Archives for category: Sample Chapter

. “Interesting,” Kelly said.  “Would you like Jo to shoot her for you?”

“I could,” Jo said.

Veronica came back into the living room. “What?” she said.

“Or one of us could do it,” Mac said.

“I’d be glad to do it,” Lola said.

“Why don’t we draw straws?” Jo asked.

Val looked around at the faces of her friends, laughed. “Oh my God,” she said. “All my friends are killers. How did that happen?”

“Rowdy”, part three of the Our Lady of Righteous Rage series, is coming out at the end of the month. Here’s a little preview: Chapters 1-2. Enjoy!

 

Chapter One

Amy

 

            I was sitting on the couch inside the recording studio at Urban Collective, scanning an article in Alternative Press magazine. If anyone had asked me what the article was about, I couldn’t have told them. I wasn’t reading it; not really. There were words and pictures on the page, but all I could see was red. I’d never been so pissed off in all my life. My friends and I had been busting our asses to make a name for our band, and my idiot ex-husband was working to destroy it all! Who the hell does that?

            “Did you know Kurt Cobain died on my sixteenth birthday?”

            I looked up from the magazine to see Aidan, sitting across from me on a stool, scrolling through his phone. He looked up from the screen and smiled at me. “That’s pretty trippy, right?”

            I shook my head and sighed. “I’m sorry, Aidan,” I said. “I completely forgot you were here. I’m still so angry about this whole thing with David.”

            “I know,” Aidan said. He slid his phone into his back pocket, and clasped his hands in his lap. “So, what are we gonna do about him?”

            “I don’t know yet,” I replied. “Nick said he wanted to talk to David, one on one. And Rob…well, Rob just wants to kick his ass.” I set the magazine down on the cushion next to me. “So does Jon.”

            “Well, you can add my name to that list, too,” Aidan said. “Piece of shit. What was he thinking?”

            I shook my head at the idea. “To think we used to be friends,” I said. “I mean, I always believed we would still have that, you know? I believed, even if we didn’t work out as a couple, we could at least hold on to our friendship. I guess I thought wrong.”

            Aidan smiled at me. “David never knew what he had when he was with you,” he said. “That’s why he’s so pissed off. He lost the greatest thing that ever happened to him.”

            “Aidan?” I said, feeling my eyes becoming watery. “Dude, don’t say stuff like that! You’re gonna make me cry.”

            “It’s the truth!” Aidan insisted. “Losing you fucked him up.”

            At that moment, Nick walked in, and plopped down beside me. “Hey,” he said, with a sigh. “What’s up?”

            “The ceiling,” Aidan replied. “What’s up with you?”

            Nick smirked at him. “Trying to figure out what to do about this David situation,” he said. “I could just have him killed, you know. The Lianetti name carries a lot of weight in Sicily, and all I have to do is make a phone call and pay for a plane ticket—”

            “Stop,” I said. “We’re not having anyone killed. We’re going to be rational adults about this.”

            “I don’t want to be a rational adult,” Aidan said, flicking his tail. “I wanna put my foot up David’s ass.”

            “So do I,” I said. “But that’s not the way to handle this.”

            Nick reached up and scratched the back of his head. “Yeah, you’re right,” he said. “What we need to do, is keep doing what we’ve been doing. We need to keep making music.”

            “We need to release another album,” Aidan said.

            Nick nodded in agreement. “I’m going to start working on some songs. If you guys come up with anything, let me know, and we’ll work on it.” He paused for a moment, then added. “I did try to call David, but he wouldn’t answer his cell or return any of my calls. I know he got my voice mails.”

            “Don’t worry about him,” I said. “Like you said, we need to focus on making music.”

Chapter Two

Nick

 

 

 

            It’s always the ones you least suspect, who screw you over. If a total stranger had been behind all of our problems, I could live with that. But my cousin? My own family? How am I supposed to feel about that?

            When I left the studio, I went home. Nyda wasn’t in yet, so I had the place to myself. With so much idle time on my hands, I figured I could get some writing done. We needed a new album; one that would blow all of our haters out of the water. I had a lot of work ahead of me.

 

 

I’m currently working on 3 manuscripts now, and I’d like to share a little sneak peek at the upcoming “Black Queen; Killing Machine”, another book in the “Valentine Apart” series, featuring Jo Fuentes, who I introduced in the third Valentine book. Enjoy!

 

Roger Plankman could feel the blood rushing to his head, as he dangled six flights up, over the side of the motel. Jo had a vice grip on his ankles, but every few seconds, she would lower him, then raise him again. He heard her groan, then he felt her tighten her grip even more. “He’s getting heavy, Kelly,” she whined.

            “I know, I know,” Kelly said. She put one foot up on the edge of the building, and leaned forward, with her hands resting upon her thigh. “What’s it going to be, Roger? Are you going to tell me what I want to know, or am I going to have to let Jo drop you?”

            “I don’t know anything!!” Roger insisted. “I swear!”

            Kelly rolled her eyes. “This is becoming very tiresome.”

            “Tell me about it,” Jo muttered.

            “So, you’re not going to cooperate?” Kelly asked.

            “I don’t know anything!” Roger declared.

            Kelly sighed heavily, stood up straight, and waved her hand. “Oh, just drop him,” she said.

            Jo shrugged, and release both of Roger’s ankles. He yelled as he plummeted towards the pavement below. He landed in a heap beside a dumpster. Jo leaned over the edge and looked down at him, and gasped. “Hey, look!” she said. “The fall didn’t kill him.”

            Kelly stood beside her and looked down at where Roger had fallen. She saw him move his head, and one of his hands tried to reach up, towards them. “Oh,” she said. She reached into her waist band, and pulled out her hand gun. Pointing it down at Roger, she fired a single shot, and struck the center of his chest. “Yes it did,” she said, flatly. “Let’s go.”

 

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Two more books in the Valentine Apart series are on their way! Until they are ready, here’s a sample of the first chapter of Black Queen: Killing Machine. This book in the series reveals Jo Fuentes’ s past, before she met Valentine and just before she began working for Kelly McCormick. Enjoy!

 

Chapter One

She sat at the table, with her head down; right ear pressed against the surface. Her eyes were open, staring straight ahead at the metal door. The room was a typical interrogation room: painted in that drab matte gray. No windows. No pictures. No contact with the outside world. Only silence. Beyond the door, she imagined people going about their business, doing their jobs. Filing paperwork. Making phone calls. People in their fatigues or “dress blues”. Maybe a handful of people in “civies”. People who were moving around and doing important things, while she sat in a quiet little room, just waiting…

The door suddenly opened, and a man in uniform stepped inside. He was carrying a manila folder. She lifted her head and stood up from her seat, and saluted him. He nodded as he walked over to the table and took the seat across from her. He gestured for her to sit back down. Her eyes remained on his uniform as she seated herself. Marine. A Colonel. Bars. Awards. This guy seemed important.

“I’m Colonel Brantley,” he said. He set the folder on the table, and opened it. “It’s good to have you state-side, Lance Corporal Fuentes.”

“Thank you, sir,” she said. “But everyone calls me Jo.”

Brantley looked up at her through middle-aged gray eyes. “Jo, is it?” he said. “Jo. Okay, Jo. We need to talk about what happened. I’m going to ask you some questions, for my report. Is that okay with you?”

“Begging your pardon, sir,” Jo said, “But I thought a report had already been filed.”

“This is for my report,” Brantley clarified. “You see, what happened to you is a pretty extraordinary thing. I would like to know more about it.”

Jo shrugged her shoulders. “There’s nothing more for me to tell, sir,” she said. “We came under attack. Corporal Sullivan and I survived, and we’re both here in the states.”

Brantley looked down at the contents of the folder. He thumbed through a few documents, then looked at the eight-by-ten photos behind them. “I believe there’s more to it than that,” he said. He looked up at Jo. “Do you remember that day, Jo? Do you remember what happened?”

