Bridge Over Paradiso

Almost a year ago, I started working on a serialized fiction. My busy lifestyle ended up putting it on the backburner, but I’m far fr

om done with it. Right now, I’m attempting to prioritize my projects, so I’m wondering what level of interest this project has. If nobody’s interested, I’ll just shelf it until the major projects are done, but if anyone is actually interested, I’ll put it to the front of the heap. It’s a space-western that follows Noah Wimmer, a kid who discovers that the rock formation on the outskirts of town is actually something much more. It’s something that could change the fate of the universe and it’s only protector is a tired old man.

At the end of this sample (the first episode), I’ll have a poll. If you want to read more, let me know. I’ve also been toying with the idea of turning it into an audio show, where I narrate the whole thing into a free podcast.

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Dust kicked up behind Noah Wimmer’s truck. The wide tires carried Noah over the vast purple desert that was the world of Paradiso.
The truck itself was a marvel of engineering. Originally an X10-80 Hauler, built long before Noah’s mother was a gleam in her daddy’s eye, it had since been modified, repaired, torn apart, rebuilt, and worn back down at least a hundred times. Most of those were by Noah own engineering skills. Even though the truck was a tool for work, it was Noah’s freedom.
The old X10 had a large flatbed for hauling supplies, and that’s how Noah was using it. Noah wanted to just forget his cargo and drive on, forever chasing that feeling of escape that the X10 gave him.
He could, too. He could drive forever on this large planet.
Mostly because of the solar-panels on top of the truck.
The planet of Paradiso was in a binary star system and the stars were spaced out enough to only afford Paradiso with a little over an hour of dark per 24 hour day. Solar power wasn’t only abundant, it was in surplus.
The wind tore through Noah’s chin-length blond hair as he crested another dune. At 17, Noah wasn’t happy with any of his prospects. He was taller and thinner than the average and that same height kept him from working in the mines like most of his peers. He had planned on joining the WaterCorp, but they had an age limit that he was four years too young for. That left the Freight Teams.
Paradiso’s one moon was called Crypta. Crypta was a lush forest, filled with everything that Paradiso lacked. That included carnivorous plants and animals that were so fierce it made the planet uninhabitable. Fortunately, it didn’t make it impossible to visit. The resources, such as food, building materials, water, and exotic souvenirs made for a lucrative trade on Paradiso. The Freight Team, taking advantage of the weakened gravity caused by Crypta’s close proximity, launched ships onto the moon and collected the resources before returning to Paradiso the next day.
Whether you were a pilot, a loader, or security, the job was incredibly dangerous. Most of the plants caused negative allergic reactions in humans, and the beasts of the planet were excellent hunters.
Noah shook the thought from his head and returned his focus to driving. He hadn’t mentioned to his mother that he was interested in joining the Freight Teams. He had no doubt what her reaction would be.
She’d kill him long before the moon did.
It had been at least thirty kilometers between the supply drop from Crypta and Noah’s mother’s store. Cresting the next dune, the store came into Noah’s view.
The store was officially nameless, but known to the locals of Paradiso as Wimmer’s Place. Noah’s family had owned and operated it in some capacity or another for the last four generations. Noah could feel the pressure for him to continue the business, but he couldn’t break his mind from wanting a new experience.
Or new experiences with The Freight Team.
Even with the pressure that he was feeling, Noah knew that his family didn’t actually expect him to take over. They knew him for what he was and all hoped, and bet on, his sister, Tessa to take over. To be fair to his family, even Noah knew that they encouraged his ambitions. They wished for him to reach for the stars, only not so literally.
Noah pulled up to the store. It was a large brick and metal structure, built to withstand sandstorms and whatever else anyone could throw at it. The windows were vertical slits, mostly to allow weapons to slide out in the case of a siege, but also for allowing light in, while protecting from the storms.
It had been months since anyone had tried to lay siege to the store, although robberies themselves were more recent. Noah and his family, as well as some of the more loyal locals, had become quite the impressive little army in this lawless land. The last siege had ended with the loss of only one barrel of water and a few lives lost on the side of the attackers.
The store was a resource, and destroying it wasn’t what the attackers ever wanted. They wanted the supplies without paying for them, but they also wanted there to be more supplies in the future. So, even with the loss of some life, they still planned to attack the store without grinding it in the dust.
It had been that way for the entire four generations. It even became habit about sixty years ago to leave one of the barrels poisoned. Only the Wimmers ever knew which one it was.
Parking his X10, Noah hopped from the cab and grabbed a crate from the bed of the truck before walking in. He walked by more vehicles on his way in. Noah recognized all of them.
Kreager Evans’ skimmer was parked directly next to where Noah had parked the X10. Kreager was about Noah’s age and mute. He was hellbent on building a a better dehumidifier for pulling water from the air. On a desert world, water was the most valuable commodity, even with Crypta within reach, and such a device was a worthy cause. Unfortunately, Kreager was entirely self-taught, and hadn’t made any breakthroughs in water collection yet.
Parked tightly next to Kreager’s skimmer was Chartrand family wagon. A group of farmers with a greenhouse about a hundred kilometers to the south of the store. They were one of the bigger traders with the Wimmer store, trading rare vegetables for large quantities of water.
Karen White’s old rover was parked so close to the front entrance to the store that Noah had to squeeze by it just to get in. Karen was a sour older lady who was quite fond of her chew sticks.
Karen was the first person that Noah came across when he made had finally squeezed into the store. He set his crate down on the counter just as his mother came out of the back carrying a stack of boxes tied with twine. Karen eyed him and began to waggle her finger while gnawing on a chew stick.
Noah rolled his eyes at her, but stepped up and grabbed the boxes from his mother.
Annie Wimmer was in her late forties and lean from many years working the store on the dried out desert world. She wore glasses, but Noah was pretty sure that she didn’t need them for anything other than reading. She was sharp and quick witted and a dangerous woman with her rifle.
As Noah took the boxes, Annie turned toward Karen and smiled, “Thank you, Karen.” She turned back to Noah. “Take the top two boxes out to Karen’s wagon. She pointed to the bottom and much larger of the boxes that he had taken. “That one belongs to Eckhart, you can just set that anywhere until he gets here.”
Karen spoke around her chew stick upon hearing Eckhart’s name. “You mean that crazy old man that sets up by the Bridge?”
Noah rolled his eyes, and if Karen hadn’t been looking directly at Annie when she’d asked about Eckhart, Annie would have rolled her eyes as well. Many were surprised that Karen was still alive, so the irony wasn’t lost on either of the Wimmers that she had just referred to Eckhart as an ‘old man.’
