Friday, July 31, 2009

A day in the life of Iliana Metallinou, writer and artist



A typical week day starts at around 8:00 a.m. when the sun rays fall on my face and the birds’ singing from the trees just off my balcony act as a natural alarm clock. I am usually a very active sort of person, but I hate organizing all my days in advance. I never drink coffee in the morning, though on some cold days I have a cup of tea with milk; a bowl of Quaker oats with honey and banana slices is filling and sweet; and a good start for a productive day!


I turn on my computer after preparing lunch, and while it is being cooked I write an article or two; on my unlucky days though, I just have to cook a second meal because the first one has got burnt! Phone calls are a great distraction during the day, especially when some relatives enjoy a lengthy and juicy conversation! I avoid daily shopping as I won’t get everything done in time. But I enjoy roaming around the town and talking to friends every other day, taking pictures for my blog or doing interviews with local people for Coffee Time paper. Every outing seems to be a small adventure for me.


When the weather permits, I start the day painting in my balcony, and I do some typing after 11a.m. I enjoy doing different tasks as it adds variety to my day schedule. Housework has to be done in between writing and painting-so I have one or two breaks dedicated to family chores. Afternoons are more relaxing. In winter I never have a siesta; I teach some young pupils for 2-3 hours and then I return to my computer to complete the work that I have started earlier in the day. Painting has to wait till the weekend when I have more free time. I spend the evenings computer-free with family members. I love watching my favorite series or a film on TV, and I never go to bed before midnight! On hot summer days I stay up later than usual, but I have a relaxing siesta during the day that keeps me refreshed. Summer evenings are mainly spent outside, at Garitsa bay, where people stroll and chat. That is a great meeting point for friends and tourists alike and a source of inspiration as well!



Visit Liana at http://lianastories.blogspot.com


About her book:



The White Snail includes an exciting story and educational material appropriate for young readers. It is the first of a series of books that aims to encourage children to read stories while, at the same time learn about nature. At the end of each book there are educational activities.

The White Snail’s basic theme is self-esteem that develops from early childhood. The hero of this story believes that he is not equal to the other snails just because he is different. This story is about the differences among people or peoples generally. It caters not only to young kids but also to adults, parents and teachers.

This series also aims to highlight some of the small miracles of nature, that we usually take for granted. The White Snail encourages the reader to notice snails closely and learn some facts about them via the educational activity at the end of the book.

BILINGUAL ΤΕΧΤ: GREEK/ENGLISH

This book can be read both in Greek and English. Thus, it caters to Foreign Language education as well as to readers all over the world.

Author and illustrator, Iliana Metallinou, holds a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics, is an artist, a book reviewer, former Language School owner, and nature lover. http://lianastories.blogspot.com

Available at Vasilis Savvanis Publications, Corfu, Greece,
www.aggelia-online.gr, local bookstores and kiosks.

The White Snail
ISBN: 978-960-98648-0-0
Paperback, 32 pages, 16x16 cm
5.50 euros
www.tips-fb.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Interview with Belinda Acosta, author of Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz


Belinda Acosta lives and writes in Austin, Texas where she is a columnist for the Austin Chronicle. Her non-fiction has appeared in Poets & Writers, Latino USA, the Radio Journal of News and Culture, AlterNet, the San Antonio Current, and Latino Magazine. She is a member of Macondo, the writers' collective launched by acclaimed writer Sandra Cisneros. She loves knitting, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, chips & salsa, mariachi (good, make your soul leap from your body, mariachi); conjunto music (todo old school), and given the opportunity, will square dance. Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz is her first novel.

Thanks for this interview, Belinda! Why don't you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started writing?

I was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. I get my Tejana creds from my mother, who was raised in deep South Texas. My father is Mexicano (San Luis Potosi—ajua! That’s Mexican for “Woo-Hoo!”). I’ve been living in Austin, Texas, since 1985 or so. I began writing like most writers, I suppose—because I loved to read. Also, I’m not good at anything else, except for acting, which I made a living from for about ten years before I returned to get my BA and subsequent MFA in writing from the Michener Center at the University of Texas at Austin.



