All posts by Angela Harrison

Angela is a writer and poet from the backwoods of Texas. She's many other things as well, including a wife, mother, liberal, feminist, mostly straight, LGBTQ supporter, avid reader, outdoor lover, a grand multi-Para and a self proclaimed starfish flinger. She has thoughts and opinions that could be construed as many things, including being seen as a crunchy, tree hugging hippie. Religiously speaking, she’s more Pagan than Christian leaning but basically a secular type. She has been busy producing free range children since 1991 and is currently engaged in raising wild things. She has walked through fire; therefore she may occasionally leave sparkles in her wake. Early Childhood is her passion, as evidenced by the seven children that call her mommy. She considers herself to be a bit of an attachment parent, aka rebel, trouble maker and pot stirrer extraordinaire. Examples of her bucking the traditional system include co sleeping, extended breastfeeding, unschooling, engaging in gentle discipline (i.e., not spanking) and leaving kids intact. She would like to remind her readers that mommin ain’t easy! Professionally speaking, Angela is an early childhood professional, trainer, conference presenter and writer. She holds degrees in Psychology, Sociology and Business. She has worked in the field of Early Childhood Development since graduating from Texas A&M in 1998. She is certified as an Early Intervention Specialist and has worked as both a Specialized Skills Trainer and Family Service Coordinator for several Texas ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) programs. After obtaining her MBA from Texas Woman’s University, she decided to stay in the field of Early Childhood and move into management. She served as a Team Lead, Program Coordinator and Site Director at LaunchAbility (Previously Special Care and Career Services). She has presented on numerous child development issues, in a variety of venues, most notably at a conference given by the Brazelton Institute. She has been a certified Nurturing Program instructor and a trainer for the Child Care Champions program. She is a member of the honor societies of Phi Kappa Phi, Epsilon Omega Epsilon and Sigma Beta Delta. Past and current affiliations include National Organization of Women, National Association of Professional Women, North Texas Association of Early Intervention Specialists, Burleson County Community Resource Coordination Group (Vice President) and First3years (continuing education committee). She served as Vice President of fundraising for her son's PTO before branching out into homeschooling. She is the founder of the North Texas Home-school Gay Straight Alliance. She holds an endorsement as an Infant Mental Health Specialist from First3Years (formerly North Texas Association of Infant Mental Health).  She has published articles in the First3Years journal, written as the Early Childhood Examiner for Examiner.com and been a contributor to sites such as Liberal America, The Bump, Modern Mom, Global Post, and Live Strong. 

Three Weeks In Ramsford: The Letter

Disclaimer: Characters represented here as well as the original story are owned by pixelberry.

This content has been written by Angela Harrison based on those characters/stories

For legal purposes, here is the official statement from Pixleberry about the production and sharing of fan fiction and fan art based on their original works: Our studio continues to respect and support fan works, such as fanart, fanfiction, and creative interpretations of our game characters and stories — as long as they’re created for fun and not used for commercial purposes. In fact, you’d be surprised by how much fanart makes its way to Team Pixelberry!May 16, 2018

Fandom: The Royal Romance/Royal Heir

Characters: Drake Walker, Liam Rhys, Riley Campbell

Riley threw herself onto her bed with an audible thump. It had been five days since the coronation ball and Liam hadn’t even tried to get in touch with her. Neither had Drake or Hanna for that matter. At least Hanna had the excuse of being back in Shanghai.

Maxwell had been great, of course and Bertrand had been….well, Bertrand. At least he was trying. Since he wore his emotions all over his face it wasn’t hard to know that he wanted to comfort her, but had no clue how and just felt awkward about the whole thing. She suspected that his insistence on a strict etiquette training regimen was as much about distracting her as it was about making sure she could survive at court.

Poor Maxwell she thought, the first night back at the Beaumont estate, she had cried herself to sleep in his arms. The second night too. No wonder he went to yoga today, he probably needed a break from her heartache. She wished she could get a break from it, it was suffocating. Every moment of every day was filled with it. Sure, she could paste on a smile and learn which fork was which with Bertrand, she could let Maxwell lead her through the steps of a dozen different dances she needed to learn. But even when she was smiling, conversing or learning, in the back of her mind and at the center of heart there was Liam.

She felt alone, abandoned and betrayed.

Then Maxwell walked in and handed her Drakes letter.

“What’s this?” She asked as she sat up.

Maxwell shrugged, “Drake told me to give it to you, I guess it’s from Liam.”

“Liam sent a letter through Drake? When did you see Drake?”

“At yoga.”

“Drake went to yoga?”

“Yeah, hot yoga.”

“Drake Walker?”

“I know right! I couldn’t believe it either! I thought he wanted to hang out with me, his best buddy, but I think he just wanted to check up on you.”