The Bridge in question was a relic from some long past war. Back before the migration, Paradiso has been part of some galactic conflict and the Bridge had been used as some sort of landing pad for ferrying soldiers to and from the dust covered planet. Humanity hadn’t faired well during that war, and by all accounts Paradiso was all that remained of the human race. Once the battle had been lost, whatever connection had allowed people to ferry over the Bridge was cut, Paradiso was cut off from the Universe, and the Bridge became a large stone memory.
It was called the Bridge because of it’s general look. It was a set of stone stairs that lifted off of the desert and then arced over and flattened out, much like an actual bridge. Unlike an actual bridge, the Bridge stopped abruptly right in the middle of the would be bridge. That mid-air terminus led many to believe that it was a loading platform for spacecraft. People would load up onto the bridge and then step from it into the open doorway of a spacecraft, prepared for battle.
“Old, yes,” Annie remarked, “but I don’t know about crazy. He’s sane enough to somehow make a profit doing whatever he does out by the Bridge.”
“That’s a good point,” Noah said, wondering not for the first time about old Eckhart’s ability to make money. He always had enough for the supplies he came and picked up, but for all of Noah’s subtle investigation, he still had no idea what Eckhart did to make money. “How does he get his money?”
Annie frowned, “Johnny Marcuro came in here mumbling a theory the other day about that.” Noah set Eckhart’s box on the counter next to Karen and scooped back up Karen’s boxes while his mother explained. “He seems to think that Eckhart takes half of his supplies that he gets from us and resells them on the far side of the planet.”
It makes sense, Noah thought. Wimmer’s Place was the better of all the stores on Paradiso, having been around long enough to build a good relationship with The Freight Teams. It as possible that The Freight Teams gave better product to the Wimmers.
“That sure doesn’t seem fair to you,” Karen mumbled.
Annie shrugged. “As long as he keeps buying from me, I don’t care what he does with his supplies.”
“Well,” Karen continued. “I don’t think that’s what he does, anyway.”
“Oh?” asked Noah, genuinely curious.
Karen waved her hand, as if using it to summon some old memory. Still looking at Annie, she continued. “Old Eckhart used to tell your father that he was on a research grant to study that Bridge. If you can believe anything he says, that is. It was well over thirty-five years ago. Do you really think that he still gets grants? Who hands them out? What could there be left to study in that unchanging rock?”
Noah’s mother shrugged. “Mine isn’t to wonder about my customers, Karen, or I’d be wondering why you’d be buying all of that cabling. Some would wonder if you were building a private comm tower to hear when the shipments would be arriving…”
Karen’s face blanched at that and Noah had to turn his head to hide his smirk. Karen then turned away from Annie and started pushing Noah and her boxes toward the door.
Loading Karen’s small rover was a more a matter of holding her boxes of cabling while she maneuvered her mess around to make room. About five minutes after reaching her vehicle, Karen finally stepped aside and let Noah set the boxes into her rover cab.
The moment that he had stepped back from setting down the boxes, Noah heard the whine of another vehicle. In unison, he and Karen turned to see Eckhart and his solar buggy pull up beside them.
Eckhart wasn’t as old as ancient Karen, but he was definitely in his higher years. His olive skin glistened with sweat as he stepped out onto the purple sand. His hair, once black, was white and cut very close to his scalp. His head and his beard must have been shaved at about the same time, as his white beard was the same length as his hair on top of his head. He was dressed in a loose brown robe made from a light material. Covering the top of his close cropped hair, Eckhart wore a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun from his eyes.
“Boy,” his voice was low and rough, sound as weathered as his sun-aged skin. “Your mother in?”
Noah nodded and tilted his head toward the shop. “She’s inside.”
Eckhart returned Noah’s nod, dipped his hat to Karen, and then headed toward the store.
He stopped as he came shoulder to shoulder with Noah, tilting his head as if attempting to hear something. “Get Karen out of here. Now. I saw riders coming this way.” Eckhart hesitated. “They didn’t look…respectable.” He slid past Karen’s rover and into the store.
“Karen, I think you’re all loaded up. How about we get you on your way?” Noah sealed the back of the rover and watched as Karen climbed in and pulled away, mumbling something about pushy youth.
Once Noah was sure that Karen was good and gone, he turned and watched as three riders on glider bikes crested the same dune that he had also crested earlier in the X10.
Inside, Eckhart was throwing some more goods from the shelves and into the box that was still where Noah had left it. As he did, Annie was rattling off prices, but there was no sign in Eckhart’s eyes that he cared at all what the price was.
The sound of the riders’ glider bikes interrupted Annie’s pricing and halted Eckhart where he stood.
Eckhart looked at Annie, “I’ll check on your boy. You hide the valuables, get your gun, and stay here.”
Annie was about to protest being told what to do in her own store, but Eckhart held up a hand and a slight smile. “I can handle this, your customers will need to be kept calm.”
He nodded toward the Chartrand family looking concerned by the sudden change in the atmosphere. Annie hesitated and then nodded. She didn’t need panicked customers, and Eckhart seemed sure enough of himself.
“They could be customers,” Annie tried.
Eckhart shook his head and said quietly, “We both know that they’re not.” With that he turned and headed back toward the door.
Outside, the three riders climbed from their glider bikes and straightened their jackets. On their sides, plasma pistols hung on loose holsters. Each of them was at least a decade older than Noah and they were smiling to themselves as they took in the wiry boy.
“Can I help you gentleman?” Noah asked.
Instead of answering, the rider in the lead pointed at Noah, eliciting a laugh from his companions.
The rider in the back of the trio said loudly, “Go home, boy. We’re looking for a fight, and you’re not it.”
They moved to walk past Noah and into the store, but Noah’s hand shot out and grabbed the nearest one by the arm.
“This is my home,” Noah said, “and I’m the only fight that you’re going to find.”
The rider that Noah grabbed looked down at Noah’s hand and then at Noah before yanking his arm back.
“I guess we’ll start with you then.”
The rider reached for his plasma pistol and his companions followed suit.
“Are you the boys who mess with Roger Lincoln’s barn?” Eckhart said from the door to the store with his arms crossed.
Distracted, the riders left their hands resting on their pistols but didn’t draw them.
The rider that Noah had grabbed said, “It’s a desert world. Fires happen.” His companions didn’t even attempt to hide their snickering.
Eckhart nodded slowly and slid aside his robe, revealing his own plasma pistol. He walked forward, stepping closer to the group.
The mirth left the riders as they saw the gun and they tightened their grips on their own holstered weapons.
“Roger,” Eckhart continued, “is a good man and a friend of mine.” He unclipped something from just behind the pistol and brought his hand forward slowly, letting the robe fall back over the pistol.
All that Noah could see was a small flat disk that fit into the palm of Eckhart’s hand. With a flick of his wrist, the disk flew past the riders and Noah coming to a rest underneath the glider bikes.
Eckhart reached out and touched Noah’s shoulder. “Get inside and check on your mother.” There was no room for arguing in Eckhart’s tone, and Noah didn’t hesitate to move back toward the store. He didn’t get as far as his mother, though, instead choosing to stand inside the door to watch Eckhart and the riders.
