Exclusive Excerpt: A Love Story for a Nation – The Real Enemy

To celebrate my latest novel’s first 99 Cent Sale on Amazon, I’m happy to offer an exclusive excerpt. Here’s a piece where Gerald stares into the face of his true adversary – the man on his country’s money:

“If I was a man, I’d have my revenge.” He leaned against the table. “What revenge would that be?” he asked himself. “Gomez said it himself, if I need someone to blame then just look around. Look around at this crummy house. Cold in the winter. Suffocating in the summer. Holes the size of Reoux rats, who have staked their claim to happiness. This place spawns rats, not humans. Look around! Blame is in the eye of the beholder. It’s so easy to see. You’ve exchanged my happiness for a pile of cash. Is that what you want?” He yelled the last line and violently upturned the table, sending all the loose bills scattering onto the kitchen floor. “Here, rats, come and feast on my fortune. Come and dine on my happiness. Lick the bills and tear a hole through the face of the one who surely is to blame for your wealth and my plight.” Gerald got on all fours and reached for a colorful denomination, lifting it up towards the window light. “There you are, President Antoine. I haven’t had the pleasure of having you in this house very often recently. But look at you now, covering my floor like the shavings of wood in a carpenter’s shop. At death you come. At death you finally show up to stake your claim on our lives. At death you arrive but for what? So I can walk upon you?” Gerald stood up and jumped up and down on the money. “So I can jump on you?  So I can push your greasy face into the rat tracks of my kitchen floor?” He walked all over the money, but stopped quickly to look once again at the bill still in his hand. “But Antoine, you came too late. You came much too late. If you had arrived several months ago, Rosia would be alive. Did you hear that Antoine? Rosia and my son would still be alive if you had come earlier. You have the means of doing good, but you purposely choose evil. You purposefully spit your venom on everyone. I thought we were friends. Compatriots. Brothers. I worked for you. I, Gerald Jon Sanpatri, worked for you. I never opposed you as I should have. And this is how you repay me? I was loyal to you and disloyal to myself, and this is how you repay me?” He stared deeply into the face on the bill. “It’s you! You’re to blame for everything. Everything! Everything!” yelled Gerald loudly and ripped the bill in several pieces, tossing it into the air. “I don’t want your blood money! I don’t want your gifts and flowers! I only want one thing: revenge. I shall have it, or I shall have death.”

SALE ENDS SEPT 26! Pick your copy up HERE!

Amazon UK Store

New Release Post on Storybook Reviews

Storybook Reviews recently posted about my new novel, A Love Story for a Nation. The post also included an exclusive excerpt.  Below is an excerpt of the excerpt. Do head over to the Storybook Reviews and check out the complete post:

“Standing firm. In the native dialect of the Banti hill tribe, Meneshmi Bula means ‘standing firm’,” offered Gerald.

“This man is a walking metaphor. A literary reference who has come to life,” continued Horace, pointing at Meneshmi.

“But why would you choose that name, Meneshmi?” asked Sonni.

“It’s not difficult to guess,” said Gerald, feeling uncomfortable and regretting his decision to visit.

Horace shook his head in disbelief. “He’s an example of the young, uneducated saps whose only schooling comes through the current system of modern manipulation-matriculation. Don’t worry, Sonni. It’s not your fault.” He turned back to Gerald. “Can you believe what these people learn these days? Sonni was telling me about a class he takes called, ah…”

“Patriotic Socialization.”

“That’s it, Patriotic Socialization and the… what was that? The crappiness of…”

“Patriotic Socialization and Citizen Contribution.”

“Yes, exactly. What a young memory he has! Let’s hope he’s half as clever when he becomes an engineer. Have you covered two plus two yet?”

 

99 Cent Promotion & Excerpt 1: “The Reach of the Banyan Tree”

My latest novel will be on 99 cents on Kindle from Feb 25 through March 2. Please pick up a copy at the link below.

The following is an excerpt from the very beginning, setting up the premise and theme. I hope you enjoy. I’d love to hear your feedback.

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Part I: Lost Souls Fifty-Five Years Apart

The Banyan Tree

“A banyan tree sees all, knows all, and keeps many secrets. It knows a time of bondage and a time of freedom. Its reach never stops; it keeps growing and expanding regardless of circumstances, regardless of difficulties. Time and destiny are on its side. In the end, the grand banyan tree, with its thirty-foot expanse, will once again sense order restored to the universe.”

