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I’m curious – How do you do it?
Since school is out and I have my grandchildren more hours per day, I am finding myself in a constant state of behindness (Yes, I know that’s not a real word, but it fits.) I’m the little boy in the picture below, struggling to keep up, carrying my balloon. 🙂
Of course, when you add in a book festival, a road trip to see my sister, and a music festival those contribute greatly to the behindness. So, I can own the fact that I did this to myself.
I’m curious. How do you do it? How do you juggle blogging, keeping up with other bloggers, social media, promoting your books writing new books, reading, working, taking care of your spiritual life, keeping your body healthy, and spending time with family?
I know not everything works for everyone, but I found one word that resonated with me
Simplify – Sounds easy, right?
When I looked at ways to do that, I made two lists. In one column, I listed the necessities in life and in the other column I listed the things I want to do but aren’t essential for living.
“But,” I hear you say, “I don’t want to stop doing what I’m doing.” Oh wait, that was me talking, not you.
Okay fine. I’ll move some of the things I want to do over to the essentials column.
Oops. Guess what? Now, I have one column. Back to square one with a deep sigh.
What to do?
I looked at the column again and thought to myself, prioritize.
That sounds logical.
I have to eat, sleep, do meditation, and exercise. Those are top priorities just to keep functioning. Then, I have to work to earn the money to support my lifestyle. That’s another priority. But what about my writing life? Isn’t it equally as important to promote the books I have spent money, blood, sweat, and tears creating? If I don’t, will anyone see them? Probably not. Finding the time to keep creating is ultra important to my well-being.
Blogging isn’t a necessity, I suppose. But if I hadn’t gotten consistent with blogging, I would never have built the following I have. So, if I neglect it, the numbers fall. And, if I don’t visit and support other blogs, the visits and comments on my blogs diminish.
You see where I’m going, right?
I have no easy answer. The truth is that I want to do it all and I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round getting dizzy.
I thought of two things I can implement that might help me get a grip: #1 Start saying “no” to anything I don’t really want to do #2 Ask for help (the hardest thing in the world for me to do).
Now, I’d love to hear from you. How do you juggle it all and stay on top of the pile? We’re all on this merry-go-round together.
A New WordPress Discovery! @Anchor #Podcasts
I am super excited about a new option that’s recently been added to my WordPress blog site and I want to share!
It started with an email from WordPress that I left sitting in my Inbox for days before opening. After all, what could WordPress have to tell me that is anything I don’t already know?
You may have received the same email. But it went like this:
We’re excited to announce a new feature that automatically converts the text of any page or post into a podcast on Anchor, the world’s largest podcast platform.
If you’re already blogging on WordPress.com, there’s a good chance it’s podcast-ready—because our new integration with Anchor means you can now turn your words into audio in a few steps. The blog-to-podcast process is simple, and it opens up your work to new possibilities and listeners.
As I read further, I got excited. So, I followed the prompts over to Anchor and lo and behold, in under ten minutes, I had a Podcast!
For my trial, I converted my last post about how to handle critical reviews and it worked like a charm.
I don’t know about you guys, but this simplistic idea got me excited! All of you guys at Story Empire, this would be a great way to expand your listening audience. And, for all other active bloggers as well.
Once you get an account set up on Anchor (by the way, it’s free), you can convert to your first podcast. You get to choose the voice you want to use, or you can opt to record the podcast in your own voice. That’s something I will try as I get more comfortable with the process.
Here was what the remainder of the email said:
Grow your audience with audio
Introduce existing readers to your blog in audio form—and reach a whole new audience by bringing your content to a platform with millions of listeners.
You already have the content!
Blogging with WordPress means you’re not starting from scratch. In fact, you’ve already done the hard part: produced content.
From blog to podcast in minutes
Use text-to-speech to easily convert your blog to audio. Or go more hands-on to build a robust podcast that leverages your podcast as a foundation. The structure is entirely up to you—we’ll even import your existing posts as episode drafts to give you a head start!
Let your audience listen on their terms
Converting your blog to a podcast enables listeners to enjoy your content whenever they want, including times when they’re unable to look at a screen. Anyone can now follow along while doing things like walking, cooking, driving, and more.
Ready to podcast? Start by creating an Anchor account
There are so many different options available once you get your Podcast set up. You can choose sponsors for it and you can monetize it.
What do you think? Is this something that you feel will enhance your blog posts and open you up to a whole new audience?
Here’s the link to my first converted podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/79JTaHRcsIoCt62gzFauvq
Hello, fellow bloggers and followers. I apologize that I have not visited your beautiful blog sites this week, but I had a terrible accident last Sunday night. I fell here in my apartment and fractured ribs. I had to be taken to the ER by ambulance and I am pretty much out of commission. Today is better and hopefully tomorrow will be even better. But, I am missing your stories and your musings.
