Despite a near-catastrophic PC meltdown I faced a few days ago, I was fortunate enough to have managed to write a guest post on Warp Speed Odyssey blog about my latest cyberpunk thriller, Through Stranger Eyes. In it, I explain a couple of things about what I had in mind while writing the book, the “what if” questions that triggered the story and the plot, and a bit about the setting. You can read all about it here.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
[…] The story takes place several decades after the end of the last great war that saw the planet almost destroyed and had billions in casualties. Ten mega-corporations (The Matriarchs) run the world as a form of government and all of them deal in body augmentations among other things. Due to the lack of habitable areas on the planet, cities are now stacked one on top of another and they are called stacked megacities. If that’s too hard to grasp, imagine going to your window, looking out and up, and seeing the bottom part of another city on top of you instead of the sky.
It’s been a little while, right? I apologise for that. 2018 was a year full of ups and downs, with things happening at an alarmingly fast pace. So much so that at times it was hard for me to keep up. Those of you who know me in person, know that I like things to happen slowly over time. But such is life; it rarely does our bidding. Which is probably why I write fiction, I guess. Anything can happen there.
Though I’m not a big fan of new year resolutions (in other words, I don’t like them at all), this year I decided to stick to at least one that I feel is extremely important to me: reduce my stress levels considerably and, in doing so, enjoy writing once again. Between publishing my début novel, The Darkening, dealing with family-related health issues, trying to learn new skills (anyone willing to teach a Photoshop newbie like me some things in record time?), and other things that life often throws our way, I neglected a lot of things that I shouldn’t have, but most importantly, I drifted away from much of social life.
So what are this year’s plans? First of all, acquire the necessary funds to publish book 1 of my upcoming cyberpunk trilogy, then publish said book. I have decided to worry about funding books 2 and 3 after book 1 has gone live. The reason for that is in part that I have not yet written books 2 and 3. Chances are that all three books will be funded, in part or full, through crowdfunding, assuming the campaigns are successful.
As for other plans… drum roll please…
I have started drafting book 2. I believe I have a solid story, as well as strong and interesting set of characters.
After that, I’ll start outlining book 3… for the sixth time (!!), since nothing seems to be good enough. Again, I’ll worry about that in due time.
I want to wish you all a happy holiday and Merry Christmas! Whatever you do, I hope you get to spend the festive period surrounded by the people you love and love you, doing all the things that give meaning to your lives!!
I’ll be spending it with my family, trying hard to relax and stressing as little as possible with work related things.
I have noticed a serious decline in my productivity the past few months, which I believe is a direct result of me working non-stop for the past 3-4 years (including summers). My prediction for 2019 is that it will be a difficult and stressful year for me, so I have decided to take some much needed vacation. The plan is to abstain from all writing activities from Christmas day (which is also my nameday, so if you remember to wish me Happy Nameday, I will respond with a thank you message) until January 2, or January 6 (depending on how fast my internal batteries will recharge).
Whatever you do, however you do it, have fun and enjoy yourselves!
It’s been a month since my debut post-apocalyptic horror novel, The Darkening, hit the electronic and physical shelves (you can check it out here and here), and I’ve been looking into things that one should do to survive an apocalyptic event. Now, a few months back, I wrote a list with the 10 post apocalyptic scenarios most possible to happen. Inspired from these, I thought I should come up with a list of things one should do to be prepared for such an event.
Please note, though I have written a post apocalyptic novel, that does not mean I am a prepper, or that I have done or tried any of the following things. So don’t take my word for any of these. You see, I’m more like this:
Keep in mind that everything depends on the type of the apocalypse you’ll be dealing with, however, there are a few things that will prove helpful no matter what the scenario is. With the following list, I tried to take into account as many different scenarios as possible.
1. A satchel or backpack
Imagine this: something catastrophic happened a couple of days ago on the other side of the planet. The effects spread rapidly and are not too far away from where you live. Others have seen it too and are acting accordingly.
The local infrastructure is already ruined because… panic, and from whatever the effects of the apocalypse may be. You’re going to have to leave, but you should take some items with you. No, grocery store bags are not ideal for something like this. You need something to carry your gear, and it had better be something that will last you a long time. Bug out bags, as they’re often called, are lightweight and can carry provisions and items that you will need for the first couple of days. Some of them come pre-stocked with items like water purification tablets and other useful items. Make sure you keep it somewhere handy, and that its provisions have not expired.
This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Skin your food, hunt, or defend yourself out there. In an apocalyptic scenario, you’re not going to be the only survivor (hopefully). However, usually, when things get really ugly and resources necessary for survival become too scarce, people tend to look after themselves. Survival instincts and desperation kicks in. What you have and I don’t, I can try taking it from you. So make sure you keep your knife sharp.
