June 04, 2020, 12:28:27 PM

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My order of the six books of the short story compilation I helped co-authored just arrived a few days ago. For this issue I was also the one who composed the poem on the back cover, so that's pretty damn nice I'd say.  ;D
So cool! That must feel amazing.

Here's my progressive children's tale.

The Stolen Ring (1356 words)

Spoiler for Hiden:
“Give it back, Devon!”

Jessie stood with her hands on her hips, legs spread in that upside down “v” shape. The scowl she wore could scare a kitten. At least that’s how Devon felt when they looked up from a drawing they were working on to her face.

“Give what back?”

“My ring, you idiot! The one I got from mom!”

Just bringing up the “m” word put a lump in Devon’s throat. Mom died two years ago in a fire. They’d lost everything except a few keepsakes. Mom’s ring was one.

“I didn’t take it,” Devon said.

“I know you did! You’re always steeling my stuff.”

“I didn’t take it!” Devon repeated.

They rose to their feet, fists clenched. Jessie stood a head taller than them.

“You were in my room this morning,” Jessie continued.

“I didn’t. Take. Anything!”

“Well, you’d better find it, brother,” said Jessie. “Or else.”

“I’m not your brother. I’m your sibling.”

“You’re a boy.”

“No I’m not!”

“Yes, you are. You’re a boy with boy parts and I’m a girl with girl parts. That’s the way things are, Devon. Wearing pink and nail polish won’t change the fact that you’re a boy.”

“I’m not a boy!” they yelled.

They kicked her in the shin. Jessie screamed and yelled for dad.
Devon ran to their bedroom and slammed the door. They sat with their back facing the door, tears pouring down their cheeks. They wiped drippling snot from their nose with the long sleeve of their hoodie.

“You don’t understand,” they sobbed. “You don’t understand anything. I’m not a boy.”

Devon wasn’t stupid. They knew who they were. When their teacher taught a lesson on gender last week, Devon’s heart leapt when they learned about non binary people. They may have only been nine years old, but they’d known they weren’t a boy or a girl for as long as they could remember. They didn’t fit either of those genders. Non binary fit. Non binary was them.

They told their father and sister about it when they came home from school, but dad and Jessie didn’t understand. Both of them said there were only boy and girl and nothing else. Jessie told Devon the “whole non binary thing” was stupid. It was only because mom had let Devon dress in pink and wear dresses and nail polish, in addition to the “boy” clothes they owned, that dad didn’t stop Devon from dressing how they wanted. He put his foot down on Devon letting their hair grow though, much to their disappointment.

“I’m Devon and I’m non binary,” they told themself between sobs. “I use they/them pronouns.”

They wiped snot from their nose again, wetting the sleeve of their pink hoodie. They imagined all the ways their life could be better—if mom were alive and if their family would actually accept them for who they were—

Their ears picked up a sound. It wasn’t a normal sound, not the kind anyone would expect to hear in a house, let alone a bedroom. It sounded like flapping wings, and it was coming from the closet.

Devon’s sadness vanished, replaced by a curiosity sprinkled with gut-twisting fear. They rose and crept over to the closet. With a shaky hand, they wrapped their fingers around the knob and opened the door.


Devon fell over backwards in surprise as—something—flew out of the closet and crashed into them, then flopped, hopped, spun and tumbled into the dresser. Devon rolled onto their belly, eyes wide. It wasn’t a bat at all! It was a…dragon!

Or a tiny one, only the size of a fairy. With bat wings. And a tiny red hat strapped to its head that made it look like a Christmas toy with its green scales. And around its neck?

“Mom’s ring!”

They scrambled to their feet and crashed into the dresser. The dragon escaped just in time and circled in the air. Devon jumped and flailed their arms to try and catch it. Finally, the dragon made a dash for the window, but Devon was quicker. They slammed the window shut and latched the lock.

“Ha! Now he can’t get out!” Devon exclaimed.

The dragon swooped through Devon’s grasping arms, then landed high up on Devon’s overflowing bookcase out of reach.

