All Our Passions

All Our Passions
By Nathan Marchand

“I’m still here, my darling. I just dozed off a little.”

“Then maybe you should take a break. You’ve been there for hours.”

“Oh, hello nurse. I didn’t hear you come in.”

“I moonlight as a ninja.”

“Heh-heh. No, I can’t leave my Joseph. I want to be the first person he sees when he wakes up from this coma.”

“How romantic! I hope he appreciates having such a vigilant wife.”

“Trust me, he does.”

“Just don’t squeeze his hand too hard. I’d hate to put it in a caste after he wakes up.”

“I think he’ll be fine. He has strong hands.”

“I’ll go get you some coffee.”

“Thank you.”

“It’s me, your blonde goddess Mercedes, my love. I’m the only one here now. I know that Corvette was your favorite car, but it was totaled in your accident. The police are still trying to figure out what caused it. I know you’d never do anything to wreck it. You loved it almost as much as you loved me. I promise Daddy will buy you a new one when—”

“Get away from him!”

“Jeffrey! What’s wrong with you?”

“Get away from my twin brother, dirty whore!”

“How dare you barge in and talk to me like that! I’m his wife!”

“Stop lying! I know about your plot.”

“What plot?”

“Don’t play innocent with me! The man lying on that bed isn’t Joseph—I’m Joseph!

“You’re insane!”

“Am I?”

“Yes. You were always jealous I married your brother and not you.”

“You drugged me at our wedding reception, and then had my twin brother take my place.”

“I’d never do such a thing!”

“You treacherous slut! I know Jeffrey stole you from me and the two of you conspired to have him take my place and have me put away in some loony bin.”

“I love him, Jeffrey. I’d—”

“STOP CALLING ME THAT! I’M JOSEPH! I’M THE MAN YOU MARRIED!”

“No, you’re not! The man I married is lying there after nearly dying in a car accident.”

“Haha. Who do you think caused it?”

“What?”

“I cut the car’s break line so it’d look like an accident. If I couldn’t have you, neither would he!”

“You bastard!  I’m calling the nurse.”

“No, you won’t!”

“Let go of me!”

“Shut up, bitch!”

“Ahh! Ow!”

“Did you like having sense smacked into you?”

“Someone will hear this and call security!”

“Not with this chair barricading the door. Even then, it’s your word against mine.”

“Idiot! Joseph, Jeffrey, whoever is in that bed may be in a coma, but he’s heard everything. He’ll know what you did and tell everyone!”

“Not if I can help it.”

“Don’t you touch him!”

“Out of my way!”

“Ahhh!”

“Once I pull this plug, I’ll finish what I started.”

“No! Please—”

BEEEEEEP!

***

Jeffrey shot from his bed, gasping.

“Are you okay, Jeffrey?” asked his wife, who was sitting in bed next to him. “You’re as pale as a ghost and sweating like a pig.”

“Mercedes…I…”

“Was it Jeffrey or Joseph who pulled the plug?” interrupted a TV announcer. “Did Mercedes really plot to run away with her husband’s brother? Find out tomorrow on All Our Passions.”

“It’s weird watching this show because two characters have the same names as us.”

“What are you watching?”

“I couldn’t sleep, so I turned on the cable TV. It was tuned to the Soap Opera Network. I’m sorry if it woke you. I thought I’d turned it down enough. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. Trust me.”

“Did you have a nightmare?”

“No, but I wish I had.”

I’m Not Quite Dead Yet

Long time, no update, huh? Not much has been going on. The publisher is still working on the layout and cover for Pandora’s Box. I do realize that I should probably post some stories or poems, which I will do at the end of the week. That should give you all something to look forward to.

In the meantime, subscribe to my site’s RSS feed and tell your friends about this site!

Tagline Contest Winner

It wasn’t easy picking a winner for the Tagline Contest. I received many creative, funny, and downright cool entries. I had to pick the one that best described me and my website. But after careful consideration, I have made up my mind.

