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The Beginnings

Eec4e3815c55d1def3f78597fffb7c5f213fb455

The Basics
Release Date July 4, 2009 (webseries); April 20, 2011 (ebook); February 1, 2015 (re-release)
Tagline "Something is wrong with this town..."
Theme Song N/A
Interlude(s) Wonderful Christmastime and Fireworks, Part One
Wordcount 57,250
Casualties Carol Mathison (strangled)
Preceded By N/A
Followed By Tangled Webs


Independence Day, Book One: The Beginnings released as a webseries on July 4, 2009, and as an ebook on April 20. 2011. It contains the prologue, ten chapters, the Wonderful Christmastime interlude and part one of the Fireworks interlude trilogy.

It was re-released on February 1, 2015, revised and expanded. The original version of the book was pulled from sale on this date.

Synopsis:

Carol Mathison's body was found in the park the morning of July 5, 1966. The night before, she'd argued bitterly with her live-in fiancé Jeff Howard, leading Shane Marcette, the investigating officer on the case and one of Carol's close friends, to assume that Jeff was responsible. He was reminded of an altercation between Carol and Jeff months before, in which Carol said Jeff threatened her when she told him she wanted him to move out. Carol was quick to drop the charges and take Jeff back, but Shane wasn't quite so forgiving. He hauled Jeff down to the station for an intense interrogation, but unfortunately, with little more than intense suspicion to go on, he was forced to allow Jeff to leave on his own volition, with no charges filed. Distraught over both Carol's death and his inability to pin Jeff to the crime, Shane spent the next few days drinking heavily and crying on his best friend, Reverend Brett Woodward's shoulder. He made quite a spectacle of himself, blaming himself and apologizing to not only the patrons at the bar, but also to Carol for letting her down, much to Brett's horror.

Shock resounded through quiet Haven Park, Wyoming as more and more residents got wind of Carol's brutal murder. Her best friend, and Brett's younger sister, Terri Englund, sought solace in her drug dealing boyfriend Lucas Brady rather than her abrasive but well-meaning husband Lance, which only strained relations in their marriage further. The Englunds fought viciously about her affair with Lucas and Terri's drug addiction, which continued to spiral out of control. Lance paid Lucas a visit, intent on getting the drifter out of Terri's life for good. The visit, however, did not go as planned and quickly escalated to violence when Lucas laughed off Lance's attempt at intimidation. The next morning, Terri suggested that her brother, Pastor Brett, act as a marriage counselor, in a last ditch effort. Lance initially resisted the idea, venomously referring to his brother-in-law as a crackpot, but when Terri threatened to walk out if he didn't agree, Lance hesitantly conceded.

Church secretary Marnie Blake did her best to provide long-ago ex Jeff a shoulder in the aftermath of losing his fiancée, but Jeff wanted no part of it. Marnie also had her hands full with her husband of only one month, postman Evan Blake. As the eleventh anniversary of his first wife Francine's mysterious death grew closer, Evan's behavior became increasingly bizarre. He drank heavily and even mistook Marnie for Francine. Evan told Marnie that he feared he was losing his mind and even referred to himself as a murderer, but Marnie was quick to write it off as mere stress and the painful anniversary coming up.

Whilst discussing the murder, Brett confided to his wife Julia that Carol had come to visit him a few months prior - and he said she'd told him that Jeff was cheating on her. She continued to defend Jeff to the worked up congregation of First Baptist of Haven Park and even paid Jeff a visit on the morning of Carol's funeral, saying they had to talk.

On the morning of the seventh, services were held for Carol Mathison and Julia caused quite a stir with her uncharacteristic tardiness. When she finally did arrive, she only aroused the town's suspicions even more, especially when Jeff turned up scant minutes later. Shane, still convinced that Jeff was responsible for Carol's death, sprang at him the moment he saw him. In the heat of the moment, and tired of defending himself against such allegations, Jeff snapped and spat in Shane's face. Brett attempted to intervene, but Shane refused to let him, angrily telling Jeff to leave, which he did. Afterwards, both Marnie and Julia attempted to comfort Jeff, but he rebuffed them. Meanwhile, Shane was fiercely berated by Stanley Rogers, retired Haven Park police chief and Carol's father. Later, Mayor Clayton Pierce also expressed his displeasure.

At Carol's wake, Terri tried to distance herself from everyone and focus on the good times she had with Carol. Lance attempted to make nice with her in public, but she wanted no part of it. After blowing up at her husband, she stormed out and Lance gave chase. An already intense situation only became more heated when Lucas stumbled on their fight in the parking lot. Again, he and Lance battled it out over Terri, but this time, Lucas raised the stakes by pulling out his switchblade. Terri made the decision to leave with Lucas, despite Lance telling her that if she did, she was not to bother coming back home.