He? You called me a he?

Devon had that moment of shock and bewilderment at the squeak of a voice, then that jolt of surprise again when they realized it was the dragon talking.

Talking or no talking, though, that critter had mom’s ring!

“Give it back!” Devon demanded.

“Give what back?” the dragon returned.

Devon face-palmed. “The ring, you idiot! That’s mom’s ring.”

“There hasn’t been a mother in this house for two years. And I have no ring,” the dragon replied.

“Yes, you do. It’s around your neck,” said Devon, pointing.

“This?” The dragon raised its eyebrows while simultaneously touching the silver band. “This is a choker, not a ring.”

Devon scowled. They climbed onto their bed, then the nightstand…

“You realize I can just fly away,” the dragon noted.

“You can’t just steal someone’s stuff.”

How were they going to get up that bookcase?

The dragon fluttered its wings. “I found it in your room.”

“I was borrowing it.”

“And I’m borrowing it from you.”

“You can’t borrow without asking,” said Devon. “That’s the rules.”

“Did you ask your mom-who-hasn’t-lived-here-in-two-years to borrow it?”

Devon stopped to think. No, they hadn’t asked.

“I wanted to see it,” they confessed. “It’s actually Jessie’s now. But I wanted to see it. To remember mom.”

“Ah,” said the dragon in its squeaky voice. “Just because you want something, doesn’t mean you can just take it, can you?”

Devon shook their head. They stepped down from the side table and sat on their bed.

“Jessie’s mean.”

“You should still give it back to her.”

Devon sighed.

The dragon swooped down to the bed, landing in front of Devon’s crossed legs.

“I can give it back to you on one—no, two conditions. First, you have to promise that you’ll give this back to the rightful owner.”

Devon nodded. They didn’t want to, but they knew they should. It was the right thing to do.

And you must apologize to me.”

“Apologize?” said Devon. “For what?”

“Misgendering me.”

Devon blinked twice. “Misgendering you?”


“Oh. Well, I’m sorry. I guess—You’re not a boy dragon?”

“Are you a boy human?”

“No,” Devon replied.

“I’m not a boy dragon then.”

The dragon slipped the ring over its head and tossed the silver band on the bed.

“As promised.”

Devon picked the ring up, a smile on their face.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” the dragon replied, then flew to the windowsill. “Could you please let me out?”

“Oh. Yeah.”

Devon unlatched the window and pushed it open.

“Um…I’m Devon by the way. I use they/them pronouns.”

“Gerald,” the dragon replied. “I use ze/zir pronouns.”

“Ze/zir pronouns? I’ve never heard of those before!”

“Yeah, well, I get misgendered a lot unfortunately. Traditional dragons are always messing it up. Most believe there are only three genders, but there’s actually five. Some people even say six.”

“Six genders?”

The dragon shrugged. “Anyway, I’d best be off. I got stuck in the house earlier and couldn’t find a way out, so I ended up in this room. Then I found that lovely trinket, heard someone coming and hid in that tiny room with the clothes over there.”

“That’s my closet. But the door was closed. How’d you get in there in the first place?”

“Not the slightest idea. Ghost maybe?”

Devon chuckled. “Ghosts don’t exist.”

“Neither do dragons technically. Nor five genders instead of three. Anyway, it was nice meeting you, Devon. I’ll remember to ask before I borrow something again.”

With that, ze flew out the window and disappeared.

Devon turned the ring over in their hands. Images of mom poured into their mind. Tears blurred their vision, but they smiled. Mom understood them. And now Gerald understood them too.

They wiped away the tears and hopped off the bed to go return Jessie’s ring.

I just wrote a rough draft of a kids story by hand and going to type it up. I'll probably do a few edits before I post it.

My motivation's been completely shot for a solid 2 weeks and can't seem to get any motivation back. It's been frustrating. Haven't gotten any editing done on the second book and nothing done on the non fiction one either. Can't even seem to concentrate on reading.

