Summer 2020

My cousin Rachael died last week. Her house was burning. She and her dog were found dead in her swimming pool. Her body was wracked with the effects of an advanced case of Covid-19.

The weird thing about is wasn’t the house burning, or the Covid-19, or even the fact that her hands were bound behind her back. The weirdest thing was that her dog was in the pool with her. 

The fire wasn’t part of the wild fires that are blazing all over California. It was arson. Someone had poured gasoline all over her garage, lit a match, and left her alone coughing and barely able to function.

Rachael refused to go to a hospital. She’d rather be in her own bed in her own mansion. If she was going to die alone she said she wanted to be with her nasty little dog Chatsworth.

Chatsworth was a beautiful fluffy brown and white spotted animal of unknown heritage. He hated everyone except Rachael. He loved Rachael.

After Rachael died her attorney came to my house with a box. The box had holes in it. Inside of it was a cat with singed fur and whiskers. He was a large gray tabby with a white mask on his face and chest, and white paws. He’d belonged to Rachael’s ex who’d broken both of his legs in a car accident one night after they’d had a huge fight over Rachael’s callus attitudes over his place in her life. He never spoke to her again and moved out of the country.

The cat’s name was Zoomie. As soon as I let him out of the carrier he started to purr. I wondered how that cat could be so mellow and happy considering who he’d lived with.

Rachael wasn’t a nice person. In fact she was a first class raging bitch. The short list of words to describe Rachael were mean spirited, narcissistic, disingenuous, a first class liar, and a control freak. She hadn’t always been like that, well maybe she had, but it just got worse as she grew older, especially the past sixteen years. 

Despite her faults (though she saw none) she was incredibly successful. Rachael lived one of those charmed lives where everything seemed to come easy. Fabulous opportunities seemed to come out of the blue. Men went crazy over her no matter how badly she treated them. People were fascinated by her. She rubbed shoulders (and more) with the rich, famous, and powerful. Rachael had done well and was fabulously rich herself. When she died she owned the home she’d died in, plus three vacation homes all free and clear. She was worth millions. 

At one time Rachael and I were close. She thought so until the day she died. I’d been done with her for years. 

So, back to Zoomie and my household. 


The Golden Eagle Flies (Deonur’s Past)

The little angel boy had just tested his wings, like the others in his class. Despite him being the first who had been able actually to lift his entire body off the ground, the others laughed about him. ‘Too big, the wings.’ They said. And the boy got discouraged…

He decided he had to grow into his wings as fast as possible and wished he didn’t have to go to school anymore.

When the teasing and mocking didn’t stop, the teacher finally had to halt the bullying.

During one of the flying lessons, he removed the breeze from under the bullies’ wings, and the entire gang fell to the ground… and they fell hard.

After the groaning and moaning finally stopped, the teacher told them harshly: “Now, get up, you lot.”

They followed directions and stood before their teacher, who paced up and down. “I’ve had it with you all.” He stared at them; his already dark brown eyes got darker. “We were working hard for you all to get into the air. The one who does the best job is the one none of you respects. He would have been the only one keeping himself in the air during the wind drop. None of you could do that. I strongly recommend you study more, and you might ask him for help instead of laughing about him and giving him a hard time.”

The teacher eyed one of them in particular. “Shane. Don’t even think I don’t know you are the leader of that pack. I insist you concentrate on your studies and your soon-to-be-seen progress, or I will have to report you.” He turned to all in the group again. “If you’re too stupid to think for yourself and follow this jealous hypocrite of a boy, so be it. If you want to get somewhere in this life, you might want to start using your brain.”

The bullies shyly eyed Deonur from the side, and he didn’t budge. He looked at them, but there was no smile or mocking on his side. It was just a mild curiosity in his eyes.

It took years of further development to understand that they could have had a strong bond with this calm and highly versatile boy… but they weren’t smart enough to recognize that.

The bullying flared up again when the class was much older, and they were flying close to the mountains to test their flying abilities in that area.

The teacher overlooked Deonur, not because he wanted to be cruel, but because the boy was so calm, quiet, and modest, he was barely visible… and when he flew in front of trees and rock, he disappeared. His breathtaking, strong wings, the color of a Golden Eagle’s, blended in so perfectly that the teacher could not see his student.


The Senior Class of that year’s Divine Army had just had their final exams and celebrated by spending some time on Earth. They were a bit overenthusiastic and wanted to prove to each other how good they were as angels… They flew through cities and tested their wings, but also helped two groups against thieves, broke up a fistfight between several people, supported a group of ladies who had to bring in the hay, and walked around, spreading smiles and making the one or other female heart jump… until one of them disappeared.

