Tag Archives: dystopian

The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain

 

The brand new edition of dystopian, psychological thriller The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain will be re-released on December 11th. Originally published in May 2014, this new Booktrope edition has had a complete editing overhaul plus a stunning new cover design.

 

The Phoenix Project Cover - Booktrope

The book will be available to buy from a wide range of digital and paperback distributors, including Amazon:

US: www.amazon.com/D.M.-Cain/e/B00LTTX3PA/

UK: www.amazon.co.uk/D.M.-Cain/e/B00LTTX3PA/

 

Author: D.M. Cain

Title: The Phoenix Project

Genre: Psychological thriller/Dark thriller/Dystopian

Book Content: Occasional adult language, graphic violence, and mild sexual content.

Original Cover Design from the first edition: 

OLD cover

 

Synopsis:

 

How can you fight to the death, when you’ve given up on life?

 

A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice…

 

A man fights for life—and redemption—in D. M. Cain’s riveting re-released novel, The Phoenix Project.

 

Britain has descended into chaos as violence and terrorist attacks seethe across this once-peaceful country. Outraged by the steady stream of lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.

 

In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.

 

Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war wages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. Can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him—and one day find the forgiveness he seeks?

 

‘The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain is a superbly written debut, soaked in tension and intrigue,’ Jack Croxall, author of the ‘Tethers’ trilogy.

 

An interesting fact about The Phoenix Project: The horrifying ‘dark room’ in The Phoenix Project (a pitch-black sensory deprivation cell) was inspired by D.M. Cain’s visit to the Terror Haza in Budapest—a museum dedicated to the fascistic and communistic regimes that operated from the building. In the cellar of the Terror Haza are the old cells used to imprison and torture inmates. D.M. crawled inside a very low cell and shut the door, casting herself into total darkness. It was terrifying and claustrophobic, and she only lasted five minutes in there!

D.M. Cain Biography

 

D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released three novels: The Phoenix Project – a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, Soren – a middle-grade fantasy, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series, ‘The Shield of Soren’, and a novella to accompany it.

 

D.M. Cain is also a member of the InterProfile picnational Thriller Writers and is one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story ‘The End’ was published in Awethology Dark – an anthology by the #Awethors.

 

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK, with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.

 

 

 

Links:

Website: www.dmcain84.com

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH

Amazon: www.amazon.com/D.M.-Cain/e/B00LTTX3PA/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DMCainauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMCain84

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DMCain/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7888430.D_M_Cain

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzt_E8st1pyfkoTiA4E5jNg

 

Example tweets – These can be copied and pasted straight into Twitter, or you can make changes and personalize them:

#Regret, #revenge and #fightstothedeath by @dmcain84 at http://amzn.to/1QrVODA #ThePhoenixProject

A thought-provoking exploration of #depression and #self-harm by @dmcain84: #Booktrope #Edge http://amzn.to/1QrVODA

Anger, regret and despair #ThePhoenixProject One man’s journey on the road towards #redemption #Booktrope #Edge http://amzn.to/1QrVODA

When you’ve lost everything, all that’s left is to #fight #ThePhoenixProject – on Amazon now! #Booktrope #Edge http://amzn.to/1QrVODA

How would you survive in a #fighttothedeath? Cover reveal for #ThePhoenixProject by @dmcain84 #Booktrope #Edge http://amzn.to/1QrVODA

The riveting and thought-provoking   #ThePhoenixProject by @DMCain84 is available now! #Booktrope #Edge http://amzn.to/1QrVODA

 

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The Unlucky Man – Halloween Special (2)

Here’s another taster of dark thriller The Unlucky Man by H T G Hedges. Don’t scare yourself silly now.

Once, long, long ago, when the world was still young, the beast had stalked its surface and hunted beneath the heat of the sun and the cold of the moon. Its shadow had been cast long over the face of the world and it had known no boundary, its only compulsion was hunger, its only desire to consume.

And then Man came. At first the beast was wary of this new creature, so alike the other beasts it had hunted and yet so different. It watched as Man developed, became increasingly complex, increasingly able, increasingly hungry; and it saw in Man something of itself. And Man fed the beast.

Swiftly it came to realise that, in their actions, these new people could revere the beast, make it strong. With every base action, the beast was worshipped, strengthened, confirmed and it knew in Man a power like no other it had ever known before, and exulted in it.

As the years passed, many came to understand the beast and to fear it and they built fires to keep out his dark and huts to shut out the night. They daubed symbols on the walls of their caves and shunned the dark places of the world. They huddled in the light as their holy-men chanted and burned spices and wove twigs and painted their faces and did everything else they could think of in the hope of keeping it at bay.

Later, they built churches and consecrated the ground and built stronger walls of stone and slept with lights burning to keep out the cold winds of the dark on which the voice of the beast might still be heard. And some of their measures worked and some did not.

There were others though who welcomed the beast with open arms. They worshipped it, built their own churches of bone and blood in its honour, long halls of painted skulls and sharp spikes within which were carried out dark acts in its name that fed and nurtured its dark soul.