I will get caught back up eventually, but this is going to be slow healing, especially at 68. I spent my birthday in pain, but still I count my blessings. At least this is a temporary setback and I’ll be good as new within six to eight weeks.
I just felt compelled to tell you that I haven’t forsaken you.
I value you! And I’ll be back! I promise!
For now, I’ve turned off comments as I can’t respond timely, but thank you for your continued support!
Have you ever wondered?
I have the strangest ponderings from time to time. My most recent was this: “Hmmm, I wonder if the majority of bloggers are male or female?”
Well, guess what? Google has the answer. I found this most interesting and I think you will as well.
According to a 2010 Sysomos report, it’s about half and half.
Over 100 million blogs posts were analyzed to come up with this data.
But, the demographic report goes on to break it down by age as well.
A direct quote from Sysomos: “Not surprisingly, the most active bloggers are younger people who have grown up during the blogging “revolution”, which started about seven years ago. (Since this report was dated 2010, that would have been 2003) Bloggers in the 21-to-35 year-old demographic group account for 53.3% of the total blogging population. This group is followed by the generation just behind them – people 20-years-old or under are 20.2% of the blogging landscape. This group is closely followed by 36-to-50 year-olds (19.4%), while bloggers who are 51-years-old and older only account for 7.1%. “
Well now that we’ve established gender and age, the only thing left is Location. This may have been the most interesting part of this study.
Copied from Sysomos:
“It should not be much of a surprise that the most bloggers (29.2%) are located in the U.S. In fact, there are more than four times as many bloggers in the U.S. as there are in the second most populated country within the blogosphere – the U.K., which is home to 6.75% of bloggers.
Japan accounts for the third-most bloggers (4.9%), followed by Brazil (4.2%), Canada (3.9%), Germany (3.3%), Italy (3.2%), Spain (3.1%), France (2.9%) and Russia (2.3%).”
They go on to break it down by Province and State with California leading the way. Second to California was New York.
What do you think? Any surprises here?
So Far Behind
I just know I’m not the only one that ever feels this way. I have loaded myself down with more than any person can possibly do in a 24 hour time period. As a result, anytime something comes along that upsets the old apple cart, so to speak…
Well, it gets overwhelming.
I have two amazing, beautiful, smart and talented daughters. (I have to brag just a little.)
Well, this is me and them many, many years ago. 🙂
So, the youngest daughter (yes, that little one above on the left) is a corporate attorney. While she has a very demanding and high-paying job, she also has two beautiful little girls of her own.
They are my sunshine.
My daughter had to travel to Milwaukee this week on business and needed me to step in and take care of these two little ones. “No worries,” I told her and myself. Sydney is in first grade, so she’ll be in school all day and the little one goes to a daycare. I can do this easy-peasey.
BUT…little one got sick right before my daughter had to leave. She was running a fever of 102. SO….need I say that I did not take her to daycare this entire week? Instead, we had two doctor visits and lots of cuddling and praying that she’d get better.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because I am SO far behind on everything that I normally keep up with…your blogs, my blog, your emails, the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, Texas Authors, the North Texas Book Festival, Buddy Magazine, The Oklahoma Farm and Ranch Magazine AND my book that I’m trying to write.
But…know what? I wouldn’t trade one minute of rocking that sweet baby, singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” or even bribing her with sweet Robin Eggs to take her horrible tasting medicine. Life is short. Babies quickly grow up to be adults and we just get older.
Forgive me if I haven’t responded. I will get to everything eventually.
#RRBC Springtime Book & Blog Party!
Hi! And welcome to the Rave Reviews Book Club’s BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY at Writing and Music coming to you from Plano, Texas.
Here is what I am giving away today!
One $5.00 Amazon Gift Card
One $10.00 iTunes Gift Card
One ebook of FLOWERS AND STONE
One ebook of THE CONVICT AND THE ROSE
WINNERS FOR THIS STOP – 4
I have published five books in the past four years. Four of those five have won book competition awards..
When I began this crazy journey by writing Flowers and Stone, I had no idea that it would take four books to tell the entire story. I also had no idea all I would learn along the way. But, I knew I had a story that begged to be told.
I started out by writing in first person. It became glaringly obvious that I couldn’t tell the story this way. When a close friend mentioned that I should consider telling it through fictitious characters, a light clicked on. That was the perfect solution for me. So, I chose to tell the story through Darlina Flowers and Luke Stone. In doing this, I was able to separate myself from a deeply personal story and tell it through their eyes.
