Oct 24, 2013


Urban Harvest Blitz: Interview, Excerpt, & TWO GIVEAWAYS!!!

I love New York. The entire state, really, not just the city. It's a shame that when people hear the words "New York" all they think of is the Big Apple when the rest of the state has so much to offer. Upstate is so beautiful, especially in the fall, even if it is a little cold. Okay, well a lot of cold, but trust me, it's worth it.

Still, there's just something about NYC that seems to draw people in. I don't know if it's all of the lights or just that there's so much to see, but it's inspiring. Every piece of it practically exudes energy, and there isn't anything else like breathing that in. The city is always alive and moving. I do admit that sometimes that can be a real pain, especially when you're trying to work or sleep, but being in the middle of all of that is a very unique experience.

Oh, and the people. They're fun. Colorful, even. The only type of person that you can't find in NYC is someone who's never been to NYC. It's sad that they always get such a bad rap for being awful and rude, but you can find people like that anywhere. I'm not going to deny that there are a whole bunch of unpleasant people there all of the time, but there are also tons of really nice ones too.

During my first trip up there, I may have experienced the tail end of a girl tossing her glass of water on the guy sitting behind me who was probably no longer her boyfriend, but the people at the diner were so nice and apologetic about it. And there wasn't one time when I wasn't able to find someone who was willing to tell me which train I had to get on to go where I needed to go or where to find some really good pizza. You haven't lived until you've eaten some authentic NY-style pizza. Slices so big that you have to fold them if they're going to fit inside your mouth and so hot that the first few bites burn the roof of your mouth off but you just can't stop because it's so good! Ugh.... now I'm really hungry.

But why am I laying all of this groundwork to get you into a NYC mood? Seriously, Taylor, this is a blog about books, not pizza (which is my second love, so don't judge). Where are all of the books?

Oh, look! There's one! And what does it say on the bottom of the cover? "Tales of the Paranormal in New York City," why Taylor, you sneaky devil!

Man, I'm good.

Urban Harvest (anthology)

New York City–it’s home to 8 million people trying to make their way through the day–a crop of humanity seething with hopes and fears, dreams and nightmares. Autumn comes, and nine authors harvest nine tales from this unique setting and people. From stories of everyday life in an otherworldly light to nightmarish tales of human darkness, Urban Harvest has something for everyone.

Urban Harvest contains tales of the paranormal from Alex ShvartsmanLaurie Treacy, Donna Ansari, Tara Hill, Laura Wenham, Andrea Stanet, Don Corcoran, Saif Ansari, and Sean Sakamoto.

In keeping with the spirit of harvest, all proceeds from this anthology will go to support City Harvest, an organization that feeds NYC’s hungry.


Seriously, guys, buy this book. If my life changing introduction wasn't enough to get the ball rolling, then the last sentence of that blurb should be. All of the proceeds go to charity. How awesome is that?

The Interview

Now we welcome to the blog Laura Wenham, author of the story "Coexistence" from the Urban Harvest anthology!

Q: Your story, Coexistence, is about dragons who live under NYC. What prompted you to write this story?

A: The idea for my story began when I got my first job in Manhattan and walked every day past manhole covers that were constantly emitting streams of steam and smoke. At first I largely thought how inefficient the steam heating systems were to be losing so much heat. Then, as I kept walking past them, I thought all of that smoke would make a good cover for dragons hiding underground. Then I began to wonder how much evidence you would need to support the idea of underground dragons and what the likely reaction of the rest of society would be if a scientist claimed to have discovered dragons under Manhattan. I couldn’t figure out what might cause a scientist to seriously research this until the various steam pipe explosions began happening in Manhattan. Like the character in my story, I walked right past the hole left by the explosion in front of NYU’s library, which made quite an impression on me. 

Q: What other things have you written/are you writing?

