21st Century
Predictions and debate
World travel
Asia, US, Europe,India
Books and Film
Short stories & extracts
Modern Living now
Film Space
Debates & Profiles
Childrens Reviews
New books reviewed
collected works

Another Place To Die

by Sam North

The Next Great Flu Pandemic

'Beautiful, plausible, and sickeningly addictive, Another Place to Die will terrify you and make you petrified of anyone who comes near you...'.
Roxy Williams -

Order Now :

Another Place To Die

James Campion
Mr Reality Check
UK regional news
The Writer's Guild
UK Writer's site

All opinions expressed herein are wholly reflective of the writers and contributors to hackwriters. All work is copyright of the writers &

Hackwriters is a non-profit , non-paying journal based at an academic institution but welcomes contributions from writers. We reserve the right to publish and edit material in accordance with our editorial policy - see submissions


Welcome - The International Writers Magazine - August 2009
writing from across the globe.

You probably need cheering up, especially as headlines now say that by 150,000 people in the UK have Swine Flu and Two Billion will have it by next year in the world. Ok, only 800 or so have died from it so far worldwide, but what if it gets worse? I have said before but say again, download my book Another Place to Die if you want to be ready for when the flu pandemic goes critical and mutates. They have announced that this variant of Swine Flu is resistant to Tamiflu, who is to say this vaccine they are preparing will work on the next variant? Sure, its summer, it seems to be tailing off but tell that to people in Mumbai where it has just taken off big time. Plenty of milage in this virus yet.

August: Damn. Just as you are heading off on your hols, mine come to an end. Here I am back at my desk and even that is changing as they moving me to another building. Sigh. Miles from the famous Cafe P.

So how was it for you? July that is. I was back in the South-West of France east of Bayonne. The weather was extraordinary. Gales, hail, baking hot sun followed by evening hot winds that curled the leaves off the trees. Fantastic lightning, hard rain and baking sun. This went on day after day.The waves in Biarritz are always high, but it was punishment trying to get in under them this year. The cost of living in France is prohibitive for those of cursed with pounds. Everything is around thirty percent more than the UK, except the wine of course. Getting a decent Cafe Latté takes skill and you have to go to places where they don't resent giving you milk with the coffee. Everyone complains about surly British waiters in restaurants in the Uk, but the French could teach them how to be really rude and affronted if you should question anything they bring you. Ah well, I eat home a lot but couldn't resist the pastry shops.

My daily activity consisted of feeding chickens, with the angriest Coq in the world. (only two hens missing this year after a month. God knows where they go). I was given a list on instructions upon arrival. One was 'feed the rats'. I thought at first there had to be a translation error but noooooooooo. They are dead now, the rats, not the chickens.

Then there is the matter of the dog. Dogs have fleas but I have a trick up my sleeve. Garlic. Chop a glove of garlic up into the dog food and theoretically the fleas will spit the dog out eventually. It has helped, but getting the dog to eat garlic was problematic. She'd eat all her food and every bit of chopped garlic was left ina little pile. However if I let her eat what I am having for lunch, she'll eat anything. So toast, marmalade and garlic it is. Not that dogs chew, they just swallow.

I was watching sheet lightning the other night. The skyturns white, lightning spins out of it spreading in about twenty directions, it is truly spectacular, the thunder shakes the house. Hours before it had been 36C and breathless it was so still and hot. I went for a paddle in the River Nive. I don't know about you but in the UK if the temperature reached 36C, aside from the roads melting, half the town would be down in the river trying to cool off. But I was on my own. The water was freezing, thanks for asking.

Sadly Bayonne has introduced bus lanes beween itself and Biarritz. Luckily I found a fast route between the two towns but if heading there, you will only want to drive where there is a bus lane once. Total nightmare. (use the A63).

So I spent a whole month in France. Drove down rather than use Ryanair. I promised myself I'd never fly Ryanair as long as I live and Ok that means it is 800 miles from door to door and another 800 back, but I did the first joourney in 12 hours from Calais and there wasn't one cone the whole way. The tolls cost 75Euros though both ways. It makes it very expensive if you are on your own, but I hadn't planned to be on my own. Just happened that way.

