Writing Journey

100 Words, 6 Years Later

I wasn’t a good writer. I’m not a good writer now, either. But when I look back at my older works and cringe, I know I’ve come a long way. So if you feel like your writing isn’t great, I want you to know that you’ll get better. If you keep writing, you’ll improve. And it’s OK to admit that you suck. One cannot progress by already being the best.

To prove my point, let me show you the opening of my first novel and the opening of my most recent novel. Right off the bat, one seems more interesting than the other.

The Dreamer, 2011

Another day indoors. Tad sighed as he stared blankly at the book in front of him. He wanted very much to be out in the field playing ball with his brothers instead of reading a 500-page manual on “How to un-root an Energy Canister”, as though removing an Energy Canister was the job only for a highly professional engineer, if that was the case the world would have plenty of them. 

Tad shut the book forcefully and peered out the window. He could see his brothers being interrupted by his father in the middle of their game. He knew automatically that they were being ordered to get back to work. 

Trails of the Wind, 2017

Father is alive.

Those three words echoed in the depths of his cloudless mind. Standing before the wide glass window, he watched as day ended its shift. While night clocked in, the clear amber sky gracefully gave way to the moon. And in the peaceful arrival of darkness, the kingdom below lit with cheerful, vibrant lanterns – a reflection of the starry canvas above.

As the crackling logs in the fireplace warmed the bedchamber, Robb made up his mind. His heart was certain. And there were no more questions.

Father is alive.

Perhaps to you, I did a pretty decent job with The Dreamer. But if I handed you the entire book, I’m sure you’d change your mind. The Dreamer was self-published in 2011. It was my first ever novel, and I’m unashamed of it. I had to start somewhere, right? So I’ve left it in the world to be judged. Because at the end of the day, it’s the book that signifies the start of my adventure.

As for Trails of the Wind, I wrote it in 2015 but only finished editing in January. Currently, it’s being pitched to publishers. It’s part of a trilogy and I’m hoping someone would give it a shot. I know I would one day write better books than this. But for now, it’s the best I’ve written. Perhaps another six years down the road, I’d cringe again.

The great thing about writing is this: no one starts great. Sure, there are those who make headlines upon their debut. But what we don’t see are the years those authors spent on improving their skill. They could’ve been writing without a single soul knowing. Unfortunately, when they make their first appearance, many assume they’re literary geniuses. Many choose to compare themselves to a best-seller, without reading the backstory. And by doing so, many feel inadequate despite their potential.

Now, I’m not saying literary geniuses don’t exist – I think there are geniuses out there. But I doubt any success can come without constant devotion to one’s craft. Even geniuses have to put in work or their talent goes to waste. So stop comparing yourselves to others, and start comparing yourself to yourself.

The best gauge of improvement is through your own works. Acknowledging that some aren’t great isn’t a confession of incompetence, but a proof of determination. And determination is all you need to reach the finish line. You can be a great writer one day, dear reader. Today might not be that day, but that day would surely come if you don’t give up.

Writing Journey

To Write 100 Books & Die

towrite100booksanddie

Fellow blogger Zoey told me she is interested in hearing my self-publishing experience. So to start off this new year of blogging, I’ve decided to fill you in on what it’s been like for me. But before I get into my five years in this indie industry, let me share with you my writing goal. It’s pretty straightforward. My goal is to write 100 books and die.

Simply put, I want to write as many books as I can in my lifetime. Whether or not it becomes my full time career, whether or not I become a bestselling author, whether or not the world knows my name, I just want to write. Money and fame are not my goals as an author, they are added bonuses (bonuses I would love to have, of course). But ultimately, writing and writing and writing is my goal. That is why I chose to go indie.

I’ve self-published five titles independently: The Dreamer, Dream World: The Lost Child, Raindrops, Magnum Opus, and Dr. Slubgob’s Letters. Have I ever thought of pitching these books to publishers? Yes. Did I do it? Only once for The Dreamer. Why only once? Because the work that goes into it equals to another book being written. This is a personal statement: I rather spend time writing than looking for a publisher.

