Tag Archive for: #Blogging

Why Do You Read Blogs? by Debra H. Goldstein

Why Do You Read Blogs? by Debra
H. Goldstein

In the past, I’ve written about the reasons I write blogs.
Some include interacting with readers, hoping to attract new readers, sharing
my thoughts in a forum that reaches more people than journaling would, and
because I enjoy it.

I also subscribe to several blogs and read them religiously
for their humor, insight, or because I like the people who write them. At this
point, I keep telling myself that I shouldn’t sign up for another blog, but I
feel an obligation to follow friends or people who interest me. Of course, if
they tend to be too longwinded, I merely glance at the heading and hit delete
(do you ever do that?).


To me, the soft spot for a blog is 300-500 words. Just
enough to take in immediately. Just enough to make one major point that the
reader should leave with. Although a lot of bloggers do giveaways or share
personal tidbits, that’s not why I follow them (okay, maybe for the personal
tidbits. Let’s be honest, I also read People magazine and TV Guide from cover
to cover).


Why do you read blogs? Why do you follow this specific
blog? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of my new Sarah Blair mystery,
Four Cuts Too Many (mass market or e-book, but U.S. only). I’ll look forward to
reading your answers.

Blogging Tips

Two weeks ago, Kristopher Zgorski from BOLO Books and I participated in a panel on bloggers for the Sisters In Crime Chesapeake Chapter where we both talked about the many chapters of blogging giving our audience some of the tasks that we do to make our blog what is is today. We had a question and answer period and the feedback that I received was we gave a good talk and it was informative.

The main focus of dru’s book musings is to be a book advocate and introduce the works of authors to my readers through their characters.

Some tips for authors before you approach a blogger for a review or a guest post:

  • Learn as much as you can about the type of blog they have.
  • For reviews, learn what genre they specialize in.
  • For guest posts, make sure you’ve read some of the posts on their site to get an idea of what may be expected of you.
  • I want original content.
  • If you are given a deadline and can’t meet it, please let the blogger know beforehand.
  • Contact the blogger at least 2-3 months prior to you book release to get onto their schedule.
  • Share your guest post on social media. If you don’t participate on social media, have your friends share.
  • You’re not obligated to comment on blog posts, but readers do appreciate it.

For more tips, check out what Kristopher had to say here.

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I Don’t Want to Blog Today by Debra H. Goldstein

I don’t want to blog today.

Plain and simple – I’m tired, cranky, out of ideas, and grumpy (is that the same as cranky?). I want to be snowed in so nothing will prevent me from lighting a fire, covering myself with Joel’s Alabama afghan, and either putting on a TV show DVR’d during the past the two weeks or finishing the Janet Bolin book I’m halfway through. It isn’t to be.

The book, TV shows, blanket and electric fireplace are all there waiting for me, but I live in the South so, thank goodness, the snow idea is out of the picture. Plus, I have lunch and afternoon meetings beginning two hours from now and then we’re hosting a dinner for twelve (don’t worry, we made reservations). Today is typical of my schedule for the past two weeks. Consequently, I don’t want to blog today.

Up to now, I haven’t minded that my days have been filled with meetings, doctor appointments, house guests, exercise classes, attending two wonderful mystery conferences (Murder in the Magic City and Murder on the Menu), visiting and hanging with dear friends, submitting a proposal, laundry and other mundane things. Add in attending a funeral, moderating a charity debate on the value of latkes vs. hamentashen, and judging a children’s writing contest and you can understand why I’ve been a little short of sleep. I haven’t had time to write a single word even though I know there are short story submission deadlines I would like to meet (I understand it helps to write the short story first) and a revision idea begging me to address it in the new novel I’m almost finished drafting.

I don’t want to blog today, but I will. That’s what writers do.

Debra H. Goldstein is the author of 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue.  Her second mystery, Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery will be published by Five Star Publications in 2016. Her most recent short story, Power Play, appears in the new edition of The Birmingham Arts Journal (Volume 11, Issue 4 – 2015). Whether or not she wants to blog or introduce you to a guest blogger, you can find her thoughts expressed as a member of The Stiletto Gang every 2nd and 4th Friday and every other Monday on “It’s Not Always a Mystery”- http://debrahgoldstein.wordpress.com.

