Bookseeker Literary Agency

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Publication date for ‘From My Cold, Undead Hand’ announced!

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Yes, P’kaboo Publishers have announced the date on which Marie Marshall’s long-awaited teen-vampire novel From My Cold, Undead Hand will be available from them in e-book form. Other forms will become available later, but for those readers with the facility to read the ePub format, buying direct is the way to go. You can pre-order, and as a bonus the first twenty-five purchasers will receive extras, including audio material!

The story itself is fast paced and gripping. The protagonist is Chevonne Kusnetsov, a teenager from New York City a generation or so into the future. The ecology is in crisis, electricity is scarcer and mainly generated by wind turbines mounted on top of buildings. Meanwhile, vampires stalk the dimly-lit streets after dark. But their very existence is denied by the government and the media. Expose!, a shadowy organisation formed to blow the vampires’ cover wherever it can, is routinely denounced for conspiracy-theory, anti-semitism, and downright insanity. The Resistance, a secret guerrilla army of vampire-hunters, organised in a cell-structure, is denounced as a ‘terrorist’ organisation. Chevonne has been recruited to the Resistance by her history teacher, and she’s tough – straight from the school kick-boxing club, she can use her fists and feet, but also a sword, a stake, and a laser-gun. What is the vampires’ ultimate plan? How does it involve the government? How does it affect Chevonne and her friends Di and E.J.?

The title, From My Cold, Undead Hand, is adapted from a famous slogan popularised by the National Rifle Association in the USA in defence of the right of American citizens to own and carry firearms. One of the features of the novel is that vampires, who in traditional fiction arm themselves with nothing but their teeth, exercise this constitutional right. Well, so do the vampire-hunters! By the end of the book there is a twist to this ‘right’. I asked Marie if her novel was deliberately politicised or partisan on this issue.

No, indeed not, but it did occur to me to introduce gun-carrying vampires and to have elements of the plot which developed the consequences of guns in this kind of conflict or adventure. Of course I have my own views about the issue, but there are two points I’d like to make. Firstly, I’m not American, and it’s America’s call. And secondly, no author worthy of the name lets her own views affect the way a plot is developing. The story goes how the story goes and that’s that. Anyhow it’s not ‘about’ guns. If it has a theme it’s about how young people tend to be marginalised.

That theme turns the dramatic crisis of the novel into a cliffhanger, leaving readers wanting more. Thankfully a sequel is half-written already, and there is even the possibility of a threequel. So who should read it?

It’s pitched at ‘young adult’ level, but it’s not ‘written down’. I think it will be snapped up not only by teenage readers but by adults who are into vampire fiction – and there are many, many of them ‘out there’. I just hope people out there will enjoy the ride as much as my ‘beta readers’ did.

From the point of view of this agency, it is encouraging that P’kaboo have shown faith in Marie once more, and are publishing her third novel on the 15th of September. Keep a watch for updates here, and by following @ColdUndeadHand on Twitter. Don’t forget that you can pre-order your copy!


Watch out for ‘From My Cold, Undead Hand’!

Our client Marie Marshall was asked by her publisher if she could write a teen-vampire novel, and her answer was simply to write one – From My Cold, Undead Hand. She told us:

It’s both an easy and a difficult genre to write in. It’s full of ready-made tropes and pre-existing vampire ‘lore’, and of course it has a cult-genre following of highly critical fans. Basically a writer has two choices: Buffy or Twilight. By that I mean one has to chose between writing about vampire hunters, or teenage romances with vampires. Then one has either to avoid cliché… ahem… like the plague, or embrace the clichés and go nuts with them.

So, which story-line has Marie decided to go down?

Well, I chose the vampire-hunter angle, as it gave me the opportunity to create a strong, young, female protagonist.

FMCUH bookseeker imageMarie is adept at those strong, female protagonists – Jelena and Eunice in Lupa, Angela in The Everywhen Angels, and now Chevonne Kusnetsov, a girl from New York a few decades in our future, in From My Cold, Undead Hand. The novels launches straight into action, with Chevonne in a darkened library, defending her dying mentor from the attack of a powerful vampire ‘sire’. Spiced here and there with hints of ITpunk and steampunk, and complete with a nineteenth-century sub-plot revealed in an old book, the pace of the novel never flags. It shuts with a bang – readers will blink and say “Huh?” – leaving a perfect springboard for the sequel, KWIREBOY vs VAMPIRE, which is already being written! Ostensibly dealing with the constitutional right of vampires to carry guns, the novel in fact foregrounds how young people are routinely marginalised. So, has she succeeded in avoiding cliché?

