Category Archives: short stories

Rave On (A Short Story)

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Ten minutes till.

The clock beside my mattress flings every spent second into my lap, nudging me so much closer to whatever is about to happen. Mom can’t be bothered with it; she’s passed out in the next room, oblivious to my escape into night. And even though I’m certain I’ll be home long before sunlight splits the dark, my body still bristles with something akin to static electricity, a tight anxiety over knowing I’ll surely be found out. And it really doesn’t matter; I’ve been caught before.

Shadows engorged with blackness lurk like thugs in the corners of our backyard; delicate dew blankets the grass like the blood of others foolish enough to go before me.

Blood.

That’s what it’s really all about, isn’t it?

Life?

My mind sports with competing scenarios of what I hope might happen and what I pray will not—Lord knows I don’t need any more lectures regarding proper behavior for a young lady.

Five minutes till.

What if they don’t show? Suppose this is all just a well-played joke, with me as its shiny white butt?

But this is Molly we’re talking about—faithful Molly.

Mom’s old sneakers swallow my feet in a comforting fit. The back door whines protest against my departure. Nobody steps forward to quash my moment. I’m all alone.

A lustful breeze plays peekaboo with my nightshirt and soothes my heat. I’m bare underneath. That’s the part that excites me most: knowing the only thing standing between me and the real world is a thin scrap of white cotton.

The street out front offers neither light nor sound, as if nothing decent dares occupy such a miserable piece of earth but Donnington Trailer Park and the white-trash misfits it spawns. That’s what kids at school call me: white trash. That, and Icky Nicky.

My given name is Nicole—Nicole Lynn Robishawl. I can’t quite peg the origins of a name like Robishawl, but I’d bet a hundred bucks its roots lie buried someplace in Europe—the far northern part. I own a headful of blond tangles and uncomplicated blue eyes to prove that theory. And there’s another of those curious little oddities assholes around here like to whisper about when they’re certain I’m not listening: Mom and Dad are both dark-haired and dark-eyed.

Two minutes till.

I reach the crumbling sidewalk and crouch low beside a naked mess of annuals meant to spruce up the front of our trailer. A word like hatred doesn’t begin to tell of my feelings for a shithole like Donnington. We aren’t even supposed to be here, Mom and me. Dad promised to take us in, giving me back my old room, if only there’d be no more drinking. But mom prefers vodka to a husband.

Lightning spatters a silvery web across the sky right above Lincoln High School, and my silent prayer for a direct hit goes unanswered. Dull rumbles chase the flashes, but even thunder can’t match the wicked growl of Tommy Mizvinski’s engine.

He’s early!

A full sixty seconds early!

My frantic dash launches me recklessly toward the corner at the end of my street. Tommy won’t wait. If I’m not there under that lonely streetlight, forget about it. No rave for me.

I’m there before he is, though, quick enough to spy that single headlight slicing open the night—our night. Sweat jogs the course of my spine. My heart swears an oath to knock a hole through my middle. I’ve waited all month to have this moment.

Tommy’s door yawns wide; his lanky body leans forward, offering me the back seat. “Get in, Sped,” he huffs. “They won’t wait around if we’re late.”

Sped. That’s short for special ed. Tommy’s the only one who calls me that—even though I’ve never ridden the short bus.

The lure of this moment sucks me in, puts me close to Molly. Our bodies bump in the darkened back seat, tossing up loose sparks of anxiety. Nervous giggles supply our greetings.

I’m the one who suggested we go to this thing. Faithful Molly, she even tried to talk me out of it. And truth be told, I’d have laid odds on her just staying home. But here she sits, dressed like me—only her nightshirt is pink. I hate pink.

Dale Harvitz rides shotgun. That lazy eye of his gets all hung up on me the entire trip—as if I’d even consider the likes of him. Dale is the true sped in this car, not me. But he’s also Tommy’s best friend, which makes him more welcome on this ride than me, so I won’t call him a sped to his zit-covered face.

Still, I’m the one who set this up. “Where are your pajamas?” I ask.

Jeans and T-shirts, that’s what both boys are sporting.

Dale’s the defensive one. “Fuck that noise,” he spits. “I’m not wearing pajamas to a rave.”

I produce the flier, wave it in his pizza face. “That’s the theme. It says so right here.”

“They won’t turn us away, Nicole,” Dale argues. “They hold raves to make money. I’ve got my twenty bucks.”

Tommy has his say, lays down his own law. It’s me and Molly that has him spooked—our ages, that is. “Just don’t go acting like a pair of babies,” he tells us, “and they’ll probably let you two inside.”

Dale lights a Marlboro and eyes Moll and me like he’s starving and we’re medium-rare fresh-off-the-grill. You can just tell his mind is stuck in the muck and sinking fast. “Got twenty bucks says they’re both still bald,” he wagers.

Call it a natural reflex, that way my knees squeeze together. He’ll never know what’s what where those sorts of things are concerned.

Tommy, though—he finds me in the rearview, holds my gaze the way I wish he’d hold my hand, before returning to the road ahead. “Thing like that doesn’t concern me,” is all he says of the matter.

