Alyssa Palombo

The official website and blog of author Alyssa Palombo

Heavy Metal Symphony events!

I’m very excited to announce two upcoming events promoting Heavy Metal Symphony, one virtual, and one in person!

Virtual Book Launch

On Tuesday, October 19th I’ll be holding a virtual release party for Heavy Metal Symphony, hosted by local Buffalo bookstore Talking Leaves Books! I’ll be in conversation with fellow Buffalo author Janet McNally at 7 p.m. ET over Zoom. Click here to sign up, and don’t forget to preorder your SIGNED copy of the book through Talking Leaves!

In-Person Event at Author’s Note

On Wednesday, October 27th, I’ll be talking about Heavy Metal Symphony live and in person at Author’s Note bookstore in Medina, NY. Please consider coming out if you’re in the Western New York area; it’ll be my first in-person event in eighteen months and I’m VERY excited about it! We’ll talk about writing, rock stars, and all things heavy metal (and maybe about spooky season too?). More information available at the bookstore’s website.

Hope to see you either in person or virtually this month!

Signed copies and preorder incentives!

We’re less than two weeks out from the publication of Heavy Metal Symphony! Want a SIGNED copy? Simply preorder the book through Talking Leaves Books (or buy from them online on release day) and I’ll be going in to sign all the purchased copies! Click here to preorder!

Also, ANYONE who preorders the book, from any outlet and in any format, can get some free Heavy Metal Symphony bookmarks, pictured below! These were designed by Jennifer Hark-Hameister, who also designed the book cover. The front features the lyrics to the chorus of the song that Ava writes in the book.

To claim your bookmarks, simply email proof of purchase to, along with the mailing address you’d like them sent to, and I will put those in the mail to you. Note that if you are preordering from Talking Leaves there is no need to email me your receipt; I will be sticking bookmarks in each copy as I sign them.

Also, stay tuned for details about the virtual launch party coming very soon!


I am SO excited to be revealing the cover for my first contemporary novel, Heavy Metal Symphony, coming October 19th, 2021 from Kaledena Press!

Without further ado, here is the cover!

Designed by Jennifer Hark-Hameister

I knew that, for the cover of this book, I wanted the cover to have some sort of live music vibe, as the band spends much of the novel on tour, and performing live is one of Ava’s very favorite things in the world. And my wonderful publisher was good enough to take that into account, with this as the absolutely gorgeous result! I love that we see Ava in her performance zone; I love the blue color palette; I love the crowd completing the live concert vibe. And, while this is a smaller detail, I also really love Ava’s hair, since she is, like me, a fellow curly girl.

Heavy Metal Symphony is so very much a book of my heart, and every step of bringing it to publication has been an absolute dream come true. What has made this process and this cover even more special for me is the fact that the cover was designed by my best friend, Jennifer Hark-Hameister. Jen is, as you can see, an incredibly talented graphic designer, and a brilliant photographer as well (she also took my current author picture, which you can see on the About Me page!). She’s also done some promotional graphic design work for me in the past, including my bookmarks for The Borgia Confessions. It’s been so wonderful and meaningful to work with her on this book! You can (and should!) check out more of her work at her website:

I hope you all love this beautiful cover as much as I do! And you can now add Heavy Metal Symphony to your Goodreads to-read shelf. I cannot wait to share this book with you all soon!


“I hope you never reach a day where you have to choose between your band and your relationship.”

Ava Tomei seems to have it all: she’s the lead singer of Buffalo-based metal band Handel’s Messiah and is in a committed relationship with the band’s keyboard player and brilliant composer Killian Sterling. But as the band hits the studio to record their fifth album, Ava and Killian can no longer hide the cracks in their relationship from their bandmates—or from themselves.

What started as an artistic collaboration between Ava and Killian six years before quickly bloomed into a passionate romance. Then, when the lead singer of Handel’s Messiah—and Killian’s ex girlfriend—leaves the band right in the middle of the band’s world tour, Killian calls on Ava to step in. Ava is plunged into the pressures of stepping in to front one of metal’s biggest rising bands amidst fan disappointment, skepticism from her new band mates, the physical demands of a world tour, and sexism in the metal scene. But she also has the chance to fulfill her wildest dreams. Still, as Ava’s desire to express her creativity comes to a head with Killian’s artistic dominance, they are forced to confront whether what they have can be repaired—and what will happen to the band if not.

