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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Taking Time to Be a Healthier Me


The week has flown by so quickly. I've been making a few changes this week. I've been writing more this week. I've also been eating more veggies and fruit and less carbs. I sure missed my sweets but after a few days the cravings went away. Surprisingly because I thought I would have a Krispy Kreme doughnut meltdown. I don't eat a lot of meat, so I didn't have to change that part of my diet. And I joined Weight Watchers. So keeping my fingers crossed that I get svelt, sexy and delicious real soon. I made a promise to myself to be super duper fine by 40, so that gives me one year to get that accomplished. So I've started my own Operation Get it Right, Get it Tight program.

I'm a spiritual person and I pray often for guidance and assurance in my daily life and decisions. But when it comes to dieting, I am weak against the temptation for food. So a friend suggested two books, Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food. And the second book, Craving God: A 21 Day Devotional Challenge. I can say both have been really good in assisting me so far on my eating healthier journey. I bought them on Kindle. The 21 Devotional is Free on Kindle. But I'm thinking of buying them both in paperback so I can write in them. They have helped me alot so far. I've cut out a lot of sugar and I'm learning to say no to things that are not healthy for my body and spirit. I'm not saying these books are for you and I don't know everyone's beliefs, but if you're a spiritual or religious person, these books are great if you want to lose weight.

I also got a new smoothie book called Smoothie Heaven, which I have been using to make smoothies everyday. I also found some good smoothie recipes online for health and healing. Some taste wonderful, some need some tweaking. But I will start posting some great ones throughout the week for anyone that might want to try one.

Here are two smoothie recipes that were pretty good.

Grape-Strawberry Smoothie


I add a scoop of protein powder to all my smoothies and add an extra 1/3 cup of liquid. But this is the original recipe below.

2/3 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup grape juice
2 scoops of frozen raspberry yogurt
2 tsp of honey or agave syrup (I use raw honey from a local bee farm)
few drops of vanilla extract

Blend and process until smooth. Sift through a strainer into a glass. (Here, I would add my powder and extra juice after sifting and re-blend and pour into glass. Add more liquid if necessary.


Mocha Muscle Builder

1 cup soy milk or any milk you prefer
1/3 cup brewed coffee
1 tbsp all natural peanut butter
1 small banana ripe
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
Ice Cubes
Place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth.


Thought for the day from Craving God:

"We were made for more! More than this failure...More than this cycle...more than being ruled by our taste buds, body image, rationalizations, and guilt."

Have a wonderful Thursday. Cheers to being healthier!

What are some tips and advice you have for being healthier?

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Don't forget to enter the Read Banned Books Week Giveaway and Hop. I am giving away six (6) gifts to six (6) winners. More more info about my giveaway click the photo below.  Or scroll down through the previous posts. Good Luck!


Blessings!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: What Books Would You Re-Read?

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books I Want to Re-Read
I chose these books because I either loved them or when I finished reading them I needed further clarity because the book left me feeling like I didn't have closure.

Monday, September 26, 2011

In My Mailbox Monday


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

It's Monday. The weekend flew by so quickly. But I had a nice smooth weekend. My youngest and I spent some time at the library. She found some great books, and I bought some great books from the library store. Win-win.

So here's what I have today:


Bought from Amazon.com in Paperback

Sisters and Lovers by Connie Briscoe







For Kindle on iPad.





Bought from Library:








What books have you recently received? 
And where did you get them?

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Also, don't forget to enter the Read Banned Books Week Giveaway and Hop. I am giving away six (6) gifts for six (6) different winners. And the contest is open internationally as well. Click on the photo below for more info on how to enter my giveaway or just scroll down to the previous post.


Blessings!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Read Banned Books Week Hop and Giveaway



This week the book blogging community is having a blog hop and giveaway in celebration of Banned Books Week (BBW) by the American Library Association an annual event supporting the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. The blog hop is fittingly called Read Banned Books Week Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer and I Read Banned Books. 

Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the U.S. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections.
There will be ONE (1) international winner and FIVE (5) U.S. winners for this giveaway. The international winner receive $25 towards a purchase(s) at the Book Depository. (Please make sure the Book Depository delivers to your location)

Below are some faux book boxes that look like decorative books. I think they are gorgeous. There are FIVE (5) of them. You can place them on your book shelf for decoration or use them to hide important items. I will not tell you what you will receive in the box because it's Banned Book week, what fun would that be? SO I AM BANNING YOU ALL FROM SEEING WHAT'S INSIDE :-). Once the winners have been chosen, I will post a picture of what will be included in each book box. Each of the five giveaways for U.S. residents will contain at least one book that was placed on a banned list or challenged list along with whatever else tickles my fancy. It will be book related as well. :-)


Rules:
  • There is one mandatory rule for this giveaway and that is you MUST follow my blog by GFC, RSS or Email. All other requests on the Rafflecopter form are optional but will gain you extra entries into the giveaway.

So that's SIX WINNERS, YEP SIX (6). Five U.S. and one international. Feel out the Rafflecopter form below. Click the button that says in Click the Instructions tab first. Once you have completed the task, then click, I Did It.

Also, this is a hop, so if you look to the left on my sidebar, you will see a long list of blogs that are also participating in the Read Banned Books Week Hop. There are 257 blogs with giveaways just waiting for you to enter. So hop on over to as many as you wish for more chances to win.

Good luck and Blessings!





*The book by Donna Hill is not included. I just put it inside to show you how spacious they are inside. The large book boxes measure somewhere around 16 -18 inches tall, they are quite large.*







Friday, September 23, 2011

Congrats Winner of Hill Briscoe Giveaway


Congratulations to the final winner of the Hill-Briscoe Giveaway. 



STEPHANIE! 

Stephanie has won an autographed copy of Connie Briscoe's new novel, "Money Can't Buy Love."

Enjoy your book Stephanie. :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Trailers for Thursday: Input Needed


Hey all. Hope everyone is having an awesome Thursday. Book trailers are primarily used as a promotional tool to get readers interested in buying the book. I admit I watch movie trailers all the time, especially when I'm bored but mainly to get ideas of what I like and don't like in regards to book trailers. I am currently having a book trailer made for my upcoming novel, "Waiting on Heaven." Woohoo! So, I figured I'd post some book trailers that I personally like and see what you all thought of them so I'd know if creating future book trailers would be beneficial to me in the long run. 



*Room by Emma Donoghue is by far my favorite book trailer. You have to watch it.*

After watching the trailers tell me... 
  • Does a trailer make you want to buy the book or at the very least make you interested in finding out more info? 
  • Have you ever bought a book after viewing a book trailer?
  • Do you actively search for book trailers?
  • Do you prefer words across the screen or voice-overs?
  • What are some of your favorite book trailers?


Your input is greatly appreciated.


Blessings!

Enjoy the book trailers!
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Room by Emma Donoghue
Release Date: September 13, 2010
(Litte, Brown and Company)





Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
Release Date: December 21, 2010

 


The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
Release Date: September 1, 2011
(Orbit Publishing)


Crave by Melissa Darnell

Release date: October 25, 2011
(Harlequin Teen)


 


Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen

Release date: September 20, 2011

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Don't forget to check out this week's 
BOOK GIVEAWAY!
A FREE PERSONALIZED, AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF "MONEY CAN'T BUY LOVE" BY NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR CONNIE BRISCOE
CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE INFO:


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interview with Author Connie Briscoe & Giveaway

Connie Briscoe is a New York Times bestselling author. Her first novel, Sisters and Lovers, sold more than 100,000 hardcover copies and about 500,000 copies in paperback. She's had seven novels, one novella, and one nonfiction book published. A Long Way From Home, the story of my ancestors, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Her work has appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly. Her nonfiction title Jewels, a photo-essay book featuring luminaries such as actress Ruby Dee and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, was coauthored with photographer Michael Cunningham. The collection of novellas was coauthored with Lolita Files and Anita Bunkley. Both of these were welcome changes from what she usually writes. Her current novel is titled Money Can't Buy Love available in stores now. She currently lives in Maryland with her family.
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Interview

One of my favorite Connie Briscoe books is Big Girls Don't Cry. I can still remember reading it while I was having some mircobraids put in for the first time. It took the stylist a significant time to finish, but I remember thinking I hope she doesn't finish my hair before I finish reading this book. It was that good. What traits do you think a book must have to have that kind of page turner appeal for readers?

