I’m Not Ignoring You–Is it WP or the 1200 lb Gorilla?

I'm Not Ignoring You

Spoiler Alert: Anyone else experiencing these issues?

Many of you know that my blog stats suddenly dropped 107 followers the end of March. I’m not ignoring you–honest! I wrote the Happiness Engineers at WordPress regarding the drop as well as the increase in “followers” from Outlook email accounts. Eventually, I got a canned response that didn’t address the issues (either one, but directed me to check my listed follower status).

I wrote again, unhappy with the result of my inquiry, and finally got a response from Damianne who wrote, “Your followers are from social media as well as WordPress. We can’t manage followers from social media, so we don’t have any information about those changes.” That’s true, as my followers are made up of more than 750 social followers, 250+ WP followers, with the balance made up of email followers (no Outlook followers).

She went on to note that “Followers from outlook.com may be spammers and we are looking into the issue generally, and have already implemented some fixes. The follows in themselves are not an actual threat…so really all they’re achieving is to annoy people. We’re working on our end to get these follows blocked, and we’re also removing fake follows as we detect them. On your end, just ignore them for now.”

Wait, What? “Fake follows.” Are you considered a fake follow? Did you get unfollowed?

It wasn’t until later that I realized I was no longer getting notifications from my most active blogging buddies. That’s you! So I apologize–it wasn’t me–it was…WordPress?

I know you are not fake follows, so what happened? Damianne suggested my notifications may be going to my spam folder as a result of my email provider. They are not.

Dot Com vs Dot Org

As a dot com (not a dot org), I do not have the ability to download and use all those wonderful plug-ins that would give me some additional insight into the dynamics of my website. So frustrating! But trying to research what may be happening, I see one overwhelming theme–speed–and mobile technology. 

WordPress-Plugins vs Widgets from My Theme Shop

We know WordPress changed their algorithms this year, but I didn’t realize it would affect my little contribution to the blogosphere. Why? Because nothing stays the same–remember that old adage? People change. Technology advances to keep up with wants and needs. At the forefront of change is Google who has issued five (yes, FIVE, and they all have names) major algorithm updates recently, forcing search engines to change.

I’ve written before about some techniques to avoid being blacklisted such as keyword stuffing (I wouldn’t know how) or avoiding black-hat SEO techniques. Web gurus talk about the need to blog at least once a week (yes, okay) resulting in a “freshen” score, with posts of 2,000 words (fail). Then what?

Mobile First

Apparently, there is a shift for Google to “move their entire search index to mobile-first.” It’s called the Progressive Web App (PWA). Currently, there are two search indexes, mobile and desktop. BUT, these are going to be combined. And then they will crawl the mobile version first–that means “the mobile version of your site will be the one crawled, not desktop.”

It’s all about page speed then? Has my site been penalized because it’s slow? I don’t know–I can’t use a plug-in to check that and I can’t add any “code markups” to speed it up.

The 1200 lb Gorilla

Google has been rewarding publishers that have objectively delivered better mobile experiences to visitors for a while. It should come as no surprise that Google is talking even more about page speed. They are actually going to include it as a mobile ranking signal this year.

Angry woman shooting computer

One of the patterns I routinely follow before scheduling a book review or post is to check to see what it is supposed to look like on a tablet or a mobile device and correct accordingly. Maybe it’s not working.

I will try to “catch up” with some of your posts in the coming week, hopefully to re-establish the connection. In the meantime, I’m always grateful for the likes and comments, especially from Nina at Cozy Pages, Nicole at thebookwormdrinketh, FictionFan, Lynne at Fictionophile, and Cathy at Between the Lines. I’ll be looking to see what you’ve posted recently. I’ve really missed seeing the new posts from all my blogging buddies!

In the meantime, please let me know if you are experiencing somewhat the same with your stats too. Or perhaps you have a suggestion for me? I’d love to hear it! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

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If Family Noir is In, I Want Out

If Family Noir is In, I Want Out

Remember back in December 2015 when I investigated all these new-to-me genres? Nano-punk, nano-technology, or cyber-punk?

Well, it’s happened again. A number of bloggers I follow have reviewed stories recently they’ve categorized as “Noir.” If it sounds French, it is, and means “dark” or “of the night.” It is usually a genre that deals with violence or sex, but definitely corruption in some manner. (BTW, noire is just feminine for noir, but you knew that, huh.)

Postwar film noir - Humphrey BogartYes, I remember film noir, but “classic” (or roman) noir is considered a “hardboiled” genre that usually includes a self-destructive protagonist. I’m not writing the rules here, only relaying what I found in research–and it’s not pretty folks. Although I must say, we’ve definitely done a number on the original noir fiction spawned from Dashiell Hammett ( 1894-1961) “the dean of the… ‘hardboiled’ school of detective fiction.” The protagonist is not a rumpled, raincoat cloaked, cigar-chomping thoughtful-hearted protagonist, but rather a perpetrator. Forget Columbo! Think Humphrey Bogart. No, much worse. Think Kevin Spacey in LA Confidential. But there is a huge difference in the definition of “noir” and what we are calling forms of noir today.