But then he finds me again and goes back to his law. “Either of you girls get pinched,” he orders, “don’t you dare mention my name. Cops raid these things all the time. If they snatch you, tell ’em you snuck out on your own, let ’em take you home.”

I have no intention of getting caught. I’ve waited too long for a night like this one. If we are among the chosen, well, then it’s meant to be; it’s already been tossed up to fate. That’s called providence or something. Anyway, Tommy’s been to half a dozen raves, and none of those were ever raided.

Tommy’s one-eyed Cutlass angles hard onto the shoulder, finds that service road leading away from Summitt Highway. You never drive directly to a rave; there’s a proper etiquette involved. Besides, they won’t let you in if you just show up. Not even for a hundred dollars.

The designated pickup point calls to mind a crop circle at the center of Hatcher Field. A lonely pair of white minivans promise travel to other worlds.

It’s the swirling crowd that yanks at my attention, puts me up on the little secret nobody else in the car has deciphered just yet.

“Let us out,” I demand, kicking at the back of Tommy’s seat. It’s mostly guys doing all that swirling, which means girls are the priority to board those vans. And if Tommy catches on, none of us are going.

Pizza-face Dale pops his door open.

Moll and I spill into the night like twist-cap wine from an overturned Dixie cup. We bolt toward the closest van and ignore Tommy’s orders to wait for him and Dale. But they’re not coming along with us—at least not on this trip. Any fool with eyes can read a scene like the one we’ve tumbled into. Moll and I—we’ll be welcomed on this go-round. And a ride home, well, what did that matter at this moment?

A black guy spies us, waves us over; he lures me and Moll into a void between those white minivans. I recognize him from school, though I doubt if I could come up with a name to match his face if given a dozen guesses.

Dark eyes roll over Molly first, then me. A grin parts his lips, shows off teeth like fine white porcelain. “Freshmen, huh?” he asks.

Neither Moll nor I acknowledge his question; we both offer him our twenty dollars instead.

“Awful eager, ain’t you?” he asks, drifting between us like lazy smoke. “Suppose it ain’t money gonna get you on one of them rides? How bad you wanna go?”

I hear Molly’s voice before words have a chance to form on my own tongue. “Whatever it takes,” she promises.

That’s not the Molly I know.

The Molly I know is far too shy to undress even in front of her own shadow.

That dark gaze of his attaches itself to me. “How about you, Robishawl?” he wonders. “How far are you willing to go?”

Hesitation nearly steals my words—but only for a moment. “I’m with Molly,” I inform him. Just leave it open, let him interpret the meaning.

His grin softens into a familiar thing—almost friendly. “Go on and get in line for communion,” he says.

Communion?

I’m not even Catholic.

And neither is Molly.

The black guy snatches our money, straps red bracelets around our right wrists, and warns against us taking them off for any reason at all. “That’s the only thing gonna get you inside once you get there.”

This is the part I love most about raves: all that secrecy, the feeling of being someone special, a chosen one.

Moll and I join a small congregation behind those vans, out of sight of Tommy and Dale and every other guy getting left back tonight.

“Kneel for the rites,” orders a skinny white guy sporting stringy black hair down to his shoulders.

The grass, wet with dew, is cool beneath my knees. My head tips back, my mouth falls open, awaiting the chemical sacraments about to be administered.

“Ecstasy,” says our high priest, placing a tablet on my tongue.

I swallow before I can chicken out.

Moll swallows too.

Midnight’s moon splits the clouds just for a moment; it’s large and swollen, shiny as a new dime.

Molly’s lips brush against my ear. “Are you gonna, you know . . . ?” she whispers. Bubblegum-sweetened breath warms my neck.

“I have to do it,” I assure her. “I’m gone past due.”

“We can’t have that,” she says, snatching hold on my hand, yanking me into the van.

*      *      *

The pull of freedom lures us an hour south of town, out where the old Piven Industrial Park crouches low among tangled weeds and ancient willows long past weeping, forgotten by all but a few hundred ravers.

The van door slides a wide yawn and, like an overfed bulimic, vomits us in front of the warehouse. Familiarity like a scent fills my head. I know some of them, these other girls; upper-class types, mostly; the very sort who’d normally call me Icky Nicky.

But not tonight.

Tonight, everybody’s equal.

Molly’s the eager one. Those small hands of hers clasp my shoulders from behind; she gives me a push inside the oversized building, into a swirl of underdressed boys and girls bumping and rubbing against a thumping beat intent on recalibrating my heart’s natural rhythm.

Lights of yellow and red, blue and green, flash from above like stalking nymphs bent on finding us out.

I pull Molly closer. “Find the water station,” I yell over the din. “Keep hydrated.”

That smile of hers—that’s what makes her Molly. “You picked one already?” she hollers, her small body becoming entangled with that steady beat.

A nod bobbles my head; I leave her there at the edge of a makeshift dance floor alive with hope and boys.

Molly likes boys.

