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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Release Week Blitz- THE GLOW by @Leoxwrite With An Excerpt & #Giveaway! @AureliaLeoCo, & @RockstarBkTours

I am so excited that THE GLOW by Leo X. Robertson & Aurelia Leo is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a finished copy of the book courtesy of Aurelia Leo & Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, check out the giveaway info below.

About The Book:


Author: Leo X. Robertson

Pub. Date: October 11, 2022

Publisher: Aurelia Leo

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 100

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Bookshop.org

When Lily loses her job, she also loses the last thing that kept her from heading to Southend-on-Sea, in search of her estranged sister, whom she suspects has joined a dangerous new cult.

The Glow are so named for their bioluminescent plastic island, which floats in the North Sea. In a near future rife with plastic pollution, they have no shortage of material to keep their island growing. It's rumored that the inhabitants draw power from an asteroid that once landed there-but anyone who has ever gone in search of answers has disappeared.

Will Lily make it to the island and find her sister? If so, will she make it back out alive?




I left Southend Central Station, instantly greeted by the visual equivalent of “What the hell were you thinking coming here, Lily?”

More than half the people in the crowd before me wore a t-shirt and white jeans, goose pimples from the harsh wind erupting across their arms.


On their t-shirts was a pink symbol like a stubby-fingered hand with a circle for a palm. It was the shape of the Glow’s island, the mass of reconstituted plastic in the North Sea, downstream the Thames estuary, where their nefarious leaders resided. Here on land, Glowfolk walked twice as fast as anyone else, with open-mouthed grins and eyes that stared straight forward.

I looked up, determined not to meet anyone’s gaze. Decaying boards covered up the building fronts before me, aimless sprays of graffiti coating the wood. Paper blew through the streets like fallen blossoms. I watched as they gathered in corners and gutters and got mashed into the pavement. Some pieces stopped at my feet. Miniature joker cards.

As I took all this in, a Glow member accosted me. Rail-thin, clothes hanging off him, blond hair stuck to his wide forehead.

“Welcome.” He spoke in a calculatedly soothing voice and tugged on my sleeve.

I met his eyes. The irises were so dark that they blended with the pupils. Two big wet empty holes. No one home.

“No!” someone screamed.

Behind me, a frailer male Glow member had approached a woman who’d just gotten off the train. They wrestled over the bag. She eventually yanked it back from the man and walked briskly away.

Why don’t I have the same intuitive resources?

I gripped my own suitcase tighter and held it close to my chest, a barrier between me and this weird world.

The guy in front of me grabbed my hand, prying the fingers from the suitcase handle and shaking it. His hand was freezing. “You’re home now, I hope!”

“Do I know you?” I jerked my hand away and dug the nails into my palm to focus myself. I looked down at my chipped pink nail polish.

“Is this your only bag?” he asked.

“Please don’t touch my—”

“Oh it’s no trouble. I’ll get it for you.” Before I could say anything, he picked it up. “So where am I taking you?” He pointed a thumb over his shoulder. “We’ll shoot on up to the compound. Why wouldn’t we? Free accommodation, plenty of space for you. Don’t need to bother with the hotels around here.”

“But I’m already staying at the—” Don’t tell him. “I’ve made my own arrangements. Thank you.”

He placed a hand to one side of his mouth. “The hotels around here aren’t that great!” He laughed, winked and winged out an elbow like I was supposed to latch onto him. “Come on, then. Let’s go.”

“Hey!” A large policewoman approached and grabbed him by the shoulder.

He shrugged her off and placed a hand where she’d touched him. “Ouch!”

Half a dozen other Glowfolk filtered out the crowd and surrounded the policewoman. They connected in a circle around her, arms pressed up against one another, and they guided her away while chanting “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

She shouted to me, “Don’t go with him!” then got on her radio, calling for backup.

The police were clearly outnumbered here.

I picked up my suitcase and ran in the opposite direction from the shame circle, the unexpected exercise of it making my head pulse achingly.

The dead-eyed man called to me, but I turned a corner onto the main street.

“We lost her, thanks to you!” I heard the man say, in a darker voice than before.

* * *

Mum had taken me and my sister Joanna here on holiday when we were teens. At that age, we’d been more interested in heading to London. In the evening, when the day’s gallivant to the aquarium or stroll down the pier had tired Mum out, and she wanted to retire to the B&B and read her book, Joanna and I would take the train to the city and head out to clubs in Shoreditch. We spent our summers sleeping in bus stations, changing in toilets on the train, and using lockers at the stations to store our overnight kits.

This Southend-on-Sea wasn’t the same place that we’d sobered up in at six a.m., cooling off our hangovers on the beach with free ice cream obtained by flirting with that summer’s awkward teen vendor.