Harking back to the Huff Post updated in December 2017 by Otto Penzler who didn’t mince words when he described the genre, “noir is about losers,” not private detectives. This is the down and dirty–doesn’t do well and never will. The protagonist in a noir story is driven by just about everything bad a human can exhibit: greed, lust, jealousy. They aren’t ever going to triumph. They can’t! (It’s noir.) And this is what separates the private detective or family noir from noir fiction–the moral ground.

The problem then, as Noir Fiction has splintered off as many sub-genres as the previously discussed fiction novels, is the evolution. Here are just a few:

Classic noir (Hollywood crime dramas emphasizing derisive attitudes and/or sexual motivations)

Family noir (domestic noir)

Film noir

Neo-noir

Photo noir

Pulp noir (classic noir with urban influences)

Scandinavian noir (Scandi noir)

Tech noir

I think it was the Scandinavian noir that set me to scratching my head. A Scandi noir? Certainly, it was the film industry that influenced the change of the hardboiled nuance into a neo-noir flavor. Definitely a contemporary or more modern version of film noir, the term neo-noir was popularized by two French critics back in 1955. It appears these were retro-actively applied to much earlier crime movies including the 1940s as well as the 1950s in the U.S. (Think Bogey)

Farewell My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerSo I jumped on Goodreads again, my go-to of all things bookish, and noted that on their (current) favorite noir list the first six of nine is divided between Raymond Chandler at number one (Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)  and two and Dashiell Hammett at number three (The Glass Key).

It was Hammett who created Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon after a character he knew living in San Francisco. His authentic period dialogue was included in the movie famously played by Humphrey Bogart.

 

Black Mask Magazine featuring The Maltese Falcon by Dashell Hammett
Cover courtesy Wikipedia

Raymond Chandler? Really? Because if you were surprised by Hammett’s life dates, Chandler is right there, born in 1888 and died in 1959. Wikipedia notes he began writing after losing his job as an oil company executive. He published a short story in Black Mask Magazine, a pulp magazine in 1933. (First issue April 1920-final issue 1987) Along with Dashiell Hammett and other Black Mask writers, he is considered to be a founder of the hardboiled detective fiction. Philip Marlowe, his protagonist, was also played by the quintessential Humphrey Bogart. He said of the hardboiled detective, “he is the white knight who walks the mean streets, but is not himself mean.”

 

 

Point Blank film noir 1967 starring Lee Marvin
Neo-noir film Point Blank directed by John Boorman, 1967, starring Lee Marvin.

 

Cinematically, Lee Marvin cemented the neo-noir style of film when he starred in Point Blank (1967), introducing a new level of violence in film and established the foundation for later escalation of ferocity and brutality.

I suspect there would be some argument over whether the film Pulp Fiction is actually pulp noir or film noir. Jessica Jones – pulp noir? Where would you classify any of the dark noir books (Gone Girl) (or movies) that you’ve read (seen) lately?

But really, a family noir? OMG–it’s gotta be sad, depressing, and can never be made right.

It’s doomed.

I don’t need it.

I want peaceful.

I want happy–if not happily ever after–a light at the end of the tunnel. Some small promise it’ll be okay.

And hopefully soon.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Stinger: Operation Cyclone – a #BookReview

Stinger: Operation Cyclone by Bill FortinTitle: Stinger: Operation Cyclone (A Rick Fontain Novel Book 2) by Bill Fortin

Genre: Currently #2811 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, War

Publisher: Cold War Publications

Publication Date: February 12, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: Stinger: Operation Cyclone – Obvious military action

It is shortly after the election of Ronald Regan in 1979 that the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, but it was not until 1982 that POTUS set in motion Operation Cyclone.

The wheels of government and governmental agencies move very slowly. The Afghani people are locked in a desperate attempt to avoid total annihilation by an occupying Russian force. Severely out-gunned and with very limited resources they are resisting one of the strongest armies in the world.  Several covert governmental agencies are trying, albeit slowly, to assist. Continue reading “Stinger: Operation Cyclone – a #BookReview”

Rosepoint #Reviews – March Recap

Yes, we have zinged right into April with Easter Sunday! A beautiful beginning to the month.

Fairy Garden - Easter TimeIf the ground is no longer frozen, you know I’ll be grabbing my shovel and turning some dirt in the hope I can get my garden in before the end of April. I already have a few little seeds sprouting in my indoor starter tray. Hopefully, these will do better than last year. And last year? Remember I started the Fairy Garden that we alternatively call (depending on weather) “the Swamp.” I am currently waiting to see what survived and my heart is beginning to sink–I don’t think any of the ferns or Lilly of the Valley made it through the winter. Butterfly bush? History. But I’ve attained some satisfaction in digging out more reeds, snags, and trunks making way for slightly larger bushes than those $5 budget plants. If it’s sunny, I’ll probably be outdoors, at least until all plants are established.

