FIRELANDS–It’s Back & Nominated for 2014 Best Indie Novel!

By Piper Bayard

I had the pleasure of waking up and finding out that my Nine Year Baby is

nominated for  a book award!

Dystopian thriller FIRELANDS was first released last June from StoneHouse Ink.

Firelands Cover

Then it was acquired and re-issued by Shoe Phone Press on February 25, 2014.

FIRELANDS_2ndEd

It’s now available on Kindle,

and it will soon be up in paperback at Amazon,

and on Nook, Kobo, and iTunes.

As an excellent “welcome back,” FIRELANDS was honored with a nomination for Indie ReCon’s Best Indie Novel Award 2014.

Indie ReCon Logo

Voting is at Indie ReCon. If you are inclined, click on the link below to vote. Voting is open until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 27.

Vote here for

FIRELANDS 

Indie ReCon Best Indie Novel Award 2014

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Thank you for your support and for such a warm welcome back for FIRELANDS.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

FIRELANDS

Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who dies in the ritual fires that atone society.

Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble. A gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.

Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?

Field on Fire Canstock

The Science of the Inevitable Taupo Apocalypse by FIRELANDS Apocalypse Blogger Challenge Winner MJ Wright

Holmes and I are delighted to welcome Piper’s FIRELANDS Apocalypse Blogger Challenge Winner MJ Wright. MJ is one of New Zealand’s most published historians and writers and a heckuva nice guy. His latest release, the Bateman Illustrated History of New Zealand by Matthew Wright, is available now through Fishpond for New Zealand readers. For those of us who do not live in Lord of the Rings Land, keep an eye out for it on Kindle, Kobo, and iPad.

Bateman Illustrated History of New Zealand by Matthew Wright

In addition to a guest post here today and a month-long seat of honor at the upcoming Bayard & Holmes website blog, MJ is today’s featured blogger at Social In Worldwide, Inc., the premier Twitter-driven news and events network of the nation. In fact, I twisted his arm and convinced him to come on board as one of our Social In team.  Look for more of MJ’s excellent work over at Social In DC or at one of the many Social In sites across the nation. Follow MJ on Twitter at @MJWrightNZ.

Congratulations on your win, MJ! We’re so pleased to welcome you here to Bayard & Holmes and to the Social In family.

Author/Historian MJ Wright

Author/Historian MJ Wright

The Science of the Inevitable Taupo Apocalypse

By MJ Wright

A couple of weeks back I read Firelands, debut dystopian thriller by US author Piper Bayard. To call the book fantastic is an understatement. I was hooked from the first pages, dropping the book I was writing myself, despite looming contract deadline, so I could keep reading.

A photo I took a few years ago. Taupo. Not a placid lake filled with trout. Well, it is. But it's also the caldera of one of the world's biggest supervolcanoes. Uh - yay.

Firelands is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the United States has become a theocratic dictatorship – a provocative setting that makes the novel far more than just Hunger Games for grown-ups. Firelands is in a class of its own. A wonderful, insightful, thoughtful and exciting story.

Bayard’s instrument of doom is a supervolcano – Taupo – that casts the world into darkness.  A scenario that’s not just plausible. It’s already happened at least twice.

I live within 260 km of Taupo’s Hatepe vent, so I thought I’d post about the historical apocalypse while scrabbling for my asbestos suit, hard hat and breathing apparatus.

On the face of it, Taupo is a lake with thermal district. The full name is Taupo-nui-a-Tia; ‘the great cloak of Tia’, referring to a flax cloak of the rangitira Tia. It’s often mispronounced. The first syllable rhymes with ‘tow’ as in ‘towing along’. Technically, Taupo should also have a macron over the o, indicating a long vowel. In IPA terms it’s‘tau-poh, which is close.

Photo taken by my wife one day in early 2005 of the Orakei Korako thermal zone just north of Taupo.

Pakeha (white settlers) got to know it in the 1840s. Donald McLean, the dour, God-fearing Presbyterian Scot who trudged into the district in 1846, saw a Christian apocalypse, confiding to his diary that ‘No person could see this place without feeling intensely the awful end of a miserable sinner, when committed to his last home; and may God in His providence prepare us all for such a serious change…’

The science behind that hellish setting emerged only as vulcanology developed through the twentieth century.

