End Times Are Here! Now you can eat whatever you want and not care if you gain weight.
Autumn, a food and wine obsessed ad executive (who for the purpose of this retelling asked to be portrayed as drool-inducing hot with kick-ass ninja skills), has just been handed the task of saving all of humanity.
Here’s the deal. The president has just announced that the Earth is going to collide with a rogue moon, and in the process, our entire planet is going to be smashed to bits. As one would expect, upon hearing this news, humans went ballistic. No car was left unrolled—but oddly enough, Taco Bell remained open and made unfathomable profits in the last days. Apparently, Doritos Locos® Tacos were a popular last meal.
After drinking a bottle of wine and inhaling a wheel of Brie cheese, Autumn hijacks a spaceship and races to save her fellow humans with the help of her unbelievably sexy alien boyfriend and her kleptomaniac friend with fire-retardant hair. The task is simple enough, just loot the Ark of the Covenant from a secret government bunker under a department store in Arkansas and use it to convince the entire human race to come together in one giant group hug. No problem, right? Along the way, Autumn will discover just how sheltered people are from the truth of extraterrestrials and their power to either protect us or destroy us.
Grab a bottle of wine, a spaceship full of snacks, and prepare to take a ride on this humorous chick lit romantic sci-fi paranormal adventure. If you crave a little sexy time in your reading, are into Ancient Aliens, conspiracy theories, UFOs, are curious if we were genetically engineered (like the Sumerian cuneiform texts claim), and are dying to find out the meaning of life, then this book is for you.
Awards and Honors
- Abell was Voted Top 40 of Your Favorite Contemporary Science Fiction Authors by Book Riot Readers
- 30th Annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards—Silver Winner for Best Science Fiction & Fantasy and The Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book (Fiction)
- 2019 San Diego Book Awards—Geisel Award for the Best Published Book and Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novel
- Named one of the top 100 Notable Indies of 2018 by Shelf Unbound Magazine
- 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Awards – Best Chick Lit Novel – Finalist
- 2017 William Faulkner–Wisdom Competition – Novel Category– Finalist
- 2017 – The Southern California Book Festival – Wild Card Category – Honorable Mention
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
SALTY STICKS OF HEAVEN, A HAIRY DIPSTICK, FLAMING CATS, AND ECSTASY-INDUCING ABS
It was Friday, and my vacation week had officially started. Woohoo! I'd just finished wrapping a shoot for the ad agency I worked for. The product was a rotisserie machine, and after twelve hours of smelling roasted chicken, I craved it so badly I nearly crashed my car when I passed by a KFC. I had to refrain from stopping for food, however, as I was en route to my monthly pig-out fest with my best friend, Emma. We both share the same passion for food. It borders on rehab-level obsession, especially for over-processed, sodium-rich, artery-clogging morsels. If it contains a natural ingredient, we usually pass. (The pinnacle of our eating career thus far was when Taco Bell first offered their tacos encased in a Doritos shell. I will never forget the day we saw the ad on TV. We almost wet our pants.)
Our love for all things edible started twenty years ago, at the age of six, when we discovered my mom's secret "PMS Emergency Junk Food Trunk." (That was not a name we gave it, as we had no idea what PMS was at the time. The trunk literally had a metal plaque etched with that name.) Assuming PMS meant "PreMeal Snacks," we dug in and ate it all — then puked. In the subsequent two decades, we developed the ability to pack in more grub than a seven-hundred-pound man at a Las Vegas buffet. Now, I don't want you to get the wrong idea here — we're both quite slim. You see, we have mastered the art of eating large quantities of food without losing our girly figures by fasting forty-eight hours prior to our gorge-fests.
Balance is key.
While driving to Emma's apartment, I was listening to my usual podcast: Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. If you haven't heard of the show, it's a late-night radio program on paranormal and conspiracy topics. It covers all the unexplained phenomena: from UFOs, to cryptology, to secret government projects. The topic for this particular podcast was Light Beings, with guest William Henry. To be honest, I usually bypass topics like this one — it's a bit too far-fetched even for me. But it was the only podcast I had left on my iPod, so I gave it a go.
