May I Want by Tiah Marie Beautement

May I Want, a brand new original short story of mine, is now LIVE and FOR SALE on Amazon, thanks to my lovely publishers, Stubborn Raven.

Synopsis:

To some the seas hold many mysteries, but not to Laila. Her seaborne gifts have given her much, but when she is visited by an old acquaintance from her previous life she will find out that all gifts, hers included, come at a price.

Quotes:

MayIWantMedium.png
Cover of May I Want by Tiah Beautement

~The ghostly light of the waning moon shimmered on the skin of the sea, creating an endless road. To Laila, it beckoned with promise. Seduction. “May I want?” she whispered, borrowing her daughter’s phrase.~

~The need to keep secrets was as much a part of the village as the stones it was built on.~

~A weaver’s magic cannot be forced.~

~Please know that I, too, have lost.~

~Her mother had whispered in her ear two of the vows sea-weavers must make: first, do not harm; second, never accept coin for the art.~

~No gift is truly for free.~

USA Amazon link

UK Amazon link

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Equus Caballus by Tiah Marie Beautement

Equus Caballus has been published by NewMyths.com.

Silhouette of a horse rearing up against the setting sun.

It is excellent timing, as I wrote the autistic horse-shape-shifter tale in honour of my second child last year, and September is her birth month.

Excerpt:

Izán’s legs ate up the ground, as he rediscovered the land. It welcomed him home, as if he’d never left. Savoring the crisp air, the feel of the morning sun, he shook out his mane and called out to the lead mare. She answered, unapologetic confidence radiating outwards. No explanation was offered as she drove the herd on. 

She had always left it to Izán to interpret her actions. That had always been the way of her with anyone she came across: keep up or get out. To this day it struck him as hypocritical, given her constant struggle to interpret human interactions, from facial expressions to figures of speech. Horses, however, she understood just fine. 

Then again, when you got right down to it, it was Izán who had made the colossal blunder of all time. He was the one who had allowed social stereotypes of the neurodivergent to worm into his brain, creating a Doubting Thomas. So that when she’d said, “Te amo,” he’d blurted, “Are you sure you understand what love means?” 

It was as if a glass door had slid between them, as her face went blank. Flatly, she said, “Sounds like a question you need to ask yourself.” 

She’d opened the door. He’d walked through it, right out onto the rocky drive. 

He’d looked back.

But lead mares don’t chase. It is the stallion who is supposed to lead from behind. 

Click to read the story in full

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

Cover of Boy Swallows Universe features a flower splat of ble, purple and reds, with a blue wren sitting on a dot of text that says, 'Your end is a dead blue wren.'

~Slim says I have an adult mind in a child’s body.~

~Boy writes on air the way my old neighbour Gene Crimmins says Mozart played piano, like every word was meant to arrive, parcel packed and shipped form a place beyond his own busy mind.~

~It was August who taught me I didn’t always have to listen. I might just have to look.~

~Do your time before it does you.~

~She’s come to save the world. She’s come to cause trouble because she’s too fucking earnest and self-inflated to know the difference between caring and carelessness is exactly the size of a five-centimetre thorn lodged in your arsehole.~

~I forgot this. I forgot he knew me before I knew him.~

~Slim once told me that the greatest flaw of time is that it doesn’t really exist.~

~Furthermore, no newspaper of mine will ever open a page-one story with a quote from a fuckin’ poem!~

~’An eight-year-old kid’s gone missing and he says, “Let this one go to the keeper.” This is exactly why I fucking hate cricket!’~

@TrentDalton

Marilyn and Me by Ji-min Lee, Chi Young Kim (Translator)

Cover of Marilyn and Me features a pinkish cover with the profile of a Korean woman, the eyes blanked out, below, superimposed, is the mouth and nose of Marylin.

