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Monday, August 1, 2016

GUEST POST: Montana or Bust by W. C. Bauers


Promise scooped up the stray bullets from her sheets and rolled them around in her palm. Listened to the clinks. Loaded the magazine and fed it to her semiauto. Click. Thumbed the slide stop and felt the weapon quake.

“Loaded and lethal,” she said aloud.

She drew the weapon in close until the frame fuzzed. Faint traces of solvent and gunpowder tickled her nose. The pungent odor evoked a memory of her mother, Sandra. Promise closed her eyes and found herself on the soil of her birth world, Montana. A trio of moons hung in her memory’s sky, barely visible in the morning light. Her mother stood some distance away, in a shooter’s stance, arms extended downrange. Promise saw a much younger version of herself standing in her mother’s shadow, no older than five or perhaps six years of age. Her mother’s breath had turned to vapor in the chilly air. Out, in, and out again. Then Sandra inhaled deeply, exhaled halfway, and fired.

Boom. Textbook. Recoil. Reacquire.

Boom. A third shot rang out as her mother’s arms rode the recoil upward, rode the groove back to fire again, and again, and again. Until the chamber locked open and spit out the last shell. The casing spun end over end along its axis, clinked, and rolled to a stop against Promise’s foot. Then her vision blurred into reality.

She was back aboard RNS Kearsarge, in her cabin, pressing her mother’s weapon to her own forehead with no memory of how it got there. She breathed in deeply, exhaled halfway, and drew the weapon back to her temple.

Why Montana? I’ve been asked before why I set the story of UNBREAKABLE on a planet named after a flyover state. To this point I’ve not given much of an answer. Even now, I can’t say for sure why I named the world Montana, and not, say, Alaska, or some other place entirely.

As it happens, I grew up in Alaska. Long winters, daylight until midnight, the Aurora Borealis, and rogue moose and bears were common enough childhood sightings. I once woke to a young moose fogging up my bedroom window. My father called animal patrol to relocate the animal outside of city limits. It was no big deal. At the grocery store, you’d often see a woman or man with a revolver on the hip (okay, not everyone, but this was fairly common practice in an open carry, frontier state, particularly in the more rural areas). Open space and starlight skies were my playground. On many nights the Northern Lights shrouded the sky like a semi-translucent, star-speckled muslin? What was out there? Why was the canvas so vast? Why so many stars? Surly they weren’t made just for planet Earth.

You don’t know what light pollution is until you’ve lived in a part of the country where it’s non-existent. Having said that, it should come as no surprise that I now live in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. A 14,000-foot mountain is in my backyard. Open space is stitched into my DNA.

Considering my childhood, a novel set on Montana makes tremendous sense. Almost immediately upon starting UNBREAKABLE, I was drawn to a story on a frontier world, where small communities and family ties were often one in the same, where old-world, timeless principles of duty, hard work, and self-reliance formed a durable, three-fold chord. Such is Montana, Promise Paen’s birth world. But, I knew early in the writing process that Promise would make a pivot and leave Montana to start anew. Montana by itself was too small a canvas to paint her story. The genesis of Promise Paen, in a very real sense, is the planet Montana. But her future was among the stars. Book two, INDOMITABLE, takes place on two very different living worlds. They are nothing like Montana. Perhaps Promise will return to Montana someday. I can’t say when that might be.

Back to Montana for a moment…

She was born Promise Gration. After her mother’s death and her father’s murder, Promise rejected her birth name for another, for the name her Mother left behind at the altar, Paen. Oddly enough, Paen gave Promise her much-needed fresh start. She enlisted, got off world, and found a new family in the Corps. Little did she know that she’d be called home to defend her birth planet years later. At the risk of giving away too much, I’ll stop here.

Montana reminds me of my childhood. I could just as easily have named the planet Alaska. Rugged. Uncompromising. Untamed. Primal. Those words summarize much of my upbringing. They form the core of my planet Montana, and in many ways they describe the nature and character of Promise Paen, too.

Official Author Website
Order Unbreakable HERE
Order Indomitable HERE

GUEST AUTHOR INFORMATION: W. C. Bauers works in sales and publishing during the day and writes military science fiction and space opera at night. His first novel, UNBREAKABLE, was an Amazon and B&N "SF/F Best Book of the Month" pick for January 2015. His second, INDOMITABLE, releases July 2016.

​Bauers' interests include Taekwondo, military history, all varieties of Munchkin, and drinking hot caf. He lives in the Rocky Mountains with his wife, three boys, and the best rescue in the world.

INDOMITABLE BOOK INFO: Promise Paen, commander of Victor Company's mechanized armored infantry, is back for another adventure protecting the Republic of Aligned Worlds.

Lieutenant Paen barely survived her last encounter with the Lusitanian Empire. She's returned home to heal. But the nightmares won't stop. And she's got a newly reconstituted unit of green marines to whip into shape before they deploy. If the enemies of the RAW don't kill them first, she just might do the job herself.

Light-years away, on the edge of the Verge, a massive vein of rare ore is discovered on the mining planet of Sheol, which ignites an arms race and a proxy war between the Republic and the Lusitanians. Paen and Victor Company are ordered to Sheol, to help hold the planet at all costs.

On the eve of their deployment, a friendly fire incident occurs, putting Paen's career in jeopardy and stripping her of her command. When the Lusitanians send mercenaries to raid Sheol and destabilize its mining operations, matters reach crisis levels. Disgraced and angry, Promise is offered one shot to get back into her mechsuit. But she'll have to jump across the galaxy and possibly storm the gates of hell itself.


Melissa (My words and pages) said...

I like the pick of Montana. Sounds great! Thank you for sharing.


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