The Day god Died: Chapters I & II

Chapter I: Necessity Breeds Destiny

We were poor, almost destitute. I remember pretending to sleep through my father’s weeping himself into exhaustion, day after day, from scratching a scanty living gathering and selling fish to our neighbors. The Nile sustained both of us, until, that is, I became a thief. Father was once a holy man, so the first day I stepped through the door with a handful of silver and laid the coins before his feet, he didn’t ask where my bounty came from. Instead, he sighed. Then, he kissed me and hurried out to trade for wheat and barley. Though necessity drove me to steal my daily bread, I soon found, Ra forgive me, that I was good at it. In fact, I loved the thrill of following fat patricians, as they waded through the agora’s crowds. I became their shadows, and when the moment was ripe, I jostled them, pretending accident, before I slipped my knife into their robes and sauntered into the crowd before they knew their purse was gone.

            That day, thievery and destiny entangled. Forever after, my previous insignificant life was insnared in a role far larger, and far worser than what fates befall the gods. I had been stupid, even overconfident. It was a ruse I used often: I hid behind some drunkard poking the barrels of beer imported from upper Egypt grumbling about their price. Senselessly, I lobbed a small stone at the next merchant’s stall, if I am remembering right, hitting him full on the chin. At once, the stall holders clamored at each other’s throats allotting their recriminations. In the upheaval, I grabbed a basket, believing it stuffed with bread, from behind the beer seller’s stall.

            But a woman caught me in the act. She emerged from the encirclement of barrels stored behind the stall just as I scooped up my prize and shouted: “Thief!” The entire agora turned. A cacophony of voices followed her, “Stop that thief!” and “Somebody, grab that boy!” I squirmed through the crowding press of the rich and poor alike until—crack—a soldier supplied a cudgel to the forehead. When I came ‘round, the soldier had dug his heel into my chest, pinning me to the ground in the center of the jabbering, malicious crowd. I struggled, but he picked me up by the neck and punched me full in the face with his battle-hardened knuckles. My legs went limp.

            “That boy is Ishaq,” I heard someone cry. Another yelled, “have pity on him. His father once served Horus.”

            The crowd’s expressions whirled and meshed with the blue liveries donning Pharoah’s guard, and I knew I was caught.

            I spit out a single tooth, and feared my own blood threatened to drown me. The soldier dropped me, and I sat up dazed and trembling. Onlookers craned forward to see the incriminating evidence the soldier was about to pull out the basket. I’ll never forget his smirk.

            “Why lose an ear for papyrus, boy?” he asked.

            “It’s not bread?” I replied.

            He laughed, “Scribbles make poor excuses for bread.”

            Then, a wave of jostling and shouting, and the crowd parted for six seven-foot-tall spearmen. Into the clearing stepped a figure outfitted entirely in scarlet. Though, I had never seen him before, I knew this was Imhotep: the first prince of Egypt, husband to Pharaoh’s daughter, regent of Alexandria, and, as such, held the power of life and death over all peoples for a hundred leagues. The agora fell silent, and I gawped at him, frightened, as his eyes scanned serenely up and down my starved body, taking in my unshaved scalp, bloody face, and tattered clothes. Prince Imhotep was a slight man, not tall like his guards but handsome. He had a body sharpened from heavy use clad in a scarlet kaftan, and a black satchel, fixed with a turquoise clasp at his hip. In his left hand, he fingered a black leather riding whip a yard long. His face was clean-shaven, carved and framed underneath his nemes. His eyes were cold and inhuman, and he pursed his lips while he studied me.

            Suddenly, somehow, in that moment my fear retreated. I discovered I hated him and his kind. I hated his affluence, his expensive clothes, his chiseled looks, and the arrogance he was born too. But most of all, I hated the power he held over me, his assumption of authority, and the truth of his superiority. I concentrated my disgust in my stare. He must have recognized my repulsion in the instant our eyes locked, for he simpered.

            “What is his crime?” Imhotep asked.


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            The soldier bowed and handed over several papyruses, “My Lord, he stole this thinking it bread.”

