Tag Archives: author blog

Acceptance

Moonday Mania

a blog for the monday in all of us

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Before I get to the blog: the Rafflecopter contest for a Kindle Fire 6 will be closing soon, so check out last weeks announcement of CINDER: A Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance release and enter to win.

Now, here’s the blog.

What is an author?

Lately I’ve been struggling with what being an author means. It seems to make a living in this new ebook world of ours you need to be the kind of person who gives up sleep, social life, a clean house, all in order to produce enough work to keep the hungry readers happy and satisfied. But then, just when you think you’re doing that, life happens, and you can’t possibly write enough. So what does this mean to me as an author? If I can’t produce a book a month (and let’s face it, I can’t) can I really expect to survive in this frenzied ebook world?

Write fast? Write clean? Write dirty.

I have choices. I could skip the edits….

No, I can’t.

I’m just not that person. If you know me at all you know I have to go over those books and make sure they’re as clean as I can get them. Even the dirty parts. LOL ! I personally can’t just write a draft and send it out. I need to let it sit and then edit it, and then send it to my editor. Who then helps me figure out all the re-writes it needs. And then it goes to a proofreader. So, no, I can’t just whip out a book and get it out.

So, the question becomes…

Do I write short? Do I change what I write? 

I could write serials. Shorten my books into little sections and dole them out. Or, I could write super short stories: more novellas. Complete romances that take place in 40k or less. Actually, I struggle writing short. I’m working on the edits for SCARLETT: A Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance, right now. And it’s going to be a short novel, not a novella. Why? Because the story demands it and it’s sneaking up over 40k. I’ve given up keeping it to a novella length because I don’t want to cut out anything, especially the hotter scenes (waggles eyebrows).

So, I can’t write short. I can’t not edit. What can I do?

Roll over and take it.

My health demands that I sleep, get exercise, shop for and cook real healthy food. (Go kale!) My heart demands that I spend time with my family, take care of my parents, my kids, and my husband. And Miss Molly, my Lab mix, demands that I take her on walks.

Molly_021416

I’ve tried skipping some of this stuff and what happens? I get sick. My anxiety shoots to high levels. I just can’t do it all and feel good.

So…

I’m going to keep writing the books I love writing. I’m not moving to what’s “hot” or super short books. I love my convoluted fantasy books. I love the machinations of my villains and the snarkiness of a certain puca. And if I made them super short or left out parts or didn’t write them with the depth that they deserve, I think you, my readers, would be disappointed.

While you and me both would love to for me to write and get more books out faster, it’s just going to happen as fast as it happens. And frankly, this is pretty fast. When I think about the three years it took to write The Dark Huntsman, and I look at how fast I can write now, I’m super impressed. I am writing faster, and that’s a good thing.

Now if I can just get Molly to stop begging me for walks, we’ll be in good shape!

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Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE

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Filed under About the Author, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

linkies you’ll love

Moonday Mania

practical links for authors

One of the best things about the internet is the amazing quantity of helpful posts available, but how do you find your posts? I personally have a few blogs I use Google Reader for, oh wait. Google is discontinuing it’s reader function, so I’m going to have to find some other way to list my favs all in one place. That’s kind of a relief because I feel like Google is taking over everything. Someday, when Amazon and Google merge, we’ll simply have everything run by “The Company”. Just like in the book Beauty Queens, by author Libba Bray. One of my must reads for anyone of any age over, hmmm, maybe thirteen? (Check out my blog George Orwell Meets Barbie HERE.) I did ask on FB and got a few suggestions, but I am open to any other suggestions of where I should move my RSS feed, so if you have any ideas feel free to let me know!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I have several blogs on writing that I regularly peruse to see what is going on in the writerly world and in particular the world as it relates to the changes in the publishing industry as it relates to ME! As that is the most important thing  in the world, right? Today I’m sharing a few articles that made the grade over the last few weeks.

The first one is entitled 10 Best Chrome Extensions on AuthorMedia.com, but it has some other favs of mine that are not actually things you need Chrome for. For instance, Dropbox. I love Dropbox. I use it daily. It is my ace in the hole as I try to save everything I write, share files, and worry about losing information on my laptop.  Check out this post to learn about a few other fun tricks to enhance your internet author experience.