Nguyen Van Vinh, 1945, French Indochina

The Cliff

August 1945 – Tonkin, French Indochina

Dinh-Hoa didn’t think twice about the tropical monsoon which made visibility a dead-stop nil. He kept up the pace and sloshed down the mud-laced mountainous route, complete with hairpin turns every tenth of a mile. The wipers of his Soviet-Zel lorry flapped furiously but did little to remove the thick, curled, dimpled drops that repainted themselves on the windshield as soon as the rubber wiped them away.

Dinh-Hoa’s truck raced on, encased in the black stormy night, carrying a payload that needed to arrive on time. Only foolishness could have clung to the side of that mountain on a night like this, but Dinh-Hoa had done it a hundred times before. He felt each turn with the newly treaded tires and trustingly leaned into each curve with increasing confidence. There were no road signs, no guardrails, and, luckily, no oncoming traffic.

He estimated that he had an hour and a half more till he cruised into the relative ease of the rice plains and then on to headquarters. Without warning, a large rock jumped out and hit the right-front tire. Dinh-Hoa slammed on the brakes and swerved slightly, feeling a sudden nervousness in his stomach, which quickly dissipated as he felt the front tires grip, bringing the lorry back under control.

“Stupid rain.”

He curled around the next turn and hit a mud patch which locked his wheels like a vehicle on open ice. Dinh-Hoa and the truck careened off the cliff into the canyon below, falling one thousand five-hundred feet, piercing the darkness with five hundred brand new rifles.

Prison

July 2000 – Thai Nguyen, northern Vietnam

Love is not wished for. Nor is it wished away. Love, lost or found, must be wrestled with on a daily basis.

He put down his pen after scratching out a few muddled words that escaped his mind in that blindingly dark place. Light existed—faint strands that peered through the small portal eight feet above him. The window measured no more than a foot in diameter, with thick iron bars. He felt the heat, the deafening silence, and the unrelenting smell of urine, which turned his mind into a confusion of dark thoughts, constantly attacking him, teasing his sanity, spending his emotion. He only had her memory—little good that would do him. The small black journal shook in his hand as he blotted out everything in his mind except her. Her untouchable, petite frame, her hair jettisoning down to her waist, her soft touch, her gentle voice taming the harshest of edges. His phantom thoughts mocked him, sending him into convulsions, which usually ended with him lying flat on the damp floor, sweat dripping profusely from his wilting body. I love her, he would think or say out loud. To him it made no difference. Drenched, parched, and completely expelled, he cried for his loss—for his love that would never be again.

She could never forgive me. Never.

A thought like this might have given courage to a brave man to end it all. But he was not brave. He cowered in the darkness and cried, hoping the night would lift its wretched curse. But the iron doors clanged instead, and the silent jailer slid the tray of cabbage soup and steamed rice along the brick floor. He would eat like the coward he was. He would stay alive. He would hold the little black journal in his hand. He would think of her, and then he would fall asleep, face down on the jute cot, and wake up the next day to do it all over again.

80,000 more words and an amazing story is waiting for you HERE!  Only 99 cents for a limited time!

A Valentine’s Day Exclusive: “Banyan Tree” Romantic Excerpt

My latest novel, The Reach of the Banyan Tree, is loosely a historical romance. I hate to categorize it as such because I don’t believe it adequately describes it. But, it does have romance and it does tell a historical story. I thought I’d share a short romantic excerpt in honor of Valentine’s Day 2015. In the scene below, Charles Regal Carson finds a little unexpected love in the midst of chaos in the quiet, remote countryside of French Indochina – July 1945. Enjoy.

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Charles paused for a moment, and then all was revealed to him. He understood her hesitation and her apprehension. He understood the worried look on her face and her comments about betrayal. The irony of the last two days finally came to light—that love could appear out of the muddy struggle for life in the countryside of Vietnam. He put his right hand in her hair and slightly pulled away, allowing the hair to cascade back down to her head. She closed her eyes and turned her head into his touch. Protocol and procedures were hundreds of miles away in the sleepy camp of Tan Trao. But on this night, on this patch of ground, Charles felt the urgings of his heart like never before. Death seemed a lifetime away, as did Dinh-Hoa and the rifles. He had never met anyone like Mai, and whatever tomorrow would bring, he knew they at least had this moment.

