Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

A Hard Day of Work Paid Off

After a long day of final editing and formatting, I am pleased to announce that “Pursuit of a Dream” (Book One of Victory Lane: The Chronicles) is now available for download on! I was originally only going to submit the book to for launch day, but I liked the idea of having the book available in several formats on Day 1. Plus, I was able to submit and test the file conversions very easily on Smashwords. Getting the formatting right was another issue altogether!

Tabs Are Evil!

When I wrote “Pursuit of a Dream” several years ago I had no idea that there would be devices such as the Kindle and Nook to publish my work on. So, when I tapped away on the keyboard I naturally hit the TAB key for paragraph indents. Oh, how I regret that now! I have learned that tabs are evil! They are a complete nightmare when it comes to publishing an e-book. While the process of fixing those dreaded tabs wasn’t complicated, when you have a 155,000 word manuscript and about half of it is littered with tabs, it becomes a literal headache. When I write Book 2, I’m not only going to utilize auto indents in my word processor, but I’m also going to remove that blasted TAB key from my keyboard! Okay, maybe I won’t go that far, but you get my drift. After surviving the dreaded formatting process I decided that I was going to reward myself with publishing my book today.

Publishing Jitters

After getting the tab situation under control and setting up my account on, I began to get a little nervous. This was it. I’m finally going to publish this puppy for e-readers. It took several upload attempts, further formatting adjustments, and testing on my Kindle, PC, and iPhone to finally step away from my computer and consider the job complete. The book is priced, all of the formats were ready, and now it’s time for marketing. Oy! I didn’t think I was going to be this nervous after hitting that PUBLISH button, but here I am, shaking like a leaf. Did I find all of the errors? Is the formatting going to work? Did I catch ALL of those blasted tabs? Did I… well, you get the point. Seriously, though, I am very excited that I finally have my book ready for purchase on Smashwords. It’s been a lengthy but rewarding process. It’s another goal that I can mark as complete.

A Special “Thank You”

In closing, I want to express my appreciation for all of you who have been so supportive of me during this publishing process, particularly all of my friends in the #PubWrite Network. Your words of encouragement, guidance, and cheering me on has meant more to me that you can imagine. I absolutely could not have completed this project without you. You are all absolutely the most incredible people I have ever met. I mean it truly from the bottom of my heart. If it wasn’t for you, my lovely peeps at #Pubwrite, I never would have followed through the process of releasing “Pursuit of a Dream” in e-format. I also never would have created You all are awesome!

Until next time, thank you for visiting and if you are interested in reading my first book “Pursuit of a Dream“, please click on the image below and download a sample (or purchase, of course) and let me know what you think.


Before I considered myself to be a writer I’ve always been a gamer for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the 80s with the popularity of arcade games and home video game systems. I still have my original Intellivision system that my parents bought at a Radio Shack in Austin. It still works.

Sharky and his Intellivision

That’s not the focus of this post, though. I’ve been asked by a number of people where my nickname “Sharkbait” or “Sharky” comes from, so I decided to write about it and post it here on First of all, I’m not a surfer (I only surf the Internet) so I didn’t get my nickname from getting bitten by a shark. Although, that would have been a great story. Sadly, my story isn’t as exciting as floating casually on a surfboard waiting for the next wave to ride, only to be mistaken as a seal by a hungry great white shark. Studies show that sharks don’t care for the taste of human flesh anyway; they typically take a bite and then after determining it’s just a surfer and not a seal, they usually let go and go elsewhere… usually. Too bad for the surfer, though!

great-white-shark-398276_1280 via

Anyway, back to the nickname. When I first started playing multi-player video games and needed a handle I chose some goofy name and rode with it for a while. I mainly played racing games at first, so I had a racing themed screen name. Well, then I started making some gaming friends and began playing first person shooters with them and quickly realized that playing games like Call of Duty offline is a heck of a lot more challenging when you’re playing real people online. And yes, I was still using my goofy race-themed username. I needed to change it to something more universal.

I thought about it for a while and then after getting blasted by one of my opponents and falling backwards into the water one time, it hit me. Sharkbait! I was getting killed so often in these games that Sharkbait seemed to fit after seeing my character getting the liquid burial treatment a number of times. So, I changed my screen name to Sharkbait and added two Ws so they would look like teeth. WWSharkbaitWW. That’s what the Ws are for. Some people make the connection, while others just call me “WW” during games.

Like I said, the origin of Sharkbait isn’t all that exciting. However, the avatar I use is a little more comical. I originally used a basic picture of a great white shark, but then I started noticing total strangers chanting “Sharkbait! Whoo-Ha-Ha!” when I entered game lobbies. At first I thought it was just funny, but I quickly made the connection to Finding Nemo. So, it was at that time that I embraced this and changed my avatar to Bruce the Shark from Finding Nemo. Now obviously Sharkbait was Nemo’s nickname, so it would make sense to use the clown fish as the avatar instead… but I have such a fascination of sharks that it just wouldn’t feel right. Plus, the shark avatar just looks cool.

