The Tour will run October 5th – October 11th
Genre: Coming of Age/ Sci-Fi
They came, but not in peace. They came to destroy us. Our cities crumbled. Our people died by the billions. Their weapons were sophisticated beyond our worst nightmare.
But they didn’t count on our stubborn tenacity or our will to live. We fight back, and we fight dirty.
Mike Sanderlin survived the first attack … but could he survive the war? How will he keep his sister safe in a world where terror swoops from the sky and looters claim the streets? Law and order are as forgotten as the bodies that rot in the sun.
To keep his sister alive, Mike changes. He becomes Iron Mike, a man unafraid of making the hard decisions, a man unafraid of war, of killing or being killed. Iron Mike isn’t afraid, period.
Iron Mike is a survivor.
She’d driven about ten miles from Malik’s house, wending her way between wrecked vehicles and making it all the way through both of the Shepherdsville traffic lights before the car had started sputtering. Kari had been paying attention to Shepherdsville, not the fuel gauge. She’d been shocked at the state of the small town. None of the businesses had opened, and a lot of the store front windows and door frames had been shattered, contents from the stores strewn about the parking lots. People had already started looting? What the fuck was up with that?
She kept the Sig Sauer in her unzipped pocket, within easy reach. She had gone through Malik’s gun safe and now had three extra magazines in the back pocket of her jeans. She figured if she needed them, she was dead. If eleven rounds of 9mm weren’t enough to protect her, the extra magazines would be no better than paperweights.
Nothing to be done for it. Kari stepped out of the jeep and pulled out her heavy backpack, adjusting it over her shoulders and snapping the straps in front to balance the load. It wasn’t bad, she told herself. She’d seen plenty of soldiers jogging around post in full rucksacks, and a lot of them were women, too. If they could do it, so could she.
Kari squinted at the town of Shepherdsville behind her, then back up State Road 44, which she knew was at least half the mileage she needed to travel to Knox. Once she hit Dixie Highway, it was about another twelve to fifteen miles to the front gates on Brandenburg Station Road. She didn’t even consider cutting through the woods. Kari was a city girl, and she intended to arrive on the post alive, not wander in circles through unfamiliar terrain until she froze to death or got eaten by coyotes. If she stuck to the roads, she would get there eventually.
She walked for more than an hour, almost totally uphill, before hearing the first vehicle. Kari cautiously stepped off the side of the road, her legs backed against the guard rail. S.R. 44 was a two-lane cut-through to Dixie Highway, and it was twisty; with the light layer of snow, it would also be slippery.
The red pickup’s engine roared as the driver downshifted, and passed right by her. Kari pushed off from the guard rail to start walking again – stopping abruptly as she saw the brake lights and backup lights. She leaned back against the guard rail and waited.
She made her decision instantly when the passenger window rolled down, and the man leered at her with what he probably assumed was a pleasant smile. His eyes moved up her body from her heavy boots, jeans, to the shapeless heavy coat she wore and the long braid of brown hair covered with a thick stocking cap.
“Need a ride, sweet thing?” the driver asked, leaning forward so he could see around the passenger.
Kari smiled politely, but it was stiff. The man was smiling, but there was a meanness to his smile that made Kari’s radar go off. His red hair was greasy and unkempt and he looked like he hadn’t showered in a week. “No, thanks,” she replied. “I appreciate the offer, but I don’t have far to go now.”
The passenger spoke, his voice making Kari’s skin crawl. “Aw, you really should come with us, miss. A pretty lady like you all alone in this crazy world, halfway up Martin Hill – it ain’t safe.”
“I’ll be fine,” Kari said politely. “Thank you again for the offer.”
She watched the crazy as it happened. The passenger’s pleasant leer fell from his face, and his eyes clouded with fury. “Bitch, you don’t know a good thing when you hear it,” he said, and opened his door, putting one foot on the snow.
Kari drew the Sig and aimed it right between the man’s eyes, thumbing the safety off in one smooth motion. He froze for a moment, his eyes narrowing as he assessed her. “You’re a cute little thing,” he said, a malicious eagerness in his voice. “Mine’s bigger.”
He moved his eyes to the gun rack on the back wall of the pickup where three large shotguns rested. Kari knew he wanted her to look at them, for her eyes to leave his so he could jump her. She didn’t oblige, keeping her eyes dead level on his.
“First shot takes out your rearview.” Her voice was oddly calm and quiet. Maybe all of Dad’s lectures and target practice hadn’t been wasted on her after all. “Second shot goes between your eyes and takes out you. Third shot the driver, if he’s still here.”
For a long moment, it was stalemate.
“Come on, Hank, let’s just go,” the driver whined. It was the wrong thing to say, because Hank was full of crazy, even if the driver didn’t know it, and his friend’s cowardice fueled his bravado. He shifted his weight so he stepped out of the truck.
Kari shot, the sound thundering down the ravine, echoing back to her. She was almost certain the man named Hank felt the bullet pass next to his head. It was a lucky shot. Not only did the rearview mirror break, but it broke cleanly in half, the wiring inside leaving both ends of the mirror dangling impressively and a neat round bullet hole in the windshield. Hank looked back, looking into Kari’s eyes again, his own narrowed meanly.
Kari didn’t react at all. She didn’t let victory or fear show on her face. “That’s one, Hank. Either get back in your truck, or come at me for number two.”
