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.

Short Autobiography

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:



REVIEWS 1. Music 2.Theater 3.Book
(published on www.cultureshop.com, while they were still in business)

Rescued from the ordinary
(music/entertainment critique)

On Friday, April 25, The Aquarium Rescue Unit played to an appreciative and receptive audience at Lynagh’s 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.
Having temporarily lost their singer only days before due to an unfortunate accident involving a lofty fall and multiple facial abrasions, ARU was forced to follow through with their touring commitments sans a vocalist and front man. Picking up the slack, however, was bassist Oteil Burbridge (who, it has been rumored, turned down an offer to play with Prince so he could continue playing with ARU), an accomplished instrumentalist who exhibited an intimate relationship with the fret boards of his three custom designed Modulus basses, which consisted of 4- and 5-strings, as well as a gigantic six-string with an F-hole ornately drilled on top of the pickups and to the left of the top strap holder.
Burbridge mesmerized the crowd with his facile and lucid attack on the bass. Every solo he took was greeted with a sincere din of applause and whistles. Striking the perfect balance, Burbridge neither underplayed nor overplayed, displaying a mature musical restraint which nonetheless held the audience in a rapt hypnotic state.
Also of note was Burbridge’s George Benson-esque use of scatting in tandem with the notes he was gingerly blistering out on his bass. This borrowed technique has seldom been used with other instruments besides the guitar; it provided an interesting counterpoint and juxtaposition that I have never heard played by any other bands.
Previously known as Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, the band is currently in the midst of their second tour. Hampton, who now has a new band called the Fiji Mariners (who have played twice at Lynagh’s), has been a relatively unknown musical mainstay since the early 70s and has been most often compared to Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, but only in as much as keen social criticism and unabandoned sarcasm pervades his lyrics. Hampton and his former band mates in ARU once had a mandolin player, Matt Mundy, who added a strange twist to an already odd conglomerate of musical colors.
Sadly, Mundy was absent from Friday night’s line-up. Regardless, the music didn’t suffer and, if anything, ARU proved that playing off the cuff can be just as exciting — and certainly more challenging — than the pre-packaged arena shows that rarely feature improvisation.
Several songs began with rapid tempos that would eventually ooze into an adagio middle section where Burbridge and guitarist Jimmy Herring traded measures, soling back and forth and displaying their musical wares to the amazement and delight of the crowd. The drummer proved himself to be a percussive artisan with unimpeachable meter who played his double and triple strokes with a Buddy Rich-like intensity. Whether he was vamping over an intricate Fusion groove or laying back on a dreamy Jazz phrase, the drummer let loose his chops, all the while, one could assume, imagining the blinking red light of a metronome in his mind’s eye. As the saying goes, a drummer, depending on the degree of his or her skill, can make a bad band sound good or a good band sound bad. Fortunately, all of ARU’s members contributed equally to the diversity and complexity of their musical skills.
Rounding out ARU’s talented roster was a keyboardist (whose first name I didn’t catch), who was, if memory serves correctly, Burbridge’s brother. Playing flute to boot, he added a certain Progressive touch to the music that most readily called to mind the likes of Prog Rock dinosaurs Jethro Tull. Throwing in some sequenced drum tracks added some tasty sound reinforcement whose ultimate effect was that of reverberation in a large concert hall.
ARU was thankfully reminiscent of 70s Fusion acts such as Return to Forever and the Dixie Dregs, two bands who have both been huge influences on many contemporary instrumentalists. As result of the ever widening glut in Country music and similarly influenced genres, Lexington rarely gets an opportunity to witness the spectacle of truly gifted musicians. The crowd needed no rescuing from mediocrity on Friday night and, for once, the price of admission was almost worth the price of hearing damage.

Reaction to “subUrbia”
(theatre critique / play review)

