Category Archives: Blogging

Beyond new fiction

I spent the majority of my day working on blog projects. I'm declaring yesterday a victory, and not getting greedy about it. I have more things to do than new words of fiction.

It does little good to craft new stories, if you're not willing to promote. The tales might be good for the soul, but I want people to read mine. That means dedicating time to other projects.

I worked up one more post for Chris Graham. His StoryReading Ape site has driven me a bunch of traffic. He wants twelve posts for 2017, and by adding one here and there, I can stay ahead of the curve. The challenge with Chris is to promote myself without coming right out and saying, “Buy my book.” I've turned to craft posts and theories for this.

This has the potential to cause me another problem. As a member of Story Empire, we are gearing those posts to craft and skills too. Do I have enough tricks to keep all the posts different and still deliver quality content? I guess we'll all find out together.

I also drafted my next Story Empire post today. I need graphics, and have time to gather them, but the post is in fair shape already. I don't have to post it until March 15th, so I can still make it pretty. The topic is branding, and it should be a good one.

In addition, I worked up the raw shtick for a future Lisa Burton Radio post, and finalized and scheduled next weeks interview.

I also set up a guest post for a friend, but that was pretty easy. I suppose I get to count this post as part of my daily output too.

None of this stuff happens in a vacuum. It takes planning ahead, and getting a few words down ahead of time. I still need to come up with some March wallpaper, and possibly a new banner. I just don't think I'm going to get that far tonight.

Back to the paycheck job tomorrow, but I feel like this was a super productive weekend. I'll surf around this week and see if I can find some images for March, and maybe modify may banner image.

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The Rave Awards! #RRBC

The limousine pulled into a row of other limos. Lisa Burton* sat across from me in the back. A four-hundred pound man sat next to me in a tux. “Why is he here again?”

“Don’t worry about him,” Lisa said. “He’s from Harry Winston, and he comes with the diamonds. I have to give them all back after the program.”

“That’s too bad. They look really nice.” We pulled forward a few car lengths, and I asked him to let me out.

“What are you doing? You’ll miss the red carpet.”

“That’s the idea. I’m slipping in the back, grabbing a beer, and meeting you at our table. You’re the spokesmodel. It’s your job to take this bullet for me.”

“You’re such a baby. Don’t worry, I’ve got this.”

I wound my way to our table and sat where my name card indicated. The room filled up as Lisa wound her way over. She paused to pose for selfies, and sign some autographs.

The show started and we applauded when Jan Sikes won for most creative tweets. Lisa grabbed my arm, “Her character appeared on Lisa Burton Radio, and she included you in her presentation on promotion. So excited for her.”

“I agree, she’s a talented lady.

Rea Nolan Martin’s, The Ansesthesia Game won for best cover, and Beem Week’s, Jazz Baby won for best book trailer. We applauded their victories. I started chewing my nails.

The award for best blog site was called. “In third place, Entertaining Stories, by C. S. Boyack.” The crowd applauded and I waived. The cameras were mostly focused on Lisa though. “In second place, Fiction Favorites, by John Howell.” We applauded again.

Lisa grabbed my forearm. “John’s so nice. I’ve been to his house, and his characters appeared on my radio show a couple of times too.”

“And the Blog of the Year goes to, Nonnie Jules for Watch Nonnie Write.” The crowd went crazy. Nonnie is one of the hardest working people I know, and deserves all the awards she can take home.

Nonnie also won the award for Most Giving Hands. The Most Supportive Member of 2016 is Wendy Scott. Jan Hawk won for Member of the Year, and Lisa reminded me that Jan’s characters have appeared on her show too.

Karen Ingalls is the Top Reviewer of 2016. Stephanie Collins is the Top Recruiter of 2016. I took my napkin and dabbed it across my forehead.