Your first novel, Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz, is coming soon from

Hachatte. What was your inspiration for it?

I responded to a call from a book packager—Jacob Packaged Goods. They proposed an idea for a book about quinceañeras, but unlike most of the other books out there this one would focus on mothers, not just daughters. I admit I didn’t have a lot of personal experience with the ceremonies at the time. In fact I didn’t actually attend my first quince until I was researching the book. But I liked the idea, and once I learned a little more about the project, I signed on to write the first two books in the Quinceañera Club series.



Did you have to do research for your book? Do you think quinceañeras
is a celebration soon to be extinct?


I did some online research and read a couple of earlier books on the subject. One was Julia Alvarez’s marvelous nonfiction book, Once Upon a Quinceañera. The other was a collection of short stories, Fifteen Candles, edited by Adriana Lopez. I went to my first quinceañera mass early in the writing process, in addition to attending a quinceañera fair in San Antonio.

Quinceañeras have been celebrated here and throughout Latin America for ages. I think what may wane are the more spectacular expressions of the ceremony in urban settings. The quinceañera, and especially the quinceañera mass is still very important to some Latino Catholics. So, I don’t see the fundamental ritual dying anytime soon.



Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it easy finding a

publisher?

I didn’t find the publisher. That was the packager’s job. I wrote the manuscript. Writing is hard work. Writing the manuscript was harder than writing my Master’s Thesis and I thought that was hard.

What are your writing habits? Are you disciplined?

It depends on what I’m writing and what deadlines I’m working under. My day can begin as early as 3am and end when I finish or my brain dries up. Hopefully, those things coincide! Working on multiple deadline gives you no choice but to be disciplined.



I understand you are a columnist for the Austin Chronicle. What is

your column about?

I write weekly about TV and media in a column called TV Eye (www.austinchronicle.com). I also write features and reviews for the music, film, and books sections for the Chronicle as well as other freelance writing, when time permits. Novel writing has brought my freelance writing to a halt for the time being.



What do you have planned for launching your book?

There’s going to be a fabulous book release party in Austin, Texas, on August 18, followed by readings in Austin and San Antonio. A blog tour is also planned.



Do you have a website and/or blog where readers may learn more about

you and your work?

http://qclubbooks.blogspot.com


You can also find me on Facebook (there’s a link at the bottom of the above site) and on Twitter @BelindaGene.

Are you working on another novel?

I am currently writing the second book in the quinceañera club series, Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over.


Thanks, Belinda!


Belinda is preparing a big launch for her novel. Check out her schedule:


August 18

Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz

Book Release Party

Cuba Libre - 409 Colorado - Austin, Texas

6pm to 9pm


August 25

Reading

BookPeople - 6th & Lamar - Austin, Texas

7pm


August 29

Reading

Borders Book Store - 255 E. Basse Rd. - San Antonio, Texas


August 29

Reading

Viva! Book Store

11am


There's also a Facebook Fan group where folks can RSVP http://www.facebook.com/belinda.g.acosta#/pages/La-quinceanera-club-books-de-Belinda-Acosta/137625675297?ref=ts

www.tips-fb.com

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I was awarded The Humane Award!


My blogging friend and children's author and reviewer Cheryl Malandrinos has just awarded me The Humane Award. What a lovely surprise!

Thank you, Cheryl!

I met Cheryl about two years ago through Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours. She's a wonderful book reviewer and her first children's picture book will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing in the near future. Her book review blogs include The Book Connection and the newest, The Kids Book Connection. Be sure to visit her blogs, as she has some great stuff in there.

The Humane Award honors certain bloggers who I feel are kindhearted individuals who regularly support my blogs with their sweet comments. They have tastefully done blogs that are updated on a regular basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendships through the blog world.

