Click on the image for more information.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why am I Reinventing my Blog?

It was my birthday (back in March) that got me serious about reinventing my blog.

There's an old African proverb that says: When a man dies, a library burns to the ground. It got me thinking about how much knowledge old people have and how we kind of disregard them (until we need them).

I've had friends come over and marvel at how I did something--something so totally old fashioned it must've looked new and innovative to younger people. To me, it was nothing, but to them it was like I had opened their eyes. 

I had begun to wonder if I wasn't like an old library. I have no children, so who was there to pass on my experience? I've done a little sharing here on this blog, particularly with my homesteading articles, but I wanted to do more.

Other times I had learned something all by myself, and again there was no one to share it with. That seems a sad fate for hard-won knowledge.

The details on how this blog will evolve are still a little nebulous. I know I'll be blogging a lot more often. Sometimes it'll be just bargains I'd found (including books). Other times it'll be real articles about DIY projects, saving money, gardening, or (gasp) even cooking. 

There'll be more pictures. Eventually I might put out a call for guest bloggers if they have a good topic in one of the above subjects.

Regardless of whether I stay on Blogger or go to WordPress I'll cough up the money to have my own domain and web host. I want to do this as professionally as I can.

My (blog) voice will remain the same, so expect the same folksy anecdotes and occasional dog dramas. Who knows? I might even make Nana my mascot. She's always hamming for attention. Might as well put her to work.

None of this will happen until 2016, but I'd like to hit the ground running when I do.

Do you have any big plans for 2016?  Is there any one thing you'd like to accomplish next year?

 This is part two of a two-part post. Click here for part one.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Should I Move to WordPress?

We had a tremendous amount of rain since Friday. More than 12 inches in a 24 hour period. We'd been dry for months so the rain was welcome. I just wish it hadn't come all at one time.

The storms were so fierce it brought down two (dead) trees on our land, but further south of us, flood waters derailed an entire train hauling cement. That won't be pretty to clean out.

I'm continuing my research on expanding my blog. The big question will be whether I should migrate to WordPress or stay on Blogger. I like Blogger but many of the affiliates I'm interested in seem better connected to WordPress. It would be a big step for me. 

Right now I'm busy reading up on their terms of service. From what I've heard, blogging with affiliates is a lot trickier than it used to be. I don't want to make any missteps out of ignorance.

For instance, I can't advertise too big a percentage of free books if I also happen to have an affiliate that sells books. I think I can get around that if I post a separate post that doesn't compete with the affiliate. My plan right now is to offer a small venue to my writer friends.

In my own small way, expanding into a bigger audience looking for bargains and DIY articles, I might be able to showcase a few books every week. I'll know more once I parse out all the fine print. 

And tomorrow, I'll tell you why I'm doing this. 

In the meantime, I want to give a shout out to a few friends in the middle of a promotion.

Jenny Schwartz is asking people to nominate her novel, Sky Garden for the Kindle Scout program. This sounds like a pretty sweet deal so be a pal and nominate Jenny's book. Here's the link.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan is in the middle of a blog tour promoting her fantasy series, Seasons Avatar. They're offering some pretty nice prizes in the rafflecopter. Check it out.

My buddy, Jimmy Garcia Jr. is doing a bang up job in direct sales of his books with a couple of live book events. I really need to interview him and find out if he has any secrets to share. He always seems to do a great job hand-selling his books. Must be the smile. 

Tyrean Martinson is putting her book, Champion in the Darkness for free to get people interested in the rest of her fantasy series. Go over and take a look.

Last but not least, Mike Keyton is looking for readers with a soft spot for "not your average" noir fantasy with his novel, Clay Cross. I know Mike must be serious about his career because he sent me his author photo and I touched it up with the right background. Look out world!

To all my WordPress friends, how do you like it? Is it easy to navigate? If I do this I'll be spending the extra bucks to have my own domain. 

Is it cool by you? Other than the rain, our temps have been pretty mild. 

