Category Archives: short stories

The Complications of Fire (A Short Story)

Love, much like fire, can be a very dangerous thing. To some, it can even be deadly—or at least life changing. But can a soul survive without love?

I’m living a coming-of-age tale, and it’s one I wish to share with you. It’s a life story not uncommon to a few billion other souls that have trod upon this earth. And that means it must be lived—every single second. Nobody tossed a completed work in my lap and proclaimed the hard part had already been lived for me. After all, it’s the scars of life’s beatings that bring about a self-awareness needed to complete one’s own destiny.

That’s all anybody is really doing here: living out their destiny.

My name is Judith Zot. And honestly, I can’t recall a time ever hearing my father, in his own voice, tell me he loves me. Not even once. He just isn’t that sort of man. Feelings—or rather the expression of—isn’t part of his makeup. I’m his only child. The daughter he’d hoped would be a son. But love me, he does. I have never doubted this notion. It’s there in his eyes each night I step into center ring and thrill audiences across the United States.

I have a talent for archery. Some might even call it my one true passion. It’s just one of those things that came natural to me the very first time I picked up a bow fifteen years ago—on the very day I turned five. That bow, it had been meant for the boy my mother truly believed occupied her womb. A fortune teller even told her as much.

But that’s not how my story plays out. In my telling of it, my mother birthed a baby girl, then promptly bled out, leaving my father a widower and first-time parent.

My father is not the only man in my life. I have a husband. His name is Abel Zot. We were married two years ago, shortly after my eighteenth birthday. Three months later, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and Uncle Sam drafted all those able-bodied young (and not-so-young) men. My father, well, he walks with a limp. An old elephant injury, he likes to say. The army couldn’t use him. Abel? They snatched him up in the first wave, sent him to Fort Hood for basic, before delivering him to the South Pacific to fight the very ones responsible for the mess our country finds itself in to this day.

pexels-golnar-sabzpoush-rashidi-3723862I didn’t mind seeing him leave—not to face death, mind you. He and I, we just never really clicked as a married couple. I like him sure enough, though I don’t know that I love him. And it’s nothing he did wrong, either. Getting married when we did, well, it just seemed like the right thing to do, taking that first big step in our recently acquired adult lives. We both understood it to be a mistake after that first week. He took to sleeping on a separate bunk in our Pullman coach.

I was born into a circus family—fourth generation. We travel the country by train, visiting places like New York City, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland. The Midwest and east, mostly, though we do from time to time reach as far west as Denver.

I’m sort of famous. Not like a movie star kind of famous, but darn close. I’ve even been featured in Life magazine—twice. Franklin D. Roosevelt himself requested my services for the first USO show in support of our Troops right after we entered the war. But even being known by the president isn’t enough to stave off tragic circumstances.

*      *      *

photo-1542675454-b3fbb8b41c18I’m the middle act in the circus—following right after my father and his elephants. Jimmy Hoke and I, we enter center ring for each performance at six p.m. on the dot. Jimmy, he’s like the little brother I’ve always wanted—ten years old, a face full of freckles, and fearless. That kid will do anything I ask of him. He puts a shiny red apple atop his blond head, and I run an arrow straight through it at fifty paces. He holds up the ace of spades in his left hand, and I pierce the card dead center. My favorite is when Jimmy climbs up top and walks the tightrope high above center ring, holding a target over his head while walking from one end to the other with perfect balance. I use a flaming arrow for that one. We’ve done these tricks a thousand times without trouble or injury. And the night in question, well, it began exactly the same as any other along the way.

*      *      *

“You’re the archer girl, ain’t you?”

He’d just been hired, the one asking the question. And from the looks of him, he ought to have been alongside Abel Zot, fighting the Japanese, on a ship in the South Pacific. But the United States Army didn’t figure into this boy’s plans. He stood taller than me by a full foot, had one of those lean and wiry frames, and arms a tangle of muscles and tattoos.

I shouldn’t have looked at him, but I did.

“I’m her,” I told him.

He shook my hand, said his name was Daniel. “Like the man in the lions den.”

That’s how it all began. Just small talk meant to pass the time, I told myself. But deep down inside, I guess I knew I wanted more.

Two weeks later, we’re laughing at each other’s corny jokes and having lunch together. Not alone, mind you. My father always ate lunch with me. So did Jimmy Hoke and his parents. The Hokes, they’ve been tightrope walkers since anybody with a memory could recall. Jimmy claims to be the seventh generation.

Lunches turned into afternoon walks or quiet chats during travel. My father took notice, decided to drop his own opinions of the matter into my ear.

“You have a husband,” he said. “And God doesn’t look kindly on those keen to adultery.”

“I’m just talking with the man,” I replied, hoping that would put such gossip to bed.

I will confess there are certain aspects to a relationship that I miss with Abel being gone—even if I’m not in love with the boy. A smile, a touch, a lingering kiss—all can be had without love being involved. This one here, the new guy, he already knew that about me. He’d read me like a dog-eared pulp novel. He began to eye me with mischievous intent—and I liked it.

He and the other men on the crew would raise the massive circus tent, always showing out for the gathering local girls. I’d catch myself watching him swing that giant hammer, driving stakes deep into the earth at whatever city we’d stop in.

It’s there that the fire began. A slow burner, this kind, lots of smoke at the source of it. Lunches together became late afternoon strolls out to where nobody would see. Kisses were stolen and saved and reminisced over late at night. Those very kisses soon became touch revealing heat in the midst of all that smoke.

We made love just once. And that’s all it took to throw the world out of balance. That it happened in my Pullman coach, well, that’s on me. I planned it out of yearning, a deep desire. I thought I needed that emotion, the lust part of it in my life.

“You sure you’re okay with this?” Daniel asked, seated on my bunk.

