Sunday, June 30, 2013

Live chat/interview with C. Hope Clark of Funds For Writers

The Writer's Chatroom presents C. Hope Clark of


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?


The Writers Chatroom at:

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Please note: The chatroom is only open for regularly scheduled chats.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Interview with MG fantasy author Angela Myron

Today is a book tour stop for the middle grade fantasy novel, Ennara and the Fallen Druid by Angela Myron.

As a bonus, each week of the tour, Angela will be awarding a wall calendar print from to a randomly drawn commentor. She's also going to award a t-shirt from to one randomly drawn commenter during the overall tour (US ONLY). 
(Items can be exchanged for other equal or lesser value items from Ennara Swag on Cafepress.).

To be entered for a chance to win, use the forms below. And to increase your chances, visit other tour stops and enter there.

Welcome, Angela. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Like many writers, I have a full life in which I juggle many duties and joys. I love to cook, garden, and play with my twins. As a mother to toddlers, I write whenever I am not helping them navigate their day--which typically means in the early mornings and early afternoons when they sleep, and sometimes when Grandma comes to visit.

I was twenty-two when writing became a passion of mine. I've been doing it in one form or another ever since. But it took me a very long time to follow my heart's desire to tell stories.

For years, I simply journaled. I delved into writing articles for newsletters and grant proposals. I settled into technical writing, often finding myself a one-person writing, editing, design, app development, and publication team. I learned the basics of journalism, and finally, when on maternity leave with my twins, I turned to writing fiction.

I am grateful for every reader I have. Writing can be a solitary pursuit, but it can also be a dialog, a meeting of the minds. I invite you to connect with me:

Join my street team! Email me at to subscribe to my newsletters.

Please tell us about your current release.
Here’s my elevator pitch:
When a mysterious curse threatens to transform everyone into shadowy demons, a magical eleven year-old girl must travel to a sunken city ruin—fighting pirates, monsters, and an undead sorcerer along the way—to find a weapon that can save her world.

What inspired you to write this book?
So many themes in this book are things I’ve always wanted to write about. But what started Ennara’s world was the desire to write a story set far, far in humanity’s future. We spend most of our time absorbed in current events, not considering in our plans the generations that will live here thousands of years from now. When we do think of the future, it seems to be in terms of decades, not thousands or tens of thousands of years. We’re certainly capable of that kind of foresight, so why don’t we use it?

“Is it true she is….” Gevin blushed. “I mean, you are… magic?”
Ennara fumbled the wand as she turned it in her fingers. She scooped it off the floor. Her stomach knotted and her cheeks burned. “Oh, um, I guess.”

She nervously twirled the wand again, this time accidentally tapping the case of trinkets. A lavender light shimmered across the panes, and behind them the objects began to twitch.

“Eeep!” Ennara jumped as the severed hand crawled toward her and tapped on the glass. A long finger uncurled and poked the case open. The appendage leapt from the shelf to the chest, then the floor, and scurried to the door.

Smoos crouched on the lower bunk, wiggled her haunches, and pounced on the hand. She shook it back and forth in the air. It grabbed the cat’s snout and flicked her hard on the nose. She dropped the hand and snorted, rubbing her muzzle with her paw. The hand scampered away and hid behind the girl’s legs.

“You seem to have a penchant for necromancy, young lady.” Tork flicked his curvy black wand at the case. “Merta perape.”

The hand and other charms returned to their lifeless state.

“Ne … necromancy?” The word felt foreign in her mouth. She glanced at Kithe and Gevin. Both boys were fixed on her. Gevin’s mouth hung open.

“Yes. Bringing back the deceased. Creating walking dead. Giving life to the lifeless.”

“But I didn’t say a spell!”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m writing two stories! Book two of the Ennara series, Ennara and the Writ of Shadows, picks up with Ennara and her friends in their second year of school at the Druidic Academy in Icelan.

In addition, I’m writing a paranormal mystery under my pseudonym Chase Theroux about a young woman who is a werewolf. When she’s forced to solve who killed her friend and an unrelated cold case from thirty years ago, she discovers she’d bitten off more than she can chew, including the monster that cursed her.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been writing for, gosh, eighteen years, daily, passionately. But it was only when I was hired as a technical writer eleven years ago that I stopped thinking “I want to be a writer” and started thinking “I am a writer.”

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write part-time. My guess is that I am able to write about half the amount of time that someone who, if they showed up at their desk and wrote for eight hours a day, writes. I’m doubtful that even “fulltime” writers are able to dedicate full days to writing. There’s so much marketing work needed as a writer, more so for indie authors but even for traditionally published authors. But it would be nice if I could prove myself wrong about this one day, and have days in which I truly write fulltime.

The other half of my time is spent with my twoddlers (twin toddlers).

