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Hackwriters The International
Writers Magazine

April 2022

Welcome to this APRIL 2022 edition of Hackwriters. 23 years on-line, 7855 + articles - reviews - stories - travel - share any feature you like and pass them on. April 29th 2022

Coronavirus UK: 14,030 new cases - 248 deaths 28th April 2022
*Washington University claims that the true figure of global (excess mortality) is 18.4 million deaths. (Lancet 3.22)

Editorial: What to worry about the most right now? cost of living

Putin cuts off gas to Bulgaria and Poland. Sadly Germany decides to pay in roubles.
Musk takes Twitter and will he impose hate speech on the whole world? What is the risk to Tesla shares?
Should irrational sometimes vindictive billionaires even be allowed to own mass media? Hello Rupert ...

Thinking I used to want to win the lottery to live in a nice house by the ocean. Now I just want to be able to pay to see a doctor face to face. Sad fact of life in the UK.

Make a list – take a number.
Inflation/Energy Costs
Possible Nuclear War

We all entered an alternate universe about two years ago, it’s hard to pick the exact date but I suspect it was November 2019 when the virus got loose in Wuhan, China. Or it could have been that moment when the Evergrande got stuck in the Suez Canal and blocked supply chains. We’ve gone from hopes and dreams to thoughts of survival and stockpiling for a nuclear war. Turns out the Preppers were right all along.  Norway has told it's inhabitants to restore their fall-out bunkers and stock at least three days of food there. Moldova will be Putin's next target. If not Poland, then all of us.

            Ukraine is devastated (estimates in the NY Times 3.30.22 say rebuilding the country could cost $1000 Billion).  Five million + have fled so far, over 8 million displaced. How much thought are we giving to the mental anguish of Ukrainians or the ramifications of the host nations to feed and house them, possibly for years. Poland must be struggling. Now we have the evidence of horrific war crimes in appropriately named Bucha and elsewhere. The haunting image of a dog loyally lying by his owner who has been shot in the head says it all. Shallow graves, tortured civilains, rapes. Russian soldiers are nothing more than beasts in Putin's army and it is just that Russia is booted out of UN Human Rights Council. 17,000 + Russian soliders have lost their lives for what exactly?

            Of course, Europe has embargoed some of the billions Russia stashed outside their country and it should be possible to confiscate this to help rebuild Ukraine but it won’t be enough and Russia will object in the courts (or violently).  We could stop paying for oil and gas from Russia, but German industries would collapse if they did. I can't see that happening but if they (like Poland) have the courage to stop buying gas and oil from Rusia it might make Putin stop the war. We are financing his war.

            Macron talks with with Putin have gone nowhere and now we discover France and Germany sold arms to Russia only recently. Hungary's electorate signalled they support Putin big time. Putin’s aims seem to be to divide Europe and then Ukraine into East and West and separate the west from access to the Black Sea and their ports. He aims to grab all Ukraine’s mineral reserves, which are all in the east, thus depriving them of future revenue. This war will not end soon. America has already given $3 billion + and Biden wants to give more to Ukraine for weapons and logistics support and the UK has just about emptied its arsenal to send to Kyiv. But Russia has regrouped and around Donbas region and it will get bloodier still as they mine every road and dig mass graves. Germany does nothing of course ...

            That other worry we all carry in our hearts - could Putin go nuclear?  It would put at risk all he wants to achieve by contaminating his own gas and oil reserves.  It’s too easy to assume Putin isn’t acting rationally – never underestimate your enemy.  Never assume he will be overthrown.  He controls everything in Russia and is prepared to liquidate all his perceived enemies and the middle-classes.  A bloody Stalinist purge is definitely on the cards in Moscow, whatever the outcome of the war on Ukraine.

