New Book is Out!!


 And you’d think I’d have remembered to post this on the actual day of the event…   


Anyway, my new zombie apocalypse/romance, Ashley Drake, Zombie Hunter (Book One: A Plague on All Houses) has been released as an eBook and I thought I’d share an excerpt.  Warning:  Not for the faint of heart!  








 “Mmmm, baby, you smell so good.”

            I giggled as Matt nuzzled against me.  He did this thing where he pretended to be a dog and sniffed up and down my neck and shoulders. It tickled and he sounded like a Saint Bernard with asthma. Disgusting and cute at the same time. 

            Pushing him away, I ignored Matt’s pout, pulling my sweater back down and jeans back up, just in case there were any passerby’s wandering the woods behind campus after dark.  Not too likely, especially when the weather was chilly and overcast, plus the grove of redwoods where we’d spread our blanket was pretty much private, but you never know who might be attracted to the light from Matt’s battery-powered lantern.              

            “Pass the champagne, ‘kay?”

            Matt sulked a little, but filled one of the little flutes (glass, not plastic) he’d brought with some Italian bubbly. “It’s Prosecco, not champagne, Ash. It’s only champagne—”

            “—if it comes from Champagne,” I finished for him. “I know, I know.” It’s what I get for dating a wine snob-in-training. I usually don’t complain ’cause it means I get to taste some wicked good stuff when most people my age are still working their way through White Zins of the World.

             Matt decided he’d sulked long enough (I swear, he had a timer for his mood swings) and smiled at me. “Like the picnic, Ash?”

            I nodded. How could I not? I mean, how many college guys took the time to pack full-on picnics? We’re not talking a bucket of KFC and a six-pack. Nope, roast chicken, bread, brie, and bubbly. Bread knife, cutting board, and cloth napkins.

            Yeah, Matt had ulterior motives (he was a college boy, after all), but I’d rather be seduced with sparkling wine than Pabst Blue Ribbon.

            I took another sip and used my other hand to hide a delicate little belch that bubbled out of nowhere. Bubbly burp, I thought, and started giggling.

            Whoa, tipsy much? I probably should have had more of the chicken and bread before diving straight into the alcohol. I’m a cheap date. So sue me.

            Matt didn’t mind. “What’s so funny?” he asked, not really expecting an answer. Good thing ’cause I couldn’t stop giggling now that I’d started. Matt started nuzzling my neck again, making low growling noises that vibrated pleasantly against the sensitive skin, both tickling me and turning me on. One thing led to another and we were soon happily in Stage One of making out (i.e. hands groping under clothing, bra pushed up but still fastened, no actual disrobing, lots of hip and groin action).

            So at first I thought it was Matt when I heard a weird, low, moaning sound. I mean, yes, he was moaning things like “Oh, baby, you turn me on,” and “I swear, you make me hard.” But this noise was weird enough to finally break through my lust and alcohol haze.

            I stopped in mid-kiss. “Did you hear that?”

            “Hear what?” Matt continued stroking my hips, insinuating his hand between my thighs, stroking me through the denim. I squirmed with pleasure even as my ears strained to pick up that moaning noise again.

            Nothing except the cracking of ancient redwood branches.

            Giving a mental shrug, I turned my attention back to Matt, specifically the bulge beneath his jeans. I teased him, rubbing one hand along the outline of his erection while nibbling gently on his neck in a way I knew he liked. His free hand caressed my breasts, first one, and then the other, thumb softly flicking against the nipples, a move guaranteed to drive me wild.  We were both moaning with desire at this point, all panting eagerness to take things to the next level … when suddenly his hand squeezed my left breast way too hard.

            “Ow! That hurt, you jerk!” I smacked him on the shoulder, hard.

            “Huh?” Matt lifted his mouth from my earlobe. “What the hell did you do that for?”

            The hand squeezed again, nails digging in this time. A rattling moan sounded close to my ear. The ear not next to Matt’s mouth. I smelled something rank.

            “What the fuck? Get off me!” I shoved Matt off of me and rolled away from the moaning. The hand on my breast stayed there, accompanied by a nasty tearing noise, like the sound of a drumstick being ripped off a whole chicken.  I looked down and gasped in grossed-out disbelief because the light of the lantern showed a groddy rotted hand clutching my 34-C, ragged nails digging into the flesh. Even worse, said hand was attached to an equally gross arm … and nothing else.

            “Omigod, gross!”  

            “Jeez, babe, what is your damage?” Matt sat up, offended.

            I didn’t have time to soothe his wounded male ego. I was too busy dislodging what looked like a cheap Halloween prop from my boob. It didn’t take much effort; the thing seemed to have lost all of its oomph.  I lifted the lantern and found out why.