And the winner is…

::drum roll::

Natasha Hayden with, “A Man from Another Time Exploring Another Universe.”

Her tagline will be added to my site, and she will receive a free autographed copy of my first novel, “Pandora’s Box,” when it is published.

But since many of the entries were so good, I have decided to list the “Honorable Mentions,” all of which I will use on the pages of my website, so be sure to go back and explore the site to find them.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Nick Hayden: “Down the wormhole…”
Keith Osmun: “Author, world-builder, and available bachelor.”
Amanda Luedeke: “Let there be legends.” (This sounds so awesome, I may use it as a title for a story).
Jeremy Sheer: “Where every entrance is a new destination.”
Sean Smuts: “Here there be stories.”

Now I will give out some Stan Lee-style “No-Prize” awards for the remaining entries.

MOST LIKELY TO APPEAR ON MY BUSINESS CARD
Bridgette Oakes: “Author, world-builder, pioneer.” (And I promise it will be on my business cards).

THE “WHAT-THE-HECK?!” AWARD
Christopher Michael Carson: ” The world is better without war and destruction in our lives.” (Seriously, dude, what does that have to do with my website?)

NERDIEST TAGLINE
A tie between…
Van Tilburg: “Bazinga!” (a line from CBS’s “Big Bang Theory”)
Sean Smuts: “Never tell me the odds…I already beat them.” (Funny, though you apparently missed the rule that said there was limit one entry per person. Were you submitting one for your wife, Becky?)

THE “COULD-HAVE-BEEN-HONORABLE-MENTIONS-IF-I-HAD-MORE-ROOM” AWARD (These may be used on my website, too)
A tie between…
Zach VanHuisen: “A plethora of galaxies beyond mere imagining.”
Laura Brooks: “Dive into the unexplainable, indescribable, world of Nate.”
Sarah Marchand: “A man with a pen and the heart to back it up.”

Thank you all so much for your participation! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

“Pandora’s Box” Release Date Announced!

I just received an e-mail from Absolute XPress, the publishing house putting out my book. They told me my first novel, Pandora’s Box, is slated to be released October 31!

That’s right–I’ll be published on Halloween. Maybe I should have a book signing while wearing a costume. That’d be hilarious. At least I won’t forget the day I published my first book.

Problems Fixed and New Short Story Posted (FINALLY!)

The issues I was having with the site have been corrected, and I have Wes Dekoninick to thank for it. If you ever need a website built or a guy who knows WordPress inside and out, give this guy a hollar. Tell him Nathan Marchand sent you!

You can check out his online portfolio here: http://www.gradientgraphics.net/.

So now you can enjoy the promised short story I wanted to post last week. It’s called “Baptized in Fire.” I wrote when I took the fiction writing class my junior year at Taylor University Fort Wayne. It was written for Writers’ Digest‘s monthly short story contest (sadly, I didn’t enter it). It was one of two stories I wrote to experiment with different elements of a science fiction universe I was conceiving at the time. Someday I hope to revisit it and make a series of books out of it.

For now, enjoy the story!

More Website Construction

I have someone working to fix the problem I’m having with splitting posts on this site. He has to run tests with a smaple post, so if you see a random book review appear and disappear, don’t be alarmed (or as they used to say in The Outer Limits, “Do not adjust your dial.”

Once that is taken care of, I should be posting a short story by this weekend.

