Finding His Feet: Responsibilities with Sandra Bard – Post + Giveaway

July 22, 2016

Sandra Bard joins us today to chat about new book Finding His Feet, out this week!

Finding His Feet

Hi, I’m Sandra Bard and I’m here to talk about my second release from Dreamspinner, Finding His Feet.

First of all, Hayley, thank you for inviting me and for putting up with all the absurd questions I’ve thrown your way. I should also thank the wonderful team of editor and cover designers I worked with when this book was going through the different stages. Couldn’t have done it without you.

When I first started the book, my real life was suffering; a difficult job, with an impossible task of pleasing more bosses than I had students to teach. Each day was a dreadful experience, of getting up and going to work wondering what impossible request needed to be fulfilled. So many responsibilities, to my staff, to my students, to myself.

The book as written while I was fighting a silent war with a lot of people. Kaden, my main character, battled hardened and scarred, put on his high tech armor and went out to pretend he was alright, trying to keep himself useful in a world where he was afraid he would be discarded.

I would take the office laptop, a large piece of hardware that was probably new a good fifteen years ago and would type up at least a couple of paragraphs in-between lectures, paper marking and impossible administrative documentations. I even took my tablet with me to meetings and would type out a couple of lines between nodding my head at things like, ‘if you shift your work hours from seven to six, maybe you can complete all the necessary teaching hours’ to stop myself from screaming at idiots who did not know that each day only had 24 hours.

They became characters in my book, nothing major but they helped me shape my alternate world where war was a norm, where people accepted it.

Then of course, I had to travel for workshops and to teach in different locations. My laptop, a seventeen inch monstrosity which sounded like a hair dryer stayed home. Instead, I had to do my writing on a tablet, which was six years old and weighed too much to be held in one hand. I spent so much time in trains, my main characters met on a train. (This might have been where my idea of two distinct types of armor came from.)

Shun is the opposite of Kaden in many ways, he is light and laughter, cheerful and friendly and open… or so it would seem. But deep inside, Shun is as much a survivor as Kaden, having lived through his own war, with his own set of beliefs about how to live. He has his own secrets and his own agenda but not willing to compromise being human for the sake of that.

Kaden and Shun go through a lot of rough spots and their life is made even more interesting by the two cadets Kaden is in charge of, Wayland  and Bradley. Kaden, not the greatest person in charge of his life, now has to be responsible for more people.

Some of my fights with my brother and sister played a hand in shaping this sibling rivalry. As the eldest in the family I was expected to be sane, in control, lead by example and pick up the slack for everyone else. On top of my dead end job, the pressure was enormous.

Wayland is loosely based off a student of mine, a large eyed, earnest, small made thing who stood in front of the class once and preached to me about the evils of war while wiping away tears. (It was an oral exam not anything else.) Wayland has strong opinions about life even if they aren’t the ones needed to survive a war. Bradley was inspired by one of my close staff members, who is unsure about life but has a practical eye and the knowledge that life is not always nice.

As events build up, Kaden finds himself making more and more decisions, some of which might not be right. Through the course of Finding His Feet, Kaden slowly changes, to learn that there is more to life than fighting and being useful. Shun also changes in his own way, learning to look at the world from another person’s perspective and gaining something in the process, people to care about and love.

In the end, this is about two people saving each other and finding happiness in a bleak situation.

I made some changes to my life in the end, I changed my job (actually, I quit and stayed home for a month and actually finished writing this) and found the strength to tell several people to leave me alone. I learned to ask for help and to tell when I’d had enough. And my characters grew with me. So this is also the book that helped me preserve my sanity while I was struggling to find my feet and stand on my own against a hostile world.

Excerpt:

“I don’t see myself going over there to talk I,” Finzer spat, stressing peace as if it made his body cringe. “Not even if they ordered me.”

“But I hear you moved your wife and kid to a farm on the outskirts,” Alden said mildly, and Finzer flushed and looked away.

“I’m just protecting the next generation of fighters.” Finzer sounded impassioned, though he didn’t look all too happy quoting government propaganda.