Steve's Sundry and BooksThis past week there was a kerfuffle on writer boards everywhere as we debated the fairness of contracts.  As I’m signing my contract this week for my third Passion in Print release, Goldi and the Bear, this debate caught my attention. Luckily Passion in Print has a fellow author at the helm and her contracts are more than fair to authors, but I might someday sign with someone else and need to pay attention to some of these topics. One of the sites that I love to visit to get the skinny on self-publishing, the pitfalls of standard publishing, and some all around good advice is the website of author Dean Wesley Smith. This week he has a fantastic blog on revision clauses. Something we authors really need to pay attention to. It is shocking to me that in this day and age when authors have more choices than ever about publishing the publishers themselves are making a land grab for authors rights. These aren’t just issues for paranormal romance authors, or even just romance authors in general. Every reader and consumer of books should be interested when these things occur.Dean says it is no longer the gold rush for self-publishing, but we’re still living in the wild west when publishers try to keep your rights for downright forever.

And when you’re done being shocked at the changes in contracts and the nerve of some publishers you can hop on over to CJ Lyons website, No Rules, Just Write! I regularly check out CJ’s posts, why? Because she has made straddling the line between self-publishing and traditional publishing look easy. CJ does both, and is a fabulous success. And her advice on writing and the business of writing is always spot on. This post is about the difference between Tactics and Strategy and made me think, am I scrambling around trying to apply new tactics to my marketing, or am I using long term thoughtful strategy? You’ll have to read the post and think about your own career to decide where you are. I personally think it is a balance. You need both, but CJ is right, many authors just focus on the short term, how many sales can I get now, rather than the long term, where do I want to be in five years. What do you do?

Now you have a good idea of where my head has been over the last few weeks. Grappling with the loss of Google Reader, stunned at the short term tactics of the big publishers, and focused on re-vamping my own strategies. Where has your head been this month? Are you thinking short or long term? Are you checking out those contracts? And have you used any of those ten suggestions from Author Media? Once again, if you have an RSS solution to my Google Reader problem then leave a comment and let me know. I also would love to hear what you think about these thought provoking posts.funny face

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Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, writing craft

Join the Revolution! Wana Commons is open!

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers

If you haven’t dropped by Kristen Lamb’s blog lately, you need to do so. Now. Yep, I’m telling you to leave my blog and hop over to MyWana central.

Why? Well, not only does Kristen have a witty sense of humor, but she is an author advocate. If you need any sort of information on social media dos and don’ts- Kristen is your gal. But not only is she the “dos and don’ts” gal, she is also the “I can do anything!” gal. You see, last month, when we all found out about the lawsuit that poor Roni Loren had to deal with, (If you’ve been living in a cave and don’t know about poor Roni’s lawsuit, click HERE.) and we were all frantically taking down any suspect picture on our sites, Kristen came up with a solution.

Wana CommonsKirsten Bot-Bane

Woot!

What is Wana Commons? It’s a section of Flikr that you can join and all, and I mean all, the photos are for free use by blogging authors. You can pin them on your Pinterest page, your FB page and your website blog without fear of reprisal. From the beautiful to the silly there are tons of photos, and more uploaded every day.

I uploaded some pictures too. Why not share?

 Colorado_Rainbow_2[1]

To find out more about Wana Commons, here is the link to the article on Kristen’s site:

https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/tag/wana-commons/

And here is the next article, all about how you can make Pinterest work for you. I haven’t tried Pinterest yet, but I’m thinking that will be one of my projects soon for my promotions for Snow and the Seventh Wolf. I can see lots of pictures getting my imagination going. Who knows? I might even post one of YOU!

https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/writers-why-its-time-to-renew-your-love-affair-with-pinterest

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Filed under Moonday mania, website

Get WET!

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

This month’s Moonday Mania’s have been about Social Media. We started the month with Don’t Should on Yourself, by Keri Silk and moved on to my neophyte blog hints, Easy tips to Make Your Blog Outstanding and Slow Down and Smell the Coffee. So, for the last Monday in March I’m going to discuss a few things I’ve learned from the best.

