Future viewing audiences have become totally desensitized to violence and entirely dependent on sensation to escape their boring workaday lives—an addiction nurtured by the media with graphic portrayals of war and crime and with so-called reality programming. Now, TV execs in pursuit of the only things they care about—higher ratings and bigger paychecks—have created the ultimate reality show: Seven people, each bearing the scars of his or her past, are deposited on an island in the middle of Lake Superior. Given some bare necessities and the promise of $400,000 each if they can endure, the three women and four men risk death by starvation or freezing as the Great Lakes winter approaches. The island is wired for sound, and flying drones provide the video feed, so everything the contestants do and say is broadcast worldwide. Their seven-month ordeal is entirely unscripted, they can’t ask for help or they forfeit the prize, and as far as the network is concerned—the fewer survivors the better.
THE SNOW WAS DEEP, drifting and crusting into whorled shapes under the pale sky. The thermometer nailed to the tree at the edge of the camp area read minus 11, inching down toward the minus-40 line where Fahrenheit and Celsius were equal. Ambrose had a bet with himself that it wouldn’t go that far.
He puffed his breath out, watched the faint cloud quickly disappear in the dry Lake Superior air. I’m going to do it today, he thought. I’m going to start today. The time has come.
He walked carefully to the tree where three wood saws hung, and selected the smallest, a band-type saw with an eighteen-inch blade stretched between the ends of a bowed metal tube. The teeth of the saw were deeply serrated, worn from cutting wood, hundreds of small logs and sticks that had kept them from freezing. He tested the teeth. For all the work they had performed, they remained remarkably sharp. This saw would do, this saw and his hunting knife.
He checked the leg pocket of his pants for the waterproof match container. In the same pocket there were three fire-starter pellets. No shortage of those.
As Ambrose left the clearing, Maureen and Ashai looked up. Ambrose flipped his fingers in a little wave. Ashai nodded back. Maureen looked at him for a moment and then went back to the tedious job of softening boiled lichen with her teeth. It was all they’d had to eat for five days.
Ambrose walked slowly and with great care along the trail to Rudy’s camp, the little saw hanging heavy in his hand. As he walked, his eyes darted from side to side, alert for a rabbit or a vole or perhaps even a fox, but there was no sign of edible life, only fir trees and yew bushes.
Ambrose had been hungry before. He had gone without food for three days on a camping trip in Manitoba. It had not been pleasant, but at the end of the third day they had arrived back at their truck and driven straight to an all-night diner at the intersection of Route 124 and old route 42 where their hunger was soon sated with pancakes and maple syrup.
Here, it had settled into a rhythm. When he woke in the middle of the night, and again in the morning, well before dawn, there was an empty feeling in his stomach, an urgent pull, a void. He knew the feeling would come, and he was afraid of it. Usually, it went away for a few hours during the daylight. Then it came back.
Sometimes, with the others, Ambrose drank hot water just to have some feeling in his belly, but the water didn’t make the empty feeling go away. From the dreaded gnawing, it would progress to a sense of weakness. At the really bad moments, when he sat or lay in the darkness, he could feel his strength draining from his extremities toward the center of his body, a sense that his vital parts were demanding nourishment, and his blood was pulling his energy inward like a turtle retracting its head and legs.
At those moments, Ambrose felt himself becoming weaker and, truly, when he stood up afterward he felt as though his body would not do what he asked, chop wood or walk far. At such moments there was no question of returning to the den he shared with Cecily. He sat down or lay back and hoped for that terrible draining, weakening sensation to go away.
It didn’t take long to reach the clearing on the north shore. What was left of Rudy’s shelter was barely visible under the deep snow, but it was enough to mark the shallow grave where they had left Rudy’s body two months before.
Ambrose went to work. Under a stiff, frozen tarpaulin and a few inches of frozen dirt lay a hundred pounds of frozen meat. It was time.
There was a layer of fresh powder and then a crust, but the crust was thin and Ambrose broke it with his boot heel, quickly uncovering Rudy’s grave. The blue tarp just showed through the dirt. They had dumped enough soil on top of the tarp so the foxes and raccoons wouldn’t find it interesting. With the body frozen, there would be no smell. On that, at least, they had been right. There was no sign of animal digging.
Ambrose pushed the soil back with his gloved hands, standing from time to time to kick at a heavy frozen clod with his boots, then working again on his knees until the blue tarp over Rudy’s body was uncovered. He tugged at the corners of the tarp near where he knew Rudy’s head would be. It took some more kicking and digging until the corners came free. Then he pulled the tarp back slowly, one corner, then the other. There was Rudy. Frozen solid. His once-dark face was nearly white, ashen. One hand stuck off awkwardly to the side, the head turned back in the direction of the main camp.
Ambrose slid his hunting knife carefully out of its sheath and slowly, fearfully, began cutting the back of Rudy’s parka pants.
