Winning Time

If you use blogging to practice writing like I do, then this may interest you. I stumbled across this writing contest and entered on a whim. Correction, I entered on my laptop. It costs nothing. Just to be crystal clear, here is the link below.

Writing Challenge 2022 Registration Page v2 – AutoCrit Online Editing

Your story must be submitted by the 22nd of May, so I know time is short, but what else do you have to do? You already missed the deadline for filing your taxes, so what’s another couple weeks?

I have decided to enter a story that I penned for my next collection of short stories to go along with my collection of award-winning stories you can purchase on Amazon. My story is called Mount Driveway and has a real neighborhood feel to it, so I think it meets the theme of community. Oh, and it’s hilarious. Maybe you have some half-written story that also fits the community theme. Just finish it. Hey, how about that story you were writing about a small town mayor who is actually an alien and smites her political opponents during debates using lasers that shoot from her eyes? Yeah, that story. You know the one I’m talking about.

Just to be clear, you have nothing to lose, except I guess this contest. Good luck and write on!

Micro Fiction Short Story

I continue writing this slog of a blog to hone my writing skills. No, seriously, stop laughing. It’s true! Okay, maybe that’s not the case with the weekly, award-shunning Mite Be Funny cartoon every Sunday. But this forum keeps my writing skills sharp as an eraser.

For an added test of my writing skills, I entered a contest for a 100 word micro fiction short story at www.nycmidnight.com. I learned of that website from the person who plagiarized my Elvis story for one of their other writing challenges. I thought the 100 word limit with a 24 hour time limit and writing to prompts would be interesting.

The prompts I received were that it had to be of the horror genre (Yes!), include the word “tell,” and involve riding a skateboard. Easy peasy. I got not one, but two stories written. My wife and I rejected the first story, because I had misread the directions and thought I needed to include the phrase “riding a skateboard” in the story. I had incorporated that phrase, but in sort of a stilted, clunky way. Why do I have to read and follow instructions anyway? Isn’t this the US of A, land of the free? Don’t take my freedom away to write whatever the hell I want to write. Must be a writing contest run by Socialist Democrats.

Anyhoo, I liked the second story better as it seemed more horrific to me and the ending was more clever (cleverer?). So, what do I do with the first story after I tightened it up a bit? Give it to you, I guess. I mean, if you read the normal drivel in this blog, you’ll read anything, and this will be a definite upgrade. So, click the “Continue reading” link to get to the unused story.

Continue reading “Micro Fiction Short Story”

My Holiday Accomplishments

The list of all that I accomplished over the holidays is too long to write about, so that’s a bit of luck for you readers. But I can still waste your time giving you some selected highlights. I already wrote about spending some quality time with our dogs. But wait, there’s more!

First thing I did was try not to be such a dick when I was out shopping and running errands. I was inspired by this older pic of Alice Cooper serving others that resurfaced and made the rounds on Twitter recently.

I wasn’t as ambitious as Mr. Cooper, but I tried to hold doors for others and keep a smile on my face. When cars cut me off, I made sure to wave at the drivers with all the fingers on my hand and not just the middle one. I always wonder what the world would be like if each person in the world did those little things every day for a whole year.

I also stayed healthy. I told you about my COVID test. We heard of a friend of the family who got very sick with COVID but is recovering. We also heard of some folks who are friends of friends who have passed away. They predict the omicron variant infection rate in Chicagoland will peak by the end of January. Looks like no indoor public activities for a while still. See you outside in spring!

Professionally, the news I received just before the holidays was bad, and I took some time over the holidays to process it and feel comfortable about my future.

Continue reading “My Holiday Accomplishments”

Lost in Translation

I don’t make enough (translation: any) money from writing and blogging (translation: self-publishing word salads) because of my frugal readers & followers (translation: deadbeats), so I actually have a day job running my own business as I have for 14 years (translation: too long) now. I have a close (translation: ethically suspect) relationship with a number of customers and vendors (translation: potential criminal co-conspirators) that often leads me to agree to handle some challenging (translation: stupid) tasks. One such task is to curate and mange (translation: mostly ignore) the YouTube channel of one vendor. I was surprised to get a notification of this comment in regard to a video for a therapeutic massage machine.

I wasn’t sure if Lhtutuutfirh was covfefe level gibberish (translation: most of what Trump says), or if this was a customer asking to place a million dollar order. To the Google Translate machine!

