Tag Archives: Stories

The hashna Stone is Available for pre-order!

I can’t believe it! The little story I wrote for this blog three years ago has grown into a 417-page novel with a beautiful cover. I am beyond excited that it’s turned out so well and that I finally get to share it with the world.

Who knew that the chose-your-own-adventure story we played around with would plant the seeds for my debut novel? Looking back on those first few chapters I wrote, I would have never thought they’d turn into a book.

(Isn’t the cover gorgeous?!)

It’s been a long road to this point, but I’m proud to announce that The Hashna Stone is available for preorder and will be published on the 19th!

I’m doing something extra special for those who preorder: I’m giving away an exclusive short story about Samel, one of the characters in the book.

There’s only four days left to preorder so don’t miss out on this FREE story!

***To be added to the list of people who will receive the exclusive story, take a screenshot of the page that says you’ve preordered and email it to me at authorafox@gmail.com.

It makes me ridiculously happy to get to finally share this book with you all!

I’m so thankful for for all of you and all your support. Your kind words and encouragement has meant the world to me and has, quite literally, made a dream of mine become reality.

I have a feeling you’ll  enjoy this version of The Hashna Stone even more than the blog version  because the characters are richer, the plot is more complex, and the world more colorful.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story and hope you will enjoy reading it. 🙂

***NOTE: at this time, Amazon doesn’t allow preorder on paperback books, but I will be releasing BOTH an eBook and a paperback on the 19th.

 

And I can’t end the post without saying saying… Happy Birthday Invisible World!!! (And sorry you didn’t get your own birthday post this year 😛 )

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for five years already.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve just started, and sometimes I feel like I’ve been doing it all my life and can’t imagine a time when I didn’t blog.

When I started Invisible World in 2014, I had no idea that it would lead to me writing and publishing a book.

Thank you Invisible World and thank you Epic Dreamers!

Want to stay in the loop with real-time updates? Follow me on Instagram! That’s where I did the cover reveal for my book. I share my progress on whatever I’m working on at the time, and Instagram followers will be the first to know about my new book projects. 😉

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The Pact

7 years old

She looks like me. That was the first thing Tyler thought when he saw girl who was moving into the house next door. He wondered if she moved here straight from China or if her family had been in the U.S. for generations like his.

She was sitting on the porch steps, chin in her hands. She didn’t look very happy. For some reason, he wanted her to look up at him.

Tyler grabbed the scooter leaning against his house down his driveway then stopped at the street. He wasn’t allowed cross the line where the light cement of the driveway ended and the black pavement of the road began. But she was watching him now, and he didn’t want her to think he was a baby, so he crossed the line and let the wheels roll over the road.

He stopped when he reached the next driveway.

“Can I ride in your driveway?” he asked. She nodded and he scooted his way right up to her porch. He stopped in front of her.

“Did you just get here from China?” Then he remembered how every new kid at school would always ask him that and how it annoyed him, so he added, “Or has your family been here for generations? Mine has been here for four. I’ve never even been to China.”

She blinked at him. She probably wasn’t used to having people actually realize that just because she was Chinese didn’t mean she came from China.

He was sure she was impressed until she said, “I’m not Chinese.”

Now it was Tyler’s turn to blink. But she looked…Oh. “Japanese?”

She shook her head. “I’m from the Philippines.” She said words strangely. She had an accent.

To keep from feeling silly, he changed the subject. “I’m seven. How old are you?”

She brightened. “I’m seven too. That means I’ll be in your class at school right?”

“Yeah. I can show you the ropes.” He’d heard that phrase in a movie. It sounded cool.

“You will show me around?” She seemed confused. She probably didn’t know what “show you the ropes meant.”

“I’ll show you around and tell you everything you need to know,” Tyler explained, feeling important.

“Oh, good. I’ve never been to an American school before.”

Tyler remembered his fist day of school and how nervous he’d been. “We’ll make a pact,” he said, because he’d seen a boy and a girl make a pact in a movie once and always wanted to do it. “I’ll be your partner for everything that happens at school.”

“Ok,” the girl said.

“Shake on it?” Tyler asked, holding his hand out. That’s what the boy and girl did in the movie. The girl put her hand in his. He grinned, and she grinned back.

Tyler rode home on his scooter feeling very satisfied with himself.