My schedule for writing is pretty rigid: whenever the twins are asleep, I can write. I wake at 5 a.m. to get an hour in before they wake (if I’m lucky). They nap midday, and I can usually get a couple more hours in then. Grandma comes to visit once a week so I can go to my critique group. When I get behind in my writing, I skip the critiques and use babysitting time to write.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I “shop” for monsters and interesting allies in Dungeons & Dragons manuals. I’ve used World of Warcraft as inspiration for fight scenes and dungeons. And I’ve even created allies for my main character based on who I’d want in my party if the story were a role-playing game. I owe a lot to Gary Gygax!

(I never use exactly what is published in these games, but use them as a jumping off point.)

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I regularly switched from wanting to be an astronaut to wanting to be a doctor in Africa. Being a doctor in Africa usually came up on Sundays while driving home from church with my mom and dad. Being an astronaut filled the rest of the days of the week. That is, until a well-intentioned adult told me that I’d never be accepted in any space program because I had asthma (which I grew out of as an adult). I went on to study biology with the intention of going to med school, and fell in love with writing on the way. I’ve been writing ever since.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
People talk about the importance of doing what you love, but not many people have that kind of freedom. Bills need to be paid, you need to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. More important than doing what you love is finding a way to love what you do. To be at peace with your life as it is right now. To feel content. Sure, you can have goals and dreams, those are important too. But just stopping, taking a deep breath, and loving your life in all of its imperfection is crucial to being a happy person.

Buy links:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords

Thanks, Angela. Love the term "twoddlers". Have fun writing and touring!

Readers, don't forget about the giveaways! Use these Rafflecopter forms:

Ennara t-shirt giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Week 1 calendar giveaway (June 24-28)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Interview with historical romance authors Carley Bauer and Lynette Willows

I’m happy to have 2 authors on the blog today. Historical romance writers Carley Bauer & Lynette Willows are here to talk about the new novel, No Gentleman Is He.

Carley and Lynette are offering two giveaways to two lucky winners during their virtual book tour. Winner 1 will receive a lovely pair of colonial era earrings (U.S. only, due to shipping constraints). Winner 2 will receive a $100 Amazon gift card. To be entered for a chance to win either gift, leave a comment below. And to increase your chances of winning, visit other tour stops and leave comments there.

Carley Bauer enjoys life on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. with her husband and their blue eyed feline, Noelle. After 30 years as a state contractor in a self employed capacity, she decided to try her hand at her first love, writing.

She loves being an empty nester, free to travel with her husband. Still involved with her three grown on-their-own children, Carley loves big family events, where her home is filled with a passel of precious, precocious, precarious grandchildren. Some of her other hobbies are fashion, the occasional bite of the Big Apple where the excitement feeds her natural love of city life and home decor, which boasts a collection of Fenton Glassware.

No Gentleman Is He is Carley’s first book. It was released by Tirgearr Publishing in March 2013. The first in the Sons of Liberty series, written by Carley and her co-author, long-time friend and writing partner, Lynette Willows, is ranked #1 in Goodreads Hor Reads for Summer. No Gentleman Is He can be found on Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, ITunes, Kobo, Sony, BookStrand, All Romance Books and OmniLit.

Lynette Willows is a mother, wife, and the property of two Maltese. Verbally awkward, she has always put her thoughts to paper and eventually realized this was what writers do. Hence, the profession chose her instead of the other way around.

She served ten years of apprenticeship as a freelance writer in between raising boys and serving hot suppers to a hard-working husband.

She has a love of odd facts and her favorite hobby is historical research.

She is an avid camper, fisherman, and chases storms for the adrenaline rush. Lynette is an empty nester living with her husband in rural Alberta, Canada.

Welcome, ladies. Please tell us about your current release.
No Gentleman Is He is set in 1775 Virginia. Some scenes take place in Boston, but for the most part, it is in Richmond, Virginia. Cassandra arrived in the colonies in 1774, having left the Devonshire Estate where she was raised, to create a life of horse breeding with her new husband. Within a year, he died, leaving Cassandra living above a tavern loft with four horses. With a mare showing signs of a difficult birth, she sought the help of Colton Rolfe, the dark and powerful owner of Varina Farms. Distrustful of each other, the two set their skepticism aside in order to create a superior breed of horse. Caution to the wind, she moved to Varina Farms to steward his horses, agreeing to allow the use of her horses as the base of his new breeding stock.

As their story unfolds, the war for independence from England heats up, sending them on a mission to inform Boston's Sons of Liberty of the impending attack from the British. Already suspicious of her loyalties, Colton begins to suspect she is a plant. Cassandra, eager to keep her position at Varina Farms, fears Colton will discover she is the daughter of a titled Englishman.

Together they face danger and treachery, at the same time barely able to control their own flames that burn in their hearts for one another.

What inspired you to write this book?
Lynette and I have been writing interactively for over a decade. We decided to get serious, and wrote, in six months time, enough for four books. No Gentleman Is He is the first in the Sons of Liberty series.

