Check Out Our October Schedule! Loads of Open Events! Varied Genres @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

Hey Book Buddies!

October is a huge month for us! There are tons of tours and bookish events that still have room and I thought it would be a good idea to have the listings all in one place! I hope to see lots of sign ups!

Cover Reveal: A Study in Survival by W.H Lockwood (October 1st)

Genre: Cozy Horror Romance/ Dark Academia

She survived the spirit. She survived the demon. She survived term one.

Winter at Endymion College should mean only good things for Anna James: books, best friends, and studying Gothic Literature under the most handsome professor Anna has ever laid eyes on. Unfortunately, just as she prepares to relax and enjoy her very hard-earned place at this coveted university, an impossibly dashing stranger arrives to turn everything upside down.

Suddenly, Anna finds herself caught in a life-or-death struggle against a fiendish new supernatural assailant, and with explosive revelations and closely held secrets forced out into the open, a tragic history comes back to haunt Anna and her friends.

Knife skills and friendships will be put to the test as enemies, both human and paranormal, work to destroy everything Anna has fought to build.

Can Anna get to the bottom of her haunted apartment mystery and resist the eerily familiar charms of a gorgeous new interloper, all while trying to keep herself and her friends alive? Or will she and those she holds dearest be torn apart by a new kind of evil?

Equally as gothic, just as romantic, even more dangerous, packed full of ghost stuff and demon stuff, Endymion College 2: A Study in Survival is the inappropriately-amusing, cosy-horror sequel you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to enrol.

Book Tour: Secrets of a Rose by Adina Chiles (October 3 – 7)

Genre: YA Fantasy

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A kingdom built with secrets is bound to unravel.

During the month of Amira, the silver moon emerges, and the kingdom of Zyra comes alive with anticipation for its annual ball. Mellana Goodwick, finally at the rightful age of sixteen, receives her first invitation, but when unexpected events take place, immediate regret sets in. Mellana finds herself caught in a strange storm-casting down green lightning and filling the sky with ear-splitting thunder. To make matters worse, the kingdom comes under attack by Prince Lorian, a man removed from the line of succession for murdering his sister, the future queen, and her newborn child.

After escaping the attack with her best friends, Mellana stumbles upon a box left by a woman named Rose. With the power to see glimpses of the future, Rose warns Mellana of hidden powers the kingdom has covered up and Lorian’s desire to unleash them all. Rose instructs Mellana to gather the sacred article from each of the seven kingdoms before Lorian and his deadly group can gain access to them. Together, the items unlock a barrier that is meant to stay shut.

In Secrets of a Rose, Mellana will discover remarkable abilities that stir around her and some that even rise within. In order to keep what she loves, she must embark on a race against the person who dares to threaten it all.

Book Tour: The Maze Cutter by James Dashner (Oct. 3 – 7)

Genre: YA Dystopian/ Teens

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00062]Seventy-three years after the events of THE DEATH CURE, when Thomas and other immunes were sent to an island to survive the Flare-triggered apocalypse, their descendants have thrived. Sadina, Isaac, and Jackie all learned about the unkind history of the Gladers from The Book of Newt and tall tales from Old Man Frypan, but when a rusty old boat shows up one day with a woman bearing dark news of the mainland–everything changes. The group and their islander friends are forced to embark back to civilization where they find Cranks have evolved into a more violent, intelligent version of themselves. The islanders are hunted by the Godhead, the Remnant Nation, and scientists with secret agendas. When they cross paths with an orphan named Minho from the Remnant Nation, the dangers become real and they don’t know who they can trust. The islanders will have to survive long enough to figure out why they are being targeted, who is friend or foe, and what the Godhead has planned for the future of humanity.

Book Tour: Seekers: The Winds of Change by Troy Knowlton (Oct. 3 – 7)

Genre: YA Fantasy/ High Fantasy

UPDATED-FRONT-SEEKERSAfter an assassination attempt that could lead to an all-out war, Tyras and Oren, two young Seekers of the Argan Empire, are each given secret missions in an attempt to thwart the coming chaos. Both tasks require the Seekers to venture through the war-torn continent of Tiarna where the young men face mortal danger, horrible monsters, and hostile groups – all challenges Seekers are trained to combat. Luckily, the two Seekers also find guidance, friendship, and romance along the way. However, powerful and mysterious forces are conspiring behind the scenes and both Tyras and Oren will have to overcome a host of obstacles, including their own inner demons, in order to maintain a glimmer of hope for success. With war imminent and the unknown ahead, will the Seekers triumph, or will they be swallowed by the turbulent, relentless Winds of Change?

