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Painting Characters Into Corners

suspenseSo, I’m back from previous interview and I’m ready to take it easy for the morning. It’s been a tough week, I’ve stayed up later in the evenings than I had planned – heck I may go back to bed.

A knock on the door.

When I answer, there isn’t anybody there. I go back to the desk. Another knock. And I think somebody’s playing with me.

“All right,” I call out. ‘Knock it off or I’ll kick-”

“I want to write  a blog,” a whispering voice interrupts. “Let me in.”

“Are you kidding? No way.”

“Let me in,” the voice insists, “or I’ll haunt you for the rest of the day.”

I’m telling you, these pesky authors are going to drive me crazy. “Fine, hurry up, though.”

In comes a shadowy figure I can’t quite make out. He hunches over the computer keyboard…

Sheesh, This is freakin’ me out!

The Darkness Banner 851 x 315

Painting Characters into Corners

I love heightened suspense moments. My favorites are those in which a character appears to be trapped and has no logical way out. Paining people into corners is such fun, because there is no guarantee that they will succeed in extricating themselves. When I create characters, I always try to provide them with a detailed biography and infuse them with their own unique personality that influences their actions. Of course, I can’t help but think, “What would I do in that situation?” But if my own will tries to creep in, I say, “No, no, no! That’s this guy, not me.” And I steadfastly remain true that character.

Some of my favorite movies and books have done a fantastic job, painting characters into corners. The first such characters that come to mind are the main two from Night of the Living Dead: Barbara and Ben. We follow Barbara and her brother, Johnny, to a cemetery where they are visiting a dead relative. When a zombie strikes and kills Johnny, Barbara runs for her life and ends up in a small farmhouse where she thinks she is alone. Eventually Ben seeks refuge in the small house, too. Other people hiding in the basement come up. And soon there are a total of six people upstairs and a sick little girl downstairs. Six people with six personalities that don’t mesh well. A horde of zombies blitz the house. The six engage in a fight for their lives. Only one survives. But he is forced to seek refuge in the basement with the little girl, who has turned into a zombie, while the zombie horde invades the house above him. Talk about being painted into a corner! And when the lone survivor stunningly escapes from that corner, the events that ensue are a real “Oh my gosh” moment for me.

In M. Night Shyamalon’s movie Devil, which is loosely based off of Agatha’s Christie’s Ten Little Indians. Five people are trapped in an elevator in a high-rise building. We soon learn that one of them is the devil. Every time the lights go off, a person is either injured or dies. But who is the culprit? And how can characters trapped in such a small, enclosed space get as far away from this creature as possible? There is no escape. When the characters attempt to exit through the top, a worker falls to his death on top of the door, preventing them from opening it. And even if they identify the culprit, a human can’t kill the devil. What a corner to be painted in, right?

Right up until the end, I was hanging on the edge of my seat.

The climax of Alien is one of my all-time favorite seemingly inescapable corners. Here you have the perfect monster, one you cannot kill without damaging your spaceship beyond repair. So what does the main character, Ripley, do? She decides to let the alien have the whole ship after it kills everyone except her and her cat. Ripley grabs the cat and uses the escape pod to get out of Dodge, leaving the terrifying alien behind. Once she is far enough away, she blows up the ship. Ha! Dead alien, right? Wrong! The alien has decided to take a nap in the escape pod.

What to do? The main ship is blown up. (Good one, Ripley). Now all she has a tiny escape pod. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. An undefeatable alien to fight and only a cat for back-up. A Fantastic Corner with no way out. I couldn’t wait to see how in the world she would get herself out of that one.

These are but a few examples of characters who have been painted into corners. I love such plots so much, that I just had to paint the characters in The Darkness: Giger, Texas into one. When the darkness that gathers every night as the sun sets suddenly begins to consolidate and strike at any show stray too close to its depths, the only weapon those who are lucky can use to combat it and keep it at bay is light . . . until a massive hurricane strikes and wipes out power up and down the Gulf Coast. And the darkness continues to strengthen, growing bolder, more deadly. Some characters will escape the corner they find themselves in. Some won’t. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride.


The Darkness coverThe Darkness: Giger, Texas

Joe M. Solomon

Genre: Horror/Supernatural

Publisher: NES Publishing, LLC

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9990024-0-7

ASIN: B07435H5YR

Number of pages: 372

Word Count: 106,029

Cover Artist: Syneca Featherstone

Book Description:

When night falls in Giger, Texas, shadows gather as they always do in dim corners and other areas bereft of light. But this time they consolidate and attack any who tread too close. Michael Warren, a twenty-four-year-old resident of Giger, finds himself at the epicenter of this horror and is stunned by the losses suffered overnight. Then the sun sets and the shadows again coalesce, growing more aggressive, the darkness eviscerating anyone it touches.

His only weapon light, Michael struggles to survive and searches frantically for his girlfriend, aiding friends along the way. When Hurricane Daniel roars ashore, wind gusts shred trees and tear down power lines, plunging all of Southeastern Texas into blackness that only feeds and strengthens the encroaching darkness. Rising floodwater provides easy thoroughfares from which the darkness can strike as Michael and his friends contend with the elements, clash with criminals, and battle their way to his residence where they will stand against the darkness and fight to survive.

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Excerpt:

Startled, Eddie blinked and wiped at his own eyes. “What was…? Hello?”

No answer.

His pulse picked up. “C-Curt, you in here… you a-a-a-asshole?”

A box fell behind him.

Eddie spun around, body tight as a knot, eyes wide as their sockets would allow. “Wh-h-h-h-who the hell’s that?” he demanded with as much sternness as he could inject into his quivering voice.

Soft whispers trickled out of a minuscule pocket of emptiness near the back door on the farthest wall. There, amid the gloom, something progressed toward him. At first, its movements appeared mechanical, inelastic. Then it evolved into a smooth flow. A soft ripple. A consolidated wave of darkness.

