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Friday, July 30, 2021

Writing Organically vs. Writing With an Outline

 An age-old question most writers are face with is―should I write my story organically, or should I use an outline to write my story? I personally believe that a writer can’t go wrong either way even though my preferred method of storytelling is to create it organically. I’ve tried both methods over the years, but I feel more comfortable writing off the cuff. Every novel has to have a basic blueprint of some sort, or else the story will fall flat. Outliners would probably agree with this concept while organic writers believe more in the spontaneity of a story. Nevertheless, an author has to choose the right style―a novel will seem contrived to the person reading it if an author chooses a writing technique that isn’t suitable to his or her abilities. 

The Architect.

There are essentially two types of writers―the gardener and the architect. The architect needs to develop each scene and sequence step-by-step, construct each character arc, and craft the plot and subplot, for example. Authors like J.K. Rowling and John Grisham fall into this category, and this type of writer controls every detail of the story from beginning to end. If the architect plans each step correctly, a bestselling novel is imminent. I’ve tried writing from an outline but inevitably reverted back to flowing organically. I would simply write down chapters as they popped up inside my head (a simple scene list) and would use the chronological method of writing these scenes in an attempt to color inside the lines, but I never stuck to the outline once my story started flowing.

Young Novelist

The Gardener.

The gardener is the type of writer who dabbles in developing a story organically as opposed to crafting a traditional novel outline, and authors like Stephen King fall into this category. However, the gardener has an idea of what the storyline will be and uses a mind map as a guide. This style of writing suits me perfectly, as I love the freedom of researching my characters as I go and often use dialogue to set the scenes.

As I mentioned previously, an author should develop a writing style naturally―one might make the mistake of emulating their favorite author (I’ve done it) instead of honing one’s own technique of writing stories. An author also shouldn’t have a fear of failing at writing the first few novels because each failure brings one closer to success.

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Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Morning Commute: A Short Story

 This particular Tuesday morning was no different at first for the thirty-five-year-old paralegal from the south suburb of Calumet City, Illinois. Benjamin Blackman had hit his snooze button three times already, as his cellphone read 6:27 am. He rented a two-bedroom space in the Sandridge Apartment complex right off the corner of 159th and Greenwood Avenue, and his law firm was located in the heart of the Chicago Loop. He needed to catch the Metra train that arrived at the 137th Riverdale stop where he parked at 7:40 am so that he could arrive at work before 8:30 am. He had three important filings that needed to be stamped by the court before the end of the working day, so this task was first on his things-to-do list that morning.

He was showered and dressed a few minutes before seven o’clock, so he had a little time to brew some coffee before he hit the road. His stop was roughly seven miles away from his apartment, and he usually needed to allow himself at least ten minutes to get there, provided that there wasn’t a train blocking his path to the Metra station. He poured his hot coffee into his favorite mug, and he put three packets worth of cream and a couple of tablespoons of sugar in his beverage before placing the lid on and leaving out of his apartment. The weather was warm and sunny for a typical September morning as he briskly walked toward his car. His cellphone rang, and he sighed when he saw that the call was from his girlfriend, Tammy.

“What do you want, Tammy?” he asked tersely.

“We didn’t resolve anything from our discussion last night…”

“I don’t have time to argue this morning.”

“I didn’t call you to argue, Benji.”

“Look, I’m not going to do to you what your last boyfriend did…I’m not going to string you along for four years and not marry you.”

“I know what you’re saying, but I can’t help the way I feel sometimes.”

“I told you that my solution for us is for you to move in with me and stack our money so that we’ll be able to afford everything that we want.”

“You already know how I feel about that…I don’t want to move in with you without a ring. To me, a ring shows that you’re totally committed to our relationship.”

“Tammy, just listen to my plan. I need you to just hear me out, okay?”

“Okay, I’m listening.”

Benjamin looked at his clock on his dashboard, and it read 7:19 am. He was at the intersection of Sibley and Greenwood and had about twenty minutes to get to the train. He pulled into the Food4Less grocery store parking lot and placed Tammy on the Bluetooth speaker in his car.

“My plan for us is for you to move into my place for a year so that we can split the rent in half and save the other half. At the end of twelve months, we would’ve both saved close to seven thousand dollars apiece. Add that to what we already have in savings, and we will be able to afford the down payment on one of the dream homes that we saw in Homewood or Country Club Hills and pay for our wedding at the same time. Now does that make sense to you?”

