Breaking up with my publisher, and getting back on track

I did it. Sanity Vacuum’s rights have reverted to me, after the expiration of my publishing contract. This is alright with me, for a number of reasons.


  1. I like the control of being indie. The Zombie Bedtime Stories have always been self-published. It’s crazy fun, I love the independence and the fact that I’m the one who gets the final say. I say when it’s done, when it’s good enough, and when another human being can read it.
  2. Publishing with a publisher makes sense for some people. However, I have a good job and can front the production and marketing costs of a book.
  3. Vision. I have a very clear idea of where my stories are going, and what elements I will include or exclude. I seldom (never) appreciate input that I don’t ask for in the creation process.

To me, these are all very good reasons. The final severing still felt like a bit of a breakup. I knew it was what I wanted (okay, needed), but the transition from “published” to “formerly published” was still there. I got over it in a day, though. My internal monologue told me to get over it and get back to work. Very helpful, isn’t it? Still got my street cred, for however long that’s meaningful for.

So, what does this mean for The ABACUS Protocol?

I’m re-releasing Sanity Vacuum, hopefully by mid-November. I’m giving it a final pass now that the remastering project is finally finished. There are a few things I wanted to polish up. A bit more universe detail, and improving the overall descriptiveness of the text are on the agenda. There’s also an amazing new cover, but I’m not quite ready to show it to the world just yet.

It’s going to be Sanity Vacuum, the way it was intended to be. Next up will be The Pandora Machine. It’s all written, I just need to clean it up before sending it to an editor.

But, I need your help. I’m having a blog tour in November, and I really need hosts! Please consider signing up to be a host with this nifty form I made.

Want to know when the re-release is? Members of my mailing list always get it first! (Spoilers: be on the lookout for a print version of the Zombie Bedtime Stories! Coming by popular demand.)

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.

Making the most of limited time

Time has been a major constraint for me in the production department. I either have too much (thanks, lame-ass long commute with standing room only, I love my Kindle) or not enough (thanks, day job. I’m not going to speak ill of the soon-to-be-departed, though.)

Flagging sales and a backlog of completed rough drafts have spurred me into action. I must act now, or lose myself in the purgatory of eternal editing and languishing in square one. It dawned on me today–I spend too much time mired in trivial day-to-day bullshit. My job’s a temp job, it should cease to exist for me the moment I walk out the door. I don’t have any kids and it’s not like I am the most social person to have ever lived. I can squeeze my days for a little more.

With that in mind, I’m setting the following goals for the rest of September:

  1. Weeknights: Edit 1 chapter. (For me, a chapter is 2000-4000 words.)
  2. Weeknights: Write a blog post, a review, or edit another chapter. Otherwise, get more involved with outside writerly-world-thing-community that apparently exists out there.
  3. Weekends: Edit 1-2 chapters.
  4. Weekends: Write 1500+ words/day. (I can do this in about 60-90 minutes.)

It’s amazingly simple. With these goals, I can finish the first edit of Bedlam by October. As well, the first draft of The Pandora Machine should be completed.

If there’s one thing taking more calculus classes than I will admit to publicly helped me, it’s the understanding that with effort, my limits go straight to infinity. Without effort, zero is the best I can hope for.

What kind of goals do you set? Word count, chapter edits, or do you choose another way to gauge success?

Buccaneer Blogfest: Read the first paragraphs of my WIPs


Hi everyone! It’s that time of week again, which means it’s another post for the awesome Buccaneer blogfest. I’ve met so many cool people, it’s been an amazing experience so far. Now, it’s time to move into week two, and the prompt for today happens to include paragraphs. Fortunately, these paragraphs don’t involve a great deal of pointless rambling for me, but rather, are the first paragraphs of my works in progress, Sanity Vacuum and Bedlam (Zombie Bedtime Stories #4.)

First, I give you the first paragraph of Sanity Vacuum, my upcoming novel to be published by CQ. I just got my edits back, and I’m super stoked.


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 above ground and unshielded. 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.

Now, here come the zombies. Let’s hear it for Samantha Henderson, the hero of Bedlam. It’s pre-edit, and not yet polished.

