Troy isn't a debut author. He's actually had a great run with his successful series, the Samuel Elijah Johnson Series: Redemption, Temptation, and the soon to be released finale to the series, which has yet to be announced (you heard it here first ;-) ). Troy has also published a collection of short stories in Broken Bones, as well as contributed short stories to Stanarium, Dragonthology, and the wildly successful Happily Ever Afterlife, proceeds of which go to charity.
Busy, busy man! But that's not all. Troy is also a researcher, editor, and public speaker. No matter how busy he is with work, he always has time for his family, sports, and anything else that looks like it might be fun. Can we say 'big kid'?
Today, Troy celebrates his latest release, Stray Ally. This is the story of a man called Todd Clarke who, after a car accident, finds himself in a strange and terrifying situation. Accused of murder and pursued by a military commander with ties to terrorism, Todd finds himself partnering with a stray dog he calls Sparky. Sparky is no ordinary dog, though. Together, they must find out what the Commander is up to. Can Todd and Sparky discover the Commander's plan and stop him in time? Well, you'll have to read this fascinating story for yourself to find out!
Stray Ally is a nonstop page-turner of a read. Troy's voice resonates on every page and his words pull you into the story and keep you there until the last page. What starts off as a common accident, quickly escalates into a fight-for-your-life situation. Todd's character is well-developed, and as far fetched as it may seem, Sparky comes alive on the page and a true protagonist. While this story is purely of Troy's creation, one can't help but find a similar storytelling style to the master, Dean Koontz, who often uses intelligent canine's as secondary protagonists. I, for one, would love to see either a sequel to Stray Ally, or another story with similar canine characters.
As I said, Troy is a very busy man, but he's also on the lookout for fun. Some of that fun included having a quick chat with us. So before we get to the excerpt for this story, let's visit with Troy.
Welcome to Heart of Fiction, Troy, and congrats on the release of Stray Ally. It's certainly not like anything you've written before. And thanks for taking time out of your ski schedule . . . I mean work schedule to have a chat with us.
You're so busy with various projects. How do you make time for writing? What is your daily writing routine like?
I start early, usually about 5 a.m. I write early, and then do other writerly things, including editing and research throughout the day. I often write again at the end of the day and lately have been doing writing sprints with word count challenges in an effort to complete projects faster and stay more focused and accountable.Wow! That's close to 12 hours a day. That's what I call dedication! Would you describe your writing space?
I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I have been told that my routine is a bit out of the ordinary, but between writing, editing and research added to other miscellaneous projects, I work about 60- 70 hours a week.
My writing space is one of the technological wonders of the world. Dual screens, powerful computers, tablets, and two printers (one inkjet, one Laser) all decorate the office. An old fashioned white board and a gas fireplace add atmosphere. Of course I also have a zen garden, a paper wall calendar, and old fashioned files. I’ve just added my first real piece of modern art, a print of ‘The Boy’ by Esau Kessler, but I have yet to have it framed. The mantle is decorated with small framed prints of my book covers, and some Big Lebowski references.Ah! Do we see some inspiration for Stray Ally before the hearth? Dual screens are certainly enviable. Makes for some great multitasking, eh?
Of course the dogs hog the space in front of the firelplace, and if I leave papers on the floor, my lab will choose to lay on top of them, rendering them useless. Part of the cost of sharing space with a Stray Ally.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?
I’m a skier, cyclist, hiker, and general outdoorsman. I love history, and retracing the steps of the early pioneers of the west, visiting mine sites and other historic sites are high on my list.Work eh? With ski season upon you? (envisioning Troy on a bobsled with a laptop mounted to the front)
I plant to do more of that fun type stuff this year. As I said, I’m a workaholic, but I’m in recovery. I’d go to meetings, but who has time for that, am I right?
What was that first step again? Never mind. Nice chatting with you. I think I’ll get back to work.
Thanks for chatting with us, Troy, and best of luck with Stray Ally.
Before we get to an excerpt, be sure to drop Troy a note in the comments below **with your email address** to enter the draw for a copy of Stray Ally.
• • •
A strange accident on the freeway, accusations of murder, and an encounter in the Idaho wilderness all
A military commander he investigated for Aryan activity and links to domestic terrorism is after him, and he’s not sure why until another chance encounter provides the answer.
With Sparky and the help of his canine friends, will he be able to figure out the Colonel’s plan and stop him in time? All Clarke knows for sure is none of it would be possible without the help of his Stray Ally.
The skateboard collided with my windshield, and I braked with both feet, screeching forward. The body hit the glass next, spider-webbing it as the skater’s helmet-clad head struck the glass in the center of my vision. The rear view mirror separated from the window and hit the center of the seat with a thud as the car skidded to a stop.
Marsha is gonna be pissed, came the unbidden thought. We just replaced this windshield.
Where did he come from? Creedence still blared from the stereo speakers and I turned the ignition key to the rear. Silence descended, broken a moment later by distant sirens.
I lifted my hand and felt wetness on my forehead, cut by—something. Glass? Must have been.
I opened the door, dazed. Under the helmet, a young face offered a blank stare. Nothing but blackness in the eyes: no color. Not good.
“You okay, kid?” I felt stupid asking. Stupider for expecting a response. “What were you doing on the freeway?”
I heard distant voices. Looked up. Kids, on the overpass above. Did he fall?
They pointed. One slugged the other one. A scuffle brokeout and they ran. All of them.
The sirens came closer. Another car pulled up, tires squealing as it stopped, rocking on its springs.
“What happened? Is everyone okay?” the driver asked.
Struck dumb, I just pointed. The skateboard rested half on the roof, half on the shattered windshield. The skater lay below it, unmoving, his left foot against the hood ornament, the Mercedes star cocked sideways.
He didn’t finish, but rushed over, feeling for a pulse, checking for breath. All things I should have done, but couldn’t.
He shook his head, glanced over at me. “What was he doing here?”
“Did you see him?”
Head wag, substituted for speech.
“Are you okay?”
Another head wag. I couldn’t articulate what was wrong.
I managed a nod, and then my legs gave out. I dropped to the pavement and grimaced as my tailbone impacted the hard surface. I heard a whimper. It must have been me, because the other driver rushed over.
I stared ahead, seeing and not seeing the scene.
The sirens got closer, red and blue light illuminated Marsha’s car, the body, the skateboard, the chrome of her wheels, even making the brake lights appear to flash.
Help arrived, even though the boy was clearly beyond help. So was I, but no one knew it yet.
• • •
Troy began his writing life at a very young age, penning the as yet unpublished George and the Giant Castle at age six. He grew up in Southern Idaho, and after many adventures including a short stint in the US Army and a diverse education, Troy returned to Idaho, and currently resides in Boise.
Troy works as a freelance writer, researcher, and editor. He writes historical site characterization reports for those performing remediation on former resource extraction sites, software instruction and help guides, and edits the research of others as well. His true passion is writing dark, psychological thrillers. His work includes Broken Bones, a collection of his short stories, Redemption the first in the Samuel Elijah Johnson Series, Temptation the sequel to Redemption, along with the horror Satanarium, co-authored with Poppet, a brilliant author from South Africa and published by Wild Wolf Publishing. He has stories in several anthologies including the partially for charity Happily Ever Afterlife published by Untold Press.
Troy lives with his wife of twelve years, two of his five children and two very talented dogs. He is a skier, cyclist, hiker, fisherman, hunter, and a terrible beginning golfer.
Find Troy Online --
Where to buy -- Kindle US, Kindle UK, Smashwords
Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address for the draw!
Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address for the draw!