“Get out of our way, old man. We’ll kill you if you don’t,” said the same rider as before.
Eckhart ignored them and pointed in the direction of their bikes. “Do you know what that is?” He didn’t wait for them to answer. “Figured not. There ain’t too many around here who would.” He brought his hand back and shoved both hands into the pockets of his robe. “It’s a Newton 4. Designed a long time ago, it has the ability to magnify gravity within a small radius for a short time.” Eckhart pulled a small red clip out of the pocket of his robe and held it up in front of the riders. “We used them all the time during the war. I set the timer to 45 seconds.”
He took a breath and looked between them before realizing that they still didn’t understand what he was talking about.
Eckhart didn’t flinch or move. Instead, he sighed. “It’s a grenade, boys, and the time is ticking!” He waggled the red clip. “If you don’t get out of here now, I won’t turn it off.”
The lead rider wavered just a bit and glanced back toward his bike. Following their elected leader, the other riders looked back at the bikes.
When nothing happened they turned back to Eckhart with ear to ear grins.
Then a loud whumph! sounded. It was followed by an equally loud crunch of metal.
Spinning back around, the riders and Noah could see that two of the bikes were destroyed. They had been flattened into the sand. The third back had missed the pull of the Newton 4 and survived.
Before they could fully process what they were seeing, Eckhart stepped forward and pulled the plasma pistol from the holster of the nearest rider. Just as quickly as he pulled the pistol, he put a bolt of plasma into the knee of the rider in the middle. Turning slightly, Eckhart aimed the plasma pistol at the final rider before he could draw his own weapon.
“The way I see it, you’re lucky in that y’all still have one bike.” Eckhart waved his free hand at the middle rider who was missing half of his knee. “Now you can take your moaning pal and head back to wherever you call home, or I can do ole Roger a solid and end this now.” He looked at each of them, the plasma pistol never moving.
The rider who’s gun Eckhart took stepped back from Eckhart and helped get the middle rider up and onto his one good leg. While he and his wounded companion hobbled toward the remaining bike, the last rider stared daggers at Eckhart.
“Drop your pistol and go.” Eckhart shook his head. “I won’t ask again.”
A loud clunk signaled a side panel in the wall of the store sliding aside. A rifle barrel slid out and Noah could hear his mother’s voice as she called out. “You have until the count of ten.”
The final rider unholstered his plasma pistol slowly and then dropped it at his feet.
The wounded rider took that moment to pull his own pistol and take aim on Eckhart.
Before Noah could call out, a shot rang out and the wounded rider was quickly sporting a plasma hole in his chest. He collapsed to the ground as Annie shouted, “Ten!”
The two remaining riders climbed up onto the bike and everyone in the store could hear the strain on the engine as they revved it up.
The rider sitting on the back of the bike shouted over the loud engine, “We won’t make it far like this. We’ll die out there.”
Eckhart shouted back, “It’s a desert world. Accidents happen.”
The engine of the glider roared to life and carried the two men off into the desert.
Ignoring the body still smoking on the purple desert sand, Eckhart stomped into the store, pushing past Noah.
“Annie,” Eckhart says, leaving Noah standing shocked in the doorway. “Did the Freighters bring down any of that aloe?”
Noah’s mother tossed the rifle onto the counter top and walked behind it to check her invoices. Out of habit, Noah’s legs started moving. He was well into packing up the last of Eckhart’s supplies into the crates when an idea finally surfaced through his shock.
It wasn’t until Annie and Noah were carrying the supplies to Eckhart’s buggy, when Noah asked his mother, “Where did Eckhart get a grenade?”
“What?” Annie asked her son.
Noah stepped around the body that was still laying in the sand and set the crate down in Eckhart’s vehicle. “Eckhart used that gravity grenade on the gliders.” Noah shrugged, “I’ve never even heard of anything like that. Where did he get?”
Annie returned her son’s shrug. “You shouldn’t worry about things like that. It was probably a left-over from his time in the war.”
Noah had heard that phrase before, usually whenever someone tried to explain the oddness that defined Eckhart. Except that no one ever knew what war that was.
“What war?” Noah asked his mother, and it wasn’t for the first time.
Annie was obviously getting frustrated with her son. She’d just killed a man and avoided another robbery of her store. She was stressed to her very limit, and her son was asking her what seemed like ridiculous questions.
“Obviously, it’s that war that he’s always talking about.” Annie started the march back toward the store, giving the body a wider birth than she had during her first path.
Noah followed her and thought back to the numerous times that Eckhart had mentioned this forgotten war. He couldn’t even count the number. Eckhart was notorious for starting any story that he felt worth telling with “Back in the war,” or “Before the war.”
Except that made absolutely no sense. The Bridge had been closed for hundreds of years, restricting all travel from Paradiso to its nearby moon. Since the closing of the Bridge, their had been no actual wars on Paradiso since the closing of the Bridge.
Survival was hard enough on the harsh desert world without adding wars into the mix.
At least, that’s how Noah knew it to be.
Noah hadn’t realized it, but Eckhart had been within earshot for the entire conversation with his mother.
“There was no war, kid,” Eckhart said, suprising Noah. “Put it out of your mind.”
That made even less sense to Noah. There was already ‘no war,’ and then Eckhart had talked of ‘the war,’ and now he was going back to saying that there was ‘no war?’
“Than why do you talk about ‘the war’ all of the time?” Noah pressed.
Eckhart snorted, stepping past Noah and into the store, “Because I’m an old man with little to do other than wish that I would have had a war to fight in.”
Eckhart’s tone carried finality with it, and only led Noah to believe even more that Eckhart was hiding something.
Once they were all three in the store, Noah was surprised to hear his mother ask the next question, “Then where did you dig up a gravity grenade?”
Noah scooped up the last crate from the counter and handed it off to Eckhart.
Eckhart sighed as he took the box, “I make bombs. It’s a hobby. I get bored living as far out as I do.” He shrugged with the box. “I had a finicky repulsor that I retrofitted with a power oscillator and a crystal-based timer. The effect was better than I could have hoped for.” Eckhart frowned and looked directly at Annie, “Do you always interrogate the folks who save your store?”
Suddenly embarrassed, Noah’s mother began stuttering an apology.
Eckhart smiled and Annie felt even more embarrassed having been caught in his little joke. “I’m only giving you a hard time, Annie.”
With that, Eckhart walked from the store and loaded the last crate into the back of his buggy. Much to Noah and Annie’s surprise, he then scooped up the body of the last bandit and threw it on top of the buggy.
With a final nod to the Wimmers, Eckhart climbed aboard and drove off.
They both watched him go and didn’t say a word until he was out of sight.
Once they couldn’t see Eckhart anymore, Annie said, “Stay away from him, Noah.”
Noah didn’t look away from where he’d last seen Eckhart on the horizon. “Why, mom?”
Annie shook her head and headed back toward the store while her son continued to stare. “Because he’s weird, and probably dangerous. Just do as your told.”

