Spotify Stalker

Spotify

Everyone at the coffee shop had a Mac except me. This was likely the case all along but the amount of people inside the shop due to the heat wave made it obvious. I bought my PC laptop used on Amazon from guy whose username was a mix of a date – most likely his birthday – and gen one Pokemon. The laptop ran on Windows 7. It wasn’t great in any way but it was mine. I used it to work, play Minecraft and watch porn.

Alex: Enjoying Taylor Swift?

I expected Alex to message me at this point in the afternoon. It was four on the east coast, and I knew by then he’d given up on work for the day.

Me: Maybe I am. I saw you listening to Beyoncé yesterday.

Alex: Yeah, but Beyonce’s done some great stuff. She’s earned my respect.

A man walked over and sat across from me at the back table where I always worked. He pulled from his leather bag a Mac and placed it on the counter. Over the Apple logo was a sticker of a different logo, one I didn’t recognize.

Me: Watch it, buddy or I’ll take you off my friends list.

I watched the man drink a an iced mocha from a large glass he placed next to his Mac. Anything helped, including this back table underneath the AC. I was surprised no one figured this out before this guy.

I wasn’t going to take Alex off my friends list but I did want to see what he’d say. He was the only guy I kept in contact with from high school. This was a recent development. I ran into him at the beach when I was home two months ago. Before then we hadn’t talked in years.

Alex: I’m just fucking with you.

I looked up and noticed the man was waving at me. I pulled out my left earbud.

“Do you mind watching my stuff for a sec?” he asked.

“No problem,” I said.

The man nodded and walked out with his phone in his hand. That guy was like me. He didn’t want to take calls in the coffee shop. That’s just rude, especially when someone’s sitting across from you, enjoying the AC because it’s so damn hot everywhere else.

Me: Yeah I know, sorry about that.

Alex: You haven’t changed since high school. You’re still so sensitive.

Me: Wow man, like you’ve changed so much? Tell your mom and dad I said hi when you go home.

“Thanks man,” the guy said and sat back down.

I nodded, replaced my earbud and looked back to my screen. Nothing. After twenty minutes I saw Alex signed off, or made himself invisible. I scrolled through my Spotify feed and looked at who was listening to what. Most of those I followed I hadn’t talked to in a while.

I stretched my arms and accidentally pulled out my earbuds from the computer jack. Taylor Swift blasted from my laptop speaker. The man looked up to me and laughed, hard. He laughed and shook his head with his eyes shut.

Me: Feel free to jab at me for listening to Taylor Swift whenever.

Whether Alex read my message I wasn’t sure. But that guy’s laughter. It played in my head long after I left the shop and into the heat.

Have a Fiction Blog? Try Sharing on Reddit

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Image Source: Eva Blue. Check her out on flickr!

Like any blogger, I’m always searching for new ways to grow my audience. Nevertheless, as a fiction blogger I understand my needs are quite different from others. My target audience is readers who love fiction. While several social media sites have allowed me to connect with other writers and feel like I’m part of a community, there’s always that challenge to attract visitors to my latest posts.

Enter Reddit. I only started using Reddit this year, and found this to be a great place to share my latest stories. If you’re unfamiliar with Reddit, it’s a social networking site where users can submit links and posts. Everything submitted is organized under categories called “subreddits.” Trust me, you can find a subreddit for anything. Looking for world news? There’s a subreddit for that. Want to join in-depth discussions on the Pokemon universe? There’s a subreddit for that. See where I’m going with this?

I sought out Subreddits that I thought targeted the same audience I wanted for my fiction. While the number of visitors is relatively small (alright, very small), I highly recommend Reddit for fiction bloggers starting out. Furthermore, Reddit allows users to leave comments, so you also benefit from direct feedback.

Disclaimer: Reddit is very strict about spamming subreddits with your posts. The general rule, according to kissmetrics, is that only one out of ten submissions can be of your own content. Overposting can result in your account being banned, so it’s important to adhere to this rule. It’s also important to read the rules of each subreddit and structure your post accordingly.

With all that being said, Below are a two subreddits that I’ve used to share my stories:

  • r/shortstories

    For people who enjoy writing and sharing short stories, I highly recommend this subreddit. Users have the ability to share stories as a text submission or through a link. You are required to tag your post with the appropriate genre (e.g. Horror, Science Fiction). This subreddit does ask you to comment on three other posts before leaving one of your own, and I think that’s completely reasonable.

  • r/fiction

    This is very similar to the short story subreddit with the added ability to post longer works of fiction such as novels and plays. While there are fewer subscribers than the short stories subreddit, there are no comment requirements.

I know I’ve only listed two subreddits, but the advantage is that these subscribers match my audience. I’m continuing to explore other subreddits, and I’ll post those I find are useful.

Has anyone had any good or bad luck using Reddit? Does anyone have any other advice for us writing blogger? Leave a comment below!

This post is part of a new series I’m dedicating to sharing my experiences as a fiction blogger. Feel free to leave any questions or suggestions on what you’d like my next topic to be!

Band Geek

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“I was a bandgeek,” Ryan said.

“No way,” I said.

“It’s true.”

The thing with Ryan – the thing that really got to me – was that he lied about the stupidest shit.

“Coffee machine’s broken, no more caffeine for the rest of the week.”

“I joined the varsity football team while still in eighth grade. I was that good.”

He got worse after the promotion. Ryan was always my superior, technically – he started six months earlier than myself – but the promotion made it official.

The waitress came over to our table and placed our empty glasses on her tray.

“Another round?” she asked.

“I’m game if you are,” Ryan said.

“Sure thing.”

We kept to two rounds when we started dart night, back when John used join us. I haven’t heard from him since he quit and moved away. Since then Ryan and I bumped up to three rounds.

“I played the trombone, I started when I was ten,” Ryan said.

“I still don’t believe you,” I said.

The time passed and we watched the bar workers set up the stage next to the pool tables and dart boards. Amps and stools and mics. One worker with a ponytail plugged and unplugged every mic and said “testing 1-2-3” into each of them.

The waitress came back and collected our empty glasses.

“Another round?” she asked.

“Who’s playing tonight?” Ryan asked.

“‘The Bandleaders,’ they’re a jazz band.”

Ryan looked to me, “I’ll buy this round if you stay.”

“Then of course.”

The waitress walked away and I looked back to the stage. The band members were standing around in matching pinstripe jackets.

“You know I tell you what I made up over the past week on our dart nights,” Ryan said.

“I know you do,” I said.

“So why would I lie about being a band geek?”

“Why do you lie in the first place?”

“To keep things interesting.”

“There has to be more than that.”

Ryan shook his head and pointed to the stage.

“Alright, thank you all for being here tonight,” the lead singer said. He wore sunglasses though the bar was in the basement.

“For our first song, I’d like to invite a special guest. He’s a good friend of mine that I’ve known since college.” The lead singer then pointed to Ryan. “Get up here you son of a bitch!”

Ryan looked to me, shrugged his shoulders and stood up. There was a weak applause because there was only me and the bartender left. That’s when I checked the time and saw it was after eleven.

I watched Ryan shake the lead singer’s hand and remove a mouthpiece from his pocket. He wipe it with his shirt. I knew there would be no more dart nights once he put the trombone to his mouth and started playing.