Then he relized he didn’t know the girl’s name.

 

12 years old

“Marie!” Tyler called as he rushed down the hall, dodging the other kids to catch up with her. She turned around and smiled. She wore her hair differently and she wore different clothes, but that smile hadn’t changed since she was seven. Changing the look of her smile would be like changing the flavor of chocolate chip cookies.

“I’m going to be in the talent show,” he said. “Want to be my partner?”

Marie’s face fell. “Amber just asked me.”

“Well, I’m sure she’ll understand. We’re always partners.” Ever since the day of their pact, they’d been partners for everything. The science projects in the third grade that got baking soda and vinegar all over Marie’s new shoes because Tyler wanted their volcano to have the biggest explosion. The fifth grade book report that was almost a disaster because Marie wanted to read Charlotte’s Web and Tyler wanted to read Bridge to Terabithia. Luckily, The  Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe saved the day. It had animals and magic.

“I already told her I’d do it with her,” Marie said. She no longer had the accent she had when she was seven.

“But we’re always partners,” Tyler said lamely.

“We can be partners with other people sometimes.” Marie looked apologetic.

Tyler paused, hoping she’d change her mind, but she didn’t say anything. He shrugged. “I guess I’ll find someone else.”

She smiled at him. That smile that didn’t change. Somehow it hurt to look at it.

 

17 years old

It hurt to watch Marie talking with the guy by her side. Laughing, smiling that killer smile of hers. He’d probably asked her out to the junior prom already. It shouldn’t bother Tyler. He was already taking someone.

Still, somehow he’d imagined taking Marie, even though they’d slowly drifted apart over the years. His family moved to a different neighborhood when he was in eighth grade, then came junior high and different class schedules. They still talked, but Tyler wasn’t sure it was enough to ask her to be his date.

He’d daydreamed about asking her. He’d even thought about reminding her of the pact they made when they were kids, but he wasn’t even sure if she remembered. He would end up looking stupid. So this morning, a day before the junior prom, he asked a girl in his math class that didn’t have anyone to go with. It was safe. His friends said she’d had a crush on him all year long. It wasn’t Marie, but at least he wouldn’t make a fool of himself by asking and getting turned down.

Tyler turned away from Marie and the annoying guy by her side and opened his locker. He pulled a notebook out and a folded piece of notebook paper fluttered to the floor.

Thinking it was some stray notes, he started to put it back in the notebook. Then he saw his name written on the front.

He’d seen that handwriting nearly everyday in elementary and middle school. He’d watched it change from block letters to the rounded ones that spelled out his name.

Marie’s handwriting.

He slowly unfolded it, feeling like he was unwrapping a Christmas present he’d waited all year to open.

 

Hey Tyler! 

I know it’s a bit late, but I was sort of hoping you’d get around to it first. Then I thought, “Why does it have to be the guy that does the asking?” I tried to think of a fancy way to do this, but then decided to keep it simple. You always did like to keep things simple (unless it’s a paper mache volcano). 

You can probably guess what I’m about to ask you, so I’ll just go ahead and say it. 

Will you go to the prom with me?

You can’t say no because you made a promise that you’d be my partner for anything school related. 😉 

Anxiously waiting your response,

Marie

 

Tyler grinned. She remembered the pact they’d made.

Then his smile dropped. He’d already asked someone else. It was too late.

Maybe he could get out of it. Maybe he could explain it to the girl he’d asked.

Explain what? That they’d made a pact when they where in second grade to always be partners in everything. That they hadn’t been partners for anything since they were twelve, but now all of a sudden it was important for him to go with Marie even though it meant rudely dumping the girl he’d asked?

He couldn’t do that, even if this was what he wanted. He would have to tell her that he was going with someone else.

Tyler’s stomach knotted at the thought. Never in all his daydreams did he have to turn Marie down.

He sighed and folded the note. Why hadn’t he just ask her? Why couldn’t she have asked him just a few hours earlier?

Maybe she’d waited so late because she was hoping someone else would ask her. Maybe she was only asking him because she didn’t want to go alone. What was that last line? You can’t say no because you made a promise that you’d be my partner for anything school related. What if she was only asking him because she knew he’d say yes? He was nothing but a back-up plan.

Well, he wouldn’t be a back-up plan. Hadn’t she been the one to say that they should have other partners?

