May the Fourth Be With You in 2017!

star-wars-40th-logoHey, Panatics! First off, let me apologize for the lack of activity around here. I don’t usually mention my “day job” as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader—“day job” being in quotes because my work hours are very flexible—but April turned out to be a really busy month for me. And believe me, when you work a job that has feast-or-famine assignment periods, you grab what you can get and focus on that to pay the bills.

Also, there’s some Pandora Zwieback novel or something I’m working on… 😉

Anyway, if you’re a science fiction fan, you probably know what the headline of this post means—yup, today is Star Wars Day, that annual celebration of George Lucas’s legendary franchise that retook the world by storm in December 2015 with the box office mega-success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (aka Star Wars: Episode VII), which in turn set the stage for last December’s release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the “heist film” prequel to Episode IV: A New Hope that explained how Princess Leia got the plans to the original Death Star. And now this year we’ve got Star Wars, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi to look forward to! It’s an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan, isn’t it?

But what’s Star Wars Day all about? you ask. To explain this occasion, we look to the official Star Wars website:

“‘May the 4th be with you.’ What started as pun warmly shared by fans has become a full-fledged Star Wars holiday: Star Wars Day, a special once-a-year celebration of the galaxy far, far away…. Once the Internet allowed Star Wars fans around the world to connect with one another, May the 4th soon became a grassroots tradition each year, with fans online and offline proclaiming it Star Wars Day.”

Goth-VadersAs for why we’d be celebrating Star Wars Day at Zwieback Central…well, it’s because I know how to take advantage of a promotional opportunity, that’s why!

What you see here is a sketch cover I drew in 2015, in time for The Force Awakens’ debut (click on the image to embiggen). It depicts Pan as an original Star Wars character: Darth Pandoricus! And standing behind her is her best friend, Sheena McCarthy, as the dreaded Lady She’naa. Hey, it only makes sense that a couple of Goth chicks would want to be dark ladies of the Sith!

For those of you unfamiliar with Pan—just in case you stumbled across the above illustration during your Internet journeys—allow me to provide you with some background:

pan_comic_0Pan—the star of Zwieback in my young adult novel series The Saga of Pandora Zwieback—is a 16-year-old Goth girl who’s spent the last decade being treated for mental health problems because she can see monsters. It’s only after she meets Annie that Pan discovers she’s never been ill—her so-called “monstervision” is actually a supernatural gift that allows her to see into Gothopolis, the not-so-mythical shadow world that exists right alongside the human world. You’ll find Annie battling evil in the following titles:

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0: A free, downloadable comic that serves as an introduction to Pan and Annie—with an 8-page story written by me and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia—as well as Pan’s first novel, Blood Feud (via a pair of preview chapters).

blood_feudBlood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1: This critically acclaimed novel is the beginning of Pan’s story, explaining how she, her parents and friends, and Annie are drawn into a conflict among warring vampire clans searching for the key to an ultimate weapon (or so the legend goes)—a key that just so happens to have been delivered to the horror-themed museum owned by Pan’s father. It’s a character-driven action-fest that leads immediately into the second novel:

Blood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2: Pan and Annie face even greater challenges as the vampire clans draw up plans to go to war with humanity. Leading the charge is a fallen angel named Zaqiel, whose previous attempt at subjugating the world was stopped by Annie—who, back in the day, was Zaqiel’s lover!

pan_annualThe Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1: A spinoff from the novel series, this 56-page, full-color comic special finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. It features stories by me and Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up), art by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0), comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), and cover art by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella).

Blood Feud, Blood Reign, and the Pan Annual are available in print and digital formats. Pandora Zwieback #0 is a digital exclusive. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information, as well as sample pages and chapters.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch Rogue One again…

Not All Zombies Eat People—Some Have a Sweet Tooth!

RE6-PromoBanner

Hey, zombie fans! Today is the U.S. release date for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the sixth and last entry in Sony Pictures’ popular zombie movie franchise based on the even more popular video game series from Capcom. Series star Milla Jovovich returns as Alice, the scientifically created action heroine who’s picking up where she left off in her war against the evil Umbrella Corporation, as chronicled in the previous movie, Resident Evil: Retribution. And yes, just like the Underworld series, I consider the Resident Evil movies a guilty pleasure, so odds are pretty good I’ll be on line this weekend to check out Alice’s final battle.

