Excerpt and Contest

February 27, 2015

EvertheSameFS

Hey, y’all! I have a giveaway for a signed print copy of Ever the Same. Comment today on any of the posts and I’ll pick someone tomorrow morning (that gives all the folks a chance).

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the novel. Audie’s been called up to the school because his kindergarten has been in a fight…

***

Feeling like he was back in kindergarten, Audie went to the principal’s office.

“Mr. Barrack? Go on in. They’re waiting.” Miz Laws winked at him as he walked by, which relaxed him, because, Christ, this sucked. He went into the office, which was a mixture of colors and pictures of kids and that weird sternness that meant business. Dr. Shields stood and offered him a hand. Lord, he remembered when she was the drum major back when his Aunt Shirley was in the band.

There was a tiny little girl—and he meant teeny—sitting next to a dude who had hair like a girl, a dour-faced older lady, and his Grainger, who jumped up, one eye bruised. “Daddy! Daddy, I swear, I didn’t start it!”

“Hush, now. Let me talk to Dr. Shields.” He wanted to snatch Grainger up, but he knew better.

“Let’s all sit,” Dr. Shields said, and Audie fought the urge to point out he was the only grown-up standing.

Feeling chastised, he perched on the other side of Grainger.

They all sat there, staring, before Dr. Shields spoke up. “Now, we all seem to have a problem. Randi and Grainger have been in a half-dozen incidents in the last few weeks.”

“Really? Why didn’t I hear about this, buddy?” Half a dozen? Shit.

“You said not to be a tattletale, Daddy.”

Oh God. He damned near swallowed his tongue. They’d have to talk about information versus snitching.

“I didn’t start it. Not onced. I don’t hit girls, but Daddy! She hit me in the face! Hard!” There were tears there, threatening, and Grainger had that hell of a shiner.

“Now, Grainger, are you saying you didn’t push Randi?” the principal asked.

“She called me a doo-doo stupid-head!”

Did the wee girl not talk? She sat there, her chin set, her bright green eyes flashing fire. Her thin arms were crossed over her chest, and her feet swung in an angry rhythm.

“Name-calling can’t hurt you, buddy.” Was he the only adult with a brain here?

“No, but name-calling is completely inappropriate, Miranda.” That was the dad, just looking straight ahead. “You know better.”

“He’s mean! He told the girls I was smelly and not to play with me!”

Audie looked at the principal. “Am I the only one not up to speed?”

The older lady glanced over at him. “Beverly White. Pleased. My granddaughter has had some… transition issues. We’re sorry.”

“Mrs. White.” He nodded, then snuck another peek at the man sitting next to her.

The guy stared straight ahead, not looking at him at all. Crazy.

“Grainger is usually a good kid,” Audie offered. “I’m sorry about those uh, transition things.” Way to sound like a hick.

“Children, can you please wait on the green chairs while we talk?”

Grainger nodded, squeezing Audie’s fingers one more time. Audie nodded and smiled at his son, pretty convinced his boy hadn’t done anything really heinous.

The little gal stomped out, pure fire in her eyes. Oh, she was a hellion, he could tell.

“Are you going to tell me you’re going to move her again?” That was the dad, and the dude seemed about as pissed as his daughter. “She’s not the Antichrist. She’s a tiny little girl. She still sits in a car seat, for chrissake.”

“No, I think we can safely leave her where she is. I really felt that we all needed to chat, though. It’s clear that Audie here had no idea what was going on.”

“Yeah, no shit.” Audie glanced at the gran. “Pardon my French.”

“No worries.” She winked at him. “She’s not a bad girl. She’s had some terrible things in the last year.”

“And for some reason, she’s targeting Grainger. Has he spoken about Randi at all?” Dr. Shields was trying, he could tell.

“No, ma’am. He’s not said a word.” He snuck another look at the dad. This guy was a piece of work. “It’s not like him to pick on someone who’s having a hard time.”

“Of course it’s not. Randi’s the one that’s the vicious little bitch, right?”

Damn, Mr. Snooty could snap.

