My #Guest Michael D. Smith gives an in-depth description of his hero in CommWealth

Please welcome my guest, Michael D. Smith , author ofCommWealth

*** Tell us about your hero, his strengths and weaknesses.

Allan Larson is one of the six major figures in CommWealth.  Though two other characters eventually step forth to function as heroes, Allan is the consummate anti-hero whose absurd and puerile ambitions dominate this book.  I’ve always thought of the characters in CommWealth as an ensemble cast in a movie, where accomplished actors divide the plot between them and no one actor has the lead role.  The ensemble concept is apt for this novel, in which these characters form the core of the Forensic Squad theatrical troupe.  The Cup of Fog coffeehouse in the fictional coastal Texas town of Linstar is their home base and forms the stage upon which the forces of the novel collide.

The insanity of the six-month-old CommWealth system, in which all private property has been outlawed and citizens are required to share everything, finds its apt expression in Allan Larson as he glibly procures free electronics and a Porsche in the first scene.  Allan is a narcissistic playwright and actor who forces Forensic Squad to stage his mediocre play Cabaret.  Supercilious, clueless, and manipulative, he’s claimed a mansion in Linstar Heights and surrounded himself with expensive cars and gadgets.  As a writer he thinks he should express his buried truths, but he’s too fearful to find out what they really are, and when crime tempts him, he sees it as just another avenue to fulfilling his needs.  He considers himself too creative to be bothered making backup copies of his writing, and it’s only by luck that he gets a digital copy of Cabaret back after his laptop is claimed by another citizen along with all his wide screen TVs, sports cars, and motorcycles.  He dominates Forensic Squad not as a leader or someone who can make the troupe function, but as its clever, over-the-top “idea man” playwright with just enough charisma to keep things rolling his way.

If Allan has any redeeming quality, it’s his hesitant realization of a need for friendship or for the comradeship of the theatrical troupe, even as he considers how such friends and fellow actors might further or thwart his ambitions, and when might be the best opportunity to betray them.  His loneliness can be touching.  Though he lives in a dream world and rewrites every event to conform to his worldview, when a machine gun is pressed into his hands and his service is demanded as a soldier of a revolution against CommWealth, he’s at least grounded enough to see the absolute futility of such a battle–although his cowardice also plays a large part here.

Blurb:

The CommWealth system, has created a society in which there is no legal claim to any kind of private property. Any object from your house to the clothes you’re wearing can be demanded by anyone, to be enjoyed for thirty days before someone else can request it. As actors in the Forensic Squad theatrical troupe attempt to adapt to this chaos, their breaking of the Four Rules sustaining the system, as several members navigate betrayals, double agents, and murder to find themselves leading a suicidal revolution.

Excerpt:

CommWealth Rules:

Rule One – You are free to enjoy the chosen object for thirty days. During this period no other person may request it.

Rule Two – The requestor is untouchable for thirty days by the person asked. Attempts at retaliation, such as demanding unusually large quantities from the original requestor after the thirty-day period, carry stiff penalties.

Rule Three – Once you ask somebody for something, you can never ask him or her for anything else again.

Rule Four – You can never ask for the same thing back from the person who got it from you, not even after his or her thirty days of enjoyment.

Allan shivered at the reflection of his black overcoat and his striding legs on the wet sidewalk. Up ahead someone with a DreamPiston Electronics bag opened a shiny red Porsche glistening with thousands of water beads.

“Okay,” Allan said, “I’ll take your car here.”

The mustached little twerp looked up. “Ahhh, crap…”

“C’mon, don’t give me any trouble. Gimme the key.”

“Look, it’s raining. And I just got these MP3 players and the new Fappy tablet—”

“Not my problem. Fork the damn key over.”

“Look, my umbrella’s in the car—can I just get my umbrella so my stuff—”

“Forget it. The umbrella’s part of the car as far as I’m concerned. Anything in the car. Besides, I just lost my umbrella a couple blocks back. I’m soaked.”

