Jewel studied herself in the mirror, envious of her sister, Luna, who prepared for the party behind her.
She sighed as she stared at the dress her mother bought her; it was child-like. Jewel peered at Luna and her white freckle-less complexion. Instead of having lustrous golden-hair, Jewel was cursed with her grandfather’s ginger mane and speckled skin. I’ll never be a counterweight to Luna or those mean girls in my class.
Luna had style, while Jewel’s clothes were drab. The outfits her mother insisted she wear wouldn’t qualify as trendy. Emilia, had no eye for colors that corresponded to her daughter’s skin tone and hair. All Jewel wanted was to dress as fashionably as other girls.
She believed she was thewless compared to Luna, who shoved her aside, acting playful. She twirled her red gown in front of the mirror, and Luna’s skirt revolved around her perfect hips.
Jewel frowned. She was jealous of her sister. The pressure of living up to Luna’s elegance, and thinking about her mother’s treatment made Jewel’s head spin and her lungs constrict. She gasped for air and her heart beat sped. Luna noticed Jewel’s breathing and rubbed her back.
She was the only person who knew how much Luna despised her own appearance. “What’s wrong, Sis? Having anxiety? Relax, it will be fine. I left the mean girls from your class off the guest list.” Jewels chest and and hands unclenched.
“I keep telling you, you’re sixteen and you’ll grow into your beauty soon. Don’t let mother’s expectations bother you or those *itches from school. When I was in your grade, mean girls hated me too.”
Jewel nodded as the rest of her body calmed. “You keep telling me that my awkward stage is finite. But, I’ve always been gangly and plain.”
Luna smirked and grabbed Jewel’s hand as they sat on the bed. “No, you were a cute kid. Everyone thought so, and you’ll be a beautiful woman soon. You’re a late bloomer. Soon you’ll have boobs that rival those *itches in your class. Guys have a thing for red-heads, you know.”
“Mine’s ginger, not red.”
Luna squeezed her hand. “You’re beautiful as you’re are now. But I can’t make you see that. You have to believe that inside.” Jewel closed her eyes. She wished Luna’s words were true.
“You can’t keep postponing all of father’s parties or he’ll get mad again. One day you’ll believe you’re as gorgeous as I think you are. None of the women in our family are ugly or plain.”
Jewel shrugged. “I’m not ready, yet. Tell dad I’ll be fifteen minutes.” Luna hurried towards her door then halted.
She turned around and clasped her hands. “Jewel, wear one of my dresses. I have one that would be gorgeous on you. It’s not as trendy as the one you have, but the emerald green will highlight your hair and complexion well; your svelte figure too.”
Luna grinned and nodded. “I’ll talk to mom about letting me shop with you. Then, you and I can choose the clothes you like to wear. Mom can’t dress you like a twelve-year old forever.”
Jewel scrambled to Luna’s closet. She yanked out the emerald dress. “This one?”
“You bet. I always thought the color suited you better. You’ve got deasil, Jewel. Many excellent qualities on the outside and on the inside too; don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.”
Luna left and Jewel tore off her muted gown and slipped on the emerald silk dress. She zipped it up and was shocked to discover the shade made her skin glow. It complemented her hair too.
Her shoulders were bared and ruching at her chest enhanced Jewel’s cleavage. A bow on the gown sat above her bottom. To her delight, the dress was tight and ended mid-thigh.
Jewel grinned and borrowed a pair of her sisters heels. She flounced down the stairs. For once, was excited to attend one of her father’s parties. She couldn’t wait to see the expression on her mother’s face.
Maleficent stared from her dim dungeon-like castle eyeing King Stefan’s daughter, Aurora, playing in a wide open field.
She whispered to Crow, “They’re supposed to be watching her those three dim-witted fairies. When I was a good fairy, I watched my charges closely. How foolish they are, I could end her life now.”
Crow cawed, “She’s but ten years old and it isn’t her fault Stefan is her father. She doesn’t know what he did to you to become king.”
“Quiet, Crow. I’m thinking.”
“You think a great deal but never do much. Aurora knows what her fate is, those ignorant fairies told her. Now, whenever she can, she escapes to this field to play. She has no care for danger or death. Sometimes she sits and stares into the sky crying.”
“Why should I be merciful to her because she knows she will prick her finger and die in six-years? I owe her nothing. She is a means to an end.”
