A Child’s Nightmare

Earlier this year I had a task to fulfill: Write a one-page short story, not more than 400 words, Fiction/Drama. I did that, submitted it, and waited. A while later the reading was ready. It took quite some time until the information got to me, but finally, it’s here. Listen to the Short Story Reading below.


1pg. Short Story: A Child’s Nightmare

by A.J. Alexander on Vimeo


A Child’s Nightmare By Aurora Jean Alexander

I waited in my grandmother’s salon. The entire house seemed to walk on tiptoes. Did they really think I didn’t know what my parents wanted to tell me?

I was in the living room yesterday when they broke out in one of their arguments.

“I think we should take Stephanie to that boarding school. It would be easiest for her not to see her home being sold, our belongings split up, and us moving to different cities.” My father had said.

My mother replied acidly: “Yes, like you cared a lot about our girl, when you came home, day and night, drunk, reeking of perfume and other women.” My father yelled. “Stephanie never saw anything like it.” He lifted his hand as he wanted to slap her, but my mother screamed fearfully: “Don’t you dare to hit me again, not in my house!”

A calm and controlled voice behind her said: “The way I see it, this is still my house, daughter. I don’t want to hear one more word about it. As for you, soon-to-be-former-son. I don’t want to see you ever lifting your hand again against my daughter or anyone else in this family. It is time you both move on with your plans. Does Stephanie even know you separated and will get a divorce? You cannot just ship her out like a package and expect her to accept everything upon her return.”

My mother replied sourly: “It was his job to tell her. But we all know he is a coward.” My father hissed at her. “How dare you saying that.”

My grandmother shook her head and made up her mind: “I’ll tell her tomorrow.”

Now I stood in front of her in the salon. The door to the back fields stood wide open. My grandmother explained in a few words: “Listen, child. Your father and mother will get a divorce. They planned to have you go to school somewhere else to save you the trouble of listening to their arguments any longer. But I insisted you stay here instead, live with me for the time being. Is that okay?”

I nodded. “Yes, grandmother.”, tears streaming down my face. Then I turned around, darted through that open door, and did what I would do all my life. I ran towards the sun and light, into freedom, away from those who caused me pain and darkness.

(Copyright, March 2021)

Picture courtesy of ‘Teen Magazine’

Tangled Tales: The Price of Love

Read Tangled Tales – The Price of Love by Marla Todd, on Juliette King’s Vampire Maman Blog. It’s an amazing story, and I want to share it with you!

Vampire Maman

The Price of Love

a short story from Marla Todd

“He stole my heart,” she said.

I looked up at the pretty blonde woman in the pink silk blouse. She brushed back a pretty curl that had fallen across her big blue eyes. I had no time for her kind.

“I don’t deal in love potions or revenge. If you’d like I know a few other Witches I could recommend. They’re quite good.”

“You don’t understand, he literally stole my heart. I was supposed to have a transplant a few days ago and the bastard stole my new heart.”

She opened the top few buttons of her shirt to reveal a long line of stitches. “I was on the operating table, ready to have this pitiful damaged heart of mine removed, when the donor heart vanished. It literally vanished out of thin air, right there in the hospital, in front…

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Adventures Of A Feral Wild Tiger

Surprisingly, lately, I found myself sitting on a pasture with the greenest grass I have ever seen. (Not that I saw too much grass in my life, but that’s beside the point).


I saw that movement from the corner of my eyes and instinctively crouched lower, sneaked closer, and with every single step, I felt the grass blades below my feet.


Again I discovered the movement… and then I saw it. It was actually smaller than I thought it would be. In a flash of brown, gray, and pink, it disappeared into the ground.


Carefully I tiptoed closer and found the entrance of its house. I was a bit irritated. Why crossing my path and then disappearing? It smelled, in an odd way, intriguing. I used my nose, felt my muzzle move from one to the other side, my whiskers trembled. I had barely ever realized how wonderful my whiskers are. My ears turned forward and back, trying to catch that shooing sound it makes when it walks. Still crouched, I decided to wait at that hole for a while, my nose and ears working constantly.

Picture courtesy of Dreamstime.com

And then it shot out of another spot in the ground, not even six feet away, and ran. It was fast… I jumped up and followed… there was no more hiding. I sprinted after it. My feet were feeling every single crumb of dirt, every bumpiness. My eyes registered how fast the surroundings passed; it was like a blur. I stretched, gained speed. And then, it started panicking and turned to the right… just when I took another angle, it changed back, even speeding up. I jumped forward, a leap, another leap, calculating where it would be next.


