Posted in Book Release, Dystopian, excerpt on August 3, 2017

Title:  Interpretation
Author:  Dylan Callens
Publisher:  Cosmic Teapot Publishing
Word Count:  60,000

Synopsis

Carl Winston awakens to find his son, Liam, screaming with fear. Trying to understand why, Carl tries to soothe him. Neighbors gather in front of Carl’s apartment to help – until they see him. The crowd cowers back, afraid of this monster.

Carl runs. His life of luxury is ripped away. Forced beyond the city limits, Carl sees a land bereft of life. Traveling in search of answers, his quest comes to a sudden halt when he collapses. As darkness shrouds him, a figure hovers from above.

Traveling along the same route, Eva Thomspon finds Carl and nurtures him back to life. Together, they continue the journey, finding out that their lives have too much in common to be a coincidence. As their affection for each other deepens, an unknown nemesis attempts to remove their only source of happiness – their love for each other.

Interpretation is a dystopian fiction that explores hope and happiness in the bleakest of conditions and what happens when it’s torn away.

Excerpt

Carl closed his eyes and tried to laugh at himself.  Barely a squeak left his mouth.  What was he thinking, trying to enter this godforsaken wasteland by himself with no supplies?  Still on his back, he dreamed about opening a bottle of Ocean Surge.  Wet bubbles danced against his tongue, bathing his taste buds with refreshing fruit-infusion – small bursts of happiness made his lips sing an ode to joy.

But forget that fantasy; sulfur-ridden tap water would be just as good.  Carl knew the taste would not equate, but its effect would invigorate.  Carl smiled, his eyes wide open, staring into the dimming sky, into the nothingness that surrounded him.  Gulp after glorious gulp of imaginary liquid until he couldn’t keep up, showering his face with it until a puddle formed around him.  That puddle turned into an ocean and Carl sank to the bottom, his faint breath weakening further.  The light grew dimmer.  He tried to reach up, to reach out of the depths of his hallucination, but his arms felt too heavy, as if the pressure at this depth couldn’t be overcome.

A shadow hovered over him.  Carl tried to speak to it, but words didn’t make sense.  The shadow spoke back with a meaningless, muffled slur.  Water entered Carl’s mouth, nearly choking him.  Nonetheless, the delicious wet felt so good, like ocean refreshment in every bottle.  That was the slogan, right?  Carl laughed or cried, he couldn’t tell.  For all he knew, he was dead.  The shadow grew, saying something that he couldn’t work his mind around.  Darker. Darker.  Clock, what the hell was that clock song?  Darker. The shadow drew nearer.  Or maybe it was the darkness.  It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born, And was always his treasure and pride… Ah yes, there it is.  But it stopped short – never to go again – When the old man died.  That’s the one.  Darkness.

About the Author

Dylan Callens lands cleanly. That would be the headline of a newspaper built with an anagram generator. And although Dylan is a Welsh name meaning god or hero of the sea, he is not particularly fond of large bodies of water. His last name, Callens, might be Gaelic. If it is, his last name means rock. Rocks sink in the sea. Interestingly, he is neither Welsh nor Gaelic, but rather, French and German. The inherent contradictions and internal conflict in his life are obvious.

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Posted in Dystopian, excerpt, fiction, Guest Post, Science Fiction on June 19, 2017

Synopsis

In Christopher David Rosales’ first novel, ‘Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper’, he creates a completely unique vision that seamlessly blends tropes of magical realism and dystopian fiction in a portrait of power in America that we’ve never seen before. Imagine it as the communal love child of Marquez, Bolaño, and Orwell, a child who inhabits an America that resembles Pinochet’s Chile, and yet feels uncannily (and frighteningly) familiar to present day Los Angeles. A world in which street assassin Tre, a young and much beloved brother and son, finds himself caught in a city where all its citizens, even its most dangerous, are potential targets in the on-going power struggle between an authoritarian military regime and a not-so-community friendly guerrilla force. As Percival Everett says, “This novel treats revolution, love, betrayal and magic with equal adeptness and intelligence. In a world that is at once ours and foreign Rosales makes characters that will be remembered when the novel is done.

Guest Post

Action & Suspense in Literary Fiction

I did not submit a whole chapter. It stops somewhere before we know the main character’s fate. Why?

In all of my stories and books I challenge myself to give my readers everything. You want love? You got it. Horror? Action? Crime? Yep. Even camp and melodrama, and especially sex. Who doesn’t want sex?

But this gets real messy, real fast. Not the sex; the writing.

Because readers approach reading with expectations, and much of the time those expectations are based on popular genres that are strictly defined. The hardboiled detective vs. the armchair detective. The mystery (whodunnit?) vs. the thriller (look at them doing it!) vs. the suspense (what are they going to do and when?!). There’s the chest-heaving romance that’s all passion and pecs and no penetration, and then there’s the quasi-eroticism in which the BDSM stands for Bored and Dying for Something to Masturbate to.

And let’s not forget self-serious: (she wasn’t sure why she did it, or even what exactly one could call what she did, and she never would be sure, would she? But surely she’d have to live through this day knowing she knew nothing. Or did she?).

None of what I’m saying about this balancing act we call writing and reading fiction is new. It remains, however, hard.

Brief interruption: I’m going to use the word literary soon.

