The Truth About Social Networking

What is the truth about social networking? Is it the ‘key’ to your success, whatever endeavor you may be participating in or whatever dream you may be chasing? Is it truly the keystone to your realization of that dream as many so-called marketing experts would have you believe? Is it cause enough for you to then pay these alleged experts or even listen to their so-called sage advice about how to build a social networking empire that will all but guarantee your success?

ethan holmes social networking

The truth about social networking is a hard pill to swallow for most of us, especially those of us who have to go out the door every day to earn an actual productive, bill-paying living while simultaneously pursuing a private, personal dream.

The impetus for this particular piece came about when I received multiple email newsletters from a marketing firm, (despite the fact that I rarely sign up for newsletters.) This email usually had the same ‘top ten’ list of the most profound and productive things you could do to be successful in marketing yourself through social networking and media.

One day I decided to take a really close look at this list to see if I wasn’t doing something that would turn out to be the key factor. To my chagrin, I discovered that I had either done or at least tried every single thing the writer/marketer wrote. Subsequently I wrote an item by item reply to the writer/marketer, asking for her thoughts on my thoughts about what she wrote. I received no reply whatever, so I decided to publish the list and my responses to it to see if this is just all me without my medication or whether anyone agrees with my assessment concerning the truth about social networking.

So without further ado, here is my ‘list’ of responses to these so-called keys to success.

1-      “Publish a blog post.” I have had a blog for nearly a year and a half now. I am ‘blogging’ to no one and it has been my experience that blogs don’t get much attention unless you put really stupid, outrageous or inane content in them. Blogging does no good unless you go in with at least a base following. With no following, you write to no one. In addition, you must keep in mind you are also joining a giant ‘swimming pool’ of millions of other blogs all clamoring for the same attention you want. Good luck with that.

2-      “Get on Twitter.” Twitter is a joke for authors. First, if you are not already known for something stupid, violent or involving Hollywood/Sports fame, (preferably taking your clothes off, sticking your tongue out or worse, twerking,) it is nearly impossible to develop a following. Following others does absolutely no good as there is an inherent selfishness in so-called social networking. People get on social networking primarily to GET attention, not GIVE it. (Example; I recently received a follower on Twitter. When I didn’t immediately reciprocate, she un-followed. When I followed her the next day within three minutes she followed again. (What, are we all still in kindergarten???) People on Twitter, especially authors looking for attention, will find little else except millions of others looking for the same attention for various other sundry, personal reasons.

3-      “Join the discussion on social media.” First, try to find an intelligent ‘discussion’ on social media. Most of the discussions on social media across the board involve inane, meaningless and trivial things. That’s what seems to cut it out there. Second, joining a discussion here or there does nothing to significantly or profoundly affect the ‘visibility’ of an author seeking to sell books. Authors are looking for the attention and notice of thousands and perhaps millions of people. You’re not going to get that cyber-sitting in a discussion room with eight other people.

4-      “Add your comments to other blog posts.” See number 3 as this is rather redundant and so would be the response.

5-      “Make your blog post viral.” Actually, you, the writer, cannot ‘make’ the post viral unless, of course, you write the blog and then go to the mall with a semi-automatic weapon and begin indiscriminately spraying Spencer’s, Macy’s and Sears. (Then your post and everything else about you will ‘go viral’. Congratulations, you’ve achieved success but you’ll have to figure out how to enjoy it from jail.) Posting to your other social network connections, as the writer suggests, does not make your post ‘viral’, particularly if you have the problem addressed in number 1, no following.

6-      “Contact your local media.” If you happen to be unfortunate enough not to live in a really big city, contacting local media again becomes a big joke. In fact, even if you live in a big city, few local media reps want to have anything to do with you unless you’ve done something newsworthy. (See number 5.) As for the local media in the small towns around me, they are not the least bit interested in a local author trying to get attention. In fact, it is not the attention of small towns that authors need. It is the attention of millions. A million people cannot buy your books if a million people don’t know you exist.

7-      “Pitch national media.” Again redundant to number 6 with all the same answers.

8-      “Subscribe to HARO, (help a reporter).” Helping a reporter is NOT what authors are looking for and writing a book does not necessarily make one an ‘expert’ in anything.