“Do you think they’ll do it?” Janice McNeely said. She was staring at the #12 monitor.
Jimmy Asaki looked up. “Yes,” he said. “They’re starving.”
“They’ve uncovered him. Look.”
“If they do it, do you think Bud will air it?”
“Maybe they’ll keep it away from the open mikes.”
“I don’t think they care about that anymore. I don’t think they care what reaches the open lines. They’re fighting for their lives.”
About the Author:
Phil Harvey’s fiction has appeared in twenty-two literary magazines, including Phantasmagoria, which nominated one of his stories for a Pushcart Prize, and Antietam Review, which named another the winner of its annual contest. Most recently his work has appeared in The MacGuffin, Natural Bridge, and the Dos Passos Review.
Harvey’ nonfiction includes: Let Every Child Be Wanted, which drew praise from former President Jimmy Carter; Government Creep, which, as one reviewer noted, “proves that government has invaded virtually every nook and cranny of our lives,” and The Government vs. Erotica, which Publishers Weekly and Booklist praised, the ALA Intellectual Freedom Roundtable nominated as the year’s best book on intellectual freedom, and Media Coalition called “a frightening, enlightening story.”
By day, Phil Harvey is president of DKT International, a non-profit family planning and AIDS prevention organization, and president and majority shareholder of Adam & Eve, a mail-order business that sells sexually oriented books and films.
He lives with his wife, Harriet Lesser, in Cabin John, Maryland. He is stepfather and grandfather to several very promising kids. He welcomes emails from readers who have serious and thoughtful questions about any of his stories, novels or books.
Isis can control her dreams. Or she could—until recently. The creature in her nightmares has been haunting her for months. As if being dumped wasn’t bad enough, now she dreads going to sleep. She decides to confront the creature and win back some of her peace; only, she finds that he’s not a monster and he’s not a dream. A sacrifice for love, a shocking discovery and a jealous ex-boyfriend blur the lines between reality and dreams, making it hard to tell who the real monsters are. Who would’ve known…that sometimes love is lethal?
Wow! I’ve known some monsters before, but this monster sounds like Boo Radley and Godzilla rolled up into one! I’m really excited to see how this is all going to play out!
Eros sighed and closed his eyes. “I cannot help you. I’m sorry.”
“Yes, you can, Eros. You must. You have no idea what it’s like to need someone like you need the flow of your own blood.”
“David, you will never be able to procreate from this relationship. It’s against the law. My answer is firm. I can’t help you.”
Eros pressed his temples as if attempting to release the pressure of my petition.
“Eros… I’ve done something to prove my love for her. But I see that your support is too much to ask, brother. I shouldn’t have come.”
“Wait. Hear my thoughts on the matter. To be in love with a human…that’s impossible. You know the prohibitions of such acts. The law is impenetrable.” He walked to the bar again to serve himself another glass of wine. “You mentioned you had done something to prove your love. What exactly have you done, Romeo?”
“Do you really have to ask?” I sighed.
“I need an answer if you want my help.”
“I gifted her something of mine.”
“O Mon Dieu…”
“The Star Crestmy lifeit belongs to her now.”
“Merde.” Eros dropped his drink for a second time. “Dahveed, you have done the unthinkable.”
I stared at the shards of glass on the hardwood floor and nodded. “It’s done.”
“You’ve gone insane. It’s suicide!”
And who has written so eloquently of the monstrous beauty of adolescent love? The lovely Nely Cab!
Nely Cab is a Writer of stuff, a Master Coffee Drinker, a Food Maker & Eater, an Imaginary World Conqueror, and an Air Breather. She talks to herself—a lot—in her South Texas home while she plots stories about fantasy worlds and sips coffee from a pitcher. She’s known for cooking far too much food and has a tendency to overdo…well, everything. It is rumored that she is fabulous. Nely Cab is the best-selling author of the Creatura series.
It’s time for a book blitz! So, remember, don’t just visit my blog, visit all the blogs on the blitz for chances to win awesome prizes and to find out about this brand new book: Burning Doors!
The first time I killed someone, it was an accident. Though I guess it was the kind of accident that happens when you squeeze your hands around someone’s neck for too long, or when you shove someone who is standing too close to the edge of a building. In my case, I accidentally killed my father when I beat him to death with a pipe.
He had set me up that night, I’m sure of it. I was always careful to leave the TV volume down so I wouldn’t be caught. But when I flipped the power on that night, the news roared. The woman I wanted to see was there, giving a speech like always, but her voice came out with the force of thunder. Sweat drenched my body when I heard the door to my parents’ upstairs bedroom fly open and hit the wall. The foundation shook and so did my limbs. I sat frozen in a seated position as I heard his footsteps. All I could focus on were his shiny patent leather shoes coming toward me. Even in the middle of the night, he took the time to slip them on.
