Saturday, February 23, 2019


S. Andrew Swann is the pen name of Steven Swiniarski. He’s married and lives in the Greater Cleveland area where he has lived all of his adult life. He has a background in mechanical engineering and— besides writing— works as a Database Manager for one of the largest private child services agencies in the Cleveland area. He has published over 26 novels since 1993.

Swann applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Marked, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“What do you think he said?”

“‘Wealcan has fallen. They’ll come for you. The shadows are coming.’ That’s what I remember.”


“I don’t know, it might be a word I didn’t understand, but it feels like a name.”

“Can you say it in the original language?”

I had to think hard, as if I was pulling long unused switches in my brain. However, I could still see the old man at my window, still hear his words, and I was able to slowly pull it out, syllable by syllable.

He listened, and finally said, “It sounds like a language to me, though I have no clue what one. Sounds Germanic?”

“I don’t know what to do,” I said quietly.

“Of course you do,” Jacob snapped. It was such a sudden change in tone that I stared at him as if he had just slapped me. He almost glared, and his expression was hard.

“W-what?” I suddenly felt very small and weak, and I felt perilously close to breaking down. After all I had exposed myself in front of Jacob, his disapproval, his scorn would be devastating.

“Dana, you know exactly what to do. You’ve been doing it all your professional life. You’re a cop, and one of the best detectives we’ve got. Act like it.”

All I could do was stare.

“You have twice as much to go on as your Dad did, and you have the luxury of being on paid leave. Follow up on what you do know. Write down that phrase so you don’t forget it, with that and a translation you should have no problem tracking down the language. You have the tattoo on you and John Doe, so you know it’s not unique— there has to be other people out there with the same mark.”

I nodded. Jacob didn’t yet know the difficulty of researching others with the Mark, but he was right about the language, and right in that I had much more to work with than my Dad ever had.

What’s in the box?
Page 69 of Marked shows a dinner between my protagonist Detective Dana Rohan and her partner Jacob Hightower. This is the first time she’s talked with him off-duty. We’re seeing her social anxiety, a major part of her character here. She has this mark on her back that does these paranormal things, and she’s hidden it since she’s been a teenager. This has led to severe self-imposed isolation. This is the first time she’s opened up about any part of that to anyone, and she’s understandably tentative. At this point she’s shown Jacob the mark and told him about the history of her and her adoptive family, but she’s yet to tell him anything paranormal is going on.

This is a major theme of the book. She has this power, a mark that allows her to travel between alternate pasts and futures, and in large part it’s crippled her and stunted her life. She isn’t even able to use the mark to its full potential until she starts opening up and trusting other people.
Visit S. Andrew Swann's website.

--Marshal Zeringue