9-      “Think long term.” All authors who strive for success must be prepared to do this anyway, just not in the terms originally meant. Those of us with half a properly functioning brain don’t take long to catch on to the fact that this is a long term investment in our future. You have to plug at it on the days you want to give up and trash it all, just like an exercise training program. You have to immediately understand that overnight success comes to a very few and you usually have to write about transvestite, cross-dressing, lesbian vampire zombies to get it.

10-  “Sign up for media alerts.” Again, a completely useless function for an author seeking the attention of millions of potential readers. As an author, I don’t want other media bombarding me with alerts, twitters, instant messages, blog posts, Facebook posts, text messages, emails or any of the other dozens of methods that are now out there. I am seeking a reader’s attention, not the attention of thousands of companies and other individuals trying to sell me their thing or product.

Of course, none of this addresses the simple fact that most of us face on a day to day, week to week basis. The vast majority of us have to direct most of our ‘awake’ hours and efforts toward making an actual, viable, bill-paying living. In the real world most independent and self-published authors do not earn a living from selling books. On top of this, we must maintain our focus, energy, state of mind, and yes, even our emotional state so that we may effectively create things, like, I don’t know, good books.

Many of the marketing plans and, yes, even schemes, automatically and rather foolishly assume that we have nothing else to do but sit around the house on a full time basis anxiously awaiting or sending our next tweet, instant message, news feed, Facebook post. For most authors this is entirely untrue. (I would like to point out here that I don’t think anyone cares, or should care a flying pile of donkey poo if I “just joined a gym, my dog peed on the floor, my cat ate my pillow, my grandma had a stroke, my car blew up, I just went shopping for new shoes or ‘here’s a selfie of me eating gelato in front of a fountain’”.) How is any of that going to get me the notoriety I would need as a best-selling author?

I would also look forward to anyone directing me toward any more than a very minute few out there who have found truly profound and life-changing success by using any or all of the methods involving social media and so-called networking. I would be willing to bet ten dollars to a stale doughnut they were one of those few who literally had nothing else to do with their time due to some rather unique set of circumstances.

I have come to the realization that so-called marketing experts won’t tell you the truth about social networking. They will, in fact, tell you what you want to hear. Follow their ten easy steps and you will be a rich, famous whatever. Personally, I think it’s all a pile of mule fritters.

My membership on the social networking sites has not influenced my notoriety, fame, status as an author or sales one bit. Don’t misinterpret, this is not me being bitter. I sell books, always have, always will. I just don’t sell millions and I don’t sell enough to quit my day job. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the others have had no influence on this in any significant way whatever.

It’s ironic that it can be compared to placing an ad on an internet dating site. It doesn’t really matter what you write. I have written blogs that are witty, humorous, profound, intelligent, serious, poetic and a hundred other adjectives. None of them gets the notoriety that I need in order to make a living as an author. Now, on the other hand, if I strip down naked, go ‘twerking’ on a highway overpass with my Ruger in one hand and a copy of my first novel in the other, I stone guarantee I will indeed go ‘viral’ immediately and the You Tube video taken by twelve teenagers whose phones never leave their hands will get 3 million hits within the next twenty four hours. Ah, success at last!

What do you think about author Ethan Holmes’ take on the truth about social networking?

Have you picked up your free ebook copy of Shorts and Other Laundry, Ethan Holmes’ ‘best of’ collection of short stories? It’s available on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords and most other ebook formats.

Ethan Holmes is the author of five books; Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, Shorts and Other Laundry and A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes.

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Book Titles That May Never Be Published

I’m compiling a list of book titles that may never be published. Yes, it’s a slow day and one of those periods where, if allowed, my brain wanders into previously unexplored territory, mainly because the leash fell off.

ethan holmes brainMy possibly unfinished, ever-expanding list of book titles that may never be published;

