Don’t Sign!

A warning from Stevie, based on her own experience!

Stevie Turner

This is a scheduled post and I will answer any comments tomorrow.

Recently I read a blog from a self-published author who was thrilled to bits to gain a publishing deal. She had signed the rights to her book over to the publisher, and of course now looked forward to the royalties from many future sales.

However, I’ve been on a steep learning curve over the past 8 years regarding the integrity of small publishers. In order to satisfy my own curiosity I went on to Google and typed in ‘Writer Beware‘ and the name of the lady’s publisher. As I suspected, there were many complaints about this particular publisher regarding the amount of ‘set up fees’ needed and the lack of any royalties.

I’m sure most of us have been taken in by small publishers at one time or another at the beginning of our writing careers…

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Tumbleweed Blog

It seems that one feature of the start of 2021 is a distinct lack of blogging activity from the 100+ bloggers that I follow.

Some of you appear to have posted nothing at all, others just entries in ‘challenges’, and those usually prolific bloggers seem to have cut down their output drastically too.

With bad weather outside, and an early dog-walk under my belt, I have had plenty of time today to peruse both the world of WordPress, and even spend more time on Twitter than I usually allocate.

But there is not much happening, and I can feel the proverbial tumbleweed drifting across blank screens and unused keyboards. I even got to the end of my Twitter feed, for only the second time in eight years!

I have made a fair contribution, as this will be my third post today. And I have written up part one of my new serial, if only to give myself something to read. That will appear tomorrow morning, for anyone interested.

If this carries on, I will be having a ‘Blogs Followed’ clearout, and following some new people this year.

In fact, let’s all do that, shall we? Follow someone new, in 2021.

48 Free Books and Samples for Fans of Women’s Fiction

A book promotion from one of our community bloggers, Stevie Turner.

Stevie Turner

This is a scheduled post as I’m now off the radar every Tuesday and Wednesday for the foreseeable future to enable me to reconnect with creative writing without any distractions from social media notifications.

However, BookFunnel promotions still run, and there are 48 Free books or samples of women’s fiction available on the link below until the end of January:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/janlistbuilder/h59mr928vo

My family drama ‘The Daughter-in-law Syndrome’ is part of the promotion, and by clicking on the link above you will be able to download a free sample.

The Daughter-in-law Syndrome investigates the complicated relationship causing much friction between Grandmother Edna Deane and her daughter-in-law Arla. In addition it focuses on the sometimes tumultuous partnership between Arla and her husband Ric.

Arla Deane sometimes likens her marriage to undergoing daily psychological warfare. Husband Ric will never voice an opinion, and puts his mother Edna up high on a pedestal. Arla…

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Guest Post: Cheryl Oreglia

I am very pleased to be able to feature another guest post from the lovely American blogger, Cheryl Oreglia.
On this occasion, Cheryl tells us the story of how she came to be a blogger.

https://cheryloreglia.blog/

She Told Me I Could Fly

“One day, I had an idea.” This is the first line in a little book my sister gave me for my birthday in May of 2015. It was written by Kobi Yamada, entitled, What do you do with an idea? She gave me this gift because she believes in me, from my earliest memories this woman has had my back, and she protects my dreams as if a bulldog. Nancy is my only sibling, she lives just seven miles away, door to door. We calculated it once for fun. She dragged me to a feng shui class a few years ago and now she claims my qi is off because my door is improperly positioned. Flamboyant and mildly quirky, she has a heart of gold, and I have shamelessly monopolized her patience and affection for over half a century. Just entering a room, Nancy can infuse the atmosphere with enormous compassion, and discernible warmth. She is the hand I reach for when I am happy, bored, bitchy, or despondent. I know her grip is solid and she will not let go.

I have to admit there is comfort in knowing at least one person in this world knows everything about me (the fraudulent weight listed on my driver’s license, my secret infatuation with Donny Osmond, even the stash of chocolate kisses I keep hidden in a tampon box in the bathroom cupboard), and she still loves me without reserve. Hiding is impossible with Nancy because she knows my moves and sees the truth often before it is apparent to me. This is the resiliency of sisterhood. And best of all, when I call her in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep, she acts like this is normal.

The import of this little book is almost too significant to explain. As I opened the exquisitely wrapped package, she sat me down and insisted I read it from beginning to end. Older sisters can be so bossy. After intentionally reading the entire book, I looked up, we didn’t speak a word, she just gave me this little nod, and I realized the depth of her fertile generosity. She was willing me to go forth with my work as a writer but I was scared. I have all the normal fears around exposure, and despite behavior to the contrary, I have never wanted people to think I am crazy, off-kilter, or worse – full of rubbish. She was begging me to jump! She doesn’t have a great track record with asking me to jump. When she was six (beyond the age of reason) and I was four she told me I could fly. I believed her and jumped off a shallow ledge, resulting in a nasty cut to my upper lip, I still have the scar to prove it. She insists the story is exaggerated but you can understand my hesitancy when she says, “jump.” I overlooked the past, took a leap of faith, and started a damn blog. My fingers actually shook when I hit the publish button for the first time. My husband immediately yelled, “You misspelled corral.” I almost fainted. Then he said, “No, no it’s right.”

