Monday, April 27, 2015

A Bonus for Newsletter Subscribers

Sometime around the first of May, I will be sending out Issue #2 of my author's newsletter with a special inclusion, the first episode in a serial I will be writing over the coming year or so, The Diaries of Penelope Ember.

This serial will be available for free to my newsletter subscribers (because you guys rock). It will also be available to visitors to this website, although with a bit of a delay. Subscribers will receive their episodes free right off the hard drive, and approximately three weeks later, or when the next episode has been completed, the preceding month's episode will be posted here on my website. Over time each succeeding episode will be tacked onto a page devoted to this work-in-progress.

Serials are fun. Stephen King went this route with The Green Mile, and I thought I'd give it a try. And while readers of House of Shadows will recognize where the novel begins, it will not be necessary to have read that book in order to enjoy the serial.

I'm posting this because I wanted to give folks who haven't subscribed to the newsletter yet an opportunity to do so before the first episode comes out. You can subscribe by visiting my regular website; just look in the upper right hand corner.
Here's a brief taste of the beginning:

I stand in near darkness, arms folded beneath my breasts, ten feet away from the dead boy in my basement.
How do I know he is dead, you ask?        
Because I am the one who killed him.
I am Penelope Ember, scion of the Breed. Two weeks ago the last member of my family, House Ember, perished screaming in flames, and now I am alone.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Secret Room, Now Available for the Kindle

On March 31 (because had I waited one more day, there's no telling how many April Fool jokes I might have had to endure), The Secret Room became available on Amazon for the Kindle. ::passing out cigars::

If you'd like your own copy, fresh off the server, you can get your Breed Wars fix here.

And before anyone asks, yes there will be a dead tree edition, but it'll most likely take another month or so. I'm proofing the proof as we speak.

Normally I put up an excerpt, but since Amazon already has a 'Look Inside' feature, it seems a tad redundant. So if you'd like to preview the beginning, feel free to truck on over to the above link and check it out.

And since we don't rest on our laurels in this town, now on to the next book in the pipeline, The Caballa.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Secret Room, Book Two of the Breed Wars series

Just dashing off a quick post to those folks who enjoyed the first novel in my Breed Wars series, House of Shadows.

Sometime after the first of the year, there will be an opportunity to obtain a free copy of the second book in the series, The Secret Room. Anyone who would like to receive advance notice on how to do this can subscribe to my newsletter, either by visiting my website at and signing up there, or by going directly to the following link:

This newsletter will, as a rule, come out no more often than once a month, and will deal solely with information about new books in the world of The Breed Wars, or matters of similar import. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts on The Secret Room.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Guest Post: PERFECTION CHALLENGED, by Jade Kerrion

Perfection Challenged, the thrilling conclusion to Jade Kerrion's multiple award-winning, bestselling DOUBLE HELIX series, will be released on September 17th and will be available in paperback and all electronic formats. Beta readers have declared Perfection Challenged "the best of the four books...the perfect ending to an amazing series." If you've never picked up the DOUBLE HELIX series, keep on reading for a special offer on Perfection Unleashed, the book that launched the DOUBLE HELIX series.


An alpha empath, Danyael Sabre has survived abominations and super soldiers, terrorists and assassins, but he cannot survive his failing body. He wants only to live out his final days in peace, but life and the woman he loves, the assassin Zara Itani, have other plans for him. Galahad, the perfect human being created by Pioneer Labs, is branded an international threat, and Danyael is appointed his jury, judge, and executioner. Danyael alone believes that Galahad can be the salvation that the world needs, but is the empath blinded by the fact that Galahad shares his genes, and the hope that there is something of him in Galahad? In a desperate race against time and his own dying body, Danyael struggles to find fragments of good in the perfect human being, and comes to the wrenching realization that his greatest battle will be a battle for the heart of the man who hates him.


Perfection Unleashed


Recipient of six literary awards, including first place in Science Fiction, Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and Gold medal winner in Science Fiction, Readers Favorites 2013. "Higher octane than Heroes. More heart than X-Men."

