On a Silver Coin

Her red cape flows behind her as she steps toward the lavish black carriage. I push through the people on the busy street, not allowing her to leave my vision.

“Rebecca!” I call.

She stops for a moment without turning her hooded head. She steps into the carriage as I break away from the sea of people. My clumsy run nearly brings me to the carriage before two ebony horses lurch it forward.

“Rebecca, wait!” I shout.

Her porcelain face, framed by dark brown curls, appears when she brushes the drapery aside and peers out the window. I think I see a tear streaming down her face.

I hold up the coin which now bears her face. She is the new queen, as she had once said she would become. Elected by the people who love her so much.

“I love you more than they do!” I cry.

She closes her eyes and allows the curtains to hide her away again. I chase the carriage for a while, willing for her to look back at me once more, but she does not.

I drop to my knees and watch the queen’s carriage disappear around the bend. I pushed her too hard, telling her that family and children were more important than her passion to change the realm. She is like a lone wolf and wild horse combined. She will make an excellent ruler.

Now, I will be alone forever because I refused to understand her. I will never see my wife again unless I dare to glance at that silver coin.

Instead, I toss it in the mud.

Eve & Adam Teaser

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Floating circles of red, yellow, and green rise above the long grass he lies in. His shaking, bleeding hands drop the knife. Blinking, he rises to his knees and wonders whether he is dreaming or already dead. The colourful spheres bounce up and down and he wonders if he is hallucinating. A slender girl is the owner of what he now makes to be helium balloons; they seem to lead her as she trails behind them. Her giddy gait, flowing brown skirt, and wide smile mock his fatal intentions.

Blood covers the sharpened blade, now resting in the dewy grass. He stands and slides his reddened hands into his pockets, cringing at how she will react at the sight of a random man sprouting up from the grass in the middle of nowhere.

The girl stops and waves at him. Seeing a weirdo appear out of nowhere does not unsettle her.

“Hello,” he says.

“What brings you up here on this fine day?” she asks, elaborately gesturing to the clear sky with her free hand as she steps closer.

Her fair skin is flushed from the climb and her smile has a girlish freshness to it. So full of life, she seems. He wants to hate her for that.

“I guess that I came up here to think,” he mumbles.

He should not be talking right now. He should not be doing anything right now.

Her smile softens as she tilts her head. “I came up here for the same reason.”

“Why the balloons?” he asks.

She shrugs. “It is my birthday today.”

“Shouldn’t you be at a party or something?”

She looks away. “Not today.”

He knows that she is from that little cult village in the woods, a dogmatic place located on the outskirts of a heavily religious town – his town. His parents used to threaten to send him there when he misbehaved as a child.

“Why are you alone on your birthday?” he presses, vaguely aware of the cruelty in his question.

Her posture deflates as the bouquet of balloons dance in the soft breeze.

When The Garden Flowers

Maria finished planting the very last purple pansy in the new colourful garden. Such a happy flower garden it was.

“I’m sure John will love how great of a gardener you are,” smiled her friend, Janie, who had brought out two glasses of lemonade.

“Do you think it will get better, Janie? I mean, things between John and I? I always imagined there to be epic emotions and fun day trips in a relationship, but we have none of that and we’re getting married in six months.”

Janie frowned. “You’re the first of us to get married and now you’re lamenting over nothing?”

“I don’t know if it’s nothing. I’m just finished college and I wonder if I might like to go abroad before finding a job.”

“What are you talking about?” shrieked Janie. “You’re getting married. You love John.”

“I think I love him. I don’t know anymore. Maybe we were just high school sweethearts that have outgrown one another.”

Maria tried to blink away the tears, but couldn’t stop herself from crying. It felt like what she wanted was so different from what everyone else wanted for her.

Janie exhaled loudly. “I’m just going to leave you alone to think about what you’re saying. I think you’ve been watching too many movies, Maria. John is a good guy and he’ll make a good father one day. Think of that.”

“Maybe that isn’t what I really want…” Maria said quietly as her best friend stormed away.

It was not criminal to break off an engagement. They were still young. She didn’t want to dispose of herself yet – not to someone who treated her more like a cousin than a lover. She wanted something more, but she wasn’t sure if she could take the flack for pursuing what she wanted.

“I think… I think I need to go to Woodstock,” Maria said with a sniffle.

“When the garden flowers
Baby, are dead, yes
And your mind, your mind
Is so full of red”

- Jefferson Airplane, Somebody To Love

Sansa Stark

Fragile as porcelain, it was foolish to think that my life would turn out to be a fairy tale. Flowers, dolls, and a wolf named Lady.

Until he came. 

Now that I have turned to stone, nothing else can hurt me. I am protected, even from them.

They think that I am a stupid little girl, but I can play along with their game. I’ll never be like them and this is why I will win. Anyone can be ruthless, but mercy… mercy can be more powerful than selfishness when it is hidden until just the right time. 

I hope.

P.S. She is one of the only reasons why I kept watching GoT. I’ll just skip past all of the other scenes to see how she continues on. 

John Andre, The True Gentleman Spy

As most of you might know, I love history, and I’m always sensitive to the atrocities of war no matter which side that they occur on. In historical war dramas that involve the Revolutionary War, the British are normally portrayed as overly violent, pompous, daft, or other unsavoury characters.

