Tag Archive for: Facebook

How Do You Feel About Emojis?

by Gay Yellen

Once upon a time, I had a comfortably introverted life. That all changed in 2014, when my first book came out, and my publisher urged me to join the rest of the world on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms.


At first, it was tough to emerge from my cocoon, but little by little, I was posting like a pro. I came to feel pretty comfortable about it, too, until last year, when I read an article in The Wall Street Journal about the generation gap in how people interpret what the little emoticons mean.

Take the smiley face, for example. People over the age of thirty generally use it to express happiness, or to indicate a positive response, like saying “good job!” Or perhaps, “I’m happy for you.” But you might be dismayed to know that twenty-somethings and teens find it patronizing, and if they use it at all, they deploy it sarcastically.

The skull and crossbones icon has also been reinterpreted by the younger set. Instead of pointing to danger, they use it to show that they are laughing so hard, they’re dying. And the frowny face? For most people, it’s a sign of disapproval or frustration. But for the younger set? They are more likely to be pining for the unobtainable object of their affection.

Since reading the WSJ article, I second-guess myself almost every time I reply to a post. Does my response feel genuine to the person receiving the message? Or does it come across as ironic when it’s meant to be sincere?

And what to make of the pile of Poop emoji, especially if it’s smiling? Even after consulting the internet for the answer, I’m not really sure, although I did learn that, in 2015, it was the most popular emoji in Canada, while the Eggplant reigned supreme in the States. Excrement and sexual innuendo. Lovely.

Thank goodness there’s one icon whose meaning we all seem to agree on. We still feel good when the universal symbol for love is delivered to us, although it may help to know that various heart configurations and colors connote different degrees and types of affection. These days, younger people prefer to use the word “fire” and its icon to indicate their strong positive feelings, especially when the response is to a “hot” person or idea. Heart-hands are gaining on in popularity, too.
If you’re concerned that people may misread your intentions when you use emojis, you could try consulting emojipedia.com or a few emoji bloggers for an answer. Be warned, however, that you might end up even more confused.

As for me, I’m thinking the safest bet it to revert to an old standby that has worked to express our true feelings for centuries: words.
Readers, how do you feel about emojis?

Gay Yellen writes the award-winning

Samantha Newman Mysteries including
The Body Business,
The Body Next Door
(available on Amazon)

Coming soon,

The Body in the News

New Things

by Bethany Maines

Yesterday was the first day of Kindergarten for my
daughter.  She looked a little bit
nervous, but mostly seemed to be taking it in stride. Many of the other parents
weren’t.  Someone kindly went around and
passed out tissues.  My husband and I
made it through without tears, but we did feel a bit glum about our baby not
being a baby anymore.  And like many
events that are symbolic markers of something new, even when we poo-poo it as
“just another day,” there is still the sense that it is the time to begin a
project and shake up the routine.
Toward that end, I took a stab at cleaning my office.  It was a very small stab.  Sort of a paring knife kind of stab rather
than a meat cleaver, but efforts were made.  Then I started a new short story because,
let’s face it, I’ll do anything to avoid cleaning my office.  This one I think will be a reverse Miss
Marple (the old lady is the killer). 
We’ll have to see how it turns out.  I also started a Facebook Group called the Reader B’s.  Facebook groups add greater interaction and flexibility than pages, making them more equivalent to conversations.  If you would like to belong to a group
dedicated to readers and authors, please do join.  I’ll have posts about books, book reviews, posts
from other authors and discussions about all of my books and short stories.
My next novel, The Second Shot, is releasing October 24 and is now a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Literary Contest.  If you have a netgalley account and want to read a great new book for #free, check out this blogger/reader sign-up!  Don’t want to be officially a part of the excitement, but want to keep tabs on all the news? Add The Second Shot to your Goodreads list or pre-order for iBooks today.
💌 Sign up today:
📚 Add to Goodreads:
Pre-Order: Apple Books: https://apple.co/32sL3vV
Bethany Maines
is the
award-winning author of the Carrie Mae
Mystery Series
, San Juan Islands
, Shark Santoyo Crime Series,
and numerous short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or
kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing
her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel.
You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and All Things Social Media

By AB Plum

Thanks to the wonders of technology, I can write this blog a week ahead of its due date, schedule it, and take off tomorrow for a fun-and-frolic vacation in San Francisco. 

