FFfAW: A New Alliance, Flash Fiction

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Photo credit:  Louise at Storyteller’s Abode

She walked over and Henry bristled.  “I’m here to be alone,” he said, curtly.

“Oh, I’ll just have a seat.  You won’t bite.  I can tell. Your body language says it all.”  She set down her huge bag and sat, carefully holding her dress down.  “You’re definitely overdressed.”

“So are you,” Henry said, realizing he’d been sized up.  He moved his equally stuffed bag to the other side.

“How long since you cut yourself loose of your chains?” She asked.

“A year,” Henry replied, smiling.  He thought he’d figured her out.  “How about you?  A pretty young woman, walking the beach, overstuffed bag.  Do you sleep here?”

“Do I look crumpled and wrinkly? Of course not.  This is how I pass the days.  Two years.”

“Sorry, no offense.”

“Okay.  Are you free for lunch?”  She replied.

“Why not?”

Two years and twenty beaches later, Henry was still wandering the shores with Kaitlynn.

 

**This Flash Fiction challenge is hosted by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/fffaw-challenge-week-of-may-23-2017/

How it works:  A prompt photo will be provided each Tuesday to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.   Linking for this challenge begins on Tuesday and runs to the following Monday evening.   Please credit photo to photographer.  The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please try and stay within this limit.

Please check out other stories inspired by this prompt.  I hope you like what I cooked up.  No two are ever alike!

An Author Discovered: W.T. Fallon

I’ve decided to share, at least once or twice a month, posts about the authors whose books I am reading (or have read).  I found my latest discovery while searching Author/bloggers on Goodreads.  I have begun reading W.T. Fallon’s Fail to the Chief, an interesting novel with a premise that really drew me in.  So far, it is wonderfully absurd political satire and a little like the movie “Idiocracy,”  where the President will be elected via a reality TV show. I am really enjoying it so far and look forward to perusing Fallon’s blog a lot more!  The following is W.T. Fallon’s guest post.

W.T. Fallon: Why I Wrote Fail to the Chief

The day I came up with the idea for my novel, Fail to the Chief, I was running on the treadmill, and watching a 24-hour news channel. I realized election coverage is a lot like a reality show—candidates are followed 24/7, commentators yell questions at them, and just when you think you know who’s going to win, someone throws a wrench into things and everything changes.

So if it’s pretty much just a reality show anyway, why not go all the way and let people vote from their couches like we do for other reality shows? I read years ago that more people voted for American Idol than voted for president in the last election. Wouldn’t voter turnout be better if people didn’t have to drive to the polls and stand in line?

Of course, the idea of online voting isn’t new, and usually, the answer to that is, “But, hackers!” But the idea of making the election an actual reality show where people could vote without leaving the couch? That interested me. (Measures to prevent hacking are addressed in the book.)

What would this reality show look like? I immediately pictured the shows I watched, but with candidates for contestants. You’d have your typical reality show host, the obligatory well-tanned guy in a tuxedo introducing the contestants, giving them a shoulder to cry their totally fake tears on, and basically expressing no opinion whatsoever, because that’s what reality show hosts do, right?

Now, enter the contestants. This was around December of 2015, so the 2016 presidential race was just heating up, and there were tons of real candidates on both sides of the aisle for inspiration. I imagined various characters competing on this reality show to elect a president. What could happen on a reality show that couldn’t happen in real life? What would we learn about the candidates if we really followed them around with cameras 24/7?

I had been writing satire about politicians for my local Gridiron Show since 2012, and in December of 2015 there was no shortage of colorful characters in the presidential race, all ripe for satirizing.

Then there are the challenges you see on reality shows. I remembered things I’d always wanted to see in a presidential debate: A boxing match between candidates, a debate where the contenders were hooked up to polygraph machines, candidates being forced to work at real jobs like us regular people, a debate where the candidates had to play a drinking game instead of the audience choosing to do so. Who wouldn’t want to watch a debate where the candidates had to take a drink every time someone said something trite, overused, or eyeroll-inducing? None of those things are going to happen in real life, but I was able to make them happen in my book.

