Terror of a Salesman | Writing Warm-up

Just for fun warm-up; isn’t heavily edited. If you want to do your own warm-up, you can use the prompt SALESMAN.

Writing warm-up begins in 3, 2, 1…

Fred, the door-to-door salesman, made a terrible mistake by ringing the doorbell of Mack Orbits. Orbits appeared at the doorway like a specter, a red liquid splattered across his face. The liquid also stained Mack Orbits’s dark clothes.

Fred stepped backwards watching the liquid fall from Orbits’s fingertips.

Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

“Is there a problem?” asked Mack Orbits. He motioned towards a canvas just inside the home. The painting consisted of wild splatters of red paint. “I was just finishing up.”

Fred sighed in relief; his tense shoulders relaxed. Orbits invited the salesman in for coffee stating he would like to paint him. Fred nodded, entered, and the door slowly creaked closed behind him.

Not much is known about what happened next except that Fred was never seen again, but Mack Orbits’s painting of a terrified door-to-door salesman cowering in the corner became one of his most well known pieces.

The critics all loved the realism of it.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.


The adventures continue in the Dogboy Universe

You ready for more sci-fi stories? Hungry for some fantasy? Longing for adventure? Consider purchasing a Joe Rover book today!

The books are available at many online retailers; click below to find out where. Or, follow me on Amazon to receive updates of book releases.

What genre do you write? | Author Q&A

If you have any questions for me, please leave them in the comments section.

What genre do you write?
I focus mainly on science fiction and fantasy. My books have a lot of alien invasions, time travel, magic/superpowers, advanced technology, and more.
I enjoy sci-fi because it is as close to magic in the real world as we’ll get to (at least at this time). I enjoy how you can let your mind run wild. There are restrictions but not many. It is hard to have characters go on magical journeys if the story is set in the real world.

I also focus a lot on superhero type stories because I like how 99 percent of the time the story ends happily. Horror stories, for example, rarely have a happy ending or closure; they usually have some kind of ending twist.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.


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The Impostor Word | Among Us

That’s right, folks. Hold on to your web browser…I’m doing a post on Among Us, the game developed by InnerSloth where you suss out the most sus(picious) sus(pect) by using your over 500 IQ.

Why am I doing this? A) Among Us is one of the most trending games at the moment, so I’m going to ride those virtual coattails. B) It’s near Halloween, and what better spooky topic than a shapeshifting murderous space parasite that causes you to be sus of your own friends.

I’m not going to talk about over 500 IQ strats or touch on the lore–there are plenty of those on YouTube and other blogs. I’m not even going to discuss my theory that the game is so popular because it features people in space suits trying to carry on with their daily lives while dealing with a infectious creature that kills their friends and family during a pandemic in the real world. You can thank The Game Theorists video on the Among Us lore for that connection. MatPat talks about how there are so many body snatching alien movies during the 1950s, which was the height of the Red Scare.

Nope. I’m going to talk about the latest buzzword/slang “sus.” It is used as a chat shortcut for “suspicious” or “suspect”…most often for “suspicious.” For example, “I saw Red standing over the body; it’s very sus.”

With the growing popularity of Among Us, more and more people are using “sus,” mostly as a joke. I’ve been through many trending slang words over the years and most of the time they don’t bother me. I find some of them even funny and some I start using. But, for some reason, “sus” got on my nerves right away. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. “Those young people and their silly slang; why can’t they just speak normal like the rest of us? Oh, hey, George…whaaaazzzzup?”

No, I think the reason “sus” bothers me is because it’s an impostor.

Duh-duh-duuuh…

Most other buzzwords can be silly, fun, or in some way positive or neutral. “Sus” on the other hand is negative. You’re telling someone you are suspicious of them or suspect them of something. Even if you don’t really mean it, it has that connotative meaning behind it. You are implying guilt. The word pretends to be a happy, friendly word–“Oh, look, isn’t that just sus. Hahahaha…”–when in fact, it is a word that causes distrust and blame. In the game, you use it to point the finger at someone or to pass blame on to others.