They had agreed to meet at a particular spot where they had landed to return home together. They knew, technically, they weren’t permitted to go down to Earth unsupervised yet. But their teachers occasionally looked the other way, provided the final exams were passed.

The group had yet to learn where to look for the missing youngster until Deonur asked. “We were quite a group coming down here. Who is the missing one?” One of the others said quietly: “It’s Shane.”

To everybody’s surprise, Deonur didn’t hesitate. “Well, we better hurry up and look for him. The more time passes, the worse it gets. But we don’t have to stay here. Let’s say five of us are searching for him, and the rest go back home – but please, inform Nicholas. He needs to know, and he can help or send us help. No matter what Shane did or did not do, he’s still an angel, nearly of age, and he doesn’t just disappear with no trace. Something serious has happened. I feel it in my guts.”

The others looked at him with growing respect. It seemed very much the boy they had ignored most of their school time suddenly showed he would have been a valuable member of their group and a formidable friend if they hadn’t been so jealous.


The search took several hours, and just when they discovered a group of bad-smelling creatures who had abducted Shane, Nicholas found them.

“Oh, that’s not good.” He whispered. Deonur nodded. “We can’t sneak up on them and hope to get him out. They’ll disappear with him, and we won’t see him again for a long time. I didn’t consider this to be a danger. I’m so sorry.”

Nicholas shook his head. “It’s not your fault, boy. It’s mine. I have responsibility over you, and I let you go. But let’s think about what to do.” One of them whispered desperately. “They’re getting prepared to leave. Are these demons?”

Nicholas nodded grimly. “I’m afraid so. I called for help, but it will take a moment for them to show up.” Deonur smiled. “I can help. But you will have to trust me… all of you.”

Nicholas frowned. “What do you….” Deonur shook his head. “No time to explain. Grab the lot and go home… Shane and I will meet you in our classroom.” With these words, he took off, no even a ‘swoosh’ of his wings betrayed his presence… the feathers were as silent as the one of an owl.

The teacher nodded, satisfied. “He’ll be a phenomenal spy one day.” He thought by himself, then he took the entire group and disappeared.

Deonur flew a circle and waited for his chance… just when the ugly creatures pulled Shane up to his feet, Deonur saw that the brutal demons had bound Shane’s wings; one of them held Shane’s right arm, the other one half-heartedly the left one, Deonur quietly flew down… His speed was breathtaking, but he needed plenty of strength to lift his classmate and gain height again to disappear.

He shot out of the dark like a cannonball, grabbed Shane’s waist with his muscular legs, and took off. He didn’t waste any time looking back… he knew he had to leave immediately. His solid and well-trained wings carried the two angels higher and higher into the clouds. Deonur had torn the ties off Shane’s wings, and the boy and himself could finally teleport to the school of Divine Army. They landed, heavily breathing in front of the building.

Shane coughed, straightened himself up, walked over to Deonur, and looked into the young man’s eyes before finally calmly saying roughly: “Man, that was a hell of a ride. I don’t know how you managed to fly that quietly. I’ve never seen any other angel do that.” He took a break; then, he finally held out his hand. “Thank you, Mate. Thanks for saving my sorry butt from hell. I don’t know where I’d be without you.”

After a moment of hesitation, Deonur’s face cracked into a smile; he accepted Shane’s handshake and said: “You’re welcome.”

Shane nodded, and suddenly his eyes seemed to water a bit. “Listen, Man… If you ever need help, no matter when, in what situation, or where… call me – and I’ll be there, that I swear.”

Deonur smiled a bit. “Are you the teeniest bit touched?” Shane shook his head. “Bullshit… I got dust in my eyes.”

They laughed when they entered the classroom where Nicholas was waiting with the rest of the group.

Immediately their classmates surrounded them. “How…” – “What happened?” – “When…”

Deonur didn’t feel like talking much about that episode, and he just nodded, found his teacher’s eyes, and then quietly disappeared. When Shane went looking for him, he didn’t see him anywhere.

Later that evening, Nicholas met with Raphael. “That boy is remarkable, isn’t he?” Nicholas nodded. “I can only recommend him for the highest possible education to prepare him for a spot in the ‘Council of Twelve.’ This boy would be a phenomenal spy for the Archangels.”

Raphael smiled. “Thank you for your recommendation, Nicholas. We will surely keep an eye on him. But let’s find out what he will become first. Maybe his destiny is entirely different? None of us knows.”