Of course, the self-publishing work that comes after writing a book is not easy. There’s editing, designing, publishing, and marketing. Being that I don’t have the finance to fund myself, my books are not given a paperback chance. Having no money to spend on professional editing, I edit my books with the help of beta readers. The cover design of all my books were done by friends who were willing to do it for free (quick tip: be friends with artists/designers). Asking for free help is something I had to do, and being honest about the struggle of being an indie author is something my artsy friends understood. I thank God for having friends who would do book covers for free – these people could charge me for it, but were willing to ‘collaborate’ because I was budget-less.

After all the pre-production work is done, to the best of my ability (note this: I don’t release books I’m not happy with – I’ve ditched some stories too), I export my books into pdf and place them on Gumroad. Gumroad hosts my books online and emails them automatically to buyers. They only take a small percentage out of the sales, much less than Amazon. The reason why I don’t put on Amazon is because of the tedious process (call me lazy) and the low royalty rates. Yes, the book might sell more copies on Amazon, but I prefer to use a platform I have full control over (price, format, and earnings).

Have I made a lot of money from those five titles? No, and it doesn’t matter… because I’m still writing.

I believe the reason why I don’t make much money from my books is because of poor marketing. I had a marketing module in university, but the 4p’s of marketing is a surface level skill. I fail at promotion because the only platforms I have for promotion is here on this blog and on my social networking accounts. Even here/there, I don’t expect great responses. And that’s how it is as an indie author.

I have been doing this for five years, and only a year ago did I attempt to try a new form of publishing: crowd-funded publishing. Last year, I learnt so much from the production of The Battle for Oz through a successful crowd-funded project. I had no idea how tedious the full process of editing was! But just like self-publishing, crowd-funded publishing is not for everyone.

The truth about self-publishing is this: it takes work and you might not earn the money you deserve from all the work. But you have full control and you get to see it come to life. Knowing this, I’m favouring crowd-funded publishing so much more, but that itself is a different ball game.

If you’re wondering which route to take, I suggest you first ask yourself what your writing goal is. Why do you write? And base on your answer, see which route best suits you. I chose self-publishing and going indie because I want to share as many stories with the world. I’m fine dying as an unknown writer, as long as I’ve inspired a few lives with my work. But to some, this is not something they want. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because we all have different writing goals. What’s important is you do what works best for you.

So there you have it, my experience in self-publishing. It’s pretty general as I still have a lot to learn. I’m not sure if I would continue on this self-publishing route or plant myself solely in crowd-funded publishing, but no matter which path I take, I still have a lot to learn. This is the best I can share with you at this point of time, and I hope it helps 🙂

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If there is something you would like me to share, leave a comment below!

Zoey has also asked about my writing process and if you’re keen about the same topic, let me know. Like I said in my A New Year, A New Journey post, this is going to be a different blogging year. I want to interact with you and I’m hoping to build a community of readers through this blog. Hopefully, the shift in blogging will help me in my authoring career. But even if it doesn’t, I hope it helps you, dear reader, in one way or another.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend ahead!

Others

Dedicated To You

2500 Subs

This is my 25th thank you post, which also means I’ve hit 2,500 subs!

Now, if you guys are tired of me writing a thank you post every 100 new subs, let me know. I’m hoping to write something on top of these posts (updates, get-to-know-me, etc) as time goes by… so it’ll be more than just ‘hello, thank you, goodbye’.

So, for this post I would like to thank all of you guys again. The lack of words created to show gratitude has made ‘thank you’ watery at this stage. If only I could thicken it up… hmm.

I know! I could announce that my first picture storybook is now available for download… free! Oh, and this book is dedicated to you guys!

Though this story may be different, but the theme reflects on every creative individual out there; as creators of our own works we are not only happy to finish a piece but to share it as well. Hence, I dedicated Magnum Opus to my readers for their support in all of my creations!

My beta readers classified this picture storybook for kids and young adults. It was written in a simplistic manner but I did include certain themes that only older individuals could relate too. Something like The Little Prince, though not as philosophical.

You can download the book HERE for free. Just type in 0$ for the amount, or if you wish to pay for it you can place whatever amount you like.

