Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Apocalypse: Year Zero

I have a brand new anthology out this month: Apocalypse: Year Zero, with four end-of-the-world novellas by me and my award-winning dark fantasy friends Sarah LanganSarah Pinborough, and Rhodi Hawk. We range through 9/11, tsunamis, Hurricane Katrina, and Southern California's hypothetical Big One — as well as, in no particular order, Hollywood, sex, rage, and the Four Horsemen, who turn out to be not men at all.  

(So if like so many people you feel a little let down by last month's non-Apocalypse, no worries - we’ve got you covered!)


                                                Apocalypse: Year Zero

* A cynical New York commodities broker on the eve of her wedding

* A British advertising executive on vacation with her husband in Thailand
* A troubled New Orleans pharmacy student caretaking her even more troubled little sister
* A Hollywood D-Girl cracking under the strain of her surreal life

Each of these very different women finds herself in the middle of an apocalyptic disaster: the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, the tsunami in Thailand, Hurricane Katrina, and Southern California's dreaded "Big One." Each survives the ordeal with great personal loss: the death of loved ones, disfigurement, mental collapse. But each also finds herself in sudden possession of mysterious powers of Fire, Water, Air and Earth.

As the women are inexorably drawn together, their powers increase, but they quickly realize those powers can be used for evil as well as for good.

And with the signs of a coming Armageddon building around them, the women start to wonder...

What if the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse aren't men at all?


The fiction of acclaimed dark fantasy/supernatural thriller/horror authors Sarah Langan, Sarah Pinborough, Rhodi Hawk and Alexandra Sokoloff has garnered three Bram Stoker Awards, three Black Quill Awards, two British Fantasy Awards, two American Library Association Awards, an International Thriller Writers Award, starred Publisher’s Weekly reviews, and several nominations from venues such as the Anthony Award, the World Fantasy Award and the Shirley Jackson Award. Their novels have been translated into numerous languages and optioned for film; they have also written for film and television.


Apocalypse is something that my very good friends Sarah, Sarah, Rhodi and I have been cooking up ever since we were first thrown together on a panel at the World Horror Conference in Toronto. Women are scarce in the horror genre and we have a very different take on the genre than men do. Women have to live with horror on a much more intimate, daily basis than most men (in non-warring countries) will ever have to, and I think that intimacy is reflected in our writing. 
The four of us bonded immediately, and have enjoyed each other's company whenever we can ever since. We've appeared together at different conferences and bookstore and library signings and panels, and Sarah L., Rhodi and I had the immense fun of doing a mini tour together through the Southwest (you can watch the three of us on a Poisoned Pen panel here).

In a promotional sense, teaming up with other authors this way can be really productive. It's more cost-effective and a hell of a lot more fun to tour together. And - especially for women writing in a male-dominated genre - I think it's been helpful for us to share the limelight. At the end of this blog I've included some excerpts of what the American Library Association has to say about us in its Readers' Advisory Guide - if you take a look, I think you can see the practical effects of that limelight. 

It was pretty inevitable that we'd decide to collaborate. Apocalypse was conceived first as a graphic novel, but it turns out that the best way to protect your underlying rights to a graphic novel is to start with a book, first.  But writing a novel with three other people who have, you know, actual LIVES, is a daunting task, so what we did instead was create an umbrella story that would give us a format to write four separate but related novellas, each exploring the origins of four main characters, urban fantasy antiheroines who are forced into superheroine status through four apocalyptic disasters that have personal significance to each of us.

While we were writing, though, the publishing industry sort of - imploded - and  I convinced the others that we could very probably do better for this collection by e publishing it. Also, this way, our rights are completely unencumbered if we do decide to do a graphic novel.

Just another example of how e publishing is opening new options up for authors and our readers!

So if you're looking around for something harrowing to read while you wait for the next season of The Walking Dead, I hope you'll give Apocalypse a try.

Happy New Year, or Year Zero!

From The American Library Association's Readers' Advisory Guide to Horror:  

Ladies of the Night

Horror is still a widely male-dominated world, but that does not mean there aren't good female writers producing top-notch horror, namely Sarah Langan, Alexandra Sokoloff and... Sarah Pinborough. What unites these women is more than their gender; they are all known for creating entertaining, terror-inducing novels, but with a lighter touch. The horror here is quiet. There can be gruesome scenes, but it is the creation of the unsettling atmosphere that rules the works of these women.

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