My original WWSharkbaitWW Twitter account (my main account is @SharkbaitWrites) was actually only supposed to be to communicate with my gaming friends, but none of them wanted to use Twitter. I ended up meeting some writers on Twitter and the rest is history. One of the writers I met at #PubWrite gave me the nickname “Sharky”. I think it was Karen DeLabar, but I’m not 100% certain. So, if it was someone else, I apologize. Cara Michaels, however, is without a doubt the mastermind who crafted the lovely vV””Vv Sharkbait signature that you may see me use from time to time in my tweets.

Chumming with Sharky™


So, there you have it… a little history behind the nicknames of Sharkbait and Sharky. Although, it’s not very exciting I’m sure, I felt it would be a disservice to my lovely followers if I didn’t write about it for you. I hope you enjoyed the post nonetheless, and if you haven’t done so already, please be sure to subscribe via WordPress blog above (if you’re logged in) or via email on the left.

Shoot me some comments, too. I always enjoy reading your comments. Thanks for visiting!

Sharky Teeth


Profile Photo (Cropped)Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

Pursue your dreams . . . and never look back.

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The past couple of nights I’ve had the opportunity to settle down and spend some time in a little place called #Pubwrite where many of my fellow writers hang out to just relax and chat with each other about anything, everything, or about nothing in particular. I remember when I first entered the pub; it was so full of life. People were having a great time, laughing, sharing stories, and just cutting up. I also remember how welcoming and friendly everybody in the pub was. It wasn’t too long that I was included in the conversations, random ramblings, jokes, and so forth. I have made some great friendships at #Pubwrite.

So, what is #Pubwrite, anyway? #Pubwrite is basically a chat room on Twitter. By searching and ending every tweet with the hashtag #Pubwrite, you can follow the conversation… or whatever craziness happens to occur on any particular day. #Pubwrite is more than just a simple chat room, though. It is a growing community of supportive writers, published and non-published (Indie and Traditional), who log onto Twitter to hang out with other “writerly tweeps”… usually in the evenings. You never know what to expect in the pub, where by the way, Guinness is the “house favorite”. Sometimes you’ll see a few people just chatting about their day. Some days you may see folks chatting about various literary topics. Other days may get crazy and you’ll see someone giving “bare” hugs, a crazy guy wearing his pants on his head, and pudding wrestling. Yeah, the pub is one fine place to visit.

Sadly, over the past weeks the pub seemed empty. Only a few people found their way to the pub occasionally; the roar of laughter and GABRIEL! fell silent. For various reasons, the pub just wasn’t the same as it used to be and perhaps the writers took their Guinness-filled mugs elsewhere or simply “stayed home”. I was afraid #Pubwrite as I once knew it was going out of business. The “Open” sign flickered and was slowly going dim… but then something happened.

Yesterday, as I was cruising the streets of Twitterville (browsing through my Twitter feed), I decided to swing by the pub, just to see if I saw any familiar faces. I slowed down and was about to just “drive by”, but then something caught my attention. There was a crowd inside the pub. I could hear music, laughter… the pub was alive and kicking. I looked inside and saw a few familiar faces and my own face lit up. I joined the conversation and had a blast.

Monday night was even better. I don’t know if someone was giving away free drinks or what, but #Pubwrite had a great crowd. There were so many people in the pub, it was actually kind of hard to keep up with everything that was going on. It was just like the good ‘ol days that I remembered… the days that I looked forward to logging on to Twitter so I could chat with my friends. I had a lot of great laughs and saw a lot of friends I hadn’t chatted with in a while. It was a good feeling.

So, in closing, I’d like to thank everyone for making #Pubwrite such a great place to hang out again. You all know who you are when I say I consider you true friends. Your words of encouragement and just hearing (or reading) writers encouraging other writers is a great pick-me-up and inspiration to keep at it and never give up. Most of you may not know this, but believe it or not, #Pubwrite is one of the main reasons I decided to pick up writing again and the reason I even have this Web site in the first place.

Until next time, I’ll see you in the pub. Cheers! And GABRIEL!

Follow Friday: A Helpful Twitter Social Tool or Just Annoying?

