IAM Excerpt…Waiting for the Storm

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our featured author today is Marie Landry and we’re excited to be showcasing an excerpt from her latest novel Waiting for the Storm. Marie has featured with us on Aside From Writing several times since she released her debut novel in early 2012, and she is a firm favourite 🙂 

Waiting for the Storm

~Meet the Family~
From WAITING FOR THE STORM by Marie Landry

I asked him to start the water for the pasta while I assembled the salad. We’d made enough food to feed about half a dozen people, even though I wasn’t sure anyone else would be joining us.

As if on cue, Ella entered the kitchen and froze when she saw Ezra standing at the stove. Her eyes roved over him from head to toe, and a wolfish smile overtook her face.

“Hi there,” she said, sashaying further into the kitchen and stopping a few feet from Ezra. She struck what I’m sure she thought was a sexy pose, with her hand on her hip. “Who’s this?”

I was ridiculously pleased to see that Ezra didn’t look impressed by Ella. I figured that said a lot, considering my sister was wearing about the shortest dress I’d ever seen, baring an almost indecent amount of perfectly tanned skin.

“This is Ezra,” I said when he didn’t answer right away. “Ezra, this is my sister El…Gabriella.”

“Ezra,” she said slowly, eyeing him like he was a big piece of man candy. “What a cool name. Where’d you get it?”

“I’ve always had it,” he said, and I couldn’t help the snicker that rose to my lips.

Ella shot me a nasty look, her sexy smile fading. “A funny one,” she said, turning back to Ezra. “I like that.”

Ezra smiled, but it wasn’t one of the knock-your-socks off smiles he’d been giving me all day. I’d seen guys give girls that smile—the kind that didn’t reach their eyes—when they were giving them the brush off.

“Ezra’s staying for dinner,” I told Ella. “It should be ready in about ten minutes.”

“Oh, what a shame,” Ella said, looking at Ezra as if he was the one who’d spoken. “I’d love to stay but I already made plans with Caroline from next door.”

“That’s too bad,” Ezra said, shooting me a surreptitious look of relief.

Ella must have seen the look that passed between us because her expression turned sour. She covered it quickly, and said to me, “It’s so good to see you making friends, Charlotte.” Her tone was sweet, and she spoke slowly, as if she were talking to a very small child. “It’s not healthy for you to spend so much time alone. I worry about you, you know.”

She brushed past me, patting my shoulder and sending a dazzling smile in Ezra’s direction. “You kids have fun. Don’t wait up!”

I turned quickly toward the stove, stirring the sauce with new vigor as I tried to avoid looking at Ezra.

“What a bitch,” he muttered.

I looked over at him and almost laughed when I saw that he’d clapped a hand over his mouth.

“I’m sorry,” he said quickly. “That was so inappropriate. She’s your sister, and…”

“She is a bitch,” I agreed, surprised to hear the words coming from my mouth. I’d thought them often enough over the last few months, but I’d never said them out loud.

Ezra looked relieved, and when he smiled it was one of those genuine knock-your-socks-off smiles that made my heart stutter. “I’ve never understood why people feel it’s necessary to cut others down in order to make themselves feel better,” he said. “But especially when it comes to family. I…I heard what she said last night. On the beach. I couldn’t see your face, but I knew you heard her, too.”

I sighed. I’d been hoping he hadn’t heard what Ella said to that guy. And yet, it didn’t seem to change the way Ezra felt about me. He’d still talked to me today, and he was still here now.

“She just…” I shrugged, uncertain how to explain the odd relationship between Ella and me. “I don’t even know anymore. We used to be close when we were younger. Things just got messed up somewhere along the way.”

Ezra nodded. “I can understand that,” he said quietly.

His expression was so earnest I wanted to pour my heart out to him and tell him everything that was on my mind—my mom’s illness, how my dad was acting so strange, my sister’s resentment toward me, my fears and insecurities and uncertainty over my own future.

But then I remembered that we’d only just met, and you didn’t dump all your crap on someone you’d just met. I had no idea if he was just being nice to me, as the new girl in town who happened to be the daughter of his mother’s childhood best friend, or if he was interested in being friends…or dare I even consider something more?

Either way, I wasn’t going to unload on him until I was sure.

We finished making dinner, and I got out three pasta dishes. I was about to go in search of Dad when he peeked his head into the kitchen.