            Prince Imhotep undid the thread tying one of the rolls. I could feel blood running down my chin. I resisted the urge to lick at it. Imhotep signaled he wanted silence. He began to read.

            “Can you read this,” Imhotep asked me. Instead, I pressed my lips shut, trembling underneath. “Boy! Answer me.”

I stayed silent.

“You do as your prince commands, or I will—” threatened the soldier who caught me before Imhotep cut him short.

“Silence!” Imhotep thundered.

He stared at me with contempt and then spoke, “You’re brave. I can see that much, but you’re stupid.”

He snapped his fingers, and the soldier grabbed me by the arm, lifted me to my feet and started to drag me away when we all heard a man cry:

“That’s my son. Please, my prince, have pity on him, he’s only a foolish boy.”

Both Prince Imhotep and the soldier turned toward the man’s voice. As he looked, the soldier detained my left arm with only one of his fists. I twisted my body against his grip, ripped free, fell to the ground, and crawled through the prince’s legs and missing, by inches, his fast-closing grip. I took to my heels and dashed through the crowd.

Behind me, hell itself erupted; the soldier shoved and cursed the people impeding his path. A woman threw a pottered vase. I ducked just in time, avoiding my brains becoming entangled with the falling shards which crashed above me. I juked left and right; I slid through the crowd’s legs; I shoved past stout tradesmen and skirted unsuspecting slaves and the livestock they drove. Men and women, slaves and soldiers, sellers and buyers, all rounded quickly, furious at being so roughly shoved. I dared to look behind me. Only the soldier who caught me earlier pursued me. Prince Imhotep and his bodyguards walked, absentmindedly, the opposite direction. I stopped stunned still. That’s when I caught a fist with my left cheek and toppled into the dirt. I pushed my heel into the man’s kneecap. He screamed. Then, I rolled out of the soldier’s path as he dived to tackle me. I got to my feet again and squirmed through another fast-pressing crowd. I sent carts flying. I shoved an elderly man to the ground busy tying his empty cart to his donkey, seizing it, and then, with all my strength, pushing it into the nearby sheep hurdles. The animals let loose, and the ensuing tumult was chaos.

The soldier’s legs were taken out from under him by the stampede of darting sheep. That’s when I raced down a side alley, bursting, to my surprise, through our city’s great library, and into a crowd of philosophers and wealthy patrons. Then, out the other side, up a wide street, passing between noble houses, I ran until the noise behind me subsided. I turned left into another alley.

 I stopped in the doorway of a brothel, recovering my breath. No one was behind me. I leaned my back against the door, struggling to calm my hammering heart. The pain emanating from my jaw threatened my ability to stay conscious. In a flash, a hand wearing three gold rings closed around my mouth and dragged me through the door. I landed on my ass, coughing through a pounding head. My stomach churned. I struggled to stand, but a woman’s heel fixed my hand to a dirty clay floor covered in ragged yellow and green carpets.

A voice whispered, “Stop yelling, you fool.”

Outside the door, a troop of footsteps charged down the alley. Their voices commanding bystanders to stop me. The woman let off my hand and held a single finger over her mouth. I crept to the door and peered through one of its cracks. The soldier I ripped myself from in the agora was leading the others.

“Damn, he has help now,” I said.

“Whatever you did, you won’t be escaping today,” she said.

“Who are you?”

She frowned. “I wouldn’t expect you to recognize me as I—,” she hesitated. “As I am now.”

Keep Reading! Chapter II here: page 2

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Beat the Boy; Destroy the Man 

W. Alexander Dunford  I will never forget the television’s blue light that night fifteen years ago. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Blood Diamond played. Outside, beneath black skies, rain pelted our windows and the house’s bones braced against high winds. Thunder shook the walls.  It was Father’s idea to watch the movie. He loved violence, and I loved…

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Continue reading The Day god Died: Chapters I & II

Excerpt: A Current Project.

The next morning, Agnus and I singed in fields blanketed under heavy-fresh dews. Our hot breaths chimneyed above tilled ground, and sweet-earthy aromas filled the mist. Agnus kept busy practicing a new song he learned from the troubadour. Committed to not forget it, he sang its lyrics, over and over, until a breeze showered us with dew drops from the evergreens above.