I’m writing the day before the Comey Testimony. (I capitalize testimony b/c it’s almost as if Mr. Comey’s appearance is a TV program or movie or book title).

I am also writing before President Trump tweets about the upcoming testimony or during the testimony itself.

Either the testimony or tweet content could provide enough commentary for dozens of riveting blogs. But. I’m going to take advantage of the scheduling feature on this blog and leave posting the excitement/amazement/disgust/disbelief/etc. following the event to others to wax on about.

I am going to SF without my laptop or any other handheld devices. Except for one. Because I have kids (adults, true) in other cities and a friend watching over the home front, the need to take my cell phone will win out. But … no calling or tweeting or texting except in an emergency.

Admittedly, sending a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge will be tempting, but I hope to resist. My grown kids have walked across the span many times. Some of my relatives, like my house sitter, have never taken a single step on this engineering marvel. 

Here’s my rationale: Even if I send my relatives or the house sitter a picture, they’ll probably all be too busy watching The Testimony. Or the analyses of The Testimony. Or the late-night panning of The Testimony. 

Whatever …. I’ll catch up when I return home. Until then, I’m about to retreat to Luddite Land.

How about you? When was the last time you “unhooked” from your electronic wonders? Do you remember a time when we didn’t text? Didn’t tweet? Didn’t share pictures of our vacations via Facebook?

AB Plum lives off the fast lane in Silicon Valley, where she writes about mayhem and murder in her psychological suspense series, The MisFit. If she doesn’t overstay her vacation, she plans a late summer release of The Lost Days and The In-Between Years, Books 2 and 3 in the series.

