The Last Time I Died By Joe Nelms

Image result for the last time i diedChristian Franco and Ella Franco are brothers and sisters, but the incident of their father murdering their mother and abusing her violently before destroyed the bond between them.

It wasn’t until Christian met his wife that he first relished the reminiscent taste of love. But as time slipped bypass his crude fingers that he realized the love he gripped it too tight that his wife was escaping because it choked her from it. He was once again abandoned by his family.

Struggling to cope, he depletes himself by testing experimental medicine from a former physician that now treats dogs bred to fight. This is a tragedy of one person’s life, but he was able to collect the pieces of his mom’s death and eventually muster them together as a complete puzzle. His life then lingered between comedy and tragedy.

-April L.

The Last Time I Died by Joe Nelms is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Creative Writing: Labels

Prompt: If we were all forced to wear a warning label, what would yours say?

I took this prompt literally and made it into an excerpt of a story. So enjoy!


It felt a lot like that game where you have a headband with a word to describe you, but you can’t see it. You know, the one where everyone can see it but you, and if you try to look it’s cheating. Because of this unknown definition of yourself, other people get to judge you and think up their own thoughts before you even get the chance to say hello. Walking around, you can’t help but feel the eyes as they stare at the big block letters slapped across your forehead. Of course, reflections will only make the words disappear, disabling you from seeing them. And I know what you’re thinking…

Why can’t you just tell each other what they are? No, it doesn’t work like that either. For some reason, your body will not let you see or hear it until you’re ready to. It involves some self discovery of finding who you truly are, or some spiritual thing like that. I don’t know. Some achieve this very early in life, which is amazing considering how life messes with us, making us believe we’re one thing when we’re completely the opposite. Others, however, don’t realize until they’re well into their years, past any time that could help them decipher what it means.

Personally, I’ve never really had a problem not knowing what my Label was, except for today. I was simply minding my own business, doing some shopping that I have long since procrastinated, when it happened. Usually, I noticed a few glances, but none of them really lingered long. So I had come to this conclusion that my word was uninteresting and essentially boring. That I was uninteresting and essentially boring. But then, it was another girl, about my age with the word Lost scribbled across her face, who seemed to think I was something more.

First of all, with a word like Lost, I couldn’t help but feel sad. Most Labels I’d seen had said more positive and straightforward things than just Lost. This implied she may never find herself, and that to me is heartbreaking, since that’s everyone’s goal, of course. Other than that, it would’ve been pretty easy to forget about her if she hadn’t followed me around the whole store. Talk about lost. No matter how many times I had thought she left, she was always lurking around some corner, waiting for me to see her. And I always did, but I didn’t want to. The way she looked at me, studying my word; her eyes pierced through as if wanting to burn the letters off my skin or sear them further in. While the rest of her demeanor suggested she was harmless, I didn’t want to stay around her any longer. Ducking out of the building, I thought I had finally cleared her when I turned around to see those unforgiving eyes.

And all she said was “You too.”

-Sabrina C., 11th Grade

Authors We Love: Natasha Preston

Natasha Preston, also known as the Wattpad sensation, natashapreston. Natasha Preston was born in England and has lived in small towns and villages out of the countryside ever since. At school, she received average grades and fell into administration and receptionist jobs, thinking that she couldn’t really do anything else.

In 2010, she stumbled into writing completely by accident.  She was searching the ‘app store’ when she came across Wattpad, an amateur writing site. For the first few months she just read, but then she decided to type some of the ideas whirling around her head. All of her books started as a story on Wattpad. She enjoys writing romance, thrillers, gritty YA, and the occasional serial killer.

Writing gave her an escape and Wattpad gave her the confidence she lacked.

Her #1 on New York Times young adult Ebook is, The Cellar, which was originally published in 2014. The Cellar‘s genres are thriller, fiction, and mystery. There is never a dull moment in this book. Natasha Preston always keeps you wondering what is going to happen next. The Cellar is about a 16 year old girl, Summer Robinson who gets disappears without a trace.  No family or police investigation can find her. Summer spends months in the cellar with her kidnapper and several other girls. Summer learns about Colin, (the kidnapper) and his abusive past and how he thinks of his victims being his family.

Creative Writing: Adventures in Ilvermorny Part 2

This is part two of a short story about some kids that attend llvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (US version of Hogwarts). These characters are entirely made up by me, and my descriptions of Ilvermorny are no doubt very different from what J.K. Rowling’s are. Enjoy!

Cyrus shook her hand, “Well then Jane….?

“-Ingram, Jane Ingram”, Jane affirmed.

“Jane Ingram, are you a first year too?”, Cyrus questioned, “Because I’m stressed beyond belief.”