I’ve confessed before to being a stats watcher (as I’ve set several goals) and was thrilled to announce the coming of my first 1,000th follower. I’ve been steadily building on that number and by Wednesday, the 28th of March had attained 1106 followers, looking forward to 1200. Then Thursday, the big crash happened and now the view counter is showing 999. How do you lose 107 followers overnight? But wait! There’s more..no really! Looking at my monthly totals, the blog achieved 1.0k views for the month of March. Hazzah! In fact, the first quarter of 2018 showed a significant jump in views. So I’m at a loss for the loss.

My February Recap noted that I was going to participate in Cathy‘s “Reading Ireland” Challenge. They were Shadow of a Century by Jean Grainger, Irish author, and another titled For the Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie and you’ll find both of those in the linked list below.

Eight new titles read and reviewed in March:

Deja Moo – a #BookReview

If I Live – a #BookReview

For the Love of Ireland – #BookReview

The True Tales of the Road to Key West – a #BookReview

Shadow of a Century – a #BookReview

Last Night – a #BookReview

Fiction Can Be Murder – a #BookReview

Dark Territory – a #BookReview

That intrepid associate reviewer, the CE, reviewed three titles for me in March.

The Telltale Tattoo – a #BookReview

The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview

Illinois Native Americans – a #BookReview

#TBR - Easter

Check out my Easter week #TBR, cozy mysteries. In the meantime, I’ve added a book tour from Sage’s Blog Tours, an author request, and I won a beautiful hardback book titled Claws for Concern by Miranda James from Lori at Escape With Dollycas. Boy does it seem strange to hold a “real” book again! Thank you, Lori!

I so enjoy and appreciate my new followers and the ones who continue to read and comment! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Fiction Can Be Murder – a #BookReview

Fiction Can Be Murder by Becky ClarkTitle: Fiction Can Be Murder (A Mystery Writer’s Mystery) by Becky Clark

Genre: Currently #6572 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Publication Date: To be released April 8, 2018

Source: Midnight Ink and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Fiction Can Be Murder–I get it–her reading chair, but…

This book is every bit as much fun as a cozy mystery but without the recipes! Is it or is it not a cozy mystery? Well, maybe so, though it’s sub-titled a mystery writer’s mystery, and that’s not really a cozy mystery cover, I don’t think. I’m already invested in the characters, however, that she establishes in this, the first of her series and the setting of Denver in March? Come on–Perfect! (As I’m reading from Indiana flirting with snow flurries.) Even were it the middle of summer, everyone is familiar with the cliché of Denver winters, which I’m sure must be comparable to northern Siberia, and fetches chills just saying the word. Continue reading “Fiction Can Be Murder – a #BookReview”

Define TBR – In Bookish Terms It Means Different Things to Different People

Most generally in Bookish Terms, TBR stands for “To Be Read.” That wildly general term could mean books that at one point or another laid resident in your library or virtual novels on your Excel spreadsheet, shelf, or shelves.

Or your list may be a very detailed spreadsheet of all the books you want to read (not that you yet possess), perhaps in chronological, alphabetical, (color?) or genre order including print, ebook, or audio editions. Then there is a short, specific list of those few next up in your queue. Mine consists of the latter, usually dictated by publishing date and rotated in and out on my Goodreads list, as I discovered it impossible for me to schedule a month out. I never know what gorgeous cover will catch my eye, or that there is a thriller pop up I must have. That said–my #TBR changes weekly–it’s as fickle as the NYT bestseller lists I just wrote about. That said–here are this week’s books–right now:

#TBR end of March

Last Night by Kerry Wilkinson

“It’s the early hours of the morning and Rose Denton wakes up behind the steering wheel of her car. She’s off the road, through a hedge and in a field. What happened last night?” Contemporary English thriller

Add to Goodreads

Dark Territory by Leo J Maloney

“Black Ops veteran Leo J. Maloney delivers a lightning-fast thriller that puts America’s top operatives on a collision course with Russia’s deadliest weapon . . . The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest rail line in the world. But for Dan Morgan’s daughter Alex, it could be the shortest trip of her life—and the last.” (Amazon) Military, thriller and suspense

Add to Goodreads

Claws for Concern by Miranda James

“Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, are embroiled in a new mystery when a cold case suddenly heats up in the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.” Cozy mystery

Add to Goodreads

What about you? What is your definition of TBR? Is it totally out of control or this week’s reads? ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Five Reasons Why Books Release on Tuesday–Does That Include Indie Authors?

Five Reasons Why Books Release on Tuesday

Because it’s always been done this way. (?)

Oh really?! Why? Retailers call it Super Tuesday.

But Tuesday…Maybe it is just not as hectic as the first day of the week. Nor is it Friday when everyone is ready to flee to weekend outings. Tuesday is not yet Hump Day, not generally a payday, and very rarely a holiday. So why is it that I started having a problem with overlapping release dates–Tuesday–after I started receiving books from NetGalley?

Most sources, including Bob Mayer (one of my favorite authors), speculated it might be (1) because of the NY Times best-seller lists (and this seems to be a generally accepted opinion). “The NYT bestseller list is based on sales from Tuesday to Monday, tallied on Wednesday. The list for the following Sunday is actually compiled by the prior Wednesday evening.”

