Monthly Archives: January 2020

Creative Juice #175

Creative Juice #175

For your weekend reading pleasure. Lose yourself for an hour in these great articles.

In the Meme Time: Healing



Thank you to Cee Neuner for this one. Check out her blogs: Cee’s Photo Challenges, and Cee’s Lipedema Sisterhood.

Guest Post: How to Revamp your Author Persona and Grow your Fanbase, by Web Design Relief


This article has been reprinted with the permission of Web Design Relief.  Whether you’re just starting out or a best-selling author, Web Design Relief will improve your existing website or build you an affordable, custom author website to support your author platform, boost your online presence, and act as a hub for your social media outreach. Web Design Relief is a division of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. Sign up for their free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit the site today to learn more.

It’s the start of a new year! What better time to give your brand identity a facelift? The experts at Web Design Relief know that a fresh approach to your online author persona can help you achieve your goals as a writer, increase the size of your fan base, and find the right voice for your author website and social networks.

5 Ways To Revitalize Your Author Website And Online Presence

Make A List: Check out your favorite authors and how they portray their personas online; then create a list of the qualities you want to exemplify through your online activity. You’ll be able to use it as a reference every time you make a website update or put up a new post. This will help you maintain consistency and develop your author brand.

Watch Your Words: Because almost all of our online communication is through text on websites and social media, your words and phrasing are incredibly important. Whether you are trying to appear friendlier, more approachable, or dark and mysterious—adjust your word choice to uniformly reflect this and stay on brand. Your blog updates and social media posts should all sound like they were made by the same person. Here’s what Neil Gaiman has to say about writing in your own voice.

Change Your Imagery: The images you use to engage with your fans online are also key elements of your author persona. Consider Instagram: Successful Instagram accounts tend to focus on a theme. Your theme should relate to your books or the genre in which you write. Make sure your images embrace your overall author brand, are high quality, and are tasteful!

Engage, Engage, Engage: Any author who’s been reaping the benefits of online success is one who actively engages with fans, friends, and followers. Be sure to answer questions, respond to messages, and acknowledge comments so that your visitors and supporters feel heard. Keep all of your responses kind, courteous, and as interesting as possible. Remember to interact in the same way you’d want your favorite author to respond to you! An active social presence will keep fans and followers returning to your accounts.

And if you end up with a few trolls to deal with (it’s an unfortunate reality of the Internet today), here’s how to keep your cool and protect your online reputation.

Keep It Real: It’s vital to keep your online persona sociable and interesting, but that doesn’t mean you should over-embellish. Your fans will be able to tell if you are being inauthentic. Also, if you put on a performance or establish yourself as an incredible character, your marketing attempts might actually backfire and turn off your target audience. Instead, be the best version of yourself. By being genuine and thoughtful in what you share and write, you’ll create a realistic persona that can enhance your author brand.

Once you decide to revamp your online persona, be careful that you don’t overwhelm your followers with too many changes all at once. Gradually incorporate any new elements and strategies to your online usage, and success will follow.

Question: What is the most important element to update on an author website?

Video of the Week #238: Old Pentatonix


How did I miss this one? I love Pentatonix! This video is from five years ago. I know the song; I just never saw the video.


Wordless Wednesday: Rocky Mountain (but not in the Rockies)



Writing Round-Up

Writing Round-Up

We are so blessed to live in the information age. The internet is full of free content that can help you learn any skill you want to acquire.

I have a file on my computer called Blog Posts I Really Like. This is where I save links to all sorts of articles that I want to reread because they’re so valuable. Periodically, I go on a reading binge and reread a bunch. Other times I scroll through the list because I know I saved something on a particular topic. Yesterday, I reread about twenty writing articles, looking for good ones to share with you. Here are the twelve best:

Now it’s your turn. Have you saved any online articles on writing that you’ve found particularly helpful? Or have you written something about the craft of writing that you’d like to share? Is there a writing blog that you especially like? Share a link in the comments below.

Monday Morning Wisdom #242



From the Creator’s Heart #239



In Praise of Geography


world map 640px-BlackMarble20161kmBack in the olden days (late 1950s—early 1960s), geography was taught in elementary schools. Not all elementary schools, apparently, since my husband can’t recall ever studying it, but it was a subject at the parochial school I attended.