3. Stormproof matches
I don’t know about you, but I suck at lighting fires. And I don’t mean trying to light a fire out there in the wilderness (Chris and the wild don’t mix together, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post). I’m talking about trying to get a fire going in a fireplace. If you’re like me, and for some reason you have yet to master evolutionary basics, like getting a fire going in a warm, summer day for a barbecue, imagine how much harder it will be to light a fire when it’s raining outside your shelter, you’re miserable, cold, and drenched to the bone from hunting the foul beast of Caerbannog in the rain.
Your hands are shaking. You strike the match, and just as it lights up, a gust of wind puts it out. Meanwhile, you’re still freezing, and you’re also one match shorter than before. Still no fire. Bet now you wish you had bought stormproof matches, huh?
4. Flint and steel
Eventually your stormproof matches will run out. Then what? Well, time to go old school. Flint and steel. I’ll leave the pros do the talking for this one, so watch the videos and mimic them.
If you want to know more about how to start a fire, you can check this site out. Please don’t do it in the middle of forests or in your homes, m’kay? This knowledge should only be used in case of emergency.
We take electricity for granted nowadays. Just over a century and a half ago, in some places, the streets at night were dark, and unless the sky was clear and the moon big enough to shine, you couldn’t see where you were going. Modern power grid requires constant monitoring and maintenance, so if an apocalyptic situation occurs and civilisation collapses around you, the power will be one of the first things to go. And if the scenario forces you to leave the city (assuming you live in one), you’re going to have to see where you’re going in order to avoid falling and breaking a bone. Make sure you have plenty of batteries with you, but bear in mind that they won’t last you forever. For that you may want to consider a solar-powered flashlight.
6. A compass
– Does it need batteries?
– Good. Will it save my life?
Seriously, if you have to travel and you’re miles away from any roads, or even if you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere, a compass will save your life, provided you know the relative location of wherever it is you wish to go to with respect to your current general location (in other words, “I’m in Pennsylvania and I want to go to Florida. Florida is south of where I am now”). The only chance a compass will fail you, is if you fail yourself and mistake north for south, or if something happens to the Earth’s magnetic poles. Of course in the case of the Earth’s magnetic poles disappearing, going in the wrong direction would be the least of your worries…
7. First aid kit
Regardless of the apocalyptic scenario, if you’re one of the survivors, your primary objective is to keep yourself safe. Yes, our bodies can cope with a lot of things, but would you be willing to test your limits during an apocalypse? Potentially, even a scrape from a rusty piece of metal can be fatal, so do make sure you have a handy first aid kit with you. And keep it safe. Even if you’re Superman in disguise and viruses and diseases run away from you in terror, you can always use it to barter for something you don’t have. Not that I advise you to trade away your medical supplies.
8. Hard Currency
Speaking of bartering, remember the time when banks and politicians created money out of nothing and gave us all thin plastic cards that supposedly represented equal value to hard currency, like gold? Now let’s imagine a situation where the world’s banking system has collapsed. Power and telecommunications are also no more, so no internet or electricity. And you need food and water. Lucky you, there’s a store across the street with a couple of walking mountains-for-guards keeping an eye on things, that still has some food. Of course prices will be inflated, but who cares? You have your mighty plastic card! Gold or platinum coloured!
When was the last time you tried trading plastic strips (with fancy colours) for food or water or anything valuable? Mine was in kindergarten or maybe early elementary years. So, do consider grabbing and holding onto some hard currency. Gold, silver, jewels. Things you can actually barter with. Depending on the crisis at hand, food, water, or antibiotics may be even more precious than gold and silver. While we’re looking at alternative forms of currency, and if the apocalypse allows it, consider seeds from plants that bear fruits. Preferably not from genetically modified plants, since seeds from most of these cannot grow after a couple of harvests.
9. Warm and sturdy clothes
Imagine surviving whatever apocalypse befell the world, only to succumb to a cold or hypothermia. That would really suck. So, the next time you go to a shopping spree to buy the latest awesome and fashionable clothes, you may want to consider adding something less fashionable but more durable and warm.
Yeah, that also goes without saying, however, how long will it be practical for? Assuming the apocalypse at hand is here to stay for the foreseeable future, how many bullets will you be able to carry around? And how much weight will that add to your backpack? What will you do with the gun once you have no more bullets? Throw it at the enemy? Maybe, if it’s heavy and reliable.
And there you have it, folks. Now, I tried my best to take something grim that potentially could scare a lot of people, and turn it into an enjoyable read. A lot of people take the end of the world seriously. Even if the end never comes during our lifetime, it’s always best to be prepared, right?