Seeking Shelter at the End of the World took a long time to develop. Its roots lie in two stories. The first, “Canaries,” was based on a concept I developed in the 90s about people with augmented allergies who served as living environmental warning measures. I spent a couple of hours brainstorming the idea with K.W. Jeter’s help, but could never get the story to coalesce until 2007.
The second story, “Pink Cats Dancing at the End of the World,” had its roots in an Internet meme circulating about 2008 which featured Hello Kitty AK-47s. I snatched Rianna and Jeff from “Canaries,” setting it several days after “Canaries” ends. I blame Jay Lake in part for “Pink Cats,” because by this time I participated in the Fireside Writers gathering every Tuesday afternoon. Jay was working on near-future dystopias, and we spent some time talking and thinking about them. “Pink Cats” came out of those discussions.
Fast forward a few years. Alma Alexander’s River anthology had been nominated for an EPIC award. I had a story in the anthology, and went to the banquet with Alma. Ellen Spain was interested in a fantasy novel I’d finished, but also wanted something else. I didn’t have anything handy, and then I remembered “Pink Cats.” I jammed “Pink Cats” and “Canaries” together and sent it off to Ellen. She liked everything but the title—and as a result, here we are with Seeking Shelter at the End of the World.
With three months left before a predicted massive formation of toxic Clouds that kill almost all life where they appear, Rianna and her friend Jeff, both genetically engineered weather monitoring modelers known as Canaries, go to Portland, Oregon to gather final data. They worry about the recent disappearances of other Canaries on missions like theirs. This concern proves to be justified when the gang known as the Aliens capture them.
As Jeff and Rianna escape the Aliens, they discover the bodies of some of the missing Canaries, including Rianna's boyfriend, Bobby, and learn that their boss wants them dead. In flight, Rianna finds Bobby's brothers. Will she find a safe shelter with Mick and Francis of Morrison Street Warren and, perhaps, more than that?
Seeking Shelter at the End of the World is about love, safety, and the struggle to survive in the face of overwhelming odds. Despite the dire end-time predictions Rianna has helped model, deep inside she believes it is possible to survive even the Clouds. She may be at the end of the world, but she believes shelter, and love, is possible.
Author Bio: Joyce Reynolds-Ward is a Portland, Oregon writer, skier, horsewoman, and former special education teacher. She's had short stories and essays published in Zombiefied, River, How Beer Saved the World, Fantasy Scroll Magazine, Trust and Treachery, and First Contact Cafe. Her novella Seeking Shelter at the End of the World will come out from eTreasures Publishing in 2015. Her novels Netwalk: Expanded Edition, Netwalker Uprising, Life in the Shadows: Diana and Will, and Alien Savvy as well as other works are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, and other sources. Examples of Joyce's professional education writing can be found at ChildsWork.com.
When not writing or working as an education consultant and tutor, she's often thundering about on her intrepid reining mare Mocha, or living la vida ski bum. Follow Joyce's adventures through her blog, Peak Amygdala, at www.joycereynoldsward.com, or through her LiveJournal at joycemocha. Joyce’s Amazon Central page is located at http://www.amazon.com/Joyce-Reynolds-Ward/e/B00HIP821Y. Joyce can also be found on LinkedIn and Facebook as Joyce Reynolds-Ward.