Guest Author: Nancy Holzner

Nancy HolznerToday, I am excited to welcome back Nancy Holzner, author of the fabulously Deadtown series and the second novel, Hellforged, is now out.

A demon is stalking Vicky’s dreams-just as several of Deadtown’s zombies are viciously attacked and become really dead. And when Vicky realizes she is the only connection between the victims, she suspects that the demon is somehow working through her dreams to become Deadtown’s living nightmare.

Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of Hellforged.

Hellforged, the second novel in my Deadtown urban fantasy series, is now available. When a mysterious plague hit Boston, turning two thousand of its residents into sentient zombies, the quarantine zone became Deadtown, home (by law) to Boston’s paranormals. It’s also home to Victory Vaughn, a shapeshifter who kills other people’s personal demons for a living. In Deadtown, Vicky does battle with the Hellion who killed her father. In Hellforged, Vicky struggles to protect her friends and prevent a long-lost relative from unleashing an ancient power more terrible than anything she’s encountered before.

You can read Chapter 1 of Deadtown here, and Chapter 1 of Hellforged here.

The Awesome In-Between

It’s a little strange having a book come out in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This week is a no-man’s land between the year that’s ending and the one that’s about to start. Everyone’s either looking back, compiling “best/worst of the year” lists, or looking forward, making resolutions and predictions for the year to come. No one really expects anything new to happen that week; we’re either wrapping up or thinking about the long term.

Since everyone is making lists at this time of year, though, I thought I would too. To celebrate Hellforged’s release, here’s a list of five awesome in-between things:

Bookmarks. I love bookmarks. When I go to a convention, I scoop them up from the freebies table. There’s something satisfying about sticking in a bookmark and closing a book that ebooks can’t quite replicate. I also love discovering bookmarks that people have left in used books. In my town, there’s a huge book sale every May and October to raise money for the library, and I’ve found some fun bookmarks between the pages of books I’ve bought there: photos, letters, receipts, even a Victorian calling card. I also enjoy the blog Forgotten Bookmarks, which displays “the personal, funny, heartbreaking, and weird things” a used and rare bookseller finds in the books he buys. I can spend hours on that site.

Early spring. I’m one of those crazy people who like winter. I like snow (as long as I don’t have to drive in it), I like the frosty air. I don’t even mind shoveling. But there’s something undeniably exciting in the stirring of the earth in early spring. The air smells different, rich with the promise of growth, and I get all excited to see snowdrops and crocuses venturing forth from the soil. When the temperature drops, as it always does at that time of year in my part of the world, everything stops and waits. In a few days, things thaw out, and more signs of spring emerge.

DeadtownThe second draft. Many authors I know are fans of the first draft. The first draft is playtime, when anything’s possible, and they have a blast romping through their stories. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked as an editor, but I prefer the second draft. I’m one of those writers who dreads staring at a blank page. For me, the second draft is the fun draft. I love having a scene already sketched out, so I can roll up my sleeves and get to work on it. In the first draft, I feel like a sculptor who has to dig her own clay. In the second draft, I’ve got  my clay. It may be ugly and lumpy, but now I can start to shape it.

Creature Comforts. In my Deadtown series, the New Combat Zone is the area between the checkpoints into Deadtown, where all paranormals live by law, and human-controlled Boston. It’s the location for several “monster bars,” places where paranormals and humans can meet and mingle—or eye each other suspiciously across the room. Creature Comforts is one of those bars. It’s owned by Axel, a seven-foot-tall knuckle-dragger who’s obviously not human (and nobody’s brave enough to ask what he is). Vicky goes there to relax, but often finds trouble instead.

Limbo. I’m not talking about the “how low can you go” dance where you give yourself back strain trying to dance under an ever-lowering pole. I’m talking about “the world between the worlds,” where ghosts dwell and memories (both good and bad) linger. In Hellforged, Vicky gets pulled into Limbo and has to battle her way out.

As we stand between the old year and the new, what are some of your favorite (or least favorite) in-between things?


Nancy Holzner grew up in western Massachusetts with her nose stuck in a book. This meant that she tended to walk into things, wore glasses before she was out of elementary school, and forced her parents to institute a “no reading at the dinner table” rule. It was probably inevitable that she majored in English in college and then, because there were still a lot of books she wanted to read, continued her studies long enough to earn a masters degree and a PhD.

