Tag Archives: twitter

Prepare Yourselves, #Keanuthon is Coming

The Husband and I have been planning to have a movie marathon for months now. A themed marathon. A celebrity-themed marathon.

A Keanuthon. 

We all have our celebrity crushes and idols. My husband’s is Keanu Reeves.

And Jane Fonda. But we’ll host her party later.

So, we’ve decided to host a #Keanuthon. A Keanu Reeves themed movie marathon for the month of September!

BEHOLD…

#Keanuthon

Here’s the scoop. 

Starting September 2nd, we’ll watch one Keanu Reeves movie every wednesday. And we’re going to live tweet the movie using the hashtag #Keanuthon. Find me on Twitter @jesswitkins and let’s talk all things Reeves-related.

Feel free to dive in the fun using whatever your favorite social media hangout is, just use #Keanuthon so we can find you.

At the end of the month, I’ll share a wrap up post featuring the funniest and best tweets and photos from #Keanuthon.

So tell all your friends! Head to the movie rental store (AKA: Netflix), and get ready for #Keanuthon!!!

It’s all starting with Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Spread the word! #Keanuthon starts in one week! 

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And There’s a Side Pocket for Snacks!

Some of you may know that I work in a reproductive health clinic. A large part of my job involves volunteer coordination, some marketing and outreach, working closely with our board of directors, and managing our social media. (I post cool stuff, you guys, check us out on Facebook and Twitter!) Additionally, I can be found handing out condoms on campuses and in area bars, hosting the occasional evening of Sex Trivia, and shouting things like “No Karolee, I DON’T know where your balls are!”

(Relax, it was just the fake set of testicles we have for educational purposes.)

Sometimes when I’m searching for interesting things to post online, my coworkers send me ideas. One such idea happened upon my email, and while it wasn’t quite right to share on our clinic page, I knew two ladies who HAD to see it.

August McLaughlin is an author, blogger, and  founder of GirlBoner radio and a huge proponent of women’s sexual health and empowerment. Jenny Hansen works as a freelance writer, technical trainer, and blogger with a reoccurring little series called The Undie Chronicles. These were clearly the women who would appreciate the following tweet I sent.

https://twitter.com/jesswitkins/status/560971120502120452
 

What I sent them was the link to this product…

You guys, for just $35 you can have your very own condom sleeping bag!!

Turns out, I was right. August and Jenny did appreciate my tweet.

Or for storing actual condoms, but I would use it for snacks!

The product includes a pillow and zip compartment for storing the actual sleeping bag, which can be rolled up just like a condom.

August and Jenny and I were making plans for our virtual sleepover that included birth control themed brownies and trivia.

 

Do you know it? I stumped these gals, though their guesses were admirable.

The correct answer is Little Richard’s “Tutti Fruiti.” The original lyrics read “Tutti fruiti, get booty.”

What do you think? Do you find the condom sleeping bag as amusing as we do?
Will you be joining us at the sleepover? It’s BYOS, bring your own snacks. 😉

Alternative Song Lyrics About Writing

I am officially making pathetic look cool. Yet again! In addition to my stellar new blog header which took me hours to make – DON’T JUDGE! – I’ve really out-cooled myself here.

Because now I’m singing on Twitter.

True story. I’ve been writing some pretty awesome alternative song lyrics lately. And it all began when I started cheering on Diana Beebe (@DianaBeebeTX). You see, I’ve been partaking in the virtual kool-aid that is twitter wordsprints like #wordmongering and #junowrimo and #1k1h and all that rapid writing has left me pretty batty. And that’s when I start sending out tweets like this…

Then I brought back this little ditty from the 90’s:

@DianaBeebeTX I thought of another song for you! Eh-hem.. Just wanna sit and write do do do do All Day All Night! Just wanna sit AND WRITE!

— Jess Witkins (@jesswitkins) June 10, 2013

And then there’s the classic jock jams special:

@DianaBeebeTX Thinking of doing a whole number to: stomp stomp clap, stomp stomp clap – WE WILL WE WILL WRITE MORE! – stomp stomp clap 😀

— Jess Witkins (@jesswitkins) June 13, 2013

WHAT COULD BE NEXT?!

Follow me on Twitter and find out… @jesswitkins

Join in! Leave an alternative song lyric! About writing, or anything, really!

Shake your pens! Watch ya self!

Shake your pens! Show me whatchu wanna write!

Redhot Women: We Met Them on Twitter

We’re Baaaaack!  Marcia Richards and I are serving up another REDHOT edition of:

The Redhots!

Today, we’re introducing you to two women from the Twitterverse who we think exemplify what it means to be REDHOT!

Marcia’s guest will show you how to feng shui your home!  Don’t miss it!  Go say hello!

And my guest, I admit, I actually found through YouTube and then twitter stalked found her!  She’s the owner of the only beauty salon and bookshop, Beauty and the Book, plus the founder and Queen of the WORLD’S largest book club!

