Monday, March 5, 2018


An interview with author Michelle Rene.


Hi! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author?

I’ve been writing for about twelve years now professionally. I write science fiction, historical fiction, humor and everything else in between. I’ve written short stories, novelettes, novellas, novels, virtual reality scripts, and even a video game. My first books were published in 2014. One of which is my historical novel, I Once Knew Vincent, that went on to win some indie awards.

What got you into writing?

I’ve always loved writing. When I was thirteen, I spent a summer handwriting my very first book. Cursive… back when people did that. Two hundred and five pages. It was my first attempt, and not one anyone should ever read it, but it got me hooked!

What was the first idea you had for your book, and how did the story grow from there?

Other than my thirteen-year-old novel, my first book came during a fever dream during the most boring cruise I’ve ever seen. I fell asleep watching some terrible documentary about finding Shanghai-La. That combination brought me a litany of crazy imagery that catapulted me head first in the book writing world. The flood gates were opened after that.

Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe him/her?

Dakota is probably my favorite character in Tattoo. The chapter with her was the first one I wrote, and I guess you can’t forget your first love. She’s creative, savvy, and has a tender heart. Originally Tattoo was a short story with just the Dakota chapter, but I decided to expand it from there.

What's your favorite scene from your novel? Could you please describe it?

The scene with Dakota and Jane in the tattoo studio. It’s the first time you see the plight of tattooists in this new world and what they’ve evolved into. I loved the idea of one person being able to write an entire life for someone else and it feel completely real. I guess because it echoes what I strive to do as a writer.

What's your favorite part of writing? Plotting? Describing scenes? Dialogue?

It’s a tie between describing scenes and dialogue. I strive to push myself to find new ways to describe the same surroundings and really lean into the way a character talks to paint the story. After all, no two people see the world the same, so you can’t write it the same. We all have a voice, outer and inner.

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?

I’m a really fast writer. I’ve written novellas in a matter of weeks. My record for writing a novel was sixteen days. Of course, that’s a first draft. My process varies from project to project. Some require more research and outlining, and others hit me so hard, I don’t need more of an outline than a few sentences. With Tattoo, it was a piece of paper that said “1-They 2-Natali 3-Elliot 4-Irene 5-Dakota 6-Toby 7-They.” The story was so solid in my brain, that’s all I needed.

What is it about the genre you chose that appeals to you?

Trying to nail a genre to Tattoo is like trying nail egg yolk to a wall. The best we can tell, it’s science fiction/fantasy, but Tattoo’s such a unique, slipstream-type story that it sort of hovers in it’s own orbit. I love books that try something unique and challenge the importance we put on the structures of genres. Story is story is story.

Are there any books or writers that have had particular influence on you?

That would be a really long list as I am a voracious reader. With regards to Tattoo, I would say Neil Gaiman is an influencer. I love how he can invent his own worlds, and really his own versions of genres, and it’s beloved by all audiences.

Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing your book? Characters who took on lives of their own? Plot elements that took unexpected turns?

All the time! I believe whole-heartedly in an outline to plot your story, but I’ve never written a book that didn’t divert me. I’ll be typing, and some realization hits me while I’m typing out some character’s dialogue. Some new epiphany that explains why they are acting a certain way. The next thing you know, I’m adding three more chapters because of it. You have to be open to that because once you create characters, they take on a life of their own.

Thanks for stopping by!


A mysterious young woman appears in a cynical age. Why is she here … and will she survive long enough to achieve her purpose?

Judgment Day was not as advertised. Instead of fire and wrath, our histories suddenly began to appear as tattoos on our skin. No one could hide their past deeds anymore, unless they visited an illegal tattoo artist, who could replace their sins with unmarked skin.

Years later, a young woman appears, entirely unmarked. No one knows what her appearance means, but a small band of people find themselves drawn to her, ready to set off on a quest whose purpose is as unknown as the young woman’s past.


Michelle Rene is a creative advocate and the author of a number of published works of science fiction, historical fiction, humor and everything in between. You may have also seen her work under the pen names Olivia Rivard and Abigail Henry. She has won several indie awards for her historical fiction novel, I Once Knew Vincent.
Michelle’s favorite places in the world are museums, galleries, and libraries. Everyone who creates tells a story of some kind or another. Whether she’s painting, writing, or making a video game, Michelle is dedicated to her obsession with storytelling.
When not writing, she is a professional artist and all around odd person. She lives as the only female, writing in her little closet, with her husband, son, and ungrateful cat in Dallas, Texas. You can find her online at

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Purchase links (Paperback only during pre-orders. Ebook will be available on March 7)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

EDGE OF EVIL is up for preorder!

Hey everyone! My YA dark fantasy, FLYNN NIGHTSIDER AND THE EDGE OF EVIL, is available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more! This dystopian take on a world ruled by magic and monsters will be coming your way from Crazy 8 Press on May 15.

