Seeking Test Readers

I am currently seeking interested “test readers” to look at a bundle of approximately 6 chapters written as part of the sequel to Poison Kiss. Qualifications being sought for these test readers:

Reader has read (and enjoyed) Poison Kiss. The reason for this is that I would like to vet new material with people who are familiar with the older material. I have added the “and enjoyed” caveat not because I wish to avoid criticism but because I need to be able to meaningfully gauge answers to questions like “do you like this sample?” People who didn’t like Poison Kiss probably won’t like this new sample material.

Reader is willing to provide feedback on a rough and incomplete manuscript. I want to be clear that this is not “beta reading”. The sample to be reviewed is incomplete (which means you may be left hanging for months before receiving a resolution to the material) and entirely unedited. Not everyone wants to read unpolished fragments, hence making this clear upfront for informed consent.

Reader will not disseminate pieces of the sample material to others. This is very much a work in progress, and I ask that test readers not send the sample material to others, post it online, etc.

If you are interested in serving as a test reader, please send an email to anamardoll@gmail.com from an email address that you are comfortable with me knowing and using to contact you. (I will not knowingly share your email address with others without your consent.)

When I receive your email, I will (1) reply to let you know that I have received your email, (2) add your name to the test reader list. Depending on the level of response I receive, I may choose to hold some names in reserve to look afresh at new versions of the drafted material.

Poison Kiss: Published on Amazon Kindle

I am happy to announce that my newest book, Poison Kiss, is available on Amazon Kindle!


Frequently Asked Questions!

Where can I read more about the themes and content of this book? 

Check my announcement post here!

Why does the Kindle preview have such poor formatting? 

I am sorry about that. There is a known problem with the rendering of the preview page; the Amazon site-maintenance elves were given socks by Jeff Bezos some years back, left the office, and were never heard from again. Here’s a picture of what it will actually look like on your Kindle device. I’ve tested the formatting extensively across multiple Kindle platforms, including Kindle for Android, Kindle Paperwhite, and Kindle DX.

Does the Kindle preview cover the Content Notes / Trigger Warning page?

No, and I am sorry for that. In order to prevent readers from accidentally reading the trigger warnings (which contain mild spoilers for content), I’ve had to place the trigger warnings at the far back of the book, beyond the Kindle sample preview. You can buy the book, view the trigger warnings, and then return the book for full refund by using the instructions here. Or you can view the trigger warnings on my announcement post here.

Poison Kiss: Earthside Series, Book 1

I am happy to announce that my newest book, Poison Kiss, is finished and available for purchase in stores!

Rose awakens in a fairytale land, stripped of her memories and any sense of self she might once have possessed. Facing a short life of brutal servitude as one of the May Queen’s executioners, she chooses instead a reckless dash for freedom alongside her sister-captive, Lavender. Yet even if the two women manage to flee the otherworld to return earthside, they may never be safe from the reach of cruel faeries who seek to use them as pawns in a deadly game.

When a strange silver man calling himself Clarent unexpectedly dumps out onto the doorstep of their apartment, Rose and Lavender will work together with a diverse community of survivors in order to stay alive and free. Through the magical dangers that assault them on all sides, Rose must navigate the struggles brought on by her painful past while contending with the difficulty of forging an intimate relationship with the two people who love her most when her very body is lethal.


Frequently Asked Questions!

Will your book be available on electronic platforms?

Yes! The plan is to upload my book to Amazon Kindle first and enroll in the KDP Select option for the minimum exclusive time period of three months. That gives me time to format the book for staggered upload to other stores, including Barnes & Noble (Nook) and Smashwords (Apple, Kobo, Google). The KDP Select period also gave Kindle users a chance to “borrow” the book for free and spread the word via reviews.

I will very definitely post in this space when this book is up in other stores!

Will your book be available in paper format?

Possibly not, and I apologize for this. Unfortunately, a paper version requires an upfront outlay of money for formatting to the tune of ~200 US dollars. I’d need to have some expectation of that investment paying off, and every time I’ve surveyed my readers, only a handful of people have expressed interest in a paper copy.

If the series takes off in the future, we can look at possibly Kickstarting the costs.

Will there be an audio book version?

Yes! That is currently in the works and I am very excited about the project. Watch this space for updates.

Is this book part of a series?

Yes! Each book in the Earthside series will cover different protagonists and new (or continuing) relationships, but there will be significant overlap between the books and you will see recurring characters and old protagonists returning as supportive friends and community members.