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Once Again, I Lost but Still Won

If you recall, I came in 4th in the April elections, but still won a seat on my local township board. Well, here we go again, but this time I did even worse and still won. I entered my book of short stories in a competition, mainly to get a “professional” review. Well, I’m not sure how professional the review is, but I can’t argue with its accuracy. See what you think. Here’s the review.

Continue reading “Once Again, I Lost but Still Won”

The Price Was Right!

After working in sales & marketing for 3 decades, I knew I had to follow my instincts. The $0.99 price was wrong. I just knew it. I could smell it. Sure, I had been making money at that price. Royalties for my book of short stories had been rolling in for 3 months in a row. Take a look at the royalty notifications in my email.

It’s been nice, but not enough to support the cost of my habit of taking soothing foot baths in baby’s tears, especially with COVID driving up the costs.

I knew I had to run a sale. My nostrils flared at the thought of a sale, and I could feel my heart pounding and working harder. Maybe that was from my high cholesterol, but regardless, I just knew it was the right time for a sale. And so, I dropped the price over last weekend … down to $0.00. Okay, maybe that was a bit extreme, but take a look at the results.

Continue reading “The Price Was Right!”

FREE Book!

I had planned to shamelessly and incessantly plug my book of humorous and contemplative short stories about the afterlife from the beginning of the year until now. However, I got derailed with this local election race which I surprisingly won. To get back on the promotional track, I’ve decided to make my book available to you, the loyal followers of this blog, for FREE through Monday. Just link to www.bit.ly/beyondtales to download my book for FREE for your reading enjoyment on your Kindle or Kindle app.

There really are no strings attached. Just download. I hope you enjoy it, and I would be most appreciative if you leave a rating or review on Amazon. Read on!

Affection for Rejection

The reviews for my book BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife are dribbling in like an old man standing at a urinal. Here are some words I pulled from the reviews that have been used to describe the book:

  • Irreverent
  • Deeply Reverent (???)
  • Humorous
  • Well-written
  • Weird
  • Charming
  • Disturbing
  • Goofy
  • Thoughtful
  • Thought-provoking
  • Thoughtless (just kidding about this one)
  • Engaging
  • Dizzying Kaleidoscope of Perspectives and Styles

You can read the reviews yourself on Amazon. Because of those overwhelmingly positive reviews, I’ve made a decision …

Continue reading “Affection for Rejection”

BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife – A Look Inside Tale #2

The year is 1968. The hot rock & roll bands are the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Monkees, although I distinctly recall girls in my grade school class talking about how much they loved the Turtles. Why can I remember that bit of minutiae and not that garbage day is Tueday?

Anyway, I go back and forth. The Beatles are the greatest rock and roll band ever, right? Sure, we all have our favorite other non-Beatle bands. Mine include XTC, Squeeze, Cage the Elephant, Springsteen & the E Street Band, Wilco, Tame Impala, The Clash, Crowded House, and many others. And I’ll choose to listen to those bands over the Beatles more times than not. But still, the Beatles are tops, right? Right? Well, maybe not.

I’ve been thinking a whole lot about the Rolling Stones recently. They released this song earlier in 2020 around the start of the COVID quarantine.

It’s not a great song, but it’s certainly a good tune that sounds exactly like a Rolling Stones song should sound. They are still producing good new music after more than 50 years! And they’re not half dead like the Beatles. Sure, the Stones lost Brian Jones early on, and Bill Wyman has retired, but Mick & Keith are still going strong with Charlie Watts on drums and Ron Wood on guitar. I’m starting to give the nod to the Stones over the Beatles simply due to longevity.

So, what does this have to do with my book of short stories titled BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife, available on Amazon? Well, Tale #2 is titled “A Monkee to Die For,” and revolves around a Davy Jones promotional visit to a California record store. In the story, not only is Jones featured in an indirect way, but the Rolling Stones and Beatles also get mentions. My video excerpt in this post from Tale #2 involves a demonic being explaining to a 12 year old girl smitten by Davy Jones that the Rolling Stones may not be as icky as she thinks. Take a look and listen.

Continue reading “BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife – A Look Inside Tale #2”

BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife – A Look Inside Tale #1

I have gotten side-tracked with all this inauguration stuff. I need to get back to hawking my book of 16 short stories titled BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife while also entertaining you, my valued readers (he said, sucking up to his readers in the hope of making a book sale and earning a few measly coins from Amazon).

In a non-COVID world, I would normally be out on a promotional tour of truck stops and gas stations throughout the Rust Belt of the US reading excepts from the book, with or without the venue’s consent, which can make for an interesting book reading. The readings featuring sock puppets are normally the favorites of people who happen to come inside for a rotisserie hot dog or shower. But with COVID, I have resorted to video readings.