So what else are we looking at? Spy icon by Colourbox Continue reading “Five Reasons Why Books Release on Tuesday–Does That Include Indie Authors?”

My Pet Tag – Our Bichon Frise – The Perfect Pet Partner

Frosty and the CEI saw this tag over at LFBooks and just loved her post. She got the tag from Carla at carlalovestoread and heaven knows I have a little cutie, too, though thankfully is NOT a fart machine! So why not share?

  1. What is your pet’s name? Frosty, though her full name is Frosty Dancer Nampa Dandy. (She is AKC registered. They seem to love long names.) Frosty with a Flicker
  2. What kind of pet is it and what breed? She is a Bichon Frise, considered a “companion” dog (but according to the AKC, is a non-sporting breed. A Bichon won the Westminster Best of Show this year! We call her a thigh buddy, cause if we’re sitting where she can snuggle next to us–she will). They must have black eyes, black nose, and black pads, and thick, curly white double layered furry ringlets. Yes, she requires grooming (which I do), but, hey, she is non-allergenic (for my husband) and non-shedding (for me). I searched a long time to determine what breed I wanted and discovered that Bichon rescues want you to have a dog in the home–so no, I only wanted one dog.
  3. How long have you had your pet friend? We got her at 7 1/2 weeks after she was weaned. She was barely as big as my hand and fit under my chin when she lay down with me. She is now twelve.
  4. How did you get your pet? My husband and I were moving to Idaho, but he had not yet closed down his business in California. So after a number of months visiting once every month or so, I decided I needed a dog. It had been more than seven years since we’d had to part with our last dog, Muffin, who died at age 13. (He was thrilled that I was talking about another dog–said he needed another hunter.) Frosty was one of two females in a litter of five.
  5. How old is your pet? She was born January 24, 2006–just turned twelve.
  6. What are some quirky things about your pet’s personality? 

     She’s a back sleeper, so it is not unusual to see her roll over and get comfy. Smart as the dickens and has the memory of an elephant. She knows where she left all her toys. Knows what time it is and uses a herding instinct to guide us wherever she wants to go. Frosty's toy She likes to tuck whichever toy she wants to play with under her chin and if so inclined, offer to play with you. Thinks she’s a retriever–just throw the ball–she’ll bring it back. Learned a number of tricks very quickly and knows which will trigger your interest faster. Hide her treat anywhere in the house–she’ll look until she finds it. What a nose!

  7. What does your relationship with your pet mean to you? Having retired and no children at home, she is now the focus. Gives us a purpose, an incentive to exercise, makes us laugh, commiserates when we’re sick or sad. She goes most everywhere with us–good as gold in the car–has never torn or ripped anything. She just waits patiently and watches for us to return (not a barker). It is difficult to imagine being without her.
  8. What are some of your favorite past times with your pet? We do a lot of walking with her, have hiked all over parks. When we lived in an RV for two years, she was easy to live with and at 13 lbs., she’s a great no-fuss traveler, although she’ll let you know when it’s time to stop.
  9. Frosty-age 12What are nicknames that you call your pet?Her nickname is Frost, but we also call her Woofy or Woof. 

I am not sure who has a pet, so, if you want to do this tag, please do! Consider yourself tagged. I love to read pet stories and I hope you enjoyed mine! Bark if you did! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Shadow of a Century – a #BookReview

Shadow of a Century by Jean GraingerTitle: Shadow of a Century by Jean Grainger

Genre: Currently #27 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, Irish

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Publication Date: June 3, 2015

Source: Author

Title and Cover: Shadow of a Century – Cover in old photo tones

This story is split between Scarlett O’Hara and Eileen Chiarello of New York in 2016 and Mary Doyle of Dublin in 1916. Scarlett is introduced and her circumstances as the “other woman” to a powerful political figure described as well as her sudden and embarrassing fall from grace. That circumstance will introduce ninety-three-year-old Eileen Chiarello. It is really the story of Mary Doyle and the turmoil and upheaval in Dublin leading to the events of the Easter Rising in 1916. It is her daughter, Eileen, that provides the link.

Mary Doyle has turned 18 and left the Catholic orphanage for a wealthy home in Dublin in 1913, where she expects to live a life of domestic service. At the Grant’s home, however, she is received by the housekeeper and Mrs. Grant who bestows room and board and a friendly welcome. Mr. Grant serves as the immediate antagonist. Mary meets the servant of another home, Eileen, who becomes a close friend, while Mrs. Kearns the mother she never had.

Are you with me so far? Continue reading “Shadow of a Century – a #BookReview”

Rosepoint #Reviews – February Recap

Irish flag gif by giphyCan you believe it’s March already?! March always reminds me how this whole writing, reading, blogging, reviewing thing got started–with my grandfather, of course!

Well, Faith and Begorrah (and btw, Begorrah is a form of “By God” in Irish slang), sure reminds me of the beautiful, musical way he pronounced my name. I don’t ever remember him, however, using the term “Erin Go Bragh,” spelled variously and used in wildly different meanings. Erin, of course, is the Angelical assassination of Eireann, which translates to “Of Ireland.” (The Irish word for Ireland is Eire, so says Patrick Murphy, good Irish lad.)

