Tour Hosted by BB Book Tours
Expected Fall 2012
Since the tender age of eight, music served as Samantha Becker’s source of solace against her father’s tyranny and her mother’s alcoholism. Now at eighteen, her only dream is to study classical guitar at Juilliard. But when her father’s careless actions lead to an “accident,” which threatens her ability to play the guitar, Sam becomes despondent. Losing all confidence in her future, Sam hides behind the emotional barriers that have protected her for years.
Just when Sam has given up, two unexpected people enter her life, giving her the confidence she needs, and forcing her to evaluate all she’s ever known. Battling her father’s plans for her future, band mates using her for personal gain, and a permanent injury, the odds are stacked against her. With auditions approaching and time running out, Sam must relearn to play the guitar, or be destined to give up her dreams forever.
Goodreads link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16031039-freedom-road
T.M. Souders Links:
EXCERPT – FREEDOM ROAD
I returned home from school and shut myself in my room, grateful to be alone. Leaning against the closed door, I sunk to the floor. My guitar case fell off my shoulder and slithered down my body next to me where I sat, arms wrapped around knees drawn firmly to my chest.
Today was a hard day. And on hard days, I turned to my guitar. But as I stared at the scuffed, black case at my side, apprehension gripped my chest with scorching fingers. I opened the case and stared at the instrument in reverence. The natural vintage surface, as smooth as glass. The rosewood fingerboard and handmade pickguard with its creamy design.
I lowered my legs and lifted the Gibson out of the case, liberating it from the darkness, exactly what my guitar had done for me ten years earlier. I held it, feeling the weight, heavy in my arms like a long lost friend, a patchwork of happy memories. I moved to the edge of my bed and got into position. My left hand curled around the board. My fingers moved onto the strings and I launched into the first piece that popped into my head—“I’ll See You In My Dreams” by Django Rheinhardt.
I played for several minutes. Crappily. Mangling most of the song, my playing was stilted and unsure. The sounds emanating were those of an amateur. For most of the first half, I had trouble stretching my pinky to compensate for my ring finger on the chords. As a result, I ended up lifting my hand too far off the fretboard to create a consistent sound. Little time passed before the tears fell. A sob wracked my body as I missed several notes. I bit my lip until it bled, trying my best to focus on the music and not on my blistering heart. But the song was too upbeat, too happy and discordant from my own frame of mind for me to play well. The tears fell freely after that, until my whole body shook from the force of my anguish, and I could play no more.
I swiped my face with my right hand, sucking a deep breath and trying to calm myself. I breathed in and out, concentrating on the simple task until my chest stopped heaving. “You can do this, Sam. You need this.”
I needed to play. I needed just one song. A song to get me through the rest of the day. A song to get through tomorrow and the week.
I picked something I liked, something I could play before with my eyes closed. I started in on “Only Hope” by Switchfoot. I launched into it, curling my middle finger in place of my ring finger on the fifth fret, A string. I slid my finger up two frets to E. I did well with the first few chords, but when I got to the G power chord, I had to bar the whole third fret with my pointer finger and utilize the rest of them for the chord. I wrecked it. I started over, playing again and trying to find a way around the chord, a way to create the same sound with one less finger, but I couldn’t. I started a third time, then a fourth. I played the same few chords over and over, until I finally went on with the song. But I mutilated the rest of it too.
Stopping, I shoved the guitar off of me onto the bed. I ran a hand through my hair and paced my room. I tried to focus on the steady cadence of my sneakers moving over the floor, but nothing about the sound soothed me. A thousand visions passed through my mind. Ones of me playing at events past—playing with Mr. Neely for hours before and after school, playing at the talent show, at the county fair, at The Clover, the Celtic festival, the Greek festival, the jazz festival, gigs in Richmond. Playing everywhere and anywhere I’ve ever been able. I played with all my fingers. They moved skillfully over the fretboard, needing nothing more than talent and muscle memory to drive them. The sounds which escaped those fingers? Perfection.
I walked back and forth in front of my bed, my steps heavier, faster than before. Reaching up into my hair, my hands clenched automatically, gripping my raven locks by the roots. I pulled and screamed, letting the searing pain in my scalp and the sound of my screaming soothe my ragged nerves. Only, it fueled them instead.
I darted across the room, to the picture of Derek and me at a jazz festival last year, my guitar strung over my back. I ripped it from the wall. I looked down at my desk, and in one smooth motion, I shoved all of its contents onto the floor and upturned it. My heart smashed into my ribs, as I turned and strode over to my bed, where my gaze zoned onto my guitar.
What good was it to me anymore? What good was a guitar I couldn’t play?
I snatched up the guitar—my prized possession—and raised it above my head. I started to bring my arms down, the guitar with it, but I paused. Tears sprung to my eyes. The beating of my heart resounded in my ears. I raised the guitar again and pressed my face into my shoulder, steeling myself for the blow, my muscles coiled. But I hesitated. I stood, arms and guitar suspended in the air, my eyes squeezed shut.
And then, as if whispered to me from above, I heard of all people, Tad’s voice in my head. Speaking slowly, clearly, coolly, triumphantly. Jerry Garcia. James Doohan. Tony Lomi. Django Reinhardt...
I lowered my guitar. With aching limbs, I retrieved the case from the floor and put it away. I stared at the closed case for what felt like hours, realizing I was in-between worlds. One in which I couldn’t play, and another in which I knew I had to, but having no idea how to close the gap, having no idea if I even could, only knowing that I wanted to. I needed to.