“Oh, Charlotte. And…Ezra, is it?”

“Yes, sir,” Ezra said.

“I thought I heard voices. And smelled…” He looked toward the stovetop and I suddenly remembered that alfredo had been one of Mom’s specialties. She’d taught me how to make it before she got sick, and it was one of Dad’s favourites.

“We were just about to eat,” I told him. “Why don’t you join us?”

He shook his head slowly. “I’m not hungry.” He looked exhausted, even though I knew he spent a lot of time sleeping lately. Or maybe he was pretending to sleep so he wouldn’t have to deal with Ella and me, or the rest of the world. “I’ll eat later. I’m just working in my room if you need me.”

“Okay, Dad,” I said, feeling slightly deflated. I thought maybe having Ezra there would have made a difference; that Dad would make more of an effort with someone else around. Clearly I was wrong.

Dad looked between us, nodding his head absently. He gave an equally absent smile and headed back to his bedroom.

“Well…” I said after I’d heard Dad’s door click shut. “That’s my family.” My voice wavered a little on the last word, and I turned away.

“Hey.” Ezra laid his hands lightly on my shoulders. “It’s okay.”

It wasn’t, but the way he said it almost made me believe it was true. He gently turned me around so I was facing him. With him standing so close, I realized how big he was—tall, broad, and muscular. He had to be at least six feet tall, and he ducked down slightly so we were eye to eye.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes…no. I don’t know. Things are just so…” I let out a noise of frustration, unable to voice all the thoughts swirling through my mind. “The way my dad was just now—that’s how he’s been since before my mom even died. It’s gotten worse in the last week, though. He hardly speaks to me, he barely eats, he sleeps a lot, he’s just…he’s here, but not here. He’s just sort of…checked out, you know?”

Ezra’s eyes darkened, and he nodded. “I do know.” I waited for him to say more, but once again, he didn’t elaborate.

“I just wish I could have some normalcy,” I said.

“Well, I can’t promise you normal,” Ezra said with a crooked smile, “but I can try to make sure you have some fun this summer. Does that sound like a good compromise?”

I blew out a long breath that ended on a light laugh. “Yeah. That does sound like a good compromise. Thank you, Ezra.” Since his hands were already on my shoulders, I impulsively closed the small gap between us and hugged him.

He stiffened for a moment, and I automatically started to pull back, feeling my cheeks flush with embarrassment. He drew me back, keeping his arms loose around me, but it didn’t escape my attention that our bodies fit perfectly together.

“Charlotte?” he whispered, his breath tickling my ear.

“Yeah?”

“Can we eat now? I’m starving.”

I shoved him away, glad the moment hadn’t had a chance to turn awkward. After being introduced to my crazy life, the least I could do was feed him.

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Marie’s novel Blue Sky Days is also out now!

Would you like to know more? Check out the links! 

Debut novel, Blue Sky Days, available now on Amazon and Smashwords
Blog: Ramblings of a Daydreamer Author blog: Marie Landry, Author
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IAM Guest Post…Why I Write Indie

Guest Feature

We’re now heading into the final stretch of Indie Author Month – IAM2013. Today, we’re welcoming back author Michael Cargill to the blog; some of you will know the name from previous reviews of his books Underneath, Shades of Grey and our forthcoming review of Jake. Michael featured in our first Indie event in 2012  and being an all-round nice chap, we were very happy to invite him back to join us again this year. Enough from me – let’s find out what Michael has to say on the subject of Indie writing. 

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Why I Write Indie, by Michael Cargill

Ah, what a question.  Well, it’s not really a question I don’t think – but when the Aside from Writing peeps sent me a list of things to talk about, this particular option had a question mark at the end of it.

For the moment, let’s assume that the lovely ladies at Aside are correct in everything that they do, and it is actually a question.  Let’s imagine that I’m sat in a coffee shop and Lady Aside is thrusting a pencil up my nostril, demanding an answer to a question that has been bugging her for years.

“Michael Cargill, why do you write indie?  You must tell me before 1st May, otherwise WordPress are shutting me down.”

To be honest, it’s something of an odd question to ask.  It’s a bit like asking me why I get up at six o clock each morning and go to work.  Ultimately it’s because I have to do it, rather than because I have a burning desire to purposefully do things the hard way.  That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy it, because I do (enjoy writing, that is.  Getting up for work is a complete arse), but believe me when I say that it’s not all romance and unlimited goblets of wine.