Speaking of zombies, did you know you can find them in my young adult novel series The Saga of Pandora Zwieback? You bet! Pan is a 16-year-old Goth girl who’s spent the last decade being treated for mental health problems because she can see monsters. It’s only after she meets an immortal, shape-shifting monster hunter named Sebastienne “Annie” Mazarin that Pan discovers she’s never been ill—her so-called “monstervision” is actually a supernatural gift that allows her to see into Gothopolis, the not-so-mythical shadow world that exists right alongside the human world. Pan and Annie started their adventures in the novel Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1, but it’s in the follow-up that they encounter all-new perils.

Blood-Reign-FinalCvrIn Blood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2, Pan and Annie face even greater challenges as the world’s vampire clans draw up plans to go to war with humanity. Leading the charge is a fallen angel named Zaqiel, whose previous attempt at subjugating the world was stopped by Annie—who, back in the day, was Zaqiel’s lover! But vampires are only part of the dangers Pan, Annie, and Pan’s boyfriend, Javier Maldonado, have to contend with, as they arrive at mysterious South Pacific island where monsters dwell.

And one sort of monster they find is the sugar zom: a reanimated corpse that eats flesh but also has an insatiable craving for sweets. Rich desserts, snack cakes, stale pastries—if it’s got a sugar content, these zombies will devour it. And worst of all, they can smell sweets at a distance—as Pan discovers in this excerpt from Blood Reign:

Javi slipped off Pan’s messenger bag and scooted up to the edge of the platform to watch the activity below. When he spoke, he did so quietly to avoid having his voice echo in the chamber. “Y’know, this high up, it kinda reminds me of sitting in the upper deck at Yankee Stadium. You should come to a game and see what it’s like.”

Behind him, Pan stuck out her tongue in distaste. Yankees. Blergh.

She began rummaging through her bag, to reach the junk food that she’d taken from a refrigerated shipping container. “You hungry? I could go for something.”

“Nah. I’m good.”

Her fingers brushed against cellophane wrapped around a pair of familiar round shapes. With a smile she pulled out a package of chocolate-frosted devil’s food cakes. Her favorite brand, too. She slid the food under her jacket to muffle the sound of the cellophane snapping open, pulled out the first cake, and took a whiff of the frosting. Pure heaven.

Javi glanced at the snack, so she held it out. “Want a bite?”

He smiled. “Nah. You enjoy it.”

“Oh, I will,” she replied.

Javi chuckled and turned back to observe the excavation—then started. “What the hell…?”

Pan leaned forward to see what had caught his attention. “What’s going on?”

The crew had stopped working. As one, they tilted back their heads and sniffed the air. The wheezing noise generated by a hundred people snuffling sounded like an inflating bellows with a leaky bladder.

“Oh crap,” Javi whispered. “They are using sugar zoms, like I thought.” His shocked gaze moved from the corpses to the snack cake in Pan’s hand. “And they can smell that.”

Blood Reign is available in print and digital formats. Visit the Blood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2 product page for ordering information, as well as a sample chapter.

You Want to Talk Gun-Toting Vampires?

underworldbwheader

Hey, vampire fans! Today is the U.S. release date for Underworld: Blood Wars, the fifth entry in Lakeshore Entertainment’s popular vampires-versus-werewolves movie franchise. Series star Kate Beckinsale returns to her iconic role as the death-dealing vampire Selene, continuing her war on lycans following the events of the last film, Undewrworld: Awakening. I’m the first to admit that, as with Milla Jovovich’s Resident Evil series, the Underworld movies are a guilty pleasure for me; in fact, I’ve already bought my ticket for this weekend!

blood_feud_lg_cover_2013Speaking of vampires and blood wars, are you familiar with my young adult novel series The Saga of Pandora Zwieback? Pan is a 16-year-old Goth girl who’s spent the last decade being treated for mental health problems because she can see monsters. It’s only after she meets an immortal, shape-shifting monster hunter named Sebastienne “Annie” Mazarin that Pan discovers she’s never been ill—her so-called “monstervision” is actually a supernatural gift that allows her to see into Gothopolis, the not-so-mythical shadow world that exists right alongside the human world. You’ll find Pan and Annie battling evil in the following titles:

Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1: This critically acclaimed novel is the beginning of Pan’s story, explaining how she, her parents and friends, and Annie are drawn into a conflict among warring vampire clans searching for the key to an ultimate weapon (or so the legend goes)—a key that just so happens to have been delivered to the horror-themed museum owned by Pan’s father. It’s a character-driven action-fest featuring the kind of gun-toting vampires that Selene would feel right at home among, and it leads immediately into the second novel:

Blood-Reign-FinalCvrBlood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2: Pan and Annie face even greater challenges as the vampire clans draw up plans to go to war with humanity. Leading the charge is a fallen angel named Zaqiel, whose previous attempt at subjugating the world was stopped by Annie—who, back in the day, was Zaqiel’s lover! Yes, there’s more vampire gunplay involved—the undead sure do like their firearms—but that’s only part of the dangers Pan has to contend with, as her adventures take her to a mysterious South Pacific island where monsters dwell.

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1: A spinoff from the novel series, this 56-page, full-color comic special finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling Elegant Gothic & Lolita vampires in a shopping mall and a jealous, man-stealing siren in New York’s Central Park. It features stories by me and Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up), art by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0), comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), and cover art by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella).

Carmilla_CoverAnd if your prefer your vampires less action-oriented and more Gothic, then let me direct you to Carmilla, the 19th-century novella by J. Sheridan Le Fanu that’s become the most popular title in StarWarp Concepts’ Illustrated Classics line of books.

In Carmilla, a young woman named Laura is so desperate for a friend that when a woman her age practically turns up on the doorstep of the castle owned by Laura’s father, she thinks her prayers for companionship have been answered. But as she comes to realize, Carmilla isn’t as interested in making friends as she is in spilling blood. Regarded as the one of the earliest lesbian vampires, Carmilla was an influence on author Bram Stoker in the creation of the vampire brides in his seminal novel, Dracula, and remains a popular character in fiction to this day. Our edition contains six original illustrations done especially for StarWarp Concepts by the super-talented Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1).

Carmilla, Blood Feud, Blood Reign, and the Pan Annual are available in print and digital formats. Visit their respective product pages at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information, as well as sample pages and chapters.

You Want to Talk Vampire Hunters?

Pandora0_CoverTonight is the broadcast premiere of Van Helsing, the SyFy Channel’s latest entry in their ever-growing scripted-series schedule, and one that has no connection to that terrible Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale movie from 2004. To quote the press release:

“The 13-episode series, from acclaimed filmmaker Neil LaBute, will focus on Vanessa Helsing (True Blood’s Kelly Overton), the latest in a long line of famed monster hunters. The series will feature an intriguing twist on the Dracula story, with Vanessa being resurrected in a future in which vampires rule the world. Discovering that she holds a mysterious power over them (the bloodsuckers, that is), Vanessa must lead what’s left of humanity against the vamps in a post-Rising world.”

Well, if vampires and the hunters who fight them are your thing, are you familiar with my young adult novel series The Saga of Pandora Zwieback? Pan is a 16-year-old Goth girl who’s spent the last decade being treated for mental health problems because she can see monsters. It’s only after she meets Annie that Pan discovers she’s never been ill—her so-called “monstervision” is actually a supernatural gift that allows her to see into Gothopolis, the not-so-mythical shadow world that exists right alongside the human world. You’ll find Pan and Annie battling evil in the following titles:

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0: A free, downloadable comic that serves as an introduction to Pan and Annie—with an 8-page story written by me and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia—as well as Pan’s first novel, Blood Feud (via a pair of preview chapters).

blood_feud_lg_cover_2013Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1: This critically acclaimed novel is the beginning of Pan’s story, explaining how she, her parents and friends, and Annie are drawn into a conflict among warring vampire clans searching for the key to an ultimate weapon (or so the legend goes)—a key that just so happens to have been delivered to the horror-themed museum owned by Pan’s father. It’s a character-driven action-fest featuring the kind of gun-toting vampires that Selene would feel right at home among, and it leads immediately into the second novel:

Blood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2: Pan and Annie face even greater challenges as the vampire clans draw up plans to go to war with humanity. Leading the charge is a fallen angel named Zaqiel, whose previous attempt at subjugating the world was stopped by Annie—who, back in the day, was Zaqiel’s lover! But Pan isn’t about to let some ancient monster win the day, not when the lives of her parents and friends—along with those of every human on the planet—are at stake, so she leads a charge of her own. Yes, there’s more vampire gunplay involved—the undead sure do like their firearms—but that’s only part of the dangers Pan has to contend with, as her adventures take her to a mysterious South Pacific island where monsters dwell.

pan_annual_coverThe Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1: A spinoff from the novel series, this 56-page, full-color comic special finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling Gothic Lolita vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. It features stories by me and Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up), art by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0), comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), and cover art by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella).

