Monday, September 6, 2021

If The Light Escapes by Brenda Marie Smith


If The Light Escapes

by Brenda Marie Smith


GENRE: Sci-fi (post-apocalyptic)



A standalone sequel to IF DARKNESS TAKES US

A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid fourteen months ago. Everything’s gone: power, cars, running water, communications, all governing control and help—gone. Now northern lights have started in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with eighteen-year-old Keno Simms.

All that’s left for Keno, his family and neighbors is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat. Keno’s still reeling from the the death of his pregnant sister. His beloved Nana is ill, Grandpa’s always brandishing weapons, and water is far too scarce. Desperate thieves are hemming them in, yet he can’t convince his uncle and other adults to take action against the threat.

Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him at every turn, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. If he can’t protect Alma and their unborn child, it will be the end of Keno’s world.

IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.




Bright green lights stream and pulse across the northern sky all night now, growing from thin and wispy to bold and fat, expanding, contracting, sending out bands of yellow streamers like they’re partying on ecstasy at some cosmic rave. The lights are pretty, and they’re hypnotic, and they creep me out to the core.

Northern lights every night for two solid weeks in Texas. Halfway to the equator from where they belong. They’re supposed to be a phenomenon tied to the magnetic poles—it’s a scientific fact.

Nothing is right about this. The only explanation I can think of is that the north and south poles are shifting. I don’t know what that means for the planet and the future of its creatures. We don’t have TVs or talking-head scientists to tell us...

The universe just won’t stop f**king with us.

Today, I’m hoeing corn in our front yard, sweat stinging my eyes. It’s blistering hot out here—early December in what used to be high-tech Austin, until the … sun zapped us with an electromagnetic pulse and took our power, our cars, the damned running water. It stopped pretty much everything—everything modern, that is.

It’s been fourteen months, and all the front yards in our subdivision are mini-cornfields now. We grow beans and veggies in the backyards. It’s a desperate attempt to keep us alive when our food stockpiles run out. Don’t know if it will work, but I’m doing my damnedest to make sure it does.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Brenda Marie Smith lived off the grid for many years in a farming collective where her sons were delivered by midwives. She’s been a community activist, managed student housing co-ops, produced concerts to raise money for causes, done massive quantities of bookkeeping, and raised a small herd of teenage boys.

Brenda is attracted to stories where everyday characters transcend their own limitations to find their inner heroism. She and her husband reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin, Texas. They have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count.

Her first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller; If Darkness Takes Us and its sequel, If the Light Escapes, are post-apocalyptic science fiction.

Social Media:


Twitter: @bsmithnovelist





Buy links:

BookPeople Austin:



One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Interview! 

Can you describe your dream home?
I almost live in my dream home, except that it’s two-story with no downstairs bedrooms or showers. I am partly disabled, and the stairs are hard on me, even with the stairlift we have. If I could add a bedroom off the back of the house with a shower in it, I’d be set for life. Our house has room for my husband and I to each have our own offices. We have a nice master-bedroom, two guest bedrooms, and two sets of grid-connected solar panels to keep our power bills down. We’ve upgraded almost everything in the house and made it more energy efficient. The walls are so colorful, they keep us cheered up. We have a big backyard and a lovely covered patio with lots of room for our growing number of offspring to visit. And it’s a great house for parties. Now, if I could only find the money to build that extra room and pay off the mortgage.

If we were to come to your house for a meal, what would you give us to eat?
First, I would find out what you like to eat. If you like meat, I would feed you Texas barbecue, or enchiladas or tamales with queso and guacamole. If you like fish, I’d feed you something great from the local catfish restaurant. If you’re a vegan, I’d send my vegan son to buy an array of vegan salads and spreads. Since I’m disabled, I can’t cook for you, but I used to be a vegetarian caterer, and I could teach you how to make a few dozen different delicious dishes with tofu. If my husband had time, he could make you some killer-good Cajun-style gumbo. And we make great Thanksgiving feasts for vegans and meat-eaters alike.

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.
You know, I don’t think I’ve ever received an actual fan letter. But I have received a lot of lovely messages and emails saying things like, “I couldn’t put this book down.” Or, “Best book I’ve read in years.” And then there was this:

The scenario, the complete shutting down of the entire electrical matrix, was written with chilling conviction. It has become a part of my own perceptions of daily reality, kind of a "what if" parallel life to my own. The news that PG&E decided today to shut down for an unpredictable amount of time gives this premise kind of a grim prescience…

Smith's characters are deeply three-dimensional, each with an agenda and a set of issues that are stories in themselves. They enable and carom off each other so effectively as the days pass and the plots thicken that when I had to close the book at the end, I felt like I had to be careful not to squish them. I miss them. They live in my head like the others I miss.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
Paris and Amsterdam, not that I have any story ideas for those places, but I’ve always wanted to go. If the publisher is a stickler and I have to do book research, I’d go to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, then to Guadalajara, Mexico to travel the route from there to the Texas-Mexico border, then to the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.

Who designed the book cover for the book you are touring?
Olivia Hammerman (nee Croom), who also did the cover for the first book in this series, If Darkness Takes Us. She is mega-talented and has won awards for her book covers. I’m very fortunate to have her for mine.

Thank you for being on my blog, and best wishes for your book tour!!


  1. Thank you so much for having me here today and for featuring my book. I hope you, your readers, and I will get a chance to chat. Thanks again!

  2. Thanks for sharing an excerpt! Will I need tissues while reading the story?

    1. People tell me that they do. One friend went thru a whole box of tissues. Even I cry at certain parts still, after reading them dozens of times. Good luck!

  3. I love the author interview, these are not the usual responses, and has me thinking wow this book must be really good!!!

  4. The book sounds very interesting. Love the cover!


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