Crow cocked his head. “She is not responsible for her father’s crimes anymore than your parents were responsible for leaving you alone to rule the Marsh; your parents did not intend to die. Aurora, does not want to die either. Why not raise her yourself and find a way to undo the curse? Simply losing her will hurt Stefan deeply as the queen can’t have more children.”
Maleficent pinched the bridge of her nose. “I cannot undo such a powerful curse and I will not do Stefan any favours despite Aurora’s innocence. He raped me Crow, I was helpless. He cut off my wings. I will not save the girl.”
“You may change your mind yet. You have watched her for years and have become fond of her. You hate that she’s putting herself in peril now.”
“Yes, you have this soft smile on your face when you watch Aurora. You never smile that way except with her.”
Maleficent’s voice went cold. “In that case . . . ” she pointed her wand at the blond beauty. Heart beating loudly in her ears, she struck the small girl down. Aurora death was instant and a single tear slipped down the dark fairy’s cheek.
“Now, you see, Crow? I have ended her life. I’m not attached to her and we will bury Aurora’s body in the Marshes. Aurora’s early death will bring Stefan greater pain. He will live his life not knowing what happened to his daughter. His queen will die in grief.”
Tears dropped as diamonds from Crows’ coal-black eyes and wouldn’t stop. “I do not think Stefan is the most evil being in the kingdom. You are the person most full of evil. Just as he lost his heart to become king and hurt you, you have ended the life of an innocent child and are no better.”
“I meant for you to truly act as Aurora’s Godmother — not to kill her. You should’ve been the one to guard and protect her; I thought you loved her.”
“Love is as treacherous as running off alone to a field . . .”
Crow’s caw was forlorn. “Aurora could’ve had a new beginning with us, but I cannot serve a fairy whose heart has become black with revenge, with blood on her hands from an innocent’s death. How far you have fallen, Maleficent.”
“Stefan is not responsible for your evil deeds; you are responsible for your own crimes.”
Crow bowed once and flew away forever. Maleficent was left alone and inside her chest her heart’s ache was perpetual.
Hi, welcome to another interview for my biweekly interview series. I have been behind due to other projects so I’m having a special edition of my interview series featuring the lovely and talented Shivangi Singh from Minnesota in the United States, on a Sunday. Her blog’s link is here:Stories by Shivangi – Once Upon A Time . . .
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself?
I am Shivangi Singh from ‘Stories by Shivangi’ from Minnesota in the Unites States. I am a stay at home mom and I love to weave stories inspired by my surroundings. If you enjoy stories, films, and kids stuff, visit my blog, you will most definitely enjoy it.
As a child, I aways dreamt of writing books but with the development of technology, I have learned how easy it is to self-publish, now more than ever. I have managed to write, do some illustrating, and be the author of two children’s books that are available on Apple Itunes. They include the books below.
2. Please Tell Us About Your Recent Book? When Did You Begin Blogging and Writing?
My recent book Who Ate The Moon is about two naughty brothers Aala and Uja, who adore the moon. They steal the moon and through stealing it learn about the different phases of the moon. The book is educational as well as entertaining. Through my children’s books, I’m trying to make learning fun for kids.
I began blogging in January 2015 soon after my first little one was born. I have been a copywriter, journalist, and have won several awards in creative writing. The purpose of ‘Stories by Shivangi’ was to maintain my flair for writing. I was also feeling a little disconnected after moving to the USA from India, so I chose to start my blog to establish a connection with fellow bloggers, writers, and friends. Ultimately, my blog showed me the way to my dream of being a published author.
3. How is Writing and Blogging Meaningful for You? Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write? Why Is Writing Important to You?
My blog and writing my books provide me with a much-needed creative outlet. It is my voice! I use this voice to entertain, advocate, and teach little ones such as my own.
My inspirations are my surroundings, my kids, and the latest news or current events. As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge. This is one of my primary motivations to continue my blog as well as having that creative outlet for myself to write what I would like.
“As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge.” – Shivangi Singh
4. Do You Have Any Particular Blog or Writing Habits?
I write on the go and on my smartphone. A sentence here and a word there. With two demanding little ones around, it is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.
5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects On Your Blog or Otherwise?
As of now, I have not planned anything. I will just keep writing one blog a week! My projects have been my two kids books which you can access above. As I said, I try to not commit to too much with my little ones and their demands at the moment.
My book did get reviewed by Ritu ofBut I Smile Anyway, and I wrote a guest post for the site. I was interviewed by Ranjeeta of atrangizindagieksafaras well but have no future plans as of right now beyond blogging.