As I entered the artsy shop I must have appeared a bit confused. “Is this where “subUrbia” is being held?” I asked a lady who seemed to work there. Seconds later I’m making my way to the back of the store and up a flight of steps. Visions of a shady anti-prohibition-style operation amused my mind as my destination was obscured by a forty-five degree turn in the stairs. I anticipated my ascent would terminate at the foot of a big door with one of those sliding peep holes. This would have completed the pretense, but, alas, the Scorsese in me was defused by an open hall and a single-file line. A gracious lady asking me to “pay what I can.” I took out my last seven dollars and through a fin ($5) in the donation basket (I had to get some cigarettes later). I stood in line accompanied only by my new-and-improved theatre-going attitude.
This was the first time I have ever been to a theater with the experimental box format. It was really interesting and a little awkward at the same time. Seeing the audience on the other side made me feel like my side was in the play. Having forgotten all our lines we just sat there letting the other actors carry the play (is that paranoia, egomania or inferiority complex? I think potpourri!). Basically, I felt a little self-conscious because I was alone (everyone else seemed to have a companion a.k.a. a crutch).
Once again having neglected to snag a program. I don’t know anybody’s name, but I’ll do my best to describe the characters. Hopefully you won’t hold this oversight against me too much.
My favorite thing about the play was that it was so raw. Every other word was ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’. Just like in real life. My generation has a profound inability to articulate itself. Many of my peers unwittingly fill in the verbal gaps with pointless curses (I, of course, am a saint and frown upon this fucked up way of communicating). The language alone conveyed the limited capacity of the characters involved therein. No punches were pulled and that, in this case, is admirable.
To my dismay, the overall play was not very good. The acting drifted from believable to forced, the stage set-up was too cramped, and the girl dyeing at the end was not powerful enough. The latter complaint is the one that bothered me the most. Was she supposed to represent the dead-end future of this portrayed generation?
With the unwanted help of a drunkard friend, the main character identifies his problem as fear. Ultimately nothing comes of this revelation. The main character’s girlfriend is a floozy and plans to run off with a rock star (who couldn’t carry a note in a bucket, incidentally). The racist drunk stays a racist drunk and the character with the fewest lines (the one we care least about) dies.... This play’s themes were terminal stagnation and absolute stupidity.
The lighting was functional and very standard. The set design never changed. All the scenes took place outside of a convenience store so the light-tech would brighten or dim the lights in accordance to the time of day it was supposed to be.
This play had too many loose ends. The acting was poor at times, which made me impatient to leave. I’m glad I didn’t have to be associated with it as more than a spectator!

Dark Art
(book/art review) - fragment

The second I saw the cover of J. K. Potter’s book, “Neurotica”, I knew that this was my guy. The esthetic discord offered in the book was just my cup of pee. “This dude is one cynical son-of-a-bee-ach!” I thought to myself. As I cautiously flipped the pages I dreaded the paper-cuts the images might inflict on my fingers. Could my mind endure the Agony and the Ecstasy of such extreme social commentary? Would the manifestations of this vision infect me with fanatical scorn for this world’s “Big Brother Bureaucracy” syndrome? Was I ready to pick the sleep-boogers away from the corner of my third eye?... I flipped and frowned and frowned and flipped. The artist looks at a world that is fucked and basically comes to the conclusion that all he can do is bitch about it. This, I can relate to. Color me sold!
The first piece that violated me was the “Soul Effigy”. A naked woman cradles her breasts as streaks of dried blood cover her cleavage. Her head is a fragile egg, held by a second pair of arms that upend from the bottom of her neck.
She has been damaged in some way. She may have been molested or spiritually traumatized, whatever the case may be, she is protecting what is left of her soul. The manner in which she clasps the egg reminds us that the innocence is still within her but it is well sheltered.
The “Tongue Visage” portrays a naked woman (again) squatting. Her elbows rest on her knees and her hands grip the hair on her head. A mouth with it’s tongue sticking out is in the place of the face. The face is superimposed on the tongue.
She regurgitates her own face in an attempt to be true to herself. The rebirth of a social chameleon’s original mask only creates a more twisted demon. The madness is overwhelming. There is no retribution once you’ve betrayed yourself.




Welcome to our Region!
(editorial piece – published in Southern KY Vacations, tourism guide)

Scenic Beauty
In South Central Kentucky the still waters run deep and clean into gorgeous highland lakes, and the wooded peaks tower to add grandeur to the enchanting settings. Roaring rivers, natural arches, waterfalls, rock-filled gorges and thick forests complete nature’s finest landscapes in this part of Kentucky and create an abundant and diverse natural playground. There’s no reason to go anywhere else for your short or extended vacation! The friendly people of our region will also make you feel welcome, so you keep coming back to enjoy all we have to offer.

Lakes & Rivers
The grand buffet of outdoor recreation is set around three major lakes: Cumberland, Dale Hollow and Green River, all cradled like aqueous gems in the Cumberland Mountain range. Fabulous fishing, boating, skiing, houseboating, swimming, sunbathing and serenity await you. More complete information on these famous lakes and other attractions in this 10-county area is scattered throughout this vacation guide.

State Parks
Kentucky is known for having one of the nation’s finest State Park System. Some of these parks have a full-service resort setting, while others offer great recreational opportunities. Each facility is unique in its own way, but all maintain the highest quality of standards to provide you with a positive, memorable experience.

Outdoor Recreation
Our region offers a wide range of outdoor activities and recreational opportunities.
In areas near the lakes you can ride a raft down a tumultuous river, canoe on a meandering stream, hike into the heart of nature, camp in comfort or wilderness, ride horses or bikes through a maze of trails, or drive a golf ball down a well-manicured fairway.

An array of festivals celebrate the region’s resources throughout the year, beginning with eagle watches at Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park in January, and ending with Kentucky’s largest holiday event, Christmas Island at General Burnside Island State Park (the state’s only island park, located in immense Lake Cumberland), during November and December.

