Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Single Moment Of Red (A To Z)(250=1)

This is one of those days when I feel why bother? Not many new visitors from the A to Z challenge, so should I keep explaining? OH FINE.

1. There are TWO A to Z posts here, folks. This one and the next: a 250-word short story and a serialized story about the alphabet.

2. BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT:  Andrew Leon has published a short work, "The Magic Cookies," which features a great story that's something of a change of pace for him -- despite the title, there's no magic here -- and the book, available for 99 cents, has an extra story in it from ME, so it's quite a deal. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

3.  Free Books! Or, book: every day, a free book from me. The current free book is my collection of short stories Just Exactly How Life Looks, which has (among other amazing stories) the first short story I ever wrote, "Thinking The Lions," about a couple (maybe?) on safari. CLICK HERE to get it free!

And now, your 250-word short story:

A Single Moment Of Red.

Mars had been coming up on the Earth, orbit-wise, when it exploded. Some people thought that gave us a chance, to outrace the fragments before they hit us.

Cal knew better. It felt too right: his life bookended by meteorite strikes.  The moment he’d heard it on the news he knew that a piece of Mars was going to hit Earth and blow it up.

I was born in a meteor shower: it made a great story at parties and the capper was that a meteorite had actually struck his family’s house while his mom waited for the ambulance to get there (his dad off on the rig) so that fire engines, red and gleaming, followed closely after the paramedics, arrived to a half-collapsed, half exploded house finding his mom sitting on the front lawn holding him wrapped in a Pittsburgh Steelers beach towel.

Videos now online– why were people still posting things online? Probably hope – showed the piece that hit Venus and showed asteroids exploding when they collided with chunks of Mars.

And then one piece had the right angle,  was caught by Earth’s gravity, and Cal’s grim certainty was proven right. The piece glowed in the sky for a week, larger, redder, each day.  On the final day it was a second sunrise sped up impossibly fast. Cal, who had quit his job seven weeks before, was out walking in the woods, trying not to tell himself this would make an excellent story. 


Robin said...

First off, I really like this story. I didn't like the graphic because it moved and was distracting. But this is one of my favorite of the 250 word stories that you've posted.

Now, I am going to jump out on a very weak limb and attempt to help you with your A to Z issues. Can you add a Google Friend Connect button to this blog? I am dead serious about this. On a blog that doesn't have one, I think long and hard about following, whereas if I like it pretty well and want to read more (and there is a GFC button, I follow). If there is no button, I might not follow even if I like it okay. I don't know how to unfollow it and it just clogs up my dashboard. (I follow by copy/pasting the URL, but I don't know who to delete it.)

Next... how much time are YOU devoting to following new blogs and really reaching for a unique comment? This is hard work. I know it. I have given you a TON of new people to reach out to with my A to Z postings. Many of those folks would enjoy this blog and might want to contribute to it.

So, give your MINDBLOWING comment on their blog and then tell them you like their writing so much that you would like them to visit your blog Lit. You think they are so talented that you would like them to consider submitting a story for this blog... and you PAY for stories.

Also go back to the A to Z participants and pick those who have indicated that they are writers. Visit their blogs and do the same as mentioned above.

This is why the A to Z is WORK. The biggest part of the work is not writing your own post. It is all of the visiting and commenting.

And... for the rest of this challenge NO MATTER WHAT only post one 250 word story per day (along with your running story on the alphabet). That one day that you posted a TON of stories does more to hurt you than help you gain new followers during the A to Z.

A note of encouragement... I am going to feature you as one of my letters before this is all done. So, you should put up something excellent, but not too long, on your Thinking The Lions site. And I will go back and edit what I wrote to mention this site.

Hang in there!

Dawn Malone said...

I'm sorry that you're not getting the feedback you thought you'd get when you joined the A to Z. I'm here to echo what Robin just said. She hit all the right points. That GFC option really makes a difference; it's a very simple way to keep track of who visits/follows you, and if you're connecting with other blogs, a way for you to find the blogs which you enjoy and follow. The A to Z is more about connecting with others than driving traffic to your blog. If you put an honest effort into the first objective, people will come to you.
I love your writing, BTW!

Rusty Carl said...

It's quality you're after, not quantity. And man, what quality!

Booger booger fart.

I wonder if Mars exploded because it was sad.

Andrew Leon said...

Not that I don't agree with Robin, because I do, but I have found that this year, in particular, there are more people not getting around to other blogs even when you comment on theirs. So, then, it becomes an analysis of how much work you want to put in for very little return, especially in the second half of a-z when people really start dropping out all together.

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, and I like the story.

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, and I have no idea what Rusty is going on about. Unless he's attempting to fart on you. If so, you need to make him some cookies.

Jean Davis said...

I did enjoy the story, but I almost didn't bother to get down to it because of all the up front stuff. Maybe put the story first so visitors are sure what is going on with your A to Z post and then the promotional stuff after that? I do agree that the animated picture was very distracting while trying to read.

This year there are so many entries that it's quite overwhelming to pick which to visit. I skim the list to find other writing related posts and always visit those who visit me.

Liz A. said...

What Robin said about getting more visitors. (I've been getting a ton, but mostly because I've been visiting my five a day, I think.)

Can the next story have a happy ending? Please?

Joy Pagel said...


I was more just blowing off steam.

The Google Friend Connect thing is a good point that you've mentioned before, Robin, and I'll have to figure out how to do that.

The visiting other blogs is also a good point: I check out all the ones you list, and every day I randomly pick 2-3 new ones from the A to Z list and check them out. I've added about 5 blogs to my (semi) permanent list of blogs to read as much as I can, and two to the "check every day" list.

(The check every day list is quite limited but you are on it, Robin, as is Andrew, and as are Rusty and Liz).

The idea of the announcements being last is also a good one.

But as for posting longer or shorter stories: the 250 stories are easy to write (I can do one in 10-30 minutes). If I feel like doing a longer one, I will, but I try to warn people. I've long ago decided that if people are scared off by longer posts, then they'll have to look elsewhere for stories.

But I appreciate everyone's help.

And Liz: I'll work on a happy ending.

Joy Pagel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joy Pagel said...



If you see "Joy" commenting, that's me not knowing Sweetie was signed in.