Sunday, August 13, 2017

I Teach to Change - Teacher Life

I teach to change the world.

My students come to me saying "Nothing influences me."

And I show them their parents.
Their teachers.
Their peers.
Their siblings.
Their bosses.
Their friends.
Their entertainment.

And I say "Everything influences you."

And their eyes open.

My students come to me saying "My way of thinking is always valid."

And I show them their thoughts.
Their overgeneralization.
Their ego and ethnocentrism.
Their "mine is better" thinking.
Their stereotyping.
Their either/or thinking.
Their assumptions.
Their mindless conformity.
Their bias for or against change.
Their confirmation bias.
Their double standards.
Their logical fallacies.

And I say "Everyone has bad ways of thinking."

And I show them mine.

And I show them how I work to fix it.

And they work to fix their own.

And their eyes open.

My students come to me saying "I'm not prejudiced."

And I show them their prejudice.
Their hate for other races.
Their disgust for other religions.
Their ignorance on other genders.
Their accepting of prejudice thoughts.

And I say "Everyone is prejudiced."

And we recognize the prejudice.

And we fight the prejudice.

And their eyes open.

My students come to me saying "The world is broken."

And I show them love.

And I say "You are the ones who will fix it."

And they stare at me.

And they recognize their responsibility.

And their eyes open.


My students come to me saying "I can't do it."

And I show them their work.
Their improvement.
Their growth.
Their determination.
Their goals.
Their reasons.
Their love.
Their justice.
Their hope.
Their future.

And I say "Yes, you can."

And they do it.

And their eyes open.

And the world is changed.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Nightmare Tooth Project - Meenanful Life, Author Life

My greatest fear involves teeth.

Ever since I was a child, I have had this irrational fear that one day, one of my teeth would fall randomly out of my head and I'd be in excruciating pain for the rest of my life.

This is a frequent nightmare for me. Just the other day I dreamed that three of my teeth became horribly loose and I was forced to pull them out, one by one, in pieces, leaving behind their exposed roots, black and rotting in my mouth....


Even just looking at pictures of teeth makes me anxious and disturbed. It has not been fun searching for pictures for this blog entry.

You'd think this would make me obsessed with oral hygiene, but it's had rather the opposite effect.

I do brush my teeth like any normal person, but I definitely fall short at flossing. I'm worried that I'll somehow loosen a crown (this has happened) or a filling (ditto) or that I'll discover some new tooth pain (ditto again).

I pay for this bad habit too, since my dentist visits usually end up dealing with tiny cavities between my teeth. Something that could be fixed with FLOSSING.

But the worst tooth experience of my life was the day I had to get a root canal.

Everyone knows what a root canal is, and everyone has some horror story to share. And I heard every single one of them from work the day before I got mine.

"Oh, you're getting a root canal? My nephew screamed the whole time they did his."

"The only time I hurt worse was when I gave birth."


As you can expect, I entered my dentist's office in near tears the next day.

Now don't get me wrong. Going to the dentist doesn't bother me. For one, I have the best dentist in the world. She's friendly and kind and interested in me as a person, always asking how my family and work is. She's gentle too and refuses to compromise quality. When we did my veneers on my front teeth, she sent the veneer back THREE TIMES because they weren't absolutely PERFECT. Especially since she knew I had a wedding coming up. <3

Perfect teeth for our big day. <3
But thinking about the pain everyone promised, I couldn't concentrate on that. 

My dentist noticed. 

"Feeling nervous, Rachel?" she asked with her slight accent and big grin.

Staring at the drills, the big lights, the creepy dentist chair (I swear dentist chairs evolved from medieval torture devices) and smelling everything LATEX... I admitted to some nervousness. 

The dentist put down her tools and nodded to her assistant, who nodded back and left the room for a moment. 

"You've been coming to me for several years now, haven't you?" she said. 

"Yeah," I said. "I was nervous the first time too, but you made me feel right at home." 

"And you know that my policy is no pain," she continued. "We don't tolerate that here." 

"But isn't a root canal different?" I asked. 

She shook her head. "Everyone thinks it is. And for some dentists, it is different. It's a long process and not one that every doctor is good at. But a good doctor will keep that pain to a minimum, or eliminate it completely. Now tell me," she smiled. "Have you ever felt pain in my office before?"

I didn't think the tiny pinpricks during the numbing process counted so I shook my head.

"Not even with the extractions?" 

I had had two teeth pulled from my head previously by the doctor's brother, an oral surgeon. It was part of the process of fixing my top row of teeth for the wedding. Both extractions were done at once and the only thing I had felt that day was mild pressure on my gums. They even let me hold the teeth afterwords (there's nothing quite like holding a piece of your own head in your hand.)

But there was no pain. I shook my head again. 

"And do you remember that particularly bad cavity that needed to be really deep?"

I did. It was as close to a root canal as I had ever gotten before. But again, no pain. 

"I know this is a new experience," the doctor said. "But I'm going to ask you to trust me, as you have all these years. Can you do that for me?" 

It was hard to say yes, even knowing all that. My fears dictated my reactions. But I said yes. The doctor smiled at me, brought her assistant back in, and got to work. 

Two hours later, someone shook me by the shoulder. I opened my eyes to my doctor hovering over me. She removed her gloves.

"All done!"

I blinked at her. "What?"

"We're finished," she said. "Your husband must appreciate the fact that you don't snore in your sleep."

That's right. I had fallen asleep. I probed the area of the root canal with my tongue and felt no pain, despite the fact that the numbness was wearing off.

"We'll get the permanent crown in next week, once we get the impressions to them," the doctor said. "You did great. Thanks for trusting me."

And I'm glad I did.

Trust is such a crucial theme in my books. Especially trust in difficult times.

