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Friday, May 28, 2010

Networking For Wusses

Here's a casting call to post your networking hangouts!

I'll admit, I'm a wuss when it comes to social networking sites. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy rubbing virtual elbows with old and new friends, but I am such a troglodyte. I'm afraid I might end up offending someone by not responding with the proper codes, handshakes and virtual martinis.

For the most part, I limit my socializing to blogs. I like blogs. I like visiting other blogs, and I love the comments I get here.

I promised myself from the beginning that I'd either reply to every person who comments here or visit their blogs and comment there. Sometimes both. I think if a person takes the time to comment, the least I can do is reciprocate. (That's where the social part of networking comes in.)

But recently, I've been called to task that my efforts are puny compared to other people. Geez! I didn't think anyone noticed my absence at these other places.

I'm still a newbie at Twitter, and I'm not on Facebook (yet). The last person who shook her finger at me for not being on FB said that publishers EXPECT me to be on FB. Oh noessssss!

Is that true?

I was on the fence about FB for a long time, and apparently Mark Zuckerberg must have gotten my memo because FB has once again reconsidered its privacy terms.

If you want to see how insane the privacy issue is, check out this org chart of options. I did some sleuthing and found All Facebook, the unofficial Facebook resource, and they gave a nice cut and dry list to check on your privacy controls.

Okay, so this has helped make me a little less paranoid about FB, but what about Twitter?

Twitter is a little less intrusive than Facebook, but I'm still trying to figure out how to word each message so it makes sense in 140 characters.

And how do you keep up with replies and @whoever messages? I feel like I'm eavesdropping, reading someone's personal message to somebody else.

I love the Retweet function though. This way, I can spread good intel without having to retype the message. Brilliance!

But I have no idea what a Tweetdeck is, or what people mean when they tweet '#amwriting', or any number of similarly cryptic hashtags.

Reading sites: Goodreads is still my reading site of choice. I still love that place. I belong to several groups where I just lurk when I have time. I love reading the threads there. It's the least stressful networking site I know.

Writing sites: This is one area where I am indeed negligent, so I decided to choose one site and dedicate myself to it. I had several to choose from, places I liked, but I think I am going to hang around Absolute Write Water Cooler. I've gotten a lot of good information from them over the years and it's time I reciprocated.

This year, I am writing more, and I FINALLY have the time to actually participate at some of these sites. No more excuses. I am going in the water this time.

It might take me a couple of weeks to join Facebook, but I'm already on Twitter. And if you see MariaZ at the Water Cooler, that's me!

If we have the same interests (and we should if you're here) would you follow me on Twitter? I will surely follow you too.

And if you're not already a follower of this blog, join up. The nice thing about following a blog publicly is that YOUR link is shown on my profile page. I've found quite a few new blogs by following the trail on someone else's follower's list, so this really is a good tool for all of us to use.

The only thing that bugs me about the Follower list is that it doesn't tell me when someone joins. I have to scan the list to see where the new person is so I can follow him too. Maybe they'll modify that in some future version. Meanwhile, don't hesitate to let me know that you're following, so I can follow you too.

For those of you playing at home, you can follow me here:

Absolute Write Water Cooler: Find me as MariaZ

So tell me, where do you all rub virtual elbows? Leave me a comment with your hangouts and links so people can find you.

Let's get social! Spread the word, guys.

Addendum: Good to her word, Brokenbiro has posted a new article explaining the mysteries of Twitter. Go over and take a look.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Prudent Penny: 20 Quickie Saves

People are always saying it's too hard to save money. Baloney! With ketchup on it!

We haven't done a Prudent Penny post in a while. I think we're overdue, so I've compiled a list of twenty (mostly) easy things you can do to save a few bucks.

