Today yous guys get a special treat. My good friend Aria Kane has agreed, after much begging on my part, to let me host an excerpt and giveaway for her upcoming novel ONCE UPON A DARKNESS!

As soon as she said “It’s kind of like Hansel & Gretel & Zombies” I was totally like pleeeeeease let me do something with this pleeeeeeease oh pleeeeeease. Only ten times more obnoxious than you’re imagining. 

So, let me introduce you to the epicness that is this book which releases June 17th, so probably you should preorder it rightfreakingnow:


Gretchen and her twin brother, Hank, were abandoned to a zombie horde when they were five years old. Intended to be a sacrifice by their zealot parents, they were instead rescued by The Company. Raised to become soldiers in the war against zombies, they now provide safe passage through danger zones, one contract at a time.

Clint’s only skill is war, but he’s weary of killing other men. When his contract with the Marines runs out, he takes a job on Gretchen’s team, hoping that the search-and-rescue life will suit him better.

On Clint’s second day, their four-man team is attacked, drugged, and taken to a prison full of frightened civilians. The only way in or out is by helicopter and, here, their enemies are human. One by one, the captives are culled from the holding area.  Rumors say the facility director uses the prisoners as experimental subjects for the testing of a zombie cure.

When Hank is taken, Clint and Gretchen must put aside their personal feelings and find a way out of the prison, surrounded by thousands of starving zombies, before Hank becomes just one more disposable guinea pig in the hands of a twisted mad woman.


HOW COOL DOES THAT FREAKING SOUND!?! See why I begged to host this???

And if the blurb alone didn’t sell you, how about an excerpt, mkay?


“Can we try something else?” Clint swung the practice sword in a wide sweep. “I think I got this motion down.”

“When you’re facing a crowd of zombies, there’s no time to think,” a woman’s voice said behind him.

He spun, sword in hand. She lunged at him. He had enough time to register pale skin and straight white-blonde hair atop a lithe frame before her arms crashed into his shoulders with shocking force. Air rushed painfully from his lungs as his back hit the ground. His sword rattled out of reach. She crouched on top of him, somehow holding him down with not much more than a hundred pounds to her. Eyes the color of ice on an Alaskan glacier stared back at him.

“If I were a zombie, you’d be a three-course meal right now.” The woman, who was maybe a few years younger than him, snapped her jaw and laughed.

“Or a new zombie, yourself,” another male voice said. Clint looked over her shoulder to find the male version of his attacker standing about twenty feet back from the scene. Next to him, a mountain of a man smirked with amusement. All three of them were nuts.

She shaped her hand like a gun and pressed it to his forehead. “No, I’d kill you before I let that happen.” She said it casually, like telling someone lunch was ready.

“Thanks?” Was this some sort of weird initiation?

The woman leapt to her feet and yanked him up after her. She tapped the back of his skull. “When you’re attacked, your lizard brain takes over. You have to do something like a sword swing or a roundhouse kick thousands of times so that it becomes instinctual. Hesitation is fatal.” She punctuated her words with practiced movements; the swinging of an imaginary sword and a roundhouse kick aimed at the practice target.

“Right.” He had known this, of course, but had forgotten it in the absolute boredom of swinging the sword the same way for hours.

The woman stood there with her hands on her hips as if she were waiting for some kind of applause. He didn’t know what else to say that would keep her from jumping him again. Though, now that he got a good look at her, maybe he wouldn’t mind another roll in the dirt. She was tall, with long legs bared by khaki shorts. A tiny white tank top stretched over a black sports bra that definitely earned its keep. Lean muscle stretched along the full length of her arms, torso, and legs. Strapped to her legs and waist were weapon holsters of all varieties that – in his mind, at least – only made her sexier.

“What are you, Zombie Slayer Barbie?” 


Leave me a comment below telling me how much you want this book, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a SIGNED copy! (Open US/CANADA only).

About the Author:

Aria Kane is a recovering mechanical engineer and romance writer. She lives in sunny Florida with a 60 lb mutt who thinks he’s a chihuahua. She is the author of ONCE UPON A DARKNESS and A TITAN FOR CHRISTMAS. You can learn more about her at

Or even better, CONNECT with her:


46 Responses

  • Jun 8, 2013

    No freakin way!!!! This is a total twist on the beloved fairytale of my childhood and today’s popular zombie features! Good question would be, why not to read this book! It’s exciting and thrilling! Who knows what’s going to happen to Hank? Who knows who will survive and who will die? This not only sounds like a great book but a great idea for a movie! Seriously! I mean of course there is the love sure to come up, but what is really standing out that catches my keen sense of adventure is the action and over the top mission! This is totally gunna be a dark, terrifying story with twists and turns at every corner! Along with I’m sure an amazing twist of a classic tale of the two abandoned children! I’m itching to get my hands on this book! Ahhh! Who doesn’t like sword fighting and zombies? Especially wrapped into one incredible book! I haven’t even read this book and I’m a total obsessive book nerd girl for it! I mean if I loved Of Poseidon and Of Triton, I bet I’m going to go head over heels for the mind blowing book! Seriously,if Anna banks is crazy for it why aren’t you? I’m already trying to contain my squeals! Yay! Thanks so much Anna for pointing me in the right direction for a new book for me to be obsessive with! Squeal! I can’t wait to spend all night reading it the minute it comes out!