When Deonur’s birth flower opened, not only the regular group of school senators and experts were present. The group included Raphael and Michael. When Deonur spread his wings, these beautiful, strong wings, in the color of a Golden Eagle, they both looked at each other and smiled… One day, this boy would join their Council… but this was for later… many millennia later…


(Sub-story to ‘The Council of Twelve’ series by A. J. Alexander – Copyright Aurora Jean Alexander, February 2023)

Picture courtesy of

Night Or Day?

Are you more of a night or a morning person? Society apparently knows two different people, ‘Early Birds’ and ‘Night Owls’.

I think, we all know the difference. Early Birds rise with the sun, they’re happy, bubbly and wide awake before the horizon gets orange… but they’re also exhausted by early evening and barely can’t keep their eyes open at dinner, despite their everyday activity.

Night Owls have a hard time getting their engine running… they stay up late, and most of them say, they’re most creative when it’s dark outside, everybody else went to sleep and they got some peace and silence to ‘work’.

New studies show, that there’s nothing wrong with being either one… but also, Night Owls can live quite unhealthy.

According to Night Owls are often missing out on physical activities, which they, of course, don’t feel like practicing, after darkness. Consequently, in addition to often a severe lack of sleep, poor eating habits, missing Vitamin D, poor physical exercise and often increased unhealthy snacking and alcohol consume, their chances of suffering diabetes, a cardiovascular disease, or a stroke can severely add to their poor health. (Source:

About 20% of the population are Night Owls. Some studies claim, these people are more intelligent, but science has yet to prove that fact sufficiently and believably.

Many authors are Night Owls, at least on the weekends. Now, why is that?

There is only a handful of authors who are able to live off their writing and their books. The majority has a daytime job. Very often that doesn’t leave them too much time to write… with a full-time job, and the attention they need to provide to the family, forces them to write in the evenings, after everybody else is in bed. They have to make sure, they will get some sleep before going back to work in the morning. It can be horribly unsatisfying to be forced to interrupt an interesting flow in the middle of a thrilling chapter, so they decide to stay up late on the weekend to ‘finish’ their books.

Does that now make writers more intelligent than other people? I’m not so sure, actually, looking at me! Working a full-time job, writing at nighttime or on the weekends, publishing stories apparently barely anyone ever reads… If that doesn’t qualify me to have the IQ of a glass of water, I’m not sure what does…

Now… what is your experience? Are you staying up late? Or do you belong to these obnoxious happy people who jump out of bed, fresh like a showered violet…? Let us know in your comment, we’re curious.

Picture courtesy of ‘’

Short Story The Changeling – Written By Juliette Kings

I’ll always remember what my preschool teacher said at lunch and snack times. “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” My parents lived by that. I’m surprised they didn’t both tattoo it on their foreheads.

Sometimes parents will notice their lovely happy babies will suddenly seem to change. Well they have changed. Your baby has been replaced by a crying, unhappy, grouchy, nasty, Goblin Changeling. Congratulations.

Sometimes the horrible Changelings are left to die on the doorsteps of churches, or locked in attics. Usually the real babies are brought back to their loving parents. Fairies and others help out. More often than not ransoms are paid. A mother might pay with her beauty. A father might pay with his strength. It could be anything depending on the mood of theGoblins.

In my case the Goblins dropped me into the home of someone who seemed oblivious to my nastiness. They actually kept me.

I spend my entire childhood treating my parents like crap and tormenting my little brother Trevor. My brother hated me, but he should have loved me. Without me Trevor would have been one of those sensitive pantywaist boys who allows people walk all over him. I made him tough. I made him stand up for himself. He should have thanked me for it.

I have no idea why my parents put up with me. The only reason I wasn’t expelled from every school I attended is because I always made straight A’s. Sure I caused a lot of tears but I kept the school yard in line. My minions kept close while I doled out punishments fitting crimes of weakness. As for lies… I was the number one princess of lies, and adults never knew what was going on.They believed me.

Sure there were more times I could count that I had my mom in tears, but hey, that is what you get for accepting a Goblin Changeling. She could have dumped me in foster care or sent me off to some farm of a distant relative. People suggested boarding schools, drugs and shock treatments. My mom just told them that they could never understand how I was different and unique in ways that nobody could ever understand.

At one time my parents sent me to counseling. I told Dr. Cray everything she wanted to hear. The good doctor said I was a well-adjusted and brilliant child. She said I was mature for my age hence others not understanding me. Boy did I have it pulled over her eyes.

