With Spencer Harrington
Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
Anywhere. Seriously. I’d go for a trip to the dentist right now. Dad brought me to this little frozen slice of hell to keep me “safe”. Physically safe. Mentally, my brain’s turned into an icy, grey slush. Nobody takes me out of the cage to play with me and a giant hamster wheel would have been too much of a luxury.
And bunker food, ugh.
Tell us about your family.
Let me get comfortable on the couch here while you psychoanalyze this.
My Dad’s a superhero. He’s also a super dick. He’s the strongest Augment ever created. He can fly, punch through brick walls (I think that’s something they can all do – Jesus, doors, people, doors) and he’s nearly impervious to pain. Pretty sure that extends to emotions.
Really he’s a state sponsored, weaponized human being. Yeah, I’ve seen the news. If you believe the government line they were all released from service. Naw, they just got transferred to covert ops. The costumes, the rivalries, it’s all for show.
Stop looking at me like I need a tin foil hat. It’s true. I can prove it.
Mom? Yeah, I didn’t mention her. You’d think I’m avoiding the subject. Suddenly this couch isn’t so comfortable.
Look, my Mom was awesome. She IS awesome. She’s the only reason I put up with the constant relocation trying to keep Dad’s stupid identity a secret. Without her, I would’ve skipped out on my amazing family life years ago.
But then she would’ve been alone when he took her… Whatever, I’m going to find her.
Okay. Next question.
What book are you reading now?
I’ve got one book here, a battered copy of the Swiss Family Robinson. Yes, I realize the irony. We both did.
Mom read this to me over and over again growing up. This very book. She even scribbled a note in front cover when she gave it to me on my thirteenth birthday. Even her handwriting is all happy and bubbly…
I used to daydream about our own island. Just me and Mom. A place I could explore. A place we could build a home and just stay there. Yeah, Dad could use his frequent flier miles for a visit every so often, but it would essentially be just us.
Oh, and I’d figure out some way to make a computer out of coconuts and shit. Gotta keep up with me mateys on Deadman’s Chest, pirate website extraordinaire.
Anyway, at first, reading this book was Mom’s way of telling me that everything was going to be okay. That all the moving around, the changing schools, losing friends – that was our little adventure.
But you read it enough times and you start to see who crazy it is. They slaughter about every living thing they find, sometimes just for the hell of it. “Mom” in the book (you’ve got to really dig to find her name) gets relegated to the kitchen they build for her, meanwhile the boys explore the island – but they don’t go too far. They’re building permanent residences before they’ve even tried to figure out where they are or plan an escape. Without so much as looking over the next hill to see the fence for the Zoo they must have shipwrecked behind (it’s the only explanation for the biodiversity, seriously).
Eventually, we kept reading for the laughs and the awkwardness of it all. I still read it, but it isn’t funny anymore. Being shipwrecked here, in the Icehole, sucks.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
I’ve racked up about three thousand plays on this pop diva’s album – I don’t even know her name. But she’s hot and like mostly naked on the cover. I freaking hate pop music.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
See previous question.
Other than that, I play chess on the bunker’s aging computer system. I’m pretty sure this place was part of a top secret Russian program – all the buttons and switches and such are labeled in Cyrillic characters. That and the only game they have on the server is chess. Chess with no difficulty sliders.
I guess it’s relaxing. I mean, I used to like chess and even played on the chess team in school. I wasn’t that great then, but now, facing off against a ruthless computer A.I. every time, I can almost hear Eye of the Tiger playing in the background.
Morning Person? Or Night Person? How do you know?
Excellent question. That last one, anyway. How the hell do I know?
I haven’t seen a sunrise in about two years. It hides below the horizon, teasing me on the security cameras. And night can last for freaking months.
When I wasn’t here at the Icehole, I was an every time person. Morning, night, it didn’t matter, I was on. I rode a stimulant-free permabuzz. Well, unless you count the Dew. A radioactive glass of sugar and caffeine, I drank enough I always wondered why I didn’t develop super powers like dear ‘ol Dad.
What one word best describes you?
Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?
I dispense quips faster than a vending machine full of condoms on prom night. Picking a favorite would be like picking a favorite child. Of course, I’m an only child, so maybe that’s not the best way to put it.
I attacked a military grade killer robot with a can of paint once. Emily, my dad’s errr friend, thought it was a crazy, suicidal idea. I couldn’t disagree but I did have to remind her that the paint was high quality, UV resistant, one coat miracle paint – I wasn’t just slinging around any old paint.
And it all worked out…sorta. I mean, she added a drive-thru window to the hardware store with a box truck, but they’ve got insurance.
Wait, I don’t think I answered the question.
Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it?