I could smell him before I even saw his feet. He constantly stunk of mouthwash and old cologne; it was some putrid mix of sandalwood and beach vacations that we would never take. He cackled as he stepped toward me, so the minty air from his breath reached me before his hand did. I felt my head hit the floor before I felt the familiar sting in my cheek.
“You’re so stupid. You really think you’ll ever leave here? Where do you think you’re going to go, huh? You need me. She hasn’t come for you and she never will!” He kicked me in the side with his foot.
My stomach clenched from the impact.
I usually kept quiet when he hit me. At most, I would agree with whatever he was saying to stop him before he did real damage.
It never worked.
No matter what I said, or didn’t say, the blows would keep coming. My mother was always conveniently upstairs, but no one can tell me she couldn’t hear the snap of his belt or the furniture rattle as he shoved me into it.
That night was different. Maybe it was watching the woman from the television, or maybe it was the way his smile stretched across his face as he struck me, I don’t know. But when he was finished and heading back upstairs, I spat towards him.
My cheeks burned as I did it. In fact, my whole body felt like it was on fire. But I’d be lying if I said I wished I could take it back. Even when he turned, eyes wide when he noticed the wad of saliva glistening on the concrete floor, I didn’t regret it one bit.
I may have even cracked a smile.
Wow! I’m hooked! That whole smile thing is really creepy. The whole smiling while dying thing gets me creeped out every time!
Cain Foley committed his first murder before he could even drive a car. Not that he would’ve had anywhere to drive to. When he was fifteen, America was one of the poorest countries in the world, and its’ citizens took their hatred of that fact out on each other through gangs and violence. Children barely tall enough for carnival rides peppered the streets selling drugs (or themselves) so they could buy their next meal.
Every night on the news, Cain watched as an angelic blonde woman who lost her own child swore she’d end it. She assaulted America’s televisions with praise for the Parental Morality Law: a set of rules that spells out exactly what it takes to be a parent in the eyes of the government, and the consequences of breaking those rules. He prayed every night that she’d come to rescue him before his father took off his belt again.
Before she could save him, Cain faced a fatal choice: fight back or die on the basement floor.
He chose life.
Now on the run, he finds himself being hunted by a police officer with his own special brand of torture. Before he can save even a handful of the children who have been swept up in the gang life, he must first cover up not one, but two murders: his father’s and one committed by a teenage madam who is either the love of his life, or his final undoing. As he feels himself being pushed further and further to the edge, he realizes that surviving his father was just the beginning.
Here’s the stats:
Title: Burning Doors
Series: The Extraction List #2
Author: Renee N. Meland
Published: April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Genre: Dystopian Thriller
Content Warning: Violence, adult language, and minor sexual content
Recommended Age: 14+
And what about this Renee Meland who has written this story of light and dark, hope and despair, and creepy smiles?
Renee N. Meland lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs. Her favorite obsessions are Rome, learning new recipes, and exploring the world around her. She is an avid reader of speculative fiction, and believes that telling stories is the best job in the world.
Now we know where the creepy smiles come from. It’s her Roman obsession. It’s a well know fact that Romans have creepy smiles. It’s in all the ancient mosaics.
Book blitzes are so much fun! What is a book blitz? It’s when a publicity company or the publicity branch of a publishing company arranges for there to be multiple blogs all posting about a brand new or already published book all on the same day. Some times a mix of online and in-person appearances may occur too; but just like a blitzkrieg, it’s a lighting fast zip that zaps a book and an author into the public’s mind.
Today we are happy to participate in the Prodigal and Riven book blitz and to help Tyler H. Jolley and Sherry D. Ficklin create a buzz about their book.
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs. She is the author of several YA novels ranging from contemporary romance to science fiction. In her spare time she co-hosts the Pop Lit Divas radio show and is constantly trying to take over the world.
Tyler Jolley was born in the era of the Star Wars and the Indiana Jones sagas. He has been enamored with science fiction and adventure stories ever since. In order to support his hobby of writing he decided to pursue dentistry. He graduated from Nova Southeastern University School of Dental Medicine in 2002. He then completed a four year orthodontic and periodontic residency at the University of Pennsylvania. In June 2006, he opened a private practice, Jolley Smiles, in Grand Junction, Colorado.Snowboarding, mountain biking, road biking, fly fishing, bird hunting, camping, hiking, and backpacking are the things he enjoys doing with his family. He also enjoys lecturing internationally on temporary orthodontic implants. Some of his journal articles have also been published in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics. However, his true passion has always been fiction writing.When life gets stressful he escapes to unseen worlds to find relaxation. His career has been the vehicle to let him write without worry. He finds inspiration from most of his adolescent patients. He continues to dream up fun and thrilling books to this day.
The Book (dum dum dum!!!!!)
