Monday 31 August 2020


Title: Extant - Beyond The Thaw
Series: The Thaw Chronicles
Author: Tamar Sloan & Heidi Catherine
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Climate-Change Fiction
Release Date: 31st July 2020
BLURB from Goodreads 
Only the chosen shall seek.

Sea levels have receded, exposing fertile, untouched land. Virgin soil that everyone in a ravaged world is willing to fight for.

Askala knows it needs to stake a claim if they’re going to continue healing the Earth. To do that, a team of Seekers will be sent to colonize it…and assimilate those who don’t understand.

This year, the testing won’t end at the Proving. Passing is no longer just about having a kind heart and a sharp mind. To spread Askala’s word, Seekers also need to survive in this harsh new land. New tests will determine who’s strong and tough enough to be the best of the best.

Sam is determined to prove her father’s vision is what the world needs. Mercy is convinced she’ll be able to win the Outlanders over with her smile. Hawk believes he was destined to be a Seeker, but will his gentle soul be his undoing? Luca knows he’s never fitted in and isn’t about to try.

Who will pass and have the honor of representing Askala? And how will a society founded on peace succeed in a world where violence is power? Four teens are about to find out.

Goodreads Link

After reading and loving the previous four books set in this world, I knew that Extant was most definitely on my must-read list! So as soon as I knew it was available, I just had to read it!

This cover fits perfectly with the preceding book covers and I bet they look amazing on a bookstore book shelf all together!

In this book we are once again meeting the next generation, so it is the children of Kian & Nova, and Dex & Wren. There is also plenty of offspring for another couple that was hinted at in the last book but I don’t want to give too much away.

The main characters therefore are new to us and are called Hawk, Mercy, Sam and the more familiar name but of the younger generation Luca. The parents, the characters we know and love still feature in this book too. The Proving’s still go on but contain nothing as sinister as losing a finger like they used to do in the past. Now if you fail a Proving you are able to re-enter the following year. The big difference this year that is even a surprise to the present days entrants is that there is to be another, more difficult, more dangerous set of tasks to be done to choose six seekers. These seekers will go out to spread the word of Askala and their ways of respecting the earth and trying to help others to join them in being more eco-friendly. Educating people to such a different way of living is not going to be an easy job.

I really enjoyed reading the personality traits that have been passed onto the next generation, as well as the physical ones of course too. It’s interesting to learn who is going to end up in a relationship with who aswell. There are a few occasions in the book you feel like reaching into the book and grabbing the characters, shaking them and saying how can you not see what he/she feels about you.

The man put in charge of the new tests for the opportunity to become a seeker is Jagger, as always Askalan’s strives to always be fair, and it would not be right for a parent of a youngster to be in charge and there be the slightest possibility of any favouritism. Though to be honest with some of the characters I think they would be more likely to be harder and expect more from their own offspring! Jagger was one of Ronan’s men who changed sides and helped the Askalan’s win the war against them. Jagger has become a valued member of the council that leads Askala. For each test tokens are awarded, but it is up to the individual that earns the tokens as to who they give them to. They can keep them for themselves, or give them to someone else. However, no one knows who is receiving how may tokens as those taking part go to a separate area alone and place their tokens in an urn. There is an urn for every person taking part.

There are quite a few entering for the possibility of becoming a seeker, including a late surprising entrant Luca, who returns from the Outlands just in time. It is his adoptive father that asks him to enter to care for his 2sister” and try to make sure that she doesn’t do well enough to finish in the top six and become a seeker!

When those entering the new “Seeker Proving” were told that these new tests would be more difficult it was no exaggeration, in fact a couple of entrants actually die whilst taking part. The one trial I particularly loved was the stand in a bucket of sea water. There is one bucket less than participants so one is immediately ruled out. Though it is just one person’s ingenuity that helps all the others taking part. As I said there are also a couple of deaths during the tasks too, which of course are sad. Also like the real world we all live in always there are those that would prefer to cheat and steal from others rather than do their own work.

There are also the love interests and the ups and downs of budding romances and relationships. When Luca returns to Askala, he is shocked by how someone he previously thought of as a relative now provokes totally different feelings within him. At first, he tries to fight it, but can he resist his feeling when the young woman in questions makes it crystal clear she is interested in him too?