* * *

Want more Bridge Over Paradiso?

Satan’s Salesman Chapter 3 (unedited)

​Chapter 3
The new position came with a lot of Technical Support. Sara Durant had been in the middle of a lot of different deals and the details from those as well as her incoming emails all had to be set up so that Shane had access to them.

By the time that lunch rolled by, Shane hadn’t done anything yet in his new position aside from spend several hours working with the IT guy out of CIT’s Chicago office.

Lunch was something that Shane had been looking forward to. Today was Burrito day at El Sol Mexica, and Dale was meeting him there.

El Sol Mexica was a taco truck in Shane’s business park. When he got there, the line was at least twenty yards long. Dale was already in line and waved him over, but they still had three quarters of the line to move through before they would be even close to touching a burrito or five. 

“What’s the news?” Dale asked in the way of his usual hello.

Shane filled him in on everything as they moved through the line. He had to stop to pay for his burrito when he got to the part of Sara Durant catching up with him in the parking lot.

Burritos in hand, the guys walked over to their usual spot in the neighbor office’s smoking area. Picnic tables and chairs were scattered all over the place, but their were almost never any smokers out there, making it the perfect lunch spot.

Shane continued his story with the explanation of Sara’s awkward conversation and Steve’s response to it.

“That’s really weird,” Dale finally said when Shane finished his story, “but, the lady just lost her job and could probably guess who was getting it next. Weird makes sense.”

Shane nodded, “I get that, but what does the ‘yet’ mean?”

“It probably means that you’re new job isn’t going to be as easy as you expect it to be.”

“I don’t expect it to be easy,” Shane shot back. “If it was easy, than it wouldn’t be fun.”

“Either way, the ‘yet’ is a warning. Don’t over think it.” While chewing his burrito, Dale added, “I’ll pray for both of you. She obviously needs it, and we don’t know if you will.”

Shane tried not to roll his eyes. Dale’s stringent morality wasn’t the only thing that his parents taught him. That morality was taught to him through a very strict Catholic upbringing that he never broke away from. Shane had no problem with religion as long as people kept their opinions to themselves. Dale was aware of this and tried to keep most of his Catholic rhetoric in the same place that he stored his moral judgment, but both seemed to leak out from time to time.

Once they had finished their burritos, of which they always got back in line for another, Dale offered one more word of advice.

“Don’t worry about that Durant lady,” he climbed into his big brown truck while Shane stood near the wide open side door. “Whatever path your on is where you need to be. Her freaky warnings can’t change that, so ride the wave until the tide turns.” He shrugged, “Or something like that.”

“Thanks, great Shaman,” Shane bowed. “Your wisdom knows all bounds.”

“Truer words have never been spoken.”

They said their goodbyes while Dale drove away in his delivery truck. Shane began the hundred or more yard walk back to his office.

The first day on the job was something else entirely. The morning of technical issues only barely bled into the afternoon and by midafternoon, Shane was free to start sending out marketing emails regarding his taking over the new position.
Hello,

My name is Shane Lowe. I am emailing you to inform you that your previous representative, Sara Durant, has moved on to a bigger and brighter future. In her absence, I have been asked to fill her role as your representative with Computer Information Technologies (CIT).

With strengthening your relationship in mind, I want to schedule a time with you in the next two weeks to introduce myself and learn more about you and your company.

When works best for you?”
He signed it with his new email signature that included his name, title, and a Voice over IP phone number that would route the calls directly his cellphone if he wasn’t at his desk.

The turnaround on those types of emails were low at best, but it was still a great way to introduce himself. The program they used to send out the mass emails let him track who opened the emails and who clicked the social media links that he provided in his signature. If someone opened the email but didn’t reply at all, that indicated that something about his email had interested them and Shane would still drop in and introduce himself. It just wouldn’t be on anyone’s schedule.

After the emails were sent, and a few responses were added to the calendar, Shane began reviewing Sara’s notes on several of the accounts. That took up the rest of the day Shane’s day. He was so absorbed in account notes that he didn’t even realize that five o’clock had gone by until Steve knocked on his door.

“Your laptop works at home, too,” he smiled at him. “That’s why they invented wireless.”

Shane glanced at the clock on his laptop screen. “I guess that I didn’t realize that six had rolled around.”

“It happens to the best of us. Have a good night,” Steve said, nodding as he left.

Shane moved to save the file he had been viewing when an alert popped up.

“You are not authorized to view this account.”

Shane frowned and tried to save the file again. When the error popped up again, he decided that the changes he had made could be made tomorrow when this glitch was ironed out.

On the way home he called Maggie and asked her to set a reservation with The Fire Kitchen downtown. It was one of the classier joints and while they had celebrated his big sale and breaking the annual quota, Maggie and Shane hadn’t had a chance to celebrate the new promotion.

Shane went straight to the restaurant and was greeted by Maggie as her Uber pulled up the same time that he found his parking spot.

While he still wore his work suit, Maggie had changed from whatever she had been wearing into a long red dress that glittered.

“Holy shit,” Shane mumbled. He thought it had been quiet, but Maggie heard him and let out a giggle. The dress hugged her every curve and squeezed some curves in a manner that drew his attention.

“What was that?” she pretended that she hadn’t heard him.

“I was just admiring your dress.” He kissed her and then broke away to make a more obvious inspection of the new garment. “I haven’t seen this one before.” He winked at her. “The dress pales in comparison to the angel wearing it.”

“You’re so corny,” Maggie smiled. “But I love you, so that’s supposed to be endearing.” She gave him the same detailed inspection. “I have seen this outfit before, but you fill it out nicely.” She smacked the right side of his butt.

“Alright, little lady,” Shane hooked his arm, “are you ready for some celebration?”

“Bring it on.”

Their impromptu dinner date was everything that they both wanted out of a date. They spent most of the evening talking about their days and Shane recapped his weird conversation after getting his new position. Maggie dropped some large hints about potentially moving in together and for the first time in a while, Shane went along with it. He was never against the idea of living with Maggie. He knew that he loved her, but he was against moving in together with his previous income level. He wanted to have a certain level of financial success to his name before he made that move.

Finally, he felt as though he was at that point.

When the dinner was over, they started for the door when a loud cheering took place on the other side of the restaurant. Shane glanced over and saw something he wasn’t quite sure that he understood.

“That’s Sara Durant,” he said to answer Maggie’s upraised eyebrow. “Looks like she’s celebrating something.”