Jo stared ahead at him. Her face was still, but her mind was active. Images a Hummer, driving down a road in the Iraqi desert, her unit talking and laughing. Sullivan—Sully, as she called

him—made a joke, and everyone laughed. Suddenly, no one was laughing. There was an explosion, followed by darkness…

“Jo? Fuentes?”

She blinked at him, and furrowed her brow. “Yes, sir?”

“I asked you if you recalled anything strange happening before the explosion?”

Jo could feel her heart beating rapidly inside her chest. The explosion. The explosion…

 

(End of Sample)

 

NovocaineCover

Hello everyone. Here is a sample from my latest book, Novocaine. Enjoy!

10. The New Erin
Mom really wanted me to look into going to school, but I convinced her, it would be better for me to get a job. We needed money. I made a list of all the things I knew Mom needed to pay for, such as insurance for her car, gas, our prepaid cell phones, metro cards, food, and the storage unit in Georgia. She couldn’t do it alone. So, I started putting in applications again. A few places were a little skeptical of even considering me, because of my age. I reminded them, I would be turning eighteen in January.
Finally, I applied at a bookstore called The Strand. On the application, I was asked to match the titles of classic, well-known literary novels with their authors. It was child’s play. Three days later, I received a phone call, to come in for an interview. During the interview, the manager asked me which books I’ve read. I told him all about my childhood love of books, and listed some of my favorites. The manager mentioned it was interesting to meet someone my age, who had read more classics than “fluff”. The interview ended with the standard, “I’ll give you a call”, so I went home and waited. Thankfully, the following day, he did call me, to say I had been hired.
When I got off of the phone with the hiring manager, I screamed like an idiot. I immediately called Mom at work to give her the good news. She said she was proud of me, and working in a bookstore would be good for me. I’d be surrounded by the works of my favorite authors. Plus, I was happy I’d be working in a place where I didn’t have to dress up; I could come to work dressed as myself. My new self.
My first day at The Strand, I realized, I really didn’t have to wait to change my hair. In fact, changing it now would help me blend in a bit more. There wasn’t much of a dress code at The Strand; employees were either dressed in renaissance-style clothing, or punk, or Goth, or grunge, or…whatever. My first day consisted of a tour of the store, learning where each section was located, and watching one of the cashiers run a register. One of the managers said I probably wouldn’t be on the register very often, according to my application and my knowledge of literature, I’d be more useful at the customer service desk or on the floor.
After work, I stopped by a drugstore, and bought a box of black hair color and a bleaching kit. My plan: dye my hair jet black, and bleach my bangs. I’ve been wearing my natural color (dark brown) my entire life. The new Erin required a new hair color.
I followed the instructions to the letter. After dying, shampooing, conditioning, then blow-drying my hair, I had achieved the results I wanted: black hair with bleached bangs. I had also bleached two locks of hair in the front.
“I didn’t think I was going to like it,” Mom said, when I was finished. “But I have to say it looks nice.”
“Thank you,” I said. “I like it, too. I needed a fresh start.” It was a pleasant distraction from the house we were currently living in, and the lop-sided bed I had to sleep on. I know, I’m being negative, and I should be more grateful…I am grateful. But I’m also pissed off at my family, for putting us in this position. Perhaps, I can channel that anger into something positive.
I decided to walk up to Main Street, to the 99 cent store. Mom came with me. I needed some supplies: notebooks, pens, a sketchpad, and the cheapest colored pencils I could find. Roaming the aisles of the store, made me miss a familiar place in Hampton: Paul’s Arts and Crafts. I loved that place. I should stop thinking about it, though. Thinking about it makes me miss Virginia.
I figured, I’m a nerd of sorts, but just being smart doesn’t classify you as a nerd. Liking very specific things, is what makes you a nerd. In my mind, I made a short list of what I liked: punk rock (thank you Green Day and My Chem), art, books (good books, not “fluff”) and science fiction. So, I decided the new Erin needed to devote more time to the things I (she) liked. I used to draw when I was younger; I needed to start drawing again. Mom and I were going to change our driver’s licenses over from Virginia to New York, which meant I’d be able to get a library card and do more reading. And as far as music was concerned, I needed to get into more bands.
During one of my days off I spent the entire day in the library up the street from Aunt Ella’s house. I gathered every book and magazine they had on punk rock, past and present, and started reading and taking notes. I wrote a lot of poetry when I was in school; maybe I could give song writing a try.
I wanted to absorb everything. Gilman Street. Green Day’s beginning. My Chemical Romance’s New Jersey roots. Patti Smith. London punk rock. The Who. The Clash. The Smiths. The Ramones. How punk wasn’t just the way you looked, it was a state of mind. All of it. This would build the new Erin. This would build the new me.
Mom and I agreed to save as much money as possible. In between saving, since I had a job, I was permitted to make small purchases here and there. Nothing major. If I saw an inexpensive band T-shirt, or a magazine, I could buy it with my own money. It made me feel normal, or at least, next to it.

END OF SAMPLE

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Greetings, folks. Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been busy reading, writing and working. But I’m back now, and I intend to post more often. First up, is a sample from a book I’m working on. The working title is “Novocain”. I may change it between now and its completion. We’ll see. “Novocain” will serve as the in-between novel, that will bridge a gap between “Our Lady of Righteous Rage” and “Your Fame Will Destroy You”. The story is centered around Erin, a new character you’ll meet in “Your Fame”. Here’s a little sample. Enjoy.

At nineteen, I had decided to completely free myself. After all, who was going to stop me? I felt as though I had no choice in the matter. I had hidden away the things I held dear, for far too long. I had been keeping the real Erin under lock and key, only letting her out on Halloween, when I could wear all black and extreme eyeliner without having to explain myself to everyone. But this had gone on far too long. This had to come to an end. Keeping your true self hidden away from the world isn’t living…it’s just existing. I didn’t want to just exist anymore. I wanted to live. I wanted to be me.
My first attempt at freedom, was at a speed dating event, in Chelsea. The women sat down at tables while the men played musical chairs around the room, sitting and “dating” for two minutes at a time. Every guy who sat across from me, wasn’t quite what I wanted. Khakis, polo shirts, or sagging pants…not my scene. There was one guy, who began our date with a joke. He introduced himself as Holden Caulfield, so I told him I was Esther Greenwood. We both laughed; we were probably the only two people in the room who understood that reference. In that two-minute span, I learned Holden was a bookworm like me, but that was all we had in common. He liked classical music. I liked punk rock. He dressed in bright colors. I dressed in black.
Another guy noticed my black attire and asked if I was going to a funeral. I smiled and replied, “Soon.” He stood up before our two minutes had ended. Pity.
“He probably thought you were a witch,” Mom said, when I told her all about my mini-dates. “You’re not going to get a date like that, Erin. Men don’t want a creepy little Goth girl.”
“Some do,” I said. “I don’t want the Prep School Polo shirt wearing dildo who’s daddy is in charge of some hedge fund. That’s boring.”
“Then what do you want?” Mom asked.
I paused. “I’m not sure yet,” I said. “I just know what I don’t want.” I sighed, and shook my head. “Maybe I should just give up on dating, and buy a body pillow.”
Mom cocked an eyebrow. “A what?”
“A body pillow,” I said. “You know, one of those extra long pillow? The ones that are the length of your body? At least I’d have something to hold on to when I’m in my bed.”
“I don’t want to imagine what else you’d be doing with that thing,” Mom muttered. I playfully punched her arm, and she punched me back. Most of the girls I grew up with, could never have this sort of conversation with their mothers. But my mother was different. I suppose that developed from her being a single mother, as so many mothers are. Its been me and her for almost as long as I can remember, so we’ve always been able to talk about anything. For instance, I once asked her why so many women threw themselves at Mick Jagger.
“I mean, he’s not even that good looking,” I said. “I just don’t get it.”
“He’s got a lot of money,” Mom had replied. “And he probably has a huge dick. When you’re rich and you have a huge dick, you don’t need to be good looking.”
I had never laughed so hard in all my life! Anyone else who had heard their mother say such a thing would have blushed or felt embarrassed. But not me. That’s just the way it was between me and Mom.

