Daily Writing Prompt #18.13 – Flowers Grow in Anything (9/29/13)

flowers on concrete

Daily Writing Prompt #18.13

Use the above image to write a flash fiction piece (less than 1000 words). Why are these flowers growing here in what looks like concrete? Or were these flowers part of a fallen bouquet? Perhaps your narrator clipped these flowers and tossed them in the wind; they ended their journey here, on the sidewalk.

Optional: write an accompanying poem, haiku or song.

Happy Writing!

 

 

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We’re on to “those” people – Trolls

Remember in the “olden” days when products sold based on marketing, advertising and word-of-mouth? Well, those days have been long gone ever since the Internet. Now anyone can buy a product on Amazon.com or Sephora or a myriad of other consumer sites and post his or her review of the purchased product. As if other consumers are waiting with bated breath for their reviews.

Reviews have their place, of course. I’d much rather see what others thought of an expensive makeup item Sephora sells before doling out the dough, only to be disappointed. Sites like Steepster.com, in which testers log tasted tea, give participants a chance to review more than just one company’s product. And if you’re investing in a larger purchase – a computer, or a TV – reading reviews from fellow consumers can save you time, money and effort.

The problem is most reviews are on the honor system. You assume that the person reviewing the item has actually purchased/tried/used or in the case of booksellers, read the book. There are exemptions; eBay tracks feedback from actual buyers (although their system is flawed for other reasons), and Adagio Teas requires their customers to purchase the tea before they can actually review.

Take one person with a grudge against a product, company or even a person/author, and the entire review and rating structure is skewed.

This is happening on sites like Amazon.com and GoodReads. While Amazon.com does list your purchased products on an “order” page, there’s no stopping reviewers from posting a review about a product they haven’t actually consumed. (I did a test run on a product – but not a book – that I’ve tried in the past but never purchased from Amazon.com. The review is there.)

GoodReads seems like a good idea in theory. The site is comprised of reviewed books by readers of all level, experience, skill, attitude, temperament, and mental capacity. Readers can log books without having to prove they’ve actually read them. But like many theories the application doesn’t work for the human population, as people are selfishly motivated. And fickle.

GoodReads has a bully problem. Many “reviewers” (known as “trolls”) personally attack authors without actually reading their work, literally judge books by their covers, and harass authors for their politics, beliefs, and other factors that shouldn’t go into the review of fiction. This isn’t a situation of authors not liking negative reviews. The reviews have little to do with the books themselves, and many times the reviewers admit they only read a passage or two and passed judgment.

So GoodReads changed their moderation policy. Their new guidelines require book reviews to be about the book and not the author, among some other changes. This was brought about after many authors pulled their own books from the site and complained. Trolls were committing crimes against these authors – anything from harassment to cyberbullying campaigns and God knows what else.

Trolls responded in kind by leaving one-star ratings on the authors’ books involved (including anyone who spoke out in favor of the changes, siding with the content creators or authors). There was a mass exodus to other book review sites too. But luckily trolls’ criminal behavior has been so widespread on blogs, social media and online that the other book review sites say, “No thanks,” and don’t let these folks join.

Take the post by Stop GoodReads Bullies referencing book review site, booklikes. Clearly people have had enough with this psychodrama.

I’m working on an investigative piece about this kind of behavior, and I hope the trend of review sites ditching these trolls continues.

I say this proudly, even as I’ve received threats and nasty email responses myself. I will be including some of them in my post next week. I think I befuddle the Trolls because I’m not yet a published book author – and my professional work can’t be “reviewed” by them – yet I defend the bullied authors.

Also, added bonus: threats to a federal agent are punishable with jail time and fines. Item of note, Trolls. Yes, I’m her. Your worst nightmare.

We’re on to you, Trolls, and this time, we’ll be the only ones laughing.

What is Psychodrama?

Psychodrama is a word my family coined years ago which refers to created, unnecessary, useless drama. I doubt we’re the first to come up with it, and I’m sure “psychodrama” can mean other things, but whenever I refer to “psychodrama” this is what I mean.

Items of Note

  • Trolls (unprofessional, irresponsible and criminal reviewers) leaving nasty reviews based solely on authors they don’t like.
  • Being unhappy with the changes in a moderation policy for a popular reading site, and taking that out on authors they think are involved by leaving one-star ratings minus any review.
  • Creating drama unnecessarily and having a hissy fit for not getting one’s way.
  • Often found among people who believe their opinions matter most in a world of insignificance and that everyone else’s world revolves around them.
  • Gossip and games, along with ridiculous behavior, most commonly found among middle school girls and their peers.

Try to use “psychodrama” in a sentence today. Need a topic? Check out my post about GoodReads. Psychodrama abounds!

child throwing a hissy fit

Adult doesn’t get his or her way + thinks world revolves around him or her = psychodrama & hissy fit.

Journey through Love: Lisa Bilbrey releases fourth novella of collection

cover of "Journey to a New Life" with baby feet

“Journey to a New Life” cover/copyrighted by Lisa Bilbrey/used with permission

Lisa Bilbrey, author of The Journey Collection, believes in the power of love – and that love will conquer all.