~I go to work thinking of death.~

~My work basically consists of compiling useless information for the sake of binational amity.~

~Once, an American officer took out his wallet, saying, “I’d like to see for myself. Do Oriental girl’s privates go horizontal or vertical?” I told him, “Every woman’s privates look the same as your mother’s.”~

~The man who ruins a young lady’s reputation is often a gentleman who walks her home at night.~

~The collapse of a relationship doesn’t begin on the the day you part ways; it builds gradually, starting on the day you witness each other’s truths.~

~It’s easier to be attracted to one man’s despair than it is to desire the love of two men. Ending up with my own loneliness is the easiest and quickest of all. In our triangle, each of us separately felt love and despair and loneliness.~

Publisher’s Website Author Page

Second Wish by Tiah Marie Beautement

This poor blog has been neglected as of late. I’m still reading, I promise, I just haven’t had time to type up the quotes into Goodreads and cross post here. But life has sped up. Earlier this week I signed three writing contracts, two of which I am not yet in position to speak about. However, one of them was for:

Second Wish, an original fairy tale written for Fundza. This short, free read, was sparked by Lindsey Sterling’s music video Rountable Rival.

Cover of Second Wish features an old, worn, wooden violin.

I had so much fun writing this tale, I do hope you enjoy.

Chapter 1:

‘Tell me a story, Moanegi,’ I hear you say. People utter these words every time I visit their village. So here I am, with all of you, pulling out my bowl, and giving it a jingle before setting it upon my carpet that–

Yes, child, the very carpet that once flew with more agility and grace than Aladdin’s, until the magic was stolen by a tricky hare–

Hares are not as cute and friendly as many believe. Take your eye off one, and they’ll have stolen everything you value most, and the moment you try to catch it–

Ah, now, children, coin for a tale, I accept. Ke a leboha, enkosi.

Now to begin, where many storytellers do: Once upon a time in a land created in a rough draft–

Well, yes, child, our world is only but one of the many in existence. You did not imagine that the planet we live on, with all its mathematical perfection, was created on the first attempt, did you?

The world our story dwells in was made in a time before precision and logic were pounded into the foundation of nature. Thus, in that world, Inkalimeva and Tokoloshe are as common as zebras. This earth of the story was made before precision and logic ruled human hearts and minds. Even though, in our lands today, dreams continue to inspire, to motivate, to teach us lessons. In the worlds created after ours, dreaming is unnecessary and foolish, for logic and reason is the only motivation those good people require. Understand?

Good. Now, let us begin again.

Once upon a time, in a world created before our own, there was a girl named Nqobi, taller than a warthog, but shorter than the shoulder of an eland. She lived at the edge of her village with her mother, Zinikele, who cleaned homes during the day and at night served drinks at the local shebeen. The mother was so overworked and tired, she barely saw her daughter while the child was awake.

Thus, Nqobi was often in the care of Sompisi, her wicked stepfather, who owned most of the village. This made him very wealthy. He did not help his wife financially, however, telling her, “We are not true partners in marriage if you must rely on me for money.”

He did, however, agree to watch her child, “for marriage is about give and take, and I work from my home, you see.”

And take he did, from drink, to drugs, to women. And all this while squeezing as much coin as he could from those who occupied any of his properties – unless they agreed to do a favour, of course. “Just one, small, little thing,” he would say, to the desperate unfortunates that crossed his threshold. “That’s all I’m asking. How can you refuse such a small thing when you ask so much of me?”

Nqobi witnessed it all, peering above the pages of her home-schooling books. “You have no idea the pain I’ve spared you from,” Sompisi told her, day after day. “Children at school are cruel. They’d taunt you about everything from the size of your thighs, to the fact your mother hasn’t the faintest idea of who fathered you.”

Click to Read Chapter 2

Asleep Awake Asleep: Stories by Jo-Ann Bekker

Cover shows golden flames at the bottom, coal like clouds above, then pink ones, then beige, topped by a strip of blue sky.