I quietly made my way into am indie record store near Union Square. I was one of only two female patrons there. I found a rack full of discounted vinyl and began searching through it. A guy with dark brown hair walked over and stood beside me. “Looking for anything in particular?” he asked.
“Patti Smith,” I replied, looking up from my search only long enough to see he has blue eyes.
“Who?” he said.
Who? The fuck do you mean, who?
“Patti Smith,” I say again, as if this will suddenly educate or remind him as to who Patti Smith is.
“What kind of music does she play?” he asked.
I slowly looked up from the records, and turn to him, in silence. “Seriously?”

http://www.woolastonentertainment.com #ourlady #Novocain #writing

Hello, folks.  I’m in the process of writing the sequel to “Our Lady of Righteous Rage”, titled, “Your Fame Will Destroy You”.  In the meantime, here’s a side story, from Jon, Amy’s son.  Enjoy!

 

My Mother is a Rock Star

An Our Lady of Righteous Rage Side Story

 

 

Every time my alarm clock goes off, I just wanna throw a shoe at it. Sure, I know it’s not the clock’s fault I have to wake up and go to school, but it pisses me off just the same. It’s Friday morning. I can think of so many other places I’d rather go today, but no. School will be my destination.

I slowly sat up and swung my feet over the side of my bed. I paused and started at the alarm clock on the night stand next to my bed. As if staring at it was going to shut it off. I groaned as I reached over and silenced the alarm, and stood up. Friday at school. At least there’s the weekend to look forward to.

I strolled over to my closet, and slid the door open. As I dug around inside, in search of a pair of jeans, there was a knock at my bedroom door. “Come in,” I said. My voice sounded like crap: froggy from sleep.

The door opened, and Mom entered my room. “Hey, honey,” she said. “Looking for Narnia?”
I chuckled and shook my head. “Yeah, Mom,” I said. “I think I just saw Mr. Thomas in here. What’s up?”

“I just wanted to make sure you were up,” Mom said. “Did you sleep okay?”

“I guess,” I said. I pulled out a hanger with a pair of black jeans on it, and slid the jeans off. “How about you?”

“I slept pretty well,” Mom said. She shoved her hands into the back pockets of her navy blue skinny-leg jeans. She was wearing one of her favorite T-shirts: black, with Green Day’s logo and heart-shaped hand grenade. And Chuck Taylor’s. She’s twenty-six, but she looks like she should be heading to high school with me.

“Nervous about this weekend?” I asked.

Mom shrugged her shoulders. “I think I am,” she said.

“Why?” I asked. I continued to look through my closet for a T-shirt to wear with the jeans. “It’s going to be like any other show, right?”

“No,” Mom said. “This show is going to be different. You’re going to be there. You, and your friends. So I have to bring my a-game.”

I grabbed my gray David Bowie shirt, and looked over at her with a raised eyebrow. “That’s why you’re nervous?”

Mom gave me a little half of a smile. “You’ve never been to one of my shows before,” she said. “And I just want to make sure you get to see me at my best.”

I smiled, and walked over and gave he a hug. “Don’t worry, Mom!” I said. “You’re going to be great. I know you will.” Down the hall, I could here the door to the master bedroom open. “Your drummer, on the other hand,” I shouted. “That’s who you should be worried about!”

Rob, my stepfather, appeared behind Mom and leaned his head into my room. “You talking smack about me again, Jon?” he asked.

Mom giggled, and I nodded my head. “Just keeping you on your toes, Rob,” I said.

Rob gave Mom a quick kiss on her cheek. “I’m going to head over to Nick’s place. Coming?”

Mom nodded. “Yeah, I’m coming,” she said. She looked at me and asked, “So, you have your tickets, right?”

I nodded. “Yep,” I said.

“Good,” Mom said. “Okay. Have a good day, honey. I’ll see you later this evening, okay? We’ll get Chipotle or something.”

“Cool,” I said.

 

 

What had made my mother so nervous, was the upcoming show her band was holding at Webster Hall in the city tomorrow night. She, my stepfather Rob, and their friends Nick and Aidan were members of a band known as Our Lady of Righteous Rage. They were semi-punk and semi-metal. They had opened for several other bands over the past year or so, but now they were stepping up from being the opening act. Now, they were becoming headliners. They had played a few small clubs around the city, but playing at Webster Hall was a first for them. I had never been to an Our Lady show, but this weekend, Mom gave me tickets for myself and my two best friends, Phillip and Olivia. We were going to be in the mosh pit. I was trying to imagine moshing to my mother’s band.

Mom started out as the bass player for Our Lady, until Nick, the lead singer, pulled their friend Aidan in. Nick heard Mom sing, and said she was being wasted on bass. So, Our Lady had two lead singers. Aidan was on bass, and Rob was the drummer.

At school, and in public, my family managed to keep a pretty low profile. Nobody knew my parents were in a band. If they did know, they never said a word to me about it. Plus, Mom, Rob and I all have different last names. Rob’s last name is Zickye, Mom’s is Edwards and mine is Sarconi. The truth is, I’m adopted. Mom used to be married to my older cousin, David. They adopted me while they were still married. Then David turned into an asshole, and Mom divorced him. She fought him for custody of me, and eventually won (thank God).

I showered and got dressed, and had two pop tarts for breakfast. Mom had already left the house. If she had seen me eating just the pop tarts she would have scolded me and made me eat a bowl of cereal instead. She once suggested I eat some fruit instead.

Pop tarts have fruit filling, Mom,” I said. “See? It says so on the box.”

“That’s not the same thing,” Mom said.

But, this morning, she’s not around, and I can eat whatever the hell I want. This morning, it’s frosted strawberry.

 

 

 

When I arrived at school, there were kids in the hallway, at their lockers, talking about their weekend plans. Some were going to hang out at each other’s houses. Some would go to the movies. Others were talking about a party at some girl’s house (her parents were going to be away all weekend). But, there were little clusters of kids here and there, talking about an upcoming show at Webster Hall this weekend. A girl and two guys were standing near my locker. As I twisted the knob on my lock and opened my locker, I listened to their conversation.

“It’s Our Lady of Righteous Rage,” the girl said. “It’s gonna be so fucking awesome.”

“Hey, that girl guitarist is hot,” one of the guys said.

I felt a muscle in my neck grow tight. I wanted to say, “That’s my mother you’re talking about!”, but I can’t. We live a low profile life. But I guess that will probably change after this weekend.

“Hey, Jon,” a voice said. I glanced over my shoulder, and found Olivia and Phillip standing behind me. The girl and the two guys walked away, and my friends took their place.

“Hey, Liv,” I said. “Phillip.”

Phillip nodded to me. His long brown hair was hanging in his face and covered one of his eyes. When he wears it like that he reminds me of that lady from that movie, The Grudge.

“Ready for this weekend?” Olivia asked. “I’m so excited!” She leaned in and whispered, “I can’t believe your Mom gave us tickets for the mosh pit!”

“Shhhh!” I said. “Not in public, remember?”

Olivia grinned and cupped her hand over her mouth. “Sorry,” she said.

“Everyone’s gonna know who your parents are after this weekend, bro,” Phillip said. “I mean, everyone I’ve talked to is going to Webster Hall tomorrow. And anybody who’s not going will find out on Monday.”

“Monday?” I asked.

Phillip and Olivia exchanged worried glances. “Tell me you didn’t forget,” Olivia said.