            “Do you think that troubadour will stay another day?” Agnus asked.

            I hoped he would, but I was not so sure. His type never stayed anywhere for long. I scanned a red and orange sky for the village’s skyline. Four chimneys smoked above the tree line. The shortest chimney belonged to the tavern below. The traveler would be staying there.

            “He didn’t play the song,” I said.

            Agnus shrugged his shoulders and tilled a new row. The mist soon receded, and I began to sweat. By late morning, the earth was dry and hard. Twenty-three new rows later and I could no longer see our breaths.

            “That looks like trouble,” Agnus said.

            He was right. A black, windowless square block, towed behind six draft horses, emerged. The carriage was not alone: atop of it, a driver whipped the horses; and on the back, two-armed soldiers rode. Twelve-calvary-men followed the carriage, and two-squads of foot-soldiers followed them. A knight headed the column, and six uniformed in their master’s colors, rode in three rows of two behind their leader. Following the entire column: wagons of supplies, groups of artisans, prostitutes, and tradesmen followed much further behind. I counted thirty-three archers assisting the convoy.

I recognized the banners: a red octopus wrapped around a spear, both across a green background. The troops paid no attention to us as they passed. We smelt them before we laid eyes on them. All of them wore black tankards emblazoned with their master’s standard.

“They smell like the sea,” Agnus said.

“Good. We never quarrel with that kind,” I said.

“How would you know?”

“Lords don’t sail to pillage farmers. They are after bigger prizes.”

Back in town, Agnus and I toasted with a couple old pals who planted our lord’s fields further down the road. They stroked their grey beards and remembered a thousand-men at least. Others were more reasonable: they thought three hundred, because they weren’t sure there was one-thousand people in the whole world. Not after the last wave of plague. One farmer’s daughter, a real beauty, shared how her brothers all of a sudden grabbed her and her sisters by the mouth and pulled them into the forest, far from the road, far from the soldiers. All the women agreed, they shared the same experience.

“Did any come into town?” one old pal asked the barmaid.

“The whole town cleared out, but I stayed right behind my bar,” she replied. She handed them their beers. “They never left the road.”

“Has anyone seen Rufus?” I asked.

No one answered. The troubadour stepped out of his room.

“Well, you forgot a bit of news to tell us last night,” Agnus said.

“Ah, the jest is up,” he replied.

The troubadour climbed onto the bar. His blonde hair fell to his shoulders. He smiled and raised an empty cup.

“Cheers, my friends, and forgiveness, for I lied,” he said. “I serve her Lordship, the Countess, the leader of the very army that so peacefully passed through your hamlets today.”

The room erupted. The troubadour sat, ordered a drink, and waited for everyone to cool down. The door swinged open and standing in the midday’s light was Rufus and our Lordship, the Duke. Behind him, the Dutchess and Wet Nurse stood.

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My Writing: A Historical Fiction Sample

Below, my friends is a sample excerpt from my stories midpoint. Originally, I was going to keep this scene in my new novella, but I decided to cut it—I think—and write something different. As always, I want to share my hard work with all of you. Enjoy!

All Content Is Copyrighted and is prohibited to download, copy, and redistribute.

Ishaq ordered the diggers to work by moonlight, shovels scraped, hammers smashed, and picks stabbed stone. The work was difficult. The men were soaked; sweat and sand clung to their skin. Halfway up the northside of the tomb, above the crew’s silhouettes, Ishaq studied the valley. The night performed tricks; phantoms prowled the desert, lizards transformed into soldiers, and gusts became chariots. If pursued, he knew, the soldiers would stealth in the shadows until, at last, on top of his party. Four-vigilant hours passed, and by the time the men were spent, he heard rocks fall.

At the bottom, he found the diggers on the ground, their chests heaving, their eyes anxious. Bes was occupied with distributing each man his ration of water.

“It’s hollow there,” Bes said.

            “We’re too exposed,” Ishaq replied. “We must hurry.”