“How much do you charge for your stock?”

Startled by the abrupt topic change, she stammered, “Well, I have not sold any yet. The colt will be the first.”

Inwardly, Colton rejoiced at her inexperience. “How much?” he pressed, in an effort to keep her off balance.

“I have given it some thought. A price of twenty-five pounds seems reasonable.”

Colton’s jaw dropped open. “Are you insane, woman?”

She flinched and bristled, then found her voice. “With my quality horses, I cannot see why I should not demand a fair price.”

“Twenty-five pounds…” he stopped. “That is five pounds more than I charge and I have the best in the county!”

“You had the best,” she corrected saucily, her blue eyes shining with mischief.

Angry at her cheek, Colton urged his horse closer to hers and leaned over close in what he hoped was an intimidating manner, staring into her eyes. He was gratified to see her quiver, her hands tightening on the reins. Still, her gaze remained steady on his. Through his anger he admired her courage. Grown men quaked at his bullying tactics, yet this slip of a girl held fast under his stare.

“You insolent wench,” he huffed.

Cassandra shivered, but did not answer. She held her ground, and he strongly suspected she knew her position was strong. They held a glaring contest for a few seconds.

A slow smile curled one corner of Colton’s mouth. “You have brass ones, woman,” he murmured. “That is one reason I want to buy your horses and make them the foundation of my breeding line.”

Cassandra snorted in derision, obviously surprised at his offer. “Do you honestly think I would give up my horses after all I have sacrificed to keep them?”

“You admitted you are in a bad way.” He shifted in his saddle. “Tom Hardwick is a fine horseman and good foreman, but unfortunately the man is illiterate, only able to work out numbers with great effort. With my planned expansion I have need of a knowledgeable steward.” He studied her reaction at this unorthodox suggestion. “I also need a housekeeper. Martha is not able to read or write, either, and she is getting old. My sister, Frances Anne, who normally would take over the household duties, is abroad and not due home for a year or more. Therefore, I propose you be my housekeeper as well.”

Colton could see suspicion rising in her deep blue eyes. A fetching creature, he doubted she lacked admirers. He supposed she wondered if the proposition was business or if his pleasure would also be part of the bargain. Inexplicably, the latter thought made his groin tighten.

Proper English women were reared to manage a substantial household. Colton was unaware of her heritage, but assumed she garnered these qualities as a governess or housekeeper to prominent English families before coming to the Colonies. War with England was on their heels and Colton made it clear he was willing to make an investment in the fight for independence with his horses. Knowing her background beyond that of Seth Brooks’ widow may not set well with him, but he needed her horses to produce stronger stock if the Colonialists were to get independence from the Crown.

Cassandra sniffed haughtily. “I do not see how your offer could possibly tempt me.”

Colton’s eyes fixed intently on her, belying the informal way he rested his elbow on his thigh, leaning toward her.

“I want sole rights to your stallions to service my mares, Mrs. Brooks. I also claim sole ownership of any foals resulting from breeding our stock.”

Her mouth dropped open at his outrageous proposal. He continued, undaunted.

“The annual wage as steward and housekeeper at Varina Farms is two hundred and forty pounds. It is more than generous, you must admit. You can save up enough to open a small shop, or snag another husband, when my sister returns to take over the household. It is not often a mere woman is offered such an opportunity,” he added.

“You arrogant boor,” Cassandra huffed. “Just when I think you might be a gentleman, you manage to change my mind!”

What exciting story are you working on next?
Our current work in progress is the second book in The Sons of Liberty series. Much to the chagrin of both Lynette and I, we have not settled on the perfect title yet. We are excited about this book, though. We both learned so much in the writing of No Gentleman Is He, we feel much more confident this time around.

Our hero in our WIP is Jackson Lee who was an enormous hit in No Gentleman Is He, as the charming, womanizer of Lee Court Plantation, and loyal friend of Colton Rolfe. Swearing off any relationship that leads to more than courting, Jackson finds himself in a quandary when he falls head over heels for the last person on earth he ever expected to steal his heart. Set in 1776, his obligations to the Sons of Liberty pull him in one direction while his heart strings draw him in another. Readers will find Book Two of the Sons of Liberty series packed with action!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Easy. The editing process of this book.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Outside of taking on a bit of self-employed contracting work, yes I write full-time. My most productive writing times are between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Also try to switch off. Four to five days I write. The other two are spent paying bills, cleaning, running errands, and the like.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
That I must get up and pace when I'm stuck. Nothing else works.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I knew I wanted to write. I would day dream about my name in print, spent hours mulling over pseudonyms. (Always knew I would write under a different name. My original pseudonym had to be tossed since I gave the name to my only daughter!) When I won several writing contests in middle school, it only served to the fuel the write flame.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yes. I am willing to bet if you give No Gentleman Is He a read, you'll fall in love with the characters, their story, and the time period.