Set in a new, masterfully created high fantasy world, Seekers: The Winds of Change is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faisal.

Book Tour: The Abdication by Justin Newland (Oct. 10 – 14)

Genre: Fantasy/ Supernatural

The Abdication - Final flattened. Front cover (titles)The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity. They built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.

Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo. Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!

The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.

Book Tour: The Pain Eater by Lashane Arnette (Oct 10 – 14)

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

NewCoverFor most people, discovering the truth of who you are can be a harrowing journey, but when you’re 21-year-old Sadie Reed, discovering your truth can be downright deadly.

After her twenty-first birthday, Sadie has an undeniable vision and learns she’s psychic. She uses her gift to reconnect with her estranged father and spirals down an emotional rabbit hole…

When she has a vision of missing woman, Maxine Powell, being brutally murdered, she learns true evil does exist– and it’s killing gifted women just like her.

With the help of her best friend, Adrian, whom she is falling in love with, and Angel, an old dying Psychic, Sadie embarks on a journey to find the missing woman and quickly learns the path to her full potential lies within death.

Will it be hers, or someone she cares about?

The Pain Eater uniquely touches on the lasting pain associated with loss, the power within true love, and the strength of family.

Book Tour: Inhuman Acts by Brooke L. French (Oct. 10 – 14) 10 Physical ARCs are Now Available!

Genre: Thriller

Front Cover Inhuman Acts full cover finalA deadly, incurable disease creeps silent through Chattanooga. And its victims aren’t random.

When inexplicable human rabies cases appear in Tennessee, disease ecologist Letty Duquesne jumps at the chance to trace the virus back to its source. But the closer Letty gets to finding the outbreak’s origin, the further someone will go to stop her.

With an unwanted promotion threatening to take Letty far from the fieldwork she loves, this outbreak feels like her last chance to make a difference. It’s not something she can ignore, especially now. The spillover of zoonotic diseases to the human population is on the rise and violent animal attacks-like the one that killed her sister-are becoming all too common.

Something in nature has gone very wrong.

Local authorities would rather she go home, but Letty can track a source animal like no one else. With the help of disgraced detective Andrew Marsh, Letty follows the virus’s epidemiological trail. But her every move is watched. And the source animal is closer than she thinks.

Book Tour: Closer to Okay by Amy Watson (Oct. 10 – 14)

CoverGenre: Book Club Fiction/ Modern Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

Book Release Blitz Sign Up: To Steal the Sun by S.M. Carter (Oct 11th) Genre: Fantasy/ POC/ LGBTQ2+ @SheldonCarter @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

Hey Book Dragons!

I’m organizing a book blitz for the official launch of an adult fantasy novel called To Steal the Sun by S. M. Carter. The blitz will be held on October 11th and I am looking for hosts!

Sign up below!

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To Steal the Sun

Expected Publication Date: October 11th, 2022

Genre: Adult Fantasy/ Heist Fantasy/ POC/ LGBTQ2+ Representation

3 DANGEROUS rogues. 2 nations at WAR. 1 IMPOSSIBLE heist. Ocean’s 11 meets Game of Thrones. From one of the creators of WARFRAME!

THE KICKSTARTER SENSATION THAT WAS OVER 700% FUNDED.

When Raik, the most cunning smuggler this side of the desert, finds where the Ivory King vaults his magical runes—he builds a crew to execute an elaborate heist.

Among them is Kahli Mahanta, a religious assassin with blind ambition. A young rogue, Kirin, with wit sharper than his arrows ought to be. And Amara, the so-called Nightspirit, whose raven-hair conceals even darker secrets.

It won’t be easy. They’re opposed by the curved blades of the magic-deranged, watched by a paranoid king, and hunted by gaunt beasts that click in the cold desert night… All the while discovering that trusting each other might be the most dangerous mission of all.

To Steal The Sun is a tale of unlikely heroes thrust together in a new refreshing fantasy. One cast in vibrant silks, fragrant spice, and the relentless glare of a radiant sun.

About the Author

S.M.Carter

S.M. CARTER is an author and game developer.

