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Free Fiction: New Hope City (Book #2) Excerpt

15 Sep

I’ve been hard at work on the sequel to New Hope City. It’s been tough, but I think it’s going to be one of my best works to date. Here’s a tiny excerpt of the new novel. Enjoy! Also, if you haven’t left a review for New Hope City, please do so now. Thank you so much!

New Hope City – Book #2 (Excerpt)

Sliding my blade across the Captain’s throat would be the sweetest thing I ever done. Does that make me evil, Tony?

Sunni looks out from the rooftop at the dusty, sundrenched city two stories below as she talks to Tony. She tries to remember his face—calm and confident, not the death mask he wore as he bled to death in the trunk of Carlos’ car.

New Hope’s a lot worse off with you not in it. Squatters and campers got this side of town bursting at the seams and everybody’s still scared of the Captain.

A siren whines in the distance then it fades. Just below Sunni’s perch on the roof, a wild-haired man wields a machete. He spews a stream of epithets at a group of laughing teens who mock him. Nothing to see here, the same it’s been for the past four years and probably longer than that.

I didn’t keep my promise like I said I would. Every day I keep telling myself that I’m going to make them pay for what they did to you…to me…but…I never do. I keep dreaming and planning and pretending, but I never do nothing. Maybe I’m still the scared little girl you took in years ago.

Sunni closes her eyes and tries to imagine what it was like before the whole fucking world went to hell. But she can’t see it. She can’t imagine anything different from what she’s been seeing most of her life. Fuck it. She opens her eyes and takes it all in, the crazed machete wielding man, the angry, fucked up teens out to steal, rape and get high, the hundred or so tents and shacks in the dirt field across the street. This is the way the world is—fucked up and dog eat dog.

The trademark rumble of Danny’s rusted, blue pickup drowns out the noise of the encampment. He’s just a half block away but driving dangerously fast down the crumbled road. His front tire rams hard into the golf ball sized pothole as he comes to a stop just beneath Sunni’s spot on the roof.

“Sunni,” he yells out as he jumps out of the truck and makes his way to the bed.

Sunni comes to the edge of the roof and peers over it. A teenage girl’s laying in the trunk’s open bed, her navy blue school uniform, soiled black and brown with dirt, her limbs sprawled into a wild arrangement, her hair littered with stiff, red and orange leaves, and her face bruised but strangely peaceful.

“This one’s alive,” Danny calls out.

Alive? That snaps Sunni out of her dazed fascination with what she thought was a corpse. But it’s not a corpse, it’s a real living being. She rushes down the roof’s access stairs past the cluster of small, makeshift apartments on the second floor and down to the dark, dingy bar on the main level. The bar patrons’ demands for answers are ignored as she pulls a small cooler from the shelf beneath the register. Four glass canisters filled with clear liquid sit in a pool of melting ice, she grabs one of them, and then she gets a syringe from the wooden box on the shelf.

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The sequel to New Hope City is scheduled for release in 2015. To be notified of when it’s released please signup for the mailing list.

SunHi Mistwalker writes fiction set in dystopian and post-apocalyptic worlds. Her new novel New Hope City, a dark coming-of-age story set in a post-apocalyptic America, follows the life of Sunni Brown, a teenage girl exploited by sex traffickers who tries to get a fresh start when she meets a disillusioned cop. She is also the author of the science fiction series After The Darkness. Please sign up for the mailing list for receive updates, freebies and special discounts. You can also follow SunHi on Twitter and Facebook.

Poverty Myths Explored

23 Oct

One of the themes I explore in my books is poverty. Most of my main characters are poor or live in a society that has a huge disparity between those with financial resources and those without. While browsing twitter I discovered this interesting article about poverty myths.  Here is a summary of the myths below:

  • Poverty is the fault of the individual, people only have themselves to blame
  • Children from poverty have the same opportunities as children who do not live in poverty
  • Getting a job is the key to avoiding poverty
  • There is no real link between poverty and health
  • We can’t afford to end poverty
  • Job creation and a strong economy will help poor people
  • People who are living in poverty are uneducated

I think the article is worth a read. The article provides its own rebuttal to these myths, but there’s something I want to discuss that often isn’t brought up in these conversations about poverty.  I want to first point out that the cause of poverty is complex. But I believe that one of the root causes of poverty is a disconnection from power bases.  For example, in my novel New Hope City, the protagonist is a poor teen born into poverty. Her poverty makes her a social outcast because some people equate poverty with criminality, lack of moral character and a host of other bad qualities. She can’t make friends with the “rich” kids because she is considered unworthy of friendship by both adults and youth.  A matter of fact, the only friends she can make are the people who are like her and who may be looking to exploit her for their personal gain. And her poverty makes her vulnerable to exploitation. She can be exploited by adults in her small town because she is invisible and considered unworthy of the full protection of the law. Her exploitation is ignored because it is assumed that she is a bad, inferior and less than. And some may assume that she caused her own troubles. And the irony is that because of her lack of social connections and her lack of life experience she does make decisions that deepen her own troubles. But this is how poverty works.  Youth  born into poverty are often cut off from the part of society that could help alleviate their condition. Many impoverished youth are raised by single parents who work several jobs to improve their financial conditions, but they can’t get ahead because they lack skills, social connections or they live in areas with terrible job prospects. Or maybe parents become so depressed and disheartened that they give up and fail to provide for their children.  These kids may even have parents who are themselves troubled emotionally, psychologically or have become burdened with legal troubles. It’s all of these things that can cause impoverished youth to have a stigma placed against them causing them to become isolated from power bases (jobs, resources, social connections) that could help them overcome poverty.

