We don’t do challenges, apparently, or do we?

May 2, 2013 at 8:50 am | Posted in A-Z, advice, Challenge, Kindle, Kindness, Milestone, Patience, Short Stories, Sleep, Sunday, Writing, Reading, YA, Young Adult | 1 Comment

The April A-Z Blogging Challenge has come and gone. So has April. I thoroughly enjoyed following the blogs of all you bloggers out there who had the guts to commit and execute such a feat and blog every day in April from A to Z.  My hat’s off to you. Your tenacity and creativity deserve a huge pat on the back.

Pat on the back (2)

Speaking of a pat on the back, you may have noticed that we, here at SLIW, recently had a first birthday. * Insert another pat on the back here * If I were to say things like “Wow, what a year!” or “Boy, have we learned a lot,” it would be terribly cliche (although I personally love cliches) and awfully boring.

So, in honor/honour (yes, I’m bilingual, too) of the A-Z challenge that we missed and the milestone that we just passed, here is an entire A-Z in one go; the A-Z of our first year. It blows my mind to think that a little over a year ago, we/I had no knowledge of most of these terms.

A-Z challenge

(Yes, I know this says 2012, but I preferred last year’s logo to this year’s and since we missed it anyway, what difference does a year make!)

N.B. The item in caps at the end of each list explains how we made it through . . .

A         Authors, Absolute Write, Artists, Amazon, Acceptance, Accountants, ADVICE (taken!)

B         Blogging, Blogs, Bloggers, Books, Business, Bluehost, BANTER

C         Contests, Connections, Characters, Cover Art, Categories, Contracts, COFFEE

D         Duotrope, Decisions, Domain, DBA, Digital, DONUTS

E          Energy, Edit, E-book, Editors, ENTHUSIASM

F          Facebook, Follows, Friends, #FF, Formatting, Focus, Favorited, FAMILY

G         Google, Goodreads, Graphics, Guidelines, Genre, GRACE (of a deity perhaps)

H         Hyperlink, Hashtag, HD, Handle, HUGS

I           Interviews, Insomnia, ISBN, Indie, Images, Instagram, ICE-CREAM

J          Journey, Joliet Small Business Center, JELLY BEANS

K         Kindle, KDP, Kindle Fire, KINDNESS

L          Likes, Links, LinkedIn, Legal, Lawyers, LOVE

M         Marketing. Mail Chimp, M&Ms, MEDITATION

N         Nook, Ninety-Nine Cents, Networking, NUTS (pun intended)

O         Opinions, Omniscience, OREOS

P          Publishing, Pricing, Promotions, Photographers, Proofread, Pinterest, PATIENCE

Q         Quality, Questions, Query, Quicksand (just kidding), QUIET TIME

R         Readers, Reviews, Royalties, Rejection, Rights, Retweets, Reblogs, ROCK ‘N ROLL

S          Smashwords, Short Stories, Support, Strength, Schedule, Submissions, SLEEP

T          Twitter, Tweets, Tweeps, Teens, Taxes, Teamwork, Trends, TEA & TAI CHI

U         Underestimate, Underachievement, Up-and-coming, UNDERSTANDING

V         Vonnegut, Voice, Victory, VACATION

W        Website, Writers, WordPress, Words, WINE

X         X-factor (that special je ne sais quoi!) EXCITEMENT

Y         Yahoo, YA, Young Adult, YA Lit, YOGA

Z          Zzzzzzz . . . time to get some!

If you have been on any part of this journey with us, we thank you! If you are just starting out, we thank you, too!

Have a great day!

