Great review for Supernice!

supernice-cover

So the talented and delightful Shameful Narcissist wrote a review of my book Supernice  (to be found on the link to the right). With whatever she’s reviewing, she tends to be thoughtful and entertaining, and it just so happens she likes my writing. So Yay!

A funny and gripping story about a tyrannical alien invasion in a sleepy seaside town.

Chirpy YouTuber Nick and his cynical teenage daughter Natasha have their lives thrown into turmoil one afternoon when the walls start swallowing people. Over the next week, more and more are snatched away, until the announcement is made: Earth is under new management. Aliens have taken control and they’re not happy with how humans have been behaving.

The new leaders introduce a series of increasingly oppressive rules. Make a single mistake and you’ll be taken away – to be transformed into an upstanding member of the community.
An upstanding, smiling member of the community with a brain like mashed potato.

As their town, and the world, are thrown into chaos and the streets are filled with grinning automatons, Nick and Natasha each find their own way to deal with the horror. Nick becomes a YouTube celebrity, convincing the public to behave. Natasha joins a makeshift rebellion working out how to dodge the alien demands. Each wants the best for the other, but they end up on opposing sides in humanity’s most vital and bizarre battle.

Will they ever be united against the real enemy? Will the human race become the docile drones that the aliens want? Or is universal niceness an impossible and undesirable dream?

Supernice reveals the disparity between how the younger and older generations view and deal with an alien invasion, and the author showcases this early in Nick and Natasha, the father and daughter MCs whose perspectives the narrative bounces between.  This isn’t to say neither of their viewpoints change/evolve, but it is fascinating to witness how easily some people are taken in for the benefits, while others, while afforded and seemingly offered some of the same, understand the deeper implications sooner and reject them despite the cost.

This is one of those stories where the bad happening seems almost good, similar to the sentiment of “we’re the virus” in response to the current global pandemic.

People are forced to be nice, which sounds wonderful until you realize people are forced to be nice, and just like it is in our reality, it will be the children who save us, a frankly terrible burden to put on them, which we should all be embarrassed about.  However, if YA fiction has taught me anything it’s that the younger generation is more than up to the task.

Every single book I’ve read by this author is better than the last, which says a lot as Riddled With Senseswas excellent as was Peddling Doomsday.  Her take on current culture becomes more acerbic and accurate with each addition to her body of work, because what happens at the end is exactly what we’d see (and have seen) in the real world.  The mindset of frightened people who either don’t know know or who have forgotten how to critically think as well as mob mentality would inevitably lead to this conclusion.  There would also be profiteers, because nothing causes roaches to crawl out of the woodwork than a major disruption.

5 stars.

The blog itself The Shameful Narcissist

Supernice came true!

train sign saying wear a face covering

So I wrote this book Supernice about an alien invasion. The aliens create a dystopia of oppressive new rules and terrible consequences for breaking them. In response, the government replace advertising hoardings with posters that politely (and then not so politely) tell the public how to behave to avoid trouble. Following are some quotes from the book. (And the book can be acquired for a dollar, to your right, if you fancy)

Advert hoarding for a charity. Says Be more us. Let's talk more.
There aren’t many adverts for products left in London stations. Instead there are adverts for charities.

At first the messages seemed friendly:

Advertising hoardings stretched along the seafront. Usually they were filled with adverts for phones or cars, but now the adverts were in pastel shades of purple and pink, with butterflies and smiling faces. In large letters the messages were simple:

SHOW LOVE, NOT HATE

PSST, YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL, PASS IT ON

But even then, Natasha was suspicious and happy to see signs of rebellion:

As she headed back home, Natasha passed a hundred more pink posters in bus stops and stuck to lampposts. Some had already been defaced.

KINDNESS SPREADS was graffitied with DESTROY!

And LOVE UNITES US in purple, with FUK DA ALIENS in angular black writing over the top. Natasha had never liked graffiti – she always thought it made a place look messy – but this was righteous.

And finally as the oppression became more extreme and the pretense ended:

The main road had changed again. Instead of advertising hoardings with hippy messages, now there were screens, each showing an order.

POLITENESS IS NECESSITY and SHOW RESPECT and DON’T BECOME ONE OF THE TAKEN.

I wanted to create an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty, but one in which people needed to find a way to not only survive, but to still laugh, still connect, still keep going. And of course they wanted to dupe the aliens and escape too.

Well now I’m back at work, I’ve discovered that is exactly what London has become. Lots of instructions with cute pictures, saying Cover your face, Keep your distance, Don’t travel unless you have to. It’s all considerate messages for our own safety, but the atmosphere is still intense. With half our faces covered, people are more suspicious of each other, and anyone could be a virus carrier. But we still need to laugh, connect and keep going. Luckily we don’t need to worry about the alien bit. Yet.

Sign in London station says Please keep your distance

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 🙂

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.

 

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    🙂

 

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

img_7611

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?

Reviews for Peddling Doomsday

Peddling Doomsday

My book has been available for a little while now. I’ve had some great reviews, but a few have really stood out as my favourites, partly because the people who wrote them are some of my favourite bloggers. I’m going to repost two today, and two more later this week.

If you think this sounds like a book that might tickle your fancy, it can be found here, for 99c or 99p.

 

First up Samantha Henthorn Finds the Right Words is always a heartwarming and entertaining read, well worth a visit. She also writes great books, here is a link to information about her upcoming novel

And her review…

If you enjoyed Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or Laline Paull’s ‘The Bees’ then this book will appeal to you. In actual fact, I am sure this book will appeal to you anyway when I finished reading it earlier today I thought, wow! That was amazing! I’ve just finished reading this book and couldn’t put it down. We get to meet poor Deirdre who is cajoled into joining a weird cult where everyone gets a new name apart from… well I wouldn’t want to spoil that bit it’s priceless! This dystopian mayhem tells of the wrongs of modern life .. I was reading and giving Petra Jacob an imaginary high five!