Blood Feud, Blood Reign, and the Pan Annual are available in print and digital formats. Pandora Zwieback #0 is a digital exclusive. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information, as well as sample pages and chapters.

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Movie

sharknado-4-poster-1Like Christmas and Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, it seems that a new annual tradition has been added to the world’s list of celebrations—except this one involves high-velocity tornadoes and man-eating fish from the deep!

Tonight is the SyFy Channel broadcast premiere of Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, the latest entry in the bizarrely popular film franchise produced by low-budget “mockbuster” movie studio The Asylum. Franchise regulars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid return to battle the forces of nature, this time alongside guest stars David Hasselhoff (Knight Rider, Baywatch), Gary Busey (Predator 2), former supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, and Tommy Davidson (In Living Color). By the time the fight’s over, the Las Vegas Strip will never look the same—and will probably reek from the stench of decaying shark meat broiling in the Nevada sun. Ugh.

blood_feudSpeaking of the terrifying creatures that hunt mankind, and the plucky humans who battle them, have you met Pandora Zwieback, star of my StarWarp Concepts novel series The Saga of Pandora Zwieback? Pan is a 16-year-old Goth girl who’s spent the last decade being treated for mental health problems because she can see monsters. It’s only after she meets an immortal shape-shifter named Annie that Pan discovers she’s never been ill—her so-called “monstervision” is actually a supernatural gift that allows her to see into Gothopolis, the not-so-mythical shadow world that exists right alongside the human world. You’ll find Pan in the following titles:

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0: A free, downloadable comic that serves as an introduction to Pan and Annie—with an 8-page story written by me and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia—as well as Pan’s first novel, Blood Feud (via a pair of preview chapters).

Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1: This critically acclaimed novel is the beginning of Pan’s story, explaining how she, her parents and friends, and Annie are drawn into a conflict among warring vampire clans searching for the key to an ultimate weapon (or so the legend goes)—a key that just so happens to have been delivered to the horror-themed museum owned by Pan’s father. It’s a character-driven action-fest that leads immediately into the second novel:

Blood-Reign-FinalCvrBlood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2: Pan and Annie face even greater challenges as the vampire clans draw up plans to go to war with humanity. Leading the charge is a fallen angel named Zaqiel, whose previous attempt at subjugating the world was stopped by Annie—who, back in the day, was Zaqiel’s lover! But Pan isn’t about to let some ancient monster win the day, not when the lives of her parents and friends—along with those of every human on the planet—are at stake, so she leads a charge of her own. But whose side is going to emerge the victor remains to be seen…

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1: A spinoff from the novel series, this 56-page, full-color comic special finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. It features stories by me and Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up), art by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0), comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), and cover art by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella).

Blood Feud, Blood Reign, and the Pan Annual are available in print and digital formats. Pandora Zwieback #0 is a digital exclusive. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information, as well as sample pages and chapters.

May the Fourth Be With You!

If you’re a science fiction fan, you know what the headline means—yup, today is Star Wars Day, that annual celebration of George Lucas’s legendary franchise that retook the world by storm last December with the box office mega-success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (aka Star Wars: Episode VII), which in turn set the stage for this coming December’s release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the “heist film” prequel to Episode IV: A New Hope that explains how Princess Leia got the plans to the original Death Star. It’s an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan, isn’t it?

To explain this special occasion, we look to the official Star Wars website:

“May the 4th kicks off a season of celebration, particularly since the month of May has always been important to Star Wars fans. The six live-action movies of the Star Wars saga debuted in May (starting with the original Star Wars on May 25, 1977). The month of May includes George Lucas’ birthday (May 14, 1944), and has been the traditional start date of the popular Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World Resort.”

So, how come I’m celebrating Star Wars Day here, at the home of monster hunter Pandora Zwieback? Because I know how to take advantage of a promotional opportunity, that’s why!

Goth-Vaders

What you see here is a sketch cover I drew last December, in time for The Force Awakens’ debut. It depicts Pan as an original Star Wars character: Darth Pandoricus! And standing behind her is her best friend, Sheena McCarthy, as the dreaded Lady She’naa. After all, it only makes sense that a couple of Goth chicks would want to be dark ladies of the Sith!