Introducing Kathy Patrick

JW:  You own the only Beauty Salon and Bookshop in the country.  What has it meant to work everyday at the two things you love most?  And how did your shop come about?

KP:  Everyday I wake up at the crack of dawn as I can’t wait to do what I love to do, make people feel better about themselves, BEAUTY, and talk about great reads, BOOKS, thus my shop is Beauty and the Book.  These two are the best marriage ever and for me it makes my life always a celebration of big love!  I don’t go to work, I go to play and get paid for it!  Do the thing you love and you’ll never work another day in your life but then you will never work harder.  Your work will just seem like play, at least it does for me.  If I was rich, I would do what I do for free.  Unfortunately, I have bills just like everybody else so I have to charge.

My shop, Beauty and the Book, came about because I lost my job as a book publisher’s representative.  Due to the influx of large box stores coming in to my four state territory, the independent bookstores that I called on began to close in droves.  Since I was the last one hired, I was the first one fired, as my boss put it downsized.  So it was my sister who suggested to me to go back to doing hair.  That’s how I put myself through college.  When I told her I would be bored just doing hair, she said, “Do the book thing too!”  Beauty and the Book was born!  It’s all in the first chapter of my book, When Life Hands You a Lemon, forget Lemonade, Make Margaritas.  My book is called “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life” and is the first book you are to read when you become an Official Pulpwood Queen Book Club member!

You also lead the world’s LARGEST book club!  Tell us about the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys passion for literacy and dialogue. 

I have always had my nose stuck in a book so when the local book club invited me to come join their book club when I opened my shop, I jumped at the chance.  You can imagine my surprise and embarrassment when after blurting out how happy I was to be FINALLY in a book club, the hostess pulled me out into the galley of her plantation home.  “I’m sorry, but we didn’t invite you to join our book club but to be a guest.”  This is not in my book but I wish I had put it in there as that is exactly why I started The Pulpwood Queens of East Texas Book Club “where tiaras are mandatory and reading good books is the rule!”  Our book club would be inclusive not exclusive and anybody could be in our book club.  Who makes up those silly rules anyhoo!  So six complete strangers joined me and everybody else has been joining us ever since.  We aren’t your mama’s book club and our book club is not homework.  

We aren’t your mama’s book club!

If it isn’t fun, well, quite frankly Jess, I’m just not doing it!  I challenge all my now 550 world wide book clubs to take on a literacy mission.  For me it’s The Dolly Parton Imagination Library Project which helps children get reading ready for school.  Dolly makes reading fun as each child in my county from birth to kindergarten gets a FREE book to read and enjoy.  We want everybody to understand and be on the same page that reading is the best entertainment in the world and the side benefits are if you become a real reader, school just makes more sense.  Reading is as important to a child as water, food, shelter and a loving home.  Pull a child onto your lap and read to them.  Tell me that isn’t the best way to show love to your child.

The Pulpwood Queens, like yourself, are full of extraordinary, confident, intelligent, and talented women!  You ladies know how to have fun and live life large.  Tell us a secret!  (We know you have them!)  😉

The Pulpwood Queens are the largest “meeting and discussing” book club in the world as I crown girls Queen, they lead their own book club their own way.  I give them ownership but I do ask, no wait, command as their queen to read the books I select.  I am also on a mission to not only make them read, but I select books from oftentimes first time, first book authors. I also love to help those authors whose books change lives like Sam Bracken and Echo Garrett’s book “My Orange Duffel Bag”.  Echo sent me the book and I was blown away.  Another charity of choice is their not for profit, www.myorangeduffelbag.com as this helps teens make the right choices. It’s quite a story and one that makes the world a better place.

 
Somebody also needs to introduce the next Harper Lee’s, Margaret Mitchell’s, Ernest Hemingway’s, well, you get the picture.  I also ask each chapter to champion a literacy cause and my goodness these girls are blowing me away.  In fact, I came up with a KAT Award for just that.  Last year, my winners went to my South Louisiana chapter that provides books for a whole school in Nicaragua.  My Alaska chapter started a prison chapter and have now started a paroled prison chapter.  My Colorado Queen started a brand new school library for a Native American Indian School in North Dakota.  I could go on and on and on on these girls.  We aren’t just a book club, we are literacy leaders!
 
My secret is to make reading fun!  For years I watched parents drag their children to the book store of which I was a Children’s Manager and Buyer.  Looking for books with the most points, the accelerated reading program had sucked all the fun out of reading books.  So I told them a story, the story of a boy who survived a plane crash to swim out of the plane as it was sinking with only an ax.  He had to learn how to live with that one precious possession.  Then I would stop, “More, more they would cry!”  I would then hand them Gary Paulson’s “The Hatchet” and you couldn’t keep them from reading the book, they had to know the full story.
My secret is to make reading fun!  So, I told them a story!
  
