Welcome! Indie Author Excerpts is a new feature allowing indie authors the chance to showcase one of their books and allows readers to find their next favorite story. Each week, an indie author gets to promote a 1-2 page excerpt of their book here at The Bawdy Book Blog. This is a win-win for everyone! This feature was inspired in part by Indie Author Spotlight, a meme hosted by Beckie @ Bittersweet Enchantment and CYP @ A Bookalicious Story.
This Week’s Excerpt: Arson by Estevan Vega!
Genre: Adult/Urban Fantasy Publish Date: May 2012 Purchase: Kindle
ARSON GABLE FEELS LIKE A FREAK. HE CAN CREATE FIRE. HE NEVER ASKED FOR IT. HE NEVER WANTED IT. BUT HE CAN’T SHUT IT OFF.
Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl–who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin–moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he’s never had: purpose. After years of living in fear, he will be forced to confront his haunting past and embrace the unknown as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Edgy, realistic, and breathtaking, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated teenager with unimaginable ability, is set to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.
A Note from the Author: One of the things I wanted to do when I was writing ARSON was to make it as authentic and real as possible. How do you take a story about a boy who can create and manipulate fire and make it feel real? Well, I knew that the characters held the key. They would suck the reader into the story, make the reader feel like these could be kids and people that they might know. Here is a scene, a very normal, everyday scene, where Arson and Emery kind of just vent and set up their first “un-official” date. Get to know them. You may just wanna hang out sometime.
Arson sat with his back nudged up against one of the rotted porch pillars, listening to the sound of the lake, when the masked girl from next door dropped by, eager to say hello.
He noticed that an obscure band t-shirt covered her thin frame while ripped jeans and Converse classics completed whatever look she was aiming for. Once she got up close, Arson caught a glimpse of what the lower half of her face looked like.
“You look freaked out,” she said. “I swear, it’s like no one’s ever seen a mask before.” As if in defeat, she tilted her head, folded her arms, and sat down beside him.
He raised an eyebrow. “Hi.”
“You’re not planning to drown yourself today, are you?” she said.
“Wasn’t part of the plan, no.” Arson shrugged.
“You know, the weather guy says this is Connecticut’s worst heat wave in years. Figures we’d pick now to move to this crummy town.”
They both sighed.
The lake drew his attention. He loved how it looked in the morning with streams of sunlight shining over every ripple.
“You know, you could take a dip without trying to drown yourself. Unless, of course, you can’t swim.”
“I can swim. It’s just…”
“Grandma doesn’t like it when I go into the lake.”
Arson watched her head jerk back, shocked by what he’d just said. “I thought my parents were strict,” she said.
“Grandma gets upset easy. She’s from a different mindset, one that says if you disobey her it means you don’t love her or something. I used to get it; now I’m just as confused as every other teenager.”
“Parents.” Emery sighed. “They should just let us live our lives. Not everything demands their oversight or their approval.”
“Sorry. I just have a weird relationship with the ’rents. Slang, by the way, for parents.” Emery began playing with her hair. She looked nervous; he could tell. But Arson didn’t know why. “Do you get along with your folks? Is your mom as much of a control freak as your grandmother?”
Arson blinked, silent for a while. “My mother’s dead,” he slowly replied. “Never met my father. But Grandma told me the kind of person he was. He kind of took off after I was born.”
“Oh, that sucks. But you and your grandmother are pretty close, then?”
“She’s cared for me ever since.”
“Right.” Emery shrugged half-heartedly. “I get it. I’m jealous.”
The wind blew their hair back and forth. The lake quickly became crowded by boats and jet skis. The stir was plenty loud to distract them from the awkward moment.
“How long have you lived here?”
Who was this girl? She asked so many questions, questions nobody had asked before, questions nobody cared enough to ask. Arson knew nothing about her other than her name, the fact that she wore a mask, and that she had been dead set on saving his life less than twenty-four hours earlier when he was sure he didn’t need saving. She had just moved in next door and instantly wanted his ear for a conversation.
After a moment, he responded, “We’ve lived here seven years.”
“My family’s never stayed in any spot longer than three. Something always happens, and we have to move. Never really had a home, you know? You’re really lucky.”
Lucky? If there was ever a word to describe him, it wasn’t that. Depressed, maybe, or discontented, but never lucky.
“Say, what do you do for fun around here? I mean, you guys have the usual: gas stations and a Mickey D’s, but I’ve never been much for siphoning gas tanks, and I can’t stand Big Macs.”