Maggie shrugged, “She probably got a new job.” She started toward their table, dragging Shane along by the arm. “Let’s go say hi and see how she’s doing.”

The last thing that Shane wanted to do was talk to Sara Durant again, but he knew better than to argue with Maggie and allowed her to drag him over to Sara’s table.

About half way across The Fire Kitchen, Sara and her party noticed them. Shane gave a small wave as he started to recognize some of the remote representatives from his office. These were the people that Sara had spent her years at CIT working with and who Shane would be working with soon.

Before they made it to Sara’s table, she stood and met them.

“Hi Sara,” Shane was using an apologetic tone. He couldn’t help but feel like he was intruding. “We saw you over here and thought we would say hi.”

“That’s great,” she grabbed him into a hug, and he had to do his best not to jump at the quickness of it. “I’m sorry about earlier today, I wasn’t myself.”

“Understandably,” Maggie said in time to earn a hug from Sara as well. “Are you,” she hesitated, unsure if the word she was about to use was appropriate given the circumstances, “celebrating…something?”

Sara smiled, but it was tight-lipped. “Yes,” she glanced at Shane, “remember when I mentioned my backup plan earlier?” Shane nodded. “Well,” Sara continued, “I did it.” She gestured behind her. “So, I invited a few family and friends to celebrate.”

“The idea seems to be going around,” Maggie joked.

For the briefest of moments, Shane thought he saw a flash of sadness in Sara’s eyes, but, while it made sense, there was something off about it.

Just as quickly as the emotion had appeared, it was quickly replaced with a the flash of teeth as Sara smiled.

“That’s great,” He attitude seemed to shift, and Shane recognized it immediately. She stiffened and started to lean back toward her table. Everyone, especially sales-people, did this when they were trying to get out of a conversation.

“I’ll let you get back to your friends,” Shane said before Sara could. “Thank you.” She started to turn away but stopped before smiling and saying, “Try to have a great night.”

The way she said it made Maggie frown at Sara and reply, “That’s kind of the plan.”

When they were outside Maggie said, “She was creepy as hell.”

“See?” Shane said, finally feeling vindicated by having another witness to Sara Durant’s odd mental state. “She’s batshit insane.” He pulled out his keys and unlocked his car, holding the door open as Maggie climbed into it.

“What was that ‘have a great night’ about?” Maggie voiced the same question that Shane had.

“You know what?” He said, finally catching on. “I think she’s fucking with me.” He merged with traffic as he spoke. “She could tell that I was freaked out about the parking lot, and then she decided to up her game with the ‘great night’ thing.”

“That bitch is a regular Hannibal Lecter with the mind games,” Maggie agreed.

Shane shivered involuntarily. “She gives me the creeps.”

Maggie reached over and grabbed his hand. “Well, I’ll try to to distract you from her tonight. This dress was a bitch to get on, I think I’ll need some help getting out of it.”

Shane flashed her a wide grin, “So was this tie. I’ll probably need help, too.”

“You’re such a nerd. You’re lucky your cute.”

Shane couldn’t argue with that. “You’re right. I am.”

A Ramble About Making Podcasts

I’ve been incredibly interested, since day one of knowing that such things existed, of making a Podcast. I’ve even done it, multiple times. Usually with pal and cohort in crime, Bob. First we did the Epic Dwarven Blogger Elite (https://epicdwarvenblogger.wordpress.com/tag/podcast/) Podcast, where we basically talked World of Warcraft with guests and the mechanics of leveling hunters and such. Then we did Spoiler! A Book Review Podcast, where we read books, gave you a complete synopsis and then our reviews. And then I was working on the DW Radio Show, a podcast that’s goal was to provide authors with marketing information (like there aren’t a ton of those out there already) and author interviews (ditto).

There are a few things to consider when making a podcast, and any of these three could lead to you shutting your doors.

The first is hosting. A lot of websites offer hosting for free (but limited to a set number of hours of recorded material), and a ton more offer hosting options that cost. In the past, I wasn’t a fan of paying for hosting, but I did anyway because the alternative was a little more difficult. In recent years (DW Radio) I was using SoundCloud but they have a limited number of hours. Even more recently, I’ve discovered that I can use my own website to host the podcast, or any podcast, and in the future that might be what I decide to do. Most importantly, whether you pay for it or not, you’re going to want your hosting to be simple and unlimited. That way you’re never concerned about if a show runs over. That limited space also acts as an expiration date on your show, too, and you probably won’t want that if you’re having fun working on your show. Wherever you host it, that’s where you’ll get the RSS feed that will direct people to your show. (if it’s your blog, be sure to give a show-specific tag so that you can generate an RSS feed to provide to iTunes and all those fun podcast places)

Another thing to consider is the people you work with. A lot of shows are just one person, and those aren’t a lot of fun. So, if you decide to work with more people (ie: cohosts, podcast networks, audio editors, whoever) make sure, without a doubt, that they are either working for you or are at least aligned 100% with your vision. When Bob and I did the Epic Dwarven Blogger Elite show, we started off with a simple idea that was a blast for us, but we were blinded by an offer for unlimited free hosting of the show. The company wanted us to record the show live (never did that before, we like editing), if the show started to get boring to them (which was all the time, since they aren’t WoW fans) they would interupt us, very randomly, with their own guests who would cuss (not something we did on the show) or verbally disrupt our guests by asking them topics not related to the show, and they would write us scathing emails if viewership was down. That isn’t someone we should have worked with. They drained our spirit and took something fun from us and turned it into work. I loved playing WoW, and while it doesn’t hold interest in me today, it was that relationship that was directly responsible for me quitting the game.

Content is another big thing to consider. Specifically, less about what the show is about and more about how to come up with fresh and new content for every show, no matter your schedule. With DW Radio, author interviews are nice, but they aren’t all that I want to do. I’d like to continue doing articles about how to maximize your author business, but doing so gets boring, as I’m the only host. An idea here would be for me to turn the focus of those very same author interviews into how they are effectively handling their author business. Do they see themselves as successful? That’s my most recent problem: fresh content.  Interviews are nice, but they don’t pay the bills (metaphorically). I need content that isn’t only fresh (read as “new”) but is also exciting and makes people want to tune in.

That’s about it, I guess. Those are the big concerns that I had to learn the hard way. Another concern you might have might be ads. Ads are fun ways to monetize your site. You can reach out to a ton of different websites and ask to be an affiliate. The big ones that everyone seems to use are Stamps.com and Audible.com. Both will give you money when people use your information to sign up for an account and they tend to accept a bunch of folks. You could also sell ad space if you have a specific type of podcast. For instance, I tend to relate to authors and readers, so I’ll sell ad space for books via my website. Want an ad placed, gimme money. Easy peasy and helps to turn what might just be a simple hobby for you into a means of getting some easy cash.

