All the Broken Things Query

Query V3.5

Mech Corp engineers are recruited young, and they die young.

Scottish-Indian engineer Anna MacFarlane is a 17-year-old, five-foot-nothing whirlwind of a girl. While repairing the military’s unstable war machines, Anna’s attacked by one of the monsters the machines are made to kill: a skeletal cannibal named the Wendigo.

It infects her with a parasite that Mech Corp are very interested in studying. But while Anna’s been using military tech to maintain her badass bionic legs, her mum’s CMT disease is heading rapidly downhill. Anna can’t just abandon her.

She spearheads a mission to hunt the Wendigo down, but instead of allowing her to kill it Mech Corp quarantines it—and Anna too.

With the parasite chewing her down to nothing, Anna has to make a choice: trust Mech Corp needles and scalpels to save her, or turn against the squad she grew up with and become something monstrous herself.

ALL THE BROKEN THINGS is HANNIBAL meets SUPERNATURAL in a 70,000 word YA urban fantasy novel.



Mech Corp engineers are recruited young, and they die young.

Scottish-Indian engineer Anna MacFarlane is a 17-year-old, five-foot-nothing whirlwind of a girl. While repairing the military’s unstable death machines, Anna’s caught unarmed by one of the monsters the machines are made to kill: a skeletal cannibal named the Wendigo.

It infects her with a parasite that the Mech Corp are very interested in studying. To avoid becoming a medical specimen, Anna spearheads a mission to hunt the Wendigo down. But instead of allowing her to kill it, Mech Corp quarantines it, and Anna too.

With the parasite chewing her down to nothing, Anna has to make a choice: trust Mech Corp needles and scalpels to save her, or turn against every Mech Corp teen she’s grown up with and become something monstrous herself.

ALL THE BROKEN THINGS is HANNIBAL meets SUPERNATURAL in a 70,000 word YA urban fantasy novel.

Query V.2

There’s two things you need to know about Mech Corp engineers: they’re recruited young, and they die young.

Scottish-Indian engineer Anna MacFarlane is a 17-year-old, five-foot-nothing whirlwind of a girl. After a long day repairing unstable military death machines, Anna’s caught unarmed and off-duty by one of the monsters their machines are made to kill: a skeletal cannibal named the Wendigo.

He infects her with a gut parasite that, like most things in her life, is probably trying to kill her. The Wendigo’s the only one who knows how the tapeworm ticks, so it’s down to Anna grab any weapon she can get – from her bionic legs, to the Mech Corp’s unstable killing machines, to her own bare fists  and hunt him down.

But Mech Corp won’t let her shoot him. In fact, they don’t want her to do anything but bring him in for some tests… and they want her quarantined as well. Just for a little while.

(A little while in an underground quarantine facility filled with needles, scalpels, and paperwork that calls her a “medical specimen”.)

With the parasite whittling her down to skin, bones, and wires, it all comes down to picking a target: let the military turn her into their labrat for their classified projects, or abandon every Mech Corp teen she’s grown up with and become something monstrous herself.

ALL THE BROKEN THINGS is HANNIBAL meets SUPERNATURAL in a 70,000 word YA urban fantasy novel.



OLD Query V.1

There’s only three things you need to know about Mech Corp engineers:

1) They’re recruited young, 2) They’re trained fast, and 3) They die even faster.

Scottish-Indian engineer Anna MacFarlane is a 17-year-old, five-foot-nothing whirlwind of a girl. When a tall, pale and hungry Wendigo infects her with a probably-deadly disease… well, that just brings an inevitable death even closer. And she’s going down with guns blazing.

Grabbing every weapon she can get – from her bionic legs, to the Mech Corp’s unstable killing machines, to her own bare fists  she settles in for a fight against the cannibal Wendigo and the gut-eating parasite he put inside her. But while she plays the bait to lure the monster closer to the military, Anna starts to doubt the motives of the army at her back.

