Laura Hedgecock

LAURA HEDGECOCK is an author, freelance writer, speaker, and webmaster. Her passion is telling stories and helping others tell theirs. That passion led to her latest book Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life and her website and blog, TreasureChestofMemories.com. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two nearly-adult sons (and her Springer Spaniel), playing soccer, nature photography, and finding her roots—which might explain her messy house.

Jun 162014
 
Post topics to end confusion

Perplexed about something? What post topics would help?

I’ve come to appreciate the online community of writers. Authors generously sharing advice, experience, and expertise has made me feel a whole lot less of a clueless newbie. In fact, I’ve gotten so used to it, that when I face a quandary, I simply search Google to see what other authors have to posted on the topic.

The Redwoods Society was conceived for just this purpose. We’re always looking for informative articles to share with other authors. If you have expertise or an experience to share, contact us about guest posting.

In the meantime, here’s three post topics that would be helpful—at least to me. Continue reading »

May 232014
 

The Wonderful World of Blog Tours

I love book bloggers I used to think a blog tour was when an esteemed blogger, ahem, went on a virtual tour, imparting her “voice” to various blogs. That’s not it.

On a blog tour, a book goes on a virtual trip with just a note from its author, usually around the time a book releases. A publisher or author sets a up a time period for the “tour” and sends out pitches, asking various book bloggers to choose a day during that time to review or highlight the book.

How do you hug a book blogger? By visiting their site! Continue reading »

May 192014
 

On cloud nineBefore I jump into my post with my mature author’s pen (or typewriter or metaphor of your choice), I’d like to share a huge WHOOPPEE and thank-you. Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life is now available! Oddly, I don’t feel the great sense of accomplishment I expected to feel. Instead, I feel an overwhelming and humbling sense of gratitude for all my supporters and cheerleaders. (If you’re one of them, read my thank you post!) Continue reading »

May 032014
 

As a follow up to Writing for SEO: Does it Ruin Good Writing?, I’d like to illustrate some painless tricks to elevate your Search Engine Optimization that will have minimal impact on your article content or writing style.

Give Search Engines Information about Your Image(s)

Easy SEO Tricks aren't magic

Easy SEO Tricks are simply ways of helping search engines understanding your content.

Two easy SEO tricks are setting your image file name and image description. When you place an image on your page, the source code of your post offers text for search engines to evaluate. If you upload an image with the filename of pic.jpg, Google finds no added value in that.

If your image is directly related to your content, help search engines out by giving your image a relevant file name. For instance, if your post is an interview with author Stephen King, your image file name should be something along the lines of Stephen-King-Author.jpg. (This is especially true of your own author photo. Always name your photos with your full name followed with the word “author.”)

When you upload and select an image to place in your post, you also have the option of setting a description for it. Most platforms call this an “alt text” or “alt title.” By including your key word phrase in your alt tag, you give Google reason to believe that your image is relevant to your content. Continue reading »

Apr 282014
 
Writing for SEO gets google results

Writing for SEO: Can writers maximize search engine results and still put their best foot forward?

Writing for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can help our content reach a maximum number of readers. But, on the other hand, we’ve developed our craft so that when readers do find us, they’ll want to read more. Do we really want to alter our writing?

‘‘ search-engine optimization
the methods used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine, in an effort to maximize user traffic to the site… (Dictionary.com)

Does writing without regard to SEO limit our audience? Will writing for SEO ruin our craft?

The answer to both is, “it depends.”

Continue reading »

Apr 042014
 
Proofreading difficulties

Proofreading: this writer’s bane

Recently, a professional editor edited my manuscript. His work underscored a fact I’ve already faced. I suck at proofreading. (Before you gleefully start looking for errors, I have to confess that John and/or Justin look over my posts before I publish them.)

One repeated error arose from my ignorance of a grammar rule. You’re all probably aware that when I own up to being related to Aunt Nancy, she becomes my aunt Nancy. I wasn’t. Continue reading »

Mar 122014
 
Choices include small Publishing Houses

The choices can be overwhelming

For the new or aspiring author, publishing options can be boggling. The debate isn’t limited to self-publishing versus traditional publishing. If you choose to go the traditional publishing route, you have to decide whether or not you need (or want) an agent and which publishers to target.

I’m far from an expert about the publishing world. However, I found a niche that is (so far) working for me: a small publishing house. Hopefully, my experience will give you some clarity on your own decisions as you face your own labyrinth of options. Continue reading »

Feb 172014
 
Hof home of fünfundfünfzig smiles

The quaint town of Hof

In the mid-eighties, my dad traveled to Germany for a business trip. With a daughter living in Germany, he was determined to immerse himself in the culture and interact with Europeans every chance he got.

He was like a child in a candy shop. Everything was new and exciting. If he ordered something he didn’t like in a restaurant, he’d grin and pull out his little notebook, quickly jotting down the new word he learned. Now he knew what not to order. Sore feet? A great opportunity to buy some of those famous German stabile Schuhe. (Stable shoes) Continue reading »

Jan 272014
 
Writing good enough critics

Is my writing good enough? Writers are often their own worst critics

Warning: This post contains hero-worship.

We all wonder if our writing is good enough. Good enough for an agent, a publisher, a reviewer, our cat.

Last fall, I followed Rachel Thompson’s exchanges with a not-to-be mentioned book guru who was slamming all self-published authors with a broad brush. She, and her commenters, made many valid counter-points (better slams). Proud as I was of Rachel (whom I met once for a few seconds at SFWC13, so we’re almost friends), I have to admit the whole episode made me quake in my boots a little. Putting my writing “out there” might just be akin to showing off the new dress my mother made to the mean girls on the playground. No Matter how great of a seamstress my mom was, mean girls are, well, …mean. Continue reading »

Jan 062014
 
When Inspriation hits the Grand Canyon

Do you know when inspiration hits you…

We know what’s supposed to inspire us. Nature. Music. Other things that inspire awe. But, do we really recognize inspiration when we see it? Do we recognize it when inspiration hits us?

I don’t. Especially when I hold “inspiring” to a higher standard. Inspiration isn’t just a warm fuzzy feeling. It’s what galvanizes someone to take action.

Looking back at the interactions and events that sparked a change in my life, I call them by other names. Continue reading »

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