|VLAD PARASCHIV Writing Portfolio Samples|
From creative writing to editorials and articles, from advertising copy to poetry and children books, from marketing materials to web content I can deliver articulate, professional materials.
I was born in Bucharest, Rumania. After the demise of communism, my parents — drunk with the sweet wine of freedom — decided to see the world...
I was eight years old when we came to the US. Ironically, despite my parents' efforts and the unlimited opportunities, I had no practical bone in my body, so I became a full time dreamer, a.k.a.: a starving artist.
In college I was seeking knowledge, rather than a degree. I dabbled in everything, but I could not decide between Journalism and Communications, Eastern Philosophy and Psychology, so after three years—when my finances dried out—I dropped out... Later I ended up finalizing a degree in Graphic Arts. Go figure!
Throughout it all the only constant creative outlet was my writing. I started to write as a child, and it was the one thing that has perpetually brought me joy, not to mention praises from teachers, professors and, yes, even my parents.
I published my first piece at 17, and just kept going, always with the next “Great American Novel” on my mind. Around 2004 I started to freelance as a writer, copywriter & editor for hire. From creative writing to editorials and articles, from advertising copy to poetry and children books, from marketing materials to web content I can deliver articulate, professional materials.
Please review a few writing samples:
On Friday, April 25, The Aquarium
Rescue Unit played to an appreciative and receptive audience at Lynaghs
Music Club in Lexington, Kentucky. Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, the
musically eclectic quartet displayed an extensive knowledge of musical
styles ranging from Jazz, Fusion, Rock, Rhythm and Blues, and straight-up
greasy Funk. The Aquarium Rescue Unit shifted easily and convincingly
from genre to genre while still maintaining the core integrity of any
given song, keeping the meter solid and simultaneously infusing their
compositions with an edgy improvisational feel.
Reaction to subUrbia
Welcome to our Region!
Cause and effect.
A basic concept easily exemplified by a stone thrown into water and the
resulting ripples. The cause is the initial action, and the effect is
the result, the reaction, expected or unexpected, but nevertheless unavoidably
concluding the cycle.
Tell you what, Jimmy,
this business is going to the dogs. Who do you gotta kill to make some
A Bad Space-Time to Sneeze
Eye of the beholder
"Flutter Girl, light my way" episode.
Jorges last remark as he walks up and puts the pitcher and the glasses
her eyes, annoyed. Gets up and goes to put her hands on Petes and
Jakes shoulders, leaning over their heads.
to find fun somewhere else. Pete waves his hand over his shoulder as if
batting away a fly. The three of them sit in silence for a second.
(A server walks
up and starts picking up empty beer bottles off the table.)
End of Act One
Aspects of Reality
Story sample: Age Group 9 to 12
On the other side of the rainbow, there is a magical realm called Nyanza. In this enchanted land all creatures live in harmony, and the place is always humming with the buzz of joy and laughter.
The fairies of Nyanza dwell in the tallest, most beautiful tree in the forest. When they are happy, their wings glow and their wands shine brightly. They sing, dance, and play all day. Nothing dreadful ever happens in Nyanza under the watchful eye of beautiful Queen Nioma.
One evening, when the fairies' tree was lit up with brilliant sparkles, and songs were floating in the air, Ayla, the tiniest fairy of the land, was sitting on a branch at the very top of her home tree. No matter how strange it may seem, Ayla was very unhappy... Her wings did not glow, and her wand did not shine... She did not sing or dance. Ever since her best friend, the magical bird Kael, left Nyanza, Ayla was sad and lonely. She still could not believe what had happened....
One day, Kael had come to meet her—and without even saying hello—he asked:
"Hey, Ayla, how would you like to go with me on a journey?"
"A journey? Where would we go, Kael?" Ayla was not a very adventurous fairy, and the thought of leaving her home scared her a bit.
"To the land of humans, where else? That is all we ever talk about around here! I don't want to listen to the stories anymore! I want to see for myself!" Kael was excited and opened his magnificent wings to emphasize the magnitude of his vision. "All the wondrous places, all the people that live there, the shiny cities and green fields, the mountains covered with snow, and the rivers that run into the oceans... I want to see it all!" He stopped his tirade and inquired, grinning, "Are you in?"