To these people the beast was generous, granting them power and dominion, bought at a price, over their peers. Many was the village sheltering in the dark forests of the old world as the shadows lengthened, shutting out the night with candles and lanterns safe behind heavy shutters and doors locked and bolted whilst the tall castles of those who had thrown in their lot with the darkness loomed terrible above them and the night echoed with the screams of those giving their lives in honour of the beast.

In this way, the beast was kept strong without the need to hunt and feed for itself and less and less did it venture abroad beneath either sun or moon and in this lay its undoing. As time passed the beast became ineffable, a thing of legend, an idea out of nightmare, out of superstition. Still fed, bloated on the

supplication of dark deeds, it crawled into the dark like a bulbous fat spider and slept, safe in the knowledge of its own never-ending superiority.

For a long, long time it slept, and when it awoke it was alone.

The world had changed, Man had changed. No longer did it worship the beast for the beast had become a part of its own consciousness. The dark acts of Man were now simply that and no longer an offering to the old dark god. No longer was it fed.

When it emerged from the dark it found it no longer had substance, could no longer rend and tear and alter the minds of men save those already disposed to hear it. For an age it crawled the surface of the earth searching for a way to return to what it once was until at last, defeated, it slunk into the deepest, darkest hole it could find and in the shadows waited sullenly in a state of hibernation for the world to change once more.

As it slept the shadows grew long and deep around it.

Download the book now!


The Unlucky Man – Halloween Special (1)

Now it’s time for something new. Here’s a real creepy thriller that gets darker the more you read. We’ll be featuring more of The Unlucky Man by H T G Hedges this week but if you can’t wait then download the book now from Amazon.

And then another figure emerged from the mist which, though it parted for Quinn and his team, seemed to cling to the newcomer much as it did to me, lending him an ethereal sinister aspect.

“Wychelo?” Quinn croaked as the strange eyed killer advanced on us. Somehow, despite his actions in the crash, Wychelo still looked immaculate and unruffled, as if he’d stepped from a salon rather than the burning wreck of his car. I felt a pressure building in my skull and the mist closed in even more. I was almost ready for the feeling this time as the shadow moved.

“Control wants these two alive,” Quinn said, turning towards Wychelo so that the business end of his rifle now pointed at him. A flicker of annoyance played over the killer’s previously impassive features.

“Lower your weapon,” he said evenly but, although the barrel wavered, Quinn kept his rifle raised, barrel levelled at Wychelo’s chest.

“What’s going on out here?” Quinn growled. The mist seemed to be circling him, growing thicker around him, clinging at his mouth. It was almost like he was breathing it in, being infected by its insidious tendrils.

“Lower your weapon,” Wychelo repeated as the mist rolled around him, drawing a tight circle around us all. He had, I noticed, a suppressed pistol in his hand hanging loosely, almost casually, at his side.

The blood was pounding in my ears, sweat beading on my brow and prickling down my neck. A white wall now penned our small drama in, like players on a stage. The closer Wychelo came, the stronger the tension became; it was like there was a cord running between us, stretched almost to breaking point. The sense of another world overlaying this one surfaced nauseatingly once more. For a split second I had the distinct feeling that there were figures waiting in the impenetrable mist, indistinct and intangible. I could see them when I closed my eyes, grey shapes cast against the blackness of my eyelids. Eyes opened, I could still feel their still presence.

The moment passed, but my sense of them still remained, like reality was stretching, being strained and extended like an overfilled balloon, ready to rip under the strain at any moment. Something shifted in the murk, a wet whisper of noise. By now the others could sense it too, I was sure.

“What was that?” one of the ops shouted, squinting off into the mist. Others followed, his lead, their

attention suddenly no longer locked on Corg and me.

“There’s someone in the mist,” Quinn hissed urgently, still sighting on Wychelo. He was losing it fast from the look in his wide eyes. “Someone who makes my skin crawl same as you do. How do you explain that you creepy motherfucker?” he growled, voicing the strange creeping parity between the cold eyed assassin and the encroaching white wall.

Quinn was unravelling quickly now, every breath of misted air leaving him more strung out than before, spooling his poise out like so much unwound cotton. The whispering was increasing too, a steady creeping susurration that seemed to come from all sides.

Around us, the mist was moving as if alive, coalescing and resolving itself into half-seen shapes, darker patches that flittered and moved in the corner of the eye and disappeared when you tried to look for them. Dark patches that looked almost like the shapes of people. My mouth felt full of electric and there was so much tension buzzing off Quinn and his men I expected them to sizzle and crack with each jerking movement. Quinn was breathing in heavy gulps, taking in great lungfulls of the coiling air.

I caught Corg’s eye and tried my best to convey “When this goes off, get ready to run,” without moving my face in any way. I think he got it.

Wychelo’s lips slid back revealing even, white teeth. “Put it down,” he said with deadly finality. I looked from his cold, impassive face, still with poise, to Quinn’s bunched up features, a vein pumping madly at his temple, teeth bared. There’s only one way this ends, I thought.

