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Welcome to this MARCH 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.
PS we are mainly in archive mode now with sporadic updates.


EDITORIAL: Covid-19 Blues - Surviving Self Isolation

As of April 1st- around 893,995 have been infected worldwide, with 45,050 deaths. Take comfort that over 189,000 have recovered. Containment will depend on how ruthless some regimes will be or how inadequate the medical care is - possibly both. To say the world isn't ready for this is an understatement. There is an amazing lack of testing kits, hazmat suits, masks, ventilation kits and political will to enforce mass city lockdowns although this is now happening in California and New York. 1 in 5 Americans are told to 'stay at home'. Donald Trump was way too late in declaring a National Emergency. (Worldometers.info)

The virus is spreading fast now as more testing reveals how widespread this is. Self-Isolation is here. Oops you have a sudden cold, you want to get tested but dialling 111 doesn't reassure you. Because if they answer they just tell you to stay home - there's no cure - die quietly please we're busy. You are now in purdah for 14 days and worse, you forgot to stockpile.

Here’s something you need to know – quarantine at home probably won’t kill you but it will quite possibly wreck the world economy as James Campion explains.   Don’t let it be the terror you think it will be.  If you are with a family and a dog or cat, it’s gets more complicated and yes there will be rows and tears.  The way around all this is to treat quarantine as a home vacation, an opportunity to get that one thing you’ve been putting off for the last twenty years.  Learning a language, a new skill, fixing that hole in the ceiling you’ve been staring at for years, painting the living room.  Kids bored?  Take them OFF social media and get them to learn a language, or how to code. Bribe them if necessary.  They will thank you later. (Much later).  If you are alone, great, no one will slow you down as you redecorate the whole house interior. This is assuming you only have the mild version of the virus.

Of course it’s easy for me to say this.  I haven’t had to shut down the European and American economy. Not to mention the pubs. Quite how the UK will survive with all the coffee bars and pubs closed is a big question.

Now they are saying everyone should self-isolate for THREE MONTHS! You already know how bad it is in the supermarkets. I spent this afternoon planting potatoes! They take about 12 weeks to grow so if I'm still alive I'll be able to make mashed potato in June!

Covid-19 has peaked in China but it’s only just getting the party started in Europe and the Middle East and now in the USA.  The chances of various corrupt regimes and governments having the ability to lock up millions of people for their own safety without violence beggars belief.  If it happens at all there will be many that flout it and spread the disease, either trying to escape or find food or as we find out today, just going to the beach as they did in their thousands in Iran this weekend. Italy has quarantined 60 million people as the death toll rises very sharply. If all the businesses close down, how will they pay rent? Are the banks safe? UK and US Governments are going to throw billions at it but if people have lost their jobs it probably won't help much. Certainly posting everyone a $1500 cheque is almost meaningless given monthly costs unless they mean to do it every month until this is over.

Economies will suffer possibly long-term, but it will be life-changing for many small companies and life or death for many older individuals. Medicaid will cover the cost of testing in the USA now that the Senate have voted it through. But think of all the thousands of homeless in San Francisco and LA and New York. Who will test them, let alone care for them if they get sick? And where? Where will all the nurses and doctors needed to treat them come from, never mind supply all too rare ventilators to keep their airways open? *Congrats to G-Tech in the UK for being so quick to build, test and manufacture a ventilator kit. They hope to make 1000 a week for the NHS.

Most writers or artists are quite used to being alone – quarantine is seen as a privilege rather than punishment.  No one to bug you.   Makes sure there’s plenty of wine in the rack. But of course, if you are in quarantine and hate being ‘practical’, or lack a single artistic bone in your body and have grown bored of trolling everyone on earth, by all means watch TV during your enforced stay at home. Or, hey, read a book. I hear Kindle has a few you can download.

Now I must confess that I don't spend ALL my time writing.  Procrastination rules in this house and I finally learned to make soup.  Don’t laugh.  I have always made a great stew or roasties and can drum up a good pasta dish, but soup always seemed so – well you buy in cans don’t you?  I got so desperate between Episode Four and Five I made soup.  Turns out it’s easy and tastes great.  Fry some onions; add loads of veggies with herbs and turmeric, add stock and viola, soup.  It’s easy.  Better yet, no salt.  It’s really easy – who knew?

Gosh, I should probably learn how to make bread next.  The thing is, whether you’re a writer, a tax clerk or striking Uni lecturer, if you are confined to your home there’s always a hundred useful things you can do and when quarantine ends you’ll be saying Noooooo – I need more time.

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.
Catch you in April if you’re still here - hell if I'm still here.

Sam © Sam Hawksmoor March 23rd 2020
Joint Editor
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 cure - 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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