City of Gold : Friday Fictioneers

Copyright – Björn Rudberg

Copyright – Björn Rudberg

The run down bar in the St. Petersburg is nearly deserted, apart from some late night music enthusiasts.

“You play well lad”, Vladimir quips keeping his Lute down.

“Nothing compared to what you played just now” the guy replies. “Whose composition?

“Would you believe if I said it’s mine?”

“Why not, you can mint money with it. With my lyrics – we name it ‘City of Gold’!”

“Don’t be silly. Nobody knows Vladimir Vavilov. And Vladimir doesn’t need money. Music is enough to fill my tummy. If you really want to make money with this – you tell them its “Сanzona by Francesco da Milano”.

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And that was the name world came to know the composition – “City of Gold”. It was an instant hit. But Vladimir never reaped the popularity. He was consumed by cancer of pancreas a month before it was released. Like most of his composition he attributed this composition to Italian great de Milano.  The composition again garnered popularity after the rock band Aquarium released it in 1987. It was only in 2000 when the world came to know about Vladimir and his compositions – “City of Gold”.

 

This 100 word Flash Fiction written for Friday Fictioneers challenge dated 25 April 2014. It’s a weekly challenge organized by Rochelle Wisoff.

You can see the other Fictioneer’s take from the froggy link below -

Pineapple Man : Friday Fictioneers 18 April 2014

Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

“Ken,  I don’t like mom always telling us to grow up,” little Bo quips sitting on the sofa beside her elder brother.  “I would rather watch Pineapple man cartoons with you.”

I know Bo, but sooner or later, like all grownups, we have to become serious and-” Ken’s explanation is cut short by Bo’s scream.  With the diver helmet still on Pineapple man steps out of the TV.

Ken and Bo huddle in the corner trying to cover themselves up.

The Hawaiian legend Pineapple man walks toward the kids, raises his hand and says -

“It’s a trap – never grow up!”

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This week was a bit held up in work and life – sorry for not reading as many stories as I usually do! Hopefully this week I will amend. And yeah – Happy Good Friday and Easter to all my readers. It’s also “New Year” in this part of the world !

100 word Flash Fiction written for Friday Fictioneers challenge dated 18 April 2014. It’s a weekly challenge organized by Rochelle Wisoff.

You can see the other Fictioneer’s take from the froggy link below -

 

Victory : Friday Fictioneers – 11 April 2014

 

copyright – DLovering

 

Something is churning inside Miguel’s stomach. He is not sure if it is tension or hunger. He looks up at his baby sister in papi’s arms. Even she it seems is holding back her tears. Papi has not gone to work for nearly a month now, like most others in small town of Novelda. Yet they have all gathered in the town square for the only thing that gives them hope.

Will they – only time can tell; only a few minutes more.

“Gooooooooaaaal” – the tv commentator’s voice ruptured the entire crowd in the town square. Spain is world cup winner!

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Spain won the world cup in July 2010 against the backdrop of growing economical and political unrest in most of it’s provinces, and football was definitely one thing that keeps them together.

100 word Flash Fiction written for Friday Fictioneers challenge dated 11 April 2014. It’s a weekly challenge organized by Rochelle Wisoff.

You can see the other Fictioneer’s take from the froggy link below -

Leading Lady : Friday Fictioneers – 4 April 2014

copyright-Kent Bonham

 

Getting late for awards; best actress for her blockbuster murder mystery. Amelia wonders why Stuart called her to dark “Studio 9”. This is where they shot Stuart’s murder scene. She still gets the chill. Her heart barely managed the shock that time.

Startled she turns in horror to see Stuart lurching back; as he collapses on her arms, she sees the knife. Heart pounding louder than carnival drums, she opens her mouth to scream!

The lights switches on – “April Fool”, the entire crew shouts.

*****************************

It’s been one year since, the entire crew met on the studio floor to remember Amelia on her first death anniversary.

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100 word Flash Fiction written for Friday Fictioneers challenge dated 4 April 2014. It’s a weekly challenge organized by Rochelle Wisoff.

You can see the other Fictioneer’s take from the froggy link below -

Sao Feng’s Treasure : Friday Fictioneers – 28 March 2014

Copyright-John Nixon

“Perfect Josh, hold it still.”

“Pete, you were right!” Sean screamed. “Two mirrored staffs in the mangrove; Jack Sparrow’s map was right; they point there on sea.”