As an author he has contributed to multiple comic anthologies and writes the ongoing graphic novel, AARDEHN, with artist Eric Vedder. As a game developer, he is credited as creative director of THE DARKNESS 2, and is one of the creators of the smash-hit game WARFRAME.
He lives in London, Ontario, Canada with his wife and two children.
He once caught a fly with chopsticks.

S.M. Carter Linktree

 

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Book Blitz Sign Up & Review Opportunity: The Path of Most Resistance & Other Stories by Yoav Ilan (Sept 30th) Genre: Sci-Fi/ Anthology @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

For Fans of Black Mirror!

I am organizing a book blitz for a sci-fi anthology called The Path of Most Resistance and Other Stories for September 30th and I’m looking for hosts!

This book is also available for review until November 14th, though the author is hoping for reviews to be shared before October 10th if possible! 

Sign up below!

the path of most resistance ebook cover

The Path of Most Resistance

Expected Publication Date: October 10th, 2022

Genre: Sci-Fi/ Speculative Fiction/ Anthology

The stories of The Path of Most Resistance feature curious nonconformists who find themselves pushing back against strange and oppressive social norms, mavericks who transgress the boundaries of convention in their strive for freedom and authenticity. No matter if they’re in a Silicon Valley office, the far reaches of space, or dystopian futures where relationships are subjected to totalitarian control, the characters show unshakable conviction in a world plagued with uncertainty. Each story ushers you into a unique reality that unfolds step by step, leaving you with a disturbing new perception of the world.

In “Blind Date,” two lovers chosen for each other by a hidden control system attempt to peel away the layers of their oppressive reality and peer into what they were not meant to see. In “Expressing,” a pick-up at an ordinary bar turns into a paranormal encounter. In “The Path of Most Resistance,” a hiring manager and a job candidate go all-in during an interview that will reshape their lives. In “Red Flagged,” a random passenger is accidentally exposed as a covert rebel fighting for freedom in a society that dictates what one is allowed to know. In “Miscalibrated,” an interstellar expedition runs into armed conflict with an alien civilization, in which their best chance of avoiding a nuclear war is discovering the underlying truth about the communication differences between humans and these aliens.

In story after story, author Yoav Ilan displays remarkable creativity and intelligence, showing that sci-fi can be as artistic as literary fiction, and that things are never as they seem.

Coming Soon!

About the Author

Yoav Ilan sqaure profile

Following his career as a naval engineer Yoav moved on to Computer Science, and has spent the last two-decades in the high tech industry, ranging from small startups to big tech. He is a husband, father and a science nerd. He lives in New York.

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*Please let me know if you would like to read and review the book in the message box

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The “Ber” Months Sale: Book Blitzes for Only $60! @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books #BookTwitter #BookPromo #AuthorsofTwitter

Happy September!

To celebrate the start of the ‘ber’ months, book blitzes or book blasts if you prefer will be available for only $60 with as little as a week’s notice! This could be the perfect marketing event for authors and publishers with time constraints, or smaller budgets! You can even book early to take advantage of the sale price! Perfect if you have a publication date coming up!

Don’t miss out! Book Today!

 

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The Road Not Taken by Susan Rubin is On Sale for a Limited Time! Grab a Copy TODAY! @SusanRubin1 @DeborahBrosseau @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

The Road Not Taken is available for a special price at participating retailers this summer! Take advantage and grab a copy today!

The Road Not Taken

Publication Date: September 4, 2020

Genre: Humor/ Fantasy

A woman suddenly widowed at 50,  left with money but no direction to her life, deep in transition from suburban housewife status, moves back to the West Village where she grew up. When she meets a woman who appears to be an identical twin, she discovers the Lost: a group of 100 fully-formed people dropped off on Earth as it cooled down they have lived on the planet as it developed the many species and geography of today.

The Lost show her the myriad dimensions of Spacetime, taking her to ancient Egypt, Weimar Germany, and planets without inhabitants, and reuniting her with loved ones she has lost to death. Through a casual affair with Osiris, god of Egypt, and her friendship with Vincent Van Gogh, she lives many truths that are new to her and learns who she needs to become to walk the road not taken.

PURCHASE HERE!