Tyler shoved the note back in the locker and pretend he never saw it.

 

18 years old

Tyler hurried through the empty school halls. He’d left his jacket in one of the classrooms and hadn’t realized it until he’d stepped into the fridges air. He was getting a ride home with one of his friends because his car hadn’t started that morning. First his car wouldn’t start, then the girl he asked to prom already had a date, then he forgot his jacket. What else could go wrong?

Tyler opened the classroom door. He froze.

Marie was sitting in one of the desks.

They hadn’t talked since last year when she’d slipped that note in his locker. Tyler felt so guilty about the whole thing that he avoided her. It wasn’t hard to do. Tyler suspected she was avoiding him too. He wished he’d at least written a note back, explaining why he couldn’t take her. But the more time that went by, the more awkward it seemed to approach her.

As if the distance between them weren’t uncomfortable enough, Tyler could tell she’d been crying.

She quickly wiped her face and gave a weak smile. It made Tyler’s heart twist. It wasn’t her smile. It was like chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips.

“I forgot my jacket,” Tyler said, feeling the need to explain why he was invading her privacy.

“That one?” She pointed to the jacket hanging over the back of the desk right in front of her. Of course it would be right next to her. It couldn’t be right by the door so he could grab it and leave.

He made his way over there, keeping his eyes focused on the jacket as if it would disappear if he lost sight of it for even a second. He felt he should say something, but didn’t know what. It was her business. Whatever he said would probably make it worse anyway.

Marie stood and scooped her backpack up from the floor, getting ready to leave. By then he was already in her row and just a couple of steps away from his jacket. She picked it up and held it out to him.

His fingers brushed the tips of hers as he took it. His stomach fluttered.

He realized that he was standing there, blocking her way, but instead of moving he said, “Are you alright?”

Marie shrugged. “I’m fine. Just a rough day.”

She wasn’t fine. She looked like she did after the goldfish he’d won at a fair for her died and her mom flushed it down the toilet. “It wasn’t such a great day for me either,” Tyler said.

“Can’t be that bad,” she said. “Unless you got dumped too.”

Dumped? She’d been with that guy since Christmas. All that time together and he broke up with her a week before prom? The jerk. She deserved better than that. “My car wouldn’t start this morning.”

She laughed. The sound made Tyler grin.

“I think I’d rather take a stubborn car than a brake up right now,” she said. The smile faded and she sighed. “I guess I just don’t have luck with these things.”

“Yes you do. I mean you should. I mean he’s the unlucky one. Who wouldn’t want to go to prom with you?”

“Quite a few people actually,” she said, sharply. Then she looked down as if she hadn’t meant to say that.

Tyler knew she meant him. It’s not as if that note could have gotten lost in a little locker. She knew he saw it. She probably wondered why he never brought it up, even after the prom was over, to explain. It didn’t help that he’d avoided her. Of course she was mad at him.

“I should go,” Marie said, hinting that he should move. But he didn’t. He couldn’t let this opportunity go. What were the chances  that he would run into her right after that jerk broke up with her, and before someone else asked her? Tyler silently thanked the girl who’d turned him down earlier.

“I have to tell you something,” he blurted. “I saw the note you left in my locker–”

“I know you did,” she said. “I was walking by you as you reached your locker. I looked back as you opened it up.”

Tyler swallowed. He remembered her walking by, but he didn’t know she’d seen him.  “I’m sorry.  I’d already asked someone else and didn’t know how to tell you.”

She shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. Junior Prom is over.” She smiled. Another smile that wasn’t hers.

“It does matter. I should have told you. I shouldn’t have let all this time go by without explaining.”

She shrugged again. “People get crushes on people who don’t like them back all the time. It’s just one of those things. We don’t have to make things awkward.”

He grinned on the inside. She had a crush on him. Then the feeling faded. She had a crush on him last year before he’d ruined his chance with her. What did she think of him now?

She took a step forward, as if to make Tyler get out of her way.

He didn’t move. She was standing so close. “Yes,” he said.

“What?” She looked up at him, startled.

“I’m answering your note.” Tyler’s heart beat. She’d probably slap him. “I’ll take you to prom. If you’ll go with me.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Are you trying to be funny?”

“We made a pact. We’d always be partners for anything that happened at school. So, it may have taken me awhile, but I’m making good on that pact.”

