Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Campaigner Challenge

Here is our assignment:
Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. 
First of all, this is my VERY FIRST attempt at flash fiction. Ever. As a person that is accustomed to writing 100,000+ word novels, this was much harder than I thought it was going to be. Since we were to stay in our genre, I did a little sci-fi steampunk piece. It's exactly 200 words, and that was a huge accomplishment for me.

If you dig my little ditty, please click give me a "Thumbs Up." I'm #167 on the Linky List. Gracias!

# # # #

Shadows crept across the wall, and Cyrus spied the police continuing their pursuit through the crowd. He waited a moment before leaving the security of his hiding place underneath the metal stairway. The warm vibration from the metal box concealed from his thick wool coat gave him comfort, only to be replaced by absolute dread.

Stealing it was easy, but he didn't exactly know what he had taken. Cyrus had never been educated in the world of clockworks and machinery, and now, he had the urge to toss it and take the next airship out of town.

He took hurried steps out into the square, only to squeeze himself into a tight alley. With his back turned towards the marketplace, he brought the small machine out to study it. It was constructed of smooth brass with two holes at the top and two ports underneath. Inside, Cyrus could feel the box pulsating rhythmically.

"Give it back," a coarse voice reverberated from behind.

Cyrus barely had enough room to turn around and face the man with the pistol leveled at his chest. "What is this thing?"

The man cocked the hammer of his revolver. "It is my wife's new heart."

# # # #

Phew! Hope you enjoyed that, and I'm looking forward to being stretched and challenged with future assignments. It's fun getting out of my comfort zone.

On another note, my debut novel: The Mechanica Wars: Dragonfly Warrior is slated for release by Otherworld Publications on July 20, 2012. This is nearly fifteen years and one-hundred and twelve rejections in the making.

So I'm reaching out to you on this one. I'd like some ideas from you folks concerning ideas as to what kind of promotion should I do to get the word out on my release date and beyond. I've helped others with hosting a couple blog tours and such, but I'd like to get more suggestions on other creative things I can do.

Especially for those who have been through this before, I'm hoping to get some great words of wisdom from you.

Thanks so much, as always.


Rusty Webb said...

Your story gives no meaning to stealing someone's heart.

I'm a total dunce at marketing, if there are physical copies available I know goodreads usually gets lots of interest if you give some away there.

Sorry, fresh out of new ideas though.

Rusty Webb said...

Crap, I meant to say *new* meaning, not no meaning. Geez.

Jay Noel said...

Rusty: I gotcha. It's early, so it's okay. But that's a pretty good idea though, giving out copies via Goodreads.

Anonymous said...

I love that both the reader and Cyrus were surprised to find that the "box pulsating rhythmically" actually had a heart in it. I also appreciated the fact that the man with the gun was willing to kill to get the lifesaving heart for his wife.

Jess said...

Ooh sounds really cool!! So suspenseful! Great job for your first flash fiction! Thanks for commenting on mine :)

Miranda Hardy said...

Love the story. We both hid our characters under stairs. Lol

I can't help on the marketing efforts, as I've not made it that far, but is be happy to help promote on my blog when you need it. I've been told to hold signings in various places, not just book stores.

Jay Noel said...

Jones: Thanks for stopping by. I will have to check out yours too.

Jess: Thanks Jess. You did a great job as well.

Miranda: It's a great place to hide! Not just book stores, huh...that's a new one I haven't heard yet. Thanks so much Miranda!!!

Daisy Carter said...

WOW! I loved this! MORE, please!

*I'm a newbie, so I don't have any marketing advice. But best of luck!

mish said...

It puts a fresh spin on the phrase: 'have a heart' LOL
Congrats on your first piece of flash fiction and being brave enough to move beyond your comfort zone!
I can't help you with the marketing aspect since I'm not anywhere close to that phase in my writing journey...

Jay Noel said...

Daisy: Thanks so much for the encouragement and for stopping by.

Mish: Yup, sure does. Welp, if you see any other writers running a unique and creative promotion, let me know.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I'd be happy to host you on my blog if you'd like. Just let me know when. Also that's a great flash fiction entry. I already assigned a judge to come and take a look at it. I hope you win!

Jay Noel said...

Michael, as always, thanks so much! It was really difficult to do. My rough draft was over 500 words! I need to stop being so verbose.

David P. King said...

This is amazing. I mean it. I can't but think Sci-Fi with Steampunk, but you will always grab my attention with a thief. Nice one! :)

Kelley said...

Love the suspense. So well written!! Really, great job.

Akoss said...

A clockwork heart? Interesting indeed. :D
Can't go wrong with steampunk. I want in that world already.

PS: your blog doesn't accept comments from wordpress so I had to use my google account. I'm #138 on the linky list.

Cherie Reich said...

Ooo! Very awesome! I liked the twist at the end. :)

And congrats on your debut novel!!

I'm #165 on the list.
Cherie Reich - Author

Anonymous said...

I love the steam punk theme and I love the final line. A clockwork heart, indeed! Brilliant!

