Tag Archives: short stories

just doing some shameless authoring…

You are making your winter reads list right?  You know, the books to cuddle on the couch with… the books you will be reading during Thanksgiving break…

Click here for some to add!

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Here’s Your FREE Comedic Weekend Read!

This weekend only, the comedic short read “Grace in Retail” is FREE! Enjoy this hilarious story while pool side or while relaxing in your back yard. You have today and Sunday to download it FREE from Amazon.

ENJOY her tips now!

Download A New Read for Your Extended Holiday for FREE! “Grace in Retail”

This weekend only, the comedic short read “Grace in Retail” is FREE! Enjoy this hilarious story while pool side or while relaxing in your back yard. You have today, Saturday and Sunday to download it FREE from Amazon.

ENJOY!

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SHE CHRONICLES: “Running to Be Free” a story by Jetta Dya Jones

It had been a scorching hot day with thick, humid air helping to carry the smell of cotton for miles.  Running through the plantation fields for the last time, eleven year old Ellen knew at sundown she would be separated from her mother possibly never seeing her again.  The mistress had become increasingly irritated that the young mulatto was always mistaken for one of her children and was a reminder of the master’s indiscretions.  She would be taken to Macon, Georgia, as a wedding gift for her half-sister.

It was in Macon that Ellen would meet her future husband, William Craft, also a slave.  And it was during this period that the talented seamstress decided no child she might eventually bear as a mother would be separated from her as was her case when her mother was suddenly gone.  Her bloodline would never live under the wretched system of American slavery and suffer that kind of agonizing pain.

Fortitude, a tenacious resolve, quick thinking, suspicion, terror, and a major victory – all would shadow the gallant escape from slavery of William and Ellen Craft.  It would be recorded as a thrilling tale of espionage, deception, and intrigue and one of the boldest, most brazen escapes from the institution of slavery ever.

Knowing slaveholders have the privilege of taking their slaves to any part of the country they think proper, it occurred to me that as my wife was nearly white, I might get her to disguise herself as an invalid gentleman, and assume to be my master, while I could attend as his slave, and that in this manner, we might affect our escape, wrote William, once they both finally learned to read and write.  They realized this plan could either succeed or fail which would mean freedom or death.

Instead of fleeing in the midnight hour with the North Star; mailing themselves in crates and hoping the bloodhounds wouldn’t pick up a human scent; or devising clever ways to stow away on ships and wagons, the Crafts traveled out in the open during the day mainly by train in first class accommodations while also making connections on ferry boats and steamers.  They dined with steamboat captains and stayed in the best hotels as they got closer to their destination of Philadelphia.

Yet, despite the luxury settings, the four day journey was fraught with narrow escapes and heart-in-the-mouth moments that could have led to their discovery and capture.  Beardless and unable to sign in at hotels because she had never learned to read or write, she cleverly covered her face with a poultice, placed her writing hand in a cast, and donned tinted eyeglasses.

With the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 threatening their impending freedom, the Crafts were moved around Boston and then ushered safely to Liverpool, England, thanks to the abolitionist work of the Committee of Safety and Vigilance.  After giving birth to five children, four born in England, the Crafts returned to the United States in 1868, opening an industrial/agricultural school near Savannah, Georgia, for freedmen’s children.

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Jetta Dya Jones (a.k.a.) is a retired educator (Nikki Skies was one of her former students),a former model, and now a freelance writer and motivational speaker. Her inspirational book, The Breakthrough (Life Chronicles Publishing), the first of multiple literary, film,and curriculum projects, is scheduled to be released by early fall 2017. The native Kansas Citian currently resides in Inglewood, CA where she is currently developing and working towards funding for Ethan’s Kids, dedicated to the empowerment and support of creative youth artists and in memory of a young man very important in her life.

Has It Really Been 10 Years? Ok, especially for today…

Ten years ago today I released my first book, “Mississippi Window Cracks”.  Wow!

Mississippi Window Crack

I literally drafted the book after spending a few days visiting a friend in Jackson, Mississippi.  From the energy of the historical places to the scent of the zesty magnolia trees to the delicious southern cuisine… I had a lot to write about!

