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Hackwriters The International
Writers Magazine

April 2023

Welcome to this edition of Hackwriters. 24 years on-line, 7,923+ articles - reviews - stories - travel - share any feature you like and pass them on. April 22nd 2023 - EARTH DAY

*We welcome baby Louie Shearer into the world 04/19/23

Editorial: The Inconvenience Truth

Remember when life used to be convenient?  You could pop to the bank, the post office, your neighborhood grocer and coffee shop all within walking distance of your home.

*Photo is of Mr Trouble who has finally gone home after his Easter hols.
Mr Trouble

Foolishly I actually moved to this particular neighborhood just before Covid because it was handy for all those things. I understood that local councils are swiftly closing down opportunities to use a car by imposing 20mph speed limits and practically making it impossible to park anywhere unless you download an app that inevitably leads to a scam (paytopark I’m taking about you). So living somewhere you can walk to everything makes sense. However, since Covid, everything has closed (except the fish and chip shop). I have to get into my car and drive miles to find a bank, a grocery, a post office, even a coffee shop.  And don’t mention buses because even if you can catch one it might not come back and even if it does it’s full of school kids kicking the shit out of each other or wielding knives. 

‘You could go to the high street,’ you might tell me. Ha…that boat sailed. There’s a special on tumbleweed.  Once you get past the drunks hanging out by the Cathedral you discover three-quarters of the shops have gone forever, it isn’t safe and there’s M&S clinging on but for how much longer?  W H Smith deserted the mall years ago.  Everything Must Go is the main message on empty shop windows.  The thing is you can’t blame the government for this, as much as I’m sure you do.  We did this.  We outsourced everything to Amazon and others.  We want stuff. When do we want it? Before we’ve even thought about it. Want a job in retail? Are you crazy?

All this flies in the face of Carlos Moreno – a research scientist at the Sorbonne in Paris.  He of the 15-Minute City fame.  The idea is that we should all live no more than fifteen minutes from schools; stores and our places of work or at least a bike ride distance from home.  Ironic then that the moment I moved here everything shut down.  Somehow or other the screwballs at QAnon and other conspiracy theorists think the 15 Minute City is a terrible idea – evidence of a totalitarian world government.  Have they never heard of the word ‘village’?  I grew up in a village. It had a baker, butcher, post office, small supermarket, cobbler, village school, three pubs, a working railway station, a fish and chip shop and one copper on a bike.  Most people worked on the farms around us or commuted to the nearby town just nine miles away.  Pretty much the 15 Minute City in miniature. Of course, if you wanted higher education or had aspirations to be a lawyer or doctor or scientist you'd have to go far away to study, but that only served to broaden the mind.  Sure there were no art galleries, or any visible signs of culture and coffee shops hadn’t even been invented back then, but people seemed happy enough.  Our postie had never left the village again since he’d returned from the war in France in 1945.  So all I’m saying is, if you want a happy life the 15 Minute City sounds pretty good to me.  Maybe not the Oxford version with snipers planted on the city rooftops in case anyone has the temerity to get into their car to go shopping. Funny how you vote Green and get the Gestapo instead. How did that happen?

I’m still of the generation that buys a newspaper everyday. I’m not blind, I can see they are stocking less and less and young people never buy them. How long will it be before they’re gone?  Two years?  Sure I can read my Times digitally but you can’t spread it out on the table and read all the articles with a coffee in your hand.  Their layout sucks on my iPhone anyway. The New York Times is way better designed digitally and that I'm able read on my phone.

Sure I’m a grumpy old git, but I look around me and think is this it now?  Is everyone happy everything has gone?  My old village has twice the population but no shops now and hardly anyone works on the farms so they all have to commute to earn a living. Are we really happier with Lidl and a total lack of service compared to Waitrose or Sainsbury?  Sure it’s cheaper, but is it better?  Will we miss them when they’ve gone?

Mr T this week has arrived for Easter full of energy and looking for trouble. Which means walks by the beach (the unrestricted end) and with luck the woods. I’d better stock up on treats. Now if I could just find a pub that allows dogs around here … that would be really convenient. **Thank god for the Wheatsheaf in Louth.

© Sam Hawksmoor - April 2023

The Book of Ashes
New from Sam Hawksmoor
ISBN: 979-8-837434-952
Hammer & Tong August 2022 - print and kindle

'an immensely satisfying story' -
Walli Leff on Goodreads.

'a fun read with unique elements ... exemplary in its voice and style'
'Judge, 10th Annual Writer's Digest E-Book Awards

An extract from the Book of Ashes

Book of Ashes The Book of Ashes -
Some secrets are meant to be kept forever

The Case:
Delaney and Asha run their own investigation company now. Hired to find a writer who stiffed a client of $10,000 - things go bad pretty fast.

"This was supposed to be a simple track and trace job. Find the writer, bank the money. Now it's a horror show."

'We Feel Your Pain'
by Sam Hawksmoor
ISBN-13: 979-8699087693
Published by Hammer & Tong
Print or Kindle from Amazon

Pain Cover We Feel Your Pain – So you don’t have to.

The Case:
Delaney (42) and Asha (22) run the Office of Berg City Oversight. Their role is to expose the scams, keep the city safe from unscrupulous people.  When something looks too good to be true – it’s a scam, right?  But what if the scam works?  What kind of scam is that?
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...

'Climate change, lost alien civilisations, adventures in deep space. Great fun with endearing characters'. Kitty Thomas

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'.

* Screenplay a quarter-finalist in the Creative Screenwriting competition 2023

'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' 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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