Is Blogging Writing?

Some people write very little on their blogs. Perhaps just captions above or under photos, a list of ingredients for a recipe, or a few lines of Haiku.

That’s fine. I say well done to all of them. Blogging should work for you, and be what you want it to be.

Others use their blogs to promote their published books. ‘Real writing’, by real writers.

Occasionally, a blogger will write 2,000-word posts about their predicament. That might be suffering from depression, the break-up of a relationship, or enduring a lifelong medical condition that affects them in many ways.

Good idea. Get it off your chest, connect with others in similar situations. Blogging as a form of communication.

Diary bloggers tell us about their week. What they did, where they went, who they met. That kind of thing. Travel bloggers do something similar, except that it is usually in an exotic or unusual location.

Then there are bloggers like me. Weather reports, dog-walking, nostalgia pieces. And fiction, a lot of fiction. Some of my long serials published as one story fall just short of the accepted length of a novel. But I don’t try to publish them as novels, and have little interest in doing so.

That begs the question. Am I a blogger, or a writer? Is blogging ‘Writing’, or something completely different?

Over to you.

Guest Posts and Book Promotions

I have now completed all the guest posts and book promotions I received via email. If your one did not appear, please let me know in the comments, and I will check.

For anyone who hasn’t sent me one yet, don’t forget that this offer is not time-limited, and I am always happy to present a guest post, or feature one of your books, even if you have been on my blog previously.

Use this email to contact me about anything you would like to promote.

Best wishes to everyone, and thanks to those of you who accepted my offer.

Book Promotion Offer From Me

With so many people beavering away writing and publishing books during the long period of lockdown, I thought it was about time to offer another promotional opportunity on this blog.

If you follow my blog or follow me on Twitter, and have a book to promote, you can publicise it here, completely free of charge, with no strings. I don’t even want a free copy, how about that? It will be viewed by a potentially large audience, as well as being shared on Twitter. The post will not be taken down later, so will always be on this blog.

Send me the details, including a photo of the book cover, to
Add full buying links, and a personal bio and photo if you want one to appear.
Either a synopsis or a blurb would help too of course.

You get full credit, and no editing of your promotional post. It will appear here as ‘Blogger’s Books: + your name’.

I have a great bunch of readers from all around the world, so if your book has been translated, or is in a foreign language, that doesn’t matter.

Bloggers love to read, and they like to buy books, or get free copies when available. They also review them, which is a great help to authors.

Each person sending me their book to promote will be featured separately, so no need to worry about being compared to anyone else. I don’t care what genre your book is in, but if it contains ‘Adult Content’, then please add that disclaimer. Only one book photo and one author photo per post please.

Off you go!

TO ALL BLOGGERS! Millions of WordPress accounts targeted in major cyberattack

An important message about hackers! Please read!


Hundreds of thousands ofWordPress websiteswere targeted over the course of 24 hours in a large scale cyberattack with the aim of harvesting database credentials.

The cybercriminals behind the attack were attempting to download the wp-config.php configuration files from users WordPress sites as they contain valuable information including database credentials, connection info, authentication unique keys and salts.

For more information, Check out this link NOW:

I have found a lot of messages asking me to click on a link to get more followers, you may have received some too, but don’t click on the links!

Make sure your passwords are strong and don’t post anything personal.

If you find any messages asking to click on a link, spam them right away and permanently bin them. If someone asks you for any personal info, don’t answer and spam them.

Stay safe everyone and share this post to alert…

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Poetry Exchange

Many of you enjoy writing or reading poetry, so this might be just the thing for you.

Felicity Harley has made me aware of this new idea from her and Karin Cordry, where everyone can share and exchange poetry that they have written, or poems that mean something to them.

If you would like to take part, just follow the instructions and links below.

Dear Friends and colleagues,
We’re starting a collective, constructive, and hopefully uplifting exchange. It’s a one-time thing and we hope you will participate. We have picked those we think would be willing and would make it fun.

Please send a poem to the person whose name is in position 1 below (even if you don’t know them), with the email subject Poem Exchange. It should be a favorite text/verse/meditation that has affected you in difficult times. Or not. Don’t agonize over it. If you’d like to send a poem in your own language and provide a translation, please do so!David Boule

Jill Alexander
Felicity Harley

After you’ve sent the short poem/verse/quote/etc. to the person in position 1, and only that person, copy this letter into a new email. Move the name in position 2 to position 1, and put your name in position 2. Only those two names should show in the new email. Send it to 20ish friends BCC (blind copy).

Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new pleasures. The turnaround is fast, as there are only two names on the list, and you only have to do it once. Stay safe and well!

7 Steps to a User-Friendly Blog

**Attention!** Bloggers old and new, check out these essential tips from Diana. Make your blog user friendly! Get more readers, more followers, and more interaction and involvement on your blog. You know it makes sense!

Myths of the Mirror

While I’m away, here’s an older but always a goodie, especially for new bloggers. Good luck!

This isn’t a new topic, but it seems worth a mention every now and then within the WordPress blog community. I love connecting with other bloggers and occasionally a website makes that hard if not impossible to do. Here are a few tips. 🙂

Definitely take a look at these if:

  • You are leaving likes, comments, or follows on other blogs and not getting return visits.
  • Everyone likes your old posts and seems to ignore your recent posts.
  • You’ve changed your blog address at any time (your gravatar may still be directing your readers to the old deleted site!)

1. Make sure your links to your site are working. Unfortunately, this isn’t handled in just one place:

  • In your blog profile: Go to WP Admin – Users – My Profile. At the bottom of…

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Featured Bloggers: Tony and Margie

I am happy to feature the blog of a Canadian couple driving around their country in a motorhome. Ths post includes recent experiences since the Covid-19 outbreak.

We just hit our sixties and will retire soon (moving target) so that we can travel more. In the meantime, we just travel whenever we can for as long as we can.

Follow us as we follow the road, and yes, the destination may or may not matter. We will share with you stories and tips on campervan travel; DIY fixes, hacks, life on the road, beautiful vistas, cooking in the van. We may also contemplate life in general.

Tony is a contractor/carpenter and Margie is a recovering archaeologist/manager, so we may come up with some surprise, off-topic articles as inspiration may hit us.

We’d love to hear your ideas, your experiences, and how you handled certain camper-vanning situations, so drop us a line!

We would love to share our latest post with you:

Coronavirus Diaries – People Watching

Our world is changing rapidly. Just when we thought we hit bottom, we observe in disbelief how life imitates art while we run the script of every post-apocalypse movie we’ve seen and search for parallels to our bizarre situation.

People watching
We like people watching, but in times of social distancing we can only people-watch online or from a safe distance in places such as the supermarket, which is pretty much the only outing we get.

The spectrum of reactions and behaviour patterns is fascinating; some are scared, some recklessly careless. Some are kind and thoughtful and some selfish and cruel.

Some are sharing posts and links to help others get through the isolation. Some are in their element—isolation is their middle name—while others still post negative stuff about, well, everything.

Yet others are digging their heels even deeper into conspiracy theories, denial, and rumor spreading. Is this how the ignorant masses self-medicate, or are the ones who follow new instructions are the ignorant ones? Is it easier for some people to deny and come up with alternative realities, or is it something more sinister?

Who will survive?

Other are being quiet. Maybe too quiet? Vulnerabilities can intensify during times like these and some of us may need extra help. How do you provide help and encouragement while keeping your distance and protecting both yourself and your loved ones?

Some are coming back from trips cut short, and others still leaving for new ones until the borders were shut for non-essential travel. and they no longer could.

Some were returning from Europe and other hot spots and going about their business as usual while freaking out everyone around them. Why are you not self-isolating?

The new heroes are supermarket clerks.

Our perspectives are slowly changing.

Some people are buying toilet paper yet others are buying ammunition. There is shortage of both for the time being.

Interesting. There are already reports of break-ins into cars to steal toilet paper and groceries.

A recent trip to the supermarket was like walking in zombieland. No one was making eye contact and except for a few forced smiles there was no interaction. Everyone was focusing on finding their goods before they are gone while trying to keep a good distance from potential infectors.

The broad spectrum of the human condition…the reality that across continents, religion, race, age, and gender some of us are kind, compassionate and are open minded, while some of us are selfish, cynical and prefer to bend the facts to suit their needs. Yet, some of us are somewhere in the middle—swaying in the wind.

Some people step up to the occasion and some stoop low.

Our reaction to the possibility of toilet paper shortage highlights the excess in our life. The overly stocked shelves and endless variety…dozens of kinds of everything for every possible occasion. Will this change once we go back to normal?

We are such a strange species.

So What we’ve been doing
We finished building the new bathroom in the basement and arranged the basement as our new travel destination. It’s pretty much as far as we travel nowadays. We may follow this blueprint and create an elaborate wine tour. I am not sure who created this image, but thanks for the inspiration, Linda!