Turns out the lake is a caldera, part of an immense volcanic field stretching from Mount Ruapehu  to the Whakatane underwater volcano. The field has erupted many times. White Island is active now, monitored by a webcam and plastic dinosaur.

Geothermal steam from the Taupo system is used to generate power - up to 13 percent of the North Island's needs, in fact. The techniques were developed right here in New Zealand.

Geothermal steam from the Taupo system is used to generate up to 13 percent of the North Island’s power. This is my photo of the Wairakei station. The techniques were developed  in New Zealand.

All are dwarfed by Taupo itself, the centre of the system. The last eruption around 180 AD, from the Hatepe vents near the south of the lake, was modest by Taupo standards, but still cast the world into shadow.

The Oruanui eruption, Taupo, 26,500 BP. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Taupo_2.png

The benchmark remains the Oruanui eruption 26,500 years ago  (earlier analysis cited 22,690 ±230 BP), to the north of the current lake and the world’s last eruption to score 8 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index – the maximum. Back then, the lake was different, known to paleogeographers as Lake Huka. In 2012, PhD student Aidan Allen discovered the trigger for this cataclysm was likely an earthquake.

The eruption blew out the current lake bed – and more. Everything in the central North Island was destroyed by a fall of ingimbrite some 200 metres deep. Then there were devastating floods. Even the major river, the Waikato, changed its course. Ash fell  as far away as the Chathams.

It was a world cataclysm. Although debate continues over specific triggers for Pleistocene glacial cycles, there is evidence that the worldwide glacial maximum that began 26,500 years ago was pushed, in part, by this eruption. In New Zealand, certainly, a warming period prior to the eruption came to a dead stop afterwards.

Oruanui may not have caused the glacial cycle alone – but  it made things worse. Humanity was nearly wiped out in the deep cold that followed. The downturn seems to have been the last blow for Neanderthals, our cousin species already reduced to the edge of extinction at Gibraltar. It destroyed a nascent H. Sapiens agricultural revolution among the Gravettian culture in what are now Russian steppelands. Had that not been cut short, civilisation might have been with us 20,000 years earlier.

This was the apocalypse, Pleistocene style.

And to give that perspective, the Oruanui blast was itself dwarfed by the Whakamaru eruption in the same zone, 254,000 years ago.

We’ll have warning before the next one. Taupo is monitored by New Zealand’s Geological and Nuclear Sciences department via GPS and seismographic stations. No rubber dinosaur, but hey…

Hopefully it won’t happen in our lifetimes. Because when it does, it will bring the apocalypse. Certainly for New Zealand, maybe the world.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013 

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Sock Monkey Kama Sutra & FIRELANDS Apocalypse Challenge Winners

Sock Monkey Kama Sutra Brings New Meaning to “Monkey Business”

Sock Monkey Kama Sutra

Original title was “Curious George Gone Wild.”

Click on the title above the picture for the full story.

And now . . . The moment we’ve all been waiting for! The winners of the FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader/Blogger Challenge!

FIRELANDS Cover

First we have our Reader Winner . . . You will now have your very own, one-of-a-kind FIRELANDS Apocalypse Survival Kit, including a Swedish Fireknife so you can kill your post-apocalyptic squirrel, skin it, and start your fire to cook it. Along with it, you, Lucky Reader, will be taking home a can of Tactical Bacon, candy cigarettes and a chocolate bar for bartering with those post-apocalyptic traders, a handmade stuffed Grumpy Cat to keep you company, and a signed copy of FIRELANDS, all packed in an Eddie Bauer Ripstop Go Bag.

Thank you, DD, for being our Vanna tonight!

Thank you, DD, for being our Vanna tonight!

*drum roll please*

And the FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader Winner is . . .

Bob Farkas!

Congratulations, Bob! *tosses confetti* When the Apocalypse comes, I’ll be looking for you, because I’ll know you’ll be prepared. Please contact me at (piperbayard at yahoo dot com) or on FB within two weeks to accept your prize. 🙂

Again, my heartfelt thanks to all of the wonderful readers for participating in this contest. You make every 4 a.m. idea that keeps me awake writing worth it!

