A new experience

It’s official: JagWire is now online! 

Thanks to WordPress, School Newspapers Online, and the school administration, my beloved newsmagazine can finally begin its eventual goal of ditching the expensive print edition. While that won’t happen this year, we decided to cut our number of print issues down to six this year instead of eight.

This saves us $1000 (the website cost came out of last year’s budget I think.) and allows us to focus that money on making each print issue more appealing and exciting (color!). 

I spent most of today designing the website and getting everything ready for the school year. Social media accounts have been connected, custom headers added, a photo galley started, subsections added, and the color scheme finalized. Now I just need to get the Editorial Board to take a look and begin writing some articles/taking pictures of the activities going on this week at the school.

I’m super excited for this new opportunity. 

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I’m Not Alright (flash fiction)

My whole life, I have lived separate from everyone else. It wasn’t by choice. The other kids at my school just don’t understand me…don’t want to understand me. They whisper things like “freak” and “insane” as I brush past them in the halls. They move away from me when I sit down at the library. No one parks next to me, or eats lunch with me, or sits next to me during class. Every partner project I have ever done has been solo. 

They think I’m different. They are right about that. I am the same as them in every way: I eat, sleep, go to school, do homework, and spend hours on Facebook and Twitter. I work out every day, and I sport some pretty big guns. I am the same, except for the voices. No one else hears them. 

They tell me things, they guide me through my day, and somehow they always know what is to come. For months now they had been saying that something will happen at school, something terrible. I should have been prepared, but the gunshot took me as surprise. I could have saved them, but then again, no. They wouldn’t have LET me save them, because I’m a freak.

I’m not alright, because everyone thinks I’m just another psycho.  

Schedule mistakes

My senior year in high school is quickly approaching. School starts on September 3rd, but I have been at the school frequently this summer for newspaper. I arrived at the school at 9:00 a.m. to work on the new JagWire Staff Manual. I also had the time to hang up a few old newspaper cover pages up around the classroom and get a draft of the new page 2 design. 

When my teacher came back with the updated class roster, my name wasn’t on it! Somehow, the school had decided to not put me in newspaper, even though I am the co-Editor-in-Chief. At 11:30 a.m. we headed down to the office to get things sorted out. 

My schedule was a mess! I was signed up for AP Senior Literature, AP Government & Politics, AP Statistics, Physics, and Spanish III, but I had no 1st period or newspaper. After deleting my schedule and going through class times, the school was able to to put me in newspaper if I dropped Physics and AP Literature, and instead took Senior English. This left me with no 5th period class. 

Now, that really isn’t big deal for the school itself. I already have enough credits to where I don’t need to take any more classes this year (except english and government). But, the colleges I am trying to apply for want me to have a full schedule. My newspaper adviser said that I could be a teacher’s assistant for him during that period, where I would basically do newspaper work instead of TAing his 5th social studies class.

It was a nightmare, and I am still not approved by the school to be a TA, that authority lies with my counselor (who left the school, so until the new one gets settled in I don’t have a 5th period). 

Have you ever had schedule problems in school? 

Long Way Down (flash fiction)

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I stood on the edge of the well, looking down into the eternal blackness. The place gave me the goosebumps: if I hadn’t lived here my whole life I would have thought it haunted. But then, maybe it was. This was the first time I had ever been to the south tower, after all, and anything could be down inside that well.

I began to move down the moist stone sides of the well, gripping the small ledges that wound around and around and down and down, perhaps forever. The gaps between the grooves in the stone were rather large, and I struggled each time to pull myself over onto the next landing. 

Why was I even doing this? I don’t like the dark and I certainly don’t like creepy places. Just because the voices were louder here than anywhere else in the castle didn’t mean anything. I mean, surely they were all in my head? There can’t actually be anything down in this well.

The air was growing thick around me, tasting stale, almost like old bread and cheese. The moisture on the walls was getting thicker, causing my hands to slip. I couldn’t see the top of the well anymore, not the end of the black abyss below me. Perhaps there is no end. Maybe it does go on forever. Then I felt my hands slip from the slimy walls. 

I began to fall, the air pushing all around me. I didn’t want to die, I was just curious about the voices. I had been told my entire life to never go inside the tower, but I didn’t listen. Who really does at my age?


