Katy Mann – Writer
Writing and reviewing horror fiction, because I love scary stories!
Syvla Slasher cover

Cover for Ace Antonio-Hall’s Syvla Slasher

Eighteen-year-old Sylva Fleischer and her friends raise the dead for a living for police investigations and mourning families. Two years after her high school crush, a hot guy named Brandon, is assumed dead, Sylva’s friends convince her to go on a spring break cruise in an effort to suppress her depression over him. But when passengers mysteriously die and reanimate into flesheating zombies like she’s never seen before, Sylva plunges into a horrifying struggle between a ship infested with the undead and the scariest thing of all: a second chance with Brandon after she discovers he’s still alive. This is a zombie story that eats right to the core and leaves you licking your chops for more.
Got zombies? Sylva Slasher does…


–click for more


About the author:


Ace Antonio Hall is the author of the novel, Confessions of Sylva Slasher. His short stories They and Raising Mary: Frankenstein have been awarded Honorable Mention for the Writers of the Future Awards 2013 and 2014. He published his short story Dead Chick Walking in Calliope Magazine Fall 2013 #141.

In 2015, Hall has sold his short stories to be published with Weasel Press/The Haunted Traveler, Bride of Chaos/9 Tales, Pure Fantasy & Science Fiction, Vol. 4, Jitter/Prolific Press, and Night to Dawn Magazine #29.

Hall received a BFA from Long Island University and taught English for more than a decade. He is a native New Yorker who now resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Tags: , ,


banner Splinters

Splinters banner



I had the good fortune to interview Matt and Fiona about their new book, Splinters, published by Jolly Fish Press, now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and in local bookstores.


Fiona Titchenell

Fiona Titchenell

Matt Carter

Matt Carter


1. Why did you write Splinters?


Fiona: I’ve always wanted to write a speculative YA epic, like the books that inspired me as a kid and made me want to be an author in the first place. Matt and I together have some pretty eclectic tastes in fiction, especially where we’ve rubbed off on each other, so by crossing some very odd inspirations, we realized we could make ours pretty unique.


Matt: We’d worked together off and on for a while in our short story days, but had never really tried a novel together. Then one day in the middle of an X-Files binge (I’d been a fan back in the day, she’d never seen it before) we started thinking, ‘Hey, can we try to make a YA version of that for today’s readers?’ and from there, The Prospero Chronicles was born.


2. Was there any one person who was your inspiration for your main character?


Matt: Nobody from real life. Ben’s kind of an old-fashioned hero in a lot of ways. Very principled, strong, somewhat naïve but still savvy enough to make the right decisions when he has to. I like to think he’s something of an old school hero who’s grown up in a modern world, and throughout the series we’re going to see just what kind of toll that takes on that kind of mindset.


Fiona: No, I can’t think of any real life people the main characters are closely based on. They’re blends of things we are, wish we were, and are glad we’re not, with dashes of some of our favorite fictional characters and antidotes to our non-favorites.


3. As a writer, what would you say is the most controversial or compelling statement in the book? Why do you feel that way?


Fiona: This really shouldn’t be controversial at all, but wander into a movie theater at random and pay a little attention, and you’ll find that it definitely is: the idea that female characters can and should be as important, prominent, diverse, developed and interesting as male ones. I hope it at least goes more or less without saying why that’s pretty important to me.


4. What’s the most important thing readers will learn from Splinters?


Fiona: Other than what I’ve just mentioned? We’re not particularly didactic with it. They’ll learn a lot of very dangerous and impractical ways to protect themselves from otherworldly shapeshifters. Seriously, Mina’s an expert, and she’s fictional. Do NOT try this stuff at home.


Matt: I’d like to say how this book has an overall message that two opposites can work together for a greater common goal, and in a way it does, but its overall theme that you can’t trust anyone because they might just be an alien out to get you really kind of makes that point a little moot.


