The Power of Words

Are you ever afraid of what people may think of your writing? Does that critique shy you away from sharing it?

Even though I prefer writing fiction, I love the fact that through writing one can voice their opinion. The month of February is black history month. To celebrate, I wrote a post this week on my FB page about Martin Luther King Jr, for the simple reason that I abhor racism and believe we’re all humans created equal. Writers write for many reasons—for love of fiction, nonfiction, memoir, history, politics, religion, and so forth.

At times, it can be difficult to throw your writing out there, because there’s a piece of your soul in it, and receiving feedback can be a frightful event. I understand that. That’s why as a new writer, I chose to publish using my initials J.V. (Jennifer Virginia;-) and maiden name Carr. I felt like my pen name gave me a sense of privacy. And one of the reasons I wanted to blog a book was to get over that fear of what others think. My book blog posts are a part of a very rough draft that will eventually go through numerous revisions and will see at least a couple of professional eyes 🙂 before it ever gets published. So if you’re a closet writer who loves to write, don’t skate away from sharing it. I know I won’t. And don’t always worry about the particulars in your writing life. Toss it to the wind; let it blow where it may blow, and enjoy the ride.

Below is my seventh segment of Gifted Ones: Scarcely Human. I was going to add in a sci-fi segment this time that will eventually be near the beginning of the book to let the reader know what my protagonist, Jess, doesn’t know (if that makes any sense)! But now I’m hoping to add that into my next Friday Reads.

If you happen to want to read from the beginning, click here

And as always, thank you so much for stopping by!

Chapter 5

Words

Michael strode up the stairs of the bus and plopped down in the front seat, directly behind the driver. He ignored his buddies’ calls to sit with them in the back and stared out the window at Jess. She was still standing there, her eyes cast where Michael had been. He furrowed his brow and rubbed his chin. His heart ached.

She looks so sad, he thought. There’s nothing I can do. My hands are tied. They won’t let me tell her, about her father, the serum, Axel, me. I can’t take not telling her the truth much longer…

“Michael?” Jimbo, the coach, put a friendly hand on Michael’s shoulder.

Michael raised his head. “Yeah?”

“You all right?” Jimbo wore a reflection of concern. 

“Yeah, fine.”

Jimbo nodded.

Michael grabbed his duffel bag, stood up, and made his way to the back of the bus.

~#~

Jess was still gazing, blankly in the direction where Michael had left with his team, when she felt an annoying and bony finger tapping her shoulder. She turned and saw Suzy’s happy grin that super stretched from one ear to almost beyond the other.

Suzy began to do a little Spanish salsa. “So you know we’re going to the football game first tonight, right?”

Jess took a deep untrustworthy breath of air. “I thought we were going to a cool party, and our football team has an away game. What football game are you talking about?”

Jess thought of Michael. He’d said he’d call her later. Did he mean when he got home? If she went to a football game first and then some insane party with Suzy, she knew she wouldn’t get home until much later. And…if Michael called her, she’d still be out, and he’d hear the noise on his end of the phone. Then she’d have to wait even longer to find out what he wanted to talk about. She wondered why he hadn’t asked her if she’d had any plans, especially since it was Friday. Probably because he doesn’t care, she thought. Her mind swirled mini tornadoes again. She felt on edge and sick to her stomach, wondering what Michael had to discuss with her. It must be to breakup. It has to be, she thought.

Suzy pushed her index finger into the dimple on her right cheek, straightened the pleats in the skirt part of her dress and answered coyly, “The Mainstream College guys, silly. They have final games or playoffs or whatever. Who cares. I met a couple of them. It’s going to be so fun. We’re going to their party after the game. That’s the party I told you about. Jeffrey’s the guy I want you to meet. He is so hot.” Suzy placed a satisfied hand on her right hip.

“Jeffrey?” Jess asked confused. This doesn’t sound good.

 “Trust me.”

Jess knew that the “trust me” and the determined look in her friend’s eyes were not a good thing. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. Jess had to go. She knew she wouldn’t be heading home after school. She’d be off with her friend until the morning sun cast its first beams across the glittering ocean waves. And she knew she couldn’t get in trouble this time––or she’d be suspended. But the partying wasn’t on Eastglen High grounds. So she needn’t worry. Right?

 

~#~

Don’t know why we have to meet here. It’s absurd, Axel thought as he trudged up the concrete stairs of the broken down abandoned brick building, all the way to the fifth floor at the top. He hated the secret meetings for the ‘gifted ones’—and the stench of the filthy building with its empty liquor bottles and pungent odor from the poor homeless who’d made the building their make-shift home.

And he especially hated the secrets they all had to keep from Jess.

When Jess’s mom had showed up at her first meeting after her husband’s death, Axel thought he’d puke his lunch. None of the ‘gifted ones’ knew Jess or her mom had anything to do with the scientist who erupted the scientific world with the experiment of all time. Ben, Jess’s father, had been the brain behind the serum, except that none of the five ‘gifted ones’ knew his name. They’d only known him as Doc.

