YA Urban Fantasy
Status: Ravenstone/Solaris under the name Eva Darrows, Distributed 5/2015
I am not the ass-kicker you are looking for. For starters, I don’t own leather pants. “What respectable monster-fighting bad-ass doesn’t own leather pants?” you may ask. This one right here. I don’t own a single pair, and if I did? You wouldn’t want to see me in them. There’d be weird lumps all over the place and a muffin top that probably resembles peach cottage cheese.
I also don’t wear tall boots. They’re impractical. Have you ever tried to run in anything with heels, or for that matter, anything squeezing your calves like sausage casings? When you fight monsters, you tend to do a lot of short distance sprinting, and if my life depends on my capacity to get the hell out of Dodge, I want sneakers with a good tread and nothing else. You know those horror movies where the fake-titted babe totters down the street in stilettos while a werewolf lopes after her at six thousand miles an hour? All I have to say about that is “bitch would have gotten away if she’d picked better shoes.”
So, no leather pants, no tall boots. Oh, no wife-beaters either because exposing your arms is stupid. Monster Z With Huge Claws should have to go through something quasi-dense before it gets to maul my flesh. Call me a wimp, it’s okay! But I am all in favor of being intact at the end of a monster fight, not looking like I just got spit out of a paper shredder. Getting raked, clawed, bitten, swiped, and maimed hurts. Inviting further injury by compromising practicality for style is . . . well it’s stupid.
What do I wear? Comfortable, broken-in jeans that let me move, a pair of antique sneakers, and a lot of ratty, hoodless sweatshirts. My hair is cut short because long locks give a monster something to grab onto, and I like being handle-free. It’s also brown, like baby crap brown, which is boring but I’m fine with that.
To answer a few of the standard questions about hunters and hunting in general: can I throw a dagger from three miles away and hit a bulls-eye? No. Do I own a sniper rifle? No, but Mom does. Can I disconnect a bomb, or for that matter, build a bomb out of Bisquick? No. Sword fighting, no. Scaling walls like Spider-man, roof jumping, hacking into mainframe computers, making Jason Bourne look like a pansy; no, no, no, and maybe on the last, but that’s only in ideal conditions and if he were a vampire.
Well, maybe if he were a vampire.
Okay, probably not if he were a vampire. There was this whole thing about me going on vampire hunts.
Status: Harlequin Teen under the name Eva Darrows, Spring 2017
Unapologetic nerd girl Emma’s whole world is turned upside down when her nightmare of a new stepsister, Quinn, moves into the room next door. Quinn Littleton is a queen bee, a social terrorist, and woe betide anyone who crosses her. Emma wants nothing more than to get Quinn out of her life, but the more havoc Quinn wreaks, the more Emma finds herself coming out of her shell, learning to stand up for herself and others, and even dating the guy she’s been crushing on for years. When Quinn dies suddenly, Emma realizes there was more to her stepsister than anyone ever realized. It’s easy to hate the mean girls, but what makes them become who they are, and who might they have been if given the chance to grow up?
Status: Delacorte Random House, Fall of 2017
My chin was perched in the palm of my hand. My eyelids were heavy. Gran’s arm darted out, her liver-spotted hand whacking the inside of my elbow to knock it off the table. It dragged me from my stupor, but almost cost me my teeth.
“I am not saying this twice.” She reached for a cluster of herbs hanging from a hook in the ceiling, snapping off two sprigs of green with dusky purple flowers. “Dwayberry.”
“Nightshade,” I said. I was fairly certain I had right—tonics saved lives under the best conditions and under the worst, they ended them. She’d only lost me when she’d droned on about the responsibilities of herbcraft.
She flipped over the cutting, showing the shiny, dark berries on the underside. They were beautiful, fat, and juicy like they belonged in a pie. Gran jiggled them before my nose and they rustle, rustle, rustled. “Small doses numb pain, larger cause hallucinations, more than that is the pretty poison—it is sweet to the taste so they smile before they die. Seven to kill a child, twenty to kill a man. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Gran. I understand.”
Adult Urban Fantasy
Status: Abaddon/Solaris, Winter 2016
Florida’s Everglades: sleepy and backwoods, beautiful, dangerous. . . and home to an ages-old war between the Gorgons and the Lamia.
Tanis Barlas is, in no particular order, a daughter of Lamia, a snake-woman, a killer, and a hunter, collecting men to mate with her mother and continue the precious line. She hates it, like she hates her messed-up family and everything that goes with it.
But now Lamia’s favourite daughter has gone missing, and it’s down to Tanis to bring her back. She is dispatched to enemy territory – the snake-haired gorgons, whose turf starts at the edge of the swamp – to find her, starting a chain of events that will change every part of her life.