With a remaining lifespan that can be counted in days, it all comes down to picking a target: let the military turn her into their labrat, or abandon every Mech Corp teen she’s grown up with and become something monstrous herself.

ALL THE BROKEN THINGS is HANNIBAL meets SUPERNATURAL in a 70,000 word YA urban fantasy novel.


Review: What’s Left Of Me

katzhangBook: What’s Left Of Me by Kat Zhang

Series: The Hybrid Chronicles, Book 1

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Sci-Fi

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything

I’ve been aware of this book for a long time. It’s eye-catching cover has been a regular on my ‘favourite YA covers’ lists, and I only loved it more when I realised there were two faces hidden in the cover.

(To some readers, this may be obvious. For others, here’s an explaination: there’s the face staring at the camera, and the way that image has been cut makes a silhoutte of a girl on the right, head tilted to stare up at the top-left)

I got the chance to read it after winning a copy from Joanne over at Once Upon a Bookcase. She said it was one of her favourites, and I can definitely see why.

“What’s Left Of Me” feels a lot more like traditional sci-fi (like the works of Phillip K Dick, for example) rather than modern dystopian YAs. It takes a high-concept idea — a world where everyone is born with two souls, and one soul had to die when they hit their teenage years — and takes time to explore it.

The plot isn’t the point here. Sure, it’s still got action, adventure and speedy YA pacing, but that isn’t the aim of the story. It’s an exploration of the concept, and secondly an exploration of the characters. I loved that. It goes against YA genre tropes in a very subtle way, and this makes it one of the most thought-provoking YA sci-fi novels I’ve ever read.

First line: Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped out very first breath.


Look at these awesome anthologies!

All my friends are metalheads amazing writers, working hard and getting their stories published like the superstars they are!

There’s been a lot of well-deserved successes in my circle of friends lately, so this post is me raising a glass to them and sharing some writers and anthologies you should be looking out for.

And if I’ve missed something, drop me a comment below with your exciting news.

K.C. and Rob are in the Fox Spirit “Piracy” anthology


Two of my friends and fellow Inkbots, K.C. and Rob, have stories in the upcoming ‘Piracy’ anthology by Fox Spirit. The accepted stories were announced here, and Fox Spirit owner Adele says “I’m really excited about this series and we have great stories taking piracy from a child’s mind, to the high seas and straight onto mind jacking. We have strange beasts and the penalty for stealing dreams.”

It’s part of the Fox Pockets series I mentioned yesterday, a series of reasonably priced pocket-sized books containing around a dozen short stories.

K.C.Shaw’s story is “Skyway”, starring two lady airship pirates in a fascinating steampunk universe. It’s guaranteed to be awesome and I can’t wait to read it.

Rob Haines’ story is “Pieces of 2^3” swings more in the sci-fi direction, putting an exciting new spin on digital piracy.

It looks like there will be many more talented writers involved as well. I’m looking forward to buying this anthology!

Rob is being published in the “Tales of Eve” anthology


Rob Haines and K.C. are both insanely productive writers, putting my own workflow to shame. Have you seen all the books on K.C.’s site? They all sound amazing! Plus she’s got a short story up on Daily Science Fiction.

I mentioned Rob’s insanely productive, and here’s the proof. The short-story writing pro has another upcoming short in the “Tales of Eve” anthology, also being published by Fox Spirit.

Editor Mhairi said Rob’s story made her cry, so no doubt I’ll be blubbing as well.

Take a look at that cover! It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?

John Dixon’s TV Pilot is looking awesome

The TV Pilot for INTELLIGENCE, based on John’s upcoming YA thriller PHOENIX ISLAND, is going well.

Go check out his blog, where there’s all the latest casting news, photos from the set, and a very mysterious image.

Erika’s ready for the end of the world

Erika Beebe is now officially a published author, with her short story  coming out from J. Taylor Publishing later this year. J.Taylor create some fantastic covers and I’m sure this anthology will have a great one too — I’ll share the cover for One More Day, and a short summaries for her story, on May 13, 2013.

