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Farewell to The Extreme!

I usually don't get crazy over celebrity deaths - it's a way of life for someone to pass away, even if we view the rich and famous as immortals among us mere mortals. But today, while scrolling through my news feed on Facebook, my emotions caught in my throat when I saw that Bill Paxton had passed away at the young age of 61.

My first reaction was that it was a hoax - it is fake news (Yeah, we've had enough mention of fake news lately). How many celebrities have been announced as deceased but it was wrong? Unfortunately, this wasn't the case for this particular actor.

I've been a fan of Bill Paxton since I was a kid. Tombstone, Apollo 13, Titanic, just to name a few. But the best movie where I completely fell in love with him was Twister - a cult classic, a movie that still gets watched by everyone and is familiar to most, despite it being over 20 years old. It is a tradition for me to watch it at the beginning of every storm season. This year, it will hold even more meaning to me.

As I sit here and listen to the Twister soundtrack, it makes me nostalgic for the times I have storm chased across Texas....(and Oklahoma and Kansas) And I'll be the first to admit that the movie gave me some inspiration to do it. I grew up on the plains of Texas where the weather is infamous for changing within seconds... from high winds, questionable winters, to mega thunderheads that pop up out of nowhere. It gets me excited just thinking about it. I'd like to thank Bill Paxton and the makers of Twister for heightening my interest in weather (I get that it's a fictional movie that really isn't realistic...) It still is somewhat responsible for giving me spring fever long before it's time to put up the sweaters and coats.

Godspeed, Bill Paxton. Thanks for your years of entertaining us! Dusty and The Extreme can chase together again!


Blizzard Warning Pre-Order!

Happy (cold) Sunday to you all! While most of the US is battling a massive cold snap that came through this weekend, I'd like to announce that Blizzard Warning: The Damaged Climate Series Book 3 is available for pre-order! Snag it today and it will automatically be delivered to your Kindle on January 16th!

Ryan's predictions of the weather in the Harper Springs area have all been accurate so far - when he realizes they are in for an early winter, everyone must work fast to get the crops harvested and their shelter ready for the arctic air headed their way. Due to the lack of winter clothing and supplies, they can't prepare for the heavy snowfall, high winds, blizzards, and sub-zero temperatures that leave them exposed to hypothermia, frost bite, and common colds that are now turning deadly.

The weather isn't their only problem - an imminent threat from a band of looters circles the perimeter of Harper Springs, halting their plans of rebuilding the small town. Ryan grows leery of people he once trusted and begins to investigate the possibility of a traitor among their group. He secretly follows the suspicious person toward the badlands of New Mexico to gather evidence and prove that his suspicions are justified.

Throughout the constant changing weather, Ryan has asked the same question - why has this happened? Tracking the traitor might get him the answers he needs - or it could reveal a problem so massive that there is no coming back from the damage that has already taken place.

Blizzard Warning Cover Reveal & 1st Chapter!

Happy Saturday, readers! I have two things to show you today. The first is the cover reveal for Blizzard Warning - The Damaged Climate Series Book 3! I might do a few more changes on it, but this is the general idea:

I am working hard to get it finished and am hoping for a January release. Now, the second thing I am showing you is the first chapter of Blizzard Warning. It hasn't gone through ANY edits, so just a warning that it is a very rough draft, but a preview for those who are sticking with the series and are awaiting the third book's release. 

Hope you enjoy!

Blizzard Warning Chapter One:

Does it look like rain?”
Ryan glanced to his right, shaking his head toward Steve. “No. Just virga showers again. Nature’s slap in the face.” He stood on the shovel, forcing it into the parched ground, putting as much weight on the metal as he could. It only sunk in a few inches before he hit the hard dirt just beneath the topsoil.
Virga showers,” Steve repeated, clicking his tongue. “If only we could figure out a way to get something up that high to pull that moisture down.”
It’s next to impossible but sure would be helpful,” Ryan replied. “How’s the corn look? We need to make a run down to the river to get some water?”
It couldn’t hurt to do a little. It’s growing tall considering that it’s not getting as much water as it normally requires.”
Ryan grabbed the wheelbarrow and pushed it through the rows of vegetation that were faring a tad better than he had anticipated. The cotton, though a very small crop, was popping out of the ground nicely, and the tomatoes, corn, and other vegetables were proving strong in the midst of the high temperatures, wind-burn, and dust storms that had continued to plague the area. None of the plants had produced blossoms yet, and with temperatures not getting below the nineties at night, it might be too hot for them to mature enough to make anything.
Striding down the hill, Ryan stopped at the bank of the river and cringed at the sight in front of him. With days without precipitation reaching a record, the water supply was definitely feeling the strain. He noticed a line where the water once was, the land above it yellow and brown from drought, below green from recent moisture. Soon it would transition to the ugly desert colors. The water still flowed and was deep, though not near as plentiful as it usually was this time of year. The lake it flowed into was in decent shape but in some areas stagnant, which meant a greater chance of catching something they might not be able to fix.
They filled the two wheelbarrows with water. Getting them back up to the pasture was challenging and Ryan tried hard not slosh any off the side. When they got to the top of the hill, both he and Steve took cupfuls and poured them down the rows of the corn – the ground sucked up the water like a sponge that had been sitting under a sink for years.
Are you still working on an irrigation system?” Steve asked as he patted some water on his neck.
Ryan had a good plan for a drip irrigation system powered by gravity. The hard part was gathering the materials to get it finished. He needed old piping, which he could find in wreckage around houses and near the fire station. He also needed something strong enough to make holes in the thick metal. If he could come across some PVC pipe that hadn’t been destroyed, it’d be perfect.
I’ve got it going but I need some pipe. I’m going to put holes in the sides and put the water through, running it downhill. It won’t evaporate as fast as pouring it directly on the ground and plants. I’m almost done. Just delayed due to lack of supplies. Chief Rayburn said he might have some stuff that was salvaged from the firehouse but there’s no rushing that man. There’s no sense of urgency with him lately.”
Steve didn’t reply and Ryan followed his gaze toward the mountains, his stomach sinking at the sight in the distance. It had been several weeks since they had been bothered by the group of looters and though Ryan knew they weren’t finished, he hoped he was wrong and they would be gone for good.
This can’t be happening,” Steve whispered.
They’re not going to let it go. They want revenge for killing one of their men.” Ryan dumped the rest of the water down the rows of plants. If they left it sitting, it’d evaporate and be a waste. “Let’s get back to the shelter. Maybe if they don’t see us, they won’t come. They might have something else on their mind.” It was wishful thinking but the only thinking Ryan would allow.
Running back to the cellar, Ryan motioned for everyone to gather. He noticed Ty and Cecilia playing on some old fire equipment that a few of the guys had made into a playground. Cecilia’s eyebrow arched and her shoulders slumped – she knew exactly what was happening. Picking up Ty, she joined the small group that had formed at the cellar door. There weren’t many survivors left but the people there were priceless. Ryan made note that Chief Rayburn wasn’t there, nor were a few of the other firefighters.
They had cut down on the rescue teams going out to find people – it had been months since the initial tornadoes had come through. Anyone missing was now deemed a casualty and they could no longer exhaust resources on trying to find them. Now they turned their focus to salvage missions in hopes to bring back beneficial supplies to help Harper Springs. Hopefully they would all make it back before the looters cornered them, wherever the men might be.
What is it, Ryan?” Cecilia scooted close to him. “I know that look. You’re worried about something.”
We saw them. The looters. They’re back in the area.” Ryan took a deep breath to try and gain composure. The short jog from the pasture felt like he had ran a marathon, the heat heavy on his shoulders as if he were carrying another person.
Are they coming this way?” Mindy chimed in, her small frame almost covered by people standing in front of her.
It’s hard to say. They were near the mountain range in the west. We didn’t give them a chance to spot us before we came back here.”
The fact that they have taken this long to come back and attack is a mystery,” someone yelled and Ryan agreed.
How are we on ammunition?” Ryan asked Steve.
With lack of gunpowder, we are unable to recycle a lot of the shell casings, but we do still have them gathered up.”
If we’re running low, the looters are bound to be running low too. Where would we be able to find gunpowder?” Ryan thought for a second, glancing out at the group of people who were waiting for a plan that Ryan didn’t have. “Didn’t Farmer Johnson keep his gun-making stuff in his cellar?” He turned to his father, hoping he’d know.
Darryl didn’t answer and Mindy interrupted. “We don’t have time for that, Ryan. If they’re on their way, they’ll be here within the hour. What are we gonna do?”
Everyone get down in the cellar. Gather up all of the guns and weapons you have. Even if it’s not really a weapon but can be used, get it. Don’t come up to ground-level unless we say. They know this is where we are living but if enough of us meet them with gunfire, they might think twice.” He opened the door and everyone went down inside. When had he become the leader? Chief Rayburn had seemed to step into that void, but he was missing in action.
Cecilia stopped at the edge of the stairs, clutching Ty close to her chest. “Where are you going? You’re not coming down there with us?”
No. I need to go scout. I need to make sure they’re coming this way before we completely panic.”
Didn’t we agree that we aren’t going to split up anymore?” She didn’t even attempt to prevent Ty from hearing. The child’s expression was blank – he was becoming numb to their new way of life. That was both good and bad.
We did but there’s no one else around to do this.” Ryan didn’t have time to argue. It was apparent by her creased brow and hard set glare that her patience was gone. He couldn’t fault her for that. This was no way to live.
Just make sure that while you’re off playing hero for everyone that you don’t forget that you have a son who needs his father. I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove but your luck will eventually run out, Ryan.” She took her mom’s arm and guided her down the stairs.
Her words stung and Ryan ducked his head. She didn’t mean it. Emotions were running high and he couldn’t take it to heart. He watched her go down the stairs until he couldn’t see her anymore. Darryl was next to go in and he clapped his hand against Ryan’s shoulder, shaking his head. He didn’t have to say anything – he spoke so much with just his body language. Everyone was tired, hungry, and ready for this to be over.
I won’t be gone long, Dad,” Ryan said. “I hope she doesn’t stay mad at me for this.”
She won’t. Get going. I’ll make sure she understands.”
Ryan hugged him and jogged to where they were keeping the horses. They had made corrals out of rope to keep the animals from running off. With the shifts in weather it was nothing short of a miracle that the horses hadn’t been lost in the middle of it all.
Steve was behind him and they rode north. There was an open valley where they could hide low to watch and hopefully not be spotted. The sweat fell down Ryan’s face, stinging his eyes. When he licked his lips, he could taste the salt on his skin. The sun beat down on them, baking them as they rode across the thirsty land.