About the Author

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Susan Rubin has written for Funny or Die, and in contrast, she’s written more than two dozen documentaries that highlight international women’s issues like domestic violence, forced child marriage, and untested rape kits accumulating in police evidence rooms. Rubin has used her skill, empathy, and compassion to render these darkest of topics into accessible films distributed to tens of thousands of college classrooms.

As a playwright, Rubin has, for 20 years, been the recipient of Los Angeles County Arts Commission Grants and Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Grants. She also was honored with a six-year residency at the prestigious Los Angeles Theatre Center. Her plays have been seen at New York Theatre Workshop, Baltimore Center Stage, and at every major 99 seat theatre in Los Angeles including co-productions with Bootleg Theatre, Circle X, Skylight Theatre to name a few. She is the recipient of Garland, Ovation and LA Weekly Awards.

Susan Rubin | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

 

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Check Out Year Zero by David Dean Lugo – Genre: YA Dystopian @daviddeanlugo @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #YearZero #BookBlitz

Check out this thrilling new YA Dystopian novel, Year Zero!

This is the first book in a new trilogy called Revolution’s Children and you’re going to want to read this!

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Year Zero (Revolution’s Children Book 1)

Publication Date: May 24th, 2022

Genre: YA Dystopian

A thrilling new YA dystopian novel has dark parallels to a conceivable future America.

It’s been two years since the establishment of the brutal dictatorship The Incorporated Precincts of America and its governing Board and CEO, as well as the death of the old America. Sixteen-year-old Joey Cryer has two missions: to keep their six-year-old sister, Julia, safe, and to not die.

America first. America last. America always. This is the vow that the CEO leader of the IPA—The Incorporated Precincts of America—pledges to his suffering citizens. With violent protests breaking out in every city, attacks against immigrants, and the national crisis of the Capitol Event, young Joey must keep their vigilance in staying clear of the IPA’s ever-watching Sons of Liberty—its ruthless police force—to avoid becoming “disappeared” with his little sister. This means not maligning the governing body, The Corporation, with any thought, word, or action, or else suffer the consequence. One such sanction for disobeying citizens is being forced on to the required viewing television show “Manhunt,” where they fight for their lives against the Sons, upholding The Corporation’s domination over society.

Two years earlier, before the Second Revolution ended and before the election, Joey’s biggest concern was sitting at the right cafeteria table at his high school or if the girl they liked liked them back. Avoiding the school bully, Harlan Grundy, was always a plus, and so was not getting pummeled. So, it was no big surprise that Harlan became a Son, loyal to The Corporation and carrying out their dirty deeds to keep citizens in check and in fear. The only correct response to a Son? Everything is goodly.

Having lost everything in the revolution’s aftermath, Joey takes an unfathomable risk by helping the near-dead leader of the rebellion, John Doe. Having anything to do with Doe will skip you right past penalties and sanctions all the way to the death penalty, not only for you, but for anyone you love. And yet Joey’s sole mission is keep Julia safe until they can secretly escape to freedom. To do so, they finds they have an unlikely partner in a recently betrayed Harlan. Trusting their former enemy may be the only way to ensure their future—but is it worth the risk for Joey, Julia, and his community?

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Chapter One

No law respecting the established religion, prohibiting its free and compulsory practice, may be passed. All citizens free or otherwise are responsible for their speech, as is the press. The Board may sanction the people or the press should they choose to malign The Corporation or its representatives in print, thought, word, or action.

—First Amendment, Constitution Incorporated Precincts of America

A hand grabs my shoulder, and I know I’m screwed. The flickering light from the Jumbotron across the street dispels the concealing darkness. What was I thinking trying to sneak my way across town square after dark? I pull my hat lower, hoping that he won’t recognize me.

Especially if curfew has started.

Dan and Katie are starting the Manhunt preshow on the Jumbotron, which isn’t a good sign. Manhunt rarely starts before seven.

My mouth is dry, and my heart’s hammering fills my ears. It’s the fight-or-flight response kicking in big time. Except in my case, it’s the flight-and-still-get-pommeled response.

Even knowing how it will end, I still think about running.

Just for a second.

Old habits die hard.

I move my eyes to the hand, hoping it’s not covered by a white glove. Crap. It is. So, the he attached to the hand isn’t a regular cop. A cop will just shake me down and let me go. But not this guy.

He’s a Son of Liberty.

I’m surprised he hasn’t shot me yet. They usually do. I mean, it’s kinda their go-to move. I glance from his glove to his face.