Anyway, Trevor and I grew up and went out on our own. I met a few other Changelings and even married one.

My husband and I are one of those successful power couples. He’s the CEO of a billion dollar tech company. I’m an attorney, and the biggest asshole attorney out there, and proud of it. Beauty and brains plus no morals what so ever. Justice for all.

As soon as I found out my future husband Blake was an over the top arrogant, self-centered SOB I fell in love with him. He loved me back as only a Goblin Changeling can love another Goblin Changeling.


Unicorn – Written By Juliette Kings

James saw the woman across the room and imagined her in another time. In that time she wore a dress with a bustle, corseted up, in brilliant peacock colors, her hair up with a diamond comb.

Now she stood in straight legged jeans, black sandals, and a white button down shirt. Her brown hair wasn’t up, but down around her shoulders.

She turned towards James and mouthed out the words, “come closer.”

James was feeling lucky. The jeans and button down shirt would come off a lot quicker than layers of a bustle dress and a tightly laced corset. Of course, she’d want him. Of course, she’d have him. How could she resist?

Up close she was even more intriguing than she had been from a distance. Freckles scattered across her face. Out of nowhere she pulled out a pair of blue framed glasses and looked at him with bright hazel eyes. She really looked as if she was looking at an ancient artifact or a perplexing work of art.

“I’m James,” he said.

“I’m Isolde,” she told him. “So, what is your pickup line tonight?”

“Before we get to that, I know you’re a Vampire.”

“Just like you.”


“What are you doing here?”

“It’s a party. I knew the place would be full of nice warm people. After the past two years it is good to finally get out and be somewhere with plenty of donors.”

“Is that what you call them?”


ODE TO A GREEK GOD – Written By Marla Todd

Ode to a Greek God

A story by Marla Todd

I’ve been 6000 years at the top of my game. I knew it was too good to last.

I’m having breakfast on my deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean with the perfect amount of salty warm breeze drifting over me. A beautiful redheaded woman is still in my bed and I can still feel the warmth of her skin against mine. Fortunately she’ll be gone in an hour.

Anyway, I’m having coffee and some amazing cheese and apple pastries my son dropped off this morning. I’m also checking out a box Pan had dropped off with the pastries. That’s my son Pan, the famous happy-go-lucky satyr who dances through the woods making merry. That’s over. He settled down about 150 years ago with a wood nymph named Gloria and they’ve been keeping domestic bliss ever since. I never thought I’d see the day. Anyway, they were cleaning out some closets and found some stuff I’d swiped a few years ago. Thirty-four years ago to be exact.

It looked like I’d gone into the backpack of a college girl. I’d been in college mode that year for a change of pace. I was young, buffed and blue eyed and a killer smile. Female heads all turned in my direction.

In the box was a silver hair clip in the shape of a flowering tree branch, a delicate sexy lacy cream-colored underwire bra size 32C, a sea shell and a folded up piece of college ruled notebook paper. I unfolded the paper and read the words that would change my life.

It was a poem. It was in a round girlish script written in blue felt tip pen. No name identified the writer. I started to read, expecting the usually silly girlish babble about the meaning of life, teen angst and the horrible nature of never being understood. What I read was something else entirely.

As I stood upon the steps,

Halfway between the land and sea

The messenger god Hermes

Came to me,

Swift footed and bright

But somewhat overtaken

By his cousin Dionysus’ last visit

He brought me a message

And I read it through his blue eyes

“I bring you myself” he said.

No answer came from my lips

Except a kiss,

Which spoke very clear.

Oh happy was I,

When hand in hand

Under the stars we ran

For my mythical Hermes

Turned into a man

I took a gulp of coffee and stared at the poem. A poem about me? People had written poems about me, of course, but this was personal. It was a poem about ME, not a god of tales and lore but about ME, Hermes. It was about ME.

This girl knew me. I mean she KNEW me. She knew who I was. How? I never let on to any mortal to who or what I am. Never.

She wrote me a poem. It wasn’t a great poem. It wasn’t even a good poem. It wasn’t epic. But by my father Zeus, it was tender and sweet, full of the promise of love. It was happy. It was from her heart. A heart that considered me more than just a good body and maybe a great fuck, if I did indeed fuck her. I know I must have kissed her. I must have made love to her, because a girl who wrote the poem would never just fuck a guy. She’d have made love to me in a way I should have remembered, but damn it I couldn’t remember a thing.


Change Matters: How to Write Stories that Grip Readers & Don’t Let Go – Written By Kristen Lamb

Thank you so much, Kristen Lamb, for another educational blog post on how to write stories properly and keep the reader interested. We all appreciate your hard work!

