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Welcome to this JUNE 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 June 27th around 9,966,000 have been infected worldwide, with 498,284 deaths. Take comfort that over 5,400,000 have recovered. (Worldometers.info) ** Covid-19 is slowing in Europe but climbing fast in the Americas.

Hannah stopped in her tracks a moment. ‘Oh God, I was going to tell you my dream. I was like going to see the future. I just knew it was up there, like a hole in the sky and I climbed up on this huge ladder and popped my head through the hole...’
Liz glanced at her. ‘And?’
‘It was like sticking my head into a raging sandstorm. I remember my face stinging – the sand – couldn’t see a thing. It was just a raging wind.’
Liz didn’t say anything for a moment. Then… ‘I guess the future’s hard to see. That’s what it means. We know there is one, but we just can’t see it.’

A moment from Another Place to Die: Endtime. Life in a time of pandemic

can't breathe


A month of chaos and protest

As riots and destruction roil the USA, and the UK. A summer of rage is promised. James Campion on Untouchables here. Incredibly the Republicans in the Senate are refusing to pass a law which would make lynching illegal. Senator Rand Paul is the holdout. The fact that they are still intent on repealing Obamacare after all the deaths with Covid -19 shows their absolute contempt for the people of America. That Trump wants to reduce testing in the light of a surge of the virus in the Red states confirms it. 8900 people tested positive for the virus in Florida Friday! Each one of those people could have infected 10 more each. See also James Campion's Psycho with a Bible here.

Last month I was worried about the prospects of war breaking out in August but I didn't for one second think it would be Trump declaring war on Americans (the rebels occupying Seattle his main objection). Just goes to show you can't predict the future. However events happening in China certainly point to future conflict as President Xi says ‘China must prepare for war’.  Whether that will be against Taiwan (highly probable) or India (border disputes - actually happening now)). I decided to check on a book I reviewed back in 2017 called World of War 2020.  Events have passed it by and no pandemic was predicted but the logic remains. Take a look.

Trump wants to be a ‘War President’ to deflect from his monumental failures with the pandemic in the USA and the explosion of riots in the streets following police brutality against Black Americans. President Xi in China is seeing opportunities everywhere after removing freedoms from Hong Kong. Don’t forget Putin also needs to deflect attention away from his callous disregard for the virus so that people will vote for him to become 'President for Life' on July 1st. Clevely he is bribing voters with a promise of winning a new car or holiday if they vote for him. There is already a proxy war in Libya going on between Turkey and Russia and that could get very ugly. Now Trump has said he will end Hong Kong's Special Relationship with the USA and withdraw from the W.H.O. It's insanity, but proves my case - he's preparing for confrontation with everyone just so those guys with guns re-elect him.

Meanwhile as restrictions continue until July 4th, perhaps cutting your own hair with nail scissors isn’t the way to go but needs must and the good thing is – no one can see how bad it is!  Grew an orange tree in the kitchen – now infested with ants.  Seems they like the sticky leaves.  Getting ants out of the kitchen, a tad harder.

These are the real issues that tax us in Covid time.  Can’t seem to fathom how once we get to go out for a drink again how we will pay for it or if indeed there will be anywhere to actually go, so many places are closing down for good.  We are all living in a Stephen King novel and we even have a classic villain in Donald Trump who cares nothing for anyone except himself.  How on earth did it come down to this?

I’ve been checking around by email and it seems everyone I know and care about in the world is still alive.  This is remarkable given that seven million people have been infected worldwide so far.  Many of them have lost their livelihoods however and are living on savings or if lucky in the UK, the furlough money until that gets taken away.  No one can see past the summer.  Say goodbye to a way of life and hope no one catches Greta Thunberg smirking, as the skies stay clear. * Skies not so clear in deepest darkest Lincolnshire as we seem to be on the flightpath from Schiphol and one wonders where several flights every hour are going?

Hoping that the UK 14 day quarantine rule for arrivals will be dropped in early July, as that is the day we drop down to One Metre distancing.  Meanwhile as travel restrictions continue I imagine we will all be hiring dinghies and sailboats to sneak into Europe for a vacation this summer, waving at all the illegal immigrants coming the other way.  France has retaliated and prohibited Brits going to their summer homes unless they can teleport there and isolate themselves.  There is talk of ‘airbridges’ a kind of virus-free corridor to Spain or Portugal so we can visit the sunshine.  But unless they are checking everyone’s temperature daily from airport to airport and at the holiday destination I don’t see how this can work.  To be honest lockdown has collapsed. The beaches are packed, no one is self-distancing and infection rates in the UK are falling fast. Can't wait for the coffee bars to open. And a darn haircut.

‘Experts’ tell us the property market will fall by 5%, 10% or 30%.  Personally I think houses with sunny gardens will go up by 10%, ready for the second and third waves of the virus.  No one will ever want to spend another lockdown in an apartment with no outside space.  So yes, apartment values could crash big time.  There is a small point as to who might lend anyone any money to buy anything – but I’m not going there.

The issue now is that many teachers refused to go back to work on June 1st, even though it has been ‘proven’ that kids don’t catch or spread the virus. Thinking about it, I’d say 90 percent of all my schooling was a waste of time. I could have done without the bullying, the pettiness, the pointlessness of lessons, learning Latin, the general brutality of the regime and perhaps the answer is the kids go back, the teachers stay home and they learn from the bright kids who always know more than the teachers anyway.  As they say, education is wasted on the young.

The Times is full of advice of how to get rid of all the weight everyone has put on in lockdown.  None of it sounds appealing.  Skip breakfast and wine seems to be the bottom line. (Every glass of wine is 150 calories)  I suspect buying larger shirts and sweaters might be the solution for me but I definitely do not like my new shape.

Over 126,785 at the time of writing have died in the USA of the virus. The riots and protest marches had already resulted in huge spikes in cases in the USA but perhaps it was the opening of the bars that really did the damage. Florida may regret opening too early. Luckily the protests in the Uk have not led to a spike. A huge relief.

Regular contributor Martin Green writes:
June 1st Hi Sam---it didn't need a war but only another 'white cop kills black man' event & the usual aftermath of rioting to displace the pandemic in the TV news and maybe to some extent in our national consciousness.  Worse, seeing all these people crowding together I wonder if the rioters will start coming down with the virus in two weeks.   Meanwhile. US is in process of opening up, very piecemeal.  In CA we're in Phase 2, which includes barber shops & hair salons but not nail salons.  We won't know for a few weeks whether infections will spike up and if so, by how much.  I had a video exam requested by our health provider, don't know why, maybe to see if I'm still alive. Our Doc said, considering our age & health he wouldn't recommend going to a restaurant, so we'll remain sheltered in place.

Sam © Sam Hawksmoor - June 2020
author of The Heaviness

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 Amazon * Sadly Lulu deleted all Sam's others last month
** 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 safe place to hide from the 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. Can you get ahead of the virus?
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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