Jennifer Mason

Cyberstrung: A Silk and Venom Story by Jennifer Mason

A hardboiled hacker teen battles spider freaks and venomous smartphones in the near future of Cyberstrung: A Silk and Venom Story. Technology really bites in this YA urban fantasy.

Introverted gadget-guru Harker Aimsworth wants to fund a cure for his disabled younger brother, Avery. When Miccael Martocky—Harker’s idol and creator of the popular M-cell smartphones—launches a hacking contest that awards a lucrative career, Harker enters. He’s poised to win, but his plans go haywire when cyber-terrorist Impostor 2211 hijacks Harker’s entry to attack the M-life network.

Impostor reveals that M-cells are actually hunting lures for seretans, the clandestine arachno-society that feeds on human juices. Seretan venom leeches photonically out of the phones and into the human body, Swiss-cheesing the brain. Victims, like Avery, are easy pickins for scavengers. By serving mankind to seretans, Martocky aims to rectify Earth’s worst environmental threat: humans.

To save the world, Harker must utilize his technological savvy and topple the industry he once adored. But he has little hope of rescuing Avery unless he can connect to sentient hearts and minds without codes or cables.

I earned my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. I also hold an M.Phil from Trinity College Dublin, where I specialized in Gothic and hardboiled literature. I completed and revised Cyberstrung under the guidance of my VCFA advisors, including Bonnie Christensen, who has called me “a master of world building” with an “imagination…to be reckoned with.”

Thank you for your consideration,

Jennifer Mason


The Book Doctors:

We love the phrase “venomous smartphones”.  We’ve never seen that anywhere.  Very inventive!  It’s in the first sentence, so that immediately leads us to believe that you’re going to give us something fresh and unique, but familiar.  And I love the fact that the venom leeches out of the phones.  Your use of Swiss cheese as a verb is fabulous.  We think it’s great that the Earth’s worst environmental threat is humans.  It feels very of the moment.  Again, we want you to show us worst-case scenario, what’s gonna happen to the world if our hero fails.  To us that’s the weakest part of this pitch—that it doesn’t come to some sort of crazy climax.  Your bio is really well done.  For everyone, there is a lesson to be learned from how Jennifer has a quote from someone else saying how great she is!  We also like that it’s very clear from the beginning what our hero desperately wants: to save his brother.  And the fact that it’s noble and selfless makes us like and love him.  This is a very good pitch.