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

 by Marjorie Brody
I love challenges and like to–well, not exactly like to, in fact, sometime I kick and scream–thrust myself into uncomfortable situations in order to overcome reluctant behavior. “Reluctant behavior” is so much nicer than the quaking-in-my-stilettos word, “fear”, don’t you think? 
Blogging presents one of those challenges. Just thinking about writing a blog triggers not a casual thanks-but-I’ll-pass reaction, but a firm, dig-in-my-heels, not me-no way, resistance. I’ve avoided blogging for years. Why? Because of a psychologically unpleasant association created decades ago. Blogging to me means writing non-fiction and just that word, non-non-non-ficfic-fiction, sends creepy little critters crawling through my veins. Non-fiction reminds me too much of the drudgery I encountered while completing my dissertation. Note: I didn’t say the association was rational. 
As a result of this odious connection, blogging=non-fiction=psychic, emotional, and physical agony, my creative process locks herself in a room, buries her head under the blanket and refuses to come out and play. 
To the rescue comes the Stiletto Gang, a phenomenal group of writers, who offers me the opportunity to vanquish that twisted thought association–to tear it apart, to slaughter it with dagger or poisoned pen, to stomp upon its mangled shreds, to . . . hmm, maybe I can embrace blogging the way I embrace fiction–with passion, excitement, and an indescribable joy. 
Anyway, I’m sure going to give it my all. So while this may be a short blog, I’ve taken those first wobbly steps and surprisingly, I’m eager to come back the second Tuesday of next month and interact with you. Maybe you’ll let me know if you’ve had situations you’ve been reluctant to undertake, and if so, how you’ve handled them. I look forward to sharing my passion for writing with you–whether it be plays or poetry or short stories or novels. Or maybe even, yes, just perhaps, I’ll soon be able to add . . . blogging. 
Aladdin’s Restaurant in Old Jaffa
overlooking the Mediterranean Sea

For now, I’m going to catch up on jet lag–I spent the last two weeks of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 in Israel–talk about stepping out of my comfort zone! I did manage to catch a connection home before the blizzard grounded all planes out of  New York, but that’s a story for some other time. Thirty-three hours after I left the hotel in Tel Aviv, I arrived home. Bet Aladdin’s carpet traveled faster.  


Marjorie Brody is an award-winning author and Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her short stories appear in literary magazines and the Short Story America Anthology, Vols. I, II and III. Her debut psychological suspense novel, TWISTED, delves into the secrets that emerge following a sexual assault at a high school dance and features a remarkable teen who risks everything to expose the truth. TWISTED is available in print and ebooks. Marjorie invites you to visit her at www.marjoriespages.com.               

My Game of Thrones Non-Blog

 By Laura Spinella 
Earlier this week I posted at the Girlfriends Book Club. It’s another
water cooler blog, a virtual coffee klatch where women share the angst, joy, trepidation
and insight of their experiences as published authors. Like the Stiletto Gang,
we also share sidebar posts that might not have a single thing to do with writing
or books. Not infrequently, much humor and knowledge is gleaned from these left-of-center
pearls of wisdom.
I didn’t write that kind of blog at GBC, and I won’t get to write one
here today. My calendar insists that I have no time to write personal essays
about my favorite fodder: my kids, or to pen breezy posts about pop culture. Although,
seriously, have you watched Game of
this season? I could easily do a 600-word diatribe on how those
fire-breathing dragons should incinerate the all the characters—the aimless
dirty, sometimes handless, wanderers of the realm.  They have become characters without a kingdom
or meaningful storyline.  But, as I
mentioned, I can’t write about that. I can’t because the ready-set-go bell of
publishing has rung! Six months out from my pub-date and it’s time to start
pressing the flesh and get in the game.  
Although, really, let’s think about the irony of my
predicament. It goes like this: A few years back I wrote a simple story about an
ingénue character, Isabel Lang, and her musically gifted best friend, Aidan
Roycroft.  My oldest daughter, then in her
late teens, loved the story. I thought about making more of it, but as the
publishing gods would have it, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER sold in the same moment. I
tucked that manuscript in a drawer and forgot about it. I wrote another book.
It was a long book with a busy storyline and characters I never really fell in
love with. But I thought it was the book I was supposed to write, so I pushed
on. Turned out my instincts were on target. The agent took one read and sent me
straight back to the blank screen. With my ego thoroughly bruised—I don’t know,
maybe I was trying to stick my head in the drawer—I came across that shorter story
titled THE IT FACTOR. Sure, it needed polish and a better, more mature plot,
but I loved these characters, and I remembered that. Things were looking up. I
spent a year massaging the manuscript, deciding if I really could pull off a
story that involved a rock star. I mean, who does that?
            Well, apparently, I do.
While the finished product took sweat equity and significant swearing, the
book sold right away—last summer. That’s when the elephant-like gestation
began. But we’re nearing the homestretch, passing the anticipated milestones:
cover art, back cover blurb and title. Things were inching along and I assumed
my title, THE IT FACTOR, was set in stone. Not so fast. In a phone call it was
re-titled ISABEL’S RHAPSODY, then a generic Aidan & Isabel marker through an
idea-less winter, and finally PERFECT TIMING.  Edits and ARCs are within spitting distance, as I
put another piece of the puzzle in place this week. AuthorBytes launched a shiny
new website for me. I think it’s really keen, but I also must confess that the
uber-author web developer is my afternoon gig.  It’s kind of like needing a new car and being
married to Detroit. They’re just going to insist on a Cadillac. Many
thanks to the talented team who pushed my site out the door in record time and
with optimal precision.
            So it all turns out to be my fault. If I hadn’t written a burgeoning sweet story, or a not so great book in between, who knows
what I would have written today. It might have been a romp through
the perils of securing summer employment for the nearly educated or spicy
banter about my Mother’s Day gift—tickets to the Goo Goo Dolls. But shhhhhhh, I’m
not supposed to know that! Instead, I’m here to talk about PERFECT TIMING!  Blah, blah, blah… Hey, how about hopping over
to Amazon and pre-ordering your copy? 
Laura Spinella is the author of the award-winning novel, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER and the upcoming novel, PERFECT TIMING, visit her shiny new website, www.lauraspinella.net

