I lost my Zemanta pet, you know the one that lets you attach ‘Recent Articles’ at the bottom of your WordPress blog?
Yes, in January, WordPress did away with Zemanta and now have their own “Recent Articles” feature which only lists past posts from your own blog that might be similar to the one you’re currently writing. I think this was a big mistake.
For those of you who don’t know, Zemanta is a third-party ultimate blogging assistant and it provided WordPress bloggers fantastic tools to automatically discover related articles to their blogs, in-text links and pictures. I can’t begin to express how much more efficient blogging became for me and how much easier my life was to find related content. It also sent my visitors to other blog sites around the globe, increasing other bloggers’ ‘hits’. What a fantastic idea, right? I mean, isn’t that what blogging is all about?
I don’t know what happened between WordPress and Zemanta, and honestly, I don’t really care. All I know is I wanted Zemanta back because I liked the idea of linking other blogs that my readers might be interested in reading.
After scouring the WordPress forums and asking a few questions of my own, I discovered WordPress bloggers can actually bring Zemanta back to their blogs. All they have to do is go to the Zemanta website and download their browser extension. It’s compatible with Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Safari.
So, if you’re like me and want your Zemanta “Recent Articles” feature back, just go here, click on your download and voila!
Don’t you love it when you find your lost pets and bring them home?
Today I woke to a wonderful surprise. The lovely Sheryl Winters nominated me for a Liebster Award. This is fantastic, not so much because I got the award, but because I can pass it on to other bloggers and brighten their days.
Here’s the scoop:
* Each nominee must answer the 11 questions given.
* Create 11 questions for the next nominees to answer.
* Link back to who nominated them.
* Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
* Go to their page and tell them.
* No tag backs!
As Sheryl didn’t leave new questions for her nominees, I’m going to answer the ones that were sent to her, and then pass on the award and 11 new questions to others. So, without further ado, let’s get this party started!
01.What makes your day brighter?
Witnessing happiness. It could be hearing a baby’s laugh, or seeing complete strangers getting married or a movie or a book with a happy ending. I also love this beautiful Florida weather we’ve been having: soft breezes, the smell of the Gulf waters, the warm sunshine. Paradise on earth.
02. Your goal for 2013?
To finish once and for all my YA novel, The Eye of Kedge, and find a loving home for it. I also want to make a serious dent in books 2 and 3 in the trilogy.
03.What do you like to write about?
I like quirky fantasy or odd stuff. You’ll pretty much see dragons in some form in almost everything I write just because I think they are way cool. I also dabble in a little non-fiction, writing short stories like the stuff you see in Chicken Soup for the Soul.
04.What is your biggest pet peeve?
Hypocritical, suspicious, people. I can’t stand it when people think they can tell others what to do but don’t think the same rules apply to them. I never got the “do as I say do, not as I do” mentality. Practice what you preach. These same people tend to be suspicious, too. Can I just say something here. Just because your partner is talking to someone of the opposite sex at a party, it doesn’t mean (s)he is having an affair with said person. Get over it and grab a bit more self-respect and confidence.
05.Do you have any hobbies? (other than blogging)
Collecting sea shells. I LOVE sea shells. If there is a beach within traveling distance from wherever I go, I have to hunt for shells. I like to make things with them, like jewelry boxes, mirror frames, etc. I love reading, walks on the beach, going to see live performances such as plays and concerts. I like painting on glass and I love gardening.
06. Beer or Wine?
I prefer wine. My fave is Martini and Rossi Asti Spumanti, however, I really only drink around the holidays.
Sausage, eggs, grits and some fresh squeezed OJ. Yeah baby.
08.Dog or Cat?
I love them both. I have 3 dogs and I’m down to 1 cat. I did have 4 at one time. I’ve owned iguanas, bearded dragons, veiled chameleons, cockatiels, rabbits, fish, ferrets, parakeets. I currently have a kingsnake in my house (it’s my son’s), so you name it. I have a regular zoo. it wouldn’t surprise me if someone came home with a bison some day. Knowing me and my softie heart, I’d probably keep it.
