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Pro Flowers

I am not in the habit of recommending non-writing retail discoveries, but I can’t resist being a raving fan of Pro Flowers.

Not only do their flowers last longer, but they are delivered in the freshest condition possible. Prices are more than reasonable. Check it out for yourself. http://www.proflowers.com

And if you ever want someone to be your raving fan, go the extra mile for your target audience. This includes writing promotions. Pro Flowers has bent over backwards to make me happy. I have been using them over the years, and twice they have stepped up and re-issued my order without a new charge…without giving me a hassle. One a few years ago was a legitimate request, but the one for this Mother’s Day won me over.

Go to http://www.proflowers.com for all your flower delivery needs. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed, even if life throws in occasional glitches.

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The Sun Magazine needs your support

March 21, 2009 Leave a comment

I like the Sun Magazine.  Yesterday, I was saddened by the fact that The Sun Magazine needs donations to keep publishing.  While this comes as no surprise because the magazine is supported by subscriptions, donations and grants.  Sy Safransky, editor and publisher, produces a composite ofwho believed he could bring to the (Click on this link http://www.thesunmagazine.org/ to familiarize yourself with the online content.)

Read Sy Safransky’s story and if the preservation of a magazine that is honest in its writing because it doesn’t have the pressure of advertisers, please donate what you can.  Thank you.

http://www.thesunmagazine.org/get_involved/help_support_the_sun

NaNo: A Waste of Time and Energy?

December 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Every November hundreds of writers pump out 50,000 words in their computer.  They participate in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNo).  Obviously, participants think this is a great idea.  However, if you examine this more closely, the program is very limiting in its return on investment.

It reminds me of the young student who failed his spelling test.  He was only able to answer one correctly out of ten; yet, his teacher and his parents praise him for the one word he spelled correctly –all in the name of giving the young student self-esteem.

It seems to me that the enabling teacher/parents only prolonged the inevitable.  In fact, they may have robbed him of the very self-esteem they were trying to promote.  Kids are not stupid.  They know that if they missed 9 out of 10 words that that was not good.   They sense that the praise they received from teacher and parents rang hollow.  How does this feeling of false compliments and encouragement bolster self-esteem?

Participation in NaNo is no different.  NaNo applauds the person who generates 50,000 words of mostly ill conceived thoughts and poor use of grammar.  At the end of November the program acknowledges the participating person by sending a certificate of completion.  The participant prints it out and the display is a symbol of his/her achievement.

However, the writer has to know that the novel is most likely not publishable.  Flawed with plot inconsistencies, character development issues, and pacing problems, this rough novel draft is just that…raw notes.  Spending hours cranking out 50,000 words to earn only a self generated certificate of achievement seems pretty meager for the time and energy spent.   What if the writer invested some pre-planning time?  Might that give the writer a greater sense of accomplishment and give a real boost to self-esteem? 

I’m all for freewriting.  It kind of releases the creative juices.  This is only an exercise. Call me crazy, but the end reward as the program is currently set up does not offset the things you had to sacrifice to write 50,000 words in the space of a month.

If you happen to participate in NaNo. good job in executing self-discipline.  Now what are you going to do with your 50,000 words? 

Fun with Faces

September 29, 2008 Leave a comment

Creative, but can’t draw?  Technology has certainly made those who have trouble replicating real life into an artform. 

www.moonjee.com is a fun website to visit.  If you have some photos of faces on your computer, you can upload them and dabble with all the tools to give the subject a new look. 

You can add features, change shape, coloring, age, or even blend two portraits.

Their is also a portrait analysis based on the points on your face.  If you are brave enough, you can subject yourself to the computer’s attractiveness scale to see if you are considered one of the beautiful people. (Don’t take too much stock in this.)  However, there is a commentary on the portrait’s personality that you might find interesting.  I found it to have strong threads of truth, but then there were threads that were a bit off.  You be the judge.