William Henry presented quite the case for Light Beings in his interview — citing ancient texts, pointing out depictions of light bodies in popular classical paintings, and briefly discussing symbolic artwork in the White House. Based on this and other podcasts I'd listened to about Light Beings, the consensus seems to be that they aren't ghosts or apparitions, but are believed to be another type of entity made of pure light, and able to shift from their luminous form into a physical one. Some people are convinced they're demonic, and others feel they are spirits sent directly from God — the "divine light," if you will. William Henry believes that our ultimate purpose as humans is to morph into this "divine light." Maybe there's some validity to that idea. After all, countless people swear they "see the light" when having a near death experience. What if they're evolving into the very light he's speaking of?
As I was pondering this theory, my phone dinged. It was a text from Emma, saying she was running late. Having extra time to play with, I decided to take a quick side trip to Barnes & Noble to search for books on Light Beings. I had to admit, William Henry had piqued my interest.
After I pulled into a parking spot, I stretched outside my car for a minute before heading in. It was a fairly warm night, a typical summer evening in Southern California. A silvery full moon shone above a palm tree. It was one of those nights where the moon appears close enough to reach out and touch. Many people claim to see a face there — the fabled "man in the moon" — but even with the assistance of alcohol, all I see is a bunch of pockmarks.
While I was attempting to identify a face among the contrasting craters, an unnerving chill sent prickles down my spine. It was that feeling you get when you're playing hide-and-seek and you know someone's about to find you. Shivering, despite the warm night, I rubbed my arms to get rid of the goose bumps. I could've sworn there were eyes on me.
But the parking lot was empty, except for a smattering of cars and an abandoned McDonalds' bag (which made me crave fries). Because it had been two days since I last ate — in preparation for my day of gluttony — I was tempted to open the bag and inspect the scraps. My stomach growled its approval at that idea, so I made a hasty retreat to the entrance of the store before it could convince me to join the ants in devouring the leftover salty sticks of heaven.
As the automatic doors slid open, I felt something brush my shoulder, and when I spun to see what it was, a jolt of electricity fired up my leg. I jumped sky high, expelled an involuntary squeak, and then pranced around, afraid to touch the floor until I was a safe distance from the door. Heart thudding in my chest, I studied the ground, expecting to see an exposed wire, but saw only a black rubber mat, a trampled receipt, and a petrified wad of gum.
Looking around to make sure no one had seen my moment of insanity, I composed myself, drew in a calming breath, and continued through the entrance, doing my best to walk like a normal, sober person.
I was not successful. Right as I entered, a dizzy spell had me stumbling into the front book display. I had to grip it with both hands to keep myself upright, knocking several books off in the process. The pistons that kept my wits operating stuttered and hissed — my internal check-engine light flickered on. Embarrassed, I avoided contact with anyone while I picked up the books. One of them had a large tear on the cover, so I hastily shoved it under the rest of the stack, placed them back on the shelf, and casually walked away.
What was wrong with me? I shook my head hoping that whatever had come loose would rattle back into place, but it only made me dizzier, and I staggered into a rack of ATV Bikini Babes calendars. At that point, several people had turned to watch the crazy drunk lady in the calendar section. I gave a big thumbs-up to let them know I was okay. I wasn't though. It took a full five minutes of pretending to examine the calendar entitled America's Best Barns and Feed–Deep South Edition before I regained my composure.
Given the way my mind was functioning, I decided it wise to ask a friendly sales associate for help in finding a book on Light Beings. If left to my own devices, I was afraid I would end up in the bathroom trying to read the toilet paper roll.