I had been writing about a chapter a week, and would probably still be writing it if I hadn’t lost my job. I was unceremoniously fired two days before my birthday—because nothing says happy birthday like a pink slip—and replaced with a ten-buck-an-hour intern. My employers promised I had done nothing wrong, they were just, “going in a different direction.” Yet when I went to file for unemployment, they claimed I had been fired for cause. At that point, I said, “Screw it, I’m going to finish my novel.”

So I took all my anger and frustration and put it into my book. There are a lot of scenes where regular people describe their problems with unemployment, the economy, etc. Many of those were inspired by my life as a two-time college graduate, living with my parents and struggling to find a job in a bad economy. Going into debt for a college degree that turns out to be worthless, working multiple minimum-wage jobs as a college graduate, and the unemployment office’s efforts to help people “find jobs” were all things I explored.

In one scene, an unemployed worker tells a candidate how the unemployment office required her to attend a “find a job” type class. She was given instructions on how to get her GED (despite having a college degree), how to go to trucking school (despite the fact that for some people, backing up a large truck is a public safety hazard), and how to learn English as a second language (although she already knew it as a first language). That’s the kind of help I encountered at the unemployment office, and it was of no use to me, or anyone else in the room. But that’s our government for you, and I decided to write about its futility through the lens of a reality show to elect a president.

Book Blurb

After years of emceeing insipid singing competitions, TV personality Bryan Seafoam can’t wait to host “American President,” the world’s first reality show to elect a president of the United States. Finally, an opportunity to be a real journalist, digging up dirt and playing hardball with the top ten candidates.

But it doesn’t take long for the contestants to start slinging mud at Bryan – literally, when billionaire candidate Ronald Chump is challenged to dig his proposed moat along the Mexican-American border himself. Forced to work in a fast food restaurant, an anti-minimum-wage-hike candidate learns his coworkers are struggling to survive with multiple jobs and claims to have solved the unemployment problem in his state-leaving Bryan to duck ketchup bombs from customers. To make matters worse, Bryan’s producer pressures him to be nicer to the candidates, and his former crush, now an experienced political correspondent, shows up-and shows him up at every turn.

When a cheating scandal rocks the show, Bryan begins to suspect it’s just the tip of a very underhanded iceberg. Will trying to expose a plot to wreck the most hysterical, er, historic election in history cost Bryan his career-and his personal life?

T. Fallon’s Bio

T. Fallon believes if you can’t say something nice, you should say something funny and totally true. She has few marketable skills, but is highly talented in the areas of sarcasm, satire, and snark. For the past several years, she has written for the local Gridiron Show, and last year she started a blog called Sharable Sarcasm. The 2016 election provided so many opportunities for humor that she decided to write her first novel, a political satire called Fail to the Chief. She was recently published on The Satirist, and has been writing for Humor Outcasts since September of 2016.

Follow on Social Media:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/wtfallon/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/wtfallonauthor

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/58625570-w-t

Blog:

https://sharablesarcasm.wordpress.com/

 

Excerpt:

 

Bryan tapped the tablet again. “Here are the suggestions. Number one comes from Avery L. on Facebook, and it says, and I quote, ‘We spent almost ten million in taxpayer money last year for upkeep on the White House, including half a million on flowers alone, and almost three million on annual holiday decorations. Is all that really necessary? I mean, how many flowers do you really need in a ginormous mansion? Couldn’t you cut that spending down to five million?’”

“That sounds like the fiscally responsible thing to do.” Morganstern straightened his tie and turned to face the nearest camera. “When I was the head of Cheatham Bank, the largest banking group in the country, we didn’t waste money on unimportant things like decorations or paid vacations for employees. I even limited the amount of money we spent on toilet paper each month. If the employees ran out, they just had to find another solution.”

“Actually, according to an exposé into your inhumane HR practices, it just caused them to use more expensive printer paper for, ah, alternative purposes.” Haverty stepped between Morganstern and the camera. “I understand some also used the widely-distributed company newsletter with your picture on every cover.”

“Yes, and I installed security cameras to catch every employee who took that newsletter to the bathroom, and I fired every last one of them.”