When I write “literary,” I don’t use it as an evaluative word. It doesn’t mean better. It means I wasn’t relying on my own or a reader’s preconceived expectations for a popular genre, but rather was relying on character alone. Genre fiction often relies heavily on character–too–but it rarely relies on character–just. For a definition of “literary”-crap, see above: “self-serious”.

So how do we use elements of popular genre fiction, like Action and Suspense, in “literary” fiction. I chose today’s excerpt from my first novel, Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper, because it is a chapter in the middle of a “literary” project in which I try to provide action and suspense. I want bullets to fly, sure, but I want hearts to pump out of sympathy instead of spectacle. So I do what Ron Carlson tells us all to do in Ron Carlson Writes a Story, a must-have craft book for every writer. I try to stay close to the character. I take inventory of the objects, people, and location, and stay close to them, return to them, round them out. What I don’t do is make the bad guys bad and the good guy good. The “good guy” has just stolen from these “bad guys” in my scene. His motorcycle isn’t great, it’s ragtag and rusty. There are civilians populating the scene by living everyday lives with each other; they’re not propped up to take a bloody shot to the gut to demonstrate the “bad guys” mean business. In fact, the scene doesn’t try to “mean” anything.

But by sticking to details, I hope to remind readers it’s in their nature to observe. As the main character rides his motorcycle in an attempt to escape, his spit hits his helmet’s visor, a stop sign takes a bullet, he hardly notices but can’t help notice the hot sun reflected in the puddle in the road. I don’t know what’s going to happen to him as I collect these details about his environment. And that means I am engaged in action and suspense.

That’s it, after all. Action is a collection of concrete definable terms happening to or being happened to by a character. Suspense is the delicate distance between our prediction of what will happen and our knowledge of what has. By writing in both those states, I hope my reader will read in both those states. By abandoning a preconceived notion of what should happen in a plot, I hope I give my reader something new. It’s unpredictable to them because it’s unpredictable to me.

Excerpt

Tre leaned his bike into the turn and wound his way through the frozen traffic. We always said he leaned into everything that way. He didn’t ever seem to be trying too hard at anything at all.

He flipped up the visor of his helmet and checked his watch. Tapped it once or twice. “Piece of shit.” When he flipped the visor down the sunset shimmered pink across it.

Slowing each time he passed a luxury sedan, he’d crane his neck to see the plates. He stopped behind a long brown car with dark windows, checked the license number scribbled on the back of his hand against the license plate on the sedan. The scribbles across his hand had smeared with sweat, but they were clear enough to see they didn’t match.  He rode on, calling different curses for each different rich man’s car he passed. Passat equaled pussy. Fiat equaled faggot. Benz equaled bends over and takes it in the ass. He laughed, fogging his visor, and relished the blindness. When the fog retreated and revealed the crowded street, he closed his eyes—his right elbow clipped hard against a sideview mirror but he kept them closed. Since his parents had begun to pawn the family keep-sakes he’d felt invincibly dead. Like the elimination of personal property was a slow and steady lowering of the coffin of their hope.

A horn honked twice and his eyes opened wide on a jeep changing lanes right in front of him. He swerved around it, barely, and a woman inside shouted, “You’re going to kill someone.”

“I hope so.” He shouted spit onto his visor, and flipped her off.

The traffic was heavy in the intersection, and everyone was honking but no one going anywhere. Thankfully, this included his target in the brown sedan. Using the balls of his feet, Tre stepped his bike up alongside the rear window, took the .38 from his waistband, and shot three times through the closed backseat passenger window.

Inside the white starburst of glass a bloody head slumped out of sight.

The driver kicked his door open and peeked his head out. Tre cut a mock salute across his helmet. The driver left the door open when he ran, looking back only once, and casually. He slowed to a jog, and then a walk three cars down.

Tre set the kickstand, left the bike running. He opened up the rear door and ducked inside over the dead man. He felt around for wallets. A lot of these guys kept two, one just for these sorts of occasions and a real one… here, right along the warm inner thigh. Something shiny caught Tre’s eye even through the dark visor. A wristwatch—Rolex—and he traded the man’s watch for his. He took the time to put his broken watch on the man’s wrist, laughing, and to adjust the thick-wristed man’s watch to his own. Then he removed all the cash from the wallets, but not the cards, and put them back too. It was important that the hit not look like a robbery. Whoever had hired him wanted to send some kind of message. But, still, all dude needed now was a coin on each eye—he wouldn’t miss the paper money.

Outside, the horns honked when he mounted the bike. No sirens yet. He heeled back the kickstand and lurched forward, then rolled, easing his way through the maze of metal. A few people inside the cars he passed ducked their heads. Most of them watched, heads tilted out their windows.

Tre lowered the kickstand, dropped the remaining cartridges into his pocket, took off his helmet, and tucked it with the pistol into his backpack. Then he made sure he’d brought the right romance flick. On the cover, a man and woman faced each other across a wide night sky, and a carrier pigeon hovered between them, pinching in its beak a bannered note reading the title.

He zipped up his backpack and went to the door of the girl’s house. There was no one around. And beside that, none of the streetlamps worked so no one could see him anyway. He checked the Rolex, pressed it to his ear and listened. He couldn’t hear the watch’s delicate turnings over the sounds of the naked-bellied children playing like faint shadows in the street, the neighborhood dogs whining from a safe distance for him to feed them, or the music on the radios inside all the windowless houses.