Clare @ SLIW

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Short Story Sunday #1

February 16, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Posted in Kindle, Love lost, New Jersey, New York City, Reading, Romance, Short Stories, Sunday, Teen, The Big Apple, Writing, Reading, YA, Young Adult | Leave a comment

Short Story Sunday

This is the first in a series of short stories on a Sunday. What better way to spend a snippet of your Sunday, because really that’s all a short story takes . . . a snippet of your time. So, without further ado, and in keeping with the love theme of this past week, here is

LET’S PRETEND IT NEVER HAPPENED, IF ONLY FOR THE NIGHT

by Connor Thomas Cleary

I packed a toothbrush and a change of underclothes. Not sure I’ll need them, hope I will. New Jersey Transit hauls me toward the city, toward that big, loud, riot of a city. She’s the only reason I ever go there. The conductor hands me a yellow paper roundtrip with a few hanging chads. I stash it in my wallet behind a Metro Card with a logo worn away by the credit card sheath. Even though she broke up with me months ago, that face keeps fading.

The view from my window is beautiful in spite of the iron sky. Autumn blooms between the stations, surprisingly radiant in the muted light. Soon, I know, these washes of warm color will give way to the cold palette of a city pressing ever outward like greedy fog. I try to hold on to this warmth, to bring these colors with me. I shove a handful of Sugar Maple Red in my pocket, hide some Birch Yellow under my hat, and poke some Oak Orange into my sock.

Mid‑town bound, I’m going to see a show. She’s going to be great.

I told her to break a leg—how strange.

The Big Apple. Teeming, wormed with subways.

My train rumbles to a stop in the bowels of Penn Station. I step into a river of bodies. We flow upstairs. Popcorn and perfume. Fast food and stale air. I lower my head and charge for the A‑C‑E. I go with the flow. I weave. I press forward, desperate to escape this buzzing, subterranean hive.

My guts writhe. Anxiety saturates my nerves and I want to tear my skin off. There is too much. Energy, jostling, noise, pressure. Everything. The collected weight of the city presses down on me, compacting me into a tiny, shuddering caricature of myself. I don’t show it. Out of my way, city dwellers, I’ve got places to be.

The subway car is packed to the elbows. No one sees anyone. I never got the hang of avoiding eye contact. Too curious, I guess. So many people, so many stories; where are you all going? Backed into a corner near the doors, I try to remember to breathe.

You all look miserable. Stop it.

Up and out into the canyon streets, I try not to gawk like a tourist, but I gawk like a tourist. I imagine the slow ascent of the skyline over the centuries. It makes me feel small.

The streets and sidewalks are stampedes, stopping at red lights to gather strength like a dammed river. The clamor gets under my skin, it sneaks in when I breathe. Makes me feel neurotic. Closing my eyes and planting my feet, I imagine it breaking around me. I am the steadfast rock, affixed to the streambed. Thicker skin, that’s all I need.

People walk too slow.

The show is starting soon, can’t wait to see her. She’ll be in character when I do, but still. I choose a seat at random, wrestle my luggage between my legs, and pretend to peruse the playbill even after I’m done reading all the bios I care to. I know almost everyone in the show, so I eavesdrop the audience for comments about them.

She’s in the New York City Musical Theatre Festival this year. It’s kind of a big deal.

Over the years we spent together I, somewhat reluctantly, developed a sincere appreciation for musical theatre. Never thought I’d say that. Still wouldn’t call myself a fan, but I’ve learned to respect it.

The show erupts onto the stage. It’s all camp and bombast shot through with wildly impressive tap. The songs are catchy. I know I’ll be humming them to myself for days. Happens every time. And I know, no matter how much I fight it, the emotional climax will get me just a little misty.

The show is great. Best performance I’ve seen yet.

Afterward, she finds me on the outskirts of the sidewalk crowd. We hug for a very long moment. She whispers, “I miss you,” into my chest and the crowd disappears.

But then it’s back, and it’s time for pleasantries. I give brief, pat‑on‑the‑back hugs to other cast members and offer polite but sincere compliments. Good job. You were great. The show was great. Congratulations.

It’s good to see them, if a little awkward. It’s been a while.

She needs to be here. I know that. Most of her friends have already moved here, and her theatre group is starting to make a name for itself. Besides, she loves it. I wish I could too.