            Ishaq ordered the crew to build a fire and shield it with a thief’s chimney. Each man linked their sleeping blankets together and encircled the flames. Bes erected a fire inside the improvised wall. He warned if the faintest ember could be seen they risked discovery. Others retrieved the pots of water they carried from Thebes. They worked fast; one-by-one, the pots boiled, and then two diggers, juxtaposed on each side of a blanket, dragged the water. Ishaq helped them leverage each pot between two beams of cedar above the dig site and carefully tilt it over. The limestone absorbed each douse and hardened. They repeated the process until, at last, the stone cracked. One digger swinged his hammer in wide vertical arcs and smashed the stone where it split. His blows thundered across the desert before the wall collapsed, and a hole big enough for one man at-a-time to crawl through, appeared.

Ishaq ordered their cart and what supplies could not be carried into the tomb to be buried. They discovered soft ground west of the tomb, and there, beneath a sand dune, the crew hid their supplies and marked the spot with a pattern of rocks. One man started petitioning the Gods to not hide their marker before they had a chance to recover their belongings.

            “Stop praying,” Ishaq said. “The attention of the Gods is the last thing we need.”

            The diggers shared, between them, that rare conversation reduced to a glance which suggests each man is all the other one has left in the world. Ishaq knew that look well; he saw it often in the war.

            “You won’t need the Gods or anyone else once we’re done. You will have servants to wait on your wives, horses for your sons, and hunger only a bad dream.”

            Ishaq, as he spoke, wrestled with images of his father. The old man grew weaker with every sunrise, and, worst, the God’s his father loved, the very ones he faithfully fed their sacrifices, the ones he taught his children to fear, returned his faithfulness by removing his sight and with it, hope. He cursed how cruel the Gods were and vowed to hire a physician with his share.

            They were ready to enter at the blue hour; that in-between time where it is no longer dark, but not yet morning, when the desert holds its breath. The crew paused, and their eyes leveled on the stars; each committed the heavens to memory in case they’ve seen it for the last. One-by-one the diggers crawled through the hole; Ishaq went last. He wouldn’t risk one of the men not entering and alerting a nearby patrol, so to collect an easy ransom.

(630 Words)

To Be Continued

More from W. Alexander

Big Moments Count

“it felt like those moments in life where we sense magic; those days where every bone in your body feels good, and there is laughter and love overflowing, and you know how great that feels. I feel that.”

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Big Moments Count

Photo: W. Alexander, 2021

Hello, and welcome my readers, followers, subscribers, cyber stalkers, Russian hackers, and anyone else who finds themselves reading my blurb. Like you, and every other humanoid, I’m just as self-obsessed and self-consumed with my life and reality, and, like you, I steady my aim toward that-ever-close-or-distant American, white-boy success, dream. So, engage and celebrate with me and forgive my little boast. For, I request a toast.

Above, a rare photo of me wearing the latest in I have yard work to do fashion: work boots, Star Trek: Next Generation socks—out of laundry, sweat soaked old-man-polo and, of course, featuring accents of grass. My hobo looking ass is sitting where my driveway meets the street. Seconds before my wife captured this moment, I grabbed the mail and read a package-slip from the publisher. My heart stopped. To hell with the yard, I thought to myself. I sat down and tore through packaging. Inside it was my poem. Well, the poem is on page 15, but it is not about the poem, it’s more than that: it’s my first writing ever published in a book and people can buy this book. Is this some grand accomplishment? No, but damnit I feel grand, and I want to enjoy it, and I want to share this moment with you—yes, You! It’s no small feat to trust that people really want to hear my voice.

I set a goal in January that I would be published twice before 2022; I am halfway there. So, go ahead and imagine Bon Jovi level excitement at my house. I feel gratified, even relieved.

Trying to publish, so far, feels like dating. Shew! So, please, help me give myself a bathroom-mirror-thumps-up. My publishing virginity is taken. Big Moments Count.

Now, I promise not to annoy you any longer, but a major part of accomplishing something is to bask in it with your friends. I lack those, but I have readers and that is sort of the same thing but better. Thank you for allowing me, and helping me make possible this giant, little step in my career as a writer. This blog is, after all, about my writing journey.