About the Author:

Joe M. Solomon earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, followed by both master’s and doctoral degrees from Rice University. Joe’s supernatural thriller The Darkness: Giger, Texas released in 2017. A second novel—The Light: Houston, Texas—and a collection of short stories that arise from the macabre will soon follow.

www.JoeMSolomon.com

https://twitter.com/JoeMSolomon

www.facebook.com/AuthorJoeMSolomon

www.goodreads.com/Joe_M_Solomon

Tour giveaway

1 $50 Amazon gift card

1 $25 Amazon gift card

3 prize packs featuring The Darkness: Giger, Texas swag packs which include: a coffee mug, a pen, a postcard, a book mark and a trading card. Open to US Shipping.

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Around The Globe with Mark W. Curran

The Witches of Wildwood Banner 851 x 315I’m off to Hawaii with this week’s featured author. Actually, Oahu. Actually the western shore of Oahu. Actually in a ranch house overlooking the western shore of Oahu.  See, there it is.oahu Now, what you don’t see-because the camera wasn’t set on wide angle-are scores of beautiful women in bikinis…but for some reason, they’re being very quiet.

Maybe they want to listen in on the interview.

1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city? I’m a Los Angeles based writer, filmmaker and musician. I guess I’m unique in that I’m a bit of a renaissance man; I pursue multiple artistic endeavors to express my inner self and creativity.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you? That I was once a professional Elvis impersonator.

3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rock star? I actually did pursue becoming a rock star! That didn’t pan out. Becoming Elvis, as an Elvis impersonator was as close as I came to being almost famous. [laughs] Throughout most of my 20’s I played in bands and traveled around the United States as a drummer and singer, while pursuing a side career as an aspiring songwriter and wannabe recording artist. I dreamed of becoming a big rock star. Later in life I ended up performing onstage in off-broadway musical productions in Los Angeles. I guess this all goes back to when, as a kid I used to stand in front of the mirror with a hair brush as a microphone and pretend I was Mick Jagger. All those years on the road I was writing a horror screenplay and then a novel based on that screenplay. But I’ve been writing since I was very small. I wrote my first horror story in the third grade!

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why? Without a doubt that would have to be Stephen King. I think he is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. He seems so down to earth, I think he would be fun to share stories with. What a mind, What a talent! He’s my hero.

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company? If you were on a desert island you could use a printed copy of my book it for fueling a campfire! No, seriously, I think it would make great company because my book has 11 well-crafted stories so you’d have a great variety of characters and plots to take a journey of suspense and horror with.

6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites. – Every story is different. I get story and plot ideas from everything. I try to create a background for each of my characters, although a lot of the time I keep it in my head. Every character should be just like a real person, with a history and psychological and sociological reasons for doing what they do.

The hardest thing is to keep the stories and characters on track. Characters tend to take on a life of their own and the fact they are in the story to begin with means they are uncommonly motivated to act. That makes them rather stubborn. They will try to take over the story if you let them. If you aren’t careful they will also possess you, and then you must endure the rather unpleasant experience of exorcism.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?” I’d say read a lot and start by emulating a writer you admire, then eventually evolve a style all your own. If you have a hard time getting started, start by journal writing. Write something every day even if it’s just stream of consciousness stuff that makes no sense. Word association writing or stream of consciousness writing is the best way to access the subconscious mind.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life? Live each day to it’s fullest, bring joy, love and laughter to the people around you, and remember your thoughts are not reality. Emotions can often create a lot of unnecessary suffering. Be in the moment. That’s hard for a storyteller, because we spend so much time projecting scenarios that have no basis in reality.

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you? Right now I am working on a screenplay set during the Civil War South, and am also working on producing a documentary film about Gettysburg.

  1. Where can people find more information on you and your projects? http://www.witchesofwildwood.com

NOTE: For my review of  Witches of Wildwood, please drop on over to braytonsbookbuzz.wordpress.com on Monday, 9/25.


coverWitches of Wildwood: Cape May Horror Stories and Other Scary Tales from the Jersey Shore

A Collection of Contemporary Horror Fiction

Mark W. Curran

Genre: Horror/Speculative Fiction

Publisher: NMD Books

Date of Publication: Sept 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-936828-51-7

Number of pages: 300

Word Count: 83,365

Cover Artist: Robert Gonzales

Book Description:

Werewolves… vampires… swamp beasts… zombies… even a Jersey Devil… all of these chilling creatures and more await you in this haunting collection of 11 contemporary horror fiction stories by Mark Wesley Curran.

Uniquely set ‘down the shore’ in South Jersey’s Cape May County, these scary tales are sure to terrify and entertain both adult readers as well as young adults.

Excerpt:

There was no doubt among the sisters that the murders were increasing their power. Each felt the surge of energy that coursed through them with each kill.

I feel so alive!” Zoey exclaimed on the morning after they’d tied Harlan Clemmons to a chair and stabbed him multiple times through the heart, “like I’m plugged into some bitchin’ electrical source!” she marveled.

The other girls felt it too. Both Jaz and Ali would lay awake at night and feel it running through them – bringing them even more vitality and strength than even their young ages provided.

About the Author:

Mark Wesley Curran is a writer of contemporary fiction, specializing in the horror and suspense genre. Born and raised in Suburban Philadelphia, he spent many summers living and working in Wildwood, New Jersey during its heyday. He now resides in Los Angeles where he enjoys creative pursuits as a writer, filmmaker and musician.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Witches-of-Wildwood-1380613312012564/

Website: http://www.witchesofwildwood.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarkWesleyCurr1

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Chapters – XIII

sleeping dogIt’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time-this should be banned.”

This brings up a topic of discussion I have with many people: when do you find time to write?

