Thursday, May 28, 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 159

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Flash fiction lightning streak image

This story is for Miranda Kate's weekly flash challenge. This is from Miranda's post: This week's picture prompt is Jeannie Anne Numos aka i-am-JENius over on their page on DeviantArt, an artist based in the Philippines. They have some incredible pieces. I might have to use a few more. This one's titled 'Vanished Route to Demirville'. 

Here's a link to the prompt image. This is a very short story, even for a flash fiction. Please note that anyone can join in with a story up to 750 words. Mine has 747 words for those who are counting (not including the title, scene break marker, and byline). I've also placed the story on my Patreon site (free access!). There is also downloadable PDF version of the story there.

All That Glitters

K. R. Smith

The fog was thick. Brad almost missed the old man digging around the base of a large oak as he walked along the tracks. The man said nothing as he approached, but watched him as he picked his footing over the slippery, moss-cover ties between the rusting tracks.

"Hello," Brad said, waving his hand. Still, the old man remained silent. Brad introduced himself again, then asked, "Do you live around here?"

The old man took a moment before replying. "Not far. But I can tell you don't."

"Really? How?"

"Because you're headin' towards that deserted mine."

"You know about it?"

The old man laughed. "Everyone around here knows."

"I've bought the mineral rights, but I can't find any record of when the mine opened. 

Somebody had to dig it out. You wouldn't have any local knowledge on that, would you?"
"Nope. But I've heard folks say that dark hole was here as long as anyone can remember."

"You've been there?"

"Near enough not to want to go back."

"People say there's gold inside."

"People say a lot of things."

"I take it you don't put much stock in those stories."

"Don't know either way."

"So, what treasure are you searching for?"


"I can buy more ginseng with a few nuggets of gold than you can dig in a month."

"Gold don't do ya no good when your dead."

"Neither does ginseng."

"True enough. But I don't plan on dyin'."

"So, you're not interested in gold?"

"Not from that place. Folks around here are wise enough to know better," the old man said as he looked over the stranger in front of him. "Unlike some others."

"Look, I know mines are dangerous. I've spent my life working these old claims. Made a decent living at it. What's so special about this one?"

"There's something down there. Something that don't like sharing."

"Something? That's all you can tell me?"

"Never met it. Don't want to, neither."

"Does everyone around here believe this?"

"The smart ones do. Some say it's a beast of sorts. Others say it's spirits, like the Kachinas."

"Well, I don't believe in monsters or magic. And the Hopis are a thousand miles west."

The old man just shrugged. "It's what some folks say. Then again, it might be people's imagination, I suppose. Hard to figure, though, why so many folks would be imaginin' something like that."

"So, you're afraid to even go in?"

"Going in ain't the problem. Comin' out is. Especially if you're taken anything out with you."

Brad smiled. "Or the boogeyman will get you?"

"Or something. That's why it's closed. No one was willing to work there. These tracks ain't been used in years."

"I guess I'll have to take my chances then, won't I?"

"Or you could find another old mine somewhere's else. Up to you."

"If it's all the same, I'll take a look for myself."

"I can't stop ya, but ya might wanna think twice."

As Brad continued down the tracks, he yelled back, "I'll think twice about the gold."

The old man wiped his brow, shook his head, then returned to his task. After half an hour, he heard twigs snapping in the woods. His eyes squinted. There was movement, but he couldn't identify what it was.

"Johnny?" he called. "Johnny Redfeather, is that you?"

"Yeah, Jake. It's me." A man in a blue flannel shirt appeared from behind a stand of large trees on one side of the tracks. "I see you've gotten a head start."

"Not much o' one. I heard someone was comin' to nose around that damned hole. Thought I'd best get moving. He left a short while back. Anyway, glad you're here. I'm about wore out."

"I heard the news, too. After the gold?"

"What else?"

"Then we'd better gather all we can. Ginseng's the only thing that seems to placate whatever's in there."


Johnny laughed. "Sorry. It means to calm down."

"Oh, okay. I can't understand half of what you say since you came back from that big-city college. Don't any of them smart folks know how to get rid of this thing?"

Johnny shook his head. "They don't teach about stuff like that there. Or even believe in it."

"Dang. Well, I hope there's enough ginseng left."

The sound of thunder echoed around them, but they could feel through their boots that the source was deep within the Earth.

Johnny glanced down the tracks. "Me too, Jake. Me, too."

© 2020 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Monday, May 25, 2020

Goodreads And Advertising

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I know I'm a bit late on this, but I have been busy...

Goodreads has ended their self-serve ads product.

I've run a number of Goodreads ad campaigns, and I do think they helped sell books, though it always helped if they were in conjunction with other ways to draw attention. Best of all, they could be done quickly and cheaply on a site that focused on readers. 

That's no longer an option.

This is from the Goodreads site:

Why did you end support for self-serve advertising? What will happen to my existing funds?

Feb 5, 2020 Knowledge

Goodreads no longer supports self-serve ad campaigns as of February 4, 2020. If you have advertising funds on Goodreads, please contact us – we will be able to refund these to you.

To promote your book, we encourage authors to use one of our other available offerings, such as:
  • Sponsor a giveaway (for U.S. and Canadian authors)
  • Participate in Ask the Author, which allows you to answer questions from your fans and readers
  • Share excerpts of upcoming publications and communicate with readers on your author blog
  • Join Goodreads groups that allow book promotion according to their group rules
  • Publicize upcoming events, such as book signings and speaking engagements
  • Consider Amazon’s self-serve ad product
The Goodreads staff didn't really answer why they ended the ads (they didn't even try), but I think it was to have ads run under the Amazon umbrella only. I also wonder if they were getting much revenue from the Goodreads ads. I didn't see anything about this on the internet. No complaining or flaming. I found out about it when I received a message saying they were refunding the few dollars I still had in an account. So maybe it's just me. As I mentioned, they could be done rather inexpensively. And I found the Goodreads ad campaign statistics useful at times. It seems the tools available for the small author are slowly disappearing.

I'm not sure what it would cost to run an Amazon ad campaign, but I have a feeling it will be more. At some point, I may try it. Or I may not. I'll let you know!

© 2020 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

From Quantico National Cemetery On Memorial Day

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A couple of pictures for Memorial Day 2020:

Quantico National Cemetery - May 2020
Quantico National Cemetery - May 2020

Quantico National Cemetery - May 2020
Quantico National Cemetery - May 2020


© 2020 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Holy Cow! Blogger Has Been Updated!

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I haven't been doing a lot of blogging here - most of my work has been going to my Patreon site.

Tonight, I logged in to make an update to a page and found the interface for editing had completely changed. Surprise!

New Blogger editing interface

I hope this means that Blogger will be around for a while and that has become a better tool. I'll have to spend some time with it to see. It also means relearning the tool, though it appears that won't be difficult. A lot looks like interface-only changes, but I'll play around a bit and see. It looks like spell-check is done automatically now. At least the attention means Google hasn't given up yet.

Maybe I'll even blog more often here!

© 2020 K. R. Smith All rights reserved