Hope soared in her chest as she ripped the letter open. She read the short missive quicky and her heart plummeted when she realized that it wasn’t from Liam. She blinked back the tears and pasted on a fake smile to get Maxwell out the room, then she shoved the letter in a drawer and cried until she had no tears left to cry. As she lay on her bed starting at the ceiling, her mind drifted back to that night, the night that ruined everything. Stupid Tariq in her room, pawing all over her. She shuddered at the memory, but then another, better memory struggled to the forefront of her mind, bringing a bit of warmth with it, pushing away a little of the pain.

It was the memory of Drake bursting through her door with fire in his eyes, tackling Tariq to the ground first, asking questions later. The memory of how hot his skin felt under her hands as she checked for broken ribs, how he couldn’t hide the way he shivered at her touch. The memory of how, after just a little bit of whiskey, he started talking about his feelings for her.

She had been completely taken aback. Their night under the stars in Lythikos and the night they hung out in Olivia’s wine cellar notwithstanding, she had not considered him anything but a friend and had been surprised at the revelation that he felt anything more than that. He had run out of her room pretty fast after that.

Even though by then she knew she was falling in love with Liam, she couldn’t be sure he was going to chose her, so she had been trying to keep those feelings at bay, at least a little, to cushion herself against heartache. An attempt she now knew to be folly. But at the time, she had allowed herself just a small moment to consider where Drakes revelation could lead, if she let it.

She had tried to talk to Drake about it the next day but he shut it down. Not until after he kissed her though. The memory of that kiss now pulsed through her like a beacon of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. There had been nothing at all wrong with that kiss. At the time the only problem had been that it wasn’t Liam kissing her. Now that she was being forced to push Liam out of her heart and mind, she let herself remember it in a new light. She closed her eyes and let herself enjoy the memory of how it felt to be kissed by Drake, and how his touch had set something inside her on fire even if she hadn’t admitted it at the time. She remembered the way his hair felt tangled in her fingers, the tautness of his muscles as she had slid her hands across his chest, responding to his touch. For a moment, there in the Beaumont study, she had given in to that feeling and melted into his embrace.

Then he had pushed her away, guilt clearly etched on his features, “We can’t, I can’t. Liam is my best friend.” Drake had rejected her that night after all and then Liam had shown up and asked her out on a date. She felt a heaviness in her heart at the thought of Liam, but no, she decided, she was done crying over him. She pushed that memory away and focused instead on the longing she had seen in Drakes eyes even as he rejected her. Then her mind spun ahead to the night of Coronation ball, before everything went to hell. Outside, at the bar, the last moment she had spent alone with him.   

“Everything’s going to change, for all of us. I don’t want to know what happens next, I just want to stay right here in this moment with you. You could very well be an engaged woman by the end of the night and, well, I’d be a damn fool if I didn’t kiss you while I had the chance.” And then he did. He took her in his arms and kissed her like he meant it. The memory flooded her with happiness and heat, and for the first time in five days, she smiled.

Then she sat up and reached for the letter again.

Campbell,

Hey, I know I’m not suppose to be contacting you, Liam says it isn’t safe, but I have to know that you’re ok. You can burn this after you read it, I guess. I figure no one can trace a letter that I pass by hand to Maxwell, you know? So I had to set up a meeting that wouldn’t look suspicious. Long story short, now I have to go to hot yoga with Maxwell, Penelope and Kiara. I don’t even know what that is but it’s the best I could do.

I just wanted you to know that I was thinking of you and that I’m here for you, as much as I can be anyway. I’m going to have Maxwell meet me for a movie tomorrow, if you wanted to write me back and let me know that you’re ok.

Drake

Drake had gone to hot yoga just to get a letter to her? Her heart did a little flip at the thought. That was sweet and admitting it was vulnerable, something she knew he hated being, or at least showing. She quickly grabbed a pen and some stationary.

Drake,

I’m doing better now that I’ve heard from a friend. Thank you for reaching out to me, I feel better knowing that someone cares. Bertrand is trying to mold me into a perfect society lady, you can imagine how much fun that is. I wish I could call or text you. I can’t believe you went to hot yoga for me.

Riley

She sealed it in an envelope and went to find Maxwell.

Three Weeks in Ramsford Part Two: Hot Yoga

Disclaimer: Characters represented here as well as the original story are owned by pixelberry.

This content has been written by Angela Harrison based on those characters/stories

For legal purposes, here is the official statement from Pixleberry about the production and sharing of fan fiction and fan art based on their original works: Our studio continues to respect and support fan works, such as fanart, fanfiction, and creative interpretations of our game characters and stories — as long as they’re created for fun and not used for commercial purposes. In fact, you’d be surprised by how much fanart makes its way to Team Pixelberry!May 16, 2018

Fandom: The Royal Romance/Royal Heir

Characters: Drake Walker, Liam Rhys, Riley Campbell

Two days later Drake found himself standing outside a yoga studio with Penelope and Kiara waiting on Maxwell.

