Friday 10 August 2012

#FridayFlash - Third In The Polls

Dai didn't want to be the bearer of bad news, but as the new boy, the task fell to him. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door, hoping that his leader wasn't the type to shoot the messenger.


A deep voice boomed within the chamber on the other side of the door. Dai gripped the doorknob with a trembling hand and slipped inside the room.


Raymond sat behind a massive walnut desk, surrounded by piles of books. His pale amber eyes peered at Dai over the top of a trade newspaper. Dai held out the communication from the main office.

"Sir, we're down in the polls again."

"We're what?"

Raymond dropped his newspaper and snatched the list from Dai. His eyes skipped across the results, coming to rest on the final tallies for the month.

"We've dropped to third? How did we let this happen?"

"It's so difficult, sir, they've really raised its game and they're giving the people what they want." Dai stared at the floor. He didn't want to admit that some of what their competition had been saying was actually pretty good. Particularly the newest guy, a Navajo in Colorado.

"And what's this? Even the independents are catching us up?" Raymond jabbed his finger at several names further down the list.

"Well, sir, there will always be people who want to offer something a little different. There's one guy in Cape Town, he's really saying things that have never really been said before."

"I don't care - it's not good enough. Not good enough at all. And these upstarts in second did we end up falling behind them? They're still such newcomers compared to us - how can the people listen to such a horde of screeching idiots?"

Dai said nothing. Raymond studied his face before thrusting the list back into Dai's hand.

"I've had enough. Get the PR department on the phone, I want to know what they're playing at. We've had much stronger candidates out there recently - we should be trouncing the opposition."

"Yes, sir. Right away."

"And while you're at it, let it be known that I will not let those bloodsuckers, or those mindless thugs, beat us again." Raymond swung his chair around to face the window. He stared out at the view, thick forests coating the rolling hills in ancient bark.

"Yes, sir."

"We're werewolves, Dai. We deserve better than this. We will make the people remember who, and what, we are."

* * *

Image by SirSlasher. If you're interested in the Navajo in Colorado then you can buy Crooked Fang here, and the young man in Cape Town is the star of Inkarna, available here.

Thursday 9 August 2012

Should writers use Pinterest?

The ever helpful Kristen Lamb has a post over on her blog about why writers should be using Pinterest. Pinterest, for those who don't know, is a service by which you can create a 'board' and 'pin' images that you think are interesting. You can create boards for almost anything, from showing off your own artwork to sharing those images and photos that you've found online. Kristen suggests creating boards full of photos that inspired a book you've written, in the same way that some authors create musical playlists that accompanied the writing process.

I know, I know, almost every person who runs a blog about writing seems to post something every other day about why you should use this or that new profile/network/social media - it seems like something new comes out on a fairly regular basis and we're always being told that if we don't jump on the bandwagon, we risk being left behind by those people who embrace new technology. It gets confusing, and after a while, you find you're spending more time trying to figure out new stuff, and less time actually writing. Where's the sense in that? It's madness, I tell you.

Now, I read this particular post with some interest because I like the idea of Pinterest but I just wasn't sure how I could actually use it. If you take a look at my boards, you'll see I currently have four. I've got Colour Swatches, which is a collection of the colour palettes I've put together using my own photographers, and which are available for download in various formats over on (but you can still sample the colours from these bad boys on Pinterest using the Eyedropper tool in Photoshop). There's also a board for my Creative Photography, which I keep forgetting to update since I put everything on Flickr as standard. There's Old Photos, which are cool old photos that I've found online, and Fabric Designs, which is comprised of the fabric designs that I have for sale on Spoonflower. I'm hardly setting the world of Pinterest alight.

But is there greater scope here? I could easily create a board themed according to The Guns of Retribution, and pin photos of locations that inspired the book, or images of Grey's weaponry. I could create one for The Necromancer's Apprentice, dedicated to supernatural, fantastical or mummy-related imagery. Humans are by their nature a visual species so would this be a better way of sparking interest, by pinning interesting photos or asking people to contribute their own? After all, people can sometimes shy away from reading a sample of a book based on nothing more than a brief blurb, but if images stimulate their imagination, then they're bringing more visual acumen to the reading experience - which can only really enhance it. For example, if I have a board full of pictures of the Arizona desert, Old West ghost towns, Colt Peacemakers and Victorian photos from the 1880s, you're going to have a much better mental image of the world of The Guns of Retribution.

I suppose my question is...would it be worth going to the effort of creating one?

Monday 6 August 2012

Photo Prompt 97

New prompt available!

If you want to use the prompt, all I ask is that you include a link to this entry and a credit to me for the photograph, and that you post a link to your story in the comments box below so I can see what you've come up with! If you don't comment on this entry, then I can't comment on your story.

The 97th prompt is Castle on the Rock.

Lindisfarne Castle

All photo prompts are my own photography - you can find more of it on Flickr. You can also buy my prints from Deviantart. 20% of all proceeds go to charity - the other 80% go towards my PhD fees!