In The Stolen Guardian, Ouranos has to put trust in Matt, someone he's believed to be his enemy, when they face a common enemy together.

In both White Assassin and Tanned Hide, Trecheon and Neil have to put trust in each other to get through the calamities they've created for themselves, even when neither quite knows how.

And in my current work in progress, Brother at Arms, trust is absolutely crucial to getting through the events of this story alive.

Most people say that trust is something that's earned. But that's not always true. Sometimes trust is the only thing keeping you going. It's the only way to survive.

And while putting trust in my dentist wasn't a life or death situation (no matter how much I fear my teeth) it was a good reminder that trust is what gets us going throughout the day.

Yes, sometimes you will put trust in someone and they'll let you down. It's a fact of life and a common occurrence.

But the very act of trusting someone, of choosing to put some aspect of your life in their hands, is good. It's an act of faith. And while it's hard and can be painful, it is what ties us together as a species.

Have you ever had to put trust in a situation that made you uncomfortable? How did you react? Share in the comments below! 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Cliches That Your Villain Shouldn't Be If He Wants To Be Respected By Other Villains - Author Life

Being a villain is hard work. All that banter back and forth between the heroes, all the planning to take over the world, all intimidation of your lackeys and certainly all that planning of your secret underground lair.

So it's no wonder that we tend to turn to cliches when we write villains. It's something easy to fall on that people will recognize, so why not do it?

Well, if you don't want your villain to get picked on at the school playground for being unoriginal and boring, it's best if you avoid the following.

1 - Don't go around calling people "fools." 

Literally EVERY CLICHE VILLAIN has done this. Disney is especially well known for this, though Draco Malfoy and even Lord Voldemort himself have defaulted to this somehow-more-evil-than-idiot label.

I don't know what makes the word "fool" somehow an evil thing, but it's so common that I tend to check out as a reader every time I see a villain use it.

Be creative. Use something other than fool. Better yet, make up your own banter rather than being bogged down by someone else's!

2 - Don't have your villain kill/maim/burn/rape/do some other horribly evil thing and say "This is the most fun I've had in years!" or something similar. 

I don't know how many times I've seen this in fiction, but it's a disappointment every time I do.

This is an attempt at showing vs. telling. It's a way for an author to say, "Look at how evil my character is! They're ENJOYING being evil!"

First off, the "enjoying being evil" cliche is way overdone. This is old comic book and children's TV show villainy and not very believable for anyone writing to young adults or older.

If your villain DOES enjoy being evil, you need do to it right. Have them show pleasure with their evil deeds by actions. Maybe they have a sadistic smile, or they shake with a sensual pleasure, or they show a kind of fierce joy in tearing people down.

But having them shout out something a normal person might say while playing mini golf for the first time cheapens the moment.

3 - Don't make an entire race/species/religion/nation evil. 


Let me make things clear. I'm not saying that you CAN'T make your evil people be a single race/religion/species/whatever. It works for a lot of things. War of the Worlds did it, Gears of War did it, and Assassin's Creed did it.

But they modified it.

War of the Worlds has a single race of evil aliens invading Earth. But we don't know anything about the race as a whole. In fact, we learn very little about the group, since they die to disease very early on. This only made the invading part of the race evil. For all we know, there were members of this race on their home planet that were advocating for peace rather than war.

Gears of War has a race of evil, but these were originally humans, grotesquely mutated due to issues created by humanity. Their minds aren't the same as they once were.

Assassin's Creed puts the entire Templar religion against the assassin. But this is an example of extremism. Templars were originally Christian warriors, but they devolved into essentially terrorists and extremists. This doesn't make Christians as a whole evil in this world.

But I have seen so many books where "OMG this race of anthropomorphic lizards are evil and the whole race is decrepit!" that it makes me groan every time I see it. It's a very rare instance that an entire group of people is evil.

On that note, don't make the mistake of trying to avoid this problem by making one person of this race/religion/whatever a good guy and a member of your main character gang, as if one person somehow negates the issue at hand. This is called the "Noble Savage" fallacy. It's a problem that books and movies like The Last of the Mohicans and Dances with Wolves face by trying to single out one small group or one individual as an example but making the whole rest of the race evil. This is the same kind of overgeneralization.

English professors love breaking down the Noble Savage Fallacy.

I should also note that you CAN have your wonderful protags BELIEVE that one race/religion/whatever is evil, since that's common and often expected. But hopefully your story will make it more nuanced than that.

4 - Your villain should have more than just grandiose plans to take over the world. 

Notice I said JUST. It's perfectly fine to have someone that has plans to rule the world (or country, or religion, or culture, whatever). But you have to have a REASON.

Do they have a thirst for power? Think about WHY.
Do they have a hatred for a specific race or religion? Think about WHY.
Do they have some unexplored fear? Some ego problem? A desire to prove themselves?

All of these things are important. MOTIVATION.

But just some random idea that "Well I'm evil so therefore I must want to rule the world" doesn't hold water in a good story. People have villainous ways for a reason.

Before you dive into the whole "My villain wants to rule EVERYTHING" cliche, think about other motivations for the bad things they do.

Probably one of the biggest pieces of advice most writers hear, but often ignore, is "Villains are the hero of their own stories." Your villain's motivation and desires are a big part of your character's drive and story. It's crucial to work it out in a way that makes sense to your readers.

And not one that gets them kicked out of Villain School.

Do you have any other villain cliches that bother you in writing? Share them below!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Zyearth Chronicles, Book II - WIP Chapter One

Greetings Zyearth fans!

I'm getting very close to finishing Zyearth Book II to share with the world... Right now the tentative title is Brothers at Arms and it's shaping up to be a fantastic start.