    Heidi Liles Jun 8, 2013
  • Jun 8, 2013

    Oh I love retelling of fairytales and throw in zombies and I am so there. I want this book cause I am in love with all zombie books. Thank you for the chance. Kydirtgirl68 AT gmail DOT com

    PamM Jun 8, 2013
  • Jun 8, 2013

    I love how the story sounded just from the excerpt. A classic fairytale, plus zombies, and from what I can tell… a little humor too, it has to be great!!!!

    blondechick0716 AT gmail DOT com

    Alli E Jun 8, 2013
  • Jun 8, 2013


    Joti Bilkhu Jun 8, 2013
  • Tammy
    Jun 9, 2013

    There’s so few good zombie books out there. This one sounds so good!

    Tammy Jun 9, 2013
  • Jun 10, 2013

    This sounds like a fun read. It’s like Lara Croft meets Buffy the Vampire Slater, but with zombies. Even if I don’t win it, I’m going to have to check it out. It sounds like the perfect distraction from all the cleaning and packing I am supposed to do.

    Kori Watkins Jun 10, 2013
  • Jun 10, 2013

    OMG I would love, love, love, love, love to read this book!!!! I’ll even bake you some brownies from the grocery store, LOL. I think what grabbed me was the line “What are you, Zombie Slayer Barbie?” I grew up on Buffy, Barbie and even have 2 6ft Zombies that reside in my office all year. This book is a MUST on my TBR pile and I’d love have have it in paperback. There’s something about the smell of a paperback page that just joneses me. Ok, totally stopping now before you all think I’m a loone!

    Carey Sabala Jun 10, 2013
  • Jun 10, 2013

    I would really love a copy of this book. I love to promote authors and new books here in Canada , plus I am a bookworm, love to read.

    Joy Whiteside Jun 10, 2013
  • Jun 11, 2013

    I have to have this book. It sounds awesome. Some kick ass fighting with a brother and sister team fighting zombies. I love that they used a fairy tale and twisted it around. Thanks for the awesome giveaway. Please enter me.

    Victoria Zumbrum Jun 11, 2013
  • Jun 11, 2013

    This sounds fabulous and I was totally sold with “zombie slayer Barbie!” I simply have to have this book!=)

    javalotta Jun 11, 2013
  • bn100
    Jun 11, 2013

    I’d like to read it for the blurb and excerpt

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    bn100 Jun 11, 2013
  • Marina M
    Jun 11, 2013

    This book seems perfect! Lately I’ve been starving for a good book to read. Much like how the zobies are starving for food. I adore fairytale stories that have a twist. They have the same base for stories you know, but are fresh, and completely different. Plus this sounds like an action filled love story. Two of my favorite things in books. I also love it when books have meaning, or teach you cool facts. For example the repetition tactic with the sword. I already knew that from dance, but it never really clicked that it was important until now.
    The cover is just amazing. Not only is the background awesome, but you know that whenever you see a girl with a sword, the book is going to be wonderful. Even the title draws you in, (which I’ll admit it usually doesn’t).
    Aria Kane’s writing technique is spectacular. She could probably make watching paint dry sound intruiging. And the way she’s describing things!! “Eyes the color of ice on an Alaskan glacier”, sounds very poetic. It gives you a specific image that peirces itself into your brain. I prefer that a great deal more than ‘bright blue eyes’. Every new sentance I read has been captivating. Leaving me craving for more.
    “The company” is definetly something I want to learn about too. Also, who couldn’t love the words “war against zombies”? It makes everything much more interesting. Plus we’re talking about zombies in a fairy tale! Again, who wouldn’t want to read that?
    From what I’ve read, this book sounds like a masterpeice. Filled with acrion, love, meaning, mystery, and striking characters that will remain in your head even after the story is done.

    I really need to read this book.

    Marina M Jun 11, 2013
  • Jun 13, 2013

    I do want this book! I love fairytales and have an odd sense of humor when it comes to Zombies! Thanks for sharing.

    Jessie Clark Jun 13, 2013
  • Jun 16, 2013

    I loved the Of Poseidon series (so far) and am extremely excited for this unique novel. It moves away from the typical genre and plot line that you find in today’s young adult books (dystopian, overthrowing the government)and seems to have strong, sassy characters. I cannot express in words how much I truly want this book and am immensely excited to read it!

