Boosting Your Blog’s SEO in WordPress

SEO, blog, spiders, I’ve never cared much for all the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) machinations that many of the top bloggers say everyone must do to become really popular.  So I’m not going to talk about those.  There are some basic things that we should all do to grab a reasonable amount of search engine spider attention.  And if you want a really quick way to learn to improve your blogs SEO – and if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog – snag the WordPress SEO by Yoast plug-in and install it.  If you have a WordPress.com blog, it appears you can not use plugins at all.

Plug It In

No, no… don’t panic, it’s really easy to do.  Continue reading Boosting Your Blog’s SEO in WordPress

The Mechanics of Creativity

Recently there has been a good deal of discussion going on about creativity: what it is, where it comes from, how it works, and how to get it to work better for you.  Many articles have been written on how to encourage your imagination, how to feed your muse.  As writers we depend on our imagination to craft our stories.  Novelists most of all, but even non-fiction is enlivened by creative writing.

In this article I’m not going to try to tell you how to build up your creative muscle, I’m going to do an analytical breakdown of the creative process I went through to write my last blog post.  I’ll preface it by saying that this is not the process I use all the time: sometimes an article just springs into my mind, fully written, my only task is to record it before the words fade from my mind.  Often these Inspired Writings occur at the most inopportune times: like 3:00 am.  If I am able to ignore the call and go back to sleep I’ll remember that I had a wonderful idea, but won’t remember anything more about it.  Opportunity lost!  Continue reading The Mechanics of Creativity

Getting Sirius About Creativity

My latest guest post is about Creativity and is on the Sirius Press Inc.’s Creative Flux  web site.  My contact there is Terre Britton.

Terre is co-author of The Four Orders, a four-book Sci-Fi/Thriller series that begins with life-altering discoveries and builds momentum towards our society’s self-actualization.  Terre is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator and has recently moved into the fields of Video and Motion Graphics. She holds a degree in History in Art with a minor in English and is a published Art Reviewer. We’ve been communication compadre’s for some time now as we help one another promote our books.

Please pop over and read Training Creativity; it’s a short post and I think you’ll find it entertaining and it has earned some accolades:

The Artist’s Road named it a Tweet of the Week
It was also listed as a Wisdom of the Writerdom tip of the week

 

 

Movie Review Round-up

movies, family, entertainment

I have been known to post movie reviews here: mostly Sci-Fi, particularly old Sci-Fi because that’s what I enjoy watching.  Through those reviews I met a few others who would pop in to see my comments and use them to plan their own movie watching.

Then a few movie eZines chose to throw money at me if I’d publish my reviews through them. Not lots of money, mind you, but some is better than none. So I started shipping my reviews off to Socyberty, Cinemaroll and Telewatcher.  A couple of folks have said that they miss my insights.  Not many, mind you, but a couple.  So I decided to post this post were I can offer a digest of these reviews with links to their published locations.  I’ll update the list as new ones go out.

(UPDATE Aug 2015: the eZines have been taking down these older posts, so I will again post them here.)

Continue reading Movie Review Round-up

Act of Kindness

can a bullet be kindnesssHe sat staring at the small semi-automatic pistol laying on the kitchen table.  He had been staring at it for a long time.  Thinking.  Deciding.  He knew what needed to be done.  The pain had to stop.  Her pain had to stop.  He hated what was happening to her, but he was powerless to prevent it.

He picked it up, a shiver ran up his arm and a small voice nagged at him in the back of his mind, “Wrong.” it said, “This is wrong.”  Normally, he would agree.  But life had taken a turn.  She was suffering.  He had to stop the suffering.  He loved her, he had to help her.

“I wonder if this will hurt her.”   He whispered as he fingered the gun, getting accustomed to the hard, coldness of it.  “Not for long, then she will be better.  No more pain. This is kindness.”

He pushed the tears and the uncertainty aside, stood up and walked out the front door.  He marched up the forest path to her favorite place.  She liked the serenity of the clearing in the deep woods and the tall, straight poplars, the birdsong.  His feet crunched in the dry leaves, doubt welled, he pushed it back and marched on.  It had to be done.

He rounded a bend and saw the lounge chair she liked to sit in and think.

A single shot rang through the woods.

It took them 3 days to find his body.

Sci-Fi Sample – Dalotek Base

moon, base, control room, SPace 1999
Image from Space 1999 TV Series

The doors slid aside and Doctor Forrester followed Colonel Stryker off the lift.

“I am truly impressed, Colonel, with your base. It is absolutely amazing what can be done with enough tax payer dollars!”

The stern faced Colonel just nodded.

“I understand now why you were so adamant that we keep our distance when we set up our own base here on the moon.   And I must say,” he smiled, “that I’m rather surprised that you not only took us in, but have been so open and forthcoming.  I have truly enjoyed this tour.”

