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Hell Holes Series by Donald Firesmith - Book Tour + Giveaway

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Hell Holes: What Lurks Below
by Donald Firesmith
Genre:
Apocalyptic, SciFi, Modern Paranormal

166 pages

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the
new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear
overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack
receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to
investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their
graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets
Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist,
talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in
the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect
them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk
of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells
and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger
lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s
unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…



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My phone rang. Angie paused so that I could take the call. It was from Kevin Kowalski, an ExxonMobil manager for whom I’d occasionally worked as a consultant.
“Dr. Oswald,” he said when I answered. “Thank God, I got you. We have a big problem, and I need you up here right away.”
“What kind of a problem?” I asked, putting him on speakerphone so the others could hear. “Classes are about to start and I need to…”
“Forget the classes,” Kowalski interrupted. “We have a disaster in the making up here. You know those huge holes that opened last year in northern Siberia?”
“Sure,” I replied. “They’re probably just big sinkholes caused by the melting of subsurface ice or the melting of very large pingos.”
“Huh? What’s a pingo?” Kowalski asked. To Kowalski, surface features were merely something that made life difficult when drilling wells and piping oil.
“Pingos,” I replied, “are large conical hills of ice covered with a relatively thin layer of dirt. Anyway, what about the sinkholes? Are you telling me we’ve got one up on the North Slope?”
“Damned straight,” Kowalski answered angrily. “In the last twenty-four hours, we’ve spotted over two dozen, and several have opened up near our oil wells. There’s one close to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline down near Pump Station 2, and I don’t have to tell you the hell there’ll be to pay if another one opens up under the pipeline. We’re facing a financial and environmental disaster, and I need you up in Deadhorse ASAP. How soon can you put a team together? We need to know what’s causing them and how likely it is that one will open under our facilities.”

 After seconds that seemed to stretch into eternity, the cigarette butt tumbled past Mark and eventually reached the depth where the concentration of methane and hydrogen sulfide reached explosive levels.
There was a deafening whoosh, and a huge fireball the size of the hole erupted from the pit. Luckily, the blast from the explosion blew us backwards, away from the hole. That was the only thing that saved us from the intense heat radiating from the colossal swirling ball of fire and smoke that had roared from the crater. It felt like I was standing next to a hundred heat lamps, and I heard the sizzling sound of my hair and beard beginning to burn on the side of my head that faced the flames. Turning my back to the hole, I immediately used my hands to extinguish my burning hair before it could seriously burn me. Disgusted by the stench of a mixture of burnt hair and rotten eggs, I picked myself up and looked back towards the hole. Above us, a huge pillar of smoke rose like the ash cloud of an erupting volcano. Looking back down, we saw the burning nylon rope continue to rise until its end slipped over the edge of the hole. Only a little of Mark’s smoldering body harness was still attached to its end.
“No!” We heard Jill’s horror-filled scream coming loudly over our walkie-talkies, followed less than a second later when her anguished cry reached us from across the pit. I could just make out Jill’s wavering form through the turbulent superheated air rising up between us as she raced back around the hole.
I looked over to where Kowalski was standing, staring in disbelief at the fiery pit his thoughtlessness had created. I was beyond furious. The next thing I knew, I had him by the jacket and was screaming in his face, “You Goddamned careless son of a bitch! Weren’t you listening? Didn’t you hear me say there was hydrogen sulfide in the pit?”
“Buh, buh, but…” he stammered as he tried to back away from me.
Without realizing it, I was slowly backing him up to the hole. I might have backed him over the edge had Bill not forced himself between us. “That’s enough!” he commanded.
Suddenly, I realized what I was doing and let go. It was clear from his expression that he’d had no idea that the gasses in the bottom of the hole were flammable, let alone sufficiently concentrated to be explosive.
My fiery rage died as I turned my anger inward. Kowalski hadn’t killed Mark. I had. I was in charge and responsible for the lives of my team. I should have spotted the danger sooner. Mark was my student, so I should have sent him up first. Worst of all, I had seen Kowalski smoking next to the hole and done nothing. I turned my back on the hole and wearily walked away across the empty tundra.




Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton
218 pages

When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appeared overnight inthe frozen
tundra north of the Arctic Circle, geologist Jack Oswald picked
Angele Menendez, his climatologist wife, to determine if the record
temperatures due to climate change was the cause. But the holes were
not natural. They were unnatural portals for an invading army of
demons. Together with Aileen O'Shannon, a 1,400-year-old sorceress
demon-hunter, the three survivors of the research team sent to study
the holes had only one chance: to flee down the dangerous Dalton
Highway towards the relative safety of Fairbanks. However, the
advancing horde of devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles will stop
at nothing to prevent their prey from escaping. It is a 350-mile race
with simple rules. Win and live; lose and die...





A computer geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software
engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex
software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven
technical books, written numerous software- and system-related
articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can
possibly remember. He is also proud to have been named a
Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery,
although his pride is tempered somewhat worrying whether the term
“distinguished” makes him sound more like a graybeard academic
rather than an active engineer whose beard is still more red than gray.


By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal
fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and
relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and
mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical
Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick
Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his
wife Becky, his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.




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