Guest Blogger Smugglivus

Smugglivus Presents – Karen Mahoney

Day 4 of Smugglivus

Who: Karen Mahoney, writer of YA and Urban Fantasy whose first story will be published in 2009. She talks about her writing and life at her livejournal: Karen Mahoney.

Karen is one of our buddies – a honorary Book Smuggler (as she – cheekily – talks about herself ) , reader-turned-friend. The love for all things Neil Gaiman brought us together and then we started reading her livejournal and lo and behold, the woman is a super-geek just like us! Karen is also going places in 2009, not only her first story , Falling to Ash will be published in the anthology The Eternal Kiss (Running Press) but she will also be blogging with other UF authors such as a Toni Andrews, Keri Arthur, Jenna Black, Rinda Elliott, Jackie Kessler, Devon Monk, Lilith Saintcrow andRachel Vincent. The blog is called Deadline Dames and will start running in January.

For now, you should probably go check Karen’s blog – she is running a 8 Days of Christmas feature giving away LOADS of books – all open until early January.

So here she is – Karen:


When Ana and Thea invited me to be part of their Smugglivus celebrations I was, of course, completely daunted. A guest blog about anything related to books, reading and writing in 2008 – and what I’m looking forward to in 2009? Um… just how long was this piece supposed to be?! 😉

Luckily for you poor people reading this, I’ve managed to narrow it down. Here are just a few of my top reads of 2008 (with a focus on YA urban fantasy, as that’s what I write!):

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters – Teenagers all over America who die aren’t staying dead. They are coming back as zombies – “living impaired” or “differently biotic” to use the terms coined in the book. But how can they reintegrate into a society that fears them? When Phoebe falls for back-from-the-dead Tommy, it sets off a devastating chain of events. I loved this book and can’t wait for the sequel coming in 2009.

(UK cover)

(US cover)

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr – I make no secret of what a fangirl I am! When it comes to Melissa’s gorgeous prose and heartbreaking character dilemmas, I am left speechless. Ink Exchange is her second novel and was just as darkly powerful as her debut, Wicked Lovely. This probably wins Best Cover Art, too.

Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception by Maggie Stiefvater – A wonderful debut by an author to watch. Think, ‘homicidal faeries’ combined with scarily good writing, and you’re only halfway there. It’s a novel that’s full of surprises, and I look forward to more from Maggie in 2009.

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead – Third book in the ‘Vampire Academy’ series, and quite possibly the best. I didn’t think Richelle could beat book two (Frostbite), but Rose continues to be one of my favourite main characters in an ongoing YA series.

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong – YA debut by the talented author of the ‘Women of the Otherworld’ adult urban fantasy series, this book surprised me in many ways. It cruelly ended on a cliffhanger that leaves the reader begging for the next book due in 2009.

There are too many adult books that I could highlight as winners in 2008, so I’ll list just three:

The Ghost in Love by Jonathan Carroll – Probably my favourite living writer of adult fiction, this is Carroll’s fourteenth novel and is one of his best. Poignant, beautifully written and filled with magical twists and turns, it’s a book that stays with you long after you think you’re done with it.

One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost – Book two of the ‘Night Huntress’ series, which I enjoyed even more than the first instalment. Watching Cat grow and mature as a person, while seeing her reunion with the gorgeous vampire, Bones, more than lived up to my expectations. Roll on book three… (any day now!)

Lord of Bones by Justine Musk – Long-awaited sequel to Musk’s debut, Blood Angel, here we go deeper into the world of the ancient race of Summoners, and watch as demon-hunting Jess grows into her powers. I love the writing style and richness of the world, as well as the mysterious link between Jess and the demon-tainted rock guitarist, Lucas Maddox.

And talking of demon hunters, I have to give a shout out to my favourite TV show of 2008:

Supernatural – I love the Winchester brothers! In this short (non-spoilery) scene from Season 3, Dean rescues Sam with the help of an enchanted lucky rabbit’s foot…

What I’m looking forward to in 2009:

So many amazing books – some of which I’ve mentioned above – but here are a few more. On the adult side of things:

Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand and Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn – back-to-back releases for books 5 & 6 (January and February) in the superb Kitty Norville werewolf series. Cormac had better be making a reappearance, that’s all I can say! *g*

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs – the fourth Mercy Thompson novel. I loved the first two books, had a few issues with book 3, but am looking forward to seeing what else Briggs has in store for Mercy. I hear the vampires are making a return in this one…

A couple more YA mentions:

Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr, and the first book in a manga series set in her ‘Wicked Lovely’ world.