Ryan’s mind raced with everything – Cecilia was frustrated. He tried to have empathy for her. How would he feel if it was her going off in every direction with no way of checking in on her safety? He would be less than amused at it so he couldn’t fault her for acting the way she was. But he also couldn’t just sit around when there was imminent danger all around them.
Steve waved toward him, pointing to the area where they planned to hide to spy on the group of misfits. There was an uprooted tree that was still big enough to tie the horses to. Crouching, Ryan squinted as he watched the group of looters on the horizon. It was the perfect location to spy but he still feared they could see them. With so many trees ripped up or dying from the drought, the view wasn’t hindered by them, making the visibility miles ahead.
Well, they’re not moving anymore. Which doesn’t mean anything.” Ryan observed, lying flat on his stomach, shielding his eyes. “They could just be resting their horses or setting up camp for the night. Or they could be playing mind games with us. They’re not stupid. They know we’re watching.”
Do you want to stay here all night to watch?”
I can’t do that. Cecilia would send out a search party and kill me herself if I did.”
Yeah, Mindy would probably do the same thing to me,” Steve replied, sipping from a canteen that he offered to Ryan.
Taking it, he gulped it, the cool water refreshing. “That’s getting serious, huh?” Ryan wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and gave the canteen back to Steve.
As serious as it could be considering the pile of shit we’re in right now. Not exactly under conditions where I can romanticize with a lady.”
Ryan kept his eyes on the looters but the small talk was refreshing, like they weren’t scouting out a possible threat to their lives. Like he and Steve were just out on a camping trip for the weekend.
Well, we do need to replenish the population.” Ryan winked and arched his eyebrow, laughing. It felt good. It was an emotion he hadn’t felt in a long time.
I should kick your ass for that, Ryan.”
Steve’s cheeks reddened and Ryan left it alone after that. He didn’t want to let his guard down and he had done his job of embarrassing the man. His mind quickly switched back to the current situation – two men in the group were on horses, both angled down the hill. Ryan was having a hard time seeing everything but they were riding away, a cloud of dust billowing up behind the horses, which meant they were traveling fast.
Propping himself up on his elbows, Ryan sat up and checked the revolver in his pocket. It was just a six shooter. Along with the large Bowie knife he was carrying, those were the only two decent weapons he had on him.
Steve, you happen to grab anything that might help us back at base camp?”
He slid a nine-milimeter handgun from the homemade holster on his hip. “Magazine is full – sixteen shots ready to go.”
Good. We’re gonna need them. Two men are on the move and I want to follow them, see where they’re going.”
Saddling up, they made a wide circle around the valley. They had to take the long way to avoid being spotted by the rest of the looters. It was tricky, keeping the two riders in their sights and steer clear of the large group. It would be convenient to have eyes in the backs of their heads. As conspicuous as Ryan felt they were being, it was probably not as incognito as he was hoping it’d be. He had to think about the chance that they would trap them. After all, he was involved in killing one of their head men, two if he wanted to get technical and consider Doug’s brother as an important member of their gang.
Ryan slowed his horse when he realized they had turned south. Harper Springs was east of their location. Holding his hand up, he halted Steve’s horse and the dust around them settled.
Something tells me we shouldn’t follow them just yet. They’re going away from town. The main band of them are staying west up near the mountains. And it’s getting dark. I don’t want to get cornered and I sure as hell don’t want to stay out here after the sun goes down. We didn’t bring any lanterns or flashlights. We could stumble right up on them and then what?”
I agree.”
We’ll just have to set up watch like we’ve been doing. Everyone should be back for the evening and we can all run short shifts so we can get some rest.”
Ryan checked all four directions one last time to make sure. Everything was quiet – almost too quiet, and the hair on the back of his neck stood up. They were vulnerable and not prepared. Directing the horse east, they trotted back to town. There was no doubt in his mind that they had been spotted, which might not be such a bad thing. He wanted them to know he was watching, that they wouldn’t catch them off guard, and that they were preparing for whatever might come. He could at least fake it, even if they were in no way ready for an all out battle.
Cecilia met him at the top of the stairs, her eyes red and swollen. If she attempted to hide the fact that she had been crying, she wasn’t doing a good job. Reaching out, Ryan caressed her hand and to his surprise, she allowed it.
I figured I was the last person you’d want to talk to right now,” Ryan said, following her down the stairs to their far corner in the back of the cellar. Lanterns lit up the darkness and even their surplus of propane and lamp oil was running low. Soon, if they were down in the shelter, it’d be complete darkness, used only to sleep in. They’d have to find other ways above ground to shower and cook, and an area for medical to be able to perform surgeries and well-checks.
Cecilia sat on the edge of her cot, the springs squeaking from her weight. Glancing over at Ty, she pulled up the blanket around him and heaved a deep sigh.
Ryan, I’m sorry I blew up earlier. You didn’t deserve that.”
I kinda did, Cecilia.”
No, you’re doing what you need to do. I trust you. I lost my father. I don’t want to lose you too.”
Sitting beside her on the cot, Ryan pulled her in for a side hug, resting his chin on the top of her head. By the way her body quivered, he could tell she was crying, and when she buried her face in his chest, he felt the warmth of her tears soak through the thin fabric of his t-shirt. How could this be their reality now? It was the twenty-first century and they were having to live like cavemen.
I’m sorry if I keep making you worry. I just… I can’t sit around and wait for them to attack. I have to make sure we’re protected.”
She looked up and wiped the tears from her cheeks. “I know. Which is why I’m apologizing. It’s who you are and it’s why I love you. You’ve always taken care of us. I can’t expect you to not do it now.” Adjusting her weight, she turned to face him, intertwining her fingers in his. “What did y’all see? Are they coming?”
I don’t know,” Ryan replied. On the cot beside Ty, Cecilia’s mother was sound asleep. It was good to see her getting rest. For the first few nights back in Harper Springs, she cried all the time and hardly said anything.
You don’t know?” Cecilia cocked her head to the side.
A couple of guys split off from the group. Went south. It could be a diversion. They could be scoping out another place to loot. Hell, I don’t know. But we have to keep a watch on them. They know what we have. They know what they can come rip from us.” He rubbed his eyes and they burned under his lids. What he’d give for a hot shower, a cold beer, and a complete night’s rest. Those things would probably never happen again.
Do they outnumber us?”
Hard to say. I think we have more if you include the women and children. We just have to stay together.”
What’s the plan right now?”
Ryan leaned back against the dirt wall, his body sinking into it. If he could get his mind to shut down for two seconds, he’d be asleep as soon as he closed his eyes.
Steve is taking first watch. We’ll just have someone up there keeping an eye on things. Not sure how beneficial it’ll be, considering they can attack from any direction they want. It’s about the only thing we can do at the moment. I guess it’s for peace of mind.”
Right. It’s basically out of your hands, so how about you lay back and get some sleep? I’m sure if something goes down, you won’t sleep through it anyway.”
Ryan didn’t refute her idea and slid in behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist. It was the only time they got to be alone and he nuzzled her neck, kissing a trail up to her hair. As predicted, his physical exhaustion trumped his mental worry and he dozed off into a deep sleep.