  1. Forty Ways to Sharpen an Axe, Lizzie Borden
  2. How to Win Friends and Influence Women, Charlie Brown
  3. Decorating Your Prison Cell, Martha Stewart
  4. How to Make Billions With a Bug-filled Product, Bill Gates
  5. Working on a Top Ten Arrest Record, Justin Bieber
  6. Twerk Your Way to Stardom, Miley Cyrus
  7. Kansas Sucks, Dorothy Gale
  8. My Favorite Recipes, Jeffrey Dahmer
  9. Inventing a Better Wheel, Zlog & Glog
  10. Terminating Your Marriage, Arnold Schwarzenneger
  11. How to Scare the Beejeezus Out of The Public, Orson Welles
  12. Being Dick Cheney, George Bush
  13. It’s a Beautiful Day in Afghanistan, Mr. Rogers
  14. Buy Health Insurance, Or Else!, B. Obama
  15. Twenty Ways to Look Good in Cold Cuts, Lady Gaga
  16. How to Vacation in Italy, Attila the Hun
  17. “Bitches Be Crazy”, Sheldon Cooper
  18. Overcoming Mental Illness, Caligula
  19. The Shortest Route to Getting Lost, Christopher Columbus
  20. Exciting Experiments in Electrocution, Benjamin Franklin
  21. Please Leave a Message, Thomas Edison
  22. How to Take Over the World, Adolph Hitler
  23. Ten Steps and Three Car Crashes to Rehab, Lindsey Lohan

Ethan Holmes is the author of five book titles including Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Shorts and Other Laundry, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes and Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone.

Don’t forget to pick up your ‘no strings attached’ free copy of Ethan Holmes’ ‘best of’ collection of short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry, at Amazon, Smashwords, Itunes and most of the other ebook outlets. Reviews are welcome.

 

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Reviews Wanted for Ethan Holmes Titles

ethan holmes book reviews

I’m looking for reviewers of my book titles and I’m not talking about the two sentence, “I liked it, four stars” kind of review. I am offering a free digital copy of any of my five book titles in exchange for a quality review of the title.

I don’t make a habit out of giving away free books on a regular basis, yet often times you must give to get. You can have a pdf, epub, doc or docx file of any book for free if you promise to issue a review on two or more major sites like Amazon or Itunes within eight to ten weeks of the date of issue.

Reviews are an important part of the process for an independent writer and the more comprehensive and ‘helpful’ the review, the more likely people would be to make a purchasing decision. I am grateful enough to give away free books in order to get such reviews. In return, you get a free book to read.

Please visit my author’s website here, Ethan Holmes

You will find titles ranging in genre from, sci-fi/post-apocalyptic, (Earth’s Blood), to short story collections and murder mysteries. There’s even a humorous, dry-witted self-help title, Live Your Life In a Crap Free Zone, that takes a realistic yet funny look at life’s choices and the paths they send us down.

Currently, my ‘best of’ collection of short stories titled Shorts and Other Laundry is immediately available for free on a permanent basis on Itunes, Amazon and most other digital reading formats. (See, you don’t even have to contact me for this one.) Reviews would be appreciated.

Please use the contact form in this blog to let me know what you would like to read and thank you for considering my titles. I know time is a valuable commodity to all.

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Facebook, Do I Have to ‘Like’ It?

I’m a writer, published author and nature photographer. I’m on Facebook and other social media whether I ‘like’ it or not. I’m on Facebook whether you ‘like’ me or not. The problem is I don’t like it, (social media and/or networking), for some very basic reasons.

ethan holmes facebookFirst you’re supposed to go ‘find’ me on Facebook, then you’re supposed to ‘Like” me despite the fact that we have odds of meeting quite similar to both of us winning Powerball…, at the same time!

ethan holmes twitterThen there’s Twitter where I seem to have grown feathers and the inexplicable urge to ‘twitter’ like a bird. You are supposed to like my twittering so much that you then ‘follow’ me everywhere I go. The problem is, I can’t seem to find much to twitter that I think anyone else gives a flying double overhead flip about.

There are others, like Goodreads and LinkedIn and ironically, they are pretty much the same experience for me. For instance, I recently offered a FREE book, a collection of short stories, titled Shorts and Other Laundry, on Goodreads for review. I received one response.

The main reason I don’t like social networking is that you better start out with a large base of real world ‘social’ connections or you are already in trouble. A large family and a whole bunch of friends will get you off to a flying start on sites like Facebook, My Space, Twitter and a bunch of others crowding the field. If you don’t have both of those it is one of the most difficult tasks to make a bunch of people who don’t know you and who have never heard of you ‘like’ anything you do unless you post shots of you without your pants in a bar that you can’t remember entering last night.