Now I'd like to pass this award to the following bloggers:

Jo Ann Hernandez, http://bronzeword.wordpress.com/
L. Diane Wolfe, http://www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com/
Donna Shepherd, http://www.devotionalsbydonna.blogspot.com/
Donna McDine, http://donna-mcdine.blogspot.com/ www.tips-fb.com

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Review of Color Me Happy! by Sally M. Harris


Little Sadie is sad because her best friend has moved away. Then, one day, she sees from the window a colorful pink poodle prancing by. The doggy's bright and cheerful color give Sadie an idea: she will make herself happy... with color!

So she gets her paints and paper and creates lots of beautiful pictures: pretty spring flowers, a friendly frog sitting on a swing, a field of purple heather, ice cream cones and fruit... and you know what? All the colors DO change her gloomy mood!

Color Me Happy! is a delightful children's picture book with little text and brightly colored illustrations. Each page has a two line verse to go with the artwork. The story is simple, cute and cheerful, appealing to young minds. There's something very basic yet very charming about the illustrations. Children will love the splash of color on the pages.

Visit Guardian Angel Publishing for complete information about this book.

Visit the author's website at http://sallymharris.wordpress.com/

Visit the illustrator's website at http://www.cecilcastillopaplinskie.com/ www.tips-fb.com

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Interview with children's author Lupe Ruiz-Flores


My guest today is children's author Lupe Ruiz-Flores. Lupe has led quite an intriguing and interesting life. Though she's now a children's author, she used to be an aerospace engineering technician for the Department of Defense and once lived in Thailand and Japan. She was kind enough to take time from her busy schedule to answer my questions about her life and her writing.
Thanks for being here today, Lupe. Why don't you start by telling our readers a little about yourself and how you started writing?
First, let me thank you for this interview. I think I’ve always been a writer at heart. I was born and raised in southwest Texas, but have also lived in California, South Carolina, and Oklahoma. I come from a large close-knit family where my sisters are my best friends. My grandmother and father were great storytellers. I guess that’s where my love for storytelling comes from. We couldn’t afford books when I was growing up, so I spent as much time as I could at the school library.
Even though I worked in a technical field for many years, I always had that desire to write. Since my degree was not in journalism or creative writing, I had my doubts. But then I won a few writing contests and that gave me the confidence I needed. Since then, I’ve immersed myself in the writing process by reading books on writing, and attending writing workshops and conferences.
I was intrigued by the fact that you've lived in various exotic countries. Has the experience of living abroad influenced your writing?
Absolutely. Living in Thailand and Japan was a cultural experience. Diversity is a wonderful thing. My children attended the International School of Bangkok with classmates who came from all parts of the world. It was extremely educational for them. Learning about and respecting other people’s cultures also opens up a whole new world.
We had fun riding on elephants and visiting the pagodas (temples) in Bangkok. Buddhist monks in orange flowing robes strolled past our house every morning. I picked up enough of the Thai language to go shopping, that’s all. In Okinawa, we once huddled inside our house in the middle of a raging typhoon. Since we lived on an island, it was a great adventure watching giant ships coming in on the harbor. I learned to pattern draft from a Japanese tailor who had lost both legs in World War II.
You used to work as an aerospace engineering technician. That's quite a jump to picture books!
I guess it is. I loved my job – working on aircraft systems in the aircraft structural integrity branch for the Department of Defense. At the time, it was a nontraditional role for a woman.
My jump from that job to writing picture books didn’t happen right away. Initially, I wrote nonfiction articles for a national magazine. I interviewed people and wrote their stories. I found that extremely inspiring.
Tell us a bit about your children's picture books. Did you write them in English or Spanish? Did you want them to be bilingual or was this your publisher's idea?
I love the way children’s eyes light up when I read them my picture books during school visits. I call them picture story books because they have quite a bit of text as opposed to a few words and lots of pictures. It was the publisher’s idea to make the books bilingual and I was thrilled. I like the fact that the same exact text is in English and Spanish on the same page. I believe some schools use my books in their bilingual education classes. Since I am bilingual, I sometimes do the readings in Spanish.
What would you say to people who think picture books are easy to write?
Sometimes they’re harder to write because you have to develop your characters and tell the story in a limited word count. You don’t have the luxury of really fleshing out your characters as you would in a novella or novel. The structure of the story is the same, though.
How are your writing habits? Are you disciplined?
I wish I were more disciplined. I don’t have a set time to write. But I do find that I am more alert and creative in the early morning hours or late at night. I love to do research and I can get carried away with that and get distracted from what I’m supposed to be doing. I think I work better under pressure. When I was writing for a local newspaper and had deadlines, I really focused and always met my deadlines.
Do you have an agent? How was the publishing process for you?
I do not have an agent yet. So far, the publishing process has been good for me, but I find it extremely competitive and frustrating at times. I’ve gotten my share of rejections like everyone else. But on the bright side, I have had numerous nonfiction articles published in magazines. Some of my poetry has been published in anthologies as well. I’ve had two bilingual picture story books published (Lupita’s Papalote and The Woodcutter’s Gift) and a third one due out in 2010 (Battle of the Snow Cones). I’ve finished a middle-grade historical fiction piece and hope to find a publisher soon. My work in progress is another middle-grade story.
Do you do a lot of school presentations?
I do quite a few school presentations, book signings, and book fairs/festivals. I enjoy meeting other authors and illustrators at some of these events. I always make friends and learn something new about the writing/publishing business at these functions.
Leave us with some words of wisdom...
Be passionate about what you do. Give your reader an experience with your story. Nurture yourself spiritually and as a writer. Connect with other writers. It is never too late to realize your dream. Never give up. Hope you visit my site at www.luperuiz-flores.com and my blog at www.luperuiz-flores.blogspot.com.
Thanks, Lupe!
www.tips-fb.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Interview with Leila Rasheed, author of the Bathsheba de Trop series


