Human Element: Chapter 1

I am excited to (officially) announce Human Element. Coming very soon. 

 

 

But first, the blurb.

They said the Neuroweb would change the world…They had no idea how right they were.

After wandering around the desolate suburbs of Cincinnati for nearly a year, Aaran has legitimate reason to believe he is the last free-thinking human alive. It has been months since he has interacted with someone who wasn’t trying to kill or convert him, and the growing agony of nomadic isolation is taking a toll on his already weary mind.

Aaran’s days all look the same: find food, evade capture, and search for a dry, offline place to rest his head each night.

Rinse and repeat.

After a close call with a Sentinel—an AI-controlled soldier for the Nebula—Aaran unexpectedly finds himself in the company of Hadas, a beautiful yet dangerous woman. A shaky alliance is formed between the two as they fight to survive. Together, they search for answers to keep them going in such a godforsaken world.

 

Chapter 1:

Aaran meandered up the driveway toward the small mansion sitting a hundred yards off the road. It was Halloween—or at least, according to his watch it was—which also meant that it was his birthday. Being born on Halloween, he’d always thought, was a bad omen; a sign that he was destined to live a cursed life.

So far, that theory proved true.

He forced the depressing thoughts from his head when he quickly spotted the electrical box hanging from the brick on the side of the house. Using needle-nosed pliers, Aaran cut the tamper padlock seal and popped the door open. His fingers quickly found the master breaker switch, and he flipped it to the left. Instantly, the LED bulbs glowing on the other side of the kitchen windows went dark.

With a deep sigh, Aaran checked his watch while he walked back around to the front and approached the oversized mahogany door. With one hand grasping his CZ Scorpion, he reached for the door with his other. He squeezed down on the latch and eased the front door open. Cautiously stepping inside, he raised his carbine and swung it from left to right, searching for threats he suspected were not there.

The house was empty. If it hadn’t been, he would have already known.

Vibrant reds, lively greens, and the occasional jolly fat man adorned the walls. A span of synthetic garland twisted around the stairwell banister and another stretched across the wide mantle over the river stone fireplace. Mistletoe hung above both entrances to the impressive living room. Expensive Italian furniture, luxurious drapes, and an abundance of picture frames showcasing the gleeful, former occupants, set the picturesque stage for the towering Douglas Fir prominently displayed in front of the window.

Aaran glanced over at the tree and envisioned what it might have looked like in its prime. The eight-foot evergreen no doubt would have had thick, plush branches that were more than wide enough to hide two families’ worth of presents. The iconic Christmas symbol had easily set the family back more than a hundred dollars when they’d tied it to the roof of the soccer-mom’s minivan. But that had been almost a year ago, and the tree had traded in its lush green appearance for a sickly brown one.

Aaran’s gaze rested on the pile of gifts sitting beneath the craggily branches. The presents were blanketed in dead needles and several snapped branches were still twisted in the hooks of the heavier ornaments. The temptation to open each one of the neatly-wrapped gifts on the floor always lingered, but Aaran refrained. He cringed at the thought of some stranger walking into his house and opening the gifts intended for him and his family. He couldn’t bring himself to do the same thing to someone else, even if the presents contained items that might be valuable to him on the road. He felt it would be disrespecting the dead.

Well, they weren’t dead—technically—but they might as well be.

The pathetic sight was not uncommon. Each house Aaran visited demonstrated different shades of the same traditions: a dead Christmas tree, unopened gifts, and no sign of life anywhere. Aaran let his eyes linger a while longer on the depressing reminder of his world before turning to the kitchen.

He detached his suppressed CZ Scorpion from the single point sling around his neck and set it on the island in the middle of the kitchen. He walked over to the pantry doors and opened them, marveling at the small grocery store inside. Fortunately, the pantries in most houses also shared similarities; they were almost always full. Though he had always assumed that finding food and supplies at the end of the world would be a little more challenging, he wasn’t complaining. It wasn’t like there were a whole lot of people contending for the food. He hadn’t laid eyes on another person since July—not a free-thinking one anyway. And while the absence of competition for food greatly benefited his physical nourishment, the lack of human interaction over the last ten months had taken a toll on his psyche.

The pantry was bigger than a jail cell, and was packed with just about every brand-name snack Aaran could think of. Filled pantries were a common theme in most houses, but the quality of the snacks improved the closer Aaran got to one of the priciest suburbs of Cincinnati.