Danyael Sabre spent sixteen years clawing out of the ruins of his childhood and finally has everything he wanted—a career, a home, and a trusted friend. To hold on to them, he keeps his head down and plays by the rules. An alpha empath, he is powerful in a world transformed by the Genetic Revolution, yet his experience has taught him to avoid attention. When the perfect human being, Galahad, escapes from Pioneer Laboratories, the illusory peace between humans and their derivatives—the in vitros, clones, and mutants—collapses into social upheaval. The abominations, deformed and distorted mirrors of humanity, created unintentionally in Pioneer Lab’s search for perfection, descend upon Washington D.C. The first era of the Genetic Revolution was peaceful. The second is headed for open war. Although the genetic future of the human race pivots on Galahad, Danyael does not feel compelled to get involved and risk his cover of anonymity, until he finds out that the perfect human being looks just like him.
FOR A LIMITED TIME, E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR JUST $0.99 (Discounted from $2.99)

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords

Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

To be the first to receive news of Jade Kerrion's latest book releases, sign up for her New Release Mailing List. If Perfection Challenge makes it to the bookstores before September 17th, you'll be among the first to know.

Connect with Jade Kerrion: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Closet

Work proceeds apace on The Secret Room, closing in on 11,000 words. Slower than I'd like, but after a sluggish start I'm starting to feel the same kind of excitement I did throughout most of the writing of House of Shadows, which gives me hope that I might just yet meet some of the elevated expectations of the readers of that latter tome who have said, both to me and in reviews, that they 'cannot wait for the next book in this series'.

Unfortunately, I don't really have a worthwhile snippet to share since my last post (too much spoilerish material), so I don't consider this post to be a true update. That being the case, I thought I would offer my readers, as a gentleman once said, 'something completely different'.

With that in mind, here's a brief tale I wrote for a short story contest for the Fantasy and Vampire Book Club on Goodreads. It won first prize, so I'm hoping you'll like it, and hold off on the torches and pitchforks during your wait.

Enjoy. :)


The Closet

I twisted over in bed and whispered into Sissy's ear, "There's a monster in the closet."

Sissy was a good older sister. She didn't groan, or make fun of me. She just turned over, so we were almost nose to nose. "How do you know, Kelly?" she said.
"I keep hearing it," I said. "It waits till you're asleep. Then it scratches at the door."

She lifted up on one elbow and stared at it with me. The door was white, the paint faded and peeling. A huge metal knob perched over a large keyhole, the kind made to fit one of those big old iron keys. It was a heavy, thick door, not flimsy and hollow like the closet door at our old apartment. If you were to somehow get trapped on the other side of this one, you could kick on it all day and never break out.

"I don't hear anything," Sissy said.

That upset me. " I heard it!" I whispered fiercely.

"I believe you." She tilted her head, listening with her good ear, the one that hadn't gotten smashed bad in the Accident. "But I think it's done for the night. Now go to sleep. You start school next week, and you're going to have to start getting up earlier." She rolled over, taking half the covers with her. I jerked them back, then pulled them over my head before squeezing my eyes shut. Much later, I fell asleep.

The closet had scared me since I first saw it. We'd just moved here, after the Accident. I ran upstairs where Mommy had told I would find my room, and there it was. I cracked the door and looked inside. It was ginormous, and very deep, so deep that shadows hid its back wall. There were huge shelves and cubbyholes and a light bulb high in the ceiling with a chain I couldn't reach, even standing on my tippy toes. And as I stood there, just inside, the door swung shut.

I couldn't breath, couldn't move. I stood in place in the silence, listening. Then I heard something. Not breathing, not 'zackly. More like a rushing, like you hear when you hold a seashell to your ear. And as I stood there, I felt my heart hammering in my chest, like it was frightened of something I couldn't see. The floorboards creaked and I felt the air stir, as though something was moving towards me. I was so scared I was frozen stiff, couldn't make a sound. It came closer, closer still.

Then a burst of light flooded the space, and I could move again. I spun around to see Sissy standing at the open door.

"You shouldn't be in there by yourself," she said, looking past me. "No telling what might be hiding in these rooms."


