Monday musings: Life inspired writing inspired life

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By Autumn Birt

I love adventure, especially traveling. One of my remaining bucket list trips is cave rafting in New Zealand (seriously).

The only thing that makes a trip more interesting is throwing in some local history and artifacts and I’m pretty much in love. Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru to Machu Picchu was an experience that will live with me and color my writing. How could following an ancient pathway of stones and steps through mountain passes and by a handful of stunning ruins, each unique, to end at one of the wonders of the world not show up in a story somewhere, especially when you are a fantasy writer?

My hobbies of hiking, kayaking, and sailing have lent a realistic air to many of my books. I know what it is like to carry everything you need on your back for days at a time, slogging through mud and crawling over steep ledges. I’ve ridden horses, though prefer motorcycling over long distances. I know the feeling of stepping into a new land and feeling equally lost and fascinated.

Those are the easy details that permeate my writing, often without me realizing it. But it was a conference in Miami in 2010 that not only changed my worldview but inspired an entire series.

The guest speaker was a proponent for an Everglades National Park, but had given up because he didn’t think the Everglades would exist in fifty years. Slide by slide, he unrolled more scientific details on climate change and historic trends in past climate changes than I’d ever seen. He ripped away the idea that the seas would rise slowly and lethally. Instead, he showed the ancient benchmarks where the land dropped feet at a time due to storms. A storm surge would arrive, inundate everything, and never leave.

The future we have crafted due to past actions is not going to be predictable or follow a smooth chart laid out by scientists doing the best they can with predictive modeling. It will be messy, chaotic, and cause havoc we can only guess at. Working as I did in sustainable agriculture for a government agency, my mind whirled with how would governments respond? How many such storms as Katrina in the US would it take for an area to be abandoned? How many would it take to weaken a government to the point it could be overthrown or bought?

Throw in increasing droughts, lack of clean water, and a pandemic or two, and you have a world in chaos.

It took years with those ideas planted in my brain to finally grow into the post-apocalyptic series, Friends of my Enemy. A twisted tale of a dark future rife with conflicted relationships, it is nevertheless one of my favorite things to have written, even though it is so far different from the epic fantasy books I usually prefer. It is my nightmarish dream and imbued with a bit of hope for mankind in our not-so-distant future.

Plus, the unruly roots sprouted out of that conference eventually lead me to quit my job.

I’m not a prepper or survivalist by any means, but when the future looks unstable, the government you work for is not responding to mitigate anything of what might be coming, and you are going to be in your late 60s by then anyway, grasping life and seeing the world while you can still enjoy it feels so much better than saving for retirement because some guy in a suit said you should. Ok, I might be a bit of a rebel at heart too.

And, you know, it doesn’t hurt that I live in a self-contained, all-terrain adventure vehicle. I’m totally prepared for the zombie apocalypse. 😉

Autumn Birt

is a bestselling author in fantasy, epic fantasy, and war – not all on the same series though!

She is the author of the epic fantasy, adventure trilogy on elemental magic, The Rise of the Fifth Order. Her newest series is Games of Fire, an epic continuation of the world and characters begun in The Rise of the Fifth Order. Book 2, Gates of Fire & Earth, is also a Fantasia Reviews 2017 Book of Year nominee and winner of Best Worldbuilding.

She is also the author of Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark fantasy tale laced with romance.

Stop by her website and blog to learn more about the worlds of her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. You can also find her on Facebook at Author.Autumn.Birt or more frequently on Twitter @Weifarer. Check out Exclusive Stories page to pick up free short stories.

Learn more about her on her BestSelling Reads author page and Amazon Author Page.

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Thursday teaser: #excerpts from Mist-Chi-Mas

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This week’s excerpt comes from tale set in the Pacific Northwest of 1860

By J.L. Oakley

Troubles with San Juan Town

Breed stood on the porch of Krill’s Mercantile and checked the double doors. Behind him, lantern light from a dozen shacks groped its way through the thickening mist. A tinny piano played a throbbing tune. Voices and laughter sounded disembodied. The only light on the porch was a candle lantern on the store’s post.

