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

 

Advertisements

Book 3 is Live on Amazon

Book 3 is Live on Amazon

It’s been a long road to get here…

But I am proud to say that American Rebirth is live on sale for Amazon.

I’m really, really excited about how it came out. And you, my dear readers, are what make me most excited. I can’t wait to hear what you guys think about it. I know many of you have been waiting a long-ass time for this.

Well wait no longer.americanrebirth_1

I wanted to take a sec and say how much I appreciate all the readers who have waited patiently, who have reached out to me to give me their feedback on the books. It’s really the funnest part, getting to hear what people think and what they felt about your stories. So thank you.

If you ever want to reach out to me, you can at EvanPickering@EvanPickeringAuthor.com

If you want to do me a big favor, then please leave reviews for my books on Amazon, Goodreads, wherever you read them or see fit. For one, I love getting to hear the feedback, and two, it’s invaluable for me as an author getting reviews. Be honest, I will never be mad at a review!

For those curious, no, this is not the end of the American Rebirth Series. There will be more where that came from! Though I think you will find this book has a very complete and satisfactory ending.

Soon I will get it formatted for other outlets such as iTunes, B&N, Kobo, and Print on Demand for paperback. So stay tuned for other outlets.

With love and gratitude,

-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

Final Book 3 Update!

Final Book 3 Update!

So as you all may know, I finished the draft of American Rebirth, edited it once, and gave it to my Beta readers. So here’s the news:

The Bad: I just got back the book from my Beta readers, and I do need to make some changes. A bit more than I expected, maybe.

The Good: All things considered, it’s mostly tweaks and alterations, only one chapter needs to be overhauled, as far as I can tell.

The VERY Good: I have this week and next week off for Easter break. So I’m going to ballistic editing this thing. I have no doubt I can have it finished by then. I’m goin’ into grindmode, muddertruckers. Furthermore, I am really, really excited about the changes I’m making. I am very happy overall with the quality of the draft and how much my Betas enjoyed it, and I think after these edits it’s gonna be BALLIN OUTTA CONTROL.

Or at least, that’s the plan.

TL;DR The book is nearly done, I should have it completed by the end of the first week in April.

Next time you hear from me, the book should be out.

GET HYPED!!!

-Evan

 

 

HOOD on Sale for 0.99$ In Honor of BOOK 3 Upcoming Launch!

HOOD on Sale for 0.99$ In Honor of BOOK 3 Upcoming Launch!

So I finished the last few touches on my first edit of AMERICAN REBIRTH, Book 3 of the American Rebirth Series, and gave it to my beta readers.

Soon, very soon, Book 3 will be live for all you wonderful maniacs to read. Depending on how much I have to edit on my second pass, it could be here within the month.

In Honor of that upcoming release, I’m putting HOOD, Book 1 of the American Rebirth Series on sale for 0.99$!

So for all you new to my stuff, here’s a chance to check out my style for a buck. That’s so cheap I kind of want to arrest myself.

Oh, and for those of you new to my site, you may be here because of your signup for the BookSweeps post-apoc Ebook giveaway. So welcome!

Alright, that’s it y’all. Short and sweet. Is it Friday yet? Tomorrow I’m going out to queens and I’m gonna drink many beers.

-Evan P.

Click here to sign up for my newsletter for sales and updates!

It’s Done…

It’s Done…

As of last night, around midnight…

…The draft of American Rebirth is done.

It’s about 90,200 words. That’s sure to change after editing.

I don’t know if all the feels have hit me yet. I don’t think the full high will come until this shit is done and launched. But still, for me… I just gotta take a minute and say something.

I’m truly proud of this series.

It hasn’t always been easy. It’s been mostly NOT easy, to be honest. But seeing the ending of this book, and well this arc of the series (I have a feeling i’ll be writing more stories in the American Rebirth universe.) it’s a hard feeling to put into words.

All three of these books are strongly connected, all a part of one complete narrative about who we are as individuals, as a race, and what the fuck it is to make of this thing we call existence. I’ve always loved post-apoc because it lays that bare. There’s nothing but survival and the things that really matter.

All the garbage priorities we lay on top of our lives living in a functioning civilization gets stripped away. The people at the end of the world, or at least, the people who face the collapse of great civilizations, like those in the dark ages, have to face the reality of what actually matters:

Who are we to ourselves? who are we to each other? Both as strangers, as loved ones, and as enemies?

I wanted to do a lot of things with this series, but ultimately, that’s the biggest picture. I can say having finished book 3, I feel I’ve answered that. In my way.

I really can’t wait for you all to read it.

What’s next: I have to edit it. I’ll give it to a few close beta readers I trust. Then I do one more pass, and then it’s live.

We’re almost there.

-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.