Second Edition of HOOD, Free Release!

Second Edition of HOOD, Free Release!

Surprise!!

I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile, and while I was on vacation in New Hampshire I decided it was time to finally get it done.

I’ve officially released the SECOND EDITION of Hood: A Post-Apocalyptic Novel!

I know what you’re thinking… What’s different? Why do this? Do I have to pay for it?

  1. You do not have to pay for it if you already own the HOOD eBook. Simply go into your Amazon, go to “Manage your Content and Devices”, and scroll until you see HOOD and press the UPDATE AVAILABLE button. Also, your kindle might already AUTO-update all books, if not you can set your kindle to auto-update under the SETTINGS tab once you’re in “Manage your Content and Devices”.  If you’re using any of the other booksellers… I’m not sure how it works yet :\ I will be updating it on other retailers shortly.
  2. Why do this? In short, I merely wanted to take the time to improve the writing, make small changes, and just bring the overall quality of the book up. It’s not that I was unhappy with it, but it is my baby, and giving it some TLC was something I’ve wanted to do for awhile.
  3. What’s New? So by in large the book is the same…I am not overhauling the story or anything. This is mostly just to make some small content changes but the overall story remains the same. Features:
  • About 1.5 New Chapters worth of content in the beginning of the book/Clearwater era! This is mostly just to set the stage more before the first plot point. I’m really excited about it though, I think it really beefs up the story.
  • Cleaned up the prose/diction and some of the internal/external dialogue throughout the book. Mostly little things, I wanted to trim down a little bit, replace a few others, just tighten up the prose and make it more readable. I think with a light touch of changing things, the book is vastly improved.
  • For those of you wondering, The ending remains the same, but I changed a few little elements throughout the book that I think make it a bit more powerful and give the reader some foreshadowing to the larger story at work throughout the series.

So yeah, I’m blessed that I have the luxury to be able to do this as a self-pub. One of the awesome perks. I love this book, and I wanted to really make sure it was as powerful and as meaningful to both myself and the readers as it possibly could be. Giving it a little love was well worth the time.

NOTE: If you look in the front matter of your eBook, and it does not read “Second Edition” in the title page, you do not yet have the updated version!

I’m really glad I did this. If you decide to go back and give it a re-read, please let me know what you think! The new content is in chapters 3 and 4.

Alright, now its back to all the thousand other things that require my attention.

Happy Summer All!

-Evan

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Summertime Life/Book Update…

Summertime Life/Book Update…

There’ ain’t nothin’ like Summer, is there?

So I figure I’d give you a guys a little life-update. A window into the world of Evan for just a moment.

  1. I’m diligently working on my new Post-Apoc novel. I’ve posted excerpts from it already, it’s the origins of the American Rebirth series. It’s Rob and Taylor from when the shit hits the fan so to speak. God damn it is so much fun to write.
  2. I’m reading Wool by Hugh Howey. I don’t know how many of you have gotten into this one. I’m very curious to see what happens… but I gotta admit it hasn’t lived up to the hype for me. I’d love to have some questions answered, and I’d love to know more about the world and the state of humanity other than the Silos, but as far as the characters go… I just have very little investment. He keeps changing who the main character is, and it’s frustrating. The original protagonist, Holston, I liked a lot and was totally on board with his desire to leave the silo and try to find his wife. But that storyline, well, it just stops. It’s well written, but I just don’t know if it’s my style.
  3. I got a new day job teaching 11th and 12th grade English at a local high school! I’m pretty excited about it. Teaching is another big passion of mine. It fills a different part of my life then writing does, and often it gets me excited to write. So there’ s a pretty good synergy there.
  4. I’m going up to New Hampshire with some family for some summertime lake vacation. I love it up there. I’m going to hopefully get a lot of writing done and just recharge myself. There’s nothing like raw nature and the smell of mountain air.
  5. I’m going to Thrillerfest tomorrow (friday) in NYC! If anyone is going, stop by and say hi!

I hope y’all are having a good Summer. As per usual if any of you have any questions or want to chat, leave a comment, hit me up on twitter, or Email me at Evanpickering@Evanpickeringauthor.com

Stay safe, wastelanders.

Evan

Excerpt #2 American Rebirth Prequel!

Excerpt #2 American Rebirth Prequel!

Link to Excerpt one

Alright everybody, I’ve decided to dish out a little more from my WIP. This short excerpt follows directly after the last one. Let me know what you think! As per usual DM me on twitter or email me at EvanPickering@EvanPickeringauthor.com

Enjoy! Hope your Summer is kicking ass.