Page turner rating :5/5

Three word review: Social Networking lies!

 

Then Jeyran Main, who writes honest reviews, that always show an insightful understanding of what she’s read. If you want the low down on what to read, she’s a great choice.

Peddling Doomsday is a psychological thriller written about a girl who joins a cult named the ‘centre”, in order to prove herself worthwhile. Once, she joins the group she realizes that not everything she has been told is the truth. Delusions begin to overtake her and she begins to question herself.

I found the story to be exceptionally well written. I particularly enjoyed the strong female character side of the story and how complex a female mind can work, think, operation and feel.

 

The author emphasizes more on the physiological aspect of the story yet made the book very thrilling to read. The path was not straightforward and the twists kept the reader intrigued wanting to know more.

 

I believe every story has to always have an impacting side to it. A factor that influences the reader’s mind and makes the individual lose their selves into the adventurous path. This book did just that and by displaying the problems we could face with the modern living, I think it would suit most fiction readers.

Peddling Doomsday – you can buy it from Amazon here!

Questions from the Shameful Narcissist

So I’ve been a blog-abandonner for a while now, keeping to the craggy mountains of the Internet, only striding into town when I need a sip of whiskey. Then one of my favourite bloggers The Shameful Narcissist referenced a post of mine, and that got me all inspired. I’m not even sure I’m supposed to answer these questions according to the rules of the blogging award, but then TSN broke the rules too, so we are well into renegade territory, anything could happen. If anyone else also feels inspired to flout the rules of convention and answer the questions, then go ahead, make my day.

The Questions:

  1. When you read do you visualize characters and settings?  As in do the words create images in your mind?
  2. What’s your favorite kind of tea?
  3. What’s the best game you’ve played or watched this year so far?
  4. What’s the best book you’ve read this year so far?
  5. Do you prefer to watch a show one episode at a time or binge watch?
  6. Do you prefer “people” names for pets or “non-people” names (I’m genuinely surprised at how many people are annoyed by the former)?
  7. What would you change your eye color to if you could?
  8. Do you tan or burn (FYI don’t tan.  It’s terrible for you – PSA)?
  9. What’s your fictional/fantasy job, as in, what your job be if you lived in a fictional/fantasy world (I’d be a lounge singer assassin)?
  10. What’s your favorite dystopian city (thanks TWRM for putting this idea into my head!)?
  11. How close is your blogger persona to your IRL one?

 

The Answers

1.When you read do you visualize characters and settings?  As in do the words create images in your mind?

I always assumed I was good at visualising things, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I’m not at all, I can imagine details, but whole pictures are beyond me. I think when I read I imagine sensations and emotions, but the actual images are vague.

2. What’s your favorite kind of tea?

I dislike almost all tea, which makes me an outcast in England. I like the idea, and the smell, of herbal teas, but the reality is always way too insipid. I used to live somewhere where we had Anis (it may not have been Anis, but it smelt of liquorice) growing wild, and I’d brew up a few leaves, which created the only nice tea I’ve ever had. I’ve never been able to recreate it. I’m still holding out hope though. There must be another tea out there for me.

3.  What’s the best game you’ve played or watched this year so far?

I’m not a gamer, although games look great, I just don’t have enough spare time at the moment for a new thing. It’s my retirement plan though, I figure when I’m not so mobile, being able to go to some apocalyptic landscape and fight zombies or fly planes will be fantastic.

4. What’s the best book you’ve read this year so far?

I’m reading the Fifteen Lives of Harry August, it’s very entertaining so that could be the best, but the time travel logic is dubious. I’m also listening to the Stand (see below). I don’t think I’d have the patience to read it in book-form (he describes every last detail, he can spend five minutes talking about a character cutting some vegetables) but listening to it when I’m driving makes it feel like I’m living in two parallel worlds: one with traffic, and one with a devil and lots of corpses.

5. Do you prefer to watch a show one episode at a time or binge watch?

Binge, otherwise I forget what I’ve been watching. Although recently I watched the Handmaid’s Tale and found it too disturbing to watch all at once, so I kept delaying. I still need to watch the last episode.

6. Do you prefer “people” names for pets or “non-people” names (I’m genuinely surprised at how many people are annoyed by the former)?

I’m happy with both. I guess if all pets had people-names that would get boring, but variety is good.

6. What would you change your eye color to if you could?

Something very pale or very dark.

7. Do you tan or burn (FYI don’t tan.  It’s terrible for you – PSA)?

I need to live somewhere else in order to tan, in England I reflect the rain and the white skies.

8. What’s your fictional/fantasy job, as in, what your job be if you lived in a fictional/fantasy world (I’d be a lounge singer assassin)?

Great job. I’d live wild in the woods, and drop out of trees when I wanted to impart some wisdom. That’s not really a job, is it? I could probably survive off foraging, wild boar and thievery.

9. What’s your favorite dystopian city (thanks TWRM for putting this idea into my head!)?

The Stand (Stephen King), while I’m not entirely sure I’d want to live in the book, escaping the commute into that intense, seething world is spectacular, and I love it.

10. How close is your blogger persona to your IRL one?

I don’t consciously change, but I’ve noticed most people shift behaviour when they use a different method of communication, so presumably I do. I’m probably more careful online, partly because I’m able to edit and partly because sarcasm tends to go wrong without facial expressions to explain it, IRL I’m more of a loud-faced oaf.