~My younger son and I are on good terms. We are closer than when he was twelve and wrote Mom Mom she screams a lot but she’s the only food source I’ve got On my Mother’s Day card.~ Dolphins left in the fridge

~Last Christmas we got bikinis. A blue on for me, a brown one for my sister. My sister isn’t even a teenager but she looks better in hers. We don’t buy many ice-creams. We hardly look after our brothers. We don’t look for friends, they look for us. A swimmer chooses my sister. A swimmer whose father times him every morning as he does laps in the rock pool. My boy is tall and goofy. He does a backwards somersault off the veranda of our holiday bungalow. I know he is trying to decide between me and another, taller girl. But it is me he kisses on the beach.~ Shards

~You must choose whom to betray.~ Fallacies

~She loses the words she writes down. They travel from head to hand and fall from her fingers. She is a gardener sweeping up the words that mouths release, raking up the sentences of lawyers and academics. She collects a pile of words and sentences then chooses just a few to display. Once they have been planted in print they leave her.~ Amnesia

~She changes quotes so the voteless speak standard English, because she cannot interview people in their mother tongues. She doesn’t see she is ignoring the way English is changing, that she is casually eclipsing voices herself.~ Peripheral

~A story is like a washing line, only washing belongs on it, nothing extraneous.~ Caged

~Ripple lost her baby in a dream. A dream so real she told no one. She felt complicit.~ Contractions

~You make me anxious for my sons. Mark speaks about parents who are inconsistent, who over-indulge their children, shield them from the consequences of their choices. I see myself driving back to the school with the lunch boxes my sons left behind, with the sports gear they forgot to pack, topping up their allowances.~ Skin

~She pushed her foot down on the accelerator, chasing a younger version of herself.~ What Nombuyiselo said

Link to publisher’s website

Book Bite for the Sunday Times: https://bit.ly/2Zeb5Fk

The First Breath: How Modern Medicine Saves the Most Fragile Lives by Olivia Gordon

Blue background with a baby with a tube going into his/her nose. A surgically gloved hand gently cups the head.

~This is a story of living through medical history, a history so recent it happened within my own generation’s lifetime. New fields of medicine built in the last decades of the twentieth century and the dawn of twenty-first have saved a generation of children who would not have survived before, whose first breaths come only thanks to teams of medics and neonatologists. This medicine has also created anew generation of parents who raise these survivor children.~

~’A good consultant is just someone who is good at guessing.’ He was right. Non-medical people, especially those of us who have studied and worked in the arts, tend to have a naive idea that medicine is an exact science. But a little exposure to medicine had taught Phil and me that it is quite the opposite: vague.~

~It took a while for modern sophisticated neonatal units with their high-tech equipment and procedures to learn that, ironically, a holistic, humane approach that costs nothing and uses no technology is just as crucial.~

~People are scared of death,’ Stephanie said to me. ‘They’re scared of not doing enough for their child, but actually sometimes doing enough for your child is letting them go and letting them die.~

~My radiant son wasn’t a brave little soldier; he was too pure and innocent to know what bravery or war were. The weaker babies who die, I knew, are no less brave than the ones who pull through. Speaking of bravery, doesn’t that imply making a choice to face the worst? In that case, sick babies aren’t especially brave and neither were Phil and I as parents. We lived through that experience because we had to. There was no other choice. The only bravery of the fetal and neonatal units is simply getting through each day.~

~It’s hard not to accept attention and validation. Parents of disabled children are devoted, work hard and have difficult lives – they deserve support. But how easy it is to fall into the personal of the virtuous parent of a disabled child who is a ‘little miracles’. And what will it be like for these ‘little miracles’ when they are middle-aged and not so cute anymore?~

A Spy In Time by Imraan Coovadia

Profile of a man in a 1940s had, with pieces of fractured clock splintering around him. Background is red.

~I never set out to be anybody’s prophet.~

~Playing against a machine is never the same unless you have given them the freedom to consider all the assumptions.~

~Every person has something which is more important than mere life. He or she may not know what it is until the time comes to make a decision.~

~The past is a foreign country and it is a country of the imagination.~

~In my experience, everybody wants to tell his story. Everybody, in the end, wants his story to be told.~

~The infinite is the only thing that a human being may not survive. That is what lies behind our hatred of the multiverse and repugnant causal loops.~

~In Abacha Reef Home, you were kept as safe as humanly possible – assuming it is safe to bored out of your wits.~

~We borrowed our ideas, defined them according to the energy required to copy the blueprints form another epoch. We copied fashions and literatures, legal doctrines, the political beliefs of better centuries, and even our top twenty hits. We didn’t need – we didn’t think we needed – authors, inventors, composers. For my father, it was different. Each one of his creations was like a prank. He was playing jokes on the universe.~

~I wasn’t turning out to be the hero I had hoped.~

Author’s Profile via Agent

Falling Sky by Tiah Marie Beautement

FunDza has published my YA short story, Falling Sky.