History & Heritage
A wealth of historic architecture still stands as testament to life in the late 1700s. We have the oldest courthouse west of the Allegheny Mountains, numerous 19th century limestone buildings, 18th century log cabins, many Civil War sites, a house linked to Lincoln, and the drilling site of the first oil well in America. Deep in the mountains you’ll find a recreated coal mining community, former Indian cliff dwelling, and other evidence of the people and places that shaped this rugged land.
History and nature intertwine in a most charming way at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. A historic train ride will usher you through it, or you can step back into the past by visiting Mennonite and Amish communities in Casey County. Their shops offer furniture, leather goods, produce, bulk foods, quilts and a grand assortment of other items.

Arts & Crafts
Like to shop? This area is rich in quaint and unusual antique and craft stores, hand-crafted items and quality reproduction cherry furniture.
Roadside stands and farmers markets offer a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables. And if you visit during August, you’ll find “The World’s Longest Outdoor Sale,” a 450-mile roadside shopping adventure




Misogynist (commentary fragments)
(published on www.cultureshop.com, while they were still in business)

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.
What is the cause of all man’s ailment? The sage frenchmen provide us with the most superb answer imaginable: cherchez la femme! In English the phrase translates verbatim, “look for the woman!”
Since the beginning of time women have been the object of idle contemplation, demented actions, and misery to men. Starting with Eve and the proverbial apple that got Adam exiled from the Garden of Eden. Willingly or inadvertently, women have been the cause and men have been bearing the effect of their toxic influence. Paris should have admired the fair Helen from afar, and listened to Cassandra’s warnings; perhaps his Troy might still be standing. The Beatles might have stayed together had John Lennon not succumbed to Yoko Ono’s strange spell. So why not be a spectator instead of a participant? If the effect is undesired, keep away from the cause! ...Although, the sirens’ song is irresistible.

The Woman was gracious, perhaps with that ever so slight hint of tawdriness that no man can resist. The moments were highly notable when in her company. The interactions affected with insinuation. Time does its deed on this relation and suddenly the man can no longer pour his soul through the eyes of his beloved. This realization is seconded by her extinguished need for his eyes’ acceptance. A leisurely yet cumbersome disjunction is now imminent, and then at once his mental voice ceases to make allowances for the facts: he had become dispensable. The relationship ultimately collapses and the man, dripping with sorrow, is left to harden.
A series of introspective journeys will augment his feelings of resentment. He will helplessly torment himself with continual mental reenactments of the most trivial matters of this past relation, and even create fictional situations, until he becomes the ripples of this stone’s brunt. His will may soon attempt to mimic hers, superficially, as a stone, in hope to par to the next, but he will remain soft at the core. He knows he can hurt again and so, to protect his crippled pride, he categorizes all women as eternal courtesans, temptresses descending straight from Delilah.
What follows is a compilation of negative experiences that leave spaces between their scabs as they gradually overlap. If the lacerations persist, the soul is exposed to an increasingly diminutive version of its universe. The innocence inside him stands on its tippy-toes peering through the key holes that tempt and taunt its desires. With each prolonged exposure the pure is perverted. Curiosity becomes a vice, sensitivity—self destructive. Another opening is sealed and his whimper echoes through the growing darkness of the clotting sieve. With time no light may breach the crust, and the ashen being, no longer lucid, simply waits to suffocate. The concept of a “kindred soul” out there, somewhere, seems a mockery, an absurd illusion ment to prolong his agony.



FICTION 1. Mystery 2. Si-Fi/Humor 3. Literary
(submmited for publication)

Hit Men
(short story -mystery/humorous)