And a debut novel that releases in March 2009, Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this, and I can honestly say it’s up there among my all-time favourites:

Check out the awesome book trailer:

Phew! If you’re still with me after all of that – thank you and congratulations. 😉 There is so much to look forward to in 2009, including my debut publication in an anthology of YA vampire stories, The Eternal Kiss (Running Press). My story is called ‘Falling to Ash’ and puts the spotlight on an important supporting character from my currently-on-submission novel. Moth is a young vampire who returns to her hometown for a memorial service, one year after her mother’s death, but is reluctantly pulled back into the vampire world while she’s there. What should be a routine job for her ‘boss’ turns into something with potentially deadly consequence. I still find it hard to believe that 2008 saw me finally achieve my goal of finding an amazing agent (Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency in New York), and I’m hoping 2009 will see me take the next step on this inspiring journey…

Thanks for inviting me over here, girls, and a Very Happy Smugglivus to you and all your readers. Keep Smuggling in 2009!

Karen Mahoney has been a professional Tarot reader, a college counsellor and a dating agency consultant. Ever since she was six years old what she really wanted to be was Wonder Woman, but has instead settled for being a writer. She works part-time as the Romance & Fantasy buyer at Murder One Bookshop in London. Karen writes urban fantasy for young adults, and does nothing to hide the fact that she is a total geek. She is British, but hopes that you do not hold this against her. Her (almost) daily blog is here .

Ta muchly Karen!

Next on Smugglivus Lisa of Urban Fantasy Land with a giveaway!


  • Thea Rauth
    December 29, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Nice!!! Awesome book selections and the trailer for ‘Forrest of Hands and Teeth’ is KICK!!!!

    Knowing full well I may suffer sleepless nights, I am getting that book! Lol!

    When is ‘Iron Witch’ to be released?


  • Karen Mahoney
    December 29, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Hey Thea *waves*

    The Iron Witch is currently being read by editors in New York, so I’m waiting on good news… Well, praying for it, to be more precise! 😉

    I have the anthology story to look forward to, but I’m hoping that 2009 brings me my first book sale…

  • M.
    December 29, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    ‘differently biotic’ – Hahaha! That is hilarious. I like the UK cover much better. Not the first time this has happened in cross-pond comparisons

  • Tiah
    December 29, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Oh man, so many awesome books to add to my TBR pile!!!!

  • Kris
    December 29, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    More YA fantasy recommendations – yay for me! Thanks heaps, Karen.

  • SciFiGuy
    December 29, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Some great YA titles. Added 3 of your recommendations to my TBR list. Read many of the others and they definitely belong on year’s best s lists.

  • Christine
    December 29, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Awesome lists, Karen!

    Your blossoming career as a published YA author is very exciting. I wish you the best!

    I have only read “Wicked Lovely” by Melissa Marr so far, but have to agree with your love of her book covers. “Fragile Beauty” is so beautiful.

    I’m also a big fan of Patricia Briggs and am waiting on bated breath for her next release. The Mercy Thompson world is probably my favorite UF series right now.

  • Karen Mahoney
    December 30, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    M: Originally, I definitely preferred the UK cover, but I dunno… The US one is growing on me. It’s kinda cute! 😉

    Tiah: I love influencing people to buy more books… (or borrow from the library). My work here is done! 🙂

    Kris: You’re welcome! Glad you found some good stuff here. 🙂

    SciFiGuy: I’m glad there were a few new titles to try. I’ll have to check your archives, as I only recently discovered your blog… I’d love to know if you’ve read Jonathan Carroll before. 🙂

    Christine: Thanks so much for the kind wishes! 🙂 And re. Patricia Briggs – yes, I love Mercy’s world. I really enjoyed Cry Wolf, too… Iron Kissed had some things in it that bothered me, but it was still good. I think Kelley Armstrong’s world is one of my favourites in urban fantasy.

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