Friday, March 31, 2017

BNG FRIDAY: Chasing the Copper Dragon

Every Friday until its publication, I'm going to blog something about Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme, a YA sci-fi anthology featuring tech-savvy heroines. The goal is to encourage more girls to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers. Revenues from sales of the anthology will be donated to a scholarship fund through the Society of Women Engineers. 

Today, I'm spotlighting one of the stories that will be featured in the anthology: "Chasing the Copper Dragon" by Karissa Laurel! This fun steampunk mystery follows teen sleuth Olivia Treadburn as she tries to solve a dastardly murder with the help of her best friend, engineer Johanna Mason. An independent, science-loving girl living in a steampunk version of Victorian London, Olivia is just the kind of heroine we were hoping to spotlight in BRAVE NEW GIRLS, and she's an absolute delight to read about. Spunky, smart, and courageous, she tackles every challenge with confidence and bravado. And the cool steampunk setting was loads of fun to dive into. Just wait till you see the illustration we've got for this one! :-D


Chasing the Copper Dragon

Karissa Laurel

An up-and-coming aeronautical design team has been challenged to build a faster and sleeker dirigible for Her Majesty's new Royal Air Force. But when one partner is found dead and their prototype is stolen, Olivia Treadburn and her best friend Johanna Mason use science and engineering to find the killer and thief. 


Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky. Some of her favorite things are coffee, chocolate, superheroes, and Star Wars. She can quote The Princess Brideverbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between. She is also the author of The Norse Chronicles, an urban fantasy series, and The Stormbourne Chronicles, a young adult fantasy series.


While I've been blessed to have a life in which my curiosity and creativity was supported and encouraged, not all girls have been so fortunate. Contributing to this anthology is my small resistance against those social forces that would discourage feminine curiosity and creativity, both in the arts and in science.




Friday, March 24, 2017

BNG FRIDAY: The Babysitting Job - A Robot Repair Girl Adventure

Every Friday until its publication, I'm going to blog something about Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme, a YA sci-fi anthology featuring tech-savvy heroines. The goal is to encourage more girls to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers. Revenues from sales of the anthology will be donated to a scholarship fund through the Society of Women Engineers. 

Today, I'm spotlighting one of the stories that will be featured in the anthology: "The Babysitting Job: A Robot Repair Girl Adventure." Those of you who read our first anthology, Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets may remember a little tale called "Robot Repair Girl," about a teen girl, Madison, living in a somewhat dystopian future where sentient robots are commonplace but treated like dirt. Madison makes it her mission to help abused robots wherever she can, fashioning herself into Robot Repair Girl. We, of course, loved the first story, and are super thrilled that Robot Repair Girl is returning for an all-new adventure! It's a standalone sequel, meaning it takes place after the first Robot Repair Girl story but can be read by itself. Madison goes on a thrilling new journey and once again uses her tech smarts to save the day. Also, we've got a great illustration (by the author!) lined up for it, which I'll be unveiling in the near future ;-)


The Babysitting Job: A Robot Repair Girl Adventure

Josh Pritchett

Madison Brown, a.k.a. Robot Repair Girl, returns to save an AI born of two other robots. Along the way she gets a lesson in creativity and realizes just how complex the beings she is trying to help are.


Josh Pritchett is from Charlottesville, Virginia, he credits his mom with his love of science fiction when she introduced him to Star Trek, the works of Bradbury and Poe, and took him to see Star Wars three times. He has previously published in the anthologies Bizarre Tales from Three-Notched Road and Bones III. He also draws and studies Klingon.

I wanted to write something that would encourage young women like my niece to go into science, but more than that, I wanted say something about being brave and standing up for those who are different from yourself. Never give up, even when the odds are against you.




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Crown of Ice & Scepter of Fire / Vicki L. Weavil

Today I’m participating in a special double cover reveal for the first two books in the Mirror of Immortality Trilogy by Vicki L. Weavil. The all-new second edition of the first book, Crown of Ice, releases on May 9 from Snowy Wings Publishing, with the second book, Scepter of Fire, coming on May 23!

Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design

Title: Crown of Ice
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Snow Queen Thyra Winther is immortal, but if she can't reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she's doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai's childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles.

Thyra's willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts -- to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup's devotion and the fire of a young man's love, the thawing of Thyra's frozen heart could prove her ultimate undoing.

Add Crown of Ice on Goodreads!

Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design

Title: Scepter of Fire
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

She’s the ugly duckling in a family of swans. But Varna Lund is determined to live a life that matters.

Ridiculed by the young men of her village, Varna vows she’ll become the finest healer in the land. The skills she’s learned from her ancient mentor prove vital when she encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who deserted the battlefield to carry an injured friend to safety. Aided by her sister Gerda, she cares for the soldiers in secret.

When betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, Varna encounters her former mentor—now revealed as the sorcerer, Sten Rask. Seeking an enchanted mirror that offers unlimited power, Rask appears determined to seduce Varna to his side.

To protect their country, Varna and her companions form an alliance with a former Snow Queen, a scholar, and an enchantress. But when Rask tempts her with beauty and power, Varna’s heart becomes a battlefield. Caught between loyalty to her companions and a man whose kisses ignite a fire on her lips, Varna must choose—embrace her own desires, or fight for a society that’s always spurned her.

Add Scepter of Fire on Goodreads!

About the Author:
Vicki L. Weavil turned her early obsession with reading into a career as a librarian. After obtaining a
B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she continued her education by receiving a Masters in Library Science and a M.A. in Liberal Studies. She is currently the Library Director for a performing and visual arts university.

An avid reader who appreciates good writing in all genres, Vicki has been known to read seven books in as many days. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, listening to music, gardening, or traveling. Vicki, who writes in other genres under the pennames V. E. Lemp and Victoria Gilbert, is represented by Frances Black of Literary Counsel, NY, NY. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats.

Visit Vicki online at, or on Twitter at @VickiLWeavil or Facebook at @VickiLWeavil.

Monday, March 20, 2017


An interview with Vanessa Fogg, author of The Lilies of Dawn.


Hi! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author?

I was one of those little kids who was always writing. I was always making up stories on paper, stapling together my own little “books.” As a teen I wrote the usual wretched poetry, as well as short stories and sketches. In college I even minored in creative writing.  But my major was biology, and after college I took a long break from fiction writing as I concentrated on building a career in scientific research. I slowly made my way back into fiction after more than a decade away, and in 2013 I finally decided to take it seriously (it helped that I also left scientific research at the same time).  

What got you into writing?

Reading, I guess! I can’t remember a time before I could read, and I think wanting to write my own stories was just a natural response to reading stories.

What was the first idea you had for your book, and how did the story grow from there?

This story grew from an image: the picture of a girl standing in her boat on a lake of blooming lotus flowers. The girl is staring into the sky, watching as a flock of cranes approaches. She knows that the cranes are intent on eating and destroying her flowers.

Where did this image come from? Two different sparks.  The first one: this travel article about a beautiful lotus flower-covered lake in northeast Thailand (link here:  The second spark: a crane sanctuary that my family and I stumbled upon while visiting the Wisconsin Dells.  I’d never seen crowned cranes up close before.

 The central image came to me, and then I had to work slowly to understand what it meant and to unfold the plot.

Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe him/her?

Kai, the heroine of this novelette. Kai is a young woman who’s been forced early into responsibilities that she’s not sure she’s ready for.  She’s devoted to her family and her people; she’s good-hearted and duty-bound, but she’s also resentful of her duties. She wishes that she more freedom than she does. And she can handle more than she thinks.

What's your favorite scene from your novel? Could you please describe it?

I don’t want to spoil the plot, so I’ll say here that my favorite scene is the one where Kai, as a child, first sees the cranes arriving at the lake of water lilies. That scene was just a lot of fun to write.

What's your favorite part of writing? Plotting? Describing scenes? Dialogue?

Description, I think. That comes easily to me. Plotting is generally much harder.

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?