“Tell you what, Jimmy, this business is going to the dogs. Who do you gotta kill to make some dough nowadays?”
In the back room of Logan’s, a relatively empty establishment, advertising on the marquee that ‘We’ll give you a brake!’, two men in their mid-forties lounge on a beat-up couch and unmatching recliner. In the dim light of the late afternoon their silhouettes bare a striking resemblance to Laurel and Hardy. The street noise, muffled by the front room, seems just a dim background buzz, so the sudden statement makes the skinny man jerk a bit on the couch and look sleepily at his buddy.
“Goddamnit, Pauly, I was catching a snooze here...”
After deeply inhaling from his cigarette and than blowing a series of perfect, concentric circles of smoke, Pauly continues undeterred:
“... I’m thinkin’... we’re getting on in years, you know. What do we have to show for, huh? I’m sick of getting my hands dirty – for what? Ain’t worth it no more! One little lousy job after another, never the big score... Nothing like the old days.... The two of us should forget about all this and move on to better things.”
“You not gonna let me sleep are you? Fine, I’ll bite. Move on to what? Live on what?”
“You’re a grouch, you know that? We’ve known each other what, twenty some years? I love you like a brother, Jimmy, but you’re so closed minded... We can go anywhere, do anything we want, live a little. What’s to keep us here, huh? Your sister? I bet she’s really happy you livin’ in her spare room”.
“Oh, yeah? At least my water comes down the pipe, not in a bucket like in your RV”.
“See, that’s exactly what I’m talkin’ about! We could start fresh in a new place, a new life.... I been thinkin’ Florida... start up a little legitimate business, you know, one of those towel and umbrella rentals on a beach somewhere... gawk at naked dames all day... Clean business, fresh air...”
“Florida? That’s rich! Here’s a news-flash Pauly: as you just said, we ain’t had a decent job in ages. You blew all you got on the ponies, my ex sucked me dry.... Between the two of us we ain’t got enough to cross the street and get a burger! Last time I checked, people needed money to do stuff like ‘move on’, start up businesses and what-have-you. On the other hand how about a career change? I hear highway robbery is quite profitable these days. Maybe we should try that for a while, my guns are getting rusty...”
The front door’s bell rings with a muted ding. Pauly stops Jimmy in mid-sentence with a brusk gesture, then leans back slowly, looking over the side of the recliner.
“You expecting anyone?”
Pauly folds the recliner and stands up grunting, “I got it.” He stamps out his cigarette and makes his way to the front room. As he pulls back the dividing curtain, a short, very well dressed man is revealed standing inside the entrance. The tailored sports coat gives him a youngish look, but Pauly can tell the man is pushing sixty. He is also sporting a sculpted ebony cane, and steppes deliberately toward Pauly with his chin up and eyes narrowed inquisitively.
“May I help you?” Pauly asks, and takes a solicitous step himself.
“Hello...”, the man looks around peevishly. “Nice cover you’ve got here. Quite elaborate...I didn’t expect.... Hum, I am the man with the problem... the one Tony told you about.” He then leans forward and raises his eyebrows to underline the implication.
“Tony. Yeah, sure... Hold on a second.” Pauly steals a quick glance through the windows at the expensive foreign car parked outside, then goes back to the back room, letting the curtain fall behind him.
“What’s up? What’s with the look?” Jimmy whispers with a smirk.
“This guy comes in here – says Tony sent’im. You know anythin’ about it?” Pauly whispers back.
“You mean Tony Martino? The Boss?”
“Guess so. This may be somethin’. This guy reeks of cash. He’s driving a Ferrari.” The two men exchange a meaningful look. “Let’s see what he wants.” Jimmy gets up and follows Pauly past the curtain.
The short man stands like a statesman’s statue propped on his cane, centering it between his Guccis, and utters a satisfied “ah” as they enter, then goes straight to business.
“Tony told me you’re a team. Good. He also said you’re the best at what you do. I wish to employ you ... to take care of someone. I want this person fitted with a pair of cement-loafers, as you would put it, and thrown to the bottom of a river!” He raises his voice and taps his cane on the tile once hard to punctuate his conviction. “It must be done swiftly and quietly.”
A moment of silence follows, as the two men ponder his request.
“Swiftly and quietly, he says...” Jimmy says out of the side of his mouth to Pauly , tagging at his sleeve.
“How else? Just settle down.” Pauly mutters through clenched teeth, trying not to move his lips. Clearing his throat, he addresses the man again.
“See... hum, Tony didn’t give us any details.... Let me see if I got this right. You want us to wack a... hum, some fella? Just so there is no misunderstandin...’
“No misunderstanding at all.” The short man reaches his hand into the inside of his jacket
to extorts a small package of photographs and papers, neatly rubber-banded. With a determined thrust he hands it to Pauly for inspection.
Jimmy steppes up, “Are you sure Tony – ”
“Hey Jimmy,” Pauly intercedes, “look here. Pictures of some dame buying ice-cream from some schlep in a penguin outfit.... That’s cute.” Pauly’s eyes pop opened incredulously in the short man’s direction. “The ice-cream man???”
“That is your target”, answers the man using his cane as a pointer.
Pauly bits his lip to suppress an involuntary grin and shoots a forbidding glance over his shoulder at Jimmy, who’s making huffing noises. When the noises stop, Pauly returns his attention to the package.
“Here we have a map of – correct me if I’m wrong – the ice-cream truck’s route,...”
“That is correct.” The man confirms.
“... name, address, and, last but not least, we have a pudgy yellow envelope. Is it fair to assume there is money in here?”
“As it was established. Half now, – the rest when the job is done. Obscenely expensive, exorbitant, but I’ve no patience to dilly-dally with amateurs. You may count it if you’d like.”
The man straightens out his clothes. Jimmy takes a breath to speak, but his plump partner takes the lead once more.
“I’m sure it’s all here,” says Pauly as he opens the envelope and thumbs expertly through the fresh bank notes. “What’d this guy do?”
“That is irrelevant to you.”
“I bet he’s shtooping the missus?” Jimmy murmurs to Pauly, not quite low enough.
The man’s eyes widen, “...Gentlemen, my business here is concluded. I know nothing
of you, and vice-versa. This meeting never took place.”
As the short man steppes toward the door, Jimmy can’t contain himself any longer.
“Are you committed to this swimmin’ with the fishes thing or can we improvise? Like – I don’t know – Columbian necktie, dismemberment, what-have-you?”
“Kill him! How it is done is of no consequence to me.”
Pauly pushes Jimmy out of the way and steppes forward apologetically.
“Yes, of course. Don’t pay any attention to him. His speciality is, you know... hum...severed-horse-heads-in-the-bed kinda stuff. We got the map, the pictures, and of course the money...”
“Once it’s done, I will contact Tony and arrange delivery of the balance, save his finder’s fee, which I understand is your agreement with him.”
“Yeah... hum, our agreement. Great then! Consider the job done. Nice doing business with you. Have a nice day.”
The man nods slightly in their general direction and leaves as aloof as he came, wedging his cane in the ground with each step, simply as an affectation. He gets into his car and takes off.
The second he clears the parking lot, Pauly locks the door and turns around to walk to the back room, dragging Jimmy with him by the sleave. Once there he pulls the curtain shot and begins feverishly:
“Can you fuckin’ believe this?”
“I can’t fuckin’ believe this! An ice-cream men? What’s the world coming to? Let’s wack some girl scouts while we’re at it. Two for the price of one!”
“Quit clowning! Can you fuckin’ believe this?” Pauly finally yells, than catches himself and tries to subdue his excitement. “Jesus! I woulda killed you if you blew this one! The big score! This is it!” Then he takes a big breath and calms down. “We gotta get out of town!”
“No shit! Whoever this Tony guy is - it sure as hell ain’t our Tony Martino. Somebody
somewhere musta gotten their wires crossed. How much is in there?”
“Enough to set us up in the towel business, with enough extra to keep us gassed and fed on the way. Florida here we come!” Pauly yells again, jumping up and down, his bulk moving like a water mattress.
Jimmy interrupts his hula declaring the session closed. “I’m going home to pack. Pick me up at my sister’s in two hours. You callin’ the penguin?”
“Sure thing. Jerk’ll never know how close he came. He better pull the disappearing act too. Pronto. Goddamn, I’m glad I’ve been watchin’ ‘The Sopranos’!”
“Hallelujah! Hey, you think we should stick around for the rest of the money? For all Shorty’ll know the penguin’ll be on ice...”
The two men looked at each other for a second, then shook their heads in unison.
A rich and vengeful man, had accidentally walked into a failing car repair shop and handed an ‘exorbitant’ amount of money to the two down and out mechanics working the late shift. Or maybe there are no accidents...