“Sao Feng’s treasure” Josh could barely hold his excitement. “Dive Pete, find what’s below! We have beaten ‘Curse of Calypso’.”

“Yup! All alive and about to be rich”, Pete screamed and ran to take the dive.

After an agonizing wait – Pete came up, Sao Feng’s gold dagger in his fist.

“Sean, where’s Josh?”

“Dunno Pete, my eyes were fixed on the pointer. Josh was behind!” Sean’s voice trembled.

Calypso? Or 2 shares are better than…

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100 word Flash Fiction written for Friday Fictioneers challenge dated 28 March 2014. It’s a weekly challenge organized by Rochelle Wisoff.

You can see the other Fictioneer’s take from the froggy link below -

 

Mystery Lift : Friday Fictioneers : 21 March 2014

Copyright -Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright -Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The staircase around lift cage seems locked in time. A calendar on its wall had just one sheet – “AgAust 1953”, the month and year his Vernian grandfather disappeared.

The calendar – at first it seemed a misspelled month – or is it?

And why just opposite to those two ornamental pieces on the lift-cage?

“Silver” and “Gold”, that’s Ag and Au on the periodic table? Ag-Au-St?

He pulled the golden amulet – didn’t budge.

A pull on the silver ring, and it folded down around the golden amulet.

A ring announced the arrival of an unseen lift– two levers inside marked “Charlie’s Chocolate Factory” & “Center of Earth”.

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100 word Flash Fiction written for Friday Fictioneers challenge dated 21 March 2014. It’s a weekly challenge organized by Rochelle Wisoff.

You can see the other Fictioneer’s take from the froggy link below -

Friday Fictioneers 14 March 2014 : Green Pollution

copyright – Adam Ickes

“Dad, I am scared! There is so much green.”

“Don’t worry son, I am with you. Just stick to the fenced path.”

“But those creepers are climbing on the path – there see-“

“Stick to the middle sonny. Just a few more Hematite for dinner and we are done.”

“Dad, how did it get so green?”

“It’s those earthlings; since they came, they have spread these greens all over our planet. Few red pyramids are all that’s red left in our red planet. If anything goes wrong – you know where to go. We can still see the red pyramid from here.”

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100 word Flash Fiction written for Friday Fictioneers challenge dated 14 March 2014. It’s a weekly challenge organized by Rochelle Wisoff. This weeks challenge posed a difficulty in understanding the image. What looked like a red pyramid when the image is small came out to be the top of the canopy when seen in full size. But I decided to stick to the image that appeared to me on first look.

You can see the other Fictioneer’s take from the froggy link -

Disappearing Gold : Friday Fictioneers!

FF:7th march – Copyright – Danny Bowman

Twenty more cauldrons of gold coins got delivered today. McWhiskey counted them, added to his tally and told Paikei and Tazingo to put them in the vault.

The world gold market was spooked. The prices skyrocketed, as gold from the safest vaults kept on disappearing. Only clue was a ten feet wide patch of loose earth replacing the strongest of floors.

McWhiskey rose to his watch tower and peered with satisfaction to the new extended vault that has taken shape of a mini hill. The leprechaun gold vault guarded by trolls looked safe from his watch tower next to it.

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Written for the Friday Fictioneer’s Challenge – get the details at Rochelle’s blog !

In the Haystack : Friday Fictioneers!

Copyright -Sandra Crook

Professor Bhaskar was shouting on his wife – “Famous scientist Aryabhatta found the truth of the twelve famous Shiva temples in India. The dome-shaped idols were God’s power generators, kept dormant by an invisible connecting fiber plasma cable. He replaced a decayed connector about to break, unleashing twelve mini Suns on earth.

The connector having life of 1.5 millennia is about to break in a day, and I had the replacement he left on my table. And yes that is why I am leaving tomorrow.”

“You mean the needle inside the glass bottle? I dropped it while using it in the balcony; that tractor carrying the haystacks was passing below. “

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Written for Friday Fictioneers! Challange 28 February 2014

You may also like to have a look at the Weekend Short Story : “The Restaurant Corner Table

 

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The Restaurant Corner Table

restaurant

Pushing the heavy swing doors of the restaurant, he looked up towards the clock, exactly 2:30 in the afternoon. Taking off the rain coat, he slowly moved towards the table in the corner, right in front of the glass wall facing the road outside. The drizzle outside has settled down to a steady rhythm.  It has become a weekly ritual since that fateful day two months back. That too was a Friday; he had planned for a lovely weekend with his fiancee; at least that’s what he believed her to be. And he found her getting that huge bunch of Valentine roses, not from him. That’s when she broke it him; all he did was raise his voice a notch up to ask who the roses are from – when he believed himself to be her lover. And she mercilessly broke his dream. As per her, it was all just his day-dream; she felt her to be a thirty plus guy, who is too ordinary and simple to expect her to be his lover. She never saw him as a lover but just as a friend, whom she helped. Just a friend? After all the emotions and attention he showered on her.

