True north a wordsmith c.., p.1

True North: A Wordsmith Chronicles MC Standalone, page 1

 

True North: A Wordsmith Chronicles MC Standalone
 


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True North: A Wordsmith Chronicles MC Standalone


  True North

  A Wordsmith Chronicles MC Standalone

  Christopher Harlan

  Contents

  A Wordsmith

  Author’s Note—The Origins of North

  Foreword by Scott Hildreth

  Foreword by BT Urruela,

  Timeline & Note

  Quote

  Prologue

  One—North—Now

  Two—Delilah—Way Back When

  Three—North—Now

  Four—North—Way Back When

  Five—Delilah—Now

  Six—North—Way Back When

  Seven—North—Now

  Eight—North—Way Back When

  Nine—North—Way Back When

  Ten—Delilah—Way Back When

  Eleven—North—Way Back When

  Twelve—North—Way Back When

  Thirteen—North—Now

  Fourteen—Delilah—Way Back When

  Fifteen—North—Way Back When

  Seventeen—Delilah—Now

  Eighteen—Delilah—Way Back When

  Nineteen—North—Now

  Twenty—North—Way Back When

  Twenty One—North—Way Back When

  Twenty Two—Delilah—Way Back When

  Twenty Three—North—Now

  Twenty Four—North—Way Back When

  Twenty Five—North—Now

  Twenty Seven—North—Now

  Twenty Eight—North—Way Back When

  Twenty Nine—Delilah—Way Back When

  Thirty—North—Now

  Thirty One—North—Way Back When

  Thirty Two—North—Now

  Thirty-Three—North—Way Back When

  Thirty Four—Delilah—Now

  Thirty Five—North—Now

  Thirty Seven—North—Way Back When

  Thirty Eight—Delilah—Now

  Thirty Nine—Delilah—Way Back When

  Forty—North—Way Back When

  Forty One—Delilah—Now

  Forty Two—Delilah—Way Back When

  Forty Three—North—Now

  Forty Four—Delilah—Now

  Forty Five—North—Way Back When

  Forty Six—North—Now

  Forty Seven—North—Way Back When

  Forty Nine

  Connect with Christopher Harlan

  My Work

  Young Adult standalone

  The Impressions Duet

  The New York City’s Finest Series

  The Wordsmith Chronicles

  Anthologies (as a contributor)

  BT Urruela

  Scott Hildreth

  True North

  A Wordsmith Chronicles MC Standalone

  By Christopher Harlan

  Cover design and Formatting by Jessica Hildreth

  Cover Image by Reggie Deanching

  Proofreading by Stephanie Albon

  This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to anyone who did not purchase the book outright. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or any other means not listed specifically herein) without the express written permission of the author.

  This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is entirely coincidental. All people, places, and events contained herein are a product of the author’s imagination and are completely fictitious.

  Warning

  This book is intended for those 18 or older. It contains explicit sexual content and adult situations. Discretion is advised.

  A Wordsmith

  Delilah

  There’s no other man like James North. There never has been. There may never be again. At first, I only saw what was on the surface—the quiet confidence, his rugged good looks, the badass tattooed biker who didn’t care what the world thought of him. But beneath all of that there are layers to him that only I know about. He’s a man who’ll fight for what’s right, no matter the consequences—someone who won’t be confined by the rules society tries to place on him. He’s my man, and now, as a danger threatens to tear us apart, I need him more than ever.

  North

  I’m never at a loss for words, but that’s exactly what happened when I first met Delilah. I never let myself fall that hard for a woman, but I had no choice in the matter. She was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, a woman I’d sacrifice everything for, a woman I’d die for. Now, as I’m trying to leave behind my old life to start a new one with Delilah, a man I once knew threatens to tear apart everything we may have. I can’t let that happen. I won’t let that happen.

  I’ve told you other people’s stories before, but you’ve never heard mine until now.

  My name is James North, and this is my story.

  To Scott Fucking Hildreth, for helping me find True North.

  This one’s for you, brother.

  Author’s Note—The Origins of North

  I had just finished my second book.

  Sales were so-so, and I was struggling with whether or not this journey as an indie author was even worth the stress it was causing me. But I didn’t want to quit. I wasn’t a quitter. I realized that being a successful author was, like all things, just a puzzle to be solved, a process to be mastered. It was in that pocket of time, a few months after BT asked me to be in the Frat, that I first talked to Scott Hildreth.