A Bad Space-Time to Sneeze
(short story - Science Fiction/Humorous)

Chapter 1. (Fragment)

Once upon a time Faloose, a humanoid time-traveler, didn’t quite know what time he was upon. Due to a freak accident, he found himself on a planet he could not identify, somewhere in the future, the present, or maybe the past.... He felt this situation was utterly absurd.
Faloose was an accomplished scientist. He had spent the last 127 years in the Mockvirginious Sector of the Prostitudia Galaxy doing assiduous research. His work was his life, and even though he was now being unjustly audited for misappropriation of intergalactic grants, he had no complaints. When asked to justify his expenditures, Faloose exploded with righteous indignation and spit on the auditor. He was fined for insult, and told not to leave the planet.
Nevertheless, right before the accident happened, Faloose was back at his habitat, getting his affairs in order - so that he could take a little interplanetary hiatus from the ol’ rat-race. He was innocently packing some super-spore hydroponic medicinal herbs in the secret compartment of his suitcase, when he began to sneeze uncontrollably. The next thing he knew, he was looking at a bunch of trees, in a foul smelling forest... He had neglected to put the safety on his wrist-worn Uni-Verbally Activated Space-Time Gizmo, which mistook a pattern of his sneezes as a direct order in Gezunthidien - and initiated a space-time jump...
As he replayed the last command from the Gizmo’s audio recorder, Faloose cursed himself. Back in school, he would ditch his Bizarre Language class to meet up with a fellow coed for individual studies on the mating rituals of the Fornicatian tribes. Now, all he remembered about the Gezunthidien language was that it was spoken mainly in coughs and nasal suction sounds.
Unable to translate the coordinates recorded in Gezunthidien, Faloose was stuck. He couldn’t make any new entries in the Time-Bum Gizmo since, for some ungodly reason (presumably to avoid paradoxical overlap), the worthless piece of Fecalian technology had to have the present time/place coordinates before a space-time shift could be initiated.
In a hopeless attempt to feel in control, Faloose checked the wrist-worn digital time calendar display on his other arm. It claimed to be 3:74 z.m. Junimus 34, 19,599 – and this was actually the correct time on Bimbodia Major, the planet that had just disappeared from under his feet. With all the shaking, tapping and cursing, the watch would not reset itself to show the actual date and time...