Metra Train in Chicago

“Yes, that all makes sense, but there’s still one problem…”

“What problem is that baby?”

“You haven’t said anything about a ring.”

“I already have your ring picked out and sized, sweetheart…”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes, really. I knew I was going to marry you the first day that I met you, Tammy. You’re beautiful, smart and fun-loving, and I’d be a fool to let you slip away.”

“That all sounds great, Benji, but have you bought the ring already?”

“No, but I have two more payments on my car note, and then I’m going to finance the ring initially and pay it off before we set a wedding date.”

“Well, okay, Mr. Wonderful. I’m sorry I doubted you.”

“You have nothing to worry about, Tammy. We can discuss you moving in with me tonight over dinner somewhere.”

“Okay, baby, I love you.”

“I love you, too. See you tonight.”

“Bye.”

Benjamin ended the call and the clock read 7:27 am. He then abruptly left the parking lot and sped down Greenwood Avenue toward Chicago Road. He took the shortcut through the lot to 142nd Street as opposed to making a right on Chicago Road and turning left on 142nd Street in order to save a little time. Riverdale was notorious for having trains on every track during rush hour, and every second counted when trying to make it to the Metra station in time.

He reached 144th and Indiana Avenue, and he saw that there was an eastbound train on the track obstructing traffic both northbound and southbound. Luckily, the train was moving swiftly, so he decided to wait it out. The clock read 7:33 am, and the last box car had gone across the track. However, he heard the sound of the horn from another train going in the opposite direction, and the crossbars remained down.

“Well, I’ll be damned!” Benjamin shouted to himself.

He quickly made a U-turn and sped south on Indiana Avenue to 144th Street. He then made a right turn headed west to School Street. He always had to check his speed in that area because cops were always clocking motorists and issuing tickets. Unfortunately for him, though, the motorist ahead of him was being extra cautious and driving a tad bit under the speed limit of thirty miles per hour. He sighed, and said, “I’m not gonna make this train.”

He finally reached School Street and made a right at the stop sign. He couldn’t punch it down this street, either, because there was a grammar school and children present a half mile down. There was a twenty-five mile an hour speed limit and a cop sitting at the intersection once he reached the top of the small hill where the grammar school was, and he made sure that he maintained the correct speed before he reached 138th Street. He checked the clock again, and it read 7:39 am. He knew that he was going to have to chance parking in a handicap spot at the front of the parking lot and run for the train.

He sped into the entrance of the lot and parked to the right of one of the handicap signs, hit the car alarm to his 2015 Nissan Maxima and ran toward the stairs of the Metra station. He heard the bells of the train chime as it was approaching the terminal, and he ran as fast as he could in order to reach the top of the stairs in time. The Metra conductor held the door open for him as he entered the train sweaty and winded.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

COVID Fever: A Short Story

 It was day 14 of the stay-at-home order issued by the governor of Illinois, and Jackson sat miserably on his living room sofa watching the news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city of Chicago was shut down, except for jobs that were considered essential like grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and gas stations. Jackson’s job as a sales associate at Footlocker in Dolton was temporarily suspended, and this prompted him to file for unemployment benefits that he had yet to see because he initially had problems filing online like millions of others across the country. He was stressed out to the point of a complete meltdown, and he seemingly had mild symptoms of the virus but opted out of checking himself into a hospital. He feared going in because dozens of people were dying after being quarantined and put on a respirator in just a two-week period, so he thought it was best to tough it out at home instead.

His wife Samantha of two years was working from home as an accounts payable clerk for a downtown law firm and had shown no symptoms of the virus. She had set up her computer on the dining room table and silently worked while Jackson continued to watch the news. Things between them were tight financially before the outbreak, and the uncertainty of the economy had Jackson and Samantha constantly at each other’s throats.

“Did you hear anything about your unemployment benefits?” Samantha asked.

“Not yet,” Jackson answered.

“Well, did you follow up with them over the phone?” she asked aggressively.

“No, I haven’t,” he coughed.

“You can’t keep procrastinating on this, Jack. We’re already a month behind on our bills, and I can’t continue to do everything by myself.”

“I’ve been trying to get through to the unemployment office, but they keep putting me on hold for extended periods of time.”