  1. Trade down. Instead of that sporty new desktop computer, take the time to discuss with your local geek what exactly you need for your purposes.
  2. The Joneses: Fuggetaboutit. You're not minion. Make your own rules.
  3. Make your own food. Start a garden. Don't have a lot of time? Pick out one or two veggies or herbs that are the MOST expensive in the grocery store and just grow those.
  4. YARD SALE: Have one. Get that nice clean feeling of getting rid of your clutter. Believe me, it's cathartic.
  5. YARD SALES: Go to 'em. You've seen pictures of my house. I've bought 70% of my furniture and almost all my knick-knacks from yard sales. Bet I spent less on my stuff than you did on yours. And I have a cute home. Yard sales work.
  6. Nothing New: Buy nothing new for ONE month. You can do it!
  7. Bag It: Brown bag your work lunch and eat dinner at home for an entire week. Want an incentive? Add up what it costs you to eat out for a week. Don't forget to include that coffee and donuts. Yeah, it's that much.
  8. Pay in cash. I do this all the time. If I don't have the cash, I don't buy it. Keeps me from overspending or splurging.
  9. Negotiate in cash. Nothing says sold like negotiating in cash. This works at flea markets, appliance stores and car dealers.
  10. Speaking of car dealers: Wave the guy off if he asks you how much you want to pay a month. Ask him, what the total price is--then ask him to lower it. Do your homework. Don't let the dealer tell you the price.
  11. Addictions: When I was at the gas station, they were selling cigarettes for 50 bucks a box. A box!! I can do a lot with 50 bucks, can't you? Besides, you know it's bad for you.
  12. Bottled Water: Got this from Greg. He always refills his water bottles with filtered water from home. Pennies instead of dollars.
  13. Chickens! A good layer will lay once every other day. A great layer will lay everyday. You don't need a rooster either.
  14. Turn it off. If you're not watching the tv, turn it off. Same goes for lights, A/C and heating. There's a reason your father went from room to room shutting off lights.
  15. Cook several meals at once. Our biggest expenditures happen when I don't plan ahead. A lot of times we're working on a project that is dirty, draining, and down right hard. The last thing I want to do is cook after I've quit for the day. If I have a few meals already prepared, all I have to do is stick it in the oven.
  16. Go to the library. They have books, CDs, and DVDs. All you need is a library card.
  17. Research potential discounts. Before you buy anything expensive, Google it thusly: Item, coupon --or-- Item, discount.
  18. Have a book addiction? Consider an e-reader. Many books are cheaper as an e-book. If you add up what you normally spend on print books, an e-reader quickly becomes a more cost-efficient means to feeding a (good) addiction.
  19. Keep a change jar. Toss in any loose change or bills into the jar.
  20. Try the $50 Rule. This is what Greg and I did to buy and pay off two of the three houses we've owned. It works.
What's your favorite way to save money?

For More Prudent Penny posts go here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Which Phone Should I Get?

I need to get a new cell phone. It gets hot almost as soon as I open the phone to talk, and it's been unreliable for the last few months.

This is only the second phone I've had in over ten years. I don't like having to update my hardware a lot. As long as it works, I'm satisfied. My current phone is so old, it doesn't even have a camera.

Me, troglodyte. I leave the cutting edge to Greg.

Living in the boonies, I'm kind of limited as to phones that will get reception. A friend of mine has an I-phone, but he couldn't make calls from here. I know the Verizon phones work, so I'll be going back to them. But which one?

Anyone know anything about that new phone, HTC Droid Incredible? It has more bells and whistles than my old 10 speed, Betsy. :groan: More stuff to learn. I don't think my brain can hold any more information.

The next time Greg gets into town, we'll stop by the phone store and check them out. Does anyone have any advice on phones? Is there any you recommend--or not recommend?

I would love something that has a reading app on it. I seem to spend so much time waiting without benefit of a book, it would be nice to have a cell phone that could pull double duty.

My other techy wish is for a netbook, but I can wait for that. The cell phone is a necessity. Aside from email, it's my only form of communication to the outside world.

But I'm as lost as newborn with all the options available. I have no idea where to start. Help please.