This has somehow changed from a “geeze, podcasts ain’t easy” to a tutorial on how to start your own. In that vein, I’d encourage you to download Audacity, (just google it, I’m too lazy to grab you the link). Audacity is a simple, professional level (I say, as not in anyway a professional) editing software for anyone with recorded audio. I’d also encourage you to go to Fiverr.com (there’s a link for you, now get off of my back) and pay $5 for a simple intro with music that can be yours and yours alone. Maybe pay another $5 and get some credits read to music that you can tag to the end of your show.

Anyway, the reason that I brought this up is because I really want to revamp DW Radio, or start a new show altogether. Ren and I have talked about a bunch of ideas, but none of them have sung to us yet, or they involve more effort than the amount of reward we’d receive from doing it. Sticking to just revamping DW Radio, I think maybe I should start doing interviews of multiple authors at one time, where we discuss a little bit about their background and then go over how they handle their writing as a business.

Another idea I had, compiled while talking to both my father and author Larry Clayton about entirely unrelated subjects, would be to just interview authors via recording implements about their journey as writers and making that the whole show. My concern there is that I’d fall into the same hole that I am already in for DW Radio.

Or maybe I’ll just start reading chapters of Self-Publish Without Spending Money, and release each chapter as an episode…

Anyway, I’m rambling now. Ideas for a show? Looking to start your own? Bring it up in the comments and I’ll let you know what I think.

–MD–

Satan’s Salesman Chapter 2 (unedited)

​Chapter 2
Computer Information Technology’s office was on the west side of Crescent Hill. It shared an office park under the water tower directly next to the highway. The building was only one story tall with a parking lot in the back and the front.

Shane pulled into the back lot only a few minutes before eight in the morning. Grabbing his laptop bag from the back of the car, he crossed the lot, swiped his security badge at the glass door and made his way to his cubicle.

He smiled as he thought about trading this gray fabric set of three short walls for an actual office with a door. Just as quickly as the thought came to him, he mentally chastised himself for counting his eggs before they hatched. Shane was hopeful that he would get the promotion and everything implied that was the direction that he would be going, but until someone was showing him to his new office he shouldn’t be picking out wallpapers and furniture. Not yet anyway.

Tossing his bag into his chair, Shane kept walked past the cubicle and straight into Steve’s office. Plopping down in a chair across from his manager, Shane crossed his left leg over the right and laced his fingers.

The man sitting across from him was portly in a way that made people think of the holiday season and fat white guys with big smiles and bigger beards. That kind of thinking was exactly why Steve Horton only had a thick gray mustache and never grew out a beard. He sat in a full suit and tie and was clicking through emails on his company-owned laptop.

“Did the paperwork go out?” He asked.

Steve leaned back in his chair, “Yes, it went out fifteen minutes ago and was emailed back, signed and ready to go, about thirty seconds before you came in here.” He spread his hands wide on his desk as his smile creeped the edges of his mustache up.

“Great,” Shane laced his fingers behind his head and leaned back as far as the chair would allow. “The gross profit on that was over ten percent, so you and I should both a nice bonus when the end of the quarter comes around.”

“I saw that. If I could convince your colleagues to stop giving away product and to sell things for what they were worth, then I would be a much happier man.” Steve’s mustache began to twitch, almost like a thick gray caterpillar as his mouth tried to smile and frown at the same time. “As a matter of fact, I wanted to,” he paused to find the right words, “talk to you about some of this morning’s developments.”

Shane did his best to hide his excitement. His face remained entirely still as he said, “It’s not even eight, yet. What kind of developments are you talking about?”

All hints of mirth left Steve’s face as he spoke.

“As you are probably aware, Sara hasn’t been hitting her goal for quite some time. A month ago we put her on probation. Unfortunately, she was incapable of meeting goal before that time was up and we were forced to let her go.”

Shane actually had been aware. Nothing in the office ever stayed a secret for long. The numbers were tracked on a marker board in the main bullpen, and it was plain to see that Sara had been missing her forecasted goal for the last three months. When the folks in Chicago had called and told Steve to put Sara on probation, it wasn’t ten minutes before everyone in the office was aware. Steve was a great guy, and a very lenient boss, but he gossiped like a teenage girl.

Of course, Shane wasn’t going to say any of that to Steve.

“Wow, that’s horrible,” he said instead. “Is she alright?”

Steve nodded. “It didn’t come as a surprise to her.” He folded his hands on the desk. “This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for anyone. She can move on to find a position that better fits her, and now her position is available for an enterprising person such as yourself to move into.”

Shane opened his eyes wide, “Are you saying that her job is mine?”

“If you want it.”

“Of course, It would be my pleasure.” Not only was it happening, it was happening quickly.

“You’re aware of what a Global Account Manager does?” The question was rhetorical. Everyone on the sales team was aware of the roles of the others. Knowing your colleague’s roles meant there wouldn’t be any confusion if someone was working on accounts that weren’t theirs.

Shane nodded. “The GAM deals directly with the decision makers of the international accounts.”

“So,” Steve went deeper into the explanation, “if we’re helping Coca Cola upgrade their servers, you would oversee the deal from the initial conversation to maintaining the relationship for as long as we would have it.” Steve resumed leaning back in his chair. “In this example, that would also include the commissions for each of Coca Cola’s upgrades.”

Shane couldn’t help himself and laughed. “This is amazing. I’m up to the challenge. When can I start?”

“Tomorrow morning,” Steve reached across the desk and shook Shane’s hand. “That will give you the day to box up your stuff.”

Shane left Steve’s office and had to stop himself from running to his car. Once he was inside, he started beating on the steering wheel, slamming the roof, and fist-pumping the air.

Too excited to think, he got back out of the car and locked it. As he turned away from the car, a tall blonde woman was only inches from his face.

“Hey Shane, I don’t know if you heard,” Sara Durant said, “but CIT fired me this morning.”

“Um,” Sara’s face was entirely too close for Shane’s comfort and he leaned back onto his car to gain some space, “yeah. I just heard. Are you alright?”

She suddenly realized her proximity to Shane and took a step back. “Yes and no,” emotions filled her eyes. There was sadness and…something else in there that Shane wasn’t certain about.

Was it guilt? Shame? 

“On a financial level, everything is going to be fine. I mean, I had a backup plan.” She became flustered, obviously wanting to tell him something but avoiding it. Then she gave a tight-lipped smile. “I had to have a backup plan, didn’t I? Jenny’s about to go to Virginia Tech and we just finished building our garage.”

Shane nodded, not understanding any of this and only wanting to find the exit out of this awkward conversation. “Having a backup plan just makes sense.”