Well, for 16 years, I worked the night shift at various motels. 11p-7a. My weekends were whatever two days the supervisor scheduled. Usually, I would go home and if I needed to be up for class later that evening, I would go to sleep right away. If I had a free evening I would consider going outside to workout. Run, bike. When I lived at the campground for several months, my workout schedule was very erratic. When I moved to Carlisle, I discovered the high school was across the street so that meant the football field surrounded by the track. This made it easier to run in the mornings. There were times, on my days off when I would run late at night or in the wee hours. It was quiet and cool and nobody to bother me.

Now that I work for Gannett, I’ve had a lot of overtime. Sleep is precious. I’m often tired in the evenings even if I don’t work OT. Sleep has been an issue because many nights I can’t fall asleep when I want. I toss and turn, go out to the too short couch and doze, back to the bed, etc. I may not fall asleep for a couple hours. This makes me tired at work.

On weekends, I catch up on a bit of sleep. And on weekends, is when I usually write. Maybe I’ll do some in the evenings I’m free (I think Tuesday, for the most part is free a lot, unless I go to a writers’ critique group). Saturdays or Sundays are my writing days. I go out to a local park and sit in the shade at a picnic table and write.

I’m working on a collaborative story. I have been waking up and going into work early and spending a few minutes on Google Drive editing this story. Sometimes it works, but with that OT, not often.

Sleep. Sometimes I want to write, but I know sleep demands attention. A nap is in order. Otherwise, I’d feel like I was trying to force the words and I wouldn’t be able to concentrate.

How about you? How does your sleep schedule affect your writing?

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U & I – Setting The Bar

rocaOne of the interesting things in my time as an Uber driver is receiving a call from someplace I’ve haven’t been, what may look like a residential area, maybe a street I haven’t yet visited…and finding the location of the pickup is a bar.

Do a Yahoo search for ‘Des Moines bars’ and you’ll come up with a list of 249. Many of them are restaurants with bars.

I find it fascinating to come up on a place, and here’s this tiny bar. I’m not talking about the line of bars between Walnut and Court, 3rd and 4th downtown. I’m talking about those that are the local neighborhood hangouts. Here’s one tucked behind a motel. Here’s another behind a store. Here’s one on the corner in the middle of a residential section.

up down Joe’s Pub. Gas Lamp, GT’s, Beechwood Lounge, Toads Tavern, LD’s Corner Bar, Mary Go Round Lounge, toadsOuter Limits, 41 Latitude Bar, Cheap Seats, Stormy’s, 804 Main Bar and Grill, Manning’s, Club 2000, Kung Foo Tap and Taco (yes, it’s a real place. $1 tacos. I see a lot of bikers.), Peggy’s Tavern, Pd’s Pub, Mullets, Andy’s Place, Donna’s Place, El Bait Shop (very popular) The Tipsy Crow (relatively new), Kathy’s Irish Pub, Annie’s Irish Pub,royal mile Suzy Q’s, Voodoo Lounge, RoCa, Big Lars, Ladder 13, The Red Monk, Iowa Taproom, Sinners & Saints, The Flying Moose, Confluence, Francie’s, mulletsChicken Coop, Yacht Club (on Ingersoll about a mile from any water), Miss Kitty’s, Draught House (several of those), Limon, Blazing Saddle, Wooly’s, Up/Down, The Angry Goldfish (formerly Rockstar), Down Under, The Rack.

And so many more.

high life loungeI’ve also noticed that most of these-and again, I’m not including the popular places on or near Court avenue or in West Glen-aren’t very busy. A few, I don’t know how they stay in business. On a given Friday/Saturday night, I don’t see very many cars in the parking lot. Some of the above are very popular, but many aren’t.

Many do serve food. Bourbon Street Pub has pizza and fried stuff. Mullets is a BBQ place. But there are so many that are just local hangouts for the locals. Granted, I have taken someone from West Des Moines area down to El Bait Shop south of Court. I’ve also taken someone from downtown (where a bar called Tonic is located) out to the Tonic in West Des Moines. blazing saddleI’ve picked up people from a Norwalk bar and taken them home in Indianola. I’ve taken passengers from a corner bar in Waukee out to Adel. I’ve picked up a trio from the bar in Granger (which is northwest of Des Moines. I didn’t know I could receive a call from there and neither did they. They did it on a whim because they had no idea how to get back to Des Moines). One night I received a call that came from southwest of Des Moines and I had to take county roads and wind around to a little burb called Booneville. And there in this one-horse town is the Booneville Bar,

BeechwoodI haven’t picked up people from all of the bars in town but I’ll bet if I continued adding to the above list, I’ve passed by most of them in my driving.

I live in Carlisle (from where I’ve never received a call) and there are no bars in a town of approximately 3000. The VFW is the only place (other than the restaurants) to drink. Cal’s Fine Food draws a crowd on Friday/Saturday nights, but they also serve food.

I wonder what little corner bar I’ll discover next…

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U & I – Random Stories

storytellingMany riders ask me about my favorite Uber experience. Lately, I’ve mentioned the woman who peed in the back seat. There have been other interesting experiences.

The two guys I picked up at Beach Girls (that’s a strip club to you uninformed), who wanted to go back home to pick up more money, then back to the strip club. One mentioned his wife was out of town and they wondered if their 12 pack of beer would still be there when they returned.

A couple guys I picked up at Minx (yeah, also a strip club) and delivered four blocks away to Big Earl’s (another strip club. We have four in town.)

A couple from the east side who wanted to go to a west side nightclub but wasn’t sure they would be allowed in w/o an I.D. They weren’t and so I brought them back to the east side. They had me stop at a convenience store for beer and asked me to buy it. I refused and the guy tried anyway, but w/o identification they were refused. So, I took them to a house somewhere near east Indianola Avenue.

A couple I picked up at Carl’s Bar started debating whether they wanted to go home, decided they didn’t, and I ended up driving around the block and dropping them off at Carl’s.

The college student I took from the DSM airport to Grinnell College at 1 a.m.