After milling about for a while, I’m invited to dinner and drinks with her and three other cast members. As we walk, we exchange secret smiles like new lovers. Each glance and grin erupts like butterfly sparks inside me.

On the subway with four theatre girls after a show, I don’t bother trying to keep up with the conversation. They chirp at each other like excitable birds, I have no idea what they’re talking about half the time. They’re still bubbling with adrenaline. I amuse myself by making up stories about the other passengers, or tracing specular highlights down silver rails, or pretending to read the back‑lit ads. I do anything to hide my discomfort. It makes her feel bad. Guilty, maybe? We wind our way toward a restaurant one of the girls knows. Live music tonight.

She takes my hand, tells me about city life and its many wonders. “It’s just so alive, isn’t it amazing?” Actually, it unnerves me. A group of men across the street shout and jeer and explode with laughter. She giggles. “Oh, New York.”

For her, I’ll try to enjoy it.

We move closer as glasses of wine and beer disappear. We touch each others’ legs and rub our hands together beneath the tablecloth. I try to keep up with the conversation, but the band is there to fall back on when the girls inevitably lose me again.

We’re the last to leave, we all lost track of time.

It’s too late to catch a train back to Jersey.

We say goodbye to her friends at the subway. They’re going uptown, and we’re going down. Then I’m alone with her. I fall into those blue eyes. We give in. We kiss. We grab handfuls of hair and grope at each others’ backs.

I’ve missed you so much.

Maybe we could be together again if I could just learn to love this place the way she does. Maybe I wouldn’t have let her get away so easily. But some part of me doesn’t want to be comfortable here, it goes against my nature. I like being on the ground, seeing stars at night, the taste of clean air, the susurrus of leaves. Nothing about this life appeals to me.

I try. I really try, but something won’t let me love it. It disturbs the otherwise calm waters of my being. Her soft, small hand is my anchor, she leads me to her apartment. We barely make it to the bed.

In the morning light, we embrace and say goodbye. I pull my bearded cheek across the silk of hers, and stop. Just shy of a kiss.

Everything aches as I lose her again.

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Connor Thomas Cleary

Connor Thomas Cleary wrote a story about a town terrorized by dragons when he was nine. His writing has matured a bit since then and he now works as a professional writer, designer, and nerd journalist. He runs his own blog, The Blue Key, and his own business, Four Stair Multimedia and Design. His work has appeared in the Boxfire Press “Heroics Anthology,” on Feathertale.com, and Nerve.com.

 www.connorthomascleary.com

www.twitter.com/The_Blue_Key

www.facebook.com/ConnorThomasCleary

Connor’s story appears in Suddenly Lost In Words, Volume 1 now at SMASHWORDS,  AMAZON  US  & AMAZON  UK

www.suddenlylostinwords.com

ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR SUNDAY!!

For Valentine’s Day; a love story from Poland

February 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Posted in inspiration, Kindle, Romance, Short Stories, Teen, Writing, Reading, YA, Young Adult | 2 Comments

Blue Blonde Sea

By Kai Raine

A Story from Poland

In the years that followed, whenever anyone asked him about his first love, he would say, “It was the sea.” He never said anymore, and on one occasion when a particularly shrewd friend asked whether it was a girl like the sea, he simply smiled and took a sip of his drink. His statement was nearly always met by laughter, and sometimes disgruntlement, but eventually his answer was invariably accepted and the conversation moved on.

Miah met her the summer he turned twelve, on the beach near his stepmother’s parents’ house on the outskirts of Cape Town. She looked to be maybe eighteen or so, and her hair was exactly the same color as the sun‑kissed sea; her eyes were bluer than the water that washed onto the shore.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, because he had never seen anyone here at 5 o’clock in the morning before.

“I could ask you the same question,” said the girl.

“My grandparents’ house is down the road that way,” he said.

She raised her eyebrows. “And they let you walk around on your own?”

“Well,” he said, biting his lip, abruptly reminded that in fact he was only allowed these early morning walks because no one knew he took them.