Let’s dive into the first story titled “Doggone.” All 16 stories are connected in some way to the afterlife, and this one finds the lead character, Jerry, waking up in the afterlife confronting God. But not God as humans may typically imagine God. God is in a bit of a different form here, and why not? I won’t give too much away, because I know you are dying to read it (pun intended).

This video clip features me reading about Jerry’s indignation at being the victim of a practical joke played on him by God.

Continue reading “BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife – A Look Inside Tale #1”

About the Artist

Isn’t the featured image on this blog post a beautiful picture? It spoke to me. It spoke to me and said that it had to be my cover pic for my book of short stories called Beyond: Tales of the Afterlife. However, it also told me that I was too fat, so I didn’t speak to it for a while. But we finally sorted out our differences, and I just knew that it had to be the cover for my book. The biggest hurdle was that I was not the artist and didn’t really know the artist and live nowhere close to the artist and well, you get the idea. It was a longshot. The lesson learned is that sometimes asking is the hardest part. The artist said, “Yes.” She also was cool with me stretching the aspect ratio of her painting to fit better as the cover pic I finally used.

The artist’s name is Linda and here’s her online studio … riverjazz.studio. My personal favorites are her abstracts and florals. Here’s an example of one of them she created just the other night …

Continue reading “About the Artist”

BEYOND – Tales of the Afterlife – A Glimpse Inside & Bonus Offer!

I recently announced the pre-release of my book, now available for purchase for under a buck! But why would you want to purchase? Well, I can give you 16 reasons … the 16 short stories in the book. Well, maybe 15. My editor hates one of the stories that I quite like. You can be the judge. Purchase, read, judge.

Here’s a peek inside at the Table of Contents along with some editorializing on each of the stories …

Continue reading “BEYOND – Tales of the Afterlife – A Glimpse Inside & Bonus Offer!”

BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife – Now Available!

Well, it took a while, but my book of short stories is finally finished. You can actually read it. It comes complete with real words, full sentences, paragraphs, grammar, quotation marks, hyphens, and mostly coherent stories. And not just a handful of stories, but SIXTEEN of them. You are guaranteed to enjoy some of them. I’ll detail each of the stories in future posts, but suffice to say that they are written to elicit some laughter and contemplative thought concerning our ultimate destination.

How much? How about under a buck at $0.99. That’s less than 7 cents a story, or under 6 cents per story if I include the preface. Why would I include the preface? Well, it’s pretty funny, but I also class it up by quoting Shakespeare. That’s right, THE Bill Shakespeare. Not Jack Shakespeare, my neighbor down the block. Here’s how it starts …

“William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “To die, to sleep. To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.”
That’s just one of hundreds of Shakespeare’s quotes that I don’t understand. I’m not sure I even have a mortal coil. I think the surgeon removed my mortal coil during my emergency appendectomy.”

I’m sure the first 2 paragraphs of the preface have convinced you to buy this book. Click this Published Works link to purchase. Go ahead, do it. Not later. Now. Go on. I’ll wait. There, doesn’t that feel better. Now you have hours of chuckle-filled reading entertainment ahead.

And so ends the first of endless posts shamelessly promoting this book. Get ready for more.

Word Whore

You’ve all enjoyed suckling at the teat of this blog for free for 5 years now. But let’s be honest … most of this is crap. Free was the right price. Almost 200 weekly Mite Be Funny cartoons? Cartoons about mulch? What’s going to happen to this blog when I won’t have Trump to complain about anymore? You’ll be presented with seemingly endless angry screeds about pointless minutiae in my life like too much lint in my pants pocket. Oh, that galls me. I hate it when it makes little lint balls. See? See where this blog may be headed? And don’t even get me started about socks that don’t stay up and slide down and bunch up in your shoes. That’s the worst.

Or, we could make it interesting. It’s time to put your money where my mouth is and make a tasty deposit. I’m having new business cards made: Jim Flanigan – Word Whore. That’s right, I plan to sell myself. Well, not myself as in my body. That ship has sailed. But I will sell my writings. Check out the Published Works page on this blog. There you can buy my published short story without buying the book, my political potboiler novella from earlier this year, and my new book of short stories about the afterlife (Coming Soon!).

So, take a look at the Published Works page and pony up some of your loose change from between your couch seat cushions to make me a successful Word Whore, Paragraph Prostitute, Story Strumpet, Chronicle Courtesan, or whatever you want to call me. But please do check me out. My words are now available for a cheap roll in the literary hay.

