Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ryan Schneider: A SHADOW PASSED OVER THE SON

Lately I've been stalking fantasy writers. Okay, stalking might be too strong a word. I am finding them via my new Twitter ID of @scifiwoman13 and looking at their work as we connect in the stream. When my science fiction romances started being called "fantasy" by readers, I realized that my old school idea of fantasy might be out of date, or at the very least limited.

Ryan Schneider is one of the coolest authors I have met. He writes adult and YA fantasy. I volunteered to feature one of his YA books (which I am currently reading) to introduce him to my blog followers and readers.

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BOOK DESCRIPTION

"HARRY POTTER meets IRON MAN" in this first installment of the epic adventure serial series THE GO-KIDS.

Thirteen-year-old Parker Perkins lives in Manhattan with his mom and dad. Today is Parker's 13th birthday. He has convinced his mom to let him skip school so that he can spend his birthday in the arcade, playing his favorite video game, the GO-BOY simulator. It's no match for the Battle-Suit flown by teen heart-throb Colby Max in Colby's action movies, but Parker spends as much time playing as he can, and he's had the top score for nearly three months. After school, Parker's dad is taking him to the movies, to see Colby Max's newest GO-BOY feature film. Parker wants to be ready, thus his plan to spend the day inside the sim, soaring the virtual skies, free as a bird. But Parker's birthday takes a sudden and horrendous turn for the worse, and his life will never be the same.

Though it is a story about kids, it is far more than just a kids' story. It is a story involving young protagonists dealing with universal themes of growing up, friendship, and loss of innocence, themes of children coming of age in an age of war. Ride along during the ongoing adventures of Parker, Sunny, Bubba, Igby, and Colby, characters readers will come to know and love.

EXCERPT From A SHADOW PASSED OVER THE SON

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Prologue

Blue sky.

High desert below. Dark green scrub, giant boulders, spiny cactus. Craggy, ancient mountains in the distance. Like pictures of New Mexico and Arizona.

Powerful robotic hands were attached to his muscular robotic arms. Black-booted feet emitted cones of blue plasma, holding him aloft. An impressive red safety harness held him securely inside a Go-Boy Battle-Suit. A real Go-Boy Battle-Suit. Better than the simulator at the arcade. Better even than the expensive Hollywood version piloted by Colby Max, and he was the most beloved thirteen-year-old in the country, perhaps the world.

There were others nearby, kids Parker’s age, somewhere in the sky with him.

One of them was in trouble.

Parker spun around, scanned the sky.

There she was, inside her Battle-Suit, on her back and falling headfirst, trapped in a flat spin. She spun like a leaf. A leaf made of lead.

Who was she? How did he know her?

It didn’t matter now. Questions later. If he could get to her before she impacted the hard ground, flattened in an unceremonious crunch of expensive metals and metallurgical polymers and whatever else Colby’s sidekick Igby used to build the fancy flying suits.

Parker rolled onto his back, accelerated hard. He dove from the sky in a tight loop, until he flew parallel to the earth. He accelerated harder, pushing his Battle-Suit faster and faster. Scrub and boulders and cactus rushed by in a blur.

Voices on the radio, shouting, arguing, far away, as if he were under water. He ignored them, focused on her. He could save her. He had to.

A giant cactus appeared in his flight path. Green spines and black spikes rushed toward him. He made a fist with his big robotic hand and punched the cactus as he flew into it. The cactus exploded. Shards of cactus meat and beads of cactus juice hung in the air as if in a photograph. The explosive impact rang his ears inside his helmet.

He flew on, faster and faster.

She neared the ground. Mountains loomed behind her. A few seconds more and it would be too late.

He would make it. He would catch her.

She wasn’t going to die.

Not today.

Parker stretched out his long robotic arms. Drops of cactus juice sparkled on the black palms of his robotic hands, blue sky and brown desert reflected a hundred times in miniature.

He focused on her. Twirling as she fell. Around and around she spun. His timing had to be perfect.

He reached out . . .

. . . waited, waited . . . .

A shrill scream blared over the radio.

The Battle-Suit and the girl screaming inside it disappeared behind a massive boulder.

The screaming abruptly stopped.

From behind the boulder rose a cloud of brown dust.


Chapter 1

Bye, Mom

“I’m so dead.” Parker’s mother glanced at the rear view mirror for the third time.

“Mom. Relax,” said Parker. “It’s one day of school. Besides, it’s my birthday. Remember?”

“Yes, of course I remember.” She relaxed into the driver’s seat and looked at him. She smiled. Her eyes flitted to the mirror again.

“Mom.”

“Sorry.” Her eyes flitted back to him. “This is a tow-away zone.”

“They’re not going to tow the car with us sitting in it.”

“If your father finds out you spent the day playing video games, we can say you played hooky because it’s your birthday. But if I get a ticket for parking in a red zone outside the arcade, we won’t get off so lucky.”

“Fine. Go to school. Go teach.” He reached for the door handle.

“You sure you have enough money?”

“Yes. You gave me more than enough.” He smiled and opened the door.

“Don’t tell your father. You know how he is about earning things.” Her eyes drifted to the rear view mirror again. “Is that a cop?”

Parker looked over his shoulder. “No. It’s a taxi.” He put one foot out.

“What time are you meeting me back here?”

“Three.”

“We have to hurry to meet your father or he’ll know we were up to something.”

“I know.”

“What time?”

“Three.”

“You’re sure you have enough money?”

She sat behind the wheel, more matronly than usual in her work clothes, a long skirt and button-down sweater, hair piled atop her head like it always was in the mornings, with two blond strands framing her eyes. “Yes, mom. Go teach.”

She smiled. An odd, different smile.

He didn’t know what it meant. “What?”

“Nothing.” She looked at him, the mirror forgotten. “You’re getting so handsome. You look more like your father every day.”

“Dad says I remind him of you.”

She smiled again. “Does the watch fit?”

He held up his wrist. “Perfectly.”

“Good. He spent a lot of time shopping for the one you wanted. Make sure you turn it off until after school. We can at least pretend we’re following the rules. You’ll get my gift at dinner. I love you. My hope.”

“Mom, please.”

“What? It’s not every day my little boy turns ten.”

“Go teach.”

“Fine. Go . . . kick . . . . What is it you’re kicking, exactly?”

“Plasma.”

“Right. Go kick some plasma. And, uh, ‘Take it to the max.’” She pointed her finger at the sky. “You’re sure you have enough money? Parker?”

He wasn’t listening. He studied the watch, remembering last night, minutes before his father had given it to him. He’d walked in on his parents, found them shouting at each other. He hadn’t slept because of it. Halfway out the car door, he paused. “Last night, what were you and dad arguing about?”

“Grown up stuff.”

“Are you getting a divorce?”


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Ryan Schneider is the author of more than six novels and dozens of short stories, including the acclaimed science-fiction series THE GO-KIDS. Ryan enjoys writing stories he would enjoy reading, and as such he writes in many genres, including science fiction, fantasy, mainstream fiction, and even romance. A full-time writer, Ryan lives in Palm Springs, California with his wife Taliya, an award-winning singer/songwriter.
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