Writer’s journey – How did it all happen?

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This is  my writer’s blog about me and my crazy journey to becoming a half decent author.

Well how did I start writing? It was quite odd really. I used to write as a teenager. At the time I had a ginger tom cat called Chester, Mr. Popularity, everyone loved him. He liked to venture afar and we would often have to rescue him. I remember one occasion in particular, my brother and I ended up trudging through the woods, in Blackhall in Edinburgh, to pick him up from a house in the vicinity. He ended up at the most peculiar places. One time he chose to visit a house with thirteen cats!

Here he is looking very much like a tom cat with attitude!

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I told you he liked company. So it seemed natural to  write about cats,  and I kept a diary. My dad was and still is one of my other great sources of inspiration.  He has travelled extensively to the Far East, and Middle East and is a wonderful raconteur.

As far as my writing is concerned the inevitable happened.  I was the typical teenager. I got distracted. I found boys, discos, parties, and my writing suffered. Somehow I didn’t pick it up again for a very long time. This is a regret. A massive regret. But what can I do? I can’t travel back in time, I don’t have a Tardis. So I just have to accept that the time is right now.  You see, I’m still this young girl at heart, just stuck in an older and maybe wiser body. I have experienced more, travelled more, lived more, so hopefully that will make me a better writer.

Several events came together to ignite my desire to write again. First of all I read a lot.  At the time I was reading Dorian Gray and it was definitely a novel that captured my imagination and set my mind free. Also my eldest daughter was studying GCSE Art and I took a sudden interest in art and photography. I’m not saying that I can paint or draw, though I wish I could. No, I enjoyed watching her artistic development and I enjoyed sharing ideas with her and encouraging her.

All of these influences helped me to write my first book, a children’s/YA fantasy set in Cambridge, which I hope to publish soon. The female protagonist in my novel is a teenage girl who paints a puzzle of art. But it is by no means a novel simply about Art. She expresses her sadness, and discovers her magical powers, through the medium of painting and well the rest you will find out when you read the book. Lets just say that a lot happens and I think that it will keep you entertained!  Well I hope so anyway.

Also I know this sounds crazy but my other source of inspiration was a black cat, a  throw back to Chester.  I had never seen this strange black cat before and suddenly he just started appearing in our garden. There was something different about him. He appeared  like a miniature panther, all glossy and splendid, looking for attention, with his mesmerising eyes, I fell under his spell. He liked to show off, he would disappear into thin air, climb to ridiculous heights, or chase his tail around the garden like a demented clown. He just had to play a part in this book too. Lets just say he has a subsidiary part to a main character, who is male, young and very interesting too, just like him. That was the beginning. Looking back I am amazed that from just a few initial thoughts my idea just seemed to grow and grow. Now my debut novel is nearly ready for the final edit. How did that happen? I couldn’t be happier in fact if I had a tail, I’m sure I would be whizzing around and around chasing it with excitement!

Update: I am in the process of editing my novel with a view to self publishing this year. More about that soon. I will continue to add news to this from time to time, or post individual updates on my blog.

Bye for now, xxxxx

 

My Links: 

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Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Challenge # 22 – “Door & Friend”

My Tanka this week is inspired by a quick pick book I found in my local library – The Lemon Grove by  Helen Walsh. It’s a real page turner! I can’t wait to find out what happens in the end….

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Here’s the Goodreads Synopsis:

Set on the rugged, mountainous west coast of Mallorca, this taut, sultry, brilliantly paced novel is an urgent meditation on female desire, the vicissitudes of marriage and the allure of youth.

