Monday, May 14, 2018

Upon Broken Wings feat. Deleted Scenes- Author Name: E. L. Reedy & A. M. Wade

Upon Broken Wings
Author Name: E. L. Reedy & A. M. Wade
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Release Date: Friday, April 20 2018
Format: ebook

Price: 4.99
Story Type: Novel
Word Count: 69,500
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Genres: YA, LGBT, Fiction, Paranormal
Pairings: Two young adult males
Keywords/Categories: Gay, Straight

Warnings: Death, Suicide, Demons

Book Blurb:

Bound by a dark act of hate and despair, high school freshmen, Andrew and Kiernan, learn that their untimely deaths did not bring an end to their pain, but only began the suffering of those left behind. While his lost memories return, Andrew must master seemingly impossible feats, both spiritual and physical. As a dark spirit stalks Kiernan through the borderlands of life and death, he must also face the pain his actions have caused his loved ones. To save both their souls, Andrew must convince Kiernan to return to life and open his eyes to the love and beauty which had always been there.

500 Word Excerpt (Non Exclusive):

Andrew was at the graveyard that same morning, of course—every morning, windy or calm, snow or shine—he hadn’t missed a single day since the previous Halloween, when he said the final goodbye to the last of those dear to him.
Despite the sun’s half-hearted attempt to shine, the chill of autumn easily seeped through his black jacket, which he wore in turn over a black shirt and pants. He had not taken up an interest in the Goth Mythology, in truth, he did not even know the meaning of the word. He simply wore the only color that could accurately reflect the feelings tormenting a fourteen-year-old autistic boy who had found no other way to share with the world he felt no longer cared about him.
Andrew had placed his offering of white roses at four graves that morning, the fourth being that of his father, Matthew, whom he had never met. Michael’s final gift, the gold medallion, hung free from a chain around his neck and glittered in the morning sun.
The mysterious angel statues—there were two of them now—the woman, his mother, and a slightly shorter male, which could have represented a young teen—shone in the sparse daylight. The second statue, which held a book in both hands, had appeared within days of Michael’s funeral, but it never struck Andrew as odd and he never guessed its purpose, despite the resemblance and the timing of its appearance. As you might understand, he was rather wrapped up inside of himself, far more so than usual in those dark days of mourning, numbness, and irreparable regrets.
He glanced one last time at Judith’s grave. “Love you, Mom,” he half mumbled. He then sighed, resigned to a fate he lacked the strength to change and regarded Michael’s headstone. “When you left, you took my heart with you.” He sobbed quietly for the longest moment, before whispering, “and today—tonight—I want it back.”
A sudden gust of wind disrupted his reverie and reminded him that he still had to go to school. And that’s when he saw him—a sad-faced light-haired boy, right around his age, with his head down—who walked through the rows of tombstones. Something slipped free from the boy’s fingers and rode the wind, twirling high at first, then as if driven by destiny, it sailed the distance between them and landed at Andrew’s feet, coming to rest against one of his shoes.
While wringing the fingers of one hand—he had perfected that ability—he retrieved it, a business card with the name and number of a local suicide hotline. The irony of the situation escaped him. As I may have eluded to earlier, that was another part of his autism. Things made sense or they did not, there was no in between, no use of symbolism to make understanding easy.
He only shrugged and crumpled the card, before letting it go. He shot another curious glance back toward the sad boy, and he could swear that he vanished before his eyes. He shook his head and blinked rapidly, disregarding what he had seen, and put one foot in front of the other, and walked aimlessly with only the thought of reaching school on time.
Andrew paused when he came to the old rustic bridge, a decorative path across a small pond at the edge of the graveyard. He had a sudden flash of Michael’s face, and the memory of how he had died. He walked the long way around the pond and he never looked back.

