where the writers are
Brave Men Run -- A Novel of the Sovereign Era
Brave Men Run - A Novel of the Sovereign Era
Amazon.com Amazon.com
Powell's Books Powell's Books

Matthew gives an overview of the book:

April 18, 1985 -- Into a world already wound tight with the desperate tensions of the Cold War comes Dr. William Donner with a startling declaration: superhumans exist, they demand autonomy, and he has the reality-bending power to enforce their status. Before the Donner Declaration, high school sophomore Nate Charters was just and outsider and self-proclaimed freak.  His unusual appearance, hair-trigger reflexes, and overactive metabolism should have made him something special, but his differences and low self-esteem have long since marked him as a target for the jocks and popular kids. Now, just as his unique nature brings him the attention of a self-assured older girl, Nate must find his place in the world.  Is he part of a remarkable new minority... or just a misfit among misfits?  Nate must uncover the mystery of his origin quickly, because those in power know...
Read full overview »

April 18, 1985 -- Into a world already wound tight with the desperate tensions of the Cold War comes Dr. William Donner with a startling declaration: superhumans exist, they demand autonomy, and he has the reality-bending power to enforce their status.

Before the Donner Declaration, high school sophomore Nate Charters was just and outsider and self-proclaimed freak.  His unusual appearance, hair-trigger reflexes, and overactive metabolism should have made him something special, but his differences and low self-esteem have long since marked him as a target for the jocks and popular kids.

Now, just as his unique nature brings him the attention of a self-assured older girl, Nate must find his place in the world.  Is he part of a remarkable new minority... or just a misfit among misfits?  Nate must uncover the mystery of his origin quickly, because those in power know more about him than he could ever imagine... and they're closing in...

Read an excerpt »

Chapter One

I was used to eating alone.

I mean, I preferred it. When I’m hungry, I need a lot of food. I really put it away, and it’s easier if I can just concentrate on getting fuel in me without having to pay attention to my friends.

Not that there are whole lot of friends to distract me in the first place. We’re talking, like, count-on-one-hand quantities, here. We’re the misfits rejected by all the other cliques at Abbeque Valley High, too weird for the rest, and even in my little band of weirdoes, I stand out.

So it’s just as well that Abbeque Valley’s gotten so crowded over the last few years they have two lunch periods, and my friends happen to have the other one. I can concentrate on eating.

On the eighteenth of April, 1985, I sat down in my usual spot in the commons, against the wall of Ms. Elp’s office, and got to it. Yes, it was that day. It was a Thursday, kind of on the cool side. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing?

Anyway, I liked to set up against Ms. Elp’s wall because she had a big window, and she spent her lunch looking out at the commons, keeping an eye on things. She’s the discipline advisor – if you’re going to get busted, you’ll deal with her. For a freak like me, having her literally at my back was a little insurance I’d be able to eat my lunch in peace.

It’s not always enough.

My hearing is very, very sensitive. Even with the racket of a few hundred kids yammering away while they eat their lunches, I can pick out certain things that might be important to my well-being. It’s part of what makes me different, same as needing to eat so much so often.

I was halfway through my second salami sandwich when I heard the distinctive, sloshing, whoosh of a partially open carton of milk flying through the air. It’s a sound I’ve heard before, and I’ve learned from the past.

I grabbed my lunch bag in one hand, my backpack in the other, and stood up. I moved a few feet to the left.

The milk bomb burst against the wall. Pretty good shot. My back had been there a few seconds ago.

I looked across the commons along the arc of the milk bomb’s trajectory. I was not surprised to see Byron Teslowski standing over in the jocks’ corner, holding court with his Wingmen. I was a target for a lot of jerks, but I had Teslowski’s special attention since sixth grade.

What did get me was the look on Teslowski’s face. He didn’t have his customary grinning sneer going.

He looked disappointed, and confused, sure, but there was something else there I couldn’t figure out. We locked eyes for a second before Terrance Felder knocked him on his arm and got his attention, and that was that.

I sighed. Milk dripped down the wall, and pooled at my feet. I was still hungry. Ms. Elp, who somehow missed the whole thing, caught my eye through the window and gave me a curt smile. I could see myself in the dim reflection of the window: short brown hair that seemed to shed instead of ever needing to be cut; green eyes that were way too big for my face.

I looked away.

A pack of girls strolled by. The alpha bimbette, Gaby Samson, had been wearing spandex tops and leggings since “Flashdance” came out. I tried not to notice how puberty had so recently blessed her. She took a second to look me up and down.

“Nice puddle,” she said. They all laughed, musical and thrilled with themselves.

Just about your normal day for Nate Charters, boy freak.

matthew-wayne-selznick's picture

Note from the author coming soon...

About Matthew

I'm an author, new media and social networking authority, veteran podcaster and musician living in the high desert of Southern California with my wife and several pets.  My blog, podcast, written works and music can all be found at ...

Read full bio »