“Forget what?”

“Our assignment for Mrs. Nicholson’s class?” Phillip said. “Write a paper about one of your parents’ careers?”

Shit!

“Oh, Christ,” I said. “Oh, Christ no!”

“It doesn’t matter which one of your parents you write about, either,” Olivia chimed in. “Everyone’s gonna find out they’re part of Our Lady of—–”

“Shhh!” I said. “Shit. I’m screwed either way. There’s no way I can get out of turning in a paper, either. Mrs. Nicholson will want to know why. Then some ass in our class will get up and yell, ‘I know why! He doesn’t want anybody to know his mom is famous!’ This sucks.”

“Sucks to be you, bro,” Phillip said. “Oh well. Maybe it’s time for this to come out, you know what I mean? The pressure must be killing you. I know I can barely stand it sometimes.”

Olivia nodded her head in agreement. “Me too. I’m friends with a guy who’s parents are badass rock stars and I can’t tell anyone!”

I sighed, and retrieved my algebra text book from my locker. I opened my back pack and shoved the book inside. I slammed my locker shut and locked it. “Oh well,” I said. “I guess I should enjoy the show tomorrow, since my funeral is on Monday.”

 

 

 

After school I went straight home. I went into my room, where I paced back and forth with my hands behind my back, for several minutes, the way people do in those old black and white movies, when they have to think about something. Kids would see me at Webster Hall tomorrow, in the mosh pit, and wonder how I scored such awesome tickets. Or, they would hear my presentation on Monday (oh yeah: we couldn’t just write the paper, we had to read it to the class!). I didn’t have a choice. I had to write the paper. And I couldn’t lie about what my parents did for a living. Mom wanted to see every paper and every assignment. She had a copy of my syllabus from Mrs. Nicholson’s class, along with all of my other classes. She would ask to see my paper.

I didn’t have a choice. I had to write the paper. Should I write about my stepfather the famous drummer, or my mother the famous singer/guitarist? Rob would tell me to write about Mom. Mrs. Nicholson was a feminist; she’d want to hear about a woman in the music industry. Fuck. I’d better get started on this damn paper. I sighed, and planted myself in front of my lap top, which I kept on a desk in my room. If I can just get the rough draft started, I should be okay. I mean, I’m writing about my mother. How hard could that be?

I heard the front door open and close a few seconds later. I could hear Rob’s voice, followed by Mom’s. Mom called down the hall. “Jon? Are you home?”

“I’m back here, Mom!” I called. She appeared at my side a few seconds later. She placed her hand on my shoulder.

“How was school?” she asked.

“Good,” I said. “Some kid tried to start a food fight in the cafeteria and got suspended.”

“I didn’t think kids still did that,” Mom said. “So, what are you working on? Homework?”

“Yeah, it’s a essay,” I said. “Don’t worry: I’ll have it finished by Sunday night.”

“Okay,” Mom said. “Do you need any help?”

“I think I’ve got it,” I said.

“Okay,” Mom said. “Are you hungry?”

I paused. “Actually, yeah, I am,” I said. “Are we still going to Chipotle?”

“Sure,” Mom said. “Let’s go.”

 

 

 

The closest Chipotle was inside Queens Center Mall. My parents each donned a pair of sunglasses, and Mom pulled her blond hair back into a ponytail. We approached the counter, ordered our food, and found an empty table. We looked like a regular family. We ate our food, talked about our day, and enjoyed one another’s company. Regular. I guess this is why Mom tries so hard to keep a low profile. Despite the fact she and Rob, and the band itself, were becoming more and more famous, she still wants to be normal. She still wants me to grow up normal.

I hated to spoil the happy mood, but I figured I should tell her about the paper I was writing.

“I have to write a paper for one of my classes,” I said, taking a bite of my burrito.

Mom looked at me in surprise. “Oh?” she said. “What about?”

Here goes nothing. “One of my parents,” I replied. “Who they are; what they do for a living.”

Both Mom and Rob stared at me in silence.

Finally, Rob sighed, and broke the silence. “Well, it was going to come out, sooner or later,” he said. “Oh, I’m just assuming you’re writing about your mother. I mean, your father is a nice guy and all, but—-”

“He’s a douche,” I said, quickly. “I’m writing about Mom.”

Rob smiled and nodded approvingly.

“Me?” Mom said. “Are you sure?”

“Well, yes, of course,” I said. “I mean, if you don’t mind.”

Mom looked back and forth, between me and Rob. “I guess it’s okay,” she said. “The real question is, are you going to be okay with it. Everything is going to change for you, once people find out who we are.”

I had sort of thought about that, but not really. But it didn’t matter anymore. We were never going to be normal or regular, anyway. My parents are rock stars. My friends and I have a band (we call ourselves “Sons of War and Peace”) and we’d like to follow in Our Lady’s footsteps. So, it’s just time to let the preverbal cat out of the bag.

“I’ll be okay,” I said. “Don’t worry.”

 

 

 

 

On Saturday night, Phillip, Olivia and I stood in front of the stage at Webster Hall, waiting for the concert to begin. There was a mass of kids and a few adults behind us. Only a few of my kids in the mosh pit went to my school. Looking around, I could see a few more kids I knew, sitting towards the back. I heard someone yell, “Hey Sarconi! How’d you get in the mosh pit?!” I looked back to see who it was. Jeremy Baker. I hated that guy. He was a Junior at my school. One of those guys who enjoyed shoving nerds into lockers and freshmen into the wrong restrooms. One of those guys who wouldn’t grow up to be worth half a shit after he graduated. I simply smiled and gave him the finger. When Olivia saw this, she grabbed my arm and pulled my hand down.

The show finally started. Some band called “The New Arrivals” was the opening act. They sounded pretty good. They played three songs, then cleared the stage. Everything went black. The audience started clapping. Suddenly, everything was quiet. I could hear movement on the stage, but I couldn’t make out who was there. And then, I heard my mother’s voice, sing the opening line to an Our Lady song, “Come for the Wake, Stay for the Funeral”:

All you spectators, please gather ‘round

The dearly beloved is barely in the ground…

The audience knew the words, and started singing along with her. When she reached the chorus, the entire stage lit up, and the audience lost their minds. Security kept me and my friends, along with the other twenty-something people in the mosh pit from being pushed and shoved by the people who had made their way from the back to the front.

It was hypnotic. Mom on guitar. Rob on drums. Aidan on bass. Nick on guitar as well. My mother, stepfather, and the two guys who were practically my uncles. On stage. In a punk rock band. Commanding so much attention and authority. Mom singing lead; the guys backing her up and singing the lines of the chorus with her. She was wearing a black t-shirt and skinny jeans. Her hair was pulled back. She was playing Jack, her Fender strat. She was on stage, in front of I don’t know how many people, doing a sold-out show, and she was fucking fearless. Since the day she adopted me, she had always been just Mom. Tonight, on that stage, I saw her for the first time, in a completely different light. Tonight, she wasn’t just Mom. She was a badass.

If Billie Joe Armstrong had been born a woman, he’d have been my mother.

Mom leaned forward during her guitar solo, and the crowd in the mosh pit tried to get a little closer to the stage. Mom laughed and backed up , and finished her solo. The band ended the song, and the audience cheered. I found myself screaming at the top of my lungs right along with them.

“How are you guys doing tonight?” Nick asked. The crowd yelled. “No, no,” Nick continued. “This is Webster Hall, you can do better than that! I said how are you doing tonight?!” The crowd screamed even louder.

“That’s more like it!” Aidan said.

“Thank you guys for coming out!” Mom said. “We’re gonna do ‘Wish You Well”, and I want all of you to sing along, okay?”

The audience cheered. Mom looked down at me and winked, and I winked back. Phillip nudged me. A guy behind me leaned in close to me and said, “Lucky!” I thought, I am lucky. Very lucky.

