Flash Fiction Friday – The Gift Wrapper

November 21, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “Oh, my.” It can be used in storytelling or dialogue. What is the cause for such a response? Have fun with this one! Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.


The Gift Wrapper – by Hugh W. Roberts

Reggie always helped me with packing Christmas gifts.

He had an eye for matching tags and ribbons with the right paper. All the gifts looked terrific.

“Thanks for your help again, Reggie,” I said while putting away the remainder of the Christmas wrapping paper.

I always got the same reply when he looked at me with deep brown eyes.

But this year was different. No brown eyes were looking up at me.

“Reggie?”

Silence.

“Oh, my!”

There was no sign of Reggie. Surely my pet rat hadn’t crept into one of the fifty-wrapped boxes sitting under the Christmas tree?

***

Photo of heavy snowfall in a street of houses
Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

***


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘Glimpses.’

***

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

Follow Hugh on his social media platforms by clicking the buttons below.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Playtime #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of a group of dogs playing on a beach on a wet, damp, cold day.
Are you playing?

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Joining the Sunday Stills Photography Challenge hosted by Terri Webster Schrandt – Theme: Leather or shades of brown.

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will try and visit it and leave you a comment (provided the post and pictures are Wordless and do not contain any words). I will also share the post on Twitter, provided you have connected your Twitter account to your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

WordPress: Press This. What Is It? How To Use It And Why It’s Safer Than Reblogging

Sharing the blog posts of other bloggers is something the majority of bloggers like to do. But is there a safe way to do it without facing the possibility of copyright infringement?

Banner for the blog post 'WordPress Press This. What Is It? How To Use It And Why It's Safer Than Reblogging.'
Have you tried ‘Press This’ on WordPress?

In January 2022, I published a guest post by author and writer Deborah Jay where she shared a story of how she faced a copyright infringement fine simply for reblogging the blog post of another blogger. You can read Deborah’s post here

The ‘Press This’ feature on WordPress is simple to use and (when used correctly) removes all the possibilities of being fined for copyright infringement. It also comes with other benefits that reblogging a post does not have.

How To Use Press This.

  • Ensure you are in the Default view of your blog’s dashboard, not the Classic view mode.
Image highlighting 'Default view' mode in the dashboard of a WordPress blog.
Ensure your blog’s dashboard in ‘Default View’ mode.
  • Click on Settings – Writing.
Image highlighting the settings and writing tabs on WordPress
Click on Settings and Writing
  • On the Writing Settings page, scroll down to Publishing Tools (at the bottom) and look for the Press This button.
Image highlighting the Publishing Tools and Press This button on WordPress
Drag the Press This button to the favourites bar on your device.
  • Drag and drop the Press This button to somewhere you can access it quickly when reading blog posts. I dragged it from the bottom of the Writing Settings page and placed it on the ‘favouites bar’ of my desktop computer, where it’s visible while I am on the internet. 
  • When you find a blog post, you want to share, click the Press This button. 
  • A new window will open, but you can close it down as a draft copy of the post you wish to share will be in your draft folder.
  • Open the draft you have just created. In the images below, you’ll see one of my blog posts which I have made via the Press This button. 
Image highlighting the draft post created when using Press This
Find the draft post that has been created by the Press This button
  • Before publishing the post, you need to add tags and categories. To do this, click on the meatball/kebab menu next to the post (the three dots) and click on Edit.
Image highlighting the meatball menu and edit button on WordPress
Click the meatball menu to edit the post.
  • Not only can you add tags and categories, but you can also edit the post, add an excerpt, and add your own images and photos. 
Image showing the editing page of a draft post on WordPress
Edit the post before publishing it
  • Don’t worry about the left alignment of the link created by ‘Press This’, as in most cases, it will be centred when the post is published. However, I recommend you preview the post before publishing it, as the theme you use may not automatically centre it.
  • Save the draft.
  • As soon as you’re happy, either click the publish button or schedule it to publish on a date and time that suits you. 

What are the most significant benefits of Press This over Reblogging?

  • No images from the post get downloaded into your media library, so there is no risk of copyright infringement. 
  • You do not use up any valuable space in your media library. 
  • You can edit and add tags and categories before publishing the post— no need to go back to it after publication to add details or leave it as an uncategorised post. 

Sub note: Unfortunately, the ‘Press There’ sharing button at the bottom of blog posts is not working correctly. Therefore, the above method for sharing via ‘Press This’ is recommended.

