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Synopsis

Almost six years sincKids at Ware an unknown event plunged the world into darkness, humanity continues to crumble. Times have worsened as the remaining fuel and valuable resources – fresh food and water – are long gone. Chances of recovery have all but disappeared; chances of survival seem grim.

In a plan so backward, so unlikely to have any success, the militia of the Milwaukee area take a young nun, five teens, and a set of five “special packages” into the barren farmland of south-central Wisconsin. There, with little more than themselves for support, they are to live, to grow, and perhaps even prosper. Or maybe the militia has just removed a problem they chose not to deal with.

With the help of new – yet strange – friends, their journey begins. But trouble finds them, even against their greatest hopes and fervent prayers. Worse, the militia has purchased help from a drunken recluse who may prove to be their greatest trouble of all.

The second book of our greatest war, our battle for survival, begins: WWIV – Kids at War.

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 EXCERPT

The five teens, clutching five babies, stood nervously in the far end of the front bedroom. Theresa eyed them cautiously. “We need to keep the babies as quiet as possible for the next little bit,” she said. “Hopefully this danger will pass quickly and we can get on with our day.”

The girls snuck peeks at one another as Theresa went amongst them with words of encouragement. Reaching Sarah, Theresa whispered in her ear. “Is the back door still locked?”

Sarah’s eyes instantly filled with tears as she gave a small shake of her head. “I unlocked it to get some wood for the fire in the dining room. I’m so sorry, Sister.”

Theresa stroked her arm gently. “It’s okay Sara. All will be fine.”

Theresa listened carefully for what seemed to be an hour, but likely was only a minute or two. From the far lower end of the house they heard the back door creak loudly as it opened. Raising a single finger to her lips, she reminded the girls to keep quiet.

“Hello?” boomed a male voice from the first level. “We know you’re all here somewhere. We saw the lot of you yesterday.” Most of the teens’ eyes filled with tears hearing the baritone voice. Theresa remained strong and gave the group a reassuring nod.

“All we want is some food and company. Really,” the same voice sang out once more. Theresa listened carefully for any other conversation, hoping to stay a step ahead of the pair.

The group waited as they heard doors being opened, drawers pulled out, and loud plodding footsteps from the men below. For once, only by God’s grace in Theresa’s mind, all of the babies laid quietly next to their mothers. Theresa’s quaking right hand covered her mouth as she tried to steady her breathing. She prayed fervently the men would not come upstairs.

Only another slow moment passed before she heard the door of the stairway open. Turning to her group, she again pressed the same finger to her lips. Several heads nodded their agreement. Emily sat on one of the beds, face pointed down, clutching and rocking Cal. Theresa softly touched her shoulder hoping to calm the young girl.

“We know you’re up here somewhere. Pretty sure you didn’t all just disappear on us,” the same man called again with a noticeable laugh in his tone. “We just want some food, darlings.” The creaking of the old white painted stairs caused Theresa to flinch. She needed a plan, badly, but none came to mind as she scanned the room for a weapon.

The sound of Karen’s door being torn open caused Sheila, and then Sara, to scream. Theresa glanced back at the frightened pair, both in tears. Flashing a quick stern look, she turned as footsteps came closer. After a brief moment of silence, she drew a sharp breath as the door handle spun.

 

Throwing the door open, the first man stepped inside grinning. Tall and heavy, he eyed the group with great anticipation. Theresa was about to say something when the second man entered behind the first. This man was tall as well, but thinner than the first man. Much thinner.

After mustering all the courage she could find, Theresa stepped forward to stop the men’s advance. The leader eyed her lewdly. Still in her nightshirt and sweat pants, Theresa crossed her arms to cover her chest. The man’s eye finally came back to hers.

“Well hello there, darling,” he said in an almost sweet tone. “Why’d you make it so hard for me and Johnny to find you all?”

Theresa stared down at the blade in his hand.

Noticing her eyes, he held the knife up for everyone’s inspection. “This is just to make sure no one does anything stupid. Right Johnny?” he said to his partner.

Johnny’s smirk made Theresa wince. His dry lips and dull gray teeth displayed his months and years of life on the road. “That’s right, Randy,” he replied, holding his larger knife up as well.

