Home

  • NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT

    NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT

    I am proud to announce the release of my newest novel, THE VICTORIAN VIGILANTE. I have been teasing it slowly for over a year, and I can finally share it with you all. If you like books with strong female protagonists set in historical London, this one is for you!

    SYNOPSIS:

    LONDON, 1884.

    Una Egerton is a woman adrift in a world dominated by man’s corruption and crisis. Riddled with a dark side herself, when night falls Una cloaks her feminine appearance and becomes the fighter known in the London Underground as the Silver-Haired Devil. But just as Una finally has a grip on her abnormal condition, the body of a woman is found floating in the Thames River in an oddly familiar way to that which claimed the life of her mother a decade ago. This murder sets off a series of events that fall one after another. Her alter ego is rapidly labeled a person of interest and the mysterious death toll continues to climb. A secret society hidden in the shadows begins to emerge having her question everything she thought she held dear.

    Una must set aside her convictions and become the detective her city desperately needs. With themes of sacrifice and personal virtue, The Victorian Vigilante is a grounded take on vigilantism with an elaborate plot canvasing Ancient Egypt and the London underbelly known as the East End.

    EARLY REVIEWS:

    “A mystery with endless twists and turns.” – Ellen Z.

    “Brilliant.” -Early Beta Reader

    Available early 2023, preorder details will be up soon and I will be announcing giveaways for free copies of the book in the coming weeks. Excited to have this baby out and share it will you all! It has been a labor to write but every much worth it!

    Advertisement
  • DEBUT NOVEL: The Shadow of Our Stars

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is live-on-amazon.png

    The Shadow of Our Stars can be found for sale as an ebook or paperback exclusively on Amazon.com by clicking here.

  • Tea Cup Writer’s Spring Newsletter

    Tea Cup Writer’s Spring Newsletter

    img_2829

    HELLO THERE! 

    Thank you for subscribing and reading. This newsletter intended purpose is to update you on all the things happening in my written adventure. I’m aiming for a seasonal newsletter (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer) so keep a watch out and sign up for email alerts if you don’t want to miss what’s going on!

    Current novels in progress

    two people on mountain cliff
    Photo by Valdemaras D. on Pexels.com

    The Ocean and the Sky: A Young Adult Norse Novel (TOATS)

    Rough outline: A retelling of the events of Ragnorak that follows the Norse god’s demise and the misadventures of Iric and Yrsa, orphaned twins from the village of Skarfsnes, who journey through the nine realms to find the lost Thor while being hunted by the ender of their world. My current work in progress, “The Ocean and the Sky” is sitting at about 10,000 words at the time of writing this update. The first act is nearly wrapped up and I’m sending it out to select few fellow writers to give me some feedback. This will be the second full-length book that I’m attempting to write. My first, Out of Curiosity, may never see the light of day. But I’m happy that I was able to write that book. It taught me a lot about what I needed to learn and got out some of the amateur traits in my writing. Perhaps one day I’ll return to the world of Englionia and share Abbott’s and Elise’s tale. I dream about it often and when it’s time and I feel satisfied, one day it could all work out. But for now… all attending this story.

    Camp NaNoWriMo

    I plan on getting the large bulk of it finished in April for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve set a goal for myself to reach about 50,000 words by May, so let us hope this early start is a good push to put me on track to reaching that goal. For some of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. It allows us to connect with other writers and engage in events targeted at getting your novel’s finished. One thing that I’ve learned from the experience, is support really goes a long way. When you have thousands of other people trying to accomplish the same thing that you are, who can sympathize with your struggles, it makes the journey not feel like you’re all alone. You can follow my Camp NaNoWriMo 2020 progress by following me on Instagram @alexanderwrites_

    Books I’ve finished reading this time around

    img_2745
    I just finished A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab and I pleasantly enjoyed myself. The idea of multiple Londons took hold of my very early on and I believe that this novel offers a fresh take (at least in my literary mind) of how magic works in a story. I found myself really liking the character of Lila. Her attitude, the way she carries herself. She’s a survivor and a thief but underneath that armor, I believe there’s a real humanity to the character that is yet to be revealed in the next two books. One thing about the book that really was a letdown, was the ending. It fell a little flat in my opinion, not to say that it was satisfying, but the Twins were supposed to be these big bad duo that warped people’s minds into doing their will. I just thought their endings were too quick, too soon. But nonetheless, I’m all about stories that glorify good and defeat evil. I will most certainly be continuing the series at one point or another.  img_2747 Proceeding, “A Darker Shade of Magic” I finished reading Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” after a month or two. This book had me torn down the middle. Yes, I did watch the Starz series first, but only a few episodes and I ‘d have to admit this is a classic case of the book being far better than the series. The series is more engaging to watch but the book’s detail cannot be overlooked. This book is a lot different from what I’m used to reading. The plot was fairly slow compared to other books but that’s mostly because of its length and just the amount of detail Gabaldon goes in to. It was hard to overlook at first because it was like “she did this, and then this happened, and they went here, and so on” but once all the threads start coming together, the payoff is really worth it.  Outlander is a character-driven novel. Besides a few books, I’ve never really had an attachment to written characters, but Jamie and Claire really were pulling at my heartstrings. I wanted them to triumph through their perils and remain together. The same goes for Randall. As troubling as this may be to admit, I wanted him to die–– terribly. He is evil at all measures. The hurt he causes and the lives he ruins, I’ve never wanted to see a character’s death so much in a book. Far greater than the evil of Umbridge and Voldemort from the Harry Potter series.  And I would have to say that was what worked incredibly well for this book. Character development. 

    Short stories and other writing updates

    In April I will be releasing a fast fiction, “London’s Calling” along with a few smaller stories to be spread throughout.
    img_2721
    London’s Calling
    My center is to remain completely focused on TOATS (The Ocean and the Sky) before I tackle any newer projects. If I have time, I will be releasing a novella entitled, “Sir Camelot” in the coming months. I’m approaching the finish. The story just needs editing and beta reading before sending it out into the world. Sir Camelot synopsis: Sir Camelot, knighted on his father’s deathbed, is a drunk with an inflated ego. When years pass by and the King announces a quest that will place Sir Camelot amount the star-studded hero’s of the past, he chops his way into action with the help of his esquire, Benedict. Together, they fight a beast that plagues a neighboring village with humor, wits, and a little bit of luck. 
     

    Thank you for reading and I hope to see you soon!

    Cheers, 

     

    Alexander 

    (The Tea Cup Writer)  img_2789

     

  • Paris in the Dark

    Paris in the Dark

    We dined on caviar and champagne until our words slurred and our bodies motioned us into the night. Humming taxies and swerving buses circled the city like the dreams in our subconscious minds. And our ears caught the keyed melody of an accordion. My fingers drummed away to Louis Armstrong’s “La Vie En Rose” and your chapped lips kissed mine— a firework show blinded by fermented fish.

    After, we tiptoed my ballet flats to her, and like a diamond she sat and sparkled. The lure was a desire to be discovered. A precious stone in the Parisian skyline. The tricolore waved in the nightfall before the heavens poured in tears. As the little droplets bounced from our faces and soaked our clothes, we proceeded to dance to our heart’s content. Angels from above joined and cherubs flew from the chapel on Boulevard du Palais. Little ivory faces spectated, anticipated, and fantasized.

    Je t’aime,” you whispered. “Ma dame.”

    A value far greater than the diamonds of the world and yet still, as simple as a night in Paris.

  • Snowdrop

    Snowdrop

    In the small village of Norwell, a magician whipped and whirled incantations from the nose of his umbrella, a wish-granting spell, beneath the shade of a willow tree.