” [I]t is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.” -Shivangi Singh
6. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process You Went Through Writing Your Books?
It was quite challenging! I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.
Time was a challenge and so were the illustrations, but I did have an illustrator paint my cartoons in the first book (The Princess with Brown Teeth). But in my second book, I illustrated with the help ofPixton.com. My challenged of obtaining a visa was also a challenge so I couldn’t publish my books on Kindle. I was thrilled when my books were published on Apple, but then, I know many people with Android readers don’t have access to my books.
I did, however, put together a video on YouTube and did a voiceover of my books for readers who could not obtain my books through Apple. It did not come out as I had expected and I struggled on each step. I learned an enormous amount of information about putting together a video of my books in the process.
7. What Keeps You Going As a Writer? Do You Prefer Any Writing or Reading Genres?
Persistence and a love for writing are key, a person just has to keep writing no matter what. As well, I am absolutely crazy about fiction! I like to read poetry too!
“I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.” – Shivangi Singh
8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Bloggers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing?
All my blog friends are doing great! I would advise them to be persistent and be better than their last post! As for having anything else to say, well, I think I have said it all😀
9. For Fun, What Are You Three Favorite Blogs You Follow, of Any Kind?
When I first entered the blog world, these were my favourite people. I continue to enjoy reading them.
My grandma is a grand old lady nearing a century. If you look at her, she may appear formidable in the beginning and then a ringing laughter would ensue, dismantling the image you had conjured up in your mind. The fact is, she is both formidable as well as light hearted. A unique, delightful combination!
Born and brought up in a royal family ( Kharsawan, Jharkhand), she has always had that regal bearing. She believes in maintaining distance from her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids as well as recently added a great-great-grand kid. And we are all supposed to behave in her presence. We rise when she enters the room and remain respectful in her presence.
During my childhood years, we lived with her, so, we had the opportunity to observe her from the closest quarters. I discovered her lighter side later in life. Initially, I was apprehensive of her. She commanded and the household ran according to her. But as I grew up, I discovered the lighter, fun side of her personality. There have been many instances when she would have us in splits.
Here is one such incident. One of our cousins was going to meet a prospective bridegroom. In arranged marriages in India, girls and guys are introduced by their families, they meet up, chat and then a decision is taken unanimously.
So, this cousin was both excited as well as scared before her first meeting. Our granny called her and said, “If you like this man, try to do little something to make him fall for you.”
We were seeing another aspect of our grandma. We all asked, “what?”. She immediately showed us how to woo a husband – “Look sideways at him and then look down… blush… look up again at him… look down and blush again. And then smile juuust a little.” We doubled up with laughter!
I don’t know whether my cousin looked sideways at the prospective groom or not but they ended up getting married!
(Sharing a picture of my grandparents)
I look up to my grand old lady because she always had the audacity to laugh at all challenges that came in her life. In her almost 100 years of life, she has seen many ups and downs. All her peers are long gone now, times have changed but she has remained strong.
I adore her because she is quite broad-minded, childlike and her booming laughter lightens the most serious of situations. A great devotee of Krishna, she follows what the playful God says – to celebrate life as it is!
Thanks so much to Shivangi for filling out my interview questions! I even gave Shivangi the wrong interview questions (the one’s for blogs that are causes) and she still did a brilliant job. She is an inspiration as a writer and a mother and I wish her good luck in the future with her family and writing. Here is the link to here homepage one last time: Stories By Shivangi
Thanks for reading this interview and if you are interested in being interviewed as a writer/blogger or you a blogger writing for a specific cause (or both), you can reach out to me on myContact Page. See you on Monday for my regularly scheduled interview 🙂
I marvelled at the set of angel lights at the the beginning of each block, with another set of angels at the end, as I joined my friends at a pub.
It seemed right these angels should be here, watching over the revelry. As I later walked a block down in the early morning hours to catch a cab, I recalled my thoughts on angels as child.
Sometimes I had nightmares and I was too afraid to fall asleep. My Mom told me not to worry because God’s angels were always watching over me. Still, I looked to the corners of my room afraid because the corners were the darkest places.
Eventually, I began to imagine angels were there in these corners guarding me as I slept. If I woke up afraid I’d look to the corners of my bedroom ceiling and feel safe. Sometimes I dreamed I could see these celestial beings watching over me.
Going home that night in the cab I gazed at the angels made of lights, four of them guarding a street; I hoped the night ended safely for all.