“Mississippi Window Cracks” is a collection of six short stories and three prose pieces.  Here is a breakdown of the book:

The Untimely Flight – A story of two women with a chance meeting in the airport traveling to different locations.  One is on a business trip and the other reuniting with her family after abandoning them to follow her dreams some ten years prior.  Their meeting is purposeful yet brief. Just as life would have it.

The Auction – “For Mothers of wombs that drum life and dance the promise of tomorrow, I pour this libation.  For the victories of liberation and paths of freedom you laid before me, I walk today for you.”  As a child, one of Angel’s childhood stories told by her grandmother was that of Hathor and Tehuti.  An ancient Egyptian story told about the Goddess of beauty and the messenger of wisdom.  It has been whispered that the legendary Odu family in Mississippi carries the spirit of these deities, Angel and her brother Country.  She is here to persuade her brother to come home to his god-like self and maintain the balance in the world.

Return to Ruins – A prose piece in reference to the slave plantation called, The Windsor Ruins.

Summer Love – A steamy love story about a young woman working as an intern in Yazoo City, Mississippi.  She falls hard for a local radio DJ who spins more for her than the hottest tunes.

A Prose for Medgar and Myrlie – “Her bladder was full of miles like her mother’s.  She watered the ground with chocolate auburn.  The spices enticed the clouds to cry and capture the streets. She met him where the sun sat in the fire pit.  Her kissed her hand to summons a feather so she wouldn’t doubt his words.  His eyes were complete like the turn of an owl’s head.  Her fears poured from her spine like pureed apples.  The preacher announced their commitment where roads met corners with mirrors.  He hung their picture in a birdcage to catch time.  He told them not to be afraid.”

The Grass is Simply Green – Nia and LaDonna are best friends who have ventured lessons in life together.  Now, together they face reproductive injustice as one yearns to start a family.  Together they stand as long as one of them holds a secret from the other.

A Prose for Fannie Lou Hamer – “If you see her.  Tell her you remember.  Her protected skin that matched night.  Unafraid.  Sleep patterned to that of bats.  Called upon.  Like Nut and Shu.  To uphold the heavens.  Keep young mouths breathing.  When tempted to swallow swollen faith.  She followed the dust and escaped through vents.”

Southern Betrayal – The  story  of a woman scorned by love.  She travels to a voodoo/root shop to see if the potions really work as she seeks revenge on her ex-love.

When Chris Met Katrina – Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and parts of Mississippi.  Like thousands of people who stayed to “wait this one out”, Chris does not evacuate his childhood home.  The storm passed as he suspected but the waters began to rise from the storm drains and flood the streets.  This is the day Chris met Katrina.

I suppose authors do something special when their books have anniversaries and what not :- /  so I am offering  autographed books  with FREE shipping of “Mississippi Window Cracks”. I only have a few sitting around my house.  I hope you enjoy it!

Re-Membering Katrina, “When Chris Met Katrina”- a short story

The boat whistled its’ way through the waters and soon the screams of the women faded. The air was now filled with the constant yells of families sitting on roofs screaming for help.  They approached Memorial Medical Center and Chris decided to seek refuge there.  As he got closer, he could see through the lobby window hundreds of people camped inside.  Every seat was occupied and people were sprawled out on the floor with blankets.  Police were patrolling the doors.  Chris knocked but the policemen just stood and shook their heads in the negative.  Chris trudged through the water to the other side of the hospital and policemen were standing heavy guard at those doors too.  He knew besides the sore bones and loose teeth, he had no serious injury and they were not going to let him in.

Chris double tied his bag of food and treaded through the water on his tippy toes.  He began to reminisce on the summers growing up in New Orleans.  His father worked as a mechanic in a neighborhood shop and in the summer Chris would help out by washing the cars once he was done.  Afterwards, instead of joining his cousins down at the local swimming pool, he hung out with the neighborhood knuckle heads and smoked weed.  Or they convinced one of the older drunks to buy them liquor.  He was all of nine years old.  With the water slapping up against his chest and occasionally splashing in his face, he wished he had taken those swimming lessons instead.

A few blocks from the hospital, Chris found himself pacing in the water side by side with a dog.  The dog was a dark brown cocker spaniel probably looking for a dry place to rest his feet.  From atop, the dog seemed to be relaxed.  But he knew underneath he was probably  paddling his legs wild as the devil!  Chris remembered how easy it was to tread the dog paddle when he was younger so he picked his feet up to give it a try.  He quickly dipped in the thick, murky waters and emerged panicked.  He struggled to get his stance stable but soon regained his pace and continued down the street with the other stranded people.

