Posted in creative writing, writing

Travel Blog 1: Tour Bus, Streetcar, Streetcar (again), Shuttle…Zoo?

2013-06-17 16.16.23While flying does cut down your travel time, it also leaves you without a car. That’s not so bad when visiting New Orleans and staying at a hotel right in the French Quarter…mostly. While my husband was sitting through an EPA conference, my two kids and I walked all over the French Quarter, seeing the aquarium, kids museum, cemeteries, the double decker tour buses, and the butterfly habitat.

No car? No problem.

Except when we wanted to visit the zoo. I love zoos, probably more than my kids, and NOLA was supposed to have a great zoo. It was definitely not within walking distance, though. My previous experience with the area was driving through the French Quarter on the way to Florida, appreciating the architecture from the confines of our weird smelling RV.

2013-06-18 10.51.22For some reason, rather than just having the nice man at the hotel call us a cab, I thought we could make it to the zoo using NOLA’s public transit system. I had several maps which laid out the route to the zoo through various modes of transportation. It would be an adventure, right?

With two kids (7 and 10), and my only other experience using mass transit being riding back and forth on the Metro from campus to Washington DC during a week-long high school trip for a National History Day competition, we set out.

So, we hopped on the tour bus and rode several miles to a historical neighborhood, where we bravely got off the bus and attempted to find our streetcar stop. We cautiously approached a bud shelter where several older African American women were sitting on the bench, and after failing to find some kind of indication of whether this was a stop for the streetcar, bus, or something else, I asked the ladies if we were in the right spot.

We weren’t.

2013-06-18 15.34.34They nicely pointed out where we should be standing. A platform in the middle of the road. The streetcar lines literally ran down the middle of the street, with cars driving on either side. Beginning to regret this adventure, we trekked safely to the streetcar stop, only to be followed by yelling. I looked around, hoping the shrieking isn’t directed at us, and found the nice lady who’d directed us yelling and waving at us. I was so startled, it took me a few minutes to figure out what she was trying to tell me.

We were at the wrong streetcar stop.

2013-06-20 15.08.04Because the streetcars run on rails, they run in one direction. What direction you want to go determines was side of the tracks you should wait on. We were on the wrong side. So, grabbing my kids’ hands again, we hurried across the rails to the other side of the middle of the street, and waited at the right stop.

The streetcar came trundling up the tracks soon after, and we climbed aboard. My kids still thought we were having an adventure while I was cursing myself. I paid our fair and shuffled the kids into the car to find it packed. I held my kids’ hand, keeping them close, while I stood trying not to rub up against a guy whose armpit was dangerously close to my face and a lady whose shopping bags were taking up the aisle. After one more on and off to change streetcars, I eagerly dragged the kids off the streetcar when we reached our stop.

A sign for the zoo awaited us after walking a few blocks from the bus stop, but the zoo itself was nowhere in sight. There was, however, a group of tourists waiting around the sign who told me the zoo was still a mile away, but there was a shuttle coming! In twenty minutes. When the shuttle finally pulled up, its capacity was a whopping nine seats for the nearly twenty people waiting.

2013-06-19 11.29.48Seeing that I had two kids with me, the other tourists were extremely kind and let us get on with the first group. Ten minutes later, we finally made it to the zoo, and it was as fabulous as I’d been told. One of the best zoos I’ve visited. The only thing that wasn’t awesome was the fact that we had still had to get back to the hotel.

Lesson learned: Call a cab.

Posted in dystopian, new release

Child of Destruction is getting the dust brushed off!

This poor book has been languishing in my computer files for a long time, and I think I’m finally ready to do something with it. I made a cover for it, anyway! I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

Child of Destruction.jpg

  And now, here’s a little about the book!

Rule #1: Always work to benefit the village.

Rule #2: Obey the leaders, or become exiled into the nuclear war-decimated wasteland.

Rule #3: Never bring an outside back to the village.

Harmony has always had a tough time blindly following anyone, let alone the village leader intent on seeing her exiled. So when she stumbles across a not-quite-dead body during a scavenging hunt, she’s determined to take him back to the village. The other members of the hunting party tell her to leave him, let him die, it’s too risky. Even Pace is wary of helping her. He knows what the price of her aid will be.

Harmony refuses to let the emaciated and strange looking man die alone in the desert. That’s not the only reason. After having been told her whole life that they were the only humans left in the ravaged Southwest, possibly the world, she wants nothing more than to expose Luther for the liar he is.

For most of the villagers, survival is all that matters. They wear themselves out, day after day, just trying to stay alive. Harmony asks herself daily what the point of staying alive and safe is when it only inflicts misery. Her desire to share this one small truth and give hope to the villagers, backlashes when Luther finds out. His son, Zen tries to step in on Harmony’s behalf, but Luther is relentless.

So is Harmony. She now knows the truth is somewhere outside the walls of the village, and she won’t stop until she finds it, with or without Zen and Pace’s help.

Not totally sure on the release date yet, but it’s looking good for this summer!