“Master” and Social Media – 9/6

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Waddup, waddup.

I’ve been busy the last few days setting up a twitter and goodreads account. Well, not really. Setting up the accounts were easy – it’s figuring out what I’m supposed to do with them that has been giving me trouble.

My introduction to social media was myspace, but that was all about adding friends. I don’t even have a personal facebook account, and until two weeks ago ‘flippy’ was the only phone I felt comfortable using.

flip phone

  • That’s flippy.

Anyway, I’m in the midst of a social media push, tweeting like a madman about meaningful things… When you use a hashtag, are you supposed to press the pound sign (#), or is there a special hashtag button I’m unaware of?

Goodreads is another story. It looks like I can host a blog there, similar to wordpress. I tried taking one of their quizzes, thinking it would help me find friends or gain followers. Three hours into it, I noticed the quiz was titled “Never Ending Quiz.” I stopped taking it right then and there. I didn’t even get a good enough score for book worms to let me into their prestigious reading clubs.

I’ve got five beta readers working on ‘Master’ right now, and they’ve been overwhelmingly positive and excited about the material in their responses. That’s huge for me, because for the first time in my life I can honestly say I have a product that’s entertaining, thought-provoking, and ‘hard to put down’. It may not sound like much, but until you’ve put your own work under the spotlight, you have no idea how difficult writing entertaining fiction can be. #wordpressed

  • Thomas M. Watt

Craig and the BK Lounge – Part 1

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Craig had ten minutes before he’d be introducing himself as the keynote speaker in a conference that included fifteen of the country’s richest CEOs. He was across the street from the building, and just about to pull in, when he made a last minute decision to yank the steering wheel left, and take his rented Mercedes over to Burger King.

If he didn’t eat now, he’d be speaking on an empty stomach for the next five hours. And Craig knew all too well that this was his last chance to impress the right people and find a way to save his house from foreclosure. Hell, if it went really well, he might even be able to lease a decent car!

“What you want?” came the voice through the drive-thru menu.

“Yea, just give me a minute, I need to order something healthy. Sorry, I just can’t afford to feel like crap today.”

Craig looked sharp – freshly pressed suit, striped tie, polished shoes. He checked himself in the rear-view mirror, then brushed the little bit of hair he had left over his bald spot. Craig frowned.

“Go get food somewhere else then.” Said the drive-through speaker.

“Sorry? What was that?”

“If our food’s so crappy, order somewhere else.”

“No, I didn’t mean that,” said Craig. He smeared his forehead with his hand. “I just said, I said I can’t afford to feel crappy today. I’d like to order a-”

“Oh,” said the drive-thru employee. There was a sudden static sound, like a hand had grabbed onto the microphone. “He said he doesn’t want to feel crappy today.”

Craig heard a second employee say: “So our food makes people feel like crap, now?”

“No, just this asshole. Look at him. Sitting in his Mercedez, new suit, thinks he’s better than us. You’re bald asshole, why don’t you just go kill yourself!”

“Uh, excuse me,” said Craig.

“What you want?”

“Just forget it. I’m not going to order anything, just let me pass through and I’ll-”

“OH!” said the employee through the speaker. “Couldn’t find the non-crap menu, is that it?”

“No, it’s not that. I just have a really important conference that I need to get to.”

The same crumpled static sound returned. Craig shut his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose as he overheard another private conversation.

“What’d that bald asshole say?”

“He says he’s got a important conference to go to. Says our foods not that crappy.”

“He says it’s not that crappy?”

“Yea! You believe that?”

“Tell him he gets a free meal, on us.”

“Why?”

“So we can spit in it.”

Craig crossed his arms and waited for the employee to return to him.

“Sir,” came the voice.

“Yea?” said Craig.

“We at the Burger King have decided to offer you a free meal to make up for our crappy service.”

“It’s really ok. I’m just going to pass through once this guy in front of me gets his meal.” He checked his watch – five minutes before he needed to be on stage.

“Oh. Don’t worry, we got a speedy delivery service.”

Craig scratched his temple, then muttered to himself. “Speedy delivery?”

The customer ahead of him completed their purchase. The employee in the drive-thru window stuck his head out, then pointed at Craig. He had eyes as narrow as a falcons, and a long mullet in the back. He held an Xtra large fountain soda in one hand, and pointed at Craig with the other.

“Oh no,” said Craig.

He slammed down the gas pedal, and burned rubber as he tore through the drive-thru lane. Right as he was passing the window, both employees hurled coca-cola and french fries into the rental Mercedez. The food and drink splashed and stuck to Craig’s clean suit.