I need a good workhorse phone. What phone do you use?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Killer Campaign: Darlin', It's Not About You

Authors, think promo is about you? Think again.

Put yourself in the reader's chair. When you bounce around from blog, to forum, to review site, do you really want to read about some author wildly pimping her latest book?

You know the kind of pimpage I mean. The author is so excited about her book, you're afraid she's going to orgasm in front of you. There are promises of adventure, sex, and whirlwind romance. Every page will knock your socks off and you'll get the nitty-gritty details on how that book rose from the ashes to publication.

Some of it will be mildly intriguing, but the rest you'll skim. Don't feel bad. I skim too.

The reason we speed read is simple. The article is all about the author, when it should be all about the reader.

Have you noticed that I rarely make crazy, hand-waving, look-at-me posts? You'd think I was almost invisible, yet I've slowly acquired faithful readers and friends. My posts aren't always about writing. Heck, sometimes they're not even about reading. They're about life.

I used to be good about following stats, but I don't pay much attention to them now unless they spike dramatically.

What makes the numbers spike? When I talk about dogs, chickens, arthritis and husbands--er, make that husband. I only have one. (One is enough.)

People want to know about my homesteading experience. They like to see the projects we turn out. I get tons of traffic from Google on gardening, frugal living, and chipped kneecaps. Yes. Kneecaps. I kid you not.

While it might look like I'm talking about myself, I'm really talking about you. I ask YOU about your experience while I'm sharing mine.

And somewhere along the way, if you wander around my blog, you might think, hmm...that Maria, she writes a pretty good blog post. I wonder if her books are just as good.

Some of you will take a chance on me. Some of you won't. But I'm like an itch. If you keep reading me, eventually you'll think, you know, I really should check out her books.

If I guest blog away from my home turf, most good hosts confetti the post with my book cover and links. I'll meet new people. Maybe some old friends. Either one is good. It gives me another chance to talk about life.

This might not seem like a typical Killer Campaign post, but it's the most candid one I've ever written.

Everyone does promo when they have a new book. The trick is to not make it about you, the author, but about the devoted readers who will spend good money in the hopes that you will entertain them for a few hours.

Don't let them down. When you hawk your wares, remember where they're going.

Today's marketing post is simple: Make it about your reader. What's in it for him? Why should s/he care about another new book? They can care and they will care, but give them a reason to support you.

You could have the best agent in the world, the hardest working publicity guru, a giant publisher backing you, and
be wildly popular with your peers, but if you don't respect your reader's time, you're paying homage to the wrong people.

If you agree, go ahead and retweet this. If you disagree, let me know in the comments.

Killer Campaigns is an ongoing series of promotional tools and marketing options. For more articles in the Killer Campaign series, go here.

Copyright © 2010 Maria Zannini --

Want to get a whole book with this information for $2.99?

Find it on Amazon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Welcome The Volunteers

There's nothing better than volunteer fruit--especially when it's my favorite fruit. I was thrilled when I saw these fat black berries peeking out from a weedy patch in my little field.

When I spied them last week, they were red and I thought they were raspberries. That was okay, but I like blackberries better. You can imagine my delight when I walked out there and saw them transformed to that nice dull
black luster.

Can you spot those black nuggets of sweetness in that field of green?

There will be blackberry cobbler tonight!

Isn't it interesting that the blackberries that I am growing deliberately are still green, while the wild blackberries are ripe for the picking?

Apricots and blackberries are two of my favorite fruits, with cranberries coming in a close second.

What's your favorite fruit? Do you fix them any special way, like pies or smoothies?

I am a lazy cook at best, but blackberries are the one fruit that I am willing to go through the trouble of using in a recipe. My dream is to someday make blackberry preserves.

Finding tasty volunteers on your homestead is like finding treasure.

LOL! It doesn't take much to make me happy, does it?


Pssst...There's a Killer Campaign post tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Death In the Hen House

One of my chicks died last week. It was one of my Easter-egg chickens, the americauna.