“You need to keep trying.”

“Okay, I’ll call them back after I finish watching the news.”

“You need to call them back now,” she urged.

“I said I’ll do it after the news goes off.”

She sighed and asked, “When are you going to get that cough checked out?”

“I told you that I’m scared of checking myself into a hospital,” he answered. “There are almost six thousand cases in Illinois alone and almost one hundred deaths since the lockdown.”

“Well, I’m not trying to be the one hundred and first death in Illinois, so you need to do something about that cough.”

“I feel fine, Sam, and besides, they’re not going to test or admit me for mild symptoms.”

Jackson subsequently went to the kitchen to fix himself a tuna sandwich and potato chips. He took the container of tuna out the fridge, and she said, “I know you’re not gonna eat the last of that tuna

Young Couple Arguing

“Yeah, so what?”

“I told you to save me the last of the tuna yesterday.”

“Fine, I’ll just make myself a turkey sandwich instead.”

“Why don’t you make some more tuna?”

He sighed and answered, “Because I’m hungry, and I don’t feel like waiting.”

“Stop being so lazy and make some more damn tuna.”

“Well, if I do, I’m going to eat this tuna right now.”

“No, I’m going to eat it right now!”

“Why do you keep trying to push my buttons, Sam?!”

“Because I’m tired of you sitting around and doing nothing around here, that’s why!”

“What the hell do you expect me to do?!

“Rake the leaves and clean up the house!”

“It’s raining, and it’s cold! I’ll rake the damn leaves when it warms up outside!”

“You had plenty of time to get the leaves up, so don’t use the weather as an excuse

“Look here, let’s get one thing straight right nowyou are not my overseer, and I’m not gonna keep taking crap off you!”

“You’re gonna take whatever I dish out and love it! Besides, where are you gonna go, huh?”

“I’m gonna get the hell outta here!”

Jackson quickly stormed upstairs to their bedroom and packed an overnight bag. Five minutes later, he came back downstairs, and she asked, “Where the hell do you think you’re going?”

“I’m done, Sam! I’ll be back later to get the rest of my things.”

“Once you walk out that door, there’s no coming back. You better think about what you’re doing.”

“I know exactly what I’m doing, and your ultimatums don’t phase me anymore.”

“You don’t have anywhere else to go, Jack…leaving now is a death sentence.”

“I’d rather take my chances with COVID-19 than listen to your mouth another minute. Goodbye, Sam.”

He left the house without any hesitation, and she got up from the dining room table and watched him from the front window until he disappeared around the corner.

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Friday, July 16, 2021

Book Review: Moonshine Lullaby by RoZita Berry

    This story is about a teenage girl named Tonya from Nashville, Tennessee who was the daughter of a famous country singer, and she was on her way to visit her dad in Bascombville, a fictitious town near the Kentucky-Virginia border. Her parents divorced when she was eleven, and she was all set to spend the summer with her dad, stepmom, and stepsister because her mother was scheduled for a nationwide concert tour. She wasn't comfortable about living there in the beginning, but she met a guy who she liked very much and wanted to make Bascombville her permanent home because of it. However, her mom didn't like the idea of her moving there and cut off all communication with her. 

    I thoroughly loved reading this story because growing up on the south side of Chicago, Moonshine Lullaby was a change of paste for me with a surprise twist of crime and mystery. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more books from this author. 

    My Rating:  ★★★★★


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My Initial Thoughts on Kindle Vella

 Kindle Vella launched its new platform on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, and this new feature allows authors to release their serialized stories one episode at a time. These episodes can range from 600 to 5000 words, and the first three episodes are free. Readers can use tokens that are available for purchase in bundles on Amazon to unlock additional chapters, and authors will receive 50% of the revenue earned from those token bundles. Thousands of stories containing tens of thousands of episodes were released on that day with more stories to follow, and these stories can be found under various genres.

Beautiful Young Woman

Readers can interact with authors by following the ones that they like, and they’ll be notified every time their favorite authors release a new episode. Readers can also interact with their favorite authors by leaving a Thumbs Up on each episode they like and give a Fave award to the stories they enjoyed the most, and Amazon will feature the stories that receive the most Faves in the Kindle store to help readers find popular stories. Authors can speak directly to readers at the end of episodes by sharing insights, and readers can share Kindle Vella stories via email or social media.