“They’re locked.”

“Use this.” Collie Henderson handed him a picklock out of a leather case. Breed had to squint to see it. The sun had long since gone down, leaving the summer twilight to spread its shadows over the collection of twenty ill-formed buildings and tents that made up San Juan Town. Yet the reason he was here was urgent—the rescue of the twelve-year-old daughter of a Makah friend. He thanked the spirits for the mist softly drifting off Griffin Bay onto the main lane.

Breed jiggled the lock. “When’s the last time Billy Po saw her?”

“About a half-hour ago,” Sikhs said. He stood at the dark edge of the building holding a shotgun.

“Krill was talking about taking her out of the root cellar,” Collie said. Wanted to bring her up into one of the rooms.” Collie’s voice was taut with anger. “Shh—”

Two buildings down, a door opened and a couple of soldiers stumbled out onto the candlelit porch. One bumped into a post before weaving down the steps into the lane. They’ll be in trouble for sure, Breed thought as he pressed up against the shuttered store. Pickett had to expand the boundaries of the military post to within a few feet of San Juan Town just to keep the soldiers in line.

One of the soldiers, his corporal’s stripe nearly erased by the dying light, bent over in the middle of the street and retched. The stink mixed with the other smells of the settlement: wood pile litter, broken whiskey bottles, and barrels reeking of spoiled food and brackish water. Breed fought back the urge to retch too. They had so little time. Since he had learned of the girl’s kidnapping, Breed had been on the lookout for her for the past two days.

Krill’s place was more than a store selling civilian and soldier’s needs. Behind the Chinese glass bead curtains next to the counter, there were several rooms that stretched back to the lagoon. Krill’s boarders.

“Get on, Liam. Sarg’s goin’ to give us piss.”

“I’m pissed. A shiny dollar for that swill.” The soldier spit a final time, keeping his hand on his belly.

The two soldiers staggered off, this time off toward the high grassy hill leading back to the army post. Breed waited until they were out of range then went back to the lock on the store’s double doors. The street was deserted now, everyone seemingly indoors, staying warm from the unexpected change in the weather.

He was about to jiggle the lock when a woman screamed. Both men swung around, Collie pulling out his sword from his scabbard on his back. But then the woman’s voice changed into a squeal of pleasure and laughter. Breed almost missed the cry from the store on the other side of its doors.

“Jonas.” Collie rammed his shoulder against one of the doors.

“I heard it.” Breed signaled Sikhs to go around to the back. He gave the pick lock one more turn and they spilled into the store. Inside, the store was dark, the floor to ceiling shelves behind a thick counter displaying tins and wooden boxes like plaques in a mausoleum, but down the hall there was candle light.

A muffled cry and then someone spit out, “You little heathen.”

“There!” Breed leaped over the counter and raced down the hall, kicking in the nearest door. Collie came behind him, slashing the bead curtain with his sword into smithereens. The little beads bounced and rolled down the floor into the room where a naked man and woman were stacked up against the headboard in a state of disarray and shock. Breed was gone and into the next room before the couple gave alarm.

About Mist-Chi-Mas

In Mist-chi-mas, everyone is bound to something.

Jeannie Naughton never intended to run away from her troubles, but in 1860, a woman’s reputation is everything. A scandal not of her own making forces her to flee England for an island in the Pacific Northwest, a territory jointly occupied by British and American military forces. At English Camp, Jeannie meets American Jonas Breed. Breed was once a captive and slave — a mistchimas — of the Haida, and still retains close ties to the Coast Salish Indians.

But the inhabitants of the island mistrust Breed for his friendship with the tribes. When one of Breed’s friends is murdered, he is quickly accused of a gruesome retaliation. Jeannie knows he’s innocent, and plans to go away with him, legitimizing their passionate affair with a marriage. But when she receives word that Breed has been killed in a fight, Jeannie’s world falls apart. Although she carries Jonas Breed’s child, she feels she has no choice but to accept a proposal from another man.