From the porch, he stared at his red motorbike parked alone in what was left of the street mostly dirt now. The occasional tuft of grass or chunk of asphalt. The bike looked strong on roads like this. Rode over them with ease, after the mods: the stolen tires, the halogen bulbs. Sure it was used up. Scratched. Frankensteined out of junkyard parts and spray-painted bright red to hide the bolts and stitches. Sure it had seen better days. Still, around here, Tre was somebody because of that thing.

She opened the door, wearing a peasant style blouse that made a wing of the arm blocking his entrance. Her pink tongue licked her lips, not horny but hungry. “You’re late.”

“So long as your period ain’t.”

“That might be how you talked to hoodrats before but that ain’t how you talk to me.”

“Okay, okay.” He kissed her dark cheek, unzipping the bag as he did so, and then tugged out the VHS tape. He’d got it out of someone’s house just this week. They’d had DVDs but no one he knew had a player, and he hadn’t had room on his bike for something that big. “I brought popcorn, too.”

She smiled, showing white teeth; rare, anymore. Kissed him again.

He licked his lips. She was wearing that peppermint lip-gloss he’d gotten her.

“Where’d you get the money for popcorn?” she asked.

“I got a job.” He knew she wanted to ask him for more details but would stop herself. Girls had to, around here. Love didn’t require good men and good women; just men, and just women. “Are you going to let me in, or what?”

“Where’d you get the money, I said.”

So this one was different.

“Give me a chance to explain?”

About the Author

Christopher David Rosales’ first novel, Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper (Mixer Publishing, 2015) won the McNamara Creative Arts Grant. Previously he won the Center of the American West’s award for fiction three years in a row. He is a PhD candidate at University of Denver and has taught university level creative writing for 10 years.. Rosales’ second novel, Gods on the Lam releases in June, 2017 from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and Word is Bone, his third novel, is forthcoming 2018 from Broken River Books.

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Posted in 4 paws, Dystopian, Giveaway, Review on November 27, 2016

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dominion-cover

Release Date: December 3rd 2016

Published by: The Writers Coffee Shop

Genre: Fiction, Dystopian

Synopsis

A generation has passed since the pandemic known only as the Infection ended the world as we know it. In a little town in the Appalachian Mountains, Taylor has known only a harsh and brutal struggle for survival in a land littered with the rusted-out remnants of a lost world. By day, she labors in a coal mine. In the evenings, she tends a secret collection of beehives, and uses the honey to pay for lessons in survival skills, such as hunting, fishing and collecting herbs. Her home is a single room in a crumbling old motel, and her only companion is a pet box tortoise named Go she’s had since she was a child.

When her town is destroyed by a vicious gang of raiders known as the Nine, Taylor escapes with Dylan, the son of the mayor. Their only plan is to head south and escape the Nine’s vast territory, avoiding areas contaminated by meltdowns and industrial pollution where mysterious illnesses plague the residents.

Dylan has never known hunger or hardship and struggles to learn survival skills. He’s never known a woman like Taylor either. He tries to pay her back by teaching her to read and telling her the stories passed down from the world of Before.

They certainly didn’t plan on falling in love. Taylor fights it every step of the way, because in her world, any emotional attachment is dangerous. She’s been taught since childhood that love slows you down, makes you weak. But the feelings growing between them cannot be denied.

Taylor finds herself slowly breaking every one of her hard-learned rules of survival. She discovers that perhaps some of those things she’s always fought to avoid are the very things that make life worth living.

. . . And death shall have no dominion . . .”

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Praise for The End of All Things Series

Hope, love, and the strength of the human spirit are the backbone of this surprisingly uplifting offering from Lissa Bryan. ~ CBL Book Reviews

The End of All Things is more about hope and second chances, and I very much enjoyed the tale …. highly recommended for all fans of apocalyptic fiction. It’s a well-written book with excellent pace, plot, and best, it has real soul. ~ Jade Kerrion, Goodreads

Review

While this book does not pick up right after the first three, it is a continuum of this series.

While I haven’t read a ton of dystopian books, this is one series that I have truly enjoyed. The books have kept me curious about a different world and even wondering how I would fair under these circumstances. Probably not too well at first but I feel like I could learn and adapt (at least I hope!)

Taylor is a tough, smart young lady (age isn’t really know, but would guess 20ish). Dylan is somewhat pampered since he was the son of the mayor (as pampered as you can be in a dystopian world). So it wouldn’t seem like this would be a likely pair to hook up, but they do out of necessity and it was probably the smartest thing either one of them does. Taylor has the skills to survive out in the wild and Dylan brings more cultured skills (like reading, understanding maps and dealing with people) and this makes the unlikely pair a good match. Along the way the friendship turns into more.

This book help me captive as Taylor and Dylan made their way out of the Appalachian mountains, away from the town they lived in and away from the group that was hunting Taylor for killing someone higher up in a terror group. Many times I wondered if she was going to be caught or how they were going to survive obstacles that presented themselves.

There is more that I liked but that would spoil things…needless to say there is something of a happy ending. But that is all I’m going to say!

We give it 4 paws up.