A Man Out of Time

A Man Out of Time
By Nathan Marchand

I was born too late

I should’ve been born a millennia ago
During the days of knights
When a man distinguished himself serving God, king, and country
And won fair maiden’s heart with his chivalry
Because men living by honor were envied by all

I should’ve been born five centuries ago
During the days of Reformation
When men risked even death for the Truth
A Truth worth all the beatings, hangings, and burnings
A Truth that offered True Life to all

I should’ve been born two-and-a-half centuries ago
During the days of Revolution
When colonists banded together and forged a nation
When patriotism was a virtue
And examples of heroes left for generations to come

I should’ve been born seven decades ago
During the days of heroes beating back the darkness
When warriors died for the Dream or returned as heroes
When men were praised for sacrificial service
And defended the right of others to criticize their work

Mine is a time of cynics
When pessimism is the path to “enlightenment,”
Good men are sought for destruction, their virtue assassinated,
Heroes are shunned, their callings spat on,
And hopeless hearts are exploited

I am a man out of time,
A romantic among cynics,
A warrior among cowards,
A light in darkness,
Carrying the ideals of times past
Only to meet with Rejection
And give my heart this era’s bitter waters

Yet will I fight for freedom, Life, and ideals,
For God, king, and country
Never retreating, never surrendering until victory is won
Like the men who went ahead of me
Before my delayed birth.

I am a man out of time born at the right time

Short Story Delayed

The promised short story I was going to post has been delayed. Why, you ask? Technical difficulties.  I wanted to be able to split posts into multiple pages for easier reading, but after inserting the proper codex, it merely cut off my entry after what was supposed to be page one. After doing some research, I discovered that my WordPress theme doesn’t support pagination. I tried to add a code that would make it possible, but it still doesn’t work.

So as they used to say on TV, “Please stand by.”

Baptized in Fire

Baptized in Fire
By Nathan Marchand

"Achilles" by Jarod Marchand

My few seconds of exhilaration ended when my Avatar warmech met the ground. My legs felt like they were being smashed together at the knees, illusionary pain ripping through me. The cerebral interface in the back of my head ached as if a bee with a lightning rod for a stinger had stung me. I think I lose at least a hundred brain cells every time that happens.

I hate landings.

I stood, the Avatar—whose name I had yet to learn—mimicking me. I looked up through its visor-like window and saw the Beowulf beginning its ascent into the rusty sulfuric sky. Only then did it dawn on me that the interior of the Avatar felt like a sauna. The fiery glow of lava geysers flashed in the distance. Ripples of heat distorted my vision, making me wonder if I was sober.

“The deepest bowels of Hell may be reserved for traitors, but planet Hell is reserved for Plugs like me,” I said.

“Actually, Retro,” chimed a computerized, seemingly British voice, “this is Helios, an arid, volcanic planet with a—“

“I know what the freakin’ planet’s name is, Bill Nye,” I injected.

“Why do you refer to me by the name of a twentieth century television science teacher?”

“They call me ‘Retro’ for a reason.”

“Regardless, my designation is not ‘Bill Nye.’ It is Achilles.”

“What?” I blurted. “My last training mission, and what Avatar do they give me? The greenest, most annoying one we have. Why not Osiris? I’d even take Hrothgar for that matter!”

“Hrothgar’s jump jets are malfunctioning, and Osiris has been assigned to—“

“It was a rhetorical question,” I interrupted. What’d they give me? Napoleon in a box or a computerized know-it-all?

“I will have you know that I have been programmed with over ten zettabytes of military strategy,” said Achilles indignantly.

I grunted, muffling a curse. “Do me a favor Achilles, and stay outta my head!” Four years of training, and I still wasn’t used to sharing my thoughts with an A.I.

“It is not my fault that—“

Suddenly our verbal calisthenics were interrupted.

“Cadet, respond!” ordered a familiar bulldoggish voice in my headset.

Stifling a gasp, I snapped to attention, though he wasn’t there. It’s a habit one develops in the Cyber Brigade, especially under Gen. Cleese. “Yessir.”

“Your objective is simple,” said Cleese. “Navigate this volcanic valley. All you have to do is survive; no assistance, no retreat, no rescue. The Beowulf will be waiting to retrieve you at valley’s edge.”

Reassuring, I thought sarcastically, knowing full well that Achilles was recording my thoughts.

“Baptism in Hell. Only the best pass. The rest”—he paused—“still burn there. Good luck, cadet.”

My radio went silent. We were alone.

A Man from Another Time Exploring Another Universe