Thursday Writing Prompt No. 113

Cityscape: highrise apartment building.

Cityscape: highrise apartment building.

This week’s Thursday Writing Prompt is simple in scope, but it will likely be very difficult for you to it pull off without having to stop and think about it for some time: your writing task today is to create one very long sentence that will be used as the introduction for a new popular edition of a famous literary novel (you have your choice of which novel to use, and it can come from any genre or time period — but make sure to consult the actual book or go to online sources such as Internet Archive and find the text of the novel); read the novel or a synopsis and gather enough information about the plot so that you can write a sensible introduction; with enough practice you might be able to beat this sentence, which boasts a length of 150 words.

Targeted Advertising Sucks

It does. Oh, it’s all right when you get emails about things you really are interested in. For instance, if I consistently buy books on crochet projects then I might be interested in new project books that come out (but not always!). But the problem is that if I happen to look once at something then I need to spend the rest of eternity getting targeted ads about things I really don’t want or need.

It’s much like stepping in a turd and being unable to clean off your shoe.

Worse, it’s stereotyping. Recently I wrote a book review for a friend on his book about elementary school education. Now Amazon won’t stop trying to sell me diapers. I really don’t need those things but I can’t get rid of the targeted ads. Please, just make them go away!

You’d think that marketing folks could come up with some kind of mathematical formula, so if I happen to look at something once then I won’t automatically get targeted ads on that item. Maybe three times would trigger suggestions. Or ten times. Frankly, I wish marketing folks would stop trying to shove me in a box, because what happens over time is that my tastes and interests change. But if all I get are very specific ads then I’ll never find out about new things that I might actually like.

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 112

My new old globe appears to be from 1937.

My new old globe appears to be from 1937. See the Irish Free State?
And the globe is not really pink; I just decided to have fun playing with the image in Photoshop.

Many years ago I bought a globe for my office, but then it got destroyed when my house caught on fire. You’d think if the planet was 70 percent water it wouldn’t have gotten damaged … Well, that was 1992 and I’ve been thinking about replacing the globe. It’s not like I need one, I just like globes. Before I could trawl the Internet and buy a new one, I happened to visit a store in my area called Peg Leg Vintage.

Now there were a lot of interesting things in the store, but there were several globes in the window and one caught my eye. I ended up buying it and then the fun began when I tried to figure out how old the globe was. I was finally able to date it to 1937. The Irish Free State was established in 1922 and only lasted until 1937. Also, you can see how Germany sandwiches Poland on the globe; what is now Kaliningrad, Russia, was still Konigsberg and a part of Germany. There are plenty of other differences between the political divisions on this globe and today’s maps and that’s part of the fun of owning it.

So, this week’s Thursday Writing Prompt will feature a globe. Your task is to look at a globe (or virtual globe if you don’t have a real one handy) and find a country you know very little about. Now do a bit of research and write a short introductory paragraph for a story or novel that is set in that country. Don’t forget to use sensory impressions to add some realism to your writing (sounds, smells, etc.). Enjoy!

Trapped Tales Book Launch Party!

Trapped-Tales-FPThe Columbia Writers have planned a book launch party for our anthology Trapped Tales. It’s going to be held at the Diamondback Tavern in Ellicott City, Maryland, on March 13. For those who missed my earlier post on this, Trapped Tales is a selection of 10 short stories based on the theme of trapped.

The event is open to the public and we will have signed copies of Trapped Tales available for sale as well as artwork created by local artists inspired by the stories in the anthology. If you are local, why not come by and meet the writers and artists and pick up an autographed copy of the book and some art, too?

Most of us writers will also be performing short reads from our work in progress. Don’t worry; we won’t bore you! We plan to practice our delivery until it is perfect so we can get you right where we want you — sitting on the edge of your chairs waiting to hear more! It will be a fun way for you to sample some of our upcoming stories and a chance to ask questions of your soon-to-be favorite authors.

And don’t forget the food and drinks. You don’t have to make reservations since this is a public event, but you can RSVP to the group’s Facebook invitation at so we can make sure we have enough books on hand for all of our guests.

The address for the party is Diamondback Tavern, 3733 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City, Maryland. The party will start at 7 p.m. and run until 11:00 p.m. The tavern has a menu on its website and directions so be sure to take a look.

And if you can’t make it to the book launch, purchase your copy of Trapped Tales on Amazon.