I think something has to strike a chord with the reader: a character, the setting, the time period. The reader has to be drawn into the story by the author. And that “something” varies from reader to reader. Fortunately, we have many authors telling many wonderful stories. And thank you for the kind words about Big Girls Don’t Cry.

Your very welcome. How can we as readers help authors gain more recognition, especially with the closing of brick and mortar bookstores?

An author whose books sell well is going to get recognition. So the best thing readers can do is to keep buying the books of authors they enjoy, whether print or electronic. Authors have bills just like everyone else, and selling books is how we earn our living. If you don’t buy, we don’t sell and eventually we stop writing because we have to find another way to earn a living. Borrowing books from friends and the library now and then is fine. Those are great ways to discover new authors. But the next time you see a book by that author that looks interesting, please buy it.

Does fortune come with a heavy price? This is the theme in your latest book, Money Can't Buy Love. How did you come up with this concept?

Fortune can definitely come with a heavy price if you’re not wise about how you manage your fortune. This is true even if you don’t have a fortune and spend your money foolishly. Too many people think money is the ticket to happiness. They think that a new handbag or pair of shoes or car will bring long-lasting happiness. So they buy stuff even when they can’t afford it and then realize that they still aren’t any happier. Why not? Because that’s not what money is really meant for. And that’s what Money Can’t Buy Love is all about.

If you could collaborate with any other author who would it be? And why?

I don’t think collaborating on a novel would work for me. I wouldn’t want to give up that much control of the story. I once collaborated with photographer Michael Cunningham on a photo-essay book called Jewels and I really enjoyed that. But I wrote, he photographed. Perfect.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m moving into a new house and that’s pretty much taking up all the time I have outside of spreading the word about Money Can’t Buy Love.

I have to do my WWW's. What have you just recently finished reading? What are you currently reading? And what do you plan to read next?

The last book I read was about social networking. I’m currently reading Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones and loving it. I have no idea what I’ll read next.

What's the best advice you've ever received in your literary career?

If you really want something, go after it. But be smart about it. Educate yourself until you know more about it than does the average person.

Thank you so much for taking the time out to do the interview with me. I truly appreciate it and wish you all the best in your literary endeavors. 

You can keep up with Connie Briscoe literary journey on her website: www.conniebriscoe.com and also talk with her on Facebook Chat with Connie Briscoe. And you can also follow Connie Briscoe on Twitter. 

Blessings.
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Now for the Hill-Briscoe Giveaway...
Talented author, Connie Briscoe, is giving away an autographed copy of her latest novel, Money Can't Buy Love!!! And she will sign it and address it directly to you!


To enter the giveaway of Connie Briscoe's new book, Money Can't Buy Love, you must do two things:


1) Leave a comment below about the interview  
2)Tell us in your opinion can money buy love?



***Don't forget to leave your email address or blog address so I can contact you should you win. You don't have to be a follower, but it would be great if you did so I can do my happy dance  :-)
One winner will be chosen randomly using Random.org. Contest end this Friday, September 23, 2011 at midnight.
Good Luck!


Thanks Ms. Briscoe for the wonderful giveaway!


Monday, September 19, 2011

In My Mailbox and Musing Mondays



In My Mailbox: Books I Bought: 

On Kindle for iPad I purchased two books both by:

Book I won this past week. 
For Review:


In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

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This week’s musing asks…
How often do you read a book, just because you’re in the mood to read it? (not because you’re obligated to for a book club, or a challenge, or for review)


I use to read so many books just because. I guess it's one of the things I need to get back to; reading just because I'm in the mood. I do enjoy books when I read them, but there is a different element of enjoyment when you're reading books just because with no intent on doing a review. I miss that. So I would say maybe once a month I'll read a novel because I'm in the mood. Now with non-fiction, I likely read once a week just because I'm in the mood.


Musing Mondays is hosted by Should Be Reading.
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Also stay tuned for my interview with bestselling author Connie Briscoe tomorrow. I will be giving away a FREE copy of her book as well. To enter, just stop by tomorrow and leave a comment on the interview with your email address or blog address so I can contact you. That's it.


Hope you have a blessed week. Hope to read your comments tomorrow on the interview.

Blessings!

Friday, September 16, 2011

BBAW: 10 Tips for Bloggers

Topic:  Share 3 things you are essential tried and true practices for every blogger and 1-3 new trends or tools you’ve adapted recently or would like to in the future.


