Sunday, September 11, 2011

Guest Blogger: Xavier Axelson

Hello, everyone!

First off: God bless America!

Second off: Please welcome author of The Incident, Xavier Axelson, to my blog today. He's here to discuss his inspiration for the story, which involves a certain underage drinking experience I'm sure most people can relate to. ;)

The Incident and the Echo
By Xavier Axelson

Since my latest novella “The Incident” was released last month, I have done a series of interviews. I’ve been asked more than once what inspired The Incident. As a part-time reporter and interviewer, I’ve learned that there is often a story beyond the surface answer that someone gives in an interview. I began to wonder what the answer behind the answer was. After answering the question a few times, I found myself rethinking what it was that inspired the story of a small town cop who is facing a dreary future unless he can find the strength to forgive himself and thus, make room in his life for love.

It was while on a walk that I began to mull the question over in my head and realized that the answer was an echo from the past. While I wrote the story of Michael Carmac and his partner, Bertram Angel, I found that it wasn’t just a story about them, but a story about a town and the way that town responds to their police force. I grew up in a very small town on the east coast. The police were almost like mythical entities that attached themselves to events and became part of the mythology of the town. I don’t know how many times growing up that I would hear, “which cop showed up? Oh it was Carmac and Angel?” or, “Then Angel showed up and shut the party down,” and, “Hey, you hear that Carmac shot that kid?” (Obviously, I am using my characters to illustrate a point.) But you get the idea. We interacted with the officers as if they were part of the family. We all knew Angel, Carmac, Fitzgerald and the rest and even addressed them by their last names to their faces.

In The Incident, Michael confronts his frustration about the public calling officers by their last names; he hates it, while Angel finds it’s welcoming. I don’t know how the cops in my town felt about being called by their last names but I do know that I never felt uncomfortable around the police station. The cops knew everyone in town and we knew them. It was not uncommon to have the cops show up at a family party and hang out. We had big parties. There was even a priest who drove around in a cop car and used to scare the shit out of people by turning on the sirens, I’ll have to ask my mother why he was allowed to do this, I’m sure there was a good reason. There is always a good reason in a small town for such behavior.

I remember an “incident” where I was at a friend’s house and there was a party going on, we were all drinking and way under age. This person’s mother was there, (we all called her Ma) and she drank with us. Well, the cops were called. Everyone scattered after hearing incoherent shouts of, “shit, its Angel and Carmac!” Not, “shit, it’s the cops!” I remember diving into the bottom bunk of my friends bunk beds with some girl while people stood in front of the bed, why I thought I wouldn’t be found there I had no idea. My parents of course, thought I was somewhere else and had no idea I was drunk at this party. I think I may have been 14 and that’s being generous. The cops made everyone leave which included the crowd standing in front of the bed. I will never forget the cop leaning down and looking right at me and saying, “that you Axelson? Get the hell outta that bed!”

Boy did I! The next thing I remember was jumping into the back of a girl’s older boyfriend’s car (a girl I hated) and being dropped off at my house. Nothing sobers you up like a run in with the cops, especially in a small town where news travels faster than light.

Did my parents already know? The lights were all on in the house. Do I just walk in like nothing happened?

I told my parents an abridged version and I just remember them looking at me like they didn’t believe a word I said. My father was pretty well known in town because of his business so I assumed he would hear the truth from the cops eventually. Or not. I never really knew what or of they knew. The point is these were the stories that inspired me to write the incident. These echoes from the past; memories of the officers who summoned fear, admiration and even a cool friendly vibe with just the mention of their last names.

Having a brother as not a small town cop but as a city beat cop (in one of the most dangerous cities on the east coast), I am painfully and vibrantly aware of what it means to be a cop. He takes his life in his hands everyday. After he was involved in a car accident where a drunk driver got on the freeway going the wrong way and he had to save the people who the drunk hit, while being injured himself, I realized just how amazingly brave he is. How brave anyone is who decides to try to protect the streets. When I told him, I was writing a cop romance he immediately started giving me ideas about a cop who falls in love with his female partner and when I stopped him and said, “its two men,” he just said, “well, it can still work whatever!” I knew he would have to get the dedication. If I could I would add, “to all the officers I knew before; small town and big, this ones for you.”

Listen to the echoes inside your cave. You never know what you’ll hear and what will inspire you.

Speaking of echoes isn’t that what Twitter is all about? Find me there and on Facebook or my website at To find out about upcoming releases and who I’ll be interviewing over at my column at

Blurb: The Incident

Officer Michael Carmac is a small town cop whose life is turned upside down by a horrific incident that neither he, nor the community he serves can forget. While Michael’s long-time friend and partner officer Bertram Angel offers support and friendly companionship during Carmac’s ordeal, Michael soon finds his feelings for Angel turning from friendship to something more. As Michael’s thoughts of guilt and personal responsibility over the incident intensify so do his emotions for Angel and the realization that love may be the only way to heal his wounded heart.

Excerpt: The Incident

Michael leaned towards Angel, the cold pie plate the only thing between them. Michael's heart was pounding and he could feel Angel’s breath soft on his face.

“No, it’s like right by your mouth, on the right,” Michael said.

Somewhere a night bird called out and the only reply was the incessant symphony coming from the bugs in the trees, but Michael didn’t hear anything except his own tormented thoughts clashing against his physical desires. Sweat had begun to run down his back and he shivered as he felt his spine twitch with excitement.

“Did I get it?” Angel asked, making another swipe at his face.

Michael leaned in, his hands shaking, the pie plate feeling slippery in his other hand. “Here,” he said as he pressed a shaking finger against Angel’s cheek. “Right here,” the last word was more a pant as he wiped the offending chocolate from Angel’s face.

Michael thought he saw something in Angel’s eyes when he touched him but he wasn’t sure. Although he wanted Angel more than words, he was terrified that what he thought he saw wasn’t real.

“Mikey,” Angel breathed, coming closer. He put a hand on Michael’s arm and pulled him close.

“Do it, whatever you’re thinking, do it.”

“I can’t,” Michael whispered.

Angel leaned so close that their lips were just about touching. “I’ll make it easy on you.” Angel ran his tongue over Michael’s lips. “Just do it.”

Michael felt the world beginning to slide sideways, and somewhere he heard the sound of something breaking.

Was this real?

His mind screamed for him to stop, to pull away, but Angel’s smell, his breath so close was making it hard to move, to breathe, to think. Before he could answer his raging thoughts, he found himself kissing Angel.

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