He kept going back and forth in his mind for more than a month. And then one day he came in to his favorite lunch joint, from his office during the late lunch time, with a bottle of rat poison. Sitting on the corner table, right beside the glass wall facing the road outside, he kept looking at the tiny bottle, while his meal was getting cold. He was about to open the bottle; that’s when he noticed the piece of paper lying on the seat next to his. A regular ordinary tissue paper; with a pen drawn heart. At first thought it to be some childish doodle. But then he noticed a few lines scribbled below.

It said – “Sitting across, I see the glint in your eyes that told me you are special! Hope someday you will feel the same for me. – Yours ‘She’ !”

Something made him feel, it IS for him. Sitting across? He lifted his head to scan the hall. It’s already past the usual lunch time, and hall was nearly empty. Only three tables were occupied. A woman in the far corner, head covered n scarf; couple of young ladies chatting away over the food; and someone behind with back toward him, couldn’t guess if it was a ‘he’ or a ‘she’. Which one of these could be the one who wrote this? She saw him? And noticed the glint – in his eyes? Is it one of these occupants? Or can it be someone who has left silently before he came in? After all he always sits on this same table – everyday! Wondering about the new-found piece of paper he never realized when the bottle went in his overcoat pocket from his hand.

From that day onward, every Friday he would get a paper napkin, with the familiar feminine perfume, and words that made his world filled with hope. He felt rise of hope and belief that he too after all can really be loved. Sometime he thought of coming early to find out who she could be; to catch a glimpse of her leaving the note. But every-time, Friday’s used to be nightmare with his boss. Still he made sure to sneak out for his lunch – and the piece of love he collected from the seat next to his. He already has a file full of it. He even left back some hints. Sometime it was another letter asking for her identity. And even a kiddish attempt, scratching the wooden table to write “I love you too!”

He was not sure if he can discuss it with someone. Not many friends and none so close to discuss something so childish like love. He just hoped that soon she would have enough courage to reveal her identity, and he will again walk with someone, shoulder to shoulder. Day by day he was becoming confident of the outcome, and it showed in the bounce of his steps.

Just before the thirty something man pushed the door open, the young waiter noticed that once again today the group of college students sat on a different table; one next to their usual table on the corner, right by the glass wall facing the road outside. It’s the same group that has, a silent couple he sees every time. He saw them talking love through their eyes, and exchanging notes on paper napkins. He also saw that day his regular customer who prefers the corner seat, with the bottle, very suspiciously looking like a bottle of poison.

The waiter the cleaned the table of the college students, picked up the paper napkin from the table and placed it on the seat next to the corner table, the one right in front of the glass wall facing the road outside.

Friday Fictioneers : The Silent School Bell

 

School Bell

School Bell

 

It was simply chaos since morning at school that day. After school started at 7:30 in the morning, the school bell didn’t announce the end of the first period. The hapless school guard was seen standing in front of the school bell.

“What can I do sir, I am trying for last fifteen minutes, but it’s not ringing at all.”

But that’s how it remained that day. It didn’t emit a single note even when repeatedly hit by various instruments.

It was not the only one, Bells across the world refused to ring that day. It was unanimously decided not to ring for 12 hours starting 8 AM to protest against removal of the bell from Big Ben

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Written for Friday Fictioneers Challenge : 21 February, 2014. Find the challenge details in the link !

 

Portrait by the Vineyard : FRIDAY FICTIONEERS! 14 FEBRUARY 2014

FRIDAY FICTIONEERS! 14 FEBRUARY 2014

FRIDAY FICTIONEERS! 14 FEBRUARY 2014

Rubbing my eyes I looked around, trying to recollect where I am. Vineyard, yes, that’s it! I was in my vineyard, admiring this year’s harvest, sipping my Moscato wine with strawberry slices enriching its fruity flavor. What happened next?

I started walking back still confused, trying to recollect the flow of events since morning. Where did I keep by goblet?