These things happen.

I noticed the day before he died that he didn't want to go out in the yard. I tried to put him out but he came right back in. I picked him up and examined him. There was a little food in his crop, and his eyes were still clear. He just wasn't interested in being with his pals.

The next day he was dead.

Birds have alarmingly fast metabolisms. Usually, by the time you know something is wrong, there is little you can do about it. If I had snapped that he might have had problems I could have given him some electrolytes in his water, but that's no guarantee it would've helped him.

It could have been dust, or maybe he dug out a piece of moldy food from under the hay. There's no telling. He was always the smallest of all my chicks, so it's possible he just didn't have the constitution of the others.

He's in chicken heaven now.

Total chick count: 25

I should have sexed them to see how many hens vs roosters I'll have but :shrug: it won't matter in the end. I can only keep one to two roosters per breed.

I have grown attached to one astralorp who was picked on by his mates until I put him with a younger group of americaunas. Unfortunately, he has to go back with his breed when he's old enough. You can see him in the top pictures. He's the solid black chick with his back to the camera. (camera shy)

Unless he can grow some cahonas and stand up to the bullies, it probably won't bode well. I really don't want to put him in the pot. He's a nice bird. Very gentle and friendly.

So far, the astralorps have been my least favorite breed. I've had astralorps before, but this batch is unusually aggressive, except for my poor picked on bird.

Despite my normal crotchety disposition, I do have a soft spot for the underdogs--or in this case, the underchicken.

I try not to get attached but when they need more than normal care like this one did, I can't help it. There's a good chance I might try to get him/her adopted by someone who wants a pet chicken. Yup, that's how much I like the little guy.

Do I have any takers?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pain For Progress

Two weeks ago, I finally took the plunge and made an appointment with a chiropractor. She was my last hope.

After 3 years, I had given up on the 'specialists' who did nothing but pump me full of drugs to mask chronic pain.

The chiropractor did a thorough examination. I brought in my old x rays and MRIs and she studied them at length. Then she did a full x ray of my whole back. When she showed me the film, I finally realized the extent of the damage that had been done, and why no one had found the problem before.

For some reason, (probably from an old injury) my S-1 joint (sacroiliac) had become so scarred and inflamed that I could no longer sit for more than a few minutes. And because of a knee injury on the opposite leg, I was putting even more pressure on a hip joint that could no longer sustain itself.

I lost 22 mm of height on my left side. Abnormal is 5mm. I really messed up this time.

I'm telling you all this because if you have a joint issue that hasn't been adequately explained or treated, you need to keep asking questions. My other doctors assumed it was bursitis or arthritis. They blamed it on my age. (And I'm not even that old.)

It has been a painful process. She is having to tear down years of scar tissue and adhesions by manipulating the joint. It hurt so much on my first visit I nearly jumped off the table twice.

But I've been sucking it up. I understood what she was doing and why she had to do it. Worse yet, I understood from the get-go it was going to hurt like hell. There's no other way around it.

I have several more weeks of this. If it doesn't work, I might have to go to the hospital where they'll stick a needle between that hip joint and inject cortisone directly. They have to work the needle in while looking at a live x-ray. Obviously, I don't want it to get to that point.

I've been sleeping longer--and for the first time in three years, I'm sleeping on my back again. That part has been wonderful!

I know some of you deal with chronic pain and I want you to know, I feel for you. It's hard to explain to someone else how bad it can get. And most of us just live with the pain, especially when pain meds don't work.

There are still several weeks to go, but I can feel some progress, even if it's painful progress.

Don't give up the ship. There are answers somewhere out there.

And to bring this back to writing, I have to tell you this story about my chiropractor. On Friday, I mentioned to her that I had a book signing over the weekend and that I was dreading having to sit for such a long time.

(BTW, the book signing was a terrific experience, and I'll tell you more about that at a later date. There's a Killer Campaign lesson in it.)