Eye of the beholder
(short, short story - literary)

A plain girl walks across my field of vision. My eyes follow, but my neck remains unswayed and deems her “not worth the effort” of movement. Not much there. Although there is something unusual about her, it does not qualify her as intriguing, or sensuous. She becomes a potential object of reference in my peripheral sight.
A man sits next to her and begins to talk to her as she listens. I am not sure they know each other. My neck slowly does begin to shift as not to be obvious.
“I swear to God...” The man says to her, as she smiles politely, looking away. He becomes insecure, but persists.
Bits and pieces of something about a party that got busted, back when they were in High School. They were both at some house that night, but they didn’t know each other. The cops showed up.
Now she’s giving him a second look. He picks up on it and straitens his shoulders. An anecdote about his escape is the tool he uses to get into her good graces. She laughs openly. His delivery is still a bit shaky - but, as the conversation grows, she begins to lean toward him ever so slightly. No hint of deliberate manipulation, just encouragement, the ego food without which man are incapable to function.
I was beginning to pine for her and despise him. Why? She was transformed! Once of a sudden she was beautiful! There was no sign of plainness – just an enchanting, classy young lady being courted and playing by sophisticated old-fashioned rules, a game few “women” can now-a-days appreciate or understand.
I thought to myself, “So they still exist.” I knew now what was unusual about her.
I stood up and walked away disgusted by my inability to recognize elegance unless it slapped me in the face. All I seem to recognize outright is promiscuity.



SCRIPT (transcript sample)

"Flutter Girl, light my way" episode.

Int. Lynagh’s Irish Pub - Sunday night
(Pete, Jake, Jorge, BELINDA)
A cozy, moderately crowded atmosphere. Pete, Jake, and Jorge are sitting at a table in front of an empty pitcher of beer. Pete looks absent minded and depressed. Belinda is perched on a stool at the bar, overlooking the guys’ table. She is casually sipping through the straw from a drink belonging to some guy next to her, eves-dropping on Pete’s, Jake’s, and Jorge’s conversation.

(to Pete) Don’t be so dramatic! All I’m saying is – bands break up, you know? Things fall apart. That’s life! Look at Jorge and Stephanie. Proof positive that fate has a drinking problem.

Four years wasted, Jake! The record deal,.. poof! I quit college for it! This thing’s filling my blood with toxins, I feel’em crawling
inside me.... I’m gonna grab another pitcher.
Pete gets up and goes to the bar. (Belinda is following him with her eyes.)

(to Jake) What a kill-joy!

(looking after Pete) He’s a mess... (to Jorge) but on the bright side, Jorjito! You’re a mess, too. You didn’t let the door hit you on the way out, did you? Never give them the satisfaction! How you holding up?

(Mexican accent, buzzing) Okay, I guess. Is weird, man. Being with Steph is like having the hick-ups, you know? Is annoying as hell when you have them, but when they leave, you miss it. I love her man.

Pete hears Jorge’s last remark as he walks up and puts the pitcher and the glasses
on the table. Jake takes initiative and pours beer.

You were always cheating on her!

(defensive) Yeah, but she didn’t know that.

What a crappy weekend! (to Jorge) You got the boot,.. (to Pete) you got the finger... (getting depressed himself)... and hey, it’s not like I came empty handed to the pithy party. Tattoo U replaced me with this hack flash artist... So much for my under-the-table money.

Belinda rolls her eyes, annoyed. Gets up and goes to put her hands on Pete’s and Jake’s shoulders, leaning over their heads.

I’ve never seen such a bunch of cry-babies. Snap out of it! You guy’s are pathetic.

Belinda leaves 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.

(laughing) We are pathetic, man.

You know what? There’s a silver lining, here! All three of us have a clean slate and a full pitcher in front of us... And, don’t
forget! The twins are coming!

Amen for that! (They all toast.)



Interior. Courtney’s car - Same Night (Courtney, Brittany)
Courtney is driving. The overhead light is on. Brittany is applying make-up from a compact.

Tell me again why we’re going to some Irish dive to hang out with a couple of losers from work?

Because they invited us, and your idea of a good time is working-out and checking paper work for typos... and they are not losers. Pete is an amazing singer! They’re both very nice and fun...

...And cute. So what? Cute doesn’t cut it Courtney. Cute doesn’t get you a nice house (pouty) ...or a yacht, the finer things in life for which girls like us were created.

I’m not trying to get a yacht, Brittany! Would you chill-out?... They are kinda cute...but this isn’t even a date. We’re just going to
hang-out, have a couple of laughs, and that’s it. You’re making a big deal out of nothing.

Famous last words, Court... This is how it starts. You hang-out with some seemingly harmless guy. He manages to mutter out some crude imitation of charm, and it’s, “oh, I love him, Brittany, he’s so sweeeeet. He didn’t even throw-up on me between shots!”



Int. Pan between the Bar & Courtney’s car – Same Night (Pete, Jake, Jorge, Courtney, Brittany)
1. Bar. Pete, Jake and Jorge all take a shot.