I think the first year it was offered was third grade. I remember being disappointed with our textbook, because it didn’t really deal with other countries, which, as a child of immigrants, I hungered to learn about. Instead, it dealt in general terms about land masses and oceans and mountains and map representations. It bored me, but I suppose it laid the groundwork for what was to come.

I can’t remember exactly what came next, but I suppose we learned the names of each continent and ocean and where they were located on a map and on the globe. We learned that we lived in North America, between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and that our neighbor to the north was Canada, and to the south, Mexico. My next-door neighbor, Mrs. Brennan, grew up in Mexico, and she gave me a Mexican doll, which I brought to school for geography show-and-tell.

DSC01850In subsequent years, our study centered on the various countries located on specific continents. We were tasked with learning capital cities and prominent cities, principal exports, languages spoken, forms of government, characteristics of the landscapes and peoples, special customs, and being able to locate the countries on a map and tell what their borders touched.

As an adult, when I taught elementary general music, I would bring in a little geography, showing on the map a composer’s country of origin, or where an ethnic song or dance came from. I would show our location in Chandler, Arizona, and how you had to travel across the United States and sometimes across oceans and other continents to get there.

I’d like to say I remember everything I learned in geography as a child. But so much has changed. Countries have changed names, borders have been redrawn, and sometimes I don’t recall what was what. However, I do have a general idea where to look for places on a map.

I think the study of geography is important, and should be required at least one year at the elementary, secondary, and college levels. It’s such a shame when adults don’t know the difference between Austria and Australia or between longitude and latitude.

Nosy Questions


caveman-1460898_640Today I’m playing along with Judy Dykstra-Brown, blogger, artist, photographer, and poet.

Judy says:

“A friend asked these questions on Facebook. Thought I’d share them with you. Here are my answers. To play along, copy them and change the answers to your own. Please publish a link to your answers in comments below:”

1.  Do you like mustard? Yes. It’s my favorite condiment. I like all kinds: yellow, spicy brown, dijon, horseradish, Chinese hot. . .
2. Choice of carbonated drink? Diet Coke.
3. Do you own a gun? No, but my husband does.
4. Whiskey, Tequilla, Rum or Vodka? Water with lemon, thank you.
5. Hot dogs or Cheeseburgers? I think I’ve exceeded my lifetime quota of both. I’ll have a burrito.
6. Favorite Type Of Food? All. Can I just say dessert?
7. Do you believe in ghosts? No.
8. What do you drink in the mornings? Coffee Bean And Tea Leaf‘s 10% Kona Blend.
9. Can you do a 100 Pushups? No.
10. Summer, Winter, spring or fall? Summer, no contest.
11. Favorite hobby? Reading, quilting, zentangle, watercolor, crocheting.
12. Tattoos? No.
13. Do you wear glasses? I wore glasses since I was 10 for severe myopia. Since cataract surgery in my late 50s, I only wear glasses for reading and fine handwork.
14. Phobia? Pain.
15. Nickname? I used to be known as Andie, but my husband hated that name for me. I’m trying to steer him toward Your Majesty, but he’s not buying that either.
16. Three drinks you drink? Water, Diet Coke, coffee
17. Biggest Downfall? Good food.
18. Rain or Snow? Sorry, I only like sunshine. That’s why I live in the desert.
19. Piercings? Just ears.
21. Kids? 5
22. Favorite color? All shades of blue, especially electric and turquoise.
23. Favorite age? 21, although for many years I claimed I was 29. Then one day I realized it was the 29th anniversary of my 29th birthday. . .
24. Can you whistle? Yes, if I have to.
25. Where were you born? West Long Branch, New Jersey.
26. Brothers or Sisters? I have one wonderful brother.
28. Surgeries? 2 hip replacements, gall bladder removed, 2 tumors removed, cataracts on both eyes.
29. Shower or Bath? Shower.
30. Like gambling? Never.
32. Broken bones? No.
33. How many tv’s in your house? 2.
34. Worst pain in your life? Kidney stone.
35. Do you like to dance? Yes–I go international folk dancing on Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings.
36. Are your parents still alive? No.
37. Do you like to go camping? Not really, but I loved to camp when I was a Girl Scout.

Please play along! These are fun to do and fun to read.
Copy, paste, change the answers!!