How are you faring during this challenging time? I mean individually in your slice of the globe? Let’s all help each other — tell us — how do you keep your spirits high?
“I do everything the man does, only backward and in high heels!” — Ginger Rogers
Here in Los Angeles, weeks ago, cleaning supplies were nowhere to be seen. Still, it wasn’t until I grocery shopped a couple of days ago that the sight of ravaged shelves was genuinely arresting. And then yesterday — things reached a tipping point. Long lines of heaped grocery carts, jammed parking lots… a friend canceled a much-planned birthday party, Iranian-American family shelved Persian New Year’s festivities…
Loved ones, keeping fit — and having fun!! — are what keeps me afloat. Fortunately, everyone I know has their toilet paper and we’re all okay. That includes my family in worst-afflicted Iran, Italy, and Spain, along with Australia, Argentina, England, and Canada.
It also helps when my husband reminds me that people elsewhere have endured far worse for much longer. Another thing that lifts my spirits is when I visit blogs like RoiJoyeux’s. His is filled with kisses, interesting biographies of non-straight people, the treats he bakes for his loved ones, and dancing!…
“Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” — Truman Capote (read, don’t watching his phenom “Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Stories.”)
My Los Angeles, much as I adore it, is an urban sprawl that takes effort to get around in. Busses take forever to get from one stop to the next, our new-ish subway system doesn’t go to nearly as many places as I’d like, and our freeways are clogged round the clock. Do you take the time to get to know all that your city has to offer?
Born in Michigan, raised in Ohio, and a decided globetrotter, blogger Nina Zee is on a mission; to inspire travelers to create dream trips using tips from her vast experience. Here she shows us around her home city, Atlanta, Georgia…
“How well do you know your hometown?” by Nina Zee
Until last year, I know the answer for me was not very well! While I had lived in Atlanta for most of my life, I did not explore it or really venture downtown. Heck, most of it really was not that safe. But thanks to us getting the Olympics in 1996 and other development since then, like the Beltline, it continually becomes a great place to wander aimlessly.
Like most others, I was busy going to school, getting married, building a career, raising puppies, creating a dream home, and just living life in general. We would head downtown to see NHL hockey, but when that was gone, we no longer had a reason to go to that corner of town.
My New Year’s resolution in 2019 was to fall in love with my new hometown. I made a list of the top things to see and do. Every time we did some new, like going to Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the Dragon Con parade, or Ponce City Market, I fell more in love with it.
Lucky for me, our street art scene is busting at the seams.
After spending most of the year visiting sites around town and attending events, I can proudly call myself an Atlantan. It is amazing what seeing it through a new pair of eyes can do for you.
I dare you to explore your city like a tourist and not fall in love with it!
Even though you live someplace, do you really explore it? Do you know it like the places you visit?
Let me know.
Happy International Women’s Day!!! Is it celebrated where you live?
All days merit celebrating — for the opportunity to find ourselves still players in the game of life. Each of us is of value — if it was up to me, we’d all begin our mornings with a smile, feeling and saying, “happy me, happy you, happy us in this big beautiful world!”
Regarding wonderful women — I recently found this fun book trailer that includes publishing know-how guru-ess, Jane Friedman…
Belgian-British blogger Denzil Walton, who’s a guest writer for Happiness Between Tails here and here, and Part 1 of this here, posts about the wonders of Belgium (and writes for hire too!). Included at his site are some incredible Belgian women!…
Juggling writing my novels, blogging, and daily life is a huge challenge. This week I (sort of) chunked the task of researching the business end of blogging. That voyage into Google-ville unearthed a meandering myriad of fascinating stuff worth sharing with you…
Blogging: In most any timezone, folks check their social media on weekdays, around lunchtime. According to these statistics gathered by Sprout Social, most of us bloggers are wisest to post mid-week, mid-morning. Forget about posting on weekends.
Social media: Trendwatchers at Pew Research Center report that everyone everywhere is increasing their social media engagement. Among all ages, Facebook is used most and most frequently, with Youtube gaining behind them.
Mind: “The greatest gift you can give to people is your full attention,” according to the Australian guy on Smiling Mind. Meditation, mindfulness, stress relief, call it what you will — everyone tells us we need it. Smiling Mind coaches us to do just that, in English and even in Aboriginal languages! — no credit card required to upload it and use its free version indefinitely!