I think I was right all along. I must have been falling for hours, and there is still no bottom. I can’t see anything but my worst enemy: the dark. The voices are growing louder, I can make out their words now. 

They are saying come to us, your family is in danger. If that much is true, then I should have stayed out of the well! Maybe I could have helped them. 


I landed on the bottom of the well with a thud. I didn’t feel any pain and I could move around without incident. Perhaps that is because I already died. Perhaps it is because of magic. 

Then I heard the voices again. They were right next to me, whispering in my ear, telling me things that I didn’t want to hear. I wanted to die at that very moment, I wanted to join my ancestors in the great heavens above. 

That was when the torches were lit, and I found myself surrounded.

“We’ve been expecting you for some time,” a voice said. “A very, very long time.”

Charunnete: The Crisis (written in 2011 or 2012)

I as going through the documents on my laptop because things had gotten a little bit messy. I had probably deleted twenty or so documents that I didn’t need anymore, while putting the ones I did still want into the correctly named folders. 

That’s when I found this. I knew that I had it somewhere on my laptop and on my external hard drive, but I was surprised nonetheless. I wrote “Charunnete: The Crisis” sometime in 2011 or 2012. The document says December 27, 2012, but I know that’s when I transfered the file over from my old computer, not when I wrote it. 

At the time, I actively took part in a website called Roblox. I would build things in those virtual worlds and I was the owner of a “war group” with 400 members. I wrote “The Crisis” as a prequel to a story I was writing with someone in my clan, my second-in-command, from Louisiana. The stories were based on our clan as if it was the real world. So, I am posting it here in all of its glory. The storyline would be interesting to return to, to start fresh and build upon. 

Reading through it, I kind of get embarrassed. The writing isn’t very good nor well structured, and it all seems rather bland. It is interesting, however, to analyze my growth as a writer over the past two or three years. 


 

Prelude:

The lands of Charunnete were empty as all its citizens headed to their TVs or to the capitol. There was not one citizen who wasn’t waiting for what might happen. Emperor Buggie of Charunnete sat in his office at the capitol. He took a long look out the window to the gathering crowd of thousands of citizens along with hundreds of reporters armed with cameras. He slipped his crown on his head and took one last look around the room. He was going to miss this. A man wearing a black suit entered the room.

“Your Royal Majesty, it is time for your speech on the current rebellious outbreaks,” he spoke in a soft voice.

“I’ll be right out,” Buggie replied with a sad tone.

As the man left the room Buggie ripped the flag of his autocratic rule of Charunnete off the wall and folded it in his pocket. He grabbed all of his belongings from the office and placed them in a bag. He then walked slowly down the marble hall. As he approached the front doors of the capitol he heard an announcer say “Ladies and gentlemen, your Royal Emperor, Buggie.”

Buggie stepped out on the plaza above the thousands of citizens. Many held signs of protest and were quickly arrested.  He reached the microphone and sighed.

“Welcome my wonderful citizens of Charunnete. This week there have been many troublesome events that have shaken my mind for the worse. Two regions of Charunnete have threatened to withdraw from the Empire and use military force against us. There have also been various strikes and protests here in the capital city.” Buggie paused for nearly a minute, looking at every single camera in the back and to various citizens. “These events have troubled me greatly. Charunnete is a wonderful nation and always has been. During my reign of power it has grown into a capitalist center that the entire world looks towards. I have tried my best…” he paused again. “Tried my very best…to make people happy and strengthen our union. I have led this nation to many military and economic victories that will never be forgotten.”

He paused to take his crown off his head and look at it. Many people in the audience leaned forward, wondering what this meant.

“I love everyone who has stayed in this empire, and followed my rule. Let this be the last time you hear from me for a long time. I bid you all farewell; it has been an honor to lead you all. I regret to announce that this is the end of the Charunnete Royal Monarch line.” With that he left the crown on the pedestal and walked back inside. It would be a long forever.