Today is the end of the BBAW. It was so much fun. I met some new bloggers and learned a lot from their posts. So I decided to make my last post for the BBAW practical and easy by making a list of ten things of practical tips and tools for blogging. 


Tried and True Practices and Blogging Tools :
  • Comment on other blogs ~ As I said before in my other post (How Do You Find Community), be reciprocal and leave a comment when you visit a blog. I read on some other blogs that comments should be thoughtful, meaningful and blah, blah, blah. But really just say, "hi, I am new to your blog and was lurking around and decided to comment" or whatever you feel like saying. I prefer a brief comment over no comment. And sometimes people just don't know what to say. If they say nothing, I don't know they exist and I can't reciprocate in commenting. 
  • Be Consistent ~ Try to be consistent in all your blogging and posting. Blog as often as you can. And set a minimum and maximum number of posts you will do each week. And then let your readers know that's how often you will be posting. I for instance blog 3-5 days a week. Generally 3 if I'm not participating in a hop.
  • Be Present ~ Even on the days you don't make a new post on your own blog. Use some of that time to visit other blogs instead. You may not have anything new for them to come back to and comment on but they will remember that even on your off days, you made the effort to come by their blog and visit; that's how you nurture relationships.
  • Following and Gaining Followers ~ Don't feel obligated to follow blogs if you aren't truly interested in them. If you join a blog you likely won't go back to, all you really did was make your list longer in your feed or add  to the amount of email you'll get. Secondly, don't get swept into the hype of needing large amounts of followers. If you comment and participate, they will come. But don't feel like you aren't productive if you don't have a lot of followers. For instance, have you ever visited a blog that had over 1,000 followers but not a single person commented on any of their post that week or the week before? It's usually because the blog owner dropped the ball somewhere and didn't nurture the followers they received. When I say drop the ball, I mean they didn't reciprocate. They didn't follow the people that followed them. They didn't comment on other blogs, they didn't reply to comments on their own blog or they weren't consistent in posting. Now I have been to blogs with 50 or 60 followers and they have a healthy 10 comments or so on each posts. That's a healthy blog. The owner is nurturing her blog in some form or fashion and her followers are receptive of that attention or he/she has something really important to say in their posts. As I said before I'd take a quick comment over no comment at all. 
  • Ask a question ~ If you want comments, ask a question at the end of each post. Some people don't comment because they don't know what to say because you said everything already, you didn't pose a question or you didn't challenge them to come up with something different than what you already stated. 
  • Great tools to use ~  Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, Goodreads, Shelfari, Book Blogs, Google Reader and StumbleUpon. I use each of these. But I consistently use Facebook, Twitter, my Google Reader and StumbleUpon. Now I don't actually use the Twitter site often, I use Hootsuite instead. It allows me to access my Twitter account and view it in an easier format. It also lets me schedule my tweets weeks in advance. So if I know I'm running a giveaway for a week then I will schedule my tweets for that entire week in advance. How to: After I make my posts, I'll schedule my tweet to post every hour on the hour for the entire week (you can also schedule every fifteen minutes). It lets my Twitter feed look up to date and I can concentrate on just replying to tweets instead of plugging my links. I admit it takes a little time, about an hour to schedule all of them for the week. But once it's done I can concentrate on other things. StumbleUpon lets you find other interesting articles or blogs as well. It also allows you to upload your own post from your blog so others can "stumbleupon" them. I would like to utilize technorati and digg. I haven't gotten the hang of them yet, but I'm trying to use these more consistently. But I also know I can't spend all my time visiting social sites. So it hasn't been a priority yet.
  • Give blog love ~ Whenever possible, spread the blog love around. Tell your followers about other great blogs you visit. This can come back to you in ten fold. Linking to another blog increases the chances of that blog returning the favor in the future. It also increases traffic to your blog. Also update your blog roll or blog feed. We like to see which blogs you like, but don't list blogs that haven't posted in 3 months or so.
  • Participate in hops, memes and giveaways ~ I find that I have garnered most of my followers through events like the (Armchair BEA), hops (such as the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop) and my own personal giveaways and other blog giveaways. I don't usually gain many followers through memes when I have participated. But some say it works for them. Some good memes would be In My Mailbox Monday, Feature and Follow and Waiting on Wednesday. I normally stick to hops and giveaways. You can find giveaways and hops by visiting other blogs by looking in their sidebar for buttons and announcements. Go to some of the blogs in their blog roll and see what's going on there. You have to search out other blogs to get info.
  • Be you ~ Be yourself. Don't try to imitate another blogger. Just let people know the authentic you and if they like that person they'll stick around. But if you try to copy other bloggers in design, concept, etc, eventually you will burn out. It's always easier and better to be you even on a bad day, then it is to be someone else on a good day.
  • Guest posting/ blogging: Try asking other bloggers if you can guest post on their blog and vice versa. It's a great way to gain new followers, get a new perspective on your blog for a change and it's nice way to get a break from posting even if only for a day.
  • Bonus Tip: * Balance* ~ When it comes to blogging there is no such thing as balance for me. It's all about prioritizing. To say balance would mean making all things equal or giving each thing equal time. And that doesn't work for me because that's not how I live. I have a list of what's important and what goes at the top of my list. Blogging is not at the top of my list. At the top of my list is God, my family and my writing career. So I make decisions based on that and I fit blogging in where it needs to go. If I can't do something related to blogging, I just don't do it. I've found if you take a break and let your followers know your going on hiatus, they'll respect that and most will jump right back in where you left off once you return. So don't stress about it. And don't forget to enjoy yourself. Blogging should be fun.