She laughed out loud, her voice deep and carrying a hoarse, breathy overtone. Miah thought that laugh sounded like the waves themselves.

“You should go home,” she said. “It’s not safe to walk around on your own where no one’s around.”

“You are, too,” Miah pointed out.

“I’m an adult,” she said pointedly.

“I’m not a child,” said Miah, rather more forcefully than he had intended. “I can handle myself!”

She smiled wryly. “You certainly talk like a child.”

“What about you, then?” Miah retorted. “You think it’s safer for you than me, just because you’re a bit older? You’re a girl. Girls get raped and murdered in this country all the time!”

Miah wished he could take it back the moment he said it. The sun that had shown from the girl’s eyes set in an instant; now her face was tight and drawn, like he remembered his mother’s being just before the divorce.

“Yes,” said the girl, looking back out at the sea. “We do, don’t we?”

Miah wished and wished she would forget his words, or at least take them lightly. He cursed himself silently and dug for some form of apology—but what kind of apology would make her smile again? When Miah had apologized to his mother after his father had won custody, his mother’s tight, drawn expression had cracked and withered with unshed tears. He didn’t want to see that happen to this girl ‑ he wanted her to smile.

“I think your hair’s beautiful,” said Miah, feeling his face heat up at the adjective that he had never used aloud before outside of English class. “It’s the color of the sea on a sunny day.”

“Do you think so?” asked the girl. A smile spread across her face—and a tear rolled down her cheek. Miah froze and wondered what he ought to do. “I’m happy to hear that. It was exactly what I . . .what I . . .” Her voice was growing weaker, her shoulders trembling. Her lips were quivering in the smile.

All of a sudden Miah knew that expression, because he was positive that it had been his own when his mother lost the custody battle.

“It’s okay to cry,” said Miah. He reached out to pat her on the arm, and she jerked away. He quickly pulled his hand back and squatted in the sand near her. “I promise I won’t tell anyone. I promise I won’t look at you while you’re crying, either. But you should cry. It ‑ well, I think it helps.”

Miah turned his eyes to the ocean and watched the waves. Next to him, he heard her footsteps in the sand and the rustle of her clothing as she sat. True to his word, he kept his eyes on the water and did not look. He heard one sniffle, then another. Then the sniffles began tying together into uneven, heavy breathing that then dissolved into low, moaning sobs.

As he listened to her cry harder and more earnestly than he ever had, he found himself recalling that moment from two months ago more vividly than he would have liked. He remembered being so certain that he would get to stay with Mom—wanting to stay with her—only to learn that Dad had been awarded full custody for some reason that no one wanted to explain. He had some idea from small pieces of overheard conversations and his own growing understanding that most mothers didn’t have needles hidden in their underwear drawers. He said as much to Dad once, when a request to go see his mother had been met with a cold order to, “Stay out of what you don’t understand.” Dad seemed to think that if he understood that much, he should know that it was “for the best” that Miah not see Mom for “a little while.”

It had been three months, and he hadn’t so much as had a phone conversation with her. Instead, he was calling Michelle “Mom” and her parents “Grandma” and “Grandpa,” smiling as if this were only natural. Dad was on bad terms with his parents, and Mom’s parents had died before Miah was born, so he’d never had grandparents before. He supposed he ought to be grateful.

He wasn’t.

But now, listening to the sobs of the girl like the sea, he felt the past three months come crashing down over him. The wave came over him slowly, the memories coming, coming, coming ‑ and then they burst, flooding him with all the things he had felt, known he shouldn’t have and shoved away.

Tears began rolling down his cheeks, and he couldn’t stop them. He didn’t want to stop them anymore. He let himself go: let his eyes begin to stream followed by his nose; let the pain out of the locked cavity in his chest, emerging through his throat in chokes, coughs and sobs. The cries of the girl only drove him further over the edge, and together they engaged in a duet for their own ears alone.