To get you guys all excited, I thought I'd share an excerpt from the WIP. Here's the opening of the next installment of the Zyearth Chronicles. Enjoy!

The Zyearth Chronicles – Book Two
Brothers At Arms
By R. A. Meenan
Chapter One: Post-Trauma
“Welcome to Fencing 101,” Matthew Azure said, glancing out over his students, as Ouranos of the Athánatos watched him. The Golden Guardian stood on a six-inch-high stage at the front of the room, holding his custom sword, the Firewing, as Ouranos had learned it was called. The quilar ran his fingers over the intricate patterns on the hand guard. His white, blue tipped quills rustled in the subtle gusts from the mechanical air conditioner.
Ouranos sat on a stool near the back of the room, trying to keep a neutral face. His time on Zyearth necessitated that he trade his royal Athánatos garb for a practical Defender novice uniform, a pair of plain black pants and a long sleeved black jacket. The black clothing blended with his own black fur and made him nearly invisible in the dark corner of the exercise classroom.
Cix, a black, blue streaked wolf Captain in the Defender army, and Matt’s sword partner, stood to Matt’s left. He eyed Matt carefully, running his fingertips over the hilt of his own sword. Though Ouranos noticed he also had one eye half trained on his corner of the room. Cix was an ally, to be sure, but the events that led Ouranos to this planet were still fresh in their minds, and murder was not easily forgotten. Ouranos twitched an ear, but kept his face impartial, his emotions under control.
A much easier task now that the Vasilefs lacked the power to bend Ouranos to his will. It was a priceless gift Matt had passed to him that could never fully be repaid.
 “You’ll be learning the basics of swordplay in this class,” Matt told the students. “It can be dangerous, so before we get started, everyone needs to fill out a waiver.” Matt pulled a stack of papers out of his backpack. “Cix, if you wouldn’t mind.”
Cix took the forms from him and passed them out.
Twenty-four students nodded nervously and a few muttered to themselves. They scattered over the soft blue mat covering the floor of the classroom, digging pens out of their bags to fill out the waivers. The dull sounds of footsteps, claw scrapes, and feather rustles danced off the sound-dampening walls.
Matt sheathed his sword, crossed his arms, and took a deep breath, bending one white, blue tipped ear back. He looked tired, unsettled. And Ouranos knew why.
Six months. It had only been six months since the incident with Gaia and the Cast. Not even half a year by the Zyearth calendar.
But Zyearth had already returned to normal, as if the incident had never come to pass. As if the Defender’s labs did not house over two hundred of their comrades, trapped in the stolen, inky form of a Cast. As if the Vasilefs’ victims did not die.
As if Earth, the humans, and his people, did not face war.
Ouranos still trembled at the thought of his time as Gaia, physically and mentally “fused” to the Guardian on stage. The experience carried with it a mix of feelings. His time as Gaia had been both beneficial and destructive. On the one hand, his fusion with Matthew had boosted his confidence and granted him power over his father that he had not known in a century. On the other, hundreds of lives lay ruined at his feet, until the Defenders discovered a way to break the bonds of a Cast.
If the Defenders discovered a way to fix the Cast. Decades of research among his own people, the people who had developed the means for making Cast in the first place, resulted in nothing. The Defenders may be good at their skills, but this was beyond mere science or even magic. His skull pounded thinking about it.
The battle may be won, but the war was far from over, as the saying goes.
Cix held the completed stack of waivers in his hand and bent a blue streaked ear back. He muttered something to Matt, eyeing Ouranos.
Matt glanced at the corner. Ouranos gave him a slight smile. He had asked Matt if he could observe one of his classes, saying that he wanted to get a feel for how a Defender trained. Perhaps he could learn something for his fight against his father, or at the very least, allow himself a temporary distraction from the deeper issues at hand.
But if he had correctly judged Cix’s look, the wolf was not too happy to have Ouranos watching them. Thankfully Matthew had more faith in him.
“Alright everyone, pay attention,” Matt called. The class fell instantly silent and every eye fixated on their teacher. Ouranos perked his ears as well. “Cix and I are going to give a demonstration of swordplay. This is what your final exam will look like.”
Cix drew his own sword and faced Matt with a wolfish smirk. Matt held his sword out. He stared his partner down.
Cix began the engagement, swinging his sword down hard. Matt blocked easily, pushing against Cix’s sword and forcing him to take two steps back. The wolf lifted his sword and swung back. Clang, clang, clang! The swords bit at each other with every swing. Ouranos watched with a deep fascination.
Athánatos did not use swords. Their experience with weapons were limited, in fact, since they were a small tribe of people, not prone toward violence. At least, not until his father instigated violence with the mainland.
Ouranos, however, had been acutely exposed to violence for the last several decades. It was something embedded into his head. Even now as he watched the pair square off, his brain pressed images into his mind’s eye. Every clang flashed some form of violence.
His sister, Melaina, being forcefully transformed into a half-finished Cast by their father.
The stink of blood and death on the Athánatos battlefields while fighting the Vasilefs.
The war on Sol – screaming children, dirt stained red, the cries for mercy.
The Omnir, ruined and broken before him, dying in fits.
The first perfect Cast, formed on Zyearth in a scream so powerful his ears still rang with the memory.
The fusion with Matt, the formation of Gaia, the destruction he caused. Without realizing it, his thoughts drifted beyond the exercise classroom and into that recent past.
He found himself back on the island where he had first landed, the place where he had met Matthew for the first time. And the place where the pair of them had fused into one being. He remembered the confusion, the fear, the pain, and then, their first confrontation with Matthew’s partner, Izzy.
Who are you? Izzy’s voice rang in his head. Her blue eyes, wide with fear. The panicky way she held herself chilled him.
Cix swung hard to Matt’s left side. Matt blocked. Swords met in a horrible clash.
Together, we are Gaia. Ouranos felt the Vasilefs’ in his mind, speaking words he could not control, using Matt’s voice against his will.
Sword clashes, ever louder, ever more violent, crashed through his mind.
I have stolen your Guardian. Would you like to get him back?
Ouranos bent his ears back now and pressed his hands to them, trying to block out the battle. Trying to forget the past.
Clashes, grunts, straining, bangs!
I see the Guardian has some fight left in her. The memories rang in his ear. Too close. Too real. Maybe it’s time I stopped playing.  
Louder, louder, louder, louder!