For those of you unfamiliar with Pan—just in case you stumbled across the above illustration during your Internet journeys—allow me to provide you with some background:

Pan—the star of Zwieback in my young adult novel series The Saga of Pandora Zwieback—is a 16-year-old Goth girl who’s spent the last decade being treated for mental health problems because she can see monsters. It’s only after she meets Annie that Pan discovers she’s never been ill—her so-called “monstervision” is actually a supernatural gift that allows her to see into Gothopolis, the not-so-mythical shadow world that exists right alongside the human world. You’ll find Annie battling evil in the following titles:

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0: A free, downloadable comic that serves as an introduction to Pan and Annie—with an 8-page story written by me and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia—as well as Pan’s first novel, Blood Feud (via a pair of preview chapters).

Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1: This critically acclaimed novel is the beginning of Pan’s story, explaining how she, her parents and friends, and Annie are drawn into a conflict among warring vampire clans searching for the key to an ultimate weapon (or so the legend goes)—a key that just so happens to have been delivered to the horror-themed museum owned by Pan’s father. It’s a character-driven action-fest that leads immediately into the second novel:

Blood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2: Pan and Annie face even greater challenges as the vampire clans draw up plans to go to war with humanity. Leading the charge is a fallen angel named Zaqiel, whose previous attempt at subjugating the world was stopped by Annie—who, back in the day, was Zaqiel’s lover!

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1: A spinoff from the novel series, this 56-page, full-color comic special finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. It features stories by me and Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up), art by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0), comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), and cover art by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella).

Blood Feud, Blood Reign, and the Pan Annual are available in print and digital formats. Pandora Zwieback #0 is a digital exclusive. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information, as well as sample pages and chapters.

Darth Zwieback: The Vampire Strikes Back

That’s right, Star Wars fans, today is the U.S. release date for Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens—the latest entry in the space-fantasy series that changed blockbuster movies forever. So, what’s an epic space opera got to do with Pandora Zwieback? Well, who better to be Dark Ladies of the Sith than a couple of Goth girls like Pan and her bestest friend, Sheena McCarthy—right? And with Marvel publishing blank “sketch covers” for its Star Wars titles, the Darth Vader #1 blank was, I thought, the perfect canvas for my latest “masterpiece”:

Goth-Vaders

 

Surprised I’d try to tie in Pan to the biggest sci-fi movie franchise of all time? As a wise Muppet once said, “There is no try. Only do…or do not.” 😀 Also, I was in a drawing kind of mood, and once the sketch idea popped into my head I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see how Pan and Sheena would look in the Star Wars universe.

So, hey, Marvel, when do the girls get their own spin-off series…?

The Pan You Need

Today is the U.S. release date for Pan, the latest movie adaptation loosely based on the classic novel Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. Starring Levi Miller as Peter, Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) as Captain Hook, Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [U.S.]) as Tiger Lily, and Hugh Jackman (X-Men: Days of Future Past) as Blackbeard, who’s fighting both Peter and Captain Hook, it looks like one strange production.

blood_feudBut let’s be honest. That movie may be the Pan you want to see, but it’s not the Pan you need. No, my friends, the Pan you need is none other than Pandora Zwieback, teenaged Goth chick, amateur monster hunter, and the star of The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, a series of novels and comic books written by Steven A. Roman (that’s me), the bestselling author of X-Men: The Chaos Engine Trilogy. And it just so happens that you’ll find our Pan in the following titles:

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0: A free, downloadable comic that serves as an introduction to Pan and Annie—with an 8-page story written by me and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia—as well as Pan’s first novel, Blood Feud (via a pair of preview chapters). You can access it by clicking on the “Download Free Comic” link you see in the sidebar to the right.

Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1: This critically acclaimed novel is the beginning of Pan’s story, explaining how she, her parents and friends, and Annie are drawn into a conflict among warring vampire clans searching for the key to an ultimate weapon (or so the legend goes)—a key that just so happens to have been delivered to the horror-themed museum owned by Pan’s father. It’s a character-driven action-fest that leads immediately into the second novel:

Blood-Reign-FinalCvrBlood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2: Pan and Annie face even greater challenges as the vampire clans draw up plans to go to war with humanity. Leading the charge is a fallen angel named Zaqiel, whose previous attempt at subjugating the world was stopped by Annie—who, back in the day, was Zaqiel’s lover!

