Monday, October 31, 2016

Old Wive's Tales--or Just How Bad Is Winter Really Going to Be?

Fall. 
It brings about thoughts of cooler weather (unless you happen to live in Texas and my friends there tell me fall will be scheduled for the 15th of December), wearing hoodies, thick sweaters, boots, having bonfires, and taking in the color of the trees as they slowly shed their foliage and go dormant for the winter.


Inevitably, fall also brings out the wives’ tales about how to predict the coming winter: is that wooly worm all black, black and orange, or all orange; did you find a knife, fork, or spoon in the persimmon seeds you cut; how much heavier is the coat the farm animals are putting on; how bushy is that squirrel’s tail? For the record, the wooly worms I’m finding are all black, the persimmon seeds are predominantly spoons with a few knives tossed in, and my horse had his winter coat by the middle of September and my collies are shedding again to put on brand new, fresh coat for winter. I don’t pay too much attention to the squirrels, other than to battle daily with them to keep them out of my bird feeders. However, those are all predictors of a harsh and snowy winter here in Indiana. The wooly worms and persimmon seeds at the homestead in Tennessee are saying the same thing.



Don’t get me wrong. I like winter. On Christmas Eve and through about the second or third of January and then it can go away, again.

What are some of the wives’ tales you’ve heard about predicting the winter weather?


Sunday, October 30, 2016

"Classic Ginger" To Tweet or Not To Tweet

Twitter seems to be the biggest enigma of the promotion options.   If you read the tweets that are "trending"daily, unless you're a celebrity who is doing nothing worth noting, ask yourself why you bother.  Kim Kardashian shared a picture of her newborn hooking fingers with his older sister, North; Kate Mansi, An actress  on the soap, Days of Our Lives, is leaving the show, Anne Heathaway shared a picture of her in a bikini while pregnant with her first child.  Who cares?  I'd much rather read about me and my books selling.  *lol*

Then there are articles about sites like Triberr that make you question whether or not you time is being wisely spent by sharing posts of tribemates who don't bother to share your's  If they do share, and you aren't "trending," does anyone read the tweet?  Can we compete with Mark Zuckerberg's announcement for his personal challenges of 2016?

For the sake or educating those who have no idea what I'm talking about...Posts  at triberr are "blog feeds."  You set up your blogs to feed to Triberr daily with the hope that your fellow tribemates will mark them as shared so they will be tweeted widely.  For those who don't aren't familiar with Triberr, it's a tweeting site where you join 'tribes' that fit your needs.  For example, I belong to Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance, and a few others, but then I read that there are folks who decide whether or not your blog posts fit their "agenda."  Some don't want to be associated with Porn, and of course non-writers care nothing for author's blogs.  That's why you need to pick your tribes carefully.

 I recently discovered that if you hover your mouse across a poster's picture, stats appear, and you can see whether that person is sharing your posts or not.  Today, I decided, if you aren't sharing mine, I'm not sharing yours.  Sadly, I hid more than I shared.  Why do I feel guilty?

For author's, finding inexpensive promotional sites is really important.  Those reviews that used to be easy to come by have become elusive and hard to acquire.  One of the reasons...most reviewers volunteer their time in exchange for free reads, and there are far more authors out there than ever before.  Choices are staggering, and unless you write a blurb that reaches out and nabs attention, your book is going to sit forever.  While I'd like to think my blurbs are real grabbers...they obviously aren't.

Speaking of reviews:  Now authors have to contend with what most refer to as "trolls."  These are people who leave snarky reviews that are usually a dead giveaway that they haven't even read your book.  The only logical explanation is that there are some authors trying to sabotage their competition, but this seems a little extreme.  Amazon is trying to remedy the problem, but is disallowing authors to review others authors the solution?  I may write books, but I also read them.  So far, I haven't had my reviews removed, but I'm aware of fellow authors who have...and they aren't happy.

Bottom line...whether we tweet, blog, or review, are we doing enough or are we spinning our wheels.  I'm always open to new ideas, so if anyone wants to share them here, please do.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What Makes a Novel Memorable? by Connie Vines

The best stories connect with readers on a visceral level. They transport us to another time and place and put us in a different “skin,” where we face challenges we may never know in life. And yet, the commonality of the story problem draws us onward and, in solving it vicariously through the

protagonist, changes us.

Another feature of a memorable story is characters that live off the page. One of the highest compliments I’ve never received for my novel “Lynx”, Rodeo Romance came when one reader told me she thought about my story constantly. She said that Lynx and Rachel’s story seemed so real, so heart wrenching, and their love so very enduring.  She said that she was going through a difficult time in her life and my story gave her hope.  Hope.  Hope for someone during a desperate time—I felt blessed that she shared her story.  I was also humbled.  It is moment such as this that I know just how powerful worlds and stories are to our readers.