    As the spectacle was seen by all, there came three men before him, each eager to receive their heart’s desire.

    The first man asked for his wish without hesitation. He wanted all of the fortunes of the world for himself. The wizzy magician laughed to himself a little and when the man asked why he was laughing, the magician answered, “you’re already the richest man in the world.”

    “It isn’t enough,” the man said.

    Then came the next man and wished for the woman of his dreams—his true love. The magician chuckled again, and said, “but you are already loved by a beautiful wife and three wonderful children.”

    “It’s not enough,” the man said.

    And when the magician turned to the third and final man and requested to hear his wish, there was hesitation.

    “I wish peace for the sick,” the man said, “and fulfilled promises for the dying.”

    The magician’s face went stern and his head shifted from side to side like a barn owl and then he vanished from the three men’s sight just as he appeared.

    “What a waste,” the first and second men said in agreement. “Doesn’t grant real wishes.”

    The third man felt something delicate enter his hand and sitting in his palm was a flower that grew before his eyes. A snowdropA promise. 

  • The Kiss

    The Kiss

    Our fingers interlock. Fumes of Lemongrass twirl from her sweater, igniting my senses. Rhythmic beats beneath her breast bone soothe my wounds. We wait with bated breath like a game of chess— she has me at checkmate.

    Glittering hazel eyes study the portrait of tomorrow and lips of rose meet that of my own. All that pained before, pained no more. A kiss worth a thousand of life’s delicate tragedies and simply, a blessing blossoming.

  • The Record

    The Record

    In a dusty old box, lost in a maze. I searched for a relic of your past. A vinyl disk, the one we listened to countless times on a Sunday. I lowered the needle and the warm tones ran like a woodland stream, transporting me back to when things were blue. Because today is a Sunday and I simply miss you.

  • Won’t You Join Me to Play Today?

    Won’t You Join Me to Play Today?

    Jack’s Adventures Part I: Childhood

    ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a boy named Jack who lived in a red cottage just on the edge of a woodland. Jack lived there with his mother, father, and two siblings. He was the last-born child and had a real sense of imagination. Everyday Jack wondered in the woods to play in his secret world. And each day he begged his siblings to go, but they refused. “We’re too old for that stuff,” they would say. But each day Jack would ask the same question, “Won’t you join me to play today?”

    Jack’s world of Forestia was a magical place. In Forestia there were fairies, elves, dwarfs and sprites, not to mention talking animals. Jack’s best friend in the whole world of Forestia was Harrison, a talking rabbit, and together they got into as much mischief as possible, but when the sun’s light dimmed, Jack returned home to sleep and rest his imagination.

    Jack was prohibited from entering Forestia after dark. It was too dangerous for a boy of his age. There were beasts that ate little boys and witches that drank putrid potions of the blood of children. Harrison made Jack promise every night as he walked him out to the Woodland’s Edge to return straight home and not to come back until after the first light of dawn. Jack never had an issue following that rule, after all, he was frightened by the dark.

    On one lovely blue day, Jack awoke from the sun’s rays passing through his bedroom glass. Jack gave a deep stretch, yawned and went down to breakfast. Today his mom made his favorite, porridge. Jack wolfed the porridge down ravenously and like he did every day, he asked his siblings, “Won’t you join me to play today?”

    In harmony, they declined the offer. “We’re too old for that stuff,” they said.

    Jack slumped in his chair to throw a fit. He immensely desired for his siblings to join him in Forestia so they could meet all the lovely friends he’d made. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be happening today.

    Once Jack grew tired of his fit and realized that his siblings wouldn’t be changing their minds, he left the table to ventured into Forestia. There on the Woodland’s Edge was a crab apple tree. Harrison stood here every day and greeted Jack with a warm fluffy hug. Jack, however, was not as cheery to see Harrison as Harrison was to see him.

    “What’s wrong my friend?” asked Harrison.

    “My brother and sister, they will not play with me. I ask but they say they are too old.”

    Harrison hugged young Jack tightly and Jack began to cry.

    “Do not cry, my friend. Today I will show you a wonderful secret I have discovered,” Harrison comforted.

    Jack wiped the tears from his face and followed Harrison to wherever this secret discovery was hidden.

    Deep into Forestia they walked until the red house was invisible from the trees, and they were lost to their sounds. They crossed over the river by an old shabby log and followed the clovers inland. The birds chirped and they sang sweet songs about the morning dew and fair maidens that occasionally passed through. Jack paused to dance to their tunes and lost himself to their catchy melodies.

    Dance, oh dance to our humming tunes

    Sing, oh sing till your heart gleams

    Dream with us dream, allow your mind to loom

    For into Forestia you go!

     

    “Come now friend, I have something truly wonderful to show you,” Harrison said as he hopped ahead.

    Many large oaks they passed and each covered in more moss than the last. The anticipation was starting to get to young Jack. He needed a hint of what this secret was and touched his friend’s soft tail to inquire for an answer.

    “It’s just up ahead passed the large stones,” Harrison ensured.

    The grey stones stood before them. Jack ascended over them like they were gravel in his path and once above them, it revealed a world of wonder. Thousands of speckled purples and pinks, yellows and blues, greens and reds filled their eyes. They were at the home of the fairies.

    “Welcome to the Luminous Lands,” Harrison said. “Where fairies danced upon their homes made of flowers and all the plants in the valley shine forever.”

    Fairies giggled and laughed at the sight of poor Jack. They had never seen a boy so young in the Luminous Lands, and they took turns tugging on Jack’s curling hair and pinching his red shiny nose.

    “Oh my, how have you found such a beautiful sight?” Jack asked, as he marveled at fairies buzzing around, little trails of dust followed.

    “Found em’ last night breaking into my tea storage,” Harrison said. “They enjoy English Breakfast.”

    “Hello there! I am Thistle, Lord of the Fairies and overseer of the Luminous Lands, Chief Lumineer. What brings you upon our preparation for our lunar celebration?”

    “We are just passing by in the land and wanted a look for ourselves at this incredible place,” Harrison said.

    Thistle fluttered his wings and took a spinning dive into the palm of Jack.

    “Do you wish to join us in the celebration tonight?” He asked. “You will hear songs and we will feast until the sun rises again. Thimble and Needle have arrived back from their magical quest to find the moon’s daughter.”

    “Oh, how I wish I could join but the dark of night is no place for me,” Jack said. “I must wait until the first light of dawn before I come back into Forestia again.”

    Harrison shook his furry head in approval.

    “Well then, explore and have a look around. You may just find something you thought was lost, but is now found.”

    Thistle fluttered his wings and sped off leaving a trail of gold dust behind.

    Harrison and Jack looked and they looked. There were spectacles beyond their imagination. Iridescent plants of all silhouettes and masses, remarkable to say the least.

    After their journey in the Luminous Lands concluded, Harrison escorted young Jack back to Woodland’s Edge to say farewell.

    “What a pleasant day that was, but you should return straight to home and don’t come back until after the first light of dawn. I will await you tomorrow.”

    And Jack did just that.

    That night Jack’s dreams illuminated with small winged specks. He could only imagine what sort of celebration they were having that night. He was content with what the world of Forestia had revealed to him that day.


    The next day began with patches of clouds quilted into the sky. Jack yawned and exited from his bed to the kitchen for breakfast. It was his second favorite that his mom made today, cream of wheat. Jack devoured the cream of wheat. And when the contents of his bowl were empty, he asked his siblings again, “Won’t you join me to play today?” Yet again they declined the offer. “We’re too old for that stuff,” they said.

    “But I want to show you, Thistle, he’s the Lord of the Fairies. He’s rather funny. I think you’d like him,” Jack said.