There, I can see the goblet now. But its huge! And I can’t reach – standing at the edge of the vineyard, I stretch my hand and it gets blocked, on a sheet of Canvas?

Oh yes, standing by the vineyard, I was painting my self-portrait; and now I am trapped inside the canvas of my own self portrait.

(Written for FRIDAY FICTIONEERS! 14 FEBRUARY 2014)

FRIDAY FICTIONEERS : THE LAMPS

FRIDAY FICTIONEERS : THE LAMPS

FRIDAY FICTIONEERS : THE LAMPS

“Three more today honey! “ Terrance screamed to his wife from the porch door.

“Where they hell they keep coming from?” Lucy said sticking her head out, “don’t even work”

“They were just two a week back, and now more than twenty”

“Seem to be coming in pieces. This one didn’t have shades yesterday.”

“Yeah and the first two that came in have got their own bulb today – not the one we tried them with”

As the night fell, Bong and Bing looked at their happily increasing family in this new planet; blip and blong sprouting their shades. They themselves had their bulb yesterday, today they start to glow – on their own!

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This piece is written specifically for the “FRIDAY FICTIONEERS CHALLENGE : 7 FEBRUARY 2014“. I have read some of the entries and they are fabulous. Specially David Stewart, whom I follow regularly ! Got inspired to write a fiction after quite some time !

Basanta Panchami : Saraswati Puja

For those probasi bongs who want to relive Saraswati Puja

Saraswati Pushpanjali Mantra

Saraswati Pushpanjali Mantra

A Mess Called India

Mess_India

Even since AAP came into existence and especially after it’s historic win and meteoric rise to power, I have been listening people and their aspirations. As if they have voted in power some Messiahs who will do magic and turn India into US or London, while they keep on with their usual life; “Usual Life” – with all its mess and madness. We still remain the same; same uncivil, intolerant, insensitive near barbarians who let others rule us. Yet we are not ready to accept that the mess we are in is not become of politicians, Babu’s or police – as they are also part of the same society that we have made. To put in short – will AAP coming to power make us not break the queue? Will the AAP government stop us from crossing the road on foot from wherever we want and not using the over-bridge or underpass? Will AK come down and see that all cars are not driving with “High Beams” and breakings lanes in the madness of going ahead of everyone? Will AAP ministers see that we care for elders and women in busses and metros by giving them our seat? I have serious doubt.

We will keep doing all the things wrong with the “excuse” that everyone does it. We will complain that the roads are dirty; but won’t think that it is dirty not because someone failed to clean it, but because someone dirtied it in the first place. We will keep throwing our extra food in the waste bin, and complain that so many people go hungry every day.  We will keep killing the female foetuses and glorify the male child, and then cry hoarse that our society – law and police are insensitive to females. For every law mad to help us or get us a better life, we will try to first find a loophole in it to bypass or exploit it.

All these because, we have degraded as a society. We have lost our sense of dignity and morale. We have lost the sense of right and wrong. If something we see others doing, we get encouraged in doing the same, irrespective of our own senses telling us that it is wrong to do so. If something does not affect us directly, we will always turn away saying that not my responsibility. If we find something affecting us is wrong we will always put the blame on “someone else”.

One AK or even a AAP can’t change anything, unless we start accepting our own faults. The goal needs to be accepting our faults, analyze where we have done wrong and then change it. But for now at least we can start by owning our own faults. We need to remember  - “you cannot change anyone else but yourself”. So to change this society, country and life we live, we need to change ourselves. These changes in us will help motivate our kids to change themselves. And it is our only hope for a better future for all of us. Till then we can only vote – hope and denounce governments after governments.

Merry Christmas To All My Blog Readers

Designed by Indrajit

Designed by Indrajit

 

Content Marketing : Hope for Bloggers

It’s been quite some time that I have been associated with the online market’s development and trend; and equally long time working on contents too. Sometime back I saw a spurt of bloggers all around and then came Facebook and most of those bloggers opted for few lines of Facebook updates than a full-fledged blog. However those really passionate stayed and slowly grew in number.

Off late, I am seeing a number of good bloggers around. And like me, quite a few of them also wonder if they can monetize these skill and passion of them. Well the good news is, content has always been the king, it still is; especially after Google has hit the online world with its Penguin and Panda updates. These two significant updates from Google has penalized all those site which used tricks like link farming to get better SEO results.

