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Sunday, July 27, 2008

I’ve been remiss in updating the blog, it’s not that my dog ate my post, but my satellite provider (internet service) has had some trouble in providing adequate service of late. That is neither here nor there, what I am posting today about is wonderful news about one of my favorite friends and author… Nancy Conner who has up and tied the knot, she is now Nancy Holzner.

So readers look for… Nancy Holzner’s latest mystery novel Peace, Love, and Murder, which will be published by Five Star Mysteries in the summer of 2009.

Set in a fictional college town in upstate New York, the action gets going when taxi driver Bo Forrester discovers the body of a stranger in the trunk of his cab. Peace, Love, and Murder combines mystery, humor, and suspense with a touch of romance for a fun read.

Nancy has more exciting news on the way about an urban fantasy series--stay tuned to find out what's happening.

We wish her all the best for she is a fantastic author, and a wonderful group member of Persist and Publish at Writers Village University.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Nancy Conner, Ph.D.,
is most recently the author of Google
Apps: The Missing Manual (O'Reilly, 2008)
. Her ability to explain complex
technical material in language that's clear, simple, and fun has made her a
sought-after author for the Missing Manual series. She's written on a wide variety
of topics, from eBay to QuickBase (an online data-sharing service), from the
Unified Modeling Language to field-programmable gate arrays.

Her first novel,
a mystery titled Peace, Love, and Murder, will be published by Five Star Mysteries
in 2009.

Q I see you have several nonfiction books out can you tell us a little bit about them?

A I write how-to and reference books on technical subjects. Several of my books are for end-users of Web applications, such as Google Apps and QuickBase, an online data-sharing service from Intuit. I like taking complex tasks and breaking them down into easy-to-follow steps. Three of my books are in O'Reilly's Missing Manual series, and I enjoy being able to inject a bit of humor into those books. So much technical writing is dry, dry, dry. I try to make it interesting and fun.

Q I know you write Fiction as well, have you always wanted to be an author?

I'm really looking forward to her Mystery Novel Peace, Love and Murder coming out. She's an excellent writer.

A I've certainly written ever since I could hold a pencil. And my career goals have always involved writing in some way: teaching it or editing it, as well as actually doing it. But for a long time my focus was on becoming an academic: I earned a Ph.D. in English from Brown and then landed a tenure-track job at Auburn University in Alabama. I was a medievalist; my dissertation was on saints' lives and I taught a lot of Chaucer. I loved research and teaching both--especially teaching. There's nothing like the give-and-take of a good classroom discussion. While I was a grad student and later, an English professor, I didn't do any creative writing. A couple of years beyond that, when I was teaching in a private high school, I felt a strong urge to start writing again--first poetry, then fiction. And I haven't stopped since.

Q What advice and tips do you have for a beginning writer, on writing and publishing?

A I think there are two equally important tips for beginning writers: write every day, and read, read, read. Writers write. Don't wait for inspiration to hit; set aside some time each day where you sit down and write, even if you don't feel like it, even if you can't think of anything to say. As with any other art or craft, daily practice leads to mastery. As for reading, I'm often shocked by the number of aspiring writers who don't read. If you don't read anyone else's books, why should you expect anybody to read yours? Even more important, though, is the osmosis that takes place when you spend time reading. You get a feel for phrasing, the rhythm of sentences, how a scene works. Understanding these things through absorption is far more valuable, in my opinion, than trying to figure them out in a vacuum. If you want to write, read everything you can get your hands on, both in your genre and beyond it. Write every day, and read every day--no excuses.

As far as publishing goes, beginning writers shouldn't worry about that too much, not at the start, anyway. There's a perfectly natural urge to share your writing with the world, but it's worth giving yourself sufficient time for an apprenticeship. Master your craft, then start to think about publishing. Join a good writers' group that gives constructive feedback, and learn from others' thoughts about your work. If you're in a good group, they'll let you know when something is ready to send out. Then, submit to ezines and small literary journals. Don't get discouraged; these places are flooded with submissions, so it might take a while before something is accepted. But if you've put in the necessary time--learning, reading, writing, revising, polishing--you'll succeed in getting your work published.

Q Would you suggest to a beginning writer that they create a blog or have one created for them? Or website?