Here are the top FIVE things I’ve learned over the past four years:
- DO NOT forego professional editing! That is number one and the most important. It doesn’t matter how wonderful and talented you are at writing, you cannot edit your own work successfully.
- Spend a good deal of time and thought about your cover. People really do judge a book by its cover.
- Write your blurb. Then delete it and write it again. Cut out extra words and tweak it until you are saying precisely what will sell the reader on your book in the fewest amount of words possible.
- Get ready to market! I have never been a salesman, so marketing does not come naturally for me. But, through marketing conferences and trial and error, I have found that basically marketing consists of FOUR things: Visibility, Consistency, Honesty (honesty about yourself and about your books) and Networking.
- Keep writing! Don’t think that because you’ve written and published one book you can sit back and reap the rewards. If you have a true passion for telling stories, you must keep writing. There are millions of books out there, but here’s something I want you to take to heart: NO ONE WRITES LIKE YOU! We are all unique and individual.
Here’s a little about each of my books:
Flowers and Stone is set in the rowdy Texas honky-tonks in 1970. Link to BOOK TRAILER
One Reviewer wrote: “As I close this amazing book by Jan Sikes, my heart aches for the hand Luke and Darlina have been dealt. Flowers and Stone is an amazing, fast paced story of two people who against all odds have found a true and binding love. The love story they create with one another is heart-gripping, turbulent, and heartbreaking. This is a true story of two souls brought together, soulmates, who were given the chance of true love until society and the justice system decided, differently.”
The Convict and the Rose alternates between Leavenworth Prison and Texas. Link to BOOK TRAILER
A FIVE Star Review: “Luke struggles to adjust to life behind bars, going from a successful career as a musician to another number in the system. I thought this story might be bleak as a result, but it is far from depressing. Watching Luke cope to his new existence and rise above the situation made for riveting reading. And as Luke’s life unfolds, Darlina grows from a young, naïve girl to a stronger woman. Her journey has many ups and downs, strewn with doubts, hardships and new experiences. Through it all, she keeps in touch with Luke. And that’s what really resonated with me—the undying love these two hold for each other despite the separation they’re forced to endure.”
Home At Last is set in a small West Texas town. Link to BOOK TRAILER
A FIVE Star Review: “Although Luke’s transition back into civilian life wasn’t easy for him, Darlina, and their two girls, they never gave up believing in second chances and living life to the fullest through all their hard work and endeavors. Many heartaches, losses, and struggles met them head-on, but for Luke and Darlina there wasn’t any mountain to high for them to scale.”
‘Til Death Do Us Part concludes the series. Link to BOOK TRAILER
A FIVE STAR Review: “What a joy and what a sorrow. There is a gambit of emotions to be experienced in ‘Til Death Do Us Part, the concluding chapter in the Darlina Flowers and Luke Stone series. This story of love that knows no bounds will hold you captivated from being to end…Written from the heart, this is a book (and a series) that shouldn’t be missed. From hurdles to triumphs, it will make you believe in steadfast love. I had shivers about the owl hoots, especially at the end. I applaud the author for sharing her story with us and hope to see this series made into a movie someday.”
Discovery Breaths of life from a prison cell
This poetry and art book is unique in many different ways. First and foremost, it was written and compiled by Rick Sikes during the fifteen years he spent in prison. The original documents were typed on onion skin paper. Remember that? 😊 It covers all topics from the deep dark loneliness of prison to a crazy and perhaps twisted sense of humor. It was a means of maintaining sanity in an insane setting.
The other thing that makes this book unique is the artwork found inside. Rick called them pen and ink drawings, but the proper name for this type of art is Pointillism. It is comprised of thousands of tiny dots made with a simple ink pen. He later added color to the drawings. Because the originals were black and white, I currently have two editions of the poetry book. One is hard cover and full color and the other paperback and black and white. I am in the process of getting this beautiful book formatted for ebook and it will be available soon.
I would LOVE it if you would take a look at the BOOK TRAILER for this beautiful book!
I hope you’ve enjoyed a preview of my books.
This tour is brought to you by the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB – a community of authors and readers who are constantly creating new ways to PROFILE, PROMOTE & PROPEL our members. You mean you haven’t joined yet? Well, you can…right here, right now, today!. You’ll not find another organization like this anywhere on the planet.
For a complete list of participants in the Block party, click HERE.
Once again, thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of this post. Good luck on winning my giveaways! I’ll see you at the next stop of this awesome BLOCK PARTY!
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Something similar to this circulated on Facebook not long back and I thought it would be fun to customize it a little for authors and bloggers. Let your readers find out something they might not know about you and in return you may learn something about your readers that you didn’t know. So, have fun and LET’S PLAY!