    “Fairies don’t exist brother,” they said. “Don’t you know that?”

    Jack slumped in his chair deeper than he had the day before. He very much wanted his siblings to join him in Forestia so they could meet all the lovely friends he’d made so far. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be happening today.

    Jack departed the kitchen for Forestia, and there on the edge of the Woodland’s Edge was Harrison to greet him underneath a crab apple tree. When Harrison offered a warm fluffy hug, he noticed poor Jack sniffling his nose.

    “What’s wrong my friend?” asked Harrison.

    “My brother and sister will not play with me. I ask and I ask but they say they are too old.”

    Harrison hugged young Jack a bit tighter than the previous day and Jack began to cry.

    “Do not cry, my friend. Today I will show you another wonderful secret I have discovered. It will surely beat the Luminous Lands we saw yesterday” Harrison comforted. “Follow me and let your sadness where off.”

    Jack wiped the tears from his face and followed Harrison. Deep into Forestia, they went until the red house was invisible from the trees. Harrison and Jack crossed over the river by a log and followed the clovers inland. The birds chirped and they sang sweet songs about twinkling sprites and unicorns that pranced through. Jack paused to dance to their tunes and lost himself to their melodies.

     

    Dance, oh dance to our humming tunes 

    Sing, oh sing till your heart gleams 

    Dream with us dream, allow your mind to loom 

    For into Forestia you go!

               

    Jack entered the Luminous Lands and greeted Thistle with a warm welcome, but they continued forward to the next secret that was waiting to be uncovered. Harrison bounded and he leaped until finally, he stood stationary on a cliffside.

    “Look there, look there,” Harrison instructed. “It’s the Magical Mountain home of the dwarfs!”

    Jack had not met a dwarf before, although Harrison often talked about them. He imagined dwarfs were little men no bigger than himself that carried large wooden pickaxes mining for gold and silver. On the cliffside was an entrance. Jointly they entered the hole discovering that it was indeed a mineshaft. They followed it until it met its end, where they met a magical friend. Laughing a very jolly laugh and smoking a very fine pipeweed was a dwarf.

    “Hail the’ hail the’ it is me, Brownbeard the keeper of Magical Mountain, a miner of precious jewels, and owner of the Opalite Citron.” Brownbeard was no taller than Jack, as he imagined, and held a pickaxe made from the very steel ore he mined. His long brown beard, which he was well known for, dropped to the floor beneath. “How may I be of assistance? Do you come to hear my fancy tales or rob my blind of all my wealth?”

    “We are just passing through and wanted to say hello,” Harrison said. “A story or two would be more than okay if I say so myself.”

    Brownbeard told them stories of his family, the Beards Clan, and their great quests for amethyst crystals within Forestia’s rock. He showed them the Opalite Citron. It was a magical color of white and blue that was set in a crown of gold. Brownbeard let Jack wear it on his tiny head before he reclaimed the cherished procession and returned it to its home. And when the light began to dim in the tunnel, they decide it was time to make their way home, saying farewell to their newfound friend.

    When they came to Woodland’s Edge, Harrison offered a hug and Jack was thrilled beyond wonder. Yesterday he had seen fairies and no he’d just met a dwarf. He could hardly wait to share this information with his siblings There was no way they’d pass on playing with him tomorrow.

    “What a pleasant day it has been, now my friend, return straight to home and don’t come back until after the first light of dawn. I will wait for you here until you return.”

    Jack did as Harrison instructed. That night his dreams circled between magical mines filled with riches beyond and a celebration of glowing fairies.

    He was content with what the world of Forestia had shown him that day.


    The dawn of the next day came, but the sun’s rays did not wake Jack up like usual. Instead, the sound of rain pattering against his glass beating like a drum, caused Jack to stir in his sleep until at last, he woke.

    Jack stretched and slowly made his way for breakfast. This time it was his third favorite, blueberry scones. When his mother presented such warm delicious treats, Jack gobbled his down like it was his last feast. His siblings sat and stared out the window looking miserable as ever.

    “Won’t you join me to play today?” Jack asked. “I’ve met a dwarf named Brownbeard that I’d want you to meet. He has a crown called the Opalite Citron. He will let you wear it if you’d like.”

    They shook their heads and dismissed the offer a third time. “We’re too old for that stuff,” they said. “Besides dwarfs don’t exist. That’s all in your head. When are you going to understand that?”

    Jack felt words slip from his mouth.

    “You never want to play with me, why? I’ve told you of the things I see and all I want to do is share with you all the love and joy that it brings.”

    “Brother, don’t you know that the forest can be a deceiving place?” they said.

    Jack wilted in his chair. He had no idea what the word deceiving meant, but why didn’t they believe him? Forestia was a place where they could all adventures together, as a family.

    Once his siblings cleared, Jack snuck out to Woodland’s Edge, again alone. There Harrison waited to greet him underneath the crab apple tree. His furry hands shook in excitement. But when Harrison offered his warm fluffy hug, he noticed poor Jack’s rosy red cheeks.

    “What’s wrong my friend?” asked Harrison.

    “My brother and sister will not play with me. I’ve asked three times but they say they are too old. They said it’s all in my head, but it can’t be. You’re right here.”

    Harrison hugged young Jack one more time a bit tighter than the previous days, but Jack began to cry once more.

    “Do not cry, my friend. Today I will show you another wonderful secret I have discovered. It will surely beat the Luminous Lands and the Magical Mountain we saw yesterday,” Harrison comforted. “Follow me and let your sadness be off at once. One of these days they will come to play with you.”

    Jack wiped the tears from his face and followed Harrison. Deep into Forestia, they went until the red house was invisible from the trees. Harrison and Jack crossed over the river by a log and followed the clovers inland. The birds chirped and they sang sweet songs about the triumphs of knights and their quests for the holy grail. Jack paused to dance to their tunes and lost himself to their melodies.

    Dance, oh dance to our humming tunes 

    Sing, oh sing till your heart gleams 

    Dream with us dream, allow your mind to loom 

    For into Forestia you go!

         

    Jack and Harrison passed through the Luminous Lands and greeted Thistle with a warm welcome. They stopped at the cliffside to greet Brownbeard with a handshake and continued deeper in Forestia.

    There they came upon a den dug into a grassy hill. Behind a veil of trees there laid a fierce beast that man loved the least. Protected under an armor of green scales, the beast was no match for anyone to defeat, for no arrow could pierce its heart. When Harrison and Jack drew near, a chill ran up their tiny spines of fear.

    “Halt there, halt there. If you mean to hurt me, then be off at once. But if you speak friend, you may enter. It is me, Dragovich the dragon. Ruler of fire and king of all creatures. What business do you have in my lands?”

    “We come to gaze upon your magnificence,” Harrison humbly said. “And remember what used to be in the world of Forestia.”

    Dragovich spread his emerald wings into their full size. He roared like a beast, spitting fire from his mouth.

    “Does this live up to your expectations?” asked Dragovich.

    “My, oh my, this is the best thing I’ve ever seen,” Jack said. “May we ride you into the sky?”

    “I don’t see why not,” Dragovich said. Jack and Harrison climbed upon the dragon’s back, ready for what was to come.

    Dragovich leaped into the air, flying higher and higher into the sky. It was an occurrence like no other. And when Dragovich had flown above all of the lands in Forestia, he returned to his den so that his riders could dismount. The sun’s light was dimming down, it was time for Jack to return home.

    “Thank you gentle dragon for that wonderful ride. I’ll always remember it even when I’m old. You are the mighty Dragovich,” said Jack.

