Excerpt for MJ Magazine — January 2019 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

MJ Magazine



The Magazine Created by Authors for Authors

Fran Lewis, Founder

Smashwords ebook published by Fideli Publishing Inc.

Copyright 2019, Fran Lewis

No part of this eBook may be reproduced or shared by any electronic or mechanical means, including but not limited to printing, file sharing, and email, without prior written permission from Fideli Publishing.

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Table of Contents

Memories of Marcia

Writers and Artists of All Ages

Arlessa R. Douglass

Brialan Douglass

Patrick Michyde Douglass

Michelle Carter-Douglass

The Provisional Storm

Jolie is a Smart Cookie


The Mystery Man

The Golden Spork of Divine Judgment

Litpick Reviews of Books for ages 8-12 and 12+

Everything I Know About You

Paths to the Stars

True Blue

What the Night Sings

Fresh Ink: An Anthology


Time Traitor

Electronics in the Classroom Need to Go

Fran’s Picks

Avery Appreciates True Friendships

In Thy Mother’s Honor

One River School of Art and Design

Poems by Chris Hart


Ambush, James Patterson and James O. Born

Beyond the Truth, Bruce Robert Coffin

Criminal Misdeeds, Randee Green

Scar Tissue, Patricia Hale

Sea of Greed, Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

The Queen of Kenosha, Howard Shapiro and Erica Chan


Dedicated to the memory of my sister and best friend: Marcia Joyce

Marcia encouraged me to write my first book review and become a host on Blog Talk Radio. She was my editor, my critic, my sister, and my best friend.

Memories of Marcia

Marcia loved to sing and entertain everyone. She could dance as well as anyone on the Broadway Stage. She belonged to many dance troupes and loved the thrill of large audiences when she did her solos. Singing was her other passion and she sang in Carousel, Oklahoma and the King and I having starring roles in all three shows. She was in the glee club in Junior High school and even went to Barbizon for modeling before working for ABC television in the newsroom.

She loved people and always had a positive attitude. The one thing I loved and will always remember are her 7 a.m. phone calls that would start my day and hopefully make me smile. She was always positive and never negative. Like the shine when it shined so did she. When the clouds come out and the rain is torrential I often look up to the sky and say: Marcia Joyce would you turn off the water faucet since you always said you control the weather. Sometimes it works and the sun comes out.

Writers and Artists of All Ages: This edition of MJ Magazine will include pieces of writing from people of all ages hoping to spotlight younger writers and encouraging children of all ages to write and read more. It will also include artwork created by the students of a special art school in Hartsdale whose work is now on display at the Westchester Mall.

Arlessa R. Douglass is the eldest daughter of Michelle Carter-Douglass. She is a graduate of both Struthers High School and the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center in 2016.

Ms. Douglass credits the LORD and her mother in her ability to cope with depression. As a survivor of child abuse by her biological father, bullying, and stalking, she forgives them.

Ms. Douglass is a singer, author, and motivational speaker. She says, “Only God can heal and the only way we can heal, is to talk with God in prayer.”

Brialan Douglass, a high school student perusing his career in law enforcement and firefighting.

Mr. Douglass, is a survivor of child abuse by his biological father and stalking. He is diagnosed with autism and refuses to live as a victim or unabled individual.

Brialan and his family struggled with weight loss and wellness. Brialan took it upon himself to change his eating habits and exercise and help with his siblings and mother on their journey to overall wellness.

He says, “Prayer is our relationship with God, our Heavenly Father.”

Patrick Michyde Douglass, is a Struthers High School and Alternative education graduate of 2013. Diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 19, he strives to accomplish the skills that will enable him to lead a productive and spiritual life.

“It doesn’t matter about what has happened or what has been said. Through prayer I grow spiritually and mentally every day. We have to trust in God.”

Michelle Carter-Douglass, is an African American, author, poet, motivational speaker, and graduate from Youngstown State University. Ms. Carter-Douglass a single mother of four now adult children, (Patrick M. Douglass, Arlessa Douglass, Kailah Douglass, and Brialan Douglass).

Her third child passed away due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, (SIDS) at only five and a half weeks of age.

Michelle, has overcome many trials and tribulations in her life. She has survived bullying domestic violence, abuse, stalking, and discrimination, all by the grace of GOD.

The Provisional Storm

Patrick M. Douglass

Michelle Carter-Douglass

Everything we go through in life is for the good. 

I learned long time ago,

storms are provisional and when we endure them;

there is always a lessoned earned.

The hardest storms I had to go through in life ~

were the storms caused by the presence and absence of my dad. 