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About the Author

lbryanLissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot . . . though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

She is the author of five other novels, Ghostwriter, The End of All Things, its sequels, The Land of the Shadows and Shadows Have Gone, and Under These Restless Skies.

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Posted in Dystopian, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Spotlight, Time Travel on October 11, 2016

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time-phantom-cover

Synopsis

On his 50th birthday, recently divorced male model Dane Vanderbrouk, is struck by a peculiar affliction. If he remains still for too long, he falls back in time. If he moves too fast, he’ll travel forward. And, when you’re a time traveler the world is an immutable place. Every action vanishes with each jump in time.

Chased by an assassin from the future through the narrow streets of Amsterdam, Dane is thrust into a war where shaping the future means changing the past.

Fast paced action, unexpected twists, and an eclectic cast of characters will pull you into a world where impressions matter, but only an action of consequence can change the future.

Time travel has a new speed, and adventure in a new series.

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Excerpt

NEW YORK, 2070

Tonja dropped the sheer white fabric over her face. She’d always thought the veil was meant to hide the fear from the attendees who’d come to witness this special moment. But now that she was the one looking out from behind the porous fabric, she realized the ceremonial costume was designed to calm the fears of the honoree. The world appeared benevolent and calm. Soothing.

As she walked down the hallway toward the altar, she began to hear music. Soft strings and bass notes accented by a subtle melody. The music underscored the rhythmic percussion of seven swords stabbing a large stone altar. The music transformed the violent actions into something beautiful. The air smelled of lilacs and vanilla, scents that brought with them happy childhood memories.

When she arrived in the room—the room that was to be her casket—she scanned the faces of her friends. Institutional companions, really. People she’d come to know simply because they’d all been quarantined together for decades, ever since she was snatched up and taken to this place when she was twenty-five, the height of her youth. And now, on her fiftieth birthday, she was walking toward an altar, where she’d be strapped down and stabbed into oblivion, like thousands before her.

This was how it was done. It was best for society, they said, and more humane for the individual to be stabbed by seven men on the surface of a stone tablet.

Walking toward them, she observed their labors, metal sparking against stone, rhythmic stabs where she would soon lie. In a few short moments the men would stop their actions and allow Tonja to lie down and be strapped to the stone slab. It was that simple. If when the altar shifted she didn’t fall back in time, as they said she would, she would be unstrapped and set free. But in the event that she did travel back, her body would appear under the pointed blades she’d just witnessed in action. The kill would be quick.

Tonja had resigned herself to this fate after witnessing her first ceremony. The image haunted her. Seeing the body vanish from the altar the moment it moved, then having the memory of seeing the man gored by the rhythmic lunges of the swords minutes before. It was confusing, frightening, and magical.

She closed her eyes and imagined what the hard stone slab would feel like. How the leather straps would press against her skin. She was only moments from the experience itself, and yet she couldn’t help indulging the fantasy. Why did they use such heavy materials? Why stone and leather? And why stabbing? Why not fire? Or a bullet through the head? The questions were piling up inside her head. The most pressing of which was, why hadn’t she thought to ask these questions earlier?

Panic arrived like a clap of thunder: sudden, loud, and resonant. Her knees thrust forward, but her calves kept her balanced. She knew it was coming. She was seconds away. She had to get onto the altar immediately or… or, or, or… there was another option. The question wasn’t why the method of death, it was why the straps? They didn’t want her to run! But her desire to do so was overwhelming. So that was what she decided to do.

A pressure fell over her body just as she turned on her heels and sprinted away from the altar. The pressure vanished the moment she started moving. Emotion manifested in laughter. It was that easy! She ran down the corridor toward the exit. She just needed to keep moving. That was it. Keep moving. She could hear them screaming in the ceremonial room. Shouts of disapproval mixed with terrified cries.

Her body hit the door. The moment she stopped, the pressure consumed her again and was immediately replaced by dizzying spins. Everything was moving. Her world transformed. The door was locked. Her laughter dissolved into fear as she continued to try the immovable knob. She wasn’t going to escape through this door. She had to go back. She had no choice.

About the Author

randy-andersonRandy Anderson is a novelist and playwright. In 2011, he published his memoir, On Making Off. His second book, Careful, was released on May 1st 2014. He is currently working on a new time travel series as well as a literary trilogy. Plays he’s written include; New Year’s Resolutions, Homlessness Homosexuals and Heretics, Testing Average, Kill The President, Armor of Wills, and The Dwelling. If you want to know more, reach out! Randy currently lives in New York City where he writes, reasons, and reacts.

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Posted in Dystopian, excerpt, Science Fiction, Spotlight on August 2, 2016

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Floor 21 cover

Title: Floor 21
Author: Jason Luthor
Publisher: Scout Press
Pages: 355
Genre: Sci-fi/Dystopian

Synopsis

The last of humanity is trapped at the top of an isolated apartment tower with no memory of how they got there or why. All travel beneath Floor 21 is forbidden, and nobody can ever recall seeing the ground floor. Beneath Floor 21, a sickness known as the Creep infests that halls of the Tower. A biological mass that grows stronger in reaction to people’s fear and anger, the Creep prey’s on people by causing them to hallucinate until they’re in a state of panicking, before finally growing strong enough to lash out and consume them. Only a small team known as Scavengers are allowed to go beneath Floor 21 to pillage the lower levels in search of food and supplies.