Twenty years later, Jeannie finds reason to believe that Breed may still be alive. She must embark on a journey to uncover the truth, unaware that she is stirring up an old and dangerous struggle for power and revenge…

Did you like this week’s excerpt? Get the book on Amazon.

Or win a free e-copy

J.L. Oakley will give away a free e-book copy of Mist-Chi-Mas to someone who can identify the company of adventurers who controlled the fur trade in the Pacific Northwest, and other large regions of North America, in the 1860s.

J.L. Oakley

She writes award-winning historical fiction that spans the mid-19th century to WW II. Her books have been recognized with a 2013 Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Award, the 2013 Chanticleer Grand Prize, the 2014 First Place Chaucer Award, 2015 WILLA Silver Award and the 2016 Goethe Grand Prise.

In addition to historical fiction, J.L. has also written four mystery novellas set in the Hawaiian Islands, part of Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World. Her most recent historical novel, Mist-chi-mas: A Novel Of Captivity, launched in September 2017.

 Get to know more about Janet on her:

And follow her on Twitter @JlOakley13.

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Thursday teaser: Trojan

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By Alan McDermott

At 3 a.m. precisely, Wahid gave the signal for his men to make their move.

The chemical-weapons storage facility, a huge, one-storey building surrounded by a ten-foot wall made of reinforced concrete, was situated near a village on the outskirts of Homs.

Wahid’s men had been making their way towards the compound for the last four hours, crawling slowly on their bellies while covered with sand-coloured sheets. He had traced their painstaking progress, moving inches at a time to preserve the advantage of a surprise attack. A Syrian military unit was based less than three miles away, giving them minutes to carry out their mission before reinforcements arrived.

Wahid had been sweeping the walls of the compound for hours with his night-vision glasses, but there were no signs of CCTV cameras and no-one had stuck their heads up.

Still, he wasn’t taking any chances.

Seven of his soldiers were now ten feet from the wall, and he watched from 600 yards away as they prepared rappelling ropes with rubber-coated hooks on the end. The first man swung his towards the top of the wall and Wahid saw it come tumbling back down. The man tried again, and this time the hook caught. Three of his people were already halfway up the wall, and he’d heard nothing from inside the facility to suggest they’d been compromised.

He watched as the men disappeared over the wall, then ordered his reserve to move up. His own driver was the first to crank his engine and gun the truck towards the gates. In the darkness, Wahid could see flashes of light dancing off the top of the wall.

By the time he reached the gate, it was already open, with two of his men standing guard. The bodies of four Syrian soldiers lay on the ground. Wahid walked over to one of the dead and removed a plastic card from a chain on the corpse’s waist, then jogged to the glass double doors and swiped it. A click signified that they had entry, and he stepped aside as his men poured into the building.

Gunfire erupted as Wahid’s soldiers pushed forward, then subsided as he entered the building. Three more guards lay dead, leaving another three to contend with. He jogged down the hallway to the junction and looked both ways. The right was clear, and he ordered two men to cover it. To the left, his people were already working to open the door he’d ordered them to look for. He ran to join them just as it burst inwards.

Wahid let the soldiers check the room for guards, then walked inside and looked at the bank of large refrigerated cabinets. Third from the left on the top shelf, he’d been told, and when he looked at the labels, he confirmed that the intelligence his master had paid for was accurate. The cabinet door was locked, so he used the grip of his pistol to shatter the glass and carefully lifted the tray of phials off the shelf. He placed it on a workbench and extracted a leather case from inside his combat jacket.

He’d been instructed to take five phials, no fewer. He stole a look at his watch and saw that it had been two minutes since the first gunshots. The army would have been alerted by now: he had to get his men out of here.

With the small bag now full of glass tubes, Wahid told his men to follow him, and he ran back out into the night.

