Showing posts with label writers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writers. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Gifts For Writers Reviewed

Ideas For The Writer On Your Gift List

writer gifts
Writing Gift suggestions image from Pixabay.com
With Christmas coming closer by the day, I thought I would review some ideas for gifts for writers today. You probably don't have many on your list but if you have just one you might not be sure what would be useful to give to them. 

Something that is relatively easy and won't hurt your wallet very much is to get a few notebooks; you know like the ones the kids use in school. Add some pens and pencils and wrap them up as a gift. Now, you might be thinking that this seems a little old school because they most likely use a keyboard to write their stories. Well, yes but those notebooks come in pretty darned handy. I can never have enough of them! I used them to jot down ideas but I also use them to start to define my characters. I will use a page to jot down the physical characteristics, personality traits and the name of the character. It makes it much easier to refer back to while I am writing. Jotting this all down in a notebook helps me to visualize the character and breaths life into their existence into my crowded and addled brain. Trust me, a writer will appreciate getting them.

Last Christmas one of my daughters gave me this book and I really loved it!

I admire Stephen King a great deal and my daughter knows that. Now, I don't read his horror books because quite frankly I am sure he would scare the daylights out of me. What I admire is his absolute genius with words. I digress. The reason I think this is a good gift for a writer is that Mr. King talks about his process and his history as a writer. He doesn't go into the real mechanics of writing in the book. It is like he says, there aren't really any classes or books that can teach you to write. You either have it in you or you don't. What he does share are the struggles of a writer, especially in the early years. He talks about the number of rejections he received in the beginning and how he didn't give up. Sure, in his early years of writing, he hoped to make money but as any writer will tell you, there is more to it than that. There are stories in you that you just have to get out and you just keep at it. Anyway, I truly think that any writer would both enjoy and benefit from reading this book.

Another gift idea for the writer is a whimsical mug that has some sort of saying about writing. I particularly like the one below for the authors of fiction:


I am quite sure that your writer will get a chuckle out of this one every time they pick it up to drink their coffee or tea while writing. Our characters are really no different than those imaginary friends that we had as children. You may not be able to hear them or see them but they are very real to us. It may sound strange to people who don't write fiction but to an author it makes total sense. In order for us to be able to make them come alive with our words; they have to exist in our psyche.

Another option for a mug for that writer on your list is this one:

This one really made me laugh! Authors have to do a lot of research when writing a book. Well, let's  say that they should do research. When I was writing my first book and wanted to use poison to kill someone; I did a lot of browsing on types of poisons. As I was talking my ideas over with my husband he made the comment, "Babe, you better hope that nothing suspicious ever happens to me and the cops start looking at your browsing history!" We both laughed, but he had a point. Seriously!

Something else that every writer should have is a Thesaurus. The writer on your gift list may already have one but a second one would be appreciated; I am sure. You can find one in a local book store or even in the school supply section of your favorite store. It might be something that you could add to those notebooks and writing utensils as a gift.

Of course, you could get books that have to do with the mechanics of writing. My guess is; they probably already know the mechanics, though. It is like Stephen King intimates; the ability to tell a story is inside you or it is not. A person can know all of the ins and outs of grammar and punctuation but if they don't have a story to tell; what good is it?

There are all sorts of little writing aides in the form of books and game like activities that are supposed to help with story ideas. I have a few that have been given to me as gifts. They are kind of fun to use. I find them helpful in just practicing writing. I guess I look at them as sort of an improv type of activity like a comedian might do on stage. They don't really help me come up with an idea for a book but they do help me use my imagination to just write something. I do keep them because you never know when you might read through what you have done and come up with a plot in the future.

Well, I hope I have sparked some ideas for you if you have a writer on your gift list this year. Let me know in the comments if you have some other ideas. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Social Media For Writers Reviewed

Authors Need To Market Their Work

writers market
Writer Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
One of the gifts that I just received for Christmas was the book Social Media For Writers. My daughter thought it might be helpful for me to brush up on the skills needed to be successful with the use of Social Media in regards to my marketing strategy in order to sell my books. 