5. What problem do you feel the readers will identify with? What’s your best advice on how they can deal with that?


Matt: For lack of better wording, being a teenager sucks, or at least it feels like it does. A lot of the time it can feel like the whole world is out to get you, and though in this story it actually is, in real life that’s rarely the case. My advice on this is simple. Treat everyone around you like a bear; assume they’re really more afraid of you than you are of them. Of course this isn’t always the case, so you’ll have to play it by ear, but just remember that not everyone is out to get you because they’re usually more focused on their own problems.


Fiona: Ben and Mina both have to deal with choosing between what’s expected of them and what they believe in. They’re both smart and hardworking people from pretty well-off families. Mina has her issues relating to people (a problem in its own right I’m sure many can identify with), and Ben has to live with his mother’s wanderlust, but both of them should have had an easy time of building nice lives for themselves, acceptance by their neighbors and parents, good grades, an easy route to college, if they tried. They’d even have a fair chance of being left alone by the Splinters if they kept their heads down, but they both see the chance to help people, and they choose that instead. That’s one of the themes that definitely comes up throughout The Prospero Chronicles, the fact that the choices that will make you respectable and popular and successful in other people’s eyes aren’t automatically the right ones.


6. When do you write? Is it easier to write in the morning or at night? As you write as a team, do you discuss things and move forward, or do you write separate passages and then merge them?


Fiona: I write whenever I have a few minutes throughout the day, and then we both get most of our best work done in the morning and afternoon on the weekends. When we work together, we lay out a full outline first, and then every week we talk out the details of the next two chapters and then write our parts separately (he writes Ben, I write Mina). Then we swap and make notes to each other for edits to make it all work together.


Matt: Fiona and I are kinda opposites when it comes to how and when we can write. Give her a few minutes a day and she’ll put a chapter together slowly but surely. I can only really work on the weekends, and in weird fits and starts. Still, when I write in one of my writing binges, I can really write. It’s not uncommon for me to get 5,000-6,000 words of material done in a single weekend this way.


7. Who’s your favorite author?


Matt: I have some odd, eclectic tastes in authors, but Stephen King definitely has to top the list. Other favorites include, but are not limited to, George MacDonald Fraser, Max Brooks, George R.R. Martin and Alan Moore.


Fiona: I can’t choose, sorry, I love them for too many different reasons. First ones to mind are J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Lauren Oliver, Max Brooks, and I’ve recently been on a Shirley Jackson binge that might put her on the list.


8. Where can we buy the book?


Fiona: It’s in some stores, mostly in the LA area I think, and available to order from pretty much anywhere. And of course here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Splinters-Prospero-Chronicles-Matt-Carter-ebook/dp/B00N6WPXK6/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1413133199


Matt: What she said.


9. What made you decide to team up to write the book?


Matt: It wasn’t so much a what but a when. We’d done a lot of projects together before, nothing really major, just some odds and ends shorts. We’d planned to do a novel together some day, but no idea really stuck, not until we got The Prospero Chronicles, and once we did get that together, it was just a matter of mapping and putting it together.



Fiona: We’ve been writing partners since long before we were married. Mostly we helped with brainstorming and critiquing each other, sometimes, as Matt said, teaming up for a short story (some good but none that saw publication). He taught me horror, and I taught him YA. We’d always wanted to do a big project together, and when the YA X-Files premise came up, it all clicked.



Thank you Fiona and Matt for stopping by. And good luck with your new book!



Jolly Fish is hosting a Rafflecopter Giveaway in honor of the new release:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tags: , , ,


4 mermaids second try

Mermaid Bookmark Giveaway!


Local artist Karen Bagnard creates a fantasy realm I have always longed to visit.  She brings mermaids, fairies, and other storyland inhabitants to life in our world through her art.


I first found her magical work at a friend’s house when I moved to California.  I’ve been collecting her images ever since.


Now I want to share this world with you.  I am going to do a giveaway of mermaid bookmarks I have picked up from her collection to those who sign up for an e-mail subscription to this blog.  After signing up, please post in the comment section below which bookmark you want.  Show first, second, and third choices.  I will update the available images as selections are taken.