Anyway, her eyes lit up and she said: A book signing? You have a book out now? Can I buy it?"

Yes. Yes. And yes.

I was so shocked by her enthusiasm, I didn't know what else to say. I sold a book without even trying. She knew I wrote for a living. I didn't tell her I had a book out.

Because of my day job, I always kept my writing career on the QT, but now that I'm retired, I forget to tell people I'm an author. Greg is the one who often volunteers that information happily.

Maybe I ought to hire him as my PR agent.

Authors: Are you good at telling strangers about your books? What do you say?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Killer Campaigns: Promo Bucket List

Even books have bucket lists. While some tomes last generations, others can fizzle into obscurity within weeks. Give your book the time of its life by making a promo bucket list.

If you've sold even one title, you know how overwhelming it can be to stage your promotional schedule. Planning ahead is critical and making a bucket list of potential promotional outlets will make that job so much easier.

A bucket list is like a dump file, you're going to toss every idea in there, no matter how far fetched or common place.

Your bucket list is going to list digital venues, swag, tours, signings and other appearances. Throw it all in there. Don't worry about it making sense right away, we'll organize them in a minute.

Got 'em in there? Good.

Sort your bucket list by type first. Some of these could fall into more than one category, but this is the way I like to sort them.

Internet Presence
This include interviews, reviews, blog posts, articles, press releases, book trailers, and Tweets that will all go in one pile. These are all static, already written pieces that need a home.

Personal Appearances
Book signings, lectures, workshops, readings, book club appearances, radio, tv, podcasts.

Careful about going overboard here. Go through my old Killer Campaign posts on different types of swag. Invest only as much as you can afford. Some good standbys are business cards, bookmarks, pencils/pens, magnets and candy.

Launch parties, contests, anywhere readers interact.

This one can also break the budget, that's why I'm leaving it to last. If you have a few bucks to invest in a digital or print ad in one of the bigger markets, consider it. Otherwise, let this one slide back into the bucket for another day.

Now that you've sorted your list, expand.

Start with Internet Presence: Interviews.
From here, list EVERY site that will host an interview with you.

Go down the line and do this for every item.

Under Blog Posts, list EVERY blog that will host you, including any posts you will write for your own blog. Remember that you don't want to sound like a used car salesman. Treat your readers to posts they'll enjoy. Promo is entertainment first, offer second.

Under Personal Appearances, list every bookstore, library, club, or show that will have you.

Under Swag, set your dollar amount and shop around for the best deals on two or three items that you think will represent you well. Same goes for Advertising.

You can end up with a pretty extensive list if you work at it. And most of this is FREE. All it requires is a little planning on your part.

At this point you will have made scheduled commitments to some of these items. Go through your list again and schedule the rest of your venues so that you have an entire month of opportunities covered.

The trick to a successful bucket list is to cast your net wide and then sort the fish once they're in your bucket.

To recap, you are going to follow three simple steps.
• Make a list
• Expand your list with detailed venues
• Schedule your promo

Try to do this at least a couple of months ahead and promo will be a snap.

So what do you think? Have you ever made a bucket list for your book?

How about for yourself? What would you like to do before you kick the bucket?


Copyright © 2010 Maria Zannini --

Want to get a whole book with this information for $2.99?

Find it on Amazon.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Easy Contests

KS Augustin is having a bunch of authors over at her blog this week. You never know, your new favorite author may be over there. Stop by and drop in a comment for a chance to win a copy of Cougars & Cubs. Contest ends May 18 (US time)

From Kaz:
Yep, everyone who comments will be in the draw to win a copy of the Cougars & Cubs anthology (unless you specifically tell me not to include you), set for release on Monday 10 May. Because it’s a digital anthology, there’s no limitation on where you reside. If you can comment, you can win!


Jackie over at Housewife Blues and Chihuahua Stories is having a quick contest for a free book, Wild Fire by Christine Feehan. Go visit Jackie and enter. (PS: She has cute dogs!)

Contest ends May 17.