As many of you know, I’m a big Kristen Lamb follower. Kristen blogs, not just on Social Media, but specifically Social Media and authors. Kristen’s advice is where I am trying to get to, not where I am. If she has any big pieces of advice that you can see I’m not doing, well, it’s because I’M STILL WORKING ON IT!

We Are Not Alone, by Kristen LambWhat have I learned from Kristen Lamb? I’ve learned that the author social media world is always changing. Kristen wrote this fabulous book, We Are Not Alone, the Writer’s Guide to Social Media, and I consider this my baseline bible to social media. But I can’t just read the book. Why? Because the internet is not a static environment. Actually, the world is not a static environment. Since Kristen wrote the book we’ve seen the demise of My Space and the rise of Google Plus. How can a book like Kristen’s, that has info on My Space and none on Google Plus a valid resource for this year’s writer?

Because the advice that Kristen gives in the book applies, whether or not I’m on My Space, Googe Plus or the Next Big SM Hotspot. Good advice is still good advice. (For some hilarious dated advice check out Miss Gloria Richard’s foray into the past via the Loo at Buca De Bepo HERE!)

Kristen’s ideas on creating a platform that centers around your personality and genre are still sound ideas, no matter where you are implementing them. I’m still struggling with this. At first I didn’t really know what I wanted on my site. Okay, Kristen, I need to represent me and my writing, but I’m writing so many things and I’m not sure which one is going to get published. But I plunged in anyway, trying to represent some paranormal theme with the spooky woods header and my Thursdays Bite.

It works, but is it where I want to be? No, and I know it. Thanks to Kristen I’ve been searching for my identity as an author and a blogger, and I think I’m starting to hit it. So my last piece of advice is: be yourself, whoever that is. Figure it out. It may take time, and it’s okay to take the time. It’s okay to start with just the basic template and then add a header and then maybe get a header done and jazz up the site.

The point is, don’t wait till you know exactly who you are to get started. If I had waited till now to get my site and my blog up and running, I might not have as good an idea of who I am as an author. I might still be struggling with the very basics. But I’m not, I’ve moved ahead, still struggling. Still discovering who I am. And guess what?

That’s life.Stock Images - Cold feet

You change. You change as a teen to a twenty-something. The Facebook page you put up at thirty is different from the one you would do at forty. And the blog you do as a newbie pre-pubbed author will be different than the one you do as a newbie, just-pubbed author, and different again from the one you do when you are a famous know-it-all author. but if you don’t put your toe in the water, you never get wet.

So get wet! Jump in! Make your mistakes and just keep paddling till you get somewhere! ‘Cause I know you will be getting somewhere, even if it’s just back to the shore for some icy marg’s on the sand!

Have you jumped in yet? Have you changed what you started with? For someone who’s done this check out Sherry Isaac’s new site (HERE). She’s totally revamped it and it’s got SIZZLE!

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Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, website

Easy Tips to Make Your Blog Outstanding

Moonday Mania

a blog on the craft of writing

Today I’m swinging in Gloria Richard’s Hammock as she interviews me, and reveals my secrets! Another opportunity to win a free copy of Little Red Riding Wolf. Check it out HERE!

As a recent blogger I’m always hungry for more, more, more information on how to make my blog outstanding. I read books like Kristen Lamb‘s We Are Not Alone, the Writer’s Guide to Social Media. And I follow experts on blogs like Brinda Berry on Gloria Richard’s Blog (HERE), and try to implement new techniques.

But even I, the brand spanking newbie, have stumbled upon a few things that other newbies, like myself, can use to fix their blogs in an instant.

Today’s tip is one that I have real trouble with, but I’m making it my goal to fix.

 Post early in the day

Free Stock Images - Businessman Clock Hands TimeI admit, I could do better at this.  I post somewhere around 6am my time. But that’s too late.  Why? Because 6am my time is 8am EST, and those people have already checked their computers and headed off to work. They missed my blog.

I only noticed this after I started using RSS to keep track of my blogs. I’m not sure everyone is aware of RSS, but once I discovered RSS I found that it was the easiest way for me to keep track of all my friends blogs. It works for me because my email box is so stuffed with Tweets and Yahoo Loop digests that I was losing everyone’s post announcements.