While I never sit down at the keyboard and say, “I think I will write a powerful, life-changing story today.”  What I do, by nature, is select a social issue for the core of my stories.  Since my stories are character driven and often told in the first person, the emotion has a natural flow.

How do you create this type of engagement with your story?

Go beyond the five senses.  Your reader must feel your character’s emotions.  Your reader must forget there is a world outside of your story.

Embrace idiosyncrasies.  As teenagers everyone wanted to fit in, be one of the crowd.  Your character isn’t like anyone else.  Give him an unexpected, but believable trait.  In “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow”,  my heroine, a Zombie has a pet. Not a zombie pet. Not a dog, or a cat.  She has a teddy bear hamster named Gertie.

Make them laugh. It doesn’t need to be slap-stick.  Just a little comic relief when the reader least expects it to happen.

Make them cry.  Remember the scene in the movie classic, Romancing the Stone, where Joan Wilder is crying when she writes the final scene in her novel?  I find this is the key.  If you are crying, your reader will be crying too.

If you are writing a romance, make them fall in love.  Make the magic last.  The first meeting, first kiss, the moment of falling in love.  These are the memories our readers savor, wait for in our stories.

 Don’t disappoint them.

As Emily Dickinson, said so well:
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

Enjoy Halloween, my lovelies!
(Purchase Link)

Connie

Blog Hop: 
http://yesterrdayrevisitedhere.blogspot.com/
http://connievines.blogspot.com/
http://triciamg.blogspot.com/
http://triciamg.blogspot.com/










Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How Effective are Book Give-a-ways or Contests? by Connie Vines

1. How effective do you think book giveaways or contests are?

The key: forethought (know your audience). Careful planning, media blitzing, and a gimmick are the elements of a very successful contest. By gimmick, I mean a creative approach, one that is not a usual contest pitch.  Am I going to give you any never fail rule/a road map to success?
No--I wish it was only that easy.

You can Google names of media savvy authors.  Or Google my name and look at my website (novelsbyconnievines.com) read my interviews, my archived contest info (the links are still on Google/ Bing, some are available on my web site).  This is not a do-what-you-see-others-do, it more of fact gathering tour.  You know your story/series, and you are the best judge of what will appeal to your fan base.

After all, what is a successfully contest for me, may not spell success for you. If you write historical novels featuring a lineage page (I do enjoy researching genealogy but. . .) your readers would probably adore winning a book of Sonnets.  While my fan base (me included) are happy with a Starbucks gift card and an autographed copy of my latest eBook.

Be creative. Have fun.  If you don’t enjoy your contest, no one else will either.

2. Do you think all the free books through Amazon and the library offered to prime members affect your efforts?

I believe the free reads and lending through Amazon (for prime members) has a positive effect on my efforts in promotion.  I’m willing to try a new author or genre because of the free read offers.  I have purchase 6 books this month as of this Amazon feature.  Since I do not participate in the lending feature, I have no comment.

3. What are the best promotions you've participated in?

I find that interviews generate the most exposure for me. Contests run as a group (with your publisher, online reader/writer group etc.) is second. Guest blogging (see I’m here!), and all of my combined online presence, is third.  I am visible in my community. I judge local and national writing contests, offer workshops and guest speaking engagement.  As for book signings—in the past this was a wonderful way to ‘meet and greet’ readers.  Signing 75 books during a 4-hour event was the norm, now appearances aren’t a sure-fired way to draw readers.

The online shopping experience, or read a book at your local library and purchase it for your book shelf, seems to be the new norm.

I believe to survive in this very completive field, contests, giveaways, and name branding is a must.
After all, a loyal readership is the key to success.  Write that ‘must read’ story that your readers love and keep your name out there!

Readers what's you take on the subject?
Happy Reading,  (remember my novels are part of the Kindle Count Down this month)

See you on Saturday!  I'm going to being trying out a podcast for the blog, too.

Connie










Monday, October 24, 2016

Ain't Afraid of No Goat

I am a baseball fan. More to the point, I am a long-suffering Cubs fan. This appearance by the Cubbies in the World Series is a very long time coming. For historical perspective, the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series--the Titanic hadn't sank yet, the Great War (WWI) hadn't even started, the Ford Model T just started rolling off the production line, and sliced bread hadn't been invented. The last time they appeared in the World Series, WWII had just ended. My dad used to joke that any team could have a bad century and he also said at the beginning of each season until we could figure out how to reverse the curse of that dang goat, it was going to be another looooooong baseball season.


