I’ve been tagged! – Author tag

I’ve been chosen to participate in the life-or-death game of Author Tag by James Wymore, a fellow CQ author.

What is the working title of your book?

Sanity Vacuum. It’s part one of The ABACUS Protocol. It was the first good name I came up with, and it stuck.
Where did the idea come from for the book?

I used to do psych studies when I was in university. It was an easy $10 or $20 when good food was hard to come by. I was biking there, and the original story idea came to me. It’s morphed a bit, but the general idea is kind of the same.
What genre does your book fall under?

Science fiction.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I honestly have no idea. I don’t pay attention to actors as a rule.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

What is self-awareness, and why does quIRK care?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m being published by Curiosity Quills Press.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

One month. It was part of NaNoWriMo 2011.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m honestly not sure. quIRK could be construed as a bit like Data from Star Trek. A galactic human civilization is a pretty common theme. Like Dune, there are no sentient alien species. I took some inspiration from a made-for-TV movie called Moon, too. (Amazing movie, totally check it out. I love the AI/robot character.)
Who or What inspired you to write this book?

It’s mostly based on my love of science fiction, and my fascination with sentient artificial intelligence. I’ve always wanted to meet one.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I try to explore some deeper things–elements of sentience, intelligence and ethics. How does quIRK evolve from an automation into a self-aware superintelligence? Can the human characters accept him, or will they recoil from the revelation that humanity isn’t the only known form of sentient “life?”

Also, the character Alec. He’s just so outrageous, but he has a heart of gold.


Now, it’s time to tag. I choose… Courtney Worth Young!

It’s that time of year, again: The Coffin Hop!

CLICK THE PIC TO GO TO THE LINK LIST! There are lots of sweet giveaways going on.

Now, for my own fiendish offerings:
Sign up using the Rafflecopter below to win one of five copies of the Zombie Bedtime Stories!

I’m using Rafflecopter (sorry, life is too crazy for a zombie limerick contest this year!) So, go right on over to Rafflecopter to enter!

Cover Reveal: Paradise Earth by Anthony Mathenia

It gives me great pleasure to lend my blog to a great title’s release. I was a proofreader for this story, and it will move you, shake you to the core and sucker punch you in the gut while you’re down. Mark your calendars, it’s coming on December 21!

The book is Paradise Earth by Anthony Mathenia. Now, feast your eyes on the cover, and don’t forget to read the blurb.


When the ground quakes and blazing balls of fire fall from the sky, a religious sect interprets it as the fulfillment of long-held prophecies foretelling the end of the world. The members flee to their religious sanctuary, believing that this global cataclysm is the portent of a new paradise of eternal happiness.

Inside, one cold and starving man struggles to hold onto his hope for the future. He’s sacrificed everything for his faith in the prophecy, including his family. As the tortuous night drags on, he struggles to hold onto his hope for the future and grapples with a lifetime of beliefs, and expectations.  If he survives to see the paradise earth, will it be worth it?

Paradise Earth is a deconstruction of faith at the end of the world and beyond. The first volume of the trilogy, Day Zero, will be published by Curiosity Quills Press on December 21, 2012. Week One and Forever After will follow.

Anthony Mathenia is a novelist and freelance writer. He has a weekly romance serial titled Happiness: How to Find It published on curiosityquills.com and a weekly offbeat travel column on Vagobond.com. Paradise Earth: Day Zero is his debut novel. He was raised in a religious cult and sincerely apologizes for waking you up on Saturday morning in order to recruit you.  www.anthonymathenia.com

Cover Reveal: Sanity Vacuum, my debut novel!

I’m very excited to finally be able to reveal my amazing, beautiful cover to the world! It’s been as though I’ve been hiding a cosmic secret for the past month. Now that I have a release date, I’m going to reveal its beauty to the world.

Release Date: December 6, 2012

Sanity Vacuum Synopsis:

Vivian Skye just finished university, and qualified for her first-choice internship. Not many would consider the distant and isolated Extra-Galactic Observatory cushy, but it’s a dream come true for Vivian. Hailing from the low-tech planet of Aurora, she studied hard for this opportunity—and to leave her old life, and planet behind.

Her assignment is simple: perform a routine upgrade for the station’s supercomputer, quIRK. Her reception isn’t a friendly one, and eccentric quIRK becomes her only friend. However, the station’s administrator, Bryce Zimmer is obsessed with quIRK—he suspects that the station’s computer may have achieved sentience, something explicitly prohibited by the ABACUS Protocol. Compounding their issues, Bryce’s traumatic and privileged past makes him distrust Vivian from the beginning. Desperate to keep control, he sabotages quIRK in order to eliminate Vivian. But, his plan threatens to consume the entire station and send them into the unknown void of intergalactic space.

Vivian must struggle to survive not only Bryce’s megalomania, but also the emerging artificial super intelligence that is quIRK. Can Vivian and quIRK learn to trust each other and work together, before it’s too late?

Sanity Vacuum is book one of The ABACUS Protocol.


Author Bio:

Thea Gregory is a farm girl from English Western Quebec, a total nerd, and she loves science fiction, zombies and physics. Between marathon cooking sessions, her clerktastic day job, and part-time studies, she manages to find time to write. Author of the Zombie Bedtime Stories, her debut sci-fi novel, Sanity Vacuum releases December 6.

Haunted Writing Clinic – The first page!