He leaned in towards her, and their lips met for the first time. Mai didn’t think of her husband or Vinh or the revolution; she thought only of the love and respect she had for Charles Regal Carson. Charles pulled her close, picking her petite frame off the ground, slowly caressing her back as they kissed.

There is comfort in shared experience, in the touch of a woman, in the arms of a respectable man. They pushed off the troubles of tomorrow, letting the dawn worry about the future.

Purchase The Reach of the Banyan Tree HERE!

New Excerpt from “The Reach of the Banyan Tree”

In this excerpt, the small teen, Long, who is large in spirit and hatred for the French colonialists, insists on trying to shoot a rifle and almost ends up shooting an Allied plane. Setting: Tan Trao – Tonkin, French Indochina – July 16, 1945. Enjoy.

“Can I try?”

“We don’t allow skinny school boys to shoot,” said one of the gruff soldiers.

“I’m not a school boy.”

“Well, you should be.”

“I wouldn’t go to a French school if you paid me,” snapped the precocious teen.

“Well that’s good because there aren’t any French schools around here, and I wouldn’t pay you to wipe my boots. What are you? Eight?”

“I’m fourteen, and my uncle says I can join the revolution in eight months.”

“I didn’t know they were allowing babies into the army now,” another soldier jested with him.

“I’m not a baby.”

“You could have fooled me. You have to be taller than a rifle to actually shoot a rifle.”

The gaunt, malnourished, height-challenged youngster scoffed at those petty remarks. He may have been small, but he had the spirit of a warrior who wanted nothing more than to help the revolution. His uncle had taught him a hatred for the French that bred easily amongst the weary-laden souls living in a war-torn colony that had suffocated under eighty years of the foreigners trying to squeeze blood from their Asian turnip. The French, somehow, found a steady stream of income where there was no money or resources, with only the raw-boned determination of the Vietnamese peasants willing to work all day for a bowl of rice gruel. The abuse was all well documented—the rubber plantations that used corvee labor in near slave-like conditions to produce the sap to profit the large French corporations. The French imposed a quota on alcohol that each village was required to purchase whether they wanted it or not and whether it took away from their necessary grain purchases. They opened opium dens, addicting large portions of the male population while forbidding the sale of opiates of any kind in France itself. They purposefully kept the education system unattainable for the vast majority of the population, giving a French education to just enough Annamese to fill the necessary low-level administration posts in order to serve the colony and the French Empire.

“Come on. Let me try one.”

“Go ahead. Teach him a lesson,” said one of the soldiers.

“All right. Here you go.”

He put the outdated French relic on his shoulder and pointed it down-field towards a broken wooden crate with an “x” painted across it.

“Watch this,” said the cocky young man.

His eye lined up along the barrel and pulled the trigger hard but nothing happened.

“You have to pull it back further.”

“I know,” said Long.

“You know about as much as my ox.”

He flinched once and pulled back with his finger as hard as he could. The barrel went flying upward and the shot rang out into the heavens as Long blew back onto the ground.

“What are you shooting at?”

“Must be that plane there,” chimed in another soldier.

On the horizon, the rolling hum of a C-47 pierced the sky.

“Idiot! That’s a friendly plane. It’s the Americans.”

Long hoped that the trajectory of the bullet didn’t find its way into the path of the Allied plane. As he watched it get closer, shouting could be heard in the camp.

“They’re coming! They’re coming!”

“Slim. You better hurry or you’re going to miss it!” yelled Long.

You can pick up a copy of The Reach of the Banyan Tree HERE!

Kindle $2.99  Paperback: $10.79

 

New Excerpt & Book Promo only on The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Blog

I’m happy to share a new excerpt from The Recluse Storyteller not available anywhere else except in the book itself. It is part of a book promotion on The (Mis)Adventures … blog. Please head on over to her website and read the excerpt. If it sounds intriguing, please check out the book. Thanks everyone!

http://themisadventuresofatwentysomething.blogspot.com/2013/12/book-promo-recluse-storyteller-by-mark.html