Hitting the ground running, Malice Ink is a collective of young writers and artists looking to put Guam's stamp on the mainstream world of literature.
This week's release of the horror e-novel "Wicker Isle" is the first in a line of books for young adults and manga to be released by the group, which also is seeking donations through its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.
The members are made up of different age groups, some apprenticing and still in high school, while others already are putting the finishing touches to projects. That means there's a broad range of styles when it comes to artwork and words.
"The main evolving theme that we have that resolves in everything we do is the evolution of never giving up," says artist Jerome Guzman. "A lot of our themes have a hopeful message behind it and it's up to the reader or the audience to convey what sort of hope is behind what we do. ... You may not figure it out on the get-go, because it's a whole journey to get there."
Although he's an artist, Guzman stepped out of his comfort zone to pen Malice Ink's first novel. "Wicker Isle" is about a college kid named Kenneth with a set of recently divorced parents. He goes missing and his mother contacts his alcoholic and failed FBI agent father to locate him. The book is self-published, available on Booktango.
"They had a bitter divorce, but he accepted it because that's his only son," Guzman says. "He takes up the investigation to where his son has gone -- this island that's been lost in the textbooks and history. He may not be the only one looking for his son and it opens it up to other characters."
The book is targeted for young adult readers -- teenagers looking for something more mature, plus for adults because there is graphic violence and mature subjects.
Despite being the lead writer, Guzman counted on his Malice Ink colleagues to help muscle him through writer's block and other hurdles.
"My team was basically my target audience," he says. "They were my first demo runners. They'd say, you shouldn't go with that because it's been done before. That's how I kept it fresh, because they supported me to help keep it fresh."