Also, everyone acts like saying “sus” is some new, creative thing. We’ve been using the word “suss” for years to show that you are trying to figure something out. A detective will try to suss out a criminal. A student tries to suss out their homework. And if you just Google search “suss” and look at the dictionary, “suss” was an abbreviation for “suspect” or “suspicion” in the 1930s…weird, almost a hundred years ago (now that’s some Halloween spookiness right there). People have just dropped the extra “s” much like they drop a “g” in something like “going.”

And “sus” isn’t the only impostor. The whole “over 500 IQ” statement is an impostor. Like “sus” it can carry an negative connotation. It makes you sound like you are bragging or that you are better than everyone else.

We’ve got to launch these villainous slang words out the airlock before they completely infect our language. We must not become lazy and complacent in our writing!

Creeeek…

No. I was only kidding, Red. Heh, heh. It’s a Halloween post. It’s just for fun. No. No need for the spike tongue. NOOO!!

GLAK!

Happy Halloween…and I’ll see you next wormhole. Thanks for reading.


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The Terror of Night Dad | Halloween Special

Vincent Tyler wanted nothing more than to be a father. Except he couldn’t have children. His grief, and possible madness, became so strong that one day he unlocked superpowers. He delve even further into madness by deciding to use those talents to protect the innocent. Vincent Tyler would remain a accountant during the day; but at night, he would transform into the terror of the underworld, Night Dad.

As Night Dad, Vincent possessed the power to persuade the guilty to do as he wanted by using his “dad voice.” He also knew how to embarrass a criminal and share this weakness with all present. His last talent is the ability to inflict pain through his cringey “dad jokes.”

Night Dad stalks the shadows in his white shirt and green sweater vest. So, be on the look out for his Number One Dad hat and listen for the soft whipping noise of his blue tie blowing in the wind. If he catches you…he’ll remove his belt and…

“WHACK!!”

The villains jerked back in fear and gasped in terror.

The storyteller’s eyes took in the sight of the gathered fearful fiends with morbid glee. General Destruction chuckled to himself.

Rat Fink nervously thumbed his fingers; sweat dripped down his long nose and into his whiskers. The whiskers bobbed up and down as the sweat fell off and down to the floor. “Has this guy never heard of adoption?”

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.

Copyright 2020 Joe Rover. All rights reserved.


The adventures continue in the Dogboy Universe

You ready for more sci-fi stories? Hungry for some fantasy? Longing for adventure? Consider purchasing a Joe Rover book today!

The books are available at many online retailers; click below to find out where. Or, follow me on Amazon to receive updates of book releases.

Soul Evidence

The following was retrieved from archived news reports.

On Sept. 17 [REDACTED], shortly after the Dark Matter Victory (or DMV), Dr. Irma Kidding was the first scientist to successfully prove the existence of a soul. 

Akin to studying black holes, Kidding studied the effects a soul had on the world around it. Her research was verified through many repeat experiments done by various scientists. Soon after, the soul became a scientific fact. 

Three months later, her then assistant, Dr. Ivan Thunderclap, announced that the soul is the most powerful and abundant fuel source in existence.

Thunderclap later announced plans to create a machine that would harvest the afterlife for soul energy. 

“We’ve been looking for alternative fuel sources for generations. Now we have a never-ending one…everything dies,” stated Thunderclap.

When asked about the harm or moral implications harvesting the afterlife could cause, Thunderclap reported, “What do I care? The living needs this [power] more than the spirits. They’re dead after all. The dead have been taking up space in Paradise for far too long. Finally, they can be a use to us.”

Sadly three days after his announcement, Thunderclap’s laboratory was reportedly struck by lightning. He and all his research were destroyed in the blaze. Miraculously, the neighboring offices were left unharmed.

After Thunderclap’s demise, the scientific community decided that further research into souls would be banned. When asked the reason behind such a decision Dr. Harry Ion, chairman for the International Association of Scientists, stated, “We’re scientists, not idiots. We can take a hint…eventually.”

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!

Copyright 2020 Joe Rover. All rights reserved.

This post was a work of fiction.


The adventures continue in the Dogboy Universe

You ready for more sci-fi stories? Hungry for some fantasy? Longing for adventure? Consider purchasing a Joe Rover book today!

The books are available at many online retailers; click below to find out where. Or, follow me on Amazon to receive updates of book releases.

Intrigue and Multiverse Adventure | Alternate: A Jimmy Ray Journey Review

I was provided a free review copy of Alternate: A Jimmy Ray Journey by the author.