I hope so. I’ve tried to be innovative whilst leaving enough there that is familiar.

In fact when we read through the manuscript we noticed some cheeky inter-textual referencing. Readers will be surprised to find out who’s included in Chevonne Kusnetsov’s remote family tree, for example. Readers familiar with, say, Bram Stoker or Stephenie Meyer may spot some ‘Easter-eggs’, though Marie cites as her main influence Joe Aherne’s TV series Ultraviolet.

Adding to the impact of Marie’s prose will be cover art again by Millie Ho, the talented Canadian artist and writer, who provided the cover for The Everywhen Angels. This is a book to watch out for, one not to miss. As soon as there’s a launch date we’ll let you know. Follow the action on Twitter @ColdUndeadHand.


P’kaboo Publishers – looking for publishing ‘partners’ in the UK, the USA, and worldwide.

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Part of the ‘mission’ of South African indie publishing house P’kaboo is to be a springboard from which to launch authors to bigger things, to be the first step for an author in getting himself or herself noticed by mainstream publishers in the wider world, particularly in the UK and USA. With that in mind, this agency, as the UK representative of P’kaboo, would like to bring three books to your attention.

Each one is available on request, for consideration by any commercial publisher in the UK, the USA, or worldwide. Just email this agency!

Although the three books here may all be classified generally in the ‘fantasy’ genre, this is only one of the strings to P’kaboo’s bow. Their list includes a range from children’s books to music manuals.

Blank bookcover with clipping pathSolar Wind I: The Mystery of the Solar Wind
Lyz Russo
This is the first of a series – the author has completed No.IV – and the most obvious place to start. Although this novel and its sequels may fit the ‘fantasy’ genre, this one may be thought of rather as a mystery novel in a futuristic setting.

The year is 2116. Captain Radomir Lascek sails his pirate ship, the Solar Wind, around the oceans, collecting outlaws and fugitives and dodging the authorities. But then he hires three young musicians in Dublin – the Donegal Troubles. Radomir Lascek, with all his wily schemes, is about to learn the real meaning of ‘trouble’.

Here is what some readers and reviewers have had to say. Firstly in the Father’s Day issue of South Africa’s Your Family magazine:

Mystery of the Solar Wind… is a heart-warming and sometimes breath-stopping tale of murder, flight, and friendship. The Solar Wind’s crew is more than a motley one. They are a bickering, eccentric clan, full of shenanigans and loyal to the death… which might just be around the corner.

Fran Lewis, book reviewer and author of the Bertha series, says:

Secrets, mysteries, lies, deceptions, intrigue and murder are just some of what you will encounter when you board the Solar Wind for your journey into the 22nd century. This will not be just any ordinary journey, it will keep you spellbound, alert, terrified, inquisitive and more, about the new world powers of the year 2116 and just what changes are in store for you. With a cast of characters so diversified, yet so alike, you will want to not only learn the reasons why each crewmember signed on to the Solar Wind, but go along with them on their dangerous journey to find freedom and safety in a world filled with fear.

Other readers say:

The fast-moving and often surprising action leaves one quite breathless, rather like gypsy music played at a rousing pace. Yet one has time to get to know the characters, so that one can’t help but be drawn into their differing mind sets. Interesting how these diverse characters are tied into an intrinsically functioning unit, without the reader even noticing the natural ease with which the author does this. – The book raises some thought-provoking questions and leaves one looking forward to more from the pen of this intriguing author.

This book is a definite must-have for your library. A gripping tale from beginning to end, with characters so vividly described and with such varied and interesting personalities (one can’t help thinking of them as friends), you feel as though you know each of them personally. After reading this book all I can say is – Ahoy! Off to the next adventure!

