It is my pleasure to welcome to my blog, a Member of Rave Reviews Book Club, Author Mark Bierman. He is in the spotlight today from the Spotlight Author Blog Tour. Here is his story…
Tell Your Story
Imagine, if you will, two scenarios. I will not delve into any more detail in this brief introduction, other than to say that both are set in a prison.
Here is the first:
Steven, the young correctional officer, raced after his fellow officers as they charged through the open doorway and onto the prison range. T Block had exploded into a battlefield. Fifty inmates were bent on sticking and slicing each other with shivs fashioned from the metal pins stolen from the exercise machines in the gym. The sharpened pins weren’t the only weapon of choice, for in the mix were toothbrushes with razor blades melted onto their handles, chunks of plexiglass, glass, and metal window trim. All with hair-splitting edges. Oh, inmates are a creative and stealthy lot. There are thousands of ways to die in prison.
Into that fracas, Steven ran. For him and the others, there was no other choice. Two of their fellow officers were trapped down there. The melee had broken out while the pair were conducting a routine patrol, and with only the defence of hands and wits, their situation had turned dire. The same applied to the Steven, others had grabbed the limited supply mace. No guns were allowed on the range, they were far too dangerous.
T Block was split into two levels. The upper tier, three feet wide, stretched over one-hundred feet in length, and was lined by open barred cells on one side, with a four-foot-high “safety” railing on the other.
The bloody skirmish was largely concentrated on the bottom level, and most of the troops, understandably, went in that direction. But blades were also swinging up stairs and several uniforms were interspersed among the prison blues worn by the clientele. Steven followed John, an experienced officer, onto the top tier, and into sheer madness.
For those on T Block that day, there was no sanctuary, no corner or nook was devoid of violence. The air was thick with hatred and fear, though not impermeable to the cries of agony and the sting of mace. Everywhere, weapons found their targets, blood spilled, and the century-old- limestone walls recorded every act.
A large inmate broke free of the others and had run upstairs. Steven watched the approaching inmate and knew he was in for a fight. The powerful man lived downstairs, so his intentions were obviously not good. The officer knew he couldn’t let the man pass.
“Get back downstairs!” Steven yelled several times
The orders went unheeded.
This was going to be a fight. But would the inmate choose his fists or a knife?
Now sandwiched between a pair of combating inmates, and the charging human moose, Steven had seconds to make a determination that could possibly kill him and others. He wished for time to at least slow down, as he prepared a defence. His old friend, the internal survival coach, the one who’d kept him alive in other incidents shouted a familiar warning. Watch his hands! No weapon yet! But if he reaches for his pocket or the waist band of his jeans . . .!
A scream, came from what seemed inches from behind Steven, it was followed by a heavy thud on the limestone floor, twelve feet below. Someone had been thrown over the railing, Steven knew it without even looking. Would he be next? Would he soon feel the blade or the point of a shiv as it penetrated him? He wanted to turn around, but he couldn’t. Faith was needed. Enough to believe that his fellow officers would be there, that they would have his back. Danger was coming straight for him. The world became a tunnel that encompassed only the charging inmate.
This reaction too, was familiar. It was the body entering ‘fight’ mode. It was the body doing what it needed to survive.
Here is the second:
The two inmates squared off. From fifteen feet away, Janjak raced to close the distance. He tripped over soiled men and spilled waste buckets. The curses of fellow convicts were ignored. His vision morphed into a tunnel that encompassed only the combatants. Watch their hands! Almost there. Hands! Hands! Something flashed. Knife! The Haitian launched himself as Frantz pulled the weapon from his waistband. Shoulder met chest in a violent collision. Frantz cried out as he was tackled onto a stained mattress.
Notice any similarities? You might ask what books did I glean these excerpts from? Or perhaps you may think they are from the same one.
Well, to tell you the truth, the second scenario is from the first chapter of my novel, Vanished. The first is a page taken directly from my life. I changed my name to Steven, for this story.
Now, obviously I survived that experience and many others over the years, and while I personally am happy about that fact, that isn’t the point of this blog.
What I hope you will take away from this, is that you will be encouraged to tell your own. I hope you realize that all us have valuable life experiences that are unique. We can, and should, use them in our writing.
I don’t know about you, but there is no English Degree in my background. I am no expert in literature, or even everyday writing. One thing I do possess, what everyone has, is real life experiences. So, please don’t allow yourself to be convinced that you have nothing to offer readers. You have a life!
* * *
Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.
* * *
Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark’s childhood consisted of chores, horseback riding, snowmobile races, fishing trips to local lakes, and many other outdoor adventures. He was, and remains, an avid reader of many genres.
Transitioning into adulthood also meant moving from the farm into large urban areas that introduced this ‘country boy’ to ‘big city’ life.
Drawing on his many experiences as a private investigator, and later, a correctional officer, Mark combines his unique experiences and imagination to create stories and characters.
Follow Mark online!