SocialIn Logo

And now for our Lucky Blogger . . . You will be featured in a post at Social In Worldwide, Inc., a Twitter-driven news and events network that reaches over two million followers. Also, social media maven and best selling author Kristen Lamb has generously donated 50% off of any basic class she teaches at WANA Intl. But wait! There’s more! In addition, the Lucky Blogger will have a sidebar button at Bayard & Holmes for a month when we get our official website going this fall. . . . I know. You need some smelling salts at this point.

I’ve been so impressed with all of the entries. My deepest thanks to my fellow bloggers for making this contest such a fun success.  I hope all of our readers here at Bayard & Holmes will follow these wonderful, supportive, creative people.

Entries this week:

Jess Witkins of the Happiness Project teaches us the important use of Infomercials when surviving an apoclaypse. Surviving the Apocalypse . . . With Infomercials

MJ Wright explained something I never wrapped my head around, though it is crucial to FIRELANDS — not just the pronounciation of Taupo, the supervolcano in New Zealand–but also The [Fascinating] Science of the Inevitable Taupo Apocalypse.

Jenny Hansen explores the critical necessities in 10 Must-Have Undies in Your “Apocalypse Go-Bag.”

$50 Camo Lingerie from RealTree.com

$50 Camo Lingerie from RealTree.com

Previous entries:

Ryan Ryan (yes, that’s her name) at That Girl Ryan writes a Letter to the Mayans, complaining about their poor apocalypse prediction service, and how she had been looking forward to the hilarious benefits of the apocalypse. A Letter to the Mayans

Diana Beebe addresses a post-apocalyptic lifestyle by asking What Would You Do? Or Grow?

Shea McIntosh Ford looks at Surviving the Apocalypse — Henry Bemis Style. Would you kick ass, or would you be her reading buddy?

Ellie Ann gives you the opportunity to Choose Your Apocalypse. How do you want the world to end?

Catie Rhodes reviews FIRELANDS in Review Roundup: Youth is Wasted on the Young.

Angela Ackerman elevates FIRELANDS to the level of a prize at The Bookshelf Muse: Reality Check, Gratitude, and Cool Books to WIN. Pop on over and leave a comment for a chance to win one of three awesome books.

Julie Glover, a lady I count on the keep me grammatically honest, looks at Words for the End of the World.

The "Duchess" Corset A weapon against Victorian zombies image from wikimedia commons

The “Duchess” Corset
A weapon against Victorian zombies
image from wikimedia commons

How would you have fought off Victorian zombies? Historical mystery author K.B. Owen gives us some great ideas in Dangerous and Unseemly Zombies.

Peace in Relationship and Dystopia. KM Huber discusses the nature of relationship and gives her take on my debut dystopian thriller, FIRELANDS.

What would you write for your last blog post? Jules Davidoski has some hysterical ideas, along with a lively discussion over at her site. If This Were My Last Blog Post

Grab Your Tac Bag, Machete, and . . . Cat? by Sonia Medeiros. What sort of animal would you want with you in a post-apocalyptic world?

Writing Resources 20 June 2013 by Gene Lempp. Gene has the best mashups in the blogosphere. Thanks for the feature, Gene!

Smplefy has been a joy to me this week, tweeting as he reads FIRELANDS. It’s almost like getting to read over his shoulder and watch his reactions. Very cool! He’s got them compiled along with the bittersweet memories from his First Week of the Summer of 2013. 

*another drum roll please*

And the FIRELANDS Apocalypse Blogger Winner is . . .

MJ Wright!

Congratulations, MJ! I’ll be in touch with you soon, and we can arrange how best to showcase you for the masses over at Social In.

Holmes and I are working diligently with the awesome Laird Sapir and Jay Donovan (meaning they are doing all the work) at getting our new digs set up. We plan to move over to our new website, BayardandHolmes.com, around Labor Day. But don’t worry! You won’t miss a thing, because we’re taking you with us. We hope.

Moving Buried Under Boxes Canstock

In the meantime, postings here at Bayard & Holmes will be spotty as we travel, research, and focus on writing the second book in our upcoming spy thriller series, APEX PREDATOR. Look for our first baby, THE LEOPARD OF CAIRO, sometime this fall or winter from Stonehouse Ink.