A: I have folders full of stories and poems and songs on my computer. I am very good at coming up with interesting ideas and very bad at figuring out where the plot and characters want to go. I am currently working on two different short stories. One of them is based on the idea that we become able to communicate with our dark-matter doppelgangers and the new rich tourist activity is not traveling into space, but instead meeting their doppelgangers in a room sealed by plasma to keep the universe from exploding – until one of the dark-matter doppelgangers is murdered after the meeting and the detectives on our side of the universe have to figure out the motive without access to any physical evidence. The other story is about these tiny kangaroo-like robots that are built to be used for surveillance of enemy terrain (http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/tiny-jumping-robot-finds-room-for-a-tail). When the military figures out a way to also have them radiate to increase the enemy’s feelings of fear, an anti-war group decides to make them broadcast feelings of peace, make them self-replicating, and releases them in the US, with wide-ranging results. I am also trying to write down the amusing anecdotes of my 2.5 year old son’s daily adventures.

Q: Do you have a writing mentor or inspiration?

A: I am extremely grateful to the members of the Mom’s Writer’s Group at the Midshore Mothers’ Center (http://midshoremotherscenter.org/) who, when I described my story idea to them, patiently encouraged me to actually finish and submit it. I would also like to thank my various friends who read the final draft for mistakes, particularly Preston Ray, whose edits were extremely helpful in decreasing my word count without losing content.

Q: What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

A: With a 2.5 year old, my writing time is limited – which is why I value the free write time we have as part of the Mothers’ Center group as well as late nights in bed typing (sometimes incoherent) story ideas on my iPad.

Q: What’s next?

A: Our Writer’s Group starts up again in early October, so I intend to keep working on the two stories I mentioned above (as well as the several ideas I will probably come up with between now and then).

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: I love the idea of writing anthologies and donating the profits to charities, particularly when they are local, meaningful charities such as City Harvest. Not only am I now a published author, but as I encourage my friends and family to buy the anthology on Sunday because I want them to read what I wrote, I also do so knowing that they are helping out a great cause! (And I have to confess I am terribly curious about and anxiously waiting to read the other stories in the anthology!)

I knew I had to have an excess of proof in order to not be seen as another Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster hunter. I spent months, and then years, creating the most thorough maps of the NYC underground. During this time, I became increasingly oblivious to events on the surface. The friend whose apartment I had been using moved during one of my long periods underground. When I resurfaced to shower and pick up my unemployment checks, I was very surprised to knock on his door and meet a nice Asian couple who had no idea who I was. My belongings, and one of my few remaining connections to the surface world, were gone without a forwarding address.

I can’t explain the patterns I saw without my data, which the FBI confiscated when they arrested me. It’s probably collecting dust in an FBI basement now, but back in the spring of 2014 with everything right in front of me, I thought I had developed enough of an understanding of the markings that I was considering altering them to attempt communication with my theoretical life forms. Before I could do anything, however, the decision was taken away from me.

I was camping in a small open area formed by the intersection of two of the marked tunnels when I saw it. This was not a small tube worm or hydrogen-sulfide breathing scorpion. Emerging from the smaller tunnel was what I would best describe as an earth dragon. Not a winged creature like Toothless fromHow to Train Your Dragon, but instead similar to a large worm-snake with a scaly covering of rock in every earth-tone imaginable.

As the dragon stretched to pull itself out of the tunnel, I could do nothing but stare in awe. The tangled asbestos fibers were clearly from a pelt that covered the dragon’s ventral side. As it emerged fully into the room, I realized it had a “head” end which had circular shiny, almost polished areas, and a “mouth” area which had shiny white crystals inside, while its “tail” end came to a sharp point. It was, I would find out later, on the smaller side for a dragon—but at the time the fact that it was probably three feet around and six feet long was impressive enough.

The first giveaway up is just for this blog, but the second one is for the grand prize and spans all of the blogs participating in the blitz.

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  1. I have never been to New York, but it is so on my bucket list. I have read so many stories that take place or center around the city and I would love to walk those streets and let my imagination run wild. Thank you for sharing with us. I enjoyed the excerpt and certainly cannot wait to try the pizza ;) Urban Harvest looks like a fun anthology and look forward to reading more.

    1. I'm sure you'll love it there, Denise. Sure, you'll get the see the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, but that pizza.... It just makes everything else seem insignificant. :) Thanks for commenting!



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