I have found that the RSS organizer I like best is Google Reader. It’s on a separate tab on my browser. Nothing comes in an email. I click on Google Reader and all my blogs that I follow are listed, if a blog’s name is highlighted then they have a new post. That’s it. No email.

Am I perfect at posting early?

No! I’m sure you’ve all noticed. I sometimes mess up my scheduling. I think I’m posting at a 06:00 and it turns out to be 18:00. And really I should be scheduling at 1:00am, not 6:00am. Right? Right. But this is a process and like all processes it takes time

You can still get emails even if you subscribe by RSS. Just subscribe through one of the other services, like normal, and you’ll still receive their emails. But if you subscribe only through Google Reader or another RSS service, no emails. That works for me. What works for you?

Back to our topic, now that I don’t get an announcement in my email. I have to go check. Which I do, at around 7am. My time. Not yours.

This means that my friends (and you know who you are!) who post on say Monday’s, but post late, don’t get seen until Tuesday. Why?

Because I’ve already looked at my RSS feed page at 7am and you hadn’t posted yet, so it didn’t say you were posting. And I don’t get the email. So on Tuesday morning, I see that you’ve posted.

Now this is not a big deal, most of my peeps don’t care if I’m there on Tuesday or Wednesday, and they know I love them even if I’m not particularly faithful about dropping by every post. Too many buddies and too many good posts! But it does mean sometimes that I miss out on giveaways, because I’m a day late and the contest is closed.

Once again, my friends aren’t worried about me. But they should be worried about readers like me. If you are using a contest to draw people to your blog, then you want them to feel good about coming to your blog. Not late, because they didn’t get the invite on time. Many times I’ve shown up to the blog to find out that the contest is closed. Luckily it’s not a big deal for me, but what about your other readers?

This can be frustrating for your visitors. Frustrated visitors means less visits.

How can you fix this?

You can run your contests for more than a day. I like that because it means you can get those last minute people, or people who don’t always have the time to check out their favorite blogs and so show up the next day. Everyone feels good.

But even better: by using the scheduling feature on your blog you can post at say, 1am. And that way, early birds, you catch more worms.Stock Photography - Blue Bird w/worm

Easy. More viewers, more people entering your giveaways, more satisfied customers.

Another benefit to scheduling your blog is that you don’t have to be there to post. You can be in say, Costa Rica on the beach, and your blog still posts. Love that!

How do you follow blogs? Do you have a stuffed email box, would RSS feed work better for you? Would you remember to check it every day? How about scheduling your posts? I know this is very easy on WordPress, what about your blog? As a blog reader, how do you feel when you show up late to the party?

And expect another hot blogging tip next Moonday Mania!

18 Comments

March 12, 2012 · 1:05 am

JUMP! It’s your life!

Sensational Saturday

a blog for where I’m at today

This has been a crazy month, and I’m nowhere near where I thought I would be on my goals.

One thing that has progressed, whether I’m there or not, is my Write It Forward Class with Bob Mayer. I started the class with the idea that I would figure out a plan for where I should go as an author. What I really wanted was for Bob to hand me a list and a plan and say, “Go get ’em!”

Well, that’s kind of what happened.

Actually, as Bob says, no one can plan your career but you. So my hopes of having a plan are still hanging on me, myself and I.

Not Bob.

And that’s good. Why should I hand my life over to someone else’s check list? Why shouldn’t I decide what should go on the check list?

Turns out what I really needed wasn’t a plan from someone else, it was the “Go get ’em!”

And Bob delivered.

I’ll be going over his lessons many times over the next year as I try to figure out this crazy publishing business and my goals. Do I really want what I think I want? What should I be writing? And is self-publishing a realistic way to go? What about my publisher? What about my next book?

None of it is easy, but I’m the only one who can answer those questions.

Meanwhile, I have to share some Bob-isms. His dry sense of humor is sprinkled throughout the lessons and I now have started keeping a list on the refrigerator to remind me to face my fears and “JUMP!”

“Not taking charge of your career will doom you.”

“Write what you are afraid of.”

“Saying I can’t is really saying I won’t.”