I do hope you enjoy this free read.

Chapter 1:

In 1954, in an American state called Alabama, a woman by the name of Ann Hodges was taking a nap on her couch. As she slept, a black rock, a bit bigger than a grapefruit, burst through her ceiling, bounced off her furniture, and nailed her in the thigh.

The meteorite didn’t kill her. It did, however, leave a massive bruise, which some say looked like a massive pineapple. But I’ve seen the photos, and it reminds me of a giant feather, as if it fell off an angel’s wing. This incident would send Ann Hodges into the pages of history, as the first recorded victim of a meteorite.

(BTW, a meteorite is a space object that falls through our atmosphere. It lands here on Earth, instead of burning up into nothing, as a shooting star does. It’s like a chunk of rock.)

The second recorded victim of a meteorite should have been my mama. It was the 26th of April, 1994. Mama was up late doing laundry outside. “I wanted no obligations for the next day,” she later said, “except the one that mattered most.”

So scrub-scrub-rub-a-dub-dub my mother went, making sure the clothes were clean for herself and her new husband. She worked under the cover of God’s night tent, which twinkle-twinkled like fireflies. Head down, too focused on her work, she never noticed that the sky was crying bright, fiery tears.

My father still remembers the day. He was captivated by the sky’s show, and imagined it was God celebrating the dawn of South Africa’s freedom. The sight drew him in so completely, that he uttered not a single word to his wife to take look. “In all my life, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said, “and I haven’t seen anything that compares since.”

One bundle of light shot downwards, closer than the rest. Tata opened his mouth, but no sound emerged. Into this peace, where there was only the sound of snoring horses and my mama’s washing going shh-shh-plop-plop, the object hurtled.

“Ai!” Mama yelped, as a mighty splash filled the night.

A horse snorted in surprise as Tata rushed over to find Mama clutching her left arm. Water was everywhere, the clothes and soap had slumped into the tub, and a peculiar smell rose up into the air, like an undulating cobra.

He said, “My wife, are you okay?”

“Do I look like I’m fine, my husband?”

Alarmed, Papa had suggested going to the clinic the next day.

“We don’t have time for that,” Mama had said, and smeared her injured arm in a gel she made of sour fig, aloe, and other ingredients lost to the tale.

“I stood in that line all the next day and voted,” she proudly says, every single time this story is told. “I never complained. Because I was, for the first time, making my mark, with people who had waited their whole lives to do the same.”

Later, when the tub was emptied, they found a small rock, shaped like a chicken dropping, between the size of a grape and a lychee. She was lucky it had only grazed her, rather than scoring a direct hit, given the length of the injury.

On its own, the mysterious rock looked mostly harmless. It was perfectly smooth, but it was the speed it travelled that burned my mother. It left two indentations, which my Tata often calls, “the thumbprints of angels”.

My mother’s scar is nothing like Ann Hodges’. It looks like the talon of hawk dragged down the inside of her forearm, in search of her bones. But she wears it proudly, as well as the rock that caused the damage, on a leather thong.

“Sometimes, Khanyisa,” Mama says, “you have to feel pain in order to move forward.”

Click to Read Chapter 2

Neid-Fire by Caldon Mull

Cover shows a burning forest.

~We’ve been ‘almost there’ the last five times you’ve asked.~

~I’ve got a strange feeling about this old place, like it knows me…~

~I’m not angry with you. It’s just…I…did apply for the Fire Department and they turned me down…state racial quotas; I’m too male and too white…try again next year…~

~blood that ties you to the land.~

~We are not our fathers…~

Author’s Amazon Page