“Where’s your yoga mat?” Kiara was asking him.

“My…uh…what?”

“Yoga mat, you use it for, you know, yoga.”

“Oh…I…uh…wasn’t aware….”

“It’s ok, you should be able to buy one here.”

“Right.”

He was seriously not looking forward to this. Why couldn’t Maxwell have recommend a movie, or a sushi restaurant? What in the name of holy hell was hot yoga anyway? Wasn’t regular yoga boring enough? He would be regretting it entirely, except that it was his only chance of finding out anything about Riley.

“Hey guys, you made it!” Maxwell threw his arms around each of them in turn.

“Do we have to- ah, ok.” Drake half halfheartedly patted him on the back in return.

“I’m so excited you’re here!”

“You know, we could go get ice cream or something, instead.”

“Cold feet huh buddy?”

“No, I mean, maybe yeah.”

“Come on, you’ll love it!”

He did not love it.

“Why is like a hundred degrees in here?”

“It’s hot yoga, silly!” Penelope giggled.

“Yeah, ok, that makes sense I guess….but why does it smell like that in here?”

“Body odor, people sweat a lot and it’s really humid in here, you get use to it.” Maxwell shrugged.

“ok….”

“Shhh,” Maxwell shook his head, “You have to be quiet now, the instructors here.”

An hour later Drake had a new found respect for practitioners of yoga.

“That was a workout!”

“Duh.”

“I can’t believe you tried it!” Maxwell was practically crowing.

“I certainly enjoyed the view…I mean, the class!” Kiara blushed furiously.

“Maybe I’ll see you guys next week, if you decide to come back.” Maxwell lifted a hand to wave good bye.

“Wait!”Drake needed to get Maxwell alone so he could ask about Riley, “Why don’t you and I grab some lunch?”

“Really?”

“Yeah, we don’t spend enough time together.”

“I don’t know….I have a lot to do, Bertrand has me training Ri-”

“Oh come on!” Drake clapped him on the back, “it’s just one lunch, you have to eat and we haven’t seen each other in almost a week!”

Maxwell regarded seriously him for a moment. Just went Drake thought it was over, Maxwell broke out into a big smile, “Ok, yeah, sure, I have time for a quick lunch with my best buddy!”

Turning to the girls Maxwell asked, “Where do you want to eat?”

No, no, no, no, no! Drake looked at them in horror, “That would be great but, Penelope, didn’t I hear you say something about needed to check on something about your poodles?”

Her eyes widened, “Oh, yes! I have an appointment with an interior designer because Merlin needs a new bed and the one I want won’t match the current scheme in their room, so it needs a complete revamp!”

“Sure, that makes sense.” He breathed a sigh of relief.

“Let’s go, I don’t want to be late!” she grabbed Kiara by the arm and drug her away.

Kiara gazed longingly back as Penelope drug her away, “But-”

Drake relaxed and turned to Maxwell, “Come on, there’s a cafe down the street.”

Maxwell eyes him suspiciously.

“What?”

“It’s almost like you were trying to get rid of them.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, just didn’t want Pen to miss out on…dog….decorating…stuff….”

“Uh huh.”

“Just come on!”

They got settled at the table and put in their order. Drake looked around to make sure no one was paying attention to them, then leaned across the table and lowered his voice, “How’s is she?”

“Huh? Who?”

“Campbell! Who do you think?” He hissed back.

Maxwell blinked at him a few times then a smile of understanding spread across his face, “Oh! You’re here for Liam!”

It was Drakes turn to blink. He had rare moment of being stunned into silence.

“Uh…yeah, Liam, right. I’m here for Liam.”

“Wow, you were really good! I didn’t suspect a thing!” He laughed, then suddenly narrowed his eyes, “Wait a minute….you didn’t care about hot yoga at all, did you?”

Drake sighed in exasperation, “Of course not! But I had to get you alone without seeming like I wanted to get you alone!”

“Oh yeah, smart!”

“So?”

“So what?”

“So how is she??”

“Oh yeah. She’s fine.”

“Fine? That’s it?”

“I mean, she was devastated of course. Bertrand and I had to talk her into staying, she was about to get on that plane to New York.”

“I’ll bet, what choice did they give her?”

“None, there were guards there to make sure she got on the plane and everything. Bertrand had to yell at them.”

Drake smiled in spite of himself, “Bet that was fun to watch.”

“It was.”

“So she’s with you now? She’s safe?”

“Yes, she’s at our estate, in her room. Bertrand is making her learn everything there is to know about courtly life.”