A nameless guy hovers near the door, blue eyes clouded over with that familiar euphoria only a thing like Ecstasy can conjure.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” I tell him, mixing promise with potential.

His fingers find his chest, a gesture meant to convey a Who, me? tone. But words fail the boy’s lips; he’s too far along for conversation.

My hand fits snugly into his. It falls to me to find a private place for us to get through what has to be done. Fine by me; I’ve been this way before, done this sort of thing innumerable times. But there’s never much chase, not like there was when it first started. Back then, well, it was usually the older ones, the perverts, that went for the chase.

“There’s a place around back,” I tell him, pulling the guy into night.

“I wanna touch your hair,” he says, stumbling behind me like a freak on a leash.

Overhead, the spring sky opens wide, clouds flee, leaving us to our shared intimacy.

Beneath the loading docks is where I take the boy, in full view of a witches’ moon—if you’re so inclined to believe in such things.

My lips find his; a sneaky gesture meant only to settle any loose nerves.

Clammy, clumsy hands grope me beneath my nightshirt, finding my body bare and eager—maybe even hungry for such a touch. Had this one been in the car with us to take the bet, he’d have easily taken twenty bucks off Dale.

But tonight isn’t his night.

A quick nip with my incisors opens the skin just below his jaw, exposing the plump jugular. Barely a flinch, is all he offers. Ecstasy makes our moment easy; there’s no room for a fuss.

It’s instinctual, that urge pushing me to rip into that purple vein. His salty rush fills my mouth, stirs a familiar frenzy inside my soul. The boy’s struggles come cheap, a thing most fraudulent. I hold his body tight against the crumbling concrete, draw long and deep on his life until there’s nothing left to take.

They’re beautiful when they fade, so pale and blue, like a years-old rose pressed between the pages of a lost lover’s book of poems.

*      *      *

Molly is bare beneath her nightshirt. I can tell by the way the pink fabric clings to her sweat-dampened body.

That smile of hers ignites a heated rush through my blood no drug could ever challenge.

“Did you drink any water?” I holler, stepping between her and the Asian kid she’s dancing with.

That’s the thing with Ecstasy: it’ll keep a person moving for hours, without a thought toward maintaining hydration.

And Moll, she won’t stop dancing—not even for necessity. “You’ve fed already?” she yells, keeping pace with that relentless beat.

To tell the truth, I hate dancing. But it’s Molly’s urging that has me folding myself in with her and the Asian boy.

Moll’s hand finds mine, yanks me closer. “Can we take him home with us?” she asks, hopeful in this bold change of plans.

He’s not bad to look at, I suppose—if you’re into that sort of thing.

My head tips a subtle nod. “Gonna have to be quiet, though; can’t wake my mom.”

Yeah, Molly likes boys.

And so do I, I guess.

Just in a different sort of way.

© 2012 Beem Weeks

This story, along with 19 others, is available in Slivers of Life: A Collection of Short Stories. Find it at all online booksellers.

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Remaining Ruth: A Short Story

This is a short I wrote back in 2013. It’s about a girl trying to hold tight her grasp on self-identity. This one appears in my first short story collection Slivers of Life.

Remaining Ruth

I heard my mother say, “It could be she’s just that kind of girl.”

I knew she meant me because my father responded, “No daughter of mine will be that kind of girl.”

I’m an only child, so forget any misunderstandings. Besides, just what kind of girl were they debating me to be?

I slipped through the back door, just inside the kitchen, crouched low near the refrigerator, and listened to their talk in the next room. I’m either a lesbian or a drug addict, depending on their deciphering of my mood on any given day.

Okay. True. I do keep my hair cut short and dyed black. I also prefer jeans and T-shirts to dresses and skirts. But that doesn’t make me a lesbian. Of course, there is that other thing…

My father said, “Maybe we should send her to one of those Catholic schools.”

“We’re not Catholic, Fred,” my mother reminded him.

“But they know how to deal with these sorts of things, Miriam.”

What sorts of things? I wondered, angling for a closer peek into the living room. I didn’t need to see, though. My father would be parked in his recliner, newspaper open and held in front of him. My mother, she’d be seated on the sofa, watching the television with the sound turned all the way down.

I’d never get past them. At least not without a hundred questions tossed in my face.

“Maybe we should just leave her be,” my mother offered. “I had my own moody moments at that age.”

A low harrumph, is all my father managed.

As much as I hated the idea of confrontation, I despised even more the notion of hiding out in the kitchen all night.

He’s the one who caught me, came right up out of his recliner as soon as I entered the room. “Let’s see what’s in your pockets, young lady.”

I knew the drill. They’d been doing this since the end of the school year, when I’d been stupid enough to leave a joint in my jacket, where my nosy mother happened upon it.

“I’m not carrying,” I told my father. “I smoked it before I came in.”

“So disrespectful,” my mother lamented. “I never sassed my parents when I was fourteen.”

“Gonna let them nuns straighten you out,” my father threatened, searching the pockets of my jean jacket.

He found nothing incriminating. I’d learned to never carry anything on me—at least not where they’d bother to look.

