BOOK 3 Excerpt #2!!

BOOK 3 Excerpt #2!!

It is time.

Time for a follow up from my first excerpt of Chapter 1 of Book 3, American Rebirth.

I know many of you are waiting patiently for Book 3 to come out. Rest assured I am hard at work. Hopefully by end of Summer it will be complete, I’m trying to write my ass off over here.

For those who are looking for the first installment, Book 3 Excerpt #1!  is the link to start from the beginning. Again, bear with me, this is still a first draft.

I hope you guys enjoy it, let me know what you think. This picks up where the first excerpt left off.

-Evan

 


***WARNING! IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED BOOK 2, THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS!***


 

Robin took the moment to look around at the soldiers who were looking very relaxed, sitting on folding chairs, tree stumps, or leaning against the trucks they came in on. “You did all this for little old me?” Robin said.
The Templar scoffed. “Of course not. Don’t flatter yourself, thief. The Church has far more important things to do than chase bounties on heretics like you.”
Hood looked around. “So, what the hell are you doing out here? Practicing your line dancing deep in the woods so the other girls won’t laugh at you?”
“Nothing that concerns you, dead man.”
“Ah, I get it. Dirty business. Stuff the Church doesn’t want in the public eye. Like all the refugees from the Sons of Liberty that have been ‘disappearing’ from Austin. Yeah, I know about that. Lord knows what you’re doing with those poor bastards.”
The Templar swing a fist into Hood’s gut. Hood jumped backwards but still the blow doubled him over. Probably shouldn’t have said that. This son of a bitch hits hard. No more of that, please and thank you.
“Enjoy these last days, thief. We may all be damned, but you shall not see the light of redemption.”
Hood managed to stand upright again, wincing. “So, uh, what are you going to do with the bounty money, Mr. Templar?”
“Templar Vargas.” Vargas said with annoyance. “I’m going to give it to the poor and hungry that come to the church for aid. That way at least some good will have come from your crimes.”
“Damn.” Hood shook his head. “Now I feel bad.”
“Why is that?” Vargas raised a quizzical eyebrow.
“Maybe you’re not such an asshole after all,” Hood said, glancing around them.
The soldiers had gone from quietly relaxed to unconscious. Templar Vargas’ eyes went wide. A few soldiers who were still awake struggled to walk like newborn fawns before collapsing to the ground.
“What… What did you…?” Vargas said, drawing his sword and 9mm with each hand in a clumsy flourish. He raised the pistol to Hood, but started swaying. Hood cringed, lurching back and forth out of the way. Oh god, come on, pass out already you asshole. Vargas pulled the trigger twice, the shots wildly cracking the air. Go the fuck to sleep you self-righteous douchebag!
“How…” Vargas looked down at the empty mug of beer on the stump nearby, stumbling until he plunged the sword into the ground to hold himself up.
“Y’all are getting much too paranoid for a run of the mill stunt. Took you guys forever to dive into that beer you confiscated.” Robin said, smiling.
“You… Poison…” Vargas grit his teeth, his eyes narrow with violent rage as he stared at Robin. He dropped his pistol and fell backwards with a thump, a plume of dirt rising through the air.
Robin took a deep breath, the smell of fresh pine and the campfire mingled together in the cool air. He felt the muscles in his shoulders relax.
“What a bunch of idiots,” he said, stepping over his hands. “Relax, your Templarness. It’s not poison. You’ll wake up. It’ll just be quite awhile considering how much I poured into those barrels.” He knelt down beside Vargas’ sword staked in the ground, sawing at the cords of the rope binding his hands until it cut through and the rope fell away. He gingerly rubbed his wrists, kicking at the limp foot of the soldier that ‘captured’ him.
“Church can’t afford some freakin’ normal rope?” Hood said to the passed out soldiers. “Did y’all weave that one yourself out of cactus needles and armpit hair?”
Robin slung his crossbow over his back, tucked his blued Colt M1911 9mm into its holster, and slid his hunting knife into its sheath on his belt. He patted his backpack gently, as if to say I’ll pick you up when it’s time to go, baby. The backpack was stuffed clumsily with his favorite Hoodie that the Redemption devoted had crammed inside. Bunch of savages.
He roamed around the camp, taking all the ammunition from the soldiers that had guns. Ammo had practically become currency itself. For the common man, bullets were more valuable sold for food or a handful of Texas silver dollars than fired at someone.
He had collected quite a good bit of it, carrying it all using the front of his shirt. Whatever they were doing must’ve been important. They’re loaded for bear out here. What looked like forty rounds of loose .38 and 12 gauge, and about twelve rifle magazines that might or might not be full. Damn, this alone makes it worth it. We can sell a good bit of this. Eat like kings for quite awhile. Hood smiled. Gonna splurge and make so many pancakes. And so much bacon. He kneeled beside his pack, unfastening it and pouring all the ammo inside. Ka-ching.
As he stood up, Robin looked around at the comatose bodies of the soldiers. They almost looked dead. Something about they way the lay sprawled out so still felt familiar. Like deja vu. A memory flashed in his mind.
Sick to his stomach, he climbed out of he pit covered in the dead. It was a pit of rotting corpses. Whiskey stood nearby, except younger. Much younger. Hood felt calm, relieved, suddenly. A warm feeling of brotherhood at the sight of him. Family. Whiskey looked repulsed at the sight of Hood. He was covered in the dead. “Don’t touch me, you’re disgustin’.”
Robin took a deep breath. He squeezed his eyes shut, rubbing his forehead. Damn, what kind of sick shit was that? He had long since accepted having memories of a life that felt like it was his. He didn’t know how or why he could remember these things. He couldn’t remember everything, but what he did remember felt like…It felt like he had lived it himself. I have so many things I wish I could ask you. But if you were around, would I be like this at all? There’s some strange feeling I have deep down that says the answer is no. That says we are one in the same. I don’t know how that’s possible. The fire crackled, a log collapsing with a splash of sparks and coal-red embers. He thought of his mother, who only spoke about his father with love. But Robin had never understood why he did what he did. I know you killed the Kaiser, ended the first war. And for what? More war, and more war, and more war. Robin shook his head, trying to pull himself out of his reverie. I won’t make the same mistakes. I won’t leave the people I love behind to carry on without me.
His eyes wandered down to Templar Vargas, laying passed out on his back in the dusty dirt. He knelt down beside him, searching his person. What are you doing here, anyway? As his hand passed through the inside of Vargas’ military jacket he felt paper. He pulled it free of the pocket. It had a broken wax seal on the outside with the Cross and Key imprint of the Church of the Redemption. He unfolded the letter and turned to get the light from the fire.
James,
Gather your men and leave tonight. They should be arriving within a few days.

