Sunday, June 11, 2017

State of Hope by Summer Lane

Title: State of Hope
Author: Summer Lane
Series: Collapse #10
Genre: Dystopia, New Adult
Release Date: June 5, 2017

This is it.

Cassidy Hart and her comrades have returned to their home: California, the final battlefield in the fight against the global terror, Omega. Commander Chris Young is in critical condition, the United States Navy has acquired new weapons, and the militias have just made a discovery that could change everything.

Faced with tragedy, heartbreak, and destruction, Cassidy is tempted to give up.

But she is a fighter. Defeat is not in her blood.

When confronted with the possibility of resurrecting the leadership of the United States of America, she will do anything to make the dream of stability a reality. She and Lieutenant Uriah True, along with the legendary strike team, the Angels of Death, undertake a dangerous and outrageous mission, unlike anything they have ever attempted. They will find themselves in the very epicenter of Omega’s stronghold.

Yet doubt remains. No one can be trusted in this dark new world, and their hope may not be as black and white as it seems. Disappointment and rejection cloud Cassidy’s judgment.

Friends will be lost. Tears will be shed. Sacrifices beyond the imagination will be made. The grim reality and bitter destruction of war will inflict one final sucker punch. The militias desperately attempt to hold their ground, and the Freedom Fighters will do everything they can to destroy the greatest evil this world has ever known. The apocalypse has taken everything from Cassidy, but she will not stop until her heart ceases to beat, and until there is no breath left in her body.

She holds onto hope – hope of a future, hope of victory, and hope of love.

There is no going back. It all ends here.

Are you prepared?

“Banner and Beckham,” Vera drawls. “Sounds like a boyband.”

I adjust the collar on my black jacket, smoothing the white shirt underneath.

“Do I look neat enough?” I ask.

“You look like an apocalyptic militia commander,” Vera responds. “I don’t think they’re going to care how you look. How any of us look.”

“I have a feeling they will.”

“They’re here!” Andrew calls from downstairs.

I check my appearance in the mirror. All things considered, I don’t look that bad. At least I’m showered. At least I’m not covered in ash.

Vera and I head downstairs, and a guard out front is waiting in a Humvee to take us to the president’s house. Uriah is waiting outside, and he gives me a frustrated look.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, zipping my jacket.

“This car is for you,” he says.

“I don’t understand.”

“Just for you. Apparently, President Banner and General Beckham don’t want to meet with all of us.” He pauses. “Just you.”

I look at the driver.

“Are those your orders?” I ask.

“Yes, ma’am,” he responds.

I curse.

“I’m not going without the rest of the team,” I say.

“You should,” Father Kareem interjects. “You may learn something valuable.”

“Like what?”

He raises his hands as if to say, Don’t ask me. Just go and find out.

A nervous lump settles in my throat.

“I don’t want to go alone,” I whisper to Vera.

“I know,” she says, sympathetically. “But maybe you should. See what they want.”

I purse my lips, angry at the sudden turn of events.

“All right,” I snap. “If that’s the way they want it…”

“See you later,” Vera says.

I lock eyes with Uriah, and he nods.

I get in the backseat of the car.

I go on alone. 

The End of Collapse by Summer Lane 
What they say about ending a series is true. They say it’s hard, it’s emotional, and it’s a little bit painful.

All true. All correct.

It is hard to end a series, especially one that I’ve been working on for five years, non-stop; a series that has, so far, given birth to 17 books in its complete universe. Ending Collapse feels a bit like letting go of a child that has been clinging to my neck for a long time. Finally, I’m stepping away from a familiar storyline.

The journey of the entire Collapse Series itself has been so quick, so hectic and so intense, that I can’t remember every detail of it. That’s okay, though. I can look through the books in the series and see exactly where I was and what I was doing when I wrote it. Reading the books reminds me of what the journey of creation was like: it reminds me of how I felt while growing the characters of this universe.

At this point, there are around 40 characters in the main series, give or take a few. Some have died, some have lived. Some have grown, some have not. When I first wrote the initial installment that started everything, I honestly just wrote the book for fun. I had so many story ideas about Cassidy Hart and Chris Young – ideas that would make a great series, I thought. But I wasn’t planning on sharing them with anyone unless readers wanted it. When demands for a sequel came flooding in, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and shock. It’s the best feeling in the world to know that you have made a connection with readers; it means you have done your job. You have provided an escape from reality, you have taken them on an emotional journey, and you have given people the best gift of all…you have given them the gift of feeling.