“I want my Mommy,” the girl clinging to Corporal Samantha Henderson’s hand choked back sobs, and looked up at her. She couldn’t be more than seven, and her pale blue eyes were bloodshot and brimming with tears. Samantha had been part of a squad assigned to evacuate this large inner city elementary school. She didn’t know if they were going to make it, but Samantha was determined to do her duty and get as many kids out as possible. The school was a decaying, squalid building—a leftover relic of the baby boom nearly a century before. Now, it was underfunded and in a state of disrepair Samantha found shocking. The grey hallway dragged on ahead of them, only punctuated by the closed classroom doors and children’s art projects. She enjoyed the sound of her boots on the cold granite floor. The powerful echoes gave her the illusion of power and control, when in reality her stomach gnawed around the chill of uncertainty.


I wish you the best of weeks, and to continue hopping, just click on the banner above.

Sanity Vacuum is getting published!

I’m going to kick off a renewed frenzy of activity here, with some very cool news:

My novel, Sanity Vacuum, won the Curiosity Quills Nano-virtuoso contest a few months ago, scoring a publishing contract. That’s old news. The new news, is that it’s signed and I’m waiting to get my edits back.

For your reading pleasure, here’s the press release. I’m part of the 2012-2013 new fiction lineup.

Also cool after note: I started writing a sequel, because I have to know what happens! Technically, I already do know what happens, but, my characters don’t torture themselves. (Speaking of which, Bedlam needs my attention, I have yet another character who desperately needs a good breaking.)

Things are changing, but staying the same

In short, I’m finally well enough to return to work, and I started a temp job today. It’s for a few months, and I expect that my social media activities will be highly curtailed as I’m not allowed to have my phone while I’m on the floor. My video reviews will slow down, but not stop. In order to meet my other obligations, I can only read while on public transit for about 30 minutes per day.

I’m managing to keep up with #wip500, and even get in some extra as I can manage it. Right now, Bedlam is about 11000 words long, and I’m only about half-way through the story. It’s going to be the longest Zombie Bedtime Story yet! I’m hoping to have the first draft ready late this month, as I anticipate that its final length will be between 20 and 25k words.

I have some very exciting news coming up, but I’m keeping a lid on that for the moment. Let’s just say that I am very, very happy, which means you should be happy, too!

The Zombie Bedtime Stories blog tour marches on!

We’re about halfway through the month. There are plenty more interviews and guest blog posts coming up. I’m very excited about them all, of course. I have to be! Here’s the quick run-down of my latest guest blog adventures:

Last weekend, I outlined my Quest for a Crochet Zombie on SM. Robertson’s blog. She and I talk about crochet, rescuing birds, writing and all other good things on Twitter, so I was so happy when she offered to host me.

Today, a post called Zombies In Disguise came out on Mercurial Musings. It’s kind of funny, I expand on the “ha ha, mall patrons are zombies” logic. To make us all zombies.

This weekend, I have a packed itinerary. It’s going to be great.


Guest Post: Nobody Expects The Zombie Inquisition

I’d like to introduce you to a new writer friend I’ve made. His name is John, and he’s a lawyer, but he’s a nice lawyer! (Stop being prejudiced!) I’m presently in the middle of reading his legal thriller, Atticus for the Undead, and while it’s the first legal thriller I’ve ever read, it’s opened my eyes to the genre. It also has zombies in it, which helps. Stay tuned for my video review.

Now, I’ll turn you over to John. Hi hi to John, audience!


Hi. I’m John Abramowitz.

If you haven’t heard of me, I’m not surprised. I’m a relatively new indie author, and I’m
trying to build On The Bird Publishing from the ground up. Thea kindly offered me this space on
her blog to help spread the word about my brand. (Don’t worry, I promise not to track too much
mud on your carpets!)

When I sat down to write this, I struggled with the question of what I could say. I could
tell you that I’m a long, tall Texan (over six-and-a-half feet, in fact), that I’m a lawyer in the day
job, or that I use way too many parentheses (as you’re already discovering), but none of those
really tell you what I’m about as a writer.

