After Life Lessons — Book One
Laila Blake & L.C. Spoering
Available: April 8, 2014
Format: E-book & Paperback (POD)
Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction. Post Apoc Love Story
Tags: Zombies, Survival, Dystopian, Romance, Road Adventure, Family Drama, Love Story, Gender Roles, New Adult, Adult
Warnings: Contains language some might find offensive, some gore and situations of a sexual nature.
Length: 81,000 words // 330 pages.
Hulking shadows emerge out of the chaotic flurries of the blizzard. Something is dying, and so they come, like vultures.
After months of struggling south to escape the zombie-infested remains of New York, a snowstorm traps 23-year old artist, Emily, and her son in an abandoned gas station. Starving and desperate, they encounter Aaron, an Army medic on a mission of his own, who offers them a ride to ease the journey.
The road is a long and dangerous place to travel, and every day brings a new threat. But fear and adrenaline also drive the two closer together; they find laughter and a budding attraction that starts to thaw at their numb and deadened feelings. And that’s when the pain really starts to hit, when places long thought lost prickle back to life. Eventually, they will have to fight not just for survival, but for a future together, or their broken world will swallow them whole.
Excerpt #1: Chapter 1 // Opening // 866 words
Something was dying in the flurries of snow.
Emily couldn’t see five feet of road in front of them, but the desperate howl pierced the wind. A dog maybe, or something altogether wilder. It seemed to harden every muscle along her spine, forcing her body into a more awkward pace, one hand firmly around Song’s, dragging the boy along. The wind piled snow into drifts, threw it into icy funnels that danced between the trees.
Excerpt #2: Chapter Two // First meeting between Emily and Aaron // 734 words
Grasping the edge of the crumbling desk with her good hand, Emily hauled herself to her feet. The room wavered again, and a crackling noise filled her head, like the white noise on a stuck channel of an old television. It grew in volume, and it was only when she shook her head once, twice, that she realized it wasn’t the rattling of her own brain, but tires crunching over ice and gravel instead.
Forgetting about her arm, she flung herself to the ground next to Song. Something large parked right outside: she could see it through the crack in the door, out over the ruined shop floor and through the gaping glass that faced out on the driveway.
Excerpt #3: Chapter 4 // Zombie attack // 362 words
Emily stared first at him, then at the side-view mirror.
“They are fast…” she exhaled.
Rolling down the highway, Aaron was trying to avoid broken down cars and fallen trees, snow-choked drifts and holes in the road. They were slow, too slow; and the creatures had little trouble keeping up. There was no question of stopping, of course, but he couldn’t accelerate, either.
“It’s like they’re hunting…” he muttered, focus completely on the road.
Excerpt #4: Chapter 5 // First awkward physical encounter // 614 words
“What was he like?”
Emily looked up, surprised; Aaron had asked it quietly as though unsure whether he was allowed to or not. She lifted her hands, still under the blanket, admiring the way they formed hills and valleys when she moved them.
“Charming,” she said with a wan little smile.
Excerpt #5: Chapter 10 // Growing Closer // 502 words
“I dream of him dying over and over. Over and over they jump him and he disappears under their bodies for so long…” Emily opened her eyes, but stared ahead, wide eyed and holding her breath. “And I hate… I hate that he was alone at the end. I should have been there, but I… I left him alone. He was all alone.”
Aaron was quiet, and so she continued: “Song used to think he’d come later, you know, find us. I never had the heart to… to really say the word. I dunno. I guess I was jealous Song still had that hope. And every time I dream it, I want to be faster but… I’m never faster.”
About the Authors
Laila Blake & L.C. Spoering
L.C. and Laila met in 2010 on an online forum and have been inseparable ever since. Having supported each other in their individual writing projects for years, they finally decided to work more closely together in a cross-continental cooperative writing partnership. Together, they host the podcast Lilt and started their micropublishing venture Lilt Literary in 2013.
L.C. (generally known as Lorrie) lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, kids, and too many pets. Laila is a nerdy German translator, living in Cologne with her kitten and a lot of sparkly lights.