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Friday, May 8, 2009

Best Selling Novel of the Year award Winner TM Hunter

FALLEN HEROES by T. M. Hunter

“Everyone loves heroes, but heroes have a tendency to die young.” – Heroes Die Young

It’s true. Everyone loves a hero. It explains the fascination we all have with superheroes, common day heroes such as firefighters, and the everyday average person who becomes a hero through an act of heroism.

But what makes a hero most endearing to us is when we can relate to them on a personal level, and that’s when we get into their faults. Mistakes and flaws are what make us human, and they bring a hero down to our level in the same way. Heroes (or anyone, for that matter) aren’t any fun if they’re larger than life all the time. They gain our admiration most if they get caught up in the same emotional trials and experience the same failures as the rest of us.

Take Aston West, the main character from my novel Heroes Die Young and many of my published short stories. He had been a hero before, having served in his planet’s military forces. Motivated by financial gain, and being a massive alcoholic, it seems like he’s beyond hope. Readers, though, enjoy him because he comes off as a common man through these faults. In the end, Aston is forced to choose whether to act on the hero he is inside, or to let his faults get the best of him, and that’s when he shines.

Heroes have to be heroic, but their faults will endear them to those who follow their exploits. That’s the truth, regardless of the hero.

***

T. M. Hunter is the author of Heroes Die Young, which was recently awarded Champagne Books’ Best-Selling Novel of the Year for 2008. He has had several short stories published with his story “Little White Truths” receiving a top-ten finish in the 2007 Preditors and Editors Readers Poll. His next Aston West novel, Friends in Deed, is scheduled for a January 2010 release. More information about his stories, novels and upcoming events can be found at AstonWest.com. He can also be followed at MySpace and Facebook (under the name Aston West) and Twitter (@astonwest).

12 comments:

AstonWest said...

I'll be here in and out all day to chat with you all, so feel free to drop questions, comments and discussion. ;-)

Tami said...

I would love to have an excerpt so we can see a little of Aston. I like a normal everyday guy. One who isn't afraid of not being perfect, but does his best to be a good man! Makes me want to reach out and just kiss him......**smooches for Aston**

AstonWest said...

The full first chapter of Heroes Die Young can be read here. I'll post up a spicier excerpt in a little while, once I grab a bite to eat.

http://astonwest.com/hero_excerpt.pdf

AstonWest said...

She turned and stretched her arms across the hall and blocked my path. “I’d much rather hang out with someone exciting like you.”

I chuckled under my breath. “Trust me, my life is far from exciting.”

Except of course, when I have a death penalty hung over my head, or an assassin trying to kill me.

“You have to check out my room.” Juniper grabbed my hands and drug me through another doorway. She flipped on the light switch and my sight was flooded with hot pink walls.

She released my hands and I glanced around the room. It was what one would expect of a girl her age, on the fine border between adolescence and adulthood. She still had a number of toys, pillows, and knick-knacks from years gone by, mixed in with more adult items, such as bottles of liquor and posters of various artists with questionable musical talent. Unfortunately, clothes and skimpy undergarments were strewn all over.

“So, what do you think?”

I smiled. “Quite nice. Now, I’m going to head out to the couch and try to get some sleep.”

“Don’t be such a party-pooper. Let’s have a little fun.” She reached in and grabbed my side. Out of instinct, I flinched again.

“Why do you pull away from me?”

I shrugged.

Her tone was bitter. “You don’t find me attractive?”

“You’re attractive, trust me.” It was true, despite my attempts to convince myself otherwise.

“Then, what’s the problem?”

“It’s complicated.”

Her emotions became a mix of anger and sorrow, a deadly combination for me, being on the receiving end. “But not as attractive as other females. If I was that whore waitress, you wouldn’t have a problem with it.”

If she’d forced me into her bedroom as Juniper just had, that would probably be true.

“It’s not the same.”

“How so?”

“You’re my best friend’s daughter.”

“And?”

