Time Machine Visits #FridayFlash Intro

Time machine to late September 2009 …

Spinning Optical IllusionIt’s a quiet Friday afternoon, and I’m trying to learn my way around Twitter.  A steady stream of tweets with the odd looking designation of “#FridayFlash” keeps catching my eye.  Easily distracted and always looking for an excuse to put off my writing, I’m drawn in.

“What could zees be?” I ask out loud.  (My alter ego always has a French accent.)

Curiosity gets the best of me.  I click one of the tweets and enter into a world I never knew existed.  It’s a world of horror and humor, intrigue and romance. Action, adventure, heartbreak and suspense.  I’ve entered the surrealistic wonder world of #FridayFlash.

What is this wonder world, you ask?  According to creator Jon Strother, #FridayFlash is an Internet meme designed to increase your visibility as a fiction writer.   According to me and most of the writers who participate each week, it is so much more than that.

Since entering that world over a year ago, I’ve met some wonderfully supportive and encouraging people, I’ve read some remarkable stories, and my writing has come a long way.  Finding #FridayFlash was like falling through a trapdoor into a hidden fantasy land, and it’s a land open to all; writers and readers, alike.

Icy Sedgwick offers more insight in this Fuel Your Writing interview posted this week:  #FridayFlash — Interview with Jon Strother.

There’s so much more to say about #FridayFlash, but the important information is covered in the interview and in the links I’ve included.  Now I need to hurry and publish this post, because that time-machine-depicting optical illusion up there is freaking me out.  It really is not moving.  Is it?

Resources: Post A Day, Flash Fiction by Olivia Tejeda
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Flash Fiction: Christmas Past

© Olivia Tejeda

“My great-nephew over in Prescott invited me.”
“Say again?”
“MY GREAT-NEPHEW!”
“Criminy! Irene, what are ya hollerin’ at?”
“Turn up your hearing aid.”
“They’re up, they’re up …  Are you going?”
“Where?”
“To your damn nephew’s house.”
“Land sakes, Bea, your language!  Yes, I’m going.”
“Is he the one with the kids?”
“The screaming kids, the fat wife, and the drunk mother-in-law.”
“You gotta drive all that way for that kind of nonsense?”
“What else am I gonna do?”
“Stay home!”
“By myself?  No how, Mister!  Not on Christmas!”
“My sister-in-law is flying in from Utah.  We’ll have dinner.”
“Oh good, so you’re covered.”
“I’d rather be alone.”
“Oh heavens, Bea! It’s Christmas.  Why would you want to be alone?
“You never met my sister-in-law.”
“But being alone … on Christmas … what could be worse?”
“My sister-in-law.”

Writing this story, I was reminded of one of my favorite songs, Hello in There, performed here by Bette Midler.

Thank you for reading.  To read more flash fiction from a great group of writers, search #fridayflash on Twitter or visit Mad Utopia.


Now in Print: Best of Friday Flash – Volume One

There aren’t many shopping days until Christmas, so save yourself some trouble and give a gift that will please everyone on your list.

“Best of Friday Flash – Volume One”

What could be better?  This collection gathers sixty-seven of the very best flash fiction from writers around the world.  Mystery, intrigue, romance, sci-fi, horror, slice of life, humor.   Just about every genre is represented and each story comes in a quick hit, flash fiction format — one thousand words or fewer.

Don’t let the short format fool you.  There are some powerful stories here, including mine, “Bottom of the Ninth,” about a nervous preteen whose softball team championship rests in her pudgy little hands.

The flashes were written by members of the Friday Flash community, an online writer’s group that posts stories on their blogs and announces them via the #fridayflash hashtag on Twitter or Facebook.  The variety of styles and the amount of  talent included in this anthology will keep you turning the pages, and wishing for more when you’re done.

“Best of Friday Flash – Volume One” is available in paperback for $7.99, and  ebook for just $2.99.

Don’t wait!  Act now!

 

Best of Friday Flash – Volume One

Great news!  The “Best of Friday Flash – Volume One,” an anthology that includes one of my flash fiction stories was released today in ebook format at smashwords.com.

Bottom of the Ninth,” my flash about a nervous preteen whose softball team championship rests in her pudgy little hands, is part of the first collection by Friday Flash writers, a group of writers who publish flash fiction on their blogs every Friday.

The anthology is available via smashwords.com in just about every ebook format for just $2.99.

WHAT A BARGAIN!

To see the book and download a sample (or BUY it!), click here: Best of Friday Flash: Volume One.  The printed version will be released shortly.  Stay tuned for details.

For a little info on the book release, visit Mad Utopia, the site of Friday Flash founder Jon Strother.

As you might imagine, I’m just beside myself with excitement! I feel like I should be passing out cigars and champagne.

Friday Flash: OMG at Barnes & Noble

© Olivia Tejeda

“Oh my God,” Fredrika’s husband gasped as she approached the table where he sat reading “The Portable Jung” at the Barnes & Noble cafe.

“What’s wrong with this?” she asked holding out the copy of Oprah she brought back with her.

Her husband looked up, eyes only, over the top of his glasses.  He said nothing and went back to reading.

She leaned in and said through tight lips and a clenched jaw, “I asked you if there’s something wrong with this.”

No response.

“Edward!” Louder this time.

Edward closed the book and slid his glasses down.  He pondered the pinched looking woman standing in front of him as he stroked his short salt and pepper beard.