If you are a regular reader of Review This, you are probably aware that I published my first Cozy Mystery novel in October of 2017. Then in November I published my second book in the series. It isn't like in the past when if you were lucky enough to find a publisher for your books who offered you a contract. Back then if you were a writer with a large publishing firm, they did a lot of the marketing for you. A lot of us have gone the self-publishing route which means that all of the marketing is up to us, the author. Even if we had a big name publisher we would need to market our own work. Most publishing companies of today only spend their advertising money on well known authors (who kind of don't need it but that is another topic all together!). 

Those of you who know me probably think that I probably already understand how to use social media because this isn't my first rodeo with a writing gig. I might have published my first fictional work but I've been around the block several times when it comes to promoting my online writing ventures. I do understand the basics of social media and use it regularly but I will admit not to its fullest potential. The game is different for authors in particular and let's face it...the way to use these social networks changes on a regular basis. How many times have you reached a point where you feel that you have figured it all out, to have one or two of the popular sites change the playing field? I'm guessing a lot!

So, I really appreciate my daughter gifting me this book! I'm reminding myself of the basics while being able to come up with a strategy for my writing and promotions.

What I like about this book by Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine is that it is written in an easy to understand format. As I said, I'm not new to social media but even if I were the content would be easy to understand. They do a really good job of explaining how each option works and best practices for a writer to use on each platform. They cover blogging, podcasting, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. Do they recommend that you try to use all of them? Actually, no. They understand that if one were to try to have a solid presence on all of them; there would be no time for the actual writing of the books. They suggest that you pick the three that you are most comfortable with and go from there.

As I am studying this book, I feel confident with their advice. They are both authors in their own right and I can tell by the content that they actually use social media to promote not just this book but a series of books that they have co-authored together. I don't know about you but for me that is huge. I'm sure that you have experienced the same as I have over the years with getting advice from a so called expert who has less experience than you do when the dust all settles.

I really like that the authors break down the formats and give realistic time frames for using them. Having experience with most of these social media networks, I can tell that they are giving good information on the time that can be invested in working with the different options. They are even honest about having invested a lot of time on a few of them and figuring out that for their needs and their time constraints, it wasn't worth it. That doesn't mean that you will come to the same conclusion because we all have different styles and comfort levels. I do appreciate their honesty in the results for themselves!

Now, I realize that not all of you are planning to write a novel or a work of non-fiction; that being said I do know that many of you have a strong online presence either contributing here on Review This or your own sites. Perhaps you contribute on another multi-user site. My point is that much of the information will be beneficial for your online work as well.

I know in the past, I have tried to have a presence on all of the social media sites. It doesn't take long to get burnt out trying to keep up. Reading a book like Social Media For Writers is helpful in reminding us of what it is we want to accomplish and the audience we are trying to reach. This book gives some realistic advice on coming up with a strategy that is not overwhelming and that with the proper effort put forth should offer a successful result. It is not going to happen overnight but with dedication and a good plan, it can happen.

I am finding this book very helpful and I think that many of you will, also. I know I am changing my strategy after having read it. I am going to concentrate on three platforms and not worry about all of the others. How about you? If you were going to limit your marketing to three platforms, which would you be willing to invest your time in?



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Reviewing A Coffee Mug For Writers

Gift Idea For The Writer...

writers desk
Writing Center image courtesy of Pixabay.com
I have mentioned before that I like to drink my coffee in whimsical mugs. Recently I have been looking at gift ideas for the coming holidays and found one that is perfect for myself and really all of the contributors here on Review This. 

Most of my time of late has been spent working on my first novel. Over the years I have started several but I would give up; realizing that they just weren't ready to be written yet. Last month a thought popped into my addled brain, I let it sit there for a day or two. To be honest I was reluctant to do much with it because I wasn't sure that I was up to it. A bit of insecurity, perhaps; whispers from those unwritten ones taunting me that I wouldn't get far so just let it go. One would be surprised what goes on in a head filled with stories that refuse to come out! 

Without going into a lot of detail, the characters and the story just wouldn't go away. It was like this group was insisting to be set free. (They probably got tired of the crowded living conditions in my head!) So, I sat down and worked on an outline of the possible plot. The story has flowed...

So, what pray tell does this all have to do with a review on a coffee mug? It is just a little back story to explain why I was looking for gifts for writers. It also explains a little as to why this particular mug appealed to me.