Theresa took another smaller step forward. “I’m going to have to ask you men to leave,” she said as forcefully as possible. “We have babies here that are being taken care of by my group. There’s no room or time for this. Please, be decent and just leave.”

The nasty pair smirked at her words.

“Really, I am Sister Theresa of the order of …”

The leader raised his hand, cutting off her words. “I don’t care who you are lady. What we want is food,” he demanded. Licking his chapped lips he gazed past Theresa at the younger girls. “And a couple of you to keep us company while we get that food. You…” He pointed at Theresa then at Karen. “…and you. Come downstairs and make us some breakfast. The rest of you stay up here. We have, ah…” He winked at his partner. “…adult things to discuss. It doesn’t pertain to a bunch of little girls. Just these two.” He waggled his knife between Theresa and Karen emphasizing his point.

Theresa slowly raised her folded hands toward the man. “I beg of you, please. This isn’t what you want. We can give you food and then you can be on your way. Please, don’t harm any of my girls.”

The leader leered deep into Theresa’s pleading eyes and drew a long deep breath. “Sister, it appears you need to understand the situation a little better. We want food and some adult entertainment. We have knives, you…well, you see what you’re up against. Don’t make us hurt one of those babies to convince you what you need to do otherwise.”

Tears filling her eyes, Theresa approached dangerously close to the man. “Please sir, please,” she begged. “Just take me then. Leave the others alone. I’ll give you food and whatever else you want. Just don’t harm any of the others.”

The man’s eyes steeled as his face drew tight. “Sister,” he began in a quiet ominous tone. “We make the rules. We have the knives.” The knife’s sharp edge drew near to her face. She tried to speak again but nothing came out. Trying to make a quick decision, her thoughts left her as another voice came from the hallway.

“And I’m the guy with the gun.” A lone man stepped forward with a barrel trained on the pair of road ruffians. “And I think she said she wanted you to leave.” The man’s dead eyes bore into the knife-wielding pair. No emotion crossed his face as he remained fixed on the two.

 

The Author

EA’s Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
I write dystopian. It’s dark, yet fun to play with.Lake Photo New

WWIV – In The Beginning is my debut novel.

Trying to get this junk in my head, down on pages. Those pages become chapters. The chapters become a manuscript. The manuscript becomes a novel. Sounds easy enough.

I am an author and my pen name is e a lake. The e and the a mean nothing. So please just call me lake.

Not everything in dystopian writing has to be dark and dreary. I try to create post -apocalyptic situations that will challenge the reader to really believe that the events in my novels could happen.

The best part of my genre? Who needs antagonists when the landscape surrounding my protagonist is so bad. You just have to love this stuff.

My favorites are the usual list of suspects. Orwell, Bradbury, Stephen King, Vince Flynn, and James Patterson.

I’m not all that scary. Father to three, grandfather to two (three in April 2014). Just a regular guy.

 

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ABOUT THE BOOK
What will we do when suddenly our power, our phones, and our cars don’t work? What will we do when we realize our government is missing and we have no protection; no police, no national guard? What will we do when our food runs out or spoils, and fresh water becomes scarce? What will we do when we realize we are completely and undeniably on our own?

What could possibly happen next?

WWIVWhat happens when IT happens?

Follow an ordinary man, Bill Carlson, through the first 30 days of the ensuing uncertainty. From his once quiet, now violent, St. Paul suburb; to the empty, and yet deadly, county roads of west central Wisconsin.

With limited knowledge of prepping, Bill must rely on neighbors for help. Why did he never pay attention to his “crazy doomsday” neighbor Scott? Now that the world, at least his world, is dark, Bill has so many questions. How can he possibly survive in this dark dystopian world?

Bill goes in search of his family, and finds so much more. Friendly people in small towns, other villages that allow no strangers, people searching for help, and people looking to take anything you might have – via any means.

Will Bill find his family, some 300 miles away? Will the power come back on after mysteriously going out? Will he be able to help others in times of need, much less himself?

WWIV has begun, and we’re only In The Beginning.

PURCHASE THE BOOK

ABOUT THE AUTHORI write dystopian. It’s dark, yet fun to play with.

WWIV – In The Beginning is my debut novel.

Trying to get this junk in my head, down on pages. Those pages become chapters. The chapters become a manuscript. The manuscript becomes a novel. Sounds easy enough.