“Perhaps now would be a good time to hear your plan for job creation,” Haverty shot back.

Bob Fuller stopped twisting his hemp necklace around his fingers long enough to groan. “I hope you at least printed that newsletter on recycled paper.”

Morganstern made a sound that was somewhere between a grunt and a chuckle. “Hmmph. Of course not, recycled paper costs twice as much, and it’s used.”

 

Book Link:

 https://www.amazon.com/Fail-Chief-W-T-Fallon-ebook/dp/B01LYON1F2

 

FailtotheChief

One Year Anniversary! #indiewriter #amwriting #RRBC

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It’s my one-year anniversary with Rave Reviews Book Club!  I’ve just renewed for another year with them because 1.  the exposure can’t be beaten  2.  I’ve gained readers and reviewers through them  3.  I am part of a network of authors on Twitter who all help each other build a platform and gain exposure.  All of this is really priceless, especially for an Indie author.  I’m still new and still learning things almost daily to help my author promotion and platform, but this book club has really helped.  I’ve been featured as book of the week, invited as a guest on two blog radio talk shows, part of a Book trailer party that got my book video seen, and have been welcome to many other opportunities, some which I haven’t tried yet, but I may do so this year.  (There are a writer’s conference and the Spring Blog Party that I have yet to try).  If you’d like to know more about this Book Club and author’s resource, go to http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com and see if you might want to join!

There is also another anniversary worth celebrating here.  It has been one year and one month since I self-published a book!  I’m still writing and getting ready to publish another, but I’d like to thank all of the helpful people I have met through various Facebook and other online groups as well!  I’ve learned invaluable lessons such as where to get attribution-free photos, how to use Canva, what are some alternate e-book publishing venues, and how one actually writes a good blurb.  I’m still working on that one!  I love the camaraderie among indie authors, and though self-publishing is a time-consuming venture, I plan to continue!  Look for news in June regarding my new release, a time-travel novel, and the Facebook event I have planned.

Along with the self-publishing journey, it was a year ago in January when I started blogging here at WordPress.  I am so thankful for the bloggers I have met who share other writers’ material and posts and offer regular chances, such as Jackie’s “Echoes of My Neighborhood” at acookingpotandtwistedtales.com and Daniel Ray’s Re-blog opportunities at dreambigdreamoften.com.  That and the many writing prompt opportunities, as well as the #weekendcoffeeshare, have helped me to meet more writers, network, and learn more about sharing my writing in multiple ways.  Thank you, fellow writers!

 

Free Short Story, appropriate for kids age 7 to 97+. From Lost to Loved, a Stray Dog’s Tale. #shortstory

This was a labor of love.  While I reside in sci-fi and paranormal tales, I’ve loved imagining my dog’s background story.  I also wrote this with my students in mind, hoping to one day share this story with them.  Give it a download and see what you think!

Blurb: What if your adopted shelter dog could tell his story? Have you ever wondered why he freaks out when the kitchen timer goes off, or he gets defensive when he meets a tall man? Consider the origin story of Bixby, as Pamela imagines the long journey of his life before they found each other and he became part of her family. Appropriate for children and adults aged seven and up.

 

Lost to Loved

Available in many digital formats at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/722693

#Instafreebie Get your copy of Made for Me, #sci-fi romance e-book

For a limited time, get your free digital copy of the book one reader calls, “A fun romp in the future.”  Made for Me is a futuristic, sci-fi romance about an unusual relationship.  Sign up to get your free copy now!  I would love to get reviews of this book as well, but you are not obligated.  You will be signed up for my author newsletter, which, to be honest, comes around once every few weeks.  It won’t be overwhelming, I promise, and I have some interesting things in the works that you may want to hear about!  Go to this link:

https://instafreebie.com/free/UsMtE

Thanks for supporting an indie author!