Taking place over the course of one week, The Lemon Grove lands in the heat of Deia, a village on an island off the southeast coast of Spain. Jenn and Greg are on their annual holiday to enjoy languorous, close afternoons by the pool, and relaxed dinners overlooking the rocks. But the equilibrium is upset by the arrival of their teenage daughter, Emma, and her boyfriend, Nathan. Jenn, in her early forties, loves her (older) husband and her (step)daughter and is content with her life, she thinks. But when this beautiful, reckless young man comes into her world, she is caught by a sexual compulsion that she’s seldom felt before. As the lines hotly blur between attraction, desire and obsession, Jenn’s world is thrown into tumult–by Nathan’s side, she could be young and carefree once again, and at this stage in her life, the promise of youth is every bit as seductive as the promise of passion. Jenn struggles between the conflicting pulls of resistance and release, and the events of the next few days have the potential to put lives in jeopardy as the players carry out their roles in this unstoppably sexy and unputdownable novel from a brilliant observer of the human condition.

I cheated a bit this week instead of friend, I opted for lover!!! The door became a gateway…

My Tanka:

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My second tanka:

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To join in the Tanka fun: Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday

Bye for now,

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The Bloggers Bash Competition: C-o-n-n-e-c-t-i-o-n-s

 

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I believe it all began when I moved to Cambridge from Scotland.

Shortly after our marriage, my husband and I made the rash decision to live out in ‘the sticks,’ in a sleepy Cambridgeshire village called Chatteris. What an enormous culture shock for an Edinburgh city girl like me – I felt isolated and pretty miserable.

Perhaps I would never have started writing if it wasn’t for this and later sadness’s in my life.  In time we moved to the suburbs of Cambridge, within easy reach of the city centre. I made new friends but missed the loving support of my extended family. My husband worked long hours, but I knew that he longed to Do What He Loved – ski on a mountain or be in a rock band! Financial responsibilities meant that his personal dreams languished. Inadvertently, this sacrifice triggered my idea for The Curse of Time – The Bloodstone,  my WIP – which is currently being edited by my lovely friend –  Colleen Chesebro – Author of The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy

As my  daughters grew older I developed an interest in alternative therapies and worked as an Aromatherapist/Reflexologist. During this time I discovered an interest in crystals. This beautiful Malachite captured my attention, demanding to be my first crystal purchase.

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The Malachite definitely sparked my creativity, and helped alleviate my shyness! My urge to write developed in a whirlwind of reading, and imagination. I woke up with ideas and jotted them in a notebook.  This manic phase coincided with the arrival of a strange black cat who demanded my attention. He became my muse.  Was he a stray? Or perhaps  a witch’s cat? Sadly, he disappeared without a trace. I had an odd idea (to find a black cat model,) and my blogging friend Gary Jefferies: Fiction Is Food  introduced me to Samantha Murdoch – the proud owner of Lily.

Astonishingly Lily bears a remarkable resemblance to the black cat in my book, Shadow.

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Guess what? Samantha loves crystals too! Bloodstone, (photographed below by her son,) plays a central part in my book – another extraordinary coincidence!

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Photo credit for above three photos: Alex Marlowe, Samantha Murdoch’s son.

All these incredible connections have fuelled my desire to write. I am so lucky to have many inspiring writers, bloggers, and creative individuals who I call friends. Astounded by their support and encouragement my confidence has soared. I’ve participated in short stories prompts, poetry, photography challenges, and weekend coffee shares…  In August 2015 I did the unthinkable – I shrugged off my shy persona and attended My First Bloggers Bash

In part, this is thanks to the power of my Malachite crystal!  I can’t wait to attend the next bash in June, and see some of my blogging friends, (unfortunately not all can attend,) and new ‘faces,’ too.

Life is devoid of meaning without ‘real’ positive relationships, connections that matter. I believe that if you give of your best, you will receive the best back. I have a passion for the arts, and I will continue to promote bloggers, writers, and creative individuals who I count as my dear friends. I love supporting authors by writing book reviews:  My Wise Old Owl A – Z Book Reviews, and offer  Blogger/Author Spotlights. One recent example is: Sue Vincent and Stuart France

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MY MOTTO:  

Always Do What You Love,

Stay True To Your Hearts Desires,

Remain Young At Heart,

And Inspire Others To Do So Too,

Even If It Appears The Odds,

Are Stacked Against You,

Like Black-Hearted Shadows.