Basically it is the same way with adults so why not approach reading as entertainment than a lesson.  So we don tiaras, wear boas and leopard print.  I give them license to rule as reading queens then I select books that make them want to read.  What if a nearly broke general store owner was receiving a grandfather clock in shipment.  One that if sold could bring her out of the threat of foreclosure.  And what would happen if when a crow bar was taken to open the box and if instead of finding a clock, you found a man.  A man who steps out of the box, oh the mystery.  Hook, line, and sinker my friends, welcome to “Man in the Blue Moon” by Michael Morris.  Reading is an adventure, so we go on many literary adventures in either our book club meetings or on our literary trips.  So far we have been to Italy, France, a cruise to Bahamas, England, and I take my Pulpwood Queens with me where ever I go to book festivals, speaking engagements, and why not have some big time fun while we are at it.  I even took five of my book club members on my book tour, 27 stops, 7,000 miles, and they are my best friends in the whole wide world!


With your video chats for Beauty and the Book, you’ve interviewed and come to know many authors in such fantastic ways!  You’ve gone vintage clothes shopping with Karen Abbott, you’ve had Lisa See cook dinner for you, and you’ve gone real estate hunting with Fannie Flagg!  What author are you still wishing to meet, and what activity would you want to do together? 

Today my answer is Dolly Parton as her new book released “Dream More” and she is a literacy promoting hero!  And if I could just spend the day with her singing perhaps, I love to sing harmony, alto, and talk to her about an adult literacy idea I have involving music.  She is my inspiration, in fact, I wrote all about her in my book too!  I’d also love to meet former President Bill Clinton because after reading his books, he’s as big a reader as I am.  Or Tom Wolfe, love everything that man writes, perhaps, Barbara Kingsolver.  You’ve heard the term, “So many books, too little time”.  I feel the same way about authors.  I want to meet them all!!!

As a hairdresser, I’m sure you stay up on the latest trends, but you also focus on inner beauty with your clients.  Tell us your best beauty advice!  And ok, share a guilty pleasure beauty buy too! 

My beauty secret is common sense, good skin care and a healthy lifestyle.  But if you have to invest in one thing, invest in a smile!  The hardest thing for some people to invest in, but a smile will get you more than anything money could buy.  I work on zero budget.  I have found that being kind, loving people and being gracious when people tell you a flat out no will get you more places than expensive anything.  But don’t take no for a final answer, offer something else and if they say no, offer something else.  Pretty soon, they will say yes or at least think about your passion!  The secret to the fountain of youth is finding your passion.  It keeps you alive, vibrant, and ready for anything.  I just refuse to give up.  I’ll get there eventually or die trying!  My guilty pleasure is dreaming beyond your wildest dreams.  

If you have to invest in one thing, invest in a smile!

 What’s next for Kathy Patrick and her Pulpwood Queens? 
Well, my documentary on my reading life and Girlfriend Weekend is now finished by film maker William Torgerson.  We premiered FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS at the Phenom International Film Festival in Shreverport/Bossier City, Louisiana and it WON the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film!  Ta da!  I plan on taking it to book festivals across the country to share our love of reading!

 
I am also working on my next book, “Eureka”, which is a novel, no kidding!  I try to break all the rules!
 
And I haven’t given up on having my own book club talk show, so if anybody is with a network, please check out my Beauty and the Book Show at www.beautyandthebookshow.com.
 
I plan on starting next year a Writer’s Retreat and there is nothing I adore more than authors and learning the art and craft of sharing a story whether true or fiction.  The sky is the limit as far as sharing my love of books!  I would like to spend more time speaking to children, students on my love for reading and already have many speaking engagements lined up to do just that!
 
So when it comes to talking books, I am so there!  All I ask is for someone to give me that chance to help books change peoples lives for the better like they have for me!  I’ll end with my favorite quote, “Life is not made up of atoms, but stories!” by Muriel Rukheyser and to me it’s our stories that separate us from the animals, it’s what makes us real and human.  We live in the world that everyday is isolating us from each other.  People need community and I can think of no better way to create that community than through books.
“Life is not made up of atoms, but stories!” by Muriel Rukheyser
Kathy, thanks so much for sharing your REDHOT dreams and passion for books with us!  
Readers can learn more by visiting you here:
And don’t forget to see who our REDHOT guest is at Marcia’s today too!
Thanks for dropping by!  Stick around and we’ll see you in the comments section!

What the Music Industry Can Teach Us About the Publishing One, Part 2

Hello and welcome back music lovers and readers!  We’re continuing our chat about the music industry and what we can learn from it in terms of the publishing field.  Missed out on Part 1?  No fear!  Click here!

What’s our focus today?

Social Media in the Music Industry

But first, meet our band!

TUGG:  Andrew Hughes-Vocals/Guitar, Joe Gantzer-Guitar/Keyboard, Jake McLees-Bass, and Ben Rohde-Drums

(Excerpt from their California Tour DVD – filmed and edited by Rob Born, Resident Cameraman, literally…He told me I’m his favorite roommate!)  *grins*

Here them play!  

And see more mustaches.