What's more, for the month of march, it's on sale for only 99 cents as part of survival month! A whole bunch of awesome YA books about dystopias, apocalypses, alien invasions, and more are currently on sale for less than the cost of a cup of coffee... check it out:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

COVER REVEAL: Brave New Girls: Tales of Heroines Who Hack

Today, I’m revealing the cover and story line-up for BRAVE NEW GIRLS: TALES OF HEROINES WHO HACK, coming July 2018! This YA sci-fi anthology (edited by sci-fi authors Paige Daniels and Mary Fan) features stories about girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)… Girls who hack not just computers, but whatever puzzles come their way, using their smarts to save the day. It’s got sci-fi mysteries, cyberpunk, space adventures, and more! Proceeds from sales of the anthology will be donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.

And without further ado, here’s the cover!

Stories in the anthology (in alphabetical order by title):

The Alchemist's Daughter by Selenia Paz
The Altered Avatar by Mary Fan
Attack on Aegis by Paige Daniels
Becoming a World Builder by Valerie Hunter
Data Recovery by Nicholas Jennings
Discord on Harmonia by M.L.D. Curelas
The Experiment Called Life by Halli Gomez
False Messiahs by Josh Pritchett
Impossible Odds by A.A. Jankiewicz
In Cyberia, Avatar Controls You by Jeremy Rodden
In the Shadow of Zyrcon by Joanna Schnurman
Inmate C87 by Kay Dominguez
Life Hack by Aaron Rosenberg
Login by Jennifer Lee Rossman
Moon Girl by Jennifer Chow
My Other Tree House Is a Rocket Ship by Russ Colchamiro
The Power of Five by Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg
Pyramid Scheme by Jamie Krakover
Sea-Stars and Sand Dollars by Lyssa Chiavari
Second Sun by J.R. Rustrian
ShockWired by Tash McAdam
Sword & Shield by Jelani Akin Parham
Twisted Brick by M.J. Moores



Brave New Girls: Stories of Tales of Heroines Who Hack is the third volume of the Brave New Girls anthology series. The first two, Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets (2015) and Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme (2017) have so far raised thousands of dollars for the Society of Women Engineers Scholarship fund. Find them on Amazon.



Paige Daniels is the pen name of Tina Closser. By day she works as an Electrical Engineer and Mom mushing her kids from gymnastics and violin practice. After the kids go to bed, she rocks out with her headphones turned to eleven and cranks out books. She is an uber science geek. If she wasn't married to the most terrific guy in the world, she would be a groupie for Adam Baldwin. Her books include Non-Compliance: The Sector, Non-Compliance: The Transition, and Non-Compliance: Equilibrium.

Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil. And what stories she has! Currently, she has three series in progress and likes to think that she has even more in her bag. Her books include Starswept, the Jane Colt trilogy, the Firedragon novellas, and the Fated Stars novellas.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Love and Entropy: A Hollywood Lights Novella / Katie Rose Guest Pryal

TITLE: Love and Entropy: A Hollywood Lights Novella 
AUTHOR: Katie Rose Guest Pryal
PUBLISHER: Blue Crow Books


Women's Fiction


LOVE AND ENTROPY is the prequel novella to ENTANGLEMENT, Katie Rose Guest Pryal’s novel about two young women searching for new beginnings in 1990s LA. I read Entanglement a little while back and really enjoyed the story of Daphne, a charismatic fashionista with a dark past, and Greta, an awkward physics nerd, so I was excited to read the story of how the two became best friends in the first place.

In LOVE AND ENTROPY, both Daphne and Greta are students at a top-notch school. But whereas Daphne is a social butterfly with a frat-boy boyfriend, Greta is an isolated geek who’s more comfortable with numbers than people. Yet when Daphne meets Greta, she feels an instant friend connection. And when Daphne’s boyfriend suggests setting Greta up with a frat brother, Daphne sees it as an opportunity to help Greta come out of her shell. But it turns out that Daphne’s boyfriend has ulterior motives – one that could shatter the budding friendship before it begins.

I loved that LOVE AND ENTROPY tells the story of a strong female friendship. There’s no pitting women against women, no stereotypical mean girls or anything. Just two young women who support each other (that’s part of what I loved about ENTANGLEMENT too). In a way, LOVE AND ENTROPY is a romance – two dissimilar people meet, experience a mutual (friend) attraction, hit some rough patches, but deal with them and have a happily ever after. A friend-romance, if you will. It’s quick, delightful read, full of fun and feels.


Katie is a novelist, freelance journalist, and erstwhile law professor in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is the author of the Hollywood Lights Series, which includes ENTANGLEMENT, LOVE AND ENTROPY, CHASING CHAOS, and HOW TO STAY all from BLUE CROW BOOKS. With Raven Books, she is the author of LIFE OF THE MIND INTERRUPTED: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education (2017).

As a journalist, Katie contributes to QUARTZ, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, THE (late, lamented) TOAST, DAME MAGAZINE and other national venues. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, where she attended on a fellowship. Katie has published many books on writing, including HOW WRITING WORKS with Oxford University Press. A professor of writing for more than a decade, she now teaches creative writing through Duke University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and works as a writing coach and developmental editor when she’s not writing her next book.