The driver, fortunately, kept his mouth shut this time. With a snarl, Hank shifted his weight back inside the vehicle and pulled his door closed with an angry slam. “I’ll find you again, cunt,” he sneered. “And when I do –“
Kari didn’t get to hear the rest of his threat because the driver peeled away before Hank could finish it.
Kari stood, adjusted her backpack and headed out with quick, confident steps.
She was her father’s daughter. She was nobody’s goddamned prey.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was about four or five years old. My favorite books in the world (then) was “The Bobbsey Twins” series – anyone else old enough to remember them? I loved those books and I used to write my own (really bad) spin-off stories, starring myself and my first book-boyfriend, Bert Bobbsey. He was so awesome, for an older man!! (He was twelve.)
The first time I realized I wanted to write seriously, as in, get-this-baby-published seriously, was in August of 2015. Yeah, I know – just a month ago. I took one of the books I’d been playing around with and really looked at it. Then I revised and edited it to within an inch of its life. Then I found a wonderful group of people on the Epilogues Book Club on Facebook, and the rest was extremely chaotic, mind-numbing, brain-draining, exhilarating, overwhelming history.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I suppose that depends on the book. Until recently, I used a “when-the-muse-strikes” approach of writing when I felt like it then putting the book in a drawer for two to six months. A word of advice: bad plan. Even if what you are writing is GARBAGE, I would encourage someone to write at least 2,000 words every day, with occasional sanity breaks. If I listened to my own advice, it would take me six to eight months to write a book.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Information and ideas are two separate things, so I’ll address them separately. I get information from a wide variety of sources, most especially Google! I try to make my settings places I have actually lived or visited extensively and, if worse comes to worst, I use maps. My ideas often come from things around me that I find amusing, interesting or horrifying – anything that sticks in my brain long after the event is past will probably find its way into one of my books. I also use names from people in my past to name my characters. Often, there is no reason at all for the name besides the “sound” of it, but many times, I can find quite an evil catharsis from writing a character’s name based off a person in RL whom I don’t like. Unfortunately, in Iron Mike, I had to change a name I had used. My husband’s ex-wife might actually pick up the book, after all ……
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first “book” when I was 7. It was for a school assignment and it involved a professor who made a time machine and a little girl who went back to the age of dinosaurs and had a pet brontosaurus. Surprisingly, the Hugo award committee did not contact me.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love animals so I enjoy hanging out with my three cats, two dogs, Burmese python, and tarantula. (Seriously, the dogs and cats are a lot more interactive than the snake or spider.) I enjoy reading voraciously (of course!) and, weather permitting, I enjoy swimming.
What does your family think of your writing?
I have got, hands down, THE most supportive friends and family a person could EVER have. My husband peeks over my shoulder every once in awhile and offers comments and corrections when needed, then goes back to playing his game. When a rough draft manuscript is completely finished, he reads it in one marathon setting and offers comments. My wife doesn’t read anything until I give her the okay, but she is ABSOLUTELY my biggest cheerleader! I think – no, I KNOW – she’s even more excited about the upcoming publication of Iron Mike than I am! (And that’s an accomplishment!)
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
One of the surprising things to me was the ups-and-downs of the writing process itself. When I’m motivated, “on a roll,” touched by the muse, etc., the words can’t come out of my fingertips fast enough. I’ll literally trip over myself typing and look up fifteen minutes later to realize an entire day has passed, it’s dark outside, people and critters are patiently waiting for food, and I’ve really, really, REALLY had to pee for at least an hour.
This amazing, wonderful burst of creativity is usually (for me) followed by a crash. Those are the days when I can’t seem to write ANYTHING, so I slog through a minimum 2,000 words of pure CRAP knowing that I will toss every single word out in the revising process. I’ve recently found, though, that I need the discipline of writing every day (or at least 6 days a week) in order to maintain any momentum.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
“Iron Mike” is my first publication. For quite awhile, it was my favorite; however, the writing and editing are done and now there’s nothing left but self-promotion, social media networking, selling and waiting for reviews. I really, REALLY wish “Iron Mike” would do all the post-writing publication and promotion work by himself and leave me to play with my new friends in my work-in-progress, “Hopeless.”
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Seriously, write every day or at a very minimum, five days a week. Write for at least five hours each day or 2,000 words, whichever is greater. If you’re stuck, either text yourself (pretending you’re texting a friend) all of your “what’s happening next” ideas, or (easier), engage the recording feature on your cell phone and “talk” into the recording as if you were telling your best friend what is coming next in your story. If you’re still not un-stuck, transcribe the words onto paper – at least, it gives you a starting point. Don’t be afraid to write schmaltzy garbage – you WILL revise and self-edit many, many times before your book is polished and shiny.
What do you think makes a good story?
Believable, relatable, likable characters who experience and grow through some type of conflict. For me, it is ALL about character development. You can have the most exciting plot line in the world, but if I could care less about the people you are putting through all of this excitement, I won’t keep turning pages.
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to do my FIRST interview! I hope you enjoy “Iron Mike” (due out September 27) and any other stories I happen to tell in the future! Best of luck on your own writing, and Happy Reads, always!
Patricia Rose was born a bookworm, and has never outgrown it. Her love of stories started with The Bobbsey Twins when she was five and continues today with the best offerings of science fiction, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. An avid animal lover, she shares her home with her husband, her spiritual wife, two dogs, four cats, a snake, and a tarantula. Her husband, Kevin, has strongly advised her to put down her hammer, chisels, and stone tablets and come into the digital age!
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