Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What's in it for bloggers?

The topic of why BLOG piqued my curiosity recently when blogger Misty Rayburn asked the question on an Independent authors Facebook group Master Koda"Why are authors afraid to talk to bloggers? Seems to me they always act like we're gonna bite or something.”

This sparked an interesting conversation. Misty thought that authors are afraid to approach bloggers.

"There's a question bouncing around in my mind right now. "Why are authors afraid to talk to bloggers? 

Bloggers don’t get paid, for the most part, and if anyone benefits more from the author/blogger relationship it’s the author. So, “sharing content is imperative. This is a partnership. We bloggers expect to get new views from an author’s readers just as they expect to get new readers from our postings.”

Talking with Misty, got me thinking. There are so many blogs out there that it seems the Internet will explode at any minute and yet there are still new blogs being born every minute. The desire to blog is not going out of style anytime soon. 

I appreciate people who are spreading a positive message. I like to look for the good and all those bloggers who are out there supporting authors are really doing us a favor. Her blog is The Top Shelf.

Hi Misty. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself. 

I always feel like there’s not much to tell about me.  I’m 32 years old and graduated from Capital University here in Columbus in 2005 with a degree in English Lit.  Before my back went bad on me, I used to do photography for bands.

What inspired you to start a blog? 

Mainly, the fact my back went south.  I couldn’t stand for long periods of time so I had to give up photography.  I went to a spine surgeon and did 6 months of physical therapy.  As a gift, my fiancĂ© and a friend got me a Barnes and Noble Nook.  Some friends of mine on the Nook page realized that when I talked about books that people listened.  They suggested I start a blog and so I did.  

Why do you keep the blog going?

Because I love it.  Simple as that.

Does your blog have a general theme?

If it had one overall theme, it’d be my interests.  If I’m interested in it, people tend to wanna hear about it.  My back flared up again over the last two years and I’ve been lying to myself so it kinda turned away from what I liked and enjoyed to just get some interesting content up there.  I’m changing that back now that I’m better.  I want to blog more and talk books, not just say “HERE look at this!” 

What are the rewards?

On the lowest level, the free reads.   We get to read stuff before everyone else!  On the other hand, we have to wait longer.  On the highest, making a difference.   

How much time do you spend keep up a blog?

I’m always working on the blog in some way shape or form.  Plugin updates, design tweaks, content, graphics, database and site backups.  

What are your goals with having a blog?

I don’t have any large term goals.  I’d like to make some money doing it because this is pretty much all I can do.  Other than that the overall goal has just been to read and talk about books! 

What has been your worst experience as a blogger.

I set a very high bar with The Top Shelf.  When my back started acting up again, I kept telling myself keep going, you’ll be okay.  You can’t let these people down.  It just kept getting worse and worse and it got to the point where I wasn’t reading as fast as I normally did because the pain was distracting.  I was missing blog tour deadlines, review deadlines that I had agreed to and I didn’t want to tell anyone the truth because I thought I could handle it.  When I finally did tell people I was taking a break to go back to the doctor, they were so supportive!  I think I did a lot of damage to myself with that whole deal.  There’s no shame in not being able to handle it all.  

Why do you think authors are afraid to ask you questions?

Probably the same reason we bloggers are afraid to request books from publicists.  We’re afraid of rejection.  We’re afraid that someone is going to look down on us for whatever reason.  

Sounds like you just answered your own question. Ha ha. What has been your best blogging experience?

Getting to interview Jeff Lindsay!  I haven’t posted it yet though!  Amazing interview and not about the Dexter series.

What are you most proud of when it comes to your blog?

The fact that it took off so quickly.  I’m proud of what I’ve done and what I see in the future for it.  I just hope I hold up!

Can you list some blogs that you like and follow? What do you think makes a blog a good one?

Honestly, I check random blogs people share on FB so I can’t really list any that I read regularly.  Too busy reading, reviewing, interviewing, scheduling and up-keeping.  Plus I’m trying to get back into photography so that takes up some time too.