They did three more songs after that, including one Mom and Nick had written together, in honor of kids who didn’t fit in at school. It’s called “I’ll Never Be Special”. I’d heard Mom and her band rehearse it before, but this time, tonight, I actually listened to the lyrics. I looked over at Olivia, and the two girls who were standing next to her. They were all singing along, and crying. I looked up at Mom, and closed my eyes. She and Nick were taking turns with the lines. I felt my eyes growing watery.

So please forgive me,

Just want to be honest

Just want to be myself

I’ll never be perfect,

I’ll never be special

I’ll never be special….

I thought about a day when I came home from middle school, in my black clothes and chains. A couple of kids had teased me because of the way I was dressed. When I told Mom I wasn’t going to wear black anymore, she’d said I shouldn’t let other people change me. I should be who I wanted to be. I wondered, if she had been thinking of me when she helped Nick write this song.

There was an encore: Mom sang the lead for Our Lady’s rendition of Radio head’s “Creep”. To hear a female sing it is spectacular.

 

 

After the show, my friends and I waited around back stage, while the band packed up their equipment and instruments. Then, they signed autographs. Mom asked if I wanted to take pictures with her and the fans, but I declined. After Monday I will.

Rob gave Olivia and Phillip rides home. Then we headed home. Nick and Aidan came over for awhile. While the adults hung out in the living room, I retreated to my room to write my paper. I had so much I wanted to say.

I had done so much typing, without realizing it, I had written six single-lined pages. There was a knock at my door. “Yes?”

Mom entered my room. “Hey there,” she said. “Aidan is going to make a run to Taco Bell. Do you want anything?”

I looked at my wrist watch. “It’s almost two in the morning?”

Mom smiled. “Yeah, I know,” she said. “But we’re all so wired!”

I laughed. “Okay,” I said. “I’ll take three tacos and a churro. By the way, you guys were really awesome tonight.”

“Thank you!” Mom said. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.” She nodded towards my computer screen. “Is that your paper you’re working on?”

“Yep,” I said. “I’m almost done.”

“Okay,” Mom said. “I’ll come get you when the tacos get here.”

 

Eating with Our Lady is just as entertaining as listening to them. We sat around the living room, stuffing ourselves with tacos. Nick reached over, and grabbed a taco that was in front of Aidan. Aidan’s green eyes grew wide with amazement. “Dude, seriously?” he said. “You’re going to eat one of my tacos?”

“You just ate six!” Nick protested. “Sharing is caring, man.”

“Never come between a man and his taco,” Aidan said. He reached over, and grabbed one of Nick’s tacos, and stood up from the couch. Nick stood up and chased him around the room. Aidan laughed and began shoving the taco into his mouth. “It’s gone now!” he said, his mouth full of food. “You can have it back in about an hour, but you ain’t gonna want it!”

Rob applauded, and Mom just shook her head. I snickered and ate another taco.

Mom grabbed a napkin and wiped the side of her mouth “Hey, guys,” she began, “Jon is writing a paper about me.”

“Aw,” Nick said,

“Is it a juicy exposé ?” Aidan asked, taking a sip of his soda. “Do you wanna hear about all the crazy stuff she did when she was a kid? The stuff you’re too young to remember?”

“There was no crazy stuff,” Mom said.

“She used to sneak out to see bands play at clubs when she was thirteen,” Nick said, as-a-matter-of-factly. Mom balled up her napkin and threw it at him. It hit him on the side of his head. He chuckled, picked it up and threw it back at her.

“Is that true, Mom?” I asked.

Mom turned to me with a nervous smile. “Jeez,” she said. “Yes, once or twice, I did go to see a band play at a club. But what Nick isn’t telling you, is that it was his band I was going to see.”

I turned to Nick. “Uncle Nick?”

“Okay, that part is true,” Nick replied. “But she was thirteen, though.”

“Don’t worry, Mom,” I said. “I’m not putting anything like that in my essay.” I stood up, yawned , and stretched. “Speaking of the essay, I should go and re-read it one more time. I’ll catch you guys later. Good night.”

“Good night, honey,” Mom said.

“Night, Jon,” Aidan said. Rob and Nick gave me the old “guy nod”, and I headed towards my room.

 

 

 

 

 

Sitting in my desk that Monday morning in Mrs. Nicholson’s class, I felt sick to my stomach. I guess the reality of my situation was finally kicking in. I looked around the classroom, and found Olivia and Phillip in their seats. Phillip nodded to me, while Olivia gave me a thumbs up. I smiled at her, then looked down at the essay on my desk. Why did I have to read this damn thing out loud? Why couldn’t I just turn it in and get it over with?

When the bell rang, Mrs. Nicholson wasted no time taking attendance so she could get right to the oral reports. We went in the order of our seating arrangements, so I was number thirteen on the list. And then it began. The humiliation of standing in front of the class, one by one, talking about your parents. So far, I learned about a foreman, a doctor, a dentist, and a ballet instructor. I thought, we’re in New York. Isn’t anyone’s mother a stripper? Isn’t anyone’s father a pimp? Some of these kids are lying. Then, I thought, maybe I should request to read my essay last, since I’m pretty sure mine will top everyone else’s.

“Jon? It’s your turn.”

Mrs. Nicholson’s voice brought me back from the little dialogue I was having in my head. I nodded and stood up, and walked to the front of the room. I thought, here goes nothing.

My title was, “My Mother Is A Rock Star”. I heard a few people snicker. I didn’t give a damn. I read it anyway. I told the class about the young woman who had adopted me and raised me, when she was practically a kid herself. I told the class about the night I had pneumonia and Mom rushed me to the hospital and had to help the doctors submerge me in ice water. I told them about how she helped me, Olivia and Phillip work on music for our band. Best of all, I told them about Our Lady of Righteous Rage. Oh, there was no snickering when I got to that part of the essay.

I told the class about how no one wanted to teach Mom to play guitar because she was a girl, and how Uncle Nick was the only one willing to give her a chance. I told them about the way she sings, and about the way she writes such killer lyrics. But, what I really enjoyed telling them, was how proud I was of her, and how she helped me believe in just being myself.

“Mom always tells me you have to own who you are,” I said. “Who you are on the inside. You’re not your clothes, or the way you wear your hair, or the people you hang out with. It’s how you treat people, and how you make other people around you feel. When I’m around my mom, I feel invincible. I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. No matter what she does, succeed or fail, she always give one hundred percent of herself to her music, and to the people she loves. That’s what makes her a rock star.”

The class actually gave me a standing ovation. I hadn’t expected that.

Mrs. Nicholson asked everyone to settle down, and we listened to the rest of the essays. At the end of class, everyone crowded around me, asking me a million questions about Our Lady. Even the kids who never speak to me. I quietly waved them on and joined Phillip and Olivia in the hallway. Phillip patted me on the back, and Olivia gave me a hug. As we walked down the hall, I noticed a blond woman with sunglasses and a visitor’s pass clipped to her shirt, walking towards me. I smiled, and told Olivia and Phillip I’d catch up to them. I walked a little faster to met the blond face to face. “Hey, Mom,” I said.

“Hey, you,” she said, smiling. Her voice was a little shaky. “I heard you read your essay.”

“You did?” I asked.

Mom nodded. “I stood in the hallway outside your class and listened,” she said. “What you said was really beautiful. Thank you.”

“I should be thanking you,” I said. “Not to sound mushy or anything, but, Mom, you really are a rock star.”

She sniffled. “Is it okay if I hug you?” she asked. “I don’t want to embarrass you.”

A hug from Amy Edwards? Embarrassing? I reached out and hugged her. “It’s not embarrassing, Mom,” I said. “If anything, my status in this place just went up about fifty points.”

Mom laughed, and returned my hug. “Okay,” she said. “I’m gonna go, so you can get to class. I’ll see you later, okay?”

