This is my first attempt at depicting a post-apocalyptic scenario. Almost every day in the media we learn of conflict in various regions around the globe … or ‘across the board’ for the Flat Earth Society. 😀
As ‘nations’ argue with each other publicly and their leaders make veiled threats via international media and occasionally on social media, many people cast it all aside as hot air. All around we hear cries of ‘We’ve heard it all before’, but what if on one fateful day it all goes wrong and some of the threats fall on the wrong ears?
The blurb follows below with the cover image. If you’d like to see how things get underway there is an Amazon link below. The first chapter is available under the book title in my Novels section of the main menu.
Bill Kane’s long military career had recently ended so he relaxed by joining a three-day sightseeing tour in the Scottish Highlands. At last, the ex-Serviceman would be able to leave stress and decision-making to somebody else, or would he?
While the squabbling of world leaders intensified on international media, Bill, like others, shrugged it off as sabre-rattling, but the sabres in question were nuclear missiles. An unthinkable situation developed rapidly. A missile was launched, and retaliation became a chain reaction.
On a mountain road in Scotland, Paul Harrington a young coach driver listened to the news in disbelief. When his passengers returned down the hill from the latest viewpoint it would be Paul’s responsibility to get them to safety, but to where?
No town was within easy reach, but he remembered a disused railway tunnel not far away. Could he get them there in time, and how would they survive?
It’s now five years since my first collection of multi-genre short stories and two years since my most recent. Don’t repeat it too loud, but I also have erotic shorts. Now, armed with such random anniversaries, and a host of new ideas, I’m well on the way to releasing my next anthology.
The use of firearms features prominently, and there will be more than one tale about hostage taking, but of course, those incidents don’t always end well for the kidnappers.
Police officers, special operatives, and soldiers of fortune make appearances with some strange outcomes.
For good measure, I’ve slipped in a sci-fi tale, only because it fits the general theme. There will be no steamy romance, erotica or humour.
When will the new anthology be published?
My target date is 6th July 2019.
As I tend to do with these stories, I will work on them, rest them, edit and rework until I’m content, and then they’ll be farmed out to a few beta readers for opinions and suggestions. A couple of the tales have been in my files for three or four years, but have undergone massive makeovers.
Reasons I’ve been drawn back to short stories are that I thrive on variety, and it’s good to break away from spending too long on the same project.
My priority and biggest WIP is my next thriller, Codename: Nightshade, which is coming alongbut to ensure it has an original feel I have reached the point where I have to leave it aside often. When using characters from a successful trilogy it’s essential to avoid the trap of reusing previous scenarios to create a credible standalone.
I would like to publish this thriller by the end of 2019, but it must be ready.
What have I got in store with the new anthology?
1. One Man, Two Missions – a tale of terrorism, and counter-terrorism
2. Hunter – a young gamekeeper is repaid for his devotion
3. A Fair Cop – the law works in mysterious ways
4. Target Practise – assassins should avoid role reversal
5. The Meeting – karma, it just comes around
6. Taken for a Ride – do your homework before kidnapping
7. Dealing with Conflict – a run leads to a run-in
8. Changing Tides – when all around is darkness …
9. The Hostage – impulsive decisions can be fatal
10. Finger of Suspicion – the small things matter
11. The Beginning of the End – how far would you go for science?
12. Escape – you must know when to get out
Why have these books taken so long to reach this point?
Over the past two years, I’ve been working on something special which I’ll blog about before the end of the year. The secret project has caused me to sideline several other things, but in my opinion, this serves to maintain a freshness to all of my work.
In the meantime, thank you for your visit, and your patience.
The Dandelion Clock is a story of young lovers torn apart by war. While Bill fights in Gallipoli, Egypt, and Palestine and endures the hardships and tragedies of war with his beloved horse, Copper, Florrie fights her own war at home in England and dreams of marriage to Bill.
Florrie’s widowed father is an abusive and violent drunkard, and she is bringing up her six siblings as best she can with rationing, poverty, and the loss of her menfolk – a mirror of my grandmother’s young life.
In times of self-doubt, Florrie turns to her dandelion clocks, ‘He lives; he lives not – he loves me; he loves me not.’ Can Bill survive to keep his promise to Florrie to marry her, and can he bring his old warhorse home safe? Will Bill and Florrie’s love survive five years apart?
The Inspiration for this story, by Rebecca Bryn – the author
The Dandelion Clock was inspired by some old photos I found when moving house. My grandparents, Bill and Florrie were a huge influence on my young life and the photos brought back both happy and sad memories. Here was Grandad mounted on his beloved horse—a horse that took him to Egypt and Palestine during the First World War and carried him into battle. His love of horses was something I inherited and which dominated my life for many years, so it was natural, when I began to tell Bill’s story, that his horse would play as important a part as his sweetheart, Florrie.
Researching and writing The Dandelion Clock opened my eyes to the sacrifices my grandparents and those of their generation made. It opened my eyes to the suffering and the hardships endured by both man and horse in the scorching heat of a waterless desert, and the freezing snow of Gallipoli.
“I marched with the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars across the salt flat before Chocolate Hill with no cover and Turkish guns on the hills around them picking them off like shooting fish in a barrel. I watched men and horses die of heat exhaustion in the Sinai Desert and learnt to stab, twist, and pull a bayonet. I watched the light go out of the eyes of men I had no cause to hate for a war I didn’t understand, and I came home to a country I barely recognised with wounded men begging on the streets, poverty, and few jobs, and wondered what I’d fought for.”