Jackie is a brilliant young girl that lives far above the infection and who rarely has to worry about facing any harm. However, her intense curiosity drives her to investigate the bottom floors and the Creep. To deal with her own anxiety and insecurities, she documents her experiences on a personal recorder as she explores the secrets of the Tower. During the course of her investigation, Jackie will find herself at odds with Tower Authority, which safeguards what remains of humanity, as she attempts to determine what created the Creep, how humanity became trapped at the top of the Tower, and whether anyone knows if escape is even possible.

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Excerpt

When you stop and think about it, I mean, our lives don’t make sense. We couldn’t have always lived up here, right? It gets me pretty antsy thinking about it because, I mean, this is a tower, so we had to have come up the stairs at some point. Didn’t we?

I don’t know, and thinking about it gets me frustrated. When I’m in this kind of mood, I go to the rooftop and look out. You can actually see other towers rising up in the distance. Some aren’t even that far from ours. I stare at them, and I’m just like . . . is anybody over there? Is anybody looking back at me? Does anybody know or remember we’re trapped in this place?

Or are we all that’s left?

After I’ve gotten myself sufficiently depressed, I’ll stare over the edge of the roof, trying to see how far below I can look. Thing is, it’s impossible to see much. This tower just vanishes into the Darkness. Nobody, and I mean nobody, even knows why. It’s just blackness down there.

Oh, about Floor 12. Yeah, that’s where the Creep really starts. The Creep? It’s this . . . gunk. Super-disgusting stuff that you shouldn’t touch because it makes you feel weird, and the lower down the Tower you go, the more you see it. It starts to cover the walls, and it’s kinda gross. It’s really slick, like saliva, and it looks all muscle-y. Almost alive. Good thing you don’t have to worry about it when you’re higher than Floor 11. Still, I wonder what it is. We all do. I know that when you touch it, you can start hallucinating. I did once. Well, okay, I’m lying. I’ve touched it a few times when I’ve been on the lower levels, which is why my parents made the rule that I couldn’t head down there in the first place. I mean, I don’t pay attention to them, but I get why they don’t want me going that far below into the Tower. The Creep makes you see . . . things. Shadowy things. Sometimes they’re right in front of you, but most of the time, they’re in the corner of your eye. They say that by Floor 21, you don’t even have to touch the Creep to hallucinate, which is a total trip. Must suck to live down there.

About the Author

Jason LuthorJason Luthor has spent a long life writing for sports outlets, media companies and universities. His earliest writing years came during his coverage of the San Antonio Spurs as an affiliate with the Spurs Report and its media partner, WOAI Radio. He would later enjoy a moderate relationship with Blizzard Entertainment, writing lore and stories for potential use in future games. At the academic level he has spent several years pursuing a PhD in American History at the University of Houston, with a special emphasis on Native American history.

His inspirations include some of the obvious; The Lord of the Rings and Chronciles of Narnia are some of the most cited fantasy series in history. However, his favorite reads include the Earthsea Cycle, the Chronicles of Prydain, as well as science fiction hits such as Starship Troopers and Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?

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Posted in 4 paws, Dystopian, Review on July 28, 2016

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Synopsis

Even the suburbs aren’t safe from the end of the world…

Daisy Danner is your typical busy stay-at-home mom. On most days she tries to keep her head down and finish her never-ending work. Today is different. Today is the apocalypse.

When an eerie attack starts to tear the neighborhood and the world apart, Daisy shuts the doors and prays that her husband Justin will return soon. Her mind begins to fray as she tries to cope with the possibility of single motherhood in a menacing new world.

With her mental and physical abilities compromised, Daisy must keep her family together as the world falls apart.

TV Apocalypse is a psychological apocalyptic thriller set in an all-too-real suburb. If you like end-of-the-world tales, humor mixed with tragedy, and incredible suspense, then you’ll love Kathleen Rover’s chilling glance into post-apocalyptic suburbia.

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Review

What a unique premise for a book! I thought I had heard/read it all but a “virus” transmitted over the television is definitely new to me. They call those that have the virus “influenced” and they take on a zombie like appearance and tend to go a little nuts and try to harm those around them including loved ones. A twist on a dystopian scenario.

Enter Daisy – she might be influenced but not like the others, she just wants to protect her family. It seems that she has a split personality and the other side of her has all these skills that seem second nature but Daisy is anything but a fighter.

I really enjoyed this book and it was hard to put down because I wanted to know what the heck was going on in the world. In a way it seemed to correlate to all of the issues we have in the world today. This is a series and so the book does sort of leave you hanging but at least there is a sneak peek into book 2.

We give it 4 paws up.

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TV Apocalypse Teaser

About the Author

I am a mother, a writer, and an avid reader. I write under a pen name due to another professional career. Everyone has a secret in their life, mine is writing.
What’s your secret?

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Sovereignty

Synopsis

Under the totalitarian reign of the 23rd century’s world’s government- The Sovereign Regime- control is made possible by the identity chip implanted in every human being, recording everything that is seen, done, and experienced.

No more bank accounts.

No more smart phones.

No more secrets.

When Goro inadvertently overhears an exchange of sensitive information, causing him to confront the truth about his world and prompting him to choose his true loyalties, his dream of revolution kicks into high gear. Goro doesn’t know he has covert intel in his possession both the SR and the resistance movement are desperate to acquire.

Determined to attempt the impossible task of bringing down the world government, he and his closest friends gain access to the key to ultimately deciding who has sovereignty.

But who will get to Goro first: The resistance or the Sovereign Regime?

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Guest Post

Building Relationships with students

I have found that building a bridge with my teenaged students is paramount to helping them achieve success. When someone other than a family member genuinely cares about their lives and what goes on with them, it makes a difference- even if it’s just a brief smile in their direction. I’m not all that, believe me, but I have an innate ability to connect with youth- thankfully I was born with it!  Therefore, I decided to write a YA Dystopian novel for not just my students, but for the world as well. Even though I am biased in thinking my students are rock stars!

I want my students to know that I am there for them. I want them to be able to look back over their high school years and hopefully say, “That Hughes teacher was always in my business, (they don’t really say this, lol) but no really, it was cool of her. She made an impact on my life.” THAT is the ultimate high five- when a student comes up to you years later and thanks you, saying they appreciated you being there for them. In my book Sovereignty, Goro is the ultimate cocky teenager, thinking he is all that and a bag of chips, but he learns real life giving lessons and comes out stronger and more gracious in the end.

The three main characters, Goro, Alex, and Cory are named after the three students who positively influenced my life throughout my teaching career. They say, “To teach is to touch a life forever,” well, these three students touched my life profoundly. They were the reason I stayed with teaching. I mentored all three of these exceptional students.

Building relationships with students can be one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher. Of course, all my students are important to me, but every once in a while, a few will rise above the rest. Seeing students learn, grow, succeed in life, is the best feeling in the world. It’s a marathon, not a sprint and it’s never easy for a teacher to build relationships, but it is ultimately rewarding in the long run. I’ve had students tell me I was the only teacher that cared enough to check in with them. I’ve had students tell me if it wasn’t for my care and concern, they would’ve dropped out of high school. Again, this is not to point the spotlight on myself, I just want to reiterate that students don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Many times the old clichés are too true. J

About the Author

Anjenique HughesWith master’s degrees in education, special education, and counseling, Anjenique “Jen” Hughes is a high school English and math teacher who loves teaching and mentoring young people. She enjoys traveling and has worked with youth on five continents. Saying she is “young at heart” is an understatement; she is fluent in sarcasm, breaks eardrums with her teacher voice (students have complained when they were within earshot), and cracks sarcastic jokes with the best of her students. Her work with ethnically and socioeconomically diverse youth has inspired her to write books that appeal to a broad variety of students seeking stories of bravery, perseverance, loyalty, and success.

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Five winners will each get a copy of Sovereignty and a $25 Amazon GC (open USA & Canada) Ends Aug 13
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Posted in 4 paws, Dystopian, Giveaway, Review, Thriller on June 27, 2016

The CleanSweep Conspiracy

Synopsis

Matt Tremain publishes Verité, a modest blog dedicated to writing about the truth and exposing scams. Currently, he’s following up on rumors concerning something called CleanSweep, a mysterious project in Toronto, Canada.

Matt gets his break when a whistleblower connects CleanSweep to billionaire Charles Claussen. Claussen plans to rid Toronto of undesirables, beginning with street people and extending to any citizens who don’t match Claussen’s restrictive screening matrix.

With the help of a high-ranking government official, Claussen plans to incite riots and violent unrest, conning Torontonians into sacrificing privacy and civil liberties for illusionary security and safety. Toronto will be reduced to a repressive city-state.

The information overwhelms Matt, who doubts he has the courage, skill, or readership to take on CleanSweep. But the murder of his source convinces the blogger to take a stand—although he’s too late to prevent chaos from gripping Toronto’s streets.

To get the word out, Matt’s going to need allies. He may have found some in a Toronto police detective and a local TV reporter pursuing the same story—presuming they aren’t allied with Claussen. If they are, Matt’s going to become yet another victim of CleanSweep, and the truth will be buried forever.

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**Note, when I looked on Amazon on 6/26/16 the book was FREE if you have a Kindle.  Check pricing before submitting purchase**

Review

The premise of this book reminded me a lot of Atlas Shrugged – where the government wants to control the lives of its citizens. Ok, maybe not to the extent of AS but pretty darn close.

It did take me a bit to get into the book, not sure if it was my mood or the book, but once I understood what was happening it definitely grabbed my attention.  I love reading about conspiracy theories and corrupt governments (because don’t we see that every day?!).  It was intriguing to see this author’s spin on government control and what was in the works, how it would work and why.  I thought the book was based in Canada, but there are a lot of references to the US so it was a bit confusing to me until it was definitely stated that it was happening in Toronto.

The characters were diverse and not surprising in today’s world that a blogger broke the news of some corrupt members of the government and society.  And when they came after him, he was prepared and knew how to destroy all the evidence.  In a way it was comical how he kept evading the authorities, but he couldn’t have done it without some help from some techy friends.

There were a few spots where it didn’t seem to flow or the timeline seemed off, but I might have missed something. Also, apparently Carl and Susan decided to have a physical relationship but there wasn’t any sort of real lead up to it other than Carl had a thing for her.  While this is a minor storyline, I think it needed a bit better development.

Overall it was a good story, I thought it just needed a little polishing/editing. Nothing drastic, but just some flow issues.