There’s another couple who have been best of friends growing up but now have romantic feelings. Each of them have feelings for the other and cannot bear it if they end up being parted with one making it as a seeker and the other one not. I really adored following this couples journey throughout the book. 

Once again, I enjoyed this book from the beginning to end! The only difficulty I had was actually putting the book down to go to sleep. I truly hated having to put it down. I started reading quite late one night so I did know I wouldn’t be able to read it in one go, but it didn’t stop me wanting to continue reading it very late into the night!! One of the chapters ends with a character making the difficult decision of where they are putting their token. Should they vote for themselves? Help someone is maybe not so good at tasks but really wants to be a seeker. Should they vote tactically? Who would they want to represent Askala? Who can do the job they need to do? If they become a seeker who would they want on their team? There’s lots and lots to think about and quite a few of the characters struggle with who to give their tokens to. So, as I was saying, in this certain chapter, one of the contestants in the trials is having difficulty deciding where to put their token and just as you think its going to be revealed which urn the token goes in that chapter ends!!!

My immediate thoughts upon finishing reading the book were, did not see that result! Seriously looking forward to reading more of this series.

To sum up, I am seriously loving this whole series and really pleased to learn there are going to even more books still to come.



Friday 28 August 2020



Four different publishing houses have combined their efforts to produce a speculative fiction anthology of stories for the benefit of COVID-19 relief. The stories and cover art were donated by their creators to the cause, and 95% of all profits from Surviving Tomorrow will go directly toward medical relief. The anthology features 29 stories, including stories from New York Times Bestsellers Neil Gaiman, Seanan McGuire and Cory Doctorow.

Aeristic Press, 25 & Y, Valeron and Boralis Books have coordinated on production of this charity anthology to assist struggling communities; through front line test kits or donations to DirectRelief, GlobalGiving or

“The idea was to create a collection of stories about survivors that would help them escape from the fear and stress of the present crisis and think about the possibilities for tomorrow,” said Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Co-Managing Editor for Aerisitic Press and Hugo-nominated editor for 15 different anthologies. “When the pandemic happened, my mind immediately started thinking about what I might do to help.”

This is an excellent way for avid or casual readers to contribute to COVID-19 relief. For those who want to contribute more to the effort, a gold-embossed, faux leather special edition is available, with eBooks already available in a pre-release edition and print copies shipping in August and September. As all print copies are bundled with a free eBook, all readers will have access to the stories at the same time. 
**All profits go to providing COVID-19 tests directly to the front lines of this crisis.**


Surviving Tomorrow contains twenty-nine stories about survivors, over half of them original and being published here for the first time. Struck by a desire to help people as the pandemic unfolded, editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt decided to try and use his skills as an anthologist to raise funding for COVID-19 support by creating an anthology with two purposes—fundraising and provide readers with stories that would speak to them as they manage the stress of our changing social landscape. 

Bryan took the idea to a friend he knew was at that time suffering from the novel coronavirus who also happened to be a medical publisher—Peter J. Wacks—and asked if he'd be willing to build the project. Peter spoke to Isabel Penraeth—who was in the process of launching a new specialty edition publishing house—about the project… and the anthology was in incubation.

People from four different publishing enterprises joined forces to bring this book to life. After conversations with the authors you see below, all of whom are allowing their work to be published without remuneration, the anthology became a living, breathing reality. 

The stories in Surviving Tomorrow focus on the impacts of extraordinary circumstances on the people they depict and how they respond, and though a few are longer, most of the stories are short enough to be read in a few minutes’ time—designed to provide a brief escape from the worries of the moment into another world and renew your spirit and mind. 

All profits from Surviving Tomorrow go to providing COVID-19 tests directly to the front lines of this crisis, or your portion can be earmarked for one of the charities you can select on the checkout page. As we start to achieve distributing to the front lines, we will post a thermometer here to show how many (and where) the tests are landing. Available in a limited, numbered, gold-leaf embossed collector’s edition as well as hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook, Surviving Tomorrow will provide hours of enjoyment even as it saves lives.

