Tag Archives: Norton’s Ghost

Excerpt From Norton’s Ghost

The following is an excerpt of Norton’s Ghost, from Part 3, Chapter 13. Stay tuned next Sunday for a sample of my up-and-coming book codenamed “Morocco“.

* * * * *

The officer hit the ground butt-first and tumbled back against the building. His feet and legs came up off the ground like a two year old rolling onto his or her back. My brain had a split-second to toss out a thought

(wow, his shoes are shiny)

before I saw the remaining civilian’s arm raise in a smooth arc.

Extended from it was cold, blue steel that looked black under what little light fell into the alley. As the officer scrambled to get up, the conscious part of me hit the manual override switch and I lurched forward, willing myself to get there fast enough, without knowing what I was going to do when I got there.

The man squeezed the trigger as I ran. I knew this because the gun jumped and the briefest flash-tongue of flame slipped from the barrel, followed by the sound, a deafening explosion that bounced off the surrounding walls and made my ears ring. I had time for one last thought—oh my god I’m too late he actually SHOT him—before I crashed into the shooter with my full weight and gathered momentum.

I swung, elbowed and kicked as we both went down, intent on doing as much damage as possible.

I felt something grab my shoulder and it dawned on me that I’d forgotten about the second man, the man who now had me outnumbered and prone and I knew a moment of true fear before I realized it was my backpack strap, still hanging onto my arm. The other strap broke during the struggle, and I had a death grip not on the assailant, but on my own backpack.

I looked up to see both men running away, the first only the briefest white flicker as the heel of his hind sneaker turned the corner. I shrugged myself out of my pack and scrambled on all fours over to the officer.

His eyes were closed when I knelt down beside him. I nudged him with my hand—it touched something warm and wet. My mind flashed back to a day long before when I followed Gareth one night and witnessed the stabbing of a homeless man. Once again, I fought the urge to vomit.

And I would help this time, if I could.

At my touch, the officer’s eyes opened. He was much younger than I first thought. Early thirties at most.

“Are you okay?” I asked. Stupid question, I knew, considering I saw him get shot and had his blood on my hand.

“Mmmnnn,” he mumbled. I couldn’t understand what he was trying to say. His eyes focused on mine for a second and then went wholly white as they rolled up into the back of his head.

* * * * *

Norton's Ghost


Thankfulness and Expectations

Note: Norton’s Ghost is the Book of the Day over at http://www.kindleboards.com.  I wrote this entry as a little tidbit for the forum and am reposting it here.

I’ve had people ask me if the story of Norton’s Ghost is autobiographical.  I like to think that this means I got something right in the telling of it.

Beyond the usual “there’s a little bit of the writer in every part of the story,” it’s completely fiction.  I’ve never hitchhiked through California, have never experienced homelessness, am thankful to still have my father, and though I did leave school a few times, it wasn’t so that I could go gallivanting around.

At times, I wish it had been.

In a way, the telling of Kyle Dearmond’s story in Norton’s Ghost was a way of doing what I myself couldn’t:  cut loose.  Stop doing things just because it’s supposed to be a good idea to do them.

It’s often said that authors themselves don’t know the ending to their book until it spills out onto the page.  Oh, sure, sometimes we have an idea how we would like it to end, but seldom do our inspirations and characters march lockstep with our idea of what the story should be.

Kyle Dearmond set out to get away from what was expected of him and to find his own way.  I myself felt the pull of the expected as I wrote the story.  “You’re dumb for doing that,” I told him.  “That’s nuts.  Go back to school, get a job, buy a house.”

In all:  “Be like one of us.”

He refused.  In part, he was running from the things he couldn’t or wouldn’t deal with, but I can’t say I blame him for that.  And so I wrote, all the while wondering myself whether he would come out okay in the end.  As the author, my job was to tell the story–not to help the character along to a happy ending.

Today is the day after Thanksgiving.  Most of us are probably still full from yesterday (oh, but those leftover potatoes in the fridge still call to us, yes they do) and we’ve spent time with family and food and reflected on what we’re thankful for.  We sometimes forget these things during the rest of the year, when the roller coaster of life sends us thundering down the slope or rocks us around a hairpin turn.

But in the end, when the time comes, we remember.

For Kyle Dearmond, Norton’s Ghost is a crucible, a stripping away of expectations and an attempt to step off the roller coaster for a while so he can figure out what really matters–and to have the memories and experiences to properly treasure it.

Little does he know that he steps out of one roller coaster and onto another.

Such is the way of stories.

Norton’s Ghost Official Book Trailer Released

I’m excited that I can finally release the finished trailer. This was a side project for me over the past 3-4 weeks.

June 5th, 2010

I’ve spent some time the last few weeks–including the time since finishing STRANDED–on working on a side project for purposes of promoting Norton’s Ghost.  It’s finished now and I hope to be able to release it sometime next week.  To say I’m excited about sharing it would be an understatement.

I got new glasses.  Five or so years overdue, but better late than never, right?  Apparently I have an extremely big head–no one had anything that fit right.  So in the end, I had to settle.  I’ll be taking the rest of my frame shopping online from now on.  What kind of business is it when I ask, “Can you order anything else in?  You know, something that fits me?” and they say, “Nope”?

Getting STRANDED finished means my path is clear to begin work on the FUTURE project.  I’m trying my best to ignore the pile of printed pages that is STRANDED for now so that it can cool off before I edit it.  I should stow that manuscript away in a box somewhere so it’s not sitting out and taunting me.

At any rate, I spent a while this morning re-familiarizing myself with my notes for codename FUTURE.  I’m very much looking forward to returning to this work.  I had some of the original ideas ten years ago.  I wish I could have written it then–some of the main hooks in the story are technological in nature.  But 19 years old isn’t old enough to write a story like this.    So I’ll have to make do with my soon-to-be-30 self.  I hope I didn’t miss the boat or had someone else already put forth the ideas in this story.  One way to find out, right?

Norton’s Ghost Novel Now Available In Kindle Store For 99 Cents

I’m happy to announce that my novel, “Norton’s Ghost”, is now available in the Kindle store for 99 cents.

Norton’s Ghost on Amazon’s Kindle Store