Nothing was said to our parents, but Sissy and I shared a clear understanding, neither of us was to enter that closet alone if we could help it. If we had no choice, then the door must be propped open. Not with something flimsy, either but with an object of great weight.

I often wondered if our parents sensed it too. Because of its size, the closet got turned  into a junk room, with one half set aside as a wardrobe. Sissy would laugh at me and call me a clothes horse. She didn't care about that stuff, wearing the same thing, faded jeans and a t-shirt, day after day. Always in style, she told me once.

I can't explain why, but the closet never really bothered Sissy, no matter how much it terrified me. I would lie in bed, listening. Sometimes there was nothing to hear. And when there was, usually it was something quiet, almost unnoticeable. A light scratching or a low creak of the floorboards, just enough to make me nervous, but not enough to prompt a scream for Daddy or Mommy. Instead I would reach over and take Sissy's hand, squeezing it tight. She never minded, and would always squeeze back. Eventually, I'd fall asleep.

Of course I told our parents about the closet. And of course they checked it, searching behind the boxes, examining the shelves, never finding anything. Which didn't surprise me, because somehow I knew that whatever lived in the closet, it was only interested in one thing. Me. So it always hid. Very, very well.

Until that one night.

We'd spent the evening watching horror movies on cable television. Daddy had frowned, but Mommy'd pooh-poohed him. "There are real horrors in this world," she had said. "Better to prepare for them now, rather than later."

I can't say how I knew, but I could tell she was talking about the Accident. When she got like this, you could never tell how she'd get, so I excused myself and went upstairs, Sissy on my heels.

We got into bed, and lay next to one another. This time Sissy reached out to me first. She seemed upset, though I couldn't tell why. She curled up against me, her arms and legs as cold as ice. "What's wrong?" I whispered.

Then something slammed against the closet door.

I opened my mouth to scream, and as I did, Sissy covered it with her hand. A second bang, even louder than the first, and in the pale grey light from the curtain less window I saw the door shudder under the impact from the other side.

I twisted, desperately trying to free myself so I could cry out for our parents. Sissy kept holding me close while shaking her head no.

"It's upset," she whispered. "It's angry."

"Whuff?" I said behind her hand. Why?

Finally, after everything was still once more, she released my mouth and pulled me to her chest, burying my face to keep me quiet.

"I don't know."


"I don't think it would have hurt us," Sissy said the next day when I confronted her. "But it might've hurt Mom or Dad, if they'd come upstairs."

I looked over at our mother, lying on the sofa as she slept, an open pill bottle on the coffee table. Outside I heard the sound of a weed whacker buzzing. The Landlord. Daddy had told Mommy shortly after we moved in that the old guy was too cheap to hire a lawn care service, and that one day the man was going to collapse from heat stroke doing all the work by himself.

"Is she okay?" I asked Sissy. This wasn't the first time Mommy had fallen asleep on the couch after taking her medicine.

Sissy looked as though she was going to start crying. Both of them had done that a lot of that, ever since the Accident. "She'll be okay. Eventually." Then she shook her head and went upstairs.

I sat next to Mommy and picked up the remote for the television, there were always cartoons on this time of day. I didn't even have to turn the volume down, since nothing would wake her up after she'd taken her medicine.

I got settled with SpongeBob Squarepants, then there was a knock at the screen door. It was hot, so the front door itself was open. I looked through the screen and saw the landlord standing there, wiping his face with a bright red bandana.

"Out like a light again, eh?" he said. "Poor woman." He looked down at me. "Your dad told me about what happened. Puts me in mind of the folks who used to live here before you. They had an 'accident' too. Never found the father, though." He leaned against the door frame, as though he could barely stand. "Sweetheart, could you do me a favor? I'm burning up out here. Rain's been heavy, and that fescue grows like crabgrass. Would you fetch me a glass of water?"

I looked over at my mother, then nodded yes and walked back to the kitchen. When I got back with a plastic tumbler I'd filled from the sink, the landlord was standing next to the sofa as he watched the television.

