How to survive becoming an author…week 1…Surviving initial disappointment.

So, you want to be an author, congratulations! There is nothing more exciting than surfing Amazon and seeing the novel that you have poured your blood, sweat, and tears into sitting on their website for the whole world to see. That is, until you creep your cursor to the middle of the page and find it ranked at about 800,000,000th out of 799,999,999 books available. It is about this time when you start feeling like you are doing something wrong. You befriend other writers both online and in the real world and wonder what exactly they are doing, then you start trying to do what they are doing to help get your name out there and…

Stop…Right…There

Let me tell you a story, well not a story per say, but let me tell you about my experience. I started off pretty much the same way most writers do, alone in a dark and sinister world, when my over imagination netted me the creation of my very first novel. I couldn’t have been more proud and as I watched my first title grace the catalog at Amazon.com, and as most first time authors do, I waited impatiently for the hundreds and millions of dollars to start flying my way. You can imagine the initial disappointment when I received my very first royalty check in the amount of exactly $1.00.

I had no idea what I had done wrong! I was on the radio promoting it, I was on TV promoting it, I was featured in online and printed news stories. It was about that time, in the very beginning, when I first crossed the starting line of this long race that I nearly gave up. But instead of giving up, I started looking for answers to what I was doing wrong. I will tell you that answer soon enough.

During my initial slew of interviews to promote my book, I was blessed to become acquainted with (now a good friend) another author who was from the general area in which I live by the name of Jim Beard. Now Jim’s specialized in many fields of expertise including a very in-depth knowledge of comic book history and pop culture in general, but his primary writing style was that of the old “pulp fiction” novels. No, I’m not referring to the famous Quinton Tarantino movie, but a particular style of writing in which the story line is driven more by action than by purpose or searching of meanings.

Okay, this part will be difficult to write (not to mention embarrassing), but here it goes. As I got to know Jim, I started watching what he did, what he said, how he confronted buyers at a local signing he attended with me. The more I observed and followed, the more I wanted to do what he was doing, write in the style he wrote, go to the shows he went to, publish with the same people he did. I actually think in a way I started to become jealous of him and the success he had. I wanted to literally attach myself to his hip and do everything he did, like he did. It was about this time when I realized that I had to just…stop…and reassess my situation.

After a long month of pondering, I finally figured out what I was doing wrong, It was…

nothing…

I was doing nothing wrong at all, so simple yet so profound. The reason I don’t write like Jim Beard, or know comics like him, or was an expert in pop culture, or write like a pulp writer is simply because I’m not Jim Beard, I’m Terry James! I write like Terry James writes, and that is not a bad thing!

As far as sales are concerned, they are still light or near non-existent, but I am slowly earning my fan base as I go. It ain’t going to happen over night, but I will achieve my goals eventually. When I do, I’m going to achieve it the way Terry James is going to achieve it, and I’m good with that. (not that having a few writer friends with a little experience ain’t a good thing, but remember that your success is determined by what you yourself put into it, not by jumping on the shoulders of others.)

As far as Jim is concerned, me and him are still good friends, and I am a huge fan of his work. If you are interested in seeing some of his work, you can look him up on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Beard/e/B004UWVOPE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1471732278&sr=1-1 and while you are at it, show him some love on his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/thebeardjimbeard.

For more information on me and my writing, feel free to follow me on my Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/authorterryjames or on Amazon @ https://www.amazon.com/Terry-James/e/B00HUB1Q6Y/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1471732632&sr=8-2

I hope if you are a fledgling writer that this blog helps, see you next week when we talk about writing tippers!

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How to survive becoming an author…week 2…Surviving Writing Tippers!

So you’re ready to write, but you are just not sure what you are doing. No problem, a quick spin of ye old Google wheel will net you nearly tens of thousands of “ready-to-help-you” specialist clinically trained to teach you exactly how to write the novel that will instantly launch you to the very top of The New York Times best sellers list, netting you millions of dollars in royalties and a carefree life for as long as you live. (if you believe this, please go back to the first blog in this series, I think you missed it…or the point.) Of course, not much of it is really ‘free’ and usually want your credit card up front to subscribe their newsletter which will explain how you can learn more about how to write if you spend more money on their book, “How to Write a Winning Novel!”

For example, for a nominal fee into the hundreds, you too can learn how to write just like James Patterson! Of course James won’t come into your home and address the questions you have personally, but he has a crack team of other students standing by ready to help. Several other authors offer similar classes in the form of online seminars as well. Not to mention the millions of publications that offer to walk you through the writing process.