Do you have any questions about Press This? Please leave them in the comments section.

Layout, content, settings, and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.

Looking for more blogging tips? Click on the ‘Blogging Tips’ and ‘Block Editor – How To’ buttons on the menubar of my blog.

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Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Flash Fiction Friday – Jobs

November 14, 2022, prompt: Write a story that includes a lie in 99 words (no more, no less). What is the lie? It can be subtle or blatant. Who tells the lie and why? Is it an unreliable narrator? Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.


Jobs – by Hugh W. Roberts

“How was work today?” asked my wife.

“Good,” I replied as I stuffed notes into a pair of old boxer pants at the bottom of my sock drawer. She’ll never look there.

“Are the people nice?”

“Yes.”

“Will I meet them someday? Perhaps we’ll bump into them when out?”

“Maybe.”

But they’ll never know who she is. And she can never know who they are.

I told her my new job paid well and would take me worldwide. It does both.

I may have lied about what I do, but becoming a male escort is my best job ever.


Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Image of a pair of crossed fingers behind somebodies back
Image Credit: Charli Mills

***


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘More Glimpses.’

***

32 short stories and flash fiction pieces take the reader to the edge of their imagination.

More Glimpses

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

Follow Hugh on his social media platforms by clicking the buttons below.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Throwback Thursday – Blogging – Is It All You Want It To Be?

In February 2022, I passed a milestone in which I’d been blogging for eight years.

Click the link below for my overview of the world of blogging in those eight years. You may be surprised by what I said.

Blogging – Is It All That You Want It To be?

Throwback Thursday – The day to bring older blog posts back to life.

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Throwback Thursday

Not sure what Throwback Thursday is or how to participate in it? Click here for full details.

Comments are closed here. Please leave them on the original post.

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Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Day Or Night? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of the moon behind clouds and stars in the sky
Is it night or day?

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will try and visit it and leave you a comment (provided the post and pictures are Wordless and do not contain any words). I will also share the post on Twitter, provided you have connected your Twitter account to your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Flash Fiction Friday – The Squeaky Husband

November 7, 2022, prompt: Write a story that includes something squeaky in 99 words (no more, no less). What is squeaky and why? How does it move the story or disrupt a character? Listen, write, and go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.


The Squeaky Husband – by Hugh W. Roberts

“Can you hear that squeaking sound?” Gemma asked her husband.

Peeking over his newspaper at his wife, Malcolm shook his head.

“You must be able to hear it! It’s coming from your direction.”

“I don’t hear anything, darling,” came the reply.

It wasn’t until Malcolm’s death that the squeaking stopped. But as his body began its journey into the ground, Gemma was convinced the squeaking was back.

“Where’s that squeaking noise coming from?” she asked the other mourners.

But nobody could help Gemma because only she could hear the squeaking because only Gemma knew where she was burying Malcolm.

***

Image of a dish of squeaky cheese
Image credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

***


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘Glimpses.’

***

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

Follow Hugh on his social media platforms by clicking the buttons below.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Is Blogging Causing You Stress Or Making You Feel Guilty? How To Fix It

What makes you put your head in your hands or shake your head regarding blogging?

Recently, I’ve been shaking my head a lot when visiting the blogging world.

Some of my fellow bloggers worry me, and I’m concerned about their mental health.

I’m witnessing bloggers panicking, stressed, feeling guilty, or apologising because of how they blog.

Banner for the blog post 'Is Blogging Causing You Stress Or Making You Feel Guilty? How To Fix It'
Are you showing signs of stress because of blogging?

Here are some of the bloggers I am referring to. Are you one of them?

The Sprinters

Have you heard this quote?

Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint!

It’s a quote many bloggers acknowledge.

Sprinters rush around the blogging world every day as if they’re on a time challenge where they must read and leave comments on as many blog posts as possible within a certain amount of time.

The comments they leave are seldom engaging and are often empty. Instead of leaving a comment saying why they thought a post was great or why they liked a photo or reading a piece of fiction, they’ll leave a comment like, ‘Great story’ or ‘I enjoyed this.’

They don’t have time to leave engaging comments, so leave comments that’ll not make you want to engage with them other than maybe to say ‘Thanks.’

If they fail to leave comments on all the blogs they’re following, they believe they may upset someone. They need to prove they’ve visited your post, often by leaving an empty comment.