  It was then that he took about an hour of his very precious time to speak to me on the phone one fateful night. As context, the man didn’t know me from Adam. We’d spoken only casually, in group chats with the other members of the R&E Fraternity, but never privately, and never in person.

  I’d sent him a private message, asking if I could follow up on some of the sage-like advice he’d offered the younger members of the Frat, and he requested that I call him. Hovering over the ‘send’ button on my house phone, I got suddenly nervous. I don’t particularly like speaking on the phone, and calling someone I didn’t even know was nerve wracking for me. Nonetheless I told my inner bitch to shut the hell up and dialed the Hildreth’s number. Scott answered with a simple ‘hello’, and in the next hour he spent time guiding me as to the best practices for publishing, his writing habits, and sharing his own story about breaking into the industry.

  I’ve always prided myself on being coachable, and staying humble even as I try to be as successful as my words will allow me to be, so I took every single word of his as though it was gospel. Publish more frequently? Check! Write a series instead of standalone? Check! Every piece of nuanced advice became unquestionable truth, and I still try to follow all of the principles that he laid out to me in that single con session (some of which appear in his conversations with the Wordsmiths throughout the three books).

  His inclusion as a character was completely organic, however. It was one of those things that just happens when you write, and I went with it because it made sense. To date, those scenes with North in them were the quickest to write, which told me something along the way. It told me that this character had to speak in his own voice—he had to jump from the background into the foreground. And I knew that when he did, people would respond. I wanted a Scott-like character who embodied that particular brand of bad-assery Scott possesses, yet one who would also stand alone as his own man. I hope I’ve done my job in that regard, and I really hope that you all show North as much love as I saw you show Scott in Gettysburg. Enjoy!

  Foreword by Scott Hildreth

  Author of over 50 books, all of them awesome

  At the inception of Christop
her Harlan’s writing career, we spoke on the phone. He asked my opinion of what he could do to improve both his reader’s perception of his work, and his exposure in general.

  I explained there were two things I felt we all needed to do more. Read and write.

  “Read every day, write every day, and produce quality work,” I responded. “In producing that work, find your voice and speak in a manner that’s natural to you—like you’re telling a story to a group of friends. In time, your writing will evolve, but that evolution will likely go unnoticed. You’ll simply become more successful.”

  “Lastly,” I continued. “In the presence of others, maintain humility yet exude confidence.”

  A year later, Christopher and I met at a book signing. I had a preconceived notion of the man I believed him to be. I, like most, paint a picture of those I meet online. Using broad strokes of a brush, my depictions are often accurate, but not as detailed as they could be.

  Even so, I was wrong when it came to Christopher. Dead wrong.

  He was soft-spoken, kind, and wallowed in modesty. In the following two days, I picked away at the outer layer of humility. Beneath it, I found a confident core. During the signing, I spoke to my wife on the phone. She had dealt with Christopher on many occasions, as she had produced several of his book covers.

  “What do you think of Christopher?” she asked.

  “I like him,” I replied. “He’s a great guy.”

  She laughed. “You don’t like anyone.”

  “He’s different than most,” I explained. “You know, he kind of reminds me of me.”

  In my first two years of writing, I produced nearly a dozen novels, each a little better that the previous piece of work. My writing evolved with each manuscript. Eventually, I found my voice. Once I did, the words flowed effortlessly.

  In two years, Christopher’s written more than a dozen novels.

  In True North, it’s clear that Mr. Harlan has found his voice.

  I think it’s a voice we all need to hear.

  Foreword by BT Urruela,

  Author, Model, Veteran, and Founder of the R & E Fraternity

  I’m the man I am today because of a large number of people I’ve been lucky enough to call friends over the course of my messy thirty-three years of life. To talk about myself and my own accolades and achievements, is to tell the stories of each and every one of them; so many different people from different walks of life who have helped shape, change, and influence me, and who have driven me to be a better human being.

  I’m thankful every single day for my thirty-something perspective on life, and for those who have made me stop and say, “Wow, look at them go! I can do that too!” along the way. At its core, R&E was born from this. There were so many guys like me—writers with unique perspectives and voices, telling original stories in creative ways. I admired their drive, focus, passion, and commitment in this tough indie world. Being such a small number within this industry, Author Mikey Lee and I realized how important it was for us male authors to work together, not in opposition of our amazing female colleagues, but right along with them, working together to help promote the romance/erotica industry and indie authors alike. We wanted to better serve the romance community and I think we’ve done just that. For that, I thank each and every one of you Fratsters out there! You are the core of R&E!