Cubs fans have kept the faith. For more than a century, they have said, "Next year;" they remained loyal; they wept bitter tears when season after season hopes were dashed on the brick and ivy of Wrigley Field; and in my case, endured the torment and teasing of living in a household full of White Sox fans. Even my own son is a White Sox fan who enjoys tormenting me with truly tasteless memes about how long it has been for Cubs fans. It’s a good thing I really love the boy.

This season, the Cubs had the best record in either league with 103 regular season wins. And, unless they can win the World Series, that record will just be a small asterisk that ultimately means NOTHING. If you ain’t got that ring…


Every time I went to Wrigley Field, my "lovable losers" did just that. They lost. Every time I have watched a game on television, they lost. Every time I have cheered for them, they lost. My kids call it "Momma's curse" and they used to tell me which team to cheer for so the team they really wanted to win would. My son—the same one who torments me about my Cubbies—says it’s a kind of black magic. (Insert mysterious grin here…) I have refused to watch my beloved Cubbies all season for this reason. I have refused to even listen to them on the radio because I couldn't help myself and I was cheering for them. So, I will not watch any of the World Series.


However, I will cheer--for the Cleveland Indians. Sorry, Cleveland fans. Not sorry.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Classic Ginger" HER Body, HIS Nightmare...Culture Shock by Ginger Simpson

Cynthia massaged her temples. "God, there's too much to remember. You can't expect me to store all that information in my brain. You went to an academy for months to learn all this stuff..." 

Suddenly her eyes widened. "I'm not going to have to shoot a gun am I?" 

"No! I've never even taken mine out of the holster. Don't worry. You'll do fine. Just remember the basics. You'll be surprised how things sink in even if you don't think they did. You'll remember what you need to know when you need it." 

"That's easy for you to say. I'm the one that has it the toughest." 

He scrunched up his face. "You? How can you say that? I haven't the first idea about how to be a woman, and we all know how complex they are." 

"We are not! Being feminine is very simple. Let me show you." 

She struck a pose that looked ridiculous and walked across the room. "The walk is the most important thing. Take small steps and lead with your hips. Let them be your guide.''

Alex's flinched at the sight of his masculine frame sashaying around the floor. Even more annoying was the way she made feminine gestures with his hands. 

He rolled his eyes. "There's no way I can walk like that, and I wish you'd stop. You're making me look ridiculous. Promise me you won't walk like that as long as you have my body." He jumped to his feet. "Real men walk heavy and hard ... and pull your shoulders back." He grabbed her forearms from behind, forcing her chest forward. 

She jerked out of his grasp, turned and glared at him. "Don't worry. I'll play up the macho thing, but I want to see you walk like I just did." 

He blew out a loud breath then reluctantly took one step, then another. The swivel didn't come naturally, but he tried following her example. Having a woman's form and a man's thought process was tough. The two didn't work well together. He walked across the room then turned. "Well, what do you think?" 

"I think you look like someone who just had casts removed from their broken legs. But, we'll keep working on it. I also need to show you how to sit properly, drink with poise, and how to be graceful." 

He grabbed two handfuls of her blonde hair and yanked in frustration. "Just kill me now." 

"I can't. You promised I wouldn't have to shoot anyone, and I don't want to be the first to un-holster your gun." Her giggle sounded forced. 


He sagged down on the sofa. "I guess I'll be spending the night again. Looks like we have a lot of ground to cover."

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Importance of Book Titles by Connie Vines

I am blogging about the Importance of Book Titles today (Saturday, October 22) at my WordSlinger Weblog.  Please stop by and see what every has to say!

http://connievines.blogspot.com/

Happy Reading & Writing,

Connie

Thursday, October 20, 2016

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown by Connie Vines

 “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” — which premiered 50 years ago this month — is my favorite "Peanuts" production.

“Great Pumpkin,”  represented an open and inviting canvas for legendary animator Bill Melendez, who worked on classic Disney films and “Looney Tunes” shorts before coming to the world of “Peanuts.”

[The 7 things you might not know about ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!’]

Buoyed success of the Peanuts Christmas Special, Charles Schulz, Melendez and Mendelson hashed out the new special’s plot quickly — including Linus’s late-night vigil as he waits for the Great Pumpkin, even as others question where he places his faith. (Linus had delivered the iconic “meaning of Christmas” speech in the first special, quoting from Luke.)

Their swift narrative certainty for “Great Pumpkin” freed Melendez (who also voiced Snoopy) and his crew — including gifted animator Bill Littlejohn — to create stunning watercolor skies and rich autumn hues that provide every scene with its own mood, apart from the characters. Melendez brilliantly painted both motion and emotion.

“It is by far the most colorful of the shows,” Mendelson says, “as Bill and his team captured the vibrancy of the fall season.”

And the camera, reviews report, often so static in “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” zooms in for facial close-ups in the follow-up that provide the viewer with a poignant intimacy.