My initial thoughts on the new platform are that it has the potential to make a big splash, but authors will have to do most of the heavy lifting just like they did on the KDP platform in the beginning stages. My guess is that it hasn’t fully caught on as readers are slowly discovering Amazon’s newest attraction, and I assume that authors will need to upload new content consistently in order to unlock Amazon’s search engine algorithm function. Overall, I think that it’s worth the investment for authors to add their content to Kindle Vella, and cross promotion on both the Vella and KDP platforms will increase their exposure and create a steady stream of income for years to come.

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Monday, July 12, 2021

NCAA Has a Temporary Plan to Compensate College Athletes

 College athletes can now earn some form of revenue while playing for their respective schools under the new NCAA rule change that took effect July 1, 2021, and this rule permits incoming and current student athletes to make money off their names, images, and likeness. They can use their social media accounts to build their brands and make money, get paid from autograph signings, and use an agent without violating NCAA rules.

Fifteen college athletes are already getting paid under the new rule and wasted no time garnering endorsement deals. According to 5Chicago, sisters Hanna and Haley Cavinder from the Fresno State women’s basketball team became spokespeople for Boost Mobile. Bo Nix, the quarterback of the Auburn Tigers, also announced that he received an endorsement deal with Milo’s Tea Company. The new rule is huge because most college athletes won’t have the opportunity to turn pro, and now they can earn money from jersey sales, for example. This wasn’t the case thirty years ago when the Fab Five of the University of Michigan were at the peak of their popularity and weren’t allowed to receive any royalties for their likeness.

College Basketball Player

I personally think that this move by the NCAA is great for college athletes, and it’s a long time coming in my opinion. I never understood why college athletes couldn’t receive some form of compensation while the universities made millions of dollars off the backs of the football, baseball, and basketball programs for decades. Some people might argue that athletes get a free education, but let’s get realthe mass majority of college athletes are there to play sports, periodat least that was the case when I attended college many years ago. I saw players getting paid under the table with cars and cash with my own eyes, and the university lost its eligibility because of it. The old rule bred shady back-alley deals, and at the very least, athletes can now make some money without negative consequences under the new rule.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Do Readers Judge a Book by Its Cover?

 An author can write a great novel with the potential to reach a wide audience, but it will undoubtedly flop without a good-looking cover design. I remember how excited I was when I completed my first book, and I rushed to put it out on display without taking the necessary steps to ensure that my masterpiece was error-free with a book cover to draw in readers. Needless to say, book sales were virtually nonexistent after my book signing because of a cheesy book cover that I created myself. I chose the cheap route as opposed to hiring a graphic designer to craft my book cover, and I eventually learned the valuable lesson of not being afraid to spend the necessary money in order to achieve the desired amount of book sales in the long run.

Lighthouse

A good graphic designer at an affordable rate can be found on Fiverr, and I built my entire production team from this site. A cover with up to three images can cost as little as $50, and an author will break even after just five sales from the low-cost investment of a book cover done professionally.

So, do readers ultimately judge a book by its cover? The answer is yes, in spite of a few good reviews, an excellent plot, or an error-free book. It is definitely worth the $50 - $100 to spend on a freelancer to spruce up a book cover design.

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Sunday, July 4, 2021

An Old Friend: A Short Story

    The Metra train was running behind schedule for the third time in four days this particular week, and Grant couldn’t afford to be late again. He had just gotten a new job as a junior accountant at a mid-sized company in the North Loop area of downtown Chicago after being out of work for almost three years. There had been electrical problems on the track all week long, so he tried leaving the house a little earlier so that he wouldn’t have any problems getting to work on time.

    He looked at his phone the read 7:43 a.m., and he had to be at work before nine o’clock. The train was scheduled to be at the 147th Street stop a few minutes ago, so he waited patiently as he could see the lights of the train about a mile away at the Harvey stop. The train finally arrived four minutes later running approximately ten minutes behind schedule, and he got on the car that was the second one from the end of the train and found an available seat in the middle of the car to the rear of the vestibule. He then logged into his Spotify account and picked his favorite morning playlist to listen to before putting on his headphones. It was then that he noticed a woman sitting in the first seat to the left facing the back of the car instead of the front like all the other seats. He saw that she was looking at him curiously but looked away when he made eye contact with her. He realized that she was Marcia Allen from college at that very moment—they attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois in the early nineties together, but he hadn’t seen her since he dropped out of school. They were now in their late 40s, but Marcia didn’t look a day over thirty. Grant kept himself in good shape, but the gray in his hair and beard didn’t allow him to pass for a millennial even though he had a youthful looking face.

