Monday, September 28, 2015

Adventures with Hootsuite

For a long time, I've been toying with the idea of using Hootsuite to schedule tweets. I finally took the plunge, but must confess it's been challenging.

Since I'm still figuring out Twitter, there's a double learning curve. Usually, I tweet other people's stuff plus my blog posts. Writing 120 character blurbs bores me silly.

Ah, and then there's Facebook. I belong to a lot of groups, but still don't know how to schedule posts to them. I've tried looking at YouTube videos, but my Internet connection is slow. The screen shots and directions also rival the fine print in one of those TV commercials.

Bottom line: This is an appeal for a simple cheat sheet on how to schedule posts for Facebook Groups on Hootsuite. I could sure use some advice.

Writers:  Do you use Hootsuite or another service to schedule posts on Social Media? Which one do you prefer and why?

Readers: If you blog, do you schedule your posts on Facebook using Hootsuite

Photo Credit:  Maxime Perron Caissy

Friday, September 25, 2015

Comparable Titles/Social Media/Encouragement/Devo/Pumpkin

1. One of the toughest parts of writing a book proposal is finding comparable titles. Zoe M. McCarthy gives us some great ways to accomplish that task.

2.  Have you ever had a Facebook friend or Twitter follower drive you crazy with their posts? Shannan, at the Procrastiwriter shares her experience and gives tips on how to purge your social media.

3.  Publishing can be a long road, and it's easy to get discouraged. Edie Melson gives 19 thing to remember when publishing.

4.  Rhonda Schrock shares a devotional, "Breathe in, breathe out."

5.  With fall here, pumpkin recipes are in demand. I discovered one for Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins. (Now, you knew there had to be chocolate in there someplace!) Let me know how they turn out, and maybe I'll make them for Thanksgiving.

Writers and Readers:  How do you handle obnoxious Facebook friends?

Photo Credit:  Jean Scheijen

Monday, September 21, 2015

Writing Nugget - Keep Some Water in the Tea Kettle

Tea kettles are great, but I've learned from experience to keep some water in them at all times. If you forget to turn off the stove, you could end up with a burned kettle or a fire. One time, I even had a glass version crack.

I always keep some writing ideas stored in my tea kettle brain. Instead of writing down every thought, I end a session in the middle of a scene or chapter. This helps me continue the story without staring at a blank page and ending up with a burned-out mind.

Writers:  What are some techniques you use to keep the ideas flowing?

Readers:  If you're a blogger, how do you come up with fresh content?

Photo Credit:  Samantha Sargent

Friday, September 18, 2015

Image Types/Graphics/Colors/Phishing/Devo

1.  I found a site called, BuildBookBuzz. This particular article talks about boosting your social media success with 3 image types. I signed up for their emails, and they sent me several free resources that I was able to download.

2.  Wow! I'm loving this BuildBookBuzz website. I clicked on another link and found an article on how to pick the right images for your blog posts. Graphics catch people's attention and draw them into the content. There were some great tips here.

3.  AddThis is my choice for blog buttons. They recently sent me an article on why the right color palette matters for your brand.

4.  A lot of scoundrels want to get your information. Blogging Bistro warns about a phishing scam on Facebook.

5.  We've covered lots of social media issues so far in this post, so it's time to change it up. Dena Netherton talks about a "Cathedral of Cedars" near her home. She's found a place to walk/jog where she can have some quiet moments with God.

Writers:  Most of the time I gravitate to Christian writer blogs. Lately, I've been gleaning some great information from general market writers. Do you check out general market resources for writers? If so, what are some of your favorites?

Readers:  Do you keep an eye out for scams that target those on social media? One of the ways I head off trouble on Facebook is to look up someone on my Friend List before accepting a friend request. This has helped me avoid friending a hacker more than once. What are some of the things you do to prevent problems on Facebook?

Have a blessed week!

Photo Credit:  Jenny Kennedy-Olsen

Monday, September 14, 2015

Interview and Giveaway - Jeanette Levellie

Let's welcome Jeanette Levellie to Christian Writer/Reader Connection! Jeanette has a new book out called, "Shock the Clock." I love that title, don't you? Jen is going deeper with this interview and sharing a bit of her history.