The art was done by a friend of mine (the one who did The Dreamer cover) and I just wanna thank him for doing so. He’s really good and he brought Magnum Opus to life. Thanks Tham!

Anyways, I really hope you guys like the book and I’m looking forward to your comments 🙂

Thanks again for your support and I can’t wait to go on more adventures with all of you!

Others

A Quick Update!

You’re probably wondering, ‘Another post so fast?’

Well, yes. I have an announcement.

I recently revamped the Bookshop page and added a new book to the shelf! I have compiled a PDF version for Dream World: The Lost Child, and you can purchase it for USD 1.50!

If you would like to support me, and if you have not read The Lost Child, let me assure you that its pretty cool 🙂

I’ve been told by some of the readers, that journeyed with the mini series, that it was a good ride, and I’m sure you would enjoy it too.

Besides, today’s my birthday, what better birthday gift than to purchase one of my works? Haha! Ok, I shouldn’t be using my birthday as a reason, but I hope you would personally give me a shot to impress you 🙂

By the way, today is also Bryan’s birthday. Bryan who? One of the main characters of The Lost Child. Actually, THE lost child to be exact.

If you are skeptical, you can check out the first 3 chapters on The Lost Child page. It would give you a little taste of what the main course will be.

And you know what, since it is December and Christmas is just around the corner, I’m throwing an offer! If you buy The Dreamer at USD 3, you get The Lost Child for free 🙂  I’ll call this the Christmas Bundle! On the bookshop purchasing form, just write Christmas Bundle on the Purchasing Title and I’ll know what to do.

I hope you guys would drop by the bookshop!

While you are at it, I’ll carry on writing more chapters for Dr. Slubgob’s Letters. I was born to write; what better day to do it than today 🙂

Others

Winner of ‘Finding The Dreamer Contest’

Think of me when you’re out, when you’re out there.

I’ll beg you nice on my knees.

The day had started so well. Emily had put on her new outfit, the one she bought just the day before. In her new skirt, her sexy top and her new high heeled boots, she felt pretty for the first time  since long. She smiled. She would go to Harry’s today, and surprise him. After all, it had been almost two months since she last saw him.

When the world treats you way too fairly,

It’s a shame I’m a dream.

Arriving at Harry’s place, she entered through the back door. Her surprise would be ruined if she went to ring the bell now. Entering the living room, she couldn’t believe her eyes. On the couch, there was Harry. But he wasn’t alone. Not at all. Locked in his embrace, with her lips plastered to his, was Alice, her daily tormentor, and his ex-girlfriend.

Without another thought, Emily turned around and left. Tears ran down her cheeks, ruining her make-up she spent so much time on.

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

Back at her apartment, Emily went to her room immediately, lay down on her bed, and let her sorrow out. All she could think of, was how happy Harry had made her, how amazing it felt to be with him. Without realizing, she drifted off to sleep.

I think I’ll pace my apartment a few times,

and fall asleep on the couch.

When she woke up, she didn’t know where she was, until she saw herself in the mirror. Pale face, ruined make-up, tear streaked cheeks. The image of Harry and Alice came back to her mind.

And wake up early to black and white re-runs,

that escaped from my mouth.

Suddenly, Emily knew what to do.

She reached under her bed, pulled out a suitcase, and opened it. Looking at her, calling for her, were dozens of sharp objects.

Without even looking at any of the others, she took out a dagger, the one almost identical to the one Harry had as an ornament on his desk.

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

Putting the dagger behind the border of her skirt, she left her apartment, and she went towards one of her favorite places, the roof of an abandoned building.

I could follow you to the beginning, just to relive the start. And maybe then we’d remember to slow down, at all of our favorite parts.

Climbing the stairs, Emily thought of when she met Harry. The stuff they did together, their first date, many of their other dates, the gifts he bought her, their first kiss… She felt new tears wet her cheeks. That was all over now. When she reached the roof, she went to her regular spot, sat with her back to the wall of the stair house, took out the dagger, and brought it to her wrist.

All I wanted was you.

