Interviews From the Writer’s Desk: Slade Ellery

I’m so excited for you guys to finally meet Slade! He is currently my favorite character in the Teen Warriors series, the fourth of the five main characters. See Haven, Ellis, and Iris by clicking on the links. Enjoy! Feedback is appreciated!

“Help!” I hear Benedict squeak. The door of my office slams open, sending me flying across the room to catch a falling vase. Benedict floats into the room, five feet off the ground, lying face-down. I gape at him. “Help,” he yelps again.

Benedict suddenly falls to the floor.A cute teenage boy with a cocky grin waks in through the open door. His very dark brown hair almost looks black, and his eyes are a chocolatey brown. He’s medium height, and fairly skinny. “He wanted to show me in,” he tells me “I wanted to show myself in.” He says it as if it explains everything.

Benedict picks himself up and hurries out of the room, sending an indignant glare over his shoulder at the dark-haired teenager. The door wings shut by itself, but it was probably helped a little by the boy. He sits down in the interview chair and smiles at me. I finally recover enough to speak.

“You must be Slade,” I say, stating the obvious as I sit down behind my desk.

Slade grins. “That would be me.”

I settle down and pull my laptop in front of me. “I assume, by the way you treated my secretary, that you’re ready for the interview,” I raise an eyebrow at him.

He runs his fingers through his dark hair, that perpetual grin still on his face. “Of course. Adira’s always accused me of being way too eager to talk about myself. I think she’s right. Oh, and I’m sorry about the thing with Benny,” he adds. “I enjoy dramatic entrances.”

Benedict, not Benny,” I growl under my breath. My voice switches into cheerful mode. Forced cheerful mode, that is. “All right, let’s get this party started.” And over with as quickly as possible. “What is your full name, and how old are you?”

He leansback in his chair and puts his hands behind his head. “My name is Slade Ellery, at your service, m’lady, and I’m eighteen.”

I nod, typing in his reply – minus the embellishments, of course – and move on to the next question. “Can you tell me about your family?” I ask.

He laughs. “Can I? I definitely can. The question is, can you sit through my ramblings on that subject.” He winks. “Well, how do I start? First there’s my mom. She’s so sweet and strong and patient. She’s been so amazing, especially after my dad left when I was nine. My only sibling is my little sister, Mendi. She’s thirteen, five years younger than me. We’re really close. All three of us are. Mendi’s super energetic, polite, and cheerful, and she’s almost always smiling. And Adira, my cousin, is almost like an older sister to me. She’s twenty-nine. She spent most of her teenage years living with us, and a little after that, but… well, it’s a long story,” he finishes.

I nod. My fingers are already getting tired. “Any other important back story info I need to know?”

He makes a face. “Well, I spent five years looking for my dad, and found him when I was fourteen, but, well, I was three days too late,” he finishes, sighing.

My hand flies to my mouth. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know…”

He waves me off. “It’s okay. I’ve mostly gotten over it.”

Mostly. Not completely. I move hurriedly to the next question. “What is your Gift?” Much less painful, but I already learned the answer, didn’t I?

Slade grins, the sorrow evaporating from his eyes. “I already kind of demonstrated. Telekinesis, basically. Sometimes, I use my hands, but I don’t really have to. I can just send a mental command, in a way. Basically just thinking about it.”

I raise an eyebrow. “That’s really neat,” I tell him. “Now, how would you honestly describe your personality?”

He snorts. “Honestly? Ha. That makes it a lot harder. Mot people would probably describe my personality as annoying. Which I don’t mind very much. Annoying is better than wimpy, and it’s a good mask, too. Sarcastic, protective, funny, a show-off, practical joker, comedian, things like that are what I normally get.”

“What are some of your bad characteristics?” I ask.

Slade raises an eyebrow. “Me? Bad characteristics? I’m kidding,” he adds, seeing my annoyed look. “Okay, so maybe my sarcasm is a bad characteristic, and Adira accuses me of not thinking things through before i act. I tend to just jump into things. I’m not exactly the most friendly guy, and some people think I’m rude. And I guess my overprotectiveness.” He grins. “And my lack of humility.”

I hold back and unladylike snort and manage to keep a congenial smile on my face. “All right. What are your strengths?”

Slade smiles, a real smile this time. “I throw myself wholeheartedly into anything I set my mind to. I’m passionate and I’m pretty good at getting out of, um, situations. I’ve put a lot of work into my Gift, too.”

“Last thing,” I tell him. “What is your Name, the one the King gave you?”

“The Suspender,” Slade tells me, grinning.

I finally grin back. “Thanks so much for coming. And do me a favor: don’t mess with Benedict on the way out.”

He frowns, fakely; his eyes are laughing. “All right, I’ll try not to.” And we both laugh.

