My Christmas story for you: Jasim wants nothing more than to see the Christmas-tree lighting in Daley Plaza and the holiday decorations in the store windows. Husam, his older brother, has other plans. They find themselves on the same bus headed towards downtown Chicago. The script for the short film, “Mujahid,” is now available on Amazon. Your reviews and shares are very much appreciated, as always. http://tinyurl.com/o348ybj
I urge my fellow writers, artists, musicians, performing artists, producers, directors, distributors—all those involved in the arts—to respond with courage, disdain, and the passion of Cyrano against those who would silence us. The war against freedom of expression is one of dynamic momentum, in which we are either advancing or retreating. Do not imagine that the enemies of freedom will cease attacking if only we’ll shut up and be quiet. Silence buys the artist nothing but self-censured, empty hours until the day he is either forced to serve the censors’ ends or be killed if he refuses. The enemies of freedom cannot afford to back down and remain passive while we in the West are allowed to express our ideas and views as we freely choose. Freedom is the totalitarians’ worst enemy, and they will continue attacking freedom and freely expressed ideas until they win or are forced to back down. Stand now, artists, and speak up–by doing what you do best, without restraint, and demanding that your freedom to do so be adequately defended–or watch in shame and regret as the generation of artists that follows is forced to kneel in silence.
Note to those in elected positions in the U.S. government: either act to protect our freedom of speech or look for other employment. Upholding and defending the freedoms guaranteed to your constituents in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights–this is your first and primary job. If you fail to do your job, those in the arts can be quite persuasive. That’s our job. We only ask that you stand with us and for us as our fellow Americans: speak up in defense of our speaking up, and support forcefulness against those who would use force against us. That’s all we ask. That’s all we need.
For your Halloween reading pleasure…
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After preparing and eating her dinner of squirrel stew, spoon bread and baked apples, she worked on her mending until her fingers tired, then settled into the rocker by the fire to read.
Somewhere in the English countryside, beneath a cascading willow in a flowering spring meadow, a pair of young lovers sat on a blanket plotting their elopement, but it was next to impossible for her to eavesdrop on them for more than a few sentences as the winds had begun to tear at the cabin’s eaves and to test the shutters’ latches. She laid the book aside, pulled her knees up to her chin and wrapped herself in the quilt her grandmother had made. As the minutes and hours ticked away on the clock on the mantel, she rocked, watching the fire.
The wood seemed to be burning more drily and quickly than usual. At this rate, the provision next to the hearth would be depleted by sometime the next morning, and there was less than a quarter of a cord remaining on the porch. After watching the fire awhile longer, she reluctantly extricated herself from her cocoon, donned her coat and boots, lit the lantern, and lifted the bar from the door.
The wind ripped the door from her hand and slammed it against the wall as a sheet of stinging snow whipped around her and into the house. Slinging the rifle over her shoulder, she pushed her way out, succeeding in pulling the door shut only when the wind slackened momentarily.
There was over a foot of snow on the ground already, and it had drifted twice as high against the side of the cabin. Leaning into the gale, she waded out across the yard, the driving whiteness within the sphere of her lantern’s light stinging her eyes. She brushed the accumulation from the top of the wood stack with her coat sleeve, chiding herself for not having thought to move more wood to the porch earlier in the day. One couldn’t afford to make such mistakes, living alone in the country. As she struggled to carry a dozen high armloads back to the porch, she found herself angry with the sheriff for having distracted her from her preparations, angry that he had brought Caleb along, angry with Caleb for existing—and for being possum-ugly to boot—angry with herself for allowing herself to be distracted, angry with herself for being angry. From the improved supply on the porch, she replenished the stock by the hearth and, using what strength was left in her legs, forced the door closed again. Sinking back against it, she shuddered, thoroughly soaked and chilled to the bone.