09. Muffins or Cupcakes?
Hmm, blueberry muffins with whipped butter are to die for
10 Autumn or Spring?
Spring. I love seeing the world waking up from a long nap. The only part of fall I really like are the colors of the leaves and the cooler temps.
11.PC or Apple? PC.
I’ve used a mac laptop and hated it.
And there you have it. I will nominate my 11 tomorrow. That will give me some time to think about who I want to nominate (because all my bloggers rock the universe), and what questions I want to ask.
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have a wonderful day. Smile and be happy.
Today, Maghon Thomas is doing something I’ve never seen done before. She reviewed a copy of Make Believe AND added her own playlists for each of the six stories in the anthology. Waaaay cool. Good job, Maghon!! You can read the fantastic review and listen to the playlists here.
Yep, over at the blog of J.Taylor Publishing, they are running a month long promotion to expand their blogging community. Head on over to find out what it’s all about. You could win
Sounds pretty cool, eh?
What are you waiting for? Go sign-up to play!
Terms & Conditions for this promotion can be found HERE!
When I told a blogger buddy I was going to take a week, maybe two off, she yelled at me via e-mail: “You want to do what? You can’t take a week or two off from blogging. What about your followers? What about two book reviews you owe us? How will I survive?”
Okay, so we can all see she was a little melodramatic, but it made me chuckle. The truth is I have this novel, and I’m not focusing on it like I should because the internet is my playground, and I’ve been far more active on it than on my novel. I gave myself an August 1 deadline and it didn’t work because I was playing on my blog, writing on other blogs, and playing Drakensang (shh, it’s a free high fantasy MMORPG game). Anyway, I have to put my foot down.
I watched Michael Phelps win his 22 Olympic medal last night and I realized he didn’t get there by partying around. He had a goal. He trained for that goal, and he excelled. I guess you could say I’ve put myself in a training frame of mind. I have a goal…I want my book published. It’s not going to do it on its own, so I need to quit the distractions for a while and focus. While my blog is not ‘goofing around’ like playing video games is, it is still taking me away from my goal.
For this week, at least, I am making myself scarce. Depending on how far I get with my edits will depend on how much of next week I take off. I know one of my fave blog and author buddies will surpass me in blog hits (I’ve sort of been in a self-imposed race with her and she’s been catching up fast), but that’s okay. I have to focus on Dragon King right now. I have teens and a pre-teen chomping at the bit to beta read it, and I’d like to get in their greedy little hands before they start school again.
With that said, I bid you a fond farewell. I hope you stick around. I’ll see you next week, lovely peeps, with an update – to blog or not to blog.
I arrived home yesterday after visiting my friend for a week. While gone, I didn’t have a big chance to write on my blog, (though I did manage one post), or respond to other bloggers, for which I apologize for. I’m back in the swing of things and ready to rock and roll. This past Sunday, my very first interview appeared on mywithershins blog. Squeee! Pretty awesome, right? I was so nervous and I think that came across, but like everything else ‘marketing’, the more one does it, the easier it gets. Maybe the next time I won’t ramble so much, but I do have to say, I was thrilled beyond words she asked for the interview. Thank you, Susan! Also while I was gone, the lovely Layla at be not afeard nominated me for two blog awards, the Inspiring Blog award and the Reader Appreciation Award! Thank you, Layla! You all should head over to her blog and check it out.
As a recipient, I have to list seven things about me before passing on the awards to seven other people. I haven’t done this in a while so here goes:
1. My first dog was a fox terrier named Gypsy.
2. I collect small, ceramic lambs.
3. I also collect music globes of all kinds as well as statues of fantasy related items (castles, dragons, faeries, etc.)