“What’s happening?” Quinn whispered again, desperation edging into his voice, his final plea. What followed was a complete cessation of all movement, the whispering stopped: whatever – if anything – was waiting in the mist held its breath.

“Fuck it,” Quinn breathed and I could read his intent. His fist tightened on the grip of his rifle, knuckles white and bloodless on the trigger. With a speed that seemed impossible, inhuman, Wychelo whipped up his hand and we all heard the zip as he fired, once, at close range.

There was blood in the air. Something howled.

 

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Safe Haven

Safe Haven is a story set before The Running Game. I wrote the story after I published The Running Game as a sort of companion piece, but it is also a great introduction to the feel of the series. This story is available for free from most online retailers including Amazon so if you like what you read please give the full story a go – I promise you won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget you can leave comments and feedback at the bottom of the page.

 

The world was white. So white the dark night couldn’t penetrate the layers of snow suffocating the surrounding forest. Each breath Isobel managed to push out crystallised in the air around her small mouth, sparkling under the moonlight. She pushed forward, the snow swallowing her legs to the knees in hungry gulps. Her hands and feet were numb but her thighs burned furiously with each agonising step.

It was late and she was so very tired. The last night was spent in the back of their Landrover, fighting for space on the backseat with her little sister while their Dad kept watch. It had been a cold, broken night, but Isobel would give anything to be back there now. Anything not to be walking through Red Forest in the middle of December.

She sniffed and looked behind her. Rachel was only six, three years younger than Isobel but at that moment it felt like there was a lifetime between them. Rachel didn’t understand why they were in the middle of the wilderness. She had no idea why they had to leave their mother. She had slept through their uncle running into the cottage, screaming that the army was coming. She had no idea of the danger they were in. Isobel stared at her sister as she struggled in the snow and envied every tiny, oblivious step she took.

Rachel fell and started to cry. She was sobbing for their mum, looking around the expanse of nothing for her. But Isobel knew they would never see their mother again. She took a strong heavy breath, close to tears herself. She wanted to move to help her sister but her legs refused to go back, not after the effort they had put into going forwards.

Instead she called out. “Dad!”

He was ahead of them, scoping out the safety of the forest. When he saw Rachel he hurried back, covering the ground in five easy strides. Despite the cold and fatigue Isobel broke a smile. Her father was the greatest man, he could still do anything in her eyes. Despite the snow sticking to his beard, the creases in his weather worn face, he was still her hero. He lifted Rachel effortlessly into his large arms, brushing the snow from her hair. And that’s when the gunfire started.

“Run! Isobel run!” He screamed.

He grabbed her coat as he ran past, but she stayed, looking through the trees at the erupting lights, as though the night sky had sunk to the earth.

“Isobel!” Her father shouted and she came to her senses.

They were coming! She started to run. Her feet leapt into her father’s footsteps, following his shadow as he weaved through the trees. The foliage became denser, the snow thinner. She found her feet striking firming soil, frozen dirt and icy puddles. She leapt over a ditch and her father caught her. His hand pulled her close and they huddled together into a dug out burrow off the path.

“We need to work together,” he whispered, so softly Isobel thought she was imagining them. “We’re not here,” he told them both. “Say it with me girls. We’re not here.”

Isobel closed her eyes, sinking into the warmth of her father’s wax coat. She reached for her sister’s hand and concentrated. “We’re not here,” she repeated. “We’re not here.” Over and over she focussed on the words, hearing the echo in the baritone voice of her father and the small squeak of her sister.

Time started to twist, the cold subsided and she felt herself floating against the body of her father. The explosions around her, the shouting, the danger, all started to melt away. But the power running over her wasn’t hers, it didn’t even belong to her father. The dominant voice inside her head became her sister’s, small and yet entirely commanding. She focused on it, echoing it as best she could and then she felt herself merge into nothing.

How long had they stayed like that? Isobel had no idea, but when her father broke free of their spell the militia had gone, leaving a stunned silence in their wake. The surrounding trees were torn apart with gunshot. Pieces of bark and bullet shells scattered the ground around them. It had been ferocious whatever had come their way.

“Daddy,” Rachel asked sleepily. “What’s going on?”

Isobel waited. She’d asked the question herself the night before, but she was sure her father wasn’t about to repeat his answer. How could he tell a six year old the truth? That they were caught in the middle of a civil war, insurgents and militia intent on claiming land that never belonged to them? How could he explain to her that these men didn’t care who got caught in the crossfire? That this wasn’t a fight for freedom, or liberty or any sense of lost righteousness? That this was about control and power? How could he tell his youngest daughter that she had never been in more danger, because if they found out what she was, what all three of them were, both sides would lock them away and do all kinds of experiments on them?

“We’re playing a game,” he said, stroking his younger daughter’s hair, while at the same time squeezing Isobel’s hand. “It’s called the Running Game. We have to run and hide, concentrate on not getting caught. Wherever we go, whatever we do we keep moving, counting the exits, planning our escape routes so nobody can ever find us.”

