Category Archives: Contests

How To Get A Free E-book

Sulfurings e-book anthologyIn this past week’s gnewsletter, the garden gnomes announced they were going to give away a free copy of the latest e-book in the Biblical Legends Anthology Series–Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah. Half of you jumped for glee and two of you just jumped. Through space and time, I heard one confused soul burp and shout, “Pickles!”

I’m not naming names.

Well, the gnomes decided to do what any self-respecting gnome would do under similar circumstances. We met in committee and took a vote, threw out the results, cast another vote, burned the tallies, and then turned to Spiff and said, “Care to?”

To which Spiff replied, “Just do.” So we did.

We extended the deadline.

We were going to have our drawing at the end of July, but we realized that some of you folks are slow readers and that wouldn’t be fair. So we’ll have our drawing instead at the end of August. And we think that’s a good time because it’s just before September. So it’s settled then.

But what is the contest? Simply this:

Review The Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden AnthologyThere’s a reason we give away the Garden of Eden anthology. It’s not just to make us feel good about high distribution numbers. Drug dealers don’t give away crack just to run their numbers up, do they? Well, aren’t we every bit as devilish as your drug dealer?

Don’t answer that.

Instead, read the Garden of Eden anthology and leave us a review. For every review, you’ll get a chance to win the coveted e-book award. We’re giving away one free copy of Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah. If you’ve already got it, you can choose another book from my Smashwords store or Amazon store. If you prefer, you can hold out for a free copy of Deluge: Tales of Survival and Tragedy. If you want your free copy to be a gift for someone else, just say so!

So what do you have to do to enter this giveaway? We’re glad you asked.

  • First, read the Garden of Eden anthology. You can get the anthology by subscribing to our gnewsletter–the Garden Gnome Gnews–or at any of the leading bookstores: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords.
  • Next, leave a review of the anthology at any of those locations. For each review you’ll receive an entry into the drawing.
  • You can also review the anthology on your blog, and if you link to any of the sales pages where the Garden of Eden anthology can be downloaded for free, you’ll receive an entry for each link.
  • Finally, tweet “I read the Garden of Eden anthology” and link to any of the sales pages where the anthology can be downloaded. For each link/tweet, you’ll receive a contest entry (limit to one per day per sales page link).

So, just to be clear. If you tweet “I read the Garden of Eden anthology” and link to the Amazon sales page for the Garden of Eden anthology, that’s one contest entry. If you tweet the phrase and link to the Smashwords page for the anthology, that’s another contest entry. If you link to the Garden of Eden download page on this website, that’s another entry.

And so on.

To ensure your entries are counted, send an e-mail to editor @ gardengnomepubs.com and let us know of each review along with a link to your review. With each of your tweets, @mention Allen_Taylor and you’ll get credit for your tweets.

Oh, and one more thing. If you’ve already reviewed the Garden of Eden anthology, you can still enter. Just e-mail us the links to your reviews and follow all the same rules as everyone else.

If you have questions or need clarification about any of these rules, send those to the chief garden gnome at editor @ gardengnomepubs.com. And may your feet forever smell like rosemary.

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Flim-Flam Games: Are Themes Necessary?

garden gnome themesAs we wrap up the last week of the June Flim-Flam Games, the garden gnomes do not have a single flash lined up for July. That’s unusual, especially when you consider that we had June’s Flim-Flam Game submissions all set to publish before the end of the first week in May. That means we haven’t had any solid submissions in two months.

We have had a few close calls, but we aren’t playing with hand grenades.

The gnomes are confident that we will receive some submissions for July, but we’d like your feedback on themes. It has been our observation that at least half of the submissions we receive don’t bother to address them, so we’re kind of wondering if themes are necessary. Do readers like them? Do writers? If so, how should we establish themes for each month’s Flim-Flam Games?

Please take the poll below and tell us what you think about the Flim-Flam Games and whether or not themes are necessary. As usual, we thank you from the bottom of our bottomless hearts.

What kind of themes should the Flim-Flam Games have?

