Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Monday, June 30, 2014

Big News on the BJ Cartoon Front!

Good news, everyone!  Zee Risek, our animator for the BRAINEATER JONES animated series, has been invited to the Ottawa International Animation Festival this year!  Apparently this is a big deal, where all of the animation heavyweights like Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney, and so on go to hear pitches.  (Think speed dating, but with TV networks instead of potential love interests.)

An example of Zee's work

Zee has told me that we have a real advantage having an existing property with so much critical acclaim.  So I've decided to embark on a big round of requesting professional reviews for the next few months, which, if I haven't told you already, is grueling work.  Getting Amazon reviews, even from friends and family, is like pulling teeth. 

The good news is, you personally right now can help make the BRAINEATER JONES cartoon a reality.  If you've read the book, you can leave an honest review on Amazon.  Your purchase doesn't need to be from Amazon to leave a review, and reviews only need to be 20 words long.  (For perspective, this paragraph alone is already 60 words, more than 3 times what you would have to write.)

So, if you've ever wanted to help us bring the BRAINEATER JONES cartoon to your television screen, here is your big chance!  Thanks everybody!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Zombie Allure (Guest Post by Chris Tucker, Author of THE 5280 DIARIES)

Hey, there, blogketeers!  It's June and you know what that means:

After getting to interview Shawn Chesser two weeks ago I've been very lucky to be asked to feature a second guest for the tour! Today I'm very pleased to introduce fellow zombie author Chris Tucker, author of THE 5280 DIARIES.  First, let's get to know Chris and then jump right into his guest post.

About Chris Tucker:

Chris Tucker grew up in New England and has lived throughout the country. From an early age, he acquired a love for reading and always wanted to write his own book.

That opportunity came when he was living in Hawaii and he decided to start writing what would become his first novel - LOST VOYAGE.

After his son was born, the writing was put on hold and it would be more than a decade before the book would finally be published. It was a long road to finish up that first novel, but the resulting product is something he is extremely proud to have written, and even prouder to share with his readers.

When not writing, Chris spends his time raising his son, playing guitar, taking his pup to the park and hiking through the Rocky Mountains.

Chris currently resides in Denver.

The Zombie Allure

When I initially decided to write a short story zombie series, I wasn’t quite sure where it would take me. I’ve always love a good zombie story, whether it’s a book or a movie, (or of course – The Walking Dead), but I didn’t know how I would incorporate my love for the genre into an actual product to share with everyone else. My inspiration to finally write it came from the most unlikely of places…a short story series about local Florida businesses called THE FLAGLER BEACH FICTION SERIES (Let’s all take a minute to allow Armand Rosamilia’s head and ego to deflate here…).

The stories themselves had nothing to do with zombies or anything horror related, but it was the premise for which the stories were based on…they were about real people in fictitious situations. I read a posting about how Armand was getting all sorts of requests from people to have them or their business featured in the next series and a light went on in my head.

I thought it would be fun to use real people and locations during my zombie apocalypse – something that would make my readers connect more with the story. I found the perfect main character, Payden, who is a good friend of mine, and I couldn’t think of a better place to host the beginning of the zombie apocalypse than the town I live in – Denver.

THE 5280 DIARIES series was born.

I like the “real” feel to it in the sense that I can write about people I know and make the visual aspect even more authentic since I live here and can diagram the city on paper for a virtual zombie tour as the books are read. Everybody loves zombies (in that cute, cuddly way) and I often find myself writing about how I would handle the arrival of the undead. That’s my inspiration for writing the series and hopefully everyone will get a good laugh, cry, or whatever emotion I can pull from them.

We have all thought about the zombie apocalypse and if it could ever happen (or when it will happen). My books are my perspective into the event and how it would be handled. The undead may or may not end up taking over the world, but it sure is fun to think about. After all…wouldn’t that just be too cool if it did happen?

You can find the first two stories in THE 5280 DIARIES series here or by going to my website.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading.

You can follow Chris on his website, Amazon page, Twitter, and Facebook.

Make sure to buy your own copy of ONE SHOT ONE KILL and SANITY'S EDGE

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with over 30 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!  AND so you don't miss any of the posts in June, here's the complete list, updated daily: 

And don't forget you can enter my  #SummerZombie giveaway all month long!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BRAINEATER JONES Cartoon (Second Batch of Sketches)

Hey all!  This past weekend our incredible animator Zee Risek sent voicover artist Steve Rimpici and I some more sketches for the BRAINEATER JONES animated series so I thought I'd share them with you now.  (If you never saw the first batch of sketches, check them out here.)