The Editor of this book is Bryan Thomas Schmidt and he is the Hugo-nominated and national bestselling editor of 15 anthologies and numerous novels including the worldwide bestseller The Martian by Andy Weir and books by Frank Herbert, Alan Dean Foster, and Angie Fox, among others. His books have been published by St. Martin’s Press, Baen Books, Titan Books, IDW, and many more. A national bestselling author of novels and short fiction, his novel series include The Saga of Davi Rhii and The John Simon Thrillers. His debut novel, The Worker Prince, received Honorable Mention on Barnes and Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction of 2011. He lives in Ottawa, KS where he has been social distancing with his two dogs and two mischievous felines. He can be found online at and as BryanThomasS on Twitter and Facebook.

There are some really well-known names that have contributed to this anthology, some, as an avid reader I had heard of and others I have discovered through this anthology. Those listed as well known names or as they are referred to as “headliners” are, Neil Gaiman, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Robert Silverberg, Seanan McGuire, and Jonathan Maberry, Scott Sigler, Alan Dean Foster, A.C. Crispin, Cory Doctorow, Jody Lynn Nye, Orson Scott Card, Andrew Mayne, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and John Skipp.

There are many other, perhaps not as well known authors short stories who are listed as Contributors and they are, Claire Ashgrove, Roshni "Rush" Bhatia, Livia Blackburn, Beth Cato and Brenda Cooper, Raymund Eich, Tori Eldridge, Julie Frost, C. Stuart Hardwick, J. Kent Holloway, K.D. McEntire, Kathleen O’Malley, Bryan Thomas Schmidt Ken Scholes, Martin L. Shoemaker, Peter J. Wacks, Jay Werkheiser, and Mercedes M. Yardley

Then the following names are mentioned giving special thanks to, Svitlana Stefaniuk, Bond Halbert, Sebastian Penraeth, Isabel Penraeth, and Kevin Kauffmann.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the Hugo-nominated and national bestselling editor of 15 anthologies and numerous novels including the worldwide bestseller The Martian by Andy Weir and books by Frank Herbert, Alan Dean Foster, and Angie Fox, among others. His books have been published by St. Martin’s Press, Baen Books, Titan Books, IDW, and many more. A national bestselling author of novels and short fiction, his novel series include The Saga of Davi Rhii and The John Simon Thrillers. His debut novel, The Worker Prince, received Honorable Mention on Barnes and Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction of 2011. He lives in Ottawa, KS where he has been social distancing with his two dogs and one very naughty cat. He can be found online at www.bryanthomasschmidt.
net and as BryanThomasS on Twitter and Facebook.

Martin L. Shoemaker is a programmer who writes on the side… or maybe it’s the other way around. Programming pays the bills, but a second-place
story in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest earned him lunch with Buzz
Aldrin. Programming never did that! His work has appeared in Analog Science
Fiction & Fact, Galaxy’s Edge, Digital Science Fiction, Forever Magazine,
Writers of the Future, and numerous anthologies including Year’s Best Military
and Adventure SF 4, Man-Kzin Wars XV, The Jim Baen Memorial Award: The First Decade, Little Green Men—Attack!, More Human Than Human: Stories of Androids, Robots, and Manufactured Humanity, and Avatar Dreams. His Clarkesworld story “Today I Am Paul” appeared in four different year’s best anthologies and eight international editions. His follow-on novel, Today I Am Carey, was published by Baen Books in March 2019. His novel The Last Dance was published by 47North in November 2019.

Andrew Mayne is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author and an Edgar Award and Thriller Award finalist. He’s the author of The Girl Beneath the Sea, The Naturalist, Looking Glass, Murder Theory, Dark Pattern, Angel Killer, and Name of the Devil. He starred in the Discovery Channel Shark Week special 
Andrew Mayne: Ghost Diver and A&E’s Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne. As an illusionist, he started his first world tour when he was a teenager and went on to work behind the scenes for Penn & Teller, David Blaine, and David Copperfield. He was ranked as the fifth best selling independent author of the year by Amazon UK. For more on him and his work, you can follow him on Twitter @AndrewMayne and visit

Roshni “Rush” Bhatia is a horror writer-director living in Los Angeles, USA. Growing up in Mumbai, Rush was inspired by filmmakers like James Cameron, Ridley Scott and writers like Richard Matheson and Rod Serling. By the age of 21, while Rush’s shorts were making the rounds at film festivals, she wrote, directed and conceptualized six Bollywood music videos which have garnered millions of views. Her short films garnered appreciation at top tier festivals such as Leeds International Film Festival, Morbido Film Fest, etc. Her films have been accepted at more than 50 festivals and have won awards for Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Writing. Rush was also nominated for Best Writer by the Horror Writers Association of America for Plasmid.

