Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Story By Rod Santos

Rod Santos, who brought us "Speed Dating and Spirit Guides" in our January issue, has a new story up at the Town Drunk: "The Curse of the Friendly Forest".


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Writers of the Future Semi-finalists

Galaxy Press has released the names of the finalists, semi-finalists, and honorable mentions for the Writers of the Future contest for 1st quarter 2008. Of special note are two honorable mentions: Our very own R.W. (Rich) Ware -- showing he has a talent for writing as well as art -- and the author of our upcoming special feature for March, Barbara A. Barnett.

This is a very tough competition, and getting an honorable mention is a very big step for a budding writer. Congratulations to both of them!

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Review by The Anonymous Reader

Thanks again, Anonymous!


Friday, February 22, 2008

Is Somebody Fraudulently Clicking the Google Ads?

I'm so not happy. Today I received an email from the Google AdSense team:

While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers. Since keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage our advertisers in the future, we've decided to disable your account.

Please understand that we consider this a necessary step to protect the interests of both our advertisers and our other AdSense publishers. We realize the inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

If you have any questions about your account or the actions we've taken, please do not reply to this email. You can find more information by visiting https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153&hl=en_US.


The Google AdSense Team

This is a real problem, since I made 51 cents off of Amazon ads in January compared to $11 (and growing with our increasing readership) from Google. I wasn't clearing a profit, but it was helping to subsidize my flash habit. Ultimately Rich and I wanted to make this a pro market for art as well, and I certainly can't do that without revenue. Without Google ads, I'll either have to eat the cost or start charging for access or something along those lines.

If anyone thought they would do me a favor by clicking on my ads repeatedly, PLEASE EMAIL ME ASAP. I need to show Google that I'm not engaging in fraudulent behavior, or (a) they'll keep the 60 bucks I already earned, and (b) they'll never let me use their ads again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Classical Composer and Friend of Flash Fiction Online

If you like classical music at all, you should check out the Naxos Classical Music Spotlight. It's essentially a commercial for Naxos recordings, but what a commercial! Twenty minutes of music from recent Naxos releases, interviews with conductors (and composers if they're still alive), and historical and biographical information as well.

I mention this not only because I love the podcast (I was the first person to review it on iTunes), but also because we have gained a license to use music composed by James Hartway, a modern American composer, on the site. I thank Mr. Hartway and the Naxos label very much for this privilege.

If you'd like to listen to the podcast, click here. Visit Naxos of America, Inc. at www.Naxos.com, and purchase classical CDs at www.NaxosDirect.com. Jim Hartway's site is located at jameshartway.com.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Addition to the March Line-up

Good news! Glenn Lewis Gillette just agreed to let us publish "Downstream from Divorce: a Drama in Three Acts" in March. It's going to be a great issue. For a little more detail, see this blog post.

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What Authors Look Like

I can't be the only writer who has wondered what authors look like, right? Real authors. The ones who have published books. Who get paid money to write. Those ones. I've seen some aspiring writers at local writing groups and the like, but I mean real ones.

Well I took my six year old son to the library in town on Saturday for what I thought was a used book sale. To my surprise we discovered we were at the St. Charles Literature Festival, (can't find a webpage for it, but here's a newspaper thing.) There was a book sale, but not a used one. The books for sale were fancy and new. And as you left the sale room, you entered wonderland, also known as the regular youth services department of the library, festooned with author placards and loads of people milling about (the greeter told us that she had clicked more than 500 times that morning on her hand clicker counter thingy. A technical term if I've ever seen one.)

Some observations about authors, at least this particular group of children's and young adult authors:
- Most wore glasses
- Most men had very little hair, neatly trimmed very short
- Illustrators are awesome. They draw tiny pictures for your kids when signing their books.
- Most were not young. I've reached an age at which I no longer speculate details on any individual, but I'd put the average age of the authors at high 40s, maybe even low 50s.
- Even after 2 hours of signing books (for 500 people!) the authors were gracious and kind to me and my son.
- Caldecott winners look just like regular people. Or at least like regular authors. (If you're dying to know who - there may have been others, but we met the illustrator/author of this book - which is one of our family favorites.)

Neat event, good time. Check to see if your town has a literature fest. Volunteer to work with the youth writers' workshops or do children's storytimes. Mill about to get the writing vibe. People watch. Just do it.

Karen Smith aka KayTi
Semi-retired from technology consulting and educational software design/development while the wee folk are wee. Reading, writing, and blogging in my spare time between carpools and playdates. Flash Fiction Online slush reader. Coupon clipper. Vegetarian eater. Global warming worrier. Lifelong learner.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Trouble emailing us?

I got a report that att.net has blocked our IP address "for abuse" -- typically spam. Ours is a shared server, so other organizations share this IP address with us, and it's possible that one of them has been reported (correctly or not) for spam.

If you're having a hard time reaching us, use my alter ego's email address: oliverhouse@gmail.com.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Strange Horizons: Stories We've Seen Too Often

I was reminded of this list this morning. Worth reading.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Why Not Name Your Main Character?

This isn't a rant, but a serious question: why wouldn't you name your main character within the first sentence or so?

So many stories (especially short-short stories) have only "he" or "she" as the main character; some will start with the pronoun and then give the name later. But a name is so powerful! Consider the difference between the following opening sentences:

"She sat on an outcropping of rock that jutted out of the mountain."

"Martha Whittaker sat on an outcropping of rock that jutted out of the mountain."

"Svetlana Dushovsky sat on an outcropping of rock that jutted out of the mountain."

"AnunciaciĆ³n McGrew sat on an outcropping of rock that jutted out of the mountain."

"Elise de Martin sat on an outcropping of rock that jutted out of the mountain."

"Dr. Alexa Martin sat on an outcropping of rock that jutted out of the mountain."

"Libby sat on an outcropping of rock that jutted out of the mountain."

You get the idea. These women are, in order: an abtraction, English-sounding, Russian-sounding, racially mixed or an Hispanic woman married to an Irishman, French, educated, and casual or perhaps a woman (or girl) of the country. The abstraction is in many ways the least powerful, yet probably 80% of the stories I get have an abstraction as the main character -- a bare pronoun, not a name.

Why do that? I'm serious that this isn't a rant: if you have thoughts on the subject, please add your comments below.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Story Beginnings -- Ten To Avoid

An amusing bit by William Meikle on sffworld.com. :)

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Lineup For March

I didn't write a complete "coming next issue" article this month -- I don't yet know everything that's coming! -- but I want you to know a bit about what's on deck for March.

First, I'm very proud to present a new story by Jim Van Pelt called "Just Before Recess". Jim says on his blog that January has been a good month for him -- I'm happy to be a part of that.

We'll also present a great story by David Tallerman called "The Desert Cold". You can find his work around the Net if you look, but this will be his first pro sale.

"Avid rejection letter collector" Barbara Barnett-Stewart shows her sense of humor with our St. Patrick's Day special. She doesn't know it yet, but I'm going to ask her to post the haiku version in the Flash Forum. (And no, I don't pay by the syllable.)

Since Barbara's story won't go live on March 1, we're still looking at the last story to put up then. We're also still hashing out the details of our Classic Flash #4. And I hope to have an interview with Eric Garcia, who wrote The Materialist for our January issue.

It'll be good, it'll stick with you through the rest of the month, and it probably still won't take you more than 20 minutes to read. :)


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Friday, February 1, 2008

Stefanie Freele is Smokelong's Fish Fellow

I just saw this good news for our January contributor Stefanie Freele: she has beaten out 89 other competitors to become Smokelong Quarterly's Fish Fellow. Congratulations, Stefanie!


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