It’s probably easier to talk about the positive sides of being an indie writer.  First up: I’m my own boss, which means I can do whatever I want (unless I’m at work).  There’s no deadlines for me to concern myself with.  I don’t have a legion of editors, agents, and grape-peelers harassing me about upcoming milestones that need to be hit.  In fact, editors are probably the worst out of that lot.  They smell, they want to shove pencils up your nose, and they never seem to stop talking about apostrophes and continuity errors.

And quite frankly, who the hell needs any of that?  I’m a creative (well, unless I’m at work), yeah?  I need my space, I need to sit down and experience time as it slips through my fingers.  It’s no good shackling me down with all your talk of calendar appointments and contracts.  That’s for Nazis (well, unless it’s me who organised a meeting to discuss a pay rise at work).

Another nifty little thing about being an indie writer is how close you can be to your readers.  Yes, all three of them.

Goodreads is where most of my interaction with readers goes on.  It’s a nifty little place where friends and foes can be made in a matter of minutes (such is life on the Internet), and it’s something of a thrill when someone sends me a message to say how much they enjoyed one of my books.  In fact, even Lady Aside herself went to the trouble of sending me a message by Twitter about one of my books.  I didn’t reply immediately, as I was on the toilet playing Angry Birds at the time, but hey!  That’s just another example of why being an indie writer can be so good – I’m doing my own thing, in my own time.  Does Stephen King have that kind of luxury?  Of course he doesn’t.  He has publicists doing it all for him and no doubt they badger him at all times of the day:

“Ooooh, Steve, what’s your favourite colour?  Amazon want to know.”

“Ooooh, Steve, do you like quail’s eggs?  The Queen is putting together next week’s breakfast menu at Buckingham Palace.”

God, can you imagine it?  What an utter pain in the backside life as a fully-fledged millionaire writer must be.  No doubt he’s got a Dyson Airblade up in his bathroom, but he never gets a chance to play around with it.

So, er, yeah.  Indie writing, then.  It’s good, it’s fun, and it offers a chance of being able to live the writer’s dream.  Every day that I trudge into work, there’s a little ray of hope reminding me that it might just be the very last time I have to do it.

I won’t be giving it up any time soon.

(Note from Lady Aside – Michael is correct, our heading list was not correctly phrased as a question. The person responsible for this administrative error is being suitably punished: they have to locate all the incorrectly positioned apostrophes in every take away and cafe menu in the UK…they may not be back for a long time.)

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Want to know more about Michael? Check out his links!

Blog – http://michaelcargill.wordpress.com/

Twitter – @MichaelCargill1   Facebook

The Books…

Author Page on Goodreads

 Trailer for Underneath  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUBrxs38Dkc

Smashwords

UK Amazon

IAM Guest Post…What Do Teens Look For in a Book?

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Reading is a central part to so many people’s lives. The gift of reading has positively impacted everyone who has learned to enjoy and value this marvelous treasure. I know from personal experience that books offer a refuge from the cares of the world. I have also discovered that books nourish the imagination and help dreams to flourish.

When I asked my American Literature professor, who used to teach elementary school, if he noticed any difference between students who read for fun and students who did not, he immediately replied that he noticed a very great difference. He said that children who could sit down with a book and read for hours at a time were generally more disciplined than those who never made themselves finish one. He also said that students who read are better at concentrating in school. In short, reading improves students’ abilities in school.

But what about the benefits that appeal to a person’s sense of enjoyment – such as, can reading be fun? Since my books are aimed mostly at preteens and early teens, I sent a three-question survey to a fifth grade class to see what they thought of reading. Most of these children are ten to eleven years old. I also sent the same survey to two college friends of mine who both plan to teach English when they graduate.

On the survey, I first asked them to name the three most important things they look for in a good book. Few of the fifth graders could contain their answer to merely three things; most of them mentioned four or five elements. One young lady said that she preferred the kind of books that are so intense they cannot be put down and have to be finished in one day. Another young lady agreed with her that a good book “makes you not want to stop reading.”

Some listed elements they looked for in the content of the book, and to no surprise of mine, action and adventure were the most popular. One girl listed six items she enjoyed in a book, and four of them were connected to battles. A young man agreed that fighting and action make a book exciting. A second young man also had a list of elements that made a good story, with action and adventure topping the list.