The man I picked up from the airport, took to Ames because he had forgotten his identification, then back to the airport. We were delayed because of an accident due to the bad weather and his flight ended up delayed.

The time I shouldn’t have been out driving because the roads were slick with ice and I took a guy from the airport to West Des Moines. I told him we’d make it, but it would take longer than expected. He didn’t mind.

The guy I picked up on County Line Road and headed west to make it to Fleur. There’s a long descent and a long ascent. I made it halfway up the hill but the ice stopped us. I backed down, avoiding two cars already of the side of the road and picked up enough speed to make it up the hill to 9th.

The trio I picked up near Court Avenue. The guy got in the backseat and slammed the door, then hit the passenger seat. I chided him for his anger and he spent the rest of the trip griping about being thrown out of the bar and his friend leaning over the passenger seat to try to calm him down.

The several drunks I’ve had to wake up when we’ve reached their destination.

A quartet of girls, one very drunk. The girl in the passenger seat was not going to pick up the others the next morning to retrieve their cars so a couple could go to work, then was upset because the others were mad at her. I dropped off one girl, changed the final destination to drop off two girls, then the fourth at her house, then changed back the destination when it was decided that the three would stay at one house. The passenger girl, though kept whining about why the first girl was so mad.

I’ve taken the WHO news guy home several times.

Out west at a restaurant I had a bit of an issue with a change of plans. I accepted a call for one person, but when I arrived, they decided to go with another ride. But, the manager wanted me to take a couple home. The problem was, when she called for me, she ended up getting the other UBER driver in the parking lot. He had to shut off his app for a moment (he already had a rider) so I could receive the call.

Just some random fares throughout my two years’ driving. Looking forward to more.

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Spotlight on Michael H. Rubin

Cashed Out Banner 851 x 315Cashed Out

Michael H. Rubin

Thriller

August 15, 2017

coverBook Description:

One failed marriage. Two jobs lost. Three maxed out credit cards. “Schex” Schexnaydre was a failure as a lawyer. Until three weeks ago, he had no clients and no cash — no clients except for infamous toxic waste entrepreneur G.G. Guidry, who’s just been murdered, and no cash, except for the $4,452,737 Guidry had stashed with him for safekeeping.

When Schex’s estranged ex-wife, Taylor, is accused of Guidry’s murder, she pleads with Schex to defend her. He refuses, but the more he says no to Taylor, the deeper Schex gets dragged into the fall-out from Guidry’s nefarious schemes, ending up as the target of all those vying to claim Guidry’s millions for themselves.

RubinAbout the Author:

A nationally-known speaker and humorist as well as a full-time attorney, Michael H. Rubin has had a varied career. He has also been a professional jazz pianist in the New Orleans French Quarter, a radio and television announcer, and an adjunct law professor. His debut novel, “The Cottoncrest Curse,” received the Book-of-the-Year Gold Award at the annual meeting of the American Library Association in 2015 and was named the top thriller/suspense novel published by a university or independent press. Rubin is the winner of the Burton Award, given at the Library of Congress, for outstanding writing, and is a member of the Author’s Guild, the International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and the International Association of Crime Writers.

http://www.mrubinbooks.com/

https://www.fieryseaspublishing.com/michaelhrubin

https://twitter.com/MichaelHRubin

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6187123.Michael_H_Rubin

https://www.facebook.com/Michael-H-Rubin-1439314549651793/

Tour Giveaway

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Love Around The Universe

Love Across the Universe Banner 851 x 315This time when I go to pick up my featured author…I find a bunch of them…and they’re already with answer to a question which I didn’t ask. What’s up with that?

Since I clearly outnumbered, I’ll just roll with it…


Question to the Love Across the Universe authors: Tell the audience what particular idea, theme, or message they want readers to discover in their stories.

Elsa M. Carruthers—“All B+ut You”

Making things “better” isn’t always a good idea—we often make things so much worse. People, animals, nature rarely—if ever—need “improvement.” Perfection is truly an abstraction.

M.T. DeSantis—“The Princess of Sands”

Meshing science fiction and romance, the message is probably that love can overcome anything, no matter the time or technology standing in its way.

Traci Douglass—“A Dream to Build a Kiss On”

That love is love, no matter who’s involved—male/female, male/male, female/android. Love is love.

A.E. Hayes—“Tristan’s Tryst”

I think that, in fiction, we expect things to either be typical (girl meets boy, girl and boy eventually fall in love despite some drama, the end), or almost stranger than fiction. With a sci-fi piece that combines a lot of science, physics, AI, sex, and seemingly forbidden love, I want readers to step outside of the comfort zone of “this is normal” or “this is very bizarre.” There’s a great middle ground with sci-fi writing, in which the everyday and the utterly strange meet, and that is where I’d like readers to find themselves in this tale. The idea here, really, is that you never know who walks among you. You never know where you might find yourself tomorrow or in 20 years from now. And isn’t there some fun and intrigue in that?

Serena Jayne—“You Only Love Once”

The destruction of Mother Earth and the way destroy ourselves and our relationships is definitely a theme as is the insidiousness of pop culture.

L.J. Longo—“Breathless”

I don’t know. I suppose don’t blow up Earth?

Oriana Maret—“Renewal”

If there’s someone you love, give them the benefit of the doubt. Situations are rarely what we think they are on the surface. Dig deeper; you’ll probably be surprised. So when the facts want to say otherwise, go with what you know about the person vs. thinking the worst. Thinking the worst led Kes down all sorts of bad paths.

SF is also the genre of commentary on our current world, but set in the future. There’s this idea that one side is right and the other is wrong, but that’s not quite accurate, is it? In “Renewal,” both sides in the conflict on Tabara Gold bear responsibility. What I don’t do in this piece is tell the reader what side to “side” with. I wanted the piece to be interactive, i.e. for the reader to bring her experiences to the table and make her own moral judgments.