Jones holds his flask with a stylized shadow, I'm guessing from the Venetian blinds in his office

Jones holds AlcibĂ©'s birdcage.  (I love the way Jones has his hand in his pocket.  It shows so much of his character without a word.)

The Old Man!  There's so much going on here.  Awesome.

The Big Gorilla with his best friend the dishcloth.

Here's AlcibĂ©, Jones, and the bartender.  I love the size comparison.  Doesn't the barkeep look like he could just wreck up your world?

Jones and a barfly at Hallowed Grounds.  Look at the expression on Jones's face!  Could he look any more like a miserable drunk?  And compare it to the smile on the other guy!  

Jones, the head, and the barfly.

In this one Jones is wearing a hat.  I find it really hard to pick which I like better.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Verse Vs. Prose (Guest Post by Michael Meyerhofer, Author of WYTCHFIRE)

Today I'm delighted to host fellow Red Adept Publishing author Michael Meyerhofer, who has recently released his debut novel, high fantasy WYTCHFIRE!  Be sure to hang around until the end because our mutual publisher is generously hosting a giveaway for this blog tour.

Lookit that bitchin' cover!

In addition to being a novelist, Michael is also an award-winning poet and editor of poetry anthologies, which is why I asked him this question:

How is writing verse different from long-form prose?  Do the skills you've developed as a poet come into play at all when you put on your novelist's hat?

Stephen, thanks for having me!  Today, I thought I’d talk a little about how being a contemporary poet has influenced my long-form prose (in this case, my epic/dark fantasy book, WYTCHFIRE, first in the Dragonkin Trilogy).  For starters, my love of epic fantasy goes back to Tolkien.  Probably a lot of other writers can say this, too, but my first actual book (besides DICK AND JANE and those passages from the Bible that I was supposed to be reading while I was grounded) was THE HOBBIT.  Even as a kid, I was amazed by the richness of Tolkien’s words, the raw beauty of his language.  I’m reminded of the ending of an absolutely fantastic short story by Tobias Wolff called "Bullet in the Brain", in which a dying book critic’s last memory is just what got him in the business in the first place: a simple, almost primal love of language.  That’s how it started.

For me, Tolkien was poetry, and still is.  Even though my own poetry is unapologetically contemporary, with pop culture jokes and nerdy references to the History Channel, and of course a lot of narrative, at the end of the day, it’s all about language—about sound.  Writing poetry helped me improve my prose a great deal, probably especially in terms of my descriptions and my willingness to take bigger, creative leaps.  I’d also add that a lot of my favorite poets are fiction writers, and vice versa.  Stephen Dobyns and Raymond Carver come to mind.

As for my process in one genre versus another, they’re surprisingly similar.  My poems usually start with an image or a memory and go from there—as does my fiction.  Both forms take a lot of work, though I think it’s probably easier to have a kind of Zen-like wrap-up in poetry than it is in fiction.  Put another way, I’ve never written an outline for a poem, but especially these days, I write complex outlines for my novels.  Nevertheless, the novels themselves start with a raw image of a character, something that just kind of drops out of the sky, perches as the base of my skull, and knocks on the back of my head until I let him in.  That goes along with my belief that writing is half deliberate (especially in terms of revision) and half autopilot.

There’s big differences, though, too.  Both require revision, sure, but poems are generally short little things.  Mine in particular tend to never go over a page and a half, whereas my fantasy manuscripts tend to be four hundred pages or longer.  Poetry has a wonderful immediacy that I love, but I also have a soft spot for the kind of narrative weaving and the big, page-by-page polishing that comes with long form fiction.

One final thing I’d say, if you’ll permit me, is to advise writers (established and aspiring, alike) to put as many tools in the toolbox as they can.  Find writers you like in all genres.  Read them often.  Just as poetry can add music to stories, a working knowledge of prose can add a wonderful accessibility to poetry.  And of course, other art forms—from other genres of writing to different forms of expression like music, photography, and painting—can be part of the process, too.  I hope this doesn’t sound pretentious (feel free to kick me if it does) but in a sense, I think writers should see themselves less as writers and more as artists, using whatever medium suits the purpose of the day.  