Do you have any last words? Will you beg for your life?
Everything stopped. The sword clangs ceased and everything fell quiet again. Ouranos opened eyes that he did not remember closing.
Every student had wide eyes trained on him.
Ouranos blinked, slowly pulling his hands off his ears. That final scream. He did that. Out loud. Without even realizing it. He frowned, his ears flushing from fear and embarrassment, and huddled closer on his stool. “I apologize. Forgive me.”
Matt frowned, splaying an ear and eyeing Ouranos. Ouranos simply shook his head and glanced down at the floor. Gradually the students turned their faces away. Matt cleared his throat to command attention.
“Class,” he spoke clearly, steadily, to his credit. “Who won?”
The students exchanged looks with each other. Several mumbled and one or two people threw out vague answers.
Ouranos stared out at the students, picking up nervous glances and worried frowns. Fearful. Uncertain. Several shot looks in his direction. Matt tried to keep his ears perked up, but he just couldn’t.
“We both won,” Cix said, his voice clear and steady. He shot a glance and a forced smile at Matt. The students focused their attention on him.
Matt nodded and followed his example. “That’s correct. Neither of us are hurt. Our weapons are intact. In this Academy, we teach you to fight, but we are designed to protect. If we can avoid a fight, or come away from a fight unhurt, we win. There is no victory in death.”
The Guardian dug into his backpack and pulled out stacks of paper. “For now, let’s just go over the syllabus and get out of here for the day. We’ll start proper fencing next class.” He handed half the stack to Cix and they passed out syllabi.
Matt spent the next half hour explaining the syllabus with occasional interjections from Cix, then he dismissed the class. The students filed out slowly, still tossing glances at Ouranos. Ouranos sat on his stool, doing his best to ignore the stares.
When the last student filed out, Ouranos padded over to the stage and leaned against the wall. “That was some demonstration, Guardian.”
Matt frowned. “You okay?”
Ouranos stared at the floor. “You know the answer. It would be pointless to lie.”
“Maybe you’d like to fill me in on some details,” Matt said.
Ouranos sighed. “As the two of you fought, my memories brought me to one of my previous battles.” He took a heavy breath. “In my mind, I fought Izzy. As Gaia.”
Cix frowned. “Maybe I should leave you two to talk.” He nodded to Matt. “See you both later.” He left the room.
Matt sat on the stage and invited Ouranos to do the same. “So. . . you’re having PTSD episodes?”
Ouranos sat down, then lifted a brow and perked an ear. “I am not familiar with this term.”
“Post-traumatic stress disorder,” Matt said. “After a traumatic episode you might relive the moments. It’s not uncommon.”
Ouranos bent an ear. “The term is fitting.”
“How long has this been going on?”
Ouranos shrugged. “I am unsure. I have been having nightmares for several weeks, but this is the first time that I have experienced this while awake.”
Matt sighed. “We need to go after your father. Finish all this. Then you could start to heal.”
“There are reasons why your Master Guardian has chosen to stay out of this.”
“What reasons?” Matt snarled, startling Ouranos with his sudden anger. “People are in danger. Theron has perfected the Cast. It’s only a matter of time before things start getting out of control.”
“We cannot fight the Cast, Matthew,” Ouranos said. “Not really. We only have temporary ways to keep them at bay. You know that. More than that, your people are not equipped to fight this. You are a small army from a country hardly bigger than my own. Lance will not risk your entire army for something like this. You would not survive.”
Matt scoffed, bending an ear. “So what, we just let the Vasilefs start turning people into Cast and killing left and right?”
“It is not a pretty truth,” Ouranos said. “But until we really understand how to cure the Cast, how can we expect to win? And more than that, I am not the only one who has suffered from the events surrounding Gaia. Your army has faced a terrible event, and has lost a significant portion of itself. Admittedly, by my hand.”
“Our hand,” Matt said.
Ouranos narrowed his eyes. “I have told you many times that you should not hold yourself responsible.”
“There is no room for discussion,” Ouranos said. “What is done is done. The issue now is that your army is not equipped nor ready to tackle the problem at hand.”
Matt sighed, leaning his elbows on his knees. “I promised to help you. To give you an army.”
“You made that promise before I was aware of the size of the army,” Ouranos said. “Or the impact these events would have on it. I cannot, in good conscience, ask for your aid.” 
“Ouranos,” Matt said. “You can’t do this alone.”
Ouranos silently disagreed. The only choice was to do this alone. If only to prevent anymore death at his hand. But he kept silent on the matter.
Matt stood. “We should get you to a therapist. It’ll help with the PTSD episodes.”
Ouranos perked an ear. “What will they do?”
“A therapist talks to you about the past and helps you work out the issues bothering you,” Matt said. He gripped Ouranos’ shoulder. “Let me arrange it, okay? Then when you’re feeling better, we’ll continue this discussion about letting us help.”
“If Lance will allow it.”
“He will, in time,” Matt said. He stretched. “I suppose we have a little time. Theron needs a Gem user to get the residue he needs to make Cast, and there aren’t any Gem users on Earth. His plans will have to be put on hold for now.”
Ouranos raised an ear. “There are no Gem users on Earth?”
Matt shook his head. “Gem bonding died out a long time ago on Earth. There are probably a few unbound Gems floating around, but no one knows how to bind them, and an unbound Gem is just as useless to Theron as a rock.”
“I suppose that is true,” Ouranos said. Some distant part of his mind reminded him of the unbound Gems they had in their own treasuries. Still, Matthew was right. There was no one who could bind them. Perhaps he could relax a little. “I will take you up on that therapist, if you believe it will help.”
“It should,” Matt said. “Let’s go out for lunch in the meantime. I need a distraction.”
A distraction would be nice. “Then let us go.”
As they walked toward the cafeteria, Ouranos thanked Draso that he managed to avoid the sticky issue of the war. But he knew that would not last.
No victory in death, Matthew had said. Perhaps there was some truth to this. But the Vasilefs did not believe this. His victory was in destruction. Genocide. And he would murder everyone that got in his way. Even these new friends that Ouranos had made. Especially these new friends.
Ouranos had an obligation to stop his father. He did not have an obligation to put Matthew and Isabelle, his friends, in danger. He must move forward with this philosophy. He could have no more incidents like Gaia’s fight with Izzy on the island.
He would dedicate himself to protect his friends, and all those the Vasilefs set his eyes on, even if that meant his own death.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ten Minute Freewrites #23 - Pocket Note