Chapter 1: The Meeting

The day was becoming night. The red sun sparkled on the calm waters of the Miore Bay in Charunnete. It had been many years since the last war in Charunnete. In the past Charunnete was known for killing off native tribes in their lands and striking hard on all who opposed them. While the nation grew more commercialized and into the high tech scene, war industry began to fall. Many of the nation’s military organizations grew off this tech and entered galactic war. Wars continued for many decades, Civil Wars, Galactic Wars, you name it. However, some things can’t continue on forever. The power house military corporations stopped getting government funding and began to disappear. Charunnete was soon in a world of peace. The Charunnete government turned to helping its citizens and making life easier. The Autocratic Empire had ended for a Socialist Democracy.

Buggie walked along the dark pier at the Charunnete City Docks. His long trench coat was dirty and tattered and his face was stern.  His pants were ripped in various spots and his arms had scratches and scars all along them. Buggie used to be famous in Charunnete. He was known for being the Emperor of Charunnete along with its main military corporations, as well as the last living member of the royal Charunnete family. Those times were over. He walked to an old, run down storage facility and entered though its shanty doors. It had a dark, empty feeling as he continued past a few boxes. There, in the middle of the room stood a man with a black cloak.

“I have brought the package,” Buggie spoke in an almost hoarse voice.

The man looked up, his face still shrouded. He began to speak in a sinister voice. “You have come too late. The boat has come and gone. All of your hopes of starting a better life in the northern Capitalist nations are over.”

Buggie sighed,” I hope too much and I just have to face the fact. My time to do something is over. I should have taken Alex’s offer to leave Charunnete and start a new life in the management of Realtopia.”

“But you could not. You had a fear of returning to that job in the Empire. Now, give me the package anyway, it’s time for plan B.”

“Plan B?” Buggie asked while he gave the man the box.

The man opened it and lifted the large gun out. “Perfect…one of the last weapons from the old Charunnete era…how did you come across this?”

“You have to remember, I led the military for quite a long time. The things that you find in office are quite interesting.”

“Yes…now plan B…” The man took his hood off. It revealed his old, wrinkled face and deep grey hair. “Plan B will take work…but will benefit us. We retake Charunnete.”

“But…how will we do that? Surely you don’t suggest a rebellion!”

“No rebellions. It’s time to return to the public eye. We have hid in the shadows too long, I, Deliothe Von Geoff, the former Chief of Public Affairs, will run for President. Meet me at the Charunnete Metro Station tomorrow, at noon. It will be busy then. Many citizens don’t even think you still live in Charunnete. “

“Will do,” Buggie said as he turned to leave.

“One more thing…”Deliothe said.

“Yes?”

“Try to look nice.”

Chapter 2: Catch your train

Buggie woke up in his estate in the Charunnete metro area, if it could pass as an estate. The house was large but falling apart, and the yard was full of weeds. In its glory days it was by far the nicest house in the nation, complete with marble flooring and walls. After a few years Buggie seldom came home and slept in motels, abandoned shacks, and tents in the mountains. He also frequently visited the ASL Main HQ (an old military corporation), which was his own design and former HQ when he was Emperor. Recently he had returned home and it would seem he must stay there for a while. During his time away he had been robbed many times, windows were broken, the doors squeaked, the lawn was uncared for, the pavement was cracking, and the interior was beginning to rot.

He walked to the bathroom and took a long shower, something he hadn’t had in a few days. When he got out he cut this hair from nearly butt length to just below the shoulders. He then combed it and brushed his teeth. He was beginning to see the old him. He then shaved his growing beard off and dressed in his old black robes that he wore when he was Emperor. He let out a gasp when he looked in the mirror. It looked much like his old self…with one thing missing…his crown. The good news was that he kept a spare one for memories. He placed the gold crown on this head and draped a cloak he had made from his old Charunnete reign around him and headed out the door.

In the much better old days a limo would be waiting to escort him, but that ceased to exist many years back. He climbed into his only car that hadn’t been stolen; the one he drives everywhere, his Chevy Camaro from 1968. He drove down his cracked driveway and onto the private street of rich houses. As he drove down it he saw people that were watering their already sprawling green lawns turn around. They knew that car; the Ex-Emperor was out and about. He turned onto a main avenue with busy shops before turning onto the Charunnete City Highway. It took him a few minutes of driving down the freeway to reach the main city. The sight of Charunnete is always breathtaking. Its many skyscrapers reach the clouds with their variety of colors and richness. However everyone knew that wasn’t so.  When Charunnete’s new President, James Longhowser, took office the economy crashed. Many businesses collapsed in debt and Charunnete was feeling it all the time.