I have heard different opinions on the Follow Friday #FF issue on Twitter. I think we all pretty much have a grasp on what “Follow Friday” is all about: basically send out tweets promoting your favorite tweeps to help them gain followers. It seems like a pretty harmless and even fun thing to do at the end of every week, but some people think Follow Friday is nothing more than an annoying and ridiculous way to flood the Twitter streams with endless lists of tweeps. Others think it can be very helpful in getting that “Follow” counter heading skyward, depending on how you participate. Some participate in Follow Friday as more of a Twitter tradition; it’s kind of a social game where it’s just something casual to do on Fridays.

So, where do you stand? Do you think Follow Friday is annoying and avoid it at all costs? Do you participate in Follow Friday, but only the “Lite” version? You send a few #FF lists, thank those that included you, and call it a day. Maybe you participate but don’t send lists; you try to personalize each tweet to promote an individual friend. Or is it possible that you are a Follow Friday Frenzy Fanatic? You get the shakes if you don’t send out a #FF list of every tweep you can think of because if you don’t the world may come crashing down on you. That’s a bit extreme, but you get the point.

I think I’ll touch on the scenarios I just mentioned and see what everybody else thinks about it. Feel free to agree, disagree, comment about it, or answer the poll at the end of the article. Let’s be civil though. 🙂

Are you #FFed up with #FF?

If you are among those that absolutely hate Follow Friday, this section is for you. What I have observed in the short time that I’ve been a citizen of Twitterville is that some of my fellow tweeps are starting to get annoyed with Follow Friday and some of those who have participated in the past, no longer participate or have toned it down a bit. Twitterites have complained that the #FF tweets have gotten out of hand and either ignore them or don’t even use Twitter on Fridays at all because of it. The claims are that Follow Friday is just filling the streams with just endless random lists often generated by software, such as FFHelper (or something like that). Some complaints are that no thought has gone into the #FF tweets and even the personalized ones are just cut and pasted clones from previous Fridays and therefore meaningless and ignored all together. Some have even stopped using Twitter because of Follow Friday and moved on to other social networks; they hate Follow Friday that much. I can understanding how this can get frustrating, especially if you have hundreds or even thousands of followers, and a good chunk of them are sending a lot of #FF lists throughout the day.

Do you send #FF tweets, and that’s ALL you send?

Okay, time to put on the steel-toed boots. I’m sure many of us have been guilty of excessive #FF tweeting or something similar to it (including me) at one point or another. If you send a lot of #FF tweets, I suggest going to your profile and look at your tweets. It may be a bit of an eye opener. I’ve been there! If the list of tweets that you’ve sent looks like . . .  well . . . a long list of tweeps, you may want to rethink why you joined Twitter in the first place. Social networking may not be for you. I’ve thought about that myself at times. Again, I’m guilty of this, too, so I’m not pointing any fingers. And if sending #FF tweets is just what you like to do, then by all means, have fun! I’m not going to unfollow you for it, but I’m also not reading those tweets either. The only time I’ll click that “Unfollow” button is if I see tweets that are vulgar, extremely rude in nature, or are filled with profanity. I don’t want to see that in my Twitter stream. Thankfully, I rarely see any of that, so it’s not really an issue. Okay, you can take the steel toed boots off now.

Do you like Follow Friday, but you’re switching to #FF Lite?

When I started participating in Follow Friday, I would send list after list of all of my favorite tweeps, but then after reading some general complaints (not at me directly), I decided to tone it down a bit and tried to personalize them. I also have tried to limit the amount of #FF tweets I send out; I also try to be courteous and thank those (or return the favor) who do send a #FF tweet for me, even if it’s a list. I also don’t mind getting included in randomly generated #FF tweets, because I can understand that life can get very hectic and many people just don’t have time for it. My opinion on that, however, is if I’m too busy to be creative with my #FF tweets, then I should just skip it all together. So, if I have time, I’ll send a few out and try to be creative, but at times I am guilty of getting repetitive. I’m only human . . . although, Mobster World did try to turn me into a Spam Bot one time, but that was a different article. 🙂

For those who are like me and enjoy participating in Follow Friday, but also don’t want to be annoying with the #FF tweets, let’s try to limit them and spread them out a bit. Let’s be creative, too, even if it’s simply grouping our lists to certain types of people or why we think our followers should also follow those on our lists. I know that’s easier said than done, so if Follow Friday is something that you just enjoy participating in (because it’s one of the things you do to just wind down and relax) and using lists is the easiest way to do it, then by all means, I personally have no problem with it. However, understand that others may not think the same way and you may get . . . wait for it . . . UNFOLLOWED! I know. It’s heart-breaking isn’t it?