“For Book of the Year, in third place, The Playground by C. S. Boyack.” I waved once more, and Lisa attracted camera flashes. “In second place, She Dies at the End, by A. M. Manay. And the Book of the Year, for 2016, goes to Type and Cross by Staci Troilo.” The crowd went wild. The Book of the Year competition was tough, and all the entries were good. Lisa grabbed me once more and reminded me that Max the dog appeared on her show.

I shook hands with those around me, and slipped quietly to the lobby. The bar was only a few steps further, so I went inside. John Howell was already there. I offered my hand. “Congratulations, John.”

He waived down the waitress and she slid me a dark frothy beer. “Congratulations yourself. Where’s Lisa? Is she joining us?”

“Hardly. She went to the Governors Ball. I think she wants to recruit characters for her radio show.”

“How does she rate? She isn’t even a nominee.”

“That doesn’t matter. Velvet ropes just move aside for her.”

“I can see that. I heard they have an upgraded bar at the ball. Wanna check it out?”

“Why didn’t you say so sooner, John.” I dropped a twenty on the bar and we headed across the street.

***

*Lisa Burton is my personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. She’s also a robot, and makes regular appearances here.

***

You might guess that we have a lot of fun in the Rave Reviews Book Club. It’s all about supporting each other, and climbing that ladder together. The Rave Awards are only one fun event, and there are a couple of blog parties and some writing contests that are worth checking out. In December they held an online convention that was very popular.

If you think this club might have something to offer you, please check us out at this link.

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WordPress Gremlins at work again

It looks like WordPress is hard at work making unnecessary improvements again. I noticed this happening this afternoon.

First the icon on my site changed to the stupid bell thing. It lights up whenever something happens, but no longer lets me know if it’s a comment, like, ping, or follow. It isn’t terribly hard to click and find out, it just seems like a de-improvment over what they had. The bell has been standard on Reader for a long time, but what used to be on my site was superior.

Second, my handy stats link is gone from the toolbar. I now have to back into it through the “My Sites” link. Not terribly hard to use, just more clicks to get the data I want.

I noticed that I cannot switch between Entertaining Stories and Story Empire easily any longer either. I used to have an option in the My Sites area. One click and I’m there. Now I have to open the link, tell it to switch sites, and then it opens a godawful half-page thing instead of going where I want. It looks like the best option now is to include a link in my bookmarks and avoid the whole “improvement.”

While there, I nearly freaked out. The dashboard seems to be missing entirely. This is the only editor I use for anything. I upload photos, occasionally write posts there, and make all my changes there. Don’t worry, it’s still around, but it’s been moved to the bottom of that abomination they are trying to force upon us. I’m sure it’s short lived, because it’s better than what they are trying to shove down my throat.

When it comes to actual blogging I still use a third party app. It isn’t being updated any longer, but still works better than WordPress does.

I don’t know why they can’t leave well enough alone. The original versions I started with were the best and most simple to use. Every thing they improve makes WordPress harder to use. How hard would it be to give me a toolbar with simple links? Change sites, stats, new action on a post, even a log in from my page would be really handy.

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Holiday Week

This is a holiday week here in the USA. For my international friends, Thursday is our Thanksgiving.

This kept me up late Monday, because my work scheduled a potluck. Makes sense, we have to stay up all night Wednesday to cook, why not do it Monday too? I had enough chile verde to take home for supper last night.

Tonight I have to bake dinner rolls. I made the mistake of baking these for Thanksgiving many years ago, and everyone demands them now. It’s a raised dough product, so hours of rising and punching down, and re-rising are part of my evening plan. My wife said we need a TRIPLE batch this year. I actually have one giant-sized bowl I might be able to make it all at once in. I’m sure I have to wash it first, and will have to wash it during the process because it’s also my storage bin for the finished product.

Bake time is another issue. I only have so many sheets, and the rolls have to raise one more time after they are shaped. This year, I’m going to be thankful for getting it over with.

Things have slowed down online. I’m noticing it on all fronts. Since I ended my big promotional push, I have a lot more time for other things. I’ve even expanded beyond my “must read” list on WordPress. Some of you may notice some likes on blogs I haven’t visited for a while.