Hello everyone! So sorry to have not been around as much as I should have been. New job, craziness all around. But I’m here now, and I’m going to show (not tell!) my first page of upcoming novel, Sanity Vacuum. But first, here are some observations about first pages in general:

  • I like to start the story in some action, mixed in with anticipation. It keeps the readers reading, and it keeps me writing.
  • Keep it simple. I establish a main character. Ever been hit with a story that slaps you with multiple characters in the first couple of pages? Or worse, switches POV multiple times. Pick one character and stick with her for a while. She’ll grow on your audience–complexity can come later.
  • Set a scene: descriptions! Show, don’t tell. Give the reader enough detail to paint a beautiful picture in their imagination. Stay away from minutiae. Learn to love body language. Avoid excessive adverbs.
  • Avoid too much jargon. This mostly applies to science fiction and other-universe fantasy. You’ve created a vibrant, beautiful world, we know, that’s what we’re here for! Don’t overload our neurons with it all at once… that leads to overcooked brains. The master chef won’t approve.

Now, I’m going to serve up my own first chapter. I’m doing a cover reveal for this beauty on Friday, so do check back!

Chapter One


The deafening boom of the rocket’s engines filled the air, and Vivian Skye’s lungs. She watched in awe as the spacecraft took flight, climbing into the scintillating green-red glow of Aurora’s chaotic skies.  This was her first visit to the spaceport in the capital city of Antica, Aurora’s only major link to the stars and galaxy beyond. Located close to the planet’s equator, the site was one of the few places on the planet where the electronics required for space flight would work unshielded above ground. Aurora’s star, Helios, was unstable and often experienced geomagnetic storms. While there was little danger to humans in terms of radiation exposure outside the forbidden Polar Regions, most technology would be disabled or damaged beyond repair after leaving the equatorial zone. Aurora had been one of the first worlds colonized by Earth in the early days of space travel—in modern times, it would be passed over as unsuitable for advanced human life.

Vivian swallowed in an effort to center herself, lost in thought. She had never been off-world before. Few Aurorans ever left, preferring a simple life of agriculture and crafts to braving the rigors of deep-space travel and the burgeoning interstellar economy. She gripped the rail as the trail of smoke parted the dancing green and red lights, nerves and stress rattling in her stomach. She didn’t understand her trepidation and fear, because she’d worked her whole life to be able to leave Aurora and travel among the stars. Vivian had studied hard, forsaking friends and a social life for a chance to attend Aurora’s Advanced Technological Institute, the only university on the planet that taught her subject of choice—quantum informatics. Quantum computers fascinated her; she’d read all of the non-classified papers she could find without the benefit of having access to a reading pad, and had collected every book about the ABACUS incident that was available on Aurora. She smiled at the unthinkable reality, that advanced computer intelligence had conquered Earth almost a century ago. So much of humanity relied on ABACUS-type quantum computers that it was impossible to eliminate them, so securing them from being able to become sentient became a renewed focus in quantum informatics.

The Haunted Writing Clinic: Welcome to the Zombie Culinary Institute!

Greetings, minions and fellow super-villains. Please, pull up a chair and have a listen.

The Zombie Culinary Institute is an esteemed and ancient institution, with only one goal in mind: Helping zombies make the most of the apocalypse. Brains and bodies can get boring if only eaten raw, and our mission is to spice up that ennui with some good old fashioned query writing.


If you succeed, a life of the following glory awaits you:

The theme is all zombie, all the time. I am your devoted host, and I’m here to help you perfect your queries before the apocalypse. You don’t want to be eating only raw meat for the rest of eternity, do you?

Now, go forth and watch this space for more handy and totally not undead (I promoise!) query tips and tricks.

Don’t forget to say hello to my fellow villains!

James Wymore – Dark Brain, master of hypnosis, seeking Darkling minions

Court Young – The House of Gaunt (pure bloods only)

Dawna Raver – The Mystical Masters

Gerilyn Marin – The Phantom Court

Thea Gregory – The Zombie Culinary Institute

Mike Robinson – The Mighty Minotaurs of Metaphysics

Krystal Wade – Frankenstein’s Laboratory

The Criminal Masterminds – Visit the Curiosity Quills blog today for an interview with criminal mastermind contest judge, Andrew Buckley.


The Haunted Writing Clinic and Contest


There is nothing SCARIER than rejection, so this Halloween face your fears by entering a spooky writing clinic and contest by Curiosity Quills. Not only will you get help crafting your submission package, you’ll have an opportunity to win a request from Curiosity Quills. And it’s all FREE!

We will have two types of bloggers involved:

Minions: Writers with query ready manuscripts.

All fiction genres are eligible for entry, however manuscripts that fall into our “favored genres” list will be more likely to win requests. Check the submission guidelines for this list.

Super villains: Published and pre-published authors from Curiosity Quills.

So far, I have six authors signed up as super villains and I’ll publish their names when it’s final. Super villains will enlist teams of minions to mentor. Each team will have a spooky name and theme. The super villain whose minions get the most requests will win bragging rights as villain supreme.

Blogfest schedule:

Week of 10/8: Query Week – Super villains will post tips on how to craft a successful query and their own successful queries (if applicable). Minions will post their query and super villains and other minions will stop by and provide critique.

Week of 10/15: First Page Week – Super villains will post tips on writing a great first page and their own successful first page. Minions will post their first pages and super villains and other minions will stop by and provide critique.

Week of 10/22: Mentoring Week – Super villains will pick teams of minions. Super villains will provide personalized critique on their team members’ submission package. Minions from the same team are also encouraged to help and support each other.

10/31 – It’s fright night! Minions ready to face their fears will submit their query and first page to our criminal mastermind judges (three submissions editors from CQ). If they like what they see they’ll make requests and hopefully graduate some minions to super villains.

P.S. If you entered the Wilde’s Fire Editor Judged Contest you ARE eligible to enter this contest too. Your work will be seen by fresh eyes.

Here’s the signup linky! I look forward to a fun-filled October!