Roadtrips and Truthseeking: Revealing the Cover for K.M. Szpara’s First, Become Ashes

We’re thrilled to present the cover for K.M. Szpara’s First, Become Ashes, a novel about following your beliefs and finding love on the road. First, Become Ashes will release from Publishing in April 2021.

The Fellowship raised Lark to kill monsters.
His partner betrayed them to the Feds.
But Lark knows his magic is real, and he’ll do anything to complete his quest.

K. M. Szpara follows Docile, one of the most anticipated science fiction novels of 2020, with First, Become Ashes, a fantastic standalone adventure that blends pain and pleasure and will make readers question what is real, and what is magical.

Lark spent the first twenty-four years, nine months, and three days of his life training for a righteous quest: to rid the world of monsters. Alongside his partner Kane, he wore the cage and endured the scourge in order to develop his innate magic. He never thought that when Kane left, he’d next see him in the company of FBI agents and a SWAT team. He never dreamed that the leader of the Fellowship of the Anointed would be brought up on charges of abuse and assault.

He never expected the government would tell him that the monsters aren’t real—that there is no magic, and all the pain was for nothing.

Lark isn’t ready to give up. He is determined to fulfill his quest, to defeat the monsters he was promised. Along the way he will grapple with the past, confront love, and discover his long-buried truth.

First, Become Ashes book cover

Cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill; Cover photograph (meadowlark) by Frode Jacobsen/


Applicable AO3 (Archive Of Our Own) tags include (but are not limited to):

  • CW: Dubious consent/nonconsensual sex
  • CW: Cult-inflicted trauma
  • M/M
  • Canon Polycule
  • Comic-Con meet cute
  • [ASMR] Professional Cosplayer Washes and Braids your Hair
  • Cock cages and keyholding
  • Motel magic and social media spellcraft
  • Roadside S&M
  • Wizard-on-monster violence


Hugo and Nebula finalist K.M. Szpara is a queer and trans author who lives in Baltimore, MD. His debut novel is Docile; his short fiction and essays appear in UncannyLightspeedStrange Horizons, and more. Kellan has a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, which he totally uses at his day job as a paralegal. You can find him on the Internet at and on Twitter at @kmszpara.


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