Bradley Was a DJ

Lovers Rock

Like the tunes?  You can win both songs and more by commenting on today’s post!  Chances improve by commenting on Part 1 or tweeting both posts!  Winner receives a FREE copy of TUGG’s full album:

Come Sunrise

Social Media:  The Why’s, the What’s In It For Me, and its Wonders (fans!)

Jess:  There are many positive effects surrounding e-publishing:  readers can check out excerpts of your book before buying, cost is less overall, authors earn more (on average), receipt of the product is instant.  But all these advancements mean we market and perform differently.  Book clubs and book bloggers have become a widely watched group of people because their reviews are now driving book sales.  Do you think the impact on music sales or concert attendance is as driven by audience at this time?

Andy:  Yes I do.  The audience is driving the boat.  We’re an independent band so we can’t book a tour on the promise or premise that we’ll sell out the venue.  The promoters and venues have to trust that we have the audience reach or the potential to reach the audience in that market.  When we get to a point within a market that we know we’ll be successful I think it changes.  We control our own destiny a little bit more and then it becomes our responsibility to grow that market and make sure we are doing a good job of getting our products into their hands.

Blogging for authors has become a way for the writer to interact with his readers.  We can get to know one another by commenting and sharing personal stories.  In what ways does the band outreach to its listeners?

We’re constantly doing Social Media and meeting our friends/fans.  When we meet folks at shows we always try and get connected with them on a social media platform or exchange numbers so we can text them.  Anyway that we can keep the conversation open and let them know when we’ll be back in their town.  Our audience, which become our friends is the backbone of everything we do.  When we go to a new market, our goal is simple.  Make at least 1 new friend on this night and in this city.  If we can at the very least do that we’re successful.  The second part of that equation is that hopefully and usually that 1 friend brings a friend the next time.  So if we do our job well and keep in touch with the first friend, hopefully everytime we come back to that city our crowd grows outward from that one fan.  Then you start having more and more little groups that just keep growing.  Honestly, those are the folks that year after year are who we put on our guest-list when we play, that original friend we made on our first or second time through a city.

When we go to a new market, our goal is simple.  Make at least 1 new friend on this night and in this city.

We also have found it to be important to keep sharing our music and ideas with our friends.  Sites like Bandcamp and Jam’s Space, and YouTube have been a  great way for us to keep offering our true friends/fans incentives, free music, etc.

L to R: Andrew Hughes, Ben Rohde, Jake McLees; Center: Joe Gantzer

What’s the best way a fan can support the band?

The best way for someone to support us is to friend us, like us, follow us, share us, etc on Social Media and our website http://www.tuggmusic.com.  From there, buying our albums and merchandise from us at our shows is the best way to monetarily support the band.  If you are not able to get to a show then buying and sharing our albums on things like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, etc are also solid ways to show support.  We’re all about sharing.  In our industry sharing is truly caring.  If we can get 50 people in 1 day to share our Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/tuggmusic) in a few days and we get 100 more “likes” it means everything.

Growing fans is like oxygen for artists and performers.  We thrive on our audience’s excitement.  With technology’s advancements for instant download of a book or album, they’re also much hungrier for “the next big thing” that much quicker.  Many writers have released novellas and flash fiction pieces to maintain presence in the reader’s mind.  Do you think the same process applies in music with the increase in singles and EP’s?

Yes definitely.  We’ve talked about this as a band and we’re actually in the middle of releasing music for this very reason.  We live in a “what have you done for me lately” society and it is no different being a musician/artist.  As you said, everyone is looking for the next big release or next big something constantly.  We were releasing 1 album a year for our first 3-4 years and we feel like we’re behind.  We’re actually going to release some tracks that we recorded around the time we did our last EP Home Brew as it’s own EP on iTunes digitally.  We will begin to record our next full length album at the end of this month.  We figured that doing this release now will give us a little room and space to release the full length album on our own terms as far as a timetable.  It’s nice to be able to put something out and then put your head down to work on the next when the rest of the world is just starting to digest that release…..at least that is our plan.

How has social media changed the number of your followers?  Do you think it has impacted your music sales?

Yes it completely has.  Our last 3 albums have gone to the Top 50 Chart on iTunes Reggae.  Our last album Home Brew went to #2 and it is directly because of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter in that order.  It has also changed the way in which we can tour and hit markets when we play out.  Because of Facebook and Twitter we are able to pack in places consistently and keep our overhead lower.  We don’t have to spend a whole lot of money on advertisements but we can still bring people into venues so it’s a definite win and something that has changed the way we do business for the better.

[Social media] has also changed the way in which we can tour and hit markets when we play out.

The writing community is full of wonderful, talented individuals.  But the act of writing is a solitary career.  How would your life be different as a solo musician?  What has the band meant to you personally and professionally?