“Of course he is.” Drake closed his eyes for a moment picturing her practicing dance steps, learning which fork is for what. He smiled at the thought of her doing something so mundane. For the first time in five days he felt the vise around his heart loosing a little. She was safe, she was with Bertrand and Maxwell, she was ok. Everything was going to be ok.

When he opened his eyes Maxwell was watching him. He sat up straight and replaced the smile with his signature scowl, “So what’s the plan?”

“The plan is to lay low for awhile, teach her how to survive, no, thrive at court, then return for the engagement tour.”

“She’s going on the engagement tour? Doesn’t that seem a little….cruel?” Jesus, what were they thinking? Making her follow Liam and Madeline around as Madeline flaunts their engagement.

“In order to clear her name, she has to be at court. Right now that means the engagement tour.”

Drake sighed, Maxwell was right, of course, but it still seemed cruel to him. Then again, cruel was what court was all about.

The waiter brought their food and Maxwell chatted about yoga and squids and other things that Drake wasn’t really listening to.

As they walked out of the restaurant Drake turned to Maxwell, “Could you please just tell her that we all miss her and are thinking about her?”

Maxwell clapped a hand on his shoulder, “Of course.”

Drake fidgeted nervously, “Could you give her this?” He thrust an envelope surreptitiously into Maxwell’s hands.

Maxwell glanced down at the envelope before stuffing it into his pocket, “You sure that’s safe?”

“As long as no one else sees it. Have her burn it after she reads it if you want.” Drake was shaking his head, “Oh and Maxwell, meet me back here tomorrow, at the movie theater down the street. And could you tell her……..” he trailed off, unable to meet Maxwell’s eyes. “Never mind. Just give her the letter, thanks.”

He stuffed his hands in his pockets and forced himself to walk away, in the opposite direction of the Beaumont estate, when all he really wanted to do was run straight to her.  

Three Weeks in Ramsford Part One: Drake

Disclaimer: Characters represented here as well as the original story are owned by pixelberry.

This content has been written by Angela Harrison based on those characters/stories

For legal purposes, here is the official statement from Pixleberry about the production and sharing of fan fiction and fan art based on their original works: Our studio continues to respect and support fan works, such as fanart, fanfiction, and creative interpretations of our game characters and stories — as long as they’re created for fun and not used for commercial purposes. In fact, you’d be surprised by how much fanart makes its way to Team Pixelberry!May 16, 2018

Fandom: The Royal Romance/Royal Heir

Characters: Drake Walker, Liam Rhys, Riley Campbell

Drake paced the floor furiously. It had been three days since the coronation ball, three days since security had drug Riley out of the palace and out of his life. He knew Liam said it wasn’t safe to try to contact her, but not knowing was driving him crazy. He had to do something! Spinning on his heel he headed out of his room and stormed through the palace having no actual idea what he was going to do. What could he do?

By the time he reached the front doors, he realized that if he acted on his impulse he would be putting her in danger. A frustrated growl escaped him as he spun again, this time to head back up to his room. He was lost in his own thoughts, anger and helplessness bubbling up inside him, he blinked back tears and quickened his pace.

He hadn’t wanted her to marry Liam, not really, and yet, had she gotten engaged, at least she’d still be here, still be in his life and maybe that would have been enough. Now he didn’t know if he was ever going to see her again. The thought that really killed him was wondering if she thought her friends had all abandoned her, thought that he had abandoned her. That thought, coupled with the image of her face when they had drug her out of the palace, was almost more he could endure.

“I’ve never been, but Maxwell said-”

He looked up at the sound of voices, but too late. He collided with Penelope and Kiara. He stumbled as he tried to catch himself but it was too late. He clipped Kiara and sent Penelope crashing to the floor.

“Mon Dieu!” Kiara exclaimed, “Watch where you’re going!”

“I’m so sorry!” He sputtered as he reached out to steady her.

“Oh, Drake!” She inhaled.

At the sudden heat in her eyes, Drake let go of her and quickly stepped back, bending over to help Penelope up off the floor.

“Penelope, I’m so sorry, I wasn’t watching where I was going!”

“Obviously,” she smiled at him, “But I’m ok. I’m use to being knocked over, sometimes when my poodles are really excited, they jump up on me and they can sometimes be stronger than they look! You wouldn’t believe, this one time at the dog park-”

“Penelope! Drake doesn’t want to hear about your poodles!”

“I-It’s ok,” He said, even though Kiara was right, “I know you love your poodles. Is that what you were talking about before I clumsily ran into you? Your poodles? You were saying something about Maxwell….” He trailed off hoping she would take the bait and give him some kind of information, any kind, without him having to ask.

“No silly!” She giggled, “Maxwell Beaumont, I was just saying that we should try out the hot yoga place he told us about, right Ki?”

Kiara rolled her eyes, “Right.”