“Can I go to my room now?” I asked, not really looking for that argument my parents seemed to enjoy so much.

My father gave up a subtle nod I’d have missed if I hadn’t been looking for it.

They took my phone—and my bedroom door.

But I still had the bathroom.

I closed myself inside, pressed the lock. They’d come knocking in a while, demanding to know what all goes on when they can’t see.

They’ll never see what they don’t really want to see, though.

Muffled voices trickled through the floorboards, putting them still in the living room.

My mother’s the one who caught me kissing Megan Vennerhull. That’s where the whole lesbian thing came from. But we were just practicing. Megan pretended I was David Skillsky and I, well, I too imagined Megan was really David Skillsky—I just told her I’d been dreaming of Michael Kranshaw to keep her from freaking out. Megan has been in love with David since the third grade. But so have I.

Can’t tell that to Megan, though.

My fingers worked at the buttons on my jeans; I tugged them off my hips.

My father never used those multi-bladed razors. “One blade is all it takes,” he’d tell the television, whenever one of those commercials touting three blades came on.

I agree. One blade is all it takes.

I twisted the razor’s handle, retrieved the shiny blade from its open mouth.

It’s not a suicide attempt. I’ve never wanted to die. It’s just something I need, something I dream about when moments of stress find in me an easy target.

And I never cut too deep, either; just enough for bleeding.

Just enough for a taste of pain.

They never look at my hips—or my inner thighs. Nobody looks there. Nobody sees or knows.

My mother’s voice disrupted my moment of pleasure. “Are you going to be long in there, honey?”

“Be out in a minute,” I assured her, knowing full-well my father would be beside her in short order, threatening to remove even the bathroom door.

A quick cut just beneath my stomach let go that crimson release.

Better than an orgasm, this.

My father intruded; his meaty fists banged against the door. “I’ll break this son of a bitch down, Ruthie, you don’t open this door!”

“Can I wash my hands first?” I asked, rinsing the blade before returning it to its proper place of honor.

They weren’t quick enough—not this time, at least. I still owned one secret belonging only to me.

One more day I could still be the Ruth I wanted to be.

© 2013 Beem Weeks

This story, along with 19 others, is available in Slivers of Life: A Collection of Short Stories. Find it at all online booksellers.

When We Were Kids: A Short Story

This is a short story I wrote some years ago. It’s about life and loss and the guilt of being the one who survives a tragic accident. It appears in my short story collection Strange HWY: Short Stories

When We Were Kids

I saw you again today. You were younger than the last time I set eyes on you. It happens that way sometimes. You were mowing the lawn in front of some house I didn’t recognize. I doubt you did either.

It’s the third time in a month that I’ve seen you cutting grass or jogging or playing in that park we hung out at when we were kids. You were always on the baseball diamond—even now. I suppose it has something to do with the uniforms. The colors are always different, but the style hasn’t changed in thirty-odd years.

Dana Rickleman still talks about you whenever I run into her at the Winn-Dixie. Well, she’s not Dana Rickleman these days. Neither is she hot anymore. She married Donnie Soba fifteen years or so ago, had a kid, put on more than a few pounds, and ended up deciding she’s a lesbian. But maybe we already knew that way back when. Remember how she used to say Becky Fordham was enough to turn her?

Speaking of Becky, her younger brother Todd is gone. He went to Iraq during the Gulf War and never came back. He stepped on the wrong spot and left nothing behind but his dog tags. Becky turned into a boozehound after that one. Last I heard she’d been in and out of Burnside Psychiatric Hospital.

The old neighborhood has completely changed. You wouldn’t recognize it now. All those families we knew back then no longer live there. Kids grew up and went off to college, got married, chased careers out of state. Parents became grandparents, got old, retired, moved to Florida, and died. I drove through there a few months ago. Not a familiar face among those I saw. Our old house is long gone. The family that bought it from Mom and Dad, after I moved out, lost it to fire. They rebuilt on the lot, but the house looks nothing like the original. And there are trees where there weren’t any before. Crazy how that works, huh?

I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m rambling. I don’t mean to. I’ve had a lot on my mind since, well, you know. I still struggle with things, Adam. It’s always there in the front part of my mind, where it often blocks out my view of the world around me. I think that’s why Mallory and I got a divorce. She saw those issues, tried to help me, but in the end, she just had to let it all go. It’s not her fault. Even Mom says she’s surprised Mallory didn’t leave me a lot sooner—and you know how Mom was always my biggest cheerleader.

I won’t lie to you. I’ve thought about it more times than I dare count. It’s usually when I’m driving alone, just as the sun dips below the horizon, taking the sky from pink to orange to purple, and that day smacks me in the face all over again, the pain growing only stronger with the passing of time. The way I’d do it, I’d aim my car at some far away tree, mash the gas pedal to the floor, race toward it, and be done. But then I’d hear your annoying voice calling me a selfish little prick—the way you always did when we were kids.

When we were kids. . .

There’s so much hurt wrapped around those four simple words.

When we were kids, we dreamed of playing Major League Baseball for the Atlanta Braves.

