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Like most Moms, A.R. Shaw worries about her kids. She never dreamed the worrying would lead her to write a post-apocalyptic series.
SHAW
“I began thinking along the lines of survival,” says Shaw. “If he needed to get home, how would he do that? What route would he take?”

This line of thought sparked her imagination. From that she createdGraham’s Resolution series featuring Graham Morgan.

Many post-apocalyptic books contain protagonists aware of forthcoming disaster. Shaw wanted something a little different.

“I wanted someone who was much more realistic,” she says of character Graham. “A clueless guy who wasn’t prepared and scoffed at the mere mention of preparedness.” She created Graham and then threw him to the wolves.

Shaw creates her characters from scratch, deciding on features as she goes. Not one to write bios or sketch out her characters, she “thinks about them until I can stand next to them and breathe the same air they’re pulling into their own lungs. Then I know I’ve got them.”

As a former Radio Operator in the United States Air Force Reserves, then a wife and mother of four children, Shaw doesn’t hesitate to throw herself into a task. She wrote The China Pandemic, Book 1 of Graham’s Resolution series in three months. As the kids had all left home, she had only her dog Oakley and the tick-tocking of the clock for companionship.

Solitude is a necessity for writing, but in Shaw’s opinion, the storytelling is equally important. “A story that’s unique and intriguing, [that’s] the most important aspect of writing a story.”

Shaw’s father was in the oil business. This afforded her opportunities to experience life in different countries. She remembers monkeys swinging from tree to tree while living in Venezuela. “It makes for an interesting upbringing and coping mechanisms.” As a result, Shaw read a lot as a child and draws from her personal experiences in her writing. “Growing up that way also makes for a heightened sense of humor.”

One of her childhood experiences helped set the tone for Graham’s Resolution series. During hurricane season in Texas, people were expected to prepare for the worst. “We prepared so that we didn’t starve waiting for someone to help us. We kept drinking water available and extra canned food before we needed it.”

During a panel discussion at the Long Beach Comic Expo, part of the discussion revolved around post-apocalyptic scenarios. Shaw’s comment, “I think if society falls you will see the worst of humanity and the best of humanity,” was well-received as well as poignant.

Like many writers, Shaw has a long list of writers she admires: Hemingway, Steinbeck, Stephen King and Ann Quindlen just to name a few.  Two authors she would most like to have a conversation with are Ray Bradbury and Ayn Rand. Bradbury had a “wicked way of foretelling the future. [Rand] was a master at description and I’d love to ask her many questions.”

Shaw has written and published two books thus far in Graham’s Resolution series: The China Pandemic and The CascadePreppers. The Last Infidels, the third installment, is due out soon. She is currently working on the fourth installment, as yet untitled. She also recently completed a novella for Stephen Konkoly’s Kindle World – Perseid Collapse series, Deception on Durham Road. Its release is slated for February 3rd.

To learn more about A.R. Shaw and her books visit

A.R. Shaw’s Amazon Page

Website

Follow her on Social Media:

Twitter: @arshawauthor

Facebook

Review of The China Pandemic 

Review of The Cascade Preppers

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and e-book formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States with women heroes. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website, follow her on Twitter @penspen or visit her website at www.penspen.info 

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CHINA2Book II: The Cascade Preppers 

Paperback: 252 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 8, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1500157244

Kindle: ASIN: B00KV27ZZA

The life of Graham and his newfound family (from The China Pandemic) continues. But life is anything but ordinary and mundane.

It is now winter in Graham’s camp, bringing bitter cold and snowy conditions. Without daily weather reports, snow falls unexpectedly. New skills have been acquired – such as ice fishing and tanning hides – along with new neighbors.

The Cascade Preppers just across the Skagit River escaped the onslaught of the pandemic by reaching their encampment before being exposed to the virus.

They are cautious neighbors. Just because they escaped the pandemic does not mean they are immune to it. Survivors of the pandemic are carriers of the virus.

Which means face-to-face contact with any of Graham’s camp is off-limits.

This does not preclude communication between the two camps. On the contrary, all are congenial when contact is restricted across the river or via radio.

When pandemonium breaks out with missing members of Graham’s camp – including Graham himself – as well as a fire at the Prepper camp, they realize they may need each other for survival.

Again, Shaw doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the nasty side of survival in a world where even an old lady has gone mad. The kids in Graham’s camp are growing up more quickly than usual because they have to for their own survival.

Even the possibility of a pregnancy is a threat. Will the baby carry the virus? Will it survive full term? Would it reach adulthood? Should any pregnancy after the pandemic be aborted?

These questions were not issues before the pandemic but now must be posed in order to consider the survival of everyone.

It is especially gripping when everything begins happening at once: Disappearances, fires, potential threat of the virus entering the Prepper camp and a new arrival make for page-turning excitement.

The story itself could be a primer for survival: things necessary to stock up on, skills lost in this technological society that may come in handy should disaster strike, how to hunt wild game, all skills that may one day be re-established to ensure survival of man (and woman) kind.