I silence a scream. This guy isn’t any old Son. He’s Harlan Grundy. That name alone makes most kids cry. Always has.

Harlan’s been bullying kids since the old days, back when we still lived in a place called the USA. By the time The Corporation ran things and changed the name to The Incorporated Precincts of America, or IPA, Harlan had transformed bullying into an art form. I mean, watching him terrorize a kid is like watching Michelangelo turn a hunk of stone into a statue. Pure artistry.

Unless you’re the rock.

All the Sons are big, but Harlan’s bigger. Not like Schwarzenegger big. It’s more natural. Like a gorilla. Most let his stocky form, with its squashed nose, thick fingers, and stubby legs, fool them. But he possessed a speed unheard of, even among Olympic athletes.

And I, underneath this big ass coat, am just a scrawny sixteen-year-old. Exercise and me are not the best of friends. I mean, we wave when we pass by in the halls. Unless running from Harlan counts. Because if it does, I’m a gold medalist.

Okay, maybe a bronze because he always catches me.

“Hold it, citizen,” he says loud enough for me to hear over the Jumbotron’s droning voices. That is quite a feat since they always have it turned up to like a million.

Wait. Citizen?

He doesn’t recognize me.

He says something, but Dan speaks over him from the Jumbotron. “We’ll be back after this message.”

A second later, tolling bells replace his smug voice, sounding out the half hour. I glance at the screen, hoping it says six thirty. Instead, a robotic voice says, “The time is now seven thirty. Curfew is in effect.”

I’m doubly screwed.

After curfew, you get arrested or worse, unless you’re on official IPA business. It won’t take anyone more than one look to know I’m not. And Harlan’s fists and I have known each other since I was eight, and he was eleven. It’s only a matter of time until his dim brain dusts off the cobwebs and the first faint itch of recognition dawns on him.

If he doesn’t shoot me, which I doubt, I have two simple choices left. But I won’t get to choose. Instead, an Inquisitor will decide between sending me to a Liberty Camp or inducting me into the army.

The second is most likely. They’re drafting more people every day. Younger and younger too. I mean, except for like Ward Commanders, Inquisitors, and Auditors, the whole Corporation is getting younger. I guess they figure the young don’t have as much attachment to the way things were.

The CEO says we’re winning the war, and the extra troops are for the last push into Ottawa. But I’ve heard the rumors. Who hasn’t?

Some say Mexico, Canada’s ally, has won ground in the Southwest. Others say the early winter weather has paralyzed our troops in Ontario and Alaska. What’s happening in Europe is anyone’s guess.

So, whatever the Inquisitor decides, it’s better if Harlan shoots me.

Usually, I’m home before curfew, but I had forgotten it’s earlier now. That’s thanks to the Does—John and Jane Doe—and their rebels blowing up stuff. Last Tuesday, the day most Sons get their rations, they blew up the rationing center. Now, the rest of us are still living off our last pitiful portion.

Movies make rebellion seem exciting and heroic. I guess it is, fighting oppression or whatever. But from where I sit, trying to get by and staying off The Corporation’s radar, it’s terrifying. It doesn’t help people like me. Maybe it will someday, but I’m not holding my breath.

I burrow deeper into my father’s coat, trying to avoid eye contact. The coat must be the only reason Harlan hasn’t recognized me. There’s no point in trying to hide the bag of contraband I’m holding.

I mean, it’s right there.

Besides, it’s just dumb cans of stupid beef stew I bought at the black market. E-rations don’t hardly give anyone enough food. So, most people, leastways those who can afford it, turn to the black market. Even Block Watch Commanders like Harlan.

It’s not totally the Does fault, though. Food, at least the unpowdered kind, was scarce even before they blew up the rationing center. The troops passing through on their way north to the wall, took most of what we had. They didn’t bother leaving much for us citizens.

I’m not sweating the stew, though. I expect he’ll “impound” it. I’m more worried that what’s stuffed into my belt will spill out. If it does, he’ll definitely shoot me.

He’s eyeing the bag though. His mouth might even be watering. We both stand there, playing our weird freeze tag while waiting for the stupid bell to stop tolling.

As soon as it does, Harlan says, “You’re behind curfew, citizen. Slice me the stew, and I won’t donate a one.”

Ugh. Slanguage.