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger—the co-editor of Boing Boing ( and the author of many books, most recently In Real Life, a graphic novel; Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free, a book about earning a living in the Internet age, and Homeland, the award-winning, best-selling sequel to the 2008 YA novel Little Brother.

Since 1969 Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has published nearly 100 books and more than 70 pieces of short fiction. Her most famous creation is the 4,000 year-old vampire Count Saint-Germain, whose adventures Yarbro have chronicled in a bestselling series of historical horror novels. She has also composed music for the orchestra and theater. In 1997 the Transylvanian Society of Dracula bestowed a literary knighthood on Yarbro, and in 2003 the World Horror Association presented her with a Grand Master award. In 2006 the International Horror Guild enrolled her among their Living Legends, the first woman to be so honored. She has received two Lifetime Achievement Awards — from the Horror Writers Association in 2009, and from the World Fantasy Association in 2014. Yarbro lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with the Gang of Two (her cats Butterscotch and Crumpet). When not busy reading or writing, she enjoys the symphony and opera. For more, see
Seanan McGuire is the New York Times-bestselling author of more than a
dozen books, all published within the last five years, which may explain why
some people believe that she does not actually sleep. Her work has been translated into several languages, and resulted in her receiving a record five Hugo
Award nominations on the 2013 ballot. When not writing, Seanan spends her
time reading, watching terrible horror movies and too much television, visiting
Disney Parks, and rating haunted corn mazes. You can keep up with her at

Number one New York Times bestselling author Scott Sigler is the creator of fifteen novels, six novellas, and dozens of short stories. His works are available from Crown Publishing and Del Rey Books. In 2005, Scott built a large online following by releasing his audiobooks as serialized podcasts. A decade later, he still gives his stories away—for free—every Sunday at His loyal fans, who named themselves “Junkies,” have downloaded more than forty million individual episodes. He has been covered in Time, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, Io9, Wired, the Huffington Post, BusinessWeek, and Fangoria. Scott is the co-founder of Empty Set Entertainment, which publishes his Galactic Football League YA series. He lives in San Diego, California, with his wee little dog, Reesie.

K.D. McEntire is the author of the Lightbringer YA urban fantasy trilogy from PYR Books. She lives in Kansas where between raising her two young
sons, she is working on another novel, and can be found online at https://www.

Orson Scott Card is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the novels Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools. His most recent series, the young adult Pathfinder series (Pathfinder, Ruins, Visitors) and the fantasy Mithermages series (Lost Gate, Gate Thief) are taking readers in new directions. Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series, The Tales of Alvin Maker (beginning with Seventh Son), poetry (An Open Book), and many plays and scripts. Card currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, where his primary activities are writing a review column for the local Rhinoceros Times and feeding birds, squirrels, chipmunks, possums, and raccoons on the patio.

Ken Scholes is the award-winning, critically-acclaimed author of five novels and over fifty short stories. His work has appeared in print since 2000. He is also a singer-songwriter who has written nearly a hundred songs over thirty years of performing. Ken’s eclectic background includes time spent as a label gun repairman, a sailor who never sailed, a soldier who commanded a desk, a fundamentalist preacher (he got better), a nonprofit executive, and a government procurement analyst. He has a degree in History from Western Washington University. Ken is a native of the Pacific Northwest and makes his home in Cornelius, Oregon, where he lives with his twin daughters. You can learn more about Ken by visiting

New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne wrote her first novel while researching the neuroscience of reading at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since then, she’s switched to full time writing, which also involves getting into people’s heads but without the help of a three tesla MRI scanner. She is the author of Midnight Thief (An Indies Introduce New Voices selection) and Rosemarked (A YALSA Teens Top Ten nominee), as well as their respective sequels.