Stay near enough the Northeast Highway that they can see the light from your camp.

God be with you, and through your service earn your redemption,
Cardinal Vasquez

“Uh oh,” Robin said, looking around. “I don’t think they’ll be able to make the dance.” But who could they be meeting? This has all too much cloak and dagger for my liking. Hood grinned. Or maybe, just the right amount of it. Robin tapped the paper with his fingers, holding it at his side. The rest of the crew better get here fast. I don’t want to be alone out here if whoever this is shows up.

 

 

Passion.

Passion.

What makes a book great?

What makes anything great, really?

There’s a lot of different reasons, with varying degrees of validity. Books, for example, are good when the writing skill comes through in the prose, the storycrafting elements are well executed, and the content of the story is tantalizing, thought provoking, draws you in and makes you actively wonder what will happen next.

But ultimately, what really makes a book, or anything, great, is the passion you can feel in it.

 

Passion is visible, feel-able, through solid wall and open sky from miles away. And I don’t mean specifically romantic passion. Sure, it can be that too, but in this case I mean the internal passion that is not self-serving. It’s not about wanting. It’s about that which means so much that you feel compelled to share it because you don’t know what else to do.

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You can tell the difference between a well-written book and a well-written book that comes from a fire inside the writer. A book that the writer felt in his or her blood, one that screamed in his or her mind to come out, one that grips the heart of the reader in its fist–That book leaves the reader shaken in the best way, thinking about their life and what they love. And hopefully, it ignites passion in those readers.

Passion can be a limited resource. A precious gem, something that can be poured out and take shape, or can wane and be lost, formless and ethereal. It can be given, inspired, which is an act of love and beauty.

Passion is one of the greatest things in life. It’s dangerous, it can be scary, it can consume us in its immolating fire and trigger fear of loss or failure. But still, it is worth it. Passion can take so many forms, and should never be taken for granted, should be hunted and treasured and fought for.

Sometimes I’m writing a story, and I know it’s good, but something feels missing. And I have to step back, and take some time. What was it that burned inside me so much that I took the years to write this series? What was that which boiled my blood and kept me up at night, that surged adrenaline through me just at the thought of the reader taking in the words? That is what I want. That’s what I must continue to write.

That’s the way I want to keep trying to live.

Evan

Fellow Author Shoutout-Craig Martelle

Fellow Author Shoutout-Craig Martelle

Just chatted with my fellow author buddy Craig Martelle today. He started publishing books around the same time I did last year. We started chatting as fellow burgeoning authors and I could tell he was a pretty cool guy.

What I didn’t know, is that he was a writing machine.

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I published two books last year. Pretty good for my standards and writing speeds.

Craig published 20 since then. TWENTY!? I am in awe. Seriously, that is incredible. Want to make a name for yourself self publishing? This is how you do it kids. You write. and write. and write. and write. and write more.

I won’t lie. I’m jealous of that production! Congrats Craig that’s awesome. I’m my dreams I’m that prolific 😀

-Evan Pickering

 

HOOD is on sale for $0.99!

HOOD is on sale for $0.99!

So the Ebooks have grown ripe on the vine, thus I have harvested them and decided to sell them for 0.99$ on Amazon.

That, or yknow, it’s promo time. For 7 days HOOD will be 0.99$ so get em while they’re hot! If you know anyone into post-apoc or just loves a good story, they can pick one up for a buck. 879 words per penny. Don’t make me think about it in any other terms than that or my head might explode.