Thank you, Carley. And thank you, Lynette. Happy touring and writing! Readers, don’t forget about the 2 giveaways! Leave a comment if you’d like to be entered for a chance to win.


Lynette Willows

Purchase links

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Guest post on time travel in Time Fall by Timothy Ashby

Today I'm featuring a guest post by Tim Ashby on time travel in his new novel Time Fall.

About Time Fall
Lt. Art Sutton’s team of six US Rangers parachute into Nazi Germany… but they vanish in 1945. They land, a few minutes later, in 2011. The Rangers are unaware of the passage of time all around them and the valiant, misguided soldiers begin to attack “enemy” targets.

They face the age old question - What is good? What is evil?

About Tim Ashby
Timothy Ashby's life has been as thrilling as one of his action/adventure novels. Visit his author blog at

An international lawyer, businessman, and writer, Tim Ashby worked in Washington DC as a counter-terrorism consultant to the U.S. State Department, and then as a senior official - the youngest political appointee of his rank - at the U.S. Commerce Department, responsible for commercial relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. He held two Top Secret security clearances and worked with a number of colorful characters, including members of the U.S. military's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He has lived in the Caribbean and Europe as well as various places in the United States. An avid historian, he published widely on military history, archaeology, business and international relations. A licensed attorney in Florida and the District of Columbia, Tim Ashby has a PhD degree from the University of Southern California, a JD from Seattle University Law School, and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh Scotland.

Time Travel in TIME FALL by Timothy Ashby

In my new thriller, Time Fall, I chose to treat time travel as a "natural" freak of nature – a severe electrical storm as portrayed in the book. The plot device that causes the World War II soldiers to “fall” through time is therefore neither supernatural nor some advanced sci fi technology. I introduce this in the book’s opening scenes:
The transport’s teenaged flight engineer ducked inside the cockpit. “Radio operator just picked up a weather report,” he said. “Severe electrical storms northern France, southern Germany. Low cloud ceiling.”

Soon afterwards, as the military transport enters the storm, the crew experience the beginning of the natural phenomenon:

“What the hell?” Woody yelled. Cal’s eyes swept the windshield, widening at a kaleidoscope of sparks flecking the glass. Beyond, the aircraft’s nose was bathed in an eerie glow. He glanced out a side window, seeing the same bluish flame flickering along the port wing.
“It-it’s only St. Elmo’s Fire,” he said, quavering voice betraying his doubt. “Happens when you’re flying through a charged atmosphere like this thunderstorm. Nothing to worry about.”
Woody continued to watch, mesmerized by the ghostly display.
“Glad you think so,” he said hoarsely.

Then, as Lt. Art Sutton and his Rangers team prepare to jump into Nazi Germany on their sabotage mission, they begin to feel the effects of the electrical storm that will propel them into another time:

Heart pounding, Sutton shuffled forward, the bulky parachute pack jouncing against his thighs. Then he was at the doorway, fingers hooked into the perforated jambs, hunched against the shrieking gale outside. He could see the tip of the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer shimmering with phosphorescent light. The metal skin of the aircraft hummed ethereally, rising in volume like a celestial chorus.
An uncanny prickling raised the hairs on the back of Sutton’s neck. He wondered if it was a premonition of death.

The moment that the “time fall” takes place is described from the pilot’s perspective:

An enormous thunderclap shook the aircraft. At that moment the electric blue glow shrouding Bouncing Betty intensified along with the humming sound. Sparks crackled throughout the cockpit. The aircraft’s radio went dead and the compass spun like a demented top. Cal’s jaw fell open, fingers tightening on the control yoke as the airplane seemed to plummet into a void. Ears ringing, he frantically scanned the instrument panel, watching its gauges fluctuate. A spasm of nausea wrenched his gut.
“Woody!” he gasped, glancing at the copilot before returning to the instrument panel. His eyes widened. The banks of red-lighted instruments were now functioning perfectly, every needle steady.
“Wh-what was that?”
Woody bit his lower lip to control its trembling. “Felt like we took a direct hit!”
Cal shook his head, feeling vertigo like oxygen deprivation. He figured that the phenomenon had lasted several seconds, roughly the length of time it took for the parachutists to leave the aircraft.
“Dunno,” he said, “but that weird St. Elmo’s Fire is gone.”

Although the aircraft and its crew safely return to their wartime base, the effects of the phenomenon linger:

From the corner of his eye, he saw Woody shake his left wrist, then lean forward and rap on the instrument panel clock. “Hey,” the copilot said, “let me borrow your watch. Both mine and the aircraft’s have stopped.”
Cal pushed up his sleeve. Surprise tightened his features.
“Mine’s stopped too.”
“Hey,” added Ward, “so’s mine.”

