August Madison glanced at her watch, then back at her father, her shoulders tight with anxiety. “Minus seven minutes.”
Anticipation flickered in his blue eyes as he smiled and watched the images of the dozens of military aircraft taking off from various airports throughout the United States and around the world on the mammoth digital screen inside the university’s largest auditorium.
As chief climatologist of the International Climate Change Initiative, he believed he’d finally discovered the answer to the world’s most pressing issue. With the oceans growing more acidic, dozens of animal and plant species becoming extinct, and the atmosphere ten degrees higher than a decade ago, widespread catastrophic weather events, each more violent and deadly than the one before had increased. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, droughts, and horrific flooding due to rising sea levels had caused the destruction of some nations and continued to kill millions around the globe.
All of that was about to change.
“Can you check on Luke and Chloe?” her father asked under the increasing commotion surrounding them. “They should be here by now.”
August frowned at the cause of her stress. She wasn’t surprised by her brother’s tardiness. He was always late, an eighteen-year-old who had an excuse for everything. All he had to do was pick up their younger sister from school and show up on time for their father’s shining moment. Just be on time for once. Do what was expected. One time.
“I’ll call him.” August snatched her phone out of the back pocket of her jeans and hit speed dial. He finally answered on the fourth ring, right before voicemail kicked in. “Where are you? You’re late.”
“Chloe was poky leaving class.”
August rolled her eyes, knowing her brother had been up all night playing video games with his friends. She’d bet her Yale tuition he’d been sleeping and hadn’t gotten up in time. “Hurry up, Dad’s asking for you.”
“I’m pulling into the university parking lot. Wow, there’s a ton of people here. I didn’t know this was such a big deal.”
She checked her watch again. Five minutes. “You’ve known your whole life how important this is to him.”
“I’ll be there in two minutes.”
August ended the call and forced a smile for her father. “They’ll be here soon.”
He nodded and put his arm around her shoulder. “I don’t want them to miss it. This will be a story you’ll tell your own children one day.”
She smiled, imagining a future where the climate wasn’t the dominant issue of the day. Her father hadn’t been this happy in a long time. Five years almost to the day her mother had passed away, he deserved some happiness.
While the auditorium filled to standing room only with faculty, students and media, excitement buzzed in the air. Her father really was about to make history, his experiment, his hard work, bringing them to this moment. She took a seat in the front row beside him and looked up at the screen. A low hum caught her attention. Unsure where the sound came from, she glanced over her shoulder, searching for her brother and sister, disappointed that Luke would probably be too late. The humming grew louder. August covered her ears, the high-pitched deafening sound too much.
An earth-shattering boom savagely rocked the auditorium.
The tile floor cracked and shifted under her feet. The seismic force catapulted her out of the seat, slamming her left shoulder and the side of her head into the floor with a hollow whump. Dazed, August staggered to her knees, then to her feet and reached for her father’s hand, mere inches away through the smoke and dust. She couldn’t get to him.
Phantom outlines of people bumped into her, scurrying by, searching for an exit. Screams, sobs, and moans filled her head. Blistering heat ripped through the room, as if the atmosphere was being sucked out by a high-powered vacuum. Her heart thrashed in her chest. Where were Luke and Chloe?
She fought back tears as panic drove deep into her bones. Stretching out her arm, she reached for her father again and struggled against the growing clatters and groans.
A gale-force wind rumbled like a freight train, and the building blew apart.
Chunks of debris pelted down around her.
August tripped on something, maybe someone, and landed flat on her back. While she gasped for each painful, labored breath, electrical wires popped and sizzled around her and shot fiery particles everywhere.
Overhead, a metal beam swung wildly in her direction, like a giant pendulum. A pungent, suffocating odor, similar to lighting a million matches, filled her nostrils. An acidic taste touched the tip of her tongue and burned the back of her throat. Muffled quiet descended over her. The world blurred.
Then came the cold.
Sum of All Tears Book 2
A new enemy rises.
Surviving the cold is only the beginning.
In the second installment of the exciting Sum of all Tears series, a core group of survivors from Liberty travel to Boston, endangering themselves and those they left behind in a winner-takes-all showdown that will leave readers breathless.
Fans of The Day after Tomorrow, The Handmaid's Tale, Mad Max, and The Hunger Games are sure to enjoy this enthralling post apocalyptic dystopian adventure with a paranormal twist.
Kim Cresswell resides in Ontario, Canada and is the bestselling and award-winning author of the action-packed WHITNEY STEEL series.
Her romantic thriller, Reflection (A Whitney Steel Novel – Book One), has won numerous awards including RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown Finalist (Romantic Suspense), InD’tale Magazine 2014 Rone Award Finalist (Suspense/Thriller), UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner, Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha” contest. Kim also signed a 3-book German translation deal with LUZIFER Verlag for the first three books in the series: Reflection, Retribution and Resurrect. Lethal Journey won RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown (Thriller).
The Assassin Chronicles TV series was in development with Council Tree Productions. The TV series is based on Kim’s upcoming 4-book paranormal/supernatural thriller series: Deadly Shadow (May 2018), Invisible Truth, Assassin’s Prophecy, and Vision of Fire.
M.K. Chester is an RWA award-winning author of historical and contemporary romance. Her first novel, Surrender to the Roman, is currently published with Carina Press. Her three-book historical series, Bryeton Books, focuses on love, loss and redemption in small town America at the turn of the 20th century, while her latest release, Crashed, is the first book in the contemporary New South Series.
M.K. is a native Buckeye who lives in Tennessee. She’s married to a veteran, recently became a MoM (Mother of Marine), and will soon become a grandmother. She adores her Scottish Terriers and is fighting MS.
Kim: I was born in Etobicoke (Toronto), Ontario Canada. When I was two, my parents divorced, and we moved to London, Ontario. I’ve been here ever since.
