The Skies Are Lighted With Lamps #27 (A part of my novel)

Inside, the two men went passed the other patrons and straight to the counter.  Only a few minutes had passed though.  But to Toney, he felt as if it was hours.  He was not the kind of man to sit still for any lengthy periods.  Being asked to sit still was like asking him to serve a lengthy prison sentence, for a crime he did not commit.

For those moments in the bar, he did sit; but rock back and forth, and tapped his fingers on his lap.  Then again, he was not much of a drinker.  So being in a bar was unnerving.

He felt the walls of the bar closing in on him.

The countertop, the only area of safety for him, a few times he rested his elbows on it; it sparkled.

The constant wiping on the countertop, by Peter, offered a welcoming distraction for Toney’s eyes.

The cream coloured walls, flaking, offered no beauty to the already dreary room.

It appeared, in every inch of the room, the mixture of sweat and liquor dancing violently in the air.  Toney’s stomach churned.  Glued to the countertop; he meandered his way in telling a bit about himself to Deo.

“Well, that is a little about me.  Nothing much too this man before you.  I am like a child in this place, brand new.”  Toney looked at the glass of whisky, twirling the last bit.

“I see…I see,” Deo shook his head, he too looked at the countertop.

“But, you have not really said much about yourself, who are you around here?”  Toney shrugged his shoulders.

Deo looked at Peter with a quick side glance.  Peter on the other side of the counter, with a white cotton cloth in his hand, had about six wine glasses in front of him.  Not in the conversation, but certainly close enough to hear the two men.  And maybe he did.  For as soon as he heard Toney’s question and got the glance from Deo, his countenance changed.

Peter moved away and tended to other customers.

Deo glanced at Toney, and then surveyed the bar on either side of his shoulders.  He appeared to look for something, something out of the ordinary.

Toney became concerned, but did not venture to speculate.

He waited for Deo to decide to answer, or at least process a response.

“Toney, all men are not build up equal,” Deo muttered in an undertone.  He peered into his glass of whisky, his eyes ferocious; more so than what it was outside a while ago.

“Okay.”

Deo gulped the last bit of the drink then continued, “Toney, I could sense you’re a good man, your heart, pure.  An adventurer, but your heart is pure.”  He gripped the glass closer in his fist.

“I am…”

“Over twelve years,” Deo bent his head back and closed his eyes, his breath is slow and deliberate; he dragged his words, “Toney, you tell me, what kind of man leaves his wife, his daughters, girls Toney, girls, and allows himself to go away!”

Toney bit down gently on his tongue, then attempted to fix himself on the bar stool, “Deo, you—”.

Deo interrupted him.  Toney acted surprised, but was relieved to not make a comment.  Really not knowing what he would have said.

“Toney, a ruthless man, I am a ruthless man!”  Not wanting to draw attention to himself, but apparently not realizing his strength, slammed the glass against the counter.

“Well, Deo…”

“That is okay Toney you could say it,” Deo jumped off the stool, stood, then pushed the glass away from him.

The two raised their heads recognizing Peter had moved closer to where they were.

“Deo, I think you had enough,” Peter said, as he reached for Deo’s glass.

Deo looked at the glass in Peters hand; he became pensive, hypnotized by something, “Yeah well…,” he mumbled.

Peter cleared his throat and turned to Toney’s glass.  Toney slid it to Peter’s reach, he too stood, frozen; waiting.

Then Peter spoke, “Ruthless men do not feel shame and guilt, but conscious men do.  You have returned, Deo, you are here now.  Shelly is happy, the girls are happy.  You have matured and I am sure that no one really treated you badly since your return.”

Deo bent his head, placed both hands in his pocket and turned away from Peter, leaving the bar.

Toney looked at Peter.  His both hands, palms opened, moved closer to his chest.  His eyebrow closed in to each other.

Peter though will have no curious question.  “And, please, am…,” he waved his finger.

“Toney.”

“Yes you, Toney.  Don’t ask me anything about the man’s past.  Just leave it alone.  No one around here wants to remember.  You hear me stranger?.”

Toney awkwardly moved the right side of his face.  He shook his head as a child being scolded for an unlawful act.