There may be spoilers ahead!

Jimmy Ray, a seemingly ordinary man with an ordinary life, finds himself on an extraordinary adventure in Alternate: A Jimmy Ray Journey by Christopher James Buxton (narrated by Mark Delgado).

The story about an average man who is recruited to become a member of an organization that travels to other realities seemed typical. Jimmy Ray has always been average, but he learns that his DNA allows him to reality hop. Not only that, but his DNA is even more special.

The plot seemed like the typical average person is really the Chosen One trope. In fact, on the surface the story seemed to be quite average. But, it was the stuff below the surface that made Alternate interesting. For instance, why is Jimmy Ray’s DNA so different? Is he an alien? Is he from another reality? Also, the boss of Alternate seems to be up to something. Everyone from Alternate co-workers to Jimmy say Martin is up to something. The story’s narrator even mentions his odd behavior. But right when you think Martin is going to reveal his true nature, his odd behavior is explained away… at least until the next time.

Buxton does an excellent job of providing red herrings and leaving you questioning everything. You even begin questioning if the apparent bad guys are even bad guys; at one point they seem to be trying to help Jimmy and Cia.

I did, however, notice some problems with the audiobook recording. There were times when the narration repeated a couple words as if there had been a second take that wasn’t edited out. But, Delgado’s expert narration made the small mistakes virtually unnoticeable. Delgado was great at voice acting; each character had their own voice and Delgado stuck with it.

Finally, Buxton’s descriptions of action and location made each scene feel alive.

It may take you a moment to warm-up to it, but Alternate: A Jimmy Ray Journey is an excellent story for fans of intrigue and multiverse adventure. 

Alternate: A Jimmy Ray Journey is available at Amazon as a Kindle book, Audible audiobook, and paperback. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!


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Indie Author Problems

One of the activities during a class that I’m taking involved learning how to listen to people, such as not interrupting, not being on your phone while the person is speaking, and paraphrasing what the person said. The activity involved someone from the class sharing a problem or question they have while the others listened. Lucky me got “volunteered” to be the speaker.

The problem I mentioned was trying to get people to buy my books. 

People have no problem buying them when they are free, but they are unwilling to pay even $0.99 for one.

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Also, since everyone can publish through blogs or self-publishing there is a lot of noise for you to get through. You have to struggle your way through the thousands of search results and get to the top. There is the added problem of keywords or hashtags. If you choose something that is trending, you know people are searching for it, but you are just one of millions of search results. If you get something unique, you are at the top but no one is searching.

Covers are another issue. Anymore it seems like they all look alike or similar (probably because we use stock images), so it makes it hard to say, “Oh, that looks interesting or unique.” How can you stand out when you look exactly the same?

Most of the time it seems like the cover has little to nothing to do with the story. For instance, it shows an attractive male or female on the cover making some sexy or attention-getting pose. You then check out the book description and there is no mention of a male or female, depending on the cover (i.e. there’s a sexy woman on the cover but the main character isn’t even human).

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Click to go!

The other issue with covers is that there seems to be all this excitement-noise. The cover is filled with loud colors or filled with lots of action going on. You have to make your cover “loud” enough to be eye-catching, and you have to make your title large enough to be read in thumbnail form. But, sometimes, I feel like all that bam-bam,

pew, pow, look-at-me makes me tried before even picking up the book. I feel like I ran a marathon just by looking at the cover.

Trying to do writing, or any creative project, can be frustrating. You have to be like everyone else yet like no one else. You have to be the same enough to be noticed and let the audience feel like your project is safe and familiar; but also, you have to be different so people won’t say, “I’ve seen that before. It’s the same old story.”

There used to be a sense of “you scratch my back…” but many times you’ll end up helping them out through reviews or book purchases and the other person whines about helping you or simply disappears. They are more than happy to listen when it benefits them, but they vanish if they have to return the favor.

One other problem is that some people seem to think that since they are an independent creator, they can do anything they want. They can swear, have gore, or sex in a children’s book because they think they are the boss. They aren’t; the audience is.

I also find it funny when these people end up doing exactly what the big companies have always done. Why re-invent the wheel? There are some things that need or can changed but some things have been around for ages because they work. For instance, it doesn’t matter the era, customers like to be treated with respect and kindness.