And then, when I took the last leap, I knew I had it. I jumped, further than I ever did, higher than I ever did….. and I dove down on it. I could see it. I could almost taste it, only half an inch, the fraction of a second…


And then I woke up…


Mommy laughed and then picked me up, hugged me, and caressed me. She’s always sweet. She takes good care of my two sisters and me. But she can’t replace the glorious adventure of hunting a mouse.


And that’s, what Mommy said, makes her laugh… when I sleep, with my ears turning forward and back, flat to my head, with my nose twitching, my whiskers trembling, my feet moving… to her, I’m just fidgeting, but to me, in my head, I’m instinctively checking my surroundings, following my prey. I’m on a hunt. Maybe only in my dreams. I’m still glad Mommy feeds me. I’m not sure I would know what to do with the mouse once I catch it. But it’s nice to imagine anyway, to be an instinct-driven, feral, wild tiger.

(Short Story Copyright A. J. Alexander, May 2021)

A Word Count Guide for 18 Book Genres, Including Novels and Non-Fiction – Written By Blake Atwood

Thank you, Blake Atwood, for your guide to work counts for our work. I wrote a similar post, but I admit, my article only contained Short Story, Novelette, Novella and Novel… yours is far more detailed. We appreciate your information.


on The Write Life:

“My memoir is 270,000 words long.”

I heard these words during a breakout session I led at a local writers conference.

An editor friend of mine, Shayla Eaton with Curiouser Editing, was sitting in on the breakout. We gave each other knowing glances, and because I didn’t want to break this poor memoirist’s literary heart, I nodded at Shayla to take the lead.

As nicely but as directly as she could, she explained to the memoirist that a 270,000-word memoir was excessive. Even if she self-publishes, the cost per copy would be high, and few readers would slog through such a tome — particularly for someone who’s not famous.

And no agents or publishers would even look past that number.

The prose could be as fleet-footed as Fitzgerald’s. The life story could be as compelling as Lincoln’s. The platform could be as broad as Oprah’s. But no agent would get to know that because they’d see “Memoir: 270,000 words” and hit delete before reading any further.

So, how long should a memoir be?

For that matter, how long should any book be? How long is a novel? What’s the ideal book word count?

If you’re writing your first novel or any book, you’re probably asking these questions.

The short answer is: long enough to tell the story but short enough to consistently hold the reader’s interest.

The long answer is, well, longer.

Continue reading HERE

The Famous ‘House Special’ – Guest Post on Juliette Kings’ Vampire Maman Blog

 

The Famous ‘House Special’

Written by A. J. Alexander

A while ago, back in Europe, when I was traveling with a friend, I went for dinner to a restaurant that belonged to a very nice Italian couple. It was in Rome.

You know, when you go to European restaurants, there are these eight-to-ten people tables for tourists, where they place you on, and unless the table is filled up, you won’t get served.

My friend and I had a lot of fun. I don’t belong to the people who always want to eat steak and fries or fish and chips wherever they go. I’d like to know what a country has to offer me. And here it was the same thing.

Confidently I told the waiter, I want to have the ‘house special,’ no matter what it is. He was a bit surprised and asked carefully, “Are you sure?” I confirmed that I was, indeed, very sure.

He brought us soup and salad ahead; then, the entrees were served. My friend got steak and fries, and I got the ‘house special’… it was a bird, a tiny bird. It was lying there, all by itself, on a small white plate.

The little head hung halfway over the plate; one of its eyes was open, one closed, beak, feet, and claws were still entirely there.

So far, I have always taken on every challenge I had accepted, even the ones to myself. But in that particular case, the question was not, would I really go through with this? The question was, “How?”

There is something we all can learn from American ‘Haute Cuisine’… One can eat everything imaginable on Earth, no matter what it is, provided it fits in a bun.

CONTINUE READING HERE

 

Short Story Sunday: Bernie Showers in France – A. J. Alexander’s Short Story on Juliette King’s Blog

Vampire Maman Juliette Kings informed me today that my humorous short story ‘Bernie Showers In France’ has been published on her blog as her Sunday Short story. Thank you so much for all your support, Juliette!! I’m so proud to have you as a friend!

Have a fun read and a few giggles!!