About the Author:


"Ladies, please.  You can BOTH marry me."

Michael Meyerhofer grew up in Iowa where he learned to cope with the unbridled excitement of the Midwest by reading books and not getting his hopes up, Probably due to his father’s influence, he developed a fondness for Star Trek, weight lifting, and collecting medieval weapons. He is also addicted to caffeine and the History Channel.

Michael Meyerhofer’s third poetry book, DAMNATIO MEMORIAE, won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest.  His previous books of poetry are BLUE COLLAR EULOGIES (Steel Toe Books, finalist for the Grub Street Book Prize) and LEAVING IOWA (winner of the Liam Rector First Book Award).

He has also published five chapbooks: PURE ELYSIUM (winner of the Palettes and Quills Chapbook Contest), THE CLAY-SHAPER'S HUSBAND (winner of the Codhill Press Chapbook Award), REAL COURAGE (winner of the Terminus Magazine and Jeanne Duval Editions Poetry Chapbook Prize), THE RIGHT MADNESS OF BEGGARS (winner of the Uccelli Press 3rd Annual Chapbook Competition), and CARDBOARD URN (winner of the Copperdome Chapbook Contest).

Individual poems won the Marjorie J. Wilson Best Poem Contest, the Laureate Prize for Poetry, the James Wright Poetry Award, and the Annie Finch Prize for Poetry.  He is the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review.  His work has appeared in a number of journals including Ploughshares, Hayden’s Ferry Review, North American Review, River Styx, and Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.

Visit Michael’s Blog: Trouble with Hammers
Or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Synopsis of WYTCHFIRE:

In a land haunted by the legacy of dead dragons, Rowen Locke has been many things: orphan, gravedigger, mercenary. All he ever wanted was to become a Knight of Crane and wield a kingsteel sword against the kind of grown horrors his childhood knows all too well.

But that dream crumbled—replaced by a new nightmare.

War is overrunning the realms, an unprecedented duel of desire and revenge, steel and sorcery. And for one disgraced man who would be a knight, in a world where no one is blameless, the time has come to decide which side he’s on.

Excerpt from WYTCHFIRE

Be sure to purchase WYTCHFIRE at:

Barnes & Noble

And don't forget to review it and tell your friends about it on:


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Monday, June 9, 2014

Mailing List

I'm going to level with you.  Not that I don't normally, but sometimes I'm less blunt than this.  Actually, that's probably not true either.  All right, fuck it, I'm just going to say what I was going to say.

So, I hate mailing lists.  Seriously.  Don't send me a newsletter.  I fucking hate newsletters.  If you e-mail me a newsletter I will immediately click "unsubscribe."  Which is annoying, because as far as I know the "unsubscribe" link is just a virus, but that's a discussion for another blogpost.

But anyway long story short because of my personal aversion for mailing lists I have been loath to create one for my fans.  But I have finally done so, and I will tell you why.

First of all, I should preface this by saying that I have heard numerous places in my wanderings that a direct mailing list is THE best method for authors to get info to their fans.  To which I scoffed, because I feel like people prefer social media.  Sure, some people don't do social media, but that never seemed to me like a compelling reason to make a mailing list.  But I kept hearing this axiom enough times that I started to put some stock into it.

Finally, one of my publishers put it into perspective for me.  He said, basically, think about MySpace.  If, in 2006, you had 8 million MySpace followers that was probably a big deal.  It probably meant YOU were a big deal.  Now, if I put information out on MySpace how many of those 8 million followers will see it?  None, most likely.

Point being: e-mail is enduring.  Everyone has an e-mail address and usually it doesn't change (or they get it forwarded) for their whole lives.  Social media is ephemeral.  In fact, Facebook is making changes to their algorithms now such that authors have to pay for their posts to be seen even by their own fans.  Who knows if all the Facebook followers I rack up will even be reachable in a few years?  Or if Facebook will even still exist then?

So, okay, I get it, being able to e-mail people is important.  So I have created a mailing list which I hope you'll join by clicking this link or entering your e-mail in the box below.

And since, as I said before, I DESPISE getting newsletters, here is my solemn vow to you:

I will only e-mail you when I have a new book release.

That's it.  A personal e-mail from me, saying "Hey, I have a new book out, here's the purchase link, hope you check it out."  Not a newsletter every quarter or (God forbid) week.  Not impersonal spam from some 3rd party platform.  An e-mail from my address to yours, BCCed so no one else can see your address, telling you I've got a new book.