We give it 4 paws up.

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About the Author

Born in Iowa, Chuck Waldron lived in Ontario, Canada, before relocating to Florida’s Treasure Coast. Over the years, he’s held many jobs. The ones he can mention in print include US Army soldier, truck driver, office manager, mailman, real estate salesman, social worker, hardware store clerk, and shuttle driver.

Fate played a crucial role when he walked into his first writing class, and he still honors the memory of the teacher, Henrietta. She gave him permission to write. That—along with countless writing groups, classes, seminars, and much sweat—has resulted in over fifty short stories and four novels.

Waldron often likes to pretend interest, lacks perseverance, and could generally use a good talking to—until it comes to his writing, that is. He and his wife Suzanne reside in Port St. Lucie, Florida. While keeping an eye out for hurricanes, alligators, and Burmese pythons, he’s busy writing his next novel

Website   Twitter   Facebook

Giveaway

Prizes:

1. Grand prize: Kindle Fire with 7” display from Amazon + copy of CleanSweep (1 winner)

2. 4 copies of CleanSweep (4 winners)

3. 5 copies of author’s previous titles (5 winners)

4. 2 X $15 Amazon GC + copy of CleanSweep (2 winners)

Total: 12 winners (Open to USA & Canada) Giveaway ends July 7, 2016.

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The Sixth Event

by Kristen Morie Osisek

Sci-Fi/Time Travel/Romance/Suspense/Dystopian
Evernight Teen Publishing/ 74K words

Synopsis

Eighteen-year-old Raquel isn’t eighteen anymore…

During Raquel’s first semester of college, she witnesses the end of the world, only to wake up in her old room at her parents’ house two years in the past. Even worse, it seems she’s the only one who remembers—until Chris Lyley, a boy Raquel always thought was a loser, tells her he remembers the catastrophe.

Before long, they both discover new abilities. They’re able to understand any language and teleport through time and space.  If Raquel and Chris can figure out what caused the end of their world, maybe they can stop it.

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Evernight Teen * Amazon * ARe

Excerpt

My heart pounded as my white ceiling greeted me when I opened my eyes.

I blinked frantically, the vision of the rock hitting me still fresh in my mind, the instantaneous crushing sensation throughout my body fading to a dull, residual mental ache. Fear crashed and faded in a wave of relief when it all resolved into the deep blackness of my dorm room.

That had been one hell of a dream.

I narrowed my eyes, still staring up at the ceiling. My dorm ceiling was gray, not white.

I sat up and turned to the left expecting the glaring green glow of my digital clock. Instead, I was greeted with the dim shape of a dresser, outlined in the rosy hue of a rising sun.

My pink and white dresser at my parent’s house.

Shock spread through me, sending tingles down to my toes. My bedroom was coming into view, not my dorm room.

A stuffed dog sat at the foot of my bed. Instead of the giant glass window over the football field, my lace pink curtains fluttered in a warm California breeze, a copy of Teen Vogue sitting on the sill.

I rolled over and stood, grabbing the magazine. Justin Bieber smiled at me from the October 2010 cover.

Impossible. This was impossible.

“Elsie!” I shouted my roommate’s name. The magazine hit the floor with a ruffle of pages. The plush, carpeted floor, not the hard tiles of my room at college.

My comfy bed, complete with a feather mattress, took up the same side of the room it always had. My computer desk sat at the far side of the bed, the blocky Dell PC taking up most of the space. A life sciences textbook lay next to it, the image of a tiger on the front coming into focus as my eyes adjusted to the darkness. On the floor, my giant shoulder bag from high school lay with papers strewn around it. I took a step closer, peering at the letters, my heart pounding so hard I didn’t think to turn on the light.

High school biology notes. I had taken biology in my junior year.

I fled, my door banging against the wall as I ran to the bathroom, flicking on the light.

Elsie wasn’t here. I stared into the mirror of my parent’s bathroom, at my frizzy brown hair. I didn’t look so different. A little bit shorter, a little bit ganglier. No freshmen fifteen. I still had that annoying pattern of three pimples that kept coming back on my chin.

But I was still younger. Not eighteen, not a college student.

A girl in high school. High school. Again.

I stared in shock. This couldn’t be true. It must still be part of the dream, part of the green sky and rocks hitting me. I blinked hard, touching my nightgown, pinching my arm until I winced with pain.

“Mom!” I shrieked so loud I thought the mirror would shatter. “Mom, Mom, Mom!”

My mother came rushing in, her robe pulled tightly around her. “Raquel, what is it?” Her hair framed her face in an unruly brown cloud, her eyes wide and face pale. “What’s wrong?” She was as scared as I was.

“What happened?” I shouted as I grabbed her. “What happened?”

“What do you mean?” She pulled me out of the hug, looking into my eyes. “Raquel, what is wrong? Are you sick?”

In the glaring bathroom light, I stared into her wide eyes. She stared back at me, full of concern, full of worry for her daughter.

“The…I died. There were birds dying, and a rock hit me, and I should be in college…” I babbled, and she shook her head, gripping me tight.

“Raquel, it was a nightmare. That’s all.”

“What’s going on?” My dad’s voice shouted from the dark hallway.

“Nothing, dear,” my mother shouted back. “Raquel just had a little night terror.”