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Made for Me, Book 1, sci-fi romance

X is for Xenophobia. #AtoZChallenge #amwriting

No, this is not a preachy post on how we should all appreciate other cultures (though we should).  It is my understanding that xenophobia goes much deeper than culture shock and seems to be the resistance to adjusting to the fact that not everyone is like oneself.  Some don’t know the difference.  I am in the process of writing and editing that includes the culture shock one might experience if they went several years into the future.  One character seems to be close-minded about it.  Is she a xenophobic?  I am not an expert, but I had an interesting time creating the culture-shock in my most recent fiction story.   The book comes out in mid-June.  Here is some back story:

If you could take the ultimate escape, where would you go?  In November of 2015, I envisioned just that.  I would go to the future.  Things were a little rough in my family at the time, and I’d often take walks with the dog at night, staring up into the sky at the stars and wondering if I’d be able to visit them in any way other than imagination.  People in my online writer’s groups were going on and on about NANOWRIMO.  I thought about it, and decided I’d start typing a time travel story, but on my own timeline.  From this experience, I do kind of think writing saves my sanity.

At the end of November, I’d typed 30,000 words and had no idea how I’d end the story.  I just started imagining and typing and provided myself the escape I needed.  In January 2016, I took a James Patterson Master Writing class.  Man, I love his accent.  At any rate, I finished the novel by the end of January with approximately 66,000 words.  In the summer of 2016, I gave the manuscript a preliminary edit and had my mother, my first beta reader, give it a read-through.

I’ve recently paid someone to edit it and have had a book cover made.  By mid-June,  I hope to have this sci-fi novel published and available!   If it sounds interesting, please follow me on Amazon at  http://amzn.to/1t3BYGU and sign up for my author newsletter at http://t.co/Gj6d3CXMZq if you’d like to get a free 20-page sci-short story for download.

Way to throw in author promo., I suppose.  I guess I just really wanted to talk about the book.  Happy reading and writing, fellow bloggers!

*I’ve joined the April A to Z Blogger’s Challenge!  Each day this month, I will write something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been fun so far, yet it has really given me a chance to pause for reflection as well.

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.comBlog2017 Badge

N is for Norrie. #AtoZChallenge (Ebook free 4/17 and 4/18)!

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Monday. Photo courtesy of Canva.com.

Norrie is a main character in one of my sci-fi novellas.  We saw her grow up in Made for Me, a sci-fi romance, and now, she is a star of its sequel, the sci-fi coming of age novella, Seeing Through Sampson’s Eyes.  Norrie is now twenty-two years old and is a Master’s student of Ethics in Robotics.

Norrie was a character created out of my desire to dream and escape.  In fact, she is everything I wish I was in my early twenties!  In this novella, there is much she sees about society that she wishes to change, particularly, humankind’s technological advances and treatment of a new type of earthly citizen (or non-citizen), and she takes steps to do so.  There is also a little bit of romance in this novella, but don’t be fooled.  This is not a romance, it is about Norrie exploring who she is.

I invite you to view my interview with this main character at https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/rrbc-sci-fi-amwriting-an-interview-with-my-main-character-norrie/

Here is an excerpt:

When asked, What are you most passionate about?  Norrie answers:

I believe man has to be responsible to his creations.  If you create something to be just like you, then you should not treat it like dirt on your shoe.  Similar to the cruelty against animals clause.  They are another living thing and deserve the good treatment you’d want for yourself if they were the ones holding the leash. Some would argue a creation of man is his to do with as he pleases. Well, not when you are using living DNA.

You may view a preview or purchase Seeing Through Sampson’s Eyes at the link above for Kindle and K.U. download or in paperback.  In fact, I believe in Norrie and want to share her with the world so much, and she is going to show up later in some of my future books, so I am offering this ebook for free download today and tomorrow to coincide with this post!  Just hit the buy link above, or click this universal link: https://bookgoodies.com/a/B01GNNCHHQ .  If you like it, please follow me on Amazon, for there is much more to come, and won’t you please leave a review as well?

*Please note:  This is second in the series, but can read well on its own as well.

Thank you for stopping by!

**The AtoZ Challenge theme for my blog is “Who I am.” Yes, it’s wide open.  In April, I will blog from A to Z to include little tidbits about me, poems I’ll share, and stories. Each day I will write something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been fun so far, yet it has really given me a chance to pause for reflection as well.

As you can see, I have doubled up on my purpose in this post! 🙂

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com