After stuffing a few bags of chips, several packs of cookies, and half a dozen cans of chunky soup into his backpack, Aaran continued to the fridge. Though the light didn’t come on, the contents inside were still cold. He debated if it was close enough to five o’clock to reach for that pale ale in the back, but a quick glance at his watch forced his hand to the left, reaching for a can of Mountain Dew instead. It wasn’t even 10:30 A.M. and he needed to drink something that wouldn’t exacerbate the weight of his tired eyes. Plus, he knew his mother would have given him a disapproving scowl if she saw him grab the other can.

Cracking open the soda, Aaran took several large gulps, downing the contents of the can within a few seconds. It was lacking carbonation, but the citrusy flavor never got old. The caffeine would gradually wake him up, which he desperately needed.

The previous night had been restless at best. Aaran had set up camp in the lobby of a car detail shop when his night had been interrupted by the Webbers—a nickname Aaran had given to those with the Neuroweb even before the takeover had occurred. As they went up and down Montgomery Road, they emptied the various buildings of anything useful to them. It wasn’t uncommon to see Webbers raiding houses and businesses, but Aaran had never been so close to the action before. He wondered what all they were taking, but assumed it was mostly food. They were still human after all and needed to eat.

Even though their focus had been on the buildings a few hundred yards away, Aaran couldn’t fall asleep until an hour after they were gone. So, with just a two-hour nap under his belt at the tail end of an exhausting day of travel, he found himself reaching for a few more of the green-and-yellow cans in the fridge, stuffing them into his backpack.

When he moved onto the freezer, Aaran retrieved a Thermos canister from his backpack and unscrewed the lid before filling it up with ice cubes. After returning the canister to a mesh pocket on the side of his pack, he continued exploring the freezer. As was usually the case, the contents inside didn’t really interest him. On occasion, he would find a pint of ice cream to indulge his sweet tooth and replenish the calories he so quickly burned off every day. But as time went on, the smooth, creamy texture the frozen dessert once offered was overpowered by freezer burn, making it less and less desirable. Hard pass, he thought, unwilling to waste his time on a pint of ice cream boasting its eggnog flavor.

Aaran closed the door and walked back to the island. Sitting next to his Scorpion was a nearly empty crate of water. He snatched the remaining bottles and tossed them into his pack, which was now a good fifteen pounds heavier than when he’d first walked in. Satisfied with his haul, he grabbed his carbine and walked out of the kitchen to explore the rest of the house.

There wasn’t much else in the house worth taking. Not that it wasn’t filled with stuff he would have liked to have, just that he couldn’t justify the additional weight of bringing it with him. There were two priorities for Aaran whenever he scavenged a house: sustenance and firepower. Everything else for the most part, was pointless. Except for a few bottles of pills, a small medical kit, and some lightweight forms of entertainment, if he couldn’t eat it, drink it, shoot it, or wear it, it didn’t have a spot in his pack.

Aaran had a strong desire to crash in the massive house for a couple of days. He had been on the move without any significant downtime for the last three weeks and was exhausted from the previous night, despite the caffeine jolt. He could use some time to recover. However, he had made it a point never to stay inside a modern house for more than an hour or two. Though he always flipped the breaker off before entering, there was no guarantee that someone or something wasn’t watching or listening to him. From toasters to ceiling fans, washing machines to showers, most newer houses were brimming with Nebula-integrated technology that allowed the occupants to control the house with their minds. Though he had no evidence to back up the claim, he was convinced that same technology could easily alert nearby soldiers—or Sentinels, as one man had called them—of his presence in the house. Aaran had already had a couple of close calls with Sentinels in the past while out on the road. He didn’t need to tempt fate by staying in a house filled with hundreds of potential “rats” snooping on him. As far as he knew, the Nebula, and anyone connected to it, had no idea he was still alive, and he aimed to keep it that way.

But when he stepped down the stairs into the astronomically large basement, his immediate departure was delayed. Aaran discovered an incredible game room. Right smack in the middle of the room was a beautiful pool table. He glanced down at his watch. It had only been a half hour, so he granted himself a sixty-minute break to smack the cue ball around and toss a few darts. Aaran was a pro at both games. Since Armageddon had arrived, he was 152 and oh. Still undefeated, he declared proudly in his head.

