Sunday, March 30, 2014

Miss Mabel's School for Girls by Katie Cross

Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.
Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.
Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?
Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.

I love a good book. One you can crawl into and get lost in and this is one of those books.  Introducing Miss Mabel's School for Girls by my little friend, Katie Cross
I fell in love with the characters as soon as I started reading.  You've got all the elements of a spellbinding story here.  Like any high school, you've got your popular girls and your book worms, but these girls all have a little something else. You've got teachers who make the learning process fun and those who make the students cringe at the thought of being called upon.  Oh, did I mention the creepy forest surrounding the school?  
You'll notice that I'm not giving anything away with this book because I firmly believe you've got to read this one.  I will tell you that it's got everything you could ever want in a magical YA book.  And it's done in a way that is actually believable.  I've read a lot of books of this nature that were just so far out there that it could never happen in real life.  But MMSFG is different in the fact that you think that there could actually be a school out there where high-school aged girls are learning the mystical arts.  
As a first novel, I really think Katie did an awesome job.  And one of my favorite things about it is that it's a great read for book lovers of any age.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with for the next installment.
Want to keep up with everything going on with this book and the others coming up?  Check out Katie's fanpage on Facebook or the Miss Mabel's site.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Writing About Online Deals and Sales

So, as anyone who's actually read this blog knows, I'm working diligently on finding ways of getting back into the writing game.  I'm looking for all kinds of things to write about, no matter how silly they may seem.  I've even thought about getting into an area I'm not too proud of...writing erotica.  Don't laugh, I didn't do it and I'm not so sure I could even if I did decide to do so.  My father would turn over in his grave.

A couple weeks ago I finally found a flash drive I'd thought I'd lost that had almost 10 years worth of my writings on it.  I grabbed that drive yesterday and started going through some of the things I'd written.  I'd forgotten just how much was really on that drive until yesterday.  I opened one of the folders to find it filled with several other folders, which had even more folders in them.  I just sat there kind of shocked.  But, one of the folders I'd found struck me like a lightening bolt. 

I used to write for a guy who became a really good friend of mine, Garry Conn.  He taught me a lot about writing online and how to make money blogging.  If it wasn't for Garry, I'd never had gained as much as I did back in the day.

Anyway, some of the posts I'd written, had to do with writing about online deals, online sales, and that type of thing.  It was pretty easy work and once I got the hang of it, I was pumping out regular articles for like 3 different blogs each week.  So, what does a girl who's looking to get back into the game do when she's backed up against the proverbial writer's blocked wall?  She starts another blog and calls it Online Deals and Sales

I've created this blog for two different reasons.  First and foremost, to see if I can start making money blogging again.  I mean, after all, isn't that part of the reason we write online.  Not the only reason, but one of the reasons.  The other reason I started this blog was to get back into writing and making myself practice.  If I can get back into a regular blogging ritual again, it won't be long before I'm finding myself as a real force in this world once again.  Okay, maybe it will be a force of one, but a force none-the-less.

I do have another blog out there that I'd planned on doing the same thing with, and if I can make this work, I might just get it going again.  It has to do with the world of collecting and the things we all collect.  No, not dust bunnies.  I have some cool ideas for that site, but I'm just now getting to the point where the thought of writing doesn't cause me to freeze up and curl up into the fetal position anymore.

The new site still has a ton of work to be done to it, but I'm pretty excited about it.  I've spent a lot of years following all the mommy bloggers, deal bloggers, and online sale sites out there for my own personal use.  Now it's time to put that to good use.  Wish me luck, kids.  I'm going to need it. 

Happy writing my babies.  :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Keep An Open Writing Mind

As I work toward my goal of writing for a living once again, I'm finding that there are a lot of things I need to remind myself.  The main one right now is that I have to keep an open mind in my writing opportunities.  I love writing in fiction, but I spent years writing articles to make ends meet.  So, if I work it just right, I could have a ton of opportunities at my disposal.

As a fiction writer, there are a lot of ways I can get my writing out there.  Writing a full-length novel is usually the first thing that comes to mind, but it's not the only way to go.  There are a lot of smaller lit magazines out there that pay for short stories and I have to admit that I'm a lot better at writing those than I am at writing novels.  I love a good short story.  Something you can sit down with, fall in love with the characters, and get to the ending in time to do a few other things in your life.

I've been doing some research into a few of the sites online that accept short story submissions and am finding quite a few of them.  I was pretty amazed, now just have to get some of mine put together and get them out there.  I've found that most of the sites I've visited have to do with the paranormal and/or horror genres and those are NOT my strong suits, but doesn't mean I won't give it a try.

As far as non-fic goes, I'm going to try and start doing short e-book pieces via  I read a pretty cool little e-book about doing just this thing.  It's called Full Time Writer and Single Mom by Samantha Fegely.  It's a very quick read and she gives her readers ideas on how to go about making a full time living writing non-fiction for Kindle.  I figure what the heck, I'll give it a shot.  I've come up with some pretty cool ideas, but we'll see how it goes. 

I've also got a couple other ideas in the works, but those are just thoughts at the moment and I'm not sure how far they're going to go.  You know, those odd little thoughts that come along at 3 in the morning when you're kind of asleep and kind of not.  Ya, so we'll just stew on those for now.