ReginaBlank bookcover with clipping path
Leslie Hyla Winton Noble
Beautiful and brilliant young Lady Regina-Valerie, only child of a wealthy lord, has everything. Everything, that is, except friendship and happiness. Her Siamese cat Tickle has a lot to say, but not much she can understand … until suddenly, she does. Then she is swept from her modern world into a wild adventure in the Warrior Magic Circle land where war is the main thing and ‘non-combat creatures’ like women are looked down upon. She and Tickle are kept very busy in a battle not only against evil forces and terrifying creatures, but also against the silly customs. To top it all, Regina has to fight with her own nature. After combating overwhelming obstacles with the help of a prince and princess, a wolfhound, a shy Scottish admirer, horses, and a martial eagle, she and Tickle are set the task of solving an impossible conundrum and tracking to his lair a malevolent creature powerful beyond imagining.

Fantasy lovers of all ages will be captivated by the excitement, humour and imagination in this epic tale of a quest with a difference.

cover - angelsThe Everywhen Angels
Marie Marshall
In these turbulent times with everything streaming towards its final demise, who can be a normal kid and simply go to school? Caught in the maelstrom of events in what may be the ‘Last Days’, the Angels are there when they are needed, preventing accidents, saving lives. They feel like heroes, invincible… until things start going wrong. Their story is told through the eyes of three youngsters from a comprehensive school on the outskirts of London. Angela is a poet, a rebel, and a questioner of how things seem. Charlie is a boy with great dreams, but who seems unaware of the troubles of his own mind. Ashe is young, strange, and very special. Join them as they uncover more questions than answers.

Scottish author and poet Marie Marshall wrote this novel for teenagers as a response to a challenge to set a fantasy in a school, and produce a novel as good as anything that a certain famous and wealthy compatriot of hers could write. Well, mission accomplished… and maybe even exceeded!

Here are some reviews and comments. Firstly from Nikki Mason at BestChickLit.com:

Three extraordinary kids. Three astounding stories. What will you believe?

Angela is just an ordinary teenager until the day she falls through a fence at school into the alternative reality of the Guardian Angels, a group of twelve teens who are tasked with protecting people in the build up of the final war between good and evil. But no one will answer Angela’s question: why?

Charlie knows he is special. Of course he’s a Guardian Angel. But he is also a Yellow – the GA’s rivals who try to prevent all their good work. But why is everyone suddenly ignoring him?

Ashe is diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and yet he can open doors between worlds and time. He understands what it really means to be a Guardian Angel but can he cope with the knowledge alone?

Marie Marshall tackles big subjects in The Everywhen Angels from religion and science to war and politics. All this rages on in the foreground of the lives of three teenagers who are trying to find their place in their world and be comfortable in their own skin. Action packed, full of crazy tangents, incredible ideas and stunning description, the novel is completely different to anything I have read before. It can at times be confusing, but bear with the story – the mind-boggling themes and plot diversions will be explained and will feed the curious minds of young adults.

Other readers say:

Writing of this quality ought to win the Carnegie Medal or something.

Straight up, no bull, the best book for this age-group that I have read in a long, long time.

The book is something special. The characterisation is convincing. The narrative is entertaining and gripping, but at the same time shows a wealth of knowledge and research and introduces challenging food for thought on abstract matters.

The Everywhen Angels by Marie Marshall is told through the eyes of three different teenagers in a school somewhere in England, as they take on the function of angels. They discover along with a small band of others that they have supernatural abilities which they are obliged to keep secret, however. How they put these abilities to use, for good or bad, that is the matter of the story. This book challenges its reader to face deep, existential questions; about life, the nature of the universe, the ‘ending times’ and what they mean (from several different perspectives); what is good and what is bad, or is there, and if so, by which right or logic do we interfere in what happens to others. The story left me feeling somewhat rattled and as though my cupboard of philosophies has received a good airing and spring-cleaning, and I now need to put things back and decide what to keep.  It is an excellent book; one of those ‘clingy’ ones that stays with you for days after because you have to think about it.

It’s tough to capture the sheer suspense of this book in mere words.

If you would like to know more about P’kaboo Publishers please feel free to visit their web site. There you will find details of their entire list, plus other information. If there is anything else you would like to know please contact this agency or P’kaboo direct.

Stop Press!
Due out soon – Marie Marshall’s From My Cold, Undead Hand, a non-stop teen-vampire story, the first of a planned trilogy. More news as we get it…