Cara McKinnon—“The Pirates and the Pacifist”

The theme is in the title, really. I’m examining the idea of violence as a solution, and ways to resist and fight that are non-violent instead. My characters have good reasons for their actions, and I don’t know that I come down on one side or the other. But I hope I make my readers think and question their own actions and choices when it comes to aggression and taking a stand.

Sheri Queen—“Red Sand”

One of the themes is about how human greed can destroy natural resources and create an imbalance that could come back to haunt us and end life as we know it. I also wanted to stress the message of hope. Things can change and there is hope for a better outcome.

Mary Rogers—“Breakfast on Pluto”

I always want love to be the preeminent idea.

Emmerite Sundberg—“Fluid”

That love and science aren’t mutually exclusive.

K.W. Taylor—“Reprogramming”

I’m fascinated by the idea of solitude and what that really means. Is Alex alone on her planet, or is Jean close enough to a human that they are equal companions? As we move closer and closer to full artificial intelligence, will we see beings like Jean in real life? What would AI partners mean for romantic relationships as we traditionally understand them? Would such androids bring us closer together as humans? Would they be companions for the elderly, perhaps? Or for people who can’t engage with other humans in typical ways? While a lot of scary prospects might come to mind when it comes to android/human interaction, there is some potential for positives, too.


Renewal

Oriana Maret

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Publisher: Stars and Stone Books

Date of Publication: 1 August 2017

ISBN-10: 0-9977081-8-2

ISBN-13: 978-0-9977081-8-9

ASIN: B071JSHCGC

Cover Artist: Carrie Miller

Book Description:

She’ll brave the arms of destruction to shed the arms that betrayed.

When Kestrel discovers Mercer is alive and well, she embarks on a dangerous journey to escape the pain of his jilt. When Mercer turns the tables, Kestrel discovers the true meaning of betrayal, and the ultimate cost of love.

Amazon iBooks Kobo GooglePlay

Excerpt:

The antique film credits roll, and Kestrel strips the ocular screen from her brow. She stuffs the device into the bin at her knees and taps the evac release. Never violate your own rules. No romance means no romance because it’s rot. The silver screen disappears with a whoosh deeper into the guts of Galaxy Delivers, Inc. The next time she volunteers as previewer for Galaxy’s annual ancient films revel she’ll select a sci-fi meat grinder like The Whirling Vortex. Her vision blurs with tears. Not some thrashing B-list not happily-ever-after space-love pile of…

Rot,” she whispers.

The film won’t get a thumb’s up from her. The leading lady dies of Veneda Syndrome. The star expires moments before medical staff can wrap molecular stabilizers around her body that’s eaten up by rogue cell necrosis. Nothing romantic about that. Even less inspiring is her lover’s desertion.

The room seems to shrink. Kestrel’s cubicle is wedged into a precise row of ten cubicles in a room of ten rows by ten. It’s in the ground floor of the Galaxy Delivers, Inc. spire that juts one hundred stories into planet Jaster’s ocher skies. The spire’s weight pins Kestrel to her roller chair. She sips antiseptic air in shallow breaths.

Unlike her co-operators’ empty gray desktops, hers is littered with antique novelties.

All gifts from him.

Mercer.

A calendar of curling paper the color of jaundiced skin leans against the back partition. It was his first gift. “To celebrate our first month together,” he’d said.

Kestrel runs a finger over the tarnished silver spoon he gave her at the close of month two. “For the lady who appreciates history.”

She lifts the ocean blue candle and inhales its sweet scent. “To match your eyes.” He’d kissed her, and that night she’d lost herself in Mercer Eridanus’s orbit. Even now her lips tingle.

With trembling fingers, she strokes the wire rim glasses that rest like a paperweight on top of the spacer license Mercer helped her earn. He’d called her a white-knuckle flier.

My knuckles aren’t white.”

No,” he’d said. “Mine are.”

The license isn’t worth sand these days because of Tabara Gold’s desquamation. A sister planet that sheds chunks of its surface the size of mountains tends to discourage transportation and trade.

Kestrel uncurls her left hand.

She hasn’t worn it in a year—the swirling platinum strands of precious metal that clasp a brilliant cut diamond as its prize. Her gaze strays to the paper calendar’s single digit number. Mercer proposed marriage one year ago today.

And disappeared.

She’s memorized his note: Dear Kes—it could never work. I’m jumping a hyper-shot freighter out of Tabara Gold. The universe calls, babe. I’m sorry.

A good thing she doesn’t have Veneda Syndrome.

His note is twenty-two words. Where in twenty-two words is the essence of a man who combs antique slums on two planets to locate an artifact to celebrate each month of romance? He isn’t a man who ditches responsibilities and hyper-shots away. But he did leave.

And now he’s back.

The gossip grills who document Adalon City’s social scene breathlessly welcomed him home. Apparently, Mercer’s shadow is enough to send females aged two to one-hundred-seventeen into vapes. Men want Mercer for cards, bar jaunts, investment advice, jet races…

Three days have passed since she’s learned he breathes Adalon’s air. Three days.

The answer is that he regretted his proposal because she never fit Adalon’s scene—that whirling show of parties, fizzy drinks, and false laughter. When did he ever, ever take her about? His silence proves she should move on with her life. He is.

She stuffs the ring into a pocket.

Love absorbs and expands beyond its capacity, but when it dries up it’s stiff and useless. If not for the sister planet’s annoying skin peel, she’d blast through Adalon City’s ochre skies, break clean of Jaster’s gravitational pull, and run and run and never stop.

Instead, she’s here.

Operators’ voices hum as color-coded deliveries pour in at a rate of two every fifteen-point-three seconds. The operators sort the bids and roll them up onto the giant boards that march around the room. Competitor operators in fifteen buildings around Adalon City vie for the bids. In a city of millions, there’s money in messages and packages. Galaxy delivers.