Do you have any practical advice, tools or tips to share for blogging?






Thursday, September 15, 2011

BBAW Day 4 Reader Recommendations

\
It's Day 4 of the BBAW. Today's topic is : Readers

Okay, it's like 3 am and I think I fell asleep typing twice already. I realized if you close your eyes at 3 am, you're likely not to open them again for quite some time. So I'm going to be as brief as I know how which still isn't saying much cause I like to talk...mostly ramble, but you get what I'm saying.


So to the topic at hand, Book bloggers blog because we love reading. Has book blogging changed the way I read? Have I discovered books I never would have apart from book blogging? And have I made new connections with other readers because of book blogging?
Well, when I first started blogging I had never heard of the dystopian sub-genre. l didn't have a clue what it meant. So I would have to say the dystopian novel has been my biggest reading discovery since I started blogging. I have several on my shelf now and hope to read more in the future. 


A follower and author (Hank Henley) recommended I read Hunger Games (read my review here) by Suzanne Collins. I read it and loved it. That spunky little Katniss had me wrapped around her finger for a few days. And Peeta, don't get me started on my adorable Peeta. I think he is so unappreciated by Katniss. Now Catching Fire, the sequel to the Hunger Games, didn't impress me. It was recommended as well. Didn't much care for it. But I have a mountainous TBR pile so I have to push on. Next on the agenda is Mockingjay. I have it sitting on my shelf of course screaming to be read but Catching Fire (read my review here) hasn't made me to eager to start reading it.

Another book recommendation was Divergent by Veronica Roth, another dystopian. I bought it immediately. Could've been because there was so much hype surrounding it. I have yet to read it but it is on my TBR list. I also purchased Enclave by Ann Aguirre. It's probably having an intimate discussion with Divergent swearing and cussing me out for ignoring them both. But I wave hi every so often trying to appease my little neglected dystopian adventures.

I don't venture off the beaten path too often. I'm sorta set in my ways and prefer genres I'm comfortable with. But I did buy Shadowfever by Karen Moning. I saw the cover on another blog and thought that looks awesome. I'm a judge a book by its cover kinda girl and I get easily hypnotized by unique pretty things. So I went to the bookstore and wow, that cover is gorgeous. Seeing it on the computer screen doesn't do it justice. So of course I had to buy it. Hadn't read it yet either. :-/ But it looks pretty darn good sitting on my shelf, I think Shadowfever, Divergent and Enclave are planning a bookshelf escape.

As you can see there is a trend forming here. I often will buy a book based on recommendation. However, reading it is a different story. I have every intention on doing so but my favorites (mainstream fiction) always take precedent


A few other that were recommended were The Husband by Dean Koontz. I can't remember who recommended it to me but I remember asking for thriller recommendations and someone said you have to read The Husband. I'm glad I did. It's a great book. I did read it, but I was too busy to write a review. I'm sure some of you can relate. After my immense satisfaction with The Husband I then decided I was on a roll, so I asked someone to recommend another thriller. A recommendation was suggested to read The Sixth Man by David Baldacci. In my Men on Films voice from In Living Color....hated it! Okay, it wasn't terribly bad but it didn't hold up to The Husband. After that I took a break from thrillers. I suppose that's the downside of being a book addict with a slight case of ADHD, I can only tolerate so many book disappointments. 