When I first saw the saying on the mug, it made me giggle. The whimsical statement reminded me of another woman that I knew years ago who was an author. During a conversation that the two of us were having, I made a sarcastic remark about something. Her eyes lit up and she said, "Oh I love that! I'm going to use that in my next book!" She preceded to write my comment down. Being a "wanna be" author myself at the time, I was intrigued at her observations of every day life to incorporate into a story. What I have come to realize as I have worked on my book is that IS exactly what a writer does. We take past experiences and make them funny or mysterious or tragic. Our characters are combinations of people that we know. My main character looks like a female celebrity that I have always admired, her personality has a little bit of myself combined with other women I have known. She isn't a replica of any one of us but a melding of traits from several people.

Anyway, I've digressed a little here. I think that the coffee mug above would be a fun gift for anyone who writes. I know I would love to have it! I think that if you have a writer or even a budding writer on your gift list it might work for them, too.

On a side note: my book is finished and in the editing phase. My characters are so strong in my head that they still have more to do and say. I'm working now on the second book of what will be a series. I will accept no more taunting from those unfinished books in the peanut gallery of my brain....




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, December 28, 2015

New Year's Countdown!

It's Official!  We are now on the Countdown to New Year's Eve!

2016 Happy New Year
By Viscious-Speed [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Christmas is officially over and all the wrappings, running around, visiting and partying with family and friends has come to a trickle, we can now gear it up again for the New Year.

Traditionally it's a time to reflect on the year that has passed and look to the future and what 2016 will bring our way.

Now without a crystal ball, it will be difficult to figure out exactly what will happen in the year ahead, but with some foresight, we can make sure that certain possibilities do happen.

What do I mean?  Well, let's just say that instead of trying to project what we hope will happen, how about we make sure by our actions, that changes we want see,  actually do happen.

I'm talking about making changes in our lives that will actually result in some of our expectations coming to fruition.

For a good many writers, that will mean something like:  making sure that you have your blogs in place for publishing when they are expected, especially if you belong to a group of writers!  If you are running your own website, it means learning the skills to make that website successful.  It will mean taking the time to learn and then put into practice those lessons that have been imparted to you.

It will also mean that you need to focus! Focus on what you wish to accomplish with your blog and/or your website.  There are people out there who are doing what you wish to be doing and to that end, they are sharing their expertise, so that you can do this as well.


From personal experience I can also tell you that there are two ladies out there who have had years of experience and are sharing their knowledge with many bloggers and website builders.  They have even shared how they earn make money, blogging and building their websites,  from home.  They offer courses in how to blog for money, build a website in a day, and how to learn to place affiliate links that will earn you an income, and all for reasonable investment.  They are the real thing, and I can tell you from personal experience, there are many more out there who just want to hook you in and then let you sink!  Not so with Pajama Affiliates!


Blogging Course : "Learn to Blog for Money"

Just as Review This is a site to find out all kinds of information, your website can be the place that people go to, when they are on the look out for the information, that you are sharing.

Learning how to rank your website and then properly doing the work to make sure that your website is optimized properly, will draw those people that are out there "searching" through the different search engines, like "google" or "yahoo", "ask" or "search".

Affiliate Marketing and Amazon Masterclass


Are you confused yet?  If so, the best place to start is with someone who can help you make your site the best and be totally committed to helping you learn the "right" way to make this possible.

I joined and I have not regretted this for one moment.  Lesley and Robin are there for you.  Once you join, if you need help, they are there to help you along.  Do you need more coaxing?

When you join the Pajama Affiliates group, not only do Lesley and Robin help you with any problems you might have, but the whole community of bloggers will help you with their knowledge as well.  That is just one of the many perks of belonging to this group.

Your New Year's hopes and aspirations are waiting for you to make the first move.  Get blogging and learn how to turn that into some extra income for you and your family.

Now I would like to wish you and your family a very Happy, Health and Prosperous New Year!

Let's meet back here and see how 2016 turned out!







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Treasures By Brenda on Review This

Treasures By Brenda on Review This
I am thrilled to be a new member of the team on the Review This blog site. I have worked with the group of women who write reviews here for years and look forward to working with them for years to come.

Who am I?

I am an empty nester, an eBay seller and a blogger.

I love Canada and I love having fun. (See photo for proof though know that I will not always be wearing a pretty red moustache.)

