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Book Excerpt: The Mercy of the Tide

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What do nine-year-olds dream of? Well, if you’re Trina Finster…

[Book Excerpt from The Mercy of the Tide by Keith Rosson. Available February 2017]

Audio Excerpt:



Trina Finster

Trina learned to fear the bomb two weeks after her mother died, and she fell into that fear like someone slipping into bed after a hard day’s work. Fell into it with a relief that bordered on gratitude. When she thought of the bomb, she felt like someone who was gravely ill witnessing a terrible and violent event: a merciless distraction, but at least one outside of her own body.

When thoughts of her mother came now, thoughts that made her ache and curl up in bed like a plant without sunlight, she read The Looming Error. She read about Mutual Assured Destruction—M.A.D.—and at night those three letters ran the plainsong of their zippered teeth along her heart as she stared at the ceiling wishing for sleep. It was a lullaby that made her heart fearful and clumsy, those three letters, that idea, but—and this was the important part—it took up too much room to worry about anything else. To feel sad for herself. To miss her mom. The world, Trina knew, was doomed, and it was terrible, but there was some part of her that felt glad that at least this part of it would be over. The world wouldn’t survive, and there was something freeing about that, like finally throwing up after you’ve felt sick for a long, long time.

Those three letters, M.A.D., and how they spelled the end of everything. The book lay under her bed and sometimes it felt like she slept above a bomb for all the power it had.

The thing she hated most about the Soviets and the United States both was their babyishness. How much they seemed like grumpy, spoiled kids playing with toys they didn’t want to give up. There was a lot about the negotiations in the book, and she could picture it all too well, the two countries discussing things in a big room somewhere, everyone with their own glass of water by their hands, old white men in suits trying to work out trades in practically the same way that she and Sam had bartered the gross parts of their school lunches when she was a baby back in first grade:

United States: We want you to reduce the number of your SS-20 missile launchers in Europe, okay? You have 243 of them and we want you to only have 75.

Russia: Hmm. Okay. If you also only have 75 launchers for your Tomahawk cruise missiles there as well.

United States: Fine by us.

Russia: Ha! Except we both know that your Tomahawks carry four warheads compared to the one warhead of the SS-20, so you would have like 300 warheads to our 75! Cheater!

Trina knew they did not actually talk like this, but still. Practically.

It went on and on. And this, she knew, was just one type of nuclear missile, when both sides had so many different kinds, thousands of missiles of all different kinds, and all of them capable of doing their little part for M.A.D. One Tomahawk, The Looming Error said, carried a nuclear yield up to ten times the one at Hiroshima! And still they argued about it like little babies over their toys. Their tens of thousands of toys.


B-1s. MXs. Poseidons.

These characters at night became like glyphs to her, these names a hidden language that battled the shadows skirting her wall, battled the shapes of the trees outside her window, the yawning realization that her mother was never, ever coming back, that Trina would never see her again, that she was dead in the ground right now even—

Trident IIs. Pershing IIs. Tomahawks.

Soviet SS-4s. SS-5s. SS-18s. SS-19s. SS-20s.

She read them in the book and repeated them; it was a cadence that had become familiar, intimate. The Looming Error was overdue but she couldn’t imagine turning it back in to the library. She carried it in her backpack to school; she could practically feel it under the bed at night, whispering like a bad friend.

End of excerpt

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The Mercy of the Tide Cover Reveal

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We asked graphic artist Keith Rosson to do a cover for our upcoming anthology, Behind the Mask, before we read his manuscript for The Mercy of the Tide. That’s how crazy we are for his graphics. So when it came time to select a cover artist for his book, we didn’t look far because we knew if Keith applied his artistry to his own book cover, it would produce something really special. And it did. To say we love the cover Keith created for The Mercy of the Tide is the understatement of the year. We think he captured the magic of the book perfectly.

To get updates for the book, be sure to subscribe (right column of website). We’ll be revealing an excerpt very, very soon!

The Mercy of the Tide is a gorgeously written book that merges the sly wonder of magical realism and alternate history with the depth and characterization of literary fiction.

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Meerkat Press to Publish Keith Rosson’s Debut Novel

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Meerkat Press has acquired Keith Rosson’s debut novel, The Mercy of the Tide, which will release in February 2017. The deal, which includes worldwide English rights excluding UK, was negotiated by Tricia Reeks, of Meerkat Press, and Christopher Schelling, of Selectric Artists.

Calling it a “genre-defying alternate history thriller with supernatural elements,” Reeks says the story, set against a backdrop of Reagan-era nuclear tensions, follows four people inextricably drawn together by tragedy—one a nine-year-old deaf girl who dreams of a nuclear apocalypse—as they attempt to navigate strange happenings in their small town of Riptide, Oregon, like the discovery of a centuries-old skeleton, and mutilated animals seemingly sacrificed on the town’s beaches.

