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Friday, June 8, 2012

Meet, Greet, and a Giveaway

I normally post on Thursdays, but I had a mountain of things to do this week, some of which were curtailed by much needed rain. So here I am to give you a weekend report of things happening around the net.

By now I hope all of you have heard that LinkedIn had been hacked by the Russians. According to the LA Times, more than six million passwords were stolen, and at least 300,000 passwords have been compromised. If you have a LinkedIn account, please change your password. And if you discover you are short one link--that might be me. I deleted my account. I never use it anyway.

I'd like to introduce you to (Jim) Giacomo Giammateo. I know Jim from my days on OWW (Online Writing Workshop for SF&F and Horror). I don't know why I didn't have his blog on my radar, but I found it accidentally when I caught his interview on The Independent Author Network. 

I knew Jim and his wife were stewards of an animal sanctuary, but I didn't know what that entailed until I started reading his blog. If you love animals in all their forms, put this blog on your read list. 

If you like your murder mysteries with extra intrigue, buy his latest book. Murder Takes Time. You can find it in digital and paperback. 

A string of brutal murders has bodies piling up in Brooklyn, and Detective Frankie Donovan knows what is going on. Clues left at the crime scenes point to someone from the old neighborhood, and that isn't good.

Frankie has taken two oaths in his life--the one he took to uphold the law when he became a cop, and the one he took with his two best friends when they were eight years old and inseparable. Those relationships have forced Frankie to make many tough decisions, but now he faces the toughest one of his life; he has five murders to solve and one of those two friends is responsible. If Frankie lets him go, he breaks the oath he took as a cop and risks losing his job. But if he tries to bring him in, he breaks the oath he kept for twenty-five years--and risks losing his life.

In the neighborhood where Frankie Donovan grew up, you never broke an oath.

It's gotten some great reviews!

And if you visit Jim, tell him that dog-crazy Texan sent you.


Finding Jim's blog accidentally stirred something in me. I follow a lot of blogs, but each interest group has become kind of a closed circle. I keep running into the same people, and while cozy, is not particularly stimulating--especially if their comments sound the same on each blog.

I can't accuse anyone of leaving limp comments here! You guys rock when it comes to creating conversation. Mine is one of few blogs where people tell me they actively read the comment stream. THAT'S how good you are.

But I'm ready to expand my reach and try other blogs. I've made a list of my interests: homesteading, history, romance writers, and animals, and have been clicking on links to see who else I should be reading. If you know of any blog that doesn't get enough love and deserves to be more recognized, I hope you'll let me know in the comments. I'd like to visit them.

In the meantime, go and visit my buddy, Jim.

Lastly, if you're looking to win some free books, stop by and visit Cecile at All I Want and More for her Shameless Summer Blog Hop. Me and a lot of other authors have donated to the cause. Stop by and get in on the Giveaway.  It starts today and runs through June 15. Good luck!


Angela Felsted said...

Maybe one reason you get such interesting comments is because you write so well. I enjoy reading everything you put on your blog because you have an authentic voice.

Sarah Ahiers said...

well, you know me, i'm definitely on my way to visit Jim!
Also, i'm super glad i never open a LinkedIn account now.
Lastly, i'm like you and at this point pretty much visit the same blogs over and over again. BUT those are all my blogging friends, so my comments should be individualized and personal. I mean, what's the point otherwise?
Have a great weekend!

Stacy McKitrick said...

I have a LinkedIn account, but never use it (don't even know what good it is except my Aunt joined and invited me to, also). Gosh, I hope I know the password!! I'll have to check it out tonight.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: Aw, thanks. I think interesting comments require two things: Good questions and the comfort in knowing that everyone who comments here gets my undivided attention.

Sarah: We all have our circle of friends who we talk to on any number of networks. I mean the people who just show up because they're on such-and-such a list or hop. You can tell right away who's just making an appearance because they feel they have to--not because they want to.

Stacy: Hubby was in the same boat. He couldn't remember his password.

L.G.Smith said...

Never really saw the need for a LInkedin account. Don't have a Facebook page either. Or one on Pinterest. I don't think my spam folder could handle all the junk mail if I was on all those sites. :P

LD Masterson said...

I have a LinkedIn account. I don't use it beyond saying yes when someone I know asks to link with me. I need to go and change my password, or follow your lead and just delete the account. But I can't remember my password to get in. Maybe I could ask the Russians.

Melissa McClone said...

I'm really glad I never accepted those LinkedIn invites. I thought I had an account, but none of my emails seem attached to one so yay!

When I was writing a book with a hero who started an on-line data service, I found out about this stuff happening from the guy who started plenty of fish ( It's very interesting how scammers go about hacking into places, honey pots and other things.

Maria Zannini said...

LG: If I had had time, I might've investigated Pinterest, but I am as stretched as a thimbleful of honey on bread.

Linda: Nyet. Reading some of the past articles on the hack job, I was surprised to learn how organized this Russian forum was.