Kes taps her temple, and her implant flickers behind her eyes. Pain streaks up her shin.

Ouch!”

Bending double, she spies a pair of boots the size of freighters on a guy in the row opposite. She kicks. Never met him, so who cares?

Hey!” The gray partition muffles his voice. “Watch it.”

You watch it,” she snaps. “Keep your space boats to yourself.”

Thrashing-A, Kes.” The voice of the operator next to her climbs an octave. “You got a thrashing blue to bid!”

Heads pop up. Blue…ah, blue…sighs off every tongue.

Kestrel launches to her feet. A job coded red is bound for Jaster’s far side; pink is for local delivery. Blue—beautiful, brilliant, and rare blue—is OWDR: off-world delivery required, baby. While she’s been gathering linen—or is the saying wool?—the blue flitted through her queue.

Blip! It disappears.

The blue’s been snagged by number 100: the top of the spire; Theodosia Galaxy, CEO of Galaxy Delivers, Inc.

Adalon’s delivery industry is no place for swimmers afraid of sharks. The gossip grills report Ms. Galaxy’s balls live in one tower, her body in another. Until Tabara Gold’s demasquation ends, the sister planet puts a choke-hold on Jaster’s economy. No doubt Ms. Galaxy will cut the other companies’ jugulars to win the off-world job and a fat commission.

Kestrel snatches her spacer license. The universe propels her down the perfect rows and fifty steps to the lift. She slides in, taps the round button marked 100, and the reflective gold doors glide shut. She’s a big-eyed, tight-jawed slash of pale skin in loose clothing drenched in shadows.

There’s only one way to clear the dust of this past year’s desert experience. Theodosia Galaxy will win the bid to deliver the package, and Kestrel will fly the mother-thrashing thing down the throat of a whirling vortex if it means putting space, and lots of it, between her and Mercer.

About the Author:

Oriana Maret is a science fiction writer whose careers include the military, corporate sales and management in cancer genetic diagnostics, and nonprofit brand management. She’ll earn an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2018.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16966284.Oriana_Maret

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Creating Kristan Gemeta

Kinglet Banner 851 x 315Well, you know the routine by now, don’t you? I’m sitting around this morning trying to figure out what to post on the weekly blog…when I hear the inevitable knock on the door. Opening it, I see this blonde woman smiling at me.

Well, what would you do? You’d invite her in and offer you your computer, right? I mean, if I didn’t she’d commandeer the computer anyway, right?

It’s old hat by now, but, as always, I’m never disappointed by the uploads.


When I started writing The Gemeta Stone series, I knew right away that I wanted a main character who was, first and foremost, human. And I don’t mean human insofar as species – I mean a character who has doubts, fears and flaws in addition to his good qualities.

Kristan Gemeta is the only son of a king – heir to the throne of Fandrall and to the responsibilities and privileges that come with it. But he’s also something of a misfit in his father’s court. Kristan is small, slight, introspective and gentle. Worse, he believes in Wiche, the ancient magical lore which has fallen so far out of favor that it’s been outlawed in neighboring kingdoms. This belief, coupled with his compassionate nature, puts Kristan at odds with both his warrior-king father and the pragmatic, battle-hardened knights of Fandrall.

Once I created this misfit prince, I wondered what would happen if he was suddenly and violently thrust into a position of leadership. Would he rise to the occasion, or falter and fail? I chose the latter.

With his father murdered, his kingdom overtaken, his family’s protective talisman stolen and his courage lost, Kristan flees to the forbidding wilderness of the Exilwald, a forest of outcasts and criminals. It’s there that his story really begins.

All the books in The Gemeta Stone series take their titles from nicknames Kristan is given on his journey. In the case of Kinglet, it’s the name of a small, reclusive Exilwald bird that seems like nothing special until it displays its hidden crown of red feathers. Like the kinglet bird, Kristan’s choice is between the relative safety of a life in the shadows, or the dangers of stepping forward to reclaim both his name and his birthright.


coverKinglet

The Gemeta Stone

Book One

Donna Migliaccio

August 1, 2017

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing

Book Description:

Kristan Gemeta has lost everything: his crown, his kingdom, his courage – even his name.

In the vast wilderness of the Exilwald, he’s known to the other outcasts as Kinglet. As long as Kristan stays hidden, he can elude the bounty hunters, brutal soldiers and terrifying spells of Daazna, the Wichelord who killed his father and destroyed his life.

But when a new band of pursuers comes looking for him, Kristan’s wariness gives way to intrigue. For bounty hunters they’re oddly inept, and a young woman in their company is leaving enigmatic drawings wherever they go. As they plunge deeper into the Exilwald, Kristan follows. He discovers the drawings symbolize the Gemeta Stone, an ancient family talisman seized by Daazna but now in the little band’s possession.

With the Stone’s protection, Kristan might stand a chance against Daazna. He could regain his birthright and his honor. But to obtain the Stone, he must reveal his true identity and risk the one thing he has left…his life.

Amazon    Barnes and Noble Kobo   

iBooks

MigliaccioAbout the Author:

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker. Her award-winning short story, “Yaa and The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.

https://donnamigliaccio.com/

https://www.pinterest.com/donnaiswriting/

https://twitter.com/donnamig

https://www.facebook.com/mrsmig

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14735250.Donna_Migliaccio

Tour Giveeaway

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Around The Globe With Robert Eggleton

beachThis morning I pick up this week’s featured author and ask him where he wants to go for the interview.

“A beach,” he says.

“Which beach?”

He shrugs. “Doesn’t matter. Any beach?”

“Tahiti? Florida? California?”

“Doesn’t matter.”

So, I set the controls for ‘beach’ and soon we are there, enjoying the sun, the sand, and the surf. Let’s chat.


1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

Thanks, Stephen, for inviting me to tell your readers a little about myself and my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow, including your willingness to interview me on the beach, the only place that I fully relax. This environment, the sounds and view that defines our humanity as a mere speck in the universe, make me feel much less concerned about life’s personal issues.