“It sounds like a stupid game,” Rachel said.

Their dad laughed softly. “It does, but you get a prize if you play it well.”

“What prize?”

“You get to live Rachel. You get to grow up, to keep running. You have to keep running baby. Always be ready to run because they’ll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they’ll always be coming for you.”

“When will they stop Dad?” Isobel asked.

Her father held Rachel close, as though he were protecting her from the next confession.

“They’ll never stop,” he said. “Right now we need to rest. The secret to winning the game is knowing when to run and when to wait. You’re tired. You’ve done so well today. Try to sleep now, we’ll try to get out of the forest in a few hours.”

Rachel was asleep in moments and Isobel had a suspicion her father had put her to sleep using his powers. She snored quietly, looking almost peaceful.

“There’s a lot of ground to cover,” he said to Isobel. “We’re going to make our way south, to S’aven. There’s a man there. A priest called Father Darcy. He’s an old friend. We can trust him. He’ll help hide us until all this is over.”

Isobel nodded, understanding these were instructions, not reassurances. She rolled the name in her head; Father Darcy. She had to remember it.

“Your sister, her powers…” he shook his head and sighed. “If they find her it will be bad for all Reachers.” He turned to her, his eyes warming. “If they find either of you, it will be bad honey. You’re so young, this isn’t the life I wanted for you. You need to be strong now sweetheart, you need to look after your sister. I wouldn’t trust her to anyone else.” He pushed the hair from her face. “My beautiful girl, look at you, you’re so grown up already. You make me and your mum so proud.”

She felt a lump swell in her throat.

“Whatever happens you look after your sister. Can you do that Isobel?”

Her father was a good man and she would have done anything to make him happy. She stared into his dark blue eyes and the look he gave her betrayed everything that was about to come – his death, their journey, her future.

“Can you do that Isobel?”

Would he have asked if he had honestly known what it would mean – what she would do to keep her sister safe?

“Isobel?”

 

This book is available to download for FREE. Get it from Amazon Smashwords or Kobo 

And you can add your book and others in the Reacher series to your Goodreads


Cover Poll – The Unlucky Man

Never judge a book by it’s cover. But what about when that’s all you’ve got to go on? Today we are getting interactive.

Check out this cover from H T G Hedges’ debut The Unlucky Man and tell us – based on this cover alone would you buy the book? Vote below for a chance to win a copy of the book:

 

The Unlucky Man

 

Leave a comment – even a simple hello – and one of you will be chosen to WIN an e-copy of the book on Saturday! 


The Unlucky Man

Being a beta reader means I get to read a lot of great books before anybody else and then when it comes to promotion I can pick my favourite part of the book to showcase. This is a great scene from The Unlucky Man by H T G Hedges and you can download this book for free on Saturday.

 

A figure was seated at a huge, dark wood desk that curved majestically into the centre of the room, a glass decanter atop it filled with amber spirit.

“Mr. Happen,” Baldman said with deference and a strange almost half bow to the figure behind the desk before retreating to stand in the shadows behind him. I was pleased to see him remove his ridiculous sunglasses as he did so.

So this was the Make It Happen Man. He was not at all what I had expected.

He was a tall, gaunt figure, old but in no way diminished by age. Thick white curls rolled back from his brow, flowing above a face of weathered and thickly lined leather skin. His was not a kindly old face, however, but rather the unyielding countenance of a feared and respected teacher. Old ink showed on his skeletal fingers and across the backs of his hands, faded sigils and angled characters in a spreading blue green that may once have been black.

But it was his eyes that surprised me the most: one dark as oil, the other rheumy and white and surely blind, peeking like a marble from beneath a scarred and puckered lid. He smiled very slightly at Corg, a glint of sharp gold teeth catching the light cast by the oil lamp on the mammoth desk.

His voice, when he spoke, was deep and resonant, at odds with his advancing years. “Alexander,” he said, “It has been some time.” He raised a hand in a vague gesture taking in the room around us.

“Please excuse the mess, but we find ourselves living in interesting times.” He grinned a big, predatory golden grin, picking up a heavy based tumbler and swirling the liquid within. “And to what do we owe this unexpected pleasure?” He inflected the final word with enough venom to make it plain that we were far from welcome in his rotten castle. Behind him I caught Baldman’s smirk.

Corg spread his hands in an imploring gesture.

“We’re in trouble Mr. Happen,” he said earnestly, “We could use a place to lay our hats for a while, whilst the storm dies down.” His words sounded small, muffled and swallowed by the thickly scented hostile air.

From out of the shadows Baldman re-emerged, hand on the gun concealed under his dark jacket, but the stricken old man at the desk waved him back. His eyes still bore into mine, both of them, thought I had the disquieting notion that the cold marble orb was the one he was really seeing me with. Cherry red droplets dripped unnoticed from his fingertips.