Which brings me to my second problem with social networking. Intelligent content is not what cuts it out there when you’re looking for that one key ingredient which is most essential to the success of any heretofore unknown author, notoriety. I’ll give you an example or two…, or three.

In the last year, among the most popular posts on Facebook, there was 1- a wet cat, 2- an actress yammering about how crazy she is, 3- a sculpted banana and 4- a guy in a costume scaring the crap out of his own child. Go figure. I don’t know how to compete with that and I’m not sure I want to try.

The second example involves a late night TV talk show host instructing the parents in the audience to send in video to YouTube showing them ‘pranking’ their children by telling them they ate all their Halloween candy. The result was a digital torrent of thousands of videos from all-too-cooperative parents. The host proudly announces that the resulting video compilation received 34 million hits. THIRTY FOUR MILLION! Again, I don’t know how to compete with that, imitate it or do something equally stupid to gain the notice of THIRTY FOUR MILLION possible readers.

Actually, I take that back. I do know how to get the notoriety that will enable me to make an actual living as an author. I can,

A- Go to the local mall with a water pistol that looks eerily like a semi-automatic handgun and randomly shoot people who won’t stop talking on their cell phones.

B- Drive up to the local ski resort and film myself skiing, buck naked, down the slopes trailing a string of Christmas lights and then post the video to YouTube.

C- Prank my friend by telling her that her husband died in a motorcycle accident and when she keels over in shock, film it, post a twitter about it and of course, post it on YouTube.

I can see it now, fame awaits. I’ll get 3 million hits the first hour and YouTube servers will crash. Millions more will run to my Facebook page and ‘like’ me despite not knowing a thing about me. Eight thousand people an hour will ‘follow’ me on Twitter eagerly anticipating my next tweet about my nephew taking his first crap in his diaper. (With any luck, I’ll post a video of that too.)

Stupid is what seems to cut it out there in social media and networking and I’m having a difficult time with stupid unless I’m making life-changing decisions. I’ve even said that the key to getting rich is to come up with something stupid. Witness the slinky, the pet rock, the hula hoop or those machines that claim to shake the fat off without you having to move a muscle.

The impetus for this blog came from an affirmation, of sorts, about my thoughts on Facebook and it’s usefulness to those of us seeking the notoriety that is required to sell enough books to make a living. Find out what’s really going on behind the scenes at Facebook. It’s not a pretty picture if you are doing what all the so-called and self-proclaimed social networking experts say you should be doing as an author, writer, photographer or any other sort of creative person seeking mass recognition.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to do something I rarely ever do. I’m going to make a list, a list of all the stupid things I can do to get notoriety. And while I’m at it, I’m going to make another list of the top ten ways I can waste my time on social networking.

Ethan Holmes is the author of Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Shorts and Other Laundry, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes and Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone. If you would like your free, no strings attached copy of Ethan Holmes’ ‘best of’ collection of short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry, you will find it free at Amazon, Smashwords, or your favorite ereader/tablet formats.

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Ethan Holmes Looks at the New Year

Ethan Holmes happy-2014-new-year-images

First, allow me to pass along thoughts of a peaceful and prosperous new year. That said, I’m not sure why it’s called a new year and only on the first day of January…, unless you happen to be Chinese.

Try as I might, it still seems like any other day. It’s a new day and any day one wakes up can be considered a new start on life. Don’t you think? Morning breaks and it is an opportunity to make completely different choices than one was making just before falling asleep last night. Each day presents that to us no matter what weekday, month or year it happens to be.

My only resolve this new year is the same resolve I took up just recently. It’s my new mantra and a perfect cure for what ails you if you happen to be dissatisfied with whatever is going on in your life. CHANGE EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING CHANGES!

The approach of the new year did get me to thinking, taking stock if you will, of my life and physical, emotional and mental state. I would not hesitate to guess that many of you are doing the same.

The impetus seems to be the constant barrage of lists and remembrances of the year just passed. There’s the ‘best of’, the ‘worst of’, the ‘most embarassing’, the ‘funniest’, the ‘most outrageous’ and perhaps worst of all, the list of all the famous people who died last year. (Just once I’d like to see a list of people who were noteworthy to the people around them yet without a single speck of fame or popular recognition.) These lists and reminders get you to thinking about the past year, where it went and how you spent it. Sometimes that can be downright depressing.