 

A Writing Award To Give Yourself: Do What You Love

Hence the name of my blog: Kyrosmagica – Crystal Magic.

The Bloggers Bash Competition – Sacha Black

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FORMATTING A PRINT BOOK #amwriting #bookformatting #KDP — G.L. Cromarty

Great tips for formatting a print book on KDP via G. L. Cromarty – Arrowhead Freelance And Publishing blog.

Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing

FORMATTING A PRINT BOOK

Formatting a print version of your novel can be tricky, so when it came to tackling my own book I approached this task with caution. I own a kindle so I was comfortable in self-formatting the ebook version, and have been putting my own books on a kindle for review purposes for many years. Printing a book is very different, and you never really know what it will look like until the book is sitting in your hand.

I have recently published my paperback through KDP Paperback (Beta). I will be covering details of my experience using this in my next article Publishing a book with KDP Paperback (Beta), but I will also make some reference to it below in the context of the formatting.

Formatting – Font

Getting the font right on a print book is vitally important, and perhaps more so than with an ebook where the reader has an option…

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RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #136 Eye&Fade

 

 

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I’m in the mood for poetry today! Started off writing two Tanka poems for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday and then realised I hadn’t done anything for Valentine’s.  To remedy this faux pas I decided to take a gander at Ronovan’s prompt words this week hoping they were a little valentine related and sure enough Eye and Fade were perfect, so I wrote this haiku…

 

xoxo

 

To join in with Ronovan’s Haiku Challenge follow the link: Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge

 

Happy Valentines!!!

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Much love,

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Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Challenge #21 – “Fog & Change”

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It’s Tuesday! Time for Tanka Tuesday.

The prompt words this week are fog and change. This morning I wrote two Tanka as soon as I woke up – one sad and the other light-hearted. I didn’t want to torment you by writing one solitary Tanka ending on a sad note!

The first one is a reminder to drive carefully in fog. Take care… We’ve all been there, driving in fog is so scary, and dangerous.

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Oh, that fog… just hate driving in it. So, to lighten the mood, let me enlighten you about my next Tanka. This one started off in a maze, (as I have a fear of getting lost and have absolutely NO sense of direction,) but I couldn’t find a photo that I liked on Canva to go with the words so my Tanka ended up being conceived in a field with a football goal post instead. It’s  strange how photos can suggest different words to you!

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Yes, that skinny goalie is going to be invisible in all that fog, hope he has a very vibrant, colourful strip!

Hope you enjoyed my offerings for #TankaTuesday.

To join in Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday follow the link: Colleen Chesebro – Tanka Tuesday

Bye for now,

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Blogger/Author Spotlight: Sue Vincent and Stuart France

 

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Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to not one but two guests!

A hearty welcome to Sue Vincent and Stuart France. I originally contacted Sue regarding a Spotlight on my blog, a while ago.  She pondered a while, as I would in her place – this lady writes haikus, has guest author spots on her wonderfully entertaining blog, and has not one, not two, but several novels under her belt. Which of these novels to focus on? Sue elected for Lands of Exile – But ‘N Ben which she’d co-written with Stuart France.  In her words Lands of Exile – But ‘N Ben is: ‘the first in the Lands of Exile series that combines the tales of ‘our’ travels through the ancient landscape as ‘Don and Wen’ with a rather odd police chase. And a fair bit of humour.’

Sounds promising – I love humour, have a brother called Donald, and an aunt Wendy, (God Bless Her Soul,) perhaps this is meant to be? I do believe in fate…

How to reflect the general quirkiness of this novel? A dog came to mind as Sue is a dog lover, and perhaps Stuart is too? Too obvious. Next, I considered a country scene and ended up seeing green and red in everything, blending beautifully with Sue’s red hair. Then, I came across the above photo of six birds. Bingo! This was the perfect social media banner! Quirky but simple, and astonishingly the divergent bird and his less adventurous feathered friends are free, gratis thanks to Terri: Second Wind Leisure – Free Photos For Your Blog! who I featured recently:  Author/Blogger Spotlight Terri Webster Schrand

Success, it’s always nice to shout out about freebies!