-Evan


West Crown Apartments, Washington D.C., Two Weeks Earlier

“You ever wish you’d wake up with a totally different life?” Rob said. Sunlight poured in the east window, leaving a rectangle of warmth in front of the couch that illuminated his socks. He wiggled his toes, stretching his feet.
“Nah man. We are where we’re meant to be. There’s plenty of people that got it way worse than whatever you think you got.” Desean Grant let out a puff of smoke as he loosened his tie and unbuttoned his top button.
“I know. Starving kids in Africa and all that.”
“Who said shit about Africa? There’s starving kids five miles from here.”
“Yeah, for real.” Rob slid back, sinking into Des’ couch and resting the back of his head against the cushion. He took a sip of his beer, running his thumb over the bumps of the raised lettering on the dark glass bottle.
“You don’t think we would even be friends if we didn’t sit next to each other all through school, do you?”
“I dunno.”
“Nah,” Des took a sip of his beer.
“Probably not,” Rob echoed.
“Thank god H comes after G in the alphabet.” Des said, glancing over at Rob.
Rob chuckled, holding out his beer. Des clinked it with his own, and they both took a drink.
“Thank the good lord,” Rob exhaled.
There was an appreciative silence that hung in the air as they both stared at the T.V. that flashed images of sports highlights they both weren’t paying attention to.
“All suffering is relative, though.” Des said, circling back. “Life is a concept we create in our mind.”
Rob chuckled. “You would say some shit like that.”
“How did that date go?” Des inquired lazily.
“How do you think?” Rob shook his head, trying to fight the tired feeling in his eyes. “All this online shit is weird as hell.”
“What happened?”
What happened is she’s obsessed with crustaceans. Hood shook his head, uncomfortable laughter welling out of him.
“She told me she wrote a book.”
“That’s cool.”
“About horseshoe crabs.”
“What?”
“So I laughed. She asked what was funny. When I realized she wasn’t joking, I was all ‘ah, that’s cool, you like a scientist or something?’ She got pissed, started talking about how we’re going to have to talk about this later. Talk about it later. Like we were a couple. Like I wasn’t already willing to fake my own death to get out of the conversation.”
“Man, you gotta give girls a chance. So she wrote a book about crabs, that’s cool.”
Rob sat up and turned to face Des, glaring at him. “You serious?”
“You gotta move on, man. You ain’t gonna find another Jennifer. You gotta be open to new things in your life.”
“The fuck would you say if a chick told you she wrote a book about horseshoe crabs?”
“That’s cool honey, want to go watch Nemo at my place? You ain’t gotta be lookin’ for marriage material with everyone you meet my dude. Have some fun. You’re a good lookin’ man. Go enjoy yourself, like you used to.”
Rob furrowed his brow. “I don’t know if that’s what I want anymore.”
Des shook his head with a chuckle, taking a sip from his bottle. “You don’t even know what you want right now.”
Rob shrugged, taking a deep breath and finishing his beer.
“You want another?”
“No, I have that interview later.” Rob shook his head, standing up. “I should get going, anyway.”
Des nodded slowly, staring at Rob until he had his attention. “Get your mind right. This ain’t the Rob I know.”
Rob paused, considering this for a moment. “You don’t ever wake up wishing the world would just start over?” Rob turned to face Des, searching for some confirmation.
Des shook his head. “Nah man, I got too much to lose.”
“Lucky you.”
“So do you.”
“Yeah, I know. I just want to feel worth a damn again. I feel like I’m drowning in my own mediocrity.”
Des laughed, shaking his head as he took another deep hit, exhaling smoke. “That’s the breakup talking. You definitely need to get your mind right.”
Rob shook his head. “I’ll hit you up later.”
Des puffed smoke, nodding at Rob as he turned to walk out the door.

