Saturday, December 4, 2010


Maggie burst into the quiet office, her chest heaving and with anger dancing upon her brow, she seethed "YOU! You did this!"
Unseth, expecting her, casually glanced away from his paper before setting it down slowly and saying dryly, "Oh Maggie, stop with the drama. I did what?" The last three words drawn out slowly before he sought his coffee cup.
Maggie, still enraged, stood before Unseth for a moment longer before clearing his meticulously organized desk in one sweep and he, with impeccable timing, lifted his cup as papers whooshed past just before Maggie sprang upon the desk. She was seething and leaned in to say "I know it was you."
Leaning back in his chair, and with excellent restraint, he sipped again at the coffee.
Dagger filled eyes followed calm ones, seeking a glimpse of confirmation but Unseth said only, "You want to sit down and tell me what this is all about?"
A distinctly animal like growl came the response from Maggie's throat before she snatched the covered coffee mug away and hurled it at the nearest wall, thus concluding her visit.
When she was gone, Unseth made his way over to retrieve the dented mug. With one hand in his pocket, he inspected the vessel: no harm really and no mess. The cup never actually contained any coffee because Unseth had been too busy this morning taking care of other business.

BIO:  Olive Rosehips...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our Book

Pen 10 Scribes

Congratulations, the Pen 10 Scribes anthology is now in print. If your work was featured on this site between from August '09 - September 2010, you are an author published in print between the covers of this book. You may purchase a copy here and include this in your list of accomplishments.  While you're at it, pick up some Pen 10 gear from the column on the right.

~Thank you

Pen 10 Scribes
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Pen 10 ScribesBy Rhonda Smolarek
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 This item has not been rated yet
Collection of writings. Various authors. Short stories.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


“Are you sure?” He asked, struggling to conceal the emotion in his voice.

“Yes.” She replied, calm and certain, like she always was.

He reached out hesitantly and held her hands. “There’s no going back...It will never be the same.”

She just nodded.

“Ever.” He said. “Are you sure you want to end it like this? After all this time?”

“It’s for the best.” She said, her voice gentle, as if she was trying to lighten the blow.

“Fine.” He looked like he was going to burst into tears at any moment.

He directed a single glance full of despair at her and then he turned around.....and kicked the castle till it was just another pile of sand.

“Don’t be sad.” She said, patting him on the back. “We’ll build a better one tomorrow.”

Bio: Abhinav SapruEngineering student (unlikely but true), aspiring writer...Due to the fear of boring you I'm going to stop right now. You can visit Abhinav Sapru

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


He got off the plane and had the urge to kiss the carpeted floor. He thought better of it when he considered the amount of foot traffic the floor had seen, and that doing so would hold up the line and cause a distraction.

All that was left was to pick up his luggage from baggage claim.

He moved with a sense of urgency through the airport pathway; meandering through the crowded hallway like a fearless motorcyclist on a congested freeway. Or maybe he was more reckless – like the motorcyclist with a death wish.

He survived near death on the flight from BWI-Thurgood Marshall to LAX. His ears popped something fierce, and he felt as if he was having a brain aneurysm. The agony – which still lingered – would be well worth it when he sees her face.

But she wasn’t waiting for him at the baggage claim area, or at the pick-up location outside. He waited at the airport for immeasurable hours – even after she returned his numerous calls and informed him she had no intention of following through with their plans to meet.

BIO: A. Jarrell Hayes writes poetry and fiction. In his spare time, Hayes designs wearable expressions and various merchandise with writers and poets in mind. Visit his website: or check him out here


More cotton than you care to see.
There used to be time for driving,
for singing at the top of our lungs,
running, screaming.
Our legs stopped craving the feeling
of being stretched, pushed.
Running with mouths wide open,
tiny yelps greeting clouds of dust.
The field strewn with yellow buds,
a blanket of sunshine.
Driving, we wish we hadn’t forgotten
running breathless, to lay 
in summer-bloomed shade of trees, 
gulping air like water.

