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 152014
 

Hell ImageI swoon for summer. I get hot for the heat. The waft of barbecue in the summer air is like an aphrodisiac. For my money, nothing beats a road trip with the windows down and a great music playlist. Yep, nothing gets my dopamine flowing better than a pleasant day. But that’s the problem. As a lifelong Michigander, I’ve come to learn that pleasant days aren’t exactly something you can plan a picnic around. 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 »

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 242014
 

chuck-norris-uzisI must have been around ten when my amazing ability to withstand a human punch first surfaced. I’d been walking home from school when I passed a group of older kids shooting hoops in the park. Looking back, I can see how my appearance might have chummed the waters just a tad. Tight, noisy, friction-generating corduroy pants, Michael Jackson Thriller jacket, and wearing one of those skinny leather ties from Chess King. I also had a sweet, prepubescent obliviousness to the way my hair looked; pot roast-brown and sculpted into a lush helmet[1]. I must have sensed trouble for when I glanced back I saw them all huddled together. Mumbling. Conspiring. Home was a block away; I could make out the slope of our hill from where I stood. But just as I began to pick up the pace, one of the kids—a lanky, olive-skinned kid with pimples like smashed cherries—shouted the classic line that for eons all creatures great and small have uttered as a segue to a butt-stomping: Continue reading »

Dec 052013
 

If you’ve ever spent time in a morgue—and let’s face it, we all will some day—then you’ll remark on just how spic-and-span everything looks. Scrubbed, ivory-colored, tiled walls and gleaming linoleum. Shiny stainless steel pans and scales hanging everywhere you look. Ultraviolet bug lights making periodic ZAP sounds beneath the soft hiss of constantly flowing positive air. And then there’s the VIP seat. Continue reading »

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