It takes me a moment to translate his words to regular English. If I give him the stew, he won’t give me a class one penalty. I can’t speak because he’ll recognize my voice, so I nod. Kneeling, I set the bag down and take off.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

If you do, they might see your face, connect it to a list of subversives, rebels, or whatever list you didn’t know you were on.

I’m two blocks away before a grin spreads across my face. Dumbass Harlan was so preoccupied by the bag that he didn’t notice the cans crammed in my pockets.

I decide to go home through the woods. It’s longer and a thousand percent spookier, but it has more cover. Plus, The Corporation hasn’t put cameras in the forest. At least not yet anyway. That might change if they suspect the squirrels of treason.

Plus, Harlan lives two houses away from me. If he’s heading home, it’s worth the extra twenty-minute walk to avoid him.

I trudge along. I can’t see a thing in the inky blackness. Everything is a muddied silhouette, and I don’t want to trip on something and break my neck. I used to find the sounds of leaves crunching under my feet satisfying. But I don’t anymore.

They just tell the Sons or the rebel squirrels where you are.

My breath comes quick now. Heart racing. It’s my anxiety getting the better of me. I don’t bother fighting it because I’m too busy cursing myself. If Harlan is out on patrol, he’s nowhere near his house. Then again, it might be dumb luck that we ran into each other.

Either way, I don’t really care right now because I’m sure Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers has spotted my dumbass alone in the woods. I stop for a second, but the sound of crunching leaves doesn’t.

A twig snaps.

I turn.

A half-naked figure lunges from the darkness, falling to the ground.

I almost scream.

A man lies motionless. I get a little closer and notice he’s covered in blood. Against my better judgment, I turn him over. A few holes leak his blood.

Someone shot him.

The only people with guns these days are Sons or rebels. Which means they’re probably out searching for him. That thought alone makes me nope my sorry ass out of the woods as fast as I can.

I emerge, unharassed by either rebel squirrels or a fictional slasher, near the non-Harlan end of my block. My breath comes in short, panicked gasps. I’m more than a little embarrassed by how fast I’m moving down the block.

I turn the corner. My house blazes bright in the frigid night. It’s almost enough to chase away the harsh twilight glow from the screens on the telephone poles.

Julia, my little sister hates being alone, but she isn’t right now. Unless Winnie’s wandered off again. She has turned on every light, which means he probably did. The Sons don’t pay him much mind, so he’ll be okay. Hopefully, she hasn’t used up our electricity ration for the month.

I linger in the driveway, eyes darting. I need to make sure I wasn’t followed.

An angry orange flower of fire blooms over the nearby hills. Must be the rebels blowing something up or being blown up themselves. Either way, a bunch of people are dead. A tenth of a second later, a dull roar reaches my ears, and everything shakes.

Every porch light in the neighborhood blinks on, and people spill out from their houses, scurrying around like angry ants. A few have wide eyes, their O-shaped mouths gulping the chilly night air. Which reminds me of the fish that Dad and I used to catch. Others just sigh, wringing their hands. A few look furious.

I’ve lived here for like forever and recognize everyone.

That is everyone except the young man with the neat dark hair walking along the walkway in front of the house next door. His hands are in his pockets, posture crisp but relaxed.

I do a double take because I didn’t expect to see anyone coming from there. It and the house across the street have stood vacant since the Perrys and the Youngs disappeared a year ago. He might be a zig though.

Zig is short for zigzag. They’re the people who refuse to go along with The Corporation but won’t join the resistance either. So, they zigzag between the two opposing forces that shape the IPA. They usually come in small groups, no more than four. There’s not a lot of them. At least as far as anyone can tell. Anyway, neither side likes them much, and both will see them wiped out just as soon. Which is why, if he is a zig, he certainly wouldn’t be so careless and let everyone know where he lives.

He might be a rebel. They sometimes hunker down in vacant buildings. That thought both excites and frightens me.

As he draws closer, there’s no mistaking this man for a zig or a rebel. He wears a suit, but the distant flames give everything a crimson tone, so I can’t tell what color it is. Something on his jacket flickers. He reaches the end of the walkway, and I notice that the light glints off a bunch of Corporation commendation pins on his lapel.

At first, he acknowledges no one as he crosses his arms and stares straight ahead. He appears calm, but his breath comes in peculiar fits like he’s out of breath but doesn’t want anyone to know. Maybe he’s asthmatic? I don’t know. His eyes don’t watch the distant flames like everyone else; they’re watching the streetlights.

