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Welcome to this April 2020 edition of Hackwriters. 21 years on-line, 7700+ articles - reviews - stories - travel - share any feature you like and pass them on using the links.

*As of April 28th around 3,088,000 have been infected worldwide, with 213,000 deaths. Take comfort that over 935,000 have recovered. We must respect the brave doctors and nurses and ambulance crews who are working all hours to contain this pandemic.(Worldometers.info)

Spring 2020

EDITORIAL: Are We There Yet?

Earth must be smiling with all that smog and pollution having disappeared because much of mankind isn't working, flying, driving. Breathe the air today. Enjoy it whilst the shutdown lasts.

Luckily we still have essential workers doing their jobs in healthcare and others keeping the country running such as producing electricity and keeping the food warehouses full. Unfortunately President Trump has withdrawn funding for the W.H.O. just as we need them most and stamped his name on all the relief fund cheques sent out in the US. At least people will remember the name of the guy who only sent them $1200 bucks to last the rest of their lives and told them to swallow bleach. Live Free and Die as they say.

Spring is here and I just snuck out to walk around the park to prove it. Cherry trees in full bloom at last. Liked it so much I'm going to walk right back there now.

Will imports of your favourite foods and drinks continue during this shutdown? There's something to think on as you drink your coffee from South America or tea from India or Africa where a fierce lockdown is in progress. Alchohol and cigarettes are banned in South Africa right now till May! Luckily the vineyards managed to get the harvest in, so there will be a 2020 vintage. (Phew) But the issue for many in the townships and elsewhere is police brutality in enforcing distance and gatherings. These are trying times for civilisation and democracy. In the UK we are unable to buy plants to grow food at home as all the garden centres are closed. This makes little sense to me. If we can maintain a distance in the supermarket, why not in the open air of a garden centre? In Washington State Garden Centers are listed as essential.

You've tried all the box sets and bored of the news by now. Might I suggest the best Pandemic movie of all. 'Twelve Monkeys' starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe and Brad Pitt. Directed by Terry Gilliam - see the trailer here

It’s kind of ironic for someone like me, who has spent a lifetime often writing dystopian fiction, to be living through it – just like you are right now.  On the whole people are behaving a lot better than they do in my stories, but it’s early days yet.  People are scared but definitely maintaining a good distance when you walk by for your daily walk.  'The Road' it isn't for those of you who watched that movie. We're lucky it isn't '28 Days Later' as well. See, there are positives the zombies have not yet arrived. Talking of which - the best ever zombie novel is 'Forest of Hands and Teeth'.

Everyone is now thinking about ‘after the virus’; it’s more comforting than dwelling on the ever-rising daily death tolls in the UK, USA and elsewhere.  We know it’s bad and will get worse as daily death tolls are published, but we all want to think about the time when we feel safe again. I note Spain has allowed some to go back to work and kids to be let out next week. Everyone wants to relax the restrictions but the virus takes no time off at all. If you want to to look at the downside - well I recommend J&K 4Ever - a glimpse into what America looks like long after Trump has gone, fifty years after the virus.

Some people think we will resume where we left off.  Get on a plane and head to the beaches in summer.  Some are thinking that they hate working at home in a crowded space with screaming kids and can’t wait to lock themselves in an office again.  But of course – so many companies are going to go bust – there may not be jobs to go back to.  There may not be airlines available to fly you to the beach and the hotels may have also gone under.  Zoom might be the early signal that office blocks are doomed. But then again maybe people will be so relieved to get out of lockdown they'll never leave the office again.

My niece phoned me yesterday from her self-isolation on the 56th floor of her NY studio apartment. She has been through a whole host of emotions, panic, anger, fear and now has reached zen and got back to planning her future and trying her level best to rescue her business once we are allowed out again. Better still, she has learned to love lockdown and discover cooking skills she never knew she had and found a determination to be creative and emerge stronger from all this. Proud of her.

Last weeked I read a Master's student thesis as she needed feedback and wasn't getting any from her University. It occurs to me that many students worldwide are desperate for guidance and feedback on their work right now. If you know any and are qualified to comment, reach out. They may not always appreciate your comments but it is bound to be better than getting none at all.