He never tried to be better in his life.

But, those are his own person trials and storms.

His negligence at times is hard for me to understand.

I have to remain on my bended knees, and pray for him and for me.

Mom, I just think, I had an epiphany in poetry.

God, thank you for being a father to my siblings and to me.

MOM! I think I just gave God appreciation in poetry!

To all the kids that haver been called dumb ~

you are really smart.

To all the people that have been made fun of and pushed around ~

those bullies are trying to bring into the dark.

Just a kid and I was homeless, abused, and sometimes I went hungry.

Just a kid, when my dad scared my heart.

As a man, I have endured these provisional storms.

For these trials are only temporary.

When people hit me in school ~ I would hit them back.

I couldn’t speak for myself and some of them lied on me.

I could be bitter.

I could be angry.

But my trials were only provisional storms.

Through my trials I have learned.

To everyone that have been abused ~

love yourself.

To everyone that has been called names ~

let those words be a boomerang.

Son, in those chapters called life ~ they will be filled with the good and the bad.

In those chapters called life ~ I wish I could have given my children more.

The fact my child, that you have gained from your provisional storms ~

as a mother, I inform you, that you have gained an unmeasurable worth.

When you look into the sky and see the painted horizon ~

remember, it is our Heavenly Father that designed the sunset, you, and I.

My son, you have gained a multitude of epiphanies.

Readers ~ from a mother and her son, we give you an accolade through our poetry.


Patrick M. and Michelle Denise

Jolie is a Smart Cookie

Jolie Floriano, age 9

I am a smart cookie because over the summer I asked my reading tutor to help me improve my vocabulary and comprehension skills in reading. This makes me a smart cookie because I realized that I needed help in order to succeed at a higher level in grade 4. Being a smart cookie is great because I learned that in order to improve I had to read everyday, record what I read and talk it over with someone like my Mom or tutor asking me questions about the stories. I learned more about the kinds of books that I wanted to read and decided to choose books by Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and even Barbara Parks who wrote Junie B books.

When someone is a smart cookie they know when to ask for help and accept it. But, what really turned me on to reading and helped me to understand the parts of a story like the characters, plot and storylines was the project that my fourth grade teacher gave us to complete over the summer. I read Freckle Juice and learned how to create an event for my family and the family in the book based on what I read. I read Charlotte’s Web and learned how to understand the character’s feelings, plot and the many different reasons why Charlotte was loved.

Being a smart cookie even more now I realize that I still need some help with larger words and more help understanding longer stories or passages in other subject areas. A smart cookie, like Jolie knows when she succeeded and I do, and when to ask for more help.

I’m A Smart Cookie Because

Reason 1: I’m a smart cookie because I have improved in reading over the summer with the help of my tutor and because the school requires that I keep a reading log and it helped me to read every day.

Reason 2: I am a smart cookie because I realized that I needed help with longer words with prefixes and long endings and I need to learn to take them apart and then reread the sentences with these long words so that I understand what the author is saying. I learned that this is one area where I improved but I am a really smart cookie knowing that I could use more help in this area.

Reason 3: My comprehension has gotten better meaning I understand what I read better if I read smaller amounts like one or two paragraphs at a time and ask myself the following questions: Who Did What Where and When?

Conclusion: In conclusion for the above three reasons I learned that being a smart cookie is not only improving but knowing when you need to ask for help.


By Luke B Winski

September 2018

I remember, long ago

I grew and changed, becoming old

I may not understand

But I, I manage with it

I can change; I can change and morph your life

If you'll only let me in

Look at your reflection

Is it what you want yourself to be?

Because when I look at mine,

I see everything where it needs to be

Except for one thing;

A puzzle piece connecting you to me

Now, I want you to think back,

Have you always thought like that?

If you have, then tell me

And I'll tell you a change is coming your way

I want you to understand,

I am no foreign man

When it comes to this thing,

I'm telling you, she's going to break you

Look at your reflection

Is it what you want yourself to be?

Because when I look at mine,

I see everything where it needs to be

Except one thing;

A puzzle piece connecting you to me

You to me

You to me

Luke Brandon Winski loves to dabble in music, writing and illustrating his own books and poems. While in the third grade, he lent his talent to writing Janoose and The Fall Feather Fair with J.D. Holiday, published in 2016. Luke loves superheroes of all kinds and most of all playing the game Fortnite among others. His music influence is David Bowe.