“Shit!” Craig yelled, screeching to a halt. He got out from his Mercedez and brushed the fries off. He shook his head, then shut his eyes and took a deep breath.

“Can’t afford to be upset today,” he told himself. “The wife and kids are counting on you.”

Craig opened his eyes to find the fast food manager standing by the doorway outside.

“Buford, Marlon! Get out here, some suit driving a Mercedez just poured his french fries out. Come pick it up.”

“Oh no,” said Craig. He rushed back into the rental car, sped straight across the street, then pulled into the parking lot. He took another deep breath, then spoke to himself again. “You can do this. Just calm down, that’s all behind you now.”

Craig exited his Mercedez, straightened his coca-cola stained suit, then checked his watch – he still had three minutes. “Punctuation is key to peak performance,” he said then adjusted his striped tie and smiled.

“You!”

Craig slowly turned and looked in the direction of the yell. Running across the street was Buford and Marlon.

Buford pointed with his mop. “You think you can desecrate the BK lounge and get away with it!”

“Dear… God,” said Craig.

To be continued…

  • Thomas M. Watt

Social Media and Flippy

Along with the importance clothing your book with an enticing cover, it has come to my attention that another necessary step along the path to literary success is social media. You can credit Ashlee Willis, author of the well-known fantasy novel “The Word Changers,” for bringing this to my attention.

Unfortunately for me, I hate social media.

I pretty much loath electronic communication in general – for proof, here’s a picture of my phone:

flip phone

That’s right, I own a flip phone. Let me take it a step further – I paid fifty dollars more to get that hunk of junk than I would have had to pay for an Iphone. Why?

1. My last touch screen phone pocket-dialed every time I put it in my pocket.

2. Sending a text on that thing takes 5-10 minutes. Why is that a good thing? I’m an impulsive person. Impulsive people say things they regret later on… often.

3. No internet or games. Why is that a good thing? Because when you’re goal is to make a living as an indie author, you’ve pretty much signed a contract that stipulates any wasted time will result in ‘insufficient funds’.

Though I personally have no problem with flippy, the opinions of others have gotten to me. For one thing, even when I manage to get a girl’s digits, every time I whip out flippy they look at me like, “Oh… you’re poor.” Not to mention technological progress is inevitable, and if you don’t get with the times you’ll get run-over by them.

So back to social media – What can you expect to find me doing on my new Thomas M. Watt twitter, facebook, goodreads, and google + pages? Well I’ll tell you – I have no idea. Probably doing my best not to send out updates like “I hate facebook” or post tweets like “f’ twitter.”

One thing I’ve noticed, successful people are quite often positive people. I guess that means I should post things like “Way of the world, coming soon!!!”

Because an exclamation mark is a sure sign that your product is something that will make your customers happy. God forbid I post “Way of the World, coming soon.” I can only imagine the ‘negative vibes’ such a tweet or update would send out to the rest of the exclamation mark loving population. I’d probably get booted from those sites in no time.

Anyway, that’s what I’m up to today. Anybody have any advice for how I should dive into these new social media platforms? How do you gain followers on twitter? Do you think there are book blogs that would be willing to discuss the “Way of the World” as part of a virtual blog tour?

I received some great responses yesterday, and can only hope to get more of the same today.

– Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”

James meets Penny Part 1 – Building the Stakes

Durr

The quest of your protagonist will matter more to your readers when the repercussions of failing at that goal will have known devastating internal or external consequences.

In the following scene, James puts Penny on such a high pedestal that his initial encounter with her will have a drastic effect on his psychological well-being. All of this build-up is being done to create greater tension and conflict later on, which you will see in the second half of the chapter when it is posted tomorrow.

Every piece of dialogue or description that is designed to increase the stakes (the importance of James’ 1st conversation with Penny) is in bold typeface. The following is an excerpt from my novel “A New Kingdom.”

* * *

CHAPTER 12    

TSSH TSSH TST. The clamor from pots and pans being whacked together rang throughout the room. James slowly wiggled out from his bed and peeled his crusty eyes open. The clashing metal meant that it was time to wake up and get some breakfast, at least for James’ group.

It’d been nearly ten months since the invasion. Life in the underground military base consisted of the same monotonous routine, day-after-day. But group breakfast was the moment James most looked forward to – that was because Penny’s group always followed his.

Penny was the name of the blonde girl who always wore the yellow rubber boots. He still hadn’t ever spoken to her, but a couple times she’d caught him staring at her. This day, though, James planned to ignore her completely. That way he could tell if she liked him back. If she did, he’d catch her staring at him. It was a foolproof plan.