Peter attempted to walk away to attend too another customer, when Toney called out to him.  “Peter, I am looking for work, do you…, or do you know of anyone who needs someone to employ?  I am good with my hands.”

Peter stopped, held his hands over his mouth, then tilted his head as he close one eye. “Well I needed someone to help around here, but already contacted a person.  Actually, she is expected today, come to think of it, haven’t seen her yet though.”

Toney nodded and gave a little smiled.  “Well if you hear of any opportunities let me know,” he said and turned to leave the bar.

“Oh, wait,” Peter jerked his index finger in the air, signaling Toney.

“Yes,” Toney stopped, clasped his hands behind his back and bended slightly forward.

“You know, Mr. Chin Soo Chow asked me a few weeks back, if I knew any handy man.  At the time there weren’t any willing to take the job.  But I really didn’t hear him say anything about finding anyone.”

“Alright, I guessed that’s good news then.  I will check him out sometime this morning,” he smiled.

Urging Toney to go see Mr. Chin, right away, he waved his palms at him, then pointed, allowing Toney’s head to follow in the direction of his hands.  “He is next door, he owns the grocery store.”

“Nice, thanks.”

Toney, became spirited, thanked Peter and headed for the door.

A young, tall, gorgeously looking woman entered the bar, passing him on his way out, he nodded at her and proceeded to push the swinging doors and exited.

He brought his steps to a halt, turning.  Behind him he heard Peter vocalized something.  As he tiptoed over the swinging door, he saw Peter moved from behind the counter and stood in the middle of the walk way.

“Men, stop what you’re doing for a moment, and yes, Dennis that means you too,” Peter said.  He was quite assertive.  So much so, that every man in the bar stopped, raised his head and listened.  “Let me make this very clear—.”

But before Peter could continue, he was interrupted by Dennis.

“My goodness, Peter, who is that sweet girl?”  Dennis yelled, while he rose to his feet.

Some of the men chuckled.

Peter quickly made his voice overpowering once more, “Yes about this girl,” Peter suspended his words for a few seconds to glance in the direction of Dennis, “Dennis, I think you should remained standing, because when I am through with what I have to say, you will leave.  I will see you tomorrow, not today again but tomorrow, right!”

Dennis appeared to ignore Peter, pulling his stool closer to him to sit back down again.  The stool made a scraping noise against the rustic floor.

About twenty, or so, men were in the bar.  With horrid stares on their faces, they turned to look at Dennis.  His body arched to sit.

Peter’s toes itched to move in Dennis direction.

There was a silence, overshadowing the bar’s misty air.

Toney, still stationed at the door, heard an influencing tone from the other side of the bar.

“Dennis, you heard the man, we’ll see you tomorrow!”  The voice, assertive as well, but friendlier than Peter’s.

“That’s find Zig, I was leaving anyway,” Dennis responded.

Peter came back into the conversation, appearing to not be overly sidetracked by what had just happened.  “Now this is Candy, she’s my niece.  She’s now staying in the house just right around the bend, after the cemetery.  I think most of you will have remembered my older sister, Miss Joanna, who lived obliquely opposite the primary school.”

“Oh, yes man, I remember her, Miss Joanna, boy.  I for one sorry she gone,” Zig said nodding.

A few men chattered quietly among themselves about what Peter’s sister had taught them at school.

“She will be our waitress from today, she is to be respected and I ask that she shows each of you the same.  So are we are clear?”

Like a choir after the orchestra played the introductory piece, the men harmoniously bellowed, ‘yes’ to Peter’s request.

Peter now focused his attention on Candy.  He hugged her tightly, and kissed her on the forehead.

Dennis made his way out of the bar grumbling something to Toney as he brushed passed him.

Toney chuckled to himself.  Unto the streets, he entered the blazing sun and glorious light which emanated from the heavens, upon Kiskadee village.  As he walked in the direction of Mr. Chin’s grocery he squinted, trying to adjust his eyes to the brilliant light.  By now the sun was directly overhead.

Copyright © 2017 David Alexian

All rights reserved.

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The Skies Are Lighted With Lamps #26 (A part of my novel)

He came back onto the main street and continued walking westward, passing a few houses and small shops along the way.  On his left, there were more structures along the length of the road, but on the right, there were punctuation of small gardens, farms and empty lots.