    “You are a kindhearted little boy. I will always memorize you,” said Dragovich as he scrambled back into his lair.

    “Let us return you home,” Harrison said and they strolled the whole way back to Woodland’s Edge. When they made it there, Harrison offered a hug.

    “What a pleasant day that was, now return straight to home and don’t come back until after the first light of dawn.”

    Jack thrice more did just that. His dreams circled glowing fairies and magical mines and flying emerald dragons. He was content with what the world of Forestia had shown him that day. His siblings would stand no chance against the curiosity of a dragon. They would play with him tomorrow. He knew that.


    The next day originated in a violent storm. It was dangerous for poor Jack to visit his friends in Forestia, his mom made him stay inside until the dark clouds vanished.

    Jack did not yawn from his drowsiness, he was not tired, instead, he sat and looked out his bedroom window and waited to be called for breakfast. Today it was his least favorite, toast. Jack marched into his seat at the table, joined by his two siblings who laughed amusingly.

    “When the storm stops, won’t you join me to play today?” asked Jack. “I’ve met a dragon named Dragovich. He’s a really nice and we can go flying on his back.”

    His siblings giggled and responded, “Jack we are too old for that stuff. Besides, don’t you know dragons do not exist? Neither do dwarfs or fairies. You’re making this all up and you will be disappointed when you realize it.”

    Jack slammed the back into his chair.

    “How do you even know it isn’t real unless you come with me to see for yourself?” He asked. “All you do is sit inside.”

    “We were childish once like you,” they said.

    Jack cried and cried. He was fed up with his siblings. If only for a day that played with him, Jack would be okay with that. He just wanted to share all that he’d seen so they could adventure as a family.

    Jack’s mom entered the kitchen and sat down at the table to comfort Jack.

    “You three shall all go outside today when the rain clears and play with Jack. He’s asked so nicely three times already and surely you can do something together like a family,” she said.

    Jack felt an instant feeling of butterflies explode from the depths of his stomach. He would finally get to show his siblings Forestia.

    Jack lingered and anticipated by the window until the storm finally passed. There was lightning and thunder and then it was no more. The sun’s rays broke through the clouds and shinned its presence on the red house and its land.

    All three of them suited up in their most comfortable clothes. Mittens, hats, and scarfs to keep them warm from the rains doing. For the first time as a family, they ventured out to the Woodland’s Edge underneath the crab apple tree. Jack strutted with anticipation to where Harrison usually waited, but today he was nowhere to be seen.

    Jack called and called for his friend, but there was no answer.

    “Harrison, my friend, he’s not here,” Jack said. “He’s a small rabbit about my size.”

    His siblings gave him a look of disbelief before they snickered and sneered.

    Maybe he was with the fairies, Jack thought, after all, it is much later than he was used to coming to Forestia. Perhaps Harrison grew impatient waiting for him and venture off alone.

    Deep into Forestia they went, until the red house was invisible from the trees. Together they crossed over the river by a log and followed the clovers inland. The birds chirped and they twitched. Jack stopped to dance to their tunes and lost himself to their melodies.

    His siblings turned embarrassed.

    “What are you doing brother?” They asked.

    “Don’t you hear their songs?” Jack asked.

    “There is nothing but the sound of that stream behind us,” they said.

    Jack sang out loud,

    “Dance, oh dance to our humming tunes 

    Sing, oh sing till your heart gleams 

    Dream with us dream, allow your mind to loom 

    For into Forestia you go!”

     

    His siblings faces went flush blank, and Jack turned bright red. Why couldn’t they hear the songs? They were playing so clearly through his ears. He couldn’t be going crazy.

    Jack proceeded to take his siblings to the Luminous Lands, but he found no fairies present. All that remained were charred logs with a sooty rock circle around them. The luminous plants that he’d seen days before were nowhere to be seen.

    Jack insisted that they follow him to the Magical Mountain to meet Brownbeard, but when they came upon the mineshaft all that they could see were signs of caution.

    “We cannot go in there. It’s dangerous,” they said.

    “I go in there all the time. That’s where Brownbeard lives. He’s the dwarf I was telling you about,” Jack said, but they did not believe him and they refused to go into the mineshaft.

    His siblings looked at Jack as if he were deranged. Who would go into a mineshaft in pure darkness?

    Jack’s embarrassment was starting to get to him. Why had none of his friends come out to say hello? Were they upset with him for showing up late? Harrison never abandoned Jack. In a last chance of hope, he walked to the dragon’s den. Perhaps all his friends would be waiting there to surprise him and meet his siblings. All at once Jack thought would be the easiest way for introductions.

    And then, once his siblings saw the mighty beast, they would believe everything that he told them. But when they arrived at the dragon’s den, all that was there was a desolate burrow.

    “Dragovich, it’s me, Jack. I’ve brought my brother and sister to gaze upon your might,” Jack said but no roar greeted him. Dragovich was nowhere to be found.

    “We told you that it wasn’t real,” his siblings said. “None of what you saw was real.”

    “You have to believe me,” Jack pleaded. “My friends were all here just yesterday. We’ve played every day together.”

    “I’m not sure we can believe anything you say,” they said as they headed back towards home.

    “But what about me? I cannot see in the dark. I am afraid to be alone. Wait for me?” Jack asked but they did not listen. The siblings continued through the dark forest until they exited from Woodland’s Edge back to their red house with not a care in the world about their brother’s safety.

    The sun was all but gone and Jack dropped to his knees in tears while the remaining light dimmed away.

    When the twinkling of the stars appeared overhead, Jack motioned upwards, teary-eyed, and saw that there was something beautiful in the darkness of night. In all of his life, he’d never seen the stars. What could be so terrifying about the dark? He wondered.

    The moon’s pale face lit the forest in front of him. He could find his way home, but when the hooting of owls echoed overhead, Jack stopped and heard the snapping of twigs in the brush beside him. His heart pumped vigorously and his skin began to crawl. A pair of yellow eyes watched him in the dark underground. Jack knew at once that it was a monster. The very things that Harrison tried to protect him from.

    The creature stepped beneath the moonlight and gave an aggressive howl. It was a silver furred wolf. A growling erupted from between its breast bones as it inched closer to Jack. The wolf was hungry, there was no doubt about that.

    “Don’t hurt me. I’m just a little boy,” Jack pleaded.

    “But I’m terribly hungry tonight,” said the wolf. “I’ll swallow you in one bite if you come without a fight. I’m old and haven’t the energy to chase after my food any longer.”

    “I shouldn’t be in the forest after dark, Harrison was right,” Jack said as he accepted his fate. Within no time he’d be in a wolves belly.

    The wolf’s jaws gaped open large enough for the boy to enter.

    “Just walk right inside,” the wolf said. “It won’t hurt a bit. You will not have to worry about disappointing your siblings any longer.”

    “How do you know about that?” Jack asked.

    “A wolf sees all things, even in the daylight. Their brains don’t paint as pretty of a picture as yours does. They aren’t worth eating. They have nothing left to imagine. We wolves take it from them, and replace it with fear. They walk through life sad and lost, as will you when I’m finished with you.”

    Jack thought over the wolf’s comments.

    “They cannot see?” asked Jack

    “They will see as much as you will. The empty pit of the inside of my belly. Now climb in and learn to welcome what you see,” said the wolf.

    “Oh no,” Jack said as he moved closer to the wolf’s mouth. There was an awful rotten stench that filled Jack’s nose. This was it, this was the way Jack thought he’d die. If only he had listened to Harrison. He wouldn’t be here now.

    When Jack’s hope seemed to be lost, there was a sudden rumbling from the soil and the wolf’s head spun to meet the face of an emerald dragon.

