From Friday Flash

A Community Proposal

Friday Flash, or #FridayFlash if you prefer, is heading into its fifth year as an online writing community. Over the course of the past four years we have accomplished a lot, or more accurately, YOU have accomplished a lot. For it is the members of the community who struggle week in and week out with their muses to live and grow as writers. As writers you have gone on to win major awards, produce short story collections, novellas, novels, and even successful series, both via self-publishing and traditional means. Some of you have become editors, and even publishers in your own right. As an organization we have published two collections of your works: The Best of Friday Flash – Volume One, and The Best of Friday Flash – Volume Two, known affectionately as BOFF1 and 2.

Therein lies the question.

While BOFF 1 and 2 are not huge market successes, they do in fact earn a little money. I am keenly aware that this is not my money, but belongs to the Friday Flash community as a whole. As a community we need to decide what to do with it.

It has been suggested that the money be plowed back into FFDO to keep it running. I want to take that proposal off the table right now. First off, due to our excellent volunteer staff, the costs of maintaining FFDO are minimal and I can easily front the costs. Second off, it smells bad – too much like we’re running a vanity press here to earn money off you guys for our own self-aggrandizement.

I propose we donate any and all profits from the sales of BOFF 1 and 2 annually to some not-for-profit writing or literacy program of the community’s choosing. We will accept nominations for worthy causes in the comments below. Then we’ll put together a poll and let you all vote on where the money should go. We can do this each year, as part of our birthday celebrations.

So put on your thinking caps, and nominate worthy reading and writing related non-profits. We’ll put your money to good use. And thank you all again for participating in #FridayFlash.

Best of Friday Flash: Volume Two Update

Three years ago two great things happened to me as a writer and publisher: Twitter and #FridayFlash. Many of the authors I worked with in 2010 came direct from the Friday Flash community and the trend has continued. It is an honour  to have the opportunity to give something back to this community. Now I ask you to throw your support behind The Best of Friday Flash: Volume Two.

In late 2009 J.M Strother launched the #fridayflash hashtag on Twitter and a new writing community was born. The hashtag has grown into a vibrant and thriving writing and reading community who embrace new, emerging and established writers across the globe every week in celebration of the flash fiction form. The Best of Friday Flash: Volume Two brims with a second helping of poignant, uplifting, brutal, funny, melancholic and twisted snapshots of life: past, present and future.

This second collection contains 57 amazing flash fiction pieces, in what Dan Powell calls in his foreword, a snapshot in itself of the Friday Flash community. A full table of contents can be found at the bottom of the sales page.

The book is scheduled for release Tuesday 23rd October.

The eMergent Bookstore is open now to accept pre-orders of the paperback (paperback $9.99 or £4.99 plus postage). The eBook, available as of the 23rd, is priced at $2.99. All paperback purchases are automatically bundled with an eBook, so you never have to be too far away from your favourite pieces of flash. Pre-ordering legends will have the eBook links emailed to them on release day.

The paperbacks and eBooks will also be available through the usual distribution outlets, such as Amazon, though we encourage people to buy direct through the eP bookstore so the greatest share of the book’s profit return to the Friday Flash community for reinvestment. Paperbacks bought through third party sellers are also not eligible for the eBook bundle.

All contributing authors will receive an information/promotional package in the coming weeks to assist them with the promotion of the book. We invite all Friday Flash authors and readers, and their friends, family and colleagues to join/share/participate in the Worldwide launch at the Facebook Event page.

As a final taster, we have ARCs for two lucky Friday Flash members. To go into the draw simply leave a short comment and let us know how being part of the Friday Flash community has helped you as a writer!

~ Jodi Cleghorn

News Flash – Vol.3 #51

Helen Howells  #fridayflash last week, “Taken”, was her entry into the last of Lily Child’s Friday Predictions for May 11th.  The challenge was to use the words Psycho–Purgatory–Belt in a no more than a 100 words long story. Helen’s story was placed runner up in this challenge.

Richard Bon’s story, “NOLA to Philly”was recently accepted by one of his favorite flash fiction publications, Pure Slush, as part of this month’s cities theme.

Jodi MacArthur is humbled and proud to have a story included in “Beat to a Pulp Round 2″. You can pick up your copy at Amazon or CreateSpace.

Donna and Alex Carrick were interviewed by “The Voice”, John Rakestraw, for his show The Platform last week. Here is the link. Click on the arrow in the blue “blogtalkradio” box, plus there’s a link to another 15 minutes after the official broadcast set out below at the site.

Rebecca Emin was  over being interviewed on Chris Morton’s blog, Flash Fiction and Other Stories, this weekend. While you are there, feel free to sign up for the launch party for “When Dreams Come True” which is taking place on 28th May.  Rebecca is hoping everyone will have some amusing dream stories to share!