Once she had recovered sufficiently to strip out of her wet clothes and hang them from the mantle to dry, she bundled herself in the quilt and brewed a cup of sassafras tea. With the rocking chair pulled as close to the fire as she could bear, her hair dried quickly, but even after her body was warmed through, the rim of the teacup chattered against her teeth. She picked up her sewing, but her fingers wouldn’t hold steady. The wind wailed against the shutters, pressing, tugging, probing unrelentingly. She tried her book again but found her eyes drifting over and over to the beginning of the same paragraph.
There was a thudding bang from somewhere outside—from the direction of the barn perhaps. It could have been anything, a falling branch hitting the chicken coop roof or one of the horses kicking something over. She thought she had heard a whinny. Hopefully, the animals were okay, but she wasn’t going back outside, not tonight. It helped to watch the shifting patterns in the coals. The lick of the yellow and orange flames helped warm her soul as the tea warmed her bones. She needed a dog. Maybe in the springtime she could find a puppy. It would need to be a large breed, a good farm dog, maybe a shepherd or a retriever or a hound. A big cuddly mongrel would be fine.
Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock.
The tea spilled over her lap and the cup burst into pieces, scattering across the stone hearth….
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From “April’s Justice,” just one of the short stories and poems included in my Lunch Break collection, now available on Amazon.
I’m pleased to announce the release of Genesis, Part I of the Idolatry series. “In the twilight of the Roman Empire, a sculptor struggles to keep an 800-year dream alive while honoring the love of his life and raising his adoptive son. Part I of the *Idolatry* series, an epic story in five parts.” Only $2.99. Your reviews are so very much appreciated! http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Idolatry-Book-Quent-Cordair-ebook/dp/B00MUWOWDW
In “The Match,” Elizabeth thinks that her boyfriend, the detective, may be ready to propose, but when conversation takes an unexpected turn, she must decide how much to reveal about a collection of books and an encounter with the law on a night when life and death hung in the balance.” Now available @ http://www.amazon.com/The-Match-ebook/dp/B00CTWYBKC
Reviews of Cordair’s short-story collection, *Lunch Break*:
“The stories are full of beautiful lines, priceless events, and unexpected plot twists – from a meaning-packed ‘I can and I do’ in ‘A Prelude to Pleasure,’ to a knee to the groin in ‘The Seduction of Santi Banesh,’ to countless others that I dare not mention for fear of robbing you of the pleasure of reading the stories yourself.” – The Objective Standard
“Could you read these during your lunch break? Yes. Will you want to? No. You won’t want to rush yourself. You’ll want to pour yourself a glass of wine, snuggle into your favorite chair, turn off your phone, and spend every luxurious minute that you can immersing yourself in these stories.” – Elizabeth O’Brien, author of English Grammar Revolution
“…well worth the price. If you haven’t read any of Quent’s stories yet, I almost envy you. I’m waiting eagerly for more.” – Dianne Durante, author of the Forgotten Delights series
“…it is fuel for the spirit; it is an affirmation of life and what is good. That he writes beautifully and imaginatively adds to the reading pleasure.” – Michael Wilkinson, Sculptor
“Oh, Frank – this is gorgeous.”
“I thought you might like it.”
He pulled her chair out for her. It was a cozy, candlelit table for two in a private corner of the restaurant, with a view of the moonlit garden and the fire in the stone fireplace. The table linens were soft cream, the flatware was real silver, the china was real china. The champagne chilling tableside was from Elizabeth’s favorite winery – their finest blanc de blanc too, not the label available in the stores. Surely this was a very special occasion. Could it be that he – ? Was it possible that he might – ? She didn’t dare think it. Wouldn’t dare hope it.
It didn’t matter though, not really. Frank was more dashing than ever, with his fresh haircut, polished shoes and pressed suit, wearing the cologne she had given him for his birthday, the one that stirred her to her toes. Judging by the way he had been looking at her since pulling up to the house in the rented limousine, she knew she had made the right choice, with the little black dress and the pearls and the matching earrings. Simple, just like he liked it. “No distraction from the main attraction,” as he liked to say. Sure, they were only freshwater pearls, but she knew he didn’t care. She had found new shoes, too, for the occasion – black with laces double-crossing up the ankle and three small beads down the front to match the pearls. Tonight he was king, and she was, well, if not yet queen – but no matter – she was the happiest and most honored subject in the kingdom. His kingdom. All his . . .