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1: A spinoff from the novel series, this 56-page, full-color comic special—with cover art by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella)—finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. It features three original stories of what I’ve termed the “Paniverse”—tales that take place within the fictional universe of The Saga of Pandora Zwieback.

  • “Song of the Siren,” written by me and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0) involves Pan and her boyfriend, Javi, attending one of his family’s picnics in Central Park, and running into an ex-girlfriend of Javi’s. An awkward situation, to be sure, made even worse by the realization that with her monstervision, Pan can see the girl is really a siren: a creature from Greek mythology that can hypnotize men with its voice!
  • “After Hours” is by writer Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up) and comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and involves a working-class demon dropping by his favorite bar.
  • “Shopping Maul” is a short story written by me, with title-page art by Elizabeth Watasin (writer/artist of Charm School). Pan, Javi, and their friends stop by a Queens mall to do a bit of window-shopping—only to find themselves caught in the middle of a fight between Gothic Lolita vampires and Pan’s monster-hunting mentor, Annie!

Blood Feud, Blood Reign, and the Pandora Zwieback Annual are available in print and digital formats. Pandora Zwieback #0 is a digital exclusive. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information, as well as sample pages and chapters.

Pandora Zwieback: Self-Promotion Made Not So Easy

With the 2015 Brooklyn Book Festival being held this Sunday, and with StarWarp Concepts as one of its exhibitors, I thought the timing couldn’t be better to remind book lovers just what The Saga of Pandora Zwieback is about. And what better way to accomplish that goal than to run the guest post/short promotional story that I originally wrote for the online magazine Writing Belle, back in May? If you missed it the first time around, allow me to introduce you to:

“Pandora Zwieback and the Bloggy Thing”
A Gothy Tale of Self-Promotion by Steven A. Roman

“A guest post? I don’t know how to write one of those things!”

blood_feudPandora Zwieback crossed her arms and sat back as she stared in frustration at her laptop’s screen, as though the computer would have any better luck in coming up with the words that eluded her, but the machine only stared blankly back at her. It was so frustrating. Stupid computer.

Pan sighed. When Omaima Ramiya, the managing editor of the Society of Classic Monsters website, had first contacted her, she’d thought the woman really wanted to talk to her dad, David, who owned Renfield’s House of Horrors and Mystical Antiquities—after all, Renfield’s was the only horror-themed museum in the New York borough of Queens; wouldn’t it make sense to interview its director? He would’ve known what to write about. But no, Ms. Ramiya was more interested in learning about the teenaged Goth with the supernatural gift that allowed her to see through the human disguises worn by the creatures of the night that really existed in the world. Although initially shocked that anyone outside her parents and immediate circle of friends was even aware she possessed “monstervision” (as Pan called it), it all became clear when Ms. Ramiya explained that it was their mutual friend Annie who’d put her in touch, Annie suggesting that SoCM’s visitors might be interested in learning about her adventurous young friend.

Pandora0_CoverAnnie: otherwise known as Sebastienne Mazarin. An immortal, shape-shifting monster hunter who’d spent the last four hundred years protecting the world from the vampires, werewolves, and whatevers that stalked the shadows in search of human prey. Annie was currently acting as Pan’s mentor, helping the girl in trying to understand the strange powers she possessed.

Standing behind Pan, Sheena McCarthy leaned over to rest her chin on the top of her best friend’s head, and peered at the blank screen. “Y’know, if you’re waitin’ for that thing to write it for you, you’re gonna be waitin’ a looong time, Zee.”

Pan hmmf’d. “Well, it’s not like I can think of anything to say, Sheen. I mean, how do you tell the whole world that before Annie came along, I’d spent the last ten years being diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic because I’ve been seeing monsters since I was six—and I don’t even know why I started seeing them in the first place? Or that Annie was the one who proved to me and my parents that I’d never had a mental illness to begin with, that this weird monstervision is some kinda superpower I’ve been gifted with for whatever reason—”

“Not to mention that other power, the one that lets you heal faster from wounds and stuff, like a gothy Wolverine from the X-Men.”

“Yeah, I don’t know where that’s coming from, either.” It was a pretty cool power, though—not only did it help her recover quickly from some of the scrapes she found herself in, but she could also use it to fix other people’s injuries. So, less like Wolverine and more like a walking first-aid kit. But it sure did come in handy—some of the damage she’d taken from monsters she’d faced could have turned out downright lethal without that healing factor.