PRESS RELEASE: J. Taylor Publishing Signs Seven Authors To One More Day, A YA Anthology To Release December 2, 2013
Six authors to be featured with L.S. Murphy in Young Adult Anthology, One More Day, from J. Taylor Publishing.

J. Taylor Publishing will release One More Day, an anthology of seven short stories written for young adults, with a world’s end theme.

The anthology’s theme, centered around what would happen if ‘tomorrow’ didn’t happen, produced dozens of entries with seven stories selected. “We asked authors to think on a prompt, particularly what happens as characters feel the stop, feel the shift, as they realize, only they know how to make everything go back to normal,” says J. Taylor Publishing.

With a singular theme, one might expect all stories to be “the same”, but in One More Day, the challenge to create something completely unique was met by all authors. From contemporary to paranormal, fantasy to comedy and mixes of multiple genres, each of the seven stories represents the author’s interpretation and method of ensuring the world doesn’t end—somehow, someway.

About Erika Beebe
Inspired by her first grade teacher’s belief in her imagination from the first story she ever wrote, Erika has been a storyteller ever since. A dreamer and an experiencer, she envisions the possibilities in life and writes to bring hope when sometimes the moment doesn’t always feel that way.
Working in the field of public relations and communications for more than ten years, she has always been involved with writing, editing, and engaging others in public speaking.
Her two young children help keep her creativity alive and the feeling of play in the forefront of her mind.


Emma Maree Reviews: Teeth


Book: Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy

Be careful what you believe in.

Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life..

I’ve never read Hannah Moskowitz’s work before, though I’d heard great things about her contemporary writing. She’s also a regular contributor to the AbsoluteWrite forum’s YA sections (and an advocate of never holding back when it comes to language or content in YA — her post on ‘edgy YA’ is well worth a read).

So when I heard she had a fantasy novel coming out nicknamed the “magic gay fish” story, I added it straight onto my preorder list. I wanted to try out her work, and that nickname sounded like it would be strange, shameless and right up my street.

Hannah’s style is easy to read, dialogue-heavy and snappily paced. The dialogue feels very honest, which means very profane, and while some readers may find that off-putting I enjoy it. It makes for the most realistic teenage male narrator I’ve read in YA fiction.

There’s only a small cast of main characters in this story, and they’re all flawed and dysfunctional in one way or another. Rudy is a lonely boy, worrying about his future and his little brother, and Teeth is an ugly, angry fishboy who learned most of his words from the local fishermen and can barely construct a sentence without a f-bomb in it.

The secondary characters are less fleshed-out, which is a shame as I’d like to know more about some of the parents struggling on the island.

Trigger warning: There’s also some very frank, bleak scenes of repetitive sexual abuse. This whole book is dark to the extreme, and though the abuse is portrayed extremely negatively I think it would be just too difficult and depressing for some readers.

The ending really caught me off-guard. The twist that led to it was brilliant, completely shocking me, but the actual closing chapter left me feeling disappointed. I wanted more of a sense of closure, and instead I got quite an abrupt cut-off.

I think the ending is supposed to tie into the underlying metaphors and hidden meanings in the story, but I wasn’t reading this book for the metaphors about the environment or government — they were nice elements, but not what drove me to pick this book up. Also (and I fully acknowledge that this is an issue with my personal tastes and expectations as a reader, not the writer’s fault) I really wanted things to turn out differently.

Despite my dissatisfaction with the ending, I really loved Moskowitz’s style and her way with describing characters. I hope to check out her contemporary YA very soon.

This book was a personal purchase. I have no connection to the writer or publishers involved.


Books in the Post: January 2013

Because time isn’t always on my side when it comes to reading books and writing reviews, here’s a list of some of the awesome books I’ve bought or been sent recently. Despite one of my New Years Resolutions being to read more books from my to-read pile, I couldn’t resist making a few purchases this month. 

And be ‘a few’ I mean ‘so many it’s taken me half a month to write the post about them’.




“Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print” by Renni Browne, Dave King. I was in a ‘writing reference book’ kind of mood. It shows.

Write To Be Published” by Nicola Morgan. Recommended to me by the Hi-Arts Work in Progress scheme, and it had been on my to-read list for a while, so I finally bought it.

“The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers” by Betsy Lerner. I’ve been a long-time reader of Betsy’s blog, so I’m looking forward to reading this one.

“Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life” by Lamott, Anne. Not so sure about this because I’ve heard it has some heavy spiritual and Christian leanings to its advice, and I’m not sure how I feel about bringing religion into a craft reference book, but we’ll see how it goes.

“Requiem” (“Delirium Series, Book #3) by Lauren Oliver. Review copy supplied by the publisher. Looks great, but I need to read Pandemonium first.

“Pandemonium” (“Delirium Series, Book #2) by Lauren Oliver.  Bought this so I can read Requiem, reviewed it here.

“Angels’ Blood” by Nalini Singh. Recommended to me on the AbsoluteWrite forums.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. A present from Dave. I CAN FINALLY READ THIS. I’m so excited!

“A Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin. Another present from Dave. I really want to read this serious, but I’m careful because they seem like a big time commitment.


“Batman: Hush”, “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” and “Batman: A Death In The Family” A present from Dave. These are very popular Batman comics and I’m looking forward to them, since the Batman comics have some of the best writers in the industry.

“Death Note Vol 2” Another present from Dave. Death Note has some of my favourite manga artwork, it has a really nice realistic edge. “Megatokyo Vol 4” and “Watchmen” Dave was on an absolute present buying spree last month. He knows how to make a bookworm happy. 🙂

“Saga” by Fiona Staples, Brian K Vaughan. When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. I read this last month, and it’s already one of the best comics I’ve read in a while.

On Kindle

“Teeth” by Hannah Moskowitz. I’ve had this one on pre-order for months, and it’s finally out!

“Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry. I hadn’t noticed this book because of the terrible Kindle edition cover, but the plot sounds really good.

“Life Of Pi” by Yann Martel. I have this in hardback already, but for 20p I thought I might as well pick up a Kindle copy.

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Bought this so I could join in with Crash Course Literature but I don’t think I’m going to be able to get round to it anytime soon. 🙁

“The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson” by Emily Dickinson. Same as the above, a Crash Course book.

Jeez, I really got a lot of books last month. February definitely won’t be as crazy.


Emma Maree Reviews: Seraphina

seraphinaBook: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Series: Seraphina, Book 1

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

Why is it that the books I really loved are always the hardest to review?

I usually try to keep my reviews balanced with the good and the bad, but it’s so difficult for books like “Seraphina” when there really isn’t anything to fault with it.

The dialogue was snappy, true-to-life and very quotable. The plot twists were great. The usual issues I get twitchy about (gender equality and representation of different sexualities and races) were comfortingly absent. As for the world building… oh boy, I could gush about the world building for hours.  Every aspect of this book is richly written, from the background religions and cultures to the draconian species.

“Seraphina” is set in a world where, after a massive war between humans and dragons, a shaky treaty has brought peace and dragons now walk among humans in almost-human bodies. But when a member of the royal family is murdered in a draconic style, Seraphina (court musician, secret half-dragon, and generally awesome young lady) decides to help the young Prince investigate and find the murderer before the treaty falls apart.

It’s no secret that I love dragons, and this book handles dragons with style and grace. You won’t ever mix up a dragon character with a human one. They’re inhuman even in their human disguises, lovers of maths, and they avoid our confusing human emotions at all costs along with pointless niceties like saying “hello” or “goodbye”.

If you like dragons, pick this book up. If you like flawless high fantasy, pick this up. This is definitely one of the best YA books to come out of 2012.

A review copy of this novel was provided by Random House in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Random House!


Pantomime Release and Dissident TV Pilot!

Man, today was a crazy day for my writing friends. It was the US release of Pantomime by the lovely Laura Lam!


