FlashFeed

The Forecast Calls for Flash

This Saturday is the seventh annual Flash Flood event, where flash stories are posted on the Flash Flood website throughout an entire day to spread the goodness that this writing provides. I've been up there previous years, including last year, but I'm actually not sure how many times.

The deadline for submitting was last night at midnight after being open for a week. Needless to say I only got around to thinking about it late last night. After a mean furrowing of eyebrows I thought
why the hell not? I've plenty of flash stories from over the years, but I didn't want to go too far back. As previously published stories were allowable I decided the easiest thing to do was to revisit some of the FlashFeed stories written for the FlashDogs challenges. Messages on Twitter yesterday suggested that maybe some upbeat stories would be welcomed given a surfeit of death, destruction and Donald Trump (ok, I made the last bit up) had been coming in, so I found three feel good-ish (or at least no 'impending doom' laden) stories and did a quick check on them. Made a couple of minor tweaks then sent them off; with fully 1 hour and 56 minutes to spare. Loadsa time!

This afternoon I received an email to tell me the good news that one of my stories has been accepted for the Flood and that it will go up around noon (BST) on Saturday. Excellent.

I won't tell you which story it was. You'll have to wait and see.

Keep an eye on Twitter and follow the flood at:

http://flashfloodjournal.blogspot.com

Well done to all who have made it. Expect we'll see a few Flash Dogs there.

Woof!
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Time's Eye: FlashFeed & Liverpool Links

A couple of weeks ago I wrote for the Flash Dogs FlashFeed 1.21 the prompt picture (below) proved serendipitous when I later went into the Liverpool Bold Street branch of Oxfam and found the SF novel 'Time's Eye' with a suitably similar sphere on the cover. The book was written by Arthur C Clark and Stephen Baxter. If I hadn't just written for FlashFeed I may have looked past this book. As it happened I didn't.

I've read a few Stephen Baxter books previously including three he wrote with Terry Pratchett ('The Long Earth', 'The Long War' and 'The Long Mars'). I read the first one so long ago (2012) it's not even showing up on my Goodreads. I haven't read Clarke for years, but back when I lived in sepia toned times I loved 'Rendevous with Rama', 'A Fall of Moondust' and '2001',.

I'm two thirds through Time's Eye and I'm loving it - Ghengis Khan is about to go to war with Alexander the Great and some soldiers from the British Raj for the city of Babylon. Of course. I'm certainly glad I took the opportunity to buy the other two books of the trilogy which were in the Oxfam at the time; else I'd no doubt be searching for them forlornly in second hand shops for a while.

TimesEye2 Times Eye

Didn't realise until today that Stephen Baxter is from Liverpool too. Nice that Liverpool has a few links with Pratchett with Josh Kirby, the artist for many of the early Discworld books, coming from Waterloo. Funnily enough one of the few books I've read so far this year was 'The Girl With A Symphony in her Fingers' by Michael Coney; the cover of which was by Josh Kirby (below). Check out some of the artwork from Kirby on the website (click on the Light Fantastic!).

Light Fantastic Girl With The Symphony
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Get Some Writing Done

Not done any writing this week yet, not even a blog update. Ridiculous. Even worse it's not because I've been reading too much - I've only read six books this year. This time last year I'd read thirteen. Motivation has been an issue and a general malaise. I've watched some good TV since the new year (Shetland, Collateral, Endeavour (and some fab Match of the Days thanks to Liverpool)), but that's not the same is it? Worst of all though I've watched some pretty average TV too (Modus anyone?). I'm gonna to get back in to reading instead of TV and get that damn writing habit. First up .. FlashFeed to get on up the FlashDogs ranking (I'm currently a St Bernard don't you know). Woof!

SurfsUp


Second up will probably be a story or two for National Flash Fiction Day.

Then I need to get with it and get something going properly on the larger scale; something Scrivener based.

With respect to non-writing skills I got a couple of things I've set myself to learn. With my camera I need to learn to how to use the Time-Lapse function, I always love seeing them things, and I want to make some GIFS just for fun. But first... FlashFeed.