“I for one would be happy if my kid didn’t grow up to be the next weapon,” Alden said firmly.

They all knew the government’s interest in armored warriors reproducing was to have more fighters for the future and not a sudden concern over the fall in the birthrate, as publicly claimed. The war between Joscal and the newly independent state of Haria had been going on for 130 years, and both sides expected it to last a hundred more. The Joscalian Army fought with all they had, sacrificing countless soldiers, not just armored units, for the sake of maintaining their border, while the Harians hid behind their remote drones. It was common knowledge that over a hundred million Joscalians had died in the first ten years of the war alone, and nowhere in the country was safe to bring up children.

Kaden snorted and looked away. He didn’t have kids… so not his concern.

“They’re even talking about sending a joint team to salvage what they can from Ground Zero,” Elisha added, sounding amused. Ground Zero was the starting point of the second phase of the war, when Haria had bombed the peaceful Joscalian island of Compen. Situated on the border between Joscal and Haria, it was coveted, and now officially out of bounds to both countries since the incident. “From what I hear, there’s not much to salvage, anyway. They’re even talking about letting some refugees settle near Compen Beach Town, but the island is still off-limits.”

“Makes sense.” Kaden nodded. “No one’s going to hand over that island unless they’re sure there’s nothing worth taking.”

“So everything’s in the planning stage, which is why there’s this long calm,” Claina concluded.

“It’s called a cease-fire,” Elisha told her sharply.

Kaden wasn’t sure he believed it. “Or they’re planning the biggest counterattack ever, and we need to be ready.”

“There is that.”

“From what I hear, our side is the one resisting the change in borders,” Alden added thoughtfully.

“Well, it is our country,” Finzer said firmly. “All of it.”

There was the sound of quick steps and everyone turned to the entrance to see a junior office helper walk in.

“Instructor Kaden Pace,” the helper said.

“Instructor… when did you become an instructor?” Finzer asked the same question Kaden was about to ask.

“I’m not.” Kaden got up and moved to the messenger. He took the message pad from the cadet and frowned. It read To: Instructor Kaden Pace. “Huh.”

“What does it say?” Elisha called, and Kaden realized everyone in the room had ceased whatever they were doing, which wasn’t much, to see what was about to happen.

“That….” Kaden frowned as he read the rest of the message. “I’ve got a mission.”

“That’s great,” Finzer said, and the others added their voices.

Though Kaden wasn’t exactly best friends with the rest, he spoke to them and hung around with them on a regular basis. Recruited at roughly the same time, they had been in a few skirmishes together.

“But it’s an observation mission. Two cadets, Bradley and Wayland Olgesh, who are in training. I’m supposed to watch over them until they achieve their Second Level Competency Grading.” Kaden frowned.

What the fuck was that? Then he remembered that was the same exam he’d taken in his third year of training, then called the Level Clearance 2. He’d been so young then; it had been close to twenty-three years ago, and he’d struggled over the obstacles and the stupid mission he’d been assigned. In a way, he’d expected battlefield missions to be as easy as his very first training operation, so simple to complete under the guidance of his now long-dead mentor.

“Hey, I remember those missions,” Elisha chipped in enthusiastically. “Mine was to guard a supply train from Morgan to Jalen.” Kaden remembered that she had not been a part of their camp during training but had transferred from Morgan after her marriage. “Nothing happened the entire way, not even raiders, but my mentor, Lavinia, was there. Felt better knowing she was watching my back.” She sighed. “She’s retired now, and I think one of last year’s cadets matched up to her armor.”

“Mine was to take a bunch of senior citizens from one of those old hospitals being evacuated to another,” Finzer said quickly, probably to break the depressing memories. No one wanted to talk about a time when their armor was going to be taken away. “I was glad Alden was there, because there was this particularly feisty old gal who kept pinching my bottom.”

“Your armor doesn’t expose your bottom,” Kaden blurted out, caught up in the moment despite himself.

“Well, it did, for that mission.”