I took a vacation day Friday. We have company, but I don’t know if they’re all going out for Black Friday. I don’t see it being a productive writing day, but it could happen. Pure luck of the draw, my flex day is Monday and that could be a writing day.

I hacked out another “anthem” piece for my Enhanced League baseball stories. I’m pretty happy with it. This one is about the extra guy on the team. The one who fills in for injured players and the lack of respect for his job.

In other news, I have a fun Lisa Burton Radio post scheduled for tomorrow. I couldn’t sell Thanksgiving to anyone as a good day, so I wrote this one on my own. It isn’t about one of my books though, so if you get a break in the action tomorrow you might want to check it out.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it. I’ll be thinking about you slaving over your cornbread stuffing, and green bean casserole while I punch down dough.

PS: Don’t forget to thaw the turkey.

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I sense a disturbance in The Force

I got into blogging as a necessary evil. I knew nobody would ever find my books if I didn't have some kind of online presence. It's as good a reason as any to start a blog. It quickly became my favorite way of interacting online.

Bloggers go into it for all kinds of reasons. For some it is a journal, others want to share travel experiences, etc. There seems to be something different about it recently.

You know me, I'm always trying to figure out what things mean. Maybe I was a Wallstreet guru in a previous life. I love my blog for its own reasons, but some knowledge could help me with the main reason I started it in the first place.

My number of followers is accelerating. I tend to get one here and there, but recently they've been coming in droves. I fell in with other authors, book bloggers, reviewers, and writing gurus. Seems pretty natural, and I would expect other bloggers would gather with like minded people.

Lately, I'm getting bloggers that have nothing to do with books, reading, writing, or anything else you might expect. I've always gotten a few of these, but recently it became a noticeable amount. Here are some of the concepts of recent followers:

  • Building a dream house.
  • Church youth groups.
  • War in Afghanistan.
  • A plumbing business.
  • Several makeup businesses.
  • Several fashion bloggers.
  • News story of the day.

There are more, but you get the idea. It's pretty easy to guess the makeup and fashion folks wandered here because of Lisa Burton. I may even find her next look by visiting their sites on occasion. On the other hand, if Cover Girl or someone wants to offer her an endorsement deal, hit me up.

 

Many of these blogs don't have their sites completely set up. There is no “about” page, and in some cases there isn't even a first post. So why are brand new bloggers finding me? Did I use some magical word as a tag on one of my posts? (You know, because I'd like to do it again.)

 

I'd like to think I'm so popular that my books are drawing fans to follow my site, but I don't think that's what's going on.

 

I get the feeling that we've reached some kind of saturation point on social media. I've read at least one of you unfollowing people on Facebook because of all the political propaganda. (I agree and support you, by the way.) I always use the term “firehose” to describe Twitter, because my feed is like trying to drink from a firehose.

 

Social media of all kinds has influenced the network news. There is less reporting of facts, more opinion pieces, and much more celebrity stalking. I mention this, simply to note the power of social media. Bear with me, I'm freewriting this one.

 

Are people drifting to WordPress because they are tired of pictures of someone's new nose-ring? Are reporters starting blogs to get a voice in what must be a competitive market? Think of the “news story of the day” blogger. Maybe the networks don't want him, because they have to make time for a celebrity who showed up at a protest. Now that celeb is no more valuable than the other protestors, but since he was on Hollywood squares 25 years ago he gets 10 minutes.

 

I understand the businesses. WordPress is a simple format to use, and it's easy to make changes. Small business folk can use the mechanism to make wonderful websites. They can do things themselves that they used to pay people to do. But why are they following me? I'm unlikely to hire a plumber from seven states away.

 

Are people coming to WordPress to get out of the firehose of data on other sites? From my new followers, I see more seriousness than I would find on Twitter. Are they getting lost in those streams, and looking for a more positive experience?

