An Award to Connect

Sunshine Award

Sunshine Award

Thank you, bunnyslippers, for nominating me for the Sunshine Award. I think. I discovered that a nomination is as good as receiving. Receiving this award is similar to those chain letters you get by email that state you had better send them on to a certain number of people or you will break the chain. You’re not sure if you’re happy or sad you’ve gotten it. Know what I mean?

I don’t know if WordPress or some zealous blogger started this award, but I expect they had the best of intentions. Isn’t the Sunshine Award about connection? I’m supposed to nominate ten more bloggers for the award, which means ten additional connections from my blog to theirs, and they continue on with ten more connections after linking back to me. Math has never been my thing, but picture that across the blogosphere. Yikes!

This linking started me thinking (OMG, a rhyme) about the several meanings and levels of connection:

. “Hey, man, let’s connect.”

. You connect the doohicky to the thingamajig

. I met her, and right off, we connected on some level. I mean, we really connected.

I was on the phone with one of my closest friends a couple weeks ago, and we were discussing connection with a capital “C.” She and I had felt a Connection when we first met some years ago.

Many would say that, for people, this feeling can explained by shared commonalities and similar histories. Biologists might even say pheromones. Some would say past lives.

It also happens when you feel something on a deep level that can’t be explained.

Sometimes connections hold over miles or over years. Sometimes we feel the connection for only a moment.

When we meet the eyes of our dog. Or cat.

When we stop in the middle of a hike to listen to the wind in the trees.

When we watch our child sleeping.

When we’re away from home and a stranger smiles at us.

When we sit silently in a boat at dawn and don’t care if the fish bite.

What connections have you made recently?

Courtesy of Jinterwas, Creative Commons

Courtesy of Jinterwas, Creative Commons



Oh dear. I nearly forgot the questions I’m supposed to answer with this award, so here goes:

Favorite food: Depends on my mood

Favorite actor: What’s her name. I’m getting older, and my memory has turned to shit.

Favorite TV Show: Right now I’d have to say Game of Thrones, but I’m getting a kick out of that new one that follows it, Silicon Valley, or is it Silicone?

Favorite Tear Jerker: Movie – American Beauty; Book – The Reading Lessons

Favorite Sport: To play – badmitton; To watch: zilch

Lucky number: None are lucky for me.

Tea or coffee: Not fair. I can’t have caffeine, though I’d love to, so I’m stuck with herbal tea.

Holidays:  Does this mean favorite or ones I hate? Halloween’s my favorite; I ignore Christmas. You can’t imagine how calming it’s been.

Favorite Christmas Movie:  Oh, please.

My ten nominees are (please forgive me, you guys): – Oops! No, no. I think this is the guy who doesn’t want any awards. Can’t blame him. This is taking me all morning and past lunch to complete. He’s got a great blog, but I won’t ask him to do all this work. OK?

Now I’m supposed to go visit everyone and tell them what is happening. I hope they are all in a good mood this morning. This is where I need a smiley face.

The Good Old Days, No more

What happened to the good old days when all you had to do was write a novel?  As if that weren’t enough.  These days, if you want your story to reach the public, you need be a web expert, a marketing expert and a publishing expert.

I have been trying to complete the second draft of my Civil War novel, but I keep getting sidetracked by all these articles about how I have to have a web presence, network hither and yon, be prepared to promote myself on Facebook, Twitter, various writers’ communities, etc., etc.  Then I must decide whether to go for a paper publisher, ebook publisher, or self-publish.  Then there are three different ways I might self-publish, depending.

“The Writer” magazine’s January issue contains an article about whether publishers should pay authors for promoting their own books.  We are expected to do our own promoting, you see.  Instead of them.  Only the cost comes out of our own pockets.

Then there is this blog.  It was originally going to be about writing.  Perhaps I should get back to that and worry about publishing when the writing is done.  First things first.

For those of you ready to publish, the newsy sites are on the sidebar.  Right now, I have to clear my head for writing.

The Author – An Anachronism?

A web friend of mine recently published her first book – an eBook.  She is thrilled.  I would be, too.  She also has a very fun blog that interviews her characters.  This is not only clever, but shows she is aware of one of the most current methods of marketing her book.

One of the recent articles on Digital Book World is by Don Linn, former owner/CEO of Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, entitled, “Caught in the Middle, Publishing’s Other Customers.”

The cost of hardcover books is going down.  Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it.  It is for the reader, which I suspect applies to most of us.  He notes that authors like Stephen King will not suffer.  They and those like them can self-publish and will still sell the same number of books they always have.  Even us newbies may do all right, as long as we do not seek to make a living from our writing.  I add, as long as we are willing and able to do all of our own marketing, delivery, follow-up etc., etc.

What about “those who fall between these two groups. They are the people who write for a living and who bring us the workhorse books in their categories (from literary fiction to genre fiction to all manner of non-fiction). Their advances have historically been relatively low and their sales relatively modest. They write for major publishers and independents. They write books that backlist and, in a small but very important number, they write really important books that either break out commercially, or say something significant that might not otherwise get said.”

Yet another consideration in this age of transitions.  Will the future look back on us and declare we produced nothing new, nothing of worth?  For the lack of funds, art suffered?  No more authors, only people who “write on the side.”

You may want to check out his article.  More food for thought.

Bloggers, Are You at Risk?

Fellow Nanos, we have begun.  Not every writer does well with this sort of pressure, and it remains to be seen whether I will . . . or not.

I came across an article by Kay Day at The Writer magazine, who always has something interesting to say about writing on the web and how the web affects the rest of us.  This time she posts on the government’s new interest on blogs and advertising.  If you have advertisers on yours, give book reviews or even post comments to someone’s monetary advantage, beware.

“It was only a matter of time before watchdog organizations and the government took an interest in blogs. And if you’re doing paid reviews for products or services, you should adopt a low-risk position. Disclose what you’re doing. The Federal Trade Commission is expanding the agency’s interest in blogs and other advertising media on the Web with a sharp eye on endorsements and testimonials. The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) is doing the same. But the issues go beyond the mommy blogger who praises a toy brand after she received a free sample.

“If you blog, even if you don’t write paid reviews, regulations will affect you. So it’s important to protect yourself from a liability standpoint. For starters, if you have third party advertising on your Web site, place a notice telling your visitors they leave your site for another if they click on the ad. Make the reader aware the destination may have a different standard for recording private information.

“If you are writing paid reviews, disclose your arrangement to the reader. Otherwise you are in violation of the FTC’s guides on Endorsements and Testimonials.”

This was to be expected, as someone takes advantage of every new thing, and there is always that bad apple that makes it difficult for the rest of us.  The larger the community, the more opportunity for those rotten apples and the more of them.  So we give our collective sighs, follow the new rules and move on.

Above All Be Genuine


Child Dreaming in WindowAccording to Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert Olen Butler, the process of writing is not intellectual, but emotional, and it is necessary to enter our dreamspace in order to write honest, inspired fiction.

I dream a lot; our dreams dive deep into our true selves—into our anxieties, fears . . . and joys.

The photo above? That’s me, eagerly looking out the window at the world. Many pounds and wrinkles later—still searching.

I like to know what other people are thinking. I hope you will let me know. You can disagree with me, of course, but please be nice about it.