The Prophecy of Mary Anne, the prequel to The Village Green, is now available for purchase.
Read the first review …
The Prophecy of Mary Anne, the prequel to The Village Green, is now available for purchase.
Read the first review …
John Mason had the odd habit of reading the obituaries every morning while eating his breakfast.
“Maybe it wouldn’t be so odd if you were in your seventies,” his girlfriend complained, “but for a man in the prime of his life…it’s just weird.”
She was right. John was forty-two and very fit, obsessively so. He ran marathons, followed a strict diet and rode his bike to work. He had only one defect and that was his heart. When he was a teenager he was diagnosed with a heart condition that threatened to take his life, but John was intent on living as long as possible. And with all the scientific advances, he believed he could very well beat Death all together.
“Who are you looking for?” asked his girlfriend Lisa.
“I’m not looking for any one person,” he answered. “I’m looking at their ages.” John gave a satisfied sigh and flipped the page.
Lisa looked exasperated. “That is so morbid. Why can’t you just enjoy your life and quit obsessing over death.”
“This is how I enjoy life. Death tried to take me once and I’m not going to let it happen again.”
“You say that as though death were a person, bent on killing you. It will happen to all of us sooner or later.”
She could see he was not paying attention to her as he had gone back to scanning the names of the dead and sipping his mineral water. Lisa kissed the top of his head, grabbed her bag and left his apartment. She had heard his story before and knew she wasn’t going to change him; it was just one of John’s little idiosyncrasies and she would have to learn to put up with it.
The next morning was like every other. John sat in his exquisitely clean kitchen, at his glass-top table, eating his whole grain toast and fruit. He opened the local newspaper, ignoring sports and world events and went straight to the obituaries.
Ashley Blake, he read, died at age thirty-two. “Ha! I beat her,” he said out loud. He went on reading name after name while nibbling at his breakfast and feeling more and more pride each time he came across someone younger than himself. After a time of gloating over the dead, his began to feel a little guilty over his somewhat callous attitude and decided he would read only one more today. Scanning the long list of recently departed he came across something that made him nearly choke on his perfectly toasted bread.
It read: John Mason, age forty-two, died October 19, 2016. The notice went on to tell of his activities in life and list the loved ones he had left behind.
John took a drink of water and swallowed the toast sitting in his throat, then reread the obituary thinking it must be another John Mason. But no, it was most definitely him. His heart skipped a beat. Clutching his chest as he always did when this happened he said out loud, “Calm down. Remember your breathing.”
Breathe in… one, two, three. Breathe out…one, two, three. His heart began to beat regularly again. Now who would play such a prank? Someone with a sick sense of humor. Brad! Brad Lewis from the office, he was always pulling practical jokes. It had to be him. I’ll just call him and clear this whole thing up.
John went to his room to retrieve his cell phone. He flipped the light switch by the door. Nothing. He flipped it again. Still nothing. In his frustration, he cursed. These light bulbs are supposed to last for years. He tried the lights in the bathroom and hallway, none of them worked. Did he forget to pay his bill? No, he nether forgot anything; it must be an outage. It wasn’t important right now. Right now, the most important thing was to speak to Brad.
John grabbed his phone and scrolled through his contact list stopping on Brad’s information. We’ll just end this now, he thought as he tapped in the number. Nothing happened. No service? What was going on? John’s defective heart began to beat out of rhythm again. He sat on the edge of his ergonomic mattress and tried to control his breathing. Alright, I just need to get out of here. I’ll go see Lisa.
He dressed slowly always aware of the beating of his heart. Deciding that biking would be too stressful he opted to walk. John pushed his way through the crowds unaware of the people he was irritating. If he could just see a familiar face it would make everything better. Taking the elevator rather than the stairs he reached the third floor and turned right, his pace quickening as he came closer to her door. He rang the doorbell. No answer. He rang it again. Still no answer. In his frustration, he banged on her door. On the opposite side of the hall a woman opened her door a crack and peeked out. She cleared her throat. John turned around, embarrassed by his actions he attempted to make an excuse, but she quickly cut him off by telling him that Lisa had gone away for the weekend. That’s right, he had completely forgotten. She was visiting her family this weekend.