Where I Live Now—AKA What I’ve Learned on Facebook

By Kay Kendall

If you watched me go
about my life these days, you would think you know where I live. You would say, why, that’s
a snap to answer. She lives in Texas. Look, there’s her house on that Houston
street. You can look her up on Google Maps.
Yet, strangely, you would
only be partly right. In fact, only one-third correct in your answer—to be
Sure, there’s my normal
life and it’s lived in Houston. But to that you must add the year 1969. Living
in that year makes up the second third of my life these days. That’s when my
work-in-progress takes place, Rainy Day
. I’ve been living in that world for more than a year now. Moreover, for
two years prior, I was living in 1968—the year when my debut mystery is set, Desolation Row. Hence, I have been
spending lots of time in the late 1960s for many years now. In fact, I’m going
deeper and deeper into the detailed past the longer I write about the late
(I have a vivid
imagination and a good head for detail. I’m surprised when people don’t
remember things as I do. Some get downright anachronistic, wanting to put cell
phones into a plot where they don’t belong. Boy oh boy, can technology change a
story—or ruin it if it’s done incorrectly. But, I digress.)
The third and final piece
of my life is now lived online. I’m a gregarious person and as my career as an
author has solidified, I’m staying put in my writer’s lair more often than I
used to. My husband and I are living a quiet life. So, to reach out to other
people, I go to social media several times a day. The majority of that time is
spent on Facebook.
Kay says CHEERS to Facebook!
Many of my Facebook
friends are boomers, as I am. I can start up a thread on a hot topic from the
1960s or 1970s and watch folks chime in. Then they share my head space with me.
I enjoy that a lot. This week’s subject has been what people remember about the
Watergate saga. Some of the answers have fascinated me. One man had a neighbor
who was one of the good guys attached to the Watergate investigation. Another
woman worked for a polling firm in Washington DC that compiled data for the infamous Committee to Re-Elect the President (later nicknamed CREEP, no kidding). She recalled going to the airport to pick up documents and delivering them to the office of the special prosecutor for Watergate…and found it a fascinating time to live in the national’s capital. Since I’m a history
buff, I would have loved that too, although I’m sure many would disagree.
The great crime writer
Tim Hallinan began a thread on his Facebook page a few days ago that asked his
friends to nominate their favorite rock albums. Well! You can imagine how
cantankerous that got, with many responders irate that their faves didn’t win.
My pick did not win—it was a Dylan album, naturally—Blonde on Blonde. I was not
irate, however, since I won a free copy of one of Tim’s mysteries. Since the
only other thing I’ve ever won in my life was a flashlight, I was thrilled
beyond words.
On Facebook I’m drawn to
historical detail, interesting trivia, and those silly BuzzFeed quizzes. On the
most recent quizzes, I scored ten out of ten for world history, found out that
the classic novel that best fits my personality is Pride and Prejudice, and was told that among Jungian archetypes I turn
out to be the sage.
Two fascinating posts
hooked my interest over the past week. First, one FB friend had discovered a
parakeet in her backyard. She wasn’t able to find the owner but did turn up a
neighbor who had also lost her parakeet. The neighbor agreed to take the bird,
vowing to search for the real owner and if s/he wasn’t found, then she would
adopt the lost bird. People commented on this, explaining similar situations.
This was fun and interesting. Sadly, a second Facebook friend lamented that her
sister who suffered from angina had died. The sister had forgotten to carry her
nitroglycerine tablets. When she had an attack, no one could revive her. That true
story devastated me.
I guess I’ve always lived
in my head. As an only child, I read a lot, as many potential writers do. I
just didn’t know that at the time. First it was horse stories and fairy tales,
then Nancy Drew and Little Women,
followed by the grand Jane Eyre. After
that it was more and more classics. Someone told me I should read all the
classic novels in order to be prepare for my SAT tests, and boy, did I go at
it. At sixteen I was far too young to appreciate the finer points of Anna Karenina, but I could tell you the
plot of it and dozens of other great novels.
Last summer I went back to
Kansas for my high school reunion. Along with a few dear, long-time friends I
trotted around our old high school building and reminisced. Pal Nancy could
tell each of us where our lockers had been and where our homerooms were. Most
of us had no idea, although I was more clueless than most. I’m guessing I was
lost in my head back then too. Nancy, however, must have been fully present in
order to recall all that detail of her life in high school.  
Do you live in your head
a lot, like me? Do you enjoy Facebook? Do you have another favorite among the
social media types? Or do you loathe the whole scene?
That’s all I’ve got for
now, my friends. I feel the comments on Facebook tugging at me. Excuse me while
I succumb to their sirens’ song.
 Kay Kendall set her debut novel, Desolation Row—An Austin Starr Mystery,
in 1968. The Vietnam War backdrop illuminates reluctant courage and desperate
love when a world teeters on chaos. Kay’s next mystery, Rainy Day Women (2015) finds amateur sleuth Austin Starr trying to
prove a friend didn’t murder women’s liberation activists in Seattle and
Kay is an award-winning international PR executive living in Texas
with her Canadian husband, three house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. Terribly
allergic to bunnies, she loves them anyway! Her book titles show she’s a Bob
Dylan buff too.

The road to social media before it became social media

June 1995

That’s the year I joined AOL and discovered the AMC bulletin board, where the talks were about our favorite Daytime soap opera, All My Children. Pretty soon, we started getting personal showing concerns for our fellow friends and as a result, the Personal Posters board was born and thus the group became AMC PPers.

A month later, a group of 22 AOL AMC Personal Posters and friends traveled by trains, planes, automobiles and the subway from Florida, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana, New Jersey, Georgia, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia and Brooklyn to meet for the first time in New York City for an AMC PPer reunion.

The highlight of this reunion was a tour of All My Children’s studio. There we met the cast, saw them tape a segment and later had an autograph session where we were able to talk with the cast as well. While we were there, there was an ABC photographer and a reporter from Soap Opera Digest. We all got a copy of the show’s script and an advance issue of Soap Opera Digest. Later in the year, our visit to the All My Children studio was published in Soap Opera Digest along with the group photo. Click HERE to see article. In 1996, we had a second reunion in NYC and this time we took a tour of the editorial offices of Soap Opera Digest.