"Thank you, sweetheart," he said as he took the water out of my hands. "They broadcast the commercials a lot louder these days than the programs." He emptied the tumbler in one long draught. "To get the viewer's attention, my son-in-law says." He looked down at my mother. "And she can sleep through all that? Fuck, then she'll sleep through anything. Won't she?"

He set the tumbler down on the coffee table. "Yep, gotta be careful. That's why I put that fence around the pool out back. Course, the gate's only got a simple latch. Gotta watch the kids like a hawk, or else next thing you know, you'll find one of 'em floating face-up, and no idea at all what might have happened." He reached down to stroke my hair. "Kelly, what time is your Dad getting home? It is Kelly, right?"


I turned. Sissy was standing halfway down the stairs, smiling. She was using her index finger to curl a strand of that yellow gold hair I was so jealous of. (Mine was the color of dirt.)

The landlord looked up at her. "Well, hello Missy. And who might you be?" As so often happened when my sister entered a room, everyone's attention shifted to her, like moths to a porchlight.

Sissy smiled and bent over the rail. "I've got a secret," she whispered.

"Say you do, eh?" The old man left me and strode to the bottom of the stairs. He sounded even more out of breath than he had before. "And what might that be?"

As he took a step up, so did Sissy. "It's a big secret," she said, "But nobody else can know."

"I can keep a secret," he said. And as he smiled, so did my sister.

Then she turned and ran.

The landlord looked confused. He looked down at me, then up the stairs, as though trying to make up his mind about something.

"Better hurry!" my sister called out.

Whatever it was he couldn't decide on, he must have, cuz he turned around and followed after Sissy.

I stood there, confused. Then I followed after them.

I saw the landlord enter our bedroom, and I said, "Excuse me!" But either he didn't hear me, or else he just ignored me. So I went in after him.

Then I froze where I stood.

It was fully open, the closet door. And in the rear, her back to the wall, stood Sissy, with the landlord just inside.

"You're going to have to shut the door," Sissy said, still playing with her hair. "Can't show you the secret with the door open where everybody can see."

The old man turned around and saw me, standing in the middle of the room. "I don't know," he said, as though waking up from a deep sleep. "I don't think. . . . "

Sissy looked from him to me. Then she stepped forward, quickly.

I've thought about that moment many times over the years since. Something lit up in the landlord's face, and I think he might have understood what was happening, because he stirred and reached out. "Wait!"

Then Sissy grabbed the doorknob and pulled.

I have a memory, which I keep hidden deep and never take out after the sun goes down. A memory of a shadow, rising up from the back wall of the closet and moving forward like the wind, engulfing them both as the door slammed shut.

I heard a scream from the old man that cut off, like someone had killed the power to a radio. Then I didn't hear anything at all.


Several days later the police came by to ask some questions about the missing Landlord. And when they were done, I asked the police if they wouldn't mind looking for Sissy too.

The one officer, he looked at me, puzzled, then turned back to my parents. My father took him by the arm and led him to the side.

"We lost our oldest daughter in a car accident about a year ago," he said. "Some high school kid, texting on her phone while driving."

I folded my arms. They did not believe, no matter how many times I told them, that Sissy was here.

Or, at least, had been here.

Momma sent me upstairs, and as I left I heard the police talking about evidence they'd found in the landlord's house, and that maybe the family of the previous tenants hadn't been killed by the missing father, who'd never been found.

But I already knew that.

I went into my room and stared at the closet. There weren't any more strange noises late at night from behind its thick wooden door. You could feel the absence of whatever had been living there, and the absence of my sister as well. Though there were times, late at night, when I would get out of bed and lie next to the sill, listening to the faint voice of my sister from the far side, the words too soft and low to understand.

Then years later, as I grew older, not even that.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

When It's No Longer Science Fiction - A Peek Behind The Double Helix - A Guest Post by Jade Kerrion

For the past several years, our attention has been consumed by faltering economies, unstable governments, an epidemic of bullying, and an explosion of social media. In the meantime, largely ignored by mainstream media, the genetic revolution marches on quietly and inexorably.

Let’s test your knowledge of bioengineering. Which of the following is true?