No particular writing process. I’m terribly undisciplined, and the process also seems to differ for each story? Some stories come to me as images, some as characters, some only as abstract plot ideas. I find I usually have to wait a while for the ideas to develop in my head; I can’t sit and write until I have at least the basics of the plot already worked out in my mind.

The Lilies of Dawn is the longest thing I’ve written (at ~13,000 words), and from the spark of the first image to the first complete draft was about six months. But I wasn’t writing steadily for all those months; I was turning scenes over in my head and also working on another story. It would be hard for me to say how many hours of actual writing (sitting at the computer and typing) went into this book.

What is it about the genre you chose that appeals to you?

I love fantasy for the magic, the flights of fancy, the escape from our humdrum realism. I love the way contemporary fantasy can rework and echo old myths.  I love the way fairy tales can invoke universal themes and feelings.  And I admit that I’m a world-building geek who love world-building for its own sake.

Are there any books or writers that have had particular influence on you?

Many, but I’d like to talk here about Sofia Samatar. Samatar’s first novel, A Strange in Olondria, was a revelation for me.  The book creates a secondary fantasy world that is NOT drawn from medieval European culture, and it depicts that world with a level of depth and detail that I’d never before seen. The countries in her book—the empire of Olondria and the narrator’s home in the Tea Islands—are not thinly disguised real-world analogues; they are clearly imaginary. Yet they’re imagined with such depth and texture that one could easily believe that they actually existed in a historical past.  I could close her book and almost believe that Olondria and the Tea Islands really did exist somewhere across the sea, alongside all the other real-life countries I’ve yet to see.

Samatar has become my role model for secondary world fantasy.  I closed her novel and thought, I want to do this, too. I also want to create a fantasy world that draws from non-Western sources. The Lilies of Dawn is one of my attempts at doing so.

Readers will recognize, I think, that my story draws upon the geography of Southeast Asia, as well as some aspects of culture. My parents are from Thailand (although I was born and raised in the United States), and I visited Thailand a fair number of times as a child. And this story was sparked by a picture of a lotus-covered lake in Thailand, after all.  So I have indeed drawn on some aspects of Thai geography and setting for this story. But I want to emphasize that this world is not an analogue for any specific real-world country or culture. The language and mythology of the story are completely made-up. I wanted Kai’s world to be its own, just as the imaginary worlds depicted in Samatar’s novels are their own worlds.

Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing your book? Characters who took on lives of their own? Plot elements that took unexpected turns?

Aren’t surprises the best part about writing? During the writing of this story, I boxed myself into plot corners twice. But luckily, I also found my way out during the writing, hitting upon the solutions at the same time that Kai did.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to come here and talk about my book!
There is a lake of marvels. A lake of water lilies that glow with the color of dawn. For generations Kai’s people have harvested these lilies, dependent upon them for the precious medicines they provide.

But now a flock of enchanted cranes has come to steal and poison the harvest. The lilies are dying. Kai’s people are in peril. A mysterious young man from the city thinks he might have a solution. Kai must work with him to solve the mystery of the cranes, and it will take all her courage, love, strength, and wisdom to do what she must to save both the lilies and her people.

This is a lushly written, lyrical fairy tale of love, duty, family, and one young woman’s coming of age that reminds us sometimes our most important qualities are not the ones we recognize in ourselves.

Book webpage:
Add it on Goodreads:
Annorlunda Books
Twitter: @AnnorlundaInc

Newsletter (I give a free ebook to one subscriber every month):

Vanessa Fogg dreams of dragons, selkies, and other oddities from her home in western Michigan. Her short stories have appeared in number of science fiction and fantasy magazines, as well as in a few non-genre venues.

Twitter: @FoggWriter

Friday, March 17, 2017

BNG FRIDAY: Arch Nemesis

Every Friday until its publication, I'm going to blog something about Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme, a YA sci-fi anthology featuring tech-savvy heroines. The goal is to encourage more girls to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers. Revenues from sales of the anthology will be donated to a scholarship fund through the Society of Women Engineers. 