The last recommendation I'll go over came from one of my favorite authors of all time, Bernice L. McFadden. She suggested, Go the F**k to Sleep.  It's a bedtime story for parents. Talk about dream book. I first indulged this title by audio book while it was free. Woohoo! I love just about anything free. Then they pulled it. :-( But I enjoyed it so much I decided to buy the actual book. It's a great, funny and witty book. So authentic and true for parents who have a hard time getting their kids to bed. I highly recommend it if you have a sense of humor.

So overall I can say yes, I have made connections through recommendations, I just can't remember them all at 3 am. If I had not read Hunger Games, I would not have been introduced to the dystopian genre. And I likely would not have discovered all the great blogs out there that review and read dystopian novels.

Well, that's all I have for recommendations. I was trying to think of some more, but I fell asleep again. So I'm going to quit while I'm ahead. But before you go, enjoy my favorite Men on Books clip from In Living Color.


Blessings!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BBAW: How Do You Find Community

It's Day 3 of the BBAW. Today's topic is finding and keeping community in the book blogging world despite the hectic demands on our time and the overwhelming number of blogs out there. We are discuss how to find a place within the book blogging community, our concerns and our struggles.

Well, I'm going to approach this from a reader's aspect and a blogger's aspect because to me they are essentially one in the same because you can't have an active blog without reading other blogs or participating on your own blog in some form or fashion. I will be speaking in general terms, so my concerns may not apply all the time and does not apply to ALL blogs.

Issues I find as a writer of my own blog. 


  • Setting up post in advance ~ I use to do this in the beginning. But then life happened once the release date of my book started fast approaching. So right now I'm struggling with time management.
  • Book Reviews ~ I'm so overwhelmed with the number of requests I get for book reviews. I remember a time when I had to ask for them or read books I already owned. Now my inbox is overflowing. It's hard to tell someone your schedule is full and you can't read their work. But I can't read everything. 
  • Memes ~ I know there are tons of memes out there. But honestly, I only know of the same few I see on other blogs. I would love to mix it up sometimes. And often when I get to the blog host of the meme, the linky list is so full I'm at the bottom or in the middle and many won't ever make it that far down the list to visit. So I struggle with deciding on whether to participate or not. Or just do me and let it ride.

How I find ways to interact 

  • I comment often on other blogs. 
  • I try to post at least three times a week.
  • I try to be creative by trying different things. I get bored easily. So if it's boring to me to write it, I assume it's boring to readers. I love to crack myself up. I like to be the first person to laugh at me or something I did.
  • I try to remember that bloggers are real people. Behind the blog is a breathing, living human being with responsibilities and loved ones demanding their precious time. And not every blogger is always having a great day. So I will generally comment on a blog when the post has no comments at all. I remember the feeling of posting and not having a single soul coming by to reply to my brilliant ever so enlightening posts. :-)


From a reader's standpoint I'll go over three issues; community, concerns and struggles.