After straightening my shirt (which had apparently twisted up and got snagged under my bra at some point), I made my way to the customer service kiosk, where a shortish lanky dude, I'm guessing in his mid-twenties, scanned a stack of books into the computer with a yawn. His appearance was average until you took a gander at his hair. When I first saw it, I thought the cold front overtaking my mental faculties was making me hallucinate, and I had to pinch my forearm to double-check that what I witnessed was, in fact, real. This anomaly of human nature standing in front of me must have used an entire can of hairspray to create the strangest mountain of brown hair I'd ever seen in my life, complete with twin peaks at the top. It almost defied the laws of physics, towering well over a foot high. I was surprised snow didn't crest the peaks with such an elevation. He had clearly used his hair to make up for his deficiency in the height department. Adding to his overcompensation disorder, he had supplemented his mound-o-hair with that deliberately trimmed haven't-shaved-for-a-few-days-so-I-seem-like-I-don't-care look.
He creased his forehead with an air of irritation as I approached. I waited patiently for him to finish what he was doing, which he sure took his sweet time on. He slapped the enter key a ridiculous number of times before asking me, without even sparing a glance in my direction, "Can I help you?"
What an ass. Despite his major 'tude, my mom did teach me manners, so I put on my best fake "nice" voice and responded with a polite, "Yes, please. Do you have any books on Light Beings?" As soon as the words escaped my lips, I regretted saying them. When you broach paranormal subjects such as Light Beings or aliens, you tend to get the same look you'd get if you'd just dealt a huge fart.
He peered at me with one raised eyebrow. It didn't help matters that I couldn't keep my eyes off his hair. Its sheer presence commanded my attention. And when he caught me staring, he hoisted the other eyebrow to join the first. I hastily pretended to be stretching my neck, rubbing and tilting it up and down, exaggerating extra pain in the direction in which I'd been caught staring.
He didn't fall for it.
"Did you say 'Light Beings'?" he asked.
I nodded and swallowed hard.
At least he refrained from rolling his eyes as he entered it into the computer. Several pounds of the keyboard later, he gave a cheesed-off sigh and swung the monitor toward me. "Light Beings as in near-death, aliens, or ancient civilizations?"
Deciding I needed to appear educated in order to redeem myself, I replied, "Ancient civilizations. I'm doing a paper for my sociology class." My cheek twitched from the lie. Lying was not a skill in my repertoire — it typically backfired nine times out of ten.
He sized me up, obviously unconvinced by my fib, and clicked on "Ancient Civilizations." In punishment for my lie, what results do you think manifested on the monitor? New Age books, of course. A ton of books on crystals, astrology, astral projection, and the end of the world. He lifted one corner of his mouth in a sardonic smile. I flushed, unable to repress my embarrassment.
Pointing behind me, he said, "You see that super tall dude over there? That's the New Age section."
I zeroed in on the area he'd indicated. On the other side of the store stood an extremely tall guy wearing a gray knit beanie. And when I say tall, I do mean tall. The shelves in Barnes & Noble were about six feet high, and this man surpassed that by at least a foot, probably more. I couldn't make out his features because the book he was reading, which had a mystical glowing eye on the cover, concealed most of his face.
"Thanks," I said to my not so friendly sales rep — whom I mentally nicknamed Mr. Hairy Dipstick. Before I left, I dared to take one last peek at the petrified mop on his head — in case it had been only a trick of the light that had made it appear so utterly ridiculous.
Nope, it's just ridiculous.
As I made my way over to the New Age section, my eyes darted from one side of the store to the other, hoping no one was watching me. Why do I get embarrassed when it comes to aliens and UFOs? Probably because the media has an unspoken rule that anyone they interview about the phenomenon must:
1. Have been on a minimum of one episode of Jerry Springer;
2. Speak with such a thick southern dialect they require subtitles on screen;
3. Have a maximum of three teeth.
Even a casual mention of the word "aliens" among friends or family had them leering at me as if I'd joined a cult and was about to drink the Kool-Aid. Or at least, it did, until I got the idea to pretend I was doing research for a science fiction novel I was writing. Plus, as an added bonus, I could tell people I was an author and sound way cooler than I actually was.