1.  We used genetic engineering to create hybrid creatures, like the goat-sheep, and the camel-llama.
2.    We used genetic engineering to transfer bioluminescent genes from coral and deep-sea jellyfish to create glow-in-the-dark mice, cats, dogs, pigs, and monkeys.
3.    We cloned animals, including sheep, dogs, and horses.
4.    We used genetic engineering to create animals that excrete pharmaceutical products in their milk and other bodily fluids.
5.    We used genetic engineering to preserve endangered species, creating animals that possess the nuclear DNA of the endangered species, and the mitochondrial DNA of the host species … in effect, a genetic hybrid.
6.    We created bug-bots by implanting wires in the central nervous system of insects, and we can now control their movements, including flight.
7.    We created organic robots by implanting wires in the central nervous system of rats, and we can now control what they do.
8.    We wired a monkey to control a third artificial arm entirely through its brain waves.
9.    We genetically engineered rats with pliable skin in order to grow human organs (e.g. ear) under their skin for eventual transplant to a human.
10. We used organic computer chips made out of rat neurons to control a flight simulator.
11. We isolated a brain of a lamprey eel and placed it in a nutrient medium, surrounded by electrodes. The living, intact brain controls a machine that moves toward the light (in much the same way a lamprey eel moves toward the light).
12.We used a DNA synthesizer to create an artificial organic cell. (Isn’t that an oxymoron?) The computer is its parent.

If you answered “Yes” to all of these, you are right. All of these are true. Science fiction is now science fact. Today, we possess an unprecedented control over bioengineering, an area that remains largely unregulated by governments.  Our scientific advances raise many ethical questions, such as “Is it right to control the autonomy of another creature, even if it’s just a rat?” Other more pragmatic questions focus on timing: “When will we start applying directed evolution (i.e. design) to humans?”


I majored in Biology and Philosophy at the Johns Hopkins University, and the philosophical implications of genetic engineering naturally combined my two interests. I started by asking myself, “What would the world look like to the perfect, lab-created human being?” And then, I wondered, “How would the world change for the people whose genetic templates were used to create the perfect human being?” The Double Helix series sets out to answer both those questions from the point-of-view of Danyael Sabre, an alpha empath whose genetic code was used as the physical template for the perfect human being.

In the world of the Double Helix, directed evolution has become the norm, but is accessible only to those with financial resources. Historical personalities are reincarnated as clones. Genetically optimized in vitros abound, and they tend to succeed at the expense of normal humans who struggle to keep up. Nevertheless, normal humans still form the political majority, and thus, the world of the Double Helix is deeply stratified by genetics, wealth, and politics. Into this already chaotic mix, I added mutants and their dangerous variants of psychic powers, and finally Galahad, the lab-created, perfect human being.

The story explodes into a “highly-enjoyable, brainy guilty pleasure of a novel: a perfect mixture of non-stop action, gripping plot, thought-provoking philosophy, and beautiful visuals.” Set in Earth’s near-contemporary future and frequently compared to X-Men, Heroes, and Alphas, the Double Helix series is highly accessible, even for non-science fiction readers.

I invite you to check out a world that is closer to science fact than science fiction. Welcome to the Double Helix.

About The Author


Jade Kerrion unites cutting-edge science and bioethics with fast-paced action in her award-winning Double Helix series. Drawing rave reviews for its originality and vision, and described as “a breakout piece of science fiction,” Perfection Unleashed, and its sequels,Perfect Betrayal and Perfect Weapon, are available in print and e-book through Amazon and other major retailers.

Connect with Jade Kerrion: Blog / Facebook / Twitter
Perfection Unleashed: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords
Perfect Betrayal: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords
Perfect Weapon: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords


BACKUP LINKS (if, for some reason, the links above do not transfer through a simple cut and paste)

Social Media Links

Perfection Unleashed

Perfect Betrayal

Perfect Weapon

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Writer's Toolbox:

So I'm thinking about a post I recently composed, on my experiences with a Goodreads and LibraryThing giveaway, and wondering why I'm not feeling terribly compelled to post it, at least here (I'd already posted it in a private forum elsewhere).