Alan Dean Foster’s work to date includes excursions into hard science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He has also written numerous nonfiction articles on film, science, and scuba diving, as well as having produced the novel versions of many films, including such well-known productions as Star Wars, the first three Alien films, Alien Nation, and The Chronicles of Riddick. Other works include scripts for talking records, radio, computer games, and the story for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. His novel Shadowkeep was the first ever book adaptation of an original computer game. In addition to publication in English his work has been translated into more than fifty languages and has won awards in Spain and Russia. His novel Cyber Way won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first work of science fiction ever to do so. Foster’s sometimes humorous, occasionally poignant, but always entertaining short fiction has appeared in all the major SF magazines as well as in original anthologies and several “Best of the Year” compendiums. His published oeuvre includes more than 100 books. Among his most famous original creations are the characters Pip and Flinx and Amos Malone.

New York Times bestselling author A.C. Crispin (1950–2013) wrote prolifically in many different tie-in universes, and was a master at filling in the histories of beloved TV and movie characters. She began publishing in 1983 with the Star Trek novel Yesterday’s Son, written in her spare time while working for the US Census Bureau. Shortly thereafter, Tor Books commissioned her to write
what is perhaps still her most widely read work, the 1984 novelization of the
television miniseries, V, which sold more than a million copies.
For Star Wars, Crispin wrote the bestselling Han Solo Trilogy: The Paradise
Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn, which tell the story of Han Solo from
his early years right up to the moment he walks into the cantina in Star Wars:
A New Hope. She wrote three other bestselling Star Trek novels: Time for Yesterday, The Eyes of the Beholders, and Sarek. Her final tie-in novel was the massive Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom, which was published in 2011. She was named a Grandmaster by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers in 2013. Her major original science fiction undertaking was the StarBridge series. These books, written solo or in collaboration, centered around a school for young diplomats, translators, and explorers, both alien and human, located on an asteroid far from Earth. Series titles are: StarBridge, Silent Dances, Shadow World, Serpent’s Gift, Silent Songs, Voices of Chaos, and Ancestor’s World. Crispin was a fierce advocate for writers. She and author Victoria Strauss
created and co-chaired SFWA’s “scam watchdog” committee, Writer Beware,
in 1998.

Kathleen O’Malley has been writing fiction and nonfiction since her childhood. With her friend, A.C. Crispin, she coauthored two StarBridge books:
StarBridge 2: Silent Dances and StarBridge 5: Silent Songs, the movie novelization
Alien: Resurrection, and several short stories, including “Pure Silver.” She lives
in Maryland with her wife and 6 accidental dogs and three deliberate cats.

Jody Lynn Nye lists her main career activity as “spoiling cats.” She lives
northwest of Atlanta with three feline overlords, Athena, Minx, and Marmalade,
and her husband, author and packager Bill Fawcett. She has written over
fifty books, most of them with a humorous bent, and over 170 short stories.
Jody has been fortunate enough to have collaborated with some of the greats
in the field of science fiction and fantasy. She wrote several books with Anne
McCaffrey or set in Anne’s many worlds, including The Death of Sleep, The Ship
Who Won, Crisis on Doona(a New York Times and USA Today bestseller), and The Dragonlover’s Guide to Pern. She wrote eight books with Robert Asprin and has since his death continued two of his series, the Myth-Adventures and Dragons. She edited a humorous anthology about mothers, Don’t Forget Your Spacesuit, Dear!, Her latest books are Rhythm of the Imperium (Baen Books), Moon Tracks (with Travis S. Taylor, Baen Books), Myth-Fits (Ace), and Once More, with Feeling, a book on revising your manuscripts (WordFire Press). She is one of the judges for the Writers of the Future fiction contest, the largest speculative fiction contest in the world. Jody also teaches the intensive two-day writers’ workshop at DragonCon. You can find her online on Facebook, Twitter, and her website,

Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times bestselling author and 5-time Bram Stoker Award-winner. He writes in multiple genres including suspense, thriller, horror, science fiction, fantasy, action, and steampunk, for adults, teens and middle grade. His works include the Joe Ledger thrillers, Rot & Ruin, Mars One, and Captain America, which is in development for a feature film. He writes comics for Marvel, Dark Horse and IDW and is the editor of such high-profile anthologies as The X-Files, V-Wars, Out of Tune, Baker Street Irregular, Nights of the Living Dead, and Scary Out There. He lives in Del Mar, California.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is a Hugo-nominated editor and the national bestselling author of numerous novels and short stories including The Saga of Davi Rhii space opera trilogy and The John Simon Thrillers. His latest Novel, Common Source (John Simon Thrillers 3) released in early June 2020, and his next novel, the near future hard science fiction thriller Shortcut will be out this Fall. Shortcut has been optioned for film by Roserock Films. His debut novel, The Worker Prince received Honorable Mention on Barnes and Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction of 2011. He is also a screenwriter, songwriter, and musician and lives in Ottawa, KS with his beloved dogs and cat. He can be found online at