Sara nodded. “In the end, nothing matters except the kids and Herm.” Shane vaguely remembered from some Christmas part years ago that Herm was her husband’s name. After a brief pause Sara came back to herself and looked directly into Shane’s eyes. “I’m sorry, just so you know. Sorry that it had to be you.”

Shane was confused but, ever the salesman, he shook his head. “No,” he said gently, “you have nothing to apologize for. You should take a day, no, take a week and just relax for a bit before you start thinking about your next steps.”

She shook her head. “I have plenty to apologize for, but you’re right. I haven’t done anything to you, yet.”

With that, Sara Durant turned and started across the parking lot toward her minivan.

Shane was back inside the office before Sara had left the parking lot.

“What the hell was that about?” he demanded of Steve. “Sara Durant wasn’t escorted out of here?”

“Whoa,” Steve was holding up his hands, “was she still here? Did she attack you?”

Shane shook his head. “No, but she just got really weird and all up in my face out there. Why was she still here?”

“Calm down,” Steve was lowering his voice to imply that they both should. “She left amicably. Nobody thought she was going to go crazy.”

“Well, she did,” Shane was starting to come down from his getting spooked and took a seat in the same chair he had just been sitting only a few minutes ago.

He took a deep breath. “Sorry, but that was just weird.”

“Why? What did she say?”

Shane shook his head. “I don’t know. None of it made sense, but she apologized to me, and when I told her that she had nothing to be sorry for, she said ‘yet.’”

Steve’s brow lowered. “That’s ominous.”

“No shit, and scary, too.”

Steve held up his hands again, it was the same gesture, but the implication wasn’t ‘calm down’ so much as ‘I understand.’

“Understandably, she’s not in the best of places right now. I promise you, this won’t be a problem in the future.” He stood up and grabbed something wedged between the wall and his desk. It was a flattened cardboard box. “Start migrating to her office and by the end of the day, Sara Durant will be a distant memory.”

Shane liked the sound of that, but the awkward conversation with Sara hung with him the rest of the day, and only seemed to grow as more of his belongings filled her former office.

All of his feelings stemmed from that last thing that she had said to him. Was she going to have a reason to apologize to him? Was the job so difficult that apologizing might have been her way of saying good luck? Was she waiting in the parking lot with a cleaver and no restraint? Whatever it was, he couldn’t figure it out and it was haunting him to the level of obsession.

His office was filled with his meager cubicle’s worth of belongings within an hour. After the move, Shane stay mostly to his new office the rest of the day getting used to it while he worked on putting together quotes for his customers and emailing them out.

When the work day had ended, Shane had already been on the road home for about ten minutes. He felt like he should be preparing another pizza, bourbon, movie night, but his heart just wasn’t in it. Throughout the day, he continued to go over all of Sara Durant’s conversation in the parking lot and kept finding new pieces to it that he wasn’t certain how to take.

What had she meant by a backup plan? Was the backup plan why she was sorry? She’d emphasized that only her husband and daughter mattered. Did that mean that she was going to do something drastic that might pay out for them?

Shit, Shane thought, was she going to kill herself?

His mind was spinning as more and more questions came to his mind. Each one was darker than the last.

By the time that he had reached his apartment he couldn’t even bring himself to enjoy the great news.

Maggie wasn’t there, and it was just as well. He had texted her the great news when he had received it and her excitement came in a the form of emoji’s and an explosion of exclamation points. Unfortunately, she had to work at her book store that evening and her own apartment was closer to that job, so Shane probably wouldn’t see her.

While it was unfortunate, it wasn’t entirely so. Shane was happy that Maggie couldn’t see him with his mind so preoccupied with Sara Durant’s cryptic conversation.

Finishing off the remainder of the previous night’s bottle of Maker’s Mark, Shane fell asleep on his couch and stayed there until morning.

33 and counting!

If you’re reading this on 1/14, I wrote this a week ago. 

It’s my birthday. This is a time of celebration, but over the years the celebration has been changing. At this point, it’s more of an excuse to celebrate than an actual reason to celebrate but whatever. The real reason to celebrate would probably be that I’ve somehow, against all odds if you ask any of my wonderful friends, survived 33 years. Those same friends will probably show mock surprise before recalling the strong force of dumb luck that has helped to guide my life.

Anyway, every year I post to Facetwit or Tweetbook that all I want is for you, the person reading this, to buy a copy of one of my books. This year is kind of the same except I want to offer you something too. I want reviews of my books. Any title, just go to http://amazon/com/author/MatthewDavenport and pick a title. Send me a message or comment on this. I’ve got audiobooks and ebooks, hell I’ll even mail you a print copy. You just have to message or comment saying that you WILL GIVE ME AN HONEST REVIEW. That’s all I want for my birthday: MORE REVIEWS.

Or a book/movie deal.

Whatever.

Anyway, I wrote this a week ago and am going to get back to enjoying that day. I dunno what I’m doing for my birthday. The older I get, the more I value my free time, so I’m probably at home pretending the outside world doesn’t exist.

Nostalgia is Fun: A long rant about the source of Reboot Culture.

In a decade of more reboots, reshoots, and rewrites it’s easy to get annoyed with media. This has recently crossed my mind from the other side of it. I kind of like, or at least appreciate the sense of “reboot” that has been drowning our culture lately, and the anthopologist in me can’t help but be intrigued by what’s driving this.

Without any real test subjects (and a complete lack of re-upping my ESRA certifications) I decided to take a look at myself and what drives my want of some of these reboots, but also drill a little deeper into what I generally like about television and movie media anyway.

Of course, I’m typing this while watching the pilot episode of Smallville for the billionth time.

For me, the easiest way to start would be comic books. In this day and age, it’s easier to use comic books to examine this kind of phenomenon anyway, as comic book movies, tv, and literature are at a peak of getting retold and rehashed in a million different ways.

I mean, we’ve had a ton of Spiderman, Superman, Batman, and Iron Man in the last decade, the comic books have rebooted at least 3 times, and the tv shows have as well. Why?

When I examine myself, I need to first look at the creator. Why have I written fan-fictions would probably be a great place to start.

When I wrote my fan-fictions for Ghostbusters, Star Wars, Superman, and Doctor Who (and Firefly, and WoW, and I don’t even remember what else) I specifically was writing them because I wanted more stories. Only in the case of Star Wars did my fan-fictions aim to change the source material. In the case of every other story that I wrote, I was writing a new adventure so that I could continue my adventures with my favorite heroes. My stories are all born out of a want to continue the story. When a tale that I enjoy ends, I tend to want more. Either in the form of a sequel, a book, fan-fiction, a tv-show, or whatever else I can get. I would write Doctor Who fan-fictions in order to fill the more than a year gap between episodes. My Superman fan-fiction (an exciting work that asks how Superman would deal with an esoteric threat such as Cthulhu) was written during the hiatus between seasons of Smallville. I wrote my Firefly fan-fiction after watching the Serenity movie. My most recent fan-fiction was during the excitement over the release of the new Ghostbusters movie. In that case, people on Reddit were asking what direction the reader would have taken if they were going to reboot the Ghostbusters franchise.