    Grant met Marcia freshman year through a guy named Frank who he met at the campus gym while playing basketball almost every night. Frank was an upperclassman who had a copy of the 1984 classic The Terminator in his possession and decided to throw an impromptu get together in his dorm room that night. Needless to say, Grant was smitten by her since their first encounter, but unfortunately, she didn’t feel the same way about him. It had also turned out that Frank was entranced by her beauty as well but couldn’t get past first base with her, either.

    Grant had even tried to win Marcia over with the kind gesture of buying her a Polo-like shirt from the mall, and his friends had clowned him repeatedly for it. She did, however, show interest in Grant’s roommate and friend, Romero, and he had asked Grant’s permission to date Marcia because he knew that Grant had a crush on her. Grant, of course, said that it was okay because he didn’t have any claim on her, but he wasn’t completely honest because it created an awkward situation in their dorm room when Romero brought her by one Saturday afternoon.

    Romero was a ladies’ man around campus, and his stint with Marcia was short-lived before he was on to the next girl. He said that they didn’t sleep together—something about she didn’t want to go through with it and didn’t give him an explanation why. Marcia had that girl-next-door quality about her and commanded a great deal of respect, so Romero backed off and didn’t pursue her any further after their encounter in her dorm room.

    Grant didn’t finish at Bradley and left after his sophomore year, but he’d have two random encounters with Marcia in the years to follow. One encounter he had with her was at a movie theater at the River Oaks Mall in Calumet City, Illinois—Marcia’s date or her boyfriend at the time had a look on his face like he wanted to punch Grant in the face after he said hello to her, and she reluctantly said hello back to him. Grant made a mental note of that exchange and had finally gotten over his crush on her after that night. He would see her again a couple of years later at the All Jokes Aside comedy club that was popular during the greater part of the nineties with a group of her girlfriends while he was on a date with one of his coworkers. The line was wrapped around the corner, and the only way someone was going to get in that particular night was to pre-order his or her tickets in advance. Grant had done just that, but Marcia and her friends had left the club because they failed to do so. Grant hadn’t spoken to her and neither did she, and that was the last time he saw her until today.

    He had decided to shut his eyes and listen to the sound of eighties R&B classics to put himself in a calm mood, and he didn’t open them until the train arrived at the Van Buren stop downtown. Marcia had gotten up from her seat and glanced back at Grant one last time before she exited the train. The last stop of the train was Millennium Station, and he was one of the first people to get up because he only had a few minutes to get some more coffee at Starbucks before heading to work. He saw that Marcia had mistakenly left her small purse on the seat, so he grabbed it and placed it in his backpack before he exited the train. He then went to Starbucks and ordered himself a coffee to go and opted to wait until he got to the office to look inside of her purse. He arrived at work at 8:45 a.m. and had plenty of time to examine the contents inside of it. His plan was to look for an ID with her address on it and mail the purse to her anonymously because he had no desire to see her face to face. What he found was a driver’s license, a debit card, lip gloss, some juicy fruit gum, and $254 in cash to name a few items. Damn, I’m going to have to return her purse myself, he thought.

    Fast forward toward the end of the day at four minutes after six in the evening, and Grant got off at the Sibley/147th Street Metra Station stop and retrieved his car—a silver 2017 Nissan Maxima. Marcia lived in the suburb of South Holland, which was a few minutes away from the Metra station. He decided to get something to eat at Burger King first so that she could have some time to wind down from a hard day of work and swing by afterwards. Hopefully, the entire meeting would take a minute tops, he thought. There was a Burger King in the strip mall in between Greenwood and Woodlawn Avenue on Sibley Boulevard, so he ordered a Whopper with fries and a Coke and sat in the parking lot to eat. Once he finished his food, he headed over to Marcia’s residence near 170th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.

    He parked right in front of her house as her block was a cul-de-sac, and he took a deep breath before he walked up to her porch and rang her doorbell.

    “What if she’s married?” he asked himself.

