Holey Outlaw Canvas – CRFF – 03/16/17

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“What is this?” Inspector Clouseau said as he turned the piece of contraband over in his hand as he surveyed the scene of the latest Art Hater Serial Killer murder.

“Once it was called a canvas,” Yvette said. “For art.”

“Art! Art has been outlawed for a decade!”

“Legislation cannot stop passion, Inspector.”

“Perhaps not, but a slug can,” he said nodding to the lifeless form.

“So we assume AHSK found out about the victim’s art and came calling?”

“Assume nothing, dear Yvette. Check the desk calendar.”

“It just says Moriarty!”

“Holmes’ nemesis? I though he liked all art!”

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Dystopia Is Real – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers -3/14/17

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No one knew the real date the world ended because it was done with such stealth. The government wished it could do things this way, but in truth only one organization had this skill. The proof was that no one claimed it was true. Banks kept lending money, people kept getting married, having children and going to their jobs.

The world could have known. Would have if Jacob Smithson had finished his ninety-one mile trip from Scranton to Allentown, PA. He had installed the global warning system there, nineteen stories deep in the earth. It had sapped the entire fortune made from his grandfather’s San Francisco gold mine, but Jacob knew there had to be a way to let the world know.

Almost 75 years later his old car still rested off the two lane road where the Chapman Group agents forced him to stop. His skeleton was scattered for miles in every direction so no proof remained. Now the world was continuing on oblivious to their fate.

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When Antichans Lose Their Way – FF -03/17/17

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“Legend says they were once equal, sharing the gold. But the Leprechans resented their cousins, wanting sole hold over the treasure,” Ann said.

“What happened?”

“Some called it a war, but really just a family skirmish. Leprechans got control of the gold, but at a steep price.”

“What price?” Jill asked.

“They were willing to shrink down to the height of a young mulberry bush for the right to the gold. Their cousins the Antichans remained their normal size and moved on.”

“So this is an old Antichan compass?”

“Yes.”

“They’re gone now?”

“Only one I know does food commercials.”

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2017 A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal Teaser

o6cmeq.jpgIt is almost time for  the A to Z blogging challenge to begin! Over twenty-six non-Sunday days almost two thousand bloggers will post daily with the letter theme of the day about topics as various as you can imagine. For bloggers this is a wonderful opportunity to concentrate on some goals. Like writing more as well as more often. Also it gives us solitary soldiers a chance to identify others with our interest to build professional as well as personal relationships. This is a perfect tie in to my personal goals for 2017 as explained in my post: My 2017 Writing Goals. Plus, if we do a good enough job with our posts we can secure a few new readers/followers for our work.

I have to admit, even 6  days out from the official theme reveal day I am bursting to share mine. I won’t because that as I understand, is one of the main tenets of promotion. Build anticipation. I am not a marketing genius, yet, which is one of the reasons I have not taken the dive into self-publication, but I am learning rapidly the dos and don’ts of this world.

Many people do not care for Twitter, thinking it just a mindless pursuit. It can be if you do not utilize it to your advantage. I begin to understand just how to do that during this past November when I completed my first NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. Most bloggers/writers know, but in case you are a casual reader stopping buy it is a form of controlled madness where we attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

Some people don’t understand the insanity. They ask why don’t you just finish the one you are working on, why write another? As with all things when you concentrate too long on one thing the ideas become stale. With multiple works in progress you can bounce back and forth to give your best work. I know I am bouncing around, but what I got from the NaNoWriMo Twitter experience was that it can limit your audience to those really invested in the same thing you are.

Again, I will not jump the gun to reveal my theme, but I am terribly excited about it and cannot wait to first of all share it and then write about it during the A to Z Challenge.

Use Twitter & Hootsuite to Promote Your Blog for the 2017 A to Z Challenge

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COPYRIGHT – ALPINE ACRES PUBLISHING 2017  In 19 days a whoop will be heard from computers around the world as nearly two thousand brave souls make their best effort at creating 26 blog posts in as many days if not more if they are blogging one more than one theme. What is this madness? It is known as the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge.

2017 will mark my third try at the challenge. I have completed it once, but got too excited last time and made a big mess. This year I decided to focus on one blog in particular, my favorite, the Fiction Playground. I tend to blog about a wide variety of topics. Family, faith, gardening/flowers, my model railroading hobby and more, but by and large my passion lies with fiction writing.

I join in on three photo fiction prompts each week, all of which challenge the writer with word limits. I can tell my ability to pack a lot of possibility in my stories has developed markedly and I appreciate the kind of feed back others in these challenges provide. I anticipate the same kind of interaction in the A to Z Challenge.

Okay, that was too long of an introduction, especially since I am 200 words into this post without the first mention of my topic, Use Twitter & Hootsuite to Promote Your Blog for the 2017 A to Z Challenge. Who wants to write something that will just float around the internet for eternity with no one engaging or making any kind of comment? Not me! Sure you put it out there for the wolves to rip apart too, but writers create for consumption and the possibility of mass consumption by the A to Z pack is very real.

During this past November I played around a lot with Twitter as I took part in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). One of the things I saw immediately is there is a tremendous amount of self-promotion going on there. At first I found that kind of off-putting, but as I took time to reflect between then and now I see the value. You have to make your product stand out. Why not use any tool you can understand to do so?