So let me start by telling you what I’m not about — or rather, what I don’t want to do. I
don’t want to write great literature. I have absolutely no interest in that. Mark Twain once said
that “A classic is a book which people praise and don’t read.” He understood that, too
often, “classic” is a synonym for “boring”. And if there’s one thing I never want to be, it’s boring.

Sure, don’t get me wrong — there are issues I have strong feelings about. I have things to
say. But I think you should always make your social commentary in the context of telling a good
story. I would rather read an entertaining, emotionally engaging story that had nothing
whatsoever to say about the human condition than read a book chock full of social commentary
which had no blood going through it.

(Actually, “no blood going through it” may be the wrong phrase to use for a guy who
currently writes paranormal and urban fantasy thrillers, come to think of it. I guess you’ll have to
read Weaver and Atticus for the Undead and find out for yourself if there’s blood in them. I can’t
spoil — that would be mean!)

If you like books that are enjoyable first and meaningful second, then welcome to On The Bird.

2012: Year of the Zombie

Welcome to 2012, my fellow time-traveling friends. Yes, we’re all traveling in the mundane direction of our collective proper time, but it’s still time travel in a sense.

2012 means all kinds of great things over at Zombie Bedtime Stories and Sanity Vacuum central. Late 2011 was a difficult period in my life, and I expect early 2012 to follow suit. For those not in the know, I fell ill with pneumonia in late October. This caused my to tear a ligament in my chest, a painful and surprisingly debilitating injury. I have been in a state of near-bedrest and very low mobility ever since. It did, however, propel me into the realm of writing full-time, as there was precious little else I could do, and I’m not the type to feel sorry for myself in bed. In November, through the haze of painkillers and pneumonia-induced confusion, I wrote Sanity Vacuum, my first novel.

In December, I released Deadlocked, and I experienced a pleasing (and startling) spike in sales. As I am still not strong enough to return to work (a 15 minute walk outside laid me up for two days earlier this week), I am going to focus my energies in early 2012 to the following:

  1. I am going to do a lot more guest posts, and many more book reviews to increase my visibility.
  2. I am going to write at least 500 words/day towards new Zombie Bedtime Stories, as part of #WIP500. Conceivably, I could complete the entire series rough drafts during this year, assuming average length as under 15k.
  3. Complete my first draft edits of Sanity Vacuum. There’s a lot to do here (see: written on painkillers, kind of disjointed), and it’s vastly different from editing a Zombie Bedtime Story for reasons related to length and continuity. I absolutely love the story and concept of it, which is why I’m putting so much effort into saving it. Tough love style.

In essence, these goals closely mirror my plan for the rest of the year. Eventually, I won’t have a novel to edit and hopefully by that time I’ll be able to look at getting employment that’s more gainful than my Kindle sales. 500 words per day is easily attainable, I’ve had days where I can finely craft that much prose in 15 minutes.

I’m thinking of goals for Sanity Vacuum. I’m going by chapters/day for edits–I try to get 2/3 chapters per day inked up and inputted. After this draft, print-off editing is going away because of budget issues. Then, I see other people managing 15k/day in edits, and feel inadequate.

What do your editing goals look like?

Deadlocked is coming soon, and I’ve entered a contest!

I know, I should update more, and with less topics. I hate 100-word updates, what can I say?

I can say with some authority that Deadlocked will be gracing your Internet as of Friday, for your weekend dose of zombies. Trust me, you need zombies every weekend, it’s vitamin Z, and totally not me trying to get you to read my (and other great) stories. Sadly, continuous annoying pneumonia complications keep creating unexpected delays, but I’m 95% certain that I’ll be able to make my latest self-imposed deadline.

As for the contest, I got wind that the fine folks at Curiosity Quills were holding a contest for books written specifically during NaNoWriMo, so I threw my science fiction novel, Sanity Vacuum (link will show the first three pages of my draft), into the pot. I’m currently in fourth place, and I need to stay in the top ten to move on to the next round. Please vote for me, or a number of the other fine contestants, or both!

Coming soon: Deadlocked Chapter 1 sneak peek, and Christmas Blog Hop madness!