            The top half of what was once a young woman squirmed on the mossy ground next to our blanket. Her torso trailed off into strings of intestines and other bits of unidentifiable ickiness. Chunks of flesh were missing from her face and neck. Two spooky, milky-white eyes stared at me above a bloody hole, chewed gristle sticking out where her nose used to be. Her mouth opened and closed hungrily as she used her remaining arm to pull herself onto the blanket towards me. 

            This was seriously effed up right here. I’d just been felt up by what looked to be a zombie and a female one at that. I choked back a definitely hysterical laugh as I wondered if this counted as a lesbian encounter.

New Book Out Tomorrow!

That’s right!  After months of writing, whining and waiting, A Plague on All Houses, the first in my zombie hunter series, is coming out as an eBook with Ravenous Romance!  It will eventually be coming out in paperback with …  er … well, hopefully I’ll be able to let that particular cat out of the bag this week.

What I can share right now are the wonderful blurbs by some of my favorite authors.  Thanks right off the bat to each and every one for taking the time to read and comment on Plague.  I have first hand experience on just how challenging it can be to find the time to read someone else’s work when you’re in the middle of your own writing deadline hell, so I am truly honored and touched.  The list isn’t complete yet either. 🙂  Anticipation for more blurby goodness …  yes-s-s-s-s, my precious-s-s-s-s…


The blurbs:

“A PLAGUE ON ALL YOUR HOUSES is sexy, weird, creepy, over-the-top zombie goodness. Required reading for the deranged.” Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling author of PATIENT ZERO and MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN

 Spooks, scaries, and zombies, oh my! Treat yourself to Dana Fredsti’s A Plague on all Houses, a zombie romance (don’t worry, romance between humans, no one losing body parts in the midst of–romance!) Chills and thrills for that season when you’re looking for–chills and thrills!

Heather Graham, author of Hallowed Ground & The Flynn Brothers Trilogy


 Dana Fredsti has created a world as familiar as our own back yard and populated it with recognizable people we care about … and zombies. But this isn’t just another zombie novel. It spans a spectrum of emotion and action that sets it above the rest. A PLAGUE ON ALL YOUR HOUSES will have you turning pages fast … and checking the locks on all the doors.
Ray Garton

“As adorable an end of the world as you’re liable to get, Fredsti’s A PLAGUE ON ALL HOUSES is brisk, witty ultraviolent romantic gurlventure, full of zombie gore and pop culture know-how. It is, in a word, a hoot.”


“Dana Fredsti’s ragtag band of movie-quoting Wild Cards makes A PLAGUE ON ALL HOUSES a delicious gore-filled zombie treat. Fredsti’s writing is razor sharp as her heroes fight off the horde while fighting their attraction for each other. Who will win? Ashley and Gabriel or the Undead outside their door?”

Stacey Graham – author of The Zombie Dating Guide [] and contributor in the anthologies Hungry For Your Love and The Undead That Saved Christmas.

“The Plague on All Houses  is a fast-moving zombie tale that reads like a blast of energy.  If you like zombie apocalypse stories, this is a must read!”


    — Lois GreshNew York Times Best-Selling Author of BLOOD AND ICE and ELDRITCH EVOLUTIONS


 Psst… for those of you not in the know, Gina McQueen is rumored to be the female pen name for noted horror author John Skipp, a zombie aficionado in his own right.  But it’s just a rumor.  Right? 

And just so you know what you’re getting into with this book (written under my own name instead of my erotic romance pen name Inara LaVey):

Ashley Drake is just a pretty northern California co-ed with a love/hate crush on the strong-jawed, golden-haired Gabriel, her frustratingly handsome T.A.  But neither are what they appear to be. In the space of one day the world has gone topsy-turvy. A viral outbreak is bringing the dead to life. Ashley discovers strength and abilities she never dreamed she had when she becomes drawn into the struggle against the walking dead as part of an elite zombie hunting unit. Her new squad leader? Gabriel, who is shouldering more than a few secrets of his own.  Between fighting with zombies and fighting with Gabriel, Ashley is about to learn the true meaning of drop-dead gorgeous. (A Plague on All Houses) is BUFFY meets THE WALKING DEAD with the sexiest zombie hunters alive – or undead…


Zombie Love!

Coming out on Halloween with Ravenous Romance,  an anthology for all you zombie lovers out there!  My short story “First Date” is in there, along with Kilt Kilpatrick’s “Last Times at Ridgemont High.” And they said it couldn’t be done…

My First Story for Ravenous Romance

I just got word that my first story for Ravenous Romance will be published on December 1st, the day the site officially launches.  Needless to say (oh, okay, I DO need to say it!), I’m totally chuffed that my story Succubusted has been chosen to be part of the big day. I’m publishing under the pen name Inara LaVey (the first name is for all you Firefly fans and the second because it appeals to my inner Goth) – ‘Dana Fredsti’ doesn’t work for either romance or erotica.  Or erotic romance, for that matter.  At least I don’t think it does.