    Shannon Jun 16, 2013
  • Jun 18, 2013

    My best friend told me about your book, Of Poseidon, and I finished it in four hours. I CAN’T EVEN- I just can’t right now! I loved it so much and it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. When I finished it I was stunned. I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel! I’m also really excited for this book! I don’t get a chance to read a lot anymore, but this sounds so exciting. I love the twist on Hansel and Gretel, so dark and alluring. I love that line, “What are you, Zombie Slayer Barbie?” Like, SOLD. It reminds me of The Vampire Diaries since Caroline is known as “Vampire Barbie”, Rebekah is known as “Barbie Klaus”, and together, they make Team Barbie.

    Gretchen should join Team Barbie! She sounds so cool and awesome!

    MissGrace921 Jun 18, 2013
  • Jun 23, 2013

    I would really appreciate this book 🙂 I’m really into reading and this book fits right in with all of the other books I’m currently reading and loving. The scifi and zombie aspect seems really cool and I’d love to read Once Upon a Darkness 🙂 I’d love it if I recieved the book and best of luck to Aria (and you of cousre) 😀

    Martina Jun 23, 2013
  • Jun 30, 2013

    I just LOVE zombies, and since I just got into them, I need to stalk up. Haha, Help. Me. Stock. Up. 😛

    And the excerpt sounded really good.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Priscilla Shine Jun 30, 2013
  • Anonymous
    Jun 30, 2013

    I really enjoy reading new books and this one sounds just about right. 🙂 Love the dialogue!
    bkmellis at

    Anonymous Jun 30, 2013
  • Jul 3, 2013

    Ok, So that book sounds AMAZING!!!!! I love how its a fairytale that has a giant twist. It sounds like Hansel and Gretel the Giant Hunters movie except like a million times epicar! I am a zombie lover too! Woohoo! Zombie Apocalypse! I enjoy adventurous reads like your book Anna. I think that we should all trust that if the one and only fabulous Anna Banks loves this book then we should go crazy about it! Anyways….. Thank you for suggesting it because I think it sounds marvelous!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited (crosses fingers, legs, toes, and arms)I am awestruck by the summary because it sounds phenomenal! I really wish everyone luck and “may the odds be ever in your favor.” . I so hope that there is gonna be some hot amzing cute guy with lots of amazing romance which im pretty sure a romance known author can do. I love adventure in books because it takes you to a totally different world(Which im pretty sure it will do). Man oh man,Aria you sound like an amazing inspiring author!

    Merrina O'Malley Jul 3, 2013
  • Jul 3, 2013

    Ok pretty random but. Hey Anna? Have you ever met Veronica Roth the author of another amazing books called Divergent and Insurgent?

    Merrina O'Malley Jul 3, 2013
  • Queenie:D
    Jul 13, 2013

    Oh my god!!!! Just the perfect book for summer reading! I love authors that wrap action and sci fi around fairy tales. Since you say it is really good, I am dying to read it! Thanks for the opportunity Anna!

    Queenie:D Jul 13, 2013
  • Jul 24, 2013

    Zombie slaying Barbie…hilarious. I must read it!

    Dandelion Quilts Jul 24, 2013
  • Anonymous
    Jul 24, 2013

    I’ve heard short but sweet is good but as i am not short nor exceptionally sweet it never quite caught on with me. I’ve never been a zombie fan but i think mixing them in an almost fairy tale way sounds genius. I love Of Poseidon and Of Triton and therefore i wholeheartedly believe in anything you believe is good Anna. It sounds, witty, action packed and filled with romance. What really makes a better book?!?! I want it so badly now and i can already feel the desire blooming like a flower in my chest. Please, please please!!!!!

    Anonymous Jul 24, 2013
  • Jul 31, 2013

    Hi Anna!! I just wanted to tell you that I’m ABSOLUTELY in LOVE with your books, OF POSEIDON and OF TRITON! Now I know you don’t really know me, but if you remember, I’m that crazy girl that read OF POSEIDON in like less than 24 hours. Yeah. I’m Cassie’s friend. So anyways, I just finished OF TRITON (which I LOVED by the way) and I’m really looking forward to the next amazing book in your series! But in the meantime I would really appreciate it if I was the winner of your giveaway so that I could not only have something to read, but have something else to possibly obsess over��. It would seriously mean a lot to me. The excerpt was brilliant and I mean, if YOU say it’s a good book, then I KNOW it’s a good book! So thank you so much for even reading my comment and I guess I’ll talk to you later?

    Sara Kelly

    Sara Kelly Jul 31, 2013
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  • Jan 22, 2014

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  • Jan 23, 2014

    I want to win because your books are really creative and fun to read. Also I read the books from my library and I would really love if I could own signed copies of them! Yea and also I read Of Poseidon in like 4 hours and am almost finished with Of Triton which is amazing!

    My twitter: @emeeroehrig

    EmilyRoehrig Jan 23, 2014
  • I should proof read before I post, lol. Lates everybody!!!

  • Jan 30, 2014

    I’d like to win is because Anna Banks is one of the coolest authors in this world and she’s been sharing these amazing stories with us! I’m a Brazilian fangirland I almost had a heart attack when I saw the new cover!!!

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