Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Technophobes Beware!

 This weeks post...by Jaye Marie

When I started blogging in 2012 to promote our books, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Not for me, anyway. They made it sound easy. Just choose one, click here and there, and you’re up and running.
To start with, choosing which one to go with was not that easy. I wanted our blog to look amazing, be simple to use and not cost anything.

I tried a few before I got to Blogger, the one run by Google. Most of them said they were easy, and they probably are for most people, but my little brain seems to have a glitch.
I have always had this glitch. People will try to explain things to me, but there will always be at least one little detail, that if I understood it, would make the whole thing make sense of all the others. Sometimes, after many attempts, the penny will drop. Now and again, it will refuse and I will have to give up.

Fortunately, I did succeed in setting up our first blog. After many false starts and dummy runs, several layout changes and mucking about in general, we had ourselves a reasonably attractive website. Domain and all.  I thought that was all I had to do. I posted regularly, but they were short and amateur. No images, and precious little imagination.
Well, in my defence, I was learning.

Now, some kind of communication is important for people like me, and before long, I realised that Blogger does not have the capability to answer any of my questions. You had to post your question to a forum and hope someone just like me had run up against the same problem and knew how to put it right.

This brings me to my other problem. Whenever I do ask for help, the answers are usually so technical they mean nothing to me.
Just lately, much has been said about the importance of your email list. Now, because there was a subscribe button on our blog, I mistakenly thought we had the makings of one. But I don’t think I do.
The one that comes with the Blogger package is something called Feedburner, but as far as I can tell, it doesn’t do anything at all. There is no list, no information and no analytics. At this point, I wanted to run screaming and hide under the stairs. But, because I’m stubborn and want to succeed, I looked around for an alternative.
Mailchimp or Eweber were recommended most strongly as being, wait for it… simple to use…blah, blah.

I spent an entire afternoon with Mailchimp, shredding my nerves and any patience I had left, and got precisely nowhere. To be fair, it all went well, until I tried to import any lists I might have had already. They found none. More than two years of blogging and not one name.
That was when I think Mailchimp went off me. I tried to move on, as they said building a list was easy. All I had to do was copy and paste this code into my blog to install the subscribe button. You could then run a campaign to attract more subscribers. You know, free books and stuff. Sounded great, but when I tried to set this up, it refused, saying that I had no list to send campaign to. Duh?
 That was when I gave up; resigned to the fact I had probably gone as far as I could with my limited patience and brain capacity.
Same old story really. Close, but no cigar.

sometimes I feel like this...

Now, I say I have given up, that the blog will have to do as is, but I know I will probably have another go, just to see if I can make it work. This is how I have ever gotten anywhere, but boy it gets me down sometimes.
I should just retire for real and get out my knitting, but I know I’m not quite ready for that yet.

Well, not all the time anyway...

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Review for "Glenn Hates Books. vol.1"

Once you get over the shock of the authors earthy vernacular, this book is a veritable riot. Everything you have ever wanted to say about all manner of books is right here.

At times, I laughed aloud, and this takes some doing, being remarkably jaded in my old age. Sometimes I disagreed with the author, having read the book in question myself, but overall it was unanimous.

Something that did surprise me though, was the length of most of the reviews. Most people these days only say a few words, but not this fine gentleman. He gives each book a thorough, lengthy and honest review, which I really admired.

Scathingly honest, this author will sniff out everything that is bad about a book and say it loud. He seems to have single handedly cornered the market in unreadable books. Where on earth did he find them all?
It was really quite amazing just how many books the author has found that didn’t match up to his specific criteria. I have been reading for over sixty years, and my list of bad books is nowhere near as long. And because he does it so well, I had to wonder, maybe he likes reviewing badly written books?

One star book reviews

Glenn Conley
Not much here that appealed to me, but I quite liked the sound of The Influence: by Bentley Little. Nothing really wrong with it that a little judicious editing wouldn’t cure.
I thought it a shame that Iain Banks was included in this list, although to be fair, it wasn’t one of his best...

Two star book reviews

Nothing I liked in this list at all, they were all pretty bad, sorry to say.

Three star book reviews

Halfway through this book and the lists of reviews, I began to wonder if Glenn Conley would like any book, really like them, as he was coming across as a man who is not easily pleased.