I have been learning a lot about the distinctions between romance, erotica and erotic romance from readers and writers of the various genres, some of whom have been kind enough to give their recommendations and also guide me to sites like Romance Wiki, specifically the sub-genre page. I’ve definitely learned that readers of romance, regardless of genre, have very definite expectations from these genres (how many times can I use the word ‘genre’ in one paragraph, you ask?).  If it’s labeled romance, be it paranormal, contemporary or erotic, it had better have a satisfactory emotional story arc between the two main characters.  Fair enough.  I’m going to be very careful when it comes to describing my various books so readers will know what they’re getting.  Trust me – you don’t wanna get romance readers or writers mad at you.  They can be scary.  🙂

I’ve downloaded a couple of books from Ellora’s Cave, specifically Dragon’s Warrior and The Hunters: Declan and Tori, by Shiloh Walker. The little I’ve had time to read of Walker’s work tells me I’m gonna enjoy both books.  Her writing style (in these two books) is terse, action packed and sexy, and she manages to create vivid and believable characters very quickly.  These are short books – one is 137 pages, the other 165 – so her ability to draw a reader into her worlds so quickly is definitely a plus.

The most frustrating thing is knowing I have limited time to read because of my writing deadlines and I do love to read…  So I’m not downloading anything else until I finish these two books, as well as the last few chapters of Jean Henry Mead’s Senior Sleuth mystery, A Village Shattered, which is so far a cracking good mystery!  Jean will be my guest December 2nd on the second stop of her upcoming blog tour and I’m delighted to host her.  And not just because her lead character’s name is Dana. 🙂

A Heart to Heart

I am working on Champagne right now, a character-driven novel based on a short story I wrote.  It’s due January 1st and while I loved writing the story, the novel has been proving a bit more problematic.  See, I’m a genre writer.  Mysteries, horror, fantasy… where things blow up, people get killed, zombies munch on the living, dames wisecrack…y’know, there’s lots of action.  I’ve got 6 more genre erotica-romance books lined up after Champagne, all of which will involve all of the above and then some.  I’m particularly hyped up about a (wait for it) post-apocalyptic romance (Dave calls it my Cozy Catastrophe series) in which I plan on first destroying most of civilization with a nasty virus and then letting my hero and heroine have all the fun of living off the remnants while outrunning a crazy ex-surfer turned warlord who’s taken over La Jolla. 

I mean…c’mon!  This is fun stuff we’re talking! 

But…that’s two and two-thirds books down the line.  First I have to finish Champagne and then tackle a semi sword and sorcery project. 

During the drive to and from San Diego, however, my brain and creativity took a giant leap forward into Post Apocalypse land.  With Dave as a sounding board and co-enabler (he loves post apocalyptic books and movies as much as I do), I came up with a skeleton outline for the entire book, picked out locations along the road for my characters to hide in and/or run the gauntlet of unpleasant surprises hiding there, had chunks of dialogue and character quirks spring in entirety from my mind like Athena from Zeus’s forehead. I could almost waking dream myself into scenes and watch them unfold like a movie; something I haven’t been able to do since I was in my early teens.  It was amazing and inspiring…and just so much friggin’ fun figuring out just what symptoms the nasty disease would manifest in its victims, what horrors I could unleash on the survivors, and how much fun they’d still have shopping for free in abandoned stores.  And yes, sex all of this up ’cause this is genre erotica romance, after all!  

But first I have to finish Champagne.  So that’s what I’ve been working on. 

I had a mini-tantrum this afternoon after spending a half hour on one paragraph.  “I HATE these characters.  They’re boring.  No one gets eaten or blown up. They just talk and have sex in picturesque places.  Feh!”  

I then stomped around the house a bit, had a glass of mineral water and sulked.  Then I came back and sat down with my iBook, where my characters in Champagne were waiting for me with sad, hurt expressions.  “We’re interesting,” they told me.  “Just because we’re not being chased by zombies or being amateur sleuths doesn’t mean we can’t lead rich, full lives that other people will enjoy reading about.”  My lead character took me aside for a moment and said, “Why don’t we try THIS…” and whispered a few things in my ear, some ideas of where we could take the story.  “I’ll do my best to be entertaining if you remember that we’re from your imagination.  We’re your kids too…even if we don’t use crossbows or swordfight.”  

And she was right. I originally created these characters because I loved them, even the annoying ones.  And it’s not fair to them to shove them to the back of my mind just because a new toy is prettier and shinier (and lets me destroy most of civilization!).  So I made a bargain with the inhabitants of Champagne – that I would accord them the same attention and enthusiasm as other, more action packed projects.  And in return they would continue to work with me to create the most interesting and entertaining world possible for them to occupy. 

And I promise to leave them alone when I destroy the world…