The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 6 Number 25

November 22, 2014 in FridayFlash Report by Tim VanSant

We had 22 stories in the Collector this week with 0 debuts.

It’s easier than ever to share your writing good news in our weekly News Flash with the form on our News Hound page.

As always, if your story is not in the listing below please go to the Collector and add the details. It will be in next week’s report. ~Tim

The Stories: Read the rest of this entry →

NewsFlash – Vol. 6 # 25

November 18, 2014 in Book Deal, Book Launch, News Flash, Newspaper Article by JM Strother


We had another eventful week of news from around the world this week. It really makes me happy to see so many members of our little community doing such great things. You all are quite inspirational.

Alan Baxter was featured in an article in the Kiama Independent newspaper last week. In the article he talks about his background in martial arts, how it influences his writing, small press and self publishing, and the difficulties of landing a publishing deal with one of the big name houses (which he has done, yeah Alan!). You can read the full article here.

Bourbon and Blonds CoverAnthony Venutolo has a collection of flash fiction entitled, “Bourbon & Blonds,” available on Amazon. He describes it as “a boozy mix of old-school pulp, shadowy noir and hard-boiled double-crosses. He has also produced a very slick trailer that nicely captures the atmosphere of the collection which you can view here.

Emma Newman announced that she as signed a two book deal with Ace/Roc for two new science fiction novels. The first novel will be titled “Planetfall.” She says the second novel, while a follow up to the first, will not necessarily be a sequel. No title yet for the second novel. In the mean time plans for her next Split World novel are temporarily on hold. Fear not, she assures us that there will indeed be another installment in that series some time in the future. Remember, patience is a virtue.

Guns of Brixton CoverPaul D. Brazill informs us that his “comic crime caper Guns Of Brixton (soon to be published in paperback by Caffeine Nights Publishing) appears to be available for pre-order from loads of places including Waterstones, Foyles, Amazon and Amazon UK.” Paul describes his work as “a foul-mouthed, violently comic crime caper, full of gaudy characters and dialogue sharp enough to shave with.” You can read his announcement here, which contains links to all the right places.

If you have news you’d like to share, or know of some good news from someone else in the community (I only print what I see) please take a moment to feed the News Hound with the details. We love to help spread the word.

Keep up the good work folks. You’re terrific.


The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 6 Number 24

November 15, 2014 in FridayFlash Report by Tim VanSant

We had 25 stories in the Collector this week with 0 debuts.

It’s easier than ever to share your writing good news in our weekly News Flash with the form on our News Hound page.

As always, if your story is not in the listing below please go to the Collector and add the details. It will be in next week’s report. ~Tim

The Stories: Read the rest of this entry →

NewsFlash – Vol. 6 # 24

November 11, 2014 in Book Launch, Community News, News Flash, Poetry, Publication by JM Strother


This has been quite a week for remembrance, what with Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Veteran’s Day, as well as the anniversary of  fall of the Berlin Wall. No matter what you call it where you are, please take a few moments to remember all the veterans, both living and dead, who have served their countries with great honor and courage.

Linda Simoni-Wastila has two short pieces up at Camroc Press Review. Both stories, “After He Failed to Wake Up,” and “It’s True What They Say” prove once again an author can pack a tremendous impact in to very few words. Linda is a master at it. You can read both pieces here. Congratulations, Linda.

Adam Byatt has a poem in the forthcoming release of Vine Leaves Literary Journal. The release date is set for December 1st. Congratulations, Adam.

The cover of Grounded, by GP ChingToday, Tuesday November 11th, G.P. Ching releases the Second Edition of her novel, “Grounded.” This is a major revision, taking the novel from a stand alone story and transforming it into Book One of a new Trilogy. Those who have purchased the previous version of “Grounded” can get this exciting new release for free. The second book in the series, “Charged,” is due for release on December 22nd. Grounded is Available from Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Google Play.

Anthony Venutolo discusses the HBO hit “The Newsroom” with TV/Entertainment writer Vicki Hyman on The interview is available in full on YouTube. Nice interview, Anthony.

Trevor Belshaw announced that all of his children’s titles, written under the pen name Trevor Forest, are now available for the Kindle in Australia. There are 11 titles in all! Congratulations on the extended distribution, Trevor.

Michael J. Solender has an article in December/January issue of Ocean Homes Magazine. His story, “Generation Next,” discusses the latest trends in home automation systems. Congrats, Michael.

Keep doing amazing things, people. We know you will.


The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 6 Number 23

November 8, 2014 in FridayFlash Report by Tim VanSant

We had 20 stories in the Collector this week with 0 debuts.

It’s easier than ever to share your writing good news in our weekly News Flash with the form on our News Hound page.

