Guest Author: Mark Henry

Mark HenryIn August, a group of authors and readers will converge on New Orleans for the annual Authors After Dark convention. One of those authors will be the hilarious Mark Henry, author of the fabulous Amanda Feral series,  Mark is also getting ready to release his first young adult novel, Velveteen, this fall as Daniel Marks.

Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.


Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It’ll be brutal . . . and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a novel from Mark’s backlist – winners choice – and a preorder of his new novel, Velveteen!

I’m not gonna lie. It feels a little strange to be attending a convention like Authors After Dark as Mark Henry, rather than solely as my young adult pseudonym, Daniel Marks. After all, I haven’t really promoted my adult titles for a couple of years, nor do I have any adult works in progress. I had, for all intents and purposes, moved on after my Amanda Feral series tanked, pulled myself up out of the ashes of a charbroiled career, salved the bruises and reinvented myself.

No small feat. I really have to give credit to all the hardcore grifters who can change their identities scheme after scheme–it’s a LOT of work–and staying in character is damn near impossible. As many of you know, my tendency is to not be a very good teen role model. (I’ll wait while you finish snickering). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then, you probably haven’t read my increasingly porny zombie comedy series (feel free to do that now and then come back and we’ll chat).

Yay! Five percent of you are back! And if you are, then clearly you’re sick individuals who have nary an ounce of empathy to split between you. Come sit by me!

DMarks-VelveteenOddly enough, the reason that most people like me in person, is exactly what bothers them about my writing. I knew my humor would never be globally accepted, it’s the result of years of systematic callousing, and comes across very different in person (or on video, which is how I’ve relaunched myself as Daniel Marks) than it does in the written word. Consequently, I’ve had to find some balance and learn to deal with those tendencies in my young adult work (which I shall tell you about now…because I’m a promotional whore like that).

My first YA novel, Velveteen, comes out on October 9th of this year (you can read about it up there) so it’s, again, a little off in terms of timing for a convention, but I’ll bet there’ll be some books floating around Authors After Dark and I know there’ll be a reading at the big YA event on Saturday, which I hope y’all will come to. I plan on reading something that’ll blow people’s minds at how far the teen-oriented book can push people’s buttons…even adults.

Speaking of pushing buttons, that’s the theme for this year’s convention, or at least in my mind it is. Except, in my mind that’s always the theme, so…expect that. I seriously can’t wait.

When Stella suggested I come out of retirement and oil up the snark engine for another con, this time in New Orleans where I’d actually get beads when I flashed my man boobs, I was like, “Where the eff do I sign up?” It’s been so long.

I used to love going to conferences and not just for the clandestine erotica readings and the hooch, though, those are both immense draws. I just really love hanging out with people who love books as much as I do. I find myself missing those days and the friends I made among both readers, authors and other industry folk. Again, it’s been too long.

Meet Mark Henry!

MARK HENRY traded a career as a counselor to scar minds with his fiction. In stories clogged with sentient zombies, impotent sex demons, transsexual werewolves and ghostly goth girls, he irreverently processes traumatic issues brought on by premature exposure to horror movies, an unwholesome fetish for polyester and/or witnessing adult cocktail parties in the swingin’ 70s. A developmental history further muddied by surviving earthquakes, typhoons, and two volcanic eruptions. He somehow continues to live and breathe in the oft maligned, yet not nearly as soggy as you’d think, Pacific Northwest, with his wife and four furry monsters that think they’re children and have a complete disregard for carpet.

MHenry-Happy Hour of the DamnedContact Info
Website: Mark Henry | Daniel Marks on YouTube!
Blog: Mark Henry | Daniel Marks
Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Want to purchase Mark’s novels?
Amanda Feral

  1. Happy Hour of the Damned at Amazon | Book Depository
  2. Road Trip of the Living Dead at Amazon | Book Depository
  3. Battle of the Network Zombies at Amazon | Book Depository

Velveteen (writing as Daniel Marks) at Amazon | Book Depository
Kiss Me Deadly (writing as Daniel Marks) at Amazon | Book Depository

Contest Time!

Thank you Mark for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism!

We’re giving away a novel from Mark’s backlist – winners choice – and a preorder of his new novel, Velveteen. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: How far do you think teen-oriented books can push people’s buttons? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.

Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.

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 May 22nd at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy new plug-in I have. I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.

About Jackie 3273 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. How far do you think teen-oriented books can push people’s buttons?

    I think, like teen’s themselves, teen-oreinted books can push peoples’ buttons pretty freaking far.
    I mean, really, up until recently there wasn’t really even a market for teen books and now there is. Authors are doing a great job representing the things that real teens go through and treating their teen readers like they’re smart, savvy and not made out of spun glass. Unfortunately, that scares parents and other adults who want to pretend their precious babies have blinders on when it comes to the world.
    I think a well written teen-oreinted book can open up teen’s minds and increase dialogue about serious issues…or at least just give them an awesome book to read. That’s good too.

    Hope that made sense. :)

  2. Absolutely. Unfortunately, for many adult readers, there’s a stigma about reading young adult fiction. Sometimes they need a little coaxing and prodding to give it a shot. You know?

    • I’m definitely one of those who needs a little coaxing and prodding to try a YA title, but it’s not the stigma that bothers me about most YA titles. It’s the fact that some authors feel the need to remind the reader how young the narrative voice is. I’ve found that stories that do that, tend to distract me from the story. I’ve enjoyed the Harry Potter, Vampire Academy and Wicked Lovely series. So I’m not totally against YA. It just takes a bit of encouraging.

  3. I think they can push people’s buttons just as far as adult-oriented material. But it’s undeniable that there’s still a stigma around adults reading young adult books. And as this is a primarily adult-oriented blog post and I’ll be attending the conference as my adult persona, I’m pointing out this stuff to coax people into giving YA as shot. You know?