The college students who answered this question were more critical, but their answers were a little more varied. One focused almost entirely on the story, saying the narrative had to be creative, comprehensible, and thought-provoking. The other required good mechanics, “because bad mechanics are distracting.”

My second question asked them to remember a book they had read that had a particular impact on their life. I was amazed that so many of the fifth graders could recall the first book they read that made reading enjoyable. One young man mentioned reading The Boxcar Children in school and finding an entire series that he wanted to read. A young lady mentioned a series that convinced her to read more because it contained humor and action; another girl mentioned Go, Dogs, Go, which she read many times. Another gentleman remembered the first book he ever read – about a hedgehog and a swimming pool. Someone else mentioned reading Treasure Island. That was amazing to me, because I did not read Treasure Island until I was a freshman in high school – but then, maybe I was a unique case.

Others name books that taught them values. One girl described a book that taught her never to give up on her dreams. Someone else recalled a book that taught about love and self-control. Some others enjoy a more technical education from books. A young man said he liked nonfiction books regarding animals, because then he learns new things. Still others enjoyed books about action and adventure. One mentioned the Magic Tree House series, while someone else values fantasy books in general.

Another common answer – which I can most easily relate too – were those who mentioned books that swept them away to other worlds. One girl named the series The 39 Clues, saying it took her around the world by making her imagination “go wild.” A young man mentioned Shark Wars, which takes him into the ocean. In my experience, I always find that books that create their own world are the most fun to read.

The two college students told me about books that helped them understand stories better. One said that while there were many books dear to her, The Silmarillion showed her how to appreciate the effort that goes into writing. The other mentioned a book called Orcs, by Stan Nicholls, that showed him how important the perspective is to the story.

My third question asked how life might be different without books. The answers were generally curt, to the point, and horrified, from both the college students and the fifth graders. Several fifth graders mentioned a lack of learning, and how spelling and grammar would be so much harder. One girl said life would be harder because “you would be wrecking your brains by watching T.V. All day.” Several others mentioned not knowing what to do for free time. A young man claimed there would be no interest in anything without books. A young lady said life would have no meaning and there could be no happiness without books. Another girl said if there were no books, “I would have invented books so I could read them.”

For the college students, these questions had the longest answers. One could not imagine life without reading. She supposed life would be fairly normal but completely different; she also supposed that a lack of books might make her less thoughtful and more superficial. The other said he would be bored and “Plane rides would be unbearable.” He also mentioned that he would not have the insights into other people that he gained through reading. In my own experience, I know that reading expanded my world, and it absolutely increased my understanding of people. Characters in books often reveal thoughts, emotions, and fears that people in real life never let show.

I also know that without books, I could never do what I love best, which is write stories. Another fifth grader agreed with me when she said “If there were no books in my life … I would never have a dream about being an author.” I and thousands of other authors are completely beholden to books, but we aren’t the only ones. Out of all the fifth graders who answered my survey, only one expressed a wish to become an author. I also noticed that none of them had anything bad to say about the impact of books in their lives. Books are a wonderful, positive influence on everyone – not just authors.

My Photo

Marta Stahfeld is nineteen and going to college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. She hopes to be a teacher one day. Aside from college, where she is working on a History/Literature double major, she is writing book three in the Darkwoods series, as well as a series of short stories about the characters from the series.

Blog: http://martastahlfeld.blogspot.com/

Website: http://www.darkwoodsbooks.com/index.html

Darkwoods_Front_Cover

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IAM Interview…with author David Normoyle

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

David Normoyle is today’s featured author – and he’s bravely faced our first ever ‘This or That’ interview – want to know more? Then read on! 🙂 

David was born in Australia, but moved to Ireland at an early age. The early globe crossing must have gone to his head, as he has since backpacked through and lived in numerous countries. He grew up on a farm as the eldest of nine unruly siblings, but since his escape, he prefers city living. His electronic engineering degree is currently gathering dust while he tries new and strange pursuits such as novel writing.

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davidjnormoylePirates or Zombies?

I’m gonna go for pirates here. Never had much love for zombies or zombie movies. Didn’t have much of an opinion on pirates until the inimitable Captain Jack Sparrow came along. He elevated pirates to a whole new level.

Hero or Villain?