Then it occurred to me that, if one of the reasons I'm doing this blog is in order to help other independent authors by sharing my personal experiences, publishing said post might be putting the cart before the horse.

So, to borrow a catch phrase from a well-known (and artificially-preserved) female comedian, "Can we talk?".

Here's the situation. The rise of ebooks has resulted in a literal, as well as virtual, tsunami of authors peddling their novels and short story collections, some of them quite good. Others, not so much.

Now, here's the query: How do we determine for ourselves whether or not our work is, to borrow a phrase, ready for prime time? Yes, we know we've written the next addition to the Everyman's Library, but there will always be those heathens bound and determined to obsess over minor and unimportant things like grammar, misspellings, other varied typos, lack of plot continuity, malapropous (Is that a word?) imagery, changing the main character's eye color, last name, gender, etc., midway through the story. . . . (You know how critics like to nitpick every little thing.)

Here's the deal, we writers get so close to our own work that we develop a serious case of myopia concerning its quality. Sure, we can hand over our latest masterpiece to our brother-in-law, hoping to catch him sober for once, for a case of serious (and inebriated) editorial feedback. But is there a better way?

To indulge in a brief moment of sanguine contemplation, one of the greatest positive influences on my storytelling skills was the Unknown Writer's Group. Later renamed Schrodinger's Petshop (after folks started getting published and the old moniker no longer seemed appropriate), we were a kindly little outfit offering restrained and gentle verbal nudges to those of our membership whose soon-to-be-timeless prose might have fallen just shy of the mark.

Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. Actually we fell upon one another's literary offerings like a school of rabid piranha, consuming and then vomiting the torn and shattered remnants in the author's general direction like bulimic wolverines.

But (and this is the key point here) it made us better writers.

Let's face it, a significant percentage of the independently-published work out there could use some serious vetting. There is no shame in this. While there are those writers who exit the womb, pen in hand, scribbling Ode to a Grecian Urn on their mother's now-deflated bellies, it's highly unlikely that we're one of them. Or at the very least, I wasn't (your mileage may vary).

So what are our options?

Good writing groups are about as rare as a bout of camera shyness in a Kardashian, though they do exist. (Good writing groups, that is. The jury's still out on the Kardashians.) If you do not belong to one, but are fortunate enough to live in an area where one exists, go forth and check them out. Yes, they might think a preposition is a concupiscent stance from the Kama Sutra, but you won't know till you give them a try.

And if you do, and they do? Are you then out of options?

Not quite.

There is a web site called Here (from their website) is a description of who and what they are: is for serious authors, artists, and creators in any field who wish to improve their craft — those who seek to gain professional stature within their field or increase it. workshops focus on in-depth critiques of your works, a process which helps both the recipient and the reviewer to grow. In addition to depth of analysis, much of's secret is our emphasis on respectful and diplomatic critiques.

How it works: You get your work critiqued in exchange for critiquing the work of others, both of which are invaluable ways to improve your craft. The workshops are run by the Critter Captain, Dr. Andrew Burt (founder of the world's first Internet service provider and former vice-president of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.), along with his army of software minions. We also have forums to discuss your craft and the critiquing process, as well as many other useful and fun resources. is free (except for the work of doing critiques!) and funded by donations; if you find the workshop useful, donations are appreciated.

As a participant myself, here is a brief summary of how (the sf/f/h branch of the service) works. You sign up and agree to receive submissions of the work of other writers, subsequently composing a written critique of said work, which you then email back. By doing this, you become a member in good standing, which allows you to submit your own work in turn for critiquing. True, some of what one hears from one's fellow critiquers might demand a thick skin, and there is no guarantee that any given critiquer will be spot on in their criticism. But the alternative is to hear what's wrong with your novel/story/whatever from a reviewer after your work has been published. And take it from me, they tend to be less kindly with their remarks.

Below I have included a link to the Critters FAQ. Note, please, that is not limited to genre fiction (there are workshops for most everything you can imagine, just go to to view them).

Here is the Critters FAQ link:

And as Dr. Burt is wont to say, Happy Crittering!