So I suppose the new year gives us a kind of ‘clean slate’. We shake the Etch-a-Sketch of 2013 and move on to the squeaky clean new year of 2014 with a renewed sense of goals, dreams and ambitions. For some reason beyond my comprehension, all the obstacles and distractions of 2013 are somehow, and ever so temporarily, removed from our thoughts. It looks like a new road up ahead.

Ethan Holmes new road NZI’ve decided my New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to not make any resolutions for the new year. (It goes along with that ‘change everything’ philosophy.) If you’re changing everything and everything is changing there’s not much need to resolve anything else.

I wrote a book about a year ago that I sometimes forget to take to heart. It’s titled Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone. It’s a humorous, dry-witted look at many aspects of life and the myriad choices we make in that life. I forget to take my own advice about the choices we make everyday. I forget that we always have the option every day, regardless of the approach of a new year, to choose differently today, the day we wake up.

One of my choices that has changed is the idea of giving my work away. I confess that, as an author, I was not pleased with the thought of giving away books I toiled over and published. After all, we all wish to be compensated for that which we produce, especially if we are making a living, as they call it.

Nevertheless, just before the new year, I decided to take my prized collection of short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry, and make it available to readers everywhere for free.You can get your free digital copy no matter what form of reader you use. I thank you for being a reader, for without readers, writers would be writing to themselves.

Good fortune to you in the coming new year. EH

Image 1 courtesy of happy2014newyear.com

Image 2 courtesy of allcountries.org

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Ethan Holmes’ Empty Christmas Stocking

Ethan Holmes empty christmas stocking

My empty Christmas stocking…, and even that I had to borrow.

So the “Fat Guy” in the red suit came down the chimney Christmas Eve. Well, either somethin’ ain’t right or I must have been one hell of a bad boy this past year, ’cause I ended up with nothin’. Not a thing under the tree and an empty Christmas stocking.

Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t have a chimney. So now what’s the guy gonna do? Break in my front door? Good way to get shot up. (Dear Fat Guy, caution, I’m a light sleeper and no, I did not leave you any cookies. I ate them all. You get the low-fat milk.) Frankly, I have hard time believing a fat guy can slip down anyone’s chimney, especially if he’s carryin’ a sack of goods he took from other houses.

And maybe it doesn’t help that I don’t wear stockings. (Never did get into that cross-dressing thing.) I don’t own any, I don’t want to buy any and I borrowed the one you see above.

It’s probably not a good thing that I don’t believe in flying reindeer except for that one year when one of my neighbors gave me some rather funny tasting cupcakes for Christmas. Then I saw all kinds of ‘flying things’. And this brings up questions of the fat guy’s dealings with the vaunted TSA. Do they feel his crotch too before he takes off?

I didn’t have a tree either since nothing larger than me fits through the front door and the landlord probably wouldn’t allow it anyway. (Somethin’ about pine needles, sugar water and sap all over his bargain basement, third run, chemical spewing indoor/outdoor living room carpet.)

I never ask anyone to buy me anything or tell them what I really want. Even I can’t afford it. (Have your camera ready and just watch the look on their face when you tell ‘em you’d really like a new truck for Christmas.)

I certainly didn’t hang any lights this year. (Hey, maybe that’s what happened. The fat guy slipped past me in the dark.) I can barely afford the power bill now while keeping the house just warm enough to melt the ice on the top of my morning coffee. I don’t even want to know what it would cost to run a string of highly inefficient incandescent bulbs I bought forty seven years ago. And I can’t afford the new strings of LED Christmas lights which apparently are on sale at Target at just $189.99 a string, but only if you buy three or more and don’t mind your credit card being hacked.

I didn’t get a darn thing I wanted for Christmas. Well, I take that back. I bought myself the new truck. I only had to come up with enough financing to ensure that I will still be making the payments while I’m drooling rice pudding and playing Wednesday afternoon Bingo at the nursing home. At that point I won’t even have the license to drive it anymore and I won’t remember why I even bought the damn thing. But who cares, I’ll be taking my nap.