  When Mikey and I first conceived this group, it was our goal to find the best and brightest male authors in the industry, those making new waves, and those who had had skin in the game for a long time. In researching, and reading, I FELL IN LOVE with the guys we were finding. Seth King, this beautiful human being with perfect hair and unapologetically original style, writes like he’s performing self-open-heart surgery, leaving every drop of blood, sweat and tears on the page, baring his soul for the sake of his craft. I was enamored from the moment I read about him and feasted on his incredible prose, star struck when I first saw him in person, a product of his palpable ‘coolness’, and none of those things has ever wavered in all the time I’ve spent with him. He is the real deal. A true wordsmith.

  Golden Czermak, by this point, should be an entry in the dictionary with the definition, ‘unmatched work ethic’ beside it. I don’t know how he does it, I don’t know when he sleeps, I don’t know if he’s engineered himself some ‘Limitless’ type drug, or what, but when Mikey and I were throwing around names, Golden’s was the very first I put out there. And he was a must for me. I was nervous before asking him, thinking he would say no, so when he wholeheartedly agreed to join us, it meant the world to me. Golden is one of a very few (along with the next person on this list) who is a sort of idol for me. I see his game, his relentless work ethic, his boundless creativity and self-expression, and his incredibly giving nature, and I’m just blown away. I am a better human being for knowing Golden Czermak, and there is not a day that goes by when I don’t thank my lucky stars I have a friend who is so completely genius, but also so completely humble and generous to boot.

  I invited Scott Hildreth to the Frat because of his online presence and his prestige in the industry. I had never met him, but I knew he had a legion of loyal followers, a back catalogue that put James Patterson to shame, and an interaction with readers that was pure and genuine. When I met Scott for the first time, when I really talked to him, and got to know the man behind the brilliant words, I was completely awestruck. Scott is a Rockstar, a fucking legend; he’s the guy who leaves a town and they’re still whispering his name a year later, five years later, ten. He’s the kind of guy who walks into a room and immediately leaves an impression on everyone he meets. He carries with him also a humility and social/personal awareness one would not expect upon taking in his exterior for the first time. He is a biker, through and through, tatted up beautifully with big rings on his fingers, black framed glasses on his face, and a ‘don’t fuck with me’ gaze set as his default, but he’s probably the kindest person I’ve ever met. He speaks to you with complete and utter honesty, not mincing his words, but also tactful enough to help and not hurt. He is wise, even beyond what you would expect from someone who’s lived the life he has, and he imparts that wisdom on anyone who is willing to listen. I am always eager to converse with him, to soak up some of his knowledge and wisdom, and to return home a better person, and a better writer because of it. He is iconic in my eyes, and no one can take that away from him.

  I certainly am not wanting to take praise nor thanks away from my other brothers, past and present, here. I simply want to focus on our original core, those who took a dive into the abyss, and continue to commit themselves toward maintaining the brand and dedicating their time to our incredible readers. But… Christopher, Rob, Chris, Mickey, Jackson, Derek, Sean, and Jack, thank you so very much for what you’ve given this fraternity. What we contribute to this industry, and the readers who support it, means the absolute world to me! I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something so special. Without a doubt, each and every one of you is an essential piece of the puzzle. The differences, wisdom, creativity, and dedication you bring to this group makes it, in my opinion, the best and most creatively diverse author group out there. I hope to do so much more with this group in the future, and I look forward to formulating and executing ideas along the way from brothers and Frasters alike. What a wonderful family we have here and how thankful I am to be a part of it!

  The written word is truly one of the most powerful things. We are able to tell our truths through fictional characters and worlds that seem as real as the pillow beneath our heads or the spouse snoring beside us. They are an escape, a salvation, our best friends, and worst enemies. They awaken something inside us, a little bit of the light, hope, innocence, and wonder we once knew so well as children. Wordsmiths are the gate-keepers to understanding and truth, to a world far away and full of promise. Readers are the wind that stokes the creative flame. You energize and ignite the words within us. I am honored to share this legion with you all.

  Timeline
& Note

  The “Now” chapters take place current day, immediately following the events of Grayson.

  The “Way Back When” chapters take place approximately a decade earlier.

  Note—although there are brief references to the original three Wordsmith Chronicles novels, this book can be read entirely as a standalone.

  Quote

  “You think when you wake up in the mornin’ yesterday don't count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it’s made out of. Nothin’ else.”

  ― Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

 
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