He saw a bar.  The sign stood imposing.  Written in a style he had once seen in a cow boy movie on an old black and white television back on Dow Island.

Toney saw a crowd of about fifteen or twenty men, surrounding five others.  The five sat around a small circle, metallic coloured table, on weathered stools, frantically engaging each other.  They slammed on the table little white wooden blocks with black dots on them, lining them up in a formation.

The crowds cheered louder as Toney approached, making a pathway for him.  He hesitated to join the space now created for him.  But the noise infectious.  Cries like that of a coliseum.  Encouraging any who will venture in the centre.  He moved in cautiously, rubbing his toes against the inside soles of his shoes.

“No one can beat you now, Lamont,” a voice shouted from behind Toney’s head.  It startled him.

A few more then joined in the chorus shouting the name, “Lamont…Lamont…hail king Lamont.”

A dejected looking East Indian man got up from his seat at the table.  He tilted his head to one side, eyes fired red.  He looked at the men sitting under him.  He said nothing, just stared.  His eyebrows seemed to join each other over the crease in his forehead.  He panted.  His sideburns dripped with sweat.

For a moment, the crowds too grew quiet and backed off from the two men as if to give them space.  This was no longer a game.  Feelings were hurt, and the man standing wanted nothing more than revenge.

Toney felt compelled to stay.  He thought for a instant, if trouble were to erupt he will be in the very centre of it, and so, he should move away.  Yet flirting with danger, as if to prove himself a part of this new world, he stood his ground.

Still, the man standing said zilch.  His breathing became shallower and his palms made tight fist.  The rest of his body stood motionless.

Pushing his way into the little crowd came another man, a little over six feet tall.  Although, to Toney he looked more like seven feet—and Toney was five feet eight inches.  He was well over three hundred pounds.  A giant of a man.  A white apron hung silly around his neck; his belly pushing it aside as he moved.  He came to the table and stood, towering over the now quiet throng.

“Lamont, you good, you really good at this domino game,” the man shook his head left to right as he spoke.

“You could say that again,” Lamont said.

The man seemed to pay little attention to Lamont’s words.  “Everybody just cool it.”

“They better,” Lamont said, as he finally got to his feet.  “Like people around here don’t know who is me or what?”

The large man fold his arms, turning his attention to Lamont.  Although his folded arms looked more like him resting his forearms over a dinner table; his huge belly. “What is there to know, tell me, please?”

“Like this washed out old barrel confused,” the man who just got to his feet continued.

The little crowd giggled and a few chattered among themselves.

“I think you should hush now,” the large man said, pointing sternly.

All went silent once more.

Lamont eyeballed the man speaking to him.

“Are you serious, boy,” the massive man slowly removed the apron from around his neck, placing it over the table.  He moved in closer to Lamont, pushing the table to the side.  He now stood between Lamont and the clenched fist man.

“Come son,” someone from the crowd pulled Lamont from the centre of the commotion.

“No, please, leave the lad.”

“Come on Peter, you know how stupid youth can be,” the man holding Lamont by the hand said, as he took him away.

Peter now turned his frame to the East Indian man, who at no time moved an inch; except to narrow his eyes lids, fixing his attention on Lamont better.  “Now Deo, welcome back.  But a lot has changed around here.  Lamont is a man now, still loud, but changed.  So is Zig, Jah Jah and Dennis,” he pointed at the other men who were still sitting.

“Let me be the judge of that,” Deo said.

The man continued, holding the attention of the onlookers.  “And you will be.  Now, come inside everyone, one drink for each man, it’s on the house.  Deo is back, remember guys, Kiskadee village is changed.”

The crowds moved.  A few men left, including Lamont, but the majority moved in the direction of the bar’s swinging doors.

Deo stepped away from his chair.   He looked at it momentarily.  He became pensive for about a few seconds.  But shook his head as if to say he was satisfied with how things turned out this morning.  He tucked his shirt back into the waist of his pants; loosened, as he rose quickly from his seat during the altercation.  He dusted himself, cleared his throat and presented a smile.

His eyes now fixed on Toney.  “And you are?” he said, nodding childishly.