Tomorrow: Killer Campaigns is back!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not For Rent

It happened again. Someone contacted me to use my blog as a springboard for their business. Those of you who are regulars know that I link liberally. If I've had any experience with a product or service, I want others to know about it.

But I won't do it for profit, nor will I take on advertisers. What would I make? A few pennies here and there? And for what? I'd end up annoying my regular readers with ads. It's not worth it.

So that's my policy if anyone else wants to know.

I seem to be getting more requests than usual lately. Has anyone else had that experience? Maybe I'm getting more popular and I don't even know it. LOL!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Frank Frazetta

Fantasy artist and legend, Frank Frazetta died yesterday at age 82, and a part of my youth went with him. I would have loved to have met him.

When I was a little bitty art student, his was the work I would copy laboriously as I was learning about color and space and emotion. Frazetta inspired me as much as Caravaggio and Magritte. His art was sensuous and adventurous. It wasn't just the imagery, it was the way he built story within a static image.

I was an old person when I started writing, but I was young and raw when I began my art career. Frazetta inspired me to look for greens and purples in flesh tones, that cellulite was okay on the human female body and that bravery could be shown with as little as the taut sinew of an arm.

He painted fantasy, but there was far more realism in one square inch in his work than in entire paintings of other artists.

While his personal life was wrought with tragedy and a troublesome son, he remained prolific, amassing a huge collection.

Frazetta defined fantasy art. A true legend who will be missed, especially by me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Are Cheerleaders Dangerous?

When I decided to take up writing seriously, the first thing to go were the cheerleaders. That's a hard thing to give up when you're first starting out. Cheerleaders make you feel like a million bucks. They think you walk on water and when you make a mistake, they pat you on the back and assure you the mistake only made the story better.


The other day, Marian Perera wrote a follow up to my post on fan-fic, and one of her commenters, Linda Adams, mentioned that one of her objections to fan-fic was 'addiction to feedback'.

That is what reminded me of those early cheerleaders and about relying on feedback to write your story.

Feedback addiction is dangerous whether you write fan-fic or original work. I've seen more than a few good writers get sucked into that well and never rise to the next level.

One writer in my first little group could barely write a scene without getting group approval. I was embarrassed for her, yet no one else in the group seemed to mind. They thought they were being helpful.

Obviously, I was the one who had to go. I was outnumbered by do-gooders, saintly critiquers who can derail a writer's career faster than a zombie agent at a RWA conference.

You can't please everyone, nor should you try. Heck, even my old stuff doesn't please me anymore. I always try to aim higher and when I look back, I smile and tell myself, that was then. This is now. What kind of story can I write today?

So, tell me writer friends. Do you still like your old work or do you wish you could rewrite it now that you know better?

Readers: If you followed a particular author, can you tell the difference between her newer work and her older stuff? Is it better--or just different?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Say A Little Prayer

I've never watched Glee, but I'd watch it if these guys were in it. I think it's the stomach pooch and the grease-stained t shirt that does it for me. Thanks to my friend, Mel for sending it my way. She always knows what tickles my funny bone.

The guy to the right looks like a boss I once had. "Hey Jim, is that you?"

I don't know who these guys are, but I hope they make more videos.

"I Say A Little Prayer' Starring:
Josh Cheon, Jason Whipple and Mark Louque

So does anyone watch Glee? Should I add it to my tv watch list? That would bring my list to a total of two shows. I hope I can handle it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is Fan-Fic Unethical?

I'll probably be ruffling some feathers, but have any of you been keeping up with Diana Gabaldon's fan-fic dilemma?

I found out about it from Avid Book Reader. Apparently, Gabaldon does not approve of fan-fic. And until she spelled it out, I didn't appreciate the deeper ramifications of writing stories from someone else's characters.

I know a couple of people who write fan-fic within the Lord Of The Rings world. Somehow, I can't rightly place Tolkien in the same ballpark with Gabaldon.

