Twitter for Writers—Eight Ways to Nuke Your Brand

This blog has a lot to offer, even if you weren’t around during that Cold War. I was, and I wondered how my desk would protect me from that nuke.
Besides…Kevin Bacon? Well, yeah

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commins via Per Gosche Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commins via Per Gosche

I’ve been an advocate of writers using social media since 2004, before social media was really a thang. In the early days of Gather and MySpace it occurred to me that we were seeing a fundamental shift in how humans would 1) be communicating 2) forging relationships and 3) finding/discovering entertainment.

Digital Age Writers? You have…no…idea.

Back in my day *wags cane* we were fighting the Russians and there were NUKES pointed at us for twenty years. We had to get our moms to drive us to a library to research for a paper using the Dewey decimal system. There was no Google. 

If you wanted a popular book and didn’t save enough babysitting money to preorder the next David Eddings book in the Pawn of Prophecy series? In hardback? You waited.

Your turn. Like behind fifty other people.

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Winning the Fitbit Game #MFRWAuthor #amwwriting

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A Rare Foggy Morning

WordPress informs me it’s been twenty two days since my last post. Time is definitely slipping away. All that snow…well a lot of it is gone but melting snow produces its own inconveniences (MUD) plus there are places where I know the packed snow/ice will continue for a month or more.

All of this cold and slippery is not conducive to exercising, or at least it offers reasonable excuses. It didn’t take long to slide back into very bad habits, and on my last doctor visit some of the pounds had crept back. Sigh. Probably because  my steps had fallen from around 7,000 per day to (gulp) 3,000 or less.

Not acceptable.

I needed to come up with a plan that I could follow. So I created a few simple rules:

ONE: Be Less Efficient. Seriously. Instead of carrying a full load in from the truck, carry one bag in each hand. Better for balance on slippery spots, plus…more steps.

TWO: Use the Stores. Any of the larger stores offer a safe, warm atmosphere to move around. I can add in the less efficient here as well. Instead of planning how to shorten my shopping as much as possible by making one planned circuit, I’ll go back and forth from plumbing to eggs back to paint swatches, along with a quick trip out to what’s left of the garden center.

THREE: Make it Fun for All. Walking around the yards and fields with the ‘lukis keeps all of us exercised, plus it really helps with the dark day doldrums. Granted I can’t stride out in bumpy fields the way I can on smooth surfaces, but we’re all still out and moving around.

FOUR: Get UP. If I’m at the computer for long stretches (writing, really!) then I need to stand up, move around, go outside and walk even if it’s just to check the bird feeders.

FIVE: Have a Fallback Plan. If I can not get out of the house, much less out into the yards, I know it’s a certain number of steps around the large main room, and I can add in the garage if I get bored just going in circles. Every. Step. Counts.

SIX: Never Miss a Chance. Once enough of the ice had cleared from my road, I started walking down to the gate, then running (okay, sorta stumbling) back up. First one time, then two, and I’m up to three or four times now.

Every step counts, and I am determined to be in better shape this June than last.

Coming with me?

front-cover-finalYou might ask, what am I writing? I decided Lana needed her story told. That would be Tyler Randolph’s ex-wife; Sydney Castleton’s estranged sister. From a Question of Honor. This book is A Question of Trust. Lana needs to learn to trust.

On Amazon

 

 

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Let it Snow #OldLadySuccesses #MFRWAuthor

Do you remember how, when we were kids, we couldn’t wait to see snow falling? Snow Days! No school! Go out and get cold then come in and get warm. Sledding and snowmen and snowball fights. What were we thinking?

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Snow can be so pretty in the dawn, even prettier when the shadows fall across it in the 026evenings. During the day sunlight sparkles on the snow, gorgeous to watch, even though it can hurt our eyes.

Snow can also be deadly when it packs into ice under our tires, or piles up where we need to walk. Those of us with helpful people around, either in the house or in the neighborhood, can have that snow cleared away before it becomes too difficult. I’m very fortunate to have a neighbor who keeps the lane plowed, and does what he can for my driveway.

For the rest, I’m pretty much on my own. Since I refuse to let something like fluffy frozen water hold me hostage, I’ve learned where and how to keep myself as safe as possible. And how much I can do at one time. A few minutes every hour not only gets me up and moving but it’s also not so exhausting.