Jane nodded. “Yea, but I bet you have more of an idea of what’s about to happen. My mom’s a Muggle-born and so she thought it would be best if I was raised without magic until Ilvermorny, like her. Supposedly it will make me appreciate magic more, but I just feel like I’m ten steps behind everyone else.”

Cyrus waved a hand. “Nah there will be plenty of Muggle-borns who just found out about magic weeks ago. That’s not even the issue, its not like Eyla and I get our wands any sooner than everyone else. What’s nerve wracking is the sorting. Eyla is set to be a Wampus, but I’m not really sure where I’d fit”. Cyrus shrugged, looking a little embarrassed to have just shared this with a stranger.

Jane smiled sympathetically, “My mom says the carvings never lie. They know you better than you know yourself.” Jane’s smile slowly turned into a quizzical expression. “Wait did you say that Eyla is a first year too? She’s as tall as many of the 7th years!”, Jane exclaimed a little too loudly.

Eyla, in hearing her name, turned to face Jane again. “Yea, and that’s what’s going to get me to be the first female admitted onto the Quidditch team as a first year”, Eyla announced proudly. “Although, I do wish Ilvermorny had basketball, the one thing I will miss from living so close to muggle cities”, she stated mostly to herself, while sighing.

A smooth woman’s voice on the crackling intercom abruptly interjected the conversation.

“Ladies and gentlemen we are now boarding flight 934 from Miami to Massachusetts, repeat, we are now boarding flight 934 from Miami to Massachusetts”

 

Grammar Girl by Mignon Fogarty

grammargirl_mignonfogartyAre you a grammar fanatic? Are you annoyed when people, including adults, mix up their grammar? Well, Grammar Girl by Mignon Fogarty, a book exploring the surfaces and depths of grammar and writing, is much more than a grammar book.  And more than likely, it is right for you.  It offers easy-to-understand rules of conduct to live by as a writer, or in your case, a blogger.  Throughout this book, easy lessons are explained through quick and dirty tips.  I learned everything from gerunds to objective versus subjective pronouns to complicated conjugations.

The basic definition of a gerund is a noun made from an action verb plus an ‘ing’ at the end.  Every gerund, without exception, ends in ‘ing’.  Gerunds are not, however, that easy to locate.  For example, a name of a profession counts.  Like, ‘Acting isn’t as easy as it looks.’  In this case acting is the gerund and is functioning like a noun, yet it sounds like a verb.  Here’s another one: ‘Her singing almost deafened me.’  Singing is the gerund because it is referring to the act of her singing as an object or an idea.  But, we’re not done yet. In most cases, gerunds need a possessive or objective pronoun much like some words need linking verbs. It can be pretty easy to make the mistake of saying ‘We didn’t know that was his singing.’ This sentence could mean we couldn’t tell if what he was doing was singing or if he was making some other noise.  That was a possessive pronoun, but to clarify the true meaning of these types of sentences, sometimes you need to use a possessive pronoun.  This is the correct sentence: ‘We didn’t know this was him singing.’

In sixth grade, your English teacher probably taught you about basic conjugation.  In addition to these, there are progressive and perfect progressive. Learning these are essential to speaking correctly and formally.  Progressive means that the action is ongoing, progressing, or will be progressing.  (You can see chart below for the progressive and the perfect progressive.)  Then, perfect progressive is when the action has progressed for a while before it ended or it will end.  Perfect progressive uses the words like ‘has been’ or ‘had been’.

I would definitely rate this book a 10/10 for its complete guide on grammar and tips to keep your writing in shape.  In addition to Grammar Girl, I also would recommend checking out some of Mignon Fogarty’s online resources as well.  She has a podcast, a website (http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl), and several books for you to explore and love just as I did with this one.

– Maya S., 7th grade

Grammar Girl is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library

PROGRESSIVE(also called incomplete and continuous) EXAMPLE MEANING OF SENTENCE
Past progressive Jack was walking. At some point in the past, Jack was in the middle of a walk, but we don’t know when he stopped or if he did.
Present progressive Jack is walking. Jack is in the middle of a walk.
Future progressive Jack will be walking. Jack will walk in the future– and walk and walk.  Who knows when it will end?
PERFECT PROGRESSIVE (also called perfect continuous) EXAMPLE MEANING OF SENTENCE
Past perfect progressive Jack had been walking. At some point in the past, Jack started walking and did so for a while, but now it’s over.
Present perfect progressive Jack has been walking. Jack started walking sometime in the past, and he is still walking.
Future perfect progressive Jack will have been walking. Jack will walk until a specific point in the future, and then he will stop.