“It’s you,” he rasped and the look in his eye said he recognized my face though I knew we’d never met before. “You,” he croaked, “The Unlucky Man.” His words tumbled out atonally, like those spoken in a dream and I heard them both from his pale lips and echoed in my head, drumming at my temples with every syllable.

“I knew you would come. I’ve seen it.” His skin looked suddenly thin and pale as paper. “Chaos follows you; death is in your footfalls, Unlucky Man.” He spat the words at me and, as I heard them, something shifted once more in my head and I felt the dark particle coil and flex itself, almost like an animal that recognizes its name being spoken. Happen, too, it occurred to me was touched by the same darkness.

“You should not have come here.” Mr. Happen still spoke like someone asleep but his gaze didn’t flicker from my face. “You bring chaos everywhere your crow shadow touches. It will be drawn to you.” There was pain etched in his features, a thin line of blood ran from his felt nostril. If this was a parlor trick, I thought, then it was a damn good one.

“We’ve done terrible things,” Mr Happen whispered, “And you are our reckoning. I knew you would come, I wanted to be ready.” He shut his eyes, his face creasing with an emotion I couldn’t even begin to read.

“It will be drawn to you,” he repeated in a whisper.

An enormous booming crash rocked the building. It felt like some massive object had collided with the outer walls. Everything shook, plaster drifted in torrents from the ceiling, the light flickered as the floor bucked and swayed.

“What the hell was that?” Baldman grunted as the door opened and Loess stepped into the room, white and anxious.

“Time to go,” she said urgently, a worried look on her face. The sudden cacophony seemed to have roused the Make it Happen Man from his trance as, with an effort, he pulled himself up onto his feet.

“We cannot help you,” he repeated in a whisper. “We will show you the way out and then you will go. Take your troubles with you.” Without another word or a backwards glance he limped from the room, wiping the blood from his face with the back of his hand. We followed, subsumed by his entourage, into a long austere green corridor much like the ones we had entered through, at the end of which was another door leading, I guessed, to a staircase back to ground level.

We were about halfway along the floor when the far door opened, a cluster of figures emerging from the gloom beyond. They looked at first glance for the most part like our escorts – grim, dishevelled, grimy – but there was a uniformity to their unkempt appearance that was lacking in Mr. Happen’s ragtag ensemble.

For a long, tense moment they looked at us and we looked straight back, suspended in a moment of perfect stillness. But it couldn’t last.

The first bullet took Baldman through the lens of his wraparounds. I heard the glass pop as his head cannoned backwards then his legs splayed and he went over like an unruly mannequin. Somehow, as he fell, I got a hand under his jacket, popped the clip on the holster, and brought out his pistol, firing off round after round into the shadowy gaggle of figures at the end of the hallway as more shots followed.

To my left, Loess had her weapon out and was firing too, whilst everyone else seemed frozen in icy shock. The noise was incredible in the confined space, every shot a boom of thunder, every burst as bright as lightning. Penned in the narrow confines of the doorway they never stood a chance.

The echoing silence after the last shot had fired was deafening as the door at the end of the hall quietly slid closed, cutting off the bilious tableaux beyond. Two of our group were fast cooling on the wormy carpet: Baldman and another whose name I’d never learned and never would.

Loess was the first to speak. “Come on,” she said. “We need to find another way down.” We reversed our footsteps, heading back the way we had come and taking a right into a room that must have cornered the building. A great, dirty window looked out over the desolate wasteland below.

“Who the fuck were those guys?” Corg demanded.

“No coincidences,” Happen growled. “Chaos draws chaos like a black-hole swallowing light.”

“Which way now?” Voices were raised in a clamor of differing opinions but I was no longer listening. Through the glass I could see that it had finally stopped raining, but the sky was so dark and thick with churning cloud that it could have been night once more. It was not so dark, however, that I could not see the figures moving about below. These weren’t Mr. Happen’s men, of that I was certain.

A glint of light caught from something shining for a brief moment out of the murk, a long, cylindrical object being hefted to a shoulder, its bearer kneeling awkwardly in the sticking sludge. I rubbed at the grime on the window, spreading it like green algae under my palm, squinting down, trying to make out what was going on. Suddenly it swam into focus and was only too clear.

“Shit!” I shouted, pushing away from the window. “Get out of here! Down!” But it was too late. I caught the plume of smoke through the glass, heard, or imagined I heard, the keening whistling whine of the rocket, and then everything exploded in a crunching ripple of shattered glass and crumbling masonry. Someone was screaming, maybe several someone’s, as the world went red.

And then I was falling as the ground rushed up to meet me – gray and massive – with crushing speed as, in a moment of pain and exclamation, everything melted mercifully to black.

 

Buy the book now from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Unlucky-Man-H-T-Hedges-ebook/dp/B00N2V7DXQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410871209&sr=8-1&keywords=h+t+g+hedges

 

And like H T G Hedges’ Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/HTGHedges


The Running Game

I’ve been promoting authors for the past three weeks and – well you might have already seen – I also write books. This week one of my own stories is reduced to $0.99/£0.99 so I thought today I would shove the other authors out of the way and bring you an extract of my book The Running Game and don’t forget your comments are encouraged and welcome.

