Tag Archives: teen angst

Review: Flowers: A Short Story of Love and Death

Flowers: A Short Story of Love and Death by Darnell “Saki” Dickerson

George, a high school senior, has some problems. He wrestles with graduation, girl troubles, and his love for sunflowers.

As a loser fast on his way to hell, two years ago Chloë said yes to a date and everything went right ever since. Still is terrific, too.  He just bought her a ring. Local college for George, nearby state university for her. But now his girl has changed her mind. Chloë is going to Berkley. He is staying home in Nowhere Town. And this soon-to-be roommate Gio of hers is gonna steal George’s girl. Jealousy blooms, just like a sunflower.

An argument on graduation day between high school sweethearts goes so very wrong, but George gets back his girl. She is like another of the beautiful sunflowers he has preserved, you could even say idolized, in the cellar.

The Horror of Sunflowers

Time for Lita to confess. I have never liked sunflowers. As a kid, they were too big. Bugs loved them. Birds loved them. But they creeped me out. This makes sunflowers the perfect subject for a horror short story if you want to scare the bejesus out of Lita.

It is refreshing to read a teen angst story from the young man’s point of view. George struggles to keep the one good thing in his life, and overcome his bad parental role models. We taste life’s sour betrayal from his point of view. And poor Chloë. Sometimes, breaking up is impossible to do.

In Flowers, we see teen love at its worst. The story hints at George’s sexual encounters, not show us blow-by-blow glory. His desperation saddened me, and my curiosity about the mechanics revolted me. Ah, the lengths a young man goes to get laid. The story needs a couple of minor formatting nits corrected. In two places I would suggest sentence-level wordsmithing. My compliments go to Darnell “Saki” Dickerson for scaring the crap out of me, rousing my sympathy for a teen’s struggle, and reminding me of evil sunflowers.

Flowers: A Short Story of Love and Death on Goodreads

Flowers: A Short Story of Love and Death on Amazon

Darnell “Saki” Dickerson’s website

An Image of Furgo

Not Just for Werewolves Anymore

Hello, Captain Obvious. Let me duck! Ouch. Too slow.

I have been working on the first novella (Ephraim’s Curious Device) in my forthcoming Clockpunk Wizard series. All was going well until I started the second round of editing, when an idea smacked me on the forehead.

Well, what happened is Captain Obvious pointed out a central character of the series who doesn’t appear until the end of the first story. Well, duh. So I smacked myself on the forehead–ideas can’t do smacking. Just to be clear.

Let’s Talk Shape Shifting

A popular sub-genre of fantasy is “YA High School Angst with Vampires and Werewolves.” Werewolves are cool, no doubt, but I wanted to explore a shape shifting character with a bit gentler disposition. How about a dog who shape shifts into human form? That fits better in the Clockpunk Wizard fantasy world.


A cynanthrope is a human who shape shifts into a dog. Or in the case of the Clockpunk Wizard fantasy world, it is a dog who shape shifts into a human boy. While in dog form, this character has all of his dog senses. While in human form, he is a boy. But we’re talking magic here, so there are limitations. The biggest limitation is this character will never grow up into a man. He is fundamentally, and always will be, a dog.

Introducing Forever Boy

To introduce this cynanthrope to the Clockpunk Wizard fantasy world, I’ve written a novelette called Forever Boy. This story will be the first in the Clockpunk Wizard series. Ephraim’s Curious Device will be the second story in the series.

Apologies for the confusion. Stories, and the characters within them, have a mind of their own. I am merely their humble scribe. To make it up to you, Gentle Reader, I will release both titles, Forever Boy and Ephraim’s Curious Device, in October.

Glad we straightened that out. I must run. Ephraim’s Curious Device and Forever Boy both request my attention. And I hope there’s no more forehead smacks from Captain Obvious.

Review: Neophyte

Neophyte by Emmalee Aple

Neophyte is a YA paranormal romance novel about a high school senior named Addisyn who died two years ago and became an angel-in-training.

Teen Dramas

She now spends her afterlife in a beach house with five male angels, called her Link, where they teach her the ropes of angelhood. One of them has been Addisyn’s best friend since her living days, and another is her love interest, Greysan. Addisyn’s existence is filled with the usual YA dramas of finishing high school and going to prom. Neophyte oozes with teenage anguish and trivial outrage. Addisyn’s Link won’t tell her anything about what’s going on, and she gets, like, huffy about it. Frequently huffy. Her Link also interrupts her when she’s trying to kiss the gorgeous Greysan.

More sinister machinations involve a fallen angel who wants her and Greysan for his Link. She makes a string of poor choices ending in a battle of angelic proportions, where one of her protectors make the ultimate sacrifice to protect her.

Love Those Angels

I have a weakness for unique fantasy worlds. Neophyte is a delight with its angels-among-us premise. It confirms that male angels are handsome and the afterlife has politics. I wanted to know more of its magical minutiae, and would like to see more details sprinkled throughout the dialogue, narrative, and action sequences.


At the end of the story, Addisyn appears to have no clue why she became an angel and how to assume the responsibilities of angelhood. Neophyte suffers from mechanics that pulled me out of the story-not a fatal flaw-a thorough editing would fix these. In all, Neophyte is a great début novel with an intriguing fantasy world surrounding an angst-ridden teenager.

Neophyte on Amazon

Neophyte on Goodreads

Emmalee Aple website