I am an author and my pen name is e a lake. The e and the a mean nothing. So please just call me lake.

Not everything in dystopian writing has to be dark and dreary. I try to create post -apocalyptic situations that will challenge the reader to really believe that the events in my novels could happen.

The best part of my genre? Who needs antagonists when the landscape surrounding my protagonist is so bad. You just have to love this stuff.

My favorites are the usual list of suspects. Orwell, Bradbury, Stephen King, Vince Flynn, and James Patterson.

I’m not all that scary. Father to three, grandfather to two (three in April 2014). Just a regular guy.

Visit the author on his website / Facebook / Goodreads / Twitter


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?????????????Chuck Waldron’s latest novel, Lion’s Head Deception, is a dystopian story about an investigative blogger who uncovers more than he ever imagines…and has no idea what to do with his discovery.

An investigative blogger uncovers a sinister conspiracy, a billionaire’s plan backed by select government officials, designed to exterminate citizens who do not live up to a predetermined screening matrix; under the guise of rioting and a destabilized city, the plan is implemented and the blogger fights not only to discover and reveal the truth, but to survive.

“I grew up,” Chuck said, “listening to my grandfather, an Ozark Mountain story teller, spinning tales of the caves on his farm, describing them as hiding places once used by the Jesse & Frank James’ gang. It didn’t matter if the stories were true or not. Those legends set fire to my imagination, creating images that emerged slowly over the years, finally igniting as my short stories and novels.”

Now, thirty-plus short stories and three novels later, ideas keep coming, with more novels under development. Do they share anything in common? Each has its own unique voice and tale to tell, yet, at their heart, his stories tell about the human condition – the good, the bad and the ugly.

As Chuck tells it, “stored images that echo in my writing include train whistles in the night, Norman Rockwell childhood scenes, U.S. Army memories, blue collar jobs, university, a professional career, and finally retirement. Many of my images are drawn from this pool of memories: places visited, sights seen, and people met. The rest I fill in with my imagination: dreams of places yet to be visited, sights yet to be seen, and people yet to meet.”

His literary roots were planted in the American Midwest and thrived when transplanted to the rich, cultural soil of Ontario. He and his wife, Suzanne, are now warmed by the sun on Florida’s Treasure Coast.

His latest book is Lion’s Head Deception.

Lion's Head DeceptionWould you call yourself a born writer?

Born to write, maybe?  But, there were a lot of twists and turns on the journey to becoming a writer. Alas, I wasn’t born one. What my parents passed along was a work ethic and permission to use my imagination. Those are the skills I need as a writer. It would have helped if I paid closer attention to my days as an English student.

What was your inspiration for Lion’s Head Deception?

Writing a thriller about a conspiracy, a billionaire’s plan backed by secret government officials, to exterminate citizens to do not live up to their predetermined screening matrix, the deception part of the title seemed to fit. I set part of the novel in Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula near Lion’s Head, a prominent feature on the Niagara Escarpment.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

In Lion’s Head Deception  I wanted to explore what would happen if some of our core values were threatened; freedom from arrest without cause and privacy. I also wanted to feature a character who was not a superhero, but someone who has to draw on the necessary inner strength to move ahead.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

It took longer than my first three novels, just over a year. It was sweaty work and I smile when I look at my original first chapter draft.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Am I disciplined? I have to say to a degree. When the characters are speaking to me I have to follow their lead. When I’m having trouble thinking through a scene or chapter I find a long walk is a big help. I try to write every day and when the plot bunny is nipping at my heels I can write for hours.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I think it was facing issues that are disturbing, especially giving voice to characters who would be willing to destroy our freedoms to shape a world they prefer.

What do you love most about being an author?

The freedom to enjoy my imagination is what I love most. It’s a way to escape into fantasy without guilt.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

Indie publishing has been my choice for all four of my novels.

Where can we find you on the web?

Visit me at www.chuckwaldron.com and don’t be shy about looking for Lion’s Head Deception and my other novels at the usual online sources.

 

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Allison M DicksonAllison M. Dickson lives in southwest Ohio and has been writing since she could hold pencil to paper. It’s only in recent years that she started treating the craft as a career. After earning a few small publishing credits, she started selling her stories online, where she gained a decent following with such dark tales as “Dust” and “Vermin.”