He took a freeway exit that led to the city center, and the metro station. He parked his car and stared at the station for a minute. This station was built recently to replace Charunnete’s King Station, which was designed by Buggie himself to suit trains, buses, and subways. This new Charunnete Metro Station stood many floors taller with breathtaking windows and light fixtures, bent on both high tech resources and Victorian styles. This new station served trains, buses, subways, monorail, and other rapid transit systems recently installed throughout the city. The parking lot was very full because this was the place that the Charunnete National Democratic Party would hold its convention.

Buggie stepped out of this car and headed to the main entrance. He saw that the door was guarded by men in black suits with guns, ready in case someone tried anything. When Buggie came closer their jaws dropped.

“E…Emp…Emperor…Buggie.”

“Former Emperor. I gave up that job years ago in case you haven’t noticed,” He replied in a strong tone.

“Where have you been? And more importantly why are you here?”

“I have been around the nation, mostly by myself, where exactly doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I have returned to the city hopefully for good. I am here to help my running mate.”

With that he passed inside. This conversation repeated itself many times with citizens, but for the most part, he snuck in…once his crown was tucked away instead of on his head.  Finally he reached the very center of the station. It had chandeliers, water fountains, a pedestal, and loads of media attention. Buggie made his way to a seat and watched the convention.

A man with a sinister face and black hair, who wore a white tuxedo, stepped up to the microphone.  “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Charunnete National Democratic Party Convention. Today we will meet those who are running for President from our party in the upcoming elections. For the past 10 years our wonderful President James Longhowser has kept his reign in power, with the votes of the people of course. However, since the President is of the Charunnete Economic Success Party, he doesn’t get our votes. We need a new President. I present to you our first candidate, Mr. Nikki Way.”

A young man with blonde hair and a nervous face stepped up to the microphone. “Hi, I’m Nikki Way and I am running to be your President. I want Charunnete to fix their economic problems and grow the military once more. That’s all.”

There was a small amount of applause as the next person came. He had a long white beard and wore a blue suit. “Hello citizens of Charunnete, I am Josiah the Wise. Many say I am a man of great magic and wisdom and I hope to spread that around Charunnete. Our current state with politics, military, and economy is embarrassing. I want to improve our nation, bring it back to Capitalism, and show the world that we can recover. Remember back to our glory days, when Emperor Buggie was in command. Our nation stood out and was successful. Had he not stepped down like a coward during the rebellion and started Charunnete’s fifth Civil War, we may be in a better place today. He was a great leader, and I hope I can live up to what he did.”

There was an enormous applause and hoots and hollers.  Buggie felt proud of himself but was also filled with anger. He had been a coward.

Then he saw him, Deliothe Von Geoff. He had his grey hair combed back and wore a black tuxedo with a flower in this pocket. “Greetings people of the Lesser Charunnete run by the horrible James LongHowser. Many of you know me; I am the former Charunnete Chief of Public Affairs from Emperor Buggie’s reign. I know how a government should run, and how it shouldn’t. I want Charunnete to return to the old Capitalist format with large military power. This recession is taking its toll on all of us. I hope to fix that and bring Charunnete back to its greatness. Many of you are thinking I’m just copying Mr. Josiah to get a thunderous applause, but I speak the truth. Former Emperor Buggie respects me and thinks I can do a good job.”

He paused and beckoned Buggie forth. Buggie placed his crown on his head and stood up. As he walked up to the microphone the crowd went into shock. Gasps could be heard and you could probably hear a pin drop.

“Please welcome Former Emperor Buggie,” Deliothe Yelled.