I read a certain nervousness in the man, like maybe he’d not done such things before—or at least not often enough to be comfortable with the whole ritual.

We were set up to perform in Cleveland, on the shores of Lake Erie. My father had slipped off for a drink with some of the crew, leaving me to my own devices. That usually meant I wouldn’t see him until just before show time.

The thing about Daniel’s kisses, they ran soft and slow and purposeful, as if he were savoring me and the moment we occupied together. His fingers searched out and found the buttons on my dress. Our clothing fell away like silent accusations lying on the floor. I pushed him onto his back and took up on top of him. And Daniel let me. It’s something Abel would never have allowed—this giving away total control of such intimacy.

Such an odd feeling once our heat became extinguished. In the afterglow we lay in silence together—him smoking a cigarette, me staring at the ceiling above. Simple conversation failed us.

I don’t recall when he left. I just remember Jimmy Hoke showing up at my door, ready for the night’s performance.

“You look flustered,” he said. “You mad at somebody?”

“Only myself,” I told him, leading the boy out toward the big tent.

We waited in our usual spot, out of sight of the paying customers. This is where we’d normally bond in our focus, Jimmy and me. A quick check of my bow, the arrows in my quiver, the props we’d take out there with us. There’s never much talking between us. Jimmy likes to think we’re psychic, that our minds are somehow working together in some strange mystical sense. And maybe that’s usually the case.

But this night wasn’t usual.

My father and the elephants danced their familiar routine, completed tricks I’d seen a thousand times before, and walked their slow wander from center ring.

The ringmaster shouted my name.

Fans took to their feet and cheered wildly. Some thrust copies of Life magazine in my direction, begging for autographs.

Jimmy sprinted toward the wide pole holding the big top high overhead—the way he’d done hundreds of times before. He leaned his back against it and set the apple atop his head. The boy trusted me to get it done. I’d never given reason not to.

I ambled over to where he stood, counted off thirty paces, and took my stance. It’s here that I should have called him off, feigned illness, and gone back to my coach. I’d only done such a thing once before—three years earlier in Atlanta. A touch of food poisoning laid me up for a few days back then.

A bad meal couldn’t be blamed this night.

My hands selected an arrow from my quiver.

Jimmy’s trustful gaze fixed on mine.

When I pulled back the bow, inside my mind Daniel’s hands found my breasts again, his kiss stole my breath, and my guilt threatened to expose me to every living soul beneath the big top.

Thwack!

My arrow split the apple atop Jimmy’s head. A clean shot—as usual.

On cue, the boy raised the ace of spades high above his head and held it perfectly still. A single nervous twitch would likely cost him a finger or two—maybe even a whole hand!

As I drew back the bow, my father’s words filled my head: God doesn’t look kindly on those keen to adultery.

Thwack!

The arrow tore through the very center of the card and lodged in the pole behind Jimmy and his still-intact hand.

While Jimmy worked his way to the top of the pole, I wowed the crowd with an assortment of bullseye shots on targets scattered here and there across center ring.

Atop the pole, Jimmy readied himself for the long walk on the high wire. Slow and steady he worked his way to the middle of the rope, high up where one misstep would most definitely be fatal. In his hands he held the heavy wooden target.

I found the last remaining arrow in my quiver, its point wrapped in gasoline-soaked gauze. A silver Zippo came to my hand—a gift from my father, given just before my first-ever performance. Sparks from the flint lit the wick. The crowd offered their enthusiastic cheers, knowing what would come next, daring me to see it through. I touched the lit Zippo to the arrow, set the tip alight.

Jimmy stood still at the center of the rope, held the cedar shingle target over his head.

I’d never missed before—not even in practice. The arrow always found its mark in the wood.

But this night, well, my father’s warning took away all of my focus: You have a husband.

The arrow sailed high and to the left of its intended mark, attaching itself to the very top, up there where the pole and canvas meet. Flames like wicked tongues licked at that thick covering. There’d be nothing to stop it from spreading.

Paying customers scattered for the exits as the orange glow magnified its intensity. Panicked voices of parents calling out for lost children competed with the cries of those certain death had arrived.

I’d lost sight of Jimmy in all that smoke. The last I’d seen the boy, he still stood on that tightrope high above center ring.

“What did you do?” my father demanded, yanking me toward the exit.

*      *      *

When the flames died out, the wreckage revealed three dead souls, each one a child under the age of twelve. Jimmy had been among them.

Life doesn’t just resume after a fire. It doesn’t just stop, either.

The circus shut down for the remainder of the season, putting the entire crew back at our winter home in Tampa, Florida. Nobody blamed me—at least not out loud. A dangerous trick, people would say. It was bound to happen eventually. Can’t play with fire and expect it to not burn once in a while.

Daniel didn’t follow us down to Florida. He’d never live with the aftermath and its heavy burden.

I never again set eyes on that man.

Abel, well, he returned to me a month after the conflagration. The one I called husband had taken a bullet in his left knee, thus rendering him useless to Uncle Sam.

He’d hobbled into the bathroom that first morning I got sick, held my hair back from the spew. “You okay?”

“Just fine,” I told him.

He sensed the thing growing inside my womb, understood the circumstances in its coming to be; the man made offers to raise it as his own.

“You won’t mind?” I asked.

His head gave a short left-right twist, a move meant to settle the thing right then and there. “I don’t even need to know the details.”

“I wasn’t offering any.”

“But you might—in due time.”

Abel’s arms went easily around my body. He hugged me close to him. His scent, both familiar and strange, carried with it a certain comfort, a reassurance of sorts. We’d be all right, me and him.

Love (like fire) can be a very dangerous thing indeed. And yes, to some, it might even become deadly—or at least life changing. But a soul, well, it most assuredly cannot survive without it.

© 2020 Beem Weeks

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.