Category Archives: SSpjut

Writer’s Journal

Two Things I’ve Learned Writing A Novel

“To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail.” ― Michael Jordan

Now that I’m almost finished with my second novel, I can admit there are two thing I ‘ve learned during the journey; write the first draft, and nothing is perfect.

Maybe its just me, but these were, and still are, the most challenging aspects of writing – be it novel, story, or otherwise.

Why so hard, you ask? Doesn’t every book have a first draft? – And shouldn’t an author wait until their MS is perfect, before sending it out to an agent/publisher, or self-publishing? more . .  .

Mark of Shamash Web Promo 1

Cookies | Hellhounds | Cloaks of Invisibility

Cookies , Hellhounds & Cloaks of InvisibilityBack to the wall, his favorite Spiderman T-shirt tucked into the top of cerulean blue spandex shorts, Felix peaked around the corner separating the dining room from the kitchen, his thick-lashed, still-soft-from-sleep eyes scanning the room for signs of possible discovery.

The mission? To obtain one, no two, better make it three, mouth-watering, stomach-growling, gotta-have-still-warm-from-the-oven, chocolate-chip cookies.

Cookies whose vanilla and semi-sweet-chocolate aroma had less than ten minutes ago slipped beneath his bedroom door and woken him from a dream filled with his favorite cartoon characters. With  his cloak of invisibility in hand, Felix had eased out the door of his bedroom, past the nursery – where mommy was busy with the wrinkle-faced, smells-like-milk, looks-like-a-monkey, crying-pooping-peeing-all-the-time alien life form – and down the stairs.

Up until now, Felix could find no viable reason to keep such a creature in their home. Not with the way it cried at all hours of the day and night, occupied his special place on the couch next to mommy and, even if it wasn’t in the same room, could use its supernatural powers to command every adult within range of its voice to do its bidding.

Yet, taking into consideration this newest development – with mommy occupied with the alien, he, Felix, was free to do, go, say or be whatever he wanted – it might not be a bad idea to allow the creature to stay.  At least for a while longer.

Calling upon his own considerable powers, he shot strands of super-powered-spider-like cords of plasma to the back of the stool closes to his target. Then, with all the stealth of a true super-hero, swung-ran from the doorway to the stool, ducking down between it and the island’s taller-than-he-was wall, covering himself with a cloak of invisibly (like Harry Potter) to hide his presence.

A moment later the hell-hound Dodger stepped into the room, its heat-seeking eyes sweeping the area for any trace of Felix’s scent. Heart racing, body trembling, the boy held his breath. If discovered, there wasn’t the smallest doubt he’d be overpowered, covered in a slime powerful enough to deactivate even the strongest cloak of invisibility, then forced to endure hours of fur-shedding-wet-dog-smell attention.

He pulled the cloak tighter. Unless he was willing to forfeit the mission, discovery was not an option.

Closing his eyes, he sent the hound  an image of the  neighbor’s cat jumping over the fence into their backyard. Moments later, the kitchen erupted as Dodger skittered across the floor, bounced off the laundry room wall, and disappeared through the  plastic covered hole in the back door and out into the yard beyond.

Felix resisted the urge to run to the window to see  how long it would take for the beast to stop looking for a cat that really wasn’t there. But he didn’t. Experience had taught him where one hell-hound was, the other was sure to follow.

True to form, within moments a second beast, this one named Ruby, burst into the kitchen, hard on the heels of the first hound.

Felix waited a few more minutes before easing out from behind the stool, careful not to let the cloak slip from his shoulders. As long as he remained invisible, not even the alien, with all its super-natural powers, would be able to detect his presence.

Hand over hand, he began climbing up the stool, his bare feet searching for just the right purchase, leaf colored eyes fixed on a point several feet above his head. Inch by inch, little by little, he pulled, pushed and squirmed his way up, drawing on all his supernatural strength, fully aware that the window of opportunity given him was closing fast. Alien life-forms and overprotective hell-hound aside, he’d forgotten to go pee before beginning his ascent. If he didn’t capture the cookies soon, he’d either have to abandon the effort or wet his pants.But Superheros didn’t wet their pants or abandon their cookies.

He considered pinching himself  to keep from having an accident . . .  A familiar liquid warmth spread out across the front of his shorts. Felix lower lip trembled as he reminded himself, big boys, especially ones with superhero powers – Do.Not.Cry.

Taking several deep, shuddering breaths, he resumed climbing until at last he was draped over the stool’s seat. A brief rest, then a little more maneuvering  and he was able to get first his knees, then his feet under him – his tummy now level with the island’s shiny, black counter-top.

Trembling, his ‘accident’ all but forgotten, Felix pushed himself as tall as he could go, reached for the plate of cookies  and – found only empty air, the prize still inches from his fingers. Pools of moisture gathered in the corners of his eyes as the futility of the situation began to reveal itself.

But superhero’s – Do.Not.Cry.

They use their super-smart powers to figure out another way.

Felix swiped a hand across his eyes, scrunched up his face, and thought very, very, hard.

He could try willing the plate to himself.

Nothing.

What if he used the same trick on himself, as he had the hell-hound?

Still nothing.

What would Spiderman do?

Grinning, Felix thrust his hand towards the plate, released a web of plasmic rope, then watched as the dark filaments attached to the plate’s rim.  Giving the cord a gentle tug, he watched as it slide to stop right beneath his hand.

A minute later Felix mouth exploded with pleasure as, with one hand fisted around three-medium-size-discs-of-chocolaty-goodness, he used the other to hold the one he’d chosen for immediate consumption.

Mmm . . . just one more thing he’d be adding to the list of what made mommies so special.

By the time he’d licked the last of the evidence from his each of his ten fingertips, he was giving serious thought to the fact he no longer believed three cookies would actually be enough. Taking an additional three more for good measure,  he elbow-pushed himself off the counter, bare toes once again finding the smooth, flat surface of the stool’s seat, and froze.

It had taken both hands to crawl up here.  Hands that were now full of chocolate chip cookies.

Should he put the cookies back?

Not an option.

Drop them on the floor?

Possibly. But if the hell-hound got to them before he did, there wouldn’t be anything left for him.

Shove them in his pockets?

Superhero pants didn’t have pockets.

Twenty minutes later, his soft-little-boy features covered in tell-tale signs of hastily eaten contraband, Felix waited only long enough for his toes to touch the floor, before racing towards the bathroom, chocolate stained fingers and immature sphincter clenched against a re-enactment of the day he’d found his parents stash of Halloween candy.

“Felix!”

If he could just reach the potty . . .

“There you are . . . ”

An hour later, bathed and seated in front of the TV watching his favorite superhero cartoon, Felix refused to acknowledge the alien life-form imprisoned in the car-seat carrier next to him. If not for her, he, Felix, would not have had to go into the nursery and explain the stains on his face and shirt, thus delaying his ability to do business in the toilet, instead of his pants.

As punishment,  mommy had put him in charge of watching it while she, mommy, made more cookies. It seems the story about cookies, hell-hounds, and cloaks of invisibility, hadn’t gone over as well as he’d hoped.  But that was alright, because come tomorrow, he’d use his newest superpower and simply teleport them from the kitchen to his bedroom instead.

After all, being a superhero was hard work, requiring a minimum of at least, one, no two, no better make it three, chocolate chip cookies per day.

By SSpjut, 2014

All Rights Reserved

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