Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sidekicked Guest Post & Giveaway (US)

Please welcome John David Anderson
author of Sidekicked

From the Other Side of the Bar...

My new novel, Sidekicked, is told from Drew's perspective, but throughout the book readers are given glimpses of how other's see the world of Justicia, namely the opinions of its masked villains, its vigilante heroes, and their floundering partners. 

However you don't often get the perspective of the OC's: the ordinary civilians who are caught in the middle. I wonder what they are thinking all the time, those poor, innocent bystanders. 

For example, what the owner of a little hole-in-the-wall bar thinks about when a washed up hero walks through his door one night...

He shuffles in.

Not that that means anything. They all shuffle. They smile and nod and make jokes and pop knuckles, but they all walk with anchors around their ankles, dragging this-that-or-the-other behind them, scraped along the pavement, like something caught in the treads of their shoes. They bring it straight through the door, and they don't cut it loose until they have a drink in their hand.

He's got a weight. But there is something else about him. Maybe it's his size. Pro wrestler. Extra extra large. All bulge and bluster squeezed into threadbare jeans and a too tight t-shirt. I get construction crew some times. Contractors. A couple of cops. But this guy beats them all in "burly". I can't see his eyes for the sunglasses—sunglasses in a dim-lit bar—but I can see his stubbled jaw, clinched tighter than a vise, framing a face with just enough scars to make you want to count 'em. I give him a once over couched in a friendly nod, trying to place him, size him up, if such a thing is even possible. He doesn't say a word. Just scrapes and pulls and tugs and shuffles his way to the bar.

It's Tuesday. Slow. Tuesdays are terrible for business. Mostly I just get regulars. The ones who leave only because I kick them out at three in the morning. The ones who crawl inside their mugs and turtle there, scanning empty bottoms for their own face. So this one stands out. Even if he wasn't a hulking beast of a man, he would have stood out, just because he was different. Just because I hadn't seen him before.

And yet...

"What can I get you?"

It's a loaded question, but I have to ask. And every time I do there is a pause. Because there are so many things they'd always rather say: A new job. A new wife. Shoot my boss. Fix my car. Pay my rent. You can see it in their eyes, all the things they want and can't have.

So they always just ask for a beer.

Not him though. He doesn't pause, just exhales. And in the breath I hear the words "do over." Except he isn't really asking me. As soon as he says it he straightens himself up a little, the stool complaining beneath his weight. I'm surprised it holds. He orders a beer.

When I set it down in front of him he doesn't say thanks. I get the impression that courtesy isn't a prerequisite for him. Looking at how his meaty fingers barely fit through the handle of the mug, knuckles crossed with thick white knots, I'm guessing nobody corrects him on his manners either.

"Haven't seen you around here."

"I don't get out much," is the clipped reply. Not much of a conversationalist either. That's all right. I'm used to that too.

Ed, whose been sitting on his same stool for so long he's practically carved his butt print in the wood, taps for another and I leave the stranger alone with his beer. When I turn back around he's reading over a creased piece of paper, face pinched, in concentration or concern, I can't tell. He carefully refolds it and sets it down on the bar to use as a coaster.

"So you work around here?"

I'm not sure why I'm so desperate to strike up a conversation with this guy, except it's Tuesday and the place is near deserted and I've heard Ed's moaning more times than I care to. And besides, I still can't shake the feeling that I've seen him somewhere before.

"Not anymore," he says.

"Early retirement?"

It's a joke, of course. The man looks like maybe he's in his forties. People who retire in their forties don't find themselves in my bar.

"Something like that."

I hear Ed grunt and look to see him pointing to the tube, muttering something about "there she is again." I turn and watch, slinging the towel over my shoulder. Channel Ten News is on the scene of brouhaha. A group of thugs calling themselves the Crimson Cadre on accounts of the red bandanas wrapped around their faces. They blew out the tires of an armored car with homemade explosives, subduing the guards at gunpoint, almost like one of those old-time stagecoach robberies. Back when John Wayne was alive and Hollywood made westerns worth watching. The gun-toting cowboys were busy emptying the car's lucrative contents into the back of a pickup truck when a costumed figure swooped in, a flash of white moving so fast the camera could barely keep up with her, sword singing, all slash and dash. It's over almost as soon as it begins. I'd seen it before. Seen her before. That one was all over the news lately.

Ed whistles. "What a fox."

He's trying to be funny. I just watch as the city's latest Super bounds away, the would-be robbers heaped into a pile by the smoking remains of the armored car, waiting for the cops to come sweep it all up.

"She is something," I say. Though I've lived here most my life. I've seen my share of heroes. I turn back to the stranger. "What do you think?"

He shrugs. "Better her than me," he says.

Then it suddenly clicks.

I do know this guy.

And maybe he knows I know, because all the sudden I can feel his eyes on me. Even behind those ridiculous sunglasses that sort of make sense now. I can sense him staring. And I'm not sure if it's warning, or just a request, but I suddenly get the impression that what I know is something I should just keep to myself.

The stranger nods and I nod back, an unspoken agreement. He's just a guy having a drink, nothing more. In my line of work you learn that people have more secrets than they are willing to admit, but somehow they let 'em out anyway. I turn to the sports channel, find a baseball game nobody really cares about. Ed mumbles a complaint—he wants to watch more of the news with the hopes of seeing that new Super again—but then escapes back into his glass. Completely oblivious, that one. I turn back toward the stranger. It's obvious he wants to be left alone, but I'm curious. He said retired. Does that mean for good retired? Because that would be a shame. I wonder what it is that brought him here. Wonder what secrets his got beneath his secrets.

"Funny name for a bar," he says.

I follow his gaze to the sign in the window. To the sputtering neon light that I'd been meaning to replace for sixth months now. Two of the H's had burnt out, so now it only read "T E LAST URRAH". I shrug.

"Yeah. Well. End of the day. Everybody wants to go out on a high note."

"Not everyone," he says. And then he mumbles something that maybe sounds like "Thanks for the beer."

And tell him not to worry about it. Some way or another, I figure we owe him one.

If you'd like to find out more about this stranger, and what happens when Drew shows up at the bar looking for him, go grab a copy of Sidekicked. If you'd like to find out more about the book, visit or check out johndavidandersonauthor on Facebook.

Click on the picture for a list of blog tour stops

Info for the giveaway:
  • What you can win: A finished copy of Sidekicked by John David Anderson
  • As always, you do NOT have to be a follower
  • This giveaway is US only
  • You must be 13 years of age or older
  • One entry per person
  • I will contact the winner through email and the winner will have 24 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen
  • This giveaway closes on August 8th

Click here to enter the giveaway!

Info for The Sidekicked Summer of Superheroes Sweepstakes:
  • What you can win: An e-reader of the winners choice, a selection of superhero-themed e-books and signed copies of Sidekicked
  • This giveaway is hosted by Walden Pond Press on Facebook
  • This giveaway closes on July 31st

Click here to enter the sweepstakes!

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