What would you like authors to do different?

I think a little more understanding would be great.  I got a lot of people who said okay you go get yourself sorted but you could kinda tell that they were disappointed.  We don’t get paid for this and if anyone benefits more from the author / blogger relationship it’s the author.  
I think also sharing content is imperative.  This is a partnership.  We bloggers expect to get new views from an author’s readers just as they expect to get new readers from our postings. 
Always try to offer up new content.  I’ve had some authors send the same content to like 20 different bloggers.  Try to limit it to 10.  If you need help coming up with new content, ask the blogger.  We take the time to post your content, you should take the time to give us new things that will bring readers. Let me also say this:  Even if it’s cut and paste, don’t think we can just cut and paste it.  My Wordpress blog is a little temperamental when it comes to pre-formatted posts.  I take your content and format it myself every single time and yes that’s time consuming.  
Do you see your blog evolving into something else in the future?
I foresee a lot of things.  Periscope has me very interested and I might be playing around with that.  If I can’t get that to work the way I want to, I may start a youtube channel.  I’m also seeing a podcast down the road.  I’m already toying around with Instagram and posting pics from signings and stuff.  So yeah definitely a lot of great things in the works.

After talking with Misty, it got me thinking. There are so many blogs out there that it seems the Internet will explode at any minute and yet there are still new blogs coming to light and the desire to blog is not going out of style anytime soon. My girlfriend Anna Salvatore, together with her friends just recently started a food blog called Great Eight Friends. They might not consider themselves ‘authors’ but they are writing and not only that but they have learned about editing and coming up with entertaining subjects. These girls are doing it and with finesse but still, my question is Why? Why invest so much into something that may never get noticed? As I write this, I couldn’t help asking myself the same question and my answer comes quick. PASSION! I am pretty sure this is a big reason why most people do this but still, I need to know more. I mean, blogging takes time, energy and often money. Is passion enough to keep it going? I asked Anna this and here is what she had to say.

Great Eight Friends


Hi Anna. I have so many questions for you about your Great Eight Friends.

Let’s get right to the point, why are you doing it? What inspired Great Eight Friends? I understand you are passionate about cooking but why invest so much time and energy into doing a blog?

Great Eight Friends began as a dinner group 17 (seventeen) years ago. Four couples decided to get together just four times per year with each couple hosting at their house...simple, once a year dinner party, anyone can do that, right? And we called ourselves The Great Eight. 

For several years now our friends and kids have been encouraging us to do a blog. When I quit my job at the beginning of the year I decided it was time. I love writing and we each love to entertain and mostly just have fun. We are really doing it for ourselves and our kids. It is a Gr8 way to document family recipes, parties, and fun times. If others enjoy it and get something from it, then all the better!

 I love that! What has been the hardest thing thus far?

The hardest thing with having a blog is having to learn it all from scratch. None of us are tech savvy and none of us are well versed in social media, so every day is learning something new... Which is also kind of fun!

 What has been the most rewarding aspect.

The most rewarding part is the feedback and support from friends and family. One of my friends, who is young enough to be my daughter, asked the other day if we would do cooking lessons so she can learn to cook for her family. This is gratifying; not only does it expand our repertoire, but it feels good to help people!

 You are not an author but you write. Do you or any of the eight have writing experience?

None of us are professional writers, other than what we did in school.

 Who is doing the editing?

I do most of the editing and Kyle backs me up.

Who decides your material?

Kyle, Debbie, Jurga and I get together about every two months to create the editorial calendar. We consider the season, holidays, any trips or events that may be occurring in each of our lives.

What has received the most attention?

We are still trying to figure out what works best. Right now it looks like the Sunday posts get a lot of attention and any time we post something about comfort type foods we get a bit of a spike.

 Where do you find your images? 