And that's it.  That's my feeling on the subject.  So feel free to join, I hope you do, and I promise not to spam you or share your address with third parties.  And thanks for even being my fan.  :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Hey, there, blogketeers!  It's June and you know what that means:

Today we have a very special guest: fellow zombie author Shawn Chesser!  First, let's get to know Shawn and then jump right into the spotlight of his latest novel, MORTAL: SURVIVING THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.

About Shawn Chesser:

Shawn Chesser resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two children. He studied writing at Harvard on the hill (PCC Sylvania) many years ago. Shawn is a big fan of the apocalyptic horror genre. Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy and George Romero are strong influences. When not writing, Shawn spends the rest of his time doting on his two children and doing whatever his wife says. :)

Spotlight on MORTAL

Stephen Kozeniewski:  Thanks for being with us on the blog today, Shawn.  What is your latest zombie release?


SK:  Can you give us a quick description of it without any spoilers?

SC:  114,000 words. Approx. 456 pages.

Spoiler free synopsis-lite.


Outbreak Day 16: With an estimated ninety-nine percent of the United States’ population having already succumbed to the Omega Virus and reanimated to form roving hordes of flesh-eating monsters, two groups of survivors struggle against long odds to survive the zombie apocalypse.

SK:  Can you tell us something unique about it?

SC:  MORTAL is a military thriller set in a thoroughly devastated United States. This fast paced thriller features not only hard-charging alpha males in camouflage and body armor, but also regular citizens doing their best to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Thrown into the mix are strong female characters, a group of younger survivors, as well as a host of human baddies my readers love to hate.

SK:  Sounds great!  Thanks for stopping by!

You can follow Shawn on his website, Amazon page, Twitter, his personal Facebook page, and his Facebook author page.

Make sure to buy your own copy of MORTAL and tell all your friends about it on Goodreads

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with over 30 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!  AND so you don't miss any of the posts in June, here's the complete list, updated daily: 

And don't forget you can enter my  #SummerZombie giveaway all month long!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


A few weeks ago I wrote a semi-coherent blogpost about what should seem like common courtesy: not threatening to rape people you disagree with.  Apparently, though, this is not common sense or basic decency or whatever else it may appear to be, since it apparently happens enough to warrant a call to action.  I don't normally write about sexual politics on my blog.  In fact, I'm not sure that I ever had before that post.

And I'm going to level with you: it was hard.  Damn hard.  So hard, in fact, that I felt obliged after hours of writing and re-writing to ask one of my female author friends, Claire Ashby, to review it for tonedeafness.  And good thing I did, because she recommended I cut more than a couple of tonedeaf bits out.

But, as tough of an issue as it was to wade into, I'm glad I did, tonedeaf or not, because when someone says, "Hey, if you're against threatening to rape people, please write a blogpost about it" I sort of feel obliged to follow through.  Like, who wouldn't do that?

Well...lots of people.  Because it's hard.  Hard to write, hard to post, hard to read, hard to comment upon.

It's much easier to remain silent.  The easiest thing for me would have been to read Keene's call to action post, nod along, perhaps mutter "That's despicable" and then go about my day.  Which is what most people do.

And herein lies the problem.  I have once again reached a juncture in the sexual politics zeitgeist where the easiest thing would be for me to shut the hell up, not get involved, and silently agree with the consensus opinion.  If you haven't guessed by now, I'm referring to the #yesallwomen movement.

What I outlined in my call to action post (you can probably guess why I'm super hesitant to call it "my rape post") was that, long story short, I'm a privileged male and I don't even know what I don't know, but I try my fumbling best to show solidarity.  The #notallmen hashtag showed, I think, how easy it is to fall into the trap of being tonedeaf on women's issues.

So, I was more or less going to let this all pass me by.  But then I was chatting with another female author friends, Kate Moretti, who wrote her own excellent post on the subject.   But she also sent me this link which basically addressed all of the concerns I had.

So, I don't really have anything super poignant to say here.  I don't really have any thoughts on women's rights that haven't been expressed better elsewhere.  What I do have, though, is an obligation to listen.  So I'm listening.  And what I do have is an obligation to speak out.  So I'm speaking out.  Because just silently nodding along is not okay.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Twelve Ways (Interview with J. Leigh, Author of WAY WALKERS: TANGLED PATHS)

Today I'm very happy to have the opportunity to interview fellow Red Adept Publishing author J. Leigh, who has recently released her debut novel, high fantasy WAY WALKERS: TANGLED PATHS.  This is the first book in the Tazu Saga.  Be sure to hang around until the end of the interview because our mutual publisher is generously hosting a giveaway for this blog tour.