Enjoy the sunshine - go out there, embrace the Spring air and hope you don't get fined or shot.

Sam © Sam Hawksmoor April 28th 2020
Meanwhile – do take time to read or download our Pandemic novel set in Canada and Mexico.
a quick taster here The Last Ferry
from ‘Another Place to Die: The Endtime Chronicles’. Print or Kindle.

Or try the classic plague novel whilst incarcerated on the sofa 'La Peste' by Albert Camus.

They won’t cure you but might just help you survive and help pass the time.

Read Girl with Cat (Blue) - 'funny, scary and full of surprises - a must read' LD

*Keeping Hackwriters archived is supported by sales of our books - so do buy, print or kindle, we aren't picky.
Magenta - A chilling story of kidnapping, burning and strangeness set in the wilds of Lincolnshire
The Sam North Novels - still available to order on Lulu or Amazon
** The Heaviness, also recommended & The Repercussions of Tomas D -'best time travel WW2 story in a long while'

By Sam Hawksmoor & Sam North
There's no place to hide

Print & Kindle
Q&A interview with the authors here
A city gripped by fear. People are petrified of being thrown into quarantine. Best friends Kira and Liz once parted are scared they will never see each other again. Teen lovers, Chris and Rachel, prepare to escape to the islands. Can you get ahead of the virus?

Review from the First Edition:
'Beautiful, plausible, and sickeningly addictive, Another Place to Die: Endtime will terrify you, thrill you, and make you petrified of anyone who comes near you...'
Roxy West - Amazon.co.uk

Another Place To Die

Girl with Cat (Blue) Girl with Cat (Blue) - Shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award

'a funny, bloody, colorful narrative that never fails to surprise the reader. Girl with Cat (Blue) provides great entertainment'.

'This book was amazing! I was hooked from the first few pages and couldn't put the book down.'
Judge, 26th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. - Honorable Mention

J&K 4Ever - A post-apocalypse love story
Sixty years after the end of everything the city of Bluette survives, controlled by a malignant sect.  A place where men rule, girls receive no education and are matched at 16 to the highest bidder.  No one is ever permitted to leave the city and outside is a murderous wasteland of despair. Orphans Kruge and Jeyna have been devoted to each other through all the years of terror in this harsh regime and sworn never to be parted.  But the beautiful Jeyna has been betrayed by the Warden. Kruge has been swiftly banished to the Scraps, under the control of the Keeper. Jeyna is heartbroken; she will not accept her fate and escapes to find Kruge. 
 'A genuine romance in a bleak but plausible and terrifying setting'.
Marikka MARIKKA- exclusively on Amazon Print and kindle 2

Based on a tragic real life event, Marikka flees from an arson attack on her home to the sea, where she meets Starfish boy – a runaway working for Jackson, a scarred man hiding a sinister secret from the world. Meanwhile her real father searches for her with the aide of Anya, ‘the girl who can read objects’. More about the writing of this book

Long after my tears dried, my heart stayed with Marikka, Starfish Boy and the strange girl who reads objects.’ CT
You will smile, you will gasp with shock, and you will struggle to read the words through your tears. Gemma Williams - Amazon.co.uk
Repercussions Spy/Romance thriller set during the Blitz in WW2 - Kindle download

The Repercussions of Tomas D
A Hero? Or Englands Greatest Traitor? USA Paperback here

'Disturbing and very poignant YA love story that presents a chilling alternate future for an England that lost the war.' Marcel d'Agneau
'A brilliant imagining of living in the Blitz, well researched.' Amazon UK
'This is Man in the High Castle for teens and scarily plausible with alternative facts '

*download the Kindle version or buy the paperback from Hammer & Tong
'The Heaviness' for any reader who likes to think about such things as betrayal, revenge, relationships and the laws of gravity. An original Genie Magee story

Genie & Renée have just 36 hours to save Rian or he dies

'Without a doubt, one of the best YA Sci Fi series out there.' Evie Seo Bookish
Kindle & print

Thanks to readers who have been buying this title. . * Also published as Rüya by Marti Yayincilik - The Turkish publishers of TOZ & Golge
The Heaviness of Genie Magee

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