Bolt Flash Fiction :: Independence Day

It’s Independence Day on Monday so to get everyone ready for the celebrations we’ve got a patriotic themed picture for this week’s Bolt Flash Fiction prompt. Show your patriotic side in a 100 word story posted in the comments below. Then go out and have some fun as we celebrate our nation’s birthday!



This week’s featured story is by Eric Ramirez. Read it below!


Alex looked nervously at the enormous audience. He started, making a shrieking noise on the trumpet. Everyone laughed. Alex’s face turned red.Unexpectedly, the drummer came up and played in rhythm. Then the piano player made a beautiful melody. Everybody who brought instruments for the talent show played as best they could. Alex, relieved, played the trumpet like a pro, more confident. It was the best performance that night.

Posted in #BoltFlashFic, Flash Fiction, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

Stress Less Over Social Media :: Writer Wednesday with Build Your Brand

If you’re a writer, you may have experienced that composing a masterpiece feels easy compared to marketing it. Regardless of your publishing path, the expectation is for writers to be active online and engaging readers through social media; but with the myriad of networking sites and communities available, the job sometimes feels more fitting for Atlas than aspiring authors.

How can we writers stress less and enjoy the process more?

Start small.

We don’t have to do everything at once. Yes, let’s say it again until our subconscious registers this reality.

Start small.

For example, say you just signed up for Twitter and are trying to find your way. Don’t simultaneously create Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Periscope accounts. If you do, you’ll probably scratch off the item “create social media accounts” from your to-do list—and then never do anything with them.

Get comfortable with one or two platforms, and then grow from there.

Ask for help when you need it.

It’s okay, really. No one expects us to be an expert on everything.

If no one wants to go first, then I’ll step to the front of the line and testify that I’m learning new things every day. When I don’t know something, I figure it out or phone a friend. To me, the learning and growing process is part of the adventure.

Sometimes, though, we don’t know where to turn or who to ask. Author and entrepreneur Bethany Jett and I talked about this need by writers who may not be sure how to begin their social media presence. Together, we brainstormed the Build Your Brand Program.


Build Your Brand Program - Beta

In this six-month course, we break down social media topics into mini video sessions that members can work through at their own pace. These bite-size videos provide step-by-step directions for how to set up accounts, use popular features, and maximize the potential of these platforms.

Never stop learning.

The reason for courses like ours (and other workshops and boot camps available) is that they stretch us and challenge us not only to learn, but also to apply new knowledge in practical ways.

For example, the Build Your Brand Program “builds” upon each month so that members immediately begin developing their personal brands online and become more accessible to their audiences.

  • JulyBuild Your Site—Design a professional writer/author website using
  • AugustBuild Your Connections—Learn how to use Google+ and its popular apps to network with people who share your interests.
  • SeptemberBuild Your Audience—Maximize your blog by helping your audience find your site and improving engagement.
  • OctoberBuild Your Readership—Provide your readers with added value by offering a MailChimp newsletter. Learn the ins and outs of email campaigns, and grow subscribers.
  • NovemberBuild Your Visuals—Strengthen the visual side of your personal brand by creating professional images and designs with
  • DecemberBuild Your Following—Develop a professional presence using Facebook and Twitter.      

Bethany and I are looking for a limited number of writers to join the BETA membership program. If this sounds helpful to you, please reach out to us before membership closes July 1.

Remember the why.

Honestly, though, our program isn’t for everyone. Maybe you’ve already mastered the basics of social media, but you’ve become so distracted by all the chatter that you’ve lost your focus.

Whether you’re a social media beginner or advanced, the bottom line is to remember why we writers engage online: to better serve our readers. Our goal should be to build relationships, not compare numbers.

How can you better meet the needs of your readership using social media? What are your tips for enjoying the process without popping the Motrin? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Meet the Author

Kristen headshot3-2Kristen Hogrefe is a young adult fiction author and speaker for youth events and professional conferences. She leads an online Word Weavers’ group and takes pleasure in helping other writers share their stories. Together with Bethany Jett, she launched the Build Your Brand Program to teach writers basic social media topics and help them build their personal brands.