Said Reeks, “We are excited to be working with Keith on his debut novel. He is an amazing writer, and we are proud to be part of what we are sure will be a long and extraordinary career.”

Said Schelling, “Keith has a voice unlike any other in contemporary fiction. Unbound by genre, he opens the novel with an eerily peaceful snapshot of a small town sheriff’s office, and before you know it he’s got you hurtling toward the apocalypse. It’s wonderful that the vision is shared by Meerkat Press, a new publisher that’s thinking about new ways to get books into the hands of readers who get a thrill from the unexpected.”

Said Rosson, “I’m thrilled to be working with Meerkat Press, an adventurous publisher that’s willing to take a chance on a book that blurs genres and our sense of history itself.”



Keith Rosson’s fiction has appeared in Redivider, Cream City Review, PANK, The Nervous Breakdown, and more. He is the author of The Best of Intentions: The Avow Anthology, an omnibus collection of his long-running punk fanzine, Avow, as well as an illustrator and graphic designer, with clients that include Green Day, Against Me, the Goo Goo Dolls, and others.


Selectric Artists is an agency for literary and talent management, founded and run by Christopher Schelling in 2011. Selectric’s client list spans a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including New York Times bestselling memoirist Augusten Burroughs (Lust & Wonder), YA novelists Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park) and Cinda Williams Chima (Flamecaster) and musicians like New York-based pop-rock duo, the Skivvies.


Meerkat Press is an Atlanta-based independent press committed to publishing irresistible, unforgettable prose and poetry, ranging from literary to genre fiction. Visit them online at



Kirkus Reviews Reads Love Hurts

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We were stoked to see Love Hurts reviewed in the 3/15/16 issue of Kirkus Reviews.  If you don’t get the publication, you can still read the FULL REVIEW online.

A well-organized, wide-ranging collection of consistently strong genre stories.




4.5 Stars for Love Hurts from IndieReader

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IndieReader has stamped Love Hurts, IndieReader Approved with a 4.5 star review! So you can understand why this mob of Meerkats is doing a happy dance that might even impress Sam Rockwell. We hope you’ll take a moment and read the Full Review.

For fans of weird and beautifully written genre fiction, LOVE HURTS is a work that delivers 26 distinct emotional roller coaster rides, each as different from one another as they are from any other story you’ve probably ever read. As full of creativity as it is of heartbreak, it’s a book that truly is full of surprises.


Foreword Reviews: Praise for My Cruel Invention

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We were so thrilled to see My Cruel Invention reviewed by Matt Sutherland in the Spring Issue of Foreword Reviews! The review is now online as well and includes “A Fable (from the Journal of Chemical Ecology)” by J.G. McClure, one of the many outstanding poems from the collection. Full Review

It’s true, the mother of invention might scoff at this delightful collection as being wholly unnecessary, but the rest of us will only marvel at the sixty-two poems focused on inventors and inventions . . .


Book Giveaways!

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We are giving away 10 print copies of LOVE HURTS and 10 print copies of MY CRUEL INVENTION!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Love Hurts by Tricia Reeks

Love Hurts

by Tricia Reeks

Giveaway ends March 10, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Cruel Invention by Bernadette Geyer

My Cruel Invention

by Bernadette Geyer

Giveaway ends March 10, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Interview with Bernadette Geyer, Editor of My Cruel Invention

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Don’t miss Nicole Rollender’s Carpe Noctem interview with Bernadette Geyer, poet and editor of the My Cruel Invention poetry anthology. Not only will you get a wonderful sneak peek at one of the poems in the anthology, “Pinned” by Julie E. Bloemeke, you’ll also learn how Bernadette approached the selection of poems and the arrangement of the anthology.  Oh, and if that’s not enough to get you there, you can also find out which five poets’ work, Bernadette would gladly have tattooed on her body 🙂

Read the Interview




My Cruel Invention named Best Anthology

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My Cruel Invention was named Best Anthology by Grace Cavalieri, in her “December Exemplars” feature for Washington Independent Review of Books.


50 poets interpret what “invention” means to them, Editor Geyer compares the word to the notion of great possibilities—with language this time. This is a wonderful array of imaginers telling their wild secrets and what they believe possible. There’s “The Happy Marriage Machine” by Gwen Hart; and Joan Bonin’s “Inventing the Clock;” Jo Angela Edwin’s “The Inventors of Pantyhose; “A Physics Haiku” by Keith Stevenson; a magical piece by Laura Shovan: “Eyes on the Back of My Head;” and so much more, telling you what you could not possibly know, or have invented yourself.  — Grace Cavalieri

Read the full article here.

Washington Independent Review of Books is an independent, a nonprofit website dedicated to book reviews and writing about the world of books.