A Maze of Lies – Part Three

The last part in the story of lies, deception, and wrong choices. Click for Part One and Part Two. I’d love feedback! 😀

The next week passed quickly. Spring break also flew past, and it seemed like there hadn’t been a spare minute to breathe for Hailey. On Saturday night, she headed over to Melanie’s house for an end-of-spring-break sleepover.

“Hey, Hailey, I’m in the kitchen!” Melanie called when Hailey came in. Hailey slipped into the kitchen.

“You’re the first one here,” Melanie told her, grinning.

“Well, that’s a first!” Hailey joked. She reached over her friend’s shoulder and grabbed a kettle chip out of the bowl on the counter. “Who all is coming?” she asked, crunching.

“Kaitlyn’s out of town, so she’s not going to be here, but Brenna is going to be able to make it this time.” Melanie grabbed her own chip out of the bowl and popped it in her mouth. And then grabbed a few more.

Hailey picked up the bowl to take it into the living room. “Too bad Kaitlyn can’t come. We had a lot of fun last time. When is she getting back?”

“Monday, but she’ll be back at school on Tuesday.” Melanie picked up a bowl of popcorn. “Maybe we’ll actually pull an all-nighter tonight.”

Hailey laughed. “Knowing Brenna, we will.”

~~~

Hailey strolled home slowly on Monday afternoon. She hadn’t been able to avoid the daily bullying scene. Jason had been on vacation until the night before, and he had got back late, so she had hoped that he wouldn’t be there. Unfortunately he had.

“Hailey, wait up!” She heard a voice call from behind her. She turned and looked. It was Jason.

“Hi, Jason,” she said when he caught up.

“Hi.” He grinned, shoving his blond hair back from his forehead. “How come I’m always running to catch up with you?”

Hailey laughed. “I guess I’m just a lot faster than you.”

He smiled. “So, did you go to church on Sunday?”

“Yeah.” The words popped out of Hailey’s mouth before she could even think. “I went to the youth group meeting thing.” Hailey couldn’t believe what she’d just said.

“That’s awesome!” Jason exclaimed enthusiastically. “So, did you like it?”

“Not really,” Hailey replied reluctantly. She couldn’t think of anything else to say. What had she done?

Jason’s face fell. “Oh,” he said resignedly. He suddenly looked at his watch. “I’ve got to get home. Let’s talk more later, okay?”

“Sure,” Hailey replied reluctantly. He turned away, his shoulders somewhat slumped. Hailey was overcome by a desire to run after him, to grab his arm, to tell him the truth about everything. She wanted to stop lying to him.

But she didn’t. She didn’t want to lose her popularity and her other friends. She didn’t want to lose Jason’s trust. And she didn’t want to lose him as a friend.

~~~

Hailey slammed her locker door shut angrily after her classes on Tuesday. Every time she had seen Jason, she had felt a pang from her conscience. She was completely tired of it all. She spotted Jason at his locker a few feet away and debated whether or not to talk to him.

“Hi, guys!” Kaitlyn called, waving to Hailey and Melanie. She expertly wove through the crowd of teenagers. She finally reached them, breathless.

“Hi, Kaitlyn! Did you have a good trip?” Melanie asked, hugging her friend.

“It was great!” Kaitlyn exclaimed, her voice loud and clear like Melanie’s, as usual. “How was the sleepover on Saturday?”

“It was awesome, right, Hailey?” Melanie replied.

“Yeah, it was,” Hailey agreed distractedly. She knew that Jason couldn’t help but hear everything, and she knew that this was going to ruin everything.

“It was great!” Melanie confirmed. “We ended up pulling an all-nighter. We totally slept until four. Hailey was the one to wake us all up.” Hailey gave a half-hearted grin.

“You slept later than the one two weeks ago, then?” Kaitlyn asked. “We only slept until two.”