“Okay,” I said.

She turned, and I watched her walk away. A few heads turned in the hallway, then quickly looked away out of uncertainty.

I wouldn’t find out what my grade was for the essay until Wednesday. As I walked to my next class, I realized, I didn’t really care.

 

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I’m currently working on the sequel to Our Lady of Righteous Rage, titled Your Fame Will Destroy You.  Amy and her friends are about to learn the high cost of fame.  The higher you rise, the harder people want to see you fall.  Here’s a sample from a chapter I’m working on:

 

 

Chapter (?)

Amy

 

 

 

The calls from record labels and potential managers were endless…and exhausting. People simply don’t know how to take “no” for an answer. We did interviews with local magazines and newspapers, and even a few bloggers. The media wanted to know why we weren’t moving our careers forward. Nic always gave the best response. “We are moving forward,” he’d say. “We’re just doing it our way. Our fans don’t have a problem with it, and neither should you.”

And it was true. Our fans were extremely supportive of our decision to remain on our own label. Mike was still our manager. The best thing about him: he couldn’t be turned down. If a club or studio didn’t want to hire us, he’d whip out his I-pad and show them all of the things fans were saying about us online. “If you don’t book Our Lady, it’ll be your loss, not theirs.” Sure enough, we’d play the venue, and the owner would make crazy-ass money, just because we were there.

Then, there were the parties. All we had to do was show up, and any lack-luster event would immediately explode. Aidan found a little bar with a private room called Decklin’s. We invited our long-time friends and Erin from the Urban Collective to come and hang out with us. We used the private room at the back of the bar. So many people kept trying to sneak back there and sit with us, we ended up giving one of the bar tenders two hundred bucks to act as our bouncer. We finally let a few of our fans in, at Erin’s request.

“They’ll post photos online and it’ll be great for the band’s image,” she said.

Two hours and I don’t know how many drinks later, it was a party.

Aidan, Dee and Rob sat on a burgundy half-moon shaped couch in the corner, along with some of our fans: a young guy and a young girl. At first, they seemed nervous; star-struck. After a few minutes, when they realized Aidan, Dee and Rob were just normal people, they relaxed, and loosened up.

Over in another corner, I decided to join Erin and Nic, and more of our fans. We were huddled together in a booth. One of the guys was an NYU student. He nervously drank a beer and told me how much he loved my band. I patted him on his back and told him to relax. He smiled, and shook his head. “Sorry,” he said. “You’re the first celebrity I’ve ever met. I was at your last show in New Jersey.”

“I’m glad you could make it,” I said.

Erin was tipsy and rattling on about the guys she loved but would never be able to marry. Last week it was Brad Pitt. Tonight, it’s Colin Farrell.

“And it’s really a shame,” Erin said. “Cause he’s Irish, and I’m half Irish. We’d be so good together. My Dad’s Irish, so he’d be happy.”

“I thought you were in love with Brad Pitt,” Nic said.

“No, that was last week,” I said. “And before that, it was Liam Neeson.”

The college student next to me sipped his beer, and raised a curious eyebrow. “Liam Neeson?”

Erin smiled proudly and nodded. “Yep,” she said. “Have you seen Taken? If I ever get kidnapped, I know he’d rescue me.” She finished the last of her beer.

I giggled, and slid out of the booth. “I’ll be back,” I said.

“If you’re going to the bathroom, use that door next to Aidan’s table,” Nic said. “Remember: you’re famous now. If people see you, you’ll never make it in there in one piece.”

I smiled and said, “Right, right. The last thing I need is someone taking pictures of me coming out of a stall in the ladies room.”

Erin nodded in agreement. “Because the photograph kills,” she said. “So be careful, or your fame will destroy you.”

I paused, and stared at her. “What did you say?’

“I said, your fame will destroy you,” Erin said.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

Erin shrugged. “It’s a line from a song. A song by Russell Crowe…another guy I’ll never be able to marry.” She sighed. “Ignore me. I’m drunk. Go. Go pee.”

I shook my head and headed towards the bathroom. Sure, she’s drunk, but her words were stuck inside my head. Your fame will destroy you. I suddenly had the feeling I needed to worry about that.

 

www.woolastonentertainment.com

 

Greetings, everyone! I’m currently working on the third installment of the Valentine series, titled “Valentine 3: Queen of Hearts”. At least, that’s the title I’m working with now…it may change in the very near future.  Anyway, I wanted to share a little sample of what I have so far.  There’s going to be a lot of action in this third book, and our hero Val is going to learn a dark secret about her family.  Plus, you get to officially meet Allan and Mac Avery! Enjoy.

Chapter 2:

Right Car; Wrong Girl

Veronica woke up early the next morning, and wandered into the bathroom in the hallway. She stood in front of the sink and turned the knob for the hot water. She let the water run for a few seconds before she cupped her hands under the faucet and collected a handful of water, and splashed it on her face. She shook her head vigorously and blindly felt the towel rack to her right for her towel. When she found it, she dried her face, and gave a happy sigh. It was the first morning, the household felt whole. Her uncle, cousin, sister, and friend were together under one roof. Things could be normal again. She finished drying her face, and returned to the sink, and looked at her reflection in the mirror mounted on the wall. She leaned forward, and noticed her brunette roots were peaking through her fuchsia dye. She wondered if she should bother to dye her roots to match the rest of her hair, or if she should remove the fuchsia all together. There was no need to decide now. She could ask Val for her opinion, when she woke up.

There was movement down the hallway. She heard a door open, and the footsteps walking down the hall. It was Vincent. He noticed Veronica standing in front of the sink, and paused. “You’re up early,” he said.

“Yeah, couldn’t help it,” Veronica said. “I guess I couldn’t sleep. Want some breakfast?”

“Sure,” Vincent said. “But maybe we should wait for the others to get up?”

“No need,” Veronica said. She smiled and walked out of the bathroom, and followed her uncle down the hall and into the kitchen. “The smell of food will draw them out into the open.”

After Melinda and Victoria had left for school and Vincent had left for work, Val and Veronica were alone in the apartment. Outside, it was dreary and overcast; the weather forecast was calling for snow. Veronica stared apprehensively out the kitchen window. “It’s gonna snow,” she said. “I was planning to go to the store.”

“You might want to go now,” Val said. “Before it starts. Want me to go with you?”

“Nah, it’s okay,” Veronica said. “I’ll be right back. We just need a few things.” She ran her fingers through her hair and turned away from the window. “Say: do you think I should dye my hair, or just go back to my natural color?”

Val was busy drying the dishes in the dish rack and putting them away in the cabinet. “You want to be a brunette again?” she asked.

“I’m thinking about it,” Veronica said. “I don’t know. Let me get going so I can get back before the snow begins to fall.” She walked back to her bedroom and went into her closet. She pulled out a denim jacket and a black baseball cap with the band name My Chemical Romance embroidered on the front in white letters. She slid into her jacket, and found a bobby pin on top of her dresser, and used it to pin her hair up. She put the cap on, and grabbed her handbag. As she headed down the hall and towards the door, she called over her shoulder, “Need anything while I’m out?”

“Nope, I’m good,” Val replied.

“Okay,” Veronica said. She exited the apartment, and went downstairs and outside, to her car, a Honda Civic. She climbed inside and put her key in the ignition. The engine sputtered for a moment, then shut off. Veronica cocked an eyebrow, then tried again. She groaned, and tried one more time. The engine struggled, but shut off once more. She looked towards the apartment, and saw Val coming outside. Veronica smiled, took her key out of the ignition and stepped out of her car.

“I heard it struggling,” Val said, nodding towards the Honda. “Take my car, and I’ll take a look at yours.” Veronica smiled gratefully and she and Val exchanged keys.