My life as a solo musician would be a completely new experience.  I started music as part of a band and I have always been a part of a group.  I learned guitar so that I could musically contribute to the group dynamic.  For me, all I know about music is about being with a group of people that collaborate to create.  I don’t know if I could be a “Solo Musician”.  I think I need that group dynamic around me to feel comfortable with what I do.  It’s easier to know your place, what to do.  I know how I fit into the group and what my contributions must be.  I’ve also been lucky, especially with the lineup now to be surrounded by some of the most talented people I’ve ever known, so I try and be like a sponge most of the time….musically speaking.  A lot of my learning and growth as a musician and a songwriter is done like that.  Soaking up a little of the sheer greatness that’s constantly moving around me.  Besides the technical aspect of creating music with a group I will have to say that being in this band, and hopefully to anyone else that does what I do…being in a band is one of the greatest feelings you can know.  You form a brothership and there is this sense of comradery that I can’t really explain and there’s is really nothing else like it…

Truth:  Worst thing about being on tour.

Missing my wife and daughters.

Best thing about being on tour.  And where was your favorite show played so far?

Creating experiences through music and getting to share those with my best friends.  Also, the people we get to meet and some of the sights we get to see.

Favorite show: House of Blues Chicago with The Dirty Heads on St. Patrick’s Day (Sold Out)

What do you predict is next for the music industry?  Any wishes for the next 10 years?

I don’t know what’s next for the music industry other than it’s going to change, and it’s going to happen quick.  
I think that as far as format (Mp3 downloads on iTunes, etc) it will stay generally the way it is for a while but the delivery method is going to get crazy.  So there, that is my prediction.  Something huge is going to happen with the Delivery Format of music.  Like we’ll get into our shower and the shower head is going to ask us if we want to download the latest Katy Perry Record or something, haha.

My wishes for the next 10 years is to be able to continue doing what I am doing and hopefully being able to grow it into something that me and the band can comfortably do full-time.

Andy, thank you again for  contributing your thoughts on what it takes to stay competitive and smart in our industries!  Social media is everywhere now, but you have to use it wisely to be successful, and TUGG is definitely exhibiting some smart business moves and growing a fan base from your interactions!  Much success to all of you!

TUGG’s official website

TUGG on Facebook

TUGG on Twitter

Got a question for TUGG?  Share an opinion on social media?  What’s your favorite medium?  I think mine’s Twitter…which is funny cuz I can’t write short blog posts to save my life!

Happy Weekend Everyone!  See you in the comments section!

Short Circuit: Why It’s Good to Know People Who Know Technical Stuff

Recently my abilities on the world wide web doubled.  While attending the DFW Writers’ Conference, my roommate and Twitter extraordinaire, Julie Glover, taught me how to resize a photo.

Now, my twitter profile picture actually looks like me!  It was kind of fun though, having an online makeover.  I went from long hair and bangs to a short pixie cut!  And of course, Julie ran wild with it on twitter, telling everyone she cut my hair in the hotel room last night.  LOL.

Actual picture of Me and Julie at the DFW Conference
(image from avclub.com)

With a little help from Julie, I was feeling brave and clicky!  I went to edit my profile and figured out how to upload a photo of mine as my background!  Now when you view my twitter page, you can see the view from the bluffs, overlooking Myrick Marsh!  A favorite hiking spot of mine.

Then there was Jillian Dodd, who taught Julie and I about Search Engine Optimization.  She links her name to her book title, or to key themes of her blogs, as well as the phrases themselves to best help people find her online.  We got into an interesting discussion all about SEO.  I’m still no expert, so if you want to know more about it, read Kristen Lamb’s post Search Engines – Your Personal Genie to Build Your Author Brand.

Jillian invites me over the SEO Darkside!
(image from wikipedia.org)

Jillian also shared with us how much of her blog reading and twitter comments she does from her phone!

Eh? What’s that you say?
(image from cracked.com)

I know, right?  Using your phone as your office on the go!  That’s ingenious!  She must work for Apple.

So, now, yours truly downloaded the WordPress app, and I’m loving it!  Now, I use my lunch hour at the dreaded day job to read and comment on your blogs!  Or to reply to comments I receive!  Now, I don’t feel like I’m running to my computer to catch up anymore once I’m home.

But, I didn’t stop there!  Oh no!  I downloaded the WP app for my kindle, and also downloaded the Kindle for PC app on my computer.  I needed it when I had to try to transfer a .mobi file onto my kindle and after wasting an hour, *head desk*, realized I couldn’t do it cause I didn’t have the adapter plug in.  However, I can now access those files and all my downloaded books on my computer as well as my kindle!  What sweet, sweet ease!

Now I can start plotting to take over the world! (image from google images)

Lastly, more thoughtful advice came from Julie when I asked her how she learned how to do all this stuff?  I always feel so clueless.  And I won’t lie, I am totally that individual that won’t click on any buttons they don’t know cause I BELIEVE my computer will self destruct.  I’m that paranoid cautious.

You know what she does?  She YouTubes it!  She looks for tutorials or blog posts that walk you through how to do it.  I LOVE THIS IDEA!  I’m such a visual learner!