Status: Pocket Star/Simon & Schuster under the name Thea DeSalle, Distributed 12/2016
There was money and then there was Money. Sol DuMont had money—houses in Malibu, New York, Chicago, and New Orleans, six cars, four SUVs, and a chain of hotels he’d inherited when his father introduced his very tiny plane to a very large mountainside. It wasn’t James DuMont’s best merger; Mom had a nervous breakdown, Colorado got a cozy forest fire, and Sol and his brothers got years of therapy and a business legacy they were expected to maintain.
Madeline Roussoux had Money. Her father invented a computer processor thing—Sol never minded the technical details because Maddy’s pants parts and stash of cocaine were far more interesting—and she commanded an empire worth more than the GNP of some small nations. Sol wasn’t sure how many zeroes were attached to her estate, but again, he never paid much mind to the details. It was secondary to the woman.
And what a woman she was.
Status: Disney Hyperion, Distributed 9/2014
The girl on the other side of the mirror slapped blood smeared palms against the glass, her fingernails squealing as they coursed over the cool, flat plane. Her mouth gaped open in a rictus grin, revealing a row of jagged, broken teeth that grayed along the gum line. Her face was gaunt, like her skin had been pulled taut somewhere behind her head. It reminded me of paper mache, when you’d place the first layers of tissue on top of a balloon but could still see the color of the latex underneath. Except in this case, the balloon was her skull, and the tissue paper was her too-thin flesh. A spidery network of veins pulsed along her temples and upper cheeks. With no fat to pad the angles of her face, she looked like an animated skeleton.
I stared. We all stared, really, because we couldn’t help ourselves. Every time we called her, every time we intoned her name she answered, like an old familiar friend or — as Jessica said — a well-trained dog. It was arrogant of her to say, but then it was Jess’s very arrogance that had reassured us enough to test the legend in the first place. Faulting her for it now seemed unfair, especially with the ghost rolling her filmy eyes at us from the other side of the mirror.
“Just a little more,” Jess said, a cajoling lilt to her voice. “C’mon.”
Status: Disney Hyperion, 9/2015
Mary in the mirror.
Mary in the glass.
Mary in the water.
Mary lurks in the emptiness, in the darkness . . . in the reflection. That is, until Jess unleashes her into the world. Now Mary Worth is out and her haunting is deadlier than ever.
No one is safe.
Shauna, Kitty, and Jess must band together to unearth the truth about Mary’s death to put her soul to rest for good. Their search leads them back to where it all began-to Solomon’s Folly, a place as dangerous as the ghost who died there a century and a half ago. Quick sand, hidden traps and a phantom fog are the least of their worries. To stop Mary, they need to follow a dark string of clues and piece together a gruesome mystery that spans generations.
But time is running out.
As chilling facts come to light, Mary inches ever closer to her prey. Can Jess, Shauna, and Kitty break Mary’s curse before it’s too late? Or will history repeat itself until there is no one left to call her name . . . ?
PUBLISHED SHORT STORIES:
The Bone Man’s Bride
Status: Featured in Solaris’s anthology DANGEROUS GAMES, Distributed 12/2014
GUNSMOKE & GLAMOUR
Adult Cowboy Fantasy
“I hate to say it, Clayton, but you’re fucked.”
Clayton Jenson took the news remarkably well for a doomed man. He tilted Doc’s rickety chair back until the front legs were a foot off the ground and the caned back touched the wall. The only indication that he’d heard his prognosis was the faint lines framing his eyes. He was a man of leisure otherwise; his long legs sprawled out before him, pants easing up just past his ankles to reveal alligator-skin cowboy boots. The white shirt beneath his purple brocade vest was open at the neck, and his guns hung crooked on his hips. His duster jacket pooled on the floor to his sides in lazy piles of caramel-colored leather.
“Damn,” was all he said.
Doctor Seamus Miller — or Doc, as Clayton preferred to call him — swirled a blood sample around inside a test tube, his face impassive despite the bizarre phenomenon playing out before him. Fat crimson droplets rose from the crest of the glass, the dollops suspending mid-air and shining like scarlet pearls. Doc pulled the goggles from his forehead to his nose to get a better look, sliding an extra green lens down and around to . . . do whatever it was Doc did. Clay didn’t ask. He was too busy frowning at the ridiculous looking headgear. The goggles looked like two shot glasses tied together with a leather string. The six or seven multi-colored lenses protruding from the sides like spider legs didn’t help the aesthetic much either.
“Those things are damned ugly, Doc.”
“Glib even when your blood is defying the laws of gravity, Clayton?” Doc lifted a second tube, and then a third, tilting them to the window so he could peer at them against the late-day sun. “This is fascinating in a completely horrible way, you know.”
“Fascinating ain’t the word I’d use,” Clay said.
“Of course it isn’t. Speaking as your friend, it’s disturbing. Speaking as a scientist, it’s remarkable.” Doc jerked his head back as one of the blood drops sailed toward his face, almost inserting itself into his nostril. “Unfortunate, definitely, but still remarkable.”
Clay grunted and rocked his seat back and forth, letting its balance teeter on two legs.
Fucking blood. Fucking witches. Fucking fairies.