She soon caught the attention of author and visionary Vincent Hobbes, and her relationship with Hobbes End Publishing solidified with her two contributions to the second volume of The Endlands (volume 2), and finally with their recent acceptance of her upcoming science-fiction novel, The Last Supper. She is also scheduled to have another release by Hobbes End Publishing, a horror novel titled Strings.

http://www.AllisonMDickson.com

http://www.HobbesEndPublishing.com

Q: Welcome to the Dark Phantom Review, Allison! Tell us why readers should buy your upcoming novel, The Last Supper.

A: Because I think it has something for everyone. There is fear and adventure and love and magic and heartbreak. The story has a very organic feel to it that I think will please readers of all stripes, be they fans of hard sci-fi, contemporary fantasy, or mainstream. It’s basically an amalgamation of everything I ever loved as a reader and what I want to be as a writer.

Q: What makes a good science-fiction book?

A: The same thing that makes a good horror book and a good romance book and a good anything book. Characters. As a reader, I think you just have to care enough about the characters to see them through. Of course, in stories of this type, I think a healthy amount of speculative thinking is also good. You have to build a world that is exciting and believable in some way. But don’t get too hung up on the details, because that can be discouraging and an excellent reason to stall on the actual storytelling. Readers will forgive you a few trespasses in the world-building department if they love the characters you’ve drawn.

Q: What is a regular writing day like for you?

A: I don’t think I would call any of my writing days regular. My routine is subject to change at any given moment for any given reason. But on most days, I get up relatively early, see my kids off to school, and then set about waking up for the next hour or so. This may or may not involve a happy cup of coffee or two and spending some time on the social networks.  Then I will get some writing done for the next couple hours. After that, I break away to take care of necessary household chores or perhaps feed myself. Often I won’t return to the manuscript until the evening hours. But it really depends on how hard the story is holding me. I’ve had days where I wrote for nearly eighteen hours straight. I’ve had days where I wrote until my fingers were numb and my eyeballs felt like prunes. I’ve also had days where I wrote two sentences and called it good, or decided that blogging was going to be my form of writing for the day.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about being an author?

A: It’s the readers. It’s watching your kids tell people with a shine of pride in their eyes that their mom is a writer and then watching them start to explore their own creative spaces because they feel comfortable doing so. It’s getting a letter from someone who said your story stuck with them for a long time. It’s a lot of things. I think a lot of us choose career paths based on how much of an impact we can make in other people’s lives, whether we’re doctors or engineers, presidents or musicians. So seeing that effect actually happen is the greatest reward ever.

Q: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received that you’d like to pass to other authors?

A: Talent alone isn’t going to get you anywhere. You have to be willing to do the work. In fact, the people who work the hardest, even if they aren’t as talented, get further than people who are monumentally more talented but hang back. People always like to snivel and snicker over how people who can’t write wind up making millions of dollars. Take Twilight, for instance. A series of books that’s as much loved as it is ridiculed. Do you think that Stephenie Meyer got where she got on the strength of her writing talent? I can’t say for sure, but what I can say is this: she was willing to do the work. She wrote her ass off and got her manuscript in to the right person at the right time. Don’t rest on your laurels thinking publishers are “only looking for mediocrity.” They aren’t. They’re looking for people who don’t think they’re too good to do the work.

About The Last Super:

After a massive agricultural cataclysm leaves the world a weed-eaten wasteland, a theocratic regime known as the Divine Rite rises to power and brings the remainder of humanity to its knees, forcing them to test yearly for the right to continue living. John Welland grew up in this world and never knew any different, at least until his wife died due to this murderous bureaucratic policy. He soon embarks on a quest of rebellion and revenge that takes him far outside the protected borders of his town of God’s Hope and into a landscape more treacherous and haunted than he ever could have expected, where people possess unworldly powers, and the weeds own all.

Allison’s novel, The Last Supper will be released by Hobbes Ends Publishing this summer. In the mean time, check out her stories in The Endlands (volume 2), an anthology containing 17 mind-bending stories in genres ranging from horror, to dystopian to science fiction.

The Endlands picture

Purchase The Endlands on Amazon.

Check out Allison’s other stories on Amazon.

