Category Archives: blogging

whither shall we goest from here, mes amis?

No, I have not abandoned my lovely blog. But I’m starting to feel the need to revamp.

I’ve blogged here with varying degrees of enthusiasm since 2008. That’s over 5 years, my dear, sweet readers.

So it’s time to redesign, refocus and reverberate. I’m going to mess around with design and style for the next few months, and think about the direction to take with this platform.




being online safely

I can’t go through the rest of the day without having my brief say. Just to get it off my chest.

Adorable agent, @BookaliciousPam was assaulted last night by a rejected…writer.

You heard me right.

Pam was saved by her dog, a Jack Russel terrier. (Let’s not malign the accompanying bulldog. From what I can gather, it is still a puppy.)

And now comes the hand-wringing about being too available on Social Media. Like we should all hide behind fake names and put masks on our profile pictures a la Michael Jackson.

Let’s reel it in a bit.

Writers, agents, publishers…we are in a public business. And in this day of personal advertising, almost every profession is a public business. We have to accept a certain amount of “being out there”.

Heck. I started out as a lurker. But soon enough, I wanted to connect with people. I wanted them to know who I really am. Fine, I usually have a stupid non-photo Twitter Avatar up that I change pretty often. It amuses me. But if you go to one of my THREE BLOGS you will find a photo or two of my actual person. And my Tumblrs should have Gravatars of actual me, but at this point, I can’t swear to it.

You know where I generally live if you follow my blog and Twitter. But what you DON’T know is my exact address and phone number, because…

  • I don’t call my husband by his real name in my writings. Anywhere. Or my children. I don’t publish pictures of them unless their faces are blobbed out.
  • I have paid the extra bit of filthy lucre for my domain name on my website for teens,, to be registered by proxy, which means my personal info such as my street address is not public information. Yes. I didn’t know about this stuff when I first bought my domain. Imagine my shock when I found out that people can look up any domain name and see who owns it. Yeah, fine. But they also see where the domain owner  lives. ACK.  **Check your public domain name info here.** Just have your company register it by proxy–GoDaddy does it on the cheap. Other companies can do it for you as well.
  • FourSquare. Oh, FourSquare. You give handy discounts, but you also tell people where the eff I am. Guess what. YOU CAN TURN OFF THE PART WHERE IT TWEETS WHERE YOU ARE. I still don’t use it, but Freckles does, and I TOLD HER TO TURN OFF THE PART WHERE IT TWEETS WHERE YOU ARE.
  • Facebook I only use for people I actually know. And I have locked it down like Alcatraz. Keep checking it, my friend, to make sure you have your Book of Face tuned correctly on the privacy settings. They keep a’changing. I am always stunned by how people lock a select few things, but miss others. A good snooper, such as myself, can go in the back door and find out a lot of stuff if you don’t check. Every. Setting.
  • And by all that is holy, if you leave an empty house, don’t Tweet vacation pictures. I Tweeted the hell out of my trip to Albuquerque when I took Freckles McYoungest to college. But Big Bopper was home, in our house, with Hairy Beast. Also, Catler, who is probably even more ferocious.

Do not take any of this as a finger-wagging at Pam van Hylckama Vlieg. If someone is crazed, they will hunt you down and it will make no difference what you do to stop them. There are police blotters full of violent stalkers who focused on people NOT on the internet, even people who never had any social interaction with their stalkers at all.

Pam did not bring this on herself. Pam is not responsible for the violence done to her.

This blog is in response to the worry I see on Twitter today about exposing ourselves in our social media interactions. I thought I would share a few things I do to not make it easy for your average nut to harass me and mine.

11 firefox add-ons to make your life easier

Hey everybody! I missed you SO MUCH!

Like you all, we have dealt with upheavals galore around here. But now I’m finally down to the last five chapters on ye olde revisionne.

I thought I’d sidetrack today and talk about something I’d never paid much attention to until lately:


There are plenty of browsers to choose from. (What’s a browser? It’s the thing you travel around teh intrawebs on: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc.) Many add-ons are designed to work on all platforms, some are only developed for one. You’ll have to check with the browser you’re driving. Today I’ll talk about some add-ons I’ve found useful for Firefox.

Click on “Tools”, then “Add-ons”.

You’ll go to a page jam-packed with tiny programs to add to your browser. Some are worthless and will drive you nutz. Some will make your life worth living. Read what the tiny add-on program is supposed to do, then read what the reviewers have to say. Pay attention to the date of the review, because the add-ons don’t always keep pace with the browser updates.