Bio:  Laura Rachel Fox ...  Her heart lies in the library, where she served as a Librarian for several years and discovered her love for the profession.  She is currently working to enter the writing field professionally, perhaps through the library, education, or writing.  You can view her recent work at

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


“I don’t feel right about this,” said Maxi, fumbling with her umbrella as wet curls lay plastered to her forehead as she waited for Blu to answer. Blu was pretending not to hear as she held tightly to the anger that was rising in her chest as she tried to quell it as it tried hard as it could to spew out profanity at Maxi. Blu did not like Maxi at all-- the sight of her scuff-free boots and manicured hands made her want to vomit as she thought of the rich brats she used to watch shop without care when she used to be normal and work a day job at the mall. But, she swallowed roughly, this was a job, and her job was to follow directions, whether she liked Maxi or not.
Blu opened the envelope that Maxi handed her, counted ten crisp one hundred dollar bills and scanned the other books of money neatly settled in the envelope. Funny, but thirty thousand dollars didn’t look like that much money .  Her mind remembered the bills the money was going to cover and, though relieved she would be debt free for a while now, she was a bit wistful about not being able to vacation with the windfall. She tucked the envelope into her purse and looked up. The glint from Maxi’s badge flickered first as she heard “You have the right to remain silent”, then she saw the uniformed cops emerge from surrounding spaces that had seemed so vacant before. As Blu put her hands up and felt rough hands push her head down and handcuff her, she hoped that her sister would be called soon enough to pick up the baby from daycare.

Khadijah Ali-Coleman is a playwright and performance artist. She is editor of the anthology Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul and will debut her play Running: AMOK this year in the Capital Fringe Fest this summer in Washington DC. She was inspired to write "Blu's Crisp Bills" when she learned that 62% of women imprisoned in the US are between the ages of 25-39 and typically mothers.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


by Olive Rosehips

Mrs. Morrow was outside, I knew this because her loud, chirpy voice carried through the open window as she called to Joanne across the street.  I whispered a wish under my breath that she would take up knitting or bridge or whatever it was people her age did when my little voice whispered back that gossip was what uncoupled, older ladies did. Loneliness to be sure and too much time on her hands had created this chapter of Mrs. Morrow; this overly organized, neat nick who hosed the rocks outside her home on week nights in order to be available to question, er, greet us when we came home from work each day.  Indeed, she had become a professional at drawing out information I never intended to add to her gossip list, and so I used to peek through all the front windows to see if the coast was clear of Mrs. Morrow before going out to my garden. 
Yet somehow, I suspect constant patrol, she always found me no matter how early I gardened, nor what side of the house I was on and so I pretended not to hear her calling to me as I berated her discovery under my breath.  Ignoring her only worked the first time and now she would walk her round self, gingerly and hastily over to where I was and tap me on the shoulder, causing me to look up into her time worn, smiling face; her bright eyes setting me up, along with her wrinkled mouth with how she never sees me anymore and how are the boys.  My mouth lied back to Mrs. Morrow with it’s own smile as my mind raced to come up with something to say which was really nothing so that I didn’t wince over having given her something to talk about.  
I began to feel like a hostage in my own home and felt I had to put an end to this nonsense, which is when it occurred to me to leave my garden tools lying about in such disarray as to discourage Mrs. Morrow from jaunting over to my yard. 
I could never have foreseen the possibility of her stepping right onto the head of the rake, nor how the handle would have struck poor Mrs. Morrow right between the eyes.  Everyone talked about it for months and now I comfort myself thinking that she would have liked knowing she was still in on the neighborhood conversation.

BIO: Rhonda M. Smolarek hides writes under the nom de plume of Olive Rosehips, where she makes up things all the while using proper grammer and spell checks.  She generally does this in stiletto's with her pedicure in vivid shades of red. Why? Don't ask me, I just work here. Word is she also does website design/re-design at  and plays at getting absurd songs stuck in people's minds in order to amuse herself... I know, right?  