 

 

Five past eleven. Rachel’s shift should have finished three hours ago. She slammed her time-card into the machine. Nothing. She gave it a kick, then another until it released, punching her card and signing her out for the night. The hospital locker room was unusually quiet. There was a nurse signing out for the night, two doctors signing in. Nobody spoke to each other – it wasn’t that kind of place. Grabbing her threadbare coat from her locker, she drew it over her scrubs – the only barrier between her and the unforgiving October night. She walked through the ER waiting room, eyes fixed on the exit. You had to ignore the desperation. Three hours over a twelve hour shift, you had no choice but to pretend like you didn’t care. Push past the mothers offering up their sick children like you could just lay your hands on them and everything would be better. Push past the factory workers bleeding out on the floor. Push that door open and get out. Get home. You had to. In six hours the whole thing would start again.

The first blast of cold air slapped the life into her aching body. The second blast nearly pushed her back inside. She tightened the coat around herself, for the good it would do. November was coming, and coming fast. She quickened her pace, trying to outrun the winter.

She hurried past the skeletal remains of another fallen bank, a relic of the days when there had been an economy. Now the abandoned building housed those left to the streets; the too old, the too young, the weak, the stupid. Cops would be coming soon, moving them on, pushing them from one shadow to another until dawn or death, whichever came first. But for now they sat, huddled around burning canisters, silently soaking in the heat as though they could carry that one flame through winter. They didn’t notice Rachel. Even the really bad men lurking in the doorways, waiting for helpless things to scurry past, overlooked the young doctor as she made her way home. Nobody ever saw her. At least they never used to.

Three – two – one. Right on cue. She felt someone watching her. It was always the same place, opposite the third window of the old bank. He was hidden, not in the bank but close. So close she could almost feel his breath on the back of her neck. She’d watched muggings before, these were desperate times and people took what they could when they could. There were rapes too, five this week, at least five that had needed medical care. It was a dangerous city and getting worse. But this was different. He – and for some reason she knew it was a he – did nothing. For a week he had been there, never betraying his position or his intentions, but she could feel him and the longer he waited the more he tormented her. He knew where she lived, where she worked, the route she took to the exchange store. And he escorted her home each night without ever showing himself. It made no sense. And that made it so much worse.

She wasn’t intimidated easily, doctors in St Mary’s couldn’t be. It didn’t matter that she was only five feet tall and looked like a strong wind would knock her down, she had to take care of herself. But the stalking had spooked her. The sleepless nights followed, wondering who he was, what he wanted, if he knew.

There was nowhere for her to go in the city, no place she could hide, no escape. If she wanted to eat she had to work and he would be waiting for her outside the hospital – watching, doing nothing. She was tired of it, tired of everything, but there was something she could do. She could make it stop, one way or another. Whatever he had planned, whatever he wanted to do to her, he would have to look her in the eye as he did it, because she was done running.

She stopped walking and turned.

The street was empty. But she could still feel him there. The buildings pressed their darkness into the street and the spattering of hissing lamplights did little to expose the nocturnal danger below. There was noise, there was always noise; voices, vehicles, the persistent buzzing of the electricity struggling to reach the edges of the city. So much going on, so little to see – a perfect place to hide.

“Okay you pervert,” she whispered to herself. “Where’re you hiding?”

The road stretched back into a tightrope. Gingerly, her feet edged back towards the ruined bank. She scanned the buildings around her, the upper windows, the ground level doorways, waiting for him to pounce. One step – two step. Look. Nothing. She retraced her steps to the next building. Then the next. He felt so close – why couldn’t she see him?

“You want me, well here I am, you freak. Come and get me!”

There was a shout from the bank. Someone running. A man. Her stomach clenched. She braced herself. He pushed by her, hurrying away. It wasn’t him.

She turned confused and warm breath touched the back of her neck.

“Get down!” The world went white.

 

You can download this book for $1.66/£0.99 for this week only

http://www.amazon.com/Running-Game-Reachers-Book-ebook/dp/B00G7VJ0GG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410981330&sr=8-1&keywords=the+running+game+l+e+fitzpatrick


Inside Evil – FREE!!!

There are a lot of perks to being a book blogger and that is the great authors I get to meet and help. And today is an even better day because not only is it Saturday, but also it’s a double whammy of posts.

So up next is an exclusive interview with Geoffrey Wakeling who has been talking to me about his series Inside Evil. Here’s what he has to say and at the bottom of the page is a link to all the places you can get his awesome work for FREE!!!!!!!

 

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The Inside Evil Series is set in a secluded town on the English/Scottish border, can you tell us a little bit more about the setting of the story – is it a real place or based on a real place and what is it like to live in your town?