The first cut felt so heavenly, so blissful. Quickly, she made more cuts, enjoying the increasing flow of blood on her arms. When she was satisfied with the amount of flowing blood, she put the dagger aside, gathered some blood on her finger, and wrote her final goodbye. In blood red letters there was now the message:

Harry,

All I wanted was you.

This is your fault. You made me do this.

Farewell. Emily.

Next, Emily lay down, took up the dagger again, and brought it to her throat. She swallowed, wiped away her tears for the last time, and made the cut. Harry was all she wanted. Without him, life wasn’t worth living.

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you.

With a start, Emily woke up. The sight of Harry lying next to her made her relax. It was only a dream. He would never cheat on her. Turning on her side, she watched him sleep.

Her dream might have been very realistic, but she knew her Harry would never cheat on her, and definitely not with Alice.

For that, he loved her too much. Like she loved him.

There was no single trace of doubt  her dream would come true if she ever lost him.

Suddenly, Harry stirred and opened his eyes.

“Em? Why aren’t you sleeping?” he asked drowsily.

“I had a bad dream. That’s all.”

Harry looked at her. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Emily shook her head.

“You know you can tell me anything, right?”

“I dreamt about you and Alice.”

Harry took her in his arms. “Emily, you are all I wanted. Ever.”

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This harry potter fan fiction was written by Caroline Guisson from Belgium. Thank you for participating Caro 🙂

Others

A Week and One Third

Hey guys!

You have 9 more days to submit your short stories for a chance to win a copy of my e-book, The Dreamer! Your story would also be featured here with a customized banner 🙂

So be sure to post them in the comments of THIS post, with all the information required, by the 14th of July, 2012.

I’m really looking forward to reading some awesome stories, so get your thinking caps on and let that imagination of yours soar!

Till next time, enjoy this weeks fan fiction and the newest chapter of Dreamworld!

Others

Can’t.Stop.Writing

I’m in the midst of writing and planning a new book. It’s themed fantasy and I’m planning on getting my dear friend with his artsy skills to illustrate. I guess he is pretty busy at the moment, that is why you don’t see any of his new illustrations, but he is still working on some of the older Joanna posts, and it’ll be up soon, I hope.

So my new book, that’s right. I’m planning on a collection of short stories, well, not too short, but short enough. Since my short HP fan fictions are getting many likes, I thought of honing my writing skills in the area of short stories.

If you guys hope to read this new book, in which I plan to be published by the end of next year, you could support me by buying my recently published book. The profits I collect from this book will, no, not go to a new computer, even though I want one so badly, but to the printing and developing of my new book. So your support is greatly appreciated! If you would like to donate, do let me know as well, I will be really grateful.

On a side note, I might be putting up more of Joanna’s fan fiction more frequently (taking over the weeks of which I post up my short fan fics) as I have cooked up some spicy twist and turns I can’t wait to share. And as for the requested stories for the short fan fictions, I am still cracking my brain. Too much to write at the moment 🙂

Anyway, that is just a short update. To those awesome people who have purchased my book, do send me a review via email! I would love to post some of it up in the book shop!

That’s all for now! Till next time, have a snowy Christmas! (Even though it doesn’t snow where I come from.)

*In case you are wondering what my recently published book is about, you can read the first chapter here, and a bonus prologue here.

Book Teasers

The First Dream

Tad was special. His mother was told that she could not bear any child, and when the doctors told her she was pregnant, his parents immediately knew he was a miracle. The day he was born, the stars sparkled in the clear dark sky and a bird sang a beautiful song as it perched by the window, watching the baby boy breathe his first breath.

Tad had dark hair and big brown eyes that would light up every time someone made a funny face, forcing him into the most adorable giggles a baby could give. He was the talk of the town for a while as his presence gave dark times a glint of hope.

As Tad grew older, his father pampered him more than his brothers. He was given better clothes and was spared from the farm work. But on the down side, Tad was forced to study, day in and day out. As though education was only made for him and not his brothers.

