I like that word. 

It works so well in the context of what I’m about to tell you.

Imagine, for just a moment, that you’re spending most of your free time trying to pursue something that has become a passion to you. Imagine, you’re doing okay at it but sometimes it’s a struggle to gain any traction. Working full time and having a life sometimes isn’t very accommodating of your ‘hobby’ and make pursuing that dream…difficult. 

That’s what it’s been like for me. I LOVE writing. Sometimes, if you catch me in the right frame of mind, I think I’m pretty good at it. But the fact is that being an author and publishing books is a saturated market, and it’s tough to sell your books. It’s hard to get the recognition that you’re being noticed. I have sales, but they are few and far between. Stephen King, I ain’t!  LOL

However, I have become part of the little #WritingCommunity on Twitter, and I hang out with some of the coolest cats I know in Indie writing. Now, I’m not a Social Media butterfly. Frankly, the whole thing bamboozles me roughly 80% of the time. But I do love to be in these little groups and see what’s going on.

So with all that said, it freaked me out (in an excited way!) when I get a note in my DMs from Ross Young, the author of the wonderful Gloomwood novels.

It simply said…

Which blew me away! Of course I immediately responded…

I was equally parts honored and excited. To be asked to be included in something like this was like a dream come true. It weirdly felt like some form of validation.

The theme was to be ‘THEY WALK AMONG US‘ and I had to pull a short story of fewer than 5k words on that topic. Obviously, with my own Songbird books out there with a theme of Vampyrii, Werewolves, Fae, etc, that was where my mind went. Thus, my small part of the book is a teeny prequel to the Songbird saga. I called it ‘The Night Before…‘ and for those of you who’ve read Hunters and are familiar with the concept of The Rising, this was a sneak peek at how it all began. It was a lot of fun, and I loved writing it. It also triggered in me a need to change a few things in the saga itself (mostly the importance of one particular character) and also I now feel a strong urge to write a prequel series. 

But then…

I started to get wind of the other authors involved. AND worse still we got a chance to read everyone else’s short stories.

And at that point, my Imposter Syndrome started to whirr into overdrive.  

Malarky’s ImaginOmnibus – ‘They Walk Among Us’ is on sale from Monday 27th February 2023.

I say ‘on sale’, but the eBook is FREE, and the paperback (if you want one!) is set to cost. You only pay for the printing. Anyway, if you’re reading this, then there’s NO EXCUSE not to get the eBook, and if you do you’ll be treated to 12 amazing short stories…and mine too.

Let me give you a rundown on who exactly is involved (click on their names to go to their Amazon page!)

Some of these guys and gals I knew previously, others I knew by name and reputation but this was my first time actually getting to know them. They’re an awesome bunch, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process. Can’t wait to work with them all again!  

Anyway, let’s start with perhaps the most important of the bunch! (I have to say that or she won’t edit my next book!)

NT Anderson – My erstwhile editor, Tepris Press co-founder, book-wife, and all-around best chum! She wrote the wonderfully sexy and romantic ‘Acts‘ series. Her short in the collection is entitled, ‘There’s Romance Afoot‘. It’s sweet, sexy, and hilarious. She had me involved early on in her writing process and I adored her idea.

Evelyn Chartres – She’s a Canadian author who writes gothic fantasy novels. I have to admit I’m a little behind on reading her books, I have ‘Dark Hearts‘ on my TBR list and I’m really looking forward to it after sampling her work in ‘High Water Mark‘. Note: All her books are FREE! So check them out. In the anthology, she wrote a short called ‘Mirror, Mirror‘.

SJ Covey – Has her YA Fantasy debut book coming soon (The Order) but is a Flame Tree Press horror short story winner. She also has a short in the anthology ‘The Decagon Key‘ if you want to sample her other wares. Her short in Malarky’s is entitled, ‘Harmony of Fire – The Rise of the Sleeping Giants‘.

Rose J Fairchild – Now, I have to admit, I knew Rose by name but didn’t know her in any sense of familiarity. She is WONDERFUL! She’s currently querying her books, and on the strength of her short in Malarky’s (entitled ‘Other‘) I really can’t wait to read her other works. 

Kayla Hicks – Kayla has been a chum for a while, and her ‘Backup Superhero‘ books are fab.  She’s just released a children’s book called Dandelion, which I hear good things about! (I confess I haven’t read it myself! Her short in the ImaginOmnibus is called ‘Small Town Pack‘.

Chris Hooley – He’s the presenter of the Writing Community Chat Show, which is awesome. If you’re interested in writing then tune in and listen (his interview with NT Anderson is a particular highlight!). I’ve watched the show a bunch of times, but his short in Malarky’s (entitled ‘Ginny The Witch Grants A Wish‘)is my first taste of his writing. It won’t be my last!

Samantha Kroese – Another author I knew more by reputation than personally. Samantha is a pretty prolific writer of dark fantasy/horror. Click her name to visit her Amazon page, there’s a huge bunch of books to choose from. Her short in the ImaginOmnibus is called ‘Saviour of the Lost‘ 

Peter James Martin – I’ve known Peter for a while, and love his daily excerpts from his Brennan and Riz books. They’re about a man and his talking rat and the magical adventures and mysteries that they go on. His Malarky’s story is called ‘Ghost Duty‘ and when I read it I was left wishing it was an idea I’d come up with! 

AC Merkel – Ah, king of the animated gif. If you’ve seen any animations on my website that have anything to do with my books, chances are it’s AC Merkel that created them. I’ve got a few of his books sitting on my TBR list (I’m soooo slow at getting through that list!) like Witch vs Witch, and the books from his ‘Her Name Is Murder‘ series. His short in Malarky’s is called ‘A Cross and a Girl Named Red‘.

Melissa Rose Rogers – Another author I knew more by reputation than actually knew and had spoken to. She’s contributed to a couple of anthologies before, so she’s an old hand at this. Her little tale in the book is called ‘The Richest Red Velvet‘. Warning! Do not eat if you’re hungry!

Halo Scot – Ah, Halo. I interviewed Halo on this website when I read Edge of The Breach, the first in her beautifully horrific Rift Cycle books. I have to admit to loving Halo’s writing style. It’s almost lyrical in nature and makes the consumption of her grimdark writing a joy. Her short in here is called ‘Demontia‘ and is every bit…Halo. 

Ross Young – Ah, the man we call Ross Boss. The man who pulled us all together for this amazing little anthology book. I’ve known Ross for a while and his books are some that have made it through my TBR list!  And they were fabulous. The Gloomwood novels are set in the afterlife and are hilarious. He’s also the man who brings us our daily dose of Beezy and Grim on Twitter. His short here is called ‘Meet Cute‘ and it’s every bit as chucklesome as his other works.

JF Reviews

Okay, so I’m a bit biased on this one because a) I have a short story in there, and b) I know many of the authors involved quite well.

But I did genuinely love every little tale in here. There’s such a wide variety to choose from and different people will have different favorites depending on their leanings. That is essentially what an anthology is all about though. Getting a taste of different authors and styles. The shorts run the gamut from comedy to horror. Light to Dark. We have them written from different perspectives and from a wide variety of characters. Each story will have its fans, of that I’m sure. 

What amazed me about the book though, is how thirteen authors, when given a simple prompt like ‘They Walk Among Us’ can all interpret it in wildly different and equally imaginative ways. 

I was so honored to be invited to be a part of this. It’s been a wild and wonderful ride. 

Here’s to Malarky’s ImaginOmnibus Part 2!

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