“You don’t have to ask me to prom because of a promise we made when we were kids.”

“That’s not why I’m asking you.”

“You don’t have to ask me out because you didn’t answer my silly note.”

“That’s not why–”

“I hope you aren’t asking me because you feel sorry for me because my stupid boyfriend dumped me right before prom.”

Tyler smiled. It had been a while since he’d talked with her. It was nice to hear her voice again. Even if she was a bit mad.

“What?” Marie asked.

“I’m asking you because I like you.”

Marie blinked up at him, registering his words. She didn’t say anything and he wondered if she was going to push him out of the way. Then, she smiled. She smiled her smile.

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Hey Epic Dreamers! I know today was supposed to be a post on writing tips but since Thursday fell on Valentine’s Day it seemed a waste to pass up the opportunity to do something special. I hope you enjoyed the story!

Book Review: King’s Dark Tidings

Book Review: Free the darkness King's dark Tidings Kel KadeThis book grabbed my interest when Reskin’s delirious, dying master croaked out that the most important rule for him to follow was to “protect and honor your friends” when he was supposed to say “your king.” All of a sudden the cliche fantasy story of a hero trained from birth to become a killing machine and be sent out on a grand mission becomes the story of a trained killer making it his mission to find these friends so he can carry out his purpose and protect and honor them.

When he comes across a girl who casually uses the word “friends” to describe the two of them, he immediately makes it his top priority to protect her and her traveling companion. He thinks his higher ups assigned him a network of friends and that his purpose in life is to find and protect them. This makes for a comical scenario because anytime someone uses the word “friends” Reskin thinks, “Another one? But how will I protect this friend when my other friends are traveling in a different direction?”

Reskin is good at everything he does. He can fight with any weapon, he can use herbs to heal, he can break into even the most heavily-guarded banks, he knows every fact in history, he knows all the rules of high society and can act more noble than the nobility. Every mission he carries out goes smoothly and others admire him in every social interaction (even though he is doing it from a strategic stand point rather than an organic understanding).

A character so good at everything would usually make me put the book down in a heartbeat, but I find Reskin enduring because of how naive he is to normal life and everyday interactions between people. Growing up in such a harsh environment with such strict rules, he is baffled that so many people don’t know how to defend themselves, that they walk around completely unaware of their surroundings, and is confused that they somehow reached adulthood without mastering “the rules.”

Image result for can you fight gif

It is hilarious to watch him assess social interactions. For example, he sees a man and woman at a table looking deeply into each other’s eyes. He disproves at how unaware they are of their surroundings, thinking they could be attacked from any side and wouldn’t noticed until it was too late. He notices that the man is holding the woman’s hand and thinks it must be because he is restraining her. Perhaps he doesn’t trust her and thinks she will pull out a weapon. Maybe that is why he is looking so deeply into her eyes; he wants to discern if she answering his questions truthfully.

I cannot do the comical moments in this book justice. I’ve never read a book that had me laughing out loud as many times as this one did. The misconceptions the other characters have about Reskin and the situations they get into are hilarious. The author has a unique way of letting us into the other characters’ thoughts at just the right moments to see the irony of their perceptions of Reskin. The switch in point of view is done seamlessly and in a way few authors can pull off.

I only have two complaints. As I said earlier, Reskin never fails to accomplish what he sets out to do and rarely even has any complications. I would like to see Reskin in a situation where his many skills aren’t quite enough and he really has to work to get out of said situation. I do have a feeling that this will happen in one of the next books, since I feel the story is building to a big confrontation.

Image result for fawning girls gif

My second complaint is the lack of competent female characters. Every single female character, from the maid to the sword-baring “warrior” instantly falls for Reskin and spends the book fawning over him and fighting each other for his attention. This does make for a lot of comical moments since Reskin is completely oblivious and is confused by the woman’s actions. I don’t begrudge any of the current female characters and their actions, but it would be nice to have at least one female character who didn’t have little more on her mind than a romantic night with Reskin.

In spite of my small irritations, I’m still going to give this book 5 stars. The author did a wonderful job of turning what began as a cliche story of an orphan boy trained to be a power-house killer into an enjoyable and anything but predictable story. I could not put this book down. Not to mention, it made be laugh so dang often.

 

 

Miracle Santa (Part 2)

This is a contunation of a little Christmas story I wrote. Read part 1 here.

