200th Post and Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

THIS is my 200th post! When I first started blogging two years or so ago, my goal was one post a week. And while there have been weeks when I’ve only posted once (and sometimes even less), other times I’ve posted daily. Lots of my posts have been articles written by my wonderful guest bloggers. Without them, my content would be less varied and I wouldn’t have been able to post as frequently. As I mentioned during my last post (Writer’s Water Cooler Round Up), I’m very grateful to them. But there’s another group, which is even more numerous and diverse, that I want to thank today for the success of this blog: YOU! Readers and followers, you are fantastic and awesome!

Over 120 Countries!

The international nature of blogging continues to amaze and delight me. I love that people from all over the world can come together online to discuss topics that interest them. Since February 25, 2012 (when WordPress first started tracking this stat) I’ve had visitors from 123 countries.

Top Ten

Here’s where most of the people who visit this blog are from:

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. India
  6. Philippines
  7. Germany
  8. France
  9. Jamaica
  10. Netherlands

Favorite Topics

Unsurprisingly, people’s favorite topics are WRITING, PARANORMAL ROMANCE, and URBAN FANTASY.

Most Popular Post

Surprisingly, my top post is one I wrote very quickly, for fun — this somewhat tongue-in-cheek article: 7 Tips for Preparing for a Marathon (Oscar Movie Marathon, that is!) Since we’re heading into Oscar season once again, I figured I’d post the link in case any of you are planning on squeezing in more movies this winter. AND, if you do check out the post, please be sure to check out Sir Jog A Lot’s blog (ESPECIALLY if you are a runner!) In writing the slightly silly Oscar Movie Marathon post I quoted and linked to a bunch of bloggers who blog about running marathons. They are the real deal. And today I’m giving a Sir Jog A Lot a BIG HUGE THANK YOU for referring so many people to my site as a result of my linking to his. This is blogging at its best, people. Swapping fun stories and good advice, even if you blog about completely different topics. 😀

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of us who live in the U.S., Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Naturally, it’s a time to be grateful for good fortune, friends and family, projects we feel passionate about, infinite cups of coffee, and WordPress. Wishing each and every one of you a wonderful week!

RELATED POST: 100th Post (small milestones can be fun to reach too!)

Advertisements

Looking for #Writers (both pubbed and unpubbed)

Writer

In search of… Writers!

I’m putting together a new guest blog series for this fall. In the past, I’ve done guest blog series that focus on a particular type of story: romance, new adult, “dark stories” (UF, mystery, horror), but this time I’d love to do a guest blog series that unpublished writers could participate in too. I already have a handful of writers lined up with some great topics (interesting, different, and creative ones — love it!) but I’d like to find a few more, if possible.

Here are examples of the type of content I’m looking for in these future guest posts:

  • Writing craft / Writing process
  • Writing life
  • Speculative fiction/PNR book review (honest and fair, but generally positive)
  • SF/F movie review (especially ones that are adaptations from novels)
  • Product review (product needs to be related to writing or reading)
  • Spotlight your favorite Bookstore or Coffee Shop
  • Neat post about your day job (especially if it’s in an interesting career and/or something someone might base a character on)
  • Travel post related to books in some way – either a research trip you took or a trip to a place that was a setting in a book you read
  • Seasonal post related to Halloween: books, decorations, costumes, food, history, etc.

I’m NOT looking for posts about your WIP, current project, or published work but published authors can include their published work in their bio and I can share links to websites, blogs, FB, Twitter, etc. I’m hoping that some of you will think this idea is as fun as I do. I like blogging and am excited to see the posts for a guest blog series like this.

If you’re interested in participating, please e-mail me (archer at jillarcher dot com) and include the information below:

  • Title for the post
  • Description of what you want to talk about
  • Online contact info
  • Anything else you think is relevant

Please forward this post to anyone you think might be interested. Thanks, everyone!

#Writing: 3 Website Building Tips from Maya Rodale

I met Maya Rodale at the Create Something Magical Conference in New Jersey last month. She was teaching the workshop “How to Build a Fast, Cheap, and Fabulous Website” (by using WordPress). Even though I know a bit about building a website with WordPress, I went because I had a feeling she’d be a great resource for some of the questions I had. And she was. (You may have noticed that I’ve been playing around with picture borders recently 🙂 ). After the conference, I asked her if she’d be willing to guest blog and share some general tips. She happily agreed. If you are a writer just starting with WordPress and have questions, let us know in the comments! Welcome, Maya!

Website Building Tips for Authors

Having a website for authors is a must—but one that needn’t be an expensive or time-consuming endeavor. With a little learning, most of us can build a pretty nice and simple website. I myself am partial to WordPress—In fact, I built a website with tutorials on how to build your own WordPress website. Some other tips no matter what platform you use:

Make a plan!