M.K.: I was born and raised in and around Columbus, Ohio, USA, with the brief excursion to Phoenix, Arizona when I was little. I’m not sure it counts since I barely remember it.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Kim: I enjoy reading, taking long walks to clear my mind, and spending time with my adult kids and friends.
M.K.: I like to read, watch TV and movies, the usual. As a new homeowner, I’m also finding new things to enjoy, like redecorating, gardening and birdwatching.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Kim: Funny, kind, crazy, caring, and a loyal friend.
M.K.: Sarcastic, loyal, quiet, caring, and empathetic.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Kim: I have always envisioned my Whitney Steel series (Reflection, Retribution, Resurrect) as movies. They are high-octane romantic thrillers and would work well as movies.
M.K.: When I write, I usually see the story unfolding in my mind as if it were a movie, but I can honestly say that Icehaven would be the most exciting to both create and view as a movie.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Kim: My spirit animal would be an Owl, emblematic of a deep connection with wisdom and intuitive knowledge.
M.K.: My spirit animal has always been a polar bear, which represents strength and endurance as well as acceptance and surrender. I have a tattoo to represent this connection.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Kim: I’m presently working on Invisible Truth, the second book in the thrilling Assassin Chronicles series. M.K. Chester and I will be writing Liberty, the second book in the Sum of all Tears series beginning in July.
M.K: I’m working right now on polishing the second book in the New South series, titled Ten Days.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters inIcehaven?
M.K.: We wanted the characters to be relatable—they could be someone you know—who are thrown into this new world and have to find the strength to survive. Strong heroines are a must, and August is a character who shows remarkable growth through her trials. Her love interest likewise has to be able to keep up with her, while handling his own responsibilities at the same time. I always think villains are the most fun to write, and we enjoyed making our antagonist both relatable and a worthy opponent.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Kim: I use a random name generator and with M.K.’s input, we were able to find interesting and unique names for our characters.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Kim: What I enjoyed most about writing Icehaven is the story was very different from my other books, a completely different genre.
M.K.: It’s different than anything I’ve written and really enjoyed getting to jump outside the romance genre.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Kim: Not at all. Icehaven is exactly the way I envisioned the story.
M.K.: Nope. There is nothing I would do differently, as the entire process built me up as a writer.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Kim: I learned how how much I love writing dystopian fiction, and also how resilient characters can be. Very much like life, we adapt and come out stronger no matter what is thrown at us.
M.K.: I learned that mixing genres can be awesome! I loved getting a little taste of everything, from romance to post-apocalyptic fiction, very outside the box I’d been working in.
Anything specific you and M.K. Chester want to tell your readers?
We hope readers have a chance to read Icehaven. At the story’s core, the book is about duty, sacrifice, choices, and consequences. It’s an emotional blend that asks the basic questions, “What would you do?”
And thank you to our fans of the Sum of all Tears series. It’s because of you that we will continue to write new books in the series. We appreciate your support.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
The candle would smell like citrus, green bamboo, patchouli, and musk. Of course, we’d call it Icehaven.
How long have you both been writing?
Kim: For many decades. I knew I wanted to be a professional writer while working at our public library at the age of seventeen. I remember reading Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls and from that moment I wanted to be an author. It seemed like a farfetched idea back then. Life, marriage, and kids put my dream on hold until 2012 when I decided it was time to take my writing seriously. It really was now or never. With my first book, Reflection, I landed two literary agents. Since then, I’ve published over 20+ works: novels, short stories, and anthologies.
M.K: I started writing stories for my own entertainment when I was ten but didn’t get serious about things until almost twenty years later. The Internet played a big role in my growth (and it’s how Kim and I met) and I know I’d be writing whether I ever published or not. As a history geek, historical romance was a natural fit and most of my published work fits that mold. After a layoff in 2017, I was also able to use my skills as a copywriter, a role I still enjoy.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
Kim: I love reading! My favorite genres are dystopian, romantic and action thrillers.
M.K.: I was a reader first and will always be a reader. I read a lot of romance, but also enjoy military fiction and historical fiction and biographies.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
Kim: I usually only write one book at a time so I can focus on the characters and the story.
M.K.: I have several projects at various stages of completion, but it’s best for me to focus on no more than two at any given time (one, if I’m being honest!).
Pen or type writer or computer?
Kim: I write on a laptop and use pen and paper if I’m stuck on a scene. I find moving away from the computer always helps me get unstuck.
M.K.: I prefer to type. I have MS and it’s affected my hands, so it’s always easier to type. I have my desktop, laptop and iPad set up for typing.
Describe your writing style.
Kim: I would describe my writing style as cinematic. My books are like watching a movie.
M.K.: My style reflects deep narratives with redemption themes, so it often seems like getting to peer over the character’s shoulder.
What makes a good story?
Kim: What makes a great story is a solid and interesting plot, lots of action, and emotion…emotion…emotion. If I don’t feel a story, I walk away from it.
MK: Definitely emotion—but if the events don’t make sense to me, I can walk away.
What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
Kim: My writing process has always been the same. First, I write the draft back cover blurb. I can’t start a book unless I do. Then I select a title and begin plotting out each chapter, so I have a map to work with. After those are completed, I sit down and start writing the first chapter. Of course, things can change but generally, I stick with my plot outline quite closely.
M.K: The opposite of Kim’s! I often begin with a character. I know who they are and then find a situation in which they can learn and grow. I usually write straight through but will occasionally write out of sequence. I use Deb Dixon’s GMC to ensure conflict is working.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Kim: I love coming up with unique plots and characters which I do believe readers want and expect.
M.K.: Both, if it’s possible. I like to take characters who may be questionable in one way or another and make readers love them.
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