A This is a trick question, right? Because although I'd definitely recommend this, I haven't yet done it myself. :-) It's on the list, though! I think it's important to have an online presence, because the Internet is where people go for information. If an editor or a reader Googles your name, for example, you want to have something in place for them to find. Blogging can feel a bit lonely; it can take months of frequent posts before you start to build a following. But if you think of it as part of your daily writing practice and you don't give up, it can be very worthwhile. One piece of advice I've read that I intend to put into practice is to make sure that you give readers something of value--who's your audience? what are they looking for? Don't just talk about yourself; think about what makes you keep reading when you land on a blog or Web site--and also what makes you surf on to something else.

I think spending some time on social networking sites--Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn--is also worthwhile. So is participating in discussion groups and forums that are related to your book. If you write mysteries, for example, join an online mystery book club or start reading and commenting on your favorite mystery blogs. Contribute something of value to the conversation; don't just pester people to buy your book. Become a member of the community first, make some friends, stir up some good conversations. Once people know you in that context, they'll be interested to know that you've written a book. But if you show up as yet another author flogging yet another book--and no one has any idea who you are--you'll get ignored or even booted off.

Of course, all this blogging and Web site maintenance and community building requires a lot of time. If possible, don't let it detract from your writing time. If you can, schedule it into your week. That's what I'm trying to do, although I haven't quite figured it out yet.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Social Bookmarking and the Writer’s Blog.

This article By rappinhood got me thinking about social bookmarking Social_Bookmarking_For_Writers.

Let’s face it, social bookmarking is a way to connect with the masses and have your voice heard throughout the world by way of the internet. This writer believes social bookmarking is here to stay at least for a while, and gives the writer/author valuable press coverage.
Social bookmarking users are interested in well-written content, so where better for the writer to display their articles/ short stories or excerpts from a novel they wish to publish than via a social bookmarking site and receive comments as well.

A list of Social Bookmarking Sites available to the writer.


Display the widgets from each social boolmarking site at the end of your topic, through the RSS Feed the reader can subscribe to your writing. If you are uncertain how to do this join http://www.feedburner.com/ Feed 101 has a users group and forum will teach the writer about feeds and how to use them, I won’t go into the details on feed widgets that would be whole new article.

This writer can’t think of better publicity angle than to publicize their writing and be read than through social bookmarking, nor a better way to improve your writing skills from the comments you will receive.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Contextual Text Ads and Google

I have spent the better of this week and weeks prior attempting to figure what relevant ads to place on my blog and what I should not. The purpose of this is not to get dinged by Google and have my Google Adsense Ads disappear, now most definitely you can place any ad you want, but you stand a chance loosing out on your Google ranking as well as income through Adsense.

Let’s face it Google other than Yahoo is the number one search engine and you want to be at the top of the page when someone does a search.

The question is what Contextual Text Ads or Image Ads are germane to a writer’s blog or website. Starting with the top is Google Adsense.

(1) Google fills the ads with content relevant to the topic of your blog or website, so good content is necessary. Follow this link to JenSense article and read “Making Sense of Contextual Advertising and Helping Publishers Earn More Money.” His article has helpful tips on “It’s official! You can now run AdSense on the same page as other contextual ad programs” Here is another link to an article
15 Common Mistakes That Violate Google Adsense TOS

(2) Amazon.com: Become an Amazon Affiliate, with Amazon you have the option of text base links or image based ads for your page. Through multiple product section, you have the option to select ad content that fits the topic of your blog or website. An article By Darren Rowse “Make Money Blogging” of ProBlogger gives a more in-depth description of how to “Make Money Blogging.”

(3) Ebay: Become an Ebay Affiliate like Amazon you have the choice of text base links or image based ads relevant to the topic and content of your Blog or Website.

Other resources for Contextual Advertising are

Kontera (Kontera Technologies, Inc.) is a provider of in-text advertising and information services.

Chitika, Inc. is the creator of an online blogger-driven merchandising/shopping network.

In-text advertising is a form of contextual advertising where specific words within the text of a webpage or blog are associated with advertising content.

There are many ways to earn an income Blogging but adhere to the agreement you make with the advertiser you choose to display.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How to create Blog Traffic

I woke up this morning wondering how I could drive traffic to my blog and stumbled upon this wonderful article “How To Promote Other People’s Content and Drive Traffic to Your Own Blog” at ProBlogger and I just couldn’t resist the temptation to try his tips and share it.
Is it possible that someone else’s article, their content could fuel traffic intermittently to your website or blog? Darren Rowse Tips along with Time will tell.
I’ll let you know after the test.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

An interview with author

Sylvia Dickey Smith talks about writing, her latest book, and blogging for beginning writers.