I just feel that if there’s any violence inflicted on human beings, then you are not on the right side. The Revolutionary War was just a blood bath for power, and it tossed good, decent people into the world of spying, killing, ambushing, being killed/hanged/torn apart.

John Andre was a lovely, kind person who was artistic and despised brutality. American loyalists adored his pleasant demeanour. He believed in the ethical treatment of prisoners, but when the time came for him to be executed, he was hanged as a spy rather than being given an officer’s execution, which he had requested. Even the Colonial Army shed tears at his execution. He was just another person who had left a mother back home, with a love of culture, art, and education, but was born in the wrong time and place. Not so say that he was any sort of angel, being a spy and being the cause of the deaths of many American soldiers, but my meaning is that the Americans were no more good, and, in fact, they failed on many accounts regarding the treatment of British prisoners.

I feel as though the death of John Andre really reminded everyone – on every angle – that they were all brothers fighting and killing one another over taxes and land. That freedom and power, whomever won it, had already come at such a high cost.

An eyewitness account of John Andre in his final moments before his hanging as a spy:

“Major André walked from the stone house, in which he had been confined, between two of our subaltern officers, arm in arm; the eyes of the immense multitude were fixed on him, who, rising superior to the fears of death, appeared as if conscious of the dignified deportment which he displayed. He betrayed no want of fortitude, but retained a complacent smile on his countenance, and politely bowed to several gentlemen whom he knew, which was respectfully returned. It was his earnest desire to be shot, as being the mode of death most conformable to the feelings of a military man, and he had indulged the hope that his request would be granted. At the moment, therefore, when suddenly he came in view of the gallows, he involuntarily started backward, and made a pause.”

- An eyewitness account of the last day of Major André can be found in the book The American Revolution: From the Commencement to the Disbanding of the American Army Given in the Form of a Daily Journal, with the Exact Dates of all the Important Events; Also, a Biographical Sketch of the Most Prominent Generals by James Thatcher, M.D., a surgeon in the American Revolutionary Army:[9]

Book Cover Reveal: Eve & Adam

My sister, Jessica Kjeldsen, has designed my book cover for a short story I’m planning to publish soon. I’m really excited that Eve & Adam will be live soon – probably in November! The cover design’s whimsical, hopeful appearance is what I had hoped it would be, because it’s both ironic and symbolic. We’re both into covers that shy away from the cliche of a woman looking off into the distance. I am very grateful that she could really grasp the feel of my story and be able to design it.

So, here is the cover! Let me know what you think, if you wish. :)

Design by Jessica Kjeldsen

Design by Jessica Kjeldsen

Writing From The Opposite Gender’s Point Of View

There have been quite a few people whom I’ve spoken to about writing, either writers or non-writers, who have asked me if I find it difficult to write from the male perspective as a main character. My answer is always no and they seem surprised at this.

There are a lot of authors who do write from the point of view of the opposite sex, so I find it interesting when speaking with other writers that some of them do find it a challenge and wonder how I’m able to do it. A lot of people describe me as very “feminine” or “girly”, but that’s just what they’re seeing on the outside. On the inside, I’m much more “gritty” and I feel almost genderless.

My answer to them is pretty simple: We’re all just people. I’m not silly enough to claim that there is no difference between men and women, but I do believe that there are differences within each gender that are greater because of personality types, different cultures, opposing ideals, etc. I’m probably more different, on some levels, than many other women than I am from a lot of men.

I guess that the best way to simplify my point to this post is that I relate best to those who are damaged in some way, but who are also idealists and enjoy talking/thinking about random, commonly viewed “useless” topics. This personality type can be difficult to find in real life, no matter which gender you are looking at, but they’re easy for me to write about.

It would be very challenging for me, at this point in my life, to write about a 40-something family woman with a glamorous career. I’d probably throw her into some sort of thriller scenario that would challenge her privileged sanity, but I still don’t think I’d get her down right. Not yet. The same would go for a man with a totally different persona from me, such as a sociopath business tycoon who likes to kill those who won’t close a business deal with him. But I’d like to get there one day maybe.

Right now, I’m all about writing for the under dogs, the near-suicidal wrecks or the bullied, traumatized young people who are trying to do the right thing and keep going. But I do want to be at the level where I’m open-minded enough to take any random character and be able to write them believably.

When writing as a dark, brooding male character, I can imagine that I am him as easily as I can imagine myself. I put on a different hat, as any writer does when they write about any character, and I become him as I’m writing.

So, this is my long, somewhat off-the-beaten-path answer to the writing in another gender question. I really don’t think we are all that different from one another – men and women, I mean. If we are different, it’s probably more of a personality/culture/socio-economic thing than a gender thing. That’s my belief, anyway.

In conclusion, I would say that as writers, it’s most important that we keep writing about what we’re passionate about. It’s good to challenge ourselves, of course, but write what you love, and if you love writing in one gender more than the other, stick with it! Don’t feel bad if you’re not into writing about someone of the opposite sex as the main character, but don’t rule it out either.

Do you find it difficult or easy to write in a different gender? Do you tend to stick with a certain theme for your characters? Be heard. :)