With that in mind I formulated a strategy to begin tweeting teasers for my April 2017 A To Z Challenge Theme. I guess I am jumping the gun a little, but I am going to share that theme with you here. Another thing I came to understand during NaNoWriMo 2016 is that the more you map out your novel ahead of time the easier it is to write. Keeping with that concept I began to flesh out a historical fiction novel I want to craft..

I used to be enthralled with wars, including the Revolutionary War, Civil War and World Wars. I suppose I still have some interest in all, but I am particularly fond of the Civil War. Perhaps it is because I live in Virginia, which was one of the most affected states in the sense of the amount of battles. Whatever the reason I have been knocking around the idea of writing a historical fiction about the Civil War. Pulling in the connection to my recent initiation of a model railroading hobby I came up with an idea that fused the two loves.

The Steel Horse Saviors is a story about the United States as it tries to right itself following four years of civil war. It is 1866 and three civil war veterans, two Yankees and a Rebel head to the western frontier with a nearly new steam engine to seek their fortune. On their way they encounter Clementine O’Grady, a breath-taking redhead struggling to keep her family’s Timber & Lumber company from collapsing. Civil War prejudices as well as our heroes’ past will combine to complicate their lives.

Now to the Twitter and Hootsuite connection. Hootsuite is an application that allows you to schedule tweets or Facebook posts, if you like, to post whenever you choose. I immediately grasped the process and find Hootsuite to be easy to use. Here is an example of some posts I scheduled:

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You will notice I have employed the use of hash tags. One was pre-existing, #atozchallenge, which I hope will become really popular in the next days as people get excited about the challenge. The other is my own creation, #steelhorsesaviors. By doing this I can go specifically to that hashtag on Twitter to see what is going on. There is another hash tag I am trying to use, provided by the A to Z Challenge @Aprilatoz, but so far Hootsuite does not recognize it.

Here is a calendar on Hootsuite showing the various tweets I have already sent to twitter. You will also have a similar display for the tweets scheduled to post:

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I want to take this moment to give a shout out to one of the A to Z Challenge C0-Hosts who has been re-tweeting my scheduled posts since I began four days ago. J Lenni Dorner should get a kudo for living the role as a co-host. I mean really, it is 18 days until the real madness kicks off and this representative of the A to Z team is in full-on “Get It Done” mode!

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So what value is their in this re-tweet? I have a grand total of 398 followers, of which I am not sure how many actually check my tweets regularly. Conversely J Lenni has 7,392! That is almost 16 times as many opportunities for someone to see the tweet. You cannot beat that kind of possibility for promotion of your work.

So you ask, am I concerned my effort will get smothered out by the torrent of similar effort when the real challenge begins? Concerned? No. Expecting it? Yes. I am not the only one to ever consider this, but am thankful it occurred to me early enough to work out the logistics and get it rolling now.  Tell me if you like this idea or if you have tried anything similar.

Can a Rock Give or Take Life? – SPF – 03/12/17

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Mitch had the guard’s schedules memorized. He should know them inside and out since he created them six months before today for this exact event. Sure the old astronaut uniform was bulky, and smelled like someone had used it without the sanitary features to deal with bathroom needs, but it was the only way he could sneak out the chunk of rock he had to have.

Doctor Abernathy convinced him it was the magic bullet he could use to save the love of Mitch’s life, Kristin, who remained connected to a roomful of machines after a decade and a half in a coma. All Mitch had to do was navigate one hundred thirty more yards of museum displays and then make a dash across the parking lot to his car.

He had no idea Doctor Abernathy’s life rested in the hands of Viktor Kazlensky, an Albanian drug lord, or that a bullet with his name on it would find a home in his body the moment the doctor wrapped his fingers around this million dollar rock. The promise of holding Kristin again was too much of a possibility for Mitch to ignore.

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Honeymoon at Niagra – CRFF – 03/09/17

 

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From the walkway overlooking Niagra Falls Jessie felt the awesome splendor of this gorgeous wonder. She felt like that with Sam once, but now they were married.

“Promise me!”

“Anything,” Sam said, taking her hand.

“Promise we won’t be boring.”

“Never!”

“I’m serious!”

“Not on your life. Stories will be written about us through eternity.”

“You’re right, this place is amazing!”

Actually I got a complaint a little earlier,” Sam said.

“From who?”

“The star of the show,” Sam said motioning over his shoulder with his thumb at the roaring water. “You’re upstaging it.”

That drew Jessie’s beautiful smile.

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Speak into the Antennae – FF – 03/10/17

 

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Copyright – Shaktiri Sharma

 

“Unbelievable ,” Grandpa George exclaimed. At 85 his mind was still so sharp and Sydney loved to spend time with him. It was his engineering prowess that attracted her. Of course his biggest accomplishments was in ballistic missile technology, but their was still a kindred admiration.

“What’s the range?”

“The battery is the limiter,” Sydney answered. “This model has the latest from our lab. With it the drone range is 25 miles.”

“You must be careful my Sydney. Uncle Sam will try to corrupt your wonderful talent like they did mine.”

“No worries G.G. No one’ll believe a blonde like me did this!”

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My Slag is Not Your Slag – CRFF – 03/02/17

slag Karina twisted in front of the shiny 5 x 5 sheet of slag. Allie smiled while watching from her register at the door. It’d be great to sell the sizable piece of art, but her hopes were slim.

“I need to convince my husband” she said covering her cell phone as she neared the station.

Karina felt the swell of optimism, but breathed it out just as quickly. Being in the business meant disappointment was more often your closest friend.

“If you could see my reflection you would agree. I look like I did in Aruba,” Allie said. “Buy it? Okay!”

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