Ireland 9 by gliterly.comMy grandfather, another good Irish lad named Patrick, professed a few more colorful terms, such as “Blatherskite,” given him by his uncle following his kiss of the Blarney stone three times. Apparently, that bestowed him full right to blarney on as he wrote the stories I published for him. Ah, but I digress…

February? I only read and reviewed five books. I KNOW–embarrassing, right? Falling down on the job, no doubt due to my distraction with Bookstagram. However, I was successful in enlisting the aid of my hubby, that Associate Reviewer I call “the CE”, who managed three books of his own. And I did manage three Throwback Thursdays, highlighting authors D. W. Ulsterman, Rick Mofina, and Melissa Stevens (not to be confused with Melissa F Miller from yesterday).

Shadow of a Century by Jean Grainerfor The Love of Ireland by Judy LeslieI’m looking forward to participating in Cathy‘s Reading Ireland challenge, as noted in Lynne’s Fictionophile March post. I already have a couple books for the challenge, one by Jean Grainger, Irish author, Shadow of a Century and another titled For the Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie. It’s a chance to get a couple titles off my TBR!

March hopes to see the coming of spring and also marks another of my birthdays. Gulp–and this one will be a biggee. I’ll toast with some Bailey’s Irish Cream! So what did I read and review in February? (click) Continue reading “Rosepoint #Reviews – February Recap”

Unique Blogger Award

The Unique Blogger Award

I am thrilled to be nominated for a second award by Nina over at The Cozy Pages and so appreciate the shout out. Nina never fails to like and comment on posts, though I’ve no clue where she gets the time–she is a very busy mother of three and a professional outside her home. She posts very insightful and detailed reviews and always balances her posts with what she found that was good and what didn’t work so well. If you haven’t already, check out her blog, please.

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

The Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-12 people for the same award.
  • Ask them 3 questions.

Nina’s Questions:

1) You are in the bookstore and you see someone walking around for an hour looking at all the books looking lost. Finally, you decide to ask them if they need help. They admit they have no idea what book to read next, what book would you recommend?

Book tastes vary so greatly from person to person and age to age, it’s fortunate we have so many to choose from!

  1. Orangutan by Rita GoldnerFor a very small child, any book that offers large, colorful pictures and very short, simple descriptions that can be shared, such as my Phoenix author buddy Rita Goldner’s book Orangutan.
  2. My generation grew up on Nancy Drew for tweens and teens. Clean, imaginative, and resourceful, but these days the go-to book is Harry Potter.
  3. Adults: Anything from cozy mysteries to tear-jerking literary classics such as from author John Steinbeck. I’ve not yet begun to compile a “favorites” list this year, but if I knew a person’s taste, I might refer to the variety of great books from my 2017 list. These include a range of genres from historical fiction (Stone Song by Win Blevins), a travelogue (Dining and Driving with Cats by Pat Patterson), an anthropomorphic tale (Telemachus), to legal thrillers and men’s adventures (anything by Michael Reisig), even the enigmatic Dean Koontz (The Whispering Room).

2) Imagine you get the opportunity to go back in time, maybe a mad scientist has figured out the technology, who knows? Anyway, the only thing is you need to feed the contraption a classic book and you travel to the time that it was written. What book would you feed that machine?

Rosemary's Baby by Ira LevinThat’s a pretty funny question since I just finished a book about that very thing (time travel), Valley of Time by Jeremy D Holden. But no, I don’t want to go back to 1974. I would feed the contraption Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin, 1967. Rosemary’s Baby came out after we were married and possibly thinking about a family. It scared me to death.

3.) You are in the library and you see someone reading at a table. Then you see the worst thing imaginable…. they are doing your bookish pet-peeve. What are they doing to that poor book?!

I have seen people dog-ear or fold the page in half–(even ripping a page out–but no–the worst? Writing in the margins.

My questions for you:

1.      When was the last time you bought or borrowed an audiobook, what was it, and was it as rewarding as reading would have been?

2.      The beginning of the year, there are myriad lists of reading challenges. Do you add challenges, find they increase your reading, or diversify your reading choices? Or not.

3.      It’s easy to come across little sayings in each book we read, something memorable. Have you begun to collect quotes, and if so when was your last, and what was the book and author?

Disclaimer: I’d love it if you would respond to this tag with your answers, but we are all busy. If you do, however, please link back to share your answers.

My Nominations:

CathyRy

Yesha

Kerry

Alysha

Jessica

Nicole

Cathy

Have a super week everyone! I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Bloggers Bash Award Nominations

Bloggers Bash Award Categories

When the “happiness engineers” at WP announced that the problems with the reblog button were resolved, they’d yet to deal with my blog. Neither that nor the like buttons have reappeared, so I’ll include here a shortened description of the announcement of the Bloggers Bash Awards, now in its fourth year.