When we were kids, the only thing important to us was being able to stay outside for an hour or two after the streetlights came on.

When we were kids, we went everywhere on our bikes—and we never got tired of it.

Speaking of bikes, do you remember that time we decided we were going to be train for the Tour de France? We spent that entire summer riding all over hell’s half acre, thinking that’s all it took to win that stupid race. In your version, you and I would finish in first and second place. Of course, our versions differed as to which finished where. In my head, I was always the victor. And the prize money, well, that was spent a thousand different ways. Always on something foolish or needless—it would always be squandered on selfish desires. Mom would rein us in by taking charge of our fabled earnings. Into the bank, it would have to go. After all, we had college to think about.

I worry about Mom since Dad died. It’s not that I doubt her ability to carry on and live a productive life; she’s done that well enough in the three years since. It’s that profound sadness that envelops her when a birthday or anniversary or an old TV show worm their way into her cocoon, threatening to pull her out before she’s good and ready to deal with life as a changed species. She went out to dinner with Mr. Griffith from the church once—but that felt too much like adultery, essentially killing any notion of date number two. I just don’t want her to be miserable. It’s just her and me now, from our nuclear family. You always hated that term. You used to say it made you think that families could explode, taking entire cities with them. There’d be a mushroom cloud over our town—and it would mostly be Dad.

I miss his yelling about this and that.

Okay. So here’s the thing: I’ve never told anybody about that day. I never even told Mallory—and I told her a ton of major important things. I just can’t seem to make myself speak those words out loud. But I have to. It’s wrecking me, brother.

It was an accident. I swear on it.

I’m the one who locked you in the shed that day.

The day you died.

I did it. It was supposed to be a joke—a prank. I padlocked the door, expecting you to pitch a fit at being locked in. I’d leave you in there for a few minutes, before letting you out. Then you’d sock me in the shoulder and we’d have a laugh about it. But Donnie Soba showed up with a pocketful of firecrackers. I didn’t mean to leave you in the shed. I meant to unlock the door. I got sidetracked.

I didn’t know it could get so hot inside there.

I swear on it, Adam.

It was Dad who found you. He’d called the police after you failed to come inside once the street lights came on. He stomped around the living room, threatening to ground you for a hundred years, every so often yelling your name out into the night. Once Johnny Carson came on, the police were called. They drove the neighborhood, spotlights trained in the dark corners, searching for a wayward boy. I don’t know what it was that made Dad go out to the shed. It didn’t occur to me until he grabbed the key for the lock.

“I killed you, Adam.” There. I said it out loud.

It doesn’t make it easier.

I’m not just a killer. I’m the guy who killed his own brother.

I need to hear your voice, Adam. I need to know your thoughts on my transgression. Where are you? What do you see? What do you know? Have you been watching these thirty-odd years? Is everything I tell you already known?

Have you seen God?

Does He hate me?

Sometimes it’s like coming down with a cold. My body aches, my head throbs, and I can’t bring myself to get out of bed. It’s as if joy ceased to exist when you left. But I know that’s not true. Other people still experience joy and happiness and laughter. I’ve heard it. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. I’ve just never grabbed hold of it for myself—no matter how hard I try.

There really is no need for you to worry. Notions of wrapping my car around a tree are greatly exaggerated. I can’t do that to Mom. Neither can I put myself in front of God before my proper ending. For all I know, I’ll have to continue on well past the century mark, carrying the years as a burden.

Can you put in a word for me—the way you did when we were kids?

But would a simple word really count for anything?

I’m the reason you died, Adam.

Please forgive me.

Please.

Maybe it’s desperation that has me hearing your voice.

“Let it go, twerp.”

It comes audibly to me, as if you’re standing right beside me, speaking it directly into my ear.

My left ear.

“Is that you, Adam?” I ask it aloud, hoping for more.

But there’s nothing else.

“Tell me again—just once more.”

I think of Mom. Of telling her. Of unburdening my soul.

I won’t, though. I cannot.

It’s you I needed to tell.

It was always you.

And tonight, you heard me.

Of that, I am certain.

My burden isn’t gone just yet, but it sure feels lighter.

“Thank you, Adam.”

© 2018 Beem Weeks

This story, along with 18 others, is available in Strange HWY: Short Stories. Find it at all online booksellers.

Crackles of the Heart: Divergent Ink Book 1! A #BookReview

Blurb:

Divergent Ink is the mesh of different frames of thoughts, various interpretations of one core question that yearns for universal expansion. Although the subject matter may change every year, the purpose of the Divergent Ink series will remain the same.

The first book in the Divergent Ink anthology series, “Crackles of the Heart”, centers around the following question: Can the hot, handsome guy fall for the average, awkward woman?

Six Divergent Inks exploring “Crackles of the Heart”. Will there be hearts rejoicing or hearts breaking?

Featuring

Da’Kharta Rising: A five word invitation sets the tone for an afternoon journey. Short, provocative connectivity sizzles “Inside Me”.

