About six months in the making, THE END IS NIGH, my latest post-apocalyptic thriller, will be released before Xmas in ebook and paperback. It was a long journey. It’s a long novel, almost 90,000 words. It will be available in Chapters, Amazon, Apple I-store, Ingram, Barnes & Noble and the like.
While richly rewarding in ways often difficult to put into words, writing can also be a lonely, excruciatingly painful journey. It takes a hell of a lot of self-discipline and focus, not to mention energy. Admittedly, after completing the last of many edits, guided by the unfailing expertise of Winslow Eliot, my long-time editor, I was burnt out, emotionally and physically exhausted; having delved deeply into the minds of many psychologically scarred, volatile, and emotionally damaged characters. Proof-reading it for the very last time, however, I realized I was so deeply in the thoughts of my characters that their personal tragedies had become mine. Reaching THE END, I was moved to tears. Sad that I would have to let them go, sad and deeply touched by their plights and the strength and courage they demonstrated trying to overcome their demons.
But through the sadness, emerged an overwhelming sense of relief and accomplishment. I realized my tears were not only tears of sadness, they were mixed with joy. Thrilled about my achievement, elated about typing the words THE END. Then another thought pierced my heart like a lightning bolt. I realized I was not alone on this often dark path. I was with my invented characters every step of the way, feeling their pain, feeling their happiness. And then something more important hammered me over the head like a lead paperweight. Friends, readers, family members, rooted for me every step of the way, propping me up when I was feeling down.
I’m very disciplined when I write. I turn off all social media for long stretches of time while I traverse the cryptic world of my imagination. Often I don’t eat, don’t shower, speak to no one. Good thing I live on a quiet, secluded country acreage, you know what I mean. While writing, I often survive for most of the day on coffee and the adrenaline rush of thrusting people into extreme danger and then finding a way to pull them out of it. Often I get so immersed, I don’t want to turn on the phone, the internet, or the news and listen to tragedy and crap. I don’t want to face the world. But, as always, reality eventually rears its ugly head.
And it’s not always ugly. As I mentioned, and before I swan-dive into a black pit of despair, I need to say it was the words of encouragement from my friends that in many ways kept me going. Social media messages like, “I’m proud of you, keep going.” Or, “You’re writing is so much more polished now than when you began this journey five years ago.” Or, “Congratulations, I can’t wait to read it.” Perhaps the one that struck me the most, and really I’m not trying to blow my own horn here: “You’re a great writer and I sure hope you get the acknowledgement you deserve.”
Funny thing. Not funny ha-ha, but funny amazing. Shortly after that last Skype comment, I checked my email while taking a one-hour break from writing to answer nature’s call, finally take shower ( I was starting to reek like Pig-Pen in the comic strip Peanuts), and eat a late lunch. Earlier this year, I had applied for a publishing grant from the Government of Prince Edward Island, hoping to use the money for book promotion, formatting existing titles into paperback, and launching a social media campaign to draw more attention to William Blackwell. After submitting the application, I forgot about it and adopted a stoic mentally: Expect nothing for thou shalt not be disappointed. Needless to say, I was elated to learn the provincial government had accepted my application and approved me (William Blackwell Publishing) for a grant. I’m gonna say it right here, right now. I gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Government of Prince Edward Island. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.
To my friends, family, colleagues and readers who’ve rooted for me every step of the way, I’m eternally grateful. Thank you very much.
It hasn’t been a lonely journey after all. Colorful characters, products of my twisted imagination and often terrifying nightmares, have accompanied me. More important, friends, family, and colleagues stood behind me. And now, thank God, the PEI provincial government is backing me one hundred percent.
Before I start bawling, let’s get to THE END IS NIGH. Please support a Prince Edward Island author. Buy it, read it, and please post a review on the website from which you purchased it. Here’s a summary:
Cray Lenning’s life as a garbage collector in a small town is reclusive and boring. His tragic past has created strong feelings of distrust and resentment for humankind, and as a result he’s content to wallow in lonely self-pity. But when he witnesses a defrocked preacher proclaim “the end is nigh” seconds before getting struck by a car, Cray’s world is shaken. Then his only friend hangs himself, setting off a chain of events that spiral out of control.
Initially, Cray dismisses the wayward preacher as a wacko, but ominous signs begin to convince him that the preacher’s apocalyptic predictions might be coming true. Cray meets Sandra Colling, a heartbroken but resolute nurse, who invites him to her underground shelter to try and survive the rapidly advancing apocalypse. Meanwhile, a deadly inferno blazes across the country, threatening to destroy Earth.
With time running out, Cray and Sandra embark on a frantic mission to save others. Once they’re all trapped inside the shelter, they learn the terrifying reality of their choice of company: a traumatized police detective; a manipulative and self-righteous psychologist; a sadomasochistic sex-addict; a rambling alcoholic preacher; and a mentally ill redneck with an explosive temper, who might very well be a murderer.
Their dire predicament worsens when water runs out and they’re forced to emerge from the shelter. To survive in this God-forsaken wasteland, they must form an unlikely alliance and battle a far more deadly presence topside—a gang of ruthless escaped convicts hell-bent on starting an evil polygamist cult that rules by fear, intimidation, and brutal murder.