Nina at The Cozy Pages sent me the notice (thank you Nina!) that she had reblogged from Shelley Wilson author, who is apparently on the committee. You can see the full and complete announcement on Ms. Wilson’s website for all the rules and regs, so, from Ms. Wilson, the following:

The Annual Bloggers Bash returns bigger and better than ever. (The venue is booked.)…

The nominations will open soon but we wanted to share the award categories with you to give everyone plenty of time to think about who they feel deserves a nomination...Nominations will open on March 6th 2018.

Award Categories for the 2018 Bloggers Bash Awards Continue reading “Bloggers Bash Award Nominations”

Lethal in Old Lace – #bookreview

Lethal in Old Lace by Duffy BrownTitle: Lethal in Old Lace (A Consignment Shop Mystery) by Duffy Brown

Genre: Currently #3509 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be released March 13, 2018

Source: Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Lethal in Old Lace – Obvious cozy depicting Consignment Shop series

The fifth in the Consignment Shop mystery series, Lethal in Old Lace could easily be a standalone book. This is my first experience with this author and her series, and I thoroughly enjoyed, even when the plot took on fully suspended in disbelief high jinks. Continue reading “Lethal in Old Lace – #bookreview”

Reading Challenge

Reading Challenge

Notice how you get braver as you get older? Take on new challenges?

Well, it doesn’t amount to learning to ride a motorcycle at 55 years, but this year I went hunting for reading challenges, and although I did not catch either of these in December or even January, found two I wanted to try this year. I have gathered those books read beginning in 2018 and performed some serious catch-up. I have added a page I’m calling Reading Challenge to collect any new reads posted to either challenge so you can follow my progress during the year. (My Goodreads Challenge is 90 books and progress appears in the widget column to the right.)

The NetGalley and Edelweiss Challenge

In for a penny–in for a pound–and I went straight to the platinum level, which translates to 75 books for the year. Seventy-five books just from these two sources will definitely be a challenge for me. If you’d like to sign up for this challenge, click here. Continue reading “Reading Challenge”

Will Bookbloggers Abandon Pinterest? Maybe–Here’s Why

Will Bookbloggers Abandon Pinterest?

So, was the Pinterest platform created for people with too much time on their hands, or as a serious media form with myriad connection capabilities?

I’ve mentioned before my attempts at understanding the attraction and heaven knows I’ve been bombarded with invitations by “experts” for advice on learning how to expand my followers and make significant gains in either monetizing my blog or directing traffic to sales through Pinterest. (Except that my blog is not particularly sales driven.)

I have twelve boards and umpteen “pins” and the one that catches the most traffic is the one of Iris Apfel, whose repins (at age 93) greatly outnumber my own and does nothing for my stats. How fair is that?

Launched in 2010, Pinterest was designed to discover information on the www mainly through the use of images. Images were where it was at! In particular, I do enjoy the Infographics you readily find on Pinterest.

However, I like that Instagram may become a powerful adjunct to my blog. It’s simple! Even I can do it! And I get a lot of positive engagement from Instagram, second only (and sometimes tying) to Twitter (not facebook). I’m still fairly new to posting on Instagram, but adding followers at a consistent pace. I particularly appreciate the ability to add appropriate hashtags and find that authors and other book bloggers, as well as publishers, haunt your posts. There is a limit on the use of hashtags of course, but many can do double duty, where appropriately added to your twitter post. Here are a few of my favorite hashtags for Instagram/Bookstagram (keeping in mind these are not to be used for every post–change them up!):

#book #booksofinstagram #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #igreads #igbooks #epicreads #booklife #bibliophile #read #reading #reader #booklover #bookaddict #booknerd #bookworm #booksbooksbooks #bookstagramfeature #readingforfun #booksworthreading #readinglist #bookswag #readingisfundamental #currentlyreading #amreading #bookshelf #newbook #goodbook #reviewbook #mybooks #goodreads #bookrecommendations #bookblog #bookblogger #tbr #indieauthor #bibliophile #mustread

Rather than using Pinterest as a major source of traffic, I see a few of my fellow book bloggers using Pinterest as a side link, sort of a sub-blog. In fact, I found that shockingly few post a link to Pinterest. It appears most bloggers opt to link to Instagram and Twitter. (If you also have a Pinterest account that I missed it here, please let me know and I’ll be glad to follow.)

Lynne at Fictionophile

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Adventures of a Bibliophile

The Cozy Pages

Of course, more than images now the use of videos, vlogs, and gifs. Videos–videos are where it’s at! Well, I won’t be doing many of those soon, so I’ll continue to work on images, particularly through the use of Instagram and Bookstagram, which I’ve also alluded to rather recently.

