Monday, May 2, 2016

Excerpt from The Last Girl by Joe Hart!

BEFORE . . .

 “As of today we don’t have any solid factual data or numbers to speak of concerning the phenomena. We are working tirelessly with the World Health Organization as well as the Attorney General’s office. Everyone can rest assured that we will issue a statement soon, and in the meantime we’re doing everything we can to identify the cause.” —Cameron West, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, January 2017

"I think what most people are missing is the fact that this isn’t a localized event. This is global, and it happened overnight. To my knowledge no one—not a scientist, not a government official, and not a single news source—has come up with a satisfying explanation for what’s happening.” 
—Ramona Chandler, independent journalist for The Underground, May 2017

 “The National Obstetric Alliance that was formed early last year has made significant progress in determining the cause of the so-called ‘drought of female births.’ I can honestly say that we are on the verge of understanding the origin of this occurrence, and we implore the American people as well as citizens throughout the world to remain calm and strong in the face of this unprecedented challenge. An answer is very near.” 
—Benson Andrews, 45th President of the United States of America, February 2018

NT: In your opinion, what truly caused the uprising in Harrisburg?
FW: (draws on cigarette) Limits.

NT: Limits?

FW: Yeah, limits. Everyone has theirs, you know? When the induction into NOA’s research program went from voluntary to mandatory, that’s what did it. It pushed people past their limits. This is America, for God’s sake, the land of the free. But suddenly we’re being told that all women who’ve given birth to baby girls in the last five years have to report to one of NOA’s reception complexes, or else? (shakes his head) No way. No way were people going to put up with that. Listen, I’ve heard stories of armed raiding groups taking entire families from their beds at night. here is a woman in New York who said her eight-month-old daughter was taken from her crib and that a government official contacted her the next morning warning her not to take action. And then of course there was the Divinity cult that Senator Jesperson was associated with in Texas that was exterminating newborn boys in its membership. They thought that this was all God’s work, and if they kept killing male infants the females would start being born again. I mean, this doesn’t sound like the United States at all, at least not the one that I’m familiar with.

NT: There hasn’t been a female birthrate report released in over six months now. The last one put the percentage at one in one hundred thousand. Would you say that’s correct?

FW: (laughs) Are you kidding? One in a hundred thousand? Try one in ten million. That’s the last statistic I saw before resigning, and by all accounts it was getting worse. I wouldn’t be surprised if the new data shows one in a hundred million. When the masses start to realize what’s happening, there’s going to be war.

NT: You predict there will be more uprisings like in Pennsylvania?

FW: Slaughter. Call it what it was. A slaughter of American citizens by their government. And yes, this is only the beginning.
—Excerpt from NewsTime interview with Foster White, former Undersecretary to the Attorney General’s office, ten days before his disappearance, June 2018

“The rebellion’s a tide, just like whatever the hell happened to the baby girls. You can’t stop it.” 
—Anonymous rebel soldier, November 2018

No women
No babies
No hope
—Graffiti on the Washington Monument, December 2018

About The Last Girl
A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than 1 percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women.
Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away—told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.
Captivity is the only life Zoey has ever known, and escaping her heavily armed captors is no easy task, but she’s determined to leave before she is subjected to the next round of tests…a program that no other woman has ever returned from. Even if she’s successful, Zoey has no idea what she’ll encounter in the strange new world beyond the facility’s walls. Winning her freedom will take brutality she never imagined she possessed, as well as all her strength and cunning—but Zoey is ready for war.

About the Author
Joe Hart was born and raised in northern Minnesota. Having dedicated himself to writing horror and thriller fiction since the tender age of nine, he is now the author of eight novels that include The River Is DarkLineage, and EverFallThe Last Girl is the first installment in the highly anticipated Dominion Trilogy and once again showcases Hart’s knack for creating breathtaking futuristic thrillers.

When not writing, he enjoys reading, exercising, exploring the great outdoors, and watching movies with his family. For more information on his upcoming novels and access to his blog, visit www.joehartbooks.com.




Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Old Flames / Right to Life


Title/Author: Old Flames and Right To Life by Jack Ketchum.

Genre: Dark Fiction.

Publisher: Leisure Books.

Source: Purchased.

Synopsis:If you are familiar with Jack Ketchum you probably understand that you will find a dark, gritty, harsh and many times bloody story.The novellas Old Flames and Right to Life is no different.  