Neil Gaiman is the bestselling author of books, short stories, films and graphic novels for adults and children.Some of his most notable titles include the novels The Graveyard Book (the first book to ever win both the Newbery and Carnegie medals), American Gods, and the UK’s National Book Award 2013 Book of the Year, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. His latest collection of short stories, Trigger Warning, was an immediate New York Times bestseller and was named a NYT Editors’ Choice. Born in the UK, he now lives in the US with his wife, the musician and writer, Amanda Palmer.

John Skipp is a Saturn Award-winning filmmaker (Tales of Halloween), Stoker Award-winning anthologist (Demons, Mondo Zombie), and New York Times bestselling author (The Light at the End, The Scream) whose books have sold millions of copies in a dozen languages worldwide. His first anthology, Book of the Dead, laid the foundation in 1989 for modern zombie literature. He’s also editorin-chief of Fungasm Press, championing genre-melting authors like Laura Lee Bahr, Autumn Christian, Danger Slater, Cody Goodfellow, Jennifer Robin, S.G. Murphy and John Boden From splatterpunk founding father to bizarro elder
statesman, Skipp has influenced a generation of horror and counterculture
artists around the world. His latest screenplay (with Dori Miller) is “Times is
Tough in Musky Holler”, for Shudder’s Creepshow series. His most recent book
(with Heather Drain) is The Bizarro Encyclopedia of Film (VOL. I).

Raymund Eich is a science fiction and fantasy writer whose middle American upbringing is a launchpad for journeys to the ends of the universe. His most popular works are military science fiction series The Confederated Worlds
(Take the Shilling, Operation Iago, and A Bodyguard of Lies) and the Stone Chalmers series of science fiction espionage adventures (The Progress of Mankind, The Greater Glory of God, To All High Emprise Consecrated, and In Public Convocation Assembled). His latest novel of deep space suspense, The Reincarnation Run, was published in October 2019 by CV-2 Books ( His website is

Julie Frost grew up an Army brat, traveling the globe. She thought she might settle down after she finished school, but then married a pilot and moved six times in seven years. She’s finally put down roots in Utah with her family--a
herd of guinea pigs, another humans, and a “kitten” who thinks she’s a warrior
princess--and a collection of anteaters and Oaxacan carvings, some of which
intersect. She enjoys birding and nature photography, which also intersect.
Utilizing her degree in biology, she writes werewolf fiction while completely
ignoring the physics of a protagonist who triples in mass. Her short fiction
has appeared in too many venues to count, including Writers of the Future 32,
Straight Outta Dodge City, and Monster Hunter Files. Her werewolf private
eye novel series, “Pack Dynamics,” is published by WordFire Press; her novel
“Dark Day, Bright Hour” was published by Ring of Fire Press. She whines about
writing, a lot, at

Mercedes M. Yardley is a whimsical dark fantasist who wears poisonous flowers in her hair. She is the author of Beautiful Sorrows, the Stabby-Awardwinning Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, Pretty Little Dead Girls, and Nameless. She won the prestigious Bram Stoker Award for her story ”Little Dead Red” and was a Bram Stoker Award nominee for
her short story “Loving You Darkly.” Mercedes is editor of the dark fiction anthology Arterial Bloom. You can find her online at

C. Stuart Hardwick is a regular in Analog Science Fiction & Fact magazine, a winner of the prestigious Writers of the Future contest, and a six-time Jim Baen Memorial award honoree. In addition to scifi, he writes about science for numerous publications, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. An Air Force brat from South Dakota, he grew up on Black Hills treasure hunts and family lore like pages from a Steinbeck novel. After a childhood of homemade ”radio shows” and stop animation scifi shorts, he worked with the creators of the video game Doom and married an aquanaut.
When he isn’t visiting science facilities or climbing inside an air lock, he’s been known to wear a cape. For a free signed e-sampler and information about his ”Open Source Space” series, visit
Nebula Award-nominated Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger duology and the Blood of Earth trilogy from Harper Voyager. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cats. Follow her at and on Twitter at @BethCato.