The Mystery Man

Hannah Topol

8th Grade

She looked at her phone again and shut it off. There was an anxious look on her face. I continued down the stairs curious as to why she was acting so strange and she moved the phone further out of my reach. She opened her arms with a look of urgency in her eyes and I approached her. She embraced me tightly and I felt her breath against my skin. I shivered in her cold arms and slowly removed my arms from around her. She locked her arms around mine and looked me in the eyes. She looked scared for the first time in a long time. There was something else about her in her face that reminded me of something that I could not quite put my finger on.

“Everything will be ok,” she whispered as she breathed down my neck.

“What?” I asked suddenly feeling terrified of what was happening.

“Nothing, never mind.” She hesitantly removed her arms from around me and looked down at me with sad eyes. She abruptly left the room leaving the phone behind. I heard the echo of her feet as she walked upstairs with a solemn look on her face.

I grabbed the phone and typed in her password suddenly regretting knowing it. I saw something that would haunt me forever. I will find you and your daughter and you will regret everything you did to me. I shut my eyes tightly hoping to block out the words but they flashed before my eyes in a red color that reminded me of blood. I opened them reluctantly blinking so my eyes would adjust to the suddenly scorching bright light hanging from our kitchen table. I looked back down to see the words there, in bold black print. I heard a creak on the floorboards and jumped. My body pumping with adrenaline I whipped around and saw the window was opened. That window never opened. Not since I fell down the stairs as a toddler and crashed into the window breaking the lock. Ever since then we decided not opened that window because we couldn't afford to fix the lock. I saw the sheer white curtains blowing in the wind. Out of the corner of my eye I saw red on the windowsill. I approached it slowly and moved my face closer to the stain hoping to figure out what it was. A metallic scent burned my nose and I shook my head over and over covering my head with my hands. “Blood.” The words barely escaped my lips as I found myself sprinting up the creaky wooden stairs. “Mom!” I screamed realizing how dry and cracked my lips were suddenly wishing I had a cold bottle of water. I turned the corner and stumbled over something. My hands struggled to find the light switch on the peeling wallpaper and I flipped it on. I gasped in shock as I found my mom’s limp body pale with fear. I collapsed to my knees and wiped the blood from my mom’s face. I wiped away the cold sheen of sweat already forming on my face spreading her blood across my forehead. I blinked through my tears and grabbed her clammy hands holding onto them with my life. With the last of her strength she reached up with one hand and pulled me closer by my favorite shirt I had saved up for months. I sudden realized that I didn't even care that it was ruined despite my fit when someone had gotten marker on it las week. I held on to her with tears streaming down my face. She whispered quietly her lips brushing against my ear. “Leave, escape from him.” Pictures of every guy I have ever met flashed before my eyes. Her eyelids fluttered and closed and I suddenly found myself gasping for breath as I yelled “Who? Who?” A pool of tears and blood covered the floor. I heard a faint ding from downstairs and without thinking I ran down the stairs tripping over myself. The room was empty except for a note that was left and taped to the wall. Watch your back, I’m just around the corner. I shivered as the icy cold fingers of the wind grazed the back of my neck. I whipped around to find the stone cold eyes of a familiar face. I locked my fist and threw a punch towards his face. His cold fingers grasped my hand and slowly twisted my wrist. I yelled in pain and every self-defense class I ever took sped through my mind but I couldn't remember a single thing I had learned. I had always wondered why my mom was so determined for me to learn self-defense until now. She was protecting me. From him. I’ve seen that man before. Before I could finish my thought his cold hands grabbed my neck and I struggled to breath. I saw a grin on his face as I fought for my life. His fingers dug into my skin and I was paralyzed with fear. I felt my body begin to droop and I was soon dropped to the floor. I couldn't feel anything. I had blacked out. I didn't know how much time had passed as I opened my eyes and struggled to digest what had happened. I laid there, on the cold hard floor struggling to comprehend what had just occurred. I sat up blinking the sleepiness out of my eyes. Everything had happened so fast but why? Who was that mysterious man? Why did he want me and my mom to be gone? I groaned realizing that I had not had anything to eat. I stood up and looked around my stomach growling with hunger. The white stained curtains were still as the warm sun bounced off them giving the whole room light. I saw the dark blood and memories came flooding back. Images of the man and my mom invaded my mind. I shook my head trying to get the thoughts out of my brain. I sat down and reached for a half filled glass of water that had been sitting on the corner for probably two days by now. I grabbed it and brought the cup to my lips, Suddenly pieces of glass littered the floor and a pool of water was formed around my feet. My mind went blank except for one concrete image. My mom’s face when I had asked about my father. My supposedly dead father. I breathed heavily as I realized what I had uncovered. The look in her face was the same as when she had read the message. I sprinted towards her office and my eyes searched violently around the room. I ran towards the only picture I had of my father that I had hidden in one of my drawers. I picked up the picture frame and found myself staring at the image of the suddenly scary piercing blue eyes. I heard a noise and turned around to see a suddenly unforgettable face. “Hello daughter.”

