The Day Before
By Liana Brooks
A body is found in the Alabama wilderness. The question is:
Is it a human corpse … or is it just a piece of discarded property?
Agent Samantha Rose has been exiled to a backwater assignment for the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, a death knell for her career. But then Sam catches a break—a murder—that could give her the boost she needs to get her life back on track. There’s a snag, though: the body is a clone, and technically that means it’s not a homicide. And yet, something about the body raises questions, not only for her, but for coroner Linsey Mackenzie.
The more they dig, the more they realize nothing about this case is what it seems … and for Sam, nothing about Mac is what it seems, either.
This case might be the way out for her, but that way could be in a bodybag.
A thrilling new mystery from Liana Brooks, The Day Before will have you looking over your shoulder and questioning what it means to be human.
Friday May 17th, 2069
Alabama District 3
Commonwealth of North America
With an asthmatic wheeze the engine died. It figured. Stuck in a man’s craw, it did. This truck had been his daddy’s and his pappy’s, and before the Commonwealth government forced him to replace the diesel engine with the newfangled water doohickey, he was certain he’d pass the truck onto his son.
He’d been playing under the hood of trucks since he was six and now he was stranded. Embarrassing, that’s what it was. He climbed out of the cab to check the engine out of habit. The ice blue block of modern fuel efficiency stared back. Three hundred bucks it’d cost him, straight from his pocket.
Oh, there was a government subsidy, all right. A priority list. Major Population Centers, they said. Unite the countries of the Commonwealth on a timeline, they said. And what did all that mean?
It meant the damn Yankees got upgraded cities and free cars before the ink was dry on the Constitution and what about the little man? Nobody thought about the working class. No one cared about a man covered in oil and grease anymore.
He thumbed his cellphone on. No reception. Figured.
So much for the era of new prosperity. He’d hoof it. There was a little town about five miles down the road where he could call Ricky to bring a tow truck. It would have been cheaper to pay the diesel fines than get all this fixed.
Off schedule. Over budget. Son of a –
He stared at the distant trees. Well, it wasn’t going to get any cooler.
He grabbed his wallet and keys from the cab of his truck. The tree line looked like a good spot to answer a call from nature, then he’d see if there weren’t a shortcut through to town. A meadowlark sang. Not a bad day for a hike. Would’ve been better if it weren’t so dammed hot, but at least the humidity was low. He wouldn’t like to walk in a summer monsoon, not at his age with arthritis playing up.
Under a sprawling oak he unzipped his pants. As an afterthought, he glanced down to make sure he wouldn’t stir up a hill of fire ants.
A hand lay next to his boots.
He blinked, zipped his pants slowly, and turned around. “Hello?”
Cicadas chirped in answer.
“Are you drunk?” The quiet field that looked so peaceful only moments before was now eerily sinister. He nudged the hand with his foot. It was swollen and pale and crusted with blood, just like a prop out of a horror movie.
Maybe it was a good idea to run to the next town.
Top Eight Ways To Develop Your Voice
Voice is the most elusive writing skill. It is the unique way individual authors phrase things, construct sentences, and describe their worlds. Much like Brand (the repeated themes in an author’s body of work) the Voice allows readers to identify the author by reading their work alone. Voice is almost impossible to teach because it belongs exclusively to the individual writers, but there are some tricks authors use to develop the distinctive flare to their writing.
- Write Regularly – I don’t advocate writing daily. Like all muscles I believe the brain needs a day to relax. And like any other muscle the brain needs to be exercised regularly. Find a schedule that works for your lifestyle and write regularly. Monday through Friday, every other day, six days a week and take a rest day… whatever suits you. What you’re writing doesn’t really matter for Voice, it’s the act of writing that allows you to develop your own distinguishing style.
- Critique and Edit Regularly – Frequently overlooked when people consider how to improve their writing skills is the art of editing. Sitting down with someone else’s work gives an author a chance to critically exam word choice, style, and rhythm. While critiquing another author’s work an author will often find themselves rearranging the word order or suggesting a different phrasing. This is the beginning of Voice.
- Expand Your Vocabulary – This might seem obvious, but the fewer words an author knows the fewer words they can use with confidence. A thesaurus is a crutch too many young authors use without realizing how they are being hobbled. An author hunting for their Voice should take every opportunity to learn new words in their language and others.
- Read Widely – All authors must be readers first. The understand genre convention, to learn from other great authors, to expand their own understanding of how language works an author must read. The wider read an author is the more tools they have to build their own Voice and world. It’s that simple. Read daily.
- Explore – Books do not exist in a vacuum. Every piece of literature ever written is the sum of the author’s life experiences up to that point. Travelling, trying new foods, and accepting new challenges all help hone an author’s Voice. Every new experience adds to the weight of the written word.
- Take Criticism – The worst trap any author can fall into is believing that they don’t need help. Books that are only read by the author before publication are invariably stunted, they never reach their full potential. Learning to take advice and apply feedback to their work is a key skill not only for developing a career as an author but for developing Voice.
- Step Out Of The Comfort Zone – Everyone has pet phrases. For me “waxing gibbous moon” has appeared multiple times in my manuscript and my editor slapped me down hard. One waxing moon is good, two is boring. It’s not that the words are wrong, per se, it’s that I’m using my pet phrase like a security blanket. When you find yourself doing this look for other ways to say what you mean. Maybe the moon is a crescent sliver, or a baleful, sullen red in the polluted sky, or a brilliant diamond in an ocean of black. Security blankets and pet phrases hide the author’s true Voice.
- Embrace The True You – It’s common for young authors to try to imitate established authors they love. They use the other author’s style as training wheels in their first foray into the big, bad world of writing. While this practice is great to start eventually the training wheels come off. Once the author starts writing as themself, and not an imitation of another person, they find their Voice.
Liana Brooks once read the book GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and noted that both their biographies invited readers to send money (or banana daiquiris). That seems to have worked well for them. Liana prefers strawberry daiquiris (virgin!) and will never say no to large amounts of cash in unmarked bills.
Her books are sweet and humorous with just enough edge to keep you reading past your bedtime.
Liana was born in San Diego after bouncing around the country she’s settled (temporarily) in the great wilderness of Alaska.
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