Making good use of Duolingo and learning a new language. We have Chinese and French on the go and there are some strange sounds emitted every now and then in this house. We are not just grunting, we are practicing.

This is a great time to start a free university course on one of the many online platforms. I would recommend the Science of Wellbeing, which may be even more poignant, and perhaps even helpful during these times of uncertainty.

We are reading.

Instead of planning our next trip, we started planning a spring vegetable garden. Hey, you never know…remember those dystopian scenarios mentioned earlier?

Movies! We are so grateful for movies. We are currently binging on Jackie Chan and Jim Jarmusch movies. Interesting combination you say? We agree, but it works

We cook a lot.

And we walk in the forest.

Our language is changing. We started using words that were not in our vocabulary; words like hunker down, shelter in place, social distancing, self-isolation, and wash your hands are the new buzz words.

We are trying to guess what will be the word/phrase of the year. Right now we put our bets on social distancing. We are also trying to come up with Man of the Year. Up until the COVID-19 pandemic, we would have put our money on Nancy Polusi, but now? Maybe Dr. Li Wenliang?

We are overindulging with pictures of cute animals and watching Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hilarious videos with his menagerie. We will not apologize for it.

Tony’s visits to Home Depot are restricted to the absolute necessary ones and he has to make do with what he already has.

With an official State of Emergency, we may have several months of somewhat organized chaos ahead of us, so we’ll definitely get more creative and perhaps more practical. We’ll try to write about it since writing about our travels seems a bit irrelevant and trivial at the moment.

Maybe we’ll adjust our behaviour just a bit onceall of this is over. Maybe not.

One thing for sure, we will never be as funny as they can be in Wales!

So with this in mind, our last word of advice is step away from the bin!

We hope you are all coping. Let us know what you’re doing!

Here is a link to their blog. Why not check it out and see what else they have been doing.

Blogging, and Coronavirus

As this new dangerous virus sweeps around the world, one good thing about staying at home more is that we can all spare some time to keep blogging. Some bloggers live alone, and their online community is very important to them. In some cases, it might be the only regular human interaction they enjoy.

But even as we isolate, let’s not forget those less fortunate. Reach out to fellow bloggers, and find out of any of them live nearby. Near enough that you might be able to help them, if needed. Without physical contact, we can still help each other. Perhaps get some extra groceries, and drop them off outside. Payment is easy to arrange through Paypal, after all.

Or maybe we can all just try that little bit harder to read and comment on the posts of our friends in this wonderful WordPress community. Let them know someone is reading, listening, and thinking about them too.

As anyone who has been blogging for over a year will be aware, bloggers are essentially kind and caring people, with a great sense of community. Many of us regard our blogging friends as real genuine friends. We worry about them when they are absent, and get to know a great deal about them over the years of following and being followed.

Unlike those selfish panic-buyers and hoarders, we can show the world that bloggers are genuinely caring and supportive. Yes we have to make sure us and our families are safe. But once we have done that, spare some thought, and time, to keep in touch with our online friends too.

I send everyone my best wishes, and my hope that none of you fall victim to this pandemic.

Photo Prompt Story: The Perfect Holiday

This is a short story, in 1120 words.
It was prompted by the above photo, sent to me by Janet Gogerty.

It wasn’t often that their annual week away went so well. There hadn’t even been much traffic on the long drive down. And instead of wondering what they were going to do when it was raining, they had enjoyed the hottest summer since records began.

The owners liked to call it a holiday camp, but it was just forty large caravans in a field, with a camp shop, and a social club open in the evenings. The big attraction for them was that it was next to one of the largest and most beautiful beaches in the country. All you had to do was walk to the end of the site, and go down some steps. Once through the sand dunes, it spread out as far as the eye could see.

“Better than abroad”, Steve said. He said that every year.

The main thing was that they could afford it, and Steve and Julie didn’t care if they went to the same place every year, on the first week of the school summer holidays.

Julie looked around her, the happy smile had been on her face all week. Jane was lying on a towel, looking bored. Her big bug-eye sunglasses were all the rage, even if they looked stupid. She had been listening to her Walkman all week, which considering she only had three cassettes, was good going. But thirteen was an awkward age. Julie remembered how that felt. Just about.

Sally was chasing Steve with a crab shell she had found, and he was pretending to be terrified. He was a good Dad, and Sally was a Daddy’s girl. Six years old, and thought she was already grown up. Times were changing, and Julie wished her kids would stay kids for as long as possible.