So hopefully, I'm on my way back to getting paid to be a writer.  It's been a scary ride since I made the full decision to do this, but it's something I have to do for myself.  I can do this, I know I can. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Relearning SEO

They say the older we get, the faster life goes by.  Now that I'm in my 40's, I'm finding out it's true.  However, life online goes by much faster.  The things that were the norm just a couple years ago, seem to be a thing of the past now.  That means someone like me needs to go back and relearn how to write SEO.

I understand the need for specific keywords and having just the right number of them throughout the article to make it look good to the reader and to the SERPs.  Most of the posts I've read on the matter, however, were written 3 to 5 years ago.  I'd think most of the points made in these posts still hold up, but as fast as things change, you can never be sure.

So, here are a few of the things I'm doing to get back into the game.

1.) Read, read, read
I'm reading everything I can about writing for SEO.  There's a lot of information out there, but as I said, a lot of it was written several years ago.  Some of that information is still relevant, but you'll still want to find newer articles that give you an up-to-date idea on what's going on.  Sites such as BlogEngage are a good place to find this kind of information. 

2.) Find some keywords
I think my biggest issue is in finding something to write about that is SEO compatible.  As a way to help myself find some interesting ideas, I signed up with Wordtracker and use their free keyword search page.  I think of something to write about, add it to the search column, and hit search.  It gives me like 50 ideas on how to find what I'm looking for and even some other ideas on the same idea that might be turned into future articles.

3.) Meet other SEO writers
This is the hardest one for me as I'm not good at asking for help.  But there are a ton of sites out there where other like-minded SEO writers hang out and offer their expertise in the field.  One of my favorites is Guest Crew.  They are a blogging forum designed specifically for those who write guest posts for other peoples sites.  If you want information, this is the place to go.

4.) Just Write
No matter how much information you might have, it doesn't mean anything if you don't dig in and write.  Even if it's not exactly done correctly at first, you still need to write.  It will get easier as you go along, but you have to take that first step.

5.) Believe in yourself
This is the one I have to keep telling myself.  The problem with being a writer of any kind is that you have an inner critic who will do everything it can to keep you from being the most you can be.  Rather than letting that inner critic derail you, let it guide you.  You can't expect anyone else to believe in you, if you don't believe in yourself.

Writing SEO is a tricky business, but it can be done.  No matter how old you are, it is possible to relearn SEO.  As in any endeavor, the first step is always the hardest.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Can You Get Paid To Comment on Blogs?

So I ran across an article that mentioned  site where you can go and get paid to leave comments on posts, or so it sounds like it.  But, I don't know if that's exactly how it works or not.  I just signed up with to see if this is really what's up.

I've only been a member for a couple of days, so I won't pretend to know all the ins and outs yet, but it seems there is a way to make a few extra bucks on the site if you know how to work it.  The trick isn't in the comments, but in how much  activity you put into the site.

Basically, is a blogging community where you can show off your own blog posts for others to read.  As you read the posts of others, you either up vote them or down vote them, depending on how good or not so good you think they are.  You also leave comments on the post blurbs on the site.  Each time you do anything on the site, you get King points.  With these points, you can get discounts on various marketing products.  Not sure what those are, but hopefully I'll earn enough points to find out.

The making money part comes in with the person who leaves the most relevant comments each day or someone who's chosen as their random commenter of the day.  However, the comments have to be real comments and not just a one-liner or just a "thanks for posting" type thing.  They have to be real comments on the post at hand.

I'm still learning the ropes over there, but it could be a cool idea.  I'll give it a real shot and keep ya'll updated.  And if I do happen to make any money, I'll be sure to pass that along as well.  Would really love to let you all know that one of my posts got on the site and I got Kingged.  LOL

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Love/Hate Relationship with My Kindle

I am having a love/hate relationship with my Kindle.  I love my Kindle Fire.  I really do, but when it comes to posting to my blog or doing anything that requires writing, it sucks.  Plus, there are a lot of tablet apps I can't get because it's a Kindle and not your run-of-the-mill tablet. 

So, I've jacked the husband's puter to do a quickie post.  It's so much easier to write on this.  And I'm a happy camper because I found something very dear to me that I thought was lost forever. 

Back when I was writing for a living, I had everything I'd written on a flash drive. When I moved, I couldn't find it and I thought it was gone forever.  But I found it a couple days ago while looking for something else.  Ten years worth of stories, poems, and articles are on that drive.  I spent one whole night just going through it and re-reading some of the things I'd written in the past.  It was just what I needed.  It's another reason I'm on the computer instead of the Kindle, I can't put the drive in the Kindle.  But that's okay.

In my last post, I'd mentioned that I was working on opening a new online store.  I'm still working on that but don't have enough inventory to get it going yet.  Well, I probably do, but don't have all the info needed to post the pictures yet.  I've been making keychains that are pretty cool.  My mom's been making brooches and a few other little things for the store, plus she's got a lot of gently loved items we're going to add.  I just need to get the specs for them in order to get them up for sale.  I wanted to have this store open by now, but I also want it to be a nice site and not just a junk shop.  LOL

So stay tuned.  I see some wonderful things in my future and I really hope you'll come along for the ride with me.  Plus, if I fall, you'll get a good laugh out of it and that's okay too.  I've always said that if I can make at least one person smile each day---or pee just a little---my day's been a success.  :)