Melissa: I have to admit to terrible naivety about hackers. I try to stay aware but they are lightyears beyond my understanding of computer security.

Angela Brown said...

To be perfectly honest with you, one of the reasons people may feel so comfortable speaking up and leaving real comments here is because you usually try to interact with commentary of your own. You may not get to every single comment but it is known you make a true effort.

Right off the top of my head, I can't really think of anyone that I'm aware you already follow. Yeah, Maria...I've seen you :-)

Barbara Ann Wright said...

But blogs of friends is how I find people! ^_^ I look for comments I think are funny and then follow that person back to their blog. Since we both follow you, I know we have a lot in common already.

Raelyn Barclay said...

I'm glad LinkedIn is so far down my list of possible SM sites I haven't got around to even looking at it, LOL. Hackers are beyond my computer skills and make me nervous but, other than be as safe as you can, what can you really do?

I'll definitely check out Jim's blog and book :)

As for blogs, well you write fab posts. You write thoughtful comments. How could we not gravitate to you?! Of the top of my head I can't think of any to recommend. My blog interests tend to go in cycles, with writing at the top of the list at the moment, and I've seen your smiling avatar on most of those.

Have a great weekend, my friend.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: Unless it's a gross oversight on my part, I answer every comment here. Now I don't always comment on other blogs. It all depends on whether I have something useful/funny/inspiring--or plain dumb to say. :)

Barbara: That's how I found my bloggy friends too, but now it seems I know pretty much everyone in the circles. That's why I'd like to find new voices.

Raelyn: I do get around, don't I? Like I mentioned to Angela, I don't always get a chance to leave a comment at every blog. It all depends on what the post is about.

I'm the quiet one in the family. I rarely say anything unless it's useful to the conversation.

Shelley Munro said...

I've never joined Linkedin despite numerous requests to join.

Jim's books sounds great - great conflict, that's for sure. I'm not surprised he's receiving good reviews.

Maria, it's funny because this week I've been searching for some Papercraft blogs to add to my reader. It's actually quite difficult to find good blogs via Google. I'm afraid I don't have any to add to your list at present.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: Ref: finding blogs on Google

I know! What I've been doing is visiting people who occasionally talk about the things I'm interested in and methodically click through their blog roll to see if there's anyone up my alley.

Offhand I can't recall anyone who dabbles in papercraft, but if I think of anyone, I'll send you the link.

James Garcia Jr. said...

*sigh* Thanks for the reminder about that Linkedin issue. I forgot about it and should really head over and change it, just in case. I rarely use mine, either, but hate to delete it. I still have my MySpace, even though few use it anymore, if for nothing else other than to keep the name.
Have a great weekend, Maria.


Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: Oh, Lord. I completely forgot about MySpace. I have an account there too, but I haven't been there in ages.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Thanks for the link to Jim's blog, Maria. People who run animal sanctuaries have my vote!

It's hard to keep up with blogs (and everything else in social media land) and I find myself sticking in my comfortable rut. Thanks for reminding me to look at the green grass just over the fence.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: I think I was just seeing the same sort of information and I'm itching for new voices, new ideas.

Often times we fall into a well thinking that "our" group is all there is when in fact there's a great big world out there.

Mike Keyton said...

Linkedin is weird. Someone asked me to join and I did and ever since then, like some kind of bullying 'lego', I keep getting these requests to link in with me, and like some kind of pavlovian dog I accept - half the time suspecting that real people aren't behind this but some Napoleonic machine intent on world domination by lego-stealth.

Seriously, I don't see any harm in a stolen password unless you use the same one for another more serious portal. Worse case scenario - the Russian mafia get embroiled in Linkedin.

Maria Zannini said...

Linked In invites people without you knowing. I once got an invitation from Greg and I asked him why he sent it, and he said he never did.

Stolen passwords are serious though because most people tend to use the same passwords. Hack into one system and you could theoretically hack into others.

The reason I found out about the hack is that I started getting spammy emails from someone I know. The hacker harvested my email address and a dozen others through that one hacked account.

Giacomo Giammatteo said...

Maria, what a pleasant surprise to have you visit my blog. I'm thrilled. And you're right, you have one of the best, interactive groups of people commenting. it's a reflection on your warm personality. I like that you blog about what's important to you; it was an inspiration for me when I started my blog.

So keep up the good work, and thanks again for the mention.

Giacomo Giammatteo said...

I forgot to comment on Linked in. By day, I am a headhunter, and I have built a huge following on linked in. I think @ 7500 contacts. While it is great for headhunting, I find it is not very good for writing or much else beyond business connections. I don't see the 'genuine interest' that I do on other social media sites.

I made more 'true' connections on Twitter in a few weeks than I have on linked in for years.

Maria Zannini said...

Jim: You're welcome. :o)

Ref: Linked In
It seemed more important in my life when I was in the corporate world. But as a writer, the only other people I connected with were other writers--or people trying to sell stuff to writers.

I would love to be more visible on Twitter, but I just haven't found the right balance of time vs networking on that site.