Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"The Blogging Code" by Karen Lange

The Blogging Code by Karen Lange

Have you heard of The Code? You probably have, although maybe not in those terms. It's what I call the blogging guidelines about followers, comments, content, etc. As newbies most of us muddle through, observing the veterans and gaining hands-on experience. While The Code may vary a tad by individual, locale, and genre, these unspoken rules of etiquette have universal threads. Here are my top items:

Followers - When someone follows you, you follow back. Do you do this? I do, unless I cannot locate their blog, the topic is something I can't embrace, or is written in another language (even with the translate feature it can be tricky).

Comments - When someone comments, you reply, either within the comments or via email later. What's your policy? Some argue that people don't come back to see the reply you make. While this may be true most of the time, I've had visitors return and comment on my reply. I also think that when someone visits and jumps into the discussion, they can see that you read and value comments enough to leave a reply. I liken the conversation generated over a post to sitting around talking to friends. It's one way to help us get to know each other and see what's happening out there.

Time is another factor, and writers often find commenting "one more thing to do". I agree, it is, but I like to show my gratitude and interact with visitors this way. I appreciate the bloggers who shoot me a quick email of thanks when I comment on their blogs too.

Content - Offer interesting content with take away value. Whether it's how-to info on topics A to Z, book spotlights or reviews, links, interesting musings, stories, or other content, this is a key reason why readers return. Right? Providing meaningful content is important, for I want readers to come away with something useful, or at least feel like we got better acquainted.

Personality - Be a good reflection of you. A blog, unless it is strictly for business use, reflects the writer's style. It offers a glimpse into our world and unique perspective. Concerning writing style, I was once told to "Relax and be yourself. It develops over time." Good advice. It applies to blogs too, don't you think?

There are exceptions to The Code, of course, such for those who lack time due to pending projects, family situations and emergencies, seasons of life, and commenting issues and whatnot. While we shouldn't let unrealistic expectations or requirements dictate our signature style, there are elements that can help make our blogs shine.

Do you have a code? What would you add to the list? How does your blog reflect your personality?

Karen Lange is the author of Homeschool Co-ops 101. She and her family were active in co-ops during their sixteen-year homeschool journey. Her three children have since graduated, and she is now a freelance writer and online writing instructor for adults and homeschooled teens.
Connect on Karen’s Blog: http://karenelange.blogspot.com/


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Check out Tracy Krauss' new series -"Neighbor's"

Lester Tibbett has to leave his farm in Southern Alberta for the big city. It means starting over in an unfamiliar environment - a heavy burden for the guardian of a teenage sister full of angst. The apartment complex to which they relocate is a far cry from their spacious farmhouse and offers little anonymity for a man used to doing things his own way. During the process, he pushes his own loneliness aside in favor of looking after his sister. As Lester struggles to find a church that will meet both their spiritual needs, he quickly learns that neighbors come in many forms, some of them quite meddlesome. Still, he is happy to accept help from an overtly friendly neighbor named Jed who also happens to work for the same construction company. The two soon become friends, despite Jed’s habit of trying to set Lester up with every available single female, and end up frequenting a local pub where Lester is surprised to discover an ‘old school’ mechanical bull just waiting to be ridden. The former rodeo cowboy in him rises up, but not before he meets a mysterious woman who is out of his reach.

Tracy Krauss is a multi-published author, playwright, artist and teacher, with several best selling and award winning novels to her credit. Originally from a small prairie town, Tracy received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Saskatchewan with majors in Art, and minors in History and English. Apart from her many creative pursuits, she directs an amateur theater group and leads worship at her local church. She and her husband, an ordained minister, have lived in many remote and unique places in Canada's north, and currently live in northern British Columbia. For more visit her website: http://tracykrauss.com
Tracy’s story is available on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Barnes & Noble Nook.
Here is the Amazon Kindle link for the story: http://www.amazon.com/Neighbors-Volume-New-The-Neighborhood-ebook/dp/B00IK6799Q/ref=pd_sim_sbs_kstore_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=11C7DR4V3BKHRHJ3BQM3
Tracy Krauss’ Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Tracy-Krauss/e/B003J3QU7W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Western Author Jerry Guin on "Keeping it Clean".

Keeping it Clean

All my stories, including “Charlie’s Money” have a little salty dialogue in them but not intended excessively profane. You will find the occasional use of S.O.B and bas…. Those words, purposely chosen for the dramatic effect, tell the story, in a way that someone might actually talk in that era.

Here is an excerpt from page 34 of Charlie’s Money. Keep in mind that this is in a saloon in the 1873 old west. “A man, at the far right hand table, had jumped to his feet and yelled out, “You cheated! You’re a rotten bas….!”

The man who felt cheated voiced his opinion in a forceful manner, perhaps in hopes of restitution. He got the point across and everyone’s attention with a minimum of foul language.

Calling someone a cheat is an insult in itself. Calling them a rotten bas…. adds emphasis to the situation. There was no need for further inflammatory remarks. Fighting words, you say. Well sure and what followed was a saloon shootout.

I think most of us would react in a like manner, if we felt blatantly slighted before witnesses.
I see no need to use foul language in the extreme (taking the Lord’s name in vain) to get a reader’s attention. I refuse to do it.

I treat sex and romance the same way. The Ladies of the evening or soiled doves, which frequented the saloons, are referred to as painted ladies and at times whores. That was common language used at the time by both men and women. Offering a suggestion of things going on between a soiled dove and a potential customer is one thing, however, I feel actual bedroom antics is taboo. Excerpt page 33. “The third one was sitting on a big smiling cowboy’s lap idly fingering his hair while he ran his hand up and down her leg.”

I think everyone gets the idea. I see no need to go further.
The bottom line is that, at least from my part, I enjoy writing about the old west and do work at it to keep it clean.

The Amazon Kindle link for “Charlie’s Money” is: http://amzn.to/1kf7EA7

Jerry Guin’s latest release is “Crossroads Fast Gun”! The Amazon Kindle link for that is: http://amzn.to/1oJgXIG

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Looking for some Romance? Why not try "The San Francisco Wedding Planner"?

Heather Donovan has no time for her own romance—she’s busy making wedding dreams come true for other people and trying to reel her lonely and lovesick widowed mom Gloria back from beyond the brink of good taste. Her receptionist, Raul, is as interested in his hair style as he is in the clients. Indigo, the wedding photographer, never goes anywhere without his beret—or his attitude. Toss in Skye, the mommy-track best friend who wants to breathe organic air, Mario, the talented, hotheaded caterer with an eye for the ladies, and a tall, dark, and handsome stranger visiting the office on the eve of the busiest weekend ever, and you have a recipe for disaster. Or love. Or maybe both? Along the way discover how duck-hunter ice sculptures end up as rehearsal dinner d├ęcor at an upscale hotel, why the young doctor has a broken heart, and whose will prevails when the photographer challenges a young couple’s vision of the perfect wedding. Does love conquer all? We shall see!
The story is available on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Barnes and Noble Nook.
Here is the Amazon Kindle link: http://www.amazon.com/The-San-Francisco-Wedding-Planner-ebook/dp/B00IAXK2X4/ref=pd_sim_sbs_kstore_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=110K0AF1TERVDNXYRZM6