Leila Rasheed is the author of the delightful Bathsheba Clarice de Trop series for middle-grade readers, published by Usborne in the UK. Her books are written in diary form and are very popular among girls ages 9-12. Rasheed is currently very busy promoting her newly released DOUGHNUTS, DREAMS AND DRAMA QUEENS: THE THEATRICAL THIRD DIARY OF BATHSHEBA CLARICE DE TROP, the third book in the series. She holds a Master's Degree in Children's Literature and is a children's bookseller in Brussels, Belgium.

It's a pleasure having you here, Leila.

Why don't you start by telling us a little about yourself?

Okay, here are ten things about me…

1) My first pets were three white rats called Snap. Crackle and Pop. They lived on our balcony on the sixth floor, and one by one, mysteriously disappeared. My mother thinks a hawk was involved. I like to believe it was aliens.

2) Speaking of aliens, the last film I saw at the cinema was Star Trek. It was good but I didn’t think it was as amazing as everyone says it it.

3) Speaking of films, my favourite film is Bladerunner.

4) Speaking of Bladerunner, I used to want to be an archaeologist because of watching Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies.

5) Speaking of archaeology, I’ve been to Pompeii three times, and I still haven’t seen all of it – that place is BIG.

6) Speaking of threes, my third book comes out at the end of June, it’s called DOUGHNUTS, DREAMS AND DRAMA QUEENS: THE THEATRICAL THIRD DIARY OF BATHSHEBA CLARICE DE TROP.

7) Speaking of diaries, I know writers are supposed to keep diaries but I don’t. I’ve tried but I never managed it for more than a few days.

8) Speaking of things writers are supposed to do, I do write in cafes. I find the background noise relaxing but not distracting.

9) Speaking of distracting, the most distracting thing in the world for me is the internet.

10) And speaking of the internet, I’d like to say thank you Mayra for featuring this interview on your website!