And now I present…


  1. Adblock Plus–Yes. You want to block those malware ads and pop ups, automatically. Yes. You do. I’ve had this a long time, and it has not let me down.
  2. Ghostery–Just downloaded this one a few days ago and it’s remarkable. I theoretically knew that there were data collectors out there, but son of a gun. This app shows you the ad networks, behavioral data collectors and web analytic providers on each page you visit. These puppies FOLLOW YOU AROUND THE INTILWEBBS and report to their masters about your habits. CREEPAZOID. But with Ghostery you can block them. I LOVE IT.
  3. Newssitter-News Sidebar and News Ticker–It’s a–uh–sidebar. You choose the news feeds you want in it. And it kind of…ticks. Choices range from Facebook to the New York Times. I believe we can apply the word “eclectic” here, and be safe. Collapsible.
  4. Forecastfox–Weather strip, sits up on the top right of your screen. Customizable, several days’ forecast at a glance, radar, moon phase, all kinds of stuff. From AccuWeather.
  5. RSS Icon in url bar–I get tired of looking for the RSS feed icon on blogs, don’t you? Put one in your url bar and you can subscribe to blogs right from there.
  6. Lightshot (screenshot tool)–Easier than looking for the Prnt Scrn button and opening Paint and…oh what a PAIN. Just click your little icon that floats on your bottom bar, then you can choose however much of the page you wish, to screenshoot. Then save to whatever folder you want, or email, or send directly to your printer. Very nifty.
  7. Share This–Gad, I use this so many times a day. It’s a green button sitting in my url bar. When I want to share an article to ANYWHERE I can do it through Share This. (What’s Corkboard? What’s Nujij?) Mostly I email links, but if you want to Tweet, Tumblr, Yammer, Yigg or Xerpi, then here’s your conduit.
  8. Pocket–Used to be called “Read It Later”. Another add-on I can’t do without. See something you want to read later, toggle the button and it’s archived. Beautiful layout, you can tag your pages to organize them in folders.
  9. TinyUrl Generator–I fell upon my knees when I found this and gave thanks to my Creator. I crank out an informational newsletter for the Kansas SCBWI every week with lots of links, and some of the urls are really. Really. Long. But tick this little icon and when it’s done spinning, you have a tidy little url that anyone would be proud of. Happy happy joy joy.
  10. Internote–Only been working with this a few days, but it’s funky. You can stick virtual post-it notes on web pages, and they’re still there when you go back later. Huh. And you’re the only one who sees it.
  11. Joliprint–This last one is not available through the Firefox browser . Get the bookmarklet here and stick it in a toolbar. Joliprint converts an article into a PDF. You can collect numerous articles all day into a PDF to read that evening, if you want. When you’re ready, download the PDF, post it in Google docs or send it to your email. A handy aggregator when researching.

Now I have let you in on all my little tricks of the trade. Anybody else got an add-on they love?

There’s one in every crowd.

major award!!!! 12 days of christmas





Thank you to all my new followers. You’ll find I don’t overwhelm you with daily posts. Who’s got the stamina?

You’re all in the will. Whatever that’s worth.



on the third day of christmas…


I was going to make a whole new blog post for the THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS with GIFS! HISTORICAL FACTS! AMAZING ALLUSIONS!

But then there was this party last night, and well, it’s raining.

And I had to get a haircut.

So you’ll have to make do with these fantastic additions to the swag bag:

  • Stupendous Stretchy Book Cover to keep nosey nancys out of your business on the subway.
  • Journal for your wild musings.
  • StickyMarkers to keep track of the Pithy Thoughts you want to go back to in the Creativity Shake-It-Up Pack.
  • Traveling Candle to light your fire, wherever you are.
  • Sculpty-moldy-bead stuff, to help free you mind.
  • And a plucked-chicken key chain that lays an egg. OF CREATIVITY.

Don’t forget the original cornucopia of Creative Goodness:


To enter my contest is super uncomplicated, as I only have so much space left in my brain:

  1. SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG–please leave a comment telling me so!
  2. FOLLOW ME ON THE TWITTERS–please @me, telling me so! Use #12DOC
  3. If you already subscribe and follow me, you’d think I’d be satisfied, but NO! I want more! Tweet about this contest or blog about it and let me know.

Be sure to enter all the other blogses contests. YOU WON’T BELIEVE THE FABULOUS PRIZES.


The prize awarding begins December 13th.