“There is no 99% when jumping out of an airplane.”

These are all from the Write it Forward class, which is also available in book form from Who Dares Wins Publishing.

Are you waiting for someone to help you figure out your career? Who is going to be better at that then you? While you’re waiting for your white knight, how are you spending your time?

Leave a comment, then skip on over to the Paranormal Freebies site HERE to register it with the Rafflecopter widget and get one more entry into my Little Red Riding Wolf Contest, ending soon.

Come into the woods with Little Red Riding Wolf*, a spicy paranormal romance novella available from Passion in Print Press. What if Little Red Riding Hood was a werewolf, and a sexy forest ranger wandered into her woods?

Little Red Riding Wolf by Jessica Aspen
Buy Little Red Riding Wolf Here

Fraternizing with humans is taboo, but when feisty werewolf Red runs into hunky new forest ranger Evan Brewster, she jumps on the opportunity to let loose her desires. Evan is stoked when he meets the petite red haired hottie, and combined with his new discovery of wolves in Colorado, thinks his career and life are made. Then Red pushes him away, her hostile brother threatens his life, and things begin to spiral out of control. Caught between her sexy lover and her pack can Red trust Evan with her secrets, or must she sacrifice her human lover and her heart?

*Honorable Mention in Passionate Ink’s 2011 Stroke of Midnight contest



13 Comments

February 25, 2012 · 6:00 am

Five Curious Things I’ve learned about blogging

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing (and maybe blogging)

After seeing my amazing stats on Saturday it occurred to me that It’s officially been a year of blogging and I’ve learned a ton. So today I am sharing some of my hard earned wisdom.

1. Get it done ahead of time

If I put off writing my blog (heck, if I put off doing anything) the universe bites me in the butt. If I think that I can squeeze writing my three to five hundred words into the morning of the day it’s due, that will be the day I will oversleep. With a migraine. And it will be snowing and I’ll have to drive someone to school. And they’ll forget something important. And I’ll run out of gas.

In other words, karma. I have been a procrastinator all my life and now that I am “reformed” if I slip off track, karma will be there like a seven headed snake.

2. Writers block is a myth.

Except when you have a deadline breathing down your neck and not one teeny tiny idea of what to say. Then it’s a huge monster lurking behind your chair, making fun of you. Better to write when the muse appears and do it a week, a month, heck it doesn’t matter how far ahead you are. If you have some extra blogs in the can, you will be a happy blogger.

3. Take care of your friends.

Your friends are the ones you can count on when you need help, and likewise- your friends need you. Right? Right. so drop by their place and leave a comment. Tweet, FB and whatever else you can do to help them along. At the very least remember to say “hi!” on twitter once in a while. You don’t keep good friends by leaving them alone, you need to stay in touch.

4. No matter what kind of thing you have just installed on your website you will want ten others by the end of the day. (But stay away!)

I love everyone’s sites. I love their widgets and plug-ins. I love the rotating book covers that link to Amazon (that they probably make money off of every day). I want them all. But my website capabilities, not to mention my website, do not extend to adding these things gracefully. Take putting a video into the posts. I can now do this. But it took me an hour to figure out how to do it. First I consulted WordPress for Dummies. Well, I need the remedial version. Maybe it’s because I did not sit down and study it from front to back but when I go to consult the book about something that should be simple, it isn’t.

So I look at all the different pages and try to figure it out. And then I go to YouTube and search for it. Inevitably there is some kind soul who has actually reduced the things I’m trying to do to baby steps. And I play and re-wind and take notes. And an hour later I can embed a video. Something that really takes less than thirty seconds and no ability to accomplish.

5. Blogging is easy, and it’s not.

When I first thought about blogging every week I got scared. What would I write? Would anyone care? Can I do this week in and week out?

The answer is yes. Yes I can do this. Yes people care (or at least they pretend to). And yes, it’s scary but then so is everything in life. You can stay home and do nothing or you can venture out into the blogging stream and get your feet wet. So here I am. And it turns out, as long as I don’t wait till the last minute, I can think of things to write. And people do care! (Or they fake it, either way I’m happy.)