Right, I better get to it, enough of this waffle or my chosen birds might fall off their perch, or fly away.

So… chirp, chirp… It’s time to find out more about my guests Stuart France and Sue Vincent. 

Bios

The writing partnership of France and Vincent has a peculiar alchemy of humour, scholarship and vision that has given birth to several books, including the six volumes of The Triad of Albion and the Doomsday series.

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 Stuart France – writer and mystic; author of ‘The Living One’ and ‘Crucible of the Sun’. Stuart has a deep and practical knowledge of the Western Mystery Tradition, having followed a Path that has taken him hopping through the branches of the Trees of Knowledge and Delight. His astonishing work with symbolism and the interpretation of myth comes from a profound understanding and love of life and humanity. After gaining his BA in Philosophy and Literature, and his MA in Writing, this Child of Light studied with OBOD, AMORC, and the Servants of the Light and is a Director of The Silent Eye School of Consciousness. He declines all responsibility for this introduction. “I blame Wen…..”

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Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer and Director of The Silent Eye. She has been immersed in the Mysteries all her life. Sue maintains a popular blog and is co-author of ‘The Mystical Hexagram’ with Dr G. Michael Vasey and a number of other books. Sue lives in Buckinghamshire, having been stranded there some years ago due to an accident with a blindfold, a pin and a map. She has a lasting love-affair with the landscape of Albion, the hidden country of the heart. She is currently owned by a small dog who also blogs.

 

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But ‘n’ Ben

The first volume in the Lands of Exile series

For once, Don was right… it was all Wen’s fault. If only Ben had not insisted in going back for the gun… Don and Wen should hand themselves in and share the fate of their co-conspirator. It would be the noble thing to do.

Does this course of action appeal to our errant duo? Not on your Nelly!

As Ben languishes in the dank cells of Bakewell Gaol, Don and Wen hit the road. Their headlong dash for freedom takes them north, where they are beset by a host of ‘Orphan Stones’ clamouring to be led back home. But they are not alone… and the sinister Black Shade is not the only thing dogging their heels as they blaze their customary trail through the signs, seals and sacred sites of old Albion.

The unofficial re-siting of an ancient stone is viewed in a rather negative manner by the authorities. Ben has been arrested and the other two birds have flown. Heading north, Don and Wen follow the whisperings of ancient stones carved with enigmatic symbols, unaware that they are being followed. Their journey takes them through Cumbria and into Scotland, visiting ancient and historical sites, whilst piecing together fragments of the secret and magical history of Albion. Illustrated in colour.

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Extract from Lands of Exile: But ‘n’ Ben

Stuart France and Sue Vincent

 

Gauche…

Gangly…

Currently scrofulous…

Bark Jaw-Dark contemplated the pork pie he had recently fished from the depths of the jacket pocket of his un-pressed suit and placed it whole in his mouth.

“Hey, Jordache!”

“Jaw-Dark,” spluttered Bark through the pork and pastry.

“Is this a joke?” snarled Bark’s mentor, Tom Patrick, picking up the newly positioned desk tag and scrutinising it distastefully.

Bark swallowed and gulped, “Real name’s Mark… first day at school… had a cold… never been able to shake it.”

“The cold or the name?” smiled Patrick, briefly impressed with his own wit, and then continued more seriously, “You don’t get these unless you’re important… and you’re not.”

The desk tag flew through the air and plummeted into the depths of the tall blue recycling bin with a dull thud.

“No sir!”

“And you can drop the sir. It’s Tom. In this day and age we treat you like shit but informally. It’s called progress…Got it?”

“Yes…Tom.”

“Good lad,” growled Patrick turning to leave.

“Did you want me?”

“Ah yes…” said Patrick turning back, “the stone hugger!”

…Bark looked blank.

“Wealthy business man… moved a stone… went back for the gun… mad as a frog…”

“…In a box full of other frogs?”

“…In the clink.”