"Oh, my, Kael! That's so reckless!" Ayla raised her voice in disbelief. "You don't even know what a mountain is! The land of humans is unknown to us and full of dangers! How about volcanos, floods and hurricanes? Terrible beasts live there, and people are mean and hurt each other. They would hurt us for sure!"
"Don't be such a wuss, Ayla," Kael laughed. "If the stories are true, we'll recognize the mountains when we see them, we'll stay away from beasts, we'll avoid volcanoes, we'll find shelter from storms—and the people can't all be mean... Come on, what do you say?" As Ayla hesitated, Kael declared: "I'd rather go with you, but if you are afraid to leave your tree, I'll go alone..."
Ayla stomped her foot in frustration, "Then go! See if I care!" Soon she realized how much she did care, when Kael shrugged:
"Suit yourself," and then he took off flying. "I'll tell you all about it when I get back!" he yelled from above, soaring higher and higher into the golden sky.
Her friend had not been gone for more than a moment when Ayla started to miss him, although she was too angry to admit it. She was mad at Kael, because he didn't try harder to convince her; she was mad at herself, because she didn't find the courage to go with him....
For a while the tiny fairy kept hoping that, any day now, Kael would return. She was not mad anymore. She couldn't wait to see him and tell him how sorry she was she did not join him. She couldn't wait to hear his stories about the places he had seen and the people he had met beyond their fairyland.
Many days passed. Ayla's hope slowly faded, and she started to wonder if she would ever see Kael again. The tiny fairy was sad and lonely all the time now... The other fairies were truly concerned about their tiny sister. They were doing all they could do to cheer her up. When nothing worked, the fairies respectfully asked Queen Nioma to intervene. The loving, compassionate queen summoned Ayla and asked her softly:
"What's wrong, my child? Why don't you play, dance, and sing with your sisters? Are you ill?"
"No, My Queen, I'm not ill," murmured Ayla, "I just miss my friend, Kael." By now the fairy's eyes were welled up with tears.
At the queen's request, Ayla told her everything about Kael's journey, about her frustration, sadness, and fear that she would never see him again. When the fairy finished, the queen sighed:
"I wish I could help, but my voice cannot reach outside our realm... If I call Kael, he cannot hear me. You better learn to be patient, my dear. I'm sure your friend misses you as well, and he will be back soon." The queen tried to comfort Ayla by gently kissing her forehead. "No more tears, all right? Be brave, little fairy!"
Oh, yeah—thought Ayla sarcastically—that is likely to happen...NEVER. If I were brave I would be with Kael right now.
The fairy returned to the comfort of her tree, and that's where she was now—just as miserable as before speaking with Nioma. She fell asleep thinking about what the queen had said: "he misses you as well... be brave....
The next morning, Ayla woke up with a start. Her first thoughts were: Certainly, Kael misses me! If he didn't return yet—he may be hurt! He may be lost and can't find his way back to Nyanza! Why am I sitting here feeling sorry for myself, when my best friend could be in trouble? A surge of fierce courage ran through her little body. I have to go and find him!
Ayla's magical wings trembled, because she knew that such journey would take her into the unknown, but all her fears were washed away by the thought that Kael might need her help. The tiny fairy was ready to confront any challenges might be waiting for her in the land of humans. In a hurry, she filled her pockets with berries from her beloved tree, and soared into the golden skies, without saying good bye to anyone. As she passed the clouds, she heard the songs of the fairies that live deep in the forest of Nyanza.
When Ayla crossed the boundaries into the humans' realm, she was confronted with a desolate landscape of rocks and sparse vegetation. Stony ridges, much higher than her home tree, went up in the sky and disappeared in the dark clouds above. Patches of white were covering the tallest peaks. Ah, thought the fairy, Kael was right! These are mountains, for sure! The white stuff must be snow... Brrr...