“Toney, Mr. Deo.”

“Ah!  Drop the Mr., is Deo for you,” he chuckled.  “Well, you heard Peter, come in and take one with me, Toney boy.”

Deo, tapped Toney on the shoulder, and gently nudged him to the opening of the bar door.

“Well, okay…why not.”

“It’s nice to see what Peter and them did with this place,” Deo looked at the eve of the building and to the side.

“Well, it doesn’t look too bad.”

“Toney boy, not too bad, you should have seen this place before.  This place was a real work of art.  A lot used to happen right here, a lot.”

“I guess every place needs to change, and even the people who live here.”

“If is one think, you right about that.  Alright, let we come out this sun.”

Copyright © 2017 David Alexian

All rights reserved.

The Skies Are Lighted With Lamps #25 (A part of my novel)

The two moved closer to the gentleman.  At first, he appeared not to recognize anyone standing at his side.  He simply remained staring at an ax in his hand.

The man took a deep breath, and cleared his throat a couple times.

Holding the ax firmly in his hands, he rotated his shoulders, as if in his mind, he struck the blade at the truck of a three.  Methodically, he did the motion about two or three times, and then froze.

Jason moved a bit closer to his father, arching his body as if to use his father as a shield, should the man turned crazy.

The man raised the ax slowly, high above his head.  Then he brought it down, almost in a straight line, unhurriedly.  It came to a stop, about three inches from the table top.

He remained holding the ax firmly in the same position.

Toney remained quiet as well, observing a moment of silence with this stranger.  His son, to the back of him, his blood running scared follow suit.

The man drew in a long breath and paused.  Gently nodding his head, he removed a hand from the ax, give a thumps up and released the breath.

“Okay…okay,” Toney said as he rubbed his palms together.  He made a stepped back, about an inch; figuratively giving the stranger some room to breathe.

Between Toney and the man there was a communication.  Jason was unaware of what all of this meant, but knew something had just taken place, between the man, the ax and his father; something sacred.  He just made it out to be something only men like his father and this stranger will understand.  For him, he will have preferred to leave this establishment by now.  That is, if his legs will have carried he at that time.

“Jameson is the name,” the man said softly.

Then like a new born baby, he rested the ax on a cleared space on the table.  “Haven’t seen your face around here before,”  Jameson turned to Toney and his son, his hands stretched out to greet Toney.

“Toney, the name is Toney, and, this is my son,” Toney motioned with his left thumb, moving out the way to expose Jason to the view of the man.

“Go on boy, tell the man your name,” Toney grunted.

“That’s alright Toney, the young man and I will have enough time to catch up.”

Toney looked at his fingernails, “How do you know it isn’t I who want the job?”

Jameson turned his head away from the two and straight in front of him.  “At my age, you get to be able to read people, and besides your hands are not for grinding, maybe farming.”

Jameson pulled the rubber band off his ponytail, exposing the strikes of grays in his unruly blond hair.

“Carpentry, Mr. Jameson, carpentry.”

“Well Toney, son, you learn every day,” he replied, while picking up the ax to examine its blade.

“Dad, you’re going to leave me here?”  Jason’s voice cracked.

Toney tapped his son on his shoulders a couple times, “He is a good man son, I trust him.”

“Okay, so you trust him.  We just met the guy.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Great, that’s just great!”  Jason raised his hands and dropped it at his side.

Jameson seemed undeterred.  He just kept at what he was doing; examining the ax in his hands.

As Toney made his way out of the shop, leaving Jason behind, Jameson called out to him.  “Two dollars an hour, the pay is two dollars an hour.  Work starts at eight and ends at four o’ clock, you will see him then.”

Toney did not look back, but raised his hand and waved.

Copyright © 2017 David Alexian

All rights reserved.

The Skies Are Lighted With Lamps #20 (A part of my novel)

In the bedroom, Merry waited on him.  She believed he was through taking care of the dogs, however, hearing the sound of his blade, she got out of bed.

“What’s wrong, Toney, what is going on?”  With a shriek in her voice, her head pushed out from the doorway; Merry gazed at her husband.  Her forehead creased.

“The dogs are missing!”  He responded, sounding as though moaning the lost of a dear friend.