Is that not a cool cover? It makes you want to buckle up boots or something! Here’s a synopsis of this really neat Young Adult novel.
Welcome to the TIME WAR
STEIN has been with the Hollows for as long as she can remember. Taken as a child, she has no memories of her past—and that’s always been fine by her. Until the day she stumbles across a hidden journal containing the devastating truth about her paternity. Now everything she thought she knew—and everyone she thought she could trust—has changed. The truth about who she is and where she came from is a secret so deep, it will rock the Hollows and the Tesla Institute alike.
ETHAN is left with a serious problem after what should have been a routine mission. He’s fractured—a break between mind and body that leaves him at the mercy of his Rifter abilities, which are quickly tearing him apart. He will have to trust the only person who might know how to fix him, a mysterious Rifter named Stewart Stills, who seems to have a special connection with the time stream.
Title: Prodigal and Riven
Series: The Lost Imperials Series, books 2 and 3
Author: Tyler H. Jolley and Sherry D. Ficklin
Published: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: YAm Steampunk, Time Travel
Content Warning: Violence, adult language, and mild romance
So darling readers, I am so happy to present to you the long awaited third book in the Rising series: Avenging!!!! We are very excited to introduce you to Holly Kelly’s newest work!
Here’s a sneak peak:
“What about Nicole? I trust that you’re treating a woman better than you’re treating me. She’d better be well cared for.”
“And if she isn’t?” Hector raised an eyebrow and smirked.
Triton narrowed his eyes. “Then I will grant each of you immortality.”
Confusion flashed across Hector’s face, and he barked out a laugh, “Why would you do that? Immortality is a gift, not a curse.”
“For the Pelagi, it would be a curse. For after I grant you immortality, I will chain each of you to the walls of this dungeon and leave you to suffer for all eternity. I’d imagine after the first week, your stomach will scream for food and your lips will crack and bleed from lack of moisture. You can’t imagine the desperation you’ll feel to have even a drop of water touch your tongue.
“But that’s not the worst of it. I’ve seen a few rats around here. Do you know what will happen to you when the rats realize you are helpless to defend against them?”
“They’ll begin to eat you. They’ll start with your toes, stripping them down to the bones. Then they will climb up your body, biting away chunks of flesh along the way. I imagine the thing they will enjoy most will be your moist, juicy eyes: eating away at them until they are nothing but empty, bloody sockets. You will feel each bite slice through your skin, each tug as they pull at the muscle and wrench the tendons away from your bones. Your suffering will be tremendous, but you will be helpless to stop them. And then, once they’ve had their fill, the rats may leave for a time. As an immortal, your flesh will re-grow. The pain of your open wounds will fade; you will be whole once more—until the rats come to feed again.
“And again. And again.”
Hector’s face drained of color. Horror reflected in his eyes.
“Think on this as you decide how to treat the woman I love.”
Ohhh! What is going to happen next? Who are Triton and Nicole? Well, there’s only one solution! Go buy the book! And this is no tease, because the book is available today!
Here’s a little bit more from the publisher, Clean Teen Publishing:
Two thousand years ago, King Triton witnessed the slaughter and total annihilation of his merchildren. He vowed then and there to never again father a child. Powerful and eternally youthful, Triton was no stranger to seduction. But his resolve was unwavering—until he met Nicole. Unable to resist the human woman, he found himself swept up in her arms. When he finally came to his senses, he abandoned her to return to his refuge in the sea.
Twenty years later, he comes face to face with his daughter. Triton is both thrilled and frightened to learn he’s a father. Meeting the child he never knew fills a void in his life. But at the same time, he once again finds his heart at risk. Even more terrifying, he’s forced to admit he’s still in love with Nicole. Gathering his courage, he leaves the sea to seek her out. But the pain he caused is not easily forgotten. And mending broken hearts should be the least of his worries. The elements are in commotion, threatening the utter destruction of mankind. And much to the sea god’s surprise, the human woman he loves may be the key to saving them all.
Find this fabulous read at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Good Reads.
Series: The Rising Series, Book 3
Author: Holly Kelly
Published: April 21st, 2015
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: NA Paranormal Romance
Content Warning: Violence
Recommended Age: 16+
According to her great media kit put together by Juniper Grove Book Solutions:
Holly Kelly is a mom who writes books in her spare time: translation–She hides in the bathroom with her laptop and locks the door while the kids destroy the house and smear peanut butter on the walls.
Holly was born in Utah but lived in Salina, Kansas until she was 13 and in Garland, Texas until she was 18. She’s now back in Utah–“happy valley”. Holly is married to her wonderful husband, James, and the two of them are currently raising 6 rambunctious children. Her interests are reading, writing (or course), martial arts, visual arts, and spending time with family.
Holly Kelly’s first published book is: Rising. Rising was published by Clean Teen Publishing on September 6, 2013.