Thanks for reading and thanks for the support over the last year. Especially thanks for the encouragement on Little Red Riding Wolf. And do go and enter the contest HERE. Otherwise I will be forced to eat all the chocolate myself and then I won’t fit into the t-shirts.

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Filed under Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Terrorized by Twitter? Help is out there!

Moonday Madness

a blog on the craft of writing

This November I’ve been sharing with you some of my favorite places I go for advice. My first post introduced the indomitible Gloria Richard and Brinda Berry (click HERE), next I shared my secret source for social media, Kristen Lamb (click HERE). And last week I once again talked about the amazing Carolyn Cooper (click HERE). Last but not least I’m going to leave you with the inspiration for today’s blog, Mashable.

Mashable is a great blog for finding out all kinds of media information. It actually can be a little overwhelming. If you add Mashable to your list of favorites you’ll want to focus on the Social Media menu. There you can search for anything you don’t know you know about Twitter, Facebook and the new always challenging Google Plus.  My favorite post so far is  “10 Twitter Tools To Organize Your Tweeps“. This is the post that introduced me to Klout (another Kristen Lamb favorite) and Tweepler (something I have yet to explore, but is on that very long December list).

Klout is a very cool way to figure out if you are doing anything right on Twitter. It is another form of analytics, but is very easy to look at. It analyzes your social media so you will need to come up with a way to set goals and interpret the data for yourself. (Or you can take Kristen’s or Carolyn’s class and I’m sure those amazing women can help you.) I myself am checking Klout once a week, just to see what is going on with my Tweets. Am I going up or down? I seem to hover around 40+. I’d like to expand my influence. My goal is to be up ten points in six months and I’ll keep you updated in the future.

Mashable can help you do everything from creating a cool custom backdrop on your Twitter page to give you advice on how to use Twitter for a job hunt. If you are just exploring Google+ or Facebook, there are posts specifically targeted to those areas of SM. Whatever you have a question on, Mashable can help.

There you have it. My favorite places for technical advice on social media. From Pimping your Blog to detailed advice on Twitter these gurus cover the globe. I know you all have your favorites. Where do you get your advice?

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Filed under Moonday mania, website

The Blog Tour Cometh

Sensational Saturdays

a blog for whatever the bleep I feel like writing

It’s coming. I can feel it getting closer day by day.

The blog tour for Little Red Riding Wolf approaches.

I haven’t set up many stops yet, but even the thought of setting them up gets my mind spinning. Where should I go? Who should I contact? How do you do this? Little Red Riding Wolf is paranormal, so I need to do something on paranormal blogs, but should I do other kinds as well? Of course I’m going to start with my friends. Some of them have already kindly offered and been accepted with great relief. I have a place to go where I am welcome.

Who knew this almost anonymous action of blogging would feel so personal? I don’t have to pick up the phone and call anyone, listen to their hemming and hawing while they pretend to check their calendars. I don’t have to knock on doors, or face no-soliciting signs. But somehow even with the apparent facelessness of the internet, it feels intimate.

My internet friends are friends. Even if I’ve never met them. Despite the fact that I’ve never met them. They are my friends. This thought dawned on me as I watched Elaine Cougler interview Sharon Clare at her blog (On Becoming a Wordsmith). As they smiled and chatted and talked to the camera, I almost recognized their reactions, their tones, their quirks.

Why? Because we’ve been getting to know each other through the internet. And for centuries that’s how friendships have grown. No, I know the internet is new, but writing letters, revealing yourself through words, that is centuries old. Many people who considered themselves friends never met through anything other than letters. They would strike up a correspondence as strangers, but through common experiences or goals or interests they would become friends.

Meeting friends through the internet isn’t as deep as writing a personal letter. You know everyone is reading your correspondence, and it is composed of one or two liners. That’s why Twitter is so successful. It turns out that one or two lines can express your personality, outline your goals, or sink your ship as well as entire letters. Okay, maybe not as well. But think of taking the time to write a letter over a week, or even a month. Filling the pages with one or two lines at a time. Lines that might be full of deep thought, or lines that are quick in-between glimpses into your daily life. Then its all saved up and mailed at one time. It’s still small bursts of intimacy.