War changes people, as it changed my grandfather. The effects are far-reaching, far beyond the 40,000,000 casualties, of whom 20,000,000 of these died, and 11,000,000 of the dead were civilians. That leaves some 9,000,000 military deaths – young men, some volunteers but mostly conscripted who downed tools and marched to war never to return. The Dandelion Clock seeks to honour the men and horses of the Great War and the women who waited at home ‘keeping the home fires burning’ through rationing, poverty, and loss of their menfolk.
Royalties go to two charities:
ABF The Soldiers Charity
I felt the need to honour the courage of the soldiers of The Great War in some more charitable way, so I asked around some ex-military friends and was recommended a charity that supports both serving and veteran soldiers and their families. Half the royalties from pre-orders and sales of The Dandelion Clock up to Remembrance Day Centenary on November 11th 2018 will be donated to ABF The Soldiers Charity, a charity that supports soldiers, military widows, and their families through their darkest times. Their youngest beneficiary is 2-years-old and their oldest 106-years-old. With so many wounded men, some suffering shellshock, and many bereaved families, this is a charity that would have been greatly appreciated in 1918.
A hand up, not a hand out – “In 1944, around 3 million British soldiers were at war, notably in France, Italy and Burma, but with the end in sight, the Army Board realised that the State would not be able to provide for all the needs of those who would soon return to civilian life. The Army Benevolent Fund came into being on 15th August 1944. The “Fund for the Soldier” is, as The Times said, “an object none can question” because the soldier is what it is all about. In its first year, the Charity was ‘pump-primed’ with the huge sum of £1.5m from the NAAFI’s profits, enabling the Charity to make much-needed grants. – ABF The Soldiers’ Charity has a well-established and substantial grants programme of support to charities and organisations that provide lifetime support to soldiers, veterans and their immediate families. We will normally fund up to 100 charities in a given year which deliver support on behalf of the Army and ourselves.”
The other half of my royalties will go to Brooke. It wasn’t until I reached the part in my story where I sought a way to bring Bill’s horse, Copper home, that I discovered the horrific end many of the faithful and courageous warhorses suffered. The Brooke is a charity that now rescues horses, mules, and donkeys in some of the poorest parts of the world.
Every horse remembered– “On arrival in Egypt in 1930, Dorothy Brooke was determined to find the surviving ex-warhorses of the British, Australian and American forces. These brave and noble horses were sold into a life of hard labour in Cairo when the conflict ended.
Searching for them throughout Cairo, Dorothy was appalled to find hundreds of emaciated and worn-out animals desperately in need of help. She wrote a letter to the Morning Post (which later became the Daily Telegraph) exposing their plight.
The public were so moved they sent her the equivalent of £20,000 in today’s money to help end the suffering of these once proud horses.
Within three years, Dorothy Brooke had purchased five thousand ex-warhorses. Most were old, exhausted and had to be humanely put down. But thanks to her compassion, they ended their lives peacefully.
Dorothy Brooke knew thousands of hard-working horses, donkeys and mules still suffered so in 1934 she founded the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital in Cairo, with the promise of free veterinary care for all the city’s working horses and donkeys. The Brooke Hospital for Animals was born.”
I also donate money to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum each year from sales of Touching the Wire – a story of the women of Auschwitz – to honour the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Go to https://www.ushmm.org to help further Holocaust education.
It feels wrong to make money from the suffering of others, but in relating their stories, I hope to keep their memories alive, and donating is one way I can give something back to charities that would have been close to their hearts.
About the Author
Originally from Kettering, in Northamptonshire, Rebecca Bryn lives in West Wales with her husband and dog where she paints the fabulous coastal scenery and writes historical, mystery, and post-apocalyptic tales with a twist. She believes you shouldn’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins and to date has a 100% success rate at surviving. :
My personal view of the story
Try if you will, to go without food for a day, or a decent hot drink, or sleep … having worn the same clothes for days on end in a range of temperatures. What could be worse? Place yourself in adverse conditions and introduce a few ground-shaking bombs and an enemy firing at you.
Have you considered the ability to clean and service your rifle and equipment?
How about aiming and firing back at the enemy from a water-filled, muddy trench.
Combine these things with the remorseless ‘duty-bound’ attitude of your leadership—now you have a tiny vision of life in The Great War.
Be rewarded for playing your part
If you’d like to help Rebecca support these charities and get a wonderful book to read, you can pre-order The Dandelion Clock. The eBook is currently available on pre-order at the special price of 99p/99c until September 4th. On release, September 5th it will be priced at £1.99/$2.99.
I’m delighted to report the publication of my fourth anthology of short stories. The primary theme is of course military, but as suggested in the title, ‘courage’ is the underlying feature of this collection.
In some cases how the character deals with adversity is fairly obvious, but in other tales the conflict and solution is more subtle.
Here I have created 12 stories using a wide spectrum of scenarios. Military experiences can be funny, heart-breaking and, everything in between.
This anthology is a blend of my personal experience and knowledge, together with specially created pieces to highlight the peaks and troughs of service life.
These tales can be enjoyed equally by those who have served and, those who have never donned a uniform.
Humour, fact, fiction, and fantasy are used to portray service in theatres as varied as Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Ancient Briton, the Persian Gulf, Africa, and elsewhere.
As any sensible and serious indie author will do, I requested beta readers to cast a critical eye over these stories. Notwithstanding the fact one of the stories was a competition winner, I needed the confidence of more than one set of eyes checking my work. To this end, every story has been seen by at least two beta readers, and in some cases I stretched this to four beta readers.
I would now like to say a public thank you to Martin Ashworth, an ex-colleague from my latter days in the military.