“Life isn’t easy,” Bilbrey said. “But if you hold onto the ones you love, let them help you through the dark times, the journey will mean something.”

This is the central theme of Bilbrey’s recently-released novella and  the fourth in her series, The Journey Collection. Each book focuses on the main character, Travis, a former football star who has to let go of his dreams following an injury.

The Journey Home opens the series and introduces readers to Travis, who returns home to figure out the meaning of his life. “He finds a part of himself there and can’t let it go,” Bilbrey explained.

The second book, The Journey of Champions, finds Travis questioning his decisions in life and longing to return home to his family. In Journey to Forever, Travis settles into a new life with his betrothed and a new job coaching high school football.

Her latest book, Journey to a New Life, finds Travis and his now wife expecting their first child. The decisions he made as an 18-year-old impact his life in ways he may not have expected.

“For me, The Journey Collection is more than just a romance series,” Bilbrey said. “But the story of a man who is broken and finds his way back home, and finds the happiness he never knew he wanted. It’s a collection about hope, love, and family.”

Bilbrey sets the collection in Clarendon, Texas – where she lives, and where football is a way of life for many boys with two practices each day. “When game starts, the community nearly shuts down and everyone converges into the stands of the field to cheer our boys on,” Bilbrey said.

Her teenaged son is one of those boys: “football is his life,” she said.

“When the storyline hit me, I knew I wanted to write about the Texas boy who found himself on the cusp of everything, just to have to return home — where he belongs,” Bilbrey said.

Journey to a New Life is Bilbrey’s ninth release. She has written four other novellas as part of the Renaissance Romance Publishing’s Candy Collection: Life’s Unexpected Gifts, A Season of Change, The Apartment (penned as B.F. Betty), and Broken Hearts & Dusty Dreams. She also has a paranormal romance novella, Angel’s Heart: The Keeper.

For more information about Bilbrey and her books, visit her websites: Lisa Bilbrey, author, on Facebook or About Me: Lisa Bilbrey.

Places to purchase any of her novellas are listed after Fun Faves.

fancy page break

Here at One Story Slinger, we like to get to know the authors behind the stories. Here are some fun facts about Lisa Bilbrey, Featured Author for Sept. 25, 2013:

     Fun Faves about Lisa Bilbrey, author of The Journey Collection
Song: The Story by Brandi Carlile
Color: Red
Food: Sunflower seeds
Book: Wishing Cotton by Elizabeth M. Lawrence
Movie: Newsies

     Random Fun Fact: Lisa Bilbrey has a twin sister! When the twins were 19, her sister had to have her appendix removed. During the tissue biopsy, doctors found evidence of a possible third baby. To this day, Lisa’s family teases her sister about “eating” the potential triplet, and jokes that Lisa was lucky to get out alive! 🙂

Where to Purchase Lisa Bilbrey’s books
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Bilbrey/e/B0073U40XI

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/lisa-bilbrey

ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/lisa-bilbrey/id541806230?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-journey-to-a-new-life

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/352125

Authors, want to be featured on One Story Slinger? Readers, what authors do you want to see featured here? Find out more here or click on the “Featured Authors” tab at the top.

Daily Writing Prompt #17.13 – Worst Case Scenario Girl (9/24/13)

If you were a superhero, what would your name and your powers be? I would definitely be Worst Case Scenario Girl – able to immediately conclude the Worst Possible Outcome for any given situation, and be anxious about said situation. We’re all gonna die! (I would not be a calming person to be around on a flight crashing into an ocean or an island…)

Write a piece of flash fiction or a poem about your Superhero.

Happy Writing!

cartoon of computer simulated worst case scenario

 

Daily Writing Prompt #16.13 – Autumn’s Arrival (9/23/13)

Autumn is finally here! As someone who suffers from daily migraines frequently triggered by humidity, I welcome the cooler air, changing leaves, and pumpkin-spice aroma in everything…although I don’t care for pumpkin pie!

Write about what Autumn means to you – a new season, new perspective; the school year starting; or even just the return of your favorite shows. (Season 9 of How I Met Your Mother, the final season, premieres tonight. American Horror Story: Coven will premiere on Oct. 9. Those are two of my faves!) Write a poem or a short story/flash fiction piece, and capture the spirit of the season. Try capturing the season itself as a character.

Happy Writing!

autumn wooded path

A walk in autumn

Daily Writing Prompt #15.13 – Hidden Cache (9/21/13)

We all have secrets, and we all have places we hide them. Either in our hearts and mind, or more tangible places like an old hat box in the closet…or under your own bed. (Perhaps under a bed that’s not your own? Hmm…)

What do you hide under your bed? Secrets? Off-season wardrobe? The doorway to another land? Gifts for next Christmas? Something you broke, can’t fix and need to hide from someone? Write a flash fiction piece about the hidden cache you slumber upon.

Happy Writing!

under the bed storage

Under the bed cache – survival or hoarding?