A little ways down, Chris spotted the small boat and whistled to get their attention.  They acknowledged him by waving.  Other people began to whistle and try and make their way to the boat too so Chris picked up his pace.  The eyes of the dog swimming nearby were showing signs of exhaustion.  There was no telling how long the dog had been in the water.  The dog let out a bark, then went under the water.  Within seconds, his head reappeared and he began to bark in desperation.  Chris was mindful to stay as far away from the dog as possible to avoid being bitten.  The small boat reeved it’s engine as they waited for him.  The dog’s bark now became aggressive as he continued to swim towards Chris.  The men on the boat splashed water towards the dog to slow him down and distract  his concentration on swimming.

“Come on man!  Dat dog look mad or summin’!,” one of the men said.

Chris turned his head to witness the dog go under again.  He started to run on his tip toes because he knew he would get sprayed with the dirty water when the dog came back up.  He reached the boat and threw his bag of food aboard.  He could feel the water spray on the back of his neck as the dog shook its’ head.  The men reached down and pulled Chris on the boat.

“They wasn’t lettin’ nobody in down at the hospital huh?,” Gunner asked.

“Naw,” Chris simply replied.

The boat pulled away and the dog continued to swim behind it.  His eyes were bulging as he barked pleas of help.  There was nothing in sight for the dog to take refuge on.  The dog’s shiny, brown coat disappeared under the water a third time, not to emerge again.

a snippet from the short story book, Mississippi Window Cracks.

Purchase your copy today

Mississippi Window Crack

Work retail? YOU need these tips on thieves from “Grace in Retail”

She has more tips for store managers in retail!  Have you gotten your copy?  Why not??  After all, you made it a TOP seller on Amazon’s short read list for humor & entertainment!

The Making of Mississippi Window Cracks

(the prologue to Mississippi Window Cracks written in 2006)

A few years ago I decided that after all the books and movies I had read and seen related to the civil rights struggles and the state called Mississippi, it was time to take a visit.  I arranged to spend a few days in Jackson, Mississippi, with a colleague of mine so I could walk the land that enveloped the energy of Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Margaret Walker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Emmett Till and the streets of the infamous “Freedom Summers”.  My time there was filled with meeting civil rights heroes that are still alive, pouring libation on slave plantations, visiting museums and other historic sites, relaxing on the porch fanning flies until the sunset, and of course the southern cuisine.

One morning, my friend declared she knew the best place in town for a good bowl of grits.  Upon arriving at the cozy, corner diner downtown, she turned the car off and told me to put a crack in the window.  I told her that living in Los Angeles, people really didn’t do that but I remember it from growing up in Kansas City, Mo. Effortlessly, she rolled a crack in the driver’s side window.  I followed hastily already tasting the buttery grits in my mouth.  She turned and looked at me then spoke with hesitance in her voice.

“What’s that?”, she asked.

“What’s what?”

“I thought you were going to put a crack in the window.”

“I did.”

“That’s a crack?,” she asked sarcastically.

Now feeling totally self conscious I affirmed, “Yeah, this is the kind of window crack I used to do in the summertime in Kansas City.”

“Well this ain’t Missouri, this is Mississippi!  You better put a bigger crack in that window as hott as it is out here!”

I gave the handle on the window a few more turns to open it up.

She encouraged me, “A little more.”

I carefully cranked it until I gained her nod of approval, “Like this?”

“Yeah!  Now that there is a Mississippi window crack!”

The funny part about this story is how serious it got!  It was almost a borderline argument.  But as we walked in the diner, we laughed and joked how that would be a good title for a poem and who was going to write it first.  Well, here is my book of short stories that chronicle the tales fed to me through the trees, music, and people I met during my time spend in Jackson.  Instead of vacationing in the Bahamas or Paris, take a visit down in the deep south to a part of history, your history, our history.  You ever heard the saying, “There’s the United States and then there’s Mississippi?”  It’s the truth!  Go feel it for yourself!

with love,

nikki skies

PS – The grits were delicious!

Mississippi Window Crack

Get your autographed copy here!