As always, if your story is not in the listing below please go to the Collector and add the details. It will be in next week’s report. ~Tim

The Stories: Read the rest of this entry →

NewsFlash – Vol. 6 # 23

November 5, 2014 in Book Launch, News Flash, Nominations, Publication by JM Strother


Carrie Clevenger’s story, “Traitors,” has been nominated for an Authors After Dark 2015 Bookie Award in the category, Vampire Short Story. Authors After Dark is a reader centric convention with an emphasis on Romance, Fantasy, and Horror. The winners will be announced at next year’s convention, which takes place from August 12th to 16th at the Sheraton Atlanta. The full ballot can be found here. Good luck, Carrie!

Cover of The Universal WarriorAvery K Tingle announced the release of his debut novel “Universal Warrior: The Ring of Asarra.” Avery says “The Ring of Asarra” is “a story about choice, consequence and self-acceptance set against the backdrop of mankind’s first brush with extinction.” It is currently available from Amazon and Smashwords with releses for Barnes & Noble, and Kobo in the works. Congratulations, Avery!

Cafe Lit_croppedT A Belshaw is delighted to announce that the newly published anthology “The Best of CaféLit Vol 3,” contains two of his Steampunk short stories. The stories are about the Victorian inventor Sir Oswald Hennessey and his ultra keen test driver, Henrietta Parkin. The two stories are, “The Steampunk Instant Messaging Machine,” and “The Steampunk Time Machine.” “The Best of CaféLit Vol 3,” is available both as an ebook and  paperback. The third in the series, “The Bath’o’Matic,” will be shared on Friday Flash soon. Congrtualions, Trevor!

Remember to feed the News Hound. He’s always hungry and loves to share your good news with the world. And good luck to everyone who is taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. If you would like to share your experience with us come December drop me a line and we’ll arrange a guest post for you.

Keep the good news coming.


The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 6 Number 22

November 1, 2014 in FridayFlash Report by Tim VanSant

We had 32 stories in the Collector this week with 1 debut. Please welcome Dan Evon to the community.

Congratulations to Mark Gardner, winner of our Halloween Horror and Humor contest. His entry, Hallowed Evening, is online now.

FFDO Founder, JM Strother, communes with NaNoWriMo participants (and critics) in Ah, November – NaNoWriMo for our Thursday Writing Series this week. Click on over and give it a read and then join the discussion in the comments.

It’s easier than ever to share your writing good news in our weekly News Flash with the form on our News Hound page.

As always, if your story is not in the listing below please go to the Collector and add the details. It will be in next week’s report. ~Tim

The Stories: Read the rest of this entry →

Hallowed Evening, by Mark Gardner

October 31, 2014 in Contests, Halloween by JM Strother

Cartoon FrankenstienWe are pleased to present Mark Gardner, the winner of our Halloween Humor and horror contest. Below is his winning story, Hallowed Evening. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Congratulations, Mark!

Hallowed Evening

By Mark Gardner 


I’m tired.

I couldn’t speak this aloud.

If they suspected I wouldn’t meet their demands…

My teeth chattered.

Damn it’s cold!

Out here was better than in my home. The idea of them seeing the inside of my home frightened me. It was safer to be out here in the cold. I had to shift in my chair because my legs were getting numb. The grip of my Browning 1911 caught the edge of the armrest reminding me it was there. I hoped to not use it, but deep down I knew it was a certainty.

“Trick or treat!”

I calmly and purposefully placed a handful of candy into a stained pillowcase.

Inside it I saw all manner of grotesquery. Teeth, spiders, splayed frogs and the occasional piece of wrapped candy.

“Thank you!”

The words seemed sincere, but rotting flesh behind the mask did little to fill me with any manner of holiday cheer. I’d been held up at work and forgot the scariest day was upon me. All Hallow’s Eve. I only had to placate the undead once a year. Princesses and super hero costumes attempted to hide their true form. Some were harder to spot than others. The stench of decaying flesh gave them away.

“Trick or Treat!”

This one left a trail of blood in its wake. If the yellowed bed sheet wasn’t covered in a spattering of crusted blood, it may have been cute. The skeletal hand gripping a purple plastic pumpkin ruined any attempt to convince myself this was the innocent holiday of yesteryear.


My reverie was too long. I tried not to look into the eyeholes, but it stepped closer. One socket was devoid of anything. The other housed a jaundiced eye red around the iris. It blinked as I shoved enough candy into the opening as I could. I stared as it turned around and skipped away whistling.

I didn’t think those things could skip, let alone whistle… Don’t you need lips to whistle?

I discovered that encounter left me dangerously low on wrapped sweets. I worried that I would be short. I glanced at my wristwatch – seven forty five. I counted the remaining pieces – thirteen. I had only thirteen pieces of candy to last the remaining fifteen minutes.

