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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Maria Hammarblad guest post: In the world of Operation Earth + excerpt

In the world of Operation Earth 

What if we woke up one day and all comforts of modern society were gone?

Could we cope without electronics and electricity? Could we live without computers, phones, refrigerators, water refineries, cars, and stores?

My mom grew up on a farm in the 1940s and knows many practical things, like how to get milk from a cow and what to do with it. I’d be, “Hey, that’s a cow. It’s really big.”

It’s not that long ago, but the rural world of her childhood held wood stoves, underground cellars to keep food cool even during summer, and hand-pumped wells. I grew up as a city kid. I live in the city, and without power and a grocery store conveniently close, I’m lost.

The closest we might get in western society is the aftermath of a natural disaster when people have to survive without power and get by on whatever supplies are available for a few days, maybe a week. If modern society screeched to a halt, I believe inhabitants of the countries us westerners might think of as underdeveloped would do the best.

In “Operation Earth” invading aliens use a global EMP to destroy the planet’s defenses and infrastructure. EMP means electromagnetic pulse. There are several different kinds, but theirs is intended to destroy electronic equipment.

In the wake of this devastation, the characters must do their best to survive without everything we take for granted. No one is coming for them, because the situation is the same everywhere. There will be no rescue, no Red Cross, charities handing out water, or helicopters bringing food.

Rachael, my heroine, worries about the neighbors. They’re running out of supplies and seem to take inventory of whatever she has in the cupboards. Should she attempt to gang up with them, or can she defend herself?

Luckily, the aliens are benevolent enough to make sure our basic infrastructure is up and running within days, but they put their own twist on it, and everything happens on their terms. This means no coffee, sugar, alcohol, or chocolate. Money is quickly phased out, no one is sick or homeless, and the streets are lined with armed guards.

They’re distantly related to us. Different enough to stick out, but close enough to be somewhat relatable. Similar enough to us to make Rachael wonder about them. Attempting contact is tempting, but dangerous. Getting to know one of them might be considered betrayal to mankind…

What would you do?

~ Maria Hammarblad ~

Operation Earth
by Maria Hammarblad
August 30, 2018
Genre: Space Opera Romance
Publisher: Sadowski Media
Originally published by Desert Breeze August 2013
ISBN: 1722281871
Number of pages: 192
Word Count: 49282
Cover Artist: Patty Jansen
They’re here. Are you ready?

Seven billion people on Earth go about their daily lives, and no one is prepared when a global EMP slows the world to a crawl. Within days alien soldiers line the streets, and life will never be the same. In the midst of chaos, Rachael Hill struggles to adapt to the new order, doing her best to keep herself and her cat alive.

On a ship far above the planet surface, Peter just got his new Earth name, and can’t even remember his identity from the last world he visited. It’s another day on the job, one more planet on a never-ending list. That is, until Rachael bumps into him, dropping exotic objects all around his feet. His culture taught him females should be obeyed and protected, but he never had an urge to leave himself at a woman’s mercy until now.

The neighbor’s house mocked her. Were they still watching her, or had they given up? Had they noticed Peter was no longer around, and if so, what did they make of it?

Rachael probably kept her eyes as much on them as they did on her, and in less dire circumstances the situation would have been comical.

Bonbon wanted to go outside, and she followed the cat into bright morning sunshine.

It’s a fine day. I wish I had coffee. This would be a good day for having morning coffee on the porch.

She glanced over toward Melissa’s house. They had a window open. Interesting. Before she knew what she was doing, she pulled her hairclip off and tossed it into their yard.

“Oops, I must have dropped it there that one day I went over to see them. I’d better go get it.”

Setting foot on the other side of the hedge seemed dangerous, but she had Peter’s gun tucked in a pocket, and the hairclip glittered in the grass, close to the open window.

How did she become so bold?

Walk casually. How the hell does one walk casually? Do I whistle? No, make as little sound as possible...

She strolled, doing her best to look normal. Just an ordinary woman going over to pick up something ordinary she dropped on an ordinary day.

Seconds later, she crouched under the window. At first, she couldn’t hear anything, then Melissa’s voice drifted out.

“I don’t think this is a good idea.”

“Of course it is. We need to show them what we’re made of.”

That was clearly Ryan. She didn’t know his voice all that well, but the feisty attitude gave him away.

A third voice followed. It must be Martin of the tobacco-stained teeth and bad breath.

“It doesn’t matter what you think, Hon. The missile is ready and will be launched.”

Missile? What the hell are these people up to? Do they know I’m out here? Did they leave the window open to see if I’d overhear and tattle, or do they feel safe now when Peter isn’t around?

Either way, overthinking wouldn’t do her any good. She strained her ears and heard Melissa speak again.

“I didn’t think missiles could go into space.”

“It’s complicated. I’m worried about the guidance system, we’ve scraped together bits and pieces, but nothing is as good as it should be,” Martin answered.

Another long silence followed, and Rachael dried her palms on her clothes, immediately scolding herself for doing so. Her mom would have had a field day with that behavior. Maybe they were coming out, and she should hurry to leave.

“You know, the guy next door, he doesn’t seem so bad.”

Something heavy fell to the floor and Rachael imagined Ryan’s chair toppling over. His voice was anything but patient.

“Don’t be such a goose. Rachael’s just as bad as them and should burn with them. If she chooses to stand with them, she will. With any luck, that guy is on the ship when we bomb it and we can talk her back to the right side. If not, well, we’ll just have to kill him anyway, won’t we?”

About the Author:

Maria Hammarblad is an author and bass player whose fascination with books started early. Before she could read or write, she made her mother staple papers together to resemble books. She drew suns in them and claimed they were "The Sun Book." They were all about the sun.

The four-year-old also claimed her existence on Earth was a mistake, the result of a horrible mix-up, and that her real family would come to bring her home to her own planet at any time. This didn't happen, but her fascination with books and other worlds stayed with her.

Besides novels, she also writes award-winning screenplays, enjoys photography, and works with animal rescue organizations.


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