If you know anyone who is available for a New Year’s Eve date please call me after you have had her fill out a background check and gun permit application. I prefer the ones that check the ‘Yes’ box for mental illness.

Despite the fact that I didn’t get any presents, I’m handing out presents this holiday season and I’m not even a fat guy. If you would like a free copy of my collection of short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry, you are most welcome to unwrap it at your convenience.

Here is the Amazon Kindle Link.

For those of you who would like your present in other digital formats, here is the link to Smashwords where you may get it in just about any other format absolutely free.

Ethan Holmes is the author of Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Shorts and Other Laundry, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes and Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone.

Follow Ethan Holmes on Twitter, Facebook or right here on his blog/podcast.

May you have good fortune in the coming new year.

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Twas The Week Before Christmas

Twas-the-Night-Before-ChristmasTwas The Week Before Christmas is a poem born of the mind of author Ethan Holmes. This is clinical proof of what happens when you spend too much time alone.

Twas The Week Before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the stores

People were pushing and shoving and scrambling for more

Christmas lights were hung all over window and sill

In the hopes that we could pay the electric bill.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds

With visions of Iphones dancing in their heads

And mamma with her Tylenol and I with my booze

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s snooze.

When out in the street there arose such a clatter

I grabbed the shotgun to see what was the matter

Away to the door I flew like a flash

Locking the deadbolt and hiding my stash.

The security light shone on the new fallen snow

Revealing a crowd in the street down below

When what to my wondering eyes should appear

Eight cop cars, an ambulance and a street strewn with beer.

With a little old driver looking pale and quite sick

I knew in a moment this couldn’t be St. Nick

Out of their pockets everyone’s cell phone came

While the old drunk cursed and called them bad names.

“Now drop to the ground, put your hands in the air”

The cops reached for handcuffs and pulled out a pair

“On your belly, don’t you move, put your face in the snow”

“This Christmas night to jail you will go.”

The old man spotted my ladder by the house

And up he flew to the roof quick as a mouse

Up to the housetop he carried a sack

While the cops tried to plug him with a stun gun in the back

And then on the roof I heard after a while

The breaking and cracking of each little tile

As I checked the empty gun barrel and was turning around

This old man came down the chimney with a bound

He was dressed in a sweatsuit from his head to his foot

And his clothes were all torn and covered with soot

A bundle of something he had in his sack

And he looked like a drug dealer going through his pack.

His eyes didn’t twinkle and his dimples were deep

His cheeks were quite sunken and he looked like a creep

His droll little mouth looked like a black pool

And the beard on his chin was covered with frozen drool.

The stump of a joint he clenched tight in his teeth

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath

He had a pimply face and little dark eyes

And a big round belly that spoke of too many french fries.

He was wobbly and pale, a quite jolly ol’ drunk

And I laughed as I watched him fall down with a clunk

A wink from his eye and a nod toward his gun

And I knew then and there this would not be fun.

He spoke not a word but went straight to his work

He took all our stuff and turned with a jerk

And pulling a hankie to blow his nose

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose

He sprang to the roof edge to sing out a carol

And the cops plugged him good, like fish in a barrel

The ambulance driver, ere he drove out of sight,

Yelled out the window,

“Happy Christmas to all and to all a good-night!”

Ethan Holmes is the author of Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes, Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone and Shorts and Other Laundry. You may read excerpts of all of them at his website.

As a holiday present to all, Ethan Holmes has made his collection of “best of” short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry available for free. Here is the link to get your free copy. Shorts and Other Laundry is available for any ebook format. Reviews and comments are welcome.

May you have a safe and happy holiday. Ethan Holmes

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Shorts and Other Laundry, FREE!

Shorts And Other Laundry, a ‘best of’ collection of short stories from Ethan Holmes

is now permanently free. Click on the book cover and download the version

you prefer through Smashwords. If you own a Nook, Kindle, Ipad or just about any other

Ereader/Tablet, Shorts and Other Laundry is now available for Free in keeping with the

spirit of the season!

Eight entertaining stories from the slightly askew mind of author Ethan Holmes.