Body: Mindfulness can help us stay fit — MyFitnessPal tracks and calculates our eating, nutrition, and activity. No credit card required to use its gratis edition forever.
1st YouTube: Ever wonder about it? Ta-da! Here it is, originally uploaded on April 23, 2005…
Anti-Viral Dog: Crisis brings out the worst — and the best! — in us, like how whoever kindly made this video wanted us to smile…
What are your best blogging hacks and fave truly free apps?
Goodreads is sort of like Facebook, only it’s a site for book lovers! How do you find out about good books?
Here mystery and suspense author/reader/blogger Mae Clair explains how book lovers of all sorts can use Goodreads to let others know about their favorite reads…
Hi, SEers! Mae here today with a small promo tactic you may not be using. This one involves some help from your friends, but it’s another avenue to get your work noticed.
Have you ever searched lists on Goodreads? You’ll find them under the BROWSE drop-down on the main navigation bar (screen shot at left). The link will connect you to Listopia—Goodreads’ home for sorting books by category.
You’ll find plenty of genre lists, along with specific niche lists as well. These are the ones likely to benefit you the most.
As an example, I enjoy books featuring creatures from cryptozoology (i.e, Loch Ness, the Mothman, the Van Meter Monster, etc). Fortunately, Listopia has a Crypto Fiction list that allows me to sort through a number of books at once. As a reader, I find GR lists easier and more accurate to use than Amazon, especially when I want to search…
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Writing a book is a big thing — and then publishing it is even huger, whether through the traditional or the self route. As I complete my novels while building my platform, Mental health nurse/blogger/author Ashley L. Peterson of Vancouver, Canada, has already put out several books!
She first visited us here — and now she’s back with a new book and more self-publishing advice!…
“Self-Publishing: It Gets Easier” by Ashley Peterson
I remember how overwhelming it was when I published my first book. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, and I was just flying by the seat of my pants. I had no idea what to expect when the book was released.
My second book was released 7 months later. I felt much more prepared, but then tossed in the new challenge of selling on sites other than Amazon, including my own website. There were also some hiccups; it felt like forever before Amazon accepted the file for my paperback, which turned out to be because there was a special character that it didn’t recognize and therefore didn’t accept. The biggest problem was my paperback cover; it wasn’t showing up on the Amazon listing as the same colour in the cover file I’d uploaded. I spent a whole lot of time trying to get that sorted out,
Now with my third book, I’m a lot more relaxed about the whole process. Sure, formatting and converting file types is still frustrating; I don’t think that would change even if I’d published a whole bookstore. Overall, though, I’m much more at ease. I feel a sense of mastery that I know how to do this – a very different feeling from the first time around.
I’m a huge list person, and my book launch lists are nicely fine-tuned. I’ve got all the steps laid out, so I can just do things without having to think about them.
While the learning curve is steep and self-publishing can be daunting, it gets easier – really. And if you’re thinking about self-publishing, dive right on in; the water’s warm.
Details on my new book Managing the Depression Puzzle can be found here.
What’s your experience with publishing and building a platform?
Communication is not easy. Whether I’m listening, reading, looking… all my interactions are colored by my perspective that’s shaped by my present and past. Sometimes my simplest, most straight-forward conversations are with my dear doggie.
Who do you interact with most easily? Blogger/writer Bryan Wagner presents workshops on Zen, Tao, and Shamanism. Here’s his take on relationships…
“The Tao of RELATIONSHIP” by Bryan Wagner
Communion is creating and embracing an emotional, spiritual, sharing of each other.
We can enter a state of communion if we are present and each of us has the desire, openness, and willingness to remain so.
We can also use that willingness of communication to build a more intimate exchange that leaves traces of each participant within the other. That is the act of communion. Communion is not just language and sharing. Communion is a process further than language, it is the art of complete communication in the moment. Genuine communion happens when things move between those in relationship that is grounded in the awareness of the moment.
I believe that the sharing of emotional content is important to the state of being in communion. That means to express emotional, non-verbal content, and then allow the receiver to process it in whatever form that action takes.
Communion happens inter-species because spoken language is only a very small part of communion. Some of my happiest moments are in communion with animals. I think in part because they are aware and painfully honest in how they respond. Being with animals has the effect of clearing the detritus and fog from my thinking and reference frame on life. I engage in the state of love so readily with animals!