Deliberately ambling, I took the long route to give the tall male beacon in the New Age aisle time to finish and vacate so I could have the section to myself. However, he didn't show any signs of budging, apparently too absorbed in his book. Intuition told me that tucked away behind that paperback was a hot guy, but I couldn't confirm that, because as I walked, he subtly moved the book to prevent me from glimpsing his features. Weird. That brought another one of my what if fantasies to the forefront: What if he puts his book down, and upon making eye contact, fireworks ignite and we fall madly in love?
That was way too normal of a what if for me. Mr. Hairy Dipstick had put me off my game. I had a better one. What if he puts his book down, and upon making eye contact, he shoots flaming cats from his eyes, burning down the store?
Yeah, that was more like it. Even though I'm an animal lover, cats rank the lowest on my list. I'd rather have a pet tick than a cat.
While enjoying the funny visual of cats shooting out of someone's eyeballs, another chill ran down my spine. What the hell was going on? To make matters worse, with each step that brought me closer to the New Age section, the tingles grew exponentially. By the time I got a couple rows away, my palms were sweating so bad that I had to wipe them on my pants, which left a visible wet mark behind. My god, I was a mess.
And that's when I got lightheaded. Great. I escaped to the next row over from Mr. New Age Dude, plunking my butt on a bench with my back to him. Perhaps I was getting sick. That must be the reason for these sudden symptoms.
In an attempt to distract myself from the threatening fainting spell, I picked up the magazine lying next to me — a deluxe issue of Cat Fancy. Karma for dreaming up cats on fire, no doubt. On the cover, one of those hairless feline atrocities glared at me, and the headline next to him read: "The Scoop on Poop." Yes, a pet tick would definitely be a superior companion. Flipping my what if scenario, I pictured flaming humans shooting from the cat's eyeballs. That made me giggle.
I tossed the feline periodical aside. It hit the bench and slid off. Of course. As I bent to pick it up, this overwhelming sensation that I was about to be attacked had me leaping up, doing a one-eighty, and then swinging my fists like some old-timey boxer, ready for a fight.
No one was there.
This is absurd.
I was in a bookstore — a very public bookstore.
Yet I still felt eyes on me.
Holding my breath, I listened for approaching footsteps. At first I only heard Muzak playing through the store's loudspeakers. But then a shrill mechanical hum clicked on in my head, drowning out the music. Soon it was so loud that I had to clap my hands over my ears.
Shit. Shit. Shit. I'm losing my freaking mind.
Between the buzzing in my ears and the pounding of my heart, I thought I might go crazy from all the noise. All I could do was pray that my mental breakdown could wait — at least until I exited Barnes & Noble.
Before I could move, a new sensation struck. Butterflies fluttered to life in my stomach — the kind you get when you're falling in love and you kiss your new boyfriend for the first time. Butterflies at Barnes & Noble? Maybe I was having a brain aneurysm. Then again, I doubted I would be capable of conceiving of lame what ifs if an artery had ballooned inside my cranium.
Finally, the loud buzzing faded — only to be replaced by an overmodulated metallic voice. "You must leave now," it screeched in my ear as if someone had shoved a megaphone directly on it.
"Oh my fucking god." I stumbled, lost my balance, and slammed into an end aisle display, which happened to hold an assortment of bobbleheads. Bobble Batman, Bobble Thor, and Bobble Trump all tumbled to the floor, wobbling their oversized noggins at me through their plastic boxes.
"Ignore the mess and exit the building," the tinny voice said, and this time I recognized it as a male voice. "Get in your car and drive away. Don't make eye contact with anyone."
Excerpted from "Holy Crap! The World is Ending!"
Copyright © 2017 Anna-Marie Abell.
