This excerpt is from Unto Dust (A Mindfire Prequel), my current work-in-progress. The scene features Steve Hamilton (Crusader, the co-leader of the AR-MEN superhero team) and his then-girlfriend, Angela Merrick. It is set in 1992 in Digby, California.
NOTE: There might be changes to this scene by the time the book is published, due to the editing process. But this will give you a good first look.
“You really want to break up with me?” she had said, sitting with her torso turned to him in the passenger seat of this car. She had looked at him with hurt in her emerald-green eyes as she folded her arms across her waist line.
“It’s not that I want to break up with you, Angela,” Steve had replied. “I just think that it’s best. You know what almost happened today. You could have been killed.”
Though it was a fine Spring day outside, within the parked car, their storm was raging. It was as if they were in a separate space from the world around them.
“You protected me,” she had countered. “Isn’t that what matters?”
“Angela, Togarr is a barbarian that I take seriously. He’s from another dimension and he’s a killer. Clever, strong, and experienced. When he had you, with one arm wrapped around your waist and his axe blade an inch from your throat, I was terrified for you. If I didn’t have super speed, I wouldn’t have been able to fly in, disarm, and K.O. him. You would have died.”
She had looked down, as though reliving that moment. “I know,” she replied softly.
“The fact is, I protected you this time. I might not always be able to do that,” he had added. “And what if one of the AR-MEN’s enemies learned you’re my — Crusader’s — girlfriend?”
Angela had lifted her head and made sharp eye contact with him again. “This is because I don’t have powers like you,” she had interjected bitterly.
Steve had sighed and hung his head. “Yes, I’m afraid so.”
She had looked down, balled her hands into fists, and cursed under her breath. Then she locked eyes with his, sadness and fury warring within.
“We have something good, Steve! We’ve been building this relationship. I know it hasn’t been that long, but I want a life together with you,” she began. “I may not have a suit of armor like John or fox powers like Dana, but I’m intelligent and resourceful. Most of the time, I can take care of myself very well. I can stay out of sight or get out of the way when you go into action. I can learn how to use a gun.”
Even though her eyes were misty, and her face was reddening from stress and anger, she conveyed a confidence that surprised Steve. He shook his head. “Please, don’t buy a gun. That could just as easily be used on you.”
“Fine,” she huffed. “This is more important anyway: I understand you. I can be there for you and give you a perspective you need.”
What she was saying had made sense to him. He knew she was right, and he wanted what she wanted. But over the next several seconds, his responsibilities and fears lashed against his hopes until he couldn’t stand it anymore.
“Don’t you get it?!” he roared, venting his frustration. “None of that matters if they hunt you down and —” He had stopped himself from going further, but he knew he’d already said too much.
Angela was visibly stunned, but only briefly. “None of that matters,” she repeated numbly. She closed her eyes and he could see her own tension build until it erupted. “I can’t believe this! You want to throw away what we have and kick me out because of the chance that something might happen to me?!” she raged, her voice filled with resentment.
Steve looked at the dashboard, then downward at the car door next to him. He could look anywhere but at Angela. Every time he did, he saw that her face was brimming with frustration and disappointment. And that made him regret doing this, despite how firm he was in his decision.
“Do I really mean that little to you?” she said in a near-whisper. He had heard the tears in her voice, and it tore into him. He held his breath and tensed up.
He had turned his head to face her, starting to reach over to offer some kind of comfort. But before he could speak, she had opened the car door and stepped out.
“Fine. I’ll go get my things and pack them into my car. Don’t even think about helping me,” she had said, standing next to the car with the door still open. She paused a moment, then poked her head into the car with daggers in her eyes. “Oh, and you can keep the bed.”
After that, she slammed the car door and walked away furiously.
Before I started writing novels, I wrote and drew comic books, specifically an original superhero team comic called The AR-MEN. I worked on that from 1980 to 2000 and made a final issue in 2006.
Then I wrote the Christian superhero thriller novel Mindfire which was published by Ambassador International in 2019. In the following video, I use the Mindfire cover and art clips from the comics to illustrate the ten main differences between the AR-MEN superhero team as they were depicted in my comic books and the novel.