Bernie Showers in France

A short story by Aurora Jean Alexander

Bernie Watson, a self-acclaimed womanizer, always wanted to see Paris. One day he managed to travel to France after tediously scraping up the money he needed for the trip. In his imagination, Bernie saw himself sitting in the first class, sipping champagne and enjoying movies, a beautiful woman next to him. He was dreaming about standing on the balcony of a 5-star hotel with a breathtaking view over the city until he could see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe from far.

Reality looked a bit different. Bernie found himself in the middle row of economy, helplessly jammed between an angry tourist at the end of his vacation and a permanently eating eighty-year-old on the other side, with an ancient Pekinese on her lap.

When he arrived at the hotel, he found that the two-star hotel he had made reservations, was even older than he had suspected from the pictures. It was located in the most run-down quarter of the city. Bernie now wasn’t the most hygiene-fanatic on Earth, but after a trip of roughly 9 hours in an airplane, he still felt the need to shower.

Continue Reading Here

 

October & November 2019 Writing Submissions [Writing Contests] – Written By Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli has listed the current October/November writing contests for us. Thank you so much for your ongoing hard work for all of us, Rachel!


Here is the updated list for September & October 2019 writing submissions. I try to find submissions and contests with no fee (or on the cheaper side at least), which is surprisingly hard. As always, if you know any places that run contests and accept general submissions that are not on my list, please let me know and I’ll check it out to add it.

October 2019

Genre: Fiction
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: October 14, 2019
Entry Fee: $30
Prize: First – $2,500

 

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Laughter is the Best Medicine
Website: Chicken Soup
Deadline: October 31, 2019
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Continue Reading Here

Short Story/Serial Monday – First Impressions – The Conclusion

Find here Don Massenzio’s conclusion to his serial, First Impressions, as posted on his author blog.

Author Don Massenzio

Well, this serial came to a natural end in this week’s installment. I was able to end it to my satisfaction and give it a subtle tie to one of my other serials as well as mix in some call backs to my third Frank Rozzani novel.

I’ve enjoyed writing this serial and look forward to putting it together with other related short stories in a super-sized book.

On a side note, I’ve updated my Author Directory and Serial pages. You can now find all  the authors I’ve interviewed over the past 3 years and the serials that I’ve written, two of which have become books this year.

Please enjoy this last installment of First Impressions.


Couple Holding Hands at Sea Sunset

What in the world was Jones up to? He gave no clues for the four digit code. He had somehow put a virus on an air-gapped server, one that was not directly connected to…

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April & May 2018 Writing Submissions [Writing Contests]

Rachel Poli’s April/May 2018 Writing Contests are out. Thanks so much Rachel. We really appreciate your hard work!

Rachel Poli

April & May 2018 Writing Submissions | Writing Contests | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

April 2018

Genre: Fiction
Theme: N/A
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: April 30, 2018
Entry Fee: $2
Prize: First – $700

Genre: Very short fiction
Theme: N/A
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: April 30, 2018
Entry Fee: $16
Prize: First – $2,000

Genre: Fiction
Theme: N/A
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: April 30, 2018
Entry Fee: $21
Prize: First – $3,000

May 2018

Genre: Any
Theme: N/A
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: May 4, 2018 (early-bird deadline)
Entry Fee: $20 for poetry, $30 for manuscript
Prize: Grand prize – $5,000

Genre: Poetry, Fiction, or Creative Nonfiction
Theme: N/A
Website: The Boiler Journal
Deadline: May 15, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: Publication on site

Genre: Poetry or Flash Fiction
Theme: Moon
Website: The A3 Review
Deadline: May 26, 2018
Entry Fee: $5
Prize: First – $220

Genre: Essay, poetry, fiction, or flash fiction
Theme: N/A
Website: Five Points
Deadline: May 30, 2018
Entry Fee: $3

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Short Story/Serial Monday – Memories of Rachel – Part 1

Don Massenzio started a new series. This sounds very intriguing!

Author Don Massenzio

It’s so funny how things happen. Last week, I wrapped up a long serial and convinced myself that I was going to write a couple of short stories before I dove headfirst into another serial.

To paraphrase, writers plan and muses laugh. This story had been rattling around in my head for a while. I read Dan Brown’s latest book, Origin, recently and it dabbles with artificial intelligence and somewhat predicts future fusion of humans and technology.

I decided to take that idea and go in a different direction. This story has a basis in something that I actually witnessed in real life. We have an acquaintance that became pregnant with a child and was then diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. She made the selfless decision to forego treatment so she could deliver a healthy child. As a result, she was debilitated by the cancer and…

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