Bestselling author Kent Holloway lives on death. Literally. With more than twenty-five years’ experience in forensic death investigations, he’s seen it all. Experienced the worst that life has to give and never let it dim his sense of wonder or humor. Now, he brings all this experience, along with a zeal for uncovering the folklore and superstitions of death, to the written page as author of mysteries, forensic crime fiction, paranormal thrillers, and Christian fiction and nonfiction!
He is the author of the highly acclaimed Ezekiel Crane paranormal mystery series, as well as some of his more traditional mysteries, Killypso Island and the forensic thriller, Clean Exit. He’s even started a series wherein Death himself takes on the role of sleuth in the witty and twisty Death Warmed Over. Kent Holloway also has a Master’s degree in Biblical Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as singles minister, evangelism pastor, and director of discipleship and education. Kent has just released his very first Christian nonfiction book entitled I Died Swallowing a Goldfish and Other Life Lessons from the Morgue.

Jay Werkheiser teaches chemistry and physics. Pretty much all the time. His stories are sneaky devices to allow him to talk about science in a (sort of) socially acceptable way. Much to his surprise, the editors of Analog and various
other magazines, e-zines, and anthologies have found a few of his stories worth
publishing. Many of those story ideas came from nerdy discussions with his
daughter or his students. He really should keep an updated blog and author
page, but he mostly wastes his online time on Facebook, MeWe, or Twitter.

Claire Ashgrove is the author of the award-winning series, The Curse of the Templars. Although primarily known for her romance works, she’s written
across a variety of genres and loves delving into new fiction adventures. She’s
a lifelong native of Missouri, where she teaches high school English in a small
rural district. In her free time, she can be found on her conservation poultry
farm with her teenage sons, working with critically endangered birds and riding
horses. Follow her at and on Facebook.

Brenda Cooper is a writer, a futurist, and a technology professional. She often writes about technology and the environment. Her recent novels include
Keepers (Pyr, 2018), Wilders (Pyr, 2017), POST (Espec Books, 2016), and Spear of
Light (Pyr, 2016). Brenda is the winner of the 2007 and 2016 Endeavour Awards for “a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book written by a Pacific Northwest
author or authors.” Her work has also been nominated for the Philip K. Dick
and Canopus awards. Brenda lives in Woodinville, Washington with her family and four dogs.

Tori Eldridge is the Lefty-nominated author of The Ninja Daughter, which was named one of the “Best Mystery Books of the Year” by The South Florida Sun Sentinel and awarded 2019 Thriller Book of the Year by Authors on the Air Global Radio Network. Her short stories appear in several anthologies, and her screenplay The Gift earned a semifinalist spot in the prestigious Academy
Nicholl Fellowship. Before writing, Tori performed as an actress, singer, dancer
on Broadway, television, and film. She is of Hawaiian, Chinese, Norwegian descent and was born and raised in Honolulu where she graduated from Punahou
School with classmate Barack Obama. Tori holds a fifth-degree black belt in
To-Shin Do ninjutsu and has traveled the USA teaching seminars on the ninja
arts, weapons, and women’s self-protection. Her second book in the Lily Wong
series, The Ninja’s Blade, releases September 1, 2020.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has won awards in every genre for her work. She has several pen names, including Kris Nelscott for mystery and Kristine Grayson for romance. She’s currently writing two different science fiction series,
The Retrieval Artist and the space opera Diving series. She’s also editing the anthology series Fiction River. For more on her work, go to

Robert Silverberg is rightly considered by many as one of the greatest living science fiction writers. His career stretches back to the pulps and his output is amazing by any standard. He’s authored numerous novels, short stories, and nonfiction books in various genres and categories. He’s also a frequent guest at Cons and a regular columnist for Asimov’s. His major works include Dying Inside, The Book of Skulls, The Alien Years, The World Inside, Nightfall with Isaac Asimov, Son of Man, A Time of Changes, and the seven Majipoor Cycle books. His first Majipoor trilogy, Lord Valentine’s Castle, Majipoor Chronicles, and Valentine Pontifex, were reissued by ROC Books in May 2012, September 2012, and January 2013. Tales of Majipoor, a new collection bringing together all the short Majipoor tales, followed in May 2013.