(image from izismile.com)

I don’t know why I never thought of that, but I’m so happy Julie did.  And I’m even more happy that Julie shared it with me.

So, what’s my guilty pleasure this week?  It’s people.  People who know Technological-techy-computer-kindle-phone stuff.  They’re good peeps. 

What’s your latest guilty pleasure or tech lesson?

Scams: A Guest Post by David N. Walker

It’s another round of the Life List Club blog hop!  Here with me today is David N. Walker, Texan Extraordinaire!  He’s here today to teach us all a lesson about scams.  And you can find me over at Jenny Hansen’s blog, More Cowbell, talking about why wearing pajamas might be the best thing you do for your career!  Sort of…

You can also visit the other Life List Club crew by clicking on any of the names in the sidebars of our blogs and we’ll all be around in the comments section!  See you there!

Scams by David N. Walker

WANA: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Not too long ago, everyone in my Yahoo contact list received an email purporting to be from me and stating that I was stranded in Madrid penniless and without ID because I’d been mugged. More recently I received this email.

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is Barrister Manuel Francisco Suarez Calafell, an Attorney at Law, in Madrid-Espana.

I am writing to notify you of the unclaimed inheritance deposit (US$37.3Million) of our late client, Mr. MROTZEK GERD who passed on to the Great beyond on August 21st, 2008 in the Spanair Flight JK-502 2 Crash in Madrid.

I got your name and email address through a web search engine in my quest to get a reliable individual who shall work with me in claiming this inheritance deposit since all efforts to get the biological relative has proved abortive.

Conclusively, I await your urgent response to include the following:(1).Your full Names & Address. (2).Your Telephone and Fax numbers. (3).Your business name if any: for more information on how to release the inheritance deposit, procedure and legality of this claim via email: manuelfrancisccalafell.suarez@aim.com

Regards,
Manuel Francisco Suarez Calafell (Esq)
Attorney At Law

Has Spain become the new Nigeria? I haven’t received anything lately from any Nigerian bankers asking me for a processing fee so they could send me several million dollars. Maybe someone from Spain stole all their computers.

Have you been spammed with any junk like this letter? Had your email account commandeered or your identity stolen? This seems to be growing in seriousness.

David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since his retirement from insurance a few years ago, he has devoted his time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel himself.

Three Ways to Trick Yourself Into Organizing Your Social Media

Happy Life List Club Friday, everyone! I’m so happy to be here at Jess’ Happiness Project again. It’s so much fun ’cause you never know what could happen. She could jump out from behind the screen in a crazy costume or bring in a critter she found on vacation, like that baby alligator, and scare the you-know-what right out of me!

“Who me?”

Anyway, Jess is occupied now over at the blog of our newest Life List Club writer, Lara Schiffbauer. PLEASE go over to visit Jess when you’re done here so I won’t get pranked. While you’re there, say ‘Hi’ to Lara and introduce yourself. So, while I’m here and Jess is over there, Sonia Medeiros is at my blog Doing The Write Thing by entertaining you all. Stop by and give her some comment luv, too, would you? Thanks.

Note: Since I began writing this post, several other bloggers’ posts have been published with similar and/or additional useful information. I’ll link to some of those posts in the body of mine.

I know, you’re asking why should you have to tone down your socializing. Being social and friendly is so much more fun than working, right? Right.  You can socialize all you want IF you don’t have a day job, a book to write, a family to feed, a need to sleep now and then.

We’ve all admitted to having a very full schedule and now we’re adding social media networking on top of it. That means you have to allot a specified amount of time to take care of your social networking ‘needs’. I’m going to show you how you can have fun and not overdo it at the same time. Bonus – you’ll also be able to keep track of whom you’ve visited or supported!

My Desk Before*

Now don’t get the idea that any of these organizational skills come naturally. Uh, uh. Only since I’ve been retired have I had the time to work at being organized. Prior to that, it was hit-or-miss success with keeping it all together. I have always been a list maker and that’s the ONLY thing that saved my butt previously. Even now, it’s a struggle but it keeps my fading memory from totally burning out.

One important thing to remember: Writing is a business. Start treating it like one and you’ll be amazed how productive you can be.

Roll up those sleeves. We’re about to start working smarter, not harder, at keeping up with our self-imposed obligations to network and support others.

1. Get Tough – Make a list of all the blogs you follow. Assess each blog on the list and decide if it falls into one or more of the following categories: Blogs I LOVE, Blogs with info I NEED. Some will overlap categories and some won’t fit at all. For those that don’t fit into either category–UNSUBSCRIBE.

While you’re listing them, put them into a spreadsheet format where you can keep track of whom you visited. Fabio Bueno published a great post on this so, instead of writing my own explanation, check out his HERE.

Overall, I probably cut out about 1/3 of the blogs I was reading. You can do it, too. When you try to find relevance in what they have to offer you and you find there isn’t much–snip, snip. I’m left with the blogs to which I’m comfortable giving my time and support.