(belching) Your boss’s daughters? They’re hot but they’re too skinny.... Brittany is all stuck-up and bitchy all the time....

She is not ...too skinny!..

Courtney’s a swan.

What’s a swan?

The ugly duckling thing... She was weird looking as a kid, so her personality had to develop. She grew into her looks, but she
never realized it. She’s completely oblivious to her market value...

Cut to:
2. Car. Courtney and Brittany.

...It’s like you don’t even realize you have breasts!

Uh! These guys are different. Not like the guys you hang out with. They don’t treat women like notches on a bedpost...

Cut to:
3. Bar. Pete, Jake and Jorge.

We might have problem! We’ve hooked-up with practically every chick in here. What if one of’em decides to pull some girl-power crap, warns the twins somehow?
(Pete and Jake look around. All the girls in the bar are shooting them daggers and
whispering among themselves. Pete gets a little panicky.

(pointing to a plain, overweight girl) No one hooked up with her...

Sorry, man.
(Pete and Jake both look at Jorge incredulously.)

Cut to:
4. Car. Courtney and Brittany.

You’ll see. They’re not these shallow, perverted,...

Cut to:
5.Bar. Pete, Jake and Jorge.

...sex maniacs!!! A few drinks in, just tell’em they have beautiful
eyes or some crap. Next thing you know...

Cut to:
6. Car. Courtney and Brittany.

...they’re in your panties... Do yourself a favor: sip your drink, pace yourself, and absolutely no...

Cut to:
7. Bar. Pete, Jake and Jorge.

...Shots! Love, Buttery nipples, all those girly shots with sexy names full of post-inebriated-suggestions. It’ll turn an amish girl into an...

Cut to:
8. Car. Courtney and Brittany.

... Animal, would have to be my favorite Muppet... Oh, on second thought, I like the Grouch. He reminds me of you.
Courtney parks her car in front of Lynagh’s and sticks out her tongue at Brittany.
(Brittany sticks her tongue out at Courtney.)



Int. Lynagh’s Irish Pub (Pete, Jake, Jorge, Courtney, Brittany, Belinda, server)
Courtney is in the doorway, lanky blond, dressed casually in jeans and a cute tee-shirt. (Aerosmith’s “Angel” starts to play) Dave asks for ID’s. As Courtney leans forward to get her ID out of her purse she drops it on the floor, and Brittany is revealed standing behind her. Brittany is slender and red-haired, dressed in a mini-skirt, high heels and a sexy top that shows off her cleavage. (Disc scratch, The Cult’s “Fire Woman” starts to play)

...I would still love to find out how different they really are... Oh, that’s them... Damn!

(yelling at Dave across the room) Dave!
(Pete waves the girls in. Dave let’s them in unchecked. Watches them walk away, than look at Pete, Jake and Jorge and shakes his head as if to say, “You lucky, bastards.” The other girls in the bar notice Courtney and Brittany as they reach the table. The guys are all sitting around the table. Courtney is bubbly. Brittany is awkward and trying to be pleasant. Pete is sitting in his chair backwards.)

Hey, guys!

S’up girls!

Hello, hello!
(Pete whips his chair around for Courtney. Jake misses a step, mesmerized by Brittany’s cleavage. Courtney turns the chair back the way it was and sits in it backwards.)

(pleasantly surprised) Touche,.. (noticing Jake is distracted) I’ll grab another chair...
(Jake snaps out of it and quickly offers her his chair to Brittany.)

Oh! My bad... Milady?

(sitting down) Thanks.

(A server walks up and starts picking up empty beer bottles off the table.)

(to the girls) Can I get you two anything?

If I can just get a glass. I’m gonna mooch off their pitcher.
(to the guys) I’ll grab the next one.

An appletini, please.

Ah, appletini, like in ‘Sex In The City’... (awkward pause)
Sucks that they cancelled it...

(to server)...Are you implying that I’m some kind of tramp?
(The guys are not sure if she’s serious. Pete, Jake and Jorge are all gesturing “ABORT!” hand signals to the server out of Brittany’s field of vision. Courtney is embarrassed, but amused.)

(Cradling the bottles as if to protect himself) No!.. I just... you know,... I... I figured you’d like that show...

Well, I don’t like that show.
(The server breaks eye-contact, turns around and leaves the table without another word, thankful he is alive.)

(turning back around) I love that show!
(The whole table bursts into laughter.)

That was awesome! I though with you, I will have to wear a tie.

Get these two together. Nobody’s safe!
(Jorge’s cell phone rings. Continuing the fun, Courtney grabs it before Jorge knows what happened.)

(mock sensual voice) Jorge’s house of love.
(Courtney’s expression changes, she hands the phone to Jorge.)

I’m sooo sorry... I think it’s your girlfriend.