However, I was surprised…

My favourite book of 2014 made this list. Gone Girl: by Gillian Flynn. I enjoyed this book immensely, although I will admit to feeling cheated with the ending, although I don’t really think it could have been written any differently. I think that was the only reason Glenn included it here.
Every Day: by David Levithan, was a refreshingly interesting fantasy with some very clever twists.
The Cult of Me: by Michael Brookes should be worth reading, from what was said about it.
Dan Brown was in this list too, with Inferno.  And this I totally disagreed with. I know it was a bit like some of his others, but it really made me think seriously about solving the world’s overpopulation problem; and what our politicians and scientists might be planning to do about it.

Several of the books in this category were ones he almost liked. Can’t wait to get to the four star ones.

Four star book reviews

The Giver: by Lois Lowry has just leapt onto my TR list. Glenn likes it too, for like me, the author has a thing for villains.
Woken Furies: by Richard K. Morgan. An interesting sci-fi book with immortal characters, and one hell of a twist.
The Game: by Terry Scott. This one also made my TR list. A virtual reality story, a lot like Blade Runner, but could be okay.
The Water Travellers: by Daniel Waltz.  All about interplanetary travellers, people who can travel from one planet to another through water portals. Different.

By the time I was two thirds into this book, I was dying to know if any books had made it into the final, coveted five star list. I mean, the author openly states that he hates books, and what I had already read really emphasised this.

Five star book reviews

But lo and behold, there were as many books in this section as in the others.

In the After: by Demetria Lunetta. An alien invasion story. Glenn really liked this one, all of it.

In The End: by Demetria Lunetta.  Glenn thought this one was even better than the first.

The Other Normals: by Ned Vizzini. I was surprised to find this book listed here, I mean, it’s a romance.  Who knew? Apparently, Glenn stayed up all night to finish it.

The Breach: by Patrick Lee. This one was compelling and unique, and Glenn loved it because he couldn’t predict anything. Recommended highly.


I was pleased Glenn had found some he liked, for I love books. Rarely do I find one I cannot read, as there is usually some redeeming feature.

Made me wonder what he would make of one of mine?


Friday, 20 March 2015

We Have Been Nominated!

The Versatile Blogger Award
by anita and jaye dawes

We have just been nominated as versatile bloggers by our friend and fellow author, AilsaAbraham, and are tickled pink!
Also very pleased that our humble blog should have received this accolade, and if it raises awareness of the joys of blogging, so much the better.
We have always tried to keep our content interesting, so we are delighted to play it forward and nominate other bloggers that we have found to be a constant source of inspiration.

So, here goes.
1.      We have to write a post and link back to the blogger who nominated us.
2.      Display the logo. (that’s the easy bit, just cut and paste)
3.      Post six interesting things about us. (should have been seven, but… )
4.      Nominate up to fifteen other bloggers (and why we nominated them)
5.      Inform them all of their nomination.

Seven reasonably interesting things about us…

1.      Stubborn 
We are both as stubborn as mules. Our brainstorming sessions should be televised, as they are always hilarious. I don’t really understand how we ever get any writing done! Same thing happens if we have to shop for anything other than food. Choosing anything, from curtains to wallpaper is sure to result in fireworks, as we can never agree on anything.
2.      Technophobes
Considering what we do every day, neither of us likes computers. Anita refuses to touch ours, whereas I might beat mine to death with a brick one of these days. They are definitely sent by the Devil to drive us all mad.
3.      Enterprising
Between us, we must have had a go at most things in our time. From Interior design, (painting and decorating!) Upholstery, Wedding dresses and cakes, to craftwork of every description. We have run several successful businesses at the same time as raising six children and two grandchildren between us.
4.      Passionate
My passions include ancient myths and legends, Arthurian, Greek, and Roman Gods, and anything esoteric. Jaye is a nature freak and would live out of doors if she could, preferably by the sea. She also loves to draw, paint and grow bonsai, and actually has one that is older than she is.
5.      Intrepid
In our youth, we travelled all over England, exploring the countryside and as many places of interest as possible. Old churches and graveyards, ancient monuments and pagan sites. Complete with all the kids and a dog or two.
6.      Magical
Many years ago, we were both involved in the paranormal. We were thrown out of a magic circle for being better at it than they were.  They were actually scared!  Jaye was a medium for a while, but unfortunately, life and circumstance have chosen a different path for us. It is never far away, though.

We nominate:

And finally yet importantly, the first friend we made when we first started blogging, always so helpful and encouraging. (and she lives on a boat!) Valerie Poore.