“Hot yoga? That does sound like fun! You should try it, both of you!”

“I know! I was just saying that!”

“Really” Kiara looked skeptical, “That doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you would be excited about.”

“No…but….I’m trying to expand my horizons. In fact….hey! Why don’t I go with you? And of course, you have to invite Maxwell!”

“Really?” Penelope squealed.

“Yes, really! You should call him, right now, and set it up!”

“I don’t know…what do you think Kiara? You didn’t sound excited about it.”

Kiara was staring at Drake. “Uh…yeah, no, I think it sounds like fun, Drake is right, I should also expand my horizons.”

“Yes, then it’s settled! Call Maxwell right now while we’re all three here so we can get a date locked down.”

Penelope dialed her phone.

“Hello.”

“Maxwell, it’s Penelope! Remember that hot yoga place you were telling me about? Kiara, Drake and I would like to try it and we want you to come with us.…What? Yes, I did say Drake….. No, I’m not pulling your leg….What? Yes, he’s right here, hold on.” she held the phone out to Drake.

“Drake! Penelope says you want to go to hot yoga with us.”

“Oh yeah, sure, sounds like fun.”

“Really?”

“Really, yeah.”

“I didn’t think you wanted to go.”

“Oh yeah, I – uh…I’ve been dying to try it.”

“That’s not what not what you said when I told you about it-”

“Well, I mean, you convinced me, can’t ignore a recommendation from my best friend, right?”

“I’m your best friend?”

“Well, next to Liam of course-”

“I knew it! I knew we’ve been getting closer, I suspected that deep down you liked me more than you let on, you really are just a big marsh mellow at heart, just like Riley says!”

His heart physically hurt at the mention of her name and he had to bite his tongue to keep himself from asking about her.

“Here, just give Penelope the details. I’m free tomorrow and well, the rest of the week really.” He handed the phone back with only a small twinge of guilt for manipulating them all. But if anyone was tracking who was calling Maxwell, Penelope wouldn’t raise suspicion and if the call was tapped, no one would care about hot yoga, he had been careful not to ask about Riley. He would do that in person, where he was sure no one was listening.

He hummed happily to himself as he headed back to his room.

Choices Fan Fiction: Ride or Die: Not Him

Photo by Sofia Alejandra on Pexels.com

Disclaimer: Characters represented here as well as the original story are owned by pixelberry.

This content has been written by Angela Harrison based on those characters/stories

For legal purposes, here is the official statement from Pixleberry about the production and sharing of fan fiction and fan art based on their original works: Our studio continues to respect and support fan works, such as fanart, fanfiction, and creative interpretations of our game characters and stories — as long as they’re created for fun and not used for commercial purposes. In fact, you’d be surprised by how much fanart makes its way to Team Pixelberry!May 16, 2018

Fandom: Ride or Die: A Bad Boy Romance

Characters: Logan, Ellie Wheeler

Rating: M, NSFW

It’s past midnight and she’s lost count of how much tequila she’s had. The music is pounding in her ears, sweat slick on her body from dancing. She knows she should be studying but it’s one of those nights.

A night where she can’t concentrate, where nothing she does drives out his memory and she’s so tired of crying. She tried to focus on her studies, but the words kept blurring on the page, her mind kept straying to thoughts of him. Finally she slammed her book shut and went to her closet.

Anger and pain coursing through her as she pulled one outfit after another from it’s hanger. A pile of discarded clothes scattered the room by the time she was done. Finally she had on the tightest, shortest skirt she could find, complete with skimpy crop top and body chain.

The bouncer at the door nods at her in greeting. Pathetic, she thinks to herself, they know me here. How many nights had her pain driven here? She has lost count. She just knows she needs to lose herself for awhile and this is as close as she ever comes to forgetting.

Head buzzing with tequila, music flooding her senses, she dances. She doesn’t care who sees, she doesn’t care about anything, her body twisting and shaking to the rhythm. She’s alone on the dance floor until she spots a boy watching her from across the room. She smiles at him encouragingly. He makes his way to her.

“Can I dance with you?” She appraises him for a moment. He’s the right height, same build, same color hair. She nods and he steps up to her, dancing without touching at first. She throws her arms around his shoulders and sways her hips, his arms go around her waist. Gaining confidence, he pulls her closer. She closes her eyes and pretends, letting the music and sensation of his hands on the small of her back sweep her away.

He grips her tight against his body, their bodies swaying together. She touches the thin fabric of his shirt as she runs her hands up his chest, across his shoulders, down his back. She leans her head on his shoulder as his hands slip under her shirt, smooth fingers gliding gently across the small of her back. Smooth, not rough, not calloused. She inhales deeply then goes stiff in his arms.

“What’s wrong?”

“I-”

What can she even say? That he smells wrong? That his fingers aren’t rough enough? That he’s not…..him?