Two BIG Announcements!

First of all, in case you missed it - Drought Warning - The Damaged Climate Series Book 2 has made its official release! Snag it now for $3.99 or free if you use Kindle Unlimited!

Click Here to Buy Tornado Warning (Book 1) on Amazon
Click Here to Buy Drought Warning (Book 2) On Amazon

I have been working diligently on Blizzard Warning (Book 3) and am hoping for an early 2017 release. That is a rough estimate but if I keep at it, I think I can do it.

Also, the second BIG announcement -

Beckoning Souls - The Gifted Curse Series Book 1 is on sale FOR 99 CENTS through October for Halloween! If you haven't snagged this book yet, get it now! Wayward Souls - The Gifted Curse Series Book 2 is also available!

Click Here to Buy Beckoning Souls (Book 1) on Amazon
Click Here to Buy Wayward Souls (Book 2) on Amazon

Spread the word and help me get these books exposed! Have a wonderful weekend!


It's Go Time, Folks!

Happy Tuesday! It's the last day of my long weekend and most importantly, the official release date of DROUGHT WARNING - THE DAMAGED CLIMATE SERIES BOOK 2! It's what we've all been waiting for, and it's here!

If you pre-ordered the book, it should be auto-synced to your Kindle today! If you read through Kindle Unlimited, you can now grab it for free and start reading! I appreciate all of you readers out there and I hope that you enjoy book 2 as much as you have enjoyed book 1! As always, please leave feedback - it helps me grow as a writer and it helps expose these books! Have a wonderful day!
Book Description:
Ryan Gibson has been reunited with his wife and son. Those lucky enough to have survived the tornadoes have made an old church cellar into a temporary refuge. The storms have tapered off, the temperatures are climbing, and the shift in the weather pattern is cause for concern. Everyone is wondering what Mother Nature has in store for them next. The unpredictable climate has everyone looking to the sky, all fearing that if they step away from the safe haven they have created, it will be an automatic death sentence. 

Their ultimate goal is to rebuild Harper Springs, but Ryan wonders how they are going to achieve their plans – with no precipitation falling and record-breaking heat, his worries are focused on the dwindling water supply and opportunity to grow crops. The surplus of non-perishable foods won’t last forever, pushing a sense of urgency to get the rebuilding going. 

With Cecilia’s parents still missing, Ryan sets off on a mission to get all of the family back together for good. Leaving Steve back in Harper Springs, he feels confident his new friend will take care of business as he and his father head toward Fox Lake.

They learn that tornadoes aren’t the worst thing they can encounter – blazing wildfires, massive dirt walls, and dangerous thieves and looters threaten their survival. They get their first real look at how widespread the turmoil is, revealing a post-apocalyptic wasteland they may never be able to come back from.