Suddenly, a gust of wind hit Ayla forcefully, throwing her against the side of the mountain, and knocking the breath out of her. This was nothing like the mild, caressing breezes of enchanted Nyanza! Caught by surprise, the fairy lost control of her wings. As the wind let up, she slid down the precipice, dropping like a stone right into a huge nest. There were two ugly birds in the aerial, and before Ayla could get her bearings, one of them charged forth with a huge, open beak.
"Hey! What are you doing!" the fairy screamed, defending herself with her magic wand.
The bird backed off and squeaked, startled: "What kind of insect are you?"
"I'm not an insect! I'm a fairy!" protested Ayla, getting up and shaking her wings.
"There are no such things as fairies!" chimed in the other ugly bird, raising his head with conviction.
"Sure there are," replied Ayla, "I have many sister fairies in the land of Nyanza. What kind of birds are you?"
The first bird declared with pride: "We are eagles! We're too young to fly, but we'll grow up to be the most beautiful birds on Earth! Mom says so."
Ayla found that hard to believe, but she kept her mouth shut, because she did not want to hurt their feelings.
Just then, a majestic black bird, with a white feathered head and tail, glided toward the nest. The bird's huge wing span shadowed the rocks underneath; the hooked, yellow beak could crack stones; the piercing red eyes seemed to bore a hole right into Ayla's forehead. Oh my!—thought the fairy—that really is a beautiful, but angry looking bird! Must be the mother eagle... She felt a twinge of fear, because her wand, magic as it was, may not be enough to protect her from such a menacing flying creature.
The eagle chicks started to squeak excitedly, as the mother eagle touched down lightly on the site of the nest, closing her beautiful wings. When the chicks finally stopped the ruckus, the regal bird cocked her head, looked straight at Ayla, and asked inquisitively: "What have we here? Who might you be, and what are you doing in my nest?"
One of the youngsters volunteered, "She says she is a fairy from the land of Nyanza, but I don't believe her! She threatened me with her stick!"
Up close the mother eagle looked even more intimidating, but Ayla gathered her newly found courage, cleared her throat, and spoke as clearly as she could:
"He wanted to eat me, I only defended myself." The fairy took a deep breath and continued, "I told the truth before, Mighty Eagle. I am Ayla, a fairy from Nyanza, the enchanted land just on the other side of this mountain. I'm looking for my friend Kael, a magnificent bird like yourself."
"Are you comparing that bundle of feathers with me? What, with all those showy colors he belongs in a circus among clowns, not among birds," said the eagle with a dismissive snort.
Ayla's heart started to pound in her chest. The eagle has seen Kael!
"Oh, Mighty Eagle, please forgive me, I meant no disrespect. He is beautiful and precious to me. I'm afraid that something awful might have happened to him... Would you be so kind to tell me what you know about his whereabouts?"
"Well, lets see..." said the eagle thoughtfully, "He passed through here quite a while back, asking directions and making a nuisance of himself. The fool kept blabbering something about seeing the world! As if there is anything more worth seeing than the mountains!"
"Where did he go?" asked Ayla, trying to hide her impatience.
The eagle shrugged: "Who knows? He seemed intent to see the city in the valley... Maybe he went there. I would not be surprised if he got himself tangled in some electrical wires...."
Electrical wires? Although she had no idea what those were, Ayla knew it could not be good getting tangled in them....
"Oh, Mighty Eagle, you are the most wonderful bird in the world!" cried Ayla. "Can you tell me how to find the city?"
Flattered, the giant bird winked: "I can do better than that, little one. I can take you all the way to the bottom of the mountain myself. Tiny as you are, you might be blown away by the wind. Who knows where you may end up?"
Grateful for the help, Ayla said good bye to the nestlings, climbed on the back of the mother eagle, and off they went. They circled down and down through the clouds, until the sky turned the bluest of blues, the same color as Ayla's dress. The clouds looked like puffy white balls of cotton. The landscape had changed to green forests and golden fields, rolling hills strewn with flowers, deep blue lakes, and clusters of structures with colorful coverings... Ayla asked about those, and the eagle told her they were houses, human dwellings. People build them just like birds build their nests, the eagle explained.