This is a POSSIBLE excerpt from a novel series I want to work on called the Crystal Keys Saga. Originally the three part novel series was going to be a dystopian future story, but it became very obvious very quickly that I'm not meant for that kind of thing. =P 

I'd still like to keep it up though. It'll just need a revamp before it's really ready.

In the meantime... Here's a sneak peek. ;) 



Eri woke slowly to dappled sunlight on her face. She groaned and turned over.

She was on the forest floor. Orange and yellow leaves formed a thin layer on the dirt and a poor bed from last night.

“Ugh.” She sat up, taking in her surroundings, trying to remember the events of the previous night.

Then her mind brought her the memory of the androvox wolf, Kato, slashing Gordon’s throat out and ripping his body to shreds. She shuddered and huddled her body close. She couldn’t remember if she had fallen asleep of her own accord or if she had passed out after watching such a gruesome affair.
She let her eyes wander, trying to force last night’s memories out of her head.

The woods were fairly familiar, so they couldn’t be too far from the village. They hadn’t gotten far before Gordon had found them. Did Kato really keep them that close to the village after he. . . he murdered one of their own?

But Kato wouldn’t see it like that, would he? Humans were just cattle to him. Subcreatures. Barely better than dirt.

Well, she’d show him. She’d prove she was better than that. She stood.

A piece of paper fell out of her pocket. She blinked at it, frowning, and opened it up.

Don’t move, the paper said, in what she could only assume to be Kato's handwriting. I’ll be back soon with breakfast.

Eri snorted. Don’t move? Really? After what he had done? After Gordon’s death? After… after he proved to be the horrid monster everyone had warned her against?

And she tried to save him. To save him! She should go back to the village, find the men there, then bring them to Kato and let them kill him like they wanted to when they first found him.

But. . . If she did that. Daisuke. She’d never have another chance of finding her brother.

Damn it all.

“If you think you’re going to escape with my E-Key,” Kato’s gravelly voice grumbled over the fallen leaves. “You will be in for a surprise.”

Eri jumped and turned to find the seven foot, anthropomorphic wolf, staring at her with one dark yellow eye and all the indifference of a man looking over cattle he’s preparing to take to market.

She frowned. What on Sonus had she gotten herself into? 


Eri and Kato's relationship is... interesting. We'll see what happens with that in the future though. ;) 

Got a suggestion for a freewrite prompt? Write it below! 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Ten Minute Freewrites #22 - The Darkness is Watching

Let's just cut to the chase and says that this is a new



This one is a different that previous ones, in that it's a sequel to another freewrite, but a sequel to an OLD one. So let's get this one started! 



(Continuing from The New Sky King. Read Part 1 here)

Miraj entered the dinky motel room, tossed his battered bag on the bed, and sat on the bed. A much easier task now that the Sky King had taught him how to transform.

Transform. So strange. He was practically a weregryfon. A word he was sure no one had ever used before.

“Sora Kingu,” the voice in his head said. “Not Sky King.”

Miraj rolled his eyes. Not that it made much difference. It was the same words, just in Japanese, albeit poor Japanese.
The “sora kingu” had spent the first 24 hours in Miraj’s head learning about his entire history. And he chose to focus very closely on the fact that Miraj knew Japanese. Not that he was a convicted murderer. Not that he had been in jail for much of his adult life. Just that he knew Japanese. Maybe that was a blessing and a curse.

At least the creature let him shorten the name to Sora. Even if it was a video game character name.

“Ningen,” Sora said, using the Japanese word for “human.” “We only get one night here. You know this.”

He did. It had been five months since the incident, which, not surprisingly, made the national news. The deaths of that many high-end scientists did not sit well with the community at large.

Especially since the focus of that experiment, Miraj, disappeared that day. No body. No sign of him at all. Just some wet paw prints.

Who would have thought that he would have to go back into hiding?

The transformation had made it a little easier to hide. After all, trying to hide a seven-foot-tall anthropomorphic gryfon was nigh impossible. But his face was all over the news. He’d resorted to hiding in tiny towns in the middle of nowhere, were hopefully the local population was not that up to date with national news.

A night here, a night there. What a life.

He crawled into bed, a wave of exhaustion coming over him after a day of running, and he flipped off the light.

It felt like he had just put his head on the pillow when Sora hissed in his ear. He woke with a start and noticed something moving in the darkness. His body reacted and he partially transformed, growing fur and feathers all over his body. He reached his still human hand for the light switch.