Testing … 1 … 2 … 3

There are some changes coming to this website, including ways to spend your money. So, we will use this specific post to test this blog’s new ecommerce ability while offering you a useful product that I myself heartily endorse and just so happen to sell.

With talk of a COVID-19 vaccine coming soon, the USA has thrown all caution out the window and COVID cases continue to reach all-time highs almost daily. We’re #1? My family and I are still taking precautions. One of those precautions includes disinfecting our daily mail and groceries. I know, the odds are unlikely of catching COVID from a postcard or a banana. But I like keeping the odds low, so we continue to wipe down our groceries. But we can’t wipe down our mail or each individual grape. So, we use this thingamajig called the Purify O3 that is actually a CPAP sanitizer.

It generates ozone. Ozone is a marvelous disinfectant. I call it an ozonerator, which is not a word. I explain that is disinfects through ozonification, also not a word. The important thing to remember is that ozone is very effective in killing coronaviruses. So, this is what I do with the mail …

Continue reading “Testing … 1 … 2 … 3”

Weekend Milestones – Part 2

If you missed yesterday’s post, I finished writing a book this weekend. No, not a sequel to my Parasitic Twin novella, but a collection of short stories. As I warned I might do, the title has already been changed to “Beyond: Tales of the Afterlife.” But there were other milestones reached this past weekend.

Continue reading “Weekend Milestones – Part 2”

Weekend Milestones – Part 1

I finished my book of 18 short stories after just a bit over a year and a half of writing work. But I didn’t view it as work, because I enjoyed it immensely. I did hit a snag 2 weeks ago when I finished the last story. Then the daunting tasks of compiling the stories into one document, creating a table of contents with links, doing a final edit, and choosing a title stared me in the face. Ugh!  I love the creative process and hate the tedious details. But I hunkered down and finished the work this weekend.

The tentative working title (subject to change based on my whims) is “Beyond Life: Tales of the Afterlife.” Here’s a brief tease about what each of the 18 stories is about.

Continue reading “Weekend Milestones – Part 1”

Short (on quality) Story

I hope to publish another book this summer. No, not a sequel to My Parasitic Twin Wants to be President. You wish! This will be a collection of short stories on a common theme.

I send my stories to my cousin who also happens to be a professional editor. She seems to take great delight in finding and editing my mistakes, and then typically provides some words of encouragement like “this one should definitely be in your book.” She is my mentor. I am her … mentee? manatee? mental?

I’m down to my next-to-last story, and this one didn’t go as I had hoped. I received no edit. I received no encouragement. I did not pass GO or collect $200. Instead, over the course of several emails, my cousin/editor described the story as:

  • Not engaging
  • Boring
  • Preachy
  • Saccharine
  • Unlikable
  • Opposite of uplifting (would that be downlowering?)

Gee, I hope she wasn’t holding back so as not to hurt my feelings. Her guidance and edits have made me a better writer. I absolutely value her opinion. But so far, two other test-readers have liked the story. Hopefully, I will get more feedback from other test-readers this weekend.

Maybe my cousin/editor was too busy with editing projects. Maybe she didn’t even read the 4,000 word story. Maybe she just glanced at this blog to get a general idea about where my writing is today. If that’s the case, I heartily agree with her assessment.

Flanigan Fiction Finally Freed!

Well, the big Book Release Party for the book that has my short story in it has been postponed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. I am somewhat relieved that I don’t have to be in a social situation with other nerdy writers. Being with myself all the time is bad enough. The book is being released online initially through the publisher’s website at Crow Woods Publishing, and eventually through Amazon, etc. Here’s a mention of my story from the publisher.

Elvis Listing on Crow Woods

I find it so fitting that there is a misspelling in the description. And just a touch of humor? Maybe it would have been funnier if the publisher hadn’t removed a joke.

Anyway, here’s the pic that inspired my story …

Elvis - Eric Semelroth - Imitation A La King 1998

If you are interested in an unabridged version of my story with all jokes intact, contact me.

Details coming about more Flanigan Fiction due for release soon. Consider yourself warned.

 

Party Time!

I had sort of forgotten about a book of short stories being published with one of my stories in it until I got an email with an invitation to a Book Release Party! I imagined getting fitted for my tuxedo for the event. Leave it a bit loose in the crotch for dancing.

Tuxedo

Visions of my red carpet arrival danced in my head.

Continue reading “Party Time!”