Ayla was overwhelmed by the beauty of this world, so much different from Nyanza, but just as wonderful. She looked over her shoulder to the blue-grey mountains they left behind, amazed by the vast distance they traveled. This land goes on forever, she thought. How will I find Kael?
"That's how far I can go, little one," declared the eagle. "I have to return to my young. Still want to look for that silly bird, Kael? It's a big world out there, you know...."
"I noticed," sighed Ayla, climbing down from the bird's back. "Thank you so much for your help, Mighty Eagle, but I have to find my friend."
"Well then, the city is straight over those hills," the eagle pointed with his wing. "You'll know you arrived when the hills give way to a stretch of land covered with houses. There are also see tall buildings with many, many stories, and paved paths that run through the city. Those are streets meant mainly for cars."
The eagle noticed Ayla's inquisitive stare, and asked, "Do you know what a car is?" When Ayla shook her head no, the eagle explained: "The cars are metal creatures that carry humans in their bellies from one place to another. The streets are full of them; small ones, big ones, even bigger ones... I have to caution you: the city is a noisy and busy place."
Suddenly, a thunderous sound came from above, and it grew louder and lauder. Frightened, Ayla jumped to take cover under the eagle's wing, covering her ears. She watched as a gigantic, silver bird with outstretched wings flew over them, and soon disappeared into the clouds.
"Oh, yeah. That was a flying car people call 'plane'. Nothing to worry about," the eagle comforted the fairy. "Just stay out of their way when you hear that awful roar.... Off you go now! The sun will be setting soon... You have quite a way until you reach the city. Take care of yourself, little one!"
"Thank you for everything, Mighty Eagle!" Ayla gave the eagle a hug and took off, flying in the direction of the city.
It was almost dark when the fairy saw in the distance a range of tall buildings. As she approached them, lights started to pop up here and there. Although Ayla knew that there were no fairies in the humans' world, her heart skipped a beat as she wondered what the lights might be, if not the glowing wings of magic fairies? The darker it got, more and more lights appeared, until a sea of sparkles covered the horizon. However, she could not see any stars in the sky. A cover of dark clouds was moving slowly over the city.
When Ayla came closer, she remembered what the eagle had said about the streets, noise and people. The din was almost unbearable; the streets were crowded with speeding car creatures, and humans were rushing everywhere. The buildings and cars had glowing eyes, and the rows of lights along the streets seemed to Ayla to be tall, metal plants with flowers that bloomed light.
Before she could find a place to rest her tired wings, a loud crashing sound came from the sky above, followed by an explosion of blue light, streaking through the clouds. Ayla's heart almost jumped out of her chest! That was no plane, she thought!
Terribly frightened, the fairy covered her head and squeezed her eyes shut, expecting to be harmed by some unknown monster. Instead, a big drop of water fell on her shoulder and Ayla opened her eyes. Oh, great—she thought—now it's going to rain! Just what I need....
Back in Nyanza, all fairies will gather in the home tree hollows to find refuge from the warm rains of their realm. Ayla knew she had to find shelter immediately, because when the fairy dust on their wings gets wet, the fairies can't fly anymore....
Forgetting her fears, the tiny fairy started down, looking for a tree. She spotted a group of smaller buildings surrounded by greenery, and she headed there in a hurry. Right when she was about to reach this promising place, the rain began to pour, drenching Ayla's wings instantly. She began to tumble out of control toward the ground. A big tree broke her fall. The fairy tried to grab on a leaf or a branch, but she failed. Luckily, the rich foliage of a bush underneath the tree softened her landing.
When Ayla finally dared to look around, she found herself right by the walls of a human house. A few stone stairs were leading up toward a covered porch. Although the fairy has never seen a porch before, it didn't take her long to figure out she'll find shelter from the rain up there. The exhausted and wet fairy gathered her strength and pushed herself up the tall stone stairs.