034Before the snows start, I collect my equipment: a good flat faced shovel (as opposed to a pointy shovel which I’ve always called a spade; several show shovels, with varying length handles; a good push broom, and a regular broom. The shorter snow shovels make me bend over too much and hurt my back. I like the longer ones to work on sidewalks though the short ones help with big piles of snow. The regular shovel is great to get under ice, or to clear heavy, wet snow. The brooms help with fresh, lighter snow on my back (concrete) porch slab; once one of the dogs have walked on it, I need the shovel. Keep all of this close to hand, inside near a door. It does no good to have your equipment outside in a shed when the snow is knee high in between.

025Driving. If you have to drive on nasty roads: Slow down. Then slow down some more. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your four wheel drive vehicle means you can go zooming down the highway. That extra feature just means you can get yourself out of nasty situations more easily. If you’re lucky.

Sadly the parking lots in my area are not well tended. Early plowing mounds up the snow into impressive barriers but there is still up to three inches of slush or ice, depending on the temperature. I have to remember I’m going to be pushing my cart back through that slush. Just nasty sometimes!

When it’s slushy, either on the roads or in a parking lot, I use the lower gear on my old truck and…yep, I slow down. Mostly I let the truck move without touching the gas pedal much. When you do start to skid, the best thing is not panic (yeah, easier said than done!)

Using all this knowledge, I was feeling pretty darned proud of myself. Until I eased up my lane, backed into the cleared area, then thought I’d want to move over just a little.

I got stuck in my own freaking driveway. Sigh. Too embarrassing to let my neighbor see it! What to do, what to do.

Mulch works very well to give your tires a grip on icy driveways. Isn’t it lucky I bought two big bags to winterize my garden, and there’s some left? All it took was stopping to think.

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Boo likes to watch the bunnies in the snow

 

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The Ghosts of Christmas Presents #MFRWAuthor

003.JPGOkay, I admit the holidays this year were a visit to Grinchville for me. I never quite got into the ‘spirit,’ whatever that might be, and for the most part I’ve stayed home and alone during what are supposed to be gathering together times.

Dang, that last sentence was looooong. Anyway, for the most part I really didn’t mind the isolation. I was working through personal issues (Tom was the Christmas person) as well as just getting by. And I saw no need to inflict my black mood on my friends.

Except.

I had a message from someone who is one of the most caring and wonderful people I have ever met. She is always doing something for someone else. She admitted she was avoiding her friends during this season since she could not afford to buy presents for all of them.

Really? And, WOW. Wait a minute, was that why I’ve been hiding out from humanity? Hmmmm. Was I worried about not being able to afford numerous great gifts, or was I no longer seeing the need to buy friendships that way?

But…no, I don’t really see it as buying friendships. I see it as finding the perfect gift at the perfect time. If not at the perfect time, then finding those gifts when we can, and sharing the find.

I have spent so many Christmases worrying about not doing enough, not giving enough. Worrying myself sick in advance and fretting that it wasn’t enough afterward.

However, I did find the PERFECT gift for someone, based on a casual conversation about a book he’d had as a child. And someone I don’t see near often enough any more walked up my driveway with a dragon journal and pen…because she knew I’d love it.

And I do. Love it. Love her. Love all my friends, wherever they are. Because it’s not about the gifts, it’s about the people.

Blessings of the season, everyone.

 

 

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Getting By, Making Do #MFRWAuthor

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Winter Sunset, so soothing

It hasn’t been a wonderful year for many of my friends. They’ve lost family members, jobs, beloved pets, even their own lives. Any problems I might have are in comparison trivial. Still, they are problems. Like the toilet backing up, or needing to haul some water right after a surprise heavy snow. Or choosing what I thought would be the best route to pick up meat for the dogs, only to be the worst.

Trivial issues in the grand scheme but still personal issues. What is normally a pleasant two hour drive became three tense hours. The payoff was wonderful meat scraps for the dogs.

Solving the toilet meant several forays onto the Internet for non chemical solutions, to protect the septic system. The plungers I had weren’t working. Very hot water with dish soap didn’t do much but I had a really clean toilet. After several fruitless attempt I invested in one of those long snake things, and a different sort of plunger. Still no success. Reading the instructions on the snake made some difference. Actually, a lot of difference. I was about ready to head for the baking soda and vinegar, which I had not seen on my first searches when…yep, it drained.

Whoosh.

Then there was the water situation. I made the trek out for water later in the day, and the sun was past setting by the time I was home and parked. The valve was frozen…well, duh, temperatures had just that day climbed out of the twenties,and I was getting so cold. I lost the discussion with myself about letting it go until morning. Warm water over the valve didn’t do much. This situation called for TA DA, the hair dryer solution.