We take all our own photos, which has been another learning curve for each of us. But we are having fun doing it! Now, when I look back at old photos I see how dark and shadowy they are. It’s rewarding to see marked improvement. And we each still have a long way to go!

Is there anything you find especially hard?

The only “hard” thing I think is that I wish I were younger and was raised with all the social media. We are still trying to figure out what really works.

What would you like to see happen with GEF? What is the goal?

Our first goal is to reach out to friends and family to share all the fun we’ve had and share some of our secrets.
And I would like to grow our Gr8 Friends base to reach even more people. We have such fun together no matter what we do, that we want our friends to join us in all of our Gr8 Fun!

I am inspired by Anna and her friends and I appreciate people who are spreading a positive message. I like to look for the good and more than anything I like to laugh. And no one makes me laugh more than Carol E. Wyer. author of humorous articles and books. She also writes for the Huffington Post and has an uplifting blog called Facing 50 With Humour. 

Hi Carol, please tell us a little about your blog.
 Facing 50 With Humour is sure an attention grabber. What inspired you?

It started way back in 2010 when I had a kernel of an idea for a book. I wanted to write about a woman facing 50 and all that that entails and who was stuck at home with a recently retired grumpy old man. Problem though; I knew nothing about blogging. I was going to do it in a diary format but that had been done too often so I decided to write it in the form of a blog. I wondered if you wrote a blog if anyone would read it and given I always research properly, I started the blog Facing 50 With Humour using a blogspot free format. The blog had two followers for a month and I posted what was to be the first few chapters for Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines. Then, surprise, surprise the blog took off. Word got out it was a funny blog and by the end of a few months I had over a 1000 followers and requests to guest post. I got cracking on the book and blogged about my life with Hubby (a grumpy old bloke who got up to all sorts of mischief) as well as the daft things that happen to me. I changed blogging platforms a couple of years ago, and now the blog is aimed at keeping people laughing or occasionally providing useful and amusing information for them. All the original posts were removed but if you want to read some of the earlier chatty posts take a look at my old blog www.facing50withhumour.blogspot.com (see below)

Is this your first blog?

Yes but I have since written FortifyingYourFifties which I had to abandon due to time constraints. I now also have the blog www.grumpyoldmenopause.com and write posts for the Huffington Post and Silver Travel Advisor.

What is the hardest part of blogging for you?

Time! There are never enough hours in a day for me now I have so many other writing commitments. Also, I never have time to visit other people's blogs. I used to always head straight over to a blog if someone commented and read their blog. Now, I can only do it when I have a spare five minutes.

How much time would you say you spend on Facing 50 With Humour?

These days I work on the blog one entire morning each week preparing and scheduling posts for the rest of the week. Fridays are hugely popular with my Feel Good Friday jokes and I have to make sure I have plenty of material for those or I'd get lynched. I once didn't post for two weeks and I got so many emails it was untrue. One came from a vicar who was distraught as he used my Friday joke day for material for his Sunday sermon each week.

I love that Carol! How do you keep it fresh and interesting? Is there a downside to blogging? How do you come up with your material?

It comes to me in the night when I am awake. I have never been short of ideas. There is so much out there for anyone who wants a laugh or who is facing 50 themselves.

What is the best part of blogging for you?

I always say blogging is like being at a huge virtual party. You get to meet some incredible people and I try to stay in touch with everyone. It is thanks to the encouragement of all my followers and friends online that I have enjoyed the success I have had with my writing. I shall never forget that. The blogging community is so supportive and consists of the friendliest people.

Maybe that has something to do with your amazingly positive attitude. You know, you attractive what you give kind of thing.What would you like to achieve with blogging?

I think I've achieved almost everything I set out to. I didn't expect to still be blogging five years later and still loving it. My biggest goal in life is to make as many people as possible smile and I hope in some small way I achieve that through my posts. As long as I can type, I'll still blog!