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

When I was thirteen I discovered that I loved writing stories, but I didn’t exactly decide I wanted to become an author, because for most of my life it seemed like an unattainable dream, something that only happened to special people. I just decided in my mid-twenties that I wanted to try and get a book published.

Tell us a bit about your middle grade series for girls? What was your inspiration for it?

The series is about a girl called Bathsheba – Bath for short. It’s written as if it’s her diaries. In the first book, CHIPS BEANS AND LIMOUSINES, it initially appears that she’s really spoiled, but as you read between the lines you find out that actually the truth is quite different, and a more touching– but funny – story comes out. In the next two books, SOCKS, SHOCKS AND SECRETS and DOUGHNUTS, DREAMS AND DRAMA QUEENS, Bath changes her life completely, and has lots of new adventures. They’re funny books about daily life, family and friendship for an extraordinary girl, but there is also a big helping of adventure.

Why do you think your novels are so popular with young girls?

I think that girls like them because they feel emotionally honest. I think they’re very funny, and they have lots of exciting things happening, but at the same time, Bath is a child who really, in the first book, feels deeply unloved. I think children identify with her sadness and loneliness as well as her desire to be noticed. And I think they are really glad for her when she gets some friends and a kind of family who love her.

Are you a disciplined writer? What are your working habits?

I’m not very disciplined, I let unimportant things distract me. I am also often traveling, or moving, so I have trouble fixing regular habits for writing. I give myself deadlines – I say ‘I will write this series proposal by Friday,’ for example. And I am able to say ‘Today I will just work on my novel,’ and the next day go to work, or work on a critique or something. But working 9 – 1, for example, is not easy, because I share my house with someone who also works at home, and I don’t have a separate office – so I may want to start writing at 9, but if he’s still asleep I can’t start typing next to the bed.

Technically speaking, what comes more naturally to you when writing a novel? What do you have to struggle with the most?
That’s an interesting question. I think that voice comes easily to me, and concepts, ideas. I can write great beginnings. What’s difficult is not getting lost on the way through the book.

Do you have a website or blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

www.leilarasheed.com is my website

www.usborne.co.uk/bathsheba is all about the books

www.bookchildworld.wordpress.com is my writing blog for adults

What advice would you give to aspiring middle grade authors?

I have two good pieces of advice from famous authors. Ray Bradbury, the sci-fi author, said ‘Find out what your hero wants and then follow him’. In other words, know what the story’s about and keep that at the front of your mind. And I’m developing a new rule of thumb for writing called ‘What would Oswald do?’ which is based on the advice that the narrator of Edith Nesbit’s classic children’s book, The Story of the Treasure Seekers, gives at the start of Chapter Two.

The whole text is available free online: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/770

Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?

Remember there are many different ways of reading fiction. Most readers read for sheer pleasure – they’re interested in whether they love a book or not. Literary critics read with theory in mind – they want to fit books into categories. But if you want to be a writer you have to read differently again. You have to read analytically, looking at how stories are put together, what makes them work, and asking yourself how you can use those techniques in your own writing.

You can compare it to different ways of looking at a chair. Most people are interested just in whether they like the chair, whether it’s comfortable and whether it fits in with their living room colour scheme. If you plan to write a book about chairs, though, you’d want to know what period the chair belongs to, whether it’s IKEA or Arts and Crafts, you’d want to know whether it was designed with a particular philosophy in mind. But if you want to make a chair, the best thing to do is take one to bits and have a good look at it from the inside out.

www.tips-fb.com

Monday, July 6, 2009

Zebee's Summer Zoo Camp for kids!

Just In Time to Beat Summer Time Boredom: Zebee’s Summer Zoo Camp is Almost Here!

Sign up today. Keep your child happily busy all summer long.


V Zoo, Cyber Space – July 1, 2009 -- Calling all parents, teachers and caregivers with children between the ages of 5 and 8. Do you need some fun educational activities for your children this summer? Can’t afford to send them off to a zoo camp? We have the answer. Starting July 6, 2009 we are holding a Virtual Summer Zoo Camp. It’s online and it’s totally FREE. All you have to do is sign up.


