Not a Cinderella Story

Esmerelda Este hated people. And as a reluctant member of the human race, toleration was the best she could feel. And yes, she had reasons. But there are simply too many to list in one blog post.

Until the day humanity could be ignored completely, Esmerelda Este would write novels from her penthouse apartment in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It was Valentines Day, and a blizzard hit with the rage of a gluttonous toddler who just got his cake taken away. Esmerelda woke that morning with a hearty cackle, knowing the white-out conditions would ruin the holiday for everyone.

After eating a breakfast of crepes and caviar, Esmerelda sat down at her laptop to spend the day writing her next Pulitzer. She was about a thousand words in when–

RING! RING! RING!

Esmerelda swore as she reached for the abhorrent necessity that was her phone, and saw the caller was not someone she could ignore.

“What Gunther?” she answered with a snarl.

“Do you believe in miracles?” the drawling voice of Esmerelda’s private tailor chimed like screws in a shredder.

“I don’t believe in idiocy,” Esmerelda said stoutly. “What do you want?”

“Your dress is ready.”

“What? You’re not running late as usual?” Esmerelda said loftily.

“I’m three days earlier than I usually am,” Gunther said delicately. “But that wasn’t soon enough, was it?”

“I’m sure you’ll try harder next time,” Esmerelda murmured. “You’re delivering it, I’m sure?”

“That depends. Have you written my check?”

“Yes, but you’re not getting it until–”

“You’re sure it fits properly,” Gunther finished smoothly. “You’re lucky you pay well, Miss Este, or I wouldn’t bother! Not in this weather.”

“And you’re even luckier I don’t fire you right here and now.”

“Sometimes I wish you would,” Gunther laughed, hanging up.

Reader, do you remember earlier, when I said there were a few people Esmerelda tolerated? Gunther was one of the only ones she did, and she might have been slightly less indifferent if he had died in a car crash on the way to her apartment.

He was not a handsome man. About a year older than Esmerelda, and a foot shorter. Nevertheless, when Esmerelda opened the door to let him in, he waddled with the confidence of the god Apollo.

“Don’t scratch the maple,” she snapped as Gunther gingerly set the dress on the kitchen table.

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Gunther murmured, dabbing at his shiny bald head with a handkerchief. “Are you going to try it on?”

The dress was beautiful, Reader. Blackest of black satin, flattering Esmerelda’s forty-year-old frame, slimming where needed and filling out where appropriate. The torso cut across her shoulders and dipped tastefully just below the neckline, finishing off with the skirt shimmering down to her ankles in a very subtle mermaid style.

Needless to say, she couldn’t find anything wrong with the dress. She walked out of her room, check in hand, to see Gunther twiddling his thumbs on a nearby sofa.

“It’s adequate,” Esmerelda said, handing over payment.

“I’ll say,” Gunther muttered, putting the check in his wallet. “What’s it for? Do you have another award ceremony to go to?”

“Not that it’s any of your business,” Esmerelda said, “but my sister is getting married next month.”

“And you’re wearing black?” Gunther smirked. “You know it’s bad luck for the couple, right?”

“I’m counting on it,” Esmerelda said darkly.

“Are you bringing anyone special?”

“Aren’t we full of inappropriate questions!” Esmerelda said, rolling her eyes. “Time to leave, Gunther.”

 

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1,800

1,800.

I’ve come to loathe that number with the fury of a thousand erupting volcanos. It is the hell to my heaven, the gag in my throat, the Sherlock to my Moriarty.

After some health problems, I was referred to a dietitian who sealed me with that hateful number.

“Beth, eat what you want, but you can only have 1,800 calories a day.”

“For how long?” I ask her, horrified. “When can I stop?”

“Forever,” she said bluntly. “It will never stop.”

It’s been 3 months, 1 week, and 4 days since that meeting. Difficult as it is, I’m happy to report I can now see my toes. 😉

It’s time to eat.