Old Flames starts with Dora, a woman who, disappointed with every relationship she's ever been in, looks up her college boyfriend.  Even though he is married with two children, she schemes to insinuate herself into his life.  This story may have gone into another direction if the ex boyfriend had made different choices, but then we would not have been allowed to see the downward spiral of this reunion and Dora herself.   Tragic and heartbreaking, Old Flames shows how a manipulative and delusional person can destroy not just a family, but her own life as well.

Right to Life was dark and twisted in a different way.  More of a Criminal Minds than the above Law and Order.   Okay maybe a lot worse than any Criminal Minds episode I've ever seen.  Looking at the cover to this novella basically shows you the premise.  Sara Foster finds out she is pregnant and is kidnapped right outside of an abortion clinic.  Her two kidnappers have an agenda and a twisted way to keep her in line and obedient.  The relationship between her and her two kidnappers twist and change as she struggles to hold on to her life and her sanity.  This story is pretty brutal, so why did I keep reading it?  I wanted to see if Sara survives and escapes.  I wanted to find out if the kidnappers turn on each other.  I simply wanted to see how it ended.  (Warning: This story is very graphic.)



Sunday, March 27, 2016

Talking Dead liked my Tweet!!!

I would like to thank everyone who made this moment possible!

 liked your Tweet
7m:
"I don't take chances...anymore."


Addendum:  Is this real?  Have they liked two of my tweets?

  and  liked your Tweet
2m
I also LOVE when Denise Huth is on



Monday, February 8, 2016

Guest Post by Spencer John - Power Grid Failure and Natural Disasters Are All Too Real in The 5th Wave


The 5th Wave explores what might happen in a world of massive power outages, natural disasters and invasion. Although there is a general taste for post-apocalyptic novels and movies, The 5th Wave sets itself apart based on its perspective. It follows the Old Testament plague storyline of a population being attacked again and again by various deluges - a power grid failure, avian flu, a massive tsunami and even extraterrestrial body snatchers. In some fashion, we have experienced all of these things in our actual lives, and this is what makes The 5th Wave so poignant. 

As aliens make their presence on Earth know through these “waves” of attack, the story follows 16 year old Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) on a race to rescue her younger brother (Zackary Arthur) from an alien-run training camp. In the first wave, all electronics completely stopped working. The movie was perhaps ahead of its time in showing how dependent everyone had become on technology. Humanity was completely defenseless against the attacks - communication was shut down and no one knew what to do without their machines.

In the second wave, steel beams fall on the major fault lines around the world, followed by tsunamis that wiped out about a quarter of the population around the world. The true horror of this part of the movie occurs as people think back to the earthquakes that so easily destroy even the most powerful and sturdy of human creations. The third wave attacked the population on the cellular level. An avian flu overtook the world in the same way that Ebola did and the current Zika virus is. Although Ebola did not have near the same effect that the avian flu had in the movie, the fear and panic was undoubtedly similar.

 Finally, in the fourth wave, the aliens came down and began to physically possess human bodies. Once humanity had been weakened to the point of no defense, the aliens felt no fear in coming down and initiating a frontal attack. The possession turned humanity on itself as a civil war of sorts began between family members and friends.

 While not that great of a movie overall, the really interesting thing about The 5th Wave is the realistic energy threats it presents - these things could happen in real life! The power grid failure in the first wave of attack calls attention to the power outages that have happened around the world as well as the vulnerability of the American power grid. According to Direct Energy, the US power grid is using over ten percent more power than it was a decade ago, and experiencing more than 210 blackout minutes per year. Huge blackouts in Pakistan and North Holland showcased just how dependent humanity has become on its electric grids, and it’s scary to think that humanity was weakened so much by the power outages that no one was prepared for the plagues that came after!

Not only are blackouts a constant worry and inconvenience, but hacking and EMP attacks have been concerns of the government for years,  especially now that our dependency on machines has skyrocketed. The entire power grid could be dismantled by an electromagnetic pulse from a high altitude nuclear bomb, terrorist hackers could easily disable the grid due to lack of upgrades and safety regulations and let’s not forget how susceptible it is to major forces of weather. But not only does The 5th Wave touch on technological failure, climate change is brought front and center through natural disasters with catastrophic results.

Although The 5th Wave presents a compelling and exciting take on a dystopia, fans of the novel source material were slightly disappointed in it’s adaptation. The movie had less detail than the source material; however, the visuals and stellar performances from a talented cast definitely added a level of immersion that the book simply could not have. While an overall entertaining storyline and watch overall, if we really take the message of The 5th Wave seriously, we all have some serious changes to make in our lives to avoid an attack of our own!


Spencer John is a freelance entertainment, culture, and lifestyle blogger. He lives and works in Chicago. When not working he can be found camped out in his apartment watching the latest films and newest television shows.