Finally, thanks to technology, some know how to cheat the system by using bots or click farms to make it appear as if they’re successful. They can use bots to make their book a “bestseller” when it isn’t or make their social media post trend when no one cares. But, by making it appear like everyone cares, everyone then cares. It is kind of like The Emperor’s New Clothes; everyone said how wonderful the invisible clothes were simply because it made them look important or popular. Everyone wants to feel like they are part of the crowd, even if that crowd never existed.

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And so it is frustrating because a) something that is supposed to be artistic, entertaining, or enlightening because cutthroat and deceptive and b) here you are trying to do it the right way (being moral, using your talents, etc) you can’t compete because others can just tap a button on their phone and have machines do everything for them, which allows them to publish first or in a grander scale. Just like the shoemaker who builds each shoe can’t compete with the mass producing factory or the news media trying to compete with social media.

The most frustrating part of the activity was that I spent time coming up with my presentation and only got through a third because the people in the class kept interrupting me and not listening. Ugh!

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!

Flintstones Evolution and Hexagon Issue 3 | Rapid Reviews

Evolution of THE FLINTSTONES Over 60 Years (1960-2020) Explained by Dave Lee Down Under (YouTube)

Once again, Dave Lee delivers an excellent Cartoon Evolution video. The voice over was well done; I could understand each word he said.

I enjoyed the transitions/pacing. It was not 40 minutes of him talking nonstop; he took short breaks for clips—it broke up the video well. The editing was great. It felt fluid and professional. There were no awkward jerks or cuts.

However, I felt like I didn’t learn as much in this episode as others. It seemed like there wasn’t as much behind the scenes or origin information.

But, I loved how the video was at times synced to what Lee was saying. For example, while Lee spoke about how much the live-action Flintstones movie made, a clip of Fred Flintstone fantasizing about making lots of money played.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


HEXAGON #3 by Michael Moreci (Author) and Jheremy Raapack (Illustrator) (Impact Theory Comics)

The various covers for HEXAGON #3 was the first thing to make me go “oooh…” It just continued from there.

The artwork continues to impress me as does the pacing and writing. The artists, writers, and editors know exactly when to pull a panel out or zoom in on a character. I really enjoy the lighting style; it makes it look like everyone is being lit by a stage spotlight. The lighting adds to the 80s feel and to the feel of music being an important part of the story.

I didn’t feel as rushed with this issue. It felt like I got to take a break from the action and mystery of the previous issues and catch my breath but that does not mean the story was slow or boring. The first issue was the origin—setting up everything; the second introduced the mystery and conflict (i.e. the story “started”); and the third felt like a catch up/rest period.

My main concern with this issue was Don’s friends didn’t go with him (so far). I hope we get to see more of them, especially seeing their reactions when they find out the truth about Don’s background. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Do you have any books, games, or movies to recommend? Let me know in the comments.

Until the next wormhole..thanks for reading!


Do you like sci-fi and fantasy? Hungry for adventure?

From July 1-31, many of my books will be on sale during the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale. The participating books will be anywhere from 25% to 100% off. While there, check out some of the other participating authors.

Amphibia and More | Rapid Reviews

Amphibia (Disney Channel, Disney+)

I wasn’t interested with the show about a girl who is transported to another world; there seems to be a lot of those “in another realm” series out there lately. 

I finally gave it a change thanks to a video by Vailskibum97 (and the fact there wasn’t much else on). I ended up watching the whole first season in about three days. 

I was a bit worried while watching the first episode. The animation seemed too “loose” and the characters’ reactions seemed too goofy or over-the-top. But, I continued to keep an open mind and soon found the animation to not be so wild. It was still pretty out there, but not as bad.

Plus, you gotta love all the pop culture references and jokes, like the blue shell during the race in the “Bizarre Bazaar” episode.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Codex of Tyler Grayson: Creatures Among Us by Richard Gibbard (book)

A story about people who are writing a book (or codex) about monsters, demons, and such was intriguing. It seemed like a nice twist on the monster hunter trope where the hunter already has all the information or is just a noob. In The Codex of Tyler Grayson we see the manual being made. 

