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Welcome to this October 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.

Covid has reached 45,504,076 cases worldwide and 1,188,523 deaths. Source: Worldometers. Oct 30th
* This means half a million people a day are catching the virus right now!


October is a dangerous month. Politics everywhere is poisonous. The Covid Second Wave is here and hundreds of thousands fear for their jobs. Cinemas are closed and Hollywood's business model needs a complete rethink.

We need the vaccine and soon. Europe is locking down again as the virus surges. I guess the UK will be next. It's out of control in the USA and Trump doesn't give a damn. Sad.

Feeling stressed?  Can’t cope with seeing Trump’s gurning face on TV anymore or hearing his lies? The Senior Citizens in the USA feel the same way. James Campion thinks Trump shouldn't be president - he should be in jail!

Then how about learning that after all the promises of it being the easiest deal in history, Brexit turns out to be ‘no deal’ after all, which will add a few million more on the Covid unemployment heap with an added twist of starvation come the spring.  And I’m not kidding.

*Had a great Grandfather 'looks after the kids story' during a hurricane submitted to me from Prof Allen Cook. I suspect not a moment of this is made up. He takes being a grandfather very seriously. Enjoy.

A neighbour came over this week for a socially distance coffee in the chilly garden.  She might be a tad depressed.  But as I pointed out to her SAGE (UK Scientists) are predicting we shall still be socially distancing come Christmas 2021!  That cheered her up no end.  Seriously getting through the next few months will be tough and there are no silver linings.  I can’t go and visit my best friends for my birthday this month or see family for Christmas.  Same as you I suspect.  The Russians are mounting a digital campaign to scare people off the vaccine (except their own untested version) and at this rate I’ll run out of wine just as we can’t go out shopping anymore.

Will we miss Cinema’s when they’ve gone?  The longer we don’t use them, the easier it gets to give up on over-priced tickets and sickly popcorn.  Not to mention the lack of parking and babysitter costs.  Netflix and Disney+ will be the big winners in 2021. What won’t you miss when it’s gone?  Make a list. Might surprise you.

Donald Trump returned to the White House filled with experimental drugs, feels 20 years younger and tells his devotees that the virus is no biggie. And worse, now he's immune. No one will ever wear masks again now and hundreds of thousands will die. James Campion senses trouble ahead and the rats are jumping ship at the White House. The Harris/Pence debate was more civilised but people only talk about the fly that settled on Pence's head. On Thursday we had the last debate. Pundits rate it a duel but I suspect it won't matter either way to many voters.

Spent the other day reading Leigh Bardugo's new novel King Of Scars - sometimes you forget the importance of ignoring the news and diving deeply into an amazing novel that takes you far away from reality. Face your demons or feed them ... as she says. If you haven't read her work, start now.

There’s nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to a NY Times newsflash that Trump paid less tax than just about anyone else on this planet in the last ten years.  Is in fact a total loser when it comes to business, racking up losses ($421 million) year after year and walking away from all his debts. This is something he calls ‘smart’.  But the flip side of that if we all didn’t pay tax there wouldn’t be ‘government’ which means no teachers, schools, nurses, or roads, or garbage collection, any those things that make life tolerable.  Naturally on the positive side there wouldn't be any politicians, bad cops, courts, tax collectors, jailers or Presidents either. We’d all be living in a QAnon anarchy armed to the teeth and afraid to leave whatever shelter you’ve managed to cobble together because when people discovered there wasn’t any social housing, they burned your nice suburban home down.  There are only two certainties death and taxes and your job is to get them in the right order.

Now you might be as depressed as me once you’ve read your Sunday Times or risked watching the news or finding out which Virus Tier your region is in.  None of us want to hear that we’ve got six months more of lockdowns and wearing masks, assuming the vaccine works and can get distributed (no easy task to keep refrigerated out on the field).  Europe reached 100,000 new infections daily! Winter hasn't even started yet. People are all rushing to the stores to stock up and we have to line-up again.

Another reader wrote to me and asked me to write a positive ‘Welcome’ page this month but other than the fact that I managed to ignore the line-up for toilet paper and instead stocked up on wine for the lockdown, I really can’t find many positives.  I tried to adopt an abandoned dog but there are so many rules and 'get to know the dog' sessions miles away and anyway the only dog I liked is scared of men, so I gave up and then someone offered me a puppy for £2000 and I politely declined.  Nothing against puppies but it is shockingly exploitative to charge so much for something that is only going to chew up all my shoes then throw up on the carpet.

Someone in New York told me there will be a wave of suicides if Trump wins in November but I suspect there might be civil war if he doesn’t. I guess on how many Proud Boys there are I guess. Some choice hey. When Judge Amy gets voted onto the Supreme Court in October 23 million Americans can kiss goodbye to healthcare on top of the 15 million unemployed who can no longer afford it.  Trump built a wall to keep people out but soon its only purpose will be to keep people in.  You might want to escape now before you can't.

Good grief, is that the time, its almost wine o clock.  Must dash.

Stay safe. Stay sane. Stockpile happiness.

* Keep abreast of the latest virus numbers here. Source:

© Sam North - October 2020
The Sam North Novels - still available to order Amazon or Lulu
Another Place to Die: Endtime Chronicles. The definitive pandemic novel.

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 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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