But let me ask you one important question, who taught Mary Shelly to write a good horror story? How about, who taught Homer how to write a 179,103 word poem? Who taught Douglas Adams to translate his skewed and humorous view of humanity onto the pages of his books? The answer is…no one…simple huh?

Now that is not to be interpreted into having an excuse for not having a well-natured grammar-nazi on hand to double check your run-on sentences or sulk over your fondness for, the, Walken, comma, over the, Oxford, comma. (please tell me you get the joke…please!) I’m just saying that each of their styles of telling a good story is so distinctively, them, so when you write look for your own style and make it yours!

I can tell some of you may not be completely convinced, you still want a little help, who do I turn to? well first…not me, LOL! I have the years and the cred for these blogs, but my personal editor still screams at me from 45 miles away (no she don’t, but I’m sure she has cursed me a few times in her head. Luv ya Ash!). So here are a few credentials to look for when listening to peoples help in writing: First, what have they written? People who want to help others succeed should have at least written something successful, right? If their book-ology includes nothing but books on how to write books, there is a problem. Second, look for someone who is writing in a genre similar to your own. If you like to write YA fantasy, you probably don’t want to take advice from a documentarian. And last but not least, charge! There are several authors out there who are generally interested in you achieving your goals and want to help, at no charge. Authors like Cassandra Morgan and myself who ourselves don’t quite know everything, but are willing to offer what little we can offer.

For more information on Cassandra Morgan and her work, you can visit her website @ http://www.authorcassandramorgan.com/.

For more information on me and my writing, feel free to follow me on my Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/authorterryjames or on Amazon @ https://www.amazon.com/Terry-James/e/B00HUB1Q6Y/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1471732632&sr=8-2

So have fun with your writing, be yourself and put all of yourself (and not James Patterson) into your books! Next week, we will look at surviving author etiquette.

Article on 9/14/2015

here is a nice little write up I got from the Swanton Enterprise this week, Enjoy!