Arson stared blankly. He’d never been asked for advice on what was fun. It was always him asking someone else. And had she just asked him out, or was that crazy, masked-girl talk for excessive boredom?
“C’mon, it’s July, and summer’s already half over. You know, I always wanted to go back to public school ever since the ’rents forced homeschooling down my throat. Said it was better for me. I guess now I’ll get my wish. They agreed to let me try it out this fall. I told them I was a senior, for crying out loud. But if I can be honest, the school schedule sucks. I mean, summer just started.”
A grin crawled across Arson’s lips.
“Sorry, I’m just very opinionated.”
“Really?” he said.
Emery playfully shoved him. “I need to do something fun before I go out of my mind. All this unpacking and getting settled in blows. My mom thinks I’m wasting my summer months away. She wants me to start volunteering at the hospital. She’s a nurse, by the way. But can you believe that? She’s there for, like, a few days and already suggesting I volunteer. I’ve always wanted to do it but can’t stand the fact
that she’s the one pushing me to do something I’ve wanted to do since I was six. She’s probably got everything set up and has me committed.”
Arson quietly listened.
“She says it’ll be good for me. They always say that, don’t they? Whatever.”
“Maybe she’s right.”
“Oh, don’t tell me you’re on her side,” Emery said with a grunt.
Arson raised his hands in defense. “I don’t even know your mom, so how could I be on her side? I’m just saying it might be a good idea, that’s all.”
Emery’s mask shook, and he pictured her frustrated beneath its gruesome skin.
“She always thinks she knows what I’m thinking, but she doesn’t.”
Arson simply nodded, still lost in the insanity of having a conversation with a complete stranger. Well, sort of.
Emery continued, “I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this. I just feel like a geyser, and I’ve been holding everything down for so long that I just want to pop. You’re the closest thing I have to a shrink at the moment, so, sorry, but you’re kinda stuck listening.”
Arson ran his fingers through his hair nervously. Awkward tension filled the moment.
“Any plans for the Fourth?” she asked, changing the subject. “I’m not keen on the idea of spending the day with Mom and Dad. The way they’ve been acting, I’d be surprised if they said hello to each other, much less have an enjoyable time. I gotta get out. But I don’t even have a car. How lame is that?”
“Really lame,” Arson said. “But it seems we have something in common.”
“So quit being boring and make a suggestion.”
“Hey, you came over here, remember? I never invited you.”
“Fine.” Emery picked herself up, preparing to walk away. With a purposefully slow pace, she walked, giving him a shot at redemption.
“There’s a bowling alley not too far from here,” he eventually offered. “We could walk, I guess.”
“Bowling? I just sat there for ten minutes and practically divulged my entire family history, and the best thing you can come up with is bowling?” Emery shifted her stance and used her sneakers to make shapes in the dirt. “’K,” she sighed. “It’s a date. I’ll expect to see you at my door at 7:29 sharp tomorrow
“7:29?” he asked.
“Yup. Seven thirty is too…normal. Unfun. 7:29 assures me that you actually want to do this. It’s inexact, imprecise, and perfect for our little experiment.”
“First contact’s over; it’s time for phase two. How does alien boy respond to strange settings? Or perhaps familiar ones? What deep, dark secrets can we uncover? Either way, the results should be interesting. Just promise me a good time, and I promise you won’t be forced to endure my beloved parents.”
Arson stood up, and the porch creaked. He watched her shadow escape as the sunset lit up the sky.
“Pretty,” he whispered.
Some kids want to be a rockstar. Some kids want to be rich and famous. Some aspire to be a Hollywood celebrity. Okay, okay, let’s be real…any of those would be awesome. But how many kids want to be a writer? The number tends to shrink a bit, right? Well, for Estevan Vega, who began writing passionately in the 5th grade, writing became the only destination.
Spending most of his childhood infatuated with comic book characters and creepy movies, he began sketching some of his most beloved characters. Art naturally captivated him. But his desire to one day join the ranks of the artists at Marvel or Disney got hugely overshadowed by an even bigger and possibly crazier ambition: writing. His dad is mostly to blame. After all, it was his idea to pull him away from the television one night when he urged, oh, so poetically, for his reluctant son to shut his eyes for a moment and imagine a new world full of exciting possibilities. The rest is history.In the rare moments when she’s not writing, she can usually be found hunched over one knitting project or another.
In addition to writing, Estevan Vega watches way too many movies, loves going to concerts, spending way too much time on Twitter, and yes…he’s eagerly anticipating that movie deal. C’mon, Hollywood…whenever…
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