—W. Alexander. I wrote this high—on life, lol.

P.S: I just don’t know how to explain the feeling I felt when I first read my name, my words, on a physical, published book. The best I can do is say it felt like those moments in life where we sense magic; those days where every bone in your body feels good, and there is laughter and love overflowing, and you know how great that feels. I feel that.

You’re welcome to subscribe and follow me if you haven’t yet. I’m not always charming, but I like to think I share interesting things.

The Day God Died: Chapters 1 &2

“…in that moment my fear retreated. I discovered I hated him and his kind. I hated his affluence, his expensive clothes, his chiseled looks, and the arrogance he was born to. But most of all, I hated the power he held over me, his assumption of authority, and the truth of his superiority.”

Worlds Apart, by W. Alexander

W. Alexander

I wrote this story in February, 2021. I consider it one of my best pieces, artistically. I talk a lot about writing, and I want to share my own short story. Here, is an example of my passion for fiction. Share with me what you think.

This story is my intellectual property, and I provide no provisions for anyone to copy or download my data.

Worlds Apart

By W. Alexander Dunford

The long, thin esplanade snakes between the brackish waters of the Charles and the city—Boston. Here, under a dogwood tree, Chris wrestled back and forth with his future. The late morning sun transformed these muddy waters into polished glass.

            The parkgoers beetled away, jogging and walking, stretching and splashing with the occasional laugh. Next to Chris, two dozen college students executed in solidarity a yoga class as couples passed with hands held, and others went about engaged in lively conversation.

            Chris noted an exception to all the commotion: an elderly man feeding a flock of geese. The old man laughed as he spread breadcrumbs in all directions over their honks, delighting in their greedy squabbles over his generosity. One bird chased a crumb to where a girl was posed upside-down, and inches from her mat, it hissed. The old man chortled when the girl screamed and chased away the goose by hitting it with her blue tin water bottle.

            It seemed months since Chris, too, laughed so hard. Today was a sunny Sunday morning and two white clouds snailed high above the skyline where a plane towed a banner advertising tickets for the Federal Theatre. Chris, for once, had nowhere to go and nothing he had to do this morning. Tomorrow, everything would change, and he may never see these waters again, or hear the city buzz behind him; he would begin his new life in Wyoming. It was God’s Will; the church declared this, but he doubted it. Watching the old man incite the geese, for a moment, gave him respite from the pain of losing his city, his identity, his normal. He closed his eyes, sat up straight, and let the sun touch his face. He began to pray. If only I could hear your thoughts, Lord.

            Chris remained unmoved until something nipped his heel; he was alarmed to find several geese had, in fact, swarmed him—honking and hissing, prodding and squabbling, while he heard the old man laugh.

            “All right, all right, leave the man alone,” the old man said and waved off the geese. He placed his bag of breadcrumbs in his coat pocket and joined Chris on the bench.

            Chris shrugged his shoulders and willed his gaze on the river. His jaw was tight, his face flushed. He wanted to think; he needed to relay over and over how he got to this place. But no matter how hard he traced, he could not figure out why he felt punished. He wanted to be left alone.

            “Sorry about your coffee, young man.”

            Chris looked down and discovered his latte spattered over his shoes. He sighed and glanced between the old man and the geese that watched them both from a close distance. The old man offered him a napkin. Chris flung the napkin over his shoulder, stood up, looked around, and focused on each breath. He was in no mood to be grateful, so he started to walk off. When he stepped onto the esplanade’s path, a squadron of agitated geese confronted him. His face turned pale, and he slowly stepped backward before he bumped against the bench.

            “You’ll want to sit awhile longer,” the old man said. “Those birds won’t bother me, but they will make a sport out of you.”

            “Make them move.”

            The old man shook his head, “I’m not going to do that.”

            Chris turned to the old man; his mouth opened. He squeezed his fists and inhaled a deep breath. Lord, please don’t let me hurt this old man.

            “Now, that’s no way to pray.”

            “Do I know you?” Chris asked scratching his head.

            “You do most days, but I’m here all the same.”