My Goodreads list of Want to Read is getting a little long. Think I may go for the first of the Arthur C Clarke & Stephen Baxter (Time Odyssey Trilogy) books 'Time's Eye' which I bought from Oxfam last week.

WantToRead

#GetWriting
#GetReading
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Everything in Moderation

FlashFeed Fed

Wrote a story for FlashFeed1.20 and have submitted it. Not showing up there yet so assume it's under 'moderation'.

Moderation is crucial of course. As most my submissions these days are on other sites I don't have to moderate on my website so much. In fact last week I had a comment to moderate, which was shockingly rare. Back in the day when I wrote for the Visdare prompt the submissions were written on your own site and that meant the comments back would be too. The good thing about that used to be making the website dynamic, but of course sometimes if you're away from your computer - god forbid - then it can take a while to get the comments up. Of course that is better than not moderating and risking all sorts appearing on the website.

Moderator

Anyway, gotta disappear for a bit. I think there may be another blog later or tomorrow.

#amwriting
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FlashFeeding but Not Pasting

Liking the FlashFeed for this week (no.1.20)

FF120
1. 2. 3. Jump!

I've alway fancied skydiving. A bit weird as I am often not good at heights (not sure why sometimes I'm okay and other times I'm not - a part time phobia). Looking at this photo my first thought is... what if my boot fell off? And oh! great selfie opportunity. Oh, bugger I've dropped me phone.

Good to see that there are already six stories up there from some of the usual suspects. Click on the photo above and check them out over on the Flash Dogs website and then write your own story. Now sure where am I going to take this one? 1.. 2... 3....

First though I've got to cure my Mac. The Cut and Paste has stopped working (a dodgy 'clipboard' I suspect). It's amazing how much cut and paste you do when you blog and twitter. Not being able to is equivalent to a broken arm. Probably.

#amwriting
but not cut & pasting.
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Tentacles & Alt. Flash Futures

The Flash Feed was a little late going up this week after a comment that the numbers who'd entered last week's challenge was low and that participation was in general declining. I feared that perhaps the last one would end up being the actual last - and I'd end up being a St Bernard for ever. But the photo prompt came up and it was another lovely shot; they have been choosing some lovely photos.

Octopus

I'm hoping the challenge keeps going. It does take a while for them to get into their comfortable niche. It took Microcosms quite a while but recently it has been going from strength to strength. I think of the Flash Feed prompt as being closer to Angry Hourglass than anything else - partly because there are several days to write it, the length of the pieces and the strength of the photos. The main difference is that the challenge is not judged and maybe some of the flashers prefer to be able to 'win' a challenge, I don't know. Adding a judging element adds another level of difficulty in keeping it live - ie more people and more time input. Personally I don't mind not being marked as a winner or an also ran. And in any case the community still can make comments so you still get feedback.

Long Live Flash Feed!
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Flash Feed 1.17

Yesterday I got around to writing for the great FlashFeed photo prompt for 1.17 below. But when I posted it nothing happened. A quick (if late) check of the rules and I found the date closed at midnight Monday. Doh! Anyway, for what it's worth here it is.

Click on the link to the
FlashDogs site so that you too can find it and write for (preferably within the prescribed limits).

FlashFeedFire

Health and Safety at Work

The fires of hell raged in front of Cameron and Ulysses slashing the sky with a scarlet neither of the firemen had seen before. Ulysses had fought fires in chemical works and waste storage facilities, he’d seen explosions from unknown gases and liquids pulsing and changing colour like a psychedelic show but he’d never seen anything like this.

Cameron shouted through the mic surprised that they could hear each other with the tumult outside. ‘What is it burning Uly?’ He checked the latest readout, which indicated the fire was burning at beyond 1600C. It had been burning now for 3 hours.

‘No idea Cameron just keep aiming the foam toward the base. We’ll have to swop with Indigo in five.’

Cameron and Ulysses stood their ground in the face of the onslaught, both having the same thoughts; it must be some sort of chemical fire, they knew no raw materials that burned with this rage or this colour and why was it not burning itself out? Something was feeding the fire.