    “Leave the boy alone!” Dragovich roared.

    Jack’s eyes met Harrisons as he and Brownbeard dismounted from the dragon’s back. Thistle and the other fairies stretched out into a castle wall between Jack and the wolf like little soldiers protecting their King.

    “Let me have at him!” Brownbeard said as he swung his ax at the wolf’s tail splitting it in two.

    “Ouch!” The wolf cried in pain.

    “If you’re going to eat him, you’ll have to eat us all too,” Harrison said as he hopped next to Jack. “Hold my hand. Do not be afraid.”

    Dragovich spewed his wicked fire all over the wolf. The Fairies of the Luminous Lands threw little glowing balls to blind his eyesight. And Brownbeard chased the wolf off like a mad man. When the wolf had finally disappeared wounded and beaten, the friends regrouped.

    “You all saved me from that terrible wolf. My friends have saved me. If not for you, I’d be a prisoner in his awful belly,” Jack said.

    “The dark is no place for a child. There are monsters that hurt children out here,” Harrison said. “Why have you disobeyed my one rule?”

    Jack recounted the events of the day and explained that his siblings left him here alone before dark.

    “You were all nowhere to be found? I looked so I could show them, but you didn’t appear. Where were you? They don’t believe me.”

    “We were with you the whole time,” Harrison said.

    Dragovich, Brownbeard, and Thistle met Jack at his side.

    “That’s not possible,” Jack said. “They couldn’t see you at all.”

    “Did you doubt that we’d show up?” asked Harrison.

    “I mean, I did, but you­­––”

    “We are always with you Jack, even when you are sleeping at night. We protect you from the evil in the dark, but if you start to doubt us like your siblings, we will all fade into your memory,” Harrison explained. “Although we may not be real to others, we are very real to you. Remember to always believe, no matter what others may say. Just because you can’t touch something with your hands, doesn’t mean it’s not real. Some things always reside deep in your heart where only you can see them.”

    “I won’t ever listen to what they say,” Jack announced. “You are all my friends, friends for life.” Jack thanked Thistle and the other fairies, Brownbeard and his ax, and Dragovich for their courage and bravery. He reserved his final thank you for Harrison. And when he wrapped his little arms around his fluffy friend, he had the feeling of never wanting to let go.

    “You’re my best friend,” Jack said. “Forever.”

    Harrison walked Jack back to Woodland’s Edge where they saw the glow of a lantern bobbing down the hill. Both Jack’s mother and father worriedly rushed to their lost son.

    “Same time tomorrow?” asked Harrison.

    “After the first light of dawn,” Jack said and smiled as he ran towards his parents.

    Harrison grinned and watched the reunion. His work here had been completed.

    “So proud of you,” Harrison said as a tear dropped from his furry cheek.

  • Breakfast for Two

    Breakfast for Two

     

    IT WAS NOVEMBER TWENTY-SECOND and winter had come early that year. Shivering winds from the East swept over a desolate town and covered it in impenetrable frost. The local savings bank and grocery stores remained closed until the weather retreated. This storm had brought the town back into the dark ages of history. Fortunately, there were snowplows to clear off the roads and volunteers at the local food bank traveling door to door, dressed like little marshmallows, handing out food to the elderly, who couldn’t get it otherwise. But of all the places that should have been closed during this snowstorm, one was not.

    Lou’s Restaurant remained open snow or shine. Never in sixty-three years of the restaurant’s history had it closed its doors. Not on Christmas, not on New Years, and certainly not with a six feet of snow on the ground and a sheet of ice on the roads. There was still money to be made, belly to be stuffed, and most importantly, a long-standing legacy to be upheld.

    A few years ago, Lous’ was acknowledged as a historical site, but everyone knew that what magic was there at that time, had now long since disappeared. The getup itself was disgusting and it never used to be like that. What quality chefs Lou’s employed had long since passed away to leave the fate of this establishment to their spoiled sons, whom we all know give as little of a shit about family honor and care more about filling their jewel-studded pockets. It was a matter of years before that inherited legacy was rammed into the ground among all the other failed family businesses. On a good day, the place could approximately serve four guests. On a bad day, someone threw a rotten tomato at the window or perhaps a rock with a note stating vulgar remarks.

    The once-secret ingredient to Lou’s was the murals illustrated on the front walls. These hand-painted stories chronicled the town’s forgotten football team. Some parts even had signatures from the players of the good old days themselves. Lou’s also served the magnificent J. F. K., himself, who was frequent before running for president in the late fifties. Jack had his own booth with a very hush-hush and very special menu, but everyone knew what a little money and fame would do for you then. A picture of Jack shaking hands with Lou hung at eye level inside the men’s bathroom, right above the urial. It was proof that there were more prosperous days hidden in the past than laden on the horizon ahead.

    But still, Lou’s carried on, by the clutches of its seat, and today was no exception.

    The first guest entered Lou’s by way of the ancient fifties-style doors. They swung open with a ring and through the jam, appeared a man, dressed from head to toe in warm materials, largely consisting of wool. As the customer entered, the only waiter on shift greeted him with a warm but unkept smile.

    “Pick where ever you’d like to sit my dear,” she said. “You’ve every seat to choose from.” She laughed awkwardly and collected a glass of water and a pitcher for her customer.

    The man limped towards a ripped vinyl booth in the rear next to the emergency exit door. This booth had golden rivets and maroon leather covers, that had all since cracked like the salt flats of Utah.

    “Can I fetch you a cup of coffee, my dear?” the plump waiter asked. The ruffled silver pinned name tag read the name Stephanie, which would have made sense after reading it. Her face screamed that name.

    “Yes, two cups but no sugar. A little cream.”

    “Expecting company?” Stephanie asked.

    “Yes, as always,” the lamb man said.

    Stephanie nodded her head and wobbled her way back behind the counter to turn on the coffee pot for a fresh cup. The aroma of canned house coffee drifted through the air and when the pot completed its brewing cycle, Stephanie noticed her customer placed a shoe sized box on the seat in front of him. The lamb man spoke to it. He smiled and he laughed as the conversation intensified. And when she was certain that this man wasn’t of sound mind, she noticed him place a photo on top of the box. It was an older photo, like the one you’d take with a Polaroid camera, there was a thick white border at the bottom.

    If you were watching this happen, you might have assumed the wrong thing, however, Stephanie was well versed with unusual customers. Just last week an elderly woman came into dining with her seventeen cats. They all wanted tuna. The placed reeked with feces after. Mrs. Fisher was her name and she’d been coming here since she was a little girl, just this time with more guests than usual. And the week prior a boy that appeared to be ten came to order a beer with his lunch. He had a fake ID under the name Lone Star Rider. Whatever weird came through that door, Stephanie was prepared to handle it.

    Tip-toeing back with two pipping coffees balanced on her sausage fingers, the waiter placed the cups in front of her customer and the lamb man removed the winter shell from his shoulders and greeted the warm cup with his bluish fingers. The man pushed his grey hair across his head, removing his hat.

    “Did you want to order now or wait for your guest?” Stephanie asked shifting her eyes towards the box resting on the bench seat. The photo was too worn to make out.

    “We’re ready now I think,” he said. “I’ll have the Eggs Benedict and she’ll have the chicken and waffles with extra syrup on the side.”

    Stephanie looked up from her notepad.

    “Is that okay?” asked the man.

    “Hon, you can have whatever it is you want, no judgments here.”

    The lamb man turned to his server and smiled.

    “Eggs over easy?” she asked and was answered with a nod and collected the menu.

