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Teacher/Author Number Two – Stephen Hines

I am convinced that good is good; and if you are meant to make it big, you probably will.

Diamonds are buried deep in the Earth…but they always seem to get found. Right?
This intro is for my next, diamond in the rough, teacher-by-day and author-by-night: Stephen Hines.   
You may remember Stephen from a recent letter he emailed to me about how hard it is to get published. Believe me Stephen, "I know oh so well."  Anyway, he gave me permission to post two short chapters from his, trying-to-get-published, young adult novel, Hocus Focus

He sent me a picture of himself, and once I am able to upload it (uuugghhh), you will see, he is a character, with character.

Chapter One


           “Hmmmm. Unusual.”

“Uh, what?” I said.


“Yeah, uh, I heard that. What’s, like, unusual?” This Dr. Third dude was ticking me off. Here I was, the new kid in town, getting ready to start school at Aulmpitt Junior High, moved here by my psycho over-protective mother because I was about ready to be expelled, and he’s sticking his big bald head and hairy nose in my face and saying, “Unusual.”

“You have seen quite a bit with your young eyes, haven’t you, young man?” he said.

“Uh…I guess. Why?” I was starting to get a little weirded out by this dork. What the heck? Who hasn’t seen a lot with their freaking eyeballs? All I saw was a bunch of weird Chinese or Japanese crap on the walls of his office.

“Hmmm…well anyway, Lenny, your prescription has changed a little. We are going to have to give you some stronger contacts than you are used to. These are some very special new lenses that are not available to most people. Okay?”

“Uh, yeah. I guess. So, uh, what’s so special about them?”

“Let’s just say only people with certain conditions can get them. So you might not want to tell all your friends at school, okay?”

“Uh, okay. It’s not like I have any friends here. We just moved here from Columbus.”

“Well, then we do not have to worry about anyone getting jealous of your special new set of eyes then, do we?” Dr. Third said, smiling like a big bald half-Japanese fat kid eyeballing a piece of chocolate cake.

“Yeah,” I mumbled.

“Here,” he said. “Take this out to Mrs. Condescending, my receptionist. She will get your new lenses for you. They might take a little getting used to, but I am sure an exceptional young man such as yourself will get the hang of them quickly enough.”

“Uh, exceptional? Right. Sure.”

“One more thing, Lenny. It may seem like your eyes are fighting with the new contacts at first, but eventually your body will be one with them. Eventually you will be seeing things you have never seen before.” He ripped the paper off his notepad, handed it to me, and I got the heck out of there. That geek was giving me the creeps.

As I was heading out I heard him say, “Be sure to stop back if you have any problems or concerns, Lenny. I’m here to help. And we’re also open until seven on Thursdays if you need to come in late.”

Mom kind of gave me a weird look when I came out into the lobby, like she could tell how weirded out I was, but she didn’t say anything. I just got my lenses and got the heck out of there. 



  1. This caught my attention and made me want to read more. It seems like something young adults/teens would like. Keep writing, nEd. I think you’ve got good stuff coming!

  2. This is in response to to anyone who is looking to become a published writer. Being a teacher has absolutely nothing to do with getting published. Your novel will or will not be published based upon its own merits or lack thereof. However, if you believe this to be the case then submit your work to an agent or publisher without providing them with the fact that you are a teacher. I gather from your excerpt Stephen that your goal is to create literary fiction as opposed to transient garbage. The former is surely a worthy endeavor. While I think your excerpt has some merit it falls considerably short of quality literary fiction. My intent is not to be cruel, merely honest. Take it for what it is worth. I suggest you read more literary fiction to get a better grasp on what you are up against. But who am I to judge?



  3. Stephen Hines says:

    In response to John’s comments, I was able to get my agent to read my manuscript based on the merit of the plot summary I gave her at a writer’s convention. She didn’t find out that I was a teacher until she’d already agreed to read it.

    And, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m trying to create literary fiction. I would hope my books aren’t transient, trendy garbage. But, in all honesty, I’m just trying to write stories, that pop into my head of their own accord, in a way that will appeal to reluctant readers. I read quite a few young adult novels, and in my opinion, my stuff measures up to the general level of quality out there.

    Thanks for the honest feedback, John!

  4. Fair enough Stephen. In terms of what you are looking to do I think your manuscript has great potential and certainly isn’t “transient”. Best of luck in your efforts.