I honor and value those that I commune with and actively seek out building those relationships that offer that place of intimacy. I encourage people to embrace the idea of communing with others and seek those relationships out in their own lives.
Today I will spend some time communing with Spike and P’nut and a horse named Anastasia. I can’t think of a better way to share life. – Bryan Wagner
Who do you interact with most easily?
The smallest kindnesses of strangers, things that they probably no longer remember doing, have benefitted me for my entire life. Those gestures combined with the sorcery of books can conjure magic potent enough turn lead into gold!
Tom Darby is a blogger and writer, born in Chateauroux, France, raised in Klamath, California, residing in Spanish Springs, Nevada. He is an award-winning journalist and hall-of-fame radio jock. You can find his stories and other articles here.
Read on for Tom’s example of exactly what I mean…
“The Gift of a Book,” by Tom Darby
The roadside tourist destination opened at seven in the morning, and I was expected to be there an hour later, ready to work. My job was to place a red-on-yellow piece of 15-by-5 inch cardboard on each automobile that read: ‘Trees of Mystery’ in large letters and ‘Shrine of the Redwood Highway,’ below that.
We called them ‘tags,’ those who put them on, ‘taggers,’ and the act of doing so, ‘tagging.’ The object of the job was to slip a piece of wire through the holes at either end of the tag and hook the wire over the bumper so that the tag could be seen as a vehicle passed by on the highway.
Advertising at its simplest.
There were usually three or four taggers on duty each day in the summer months. Each boy hauled a hundred tags and twice as much precut wire in a leather satchel in, through and around the vehicles that quickly filled the parking lot.
One early morning I approached a young couple from British Columbia, Canada, driving a burnt orange Volkswagen bus and asked if they’d like a tag on their vehicle. They did and I obliged them.
As I stood up I saw a thick paperback book shoved down between the dashboard and windshield. The artwork of a ‘naked woman’ swimming with a gigantic shark, mouth agape and swimming out of the depths to gobble her upheld my attention.
“I jus’ finished it,” the woman said, “Do you want to read it?”
She retrieved it and handed it to me.
“Thank you,” I responded.
It took me all of the summer of 1974 to finish “Jaws,” written by Peter Benchley. That gift helped to germinate, not only my young but ripening imagination but also my continuing desire to write.
Has the kindness of a stranger ever affected you profoundly?
Oh, England, your castles are fabulous living museums, each unique and wonderful, let me count the ways of them… Wait — never mind — according to this list, there are over 2,500 of them if one counts ‘fortified manor houses,’ a.k.a. castles too! After London, where we visited the British Museum here and here and here, then Bath, and Avebury, a little of Wales with Stokesay Castle, then Harlech and Conwy and Penrith and Ullswater, as well as later the Kelpies of Scotland…
Stokesay Castle of Shropshire, England, is a manor (an important house owned by important people) with enough fortification to deem it a castle even though it was more of a house than a… Well, dear reader, hopefully by now you get the idea…
Built mostly in the 13th century by leading wool merchant Laurence de Ludlow over another castle that continues to partially survive, it’s regarded as the finest survivor of its type. It’s so impressive that there’s a sort of replica of it in Reading, Pennsylvania.
There’s the gatehouse with fabulous carvings featured on Wikipedia, the courtyard with a well, and the main part that includes a couple of towers, and a hall.
There’s a charming graveyard at a church alongside the manor.
“Flamenco & the Sitting Cat” and “Tango & the Sitting Cat,” my upcoming novels, feature romance between an older woman and a younger man, so this gravestone especially intrigued me. Violet Enid Grace Dawson nee Richard, (18th April 1899 – 14th September 1991) was 18 1/2 years older than George Frederick Dawson (25th September 1917 – 27th October 2010)! So sweetly were they buried together that surely they were happy together…
On our way to the rest of our U.K. adventure, we spent a night in Wales. Who knew that in the market town of Dolgellau we’d eat delicious Indian food and homemade bread at a pub near the 200-plus-year-old bed and breakfast where we slept. Ty Seren is Welsh for Star House. Our following morning began among hikers and cyclists, all of us chatting over our mouth-watering hot Welsh breakfasts thanks to our charming hostess/cook, Sharon Watkins…
What’s the oldest place you’ve ever slept in?…
Photos blossomed into digital mandalas for Graham A. Stephen, a North Wales-based photographer, blogger, and self-described “seeker of beauty in the ordinary.”
What entrances you?…