He didn’t know how long it had been before they calmed down. A few attempts to stop had been thwarted by shared glances or a stray sniffle; the emotion they saw or heard in each other seemed their own, reflected through a living mirror, and the reminder would set both of them off crying again with renewed vigor. But eventually they calmed ‑ whether because they had run out of tears or energy, Miah didn’t know. For a time they sat in silence, and Miah contemplated the slap of the waves against the sand.

“I should go,” said Miah at last. “My‑ the people I’m staying with will wake up.”

He looked sideways at the girl and their eyes locked. Her eyes were red, her hair mussed and her cheeks stained, but the smile that was spreading across her face was vibrant.

“I should too,” she said. “But you look like you’ve been sobbing your eyes out.”

Miah furrowed his brows at her. “So do you.”

“I have a solution for that,” she said even as she scrambled to her feet. With a shriek like a child’s, she ran into the waves and threw herself at the water. She didn’t go very deep, but when she looked up and grinned at him, he thought that she looked even more like the sea now than when he had first seen her.

Miah laughed and kicked off his shoes. With a shriek to match the girl’s, he ran into the water after her. They rolled in the waves, splashed each other and laughed. Mere minutes later, they walked back out of the water, soaked and smiling.

“Thank you,” said the girl. “But you really should be more careful from now on.”

“I will,” said Miah. He didn’t think about how much Dad would worry if he learned about these morning walks—he would save the guilt for later. “You be careful, too.”

“I will,” said the girl, and waved at him with a wide smile as she headed back along the beach. She was still barefooted, and Miah looked around for her shoes, but didn’t see any. He watched her go until she disappeared around a corner of the coast; then he put his shoes back on and returned to Michelle’s parents’ home. He thought of the girl’s bare feet, and figured that if she lived nearby, he would be sure to see her again before they left.

He never saw her again.

Once they were back home in Boston, he went to the sea from time to time and imagined that if he waited by the water, he would see her again. He imagined that she was a mermaid, or the sea incarnate. He found himself scanning for blue, blond‑streaked hair on beaches for years afterwards. He held the memory close to his heart, a precious secret that he never voiced.

But whenever anyone asked about his first love, he would indulge himself with a moment to revel in that memory with the admission, “It was the sea.”

♥ ♥ ♥

Kai Raine

Author Kai Raine is a graduate student of biology with a fondness for music, books, animals and science. Kai was born near Boston and has spent one birthday in Cape Town climbing Table Mountain and falling in love with the city.

Blue Blonde Sea is one of eight short stories in Suddenly Lost In Words, Volume 2.

Because we ♥ you, Volume 2 is FREE all day February 14 . . .

Click HERE for Amazon.com

Click HERE for Amazon.co.uk

Because we really ♥ you, Volume 1 is FREE, too . . .

Click HERE for Smashwords.com

Here at last, here at last!

January 21, 2013 at 7:03 am | Posted in Art, Kindle, Short Stories, Teen, Writing, Reading, YA, Young Adult | Leave a comment

Here at last, here at last!

Our sassy little follow-up to Volume 1 is here. It is cleverly entitled Volume 2.
Today, January 21, is can be downloaded FREE from Amazon.
Amazon.com click HERE
Amazon.co.uk click HERE

To read about the eight great authors and one terrific artist who contibuted to Suddenly Lost In Words, Volume 2 click HERE

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

2012, FAQ, an answer for everything, and 2013

January 6, 2013 at 11:16 am | Posted in Gratitude, inspiration, Kindle, Reading, Short Stories, Teen, Writing, Reading, Young Adult | Leave a comment

I am about to attempt to pack a lot into this post, yet I hardly know where to begin. The start would be a good place. Last April, Suddenly became a reality. There were five of us then. Now we are three. Sometimes that happens. Since setting out to bring great short stories to young adults in small packages, we have learned more than our teacher brains could ever have imagined possible. Listing all that we have learned would bore you to tears, and thanking everyone who has supported us would take too long. So, suffice it to say that we have survived all that learning and we thank EVERYONE who helped us and EVERYONE who has shared their knowledge, expertise, support, time and talent. You know who you are. I love saying that! We would love to take you all out to dinner.