Excerpted by permission of Alien Abduction Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 0: Hamburger Booby Traps, Rampaging Giraffes, and Toilet Wizards
Chapter 1: Salty Sticks of Heaven, a Hairy Dipstick, Flaming Cats, and Ecstasy-Inducing Abs
Chapter 2: Endorsing Obesity, Foot Fetishes, and Oddly Shaped Moles
Chapter 3: A Cow in a Swimsuit, Chugging Merlot, Suicidal Moths, and Wet Dreams
Chapter 4: Assless Chaps, Alaskan Yetis, Sexy Roadkill, and Exotic Mating Dances
Chapter 5: Glass-Eyed Gurus, a Genetically Engineered Slave Race, and Frankly, My Dear, I Do Give a Damn
Chapter 6: Alien Turn Signals, Darwin’s Facelift, Sexy Toes, and The Grilled Cheese Commandments
Chapter 7: Severed Arms, Birthday Suit Fridays, Tiny Wee-Wees, and a Burning Wheel of Lust
Chapter 8: Tweezers of Death and Levitating Kleenex
Chapter 9: Unicorn Kingdom, Foot-Sniffing Witches, and Exploding Souls
Chapter 10: S’mores of Death, Dolphin Shorts, and a Color-Blind Time-Traveling Retro-Trailer-Park Friend
Chapter 11: Ding Dong Survival Rafts, Beer Hats, and Pork Fests
Chapter 12: Alien Death Ray, Assholery, Gushing Glands, and Spewing Vomit Kisses
Chapter 13: A Thousand Packets of Gravy, Hairnets, Rabid Sample Hoarders, and The Lamest End-of-the-World Speech Ever
Chapter 14: Evil Crater Faces, Looting Samsungs, and Second Dates
Chapter 15: Knife-Throwing Thugs, Lawn Mower Mishap, the Worst Side Ache Ever, Followed by the Worst Heartburn Ever
Chapter 16: Sh**balls and Vortices of Death
Chapter 17: Returning from the Dead, Turkey Leg Undergarments, and Public Displays of Affection
Chapter 18: Lame Spaceship Design, Alien Boyfriends, and Teenybopper Magazines
Chapter 19: Resurrecting The Hair, Cheese Pizza Trees, Divine Sponges, and Telepathic Wet T-shirt Contests
Chapter 20: Torturous Bowling Balls, Electrical Fro, Erectile Dysfunction, and F**kface F**kers
Chapter 21: A Six-Pack Shocker, Homicidal Hairspray, and Boxer Whiplash
Chapter 22: Human Cockroaches, ’70s Porn Music, and Cussing Door Openers
Chapter 23: Poop-Inducing Wine, Million-Mile-High Club, and a Makeshift Toga
Chapter 24: Prophecy Nonsense, Hula-Dancing Trolls, and the Almighty Vessel of Love
Chapter 25: Floating Fortresses, Slinging Poo, Nefarious Nazi Aliens, and a Chippendales’ Convention
Chapter 26: Walk of Shame, Levitating Cows, Flying Under the Influence, and an Octopus Stowaway
Chapter 27: Blowup Monopod Elvis, Explosive Space Modulators, and an Acid-Filled Cactus
Chapter 28: Horrible Accents, Even Worse Accents, Superpower-Wielding Soulmates for Sale at Target, and More Terrible Accents
Chapter 29: Spaceship Drive-Through, Decapitated Gorillas, Alligator Snorting, and Ding Dong Domination
Chapter 30: Artificial Pastry Killers, Hot Russian Girls, Drunken Woes, and President Lincoln’s Butt Wedgie
Chapter 31: Granny Ninja Warriors, the Portal to Hell, and a Lewd Act in a Public Toilet
Chapter 32: Solid Diamond Grillz, Hairy Hiding Places, Poisonous Penis Darts, and a Gaseous Fire-Belching Bunny
Chapter 33: Raw Meat, a Rockin’ Chest, and Flipping on the Pain Switch
Chapter 32: A Scaly Sidekick, Alien Apps, and Stress-Releasing Squeegees
Part Two: A Little Sexy Time Before the End Time
About the Author