Two days later, Bouncing Betty’s crew gathered in a country pub. Cal rambled drunkenly about the strange phenomena and instrument failure while Woody watched a trio of WAAFs at the bar. But Jim Ward drank quietly, wondering what had caused every timepiece aboard the aircraft on the Bandstand mission to irreparably stop at 11:08 P.M.

Later in the book, I offer a hint about what had caused Sutton’s team to land in Bavaria in 2011 after parachuting from their aircraft in 1945:

Leafing through the paper, he noticed a story in the Science section: “Magnetic Convulsions Behind Sun Storms.” The article said that solar storms causing massive convulsions of magnetic energy were exceptionally powerful that spring. Physicists were speculating that solar flares could influence weather patterns and even affect the space-time continuum. Yeah, sure, Eddie thought cynically before closing the paper.

Do I think that “time travel” as described in my novel is possible? While the story is fictional, I describe – in a dialogue between two Vietnam veterans – an actual incident that inspired me to write Time Fall. During the Vietnam war a military helicopter mysteriously disappeared after flying into a strange cloud during the monsoon season. Hundreds of military personnel witnessed the phenomenon, a high-level investigation took place, but no trace of the aircraft or its crew was found. Perhaps one day that helicopter will land in a very different Vietnam with its unsuspecting crew of young American soldiers.

Filled with historically accurate details, Time Fall is a complex military tale that keeps readers riveted through every surprising twist. Read an excerpt and to enter to win a FREE copy of Time Fall, visit your copy, visit You can also get your copy at all major book retailers.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book blurb blitz tour stop for A Moment by Marie Hall

I'm happy to be a virtual book blurb blitz tour stop today for A Moment by Marie Hall.

Marie will be awarding an e-book from her fairy tales series to a randomly drawn commenter at every stop, and a Grand Prize of a $50.00 Amazon or Barnes & Noble GC (Winner's Choice) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. To be entered to win these great gifts, leave a comment below. And to increase your chances of winning, visit other tour stops and leave a comment there.

Ryan Cosgrove and Liliana Delgado are on a collision course with destiny. They don't know it yet, but before the night is over their lives will be forever changed.

Spending Valentine's Day at a burlesque bar, hadn't been Liliana's ideal way of spending a Friday night. She'd much rather be back at campus, doing homework... until she meets Ryan. Tall, athletic, and gorgeous, Lili can't keep her eyes off him, and despite his gruff manners and drunken disposition she's intrigued.

Ryan's got demons, and they're deep, dark, and eating him alive. Regardless of his attraction to the petite brunette he's tired of fighting, of pretending the last fifteen years haven't been a daily struggle just to get out of bed every morning. That night he decides to end his pain, to leave it all behind and float away into the blessed darkness of oblivion. But fate has other plans for him, Lily finds and rescues Ryan, determined she'll not only save his body, but his soul too.

This is their moment...

The doors slide open with a loud whoosh. Huffing the bangs out of my eyes I look up and my heart stills.

In fact, everything seems to freeze. It’s a strange sensation, sounds grow dim, and the world recedes to a pinprick of light, a halo that surrounds him. I have no idea who he is, a perfect stranger in a room full of them, but something about him stands out and makes me notice.

He has dark wavy hair and intense blue eyes. He stands squinting in the doorway and it’s obvious why he’s here. The entire left side of his face is a swollen mass of discolored skin. He grabs the corner of his jaw and I notice his knuckles are also split open. Hard eyes scan the waiting room, and for a second, I glimpse in his face the same emotion I’m feeling right now.

Anywhere but here…

Then our eyes meet. He’s older than me, I can tell. There are whiskers on his cheeks, and he doesn’t look like a boy.

Especially not like the boy who did this to me.

The look lasts only a second, but feels more like an eternity-- a stolen moment in time that exists outside of where we’re at right now. But like so much in my life, it’s fleeting.

Author Bio:
Marie Hall has always had a dangerous fascination for creatures that go bump in the night. And mermaids. And of course fairies. Trolls. Unicorns. Shapeshifters. Vampires. Scottish brogues. Kilts. Beefy arms. Ummm... Bad boys! Especially the sexy ones. Which is probably why she married one.

On top of that she's a confirmed foodie, she nearly went to culinary school and then figured out she could save a ton of money if she just watched food shows religiously! She's a self-proclaimed master chef, certified deep sea dolphin trainer, finder of leprechaun's gold at the end of the rainbow, and rumor has it she keeps the Troll King locked away in her basement. All of which is untrue, however, she does have an incredibly active imagination and loves to share her crazy thoughts with the world!

If you want to see what new creations she's got up her sleeves check out her blog: and sign up for her newsletter!

Buy links:

Readers, don't forget that Marie will be awarding an e-book from her fairy tales series to a randomly drawn commenter at every stop, and a Grand Prize of a $50.00 Amazon or Barnes & Noble GC (Winner's Choice) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. To be entered to win these great gifts, leave a comment below. And to increase your chances of winning, visit other tour stops and leave a comment there.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Spotlight on YA novel Untimed by Andy Govin

by Andy Gavin

Genre YA Time Travel Adventure/Romance

Publisher Mascherato Publishing
Release Date December 18, 2012

Book Description:

Untimed is an action-packed time travel novel by Andy Gavin, author of The Darkening Dream and creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter.

Charlie's the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can't remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don't take him seriously. Still, this isn't all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there's this girl... Yvaine... another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine's got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history -- like accidentally let the founding father be killed -- they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.

Excerpt: Chapter One "Untimed"


by Andy Gavin

Illustrations by Dave Phillips

Advance Review First Chapter
Cover Art Not Final
Formatting Not Final
Illustration Formatting Not Final

© 2011-2012, Andy Gavin. All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

PO Box 1550
Pacific Palisades, Ca, 90272

Copyright © Andy Gavin 2012
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

MS version: 3.20a
75,300 words, November 19, 2012, 1:19:29 PM PST

Cover Photo-Illustration copyright © Cliff Nielsen 2012
Interior Illustrations copyright © Dave Phillips 2012

E-book ISBN 978-1-937945-05-3
Hardcover ISBN 978-1-937945-03-9
Trade Paperback ISBN 978-1-937945-04-6

Chapter One:
Philadelphia, Autumn, 2010 and Winter, 2011

My mother loves me and all, it’s just that she can’t remember my name.
“Call him Charlie,” is written on yellow Post-its all over our house.
“Just a family joke,” Mom tells the rare friend who drops by and bothers to inquire.
But it isn’t funny. And those house guests are more likely to notice the neon paper squares than they are me.
“He’s getting so tall. What was his name again?”
I always remind them. Not that it helps.
Only Dad remembers, and Aunt Sophie, but they’re gone more often than not — months at a stretch.
This time, when my dad returns he brings a ginormous stack of history books.
“Read these.” The muted bulbs in the living room sharpen the shadows on his pale face, making him stand out like a cartoon in a live-action film. “You have to keep your facts straight.”
I peruse the titles: Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Asprey’s The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, Ben Franklin’s Autobiography. Just three among many.
“Listen to him, Charlie,” Aunt Sophie says. “You’ll be glad you did.” She brushes out her shining tresses. Dad’s sister always has a glow about her.
“Where’d you go this time?” I say.
Dad’s supposed to be this hotshot political historian. He reads and writes a lot, but I’ve never seen his name in print.
“The Middle East.” Aunt Sophie’s more specific than usual.
Dad frowns. “We dropped in on someone important.”
When he says dropped in, I imagine Sophie dressed like Lara Croft, parachuting into Baghdad.
“Is that where you got the new scar?” A pink welt snakes from the bridge of her nose to the corner of her mouth. She looks older than I remember — they both do.
“An argument with a rival… researcher.” My aunt winds the old mantel clock, the one that belonged to her mom, my grandmother. Then tosses the key to my dad, who fumbles and drops it.
“You need to tell him soon,” she says.
Tell me what? I hate this.
Dad looks away. “We’ll come back for his birthday.”

* * *
While Dad and Sophie unpack, Mom helps me carry the dusty books to my room.
“Time isn’t right for either of you yet,” she says. Whatever that means.
I snag the thinnest volume and hop onto my bed to read. Not much else to do since I don’t have friends and school makes me feel even more the ghost.

* * *

Mrs. Pinkle, my ninth-grade homeroom teacher, pauses on my name during roll call. Like she does every morning.
“Charlie Horologe,” she says, squinting at the laminated chart, then at me, as if seeing both for the first time.
On the bright side, I always get B’s no matter what I write on the paper.
In Earth Science, the teacher describes a primitive battery built from a glass of salt water covered in tin foil. She calls it a Leyden jar. I already know about them from Ben Franklin’s autobiography — he used one to kill and cook a turkey, which I doubt would fly with the school board.
The teacher beats the topic to death, so I practice note-taking in the cipher Dad taught me over the weekend. He shows me all sorts of cool things — when he’s around. The system’s simple, just twenty-six made-up letters to replace the regular ones. Nobody else knows them. I write in highlighter and outline in red, which makes the page look like some punk wizard’s spell book. My science notes devolve into a story about how the blonde in the front row invites me to help her with her homework. At her house. In her bedroom. With her parents out of town.
Good thing it’s in cipher.
After school is practice, and that’s better. With my slight build and long legs, I’m good at track and field — not that the rest of the team notices. A more observant coach might call me a well-rounded athlete.
The pole vault is my favorite, and only one other kid can even do it right. Last month at the Pennsylvania state regionals, I cleared 16’ 4”, which for my age is like world class. Davy — that’s the other guy — managed just 14’ 8”.
And won. As if I never ran that track, planted the pole in the box, and threw myself over the bar. The judges were looking somewhere else? Or maybe their score sheets blew away in the wind.
I’m used to it.