All the best to all of you for making the best use of your socks.

Piper Bayard

Epic Battles: Bacon Vs. Grumpy Cat

By Piper Bayard

The two most popular social media memes are Bacon and Grumpy Cat, but as Highlander fans can tell you, “There can be only one!” The time has come to decide, and the showdown is right here and now. Who will rule the Cyberverse, Bacon or Grumpy Cat?

Bacon

Bacon

BACON, give us ten reasons why you should be Ruler of the Cyberverse rather than Grumpy Cat . . .

1.  Bacon doesn’t need a litter box.

2.  You can wrap bacon around a filet mignon and get it back.

3.  Bacon doesn’t fight with your dog.

4.  Bacon doesn’t cough up hairballs in your house shoes.

5.  Bacon doesn’t pee in your laundry when it gets mad at you.

6.  If bacon wakes you up at 5:00 a.m., it makes you smile.

7.  Bacon never scratches your furniture.

8.  Bacon doesn’t leave dead animals in your bed.

9.  Bacon tastes good all by itself. If a cat tastes good, it’s probably because it was cooked in bacon.

10. Bacon doesn’t need to be neutered, because you can never have too much bacon.

And now to you, Grumpy Cat . . . Give us ten reasons you deserve to rule.

Grumpy Cat No

Well, there you have it folks. Time to cast your vote. Who is your choice to be the Ruler of the Cyberverse, Bacon or Grumpy Cat?

Here’s the good news. Enter the FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader/Blogger Challenge, and you won’t have to choose! Reader prize includes BOTH bacon AND a stuffed Grumpy Cat to keep you fed and in good cheer during the post-apocalyptic devastation. They come with the Swedish FireKnife, barter goods, a signed copy of FIRELANDS, and an Eddie Bauer Go Bag.

No purchase necessary to win. Readers can enter now by signing up for the Bayard & Holmes Newsletter. If you have a copy of FIRELANDS, you can enter by leaving a quote or reference to the book for me here, on FB, or on Twitter. You can also enter by leaving reviews at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or Goodreads. Feel free to enter multiple ways. Each entry counts.

Swedish Fire Knife on the Dock

Bloggers can enter by blogging about anything to do with apocalypse and linking back to the original FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader/Blogger Challenge posting. Your prize will be a feature at the Social In Worldwide, Inc., blog network with over 2 million Twitter followers.

See FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader/Blogger Challenge for more details.

Drawings will be held at midnight, July 18–tomorrow night!

Field on Fire Canstock

Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who dies in the ritual fires that atone society.

Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble. A gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.

Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?

FIRELANDS

Available from Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle

Also in e-book at Barnes & Noble and Kobo,

and at iTunes for iPad and mobile devices.

Currency of the Apocalypse–Watcha Got?

By Piper Bayard

The apocalypse has come. How are you going to pay for it? Your money is now worth nothing. Even your gold is indigestible. So what’s going to be the new medium of exchange?

image by Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0, wikimedia commons

image by Larry D. Moore
CC BY-SA 3.0, wikimedia commons

Let’s start with the obvious. Spam and Twinkies. Food is going to be in short supply, and, unless there is some kind of polar apocalypse, or you’ve got a way to operate your electric vacuum sealer, modern food storage will be a thing of the past. Spam and Twinkies never go bad. Hence, they will not only prove a valuable commodity at mealtime, but they will help you keep up your body weight and give you something to trade for shoes and ammunition for your crossbow. Just watch out for cannibals and zombies – eat enough Spam and Twinkies, and you, too, will be salty, sweet, and well-marbled for predators.

Another handy trade good of the apocalypse will be Tic Tacs. Just think how bad everyone’s breath is going to be once we have no running water or toothpaste. And trust me, people will still want to kiss each other, and this is a good thing. Without that, humanity would die out quickly. So sell all of your gold and invest now in Tic Tacs for the good of the species. They will be hot on the barter market.

The third thing you don’t want to face an apocalypse without is a stash of toilet paper. Just ask Venezuela, which is currently suffering from a toilet paper shortage. People will give a lot for a roll of the white stuff when they’ve eaten too much Spam and Twinkies. Of course, that will be one of the two uses left for your paper money—the other being to light small fires—but you can get more mileage from investing that paper now in paper.