    He didn’t want any potential problems like the guy at the show, so he was prepared for whatever was behind that door. Marcia answered the door a few seconds later and seemed to be pleasantly surprised when she saw that it was Grant behind the screen door.

    “Hello, what can I do for you?” Marcia asked.

    “Hi, Marcia, I found your purse on the train this morning and wanted to return it to you,” Grant answered.

     “Oh my God! Thank you so much! I was just about to cancel all of my credit cards.”

    “You’re welcome, and I’m happy that I was able to save you the trouble of doing that.”

    “I just knew that I’d have to go through the hassle of proving who I am to the DMV, so that I could get another driver’s license.”

    “Yeah, that would’ve definitely been a lot of trouble to go through for sure. Well, take care of yourself…”

Pretty Woman 

    “Wait…”

    “What is it?”

    “Isn’t your name Grant Ottoman?”

    “Yes, it is. I didn’t think you remembered me.”

    “I remember that we went to Bradley University at the same time. Do you want to come inside?”

    “Okay.”

    He had a seat on her living room sofa and said, “I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

    “No, of course not,” she said. “I was going to get myself something to eat in a few minutes.”

    “Oh, okay.”

    “Can I offer you something to drink?”

    “No, thank you, I’m good.”

    “How have you been?”

    “I’ve been good. And you?”

    “Me too…I just retired from Chicago Public Schools last week.”

    “How long were you there?”

    “I taught math to seventh and eighth graders for twenty-five years.”

    “That’s great. So, what are your plans now that you’re retired?”

    “I don’t know…maybe travel and see the world, I guess.”

    “Sounds like a plan.”

    “What do you do for a living, Grant?”

    “I was in construction for twenty years before I got injured on the job and won a settlement. Afterwards, I took that opportunity to go back to school at DePaul and get my degree in accounting.”

    “Good for you, Grant. What do you do now?”

    “I just started working at this firm downtown last month.”

    “What do you do at this firm downtown?”

    “I’m an accountant.”

    “That’s wonderful, Grant.”

    “Thank you.”

    Marcia paused briefly and asked, “Are you married?”

    “No,” Grant answered, “well, not anymore. I was married for ten years and have been divorced for five.”

    “Any kids?”

    “No, my ex couldn’t have kids. And you?”

    “No, I don’t have any kids, either.”

    “Married?”

    “Almost…engaged once, but I couldn’t go through with it.”

    “I understand…marriage isn’t for everyone.”

    “Yeah, I had a gut feeling that it would’ve been the biggest mistake of my life.”

    Grant sighed and said, “You know, I was very apprehensive about coming over here.”

    “Why?”

    “Because you didn’t like me back then. If it weren’t for the fact that you had cash in your purse, I would’ve just mailed it to you.”

    “Why do you think that I don’t like you, Grant?”

    “I hijacked your phone number from Edmund right before spring break sophomore year. I don’t blame you though…it was a stupid thing to do, and he was wrong to give it to me.”

    “Yeah, you’re right, I don’t remember giving you my home number now that I think about it.”

    “I knew you liked my roommate Rom instead of me,” Grant continued, “and because of that fact, I didn’t have the confidence to ask you for your number myself. It finally sunk in my brain that I wasn’t your type after you flaked on our date a couple of years after I left Bradley, and I sensed that you thought I was a lame the time you reluctantly said hi to me when I saw you at the show with your boyfriend.”

    “Wow, you have a great memory because I haven’t thought about any of that stuff in years.”

    “I haven’t thought about any of that stuff in years, either, but seeing you on the train this morning brought back all those memories.”

    The was momentary silence before Grant said, “Well, I’m going to leave now. Take care of yourself, Marcia.”

    “You too, Grant.”

    She walked him to the door and said, “Thanks again, Grant, and for what it’s worth, I always thought you were a nice guy.”

    “Thank you, Marcia. I always thought that you were a nice girl as well. Bye.”

    “Bye, Grant.”

    He nodded, and he turned around and walked back to his car. He looked up before opening the drivers side door and saw that she was still in the doorway, and he waved at her before she waved back. He then started his car and slowly drove off as she watched his car eventually disappear in the distance. 

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Five Things I Learned After Self-Publishing My First Book

     I can remember how excited I was like it were yesterday when my first book titled What Happened to Little League Baseball in the Inner ...