I’m going to cheat a little on this question and choose the dividing line between hero and villain. Some of my favorite characters are those who skate that dividing line. Great examples include Tony Soprano, Al Swearengen from Deadwood, Vick Mackey from The Shield, Michael Corleone from The Godfather movies. And practically the whole cast of Game of Thrones.

Good Book or Good Film?

Although I quoted mainly TV characters above, books are always my first love. I like to read a book before watching a movie, better to for the book knowledge to spoil the movie than vice versa. I have a small select list of cases where the film is better than the book (including The Godfather, Schlinder’s List and Silence of the Lambs) but they are the exception that prove the rule.

 Beach or Backpack?

Backpack all the way. I get bored on beaches rather quickly and I have had some great times backpacking. You are always meeting new people and exploring wonderful places.

James Bond or Jason Bourne?

I like Bond and all, but Bourne is the winner here. Bond is a one note character in many ways, where as Bourne is much more interesting while being just as much as a bad ass. Plus I fell in love with Bourne via the books, whereas I’ve just seen Bond on the screen (see Book or Film section.)

 Twilight or The Hunger Games?

Ok, this is the easiest question of the lot. I’m a big Hunger Games fan. The concept for my novel drew inspiration from Hunger Games among other sources. On the other hand, the internet seems to love making jokes about Twilight, and I laugh at those jokes (does that make me a bad person?) So yeah, Hunger Games in a landslide.

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The_Narrowing_Path  

  Only the strongest, smartest and most ruthless will survive.

Every six years, the world draws nearer to the sun. In Arcandis, those who want to live must claim the limited places in the Refuge, a series of underground caverns cooled by the sea.

The teenage boys of noble birth are sent out into the city to demonstrate their wits and strength. Some prove themselves in combat, others display their empire building skills, still others attempt to kill off their rivals. Out of over a hundred, only six will be selected by the leaders of the great families and allowed a place in the Refuge. The rest will perish, one way or another.

Not only is thirteen-year-old Bowe younger and weaker than most of the other boys, he has no family to support him. He is expected to die on the very first day of the narrowing path. Instead he begins a journey no one could have anticipated.

IAM Excerpt…Bad Monsters

Bad Monsters Cover (finished)-1As promised – here’s Clinton Harding’s second feature of the week – an excerpt from his latest book Bad Monsters. Enjoy!

CHAPTER ONE

Glass crunched underneath the soles General Mauser’s high polished boots. The sound gave him pause and he fought the urge to grind his teeth with each additional step.

Four teenagers… four children managed to move through a heavily fortified military base with so much ease?!

Shards of glass lay scattered about the circular room. Above him, a breach the size of a small adult human punctuated the steel framing of the domed ceiling, the metal bent inward, the glass panes gone. The sound of groaning metal and breaking glass tore at the general’s mind, a dull razor against paper.

How many internal hybrid attacks had Carpenter endured in the last few years? Uncountable. That is the hazard of working with beasts, with monsters. You don’t walk into a minefield and expect not to step on at least one land mine. In the past each monster incident had ended with the escaped hybrids sedated, the threat neutralized and contained. Minimal paperwork required. This time… a handful of soldiers lay in the infirmary and security found three high-ranking officers handcuffed to a pipe underneath a sink.

Embarrassing.

Children had fought and subdued Mauser’s soldiers, had handcuffed his lead scientist, his head of security, and a captain. Not hybrids but children. There would be a hand-cramping amount of paperwork to fill out in order to explain this mess… Mauser would not subject his hands to that ache, his incompetent subordinates would.

Embarrassing.

At least no other hybrid managed to escape its bonds, except the four.

Mauser forced himself to stop grinding his teeth. He took in a deep breath and held it for the space of half a minute before exhaling.

None of this was supposed to happen. The hybrids were to be taken from the children, brought back to the base, examined, and contained once more. If it were not for his own son’s blubbering tears and his wife’s insistence that he and the boy have a “man-to-man” conversation, the General would have been at the base last night.

Now the newest, youngest batch of Carpenter hybrids was gone… again. This was not part of the original plan.

“We adapt or die,” the General muttered under his breath. He had spoken these words to himself once before. It had been two weeks after the fall out in New Mexico, after the monsters ripped their way through to his world, his country, and proceeded to tear apart rightful citizens of these United States. He picked up the pieces of tragedy those many years ago and refocused disaster into opportunity.

Glass crunched and scraped as Mauser turned on his heel.

