Saying Good-Bye to My Baby by Jennifer Harlow
Writing an entire book is like running a marathon (not that I ever have or will run one) or finding out you're about to have a baby, where you start off fast and happy, hit a wall of fear, curse the gods for ever giving you the thought of pursuing this madness, but keep going until the end with renewed vigor, or as I like to think of it, "I made it this bloody far, I will not let anything stop me. I'll show them! Ha ha ha!" So you continue on toiling through the backaches, the sleepless nights trying to figure out what happens next, even through the bloating (though that could just be me) until you get to write those two wonderful words, "The End," and make yourself a large, stiff drink. You’ve earned it. And you’re gonna need it because your baby is finally here...and now comes the hard part.
After the first draft comes the first and second edits, each where you stare at every word trying to figure out if it’s the best choice, second guessing yourself a million times along the way, before you give it to your beta testers, who take their sweet time reading and editing. Then you take their suggestions, edit again, send it to your wonderful agent for her to edit, make the corrections she suggests, edit again, and finally it's ready to shop around. And if the publishing gods deign her worthy, the publisher will have you edit it at least twice more. So "The End" is simply the beginning of a grueling process, almost like raising a child, where you will curse your characters for ever entering your imagination or life in the first place at least once or twice. But you love her regardless, and you solider on to do your best to help her grow.
My baby has gone through so many changes I barely recognize her. She has gone through so many changes since I conceived her seven(!) years ago, I barely recognize her. The beginning chapter I started with is completely gone, characters names have changed, and I don't know how many paragraphs have been shortened or expanded. She (like all cars manuscripts are female) has grown from a seed in my mind to an infant as I did the first draft. All her parts were there, her personality, but she needed shaping to become a productive member of book society.
So through the years I did my best to trim her fat, improve her vocabulary, scream at her when she wouldn't listen to me, and make her the best she could be. (Those teenage years...shudder. I almost gave up on her when I was trying to sell her, but we soldiered through). Now it's as if she is about to graduate college. She's standing on her own two feet, but still needs her Mommy for a few last bits of advice. That's what I'm doing now with the final edit. Never again will I be able to change words, add to characters, plug in narrative holes, etc. She will forever be out in the world as is for other people to judge, enjoy, or just plain hate. She is her own entity now. I just hope my baby will become President instead of a bum. Regardless, I have to let go. I've done all I can to get her to stand on her two feet, and I am proud of her...though I never want to see her again.
Now…onto her siblings.
A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation
By Jennifer Harlow
US $14.95 • CAN $16.95
Trade Paperback Original • 53/16 x 8 • 288 pp.
Paranormal heroes take on zombies in this funny and thrilling debut.
Very few people know the truth about Beatrice Alexander. She’s no ordinary schoolteacher
with a fondness for classic movies. Beatrice can move objects with her mind, an embarrassing
and dangerous skill that she’s never learned to master — or embrace. After nearly killing
her brother by accident, she joins F.R.E.A.K.S. The Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and
Kindred Supernaturals is a top-secret offshoot of the FBI that “neutralizes” ghouls, trolls, and
other monsters threatening humanity.
Beatrice has no desire to become Buffy the vampire slayer. But F.R.E.A.K.S. offers training
to control her power. Also, she doesn’t feel like such a freak next to the other supernatural
members, including a cute former detective who’s a werewolf and an unbearable vampire
determined to seduce Beatrice. Despite a natural instinct to flee from hideous, bloodthirsty
zombies, Beatrice must prove herself on her first mission to find a cunning necromancer.