Today, I'm spotlighting one of the stories that will be featured in the anthology: Arch Nemesis by Jamie Krakover! This exciting, action-packed story follows a spunky, innovative teen girl on her superhero-esque quest for justice. When I read this one, I fell in love with the concept at once, and I especially enjoyed the comic book-ish feel of the the story (I'm a sucker for comics-style stories!). Can't wait to share it with y'all when the anthology comes out!


Arch Nemesis


Jamie Krakover 


After a genetically mutated creature who uses the St. Louis Arch as a science facility to study humans murders her family, a young inventor uses her smarts to seek revenge. 


Growing up with a fascination for space and things that fly, Jamie turned that love into a career as an Aerospace Engineer. Combining her natural enthusiasm for Science Fiction and her love of reading, she now spends a lot of her time writing Middle Grade and Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. 

Jamie lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband and her dog Sophie. When she isn't being a Rocket Scientist by day and a writer by night, she can be found catching up on the latest sci fi TV, books, and movies as well as spending time on Twitter (maybe a little too much time :-P). And no, the rocket science jokes never get old! 


Twitter: @Rockets2Writing


As a female engineer, women in STEM is a topic I'm extremely passionate about. I've personally struggled with adversity, watched others face challenges, and even mentored young women in areas of STEM. While women make up 48% of the workforce, only 24% of women work in areas of STEM, and even fewer in engineering. Biases against women in STEM fields develop in kids as young as age 3 or 4. Even worse, young women stray from STEM topics in school starting as young as 4th or 5th grade. Young women need to see strong examples of women in STEM in real life, on TV, and in literature in order to help build and maintain the confidence to pursue STEM careers. As both a Rocket Scientist and a writer, I'm in a unique position to inspire young women to pursue STEM fields. This anthology is a great way to show young women, strong examples of females operating within STEM topics, and I'm extremely honored and humbled to be a part of this amazing project.




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

COVER REVEAL: The Taming of the Dudebro / JANE WATSON

Today I’m helping reveal the paperback cover for The Taming of the Dudebro, Volume 1, a YA/NA hybrid contemporary romance retelling the classic comedies of Shakespeare, by Jane Watson. This paperback includes the first two books of the series, The Taming of the Dudebro and A Midsummer Night’s Dudebro. It releases from Snowy Wings Publishing on April 18—the same day as the ebook of A Midsummer Night’s Dudebro!

Cover designed by Key of Heart Designs

Title: The Taming of the Dudebro, Volume 1
Author: Jane Watson
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing 

This special paperback bind-up includes the first two books of the series, The Taming of the Dudebro and A Midsummer Night's Dudebro!

In The Taming of the Dudebro, Patricia’s dream is coming true: she is directing her own play, a one-act written by her best friend, Grizz, for the school’s annual Drama Festival. Everything seems to be perfect until her teacher assigns Kurt Minola, the biggest jerk in the school, to work on her play. Kurt is lazy, selfish and irresponsible. The only good thing about him is his attractive twin brother, Ben—but even he can’t seem to change Kurt’s attitude. Kurt’s presence turns Patricia’s dream into a nightmare... until Patricia and Grizz decide to take matters into their own hands, and subject this insufferable surfer-dude to some taming.

Then, in A Midsummer Night's Dudebro, with the theater festival behind her and graduation around the corner, Grizz Sheridan figured she was done with Kurt Minola. She wants to focus on spending time with her friends and enjoying her last summer before she goes off to college. No such luck now that Kurt’s crushing on her best friend (and his twin brother’s girlfriend), Patricia. It seems like he’s glued to her side no matter where she goes—class, parties, even Prom. Grizz thinks her luck is changing when she begins working at Merry Mule Coffee Roasters and meets super hottie, Dimitri. That is, until a certain surfer boy starts working there, too—and suddenly seems to have turned his romantic interests elsewhere… Will Grizz survive the summer?

 Add The Taming of the Dudebro, Volume 1 on Goodreads!

Learn more about Jane Watson at her website,, or visit her on social media: Twitter: @janewatauthor, Instagram: @janewatsonauthor

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

I'm excited to help reveal the cover for the Where Words Fail, Music Speaks Anthology, which is scheduled for release April 21, 2017.

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.

Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.

Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry
All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.