I’m Baaaacccckkkk

Nuf’ said . . .


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Book Review: ZEROBOXER by Fonda Lee



Flux, April 8, 2015

Preorder: AMAZON, B&N


A high-action sci-fi about a young man battling to make it to the top in the world of zero gravity prizefighting, amid brewing interplanetary conflict, pitched as Rocky meets Gattaca.

Eighteen-year-old Carr “the Raptor” Luka is an athletic phenom, a rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing. Training and competing aboard the lunar orbiting city-station of Valtego (where It’s More Fun on the Dark Side TM), all he’s ever wanted is to win the championship title.

His talent and marketability don’t go unnoticed by the top brass of the Zero Gravity Fighting Association. They assign him a brandhelm; after all, anyone who wants to be anyone needs a dedicated personal marketing strategist. Beautiful and ambitious, Risha is one of the genetically engineered Martian colonists that Earth dwellers view with resentment and suspicion. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity, and stolen his heart along the way.

But success could be the worst thing that happens to them. As his fame grows, Carr must come to terms with the fact that he’s become an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet now angry at falling into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. When Carr learns of a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating personal secret. Not only will his choices place into jeopardy everything he holds dear, they may spill the violence from the sports arena out into the solar system.



“Victory was a better high than a hundred bliss bombs. Perfect and real, lasting for days, even weeks, before being polished and stored in its own special nook of the soul, each win in his collection unique and everlasting, wanting nothing except more neighbors.” – Carr “The Raptor” Luka

Zeroboxer landed on the top of my TBR list for 2015 for several reasons:

First: the cover (which I though were headdress-like masks initially) was FABULOUS. FYI – those are wings on the front, NOT masks a la Stargate on the cover. Either way, it’s cool.

Second: the description, which pitched it as a sci-fi twist on Rocky. Let me tell ya, no one is a bigger Battlestar Galactica / Star Trek fan than moi, so the setting hooked me.

Third: I’m a huge fan of great sports films (I know – go figure, I ride horses and haven’t seen Secretariat).

Zeroboxer surprised me, but in a good way. It wasn’t what I was expecting.

In fact, if I compared Zeroboxer to anything, it brings to mind the themes in Any Given Sunday, The Fighter, and Million Dollar Baby. I loved all three films.

The story follows Carr, a young, brilliant zeroboxer from Earth whose star is on the rise. He is jaw-dropping in the cube (aka the zerogravity cage), riding high on his fame and taken under the wing of a Martian zeroboxing association giant, Bax Gant. He is assigned a Martian brandhelm, the beautiful Risha, who becomes a love interest (FYI – the romance is a very, VERY distant secondary story, so don’t think this is a romance AT ALL, although there is some nudity mentioned). Soon Carr’s world comes crashing down when he realizes he is a pawn and his zeroboxing days are numbered . . . and jail (or worse) may loom in the future if he is not careful.

This story, at its core, is about a young athlete’s love of the game and the struggle to come to terms with its darker, corrupted side . . . but that’s not exactly what the teaser says. I didn’t see Risha as “ambitious” (a word that pulls a negative undertone in the teaser), I didn’t get some horrible conflict between earth and the Martian colonist (they’re a bit pissed, but eh), and I didn’t get anything in regards to the violence from the sports arena spilling into the solar system (there is a throw down in the arena and a fisticuff at the embassy, but nothing like WWII).

So, after reading the teaser, I went into the book thinking that this was going to be a story about a young star’s rise in the Zeroboxing world amid corruption, but that he and his Martian brandhelm discover a plot that will ignite a war between races (Terrans and Martians) and he must choose which side to stand with.

This is totally NOT that story, BUT what I read was still AWESOME.

Fonda Lee’s vividly imagined world of weightless cage fighters is PERFECT for any older male teen who is obsessed with sports. In fact, I was recommending Zeroboxer yesterday to a young man I knew who adores Fight Club. I’ve been talking it up with the bookstores near me, who often stock whatever I recommend, especially since this book (unlike any other I’ve read) is IDEAL for those reluctant male readers. Zeroboxer is the literary form of those video games that male teenagers adore, igniting their own desire to win and keep them reading late into the night in the hopes that Carr will succeed in life and in the cube.