“They will return my love, you have trained them well!”

Sternness filled the room.  “Merry John, it is my duty to take care of my—.”

Before he could finish, Merry said, “Take the lamp in the kitchen dear, go, bring them home.”

He turned to look at the forest outside, then to the floor.  A few seconds after, with the machete firmly gripped in his hand, he turned to her.  By this time, she was fully in the corridor between their bedroom and Jason’s.  A bed sheet wrapped around her body, one hand held the two ends together, the other clinched her belly.

Toney raised his chin, and made a step towards her.  She moved one step back.  Moving her hand from her belly she braced herself against the wall.

“I have to do this.”

“They will come back,” she shrugged.

“They are still knew, I can’t take that chance.”

“I am sure they are outside in the yard somewhere just having fun.”

“I called, they are not here.”

“Go, we love you,” she gave a dismissive wave.

Toney slowly turned from her, grabbed the lamp and disappeared through the door.

Merry moved towards the door and pulled it in.

A slight drizzle now lashed against the roof.

She whispered, “Toney, I love you.”

She did not see herself sleeping that night until her husband returned.

As she walked away from the door, to the corner of her eyes the rains started entering the half shut window over the kitchen sink.  She went over and pull it in.

Copyright © 2017 David Alexian

All rights reserved.

The Skies Are Lighted With Lamps #15 (A part of my novel)

“Sarah, she sleeps with you?”  A whisper broke the silence.

Shelly released the grip she had on the kitchen towel, used to dust the bread crumbs into a plate she held at the corner of the table.  She straightened her back and turned to him.  Just shaking her head at him, then looking down at the work she was doing.

“Sarah, our daughter, Shelly, I don’t know her…twelve years is a long time.”  Deo’s eyes glazed as the lamp’s light in the centre of the table beat against his face.

Shelly moved closer to him, as if to hug him, but stopped short.  He looked at her, hesitated, but then threw his right hand around her neck, pulling her closer to him.  As Shelly cried softly against his chest, he turned his head and looked out through the window and into the dark distance.

 

Copyright © 2017 David Alexian

All rights reserved.

3 Top Tips: Develop A Money-Making Writing Process

By Angela Booth

 

One of the most popular questions I receive concerns the writing process. It may be phrased as: “how do I write every day?”, or similarly. I always respond with another question: “what’s your goal?” Writing every day won’t help if you haven’t set any goals. So set some goals for your writing first.

Now let’s look at several tips for creating a writing process which helps you to make money, no matter what your writing goals happen to be.

What’s your current writing process?

To be able to change something, you need to know what it is that you want to change. Perhaps you procrastinate so that you write very little, or you feel that you don’t have enough time to write anything, or you’re frightened of writing because when you do write something you think that it’s rubbish… It doesn’t matter.

Grab a sheet of paper, or a sticky note (write on paper, so that you can paste the paper onto your car dashboard, or onto your bathroom mirror), and write down your current writing process in a sentence or two. Be honest. If you’re writing for ten minutes on a Sunday, or 20 minutes during your lunch hour at work, write that.

Try these tips…

1. WRITE ANYWAY. Because… Guess what? You’re probably never going to feel like writing every day

I love Mel Robbins’s book, Stop Saying You’re Fine: Discover a More Powerful You. She suggests that in any area of your life that you want to change, you must do the things that you don’t want to do.

Simple… But far from easy.

Whenever you don’t want to write for whatever reason — write anyway.

Over the past few months, I’ve moved myself and my business across the country, and I’ve found it very hard to write. I’m always suggesting DDT (do, don’t think) to my students, and it was time to put that into action myself.

Writing’s such a habit for me that I always write. However, without my comfy office, and a proper Internet connection, it was all too easy to convince myself that I had other things to do which were more important than writing. When I did get around to writing, instead of working on client projects, I amused myself by writing what I wanted to write (novels), rather than what I had to write.

Basically, I didn’t feel like writing, so I wrote for fewer hours than I normally do, and much less than I normally do. I had to remind my self to DDT, and to convince myself to write what I didn’t particularly want to write.

2. CREATE A WRITING SPACE, and close the door

If you don’t have a space that’s just for writing, choose one. Put some thought into it. This will be your “writing” space. You’ll train yourself that this space means writing to you, and nothing else.