“C’mon, I just got this car the other day!”

“Don’t hand me that. The sticker on the plate says you got it a month and a half ago. You’re overdue, buddy. Now hand me the key.”

“Dammit! Dammit!”

“Got trouble there?” A bright blue City of Linstar police car idled in the rain. “Got a Hoarder there?” a huge officer grinned.

“Uh, no… not at all…” said the twerp. “I just—I just can’t find the key—”

“Yeah, right—you just unlocked the damn car with it,” Allan said, turning to the policeman. “He is giving me a lot of crap about it.”

“C’mon, sir, you know better than that.” The officer’s name tag read BARCLAY.

“Dammit!” the twerp snarled. He separated the Porsche key off his key ring, thrust it at Allan, then spun around and fastened on a man coming down the sidewalk.

“Give me that umbrella! Right now!”

“Goddammit…” the man grunted, surrendering his umbrella to the twerp, who grabbed it and hoisted it above his DreamPiston bag.

“We really got the Christmas spirit here, don’t we?” Barclay said.

“Really,” Allan said. “Some people…” He examined the Porsche key in the rain. “Thanks for your help, officer.”

“Oh, I’m sure it wasn’t really necessary. People are basically good, you know. Give ’em time to adjust and all, that’s what I say.”

The twerp leapt into traffic with his new umbrella and his bag, waving his free arm. A little green car skidded to a halt. The twerp ran to the window and pounded on it. “Give me this car! Right now! Damn you!”

“Jesus…” Allan said. “What a bastard!”

Barclay was out of his patrol car in a second, hand on his hand on his holster. “Sir, that’s not the right way to go about it. We need to be respectful. That’s the CommWealth way.”

About the Author:

Michael D. Smith was raised in the Northeast and the Chicago area, before moving to Texas to attend Rice University, where he began developing as a writer and visual artist.  In addition to exhibiting and selling paintings and drawings, he’s completed fifteen novels.

Smith’s writing in both mainstream and science fiction genres uses humor to investigate psychological themes.  On his blog, he explores art and writing processes, and his web site contains further examples of his writing and art. He is currently Technology Librarian for McKinney Public Library in McKinney, Texas.

CommWealth is his first novel published by Class Act Books.

Find out more about Michael at:

Website: , www.sortmind.com,

Blog: www. http://blog.sortmind.com/wordpress/

CommWealth is available at:

Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/dystopian/commwealth-6022015-08-14-23-29-50-detail?Itemid=0

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/CommWealth-Michael-D-Smith-ebook/dp/B013YPU5D4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478983628&sr=8-1&keywords=CommWealth

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/commwealth-michael-d-smith/1122537291?ean=2940152097313

Now that you’ve read about my guest, please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.

Website http://barbaraedwards.net

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraEdwards.Author

Twitter  https://www.twitter.com/Barb_ed

Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A

GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/496095.Barbara_Edwards

My #Guest Jeremy Higley on His Hero in The Son of Dark

Please welcome author Jeremy Higley, as he describes his hero in The Son of Dark

Tell me about your hero, his strengths and weaknesses.

I started writing The Son of Dark during my senior year of college. It took me about three years to finish. Now that it’s done, I still struggle to summarize the story properly without feeling like I’m leaving things out.

My hero, Skel, is a wizard in training and the foster son of an elephant herder who resents him. At the age of 14, his world falls apart when his master leaves unexpectedly, and his true father shows up to tell him about the prophecy that led to his birth. The same night his infant foster brother is kidnapped by a magical dream cult called the Dun Ko.

The book also follows the journey of my secondary “hero,” a former pirate turned merchant whose wife has been possessed by a dragon. As Skel searches for the Dun Ko and the lost child, he gets tangled up in the man’s quest to find a cure for his wife’s enchantment. Meanwhile, the good and evil wizards from an age before are becoming active again as the prophecy of the Darksome Thorn, the same prophecy without which Skel would never have been born, is weaving the past and the present together in preparation for a dark threat approaching from beyond the horizon.