“Can I … help you?” he said.

“Why did you say ‘Oh my God?’ ”

“You are truly pathetic.”

“Wrong again, Edward,” she said, pointing a sharp finger at him.  “You are an impotent troll.”

Fredrika sat down and noticed the woman at the next table, caught mid-sip and still staring, surprised and embarrassed by their candid contempt.  Fredrika smiled and began flipping the pages of the magazine.

Flip.  Flip, flip.  Flip.

“Did I do something?” she said.  “Is that why you said ‘Oh my God?’ ”

Edward sighed. “Really, Fredrika? Really?”

“Just tell me.”

“I’m reading.”

Flip, flip, flip.

“Want pizza for dinner?” she asked.

Edward grunted.

“Chinese? You want Chinese?”

Silence.

She flipped more pages.

“We can have dinner with the Crandalls.  You like the Crandalls.”

“Fredrika,” Edward said.

“Hmm?”

“Fredrika,” he said

“Edward,” she said.

“Fredrika,” he said.

“What?” she hissed.

“Can I tell you what I want?”

She sat mute.

“I want you to shut up,” he said.  “For one minute of one day in the entirety of your life, I want you to shut your mouth and be silent.”   Then he went back to reading.

Fredrika huffed and straightened her posture.

Flip.  Flip, flip.

After flipping the last of the pages, she took a deep breath and rubbed her forehead.

Edward looked up.  “Are you all right?” he asked.

“My contacts are bothering me.”

“Do you want to leave?”

“I hate to disturb your book, but yes, yes, I think so.”

He closed the book and stood up.

“Here,” he said reaching out.  “Give me your magazine.  I’ll put it away for you.”

When he returned, he took her hand and they walked together to the exit.

Thank you for reading.  To read more flash fiction from a great group of writers, search #fridayflash on Twitter or visit Mad Utopia.

Guest Blogger: Deanna Schrayer

Please welcome guest blogger, Deanna Schrayer, who is sitting in with The Silent Writers Collective today to talk about writing when it seems like there’s no time.  She speaks from experience.  Read on.

Find the Time and the Words Are Sure to Follow

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“Raising a teenager is like trying to nail jello to a tree.”

The same could be said for those of us who work, raise a family, and write.  As a mom to two sons, a wife, a full time employee, a volunteer, and owner of too many pets, there are times when I wonder how I’m supposed to find the time.

As writing has become more important to me, I’ve tucked a few tricks up my sleeve and would love to hear yours, too.

Everyone has the same amount of time; it’s what you do with it that matters.  When I feel the need for a break during work, I turn my instant messaging to “I am away,” and I spend fifteen minutes writing.  It doesn’t matter what I write, as long as I write.

To ensure I use that break to write, I schedule a recurring appointment on my calendar; when the reminder pops up, no matter what’s going on, I stop what I’m doing, and start writing.  Trust me, if I can do this, so can you.  Not only will it get you writing, it’s a useful way to develop the writing habit.

Just rewards
The best method I’ve discovered to guarantee I accomplish my goal is to reward myself.  This can work for you, too.

Each morning decide how you’re going to reward yourself.  Make sure the reward is something you really want. Mine is often a bowl of ice cream.  Write your reward on a Post-It and put it where you’ll see it throughout the day.  This little action will plant in your brain that you must use your break to write if you want to receive that reward.  Absolutely do not allow yourself the reward if you haven’t written.  This will also teach you self-discipline, something all writers must possess.

If you’re constantly interrupted at work, go to a different area for your writing break. If that isn’t possible, learn how to get rid of the interrupters. For tips on how to do this tactfully, read the “Ignore the Gossips” portion of my blog post, How Do You Organize Your Day?

If writing on your work break doesn’t suit you, find the time that works best for you, and stick with it. Maybe you’re a morning person, maybe you’re a night person – it doesn’t matter. Whatever time of day you feel most alert, schedule that time, even if it’s a mere fifteen minutes, turn the world off, and write.

Do. Nothing. Else.

The importance of community
Most importantly, be sure to connect with other writers.  Knowing we aren’t alone gives us the motivation to keep writing, no matter the stumbling blocks thrown our way. That’s where groups like the Silent Writers Collective comes in, groups that give us a place to share our challenges and celebrate our successes.

Another fantastic group is #Writers_Life, created by Anne Tyler Lord of Don’t Fence Me In.   And let’s not forget the wonderful #FridayFlash community created by J.M. Strother of Mad Utopia.

Another inspiring site I’ve discovered is storyfix.com by author Larry Brooks.  While storyfix.com isn’t a community, Larry’s posts are inspiring and educational.  I’ve learned a lot by reading his blog.

Keep in mind, if you write one sentence, you have written.  I’m not always blessed with happily flowing fingers during my scheduled writing time, but I am always blessed with at least one sentence.  One sentence leads to another.  There are 365 days in a year.  365 sentences could make for a darn good story.

Deanna’s stories and poetry have been featured in Soft Whispers Magazine as well as local literary and arts review publications. She contributes nostalgic short stories to a local newspaper. Deanna is currently writing her first novel. You can find her creative nonfiction at The Life of a Working Writer Mommy, and her fiction at The Other Side of Deanna. Deanna loves hearing from her readers, so stop on in!

Join the SWC on Tuesdays at 9 PM Eastern and/or 9 PM Pacific (US) for the next Silent Write-In.