* * *
Dad is nothing if not scheduled. He and Sophie visit twice a year, two weeks in October, and two weeks in January for my birthday. But after my aunt’s little aside, I don’t know if I can wait three months for the big reveal, whatever it is. So I catch them in his study.
“Dad, why don’t you just tell me?”
He looks up from his cheesesteak and the book he’s reading — small, with only a few shiny metallic pages. I haven’t seen it before, which is strange, since I comb through all his worldly possessions whenever he’s away.
“I’m old enough to handle it.” I sound brave, but even Mom never looks him in the eye. And he’s never home — it’s not like I have practice at this. My stomach twists. I might not like what he has to say.
“Man is not God.”
One of his favorite expressions, but what the hell is it supposed to mean?
“Fink.” For some reason Aunt Sophie always calls him that. “Show him the pages.”
He sighs and gathers up the weird metallic book.
“This is between the three of us. No need to stress your mother.”
What about stressing me? He stares at some imaginary point on the ceiling, like he always does when he lectures.
“Our family has—”
The front doorbell rings. His gaze snaps down, his mouth snaps shut. Out in the hall, I hear my mom answer, then men’s voices.
“Charlie,” Dad says, “go see who it is.”
“Close the door behind you.”

* * *

I stomp down the hall. Mom is talking to the police. Two cops and a guy in a suit.
“Ma’am,” Uniform with Mustache says, “is your husband home?”
“May I help you?” she asks.
“We have a warrant.” He fumbles in his jacket and hands her an official-looking paper.
“This is for John Doe,” she tells him.
The cop turns to the man in the suit, deep blue, with a matching bowler hat like some guy on PBS. The dude even carries a cane — not the old-lady-with-a-limp type, more stroll-in-the-park. Blue Suit — a detective? — tilts forward to whisper in the cop’s ear. I can’t hear anything but I notice his outfit is crisp. Every seam stands out bright and clear. Everything else about him too.
“We need to speak to your husband,” the uniformed cop says.
I mentally kick myself for not ambushing Dad an hour earlier.
Eventually, the police tire of the runaround and shove past me as if I don’t exist. I tag along to watch them search the house. When they reach the study, Dad and Sophie are gone. The window’s closed and bolted from the inside.
All the other rooms are empty too, but this doesn’t stop them from slitting every sofa cushion and uncovering my box of secret DVDs.

* * *

Mom and I don’t talk about Dad’s hasty departure, but I do hear her call the police and ask about the warrant.
They have no idea who she’s talking about.
Yesterday, I thought Dad was about to deliver the Your mother and I have grown apart speech. Now I’m thinking more along the lines of secret agent or international kingpin.
But the months crawl by, business as usual, until my birthday comes and goes without any answers — or the promised visit from Dad. I try not to let on that it bothers me. He’s never missed my birthday, but then, the cops never came before, either.
Mom and I celebrate with cupcakes. Mine is jammed with sixteen candles, one extra for good luck.
I pry up the wrapping paper from the corner of her present.
“It’s customary to blow out the candles first,” Mom says.
“More a guideline than a rule,” I say. “Call it advanced reconnaissance.” That’s a phrase I picked up from Sophie.
Mom does a dorky eye roll, but I get the present open and find she did well by me, the latest iPhone — even if she skimped on the gigabytes. I use it to take two photos of her and then, holding it out, one of us together.
She smiles and pats my hand.
“This way, when you’re out on a date you can check in.”
I’m thinking more about surfing the web during class.
“Mom, girls never notice me.”
“How about Michelle next door? She’s cute.”
Mom’s right about the cute. We live in a duplex, an old house her family bought like a hundred years ago. Our tenants, the Montags, rent the other half, and we’ve celebrated every Fourth of July together as long as I can remember.
“Girls don’t pay attention to me.” Sometimes paraphrasing helps Mom understand.
“All teenage boys say that — your father certainly did.”
My throat tightens. “There’s a father-son track event this week.” A month ago, I went into orbit when I discovered it fell during Dad’s visit, but now it’s just a major bummer — and a pending embarrassment.
She kisses me on the forehead.
“He’ll be here if he can, honey. And if not, I’ll race. You don’t get your speed from his side of the family.”
True enough. She was a college tennis champ and he’s a flat-foot who likes foie gras. But still.