 2. My Editorial Plan – a. Take the time to write enough blog posts to cover you for two weeks and then maintain that number. If you just can’t find the time to do that, at the very least, write 2 blog posts that you can save for emergencies.

b. Stockpile a list of topics that are timely, interesting and viable for your blog. I use a big desk calendar–you know the kind with big squares for each day. This is where I plan my topics for each posting day. I write very specific topics on my posting day squares. When the blogs have been written, had photos and links added, and scheduled in the queue, I write DONE in the square. I can see at a glance how many more need to be written or whether I need to go back to a particular post and add pictures.

c. If you use WordPress for your blog, you can schedule a specific publishing date and time, and you can set it up to automatically post your blog to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

d. Planning ahead for Tweeting is even easier when you use TweetDeck or HootSuite to schedule the tweets to go out 2-3 times a day. Jenny Hansen at More Cowbell just posted about a new-ish timesaver for promoting your own blog posts, as well as those of others. It’s called Triberr. It will increase the number of people you reach with your posts, too. Check out Jenny’s post HERE, and then watch for her next two posts in the series that further explain this new idea.

My Desk After*

3. Watch the Clock – Decide how much time you can realistically devote to social media. Your WIP writing should take precedence. After all, you’ll have no writing business without the written product. Determine how many hours you need to devote to your WIP.

Then comes the foundation of your platform, your blog. How much time do you need to keep up with it each week? For example, if it takes you 2 hours to write posts for your Wednesday theme and 3 hours to write for your Friday theme, 30 minutes for ROW80 and your easy day’s post only takes 1 hour, you need 6 1/2 -7 hours a week to write for your blog.

How many hours do you have left in your week for other social media? You still need to read other blogs, comment on them and tweet/facebook/google+ them.

This is where you begin feeling overwhelmed, right? I’m going to set you free from guilt right now! No matter what your schedule looks like –

No one has unlimited time to support and network with other writers, friends, and associates. You are not alone!

Do not feel guilty if you don’t comment on every post everyday-even for your close friends. If you can’t keep up, shorten your list. Choose one day a week to visit, comment and promote. OR Choose to visit, comment and promote on no more than two posts a week for each person. There is no reason to feel a sense of urgency in commenting on blogs. Whenever you are able to visit, the post will be there, still shiny and new for you. Your comment at any time will be appreciated.

If you’re regularly following more than 25 blogs, you should take a closer look at how many of those are really important and beneficial to you, then see where you can make that list more manageable.

Do you have other timesaving practices to share? What’s your biggest time-suck?

*All images from Google

     Marcia Richards is a veteran blogger and author of Marcia Richards’ Blog…Sexy. Smart. From The Heart. Marcia writes about Sweet Obsessions, Women, History, and the path to realizing your dreams. She has a Historical Trilogy and a collection of Short stories in progress. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing with the grandkids or her husband, traveling or turning old furniture into works of art. She believes there is always something new to learn.

Come hang out with Marcia at: http://twitter.com/MarciaARichards or http://facebook.com/MarciaARichards .

Visit Marcia at: http://Marcia-Richards.com

A Most Memorable Thanksgiving: Guest Post by David Walker

Welcome to the great Thanksgiving Blog Swap!  Basically, today you will find me at David’s place, and David is here with me today.  We’re both talking about Thanksgiving.  I encourage you to hop over to David’s and learn about a very meaningful ancestor in my family tree, and here, David’s providing your humorous travel guide to celebrating the holidays in a chill new way!  Enjoy!

A Most Memorable Thanksgiving

When I was growing up, my family joined with two other families in owning a cabin in Ute Park, New Mexico, which is 54 mi southwest of Raton and 43 mi northeast of Taos and about 600 miles from our home in Fort Worth:

We enjoyed spending a week or so there every summer so much that Dad decided one year to go there for what ended up being probably my most memorable Thanksgiving. Before we get into details of the trip, however, I need to tell you a bit about Ute Park and our cabin.

Ute Park sits at an elevation of a bit over 7400 feet above sea level. This makes for wonderful summer temperatures with no airconditioning required. In fact, since the cabin was built as a summer getaway place, we intentionally left a space of several inches open between the walls and the roof, and, of course, there were no interior ceilings in a rustic cabin like that.

Okay, now to Thanksgiving. We were excited as we loaded our 1955 Pontiac Station Wagon for the trip up there. Even with four bickering kids in the car—well, three since I was always perfectly behaved—it was a reasonably enjoyable trip since the wagon allowed us to spread out a bit.

Although I don’t specifically remember, I suspect it was dark when we arrived, since it was nearing winter solstice, and the speed limit was 60 without a single mile of interstate highway. It was a long trip even with summer hours.

What I do specifically remember is that the low temperature the first morning we were there was six degrees Fahrenheit, followed by lows of four and five the other two mornings we were there. Anybody think about that year-round airconditioning built between the walls and roof when we planned this trip? I don’t think so.

