Are you a fan of horror, sci-fi, or fantasy? Do you like free stories? Then check out the latest issue of Allegory eZine, including several stories that yours truly was fortunate enough to be assigned, right HERE.
half a dozen times. In it, the main character goes to Hawaii with her friends and they take a standard scuba course. The course that he wrote about was nearly identical to the one I would eventually take in 2000. Because I read the book so many times, and because (like a nerd) I totally memorized the entire class, when I did my first PADI course, I knew all the skills. The instructor was very impressed.
Now let’s fast-forward to 2013 THE DAY of my second dive. That scuba company did NOT go through the entire Padi course, but I still recalled all the skills. So, when I happened to take a nice old breath and there was nothing there—literally nothing, just resistance, like trying to shove a marble pillar with my lungs—I was pulled back into Christopher Pike’s world. The one where Mandy had a problem with her gear and stood up in the pool. Her dive master told her the very words that echoed in my brain when I was under all those feet of water with my last breath quickly dissolving into my blood and no more where that came from: You need to handle emergencies in place, under the water. The solution can’t be to bolt to the surface.
AND, most importantly, I recalled the words, You always have air.
Okay, that was a totally botched quote (my copy of the book is somewhere in my house, but the idea of trying to dig it out sounds as daunting as the idea of pushing a marble pillar with my lungs), but the gist is absolutely accurate.
AND IT SAVED ME. Literally.
I recalled the book and knew I merely needed to find another diver, and luckily they were all around me. Just like Leah in BREATHLESS, I swam to my dive master who was about four kicks away, and showed him my gauge with the needle in the deep red. And just like in BREATHLESS, his response wasn’t to immediately hand me his spare regulator, he first took my face in his hands and peered into my eyes. At the time I was like, Uh, now’s about the time I could use a little spare O2, but later—once I actually had a chance to think about it (and let me tell you, when it hit me what happened, there was a whole lot of holy BLEEP! going on)—I realized, he did that to make sure I wasn’t panicking. To make sure when he handed me that savior of rubber and metal, that I wouldn’t screw the maneuver up and end up breathing in a mouthful of salt water.
And once he was satisfied, he passed me his spare, and all was well. I recalled how to purge my regulator. No problem. That’s just the push of a button. We surfaced, pausing to let our bodies adjust to the pressure change, and I climbed back onto the boat totally and completely fine.
When I think back to that day, fear isn’t the strongest of the two sense memories I have. The first is that feeling of something pushing back when I tried to take a breath. And the second was the way the dive master looked into my eyes. Never have I been more vulnerable, and never again will a stare feel that intense (at least I seriously and truly hope it won’t). The experience has haunted me ever since THE DAY.
What’s a writer to do?
Write a story about it, of course. And the concept for BREATHLESS was born.
So, I dedicated this updated edition of BREATHLESS to two people: my incredible husband, Eric, and Christopher Pike, because without his book, that story, and all the ones I’ve written since, could very well have died along with me in the blue waters of the Caribbean.
"...a great story, exploring the human soul's emotional needs with insight and an exciting touch
of mystery and the paranormal." -- Hilary Hawks for Readers' Favorite
Look for BREATHLESS on May 15th, 2017
Ah! I'm so excited to share this cover for my YA horror novella with Leap Book's SHINE in their Bloody Good Reads series. The book comes out October 2nd, just in time for the Halloween season. I'm always craving spooky, specter-filled books and movies at that time (Can you crave books? Well, I do .) and this one is exactly that. In the words of my Leap editor, Judith Graves, this book is CREEPTASTIC.
They rip, they tear, they FEED, and you never come back again.
Folks who've been following my blog will remember that just a little over a year ago, Three Worlds Press shut its doors. This is always such a hard thing for everyone. Sure, our books revert back to us, but to see them gone from the world and to face the uncertainty of what will happen with them is tough.
I was fortunate to publish a short novella with them, BREATHLESS, I like to call romantic paranormal magical realism. For the last year, I've thought about the story with sadness. Like most authors, I love all my stories, and I really wanted BREATHLESS to be back out in the world.
I thought my dreams came true when I was accepted into Pitch2Publication in 2016 (I worked with the amazing Rebecca Faith Heyman) and signed with my rockstar agent, Dr. Uwe Stender. Now they've REALLY come true because, thanks to my agent and #TeamTriada, I just sold my debut novel, a Young Adult Thriller, to Sky Pony Press! Editor Alison Weiss has worked on some fabulous projects already (including another TriadaUS book, TIMEKEEPER by Tara Sim), and now I get to work with her on
TEN AFTER CLOSING. I am so thankful, so excited, and my mind is still a little blown. (More than a little.)
You can see this announcement in Publishers Weekly right here.
Look here for more news as we approach publication in Spring 2018! (It's going to be here before we know it!)
You will find my story, "Care of the Undead Dog," along with many more great zombie stories in this anthology. Another highlight is "All Dressed in White," which was written by my dear friend, G. Marie Merante. (Now we're book sisters!)
Congrats to all the authors and a big shout out to Dead Silent and Christian Bentulan on the incredible artwork.
I'm so excited to announce that the latest issue of Allegory Magazine is out and you can read it for free.
This issue is very special to me as I had a hand in choosing the stories that made this issue's cut. When the list came out, I was giddy to see several stories that came across my desk had been selected by the Editor in Chief. I never expected the experience to be so fun or rewarding, but I loved every second of it. So another HUGE thank you to the awesome Ty Drago, author of the Middle Grade zombie series, THE UNDERTAKERS, for inviting me to help out with your fun eZine.
In this latest issue, you'll find a range of Horror, Sci-Fi, and Speculative Fiction that will certainly fit every taste.
I hope you enjoy! And, submissions are OPEN for the next issue. You can find out more about that HERE.
I'm so excited to announce my latest story acceptance. My dark, uber-gross comedy will appear in ZOMBIE CHUNKS, a horror anthology from Dead Silent Publishing. Some of those involved with this book are also part of Silent Studios, a group of gore-lovers responsible for special effects in a whole slew of movies, shows, and games (and I'm sure everyone out there has seen at least one piece of their work).
Check back for more info soon.
Yes, 'happy-dancing' is a verb, because that's what I'm doing right now. All over the place. Happy-dancing and dissolving into spontaneous smiles. I'm thrilled to announce that I've been offered representation by an incredible literary agent, Dr. Uwe Stender. I'm honored to join #TeamTriada alongside the other talented TriadaUS Literary Agency authors and agents.
When I received the first tweet from Rebecca Faith Heyman about my Pitch2Publication submission, TEN PAST CLOSING (a young adult thriller), I was through the roof. And it only got better and better after that. I am beyond grateful to Rebecca and the organizer of P2P, Samantha Fountain, and for the support of the other P2P authors.
Now, it's time to get to work so TEN PAST can find its way onto the shelves. And if anyone is interested, you can read the book blurb on the P2P website right HERE.
Jessica Bayliss Blogs about reading, writing, & other fun stuff