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Miracle Santa (Part 2)

Within four seconds, everything in the coffee shop was gone.

Shapes and colors appeared around us. And soon I was standing in the middle of a mall.

“How did this happen?” I turned to the man with the scarf beside me. “Did you bring us here?”

“I said I could change your mind.”

I didn’t have time for this weird stuff. I had to get my coffee and get to the hospital.  “But…” I started.

The man held a finger to his lips. “You’ll miss it.” He pointed to a line of children waiting to get on Santa’s lap.

Great. All I needed to see was more spoiled kids.

A little boy climbed unto Santa’s knee as his grandma stood by and watched. I waited for him to start his long list, but instead he pulled a picture from his pocket.”

“Who’s this?” Santa asked in his cheerful voice.

“She’s my sister,” said the boy. “Her name is Sarah and she wanted to come with me to see you so bad.”  He looked at his lap, “But she can’t. She’s really sick and can’t leave the hospital.”

I was touched that a little boy would think to mention his sister, but I didn’t see how this was supposed to change my mind.

Santa gave his condolences and then asked the boy what he wanted for Christmas.  When the boy was done telling Santa, his grandma came and helped him off of Santa’s lap. The boy ran to the elf who was giving prizes to everyone who visited Santa, but the grandma stayed.

“I know it’s too much to ask,” she said to the mall Santa, “but my granddaughter, the girl in the picture, has leukemia and isn’t expected to make it even through the holidays.” Her eyes began to glisten. “I was hoping that you would visit Sarah. She only asked for one thing for Christmas. To see Santa.”

Even through the fake beard and curly white hair, I could see that Santa was swallowing back emotion. He told the woman to leave the information with the elf, and he would visit the little girl.

Suddenly, the bright greens and red of the decorated mall began to fall away just as the coffee shop had and the bright colors was replaced by white walls. I was standing in a hospital room.

The boy and his grandmother were there along with a man and woman who must be her parents. They were gathered around a hospital bed that held a pale young girl. Her light hair was thin, and there were patches of her scalp that were bald.

I looked at the man in the scarf.

“Won’t they be upset to see some strangers in their room?”

“Don’t worry. They can’t see us.”

The door opened and in walked the Santa Clause from the mall.

“Santa!” Sarah’s eyes lit up. She stretched her frail arms out and Santa came close for a hug.

“I knew you’d come!” Her blue eyes stared at him admiringly.

Sarah chattered away to Santa oblivious to the tears in the adult’s eyes.  My own eyes had tears in them. The mall Santa wasn’t getting paid for this. No one was applauding him.  He did it because he wanted to make a little girl happy. He did it because it was Christmas.

Before he left, Santa leaned to the little girl. “Now, Sarah, you have a job to do.” He told her seriously, “You have concentrate on getting well. I expect to see you this time next year.”  Then he asked, “Do you believe in angels?” Sarah nodded. Santa took Sarah’s small, frail hand in his. “It may be easier to get well with some help, so I’m going to ask that angels watch over you.”

Sarah smiled. “They will Santa. I’m sure they will if you ask.”

The white room swirled away and I was back at the mall in front of Santa.

“What happened to the little girl?” I asked the old man in the scarf.

“Does that matter? What matters is that someone took the time to reach out to another person who was hurting.  That man had his own kids to buy presents for, his own family to spend time with, but he chose to take the time to do something nice for someone else.”

I looked at the man in the Santa costume and thought that maybe Christmas did bring out the good after all. As I was watching, a girl with short blond hair walked up to him.

“Hi, Santa remember me?” she asked. “You visited me in the hospital last year.”

My mouth opened. It was Sarah. She looked so different. Her hair was healthy and her cheeks pink.

Santa’s reaction was much like my own. He looked at her for a moment, then he pulled her into a hug and his eyes filled with tears.

“Christmas is what you make it,” said the man in the scarf watching Sarah and Santa.  “You can choose to only see the ads, the companies trying to sell their products, and spoiled children. Or you can see the good that Christmas brings. And what’s more important is that you decide what kind of Christmas you experience. You can join the commercialism, or even ignore Christmas completely. Or you can do something that will change another’s life.”

With those words, the malls rearranged itself and I was back in the coffee shop.  I shook my head, feeling disoriented.

