Another bit of Supernice…

Blue Supernice cover

Nick woke groaning as usual. His eyeballs felt too large for their sockets, his left foot had gone numb and a line of drool connected his face to his shoulder. He experienced a few moments of the usual suffering before he realised his situation was all wrong. He wasn’t in bed as he should be, but sitting on the floor with a sock in his hand. And the sun was up, which it shouldn’t be unless he was late getting up. Very late. He spent another minute refusing to believe this was the case before finally throwing the sock aside and panicking. He would be late for work. There would be complaints and his boss would sulk. His daughter Natasha would be late for school, then the school would fine him and Natasha would get in trouble. He could already see how these misfortunes could turn to issues, issues to disaster, disaster to catastrophe.
‘Alexa, what’s the time?’ he shouted at his virtual assistant.
Alexa spun a blue light around her perimeter and said in her soothing, unchanging tone, ‘At the moment it’s five degrees. Later you can expect a low of four degrees.’
‘The time Alexa!’ said Nick jumping up from the floor, but one of his feet was still sleeping and he fell heavily across the carpet. Then Natasha, his fourteen-year-old daughter, burst in.
‘Dad! Dad! Why didn’t you wake me? Why are you on the floor? Why didn’t my alarm go off?’
Nick tried to look calm and in control from where he was sprawled, rolling over and leaning on his hand. ‘It’s all fine, noodle, a little over-sleep, that’s all.’
‘But it’s gone one! Why didn’t we wake up? Why didn’t our alarms go off?’ Her voice was a jumbled mix of hysteria and anger. She was clutching her phone and kept looking at it in disbelief.
‘There must have been a power cut, that’s all,’ he said, while gingerly climbing on the bed.
‘But it’s battery-operated!’ said Natasha.
‘This is not the time! Get your things together as quickly as possible and we’ll go.’
Natasha crashed out of the room and he could hear her shouting at her own Alexa.

For the next twenty minutes, time conspired against Nick. The faster he tried to get things done, the faster they went wrong. He put the toothpaste on his electric toothbrush and then forgot to put it in his mouth before switching it on, so white and red paste spattered across the walls. He started shaving with his razor, so ergonomically designed that it shot out of his hands and onto the floor where it split in two. He put the buttons of his shirt through the buttonholes of his cardigan. He got the pin-code to his phone wrong three times and then it wouldn’t recognise his fingerprint.
‘Of course it’s my finger! Who else’s would it be? Look! It’s attached to me!’ he wailed, showing his hand to the phone in the hope it would see the error of its ways. He tried shouting instructions to Alexa to tell him the traffic situation and to stick the kettle on, but she kept saying, ‘I don’t understand what you want me to do. Do you want me to sing a song?’
‘No Alexa, call my boss!’
‘You’re the boss!’ said Alexa agreeably, then she began to sing. ‘Bring me sunshine, in your smile.’ Unshaven, with drops of toothpaste on his mis-buttoned shirt, Nick ran downstairs. Natasha was standing in the porch in bare feet, staring out, not moving.
‘Right, I’m ready,’ he said, realising he wasn’t. The he started looking for his phone.            ‘Come on Tash, get your shoes on,’ he said, then realised he’d already put his phone in his pocket, but now his keys had vanished.
‘Dad,’ said Natasha.
‘What? Where are my flipping keys? I had them last night.’
‘Dad, come and look.’ There was urgency in her voice, but it was focused out the front door instead of the crisis at hand.
‘Did you move them?’ Nick lifted up all the items on the table: the book that should have been put away, the plates left out from dinner, his small toolbox. His keys weren’t there.
‘Would you like me to make a sound like a pig?’ asked Alexa from the kitchen unit.
‘Dad!’ said Natasha.
‘What?’ Nick said angrily, annoyed that Natasha wasn’t panicking.
‘Look,’ she said. He walked to the front door and looked out. The cul-de-sac would normally be empty at this time. Apart from the stoners at number twenty-six and Mrs and Mr Wollstaff next door, they should all be at work or school. Instead, everyone was in the street. Most were looking at everyone else in the street. Many had shirts flapping or held pieces of toast in their hands. Some were making frantic calls on their phones, not having yet noticed the others around them.

‘It was everyone,’ said Natasha. ‘None of us woke up.’

