Getting it Right: Hot Air Ballooning

Writing about hot air balloonsOnce upon a time in another life I worked for a premier hot air balloon company in the Napa Valley. In between selling rides, acting as crew, and working as the morning ‘hostess’, I toyed with the idea of flying a hot air balloon for a living and took lessons from a patient and really brave pilot. Needless to say, when I realized the time and monetary commitment involved I soon abandoned my dreams of guiding passengers on a floating tour above the region that I had grown to love so much. In those days, even though you only needed to complete 10 flights and 35 hours to be licensed as a commercial pilot, most balloon companies in the Valley required a minimum of 500 flight hours before they’d even consider hiring you. Five hundred hours takes a LONG time to add up when most flights don’t last more than an hour or two, and several companies required 1000 hours of flying in the Napa Valley itself.

So, in case you’ve been looking for that unusual element to include in your nascent manuscript, here are some pointers to consider when writing a scene which includes your character riding/piloting a hot air balloon. First, some terminology: Continue reading “Getting it Right: Hot Air Ballooning”

Flash Fiction Vote: The Season is Almost Over

time is running outTime is running out on this year’s flash fiction challenge. You get to choose the last few lucky authors to be included  in the next edition of the IU Flash Fiction Anthology. Who will it be?

Cast your vote in the flash fiction challenge. It’s time for IU readers to choose  this week’s winner.

Check out this week’s entries here. Vote for your favorite, then use those share buttons at the bottom of the post to spread the word.

Participate in this week’s voting, then  share the link to let everyone know the vote is on.

Polls close tomorrow at 5 PM.


Whose flash fiction entry did you like best this week?

  • A.V. Carden (30%, 27 Votes)
  • Leonard Little (25%, 23 Votes)
  • Ed Drury (20%, 18 Votes)
  • Kathy Steinemann (14%, 13 Votes)
  • Jon Jefferson (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Annette Hatton (2%, 2 Votes)
  • J. Milburn (1%, 1 Votes)
  • A.L. Kaplan (1%, 1 Votes)
  • T.D. McKinnon (1%, 1 Votes)
  • James R. Tate (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Anthony Metivier (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 91

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NOTE: Entrants whose submissions exceed the 250 word limit are eliminated from the poll.

A Tale of Two Reviews

On my review blog we sometimes have what we call a doubleshot, our normal review that is published in the morning (US time) and a review of the same book by another of the site’s reviewers later the same day. It started because there are some “pals” (when the site is called “BigAl’s Books and Pals” it is the obvious term for the other reviewers, right?) who are fans of the same authors and more than one person wanted to review some of the same books. It seemed like a no-brainer since both were going to read the book regardless and I thought it would be silly to turn down content. They were non-controversial, with little disagreement (possibly a 4 star versus a 5 star). Kind of predictable given how they came about. But they were also interesting in comparing the focus of the different reviewers. The readers, reviewers, and authors all liked the feature. Enough so that I started looking for opportunities where I thought a book would be a good fit for this format and propose it as a doubleshot to a pair of reviewers.

That was bound to bring an end to the predictability, and it did. A book was submitted for a potential review that appealed to me. I’ve gotten fairly good at guessing which books are going to appeal to Keith Nixon, one of the pals. When he’s perusing what is available for reviewing, Keith likes thrillers and “crime fiction” if it is spiced with a bit of humor, even better. This looked like the perfect fit, so I asked Keith if he was interested and he agreed to give it a try. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Reviews”