The street I turned onto was packed. Vagrants walked by in bulky stained jackets that reeked of alcohol and old cigarette smoke, talking to themselves. On their backs were sleeping bags tied with twine and stained hiking rucksacks. They were old beyond their years in the face: craggy skin, missing teeth. Some carted around trolleys full of plastic, likely heading to a recycling center. That was a common “living” here. The Glow’s own efforts in this arena were why no one bothered them for the longest time.

Once again, most shop fronts were boarded up. Those that remained—cafés, hairdressers, clothes shops—all had white signs with pink letters on them.

Posters coated the windows of closed-down bars and chip shops. They advertised “Workshops with the Advanced Efficacy Group” and “Self-Actualization Solutions.” The Glow had many more of these “businesses”, each a component of one whole that denied its connection with the other parts, allowing their organization to shapeshift like an amoeba, retracting some parts and growing others to evade toxic blame.

A torn image of Gabriel Brooks advertised acting classes with Excalibur School. I liked him, how he’d kept doing indie films even as his career picked up. He’d remained an Authentic, hadn’t sold his likeness to any of the major studios, who were likely clamoring to digitally insert him into just about anything. He was one of the remaining few whose appearance in a film was a sign of its quality.

And he’d gone missing months ago.

I shuddered, but not for the cold. My whole body urged me to get out of here, but I had nowhere better to be.

I found my hotel, waited for a gap in the stream of people walking past, and headed inside.

The check-in desk was an empty steel booth with a bunch of grubby touchscreens around the wall. I went to one and tapped in all my details. A smiling cartoon female welcomed me but warned me that they had methods of detecting “overnight guests.”

My room was nondescript and beige: bed, mirror, cupboard, desk, iron, kettle with cups and drink sachets. I searched the cupboards for a minibar, disappointed to find nothing more exciting than a fridge with two small water bottles inside.

I flopped down on the bed. The trip here, and my instant encounter with the Glow upon arrival, had exhausted me. I soon fell asleep in my clothes.

* * *

The Glow got our attention when a meteorite landed on their island.

There’s footage of it, a rainbow streak in the night sky, a flash of white light like burning magnesium landing on that jagged, painful-looking mass of plastic.

As far as anyone could tell, the island didn’t melt, nor did the meteorite drop through its base. Why not? Wasn’t the island plastic after all?

Rookie journalists flew their drones out to the island—but marksmen, standing atop the island’s plastic towers, slung the drones into the sea with fishing rods.

Truthers set up blogs of blurry GIFs that noted angles of approach, terminal velocities, tenuous connections between apparent shapes and the usual suspect shadow organizations.

In my less proud evenings—subdued by the mash of kratom leaves lodged in my cheek—I’d spend hours browsing these sites, gleaning and collating anything remotely resembling evidence. Whenever I did understand what the bloggers were talking about, I could tell it was wrong.

But it resonated with me all the same. I was on their weirdo wavelength. The intent of their sites amused me more than the content. I asked the same questions that fueled their misguided curiosities. The idea that everything I saw was the extent of reality was far more terrible than any truther’s proposal, no matter how outlandish. How reassuring it would be to discover at least that yes, there are secrets, even if I’d never know what they were.

I remained skeptical, but conspiracy theorists kept convincing themselves that some alien intelligence had selected the Glow to be the vanguard of its cosmic secrets.

The island appeared on the news each night. A floating neon Kraken, lit up by a “bioluminescent phytoplankton lighting system.” Gentle pinks and purples that pulsed like an engorged, extra-terrestrial heart.

Something had landed there and changed everything. But the Glow would never let us know what it was.

I so badly wished this was nothing more than curious office banter for me, that I could pontificate on theories with pure objectivity. But Joanna was gone, and I had reason to suspect she was on the island, dining on Venusian grapes, banging on an octopus-skin tambourine and praying to Cthulhu.

Tomorrow, I’d go there and find out if she was.

Copyright © 2022 by Leo X. Robertson


About Leo X. Robertson:

Leo X. Robertson grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, met his husband in Gijon, Spain, and eventually moved to Stavanger, Norway, where he works as a process engineer, writes fiction, and makes short films with the Stavanger Filmmakers Club. An author of unclassifiable fiction that tends towards the dark and speculative, he has short stories published by Helios Quarterly, Flame Tree Publishing, and Pulp Literature, as well as novellas published by Unnerving and Nihilism Revised. On his podcast, Losing the Plot, in association with Aphotic Realm magazine, he interviews other authors about anything and everything (hence the show's title.)

He appears to be at work on numerous novels, short stories, and short film scripts. Also, he loves his sister dearly and, if necessary, would easily take a boat out to a plastic island and feign interest in joining a cult for her. 

To find out more, follow him on Twitter @Leoxwrite or check out his website at leoxrobertson.wordpress.com 

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Giveaway Details:

1 Winner will receive a finished copy of THE GLOW, US Only.

Ends October 25th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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