- Do You have any Tattoos? No
- If yes, visible or not visible:
- Where is the farthest place you’ve traveled? Rome Italy
- Pick one book shelf in your house and count the books on it: 124
- Have you ever been to Vegas? Yes
- Do you gamble: Yes (but only for FUN!)
- Have you ever quit a job? Yes
- If Yes, Why? To move to a different city
- Have you ever sang Karoke? Yes
- What’s the most exotic animal you’ve seen: A Bongko
- Where were you? Dallas Zoo
- What is your biggest pet peeve in life? Pet owners who don’t take care of their pets
- What is the most exotic food you’ve eaten: Fried Alligator
- Where were you? New Orleans, La.
- If you were granted ONE wish, what would you ask for? Health
- What is the scariest situation you’ve ever been in? A war zone between biker gangs.
- Have you ever seen a ghost? Yes
- Where were you? In my bed in Coleman, Tx. I awoke and saw a small built little man with a fedora hat on standing and looking out the back window.
- Do you have a bucket list: Yes
- If so, how many items are in it? Lots
- Can you name them? I’ll name a few: I want to ride in a hot air balloon. I want to visit Ireland and Scotland. I want to visit every corner of America. I want to see New England in the Fall. I want to dance more before I get too old. I want to have a Bestseller book! I want to visit Switzerland and Amsterdam.
- If so, how many items are in it? Lots
- What’s the most memorable concert you ever attended? That’s a hard one. I’ve been to so many amazing concerts, but in the 80s when Charlie Daniels was doing his Windows tour, he came to Shreveport and it was and still is memorable. Just amazing!
- If you could attend one concert anywhere in the world today, who would you see? Again, that’s hard because I’ve seen so many. Dolly Parton, or maybe Joe Bonamassa.
- If you could sit down and visit with anyone alive or dead, who would it be? Jacqueline Kennedy
- Why? I always admired the way she handled herself in good times and bad. She was the embodiment of a Goddess.
- What is one book you have read that changed you or you never forgot? The Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell – eye-opening and fascinating!
So my answers are in RED
Reblog and give me your answers, or simply copy and paste. Let’s get to know each other better!!
Ah, The World of Blogging
Who knew there was such a tight knit group to be found through blogging? I am just starting to realize the sense of community that rests within the world of bloggers. They share each other’s posts on social media, re-blog and comment almost daily.
So, I thought about it. As a reader, what do I want to see in a blog?
For starters, I don’t often read a long blog. I prefer short and to the point. So, if it’s long, I’ll skim through, but won’t read it word-for-word.
I like visuals that accompany the blog.
Interesting subjects, ideas or philosophies always catch my attention.
What can I learn from the blog?
Will the blog enhance my life in any way or simply entertain me? I’m good with both things, but it must accomplish at least one of them.
I love meeting new authors through blogs and can honestly say that I’ve ordered books simply by reading a guest blog from an author I’d never heard of. Yep, that has happened, Andrew Joyce.
I follow lots of blogs and again, just being honest here, I prefer the blogs that only post once per day. When I get a Daily Digest from a blogger and see five or more blogs posted, I’ll skim the titles to see if anything draws my interest. I’m sure I’ve missed some great stuff by doing that, but I simply don’t have the time to read each one.
So, what are your preferences about blogs? I’d love to hear from you. Be honest!!
Newsletters/Blogs Unusual Sources
In this world of frantic blogging and newsletters, I get an influx (as I am sure everyone does) into my Inbox.
But, this morning, I got a newsletter from, of all places, my dentist. Yes, you heard me right. My dentist now sends out a monthly newsletter.
So, what can a dentist blog about? Well here’s a sneak peak.
Your child’s sippy cup. Is it friend or foe? Well, as someone who takes care of children on daily basis, I will tell you the answer to that one. It is not only a friend, but a necessity. Spills happen enough even with the awesome sippy cups!
Bye Bye Buck Teeth! How to overcome an overbite. This one is very dental related and fits with the theme, but the title made me think of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
Alcohol is everywhere. Are hidden sources hurting your teeth? Hidden sources of alcohol? Where? I keep my alcohol out in the open. And if the hidden sources are hurting your teeth, just think of what the out-in-the-open sources are doing.
I’m not posting this to poke fun at my dentist. In fact, quite the contrary. Kudos to him for stepping out into the world of blogging and newsletters!
By the way, he is an awesome dentist. I never cringe when I have to go for an appointment – well, except for the $$$ that are going to fly out of my pocket.
Do you receive newsletters or blogs from unusual sources? What is the most unusual you’ve ever received? I’d love to hear from you.
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