The indicator lights flashed green on the hose. The foam was running out. Team Indigo would be tag-teaming in within the next 90 seconds.

A wall of heat broke on the men like a tsunami forcing them back it was getting out of control. Nothing the firefighters had tried had worked. They were barely keeping it within the confines of this sector of the site and no-one knew what lay beyond that hangar and storage depot; Sergeant Floyd had told them about the fuel lines and the oil storage area beyond the next hangar and there were limited cleaning and disinfecting fluids and powders all with the propensity to burn or explode, but nothing on this scale.

Then again they all knew there were unfathomable risks when assigned to Area 51.

In an emerald flash of lightning the fire disappeared and the men of Team Hawaii and Indigo, with nothing now to brace against, fell over like children playing tug-of-war.

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Project: Jaipur and Thanks Vicente

Well I downloaded Scrivener 3 the other day and have had a couple of days using so far. Not got to grips with all it can do yet but I am liking it so far. I didn't use it on Friday for Microcosms, I just stuck with Pages. Nice to get a quick story out and today it got a Honourable Mention from the first time judge Vincente Ruiz. Thank you Vicente!

Be Happy

Yesterday in forty minutes of writing I completed the first 700 words on Project: Jaipur. That works out at about 1000 words an hour; I can happily live with that for now. Not sure how long I wrote for today but it was another 1400 words or so - (so maybe an hour and a half) and I also wrote a quick story for Flash Feed, where I am currently ranked as a St Bernard. Woof! The prompt is the grinning bearded man above. If it strikes you as interesting then there's still time to get on over there and get a story out.

Bernie
That's me on the right.
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Writing and Twitter Democracy

This week I've written three (yes three) FlashFeeds and one Microcosms; not bad over a five or six day period. They were all between 300 and about 370 words. The one day I didn't write I was out putting some thoughts on paper together on what my main target(s) could be for this year's writing. Anyone who follows my Twitter feed knows I am struggling with a multitude of ideas and not sure which to target yet. I think that Steph Ellis who suggested getting on with all of them and seeing which runs best seems a fine idea - if a tad MA-HOOSSIVE.

The other writing I've tasked myself with is doing some memoir pieces and to that end I put out my first ever Twitter vote with the choices between; Russia, Turkmenistan, China, and Nigeria. The results are in ...

Turk

It's the fabulously bizarre Turkmenistan. Where the hell am I going to start and end with that one (other than Turkmenistan)!?

Thanks to all the bods who voted. Just glad to receive more than a couple of votes! Who says democracy is dead?



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It's Snow Feeding Frenzy

Well the apocalyptic snow hasn't arrived in this part of Merseyside so the match will be on. It also means that I did not go into town early to take photos of a snow blanketed city. This gave me time to write my FlashFeed1.9 and keep up my 100% record. Huzzah! Still time for you to get in there with your story - click on the pic for the link.

LoveLetter
Flash Feed 1.9 'Send Someone a Love Letter'

Anyway, now time to get down to town to watch the Liverpool derby (and maybe that other one from down the road).

Liverpool

With the lack of snow today here is a pic of me and my sis in the snow (which goes well with my #VSS365 today) from very back in the day in snowy Southport. My sis looks nothing at all like my niece (well, EXACTLY really). It's an old fashioned snowman kids- having a fag!

Snowman500


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Winter(ish)

Not managed any writing this week yet. Been reading Calendark though - it's excellent! Should finish it tomorrow and aim to get a review on to Amazon and/or Goodreads during the week ahead. In the meantime I've been reading Sal's chosen sentences from each story on Twitter. These extra 140 characters are giving her more options aren't they!

The week at work has been a mixture of fences and ditches. Well, cold weather and breakdowns. Was fearful of the snow and ice in Snowdonia today when I was handed that route, but it didn't turn out to be the hospital pass I thought it would be. Ye haw! Just a wee bit of snow and no slip-sliding away into ditches or trees - always a bonus!