‘They’re coming,’ his driver told him as he jumped into the passenger seat of the truck. Wahid snatched up the NVGs and saw the army convoy in the distance. He stuck his head out of the window and shouted to his lieutenant. ‘I must get this safely to Karim. You know what to do.’

Without waiting for a response, Wahid told the driver to floor it, and he left the scene trailing a cloud of dust in his wake.

His men would fight until he was well clear of the area, and many of them would die before sunrise. Whatever he was carrying in his small bag, he hoped it was worth the price they would pay tonight.

About Trojan

When MI5 learns that a horrifying new weapon is in enemy hands, agent Andrew Harvey is called in to track it down before it reaches British soil.

The clock is ticking. Andrew and his girlfriend, Sarah, also a secret service operative, have only one lead: a beautiful refugee, desperate not to lose her son. But is she desperate enough to betray everything she believes in? And will she do it in time to help them prevent a terrifying attack?

As Andrew and Sarah race to unravel a convoluted web of subterfuge and exploitation, they discover there is more at stake than even they knew. And somewhere, at the heart of it, lurks a faceless enemy, who is prepared to use everything—and everyone—at his disposal.

About the author

Alan McDermott lives in the south of England,  and is married with beautiful twin daughters. He recently gave up his job of creating critical applications for the NHS to write action thrillers full time.

His debut novel, Gray Justice, was very well received and earned him bestseller status. The next two books in the series — Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption — were enough to attract the attention of a major publisher, and he has since added Gray RetributionGray Vengeance and Gray Salvation to the list.  Alan’s seventh title, Trojan, released in 2017, is a spinoff featuring MI5 agent Andrew Harvey.

Alan can be found:

BestSelling Reads author page     |     Amazon Author Page     |    Facebook     |    Twitter

|  Website and blog  |  Facebook    |   Twitter

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Thursday teasers: New releases from your favorite BestSelling authors

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BestSelling Reads member authors have been a busy bunch this winter, releasing 11 excellent novels. And there are more to come by May.

Here are the latest releases from your favorite writers.

January 12

Trojan

Thriller by Alan McDermott

When MI5 learns that a horrifying new weapon is in enemy hands, agent Andrew Harvey is called in to track it down before it reaches British soil.

Get it on Amazon.

January 23

Conspiracy of Lies

By Caleb Pirtle III

It was the race for the bomb. America was at war a long way from home. Hitler’s war machine was storming across Europe. Russia wanted to become a world power. All three nations knew that whoever split the atom and developed the atomic bomb first would rule the world.

Get it on AmazonKobo or Barnes & Noble.

January 28

Amelia The Mother: A Pocket Full of Innocence

By D.G. Torrens

Amelia Series Book 3—Amelia takes her readers on an emotional journey, of how she used her own past as an example of “How not to parent.”

Get it on Amazon.

January 31

Imperfect Harmony

By Raine Thomas

House of Archer, Book 1—The line between reality and Reality TV begins to blur for rock singer Dane Archer when he starts falling for his best friend, Lily.

Get it on Amazon.

Scorch Road: JT

Romance thriller by Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Scorch Series Book 1—A new romantic action adventure series for fans of romance thriller suspense and family romance series!

Get it on Amazon.

February 19

Wired Hard

Mystery by Toby Neal

Paradise Crime Book 3—Security specialist Sophie Ang has a new case: someone is looting artifacts from a royal Hawaiian archaeological site on Maui. Things get deadly fast—while Sophie walks a tightrope between new love and heartbreak.

Get it on AmazonBarnes and NobleKOBO or iBooks.

February 21

Cinder Road: Dolf

Romance thriller By Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Scorch Series Romance Thriller Book 2—How can Dolf protect his twin’s brave, stubborn widow, Avital, and hide his feelings from her as they struggle to live long enough to reach the Haven?

Get it on Amazon

February 22

Walking Out of War

Military biography by Scott Bury

Book 3 in the Eastern Front trilogy—A Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army fights to survive the death struggle between Nazi Germany and the USSR, then elude Stalin’s NKVD to return home to Canada.

