Wednesday, May 30, 2018

COVER REVEAL: Orbit / Leigh Hellman

Thrilled to help reveal the cover of Leigh Hellman's book Orbit! Isn't it gorgeous??? I'm obsessed!

Title: Orbit
Author: Leigh Hellman
Release Date: September 18th, 2018
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber (
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing (

Ciaan Gennett isn’t green, despite the brand of light hair that betrays her heritage: an Earth mother. A mother she remembers but doesn’t know, who left one day and never came back. Ciaan’s as metal as her home planet—cold and hard and full of so many cracks she’s trying to ignore that she doesn’t have time to wonder about questions that don’t get answers.

After one too many run-ins with the law, Ciaan finds herself sentenced to probation at a port facility and given an ultimatum: Prove that your potential is worth believing in. With help from her best friend Tidoris, Ciaan stays away from trouble—and trouble stays away from her. But when a routine refueling turns into a revelation, Ciaan and Tidoris find themselves forced into an alliance with an Earth captain of questionable morality and his stoic, artificially-grown first officer. Their escalating resistance against bureaucratic cover-ups begins unraveling a history of human monstrosity and an ugly truth that Ciaan isn’t so sure she wants to discover.

Now they all must decide how far they are willing to dig into humanity's dark desperation—and what they are willing to do about what digs back.

Title: Orbit
Author: Leigh Hellman
Release Date: September 18th, 2018
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber

Orbit will be available for preorder soon!

In the meantime, you can add it on Goodreads here:

Friday, May 25, 2018

STARSWEPT is now available as an audiobook!

Guess what guess what?? STARSWEPT is now available as an audiobook!!! It's narrated by the amazingly talented Emily Woo Zeller, who absolutely *nails* Iris's voice and all those alien words. Check it out on Audible!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

RELEASE DAY: Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil!

Hey everyone! I'm super thrilled to announce that my YA Dark Fantasy FLYNN NIGHTSIDER AND THE EDGE OF EVIL is now available in e-book, paperback, and hardback from Crazy 8 Press! Supernatural beasts, a ruthless regime, and two teen rebels fighting for freedom... one early reviewer called it “Harry Potter meets Animal Farm”. It kinda works! 

Break the enchantments. Find the truth. Ignite the revolution.

A century ago, the Enchanters defeated the evil Lord of the Underworld, but not before he’d unleashed his monsters and ravaged the earth. The Enchanters built the Triumvirate out of what remained of the United States, demanding absolute obedience in exchange for protection from the lingering supernatural beasts.

Sixteen-year-old Flynn Nightsider, doomed to second-class life for being born without magic, knows the history as well as anyone. Fed up with the Triumvirate’s lies and secrecy, he longs for change. And when he stumbles across a clue that hints at something more – secrets in the dark, the undead, and buried histories – he takes matters into his own hands.

Before long, Flynn finds himself hunted not only by the government, but also by nightmarish monsters and a mysterious man with supernatural powers … all seeking him for reasons he cannot understand. Rescued by underground rebels, he’s soon swept up in their vision of a better world, guided by a girl as ferocious as the monsters she fights. But as the nation teeters on the brink of revolution, Flynn realizes three things.

The rebellion is not what it seems.
Flynn himself might be more than he seems.
And the fate of the world now rests in his hands.

Friday, May 11, 2018


An interview with author Shari Lopatin.

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

Hi! Thanks for having me on your blog today. I’m super excited to be here! So … background on me as an author and writer … I usually say I tell stories that matter. Initially, I began my career as an award-winning journalist. But now, I write complex and stimulating suspense novels that tie into modern-day social issues. I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, public relations professional, social media manager, and (my favorite) earned the title of “Cat Mom of the Year.” As an author, I’m releasing my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion, on May 19, 2018.

What got you into writing?

OMG, what didn’t get me into writing? Seriously though, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first short story when I was seven years old about a group of aliens who befriended a girl on earth; they all had names of food items, such as "Butter."

However, I began writing professionally in 2005, after I graduated from college with my bachelor's degree in Journalism. My mom talked me into going that route after I floundered in my original major, Marketing. Too many numbers. My mom said, “Give journalism a try. I think you’ll like it.” Glad I listened to her!