Anyway, have fun giving yourself a makeover…or venting the frustrations of work by giving your boss a new look (it is convenient that there are a selection of scars from which to choose.  Try not to be too cruel. LOL)

You get to email it to the person as well.  I just spent about an hour messing with the site, but it has definite creative outlet possibilities.

How does this link to writing?  Create the faces of the characters in your novel.  Really get to know them.

 

 

 

 

 

Meetup.com: A Networkers' Goldmine

September 4, 2008 Leave a comment

Are you a writer that seeks the company of other writers?  Can’t find a group nearby?

I came across a great site for people who want to connect with others with similar interests.  Try www.meetup.com.  Although I have not joined it yet (my cup runneth over), I did surf through the site and read comments.  Since it is a self-directed site, you can be in control.  You either join an existing club or form your own.  You can search by topic or geography. 

Group members often leave their comments about the group.  It seems whether you are there to make new friends in the area or joined to talk about a specific topic, almost all the comments were a strong endorsement. 

Here’s a review from Bryan-Carey on http://www.viewpoints.com/Meetup-com-review-3b7f

So if you are interested in spreading your wings, try something different.  Wouldn’t this make a great venue for a mystery novel?

LinkedIn.com: Social Networking in a New Box

September 1, 2008 Leave a comment

LinkedIn.com is a fast growing professional social networking site that allows members to create business contacts, search for jobs, and find potential clients.   Members can create a profile that can be viewed by others within their network.  LinkedIn is a free business social networking site that allows users who register to create a professional profile visible to others. 

With over 24 million linkedin users, it is an incredibly effective way to develop an extensive list of contacts rather quickly.  Your network consists of your own connections, your connections’ connections (2nd degree) and your 2nd degree connections’ connections (3rd degree).   From these contacts, you learn of job and business opportunities.  The LinkedIn Answers allows people to post business-related questions.  Responses come from LinkedIn members.

Like anything else, you will have to put some time into developing the information for your profile and inviting contacts to join your network.  I’m not sure how many people really work the network to its full potential, but it is always nice to know that in case your memory starts to slip (too many faces and names over time), you just have to browse your contacts to jog your memory.

LinkedIn also provides you with an instant way of connecting with everyone when you have an important announcement to make such as your fourth father-in-law’s brother is Lee Iacocca.

Be aware that competitors also view these profiles.  Headhunters can snatch up your best employees.  I have noticed that people feel obligated to respond to invitations and asking for recommendations might be akin to begging.  This can be a bit off putting to some.

For writers, start your network on www.linkedin.com and be in position to do viral marketing when your first book is published.

 

 

 

The Newest in Email Invites

August 31, 2008 1 comment

Do you remember you had the time to make special cards for the loved ones in your life?  For those who still have a craft table and supplies, I am eternally envious.  For all those creative types with no time to customize their invitations, log into www.purpletrail.com to see if this might be a great substitute for the doiley and construction paper bifold.  

This site offers a quick and easy way to send customized email invitations free.  It has the potential to change the way you do business, invite friends and keep in touch.  While most use this as a party planning tool, I think this would be a great way to track seminar or workshop attendees. 

This event planning evite is a little more robust than its competitor www.evite.com.  These features include event access everywhere, including your mobile phone.  It has tracking and management, hundreds of invite designs and themes to personalize your invite. Also included is a rich desktop application and a consensus building tool (to make it easier to coordinate a time and place amongst busy people).  What a relief not to have to try to coordinate schedules and sort out who said what last in the chain email snafu. 

The site is user friendly, but the sending part can be a bit tricky.  Oh, the feature I most like is uploading my own digital photo to create a very personalized invitation.   I liked it so much that I attempted to create and email a card to a single person.  It didn’t delete the When and Where type on the card, so bear that in mind, you creative types, when you want to do something totally out of the party event realm.

Remember this evite tool when you are ready to hold a book signing party.