The Box; A man gets a strange box and a bit more than he wished for.
Spooked to Death; Two women decide to find out, once and for all, who is trashing their back porches.
A Very Small Town; Life in a small town isn’t always what it seems to be.
Two Paragraphs; A depressed writer meets a ragamuffin street urchin who claims to be Death.
Who’s In Charge Here? Norman Wright is having a real hard time keeping control of his life.
The Man Who Ate Popcorn; Meet George, a man who has a strange obsession with popcorn.
Have Some Cookies and Milk; Three young schoolboys have had enough of Jake bullying them.
Make and Model; Jeff and Marta are looking forward to the birth of their little girl but get a bit more than they were expecting.

Ethan Holmes welcomes reviews of Shorts and Other Laundry from his valued readers.

Shorts and Other Laundry is free on Smashwords.

Cover for 'Shorts and Other Laundry'

Shorts and Other Laundry is free on Amazon Kindle.

Happy Holidays to all.

Read excerpts from other titles by Ethan Holmes.

Earth’s Blood

The Keystone

Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone

A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes

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Top Ten Things To Do With Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

ethan holmes turkeyHappy Thanksgiving! So ya bought a thirty pound bird at the store because “it was such a deal, only eighty nine cents a pound!” Unfortunately only five people showed up for Thanksgiving dinner and three of them had already eaten somewhere else. Even the homeless guy at Walmart doesn’t want any more. Now you have gobs of leftover Thanksgiving turkey. What to do…what to do.

Fortunately, Ethan Holmes is here to save the day, or the week.

Top Ten Things To Do With Leftover Turkey

10- Drop it in the blender and make a smoothie.

9- Pack it for lunch for the next 32 days until you start growing feathers.

8- Make a casserole that won’t turn out like your mother’s and give it to the neighbors.

7- Grind it up and use it to plug all the little holes in the wall where the kids keep missing the dartboard.

6- Sprinkle generously with fresh ground pepper and spread around the house perimeter to deter those cats that are always throwing up on your doorstep.

5- Put it in a zip bag, freeze it, forget it’s there and then pull it out eight months from now and play a family game called “What the hell is this?”.

4- Send it home with your in-laws with a little card that says “Season’s Greetings and Happy Food Poisoning”.

3- Set pieces of it outside to sun-dry and then use it to patch the kids’ shoes.

2- Use it to start a food fight.

And lastly, the number one thing you can do with leftover turkey….

Serve it again at Christmas!!! Just flick off all the fuzzy purple spots and re-heat. {{OvO}}

ethan holmes moldy leftovers

Ethan Holmes wishes you all a happy holiday season and the hope that you avoid serious injury while battling your fellow shoppers. And if you don’t like my suggestions may you finally figure out what to do with all that leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Ethan Holmes is the author of Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone, Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Shorts and Other Laundry and A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes.

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Thanksgiving Instructions from Ethan Holmes

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ethan Holmes Snoopy-ThanksgivingAs usual, I am spending Thanksgiving alone. Many of you are privileged enough to spend yours with family and friends. So I thought it would be an opportune time to give you some ‘instructions’ about how to spend the holiday since I obviously have no clue how to even participate unless I go to the store to buy a twenty pound bird, bake it and eat it all by myself. I believe the only result of that would be I would never want to see another turkey for the rest of my life.

That said, I humbly submit an excerpt from my rather distorted and dry-witted look at life, Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone. This small sample gives you instructions on what to do at the Thanksgiving table. It’s just a theory but I hope it helps you all have a more peaceful Thanksgiving holiday despite the fact that you are in a house full of people. I know mine is going to be quiet as hell. Even Woodstock won’t be joining me as he headed for Florida for the winter.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving imageAn excerpt from Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone by Ethan Holmes; From the Family chapter.

Family crap knows no distinction when it comes to financial status, station in life, sex, race, religion or location. It can range in flavor and smell from your teenage daughter whining at you about why she can’t have a boyfriend and a cell phone, to your grandmother glaring at you because you brought her a couple of nice brochures for some great nursing homes, preferably thousands of miles from your present location. (Is this the same woman that used to make you cookies?)

Your husband comes home and whines about his job, your mother comes home and whines about the price of cottage cheese at the store. Someone calls to tell you your cousin in Indiana was just caught in a meth raid and you want to call your sister and tell her that, for some reason you cannot fathom, you can’t fit into your favorite jeans from three years ago. Of course, you also tell her there is something mechanically wrong with your scale because it keeps insisting that you weigh forty pounds more than you think you weigh.