Well, there you have it. Three great blogs, all with different purposes but not without lofty goals. We might have different reasons for blogging but the rewards for many seem to make it worth the big time investment. 

There’s a ton of information floating around the world wide web. It’s so nice to know there are people putting their hearts into their work and lending their voice for the betterment of us all. When you have a chance please check out these fabulous blogs. 

Misty Rayburn is a graduate from Capital University with a BA in English Literature. She was a live event photographer, covering a lot of Columbus’ local scene but a back injury kept her out of the scene for two years. While recovering, she created The Top Shelf.  

Carol E Wyer is a writer, blogger and stand up comic who writes humorous fiction and nonfiction and attempts to encourage others to age disgracefully with Facing 50 with Humour

Anna Salvatore is a fly by the seat of her pants wife and mom who tries to make life for her family as fun as possible. She has had many chapters in her life and the latest is Great Eight Friends blog.  

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Friday, October 30, 2015

NEW COVER ~ 'Once Upon A Time In The City Of Criminals' by Mark Barry

By day, Terry Flynn clears the houses of the dead while by night, he drives alluring lesbian prostitute, Chloe, to her “tricks” - members of the “Feminocracy”; Nottingham’s increasingly powerful strata of senior civil servants, businesswoman and female professionals.
Despite himself, he falls in love with Chloe. And so does Hope Calder, impossibly rich COE of Calder, a multi-national conglomerate. A woman who stops at nothing to get whatever she wants.
When Chloe declines her advances, the spurned tycoon swears drastic action. With the cunning Neville, Chloe’s boss, manipulating the situation to his own ends, and Hope’s small army of corporate schills in the shadows, Chloe finds her life in danger...

...and only one man can protect her. 
Terry Flynn, Loser, Jailbird, Hooligan. 
Fifty year old crackhead.

~ This novel is dedicated to Mrs. Patricia Barry, who lived life to the max and never took much notice of authority in all its forms. 
Just like the characters herein. 

My Review 

Once Upon A Time In The City Of Criminals left me speechless, numb, shocked. Just about blew my mind. Kind of a quirky one sided love story. Mixed with a perfect combination of sex and violence.

The guy writes like no other. He takes you to the scene and  delivers. I was in the thick of it all and the hair on my arms stood towards the sky. Mark Barry has a way of telling you a chilling story that is not only original but intoxicating. I couldn't get enough. Most books lose some of their flair as the story progresses but not the case with this powerful story. The ending of this book gave me goosebumps, righteously so. Gripping, satisfying, realistic, and dynamic. Once Upon A Time In The City Of Criminals has big guns all the way through. 

The author's use of language is brilliant. Hand picked gems that caught me by surprise. The rich plot line kept me guessing as I read as though I was running out of time, needing to know where this story would lead me. Savoring the eloquent lines as they rushed past me. I am in awe.

Once Upon A Time In The City Of Criminals is hardcore and plays out like a Hollywood gangster film. Can see this on the big screen like Snatch and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Stellar scenes and realistic in your face dialog.

Quote ~

"There's serious money here. I can smell it, and it temporarily makes my guts turn over. The whole place stinks of cash, of decisions, of self-interest, of colossal hypocrisy and narcissism. I'll never get my hands on a tiny percentage of what these people are worth. I have always hated the rich for precisely the reasons they love themselves. If I had been a little bit luckier, it could have been me, but I doubt it. Too much integrity. Never met anyone rich who had integrity."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Grumpies on Board by Carol E Wyer

                                      Grumpies On Board
                                Genre: humour, non-fiction
                               Release Date: 21st May 2105
                                       Publisher: Safkhet

A "book it" list like no other, with humorous suggestions for extreme active aging trips and why grumpies should not go snuffle trunting.

Fancy a holiday with a difference? Then pack your bags and get ready for some extreme active aging. Us 'older' folk are heading away from the traditional hotel holiday and at last, having fun!
This humorous guide, compiled by Mr and Mrs Grumpy, offers alternatives to the usual holiday—from sensible to outrageous—to suit every grumpy guts.