Get it on Amazon.

February 24

Night Side of Dark

Historical mystery by Caleb Pirtle III

Ambrose Lincoln Series Book 3—American operative Ambrose Lincoln must find an ancient religious painting in bomb-ruined Poland before the Gestapo can use it to bring about Nazi Germany’s victory.

Get it on AmazonKobo or Barnes & Noble.

March 5

Cassidy Jones and the Eternal Flame

Middle-grade superhero adventure by Elise Stokes

Cassidy Jones Adventures book 5—The diabolical Metal Woman takes three hostages. Her ransom demand: an unprecedented weapon, rumored to have been a gift to the Third Reich from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. Only Cassidy Jones can stop her.

Get it on Amazon.

March 14

Smoke Road: Luca

Romance thriller by Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Scorch Series Romance Thriller Book 3—Ex-Special Forces Luca Luciano joins an elite commando unit tracking down the suspicious origins of the Scorch Flu plague. Sparks fly as he and his commanding officer, Dr. Haunani “Nani” Kagawa race to find the bioterrorists responsible.

Get it on Amazon.

Coming soon

April 4

Burnt Road: Dante

Romance thriller by Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Dante, the genius Luciano brother who made millions in the California IT industry, faces twin challenges when the Scorch Flu pandemic hits: his own autism, and getting an actress from Malibu to JT’s safe compound in Idaho.

Pre-order it from Amazon.

April 18

Wedding Dreams: Memory’s Edge

Contemporary romance by DelSheree Gladden, part of the Wedding Dreams boxed set—20 delicious nuptial romances.

Gretchen finds a man injured on the road. After he wakes, “John Doe”  has no memory. As he pieces his life together, he begins falling in love with the woman who rescued him.

Pre-order from Amazon.

May 5

Place of Skulls

Thriller by Caleb Pirtle III

Ambrose Lincoln series, boook 4—Has a DEA agent found unmistakable proof that Christ walked the land of the Aztecs fifteen hundred years after his crucifixion in Palestine? Ambrose Lincoln can’t dig past the charred fragments of his memory, but he must unravel the legend of the white-skinned, blue-eyed god whose sixteenth-century ministry, death, resurrection and promise to return parallels the story of the man called Christ.

Pre-order it from Amazon or Kobo.

May 17

Flame Road: Cash

Romance thriller by Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

The Scorch Flu pandemic sweeps through Colorado, sending adrenaline junkie Cash, one of the six Luciano brothers, through the wilderness to his family’s survival compound in Idaho. On the way, he finds a traumatized woman with no idea where or who she is.

Find more information on Toby Neal’s website.

Stay tuned

Your favorite BestSelling authors are always hard at work on new books to delight, inspire, thrill and scare you. So keep watching this page for new books!

 

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Thursday teaser: Scorch Road

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An exciting collaboration of two BestSelling authors:
Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Elizabeth

“You’re the whole cold transport chain, Elizabeth. Don’t take your eyes off that thing until you get it to the CDC in Washington.” Dr. Fellerman stepped away, returning to his side of the big wooden desk. “There are ten vials of the isolated virus in there. And that case will keep it cold for at least three days.” He flopped into his chair and it rolled back a few inches. Dr. Fellerman closed his eyes. “It’s too late for me, but there are still a lot of people to save.”

Elizabeth stepped forward, wanting to hug him or say something to mark this parting. Dr. Fellerman had offered her guidance without pushing, and he’d been a great teacher—one of the rare people she trusted.

He frowned at her approach. “Don’t get too close. You’re not sick now, but you know how contagious this thing is.”

She nodded. “Thank you for everything.”

Dr. Fellerman gave her a weak smile. “Thank you, Elizabeth. And Godspeed.”

Elizabeth left his office and retraced her steps through the lab. As she waited for the elevator, Elizabeth looked down at the cryocase. Inside the insulated screw top, a smaller metal cylinder held the vials of cells. Liquid nitrogen filled the larger container, keeping the isolated virus at the optimum temperature, well below freezing. It had to stay that way or vaccine production would be set back by months.