Well, I’m not the most fascinating person in my city, far from it. I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist, once prominent as the spokesperson for children’s rights having participated in dozens of interviews by newspaper reporters, and having appeared on television talk shows and the radio. But, that was yesteryear.

I am, however, to the best of my knowledge, the only traditionally published fiction author in my city. Of course, there are a few authors who have self-published some good work. A couple of old friends of mine from the ‘60s had history books published recently. Very cool!

Today, I’m retired, living on a modest Social Security income in a small house in a low-income but nice neighborhood, and spend my days writing and reading. With some exception, my neighbors don’t even know that I wrote a book, one that would be outside of their interests if they even read novels. Truthfully, I’m not very fascinating.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

Much of my life has been played in the public eye, so this is a hard question except many of my old friends have already passed. News coverage of my activities began with the anti Vietnam War protests and, as mentioned above, has continued until recently. I’m active on Facebook where I share, among many other topics, such as jokes and music, my opinions on current issues. I guess one thing that people might be surprised to learn would be that I made bad grades in public school and dropped out a few months before I was scheduled to graduate. Looking back, I probably need counseling or something. I had a very problematic family life until my father was killed in a house fire when I was in the eighth grade. I’ve worked since childhood to support my family, my first official tax paying job was at twelve – clean up and stocking shelves in a pharmacy after school and weekends. I worked the 11:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M. shift in a motel renting rooms during most of high school. Education just didn’t feel very important to me. I regret that I missed so much of it, and college, where I made excellent grades, including a 4.0 in graduate school, didn’t make up for the general education that I’d spaced out on in public school. Some people think that I’m smart but I’m not, at least I’m not very well educated, and that may surprise some people.

3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as an insurance underwriter?

I consider myself to be an advocate of children’s rights first, before being a writer. I started writing short stories in childhood to help escape from distressing situations. I shared the stories with my family members and with people in the neighborhood, such as clerks in stores and gas station attendants. The positive feedback that I received was an encouragement. In the eighth grade, before my father died, I won the school’s short story competition. At that point, I began to dream of becoming a rich and famous author. However, except for a few poems, published in a college student anthology and in alternative zines, and a few short stores, most of my writing has been nonfiction in the field of child welfare, some nationally distributed, accepted into the Library of the Child Welfare League of America, and investigative reports published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where I worked through the ‘80s and most of the ‘90s. I returned to writing fiction in 2006. A few of my short stories have been published in magazines. Rarity from the Hollow is my debut novel. Today, I’m retired and hope to continue writing fiction, my first love. Half of author proceeds are donated to the prevention of child maltreatment.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

I would love to have dinner with Kurt Vonnegut. First, I would love to thank him for, through his writing, teaching me how to control and redirect my anger into a positive and motivating force for good. Secondly, especially in this day and age of cookie-cutter mainstream novels, I would love his views on defying conventions in fiction writing and getting by with it to the point of achieving name recognition and accolades.

1 Rarity Front Cover WEB (2)5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book be great company?

Well, I wouldn’t want you to miss the call for your flight when it became available, so…. One book reviewer of my novel complained that she had missed the subway on more than one occasion because she was reading it. However, no book is for everybody. Consider The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guinn. Some people just don’t “get it” even if they read the book over and over. It a modern masterpiece bound to influence literature for generations to come. Some people hated Vonnegut, something that I’m sure he would mention if we did have dinner. If you are a reader who would appreciate Rarity from the Hollow, I could recommend it during a layover or if stranded on a desert island, because it would endure and each time that you reread it you would find something that you had missed before.

6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.

For Rarity from the Hollow and for the upcoming next novel, Ivy, I began with a general outline that I constantly referred to as I wrote. The outline wasn’t built in stone but I did delete sections that I’d written when they didn’t fit the outline. Much of my writing, the literary content, was based on my experiences as a children’s advocate for over forty years. The characters are more real than not. Now that I’m retired, my wring schedule is flexible, compulsive. Yes, I Google for accuracy as I write. Perhaps the most influential was about emerging medical technologies for the treatment of PTSD, depression Biplar Disorder… which was incorporated into Rarity from the Hollow. For Ivy, which includes a pawn shop as a setting in parts, I’ve learned a lot about older weaponry. Rarity form the Hollow was professionally edited three times. It took many months, longer than the writing of the novel. I’m just glad that it was a traditional small press publication and that I didn’t have to pay for the editing.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

My best advice would be to write from the heart, but don’t fall so much in love with the product that you lose objectivity – cut, cut, cut.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

Life is soooooooo short. When young, it seems like “forever” before this or that, such as getting a driver’s license. Looking back, it was a whiz. Personally, I most enjoy looking back about my good ideas. Too much caution in living one’s life may result in regret, like you somehow missed out on experiencing important stuff. My basic philosophy about life is that you get what you sow. I guess its kind of a karma thing and I don’t believe that bad karma has a time period, or that its impact is even necessarily noticeable by others.

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

My next novel is Ivy. It’s another literary story with a science fiction backdrop that asks the question: how far will a child go to save a parent from drug addiction? When I stop writing is not up to me. I would continue forever, but death is ultimate, maybe. Samuel Goldwyn, a big time with MGM, said: “I don’t think anybody should write his autobiography until after he’s dead.” That sounds like a plan to me.