4. TV shows I can’t miss this coming season: Falling Skies, Merlin, Once Upon a Time and Smash.
5. I have type 2 diabetes.
6. I’ve ridden an elephant.
7. I’ve been parasailing. It’s amazing how many sharks swim with swimmers so close to the coast of Florida.
Ok, next step, nominate 7 bloggers to receive the awards. I hate this part because there are so many blogs that I love and visit all the time. I hope no one feels slighted. Please know that all of you are inspirational to me in some way and I can’t thank my readers enough for being so loyal. Anyway, here goes. Please pop over to their blogs and check them out.
I opened up my e-mail to find that Deirdra over at A Storybook World gave me the following blog award!
Isn’t it pretty! All my author friends should head on over to her blog and check it out. This lady is a mom, a wife, an author, a graphics designer and an artist. She also creates animation for e-books!
According to her blog, when she’s not doing all the above, “Deirdra enjoys jousting in arenas, planning invasions, singing Celtic songs, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, going on adventures, and all forms of art, including martial arts.”
The week ended, or rather began on another glorious note. The lovely Katrina bestowed upon my blog two awards: The Versatile Blog award and the Beautiful Blog Award. Thank you so much, Katrina! I will have to go through my extensive list and decide who to nominate.
While this is not the first time a fellow blogger has nominated me for these awards, it is the first time I really sat back and thought about the versatility and beauty of my blog and why I even have one.
Why did I start a blog?
Honestly, I was told I needed to develop a platform. I had to brand myself; make my name synonymous to what I could bring to the world.
But what did that mean? I didn’t have anything to bring to the world. I had nothing that was published. I certainly had no expertise in the matter. All I wanted was to bring writers and readers together, to give them a place to unwind and talk about successes and failures. I also wanted to impart some of my wisdom I’d learned over the years about writing, but after a year and amassing only 500 views and 21 followers, I knew I was doing something wrong. Terribly wrong.
How did I fix it?
Floundering, I asked a successful blogger what I should do. She gave me some great advice:
– Write from the heart. Stop trying figure out what you think everyone wants you to write about and write what you want to write about. Stay focused. Stay disciplined and let the creative juices flow. You’re a writer. Be creative.
– Connect with other writers. Get out of your shell. Visit other blogs. Talk. Connect. Don’t limit yourself to only writers. Discover your passions and find blogs that cater to those desires. Expand your world.
– Find your voice. The more you write, the more your inner voice will emerge. Listen to it. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Be honest. No one likes a fake and if you’re lying, people will see through it. The façade won’t last. Be natural. Be you.
– Find your niche. It is important to identify your interests, your passions. Write about them, no matter how obscure they may seem. There are others who share the same interests. Write with passion and authority, and others will think of you as the one to turn to in times of need.
– Write on your blog a lot, several times a day if you want. Learn about tags and how to use them effectively in your posts. This will increase your accessibility. It will also help your page to climb in the Google Page ratings. Like it or not, Google is the ‘find it’ browser, and the higher your page is ranked, the better for you, the blogger.
Did her advice work?
Yes, I have to admit it did. In the last 1 ½ years, my blog has gone from 500 views to almost 25,000. Not huge in the blogosphere (there are people who hit that in 6 months), but it’s huge to me. Followers are slowly on the upward climb which is all good, and my Google page rank is 3/10. That’s the average page ranking for blogs. (If you want to find out your Google page rank, click here). Redfusion also has an article here about what the Google ranks all mean, if you’re interested.
I’m still trying to find my ‘brand’. As a YA fantasy author, I’ve decided to take my blog more in that direction, especially since I have such a passion for mythical characters and the creation of brave new worlds.
Nowhere is that reflected more on my blog than on the front page. Quite by accident, I stumbled upon the amazing artist, Josephine Wall, and found one of her pieces that personifies my tagline. With her permission, that piece now graces my blog. It’s as if I’ve found a part of me that was missing. I can now say to myself my blog is beautiful, and it’s here to stay.
I intend to remain versatile as a writer and a reader, and I’m always open to new ideas for blog posts, conducting and giving interviews, blog hops, giveaways, etc. Thank you all for taking the journey with me and I hope you visit and comment often. Next time, feel free to bring a friend or two. There’s plenty of room, and I certainly love having you.