My final thoughts on Follow Friday:

Seriously, though, I’m the type of guy who’s pretty laid back and tries not to let things get to me. I personally don’t care if Fridays are filled with #FF this and #FF that, because it’s just a Twitter thing. If I don’t like something, I just don’t participate in it. It’s as simple as that. I try not to rain on someone else’s parade if they have a particular habit or hobby that they enjoy, but I could care less for, even if I’m a bit annoyed by it. I just try to ignore it if I can. Everybody is different and has good and bad traits; it’s no different on Twitter. So, my final take on the whole Follow Friday thing is: if you don’t like it, don’t participate and just ignore it. If you like it, have fun, but try to use a little etiquette . . . and let’s not have a #FF variant for every day of the week.

Anyway, this post is just food for thought for those of us who have in the past or continue to send a lot of #FF tweets, but aren’t really using Twitter for much of anything else. Regardless of whether or not you’re a Follow Friday Frenzy Fanatic, you dab a little into the #FF frenzy, or you absolutely hate Follow Friday, let’s all try to be civil, get along, and have fun.

This post was a bit longer than I expected. I look forward to reading your comments, or if want to remain anonymous, you can participate in the poll below. Cheers!

Sharky Teeth

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I’m a Writer . . . Not a Mobster
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This Little Place Called #Pubwrite
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Devil’s Nightmare by Robert Pruneda available in print and eBook formats. Click the image below for more details.
Devil's Nightmare

Mobster World

The other day I was going through my usual routine of checking e-mail, direct messages, replies, mentions, etc., when I saw this interesting message from one of my friends on Twitter:

Hey, I just added you to my Mafia family. You should accept my invitation! 🙂 Click here: XXXXXXX (edited, so no one would make the same mistake I did).

organized-crime-150556_1280I grew up playing video games, from the Atari 2600 & Intellivision, Nintendo Entertainment System & Sega Master System… and currently Xbox 360 & PS3. With years of gaming on my life’s résumé, I was naturally interested in this new game called Mobster World. I’ve played iMobsters on the iPhone and enjoyed it, so I thought, “What the heck! I’ll try it out.” I really don’t have much time for games lately, but a few minutes playing a simple point-and-click game should be harmless enough. HA! Little did I know that the developers of Mobster World had a very annoying way of trying to attract new players.

I clicked on the link and… I know, I know! I’m an idiot for doing so, but bear with me for a moment. Anyway, I clicked on the link and the first thing that popped on the screen was a Twitter Application Authorization page, which I’ve seen before. I hesitated, but clicked on the “Approve” button. My computer didn’t blow up, so I was now ready to start playing this Mobster World game, but first I had to come up with a name for my mobster. I chose Don Sharky, of course! After deciding on my character’s name and basic characteristics, I dove into the game. I participated in a few criminal acts for the mob boss, leveled up a couple of times, and then I decided to check out the game settings. Oh, look! There’s a Twitter settings section to play around with. Do I want the game to send tweets about my game progress or send invites? Um… no, I don’t. So, I disabled the Twitter options. Phew! It’s a good thing I checked the settings!

Spam Bot Assimilation

It was too late! This game automatically starts its attack as soon as you click “Approve”. One of my fellow writing “tweeps” and #Pubwrite patrons, Lorna, sent me a message warning me about the viral consequences of clicking on the game invite link. She told me that the game sends messages to all of your Twitter followers. OH! NO! Sure enough, my Direct Message list was full of invites that “I” had sent to a ton of my followers. I had inadvertently been turned into a spam bot!!! I had taken the bait that dangled in front of me and I bit hard. Now, I had to try and pull the hook out and undue the mess that had already started to unfold. My first task (after canceling my Mobster World account, of course) was to send out a few messages informing all of my followers to ignore the game invite that they may receive from “me”. Mobster World was trying to assimilate me into a pesky Twitter droid, but I wasn’t going to let that happen! I quickly grabbed my can of “Bot-Be-Gone” and frantically sent direct messages to every Twitter follower that I could visibly see that Mobster World had sent invites to “on my behalf”.

After nearly half an hour of sending message after message to my innocent followers, apologizing, and feeling embarrassed for falling into such a trap in the first place, I claimed victory against Mobster World and it’s evil plan to assimilate me into a Twitter Spam Bot. Sadly, Don Sharky didn’t fair so well… he’s swimming with the fishes. But, so be it! I’m happy to be my good ‘ol human self again and I learned a valuable lesson. Avoid all game invites on Twitter like a bad habit!

If you had a similar experience or know of any other dangers that lurk in some unknown dark alleys of Twitterville, please comment on this post. I look forward to reading your responses. Thanks for visiting and be sure to grab a complimentary can of “Bot-Be-Gone” on your way out. 🙂

Oh, by the way, after the whole Mobster World fiasco, the next time I signed into Twitter, I had to fill out that little CAPTCHA box to prove that I was a real person. Go figure!

Sharky Teeth

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Devil’s Nightmare by Robert Pruneda available in print and eBook formats. Click the image below for more details.
Devil's Nightmare