Invest in this series. You may learn something that will one day keep you alive.

Another good read by A.R. Shaw.

Visit A.R. Shaw’s website 

Or purchase The Cascade Preppers here

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and e-book formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States with women heroes. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website follow her on Twitter @penspen or visit her website at www.penspen.info 

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CHINABook I: The China Pandemic

Author: A.R. Shaw

Paperback: 278 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 4, 2013)

ISBN-10: 1494368552

Kindle: ASIN: B00H06NGFS

Apocalyptic scenarios come in all shapes and sizes and a variety of dynamics.

The story of The China Pandemic opens with Hyun-Ok searching for a guardian for her five-year-old son, Bang. Hyun-Ok has already lost the rest of her family to a strain of the H5N1 virus accidentally unleashed by the Chinese. She herself is dying from the virus and must find someone to care for her son.

She chooses Graham who seems the most stable of those left in town.

But Graham has also lost his family, most notably his wife Nelly and their unborn child. When Hyun-Ok approaches him, he has just lost the final member of his family; his father. But he reluctantly agrees to care for the young boy.

Only about two percent of the world’s population survives. Those survivors are now carriers of the deadly virus. As survivors, Graham and Bang are carriers of the virus.

As the dangers in the town where he lives continue to grow, Graham feels it would be safest to reach his family cabin on the Skagit River.

He and the boy – named Bang – are off to a rocky start. They pick up twins Macy and Marcy, and a German Shepherd police dog names Sheriff, along the way. When they reach the cabin they find it already inhabited by Tala, a Native American woman suffering a miscarriage, and an old black man named Ennis.

I will leave the premise there so as not to divulge too much.

If you think this is like Stephen King’s The Stand, think again. The Stand has a degree of mysticism: people compelled to meet an old black woman in the middle of nowhere for no reason any of them could fathom.

There is no mysticism here. But there is plenty of stark reality.

On the upside (if there is one) of a pandemic is all the electricity, water and cars still work. Until a human is required to flip any switches to keep the electricity and water running.

Shaw depicts reality with compassion while still gripping the reader with fear. In any post-apocalyptic situation, crazies run amuck and Shaw doesn’t pull any punches with the dangers lying in wait for those unprepared.

Her characters are vivid; most people could relate to them as they each recover from their losses and go about building a new family. Achieving a degree of normalcy after such an event is a day-by-day trial and error experience. They work and learn together how to survive.

If you read closely, you could learn what is needed to survive just about any apocalypse.

There are errors, but the story is compelling and well-written. This book is a good read and well worth it.

Visit A.R. Shaw’s website 

Purchase The China Pandemic here 

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and e-book formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States with women heroes. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website follow her on Twitter @penspen or visit her website at www.penspen.info 

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theendcover

Book Review: The End

G. Michael Hopf

Print Length: 408 pages

ISBN: 1478195487

Publisher: Plume (October 30, 2013)

Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

The title is The End but, in truth, it is the beginning.

On December 15, 2014, civilization as we know it comes to an end. Surviving the ordeal is the beginning.

Mr. Hopf paints an incredibly realistic picture of what could happen if this nation were struck with an Electromagnetic Pulse as well as nuclear strikes. He skillfully tackles every aspect of daily life: community, military and political.

On the community level, we are focused on the neighborhood of Rancho Valentino, close to the city of San Diego. As civilization breaks down in the weeks after the initial attacks, the reader is witness to neighbor turning against neighbor in the quest for survival. Gordon Van Zandt’s first priority is to ensure the survival of his family, no matter the cost.

On the military front, we witness General Barone as he and his Marines go rogue. Contradicting orders to help with clean up on the East coast, Barone heads his men and an amphibian ship to California so they might find their families. Going against orders pits Americans against one another and Gordon’s brother Sebastian Van Zandt gets caught in the middle.

In the political arena, with Washington, DC wiped out by an outright nuclear attack, Speaker of the House Brad Connor is now the new President. Connor isn’t accustomed to giving orders but he toughens up fairly quickly.

The government has its own hard-wired Internet system in an attempt to preserve a functioning government and to keep abreast of events. Of course, the government has hidden bunkers across the United States to also ensure a functioning government.

Mr. Hopf’s depiction is realistic: grim but realistic. In all fairness, the situation would be much more grim were attacks such as these actually perpetrated upon the United States. People killing each other over a scrap of food or a drink of water; vigilantes taking what they want; drug cartels and other enemies of the United States attacking and taking over: Losing our humanity in an effort to survive reduces people to hardly anything more than barbarians.

The illustration of the breakdown of society represented here should be a wake-up call for everyone in this country. Not only those in power, but for all citizens.

Which is why I recommend this series as a must-read for every citizen in this country. Preparation for events such as these should be mandatory for every citizen because when the poop hits the fan, it’s going to be every man, woman and child for him/herself.

Arm yourself with knowledge so you won’t be caught unaware. Invest in The New World series by G. Michael Hopf.