Holy Crap. Axel swayed his head from side to side, remembering the day he found out about Jess, still incredulous. He couldn’t help but stare at her after that, and now…

Now they were all paranoid, because if any one of them told Jess the secret, they’d no longer be given the monthly shot of the serum they needed to stay alive.

Yeah, some threat. Real noble.

If only Jess knew the truth. He wished so badly to tell her, but that would be against the scientists’ rules, or more specifically––Jack’s rules. Axel was at a point where he didn’t care anymore. He’d almost told her at the cabin, but then Casey, aka Mr. Mahoney, the physics teacher, had illuminated his way into the cabin to stop Axel from telling her. He’d said he’d wanted to protect Axel. He’d said he didn’t want to have the serum taken away from him. He’d said he was trying to help. Well, Axel didn’t care anymore.

If I live, I live. If I die, I die.

Axel swung open a metal door with shredded bits of glass and stepped into a large vacant room. Crumbled paint hung from the walls and adorned the chipped floors. A tiny mouse wobbled by, alone without its mother who’d probably been killed by one of the many alley cats that lived there. “You’re a lucky little guy,” he muttered to the mouse. “You don’t need the serum.”

Axel walked up to a windowless door and opened it. When he entered in, he could see that he was the last of the nine in the group to arrive. The other eight were seated on the floor in a circle with only a camping lantern illuminating the room, and a shred of light from a nail tipped moon that shone through a splintered window.  

Axel’s stomach grumbled. It was just before 7 p.m. and he hadn’t had time for dinner. He’d been following Jess around. Something about her hanging around with Suzy on this particular night felt wrong to him.

Jack, the most brilliant of scientists, almost as much as Jess’s dad had been, welcomed him. “Good to see you, young man. Have a seat. This is a very important meeting for you.” He gestured for Axel to sit next to Mark, a forty something well-known politician. Axel wondered how things were going for him and his family.

He sat down Indian-style next to Mark. “How are you?” Mark whispered and shook his hand.

Axel nodded his head, greeting him in return. “Good.” He noticed how exhausted Mark looked with darkened bags suspended under his eyes. His chestnut hair lost among the increasing grey that had replaced them. Mark had a lot invested in the serum. His only son was lying in a hospital bed hooked up to a traditional life support system. The car accident he’d been in six months earlier had left him incapacitated. Mark hoped desperately the scientists would recover the components of the serum, so his son would be saved. At the present moment, there was barely enough serum left for the original five subjects, including Michael, Axel, Peggy, Mr. Mahoney, and Mr. Magique.

As Axel glanced around the circle he made eye contact with each ‘gifted one’. Peggy glared at him. Mr. Magique looked crestfallen, Mr. Mahoney—sullen. And then there was Michael missing tonight—away at his football game. Michael had been upset and angry about the serum lately anyway. His parents had different ideas about his treatments with the serum that Michael didn’t agree with. And now Michael had no choice but to be submissive to his parents’ will, which included a major life change for him…and Jess, though she didn’t know that yet, either. 

Happy Valentines Day weekend! Hope to see you for my next Friday Reads!

 

 

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About jvcarrwriterauthor

Everybody has realistic dreams, ones that start with a seed in the heart, are watered, then grow. Well...I finally published my dream, my young adult novel entitled Username: Bladen. The idea to write it literally struck me in the darkness of the night. I began this project not too long ago, though now it feels like forever. This book, in its original manuscript form, meandered down a typical publishing path in many ways, until it recently settled (Yay!) on the shelves of cyberspace. Soon, I hope it will find a happy home on the shelves of many book lovers, in a real home not just a virtual one. After all who doesn't like to see their dreams come true? Today, with the technological advances that we enjoy, dreams of publishing are well within a writer's grasp. Every mom, much to their chagrin, experiences sleepless nights. With six kids, I honestly can't remember the last time I slept through the night. Typically, when I wake up and can't fall back to sleep, I think too much about things, meditate, or pray. One night as I was praying, the plot for Username: Bladen literally flooded my thoughts. I got so excited about it that I decided to sit down and write and write and write. I spent a lot of time learning about publishing. I joined forums and writers' groups. When I finished my manuscript, I entered it into The Sandy Writing contest, which was a terrific learning experience. I didn't win, but one judge loved my story and gave me almost a perfect score. That gave me a lot of encouragement. I also queried it a little, and am amazed by how much I learned and loved the process. I know nobody likes rejection letters, but I appreciated the personal letters I received from agents that gave me insight into why they rejected my manuscript. Then finally, after I learned that publishers don't have a lot of shelf room for young adult novels with a male protagonist, I decided to stop querying and publish through Westbow. I found an extremely talented editor, and rather quickly finished the process of publishing my book. I couldn't be happier with the final result. If anyone has a story to tell, are willing to be diligent, and have a dream to be a published author, you can do it! Believe in yourself and make your dream come true!
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