With his hour of luxury nearly up, Aaran racked the billiard balls and tossed the pool cue onto the green tabletop, ready for the next nomadic player passing through. He picked up his pack and slid his arms through the shoulder straps before he reattached the Scorpion to the sling, letting it hang from his neck. The sling was cumbersome to wear with the backpack, but it beat having to carry the weight of the nine-millimeter carbine in his arms all the time. Double checking that his Glock 19 was still securely inside its holster, Aaran shut the door and walked back up to the main level.

He checked his surroundings as best as he could from the sidelights of the front door before stepping back outside. He walked around to the side of the house and returned to the breaker box. After batting the half-open door to the side, Aaran flipped the master switch back on and watched as the juice hit the lights inside. Turning the power off was just a precaution he always took before entering a Nebula-connected house, but turning it back on was a courtesy for any other free-thinking souls who might find themselves looking in the fridge a little closer to 5:00 P.M. He knew that he wouldn’t want a lukewarm beer and figured they would appreciate the thoughtful gesture, even if they had no idea about it.

Halfway down the driveway, Aaran glanced over his shoulder and stared at the dead Christmas tree in the window. With the power back on, it almost looked as if it was on fire with the layers upon layers of twinkling lights wrapped around it. With how dry the tree was, it might actually be on fire before long.

“Happy Merry Halloween,” he said sardonically as he stepped back onto the road.

It was chilly outside, but not bitterly cold. In his mind, it was the perfect trick-or-treating weather, but unlike last year and the many years before that, there would be no children roaming the streets tonight. The only monsters and goblins that would be out were the ones ready to kill—or worse, convert—free thinkers without batting an eye.

The latter thought sent a shudder down his spine.

Aaran continued to hike down the long and secluded stretch of road that was smothered by half-naked trees. Only the road itself and the occasional mailbox gave away that civilization was nearby. In the summertime, most of the houses would be concealed from the road by the thick foliage just off the shoulder of the asphalt. If it hadn’t been for the driveways leading back to the multi-million-dollar homes, Aaran never would have known they were there.

He spent much of the day going in and out of randomly selected houses along the winding path, hoping to find more treats than tricks. And while he did discover a few useful items, of the eight houses he checked, only two had gun safes inside and both had already been scavenged.

Aaran noticed that the further away he got from the country, the more difficult it was to find guns and ammo. And by the time he had reached Montgomery, every safe he found looked the same as the two he had found earlier; open and empty. But never pried or hacked open. It was as if the combination or keys had been used.

While it was a frustrating sight, Aaran wasn’t exactly stretched thin in that department. In addition to the Glock 19, which had been his father’s pistol, Aaran had a Mossberg shorty in his backpack that he had bought just last Thanksgiving. Dubbed the “JIC” or “Just in case” gun, Aaran felt at peace knowing he had it should he ever need something with a bit more oomph. The incredibly short twelve-gauge had never come out of the pack, and he hoped that never changed.

The suppressed CZ Scorpion on the other hand, he had “borrowed” from a friend. Lawrence Cunningham was a sheriff’s deputy in Clinton County, and he’d happened to be Aaran’s neighbor. Over the years, Aaran’s father had become good friends with the aging police officer, and it was not uncommon for Aaran, his younger brother Henry, and their father to go watch football over at Lawrence’s house on Sunday afternoons. It was also not uncommon for them to squeeze off a few rounds from his ever-growing arsenal of guns during halftime. Aaran would never forget the first time Lawrence had pulled the Czechoslovakian beauty out of the safe. It was love at first shot.

A few days after the purge, Aaran made his way across the field and over to Lawrence’s house. Unwilling to sleep in his own house after the grisly discovery, he stayed at Lawrence’s place, waiting for him to come home.

He never did.

After a month, Aaran surmised that Lawrence was either dead or had been connected against his will, so he helped himself to the gun. He grabbed the CZ Scorpion, along with a Dead Air Armament Wolf-9SD suppressor. Lawrence had several rifle safes filled with various battle rifles, carbines, and tactical shotguns. An entire shelf in one was dedicated to his suppressor collection. So, Aaran hadn’t felt too bad for taking just one. However, in the event that Lawrence ever returned, Aaran left an IOU… should they meet again.

Aaran had seven loaded Scorpion magazines, each one filled with thirty rounds of police-grade hollow points. He had eight Glock 19 mags filled with the same stuff. His Mossberg was loaded with double-aught buck, and he had a few extra boxes in his pack, along with two boxes of one-ounce slugs. Seeing as he had yet to fire a single shot the entire time he had been aimlessly wandering around the greater Cincinnati area, it wasn’t imperative that he find more guns and ammo just yet—but that never stopped him from looking.