Drought Warning: Damaged Climate Series Book 2 COMING SOON!

I've got good news and I've got bad news. And I'll give you the bad news first! (drum roll)......

I took almost a 3 week hiatus from writing. If you've been following me since I've begun this journey of writing, all the way back to 2009, you'll know that this isn't that surprising. But I do have to admit that this has been the longest time I've gone without putting a pen to paper, or I guess in modern terminology, fingers to the keyboard.

Why, might you ask? Plain and simple - I've been discouraged. I put in so much time writing and lately, not much is happening in return. This blog post isn't a complaint fest so I'll not say much more about it. I'm going to leave the bad news off with this comment - please... PLEASE leave feedback for writers. It lets us know how we're doing. A review, an email, a tweet, a follow on Facebook or a comment - anything you can, even if it's just a few words. Even if you hated the book. And if you wanted a second (or third or fourth) book, the best way to inspire us to write faster is doing something stated above. I'll love you forever!

Now, if I haven't completely lost you and you haven't clicked on the X at the top of the screen, on to the good news. I actually sat down this morning and wrote. I wrote a lot! Almost 4,000 words in the span of about an hour and a half. I guess taking a break did the muse good. Or maybe it was the long run I took when I tried to get things sorted in my head. Who knows? But it put me over 40,000 words on Drought Warning: The Damaged Climate Series Book 2. I have had a few people ask me when to expect the release of that book and I'm now back to working hard on getting it out. Hopefully a late fall, early winter release. We will see how motivated I stay.

And now, just to hopefully get some more interest on this series, I'm going to post a small preview of what Book 2 has to offer. It is part of my (very) rough draft, so if you see typo's or problems, feel free to let me know, but also keep in mind that it hasn't been edited yet! Hope you enjoy!

The grass crackled under Ryan’s boots, making the unsettling feeling in the pit of his stomach even more prominent. With his father’s dry, unproductive cough another added worry, he feared getting to Fox Lake to find Cecilia’s parents now was impossible. The horses were gone, the sun seemed to be getting hotter with each second that passed, and their health was suffering for it. Doug continuously rambled on about things and Ryan had gotten good at blocking him out.
The periodic dust storms were also something that wasn’t helping the mood. The wind blew so hard that the dust would sting their skin, leaving them sand blown, their already vulnerable skin exposed for the damaging UV rays that were literally baking them.
When they were close to the river, Ryan would apply more mud as a homemade sunscreen but with as dry as the weather was, it would crumble and fall off after only thirty minutes. Their beards were helping protect their faces but their arms were exposed, making the situation ten times more miserable.
Ryan’s father had taken his advice and was using the towel as a mask. Respiratory issues were something you had to take seriously and with his father’s age, the smallest problem could turn into a major health disaster. Medical care was lacking and they had to treat it like they were back in the old west days when a small cut could mean a death sentence.
Y’all sure are quiet,” Doug said as he shielded his eyes from the sun.
Trying to conserve energy, Doug. Besides, what the hell is there to talk about?”
How far are we from Fox Lake?”
Ryan looked toward the horizon. What was once green pastures, lakes, and beautiful land was now a desert wasteland of torn up trees, yellow grass, and constant evaporation of the water supply where he once fished and camped.
Getting his bearings, he licked his lips and cringed when no moisture came from his tongue. Dehydration was setting in and he needed to refill his canteen. “We’re not far.”
Did you notice the smoke behind us?” Darryl lifted the towel from his face and pointed behind them.
Ryan hoped he was kidding, but it would be a crappy thing to do and his dad would never do that in times like this. Not wanting to look, he hoped whatever his father had noticed would go away if Ryan didn’t turn to observe it. Turning on his heel, his heart skipped a beat at the massive wall of smoke that appeared almost as large as the dust wall that had come through the day before. Orange flames licked the dry grasslands and trees, completely killing off anything that had been spared in the storms.
Holy shit.”
It was the only thing Ryan could think to say. Many emotions toyed with him, from them being chased by it, to the fear of Harper Springs possibly already falling victim to it. It was south of them in that direction and he had to hold out hope that it stayed north of town. If not, everything Steve and the men left behind had worked on would be demolished with no hope of rebuilding.
And even worse, what if they couldn’t escape? With his time on the fire department, he had learned that they can move fast and catch people off guard. Dry conditions ignite like gasoline and they were right in the middle of it. What if Cecilia and Ty were trapped or killed? If the flames didn’t get you, the smoke would suffocate you. A chill shot up his spine. Death was after them and each time they narrowly escaped it, something stronger came along, challenging them to the breaking point.
It has circled around us to the north!” Doug pointed in front of them, his eyes wide. He was always joking about something but at that moment, his eyes were as wide as saucers with a genuine look of fear written across his face.
Ryan’s eyes trailed along the rim of the fire and just as Doug has noticed, it was making a large ring around them. Smoke billowed upward toward the sun, shadowing the rays around them. It appeared as dark as night, though it was mid-afternoon. The one hundred plus degree temperatures were heightened from the flames and sweat poured from Ryan’s brow, trickling into his eyelashes and beard and to his lips, the salt of his own bodily fluid thick on his tongue.
We gotta get moving. Now!” Ryan’s voice shook as he tried to find an opening in the fire ring. “That way!” It was northeast and closing fast.
Their pace quickened to a run and his leg screamed out in pain. The tightness of the stitches tugged at his sore skin but he couldn’t succumb to it. If they ripped open it was a small price to pay to get away from the fire. Inspiration to get out and not burn to death kept him moving and each time he took a step, the pain got worse. He gritted his teeth, checked behind him and his father was right on his hip, matching him step for step. Doug was about fifty yards ahead, his healthy legs helping his sprint move right along.
The rugged land wasn’t making it easy. Uneven pastures, ruts, and turn-rows where farmers once plowed were hindering them going any faster. Ryan tried not to look at the ground too much but when he glanced to make sure he’d dodge a hole, he noticed the blood soaking into his jeans. It could’ve been an old stain from before but it was too red and fresh not to be current. The stitches had definitely come loose. With each step they took toward the small opening that the fire hadn’t ravished yet, it was like it was moving backward, away from them.
The heat from the sun combined with the flames was almost unbearable. Lack of water and good food made his legs cramp up. Losing blood wasn’t helping but he kept pushing. The thought of Cecilia and Ty was a constant inspiration to push through all of his body’s warnings to stop and lay down. Survival mode was on in full force, and though he had outrun the tornadoes, this was an all new challenge that was proving to get the best of him.
Ryan’s pace slowed. His father moved ahead of him and glanced over his shoulder, motioning for Ryan to hurry. He tried hard – his lungs burned so bad that they ached in his chest. As they got closer to the outer ring of the fire, the smoke got worse, making the visibility almost zero. Breathing became impossible and the edges of Ryan’s vision grew blurry and black. He couldn’t see Doug anymore and was about to lose sight of his father.
With each breath he took in, his body begged for a deeper breath, like he didn’t know how to breathe. He imagined this was how a fish felt out of the water, gasping and longing for energy to survive. He slowed down and his legs felt like noodles. Weak with limited energy, he tripped on something he couldn’t see and fell to the ground below him. His head hit hard and his already blurry vision went completely black. The last thing he heard was the crackling of the flames only yards away, eating everything in its path.