"Ruff, ruff!" A loud barking behind her startled the fairy. She jumped and turned around to face a strange furry animal with an open mouth and a wagging tail. The fairy's heart was pounding, and her knees were soft with weariness, but Ayla was ready to defend herself; nothing would chase her out into the rain!
The creature didn't seem to be a monster, but Ayla didn't want to take any chances.
The creature backed up, surprised. "Who? Me? I'm a dog. I don't eat bugs!" Then continued, making a disgusted face. "I bark at intruders; it's my job!" To show he meant it, the dog barked again: "Ruff, ruff!"
"Stop that!" cried the Fairy. "I wish everyone would stop taking me for an insect! I'm neither a bug, nor an intruder, whatever that means! I'm a fairy!" Ayla declared, standing up for herself.
"Ah, a fairy! I heard of your kind... My master reads stories to his children, and I like to listen. They are very soothing," the dog explained. "Aren't you supposed to live in some magic fairyland? You're lost, or what?"
"No, I'm not lost, but the friend I came to look for here might be..." sighed the fairy. Then she remembered her manners, "By the way, I'm Ayla."
"Nice to meet you, Ayla. I'm Max. So what's the story with this friend of yours? He's certainly not here, in our house... I would know," said the dog defensively.
"No," giggled Ayla, "I meant here, in the land of humans." Then she told Max about Kael, the magical bird from the land of Nyanza, and his taste for adventure. She told Max about her decision to come, and about the eagle she met in the mountains. "Now," said the fairy sighing again, "I'm not so sure I can ever find Kael in such a vast place as your world... Where would I look? Which way should I go?"
"That's easy!" Max said, wagging his tail. "Just ask the pigeons! If your friend ever made it to the city, the pigeons would know!"
"The pigeons?" Ayla asked, wide eyed.
"Yeah, the pigeons! Those birds know everything that goes on around here; they're real gossips, but useful too!" As Ayla tried to wipe the water of her face with her hand, Max declared: "Enough talk for now. Look at you, you're soaking wet and tired... You need to dry out and sleep! Let's go in the house," prompted the dog, inviting Ayla to walk through the doggy door.
"Are you sure that's all right? I heard that people are mean..." said Ayla with apprehension.
"Not the people I know," vowed Max. "My family is already asleep, so we'll have to be quiet," the dog added, and motioned the fairy to follow him.
Timidly, Ayla entered the strange home, keeping close to Max. They made their way through the kitchen, to the cozy corner where a big, round pillow marked the dog's sleeping quarters. The fairy has never seen furniture or rugs before, but after the long day of travel she was too tired to be impressed by anything. Max brought her a small hand towel, which was as big as a parachute for the tiny fairy, but she dried out as best as she could. Suddenly, Ayla realized how famished she was, and settled down on the soft pillow to eat her berries.
The rain was rapping on the window, the thunder and lightning blasted on, but Max said that all that was just a summer storm, and it would soon pass. Ayla fell asleep shortly, beside her new furry friend, forgetting the commotion altogether. to read the entire book, click here.
Book Samples: Age group 8 to 12
Story sample: Age Group 9 to 12
Tee, a feisty ten year old, and his younger brother, Sam, were riding the school bus back from school, as they did every day. The two brothers were very different: Tee was athletic and the ruling boxing champion on his block, while the eight year old Sam was interested in bugs, not sports. Usually, Tee was cool and laid-back, but now he squirmed nervously in his seat. He was trying to think of a way to ditch Sam this afternoon, because Tyrone — Tee's best friend and 'manager' — had asked him today at lunch:
"Hey, Tee man, are you up for a challenge? The boys are after your belt! I arranged to meet with all the contenders in the park, around four. Cool with you?”
"Sure," replied Tee enthusiastically, always eager for a fight. "I'll be there!"
The championship belt was Tee's most prized possession. He had fashioned it himself from cardboard and decorated it with markers and lots of glitter. 'Nobody's touching my belt,' Tee thought confidently. However, he worried that if his little brother would tag along it would cramp his style and take away cool points with the guys. Their mother always insisted they go everywhere together. What a drag... 'I'm no babysitter,' he muttered mournfully to himself. He took a quick glance at his right, where Sam was sitting. The wide-eyed boy was looking out the window, oblivious to his older brother's plight.