Having a plan will make the whole process less overwhelming. First, check out websites of other authors and make a list of content and pages you want to include. Go ahead and write-up your about page and consolidate all the content you’ll need—like pictures or social media accounts. That way you won’t disrupt your flow when you’re putting it all together.

Don’t be afraid to click on things!

You will probably not break the whole internet. But you may figure out a whole bunch of stuff—how to download and activate a plugin, or how to get a list of recent posts in your sidebar. Just in case…backup your work (In WordPress: tools export all).

When in doubt, Google it!

Sorry, but you’re probably not the first person to have that problem! When in doubt, just Google it. Then take a moment to be thankful to all those people who made video tutorials.

Maya Rodale is the author of multiple smart & sassy romance novels. Visit her on the web at  http://www.mayarodale.com

Thank you, Maya, for guest blogging today! 😀

Tales from the Cyber Road: Are Blog Tours Worth the Effort?

Virtual book tour, book blog
A virtual book tour’s open road is limitless.

The Dark Light of Day blog tour has been terrific. I’ve heard many writers ask whether a blog tour is worth the effort, so for my last post I thought I’d share my thoughts on why this tour was such a great experience.

Goals: What did I hope to accomplish?

For the Dark Light of Day blog tour, I had two goals:

  • Introduce Dark Light of Day and Noon Onyx to as many book bloggers and potential readers as possible in the time I had; and
  • Start getting to know the book blogging community.

Measured by these standards, the tour was a smashing success. I started my tour early, about a month before DLOD came out, because I wanted to take a more leisurely pace and not blog every single day. (My thought, at the time, was that this would allow me to stick to my writing goals, but I’ll admit my word counts have slipped during the tour). It was very important to me that I not repeat content at any stop. I wanted to give every host original material. All told, I wrote sixteen guest posts, completed nine interviews, and attended two in-person events.

Blog Tour Efforts: Too much? Too little? Or just right?

I’ll admit, the blog tour was an extraordinary amount of work. That said, I’ve heard of some authors doing more. Much more. For me, this tour was just right – I wouldn’t have done it any differently. Writing sixteen separate posts about Dark Light of Day allowed me to give readers a much more detailed glimpse into the story than just what they get with back cover copy. I was able to share more about Dark Light of Day‘s characters, settings, inspirations, and even some of my own writing processes. (If anyone missed any of the posts, all the post topics and links are on my “Dark Light of Day Blog Tour” page).

As time goes by, I think an author’s role in providing information to a potential reader so that he or she can make an informed decision about whether or not they may want to read a particular book is only going to increase. I was happy to do it and thankful for the opportunity that each and every tour host gave me to share a bit more about the book.

It was also nice getting a look at each of the blog stops on my tour. What wonderful diversity! Every stop had its own feel and focus. I shared during one interview my thought that, though the comparison isn’t perfect, book bloggers might be the virtual counterpart to small, independent bricks-and-mortar book store managers. Every blog stop had its own community of readers and followers. My virtual tour gave me a chance to “step inside” each of these online book oases, introduce myself and my book, and hear other people’s thoughts on a variety of different things, but all at least tangentially related to a shared love – Books!

After a successful blog tour, what’s next?

Well, more fun stuff, of course! In addition to the Ace/Roc SF/F samplers that I’ve given away at every stop, I’m also giving away some tour-wide prizes (signed copies of DLOD and some eGift Certificates). So those will be awarded. I’m going to announce the winners on my website within the next few days. And then I’ll send out the prizes!

Also, sometime in the next month or so, I’ll have an update on Noon Onyx’s second book. There will be a new cover, new title, and new blurb to share so… stay tuned!

Thank you very much to all of you who have followed this tour, commented on the posts, tweeted the links to posts, and/or posted status updates about it. I’m very grateful for everyone’s support. I’ll have a more detailed list of participants and supporters to thank when I announce the tour-wide prize winners. Hope everyone had a great weekend. Best wishes for a happy Monday! 😀

2012 Fall Into Winter Darkness Book Blast!

Fall into reading
If she can do it, so can you. What’s your excuse for not reading more? 😀

Starting this Saturday, I’m going to be hosting another round of guest bloggers interspersed with an author interview or two.  Darker days means darker stories and I’m happy to report that this round of writers is just as diverse as the last. If all goes well, we’ll be hearing from authors who write urban fantasy, dark paranormal, horror, even non-fiction — one author has compiled a collection of local ghost stories to share. Morgan Keyes, author of Darkbeast, a middle grade fantasy that was just released from Simon & Schuster yesterday, will get us started. She’s going to be giving away a copy of Darkbeast to one lucky commenter.

Hope to see you here this weekend… and throughout the fall!