Shane confided his regret for the altercation with Jeff to Brett at Carol's wake. Brett told him precisely what he did not want to hear - that he was far too close to Carol to be effective in this investigation. It was then that Shane's true motive for being so emotionally invested in this case was revealed: his long-standing feelings for Carol, that largely went unrequited.

Jeff, distraught over the past few days and unable to hold it together any longer, bemoaned the road that led him here and moved out of Carol's home, unable to bear the memories being there evoked. He also found new resolve in his war with Shane, promising to make him pay for the dirty tactics he'd employed.

A few days later, Terri and a reluctant Lance met in Brett's office, a counseling session that quickly ended in disaster. Lance, gunning for revenge, almost spilled the beans to Brett about Terri's affair and drug abuse, but held back at the last minute. Instead, he directed his ire at his brother-in-law. When Lance had said his piece, he angrily stormed out. Terri, inconsolable, realized that he had to still care for her to have kept her secrets and began to rethink things.

Later, when Brett told Julia about the whole thing, she finally released some of her frustration with the situation. She told Brett there was little he could do to help Lance and Terri right now and that they needed to figure it out for themselves. Brett responded with his intense desire to protect his sister, as he was the only family she had left.

Jeff, desperate and utterly out of options, paid Marnie a visit at the church and asked for a loan. Regretfully, she had to refuse. She explained that Evan would never allow her to do such a thing, but suggested he talk to Brett instead. Jeff grew immediately uncomfortable and it only intensified when Brett and Julia came out of the office. A few agonizing seconds later, Jeff made the hastiest escape possible and Brett pointedly asked Julia if she knew what caused his strange behavior.

Shane found himself summoned to police chief Elton Frazier's office, where Mayor Pierce was also waiting. Frazier tore fiercely into Shane for both his actions at the bar and his display at the funeral. He also revealed that his office had received a call from a lawyer in regards to how Shane continued to harass Jeff Howard. Enraged, Shane argued that he had to be onto something for Jeff to be this nervous, but Frazier and Mayor Pierce collectively decided it was in the city's best interest to remove Shane from the case, citing his personal connection to the victim.

In the Wonderful Christmastime interlude, readers were taken back to Christmas of 1965, where many of the present troubles of Haven Park were only just beginning. Carol Mathison, drunk before eight am on Christmas morning, argued with Jeff about the way he'd overtaken her holiday celebration. In the middle of it, Jeff surprised her by coyly proposing. Before Carol could accept, however, Lance showed up with gifts for the children. Carol asked how Terri was faring in the aftermath of her parents' recent deaths and Lance said she was doing as well as could be expected.

It was far from true. Terri grieved deeply on Christmas morning, as did her brother Brett. Marnie and her hesitant boyfriend Evan paid a visit to Brett and Julia that was incredibly awkward, to say the least. A candid conversation they'd shared the night before still playing on her mind, Marnie asked Brett if he felt better. He refused to gieve her a straight answer. Evan, meanwhile, realized he had far more in common with Brett than he ever thought.

On Christmas morning, a young man thumbed a ride out of Cheyenne and found himself in a truck with a pleasant man named Jim, who was headed to Haven Park. The young man hesitantly introduced himself as Lucas Brady.

In the first installment of the Fireworks interlude, Marnie encountered Carol in the diner, the morning of July 4. She intended to use the opportunity to defend Jeff to Carol, but Carol refused to listen. She told Marnie that she saw right through her and even insinuated that she knew Marnie still had feelings for her Jeff - an allegation that Marnie vehemently denied. Carol also dropped the bombshell that Jeff was sleeping with Julia. Unable to believe such things, Marnie got out of the situation as quickly as possible...but not before resolving to tell Jeff all about the encounter.

Shane loitered, as he often did, at First Baptist and his best friend Brett took great pleasure in teasing him about his over zealous ex, Peggy. The joviality was short lived, however, as Lance then called and demanded his wife's whereabouts. Brett later lamented to Shane that he was tired of being in the middle and that he didn't know nearly as much about the state of the Englund marriage as Lance seemed to think he did.

That afternoon, Carol interrupted Lucas' attempt to prepare for the evening's delivery. He wanted nothing to do with her at first, but Carol refused to be deterred. She invited herself in, then threw an envelope containing almost a thousand dollars at him, announcing that she'd come to make a deal.

Formats and Pricing:

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook

iTunes

PDF

The book is free on all American outlets.

Trivia:

This is the only book to contain two interludes. The Wonderful Christmastime interlude was written around November, 2009, because I wanted a holiday themed chapter.

This is the only book that I did not assign a theme song to. All subsequent books have theme songs, and the last three are even named for them.

Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Independence-Day-Book-One-Beginnings-ebook/dp/B00T38UVWW -- amazon.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/independence-day-book-one-bex-aaron/1100745450?ean=2940011287541 -- barnesandnoble.com

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/54879 -- smashwords.com

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