    Two ivory eggs splattered on the grill top. It didn’t take long to finish the orders. The hollandaise sauce was reheated from the previous week and the waffles were freshly frozen, a quick zap in a toaster oven was all it took to bring them up to his standards. The health department definitely wouldn’t have agreed with the quality of this food. Truthfully, Lou’s should have been shut down years ago when the raw chicken was served to a customer, but for an unknown reason, there was never any negative action taken.

    Order up,” yelled the cook.

    Stephanie retrieved the two oval plates from the kitchen window.

    “Here you are dear,” she said placing the plates down on the table. “Those waffles get cold rather quickly. Will your guest be joining you soon?”

    “She’s already here,” the lamb man said rifling through his breakfast like a ravenous wolf. “Aren’t yah Jackie?”

    “Mmhmm, let me know if there’s anything else you need.”

    Stephanie could not but help examining the man sit there and talk to himself. He slapped the table at the punchline of all his jokes and somehow he knew all the responses to his questions.

    “How are the waffles?” he asked and where one would have expected a person to say good or bad he let out a laugh. “Isn’t that true, they’re not like the ones you make. Can I have a bite?”

    “No,” Stephanie thought to herself.

    “Why not? I always share with you,” the man responded.

    “Finish your food first and then I may share,” Stephanie replied.

    “Very well,” the man said.

    Stephanie could not help but watch the series of events unfold the infant of her eyes, but just when conversation made an interesting turn, the restaurant door’s swung open and more guests entered.

    “Ma’am? Ma’am? Can we be seated?”

    Stephanie exited her haze.

    Yes—sit wherever you’d want—like.”

    The family of three seated themselves and Stephanie poured them water and gave them menus before taking the route to check up on her other table.

    “Everything tasting good?” Stephanie asked.

    “Good, it was good wasn’t it?” asked the lamb man.

    “I asked you—”

    “I was talking to her,” the man pointed across the table at the box and the chicken and waffles.

    “To whom?” she asked.

    “My wife,” he smiled, “Jackie.”

    The photo fell on the floor and Stephanie went to pick it up out of courtesy. Her reach was soon met by the lamb mans’ but not without revealing what the photo was. There is a pink spring dress, on a boat with a cigarette in her hand was Jackie. Her thick brown hair blew in the sea’s wind while she read. She was pregnant. It was dated 1963.

    “What’re you doing?” the man asked.

    “I just—you dropped your photo,” Stephanie stuttered.

    “Don’t touch it!” yelled the lamb man.

    “She was beautiful.”

    Was? She is beautiful,” the man grew violent. “She is beautiful.”

  • Damon Earling

    Damon Earling

    Ring! Ring!

    The café bell tolls, as the door is spread ajar. A lonely man steps inside.

    The café is his favorite place to be on a Sunday afternoon. There’s something about the atmosphere that he quite liked. Perhaps it was the rustling around and chatter that served as white noise in an otherwise chaotic life. It also could have been the infectious creativity bug that flew around and bit its victims one by one, as they worked on their passion projects.

    Damon Earling was a middle-aged man, who like all others enjoyed peace after a long week at the office. The office life wasn’t particularly favored in his mind and he often fantasized for his way out.

    Being an IT technician of London’s biggest tech company, NeuTech Industries, was a miserable undertaking. Four painful years he spent in college, forced by his parents to follow their footsteps in the working force. Dreaded, he was when his father “pulled a couple strings” and landed him his current position in techs fabulous new prison. Promotion after promotion he received. None of which he ever applied for.

    Damon felt misery from the second he scanned his key card, and rode up the elevator, until the time he exited the monstrous glass tower.

    Sunday afternoons in Mother Mary’s Tea Emporium were very cherished to him. Damon always ordered the same thing, a black tea, no sugar, and always sat at the same rickety table just below the heating unit. It gave him a perfect vision of the front door and allowed him to take a break for the toilets as discreetly as possible.

    Today of all days was different. Damon’s, somewhat private suite, was surrounded by a party of giggling females. Laughing at jokes that weren’t even funny. He knew he was behind the times but these jokes were, pathetic.

    Damon laid out a red leather-bound notebook, along with a black fountain pen and proceeded to scribble. Damon scribbled about ideas that floated into his head, about books he wanted to read and anything that really caught his fancy. He was writing about visiting Dublin which he had only done once as a young boy on holiday with his parents. He was saving a month’s worth of holiday time off at work so he could take a trip this autumn.

    Damon thought about the places in Dublin he wanted to see: the pubs, the architecture, the green hills. They all caught his fancy in such an elegant way. A way in which he longed to satisfy.

    All was well in the headspace of Damon when he was interrupted.

    One of the females let out a laugh so loud, that he mistook her for a roaming city cow. Shaking his head in disapproval he carried on reimagining the places he went to with his family and cherishing the moments, but damn, he was distracted again.

    The woman let out another laugh and the entire teahouse gazed at her. Damon couldn’t take any more of these rude interruptions.

    “Ma’am mind keeping it down? Some of us want peace this Sunday.” He said.

    The lady turned around, looked directly into Damon’s eyes, and said, “Oh piss off you twat!”

    Damon choked on his tongue.

    How could someone be so rude? He was astonished to find that this “person” had a husband.

    Surely no one would want to marry her, she was, well, obnoxious and impolite. Above all other things, she was un-lady-like.

    Damon scribbling paused to eavesdrop on their conversation.

    He found out rather quickly that the rude woman’s name was Summer, and she talked a lot about her husband Ben, who was a swine.

    “He comes home late every night and smells of… other women,” Summer said. “I’ve tried to just ask him where he goes but he always finds a decent excuse. I just don’t trust that twat anymore.”

    “Sounds like you need to hire someone to watch him. You know like a private investigator or something. I hired one for my husband when he was missing my phone calls around lunchtime every day. Found out he was selling drugs to his co-workers,” another woman said.

    “Didn’t you talk to him about it Poppy?” Summer asked.

    “Well, no I haven’t found the courage to ask him. I mean we make good money doing it. He always buys me new designer handbags and shoes. I’m not sure I’m ready for that to stop. If he finds out that I know, he’ll be furious,” Poppy said while sipping her tea.

    “Makes sense. Your husband is not completely a pig, but mine is! He needs to be caught red-handed. I think it’s his secretary, Jessica. She always answering the phone with joy in her voice like she’s happy to do it. No one is that happy to answer a bloody phone call. She’s guilty. I know it.”

    Damon was still listening intently. As much as Summer pissed him off with her impolite attitude, he enjoyed hearing the gossip.

    “So what do you do when you find out? Rumor has it that Rachael and her husband Humphrey had a nasty divorce. They had to split the kids and all the money. Almost led Rachael to tears, but we both know she’s too cold to cry,” Poppy said.

    “Maybe it isn’t what you think,” said a third woman, named Isla. “Perhaps you are overthinking this entire matter. He’s always been a good husband it seems.”

    “Oh for the life of me, how could this all be just a misunderstanding? He smells like another woman! How’s that even possible?” Summer said.

    “Does he take the tube?” asked Isla. “When I do, sometimes I smell like old used socks. It’s quite a cesspool in there sometimes.”

    “Isla could be right. Men aren’t even smart enough to have an affair. Their brains can’t process such complex things,” Poppy said with a chuckle.

    Damon laughed in his head. He wasn’t condoning Summer’s husband’s behavior, but bewildered by what Poppy said. What wasn’t considered too complex for a man’s brain?

    Damon took another sip of his tea and pondered. He hadn’t much interest in their conversation any longer. Instead, he thought about the complexity of the male brain vs the female brain. He had always been taught they were equal, but if others indeed thought differently, was he wrong?