Q and A

At our website, there is a link to contact us and, boy, have we been contacted with every kind of question imaginable. Many inquiries have made us change or add information on our web site, but a few I’d like to address here …

Q. Can adults write for young adults?

A. YES!! Most young adult writing is written by adults since most adults have already been young adults themselves!

Q. Could you please define profanity as it applies to Suddenly Lost In Words submission guidelines?

A.  Profanity, for us, is the inappropriate and/or excessive use of strong language that serves no purpose other than to shock or fill space. It can be acceptable when carefully and skillfully used. Current YA literature does “allow” for its use and realistically young adults use and experiment with profane language. However, it should never drive or dominate a story.

Q. Does Suddenly Lost In Words accept poetry?

A. We do! In fact, we have just chosen a great one for a future issue.

Q. How long are “longer works” that you serialize?

A. They can be any length, however each chapter should be 3000 words or less. Send us an excerpt and a synopsis for the whole story. Part two of our current serial, City Speaker: Watcher by Tyler Hansen, is coming up shortly in Volume 2.

Q. I live in Malaysia. Can I submit a story?

A. We hope so!! Submit away regardless of where you live. We do like submissions in English, though.

While we may not have an answer for everything, we’ll do our best to find one. Keep those questions coming!

Hop into 2013

Finally, with 2013 underway, we are on the verge of pushing that Kindle button and producing Volume 2 of Suddenly. It contains another great set of stories and, after a lengthy search and various hoop jumping, a cover you will love. Guaranteed. In fact, a sneak peek of it should be in this very spot soon.

So, goodbye and thank you 2012, and here’s to great things in 2013!

Hope you’ll join us. We’ve loved your company so far.

More Instant Gratification

November 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Kindle, Short Stories, Writing, Reading | 1 Comment

On Tuesday, I recommended three great little short story collections to satisfy your instant gratification tooth. Here are two more short story collections that are worth your time and money.

A PECULIAR COLLECTION by Lisa C Hinsley was published in February 2012. It is a baker’s dozen of quirky stories with dark themes.

“Ms Hinsley has created a set of stories that range from heartbreaking sadness to noir-ish horror. You’re sure to find several that will send a chill up your spine and raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Well-written, quick read with fabulous scene-setting and descriptions.” ( From Amazon Reviews)

A Peculiar Collection is FREE at Amazon for your Kindle. Get it here.

Travel to India from the comfort of your e-reader with Lakshmi Raj Sharma’s MARRIAGES ARE MADE IN INDIA; published in May 2012.

“This fine collection of short stories shows what a master can do when writing in one of our most important forms of fiction, the short story. The entire collection hangs together in mood and theme and will be the source of much entertainment for readers eager to voyage to India from their ebook.” ( An Amazon Reviewer)

Marriages Are Made In India is available on Amazon for $2.99  Click here to download it.
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Enjoy the read!

Instant Gratification

November 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Posted in Kindle, Short Stories, Teen, Writing, Reading, YA, Young Adult | 2 Comments

We hear so much these days about instant gratification.  The right here, right now world of texts, tweets, and something called tumblr. Not to mention fast food, 5G, and speed dating.  Apparently, we are all wrapped up in the speed with which we can communicate, eat, and have a relationship. Heck, we can even do them all at the same time.

I have to wonder, then, why in the land of literature are we still reading novels. Yes,  novels take time to read. They can last days, even weeks if the story is long and/or the reader is slow.  Don’t get me wrong, I love novels. I always have and always will. But, I also love the short story; the instant gratification of literary sweetness. More wondering leads me to the reasons why short stories do not make the top ten list of things to do in under a minute .. like eating and dating and having a conversation.  I have to conclude that perhaps it is because short stories don’t get the ink that novels and novelists do. So, I am about to turn that around and give some much needed kudos to some very current and very talented short story writers and their work.

