I finally finished writing my new novel, Challengers. Now comes the part when I send it to people I trust who'll read it and tell me what works and what doesn't. That said, I also need to hear from people who are less familiar with my work so I can see how it sits with a wider audience. If you're interested in being one of those people, here's the gist of the book:
tl;dr version: X-Men meets Friday Night Lights
Longer version: Eighteen-year-old Cody Hawthorn had waited his whole life to go to college to learn to be a superhero. Sadly, he's just not super enough. Top-tier universities find his 2,000-pound bench press rather pedestrian. He can run 40 mph? Yawn. They'd love Cody if he still knew how to fly, but a nasty injury cost him his ability to get airborne.
Cody had resigned himself to studying history and teaching high school in his hometown until Piedmont State University finally offered him a scholarship to double-major in history and heroics. When he gets to campus, Cody wonders if he made a mistake--among his new team of magicians, gravity manipulators, luchadors, and a cybernetically enhanced bear powered by Google Android, Cody's the worst student in the program. At least Cody gets to study under his childhood idol, Orion.
Orion, the greatest and most powerful hero the world has ever known, is retired from active duty at forty-one years old. In his prime he had the strength to move mountains and the toughness to withstand an atomic bomb. However, his career of fistfights and crashing into buildings has left his body a wreck. When he's not nursing a dependency on painkillers, he stays busy as a faculty member at Piedmont State. However, it's a much tougher place to work than he'd expected. Piedmont State is like if you infused Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters with the bloated bureaucracy of a public university, and replaced Professor X with Bear Bryant. Orion's clashes with his boss (and the fact that, as an educator, he couldn't teach a dead man to sit still) have him on the verge of getting fired.
Both he and Cody are going to have to get their acts together because Orion's old nemesis, Claude Lafitte--the self-proclaimed Emperor of Louisiana--is still in his prime and planning to start a second Civil War. But how can either Cody or Orion save the day when they can barely keep their positions on campus?
Sound interesting? Want to take a crack at this? Read on.
What I'm looking for:
- Your overall impression
- What you liked
- What you didn't like
- Places you got bored
- Stuff that confused you/didn't make sense
- Characters you particularly liked and disliked
- If people do anything unbelievable or ridiculous
- Do the plot twists work, or did you see them coming?
- Whatever else you feel like mentioning
What I'm NOT looking for:
- Proofreading. Obviously spelling and grammar are important, but the book will probably change a lot between now and the final version. Pointing out the comma splice on page 137 won't be a good use of your time if I end up overhauling or deleting that entire chapter anyway.
My ballpark turnaround time is by mid-August. If this sounds like your cup of Gatorade and you've got some spare time, fill out the contact form and I'll send it your way. Either way, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you're reading something you enjoy.