The seat across from me was empty.  I scanned the room for the man in the scarf, but he wasn’t there.

My name was called and I hurried to get my coffee. I would have to be fast if I was going to make it to the toy store and still be on time for my shift. I couldn’t be Santa, but I maybe a few small gifts would make staying in the hospital for Christmas a little more bearable for the kids in the children’s wing.

I stepped outside, excited to carry out my plan, and whispered to the cold air, “Looks like you win the bet.”

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*This story is all I’m posting for the month of December. Our regular posting schedule will continue in January. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday! 🙂

This is based off of a true story you can read here:

http://academictips.org/blogs/christmas-miracle-real-story/

 

Miracle Santa

In the spirit of the season, I thought I would share a little Chirstmas story I wrote. I hope you enjoy it! Merry Christmas! 🙂

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Less than an hour ago, I thought Christmas was commercialized nonsense.  It was just an excuse for parents to go into debt and kids to act like brats. Christmas wasn’t about peace and joy, but Xboxes and iPhones.  Everyone was focused on out-getting or out-giving everyone else.

I distanced myself from the holiday was much as possible. The only reason I was inside the coffee shop on a Christmas Eve was because my driver side window didn’t roll down. I was forced into the little shop crowded with last minute shoppers getting a caffeine buzz to finish their frenzied search for merchandise.

I wouldn’t have stopped at all but I’d volunteered to work the night shift at the hospital and I needed the caffeine. The debts nursing school left me with needed to be paid, even if that meant working Christmas eve.

Miraculously, there was there was an empty table and I slid into the seat before anyone else could. As I waited for the barista to call my name, I watched the chaotic scene in front of me.

A young mother tried to keep her screaming baby quiet while her five-year-old made his three-year-old sister cry by telling her that Santa was bringing him a ton of presents, but she was only getting coal.

Two little boys argued over who was getting the most presents this year. A man talked loudly on his phone: something about looking everywhere, but none of the stores had it.  Whoever was on the other end (probably his wife) didn’t believe him. I could hear her shrill voice coming out of the speaker.

Didn’t people have enough stress in their lives without Christmas? It wouldn’t bother me if the Holiday was canceled, well, I would miss the extra pay that came from working on Christmas Eve.

A middle-aged man with a scarf wrapped around his neck pulled out the chair across from mine. “Mind if I sit down? There aren’t any more seats left.”

I kind of did mind, but he wasn’t arguing on his cell phone or carrying an armload of kids, so I nodded my head.

“You look like you could use some Christmas cheer,” he said.

I frowned. Just because I let him sit here didn’t mean I wanted an evaluation.

“I could use a little less Christmas cheer,” I told him.

“You don’t like Christmas?”

“I don’t like what it does to people.”

He raised an eyebrow.  “What does it do?”

“It brings out their worst. Suddenly the only thing on everyone’s mind is getting, getting, getting. Parents have to get more toys for their kids, because if they get less than last year, they’ll throw a fit. Kids want more toys even though half the toys they already own are unused. Everyone is rushing around trying to get everything on their list before stores run out. Heaven forbid you step outside your door on Black Friday.”

The old man nodded, making the white stubble on his chin brush his scarf. “Christmas may bring out some people’s bad side, but it can also bring out their good side.”

“I don’t think trampling people because big screen TVs are on sale is the nice side of people.”

He chuckled. “That wasn’t exactly what I was thinking about.” He leaned in. “I bet I know something that will change your mind about Christmas.”

“I’m pretty sure nothing will change my mind,” I said.

“I’ll right, it’s a bet.” He held out his hand for me to shake.

“You’re on.” He could talk all night and still not be able to pull the wool over my eyes. Christmas was a sham to get people to spend more money. There certainly wasn’t anything good about it.

As I clasped his hand, the small coffee shop began to swirl away. First the crying baby and mother scolding her son for making his sister cry. Then the boy and tearful small girl. The table between me and the old man vanished.

“What’s going on?” I asked, voice high with panic.

“You may want to stand up,” he said, getting out of his seat.

“Why?”

Just then his chair disappeared, and I jumped out of my seat to avoid falling on the floor when mine did the same.

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Part two is coming next week!

*This story is all I’m posting for the month of December. Our regular posting schedule will continue in January.