Buggie began to speak. “Citizens of Charunnete, it is an honor to stand before you again on this day. I never thought that I would ever speak in public again after leaving office ten years ago. Ten years…it seems like much longer. Many of you have wondered where I have been and why I stepped down and left Charunnete to be fixed by my successor. I haven’t left this country in ten years other than to visit friends. I have seen the worst of this recession. I have lived amongst those who are on the streets and been to those who hate the modern Charunnete. I have seen what the government has done to my precious military I left. I am sick of what I have seen. Over the past few years I have tried to escape this nation. I was offered a position in the government of Realtopia and refused it, hoping Charunnete would come around and it hasn’t. I tried just last night to leave on a ship to the Capitalist nations of the north. It left before I arrived. I am happy to say now that I have settled back to my old estate here in the city. I know that my friend Deliothe here will bring Charunnete to greatness. Not only that, but I will support him in all of his efforts to become President, under one occasion.”

Deliothe looked towards Buggie. “What is this occasion?”

“I want to return as the head of the military and restore our place in this world,” Buggie demanded.

Deliothe thought a moment. “I agree to these charges, together, Charunnete will be restored.”

The crowd went wild and many stood up in applause. Buggie chuckled when Josiah the Wise fell over in shock.

Just then a dozen men in black tuxedos marched up to the pedestal. They went up to Buggie and began to speak. “The President saw your speech; he wants to speak with you.”

“When?”

“Now.”

And with that they led Buggie off the stage and they travelled to the parking lot.

 

 

Rock of Ages: the story of a rock n’ roll band (flash fiction)

The fireworks exploded all around him, sending a heat wave hotter than hell right up his denim jacket. Sweat rolled down his arms as he gripped the microphone tightly. He looked out into the black abyss in front of him, his ears ringing from all of the shouting. “Good night TACOMA!” He yelled, raising his microphone into the air like a champion. “Our best show of the tour, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Photos I took of Motley Crue's final tour in Auburn, WA in July. I was in row 9 of the stands.
Photos I took of Motley Crue’s final tour in Auburn, WA in July. I was in row 9 of the stands.

Each time he said ‘thank you’ another series of fireworks and cannons went off. It was louder than a battlefield, and just as well. The louder, the better. He danced off stage, giving out sweaty high fives to the roadies and crew as he headed into the dressing rooms. A man had his arms wrapped around his neck, breathing heavy on his face with a wide smile. “We did it, man. That was our greatest performance yet. God…I should have thrown out a few more drumsticks.”

Dave Viypr, lead vocalist for the greatest rock n roll band to ever tear across the land, Stryped Viyprs, just smiled back. “Hell yeah! Let’s celebrate.”

Celebrate, in the words of any rock band of the time, was to get drunk or high, or perhaps even both. That, and the girls, Viypr thought, his smile becoming a grin. All of the blondes, brunettes, and red heads. I’m not too picky. He opened the door to his dressing room with his drummer in tow, collapsing on the zebra-print couch that matched his spandex perfectly. The makeup on his face had smeared and his tall blond mohawk had begun to fall flat. Above all, his legs and arms ached from all of the dancing and jumping around.

And the crowd surfing. That, is the price to pay for a great show, he thought, grabbing himself a bottle of whiskey. “Take your whiskey home,” he wailed, signaling a start of the party.

His guitarist, the flamboyant, shirtless beast that was the one and only J. J. Elliott entered the room with a dozen or more girls, each wearing barely any clothing. “Just the way we like ’em! Sexy.”

It would be a fun night.

A new look for my half birthday

For the past while I have been using the Twenty Fourteen theme from WordPress for my blog. It really suited my style, especially with the thick black border. But that look reminded me of my failure: when I let my blog go down the toilet because I really didn’t care.

Now I have employed the Elegant Grunge theme, which goes well with my new old school header photograph and graphics. With this new design, I want you, my readers, to know that I am serious about this blog now, and I won’t let you down again. This past month I have seen a bit of a rebound in readership and even the creativity I have put out on the table.


 

Goals: I will publish at least three times a week to this blog, no matter the subject or length, or even if its just pictures of something I had done recently. Even a simple list will work, because I also want my blog to have diversity and interest that will keep you coming back to see what is going on.

 

A Good Day to be Alive; A Good Day to Die (short story: part one)

As I have mentioned before, I am taking a short break from my fantasy series to explore some neglected areas of my writing. So, I started various side projects like Timber that I posted earlier, and this one. I don’t even have plans to make these into anything, they were just fun to write. These side projects are allowing me to escape from the confines of my planned out fantasy series, and all I have to do is start writing. Wherever it takes me, the destination is good.