That would be the first of many PPer reunions/trips we embarked. We traveled to Chicago (1996), Richmond (1996), New England (1996), New York City (1996), Vermont (1996), Chicago (1997), Washington DC (1997), South Beach (1998), Caribbean Cruise (1998), Boston (1998), Virginia Beach (1998), Los Angeles (1998), Orange CT (1998), Seattle (1999), Seattle (2000), Chicago (2000), Virginia Beach (2000), San Francisco (2000) and Las Vegas (2006). All in all, we had a blast hanging out with each other.

Then the AOL bubble burst with many changes to their platform and finally they removed the bulletin boards and AOL was no longer our social media.

September 2003

I discovered blogs; author blogs, which led to socializing on friend’s blog. I also had my own personal blog where I talked about life in general, my participation in activities and events. At one point, I read or interacted with 100+ blogs learning all I could about an author’s work and also got snippets of their daily lives. Blogs are still around but not as proliferate as they once were. That changed when MySpace and Facebook entered the social media arena.

July 2008

I started a new blog using WordPress to keep a journal of the books I read. I enjoyed talking about my books and that is when I learned “review” etiquette—don’t give too much detail about a book. In the beginning I was rating the books, but not I choose not to because it’s my opinion and no one else’s.

That’s the year I joined Facebook. And this time we can virtually have one-on-one conversations with our favorite authors. It was heavenly to read their status and learn about their latest book from them as opposed to a page on their website. It was also there that I discovered that I could help authors get the word out on their books. That is where a chat with an author propelled me to attend my first Malice Domestic Convention.

Guess what? Some of the AMC PPers were on FB and lo and behold the Classic PPers were reborned.

May 2009

Twitter – 140 characters – need to have constant eyes to follow all the tweets and retweets. It’s good if you know how to write captions to get your message across.  I use it mainly to plug my blog postings for my “A Day in the Life” feature. My first tweet was  “learning how to “compute” using SPSS and I got it”

August 2011
The feature “A Day in the Life” first appeared on dru’s book musing. I always wanted to know what a protagonist’s day was like and just that snippet gives you some insight into the character and the book. I’m having so much fun reading all that the characters have to say and I

August 2012
Joined Goodreads – was using it a lot and then there were some discord among the other users, so I just took a break from it.

Other Social Media
Google + – didn’t like it.
Pinterest – got bored

So to Fran, Ida, Blanche, Liz, Risa, Jamie, Laura, Irene, Cheryl, Hilary, Anne-Marie, Karen, Ann, Marci, Julie, Gretchen, Peggy, Beverly, Beth, Cori, Jill, Amy, and anyone else I left out, thanks for being my foray into social media.

A special thanks to Blanche H. for her suggestion for this topic.

So how did you arrive at your social media outlet?

A brave new world – FACEBOOK!

by: Joelle Charbonneau

Okay, Facebook has been around for a while, so it isn’t exactly brand new. Each of us have our own social media pages for us to socialize, post cat photos and talk about what we had for dinner, but as of this week we now have combined forces and have a page dedicated to all things STILETTO GANG!

Hurray! Throw confetti!  Dance!  Eat cake!  Take a nap!

Hmmm…well, the last suggestion might not sound all that exciting to some, but the idea of a nap sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate to me.  I guess that’s the late night writing sessions and the hectic conference and travel schedule talking.  But hey – we all have different things that make us happy, right?

Which is why a group Facebook page is such a fun concept to me.  Instead of one person blogging every day – which is good…now we can all chat and yammer and give stuff away all on the same days. It’s an every day party hosted by a bunch of ladies in high-heeled footwear.  (Or wedges and flats….I can’t help it.  High heels and I don’t always get along!)  We are still working out all the details on how the Facebook page will evolve and much of that depends on you and what kinds of parties you like best….cake eating?  Confetti throwing, dancing or napping?  However it grows and changes, I can promise you one thing – it’s going to a fun adventure.   But of course, for the adventure to really begin, we need you!  

Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/stilettogang

Like the page.

