Updated: Feb 7, 2019
With Fallen Nation coming out soon, I have some new teasers and previews of the novel, including an excerpt from the book! Also, you'll get to see the newly designed book cover, learn about the LEGO Fallen Nation city, the writing process, and much more. (Don't worry, none of this will contain big spoilers about the book.)
First up, we have a special excerpt from the novel itself:
Rain poured down on the broken pavement in huge gusts as wind swept through the run-down buildings. Fog crept over the dirty streets and drifted through rotten mounds of garbage. Dark clouds covered the sky.
Smoke billowed from a looming factory in the distance, cloaking the horizon in smog. The rain continued to beat ruthlessly down upon the city, and lightning flashed overhead, a bolt of light breaking through the foggy darkness for an instant.
A scuttling noise came from behind an overflowing trash bin, and a small creature darted out, dashing across the street. It darted through the rain, weaving between mounds of garbage. It stopped at the opposite curb, looking around for a moment, and dove into a sewer hole.
A small building stood at the end of the street. Half of its foundation had collapsed, and it leaned at a precarious angle. The broken windows were boarded up with rotten wood, and chunks of the walls were missing. Trash was piled up around it, and rusted chains blocked the door, which was falling to shreds.
Inside, everything was still. The rain hammered down on the sagging roof, thunder rumbling in the distance. The floorboards were gone, revealing a hard, rock ground. Junk was piled up in the corners, wet from the leaks in the walls and ceiling.
A woman lay on the cold stone ground, wrapped in rotting rags. She shivered, clutching the rags tighter, but cold seeped through, freezing every inch of her. Rain dripped down onto her, soaking the rags. The rock floor cut into her back, but she was numb to the pain by now. She had spent so many countless nights restlessly lying on this hard ground, freezing, unable to fall asleep. On the rare occasion that she was able to sleep, the night was plagued with nightmares so terrible she woke up screaming.
It had been like this for as long as she could remember. The same tortured, unbearable nights of cold and misery, every single night for years. Sometimes they were filled with sobbing and sorrow, but others were just spent staring blankly at the wall, unable to think. Every time she closed her eyes, terrible images flooded her mind, but when she kept them open, she was reminded again of the terrible reality of life. No matter what she did, she couldn’t stop the flow of agonizing, horrible thoughts.
Scars throbbed with pain all over her, but she tried to ignore them. Scrapes, cuts, bruises, and gashes covered her skin, some several years old, and some very recent. The pain kept her awake. Sometimes she was glad that she couldn’t fall asleep, that she couldn’t fall into the dark depths of nightmares. Life was already a nightmare. She didn’t need more.
She clutched the rags even tighter as lightning flashed outside, illuminating the room for an instant. It wasn’t the lightning that scared her – it was what it reminded her of. The outside world. A place of death, misery, hopelessness, and despair. It was a nightmare.
Rain continued to drip down onto her as thunder rumbled overhead. She had tried to fix the leaks, but it was hopeless. With the severe storms that came regularly, the building stood no chance. Another wave of cold crept over her, spreading through her body and freezing every inch. The rags didn’t help – instead, they turned icily cold. She shuddered and closed her eyes again, but instantly a stream of terrible images and thoughts overcame her mind. Her eyes shot open, and she shivered, looking around.
Lightning flashed again. The night seemed endless, like traveling in circles for eternity. Water dripped down onto her, refreezing her icy body. Thunder rumbled overhead. Rain beat down on the building. Lighting flashed. Water dripped. Thunder rumbled. Rain beat down. It continued for what felt like forever, an endless cycle of misery, cold, despair, and hopelessness. She didn’t know what time it was, but it didn’t matter. A clock would just have made it worse.
She tried closing her eyes once more, and for a moment, she somehow was able to rest. But after half a second, nightmares struck, jolting her awake again.
This was the miserable, hopeless cycle that happened every night for years and years.
... (Skip to page 5) ...
She woke up abruptly, screaming. Tears trickled down her face as she sat upright, panicking. Her breathing was shallow and rapid as she tried desperately to escape from the nightmares. The memories of the night haunted her, seeming to want to drag her back into the nightmares and the endless, miserable night.
She sat there for a moment, trying to recover. She took a long, shaky breath and slowly stood up. Outside, the storm had stopped. It was early in the morning, and a bit of light came in through the boarded-up windows. Everything was quiet.
She stood up and grabbed a sack of supplies on the ground. It contained various survival tools, such as a pair of hand-made knives, a rusted pair of broken binoculars, a rope, a dented container of water, a small axe, an old gas mask, and random bits of items.
Tying the sack to her back, she walked over to the opposite corner of the building. She crouched down and pushed a metal grate lying on the ground away to reveal a dark hole leading to a tunnel. She jumped inside and pulled the grate back over the hole, sealing the entrance.
Inside the tunnel, it was pitch black.
She groped around inside her sack and found a flashlight. She took it out, turning it on, and a faint, flickering light came on, illuminating the tunnel dimly. The floor of the tunnel was muddy from the rain, and water dripped down on her as she walked forward. She sloshed through the mud, shining the flashlight around at the dirt walls and ceiling of the tunnel. Rats scurried by, staring up at her.
The tunnel came to an end, and she looked up and pushed aside a manhole above her. Dim, foggy light streamed in, and she turned off her flickering flashlight.
She pulled herself out of the muddy tunnel and stood up. She was in an alleyway, surrounded by piles of trash. The concrete ground was slick from the rain, and water dripped from the surrounding buildings. Fog covered the ground, and in the distance, smoke billowed from factories cloaked by mist.