“Don’t move,” Sora hissed in his head. “They’re watching you.”

Miraj shut his eyes tight and used Sora’s hearing. Sure enough, he heard breathing.

There was nothing for it. He pressed gave over to Sora’s full transformation and without grabbing his bag, he leapt out through the window, hoping the thing in the shadows wouldn’t follow.


Hmm, not sure if I like this one to be honest. What do you guys think? Write in the comments below! 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ten Minute Freewrites #21 - Napkins

Oh boy, a new......


Last week we saw some stuff from Dyne and Jaden. This week we see Trecheon, Matt, and Neil doing some stupid stuff. WOO.

Let's go for it! 



“Oh good,” Neil said, pointing to a table in the corner. “Our usual table is open.”

I nodded and followed Neil as he weaved his way through the crowd toward our destination. Matt followed behind, glancing nervously at the clientele. I couldn’t blame him for his nervousness. White zyfaunos are fairly rare on Earth, so he stood out like a sore thumb, to use the most cliché saying possible.

“Do we have to sit at the table furthest from the door?” Matt asked.

“Calm yourself,” I told Matt. “We’re fine.”

“Easy for you to say.”

“Trust me,” I said. “We’re fine.”

He eyed me. Trust was something we were still working on. But I grinned at him. He wasn’t going to escape me that easily.

We sat around the table and a waitress took drink orders. The bar was fairly lively tonight. Not something I expected on a random Tuesday, but it was just after the holidays. Maybe these poor saps needed time away from their crazy families.

“So how much is your contact actually going to know?” Matt whispered out of the corner of his mouth. I didn’t look him in the eye, but I had to admit, I was pretty impressed by his discrepancy.

“That’s what we’re here to find out, right?” I said, cheerily.

“We can’t afford to waste time with this, Trech.”

“Don’t call me Trech,” I told him. “Only friends call me that.”

Matt winced. “Ouch.”

“Tell me about it,” Neil said. “I’ve known him over half his life and I don’t even get the pleasure.”

“Shut up, both of you,” I said. “Or you’ll attract too much attention.”

We sat around sipping at our drinks for a couple of minutes still waiting on my contact. I tried to avoid glancing at my watch. It wasn’t like him to be late.

Then I spotted a familiar face in the crowd. Kyoko. The thin second-gen Japanese woman glided through the crowd with the grace of a waitress that had been in the business for too long. She slid between people and made her way to my table. I grinned at her.

But she didn’t grin back, despite meeting my eyes. Instead she walked up to our table, dumped a bunch of napkins on the edge, and walked off. Matt and Neil gave me puzzled looks and I just shrugged.

One of the napkins looked odd. I picked it up and noticed writing on the back.

Get out now, it said in Kyoko’s impeccable handwriting. While you still can.

My eyes widened and I shot my head up, glancing around the room for the source of danger.
Then I found it. The literal danger. The Triple Danger. I shot a glare at Neil, hissed at him, and nodded my head toward the three doe. The three high level assassins.

So much for my contact.



Some of this requires the context of White Assassin and Tanned Hide - Both books can be downloaded FREE off of Amazon or from 

Got a suggestion for a story prompt? Comment below! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ten Minute Freewrites #20 - Scorpions

Woooo, it's more....


Today we'll be reading a short exerpt from a possible Dyne and Jaden - Golden Guardians At Large short story. ;) We'll see how well it comes out.

These are so much fun to do. Let's get to it! 



Dyne raised an incredulous eyebrow at Jaden. “You’re going to try to reason with a man who swallows scorpions for fun?”

Jaden shrugged. “What choice do I have?” He eyed the tall, gangly humanoid creature standing on the stage. The man, if he could indeed be called that, grabbed a massive scorpion mingling among about fifty or so scorpions in a large basket. He lifted the scorpion by the tail and hovered it over his mouth to shouts and jeers among the crowd. A man in an extremely large turban like head covering ran between the onlookers, taking bets.

Dyne shifted on his pillow near the table he shared with Jaden. He took a deliberately loud sip from his mug of cider. “You’re asking for trouble.”

“Think I don’t know that?” Jaden said. “But according to Ryan, this guy knows something. Specifically he knows something about our missing bastard prince.”

“Maybe he is the bastard prince. After all, we don’t even know what he looks like.” Dyne turned his head and they watched a moment as the man swallowed the scorpion whole, in one massive gulp, before showing the crowd his open mouth. “Draso’s horns, how does he do that?”

“’Tis magic, fair one,” a new voice said. Jaden turned and saw a young boy, maybe five or six, sit at the table next to them in one of the vacant pillows. His sharp blue eyes didn’t seem to match with the grayish-green skin and silver hair. The tops of his pointed ears curved down along side his head until they were nearly level with his extra long earlobes. Faint silver fur grew around his nose and eyes, melting into skin. His tiny black nose was hardly different than Jaden’s catlike nose, but his long clawed hands only had three fingers.

Jaden lifted a brow and tilted an ear back, trying to focus on the boy’s words, not his odd appearance. “Magic?”

“Yonder man does not physically eat the scorpions,” the child said. “He absorbs their souls. A rare magic indeed. So rare that few know it exists.”

Jaden blinked. “Scorpions have souls?”

“Oh no, fair one,” the boy said. “The scorpions are the souls.”

Dyne’s inner ears paled. “Who’s souls?”

“The souls of lost princes.”


That was one of the weirdest stories ever. I TOTALLY WANT TO KEEP GOING. 

Want to see more? Got a prompt for me to see? Share it in the comments below! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ten Minute Freewrites #19 - Pretending

Welcome to another............


Today is yet ANOTHER sequel to last week's freewrite. . . This'll be the last one in this series, for now at least. I love this weird opening so far, so I'm tempted to finish a whole short story with it.