I believe we were losing the art of correspondance due to the telephone. No one wrote letters, at least not very often. Maybe cards during the holidays, or maybe not. When the computer and printer came around most of my friends settled on a group letter. Sure it let you know what every single person in the family had accomplished over the year, but it was generic and didn’t feel very personal. Now with Facebook, I can see my friends and their kids as their lives evolve during the year.

Yes, our lives are busy. Yes, we don’t have time for more than scanning and sending out a quick tweet. Yes it might feel like this isn’t what a close one-on-one cup of coffee would be like. But I feel the friendship. I feel that I am getting to know each and every one of you who comments. The pithy one liners, the carefully constructed words, the love and support.

Its all real, and I appreciate it all. And BTW: if you haven’t heard from me, I’ll be knocking on your door soon. Asking for a place to hang my hat for the day. In the old paper writing days one would write a letter of introduction, asking for an interview. Now I’ll be writing a letter of inquiry and sending it by email. Not so very different. Words, whether electronic or on paper, do promote intimacy. Thank you everyone for the friendship.

And in that spirit I will burden you with a last vegan recipe. This one is culled from a pot-luck dish and can be served to anyone as a side dish. (Just don’t tell them it’s healthy) And it can form a satisfying main meal if you will be having any vegetarians or vegans as guests. I like to make a big batch and freeze it in small containers for lunches.

Savory Lentils and Rice

  • 1 med onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed or minced
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 3/4 cup lentils (I like the color of red lentils, but green works just fine)
  • 3 cups water* mixed with 1 Tbl Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 tsp each Tarragon, Thyme, and Marjoram
  • 1 cup greens, chopped into small pieces, I like turnip or kale

Pre-heat oven to 350° . Sauté onions and garlic in oil over med-low heat till soft. Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a casserole dish and bake covered for 1/2 hour, then stir and uncover, another 1/2 – 1 hour.

*I am at high altitude and need to use 4 cups of water and a longer cooking time, total 2 hours. Also if you use short or long grain brown rice, that can change your cooking time. Short grain cooks faster. This dish can be made ahead of time and re-heated. It is very accommodating.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Sensational Saturday's, Veganista? Or Veganish?, Writer's Journey

Introducing the Amazing Carolyn Cooper

Analytics were something I never gave a first, second or third thought to before I began taking classes with the amazing Carolyn Cooper. I started with her class on how to improve your website, moved on to her analytics class. I learned an amazing amount. If you are the kind of person who wants a bargain, likes to receive way more than she paid for, take one of Carolyn’s classes. There was so much amazing information, here I am months later and I still need to go back through my notes and figure out what I didn’t absorb.

I love, love, love classes like Carolyn’s that are packed full of the information I need, but I find that it takes months to digest the information. I take the class, get a little knowledge into my brain, then I have to put it aside for a little while. Take it out later and digest it over months so the information isn’t overwhelming.

If you need a basics course on tweaking your website or blog, my first post on Brinda Berry and Gloria Richard (find HERE) will get you started. If you are ready for the big time take one of Carolyn’s classes, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! I have it on my to-do list for December, to go through my class notes from Carolyn’s class, and go step by step tweaking and fixing the small things that will cascade my blog to stardom!

And then maybe I’ll be ready to absorb Kristen’s class in January. I posted about Kristen Lamb last week. (Click HERE) She and Caroline teach overlapping information, but they focus on different aspects of the same idea. Both are incredibly valuable and I definitely find it of value to take classes on the same subjects from a variety of people. Why? Because one will teach you in depth about subject A, and a little about subject B…and then the second teacher will do the opposite.

While both teach about social media and tweaking your website, Carolyn focuses more on using your analytics and your page layout, as well as Twitter, FB, etc. Carolyn also works with more than just authors, so her classes, while targeted to authors, bring in a different dimension. She’s been marketing since she was at her mother’s knee, and working with computers and communication almost as long, so she is a veritable encyclopedia (does anyone even know that word anymore?) of information.

Where are you on your path to blogdom stardom? Are you just taking baby steps? Finding out how to add pictures and bling to your site? Or are you ready to dig deep into the wide world of Google Analytics?

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Filed under Moonday mania, website