At the age of 7, something rather peculiar happened. One night, while Tad was asleep in the room he shared with his brothers, he heard someone calling to him. Even under the loud thundering rain, the voice was so distinct as though it was in his head. And when he finally could not ignore it any longer, Tad got up and squinted his eyes in the dark, hoping to find the source. The same deep voice then told him to look out the window and Tad obediently did as he was told.

When he pressed his palms on the cold window pane, he saw a baby bird in a nest, on a tree near the window. Its parents were not around and it was struggling to stay in its wobbling nest as the wind blew. Tad tried to pry the window open, to safe the baby bird from impending danger, but his small hands could barely lift the weight of the tightly bolted panels.

And then the worst imagination Tad could have at that moment, happened. The nest fell and Tad gasps. But to his surprise, the baby bird took off into the sky, flapping its small wings as it battled the strong winds. Every time the bird seemed to be loosing its fight with the wind and the rain, it would force itself to try harder. And every time it tried, it succeeded. Tad watched for a while before he felt a heaviness in his eyelids and as everything plummeted into darkness, Tad could not even remember walking back to his mat on the floor.

The next morning, Tad hurried out to see the nest, hoping to be able to place it back to where it was, but there was none.

“Where’s the nest?” Tad asked himself as he looked around the tree.

“What nest?” Roth, his oldest brother, asked.

“There was a nest. I saw a nest last night and the wind blew it off the tree.”

“Well, if the wind blew it off, I guess you won’t find it anymore,” Roth said as he walked off to his morning chores.

“But…”

“I kicked the nest, destroyed it, so the birds won’t have a home anymore.” Simon, his third oldest brother, smirked with his arms folded by the door.

“Why would you?! The baby bird won’t find its home anymore!”

“Aw. I imagine the baby bird to be you, lost and alone, with no home, and no mommy and daddy to cry to,” Simon said and laughed.

“You’re mean!’

“And just like the bird, nobody wants you.” Simon shoved Tad against the tree before he left.

What Simon said made Tad scramble around, looking harder for the nest, but when he found none, he retreated to a corner in his room and sobbed. He didn’t know how long he was there until his mother came looking for him. When she heard his soft sobs, she hurried to his side and gave him a hug.

“Mommy, the baby bird is all alone,” Tad said softly as his wet brown eyes stared out the window.

“Baby, there was never a nest in that tree,” his mother whispered in his ear. His brothers must have told her the story.

“But I saw it last night!”

“It was a dream.”

“No, it was real!”

“It was a dream Tad. If there was a nest, I would know. Trust me o.k?”

 “But mommy, the baby bird fell and -“

“Don’t worry about the baby bird, it will be strong, even on its own. It will learn to fly and reach for the stars. Just like you!” his mother said as she tapped his nose.

“Like me?”

“If ever you think you are alone, and if the world throws you out of your nest, just trust yourself and fly.”

Tad nodded and gave his mother a tight hug. If only he knew his mother’s words would carry so much weight in the future, he would have memorized it day and night.

Tad never knew his first dream would come to pass, in fact, he had forgotten about it over the years. But as he fell in and out of consciousness in the sweat smelling van, after the cold-hearted betrayal of his brothers, he vaguely recalled what his mother said, and it was the strength he held on to for as long as he could.

“If the world throws you out of your nest, just trust yourself and fly.”

(Wanna know what happened to Tad? Get an E-book copy of The Dreamer at USD3!  Visit the bookstore to purchase one!)

Others

Requesting A Favor

Hi!

I’ve decided to publish a special post today, requesting a small favor from my fellow readers.

As some of you may know, I am currently publishing my book. I have gotten all the necessary documents ready and the book is official. But, I do not have enough funding to print the book now. That is one reason why my book is only out for sale in December 2011.

But recently, I have discovered a site that will help me get funding from anyone around the world. And here is where I need your help and support.

Clicking on the image above will lead you to a campaign I have started, which will help me raise funds for my book. If you would like to contribute any amount, you can do so there.

But, if you wish not to contribute, you could share this campaign to as many people as possible. Who knows who might actually bump into it and decide to help me out 🙂

I thank you all in advance for the help and support. Your small gestures will help me make my dreams come true!

Sincerely yours, Jeyna G.