Eight weeks of Zoo animal fun!


July 6-12 Meerkat Mania

July 13-17 Leaping Lizards

July 20-24 Virtuous Vultures

July 27-31 Fascinating Frogs

August 3-7 Observant Okapis

August 10-14 Playful Penguins

August 17-21 Slithery Snakes

August 24-28 Amazing Antelope


We will be giving away some prizes too, all FREE.


What else will this summer camp have? There will be Games, Animal Trivia, Arts and Crafts and all kinds of Puzzles.


So what are you waiting for? Hop over to Zebee’s Summer Zoo Camp and sign up today.


Permission to Reprint:


Journalists, newsletter publishers, bloggers and others: You may reprint this to help spread the word. We here at Laughing Zebra – Books for Children thank you.


Joy Delgado

Laughing Zebra -Books for Children

A division of J.O.Y. Publishing

Check out what’s going on at the zoo!

http://zooprisepartyfiestazoorpresa.blogspot.com/

We go Beyond Reading

http://www.laughing-zebra-children-books.com

You learned that from a picture book!?!

http://goingbeyondreading.blogspot.com/


www.tips-fb.com

Friday, July 3, 2009

On the Spotlight: Bubba and Giganto, by Lea Schizas

Today I'd like to feature a middle-grade novel by author and editor Lea Schizas. The book, Bubba and Giganto, is about an important subject: bullying.

To find more about this wonderful writer and all her work and sites, please visit her Website. Bubba and Giganto is available from Amazon, B&N, 4RV Publishing and The Reading Warehouse. I hope you'll enjoy the blurb, review and first chapter excerpt.


Bubba hates it when his dad gets a contract for a new project. That means uprooting the family from one city and moving to another. Attending a new school is a major pet peeve of his. His smart alecky nature attracts the bullies in every school he’s attended.

On the first day of school, Bubba bumps into this rather large student. Fearing a confrontation, he wears his tough guy attitude and waits for the punches to begin. Remarkably, the new student apologizes, and Bubba and David (aka Giganto as Bubba eventually nicknames him) become best friends.

Bubba and Giganto try out for the high school soccer team, and that’s when trouble begins. Bubba knew eventually he’d meet the bullies of the school, and he was right.

In the first initial weeks, Bubba learns about a death that occurred the previous year; faces the bullies on several occasions; helps Giganto practice soccer before tryouts; and challenges the bullies to a scrimmage.

Little does Bubba know Giganto holds a secret - one that will place Giganto in a deadly situation.


What reviewers are saying...


Lea Schizas has written another page turner. Once I started reading about Bubba and David, AKA Giganto, I couldn’t stop. Before I knew it I’d read the whole story. I’m so glad I did.


Bubba (yes, Bubba, not Bobby or Brendan) Jacobson, tough guy, smart mouth, sensitive heart, and David (Giganto) Montana, nice guy, picked on by bullies, big and clumsy, are the least likely of friends. But when they meet on the first day of ninth grade a remarkable friendship is formed.


This is Bubba’s first year at Pierson High, and he’s delighted to discover they have a soccer team. Questions arise, however, when Bubba and David try out for the team. Why does Mr. Ambrose, the gym teacher, tell Bubba not to push David (Giganto) into something he doesn’t want to do? What is the secret about the boy who died during a soccer scrimmage the previous year? Is David (Giganto) connected to the tragedy? And why is Jason, all-star athlete with an attitude, so determined David doesn’t make the team?


Ms. Schizas is a master at surprise endings. Just when you think you know all the answers, she changes the questions with an unexpected twist or two. I never saw this one coming.


Themes of bullies, soccer, friendship, and forgiveness are woven through this short story, making it one boys can relate to and will enjoy reading. I recommend it for reluctant readers, children who perhaps are facing their own bullies, and also for sports lovers and everyone who enjoys a fast-paced book with continuous action.