            Chris would have walked away that instant if it were not for the, now, encirclement of waterfowl that restrained him. He glanced back-and-forth between the geese and the old man. He marveled how this man marshaled these birds; how they halted their honking and hissing and remained standing and guarding like sentries.

            “Sit,” the old man said.

            He wanted to go as far as his legs could carry him. The old man made a clicking sound, and the circle tightened. Chris obeyed. The old man smiled, pulled a pipe out of his jacket, and sparked a match; the smoke smelled citrusy and sweet. Chris’s body relaxed as the smoke filled his lungs: his stress, his fear, his anger all vanished. The troop of geese fluttered in formation and disappeared behind the trees.

            “It’s frankincense,” the old man said.

            “Who are you?”

            The old man dragged on his pipe, producing a glowing ember, and inhaled more smoke; he smacked his lips, smiled, and still holding the pipe between his teeth, he wiped the ash from his fingertips. The smell reminded Chris of Mass, and his delight when this scent filled the parish: children’s noses crinkled, eyes watered, and all the faithful kneeled. Then he remembered that this morning’s 7am Mass was his last. He had announced his reassignment as tears cascaded down his and the congregation’s cheeks. He had spent ten years serving and leading, teaching and learning, and he winced at the thought of restarting.

            “I am here to help.”

            “I don’t need any help.”

            “You did wish to hear my thoughts about Wyoming, did you not?”

            Chris felt like a statue; he found it impossible to speak. He ran his hands through his hair. I’m crazy, he thought. Wake up, wake up, wake up. But every time he opened his eyes, he found the old man smoking and smiling, as if reading and listening to his thoughts.

            “This is no dream.”

            “But that would make you God,” Chris said.

            “Nothing gets past you,” replied the old man.

            He noted to himself to later look into medication. The God of Abraham doesn’t just show up in Boston. The old man laughed again, delighted with himself. This is some kind of joke, Lord. Help.

            “What do you want?”

            “I already told you. To help you.”

            Chris resigned himself to playing this through and composed himself. He peeled his gaze from the old man’s face—blotted by blemishes, moles, and yellow teeth—and turned toward the river. Chris spotted a fleet of sailboats pilot the current, racing toward the ocean. Laughter and joyful shouts carried over the water. Scents of gasoline, saltwater and frankincense hung in the air.

            “Okay, why do I have to leave?” Chris asked. “If you’re God, help me understand why I have to leave a life that makes me happy.”

            “I am! And I don’t consider your happiness when I call. You are needed, and you are able, therefore you must go.”

            Chris let these words sink to the dark depths of his heart. He knew them to be true, but as he closed his eyes images of his friends, his congregation, and his accomplishments permeated his thoughts. How was he any better than the martyrs of yesteryear? They gave up everything. I’m afraid I will fail there, and I will hate it, he thought.

            “Worrying over the future costs real people the help they need today. My plan is mine alone, and Wyoming is where I want you,” the old man said, and inhaled another drag of his pipe.


            “Because when you trust me to send you there, others will trust me to invite them to paradise. And besides,” he chuckled. “I said so.”

            The sun beat down on Chris as he mulled over the old man’s words. When he opened his eyes, he saw the old man had vanished; and above the trees, he watched the troop of geese fly east toward the risen sun. He exhaled. Amen.

This story is my intellectual property, and I provide no provisions for anyone to copy or download my data.

N.L. Blandford: On Writing

Writing a story, of any length, can be scary. It can be particularly scary when the subject matter may be considered “dark” or “sensitive.” Questions arise: “Will people appreciate what I am trying to say?” and “Will I accurately portray the real world through my fictional characters?” and, of course, the one all authors ask themselves: “Will people like it?”

I had all of these questions, and more running through my mind as I wrote The Perilous Road to Her. The story is set within the world of human trafficking and follows Olivia in her search for her missing sister, as she becomes a victim herself. 

I cannot recall exactly how human trafficking came into play, however, I knew that was the world in which the story would take place. Honestly, I was scared to write it. However, I was passionate about the story and hoped my fictional story would bring awareness to a prevalent issue. Human trafficking doesn’t just occur “somewhere else.” It occurs in all of our backyards, and I hope the more we read and hear about it, the more likely we are to recognize and help prevent it. 