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SunHi Mistwalker writes fiction set in dystopic and post-apocalyptic worlds. Her new novel New Hope City, a dark coming-of-age story set in a post-apocalyptic America, follows the life of Sunni Brown, a teenage girl exploited by sex traffickers who tries to get a fresh start when she meets a disillusioned cop. She is also the author of the science fiction series After The Darkness. Please sign up for the mailing list for receive updates, freebies and special discounts. You can also follow SunHi on Twitter and Facebook.

How I Lost My Friend To Prostitution

9 Aug

ProstituteKaren was only 15 when she was seduced by a pimp, but she was one of my closest friends. I’ll never forget the scars on her face, and the black circles under her eyes, and the fear in her voice when she spoke of him. But I also remember how she needed him to need her and want her. She was lost without him. She was dead without him. And the irony was that he probably would have killed her if she dared leave him. When I wrote New Hope City, I often thought about my friend Karen. I wondered how she had fallen into the pimp’s snare.  And when I look back, I would say that she was much like Sunni, the main character in New Hope City, in that her descent into the hell of prostitution began in a place that’s supposed to be safe – home.

Parents Play Dumb

Some parents are just too busy to uhm…well, to parent. They’ve got their own lives. Or, maybe their life hasn’t turned out the way they wanted and they want their kid to make it a little easier. My friend Karen had a parent like that. She was an only child and her mom was a single parent, and of course they didn’t have much money. Her mom liked to keep boyfriends around, and if she was real nice to them they would leave a few dollars on the nightstand. That could pay the light bill or buy a bag of groceries, but it also made the boyfriends feel entitled to more than just Karen’s mom. They took liberties with Karen too, and her mom would just play dumb, like she didn’t see anything.

Pimps Seem Nice – By Comparison

I’m not too sure about when Karen first started having problems with her mom’s boyfriends, I just know that one Summer she just seemed different, quiet, somber, and maybe even a little angry. That’s when she met Juan, that’s what people called him, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t his real name. Everyone in the neighborhood knew that he was no good. No one ever used the word pimp to describe him, but we all knew that’s what he was. When Karen’s mood first started to improve I thought that maybe things had gotten better at home, that she had been able to get the men to stop “messing with her” as she always described it, but when she told me that Juan had given her a pair of new (and expensive) sneakers I knew she was headed for trouble.  Juan’s string of gifts made my friend happy but they also made her stupid, well stupid for him. She started hanging out late. And then she stopped hanging out with me and her other friends. And from there things went downhill. Rumors spread that she was “fooling around” with grown men and that she had moved in with Juan. That was the last time I saw Karen. She didn’t even show up for school that Fall.

There Are No Angels

In the movies, prostituted teens are portrayed as innocent victims worthy of a savior. They’re usually kidnapped or somehow forced into “the life.”  But the reality of teen prostitution is a lot more murky.  Prostituted girls like my friend aren’t perfect. They’re flawed and damaged which makes them do things that flawed and damaged people do. These girls may seem like troubled kids, stealing, lying, fighting and engaging in promiscuous sex. And it’s these things that make people less likely to see them as worthy of saving.  Just like my old friend, they get lost. And just like my old friend, they may face an early and tragic end.  But when I wrote New Hope City I wanted to talk about a girl like Karen, someone who may be damaged and flawed but who is in fact worthy of a savior.

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SunHi Mistwalker writes fiction set in dystopic and post-apocalyptic worlds. Her new novel New Hope City, a dark coming-of-age story set in a post-apocalyptic America, follows the life of Sunni Brown, a teenage girl exploited by sex traffickers who tries to get a fresh start when she meets a disillusioned cop. She is also the author of the science fiction series After The Darkness. Please sign up for the mailing list for receive updates, freebies and special discounts. You can also follow SunHi on Twitter and Facebook.

Evil Thrives When We Choose To Ignore It

7 May
Photo by Tiffanie J.

Photo by Tiffanie J.

I’ve been following the news story about three young women in Cleveland, Ohio who were reunited with their families after ten years in captivity. It certainly is a horror story, albeit one with a happy ending. It’s so rare that kidnapping victims are found alive that the discovery of these three women is nothing short of a miracle.  Everyone, including myself, is happy to see these women rescued. But there are these nagging feelings and questions that have been bothering me all day. How is it possible that three women and a child can be held in captivity for ten years and no one notice?  Had not one person in that neighborhood stepped inside that house – IN TEN YEARS? Had not one person recognized signs that something was wrong? Or, did they see and turn a blind eye? Or maybe they did report it to authorities and the authorities didn’t care? According to CNN, one of the next door neighbors of this house of horrors was brave enough to call the police but wasn’t taken seriously.