A Recollection of Death
—from Andrew Harowitz, Memories of the Living
My dearest Michael.
My love.
I still remember the moment I surrendered my broken heart on that last bitter, rainy day of October, burying it with a tattered piece of my soul beneath the cold, still ground.
You were there of course, dressed in your finest black suit and a matching dark tie, and I am sure you saw, as did I, the last traces of autumn fade to winter, in a cycle unbroken since the twilight of the Ice Age—in those ancient times when the last glaciers melted away from the northern continents and poured their essence into every sea and ocean of the world.
Great and small flocks of blackbirds and crows swept over us in their mysterious formations, some late to start their journey to the south, others simply launching into the sky—those that never leave our lands—they are like the keepers of death, winter’s closest ally. Tell me Michael, if you remember, did you hear them sing, as their melodies soared high into the heavens? It was a lonely sound like that of a train whistle before sunrise, or the roar of the long-trucks, rolling down the highways between cities late at night.
Did you know that it’s on the first day of spring that life truly begins for the newborns and young? It renews for the old still blessed to be with us, and for those of us caught up in the turbulent in-between years, it is just another marker of the slow passage of time.
We followed the long hearse that day in a car, black as coal, with windows tinted for the privacy of all. Your parents sat on the back seat beside me. Did you see them there? Listen to your mother’s cries? Watch your father’s falling tears? Did you look upon me, lost so far inside myself that I showed no emotion at all?
Our procession crossed the city of Fair Cedar on a journey spanning from the church to the cemetery. As has always been custom, we ignored the stoplights and stop signs on the way, cutting off traffic and slowing only for turns and bumpy sections of road.
When we at last entered the misty graveyard, the rust-shrouded iron gates squeaked as they swung open. I heard and even felt their haunting echo that followed us along the curving drive through the forest of tombstones and trees.
I saw yellow and orange lilies, and roses, both white and red, among the grave markers and stones. Did you see them dying in weather more unstable than crackling ice on a thawing lake? Looking past them, I saw statues of angels and saints, bright as stars, when brief breaks in the gray clouds let the sunshine pass down to the earth below.
I remember every bump in the road, Michael, as from my window, I watched the passing trees, without a leaf on their branches—they seemed naked in the cold, half hidden by distance, the thickness of the haze, but more so by the tears that refused to drip from my burning red eyes.
Our sad parade parked, stretched along the side of the road, and I lost count of those who stepped out from their warm cars to join us in the damp, cold air. I followed just behind your parents and they followed their parish priest. He was dressed in his cassock and robe and carrying his crucifix before him like an upraised sword. For reasons I still don’t understand, I think I cracked a smile at the oddity of it all, but it was gone before anyone else saw it.
Your mother and father walked close, their hands held tight between them. But I only held white roses, still on their stems, which I had done all too often, and everyone else clutched tightly to umbrella handles, sympathy cards, and bouquets of many colors.
I heard a haunting whistle that filled my soul with dread, but it was only the echo of the wind, blowing through the branches of the trees. It made me feel so alone, Michael, in a place all gray, empty, and almost silent. I truly wept then. I cried in those days and more times after that than I could ever hope to count.
Though it was cold, I wore only a black jacket and matching pants, no coat or gloves to keep me warm. My suit was an older one of yours that your parents let me borrow, not brand new like the one you wore that day. My arms were too short for my hands to even reach the ends of the sleeves. I looked silly and I wanted to laugh, but by then, I had forgotten how.
We came at last to a casket resting at the center of a large velvet cloth—it was the second I’d seen that day, Michael. Do you remember why? I think they were trying to hide from us the open pit beneath it, but we all knew the truth—the ever-hungry earth awaited on yet another feast.
I stayed near you and your parents throughout the entire service, but not too close. I was not their beloved son. They were not my heartbroken parents.
A fire burned inside of me, Michael. Twice, I think I nearly threw up, but I stayed steady and strong. I stood firm for the soul once belonging to the body resting in the mahogany box, too long for a child and too short for an adult, but just the right size for a fourteen-year-old boy. The lid of course remained closed. We both knew why, didn’t we?
Thunder rumbled far and near, and the crows cried out, launching from the trees in formation for reasons unknown. My world went hazy. I wiped the tears away with my sleeves, but they just kept flowing like a waterfall down both of my frozen cheeks.
I watched your mother and father, leaning on one another, as the stone-faced priest read from his prayer book. I wanted a shoulder for my weary head. I needed a hug or at least some sort of touch, but you would not even look my way. You only stared at the sky with your eyelids closed tight. No one, Michael, no one consoled me—my grief ran through me unchecked, a sorrow much too deep for an already grieving boy of thirteen years to bear alone.
A shadow of the approaching storm fell upon us. It grew dark. A strong wind ripped away flowers and stole umbrellas. Then it started to drizzle. And the drizzle became a downpour.
I opened my eyes wide and tilted back my head, with my mouth open. Do you remember when we used to catch raindrops on the tips of our tongues? We were younger then, and the drops tasted sweet, not like the bitterness I felt in those passing days of loneliness and death.
Your father, who had always been kind, offered me his umbrella, but I only shook my head. I wanted—no, I needed—to feel every icy touch of water, as it soaked through my suit. I shivered, but the fires of grief flowing through me remained. I burned inside, hot like an open flame.
The priest’s words seemed mumbled, but I am sure that it was a fine eulogy. My attention was focused on a coffin containing a boy only a year older than me. He was but a child stolen away by twisting metal, exploding glass, and the unquenchable thirst of a river swollen well past its banks.
Your mother lost it then, Michael, did you see? Did you hear her cries? She beat her fists against your father’s chest, and he just held her, whispering words of comfort for her alone.
I watched in tearful silence, as other wives, sisters, and daughters fell into the arms of their brothers, husbands, and sons. Their weeping seemed like a great and sorrowful symphony that only brought pain to my ears. There were no shoulders for me to rest my head upon, though, no one held me. You kept your arms at your sides, and you stared at the sky with your eyes shut tight.
I fell to the ground, and the sky unleashed a deluge. My knees splashed in the sodden muck, but I barely noticed. Then I heard a scream, a roar that knocked me flat. Michael, do you remember? I do. I’ll never forget. That scream was mine, from my own lips, but it came from somewhere much deeper.
I thought that you touched me then on my shoulder, and I thought I heard your gentle laugh, and even a whispering of your voice, sad and quiet. I looked up then, but it was only your father, reaching out to help me back to my feet.
I was all alone, Michael. You were there, but you would not meet my eyes. You didn't even look my way. You only stared, as ever you will, into that mysterious beyond. I buried my heart that day, Michael. I buried my love on the last day of October, in the rain, when we buried you.