Congrats on your debut novel. Is it hard copy or digital? For my debut novel (hard copy), my publisher was kind enough to fund a book signing when it was released. We have a wonderful bookstore that supports local writers. They also put up posters in their store advertising my book and providing details as to when the signing was being held. Maybe you could approach your local bookstores to see if any of them would be willing to let you use space in them for a book signing or reading. Tell all your friends to tell all your friends to tell all your friends (and family, of course). That kind of word-of-mouth advertising does work wonders. If there's a local paper or TV news show that features local talent, send them a copy of your book and ask if they would interview you. That's about all I can think of for the moment. Good luck!

Melissa said...

Oooo. Nice twist at the end. Good job on your first FF. ; )

Melissa Maygrove
Campaign Entry #149

Jay Noel said...

David: Thanks for the feedback!

Kelley: I appreciate it, as always.

Akoss: Nice to meet another steampunk fan!

Cherie: Thanks so much. I'm going to check out your FF as well.

Withershins: Both paperback and ebook. That is an excellent idea, as there are a few indie book stores still surviving in my city. Fantastic!

Melissa: Thanks so much. I will read yours too!

Gwen said...

I love steampunk! But yeah, for marketing just a lot of blog hops and giveaways.

Cynthia said...

I like how your story ends on such a cliffhanger! Thanks for sharing.

Christine Rains said...

Wow. Love that twist at the end. I also really like the steampunk feel. You managed it with few details. Nice tension and wonderful detail. Well done.

The Golden Eagle said...

I love the last line! Great writing--I voted for your entry. :)

Congratulations on your novel! That's awesome.

I don't really know much about promotion, but Stephen Tremp is running a blog tour and he has a few guest posts (here, for example) about it.

(BTW I'd be happy to have you on my blog, if you plan a blog tour or something like that.)

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the movie Repo Men whose job it was to repo body parts from clients who couldn't make their payments. Nicely done!

Laurie Dennison said...

Hi! I wanted to let you know you've moved on to the next round of judging! Great job!

J. A. Bennett said...

You left us hanging! How rude! lol, great job :D

Jay Noel said...

Gwen: Thanks for visiting!

Christine: I appreciate it. I was worried about making sure to set the setting in 200 words.

Golden Eagle: Your vote is greatly appreciated! That would be so great if you could host my future blog tour.

Stephen: That movie was both cool and disturbing. I didn't even think about Repo Men until you just reminded me of it! Wasn't it gross when they were cutting themselves up for that scanner thingy? Yuck!

Laurie: Cool! Thanks so much.

Jay Noel said...

Cynthia and J.A.: With only 200 words allowed, I had to go with the cliffhanger!!!

Lynda R Young said...

Ha! I love the twist. I want to know what happens next. A wonderful entry for the challenge!

Pk Hrezo said...

Hey Jay! Nice snippet there! I'd keep reading for sure.
I liked the way JC Martin arranged her blogfest book release by enlisting bloggers in different time zones, then setting a time for each so that all hours of the say a post was going up with her book cover. Plus she did a contest for the participating bloggers, which I thought was good incentive. Contests/giveaways seem to be a big hit with everyone, and a great way to make your book known.

Anyway, whatever you decide, I'd be happy to help out. :) My email's on my blog, use it anytime.

Ciara said...

I love stories with twists. As I'm sure you know. ;) I LOVED this and want more! Someone recommended that I read your flash fiction, and I'm so glad I did. You have fans out there. You must have posted this right after I came by yesterday morning. Great job!

Melissa Bradley said...

Great post! I was definitely hooked and wanted to read more. :)

Congrats on your publication!! I have you as my Someone You Should know over at my blog, Melissa's Imaginarium and I made mention of your book. I can do an author spotlight interview with you if you'd like. I also think that a release day party is a good thing along with a Tweet party with your book title as a hashtag.

Jay Noel said...

Lynda: Heck, I wanna know what happens next!

Pk: You're right - JC did a great job with creating some buzz. I myself love entering fun contests! I've written down your suggestions.

Ciara: Yup, I think the post went live right after your visit. Thanks!!!

Melissa: Wow. I feel so humbled! Thank you so much. I'm going to go back to your site right now. I've also made some notes on your suggestions. Completely didn't think about a Tweet party!

Ashley Nixon said...

Man! That was cool! I'd love to read the rest of this story!

Jay Noel said...

Thanks Ashley!

Traci Kenworth said...

Talk about Dr. Frankenstein--wow!! Freaky.

C.M.Brown said...

I loved this - very twisted! Sorry I've taken so long to visit, please forgive! I would like to hear more of the story!

Jay Noel said...

Traci: Yes, Dr. Frankenstein is a definite influence!

C.M.: No worries. Thanks for coming by.

KSCollier said...

Hi Jay: You've been shortlisted to move on as SEMI-FINALIST. Good Luck, and by the way, I really enjoyed it, Great Story!

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it's good to see this information in your post, i was looking the same but there was not any proper resource, thanx now i have the link which i was looking for my research.

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