Here goes …

Up first,  COLLECTED SHADOWS by Tyler D. Hansen.  Published in July 2012, this collection of 13 stories is a mix of the macabre, science fiction and dark humor. A review of Collected Shadows on Amazon says I loved the scope of subjects in these tales .. there is no lack of variety. Each story sucks you in and leaves you wishing there was a whole book for each of them! Tyler wrote City Speaker: Scarlett for Suddenly Lost in Words Volume 1.  Part 2 is City Speaker: Watcher coming soon in Volume 2.

Collected Shadows is 99c on Amazon Kindle.

Click here for Collected Shadows.

Another great little collection published in April 2012 is ETERNAL SPRING: A Young Adult Short Story Collection; 13 stories by 13 authors who are some of the most exciting authors in Young Adult fiction. One reviewer wrote Eternal Spring is an anthology of stories written primarily for the Young Adult audience. Even so, as a 40 something, I found it to be quite a delightful read.

Eternal Spring is FREE for your Amazon Kindle.

Click here for Eternal Spring.

And last (for today) is the very recent publication by Joanne Phillips; A LIFE UNPREDICTED and other stories. The ten stories in this e-book are diverse, covering a variety of settings and human relationship issues. Joanne enables her readers to get inside the head of her characters so that you follow them on their journey, unsure where it will lead.

Joanne’s short stories are FREE for Amazon Kindle.

Click here for A Life Unpredicted and other stories.

Enjoy these three collections! More short story recommendations next time.

The Morning After

November 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Gratitude, Kindle, Short Stories, Teen, Writing, Reading, YA, Young Adult | Leave a comment
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Yesterday was a big day here at Suddenly Lost In Words. We took the plunge and gave ourselves away for FREE; well, not ourselves exactly, but the first volume of our short stories for young adults. What a wonderful day it turned out to be and not for the reasons you might think. We are not about to rave about the copies we “sold” or the numbers of mentions on Twitter, but instead we are giving it up to all the fabulous support we received from friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and even people we don’t know!

The support “out there” from authors, readers, bloggers, writers, teachers, parents, teenagers, and tweeps was phenominal. So, today we extend an attitude of gratitude to all of you. A plain old thank you doesn’t seem to suffice, but here it is anyway …

 

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We wish it could be fancier, but there it is. THANK YOU, EVERYONE! You know who you are.

SMELL OF TIME by Ahmed A. Khan

October 14, 2012 at 7:55 am | Posted in childhood, grandparents, Kindle, Short Stories, Teen, Writing, Reading, YA, Young Adult | Leave a comment

An excerpt from “SMELL OF TIME” by Ahmed A. Khan. A story from Canada about India.

Summer nights in our house were extra special. Some of us – particularly my grandmother and myself – would sleep in the open, on wooden cots covered with crisp, clean sheets. It was extremely pleasant lying there in the coolness of the night, staring up at the star-studded sky and listening to the snores of the rest of the sleepers and the chirrupings of crickets, grasshoppers and other insects, while the fragrance of spring flowers filled my nostrils.

During holidays, my afternoons were usually spent in grandfather’s room. I would lie beside him on his bed and he would tell me stories of prophets, martyrs and great thinkers of the world – and I would lie there assimilating it all, occasionally asking him a question, otherwise remaining silent.

After the story session, he would usually go to sleep and I would get up from his bed and go around prowling in his room, searching for any books he might have brought from the State Central Library. I would find the books and start reading them at once, sitting in his armchair. These books were usually quite old ones, their bindings torn, their pages termite eaten, and a strange sort of smell rising up from them – a mysterious, magical smell. Have you ever noticed what books, particularly old books, smell of? They smell of sunny and cloudy days and dark and moonlit nights. They smell of battlefields and gardens, of open skies and dusty attics, of deserts and mountains, of destinies and purpose. They smell of time.

Read “Smell of Time” in SUDDENLY LOST IN WORDS Volume 1.