Swanton native to have third book released

Terry James knew he had a knack for writing, but felt obligated to pursue a stabler, more conventional career. Still, the desire to be an author lingered.
It was a heartfelt talk with his dying father two decades later that finally convinced James it was time to forego regrets and follow his dream.
This week, his third novel, “Deceased Denise,” will be released. It’s a stand-alone prequel to the first two books in his “Tales From Eerie County” young adult series, which, not surprisingly, has also captured the attention of older readers. Two more books are planned for the series, and beyond that James has a notebook brimming with story ideas.
“I’d been wanting to write since high school,” he said. “The thought of writing had never actually left my mind.”
The 43-year-old Swanton native, who goes by his pen name, fully realized his writing ability after submitting a short story assignment in junior high school. The story followed the trevails of people living underground thousands of years after an apocalyptic event. It earned him an A-plus and the flattering skepticism of a classmate.
“A friend of mine sitting next to me said, ‘Where did you copy that from?’ I thought, maybe I’ve got a talent for this kind of thing,” James said.
He dabbled in poetry and fiction while at Swanton High School, but by then school had become a low priority. After graduating in 1991, he committed a few years to the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Now a Deshler, Ohio, resident and a postal employee in nearby Weston, James got married and began raising a family with his wife, Robin. For 20 years, he had abandoned any serious intent to write. Then, at 39, he had a fateful conversation with his father, also named Terry, who was ill with emphysema.
He had always wanted to be a musician, his father told him. He had played in bands in his youth, but didn’t follow through. The senior Terry died about 18 months later.
“I think that was probably one of his biggest regrets,” James said of his father’s unfulfilled wish. “I thought about what he said, and told myself, ‘I’m not getting any younger, and I don’t want to end up like my dad, regretting not doing it.’”
On the cusp of turning 40, he decided the time had come. He wrote a poem entitled “Deceased Denise,” which he intended to expand into a full novel, “Tabloid Tabby.” The book’s theme was derived from the outlandish tabloid newspapers James read as a youth. Often found at grocery checkouts, they featured far-fetched stories of encounters with Bigfoot, bat boys and space aliens.
“I wondered what it would be like if those things were actually true but we’re so blinded by our own realities that we don’t know these things exist in the background,” he said.
“Tabloid Tabby” morphed into “Tales From Eerie County,” a fictitious series set at the outer banks of the Appalachian Mountains. It features the main character, Tabby Grimshaw, and her high school friends, “who discover that the world around them is not quite what it’s perceived to be. They can see that world in the background, and no one else does.”
The book series follows the ongoing battle between the teens and Corum, an evil wizard who seeks world domination by using an ancient power source to turn humans into mindless servants.
While “Deceased Denise” was intended as the first novel, James decided to shelve the idea until later. Set for release this week, it became a prequel to the “Eerie County” series, a stand-alone novel with story elements that lead to “Tabby and The Hunchback of Eerie County High,” the first book in the series.
James finished the first book in six months, and submitted it to almost two dozen publishing companies before one in Massachusetts offered him a contract. His novel was released in October 2013. Unfortunately, he became disenchanted with what he considered the publisher’s restrictive policies and slow publication process, and ended the relationship.
Undeterred, James re-released the first book as a self-publishing venture, then followed it this past July with the second in the series, “Tabby and The Dissolution of April.” He dedicated the first book to his father, “because I did something I wanted to do all my life. I published a book, and I’m proud of myself for that.”
The series and prequel are available on Amazon.com.
James never imagined his success as a writer.
“If you’d asked me 10 years ago, even two years ago, I would have probably said no. I’m very happy where I’m at, and see myself moving upward and beyond. I’m striving to be the name of choice when people want to read,” he said.
“I truly, honestly believe that I am equal, if not better, than any author you’d find at the bookstore. I’m extremely confident. It’s not arrogance by any means. I believe (confidence) is the true attitude I should have. That’s the attitude I take towards my writing.”
The most difficult part of writing fiction is allowing an established character to change, for better or worse, as people do in life, James said. “You try not to mold your character in steel, then say, ‘That’s my character.’ You have to let them evolve.”
While the series’ first book didn’t sell well, the second has taken off at author shows around Ohio. James will be interviewed by Fred LeFebvre on 1370 WSPD radio on Sept. 21, and featured at an author event from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Way Public Library in Perrysburg.
His editor, Ashley Eriksen, said James’ novels deserve best-seller status.
“He’s a fantastic writer, and he’s very original,” she said. “His stories keep you guessing. That’s definitely what I look for when I read books.”
James has begun work on his next book, an adult superhero romance, and would like to branch out into different genres. “I get excited about a lot of different projects I want to work on,” he said. “I want to spread my wings and try everything. Becoming a full-time author would be a dream come true. I would say I’m definitely pushing toward that horizon.”
When asked for advice on becoming a writer, he always gives the same response: “You grab a pen, you grab a paper, you brew up a gallon of coffee, and you start writing.”
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.

She was a woman of exquisite taste

“Your wife is a woman of exquisite taste!” Miss Elizabeth Strough commented as she was led inside the home of Mr. And Mrs. Andrew Armsden.

Mr. Armsden ushered her in and immediately took her coat, “Miss Strough, please do come in and make yourself at home.”

“Please,” she insisted quickly, “call me Elizabeth. The is no need for formalities, you know why I’m here.”

He took immediate notice of her rather thin frame. She was taller than average for her build and appropriately dressed for a young lady her age whom was attending a formal dinner. But there much more to her visit than idle chat.

“Of course, Elizabeth, if you’d like to take a seat, I’ll have some refreshments brought out as soon as possible.” He replied as he offered her a rather comfortable looking chair.

“Thank you,” she accepted as she eased her way into the chair, noting to herself the exquisite patterns and gothic décor of the room, “will Mrs. Armsden be joining us soon?”

Cooper Armsden seemed to stop in his tracks at the question, though his face remained as confident looking as it had when she first walked in, “I’m afraid The misses has become quite ill in the last few hours and has taken to bed early. She does apologize for any inconvenience and hoped you might still stay for dinner, no used wasting such a delectable meal.”

“That is indeed disheartening, and troublesome for a woman of her age, I hope it is nothing serious?”

“Nothing to worry about I’m sure, now, you’ve come all this way, would you honor a old man’s invitation to dinner? Perhaps in due time, she may feel better and grace us with her presents?”

The young woman thought about it for a moment. She had indeed traveled way to far to just make a waste of her time, “Very well, I accept!”

“Splendid!” The old man shouted excitedly, “it won’t be but a moment I assure you.”