Toilet Paper Money canstock

Unfortunately for Archer in FIRELANDS, Spam and Twinkies are not an option. She and her people eat hemp gruel, the few vegetables the Josephites allow them to grow in their gardens, and whatever meat Archer brings them from the forest. For money, they are only allowed to barter unless they are trading at the Josephite-operated Big Box.

You, however, will have the time-honored cigarettes and chocolate to barter with in the Apocalypse if you are the lucky reader to win the FIRELANDS Apocalypse Survival Kit. You’ll also have a fantastic Eddie Bauer Go Bag, a can of Tactical Bacon–better than Spam or Twinkies–a signed author copy of FIRELANDS, and a stuffed Grumpy Cat to keep you company and cheer you up while surviving on the smoking heap that used to be our planet.

The easiest way to enter is to sign up for the Bayard & Holmes mailing list at Bayard & Holmes Newsletter. No hassles and no purchase necessary. Just infrequent newsletters and book release notices. You can also enter by leaving a quote or a picture of yourself with FIRELANDS here, on FB, or on Twitter, and by leaving reviews for FIRELANDS at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iPad, or Goodreads. Each entry is valid so you can enter multiple times.

Bloggers can enter by blogging about anything to do with the Apocalypse and linking to the original post, FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader/Blogger Challenge. One great example is Julie Glover’s blog, Words for the End of the World. The blogger prize is a feature on Social In Worldwide, Inc., the web site that shut down the WordPress server this week with all the hits it gets.

For more details, see FIRELANDS Reader/Blogger Challenge.

What would you use as currency in a post-apocalyptic world?

FIRELANDS Cover

Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who dies in the ritual fires that atone society.

Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble. A gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.

Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?

FIRELANDS

Available from Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle

Also in e-book at Barnes & Noble and Kobo,

and at iTunes for iPad and mobile devices.

Supervolcano Apocalypse Fashion

By Piper Bayard

As humans, we seem, by and large, to have this idea that when we arrived, the planet, itself, arrived. Each generation has the notion that we are the final destination of both creation and evolution that will, somehow, some way, survive any apocalyptic event. Even more, we will survive with sexy fashions.

Tina Turner in Beyond Thunderdome

Tina Turner in Beyond Thunderdome

Who wouldn’t want Tina Turner’s chainmail peek-a-boo or Mila Jovovich’s short shorts and garters in the middle of a scorching desert?

Mila Jovovich in Resident Evil: Extinction

Mila Jovovich in Resident Evil: Extinction

Anybody?

The fact is that, while there’s quite an entertainment industry built up around making us feel like we will be among the few special ones to survive an apocalypse, chances are we won’t be, and if we are, we won’t have much use for peek-a-boo garters. We’ll need every fashion advantage we can get.

In FIRELANDS, Archer is facing the North American aftermath of the explosion of the Supervolcano Taupo in New Zealand. (Sorry Kiwis. I couldn’t exactly make it Yellowstone and have anyone here survive for a story.) Ash blanketed the earth, and lowered the average temperature of North America by 20 degrees for seven years. Twenty-eight years later, other volcanoes, awakened by the rapid reversal of the magnetic poles, still spew their ash, and smoke still blankets the land.

So while Archer would prefer to dress like this . . .

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games

. . . she wears men’s pants and camouflage turtlenecks, grubby from days at a time spent hunting to feed her people. That’s because in a real apocalypse, we won’t have enough biore wipes or antibacterial hand wash to go around, and we’re going to have to dress a lot more like Mila Kunis in the Book of Eli if we expect to survive.

Mila Kunis in The Book of Eli

Mila Kunis in The Book of Eli

Until midnight MST on July 18, 2013, I’m running the FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader/Blogger Challenge. It’s easy to enter whether you’re a reader or a blogger, and no purchase is necessary. The prize for readers is the FIRELANDS Apocalypse Survival Kit, which includes the FireKnife to gut your squirrel, split your kindling, and start your cooking fire, a can of Tactical Bacon for a chaser, candy cigarettes and a chocolate bar to barter, and a stuffed Grumpy Cat to keep you company. Bloggers, you can win a feature at Social In Worldwide and reach an audience of two million. See FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader/Blogger Challenge for the details.