A crisp wind blew and I zipped my jacket. It would hinder drawing my Browning, but the alternative… It made me shudder.

My heart raced when I saw them. I could feel the adrenaline flowing. A large group was descending on my house. There had to be twenty or thirty of them.

The second hand crept as they approached. Seven fifty six – I might just make it if I can slow them down.

“Trick or Treat!”

Four of them cried out in unison, bags at the ready. More seemed to come and I felt them press in on me. One of them reached into my sack and knocked it off the table. I reached for the bag, but shuffling feet kicked the remaining candy out of my reach.

“Trick or Treat!”

The wristwatch on my outstretched hand was torn off as something dressed as a butterfly stepped on my arm.

“Trick or Treat!”

The face of my wristwatch was now cracked and missing a chunk.

“Trick or Treat!”

The minute hand bent at a weird angle. Seven fifty nine. I had almost made it out of this alive.

“Trick or Treat!”

The mass pressed in on me.

“Trick or Treat!”

I started to hyperventilate, but each breath was accompanied by orders most foul.

“Trick or Treat!”

I couldn’t take it any more. I had to act. If they weren’t satiated with candy, they might demand my flesh. I reached with my hand to yank down the zipper. My wrist throbbed from the pain of my missing wristwatch. I’d gotten the zipper down half way before it jammed. The teeth stuck on my cotton undershirt.

“Trick or Treat!”

I fell to my knees groping my holster for the Browning. I managed to unholster it, but my jacket was still an issue. As I pulled it up, my jacket pressed against the magazine release. Despite the clamoring monsters, I distinctly remember hearing the soft click as the magazine tumbled to the concrete.

“What happened next Mister Johnston?”

I sighed. “You know what happened.”

“I do, but it’s important for you to say it.”

“Fine. The monsters fled when they saw my gun.”

“They didn’t try to eat you?”

“Obviously not.”

“Why do you think that was so?”

“It was after eight. The ritual had ended.”

“You mean Hallowe’en?”

“You make it sound so pedestrian.”

“You talk of monsters disguised as children; trails of blood and the stench of rotting flesh. These are all hallucinations. None of it was real.”

I stared at it. It looked human, but it seemed to forget I could see the worm hanging out of its ear. It stared intently at me – no doubt awaiting a response.

I looked past it and saw my salvation: A rapier leaning against a table leg. The table contained plastic cups filled with blood next to a tray overflowing with garbage. The entire room reeked of iron and decay.

“Mister Johnston?”

I leapt from my chair at it. My forehead made a crack noise as it made contact with its chin. We tumbled to the floor, but I was prepared. I felt a small trickle of blood, but the rapier was only inches away.

“I need help in here!”

The shout for assistance would be in vain. I gripped the rapier but it was stuck to the table. I flipped the table and pried the rapier. It took a few attempts, but the monster was still sprawled on the floor gripping its chin.

It was on its feet now, but I had freed the rapier. I swung and my blade became embedded in its arm. I heard movement behind me. I realized this escape would fail. If I survived, I would try again.


Photo of Mark GardnerMark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, two school-aged children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications and is currently attending Northern Arizona University. You can find a treasure trove of flash fiction at his site:

Ah, November – NaNoWriMo

October 30, 2014 in Editorial - of Sorts, NaNoWriMo, Writing by JM Strother

It’s that time of year again, the time when people all over the world hunker down, throw caution to the wind, and vow to write a novel (or at least 50,000 words of one) in thirty days. Yes, it is time once again for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), often simply referred to as NaNo.

Ah, November.

Of course, it is also that time of the year when bloggers and social critics come out of the woodwork to complain about NaNo. Seems some people cannot be happy unless they are belittling others.

It is not even November yet and I’ve already seen several posts to the effect of, “Shut the f**k up about NaNo already, and just write your goddamned novel.”

Yes, the way novels get done is to sit down and do the hard work of actually transforming ideas into words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters with a complete story arc that goes from beginning to end. But different people find inspiration and motivation to accomplish that goal in different ways. Some of those people find it in a shared sense of effort and determination, in the camaraderie of a group of people all essentially striving toward the same end. In a word, what we are talking about here is a sense of community.

That is what NaNo is – a community of writers who urge each other on, who share their setbacks, as well as their accomplishments. Some nominally succeed, in that they manage to put 50,000 words on paper, and then go no further. Some utterly fail, but at least tried. And some succeed beyond their wildest dreams.

Successful writing careers have been launched though NaNoWriMo. While they are the exception rather than the rule, they are not really all that rare. Simply do a Google search on “Authors who have done NaNoWriMo” and you will find all the inspiration you need to carry on.