As he returned the waiter’s greeting, she continued gazing dreamily, unable to take her eyes off of him as the waiter removed the foil from the champagne cork, unwound the wire and gently twisted the bottle. At the cork’s pop, she started and suppressed a laugh. As the sweet, exquisitely small bubbles rose in her glass, she had to work to contain the thrill of delight and expectation rising with them. And Frank – her dear Frank – was watching her face in the candlelight and smiling. When the waiter backed away, her eyes were moist.
He raised a toast.
“To us,” he said.
“To us,” she answered.
Already she couldn’t wait for him to take her home…..
(Stay tuned! The story will be published shortly. Follow this blog for the announcement, or follow me on FaceBook. Thanks for your continued support.)
I’m pleased to announce that Lunch Break is now available through Barnes & Noble for Nook @ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lunch-break-quent-cordair/1112986475. Reviews don’t carry over from Amazon, so any reviews posted on Barnes & Noble’s site are very much appreciated.
Of course the collection is also still available via Amazon in paperback and for Kindle @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008B0KXFI. Thanks for everyone’s continued support, enthusiasm and encouragement.
I’m very pleased to share with you a newly released story on Kindle, a 30-minute screenplay I wrote in 2001. I still love the story, and it deserves to see the light of day rather than remain tucked away in a box. I hope you enjoy “At Home
“The sparks fly when movie star Rex Keller is the special guest on Heather James’ talk show. As the handsome heartthrob and the smitten host preview the clips for the actor’s new film, the heat rises, and by the end of the show, Heather is made an offer she can’t refuse. Or can she . . . ?”
The *Lunch Break* collection of my short stories and poems is now available on Kindle @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008B0KXFI
(No need for a Kindle, just download the free Kindle reader for most PCs, Macs, smartphones, tablets @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771 .)
“A selection of short stories and poems by acclaimed writer Quent Cordair from two decades of early work, including stories originally selected for publication by *The Altantean Press Review* and *ART Ideas.*
Selected Stories — “A Prelude to Pleasure,” “April’s Justice,” “The Whistler,” “The Seduction of Santi Banesh,” “For the Woman Who Has Everything,” “The Sculpture That Won the War,” “The Hunter” and “Sheltered.”
Selected Poems — “My Pledge,” “Holding Your Hand,” “The Line,” “Your Hands,” “Priceless,” “In My World,” “Suite Boxes,” “For My Softest One” and “Clever Girl.”
Three of the stories, “A Prelude to Pleasure,” “The Seduction of Santi Banesh,” and “Sheltered” are available separately for Kindle. “Sheltered” is additionally in paperback.
“Written with an engaging voice and a masterful control of language, this powerful short story delivers a meaningful message…” – Michael Alger, review of “Sheltered,” Kindle edition.
“A beautiful, innocent young girl discovers this-worldly values and makes the most important decision of her life. That’s about all there is to this story, and yet it is a delicious pleasure to read. Cordair’s descriptions of the city, his insight into the various psychologies of the characters, his metaphors, and especially his admirable heroine, all combine to take the reader on a joyous journey of discovery, right along with Santi. The ending is one of the most perfect I’ve ever encountered, summing up the benevolence of the whole experience with its simplicity and inevitability. Cordair has seduced me – his is the type of world that I choose to live in.” — Amy Mossoff, review of “The Seduction of Santi Banesh,” Kindle edition.
“I read this story during recovery from a painful hip fracture and found it so absorbing that it took my mind off the post-operative pain. So perhaps one way of praising it would be to say, ‘it’s better than Percocet’!” — Paul Hsieh, review of “A Prelude to Pleasure,” Kindle edition.