Praise for Mind Over Monsters:
“A wonderful debut! Jennifer Harlow has written a gritty, dramatic police-procedural with a compelling heroine and a fascinating group of sidekicks. Looking forward to the sequel!” —KAREN CHANCE, NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF CASSANDRA PALMER SERIES
“Mind Over Monsters is funny, scary, and creepy—and ridiculous amounts of fun!” —KAT RICHARDSON, AUTHOR OF THE GREYWALKER NOVELS
“Monstrously fun! Monstrously suspenseful! Monstrously good! Jennifer Harlow's debut novel had me laughing and gasping from start to finish!"“ —VICTORIA LAURIE, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE GHOST HUNTER MYSTERY SERIES AND THE PSYCHIC EYE MYSTERY SERIES
“Mind Over Monsters is a non-stop rollercoaster ride that fans of urban fantasy will love! Fast-paced, fun, and wildly entertaining, Jennifer Harlow has given the paranormal police procedural a fresh spin with her loveable machete-wielding heroine. A quirky cast of characters and sharp writing make Mind Over Monsters a wholly wonderful debut. I can't wait to read more!” —JEANNIE HOLMES, AUTHOR OF BLOOD LAW AND BLOOD SECRETS
“With its breezy style and exuberant sense of fun, this monstery mystery is a total delight!” —CAROLYN CRANE, AUTHOR OF MIND GAMES AND DOUBLE CROSS
From the Back Cover:
F.R.E.A.K.S. vs. Zombies
Beatrice Alexander is no ordinary schoolteacher—she can move objects with her mind, an embarrassing skill she hasn’t yet mastered or embraced. After nearly killing her brother by accident, she joins the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, the Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals. This top-secret branch of the FBI combats ghosts, ghouls, and other monsters threatening humanity. With her teammates—among them a handsome former-detective werewolf and an annoying Don Juan vampire who’s dead-set on seducing her—Beatrice investigates her first case.
Disgustingly dismembered bodies have turned up, bearing bite marks of the undead. Someone—or something—is raising a horde of hideous, bloodthirsty zombies. And the master of the flesh-devouring corpses is guarding a secret that’s even more horrifying . . .
Featuring a team of monster hunters with unique paranormal abilities, the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation series combines humor, suspense, and supernatural crime-fighting.
Oliver is oblivious to my plight. He’s busy with the veritable wall of walking dead surrounding us. The moment he knocks one into a tree or tombstone another seems to take its place in the line like a zombie Pez dispenser. Two of them, one a man and the other unidentifiable, grab Oliver but he pushes them away. Another grabs my arm and tries to bite, but I kick it away. My martial arts trainer would be so proud. His buddy behind me grabs the other arm and chomps down on it. I scream. The gun in the other hand reaches her forehead and a second later, her head is nothing but puzzle pieces. Enough of this.
Something I’ve never felt seizes control. My body turns warm then hot in an instant, like someone’s switched on my boiler. My breath becomes ragged and then stops. The breeze stops moving and everything but the dozen soldiers surrounding us turn black. There are no screams, no moans, no Oliver. The air moves toward me, inside me, through every pore of my body. What feels like two hands squeeze either side of my brain, but it doesn’t hurt for once. I don’t know what’s happening to me…but I like it. I close my eyes and feel the blood trickle out of my nose. I release. Power explodes out of me like a fiery gust of wind in a hurricane. It knocks me on my back. Several daggers plunge into my brain. I cry out, clutching my head. Oh God, it hurts! Just stop it! Hands grab my shoulders.
“Trixie!” a familiar voice shouts. I know that voice…who… “Open your eyes!” I do. It’s blurry at first, but I blink until I see Oliver kneeling beside me. God, he’s good looking when he’s worried. “My dear, can you speak?”
“Never mind. Can you walk?”
“Um…” Without letting me finish he hoists me up by the arms, my injured one throbbing. When I’m up the sight before me draws a gasp. Oh…my…lord. There’s nothing left but the kind of destruction I see on TV after a tornado. Trees lie on their sides, tangled roots above ground. Every headstone within forty feet around rests on its side, a few older ones are now nothing but pebbles and dust. The zombie horde is literally nothing but pieces. Twitching legs, arms, jaws still trying to make their way toward us litter the grass. Every piece bigger than a foot still tries to continue on their mission, but I doubt any of them is a threat to us anymore. A few fresher corpses remain intact but shuffle far in the distance.
“Remind me never to anger you,” Oliver says, serious as death. I’ve scared a vampire. Holy heck. And we take off running.
Jennifer Harlow earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia. She has been a bookseller, radio DJ, lab assistant, and government investigator. She lives in Northern Virginia and is hard at work on her next book.
Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator. Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills.
Jennifer is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and Sisters in Crime.
Visit Jennifer at www.jenniferharlowbooks.com
5 copies of Mind Over Monsters are being given away tour wide
Open to US Shipping