Veronica opened the door to Val’s 1967 Ford Mustang. “It’s going to be kind of weird, driving your car,” she said. “Are you sure you’re okay with this?”

“If I can’t trust you, who can I trust?” Val said.

Veronica grinned, and climbed into the car. As she started the car, the roar of the engine gave her a strange sense of satisfaction. She waved to Val as she pulled off.

A silver Camaro followed Veronica as she turned onto her street, on her way back from the grocery store. She parked Val’s car in it’s usual spot, across the street from the apartment. The silver Camaro parked two cars behind. When Veronica climbed out of the car, she didn’t see the man with dark blond hair walk up behind her, with a pillow case and a strip of packing tape in his hands. She wasn’t prepared for the tape coming over her head and landing across her mouth. She wasn’t prepared for the pillow case (which had been doused with chloroform) to suddenly slip over her head. Within seconds, she went from normal, to kicking and muffled screaming, to relaxing and falling asleep. The blond man lifted her up, and carried her over his shoulder. He opened the door to the Camaro, and slid her body into the car, laying her across the back seat. Then he climbed into the driver’s seat and drove away.

As he turned a corner, his cell phone rang. He answered the call, and put the phone on “speaker”. “Yes?”

“Hey Allan!” a female voice said. “Are we still having dinner together tomorrow?”

“Of course,” Allan replied. “Can I call you back later? I’m a little busy at the moment.”

“Okay,” the female said. “I’ll talk to you later.” The call ended, and Allan continued driving.

 

Allan carried his victim into his apartment building through a rear entrance the janitorial staff used. He used the staff’s elevator, and went up to the sixth floor, to his apartment. Once inside, he gently set her down on the couch, and sighed. “Okay,” he said. “I’m going to remove the sack. I need you to be quiet, okay? No screaming, or kicking, or anything like that. Nod if you understand me.”

She nodded her head.

Allan smiled. “Good.” He reached over, seized a handful of the pillow case, and pulled it off of her head. Her baseball cap came off as well. Her long fuchsia hair fell down. His smile quickly faded. “Oh,” he said, quietly. “Oh….oh boy. You’re not Valentine.” He reached over a second time, and peeled the tape away from her mouth.

“No, I’m NOT Valentine,” the girl said.

Allan put his hands on his hips. “Damn,” he said. “I can’t believe I grabbed the wrong one.”

“Who are you?” the girl asked. “And what do you want with my cousin?”

“Your cousin?” Allan asked, raising an eyebrow. “What’s your name?”

“Veronica,” the girl said. “And you are…”

“Allan,” Allan said. “Jeez, I’m sorry. I meant to grab Valentine. I saw the Mustang, and I figured you were her, and…oh boy.”

“So, you meant to kidnap my cousin?” Veronica said, narrowing her eyes at him.

“Well, yeah,” Allan said. “You know, when you say kidnap you make this sound worse than it is.” He sighed heavily, and shook his head.

“Why am I here?” Veronica asked.

“I was hoping you could help me get my ex back,” Allan said.

“That’s a stupid plan,” Veronica said.

“Yeah, in hindsight, I guess it is,” Allan said. “So, your name is Veronica?”

“Yep.”

“I’ll bet everyone calls you Ronnie, eh?”

“Only my cousin calls me Ronnie.”

“Oh,” Allan said. “Right. Of course. So, I assume you have a cell phone, right?”

Veronica reached around and dug into her back pocket, and retrieved her cell phone.

“May I?” Allan asked, holding out his hand.

Veronica rolled her eyes and handed him her phone. He scrolled through her contacts until he found the name Val. “Val?”

“Yeah,” Veronica said, flatly.

Allan pressed “send”, held the phone up to his ear, and waited.

There was a knock at the Entienne door. Val answered it, and let Lola inside the apartment. “Hey, Lola,” she said. “Have you heard from Veronica?”

Lola stared at Val in confusion. She looked over at Melinda and Victoria, who were sitting side by side on the couch. “No,” she said. “Why? What’s the matter?”

“I’ve been trying to reach her,” Val said. “I called her cell, but there was no answer. My Dad hasn’t heard from her, either. It’s not like her to just ignore my calls.”

Lola furrowed her brow. She looked over at Melinda and Victoria again. “You two are home early.”

“Half day at school,” Melinda replied.

Suddenly, Val’s cell phone rang. She pulled it out of her pocket, and looked at the screen. Veronica’s picture and phone number appeared.

“Is that her?” Lola asked, hopefully.

Val nodded, and answered the call. “Ronnie! It’s about time. I was worried about you.”

“I’m actually not Ronnie,” a voice said.

Val paused. “Who is this and why do you have my cousin’s phone?”

“Hi. My name is Allan,” the voice said.

“Hi,” Val said. “Where’s Veronica?”

“She’s with me,” Allan said. “Don’t worry: she’s safe. I made a little mistake. It’s a funny story, really. But, anyway, she’s with me. You can have her back, I just need to meet with Lola Vencent.”

“You want Lola?” Val asked. Lola gave her a puzzled look.

“Incidentally, is she there with you?” Allan asked. “Can I speak to her?”

“Yeah, sure,” Val said. She handed her cell phone to Lola. “He wants to talk to you.”

“Me?” Lola asked. “Who the hell is it?”

“Allan,” Val said.

“Allan?” Lola said. “Oh, my God.” She accepted the phone, and held it up to her ear. “Allan? Allan Avery?”

Allan smiled. “You remember me!” he said. “That’s awesome. How have you been, Lola? I’ve missed you.”

“Allan, why do you have Veronica?”

“I needed an excuse to get you to talk to me.”

“That’s a stupid plan.”

Allan sighed. “Veronica said the same thing. So, listen: I’ll let her go if you agree to meet with me.”

“Where?”

“Remember that diner we used to go to in Bayside? In an hour?”

Lola shook her head. “Fine,” she said. “One hour.”

“Awesome,” Allan said. “See you there.”

Lola ended the call and handed Val her phone. “Don’t worry about Veronica,” she said. “He won’t hurt her. I’m going to go get her back.”

“So, you know that guy?” Val asked, sliding her phone into her pocket.

“Yes,” Lola said with a sigh. “He’s my ex-boyfriend.”

Melinda giggled, and Victoria said, “Interesting.”

“I’ll be back,” Lola said. She turned, and left the apartment.

Val turned to Melinda and Victoria and asked, “What just happened?” The girls only shrugged their shoulders.

Lola entered the diner and looked around at the booths and tables. When she spotted Allan sitting alone in a booth, he waved her over. She sighed, and made her way through the dining room to his booth, and sat across from him. “Hello, Allan,” she said.

Allan flashed her a smile. “Hello, Lola,” he said. “You’re looking well.”

“Thank you,” Lola said. “So, why am I here? What do you want?”

“You,” Allan said, simply. “I want you. I want you back in my life, and I want to be back in yours. I wanted to show you, despite what happened today, I’ve changed since the last time you saw me.”

“And you thought kidnapping Veronica would help you achieve your goal?” Lola asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I meant to grab Valentine,” Allan said. “But, yes, I did.”

“Well, I’m here,” Lola said. “So, in a way, your plan worked.”

Allan smiled proudly. “We were good together, you and I,” he said. “We could be good together again.”

Lola sighed, and looked away. “Allan…”

“Come on, Lola,” Allan said, sweetly. “I’m not the man I used to be.”

Lola returned her gaze to him. She snickered, and shook her head. He was still cute and sarcastic. She was happy everything about him hadn’t changed. “Okay,” she said. “We’ll give it a try. Now, where’s Veronica?” She paused for a moment, then asked, “She’s not in the trunk of your car, is she?”

“Good Lord, no!” Allan said. “She’s back at my apartment. I wouldn’t do that to her.”

“Good,” Lola said.

“Since we’re here , do you want to order something?” Allan asked. “Their burgers are still good.”