I was contacted via email and asked if I could/would publicise this book on my blog and maybe read and review it. After having just read and thoroughly enjoyed another collection of post-apocalyptic type short stories, I did feel like reading more. I also think as this is actually a charity anthology gave me an extra incentive to feature it on my blog and to review it. My review as always, will be completely honest and unbiased as all my reviews are, despite this being a charity anthology.

On the whole I really did enjoy reading this anthology. It has a great mixture of short stories, and some I loved, some were okay, and the occasional odd one or two left me with a “what on earth did I just read” attitude. I will be totally honest I enjoyed some of the stories from those authors listed as “Contributors” more than some of the “Headliners.”

This Anthology is for a great cause, and I encourage everyone to buy a copy, be it a beautiful hardback, the trade paperback or the ebook version. Every little bit will help. Not only are you helping fund three different charities that have a necessary need for help right now but from a purely “selfish” reader point of view you will be discovering some great authors, possibly some that you won’t have read before or maybe haven’t even heard of prior to this anthology. 
With Anthologies I tend to read each short story and give it an out of 5 rating then take an average of those scores at the end to “rate” the whole anthology. I cam to the conclusion that this anthology is well worth reading, really you do not want to miss out on this book. It’s surprising how reading about characters in awkward situations and settings makes you forget the horror and emotion of what is going on in the world round you.

I do want to tell you about the stories but I don’t want to give much away as with it being a collection of short stories it would be so easy to reveal too much and spoil the reading experience for other potential readers.

Having said all that, I feel the need to mention some of the short stories.

My favourite short story was Face Your Fears by Seanan McGuire, who is listed as one of the Headliners. Face Your Furs was quite quirky, futuristic/dystopian and I really felt rapidly pulled deeply into it. I quickly became attached to the characters, wanting to know what was going to happen next. This short story was “un-putdownable” and I looked up other books by this Author straight away. It was an easy 5/5 for this story.

Once On The Blue Moon by Kristine Kathryn Rusch was also a favourite, which really surprised me as I would have described this one as being about a space ship which would have immediately put me off it. However, as it was in an anthology, I read it and really enjoyed. I adored the feisty, kick butt character of Collette and how the bad guys underestimate her, thinking she is someone to be ignored and not a person that could spoil their carefully laid plans. This time the author is listed as a contributor, and again I intend to take a look at other titles by her. Another easy 5/5

Another really short story was by a Headliner, Dale & Mabel by Scott Sigler. I will be totally truthful this one had my eyes filling up. How Dale & Mabel lie to their son to relieve his guilt at not attempting to come rescue them. Dale & Mabel are two characters I truly adored who put others first before themselves in a dangerously bad situation. It was both short & sweet and another easy 5/5

Another short & sweet story was Empty Nest by Tori Eldridge also listed as a contributor. This one is another story set around a family whose children have grown up and moved out, but the mother/future grandmother, Shannon insists of staying in their current home and keeping all her boys’s toys to show her grandchildren when they visit, despite her husband Joel encouraging her to discard these items. Joel also continually suggests they downsize to a better area, into a home that’s easier to live in and keep in condition. Shannon however disagrees wanting to stay put and for her grandchildren to be able to sleep in her son’s beds and rooms and see and play with their toys. I think Shannon enjoys reminiscing and reliving memories of things she has done with her sons all over again with her grandchildren. I gave this story a 4.5/5.

The Sweetness Of Bitter by Beth Cato, is as the title suggests an emotive bitter-sweet short story. It deals with a current disease and the possibilities of future treatments. I gave this story 4/5. 
Other titles I loved and want to mention as I gave them at least a 3/5 were, In Their Garden by Brenda Cooper, Last Bus To North Red Lake by Martin L. Shoemaker, Impact Mitigation by Jay Werkheiser, and Shotgun Wedding by Peter J Wacks.

As I said some of the short stories were a bit out of my usual genre zone and were too “Star Trek/Star Wars” for me, yet other short stories that had a hint of those genres I really enjoyed. Some of the stories have very poetic detailed descriptions, some were more simplistic other would perhaps have been better as either part of a book series prequel, or as a much longer novel.

To sum up, I enjoyed the anthology and would recommend purchasing and reading, and it is for charity too! 
**All profits go to providing COVID-19 tests directly to the front lines of this crisis.**