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Welcome to the Official Release Day Celebration for my SF novella AFTERSHOCK!

For the next week we’ll be talking about earthquakes, global warming, apocalyptic events, and disaster preparedness. We’ll also be talking about the inspiration behind AFTERSHOCK, and another kind of natural disaster – HIV/Aids. Join the conversation, and don’t forget to enter the Aftershock Survival Kit Giveaway!

ABOUT THE STORY

Imagine a seismic event of apocalyptic proportions – a natural disaster so devastating there is no point in planning for how to survive, only how to stay alive if you do survive. And then, imagine discovering that there is nothing at all natural about it…

Stranded in an isolated mountain pass with a random band of travelers, climatologist Daria Black is a reluctant refugee in a harsh environment she no longer recognizes. The cataclysmic earthquake that shattered her family is also turning the lush Pacific Northwest into a desert.

With their surroundings growing more hostile by the minute and no way to call for help, the frantic survivors begin to clash over how to save themselves. Then Daria discovers the seismic event was not what it seems. Something else is reshaping their world.

Forced to confront her grief and guilt, Daria must find the will to fight. But first, she must decide who to follow, when to lead, and how to stay alive.

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

In 2001, the Nisqually Earthquake hit the Puget Sound region. My kids were in school, my husband was at work, and I was home alone. Writing. Though we escaped the experience with only minor damage, the emotional and psychological impact was major. Like most people, we had prepared for minor weather emergencies and power outages, but we had never considered what our needs might be if we were faced with a significant disaster.

In the days and weeks that followed, we learned a lot about earthquakes, fault lines, tectonic plates, and the impact of shallow tremors. The idea that an apocalyptic level seismic event could happen at any moment was new and hard to accept. My husband and I realized that how we thought about safety and security had to change – as did our entire community. The slogan “three days, three ways” became Seattle’s survival mantra. We prepared three ways to stay alive for three days – until help arrived.

We stocked a plastic garbage can with food, water, tarps, rope, and dozens of other supplies. We bought emergency backpacks for our vehicles and made a family plan for what to do if we were separated when disaster struck. Taking these steps helped ease the worries, but I needed to understand the threat looming over our heads.

Sometimes, however, ignorance really is bliss. I began to research the concept of liquefaction – the likely outcome of the 10.0 monster quake predicted to strike the Puget Sound region. What I discovered stunned and horrified me, and the only way I could process the fear the knowledge incited was to write it out. That anxiety-release exercise was essentially the first draft of AFTERSHOCK.

THE RUTGER HAUER STARFISH ASSOCIATION

Sometime later, I entered that early version of the story in a contest sponsored by SFF cult icon Rutger Hauer on his website. The ultimate intent of the contest was to gather a collection of stories for an anthology to benefit his beloved Starfish Association – a charitable organization he founded to raise global awareness of HIV/Aids, especially in pregnant women and children. While my story was not included in the anthology, I decided that if another opportunity arose to publish it, I would honor the original spirit behind it.

Currently, Mr. Hauer is actively working to encourage world governments and health organizations to classify HIV/Aids as a slow onset disaster. To support those efforts, 5% of the royalties I earn on every sale of AFTERSHOCK will be donated to Rutger Hauer’s Starfish Association.

To learn more about Starfish, and how your purchase will help, click on the tab at the top of the blog or click here .

THE GIVEAWAY

What’s a party without party favors? One lucky person will win an AFTERSHOCK Survival kit including everything you see in the photo below – plus a $10 Amazon gift card.

Aftershock Giveaway 1

So tell me, are you prepared for an environmental apocalypse? If so, how?

Share your thoughts and ideas by commenting here, and then visit my Facebook Fan Page and enter the giveaway!

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