2012 SPRING INTO SUMMER ROMANCE BOOK BLAST!

Books: Portable entertainment since the mid-15th century. Ever evolving. Always our favorite means of escape!
A dozen authors contacted me about doing guest blogs or author interviews this spring and summer. They represent a microcosm of the romance fiction publishing world right now: indie authors, small press authors, traditional print authors, bestselling authors, authors who are just breaking in, writers who have written dozens of books, others who’ve written just a few. They write in varied sub-genres, which illustrates the healthy diversity and reader choice that’s being offered in romance fiction today: Paranormal romance, urban fantasy, erotica, YA fairy tales, historical romance set in both the Victorian and Regency periods, time travel, and epic fantasy. Topics, too, will hopefully be just as varied. I can’t wait to see what they come up with! So get ready, readers and fellow writers, for the…

2012 Spring Into Summer Romance Book Blast — Starting Tomorrow!

Book Blast Fine Print: Some guest bloggers may be running contests or giving away prizes. Those contests and giveaways, if offered, are solely the responsibility of the guest blogger. (Any contest or giveaway I run will be described on my “Contest” page — I’m not currently running a contest or giveaway, but plan to later!) Okay, yada, yada, yada, that’s it. 🙂

7/3/12 UPDATE: I’m giving away a limited number of free Ace/Roc Science Fiction and Fantasy 2012 samplers. I’m also giving away one $10.00 Amazon eGift Card. To enter to win the eGift Card, tweet about the sampler giveaway. To request a sampler, and for details on the eGift Card contest, please see my “Giveaway & Contest!” page.

Why I Blog — Some Foodie Metaphors for Thought

Blog posts are like butlered apps at the internet cocktail party

Today’s post is about why I blog, who I’ve connected with, a thank you to readers, a celebration of how many countries I’ve managed to reach, and an open invite to people I haven’t yet found.

Creative Intermezzo

Foodgeeks defines an intermezzo as something that “cleanses the palate in between courses.” It’s something you consume that is “small, light, and refreshing.” Writing a novel takes a long time. (Sometimes, longer than you want it to!) For me, the process is quite lengthy. There’s all the prep work: designing characters & settings, creating premises & plots, thinking up all that GMC, writing the synopsis, first draft, second draft… You get the idea. It takes FOREVER. Sometimes, I just want to read something that gives me a quick, refreshing break. Someone else’s blog post, especially if it’s about something I’m interested in, is perfect!

Amuse Bouche

An amuse bouche is an “amusement for the mouth.” It’s served at the very beginning of a meal, not in between courses. Instead of cleansing the palate as an intermezzo would, the amuse bouche seeks to invigorate it. More than the intermezzo, the amuse bouche seems to be a reflection of the chef’s tastes or current interests. But unlike appetizers or intermezzos where guests may be offered some choice, all guests are served the same amuse bouche. As One Chef’s Odyssey said, selection of the amuse bouche is determined entirely by “the Chef’s discretion and creativity.” Sometimes (when I’m in the mood to use fancy food words in lieu of actually cooking), I think of my blog posts as amuse bouches. I try to be creative in what I offer and each post gives guests a peek at my writer’s voice and life interests. Hopefully, visitors will also find them invigorating!

Some of the Interesting People I’ve Found So Far

Yesterday I posted my answers to fellow blogger Justjacqui2‘s excellent questions in the 11 Questions Game. It was a fun exercise and also a chance to highlight some of the interesting blogs I’ve found since I started blogging. Since I first “went live” with this blog five months ago, I’ve connected with all sorts of fascinating people: writers, book reviewers, movie reviewers, poets, life enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, and documentary filmmakers. It’s been great!!

I want to give a late shout out to a blog I should have tagged yesterday and didn’t: the Storytelling Nomad, written by Katy Hulme from down under, who recently traveled through five European countries in four weeks, posting an A-Z blog series the entire way. Her posts were charming and informative, accompanied by great pics, and well worth reading. Katy is currently working on her first fantasy novel. I told her I hope she keeps us updated on her new journey through future blog updates! (For all of you women fantasy writers and fans of female fantasy protags, she wrote a great article, Heroes and Heroines: Females in Fantasy, which can be found here).

Thank You to Followers and Blog Readers — 40+ Countries is Awesome!!!

Part of today’s post is also a huge THANK YOU to readers. I’m extremely grateful for each and every subscriber. I’m also happy to see that this blog is reaching an international audience. How thrilling it’s been for me to see visits from people in:

Australia, Austria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam

Future Connections

If you have a blog (or any other online presence) focusing on any of the areas below, feel free to ‘like’ this post or comment below so that I can find you!