Except, I no longer have a hair dryer in the house since I so rarely use it. A quick search found the small one in the motor home (used to fluff up Saluki ears for a show…hey, I have my priorities!)

005Standing holding a hair dryer on a frozen valve when the temperature is dropping isn’t on my list of top twenty fun things to do. Finally, the problem solving part of my brain kicked into gear. A quick search around the garage netted a nice heavy wire basket and a cloth cover. No doubt a slight longer search might bring up dinosaur bones and flinty arrow heads. That garage needs a bit of cleaning out.

Voila, a valve thawing contraption came into being and I soon had a tank of washing water, enough at least to last a week.

Small problems, none of them earth shattering, but solving them myself always brings such a feeling of accomplishment.

Have I been writing in between these minor obstacles/ Why yes I have been. I’m having so much fun learning why Sydney’s sister Lana took Mosby off Stormhaven, all of which led to Sydney meeting Devin and…well, you know, http://www.amazon.com/Question-Honor-Stormhaven-Story-Stories-ebook/dp/B00WHHG8WS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450724751&sr=8-1&keywords=mona+karel A Question of Honor.

 

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WE HAVE A GUEST Welcome Christina Tetreault #MFRWAuthor

What fun to have company in the run up to Christmas. 3-ThePlayboyNextDoorFINAL600I am pleased to host Christina. Her upcoming book sounds sexy and fun and just right for a holiday read.

Blurb:
After a blind date stands her up, Catrina Striker stops in O’Leary’s Pub for a sandwich, nothing else. Then Tony Bates, North Salem’s resident playboy, sits down next to her and destiny takes over. Cat knows all about Tony’s reputation, but that doesn’t stop her from doing something she’s never done before: invite him back to her apartment.

Tony Bates has always looked at Catrina as nothing but his buddy’s little sister, until a chance encounter one summer night changes all that.

Since the sudden death of his college sweetheart, Tony has kept all his relationships casual and fun. Everyone knows that, which is why Cat and Tony agree to keep their involvement a secret rather than risk Tony’s friendship with her brother. However, what starts out as a secret fling soon becomes much more, and Tony must decide if he’s ready to risk his heart again or lose the woman who completes him.

Excerpt:

Across the café, Cat stopped to speak with Sue Adams, and she looked in his direction. She gave him the tiniest of nods and then said something to Sue before joining the line at the counter.
Thanks to the location of his table, Tony could watch her as she waited in line without anyone the wiser. While she waited, she spoke with the other customers in line, and he couldn’t look away.
Cat radiated friendliness. She had this sunny personality that called people to her. A person couldn’t be around her and remain in a bad mood. Even people she didn’t know well appeared at ease and happy around her.
He told himself that was one of the reasons he couldn’t stay away from her. He simply liked the way he felt around her.
Brendan Michaels, another lifelong North Salem resident, joined the line behind her. Right away, he placed a hand on her shoulder and started up a conversation. As Tony watched her shake her head at whatever Brendan said, he forced himself to remain seated rather than bolt across the room and rip Brendan’s arm off. Although many people wouldn’t mind seeing Brendan put in his place, residents would wonder why Tony had intervened because, by the looks of it, Brendan and Cat were only talking.
Tony ground his teeth together as she said something in response to Brendan’s statement. What was taking so long anyway? How hard was it for Skye to make Cat a cup of coffee? From behind the counter, Skye handed Cat her order. Cat stopped two more times before reaching him.
“Hi, Tony. How did the game go?” She made no move to sit. Instead, she sipped her coffee.
“We won by three touchdowns. It was like Beverly sent their JV team to play today.”
His hands itched to reach out and pull her close. Since that was out of the question, he wrapped his hands around his coffee mug.
“Big plans for the afternoon?” he asked.
“I’m meeting Kelsey here. What about you?”
“Waiting for my mom. She asked me to meet her. Why don’t you sit and keep me company until Kelsey gets here.”
She took the seat next to him, her knee bumping into his leg.
“So what kind of trouble are you and Miss Bancroft planning to get into today?”
She scooted her chair a little closer to him. “Shopping. She needs something for Mrs. O’Brien’s wedding.”
No one would ever call him a saint. Tony released his coffee mug and reached under the table. “A Saturday night at the mall, where’s the fun in that?”
He caressed her thigh, wishing she had on a skirt instead of jeans.
“Shopping can be fun, especially when you plan to get a few new things for yourself. Ella told me about the two new stores that opened last week. I can’t wait to check them out.”
He’d gotten an earful from his mother after her last trip to the mall about one of the new stores. She’d gone on for a good thirty minutes about how inappropriate the outfits on the mannequins were and how the store shouldn’t be allowed to hang photos in the windows. He loved his mom, but sometimes she could be a bit of a prude.
“Besides, it won’t take all day. I told Kelsey I need to be home by seven because I have other things to do.”
Under the table, Cat ran her fingertips over his hand, and it reminded him of the way she’d caressed his chest earlier that week.
“How does that sound?” she whispered, her voice almost inaudible.
Visions of her in some new lacy outfits formed, and his heart rate accelerated.
“Four sounds better,” he answered, grateful for the noise in the café.
“Kelsey loves to shop. If I’m lucky, I’ll get her out of the mall by five.”
“I’ll be at your place by six then.” An hour should be enough time for her to get home. “Text me if you get home earlier,” he whispered.
Under the table, she squeezed his hand. “Your mom just walked in.”
Tony looked up as his mom walked toward them. Right away, Cat released his hand and reached for her coffee.
“Catrina, how are you?” His mom joined them at the table.
“Great, Mrs. Bates, and you?”
“Fabulous. I love being retired. Right after Maureen’s wedding, I’m off on a cruise with my sister for a week.”
He shifted in his seat as his mother and secret lover discussed Maureen O’Brien’s upcoming wedding, an event the entire town was talking about.
“Do you want a coffee or anything, Mom?” Anything to get him away from the table.