At home, Tee did not mind spending time with his younger brother. They got along just fine, and had lots of fun playing 'Imagination' — a game Tee invented. The boys could pretend to be pirates, crime fighters, or explorers who discovered hidden treasures. Sam was also quite skilled at video games, challenging Tee and even winning sometimes. Playing outside was a different matter altogether... Tee was well built and tall for his age, he was fast and strong; Sam was small and slender, neither fast, nor strong. Tee dreamed to be one day the boxing World Champion, just like his hero, Muhammad Ali — whose CD's he watched all the time, and whose poster covered almost an entire wall in his room. When he was sparring, Tee kept reminding himself, 'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee...' When he won a fight Tee boasted, "I'm the greatest! I'm the greatest!" Although Sam looked up to Tee, he gave no indication he'd ever follow in his older brother's steps. The little boy was the last to be picked for any game, and then he always seemed to be in the way. Clumsy and distracted, Sam would gladly choose to chase after butterflies rather than after balls.
The school bus stopped at the curbe, and Tee nudged Sam, "Come on, let's go!" Startled from his daydreaming, the little boy gathered his backpack in a hurry and hustled down the aisle after Tee.
"See you tomorrow," smiled Mr. Stan, their favorite bus driver.
"See you," answered the boys as they climbed down the bus stairs and started to run toward their home, half a block down the street.
Once home, Tee burst through the door, discarded his backpack in the hallway, and ran into the kitchen, "Hi, mom!"
"Hi, mom," Sam followed, taking off his backpack as well and set it on a chair.
"Hey! You boys are home early," said their mom, giving them a hug.
"How was school?"
"Great!" volunteered Sam. "Mrs. Roberts said that my dragonflies presentation for 'show and tell' was the best she'd ever seen! She said I'm gonna be a great etolologist some day! ...What's that mom?"
"You mean ENTOMOLOGIST," laughed his mom. "That's what you call someone who studies insects. I'm so proud of you, Sam!" She turned toward her older son "How about your math test, Tee?"
Tee climbed on a stool by the kitchen counter. Two frosted glasses of milk and a plate of cookies were waiting there for them, as usual. He picked up a glass, gulped down half the milk, then grinned ear to ear, sporting a skinny milk mustache, "I had only one mistake! Got a B+."
Sam climbed on a stool next to Tee, and both boys ate their cookies and drank their milk chattering away about school. Tee finished first, wiped his mouth, and jumped down from the stool.
"Mom, can I go to the park this afternoon?"
"Only after you do your homework," mom said, poining her finger and looking straight at him. "Take your brother with you," she added.
Here it was! Tee was ready to protest, but Sam beat him to the punch.
"But mom," whined the little boy, "I want to play with my ant farm..."
Tee saw an opportunity and grabbed it. Playing it cool, he shrugged, "That's all right if he doesn't want to go... I'll play with Tyrone and the other boys."
There was no further argument to be made, so the boys picked up their backpacks and went into the den. Tee plopped himself in front of the computer and took out his worksheets. After he checked on his ants for a minute, Sam sat at the table and started on his own assignments. Pretty soon, both boys were engrossed in their homework, and the only sounds one could hear in the room were the rustling of papers, and computer blips. Mom stuck her head in every now and then to check on them, but seeing her sons diligently at work, she just smiled and walked away.
Just as they were wrapping up their homework and putting their books away, a knock on the window announced Tyrone's arrival. "Ready to go, big guy?" he asked, when Tee opened the window.
"I'll be right out," said Tee, grabbing the championship belt and his boxing gloves. "Let's go, small fry," he urged Sam. "You better not embarrass me in front of the boys," he cautioned him. Sam just sighed and followed his brother in the kitchen.
"We're off, mom," Tee announced. "We finished our homework."