  4. I love Mark’s work and while I’ve been waiting for the day I deem my teenage sisters OLD ENOUGH to tackle Amanda Feral, porny zombies aside, teen books can push as far as teens will accept.

    The sad thing is that there will always be parents as gatekeepers with these titles and if one of them yells loud enough it creates problems. Teens are dealing with real issues though and I don’t see any reason to sugarcoat these issues just because they’re not adults. I’d probably say middle grade would be an inappropriate place for some of the button pushing topics, but high school kids are exposed to a lot these days.

  5. hmm… “How far do you think teen-oriented books can push people’s buttons?” I think as a society we have started maturing a lot younger than we were 20 years ago, therefore I think the level of what is acceptable is much more broader than it was even 10 years ago. I am an 80’s child that grew up with Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, Goosebumps, with sneaking my mom’s romance novels with pirates, the West and historical genres. I didn’t have a cell phone until I was graduated and could pay for it on my own, we had one house phone with a cord so you had to sit at the dining room table and the whole family listened to your conversation. If we cursed my mom would be quick with the evil eye look or a swat on the ass.

    I think the majority of kids have cell phones attached to their hip these days, if not a cell phone than some electronic device. They are exposed to and desensitized to what one would have used to consider adult topics at an earlier age. Let’s face it with most parents working kids are left on their own with little to no supervision. It is a fast-paced world where if they are different from their peers in any way, they get singled out and not just bullied at school but now online. It takes a special kid/teen to remain different and not cave to their peer’s pressure to conform to their norms. That means exposure to sex at an earlier age (I read something where it said kids were having sex at 11 and 13! ~ Needless to say it was many years after that than my friends and I even started thinking about having sex). I really think that there really isn’t such a thing as too far any more, either it is sex, drugs, violence/cruelty, or even death… No matter how far you push the envelope now there will be someone somewhere that can/will relate.

    Look at Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, in each there was a vicious battle that the main characters had to fight and kill for their survival. But each of those books gave the reader strong characters that they could relate to that stood up and fought back for what they believed in. Then you have classics such as Clockwork Orange (is that considered a YA?) that I read senior year, once was all it took to sear into my brain. Excellent book despite the twisted theme with the rape and beating but it is a book that I will never forget reading.

  6. I think that teen-oriented books can push people’s buttons because of the material that some writers write about but what people have to understand is that kids are growing up in a much different world than the one that adults grew up in. They are exposed to many more things what with the internet and tv shows that apparently all have to have some sort of reference to sex. But the problem here is that most of those things are put out into the world by adults for teen view. Bottom line: We all have different opinions and should respect each other, act civil in the age where civility is dying. For me though, teen-oriented books do not push my buttons. There are some really great authors out there who have teen series and I will read them. If I don’t like the book or have no interest in the topic, then I simply won’t read it. I don’t care what other people want to read. For example, I don’t like the Twilight series, but obviously many people do. Good for them.

  7. Holy crap Mark! Where have you been all my life! You are hilarious and have gained a faithful follower. I think, by your post and the teen-oriented books I’ve read, buttons will be pushed to the max. I honestly couldn’t figure out the difference for the longest time b/t teen-oriented books and adult. The former being almost just as graphic as the latter.

  8. I think authors can push as far as they can so long as their core audience can still connect with the characters. Often if the topic is too mature, not every readers will “get” a story. I like interesting issues as oposed to the most controversial, and I don’t mind when authors try to shed new light on an issue.

  9. I think teen-oriented books (I read a lot of both YA and adult books) can push readers’ buttons just like any adult book. I agree with another poster that YA books are, overall, quite a bit different from when I was a teenager; there have been several YA books I’ve read where the teens could be easily substituted for much older characters and some where I could imagine certain parents freaking out if they knew their kids were reading them. As with adult books, if you don’t like the situations, characters, language, etc., simply don’t read the book or author anymore.

  10. I’m all about boundries being pushed. I read a lot of adult books but also love to dive into YA books. The thing about YA is the amazing stories and concepts these authors come up with. Not only does it bring me back in time to my own innocence but some of these books have great teachings and deal with some very real to life problems. I think teens love them and are more open to them than some adults are. Teens are at a place in their life dealing with sex, peer pressure and drugs. Reading about characters that are dealing with the same struggles and pressures gives them something to relate too. I have three kids, and there is not one book on my shelf I would forbid my kids to read. It’s all about communication. There was a book banned by the schools in my hometown that delt with a teen girl in an abusive relationship. Parents were in an uproar but I think it was a book that should have been allowed. It’s a very real situation that teens and adults could find themselves in. When it comes to pushing boundries, I’m all in. Push away :) YA contemporary, historical, paranormal… name it and these YA authors have come up with great stories. I wish they would have been around when I was in my teens, I probably would have read more and been watching less MTV

  11. Just as far as any other book can, YA or otherwise. It’s all about subject matter and the key button-pushing topics of sex, religion and violence, among others.

  12. Great post! I’d have to say that an author writes what she/he wants. And if it’s geared to YA, then that author usually has that specific audience in mind. As far as pushing buttons, it’s a facet of literature across the ages. Even Shakespeare did it. I guess if there is concern, it’s up to the parents/authority figures to keep the communication open so that young adults/teens can understand the content. Nothings worse than a young person “sneaking” a book they think they shouldn’t be reading and not understanding the context, which leads them to misconceptions etc. Books can be a great learning tool and a bridge to understanding more complex social aspects as long as they are treated as such.

  13. Great post! Other commenters have made some excellent points so I’m just going to say that I think YA books can push just as many buttons as adult books, particularly these days since teens are exposed to so much so fast.

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