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Roland C. Bonay

It was well past midnight and despite the sedative given to her by Pablo, her nurse, Dora Moorewas afraid to sleep for fear she'd have another nightmare where she’d dream violent dreams of guns and sometimes knives; of war and death and armies of men invading and ransacking the house in which she lived.  She dreamed of old movie monsters chasing her on her way home from school.  She could never run fast enough and just as the monster had her within reach she'd wake up from the terror of her dreams crying into her pillow as she clutched her favorite doll, still afraid to go to sleep at night, alone in her own bed.

She dreamed handsome young men would enter her bedroom as she brushed her soft brown hair by the lamp near the open window where the sheer curtains billowed in the wind while she gazed at the clouds drifting past the full moon.  With shiny metal scoops, like the ones she remembered from the huge ice-making machine in the kitchen of the nursing home where her mother once worked, they'd pour diamonds at her pretty feet.

She found herself outside in the middle of a raging snowstorm while dirty gray snowmen shoveled dirty gray snow at her dirty gray frostbitten feet.  She noticed a pack of snarling wild reindeer with gnarled antlers and sharp teeth.  They were tied to an old tree from which she was afraid they'd break free (which, of course, they did).  They nipped at her once pretty ankles as she lay perched upon mountains of trash outside of the kitchen of the nursing home where her mother once worked.  And just as they were about to sink their dripping fangs into her comely flesh, she'd awake from the terror of her dreams crying into her blanket as she clutched her favorite doll, still afraid to go to sleep at night, alone in her own bed.

BIO: Roland C. Bonay is an engineer in NJ with a passion for writing and drawing.  Bonay discovered his flair for telling stories at an early age and dreamed of following in the footsteps of his idol, comic book legend, Stan Lee.  His passion ebbed and his dream faded as it became necessary to pursue a more traditional lifestyle in order to raise his growing family.  His dream was rekindled in early 2009 and Roland worked feverishly to create the popular Learn to Draw Cartoons Online website .  Roland’s vision is best summed up by his motto; The world would be a better place if we all just learned to draw!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Khadijah Ali-Coleman

Her painted purple nails almost blared against the quiet of her black blazer as her fingers grabbed her folded arms.  She had forgotten to remove the color before she went to bed last night.
Her client, a conservative Southern CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation would surely disprove.
He was already upset he had to work with her, the only woman—Black woman at that—on the team. He wouldn’t care about her Stanford education or wealthy parents. He didn’t care about her impeccable work record or indestructible resolve. He would only see those damn nails, in party purple, and curse the agency that hooked him up with the ghetto, token Negro at the firm--a recipient of the Obama hand-out, he would think.
Her heels clacked heavily as she walked reluctantly to the glass boardroom, shoulder drooping from her weighty laptop bag, purple nails clutching. His head raised as the squeak of the door announced her arrival. 
Eyes searching up and down paused; “Nice nails,” he said. 
Khadijah Ali-Coleman is a playwright and performance artist. She is editor of the anthology Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul and will debut her play Running: AMOK this year in the Capital Fringe Fest this summer in Washington DC. She owns the online artist Learn more at

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Making History

Doreen prepared to flip through the channels when the news interrupted her show for a ‘Special Report’.

An excited news anchor filled the screen as she caught him in mid sentence, “this is a historic day not only for America, but for all of the people of Earth. Today we started receiving the video from the Centauri Wanderer spacecraft as it prepares to launch its probe into the surface of the planet designated Ameda 1. We'll now switch you over to the feed coming in from
Mission Control.”

On the screen, a view of a conical shaped projectile provided by an on-board camera showed the probe jettisoned from the Centauri Wanderer, firing its thrusters to build speed for its impact with Ameda 1. Despite the interruption to her shows, Doreen couldn't help but be fascinated with the historic implications of the video before her, one that traveled between solar systems for the first time in human history.

A bright flash flared from the planet’s surface just as applause erupted from the scientists and engineers at mission control. Applause turned to murmurs of confusion and Doreen saw on the screen what looked like gases flowing from the location the probe struck, spewing odd looking material that fell to the planets surface. Coldness formed in Doreen’s stomach as the Wanderer’s on board camera continued to zoom in on the impact zone. Suddenly her shows replaced the picture on the screen, but not before Doreen heard someone at mission control cried out, “Oh my God, there are bodies.”