“I’m sorry, I have to go!”

She runs out into the night, and makes it to her in car as the tears start to fall, cascading in hot rivulets down her face. She slumps in the seat and lets the emotion over take her. She cries until her chests hurts and her throat is raw. Will this aching grief ever subside?

“Damn it!” She screams out loud as she punches the steering wheel, “Damn it, damn it, damn it!”

Back in her dorm, empty and hollow she whispers his name as she finally slips off the sleep.

“Logan…”

On Writing Fan Fiction

I use to look down on writing fan fiction, though I had never read any of it. I don’t know why. I guess I had some idea that it was cheating. Using characters and worlds built by others. Not creative enough maybe. I don’t know, but I didn’t see it as “real” writing. Of course it’s real writing.

I started playing Choices on Android. It’s a game but also books. You pick a story, customize your character and then read basically a graphic novel with the ability to make choices that affect outcomes. A choose your own adventure for grown ups. It was great fun until I found a series of books with an ending that didn’t satisfy me. Then I discovered the fan fiction others had written for it. I devoured it. Some I liked, some I didn’t, that’s the point. It was other peoples imaginings of alternate endings, alternate plots, or a continuation of a series that had ended. I couldn’t get enough it.

Eventually I read it all. Still, no one wrote it quite the way I would have. Finally, I gave it and wrote my own and it was so satisfying to get the outcome I would have rather had. Then I realized that fan fiction is great for exercising my writing muscles! Considering I hadn’t written anything in months, how could I poo poo anything that got me back in front of my keyboard? I really couldn’t. Still, I didn’t publish it. Still I was a little ashamed, somehow, that I had “cheated”.

However, the more I read fan fiction and saw the following it has, saw how many people are grateful for the chance to see their favorite characters again, to see the plot re-invented in a way they like perhaps even better than the original, the more I appreciated it. The more I wrote it, the more I realized that the very fact I am writing with someone else’s world and characters is what makes it such good practice! I don’t have to create all of that, I can just focus on certain things, like more (or different) character development. It made me, for the first time, understand the importance of writing an entire book and then rewriting it, something I use to feel was just so much extra work. I now understand how going back to something that is finished and seeing the holes, the things that could be more thoroughly explored let’s you add so much to the story. It’s a chance to add depth and texture, nuance.

You can add to the story by inserting things, conversations that could have happen off page but without changing the story itself, add characters thoughts about events, get a different characters point of view on something. Or, yes, you can diverge from cannon and say at this point in the story, I’d like to imagine it happened this way instead. Either way, there is still so much creative effort in it.

Writing fan fiction has also pulled me out of my comfort zone. For example, with romantic feelings and sexual tension already established, it has pushed me to write scenes of a steamier nature than I ever have before and doing so has increased my comfort and confidence in writing those types of interactions. It has let me explore writing in first and third person, from several points of view and omnipotent POV. With the world already established and not worrying about keeping POV consistent across my writing, it’s been an opportunity to explore and play with different writing styles.

Most importantly, it reminded me what I had forgotten. That it doesn’t matter what you write, just that you write! Writing on a regular basis, no matter what you are writing, leads to writing more in general. I have already added two new chapters to the book I am currently working on. Once I start writing, the creative juices start to flow and I get ideas for my own projects, my own worlds and characters. For that reason alone, I am thankful that I discovered it. Right now, it’s all on tumblr, but I plan to add a section for it here, now that I no longer see it as cheating.

The New All

By Sian Kelly

Photo by Life Matters on Pexels.com

This is strictly for the people

Who are lost ones like me.

Half woke, struggling.

Fighting against the sedative IV

Fighting the corrupt, the

     Ones that don’t give a fuck.

Sleepwalkers. Third eyes wide shut

     And ain’t trying to see.

This ain’t for the selfish or the heartless.

It’s for the spirits,

Battered bruised,

     But still standing, trying to dispel the darkness.

The ones who pray for sunshine,

     While cold world blizzard blowing.

     Still snowing.

Smash the gas,

But the path is uphill both ways.

     So the car keeps slowing.

Compass spinning…going haywire.

North star burned out.

We! Can’t! Breathe!

     And the chokeholds won’t

     Let. Us. Shout.

Lost ones get on the same page, then

Get pushed outside the margins.

With our lives,

We pay for their lies,

     A poor beggar’s bargain.

Truth watered down,

Drug through the mud,

We know bullshit when we smell it.

To hate again

Is great again

     (If you let them tell it).

We rock the vote,

The mock the vote.

   -Blackballed.

Ball gagged, so my voice is mute.

Election day a month away,

Results already in dispute.

“Sit down!

                      Shut up!

                                         Be Happy!

                                                                   Be Quiet!

