Help Me Kick the Tires (the Not-a-Contest Contest)

I am evaluating as a possible platform for a future writing contest run by someone else. There are too many variables and roles, and so I am recruiting your help! This is not an actual contest, but a chance to learn the platform, kick the tires, sweep the nails out of the road, and ensure that – if it’s chosen, things run smoothly. So although it’s really not an actual... read more

Eradicating Edna

Eradicating Edna is an unfinished novel dedicated to all whose “inner critic” is a bitch.   Prologue Just so no one mistakes the Book Description for the book itself! The chapters are waaaaaay down there. I seriously thought about quitting. Then I recaptured the true spirit of NaNoWriMo. I remembered what it was all about: to write a truly hideous novel of 50,000 words in 30 days. “Nobody... read more

The Writing Journey: Where to Begin?

My friend Steven dropped by my cubicle, while he was in town, and returned a book to me that I forgot I’d loaned him. It was Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write, which I’d enjoyed even more than The Artist’s Way. It decorated my desktop for a bit, then hitched a ride home in my backpack. I pulled it out, just now, and riffled through the pages. Hmm, I thought. Blog fodder. A... read more

Not All Shareworthy Images & Text Are Destined to Become Memes

We all want to “create a meme” or “publish viral content.” But it’s like creating “literary classics.” You don’t create “literary classics”; you write great stories and hope they stand the test of time. You hope that people like them enough to share them. You hope that a lot of people like them enough to share them with all their friends, who... read more

Facebook Creativity Challenge

This morning, I proposed a week-long Facebook Creativity Challenge, to begin Monday. Part of the challenge is to estimate, up-front and honestly, how long you’ll last. I’m guessing I can make it three days! At the end of the week, I hope you’ll come back here and share your results in the comments. The Problem Our Facebook friends are our friends because they like us, not because they... read more

Book Review: Life: It’s a Trip, by Rasheed Hooda

I first met Rasheed Hooda, author of Life: It’s a Trip, about a decade ago in a local CiCi’s Pizza, where he was entertaining children and adults by making balloon animals – and, for my son, a balloon sword. We talked about fencing, balloons, and blogging. We exchanged URLs, then quickly lost touch.  A few years ago, Rasheed’s picture popped up on my friend Mitch’s blog, in a... read more

Today’s Blog Metrics

No more chasing PageRank or Alexa. When I posted my goals for 2015, Mitch Mitchell spent a little while chuckling under his breath before mercifully informing me that PageRank had been dead for years. What do we do for blog metrics, now? Thanks to Sylvie of FuelMyBlog, I now know what to replace PageRank with: Page Authority. What is Page Authority? “Page Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale)... read more

Would You Rather…?

I’ve been tagged! Not by Banksy, more’s the pity – but by Mitch Mitchell in retal–er, in return for my tagging him in the Creative Blogger Award. When I first saw the title, “Would You Rather” Book Tag Tour – My Version, I thought it was going to be one of those, “Would you rather kiss an elephant’s trunk or a sweet little bunny’s butt?” things. No,... read more

Lake Tahoe, My Waterloo

Don’t get me wrong: Heavenly is Heavenly. But it is also my nemesis, my Waterloo – the mountain that may just be trying to shove me a little closer to Heaven, a little faster than I care to go. This year’s family reunion was held at Lake Tahoe – within easy walking distance of the face of Heavenly. About 30 years ago, I came here with my family – my grandmother, my parents, my... read more

Facebook Friends Unable to Share Posts

Since April or May, my Facebook friends have reported being unable to share posts from my personal profile to theirs.  At first glance, it makes sense: My default privacy setting is Friends of Friends. My Public posts – if I remember to change them to Public, after posting – are shareable. But when I visit other friends’ pages, I see a Share link on their Friends or Friends of Friends... read more

Relative Outrage, Speech, Consequences, and Compassion

I’ll admit that I don’t follow African politics closely enough to comment intelligently the political issues raised in Peter Wright’s post, “Values, Hypocrisy, Genocidal Presidents and Disgraced Scientists.” However, the failure to properly prioritize our outrage over various current events may be unfairly characterized, here, as “hypocrisy.” I was not referring to the... read more

Creative Blogger Award!

Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A., and awesome blogger has nominated me for the Creative Blogger Award. Thank you, Roy! I am honored. Back in 2009, having answered for the 13th or 67th time what “5 things do most people not know about you” (until I was pretty sure there wasn’t a single mystery left, if ever there’d been one), and blogging “7 things you wish people knew about... read more

Boundaries: Trust and Privacy

One of the most important aspects of any relationship, for me, is trust. For me, it’s the foundation and reaffirmation of love and respect. Sure, good people lie, sometimes. “No, honey, of course that dress doesn’t make your ass look fat,” is not the same as lying about an affair or a criminal act or blowing your shared retirement savings at the dog track. There are harmless little... read more

Rules for Blogging? NEXT TOPIC!

The 1990s are calling. They want their Internet back.  Sitting here, enjoying a warm cup of coffee from my “RTFM” mug, I realize some of you aren’t even old enough to remember a day before “blogging” was a thing. Back when the Internet wasn’t free, but we had freedom. Back before a quick Google search for rules blog* netted “about 551,000,000 results.”... read more

New Guidelines for Reviewers

Maybe you’ve heard “reviewing is dead.” It’s not. For authors, book reviews are more crucial than ever. But it’s also important to understand a little bit about applicable laws, truth in advertising, and how that applies to “endorsements” of a product or service. Once upon a time, only sales and advertising professionals had to have any real familiarity with... read more

Keep Voting Till They Shut It Down!

I was wrong. I said that June 5 was the deadline for the 250 votes needed to keep 4RV Publishing in the running for a Chase small business grant of $100,000. It turns out that June 5 was the deadline for submitting applications for the grant. Whew! It would have been tragic to be out of the running ONE vote shy of the 250 needed! It turns out that the actual deadline for the voting was June 19, but the... read more

How Did You Do It?

That I was able to pick myself up off the sidewalk, hobble up the stairs, lurch over to the chair, and ask my niece to bring ice should have reassured me that there was nothing too impressively wrong with my ankle. But on that personal pain scale – not the standard “scale of 1 to 10″ with varying degrees of frowny faces – it hurt worse than birthing a ten pound baby. Worse –... read more

In a Parallel Universe…

1984 My husband and I were officially engaged on May 26, 1984, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was the eve of the historic “Memorial Day Flood.” Worst on record. We set the date for our wedding on June 9. We celebrated with a delectable leg of lamb, new potatoes, and champagne. My mother had said, when I pulled out all the bridal magazines: “Please – I do not want to hear all your planning... read more

You Are Getting Sleeeeeepy

You want this to work. At least that’s what you tell yourself, because you know that if, deep down, you have any reservations about it, it can’t work. You will yourself to want it. “Sit here,” the hypnotherapist says. “Make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes. We’re going to start with some deep relaxation exercises.” He has you tense all your muscles, from your... read more

One Bright Spark

Lydia woke to the sound of raindrops plinking against the metal chimney in syncopation with Dad’s snoring. Her little brother Ronald called it “snorting” and set an alarm, once, to wake himself at two in the morning to see if he did it, too. He was disappointed. Lydia assured her brother he had no reason to be. She managed not to giggle at his sad, earnest expression or the teardrop on... read more

Jelly Beans for Mother’s Day

Jack came home from kindergarten with his pants pockets stuffed full of candy. He ran inside, kissed his mom, gulped down a glass of milk, and ran out the back door to the garden calling, “Hi, Mom!” over his shoulder as a happy afterthought. His mother, Emily, watched him from the kitchen window, grinning. Mrs. Bard had already called her to explain that she had given Jack the jelly beans. They... read more

Spam Café

Now and then, I don a HAZMAT suit and dive into the spam bucket to see if anyone I know fell in. (I won’t name names, and I won’t always throw you a rope – kind of depends on the depth and stinkiness of the bucket on any given day.) I miss the days when spammers – sometimes – put forth a little creative effort. You know, the ones that could almost pass for human, and provided... read more

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