“At sixteen?” Disbelief and exhaustion edged his voice. “Go to sleep, Raquel,” he added, mumbling.

My heart pounded harder, even as I shut my mouth, looking back into the mirror. The mirror in my parent’s house, where a sixteen-year-old me stared back. My stomach flipped, then sank into my feet.

I was two years younger. The world was two years younger.

And no one else remembered anything.

 

About the Author

Kristen Morie-Osisek has always had a fascination with the natural world. She is an academic by trade who specializes in addiction research, but also has a healthy interest in geology and the history of the planet. She focuses on writing science fiction and fantasy. The Sixth Event is Kristen’s debut book.

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Posted in Dystopian, Giveaway, Spotlight on October 8, 2015

 

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The End of All Things Series by Lissa Bryan

Giveaway

For your chance to win one of….

$10 Amazon Giftcard

An e-Copy of The End of All Things Series

A Paperback Copy of The End of All Things Series

An e-Copy of Ghostwriter

A Paperback Copy of Ghostwriter

CLICK HERE

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The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan

(Book 1)

Category: Dystopian

Publication Date: January 24, 2013

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Summary

TheEnd_Low-Res_CoverAfter a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.

She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance against the extremes of Mother Nature.

Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.

But their journey is not without joy and love. Together, they face every struggle, including an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the perils of bringing a child into a world of chaos, their baby is a new beginning for themselves and a symbol of hope for the other survivors they find along the way.

This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life, and a home in each other.

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Tales from the End by Lissa Bryan

(4 Short Stories / Companion Pieces)

Category: Dystopian

Publication Date: February 4, 2014

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Summary

Tales-From-The-End-Low-Res-CoverFrom the author of The End of All Things comes a collection of short stories about the Infection that swept around the globe, decimating the population, and leaving behind a small number of survivors, unprepared to deal with the brutal new world which had replaced the one they’d known.

The Horsemen

L.A.’s mayor has declared quarantine to try to halt the spread of the Infection. Pearl sets off across the city to buy supplies, but already the world is changing. Something strange is in the air. The Horsemen are coming …

Veronica

When Veronica’s mother doesn’t come home from work and no one answers the phone when she calls for help, a nine-year-old girl is thrown into the chaos of a world coming to an end. Veronica decides it’s up to her to find her family. “Veronica” is the story of a little girl’s courage in the face of the end of all things.

“I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud”

They called her Shadowfax– the mare Carly and Justin found on their travels. But before she was found by Carly, the retired dressage horse was known as Cloud. An unusual tale of the end, told through the eyes of a confused and lonely horse, left in her pasture.

Birthday

A previously-published bonus story. Carly knows Justin has never celebrated his birthday, and after society crumbled, no one knows what date it is, anyway. But she wants to do something special for him. Celebrating the little things helps them keep hope alive, and as a blizzard rages outside, a small gesture of love warms their home.

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The Land of the Shadow by Lissa Bryan

(Book 2)

Category: Dystopian

Publication Date: August 21, 2014

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Summary

The_Land_of_the_Shadow_Low-Res_CoverAfter surviving the Infection and a perilous journey through the wasteland that was once the United States, Carly and Justin have found a safe home in the isolated town of Colby.

Even so, balancing the duties of survival and a growing family isn’t easy. As they emerge as leaders, they face difficult questions about justice in a lawless land, basic human rights, and freedom in a world where strength defines worth. More than ever, they have to rely on one another for strength and support during the darkest of times.

The Crisis is far from over. Their fences won’t keep the world out forever, and a new threat is emerging—a gang of predators who see the town as easy pickings. When danger looms over Colby, Carly must decide how far she’ll go to protect those she loves.

It’s a journey down the long and broken road through The Land of the Shadow.

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Shadows Have Gone by Lissa Bryan

(Book 3)

Category: Dystopian

Publication Date: March 26, 2015

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Summary

Shadows-Have-Gone-Low-Res-CoverCarly Daniels knows what it is to suffer loss. She knows what it is to sacrifice. In the two years since a pandemic virus—known only as the Infection—decimated humanity, she’s made choices she never could have imagined. She’s condoned violence in the name of peace and done the unthinkable in the name of mercy. But with Justin at her side, she’s also learned there’s nothing she can’t face and nothing she wouldn’t do to protect those she loves.

But now another threat has arrived in the form of a uniformed man driving an army truck, claiming to represent the remnant of the United States military. Someone has set their sights on their community . . . and on Justin. The struggle to defend their little homeland is far from over, and the visitors may have brought more danger with them than just their weapons.

The shadows are closing in. Carly has to find out whether she has the strength to stand on her own when all of her support has fallen away. What remains when the shadows have gone?

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Ghostwriter by Lissa Bryan

Category: Supernatural

Publication Date: October 11, 2012

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Summary

Ghost_Writer_Low-Res_CoverUnemployed, with her savings dwindling, Sara Howell thinks things are looking up when she lands a ghostwriting job and rents the affordable island home of her favorite author, Seth Fortner, who mysteriously disappeared in 1925.

Strange things happen, making Sara wonder if Seth ever left. When she finds an old trunk of Seth’s letters, she delves into a world she never imagined, filled with love and a family curse it seems only she can break.

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About the Author

lbryanLissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot…. though only in her head.

Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

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