* * *

Our history class takes a field trip to Independence Park, where the teacher prattles on in front of the Liberty Bell. I’ve probably read more about it than she has.
Michelle is standing nearby with a girlfriend. The other day I tapped out a script on my phone — using our family cipher — complete with her possible responses to my asking her out. Maybe Mom’s right.
I slide over.
“Hey, Michelle, I’m really looking forward to next Fourth of July.”
“It’s January.” She has a lot of eyeliner on, which would look pretty sexy if she wasn’t glaring at me. “Do I know you from somewhere?”
That wasn’t in my script. I drift away. Being forgettable has advantages.
I tighten the laces on my trainers then flop a leg up on the fence to stretch. Soon as I’m loose enough, I sprint up the park toward the red brick hulk of Independence Hall. The teachers will notice the headcount is one short but of course they’ll have trouble figuring out who’s missing. And while a bunch of cops are lounging about — national historic landmark and all — even if one stops me, he won’t remember my name long enough to write up a ticket.
The sky gleams with that cloudless blue that sometimes graces Philly. The air is crisp and smells of wood smoke. I consider lapping the building.
Then I notice the man exiting the hall.
He glides out the white-painted door behind someone else and seesaws down the steps to the slate courtyard. He wears a deep blue suit and a matching bowler hat. His stride is rapid and he taps his walking stick against the pavement like clockwork.
The police detective.
I shift into a jog and follow him down the block toward the river. I don’t think he sees me, but he has this peculiar way of looking around, pivoting his head side to side as he goes.
It’s hard to explain what makes him different. His motions are stiff but he cuts through space without apparent effort. Despite the dull navy outfit, he looks sharper than the rest of the world, more in focus.
Like Dad and Sophie.
The man turns left at Chestnut and Third, and I follow him into Franklin Court.
He stops inside the skeleton of Ben Franklin’s missing house. Some idiots tore it down two hundred years ago, but for the bicentennial the city erected a steel ‘ghost house’ to replace it.
I tuck myself behind one of the big white girders and watch.
The man unbuttons his suit and winds himself.
Yes, that’s right. He winds himself. Like a clock. There’s no shirt under his jacket — just clockwork guts, spinning gears, and whirling cogs. There’s even a rocking pendulum. He takes a T-shaped key from his pocket, sticks it in his torso, and cranks.
Hardly police standard procedure.
Clueless tourists pass him without so much as a sideways glance. And I always assumed the going unnoticed thing was just me.
He stops winding and scans the courtyard, calibrating his head on first one point then another while his finger spins brass dials on his chest.
I watch, almost afraid to breathe.
CHIME. The man rings, a deep brassy sound — not unlike Grandmom’s old mantel clock.
I must have gasped, because he looks at me, his head ratcheting around 270 degrees until our eyes lock.
Glass eyes. Glass eyes set in a face of carved ivory. His mouth opens and the ivory mask that is his face parts along his jaw line to reveal more cogs.
CHIME. The sound reverberates through the empty bones of Franklin Court.
He takes his cane from under his arm and draws a blade from it as a stage-magician might a handkerchief.
CHIME. He raises the thin line of steel and glides in my direction.
CHIME. Heart beating like a rabbit’s, I scuttle across the cobblestones and fling myself over a low brick wall.
CHIME. His walking-stick-cum-sword strikes against the brick and throws sparks. He’s so close I hear his clockwork innards ticking, a tiny metallic tinkle.
CHIME. I roll away from the wall and spring to my feet. He bounds over in pursuit.
CHIME. I backpedal. I could run faster if I turned around, but a stab in the back isn’t high on my wishlist.
CHIME. He strides toward me, one hand on his hip, the other slices the air with his rapier. An older couple shuffles by and glances his way, but apparently they don’t see what I see.
CHIME. I stumble over a rock, snatch it up, and hurl it at him. Thanks to shot put practice, it strikes him full in the face, stopping him cold.
CHIME. He tilts his head from side to side. I see a thin crack in his ivory mask, but otherwise he seems unharmed.
CHIME. I dance to the side, eying the pavement, find another rock and grab it.
CHIME. We stand our ground, he with his sword and me with my stone.
“Your move, Timex!” I hope I sound braver than I feel.
CHIME. Beneath the clockwork man, a hole opens.
The manhole-sized circle in the cobblestones seethes and boils, spilling pale light up into the world. He stands above it, legs spread, toes on the pavement, heels dipping into nothingness.
The sun dims in the sky. Like an eclipse — still visible, just not as bright. My heart threatens to break through my ribs, but I inch closer.
The mechanical man brings his legs together and drops into the hole. The seething boiling hole.
I step forward and look down….
Into a whirlpool that could eat the Titanic for breakfast. But there’s no water, only a swirling tube made of a million pulverized galaxies. Not that my eyes can really latch onto anything inside, except for the man. His crisp dark form shrinks into faraway brightness.
Is this where Dad goes when he drops in on someone? Is the clockwork dude his rival researcher?
The sun brightens, and as it does, the hole starts to contract. Sharp edges of pavement eat into it, closing fast. I can’t let him get away. Somehow we’re all connected. Me, the mechanical man, Sophie, and Dad.
I take a step forward and let myself fall.

About The Author:

Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes.

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