stop at nothing to uncover the secrets locked within her lost memories. With her life fading under their merciless spells, the need to escape becomes dire.

But can she get out when she doesn’t even know who she is? Can she count on one unlikely ally for help? Or is it already too late for her, a girl without a name?

Tell Me My Name introduces the main characters in Mary’s new fantasy series, Fated Stars, with the first book, Windborn, due in late 2015.

Purchase on Amazon:

About Mary Fan

Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil. Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil follows a well-received debut novel, a space opera titled Artificial Absolutes (2013), and is the first in the Flynn Nightsider series. Mary would like to think that there are many other novels in her bag, and hopes to prove that to the world as well.

Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.

Website    Facebook    Twitter  

Telepaths, torture, mindwipes ... the Institute has it all, and they use each of their brainwashed children as weapons, the way they see fit. To control society, repress its people. To make certain that they stay in power, no matter the cost. Serena’s baby brother Damon is one of those children, and these days he’s so altered that he doesn’t even recognize her.

When it comes to getting Damon away from those who kidnapped him, there's nothing Serena won't do. Even if she has to kill him to save him. First, though, she must prove to her father that she has what it takes to be a soldier against the insidious threat of the Institute. Her first mission has to be perfect.

But with inaccurate intelligence, unexpected storms, and Gav Belias, people’s hero of the Watch, on the prowl, will she even survive? If she doesn't succeed, they'll never let her go after her brother.

And that would be unthinkable, when it was her fault that he was taken in the first place.

Slam is Tash McAdam’s first work with Glass House Press, and serves as a prequel to her series The Psionics, with the first book, Maelstrom, due in 2015.

Purchase on Amazon:

About Tash McAdam

Tash McAdam’s first writing experience (a collaborative effort) came at the age of eight, and included passing floppy discs back and forth with a best friend at swimming lessons. Since then, Tash has spent time falling in streams, out of trees, learning to juggle, dreaming about zombies, dancing, painting, learning Karate, becoming a punk rock pianist, and of course, writing.

Tash is a teacher in real life, but dreams of being a full-time writer, and living a life of never-ending travel. Though born in the hilly sheepland of Wales, Tash has lived in South Korea and Chile and now calls Vancouver, Canada home.
Maelstrom, the first book in The Psionics, is Tash’s first published work. Visit the website or facebook for news, gossip, and random tidbits about Tash’s adventures.

Monday, October 13, 2014

I have an agent!

The paperwork is signed, so now it's official: I have an agent! Lana Popovic of Chalberg & Sussman... Can't wait to work with her on my YA sci-fi romance, Butterfly Dome! This is a project I started writing about a year and a half ago, and that has been in various stages of revisions and whatnot ever since.

Alrighty, I came on here to spill the details, but honestly, there aren't many! I wrote Butterfly in an unexpected frenzy last spring... and when I say frenzy, I mean broke-my-brain-from-writing-too-much (it was nuts). After that, I let it sit to give my brain a break, and then I got wrapped up in other projects, so it sat some more. Which was actually a good thing, because I came back with fresh eyes a few months later and cleaned up the writing with no mercy.

My constant state of being

I must admit, I was terrified at the prospect of querying because I know it means facing lots and lots of rejections, which isn't easy to take. But hey, you only need one!

So I settled down to craft a query letter. And I spent weeks on those damn 200 or so words. WEEKS. I pestered everyone who would listen to read it over, and even when they insisted it was fine, I refused to believe them and reworked it again. And again. And again.


Finally, I got it to a satisfactory state and started researching agents, writing down the names of those who rep'd YA sci-fi/fantasy. I must've read dozens of agent bios. In the end, I wound up with a list of thirty-six who might be a good fit. Then, I emailed out my queries and any additional requested materials (sample pages or synopses) and prayed.

I pray to my dear and fluffy Lord that someone will like this...

The first round of rejections came fast and furious, and, as expected, that hurt. 

But I worked so hard!!!

Then, Lana emailed saying she'd be interested in the manuscript, and I got all bouncy. And nervous. What if she hated it? So much worry!

Off it went, and I crossed my fingers and tried to focus on other things to keep from freaking out. Then, she emailed me back. I refused to open the email at first, because I was terrified that it would be a "no." For about an hour, I just stared at the unread message. Finally, I realized how ridiculous I was being and opened it.

Then came the scream heard across Facebook, because she loved it! I had to read the email about five times to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. And then it took me about five tries to write back and set up a call, since I was too busy grinning to type properly.

Happy dance!!!
The call basically confirmed everything I was hoping for. Lana was totally awesome, and I was ready to sign the agency contract right there and then. But, being a stickler for process (I'm a project manager by day), I asked for the customary week to check up on references and do my homework (and by that, I mean online stalk the heck out of the agency, mostly via Publisher's Marketplace). And to read over the agency agreement I'd be signing. In addition, I needed to give a head's up to a handful of outstanding queries, as per query etiquette (I had two partials out, and a few agencies specifically requested in their submission guidelines that you inform them if you have an offer if they haven't responded to you yet).

After what must have been the longest week of my life, I wrote Lana to say that I would love to work with her, and she sent over the paperwork. And now it's all signed and official, and I cannot cannot wait to get started!