She had promised the girls an ice cream sundae in that place along the main road. But it was such a lovely afternoon, she decided to wait a bit longer before packing up their stuff. Last day tomorrow, so make the most of the time left. She stretched out, feeling the warm sand under the towel, and Steve came back to sprawl out beside her. Sally tried to scare Jane with the crab shell, but she waved her hand away, still trying to behave with that cool attitude that she never managed to carry off. Leaning back, Jane looked up at the sun.

This really had been the perfect holiday.

Steve had been resting his head in her lap, and it was him turning over that woke Julie up. They couldn’t have been asleep very long, she thought. It was still bright sunshine, and very hot.

Jane was still listening to music with her headphones on, so Julie reached over and lifted them off her daughter’s head. “Where’s Sally?” The girl jerked a thumb, indicating the dunes. “Back there, playing near the steps”.

She wasn’t by the steps though.

Julie was up in a flash, spraying hot dry sand over Steve. Instinct told her something was wrong. Very wrong. Terribly wrong. She started running toward the steps, shouting her young daughter’s name “SALLY! SALLY!”

Her Dad ran straight into the sea, splashing past startled bathers as he also bellowed Sally’s name. Jane was sitting up now, and had taken her headphones off. She cupped her hands around her mouth, to amplify her voice. “Dad! Dad! She wasn’t in the water. She was near the steps”. His legs pumping like pistons, her Dad ran back past her, sand stuck to his feet in clumps, and his trunks saturated and dripping water.

When she heard the screams, it didn’t even occur to her that it was her Mum making that noise. She stood up and turned to look, seeing Mum at the top of the steps clutching one small red rubber beach shoe. It was the same as the ones that Sally had been wearing.

Everyone was very good, they had to admit that. The site manager phoned the police, and organised a search of all the caravans. Steve was still running along the coast when the police arrived. It was only a small seaside town, but they sent everyone they had, and called for more. The lifeboat crew launched too, searching right over into the small coves around the headland. A friendly policewoman tied to reassure Julie. “This happens all the time, love. I’m sure she will show up soon. Probably just walked off somewhere. Do you have a photo of her? A recent one?”

She wanted to scream at her, ask who would bring a recent photo on holiday. But then she remembered Steve’s Kodak, and handed it to her. “There will be some in here”.

It was almost sunset when her husband got back. His feet were in a shocking state, covered in dirt and blood. Julie looked at him and shook her head. She was still clutching the small red shoe.

Glaring at Jane, he walked over and grabbed her shoulders, starting to shake her without saying a word. The girl burst into tears, and Julie put her arm between them. “No, Steve. Leave it”.

The manager let them stay on for a few days, no charge. They put Sally’s photo on the front page of the local newspaper, and it was even shown on the evening news. Steve had hardly spoken since, and was out from before first light until it got dark. He must have walked every single inch of that coast, as far as the eye could see.

Over a hundred people had helped in the search. The police brought in dogs from around the county, and the air force supplied a helicopter from the search and rescue base. Julie knew they would have to go home eventually. They had telephoned both of their jobs, and received sympathy and understanding. They would have to go back to work, or the money would run out. Julie thought about staying there on her own, just in case Sally came back looking for her. But they both knew they couldn’t afford it.

None of them said a word on the way home.

A different company owned the site now. The metal caravans had been replaced by smart lodges. They had televisions, and nice decking areas to sit on. She came back every year, and on the same week too. At first, it had been the three of them. But Jane was married now, and the cancer had taken Steve almost four years ago. Not even bothering to unpack, Julie made the familiar walk across the site to where those same steps still led to the beach.

Then she sat on the top step, holding the red shoe.

Photo Prompt Story: Not for sale

This is a short story, in 1185 words.

It was prompted by this photo sent to me by Maggie.

As she was hanging the washing on the line, Rosa smiled at little Luis trying to chase Skipper. He loved that dog, but he wasn’t yet old enough to know that Skipper would always get the better of him. He was such a happy boy, and had been a wonderful baby too. Never any trouble. She knelt down and opened her arms. “Come on, little man. Time to go in and have breakfast”.

Emilio was walking to the car carrying his lunchbox. Luis spotted him and rushed over to receive his morning kiss. “Papi, papi, ¿cuándo estarás en casa?” Pepe smiled. “Speak English, my son. Don’t forget what Mah told you now.
I will be home this afternoon. Today is an early shift. Be a good boy now”.