“Yeah.” Melanie smiled and continued chattering. Jason’s eyes met Hailey’s. He immediately read the guilt on her face. Astonishment swept over his face and was immediately replaced by hurt and anger, and then sadness. He turned and walked towards a side door, probably so he could escape the daily bullying scene. Hailey felt sick as she realized the pain she had caused Jason. Ignoring the chatter of her friends, she gathered her things and took off after Jason. She had to make things right.

~~~

“Jason, wait up!” Hailey called after Jason when she spotted him walking down the street ahead of her. Either he didn’t hear her, or he was ignoring her, because he kept walking. Hailey finally caught up to him and grabbed his arm.

“Please, Jason,” she pleaded desperately. “We need to talk. I-I’m sorry.” She finished in a whisper.

Jason turned around to face her, pain and sadness filling his green eyes. Hailey gulped, knowing that this would be hard. “I’m sorry. I just— couldn’t stop. I wanted you to stop asking me to go to church with you. I didn’t want to lose all of my other friends because of going to church, so I just kept lying and making up excuses. It was like everything kept getting more and more tangled up, and I-I just couldn’t stop. It was like being stuck in a maze.” The tears started flowing down her cheeks.

Jason hugged her gently and gave a weak smile. “It’s okay, Hailey. I’m hurt, and I’m upset that you lied to me, but… I’ve already decided to forgive you.”

“But how?” Hailey asked, confused. “I mean, I lied to you so many times! How can you just – forgive me?”

Jason smiled again. “I can’t do it on my own. God gives me the power to forgive. He’s the only One who can help me to let go of the hurt.”

“Thanks,” Hailey said softly. “And maybe I can come to church with you sometime?”

Jason’s grin broadened. “That would be awesome. Jesus is the best way out of the maze of lies.”

Paralyzed Dreams: A Novella

This is an excerpt (the first part of the chapter) from my (currently) longest completed story, which I wrote for my mom for her birthday a while back. Once again, please let me know what you think in the comments below!

CHAPTER ONE (not the full chapter)

“Mine!” Pam Wilson yelled as she dove for the volleyball. Her body slammed into the sand as her arms connected with the ball, which flew high in the air. Lauren Cosden, her best friend and fellow teammate spiked the ball over the net. Pam rolled over to her feet and watched as the ball thudded into the sand. She exchanged a high-five with Lauren.

“Nice job, Lauren, Pam,” Coach Pennington called. “Take five, everybody. We’ll start the next round of practice games in a minute.”

“Nice dive,” Lauren told her, impressed. “You sure aren’t afraid to get dirty anymore.”

Pam saw the teasing glint in Lauren’s eyes. “Yeah. That was a nice spike, too. You sure aren’t afraid to jump anymore.”

Lauren laughed. “When was I ever afraid to jump?”

It was true. Lauren had always been the brave and adventurous one, climbing trees, jumping out of them, and rolling around in the dirt with her brothers. She’d broken her arm more times than Pam could remember, and she was always getting into trouble.

Pam, on the other hand, was more of an indoors person. She liked to stay in her room and read, or cook, or paint. She and Lauren had different interests, but they still had a few things in common, like their love for writing. They both went to the same school, same church, and were in the same grade. And they both had the same love for volleyball.

Coach Pennington came over to the water fountain where they were standing. “Girls, you’re going to be on B court next. You’re going to practice against the twins.”

“Okay, Coach,” Lauren agreed. Pam held in her sigh until the coach had headed back to the courts.

“Great,” she muttered.

“We’ll beat them this time,” Lauren assured her.

Pam rolled her blue eyes. “No way,” she told Lauren. “They’ve got that mental telepathy thing going on.” The twins could figure out what the other was thinking, and they had beaten Pam and Lauren every time they’d played. They were really good.

Lauren hooked her arm through Pam’s elbow. “Come on, don’t be so negative. You want to play in the Olympics, right?”

Pam rolled her eyes. “You know that,” she reminded Lauren.

Lauren laughed. “I know. But you’ve got to have a positive mindset. Isn’t that one of the things that Coach Pennington has been lecturing us about?”

“Yeah,” Pam agreed reluctantly.

“Then…” Lauren prompted, her brown eyes sparkling.

“Let’s go beat them!” Pam declared, acting enthusiastic, although her hopes really weren’t that high.

Lauren grinned. “That’s my Pam.” The two girls strolled arm-in-arm over to the B court. The twins were there waiting. Cheri and Chelsea looked up as the other pair entered. They nodded at their opponents, their dark brown eyes confident but bored. Pam could tell that they thought that the win would be easy. Her blood started boiling.

Lauren sensed Pam’s anger and pulled her over to the bench. She made Pam sit down on the bench next to her. “So,” she started casually, leaning back. “I’ve been working on this theory, you see. If we stay calm and don’t get overly upset over them, then we may have a chance.” She glanced over at Pam, brushing her long blond bangs out of her hair. “Remember your grandpa’s saying: kill them with kindness.”

Pam grinned, then grew serious. “So, let’s just be really nice.”

“And Christ-like,” Lauren added, nudging her. The makeshift judge stepped onto his platform, and the girls stood up. Pam stretched, brushing her dark brown hair out of her eyes. She and Lauren walked up to the net and shook hands with the twins.

Cheri grinned cockily at Pam and turned to her sister. “I figure my coffee won’t have time to get cold before this is over.”

Pam smiled cheerfully. Well, with forced cheerfulness. “Good luck!” she told her.

Cheri raised an eyebrow. “We won’t need luck,” she scoffed.