 

You think this sounds entertaining? To start reading properly for free, just contact me on petra_jacob@ outlook .com (minus spaces) letting me know what format you want 🙂

Smile! No one can see it anyway!

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wondermonger – one who promises miracles

vincible – that which may be overcome

Tried wearing a mask out today, but no one in my part of London is wearing one. It means everyone stares at me and i feel as if I’m the outsider insulting strangers with my foreign ways.

Some of you might remember me writing about being on a journey to work last year and some guy started acting like he was going to punch me. I still see him around. Sometimes he’s following people. One time he waved at me, so I waved back. He can be a bit scary, but clearly has serious problems to deal with, so I always wish him well (in my head anyway).

Today I saw him sitting on a mattress with a lady friend (who also had difficulties to deal with). They looked like they were having a picnic in the park – a couple of cans, some snacks, plenty of sunshine. Except they were at the side of a busy road on a mattress in the middle of a pandemic. They looked happy.

It’s not an ideal situation, but take your smiles where you can, I think.

 

Supernice extract

Supernice cover
This is the cover! Do you like it?

For those of you looking for a free book to read who haven’t signed up for Supernice yet. Here’s the start of the book. It starts from a bird’s eye view, but actually follows the lives of Natasha and her dad Nick when a particularly strange alien invasion occurs.

The deal is if you write to me at petra_jacob @ outlook.com (remove the spaces) I will send you the first 12 chapters, and then 3 more chapters every 3 days (it’s not actually released yet). All for free, with no tricks or obligations. I just want people to read my book and those already reading seem to be enjoying it, now I want MORE!

Supernice by Petra Jacob

In New Delhi, Mr Patel was halfway through explaining Pythagoras’ theorem to class 12B when he fell asleep. He gently slumped into the white boards, smearing the bottom angle of a red triangle across his face, his blue-striped tie rumpling up to his chin. This would have caused delight to his students, except that they too were all asleep. Some gently snoring, some hanging from their chairs, but every one blissfully unaware of the world around them.

At the Zenith Heights Casino in Las Vegas, it was nearly midnight, but instead of the usual bustling drama, customers were folded and crumpled across fruit machines and tables. While Celine Dion wailed over the speakers, a young, balding man had fallen against a slot machine, his fingers around a pork rib taken from the buffet. Just out of sight of the machines, a hostess wearing a glittery costume, a peacock headdress and a thick coating of makeup was lying with her face in a line of coke, straw dangling from her nose.

Although most of Mexico City was asleep since it was two in the morning, the red-light district was still filled with punters. Car horns were blaring non-stop as sex workers had fallen back from the policemen they were straddling. Late night clubbers and early morning delivery drivers in London had all collapsed where they stood.  And fifty miles away, in Icking, near Worthing, Natasha had stopped getting ready for school. Halfway through putting on her socks she had tipped sideways onto her bed.

The minutes ticked by and the sleep continued. The insomniacs, the busy, the lazy – all united in slumber.

Outside Natasha’s house a light rain had started, speckling the cars. A black cat sat licking its paws at the side of the road. Then it stopped, looked at the ground in alarm, and in one graceful movement leapt onto a wall, making a low yowling moan, its tail waving as it sniffed the air. Nothing happened for a moment, and then with the faintest creaking the road lifted up and a small tarmac wave rolled down the white lines. The cat bolted along the wall and disappeared over a fence. Then another wave lifted and rolled beneath the cars parked along it. A large removal truck sailed down the road towards the battered Ka belonging to Natasha’s dad. As the truck hit the bumper, another wave lifted and carried it away.

Not only the tarmac was morphing. Cars wobbled and bulged, small bubbles of paint were popping and settling. Lampposts bent as if the weight of light was too much, bowing to the liquid road. With a slight shiver, and the smell of freshly mixed concrete, paving slabs shifted as if they’d been laid on molten lava. Then the slabs themselves became square pools of concrete with insects skating on the surface between stones that popped up and bobbed. Natasha didn’t wake when the mattress she was lying on bulged and collapsed beneath her, the material oozing into her mouth and around her eyes. She didn’t wake when the walls bowed in, squashing the furniture so it dented like marshmallow.

At the local supermarket, the shelves creaked as the metal struts puddled on the floor, then slowly rose again, leaving only a few packets of cornflakes spilled onto the now liquid ground.

