From the Ashes (with Story Cubes)

From the Ashes (with Story Cubes)

For some Saturday flash I broke out the Story Cubes. Hope you like it!

As the plane hurtled toward the ground, my thoughts branched out in a bloom like a tree growing in my mind. I’d always expected the cliched flash of my life flipping by in a series of images, but I got nothing like that. Only one image came to mind. Him. I didn’t have much of a life for a photo montage. Not really. Unless you counted images of all the people I’ve killed. Politicians, Kings, Presidents, Ambassadors… you name it. Was it considered murder if your government paid the tab?

Keening wind howled through the gaps in the fuselage. Ironic how I knew the way to use my seat as a floatation device, but what good was that when we were about to crash into the earth? They should tuck parachutes into the seat-backs so they were already attached when you fasten your belt. Typical to have the zillion dollar idea at this moment.

Something exploded in the rear of the aircraft. A fountain of flames shot up the aisle and disappeared. This time there were no screams to accompany the blast. Was I the only one awake or were all one hundred sixty three of the other passengers also contemplating patents on James Bond ejection seats? 

Night filled the window to my right. The darkness broken only by the occasional blur of lights that flew by as we spiraled ever downward. There was a city below us, of that I was sure. Did the people below us know? Guess who’s coming to dinner, indeed.

I tried to calculate the distance to the ground but instead found myself analyzing what I’d seen just before the explosion. I replayed it in my mind and ran the details under a microscope, just to be sure I hadn’t imagined it. The fighter jet trailing the plane high and to the right. My wondering if they were escorting us in so they could arrest me when we landed. I’m sure they had the perfect story fabricated and waiting for me. The burst of the missile ignition followed by the streak of smoke and flame as it careened toward our wing. The impact out my window, and the simultaneous explosion on the left side of the plane. People screaming.

I didn’t know the identity of my target when I got that last job. I was told simply to be at ready on the roof of the building across from the hotel with my radio on and my rifle trained on the penthouse. As I waited for the call, I watched the room.

I saw what happened in that room. I watched what he did to those girls. I saw the secret service freaking out over the bodies. Watched them go frantic at the sight of all that blood. The look on his face. Animal satisfaction. I never got a call on my radio. Maybe someone just wanted me to see?

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I was the only one who walked away from the crash. I’d slipped my watch onto a dead man as I crawled from the wreckage. It might fool them for a while into thinking I was dead, but someone would eventually do a count. Realize they were one light. Someone ordered me to that roof that night. And someone else didn’t like that. Not one bit.

As I slipped through the gathering crowd I thought of one thing, and one thing alone: There would be justice. I would make sure of that.

Speak Out Against: Bullying

Speak Out Against: Bullying

It’s my pleasure to be a part of the Speak Out Against Book Tour.

Two authors, two books, one message:
Bullying is still going on and it needs to end, in all its forms.

Special thanks to Susan Oloier, author of OUTCAST and Rebecca Green Gasper,
author of BREAK FROM YOU for sharing this guest post on the “now and
then” of bullying. I remember all of those movies from the 80’s and how
easily I related to them. Read on about bullying through the years and
then read all about their newly released books below!

Now and Then on Bullying

in the 1980s often featured its own particular brand of bully. For
guys: the muscle-bound, convertible driving megalomaniac who thrived on
name-calling and humiliation. For girls: the snobbish fashionista who
often seemed eons older than an actual high school girl should be,
looking down her nose and hurling insults.

Some 1980’s movies that have a bullying thread:
Better Off Dead
Weird Science
My Bodyguard
The Breakfast Club
Pretty in Pink
Just One of the Guys
The Karate Kid
One Crazy Summer

Watch the Huffington Post Video for a flashback of the 80s bully.

bullying seems to be more insidious and less overt than in the past,
which almost makes it more dangerous. And reality television doesn’t
help matters at all with adult programs that show success is only
possible through being a bully: The Apprentice, American Idol, and
House—to name a few. Remember, adults are supposed to model behavior for
kids and teens. What kind of message is being sent to our youth when
bullying reaps tons of rewards? With the onslaught of the internet
(something not present in the 1980s), a new type of bullying has
surfaced: cyber bullying though social media, texting, and email.

Movies today that shine a light on bullying:
Mean Girls (2004)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)
Cyberbully (2011)
Bully (2011)—documentary

Now and Then on Dating Abuse

the mid- 1800s, a husband beating his wife was a common and widely
accepted form of power and control. It wasn’t until the mid 1800s that
people began to change their opinion regarding domestic violence and
laws started to pass to protect women and outlaw abuse. By the 1900s,
most states banned wife beating, but it wasn’t until the 1970’s and the
women’s movement that domestic violence gained the most attention,
although arrests were still rare. Violence Against Women Acts were
passed in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Although these acts were
passed, it has only been since the mid 2000s that dating violence has
gotten national recognition. In 2010, February became the National Teen
Dating Violence and Prevention Month. (,

Dating abuse in films:
Fear (1996)
No One Would Tell (1996)
Reviving Ophelia (2010)

Susan Oloier

dreams of a different life, one where Trina Brockwell doesn’t exist.
Trina has bullied Noelle since junior high. Now she’s tired of it. With
the help of her black-sheep aunt and a defiant new classmate, Noelle
seeks revenge. But vengeance comes with a price: Noelle risks
friendship, her first love, and herself to get back at those who have
wronged her.

Rebecca Green Gasper
Break from You

shouldn’t hurt this much…Brooke Myers wants to believe she has it all:
the perfect guy, the perfect relationship, the perfect life. She wants
to believe it so much that she’s willing to overlook the fear, the
isolation, and the pain her boyfriend has caused her. She knows it isn’t
right but tells herself that love isn’t always easy. However, when a
fire destroys the restaurant during homecoming dinner, she forms an
instant bond with the boy who saves her, one her boyfriend wouldn’t
like. With the pain of a concussion reminding her of how bad things can
get, she is forced to re-evaluate the relationship she has with her
boyfriend and face the ghosts that haunt her. Brooke once believed love
was all it took…but is it enough? Is it truly love when you’ve lost
yourself in it?


Can you think of other movies or stories that address bullying? Please share them in the comments.