    Summer, Poppy, and Isla stood up and pushed in their chairs.

    “Ben keeps saying there will be massive layoffs at his company. Perhaps that secretary will be one of them. I hope so,” said Summer.

    “Layoffs? At NeuTech? Thought business was good,” Isla said.

    “Not good enough it seems.”

    Damon’s ears perked up. He wondered if he was to be one of the layoffs.

    Nothing would have excited him more.

  • The Blue Jay in the Window #shortstorysunday

    The Blue Jay in the Window #shortstorysunday

    A blue jay flew by the window. A Cyanocitta cristata as my avid bird-watching father would have said. On my tenth birthday, he gifted me my first pair of binoculars and together we went on a retreat entirely dedicated to the birds. Dad had a sketch pad full of every bird his eyes ever set on, and although he wasn’t much of an artist, I deeply enjoyed flipping through them. He had a certain style that was uniquely him. I wonder if he’d ever seen this one before. A blue jay isn’t entirely rare, but the thought still came to my mind. I would sketch it down right away for him if I knew for certain.

    I scrambled inside my “vintage” leather bag for my fountain pen (also a gift from my father) and a scrap of paper which actually turned out to be the back of a takeout receipt. I had to draw a rough outline. The breasts were puffy white, and the wings were the color of ripe blueberries during the summer months. It’s hair cropped in the back as if it had just awoken from a deep slumber and the pattern on its––

    “…Emma…Emma…Are you listening?”

    My fantastic not-life-draining daydream came to a halt.

    “Emma, will you answer my question? Have you thought about suicide?”

    How dare she interrupt me? If I lose my train of thought, it will all be her fault. I need to sketch this bird. I need to, my father wouldn’t want me to miss it, but she was persistent. Her question distracted me. Yes, I had thought about suicide, frequently, but I didn’t want to tell her that. It wasn’t any of her business. So, I lied in a way that felt right.

    “No, not particularly— it’s not my way of things,” my eyes drifted back onto the skyscrapers that could be seen beyond the windows of this office searching for the blue jay.

    “That’s all part of the grieving process if you have,” said my therapist. “Death makes us question whether the world we live in is truly worth it. It strips the very happiness from us and fills us with terrible thoughts. Just remember that you cannot act upon them. It’s normal to have bad thoughts but it’s not normal to act on them. Does that make sense?”

    “I’m not an idiot,” I blurted out. The words left my mouth faster than my filter could stop them.

    Her pen wrote vigorously beneath her face. What was she writing? The client becomes rude when asked about suicide. Possible suicide watch required or perhaps a recommendation for medication.

    “Emma, remember, I am here to help you,” she tried to reassure me that the object of these meetings but somehow it felt like a reminder of what she wasn’t doing; helping me. We’d made no progress since my first session and I was becoming bored with attending.

    “Suicide will not bring back your father and it will cause more harm to the people around you. Just think of your family and watching them grieve for your loss. Think of your mother losing first her husband, and now her daughter. Would you want her to live with the suffering of losing you both?”

    No answer came to mind. My mother hasn’t been the same since dad’s passing. She stares into white spaces a lot and her siblings take shifts staying with her. They’re afraid to leave her alone at night. It was hard to imagine her grieving sometimes. I’ve only seen my mom cry once before dad’s death and that was after his initial diagnoses and it’s usually in private.

    “No,” I said still trying to pass off the impression like I wasn’t suicidal in the first place. It was as if she could read through the lines of my face because every question she asked, I felt as if she didn’t believe the response I gave. We always circled back to the same question, just a bit reworded the next time so that she could determine if my first response was actually the truth. Unfortunately for her, I had a great memory. I could establish precisely when she tried to use that trick on me.

    “If the feeling ever feels real, would you tell someone before you acted?” she asked. This time I ignored the question. I’d had my limit with these sorts. How many times would we circle the same question over and over again until she became satisfied with my answer? I knew that unless I said exactly what she wanted, she would never dismiss it. I was starting to feel like a helpless insect stuck in a spider’s web. Luckily odds were in my favor, this session was just nearly over, which made me happy. I could hardly stand it anymore. If it wasn’t for my family doctor, I wouldn’t be here in the first place. Not to mention the recommendation at work, and the one from friends and family. Actually, every person in my life thought I should be here, with the exception of me. I loathed it. Father would have never made me go through this torture. He was compassionate and he would have recognized how detrimental this therapist was to my mental health.

    “Will it ever get easier?” I asked to steer the flow elsewhere.

    She took a moment to search her file cabinet brain for a suitable answer, with the amount of time she spent schooling and earning her degrees, I expected her answer to be a bit more sensitive.

    “Easier isn’t the right word. I believe you’ll be able to manage the feelings if you want to, but if you decide to dwell on it, well you’ll never move on. Clinically, these sessions help you break down what is real and process them effectively.”

    “Have you ever lost a parent?” I asked.

    She pushed the glasses on her nose preparing himself for some educated response.

    “Asking me questions isn’t how this sort of thing works. We’re here for you,” she said with a quick smile behind her pen.

    That smile bugged me. I grew this feeling like I wanted to knock out her front teeth whenever I saw it, and it wasn’t because I was a super aggressive person, her smile just got under my skin. There’s no way to explain the feeling unless you saw it for yourself. It gave me the impression that even in all of the education, she couldn’t have learned what I was going through because she’d never ever lost someone special.

    “A parent or even a friend?” I prodded.

    “Emma—”

    “Have you or have you not?”

    “No—I haven’t. I’ve been fortunate,” she said after a deep breath was released.

    “Then how, of all people are you giving me advice? You don’t even understand what it’s like,” The rage in me was unleashed. “I lost my father, who was the kindest man alive. We did everything together and now I don’t even leave my house. I don’t talk to my family because it pains me to remember all the memories of him that they’re avoiding. Do you know what that’s like?”

    “Why don’t you tell me?”

    “Like hell—it feels like I’m in hell. I would give anything to see him one more time; to see the lights shine in his eyes one more time. Do you get that?”

    Her pen fluttered under her nose again. Why did I even bother? None of this gets me anywhere. None of it.

    “And how does it feel when you try moving forward in a positive direction?”

    My blood boiled. How will I move on without it feeling like I’m forgetting him? It’s not like my brain wants to put myself into this state of sickness. I don’t welcome the hurt, I want it gone, but it won’t leave. My eyes glazed over and I stopped listening. She wasn’t even respecting my thoughts.

    The timer on her phone when off.

    “––think that we should continue our sessions until this suicidal feeling goes away. We’re really making progress I can feel it. Why don’t we say this time next week?” she said while scribbling away in her leather-bound calendar.

    The bird on the window returned. It was tapping at the windowpane. This time I had to check it out. I felt a magnetic pull towards the window. A beautiful blue jay. I reminded myself that you don’t see birds like that around here. That usually falcons pick them off for Sunday bunch. Its small little beak was pressing against the glass as if it was requesting to be let inside. I pressed my stubby finger against the glass and the bird stopped to stare at me. Its little eyes were looking right through me. I could feel a sense of warming over my heart like I was connecting with the little one.

    I tilted the glass pane to coax the bird on the bridge of my finger. The glass squeaked as it slid open and the bird hopped to my index finger. It stared into my gaze, a wink followed. This bird was the calmest I’d ever met. It remanded fixed on my finger for some time as we stared deep into the eyes of each other; waiting for something to follow but my overpaid therapist stood up and scared it off. I felt the rage come back.

    “Birds are always tapping at those windows. You shouldn’t let them land on your finger, they carry diseases,” she said pushing the glass pane closed.