“This short story was delightful to read. In contrast to the dull, prosaic prose of so much fiction today, Cordair beautifully paints for the reader the psychological state of a man driven by fear and how this manifests itself in his life. The progression of events is logical and the ending of the story is ultimately fulfilling in the sense that when the inevitable turn of events unfold, the reader is left with the thought that, given the nature of the characters and their circumstances, this is how it ought to have been. Moreover, Cordair seems to have a gift for grasping exactly how much detail a reader needs of an environment and of a character, such that the story comes alive and is engaging, but I never once felt like I was forced to read unnecessary facts that are irrelevant to the plot. After reading this book, I immediately purchased on my Kindle his other short story, A Prelude to Pleasure, and I’m looking forward to his release of his full-length novel.” — Adam Mossoff, review of “Sheltered,” Kindle edition.
“I enjoyed this very much. The less I say in this review, the better. I wouldn’t want to steal any of the pleasure that comes from reading it, being drawn in, liking some characters, disliking others, cheering some on and sometimes being moved to tears. Enjoy!” — Sal Durante, review of “A Prelude to Pleasure,” Kindle edition.
“With imagination and story-telling skill, Quent Cordair weaves an exquisite tale that leaves the reader wanting more.” — Michael Wilkinson, review of “The Seduction of Santi Banesh,” Kindle edition.
“What a wonderful journey….! Amazing job of character development in such a short story. An entertaining read with a great message about priorities and values. Read it, you won’t be disappointed.” — John Cerasuolo, review of “Sheltered,” Kindle edition.
Download your copy today @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008B0KXFI
Here’s an excerpt from “The Hunter,” one of the stories included in my soon-to-be-published collection, Lunch Break:
The classroom windows were open to the life-laden air of New England’s early summer. Patches of sunlight waltzed with shadows of leaves across open textbooks and pages of notes. The young woman speaking at the head of the class paused, looking up from her lectern and over the faces on which the sun would soon fully shine.
“In summary, class, courage is a requirement for achieving and maintaining values great and small—the greater the value and the less certain its achievement, the greater the requisite courage. Courage is a concomitant of principle, a form of integrity, a necessity for achieving the proper end of all ends—man’s life. . . . Next week, you will be tested on the material we covered today, but remember that you are, and will be, tested every day of your life by reality itself. Your reward for passing my test will be a good grade; your reward from reality will be the greatest happiness possible to you. Class dismissed.”
A murmur of voices rose, punctuated with squeaks of desks and scrapes of moving chairs, subsiding again as the students filtered out. Two remained. A dandelion-haired girl, whose unfolding beauty had raced a day ahead of spring’s pace, gathered her belongings and, after a moment’s hesitation, followed her peers. An awkward boy, preoccupied ostensibly with making a few extra notes and arranging his materials, watched her leave. He unraveled his lanky frame and ambled slowly towards the door.
“Is there anything you’d like to talk about?”
Her most intelligent and studious pupil had spent another day in class staring absently out the window and tracing distractedly in the margin of his book. His glasses, which usually magnified a bright liveliness, today revealed only clouds of frustration and melancholy.
“Ms. Ralovna, have you ever wanted something so much that you were afraid to go after it?” he asked.
She looked to an empty chair in the back corner of the room where, in another classroom, in another time, another boy had sat.
“David, do you remember the discussion we had last week about the difference between living and not dying?” She watched with delight as a pinpoint ray of understanding pierced his clouds.
“If you’ll excuse me, ma’am—” His words had barely escaped a flurry of thought as he departed in an altogether altered state of distraction.
The professor collected her books and her briefcase. Before closing the door, she stopped and gazed again at the empty chair. A pair of girls who were passing in the hall at that moment waited until they were out of earshot.
“Did you see the look on her face?”
“It’s my opinion that Dr. Tatiana Ralovna has a lover.”
“And she’s meeting him tonight.”
“I wonder what he’s like.”
“He’s probably an accountant.”
“And what will they do?”
“Talk in impassioned whispers about the philosophy of mathematics.”
They giggled and changed the subject to shoes.
Stay tuned for launch of the collection, Lunch Break, which should be out on Kindle within the next week, and then in paperback within two weeks or so thereafter!