“It would be awkward.”

“That shouldn’t make any difference.”

“The last time I saw you, you were a little girl. Of course it will.”

Not to mention Crillian being someone who could break me open like an empty bottle of Jungle Juice.

“I’m a woman now,” she announced with pride. Then, to prove her point, she reached up and yanked her top off in one motion.

“Juniper!” I averted my wide eyes, but the damage to my memory was already done.

“Aston, look at me!”

I gave a nervous laugh. “Um, no?”

“Look at me!” Her tone told me she wasn’t going to accept any of my excuses.

I turned my head and stared straight into her face. My skin crawled as I remembered Crillian lay in the next room. He would kill me, and I was certain it wouldn’t be quick or painless.

She walked over to me and pulled my jacket to the floor, then pressed against my chest.

“Now, I find you attractive and I’m certain you feel the same for me. Are you going to let past memories stand in the way?”

I wanted to end this, but didn’t know how to respond, so stood there speechless. She preyed on my moment of confusion, reached up to nestle my face with her hand and planted a passionate kiss on the mouth. I didn’t stop what was happening, because I just knew it felt good. I hadn’t had physical contact with a female of any species in a long time. Her assault on my senses continued as she combed her fingers through my hair, and our mouths pressed against one another.

As she reached down to my pants, my conscience slapped me upside the head and I grabbed her arm. “I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I’m sorry, I just can’t.”

She pulled away and folded her arms across her chest. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes drooped. “Please leave.”

“If the circumstances were different, Juniper, I…”

Her eyes burned through me. “Leave!”

I walked out of the room, and the door slammed shut behind me. I looked down the hall toward Crillian’s room and listened for signs of my forthcoming demise. All I heard were the heavy sobs from behind Juniper’s door.

It had been the right thing to do, but my heart sank. There had been no good way to get out of what just happened, but now I had to live with the fact I’d just crushed a young woman’s feelings of lust for me.

I did have to question her taste, but there would be a time and a place to do so and now was not it.

With a sigh, I walked off into the living room, then second-guessed myself and turned into the kitchen. My mind was running at top speed, and there would be no way I could sleep with the thoughts and images in my head. I needed some help, so grabbed a bottle from the sack and one of the empty glasses Crillian had left out earlier. I poured a glass and walked over to the couch. I stared at the green liquid for a moment or two, and hoped I’d forget all about what just happened by the next morning. Then, I gulped the entire drink down and set the glass on the table. I reached over to turn off the lamp, but my vision began moving back and forth, then duplicated itself and began to rotate in wide circles. I fell sideways on the couch as my vision went black.

Tami said...

Wow, that is great. It's great to see his integrity there. I am going to have to read this book now. Thanks.....book number 1,000,001 added to my TBR pile! :)

AstonWest said...

I always debate whether to use that particular excerpt, because some might think that Juniper isn't as old as she really is. Trust me, she's definitely of age. ;-)

Tami said...

It's not the age of Juniper that made me think he was acting with integrity. He wasn't "hitting" his best friend's daughter. Which would be awkward. :) Now, should he get permission or fall in love, then to hell with his best friend. :) LOL

AstonWest said...

For those stopping by and not commenting, I will mention that Fictionwise currently has copies of Heroes Die Young available at a discount.

http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/eBook74975.htm

lastnerve said...

That was an awesome excerpt! My hero is a man who is tenderhearted and has my back when I need him to! I have three teen girls so sometimes it is us against the world! Sorry I didn't make it here earlier, it has been a crazy day! I loved the blog!

AstonWest said...

Glad you made it by! Also glad you enjoyed the excerpt!

AstonWest said...

Well, I'm going to run off to bed. Those who've commented to the thread by the time I come back in the morning will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Heroes Die Young. Good luck, all!

AstonWest said...

Congratulations to you both! Because I'm a nice guy, and don't want to have to have someone leave empty-handed, you've both received a free copy of my book! E-mails should be on the way to get some details...