Buy Links:
http://amzn.to/1IUYDqz Amazon
http://bit.ly/1NegLNS BN
http://apple.co/1QvXNqu ibooks
http://bit.ly/1TwsQ4V KOBO

About The Author:
I started writing at the age of 10 on my grandmother’s manual typewriter and never stopped. When I am not driving my 3 daughters (ages 8, 6, and 6) around to their various activities or chasing around our three dogs, I am working on a story or reading a romance novel. Currently, I have two series out, The Sherbrookes of Newport and Love on The North Shore. You can visit my website http://www.christinatetreault.com or follow me on Facebook to learn more about my characters and to track my progress on my current writing projects.

Author Links:
Website: http://www.christinatetreault.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinatetreaultauthor
Twitter: @cgricci

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Pizza, Pizza, Pizza #MFRWAuthor

Late in November, I traveled to Omaha to judge Afghan Hounds. Well actually I landed in Omaha then went across the Missouri river to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Great location, wonderful people.

The return flight had me in the Omaha airport waiting for my late night plane, and I succumbed to the personal pan size pizza from the food vendor. And..I ate the WHOLE thing. Not just the toppings but crust and all.

Sigh. After so many years of resisting, I gave in.

And it was good. Oh so yummy GOOD. To the point that I briefly wondered if all this low carb stuff was worth it. Yes, that good.

What was good about it? What’s good about most pizzas. The crust of course! The crunchy chewy olive oil drenched crust.

Good pizza crusts are loaded with high quality flour and gluten which puts them off the menu for me. What could I do to get at least close to that taste sensation?

When I got home I went through my recipes, and remembered the Fathead Pizza. I originally found this recipe on a forum but it has also had its own blog entries. The basic recipe:

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
¾ cup almond flour
2 tbs cream cheese
1 egg
Garlic salt
Parchment paper and cookie sheet

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Microwave the mozzarella and cream cheese until smooth.
3. Mix the cheese with the almond flour and egg. I also add a few dashes of parsley, fennel and oregano.
4. Flatten out the dough on the parchment paper/cookie sheet. I like to put my hand in a sandwich bag so that nothing sticks.
5. Liberally sprinkle the crust with garlic salt. Poke the dough a bit with a fork to prevent bubbles*.
6. Bake for 8 minutes, and poke any bubbles.
7. Bake for another 4-6 minutes until it is slightly brown on top.
8. Add any ingredients for your topping and then pop back into the oven to melt the cheese on top

Where it says use water on your hands, I used olive oil while patting out that crust. Then I added

cook the crust first

cook the crust first

a layer of Parmesan flakes. I cooked the crust, then added simple toppings: mushrooms, green chilies, along with, of course, more cheese.016

Was it good? Oh, yeah. It was good that night, and for several subsequent meals. I reheated mostly in a frying pan, using that good olive oil to prep the pan.