  • Books: Are you a writer? Avid reader? Do you love fantasy, science fiction, supernatural thrillers, romance, and/or mysteries?
  • Movies: Do you love to watch movies? Review them? Are you a screenwriter or independent filmmaker?
  • Outdoor Adventures: I’ll admit, I can be an armchair warrior at times, but my family is into recreational flying and in the summer we like to hike, bike, boat, and camp.
  • Interesting Career or Hobby: Do you have an interesting career or hobby? Something that’s unusual or unique that people might be interested in learning more about? If so, please e-mail me or get in touch with me through my contact page. I’d love to discuss the possibility of interviewing you.
  • Authors: I’d love to start working in guest posts and more author interviews. If you are interested, please contact me. If we both feel the fit is right, it would be great to discuss a possible future post!

What about you? Do you blog? If so, why? If not, why not? Have any recommendations about who I should be connecting with? Are you a blogger that blogs about books, movies, outdoor adventures, or anything else that I might find inspiring? If so, give yourself a shout out.  I’d love to connect with you!

This One Goes to Eleven — 11 Questions, 11 Answers, 11 Tags

Photo Credit: Wetsun at Flickr

JustJacqui2 tagged me in the 11 Questions game. The rules state you have to answer her 11 questions, think up 11 new ones, and invite 11 other people to answer them. Like Justjacqui2 did, I’m tweaking the rules a bit. I’m tagging six other bloggers and asking them each one particular question designed specifically for them and their blogs. They can either answer my question in the comments below or just play the game the usual way — by turning this tag into a future post (whenever they have time to write it — no pressure!)

This post is also a great jumping off point for my post tomorrow on WHY I BLOG. 🙂

Here are my answers to Justjacqui2’s questions:

1. Would you rather be trapped in a sanitarium or a Stephen King novel?

Definitely a Stephen King novel. But only if I could pick which characters I could buddy up with. Top choices would be Fran from THE STAND, Charlie from FIRESTARTER, and Ben from SALEM’S LOT.

2. What’s the one thing that makes you smile no matter what?

The smell of fragrant flowers: lilac, lavender, roses, hyacinth…

3. What do you like most about yourself?

How passionate I am about my life and the things in it.

4. What is your greatest fear?

In some ways, I think fear is like the devil. Speak its name and it will come. It’s not so much superstition on my part as it is believing in the power of positive (and negative) thought. Sure, I have fears. But I prefer not to speak of them.

5. How do you want to be remembered?

Kindly. Fondly. With joy rather than sorrow.

6. Where do you want to be five years from now? Ten?

On top of the world? Ha! Just kidding. Aren’t we all technically ‘on top of the world’? 😉

7.  Ninja or samurai?

Ninjas sound really cool, but my personality is probably more samurai.

8. Pick two: happy, humble, famous, or rich. Why?

Happy (self-explanatory) + Rich (Process of elimination. You said pick two. Fame does not appeal to me. Contradictorily, I suppose, I am not humble either! :-))

9. What is your favorite piece of music?

Pop and rock favs come and go but Pachabel’s Canon in D major has always been a favorite of mine (despite its overuse at weddings). So, you know, that one, or maybe Old Lady Leary. (“Late last night while we were all in bed, Old Lady Leary hung a lantern in her shed. When the cow kicked it over, she winked her eye and said, ‘There’ll be a hot time in the ole town tonight… !'”)

10. If you were a fictional character, what would be your fatal flaw?

See #3. Passion can easily become extremism.

11. Telekinesis or pyrokinesis? Why?

Pyrokinesis! Why do you think I wrote a book about a firestarter?!? (See my early love of Stephen King’s work in question #1). 🙂

Now for my tags and new questions. The following bloggers are TAGGED:

Brinda Berry: You are a fellow writer with vast knowledge of All Things Tech. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have ONLY ONE tech gadget (with an unlimited supply of batteries, electricity, internet access — whatever was required to run it), what would it be and why?

Ooamerica: Give us a list of the Top 5 Things Road Trippers MUST HAVE. (Bonus: What is the ONE THING a documentary filmmaker can’t live without?)

Mookology: Has your focused study of movies adapted from books (and the books that inspired them) given you an edge in predicting the Oscar winners for Best Adapted Screenplay? If so, how many times have you nailed it?

Fivereflections: Do you have an all time favorite Haiku? If so, what is it?

Lesley Carter at Bucket List Publications: You write about pursuing life’s dreams. Bungee jumping, sky diving, adventure travel, etc. But what about the dreams you have while sleeping? Want to share one of your funniest, or scariest, nighttime dreams with us?

Shebicycles: Your blog is about a girl and her bike. When did you first learn to ride? Was anyone there to help you? Who gave you that final push that set you on your path?

For others reading this, want to get in on the fun? Feel free to answer any of Jacqui’s questions in the comments section. I’d love to hear what YOUR answers are! 😀