Lee’s story of fierce determination in the brutal sport of zerogravity cage-fighting, will no doubt be the top pick of 2015 for every teenage boy who ever fought their way to the top, and put all they had on the line.

Zeroboxer is a epic victory dance for every parent who is seeking that one, unputdownable story for their teenage son.





2014 Osterville Village Holiday Stroll

We Cape Codders like our traditions, and with multiple small villages scattered throughout the Cape, it’s no wonder we adore a chance to hang with our neighbors. On Cape Cod, everybody knows everybody, or at least knows a friend of a friend. Cape Codders also speak in a weird language all their own, sometimes unbreakable by the best code workers in the FBI.

Conversations often go something like this when defining a place to meet up:

Local A: “So where we meeting?”

Local B: “You know – it’s on that corner with the giant flag pole, across from the shop with the porch thingie, just before you pass that area where you can pick blue berries. If you get to the mini goats, you’ve gone to far.”

Local A: “Oh, yeah yeah. Hey – I thought they sold the goats and got llamas?”

Local B: “No way! Who took the goats?”

Local A: “Oh, well – you know the librarian at So and So library?”

Local B: “Oh, yeah – totally. She’s so nice.”

Local A: “Well, you know that Boobie Buoy she wears all the time?”

Local B: “Yup – My neighbor makes them!”

Local A: “Well, he’s the one that bought the goats for inspiration.”

Local B: “Oh . . .  well, that explains where all my tulips went. I’d cursed out the squirrels for no reason, apparently.”

Local A: “On the bright side, maybe he can pay you back . . . with a buoy.”

Local B: “HA! Wicked idea!”


Long story short: I’m at the OSTERVILLE VILLAGE STROLL tonight, at the bookstore near the flag pole thingie, near the far end of Main Street. See below and have fun!



My TBR for 2015 (thus far anyway)

Soooo, below are some of the books that I am dying to read for 2015 SO FAR (my list grows weekly, I swear). Some are already out, some will release in the coming months, but ALL (yes, ALL) are on my Santa list . . . unless that damn elf rats me out.

If anyone knows Fonda Lee, tell her I will even sacrifice the afore mentioned shelf-dweller to my dog as a chew toy if I can get an ARC of Zeroboxer!! BEYOND excited about that one!!

What’s on YOUR TBR??


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Why the agony of writing for teens is worth it

Girl reading a book on the floor.Writers can become burned out.

I don’t mean the hyperventilating, “OMG I have no story ideas!” type of burn out. I mean the grind of the words, the constant push to out-write your last book, the stiff necks, the time crunches, and the piecemealing of a life outside of your characters’ worlds.

You try to balance the requests from bookstores, the demands to meet deadlines, the desperate need to spend time with your family and your children, and (for many of us), the 9 to 5 of a day job as well.

Novel-writing is the ultimate act of endurance, with a finish line that seems to never fully reveal itself. And once you have finished one story, polished and in print, you immediately are looking to churn out the next book.

I started to feel the burn out when I was finishing up CRUEL SUMMER.  In the past 2 years, I had churned out close to 300,000 words related to the UNDERTOW series. Let me tell ya – that’s a lot of freakin’ words!

I’ve worked as a writer since 1999, and in all those years, I never got burned out as a journalist. But in all those years, I didn’t have the fans I have now. And they are like – HARDCORE FANS. They burn through those 300k words in just a couple of days, because they can’t put the book down. Because they must keep going, or they will obsess about Eila and her crew all day long, which is great and all, but I start to panic and think, “I need to get another book done for them, like, YESTERDAY!”

And my fans are voracious readers. I often get messaged that this kid or that kid has read STORMFRONT in a day (112k words) or that they are re-reading UNDERTOW for the 5th TIME! I don’t even think I’ve read Undertow cover to cover more than twice, and that was when it was in its editing phase! Some fans buy EVERY cover version, because they must have them all (0_0)

So, when I start to feel the burn out lurking in my life, I remember those fans. Those that flip out so entirely over the characters, that their Christmas lists are loaded with Undertow stuff.

I don’t get to usually see fans outside of book events, but the other day I saw one reading my book, and what I saw filled me with determination to work even harder.