BIO Kevin Vorshak dabbles in writing from his home on Ohio. A huge fan of Scifi, Fantasy and Horror stores, he still hopes to one day be able to become a full-time writer.


I spy with my wandering eye, a woman sitting at a booth in a restaurant.
I spied her dark, silky hair just past her shoulders.
I spied her bright brown eyes.
Her smooth mocha skin.
Her full
pouty lips.
Her big wide smile.
I then spied with my wandering mind sitting across from this woman.
Staring in those same brown eyes, gently touching the arm of her smooth mocha skin, brushing her dark and silky hair out of her face, and leaning in to kiss her full
pouty lips.
Then I spied with my wandering eye another man doing exactly what my wandering mind just saw.
Letting me know what I see to myself will only be for me alone and not for us to share aloud.

BIO: Chauncey Balsom, is an aspiring screenwriter from Florida currently working on his first full length screenplay as well as a web-series and a short film. Other than writing, he enjoys working out, reading, sports, going out with friends and music. A pretty well-rounded individual, Chauncey will try almost anything once. You can contact Chauncey on Twitter and his blog pages: and

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Spare me sick animals just a little longer

Spare me sick animals while I get stronger

Drooping mandarins with grubby jaws

Middle class wankers pretending to be poor

Fat slag wasters of various descriptions

Prissy Miss Perfects – perfume nickers

Sly promptings from former virgins

All you really need is a good plastic surgeon

Fakes falsely worried cos baby's pissed

All I want now is Love and Mint Juleps

BIO Chris Savage King is a writer and performer. She is author of the Award Winning What/So What? (ICA/Radio Four) and a novel Do What You Want. She also sings, has worked extensively in prisons, and has attempted theatre.


How Fate dreams to subdue me.

Her Pale blue green dactyls

Sweeping the sweat of her laboring

From her pious brow

Her effort strained against

Other forces prevailing to

Construct my end their way.

Oh, Fate - beautiful colossus

Harpy of misery and ruin.

Your eyes gleam ferocity

Jealous of talents made mortal

Ruinous of the fleshy beings-

You steal their glory short.

Sheer robes and veils of dreams

Mask your true form, Fate.

Deamoness of false hopes and pride.

Gleefully smiting down the wouldbe's

Would without your ruin

Be evermore remembered mythic forms

Will now lay forgotten

To all, and none.

That is the reward you spin, Fate,

How cruel you are.

Cutting Destiny's cord

Letting the days die unwon.

BIO Crystal Chambers-has managed to squeeze at least three lifetimes into her 39 years. From being a florist to a professional cyclist and athletic coach and, now, realizing her lifelong dream of being a writer. She’s written poetry since adolescence, moving into writing training articles and being published in the annual Authors of Tomorrow. Crystal occasionally fights town hall with fiery speeches (and wins). Crystal is thrilled to be a contributing writer for Bel Air Magazine, in addition to her daily duties owning a business Golsan Cycles and writing novels, poetry and children's books. @CrystalChambers on Twitter,


David was right
To Thoreau away society,
Step Rhythmed distance
Within his life as art,
Reflecting beauty's intuition,
The voice of which...
Few hear.
Henry did not keep pace with his companions,
His Waldon Pond mirror reflected,
A measure of life few grasped.

BIO: Douglas H. Melloy. I am a musician. I play congas and bongos. I teach Martial arts. I have a black belt in kenpo karate. I have wirtten nine books, seven of which are in print. I enjoy dancing, playing live music, cooking, walking my dog, and drinking wines. I am 53 years young and single.