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Author Bio:

E. L. Reedy -- Was born and raised in Iowa, where he devoured tomes of fantasy, sci-fi, and young adult novels as a child. In his free time, he is an avid gamer (D&D and Pathfinder). He has traveled the world as a soldier in the U.S. Army, and now lives in Iowa, where with his writing partner, he continues to pen works in the realms of Fantasy and Horror in the Young Adult Universe.

A. M. Wade -- As the only girl in a family with five boys, she readily escaped into fantasy, sci-fi, and other fiction novels. Having traveled through most of the US, she enjoys using scenery and characteristics of the different states in the story adventures she created for the little ones in her family. Now, she writes sci-fi, fantasy and horror with a lifelong co-conspirator.

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Eight (deleted scenes)

Our killed-off darlings
Just like movies and television shows, every book has dozens if not hundreds of deleted, chapters, scenes, characters, storylines – the list goes on and on. Upon Broken Wings is no different.
From initial concept many years ago until our published version we changed more than I like to remember, and I don’t even want to get into how Points-of-View we tested until we found our perfect narrator.
The original version of UBW was extremely dark, as it should have been, for it was me pouring everyone ounce of pain and confusion into it after unexpectedly losing a close family friend. But I was also pouring in the conceived loss of my younger brothers who had been much closer to the departed.
Later, I partnered with my sister and we made a conscious choice, if our book was to stand as a warning and a source of hope, it had to be aimed toward a younger audience—the audience most plagued with thoughts of surrender, giving up, in a word, suicide.
Our three heroes in UBW are gay youth and for those kids who happen to fall under the umbrella of the GLBTQ categories, death by suicide is the second leading cause of death, and that is a most horrifying thought.
My friend and mentor, Joey Tuccio, creator of Roadmap Writers, read the first version of UBW many years back. He loved it enough to tell us to go back and focus, to tell one story. It was several years before we listened (Sorry Joey), but we eventually did.
He was also the first person to tell us that old saying about writers, that they must be able to ‘kill their darlings,’ that is drop their most beloved scenes if they do not help in the telling of the story.
In writing UBW, we were no different. We shaved off an entire plotline concerning a strung-out druggie who sold her most precious possession, her daughter, for enough drugs to end it if she so chose. Our character Andrew was meant to save the daughter and Michael was to rescue the mom from the throes of an overdose.
The angels were darker in the first version, vengeance was theirs, so to speak. But for our lessons of forgiving each other and oneself, that all had to change.
Of all the scenes we cut, and there were many, the one that most stands out was a cold, winter night, then the Angel, Michael, aglow in the moonlight appeared before our previously mentioned junkie who was in the throes of dying. He saved her life, her soul, and took her back to her daughter.
At the same moment, her daughter was being rescued by another angel as the drug dealer’s house went up in flames. And a third was rescuing Kiernan, our second protagonist, from a demon.

It was perfectly timed, it was poetic, it was beautiful, and it all had to go.

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