Available for Pre-order! Tornado Warning: A Post Apocalyptic Thriller (Damaged Climate Series Book 1)

I am pleased to announce that Tornado Warning: A Post-Apocalyptic Thriller (The Damaged Climate Series Book 1) is now available for pre-order! Right now it is set for June 28, 2016, but I am going to be moving the date up, so you will receive it sooner! Stay tuned for the official release date!

Click here to pre-order on Amazon!

Book Description:
In the blink of an eye, the small Texas town of Harper Springs is flattened by the worst tornadic system to hit the area. Homes are demolished, trees are uprooted, and people are left for dead.

Taking cover in a cellar with his son, Ryan Gibson narrowly escapes the storm and gets separated from his wife. He hopes that help will come fast – his child is severely injured and the crippling weather pattern rages on, making them pawns in Mother Nature’s game.

Weeks pass with no sign of another human being. Tornadoes continue to hammer away at the already ravished land. Ryan wonders why they have been forgotten. Basic survival skills set in – their food rations get smaller, their water intake less, and their limited resources will soon be gone. With his son’s fading health and his wife still missing, he will have to make a decision soon – leave their shelter and risk death, or stay patient and hold out hope that a rescue team is on the way.

A harsh truth will soon be revealed – the tranquil way of life in Harper Springs will never be the same.  

Happy reading!
J.R. Tate

Sneak Peek - Tornado Warning Book One

I've been working on a new post apocalyptic series and to try to get some exposure on it, I am giving you all a sneak peek on the first chapter of the story. I'm over 20,000 words on this, so I'm hoping for a summer release if things go as planned!

Chapter One

Looking back now, they should have seen it coming. With advanced technology and accurate forecasting, it should have never played out the way it had. As the old cliché saying went – hindsight is twenty-twenty, and what Ryan Gibson would have done to go back and redo it all. The difference in a few seconds would’ve changed the outcome of everything that had happened.


I really wish you didn’t have to work today, Ry.” Cecilia Gibson flipped the pancake on the griddle and tightened her bathrobe around her midsection. Arching her eyebrow, she poured herself a cup of coffee and smirked. “It’s already bad enough that we don’t see you when you get fire calls.”
It’s not like we get tons of calls, CeCe. And this is one Saturday out of the month that I have to go into the shop. It’s my turn. Next week it’ll be Danny’s and his wife will be the one complaining.” Winking, he ruffled his hand through his son’s hair. “How’s the pancakes, Tye?”
The child shook his head and gave a thumbs up, his mouth full of food and a small drop of syrup dripped on his chin.
You got a five year old’s stamp of approval, hon.” Ryan wrapped his arm around Cecilia’s waist, pulling her in for a hug, her back pressed into him. “I’ll be home early. There wasn’t much on the list when I left yesterday.”