“Because of this, I think we as viewers are right there in the pumpkin patch with Linus and Sally,” the Bay Area-based Mendelson says, “as she berates him for failing to produce the Great Pumpkin.”

9 Best Quotes:

1. Lucy Van Pelt: A person should always choose a costume which is in direct contrast to her own personality.

2. Linus: Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see."

3. Lucy: All you have to do is walk up to a house, ring the doorbell, and say "tricks or treats."

Sally : Are you sure it's legal?

Lucy: Of course it's legal.

Sally: I wouldn't want to be accused of taking part in a rumble.

4. Linus: Have you come to sing pumpkin carols?

5. Linus: You don't believe the story of the Great Pumpkin? I thought little girls always believed everything that was told to them. I thought little girls were innocent and trusting.

Sally Brown: Welcome to the 20th century!

6. Linus: You've heard of the fury of a woman scorned, haven't you?

Charlie Brown: Yeah, I guess I have.

Linus: Well, that's nothing compared to the fury of a woman who has been cheated out of trick-or-treats.

7. Linus: There are three things that I've learned never discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.

8. Linus: He'll come here because I have the most sincere pumpkin patch and he respects sincerity.

9. Linus: [writing to the Great Pumpkin] You must get discouraged because more people believe in Santa Claus than in you. Well, let's face it; Santa Claus has had more publicity, but being #2, perhaps you try harder.

Do you have a favorite "Peanuts" Special?

Snoopy and Linus.

The Great Pumpkin.

Peanuts Characters remind me to enjoy life!

Happy October Everyone.



Thank you for stopping by to read my Thursday blog here at "Dishn' It Out!"C\

Connie





Monday, October 17, 2016

The Lines That Divide Us



In 1767, on 18 October, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon complete their survey of the boundary between the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland. This boundary line also went through areas that would eventually become the states of Delaware and West Virginia. The British Crown demanded in 1760 that the border violence between settlers due to disputes of the boundaries end and the colonies hold to an agreement that had been reached in 1732. As part of the colonial adherence to royal command, Mason and Dixon were commissioned to determine the exact boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland. To add to the dispute, both colonies claimed the area between the 39th and 40th parallel. That boundary was finally settled at a northern latitude of 39 degrees and 43 minutes—and is now referred to as the Mason-Dixon line.

That boundary is still there, marked with stones bearing the crest of Pennsylvania on one side and the crest of Maryland on the other.

That line runs much deeper though. Cross the Mason-Dixon line to the south and things seem to change. I’ve noticed it every time I go to our little homestead in TN. Things seem to move a little slower. There is still what a lot of people consider out-moded behaviors: things like common courtesy, respect for elders, a belief that helping your neighbor isn’t ever supposed to go out of style. I find those things north of Dixie, too, but not as often.

Up North, if someone lives in a glass house and starts to toss rocks, people are apt to say that person is pretty stupid. Down here, folks will smile a smile that wouldn’t melt butter and say in the sweetest of tones, “Well, bless your heart.”


Yeah…that’s going to be my newest favorite saying. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Classic Ginger" Murder Most Shocking - A Novel Murder

The superintendent, a frown winkling his jowls, unlocked the apartment and then moved aside as Michelle batted away the yellow crime scene tape. Before she had a chance to step inside, fingers bit into her shoulder. She jerked around and turned an icy stare on the small-statured man “What…?” 
“Yeah….” Tony stepped forward and peered down his nose. “Keep your hands to yourself, Bernie.” 
Deeper ruts furrowed the super’s already craggy brow. His flushed cheeks puffed out with a mock smile. “Sorry, but I need to know how much longer you cops plan to be poking around here? Every day this apartment goes without a tenant, I lose money.” 
“Really?” Michelle’s mouth gaped. “That’s your biggest worry? A young woman in the prime of her life was murdered in your building, and all you can think about is money?” She 
shook her head and pointed down the corridor. “Get out of my sight before I order the whole place locked down until we find out exactly what happened.” 
The plump, ugly little man scurried away without another word. 
“Can you really do that?” Tony’s brow arched. 
“Do what?” She stepped inside, Tony following close behind. 
“Shut down the entire building?” 
She smiled over her shoulder. “Probably not, but he doesn’t know that.” 
Tony laughed. “Well, you sure scared the crap out of him. Did you see how fast he moved?” 
“Yeah.” She sighed. “I wish it was that easy to take care of all pests.” She paused for a moment and then cocked her head toward her partner. “Bernie?” 
“Yeah, his name is Bernard Goldman.” 
Michelle moved to the bed, noting the indention in the pillow upon which the victim had breathed her last breath. Haunting visions of the woman’s face while struggling with her attacker crept into Shell’s head. How the poor woman’s neck veins bulged as her very last gasp of air was denied her—the twisted agony shadowed the sky blue eyes that once sparkled. A shudder crept along Michelle’s spine. Why was the message delivered to her so incomplete? Why show her what was happening as the crime unfolded and never give details of how the information was supposed to help her save anyone if she couldn’t get there beforehand? All her visions did were taunt her and point out how helpless she really was. 
“What are you staring at?” Tony nudged her, while pulling on his gloves. 
“Just thinking. If the guys didn’t find any prints or clues to the murderer, we’re going to have to rely on asking lots of questions and delving into the victim’s background. Who had a grudge against her? Who hated her enough to kill her? Who did she trust enough to let inside?” 
Michelle bent and examined the linens but still glove free, allowed only her gaze to wander the crumpled sheets and blanket. Visually, nary a stray hair or stain gave any promise of gathering the perp’s DNA. Of course, if there had been anything worth checking, the CSI guys would have found it. 
She straightened, tamping back the longing to make the bed—wanting to hide the obvious and make the world right again—to deny what really happened. She may have failed to prevent Cara’s murder, but standing there, looking at the very spot where the dead woman heaved her last breath, Michelle vowed to find the person responsible and make them pay. 
“Hey, Meesh.” Tony appeared from the bathroom, tugging off his blue plastic gloves. “I can’t find anything. There’s only the usual stuff in the medicine chest. Evidently, she took pride in her appearance. I found tons of hair care products, skin creams and make-up, but nothing out of the ordinary not even a prescription drug.” 