I’ve got to see Brad. He must be behind this. John walked briskly, but not too briskly, still being careful of his weak heart, back to his apartment to get Brad’s home address. John was feeling calmer now, having convinced himself this was all just a joke. He pulled the keys from his pocket and inserted one in the deadbolt. The key wouldn’t turn. He checked again, it was the right key, maybe in his agitated state he had gone to the wrong door. Looking up at the number painted there he saw a for rent notice taped to the door.
John’s heart began beating out of rhythm. He clutched at his chest and tried to control his breathing. One, two…His mind kept returning to the obituary. Breathe in…His heart gave a final thump and John fell to the floor.
Through choking sobs Lisa spoke, “How could this happen? He was so careful about his health.” Brad put a comforting arm around her shoulder and gazed down at the body lying in the satin lined casket. “I just don’t know,” he whispered.
At the foot of John’s casket, unseen by the mourners, stood a dark cloaked figure, its bony fingers tapping on the lid. A grin spread across the fleshless face as he hissed out the words, “I win.”
Made for me by Videos by O. I hope you like it as much as I do.
After a year and a half of struggling to finish my second book, it’s finally finished! And not only finished but I have a signed contract with my publisher Clean Reads.
The Prophecy of Mary Anne is a prequel to The Village Green. I don’t have the release date yet, but as soon as I do you’ll be the first to know.
Thanks for reading,
I came across an article in my Facebook feed today and had to write about it.
Banning books is something that has always been associated with Nazis and Communists. The picture of armed soldiers and brain-washed citizens standing round a pyre of burning books is something straight from a dystopian novel. Or is it?
In Portland, OR the Public Schools board voted to eliminate the use of any textbooks or other materials that are “found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities.”
Whether you believe in man-made global warming or not, this is incredibly wrong. To keep information out of the hands of children (or anyone for that matter) simply because it does not fit one’s world view is pure Nazism.
A school should be a place where children are taught to think critically for themselves. Not a place where they are force-fed the ideology of a school board or teacher. Where are we headed or to where have we already come if the opportunity to think and argue and discover truth is taken from us?
A dystopian society is not just some fantasy world in the YA section at Barnes and Noble. It is a reality waiting to happen and all it needs is for people to stop thinking.
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
― George Orwell,
Since leaving Texas we have seen a few Pow Wows, but nothing quite like the Crow Fair. This annual event has been active since 1904 and attracts the attention of National Geographic. There are parades, a rodeo, a very unique horse race, and each evening dancing competitions. Indians from all over America and Canada come to this fair; I even heard someone say that last year there were participants from South America.
We sat at the spot of the Grand Entry. It was amazing! The costumes created a rainbow colored sea of feathers, fur, and beads. Jim and I looked the part of the typical tourist with eyes bulging and mouths hanging open as Indian after Indian walked past us. This procession of hundreds of men, women, and children was accompanied by the intimidating pounding of drums and the somewhat eerie high-pitched voices of the Indian singers. You could almost…
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Writing is a solitary and exhausting endeavor. It takes so much concentration that I find myself easily distracted. What are my five greatest distractions?
What keeps you from writing?
Ever wonder what became of Sacajawea after her famous trek with Lewis and Clark? She is resting in peace in the Sacajawea Cemetery on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.
On our way home from the Grand Teton National Park we went in search of Sacajawea’s final resting place. Upon entering the reservation we stopped at a gas station and asked for directions. They seemed clear enough; pass Chief Washakie’s monument, follow the road to the left and turn on Cemetery road. Simple right? Well, you can see where this is going. We couldn’t find the road and it was getting dark. We had to find the cemetery and quick, so back to the same gas station asking again for directions. Thankfully a woman from the reservation offered to lead us right to Sacajawea’s Cemetery.
It wasn’t exactly what I expected. Aside from being located off a gravel road in…
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Author Chris Von Halle
Let’s get to know Chris.
Chris von Halle has had many different lives in many different worlds—the near and distant future Earth, other planets, and even other dimensions—and his books recreate his childhood memories of such outlandish locations. In this world and life, he lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and enjoys such extraordinary activities as playing videogames, tennis, and basketball, and writing the occasional comic strip.