I am a wife and mother of two young men.

I find many parts of our world fascinating so you never know what I might have in store for you but you can count on me to be regularly writing about the movies, about cooking and anything to do with food and about my travels both locally and in faraway lands. Alternatively, I can be found listing new, used and vintage finds on eBay.

A few of my online projects include:

Treasures By Brenda on eBay
Treasures By Brenda on Hubpages
Movie Treasures By Brenda
Treasures By Brenda, the Blog
Culinary Favorites From A to Z
Top-Rated Gifts
Halloween Every Day
Christmas Every Day

Of course, there is always social media:

If you are on Pinterest, you will find me here.
If you are on Twitter, you will find me here.
And if you love coffee mugs, you should like I Love Coffee Mugs on Facebook.

Thank you for visiting. Please come back soon. You never know what I might have in store for you!

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Art of Tolerance

Get For All Good on a Pillow
The Virtue of Tolerance: Making an Effort with Empathy, Kindness, Goodness and Grace

Getting Better, with Tolerance.
A personal saying 'Kindness breeds Tolerance' ...Tolerance requires an accepting mind and a willing participant. It's not a spectator's virtue. To see life from another person's perspective suggests that we are attempting to live outside of ourselves, to mentally travel the journey of another soul.
This world is our home, we all live here, and we all deserve the best from each other.
Below you'll find a few of my works on Tolerance, Perspective, & Self Awareness.
I hope all your flowers grow

TOLERANCE



Hold my hand
then judge me
Or better
Feel my sameness,
Look me in the eye
then tell me I don't matter
Or better
See I am you,
Sit at my dinner table
Sharing food and conversation
then tell me I'm not worthy
Or better
Understand my hunger is like yours,
Take a walk with me
then hate where I live
Or better
Understand my plight,
Watch my children play
and tell me they are expendable
Or better
Love them as your own,
As I hold your hand
Look in your eyes
Eat at your table
Walk with you
Understand your plight
And watch your children play
I know I want to be better too
by Barbara Tremblay Cipak

PERSPECTIVE
From Your Perspective
What do you want me to know about you
I'm interested in your life
You're journey is my teacher
I'm wrong about so much
How can I make your day better
Show me what I can do
I am a willing spirit
by Barbara Tremblay Cipak

SELF AWARENESS


I can't judge you
I'm too busy judging myself
I can't hate you
I'm too busy learning about myself
I can't envy you
I'm too busy competing with myself
I can't expect anything from you
I'm too busy expecting the best from myself
I can love you
By loving myself
by Barbara Tremblay Cipak, Copyright

COMPASSION



Youtube Channel - DragedaPoemsLyrics
Drageda.com




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Meet Susan Deppner, Review This! Contributor

Meet Susan Deppner, writer and Review This! contributor
The author with her dog, Daisy, and one of her favorite electronic gadgets, her Kindle reader, Pinkie.
Hi there!

As I write this (May 2015), I'm the new kid on the site, the most recent addition to the Review This! team. I'm thrilled to be rubbing virtual shoulders with the other terrific writers here, most of whom I've known for years online.

Who am I? I'm an over-60 baby boomer, a cancer survivor, and a Southerner who believes in the Golden Rule. Color me sassy (from time to time) as well as red, white, and blue. I'm also a wife and mom whose family drives her crazy who's totally crazy about her family, including the four-legged members.

My interests? Wide and varied, which is a good thing for a writer. I love reading and writing about all sorts of subjects, so expect the occasional book review. I love to cook, so expect cookbook and kitchen gadget reviews and perhaps a recipe or two. I'm a wannabe geek, excited to jump on the bandwagon when a fun electronic gadget catches my eye and my fancy, and I love sharing that excitement (in plain English; no tech talk, I promise!) with friends and fans alike.

My online real estate has been under development for many years now and if you're interested in a tour, you'll find most of it at these web and social media sites:

http://LifeInOut.com
http://RecipesForRealPeople.com
http://susandeppner.hubpages.com
https://www.google.com/+SusanDeppner
http://Pinterest.com/Susan52
https://twitter.com/susan52
https://about.me/susan52

I'm tickled pink to be writing here at Review This! and truly appreciate your visit. Please bookmark this site and come again, soon!

Best always,
Susan




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.