Book Review: The Young Elites

Book review: The young Elites Marie Lu

While most characters in a fantasy obtain their magic by learning it or simply by being born with it, Marie Lu came up with a wonderfully unique way for her characters to get their powers. They have to survive a blood fever that leaves them marked in some way. They have a purple splotch on their skin, locks of blue color hair, or unmatching eyes.

Not only did the fever leave Adelina with silver hair, but it took one of her eyes as well.

The society she is in sees her as an abomination, not because of her missing eye, but because she is a malfetto, an abomination cursed by the gods. And some, the Elites, rumored to have supernatural power.

I love the twist that those with magic powers are feared and hunted down rather than revered. It creates a perfect backdrop for Adelina’s story to unfold. The story of an unloved girl, who thinks she has found acceptance and love in a group of people similar to herself, only to be betrayed.

This isn’t the story of a hero being made, but a villain being created.

Adelina truly tries to please her new friends, hoping to gain the acceptance and affection she’s longed for since childhood, but because of circumstances mostly beyond her control, she is labeled a traitor and loses the chance she had at belonging. This leads her to believe that there is no love or friendship for her.

What makes this story so powerful is that each one of us can empathize with Adelina. We’ve all felt unloved, been an outcast, or been abused. And maybe sometimes fantasized at getting revenge on those who have done us wrong.

This is the tale of a girl who has lost so much, she is forced to take from others. Who has had pain inflicted on her so often that she can’t help but inflict it on other. Of a broken girl who becomes a villain.

 

Stars: five out of five.

 

 

The Fellowship of the Ring Book Tag (Part Two)

Here’s part two of the book tag created by my friend Nandini. This tag takes members from the Fellowship of the Ring and has them each represent a different type of book. It’s my favorite tag ever! 🙂

Last week I did Frodo, Legolas, Gimli, and Merry. Today I’m doing Pippin, Boromir, Sam, Aragorn, and Gollum.

Pippin – A book that made you laugh

Free the Darkness (King's Dark Tidings, #1)

By the cover, you’d never guess that this book is funny. The comedy comes in when Reskin’s delirious, dying master croaks out that the most important rule for him to follow is to “protect and honor your friends” when he is supposed to say “your king.” All of a sudden the cliche fantasy story of a hero trained from birth to become a killing machine and be sent out on a grand mission becomes the story of a trained killer making it his mission to find these friends so he can carry out his purpose and protect and honor them.

As you can imagine, this puts him in quite a few humorous situations. He takes this “duty” so seriously that even a casually mention of friendship sends his head spinning. Also, growing up in a secluded area leaves Reskin clueless about everyday social interactions. It’s hilarious to watch him try to analyze what every detail of an interaction means.

 

Boromir – A book/series that you think ended too soon

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Technically this series hasn’t ended because the author is still working on the last book, but I was crushed when I got to the end of what I thought was the last book and found out that I had to wait another who-knows-how-long

until I get to find out what happens.

At the same time, I’m exited to have another book to read set in this world and with these characters because both are phenomenal.

So, it ended too soon because I want the last book out right now. 😛

 

 

 

Sam – A book with memorable side characters who stole the show

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Warbreaker is about two Idrian princesses, Vivenna and Siri. Vivenna was contracted through treaty to marry the God King of rival nation Hallandren. Instead, Siri is sent to marry him.

These two characters are far from boring, but when you throw in a mute God King and a god who doesn’t believe in his own deity, they can’t help but steal the show. 😀

 

 

 

 

 

Aragorn – A good book with a bad/average cover

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It’s been a while since I’ve read this book, but really enjoyed watching the antics of the main character even if I did figure out right away what was suppose to be a big reveal at the end.

The cover isn’t bad. Just so-so. It’s definitely a better read than the cover makes it look.

A nobleman in the court rounds up some orphan boys off the streets who look similar to the prince who went missing a few years ago. He trains them to act like royalty, quizzes them on members of court, and so on. One of them will emerge a puppet prince whose presence will settle the civil war that is brewing.

 

Gollum – A book that had great potential but disappointed you in the end

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This book could have been such a good story (not to mention it has a beautiful cover!). A modern twist on Ester or Cinderella… A common girl gets the chance of a lifetime to become a princess through a competition. If she wins, she marries the prince.

I was disappointed from the opening.