Queen of Spades: One look from Her was all it took to put a ladies’ man into early retirement. Yet, the very object of his affection has no clue of his reform. When he opts to take a huge gamble, will his fairy tale end happily ever after or be deemed a “Tale in the Keys of Drastic”?

Adonis Mann: The dark of night can be more than scary, it can be downright intoxicating. When pleasure meets stupefaction, a man with a secret whirls into rapture at the hands of an unknown force. To which end? Will his secret be revealed, or will he revel in the delight it brings? Nothing is as it seems during the wonderment of “Mystical Nights”.

Y. Correa: Steampunk Earth, set in the distant future. When an ambitious city guy meets a carefree country lady, what starts out as a getaway to finish an important project turns into a interesting journey. Steam intersects and hearts collide in “The Steam of Opposites”.

C. Desert Rose: Terah has the misfortune of being given news that puts an expiration date on her life. In her desire to get away from the chaos, she has a chance encounter with the very one that can put the turmoil to rest. Is “Serendipitous Mirth” dumb luck, or preordained destiny?

Synful Desire: Bette is a hard working small town woman with simple pleasures. When visually stunning Jesse comes into the store on what’s normally her day off, her mind accelerates into complex overdrive. In this small town, a lot can happen in seven days. Will one of those events serve to satisfy Bette’s “Seven Days of Stimuli”?

 

My Review:

Rating: ★★★★★

This collection contains some truly intriguing works by authors who are skilled in the fine art of storytelling. Six writers lent their talents here. They have each taken a core question and answered it in their own unique words.

Though there are different styles at work, there remains a thread that connects each of the tales in this book, like a well-groomed path cutting through a summer wood. I’ve read some of these authors before. I am never disappointed in plots or mechanics or inspiration. Good writers know how to pull the reader in and dazzle.

The stories are provocative, dark, and at times, steamy in their telling—though not in an over-indulgent sort of way. There is an order to the chaos. I honestly couldn’t settle on just one or two as favorites, so I’ll give applause to each of these writers: Da’Kharta Rising, Y. Correa, Adonis Mann, Queen of Spades, C. Desert Rose, and Synful Desire. Cheers for a job well-done, authors!

I am a fan of the short form of fiction. This collection will sit on my shelf along with the others I’ve kept and returned to time after time.

Buy it Here:

Day 10 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 Book Tour: Release Day!

Welcome to Day 10 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 book tour! Today is Release Day!!!

 

Greetings everyone!

Before we proceed with the official cover reveal and book release of Concordant Vibrancy 5: Extancy, All Authors Publishing House would like to thank our supporters and all of the outstanding authors who have participated in the Concordant Vibrancy collection. The thoughtfulness and creativity put forth on each theme question will mark Concordant Vibrancy’s place as literature that will transcend time.

For information on all things Concordant Vibrancy, please peruse its website: https://www.concordantvibrancy.com

 

 

With a proud and heavy heart, All Authors Publishing House presents the final installment of the Concordant Vibrancy collection, entitled “Extancy”.
Eight exceptional talents intermingle to share their interpretations on the following question: “What intangible elixir is paramount to one’s survival?”
  • C. Desert Rose expands on the elixir of Awareness in her essay “Frequencies Towards Illumination”.
  • Carol Cassada outlines the amount of Strength to tackle the medically unexpected in “Caregiver”.
  • Beem Weeks explores the swiftness of Adaptation in his story “Five Minutes”.
  • Da’Kharta Rising elicits dark humor and strange situations as the ingredients for Felicity in “The Unmasking”.
  • Adonis Mann illuminates the subjectivity of Unity in “Axis … Redefined”.
  • All Optimism needs is a window of opportunity to flourish, as demonstrated in Synful Desire’s tale, “Rome’s Debris”.
  • Evolution is an intangible necessity through the many reincarnations showcased in “The Itinerant” by Queen of Spades.
  • The synergy of the aforementioned elements from Concordant Vibrancy I – IV are given lives of their own through “Soul Searching” by Y. Correa.

 

 

 

 

Day 9 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 Book Tour: Y. Correa!

Welcome to Day 9 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 book tour. Today we are introducing author and publisher Y. Correa. . .

Coming full circle … that was the most predominant feeling I got from the completion of “Concordant Vibrancy 5: Extancy.”

 

I feel like I have so much to say but I am finding it difficult to express.

The “Concordant Vibrancy” project was, in retrospect, executed with expediency. At the time it was being created things felt eternal, now that we’ve come to the end of the road, the time invested feels minute.

I am certain of one thing, however, the shelflife of this collection will be perpetual. The words encrypted within its pages, historic.

This is something that could not have been done without the participants. It was their skills, their wordsmithing, that led to the footprints made by Concordant Vibrancy.

I will never, ever, forget how much this project meant to me.

Now to answer some questions.

What prompted you to be a part of the Concordant Vibrancy concept? Which Concordant Vibrancy books are you featured in? Why did you choose a certain attribute as your answer to CV5’s theme question?