Find The End here: http://amzn.to/1wf4EKf

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and e-book formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States with women heroes. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website at http://bit.ly/1yYsNH2 follow her on Twitter @penspen or visit her website at http://www.penspen.info Contact her at mytuppenceblog at yahoo.com to inquire about proofreading, editing and formatting services.

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 longroad

Start Prepping Now

Book Review

The Long Road

Michael Hopf

344 pages

Publisher: Plume

Sold by: Penguin Group

Post-apocalyptic scenarios fascinate me. I find the indomitability of human survival against overwhelming odds oddly hopeful.

Michael Hopf gets into the action in The Long Road pretty quick.

Even without the advantage of having read the first entry in the series – The End – I had no difficulty catching up and understanding what had happened and what was going on. Mr. Hopf deftly wove the backstory of the first book into the second, thus enabling the reader to follow the story without lengthy explanations or the absolute necessity to read the first book.

The characters are rich and vivid. I had no trouble empathizing with the good guys and despising the bad guys. And the bad guys are truly detestable.

It is a race against time for survival as what was once America continues to break down into a primitive, apathetic, lawless and frightening world in which to live. And with three sanctions vying for power in this post-apocalyptic land, it’s anyone’s guess what the country will look like once the dust has settled.

The intensity of the action and drama had me glued to my seat: I actually read the entire book in one sitting, reluctant to take a break to even refresh my cup of tea. It is rare that I am so compelled to read a book that I don’t want to break away from it to refresh my tea!

Yes, the book could use some editing, but that can be said about the books of Dean Koontz, James Rollins and countless other tomes coming out of traditional publishing houses these days. I have developed a degree of tolerance for errors because that isn’t going to change anytime soon. The errors in the book are few so it doesn’t interfere so much with the reading experience.

The only drawback, of course, is that now I need to acquire the third book to find out what happens next. Several cliffhangers were included (no spoilers!) and inquiring minds must know. The fourth installment isn’t due out until 2015, so I have a little time to catch up.

The scenarios painted in The Long Road are grim but very realistic. It’s easy to visualize those events actually occurring should our nation be attacked on the level depicted in the book. With the current state of the world and people being people, I am surprised something like this has not already occurred.

Although when I view the 6:00 news, I wonder just how far off those events truly are.

With those words, I’m going to start prepping now.

If you’re interested, check out G. Michael Hopf’s Amazon Author Page where each novel in the series is listed. http://amzn.to/1vWDEiA

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and ebook formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle is a fictitious account of an EMP attack. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website at http://bit.ly/1yYsNH2 Follow her on Twitter @penspen, visit her website at http://www.penspen.info or follow her blog www.mytuppence.weebly.com Contact her at mytuppenceblog at yahoo.com to inquire about proofreading, editing and formatting services.

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You’ve probably seen it in action. It was in the movies, The Matrix ansolar-flare-67532_640d Ocean’s Eleven. And because it was in those movies, you may have thought it was science fiction. It isn’t.

Both movies utilized something called an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP); one to offset the attack of machines, the other to wipe out electricity in Las Vegas. It has also been a major theme in several other movies as well as television shows.

An EMP is a surge of electromagnetic energy capable of rendering other electronics useless. A powerful EMP can destroy electronics indefinitely.

Google It

Do a Google search on the term and you will receive over 1 million results, including an article in the Wall Street Journal in August of 2014.

It is a growing threat, both from solar flares and potential terrorist attacks. There have been six recorded solar flare events since 1972 which produced Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) strong enough to disrupt electronics. There have probably been other events which went unrecorded in that time frame.

Some pooh-pooh the idea that we will ever encounter an EMP event, whether nature-made or manmade. But did we ever think the United States would be attacked on its own soil, as in the events of September 11, 2001?

Where Will You Be?

If you are in your home should an EMP event occur, consider yourself fortunate. You are sheltered and you have some food and water.

If you are in your car on the Interstate, life will be difficult. Your car won’t run if it’s 1980 or older due to all the electronics under the hood. Walking will be your only option. Don’t count on assistance from emergency personnel; your cell phone won’t work. Even if it did, transportation for emergency personnel won’t work, nor will any hospital be functioning.

If you’re at work, the story is similar. Elevators won’t work, nor will electronically closed and locked doors. You may be stuck there.

If you have loved ones in a monitored care facility such as hospice or nursing homes, those facilities will break down quickly. Staff at those locations will be desperate to get home to their families, leaving an overworked, tired and hungry skeleton staff to care for those who survive. GPS monitors will not work; any patients in those facilities may wander off and become lost.

There will be no functioning news reports via television, radio or the Internet.

It is a grim depiction of what life would be like with no electricity. It is frightening and a very real possibility.

Though I hope it will never occur, all that science fiction is catching up with us. Best to brace for it than be caught unaware.

Wall Street Journal article: http://on.wsj.com/1yumR5f

Pen is a self-published author with numerous titles. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States. It can be found here:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/1rsEQFX
Kindle: http://amzn.to/1z7sJpO
Smashwords: http://bitly.com/1FN1By3

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