Carrie Clevenger guest blogged on Tombstone Tails, where she revealed the three things that led to “Crooked Fang”, in music.

In my latest travel article over at Milliver’s Travels, I (Estrella Azul) wrote about The Salt Mines of Turda. Hope you will join me walking down a corridor of salt to explore the mines.

Congrats to all!

~ Estrella Azul


Keep the good news coming! You can send in your news items concerning the Friday Flash community to Estrella at or by contacting her on Facebook or Twitter. Or feel free to share your news by posting on the#fridayflash Facebook Group Page.

Happy (belated) Birthday to Us

A birthday cake with one candle by Hatem RiahiYesterday was FFDO’s first birthday. Despite repeated reminders that it was coming up I somehow managed to miss the date. Like a bad father who can’t even be at his kid’s first birthday party, I was off doing something else. At any rate, I don’t want the anniversary to pass completely unmarked, thus this (albeit late) post.

Happy Birthday FFDO, and thank you to all the folks that make it happen. That includes the terrific Tiger Team (Angie, ED, Estrella, Susan, and Tim), as well as all the folks who read and write #FridayFlash. None of this would happen without all of you.

We have grown over the course of the year, and now have 101 on site members, 93 subscribers, and 347 members on Facebook. Not bad for an Internet writing meme. We hope to grow more in the next year, and toward that end are implementing some more user friendly features. You’ll hear more about that from Tim soon. We are also looking for suggestions from you, the readers and writers, on suggestions on how to improve the website and bring you more features you might find useful.

So if you have any suggestions, or even general comments, please feel free to express them below. We hope to see you all here again next year.

Photo by Hatem Riahi (HatM) via Flickr Creative Commons: attribution, noncommercial, and share alike


The Good, The Bad, and the Exciting

Three hot air balloons being filled.It has been some time since the last update on BOFF 2, but rest assured we are getting closer to a launch all the time. As an editor, I have been less than great at keeping everyone informed on how things are developing, so all participants have every right to think I am just full of hot air. Hopefully, this post will help make amends for past shortcomings.

The Good
We will be sending out emails shortly to all the authors who have made the cut. All stories were selected after careful consideration from a pool of anonymous entries. While not perfect, it was the most fair method I could imagine. Thanks to all the judges who performed this difficult task. Without you, there would be no BOFF 2.

The Bad
We will also be sending out emails to all the authors who did not make the cut. For me, as Editor, this is the hardest part of the job. I will have to send emails to folks I have come to know over time, many of whom I regard as friends, and let them know the bad news. The only thing that makes it bearable is the fact that the stories were judged blind. Still, judging is subjective. Just because one story got a higher score than another does not necessarily mean the one was better than the other. You may have simply gotten judges that did not particularly like your genre. Or one who had just read another similar story, so the concept no longer felt fresh in their minds. Please do not take “No” as a failure. It is not. It is simply a set back. Your story will likely easily find another venue.

The Exciting
We will also be including a proposal to the authors who made the cut in the acceptance email, probably as an attachment. We have had a very generous offer from a publisher, one many of you will be familiar with, to do the typesetting, cover, production, and distribution of both the ebook and print versions. That’s right, we have the opportunity to have the BOFF 2 published with an actual imprint, that of eMergent Publishing. Regular participants may know the publishers of eMergent, Jodi Cleghorn and Paul Anderson. Both are members of the #FridayFlash community, and some of you have even been published through them previously. I have as well.

When I first set up #FridayFlash, we had to come up with a name. That quest lead me to Jodi Cleghorn, who I described at the time as “a lovely soul.” She has proved this once again, along with Paul, via their very kind offer. In short, eMergent is allowing the #FridayFlash community to publish through them at minimal cost as one of their community projects – i.e. a public service. Full details will be included in the forthcoming email.

To move forward on this, we simply need buy in from our authors. So read over the email when you get it and let us know if you are in or out. No response will indicate a decline, and we will not be able to include you. I sincerely hope you will all buy in, and we look forward to taking the #FridayFlash community a little higher in the world of publishing. We sincerely want to help you soar.

Public Domain photo by John Storr, via Wikimedia Commons. Thank you, John. The world needs more folks like you.

The FFDO A-Team

As Editor, I am supposed to make this site (specifically the front page) fun, fresh, and exciting. Sadly, I cannot always deliver great content on a weekly basis. My own blog has not had a post since May of last year. That may change in the future, but FFDO need not suffer for my lack of inspiration. Not once I finish forming the FFDO A-Team at least.