1.Why did you choose to write a dystopian novel?
I’d say it all started when I read some really great dystopian books (see below for a small list J), and after reading them I realized how much I love the feeling of a place or scene that used to be normal, a huge part of everyday life, but is now crumbling/decaying/falling apart. It’s just such a creepy type of scene, and always gets my imagination going wild in terms of wondering what led that place to come to be in such a dilapidated state. Bottom line: I just love that classic dystopian feel.
2. Do you have any favorite dystopian literature? Authors?
Absolutely—my recent favorite is James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, though one of my all-time favorites is Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember and, of course, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games.
3. Do you foresee any part of your book becoming reality? If so explain.
To be honest, not really. I mean, I don’t think an apocalypse in which a birth-transmitted disease that kills everyone when they turn seventeen is going to happen any time soon. However, I do think that after any kind of apocalypse occurs, it’s not farfetched to imagine the rulers of any small human societies that develop to act the way they do in my story. I don’t want to go into too much detail regarding that, though, as I don’t want to reveal any spoilers :).
4. When writing your book, did you seek to only tell a good story or to get across a specific message?
I pretty much always seek to tell a good story first and foremost, and The Fourth Generation is no exception. However, after I write a story—again, including The Fourth Generation—I take a long, hard look at what messages happened to well up (either purposefully or subconsciously) within the story and go to work making them more distinct and meaningful.
5. What other genres do you read?
I’m a big ol’ speculative fiction lover, so I’ll pretty much read anything under the sun within the general realms of science fiction/fantasy. I tend to gravitate more toward dystopian (well, obviously) and epic fantasy versus other genres, but I’ve still read everything from space opera to steampunk to urban fantasy, etc. Occasionally I read outside this realm, but I usually don’t enjoy it nearly as much.
6. Have you or would you like to write in another genre? Which one?
Yes, I have written quite a bit of epic fantasy, superhero fantasy, and soft science fiction that spans age categories from middle-grade to adult. I actually rather enjoy leaping from one age category and genre to another. Keeps my stories fresh and myself on my toes :).
7. Are you particularly fond of any one of you characters?
Yes, I really like Marf from The Fourth Generation, since he’s funny though a bit pathetic, and arrogant/annoying but likable at the same time. I tend to have at least one character per story that I’m particularly fond of.
8. Is there one book, in any genre, that has had a lasting impact on your life? Title. How did it affect you?
Hmmm…I don’t know if I could ever really point to just one book, but I would have to say Great Expectations (ironic, since it’s not a fantasy). Among the story’s many themes and messages, I always remember how the main character, Pip, had a benefactor who funded him so that he could learn the “gentlemanly arts” , and at one point Pip felt himself so important because of this that he looked down at his own stepfather, who had done so much for him over the years. Obviously, the message is that that’s a very arrogant, un-classy, and naive thing to do.
In the future, no adults exist. Ever since the plague swept the world 100 years ago, no one has lived past seventeen.
Sixteen-year-old Gorin, a collector of curious artifacts left over from the pre-plague civilization, is on the verge of perishing from that deadly epidemic. And his last wish is to find a way to visit the rulers’ reputedly magnificent, off-limits mansion.
Up against the clock, he and his friend Stausha steal into the mansion and discover a secret more horrifying than they ever could’ve imagined—a secret that holds the key to the survival of the whole human race.
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Thanks for stopping by, Chris.
The story that came to mind was dystopian in nature. And the dystopian genre seems to reflect my personality a bit.
Two of my favorite dystopian novels are Brave New World and Animal Farm. My favorite dystopian author is Orwell.
I wrote my book using real facts and so yes, I do see parts of it coming to pass right now and in the future.
There was not one particular event or idea, but many that brought the story to mind.
I certainly tried to do both. I think that all dystopian novels have a moral and my does, but also I hope that the story is good.
I love British mystery novels and I also read a lot of nonfiction.
I would like very much to write a series of mysteries.
I would say that Derek is my favorite character. He’s intelligent, loyal, humble, and self-sacrificing.
Orwell’s 1984 had a real effect on how I view the world. Whenever I see an example of group-think (aka political correctness) I am reminded of this book, and I shudder.