Shell wandered the room not bothering the gaping bureau drawers the police already rifled through or daring venture into the closets they’d searched. The small desk beneath the window displayed a dusty outline of where a laptop had been, and the drawer handles and edges around the oaken surface still bore the powder left from fingerprinting. Atop a stack of papers lay a recently dated paycheck. Drawn on a corporate name she didn’t recognize, the only thing she made out from the scribbled signature was someone’s first name and last initial: “C”. 

Sunday Snips & Stuff by Connie Vines



This Sunday please enjoy our newest blogger guest here at Dishn' It Out.  I. B. Nosey.

I.B. Nosey's Friday post and "The Blonde" who appeared yesterday.


Don't miss out on the other multi- published authors who participant in our weekly Sunday Blog Hop :
http://yesterrdayrevisitedhere.blogspot.com/
http://connievines.blogspot.com/
http://triciamg.blogspot.com/




See you soon,

Connie

Friday, October 14, 2016

I.B. Nosey is Dishin' It Out!



Greetings, cybernuts! This is I.B. Nosey, your official unofficial reporter! As your only Pukelitzer award winning journalist on the internet, I’m–

Huh? What? Wait!

I heard that!

Who out there is saying you don’t have a Pinocchio nose idea of who I am?

Who doesn’t know me! I’m famed, people! No, not framed– oh. Er, well. Maybe sometimes. Heh heh.



Well, if there’re maybe some new-to-become fans (and I have tens of millions of fans, you know, even if they don’t wanna admit it).

Allow me to produce my credentials. Um….

Yeah. I have ‘em right here, hidden somewhere in the midst of one of my famous tweedy-weedy blazer pockets. Heh heh.



Pretty cool, eh?

All of my interviewees have been excited to appear before my microphone, heh heh.








I’m the one and only Pukelitzer award winning journalist.




I’ve appeared in the online ezines of "In'd Tale" and "The Woven Tale Press."

You can find me everywhere...

Like your morning paper...



 Like your favorite TV program...



And like your morning cup o' Nosey!



Heh heh.

Wanna know more? Visit me at my blog for some really cool, cooler, coolest, and jaw-breaking yawns when I share Totally Useless Moments.

You know you wanna, ‘cause, after all, Aren’t YouFeeling Nosey?  

**********

Follow me on Twitter. Aw, c'mon, follow me! 
And I'm quoted on the net, heh heh. 

How about a preview of what I do cool, good, terrific...um, of what I do????


Monday, October 10, 2016

Penny Dreadful

So, I’m usually late to any party—and binge watching a program is no exception. One of the pitfalls of not having the premium movie channels on cable is I also don’t get the exclusive series at first airing and have to learn about new ones through friend recommendations.

A friend asked, about a year ago if I had seen Penny Dreadful and I said I had not. OMG! Friend about had a cow falling over himself telling me all about this series and oh, by the way, he’d DVR’ed so we could watch. Friend and I talked about gothic literature, how uptight the Victorians were perceived to be, had the age old conversation of good versus evil, heaven against hell, darkness versus light. I about fell out of my chair when friend said, “I’ve watched the whole first season and I’ve yet to figure out who Penny Dreadful is.”