When they were shopping in town that morning, Luis stopped by the window of the toy shop. The car was still there, right in the front. Although it looked nothing like their old station wagon, Luis would always say the same thing. “If I could have a car like that, I would be just like Papi”. He never asked her to buy it, and seemed to know instinctively that it was far too expensive.

Still, he always stopped and looked.

When their son was sleeping that evening, Rosa talked to Emilio about the car. “You could ask old Mr Drew if he does lay-away. Maybe have it paid for in time for his birthday. It would be good for him to have it before he starts school. What do you think?” Sipping the cold beer, he nodded. ” I could get extra shifts easy enough. It would mean two late evenings, and one Saturday a month, but it will only be until we have paid for the car”.

Three days later, Emilio gave Mr Drew ten dollars as a deposit, and shook hands on the deal. Then he helped the shopkeeper remove the car from the window. The old man was relieved. He had been wondering if anyone would ever buy it. The Martinez family were respectable people. He worked hard at the plant, and his wife took in washing. He knew they would pay him.

Rosa tried to steer her son away from the toy shop when they were next in town. He managed to pull away though. In front of the window, his face was a picture of dejection as he saw the space where the car had been. There was now a huge teddy bear in its place. Luis didn’t say a word, just slipped his hand back into his Mom’s comforting grasp.

His birthday was on a Monday, and Emilio would have to work. So they had the small celebration on the Sunday morning instead. When he saw the car, he made no noise. He was speechless. Turning to look at his grinning parents, Luis tried hard to take it all in. “For me? Really? It’s my car now?” Rosa fought back the tears as her husband lifted the little boy into the seat. He turned to smile at her, his brown eyes wide with delight. Then he started to pedal, with Emilio walking behind him.

He rode in his little car all that day, refusing to come in for lunch, and almost having to be dragged out of it to go in for dinner. It had been worth all the extra work, they both agreed.

Luis never tired of that car, and never once asked for any other toys. He drove it around the yard whenever he could, and they even took it with them in the back of the station wagon when they went to visit relatives, or to the picnic grounds by the river. Uncle Mano took a photo of him in it, and sent them a copy. Emilio got a frame for it, and it took pride of place in the little boy’s bedroom.

One day, Rosa noticed that he could no longer sit inside. He was getting too tall for it, and had taken to perching on the back, and leaning forward to grip the steering wheel. Although he had started school, he still asked her to get his car out every afternoon when he got home on the bus.
It was a little battered now. A few small crashes into the fence, and driving too close to the boundary rocks. The wing mirror had been broken off one day, and Emilio had never got around to fixing it.

By the end of that year, even Luis had to admit it was too small for him now. It was put away in the outhouse, covered by an old throw.

They had never heard of Vietnam when it started to make the news. Emilio went to get the encyclopedia, and they looked it up. It seemed so far away, so exotic. Rosa couldn’t imagine why the government was sending soldiers all that way to fight for another country. Emilio reminded her that it had happened before. “Don’t forget France, Rosita. We sent soldiers to France twice. And there was Korea too”.

It had been agreed that Luis would get a start at the plant. His Dad had arranged it with the foreman, and they could travel in together in the station wagon. It was very old now, but still reliable, and Luis had been driving it around the property for over a year.

When the draft papers came, they tried to act positive. “It’s a good thing, Luis. You will serve your country, see something of the world”. When they drove him to the bus, they managed to stay smiling until it left.

Then they cried all the way home.

Father Montoya was with the smart soldier when the car drove up outside. Rosa knew what that meant, and began to make a strange noise in her throat as Emilio wrapped his arm around her. But her legs gave way, and she was sobbing on her knees before the priest got to the porch.

Her husband was never the same after that. He looked up Da Nang in the encyclopedia, and bought every newspaper sold in town. One day, he went and got the old pedal car from storage, and cleaned it up until it looked just as it had the day Luis could no longer drive it. He put it in their son’s bedroom, and would sit in there looking at it. There was no consoling him, and the sadness changed both their lives forever.

Living out there on her own wasn’t working for Rosa any longer. Her son was buried in some place she would never see, and her husband in a cheap plot in the town cemetery. The moving men were friendly, and appreciated the cold drinks offered by the quiet elderly lady. One of them pointed at the car. “Is this going in the truck, Ma’am?” She nodded. “And please be careful with it”. He smiled. “I have a boy just about the right age for that old car. How much would you take for it?” She was already shaking her head.

“It’s not for sale”.