They often show signs of stress or pressure in the content they publish and the comments they leave.

They won’t read long-engaging posts because that wastes time and worsens their stress. They’re on a mission to read as many posts as possible in the time they have so they don’t upset anyone.

Why read a couple of interesting, engaging, long posts when you can read lots of short blog posts in the time it takes to read one fascinating post over 1,000 words that gets you and lots of other readers wanting to get into a discussion?

When I saw the above tweet from James, I punched the air with my fist. He makes a valid point. And it doesn’t only apply to new bloggers.

Blogging should never be about sprinting under pressure around the blogging world to see how many blog posts you can read and comment on in 20 minutes!

Those posts will still be there next week.

There is no such thing as being behind in blogging. Read, respond and leave comments when you have the time to do so.

Hugh W. Roberts

Ask yourself why you started blogging. Was it for enjoyment and fun? Or did you come to the blogging world on a mission to try and break the world record every day for the number of blog posts you can read and comment on so you don’t feel guilty or upset anyone?

Is rushing around the blogging world, feeling stressed out while leaving the same non-engaging short comments, fun?

Slow down, and engage with bloggers rather than trying to prove the point that you have visited their posts.

If you don’t have the time to read and leave comments, make time by reading less blogs.

Hugh W. Roberts

This brings me to…

The obliging blogger

In the next paragraph, I’ll ask you a question. Leave your answer in the comments section before reading the rest of this post.

Question: If a blogger reads and leaves comments on all your blog posts, should you feel obliged to read and leave comments on all their posts?

You won’t be surprised that my answer to that question is ‘No.’

But if you answered ‘Yes’, share your reasons in the comments section.

Nobody should feel obliged to read and comment on another blogger’s posts because they read and leave comments on all their blog posts.

Your time is precious, and wasting it by forcing yourself to read and comment on content that does not interest you is a waste of your time.

“But won’t the blogger who reads and comments on all my posts stop reading and commenting on my blog posts if I don’t return the favour?’

Yes, they may, but does it matter? And if they do, ask yourself this question.

‘Why am I following that blogger?’

If it’s because you genuinely enjoy reading their content, then, by all means, continue to follow them, but don’t feel obliged to read and leave comments on all their posts.

If a blogger gets upset with you for not reading and leaving comments on all their posts, consider unfollowing them.

Allocate the time you spent reading their blogs to the blogs you enjoy reading, and leave valuable, engaging comments on those posts rather than short, empty, non-engaging comments.

Tip: Make the first comment count and show that you genuinely want to engage.

Don’t get too upset if the blogger you’re trying to engage with doesn’t want to engage with you when they respond to your comment with nothing but a ‘Thank you.’

That’s your cue to think twice before engaging with them again.

If you don’t want to engage with a blogger after reading a post, press the like button and move on. After all, that’s why it’s there.

There is nothing wrong with not leaving a comment after reading a blog post if you’ve nothing of value to add. Stop acting like it’s a crime not to leave one.

Hugh W. Roberts

Don’t be tricked into feeling guilty if you don’t always leave a comment. I read many blog posts where I do not click the ‘like’ button or leave comments. Why? Because I have nothing of value to add.

Likewise, never feel obliged to follow a blogger who has followed your blog. There’s no harm in visiting their blog to check out their content. If you like it, by all means, follow back, but don’t follow them simply because they followed you.

The desperate blogger

This blogger comes in two forms.

The first are bloggers you’ve never received comments from, and suddenly they’ll leave a comment and link on one of your posts that begs you (and your readers) to check out their blog, read their posts and leave comments.

I’ve received lots of these types of comments recently.

Their comment won’t mention anything about the contents of the posts they’ve left their comment on, just a few words of desperation and a link to their blog.

You’ll see them leaving the same comment on other blogs. I never approve these comments, so you’ll never see them in the comments section of any of my blog posts.

These types of comments are often left by new bloggers looking for new followers and readers.

If you’re new to blogging, there are much better ways to gain followers and new readers than to leave uninvited links on other blogs. These posts list some tips that will help you gain new followers and readers.

New To Blogging? These Free Tips On Leaving Comments Will Help Bring New Visitors To Your Blog

Are You Struggling To Get People To Your Blog? These 7 Free Methods Will Help

The other type of desperate blogger is someone who has previously left some engaging comments but unexpectedly starts dropping links to their posts that have nothing to do with the content of your post, asking you to read and comment.