I love the setting – Ridgewood – I always think of it as a character in itself. As a child all my family holidays were spent either in the Lake District or the fringes of Scotland. We’d drive there, and I remember that after miles of motorway, the hills would start to soar, dry stone walls would creep in and there’d be nomadic sheep dotted across the landscape – and roads. I’d always be SO excited. The scenery held such mystery as well as a sense of foreboding. I wanted to bring this to the story and have a little town where people isolated themselves from the rest of the world, and that’s how Ridgewood came to be. So in answer to your question, it’s based on a feeling and a collection of memories rather than any one place.

 

Roberta Arlington is your lead character, can you tell us a bit more about her – what type of woman is she?

When we join the story, Roberta’s become caught in Ridgewood’s a are; she’s young and single, but seemingly quite content to remain hidden away in this forgotten town, despite being an immigrant.

She’s quite fallible, worries a lot and takes her time coming to realisations. Saying that, she’s also extremely determined to do what’s right and has an uncanny way of staying alive. In the first book, Roberta’s character is somewhat obscured by the curse, so she begins to breathe properly in the later novels.

 

There is an evil in Ridgewood, where did you get the idea for this evil?

In all honesty, I have NO idea. This is a book I started decades ago and I can’t, for the life of me, remember where the initial inspiration came from. I used to play the Sims a lot – like, obsessively – and had a website where I created stories; it’s possible I even thought of the idea for that. Either way, it’s grown more than I could have ever imagined!

 

I’ve heard this book is scary – will I get nightmares and what is that compels you to scare your readers silly?

See, to me, it’s not THAT scary! I guess it depends on your disposition. But yes, I’ve had reviews saying it’s made people’s blood run cold; which I suppose is a good thing. I think my main focus was to write something new, that hadn’t been done before. I wanted to shock people as well as surprise readers so they didn’t see what was coming.

 

You’ve got 5 books planned for the series. Do you think 5 will be enough and did you always plan to do 5 stories or have things evolved from your original plans.

Originally there were four books planned but I realised that cutting off the end of the story and having it as a fifth book made far more sense. It gave me a chance to collect my thoughts too. Writing a series is hard, especially when you’re creating parallel worlds, rules for curses and crossing between realms etc. it means all those threads need neatly tying off.

That’s not to say things didn’t evolve. They did; to a great extent. I had milestones and plot points that needed writing, but everything in between? Complete in-the-moment inspiration.

 

Without giving any spoilers to the plot can you tell us a bit about the series as a whole and what Roberta has to face throughout the five stories.

The series starts as a mystery as readers piece together what’s happening in the small town. There are several POV’s in each book, with Susan Lingly, Sam Carter and Karl Frans also taking leads.

As the books unfold, each character is sent along their own path; Roberta’s is of self-discovery and learning that whether she likes it or not, she’s the one to stop all the dramatic events unfolding. Susan, following her daughter’s death, is on a quest for answers, whilst Karl wants to rectify the past and ensure the cyclical natures of the strange deaths never happen again.

The series is set in three worlds; Earth, Gathin and the veil between. There are doppelgängers, talking creatures, potions, murders, mystery and all sorts of other dangers for the characters to face.

 

Are there any other characters that have a strong presence in the story and can you tell us a bit about them.

Yes, as mentioned, there are other POV’s too. Susan’s middle aged, runs a bookstore with ‘mad Martha’ and after discovering her daughter’s death becomes a lynch pin in solving the entire mystery. Meanwhile, Karl is a policeman who moved away from Ridgewood after he was unable to solve some prior murders. Finally, Sam is Roberta’s old university friend who’s in town writing a thesis. They all play their part in help Roberta survive. In fact, without them, I’m sure she’d have perished!

 

What do you think is the best thing about the book and in fact the series?

That it’s completely different and a mash of genres; though that doesn’t make it easy to market, I can tell you! There’s elements of horror, mystery, paranormal, fantasy and SF rolled into one; it’s a bit like marmite – people either love or hate it.

As the writer, I love it. I just wrote what was in my head and took my cast on a tumultuous journey. There’s joy and pain throughout, as well as eclectic characters you can help but love despite their flaws.

 

So you’ve obviously got to get back to book 5, but what comes next for Geoffrey Wakeling once the Inside Evil series is finished?

Yes, book 5 is almost done now. It’s with the editor, so for my part, I’ve practically said a sad goodbye. It was hard to write, frustrating at times, but everything ends up where I wanted and I’m happy to let me cast off the hook for some quiet, uneventful times.

Now I’m back to my SF Dystopian series; CRYO. I have two books out, so need to write the third and see where John and his cryonic podmates have journeyed too!

 

So here is the blurb to the first book in the Inside Evil series, also called Inside Evil:

Life in the secluded town of Ridgewood is charming, simple, safe – isn’t it? The bubble that isolates the hamlet protects, or so the eclectic residents believe. Lurking in the background of everyday life is a curse that comes in cycles and picks off the innocent as it pleases. But this time there’s something different, this time the curse wants more.

Roberta Arlington’s life changes the moment she finds one of her pupils, pale, frozen, DEAD. Her mind is filled with uncharacteristic thoughts, dreams and visions create bizarre scenes, and her blood boils as she lashes out at those she loves. Amidst her turmoil there are friends, and enemies, who come to her aid, piecing together the puzzle laid before them.