I was prompted to be part of the project because I was one half of the creation therein. I know it’s a short answer. I’m sorry but there isn’t much more I can add. LOL

I participated in all five books. My stories are as follows:

  • Unity: Alma’s Unsung Angel
  • Vitality: Genomegenics
  • Lustrate: Twin Planets
  • Inferno: Moxy
  • And now, Extancy: Soul Searching

For each installment I attempted to utilize a theme word that would bring together the concept of the elements. In the very last installment, I wanted to,as I stated at the beginning, “come full circle”.

It was important for me to tie together the fabric of Concordant Vibrancy by showing the world how each element works in tangent. The elements are synergistic; the function together or not at all. Such is the entire collection.

With that said, I truly hope you love the Concordant Vibrancy Collection as much as we do.

Here is a tiny excerpt of my story, “Soul Searching”.

 

 

 

 

Day 8 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 Book Tour: Queen of Spades!

Welcome to Day 8 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 book tour. Today we are introducing author and poet Queen of Spades. . .

Greetings everyone. My name is Monica, professionally known in the writing community as Queen of Spades.

On Day One of the Concordant Vibrancy book tour, you received an inside look at the think scape that prompted the project.

Today, I am speaking as a contributor to the collection as I answer the following questions.

What prompted you to be a part of the Concordant Vibrancy concept?

For one, it would look a bit strange that the co-creator of  Concordant Vibrancy wouldn’t be a part of the undertaking. Moreover, I was curious as to what my imagination would conjure as answers to each theme question.

Which Concordant Vibrancy books are you featured in?

I am featured in all of the books.

Unity: “The Authentic Snap”

Vitality: “Operation Restore”

Lustrate: “Threes”

Inferno: “The Calefaction of Insight”

Extancy: “The Itinerant”

Why did you choose a certain attribute as your answer to CV5’s theme question?

I have always been an advocate for evolution, not just in my professional development, but in my personal development as well. I believe that if one is not open to the process of evolution, then it is impossible to survive the ongoing winds of change.

Share an excerpt from your story.

In addition to the Excerpt poster, I want to share this segment that slightly precedes that language. For me, it speaks volumes because there are probably many who deal with this conundrum:

Additional excerpt from “The Itinerant”

In institutes of learning, all my classes are advanced placement. The color of my skin is a fat fly in a pool of buttermilk. There is no commonality in my classes apart from our collective ability to learn.

 

When I leave that echelon, exterior forces deem me inferior because of my melanin. The very community that I should be connected to drives me further into isolation, perpetuating correlations between skin tone and patterns of behavior.

Before I sign off, I want to thank all the participants, past and present, who have been a part of Concordant Vibrancy. This collection would not have been possible without you.

To keep up with all of my endeavors, check out the following links:

Website: https://www.authorqueenofspades.com

Personal Blog – No Labels Unleashed: https://www.nolabelsunleashed.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/queenspades

Twitter (@authorqspades): https://twitter.com/authorqspades

Day 7 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 Book Tour: Synful Desire!

It’s Day 7 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 tour! Today, we are introducing author Synful Desire. . .

 

Hello Awesome Visitors! I hope you are enjoying the Concordant Vibrancy book tour so far. On Day 7, we are going to talk Optimism!

 

I know that may be a difficult concept to grasp, considering everything that is occurring in the world today. For the majority, the word “sucks” can apply to the year 2020. Like, seriously, can we get a redo?

 

But …  there are some things I’d like to stay intact.

I had the opportunity to work with Adonis Mann once again, and just like that, Simmer: Sensual & Spicy was created.

 

It was all very impromptu, and yes, I am to blame for that one. But one has to strike while the iron’s hot. Otherwise, poof, the idea will be gone.
I am still high off the excitement of that release, which was back in December.
Another caveat that I’d like to keep intact was the opportunity to work with such fantastic minds for the final book in “Concordant Vibrancy”. I was unsure exactly where I was going to start or how I was going to go about it, but I did know that I had to show up and type as if my fingers were on fire.
But before I plunge into why I selected Optimism as the answer to the Extancy question, let me tackle the previous two.
What prompted me to be a part of the Concordant Vibrancy collection?
I liked the incorporation of elements and the theme questions. Plus, erotica writers were not excluded from participating. Although I could have submitted all stories with an erotic flair, I really pushed the envelope, even unintentionally wandered into a new genre. It just goes to show that no one knows what to expect from me at any given moment. I like delivering that element of surprise.
Which Concordant Vibrancy books am I part of?
I couldn’t resist being a part of them all. My stories are as follows:
“Lester’s Release” – part of Unity
“Return to Hues” – part of Vitality
“The Satiationship” – part of Lustrate
“Antipode” – part of Inferno and last, but not least
“Rome’s Debris” – part of Extancy
Now, back to Extancy and why Optimism?
When a person is going through a situation that causes pain, there are so many steps to get to a place of healing. A motivating factor must exist for someone to want to heal; otherwise, why do it? If an individual possesses optimism, the neverending light at the end of the tunnel, then it is the rebellion against the darkness. It is the encouragement that although it looks bleak, in time, all will be okay.
As you may know, rebellion and pressing on are two elements that are in my biology, much like my love for nail polish and fashion.

