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A.J. Van Belle


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AJ Van Belle web pic
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A.J. Van Belle has published more than a dozen books under pen names, and their stories and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies from 2004 to the present. They’ve worked as an editor in nonfiction publishing and higher education, served as YA acquiring editor at a small publisher, and taught undergraduate writing courses at Boston University. Currently, in addition to writing full-time and nurturing new talent through two novel-writing mentorship programs, they are a literary agent intern at the Booker Albert Agency. With a Ph.D. in biology, they draw on their science background to inform the world building in their fiction. They are represented by Lauren Bieker of FinePrint Literary Management.

The Map to Belladonna

An 82,000-word thriller novel

Currently on submission

I'll Be Gone in the Dark X If I Disappear

Data analyst Rose Blaine has a morbid hobby: she runs statistics on serial killer cases with the help of a friend, retired police detective Matt Demaris, and posts videos for her channel’s engaged fan base.


In the 1990s, Rose’s late sister Belladonna Atkinson drafted a memoir that describes her erratic ex-boyfriend Jonas Byrne’s odd habit of writing down the ZIP codes of every location where he and Belladonna had sex and tacking the papers to the wall above his bed. When Rose learns of a new serial killer case, she knows Jonas must be the killer for one reason: the victims’ bodies are found in locations that match the ZIP codes in Belladonna’s memoirs. Rose also knows she’s the only person alive who could connect Belladonna’s writings to this active serial killer—which, in her eyes, makes her responsible for stopping him.


To end the murders, Rose must admit, both to Matt and to herself, what really happened to Belladonna—and give the killer the one thing he wants: her own life.

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  A Seed From Darkness Outlander in space

Eleanor grows up believing her village is the last remnant of humanity, then learns that’s a convenient lie. Life isn’t limited to working at a woodsmoke-filled inn and enduring bullying by the local lord’s son; there’s a world of galactic exploration out there. As Eleanor falls in love with the street kid who discovers the truth at her side, the two must face a deadly clash in their insular community—or escape into the stellar unknown.

A 93K genre-bending mashup of historical, spec fic, romance, and found-family saga
On submission

A Seed From Darkness
All Falls to Ruin

All Falls to Ruin

With the help of Cortinarius, an ancient forest spirit with dubious motives, grief-stricken dryad Sylvia takes on human form and enters a coastal Texas town to seek restitution for her sister, who was killed by a careless human.


Adult dark fantasy, 93K words

On submission

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Piles of Books

Short Fiction Highlights


"A Billion Paper Stars"

"The Mist That Forms the Flesh"

"The Frost of Mercy"

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