WHOA! Stop right there. Penny Dreadful isn’t a person. Penny Dreadful is a thing. Penny dreadfuls were the precursor to the modern comic books, the early edition of Tales from the Crypt if you will. Perhaps the most famous of them was Varney the Vampire, which ran from 1845 to 1847 and was over 237 chapters. These were printed on a single broadsheet and sold for a penny. And, they were dreadful—usually full of gore and blood and violence, or as much as could be depicted in uptight Victorian society.  Hence the name “penny dreadful”. Bram Stoker (of Dracula fame) got his start as a penny dreadful writer. 

At any rate, I watched the first three episodes at my friend's home and was hooked. Had to then buy the first two seasons on DVD and I binge watched every single episode and then sat on pins and needles until Season Three came out and tried to avoid spoilers. One of the most literate series on television and it was only meant to last three seasons. Well, DAMN!


So, if you haven’t seen Penny Dreadful, treat yourself and start binge watching. Keep an eye out for Dr. Frankenstein, the Monster (and thank you to the producers who kept the original Shelley vision of the creature in that he was articulate and didn’t stumble around as if he was drunk), the Monster’s Bride, Dracula (and no, he does not sparkle!), a werewolf…yeah, it was a great series.  

Sunday, October 9, 2016

"Classic Ginger" Is Social Media too Social? #gingersimpson #socialmedia

 Social media has been the main manner most author's use to promote their work. Besides, promoting our work, do we share too much about ourselves, our lives, and our feelings? I'd have to say after losing Facebook friends, the answer is yes.  Obviously there are people who don't share or see the same humor in Memes, make assumptions that aren't true and see meanings you never intended.

Using places like FB has led to criminal cases of bullying, stalking, robbery, rape, and even murder. Maybe each of us needs to stop and examine the types of posts we make and who we are friend's with. Last night I saw a post from someone frantic to find a co-author.  He ended his plea with a suicide threat.  Did he mean it?  I really don't know him so I unfollowed him.  Could I have done more?  I really don't need more stress in my life, so I did what benefited me.  Hopefully, he wasn't serious.

I've stopped accepting friend requests from men with no obvious connection to FB because I'm sick of them using FB as a dating site.  My profile clearly says I'm married, so why they assume I'm looking for someone remains a mystery.  It's easy to tell, just my looking at their profile.  I urge you to take the time to check out those seeking you friendship.

How social should we be? Or should be just put our feet up and relax?  As an author, my contracts state that I will promote my work, but I just gathered my tax information together and discovered I spent more on promotion than I earned.  That's disheartening.  I know I can write because I've received award nominations and positive nods from other...authors and readers.

Every day, I share my own blog posts, those of my fellow bloggers and also those on my publisher's blog.  I use Google, Pinterest, FB, and my two blogs feed to Triberr where the posts get shared by my tribe mates.  I tweet the BWL posts manualy.  What I see at the end of each day is that no one else, save the same handful of faithful authors, are sharing anyone's post.  Some I never see on FB, nor do they accept my invitation to blog.  Their response is always, "I'm too busy _____,"  fill in the blank.  I fume everytime I share my 100 posts per day on Triberr wen I see my posts aren't being shared, and because I'm not on Word Press, there is no program to allow pictures to come through.  I'm a visual person, but not energetic enough to move my blog to a whole new site and expect everyone will follow me.  I've had a hard enough time earning the followers I have, and I truly appreciate each of you.

So, now I wonder, why I'm going through all the paces, but others aren't.  Are they earning money? Do they care?  I know life often gets in the way of our best intentions, but to totally ignore what I consider authorly obligations, doesn't sit well with me. Maybe it's time for me to close down my computer and focus my life on something more fulfilling.

I've recently changed my view of FB.  It's a giant time-suck where I've spent way too much time trying to insert my point-of-view on politics or sharing photos others find offensive. The result:  arguments I never intended to engage in or discussions I never meant to join.  I've totally lost sight of what I signed on to do  Aren't I supposed to be talking books?  But then, the question arises...how much can other people take.  Groups of authors, threads of promotion for new and old releases, cover reveals, EVERYTHING author.  Even I get tired of the constant barrage.  Seems everyone has written a book these days.  Try getting a review on a site and you'll see what I mean.  Unless you know someone, or submit to sites that charge a fee, you'll never get a response.

 From now on, I won't be posting political opinions on FB, and I'm going to try hard to avoid any topics that may be offensive.  I lost a FB friend I valued this past month, and let's face it...trying to change someone's political viewpoint is like spitting in the wind.  I'm thinking 2016 will be the year I retire from writing, but withdrawing from the arena will be tough.  Being a creator of stories is in my blood  I start writing, and it was never for money.  Maybe I can return to the outlook and just be happy with my accomplishments as I once was.  Hey...there's always self-publishing.  I may try that.