To wit, some examples:

TOR Publishing, one of the biggest SF&F publishing houses in the world has a post titled, “NaNoWriMo Success Stories,” by Natalie Zutter. The authors she cites include: Gayle Brandeis with five novels from (variously) HarperCollins, Ballantine Books, Henry Holt and Co., and her latest as a self-publishing experiment thru Amazon and SmashWords; Trish Doller, with two novels from Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Lani Diane Rich, with seven novels from StoryWonk, and one from Forever; James R. Strickland, with two novels from Flying Pen and one double novel from Copperwood Press; Julia Crouch, with four novels from Headline Publishing; and Sara Gruen, with four novels from (variously) Spiegel & Grau, HarperCollins, and Algonquin Books. Not a shabby little list of either authors or publishers.

Mental Floss has an article by Stacy Conradt, “14 Published Novels Written During NaNoWriMo” which details the road to success for fourteen other authors. I’m not going to list them all here, you can go read the post for yourself. Some of the highlights include a novel that spent seven weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, another one that made the list, and one that garnered a review in the New York Times Book Review. One NaNo effort went on to win the 2012 Alex Award from the American Library Association, while another won the 2009 Bank Street Award for Best Children’s Book of the Year. Two have been optioned to become motion pictures. Finally, one author launched a very successful line of YA novels through her NaNo efforts, producing nineteen (count ‘em, 19) books in the series. I suspect she’s happy she did NaNo.

Finally, let me share some thoughts about NaNoWriMo from Ann Leckie, winner of the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novel of the Year. Ms Leckie cut her teeth on NaNo. According to her (and my) hometown newspaper, the Webster-Kirkwood Times,

“I love NaNo, with the message boards, and everyone cheering you on,” Leckie said. “You have to learn to write past what that self-critical voice in your head tells you. The boards cheer you on, and at the end you have 50,000 words and you have learned that you can do it. Ignore the little voice and it will be OK.”

NaNoWriMo started in San Francisco in 1999, just 15 years ago. This article discusses twenty-one (and I could easily list more) success stories from NaNoWriMo veterans who have gone on to publish traditionally. On average that is more than one per year. There are many more who self-publish to varying degrees of success. I figure that is a fairly good track record.

So, if you are inclined to do NaNo, I say go ahead and do it. Share your trials and tribulations with us here, at FFDO. Just remember that once NaNo is done, the hard work of transforming that spark into a successful novel is just the beginning. Some of you will have the drive and determination to do just that, and we take our hats off to you.

And if you don’t want to do NaNo, well perhaps you should try following your own advice. See above.

NewsFlash – Vol. 6 # 22

October 28, 2014 in Book Launch, Community News, Contests, News Flash by JM Strother


Congratulations to Mark Gardner, who won our Halloween Humor and Horror contest. His story, “Hallowed Evening” will appear here on FFDO this Friday. Please drop by and give it a read. To help celebrate, Mark is paying it forward by offering two of his stories for free on Halloween. So after reading “Hallowed Evening” drop by Amazon and pick up your free copies of “Paradox” and “Escape.” Thanks, Mark!

Icy Sedgwick announced that the “Suspended in Dusk” anthology which includes her story, “Woman of Disrepute” is available for free from Smashwords until Halloween. Use the code DA68M. She says her story is “a fog-soaked slice of Victorian Gothic!” Sounds like fun.

Paul D. Brazill announced that his story, “The Postman Cometh” has been accepted by Spinetingler Magazine. No word yet on the publication date. Spinetingler can be found here. And Paul’s been on a bit of a roll, he also announced that his story “The Long Haul” has been accepted by Spelk Fiction. Again, publication date is to be announced. Spelk Fiction can be found here.  Congratulations, Paul, keep the hits coming!

Cover of Mirror MazeTrevor Belshaw is getting into the spirit of the season by offering the first of his Magic Molly series, “The Mirror Maze,” for free on Amazon. As with his other children’s titles, “The Mirror Maze” is authored under his pen name, Trevor Forest. So if you have a wee one, be sure to pick up a copy here. Thanks, Trevor.

G.P. Ching announced that her YA novel, “The Soulkeepers,” has been translated into German on Amazon Crossing. The Soulkeepers is the first in her very successful series by the same name, and this her first translation. The English version is available for free here.

And while we have not vetted this, the prize money certainly makes it worth checking out. The Museum of Words is having a 100 word flash fiction contest with a $20,000 prize. If you do the math, that’s $200 a word. Not a bad gig. As with all contests, be sure to do your due diligence, but as there is no fee, I really don’t see a down side. Good luck!

Teaser Tuesday: It’s that time of year again. NaNoWriMo starts this Saturday. Join me Thursday when I discuss NaNo trolls.

Keep the good news coming.