End of Part One. Click here for Part Two.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Is It Time to Reinvent Myself?

Every decade or so I feel it's necessary to take a step back and evaluate where I've been and where I'm heading.

I feel like that time is drawing near again. I've been questioning myself, asking myself what I want out of life.

I know I still want to do covers, perhaps expanding into advertising and branding. Frugal living/saving money is also important to me, along with the ability to share that knowledge.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how to best bridge those two interests so I'm not spreading myself thin between two web sites.

I might lose some followers with this change, but I might also gain some too. Only time will tell.

Do you ever step back and reevaluate your career/life? Have you ever tried to reinvent yourself to change the course of your life?

How would you feel if I switched the format of this blog to more instructional articles?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Family Legacies

My mother (on loan from my other siblings) has been regaling me with stories of her childhood. One of the stories I found fascinating was that she never knew her grandfather. He died in the early 1910s, before my mother was born. grandfather had been killed by a real life guerrilla from Pancho Villa's regime. The motive, according to family lore, was robbery, which makes sense considering they owned property. Villa's forces were often known to demand tribute from wealthy landowners.

This, in turn was how I found out my sweet, soft-spoken grandmother always packed a big, old revolver near her person. I guess I would too if I had revolutionaries riding around my hacienda.

I always knew my grandmother was a practical woman and apparently, fearless too. I've heard other stories when she had actually threatened a bad guy with that same gun while she was home alone with her young children. I never heard conclusively whether she fired or not. Knowing her, she probably scared the crap out of that guy though. No one messed with my grandma. :-)

Another interesting factoid: My mother says she had a hard time understanding her grandmother, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman from Spain. Spanish dialects are remarkably unique to Mexico and Spain. It would take a keen ear to understand both dialects.

I have one small photo of my great-grandmother. She was very old by then, and tiny! She reminded me of a doll in her long flowered frock and ruffled collar, still as svelte as when she was young. 

My grandmother (a young woman at the time of the photo) stood a whole head taller. I guess I can thank my great-grandmother for my lack of height. Alas, I inherited no blonde hair or blue eyes, though occasionally it pops up in a descendant.

Do you have a favorite family story about one of your ancestors?

My mother's memories are beginning to fade, so I treasure the small gems she's able to remember.


Speaking of stories with family secrets, I promised my friend, R. Mac Wheeler to mention his 28th book, "6 Ways to Where". You can read an excerpt here.

Just out of curiosity, authors, how many books have you published?

Monday, October 5, 2015

40 Years Without a Restraining Order

This Saturday, (10-10-15) marks our 40th wedding anniversary.

I know. I find it hard to believe too.

Firstly, because I don't feel that old. And secondly, because it went by REALLY fast.

We have company all this week so we'll probably celebrate properly once we're alone again. For now, we'll partake of soft-shell crabs and lobster bisque, and toast another year.

I'll never forget the judge who married us. She was an old black, Baptist justice of the peace who believed young people didn't have the foggiest notion what marriage was about. (She was right!) She did her best to scare the bejeezus out of us, but we stood our ground and assured her we were ready. (Ha!)

I remember her fondly because she was so stern and mean. I know now looking back, she was only looking out after our best interest. I guess she figured that if she couldn't scare us, we might be strong enough for whatever lay ahead.

Once the deed was done, she was all smiles and wished us well, but for a few tense minutes, I wasn't sure she was going to let us marry.

Thank you, Judge Armstrong. When we toast our 40 years, we'll be toasting you too, for giving us the benefit of the doubt.

I'm often asked what makes for a long, happy marriage. Lots of things come into play and it's different for every relationship. For me, it's honesty, equality, and a big dose of seeing the funny side of things. Life is hard. When both people have a good sense of humor it can lighten the load.

I think I chose wisely. I knew Greg would be the kind of guy who would be there even when times got rough.

What do you want most in a mate? Was it easy to find that kind of person?