I’m still not sold that the hours and hours of time I’ve spent on Pinterest has been worth it, but I see huge inroads of web interest in Instagram and the buzz says this is where the major focus will occur in 2018. I’m thinking that besides the time spent on my blog, that is where I’ll focus my secondary hours. How about you? Do you still use Pinterest or has Twitter and Instagram taken a new lead for you? I’d love to hear your comments! ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Rosepoint #Reviews – January Recap

Congratulations to you for surviving the holidays and making it through January! Isn’t that considered the worst of winter is over? We can only hope! It’s certainly been a frantic month for me, back to reading, reviewing, and concentrating on “stats.” (Yes, I know. I’m not supposed to think about those, but…)

I have achieved some goals: 

Books to Cell
Photo attribution: Shutterstock

Blog stats (hit 1,000 followers–Thank you all–again!), Goodreads stats (made my Book Challenge!), Amazon reviewer status (now down under 15K), and NetGalley stats achieved 80%–gonna keep it that way and pushing for my 50 reviews badge. (As a new reviewer on NetGalley, it’s easy to fall into that trap–BOOKS! All those BOOKS! I want them all–no, wait…oops!)

So, besides the ARC’s from NetGalley, there was #ThrowbackThursdays highlighting two of my favorite authors (Jodie Bailey and Linda McDonald). Spent some heavy time doing #AmReading posts, #TBR posts, and #Bookstagrams, the latter of which has fired up new ideas for “staging” books and that’s been fun.

Eleven January reads, most ARC’s through NetGalley and one read (#11) by my associate, the CE (If you haven’t caught his review yet, check it out!):

  1. January 02 – No Turning Back by Nancy Bush
  2. January 04 – The Last Homecoming by Dan Chabot (author request)
  3. January 07 – Grist Mill Road by Christopher J Yates
  4. January 09 – Strangers by Ursula Archer and Arno Strobel
  5. January 10 – Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
  6. January 14 – An Engineered Injustice by William L Myers Jr
  7. January 16 – Dark Ocean by Nick Elliott (author request)
  8. January 21 – Deep Zero by V S Kemanis
  9. January 23 – An Eye for an Eye by Caroline Fardig
  10. January 28 – Curses, Boiled Again by Shari Randall
  11. January 30 – The Yanks Are Starving by Glen Craney (author request)

See anything here that catches your eye? These run the gamut from historical fiction to psychological and legal thrillers and I know you’ve read at least one of them.

I’m having a tough time keeping up with reading and commenting on all your reviews! I comment when I can and I enjoy receiving all your comments here as well as the likes and comments on Bookstagram.

Photo attibution: lifewithdogsandcatsMaybe you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, it just takes us longer. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Thank You – 1,000 Followers!

Thank you for 1000 followers!

This blog has now achieved 1,000 followers! Thank you to each of every one of you who has read and followed my reviews, posts, and rambling observations. I could not have reached this milestone without your support. I am grateful for all the likes and each and every one of your comments!

Thank you new visitors and regular blogging buddies!

I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Instagram vs WordPress – Want More From Your Pics?

Rob Moses PhotographyRob Moses at Rob Moses Photography started his blog about the same time as I, was one of the first to follow me, and I’ve followed with interest his beautiful and unique pictures. I’ve mentioned him before. He takes a lot of pictures; a lot of different types of pictures. Street photography and city skylines are some of his most favourite things to shoot, but he also finds himself shooting more landscapes than he thought he would.

Most recently, he ran a rant about Instagram vs WordPress which I found so exactly echoed my own sentiments, as well as recent discussions with many of my own followers, that I thought I’d share with you. No doubt you agree. Instagram is too much fun, gets too much attention, and so rewarding that’s it’s difficult to get back to the WP blog subject of the day. For me, of course, the time is spent in crafting “bookstagrams.” (And you have my invitation to follow my efforts in the widget column on the right or @rosepointpub.)

New Review!

For me, Instagram is an attractive alternative to either Pinterest or Facebook. The two image-sharing platforms were both released approximately 2010 and I’ve yet to really figure out Pinterest. According to Digital Guide, there were approximately 400 million Instagrammers to 100 million Pinteresters back in 2016. Currently, there are almost 75 million WordPress sites out there with over 50% of those (or 37 million) on the free WordPress.com. There are articles on WP vs Tumblr, WP vs Squarespace and Instagram vs Flickr. (And I did try Flickr.) But Instagram–and further–Bookstagram really caught my attention.  Now that Instagram has the “story” capability, the ability to add dialogue has expanded dramatically. I love books and they make some gorgeous pictures and now stories (posts) as well!

Time is at such a premium–especially at my age–and I no longer have a full-time job. As jmeyersforeman noted in part, “I think both Instagram and WordPress have their purpose, as you said, Instagram is great for it’s immediacy, while WordPress gives you a longer format to explore topics and it takes time to develop those posts…we only have so much time in the day and we have to decide where we get the most reward for our time.”

And everyone loves pictures! What do you think? Love to work your pictures into your Instagram and blog? ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

“Secret Writing Rules” and Why to Ignore Them – Reblogged from Chris at TSRA

Reblog

Christopher Graham over at The Story Reading Ape’s Blog has a mission to introduce authors to readers and authors to introduce themselves. The man has a massive following and with good reason, he delivers. He refers to his blog as TSRA and recently guested an article by Anne R. Allen who wrote “Secret Writing Rules” and Why to Ignore Them.

