GUEST POST: STACY OVERBY
This week I have a special treat for you. A guest post written by Stacy Overby. The release of her latest book,
“Tattoos” is out now. And I must apologize to Stacy for not posting this sooner but I have been bombarded with a sinus infection that I cannot seem to get rid of and a stomach virus. So here it is.
Eli Thorson, the main character in Tattoos, is the first character who came to me from the Black Ops world. It took me quite a while to get to know Eli since he plays his cards so close to the vest. He doesn’t like to let people in easily. It comes from his background. You see, Eli was born to a poor widow on Old Earth after the Final World War. His mother had kept any information she had about his father to herself. She’d wanted to protect Eli, though what she didn’t know was that as a teenager Eli found out a few things about his father. Things like his father had been a small-time smuggler who had been incarcerated multiple times and that his father had abandoned his mother as soon as she’d told him she was pregnant with Eli. At that point, Eli decided he didn’t want to know any more about his father, including whether the man was alive or not.
His mother had married at one point just after Eli was born. Eli does have vague memories of this man, but scavenger gangs beat him to death when Eli was about five years old over some junk they all were trying to salvage. Without someone to watch out for him, Eli had to grow up fast and hard just to survive. This is part of what makes him such a skilled specialist—he’s fought his whole life.
There’s one more reason Eli doesn’t like people getting close to him. He had a girlfriend at seventeen who grew up in the same ruined city he did. One night, a scavenger gang caught her out after dark. Eli found her the next morning. It took him a while after that to convince the local United Earth Government authorities, who were lazy and corrupt since no one cared about Old Earth anymore, that he didn’t kill her. It became the final straw for Eli, the event after which he swore never to let anyone get too close to him again.
These things were part of his reason for joining the UEG military and, ultimately, choosing to enlist in Black Ops. Another reason was his mother. Eli loved his mother above all else and she loved to tell stories. She wove tales of Viking Warriors who stood strong against their enemies and protected their families at all costs. Those warriors wore a cloak of nobility Eli aspired to as a child. These stories stuck with Eli growing up. When it came time for him to do something with his life, he had few options because of his Old Earth street rat social status. One of the options he did have, though was the military and Black Ops in particular. Eli also saw Black Ops as a way of becoming strong enough to protect what he loved.
Once Eli got into Black Ops, he trained harder than anyone else there. Black Ops command had filled his head with the chance to see any and all the systems in UEG control, which was saying something. Plus, the pay seemed exorbitant to a kid who grew up with nothing but turned out to be not so great once he grew up a little more. Eli thought if he became one of the best Black Ops specialists around, he’d get to see more of universe. He also got it in his head he wanted the blue stripes of a Senior Black Ops specialist, the closest thing Black Ops has to a rank outside of the command staff. His work paid off and he achieved Senior Black Ops status faster than most specialists do. It helped that he’d met his best friend, Shawn Russell, by that time and the two of them turned it into a competition to see who got the designation first. It ended up a tie as they achieved it while completing yet another mission together.
However, the designation did nothing to fill the emptiness growing in him. His mother ended up with malignant cancer and survived just long enough to know he’d earned his status, but not long enough to see the blue ink Eli craved. With her death, the hole Eli carried with him grew larger, eating away at his confidence. He hid it well but couldn’t deny its effect on him.
And this is where the novel picks up, so I’m not going to tell you anything else. Please, pick up a copy of the book and let me know what you think!
This was a wonderful article! That’s all for this week. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.
Photo of Stacy Overby