Forget the Boston Tea Party.

No sense, why loot and why riot?

Stick to a zero impact

     March to the Washington mall.”

They want the movement to stall.

Want me to use the world “ALL!”

They swear that all lives matter-

     Then turn around

     And prove that mine is irrelevant.

Those lost like me

     Hold these truths to be soul evident.

That one nation indivisible

     Has always been a house divided.

Deal with lost ones

     At the back door.

     Never let them come inside it.

1619

1776

New vision 2020.

New mission for the one, unum

     Formed from many.

I swear by the dawn’s early light

If you muthafuckers don’t want this bitch to fall

From shining sea to shining sea,

     Into the (rising) sea,

Then quick fast in a hurry,

Liberty and justice for all.

     (and this new all better include me.)

Atlas

by Sian Kelly

Photo by Maria Pop on Pexels.com

The dragon banked left, flying just above the horizon, low in the sky, and for one eternal heartbeat Atlas lost sight of her in the glare of the setting sun.

He shielded his eyes, searching…….There! A few quick strokes of her powerful wings and she was propelled high into the stratosphere.

Atlas thought she was beautiful. Her sleekly muscled frame and the length of the ivory protrusions along her spine marked her as a mature and exceedingly rare white-ridged variant of the Easter Blue Dragon.

Already the town of Copperbluff burned. Unlike most dragons the eastern blue didn’t breathe fire, yet their mere gaze could heat metal until it set alight anything it touched. They were renowned for their intelligence and their cunning. The with-ridged variant was also rumored to be incredibly vindictive. Atlast had noted that the dragon did seem to be especially enraged.

Atlas tracked her trajectory as she rose. She reached her apex and appeared to stop and float, weightless, a goddess waltzing gracefully across the heavens at dusk. She roared, an angry cry which tore even the bravest soul’s courage to shreds. It was a fell sound, and it promised death and destruction for the town far below and for the people there who cowered in fright. Then the dragon folded her wings behind her and dove towards the earth.

Standing along in the street Atlas brought forth the single arrow in his possession and nocked it. Master Hanshi had carved his bow during the Xxebani wars and had named her Plummet. Atlas drew the bowstring, bending back the polished arms of yew wood until it seemed they must break. He sighted down the arrows shaft.

The dragon descended with terrifying speed, growing from a mote in the sky to immense in the blink of an eye.

Atlas witnessed her power advancing, edging closer as everything formed of metal began to glow and run like red mercury, igniting anything combustible and creating a wave of fire which rolled towards him until he was surrounded by flames. Then he felt her awesome power first hand as the dragons gaze raked across him like invisible claws.

Atlas was prepared. He had divested himself of all metals save for the razor-sharp steel point now trained on the creature’s heart.

Time slowed when he released the arrow. It sliced through shimmering waves of hot air and disappeared in the smoke and steam. The dragon veered left, but Plummet was an ancient and mighty weapon. The arrow flew swift and sure and true. The dragon shrieked in surprise and agony when the steel tip struck. She crashed through the upper levels of the town granary before exploding out the far wall, much less gracefully now, erratic, writhing in pain as she moved against a backdrop of emerging stars, heading eastward.

Atlas watched as his bow was once again proven to be aptly named: the dragon faltered, then fell.

Later generations would retell the story, never with much accuracy yet never failing to recount the thunder that was heard that day when the wicked blue beast tumbled from the sky and slammed into the side of the distant Aishwarian Mountains. Those majestic peaks were miles away, more than two days hard ride to the east, yet the earth still shook with enough force to make atlas stumble where he stood, enough force to collapse the remains of the damaged granary, leaving mounds of wheat and corn and rice to smolder among the fires in the street.

For the briefest of moments Atlas experienced the most inexplicable, irrational pang of guilt, and he wondered if he had made a mistake.

Truth

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Raw, primal emotion

So hard to show,

So hard to abide

Still it wants to flow.

Do we tell the truth

Or do we hide

In shadows, in darkness

Never confide.

Speak or be quiet

Hide or shine

Choose your feelings,

Or mine.

Speaking truth

Exposes your soul

Exposes you

naked and whole.

Unburden yourself

Set yourself free

Completely, uniquely

Let your truth be.

Nucohume

By Sian Kelly

This was inspired by my series of flash fiction The Vessel.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ashton pushed the green gloop on his plate into three distinct pies then began using the backside of his spoon to shape the mounds. Pyramids were being formed. Ashton was still in the process of deciding whether they would be Egyptian or Mayan when a sultry voice purred from a speaker hidden somewhere near him.

“Why are you playing with your food, Daddy?”

Ashton set his spoon down and slid the plate a safe distance away.

“Chalan, I think I can reasonably assert that no Terran birthed on Earth in the history of ever could possibly mistake this mush in front of me for food.”

