It’s Liebster Blog Award Time! Eleven Facts About Me

HUGE thank you to Tina Moss for this Liebster Award! 😀

liebster-award

The Liebster Award gives bloggers the opportunity to share a glimpse of themselves by sharing eleven random facts, and by answering eleven questions from the nominator.

Eleven Fun Facts About Me:

  1. I’m 6’1″ and I love wearing 3-4″ heels.
  2. The hubs is 6’10”–hence the reason I wear heels in the first place. 😉
  3. I enjoy tying my characters to a corner and forcing them into spilling their guts.
  4. My favorite band of all time are The Beatles.
  5. I loathe hand-washing dishes. Blech!
  6. I’m a music junkie and know how to play the flute, the sax, and the piano.
  7. I’m also a movie junkie. Name a movie and I can guarantee I’ve seen it. My all time favorite? The Breakfast Club.
  8. I once worked as a debt collector. Not the worst job I’ve ever had, by the way.
  9. I collect dolphins and Disney snowglobes. I even have a dolphin-shaped slinky. 🙂
  10. I have an insane love of avocados. Yummers…. *runs to fix homemade guac*
  11. I’m a deep-fried southern gal at heart. Only those closest to me get a true taste of the sassy twang that can fly from my lips at a moment’s notice.

Eleven Questions:

  1. Who is the author you admire the most? Jane Austen
  2. Why to you write (in five words or less)? Writing keeps me sane.
  3. What if your favorite genre to read? Paranormal Romance–gotta love those Alpha males. 😉
  4. Who is your biggest inspiration? My husband and just about every fantastic writing and author I’ve come to know and love via the online writing community. They’re all so wonderful and they push me every single day to be better and do better.
  5. What advice would you give to new writers? Patience, young Padawan. Patience.
  6. What is your favorite hobby? Besides writing? And reading? Cooking. 😉
  7. Are you a cat or a dog person? Both, but right now we have two cats. When the backyard’s complete and a fence is put up, we’ll have an Irish Wolfhound.
  8. Where is your ideal vacation spot? Trinidad & Tobago.
  9. What is a place you want to visit, but haven’t yet? London.
  10. What is the meaning of life in one word (or number)? Hmm … Purpose.
  11. If you’re on a desert island, what are three things you must have? My Nook with many books loaded (and an endless battery supply, of course), laptop or notebook w/ pen, and a camera.

And now, in the spirit of the Liebster Blog Award, I’m supposed to select/tag eleven fellow bloggers. However, I’d like to open this award to everyone and hope that you’ll snag this opportunity to share some fun facts with all us–and, of course, answer these eleven questions:

  1. Where were you born?
  2. What’s your favorite book?
  3. What’s your favorite author?
  4. What scares you the most in life?
  5. Describe your “happy” place in three words or less.
  6. What’s your favorite movie?
  7. Favorite TV show?
  8. If you were in The Walking Dead right now, what would be your weapon of choice: shotgun, machete, bow & arrow?
  9. Speaking of noms–oh, brains!–what’s your favorite candy?
  10. Are you a coffee drinker? Or do you prefer tea?
  11. If you could have dinner with one person, famous or not, living or dead, who would it be?

The Liebster Rules:

  1. The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by bloggers.
  2. Each blogger should post 11 facts about himself/herself.
  3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions that are asked by the nominating blogger.
  4. Choose 11 new blogger to nominate for the Award and link to them in the post.
  5. Create 11 new questions for your nominees.
  6. Go back to their page and tell them they’ve been nominated.
  7. No tag backs.

I’d love to hear from you! Would you like to participate in the Leibster Blog Award? If so, just snag the questions, copy the rules and share away!

Getting Armed and Ready for a New Author Site & Blog

Usually when writers set out to start a blog, we get so excited over the idea of getting out there and sharing our journeys that we make the mistake of not truly researching all the options out there for an author site and/or blog.

Who has two thumbs and made that mistake three years ago? *whistles and looks away* 😉

When we’re finally ready to put ourselves out there, we can sometimes go with the first blogging platform we’ve discovered. If we have an overly zealous type personality, we may also find that we’re chained to our computer whenever a new story or character crosses our paths with no idea of where the story’s going (I’ve done that one, too. It was a total, nonsensical mess).

So the question out there for many new authors can range from “Where do I start?” to “What should I blog about?” Those were my main questions, and I failed to do my research. The results ended up being okay, but not great. In almost 3 years, my stats on Blogger were: 26,000 page views, 175 posts, and 60 followers. Those stats aren’t bad, but they’re not great. They’re not where I would’ve pictured myself three years into blogging.

When results aren’t what we’d hoped for, that means it’s time to rethink, re-attack, and re-boot.

Where Do I Start?

There are many, many, many resources out there with advice on the pros and cons of the different blogging platforms. We just have to know how to find them. We can either Google search blogger vs. wordpress (which is what I just did to find the previous link), or we can turn to other author-bloggers that we’ve come to know and trust (A suggested place to start would be with Jami Gold, Paranormal Author. Here’s a link to her posts on author websites).

Once we’ve compiled all the information on our site possibilities, it’s time to get serious, sit down, and make a decision. These decisions range from super simple to oh-my-god-my-brain’s-on-decision-overload. Here’s an example of the decision-making process I undertook about three years too late:

  • Am I going to stay with Blogger or go to WordPress
  • Will I purchase a domain name (ex: yourname.com)?
  • Who will I host my domain name with?
  • What’s my vision for this new site?
  • Am I going to learn coding (HTML, CSS, PHP) so I can design the site on my own? Or will I just use a template from my chosen platform? OR should I hire a designer?
  • How soon do I want this new site up and running?