Q. I see you have a new book out Deadly Sins Deadly Secrets can you tell us a little bit about the book?

a. This second book in the Sidra Smart & The Third Eye mystery series, again transports the reader to colorful, but mysterious southeast Texas where hurricanes are wont to blow, and mosquitoes grow as big as dragon flies, where Civil War heroines lived and died in obscurity, and live again. Where everyone knows everything about the other—or at least they think they do—until the sins of the past catch up with the secrets of the present.

By now, fifty-year-old Sid Smart Sid thinks she knows where she’s headed. She’s divorced her preacher-husband, she’s inherited a private detective business, and she’s solved her first case. But then she moves into a ghost active house and discovers that the past holds the key not only to her future, but to the lives of innocent people trapped in an unholy web of deception that spans decades.

When tobacco-spitting, chair rocking Dempsey Durwood convinces her to clear the name of his dead son in the murder of a local couple, Sid finds herself confounded by clues that lead nowhere. She battles her own prejudice, a burned-out office, the disappearance of a local preacher’s wife, and a midnight trip through a murky swamp before clues begin to fall into place.

But when skeletal remains of a local boy, missing since the 1970s, are found half-buried in ancient shell mounds, and that this event ties back to the murdered couple, Sid realizes the past holds the key to the present, but she’s still unsure what she’s dealing with, or whom.

Q. Have you always wanted to be an author?

a.Wanted to be an author—sure, then I think 99.9 of the world WANTS to be an author. Having the discipline to finish a manuscript until it was ready for submissions was another whole ball of wax. In the case of my first novel, I had a story I wanted to tell and after much consideration and consultation with other writers, I decided that mystery was the genre to best fit the story.

Actually, I consider myself more a Storycatcher than an author. One reviewer said that I “weave a tale tighter than a hangman’s noose,” and that my characters resonate with a down-home feeling found in small towns all across America. That is exactly what I hope to capture. The true heart of America is in the thousands of small towns across this great country. I chose a small town in which to set this series in honor of such characters that inhabit these towns, turning a black and white world into full-spectrum color. My plots are complex, with twists and turns that keep the reader engaged and guessing. They also deal with social issues that we each face. My older female sleuth is easy for baby-boomers to identify with. Plus, I think bayous, swamps and a touch of history add to the mystery.

Q. What advice and tips do you have for a beginning writer, on writing and publishing?

a.Keep your derriere in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard.

Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite and rewrite some more. One of the biggest mistakes many aspiring author make is submitting their work to agents or editors prematurely.

Join a critique group—join FOUR critique groups. Get feedback from them and pay attention when more than one member says the same thing. Don’t react to the feedback or defend your work, just absorb the comments, and then go home and consider the worth of what others have said.

The last, and probably the most important of all: DON’T GIVE UP! Take rejection as motivation. Dig your heels in and keep going!

Q. I noticed you have a Blog, would you suggest to beginning writer that they create a blog or have one created for them? Or website?

a.Oh most definitely! I use my website to keep folks informed, to help them get to know me better, to contact me, to know when new books are coming out, where I am and where I’ve been. I also offer a couple of Cajun recipes—that sort of thing. I think any writer needs a website. I established mine soon after I started writing my first book. I wanted to start getting my name out there. It has been invaluable. When folks hear of me and my books, I want them to be able to find me, fast and easy.

And by all means keep an active blog. By active, I mean submit something to the blog at least twice a week. Learn all you can about marketing the blog and link to others.

By the way, my website is www.sylviadickeysmith.com and my blog address is sylviadickeysmith.blogspot.com

My books, DANCE ON HIS GRAVE and DEADLY SINS DEADLY SECRETS are published by L & L Dreampspell and are available through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, or any other online or bricks and mortar book store. If your local store doesn’t have them, they will be most happy to order it for you.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Shakespeare’s Curse

"Blest be the man that spares these stones, And curst be he that moves my bones."

I can just see Shakespeare’s vaporous apparition flowing from his grave to haunt the British.

Read the article@ Shakespeare Curse Complicates Grave Makeover