“I’d gathered that, but what about him…?”

“He wasn’t alone. Prime suspects… fellow directors of his school of conscience, or some such, have disappeared. Supposed to be on holiday but no one’s sure quite where. They’ve done a runner if you ask me. That’s where you come in.”

“Ah!” said Bark Jaw-Dark rising to his feet and pulling down his suit. “They are wanted in order to help the police in their enquiries.”

“Attaboy,” said Patrick. “You’ve got the weekend.”

A business card landed on Bark’s desk bearing the Egyptian Eye of Horus and a moniker, ‘The Silent Eye, a school of consciousness.’

“I don’t work week…” But Patrick had gone.

Bark Jaw-Dark fished his name tag out of the recycle bin and placed it back on his desk. He pulled down his suit again, sat down, picked up the business card and turned on his computer…

 

*

 

She is looking at me, the stranger child.

Watching…

Eyes green as summer…

 

She looks at me as if she knows me.

Better than I know myself.

They say the Old Ones have green eyes.

She watches as I haul in the fish trap…

Watching…

 

 

Buy Links

Amazon UK     Amazon.com

BlogsStuart France   Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo    The Silent Eye

Website: France and Vincent

Twitter@SCVincent

Facebook

LinkedIn

Google+

Goodreads

 

Have you read Lands of Exile – But ‘N Ben? If you have please do comment below.

Until the next time, keep smiling.

 

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Revive Old Posts Bloggers Link Up

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Today I’d like to step back in time and look at my very first post on this blog:

Writer’s Journey How Did It All Happen?

What magical ingredients made me become a blogger/writer? I think if I was doing a  sum it would be a strange black cat, plus a book: (Dorian Gray,) add some thoughts about art and lots and lots of reading. No minus equations allowed, creativity always involves a stack of pluses and no negativity!

Recently my eldest daughter asked me for some old photos of her when she was little for a project she is currently doing for University. So I opened my large oriental camphor wood chest and we had a lovely time searching through many photos. I came across a really cute photo of my cat Chester when he was a tiny, adorable kitten, and I was a mere slip of a girl. I realised that my very first post on this blog is missing a very important ingredient. What could that be? An easy answer – some delightful old photos of my much-loved cat Chester. He was such a magnificent fellow, and I loved him very much, so let me share them with you….

Me with Chester, looking all energetic!!!

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Here he is exploring interesting little hiding places:

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And he had an inquisitive nature:

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This is how magnificent he was when he grew up! This photo doesn’t quite do him justice, he really was a handsome fellow, with striking markings and a character to match.

 

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If you’d like to join in with my bloggers monthly link up, please draw attention to your old posts  by writing a short blog post as I have done and then add your links to the comment field of this post. If you wish you may use the photo at the top of this post as your blog post header. All link up posts will go up on the second Thursday of the month, and join in whenever you want. No pressure!

Also if you wish you can link your posts to a popular hastag  #Throwback Thursday #THT or if you’re posting on a Friday #FBF #FlashbackFriday. These are great link ups for old photos, or memorabilia…

More about that here: Lifewire – Throwback Thursday

Shake out your old posts and give them a new lease of life.

Bye for now from less energetic grown up me!!!

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Tanka Tuesday: Angel and Devil

 

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This week for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday we have two very tempting prompt words – angel and devil. This is so me!!! I love to explore the light and dark side of life.

The following Tanka is inspired by my current WIP – The Curse of Time – Book 1 – The Bloodstone. 

#Tanka Tuesday, #micropoetry, #poetry, #5lines

 

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Do join in the Tanka fun – here’s the link to find out more: Colleen Chesebro Tanka Tuesday

Bye for now,

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Author/Blogger Spotlight: Second Wind Leisure – Terri Webster Schrandt

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Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Terri Webster Schrandt, author, blogger, leisure expert. This lady knows all there is to know about spending our precious leisure time wisely, and to add to her accomplishments she has recently released an e-book entitled – Better Blogging With Photography.