  • Garden Gnome Publications should state two or three themes each month (42%, 5 Votes)
  • A combination of both methods above (25%, 3 Votes)
  • No themes; they're stupid (17%, 2 Votes)
  • Themes should be based on weird holidays at Holiday Insights (8%, 1 Votes)
  • Readers should suggest and vote on themes (8%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 12

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Winner: April 2014 Flim-Flam Game

flim-flam game winner april 2014Congratulations to Rich Young, the winner of the April 2014 Flim-Flam Game for his flash fiction story “The Scraping.”

In all, it was a good game last month. We had some really strong submissions. Kicking off the month was “Bad Seed” by Doreen Knight, a wicked tale about the planting of a human seed, a dead body seed. And you’ll never guess what happens next.

Following Doreen’s fabulous tale was “Mars in the Holiday Season” by Anthony McColgan, a funny take on David Bowie.

Jennifer Ann Margaret Patino killed it with “The Beast.” Her story takes some unexpected turns and delivers on a surprise ending that will take your breath away.

RK Musgrave wrapped up the month with “The Guest,” a fine way to end the cruelest month.

The themes for the month of May include:

  • Bikes
  • Hamburgers
  • Salads

Alternatively, you can consult the bizarre holiday list at http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/may.htm and choose a holiday theme. The winner of the Flim-Flam Games each month wins $5. There is no entry fee. Learn more about the Flim-Flam Games from the submission guidelines. We’re currently taking submissions for May and June.

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Join The Flim-Flam Games

Flim-Flam games prizeFor a few months now, Garden Gnome Publications has been taking submissions for a rolling contest we call Flim-Flam Games. It’s like playing the lottery without buying a ticket. The prize is a measly $5 (you need a PayPal address). And there’s no entry fee.

While we’re not offering a pot of gold, we are encouraging fledgling literary artists to get creative and send in their best flash fiction. Most flash fiction markets don’t pay at all, but the garden gnomes are at least willing to pay $5 for the best monthly story that meets the strictures of three arbitrary criteria, namely:

  1. What the garden gnomes like
  2. What our readers like
  3. And the writer’s ability to incorporate the monthly theme(s)

Wonder what those themes are? They’re listed on our Flim-Flam Games submissions page. In March, we’re looking for stories that incorporate dragons, clovers, or ashes into the storyline in some way. It can be subtle or in your ugly face. We don’t care, as long as you get those little gems in the mud where they belong.

When Should You Submit To The Flim-Glam Games?

Right now, of course.

A little more explicitly, whenever you have a story to tell.

To be even more specific, try to submit before the last week of the month because we publish stories as they come in. You submit, we read, and if we like it, we put it in the queue to be published as soon as possible.

Since last September, we’ve published flash fiction stories almost every Wednesday. If we got more submissions, we’d publish more often.

We’re taking submissions for March 2014 right now. If you want to address a specific theme, as long as the theme for that month has been published, we’ll go ahead and take your submission. If we like it, we’ll add it to the queue to be published for that month. So, go ahead, check out our Flim-Flam guidelines and send us a flash.

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October’s Flim-Flam Game Underway

Tomorrow, the garden gnomes will publish their first flash fiction story as a part of this month’s Flim-Flim Game. The story is titled “Things That Need To Be Said.”

Oregon writer Carl J. Gonzales is the author of this story.

Just a reminder that the rules for this month’s game are a little different than previous contests. We’ve introduced a theme and look forward to seeing how you interpret it.

October stories can be about anything, but you’ll stand a better chance at winning the game if you write about a legendary, mythological, or non-human creature. That can be anything from the myths and legends of yore to modern day chimeras. Or you can make up your own creature. The gnomes don’t care.

Mr. Gonzales chose to write about our favorite topic – the suburban garden gnome.

If you like his story, be sure to Like it on Facebook. At the end of the month, the story with the most Facebook Likes by daily average will get an extra boost in Flim-Flam juice.

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Goodbye September, Hello October

September came and went and so did the Flim-Flam Games. I only got two submissions and neither of them were really what I wanted to publish, so I didn’t choose a winner for last month. Already, I’ve received more submissions for October. Keep them coming!

I’m going to handle the games a little differently this month. I’m going to publish stories as they come in and decide on the winner from among the published stories at the end of the month.

