Monday, March 13, 2023

Now On Tour North Woods by Dani Ripley with an Exclusive Excerpt #ExclusiveExcerpt #Horror #EcoApocalypse #PostApocalypse

March 13 Paranormalists (Guest Blog)

March 13 Lisa’s World of Books

March 14 Serena Synn

March 14 I Love Books

March 14 Roxanne’s Realm 
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March 16 Jazzy Book Reviews
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March 20 Kim's Book Reviews and Writing Aha's (Review)

March 20 JB's Bookworms with Brandy Mulder (Interview)

March 21 Westveil Publishing 

March 22 Midnight Musings with Bertena

March 23 Supernatural Central (Interview)

March 23 Fang-tastic Books 
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March 27 Liliyana Shadowlyn

March 27 Indie Author Book Reviews

North Woods
Dani Ripley

Genre: Horror, Eco-Apocalypse, Dystopian
Publisher: Dani Ripley
Date of Publication: Jan. 26, 2023
ISBN: 979-8375227313
Number of pages: 337 
Word Count: 64,537
Cover Artist: Dani Ripley

Tagline: Outrun the horde. Survive the ice.

Book Description:

Post-apocalyptic female buddy-western set against a backdrop of a sudden, cataclysmic ice age.

Hax can barely remember her real name, it's been so long since she's used it. “Hax” is a shortened version of the word Haxa – the Swedish word for witch - a nickname given to her by people afraid of her seemingly supernatural abilities: appearing out of nowhere then disappearing again just as quickly; uncannily accurate weather pattern readings; and extraordinary skill at tracking prey, human or otherwise. Or perhaps it was simply her propensity for sudden and extreme violence.

A natural loner, Hax isn’t bothered so much by the apocalypse as she is by other people. As such, she’s surprised to find herself traveling with a small group after a long solitary stint in the woods, but when a larger, more savage gang threatens her new people, she’s unable to convince the smaller group of the danger. Realizing it’s too late, she abandons them to their fate, but not before one of the younger members, Pip, sees her escape and decides to follow.

After witnessing the brutal slaughter of their fellow travelers, the two strangers set off through an icy northern wilderness to find Pip’s father, whose last known residence is a camp near the oil sands of Alberta, Canada. In order to survive, Hax and Pip will have to find a way to escape the ruthless horde of marauders still stalking them at every turn, as well as withstand extreme cold, starvation, and exhaustion. And above all, they’ll have to learn to trust each other. 

Exclusive Excerpt

Another howl pierced the dark, this time much closer, and I started looking for a way to save myself. It was too late for the others now, thanks to Petyr. I wished there was a way to take his gun, but there was no time. I just had get away and hide.

Our path cut through dense forest on either side. I guessed we were still on the old highway, judging from the way the depression meandered gently over the landscape and over the horizon. About 50 feet wide, its imprint wound through the trees like a smooth, icy serpent. To my right, a small creek ran parallel to the trail twenty or so feet into the woods. I slowed until I was near the rear of the group, then I darted into the trees, stepped into the swiftly running creek, and then jogged back out to rejoin the group.

Layla was the only one who noticed my momentary absence, but she just looked at me quizzically before turning her attention back to KiKi. I felt bad about leaving, but all hope for them was gone. I could only save myself. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it either.

I lagged behind, letting the group get farther ahead of me, and when I thought no one was looking, I backtracked, using the tracks the group had already made in the snow for my footfalls. Once I made it back to the spot where I’d gone into the woods the first time, I carefully used my own footprints to get back to the creek. I paused only long enough to take off my fur boots and roll up my pants before stepping into the freezing water, wincing as it hit my bare skin. Then I ran as fast and quiet as a I could up the creek, using the water so I wouldn’t leave any traces of my escape.

I looked to my left through the trees, seeing the group’s flickering torches bob as they continued up the old road’s path. I had already caught up with them. Behind me, likely on the road as well, came more howls, now accompanied by excited whoops as the Hunters closed in on their unsuspecting prey. They were closer than I’d realized. I ran a little further to an outcropping of rock jutting out over the creek. Here the creek widened and deepened. I sat on the rock and used an old shirt to quickly dry my feet and put on my boots. Carefully, shuffling my feet to disguise my tracks and stepping on rocks or brush whenever possible, I went further into the forest, hoping to find someplace safe to hide. 

A branch snapped behind me. I whirled around and brought my bow up, an arrow nocked without my even thinking about it.

“Whoa!” said a small voice. “It’s just me!”

“Who?” I hissed, squinting into the night at the short, hooded figure before me.

“It’s me, Pip,” said the girl, stepping forward. “I heard what you said to Petyr. I want to come with you.”

It was one of the teenagers from the group. A slight, waifish girl, probably around seventeen. She had a shock of short, dark hair she obviously cut herself and huge brown eyes. Her real name as Angela, but everyone in the group called her Pip. I never asked why. Now she would get us both killed.

“I followed your tracks and stepped in them, and then followed the river, just like you.” She said, surprising me. At least she was smart. Maybe we actually had a chance.

“Well, come on then, and don’t make tracks. Step like I do, see?” She nodded. I turned back and surveyed the trees, spotting one I liked. We had to get out of sight, and right away. I high-stepped it over to the huge pine I’d selected, with Pip right behind me. “Here,” I said, “we need to climb up as high as we can. I’ll give you a boost.” I set my pack on the ground and my bow against the tree and bent, cupping my hands to make a step for her.

She placed her right foot in my hands and used the lowest branch on the tree to hoist herself up. She scuttled up the tree like a spider monkey, impressing me with her dexterity. About half-way up the fifty-or-so-foot tree, she paused and looked down at me. I waved at her to keep going and grabbed my bow and my pack, strapping them across my back with my quiver; then started up the tree myself.

I was a bit slower than Pip, but I made it up just in time. I saw she had ensconced herself into the crook of the tree’s upper branches, deep in the cover of the fronds and out of direct sight of anyone on the ground. I nodded. Good girl.

I joined her, out of breath but otherwise unharmed. She opened her mouth to say something, but I quickly covered it with my hand, shaking my head and looking toward the ground. Pip saw and froze as still as a statue. A man stood directly beneath us, wearing thick furs and carrying a large gun. He grunted, sniffing the air and looking around. A scout for the larger hunting party. A moment later he moved on without looking up, and I settled back into the branches, removing my hand from Pip’s mouth.

When the slaughter began, Pip cried and shook silently as brittle screams and futile cries for mercy ripped through the otherwise still night. I placed an uneasy arm around her and she leaned against me, burying her face in the fur of my collar. Petyr’s shotgun went off once, Pip flinching at the sound. There was nothing to do now but wait for the end. 

About the Author 

Dani Ripley lives in Michigan and loves writing.

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