Professor Martin Graves stood in front of a stainless steel worktable polishing a set of surgical instruments, likely to keep his hands busy. He had changed out of his surgical scrubs and into a pair of rumbled suit slacks and a white un-ironed shirt with the sleeves cuffed up past the elbows. Tired and miserable, Graves kept his back to Mauser. That spoke more than words.

Can I trust him? Mauser believed it possible that Graves had helped his son and his son’s monster escape Carpenter. How else could the boy, his friends, and the beasts have ghosted past security? They had certainly made an entrance. From what Mauser understood, it was his lead scientist’s badge after all that allowed the group of teens access to the underground facility.

Then there was First Lieutenant Greg Marshall, leaning against the doorway, rubbing his wrist absently. Another family man, one more devoted than the absent Graves, for sure. The reason why Mauser brought Marshall to Carpenter was the soldier’s values. His commitment to his family. That loyalty made a man strong, made him willing to die for his beliefs and loves. Yet a family man’s priorities centered on his family, sacrifices were not easily made outside that inner circle.

Neither man dared to face Mauser’s disapproving gaze, Graves and Marshall wanting to avoid admonishment for the blundering display of idiocy the previous evening.

Mauser glanced at his wristwatch. Morning. The night had slipped by as quickly as the children and the beasts.

She should be here soon.

As he lowered his arm, Mauser caught the sight of the exam room table. Strange to see the restraints not snapped with great strength or cut by a knife. The undone brass buckle of the two hands span wide belly restraint swayed, nearly brushing the ground. Its casual ease taunted Mauser. Yes, it had been that easy. No extraordinary powers needed.

Both subordinate officers had offered their stories to Mauser. Neither had known their sons would break into the mountain base. Nor did they understand how Grave’s son had burst through the domed ceiling like a superhero and walked away without a broken bone. Stern lectures and a month without television or video games would not be enough to produce hangdog teenage faces and second thoughts. Graves and Marshall would write reports later and their hands would indeed cramp. If nothing, Carpenter was a government, a bureaucracy, right down to the last scrap of paper and drop of ink.

I should have fought harder to keep the families away from these projects. Mauser chided himself for that moment of weakness when all this started.

Mauser believed his men needed their families close. He also wanted to keep the soldiers from rotating to new posts, to protect the integrity of the confidential operation and to hide the project in plain sight. For those reasons he allowed Carpenter to grow around a town, for the civilians and military to merge into a cohesive unit. Mistake number one.

A recent mistake was letting Sergeant Major Scott leave the room. Scott headed the Lightning Squad. With tanks strapped to their backs, each filled with a nerve-twitching amount of hydro-electricity, the team was effective in controlling a hybrid. Scott also had a reputation for getting things done, costs be damned if he preserved a greater amount of lives. Mauser’s kind of soldier.

For what Mauser needed next, Scott is the preferred soldier.

“I’m sending out a team to recapture the escaped monsters,” Mauser said to neither man in particular. Striding to the door, to where Marshall stood, he made to leave.

The air stirred as the other men surfaced from their downcast reverie.

Another thought occurred to the General. “Capture the monsters and bring in the children.”

A pause.

Glass crunched. How many of the panes did the Graves boy bring down?

Magnificent potential.

“I’ll establish my team immediate—” Marshall started to say before his commanding officer cut him off.

“No,” Mauser said flatly, simply, and louder than necessary. He intended for his voice to roar like thunder, to straighten backs. The General commanded authority and he would have obedience.

Letting the singular word resonate and dig, Mauser continued more quietly. “First Lieutenant, you are needed here in Carpenter. You must maintain order at our facility. Plus, your boy is out there and your judgment will be clouded if you lead.”

That is how you ground someone, Mauser acknowledged proudly.

“But this is… you… ” Marshall started to speak out of turn, to question his superior officer’s, his commander’s orders. Then he remembered himself. With little emotion, Marshall corrected his delivery. “Sir, if not myself then who will be set as squad leader?”

“Scott.”

“Sir, if you don’t mind me saying,” Marshall began slowly, choosing his words carefully, not wanting to again question orders or speak ill of an enlisted man so near his own rank.

“I do mind, First Lieutenant,” Mauser said, reaching for the doorknob. “Scott is more qualified for this mission than yourself. End of discussion.”