Check out my books on Amazon.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

What is a Writer's Natural Temperament? by Connie Vines

What is a writer’s ‘natural’ temperament? 


An image  of a novelist as a melancholy, moody artists who dons black as penning books during fits of insomnia or alcoholic inspiration pervades much of our society’s view of writers. No doubt some writers are like this, and the fact that some of the most famous were – the existentialists and the beat writers typically wore black while Hemingway drank continuously – has no doubt contributed to the stereotype that writers are restless and unhappy. 

Unfortunately, this also has led many budding novelists to believe that they can’t be successful unless in a state of “discontent.” 

If there is an overarching temperament that is important to all fiction writers, curiosity about life and others arguably is paramount. Should that curiosity lead to discontent and anxiousness, then the author can write the kind of stuff of that discontented writers like to read. Hopefully that curiosity instead leads to a sense of self-improvement and love of craft so that one can master – or even influence – the genre that you write in.

I have found the best writers aren’t necessarily the smartest, the smoothest, or those with the biggest vocabulary. The best writers are those that possess an unforgettable personality.

A writing personality is just as real, unique, and nuanced as your personality in everyday life -- except you only release it when you create content. And if you can create content that brims with personality, I guarantee that people will love reading it. They’ll come back to it again and again. They will share it.

Your personality becomes your authentic signature, a trademark that appeals to your target audience. Not to mention, it'll serve as a source of incredible brand power and potential. 

1) Embrace your (writing) personality.

The problem with a writing personality is that most people don’t realize that they should have one. Instead, they try to follow the rules and regulations handed down to them by a well-meaning 10th-grade composition teacher. Or, if they do realize the importance of a writing personality, they try to mimic someone else’s personality.

You have to discover and shape your own personality in your writing. It takes time and effort, but it’s possible. Each of these tips will help you do just that.

2) Pick a focus and stick to it.

To have a consistent writing personality, you need to start by having a consistent area of focus. This can be something broad like marketing or more specific like social media. The important thing is that you're not all over the place. 

Food blogger Ree Drummond is a great example of a writer who has a clear topic. She could write about anything and do a darn good job, however, she uses her writing personality to focus on one topic, and one topic only.

 Break grammar rules.

Some people are inveterate rule breakers. And that’s okay. While we don't recommend you throw grammar out the window, breaking a rule every once and a while can serve as a great way to amp up your personality.

What kind of grammar rules should you break? It depends. Here are some common ones:

Sentence fragments: “Seriously. I mean, people, really.”
Punctuation: “I. Just. Can’t. Even.”
Starting sentences with conjunctions: “But I’m okay with that.”
Using “like”: “It’s not like you’ve sinned.”
Using a preposition at the end of a sentence: “You’ve got to get your traffic up!”
Again, be careful with rule-breaking. If you’re frivolous with your grammar, people may start to suspect your intelligence rather than respect your personality.

Get to know your audience better.

The principal group of people who should shape your personality is your audience.

Why? Because they are the ones consuming, accessing, and subscribing to it. Make sure that your personality does not cross their boundaries of proprietary, offend their sensibilities, or rub them the wrong way.

5) Highlight a personality trait that you have in real life.
Your writing personality isn’t exactly the same as your real life personality. Writing and in-person interactions are intrinsically different. However, there is usually some overlap.
If you’re known as a smart and serious individual in person, then your writing can convey that. If people know you as “the funny guy,” then let your humor shine through in your writing.
It’s your personality. Own it.
6) Talk about yourself on your blog posts.
To truly own your personality, you have to talk about yourself. Many successful bloggers and writers aren’t afraid of using “I,” “me,” and “my.” It’s not self-centered. It’s just a natural way of communicating.
7) Write like you talk.
Writing like you talk is generally a good idea. Obviously, you want to cut out useless filler words. “Um” and “uh” aren’t necessary in writing.
At the same time, your style of speech is a mark of your personality. If you’re sarcastic, gentle, incisive, crude, bombastic, or use outrageous expressions, shake a little bit of this into your writing.
8) Stay organized in your blogging and the writing of your novels.
Don’t allow your personality, whatever it is, to throw off your organization.Good writing is inherently organized. If you have a disorganized and scatterbrained  personality in real life, don’t try to import this into your writing. People don’t like to read scattered and disorganized content. Create an outline and stick to it.
10) Write in a way that you enjoy.
When you enjoy the way that you write, you know you’re hitting a personality stride.
11) Be authentic.
12) Commit to your style.
Once you get into the groove of your personality, don’t change it. Your audience expects you to be a certain way, write a certain way, and convey information in a certain way.
Ready to let your personality shine?
You are you, and your writing needs to have your fingerprints, timbre, voice, and personality all over it. Unleashing that personality in your writing starts with knowing it, owning it, and not being afraid to let it loose.
What’s your writing personality? How does this impact your writing?
Please visit the other members of today's Sunday Blog Hop!
Connie




Thursday, October 6, 2016

Are you a Romance Addict? by Becky Barker

Please welcome my friend, Becky Barker, our guest here today at Dishin' It Out! 