I'm gonna have to start getting a routine in order since I'm outta work now. Maybe that'll help.

Ugh, can I pull a story together last minute...?

General Discussion / Re: Member birthday calendar
« on: April 29, 2020, 09:33:11 PM »
Thank you! Seeing those pics made me want cake, so I bought ice cream cake for myself and had them write "Happy 33rd" on it. Had a good discussion with my mom on the phone about how age is relative despite the years keep climbing higher, and that I've gotta plan something big for my 40th. I've only got 7 years to prepare  ;D Hopefully there won't be a pandemic then to keep me socially isolated from everyone.

You're all weird, with this talk of "open windows" ???
Got to have fresh air! The only time I close it if it's too windy, or if rain is coming in the window. Even when I lived only a few hundred yards from the East Coast Main Line, I still had the bedroom window open overnight.
*Looks at outside temp on phone* 9 degrees. My window and sliding door of my little apartment have been open all night and all morning. I need the fresh air. Gets too stuffy otherwise.

It's supposed to get up to 18 later. That's a freaking heat wave! I may don a tank top and shorts.

Welcome back, Sugoi. :) Last we heard from you, you had recently moved to a new city if I remember right.

That sounds about right. I can't remember when I was last here. lol

This actually sounds pretty cool and I have a morbid idea growing...now to fit in the time to write this alongside all my other projects.

That's great to hear, about everything - and ooooh you're too young and far away... ;D

I've been ok, no major changes (if we ignore the big elephant in the world hehe)
Really enjoying working from home now, which gives me a chance of plenty of breaks, do housework, and nice walks at lunchtime in the fields around my home.

That sounds like a fine life actually! I'm working from home, too, even though I'm sick of my job lol. Been getting jogs in most days in the river valley. :) I'm glad you're doing well!

Welcome back Sugoi :)

Thank you!

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: April 16, 2020, 07:08:50 PM »
I'm on Part 5 of 5 of rewrites/edits in my second book. It's a slow process, but I'm getting to the part about the desert tribes and a bit of their culture, which will be fun. I already wrote a myth for one of the tribes, which is thematically related to my main characters and the climax of the story.

Am I seeing @SugoiMe in the online list? :D
Welcome back, my dear!!!
I hope you're ok, and that you're going to stay around

Hi! Yes, it's me. Thanks so much for the warm welcome @ScarletBea!

So much has happened in the past couple years, can't even express to you all! I'm still writing though and hoping to self-publish the second book this year.  :) Oh, and I came out (bi/queer) publicly last year. So that was a thing that happened.

I hope you'll forgive me for the long hiatus, but I would like to stick around and reconnect! It's nice to see some familiar faces...usernames...er, avatars I guess lol  :D

Happy New Year everyone!

Writers' Corner / Re: How to Write Epic Style Novels
« on: December 12, 2018, 12:48:16 AM »
I have never been able to get through John Gwynne's Malice. Large casts of characters are hard for me to keep track of too.
But... but... he keeps people in the same storyline for several chapters, only changing in big chunks
(I love that series!)

I dunno what it is! I just can't get through it! Lol

Writers' Corner / Re: How to Write Epic Style Novels
« on: December 11, 2018, 02:47:06 PM »
I tend to put down books that switch between characters' perspectives every chapter where the storylines are very different. I like to hang out with a few characters for a few chapters, then switch to some others, then back to the first people. That kinda thing.
I feel the same. Changing POV every chapter wouldn't allow me to get into the story.
Surely that depends on the length/scope/complexity of the "chapter"? :)

Of course. But generally, I don't like them jumping around too much. I'd like to get into the feel of one character before switching to the next. Just a personal preference.

Scarlet Bea's example would also make me want to stop reading.

Seconded. I don't like too much jumping around either. It's the jumping between multiple storylines every chapter I don't like so much. Different POVs work fine as long as they generally stay in the same storyline. I have never been able to get through John Gwynne's Malice. Large casts of characters are hard for me to keep track of too.

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