The advantage of not flying of course is that I don't have swine flu. I'd be a hypocrit if I flew, since it is one of the keys ways the virus is spread in my novel 'Another Place to Die' and I figured I had better take my own advice. I'm not going to see Harry Potter either as ithe cinema will be filled with kids, many of whom will be shedding the virus. The rate of infection is growing exponetially and it will mutate this winter, I am sure. Read my book and learn just how bad it could get.

I did have the luxury of seeing 'Derringer- Public Enemies' Directed by Michael Mann and 'Whatever Works' Directed by Woody Allen. Biarritz has the Royale Cinema which shows some VO films (Version Originale) I was the only one in the cinema both times but I kind of like that. 4pm is clearly a time when the French are doing something else. Christian Bale stole 'Derringer' wholesale and I found 'Whatever Works' amusing for about five minutes then about as real as French farce but not as funny.

The beaches are full and I do mean full, and the girls are half naked, and often stunning. Something that would require a month of Sundays and ten blue moons to happen in Portsmouth sadly. But my pleasure of getting roasted on the sand and battered by the Atlantic was tempered by an article in The Herald Tribune (Three quid for about 20 pages) that stated that contarary to popular belief the salt water in the ocean does not sterilise the sand at high tide and fecal matter stays embedded in the sand and that kids who bury themselves with sand run a high risk of infection. It almost put me off my tart au pomme that afternoon. Just so you know. I still go the beach, I still go swimming, but perhaps draw the line at being buried in sand from now on. Roxy had their annual surf/rock jam by the old harbour. One or two attractive girls turned you can see here.

Aside from starting a new novel myself, I managed to read five. It's not much, but I had a word target to reach 40,000 if you are curious. But I had to buy Stieg Larssson's The Girl who Played with Fire and it is reviewed in the review section. I can't recall a book I was so engrossed in or so gripped by in years. Stunning stuff. But even here the French have a way of making a proifit. it retails for six pounds ninety-nine p in the Uk. Twelve Euros here. Bookshops must make a killing.

Now comes the serious business of catching up on my MA students, the marking to come, the moving of office and waiting, as we all wait for Gordon Brown to call an election so we can all be finally rid of him. Pray for that day.

August 13th 2009 -

* The MA in Creative Writing at Portsmouth University - Lst call for 2009 entry: The current students are completing major projects. Novels, children's fiction, dystopic fiction, crime novels, you name it... If you need support and like a good encouraging peer group, join us. Might do you good to live in Portsmouth for a year, but you don't have to. Students come down from London once a week and further afield. We have had students from the USA, Canada, France, Finland and others. Apply now to avoid being disappointed. You do not have to be published to join us, but you do have to have a portfolio of some interesting writing already to hand.
* Linda Regan who graduated from the MA last year sold her crime novel to Creme de Crime. Quentin Bates has gained a two book deal on his crime novel... several more students now completing their novels and submitting to agents.

If you want to help Hackwriters keep going, buy my new book Mean Tide. A young adult ghost story set in Greenwhich, London.
All profits go into the magazine.
Mean Tide by Sam North
'Extraordinary novel about a child's psychic awakening'

Lulu Press - ISBN: 978-1-4092-0354-4
Review: 'An engaging, unusual and completely engrossing read'
- Beverly Birch author of 'Rift'

Sent to live with his spooky Grandma by the river in Greenwich, Oliver (12) discovers a whole world of disturbed people who are probably even crazier than the ones he left behind. When he finds a dog with its throat cut on the beach, everything changes.
Age range 12-16 and adult

The Curse of the Nibelung - A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
by Sam North

ISBN 1-4116-3748-8
$19.98 Retail - 300 pages - Lulu Press USA

'Chocolate will never be the same again' - Sunday Express
Buy from your favourite on-line retailer

Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Barnes and Noble
& Waterstones

Diamonds - The Rush of '72
By Sam North
ISBN: 1-4116-1088-1

Buy now from
'a terrific piece of storytelling' Historical Novel Society Review

Also printed in the UK and available from
& Waterstones

Back to Index

© 1999 - 2009 -Ten years on-line
We are Carbon Neutral



Hackwriters - an international writer's magazine - all rights reserved © 1999-2009