Has blogging lost it’s sparkle?

by: Joelle Charbonneau
In the last year, I’ve heard people starting to call into
question the relevance of blogs.  Years
ago, and I’m not talking all that many years ago, blogs were fresh and
different.  Only a couple of authors
blogged.  The novelty of that daily or
weekly contact with a favorite author made those blogs must-reads for a lot of
fans.  The popularity of those blogs made
blogging the ‘it’ thing to do.  Suddenly,
all authors needed to blog.  Publishers,
editors, public relations and marketing folk and agents all embraced blogging
as the new, surefire way for an author to gain a following.  It’s easy to understand why.  In the good old days-AKA early 2000s and
all the years before-readers had to go to an author event to connect on a
personal level with their favorite authors. 
Travel gets expensive, so it is no wonder writers and their publishing
teams embraced the lower cost, longer reaching arm that blogging provided.
Yay for technology.
Or not. 
Fast forward to the here and now.  The internet has grown exponentially in the
past decade.  Almost every business has a
web presence and a large percentage of authors blog on places on the web like
(but not near as fun as) this one.  Where
blogging was once a unique, never before chance to glimpse into an author’s
life, it has become more an expected commodity. 
“Oh.  You’re an author.  What blog are you on?” is something I heard
more than once at BEA last week. 
Blogging is expected. 
However, knowing that the question has to be asked—because there are so
many blogs out there, has blogging lots its effectiveness?
I admit that I love blogging here at the Stiletto Gang!  The ladies not only allow me (the girl who
never wears stilettos) to play, but are incredibly supportive.  So, I know that my reasons for blogging are
less about promotion and more about community and fun.  But it would be great to know your reasons
for reading and or writing blogs. 
Do you seek out new blogs and actively comment on them?  Do you only comment on blogs that you know
and feel comfortable with?  Are you like
me who lurks a lot and doesn’t comment, but loves reading about what my friends
are up to?  Or do you think that blogs have
gotten lost in the glut of content that is available online?  What new and fresh things should authors be doing
in order to keep their blogs relevant to readers?
We may not solve the problems of world peace
here at the Stiletto Gang, but maybe we’ll come up with a new way to cut
through the noise that is the internet and connect with each other on an even
better level!

Need to Take My Own Advice

Managing our time has been a frequent topic on this blog. I’m always quick to give advice on the subject. This week I realized that I need to heed what I spew out to others.

One thing I gave up doing long ago was housework. The last few years I’ve had someone in the family who needed extra money and was willing to clean my house for me. I still do touch-ups and clean bathrooms that need that extra scrub.

Right now I’m gearing up for the launch and promotion of the 8th in my Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series due out sometime this month. To categorize what kind of book it is, I call it a cozy police procedural. Though it’s pretty far along in the series, I write each book as a stand-alone so it isn’t necessary to read the books in order. I’m setting up the in-person launch at our local used book store. There are no other bookstores within an hour plus driving time.