Mauser cut off the man with a simple gesture. This young military officer was not thinking straight, he’d shortly before seen his son walk out of his life, disobeying parental orders to extricate himself from the military’s affairs. In the wild, if a cub questioned the lion, the lion would eat the impudent pretender. Plus, Mauser was unsure he could trust the father of one of the teens who’d stolen the hybrids. Not at this moment anyway.

Until now, Graves had chosen to continue sanitizing and polishing his surgical tools. Smarter man than Marshall. Maybe Mauser could…

Graves dropped a gleaming scalpel, or perhaps the professor lightly tossed it down. The tool hit with metallic clatter.

“You mean Scott has more experience with hybrids,” Graves said, not turning his gaze to meet Mauser’s own.

Mauser arched a bushy eyebrow, raising it over the rim of his spectacles.

Marshall looked between the military man and the scientist, not understanding, still rubbing his wrist. “Professor Graves, what do you—”

“He’s sending Scott’s team and a team of hybrids to take down the escaped ones.”

Mauser did not flinch or acknowledge this information as factual. Silence was sometimes more powerful than words. Silence could unravel a man’s composure more than a passionate shout. Marshall was a family man. He cared for his son no matter the boy’s transgressions. He was also ten years younger than Graves and that gap was more apparent the closer you stepped to the edge for the man’s love for his child.

Turning the knob, the lock disengaged with an audible click. Pushing the door open, Mauser walked out. He paused when his First Lieutenant spoke out unchecked.

“Our fully grown hybrids are not field tested,” the soldier said, stepping into the threshold of the lab door, “there’s a chance they might rip the escaped subjects apart… and the kids too!”

Mauser chose to ignore the reckless passion in the soldier’s voice, to turn the cheek at the slap. Only now had Marshall validated the General’s decision to involve Scott.

“They will be once this is over,” Mauser said. “If the children are smart, they will turn themselves over to Scott and his team. Besides, from what you both told me, it sounds like the children are more than capable of handling themselves. Let us observe how this plays out… shall we.”

Not a recommendation… an order.

“Let it go, Greg,” Graves interjected softly.

“You’re going along with this, Martin. I know you’re a man of science but… god man, Jon is your boy.”

“We’ve been waiting for this opportunity since Generation One, First Lieutenant,” Mauser said to Marshall when the professor did not answer immediately. “Who knew we’d be so fortunate. Believe me when I say… we want the children back more than their freakish pets.”

Getting Russell a viper would have been safer than one of the monsters, Mauser mused with wry humor.

Clipped to his belt, a handheld radio crackled and a voice called out to Mauser. Mauser answered that he was listening and then waited.

“Sir, we’re escorting the girl inside the facility now. We’ll put her in a holding room until you’re ready to speak with her. Over”

More white noise crackled. Mauser answered with an affirmative and placed the radio back on his belt, the opposite side from his firearm. He did not excuse himself.

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Want to read more? Check out the links!

http://clintondharding.com (official site)

https://twitter.com/#!/ClintonDHarding (twitter)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clinton-D-Harding/76506701006 (facebook)

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5381520.Clinton_D_Harding (goodreads)

IAM Book of the Day…Bad Monsters by Clinton D Harding

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Author Clinton Harding is a frequent guest on Aside From Writing, and today we’re excited to be sharing his latest book Bad Monsters with you. This is the sequel to Our Monsters, which appeared in our first Indie Author Month last year. Tomorrow we’ll be featuring an excerpt from Bad Monsters, so make sure you come back for that! You can also win copies of both books in the MASSIVE giveaway we’re running for IAM2013 – what are you waiting for?! 🙂 

Bad Monsters Cover (finished)-1 Jon and his friends escaped their parents and the military, leaving behind the only home they’d ever known, the small town of Carpenter. But their freedom is short lived as they find themselves in more danger than before they left Carpenter. Now they are on the run and hunted and by General Mauser and his military dogs. Jon can practically feel them breathing down his neck, as the jaws of the military dogs snapping at his heels.

Blood is spilled, friendly and not, and now Jon must answer his friends’ questions sooner than later, or risk one of those friends dying. He’s just not sure he’s the person to be deciding their fates or if he, Alice, and George are fully prepared to walk away from their normal lives.