The fresh gray sidewalk outside the apartment was thick with foot traffic. The gleaming modern structures in the distance that was D.C. proper loomed over the sunset urban neighborhood. A group of high school kids pushed past him, walking home late from school. They took over the sidewalk with swagger and casual dancing.
His feet carried him through the relatively clean streets, the sweat beginning to bead on his forehead despite his best attempts not to exert himself. Can’t be a sweaty mess for this. I hate interviews.
His eyes turned down to his phone. He tapped open messages and typed out something to Ian deftly with his thumb. Hey bro, how are you doin? I miss you.
Rob stared down at it, hovering over the send button. The last message Ian had sent was Things are crazy dude. I don’t have time for anything anymore. That was two months ago. Rob frowned, shaking his head before tapping the delete button until the message was gone.
His thumb swiped over and tapped open Instagram. First post, there she was. Looking pretty in a summer dress. Rooftop bar with friends. And that smile…
He locked his phone and jammed it in his pocket. Des is right about me. He took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. So why don’t I want to change?
He feet carried him into the bowels of the DC Metro subway system, the waffle cone concave ceiling towering above him. He tapped his foot incessantly, waiting for the train to glide into the station. The ceiling isn’t gonna collapse. You are safe. There’s nothing wrong with being underground he reassured himself repeatedly. There was a time he wasn’t scared. A time anxiety had no grip on him at all. It felt like a long time ago now.

Excerpt: American Rebirth PREQUEL!

Excerpt: American Rebirth PREQUEL!

I need your input, peoples.

  1. I want to know what you think of this excerpt. It’s a prequel of the American Rebirth Series.  Email me, tweet me, DM me, whatever, let me know what you think!
  2. I need to know if you are interested in a prequel. It would cover the SHTF scenario, and go into the Clearwater era. Hood and Whiskey and Taylor in the early Clearwater days.

 

Your feedback is important! I have a desire to write this story, but I want to know from my readers if this is something they’d be interested in.

So here you have it. Enjoy!


Abandoned Home, South of Washington D.C., Rural Maryland.

Sunlight poured into the dusty living room. The hinges of the front door groaned as it slowed to a stop. The old wood floors flexed and creaked under each step. Rob Huntington could picture what life in this house once looked like. An old retired couple, maybe. A young family that moved out into the country. No, it was left behind too clean. No mess. No kids.
The pistol was warm in his grip. Slide locked back. Fired empty. He placed it on an antique sideboard, the weight of it clunking against the lacquered wood.
I am not a killer. Rob pulled the ornate white cloth off of the sideboard, his hands still shaking. He scrubbed at his skin. The blood smudged and smeared, it wouldn’t entirely come off.
He breathed in deep, the musty smell somehow having a calming effect on him. It was not familiar. He’d never been here before. Never even been in this part of the state. But it smelled like a home. There’s no going back to the way things were.
He closed his eyes, standing in the center of the hallway. The past was dead. That was always true. You can never go back. But it meant something different now. You came in here for a reason. You need to find something else to fight with. His feet carried him through the house without thought. There had to be something he could use. The very need for this search told him a truth he did not want to face. This won’t be the last time. You will have to kill again.
Mounted on a wall in the den sat an old bolt-action rifle. There. Below it, almost shrine-like, on a mantelpiece was a trifold American flag in a wooden case, a name engraved on it. Pierce Ploman. Rob moved towards it reverently. The only sound was the creak of his footsteps and the distant carefree cries of faraway birds from the open door. Gently he reached out to touch the rifle and lifted it off its mount, the old leather strap swaying free in the air.
The rifle was old. But it was oiled and well taken care of. His eyes went from the trigger to the firing mechanism, seeing faded words stamped into the metal. Model and make, surely. He didn’t know what they meant. He ran his thumb over them, feeling the imprint in the steel. How does this thing work? Rob pulled back on the bolt sticking out of the rifle, but it didn’t move. He pushed up, and it came free to move. He pulled it back and the action slid open. Do I put each round in one at a time? The metal plate underneath the open chamber seemed separate from the rest. He pushed down on it, and it gave way, a spring below pushing it up. The rounds must go in there. Feed into the chamber. He pushed the bolt forward and locked it down. He pulled it up again and back, repeating the cocking motion until it felt smooth. He hefted it to his shoulder, looking down the ironsights. You’re going to have to use this, he repeated to himself.
He clenched his teeth, his mouth a hard line. One hand found its way to his face, covering his eyes. He rubbed his eyebrows back and forth, rhythmically.
“Rob?” Taylor called inside.
“Yeah,” He called back, standing upright and taking a deep breath.
“Are you okay?”
He nodded to himself. “Yeah. I’m fine.”
“Did you find anything?”
“We need to look around for some ammo. See if there’s any food, too.”
Taylor appeared from around the corner into the den. The pistol he left in the living room was in her hand. She followed his eyes to it, holding it up in the air sheepishly.
“We’ll probably need this, if we can find more bullets for it,” she said calmly. She looked at the rifle in his hands. “Does that work?”
Rob nodded. “Yeah, I think so.”
“Hey, are you okay?” She repeated in an even, relaxed tone that calmed him. “You can talk to me.”
“I’m good, Sis…” He hesitated, before shaking his head in disbelief. “How the hell did this happen?”
She smiled at him, a warm, familial smile. “Hey. We’re still alive.”
He flashed a smile back at her in return.
“Thank you,” she said genuinely. “For doing what you had to.”
He met her gaze. “We’ll be alright.”
She nodded toward the door. “Come on. Let’s see what else we can find.”
Rob looked down at the rifle in his hand. I have to protect her. I can’t hesitate next time. It’s either that or we’ll be the ones lying there.
His feet carried him out of the room. What about all those people that are just like us, though? Trying to survive in this fucked up version of the world?
Rob pushed a toy truck lying on the floor out of his way with his feet.
God, how did we let things come to this?