Stepping out of the largest house he had walked through yet with little to show for his effort, Aaran was greeted by a descending sun. The temperature had dropped considerably since he’d gone inside, and the breeze was picking up. It would be dark within an hour, so Aaran decided it was time to find a place to call home for the night.

New book announcement

I am pleased to announce the sequel to As the Ash Fell is coming this year!

While I am not going to go into details about the story at the moment, I suspect those who enjoyed the first book will also like book 2. So stay tuned for details in the coming weeks.

If you haven’t read it yet, you can pick up As the Ash Fell for $2.99 on the Kindle, or $14.99 in paperback over at Amazon.

Thank you to all of my readers who have left the kind reviews or sent me messages about the first book. Your words have truly motivated me to keep putting words to the proverbial paper. If you have read the book, and haven’t left a review yet, please consider doing so. It would be greatly appreciated.

Details on story and release window still to come, but in the mean time you can check out the image below to get a taste for the mood and atmosphere to expect.

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AJ

Quick Update – Giveaway!

Hello everyone,

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It was a fantastic 2015, and I am looking forward to an even greater 2016. A lot of things have happened in the past few months that have kept me quite distracted from writing, but rest assured I am moving back into that realm as the dust settles from a busy end of the year. I will have an update here shortly on my writing endeavors, but in the mean time I am doing a three-book autographed giveaway for my readers!

There are three ways to win: sign up for my Newsletter (the form is on the right side of this page), like my Facebook page, and/or follow me on Twitter. It’s that simple. I will be choosing the winners at the end of the month. If you’re already subscribed/follow/like, then you’re automatically entered. To increase your chances, just sign up for all three.

Thanks for making 2015 so great, and I look forward to hearing from you all in 2016.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAJPowers/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aj_powers 

 

~AJ

Whoa, it’s been a while.

I had been doing so well to keep up on my blog posts, but then life, as usual, got in the way.

Long story short, I have been very busy with a few months of house guests coming and going, as well as some other non-writing side projects. Though the side projects will not be slowing down anytime soon, we will not be having any more visitors for a little while, so hopefully that will give me some more opportunities to write some new posts. In fact, I am going to finish reading and then do a review on my latest read, If We Survive by Andrew Klavan. I am enjoying it thus far and can’t wait to finish and review. So stay tuned for that.

As for my writing endeavors—well it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. As many of you know, I had started writing a sequel for As the Ash Fell, but that has been put on the back burner for now. Though I made a pretty large dent into the word count, and I was pretty happy with what I had written, there was just some things missing that made me realize I needed to give it some space, and think on it a bit more. So, while a followup to Ash is still likely, it may not happen for quite some time. I want it to be done right.

Having said that, I have been writing off and on when I find the time. I have started a new story that’s a mixture of sci-fi and dystopian, and I can’t wait to share some more details about it. I am hoping for a release this year, but don’t take that as a guarantee, because like I said…Life happens.

In the mean time, please check out As the Ash Fell if you haven’t already. And if you have already read it, please consider leaving a review.

Until next time,

AJ

Fourth of July Sale

It’s been too long since my last post. I know, I know, I am pretty bad about these things. But I figure most people would rather me be working on my next novel than posting every day on my blog. However, I do plan to post a bit more frequently in the future. Having said that, I would like to take a moment to announce that As the Ash Fell is currently on sale for the Amazon Kindle for US customers. 99¢ for the next two days, then it will move up to $1.99, then $2.99 and then back to the normal price of $3.99. So get it while it’s cheap!

Also, I plan to be making an announcement about my next book in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. If you haven’t signed up for my mailing list yet, just simply submit your email address on the right for book updates, exclusives, and even some prizes!

Have a Happy Fourth of July everyone! Be safe, and enjoy time celebrating our nation’s independence!

 

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AJ

Interview: Author J.T. O’Connell

As I try to expand what all happens on my website, one of the things I am going to start doing is interview various authors from around the world. I would like to welcome my first guest, J.T. O’Connell who recently released a book called The Remaking. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

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AJ: 
Tell us a little about yourself, J.T.