But, what I really enjoyed is how well the author showed the readers the characters’ personalities without telling us. I was able to get an idea of who the characters were many times before even meeting them. The way the characters were described or how others reacted to them told much about the character before they even opened their mouth. I knew much about Tyler and his friends chapters before they even arrived.

Finally, I was able to learn about the world and the story’s rules pretty quickly. Within the first few chapters, I knew about the Scribes and the Codex. I knew that there was magic, and it was hidden from the rest of the world.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Are there any books, movies, or games you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments section. And don’t forget to like, follow, and share.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!


Do you like sci-fi and fantasy? Hungry for adventure?

From July 1-31, many of my books will be on sale during the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale. The participating books will be anywhere from 25% to 100% off. While there, check out some of the other participating authors.

What Makes a Good TMNT Movie

In a couple of videos by The Old Turtle Den, they talked about the new Ninja Turtle reboot movie. They asked what we’d like to see from it. Do we want an origin story or a story involving experienced Ninja Turtles? The question got me thinking about why I like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the first place.

When I was younger and watched the original TMNT, I wanted them to have superpowers or dive into the mystic/paranormal. But as time went on and I saw other action-adventure fantasy shows, I did not want the Turtles to have mystic abilities. I liked the fact that they battled big threats with swords and staffs.

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They were ninjas; it didn’t make sense for them to have advanced weapons. It gave the show a feeling of “with teamwork you could do anything.” You didn’t need to rely on superpowers or awesome machines to reach your goals.

I do think the Turtles should be stronger, faster, and more durable than normal humans–they are mutants–but not to the extent seen in the Michael Bay films where they were bulletproof and could throw around shipping containers. The Turtles should more dependent on their ninja skills/intelligence with the mutant side being more of an explanation as to why they can survive fights (or why turtles can move that fast).

Personally, I like that Splinter was human then become a rat. First, it helps explain the rules of the mutagen (i.e. you mix with the last animal you were in contact with–man mixed with rats or turtles mixed with man). Second, Hamoto Yoshi was in exile…for different reasons depending on the version. He is than further exiled by becoming a rat. It just added depth to the character–not only is he an outsider coming from Japan, but now he’s an animal most people think of as disgusting. It reinforces the theme of being different, not being able to be part of humanity. Splinter and the Turtles have to remain hidden not because they’re ninjas, but because they’re strange beings.

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Finally, I enjoy how the Turtles’ weapons reflect their personalities. 

Leonardo is the leader (in most versions). When we think of swords/katanas, we think of discipline and elegance or agility.

The sword is usually the first older (or low-tech) weapon people think of–it is the leader. 

Raphael has the sai. He has to get in close in order to attack (or he can throw a sai). Raphael is the brawler Turtle with a temper. He prefers to attack at very close range.

Donatello is smart and inventive. He would rather spend his time creating. It makes sense that he would attack from a distance, even further than the other Turtles. Raph’s sai can be thrown, but what good is it then; this is an intimidation technique. Donnie’s staff can be used from a distance and remain effective. Donnie is a thinker, not a fighter. I also find it ironic that the group’s inventor would have “a stick” as his weapon. This goes further into Donnie’s personality as an inventor who’s inventions sometimes don’t work out as planned; he’s smart but at times can still be silly or inexperienced. 

Michelangelo is the party dude, and the nunchaku seemed to be seen by as flashy or showy (yet still deadly). They seem to be the weapon people make the most jokes about, such as someone hitting themselves with the nunchaku. Also, people seem to think of the nunchaku as the simplest weapon or easiest to learn when in fact they are more complex. The audience, as well as the other Turtles, see Mikey as the youngest or least complex of the characters; he’s the pizza-loving, surfer dude, but maybe there’s more to him. There have been times when he’s proven to be knowledgeable with it comes to paranormal events, or when it comes time to think outside of the box.

While I prefer a non-origin story for the reboot, I hope the creators keep to the heart of the Ninja Turtles…a little serious but also not so much. They are ninjas and ninjas are assassins, but they’re also teenagers and mutant turtles. You just got to love the juxtaposition of silent, skillful ninjas and not so quiet teens.

What are your thoughts on the TMNT reboot? Who’s your favorite character, hero or otherwise? Let me know in the comments section.

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Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!