But with the ancient evil having struck down so many through the centuries, Roberta will have to muster every ounce of strength she has to survive. An entire world, a strange land, has unveiled itself. If Roberta knows one thing for sure, it’s that she alone won’t be able to escape as death comes calling…

Inside Evil 1

  Download for free:

AMAZON US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007JIH0EU/

AMAZON UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007JIH0EU/

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/inside-evil-geoff-wakeling/1110621721?ean=2940033163106

SMASHWORDS – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/141521

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Inside-Evil/book-b4J5z2f9JkGYSrspso3nCg/page1.html


Set Me Alight

Who fancies something on the dystopian side of thrillers… and no it’s not one of mine… introducing Set Me Alight by Bill Leviathan.

 

 

Paul is one tough bastard. Every day we’re up by sunrise, every night we’re up to nearly midnight. Three square meals a day, and absolutely, positively, no drinking. ‘Square meals’ might be a bit of an overstatement. I eat a bit of cornmeal sludge and some beans three times a day. Every now and then we throw in something green if we can find it. Well, mostly green, with a decent amount of yellow and brown. There’s even the rare occasion we get to eat some real meat. We just need to hope we find something dead on the side of the rode to do so. Certainly much better than before. Living with Paul has made me realize that I must have been getting around 75% of my daily calories from alcohol. Now I longer get to look forward to chugging some cheap whiskey that burns all the way down to my stomach as though I swallowed a lit acetylene torch. Three meager servings of over boiled cornmeal and mushy beans is what brings light to my days now. That’s what I keep telling myself any ways.

My life really has completely turned around since Paul took me in. I live in a house now. Well, as much as what you can call something a house these days. When I was a kid we would’ve called Paul’s home a ‘shack’, and a pretty run down one at that. There’s four wooden walls, a roof, and a floor that’s not made from dirt. It’s pretty sturdy, or at least sturdy enough for us to suspend two narrow hammocks. There isn’t enough space in the place for the two of us to live in and also have beds. All of the furniture folds up, which in total are two chairs and one small table. The only source of heat and ability to warm up our meals is a makeshift brazier. It looks like a 50 gallon steel drum that has been torn in half and then propped up on three pieces of scrap metal. Every time I have to reach in to grab the food it becomes a tetanus risk, avoiding cutting open my arms on some jagged rusty edge that’s sticking out. Between the brazier and the insulation blankets Paul has nailed to the wall, this place stays surprisingly warm, and a huge fire risk. I guess having a trained firefighter and a firefighter-in-training helps to mitigate that risk somewhat. We’re mostly through spring now, but I think this was the first winter where I was able to feel my toes at any point during it.

So far the training Paul has been giving me doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with actual firefighting, but then again, what the hell do I know? First step was quitting all my vices. No drinking, no smoking, no whoring, no being a dumb ‘down on my luck’ kid who blames the rest of the world for all of his problems. He hasn’t been all that successful at the last one, but I can’t fault Paul for trying. Everything else though has worked. I tried to convince Paul that if I’m going to working around smoke, I should toughen up my lungs by inhaling burning ash on a regular basis by letting me have a cigarette or two a day. He didn’t take too kindly to that. His ‘punishment’ for all of my grievances is a disappointed look on his face and silence for a day or two. I thought I was getting off easy at first. I’m used to the beatings with a cane I’d get at the youth shelters. It was only a week before a day’s long silence and the occasional cold, empty glare was enough to make me wish for the simplicity of physical punishment.

The rest of my training consists of reading some books and trying to entertain myself while Paul is at the office. There are no office jobs available at the moment, and certainly not enough work to warrant paying another person, so I’ll have to wait until fire season to get a real job with the forestry department. In the mean time I’ve been looking for ad-hoc work maybe once or twice a week to help contribute to the food costs for Paul and I. He can easily pay for it all with what he makes, but I don’t want to feel like too much of a mooch. Any ways, there’s only one book that Paul gave me that’s actually about how to fight fires. It’s a whole bunch of high level stuff that I don’t really understand. Different technologies used, like airplanes and helicopters, how to dig the trenches to create fire lines, and how to survive in extreme environmental conditions. It’s all great to read about, but I still won’t know what the hell to do if I was thrown out there today. It also mentions the teams firefighters would work in, called ‘hotshots’. There would typically be about 20 people to a team, with hundreds of teams positioned all across the US. According to Paul, it would be remarkable to have a team as large as 10 in this day and age, and there’s maybe 50 total spread around the country. The rest of the books are all memoirs of firefighters who I can only assume are long dead, or some out-doors fantasy crap like ‘Call of the Wild’ or ‘Hatchet’. Those have been by far the most enjoyable books to waste my time reading. I’m supposed to learn about ‘what it takes’, mentally and physically, to be a firefighter. From what I’ve read in these memoirs, the main thing I need to learn is to become accustomed to loss.

 

Want to read more – head over to Amazon now: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K53Y0IA