--Reviewed by Beverly Stowe McClure, children's author


Excerpt...


Chapter One

Ever wonder if parents really listen to you? Try adding, “and the alien

scooped me up and see their reaction. If they turn around and look in a weird way,

they paid attention. My parents just say, “Uh-huh, that’s nice, dear.

But I’ve gone off topic here. My story has nothing to do with parents but

everything to do with accepting a challenge.

Starting at a new school and meeting friends is hard, really hard. Factor in that my

parents decided to name me Bubba - not Bobby, not Brendan, but Bubba - and anyone

can understand why I hate going to any school. This would be my fourth nightmare in a

brand new setting.

Anyway…

Getting off the bus, I bumped right into this huge student. Couldn’t avoid it. The

kid, who must have been over 200 pounds, hogged the whole sidewalk. His oversized

blue T-shirt looked more like a tent. Well, call me silly, but I turned to the circus freak

and told him, “Move out of my way.” Almost in slow motion, he started to wobble out of

my path.

As I tried to pass, he yanked me back by my collar. My gut told me I may have

made the biggest mistake of my life.

Putting on my ‘tough guy’ face (the gnarly grin and uplifted eyebrow),

I looked him squarely in the eyes. “What’s up?” I asked, while my legs screamed RUN.

Anticipating a nasty hit on my body, I squeezed my eyes shut.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to block your way.”

Unsure if my ears heard right, I opened one eye and checked where his pudgy

hands were. Although the tone of his voice sounded angelic in my head (with both

eyes shut), I may have mistaken sarcasm for sincerity. To my astonishment, his hand

waited for me to shake it in greeting. The other hand held on to his brown leather school

bag. It reminded me of what a spy carrying Top Secret documents would use.

“My name’s David Montana,” he said, clasping my hand in a tight grip and

shaking it. His ‘tent’ wobbled with every shake, rattle, and roll he did with my hand. A

childish grin spread across his cherub features.

“H-hey. I’m B -” No way would I tell him my name in front of everyone

circled around us expecting the first fight of the school year. “Nice to meet

you.” My racing heart resumed its normal beat. I’m not normally the queasy and

frightened type of a guy. I’m usually smarter in the sense I pick fights with guys my own

size. So knowing my body would continue its healthy state, I let out a very inconspicuous

sigh.

Besides, I felt lower than a deflated punching bag for thinking him a circus freak.

Everyone dispersed once the warning bell rang, obviously disappointed I didn’t

get my teeth knocked out. My newfound friend and I entered the ugly, red brick building,

similar to all my other schools. I wonder if it’s like a secret school code to keep schools

as monotone as possible in order to have students remain nice and quiet … well, bored is

more like it.

I looked around and felt like puking. The walls, lockers, doors, ceilings -

everything was clean, not a mural anywhere, made me a bit nervous since every other

school had those artistic imprints. Those schools allowed their students to decorate the

walls with paintings and feel at home. So, I wondered if I had just stepped into boot

camp or what, because it was blaringly obvious to me the kids here either had no artistic

qualities or the school’s administration felt they shouldn’t decorate the walls. Great!

Could this day get any worse?

Yes. I couldn’t help but feel as though I walked in a dank tunnel. Then it hit me as

I looked around. There were no windows. The only sunlight streamed from the corridor

windows. I stopped for a second and peeked inside a classroom. No windows. Yikes.

Even the Titanic had more windows.

“Yio, David.” I ran to catch up with him. “What’s up with the lack of windows?”

“Oh, you’ll get used to it. We really don’t notice. Students are less distracted.”

“Yeah, but how will we know when we’re nearing an iceberg?”

He looked at me as though I was off my rocker.

“Never mind.” I didn’t feel the need to explain my weird sense of humor to him.

David and I hit it off. Six foot plus David, and five ten and a hundred-sixty-five

pound me shared every single class. Luck knew I would need David somewhere down

the line.

And, boy, was Luck ever right.


***




www.tips-fb.com