James and his group made their way into the long hallway. Juan put the pots and pans down. James wished him a ‘buenos tardes’ and received a smile back.

“I hate this friggen hall,” Roy muttered. He never woke up in a good mood.

“Morning Roy,” Janie said, as she past him.

“Morning,” said Roy. When she was far enough away, he whispered to James, “What a smoke-show.”

“Good morning guys!” Said Bill, who was walking right behind them.

“Morning Bill! Uhh, Great day, huh?” Called back Roy.

“Sure is.” Said Bill with a chipper voice, before letting out the standard giggle that came at the end of his every sentence. He skip-jogged to catch up with his wife.

Janie, who was second chair in the Underground Council, led James and the gang through the plant room and into the food area. Roy refused to refer to it by that name, and insisted on calling it the, ‘Homeless Buffet.’ He called it that because the ‘Food area’ was no more than an aluminum trashcan. It was filled twice daily with palm-sized portions that were determined by the council. Conservation was a fundamental rule for survival, Fitz had declared. Even those who were whittling down to skin and bone, and spent their days with arms over their bellies, were not permitted to eat more than their allotted share.

Janie handed out a packet of instant oatmeal to each of the bedmates, as well as canned pineapples for them to share. On the clipboard hanging from the trashcan, she wrote down exactly what foods they ate and the size of their portions. To avoid mistakes, each person had to sign off. This process was required by every group, for every meal.

James waited anxiously for Roy to sign. Penny and her group would be coming down the hallway any minute.

“Canned pineapples again, huh? You really ought’a talk to Fitz about changing it up a little,” Roy said to Janie.

“I would, but every man I talk to around here looks at me like they want to bend me over and-”

Roy popped the can open and spilled juice onto his chest and stomach. He hurried over to the sink to let the excess liquid drain out.

“Are you alright, Roy?”

“Uh, yeah… How do men look at you?”

James poked his head outside. Penny’s group was coming down the hallway. He didn’t want her to spot him sitting by himself, though. Then she’d think he was a loser.

“Like they want to bend me over to their perspective on things.”

“Oh. Course.”

 “C’mon Roy, sign the sheet,” said James.

 “What’s your hurry, kid? Got a date?”

 “What? No. Why?”

Roy laughed as he dried his shirt off. “All right, all right.” He signed the sheet and walked along with James out into the hallway. They reached their typical spot and sat down. Roy and James always played Go Fish during breakfast.

“Hurry Roy, deal them out,” said James.

“Geeze, hold your horses, I will!”

James wanted to look like he was busy when Penny walked by, so that she wouldn’t know that he was ignoring her on purpose.

After Roy dealt the cards, he spotted Penny and her group coming up the hallway. Roy looked back at James with a troublesome grin.

“What?” whispered James.

Roy shook his head and continued to smirk.

James adjusted his sitting position to be more upright, and when he spoke he did so with a manlier voice than normal. She might have been close enough to hear. “C’mon, let’s play.”

“That’s it kid, I can’t watch you embarrass yourself any longer.” Roy tossed his cards, stood up, and walked toward the group. James looked away nervously, hoping to God that Roy wouldn’t do what James was absolutely certain he was about to do.

To be continued…

* * *

Hope this helps!

– Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”

A Handshake Precedes an Indecent Request – Part 3 – GRAND FINALE!

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Mr. Huerto grabbed Marie by the arm just before she reached the front door. “You’re going nowhere!”

“Let me go!”

“No!” He screamed. “Not until you explain yourself. Did you marry me for my money, expecting to take it and marry Joe after he returned from prison?”

She squirmed. “Joe, help me!”

Joe shook his head. “Tell the man, Marie.”

Marie shrugged her arm free. “Fine.” She let out a breath. “Yeah, maybe I did. Maybe I thought it would be the ultimate surprise for Joe when he got out. I loved him!”

“Loved?” said Joe.

She looked at Mr. Huerto, and rubbed his shoulder. “But something happened! I actually fell in love with you along the way! I don’t just want your money, I want you!”

“What about me?” Said Joe.

“Well… I still care about you! But things change! You’ve been gone for so long, Joe! What did you expect? How could you not think things would change?”

Joe grew teary eyed. “That whole time in prison, I served that sentence for you… for us!”

“Well what about me!” Cried Mr. Huerto. “I’m the true victim in all this! To think I’ve been duped, like some kind of idiot!”

“You weren’t duped!” Said Marie. “I love you! You’re my husband!”

“I”m a mockery! Our marriage is a complete sham!”