 

I am appreciative to everyone for stopping by.
Until next time,

 

Day 6 of the Concordant Vibrancy Book Tour: Adonis Mann!

Welcome to Day 6 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 book tour. Today we are introducing author Adonis Mann. . .

 

The Concordant Vibrancy Collection holds an exceptionally important space in my heart.

Through this channel, Adonis Mann, the author was born. I will be eternally grateful for the doors it’s opened up for me.

My story of joining the Concordant Vibrancy project is an interesting one.

In 2014 I just recently signed my contract to become an All Authors Publishing House author. I was, as yet, inexperienced in the field and knew very little about anything other than I was now being represented by All Authors and I would have to complete the book I was working on very soon.

One day I received an email asking if I would be interested in participating in the anthology project. I was delighted but there was one big issue … I wasn’t published yet.

Being that I had yet to have a book on the market, how would this impact my participation in the anthology?

I reached out to my publisher and asked, for I was uncertain if I’d been invited erroneously.

Following was our conversation, paraphrased of course.

“Dear Jazz and Monica,” I said, “are you certain that I can be a part of the anthology? I’m not yet published.”

“Yes,” responded Monica, “you’re part of the house.”

“But I am not yet published ….”

“Then you’ll be published for the first time in the anthology,” responded Jazz.

Oh, how the pressure mounted at that very moment. It was overwhelming and surreal. I could scarcely believe that my very first publication would be through these means. But there it was … about to come to pass.

And in short order, it did.

My very first participation with anything All Authors at all was “… and we” the short story which was included in “Concordant Vibrancy 1: Unity”. After that, I was included in all of the installments with stories entitled, “Barbershop”, “Luster Lingers”, “Express-Oh” and now “Axis … Redefined”.

It’s been a great pleasure having been part of the fray and my heart breaks as witnessing the end of the road. However, I do know that it was a stupendous ride while it lasted.

Now, please enjoy a short excerpt of “Axis … Redefined”.

 

Day 5 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 Book Tour: Da’Kharta Rising!

Welcome to Day 5 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 blog tour. Today we introduce author Da’Kharta Rising. . .

What’s happening everyone? The Slightly Antisocial Socialite, also known as Da’Kharta Rising, here to talk about all things associated with Concordant Vibrancy.

What prompted you to be a part of the Concordant Vibrancy concept?

No lie. At first, it was all about the exposure. When I made my writing debut, I didn’t have too much under my belt, apart from a couple of free independent short stories: “Vocal Remedy” and “Simi’s Komma” (which later became extended into S.K.A.R.). Also, I was one-third of “The Collective”, so there were those three stories.

Other than that, nada.

As time went on, I became more invested in the theme questions and really traveled the extra mile to put my “best pen forward”, especially in “Inferno” and the newest one “Extancy”.

Which Concordant Vibrancy books are you featured in?

Originally, I was only featured in Books 1, 3, 4, and this latest one. Yet, when All Authors reemerged with guns blazing, one of the projects they wanted to update were the previous releases of Concordant Vibrancy. At that point, I became part of Book 2’s relaunch, delving into new territory, writing an essay.

Why did you choose a certain attribute as your answer to CV5’s theme question?

I know … I know! It seems strange that someone whose main genres have to deal with drama and horror would land on “Felicity” as the answer to CV5’s theme question.

This time around, I wanted to show the readers a different side of me. One who has a sense of humor, albeit dark and sarcastic.

In “The Unmasking”, one may pick up parallels as it relates to the pandemic, but I put on my love for movie butter popcorn that all is fictional. Also, “The Unmasking” was written many months before any scientific advancements were reached.

I could have gone with a few excerpts which I found funny, but some of those would not be PG Book Tour friendly. Therefore, my publisher has selected one a bit more fitting with the cadence of the tour.

Okay … I think I’ve said all that has been required.

Now, for the supplemental aka “Braggadocios Bits”:

About The Author

Although Da’Kharta Rising prides herself as the Slightly Anti-Social Socialite, or SASS, there is nothing non-engaging about the biology of what she writes. Her philosophy is somewhat of a throwback: systematically creating an air of mystery, intrigue and drama designed to keep the reader not only hooked but using one’s imagination to follow a rich plot from beginning to end.

In short, Da’Kharta Rising embodies the Incandescence of a Cryptic Enigma.

Her body of work is composed of independently released works Vocal Remedy, S.K.A.R., Boundless Limits (Transcendent Choice, Book 1), and Apocawhat?. Her stories “Unrest” “Omitted”, and “The Kutters” appear in the Continuous Drips anthology. In addition, she has stories featured in the Divergent Ink collection: “Inside Me” and “Masato’s Zion”, respectively.

Future projects include participation in the next Divergent Ink books (“Cynosure” and “Synergism”) as well as the When Karma Speaks series.

For more information about Da’Kharta Rising, check out her websiteAmazon Author Page, or Twitter @dakhartarising.