Friday, February 20, 2015

#EggcerptExchange A Sharp Bend in the Road by Gerard Bianco


Blurbs: "A Sharp Bend in the Road" showcases a carnival of amazing and totally different types of stories. From a story about a young man's encounter in an elevator, to a gay couple in a jewelry store, to a woman entering a retirement home, Bianco's characters are real, yet colorful and unique. He has a gift in creating genuine dialogue making each story come alive. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories. 5 stars for sure! A fine collection written by one author who clearly knows his craft. --Susan Violante for Reader Views


"A virtuosic collection of stories followed by the sharp blade of a killer novella as the final act. Gerard Bianco's stories do not creep up on you: they fall upon you like a raptor plummeting, wings folded, golden eye ablaze. Their signature swirl of caustic irony is bitter, often brutal - a gleam of talons and a sudden cry - resulting almost always in a small death of the heart." -Dianne Benedict, Author of Shiny Objects


Synopsis of four of the seventeen stories:


From “A Process of Elimination.” When a man purchases a remote log cabin in the Adirondacks, he believes he has found a peaceful haven, until he discovers a stranger dead on his living room rug.

From “The Organization.” A man, looking for a new adventure, joins a unique organization and quickly learns that getting what you want can sometimes lead to unimagined consequences.

From “A Sharp Bend in the Road.” Following a devastating fall, Rita finds herself standing outside the dining hall at an independent living facility. She squeezes the handle of her cane, and her knuckles turn white. Her wire-rimmed glasses accentuate the tears she tries to hide. After eighty-two years, and a lifetime of memories, Rita believes she's been abandoned at the mouth of a fiery dragon that will swallow her up-and she is terrified.

From “The Long Ride.” Two couples set out on a vacation in Maine, only to find their dreamy trip has turned into a getaway nightmare.


The Organization
            I’m on the run—forced to flee. I must keep moving. It’s the basic rule of survival. Problem is, I can’t run forever. My money, for one thing, is almost gone. I’ve got to stop sometime. Only not yet. I need to be convinced they’re not following me.
            I hope it’s not too late. I’m not certain, but this afternoon I thought I was being followed. Do they know where I am? Are they watching me? Waiting for the right moment to grab me? Or is my mind playing tricks? Why do I think they’re closing in on me?
            My life is a total nightmare. And I can’t blame anyone but myself. I never appreciated how lucky I was. I took my life for granted—as if I deserved all the good things that came my way. If only I had understood the true worth of my life, I never would’ve gotten into the mess I’m in now.
At twenty-nine, I was married to a beautiful woman. We enjoyed a spacious modern home. I worked hard at a decent job and built up a considerable savings. My future looked promising.
Yet, with all my good luck and fortune, I wasn’t happy.
I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I’d always sensed there was something missing in my life. What that might be wasn’t obvious. I could locate no loose ends or red flags, and yet something gnawed at me every day like an unrelenting toothache.
            I tried to figure out the source of my discontent, and I attempted to fill the void in many ways. I studied the philosophies of Eastern religions. I poured through self-help books. I meditated. Yet, no matter what I tried, the approach was never enough to fill the emptiness I felt in my gut.
Then, one evening, while my wife, Meg, and I were at a dinner party, I overheard bits and pieces about a secret society called the Organization. No one knew much about them. One man believed they were a powerful group that could make things happen. A cute blond in a short black skirt said she’d heard rumors the group had infiltrated the government. Around the table, the discussion continued until our hostess, appearing somewhat nervous, said, “I think it’s best we not talk of these things.” The conversation immediately took a sharp turn toward a more pleasant topic.
My curiosity was ignited. I was hooked. I’d heard about secret orders and how their members had the power to influence culture and society. I admired how their exclusivity insured a boon for their members. Deals went down among those who belonged that insured both fortune and fame. A powerful and surreptitious cadre, late-night ancient rituals in darkened rooms, covert symbols of good and evil, business conducted furtively—what could be better?
Was this the answer to what I was looking for? I needed to find out. I needed to know more about the Organization: who the members were and what they stood for. I began my quest the following day.

Gerard Bianco shares a fresh voice in short storytelling.  A Sharp Bend in the Road redefines the art of the short story collection. Seventeen stories, built around absorbing characters, strong conflicts, and sometimes dark and absurdly humorous ingredients, prove that the journey through life never travels in a straight line.







Gerard Bianco is an author, artist/illustrator, and writing coach. He holds an MFA in Writing from Albertus Magnus College.


His works include:

The Deal Master (2006) A mystery/thriller novel. Won the Editor's Choice Award and the Publisher's Choice Award.

Discipline: A Play (2012) A love story and a laugh-out-loud comedy that uses wit to depict human frailty. It won the Editor's Choice Award, 2012, and was a Finalist in the 2013 Indie Excellence Book Awards.

His short stories have appeared in various literary journals. His lessons, exercises, and advice on the art and craft of creative fiction have appeared on the web and in the book, Now Write! Mysteries: Mystery Fiction Exercises From Today's Best Writers and Teachers. (Tarcher, 2011; Edited by Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson.)

His latest book, A SHARP BEND IN THE ROAD: 17 INTRIGUING STORIES, published January, 2015.

Gerard divides his time between Portland, Maine and Boston.


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Kryssie Fortune said...

The blurb for the story, A Sharp Bed in the Road blew me away. My mum went into a home a few years ago,and she must have felt like that.

Gerard Bianco said...

Thanks, Kryssie. "A Sharp Bend in the Road" is a reader favorite. Like many of the stories, it has a unique twist. I hope you'll get to read it, along with the other stories.