The postman of Icking was leaning against a wall, three bills and a package containing a hairdryer still clutched in his hand, as the bricks against his cheek became as soft as dough and oozed around him. His nose was slowly sinking when with a pop he bounced back out, unharmed, still sleeping.

For three hours the streets, buildings and vehicles across every continent wriggled and floated as curious, intrusive intent took control, flexing and claiming. As the hours moved on, the movement slowed. All distorted objects came to rest exactly as they had been.

When everybody woke up four hours and sixteen minutes later, the world looked virtually unchanged, nobody suspected all life was now waiting to upend. Nobody knew that the Wave had begun.

 

I am a numpty! Please write again

peering smile

So I just realised that for my last two blogs I have put in the wrong damn email address! Anyone who has tried to contact me from one of those

I’m not ignoring you, I’m just an idiot and didn’t get your message! I’m very sorry!

I’d like to say these things don’t often happen to me, but really I’m the bane of my life!

I’ve corrected those blogs now. But if you want to read Supernice, (first nine chapters now released) here is my address again, with the underscore bit I missed out before.

petra_jacob  @outlook.com (minus the space)

xxx

 

 

 

 

Little bits of lives…

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penetraliain – most parts of a building or temple; innermost secrets

pismirism – hoarding of small or insignificant things

There’s a tradition round my way, that when you want to get rid of furniture or bric a brac, you stick it out on the pavement. Right now you can tell people are stuck at home, because the streets are full of evidence of their clear-outs. Over the last week, I’ve seen clothes, cupboards, kids’ toys (a line of cuddly toys on the wall like they were waiting for a bus) and now cassettes. I’m not sure it’s the wisest idea with the plague going on (I wonder if they did the same in the fourteenth century), but I guess it can all be washed.

AND…

I’m releasing up to chapter 9 of Supernice today. A science fiction story of a girl and her dad trying to survive a bizarre alien invasion. It’s got dad jokes, aliens that get inside your brain to change your personality, and lots of fake smiles.

Here are some comments I’ve received so far:

“I read the first 3 pages and was hooked!!!”

“Read the first three chapters last night and loving it. Looking forward to the next three – intriguing concept.”

“I am enjoying your book a lot! It’s veryyyy engaging and I honestly cannot wait to see where you take your characters next! Making this quarantine so much more bearable.”

“I am hooked! …And I love your way with words. Brilliant.”

So maybe it’s time YOU had a read. Or not if it’s not your thing. But if you’re intrigued, it’s free, involves no obligation and no spreading of germs. The ultimate Covid19 experience!

Just contact me on petra_jacob @outlook. com (without the spaces). Let me know what format you want it in (PDF, ePub, Word etc) and I’ll send the first nine chapters.

little Corona life

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The most interesting things of my day

Parent fox left the three cubs alone in next door’s garden where they climbed over each other for a while. I guess they’re getting big enough to be left alone.

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Went to the little Sainsbury’s since it’s the only one that usually has a combination of food and no-queues winding up the street. Which was the case again.

I bought some veg and bread and milk and although there was someone at the checkout, I figured the self-checkout is fairer because it doesn’t put the cashier at risk. Anyway, I happily beeped through my items until I got to my loose potato. It has no bar-code, so I pressed the Look up other items button and Veg. No sign of potato. I pressed the Popular items button. No potato. I pressed the help button and a Sainsbury lady cautiously approached, I did my best not to breathe and explained about the lack of potato options.

The cashier shouted over from the tills, ‘You can’t buy a potato at that self checkout till. You have to use that one.’ He gestured at another self-checkout that was occupied. ‘Or this one.’ He gestured at his own till. The Sainsbury lady gave me a Whoops, that’s foolish! expression and I had a chuckle and then bought the single potato at the front till. It cost 39p.

It’s these little moments of the ridiculous that make my day.

Oh and the foxes.

Life’s entertainment has got much smaller, but I don’t think it’s got any less entertaining, although that might be my simple brain.

How about you? Any small moments that made you smile?

 

Supernice – smile or else!

peering smile

When aliens invade the sleepy town of Icking, Natasha and her dad struggle to keep up with the increasing demands of their new overlords. They know that one mistake is enough to devastate their lives.

A story of family and friendship during an unfathomable crisis, when nobody knows the solution.

Note: I promise I am better at writing fiction than I am at writing blurb.

