Special excerpt for MG novel Life on Base: Quantico Cave by Tom and Nancy Wise

kicking off a new week with the spotlight on the middle grade novel,
Life On
Base: Quantico Cave
by Tom and Nancy Wise.

their virtual book tour, Tom and Nancy will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes
and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be
entered for a chance to win, use the
form below.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit their
other tour stops and enter there, too!
A little bit about Life on Base: Quantico Cave:
For Stephen, his life on
base is much the same as most other children’s. The difference is in the
details. Look both ways before crossing a tank path and be sure to check if the
spent bullet casings you find in the long-abandoned trenches are actually
empty. Sports stop at the sound of the evening trumpet call as he and his
friends stand at attention while the flag is retired. Quantico Cave is a story
of friendship and competition, and when Stephen meets up with a friend he once
knew at a previous home station, the contest hits a whole new level that places
everyone at risk.
Excerpt from Life on Base: Quantico Cave:
Stephen had noticed Jimmy was a lot happier these days.
“Keep an eye on the target,” he told him as he followed at a brisk pace down
the heavily wooded hill. “Hear from yer dad yet?” He avoided Jimmy’s eyes, not
wanting to see the hurt that might come with the answer.
“No,” Jimmy said and offered nothing more.
His head down, Stephen muttered, “It’s only been a few
weeks,” knowing Jimmy would change the subject again.
 Things tended to get
quiet at home when Jimmy’s dad shipped out with the fleet. The deployment meant
less stress for Jimmy since his relationship with his father was normally
pretty contentious. When a parent was mobilized, the rules were laxer, so
little things changed. Kids would let their hair grow longer, stay up a bit
later. For Jimmy, not having Dad around meant more free time on weekends—and
less fighting.
“Miss him?” Stephen asked quietly with a glance behind to
see the shadow trailing along the ridge to their left.
Jimmy ducked beneath an arch of tangled brush where deer had
pushed through, keeping his eye on their target to maintain their line of
travel toward the checkpoint. “Drop it.”
“Okay.” Stephen crouched in behind. “This is north—” he
added, touching the damp, mossy side of a tree.
“We should stash some of the spears we made in here.”
We need to make up some time. “What we should do is go about
fifty yards, then down the slope.” Stephen pushed Jimmy forward as they emerged
from the brush. “C’mon,” he said, tired of the distractions.
The boys trotted the next fifty yards, or “klicks” as they
liked to call them, then turned down a steep slope to make up time. “Shoot.”
Jimmy let out a yelp as his feet skidded on the loose dirt and leaves.
Looking over his shoulder as he bounced down the hill,
Stephen allowed himself to slide until his feet grabbed the dirt and then
hopped again to keep his momentum. “Turn sideways. Watch.” He dug into the
slope with each hop, doing as his dad had showed him. He heard Jimmy yelp
again. I hope he sees this. I’m doing it the way you showed me, Dad. The next
hop was cut short as Jimmy slipped, kicked his feet up as he landed hard on his
butt, and slammed into Stephen’s leg. Both boys smashed into the soft earth and
tumbled down the hill.
Stephen slid, his back to Jimmy’s chest, for another five
feet before he got his sneakers planted to stop their descent. “Shit, Jimmy,”
he said over his friend’s moans. Oh, my gosh. We need to move. Calm. Stay calm.
Stephen glanced up the hill to see if they were being watched.
“Oh, man.” Jimmy groaned, trying to get his feet under him,
but sending them another three feet down the slope.
 “Put your feet
sideways.” Stephen inched his way forward to give Jimmy some room.
Jimmy rose sideways to the hill, stood, shook the dirt out
of his shirt. Cautiously, he hopped his way down the remaining incline ahead of
Stephen, his feet breaking loose on each hop as he got the rhythm. When they
reached the base, Jimmy dropped to his butt and crossed his arms over his knees
in a huff. He stared straight ahead, not saying a word, as if searching for
A little bit about the
Tom and
Nancy Wise are award-winning authors. Their first novel, The Borealis Genome, is the grand- prize winner of the Chanticleer
Book Reviews Dante Rossetti 2013 Award for YA Novels and Award Lab Lit
Category. Thomas grew up in a military family moving from base to base as the
child of a Marine, living the life of an officer’s brat in times of war while
Nancy was raised the youngest child of a WWII veteran. When not working
together on their novels, Tom teaches at University and authors articles on
project management topics and nonfiction books published by Gower Publishing in
the UK.


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