"OK. Be careful crossing the street. Dad will be home at six, so do not be late for dinner," she warned them. "Tee, remember — you are your brother's keeper! Make sure he doesn't get hurt. You know I'll keep an eye on you..." It was a blessing that the park was just across the street, so she could easily supervise her sons from the kitchen window. "Now go, have fun," mom dismissed them with a wave of her hand.
"Bye, mom!" Tee flew out the front door. Sam waved at his mom, and rushed to catch up with his brother.
Tyrone was waiting in front of the house. "You're babysitting again, Tee?" he smirked at the sight of Sam.
Sam gave Tyrone an angry stare, but didn't say anything. Tee just shrugged, "I got to... Don't worry, he won't be any trouble."
The three of them crossed the street and entered the park. They seemed to be the first to arrive at the meeting place.
"Do you think they lost their nerve?" Tee snorted.
"They'll show up," Tyrone reassured him. "They can't wait to get their hands on that belt of yours..."
"Let them try!" laughed Tee, and started hitting his chest with his closed fist, "I'm the greatest!"
While they waited, the three of them had fun practicing their curve ball. Soon, one after another, Tee's opponents started to gather around them. Some of them had the boxing gloves already on, and were jumping around to warm up.
"Hey! Are you in a hurry to get your butt kicked?" Tyrone protested, but he put the ball away. Then, taking the glittery belt from Tee, he held it high above his head, calling, "Come all fighters! Tee will fight all contenders! This is a fight to the finish, for the Championship of The World! Who wants to go first?" Setting up the fights was one of his jobs as Tee's manager.
Sam was extremely proud of his older brother. He cheered louder than anyone else every time Tee won. Another match was about to start, when he heard a deep voice behind him. The little boy knew that voice very well. It belonged to KT, the neighborhood bully....
Sam was terrified of KT. One day at Fast & Friendly’s he had accidentally backed into KT and spilled his chocolate ice-cream cone all over the bully's new shirt. The little boy apologized and tried to wipe it clean, but KT grabbed him by the arm and almost lifted him off the ground, ready to strike him. Luckily, KT noticed that Sam's mother was at the other end of the counter, and just muttered furiously through his teeth, "I'll get you good for this, don't you worry!" Now KT was making his way through the crowd. Everyone stood back to let him come up front.
“Man, not again..." Tyrone objected, turning toward Tee. "You’ve already fought him the other day. Hasn’t he had enough? He doesn't even have his gloves..."
Sam was shaking in his shoes and moved backwards, to hide behind his older brother, but KT was coming straight for him, pointing with his fat finger over Tee's shoulder, "I want you, punk!"
Tee didn't understand at first, but when he saw where the bully was pointing, he put a hand on KT's chest to keep him away from Sam. “Ease up, bro. That’s my little brother, and he doesn't fight.”
KT tried to push Tee out of the way, "I want him, not you!" he barked, in a fit of anger.
“Well, me is what you got,” said Tee, standing his ground.
Almost blind with rage and frustration, KT swung at Tee. Tee moved sideways swiftly, and punched him in the mouth. Losing his balance, KT went down on one knee. Disregarding all the rules of a fair fight, the bully picked up a big rock. Everyone gasped and began to run. The kids scattered quickly toward the different park exits, before KT had a chance to hurl the rock to anyone's head.
Usually, Sam wasn't very fast, but now he was the first out of the park and into his house across the street. Tee and Tyrone closed the ranks, right behind him. Tee closed the door and locked it quickly.
"That's... not... cool..." Tyrone wheezed, out of breath, "KT is a loose cannon, man... What does... he want... with you...Sam?"
Sam, still shaken by the close call, told them about the ice-cream incident.
"That's it? Tee asked. "The guy is crazy if he can get so worked up over a stained shirt... You keep out of his way, Sam!" to read the rest of the book cliclk here
Book Samples: Age group 5 to 10
Story sample: Age Group 9 to 12
Ever since I started kindergarten, all I heard from everyone was, "Melinda, pay attention!" "Melinda, concentrate!" "Melinda, stop fooling around!" I thought fifth grade would be different, but no such luck! I swear, today was the worst day of MY LIFE!