The Golden Spork of Divine Judgment

By Samuel Topol, 17

The Golden Spork of Divine Judgment was believed to be the utensil that Spatulous Pan used during the Second Lunch. The utensil was then entrusted to Joseph of Arimathea. It was said that the Spork could give to whoever ate with it eternal life. Joseph of Arimathea reached Great Britain in 37 AD with the Spork and housed it at the site that would become Glastonbury Abbey but the relic went missing some time after. The Spork was rediscovered centuries later by King Arthur and entrusted to Sir Bedivere. When Arthur was mortally wounded by his nephew Modred, he was taken to Glastonbury Tor by Bedivere and after the king's passing, Bedivere returned the Spork to where Joseph of Arimathea had left it and founded a hermitage. However, after Camelot fell to the invading Anglo-Saxons, the Golden Spork was delivered by Sir Galahad to the monastery at Iona where the cup remained for around three hundred years. The monastery was sacked by Vikings in the ninth century and the Golden Spork got as far east as Kiev before trade or raid carried it south. In the year 1000, an Aramaic-speaking Semite secret society used a pre-existing Greco-Roman facade to construct a temple in a hidden gorge to house the Spork. The group eventually established itself as the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword. They swore to keep it safe from discovery and misuse by any means, including murder. The Spork was found in the Canyon of the Crescent Moon after the First Kitchen Conquest by a company of knights from France, three brothers who pledged to protect it. They lived in the Spork's sanctuary—where a Great Seal acted to prevent the artifact from being taken beyond the temple's entrance—for nearly one hundred and fifty years. Around that time, a chalice was looted from Constantinople by the Knights Templar and it became one of many false placed on an altar in the canyon temple to disguise the real Spork of Pan as well as to test any seekers; only those of true heart and faith would be able to identify it, while others would fall victim to the allure of glittering gold and shining silver. One of the brothers was chosen to stay behind while the other two returned to Europe and left a marker near Ankara about the Spork's location. Sir Richard's shield carried a second marker but the man died on the journey back and he was buried with his shield in a tomb in Venice, Italy. The third brother returned home and in the 13th century, told his story to a Franciscan friar, who recorded about the whereabouts of the holy object somewhere "in a canyon deep in a range of mountains" and made a painting about it which was kept in a castle's chapel at Klasenheim, Austria Hungary.

The Golden Spork of Divine Judgement belonged to the Spatulous Pan, the King of the Gods of the Kitchen Warriors. It was a sacred artifact said to have supernatural powers, specifically the ability to turn people into solid gold statues and to grant immortality. However, such a prize came with a catch; the Spork was required to stay within the Temple of the Kitchen Warriors and any attempts to take the Spork beyond the temple's boundaries would result in the destruction of the Temple. The Spork gave cooking extraordinary powers, as Cereal (eaten using the Spork) ingested by any animal would heal serious injuries, such as fatal gunshot wounds. Any breathing creature who drank the purified boiling water from the Spork would be granted eternal life. However, their eternal life would last so long as they did not cross the Great Seal of the Temple. Passing the Great Seal would cause the drinker to regain their mortality, although that would not destroy the Temple…

Ephraim Cohen was a 32 year old married man who loved adventures. One day, Ephraim was walking in the jungle when he found a mysterious map, showing the location of the most sacred object in all of Kitchen Warrior history: the Golden Spork of Divine Judgement. Ephraim was very confused, as he had been in this part of the jungle before, but had not seen the map before. To top it all off, he didn’t even know what the Golden Spork of Divine Judgement was. However, it looked interesting, so he kept it. When Ephraim returned home, he showed it to his friend, Jacob, who instantly recognized it as the long-lost map to the Temple of the Kitchen Warriors. Jacob was fascinated by the all of the stories, all of the rumors, and all of the legends about the ancient civilization. Jacob even had proof that the artifact did indeed exist. In his possession was a shield from the age of the First Kitchen Conquest.

Ephraim and Jacob decided that they would try to find the temple. Later that night, after his wife had gone to sleep, Cohen snuck out of the house and met up with Jacob in their usual meeting spot, next to the dumpster behind McDonalds. This was the same place where the Italian Mafia killed people and disposed of the dead bodies. Because of this, the FBI had bugged the place, so they had to be quick.

“You ready?” Jacob asked.

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