What if she failed? The thought chilled her to her bones.

***

JT

Wind drafted up his naked body as JT surveyed the land for the threat he knew was coming, but as usual he saw nothing but waving corn, velvety alfalfa, grazing pigs in their fenced pen, and the wind-ruffled leaves of soybeans and potato fields, picturesque in late summer glory.

JT had a powerful intuition, a sense of coming things. Mama called it the Sight and told him he’d inherited it from his deceased grandmother, rumored to be una strega, a witch.

“You’re a canary in a coal mine,” she had said, pulling him in for a hug after he’d told her to get her car fixed, that there was something wrong with it. The mechanic discovered a broken brake line that might have killed her. “You’ve been given the Sight. Be sure to use it for good, caro Jacobino.”

JT had tried to use that sense, along with an environmental biology degree, for good. But no one ever listened to his warnings, even those backed up by science. He’d got so tired of watching disaster strike again and again, waves on a seashore, that he’d left the EPA for this, his own place, where he could prepare.

Away from other people, JT was able to screen the stress of the Sight out better, but so close to water, he felt it acutely: the tremor of a shadow moving across the land.

A sickness was coming.

His family—five brothers, his mom, and his precious little sister—were all still out there, ignoring his warnings and invitations to the Haven. It hurt like a bruise that would never heal, a bruise that kept him up at night.

JT duckwalked around the metal platform’s edge, pleasure in the day evaporated—he was just hot, tired, and very alone. He arrowed into the pond in a swan dive. At the cool weedy bottom, he paused, his eyes shut. His mysterious sense was buffered, and yet amplified, by the water.

The scorching of the earth was coming here—right to his doorstep—into his fields.

The knowledge chilled JT more than the cold green water at the bottom of the pond. He shot for the sunlight, gasping for breath.

About Scorch Road

A new romantic action adventure series for fans of romance thriller and family romance sagas!

One of six Italian brothers and a sister, JT Luciano is a widowed environmental biologist with a touch of the Sight who is preparing for an apocalyptic event he knows is coming. Holed up at the military survival camp prepared for his family, the Haven, JT is ready for whatever might come… except for one woman.

Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, virologist and Senator’s daughter, is carrying precious cells for a vaccine against the swiftly-evolving, deadly flu that’s sweeping the nation. Her plane crashes in JT’s potato field–and she must convince him to leave the Haven and help her get to Washington, DC.

One by one, the structures of society implode in the face of the flu’s devastation as JT and Elizabeth travel a scorching road cross country.

Can danger bring them together to find one good, true thing in a changing world?

Get it on Amazon.

About the authors

Emily Kimelman is the author of the best selling Sydney Rye Series, which feature a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don’t mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

Emily can be found:

Website   |   Facebook    |   Twitter

Toby Neal is the author of the bestselling Lei Crime series featuring Maui police detective Lei Texeira, the Paradise Crime series featuring security specialist Sophie Ang, the Michaels Family Romance series, and the new Scorch Series romantic thrillers with Emily Kimelman.

Visit her:

 

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Friday Focus: Saving Raine by Frederick Lee Brooke

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The Drone Wars, Book 1

Saving_Raine_Cover_Final_600px_72ppi“So how does the Bible Party fit in when the world has gone completely mad?” Pastor Peaches said. “What is our role? What is our mission? Do we even have one? Are we still relevant?

“Friends, I think you know what I’m going to say. The Bible Party isn’t just relevant today, it’s never been more relevant. Our message is the essence of what’s missing in this country. Peace.” She looked all around as dozens of people nodded in anticipation. “And love. You knew I was going to say it. Peace and love. Peace and love. It’s so simple, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” confirmed a man somewhere in the middle of the crowd, a lone voice swept up in the feeling. A few people laughed as tension was released. Pastor Peaches hugged herself.