    “Why’d you do that!” I yelled. It was a moment ruined because of an inadequate reason. I wanted to strangle her for doing it and I almost did.

    She took no notice of my infuriated question and proceeded to re-ask her original question about scheduling a session for next week. I had no desire to come back to this money-hungry bad advice giver. My money could be spent better elsewhere.

    “That won’t be necessary. This will be our last session,” I said confidently in the decision. She hadn’t helped at all in the last three sessions, what more could she do going forward? My dad was still dead, I still wanted to kill myself, and her help was terrible if you ask me. It would be a waste to give her even a one-star review.

    “But your doctor has––”

    “That will be all,” I said once again establishing that I wouldn’t be returning, regardless if my doctor wanted me to or not. “You can call the doctor and tell him that I’m better if you please.”

    “I will most certainly not do that,” she said with a pound of her fist on the inside of her white pad like a three-year-old throwing a tantrum.

    “Whatever suits you,” I said collecting my coat from the coat rack in the corner. “This was entirely a waste of my time. You haven’t helped at all. A drink would have been much more beneficial.”

    I slammed the door to her study and met the eyes of every other victim in her lobby. Maybe they had thought about doing the exact same thing that I had done. The lobby receptionist in one last attempt tried to persuade me for another session but she rather quickly met the bird on my hand. She twitched at the sight of it. It was like she had never seen it before.

    I emerged from Ms. Janet Wilken’s office with a lighter weight on my shoulders. Finally, I didn’t have to force myself to talk about my feelings in a roundabout sort of way. I could be honest with myself. I was broken on the inside and nothing could repair me. Not the works of a doctor, no matter their credentials, and I was okay with that.

    I decided that for once in my life I would feel out my emotions and let them control me until they thought things were okay. I was tired of being persecuted for them. There was no way I’d listen to anyone else when it came to offering advice.

     


     

    Do you need a beta reading for an upcoming project? Looking for someone to give you honest feedback about your work in progress?

    Look no further! I will give you the feedback you’re honestly looking for and the feedback you never thought you’d need. Via Fiverr, I will proofread your work, create written content, and perhaps score you an awesome dream job!

    Follow me @alexanderwrites_ig-logo-email

    img_2536

    Alexander’s Biography: 

    As an avid writer myself, I’ve worked on short stories, poetry, and written a book. I’ve taken various college courses revolving around the ideology behind fictional writing and English proficiency. In my spare time, I enjoy reading just as much as I do writing with fantasy being my biggest genre consumed. I’ve assisted in my day job working for the State of Washington with many content writing projects that were targeted towards leaning the number of words into a much more manageable communication style. I look forward to tackling any project that meets my desk.

  • Resources For Beginning Writers

    Resources For Beginning Writers

    Resources For Beginning Writers: Save The Cat!

    Save The Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody

    If the front cover of the book isn’t enough to grab your attention, then I’m sure all the testimonies and Instagram posts would certainly lure you in. Hint hint. This book is a fantastic resource and you won’t regret reading it, ever!

    Save The Cat! Writes a Novel written by Jessica Brody is derived from books of a similar title by Blake Snyder that have helped screenwriters write successful movies for years. All Jessica Brody has done is expand upon the same idea in an adaptation focused on the writing of novels.


    So, what’s the books purpose?

    Save the Cat! attempts to correct the mindset of amateur and experienced writers alike. It provides you the necessary tools to improve your craft and write something that is soothing on a page and to the eyes of a reader. If you’re having trouble with book blurbs or short synopsis’s, then look no further. Save the Cat! Is the answer to all your writing problems.

    One of the things I carried with me from Save the Cat!, was a new understanding of how story structure works. I know now, that this knowledge doesn’t come naturally to us. It was taught to me though these pages over the course of several chapters. This was my first victory and the first of many Ah-ha moments.

    This far in my life, there hasn’t been a montage of amazing writing sessions or off-hand chances at the luck that made my books an instant bestseller on the New York Times List. The phrase “writers aren’t born, they are made” cannot be any closer to the truth I live now. Sadly, we don’t fully understand what that means until we’re hit with a reality check. Well, this book can be that reality check for you in some ways as it was for me.

    This book gave me three important questions:

    Prior to this read, I’d come off the heels of my first writing adventure, Out of Curiosity, and I was deep into what seemed like the fourteenth draft at that point before I began asking myself questions. Does my story structure matter at all? Will my bad story structure break my novel?

    To test my doubt, I’d decided to had to go through as many beta readers as possible to gather information. The results were just as I thought. Almost all of my beta readers came out saying the same thing. “Structure? What structure?”

    I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit let down when I review the first couple of forms of feedback. They said the story structure in my book was awful. It didn’t make any sense and after reading it, I couldn’t have agreed more. The story felt like a pointless Hollywood cash grab like the ones that are typically reboots or reimaginings. There was no structure holding up the story and the characters were dull as dirt. It was discouraging, to say the least, but then I heard about Save the Cat! from my writing friends.

    I immediately placed a hold on it at my local library and once the wealth of knowledge was in my hands, I read and I read. I took notes, made astonishing discoveries, and even felt letdown about my writing style while reading, but something happened.

    I was no longer focused on the big picture of becoming a successful writer, it was at that moment that I just wanted to be a good writer. Success was my primary objective, but it should have been learning and improvement.

    And after that moment I dedicated myself to education on the craft. If I wanted to be any good at it, I had to learn it first. I had already made all the mistakes, so now it was time to do all the real work. Simply doing what I had been doing for so long wasn’t going to work anymore. My fake it until you make it mantra had failed me. It only took my 75,344 words and four years of work to realize that.


    Enter the Save the Cat! Beat Sheet

    The proven method of the 15 beats will help guide you along your written journey and put you on the path to success. Jessica Brody not only goes over them completely in detail but she also offers templates on her website here. She includes examples from popular books to help guide you through understanding. 

    Here are the first 5 Beats:

    afterlightimage

    The strongest part of any book is an opening. The opening of any novel needs to hook the readers as soon as possible. Literary Agents and Publishers will often only read the first couple of chapters if that. I cannot stress the importance of the opening of a book. This was one of the areas that needed a lot of improvement from my own work. The opening is always tricky because you’re still trying to figure out what your story will be, and usually it won’t arrive until your finished with it. More often than not, you’ll change a large portion of the beginning part of your book once you’ve written the ending.

    All in all, my piece of advice is to think critically about the first 5 beats of your story (the opening of your book). They set a lot of things up that will come in later chapters and they will always be your reader’s first impressions of your work. You gotta sell em’ quick!

    Now the rest of the beats can be found inside the book. I encourage all those who are just starting out or have been writing for years, to give this book a read. If you read through it and already knew most of it, good for you! But if you’re like me, then you’re going to learn a lot more than you signed up for, and you’re going to want to tell your writer friends about it just like me!

     


     

    Do you need a beta reading for an upcoming project? Looking for someone to give you honest feedback about your work in progress?

    Look no further! I will give you the feedback you’re honestly looking for and the feedback you never thought you’d need. Via Fiverr, I will proofread your work, create written content, and perhaps score you an awesome dream job!

      follow me @alexanderwrites_ig-logo-email

    img_2536

    Alexander’s Biography: 

    As an avid writer myself, I’ve worked on short stories, poetry, and written a book. I’ve taken various college courses revolving around the ideology behind fictional writing and English proficiency. In my spare time, I enjoy reading just as much as I do writing with fantasy being my biggest genre consumed. I’ve assisted in my day job working for the State of Washington with many content writing projects that were targeted towards leaning the number of words into a much more manageable communication style. I look forward to tackling any project that meets my desk.