SHORT STORY: Unchosen

SHORT STORY: Unchosen

Sometimes you just need to try something different.

So thanks to my close friend and writing partner Eastin (@EastinDeverna), I have a short story I’d like to share with you. I was talking to him about what I want to do after having finished American Rebirth and he recommended just kinda splashing around for a bit to get my mind going before I jump into my next project.

He gave me a very random writing prompt, and I ran with it. I won’t tell you what it was until after, but here are the fruits of that labor…

As always, let me know what you think and direct any inquiries to EvanPickering@EvanPickeringAuthor.com

I hope you enjoy it!


Unchosen

The Address is 282 Whitworth Apt 12A. Look forward to seeing you!

I’m here

She wiped the screen of her phone with her thumb. The chat bubbles slid to one side before being tugged back to their original position. Brittany took a deep breath of winter air through her nose that bit at her lungs in an oddly refreshing way before exhaling slowly. For a brief moment, she felt relaxed. She wanted to repeat the process to fight off the nerves, but it would draw lingering gazes from anyone who was watching.

She looked up at the crumbling steps leading up to the pale-colored door, with a faded golden-bronze two-eight-two embossed above it. The great apartment building had seen better days, looking sooty and weatherbeaten past the point of being charming. She checked the address again on her phone and the building, looking at the street sign at the nearby intersection. This place couldn’t be right.

She had reception. But the text was unanswered. She looked around, back up the street to where she had parked, then back to the door. No one glanced her way, brushing past her wordlessly, concerned with their own concerns. Her feet moved one step at a time up the stairs, her hand pushing the door open without thought.

A blossom of air buffeted her as she stepped inside, warm and welcoming, smelling of fresh lavender. Her eyebrow twitched and she stopped, as if she had missed something. Regardless of the austere color scheme that conflicted with her naturally Victorian color palette, the lobby was beautiful in an unflinchingly modern way. The kind of fresh-looking Manhattan apartment building that screamed of vast social success. A perfect place for a single woman who had blossomed in her career, who felt uncompelled to settle down with whichever person seemed amicable. Brittany’s thumb rubbed the base of her ring finger, trying to spin something only to find a pale groove. She looked backwards out the door to make sure she walked into the right place.

The place felt even more impressive and exclusive, like the wealth of those inside was meant to be hidden rather than flaunted to any who looked upon the place from the outside. She held her hands together, drawing her shoulders in. Twenty years. Twenty years and she had so little to show for it. And Fiona lived in a place like this?

The doorman at the desk in the lobby was smiling at her. He hadn’t stopped smiling at her since she came in, and his face looked like it was tiring. She hustled forward, her heels clicking on the smoothly polished stone floor.

He said nothing, but kept smiling at her as she approached, his bushy mustache rough-looking and his black skin smooth and unblemished.

“Brittany Heath. Here to see Fiona Valenti?” the words squeaked out, and she grinned too hard to look comfortable or casual.

He nodded, his smile replaced with a calm expression. “You’re expected. Elevators are to the left.”

She clicked at the satisfying rose-gold colored elevator call a few too many times. This place made It hard not to consider the life choices that led her to be where she was—alone, middle-aged, searching for a new start while scared that the opportunity had long passed. Years of working tirelessly at both job and partner only to come up empty. Time was not friendly. Thoughts were not kind to the future, and bitterly disappointed in the past. Devoted to oneself in all the wrong ways.

As she stepped out of the elevator to the top floor, the hallway was curiously dark aside from the glow of sunlight far at the end of the hall. Her feet carried her away from her thoughts, but the beautiful doorway that approached brought another deadly wave. Fear of the unknown. So much time had passed.

Her phone buzzed before she could knock. She looked down at it.

Come in, the door is unlocked! Sorry about the paint.