(Everyone bursts into laughter again except for Courtney who feels remorseful.
Jorge grabs his cell phone, stands up and stumbles to the back by the bathrooms where it is more quiet. It is apparent he has had a lot to drink.

Cut to:
Jorge, by the bathrooms.

(on the phone) Hey... It was a joke... at Lynagh’s having a beer...
(High-pitched nagging gibberish comes out of the receiver. Jorge holds the phone
back from his ear. Belinda walks by. Jorge covers the receiver.

(to Belinda) Hey, you’re hot! What’s your name?

(startled) I am Belinda and you are very inebriated. I’msurprised you can see me...

I like your dress. Retro!
(The high-pitched gibberish continues. Belinda looks at his phone annoyed.)

You should get rid of that broad.
(Belinda walks away and Jorge gets back on the phone.)

Cut to:
Pete, Jake, Courtney and Brittany at the table.
(Courtney and Brittany stand up, excuse themselves, grab their purses and make
their way to the bathroom area, where Jorge is standing, still on the phone. A bar girl stands up and is following Courtney and Brittany to the bathroom.

Oh-oh! Jake, one’s breaking away from the pack!

(calm and collected) Relax, I got it.
(Jake stands up and straightens out his shirt.)

Cut to:
Jorge, by the bathrooms.
(Courtney and Brittany are coming up behind him headed for the bathroom. The bar girl is coming up behind them. Suddenly Jake tackles her out of the frame.)

(Into the phone) Is over!
Jorge hangs up phone in prefect sink with the tackle. Courtney and Brittany walk on and enter the ladys’ room, none-the-wiser.

End of Act One



published by Avant Garde Design & Publishing, Inc.)

Forbidden Thoughts

Crown the blistering thoughts of barbed pleasures and morbidity.
Behold within your mind’s sight, for it is no sin to wonder.
Exploit the possibilities fearlessly.
Guilt and Shame know their boundaries.... Do you?


let the words i write be the first of many or the last of what now is,
for in the end it makes no difference.
In the skein of Fates great plan i am but a quark,
if i may flatter myself with the comparison,
yet fully aware of this, the lead of my pencil meets paper
and scribbles off an insignificant thought.

Aspects of Reality

Principals and norms are not etched in stone but clay,
Carved by the surreal hands of the imagination
And subject to change by the smallest whim of a new perspective.
The common thinking has been conditioned,
Limited by standards and method actions
That dismiss the creative influences of a true reality,
As peevish thoughts of an infant’s mind.
Where are the innocent moments of His untainted sight?
Why can we no longer cherish the unwritten – or even recognize its warmth?
The concrete chisel shapes the perceptions of one’s reality.
True understanding of its various aspects lies in the depth of the soul.




Book Samples: 1. Age group 5 to 10  2. Age group 8 to 12

Story sample: Age Group 9 to 12

AYLA- The Little Fairy of Nyanza (Ghost Writing) Sample chapters


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....
The feeling was entirely new to Ayla, and it would not abate. Her thoughts grew more and more confused. She decided to take her mind off it all by joining in the dances and the games of the fairies. The fairy tried hard to enjoy herself, but being so tiny she could not keep up with the steps of the dance. None of the games the fairies played were as fascinating and exciting like the ones she used to play with Kael. Soon she gave up trying to fit in; Ayla could not find joy in anything without her best friend.

* * *

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?
She didn't have time to let the creeping doubt overcome her, because her winged ride headed down toward the valley below, and stopped in a tall tree.

"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.
As curious as she was to explore this miraculous place, Ayla could not forget about Kael. Where should she start looking for him? How could she find out which way he went? By now she was tired, and thinking about her home tree, so far away. Where would she spend the night?

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.
With a sight of relief, Ayla reached the porch. All she needed now was a dry corner to sleep in, sheltered from bad weather.

"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.
"Are you going to eat me?" she asked, confronting the ball of fur, holding her wand like a fencing sword.

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



The Boxing Championship (Ghost Writing) Sample

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+."

"That's wonderful! If you pay more attention, I'm sure you can get an A next time," mom smiled and started to put the clean dishes away in the cupboard.

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."

Mom stopped what she was doing, and frowned at them, "I don't want to hear it from either one of you. Tee, you are taking your brother. Sam, you need to go out in the sun every once in a while. You can play with your bugs when it rains. Now, both of you, go do your homework!"

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.

"We want a fight!" Josh, yelled impatiently. He was one of the kids who was there just to watch. All the other boys joined in, "Fight, fight, fight!"

"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.

The first match was with a dude called Monster P. He was a fierce fighter, but not as good as Tee. "One, two, three. You’re out,” said Jibar, the kid chosen to be the referee. The next fighter was Turtle. "One, two, three, you’re out." Just as fast as they came, they dropped like flies, and Tee wasn't even breaking a sweat.

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



Melinda, pay attention!
by Vlad Paraschiv

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....

Book Samples: 1. Age group 5 to 10  2. Age group 8 to 12