This first lady, Urban Mermaid, Karen told me is one of her favorites.  It features a cosmopolitan mermaid, her long hair artfully arranged on top of her head, posed in front of a moonlit cityscape across a bay.


Urban mermaid


This next bookmark is one of my favorites.  Karen’s catalogue lists this lady as Danish Mermaid, and I have always imagined her to be the mermaid from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale.  She has a much more innocent look than her sophisticated sister above.


Danish mermaid


Beaded is someone else who might be the Little Mermaid.  The ornament for her long hair is a starfish, and she’s looking directly at the viewer.  With her tail curled next to her, she seems to be inviting you to sit for a chat.

Beaded mermaid


This final bookmark, Sea Flowers, features a teal-tailed mermaid hugging a bouquet of roses underwater as bubbles rise around her.


Sea Flower mermaid


These are but a few of the beautiful images from Karen’s amazing catalogue.


So please sign up, so that I can send you your choice of a bookmark!


To see all of Karen’s imaginative creations, please visit her website:  http://morethanmermaids.com/

Tags: , ,

Space Oddity – 2013


Chris Hadfield’s amazing rendition of “Space Oddity,” composed of footage taken on the International Space Station, brought David Bowie’s song of Major Tom to life, showing it in the real world of outer space.  He made connections through not only space but time in recording this song that was then mixed back on Earth.


From the moment I first saw it, I was captivated by the spectacularly beautiful images reeling in front of me, showing both the spinning space station and this man’s deeply personal views of earth, both day and at night.




David Bowie’s song from 1969 was an aural memory for me, but the image that appears on my computer screen today is someone in real time and space, wearing socks, grabbing onto a toehold bar as an anchor.  Chris brings reality to the world above our own blue atmosphere.


Chris had found a way to communicate the experience of being a human in outer space, making it real and fresh to those of us on Earth.  His presence on that space ship was immediate and individual.  He had a guitar in his hands and was using his fingers on the frets, singing a familiar song as he floated inside a space that included the laptops that were filming him on the padded walls.


It touched on so many of the tensions that I experience on a daily basis, the balancing of past and present, of the real world and a world most of us can never experience.


Watching him in the video, I thought of the difference between an astronomer and an astronaut.  One works on the ground, while the other explores the sky.  The people who work on the ground have different backgrounds from the astronauts.  Most astronauts were, at some point in their lives, pilots.  In Chris Hadfield’s case, he is a pilot, engineer and musician.


People take different routes to this world of space.  My father’s PhD was in Solid State Physics, whereas Chris’s background as an astronaut began as a pilot.  He was a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and later went on to earn a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering.


My father, on the other hand, was one of the ground people.  He was at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Altadena, California from 1974 to 1989, working on the navigation equipment for Voyager’s project’s deep space missions.  Though my father passed in 1992, those space craft are still out there, only now reaching the outer edges of our own system.


I have friends who work at J.P.L right now.  Sharon Laubach, who received her degree in Robotics from the California Institute of Technology, directs the experiments for the Mars Rover, sending instructions for the maneuvers and experiments on a daily basis. I go to work to an office in downtown Los Angeles, while she drives the Rover on Mars.


Chris’s project brought the reality of the world of outer space into focus for the rest of us.  The dream world of mankind’s past made real and immediate.  Only now Chris is looking back down at Earth from his seat in the space station, whereas we look up at the sky.


His video also made me think about being a writer, and how through the process of writing, the world inside your head spins outside.


And this is dream of the writer and all those with creative projects.  To bring that world, the one in our imagination, to the reader and make it as real as Chris Hadfield did with his guitar in space, as  he reached through time and space to bring fresh meaning and reality to a song from forty-five years ago.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Powered by Wordpress
Theme © 2005 - 2009 FrederikM.de
BlueMod is a modification of the blueblog_DE Theme by Oliver Wunder