Dad is always full of advice. Little gems like, “neutralize the threat before you save anyone” and cheery things like that. Almost like he wishes he had a kid who could do super-powered, world-saving outings with him instead of a powerless runt who prefers to watch his heroics from the stands of Candlestick Park.
But my favorite piece of advice comes from an Augment with a better outlook on life and who’s a bit more honest about all this than Dad.
How so? Well, Hurricane’s crazy for one and I’m pretty sure he knows it. And he’ll flat out tell you that he’s a willing prisoner to the whole super-powered lifestyle.
His name’s Hurricane and he’s a member of Augment force Zero. He’s a one-legged speedster who flashes through life in a tattered hospital gown mostly ‘cause he’s given up caring about what other people think.
He once said, “Gettin’ old is shit, kid. Avoid that as long as ya can.” And I will. As soon as I rescue my mom and save the freakin’ world.
by Russ Linton
His mother kidnapped, his superhero father absent, powerless Spencer Harrington faces a world of weaponized humans to prove himself and find the truth.
Nineteen-year-old Spencer is the son of the Crimson Mask, the world's most powerful Augment. Since witnessing his mother's abduction by a psychotic super villain two years ago, he's been confined to his father's arctic bunker. When the "Icehole" comes under attack from a rampaging robot, Spencer launches into his father's dangerous world of weaponized human beings known as Augments.
With no superpowers of his own save a multi-tool, a quick wit and a boatload of emotional trauma, Spencer seeks to uncover his mother's fate and confront his absentee superhero father. As he stumbles through a web of conspiracies and top secret facilities, he rallies a team of everyday people and cast-off Augments. But Spencer soon discovers that the Black Beetle isn't his only enemy, nor his worst.
CRIMSON SON is on sale for $0.99 through October 29
This part always comes so fast.
I hand the phone back to Mom. “You’ll need to send later, I guess. The signal dropped. Should be in your outbox ready to go.”
As she takes the phone, the wall of the room explodes.
Here. Dream becomes nightmare. For a moment, I feel I can make it stand still, but why would I? Events unfold with the emptiness of the bunker gnawing at my insides. I can identify every stray chunk of plaster and splinter of wood in this time-robbed moment.
Fragments of home spray like a swarm of locusts. Mom screams and the world spins under her protective dive. I struggle to see through a haze of dust. Glimpses of the valley filter past a humanoid silhouette. A long, pincered arm lashes out. The arm clamps tightly around Mom’s waist and retracts, drawing us closer.
“Release the boy and he will live,” the Black Beetle speaks with an unnatural vibration. “He can relay a message for your husband.”
Mom squeezes tighter but her screaming stops.
I search her face, knowing what I’ll find, all the while scrambling to find an anchor as we slide across the room. She’s bleeding from a gash on her forehead and the pincer cinches tighter. Her eyes are full of fear, but focused. She’s calculating, deliberating. A hundred times? A thousand? It always hurts.
“No, Mom, please!” I throw my hands around the leg of a toppled chair which drags uselessly behind us. Countless trips through this nightmare, I know I can’t keep us here, but I reach out anyway. And always, she lets go.
I grab her arm, trying to pull her back, cursing my stunted size, my weak limbs, my feeble grip. Sweaty hands slip as the pincer continues to retract. Her trembling lips form a final smile and she watches me with a sad but determined expression.
She mouths the words, “I love you.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
In the fourth grade, Russ Linton wrote down the vague goal of becoming a “writer and an artist” when he grew up. After a journey that led him from philosopher to graphic designer to stay at home parent and even a stint as an Investigative Specialist with the FBI, he finally got around to that “writing” part which he now pursues full time.
Russ creates character-driven speculative fiction. His stories drip with blood, magic, and radioactive bugs. He writes for adults who are young at heart and youngsters who are old souls.
Local / Personal Bio
Russ lives in Denton, Texas where he writes beside an unnervingly quiet dog with the support of his history-obsessed son and his extremely patient wife. He regularly pursues community service and is currently scoutmaster for his son’s Boy Scout troop. He is a regular at the North Branch Writers’ Critique Group and has honed his craft through creative writing courses with Stanford University’s continuing studies program as well as writing workshops at local conventions.
Russ holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do which was marginally more useful in a former life not making his living from behind a desk. He enjoys the outdoors and when he isn’t leading his scouts on virtual campouts in Minecraft, he’s making them haul their gear across state parks in the North Texas area.
Website - www.russlinton.com
Facebook - facebook.com/RussLinton
Twitter - twitter.com/Russ_Linton
Google Plus - https://plus.google.com/+RussLinton
Russ will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner and another winner will receive a signed copy of Crimson Son (US ONLY), both prizes via rafflecopter during the tour. A $10 Amazon GC will be awarded to a randomly drawn host.
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