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

I came up with the idea for The Apollo Illusion while having dinner with my mom, sister, and boyfriend. My mom commented on a news story she'd watched that reported how babies are learning the swiping motion of a tablet before they learn to speak. We started discussing the societal repercussions of a generation brought up with that foundation, and the idea for my book sparked.

Additionally, I'd been watching the effects of social media on my beloved profession of print journalism and had been contemplating issues around the rapid advancement of technology. After that dinner with my family, I started writing in this frenzy, and my book developed organically from there.

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

I think my favorite character is Andrew, one of the two main protagonists. Andrew starts out as your typical, breast-obsessed, 19-year-old boy, kind of post-adolescence but not quite “adult” yet. He’s a total ladies man, the heartthrob of the book. But that face is really a mask hiding a deeper pain steeped in abandonment issues and a mentally ill mother.
Without saying too much, I gave Andrew a strong character arc and enjoyed seeing how he grew before my eyes. I think I had the most fun with his character because I got to write from a male perspective, but I also infused strong emotional drivers into Andrew’s character, which made him more alive and real for me.  

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

My favorite scene is actually one of the surprise plot points, so I cannot talk about it! But it's a very emotional discovery in the book, one that I cried while writing. Without giving away spoilers, this scene deals with a theme that I value deeply: family. And I think in a way, I was writing a "wish" that I have for someone in my life who I love, and this was my way of waving my magic wand and giving this person something in my story that I know will not happen in life.

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

Oh that’s a hard one! I love writing dialogue; in fact, I think it’s one of my stronger points. But maybe it goes deeper than that.

The rush of creation, and the thrill of publication, I think. I know technically those are two things, but they are equally as joyful for me. The creative process—as I'm writing—is both euphoric and exciting. I feel tranquil when I'm writing; I sort of disconnect from the outside world and live inside this new reality I've developed.

Subsequently, I revel in readers' reactions to my work after publication. It's this profound feeling of pure accomplishment, and I enjoy watching others join me in the excitement of the story. It takes on a life of its own.

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

I’ve written two books so far, and each one took me more than a year to complete for the first draft. But I also work a full-time job. I think if I had eight hours from Monday through Friday to write, I could knock out a book once every four to six months! With breaks in between, of course. 😊

I cannot work from an outline, though. I always have a general direction that I'm running toward, and I may have some plot points in my head, but I let the characters (and therefore the plot line) develop organically. I need to allow my creative energy to flow without too much structure. I can always fix things later or improve the story arc during the editing process.

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

I looooove dystopias. Seriously. Three of my favorite books of all-time are The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, 1984 by George Orwell, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I’m not sure if dystopias ignite the philosopher and critical thinker in me, or if they’re just exciting, but I’m addicted to them. I try to write the stories I crave to read, so I hope others feel the same way about my book!

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

Yes! Junot Diaz might be my favorite, and I adore his book, This Is How You Lose Her. I also love Khaled Husseini (The Kite Runner), Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale), George Orwell (1984), Aldous Huxley (Brave New World), Judy Blume (about every young adult book I read growing up), Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides), and Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle). I’ve picked up favorite techniques from all of them.

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?

I do! Sometimes, my characters surprise me by their actions or the things they say, and I've actually developed some exciting plot twists this way. Other times, I’m writing from a place of deep emotional valleys, so when I re-read the chapter later, I think, “Whoa, I wrote that?” Of course, those moments are always offset by the days I want to scream at the drivel I allowed onto the page. Oh the joys of writing!
Thanks for stopping by!


The Apollo Illusion is a story for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world. A dystopian suspense for young adults and millennials, it follows bullied nineteen-year-old Flora into an isolated web of truth, lies, and survival when she stumbles upon a dark secret about her walled-off home state of Apollo. To learn more or pre-order, visit


Shari Lopatin tells stories that matter. An award-winning journalist, she writes complex and stimulating suspense novels that tie into modern-day social issues. Her debut novel, “The Apollo Illusion,” is releasing May 19, 2018. Learn more at, or pre-order your digital copy for just $2.99 from Kindle,iBooksKoboBarnes and Noble (Nook), or Smashwords. Want a print copy? Sign up for The Readers Club to be notified the moment they become available!

Facebook: (Shari Lopatin, Author)
Instagram: (@sharilopatin)
Twitter: (@sharilopatin)