Something glistens on his forehead like sweat, but the night is cold, so that’s impossible. He appears to sense me gawking and gives me a nod.

By reflex, I wave.

Another fireball blossoms, this one almost bright enough to read by. The windows rattle from the blast. The neighborhood lights blink a few times before going out. Someone screams as we’re plunged into a weird twilight of flickering screens since those never stop.

I swear Pinman smirks.

A second later, old Doc Salazar asks, “Do you think it’s the Canadians?”

That isn’t as silly as it sounds, since if you’re lucky enough to own a car, it’s like three hours to the border.

“Nah. I bet it’s the Does and the rebels,” Mr. Taylor replies.

Everyone stares at him for a moment. Calling the Does rebels is against the law.

“You mean terrorists,” a throaty unfamiliar voice—my new neighbor—says.

“Yes, y-yes,” Mr. Taylor stammers. He probably noticed every commendation on Pinman’s jacket. He chuckles nervously, running a hand across the back of his neck.

I don’t want to call attention to myself, but Taylor was my dad’s fishing buddy. I can’t count the number of times that the Taylors shared a meal with us after a good day on the lake.

A familiar voice breaks the uncomfortable silence. “Mr. Taylor is scaredly is all. He’s not trying to be outside the box.”

I look around, trying to find who spoke. For some reason, everyone’s staring at me like I punched a nun or something.

Well, everyone except Taylor. He’s got a grateful smile pasted on his stupid round face. The looks confirm my growing suspicion. The voice was familiar because it’s mine.

Pinman doesn’t reply, just cocks his head.

“Well, um, good night, sir,” Mr. Taylor croaks as he scurries back inside his house.

A second later, the loudspeakers atop every telephone pole on the block crackle to life. On the screens, a severe looking yet appealing middle-aged woman appears with her hair wrapped tight around her head. Everything can go dark but not PR Polly, the voice of The Corporation.

There’s a whine of feedback, and Polly stares with a Mona Lisa smile on her lips, waiting for it to pass. It fades to a crackling static and clears.

Her familiar, faintly British voice sounds out. “Return to your homes. All is goodly. We have the situation under control.” As always, she adds the Corporate slogan. “America first. America last. America always.”

Another squeal of feedback sounds out. Dan and Katie return to the screens, laughing about the ratings bonanza it’ll be when the real Does are caught and put on Manhunt. But since Manhunt is required viewing, ratings are a bonanza every day anyway. I’m also not sure how we’d know if they’re the real Does. I mean, every time they think they’ve got them, it turns out they’re regular rebels.

No one even knows what the Does look like.

A weird sensation tingles my leg. It’s my phone vibrating in my pocket. I put aside my stray thoughts for now as I fish it out.

“What did you think of this Realnews brief” flashes on the screen. Underneath, like always, are two emoji:

a smiley one,

and a frowning one.

I tap the smiley face to show that I loved it. No one clicks the other one anymore. Well, no one without a death wish.

Soft clicking echoes around me as my neighbors do the same. By the time I’m done, they’re scurrying back into their homes. I guess they’ve all realized it’s after curfew, so we are all technically criminals right now.

Pinman still stands there with his arms crossed, staring at me. I try not to meet his gaze and mumble something about how my little sister is waiting for dinner inside.

In the distance, sirens blare. A lot of them. All isn’t goodly. I sense the stranger watching me as I walk into my house.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Author David Dean Lugo often gets ideas for his stories by wondering what if? In his new young adult dystopian novel, Year Zero, he probed this when writing about a future fascist America run by a governing body called The Corporation and its CEO. Lugo believes that today’s trend of people judging one another too harshly—whether based on their political party, gender identity, or something else—is causing people to drift too far away from one another. His story explores potential extreme ramifications of this.

Lugo believes a great book is one that has believable characters that readers can identify with and relate to. He hopes his stories evoke emotion and thinking from his readers long after the book is closed.

When he isn’t writing thought-provoking YA novels, Lugo enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, playing video/board games, and hanging out with his amazing family. He lives in southwest New Hampshire with his wife Meredith, son Jacob, and their rascally Labrador/Collie mix named Astrid. Year Zero is the first volume in his The Revolution’s Children trilogy.

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