So the next three chapters of my book, Supernice are out! If you’re looking for something free to read, just drop me a line and let me know the format (PDF, MOBI, ePub or Word) and I’ll be happy to send the first six chapters, with three more released every three days.

petra_jacob  @outlook  .com (minus the spaces).

“Read the first 3 chapters of your book and I’m hooked. Your writing is amazing!”

comment from Lushlife    🙂

 

Good gravy! Can no one stick to the social distancing rules?

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So yesterday I went to get some crisps from the cupboard, because such is my covid diet, when I spotted a fox in the garden. And she wasn’t alone, she had the cubs with her! I watched them for a while skipping about, tumbling, playing tag, playing football with the two footballs left by the kid from downstairs. Meanwhile the mum hung out keeping an eye. Finally they all tumbled out through the fence. then two tumbled back in, kicked the football a few more times and ran out again.

I knew mama-fox wouldn’t be scared of me after I walked into that tree! Worth it!

note: It occurs to me I’m assuming that this is a female fox because they’re with cubs, but I believe both male and female parents stay with cubs, so one parent must have died. Which means this might be a male or female. And I am sexist, sorry!

Tomorrow I release the next three chapters of my book, so for those of you reading, I hope you’re enjoying it. And for those of you not reading, well, I shall be pestering you!

Right, so here’s the plan

peering in 3 - bigless border

I woke at three this morning with a sudden knowledge of the best way to give my book to those who want to read it. I’m going to send it to anyone who wants it, but in large chunks (three chapters at a time). So it’s like a quicker serialization, straight to your email.

The process:

  • Anyone who wants to read Supernice can send me an email with information on what format they want to read it  in – PDF seems to be the most popular, but I can also do Word, Mobi and Epub.
  • My email address is petra_jacob@ outlook. com (remove the spaces to mail)
  • I will send the FIRST THREE CHAPTERS.
  • And then THE NEXT THREE every THREE DAYS.
  • It costs nothing, and I won’t use your email for anything else. Or sell it to anyone.
  • I’ll put up extracts on here over the next week too, so if you’re not sure, you can make up your mind when you’ve read some.

The book:

Supernice is a soft science fiction story about a bizarre alien invasion set in a sleepy seaside town in England. The plot centres around teenage Natasha and her dad Nick. They both want to do what’s right to survive, but end up on opposite sides of the battle. Meanwhile the aliens are laying down more and more rules, altering anyone who defies them by squashing their personalities so they behave.

Note: I can, in theory send the whole book in one go, but I prefer to do it this way. If you hate this idea, let me know in the email and we’ll sort something out.

So, my lovely fellow bloggers, are you interested? Then email me!

 

 

I want you to read my new book! But how?

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Habromania – insanity featuring cheerful delusions (I’m fairly sure I have this, but I refuse to get it fixed.)

“And I for one would like to be the first to welcome our new alien overlords…”

The Simpsons

Some of you reading this will know I write books and stuff like that, and maybe you know I’ve written a new one. Well, it’s called Supernice. It’s gone to beta readers and the feedback is that it’s a good story, funny and gripping, so I like to think some of you would enjoy it.

It’s soft science fiction, the story of a bizarre alien invasion set in a sleepy seaside town in England. The plot centres around teenage Natasha and her dad Nick. They both want to do what’s right to survive, but end up on opposite sides of the battle. Meanwhile the aliens are laying down more and more rules, altering anyone who defies them by squashing their personalities so they behave.

I’m going to go the self-publishing route, but that will take time and fuss and I’m impatient, I want you to read it now! Especially since everyone is locked down and bored.

BUT HOW WOULD YOU BE MOST LIKELY TO ACTUALLY READ IT?

This is the problem, I want to make it available in a way that is enjoyable to read.

I could serialize it here. (I know some people do that very well (eg Samantha Henthorn with her Curmudgeon Avenue series, plus Random Walk with his intriguing science fiction) but I don’t think it’s something where you could miss a few chapters and pick it up again.

Would it be better to just stick up a little of it here and then send it to whoever wants to read it? (I can do PDFs and Mobis now, techno genius that I am). Or I could even stick it up on Smashwords in its slightly crude form (it’s getting a professional proofread now) and anyone could pick it up from there.

So what do you think? What makes it easiest for you to read a book? And would any of you be interested?