For this little project I ventured into the life of a retired…well…I wouldn’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave it at that.


Excerpt from “A Good Day to Die” – August 9th & 10th 2014.

The sound of sprinklers always got to James Pursley. Not in the bad way like when things just change your mood from good to grumpy, but in the calm and soothing way that made him feel young again. He listened to the sprinklers go “tick, tick, tick, tick, tickkkk!” The screams of neighborhood children playing around made him think of his childhood, when he too loved to run through the sprinklers.

He was laying back in his lounger on the earthy-stained wood deck in his backyard. His black aviators kept the glare of his neighbor’s solar panels from blinding his sensitive blue eyes. He lay there to soak in the rare Washington sunshine and the cloudless bright blue skies, speckled with low-flying jet airlines bound for Seattle-Tacoma International and Globemasters bound for JBLM to boot.

It was a jolly good day to be alive in his books, but unfortunately he had just sold them all at the community garage sales the past weekend. Got a couple bucks out of them old first editions though, he thought. And that was all right with him. Afterall, he was a retired man now. And boy was he glad to be done with that dark chapter of his life.

But, he was burning. He got up and walked slowly into the shaded half of his deck, where the overhang’s outdoor fan immediately left him feeling cool. He sat down at the table, slipping a clean black vinyl record onto his turntable. He slowly lowered the precious needle into the grooves as it began to pop and crackle. Then the soothing sounds of Jim Croce’s “Rapid Roy (That Stock Car Boy)” began to drift from the speakers. James sang along, not missing a beat.

Just as his favorite part of the song started to play, he grabbed his glass of iced tea and held it up in front of him, blocking his views of the majestic Mount Rainier and its snowy glaciers. “To forever and always. It’s a good day to be alive!”

The wind began to whip through his backyard, twirling his hanging flower baskets and blowing pine needles across the gray deck. Wind was frequent in his master-planned neighborhood, since it was positioned right along the forested edges of the top of a 500 foot tall hill. The wind always blew right through the gaps in the massive houses as it cruised on towards the Cascades. Even so, James was taken off guard.

What a way to end a gorgeous day! He thought. The wind will surely bring the clouds in.

But he supposed that was also alright. He had chosen to settle down in the south sound region, hadn’t he? He could have moved to Arizona or California, but he chose to return to his childhood home town. He had moved all the way across the country to return. He had done it for the mountains: the sunrise was always so spectacular coming over the snowy peaks. He did it for the clear rivers and creeks and forest lakes, where he could fish and catch those crawdads. Most of all, he did it because the west was free. It was the only place he could go hiking through the snow-covered mountain meadows at ten, take a ferry across the Puget Sound for a nice seafood dinner at five, marry a man at six, and smoke weed at seven, without seeming out of place. Of course, that would be the case if he was into any of that, which he could happily say he was not.

A photo I took in 2013 of the sunrise over Mt. Rainier from my house. It is very much like the views this story would have.
A photo I took in 2013 of the sunrise over Mt. Rainier from my house. It is very much like the views this story would have.

He liked it here, even the rush hour traffic on the I-5 and the 512. Hell, he even enjoyed watching the meth addicts tweak around south Tacoma on his way to downtown’s antique alley, even if it took half an hour to reach the city from the suburbs. Anything was better than his old life, and hadn’t he loved that too? Oh yes,  he had loved every minute of it. Now, it all seemed so distant, like a dream he had awoken to last week.

High thoughts came to an abrupt end when he felt the ice cold edge of the knife to his throat, pushing against his stubbled neck.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Pursley. It’s been a while.”

Timber: an excerpt from some side project that fell into my lap

I don’t even know how I got to writing this. I decided to take a break from my epic fantasy series for a few days, just to let my creative juices flow. But then I did something strange. Instead of powering up Microsoft Word 2010 or Scrivener, I took out an old journal that I used to write in back in ninth grade. Then I grabbed my favorite green mechanical pencil and I just started writing for a good ten minutes.