“And it feels…so…good, peace and love, it feels so good to me, when I say that message. I want to say to each and every person I meet, peace be with you, sir. I love you, ma’am. That’s right, because it’s personal. It starts with looking someone in the eye, and giving a sign of peace. Let’s do it right now. How about it, everybody? Give a neighbor your hand. Give them a hug. They won’t bite. Go on. You have my blessing. Right now!”

A kind of controlled pandemonium broke out as people rose from their chairs and started pumping each other’s hands. Matt read one man’s lips: “Peace be with you.” He saw them shaking hands, some timidly, some with gushing enthusiasm. A young woman threw her arms around the woman leaning on a cane beside her. The old woman looked like she hadn’t smiled in ten years.

Pastor Peaches walked over to him and stuck out her hand. “Peace be with you, Matt.” Luckily, the slingshot was in his left hand. She pulled him closer and placed her arms around his neck. As she hugged him, Matt saw the drone cam come from behind a potted palm and swoop in close. The little red light on the front lit up. It hovered six feet from his face as he hugged Pastor Peaches.

She didn’t say a word, and when she pulled away, she was already gazing at Nasreen. She hugged Nasreen, too, and Matt felt his whole body trembling. 

He missed Raine. Suddenly, shuddering where he stood, with the crowd still in an uproar, he wished he could hug Raine tonight. He wished he were already in California. Why did the roads have to be so dangerous? What had they done to deserve choppers shooting missiles at trucks? He wished he could hold Raine and talk to her, free her from this pessimistic hole she’d fallen into, thinking he’d never come. He wished he could explain why he’d left school. If only he could explain it in person, she would understand.

He found himself sitting on the floor, his back pressed against the hard tent canvas. Denver was halfway to California, but they still had so far to go. What if he got there and she told him she wanted to stay with that moron she’d slept with? How long was this Bible Party caravan going to take to get to California?

“Are you okay, Matt?” Nasreen offered her hand, and he struggled to his feet. “Peace be with you,” Nasreen said, and embraced him. With a smile, Nasreen went back to her position three steps away. Pastor Peaches had returned to the lectern, looking out over the crowd.

“Was I right about that feeling good? I was right, wasn’t I? I want you to practice that every day. I want you to give a sign of peace to all the people in your life, starting tonight, when you get home, or when you go back to work. I want you to have love in your heart for people you don’t know, people who suffer from misfortune, pain and sickness. I want you to open your heart to the people you hate, people who’ve wronged you, people who’ve spit on you. Jesus did it. It feels good, people. It does them good. It does you good. And finally, I want you to share your love with Jesus.”

Matt scanned the crowd, trying to ignore the constantly moving cameras. No assassins in this crowd, just a bunch of giddy Christians. They settled back in their seats and waited for whatever Pastor Peaches would think of next.

He had to give up assuming Raine would be happy to see him. She didn’t want him to come. He was going there in spite of her wishes, against her wishes. His only sign of peace was to refuse to let her die there. He’d bring her north, or someplace safe. Then she could break up if she still felt like it.

Bitch.

It was easier said than done, all this peace and love stuff.

Find Saving Raine on

fredbrookeFrederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Mystery Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and following with Zombie Candy in 2012, a book that is neither about zombies nor sweets. The third mystery in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013. Saving Raine, the first book in Fred’s entirely new series, The Drone Wars, appeared in December, 2013.

A resident of Switzerland, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He has three boys and two cats and recently had to learn how to operate both washing machine and dryer. He makes frequent trips back to his native Chicago.

When not writing or doing the washing, Fred can be found walking along the banks of the Rhine River, sitting in a local cafe, or visiting all the local pubs in search of his lost umbrella.

You can connect with Fred through email via info@frederickleebrooke.com, follow him on Twitter @frederickbrooke, visit his BSR Author page, his Amazon author page, his Goodreads page, his Google + site or his Facebook site. But the best way to find out more about him and his work is on his blog.

 

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