You can find Kristen blogging each week at where she challenges young adults to think truthfully and live daringly. She craves coffee, sunshine, and good books—and loves sharing them with friends.

To say hello or learn more about the Build Your Brand Program, visit


Bethany headshotAward-winning author and speaker Bethany Jett is a ghostwriter with her literary agency, creator of the My Moments Quarterly planner, Serious Writer Companion organizer, and founder of Serious Writer Academy.

She has written articles for numerous publications, been interviewed internationally for various radio stations, and has spoken at numerous conferences, retreats, and church events.

Bethany LOVES all things girly, her military husband Justin, and their three adorable little boys.


Posted in Quick Tips, Writer Wisdom Tagged with: , , ,

Bill and Sue’s Great Adventure

“Nothing like roughing it in the great outdoors,” Bill said, the heavy hammer pinging off the first metal tent stake. “We’re gonna have a blast.”

Sue sighed as she wrung her hands.

“Sorry I’m not as optimistic as you, honey. But you know how I feel about camping.”

“Sorry I’m not as optimistic as you, honey. But you know how I feel about camping.”

When she was seventeen, Sue and a couple of friends had spent a long, miserable night on the on the ice-cold floor of a tent. The ordeal had been her first and last foray into the wonderful world of camping.

Bill grinned. “You guys could have slept in the car. Isn’t that what your dad told you?”

Sue crossed her arms and frowned.

“Just kidding.” He pointed to one of the two lawn chairs he’d already set up. “Sit back and relax. I’ll have the tent up shortly and by nightfall, we’ll have a nice fire going.”

“A fire? Are you sure that’s safe? I mean, it could set the—”

Bill threw up his hand and stopped her in mid-sentence. “How else are we going to roast our hotdogs and marshmallows?” he said. “Plus, it’ll help keep the snakes away.”

Sue swallowed hard. He’d talked about camping for weeks. Never once had he mentioned snakes.

“Why didn’t you tell me there might be snakes? You know I hate those slimy things.”

“Don’t worry about the snakes,” he said. “Even if the fire doesn’t keep them away, they’re not interested in us. They’re only after the mice.”

With one surprise after another, the whole camping thing was beginning to stink to high heaven.

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this,” she said. “I must be out of my mind.”

Bill slipped his arm around his wife. “Come on, baby. Don’t give up on me now. Listen. Try it this once. Just like we said. And if you don’t like it, I promise I’ll never ask again.”

Sue took a deep breath and blew it out forcefully. “Okay,” she said, managing a slight smile. “Surely I can survive one night.”

“That’s my girl.”


“Bill,” Sue said in a loud whisper. “Bill, wake up.”

When he didn’t respond, she tapped him three times on the shoulder in rapid succession.

He sat straight up and sighed. “What is it now?”

“I just heard it again.”

“Look, Sue. This waking me up every couple of minutes has got to stop. I told you the first time there’s nothing out there. Now leave me alone so I can get some sleep.”

Bill dozed off but was soon awakened by Sue trying to crawl into the sleeping bag with him. “What are you doing now?”

“I’m scared. And I’d feel much safer in there with you.”

“In here with me? There’s barely enough room as it is.” Bill yanked the zipper down and climbed out. “I give up. Hand me the flashlight and I’ll go take a look.”

“Thank you, sweetheart. I don’t mean to be a nuisance.”

A short time later, Bill was back. “I don’t know what you keep hearing, but I’ve been around the tent twice and there’s absolutely nothing out there.” He cleared his throat. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were just trying to ruin my fun.”

Sue gave him a hard look. “Are you sure there’s nothing out there?”


“Then stay out here in this gosh-awful piece of nylon and have all the fun you want. I’m going in back in the house.



Meet the Author

Bruce Preferred HeadshotA retired state trooper, now working only part-time, Bruce writes primarily Southern Fiction and has completed four novels. His short stories have appeared in three of the last five issues of Splickety Prime, including Ship of Dreams, a “what-if” tale about the doomed ship Titanic that was featured on the March cover.

When Bruce is not writing, he’s thinking about writing. Or eating. His website is Follow him on Twitter @authorbastewart.

Posted in Flash Fiction, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

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