Being a huge fan of photography I couldn’t agree more, there’s nothing quite like an appealing photograph to catch the readers eye. Without it a blog post can be easily overlooked.

Why oh why didn’t I think of writing a book on this subject? Ah, I really need to get a grip….Terri you stole this possibility from my grasp, how could you? LOL !!! It must be all that time you spend pursuing a diverse range of leisure activities – ‘windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), camping, reading, writing, teaching, walking the dogs, traveling,’ that’s quite a list Terri. Means you must be super fit, and mentally agile. Perhaps  I need to take up a few more exercise/sporting activities other than just tai chi….

Never mind, I must focus, or I’ll get distracted. Marje aka Kyrosmagica does tend to get a bit flighty at times….

So, who is our blogging friend Terri?

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Terri’s Bio, Author Central

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Terri is a non-fiction writer and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California. As a university lecturer teaching leisure education in the recreation and parks major, Terri takes leisure very seriously because it involves one-third of our lives…really!

Obtaining a Master’s Degree at age 50, Terri wrote her thesis on the Four Generations in the Workplace, sparking her love of writing at midlife. In addition to writing and blogging, she offers consultation services and conducts and presents workshops for a variety of organizations.

Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is her blog about living a leisure lifestyle.

Her active lifestyle involves windsurfing, stand-up paddling, camping, reading, writing, walking the dogs, traveling, and…

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Short Book description:

Better Blogging with Photography: Maximize Your Blog Using Your Own Images

 

There is truth to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. As a blogger, are you weary of constantly hunting for images to illustrate the subject of your blog posts?

 

Perhaps you are a new blogger struggling to get more readers. Or a seasoned blogger continually seeking inspiration for quality blog posts.

 

This guidebook is designed to help you utilize your own images on your blog or website.

 

While free image sites abound, there are limitations to using so-called “free” images. Gone are the days when bloggers can innocently copy and paste an image from the web and paste it into their blog post. After reading this short guidebook, you will want to grab your smart phone or inexpensive digital camera and start taking photos!

Amazon Buying Link – Better Blogging With Photography

Terri Webster Schrandt – Goodreads

 

 

Her early years…

 

I’m told that at age 4, I began reading. Somewhere there is an old, grainy polaroid of me laying on the floor holding an oversized book upside down in my two-year old hands. Books meant something to me even then. 

In my 50s, I found my second act, which consists of living my life around leisure, instead of the other way around. At age 49 I discovered the new love of my life who introduced me to windsurfing and stand-up paddling. At age 50 I obtained my master’s degree. At age 51, I became an adjunct university lecturer. At age 55, I retired from 30+ years as a recreation and leisure practitioner. At age 56 I self-published my first eBook.
As a leisure educator, I blog about my experiences. It is my passion to educate people about leisure… one blog at a time. I love photography and recently bought a “real” camera. Beautiful images are worth a thousand words, or maybe no words at all if the image is powerful enough.

Terri just posted a wonderful article about the hazards of uploading photos that might appear to be free but aren’t. With this in mind she is offering free images to her followers.

Do follow this link to find out more:

https://secondwindleisure.com/2017/02/02/how-to-get-hundreds-of-free-photos-for-your-blog


 

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Do you know how to add sound to your book?

Do you know how to add sound to your book? Find out how via author Jean M. Cogdell – Jeans Writing.

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Again! I learned something new today!

I had no idea a soundtrack could be added to an ebook. Who knew? Probably all of y’all, I’m usually the last to hear about all of this new-fangled techie stuff. But this is so way cool. 

Will I use it? Not sure.

Why? Because when I pick up a book I like to shut out the world around me. I don’t enjoy listening to music or multi-tasking when I read. I prefer a quiet room or my porch on a warm sunny day.  

Now my grandkids are different. The teenagers in our family enjoy reading with music blaring through headphones attached to their ears. To me, that’s a distraction.

However, I can remember a time when I did homework listening to the radio so maybe it’s not so different. Music comforts us, romance and relaxation.

And music is important to storytelling. Without music, movies…

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