Even the traditional customer life cycle in Marketing is getting re-defined by Jim Lecinski and Google, where in their research shows the existence of “Zero Moment of Truth” (ZMOT). As per it consumers after the initial stimulus, no longer directly moves to the store to buy, but goes online to read reviews and ask for opinions before going to the store. Hence online content to motivate the consumers from the “Stimulus to Purchase” needs to have enough positive content online to influence their decision – and the content scores again.

ZMOT

Zero Moment of Truth

Even a recent article on Forbes that talks about the “Trends That Will Dominate 2014″, list as the top most trend as – “Content Marketing Will be Bigger Than Ever”

Now let us have a look at some encouraging trends in Content marketing for us bloggers:

  • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who don’t. (Social Media B2B)
  • 37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable type of content marketing.(Content+)
  • 62% of companies outsource their content marketing. (Mashable)
  • 61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. (Custom Content Council)
  • Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages. (Content+)
  • Companies with active blogs receive 97% more leads (Content+ 2013)
  • 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared everyday. (AOL and Nielsen)
  • 55% of B2C marketers plan to increase content marketing spend next year. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing. (Hanley-Wood Business Media)

And that’s precisely why all over the Internet clouds, web site owners and CMO’s have accepted the importance of useful content for their online presence. And there is no better way than Blogs to include regularly updating content that is related to your business objectives. The complexity of maintaining diverse blog contents are also forcing companies to outsource blogs, and thus comes the scope for bloggers and content champions.

The million dollar question (or at least thousand dollars) is that “Who do we get the work from?” and more importantly – “Why will they give the work to me?” Well the first one is easier. All you need to do is Google it and get a list of companies looking for freelance bloggers. Besides the sites such as “oDesk” and “PeoplePerHour” as well as other similar sites, lists a number of opportunities. However the tough job is to convert those opportunities into actual paying activities. So that’s the tougher question to ask.

One good tactic could be to establish your credibility in the niche that you want to write content for. For example if you love writing about festivals and celebration – you can look at the niche of Retailers willing to cache on them. And to ensure that the company you want the writing work for values you as an authority, you need to have a reputation in your niche. You need enough people liking and commenting on your write-ups; not only in your own blog site but elsewhere too. To do so – what you need to master is “Guest-Blogging”. Google it or plan it up as a guest blogger says on “audiencebloom” (this itself a site that lets guest bloggers write on their site).

Google Search

And this is how you can start getting established as a “Guest Blogger”:

  1. Have you Social Media Profiles up and running
  2. Find out the topics you want to write – topics that are trending; find them at “AllTop” or think of festivals and industry events coming up
  3. Write a bunch of contents that are long enough for Google to like (around 1000 words or more), and are segmented with sub-headers
  4. Google to find sites that lets Guest Bloggers write for them, and mail them your request
  5. Follow up; once you get positive responses, agree on acceptable article titles and formats.
  6. If you get your articles published – use it market to others; don’t forget to thank the site though!
  7. Comment on similar blogs and forums

If you feel that doing all these just to establish your credibility as a guest blogger is going to be a long drawn waste of time, just have a look at the Benefits of Guest Blogging:

  • Builds and improves Author Rank
  • Creates links to your website
  • Strengthens awareness of your brand
  • Aligns your brand with industry leaders
  • Builds your personal brand
  • Generates leads and traffic
  • Creates social signals

All these will ultimately help you to improve your online credibility. Make sure you generate enough valued incoming links to your blog thus boosting your Pagerank and “Author Rank”. Author Rank is Google’s system of calculating the credibility of the author of a particular content in a page, affecting how well that page ranks in search. Trusted, authoritative, credible authors receive “bonus points” in the rankings for articles they write related to their niches of expertise. And once you have achieved all this – Voila! The companies you are pitching for “Paid Writing” assignments will start noticing you. Happy Blogging!

Let me know if this made you start your Paid Blogging career or at least made you chalk your future strategy to stardom!

Digital Advertisement Idea

Trying my hand in Digital Advertisement ideas for fictitious products -

Digital

 

 

Poster Competition : Freedom in Your Eyes

Recently we had a poster competition at office on the occasion of Independence Day. And I came to know few hours before it began that I am free to participate as I am not in the panel of judges this time. A quick planning and forming a team of guys who were yet to pitch in their names – and this was what came out :

IMG-20130817-WA0001

 

Loved taking part in a creative competition after a long time !

 

Rainy Love

Rainy Love

Sketch in Photoshop

A pencil sketch using Pastel on Charcoal brush and background Canvas texture in Photoshop CS 3