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"I make things for people who like the kinds of things I make."
Author | Creator | Consultant

Brave Men Run

Storyworld: The Sovereign Era | Series Name: The Charters Duology
Reading Order: 01 | Stand Alone? Yes
Genres: Alternate History, Coming of Age, Fiction, Speculative Fiction | Editions: E-Book, Printed Books, Quality Paperback

April, 1985: superhumans exist! Do you know what your children are..?

“I was used to eating alone…” High school sophomore Nate Charters is barely making it. His unusual appearance, hair-trigger nervous system, and over-active metabolism marked him as a target for the jocks and cool kids long ago, and it’s not getting any better.

Then, on Declaration Day, Nate is astounded as anyone by the existence of metahumans, and their audacious demand for autonomy… but there’s also the continued unwelcome attention of his most annoying rival to deal with… and is a self-assured older girl really interested in someone like him?

To top it off, who is the mysterious Dr. Brenhurst, and what’s his connection with Nate’s long-dead father?

Life just got insanely complicated.

It’s time for Nate to solve the mystery of his origin and find his place in a world of mounting uncertainty and peril. Is he part of a powerful new minority? Or just a misfit among misfits?

He’d better find his answers quickly. A shadowy organization seems to know more about him than he could ever imagine.

And they’re closing in…

BRAVE MEN RUN is the Parsec Award nominated fan favorite that helped change the indie publishing landscape. Find out why tens of thousands all over the world are Team Nate!


0) Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights: “How It All Got Started” (free online serial)
1) Brave Men Run
2) The World Revolves Around You
3) The Sovereign Era: Year One
4) “Canary In a Coal Mine”
5) Pilgrimage
6) “The News From Bewilder Pond”


This revised, expanded edition of BRAVE MEN RUN is definitive. It replaces the “orange” edition and the Swarm Press “green” edition. Make sure you’ve got the right story! About 65,000 words.

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An Excerpt from
Brave Men Run

My super-sensitive sniffer caught the new scent while we all said our hellos. Baby powder and new sweat, plus the mysterious undertone of female pheromones. It absolutely wasn’t Claire. She had never, ever smelled like this. I looked around, confused and enthralled.

Then, the source came walking down the hall toward the living room. She was tall, with a shock of blonde hair done short and curly on top of her head, more Madonna than New Romantic. She had hazel eyes and a wide, smiling mouth, and the smell of her made me dizzy.

Claire said. “Everybody, this is my friend Lina. Lina, everybody.”

I don’t know what else was going on in the room.

I only know that Lina walked directly up to me, stuck out her hand, and said, ″You have the most beautiful eyes.”

I don’t remember taking her offered hand. I was too caught up in the way her own eyes sparkled; the way she managed to never lose her smile the whole time she looked at my weird face.

And she kept looking at me.

I’m used to the uncomfortable, curious stares people send my way. I’m noticeable. I’m different. I know it. This wasn’t that kind of look.

No one had ever looked at me the way she did.

I finally became aware of the lack of conversation around us. The only sound was from the stereo: Sting’s hollow tenor crooned “Walking in Your Footsteps,” again and again.

Claire finally spoke.

“Yeah… um, okay, then. Lina, this is Nate.”

“No one’s ever told me that before.” I silently thanked God my voice didn’t crack. I think I smiled. My lips felt like someone threw wet pasta on my face.

“That makes me special,” she said. “I’m Lina Porter.”

“Nate Charters.” I noticed we were shaking hands, very proper. We laughed about it at the same time, let go, and the moment passed.

My friends moved in.

“I’m Jason.” Lina nodded at him and smiled.

“Claire’s friend from O’Neil High!” Mel tipped an imaginary hat. “Nice to finally meet you.”

“Likewise. But I’m not so much at O’Neil now.” She gave Claire a celebratory wink. “I’m doing independent home study, as of last month.”

Claire said, “So lucky!”

Fonseca gave Lina a quick nod and turned his attention to Claire. “Hey, what are you doing tomorrow night, anyway?”

Claire cocked an eyebrow in his direction. “I’ll think of something,” she said with a laugh. She grabbed Lina by the arm and steered her back down the hall. “C’mere, you!”

They giggled their way to Claire’s bedroom and disappeared behind the closed door. I took a few steps down the hall. If I could put just a little distance between me and the stereo speakers, I might be able to hear their conversation. I didn’t make a habit of spying on people, but I had to know if they were talking about me.

My friends had other ideas.

“Dude, score!” Jason punched me on the arm.

I rubbed my arm, just for show. Jason would have to try pretty hard to hurt me, but over the years I’d learned to downplay my unusual natural strength and other so-called gifts. I always hated calling attention to myself. The fewer opportunities people had to single me out as different, the better.