12 days of christmas giveaway and bloghop–enter soon, and often

I’m part of a 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway and Blog Hop, organized by the lurvly Sarah Belliston.


oh good lord. talk about the blind leading the blind, because THIS:

Lisha Cauthen

Good likeness, don’t you think?

Yes. Visit Sarah’s page and you will see that I am the proud representative of THREE FRENCH HENS.

TWELVE, COUNT ‘EM, TWELVE writers/bloggers/good eggs are giving away GIFTS UNTO YOU.

Just because we’re wonderful. And because Sarah Belliston organized us. So. Visit all 12 of us and read our blogs and love us and squeeze us and enter our little contests for a chance to win FAB SWAG.

You have from today until December 12th to enter on each blog, so go here for a list of partipants:


Then, beginning December 13th on up to Christmas, a prize a day will be given away. (I love it when I rhyme.)


The Creativity Shake-It-Up Pack

A. The perennial favorite, The Artist’s Way by Jill Cameron

B. The outside of the boxish, A Creative Companion by Sark

C. And the pick-and-choose, Inspired Creative Writing by Alexander Gordon Smith

Throw in assorted bookmarks and other sundry gee-gaws I will add by December 3rd. Yes, I am that kind of person–a moving target.

While I ponder my Frenchly, Chickenly post for December 3rd, you guys get busy and enter the contest. HERE’S HOW:

  1. SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG–please leave a comment telling me so!
  2. FOLLOW ME ON THE TWITTERS–please @me, telling me so! Use #12DOC
  3. If you already subscribe and follow me, geez. Let’s go steady! I mean, tweet about this contest or blog about it and let me know.

I love you all madly.

a tale of two twitties

Yes, read that blog title carefully.

I had the strange need to voice my concerns (start a shit storm) about two different companies on Twitter these past few days: First Watch Restaurant and Dell Computers. Let’s compare and contrast the responses I got from these hive minds, shall we?

The lovely @CarmenNodar joined @JennBailey, @HTBeers, @susanuhlig and me at lunch on Tuesday. THIS IS A HAPPENING, BABY.

Carmen never comes to lunch with us. She usually eats healthy cost-effective food from home while the rest of us go nuts at various eating establishments.So we were super-duper thrilled she was coming with us to…First Watch. And oh, how convivial we were around the table.

Until the potatoes came.

The new, crappy potatoes.

They are mushy. And tasteless. And just. Blech.

The old-recipe potatoes are one of the top reasons we go to this particular restaurant. So when we got back got to the coffee shop, I repeatedly tweeted our displeasure of the NEW POTATOES to the @First_Watch twitter account.

Still waiting for a response.


This morning I went to the Dell website to read the FAQs for some help on a battery charging problem with my laptop. When I couldn’t find a solution, I took to their chat. When I was VERY FRUSTRATED with their level of help, I started tweeting derisively.

IMMEDIATELY, two Dell representatives asked to assist me. I chose one. She stayed with me on Twitter DM until we found the problem. It took quite awhile. QUITE AWHILE. But she was patient and encouraging and stuck with it. She is shipping me an ac adapter toot sweet.

That is what Twitter is for–a two-way conversation. My customer service rep is obviously Indian, and conversing on Twitter made it SO MUCH easier for both of us, as our accents didn’t get in the way.

So I am commending @ShibaniAtDell for her supreme professionalism and knowledge. I will definitely update you guys on the outcome of this whole she-bang, but I hope this turns out well.

Because honest. I have really, really loved my laptop.

spiffin’ the blog

Been doing a little spiffin’ up around here. You might notice the new “Name Your Poison” feature, where you can find posts by category.

And the “Well, There’s This…” doohickey. That’s where I plan to stash strange gifs I find floating around the intrawebs.

Also, scroll down on the right, there, and meet Bubba. You can toss the ball, feed him delish tidbits, double click to make him sit or lie down, throw him a bone or even scratch him. Best virtual dog I ever had. Not sure how long I’ll keep him around. Enjoy him while he lasts.

Why all the incredibly complicated high-tech changes?


zomygod it’s over

So I did it. Blogged every day for a full month.

Pretty much.

What did I learn?

  1. I can really whip out some make-do stuff when necessary. Just like in high school.
  2. Blogging at night suits me better–want to save my best brain cells for my WIP.
  3. Challenges are fun.
  4. My choicest blog posts happen when I’m fired up about something.
  5. My blog traffic did indeed go up when I posted every day.
  6. I can’t commit to posting every day.

The truth is, I’ve got a life to live, people!

But: compromise.

In May, I will post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week.

Let’s see how that puppy will fly.


…I missed a blog post.

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