The Mount

GENRE: Young women getting their sh*t together

A shy tech writer, practiced at the art of evading intimacy, gets dragooned into the comic world of martial arts and finds herself entangled in the sprawl of body parts and humanity.


Abba Welles has complacency down to an art. The diffident tech writer plods along in her cubicle culture at HardCore, an Oaktown database company that isn’t quite as sexy as it sounds. Still, her job lets her live solo, binge-watch and pay the bills. As for a social life, Abba’s fine with her goofball teammates and Liebling, the all-pervasive online network that keeps her just outside sheer hermitage.

But pressures both external and biological have a way of prodding a woman in her late 20s. Abba’s cubemate and best pal has signed up for a matchmaking agency, Mom’s urging her to save her eggs, and what seems like a dry spell is turning into a rude asexual awakening. So after another soul-crushing layoff hits HardCore, Abba lets herself be dragged into the perky HR admin’s latest girl-power venture: the bruising yet comical world of martial arts, stock full of myth-making, mayhem and machismo.

Turns out hapless Abba harbors some hidden talents on the mat. Even worse, her reluctant prowess is ruining her meek repute even amongst the raucous bro-grammers, led by HardCore’s intimidating golden child Adam. Lying low isn’t going to cut it anymore. Getting into the mount— considered the most dominant position in martial arts—is going to teach her lessons in raw intimacy that she’ll never see coming.

About the aspiring novelist

A former features reporter and A&E editor, Vera Chan was among the second wave of newsroom refugees to join the world wide web. She has survived three dotcom bubbles and 7 CEOs at Yahoo!, where she worked as a front page reporter, blogger, senior editor of global projects and web trends analyst.

Now a content strategist at Bing News @ MSFT, Vera has a deep understanding of marketing, social media, product, and trends. She has a master’s degree in journalism from U.C. Berkeley and received the Eleanor Taylor Bland grant from Sisters in Crime in 2015.

A 4th-degree black belt in Hapkido, Vera contributed “Television and Martial Arts” chapter to Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation (ABC-CLIO, 2010) and the “Diversions” and “Arts” chapters for Asia in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Cultural Travel Guide (Avalon Publishing, 2004).

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