Friday, July 16, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: If Darkness Takes Us by Brenda Marie Smith

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for If Darkness Takes Us by Brenda Marie Smith. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a great guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: If Darkness Takes Us
Author: Brenda Marie Smith
Publisher: SFK Press
Publication Date: October 15th 2019
Print Length: 382 pages
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction
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In suburban Austin, Texas, Bea Crenshaw secretly prepares for apocalypse, but when a solar pulse destroys modern life, she’s left alone with four grandkids whose parents don’t return home. She must teach these kids to survive without power, cars, phones, running water, or doctors in a world fraught with increasing danger. And deciding whether or not to share food with her starving neighbors puts her morality to the test.

If Darkness Takes Us is realistic post-apocalyptic science-fiction that focuses on a family in peril, led by a no-nonsense grandmother who is at once funny, controlling, and heroic in her struggle to hold her family together with civility and heart.

The book is available now. It’s sequel, If the Light Escapes, is told in the voice of Bea’s eighteen-year-old grandson, Keno Simms, and will be released by SFK Press on August 24, 2021.

Bea Crenshaw is one of the most unique characters in modern literature—a kick-ass Grandma who is at once tough and vulnerable, and well-prepared to shepherd her extended family through an EMP disaster, or so she thinks." — Laura Creedle, Award-winning Author of The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily

"There is real, identifiable humanity, subtle and sweet and sad, and events utterly shattering in their intensity." — Pinckney Benedict, Author of Dogs of God, Miracle Boy, and more

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EXCERPT:
“Mazie, come with me downstairs where it’s safer.”

“I don’t like dark places,” she whined.

I had never yelled at my grandkids in their lives, but my patience was gone. Radioactive fallout could be here any minute.

“Mazie, quit arguing! Come with me now!”

She pinned me with a flash of anger in her eyes. “Where’s my doll?”

“We’ll get it later. Let’s go!”

She made me pick her up. Although she was a wisp, she was still too heavy for me, but I carried her anyway. Holding onto her little frame comforted me, and I needed to be level-headed and strong for these kids.

When we got to the top landing on the stairs, I had to put Mazie down to shut the cellar door. I held her hand, and we descended the stairs together.

As soon as we reached bottom, Milo asked, “Nana, when will Mom and Dad be home?”

Good Lord, I hadn’t even thought about how this nuke or EMP— whatever it was—might have affected the other adults in this family, who were hurtling toward Austin at seventy miles an hour on a jam-packed interstate highway. Did this “event” extend that far? For the love of Jesus!

I tried to hide my shaking hands as I said to Milo, “I’m not sure. It shouldn’t be too long.”

How long is too long, anyway?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brenda Marie Smith lived off the grid for many years in a farming collective where her sons were delivered by midwives. She’s been a community activist, managed student housing co-ops, produced concerts to raise money for causes, done massive quantities of bookkeeping, and raised a small herd of teenage boys.

Brenda is attracted to stories where everyday characters transcend their own limitations to find their inner heroism. She and her husband reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin, Texas. They have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count.

Her first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller; If Darkness Takes Us and its sequel, If the Light Escapes, are post-apocalyptic science fiction.

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GUEST POST:
I wrote If Darkness Takes Us because…

Ever since I was a teen—a very long time ago, lol—I have been worried about ecological and societal collapse. I’ve worked for and supported environmental and social justice causes all my life, I’ve devoured dystopian and apocalyptic books and stories, and I even wrote one in high school that was runner-up in a national contest.

Yet, so many apocalyptic tales today either take place long after the collapse has occurred, or they are peopled with supernatural creatures like zombies. Don’t get me wrong, I love the great drama and characters in The Walking Dead, and there are dozens of excellent tales of far-future worlds.

But I wanted to write a story that explored what it might actually be like for an average American family to suddenly find itself without the creature comforts and life-saving support systems we are accustomed to. I also wanted to include a grandmother as the protagonist because I feel that old women get short-changed in our literature and on the screen.

I wrote If Darkness Takes Us while so many uncontrolled wildfires were burning in Texas that it seemed as though half the state was ablaze. Hurricanes were increasing in intensity, other states and countries were on fire as well, or flooding, or losing their crops to drought. I could see bigger disasters ahead; I just wasn’t sure which kind would do the most harm. But I did know that whatever catastrophe might befall us, our best odds of survival would come from banding together to help each other. I wanted to write a different kind of apocalypse, one that includes love and hope and human cooperation.

If Darkness came out in October 2019. Five months later, we were plunged into a worldwide pandemic that has killed millions. In February 2021 while I revising the sequel, If the Light Escapes, we had the Texas Snowpocalypse, where the grid was shut down for days during single-digit temperatures. A few days into it, we lost our water, too. And we had to survive using the same skills as the characters in the books, including banding together with neighbors and friends to share food and water, and to mount a rescue operation to move our grandchildren and their mother from an apartment with no heat over treacherous, icy roads.

In all my years of activism, I have learned that it’s very hard to change the thinking and behavior of people. I have hope that, by putting my concerns in fictional form, they have a better chance of touching hearts, convincing folks to protect our environment, and inspiring them to love and care for one another like their lives depend on it, because they do. They really, truly do.
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GIVEAWAY:
Brenda Marie Smith will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

88 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me and my book today. It's much appreciated. And I look forward to chatting with you and your readers. I hope all of you have a great day!