There’s a third main character in my current work-in-progress, Unto Dust (A Mindfire Prequel): Leia’s biological mother, the supervillain named Malevolence. I made a new trailer to reintroduce her. Feedback welcome.
First Look Friday: I’m going to share a small excerpt from my current work-in-progress Unto Dust (A Mindfire Prequel). This story starts off in 1992, twenty-one years before the events in Mindfire. This excerpt features Sue Sanchez, who is 19, a model, and a superhero known as The Cat.
As she drove off, Sue cranked up the air conditioner in her brand-new sports car, a white Mazda Miata MX-5 coupe. The CD-player began playing in the middle of “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey. Sue cranked the volume and sped up a little, signaling before she changed lanes.
She sang the lyrics and slowly bopped her shoulders from side to side as she proceeded into her neighborhood. She eased alongside the curb in front of the house she lived in. She rented half of the duplex, and her side was a small two-bedroom. Sue had grown tired of apartment life, preferring this cozy area of town that had clearly been constructed in the 1970s. The houses were all made with red brick and quaint siding, accented by big windows. She loved it. It reminded her of the house she grew up in with her sisters. And Papá.
Sue smiled as she got out of her car, remembering how she used to run outside to meet her father when he got home from work. He would pick her up and put her on his shoulders, ducking to keep her safe as he entered the house. She knew it made her sisters Sandra and Leticia very jealous, but it was her special time with Papá.
She unlocked her door and turned on the lamp to her left as she entered. A familiar beeping noise let her know to check her answering machine atop the kitchen counter. The sleek black box with black-and-red digital display showed she had four messages waiting. She quickly pressed the review button.
“Hey Sue, this is Margaret. I have an update about the magazine shoot next Tuesday. I’m sorry but they canceled. They’re looking for fifteen- to eighteen-year-old girls, it’s not personal.”
“They canceled because I just turned nineteen,” Sue said derisively, looking with contempt at the answering machine as if it were the fashion liaison for Visual Sports magazine. “How can that not be personal?”
This is still in draft form and could change between now and publication. Still, it gives you a glimpse and I hope you enjoyed it.
The Former Things is now available to buy in print or ebook from the following retailers:
Barnes & Noble
The print version is $17.99 USD and the ebook versions are $4.99 USD.
Book blurb: Sean Winter is burdened by a heartrending past he can't share. As a result, Sean doesn’t believe there are any good Christian examples in the world. Any faith he had has been eroded. He depends on facts, reason, and experience alone. At twenty-four-years-old, he has a bachelor’s degree and works at one of the top customer service firms in Oklahoma City.
A new job and post-college life bring new opportunities for friendship and even love. What happens when one of those new acquaintances turns out to be a Christian? And is Sean ready for any kind of romantic relationship? He continues to be haunted by his traumas, depression, past choices, and his own naiveté. They all threaten to tear him apart, however hard he fights against them.
Sean wants to build a future for himself. But he risks being consumed by The Former Things that torment him. Can two Christians, one from Sean’s past and one he’s just met, make a difference in the life of an atheist?
Here it is — my interview on the Author Blurb podcast! Please check it out.
Here’s the description: Not what you are expecting when you hear Christian Fiction. With Allen Steadham, he takes you to worlds that keep you wanting turn every page. If you are reading the amazing super hero story of Mindfire or adventuring in the Jordan of Algoran books, you find something to keep you falling in love with his stories.
As a Christian Fiction writer, Allen Steadham takes a path of trying to bring his books to wider range of people. His books are not the old style of preachy books, but a true story with a message. Allen tells us about how he does this and focus on entertaining his readers. He draws you in during our conversation and leaves you wanting to know more about his books.
That's right, I have a Pintrest author account! It's mostly book and short story quotes like the ones I've put in this newsletter, but there's also artwork, some of my sky photography, and some space pins I thought were cool. Feel free to follow me there!
ALLEN STEADHAM ON PINTREST
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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