If you enjoyed HOOD, let people know about it! Now’s the time for people to pick up a copy if they want to give it a shot.

It really means the world to me if you share this book with people. I’m incredibly proud of the success it’s had so far. But I want more people to enjoy the story, so I’ll love you forever if you let someone know about it 🙂

And don’t worry, I’m hard at work on BOOK 3, American Rebirth. It’s gonna take some time given how much my life has exploded lately, but the story is moving along. I’m pretty excited to see it finished.

Have a good weekend you savages,

-Evan

To The Readers…

To The Readers…

As I am in the process of outlining & writing Book 3, I’ve been reflecting a bit on what I’ve done so far. As I hope to wrap up this three-book arc (more novels in the series sure to come thereafter, but I want Books 1-3 to come to a satisfying completion) I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve done well and what I can improve on.

I’ve done plenty of self-reflection on the matter. Some things are clear, others are not. That’s where you all come in.

I’d really love feedback from you–the reader. So I’ve tossed a few questions together. As some of you may know I’ve been mulling over a title/cover change for Book 2… So in the spirit of feedback:

Feel free to answer in the comments, or email me at EvanPickering@EvanPickeringAuthor.com

  1. What do you think of the cover of WHISKEY, Book 2? Does it or doesn’t it make you interested in reading the book?
  2. What do you think of the title of WHISKEY, Book 2? If you had to choose between WHISKEY or LEGENDS as the title, which do you think would be more appealing?
  3. What was your favorite thing about the Book(s)? This could be as simple as a character dynamic, or a scene, or facet of the world, etc. No wrong answer.
  4. What was your least favorite thing about the Book(s)? Again, no wrong answer. Don’t worry about my feelings (lol) I want feedback!
  5. Any comments/questions feel free to speak up. It can be regarding the above or anything else.

This is your chance to pick my brain, help me out and ask me some questions!

I’m hard at work at Book 3. Life has been crazy but I’m making headway. I’m hoping to get it done much faster than the 9 months it took to get Book 2 done. With two books under my belt hopefully I’m getting better (and faster) at this!

Hope you all are enjoying your holidays.

-Evan

Mulling over Title/Cover Change…

Mulling over Title/Cover Change…

So I’m considering changing the title and cover for WHISKEY.

Truth be told, I like the cover and the title as it is… but I’m concerned it isn’t “connected” enough to HOOD so that the casual observer who sees it will recognize that it’s the sequel.

Maybe I’m overthinking things. But I’ve been toying around with covers to satisfy my meandering mind. Arguably, I’m not a digital design artist so my skills are pretty damn limited…

But I need some input from you, the reader/casual observer. Please let me know your thoughts on this matter…

Here’s the original cover:

whiskey-cover-final-42

And here’s the new one I’ve been playing with:

whiskey-cover-final-green

So, what do you think? Do you prefer the old one or the new one? Perhaps a mix of both? What do you think of the potential title change? Or the change of coloration to be more like HOOD?

Truth be told, things like title, cover art… these are just marketing tools. And I want BOOK 2 to feel as much like a spiritual successor to HOOD as possible.

 

Thanks peeps,

Evan Pickering

Anticipation.

Anticipation.

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So in case you haven’t heard my barrage of tweets and posts, here’s a giant banner to tell you Tomorrow is the release of WHISKEY.

I don’t even know how to put it into words. Like an emotion sandwich. Anticipation is a magical and terrible thing.

From a totally primal sense, it’s strange to think about the idea of knowing what’s about to happen. Not that we know exactly, but we know generally. It’s a survival tool. Millions of years of evolution.

Now we tend to use it for other things. Excitement as you count down the days until you get to see someone you love again. Dread for fear of some oncoming work. The tantalizing ghost-taste of the food your about to eat as you wait for the server to bring it to you.

In my case, I’m using it to dream up a perfect scenario where BOOK 2 is beloved by all and the series becomes huge, simultaneously while imagining a scenario where no one gives a damn and people think it’s meh and I’m back to the drawing board. Like Schroedinger’s cat, both are true at once right now.

But there aren’t two absolute outcomes.

I think I know what the most likely outcome is.

A good portion of those who read HOOD will read WHISKEY. People will largely love it and be excited for BOOK 3, and some will hate it or find it meh, but overall I will now have two books under my belt and more people will be more interested in the series since it isn’t as much as a ‘promise of future books.’ In short, I’m bettering my career.

I believe in my own writing. I believe in my ability to learn and grow. I believe that the risks I took in my stories are going to be something readers really love–Especially when they see where the story is going.

This is the story I’ve been wanting to tell for years. I take an incredible amount of pride and joy in telling it, and how much people have enjoyed it or hated it so far.

So anticipation is going to do its thing. My mind is going to wonder and wander and try to conjure up the future. But I don’t know what’s gonna happen, nobody knows what’s going to happen. That’s what is awesome about the future.

So as the hours count down, I’m going to enjoy this feeling, and just embrace whatever comes.

Have a good tomorrow peeps, now and always.

Evan Pickering