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  2. How long was the writing process?

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    1. Gosh. It was long, lol. I started the book in Nov. 2013, wrote 50K words, then had to stop for almost a year due to health & money issues. Then I drafted and redrafted into 2016, entered contests and kept placing but getting no bites, queried a lot, kept polishing the book, and finally in 2018 won the Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest and got a publishing contract. Worked with editors on the book for another year, and it was published in Oct. 2019. Whew! To be fair, I had a lot to learn, and it took me a while to learn it while also working part-time. Thanks for your interest, Deborah.

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  3. i shared this one too. sounds fantastic
    sherry @ fundinmental

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    1. Yes, thank you for hosting me yesterday, Sherry. I really appreciate it.

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  4. A highly interesting book with matching cover.
    Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you for saying that, Barbara. The amazing cover artist is Oliva Hammerman. Lucky me, because she's also done the cover for the sequel, If the Light Escapes, which comes out August 24th. We'll be doing a cover reveal soon.

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  5. Love the cover and the excerpt sounds amazing.

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    1. Thank you, Thomas. Glad you like it. See my response to Barbara above about the awesome cover artist. I appreciate your kind words.

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    1. Thank you, Sherry. I also love the cover and feel very lucky to have Olivia Hammerman as the cover artist.

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    1. Thank you for saying that, Wendy. I hope you get a chance to read it.

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  8. Looks like you went through a lot writing this sci fi book, cheers.

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    1. Lol. Yes, Calvin, I did, but I survived, thank goodness. Cheers to you as well.

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  9. Sounds like an exciting and great story.

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  10. sounds like a great book keep the amazing work :)

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    1. Thank you, Zelda. Very kind of you. I will do my best to keep it up.

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  11. I really enjoyed the description of the book. Looking forward to reading it. On my TBR list.

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    1. Nice. Thank you so much, Dianne. I hope it gets to the top of your TBR list soon and that you enjoy it.

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  12. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  13. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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    1. You're welcome. Thanks for your interest and good luck!

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  14. This sounds really interesting and such an awesome cover! Ty for the chance!

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    1. Thank you. An awesome cover by an awesome artist, Olivia Hammerman. Good luck with the raffle.

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    2. I’ll have to look her up, because the covers really makes you wanna read the books!

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  15. Nice book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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    1. Thank you so much for saying that. I hope you get a chance to read it.

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  17. This book is a must read for me -sounds great

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    1. Very kind of you to say. I hope you get a chance to read it.

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  18. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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  19. Sounds like a great book. I like the cover and the excerpt.

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  20. David HollingsworthJuly 17, 2021 at 6:16 PM

    The book sounds very interesting.

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  21. Very apocalyptic. Good work.

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  22. What inspired you to write this book?
    digicats {at} sbcglobal {dot} net

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    1. Truthfully? Climate change and all the disasters that accompany it. I started the book when Texas was in a severe drought and huge wildfires surrounded Austin. Then there were all the hurricanes. It seemed to me like we were on a disastrous course, and I wanted to explore how that might affect a normal American family.

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  23. What inspires your book plots?

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    1. Usually I think of a certain character or group of them in a particular situation, and I build a plot to test the mettle of the characters. I like to show them facing down hardship and developing their innate heroism.

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  24. David HollingsworthJuly 19, 2021 at 10:28 PM

    Hope your day is going great.

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    1. Thanks, David. So far, so good. I hope yours went well, too.

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  25. Thank you for the opportunity! Sounds awesome!

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  26. Regarding your answer to my question above, California faces the same problems as Texas -- fires, severe drought, etc. -- so the issues in your book are relevant here also.
    digicats {at} sbcglobal {dot} net

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    1. Yes, and I feel so helpless to stop this, so I wrote a novel about it. I have lots of friends in California and I worry about all of them. I hope you can stay safe and healthy and happy.

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  27. Enjoy your wonderful Wednesday!

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    1. Thank you. Enjoy a wonderful Wednesday evening


























































      Thank you. Enjoy a wonderful Wednesday evening!


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  28. Cool. I hope you get the chance and they you enjoy it. It's available now on Amazon, if you're ready to buy it, of course.

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  29. I love the ominous cover. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  30. sounds like a fun one

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  31. Hope you had a great day thank you again for the chance!

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  32. Thank you, Deborah. I hope your day is wonderful, too.

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  33. The "Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction" genre sounds like intense reading.

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    1. Yes, it's pretty intense. I hope you get a chance to read it.

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  34. Love the book cover- book is a definate read

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    1. Thank you. The cover artist is Olivia Hammerman, and she's also made a great cover for the sequel, IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES, which comes out August 24th. Cover reveal coming soon.

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  35. Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for saying that, Susan. I appreciate it.

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  36. This sounds like a fascinating read.

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    1. Thanks for saying that Cristy. Means a lot to me.

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  37. My question for the author is: If you could have anyone famous you love play one of your characters, who would you pick, and why?

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    1. Thanks for the question, Amy. I would love for Sissy Spacek to play grandma Bea. She's a Texan, the right age, a great actor. She'd be perfect.

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  38. The cover is really enigmatic and interesting.

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    1. Thank you. The cover blows my mind, too. It's so fitting for the story. Olivia Hammerman is the award-winning cover artist.

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