So what do you think? Have you got the thighs to pull off the Tina Turner or Mila Jovovich look in the event of a Supervolcano explosion? Or are you more of an Archer? What would be your ideal post-apocalyptic outfit?

FIRELANDS Cover

FIRELANDS

Available from Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle

Also in e-book at Barnes & Noble and Kobo,

and at iTunes for iPad and mobile devices.

The Nine Year Baby — FIRELANDS Cover Reveal

By Piper Bayard

Most babies take nine months. Some take nine years.

Nine years ago, a friend offered to get me into the insurance business. I had an inactive law license, and my kids had just started back to school. It made sense. They would pay for my licensing and get me set up in business. Money coming through the door on my schedule. Sounded like the perfect fit for a recovering attorney/stay-at-home mom. . . . Except for one thing. If I poured my energy into starting an insurance business, I would never write a book. I could live and die happy without ever selling an insurance policy, but I couldn’t live and die happy if I never wrote a book. And so it began.

Writing in notebook Can Stock 2377066

The first draft took 5 1/2 years. Yes, really. I sat in the corner of the coffee shop, playing with my memories of all of the people I knew and wanted to know and telling whatever story they directed me in that day. Plot? Why have plot when you have 78 main characters? Tension? Who needs that? Books are where we go to escape tension, right? I took every night, weekend, and summer vacation off, along with an entire year to care for my mother. Eventually, though, I had what was sure to be the next #1 New York Times best selling novel, not to mention a blockbuster movie starring a younger Kiera Knightley and Ian Somerhalder. All of my family and friends loved it. It would produce the greatest bidding war in publishing history!

Then a few rejections started rolling in. What? Couldn’t they see my vision? I swallowed enough of my pride to hire an editor. Enter Kristen Lamb, best selling author, social media jedi, and editor. One of the teachers from my first Dallas/Ft. Worth Writers Conference. When she quit laughing, she called me up and spent five hours telling me exactly what was wrong with my book. I scrapped my “baby” and started over. Page one.

Kristen taught me the difference between writing a novel and hanging out with my imaginary friends. Over the course of the next year and a half, I slaughtered 68 of my favorite 78 characters, introduced a wicked antagonist, wrote action that was connected to a plot, and actually had a few people disagreeing with each other along the way. At the same time, also with Kristen’s help, I built a social media platform which connected me with several best selling authors who I now call my friends and mentors.

After another, much more successful edit, it was time to polish and market. With all of the upheaval in New York among the Big However-Many-Are-Left-Standing-Today, I wasn’t so sure I even wanted an agent or the traditional model. After all, I had a brilliant publishing attorney, Susan Spann, in my corner. I focused on writing my next book–a spy thriller with my writing partner Jay Holmes. It was enough to let my dystopian thriller shake out as it would.

With time and recommendations from Kristen and other new friends, I met up with best selling author and publisher Aaron Patterson of Stonehouse Ink. He chatted with me a bit and decided I wouldn’t be too much of a pain to work with (I hope he still thinks that), so I sent him my manuscript. He welcomed me to the outstanding Stonehouse family of authors.

Out June 14 from Stonehouse Ink

Out June 14 from Stonehouse Ink

I’m proud to present FIRELANDS. My nine year dystopian thriller baby. She will be delivered by Stonehouse Ink on June 14 at Amazon, and later at other outlets. I hope she will come to mean as much to you as she has to me. I also hope the rest of my babies take nine months or less.

My profound thanks to Kristen Lamb for making me her social media guinea pig and writing student. Since we met in 2010, she founded WANA International, which is dedicated to providing instruction and support to help other authors on their paths. I can’t recommend her and WANA highly enough.

My thanks, also, to each and every one of you, our readers, for your support in helping me realize this dream. You are the reason.

Next week, I’m swimming back upstream to where it all started, the DFW Writers Conference. This time, I will be a teacher.

Holmes and I wish you an outstanding week of coming closer to your dreams.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Field on Fire Canstock

FIRELANDS

Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who dies in the ritual fires that atone society.

Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble. A gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.

Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?

FIRELANDS

Available from Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle

Also in e-book at Barnes & Noble and Kobo,

and at iTunes for iPad and mobile devices.