Today we’ve got one of my fellow Bradford Babes (she’s also repped by my agent Laura Bradford) – author Savannah Foley! I can’t tell you how much Laura raves about how fabulous Savannah is and how her writing is so wonderful and different. I’m really looking forward to the time when I get to announce her first sale.
Today, she’s offering up a fabulous banned books bracelet to one lucky winner!
This bracelet has a special significance to me, not only because it promotes free thought and freedom of speech, but through a round-about way it inspired my fifth book, a magical realism novel called Go Look There. It’s the perfect accessory to wear when you want to feel more â€˜writerly’.
Currently Laura is about (within the next couple of days!) to start pitching my first novel, Antebellum. Antebellum was originally placed online (in a horrifically awful earlier version) at FictionPress.com, where it gained a strong fan base with hundreds of Favorites and thousands of reviews.
Plot Summary: In a utopian society, women are the sacred ruling class and men live as slaves and homemakers. When a young woman takes her first slave, an abused and beautiful mute of unknown origin, the forbidden romance between equals that develops shakes her belief in both her religion and way of life. Consumed with this secret heresy and a deadly illness that threatens her life, rumors of a Rebellion bring hope of the truth and a better future… if they survive.
He was running out of chances.
The wound on his side had broken the skin, and he could already feel a heat licking around his ribs. This was his last rotation before they would send him to the West Hall. The desperation came over him so strongly he could barely move. The panic felt like a million hands touching him, and he fought off all emotion, retreating to the internal world where he heard nothing, saw nothing, and most importantly of all was ruled by nothing.
He weighed the options: Grovel like a whore before the Woman he would face, praying she looked past his disability and what they would call his â€˜clumsiness’, or merely survive this one, last torment and accept the inevitable transfer to a lifetime of hard work and violence in the West Hall. He knew what waited for him in the West. They loved to taunt him, watching the fear grow in him until it was too much to bear and he shut it down. The West Hall was a familiar Hell. He would know how to survive there. A Woman, on the other hand, was an unknown risk. He had been trained for slavedom his whole life. He knew what would be expected of him, and though that life would be far less strenuous, it was the nights he feared, when he would be called upon to not only submit to the violation, but participate in it himself. He didn’t know if he was strong enough for that.
He heard footsteps, and bristled, but it was only Number 17 slipping into his room.
“Let me see.”
He shoved Number 17’s hands away but the older boy was not deterred. His shirt was already sticking to the wound. He braced through the inspection.
“If you’d quit staying here at night alone maybe this wouldn’t happen so often. You should come back. You’re not the only one who pays when you stay away.”
He pulled down his shirt and shrugged.
“Why didn’t you tell me you had a Choosing today? Morning line-up and you weren’t there, I thought they’d finally finished you. What would happen if you actually got Chosen? I would never see you again.”
He didn’t answer.
Number 17 sighed. “I don’t care how you feel, that’s not something you do to your workmate.”
The bell rang, and for the first time he felt relieved to hear its signal. It was time to go.
Number 17 grabbed his arm. “If I never see you again, goodbye.”
He hesitated for a moment, then gave the hand signal which between them meant the same as those words. They had seen many workmates go up the stairs and never come back down. When they were younger the disappearances had been weekly, if not more frequent than that. Everyone in the Barracks used the same signal, which substituted for a full farewell, and the last words that might ever be exchanged between two Nameless of the same Division.
He left Number 17 and entered the hallway. Walking hurt worse than breathing. He controlled his pace, never revealing the pain braided into his side. When he arrived at the lobby the foul-tempered Director was there, looking haughty and impatient, so whoever the Woman was this time, she must be important. The Director never came down to the Barracks if she could help it. She inspected the line, grabbing his chin to sneer and pronounce something mockingly, but he wasn’t listening. They began the march out of the Barracks and up the stairs. His side clenched with each step, his vision blackening from holding his breath to steady his abdomen.
The Woman waiting for them must be very special. The line didn’t stop at the usual display room where they had met other Women before. Instead they kept climbing, the heavy-set director breathing harder as she lifted her robes to ascend. They were in the upper levels now, with public traffic. He feared what would happen next; this march was out of the ordinary, and it was never good when schedules changed.
Finally they entered a dim holding room, and the guards snaked them around in tight curves so they would proceed outward in a single, long line. The Director placed herself at the head, sweating, and waited. Minutes passed as the Nameless stood still, listening for the buzz beyond the single wood door to fall silent.
He heard some of the others praying quietly. It might be one of their last chances, too. Darkness made the guards nervous, and they paced around the room with their whips drawn, sometimes nudging a Nameless forward or backward an inch, asserting their authority and preserving perfect order. He ignored them.
Finally the Director swore and sent her attendant scurrying out a side door to alert the distant crowd that the males had arrived. The noise beyond the door died. All the Nameless stood straighter, and a painful burn of adrenaline surged into his stomach. It was time.
The Director flung open the door. He stepped with the others into the sun.
The day I became a slave owner was filled with light…
of Antebellum, visit Savannah’s blog here (http://www.savannahjfoley.com/antebellumsamplechapter/)
Today’s Question: What sorts of settings do you like to read about in books? Other countries? The beach? A ballroom in Regency England?
A winner will be chosen tomorrow afternoon! Good luck