Brittany looked at the door in the muted light of the hallway. There was nowhere to go now. Face the pain of seeing the glamorous life unchosen. Nothing left to go back to. The curiosity drove her forward. What was Fiona like now? What kind of life did she lead?

She pulled the doorhandle, the door swinging open. Her hand was wet as she pulled it away. Sorry about the paint, she said. Guess it was far from dry.

“Hi!?” Brittany said nervously, stepping inside the grandiose apartment. It looked much like the way she imagined. Spotless, meticulously designed, modern-chic but elegant. Even the doormat looked expensive.

“Fiona? I’m here!” She moved ahead through the living room, slower and slower the further she got. Maybe she was in the bathroom. Bad timing. This was already awkward.

Her feet froze as she entered the dining room. Her heart lurched, her throat trying to swallow something that wasn’t there.  No matter what impulse she asked of her body, she only stood and stared. Four men sitting in chairs around the table all lay dead. Handsome, fit, dressed in expensive suits. All dead. One stabbed. One shot in the head. One throat cut. One suffocated.

She closed her hands, only to feel the wetness again. Her eyes wide, she stared down at her hands. It wasn’t paint. She knew before she saw. Sirens started to echo outside the tall wall of windows that faced the outside world. Her phone buzzed. It shook uncontrollably in her hand as she stared down to read it, smudged with blood.

J train. Uptown, 6:13 end of the line. Take the stairs, exit through the staff kitchen. You wanted a new life. Now you don’t have any other choice.

 


 

That’s it! I hope you all enjoyed. And if it seems raw, it’s because I wrote it in about 2 hours, so it’s a little rough around the edges. The prompt Eastin gave me was this:

A woman enters a room at the top of a building at the behest of an old and trusted friend she hasn’t seen in years. The building is shiny and new on the inside, but old and decrepit on the outside. When she enters the room she was supposed to meet her at, she finds her friend isn’t there, but there are four men sitting in four chairs, all dead, with different wounds. She looks down and notices blood on her hands from the doorknob…

All in all, it was super fun. It’s nice to have some freedom to derp around now that American Rebirth is done. But I can’t wait to get started on my next project.

-Evan

 

A Promise is A Promise…Book 3 is Done

A Promise is A Promise…Book 3 is Done

A promise is a promise. I said I’d get the book done by the end of this week. And even if I came screeching up to the deadline…

American Rebirth, Book 3 of the American Rebirth series is finally finished.

americanrebirth_1

It’s hard to believe this day has come…

I’m submitting it to Amazon tonight. It might take a few days, but soon it will be live for sale. I’ll push it out to all the other distributors in the next few days.

I feel kind of numb, floaty, like nothing really make sense yet. It hasn’t hit me, and it probably won’t for awhile.

Like all writers, I am currently in that manic state of excitement to get it out, and fear that it somehow isn’t ready or isn’t good enough. But I must kick that feeling in the face, and trust the work I and others have done to help make this book what it is.

And it is time.

For all you readers who waited patiently, thank you. I really can’t wait for you all to read it.

And if you really want to make me happy, leave a review when you’re done. Whatever you think of it. Even if it’s just a bunch of stabby emojis.

Now I [try and] rest.

-Evan Pickering

It’s Coming…It’s Almost Here…

It’s Coming…It’s Almost Here…

GET HYPED.

americanrebirth_1

The cover for Book 3 is hot off the presses, thanks to Jeff Brown Graphics. Jeff was awesome to work with for these new covers for the books, and I absolutely love they way the cover for American Rebirth came out.

PROGRESS UPDATE:

In the category of great news, I’m very near completing the first draft. I’m at about 75,000 words. The book should probably be a little north of 80,000 when it’s done.

Once it’s done, I’ll get to work editing, run it by my beta readers, and it’ll be on the [virtual] shelves.

I’m so freakin’ excited. I’m ready for it to be out there. It’s been a long time coming.

Unfortunately I was stricken with the flu a few weeks ago so it slowed down my progress, but I’m rolling now. I want to see if I can finish the draft by the weekend, which would make me a very happy panda. Even if it’s not totally done, the progress I’ve made this week filled me with joy.

COMING SOON:

I’m taking part in a post-apoc giveaway promo in a few days, and I may be releasing American Rebirth for pre-order a few weeks in advance. I have yet to decide if that’s strategically the best option for me but I’ll let you know. Ah the glamorous life of Self-pub. Really, though, I love it.

Enjoy your weekend y’all!

-Evan P.