You see, I drive a school bus during the day, filled with my target audience. While I can only really see the tops of kids’ heads when I drive, I do have to walk to the back of the bus when I pull up to the middle school to unload. The other day, while I walked to the back of the bus to disengage a warning button, I saw one girl sitting and reading, oblivious to the fact that we were at the school. At first I didn’t pay much attention, but then I did a double-take.

I knew that font.

I knew that line.

She was reading STORMFRONT. I didn’t bother her, but kept going and unloaded the bus, but she hung back, sliding into the seat behind my driver’s one. “This is so unbelievably awesome,” she says to me. “I was up from, like, 8 to 11 last night reading. And I reread Undertow over the weekend, but OMG. I love this!”

I thanked her and blushed a tad, thrilled she was enjoying it.

At the end of the day, I drove her home with a bus full of half-crazed teens. I was focused on getting the kids home safely and not losing my mind, so I wasn’t really paying close attention to what she was holding as I unloaded at her stop. But as I saw her walk away, I realized she had gotten off with the book tucked under her arm. I watched, floored, as she walked towards her home, Stormfront in her hands as she read.

She wasn’t on her phone. She wasn’t hanging with the other kids and talking. She was lost inside my book, living alongside my fictional characters, reading as she walked. Suddenly that lurking burn-out vanished and I remembered why I write.

I do it for teens like her, who want to fall so entirely in love with a story that their own reality tumbles away.

I write for the fans, and in turn, they are my creative jolt.

They power me past the burn out.

They are my army and my saving grace . . . and I pledge my undying loyalty to their awesomeness.

Group of friends


Six Weirdos, Two Hours, One Awesome Time


Come Meet the Voices Behind Some of Today’s Most Popular Young Adult Fiction!



Scott Blagden, author of DEAR LIFE YOU SUCK/ HMH

Hillary Monahan author MARY: THE SUMMONING/ Disney/ Hyperion

Trisha Leaver author of CREED/ Flux Books

Lauren Roy author of NIGHT OWLS/ Ace Books

K.R. Conway: Author of STORMFRONT

Moderated by Barnstable’s very own Mick Carlon!

Advance registration appreciated by joining this event or contacting Sturgis Library (508.362.6636 / sturgiskids@comcast.net)

facebook-logoRSVP on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/events/353704621454509/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming&source=1


A very VERY happy launch day to debut writers Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie who throw their creepy horror thriller CREED out into the huddled masses T-O-D-A-Y!

MY REVIEW can be found here: CREED

Go get it – I dare ya to put the sucker down!


Creed final cover

author pic 1

lindsay author photo



Undertow Series by K.R. Conway

Featured Image -- 1840

KR Conway:

Huge thanks to Books & Sweet Epiphany!

Originally posted on Books & Sweet Epiphany:

Bonjour! It is finally the time for my very first official book review on my wordpress site and I am absolutely excited! I’ve had the chance to do a review on the Undertow series by the amazing author, K.R. Conway and I am absolutely blown away. I will tell you why once you get a look at Undertow, the first in the book series down below.

undertow new

Seventeen-year-old Eila Walker’s new home has defied the brutal Atlantic for over 160 years. Abandoned since her 4th great grandmother Elizabeth vanished, the town legend declares that she drowned . . . or was struck by lightning.

Unbeknownst to the town and Eila, however, is that someone does know what really happened to Elizabeth, and he has returned, determined to protect the last surviving Walker from a history of violence.

But what starts out as a quest for redemption, evolves into something more and…

View original 885 more words

Wattpad, Giveaways, and Cruel Summer

I am so very excited to let you all in on a few fabulous things:


CRUEL SUMMER digital cover for goodreadsA. CRUEL SUMMER I am loading to Wattpad (a chapter every Friday until it is set to go live as a print book). The link is here: http://www.wattpad.com/77897632-cruel-summer

If you don’t already know it, UNDERTOW is also loading to WattPad . . . click here: http://www.wattpad.com/34180601-undertow-by-k-r-conway-1st-book-in-trilogy