And let the fun begin!


by: Joelle Charbonneau

It is so easy to get wrapped up in writing new manuscripts and the process of being published, that we often don’t take time to enjoy the anticipation that leads up to a book’s release.  Or maybe it’s just me.  I tend to be the kind that has tunnel vision.  I think about the work that has to be done, not the celebration of the work that has already occurred.

However today is a day for celebration.  In the next couple of months, I will have several books hit shelves.  The first, END ME A TENOR, will be published on April 2nd by Berkley Prime Crime.  I think it is my favorite of all of my mysteries perhaps because there is so much of my performance life hidden in the pages between those covers. 

The second book that will hit shelves is my first young adult novel – THE TESTING.  It will arrive at a bookstore near you on June 4th.  This series has been such a wonderful challenge for me.  My heroine, Cia Vale, has pushed me to consider the world around me in very different ways as has this publishing experience.  While months exist between now and the release of The Testing, lots of cool stuff is starting to happen.  The first of which launches today and I’d like to invite you all to participate.  The Testing has had several different covers.  We thought the final covered had been nailed down, but a new artist who was hired for book 2 took a whack at adding his flare to book one’s design and WOW is it amazing.  The reveal of the new The Testing cover is happening today on Facebook where Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has launched a page for all things Testing Trilogy.

Please stop by and take a peek!  I’d love to hear what you think of the cover and have you join me on this strange and wonderful adventure that I am on. 

Mimicking Life?

by Bethany Maines

A few weeks ago I posted a photo on my FB page that said, “If you
were in my novel, I’d have killed you off by now.” I’d like to say that was a
joke, but the unfortunate part (for everyone else) of being a writer is that I
really do use a large chunks of life for my writing. I just don’t use the parts
people think I’m going to… or should.
Over the years I’ve had several people offer me “really
great” suggestions about what to include in a novel and I’ve taken absolutely
none of them. What I have taken, or pilfered, as the case may be, are people’s
stories, experience, and random bits of dialogue. Don’t tell me that pine
needle basket weaving is a skill you keep up in case of the zombie apocalypse
if you don’t want that included in a piece of Maines fiction. Don’t invent
clever catch phrases about basic life principles if you don’t want them written
down (I’m looking at you Dad aka Ray “Lugnut Rule” Maines).
But when it comes to using an actual person, I try not to do
that. For one thing, I know some pretty complex people and capturing them in
fiction sounds hard.  And for
another… I’m mean.  I really will
kill people off, or worse.  I made
one of my favorite characters the villain in my first novel what do you think
I’d do to someone that annoyed me in real life.  Next thing you know, snooty waitress, you’re going to be a
drug mule for an incompetent Norwegian drug lord and TSA will be all up in yer
That’s not to say I’ve never done it, but it seems like
those “characters” never make the final cut; they get edited out before the
final draft.  I think it’s because
fictional revenge might be fun, but it doesn’t make a good story. It’s hard to
draft a solid plot around the impulse to bash an acquaintance in the head,
unless the plot is “writer kills client who looks like Toad from Wind in theWillows.”
But that got me to thinking, if I was going to put someone
in a novel, who should it be?  My
grandmother? My business partner? The annoying neighbor with the miniature
horse? Or the highly suspicious old dudes across the street who might be running a chop
shop?  Who would you put in a

Writing through… Oooh! Shiny!

by Bethany Maines

What do we think?  Alex Trebek – with moustache or without? Why is it that the only “star” I know on “Dancing With the Stars” is Rikki Lake? Did I buy wrapping paper for that wedding present? And speaking of the wedding, what should I wear to that wedding on Saturday? 