In the first place, Tolkien is dead. In the second place LotR is so archaic that a little fan-fic probably makes Tolkien more reader-friendly. Gabaldon is very much alive, current and readable.

Also, as a reader, I wouldn't want to read someone else's rendition of Gabaldon's characters. I read Gabaldon for HER voice, not someone else's. But Tolkien? Meh. That's like rehashing Jane Austen.

I have to agree with Gabaldon on the critical issue of copyright though. I wouldn't like it if someone wanted to do fan-fic on my characters. I'm rather possessive about those things, but only because I don't know what a fan-fic writer plans to do with my ideas.

In this viral environment, you can't count on your intellectual property staying in your control. It would be easy to say: 'I won't make money off your characters or hurt your career.' But the truth is, you can't guarantee that. This is why copyright laws exist.

Copyrighted characters and images cannot be used without the expressed permission of the owner.

I know. People do it all the time. It's still not right.

So what's the answer? Would you want YOUR characters used in someone else's fan-fic?

By the way, the saga is ongoing. Gabaldon had a second post on the issue, with a promise for a third.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bad Pecker

There's a woodpecker out there who's lookin' to get smacked. For three days this woodpecker has been pecking at my satellite dish, the same satellite dish that is my lifeline to the outside world, the same satellite dish that's made out of fiberglass.

If he keeps it up, I'm putting a contract on his beak.

I had to play catch-up all weekend and I still didn't make a dent. But I did find a terrific blog thanks to Jackie at Housewife Blues & Chihuahua Stories.

I almost didn't go to Dirty, Sexy Books because, you know (wink, wink) I thought it was really dirty. LOL! But in fact, it's a really smart book review blog run by Rebecca. And this particular post about the good, the bad and the ugly in blogs was a brilliant piece of observation.

Check it out and tell me how you think your blog rates.

Despite my intermittent connection, I still made my two chat sessions at Coyote Con, a digital con that is going on all month long.

The first chat was on ghosts, and I was sorely disappointed--in myself! The chat was set up past my bedtime and as much as I wanted to participate, I could barely keep my eyes open. I stayed up so I could at least save the transcript, but the good folks at Coyote Con are saving all the transcripts anyway.

The second chat was on science fiction romance. I have a feeling this genre is truly frontier fiction. The sky is wide open and I'm glad it's finally out of the closet. About time! It was good to see so many people interested in this sub genre.

While I was at Coyote Con I bumped into regular commenter, Sherri Meyer. If you missed her recent comments, she's hosting Kait Nolan on her blog on May 25. Check out Kait's novella,
Forsaken By Shadow.


And speaking of new books, KS Augustin has a brand new book coming out with the very awesome Carina Press. It's called IN ENEMY HANDS, and I love the premise of this story! This guy has his memory stripped every two days. It just gives me chills!

Srin Flerovs, Moon’s new research partner, is a chemically enhanced maths genius whose memory is erased every two days. While he and Moon work on a method of bringing dead stars back to life, attraction between them flares, together with the realisation that they are nothing more than pawns in a much larger game.

You're going to hear more about IN ENEMY HANDS as we get closer to the launch, but in the meantime, follow KS Augustin's blog for a chance to win her book.

Should you fail to score a free book with her, you'll get a second chance with me, cuz I'm just that kind of girl. I am going to buy one lucky commenter a copy of Kaz Augustin's book. Stay tuned for more info!

As you can tell, it's been a busy weekend, despite my internet spazzing out on me and that woodpecker drumming out Morse code.

Oh, and before I forget! I stopped by Shelley Munro's blog and left my Writing Tip of the day. Stop over there and tell me if it's something you've already tried or if it's new-to-you. It's been useful for me, and I recommend it highly.

Whew! Have I sent you to enough places today? I told you I was busy this weekend--despite the damn pecker.

One last request. I am trying to be a better Twit. If you're on Twitter, would you follow me? I promise, I'll follow back. Here's my Twitter Address.