“No! It only started out that way!” Said Marie.

The door swung open, and Billy the butler rocketed in. “Good heavens!” He said, in a gasp. “What’s going on here? Who are you?” He said to Joe.

“That’s Joe,” said Mr. Huerto. “Fresh from prison.”

Billy the butler gasped again, and ran straight to Mr. Huerto. He hugged both arms around his neck. “Intruder! Don’t touch my man!”

Marie and Joe both gasped.

“Your man?” said Joe.

Mr. Huerto dropped his gaze and scratched the back of his head. He spoke solemnly. “Yes, I’m afraid it’s true.”

“What?” Said Marie, with a sniff.

“Me and Billy the butler.” He hardly managed to look back to her. “We’re in love.”

Marie slapped Billy the butler in the chest, and then he slapped her back. They both engaged in fit of wrist flickings, until Joe held Marie back.

“So our marraige IS a sham!” Cried Marie.

“Yes, but darling!” Said Mr. Huerto. “This can all be fixed!”

“How?” She said. “How can all this be fixed?”

Mr. Huerto shrugged. “Well… we can just stay married, and Joe can live here. Come night time, I’ll sleep with Billy the butler, and you can sleep with Joe.”

Everyone else shrugged as well.

An hour later, they sat before the television set, watching a feel-good movie by the fireplace. Mr. Huerto kissed Billy the butler on the cheek, and Joe kissed Marie on the lips.

“One big happy family,” said Mr. Huerto.

“I guess so,” said Joe, before winking to Marie. “We’re gonna go grab some more popcorn from the kitchen. We’ll be quick.”

As Joe and Marie walked hand and hand to the other room, Billy the butler turned and called out to them over shoulder.

“So will we!”

Everyone laughed extra laughingly.

THE END

– Thomas M. Watt

And the Liebster Award Goes to…

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1.) Where do good ideas come from?

2.) Five minutes with any celebrity – who would it be and what would you say?

3.) Who is your favorite writer, and why?

4.) What is more important for authors today – being an artist or having networking skills?

6.) Would you rather have great sex or an avid readership?

7.) You are walking down the street and see the most awful sight you could ever imagine. What is it?

8.) The life of a writer – Blessed or burdened?

9.) SpongeBob SquarePants or television news?

10.) Tell us about your most current book or WIP –

  • Give me the title and a quick pitch.
  • Why are you in love with this idea?
  • What am I going to get out of this, as a reader?

And the award for this years, 2013 Liebster goes to…

1.) Misha Burnett – Exceptionally smart and a true recluse. Wrote, “Catskinner’s Book,” a science fiction/urban fantasy novel.

2.) Adrienne Morris from Middlemay Farm – Gifted writer and nostalgia fanatic. Winner of the Editors’ Choice award for, “The House on Tenafly Road.”

3.) Kevin Brown – Writes with directness and purpose to each and every word. Published close to 200 articles for Examiner.

4.) Christine Keleny –  Writer, reader, author, and publisher. She’s most famous for writing the entire Rose trilogy, and runs CK Books. Her blog is a must-follow for any aspiring author.

5.) Ayse Juaneda – Her paintings are legendary. Genius. Beautiful. Best artist in the world? I think so.

Congratulations to all you award winners! Answer my questions and nominate the bloggers who you think are deserving. Fill out your own list of questions, then spread the Liebster love by announcing your own winners.

Dangling From the Empire State Building, David opened his eyes…

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Dangling From the Empire State Building, David opened his eyes. His feet were bound by the rope, and his freezing face was being slapped by the cold wind. Down below, the tourist were all pointing at him, undoubtedly wondering if he was a man or a new flag.

“Dammit!” Screamed David. He regretted everything at that point. The bets, the women, the drug orgies. He hated himself for it.

He suddenly dropped a few inches. When David looked up, he realized the rope was already tearing. His wrists were tied up behind his back. He had to get out. He had to break free.

Though his life was nearing an end, the knowledge of his past mistakes were stabbing at him relentlessly. As he pulled with all his might to break his wrists apart, his mind kept replaying the doggie-orgies he used to watch while taking diet-pills with all those scandalous house-wives. He never should have bet on Coco the weiner dog. It just wasn’t realistic to believe it could ‘do it’ with a grey hound.

“Argh!” David screamed, just as he managed to break his wrists out from behind his back. He tugged the rope at his feet, broke it off from the rest of the line, then fell with his arms raised in triumph before splattering on the pavement down below, splashing all the onlookers with a wave of his blood.

THE END!

– Thomas M. Watt