  • Community ~ As a reader, I want to know when I happen upon a blog that I am valued as a reader. That my interaction is easy to facilitate with other followers. What I mean by that is I don't want to jump through hoops to comment on your blog. The point in reading the blog is to gain information and relay that information back to you as to whether it was effective or share some of my own ideas by expounding upon your central idea. Make your comment tab highly visible or at the least put it in a common place. 
  • Struggles ~ Get rid of CAPTCHA! It the most annoying aspect of blogging as a reader. Most blog followers follow many, many blogs. In order to respond to them in an efficient manner I need to get in and get out so I can move on to find other valuable information. But if you have on captcha (the little box that pops us and says enter these letters before your comment can post) you have just slowed me down in my blogging schedule. And most of the time after I comment I immediately hit the X and close out the window. So if you have on captcha I won't know it and my comment will not have posted. So in order to make sure it did I have to wait even longer to see if the captcha box will appear before I close out. Once this happens, I make a mental note to check that blog last on my round of blog visiting because it's too time consuming and I assume other bloggers value my time more. Unless you have thousands of followers where the potential for spam is greater, you shouldn't need captcha. Just monitor your blog daily and check your spam filter.  ALSO, be mindful that not everyone is using a computer to respond to your post. I often use my iPad and do you know how frustrating it is to type in words over and over because of auto-correct or to type them in using a touch screen? So be mindful that not everyone uses the same technical instruments to comment. Also keep in mind people who use their cell phones to reply to your post. I'm sure captcha isn't making it easier for them either.
  • Concerns ~ Another block or concern in forming community on blogs is when the blog owner doesn't respond to comments. Sometimes I do check back to see if there was a response to my comment, especially if I asked a question. Again, it goes back to feeling validated as a reader and as a person who's time is very valuable. Make me feel welcomed and appreciated.
  • Community, Struggles and Concerns ~ "Follow me" gadgets. Sometimes I'll find a blog that I just adore. But I can't follow because I can't find the follow button and it takes me several minutes to search all over to find one little gadget. If you want followers and repeat readers, make it easier for them to find you again and again by allowing them to follow you either by RSS, GFC or Email. Put it at the top of your page. Again, it goes back to time. I don't want to struggle to keep up with you.

As a blogger some of my issues regarding community, concerns and struggles are:

  • Assistance ~ I don't know how many times I've come across a blog and asked a question on how to do something that they have implemented on their own blog and never received a response. I know bloggers are busy, believe me somedays their just isn't enough time in the day. But at the very least provide an email and set the email to auto-reply with a message. But to not to respond to a question in comments I find is a turn off and it feels like the blog owner is apathetic to other bloggers. I look at blogging as a community, and in communities people help each other. I know some people can get out of hand with their questions and how to's but just be honest and say in your auto-reply, I'm really busy, but this site has tons of info that might help you. Or set up a page just for FAQ's.
  • Overpopulation ~ Another issue and it could be just me. But I often don't follow blogs with thousands of followers unless the blog is so valuable that I will likely visit it more than once a week. Why don't I follow blogs with thousands of followers? Because most blog owners won't ever know I exist. If they don't know I exist, there really isn't any way to network with that blogger or exchange ideas. I basically feel invisible to that blogger. I regard blogs with more personal interaction as more desirable. That's my personal preference.
  • Reciprocation ~ Lastly I struggle to find blogs that are reciprocal. Have you ever found a blog and followed it for weeks never to see that blogger come to your blog to even say hi, thanks for following, thanks for stopping by, nice blog you have or I followed you back? This is probably my biggest pet peeve. I admit I have a rule, if I give you a week, maybe two weeks of my time in consistent visits and comments and you don't return the favor not once, I will unfollow you. I think it's rude. It's like walking into someone's house, saying hello to them and they never look up to acknowledge you ever came into their home. I'm not saying you have to comment everyday on my blog, I'm simply stating be courteous, introduce yourself. You don't have to follow me back (that would be nice) but it's not necessary. Just be polite and considerate. I often think that people who don't reciprocate are like that in person and in life outside of blogging. And I'm not that kind of person outside of my blogging life. I'm a hug on you, wish you well, sending you good vibes kind of person. I desire those same kind of people in my blogging circle as I do in my personal life.
  • Empathy ~ P.S. I think on occasion some bloggers forget what it was like to have no followers or that one faithful, lone commenter day in and day out. None of us started out with tons of followers right out the gate. Someone encouraged them along the way, helped spread the word or gave some helpful advice in how to be a better blogger. All I'm saying is pass the baton. When you help one blogger, you could be helping them help another newbie in the blogging world.
What are some of your concerns or struggles as a reader or blogger?
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Lena's Ramblings

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I am a writer, filmmaker, wife and a mom of five beautiful, intelligent, quirky kids. This blog is for writers, aspiring writers, filmmakers and movie lovers. Bringing you my favorite books, films and photos, as well as giveaways and updates on my journey. I'm currently in the process of producing my first short film from my collection of short stories titled, If I Had My Way. The first story to be filmed will be Tandarin Drive. My award winning book, If I Had My Way, is available now. You can purchase a copy at Amazon.com and BN.com. You may contact me via email at: blog@lenasledge.com

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