N.L. Blandford‘s debut novel: The Perilous Road To Her

From the outset, I knew that I did not want to glamourize or hide what happens to people—in this case women—who are trafficked. 

Real World Portrayal and Sensitivity

As much as I wanted my fictional account to stay true to the real world of human trafficking, I did stray from how people usually become victims. During my research phase, I learned that the number one human trafficking myth is that people are kidnapped and forced into prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation. I acknowledge that myth in my book, however to keep the story moving at a rapid pace, and to get characters from Point A to Point B, I used that myth as a transportation vehicle. To balance that, I tried hard to give all of the women Olivia meets in Los Angeles a backstory which represents actual victim experiences I had read or heard.  

I also worked hard to make some of the “bad guys” be represented as humans with their own problems. Characters you love to hate and hate to love. I have not met or read the stories of traffickers, thus, these characters are my own creation. However, criminals are humans and I can only imagine what could be going through their heads. 

Setting my story in a devastating world meant that dreadful experiences would occur. I wanted to ensure I was sensitive when I articulated the violence that the characters experienced. For me, removing that aspect of the seedy underbelly of human trafficking would not do the subject matter justice. On the flip side, I also had the question in my mind about how the story would be received by actual victims or those who worked closely with them. A story like this had the potential to be a trigger and affect people’s mental health. As such, I advised readers about the nature of the story in a Letter From The Author at the start of the book. Additionally, I included Human Trafficking Resources at the back to support readers if they found that they wanted to learn more or needed help.

The good news is that I have received amazing feedback on my ability to portray a gruesome world with sensitivity. In particular, someone who works with victims of sexual exploitation said, “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to read it, as a significant part of my job has been…to develop programs for children who are being sexually exploited. Your book was real for me for sure. It was a great read. I will be recommending it to my colleagues.”

Dark Subject Matter 

Human trafficking is only starting to become a talked about social issue, and, often, when I describe my book, a common reaction has been: “Wow, that’s dark!” It could be considered that; It is not a light-hearted read, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

When I was talking to W. Alexander about guest blogging, I loved that he defined ‘dark’ as ‘truth’. It is very relatable. People can shy away from topics because they are hard, and it can be easier to call them dark, rather than truth, or an aspect thereof. I believe that it is in the dark that we can really start to understand the true nature of our world and its people. 

The story is not for everyone and I respect that. There are books out there that aren’t for me. In the end, I wanted to create a great story that people couldn’t put down, while bringing awareness to a social issue, and maybe giving a voice to those who may not be ready to speak their truth yet. 

Based on the feedback I have received, I believe I have done just that. Which means: bucket list item number one for writing is complete! 

What’s Next for N.L. Blandford?

The Perilous Road To Her was released on May 4, 2021, and with that I am in full swing to get the word out. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in a riveting story that can’t be put down please check it out on Amazon! Part of a book club? Contact me via my website if you are interested in a virtual Q&A, after the group has finished reading the book.

Future writing projects for me will continue to be fictional accounts of real issues. I have many ideas that include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), prejudice/judgement and the equity of persons. 

As I continue to write, whether it be in Olivia’s world or not, I want to create compelling stories that pull readers in. I hope by doing so those same readers, whether they realize it or not, learn about a topic they may not necessarily explore outside a fictional world. 

—N.L. Blandford

If you would like to learn more about me and my writing you can find me at; on Twitter/Instagram @nlblandford; on Facebook at N.L. Blandford and LinkedIn at nlblandford


N.L. Blandford’s poetry was first published when she was thirteen, and, recently, her drabble titled “Love of a Lifetime” won the Arlene Duane Hemingway Unconditional Love Drabble Challenge. She loves to travel and has enjoyed exploring Canada, however her favourite spot is a tie between Hawaii and Jersey, Channel Islands. N.L. Blandford resides in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where she has built a life of dream exploration with her husband, mild mannered dog, Watson, and stubborn but lovable cat, Sebastian.