Learn about Arctic boot camps, ayurvedic retreats, drumming holidays, ice blokarting, motoring experiences, skijorking, tubing, Vespa excursions, voodoo trips and discover why Mr Grumpy will never go truffle hunting again.

With over 300 suggestions of how to get the best out of your vacation and live life to the maximum, this book aims to inspire and entertain.

Read it and put some choices on your "book it" list. After all, you only live once!

“An excellently researched insight into the world of the truly grumpy traveller. Youngsters beware..!” Nigel Vardy AKA Mr. Frostbite. Record breaking mountaineer, author and inspirational speaker.

1st Prize – copy of the book (uk winner a signed paperback / non UK an ecopy)
2nd Prize – Grumpy old git / cow travel mug

My Review 

"One of my friends went to Argentina on a flamenco dancing holiday and never returned. She ran off with the bare-chested dance instructor, who taught her how to play castanets. I rest my case. Book now."

Grumpies On Board by Carol E Wyer is a travel book that is well-researched, well-detailed and full of great information. A fun, entertaining little gem that had me laughing my middle-aged butt off. The author has a smart quirky sense of humor that I found exhilarating and laugh-out-loud funny.

The author makes the idea of traveling as an older adult empowering and even a little (I mean, a lot) exciting. So informational and motivating. Even with all the chuckles!

This is an enjoyable ride that I read for pure pleasure and I was not at all disappointed as it inspired me to open my eyes to some far off destinations I have never considered before. And let's not forget the Indian head massage and a visit to the picturesque town, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. :-) oh yes! Grumpies, no more!

Extreme Active Aging is downright hilarious. It was a pleasure to relax, sit back and enjoy the adventure while Mr. Grumpy rates some of the trip options. Too cute for words, so I will leave it at that! From his rate scale I will give Grumpies On Board a solid A.

Quote ~

Travel uphill from the town towards the direction of Montauban and you will have some of the most spectacular views of the river and gorges. It is this route that is commandeered by the Course de la Cote when for two days in August, cars race to get the fastest time.

This is a great spectator sport. Sunshine, ambience, and then a gentle meander back down to the town for wine and foie gras. Have I temped you?



Carol E. Wyer was born in Munster, Germany in 1960. She began her working life in Casablanca where she taught English and French in Language Schools and for companies. used to race around the streets on a clapped out VĂ©loSoleX bike, avoiding donkeys. She changed career to become a fitness instructor in her forties and appeared in Zest magazine as a ‘success story’. No longer able to touch her toes with her hands, she has now become a full-time writer. Having written a series of educational yet amusing books for children, she turned her attention to the adult market in 2010 when her son flew from the nest.

Her first two novels Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and Surfing in Stilettos won several awards for humour and much attention from the media. Since then, she has won the people’s Book Prize Award with Grumpy Old Menopause and has appeared on over fifty BBC radio stations, several international radio stations, Sky News, NBC television and BBC Breakfast television discussing age-related subjects such as ‘Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Grumpy Old Menopause’. Her writing style has been described frequently by the media as 'witty' or 'humorous' and has even been compared to the acerbic wit of Jeremy Clarkson and the humour of Robin Williams.

Carol has written articles for and featured in several national women’s magazines including Take A Break, Choice, Woman’s Weekly and Woman's Own who also wrote about her journey to becoming a best-selling author.

Currently writing a series of novels and articles aimed at the ‘older’ woman and man, Carol is also engaged in writing by-line articles and posts for magazines and websites including Silver Travel Advisor and the Huffington Post. 

Carol is also a regular Loud Mouth on BBC Radio Derby.

Last year, she took a crash course in stand-up comedy and is currently doing a comedy tour entitled Smile While You Still have Teeth to sell-out audiences, proving you’re never too old to try a new experience. 

Just a little “mood” music to get you ready for your next adventure!