J.T.O: I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, the fourth of six children in our family. Having so many siblings, it was rare  the TV was ever tuned to anything that interested me, so my interests were fulfilled in books. Reading has been a priceless hobby. I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world! I now live in a little township northeast of Cincinnati with two dogs and a cat, all three spoiled.

AJ: You released The Remaking back in March. Why don’t you give us the elevator pitch for the book?

J.T.O: The Remaking is a story about life in a dystopian society. Sela is nineteen, but already out on her own, avoiding notice of the government. Her greatest fear is that she may be caught and then used as a hostage to control her father who sent her into hiding. She buries her old identity and clothes herself in a new one, hoping one day to be able to see her parents once again. When she stumbles upon a group seeking to undermine the authority of the Remaking, Sela decides to help change society for the better. But she must walk a fine line, helping this secretive organization, while keeping her true identity concealed.

AJ: What inspired you to write The Remaking?

J.T.O: Young Adult literature is remarkably consistent in some of its themes these days. That is, of course, due to publishers following down paths that are tried and true. One tone that nearly shouts from many novels is the young rebel who fights against the whole construction of society, not just parental control. This is a theme most teenagers will appreciate handily. Hunger Games, Divergent, and others make a central premise out of fighting back against state tyranny. Interestingly, this has been an issue in American life since the mid-18th century (perhaps earlier even), and remains so in contemporary discourse.

I must confess a great burden of inspiration from George Orwell in my writing of The Remaking, though I do not want to pretend any qualitative similarity to that literary legend. That is for the reader to decide. However, my approach to society in general is more direct than mainstream publishers would generally allow. It is important for Katniss or Trix or Sela to fight against tyranny, but it is just as important that they fight on behalf of a better way. I think that is partly why Mockingjay splits the Hunger Games fan base. The end of the book proffers no valid alternative to dictatorship. Combine that with the personal strife Katniss faced, and the final image is one void of any shred of hope. That is why the epilogue strikes many people as strange, myself included. From utter hopelessness and irreparable despair to a happy and pleasant family, but without any thorough explanation of how one can find joy.

The Remaking comes at this differently. The book is upfront about many of these ideas, instead of skirting around them, pretending that Sela’s personal life dictates everything she does. If that were true, then how could there really be any problem with the government? Some people see Katniss from The Hunger Games as self-centered in the extreme, because all of her actions on the world stage come purely from an emotional cage she built for herself. There is a fair criticism in that, though I think it lacks nuance. In The Remaking, Sela’s personal life is deeply involved and drives the story, but she also sees the value in altruistic efforts to change the system. It may be rhetorically safer to avoid having a character wrestle with differing ideological concepts, but I believe that struggle what made 1984 a classic of literature, giving it endurance that transcends the Atlantic Ocean and nearly seven decades.

AJ: Your previous books have followed around male protagonists, but in The Remaking your protagonist is a 19 year old girl. Was this a difficult transition to your writing?

J.T.O: Writing Sela grew easier over time, actually. Initially, it was a daunting prospect, putting together this person who needs to become intimately acquainted to the reader. Yet, she somehow came into her own as the writing progressed, and I’m still not completely sure how that happened. Male main characters can be challenging as well, even though I am more familiar with the perspective. A good main character is vulnerable but not weak, sensible but not genius, reserved but relatable, kind in the right place and fierce on occasion. In some ways, Sela fits into that mold more naturally than Denver from the Sunlost books. I enjoyed writing Sela’s character, and was happy and relieved after a few female friends expressed approval of her femininity.

AJ: Can readers expect a sequel to The Remaking?

J.T.O: There are at least two more books to come after The Remaking. It’s interesting, actually. I didn’t want to write The Remaking. I wanted to write the third book, and I still do. That story is going to be a whopper, but it requires so much back story, there were at least two full books that simply must come before. And the particulars of the dystopian world are good enough that I didn’t want to shortchange it by trying to sum up all these events in a handful of early chapters. The Remaking is a great book, and could even be a standalone, but there will be two more books coming. Maybe more!

AJ: What’s your perfect writing scenario? Outside on a nice sunny day with a laptop? Or inside in a dark room, listening to music?