The article posted on January 4, 2018. I loved it, found it most appropriate, had a good laugh, and commented to Chris that I’d be reblogging. (Only one problem–no reblog button! So I’ve resorted to the link below.) He no doubt believes I’d forgotten–but there is no chance–I’m sure you’ll find the article as fun and informative as did I! She leads the article with this quote from Somerset Maugham, “There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.” Yeah–you gotta read it. BTW, Anne’s latest book is called “Easy Blogging for Busy Authors.”

“It’s good to learn these rules—because it’s way more fun to break them when you know what they are. But then go ahead and smash them with gleeful abandon.”

 

Anne R Allen - author
Anne R Allen Blog with Ruth Harris

 

The Story Reading Ape

©2018 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

 

My Favorite Reads of 2017-Rosepoint Publishing

My Top 12 Favorite Books for 2017

Welcome to my version of The Bloggers Dozen–twelve of my favorite reads during 2017.

These are laid out in chronological order, and please don’t ask me to narrow it down any further. I didn’t choose these by the rating I gave them, though most came in between 4.5 and 5 stars. They all resonate with me–still. Lest you think they may all be thriller and suspense (since I seem to lean that way), I’ll mention that they were actually all over the board from Literary Fiction to Cozy Mysteries and Animals. I did have a number of other five stars reads–just that these were special for me.

Okay, it’s no secret I’m a sucker for a story that includes (especially) dogs animals. Also, if I had to count–and even I was curious–of the twelve listed here, free BookBub books only accounted for one this year as I discovered NetGalley and got serious about their offerings to the tune of 58.3% of those I downloaded. That doesn’t add up to 100% though, does it? That’s because I devoted 33.3% to author requests and beta-reads.

Follow the link to explore my full review and give you additional links to the books. Perhaps you might find one you missed that looks particularly exciting for you as well–I HOPE SO!

Stone Song by Wil BlevinsStone Song by Wil Blevins

This is the story of the Lakota Sioux warrior, Crazy Horse, a man who lived—and died tragically—on his own terms. HistFic 5/5 Stars

Dining and Driving with Cats by Pat PattersonDining and Driving with Cats-Alice Unplugged by Pat Patterson 

Travelogue from Mexico to the “Boudin Capital of the World” with two kitties loose in the car. (Doncha just love that cover?!) Foodies will love! Travelogue-food 5/5 Stars

Telemachus by Peter GrayTelemachus by Peter Gray

Interpret this anthropomorphic metaphor as a Greek tragedy, engaging all the elements of love, challenge, loss, and triumph as seen through the POV of a protagonist bird and his flock. Literary Fiction 5/5

Hunting Hour by Margaret MizushimaHunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima 

Loved, loved, loved, this Timber Creek K-9 Mystery and K-9 drug-sniffing German shepherd, Robo. Cozy mystery-5/5 Stars

Fender by Brent JonesFender by Brent Jones

This emotionally packed literary saga will have you grabbing for a hankie. (But it is a “good” cry.) Fender is a Beagle, btw. Literary Fiction 5/5 Stars

Snap Judgment by Marcia ClarkSnap Judgment by Marcia Clark

If you thought a novel by an attorney (yes, “that” Marcia Clark) would be stale, dry, and unappealing, then look again. Suspense-crime 4.5/5

Sea of Doubt by Jeremy D. HoldenSea of Doubt-The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Jeremy D. Holden

You know by the title that you are in for an intelligent and socially unacceptable ride and after the hook at the beginning, that’s how this book proceeds. So how would you announce to the world the Second Coming? Mystery-suspense 4.5/5 Stars

Her Last Secret by Barbara CopperthwaiteHer Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite

Loved the way this brilliant author took you to the week prior to the tragic Christmas day event, seamlessly introducing each of the major characters using their own POV. Gripping psychological thriller 5/5 Stars

Bonfire by Krysten RitterBonfire by Krysten Ritter

I’ve said it before, will say it again–how is this fair? Ritter is a successful actress–pretty, intelligent, and now an author? Yes, she can grow, but really, try reading this and visualize Jessica Jones. Psychological thriller 3.5/5

Outside the Wire by Patricia SmileyOutside the Wire by Patricia Smiley

At last–a female protagonist not damaged by an abusive childhood or sporting model-like height and classic features! This lady sounds real. Sympathetic commentary on ex-military. Suspense-thriller 4.5/5 Stars

The Whispering Room by Dean KoontzThe Whispering Room (A Jane Hawk Novel) by Dean Koontz

Jane is the ubiquitous former FBI agent gone rogue. She’s smart, she’s dangerous, and she’s on a mission. Uh oh Suspense-thriller 4.5/5 Stars

The Wild Road to Key West by Michael ReisigThe Wild Road to Key West (The Cave of the Stars) by Michael Reisig

The Hole in the Coral Wall Gang always does the right thing. One of my favorite authors; this book includes some HistFic-Men’s Adventures 5/5 Stars

Which of the above did you read? Did I miss something fantastic this year that you’d love to tell me about? Do you have a suggestion (book or author) for my 2018 reads?

Have a safe and Happy New Year’s Eve and a successful 2018!

Happy New Year!