Change is one of those concepts that gets a mixed reaction. Depending on personality and/or age group, change could be welcomed…or greeted with a metaphorical shotgun at the metaphorical door. While change is necessary for all living things to grow and thrive, plants have proven far more open to this notion than people.

I’m betting it’s because plants don’t overthink everything…unless they’re orchids which are high-maintenance and die while writing bad haiku (if they had hands and pen and paper).

Existential plants have a far tougher time, unlike weeds. Weeds just roll with anything that comes their way, and that’s why we can pour concrete over them and it’s no big deal. They simply mumble to the nearby crabgrass, “Hold my beer and watch this!”

*makes crack in new driveway* I’M BAAAAAACK!

All kidding aside, many writers miss the point of a story. Stories are about change, and the more the protagonist (and, to be blunt, all members of the cast) change for good or bad, the better.

Change & Plot

I know what it’s like to have writer brain. We see the world VERY differently than ‘normal’ people. Some see a roll of old carpet at the curb? I’m counting if all family members are present. Just yesterday, I had some fun over on Facebook with this…


Just in Time for Halloween – Written By Cary Vaughn

The writer of ‘The Reluctant Cat Owner’s Journal,’ Cary Vaughn, has published a blog post I could not deprive you of enjoying. The author is, of course, a cat daddy and also an unbelievably gifted writer. No matter what the situation with the cats is, Cary masters it, writers about it, and makes his devoted fans (like me) laugh. Thanks so much for this wonderful post, Cary. And speedy recovery to the kitty!


As I’ve mentioned before, Predator Face has a habit of sneezing phlegm onto our walls and floor since the day of his adoption. In my opinion, this has made housekeeping more laborious than necessary.

As I’ve also mentioned before, Predator Face recently lost the ability to breath through his nose, making him sound like a snotty, mouth-breathing toddler with the flu. Not, stertorous. More slurpy, like breathing through a mouthful of gelatin.


At first, his condition was pathetic and sad. But it didn’t take long before the slurpy mouth breathing became a nuisance. For example, I no longer woke in the middle of the night to the adorable rumbling of his purr as he nudged me for attention.


Creating a Story-Worthy Problem That Will Captivate an Audience – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb provides us with a blog post about creating a story-worthy problem that will captivate an audience. She writes this post in her incomparable unique witty way and still educates us. Thank you, Kristen!

The story-worthy problem is the beating heart of all superlative fiction.

Unfortunately, creating this central core can often be overlooked. This is particularly true for writers relying on school training.

English teachers didn’t mind we used twenty-five metaphors on one page because their goal was to teach us how to properly use a metaphor…not how to write successful commercial fiction.

Creating the core problem and then—possibly (depending on genre)—the many overlapping layers and misdirections, is tough mental work.

Story as Structure

Like any structure, a story demands a strong foundation and sturdy frame. Without structure, it’s easy for author (and audience) to become lost.

Without those elements? The story caves in. But, foundations and framing aren’t nearly as fun as picking out paint, furniture, or drapes.

Face it, for most of us, decorating a house is much more fun than building one. This can be the same for stories. Crafting the perfect sentence, poring over descriptions, tinkering with dialogue is fun.



Free Short Story: Everyone Deserves A Second Chance – Written By Nicholas C. Rossis

Today I discovered a free short story on Nicholas Rossi’s blog. I was fascinated and loved it enormously. I, therefore, hope he’ll permit me to show you a very small part of it – and link you to his page. Enjoy the read.

Waters of Oblivion

While I wait for you, I take in the beach. This is my home. The deep, calm sea—too dark to make out anything but the soothing waves that lap my feet. Dark silhouettes surround me. They would crowd the beach, were it not for its immensity. Old and young, men and women, take slow, dazed steps into the abysmal waters. Guides like me help them in. Not that you need us for this. Ancient, forgotten instincts would drive you forward even if we weren’t there. But we pride ourselves in that special, personal touch.

Smaller, translucent silhouettes come out of the sea, too, like baby turtles going the wrong way. Other guides are there to take them to their new homes. You will be following them in no time.

And now you’re finally here. When I left you at your bedroom after you had swallowed all those pills, I was wondering how long it would take you to join me. Not that time matters. Not here, anyway.

You shudder after the unpleasant experience of going through the death portal. “What… what happened?” you ask.

“You got what you wanted,” I say. “Congratulations. You’re dead.”

Continue Reading HERE