First, there was the info dumping. One of the first things you learn as a writer is to never dump a bunch of information in the first chapter (or really ever). The first few pages of this book give throws a bunch of random information to the reader about the main character’s family. It would have been much better if they’d been introduced as the scene unfolded.

I could overlook that. Sometimes good books have bad beginnings.

But then it got worse. It was so bad that once I started writing, I realized that it was too much to put here. So, I’ll probably write a review on this later. 🙂

 

Well, that’s the end. Thanks Nandini for tagging me. This was a lot of fun!

I’m going to tag

joyroses13

Writing Block

Tales from Eneana

Forever Aspiring Writer

Here’s a link to the original post so you can see all of them together.

I hope you all get do it! It’s so fun!

Writing Exercise: Take Something Ugly and Make it Beautiful

Why would we care about taking something that is generally thought of as ugly and describing it in a beautiful way?

This is what I asked myself when I finished doing this writing exercise from Rebecca Mcclanahan’s book Word Painting. Sure, it’s a good way to get your writer’s brain to work a bit harder. But would I really be able to use this when writing a story? If something is ugly, I’m going to describe it as ugly. What’s the point of being able to make a pile of trash seem as appealing as a rose garden?

The answer to this question lies in perception. Just because you perceive something to be unattractive doesn’t mean that another person might find it appealing. Being able to see something differently then the way you initially respond to it comes in handy when you’re a writer.

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Maybe you can’t stand the busyness of big cities, but the protagonist in your book finds them thrilling. Maybe you love flying, but you protagonist is afraid of heights and is deathly afraid of getting on an airplane.

Taking something that is thought of as ugly and describing it in a way that makes it beautiful didn’t seem like a useful skill to me until I realized that I did it all the time. Every time I step into a character and see through their eyes, I’m changing my perception. I might not find a beetle to be attractive, but to a character whose hobby bug collecting, a beetle might look more perfect than a sunset in the Bahamas.

It all depends on whose eyes you are looking through, and when you’re a writer, you should never be looking through your own eyes alone.

So, enough of this very deep and enlightening talk. Let’s get on with the actual writing exercise, which was to take something that most people see as ugly and describe it in a pleasant way.

The challenge is to make sure that you don’t come right out and use words like beautiful, lovely, or pleasant. The purpose of the exercise is to evoke in the reader the sense that the object is these things without telling them straight out. Lead them to make the decision on their own that something looks nice. Don’t tell them what to believe.

 

 


 

Wrinkles

 

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The woman’s face showed every facial expression she’d made over the years. Deep lines across her forehead for all the times she had raised her eyebrows in question to her children’s excuse at how the flower pot was broken or where the last piece of pie had disappeared to. Tiny lines webbing  beneath the corners of her lips from the years after her husband’s death, when they  were too heavy to lift. But the ones that took up most of her face were the ones that decorated her cheeks and trailed from the corners of her eyes. Those lines were etched into her face by every time she smiled at the grandchild in her arms, chuckled at her own joke, laughed at her child’s antics, smirked at her husband’s flirting, and grinned at everyone she met.


 

Graffiti

 

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The brick wall was a hodgepodge of color. Names, initials, slogans, and curse words alleviated the wall from its usual dullness in candy-apple red, deep ocean blue, jungle green, sunset orange, cotton-candy pink, and Caribbean-wave teal. Some of the words were hastily scrawled in thin lines of spray paint, and some were displayed in bubbled letters painted in a dramatic flourish a billboard would be proud of.


 

I might have cheated a bit in the first example because I went into how the wrinkles were created and didn’t stick strictly to what they looked like.

But it’s my blog so I can cheat, right? 😉

Notice in the second example I never came right out and said, “These walls covered in graffiti are beautiful.” I descried the graffiti as alleviating the wall from its usual dullness and compared it to “a dramatic flourish a billboard would be proud of.” I used adjectives to describe the colors in a way that brought beautiful things to the reader’s mind.

Now that you’ve seen me give it a try, find something you usually think of as ugly or disgusting (a dump, a pimple, city slums) and describe it in a way that makes it beautiful.

I’d love to know what you picked. What other reasons do you think this writing exercise is useful? Let me know what you think of this exercise in the comments. (I’d seriously love if someone wrote about a pimple…. You’d get Best Writer of the Year award if you made me think that was attractive. 😀 )

 

Check out the last writing exercise!

word painting