“It would seem you have a new friend, Nathan,” Mel put in.

“What? You think so? Why?”

On the couch, Fonseca shook his head.

Jason rolled his eyes. “Dude, she was, totally, like, staring at you!”

“And in a good way.” Mel smiled slyly. “Probably why you didn’t realize it.”

I tried to frown at him, but it didn’t get through the goofy grin on my face. “You think?”

Fonseca huffed. “Dude, whatever!”

“’S’matter, Greg,” Jason jabbed, “don’t like someone else getting the attention?”

“Seriously,” Mel said. “At least it’s not Claire giving Nate the eye!”

Fonseca finally got off the couch. “Whatever,” he mumbled. We looked at him. Now that he was up, he had to do something. He dived for Claire’s record box and conspicuously focused on picking one out and putting it on the turntable.

The chiming keyboards and “Hey, hey, hey, heys” of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” rang forth. Claire burst back into the living room.

“I love this song! I can’t hear it enough!”

We would all hear it more than enough in the months that followed, but right then, it was fresh and different.

Lina came up behind her. She looked at me quickly and a smile flashed on her face. “Isn’t it from that movie?”

The Breakfast Club.” Claire bopped her head in time to the trotting bass line.

Mel inspected the album cover. “Right – a bunch of kids get detention together.” He smiled wickedly at Jason. “Hey, it’s your life story, Jase!”

“Nyuk, nyuk.”

Fonseca worked his way next to Claire. “Hey, maybe you’d wanna go see it on Friday?”

Next to me, intoxicating and close, Lina just barely whispered, “Oh, please.”

I tilted my head and said quietly to her, “He doesn’t know when to give up.”

She turned to me, eyes wide, that toothy smile back on her face. “You weren’t supposed to hear that!”

“I’ve got really good ears,” I said.

“I’m gonna have to remember that.”

Claire said, “I saw it last weekend already.”

Fonseca stuck out his chest a little. “With who?”

“With my sister, Greg!” Claire rolled her eyes. “I’m so sure!”

“Oh.” Greg went back to the couch. “Okay.”

Lina said to me, “So, have you seen it yet?”


“Do you want to see it?”

“Yeah, uh, I guess.” I took the album from Mel. “Huh. It’s got that kid from The Outsiders.”

Mel stroked his chin-pubes. “Um, Nate, I don’t think that’s what she meant.”

I was completely without anything like a clue. It must have been obvious on my face.

Lina put her fists on her hips and stuck out her chin. “I want to, y’know, see it with you, Nate.” She backed off a touch. “If you want to.”

“Oh!” I floundered. This beautiful girl with the narcotic scent was asking me out? “You want…” I felt myself starting to redden.

“I can’t.”

Lina seemed to deflate. “Oh, okay, that’s cool…”

Jason’s mouth dropped open. “Dude..!”

“No, I mean…” I looked at Lina. “I don’t have a car.”

Mel made a theatrical production out of speaking to me from one side of his mouth. “Nate. She asked you out. She. Asked you.

Lina was all smiles again, and eyes only for me. Every time she looked at me, I felt lighter.

I felt normal.

“It’s no problem,” she said. “I can drive us.”

“Oh.” I smiled back. “Okay.”

Mel spread his arms as if presenting the two of us to the room. “There you go!”

“Is Saturday okay with you?” Lina asked me.

“Uh, yeah… yeah!”

“Good.” She took a pen out of one of the pockets of her flower-print peasant dress and held it ready above the palm of her hand. “What’s your number?”

Mel shouted, “Oh, shit!”

Jason gave him a look. “Spaz, much?”

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“We’re gonna miss the bus!”

I looked at my watch. It was way late. Even if we were on school grounds, we wouldn’t make it to the parking lot in time.


Lina had a small smile on her face. “You still take the bus? Oh, you poor dears.”

Jason dug in the pockets of his stonewashed jeans and counted change. “I’ve got enough for the regular bus, I think.”

Mel dialed down, but he looked morose. “That’ll take hours.”

I tried to calculate if public transportation would get me home before my mother. If not, I’d need a story to explain why I wasn’t in the parking lot when the bus came.

“Hey, boys.”

We all looked at Lina.

“I’ll drive you home.”

“Yeah?” said Jason.

“That’s capital!” said Mel.

I smiled at her. “That’s great.”

“I have ulterior motives. This way, I’ll know how to get to your house Saturday night.”

Somehow I had forgotten that this gorgeous girl had made a date with me not two minutes ago. “Oh, right…”

Mel put a chummy arm around Lina. “You’re all right, Ms. Porter.”

“My adoring public,” she said. She looked right at me.

Name Your Price!