It started this morning, when I almost missed the school bus... I was not late, if that's what you think. It was Blondie, my dog. She sneaked by me when I opened the gate! What was I supposed to do? I chased her down the street, grabbed her collar, and dragged her all the way back in the yard, before mom could notice... Mom always gets on my case: "Pay attention, Melinda! When you open the gate, make sure Blondie stays in the yard!" I guess I was lucky mom didn't see me, and Ms. Brenda—our bus driver—did. She waited for me. Of course, once I got on the bus she scolded me, "Melinda, if I had a dime for each time I had to wait for you, I'd be rich! Why don't you pay attention?" Blah, blah, blah... As if I don't try!
Then in math period, where I truly try hard to concentrate, my shoelace came loose... No big deal, right? I bent down to tie it, and when I got up, BANG! I hit my head on the desk! As if that wasn't bad enough, the whole class burst out laughing! Mrs. Drake, my math and science teacher, was writing division problems on the blackboard. She turned around and looked straight at me, "What was that, Melinda?" When I tried to explain, she just sighed and told me to sit down and "pay attention!" As if I don't try! She didn't say anything to the other kids who were pointing at me and calling me "dummy." What was so funny about a big bump on my head?
At recess, I went with Jenny to the swings. "OK," she said and held her hand out, "give it to me!" I had no idea what she was talking about... Jenny is my best friend, but even she gets annoyed with me sometimes. "Melinda, didn't we talked about this just yesterday? You were going to braid me a friendship bracelet! You forgot again?" What could I say? I had to suck it up, "Oh, Jenny, I'm soooo sorry! I started on it yesterday, but then mom asked me to clean my room... I forgot to finish it! I'll bring it tomorrow, I promise! But Jenny got upset anyway, "Sure... that's what you said yesterday... and the day before that. Maybe I'll go jump rope with Kim now." She turned around and left... She hurt my feelings. To be fair, she gave me a friendship bracelet a week ago. I don't know what's wrong with me... Why can't I remember stuff?
I was so unhappy about what had happened with Jenny, that I honestly couldn't understand what Mrs. Drake was saying about electricity in science class. I tried to concentrate, but a fly started to buzz around me... I whooshed it away, and it just kept coming back. I waved both my hands, faster and faster... Then I heard Mrs. Drake asking, "Melinda, are you trying to show the class how a windmill works?" Everyone laughed, but Mrs. Drake called for silence and continued the lesson.
Finally, the stupid fly flew out through the open window. To make sure it wouldn't come back, I got up and went to close the window... Of course, Mrs. Drake saw me, "Melinda! You are trying my patience! Please sit down IMMEDIATELY and PAY ATTENTION!" Her tone wasn't very nice... Oh, great! I knew that today after school there would be another one of those parent-teacher conferences. My grades are not that great, and now Mrs. Drake has another reason to complain about me....
Sure enough, when mom and dad came out of the office, I could see they were not happy... All the way home they didn't say a word. When I opened my mouth to tell them I would try to do better, mom just raised her hand, "I don't want to hear it! We'll discuss it later." And that was that, because once we got home they sent me to my room to do my homework, and they locked themselves in the den... I know they were talking about me.
After dinner, mom and dad called me in the living room. I just knew they'd take away my TV time AGAIN, or I'd get grounded for life!
First, they gave me the "talk" about how smart and talented I was; how I could do so much better if only I would "pay attention"; how much they loved me, and how they only wanted what was best for me... I know they love me, but this speech never helped before... And then mom said, "Melinda, we heard how disruptive you are in class; your grades are slipping; your homework is incomplete, or lost..." She looked at my dad. Dad rarely spoke harshly to me, so I wasn't worried, but I almost died when I heard him say, "Sweetie, we think the best thing to do is to stop your ballet lessons." I screamed, "No, dad! I'll do anything, I promise!" But dad didn't want to listen. "Melinda, at least for now, until your grades improve, ballet is out. You need more time to study."
Ballet is my LIFE! It's the only thing I was ever good at, and the only place where no one told me to "pay attention." I cried my eyes out, but mom and dad didn't change their mind....
to be continued....