But what’s really been taking up time is that I decided to plan my own blog tour. I now know why those who do this professionally charge as much as they do. First you have to find blogs who are willing to host you–and ones that might get a bit different traffic–and coordinate the dates. I always ask them what they’d like me to write about so that each post will be different. The group I gathered together came up with some splendid topics and interview questions. Then, of course, I had to write the posts and add all the information about my book, send them to the appropriate person along with my book cover and a photo of me. This time instead of sending my usual photo, I sent a different one for each post.

This will be happening during the month of April and a couple of days into May. To add to the craziness, I also signed on with eight authors to do another blog tour right in the middle of mine. This one will only last eight days, but it will be labor intensive. I’ll be busy promoting all these blogs and doing all the needed commenting.

This month I’ll be attending Epicon which is the convention for E-published authors and E-publishers in San Antonio. I’m giving a presentation on blogging and blog tours. My publisher is attending so I’ll also be spending some time with her. Soon after returning, I’ll be heading for Left Coast Crime. I’ll get home just a couple of days before my blog tour begins.

Somewhere in all this I need to be working on my latest manuscript.

Poor hubby, he’ll be disappointed if I don’t take a day now and then for us to head to town, have lunch out and take in a movie. He’s going with me to San Antonio so maybe that will count for some of our together time.

Like someone commented on a earlier post, my “me time” is when I’m writing.

One other thing I can’t miss is the fact that Dancing With the Stars is soon to begin. I can pass up a lot of reality TV, but I love Dancing. Hubby likes it now too, so that’ll be part of our together time.

Next month I’ll let you know if this has all been way too much for this great-grandmother to cope with.


My Mind’s Meanderings

I don’t have any kind of theme for this post.

I’m still following the news about Japan, tragic and scary. However, I have a friend on Facebook, a Japanese gentleman who I don’t really know, who makes the most positive statements about his country and his state of mind such as: “The government is taking care of it.” “It’s almost time for the cherry blossoms and all will be fine.” He also has a cat and has posted photos of it. I like reading what he has to say.

We have friends, a writing couple that we’ve spent quite a bit of time with, who this week flew to Osaka Japan for a reunion with American and Japanese people who built the Japanese version of Universal studios. Her posts about their trip and visit have also been on the positive side.

Hubby and I with our son and daughter-in-law went to our local Indian Casino for the Friday night buffet because I’d heard they had crab legs. I love crab legs. Even though this Indian reservation and casino are often in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries, I don’t venture out there often because both roads to get there are too darn scary. The one we take goes around sharp curves and over rises and dips that make your stomach lurch like an elevator that drops too fast. The Indians and people going to and from the casino drive like they are racing to get there or home. Son drove and he drives in L.A. traffic all the time so this drive doesn’t faze him at all. The buffet was great, best clam chowder I’ve eaten anywhere, but the crab legs came with no tools to crack the legs or poke the meat out. What a struggle. Daughter-in-law, who doesn’t eat fish, laughed while we ate and said she should have brought a video camera. When we go a next time, we’ll take our own tools.

From the buffet we went into the casino itself and son insisted we try the machines. Right up front I have to say I don’t like to gamble. I don’t understand the point of putting hard-earned money into a machine and pushing buttons. Son put $10 in and made me sit down and try. It was a penny machine and sometimes I won and sometimes lost, when I got it back up to $9. 98 I cashed out. Hubby did the same thing with $5. I used to like the old-time one armed bandits, at least I understood what I was doing while losing my money.

I’m the program chair for the Public Safety Writers Association’s conference http://policewriter.com coming in July. I’ve been working on panels because we promise everyone who wants to be on a panel that they will be. Not easy to do if they don’t fit for the panels that we’ve come up with. Now I can understand why at some conferences I’ve attended in the past I ended up on some panels with topics that had nothing to do with the kind of book I wrote.

Though I’m really trying to work on my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, it seems I’m spending a lot of time writing blogs–like this one.

And that’s what’s on my mind at the moment.

What’s occupying your mind?


Kids Rock

I announced this on The Naked Hero last week, but must give props again (’cause when props are due, they’re due). My kids ROCK. Here’s one reason why.

One of my sons has celiac disease and is sick and tired of the food he eats (rice, beans, tofu, and myriad combinations). My daughter loves to cook. We all love Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution.

They were talking at dinner one night and all the sudden they dreamed up a challenge–cook, using Jamie Oliver’s recipes, and blog about it to encourage other kids to eat healthy, and to empower other kids with celiac disease. For 100 days… or 6 months… whichever comes first 😉

They’re well into their challenge and still fired up (it certainly helps that Jamie Oliver himself has Direct Messaged them onTwitter and is now following THEM! Yes, Chef Jamie Oliver is following my kids and their challenge and how cool is that?).