“No, I really should get going,” Lola said. “And I’m going to need Veronica.”

“Okay,” Allan said. “Follow me.” He stood up from the booth and waited for Lola to stand up as well. She followed him out of the diner, to the parking lot.

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In “Fortune’s Wing: Second Flight”, Fortune Oyama and his friends return home…for a short time.  Adam arrives to send Fortune on his second journey, or “second flight”.  The fate of the world still hangs in the balance.  Here is Chapter 1 of “Second Flight”.

1

A Second Flight

 

 

 

Fortune Oyama tossed and turned in his bed, clutching his bed sheets and mumbling something inaudible in his sleep. In his dreams, he was running down a desolate street, where cars had been overturned, buildings had collapsed, and humanity ceased to exist. He called for his sister, Haverdy, but didn’t get a response. He turned a corner and continued to run. Every street he came upon was the same. He slowed to a halt, and stood, catching his breath. “Haverdy?!”

A female voice finally answered. “She’s gone, Fortune. They’re all gone.”

Fortune looked all around him. “Who said that?” he asked. “Where are you?”

You had a choice to make, and you chose to end it all. Now you must live with your decision.”

“What choice?” Fortune asked. “What are you talking about?”

            “You chose to end it all, Fortune.”

Fortune ran from building to building, searching for the source of the voice. “Where are you?!” he demanded. “Where’s Haverdy? Where’s my sister?”

“You chose to end it all…”

At that moment, he woke up, and sat up in his bed. Looking around, Fortune realized he was in his room. However, the images from the dream were still fresh in his mind. His dreams were changing; becoming more intense. At first, the dreams had only been about a ruined world. Now, a voice was telling him about a choice. And Haverdy—where was Haverdy?

Fortune had only been home for three weeks since his first journey to find the Right Wing. Some days, he wondered if any of it had been real. Then he would look at the golden Wing Pendant in the top drawer of his dresser. The memories of Adam, the black ship, Breaker Island, the Golden City and the Tower of the Wings would resurface. He’d realize, they were more than just memories.

Fortune climbed out of his bed, and walked over to his window. He looked out at the street. He wondered about Adam; where he was and how he was. He said he would return when it was time for Fortune to begin his second journey. When would that be?

He opened his window, and let some of the hot July air inside. Today, he would spend time with his sister and their friends. Today, he would put his thoughts about the Wings and his dreams aside, and just be a normal teenager. He showered, got dressed, and went downstairs to the kitchen. His family was seated around the kitchen table. Haverdy was sitting with her arms folded on the table, her chin resting upon them. She looked up at her brother with an expression which said, “save me”.

“Good morning,” Fortune said.

“Good morning, son,” Mr. Oyama said, taking a sip of his coffee.

Mrs. Oyama sighed. “Morning,” she said, dryly. “Maybe you can talk some sense into your sister.”

Fortune cocked an eyebrow. Haverdy rolled her eyes.

“I just wish you would dress more like a girl,” Mrs. Oyama said.

Haverdy looked down at her baggy jeans and white polo shirt. “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” she asked.

“Nothing,” Fortune said, quickly. He walked over to the refrigerator, opened it, and took out an apple. He took a bite of it and said, “Ready to go?”

“Definitely,” Haverdy said. She stood up from the table, and followed her brother out of the kitchen and out of the house. “Thanks, Fortune,” she said, once they were outside.

“No problem,” Fortune said.

“You know what Mom and Dad think of me,” Haverdy said.

Fortune shook his head. “Don’t worry about what they think,” he said. “You know who you are, and I know who you are. That’s all that matters.” He smiled, and put his arm around his sister.

The Oyamas walked to a nearby park, where their friends were waiting for them. When Tony saw Haverdy, he laughed, and said, “Look who’s here! Fortune and his little brother!”

“Ha ha,” Haverdy said, narrowing her eyes at him. “You know, you really should consider a career in stand-up comedy. You’re just so funny.”

“I know, right?” Tony said.

“Ignore him, Haverdy,” Esrieve said.   “What are we doing today?”

“Movie!!” Ringo declared. “The AMC has the best air conditioning.”

“But we’ve already seen everything that’s out,” Fortune said.

Haverdy shrugged her shoulders. “Then I guess we’ll have to see something twice,” she said. “Only trouble is, that place doesn’t open until eleven.”

“So we have to kill two hours?” Esrieve whined. “That sucks!” She bounced over to Fortune and hugged his arm. “What are we gonna do for two hours?”             Fortune didn’t respond. He was staring at a small, elderly gentleman, dressed in a suit, standing across the street. Suddenly a bus drove by, and after it had passed, the elderly man was gone.

“I think I just saw Adam,” Fortune whispered.

Narumi stepped forward, and stood beside him. “I saw him, too,” she said.

“That old guy really freaks me out,” Ringo said.

“That had to be him,” Fortune said. “If he’s here, then that means—-”

“It’s time for your second journey,” Haverdy said, looking at her brother through worried eyes.

Tony sighed. “So much for seeing the Fourth of July fireworks,” he said.

Fortune and Haverdy didn’t get home until later that evening. They came in through the front door, and casually called “hello” to their parents. They were about to head upstairs, when Mr. Oyama called to them from the living room.

“Kids?” he said. “Can you come in the living room, please? There’s—–there’s something we need to talk to you about.”

Fortune and Haverdy exchanged worried glances as they entered the living room. Their parents were sitting side by side on the couch, with stern looks on their faces. Haverdy looked down at the coffee table and gasped softly. She nudged her brother with her elbow. Fortune looked down, and noticed his and Haverdy’s swords, lying side by side.

“I found those in your rooms earlier today,” Mrs. Oyama said. She folded her arms. “I was about to do the laundry, and I was looking for dirty clothes. Those things were under your beds.”

“Where did they come from?” Mr. Oyama asked. “And why do you have them? Why do you have swords?”

Fortune gulped, and Haverdy looked away. He felt her hand slip into his, and squeeze it. Haverdy turned to Fortune; her green eyes wide with fear. He wondered how he could possibly explain the swords. How could he make his parents understand?

“Fortune Gregory Oyama?” Mr. Oyama said. “I want an answer.” He leaned forward a little. “Say something!”

Mrs. Oyama leaned forward, too. “Haverdy? Well?”

“Perhaps I can be of some assistance,” a voice said.

Both Fortune and Haverdy stepped aside, and a small figure entered the room. He was dressed in a dark brown suit, and his silver hair was neatly combed back. Fortune smiled thankfully. “Adam,” he said. Mr. and Mrs. Oyama sat back and stared at Adam. Mr. Oyama cocked his head to one side, and said, “Dad? Is that you?”

Adam slowly nodded his head, and uttered a single word: “Sleep.” Both Mr. and Mrs. Oyama closed their eyes, and their heads slumped forward. Adam turned to Fortune and Haverdy. “You needn’t worry about them,” he said. “They’re asleep.   When they wake up, they won’t remember any of this.”

“Are you sure?” Haverdy asked.

“That was you I saw earlier, in the park, wasn’t it?” Fortune said.

“Yes, it was me,” Adam said. “I’m here, because it’s time for you to begin your Second Flight.”

“What?” Fortune said.

Adam smiled at him. “Your second journey,” he clarified. “The one which will determine the fate of the world. I trust your friends will accompany you?”

“Of course!” Haverdy declared. “When are we leaving?”

“Right now,” Adam replied. “Pack your belongings and grab your swords. We’ll go pick up your friends, and be on our way.”

Fortune nodded, then looked over at his parents. He wished he could tell them where he was going; what he was doing.

“I know what you’re thinking, Fortune,” Haverdy said. “But they wouldn’t get it. They barely understand me , so they definitely won’t understand the fact that you’re going to save the world.”

Fortune smiled at his sister. “You’re right,” he said. “Let’s go.”

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