What is the FFDO A-Team? That is the team of volunteer writers that will work under my supervision providing the whole #FridayFlash community with interesting articles, interviews, and information once a month. Each of these writers will get a chance to address everyone here on FFDO about events and findings from around the world. These topics could be almost anything, as long as it relates to writing, flash fiction, publishing, or tools that may be helpful to writers in general.

Does this sound like something you would be interested in doing? Do you want a chance to share your interesting finds? Can you commit to one 250-1000 word article per month? Do you have a passion for informing your fellow writers? Have you participated in #FridayFlash? Then you may be just what I am looking for on my team.

Now, there could be a flood of people that want to do this, and I would be very happy if that were the case. Based on the number of people that are interested, I may offer a contest (potentially the biggest in FFDO history) to narrow the field. For now, that remains to be seen. Remember, this is a monthly commitment, but I am pretty flexible about when articles can go up and what not.

If interested, send me a message (edjohnson/fridayflash/org) with the subject line of “FFDO A-Team.” In the body, tell me what kind of articles you would be most interested in writing and why. That is all there is to it. If a whole bunch of people are interested (and I welcome this), I will hand pick sixteen for a contest. Any less than that, and I will have to save the contest idea for another time. And that would make me a sad panda, so everyone should try to join the FFDO A-Team.

~ E. D. Johnson

The New Collector Is Up

Frday Flash BadgeWe are making a few changes here at FFDO to try and keep the site fresh and exciting. We just launched a brand new Collector courtesy of Tim VanSant. We think you will like it better than the old TikiWiki tracker we’ve used thus far in that it looks much more crisp, is easy to use, and has a couple of new options.

The new features of the Collector are four fold:

  • There is a new field to indicate if your story is part of a series. While we encourage you to write stand alone stories we know many of you write serials and we’re fine with that. Now you can tag them as such when you list them.
  • There is a new field to indicate if your story is narrated. Some of you do podcasts of your stories, which I really enjoy. The new Narrated flag will mark such stories making them easy to find for those who enjoy listening. Both these tags will eliminate the need for you to append such information to your titles, making for a cleaner look.
  • The Collector is now interactive in that once you enter your story details it gets listed at the bottom of the page. This will replace The Master List on the old tracker.
  • All the entries go into a new database. Tim hopes that this will eventually make specific searches possible.

We realize that some of you do not want to wait for the Report to come out and prefer to browse The Master List on Friday or Saturday in order to find and comment on stories in a more timely manner. Listing the stories at the bottom of the tracker as they are entered should help quite a bit in that regard. As of now Tim has it set to list stories added within the last six days, but he may fiddle with the settings over the next couple of weeks for best effect.

And the new database should help people find your old stories as it grows over time. All the more reason to add your links to help create that long tail we always hear about. If someone reads one of your stories and likes it they could search for your name and find all the rest, thus driving more traffic your way. We hope to incorporate the stories from the TikiWiki database sometime in the future as well, but some technical issues will need to be resolved before that happens.

Another improvement enabled by the new Collector is that the entire Friday Flash Report will now be much more automated. The old process was semi-automated thanks to Susan’s good work, but there was still a good deal of drudgery involved. Truth be told, that is why the Report was often late on my part, it simply became a burden to face each and every weekend. Now Tim has it much more automated, so hopefully he will not feel overburdened anytime soon. It also means that the Report will be much more timely than it has been of late.

The staff here at FFDO really appreciate the writers who participate in Friday Flash, be they regulars, debuts, or one-time posters. We strive to keep the site vibrant and alive and are always open to suggestion on how to improve things. If you have any questions on the new Collector, or have any suggestions you would like us to consider please feel free to leave them in the comment section below. You are the best writing community I’ve ever been associated with. Thank you for your ongoing support and participation.

What Ever Happened to BOFF 2?

The youngest black hole knownOne of the most frustrating things a writer faces is sending a submission off into a black hole, never getting a response, not knowing what the heck is going on. Unfortunately BOFF 2 has become something of a black hole for all of you who have submitted. It is well overdue and we are sure the frustration level on your part has to be approaching the limit. We apologize for being so unresponsive and will try to set things straight in this post.

We had 82 submissions in all for BOFF 2. Our initial plan was to have 52 stories chosen from the general submissions to represent one story for each week of a year, the reader’s choice story, and then up to three editor’s choice stories as we have three editors. If you do the math that means a total of 56 stories possible, meaning 26 stories will not make it. We thought one round of judging would bring enough clarity to the situation that we would be able to make those 56 selections without too much trouble. However, after the initial round of judging, wherein every story received three votes, we found that there were only a few stories that had clear cut results, meaning about two-thirds were still a muddle our my minds.

We also had to work around the fact that the submission manager we are using decided that the free account could only have five staff members. Since we have three editors that left room for two judges, which slowed things down, as we had to juggle judges in and out to get three votes on each story. As a result things pretty well bogged down into a state of angst and indecision, at least on my part.