Back to the estranged members of the family like Uncle Bob; do you know what the difference is between the rest of the family and Bob? Bob has a distinctively weird, peaceful look on his face. Of course, to all the family members sitting over there in a giant hot tub of crap, this only reinforces their idea that Bob is nuts and really strange.

“What’s wrong with Bob that he won’t come sit in our hot tubs of crap? Look, everyone else is here? Why isn’t Bob in here? We’re family. We’re supposed to stick together no matter what? So here we are sticking together in this giant hot tub of crap but weird ol’ Bob is just standing out there smiling. What’s up with that? He’s just weird. He’s a loner. He’s estranged from the rest of the family.”

What kind of family would you have if you didn’t invite each other to sit in your tub of crap? What if not a single one of you issued an invitation to another family member to come sit in your hot tub of crap? What would that be like?

My guess would be that initially all the holidays would be really, really quiet. My guess is that your minutes of usage on your cell phone would plummet. I would also venture to say your mileage on your vehicle and your gas expense would drop significantly too. Why, you might even have time for a hobby or two all of a sudden, like basket weaving or studying the life of the fish in your aquarium.

Here is a scenario I am putting forth that would be an easy yet revealing and perhaps, eye-opening experiment. Next Thanksgiving I would like to see you declare the immediate space around your family dining room table as a ‘crap-free zone’.

No one would be allowed to bring any hot tub of crap to the table. (I don’t know where they would put it anyway.) No one would be allowed to invite anyone within that area to sit in their hot tub of crap. If you want to extend an invitation, you and the accepting party must leave the room and not return until you’re through swimming in each other’s crap.

Can you imagine the peace that would envelope the dining room? The silence would be deafening and yet so calming and comforting. Why, you’d actually hear the people you love eating and enjoying the abundant and tasty food laid out on the table. You would hear the soft clattering and tinkle of silverware and glasses and even the sound of munching and crunching intermingled with the occasional, “Man, this is good!” or “Who made this? It’s awesome!” And if anyone did start a conversation, it could only be about wonderful, uplifting things; no crap.

What a concept! A crap-free Thanksgiving where your cousin Fred couldn’t complain about spending the holidays without a girlfriend for the second year in a row. Your mother couldn’t say a word about how you don’t make the crust right on the apple pie. Ed couldn’t start talking about his neighbor down the street who is always fixing his rust bucket, oil-dripping car in the driveway and “dammit, it’s against HOA rules!” Why even Uncle Joe couldn’t complain about how his TV at home only gets two hundred and thirty four channels and yours gets five hundred and sixty two and “When are we gonna watch the game? ‘Cause I can’t get it at my house!”

Imagine the quiet. What would your family members have to say to each other if they would not be allowed to invite others to sit in their hot tub of crap?

My mother, and probably yours, used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.” What a concept. What if that was a rule in life? Can you imagine how quiet the world would become?

What would your family talk to you about if they couldn’t invite you to sit in their hot tub of crap? Just think about that for a moment. What would your mother talk about the next time she picks up the phone? What would your siblings talk about at the next family gathering? Why, if you’re not careful, even estranged ol’ Uncle Bob is liable to show up to participate in the peace.

My theory is that family does not have to consist of a whole bunch of tubs of crap for everyone to sit in. I’m not sure it’s a valid theory since human relationships seem to need that to thrive. Rather, I am offering choices.

You, as a family member, can make other choices much like Uncle Bob. I would like to think it is possible to have a quality relationship with your mother without getting on the phone and spending two hours a day complaining to each other and extending invitations to sit in each other’s crap.

I would dare to think that you can converse with your brother or sister and not get into an argument about the rest of the family or certain members you might not see eye to eye with. I would like to believe it is possible to get through an entire day without a single negative thought about anyone in your family, no matter what their actions or speech may invoke.

 

What if being a close family meant that only love, kindness and affection were present among family gatherings? What if only love and support was offered in times of trouble we must all face at one point or another in life; not criticism, derision and anger? What if your family is truly ‘close’ because there are no tubs of crap in the way?

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Read A Thanksgiving Poem by Ethan Holmes

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