With a bow of the head, he disappeared into another room, leaving Elizabeth alone to her thoughts. She had been on the trail of this elusive collector of rare and one-of-a-kind art work for some time. Many had attempted to interview Lady Armsden for years, and in a moment of shear luck, a representative for the art collector just happen to appear in for office.

It was a writer’s dream to interview a woman such as herself, and she wasn’t going to take this news lying down. She’d camp outside the house if necessary. It was during this time that she paused from her thoughts and gazed in amazement at the absolute beauty of an art collection which nearly covered every inch of the walls in the room.

It was shortly after this discovery when Mr. Armsden made his way back into the room, “if you would like, we may sit at the table now. Dinner will be ready shortly.”

In true gentlemanly fashion, he offered the young lady a arm as he escorted her into a grand dining hall equally adorned with a collage of artwork from nearly every artist the woman could think of. The table itself could easily seat thirty people and stretched onimously from one side of the room to the other. At the far end of the table there were two places set up for them.

“Won’t you have a seat?” The man gestured to one of the chairs.

Elizabeth did so as the man assisted with pushing the chair in before retiring to his own. Before her was a small plate covered in a cloche with a empty wine glass, silverware, and a napkin.

“I hope you will forgive me,” the old man started as he leaned over his own plate, “but I had sent the butler and chef home a few hours before your arrival. But if it helps, in my many travels around this world, I have become something of an accomplished chef when it comes to preparing food.”

Elizabeth was taken aback for a moment as she stared at her setting once again, then smiled, “I would be honored to taste the culinary wonders of a eccentric and elusive multimillionaire with a fine taste in visual masterpieces.”

The man smiled, “I am glad to hear it, please, help yourself!”

She reached up and lifted her cover, an amazing aroma welcomed her as she began to inspect the contents of her plate. Meats, cheeses, and a small variety of small bread wafers covered in a sauce that she could not quite identify. A quick glance across the table revealed the similar contents on her host’s plate as well. She took a moment to take in the sweet aroma before speaking again, “it smells absolutely wonderful, what do you call this?”

“I haven’t really got a name for it. It is from way back in my younger days when I was on the hunt in Africa when I discovered this particular entrée from some of the locals.” He confessed.

“Do please go on,” Elizabeth said as she scooped up a spooned up a cautious amount and brought it to her lips, I am most intrigued to hear of your travels.”

The man took a healthy bite on wiped his mouth, “I’m afraid that the story is much less glamorous than it sounds, Miss Elizabeth. Myself, my good friend Thomas Thayer, and our expedition was on the hunt for an elusive lion that had been terrorizing a few of the local villages. We’d tracked it for weeks into the Lybian Dessert and somehow lost our way.”

“How horrible!” She replied as she continued to eat. The dish was absolutely delicious and she caught herself beginning to take very un-womanly bites. She cautiously forced herself to keep to the small bites despite the fact that as unlike her it was, all she wanted to do was pick up the plate and pour it in her mouth all at once.

“It was a horrible experience to say the least.” The man continued, “Both our trackers were lost to the lions during our hunt and we’d all but given up the search. By the thirtieth day, we were lost and exhausted of all our rations. It seemed almost hopeless until…”

Elizabeth leaned into the table completely enthralled by his tale. His long pause felt like an eternity, she felt the need to push him forward into the story but at the same time felt it to be rude. Perhaps a painful memory he was trying to word very carefully.

“My friend was the first to go. I supposed it was better that way. I wouldn’t wish our experience on my worst enemy. We were found luckily by a native tribe who nursed us back to health. And it was this very meal that they served us again and again.” He finally smiled, “of course I’ve embellished and tinkered with the recipe on and off, but the basic ingredient is still the same.”

“And that is?” she asked as she looked down at the plate and noticed it was empty. She was surprised yet mortified as to how quickly she had eaten it, almost embarrassed that he might notice. Instead, as she raised her eyes back at the gentleman, she was greeted with a warm and kindly smile.

“relax my dear, your eyes say it all, and it is the same reaction I had when I first had it. It is quite an intriguing and wonderful dish do you agree?”

“Quite,” she hesitated as she stared back down at the plate.

“Would you like another helping,” the man asked with the same quirky smile on his lips, “I will understand if you say no, but there is no need for lady-like courtesies around here, no one in this house goes hungry.”

“If it be no trouble…”

“No trouble at all. But if you don’t mind, perhaps you may join me in the kitchen,” he gestured towards the kitchen door, “my old legs don’t get me around quite as quickly as they used to.”

“But of course.”