SWC_PanAnnual01“So just write all that stuff down,” Sheena said. “I don’t see what’s the big deal. I thought you were supposed to be the big Renaissance woman: writer, artist, monster fighter”—she flashed a wicked little smile and wrapped her arms around Pan’s shoulders—“loooverrr…or at least that’s what I’m figurin’, what with you makin’ googly eyes at your boyfriend Javier all the time.” A tiny grunt of annoyance slid past her lips as she released her friend, before taking a seat on the corner of Pan’s bed. “Still don’t think it’s right, you datin’ a Yankees fan when you’re a die-hard Mets fan like me, but I guess I’ll just have to learn to live with that unholy alliance.” She sighed dramatically.

Pan frowned at Sheen’s reflection in the monitor. “Quiet, you. And yes, you will have to learn to live with it. Now shut up and help me write this thing.”

Sheen thought it over for a few seconds. “Okay, how about this? ‘My name is Pandora Zwieback. I’m a sixteen-year-old Goth chick with the power to see every monster and ghoul out to raise a little hell in my New York City hometown. But with the help of an immortal monster hunter named Annie, I’m gonna protect the city and the world from the forces of darkness…and maybe even have some fun doing it! This is…The Saga of Pandora Zwieback!’ Whattaya think?”

Pan made a gagging sound and rolled her eyes. “That is awful. It sounds like some kinda lame-ass TV show introduction.”

Sheen grinned. “I totally cribbed the style off’a The Flash and iZombie.”

Pan shrugged. “I’ll take it.” She scooted her chair up to her desk and started typing. “Should I work in that there’s a Saga of Pandora Zwieback young adult novel series about me, published by StarWarp Concepts? The one written by the guy who did those X-Men: The Chaos Engine Trilogy and Final Destination novels?”

Blood-Reign-FinalCvr“What, that Steven A. Roman dude? Oh, hells, yes! I mean, you’re supposed to be gettin’ royalties from those things, aren’t you? ’Cause it’s your life he’s writin’ about.” Pan nodded. “So yeah, then do a little pimpin’ and let folks know there’re two books out already: Blood Feud and Blood Reign, and they’re about you and me and Annie and Javi and your mom and dad gettin’ pulled into that crazy vampire war, with all those clans from around the world that were lookin’ for some kinda secret weapon that would help ’em take over the world.”

“Uh-huh. Only it turned out the ‘secret weapon’ was really the skeleton of a fallen angel named Zaqiel who’d tried to wipe out humanity, like, a couple hundred years ago. And the one who’d stopped him back then was Annie. But eventually his skeleton wound up at my dad’s museum, where all the vampires showed up to fight over it.” Pan swallowed nervously. “And then things went…really bad…”

She shook her head to dispel the disturbing memories. “Should I put in that critics have been going crazy over the books?” That had surprised her even more than a publishing company making an offer to tell her story, that there were people who weren’t just interested in reading about her, but that their online reviews of both Blood Feud and Blood Reign had been so enthusiastic and full of praise. It was kind of embarrassing, in a way—especially when she’d learned that StarWarp Concepts had christened these readers “Panatics” (ugh)—but she had to admit the ego boost was pretty sweet. No one had ever considered her a role model before; hell, she’d never considered herself a role model before. It was a…nice feeling.

“Rave reviews?” Sheen replied. “Sure. Throw it all in. Give ’em the hard sell, like my dad would say. Be totally shameless.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Pan said with a grin. Now that Sheen had given her a starting point, even if she had sort of swiped it from TV shows, and they’d talked it out, the writing was becoming a little easier. She still felt odd talking about herself this way, though. Pan chuckled. “Me, writing a guest post about a book series that’s about me. I don’t think you can get any more meta than that.”

“You could, if you were in a movie, writin’ a short story about how you were writin’ a guest post about a book series that’s about you. That would be, like, totally mind-blowin’.”

Not as mind-blowing as hunting monsters alongside her friends and an immortal shape-shifter, Pan thought with a smile. And her adventures were only beginning…

Written by Steven A. Roman and published by StarWarp Concepts, Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1 and Blood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2 are currently available for order from online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, and in e-book formats from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Scribd, and Oyster Books. For more information, as well as sample chapters and sales links, please visit www.starwarpconcepts.com.

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback™ and © 1998, 2015 Steven A. Roman and Uriel Caton. “Pandora Zwieback and the Bloggy Thing” © 2015 Steven A. Roman.