            Meanwhile all our domestic energy costs have risen by a minimum of 54% in the UK.  They may also rise by another 50% in October.  Staying warm in winter will be literally impossible for pensioners and the low paid by November.  I just got a quote of £2,350 for the next seven months.  I expect civil unrest later this year.  Inflation is destructive, especially if you don’t own your own home.  I was a film student when inflation stood at 25% in the UK and pretty much never expected to own a home in my lifetime.  Fortunately after trying for years to survive as a writer I became a teacher somewhat late in life and was able finally to amass a deposit for a home and get a mortgage, denied to a mere freelance writer.  I may even pay off that mortgage about one week before I expire - which might be closer than I think as I have just been diagnosed with kidney disease - thus explaining my very high blood pressure I guess. A kidney biopsy carries a warning that 1in 3000 can result in death. This does not fill me with joy. My friend Kitty is amazed I am actually alive at this moment. 

            I started this by asking what you are worried about the most?  Ukraine figures large of course but I suspect that inflation, then job security, will overtake all other concerns when a recession begins. Naturally voters will blame any government come elections but I don’t see any other political parties offering solutions. How could they?  First Covid, then war, there is even a plague of locusts and floods in Durban in South Africa.  There will be a tendency for people to believe ‘autocrats’ can fix our problems. Trump will no doubt demolish what is left of democracy in the USA if he wins. His main rival DeSantis may even be worse as James Campion reveals.   I haven't even got to Ai, social media, fake news and trolls, that's a whole other set of terrors. Musk buying Twitter so hate speech can flourish unchecked? Crazy.

            I’d like to see a happy ending for Zelensky and Ukraine.  As I write this a Russian spokesperson still demands de-nazification and total demilitarisation and thousands of Russians are ready to destroy all that is left.  They say that civilisation can collapse slowly at first then implode suddenly.  Of course Ukraine is not the only issue.  Covid has accelerated poverty in America – homelessness is at epidemic level and fully one third of the population face insurmountable difficulties in paying rising rents and costs – even though there are plenty of jobs available.  A skills mismatch may well be the problem but how to get retrained?  How to keep your head above water?  I heard on NPR that US nurses are quitting to become dog walkers at $18 an hour.  You’d have to walk a lot of dogs everyday but maybe its preferable to hospital life. Who knows?

            My advice is don’t let worries rule your life. Talk to your neighbour if stressed. It's likely they too have a set of worries you haven't even thought of. A worry aired is sometimes halfway to being solved.
            Alfred E Neuman where are you? 

         © Sam North - Editor - April 2022
You can donate to help Ukrainians here:Red Cross Appeal https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-crisis-appeal
Do it now! This is not a scam.

A Cure for Sceptics
by Sam North
Publisher: Hammer & Tong ( July 2021)
Paperback & kindle: 326 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8537465874

Delaney and Asha run the Berg City Office of City Oversight. Their role is to expose the shady characters running scams and fraud against the city. 300 complaints flood in for a $30,000 treatment that claims to abolish pain forever. Unfortunately the Mayor himself is touting the scheme. When Delaney finds himself left for dead at the bottom of a cliff he gets the message that he's supposed to leave this one well alone.
'A great human story that wears it's heart on it's sleeve.'
Dr Allen Cook - Bridgeport University
‘a brilliant and intriguing tale’ Amazon

**Sample Sam North's new novel here.

A Cure for Sceptics
Mission Longshot MISSION LONGSHOT:
how far will you go to save one life?

Gerry is convinced aliens are going to attack on Millennium Eve - Y2K night. Everyone else is preparing for the end of civilisation. When it happens only Gerry notices aliens land. He and his spacenut pals Jolene and Kali race to be the first to greet them...

'Gripping adventures with highly engaging characters.' W. Leff - Goodreads

The Sam North Novels - still available to order Amazon or Lulu

*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 Heaviness, & The Repercussions of Tomas D - 'best time travel WW2 story in a long while'

By Sam Hawksmoor & Sam North
There's no safe place to hide from a lethal pandemic

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.
a taster here The Last Ferry

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 International 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
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 '

*download the Kindle version or buy the paperback from Hammer & Tong
The Heaviness of Genie Magee '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

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