And let me tell you, Jared and Sophie are regular kids who float through life like the next kid. But they’re not floating this time. They’re motivated, loving the blog, are thrilled every time someone subscribes or follows the blog, and in their minds, are loving their 15 minutes of fame.

They’ve made some great things including Classic Tomato Spaghetti and Chocolate Pudding Bake (SO good!).

They totally think they’re going to meet Jamie Oliver… or at least they really want to! (They were actually invited to come to a Jamie Cooking Project in the UK. Small problem… we don’t live in the UK.)

We have no small dreams in this household!

This is their dream and they’re doing good for themselves, our family, and anybody who happens across their blog and is inspired by the fact that two kids are cooking healthy and gluten free. And if two kids can do it, surely you can, too.

I’m so proud of them! Please help them by spreading the word about Jared and Sophie and their Kid’s Cooking Challenge! And join the challenge!

I’m so proud of them! Please help them by spreading the word about Jared and Sophie and their Kid’s Cooking Challenge.

**You don’t have to eat gluten free! Jamie’s recipes aren’t, but we are adapting them, showing both ways.

Tools of the Trade for Writers

My recommendations five years in –

1. Buy a computer, flat screen monitor, and printer. (Okay, the flat screen monitor is not strictly necessary if your eyes are very young. Buy a computer with as much RAM, processor speed, and hard drive storage as you can afford.)

2. Buy and install Microsoft Word. (Yes, you can use other word processing software, but this is my list and that’s my recommendation. Plus most agents/editors/publishers want your manuscript delivered in Word. I hear you grumbling, but I too used WordPerfect for years and was able to teach myself Word. You can learn to use it. And the Home and Student version is not that expensive.)

3. Set up an internet connection. (Hopefully something faster than dial-up since the writing, finding an agent and acquiring a publisher will provide more than enough frustration). Make sure you have up-to-date virus protection. I don’t care for “security suite software.” Too many programs to slow down your computer. Between pop-up blockers, phishing protection, and extra firewalls – surfing the internet can become more like sitting on a leaky air mattress and paddling with your hands. Yeah, you’re safer but it’s not much fun. McAfee Virus Scan, kept updated, along with the firewall that comes with your computer operating system is usually more than adequate unless you troll the bad part of town a lot. If you like Norton, great. But if you ever want to change to something else, you’ll find Norton has buried itself into many of your software programs and is almost impossible to remove.

4. Build a website. If you’re ever lucky enough to have readers, they’ll expect you to have a website. Lots of places on the web will host your website for a small monthly fee. They have software on site so you can build your own or you can hire a web designer to do it for you. If you have extra cash hire the web person. If not, you can learn to do it yourself. There is an enormous amount of information on the internet about websites available. Hey, if you’re a writer, you should be a reader. So read … you can learn just about anything by reading and practicing. (I’m also giving myself a little pep talk with this blog. I’m trying to learn how to animate graphics. Four hours and now I can make a dog wink.)

5. Set up a MySpace page and make friends. Every friend you make is a potential reader of your book. Plus, you meet some great people. Sure you’ll get the occasional spammer or crazy person, but you can delete them with a single click. Much easier than dealing with your obnoxious next door neighbor.

6. Buy photo software, install it, and learn to use it. Not a day goes by, that I don’t use photo software to resize my bookcovers for promotional items and postings. Did you think that Irish Wolf hound changes hats by herself? I like Microsoft Digital Image Suite 9. It does everything I want it to and is very user friendly. Yes, Adobe makes some great photo software that will do more, but I was looking for something with a short learning curve and something inexpensive. Microsoft Digital Image Suite 9 is just right for me.

7. There are some wonderful books on writing. Read some of them so you know what you don’t know. The more I read about writing the more I realize writing is like anything else, you get better with study and practice. It’s a craft. Just because you want to write, doesn’t mean you can. I’ve got a list of books that I found helpful – email me at evelyndavid@evelyndavid.com and I’ll send it to you.

Since I’m using Word to type this, I know that I’ve got 565 words at this point. More than enough for my Thursday blog. I’ll run spell check before I cut and paste this into “Blogger.”

Did I mention blogging? That should be item number 8. Maybe author newsletters should be number 9. But I’m not sure you really need to do both even though Evelyn David does. You have to save some time for the actual writing.

Okay. Time to wrap this up. I’m headed back to the animation drawing board. My goal is to get a dog’s tail to wag.

A writer’s life is so exciting.

Evelyn David