Becky and I became friends when we were writing for Kensington/Zebra's Precious Gems Romance line.  This was back-in-the-day when Fabio and John DeSalvo (who appeared on my book cover!) were the undisputed top male models.  

Hi - my name is Becky, and I've been a romance addict since grade school. Honestly. Way back then, I found dated, but never outdated, romantic suspense novels by an author named Emilie Loring. Even though she died before I was born, her family continued to publish her work. I read and loved every one of her books. They were my first "keepers." Her stories were my introduction into a world that would become a lifelong (healthy!) addiction as well as the basis for my writing career.

Another of my loves is western romance. If I can find western suspense, all the better. The best advice I was given as an aspiring author was write what you love to read. I've spent the last few decades following that advice. All of my books are contemporary romances. Most of them have a western theme and a good many of them have elements of mystery or suspense. Despite that declaration, the main focus of all my books is the developing relationship between the hero and heroine.

My latest series, BRIDLETON, incorporates everything I love most about the romance genre. There's a family dynasty, a Texas ranching community, three siblings who adore each other despite their differences, and the perfect mate for each of the Bartell heirs. The titles are ANDREA'S HOMECOMING, CHEY'S COWBOY and ZACK'S RANCH.

                 


Are you a romance addict, too? If so, what author/authors influenced your reading preferences?

 If you'd like a complimentary digital copy for a sample of my work, feel free to contact me at: write@BeckyBarker.com


Hugs, Becky

www.BeckyBarker.com
MailChimp Contest/News
www.Twitter.com/BeckyBarker
www.Facebook.com/BeckyBarker

Becky thank you for blogging at Dishin' It Out!  Readers, please visit Becky's links and download her Western Romances.  Don't be shy, share and tweet our blogs with your friends too!

                                                           

Next week (Friday) our guest blogger is IB Nosey, the Official Unofficial reporter.  All of my readers know IB is my Cyber-Crush. Don't miss out on the fun!  IB is quite a lady's man--it must be his plaid jacket.  Or perhaps, it's the way he handle's that microphone!

Connie

Sunday, October 2, 2016

"Classic Ginger" Vision Quests????

comingofagebetweenojibweandusa.blogspot.com
I have the good fortune of being part of a western blog that's also got a new FB group, and I love doing research.  This is what I learned about the Lakota people.  I'm recycling blogs.

I've always been the kind of mother who worried if my child wasn't home the moment I expected them.  Rather than chalk the tardiness off to just being late, I pictured them kidnapped, dead in a ditch, the most horrible scenarios one could imagine.  I've always been that way, so I can't imagine being an Indian mother and sending my son off on a vision quest.

What is a vision quest you ask?  In most tribes this trek into the wilderness to bond with nature and commune with spirits was a young brave's initiation into manhood.  Clad only in a breechclout and moccasins, the lad is banished to a lonely existence in a vision pit where he'll stay for four days and nights without food.  Whether the vision he receives is from delirium or truly a spiritual occurrence, we may never know, but to the Indian nation, a vision quest gave the budding brave an experience to see life through the eyes of his heart...to determine an image of himself as an adult.  As in all rituals, preparation aided the participant for his journey, in this case, time spent in a sweat lodge purifying his mind and soul.

Now I've raised another question.  Sweat Lodge?  Usually a small and beehive shaped structure of willow covered with buffalo skins in which stones heated outside were passed inside where water was poured on them to create a purifying steam. With the flap closed, occupants (all male) sat naked inside with the boy, chanting and praying, and claiming to hear spirit voices.  Afterwards, the "steamed" men dried themselves with sage leaves and the boy left for his quest.  A very similar ritual took place before each war party departed the village.  Unlike a women's first menses, which was a once in a lifetime celebration, vision quests took place as frequently as a Lakota Brave needed spiritual help.

When a young brave returned from his quest, his visions were interrupted by a medicine man who gave him clues to his "adult" name and the animal that would henceforth be considered the lad's protector.  For instance, a man might garner power from an elk, while another might have envisioned a bear during his quest.  Each animal represented a particular skill or attribute such a bravery, healing, speed, etc.

The Lakota Sioux are a fascinating tribe, and I'm so happy to be able to share some of their legendary history with you.

Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Manic Readers

Manic Readers

She Writes

Historical Fiction Books

Readers and Writers of Distinctive Fiction