Sure, I get discouraged. After a ton of 5 and 4 star reviews, Rarity from the Hollow just received the worst review that could be written about any book, posted on Amazon. Frankly, I think that the woman must have been somebody mad at me on Facebook for posting pro Medicaid, but I’m not sure. She didn’t buy the book and I didn’t send it to her for a review. Her other reviews are of mainstream romance novels. Who knows? Then, my novel got another 2 star review that bummed me out. This woman was sent a review copy but apparently didn’t read my pitch because she only read part of my novel and all of her criticisms could were very well addressed in the pitch – she clearly didn’t understand my novel or its mission. I felt like replying to her review with a couple of on-point excerpts of other reviews:

aiaraisedgoldTHIS (2) (2)

Awesome Indies:

“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/

5star-flat-web

Readers’ Favorite:

“…Full of cranky characters and crazy situations, Rarity From the Hollow sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved… Robert Eggleton is a brilliant writer whose work is better read on several levels. I appreciated this story on all of them.” https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow

But, I won’t. There is no winning way for an author to address incompetent book reviews. It is sometimes depressing but I won’t stop writing because of them.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

Purchase links:

https://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton/dp/190713395X/

http://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/dp/B017REIA44

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rarity-from-the-hollow-robert-eggleton/1118420669#productInfoTabs

http://www.doghornpublishing.com/wordpress/books/rarity-from-the-hollow 

Public Author Contacts:

http://www.lacydawnadventures.com

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32993259-rarity-from-the-hollow

https://www.facebook.com/Lacy-Dawn-Adventures-573354432693864/

https://twitter.com/roberteggleton1

https://plus.google.com/b/108662084126982201049/108662084126982201049/posts

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-eggleton-909b154b?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

Thanks so much for the opportunity to share a little about myself and my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow.


Blurb

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.

The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”

Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”

  • Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

. “…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” —Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review

“…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” — Marchas Two-Cents Worth

“…I know this all sounds pretty whack, and it is, but it’s also quite moving. Lacy Dawn and her supporting cast – even Brownie, the dog – are some of the most engaging characters I’ve run across in a novel in some time….” — Danehy-Oakes, Critic whose book reviews often appear in the New York Review of Science Fiction

“… The author gives us much pause for thought as we read this uniquely crafted story about some real life situations handled in very unorthodox ways filled with humor, sarcasm, heartfelt situations and fun.” — Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ Magazine

Half of author proceeds are donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia for the prevention of child maltreatment.


About the author:

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. Locally, he is best known for his nonfiction about children’s programs and issues, much of which was published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from1982 through 1997. Today, he is a retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome maltreatment and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines. Author proceeds support the prevention of child maltreatment.

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U & I – Frustration

frustrationSo, every job comes with its frustrations. Uber is no exception. I’m sure my frustrations are those experienced by other drivers. Most of them can be solved with little hassle, but some plague me nearly every time I drive.

map

  1. GPS. I use Google Maps. Drivers are able to connect whichever GPS application to the Uber system. Whatever works best for the individual. I looked at Wayz but too many reviews mentioned that the system crashed a lot.

Google Maps works well, most of the time. There are issues, though. Sometimes it directs me to the alley behind the house. It is not an instant update to avoid accidents or road closures. And forget about apartment/condo/townhouse complexes. Usually, I end up calling the passenger to ask what building I need to find. And the larger complexes are REALLY frustrating, especially at night.

street construction

  1. Road construction. It has been joked that the interstate system has two seasons. Winter and Road Construction. Well, Des Moines and its suburbs are rife with street construction and building construction which affect the streets, which make traveling down the block a problem. Currently, Grand Avenue bridge is closed for repair. Walnut has two blocks closed. 5th, 7th,8th, and Grand are affected by construction. Indianola Avenue is down to one lane in both directions because of a walking bridge being removed. There are new bridges over the interstate being built. Northwest Beaver has one small section closed (at least it was a couple weekends ago which meant I had to wind through residential streets.
    SONY DSC
  2. Des Moines streets. Let’s move past the fact that many of them change names as you move along, but once I’m in a residential neighborhood, sometimes I find it difficult leaving to return to a main artery. Sometimes, there is only one way out. There is a neighborhood between MLK and 28th south of the freeway that’s a problem.

South of Grand between MLK and 1st Street in West Des Moines, the streets were laid out by a blind drunk. Narrow, some of them brick, minimal lighting

Ashworth in West Des Moines where it winds around over the interstate is tricky sometimes. No shoulder.

County Line Road. I had a precarious incident on the ice, avoiding two cars already in the ditch.

out of the way4. Out of the way trips. I don’t mind long trips. Longer trips mean more money. The problem I have is when it’s getting late and I’m thinking about calling it a night, I end up picking up someone from downtown and going all the way to north Ankeny or Grimes. The system has been changed a bit in my favor, in that I can start heading home and request trips where the destination is going my way. Saves a lot of backtracking.

The other frustration related to this is that sometimes I have to drive for ten minutes or more to pick up a passenger who only wants to go about two miles down the road. That’s a lot of driving time for a short trip. Uber did have a weekend where they helped out the driver for the long/short drives but it wasn’t much.

ignorant5. Passengers who don’t know how to operate their Uber application. I’ve had a few who put their destination as their pickup point. “Yes, I’m out here in Norwalk at the house, which is where I was told to go. Oh, you’re downtown.”

Or those who don’t put in a destination because they either don’t know the address or they want multiple stops. Multiple stops are fine, I just have to know where the last one is.

glitch6. The Uber application glitches. Incorrect addresses are shown. On the rider side, when I accept a call, it still shows me ten or more minutes away when I’m almost at the pickup point. Slow transitions from page to page or processing beginning and ending of trips.

athroom7. Bathroom breaks. Sometimes, when nature calls, I can’t answer. Sometimes, nature is insistent. I know it would take just a couple minutes to stop at the nearest convenience store, run in and do my business, but sometimes, there aren’t any nearby.

Now, can I admit something? And not have you roll your eyes? There have been many times when I’ve stopped behind buildings or businesses, or parks or dark parking lots to…well, you get the idea. Oh, come on, just #1. I’m not that uncouth.

Anyway, just a few frustrations on the job. I’ll bet you’ve had similar.

Okay, maybe not the last one, but you know what I mean. Let me know a few of your frustrations with your job.

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