The messenger cleared his throat pointedly, and Kaden looked at the pad in his hand. “This isn’t a real mission. I’m playing babysitter for two kids who’re going to go get their nature badge or something.” The administration never paired kids together unless there was a good reason. The kids were most likely too young to be married, so siblings, probably twins. Wonderful. He was stuck with a pair of boys—double the trouble.

Contest time! Comment by sharing an impossible situation you were in or having far too much work and being stuck juggling it all. One lucky winner will win an ebook copy of Finding His Feet!

Check out Finding His Feet today!

eBook
Paperback
All Romance E-books

 

C:\Users\ELTU\Desktop\blog tour\for pixie - trains and travelling\cover.jpg

Cover artist: Stef Masciandaro.
Release date : July 18th

 

Blurb:

Kaden Pace, a soldier injured while on a mission, hides the extent of his damage by wearing his high-tech armor, desperate to prove his worth to his administrators and make himself useful in order to hold on to his independence. But during a simple assignment to escort two cadets across the country to retrieve the armor of a dead warrior, things start to fall apart.

They meet Shun, a young man with a secret, who steals the armor they were supposed to recover. Chasing Shun brings them to an abandoned beach town, where they encounter even more trouble. Stranded in the deserted city, Kaden finds himself relying more and more on Shun, the person he’d come to capture, while fighting off an invasion from the neighboring country.

But even when he returns to his camp, Kaden’s problems are not over. Now he has to find a way to save Shun, whom he’s growing to care for, and keep his team alive as they make one last-ditch attempt to get back the armor Shun stole. Armor that is now in enemy hands, on an island in the middle of the sea, at ground zero where it all began.

 

Author Bio:

Sandra Bard started writing when she was quite young because there was always a story inside her head, but never thought of writing for an audience until recently. She only decided to try her hand at writing for the sake of being published after a series of events left her with some free time and in between jobs.  Now she has three jobs but writing is still her most favorite thing to do. Sandra grew up travelling the world from Africa to Asia and, though she now lectures full time at a university, dreams of having a job that wouldn’t tie her down to one place. She enjoys reading books, watching anime and, occasionally, visiting a fan-fiction site. She also dabbles in tai chi and yoga in the hope they would keep her flexible and help lose weight. She lives with her pets (fish, cats, and dogs) and has been a volunteer for an organization that takes care of stray dogs (there are many, where she lives) for over ten years.

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7106154.Sandra_Bard
Tumblr: http://sandrabard.tumblr.com
Email: sandrabard123@gmail.com

4 Responses to “Finding His Feet: Responsibilities with Sandra Bard – Post + Giveaway”

  1. Milica says:

    Beautiful post…every book is more than a product of author’s imagination – the same way some books change reader’s lives (one literally set in motion things that will change my life completely), they also reflect in some way author’s life, hardships and emotions he was going through while writing it, and just help him deal. I’m glad you changed your life for the better.

    As for your question…I was stuck in a college studying for a profession I quite literally hated and that affected every aspect of my life ’till I got depressed and completely cut out myself from rest of the world. But with economy as it is today, I had a job waiting for me, and it was unthinkable to just throw away 5 years of studying and a job. Where I live you don’t enroll in college you like, but the one that will get you a job. I got so depressed, until one day I asked myself “What is the point of life”…that’s when I knew that things have to change. Luckily I have most supportive boyfriend in the world. My folks never got over it, but I’m enrolled in a different college now, trying to not look back on 5 years of my life forever lost to me, and just trying to make most of every day.

  2. Sandra says:

    Hi Milica,

    i’m not really familiar with the website so shoot me if I’m replying the wrong way.

    I am so happy you took the time to read my post and reply. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

    I walked away from a PhD after 3 years (when I say walked away, there wasn’t much choise, but that’s a long story) so I can understand how difficult it must have been for you to give up 5 years of your life. My parents don’t let me forget it either, ha ha. But trust me, getting up in the morning, not worrying about something, totally worth it.

  3. H.B. says:

    Thank you for the post and congrats on your new release!

    I think I’ve been in plenty of those situations at work and when I was still in school. Not a great situation to be in.

  4. Sandra says:

    Hi H.B.,

    Thank you very much. Good luck with school

    ~Sandra

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