It started off with a description of my surroundings, of the bright blue skies and the majestic Mount Rainier peaking out over my fence line. I even noted the kids in the neighboring houses playing in the sprinkler. But then I scratched it all and started over.

Now it resembles none of that. It is something different, and something that is much closer to my heart than my fantasy series. Enjoy, give feedback, or don’t…if that’s your choice. I don’t mind.


Excerpt from “Timber” – August 9, 2014

The November issue of South Wood High School’s Timber newsmagazine was the same as always. A lack-luster symbolic tabloid photograph was plastered to the cover page in a thick inky mess, the colors so distorted that only the news staff knew what it was supposed to be: the editor-in-chief chained to a school district official, who was ripping apart a copy of the first amendment to the United States Constitution.

No one but the staff of the newsmagazine even cared about the paper. Most of the 1700 copies ended up in recycle bins or neat stacks by the doors of classrooms, awaiting a Timber representative to take them away forever.

The students who did dare to open the bulky and inky newsprint were bombarded by lengthy articles and thick black headlines and decks that screamed “READ ME! READ ME!” On page two there was an article about the increasing violence and road rage in the school parking lots, featuring not one, but two dark photographs of the overcrowded lots: the cars blending in with the pavement. On page four there was a full-page sports feature on the star quarterback of the South Wood football team, complete with a blown-up photo of his cocky smile. For those still reading the paper, page seven had a poorly worded opinion article on Thanksgiving, in which the reporter concluded that turkeys were in fact beautiful creatures that shouldn’t be eaten. On the next page the same reporter had written a “Wacky News” article on immortal lobster power, the text completely surrounded by illustrations of lobster claws and butter dipping sauce.

Perhaps the greatest part of the issue was the seven-page In-Depth cover story about student press rights: urging students to join in the fight against the Silver Meadow School District’s prior review and censorship regulations.

“As if anyone cares,” Ted Eppe said. “I’m sorry, but your newspaper appeals to that one percent of the school that sleeps under the stairs during study hall because they’ve smoked too much weed.” He paused to turn to the back cover. “But, your lunch menu looks great! Cardboard Hawaiian pizza tomorrow. Delicious!”

Elizabeth Plant, “Lizzy” to all her friends, slapped the varsity football player with a rolled up newspaper, leaving an ink spot on his bare shoulder. “We did our best with what we had. It’s not my fault that all of the sophomore reporters are complete duds. I should fire every one of them at semester.”

Revising my book series plan

As with many authors, I have planned out how many books I want to write in my epic fantasy series. Each book already has a plot scribbled out, enclosed in my notebook of ideas and world building. Some ideas even make their way to the corkboard above my desk.

The number of books I had planned to write in my epic fantasy series, Egaethor, was 11. The list looked like the following:

  • The Guardian of Egaethor series
    • Prophecy of Misharedra
    • Warden of One
    • Paladins of Euphinor
  • The Destiny of Egaethor series
    • Progeny of None
    • Trail of Visions
    • Heritage of Zeylon
    • Throne of Gods
    • Demon of Zardoclya
  • The New Darkness of Egaethor series
    • Sons of the South
    • Passing of Legends
    • Angel Stone of Zelrione 

Each series would deal with a different set of protagonists. The characters from each series would be downgraded to secondary characters, so it wouldn’t be like a whole new book series, but it would be different enough to where you wouldn’t need to have read the series before. 

Based on the way I have been writing Prophecy of Misharedra, I decided that the series needed some revising to match my new vision for the world of Egaethor. My new plan looks more like this:

  • The Guardian of Egaethor
    • Prophecy of Euphinor
    • Warden of One
  • The Destiny of Egaethor
    • Child of None
    • Heritage of Zeylon
    • Throne of Misharedra
    • Demon of Zardoclya
  • The New Darkness of Egaethor
    • Sons of the South
    • Ruler of Gods (?)
    • Angel Stone of Zelrione 
  • Post-New Darkness of Egaethor stand alone
    • Gift of Man

For now, I plan to take a break from the series for a few weeks. The past year of working on it has really kept me from writing short stories and other stories that I want to tell. I will come back to the series sometime in September, and then of course, for NaNoWriMo and beyond.