“And maybe while we are there, we can make a dish for the misses as well, perhaps the aroma may wake her naturally and you can still get your interview.”

“That would be lovely.”

Elizabeth stood and walked to the old man’s side. After helping him from his chair, she began to walk him to the kitchen door. He stopped her just short of the door and turned to her, “we must take care to be silent as not to wake her before she wakes on her own.”

“I understand,” she replied with an excited grin on her face, “silent as a mouse.”

The two finally walked quietly into the kitchen. The room was pitch black with a very ominous feel that clung to her like rain soaked clothing. A stale stench filled her nostrils as the door behind them shut with a uncommonly loud click. It was about that time when she noticed that the old man was no longer beside her. She began to franticly wave her arms around her immediate area in hopes of finding him.

“Is this a joke?” she asked loudly as she continued her search, “if it is, I’m not very amused.”

“Relax my dear,” the man replied, his voice sounding as though it were coming in all directions, “I just need to find the light switch. It will be but just a moment.”

Elizabeth was frightened at this point but continued to feel her way through the dark until she finally found his hand and held it for dear life. “I am terribly scared of the dark, please hurry!”

“Ah!” he shouted, “Eureka!”

The lights suddenly turned on with a blinding glow. Elizabeth had to squint her eyes momentarily as she became accustomed to the glare. Once adjusted, she was finally able to focus on the man who was standing across the room from where she was.

“I’ve been meaning to have a switch placed closer to the door, will you forgive me?”

Suddenly, she began to wonder to herself that if he was across the room, who’s hand was she holding at the moment. She also noticed the cool clammy feeling the hand she held offered. She slowly turned and stared down at the hand and instantly began to scream.

The hand was attached to the body of an elderly woman who was laying pale on the kitchen counter. Her lifeless face was frozen with the look of extreme terror. But even more horrifying was that a portion of her leg looked as though it had been sheered with a kitchen blade.

As hard as she tried, Elizabeth could not tear her eyes off the woman as the old man approached her from behind, the sound of a kitchen knife being unsheathed from a wood block was nearly deafening.

“Well my dear,” the old man replied calmly, “you did say she was a woman of exquisite taste…or as it would turn out…a woman that taste…exquisite.”

Becoming Undead

I guess I got about five minutes or so, funny how your life really comes into prospective when facing your own death head on. Why on earth did I open that door? I’m such an idiot! Even the reports on TV said not to open your doors to anyone, especially this poor sap. My god I made a mess of him! He was pounding on the door moaning, I was afraid if I didn’t help him he’d of thought badly of me later. Little did I suspect that he was wanting to help himself to me. He wasn’t being polite about it either, bout chewed my arm off not even a moment from the time he stumbled in the door. I must have hit him at least a hundred times before I finally found my trusty Louisville Slugger beside the stove in the kitchen instead of the closet I normally keep it. No use telling my son to stop moving things around I guess. I must have hit him hard for his head to split open like that. He barely resembles the man I used to know from down the hallway. Now he just lying in a heap on my floor, head completely smashed in, and brain matter leaking all over the rug. Perhaps I should clean it before- NO… I will not spend the few fleeting moments I have left on earth cleaning up after this guy. I just feel really tired and need to retire to the living room and sit a spell. Maybe reflect for a moment, whatever good it may do me. In a few moments or so, I will be no better than this guy. I hope I’m too dumb to open a door so I don’t hurt anyone. I’d knock myself off, but I was stupid and sold my gun for cash at one of those buy back events. Didn’t even get what I paid for it. It’s funny, so some odd reason, I can’t seem to recall my childhood. Maybe it is an effect of the poison that now courses through my veins. Try to think man, think! Nothing. I can remember my wedding day though. Oh, what an awesome event, we had the most delicious chicken and…and…funny, that seems to elude me now as well. Good thing my wife is out of town with our son, she won’t have to worry about walking in on this mess right away. Hopefully someone will come in and off me before she returns. This chair feels amazing, always has but this time, wow! I can’t feel my legs. Guess this is how it ends, alone and numb from the waist down. My skin color is starting to change now too, all pale and greenish, and is that puss pouring out of my arm? Not to mention this god awful taste in my mouth and this now constant ringing in my ear. I can’t move now, I am completely numb and can do nothing but stare up at this ceiling, I always hated the color, wanted to paint it on a few occasions but… I hear something…daddy? Who could be…the sound of a kid’s voice is ringing in my head. It just keeps calling out… daddy, daddy, daddy…and another voice now…screaming. I want to cry for help, but right now…the only thing I can seem to think of is…this terrible, dreadful hunger…

The Holiday Wars

Thanksgiving was not a happy camper as he looked out over the land on his day of days. He witnessed the huddled freezing masses lined up in front of store fronts and shops waiting in desperation for another holiday’s season to begin, Christmas.