For me, writing is my lifeblood. I may have other interests, other tasks, other duties to perform, but it always comes back to this: to the story, to the journey, to the characters. When I was growing up, I survived tough situations by withdrawing from reality and closing my eyes, picturing a story. I could always see it clearly, like a movie in my head. I could hear it, smell it, feel it and practically touch it. I lived in imaginary places more than I did in the real world. I would be minding my own business and suddenly, bam! I would be there, in the story, in the plot. A flash-bang of an idea, an influx of creativity. I was, as they say in Beauty in the Beast, “Never part of any crowd, cuz’ her head’s up on some cloud.” I was always writing, and I started working on crafting my voice as early as 13. I was serious. I submitted to magazines, but unfortunately, I came into the publishing business in an age when paper publications were dying, and online submissions and articles were beginning to boom.

So I hit the digital world. I worked as a freelance writer, doing the “dirty work” of the publishing business. I wrote so many articles, I was dreaming about lines of script in my sleep. I never stopped writing – I mean that in the literal sense. I rarely – if ever – took a break from writing. If I wasn’t writing, I was reading. I still read. Constantly. If you want to improve your writing, keep reading. There is always something new to learn, no matter how skilled you are.

The story of Collapse is really a story of its readers. The support I’ve had from the reading community around the world has had a profound effect on me. I’m grateful for every reader – from the first to the last. From the oldest to the newest. I’m always touched when I receive fan mail thanking me for writing, for sharing the stories in my head. It’s an honor to know that my books are on readers’ shelves across America, and in digital cues on tablets or smartphones. I absolutely adore my readers, and I can’t thank them enough for reading my books even when I was a teenager, with a very loose grasp on what I was doing in the publishing business.

I would be lying if I said writing is glamorous. Perhaps it is in the movies – and perhaps it is sometimes. But nine days out of ten, it is not glamorous. It’s unpredictable, it’s ruthless, it’s unforgiving, and it’s grueling. It’s emotionally draining, it’s mentally draining and it’s sometimes discouraging. It’s isolating, akin to a self-imposed exile. I find it very difficult to leave the hectic yet secure solace of my office – the world is often too much, too loud. Sometimes you have good days. Sometimes you have terrible days. Sometimes you feel worthless and talentless, like a failure. For me, I would have to say I feel like that more times than not. Much of my writing experience could only be described as suffering. I talk about the difficulty of what it’s been like quite a lot, but it’s hard to convey the enormity of the struggle if you’ve never been through it. I can only describe it as being on a rollercoaster of emotion, every day unpredictable, every month void of a guarantee of survival. People try to steal your work. People accuse you of not having a “real” job. People say horrible things to you in letters or on forums. Being a writer is a bit like being a bulls-eye: you will be targeted for your mere existence.

Can you handle it? Can you take the emotional rollercoaster ride? Can you take the criticism? Can you take the pressure? Can you take the competition? Can you take the failures as well as the successes?

Yet writing is like a pendulum. You have to swing with it – you can’t control everything about it, because you’re not meant to. At some point, you have to do your best and let go. You have to let the pendulum move on its own. You have to trust in the strength of your story and the loyalty of your readers. You have to trust in your characters. You have to trust in yourself. It’s hard to do. For me, I feel the impossibility of that truth every single time I release a book. I’ve gone through it 17 times. The struggle, the exhaustion, the shaky self-confidence, the fear, the disappointment. You name a stage, and I’ve been through it. Over and over again.

Writing, however, is what I love. So I embrace it, warts and all, and make it my own. I take chances because without them, my life would have no meaning. I have to experiment, push boundaries and create constantly. Even if I had nothing – if I was back at the beginning of everything again, I would still create. That is what we do as writers. We create something from nothing, and we make you care about the journey.

So ending Collapse is hard, yes. But it is a necessary part of life. All beginnings must have their endings. It is merely an open door for more opportunity and more adventure, and I am ready for it. 


Author Bio:
Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of the Collapse Series, Zero Trilogy, Bravo Saga, Collapse: The Illustrated Guide and the adventure thriller, Unbreakable SEAL.

Summer owns WB Publishing. She is an accomplished journalist and creative writing teacher. She also owns an online magazine, Writing Belle, where she has interviewed and worked with countless authors from around the globe.

Summer lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, where she enjoys reading, collecting tea, visiting the beach and the mountains, and counting down the days until she has her very own puppy (if you’ve read Bravo: Apocalypse Mission, you’ll understand).


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