Was it as good as a ‘real’ pizza? I think it’s as real as it gets but no, it’s not as mouth indulging delicious as a yeast-y gluten-y pizza. But it also won’t interfere with my eating plan, nor will it trigger me into more more more.

And that, my friends, is good.

 

 

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Writers, stay true to your standards. Long night of the literary soul

Be The Water.
Oh, yes. What perfect timing for me while I trudge…no, work…through writing a deeply emotional book, all the while ensuring my grammar is the best I can use. Revel in this, fellow writers. Rub it along your emotions and use it to support your dreams.
Now, I’m back to my book.

Nail Your Novel

3564583787_d0faf36e54_b‘There’s never been a better time to be a writer.’ I’ve seen this mantra frequently over the past few years in blogposts, conference reports and news items. And I don’t disagree there’s been a lot to celebrate.

But from what I see right now, this time is also tougher for authors than ever.

Indie authors feel it in their book sales. Hands up who is in a forum where the chief discussion is ‘what can I do about my dwindling sales?’ ‘Anybody else had a dismal month?’ ‘Should I drop my book’s price, put it on Kindle Unlimited, write something more popular, send out more emails, spend $$$ on a marketing course?’

The traditionally published authors I know are faring little better, with shrinking advances, ill-supported launches – even the authors who have awards to prove their worth.

Last week I was having an email conversation with a wise author…

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OH NOOOO NaNo #NaNoWriMo #MFRWAuthor

Hello, yeah it’s been a while. Not much, how bout you?

Remember that song? It was ‘our’ song, playing when Tom asked me to stay with him for what would be the rest of his life. It’s also one of the most popular mondegrens…misunderstood song lyrics.

I’ve composed a plethora of blogs posts, starting back with Columbus Day and on up until now. Not always the most upbeats posts, but how could you know since they stayed in my head, not on the page. I had a talk with myself about that, and told myself I was gearing up for NaNo. I had a super fun dog event on NOV 1 then I’d be all NaNo all the time. This was going to be such a fantastic book, a sequel to my favorite book, another in the Stormhaven Love Story series. I’ve been working on copious character studies, plot turns, reasons why.

I sit down at the computer. I stand up at the computer. And I get

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I did manage to open and name the file: A Question of Trust. And there it sat. Mocking me.

I know the story. Honest, I do. It’s about Ty Randolph’s ex-wife, Lana, who took his horse and truck when she left him. He sure missed that horse! A Question of Honor starts with Sydney Castleton, Lana’s sister, picking up Devin Starke at the Long Beach airport since Devin is going to help her move the horse back to Stormhaven.

The next book, which I sent to Black Opal Books just in time to start this one, is A Question of Faith. I’ll be sharing more about that story soon…honest!

Fortunately the mocking ceased after a couple of days, while I drove around wondering how I was going to redeem Lana, who so far was kind of one dimensional. Why did she leave Ty? Even more important WHY did she marry him. I’d like to say the answers came in a rush of inspiration but I can’t lie that much even if I am a writer. It’s been a slow trip on a bumpy road but we’re getting there.

And it’s not just me, I’d like to say. A fellow Blog Challenge author is giving us the same lament! I’m Pouring My Art Out very funny guy with a really funny blog.

And it’s raining here….guess I won’t be going out with the dogs. Guess I’ll be staying home, swilling coffee, and writing.

Have a great Sunday, and remember beauty is everywhere, we just have to open our eyes and see it.

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Good Girls Don’t Become Best-Sellers—Channeling Your Inner “Bad Girl” to Reach Your Dreams

I think too many of us have been too polite for our own good. Guess I’m gonna toss out the Big Girl Panties and get some Bad Girl Panties.
Red? Purple? Flames???

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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I am currently reading Kate White’s I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know. There are bad books, okay books, good books and great books. But there is another kind of book and it’s the rarest.

The game-changer.

White has a witty, sassy style. She is seamlessly intelligent and down-to-earth in her fiction. And guess what? Her nonfiction delivers more of the same.

I’ve never recommended a book I haven’t finished, but this one has me far too excited. Even if Ms. White devolves into dirty limericks for the rest of the book? I still feel I have spent my money well. There are some points she makes which I feel are especially poignant and applicable to writers.

Part of the reason I’m referring to her book in this blog (even though I’m not yet finished) is that I might just chicken out unless I…

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