The National Weather Service is anticipating that a tornado watch will be issued later this afternoon for several counties in the area. A weather system is brewing over the mountains and will impact us tonight. Keep it tuned here for updates.”

Ryan and Cecilia turned to the television, and she patted his arm. “It’s days like this that I question you joining the fire department. No, you don’t get a ton of fires, but they always want the volunteers to go out and storm spot. And according to the meteorologist on channel five, it’s going to be a hell of a storm season. Tye and me may never see you.”
Ryan leaned in and kissed her on the lips. “You know the nickname of the meteorologist on channel five, don’t you?”
No. Do I wanna know?”
Doomsday Donald. You know how the man over-forecasts. About the only damn thing he gets right is the wind. Don’t worry, Cece. We’ll grill those steaks when I get home tonight. You know what’d be really nice?” His eyes widened and he didn’t give her a chance to answer. “It’d be awesome if you’d do those bacon wrapped cheese stuffed peppers to go with it. What do you say?”
Now I do want you to go to work.” She pecked him on the lips again, walking with him to the door. “Love you, babe.”
Love you.”
Ryan climbed in his pickup and merged onto the highway. There was definitely a change in the air, and he parked the truck on the side of the road, watching the clouds coming over the top of the distant mountains on the horizon. As a volunteer firefighter, he was required to take storm spotting classes, and he had just taken a refresher course a few months ago. Maybe the possible tornado watch was plausible, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. It was a little early, with storm season not usually starting for a while, but it was Texas – the weather was always unpredictable.
Drumming his thumb on the steering wheel, he took in the spectacular view. The sky was purple and orange against the sunrise, and the humidity was thick. There would definitely be some storms and Ryan couldn’t wait – there was nothing like a large system coming through, with lightning flashing, thunder roaring, as long as the severe stuff stayed away from the populated areas.
Watching for a few more minutes, he headed into town. It was a ten mile drive from his piece of land in the county, and it gave him time to wake up on the way in, and leave work behind as he went home for the day.
The population sign on the edge of Harper Springs read a little over a thousand people. The rural county was home to mostly farming families, and though sometimes the monotony was unbearable, Ryan couldn’t think of anywhere else he’d want to live. Everyone knew him and it was comforting to think about the tight knit community where he had grown up, and was now fortunate enough to raise his family in a town that was home.
Waving toward Mrs. McElroy, he could smell the fresh donuts in her bakery located right next door to the mechanic shop. She left the door wide open on purpose as a marketing ploy to pull in customers. She had the best coffee and baked goods in town.
Parking his truck, Ryan slid out and tipped the brim of his baseball cap. “Good morning, Mrs. McElroy. Sure smells delicious in there.”
Just made some fresh cinnamon rolls. I even iced some in chocolate. You oughta come grab a couple. Aren’t those your favorite?”
Ryan patted his stomach and smiled. “Cecilia made pancakes. Had I known you were gonna ice the cinnamon rolls in chocolate, I would’ve saved some room.”
Mrs. McElroy wagged her finger at him. “You know good and well that I do it every Saturday. I’ve been doing it since you were about this tall.” She motioned her hand close to the ground and laughed. “So it’s your Saturday to work, huh? Got a lot going on?”
A few oil changes and flats, but nothing too horrible.”
Good. You don’t need to be in town late anyway. Supposed to be storms tonight.”
So you’ve been watching Doomsday Donald too, huh?”
Mrs. McElroy folded her arms over her chest. “I’m sixty three years old, Ryan Gibson. Lived in Harper Springs every one of them. I can feel it in the air. We’ve had some big ones come through and we’re overdue for another.”
You think so?” Ryan cocked his head to the side and adjusted his baseball cap. The temperature was starting to heat up and he swiped some sweat from his brow.
How old are you, Ryan?”
I’ll be thirty seven in April.”
And you’ve lived all thirty seven here too, right?”
He scoffed and edged toward his shop. If he wanted to get home at a decent time, he’d need to get to work. “I see where you’re going with this, Mrs. McElroy. I know how the weather is, Ma’am. I’m not saying we’ll never get another big one, but I don’t think it’s gonna be tonight.”
Maybe not tonight, but soon. You tell your daddy hello for me, okay?”
Yes Ma’am, I’ll do that. I might hop over later for some coffee and one of those cinnamon rolls.”
Unlocking the garage, he skimmed his finger down the work order log. Just as he anticipated – three oil changes, a tire change, and one brake replacement. Depending on if anyone walked in, he would be done in a few hours. Starting on the first car, he went to work, half way listening to the radio as he focused on the job at hand. His mind was on Mrs. McElroy’s prediction. Hopefully it would be an active season. The last few had been a bust, and he was ready to see some good weather come through.


The steaks were fantastic, hon.” Ryan sat beside Cecilia on the couch. The TV was on, but he wasn’t paying attention to it. Clasping his fingers in hers, he closed his eyes, relaxing into the cushions as he drifted off. She tightened her grip on him and leaned in, kissing him.
You cooked them. I can’t take all of your glory.”
Opening one of his eyes, he glanced at her. “You didn’t have to make the peppers. I know they’re a pain in the ass.”
I’ve had to make them so much, it’s no problem. Besides, now you owe me.”
Sitting up, Ryan nudged her. “Yeah? What do you have in mind?”
I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about it, and I won’t forget, so don’t count on that.”
Oh, I know you won’t forget. You’re still ruminating on crap that happened when we first got married. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about you, CeCe, it’s that you’ve got a hell of a memory.”