We'll see though, lol. 

Let's get started! 



(Continuation of last week’s prompt! Part 1 here. Part 2here)

I stood there, blinking, trying to get my bearings.

This was madness. Complete and utter madness. I had gone crazy. I hadn’t just been guided here through telepathy and puppeteering by a nutter with wings on her wrists. I hadn’t just be utterly betrayed by my bat winged boss. I was probably still asleep, dreaming about a worst case scenario of my hit-and-run drive-by shooting job that was coming up tomorrow.

“I’m just going to pretend that didn’t happen,” I announced to the dream people.

The winged lady, Cake as the Hoarder called her, pinched my cheek.

I slapped her hand away. “Ow!”

“You’re not sleeping,” she said. “This isn’t a dream and we aren’t dream people.”

Her words didn’t register.

“Sorry, Pan,” the Hoarder said. “Everyone new gets tested. And it seems you’ve passed better than anyone else.”

“Passed what?” I demanded. “A test of humiliation?”

“A test against Cake’s powers,” the Hoarder said. “She’s got completely out of this world powers that no one can stand up against. Not even me. Once she’s got you in her clutches, you’re in it for the long haul. There’s literally nothing you can do to stop her or break free.”

“Well,” Cake said. “That’s how most people react anyway.”

I glared at her. “And I’m different.”

“You blinked.”

I threw up my hands. “Well whoop-de-do for me! What, that makes me some kind of savant? Some kind of power house? Blinking isn’t exactly heavy lifting.”

“Pan,” Cake said. “I have so much control over people that they can’t even breathe if I don’t let them. And you blinked. You breathed. You swallowed. You thought. You did things that literally no one else can do when I have them under my power. And you are the only one who has ever displayed any kind of control. Ever.”

I frowned, thinking, trying to calm my thoughts. Then I shrugged. “So what?”

“So,” the Hoarder said. “You’re Cake’s partner. The only one that has a hope in hell of standing up to her. Or protecting her.”

I raised an eyebrow at him before poking a thumb at the wrist-winged lady. “She needs protecting?”

“Yes,” Cake said. “Because even my powers aren’t perfect.”

I rolled my eyes. “Right. Next you’re going to tell me that the whole hit taken out by the Head Magician was totally real and he’s after Cake and somehow he’s the only one who has powers able to stand up to her.”

Cake and the Hoarder exchanged glances. Cake looked back at me. “Actually. . .”

Good gravy. What had I gotten myself into? 


This got really crazy. XD I'm seriously tempted to continue this for a short story.

Got a suggestion for a freewrite prompt? Write it below! 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ten Minute Freewrite #18 - Abduction

-dances- Oh boi it's MONDAYYYYYY.

Let's get the week started with a new

Ten Minute Freewrite

Today we're going to do something I very rarely do... a SEQUEL freewrite. Yup, today's freewrite is a continuation of last week's freewrite. Make sure you read that before you start here today! 



(Continuation of last week’s prompt! Read it here)

I had never felt fear like I did right then.

My arms and legs moved and guided the car without even a tiny bit of input from my own mind. Everything was automatic, puppet like, as if someone else had put on my skin like a costume and took over completely.

The woman I had been charged with killing sat in the seat next to me. The wings on her wrist lay flat against her arms and she had one foot leaning up on the dashboard. She had an emery board and was loudly filing down her nails.

I knew the route we were taking. The back alleys leading toward our headquarters. The very place where I got the call for the job to take out this invader.

Why was she taking us there?

Half an hour later we were parked in the underground garage. Once again, without my permission, my body got itself out of the car and we walked toward the entrance to the building.

Our guard, Randy, glared at me. “Pan, you’re out of line.”

Pan. My killer’s nickname. Don’t ask where it came from. I wanted to tell him that it was all her fault, but I couldn’t make my mouth work.

But the chick could. “Just get me to the boss,” my voice and lips said without my permission.

“He’s going to kill you, you know,” Randy said, punching in the code to let us in.

For all I knew, his words were literally true.

We made our way up the burned out offices and staircases. I tried to keep my mind blank, knowing she was probably reading my thoughts, but my panicked adrenaline rushes gave my fear away, if the thoughts didn’t.

The door to the bosses office opened before we even got half way down the hall. The Hoarder himself came out, his tiny, red bat wings flapping behind his ears in agitation.

I swallowed hard, somewhat surprised that my puppeteer even let me.

“Pan,” the Hoarder said. “I know you’re new here, and I know your previous place of employment had different policies. But I thought I’d made it clear that we have a no abduction policy.”

My mouth worked without me again. “She wasn’t cooperating. What did you expect me to do?”
Inside my head, I tried focusing my thoughts and channeling them to the Hoarder. Help me, help me, help me, help me.

The Hoarder raised an eyebrow, then turned to the girl. “This one too?”

The girl shrugged, turning back to her nail file.

I blinked. What.

“He has potential,” the girl said. “He actually keeps his thoughts. Everyone else lost themselves entirely.”

The Hoarder raised both eyebrow, his wings perking lilke cat ears. “He kept his thoughts!” He glanced at me. “Really?”

“He’s asking for help right now.”

The Hoarder glanced me over, then grinned. “Interesting.” He turned to the girl. “He a keeper?”

“Until something better comes along.”

I blinked. What the hell was going on?

The Hoarder’s eyes widened. “He blinked!”

“He swallowed too,” the girl said. “Best one yet.”

“Fine then,” the Hoarder said. “He’s yours.”

All at once, everything came back into my control. I glared at them both. “What the hell just happened?”

“Pan,” the Hoarder said, waving a hand to the winged girl. “This is Cake. She’s your new partner.” 