P1020915

P1020920

Last night the forecast for tomorrow was heavy, heavy snow across Liverpool and the north west, and whilst I am off for the day I had two concerns 1) it better not bloody mean the Liverpool v Everton derby gets called off and 2) better charge my camera so I can get some nice pics of Liverpool in the snow.

That said, Snowmageddon has now been un-forecast and Liverpool is forecast to be a bit nippy but not under feet of snow. At least that means the game will defo be on, but the chance of getting some nice snowy photos looks to be postponed.

Really looking forward to the match, will get a few choice beers in Liverpool too - and finish off Calendark. At some point I need to do this week's FlashFeed; haven't even checked out the photo prompt yet.

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Flash Reading

Not done much reading in last week or two; part of the problem of having longer working days. Just started a Sheri Tepper book. My first of hers.

Only just managed to get this week's FlashFeed (1.7) in too! Still 100% though, so more self awarded Brownie Points, thanks. I think that means I've done more writing than reading this week. Now that IS a first.

FlashFeed7
PhotoPrompt for FlashFeed1.7

Writing highlight of the week was finding my 'old' foldaway Bluetooth keyboard and pairing it with my phone. I've got Writer+ on the phone and also Wordpress, that means I should be able to type out little bits and bobs out anywhere whilst on the move. Happy days!

P1020674 2

Keep Reading and Keep Writing folks!


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Microcosms, Flash and an Android

Not sure how many times I've done Microcosms but it must be in the tens. All those times I've always gone with the three story elements that are given rather than spin the wheels till I find something more up my street. But this last time I span to get three different elements. Shocking behaviour!

It must have worked for me a little as it was nice to get a Second Place from the Judge Bill Engleson all the way over in sunny California. Thanks Bill!

Think I'll go back to the Original Spin (not sin) in future though. Don't want to make it too easy on myself, do I?

Over the weekend I also managed to write a quick story for
FlashFeed1.6 too. So far I've managed all the weeks and hoping to keep that going as long as possible. Nice to keep the Flash muscles going.

But the other none flash challenge stuff still needs to be worked on, especially now that Calendark is done and dusted.

I've got me a new cheap smartphone which I've yet to pair with the bluetooth keyboard. Downloaded a writing app onto it too. My first ever Android phone, and I do feel like I'm cheating on Apple. But needs must.

Will see how the phone, the keyboard and the App goes and will report back. Should mean I can type up flash at the very least whilst I'm on buses or trains.
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Robots and Dogs

Happy to have managed to get a story up on Microcosms tonight. That's my second in three weeks, Geoff! So I can take a few weeks off now. Probably.

robot

Yesterday I did a quick story for FlashFeed1.5 The Wooden Robot. So amazingly I have managed a story each week of the new FlashDogs 300 word (well, 2000 character) challenge. I'm now no longer a cockapoo, I've been upgraded to one of my favourite pooches ... I'm a golden retriever!

Woof woof!!

golden



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FlashFeeding

A few years ago there were several flash challenge options to write for. I particularly loved Angry Hourglass and Flash Friday Fiction and really enjoyed the Microbookends challenge too. But now all three of these are no more. The only existing one I do quite regularly these days is Microcosms, but unfortunately with it only being live for 24 hours (and that being a Friday too) it is often difficult to fit in writing for it.

FlashDogs

So it was great to see the arrival of FlashFeed last week. Many of the FlashDogs got together through seeing each other on the AH and Flash Friday websites and if it wasn't for these challenges we never would have got to the position of having our stories published in the Flash Dogs books. It's great that it is live for several days giving more chance of people getting something done for it. The prompt is a photo prompt and there have been two striking images so far. The two thousand character (circa 300 word) limit is a decent length, similar to AH; long enough to get a nice story told and short enough not to scare you off. Got an hour? Get it done...

Kudos to the guys and gals who are running FlashFeed and let's see where that goes. Who knows, there maybe newbies out there who develop their writing chops on FlashFeed and I'm no doubt the community will grow and be a comforting blanket for all who come along.

Why not head over to
www.theflashdogs.com and give it a go?

FlashFeed2
FlashFeed2 photo prompt




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