 

I welcome everyone, and try to follow back those who might be remotely interesting, but I can't follow them all. Regular bloggers will understand this.

 

I'd like to think that we're all ready for a governor in our exhaust systems. Maybe everyone won't understand that one, so I'll say maybe we're ready for a filter. We've had years of “look at my doughnut” posts, and the world is ready to move past it.

 

I told you I sense a disturbance in The Force, I never promised to explain it. What do you think is happening? Are we evolving as far as social media is concerned? Could this foretell the next big thing we should jump on? What is the next big thing?

 

Let me hear it in the comments, now I have to go look at my physical mailbox. Maybe there is a check from Maybelline or someone waiting for me.

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Busy day looking forward to a dead evening

That's right, Ash vs the Evil Dead plus The Walking Dead tonight. Maybe Rick and Daryl need a visit from Ash Williams.

Before all the fun starts, I worked on some more projects today. I wrote and scheduled two posts for this week. One involves a special promotion tomorrow, and I'd appreciate any help with the sharing buttons you can lend. I'm trying to keep the October momentum going through the end of the month.

The other post is the final Macabre Macaroni story of 2016. I really appreciate all the comments I've been getting on these, and they have been a lot of fun.

I also started an October assessment post. It's going to be a long post and it will go up on the Story Empire blog on Halloween. It was hard for me to not post something on theme, but we try to target authors on that site, and my assessment may help some of you. It would be easier if I could post it a week into November, but that isn't my turn. I can add some data to it from this week, and out the door it goes.

Maybe something will occur to me for this blog that has a Halloween theme. Last year Lisa and I tried to make a monster that turned into a meatloaf.

In other news, Lisa Burton Radio has a lot of interviews in progress, but none ready for this week. These things take time to put together, and the guest author has to consider timing too. I understand completely, and agree with this approach. This means I may skip it this week. If I'm feeling ambitious I may run something out featuring Lisa. (You know, as soon as I figure out what.) The takeaway here is that Lisa is always looking for guests. Keep those cards and letters coming folks.

The end of October is within sight. It's been a loooong month of promotions for me. As most of you know, I really don't like promotion. I decided to bite the bullet and force myself to dedicate a month. I'm really looking forward to November when I'll do a bit of reading and get back to my work-in-progress.

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Friends support each other

Once upon at time, Sabrina Pandora allowed her original character, Veronica Kane, to appear on Lisa Burton Radio. Veronica is also known as Giant Girl, from the comic Giant Girl Adventures. You can review our interview at this link: Giant Girl is on Lisa Burton Radio.

As part of that interview, Kumiko Kanzaki called in. She is Veronica's arch-enemy and is also known as Badonkasaurus. Kumiko is now one of the Kaiju, giant monsters that make a career out of destroying Japan. She spends her time imprisioned on Kaiju Island with others of her kind.

We all knew that a fan favorite, like Badonkasaurus wouldn't stay out of the spotlight for long. The most recent episode of Giant Girl Adventures just concluded. It's called Kaiju Island Chronicles, and the link is the beginning of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and encourage you to check it out.

It occurred to me that Godzilla and other giant monsters were big parts of the old Nightmare Theatre shows I used to watch as a kid. That makes them fair game as Halloween fare, and would make a good inclusion for my month of Halloween postings.

I contacted Sabrina and asked if perhaps I could borrow some art to include in my banner image. Not only did she agree, she actually provided it herself. This is the beauty of internet friends. To help me pay her back, I would appreciate it if you would check out Giant Girl Comics.

Here is the first image:

I think this one is my favorite. You get all the action and motion in it. Problem is, they just aren't big enough. It was so good I decided to share it with you anyway.

This is the one I'm going to post as a banner for a while. It gets the perspective better. Here's to hoping Roni and Badonkasaurus help enhance your Halloween season.

I'm writing this on Monday night, and scheduling it for Wednesday. That way I can concentrate on other things while I'm on my business trip. I'll try to get the banner changed Wednesday morning before I have to clock in.

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