Additionally, as a way of considering the tastes of readers, I’ll consider the number of likes each story receives, but that will be a small part of the Flim-Flam selection process. I will use a process determined by the number of Facebook Likes the story receives since publication divided by the number of days it has been published.

For instance, if a story is published today (October 6, 2013) and received 23 Facebook Likes by the end of the month, on November 1, its Like daily average will be 23/25, or .92. The highest Like daily average at the end of the month will receive as an extra dose of personal like by me in consideration for the Flim-Flam game for the month. The winner will receive $5.

October’s Flim-Flam Theme

I’ve stayed away from themes until now. This month, however, in lieu of Halloween, I’d like stories to involve some kind of legendary, mythological, or non-human creature. That’s a pretty broad brush. Use your imagination.

For the purposes of the Flim-Flam Game, the contest winner will be determined 50% by my personal tastes, 25% by popular vote as expressed through Facebook Likes, and 25% by whether or not the story includes a legendary, mythological, or non-human creature. It can be scary, funny, or somewhere in between, but it should include a creature as a character or a prop within the story.

I will still publish stories that don’t include the creature (if I like them), but in terms of the Flim-Flam Game, they’ll be at a disadvantage.

I hope all of that is clear. If not, feel free to e-mail me at gardengnome @ allenleetaylor.com and I’ll try to clarify. Meanwhile, happy submitting. Read these guidelines:

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Winner Of The First Flim-Flam Flash Fiction Contest

Choosing a winner of a contest can be difficult, especially for your first contest. I was a bit apprehensive going into this first contest because I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. I simply wanted to juice up the blog with some fast action – and, boy, did I get what I asked for.

My initial call for entries was vague. I put out a call on Facebook for some flash and said I’d pay a measly $5 for the first story I accepted.

One person was quick on the uptake. In just an hour I had my first submission. The submitter was proud of the fact that he wrote a story about a garden gnome. Since I didn’t put a deadline on the contest, I decided to initiate one, so I chose Friday, August 30, 2013.

I spread the word as far and wide as I could in such a short time – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Craigslist. Then I sat back and watched the submissions come in.

I didn’t get as many as I’d liked, but the ones I got were quite good – most of them. I decided not to read any of them until the deadline, then I would read them all at once. The diversity of submissions was quite impressive. I wrote back to several of the non-winners and told them I’d like to publish their stories anyway. They all accepted.

But there was one submission that earned a spot in my heart even after I’d read all the others. It was the story about the garden gnome, the first submission received.

What’s So Special About Garden Gnomes?

It’s a fair question to ask: “What criteria did you choose the winner based on?”

Luckily, no one has asked me that question – yet. But if they did, I’d have to say in this case it was very simple. I wanted something that was representative of what Garden Gnome Publications is all about. That could be an easy thing to find or quite difficult. In this case, the winner had a leg up on everyone else. He helped me create the look and feel of the website. In fact, he created my header.

That may seem unfair, but I didn’t know David Anderson was going to submit to the contest (and he didn’t know I was going to have one). Nevertheless, he hit me with a story I couldn’t resist.

There were other stories that were better written. From a craft standpoint, several stories were much more winner-worthy. But most of them weren’t creepy enough, or funny enough, or weird enough. One, I felt, was too short, though it was an extremely well thought out and written story. Another almost took the prize but in the end, the garden gnome represented the essence of Flim-Flam. I had my pick.

Congratulations to David Anderson, graphic artist and writer in the Bizarro fiction genre. You can read his story on the Flim-Flam Blog tomorrow.

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Enter The Garden Gnome Flim-Flam Contest

flim-flam garden gnomeWhat’s so special about 5:00 p.m. EST Friday, August 30, 2013? That’s the deadline for the Garden Gnome Flim-Flam Contest.

Here are the details:

  • Follow these guidelines.
  • If you are the first person to submit a flash fiction story our garden gnomes find acceptable, you’ll receive $5 in PayPal money. That’s better than real money!

Format your subscriptions like this.

The winning submission will appear in the Garden Gnome flim-flam garden. Non-winning entries could still be published if acceptable. You’ll be notified beforehand and given the option to accept or reject publication.

I honestly don’t know what you’re waiting for. Submit today. Submit to submissions at gardengnomepubs dot com.

I said, “Submit!”

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