-Beth

 

Oh dear…

As stated in the post “HOLY CRAP!,” I am sending queries to literary agents for my novel.

I’m 10 rejections in, and waiting for 2 more responses.

Don’t worry, reader. This is not a sad post. 🙂 Sure, it stings. And though every agent’s rejection is professional, it’s never a happy email to receive. The inevitable thoughts of “is my work good enough?” eat my brain like a horde of sharks on a rotting whale carcass.

The point I’m trying to make is, authors are their works’ greatest advocate. And we must believe in the value of our work.

On the other hand, there’s always room for improvement on everything. My novel has been through the editing and rewriting mill more than once, and if it’s not getting the attention I want it may be time for adjustments.

In conclusion, I would just like to thank you for reading this post. 🙂 Though I’m no expert, I’m beginning to see both sides of the publishing industry. It’s tough as nails, cuddly as a porcupine, and wonderful. 🙂

If you have a moment, I’d love to read about your experiences as a writer in the comments. Whether you’re published or not, novice or veteran, it would be nice to hear from you. 🙂

I remain your humble storyteller,

Beth

 

 

R.A.W.

It was like a fist, cold and strong as steel, took hold of my guts and squeezed them so hard it hurt. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think. I wanted to be absorbed into the very walls and never return.

“I’m so sorry, Rose!” Piper was saying in my ear. “I reported it, and it’s off now. But people are talking about it…I’m sorry.”

I swallowed. “Thank you.”

“I’m here for you,” she continued earnestly. “I’m so sorry for the way I handled the Kaius situation! I was stupid. Do you want me to come o—”

I hung up my phone and looked over to where Kaius lounged on the basement couch. He seemed relaxed, but I saw his eyes narrow into crevices at me.

“What happened?” he asked.

I swallowed again. “Nothing. You were right. It’s not worth it.”

Kyle Knudson was forthwith expelled from school, or so Principal Donaldson assured Paula on the phone first thing in the morning. Paula’s face went whiter and whiter as the conversation progressed, and after a few moments she hung up without a word.

I quickly averted my gaze from her. I know her eyes would undoubtedly be filled with tears, her lip would tremble, maybe her whole body would, too. Just like all those years ago, when she had first seen me in that hospital bed.

I couldn’t bear it then, and I really couldn’t bear it now. Once again, I envied the deadness of my surroundings. The wooden table I sat at, so useful and unfeeling. Everyone valued its purpose, but no one thought much of it.

Table, you are a lucky turd, I thought.

“Would one of you tell me what’s going on?” Kaius broke the silence from where he sat beside me. “Paula? Rose?”

I hesitated.

“It’s better that we tell him Rose,” Paula murmured. “Or else he might hear another version from others.”

“Fine!” I burst out, flinging my arms int the air. “Kaius, three years ago, I had a crush on a man named Michael Wilson! Long-story short, he offered me a ride home and-and it wasn’t good! I was found a few hours later, and I barely made it out alive!”

“Where is he now?” Kaius asked, and though his voice was calm his face had paled.

“He’s serving a life-sentence without parole,” Paula answered for me.

“Imprisonment?”

“Yes.”

Kaius considered that. Then, he parted his lips, his eyes gleaming oddly as if a very appealing idea had struck him.

“Do you want me to—”

“NO!”

I intended my command to be bold and loud, a sound that would command his attention. But the words came out of my mouth in a hysterical shriek, resounding off the very walls of the dining room. I stood from my chair so quickly it clattered to the floor.

                “THAT GUY TOOK EVERYTHING FROM ME!” I roared, pounding the table with my fist. “I’VE ALREADY KILLED HIM IN MY HEAD SO MANY TIMES! BUT WHAT WOULD CHANGE IF I ACTUALLY DID IT? I WAS AN IDIOT, THAT’S ALL! AND THE ONLY THING I’VE EVER WANTED FROM THIS IS TO FORGET IT. SO, IF YOU WOULDN’T MIND, LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE, KAIUS!”