A harsh, frigid wind blew through the alleyway, and overhead, ravens cawed and flew off, leaving the rusted fire escape they had been perched on.
She pulled the hood of her torn, dirty jacket over her head and walked quickly through the alleyway. Underneath the jacket, she wore a battered utility vest stocked with weapons, supplies, and tools. Her ripped jeans were stained and singed from a fire. She wore black combat boots, one of which had a bullet hole from a previous attack.
The wind howled around her as she neared the end of the alleyway, slowing down cautiously. She looked around, searching the streets for signs of danger. But it didn’t matter if she found signs or not. There was always danger.
Suddenly she heard the crunch of boots on gravel behind her. She spun around, instinctively pulling out her two handcrafted knives. There was nothing there. Her eyes darted around, staring at the motionless alleyway. Everything was quiet except for the wind.
She stayed perfectly still, waiting. She clutched her knives tighter, glancing around. Nothing moved. Nothing made a sound.
Perhaps it wasn’t anything. Perhaps it was just the wind that had made the sound. But she had a bad feeling that she was being watched. People were so desperate in this world that they would do anything just to survive, even if it meant killing dozens, or even hundreds, of other people.
She waited. And waited. The wind continued to howl around her, the cold seeping through her clothes. Her breath fogged up in the air, turning into clouds of vapor. Nothing happened.
Suddenly she was knocked to the ground from behind. She reacted instantly, rolling over and slicing her knives through the air. She saw a flash of black, and before she could think, a fist hurtled towards her face. With lightning reflexes learned from countless attacks, she brought her arm up and blocked it, slicing at her attacker with the knife in her other hand. The person disappeared, seeming to vanish into thin air.
She got to her feet quickly and gripped her knives tightly, ready for another attack. She heard a noise from behind her and spun around, only to find that no one was there.
Suddenly, a blow hit her from out of nowhere, and she stumbled, falling onto a huge metal trash bin. She brought her knives up in defense, and was kicked in the stomach. Her attacker swiftly hit her in the head, and she collapsed on the ground, groaning in pain.
She quickly jumped back to her feet and was attacked again. A dark fist slammed into her, and she flew backwards, smashing into a brick wall. She tried to get up, but a hand wrapped around her throat, choking her.
“It’s over, kid,” a voice said darkly. The grip tightened on her throat, and she struggled to breathe. She looked up to see a man dressed in black staring sinisterly down at her. He wasn’t armed, but he was obviously good at hand-to-hand combat.
She had to do something. Fast. If she didn’t, she would die. But she was used to life-or-death situations, which she encountered on a daily basis. She’d faced tougher opponents before.
All of a sudden, she sprang into action, kicking the man with as much power as possible. He stumbled backwards, letting go of her throat, and she attacked, slamming into him. He recovered instantly and fought back, thrusting his fist at her. She dodged it and kicked him in the face, smashing him into a wall. He got up, and she brought her fist down on him. He collapsed, and she grabbed a metal rod from the ground. The man groaned and started to get to his feet, and she smashed the rod into his head.
The man slumped to the ground, unconscious.
She dropped the rod, putting the knives back in her sack. The knives were just for threatening, or to be used as tools. She had promised never to kill anyone, no matter what.
It was hard to keep that promise in the present world, but she had for her whole life. In a world full of murderers and criminals, it was nearly impossible to survive without killing anyone. Many people had started out only killing to protect themselves, but after a while, they turned into the very people they had been trying to protect themselves from. Millions of innocent people had become murderers and criminals just trying to survive in this world.
She was one of the only people who had managed to survive without becoming a killer. Most people didn’t live past her age. She didn’t know how old she was exactly – everyone had lost track of time long ago. She was somewhere around twenty-nine, but she wasn’t sure. It didn’t matter, though. All that mattered to everyone was survival.
The frigid wind howled through the alleyway as she walked away from the man’s unconscious body, pulling the hood of her jacket over her head.
This is the first time this has been released, so you are among the first to see this special preview!
Next up, we have an image of the newly designed book cover for Fallen Nation (subject to change):
It's in a similar style and layout to Future, but with a few differences.
Now, Fallen Nation isn't a standalone book like Future or Ice Lords. Originally, it was going to be, but as the writing process progresses, I've decided that it's going to be a series. Depending on how much I write, it might be just one more book, or even a trilogy. I'll be announcing more info on that in a couple months, including the title of the next book.
Also, I'm currently working on something pretty cool - a LEGO version of the city in Fallen Nation! It's 2 1/2 feet long and 2 feet wide, and will feature lots of things in the novel, including the border wall, the factory, the streets, the tracks, the abandoned construction site, the fallen bridge, a rebel barricade, and much more. Stay tuned for updates on that!
Another cool thing that I'm announcing is the Fallen Nation playlist. This playlist is a collection of songs inspired by the book, with dark and dramatic tones. Go to "Fallen Nation - By Grayson Taylor" on Spotify. I also have created a Future playlist as well, with songs from sci-fi and action-adventure soundtracks. Make sure to check those out and listen to the playlists!
Right now, I'm close to being finished with writing the novel. It is definitely my longest yet, coming in at over 100 pages longer than Future. I'll probably be done writing it in the next few weeks, and then the editing and rewriting process will take a few more weeks.
Well, that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed these special previews of the novel. If you aren't already, become a member of the Forum and share your thoughts in Author Central! As an author, I greatly appreciate your support. Make sure to get your copy of Fallen Nation when it comes out this December!