A farm in northern California may serve as salvation to this scared, but brave, group of teenagers. However, can they trust the inhabitants they find there, who themselves have a history with Carpenter? If Jon can talk his way past the shotgun in his face, he might just discover what he and his friends need; answers about the history of Carpenter, the hybrids, the powers the teens borrow from their hybrids and who are the true monsters. In all this confusion and danger, Jon may also find a young woman who can help heal the wounds left by Mikaila when she left him and the group.

“Bad Monsters” is the second installment in the Our Monsters Chronicles, a young adult adventure novel where a teenager’s greatest weapons are loyalty, love and most importantly friendship. Jon, Bo, George, Trick, Alice, Peppy, and Isis will need each other if they are to survive hunting season and–as Bo says–the “bad monsters” coming their way.

Our Monsters - CoverYesterday Jon Graves believed living and going to high school in the military occupied town of Carpenter was a snooze-fest. That is until a routine fieldtrip to Carpenter’s science labs, when Jon and his friends uncover a military secret, the reason why the US Army brought their parents to Carpenter… to create a top secret, genetically engineered species of monsters. Yeah… that’s right… MONSTERS!

Now Jon and his four friends have liberated and adopted five of the monsters, vowing to keep the five monsters hidden away from harm. These are not puppies and kitten, though. Keeping the monsters a secret turns into a difficult task when each one begins to develop amazing powers. And soon a betrayal from within the circle of friends will threaten to unravel the groups’ plans.

In order to keep the promise his friends made and prevent the Carpenter military from subjecting each to further inhuman experiments, Jon will need to bring his friends together for a rescue mission. Mysterious powers the teens begin to exhibit will offer aid but ultimately the group’s friendship will save the day. It’s just another chaotic day in high school… yeah, right!

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About the Author

Clinton grew up in Southern California, where the sun shines all day and where most kids spend their days outdoors skinning knees and browning their flesh. He spent those same days inside, reading comics, books, and dreaming of fantasy worlds. These days he not only dreams but he creates and writes about those same worlds. In college Clinton found himself in the dregs of a business school, studying accounting. Sneaking English and philosophy courses into his schedule were the only things that kept him sane! As a result, he spent way more than four years getting a well-rounded degree. Adult books and books for kids, Clinton reads it all these days. He still enjoys traditional American comics and manga/anime from Asia, but when not writing he can also be found immersing himself in video games.

            Clinton today still resides in Southern California with his wife, Kathy and their two Scottish terriers, Mac and Bonni (wheaten and black).

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

http://clintondharding.com (official site)

https://twitter.com/#!/ClintonDHarding (twitter)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clinton-D-Harding/76506701006 (facebook)

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5381520.Clinton_D_Harding (goodreads)

IAM Book of the Day…Sweet Glory by Lisa Potocar

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

This morning Lisa Y. Potocar, author of Sweet Glory, told us why she writes YA. In our second feature today you can find out more about her novel…

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Reluctant to shed her riding trousers and fully submerse herself in her role as a growing woman, Jana Brady joins the Union army in the fight for her country. Hoping for Sweet Glory, she cuts her hair and disguises herself as a young cavalryman, eager to fight the Rebels, aided by Leanne Perham, another girl from town who has donned the Union blues. Disguised as Johnnie and Leander, Jana and Leanne form a close connection with other misfits in their unit, twelve-year-old Charlie, who’s hidden his age to provide for his ma, and Irishman Keeley, who inspires men to abandon their inner conflicts and band together. Jana comes to greatly admire Keeley, who frequently needles Johnnie about the occasional appearance of feminine attributes.

While Jana enjoys the camaraderie within her unit, soldiering and nursing severely test her notions of glory in war. And the possibility of dying as a man hits home when she witnesses a man and his disguised bride die hand in hand on the battlefield. Jana determines to find a way home, with the blossoming incentive of renewing a relationship with Keeley once she is again living as a woman. But this possibility seems even more unlikely when Keeley is captured and Jana is hit by a bullet. Will she be able to rescue him from the Confederates’ clutches? And will Keeley love her for her true self? Lisa Potocar masterfully interweaves a moving love story with a sweeping portrayal of the heartache of the Civil War and the courage of key figures in history.

Cover - Sweet Glory

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

http://www.lisapotocar.tateauthor.com (Website)

http://www.facebook.com/LisaPotocarAuthor (Facebook)

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5779385.Lisa_Potocar (Goodreads Author)

http://amzn.to/THkzMp (Sweet Glory on Amazon)

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13454119-sweet-glory (Sweet Glory on Goodreads)