1.  What would you say is the theme of your life?

Grace in many forms, hope, and humor.

2.  How has the Lord shown His grace to you throughout your life, and now, in your middle years?

I grew up in an alcoholic family, and my parents divorced when I was six. My mom married another alcoholic when I was nine, and my real daddy, a sweet guy whom I loved dearly, died seven months later. As a teen, I rebelled against my parents and acted out from a deep sense of abandonment and rejection. God never gave up on me, and forty years ago, He led me to a great man of God, Kevin Levellie, to be my husband. We won't hold it against him that he's a preacher!

Now, as the parent of two adults who struggle with various issues, I'm learning that God's grace is sufficient for every trial. No one is exempt from trials, but some are more victorious in them. Those are the people who learn to lean heavily on the Word and their relationship with Jesus.

3.  Your blog is titled, "Hope Splashes, Finding Gold in Life's Puddles." Can you explain why you chose that name?

No matter what you are going through and how muddy you get, God always has a surprise up His sleeves for you. You may get muddy finding it, but it's there.

4.  Why is humor so important to you?

Humor and laughter keep me from falling apart when I feel like the underside of a snake in a deep rut. The benefits of laughter and humor, both to physical and emotional health, have been proven by many studies. But if you don't believe those, just watch a hilarious movie or a YouTube video of a baby laughing, and see if you don't feel better afterwards. My last book, "The Heart of Humor," is filled with funny stories and articles about how laughter helps you stay young and feel great.

5.  Why are you so interested in Time Management?

I see many people who have talent and intelligence, but who have no idea how to manage their lives. I was not born organized. I had the messiest crib in the church nursery. I learned how to manage my time as an adult. So I'd like to share what I've learned with others, so they can get the most out of their lives and enjoy themselves.

My third book, Shock the Clock, Time Management Strategies for Writers and Other Creatives, releases December 15th, but you can preorder it here:

Author Bio:  Jeanette Levellie, humor/devotional author, is the wife of one man, mother of two adults, grandmother of three children, and servant of four cats. Her favorite sport is eating out. she is the author of three books and has published hundreds of columns, articles, stories, greeting card verses and poems.

GIVEAWAY:  Jeanette has generously offered to give away one signed, print copy of her book, "The Heart of Humor," or an ebook to one commenter. To enter, please leave a comment and your contact information (email address).

This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. Void where prohibited. Deadline: 9/17/15 at midnight.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Confessions of a Dialogue Nerd

Some people are grammar connoisseurs. Others can write settings that dance across your brain in living color. What makes me sigh is a delicious bit of dialogue. It stretches me as a writer to communicate a mood and give the reader a peek into the heart and mind of the character.

One of my critique partners commented that she liked this line from the third book of The Moses Trilogy, Out of the Mist. (It released on 8/16/15!)

"The tears that come from sadness over a loved one's death are never ugly. Every drop speaks of how much you miss them and how special they were to you."

My ears are attuned to how people express their innermost thoughts. A quote from a dear friend has stayed with me over 20 years: "We give counsel with an open hand." Another gem: "Look at the situation from God's point of view."

Writers and Readers:  People will quote bits of dialogue from movies or books that stick with them for years. What are some quotations that resonate with you?

Photo Credit: BSK

Friday, September 4, 2015

Reviews/Sell Books/Pinterest/Freedom of Religion/Devo

1.  There's been an enormous outcry over Amazon's policy on reviews. Rachelle Gardner, at Books and Such Literary Agency, did a blog post on the subject. Reviews mean a lot to authors. She summarizes the controversy and makes suggestions on how to avoid trouble.

2.  Sandra Beckwith guest posts at Writers Win and shares Six Magic Phrases You Can Use to Sell More Books. Did you know that quoting a person will garner more attention than quoting a publication?

3.  Pinterest is so much fun! I've been looking for some tips on how to create my own pins and found an article on Jody Hedlund's blog. She focuses on writers, but anyone can benefit from her instructions.

4.  WND reports on "freedom of worship" versus "freedom of religion." There's a vast difference between the two.

5.  Dena Netherton, at My Father's World, My Father's Words, talks about their recent move - the truck was too small.

Writers and Readers:  Do you have a Pinterest account? What kind of boards have you created?

Photo Credit:  Jean Scheijen