The fickle nature of our kind is not satiated without a looming air of irony; for we are unnatural. To peer out of a glass window pane and see nothing more than structures that don't grow, buckles the soul into insignificance. The makeup of whatever is made up ascertains the fact that we are creative beings. "God-like" if you will. Whether you like it or not, we are indubitably gods of our own worlds. If we weren't, our visual system wouldn't utilize the process of projection. We create our own realities with astounding precision; only to blame others for what we're responsible for. Eternally, will fortune wax and wane; and time only waits for the patient.

BIO: Carl Woods, II is a native of the state of Virginia, U.S.A. and retained a passion for the written word at a very young age. With such an understanding, he has come to realize that words have little to no power to describe the intricacies of what actually is. While studying quantum mechanics, he's become a beacon of unbridled significance to whoever reads his work. @iambecomepi on Twitter

Understanding: To Ponder the Puzzle and Wonder

To wonder less is to have more time for peace.

To have more time for peace gives more time to think.

To have more time to think creates opportunity for enjoying a good meal.

To have more good meals gives way to weight gain.

To have more weight gain leads one to energize and exercise.

To have more exercise gives more time for sightseeing.

To have more sightseeing leads one to ponder about amazing things.

To ponder about amazing things leads of course to “I wonder”

I wonder what this means.

BIO: Michael Hartzell If man was meant to only sit and think without action, God would have designed the head as a barnacle. Michael Hartzell 1953-_____


He came to the decision that living outside society was his best chance for survival – the best chance for his mental survival. His job at the call center wasn’t recession-proof. Now someone in India is performing his job – a job he performed well and enjoyed doing – for a fraction of his wages.

His job gave him value, and his employer deemed him too valuable to work there. So his job was given to someone the company valued less. That’s what money does: places value upon objects and people.

Without employment, his house was too valuable for him. The bank foreclosed on his house, he was evicted, and the house sold at a lesser value – a value he could afford.

He walks to the city limits valueless to society because he has no money. But he is invaluable to himself because he is human.

BIO: A. Jarrell Hayes is a fantasy novelist and award-winning poet. His most recent works are the fantasy novel The Larorian Conflict and the poetry collection Just Another Angry Black Man. He invites you to visit his website at Words = Life.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Goodbye Kiss

The Goodbye Kiss by Paul D. Brazill

The Salutation Bar was stiflingly hot and cluttered with the usual hodge podge of misfits, waifs and strays. Walter sat at a table by the window watching the streamers of steam rise from his muddy coffee. Beside him, a gangling scarecrow of a man slurped his beer with all the enthusiasm of an ex-con in a bordello. Each sip was like leaky tap drip, drip, dripping throughout a sleepless night.

Outside, the cloak of darkness had draped itself over the city, and the moon bit into the sky like a fang. The night was suddenly filled the crackle of exploding fireworks as Lena oozed into the bar like mercury. She stood before Walter and a chill of recognition sliced through him. She nodded and he stood.

The next day a church bell echoed through the granite autumn morning as Walter lay slumped against a gravestone. On his forehead, a smear of lipstick and a perfect bloody circle were all that remained of Lena’s goodbye kiss.

Bio: Paul D. Brazill was born in Hartlepool, England and is on the lam in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He has had stories in A Twist Of Noir, Six Sentences, Powder Burn Flash, Thrillers Killers n Chillers, Beat To A Pulp and other such classy joints. He can be found stalking ‘you would say that, wouldn’t you?’ at

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


My face is your face, and yours is mine,
for the likeness is obvious to me.
Who are you I ask as I stare deeply
into the mirror of my own self.

I am not afraid of you because I’m
black like charcoal and the ashes of ember.
One tarnished by the heat of the blazing
sun, even that of dried basil and such.

There can be no greater love for you in
that I cherish you with such divine
reason, and reject the notion our color
in any way, shape, or fashion degrades our

blackness. A hew so fine my heart swoons
when I behold the face of my own self.

Emmett Wheatfall is an aspiring poet living in Portland, Oregon. He is a talented writer and someone committed to respecting the art and craft of poetry. He has produced two digital recordings of his poetry: I Speak, a compilation of original poems and When I Was Young is a recording of both lyrical and non-lyrical poetry. Emmet also writes at