J.T.O: I’m far too sensitive a writer. Which is not to say that my writing is melodramatic; it certainly is not. I mean that my environment and mindset can drastically affect how well I write. And annoyingly, it is not all that consistent. What’s the perfect situation to be writing? The one that works! I sometimes write outside on a laptop, sometimes on paper, sometimes on a couch, sometimes at my desk, sometimes with music, sometimes without. I once hand wrote a few chapters while on an evening visit to the campus of MIT. I once wrote on a laptop while taking a break hiking way up in the Rocky Mountains with my dog, Moose. I’m finicky, I suppose. It can be frustrating, but so long as I manage to produce, I’ll just go with it.

AJ: Hobbies outside of writing?

J.T.O: I really enjoy hiking these days. I’m a romantic for the western wilderness. The Rocky Mountains as earlier mentioned, Painted Desert, Natural Bridge, Meteor Crater, White Sands, Grand Canyon, Black Hills and Thunder Basin, Petrified Forest, Wilson Lake. I don’t cross the Mississippi nearly as often as I’d like. Besides that, I play guitar and read. I’m always trying to blaze my way though my “to read” list. There’s not really a light at the end of that tunnel, though, and I make no secret that I like it this way.

AJ: Right now, what’s your favorite book?

J.T.O: Oh wow. Favorite book. Just one? That makes it tough, so I think I’ll cheat. For my non-fiction pick, I’ll say Modern Times by British historian and journalist Paul Johnson. It’s a history of the world from 1900 to 1990. You would think it would unoriginal and blasé. Quite the opposite, Johnson draws many conclusions and relationships out, inspiring a great deal of reconsideration.

I simply cannot pick a favorite work of fiction, so I will destroy brevity and select the whole Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson for the last three books). I’m not through the whole story yet (fourteen books, 11,000 pages, one story!), but what I’ve read so far has blown me away. They are fantastic books! So well constructed!

AJ: What are you currently working on? Will it be out soon?

J.T.O: I just finished editing a novella called Littledon! It is an allegory of sorts, and I hope to launch that very soon so that I can focus all my energies on following up The Remaking.

 

Thanks for the interview, J.T.

You can find more information about J.T. below.

Purchase The Remaking on Amazon Kindle

http://www.jtoconnell.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jtoconnellauthor

https://twitter.com/JosephTOConnell

 

Release Day + 7

So, today marks the 1 week mark since I released As the Ash fell, and I have to say I am very pleased with how it has been received.

I am not talking about just my friends and family who want to be supportive (though I believe many of their comments to be genuine). I have started to get reviews and feedback from people who don’t have a horse in the race. Just using general marketing and spreading the word on various forums and social media I have gotten some tremendously positive feedback, and most of them asking for a sequel.

I want to post one of the 5 stars reviews I received on Amazon from someone I do not know except through the forums I posted my book in:

This is put together better than the 299 days series (which I enjoyed but were too instructional). Tastefully done and no hints of mall cops or zombies. A good balance of drama and action. I was pulled in by the characters and couldn’t stop reading. The kindle apps make it too easy to read at work.

I only hope the author follows up with a sequel!”

I have not read the 299 Days series he’s referring to; I’ve only heard of it just here and there. However, when I looked it up on Amazon, the books, as a series, had hundreds of reviews at 5 stars, and was selling on the Kindle for $8-$9 a pop. This was a huge compliment for me. I know many folks really like their post apocalyptic books, so for someone to tell me that my book read better than another (successful) series they enjoyed, was an incredible and humbling comment.

There are three things I am receiving consistent feedback about: The story flows well, the characters are deep and believable, and it’s hard to put down. These are the kinds of comments I like to hear. While there may be issues with finer details, getting these broad issues taken care of will keep readers engaged and want to see more from the story after each page turn. It means I have done my job as a story teller, not just an author.

So how were sales for my first week? Well, I won’t discuss numbers in public—that’s partly my rule and I’ve also heard Amazon doesn’t care for those things either. However, I will say that I set a modest goal for my first month’s sales, and I got 75% of the way there in my first week. That’s not including borrows via Kindle Unlimited or paperback sales. Strictly sales on Kindle e-reader. To say I am encouraged is an understatement. My book ranked between 15,000 and 25,000 all week long, which was with almost no marketing (just me telling people about it on Twitter/Forums/Facebook). I am excited to see what happens when I start doing some marketing—and I have some pretty cool plans coming up soon about that.

I want to again thank all my friends and family who have helped spread the word of As the Ash Fell, and made this a successful launch. Thank you!

As the Ash Fell is currently available on Amazon Kindle (Kindle Unlimited as well) for $3.99 and Paperback for $14.99.

Until next time,

AJ