Skel is not so much an accidental hero as a reluctant one. He wants to do the right thing, and he would like to help everybody, but he hates being the center of attention. He’s like a main character who wants to take the role of a supporting character, but Fate won’t let him. The most fascinating part of his journey, for me, is his development into a leader. He certainly isn’t there by the end of the first book. He likely will have an awkward relationship with his role for a while yet.

Indeed, I think I’ll always see Skel as an unassuming soul whose greatness is thrust upon him by forces beyond his control.

Blurb for Son of Dark:

A thousand years ago, the wizards of the Nynsa  failed to follow the prophecy of the Darksome Thorn, and now the greatest evil of their time has survived into the next age.

Now, the Darksome Thorn has revealed a new prophecy, and the very evil they failed to kill is working to use that prophecy to his advantage.

Forces of evil run rampant in the land of Duskain. Ancient powers are stirring. A greater darkness is imminent…

…and Skel, the foster son of an elephant herder, finds himself caught in the middle of everything. Will Skel’s newly developing powers be a help or a hindrance…

Excerpt for Son of Dark:

Marga pointed to the south. Zar didn’t turn, but he heard a gasp of recognition from Skel.

“Aja-aja,” he said with concern. “Three of them, about two miles away.”

Zar sighed in trepidation. The aja-aja were rare, enormous snakes prowling the Eltar plains, preying on elephants and any herders foolish enough to attack them. They had three heads each and stocky, powerful bodies to match, and could grow to over forty feet long. They killed and then predigested their prey by spitting streams of corrosive poison from their mouths.

“The aja-aja will be no problem,” he bluffed, staring into Marga’s eyes. “I have two magic-users with me now, a wizard and a Phage. They’re perfectly capable of dispatching a few overgrown snakes.”

“If so, then I’ll simply have to wait longer to be reunited with my precious one,”

the Wyvern said, eyeing the flattened snake corpses around her.

Something inside Zar began to burn like a fuse at the words “precious one.”

“You knew her before, I presume,” he continued, his voice much quieter. “Before you kidnapped her, I mean, and took over her mind.”

“She was mine to take,” the Wyvern retorted through Marga’s lips. “She was always mine to take.”

The last words hissed from Marga’s mouth like a challenge. Zar’s fingers wrapped around his sword’s hilt. He wanted nothing more at this moment than a way to strike at

his enemy, but the Wyvern was far, far away.

“If you want her,” Zar said, “you’ll have to kill me.”

“Too risky,” the Wyvern replied. “You crave nothing more than to die for her. To kill you might break my grip.”

“If you don’t kill me she will never truly be yours,” Zar said. He walked to within an arm’s length of her. “As long as there’s breath in me, I will always be fighting to free

her.”

“I’m sure you mean that,” the Wyvern said. “Once you’re dead, there’s nothing to stop me from singing her back to me.”

About the Author:

Jeremy Higley was born in California but now lives in Arizona. As of 2016 he’s a graduate student working on a master’s degree in English. He’s also an instructional aide at a local elementary school, a novelist, and a contributing editor for a nonprofit student success company called LifeBound.

The Son of Dark, Book 1 of The Darksome Thorn, is his first novel.

Find out more about Jeremy at:

Website: www.darksomethorn.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeremy.higley.3?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/darksomethorn/

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-higley-93b0b418

Google+: https://plus.google.com/100303315189666735431

Buy Links:

Publishers Website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/cat-young-adult/the-son-of-dark-tales-of-the-darksome-thorn-book-1-detail?Itemid=0

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kindle-eBooks/b?ie=UTF8&node=154606011

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Son-Dark-Darksome-Thorn-Book-ebook/dp/B01IG983XC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=U

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/650660

Thanks for stopping by,

Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.

Website http://barbaraedwards.net

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraEdwards.Author

Twitter  https://www.twitter.com/Barb_ed

Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A

GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/496095.Barbara_Edwards