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Midnight Crossings - Audio

Title/Author: Midnight Crossroad (Midnight Texas #1) by Charlaine Harris.

Read by: Susan Bennett.

Genre: Supernatural.

Publisher:  Recorded Books.

Source: Library.

Synopsis:  Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth...~Goodreads.com.

Midnyte Musings:  This is not a book I expected to enjoy as much as I did.  It had a lot of characters that were not fully developed,  a lot of point of views and a lot of the events felt forced.  However, I followed it closely and enjoyed it immensely.

The characters were quirky and different enough to differentiate between each other.  The book starts out with one of the characters moving to the small town of Midnight and discovering that a small town holds big secrets.  I thought the story would follow him mainly, but it was really about several different characters.  The main theme in this installment is the murder of Aubrey.   

I don't feel anyone was placed in the story that did not have a role.  It also contained a lot of serious issues yet did it in a manner that was easy to follow; murder, militarism, racism.  For a tiny town, a lot happens and Midnight seems like an interesting place to live.

One of my favorite parts about this book was Fiji Cavanaugh's cat, Mr. Snuggly.  I'm not going to say any more, but even if you hate everything else in the book, Mr. Snuggly makes up for it.

Narration:  I have to admit, that I can't guarantee I would have liked the book as much if I had read it instead of listened to it.  Susan Bennett did a good job trying to differentiate between the characters and she moved the story along.  Again, my favorite part - the voice of Mr. Snuggly.

A fun, light read.  You could probably finish this one very fast.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Guest Post by Spencer Blohm - Frankenstein Adaptations Through the Years.


Victor Frankenstein, one of the most exciting movies to come out during this holiday season, is a new take on the old Mary Shelley classic. Ever since Shelley wrote Frankenstein as a teenager in 1818, the story of a patchwork man reanimated after death has chilled readers and moviegoers on a primal level. The work has survived dozens of film, TV, and theater adaptations, each one more grisly and grim than the last - but why are we so fascinated with this story and the mythology of Frankenstein's monster?

Mary Shelley was only nineteen years old when she conceived the idea for Frankenstein during a contest with her peers based on who could write the scariest story. It remained her most famous work and became a classic of gothic horror. Some even say Shelley invented the science fiction genre with her book because it mixes ideas of biology, engineering, and psychology to create a compelling fantasy story. Frankenstein is still studied and enjoyed in high schools and colleges all over the world almost 200 years after its publication, and continues to have a looming presence in both the literary and film worlds.

Frankenstein has been a popular book to adapt to screen ever since the conception of film. It hit the stage in the 1820s before being adapted to film for the first time in a 16 minute short film in 1910. But the most well-known adaptation was James Whale's 1931 Frankenstein through Universal Studios, which gave audiences the perception we still hold of the monster today. Actor Boris Karloff popularized the idea of a flat-headed, moaning monster with screws on his neck - a character we still commonly see around Halloween.

Due to the popularity of Karloff's portrayal, Frankenstein's monster became a huge hit with horror audiences. He reappeared in 1935 in the acclaimed Bride of Frankenstein (find it online), which is said to be one of the greatest horror films ever made. However, this sequel began a long string of Frankenstein films that diverted from the source material. Though the monster stayed generally true to form, he was given a female companion, something Victor Frankenstein decided against in the novel. In 1939, horror actor Bela Lugosi (known for portraying Count Dracula) appeared alongside Karloff in Son of Frankenstein as lab assistant Igor - a character that does not exist in the literary tale - showing how these classic horror stories all meshed together to create a popular mythology among moviegoers.

As Universal Studios horror films waned in popularity, Frankenstein's monster took a backseat until Mel Brooks’ 1974 comedy hit Young Frankenstein, starring Gene Wilder. This film (streaming info here) loosely adapted the story while poking fun at the gothic style of previous films. It let the monster tap dance and groan out a song while Victor Frankenstein tried desperately to clear his family's name. Rather than an all-out spoof, it comes off as a loving homage to a classic story, inviting new audiences outside the horror genre to enjoy the tale.

2015's Victor Frankenstein, starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe and directed by Paul McGuigan, focuses more heavily on the creator and lab assistant of the monster than the monster himself, showing that even an old story can take on new and interesting points of view in each adaptation. Even though Shelley's novel is a classic, it still makes audiences question what it means to be human and to create life, making it a popular and ever-relevant tale to turn into film.



Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, culture, and lifestyle blogger. He lives and works in Chicago. When not working he can be found camped out in his apartment watching the latest films and newest television shows.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Guest Post Andrew Man - Dystopian Adventures vs. Conspiracy Thrillers.

Over the last few years, young adult dystopian fiction has seen a spike in popularity with several young authors writing trilogies like The Hunger Games and Divergent which have become best-selling books and films. These ideas are in contrast to past conspiracy thrillers from writers like Dan Brown and the thought-provoking espionage novels of John Le Carré. Based on this rise in popularity between the two genres, I decided to write a fiction series which would be a modern day conspiracy thriller, with some of the dystopian ideas from the future. In this way, the reader is able to relate to the characters, in our current world and read about the same characters in a world fifty years in the future. ‘Tego Arcana Dei’ is a three part thriller series which follows the protagonist through his adventures in his past working life, up to the present day. These three books are both exciting and mind bending, as shown in the book trailer for Forces of Retribution, leaving the reader wanting to know more. The final book will debut later this month, so let’s take a closer look at this three book series.

Book 1 - Keeping Gods Secret (2011)
The British hero James Pollack meets a young American on a train in London who shows him events which he will have to do in his future life. Britain is suffering under a recession and James leaves to work for a bank in Switzerland– only to return to the Caribbean island of Antigua for a meeting. Her name is Gina; her client is the Commander of one of the world’s most powerful agencies. As the couple plunge into a dizzying, mystical adventure, American powers collide with secrets at the Vatican summer palace. James is helped by Deepak his guardian who shows him a circle of wormholes leading from Rome down to ancient ruins in Lebanon. Meanwhile, the antagonist Elizabeth tracks his banking activities and his travel with unusual friends. The story takes James back to the shadowy corridors of Italian Banking, his excitement heightened by memories of his escape in Rome with Alexei a young legal assistant. This leads him on to the Russian Natasha at an archeologically dig on the coast of Lebanon, where they find an ancient artefact. A magic blade enabling him to time travel to other dimensions, and so the real adventure starts.

Book 2 - Forces of Retribution (2013)
In this story’s most powerful, and heart stopping novel yet, James is at a hospital in Geneva, after major surgery from his time travel experiences. Locations move back to Lebanon, London, and onto the pyramids in Egypt in a desperate hunt to find the secret of quantum weirdness. The hunter is the passionate and resourceful James Pollack, an ex-Swiss banker who has an interest in science, the paranormal and women. His quarry is the young Italian Alexei, who has given up on her life and seeks his help to time travel from a Centre of Science in Switzerland, to the very heart of our Universe, fifty years into the future.

This story picks up where the first book left off continuing to follow the Russian Natasha trapped in another dimension in the South of Lebanon. While Natasha is on the run in a warzone she is given an ancient Madonna doll which James finds he can open with his magic blade. Inside they find a mysterious time travelling medallion, similar to the one used by their Indian guardian and needed by his friends to return from the future. We get a glimpse into how string theory can explain multiple universes and some of the theories as to what the pyramids in Egypt really are. There is a very anthropological dialogue about the origins of humans and the evolution from Mitochondrial Eve. The benevolent guardian Deepak again appears to control who and what appears and where to help James solve the mystery of instant communication.

Book 3 - Beyond the Rest of Us (2015)
The final book is set in the current decade, when James now retired is kidnapped at a Geneva hotel for crimes he doesn’t understand and an Italian cruise ship crashes into rocks in the Tyrrhenian Sea. A respected American scientist disappears into thin air, but when the mist clears, we see mind control and astral travel in their dreams. Elizabeth the antagonist from the previous books is still following a trail of corrupt power in this third book featuring Andrew Man’s aging male protagonist James Pollack.

In this story, when James is kidnapped back to 1814 he has to use all his skills to uncover the corrupt European operation, against the backdrop of a disintegrating and unscrupulous world. The story mentions the crumbling European economy and the conflicts in the Middle East and the part the West had to play in them. We cross continents, eras and astral planes on this journey and meet a variety of James’ friends and enemies, before the characters return to the temples in Lebanon to finish the series.

The title of the series Tego Arcana Dei roughly translates to “Begone, I conceal the secrets of God” and is an anagram of “Et in Arcadia Ego.” This was represented in a painting by Poussin in the early 1600’s called ‘The Arcadian Shepherds’, which is a common theme throughout the three books.



Andrew Man is an independent author, of books about politics, science and conspiracy theories. He lives and writes in Switzerland. In addition to his writing, he has formed the Geneva Creatives Group with www.stage32.com and can sometimes be found at a cinema centre, discussing new projects over a glass of wine.

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