Of course, a summer cabin doesn’t have any kind of heating built into it. The only source of heat we had was the range and oven. You should have seen us huddling around that! Or trying to ignore morning and staying under the covers in bed.

The daytime temperatures didn’t really bother us all that much. I guess after such extreme morning lows, even us Texans could handle the rest of the day. We had about as good a time as any family which included one daughter who could never get along with anyone.

The highlight of the trip was Dad’s decision to cut down our own Christmas tree and haul it back home. Why pay $25 or $30 (I think that was about what they cost back then) when you could cut your own for free? After all, we had acres and acres of pine trees around the place.

                                                        

My dad was a brilliant man. High school valedictorian, pretty much all A’s in college, high standing in medical school. Except when he had a brain freeze, which he did at this time.

Once we picked out a tree and cut it down and hauled it back to the cabin, he tied the base of it to the back of the car and the top to the front bumper. Visualize that, although he didn’t. Pine tree limbs grow reaching upward, which means that once we had it tied in that position they were reaching forward.

Anyone see a problem with aerodynamics here? The whole time we were driving down the road, the wind was trying to spread the limbs open—and lift the tree off the car, which it did several times. I don’t know how many times we had to stop and retie it to the car, but we continued to tie it with the limbs facing forward.

The trip home didn’t really take a month. It just seemed like it. Funny, we never heard another suggestion from my dad that we go to Ute Park in the winter—or that we haul a Christmas tree 600 miles across the country to save a few dollars.

David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since his retirement from insurance a few years ago, he has devoted his time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel himself.

Life Lessons from a True Pilot

It’s Life List Friday again!  I hope you all enjoyed the Milestone Party and took time to celebrate your own milestones on your life lists too.  I’m happy to welcome back David Walker, Texas Ranger (sorry, David, I couldn’t resist).  I can be found over at Jennie Bennett’s blog today talking about indulgences, and why you need them.  See you all soon!

David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather and a grounded pilot. He cofounded Warrior Writers Boot Camp with Kristen Lamb. You can read more of his posts at http://davwalk.wordpress.com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx. Today’s blog is not about life goals, but rather about a life lesson learned.

The Arapahoe Airport

My private pilot’s license was less than thirty days old as I pushed the throttle on the Cherokee 140 to the firewall. The 150 horsepower engine came to life, and we began to roll down the runway.

The long runway at Arapahoe Airport—now called Centennial Airport—runs north and south. It had larger planes than mine stacked up for takeoff, so I was directed to the shorter east-west runway. Not to worry. I was used to flying the 140, and in all of my experience I’d never come close to using all the space we had available for takeoff.

Did I mention I had three adults and two small kids piled into this four-place airplane? Did I mention my little sister had brought a suitcase full of used cannonballs? No sweat, though, we still weren’t overloaded since my daughter and nephew were both preschool age.

As we rolled down the runway something seemed amiss. We weren’t gaining speed as fast as we should. Hmmm . . . About two-thirds of the way down the runway I pulled back on the yoke to lift us into the air, and the red stall light came on.

My first thought was thank God the 140 didn’t have a stall horn like Cessnas did. My sister would have gone into a panic, and there’s no telling what might have happened.

Second thought was did I have time to brake to a stop before I ran out of real estate? Someone had thoughtfully put a barbed-wire fence at the end of the runway to separate it from a deep valley just beyond, so overshooting was not an option.

Maintaining a calm exterior somehow or other, I waited until the last second to get all the speed I could and then jerked hard on the yoke to try to lift us into the air. At this point, you’ll just have to take my word for what happened. God sent a couple of angels to toss the plane into the air and over the fence. After figuring out what the problem was, I realized there was no way the plane could have become airborne on its own.

That deep valley I mentioned became very important at this point. I was soon several hundred feet above the ground and could point the nose down slightly to gain airspeed. After a gradual climb to a safe altitude, I relaxed a little and began to ponder what had gone wrong.

Wait a minute . . . density altitude! I’d read about that in my training. I knew that as the ambient temperature rises the effective altitude rises also, but in my flying around Oklahoma City I gave it little thought. So what if the density altitude was 2000 or 2500 feet instead of the actual 1300 feet. No real effect on performance.

But this airport in the suburbs south of Denver sat just under 6000 feet. With the 95 degree heat, the density altitude probably approached the service ceiling of the little 140. How stupid was I?

People had told me that a private pilot’s license is just a license to begin learning to fly. I’d thought of it as a bullet-proof shield. That arrogance and inattention had almost got my daughter, my mother, my sister and my nephew killed.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that was the last mistake I made in flying, but it was the last time I made that particular one. Never again would I just blithely plan a flight without considering the effects of the loaded weight, the altitude of the airport and the heat of the day. Like the Missouri mule, I could learn if you whacked me in the head with a two-by-four to get my attention.

     A graduate of Duke University, I spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of my career was spent in Texas, but for a few years I traveled many other states. I started writing about 20 years ago, and have six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since my retirement from insurance a few years ago, I have devoted my time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel myself.

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