Secondly, Jackie of the fantabulous She Reads She Blogs has been hosting a Readalong of UNDERTOW. Now, if undertow-giveawayyou have NOT read the sucker, be warned – she offers up spoilers. HOWEVER, starting tomorrow (October 28th, 2014) she will be starting the giveaway and MAN – what a giveaway it is! The link is here: http://shereadssheblogs.com/2014/10/27/author-spotlight-on-k-r-conway-giveaway/




cape cod beet author night



A.C. Gaughen is shamelessly addicted to staying up far too late (it feels like stealing time), diet coke (it burns so good), Scotland (stupid country stole her heart and won’t give it back. Interpol has been ineffective for prosecution) and thieves (so she technically isn’t that mad at Scotland). She is published by Walker Books / Bloomsbury. GOODREADS, TWITTER, WEBSITE, AMAZON


Barbara Eppich Struna: When the author and her husband Tim, a professional artist, turned forty in the late 1980s, they moved from Ohio with their family to an old 1890 house in Brewster on Cape Cod. The Cape’s history, culture, and brilliant natural light drew them in; this was a place where Tim could paint and Barbara would write. A storyteller at heart, Barbara’s imagination took flight after she unearthed a mysterious pattern of red bricks under ten inches of soil behind her barn. She conjured up a connection to the Bellamy/Hallett legend, and her first novel was born.

She is currently a Member in Letters of the National League of American Pen Women, The Cape Writers Center, and two writing groups. She is a contributing writer to Primetime Magazine. Always a journal writer, she is fascinated by history and writes a blog about the unique facts and myths of Cape Cod. GOODREADS, TWITTER, WEBSITE, AMAZON


GINA FAVA: Gina Fava is a Buffalo, New York native and lives with her family in New England. A University at Buffalo graduate, she also holds a law degree, and has studied both art history and counter-terrorism in Rome. She’s the author of award-winning short stories, and is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America. The Sculptor, her latest novel, is the first in her Mara Silvestri mystery series. She is also the author of The Race: A HELL Ranger Thriller. Stricken with wanderlust, she travels far and wide to research new characters and new places to murder them. GOODREADS, TWITTER, WEBSITE, AMAZON


STEVE MARINI: Steve’s second novel, Aberration, recently took fourth place in Mystery, earning a Top Ten Finisher Award in the 2013 reader’s poll by Predators and Editors. He holds a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from Boston University and a B.A. in Business Administration from New England College and has spent over thirty years in the Education/Training field, including posts in higher education and the federal government.

Although he describes himself as a “card carrying New Englander,” he lived for twenty-six years in Maryland while pursuing a career spanning four federal agencies. His background has enabled him to serve as a project manager at the National Security Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Academy and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where he worked with teams of experts in various fields to develop state-of-the-art training for both classrooms and distance learning technologies.

A “Baby Boomer,” Steve has taken up fiction writing as he moved into his career final frontier. Married for thirty-eight years, a father of three and a grandfather, Steve and his wife Louise own a home on Cape Cod that will serve as his private writer’s colony for the years ahead.. GOODREADS, TWITTER, WEBSITE, AMAZON


K.R. CONWAY: Okay – so this is me. Not very exciting, though this oh-so-snazzy blog (http://capecodscribe.com) is my site. Click on my profile HERE . . . or just keep reading:

I’m one part crazy and one part professional writer. I’ve been a journalist since 1999, an editor, graphic designer, critique partner for other writers, and book reviewer. I also teach the devious art of telling lies for money to impressionable young people (i.e. I teach fiction craft classes for teens and adults). I write the UNDERTOW series (well, duh).

Because I believe the words “FREE TIME” refer to a parallel universe of which I am banned from, I find myself also on the Board of Directors for the Cape Cod Writers Center, a member of the SCBWI, and the driver of a 16-ton school bus. Apparently I tweet my random thoughts @sharkprose and yup – I am on Facebook, because even my BFF’s dog is. I can’t rank below a dog . . . seriously, I need more friends. The dog is killing me.

I live on Cape Cod with my two children and husband, two dogs (adept at both flatulence and snoring), and a cage-defiant lovebird that sleeps in a miniature tent. This is Cape Cod – even the animals are nuts. GOODREADS, AMAZON, and all the other links are above.


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