She began her career as a medievalist, then jumped off the tenure track to try some other things. Besides teaching English and philosophy, she’s worked as a technical writer, freelance editor and instructional designer, college admissions counselor, and corporate trainer. Most of her nonfiction books are published under the name Nancy Conner.

Nancy lives in upstate New York with her husband Steve, where they both work from home without getting on each other’s nerves. She enjoys visiting local wineries and listening obsessively to opera. There are still a lot of books she wants to read.

Contact Info
Social Media: Facebook / Twitter

Want to purchase Nancy’s novels?
Deadtown at Amazon or at the Book Depository
Hellforged at Amazon or at the Book Depository

HellforgedThank you Nancy for visiting Literary Escapism.

Contest Time! Nancy has graciously offered to give away a copy of Hellforged to give away.  All you have to do is answer this one question: As we stand between the old year and the new, what are some of your favorite (or least favorite) in-between things?  Or simply ask Nancy a question.

As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):

  • +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
  • +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
  • +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
  • +10 Purchase any of Nancy’s novels (listed above) or any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.

One thing I do add to my contests…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

The contest will stay open until January 6th, at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer and the List Randomizer.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. Hi Nancy. I love in-between things.

    In my writing, “gray characters,” those you can’t decide whether to love or hate, often become favorites and sometimes threaten to steal the story unless I hold them back.

    I love twilight. When I lived in Vermont, I always went out right as the sun sunk behind the mountains to chop wood and play with the dog. There’s something about the quality of light I love in those fleeting moments in-between day and night.

  2. in-between thing I hate: waiting for the next book in a series . In-between thing I love: that state right before you are truly awake. Where you kind of drift consciously through a dream you just had.

    2 points for me!

  3. Keith, I know exactly what you mean about twilight. That’s my favorite time of day to be outside, when the sunlight is fading and the warm, yellow lights are coming on inside all the houses. (I have a feeling I’d like the pre-dawn time, too, but I’m never awake to see it!) And yes on gray characters, too. I think part of the reason they’re fun is that they can be unpredictable. Those are the characters who surprise us.

    Sharon, me too! That neither-asleep-nor-awake state is wonderful. I find once I become aware of it and try to draw it out a little longer, I wake up fully. It’s best when I can just sort of *be* there, drifting along.

  4. My favourite in between thing – cookie dough – not yet cookies and no longer seperate ingredients! :-)

    My least favourite inbetween time is returning from holiday – that travel from your vacation spot to home – are your still on holiday or not?

  5. Many adult authors are branching into YA, do you see yourself writing YA novels in the near future?

    +1 blog/twitter follower @vanpham88
    +1 commented on Darker Angel review

  6. Ooh, Mel, that’s a great one! I wish I’d thought of cookie dough. It’s a perfect example of what I mean.

    Van, I’ve had an idea for a YA fantasy kicking around in the back of my mind for a while, but I don’t plan to work on it immediately. There’s a dark historical fantasy (for adults) that I’d like to work on in the coming months. I do plan, though, to write some freebie short stories from the point of view of Tina the teenage zombie. It’s really fun to turn over the keyboard to her. :)

  7. My favorite in-between thing is that time right after Christmas when you can just relax and enjoy without the stress, knowing that Christmas won’t come again for another year.
    My least favorite in-between thing right now is that time between the job offer and actually starting the job. I just want to get started and learn all the things I need to know to do a good job.


  8. Hi Barbara,

    I like your point about the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. That’s why it’s the perfect time for so many people to get a break from work. (And I like the email slowdown that results! LOL) Happy New Year!

  9. One of my least favorite things is when I don’t really love a book but feel compelled to keep reading the series.

  10. One of my least favorite things is the wait between book releases for a series I love. I get impatient because I can’t wait to read what happens next :)

    +1 follow on twitter @throuthehaze

  11. @Bethany: Toby Daye is a fantastic character, and your least favorite in-between thing made me laugh. :)

    @Sandy: I know what you mean. You feel kind of stuck in the middle, hoping things will pick up again but not sure they will.

    @Throuthehaze: Me, too. That’s one of my least favorite things from both the perspective of a reader and the perspective of a writer. But I love discovering a new-to-me author whose series already has several books out and devouring them one after another!

  12. my favorit in- between moment is dreaming – you know that you are dreaming but you don’t want to stop it! for me it feels like kind of flying and you can do everything you want…
    Nancy, congrats on your newest release – can’t wait to pick it up!
    wish you all the best for the new year, Melanie

Comments are closed.