We are interrupting the scheduled broadcast for a severe weather report. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for Grant County, including the city of Fox Lake. Residents are urged to take cover immediately, as our storm chaser has spotted a tornado on the ground about ten miles southwest of the city, moving northeast.”

Fox Lake?” Cecilia grabbed her phone, her eyes wide. “You think my parents are seeing this?”
Call them, but make it quick. Probably shouldn’t be on the phone for very long.”
Ryan sat up and padded to the front living room window. Fox Lake was about sixty miles away and to the north, so they were out of harm’s way, but Cecilia’s parents and some of her family lived there. Stepping out onto the porch, he watched the twisting and churning of clouds. There was a drastic temperature change from the mid eighties to the sixties, dipping twenty degrees in a matter of a few minutes.
Looking to the north, the tail end of the storm impacting Grant County lit up as lightning flashed from cloud to cloud, the thunderhead so massive that it looked like an atomic bomb had been dropped.
They said they were in their cellar. Did they even issue a tornado watch before?” Cecilia joined him on the porch, still clutching her cell phone.
I didn’t even pay attention. Maybe it’ll miss them.” He pointed toward the top of the thunderhead. “See what looks like an anvil at the top?”
Cecilia nodded, her eyes red. Her brow creased with worry as she looked where he was pointing.
If you watch that, it’ll tell you which way the storm is going. Right now, it’s going northeast, but by the angle, it looks like it may make a more eastern track, and if that’s the case, your parents should be okay. There’s nothing south of Fox Lake, so if it goes that way, it’ll just hit some open farmland.”
I hope you’re right, Ry.”
A flash of lightning and an instant clap of thunder rumbled nearby and Ryan pushed Cecilia back inside, slamming the door. “Holy shit, that came out of nowhere.” Grabbing his scanner, he turned it on. No one had paged him to get out and spot, but maybe someone in Grant County was out and reporting the situation. There was nothing but dead air and Ryan focused back on the TV.
We are hearing reports that Fox Lake and Grant County is without power. We are unable to make contact with our storm chaser, but we are tracking the super cell on the doppler, and it looks to miss Fox Lake to the south.”
Cecilia relaxed some, but she didn’t move from the front of the television. Ryan scanned the frequencies on the scanner, only able to pick up bits and pieces of conversations, most from departments not even related to Grant County and Fox Lake. Their electricity flickered but stayed on, and Tye stood at the foot of the stairs, clutching a stuffed teddy bear as he rubbed his eyes.
Daddy, I’m scared.” He was still half asleep, but another flash of lightning and clap of thunder shook the whole house, making him jump into Ryan’s arms.
It’s just a storm, Ty. Everything will be okay.”
It’s loud. How come it’s not raining?”
Ryan didn’t answer his son. He continued to try and find a weather report, but was unsuccessful. It was a typical storm for the area, mainly electrical with high winds and a small sprinkling of rain, but with Cecilia’s family possibly in the path, there was a sense of urgency to find out more.
The National Weather Service has now downgraded the storm in Grant County to a thunderstorm warning. It is still very dangerous, but we are happy to report that it missed Fox Lake and is now dissipating.”
Oh, thank God!” Cecilia laughed and took Ty from Ryan. “I’ll give it a few more minutes and try to call them to make sure. You were right, Ryan. I guess those storm spotting classes are paying off.”
Ryan went back on the porch. The dark clouds were fading and he could see a few stars showing through the haze. Doomsday Donald had been right – was this a small preview of what was to come? At least everyone had dodged a bullet. The smell of rain was refreshing, and it began to pour, splattering the wood at his feet. Rolling thunder and distant lightning accompanied the rainfall, demoting the severity to just a typical spring time weather pattern.
Okay. Good. I’m glad y’all were able to get down into the cellar. I’m sure there will be plenty of insurance agents in the area.” Cecilia nodded to Ryan, holding Ty in one arm as she cradled her phone against her ear. All the tension on her face was gone. “Okay, Mom. Love you too. We’ll come by tomorrow.” She ended the call and slid the phone in her pocket.
Well?” Ryan stepped forward, offering to take Ty, but the child had his face buried in Cecilia’s neck, unwilling to move.
They got some hail and a little damage, but the house is fine. Can’t say the same about Dad’s truck.”
That’s good. That was a nasty storm. They were lucky.”
I told them we’d come over tomorrow. Things might look different when the sun comes up.”
Ryan nodded. “Sure. Anything we can do to help.” Turning his attention back out into the yard, he took in the fresh rain scent and humidity on his skin. “Sure is beautiful, isn’t it?” Glancing over his shoulder, he noticed he was alone. Cecilia had taken Tye back inside. Leaning on the porch railing, he skimmed his hand through some rain that had pooled on the wood. Mrs. McElroy’s words echoed in his head – they were overdue for another big one. Tonight wasn’t the night. Maybe this year wouldn’t be the year.