TURNING POINT, book three in The Blackout Series, is now available in eBook, audio and print formats.
Ya’ lives by da sun, and ya’ dies by da sun.
Life is always at a turning point . . .
when faced with a certain death . . .
would you be willing to seize the moment . . .
and do what it takes to survive?
Know this. You’ll never know where the bend in the road might take you.
The Blackout Series, my new dystopian, post-apocalyptic fiction project, is three for three! My new novel released today and is already an Amazon #1 best seller, joining 36 Hours and Zero Hour at the top of their science fiction, dystopian genres, as The Blackout Series continues with TURNING POINT.
The Blackout Series has received tremendous reviews with over ninety percent four and five stars. Here is a sneak peek at TURNING POINT with a glimpse into Chapter One. Enjoy!
6:15 a.m. September 23
Belle Meade, Tennessee
The Jeep Wagoneer’s headlights caught a cardboard sign nailed to a telephone pole—a handwritten sign—The End is Nigh. Darkness swallowed it and Colton was left with the sense he was on the road to eternal damnation. His family had taken God’s most precious gift, the lives of his fellow man. He wasn’t sure if asking forgiveness would be sufficient to avoid the fate in store for them.
The high beams of the Wagoneer clawed the grass along the side of the tree-lined road, plowing a furrow through the dewy landscape so neon green in color it looked unnatural. The lawns of Belle Meade which were once pristinely maintained by efficient gardeners had become overgrown and unruly.
Everything Colton knew, or thought he knew, about Nashville and Belle Meade had been erased by the end of the world as he knew it. Two weeks after the devastating solar storm which caused the collapse of the nation’s power grid, his family had gone from days filled with work, social activity for Madison, and school for Alex, to a post-apocalyptic dystopia where death had become commonplace.
The Ryman’s worldly goods were crammed into the Wagoneer—memories of the past and the tools to survive an unknown future. Colton reached for Madison who’d remained quiet since their departure from Harding Place. He gave his devoted wife’s hand a squeeze to gain a reaction from her. Madison turned her face to look at Colton, managed a smile and wiped away the last of her tears.
“Are we there yet?” she laughed, letting out some emotion. They’d been on the road for only fifteen minutes.
“I wish,” chimed in Alex from the backseat. Alex had been remarkable as the world of a teenage girl crashed around her. She was very mature and logical for her age. Daily activities for Alex revolved around her school and love for golf, which were both ripped from her life.
She’d also killed a man. After an initial period of shock, Alex became incredibly at peace with the shooting which was clearly in self-defense. Colton wasn’t sure whether he should be proud of her acceptance of taking another man’s life, or concerned that his daughter might be harboring feelings which needed to be released.
In any event, there wasn’t time to explore the mind’s inner workings. A lot had happened in the last fourteen days and he needed to focus on the task at hand—safety and a new home for the Ryman family.
Colton rolled down the window of the 1969 Jeep Wagoneer using the hand-crank. Fresh morning air filled the truck as the sun slowly began to rise to their left. Another hand printed sign came into view, this one riddled with bullet holes—REPENT. FINAL WARNING.
The Rymans had reached a turning point and were forced to make a decision. The neighborhood had collapsed around them. Fires were burning out of control to their west. Gangs were infiltrating the streets and homes to their north. Families were abandoning their residences in droves, seeking the utopian comfort and security of the FEMA camps established throughout metro Nashville. The Rymans, however, chose the potential safety of the countryside over a certain life of gunfights and scavenging in the city.
“It’s really quiet, isn’t it?” replied Colton, attempting to make small talk as they drove into a future where nothing was sure, and anything was possible. “It’s been a while since we took a road trip. Kinda nice without traffic.”
Neither Madison nor Alex provided a response. Colton continued to ease his way along Chickering Road as the Rymans headed southwest out of town—destination Shiloh, Tennessee on the banks of the Tennessee River.
The concept of hitting the open road was almost romantic in its scope. We liked to think of everything going crazy in the world being left behind as we head out into the presumed serenity of the farms and desolate countryside.
But just like life, a winding road contains unknown perils and troubles. You’ll never know where the bend in the road might take you.
As he wheeled the Wagoneer through several abandoned cars, a downed tree limb blocked their progress. Colton approached slowly, scanning the sides of the road for indications of trouble. The sun was rising and the morning light allowed him better visibility. There didn’t appear to be any other signs of life so Colton slipped his gun into his paddle holster and shut off the engine.
“Wait here, I’ve got this,” said Colton to Madison and Alex. He exited the Wagoneer and stopped, stunned by his surroundings.
This stretch of road was relatively uninhabited. Once outside the car, the silence was shattered. Surprised by the sheer magnitude of the sounds, Colton stood and listened.
A choir, a community, no, a nation of frogs sang from the darkness still engulfing the woods surrounding him. Wide and deep, the croaking critters chirped and chortled from every direction. Croaks, both rough and guttural, filled the air, buoyed by a mixture of higher tones from other frog species.
Big croaks. Big doggone frogs, Colton thought.
Then, in unison, as if directed by their conductor, they stopped.
Intuitively, Colton immediately crouched down next to the Wagoneer. He considered leaving but Colton hesitated to start the engine for fear of being discovered. He peered over the driver’s door and held a finger up to his lips. He mouthed the words to his girls—be quiet!
A crack of a tree branch and the sounds of heavy steps coming from the woods to his left caught his attention. He scrambled to the front of the Wagoneer, keeping the hood of the large truck between him and the potential threat.
Already? Really? We’ve been gone less than half an hour!
Colton pulled his sidearm and released the safety. He trained the weapon on a clearing in the woods from which the sounds emanated. He was ready as the sounds grew louder. Heavy steps. Not attempting to hide their approach. Colton was sweating, slightly obstructing his vision.
Bursting into the clearing from the woods, two chestnut and black quarter horses trotted towards him and then abruptly turned down the shoulder of the road toward the south. Off they went in a slow gallop, rounding the curve as they took life’s hurdles in stride.
Colton’s body relaxed and he leaned toward the hood of the Wagoneer, intentionally bumping his head on the hood to restart his heart that momentarily took a break during the stressful arrival of the horses.
He stood and began to laugh nervously. Madison rolled down the passenger window.
“Hey Colt, do I need to get you another pair of pants?” she asked laughing. Unconsciously, Colton reached behind and felt the seat of his jeans, just in case.
“Very funny,” he replied. Colton holstered his weapon and efficiently removed the obstructing tree limb from their path.
As he did, Colton thought about the fact that any game plan always looked good on paper, but rarely did it turn out that way. Murphy’s Law, whoever Murphy was, stated that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong and probably at the worst possible moment.
Colton reached for the handle of the truck just as the conductor struck up the Croakin’ Frog Jamboree.
You can purchase Turning Point by following this link: