Welcome to this AUGUST 2021 edition of Hackwriters. 22 years on-line, 7814 + articles - reviews - stories - travel - share any feature you like and pass them on.
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Right now spare a thought for the 30,000 a week fleeing Afghanistan ahead of the Taliban onslaught. Think of the women and girls of that country who will be denied education, jobs, freedom forever now. Donate to:
August kicks off with Indiana Lee asking how one might find meaningful work as a writer. I always found getting paid as a writer the hard part but it’s stunning to discover that there might be as many as 57 million freelance writers in the USA – perhaps more since Covid WFH.
I’ve noticed how we’ve gone from altruism on the internet to monetising everything we do. It’s a generational thing. I started Hackwriters 22 years ago as a free magazine and free of advertising (except our own books – being the only way to raise any funds). The magazine is still free but nothing else is. Reviewers are no longer content to get a free book from publishers to review but want pay as well. And who is to say that is wrong, after all they are putting in the work. But I miss the idea of sharing ideas without money changing hands. Everyone is busy monetising their blogs or Insta sites. It’s progress – not sure it’s better, but it’s progress.
We are also way behind the curve in that we don’t allow hate speech or monetise it like Facebook and others do. It’s disgusting that social media giants get rich off anti-semitic rants and anti-vaxxers etc; the internet has gone from brotherly love to anti-democratic vitriol. Zuckerberg’s already got his remote island ready for when he’s done with wrecking all our lives. I hope you know where it is.
I started thinking about all this when my pal Kitty sent me an article “How a Meaningless Life can make you Truly Happy” by Wendy Street (Refinery29.com). Who is of course monetising nihilism, which is kinda of ironic, no? She writes ‘Right now, institutions of government that once defined generational moral authority are fetid and fragile. The news is under attack and being reframed as an enemy, not a resource, of the people. Science is edged out by conspiracies and 'wellness'. Participation in organised religion is declining. And we’re realising that our conceptions of wealth and success are physically and mentally destroying us.’
She also cites Greta Thunberg in the essay and her path to activism to save the planet, but Greta isn’t an example of happy, far from it. She knows the future sucks big time and also knows that the powers that be are only pretending to listen. So even though we know human life is doomed by climate change and Chinese coal-fired power stations and activism in China will only get you tortured and jailed; it’s still your duty as a human being to be aware of what is happening and if possible do something about it. China is the role model of total control now and over there, Big Brother really is watching you, recording you, thinking for you. Stop buying stuff made in China would be a useful start to register your disdain for this version of future and their abuse of the environment.
I write fiction full of kids seeking to find their purpose in life or survive against all odds, demonstrating their bravery and empathy for others along the way. They tend not to crack when challenged, overcome all mental health stresses and hopefully go on to have happy healthy smoke-free fictional lives. I couldn’t be more out of fashion if I tried. And, of course, I’m from a generation where you didn’t show emotions when hurt, felt properly guilty if a relationship didn’t work out and wouldn’t have dreamt of dumping someone by text or just ghosting them. And yes, I understand suppression of emotions is a bad thing but I’m not convinced total public meltdowns are good for you either. That said I’m not on social media to protect my mental health.
I ask why would anyone do anything if life is meaningless? An artist or writer should approach their work with purpose, if only to please themselves. If by chance others find meaning and purpose in their work then some good will come of it. I guess I’ll summon up the courage to write another book soon enough, whether or not people read them. After all, writer’s write, don’t they?
Enjoy August. I'm heading to London on Monday. Avoid hugs and kisses no matter the temptation. We are not in the clear yet.
**Check out Sam North's new novel 'A Cure for Sceptics' here. A fun story about our expections with wellness.
© Sam Hawksmoor August 2021
Covid Numbers worldwide - Source: Worldometers. *These figures more inclusive than John Hopkin's numbers
||Celebrating the publication of MISSION LONGSHOT:
how far will you go to save one life?
The climate is changing fast - the future of humanity is at stake, who wants to escape to an alternative planet on that spaceship with Elon? (Well not that actual spaceship but you know what I mean). Buy a ticket and enjoy the ride. But don't forget to buckle up. It might not go where you thought it would.
'Gripping adventures with highly engaging characters.' W. Leff - Goodreads
The Sam North Novels - still available to order Amazon or Lulu
New for 2021 - A Cure for Sceptics - 'Like an undiscovered Cary Grant movie filled with wonderful characters'
A Cure for Sceptics
by Sam North
Publisher: Hammer & Tong (14th July 2021)
Paperback: 326 pages
Delaney and Asha run the Berg City Office of City Oversight. Their role is to expose the shady characters running scams and fraud against the city. 300 complaints flood in for a $30,000 treatment that claims to abolish pain forever. Unfortunately the Mayor himself is touting the scheme. When Delaney finds himself left for dead at the bottom of a cliff he gets the message that he's supposed to leave this one well alone.
'A great human story that wears it's heart on it's sleeve.'
Dr Allen Cook - Bridgeport University
*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'
The new edition of 'ANOTHER PLACE TO DIE: ENDTIME CHRONICLES
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
||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.'
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- 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' 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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