R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

Available on: Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes and NobleThe Book DepositoryWaterstones

The official UK release is tomorrow (February 7th), but Amazon have been shipping out orders early which means I’ve been snuggling up to read it every night… when the dogs don’t steal my armchair to have a read, that is.


And that’s not the only awesome news happening on our writing front! My friend John Dixon’s YA Thriller, Dissident PHOENIX ISLAND, comes out in 2014 and he’s sold the pilot of Intelligence, a show based on it, to CBS! John’s been working hard to get this far, and it’s great to see it pay off for him. Go stop by his blog and say congratulations, because when Dissident hits the shelves it’s gonna be huge.

Man, it’s great to see good things happening to my writing friends. 🙂 But now, it’s time for me to settle down with a cuppa tea and read more of Pantomime.


Best Book of January!

Today, for their Road Trip Wednesday question for bloggers, YA Highway asked: What’s the best book you’ve read this January?

Oooh, tough one when you look at everything I read last month…

I’m going to discount all the comics, which narrows it down to Pandemonium, Seraphina, and Teeth. Seraphina and Teeth are my clear favourites, but if I had to pick one… it’d be Seraphina.

It’s just such a fun, refreshing YA fantasy, (whereas Teeth was a very dark read and quite ruthless with the emotions). My review should be up tomorrow!

TeethSeraphinaBatman: Year OneSaga, Vol. 1PandemoniumBatman: A Death in the FamilySoul Eater NOT!, Vol. 1Soul Eater NOT!, Vol. 2

Emma Maree Reviews: Pandemonium

pandemoniumBook: Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver

Series: Delirium, Book #2

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Sci Fi/Dystopian/Romance

I’m pushing aside
the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana
and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and fame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

I love that title, even though I always feel like it needs an exclamation. Pandemonium! It’s such a great word:

pandemonium [ˌpændɪˈməʊnɪəm]


1. wild confusion; uproar
2. a place of uproar and chaos

[coined by Milton to designate the capital of hell in Paradise Lost, from pan- + Greek daimōn demon]
pandemoniac , pandemonic [ˌpændɪˈmɒnɪk] adj

I’ve had a complicated relationship so far with Lauren Oliver. While I loved her debut, “Before I Fall”, and the concept of “Delirium”, the actual book left me flat due to it’s confusing ending.  I also get grumpy about the UK cover redesigns, though “Pandemonium” and upcoming final book “Requiem” have much nicer covers and I’ve actually grown to like them and how they fit in with the “Before I Fall” cover.

Thankfully, “Pandemonium” was full of pleasant surprises. It’s a much tighter-written and ambitious book than “Delirium” was, alternating between the past and the present as Lena adjusts to a hard, scraping-for-survival life in the unregulated Wilds outside the city (‘before’) and sneaks into New York City to tail the son of the president of Deliria-Free America, an organisation that viciously promotes the idea that love is a disease and the only safe humans are those ‘cured’ by a lobotomy-like procedure (‘after’).

Lena is a stronger person, even as she deals with her grief over “Delirium”‘s events realistically, and she’s a much more enjoyable character to follow this time round. Oliver also expands the world laid out in the previous novel, taken it from a sketched-out dystopia into a realistic future society with a lot of moral grey areas.

The scenery descriptions are nicely done, though occasionally repetitive (snow seems to crackle a lot in the Wilds), and the new characters introduced are varied and feel like they have a lot of depth to them. The two story lines also alternated nicely, with very little opportunity for confusion, up until the merging point which felt a bit unclearly defined.

I’m very happy with how “Pandemonium” turned out. While a lot of middle trilogy books can be weak and plotless, “Pandemonium” is miles stronger than “Delirium” and restored my faith in Lauren Oliver’s writing. I’ll be looking forward to reading and reviewing “Requiem” closer to its March release date.

I bought a copy of this novel myself for personal reading, but I’ll note that Hodder & Stoughton have previously provided me with review copies of “Delirium” and “Requiem” in exchange for honest reviews.