“Dixon!”

“What? She’s had a shit life for the last year. She lost one of her dads, she had to leave Austin and her friends and her school, and suddenly she’s the fucking bad guy?”

“Hey, I never said my boy was perfect,” Audie said, snarling a little himself. “He’s managed to get to six without trying to kill anyone, though, so this is new. Back off.”

“Enough. No one is saying either of these children are bad. Randi has a huge number of hurdles to overcome, and Grainger is a shy little boy with a tendency to follow the crowd. Neither of these children have mothers at home, and I was hoping we could brainstorm some ways to help Randi feel included with the others.”

This was ridiculous. It wasn’t his fucking job to make sure this asshole’s little brat felt like she didn’t need to punch his son anymore.

“That’s her teacher’s job, Shannon.” Audie was through with this shit. “I’ll tell my boy to stay away from her. Can we go now?”

“Yes. Yes, of course. Mr. White….”

“I’ll talk to her. If it happens again, I’ll… shit, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll make it up as I go along.” The guy stood, and his mom handed him a cane. A white cane.

Oh Jesus fucking Christ. Seriously? Seriously, Grainger picked the kid with a blind dad and a dead….

Wait.

Her other dad was dead. Jesus. This guy was blind, had lost his man, and his kid was a shit? That sucked hugely. “I can try to get Grainger to help. I promise.” He had no idea why that popped out, except this guy’s life had to suck, and because it had been a long time since Audie had met anyone who would openly admit to being queer like he was.

***

Buy Ever the Same here – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6096

Official blurb: Audie Barrack is in it up to his elbows with a sick calf when his son’s school calls. Seems Grainger has gotten into yet another fight. When he walks into the principal’s office, he’s shocked to find his son has been fighting with a little girl named Randi.

A little girl with one blind dad and one dad who recently passed away.

Goddammit.

Dixon has lost his sight, his career, and his husband. Thank God for his brothers, Momma and Daddy, and his little girl, or he would simply give up. The last thing he needs is for Randi to start trouble at school, especially trouble that puts him in contact with another dad who might expect him to be a functional human being.

Dixon is struggling to live as a blind man, Audie is terrified someone might see he has a closet to come out of, and everyone from the school to both men’s families is worried for the men and their children. Unless they get themselves together and commit to change, neither of them stands a chance.

7 Responses to “Excerpt and Contest”

  1. Angela says:

    First of all thanks for the chance of winning a signed print copy of Ever the Same.

    I really like the excerpt. It makes me wanting to know more about why the kids went into a fight and how the fathers will react next. This sounds like a very emotional read.

  2. JJ says:

    Great excerpt with the confusion and conflict at the parents’ school meeting. I especially liked the dawning realization by Audie about Dixon’s blindness and loss etc.

  3. Helen B says:

    Loved the excerpt, I’ll definitely be buying a copy. i can totally imagine Audie sitting there in total confusion.

  4. H.B. says:

    Thank you for the excerpt. This sounds like quite an emotional read and gives readers an idea of what is going on with the kids and a handle on the parents.

  5. Trix says:

    Audie recovered from the faux pas much better than I probably would have!

  6. Waxapplelover says:

    Wow! Great choice of excerpt. Allowed us to see all the major players at once and a bit behind their actions.

  7. Su says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and wow, yes this was a good extract to choose to give us an idea about the story and its players.

    Grief, Loss, confusion and anger go hand in hand, poor Randi is showing the grief of loosing her father in her anger towards probably the most gentle person she can find, in this case poor Grainger. Her whole world has fallen apart and nothing is the same, without the years to quantify that grief more peacefully, fight or flight comes into force (its not all because she is a red head). The fact she has been probably expelled from different schools is unsettling and why has the school not contacted Audie before now is troubling!

    Thankfully by reading all your other posts the children do become friends, as she so desperately needs one and so does her father and I think Audie & Grainger need them as well. PS I love your pinterest board for this book, but want more pictures of Audie ;)

    Thank you for a chance to win a copy of this book.

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