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Helen Smith is a member of the Writers Guild of Great Britain and English PEN. She traveled the world when her daughter was small, doing all sorts of strange jobs to support them both – from cleaning motels to working as a magician’s assistant – before returning to live in London where she wrote her first novel which was published by Gollancz (part of the Hachette Group).

She is the author of bestselling cult novel Alison Wonderland. She writes novels, poetry, plays and screenplays and is the recipient of an Arts Council of England Award. She’s a long-term supporter of the Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture and mentors members of an exiled writers group to help them tell their stories.

Her latest book is the dystopian thriller The Miracle Inspector.

Visit her website at http://www.emperorsclothes.co.uk.

Friend her on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/ emperorsclothes

Become a fan at Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/authorhelensmith

Friend her at Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2833648.Helen_Smith

Pick up a copy of The Miracle Inspector at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Inspector-Helen-Smith/dp/0956517056

About the Book:

The Miracle Inspector is a dystopian thriller set in the near future. England has been partitioned and London is an oppressive place where poetry has been forced underground, theatres and schools are shut, and women are not allowed to work outside the home. A young couple, Lucas and Angela, try to escape from London – with disastrous consequences.

“…this is an absolutely exceptional piece of fiction, a work of art befitting the best in socially-conscious literature.”

– Journal of Always Reviews

“…Only occasionally does a piece of fiction leap out and demand immediate cult status. Alison Wonderland is one.”

– The Times

“…Smith is gin-and-tonic funny.”

– Booklist

“Smith has a keen eye for material details, but her prose is lucid and uncluttered by heavy description. Imagine a satire on Cool Britannia made by the Coen Brothers.”

– Times Literary Supplement

 Interview

Would you call yourself a born writer?

When I was a child I thought I had been born a poet but I soon gave up on that idea. I realized that, in order to be a great poet, I’d have to live a life of romantic suffering and, perhaps mostly importantly, I’d have to be good at poetry. But I have always loved reading and knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up – in that sense, perhaps I was born a writer. I love writing – there’s nothing else I’d want to do.

What was your inspiration for The Miracle Inspector?

I had been volunteering as a writing mentor with exiled writers in London through an organization called Freedom From Torture, a British charity that helps survivors of torture. I wondered what it would be like if I had to flee London because it was no longer safe. That was my starting point.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

It changes, depending on what I’m thinking about when I begin to write a book. I usually write about love, friendship and betrayal. The Miracle Inspector is about a young couple who try to escape London for a better life in Cornwall, and it’s partly about the curtailment of civil liberties in the name of the fight against terrorism. Most of my books are more light-hearted than that but I wanted to deal with some serious issues in The Miracle Inspector.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

It took about a year to write.

Describe a typical writing day.

I am disciplined but I find that life gets in the way – there’s lots of admin involved in being a writer, never mind going to the shops and cleaning the house and all the other aspects of daily life. A typical writing day involves getting up, having breakfast, checking my emails, getting distracted by whatever messages are in my inbox, and then getting started at about nine or ten o’clock. I work for about five hours – but this might not involve writing text that finds its way directly into the manuscript. I might be writing notes, working up ideas. But I rarely have a typical writing day. Each day is different. The purest and best kind of writing day involves going away somewhere with no Internet and just sitting there and writing, not talking to anyone or worrying about anything except the work. I have only managed that a few times but I would like to do it for a couple of weeks for every book.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I wanted The Miracle Inspector to have an ambiguous ending and I wanted to give away as little as possible about what had happened to bring England to this sorry state so that readers would fill in the gaps themselves. When you’re trying to withhold information it’s tough to get the balance right but I think I have succeeded with this book.

What do you love most about being an author?

I like writing and I love it when I have just finished a project – at that point I will be pleased with the work and feel it’s all worthwhile.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I have been traditionally published in the past but I decided to self-publish The Miracle Inspector. I began by putting the book up for sale on the Kindle and it is now available at Kobo as an ebook and in print just about everywhere. I’m happy with the decision I have made. I just hope readers like the book!

Where can we find you on the web?

I have a blog at www.emperorsclothes.co.uk and I’m on Twitter at emperorsclothes.  My Facebook author page is Helen Smith. Come and say hello!

Watch the trailer: http://youtu.be/GhODz6BMZ7o

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