Ensure that your chosen space has a lock on the door, good lighting, a comfortable chair, and a desk. You may not have these essentials (yet). Make do with what you have. Always go to your “writing” space when you want/ need to write.

If you’re easily distracted, turn off your Internet connection, so that you’re not tempted with Facebook, or online games, or whatever your favorite online activity happens to be.

Set up your space exactly the way you want it. Then, when it’s time to write, go to your space.

Perhaps you can only write during your lunch hour at work. In this situation, you’ll need to create a mental oasis. Imagine yourself in your perfect space: a large library, with lots of shelves, a huge desk…

3. MODEL A WRITER YOU ADMIRE: see yourself writing successfully

Which writers do you admire? Find a writing hero — someone who’s doing what you’d love to do, and then model that person. (To model someone is basically to do what they do.)

The Internet is amazing. Writers share their stories, and their processes, so you should be able to find any number of models who successfully write what you want to write.

Obviously, you can’t model your model’s successes. Your successes will be different from your hero’s successes. You’re modeling what your hero does.

Back to your sticky note…

Did you write your current writing process on your sticky note? If not, do that now.

Next, find your writing model. You may find that your model spends four hours every morning writing his books, and the afternoon hours reading and researching.

Don’t quit your day job to model this writer.

Instead, pay attention to the overall process: writing, reading, researching. If you follow that process, sooner or later you’ll get results.

Write “writing, reading, research” on your sticky note. All three (or however many elements there are with your model) are important. Include all the elements in your writing process.

When you don’t feel like writing, write anyway

It’s easy to become distracted — I’ve discovered that. If you find that you’re distracted, and you don’t feel like writing, sit down in your writing space, and write anyway. Within ten minutes, your mood will pass. On some days, it won’t pass. You’ll be very distracted — the same applies. Write anyway.

Over time, your writing space will have a Pavlovian effect on you. You’ll start writing as soon as you sit down and open your computer.

Your next step

Grab your sticky note, and choose a model. Then… write..

Original: http://www.fabfreelancewriting.com/blog/2016/04/06/3-top-tips-develop-money-making-writing-process/

5 Secret Tips To Writing A Successful Short Story

From Writer’s Relief staff:

Every story has a beginning, middle, and end. But the secret to successfully getting a short story published is to add something special to your storytelling mix…something that captures the attention of editors and readers alike. While there are no hard and fast rules for creating a great short story, here are a few industry secrets that will help your writing stand out:

Identify The Heart Of Your Story. Explore your motivations, determine what you want your story to do, then stick to your core message. Considering that the most marketable short stories tend to be 3,500 words or less, you’ll need to make every sentence count. If you over-stuff your plot by including too many distractions, your story will feel overloaded and underdeveloped.

See Things Differently. Experiment with your short story’s POV. A unique, unexpected voice can provide the most compelling, focused experience of the central story. Just be careful that you don’t inadvertently give the story to a nonessential character. Narrating the story line through a character who’s not central to the action is a common mistake many new authors make, often with confusing or convoluted results.

Opposites Attract. Elements that work against your character’s central desire will keep the reader intrigued and prevent your story from getting stuck. You can also try approaching your core idea from an unusual direction. Dialogue, setting, and characterization are all areas that will benefit from an unexpected twist.

Craft A Strong Title. This can be one of the most difficult—but one of the most important—parts of writing your story. How do you find inspiration for a great title? Have friends read your story and note which words or phrases strike them or stand out. These excerpts from your text just might hold the perfect title. Try to stay away from one- or two-word titles, which can seem to editors as taking the easy way out.

Shorter Is Sweeter. Resist the urge to go on and on. With a shorter short story, you will have more markets available to you and thus a better chance of getting published. Here at Writer’s Relief, our submission strategists and clients have noticed that editors consistently prefer short stories that are under 3,500 words over longer ones.

Use these simple tips to polish your prose and assess any potential short story shortcomings. With these insider guidelines, you can increase the odds of your short story being selected for the pages of a literary journal. That’s the best ending any author could devise—or even better, a great beginning to your future success!

Original post:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/18/short-story-tips-_n_3947152.html