Book Teasers

The Dreamer

Another day indoors. Tad sighed as he stared blankly at the book in front of him.

He wanted very much to be out in the field playing ball with his brothers instead of reading a 500-page manual on ‘How to un-root an Energy Canister’, as though removing an energy canister was the job only for a highly professional engineer, if that was the case, the world would have plenty of them.

Tad shut the book forcefully and peered out the window. He could see his brothers being interrupted by his father in the middle of their game. He knew automatically that they were being ordered to get back to work. He couldn’t help but smirk. Maybe reading wasn’t so bad after all, compared to feeding the chickens and milking the cows on his father’s farm.

And yet Tad wondered why he was the only one that needed to do all these reading and counting. He once asked his father but instead of a reply, five more books were placed in his arms. When he asked his mother, she said he was special and that both she and his father loved him very much. Tad concluded that he was their favorite, which proved true when he was the only one given second helpings during dinner that night.

Tad wasn’t all that hungry but he ate anyway. He caught his brothers eyeing him with a hint of jealousy, but that didn’t bother him. He had gotten that look way too often to bother responding.

When dinner was over, his mother asked his brothers to clean up while his father took him to the room he and his ten brothers slept at night.

“I saw you watching your brothers today Tad,” his father said, shutting the door behind him.

Tad didn’t know what to say. There was no point denying since it was true.

“I know you want to go outside and play, but for right now, it is better if you stayed indoors and study. I do not want you to work on the farm with me when you get older. Your brothers are already doing so. The future you have is not here. Do you understand?”

Tad sighed and nodded. He had heard his father mention his future a million times, and yet he never said where it would be if not the farm. Some future, he thought to himself.

“Good. Now that our little talk is over, why don’t you get ready for bed? And reduce the energy release on the canister will you? We’re running short. You DO know how to do it, don’t you?”

“Yes. I’ve read how,” Tad drawled. His father responded with a smile and patted him on the shoulder before leaving the room.

Tad headed to the far corner of the room where a metal cabinet was. He pressed some buttons and the cabinet doors slid open. In the cabinet was a cylindrical canister with blue electric veins pulsing in it. It was the same energy canister he was studying earlier that day.

The energy canister was hooked up to multiple wires which supplied energy to the entire house. All the houses used a canister as their source of energy, and one canister lasted for a month for most homes. When all the energy is used up, the canister must be replaced with a new one if they wanted to survive.

Tad slowly turned a knob at the top of the cylinder, being careful not to touch any of the wires. Immediately he saw the reduction of energy flow in the wires. And that was when the lights in his room started to dim. Tad nodded to himself and shut the cabinet with a press of another button.

Tad stared at the cabinet for a while and wondered who his father would send to the city this time to exchange the canister. He secretly wished his father would pick him as he had never seen the city before. He heard his brothers mentioning of high rise structures and super highways with cars powered by blue energy. Unfortunately for him, the only car he had ever seen was the old junk that ran on fuel.

Tad sighed and headed to his mat on the floor. They couldn’t afford beds and this was the best they could. Moments later, he heard his brothers entering the room, but he just ignored them and fell straight to sleep.

He was awakened shortly after by a tremor. He sat up trying to get his bearings but no hint of light was to his aid. The ground beneath him was vibrating violently and it felt like it was about to give in. Tad stood up and waved his hands blindly around him in search of a wall, but there seemed to be none.

Tad started to panic but before he could react, he saw his chest glowing. And then, as if crawling out of the shadows, were his brothers. Their bodies were hunched, in a prostrate manner, surrounding him. Tad swallowed hard and he didn’t realize he was holding his breath as he watched them bow to him expressionlessly.

Briefly taking his eyes off his brothers, he began to notice the glow in his chest becoming brighter. Both terrified and amazed, Tad closed his eyes expecting the worst when a sharp pain pierced his stomach.

Tad opened his eyes immediately and found himself back in his bedroom. His third oldest brother stood hovering over him.

“Get up,” Simon said monotonically.

“You didn’t have to kick me.” Tad glared at Simon and sat up.

“I was trying to make sure you weren’t dead.” Simon smirked as he folded his arms.