Didn't expect THAT one, did you? Think I should continue this story? It's pretty far outside my usual realm of writing. Kinda. Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Ten Minute Freewrites #17 - Wounds Closed

Hooray, another Monday. Time for yet another

Ten Minute Freewrites

Today is taking a totally different situation and going for a strange urban fantasy vibe. Let's see how it comes out. 



It should have been an easy job. Find the girl, make it look like a drive by shooting, collect the paycheck.

I should have known it wasn’t going to be so easy when I learned who ordered the hit. The head boss of the biggest mob in the city of Thunderstruck. The Head Magician himself.

I never put much faith in all that high magic stuff. I mean, sure I had basic telepathy and telekinesis just like any other average Joe. I even had the wings to prove it. Mind you, I had butterfly wings barely the span of a fruitbat and they were so low on my back that I’d need to wear a lady's tube top for anyone to notice them, but still. Identifying wings. Just like everyone else.

This lady though. . . this hit. She wasn’t like the others. She didn’t have some BS wings on the small of her back. She had massive feather wings. . . on her wrists. How did she even function day to day with wings like that?

Still. Wing size and location weren’t always an indication of power. Heck, my next door neighbor had dragon wings longer than his entire body, poking out of his shoulders! And he couldn’t even coax a box of cereal off the top shelf with his powers.

But this chick. It was like she wasn’t even there. She walked down the street with a blank, absent look over her face. I caught a glimpse of her gaze when I drove by.

And I shot her. Emptied the entire clip into her body. But she never blinked. She just examined me curiously as her wounds closed.

How she even saw me in the dark, I’ll never know.

Man, this was supposed to be an easy job.

As I drove by, the woman lifted a winged wrist up and tilted her head at me. I slowed the car. Not by my own action, mind you. I just felt my foot press against the brake pedal, my hands steering the car toward her on the pavement. She smiled at me.

“Sorry, John,” she said, using my first name. My real name. The name that I never gave anyone. “But the Head Magician won’t get me today.”

Shock slammed me. “What-- How--?”

She slipped alongside the passenger door and slid into the seat. “Drive.”

Before I could react or say a word, my foot moved, on its own accord, and pressed the gas pedal.


CRAZY. I'm already having fun with this world though. XD 

Wanna continue the story, or suggest a freewrite prompt? Comment below! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ten Minute Freewrite #16 - Seventeen Ways



Ten Minute Freewrite

Today we're getting another look into some more universe stuff! This is a sneak peek into a Jaden Azure and Dyne Gildspine story that'll show up soon in a Zyearth short story collection. =) I have several stories already started. Apparently Jaden and Dyne got into some crazy stuff as Guardians. ;) 

Let's start it up! 



“There are at least seventeen ways this could have gone better,” Jaden said, glaring at Dyne. “Literally. Like, I’m counting them right now, you moron.”

To say the cell they had been thrown into was archaic was doing it a favor. Jaden had been tossed in a fair amount of cells in his time as Golden Guardian, but this was somewhere in the bottom ten. Cold walls, wet floor, no toilet, near complete darkness, which even his heightened zyfaunos sight couldn’t penetrate, and only a couple of misshapen rocks to sit on. That, or the wet floor.

And everything smelled like month old puke. Though to be fair, he had smelled worse. At least they weren’t in here with a rotting corpse.

But they would never have been in here in the first place if Dyne hadn’t screwed up so badly. He kept his glare trained on Dyne.

Dyne gave Jaden a sideways glance.

“One,” Jaden said, counting on his finger. “You could have started with a greeting instead of a fist to the face. Two--”

“The thing was coming at me full swing!” Dyne said. “He was ready to gut me! How the heck would you react?”

“You’re supposed to stand your ground!” Jaden said. “It’s a testing ritual that all newcomers to the planet are supposed to take part in. That was part of the briefing. Didn’t you read the briefing?”

Dyne shifted uncomfortably on the stone he sat on in the corner of the cell. “No.”

“Dyne! Really?”

“I’m sorry!”

“Honestly!” Jaden said. “How many of these missions have we gone on in our careers? You know better! The briefing can mean the difference between life and death!”

“But they’re only androvox,” Dyne said. “Hardly different than zyfaunos.”

“In appearance, maybe,” Jaden said, glaring. “But only slightly. These guys are far taller and have full digitigrade legs. And their culture is drastically different.”

“How was I supposed to know that?”

“By reading the briefing.”

“Well,” Dyne said. “Too late now.”

They sat in silence for a moment.

“Think our contact will find us here?” Dyne asked.

“After the ruckus you caused in the central square, I don’t see how he could miss us,” Jaden snorted.

“Excuse me,” a new voice said.

Jaden lifted his head and found a tall anthropomorphic bat staring at him. By Draso, was he tall! Dyne didn’t know what he was talking about. The only thing that these androvox shared in common with zyfaunos was that they were both animals. His massive wings ran along his arms and his face held the slightly foxy look of a fruit bat.

But his eyes were kind.

“Jaden Azure, I presume?”

“And his idiotic partner, Dyne,” Jaden said, nodding at Dyne. Dyne shot him a glare.

“My name is Roxy,” the bat said. “I know it’s not the best of starts, but welcome to Sonus.”

“Thanks,” Jaden said. “So what are our plans now?”

“Now?” Roxy said. He scratched behind his ears with a long claw. “That’s. . . a bit complicated.”

“Why?” Dyne said.

“Because,” Roxy said. “Your execution is scheduled for tomorrow.”

Jaden blanched. Roxy was right. That was a bit of a complication.


Looks like Jaden and Dyne have gotten into some serious problems here. What's going to happen next? Keep an eye out for future installments. ;) 

Got a freewrite suggestion for me? Write it in the comments below!