Author's Update (January 2018): Yes, this book used to be titled After Oil, and the series name was once The Kingdom of Walden series. After a complete and total revision, rewrite, and another round of edits we (ie: my publisher and I) decided that the new title fit the book far better than the old did. The change in series name also fit far better than the old series name, especially when you consider who and what the series follows more than anything else. All else is the same, and we will not be changing the titles for the other books. What follows is the original post, as it was before I migrated the blog from Blogspot to my own site.
Ashes in Winter
Available everywhere September 2014
I can't believe I'm announcing this. It's a bit beyond anything I ever expected, but here it is.
My first novel, Ashes in Winter, is about to hit shelves. As of September, I will be a published author of a full length novel for the first time in my life. I have had short stories and other things published, but to have a book sit on a shelf with only my name on it is a dream come true. I won't lie and say it was an easy journey and that I was alone in it. There is a long list of people to thank for helping me, and for making it possible. Their names, and why, are in the back of the book.
I may write another one, but you have all been waiting patiently for Karasa and not this surprise so we'll see what comes. You'll have to wait a bit longer for Karasa, but now that this is finished I am going back to working on that.
Without any further delay, I will dive right into what this book is about.
Imagine a world where civilization, as we know it, has vanished.
It's in the middle of winter--a Canadian winter no less--and everything has gone dark. As I'm fond of saying, and have said all through this project, there are no zombies, no face eating viruses and no major environmental catastrophes. No magic raging out of control.
No, what happens here is our own hubris, and a complete and total economic collapse.
That's the background. Honestly, that's about it and about all you hear about it in the book. The real meat of this has little to do with that but instead concentrates on a group of friends and family as they deal with just surviving that first winter, and once this new reality sinks in, what they can do to not just survive but rebuild from the ashes.
The main character is an older character, as we are following the nearly retired salesman Derek Moss, and his wife Marissa, as they go from middle (or even upper-middle) class suburbanites who have built a stable life come to terms with having it kicked out from under them. Instead of becoming victims to raiders, or even just giving up, both Derek and Marissa end up leaders in their community. Derek forms a group of scouts who serves as Sheridan's, a young doctor turned leader of the community given they're on her farm, eyes and ears in a new lawless land. Marissa becomes Sheridan's primary advisor and right hand, helping Sheridan turn their fragmented community into a nation to be reckoned with.
The book takes place almost entirely in Whitefish, Ontario and on Panache Lake Road, but there are scenes that take place in City Hall, Laurentian University and other parts of Sudbury.
Why did I pick Sudbury?
Honestly? I like Sudbury. So much has been filmed here where we were a stand in for somewhere else. I decided I wanted something that was placed here, and since I'm a science fiction and urban fantasy author, although lately I'm on a post-apocalyptic kick, that meant something a bit more along these lines than a romance or crime drama. Sudbury, and the rest of Northern Ontario, truly deserves to be seen as no less than what it is... not a stand in for other places.
There's so much culture and beauty here. It's time we see more of it.
Vermillion River, firstly. The proximity to other places that can serve as plot lines, if I ever continue this with other books (that remains to be seen!).
Who is Derek Moss?
Derek, as the primary character, a late middle aged man whose background is both in the outdoors as an avid outdoorsman and someone who is used to dealing with sales in the mining and energy industries, which has taken him to some interesting and remote places in Northern Canada and in other parts of the world.
He is, however, approaching that point in his life where he would like to retire and enjoy his retirement. His work is now closer to home out of choice, and his time in the bush is more a hobby than to pay the bills.
Derek's role in the story is as a very reluctant hero, but also as the mentor character. In the first drafts of the novel, Derek was more of the "Obi-Wan" character who did actually die midway through the book in order to propel the original main character into leaving the farm to find out what happened and to find supplies they could not find on the farm.
However, everyone liked Derek more, so I let him live... and then, as characters do when you breathe life into them, he decided he was the main character and I just rolled with it.
Now, I do have to point out that there is a real life counterpart to Derek. I can say that because I swore that I would include him, as a secondary character and we even discussed how he would die and why when he argued that he would be there in the first place and not elsewhere.
About the Book
We thought we had no reason to worry... We were wrong.
The residents of the small town of Whitefish are no strangers to snow. Used to being forgotten and having to dig their own way out, no one thought anything of it during one of the coldest winters on record when help just never came. But as fuel runs out and raiders press in on all sides, Derek, Sheridan, and Garrett it's not just the snow they need to dig their way out of...
From Salesman to Master Ranger
Derek Moss was so close to an easy, and early, retirement he could practically taste it. But his well-laid plans blow up in his face when he and his wife find themselves far from home with little more than the clothes on their back—and just enough luck to find themselves on Sheridan’s ranch just outside of Whitefish.
For Derek, retirement is going to have to wait a few more years…
Print - In all major bookstores, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, and Chapters-Indigo. Smaller indie bookstores can also order it.
Audio - Forthcoming