                Paula bowed her head, and I saw a couple tears fall. Kaius, however, didn’t seem remotely abashed. Without another word, he stood from his own chair and reached for me.

                I recoiled. What the hell was he doing? I thought desperately.

                “You weren’t an idiot, Rose,” Kaius murmured, taking another step towards me with his arms outstretched. “You were ignorant, maybe. Raw, inexperienced, and a victim he chose to harm.”

                “Shut up!” I shouted, my voice constricting. “You don’t get it!”

                “I do,” he said softly, and for the first time, I saw pain in his eyes. “From one victim to another, believe me, I know.”

                Stunned, incredulous, why couldn’t I move? Why did he insist on walking towards me? Closer, too close! I could feel his breath on my face, see the grain of fabric on his shirt.

                His arms, gentle, strong, wrapped around me, collecting me to him. Safe. So safe. Like I was a precious treasure locked in a vault. Treasure! Was that me? No, it was someone else. I wasn’t valuable. I was stupid, and not worth hugging. It was—

                CRAP.

                A wail of anguish bellowed from my mouth to the very rooftops of Paula’s house. Every wall I had built, every defense in my head that kept me safe, kept me from crying, kept me from thinking, now burst forth from my core in an explosion of misery that had been threatening my sanity for so long.

I clung to Kaius as I swayed under the break. I was sure I would fall over, face plant the floor. But Kaius proved to be a solid prop as I soaked his shirt with my tears.

This was insane! I thought. When did I ever lose it? And more importantly, when did people start caring about me?

                Kaius held me gently, and the beat of his heart was soothing against my cheek. I heard his lungs fill and exhale deep, even breaths. He was so calm as he stroked my hair, so sure I wasn’t to blame. Did that mean I wasn’t? He was blunt, he’d tell me if I was.

                Well, then. Maybe I wasn’t after all.

Stay tuned for January 7th, 2019!

Coming to a blog near you:

Rose and Kaius got through their first day together at high school well enough. Kaius’ truth charm made certain Kyle’s broken jaw was not made into an assault charge. 

But the sorcerer couldn’t prevent that idiot’s retaliation. For all Rose’s silence about her dealings with Kyle, Kyle still posted her past dealings with Michael Wilson all over social media.

Will this be the end of Rose’s secrets? Will she finally have to face a past that has haunted her for all these years? Find out Monday, January 7th, 2019!

I remain your humble storyteller,

-Beth

Ravenous Stabs of Emotion

I lay face down on the cold hard floor

Feeling hunger like never before.

Crumpled up in a ball, I might just die. 

For all I want is some deep-fat-fry!

And though my small steak wasn’t all that tough

those vegetables are just not enough.

It’s my cravings at night that do me in.

All I can think of is that candy tin.

But that damn scale doesn’t lie a bit

And it’s not easy at all to get fit. 

I block the thoughts that keep me in wanting.

I turn away from the candy taunting

And take a bite, a nibble or two

of that orange carrot, through and through.

Crunchy, sweet, but not like chocolate.

Someone laughs, I tell them to sock it!

I could go on about my stomach rot.

But I surely shall not, no I will not.

I’m one of millions of indulgent eaters

Dreaming of ways to become diet cheaters.

On that note, I bid you adieu.

Eat some deep-fat-fry in my lieu!  

-Beth

 

 

What is time to a writer?

Tick, tock! Tick, tock!

The seconds click by as I type, audible even over the voices of the nightly news. Separate, they are nothing. Together, they make a mockery of me. But what do they mean?

Let me know if you find out. 😉

-Beth

Oh, little clock on top of the mantle.

You give us much more than we can handle.

I hate each and every sound and click you make.

And the early hour you chime me awake.

Out of everyone I have met

I really haven’t missed you yet.

Mock me, little clock on the mantle.

Laugh, you do, with your crazy cackle.

Everyone bows to your tyranny.

And slaves we are to your infamy!