I’ve said this many times before. Other blogs are not places for you to leave links unless the host has invited you to leave them. For example, in my Wordless Wednesday posts, I invite bloggers to leave links to their Wordless Wednesday posts.

If you have a post you’d like to share with a blogger in the comments section because it’s connected to their post, ask for permission to leave the link first.

Many bloggers class uninvited links as spam and move comments that include them to the spam folder or bin.

How do you deal with uninvited links left in the comments section of your blog?

I edit them out before approving the comment by pressing the edit button.

Image highlighting the edit button on a comment on a WordPress blog
Click edit to edit out uninvited links from bloggers

Remember to save the changes and then approve the comment. Most bloggers leaving uninvited links soon get the message.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Never feel pressured to read and comment on too many blog posts when you don’t have the time.
  • Read and leave engaging comments on a few blog posts a day/week rather than try and read and leave empty, non-engaging comments on all the blog posts of those you follow.
  • Never feel obliged to follow a blog simply because they followed you.
  • Don’t force yourself or waste time reading blog posts that do not interest you. Instead, invest your time reading and engaging with bloggers who publish content that interests you.
  • It doesn’t matter if you don’t read a blog post today. It’ll still be there to read in a week or when you have more time.
  • Don’t feel guilty if you do not get around to reading all the blog posts you want to read and comment on.
  • If you have nothing of value to add in a comment, rather than leaving short, empty, non-engaging comments, click the ‘like’ button and move on.
  • Other blogs are not the place to leave uninvited links promoting your blog.
  • Edit out uninvited links before approving comments.
  • Remove any thoughts of thinking you’re behind with blogging and have to catch up. Read and comment on posts when you have the time to do so.

Are there any examples of blogging that have you holding your head in your hands, shaking your head or concerned for other bloggers? Please share them in the comments section.

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Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

What Are You Thinking About Today? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of a boarded up window with an image of a thinking cherub on it
What Are You Thinking About?

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will try and visit it and leave you a comment (provided the post and pictures are Wordless and do not contain any words). I will also share the post on Twitter, provided you have connected your Twitter account to your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Throwback Thursday – Are Your Old Blog Posts Damaging Your Blog? How To Stop It From Happening

Did you know that keeping old, out-of-date blog posts on your blog can damage the health of your blog?

Click the link below for help to stop the damage from happening.

Are Your Old Blog Posts Damaging Your Blog? How To Stop It From Happening

Throwback Thursday – The day to bring older blog posts back to life.

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Throwback Thursday

Not sure what Throwback Thursday is or how to participate in it? Click here for full details.

Comments are closed here. Please leave them on the original post.

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Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Rain Shower Over Swansea #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of a passing rain shower over Swansea in South Wales
Rain Shower over Swansea

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will try and visit it and leave you a comment (provided the post and pictures are Wordless and do not contain any words). I will also share the post on Twitter, provided you have connected your Twitter account to your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – October 2022

These 11 blog posts got people talking. Were you one of them? If not, join the conversations and share your thoughts.

  • Struggling to get captions underneath photos and images to centre on your WordPress blog? This is how to do it.

This Is How Easy It Is To Centre Captions Underneath Images And Photos On WordPress

  • Some things are not worth saving, are they?

Dilapidated #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • If you’re brave enough, afternoon tea with Doris is something everyone should do.

Flash Fiction Friday – Afternoon Tea With Doris

  • Keep having to search for the blocks you use the most? Switch on this setting on your WordPress blog to always get easy access to the blocks you use the most.

How To Access The Blocks You Use The Most On The WordPress Block Editor

  • Can you solve the puzzle?

A Puzzling View #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Have you discovered and used these secret gallery blocks on WordPress? Where to find them and how to use them.

These Secret Gallery Blocks On WordPress Are Easy To Find. How To Use Them.

  • Would you spend the night here?

Creepy Places #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • How hungry are you?

Flash Fiction Friday – The Hunger Game

  • When was the last time you shattered something?

Shattered #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • What secret does Aunt Marjorie’s apartment hide?

Flash Fiction Friday – The Ghost Bones

  • How to avoid becoming a victim of these frightening encounters in the blogging world.

Are You Terrified Of Any Of These 7 Scary Things In The Blogging World?

Comments are closed here. Please leave any new comments on the original posts.

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Monthly Round-up – October 2022

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