I have already started the next book in the series; I hope it will be ready for release in late 2016 / early 2017.

Is this book related to Pulchritude?

No! This is a brand-new series set in modern-day Texas with paranormal magical elements.

What do you like about your novel, Ana?

Poison Kiss is a paranormal fantasy romance story with three main characters I adore, but it’s also about a larger group of survivors banding together to protect each other despite their interpersonal differences. I love stories about communities; there’s nothing wrong with lone-wolf characters, but I’ve always been more interested in the dynamics of cooperation and coordination–especially in situations where everyone brings a wide variety of talents and powers into the mix. That interest is probably why I liked Xanth so much as a kid, and why I’ll always hold a soft spot in my heart for X-Men.

I’m also thrilled by how diverse this fictional community is. There are eighteen named community members in this book, and precisely none of them are [white + cis + straight + male]. And I didn’t even do that on purpose! There’s a lot of women of different ages, ethnicities, and body types. There’s genderqueer folks and a trans man. There’s gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, many of whom are polyamorous. There’s asexual people and pansexual people. These are people who reflect my communities; my friends and family members reflected on the page in all their riotous diverse glory.

My protagonist, Rose, is a bisexual polyamorous biracial black Jewish woman who is a rape survivor who lives with depression and post traumatic stress disorder. This isn’t a story which is capital-a About her many identities; she just happens to be attracted to girls (just like I am!) and just happens to be a rape survivor (just like I am!) and just happens to have depression (just like me!) while, you know, paranormal fantasy shit is going down around her.

I don’t know if I can read a novel that doesn’t have a white cis straight man in it, Ana.

There is a white cis dude! He’s just not straight. There’s also a cis straight man who isn’t white. Maybe you can sorta average them out and round up!

You mentioned ‘rape survivor’. Is this book going to trigger people?

I hope not! I don’t think so? Rose is a rape survivor, but her experiences with rape are part of her backstory–they’re an integral part of her, and mentioned and dealt with in the narrative, but her rapes are not depicted directly on the page. As a survivor myself, I want to see protagonists who are like me and deal with the same challenges I deal with, but without the story necessarily needing to be A Very Special Episode about sexual assault.

I will note that the setting and backdrop of the Earthside series is admittedly grim, as these are stories about humans who have been kidnapped by cruel and mercurial faeries to serve as labor, entertainment, and food. At the same time, there’s a deliberate fluffiness to the tone that I’ve worked hard to cultivate and maintain. I’ve always felt like it should be possible to write about grimdark subjects in a manner that isn’t super triggering, and I hope that I’ve achieved that here.

Does your book have a Content Notes / Trigger Warning page? 

Yes! The content notes are contained at the back of the book, to prevent readers from accidentally seeing them (as they do contain mild spoilers). As many store previews will not extend to the last page of the book, I will post the content note section in full here, but with the terms cloaked by ROT13 ciphering:

Content notes (sometimes referred to as “trigger warnings”) are intended to help trauma survivors avoid being surprised by story elements which may trigger them. These content notes may allude to story spoilers, which is why they have been placed at the back of the book, with a link near the front. The content note system used in this book is the one created by the Fireside Fiction Company, and used here with permission by the owner. This book and the author are not affiliated with the Fireside Fiction Company in any way.

The content notes for this book include:

Navzny Nohfr ● one scene of low intensity
Puvyq Artyrpg ● one scene of low intensity
Frkhny Nffnhyg ●● one scene of moderate intensity
Gbegher ● one scene of low intensity

[Note: Use ROT13 to decode the gibberish words above.]

I would like to buy this book for my many loved ones, but I am not sure if they would like it. Is there sex and/or swears?

There are indeed some swears, I do apologize. There is also an M/F/F sex scene that was hilariously difficult for my shy self to write and edit, but which is probably the most tame M/F/F sex scene anyone has ever created.

Does this have a happy ending?

I have been trained in the school of thought that a capital-R Romance novel should have a happy resolution for the parties involved in the romance. I identify this book proudly as a Romance novel in that regard.

Is there anything I can do to help promote your work? 

Thank you! Um, it sounds trite but… buy my book? If you’ve done that already and want to go above and beyond, I cannot strongly enough emphasize how much a good and kind review can mean to an author, particularly when left on Amazon or Goodreads or other bookselling/review sites. Reviews really do make a difference to bring in new readers.