I’m having a wee bit of trouble concentrating (in case you didn’t notice). I’m really close to completing my latest mystery manuscript and if I just buckled down I could be done before you know it. Well, at least by the end of the weekend. But I’m having some sort of mental block.
I sit myself down.  I open all my little files and stare at the screen and then thirty seconds later I’m surfing the web, and checking the newsfeed on Facebook for the umpteenth time. It’s not the same as writer’s block. I know what to write and, theoretically, I know how to write it. This is more like attention deficit disorder for writers. Of course, once I had that thought I went to look up the symptoms of ADHD.
  • difficulty paying attention to details and tendency to make careless mistakes in school or other activities; producing work that is often messy and careless
I’m pretty sure my editor thinks this is absolutely true. And since it took me five minutes to realize that I’d left “is” out of one of the sentences of above, I think we can easily say – check.
  • easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli and frequently interrupting ongoing tasks to attend to trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others
Ok, so I ignore the noises, but my dog never does, and then I want to know what he’s looking at so I get up, and then I go for a snack, and then… Ok. Check.
  • inability to sustain attention on tasks or activities
 Um… yeah, or I’d be done with the damn novel by now.
  • difficulty finishing schoolwork or paperwork or performing tasks that require concentration
Isn’t that the same as the last thing? Didn’t I already… ooh, look at that bird!
  • frequent shifts from one uncompleted activity to another
What are you trying to say?  Have you been talking to my business partner? I told her I would finish the quarterly taxes before the deadline!!
  • Procrastination
Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can put off until next week, I always say.
  • disorganized work habits
Are you implying that working from the couch with notes scattered among the paper tow…napkins from lunch is a bad idea?
  • failure to complete tasks such as homework or chores
Seriously, haven’t we already covered this?
  • frequent shifts in conversation, not listening to others, not keeping one’s mind on conversations, and not following details or rules of activities in social situations
They’re not rules – they’re guidelines.  And conversations are what happen when I’m thinking about plot.

  • forgetfulness in daily activities (for example, missing appointments, forgetting to bring lunch)
Oh, whew, I was starting to think I might have this, but since I never forget lunch, I’m out of the woods.


We’ve talked about this before. It’s a pet peeve of mine.

Let’s agree that the Internet, cell phones, and the social media have changed the world. Looking at the larger picture, these technological advances have literally made possible social and political revolutions. As a writer, I applaud the advances in the digital world that have permanently altered the publishing landscape. To all this I say, Bravo!

But here’s my mini-rant for the day. Like 24/7 cable news, the social media is always looking for the next big, juicy story and unfortunately there are way too many faux celebrities who are more than happy to oblige by providing lurid details of their private lives. Skanks and ho’s abound. There I’ve said it and yes, I’m being judgmental. Enough.

But I grew up in an age where you did not discuss your sex life with anyone except possibly your best friend. Otherwise, what happened in the bedroom (or wherever) stayed there. You didn’t post your sexual escapade, along with Twitpics, before you would have had time to get dressed.

Here’s the incident that prompted this tirade. I don’t know Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, or for that matter Bruce Willis (although I did like the first couple of years of Moonlighting). So it’s safe to say that I shouldn’t know anything about who they do what with. But every time I open to the AOL home page, I am immediately updated on “The Scandal” that has erupted which involves Ashton cheating on Demi, with some skank, and Bruce, as Demi’s ex-husband, feeling obliged to let loose some whoop ass on the man with the roving eye (and other parts apparently).

Okay, as if this were not enough. Sarah Leal, the 22-year old at the center of “The Scandal,” felt obliged to tell US Magazine, that she wouldn’t have slept with Ashton had she known he was still married (he claimed he was separated). Good to know that she has standards. But she then went on to divulge all the pillow talk (which seemed mainly political), and the birth control method used (none). OY!

Look I know that gossip and sex scandals occurred long before Facebook was invented. I also knows that sex sells, and apparently money is often the motivation in these “Let me tell you what really happened that night” stories that I see. Dare I say this? If you sell your story of a sexual escapade, is that all that different than saying you’ll have sex for money? Um, and what is that called?

Bottom Line (and pun is intended): do what you want with whomever you want, assuming everyone is a consenting adult – but do me a favor, please shut up.


Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- KindleNookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Lottawatah Twister – KindleNookSmashwords

Sullivan Investigations Mystery – e-book series
Murder Off the Books KindleNookSmashwords
Riley Come Home (short story)- KindleNookSmashwords

Love Lessons – KindleNookSmashwords