Told in alternating storylines that show Ava and Killian’s seemingly fairytale past and their fraught present, Heavy Metal Symphony is a novel of jealousy, competing talents, rock stars, ambition, creative control, and, of course, heavy metal.

Announcing My First Contemporary Novel – HEAVY METAL SYMPHONY!

I am SO thrilled to announce that my fifth novel and first ever contemporary novel, Heavy Metal Symphony, is going to be published by Kaledena Press!

Here is a synopsis of the book:

Ava Tomei seems to have it all: she’s the lead singer of Buffalo-based Handel’s Messiah, the metal band of which she was a long-time fan – and is also in a committed relationship with Killian Sterling, the band’s keyboard player and brilliant lead composer. Yet as the band hits the studio to record their fifth album, Ava and Killian can no longer hide the cracks in their relationship from their bandmates or from themselves as Killian’s artistic dominance and Ava’s desire to express her own creativity come to a head. They are forced to confront whether what they have can be repaired, and what will happen to their band if not.

Introduced by a mutual friend over six years before, classically trained singer Ava and budding rock star Killian found that what started as an artistic collaboration quickly bloomed into a passionate romance. When the lead singer of Handel’s Messiah and Killian’s fellow founding band member – and ex-girlfriend – Celeste Perinot leaves the band after a heated disagreement in the middle of the band’s world tour in support of their second album, Killian calls Ava to replace her. Ava is immediately plunged into the pressures of stepping in to front one of metal’s biggest rising bands amidst fan disappointment, skepticism from her new band members, the physical demands of a world tour, and sexism in the metal scene – but also has the chance to fulfill her wildest dreams, and to do it at the side of the man she loves.        

Told in alternating storylines that show Ava and Killian’s seemingly fairytale past and their fraught present, the novel follows their relationship from its start and into its uncertain future. Through it all Ava is forced to grapple with what she wants from her career and from her relationship and whether those two things are mutually exclusive, and how to find her own voice when she’s so used to singing the music of others. Daisy Jones and the Six meets A Star is Born set in the metal scene in Heavy Metal Symphony, a novel of jealousy, competing talents, rock stars, ambition, creative control, and, of course, heavy metal.

Being able to publish this book is truly a dream come true for me. Those of you who have followed me on social media and/or receive my author newsletter will have seen me refer to this book as my “love affair project”. That’s because a) the book is about an actual love affair and b) I wrote the first draft while I was deep in second book syndrome and was SUPPOSED to be writing The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, aka I was cheating on the book I was supposed to be writing with this one XD This is truly a book of my heart, as they say, and I’ve often felt that Heavy Metal Symphony and The Violinist of Venice are the two halves of my music-loving soul: classical music and heavy metal.

I am also SO thrilled to be working with Kaledena Press to publish this book. Kaledena is a Buffalo-based indie publisher, and they are absolutely the perfect home for this Buffalo-based book. That’s another reason this novel is so close to my heart: it is my first one set in my beloved hometown, and I get to show you some of my favorite places in this wonderful city.

There will be more news to come in the next few months (release date, cover, all that fun stuff) and I am so excited to share it all with you. Until then, I’ll be diving back into edits of this book, and I’m so excited to be hanging out with my heavy metal friends once again 🙂

A Halloween Treat: A Excerpt from The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel!

In honor of Halloween week, I recorded myself reading a passage from my third (and very spooky) novel, The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel! Hope you enjoy, and hope you have a spooky, and safe, Halloween!

(Shoutout to my dad for filming this video for me!)

THE BORGIA CONFESSIONS e-book is on sale!

I’m excited to let you all know that the e-book version of The Borgia Confessions is currently on sale for $2.99 across all platforms! If you’ve been wanting to read the book, now is a great time! Links below.


Barnes & Noble



Happy reading!

Learning to Wait for It

Unlike many writers I know or follow on social media, I’ve actually been pretty productive writing-wise since the pandemic began. That isn’t to brag, and it isn’t to say that I haven’t had days where focusing on my work has been impossible. I absolutely have. But my work has always been my escape from what’s going on in the world, or from stressful things in life, and that has held true of late. So I have, for the most part, been able to lose myself in a couple different stories since March. I finished a first draft I had in progress, did the bulk of my research for that project, and completed a revision – that draft is currently with my agent, awaiting her read and her notes. I also added about 20k words to a project I’d started – and shelved – last summer and had always wanted to come back to.

Yet for whatever reason, recently the words just haven’t been coming.