How dare he!? He thought to himself as more and more people lined up for the pre-holiday sales, Some of those people have been there for a week! How dare he overrun my holiday with this disgusting display? Something needs to be done about this!

In the dead of the night, he had gathered the other major holidays together to discuss his feeling, all but one that was…

“This is an outrage! People even have their Christmas decorations out already!” Thanksgiving screamed from across the table, “If it’s happening to me, how soon will it be before others are effected!?”

“If it’s any consolation,” Halloween spoke up from the other side of the table, “the Devonport’s on First Street there still have my decorations up.”

Thanksgiving shot him a dirty look, “You’re not helping.”

“Dude!” another holiday shouted, “You have to show him love man, then everything will be okay. Why don’t you send him a card and some flowers?”

“Shut up Sweetest Day,” Thanksgiving sneered in return, “you’re nothing but a Hallmark holiday! Who invited you anyways?”

“I did!” Valentine’s Day answered as she stood up and pounded her fist on the table.

“Imagine that! Somebody remembers him for once!” Thanksgiving replied as he buried his head in his hands, “Look, this is all I’m saying. In the last decade, people are hurrying through my day early so they can rush to start shopping for his day! Some people don’t even gather for dinner anymore, unless it’s in front of one of those darn super stores!”

“Hey, as long as he ain’t cutting into my day, why should I care about yours?” Easter replied as he leaned back and placed his oversized paws on the table.

“Can’t you see…it will only get worse and worse!” Thanksgiving began to plead, “He’s even got Christmas in July!”

“Yea!” Independence Day howled as he stood up, “Why does he got to be all up in my month!?”

“Exactly! We had an agreement that his holiday would start on the Friday after mine,” He said, “soon, he will dominate all of our holidays!”

“Well,” Labor Day added, “people do spend a lot more money for his day than any other.”

“Good point!” Columbus Day spoke up, “Don’t everyone think it’s time to spread the wealth?”

“Shut your mouth!” Ground Hog’s Day told Columbus Day sharply, “You’re nothing but a 20 percent off sale, no one wants to hear from you! Columbus didn’t even discover America, everyone knows that!”

“Well, you haven’t been right in years so-“

“Silence!” Thanksgiving interrupted, “It IS time to spread the wealth!”

“I think I know where you’re going with this,” Halloween said, “and it sounds kind of scary.”

“You bet it is…it’s time to get rid of Christmas, once and for all!”