Hello, J., and welcome to Manuscripts Burn!  I understand you've written a CoG.  Can you explain for our readers briefly what a CoG is?  And feel free to shamelessly self-promote!

Happy to be here!  Actually, CoG stands for "Choice of Games" which is the company that developed the computer code Choicescript, which enables the creation of these 'choose your own adventure'-type app programs. I'm actually under their user-made games branch, Hosted Games, along with a lot of other independent and talented writers. Basically, what's been done is the creation of an interactive novel, that reads like a book but plays like a game, complete with choices of what the main character (typically 'you') decide to do in the story, and stats that supplement your choices and determine what outcomes you get. They can be simple or complex, though admittedly, my Way Walkers: University 1 & 2 are quite intricate, with dozens upon dozens of variants for each play-through.

So I understand your CoG takes place in the same universe as TANGLED PATHS.  Can you tell us, do they intersect?  Can we enjoy one without the other?

Yes, they do. However, while there are a few 'Easter eggs' to be found in TANGLED PATHS for those who've read University 1&2, the two take place several thousand years apart in the timeline. So, you can easily read one without the other, though I believe anyone who liked one will most likely enjoy the other. University is a little lighter, a little more playful, while TANGLED PATHS is a bit darker, and more introspective. (Though it still does contain plenty of my surprising moments of humor.) Both still center on the importance of choice, and how a person's choices can affect not only their own lives, but the lives of others. It's a central theme of Way Walkers, and to be honest it was fun to approach it from two very different styles.

What's it like to write a story with so many branching paths?  How does your planning differ from writing a static novel?

Oh, the fact that I plan at all! In both styles I am a very character-driven writer, wherein I let my characters 'take the reins' so to speak to drive the action forward. Traditionally, this leaves me room to 'shoot from the hip' and do a lot of my writing on the fly based on the personality of my main character. When writing a choose your own, I have to consider so many character types, so it's like writing a dozen different stories with a dozen different personalities.  As I've learned, this can easily lead to over-branching, where too many side plots lead me down a road of insanity all for a very small portion of the readership who'll actually pick some of the more obscure branches. In the end, I have to be very particular about what choices I offer to readers, and that in and of itself leads to a considerable amount of planning and thought.

Thanks for being with us today, J.!  Do you have any closing words for the audience?

Thanks for having me! I'd just like to say thanks for reading, I hope you give TANGLED PATHS a try, and if so, I hope you enjoy taking a little walk in my world. I'm just a big fan myself, and I love to talk to readers on the Way Walkers Facebook fan page and in my blog, so feel free to come on by and see us!  

About the Author:


J. Leigh wrote her first novel at the tender age of eleven, delving deep into the extensive fantasy world she entitled Way Walkers. Since then, she has never really left, though occasionally does emerge to enjoy the company of friends, family, horror movies and the ever-popular sushi dinner.

She currently lives in southern New Jersey with a chow-chow, several cats and fictional cast of hundreds.

Leigh’s published works include a ‘choose your own’ type interactive novel Way Walkers: University with Choice of Games.

You can follow her on her blog or on Facebook.

Synopsis of TANGLED PATHS:

Twelve Ways create a thousand tangled paths.

Hatched from an egg but unable to shift into dragon form, Jathen is a Moot among the Tazu. His rightful throne is forbidden him because of his transformative handicap, and neither his culture nor his religion offer acceptance of his perceived flaws.

Driven by wounded anger, Jathen strikes out across the vast world beyond Tazu borders, desperate to find a place where he feels accepted and whole. Though he travels with the most trusted of companions, sabotage and conspiracy soon strike his quest. Jathen and his allies must struggle against man and magic alike, at the mercy of forces beyond their ken.

As Jathen presses on, his questions of belonging are surrounded by more of identity, loyalty, and betrayal. Where will the path of his destiny lead, and will he follow or fall?

Excerpt from TANGLED PATHS

See the map

Be sure to purchase TANGLED PATHS at:

Barnes & Noble

And don't forget to review it and tell your friends about it on:


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