I’m not sure if it’s this particular project – maybe this one simply demands to be written more slowly than other ones have, and it’s something I’ll have to chip away at. Maybe the stress of the pandemic and the general state of the world is finally catching up to me. Or it may be something else entirely catching up to me.

Maybe the past six years since selling my debut of jumping straight from one project to another with just short breaks in between is finally resulting in the inevitable burnout that I’ve been afraid of for so long. Maybe “writing like I’m running out of time” has finally caught up to me.

There are publishing career concerns at play here as well, of course. That’s impossible to avoid when you write for publication, or for the hope of publication. The fact that I don’t have anything under contract with a publisher right now is also almost certainly a contributing factor to this feeling. This is hopefully a temporary situation, and one almost every author faces at some point in their career. Publishing is an industry that very definitely makes you Wait For It, which is extremely difficult for those of us like myself with Big Alexander Hamilton Energy. So what that means for me right now is that I’m unsure what direction it makes the most sense for me to be going in. I have a few historical projects either started or conceptualized that interest me – including the first draft of the WIP I’ve been plugging away at for the past month or so – but they’re all a bit different, so which one would be best to follow the project that is with my agent currently, if indeed that becomes my next published book as I hope it does? There’s also the fact that there are a couple of other genres I’ve been waiting to try writing in as well, but is now the right time to branch out? Does it necessarily matter what I work on at this precise moment as long as I’m enjoying it and the words start flowing again?

Whichever explanation is correct – and it’s most likely some combination of all of the above – that leaves me not entirely sure what to do. I’m in a weird headspace of wanting to write, wanting to work, but seeming to not have the mental energy or clarity of thought that writing – or creation of any kind – requires. More often than not lately, when I sit down at my laptop my head feels like it’s stuffed with cobwebs. And it isn’t that I don’t have stories I want to tell – I do, too many of them to count sometimes, it seems. And it isn’t that I’m not excited to tell those stories – I am. I just can’t seem to actually do it right now.

Today I sat down to write, with the idea of maybe starting something completely new, in a genre I’ve never written in before, just for the hell of it. Just for fun. Maybe the WIP I’d been trying to write is the problem, and I just need to switch it up to something else and see how that goes for a while. Yet even though I’d been composing sentences in my head all morning, that blinking cursor on the blank Word document I opened just seemed to completely stymie me. Cue the cobweb-stuffed head feeling.

I also opened up all the documents for recent projects I’d been playing around with in the last year or so, skimming through bits and pieces of some of them. While I remain excited about all those ideas, the words just weren’t wanting to come for any of those, either.

So I started writing this blog post.

I realize that what I’m describing above sounds a lot like what is generally referred to as “writer’s block”. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t personally like that term. To me, “writer’s block” implies some sort of magical reason why someone is struggling with writing, and that there isn’t really anything they can do about it until it goes away. When I get stuck – whether on a particular project, or generally – I usually know why I’m stuck, and that helps me figure out a way to push through it. But this time, even though I think I’ve identified a veritable soup of reasons why I’m feeling stuck, the way through is not at all clear to me. Writer’s block? Maybe. I’ll probably never get over my ingrained dislike of that phrase, though, wherever that dislike stems from.

Any fellow creative reading this is probably sing-shouting at me, Eliza Hamilton-style, “Take a break!” And there’s a large part of me that realizes that that is probably the answer, or at least part of it. But then there’s that annoyingly persistent part of me that insists I want to be writing, really I do. The feeling I get when I sit down to my laptop seems to disagree, though. And that’s a really uncomfortable feeling for someone who has always been able to write her way out.

So here I am, a thousand words later, and I still don’t have the answer. All I can say at this point is these are the only words I’ll be writing today. Maybe tomorrow will look different.

Maybe it’s time I finally learned to Wait for It.


Exciting news! On Tuesday, July 14th, 2020, the audiobook edition of my second novel, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, will be released via Tantor! The amazing Nicol Zanzarella narrated, and the moment I heard her audio sample I knew she was PERFECT for Simonetta. I can’t wait to hear the finished product myself!

And look – Tantor even gave it a snazzy new cover!

The audiobook is available for preorder now! Links below!


An Excerpt from The Borgia Confessions!

Since we are all staying at home and socially distancing, and since I can’t be at bookstore events reading to you all in person, I decided to record a video of myself reading a short passage from The Borgia Confessions. Hope you enjoy, and hope you are all staying safe and staying healthy!

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