“She was just walking around, and naked,” Samoylicz said. “We thought that was weird. We thought it was funny at first, and then we thought that was weird so we called the cops. They thought we was playing, joking, they didn’t believe us.”

And that’s not all, another neighbor, Israel Lugo, heard screaming coming from the house, but when he called the police they only did the minimal investigation which was to knock on the door and leave when no one answered.  Can you imagine being in that house and hearing the police outside, hoping that they will rescue you, only to have them walk away?  Now can you imagine hearing people partying in the backyard and barbequing while you’re inside suffering?  Just the idea of this makes me angry. I do not believe for one split second that everyone in that neighborhood was somehow kept in the dark about what was happening in that house.  I believe that SOMEONE knew. Someone knew and decided to shrug it off or tell themselves that it was none of their business. That’s what my instincts say. My instincts also say that in a city that is ranked as one of the most dangerous in the country, minding your own business is probably the unspoken rule.

My novel New Hope City is set in a place like that, a place where people turn a blind eye to the crime, abuse, corruption, and where the police simply ignore your suffering – and that’s if you’re lucky. These types of places exist; they’re here, right now in America and all over the world. And I think it’s critical for all of us to recognize that there is evil in this world. If we fail to recognize that evil exists, how can we stop it? How can we choose to be one of the good guys if we believe that these types of things don’t happen? This is one of the reasons that I write the type of stories I do. I want people to get a glimpse at how things sometimes go wrong and how bad things sometimes happen to good people for no apparent reason.

SunHi Mistwalker writes fiction set in dystopic and post-apocalyptic worlds. Her new novel New Hope City, a dark coming-of-age story set in a post-apocalyptic America, follows the life of Sunni Brown, a teenage girl exploited by sex traffickers who tries to get a fresh start when she meets a disillusioned cop. She is also the author of the science fiction series After The Darkness. Please sign up for the mailing list for receive updates, freebies and special discounts.

NEW HOPE CITY

Available at Nook  Kobo  Smashwords  Apple Amazon Google Play

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Don’t Sell Your Babies On Facebook

23 Apr

This is a public service announcement to all the would-be baby sellers out there – moms and dads just say no to selling your kids on Facebook.   I know that our society has gone all capitalistic with a capital “C,” but really let’s get real, not even the Babylonians would condone bartering off your kids on Facebook just to raise bail for your loser boyfriend who’s probably in jail for a good reason.  Really, just stop.

When I read this article about a woman who had the audacity to post a “kids for sale” status update on her Facebook account I felt like I needed to check and see if the world had just ended. Because who does that? Doesn’t she have the good sense to at least hide the fact that she’s bartering off her own flesh and blood? Apparently not. And I thought Sunni’s mom was bad. Well at least she has an excuse – drugs and a mean streak.  While the “kids for sale” article didn’t come right out and say that this woman was selling her kids to possible pimps and other pervs, let’s just be honest and face up to the fact that these are the type of people who would even think buying a kid on Facebook was a legitimate thing to do.

I know that many of us would like to believe that selling kids is mostly the domain of fiction, but unfortunately it’s a sad reality. And I can’t help but wonder how many other kids get bought and sold without anyone noticing – or caring.

SunHi Mistwalker writes fiction set in dystopic and post-apocalyptic worlds. Her new novel New Hope City, a dark coming-of-age story set in a post-apocalyptic America, follows the life of Sunni Brown, a teenage girl exploited by sex traffickers who tries to get a fresh start when she meets a disillusioned cop.

NEW HOPE CITY

Available at Nook  Kobo  Smashwords  Apple Amazon Google Play

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4 Apr

Retro Thursday: The Darker Side of Childhood w/ updated links

Sunhi Mistwalker

When I wrote “The Shelter” I was terrified of writing something that would offend a lot of people.  But then my old writing mentor’s words rang in my ear, “Bleed on the page!”  Bleeding on the page is when a writer creates something without censoring themselves. And it is in this spirit of non-censorship that I wrote “The Shelter.”  Why was I initially afraid of my own words? Well the truth is that  so much of today’s dystopian fiction chooses to avoid tough issues around growing up, especially when it comes to issues concerning girls. Issues like poverty, sexism and sexual exploitation are often avoided or treated in such a way that the end result can only be compared to magical thinking. Because of this I knew that my story might be viewed as extreme.

Last Spring I was reading a YA novel that’s been compared to Hunger…

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LibraryThing Giveaway – New Hope City

26 Jan

For a limited time I’m doing a LibraryThing Giveaway of New Hope City. Please request a copy here: http://www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list (Library thing does not allow me to directly link to my book, so please scroll down or search for “New Hope City”)

If you receive (or have already received) a free copy, please leave an review on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Goodreads, LibraryThing or Smashwords. A review doesn’t need to be long. It can be just a few sentences and it’s greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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