Monday, July 15, 2013

Keeper of the Black Stones Blog Tour: Guest Post

Keeper of the Black Stones
By: P.T. McHugh
Guest Post:
Ten things we didn’t know about Paul
1. He scored a perfect score in Math on his PSATs, and hasn’t stopped bragging about it ever since.
This has done nothing to increase his popularity with the other kids, though Jason is reluctantly
2. He was diagnosed at the age of three with a mild case of Asperger’s. He’s not on any medication, because his father wouldn’t pay for it and his mom can’t afford it. So he does his best to control it on his own, with varying degrees of success. This explains some of his more … interesting moments.
3. Before his father left, he heard an argument between his parents where his mother screamed that she’d never wanted a second child anyhow. He’d never loved his father, but when his dad disappeared, Paul had realized that he was well and truly alone in the world, left with a brother who hated him and a mother who’d never wanted him. He’s never truly recovered from that.
4. Paul hides his feelings of rejection with his smarts. He sat down and built his own computer the summer before high school, just to prove to Jason that he could.
5. Shockingly enough, he loves to read Field & Stream magazine. He would love to be out of the city, away from the pollution and noise, and likes to dream about living in the big houses that magazine covers.
6. One of his favorite hobbies is fishing. Of course he doesn’t have a father of his own to take him, but Doc takes him occasionally. Before he died, Jason’s dad also took the two of them on fishing expeditions. Paul has an overnight ocean fishing trip on his bucket list. Jason doubts whether Paul would survive the seasickness.
7. He collects baseball cards, because they’re inexpensive and easy to store. He’s obsessed with baseball, and sometimes organizes his cards according to who his favorite players are, and how good they’re doing in the league. Occasionally he sets up games, though he doesn’t even tell Jason about that.
8. He’d never had a birthday cake until Doc and Jason made one for him for his thirteenth birthday.  Now it’s a tradition. He prefers chocolate with raspberry filling and vanilla icing. He doesn’t let them put candles on the cake, though, since he read about a candle exploding in a boy’s face once.
9. Paul’s only been kissed by one girl, and he found out afterward that she’d only done it on a dare. He was so crushed that he stayed out of school for a week, hiding out at Doc’s house, and told people later that he’d traveled to Hollywood to meet with an agent.
10. Paul’s a movie buff and lives his life based on theories he has about different films. He’s seen Star Wars 121 times, at last count.
A Sneak at Book Two titled A Rebel's Stone:
Have you ever woken up from a dream and, for a split second, you can’t remember whether the dream was real or not? You don’t know if you’re awake, or if you’re still there, dreaming? And suddenly the world seems … fuzzy, or unbalanced, or almost … unreal?
That’s how going back in time feels. Like you’re not sure where the dream ends and reality begins. Or whether you’ve ever been in reality at all. Whether the world is right side up or upside down, or even if … Well, all I can say is that I’m starting to understand exactly how Alice must have felt when she walked through that looking glass. And that feeling of uncertainty hasn’t left me yet.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not intrigued. Fascinated. Overwhelmed and … amazed.
Who wouldn’t be? The idea that I can make my way into the shed in the back yard, stumble down the stairs and onto the stone, close my eyes … and find myself in a completely different time and place. Who wouldn’t be amazed, terrified, and – let’s be honest – more than a little curious?
Look, I know it’s dangerous. I know it’s a bad idea. I know I shouldn’t think about these sorts of things. But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t. And I’d be absolutely lying if I said I hadn’t thought about what I would do, given the chance. Because if it were up to me, I would never have gone to Medieval England. Well, maybe one day, but certainly not first. I’m pretty fond of indoor plumbing, proper sanitation, and good hygiene. And I don’t particularly like people trying to kill me with swords and spears. Nope, if it was up to me, I would have gone back to Washington DC, at the end of the Civil War, in early April of 1865.
Just before Abraham Lincoln was shot. He’s one of my favorite people out of history, and I’d give just about anything to get to meet him. To talk about what was going on, pick his mind for ideas, and ask him about that crazy beard (which I heard he grew because a little girl wrote and told him he should). I’d ask him how he’d come up with some of his ideas, and what he thought about a million other ones. Of course that would have presented its own set of challenges, wouldn’t it? If I’d been there and met him, what would I say by mistake? I know what happened to him, and when, and where, and I’ve heard – just like everyone else – how much good he might have done if he’d lived. So how could I meet him without warning him? Without tell him not to go
to Ford’s Theatre, and to watch his back, and not to trust anyone?
And if you’ve heard anything my grandfather has said, you know that telling Abe
Lincoln that he was going to be shot would be the worst possible thing, because it would change the thread of time and send the world spinning off its axis. I know that. But I don’t know how much good it would have done if I was actually faced with the situation. Perhaps it’s better that I don’t get to choose where I go, after all.
Now if it were up to Paul, he’d go back to Los Angeles in 1959 and lie, cheat, and steal his way onto the set for Some Like it Hot, where he would do whatever it took to meet Marilyn Monroe. I’ve seen the movie, and I see where he’s coming from, but it wouldn’t be my choice.
Now I have no doubt that my father, if he was alive and given the choice, would have gone to Belgium in June of 1815, to witness the battle of Waterloo. Napoleon, his favorite general, was up against the Duke of Wellington then, and Dad would have given his left arm to see that.
Then again, I’d give my left arm to see Dad and my mom again. Paul’s never asked me if I thought of going back and saving my parents, but that thought’s crossed my mind as well. Not that I get to choose where I’m going, or when.
Those choices are still controlled by the stones, and I’m not sure they’ll ever be
willing to hand over that type of control. Which is probably for the best. Because if any human had that sort of control, there’s no telling what would happen to the world around us.

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