“Right. Well, I’m not.” Tad climbed to his feet. He wasn’t as tall as Simon but he was almost his height. Tad secretly wished he was taller, that way he wouldn’t have to look up at him all the time.

“I had a dream about you. You were bowing to me, and so were the others,” Tad continued.

“Wow! Isn’t that something! Let’s tell Roth and the others,” Simon said sarcastically as he grabbed Tad by the arm and dragged him downstairs where his other brothers were already having breakfast on a wooden table in the tiny dining room.

“Let go!” Tad squirmed out of Simons grip and managed to free himself.

“What’s the problem?” Roth asked uninterestedly.

“Tad had a dream about us,” Simon announced.

“Must be some dream eh, Tad?” Luther jeered. Luther wasn’t the oldest, but he came in second after Roth and he was famous for his fist of anger.

“He dreamt we were bowing down to him.” Simon turned to eye Tad.

“And I was glowing!” Tad blurted out. He immediately felt stupid as laughter erupted at the table.

A wave of embarrassment washed over him. He was being ridiculed by his own brothers but his pride made him continue with details of his dream.

“You were all bowing to me! Every single one of you!” Tad said loudly, even though his voice wasn’t as firm as he wanted it to be.

“So you’re saying you’re going to be king?” Luther stood up and shoved Tad against the wall. “You’re going to rule over us? Us, who are older than you?”

Tad tried to stand his ground but fear crept up his spine. He could never stand up against all of them and he silently prayed for a miraculous intervention. Just when he was about to receive a broken nose from one of his brothers, his father came through the door.

“What the devil is going on here?”  His father began pulling his brothers away from him.

“Go get yourselves to work!” his father ordered his brothers out the door as Tad breathed a sigh of relief.

“What was going on, my boy?” His father turned to him.

“Nothing.  Just a misunderstanding,” Tad muttered.

“Well, if that’s the case, let’s just leave it as that shall we?” his father said and suspired.

Tad nodded and followed his father out into the front yard. He saw his brothers watching him as they carried hay into the nearest barn. He somehow knew he wasn’t at all safe from a broken nose yet.

Trying to keep his mind off them, he turned his attention to his mother who was carrying a package in her hands.

“Have you forgotten what day today is?” she said as she gave him a tight hug.

“Tuesday?” Tad was slightly confused.

“You poor boy, how could you have forgotten your own birthday!” She pinched his cheeks and handed him the package. Tad never liked the pinching but he gave his mother the benefit, after all, she loved him the most.

“See what all the studying could do to him?” his mother said sternly, speaking directly to his father as Tad chuckled. Mother knows best, Tad silently thought to himself.

Tad waited for his mother to nod at him before he started unwrapping the package. It only took him a second to realize what he was holding in his hands. It was a silver vest, and running along the sides were small tubes, with blue energy flowing through it. His parents must have ordered it from the city, and with no doubt, he knew it was an expensive order. Tad took a minute or so staring at it before he quickly put it on and asked excitedly, “How do I look?”

“Handsome. I think your father wouldn’t mind letting you have the day off from those books,” his mother said as she eyed his father with her beautiful brown eyes, and his father nodded in agreement.

“Yes!” Tad exclaimed as he gave his parents a peck on their cheeks. Tad was ecstatic. He had the day off from books and it felt like heaven.

Turning seventeen wasn’t all that bad after all, especially when he had the day all to himself and a new silver vest. He couldn’t wait to show it off to his brothers, and the best way he thought he should do so was to walk pass the barn they were in as slowly as possible, making sure the sun’s reflection catches their attention, and when they looked, he wouldn’t say anything, since a picture speaks a thousand words anyway. And so he did what he had planned to do, and after he caught all their jealous faces, he decided to spend the rest of the day, by himself, at a nearby creek, in which he had fallen in love with the first time he found it when he was twelve.

Soon day was slowly giving way to night and Tad decided to head home. On his way home, he saw a familiar sheep running across a small hill. He assumed his brothers were grazing the flocks in nearby field and decided to spy on them, since he didn’t have much to do anyway.