Once all these decisions are made, it’s time to get started on creating our site. And once our site’s created–look how shiny and purdy it is!–it’s time to start blogging and connecting with our audience.

What Should I Blog About?

Yet another mistake many beginning bloggers make is that we get out there and start blogging without really know how to connect with the audience. Some of us don’t even ponder on those all-too-important questions of: What types of posts will roll out the welcome mat to readers? What kinds of topics will help forge a connection? Why in the world would someone want to read my damn site in the first place?

For my journey, I, once again, started asking these questions way too late. *headpalm* But once I started asking, I turned to Social Media Jedi, Kristen Lamb. I picked up her Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer three months ago. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest you give it a read. Even a seasoned blogger will find many golden nuggets within her book’s pages. And after you’ve read the book, check out the posts on her site with many, many more blogging tips.

Within the pages of her book and the posts on her blog, we’ll find the answers to all our questions … and more!

The best part of reading Kristen’s book, for me, was the realization that she has made these mistakes too, and she was there to help me rectify them. Which is a huge reason why I’m here on a new site and new platform with new lessons and a new approach to sharing and welcoming insights, lessons and information. 🙂

If we now take all the information we’ve absorbed (well, after we’ve survived the head spinning–sorta 😉 ), we can now set sail into the world of social media, author sites, and blogging because we’ll be armed and ready with information, insights and confidence. *wields shiny new sword*

I’d love to hear from you!

Do you currently have an author site and/or blog? What steps did you follow regarding your site/blog’s set-up and design? Do you have any advice for authors who are new to the world of author site/blog creation? Do you have any best practices or tips you’d like share?

Springtime & Starting Fresh: New Site, New Blog, New Lessons

SpringtimeIt’s Springtime again! Woo hoo! Time for Spring-cleaning, warmer weather (if Mother Nature cooperates *shakes fist*), and fresh blooms.

If you think about it, New Year’s and Springtime both have a few things in common: Both are times to start fresh, begin anew, get rid of the clutter in your home and/or life, and to revamp, rethink and reboot.

And that’s exactly what I’ve been up to this past month: starting fresh, revamping, rethinking and rebooting. 🙂

 

Starting Fresh With a New Site

Okay, so it’s not exactly starting “fresh”, but it’s close. 😉

During the final session at WANACon, Jami Gold did a quick rundown of the differences between WordPress.com (the free version) and WordPress.org (the paid/self-hosted version). This particular topic got my brain turning on the possibility of making the move to WordPress. So from there, I contacted Jami’s TechGuy, Jay with TechSurgeons, and started the process of “testing” out a WordPress powered, self-hosted site.

Since WANACon, Jami has posted more information about author sites, such as “Do Authors Need a Website and Blog?” and “What Should an Author Website Include?” She’s even had guest posts surrounding this topic, such as “Switching from Blogger to WordPress—Guest: Natalie C. Markey”, “Does Your Site Welcome Disabled Readers?—Guest: Linda Adams”, and “Is Your Site Secure? Tips from a TechGuy”.

And for those writers who aren’t quite sure where to start on developing a website and blog, Jami has two workshops coming up this month at WANA International where she teaches students how to start their website/blog (whether it be the free WordPress route, or the self-hosted route). For more information on her upcoming workshops, click here.

So, with all this information floating around, it’s like the universe was sending some kind of sign. “Make the move, Melinda,” it said. “Go for it!” I sucuumb easily to peer pressure, so I decided to make the leap from Blogger to WordPress. There are a few other–more legitimate–reasons as to why I made this decision, and I’m going to get to those on Thursday. But believe me, the leap was worth it and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. 😀

So as of next Monday, I’ll have a new interwebz home. *tapes up last moving box* Look for the link next week so you can come join me over there. 😉

Starting Fresh With a New Blog

Again, not entirely starting fresh since I’ve been able to move all my Blogger posts over to the new site, but again, it feels so fresh!

Something about changing locations, moving into a new home, reorganizing your desk, buying a new wardrobe and moving websites gives us such a sense of newness that we can’t help but think, “Fresh start. New beginning. Yay!”

So over on the new site I’ve made a commitment to post at least three times a week—Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Even though blogging isn’t new to me (dang, I just checked my calendar and I’ve been doing this for 3 years next month. O.o), my thinking and approach have both drastically changed. Drastically.

I recently finished reading Kristen Lamb’s book, Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer, and I have to say that Kristen’s approach to blogging was so truthful and so spot-on that it hurt. Hurt! But in SUCH a good way. If you don’t have a copy of her book, go buy it and devour it. Now. 🙂

Starting Fresh with New Lessons

We’re never going to get anywhere unless we learn. Unless we fall down, pick ourselves back, and learn a lesson from what caused us to fall face-first into the mud.

  • If these last eight months have taught me anything it’s this:
  • Nobody’s perfect
  • We all make mistakes. It’s what we do to learn from them that sets us apart.
  • Nobody ever got anywhere being negative all the time. <– This is my Southern ‘Tude coming out, by the way. 😉
  • Becoming a published author is a marathon, not a one-mile sprint.

So with a new site and blog, I’m looking forward to sharing the failures, lessons, and triumphs I’ve made over the course of my journey in a positive light.

Blogs may be “ours” and a place to share “our writing journey”, but the posts won’t do much unless they have something to offer the reader. It’s the same with our novels—if we can’t provide entertainment or an escape, give the reader a sense of belonging and understanding, or teach them something new or a different way to think and/or do things, then why are they going invest in us? Why are they going to spend time and money to allow our words into their hearts and minds?

So here’s to start fresh with a new site, a new blog to call home, and new lessons (and what I’m sure will be many, many more before it’s all said and done)!

What about you? Have you thought about moving your website and/or blog? What lessons have you recently learned? What are you looking forward to the most this Spring?