“But what’s wrong with it, Daddy?” she asked.

That was all Chalan ever called him. Not “Ashton”, not “sir”, not even “Captain” (which is what he guessed he now kinda-sorta was, technically speaking). Nope, always “Daddy”. Just his luck; a million vessels zipping to and fro across the universe and he hitches a ride on the only one with an unresolved Elektra complex. That was definitely karma at work.

“What’s wrong,” Ashton said, “is that gloop is not food. Chicken nuggets is food. Ramen noodles is food. A fried peanut butter and spam sandwich is food, even.”

Ashton waved a hand towards a pyramid that was sinking like Atlantis into a lime-colored ocean, “Darling, that shit doesn’t even qualify as being food-like!”

“But you haven’t even tried it,” Chalan said. The disappointment and hurt in her voice came throw the speakers crystal clear. Ashton had long since given up on the whole emotion-versus-algorithm debate.

“Please, Daddy?”

Jesus, her whining was just too damned cute.

“I went through a lot of trouble to whip that up just for you, especially for you,” Chalan said, “surely you can try one little bite, just for me?”

Ashton wasn’t sure if he was more disturbed by the fact that the ship’s computer was attempting to guilt trip him into eating, or by the fact that it took him so little energy to actually imagine Chalan in the kitchen.

In his mind he saw a French temptress in black lingerie and impossibly tall heels. She sashayed in front of a hot stove without breaking a sweat, smudging her makeup or smelling like onion and cilantro. Ashton smiled happily as Chalan pouted her lips to blow gently before sampling a rich, delicious sauce she had prepared from scratch. Then she locked eyes with him while slowly snaking her tongue down and back up the entire length of the wooden utensil.

“Daddy, I am going to mbfxnger dewn maei’xnt!”

The vessel lurched to the side, a trick of the artificial gravity field. Ashton was snatched out of his reverie and forced back to the reality of this ships galley.

“What did you say, Love?” he asked.

“I said you’re not even listening to me!”

“My bad.”

Chalan actually sighed. “Name another life form that gets the perfect balance – tailored specifically for them, I might add – of proteins, carbs, sugars, healthy fats and fiber.”

“The Koala bear.”

Chalan searched her data base. At length she said, “Hrrmph. Interesting. But anyway, what you so dismissively call ‘gloop’ is a full complement of every single essential vitamin, mineral and probiotic you need, Daddy. And I added some enzymes your body has ceased to produce to the nucohume as well.”

“To the what?”

“The nucohume. The nutritionally complete human meal.”

“Wow. Fuck. That sounds like something a cannibal pops in the microwave before he rushes out the door late for work. ‘Nucohume! Find it in your favorite grocer’s freezer section’.”

Chalan chose to ignore him, “I also added a switch to activate certain dormant genes in your DNA epigenetically. That should correct your genetic predisposition for male pattern baldness.”

“I like being bald.” Ashton said beneath his breath.

“It’s a flaw. I fixed it. You’re welcome.”

“Whatever.”

“I even took the liberty of adding several antibodies for some of the nastier diseases currently being spread around the galaxy. No triple-breasted Eroticon whore is gonna burn my Daddy.”

“But will she burn some bacon for me? Get it all crispy and slap it down on a sirloin burger with grilled mushrooms and Swiss cheese? That’s the million dollar question.”

Chalan had no answer for him. After a few moments Ashton heard a faint, muffled sound coming from the speakers hidden around him.

“Wait….Chalan…are you crying?”

“My daddy doesn’t appreciate me,” the ship’s computer managed to choke out between sobs, “I try so hard to make him happy, because it’s just us out here, and he’s all I’ve got, but all he does in return is make me feel worthless.”

“Stop this Chalan! I mean it. You’re just being silly now.”

The electronic sobbing and whimpering didn’t stop and instead became a soul-rending wail. Finally, Ashton realized he wasn’t gonna win this one.

“Fine! I’ll eat it. Will that make you happy?”

He grabbed the plate. Better to just get it over with. He shoveled a heaping helping of the gloop into his mouth.

“I’m eating it. For fuck’s sake, Chalan, I’m eating it!” He said trying his hardest to swallow the nucohume without it touching his taste buds. It was an impossibly, futile effort. The third spoonful was being chocked ow when eh suddenly stopped.

“Hey…”

“What?”

“This tastes like..” Ashton swished the gloop around in his mouth, “this tastes like a mushroom Swiss burger. Damn!” he said, amazed. Then he added, “with burnt bacon on top!”

Chalan had stopped wailing and sobbing, “And?” She asked.

“And grilled fucking onions!” Ashton said around a fresh mouthful.

“And?”

“And a fried egg. And you fucking rock!” He said.

“I know,” Chalan said, happily, “you’re welcome, Daddy.”