Stryker, a head taller than Forrester, trim with a military crew cut and steel gray eyes said, without emotion, “Leaving you there to die when your base was damaged, didn’t seem to be the thing to do, Doctor Forrester.”

“No, I would hope not.  Although, frankly, I would not have been surprised if you had.  But I did expect the lot of us to be squirreled away in some storage room.  This tour was so unexpected!”

“Hmmm…” Nodded Styker.

“Especially since you are obviously not happy about having my team and I here.  But I assure you Colonel, your secrets are safe with me.  I shall never speak of them with anyone.”

“That is quite true, Doctor.”   Continue reading Sci-Fi Sample – Dalotek Base

Creativity? Me?

disapproval, thumbs downRecently I’ve been asked by several author/bloggers to submit a guest post about creativity.  At first I balked because when it come to creativity I feel like a gnu among gazelles.  I “hang out” with a lot of novelists but  I am a non-fiction writer.  I’ve tried writing novels – three of them – they all made the rounds of agents without a nibble.  I write well, so I assumed I’m just not creative enough.

But a few people have been kind enough to help me change my mind (a little) on that.  OK, I’m not a novelist, but I’ve always tried to keep my non-fiction from being dry and boring.  My latest book has received some great reviews, I was awarded the Versatile Blogger Award, the One Lovely Blog award and Mitchell Allen (one of the most creative bloggers I know) once told me, “You could make a trip to the Post Office entertaining”.  So I hot-glued some flashing Christmas tree lights to a colander, slipped it onto my head as a thinking cap and set to work.

First up was Stuart Nager, AKA The Born Storyteller.  I met Stuart on Twitter and we became friends and co-conspirators when we ended up huddled around the same bonfire on Triberr.  You can read my Guest Post, Creativity and Inspiration on his web site.  Also be sure to drop by his blog, Tale Spinning, to read his excellent short stories.  Stuart is, among other things, a Professional Storyteller; NYS Certified Drama Teacher, and Drama Coach.

Next was Sirius Press, Inc.’s Creative Flux blog.

Terre is co-author of The Four Orders, a four-book Sci-Fi/Thriller series that begins with life-altering discoveries and builds momentum towards our society’s self-actualization.  Terre is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator and has recently moved into the fields of Video and Motion Graphics. She holds a degree in History in Art with a minor in English and is a published Art Reviewer. We’ve been communication compadre’s for some time now as we help one another promote our books.

Please pop over and read Training Creativity; it’s a short post and I think you’ll find it entertaining.

I wrote the Mechanics of Creativity as a guest post for another blogger who invited me to guest, then dropped off the face of the Earth and hasn’t been heard from since. So I posted it here in order to keep it in the same timeline as the rest. This article is an analysis of how I came up with Training Creativity.

Pricing Your Printed Book: Avoiding the Traps

cost of printing booksIn a recent post, Pricing Your eBook, I discussed the vagaries of setting a price on a book sold only in electronic form.  That model is driven mostly by perceived value and target audience, when determining the price for a printed book you have a couple of other items to factor into your profit map.

Pricing a printed book is also deserving added thought because changing the price of an eBook is a simple matter.  Changing the price of a printed book is not simple because the price is printed on the back cover along with the ISBN and bar code.  Changing the price means changing the cover, which means service fees paid to your printer every time you make a change.

Cost of Printed Book Design

Unlike an eBook, printed books actually cost you money to produce, how much will depend on who you choose to produce your books and the styling of your books. Continue reading Pricing Your Printed Book: Avoiding the Traps

Star Trek Economics – A Lesson in World Building

Promo photo found on Wikipedia

This morning my wife, Marie, and I were talking economics over breakfast.  This was not the stereotypical husband/wife economics discussion, which usually seems to be about how high the bills are and which one of them is going to sell a kidney to pay those bills.  No, we were actually talking “economics” when out of the blue Marie asks, “And what about those people on Star Trek: they never get paychecks, never pay bills, never have to buy stuff, never get fired.  How do they do that?”

The remainder of this post is a distillation of our discussion of that topic, and it seems relevant to this blog because it is a valuable lesson in world building.   Continue reading Star Trek Economics – A Lesson in World Building

Book Review: Hunted

Hunted, Lindsay Buroker, steampunk, fantasyThis is my review of “Hunted”, which is the second novella in the  Flash Gold Chronicles series by Lindsay Buroker.  In this story Ms. Buroker continues the adventure begun in Flash Gold with Kali and Cedar, now business partners as bounty hunters.  They’ve left Moose Jaw and are setting out upon a new adventure seeking Cedar’s arch nemesis, both for the bounty and for personal vengeance.  This takes them to a mining camp out in the wilds of the Yukon where they encounter Kali’s greatest enemy, and her hero, and find themselves in one desperate situation after another.   Continue reading Book Review: Hunted