To summarize, when I wanted more of a story, and I couldn’t find the story I wanted, I wrote them.

That leads me to my next drive: I love talking about my favorite fandoms with like-minded individuals. My love of Lovecraft’s work didn’t find it’s strength until I found more people to talk about it with. All of those CW Superhero shows (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl) are a blast because of their shared universe. I can talk to anyone who is watching any one of those shows because of the depth of which they crossover into each other’s worlds. The same happens with Cthulhu and Lovecraft. His world is shared (per his wishes) by hundreds of like-minded authors.

Want to see this mindset in action? Go to any ComicCon. You’ll see thousands of people bonding over their shared fandoms. Their shared worlds.

Flipping the script: Hunters love talking to other hunters about hunting. Travelers love talking to other travelers about the places they’ve been. And foodies love talking about their curly fries.

Everyone’s complaining right now about their favorite stories being rebooted in ways that they don’t like. The reason for that is that we all want our favorite stories to continue our way or the canon way. Canon is the stuff that’s done professionally by the original creators. Less people complain about sequels, for example, than they do about reboots. Reboots change the canon, but sequels are more stories in the universe that we already love.

Why do we want reboots but hate them? Because we want more stories in the universes we love but we don’t want the reboots to change anything. The production companies need to understand that we don’t want reboots, we want things to continue. Reboots fail, but I’ll bet that Blade Runner 2049 is going to be loved by more people than Ghostbusters and Batman V. Superman combined.

But Matt! What about the reboots that worked?

I googled “Reboots that were actually good” and a couple of lists came up, but those sounded very “up for interpretation.”

I think the point that I’m trying to make is that we stories are fun when they keep going, but no one wants to see those stories fundamentally changed.

I liked the Ghostbusters reboot, but I can see why people disliked it. They wanted to produce the story for the a modern audience, but the audience they should have considered were the lovers of the original. The lovers of the original (using only my own mental state as a research study) wanted to see the story that they were already vested in continue. They didn’t want to see someone’s awkward interpretation of a new one. And of course, you can’t mention the new Ghostbusters without mentioning female roles, woman-haters, and or man-babies. Unfortunately, I don’t think the problems with the movie had anything to do with a female cast. The problems with that movie were in the things that didn’t continue the 1984 story. The parts everyone loved (the tools, the car, the firehouse, Slimer, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the bust of Egon in Columbia University) were all ties to the original. The love of Holtzmann? Completely because of the magic of mixing Egon with Kate McKinnon. They even gave her the Real Ghostbusters cartoon Egon look, and people loved her. They didn’t love the other characters nearly as much because they had no connection with the original. Hell, nobody would admit it, but if they had made the roles more clearly specific to match the original guys, they would have gotten more love. Because people don’t want new, they want more of what they like.

Ghostbusters isn’t the only example. Batman V. Superman is another great example. I loved that movie, but had a lot of the same problems everyone else did too. The things that I loved, though? Everything that I loved about that movie could be directly tied to the Death of Superman and the Dark Knight comic books of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Superman after getting blasted by a nuke? Friggen sweet. Batman going toe-to-toe with Superman in a big armored suit? Damned awesome (minus the ‘Martha’ thing). I didn’t care that Jimmy Olsen was a girl named Jenny and that James Olsen was some CIA guy. James Olsen seemed shoehorned in, but Jenny Olsen actually fit, really well, and I loved it. The things that I didn’t like were only story-based. Like Batman’s stance against Superman seemed forced for a guy willing to be Judge and Jury. Also, he didn’t weigh the fact that the Kryptonians really didn’t give Supes a chance to change the battlefield.

On that same note, I loved (and I know others probably didn’t) Terminator Genisys. Holy crap, that movie was spectacular. It continued the story, but used the inherent nature of the time travel element to reboot the franchise, but without rebooting the franchise.

Prometheus? Same thing. They’ve just told more of the story, and for that reason, I loved it.

Give me more, not new, and I’ll probably end up loving it.

Anyway, where the hell did all of this come from? That’s easy. My dream is to create a world, like Lovecraft or any of the other examples I’ve listed here, that my fans share and create in. I love the CW shows and their ability to crossover. When I finish one, I can go to the next and get more of the world that I love. When I get all caught up on all of them, I can crack a comic book and get even more. Hell, I’ve read most of the Smallville novels that they used to sell (just to clarify, if all of my favorite fandoms could have book spinoffs, the world would be a much better place. In that vein, special thanks to Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Stargate for keeping the literary love going).

I write that knowing that I have a superhero story (Broken Nights) that I’m working on the sequel of. I write it knowing that I’m also creating other worlds (Andrew Doran, Bridge Over Paradiso, The Sons of Merlin) that maybe I’d like to discover other people have written some great fan-fictions for. Or knowing that there’s such a thing as Kindle Worlds, that lets creators play in professional worlds. That would be a lot of fun for me if Kindle Worlds had access to some of the more fun properties. Seriously, Superman should be Public Domain by now. Somebody look at that and get back to me. Or if you know any shows needed writers, give me a holler.

So, why do we keep getting reboots? Because we want more, the production companies know that and instead of struggling to give us the more we want, they decide to give us more in the form of new. We end up hating it. They don’t know what they did wrong. Then they go and change all the wrong things and reboot it again. We hate them more, and scream “Do it right!” They don’t understand.

This is a crazy long rant, but anyway, I just wanted to put my two-cents in regarding remakes and reboots. Of course, I also used it to beg for a writing job and to inform people that I’d love to find fan-fictions in the worlds that I’ve built.

Oh, and I want Kindle Worlds to get their hands on more properties. That’d be sweet.

Satan’s Salesman: Chapter 1

I’ve been working on a horror story called “Satan’s Salesman.” It follows a man as he’s recruited by Perdition Investments for his remarkable sales skills. They hope to put those skills to use in offering people anything they want in exchange for their immortal souls. On the one hand, Shane Lowe (our main character) likes the idea of being incredibly wealthy, but he also can’t deny the moral quandry of taking people’s souls.

Anyway, that’s more or less the synopsis, and I would love some feedback. I’m going to post this over at Wattpad, too, and would love to know what you think. I’m looking to post a chapter a week or so. Maybe more depending on the speed I’m working on this. Now that I’m back into my writing habit, I’ve been writing both Broken Nights 2 and Satan’s Salesman fairly reglarly (Averaging around 1000 words a day).

So, without further ado, please let me provide you with the previously mentioned material for your feedback. Thank you in advance! Continue reading