Available on Amazon.com http://tinyurl.com/8at3y8u and on Amazon.co.uk http://tinyurl.com/c4rgbla for 99c or 77p.

http://www.suddenlylostinwords.com/

Ahmed A. Khan is a Canadian writer. His works have appeared in several venues, including Interzone, Strange Horizons, Boston Literary Magazine, Queen’s Quarterly (Australia), and Anotherealm. He has also co-edited the anthology A Mosque Among the Stars.

SASHA’S NEW BOOTS by Sara M. DeGregoria (Part 2)

October 13, 2012 at 7:07 am | Posted in Kindle, Short Stories, Teen, Writing, Reading, YA, Young Adult | Leave a comment

The conclusion of Sara’s short story SASHA’S NEW BOOTS. A story from the United States.

As she strutted past J.T. and his friends, time slowed, every clip-clop of her boots a double drum beat resounding in her ears, and Sasha gave J.T. a half grin, looking at him sideways-just for a second-and flipped her hair back over her shoulder. A shivering thrill passed through her, knowing his eyes were on her. Some of the boys let out low whistles, and J.T. arched his eyebrows in her direction: 

“Ooo, aren’t you sexy? Why don’t you come over and keep me company for a minute, I’m feeling kind of lonely. “

And Sasha had to admit it made her feel good that he was saying it to her and not to one of those skinny, fine-haired, light-skinned girls at her school, who had boys falling over them, and wouldn’t even need a guy like J.T. to tell them they were fine since they knew it anyway. So when Sasha looked back and saw J.T. grinning that lopsided grin at her, she found herself stopping and turning like a hooked fish, like she didn’t know hooked fish only get cut up the middle and fried. The circle of boys stared at her as she walked back toward them, their eyes roaming up and down her body like it was theirs, and she already wished she’d just kept walking to the bus stop because now she couldn’t just walk away. Not now that she’d let them know she needed their eyes on her, needed them to tell her she was something worth looking at.

“Looking good,” said a shorter boy in a puffy black jacket.

“So, how about hanging out with us for a while?” said another boy, his shaved head glinting in the sun. “We was going back to Eddie’s to smoke some ace. Could always use some company.”

“I don’t know, I have to go meet my friends. They’re waiting on me.” said Sasha, her body there but her mind already at the mall, drinking a banana milk smoothie in the food court, telling Val and Cristina about how Ms. Bishop had run out of class crying the other day, and waiting to see if Sean would show up.

But they were already circling, tightening around her like a noose, and Sasha felt a slap and a squeeze on her behind. She gasped and backed away but bumped in to someone and found her hips being held, tight, and hot cigarette-and-mint-smelling breath on her neck. She struggled to free herself, but not before someone had yanked the sash free from her pea coat,

and reached under her shirt, fingers pinching rudely through her bra. Then Sasha broke through the circle, pushing her way out, stumbling, then running up the block, voices following her, laughing out,

“Come on, baby, where’d you go?”

“Hey – you never even told us your name!”

She circled around the block away from where the boys stood, and entered the back door of her building, jogging up the stairs until she tripped and fell on her hands and knees and had to walk up the rest, panting for breath.

Once in her apartment, Sasha locked the door behind her, chain and all, and looked in the mirror. Her hair was mussed, eyeliner smeared, coat undone and neatly ironed shirt half out of her pants. She looked down at her boots and saw they were still all stiff and buffed and unblemished. Sasha hated them, wanted to scratch them and mar them, their newness and freshness mocking her. She unzipped them and threw them to the back of the hall closet, behind dirty tennis shoes, misshapen umbrellas, and forgotten handbags.

If her mom had been there she would’ve said, “Well look who has an egg on their face now,” and told Sasha she shouldn’t have wasted her money.

We hope you enjoyed SASHA’S NEW BOOTS by Sara DeGregoria.

Visit our website  http://www.suddenlylostinwords.com/ for links to more short stories.

Sara’s story is available in SUDDENLY LOST IN WORDS Volume 1.

 

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