Throughout the evening and into the early hours of the morning, the holidays conspired and prepared for war.

~~~~***~~~~

The day was finally here, the battle was great. Both sides gaining and losing ground with every passing moment.

“What is the update on the front lines?” Thanksgiving shouted from atop of his command deck.

“We’re winning!” a voice answered back from the back of the room.

“Really?” he asked as he turned to the voice.

“April Fools!” the holiday laughed as it turned and hurried out the door.

Thanksgiving growled as he turned and re-examined the situation from afar, “Where are those artillery shells? Where is Labor Day with the artillery shells!?”

“Union break!” Boss’s Day ranted as he through a pile of papers on the desk.

Thanksgiving slammed his fist into the table, “Does anybody have any good news for me?”

“The current projection shows that our possible victory is too soon to call!” Election Day shouted from in front of his computer monitor.

Suddenly, Tax Day burst into the room in a panic, “We have a write-off! Secretary’s Day is dead!”

“Stop panicking!” Thanksgiving replied as he turned back to the battle ahead of him, “We still have Executive Assistant Day, we will be fine!”

“IIt “burp” waaas, wha was iit, AAHHH! Itwasahorriblesitetosee! “Hick”

“My god! Are you drunk St. Patrick’s Day!?” Thanksgiving yelled.

“Heee “hick” heeee’s “hick” nooooo druuuunk aaamiiiigoooo, “hick”.” Cinco De Mayo replied as the two stumbled across the floor.

Thanksgiving buried his head in his hands, “How is it that Christmas gets all the good holidays!”

“DDAYISBUSTINGTHROUGHTHEFRONTLINESANDISPRACTICALLYATOURFRONTDOORANDWEGOTTOGETOUTOFHEREFAST!” screamed National Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day as he turned and ran face first into the door and fell back on his butt.

The remaining holidays stopped in their tracks and stared at the door in horror as it slowly began to creek open. The dark and unrecognizable shadow stood at the door, the only sound that could be heard was the deep eerie breath or the unknown figure.

“Oh no!” Boy Scout Day screamed as he ran across the room flailing his arms around in the air, “it’s the most horrible site ever in the history of mankind! RUN!”

The shadowy figure stepped into the room and pointed straight to Thanksgiving, “I know a very naughty boy who will be spending a lot of time in the corner!”

“M…M…Mother’s Day!” the other holidays screamed in unison as they all began to flee out of the room, jumping through windows and such, everyone except for Leap Day who sat shivering in the corner hoping not to be seen.

“Please don’t say it, please don’t say it,” he whispered to himself as Mother’s Day turned slowly in his direction.

“You’re not supposed to be out for another two years,” she said with an evil grimace on her face, “Just you-“

“No!” Leap Day pleaded as his face turned more and more horrified with tears running down his cheeks.

“Just you wait-“

“Please! I’m begging you!” He screamed and cried in vain. “Don’t say it, please!”

“Just you wait till your father gets home!” she screamed as she picked up the frightened holiday by his ear and faced him towards the door where an awaiting Father’s Day stood ready with a paddle in his hands.

“Son, this is going to hurt me worse than it is going to hurt you.” Father’s Day said as he held the paddle up.

“Really?” Leap day asked still shivering.

“No, It is going to hurt you a lot!” he replied as the three exited and slammed the door shut. The screams could still be heard for what seemed like minutes after their departure, which left Thanksgiving all alone.

A deathly silence loomed in the air as Thanksgiving slowly looked around the room cautiously. The door would be too obvious an escape route. He thought to himself as he began to creep towards one of the windows.

A loud crash from above shook the small cottage that the fallen holiday had taken refuge in during the battle. Thanksgiving fell to the floor,  once again he eyed the window for a quick escape. Suddenly, a plume of smoke and soot filled the room. He struggled to breathe as he peered across the room trying to make anything out in the haze. Finally, an all too familiar sound would fill the room that made the hairs on the back of his neck to stand out. “Ho….Ho….Ho”, the sound resounded horrifically.

“You know this is wrong, Christmas!” He choked out still struggling through the sediment. “You have defiled my day! Others will see through this injustice!”

“You’ve been a naughty holiday, Thanksgiving,” Christmas said as he began to stroll across the room, “did you think a little turkey and stuffing could beat out the marketing bonanza that is me?”

“I am the day of giving thanks for everything we have, family…friends…not of pre-holiday savings and shopping! It is a day of reflection, of mending relationships, of having yet another year of having the ones you care about close without the bribery of gifts and stuff to bring them in!”

“I completely agree with you, and I’m sorry…”

“Really?”

“Sorry that I have to do this, but I’m going to have to ask you to change Thanksgiving Dinner to maybe Thanksgiving Brunch…or…even better… Thanksgiving Midnight Snack,” Christmas replied, “I have an entire truckload of gifts I have to unload and I need workers to give up the morning and afternoon to do it.”

“Oh, and we scaled the first sale back to 8 AM Thursday, so I hope that won’t be a problem?”

“NNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!”

Deceased Denise

Upon a stone one night she sat, a lovely corpse in midnight black.

And on that stone was etched “Denise”, and for seven years she’d been deceased.

The dress she wore was torn and frayed, her face was pale and part decayed.

Heavy on her heart did weigh, a chain that kept her there to stay.

It was her lover’s face she longed to see, to feel his kiss, to set her free.

But all she did was sit and cry, you see, she did not have her eyes.

Now not too far away from her, each night another corpse would stir.

He stared at her with silent breath, he’d loved her long before his death.

He’d try to reach her from his grave, but his own chains they never gave.

Each night he cried and called her name, each night the end result the same.

Never would he feel rejoice, you see, he had no throat or voice.

So forever they were cursed apart, forever never joining hearts.

A loathsome end to this saddened tale, of star crossed lovers whose love had failed

But for those who live and love they yearn, remember here a lesson learned.

And the moral of this tale I say, romance is never far away.

For those with eyes they need but seek, and those with voices need but speak.

~Terry James