“I liked being with my idea. It made me feel more alive as if I could do anything. It encouraged me to think big… and then, to think bigger,” Kobi Yamada. I started by blogging daily for the entire summer and moved to posts thereafter. It has been my greatest joy and a disastrous chore. I live in fear that I have used up all my words, there are no more valid experiences to write about, and the three people still reading (Mom, Nancy, & Larry) are doing so out of obligation (This might be true). Yamada writes, “Then, one day, something amazing happened. My idea changed right before my eyes. It spread its wings, took flight, and burst into the sky.” This happened when Krista Tippett tweeted, “I love your blog,” in my second month of blogging, she was referring to a post where I had summarized an interview she did with John O’Donohue, and she retweeted the entire post. The power of sisters, by blood or by choice, is truly a blessing. The page views lit up like the Rockies during the summer of 2015 and of course, I called Nancy to tell her about my new best friend. I think she’s jealous. She said, “Is she bothering you?” Love you my fearless guardian angel, my sister, my friend.

Jamiroquai: It’s Happening Again

Back in 2016, I published a post about the British music group, Jamiroquai.

https://beetleypete.com/2016/09/04/whatever-happened-to-jamiroquai/

It was rather a niche subject, but I thought it might be of interest to other British fans of that band. I had little idea then that it would become something of a blogging phenomenon, and spawn many more posts on the subject. Regular readers are probably stifling a yawn right now, thinking ‘Oh no, not that again!’

Since that day, it has stayed as the most-read post on this blog, by far. It even leads the regularly-read ‘About’ page by more than 1,000 views.

As of this morning, that post is still proudly holding top spot, with 5,014 views in four years.

But why am I mentioning it again? (I hear you cry…)

It always has at least one view every day, sometimes as many as six. Since that avalanche of views four years ago it has slowed to a trickle, but it is always there in the stats.

Then I noticed this, number five in the most-read posts since last Sunday.

Whatever happened to?: Jamiroquai
108 views

Could it be happening again?

Blogging In 2021

Judging by the immediate new crop of new bloggers, some of whom are following my blog now, I suspect that 2021 is going to see the explosion in blogging continue, at least for now. It will be interesting to see if they carry on blogging past any return to something like ‘normal’.

If something like normal ever happens again of course.

As for me, I survived not using the Block Editor in 2020, and will continue to not use it in 2021 for as long as I am able.

At the start of last year, I was going to take a lot more photos to put on the blog. That never happened, as the stresses of the year sucked out all my enthusiasm for photography. I didn’t even bother to set up the new full-frame camera I got, and that was in mid-September. It is still sitting patiently on a shelf behind me, no doubt in need of another full charge for its battery.

I bought a combined handle and holder for my mobile phone, intending to carry it on my walks to capture more videos of Ollie.
That didn’t happen either, it’s still in a drawer.

Note to self. Don’t buy any more ‘stuff’ in 2021.

What I did do was to post a great deal on my blog. Seemingly unable to read, concentrate on films, or bother with my cameras, writing took over. That was my safe place during 2020. Sitting quietly in the office, typing away, and not thinking that much about whether that sniffle or cough was the start of impending doom.

Blogging kept me going, and it seemed to work for this blog too. Many more followers, the most views ever in one day, and welcome comments and contact from my blogging friends. That made each of us feel that we were not alone with our problems, worries, fears, or even bereavements.

I am not making any predictions for my own blogging in 2021, and definitely no resolutions. I almost gave up this blog for various reasons last year, so who knows if that might happen yet? Working hard on fiction serials that had a much reduced engagement with readers also made me think twice about continuing with fiction. My most popular posts last year were an Alphabet of things I like, followed by an Alphabet of things I don’t like. That sort of posting seems to appeal to a very wide audience, as I discvovered.

It would be nice to think I might post a lot less rants about followers who don’t follow, and comments that are links or sales pitches. I would like to think that, but I am afraid I cannot promise not to do that if the mood takes me.

And guest posts may cease to feature, as the take up for my last offer was zero.

However, if you are a part of this community, have a book to promote, or just want me to feature you as a Guest, then the offer is still open. In case you have forgotten the email address, here it is. petejohnson50@yahoo.com Write to me there, and I will reply telling you what to do.

For the time being, you can expect more of the same. Ollie and Beetley, the closing episodes of my fiction serial followed by the whole thing in one post, and random thoughts that usually occur to me on Sundays. If I watch a film I will probably review it, and if I ever finish a book again, I will make sure to review that too.