Tad quickly but quietly followed after that lone sheep as it made its way to the field, but to his surprise no one was around. The sheep however, continued trotting into the forest by the field and Tad decided to follow. He had caught his brothers with their alcohol before and maybe he would catch them again, at least that would save him from an impending broken nose.

The sky was turning dark, but Tad took no notice. He followed the sheep as quietly as possible as it led him to a clearing. There he spotted his brothers, and with one wrong footing, they spotted him too.

“Look, it’s the dreamer!” Luther exclaimed sarcastically and his brothers laughed.

“He’s come to tell on us again.” Tad heard one of them say as they started to form a circle around him. He tried to find a gap between them in hopes of making a quick dash out of their circle, but he found no escape.

“I have an idea. Let’s kill him and throw him into that cistern. Then we’ll just tell father a lion ate him up,” Simon said and to Tad’s surprise, the rest agreed.

Did they hate him that much? Tad could hear his heart pumping and a quick silent prayer he made. A broken nose was way better than death.

“You can’t kill me, I’m your brother,” Tad quickly said, hoping it would save his life.

He heard his brothers laughing at his statement and Tad couldn’t believe they found it funny.

“I agree with Simon. Let’s just kill him and then he’ll be out of our hair forever,” Luther said as he walked up behind Tad and placed his strong hands on his shoulders.

Tad tried to free himself but Luther’s grip was too tight. Tad looked to Roth, his oldest brother, hoping he would save him as he mouthed ‘Please’ to him.

“No. Let’s just throw him in that cistern and leave him be. We shall not kill our own brother,” Roth said sternly.

“Half brother,” Simon muttered in disappointment.

Tad sighed a small relief. Maybe one of them will come back for him later, or so he hoped. His brothers tussled him around as they took off his vest and shoved him towards the cistern. It did not take another touch as Tad fell right down into it.

It wasn’t very deep as he didn’t break any bones on the landing, but it was dark and cold. Tad sat and hugged himself, trying to stay warm. His thoughts were racing and so were his emotions. What were his brothers planning to do? Leave him? He felt a concoction of emotions and the coldness around him became more bearable than the coldness and hatred his brothers had showed him.

He began to feel tired and weak and he was nearly falling asleep when he heard voices. It was his brothers talking. He heard them mentioning of traders and money when a rope came falling down the cistern.

“Climb up!” He heard one of his brothers shouting to him.

Relieved that they weren’t really going to leave him there, he quickly made his way up. As he nearly reached the top, strong arms pulled him out of the cistern, but they didn’t let him go. It took him a while before he realized that those strong arms belonged to two men he had never seen before.

“He’s rather scrawny don’t you think?” one of them said to the other.

A third unknown man came up to him and eyed him from head to toe. He dressed sloppily in a suit, and he wore a crooked smile that showed his golden tooth. He had gold rings around his fingers and he had tattoos all over his hands. Tad personally found him scarier than the men that were holding on to him.

“We’ll take him for twenty silver coins,” the third man said.

“Sold,” Luther announced as though the bidding was over, taking the bag of coins the man had handed to him.

Tad was confused more than ever. Did his brothers just sell him off to these city traders? He didn’t have to question himself any longer as he was sure he knew what had just happened

“No! You can’t sell me! I have rights!” Tad shouted at his brothers.

“Well, we’re town people, we don’t have rights brother, especially you!” Simon chuckled.

“You still can’t sell me! That’s against the law! Please!” Tad tried to free himself from the men’s grip.

“No such law young lad,” the third man said as he started walking out of the clearing. The two men holding him were following after and dragging Tad along the way.

Tad could feel tears swelling up in his eyes as he shouted to his brothers, “Please! I’m your brother. Please don’t do this!”

But his brothers did not respond to his pleas and Tad knew, from that moment, that he was on his own.

“No!” Tad screamed and kicked. He tried to wiggle himself free and he seemed to be doing it right as the two men were losing their grip on him.

“Knock him out,” he heard a voice gave an order and then he heard a loud thud. Tad was knocked out in a millisecond.

The Dreamer is now available in the bookshop!