Hopefully that is now all behind us. We have decided to take the stories with 3 positive votes forward and then subject the remainder to another round of judging in hopes that will bring further clarity to the situation. As a result BOFF 2 is now making forward progress again. Additional judges have been recruited and they are now working their way through the stories. As before they will have to be juggled in and out, but the judging process should be completed within a month. We hope we can have the whole project wrapped up by the end of the first quarter of 2012 (end of March, early April time frame).

If after reading all this you have decided you’ve had enough of my bungling around and you wish to withdraw your story we certainly understand. You may be able to find a better home for it elsewhere. If you decide you want to stick with the BOFF we sincerely thank you, and hope we can make your wait worthwhile. Please feel free to use the comments below to ask for further clarification, offer moral support, or simply vent.

We here at FFDO wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year, and great success on the publication front. Keep on writing.

Photo from NASA, Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/D.Patnaude et al, Optical: ESO/VLT, Infrared: NASA/JPL/Caltech

Family, Friends, and FFDO

I have been pretty quiet around the FridayFlash scene since around October. The last two months of the year get unbelievably hectic for most, and mine are no different. I wanted to make it a point to get in here to insert well wishes from everyone at FFDO, regardless of which holiday(s) you may or may not celebrate. We may not all agree about which holiday, but I am sure we can all get behind the general sentiment of good will and enjoying family, friends, and food where able.

To that end, I wanted to invite everyone to do what we do best, share stories. I want to hear everyone’s fondest holiday moment, be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, New years, Hanukkah, Kwanza, your birthday, or whatever. Just a quick blurb of a tale that warms the heart and gives a glimpse into the world. Try to keep them short, but really, a word limit for something like this would be tedious and drab.

Ordinarily, I would share my own memory, but to be perfectly honest, they are all really rather vague. No one holiday stood out from another, because all were filled with at least some level of love and family. My wife and I have started a tradition of baking cookies as presents for many of the family, mostly because we have more family than we could ever realistically buy presents for. She bakes them, because I am klutz in the kitchen. I have taken to decorating them though, so if I had to select any one memory that warmed my heart it would be the Cookie Massacre.

Online, people can find all sorts of awesome stuff, and in November of 2009, my wife found cookie cutters in the shape of gingerbread men, but with an arm, a leg, or the head “bitten off.” She naturally bought them, and that became the shape of the cookies we made that year. She made some rather nice sugar cookies, but they lacked something essential to make it really memorable. She was just using a white frosting to coat the cookies, and then I had a brilliant idea. Apparently, they make food-safe colored markers, so we ordered those. I then decorated the previously bitten cookies that were otherwise quite innocent and turned them into cookies with X’s for eyes, frowns for mouths, and bloodied red stumps where they had been bitten. The broken bits of cookies even got decorated with red and tossed into the packages that then got shipped from Oklahoma to California.

Overall, quite memorable, but the story does not end there. Most received the cookies, had a little chuckle, then proceeded to devouring the box. That was the idea. But one box went to our Mexican family, and the adults knew they were cookies. Thinking nothing of the container of cookies, they passed the boxes off to the children who happily disappeared into the back room to begin eating. A few minutes later, shrieks and screams from the children drew the adults in to see what was happening. “The cookies are dead,” they cried. “And their parts are here too, ewwww!” The only way it would have gotten better would have been to actually hear the events myself, but I will just have to live with secondhand stories. All of the cookies got eaten, so it could not have been too horrendous.

So now that mine is out there, let us hear some of everyone else’s stories. Or if you already wrote one, say for FridayFlash, feel free to link it here. And as an added bonus, one lucky respondent will get something special by New Years.

Again, best wishes to everyone, and may you enjoy the last of 2011 with those you love and care about. Peace out.

~ E. D. Johnson

The #FridayFlash Report – Vol3. #7

We had 59 stories stories this week ranging from Literary to Steampunk, and about every genre between. We also had 4 debuts. Please welcome Nickie O’Hara, Marcel Swagers, Kwee Lewis, and AnnMarie to the Friday Flash community. I hope you all find the place warm, welcoming, and worthwhile (I do love alliteration).

Speaking of worthwhile, there are now even more reasons to sign up for Friday Flash Dot Org. Last week ED Johnson announced the first of our new services — the Criticize Me critique group. It is a private little corner on the Internet where you can post things you don’t want to be considered published in order to get some meaning feedback on them. All registered members here can sign up.  Simply click on Groups at the top of the page, then click on Criticize Me and request membership. Once we determine you are not a spammer we will approve your request and you’re in. Simple as that.

Thanks again to everyone who participates in Friday Flash, either as a reader or author.
~jon Read more