See you soon.

Happy New Year

I would like to wish all my lovely blogging friends a Happy New year for 2021. I doubt it could be worse than 2020, and we do have some hope now, with vaccination programmes being rolled out around the world.

Let’s all keep blogging, keep communicating, and continue to expand this great community that we love to be a part of.

My very best wishes to you all, Pete. X

A Blogging Year

Only a couple of days to go before the end of 2020, a year that most of us will be pleased to see the back of. Let’s hope that vaccination programmes will lead to some major improvements in 2021, and life might start to feel normal again for many of us. Those who have lost loved ones will still find it hard to cope of course, and the businesses forced to close, and those who have lost careers or jobs, will face a complete readjustment of their lives.

In the world of blogging, lockdowns and lack of movement saw an explosion of new bloggers like never before. Many hoped to increase their income, or just start an online business. Whether by offering SEO and other blogging services, online courses, or just selling cosmetics. Thousands of entrepreneurial people took to blogging as a route to make some money. Most found out that it doesn’t work like that. Bloggers do not rush to buy such services, especially blog promotion services, fake reviews, and social media accounts that are built up to 5,000 followers before being offered for sale.

Do people actually buy Twitter Accounts, Instagram Accounts, or someone else’s blog? That was a new one for me, in a strange year.

Like some other bloggers, a little more time on my hands meant that I posted more. As well as fiction serials, I explored some more random stuff, and the popularity of those posts took me by surprise. I hardly posted photos during the past year. I lost the ‘muse’ for photography, along with any desire to read fiction. That surpised me, as I had been doing well with reading up to that point. But lack of concentration seemed to be one side effect of tthe pandemic that tended to overwhelm me at times.

2020 also saw an increase in followers, as new bloggers looked around for blogs to follow, and blogging communities to become part of. The other side of that coin was losing some regular followers that had been around for years. Maybe they stopped blogging, got fed up with following my particular blog, or just found a new hobby to pursue.

Some died during the past year, which was sad to hear. Others took extended breaks from blogging; whether through illness, lack of continued interest, or the pressures associated with dealing with familiy and work during a very difficult time. I hope some of them come back, I really do.

Once again, I would like to thank everyone who has stuck by my blog, during this unprecedented year in our lifetimes. All the followers and friends who have been around since the start, and those new followers who have thrown themselves into blogging, and become great members of our small community.

I thank each and every one of you for your comments, your likes, and your emails. Thanks for reading my very long serials, and my everyday stuff about walking a dog in all weathers.

In your own ways, you have got me through 2020. I doubt I could have done it without you.

Increased Views=Increased Spam?

Most days, I get anything from 30-40 Spam comments captured by WordPress and consigned to the Spam Folder. However on Monday, I had an an increase in the number of views on this blog after posting five rather random articles.

In that 24-hour period, I received over 800 views, which was very satisfying.

But on checking my Spam Folder, I found not the usual 30+ comments locked in there, but an unusually high 160!

So I have come to the conclusion that more views generate more Spam.

Enjoying A ‘Wallow’

beetleypete
The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

Maybe it’s the time of year, the dark afternoons, or just my age, I don’t know.

But for the last couple of days, I have been enjoying a nostalgic wallow in the early days of my blog. (Hence reposting one of my original ‘Significant Songs’.) Picking a header comment, photo, and theme. Never sure if you got the blog name right, or if anyone was ever going to read so much as one word that you wrote.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I got excited to receive as many as two comments on a post, and sometimes even six likes! I would return to my old computer and check on the progress of a post, just to see if anyone else had left a comment.

One of the sad things about revisiting those posts from the first eighteen months of blogging is seeing comments from former ‘regulars’ who just disappeared, or decided to stop blogging. I wish they were still around, and if any of them read this, I hope you are well.

Using the stats page to see which posts are being read is often a revelation. People have been reading posts that I had forgotten about, and in some cases don’t even remember writing. I love it when someone randomly reads very old stuff, as it reminds me of a time when I really didn’t have the first clue about blogging. (Before you tell me, I know I probably still haven’t)

FR (Fragglerocking) wisely counsels me to always look forward, and to never dwell in the past. But I can’t help myself, especially where my blog is concerned.

I am sure you all remember those tentative first steps. Checking your post over and over before hitting ‘Publish’, then wondering if anyone other than your best friend was ever going to bother to read it. The first time you were notified that you had a follower whose name you didn’t know, or received a comment from an experienced blogger who said something nice about your post.

Blogs needs to evolve to survive, and to remain interesting. But there is little to compare with that thrill of those early posts, and the feeling of dipping a toe into the vast ocean of communication and community known as Blogging.

So if you will forgive me, I am going back for another short wallow.