Goodreads is an amazing site for readers and authors. It’s a great way to share your love for books and find groups that share you fondness for particular genres. I have joined several groups centered around Fantasy and Young Adult books because that is what I primarily read and write. It was while wandering around inside of the group, “Shut Up and Read” that I stumbled upon an excellent blog site catering to YA novels and authors:
I spent a long time weaving my way around this site and I fell in love with it immediately. Jennifer has a fantastic way of handling her reviews and they are brutal, but honest. She’s not rude or nasty to the authors, but she does give her sincere opinion, in a gentle way, about what works and doesn’t work. I like that in a reviewer. I like to know what I’m getting into before I dive in. I don’t, however, decide whether to read a book strictly based on a review, but it does give me a starting point, especially if I don’t know anything about the book.
Jennifer also promotes authors by conducting interviews and providing opportunities for blog hops, guest posts and massive giveaways.
In addition to the reviews and author help, she also provides writing tips and all the latest book news as it pertains to YA.
Needless to say, I’ve found a great blog friend in Jennifer L. Bielman, and I hope you all jump over to her siteand check it out. While you’re at it, don’t forget to follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBielman and Facebook.
I didn’t think I could smile more than I did yesterday after seeing my name on the cover of the Make Believe anthology coming out in December 2012, but when I saw that the lovely and talented C.B. Wentworth nominated me for a Reader Appreciation Award, the beaming began all over again. I love her blog and admire her as an individual, so whenever she passes an award on to me, I feel very honored.
Isn’t it a beautiful, bright and sunny award? Thank you so much, C.B. for thinking of me.
In order to accept this award I need to do the following:
List something you’ve been up to lately.
Nominate 6 other blogs
That seems simple enough!
First, what I’ve been up to:
I have been working on revisions for my short story, The Amulet of Ormisez, that will appear in the Make Believe anthology. I’m sure there will be more to come.
I’ve been reading and taking notes on marketing because I can’t sell a lamp to a light bulb.
I’m writing three novels at the moment and 2 short stories while popping over resumes for jobs. Would love to freelance write from home, but can’t seem to break into the business no matter how many proposals I send out.
Gearing up to visit a dear friend of 28 years in Ft. Myers, FL in a couple of weeks. The week after that I’ll finally get to meet a blogger/beta and friend of mine and her family while enjoying a lovely day at Sea World in Orlando! I’m squealing over both trips. Can you hear me? 🙂
I’m working with a good friend on designing a kick-butt website. It may be years before it’s ever at the level in my dreams, but I always dream big!
Six blogs who deserve this award:
Jennifer M. Eaton – this woman is a source of inspiration. She’s funny, her blog is brilliant, filled with great tidbits on writing, and she’s probably one of the nicest, most sincere people I know. Take a jump over to her blog and you’ll see what I mean.
Katy Upperman – aspiring young adult author, mom to a precious little girl and an Operative at YA Confidential! This lady is always upbeat and her blog is a delight to read. Her hubby is in the army and they were recently transplanted to California. Her stories and pictures of her road trip are priceless.
Lightning Droplets: I am addicted to the inspiring short stories. The prose is lovely, intriguing, and magical.
TBN Ranch – this lady is an inspiration to me. She runs a ranch and has the most beautiful chickens I’ve ever seen. She’s a fellow animal lover and advocate and she writes beautiful stories of her life in the southwest. I always look forward to her posts. Amy is on my list of ‘must meet bloggers’. Lovely person.
Be Not Afeard – I recently found this site and I’m glad I did. It’s a great blog for the aspiring writer with lovely articles, inspiration and personal journeys.
Wanton Creation: I love this guy. He makes me smile and he’s so willing to help others. I don’t think the male bloggers get the appreciation they deserve, but this guy gets me through my days. His goal to hit 12 novellas in a 12 months is awe-inspiring. Head on over his way and cheer him on!
Please visit all these wonderful blogs. You’ll be glad you did.