The Danger Of Dirty Links

I was under the mistaken impression that my Bit.Ly links were “clean,” but apparently that isn’t so. Take a look at this post, and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve fixed mine now, and recommend you do so as well, if you’ve been using Bit.Ly or another similar method. This is a good one to share, too, if you would. Thanks!


With all the attention given among the Indie community to the removal of book reviews by Amazon, I’m amazed at the number of authors who still post dirty links to their books on social media. This is a rookie-level mistake that can actually do more harm than good. 

A dirty link helps the algorithm at Amazon to determine if there are connections between author and reader that might suggest collusion or partiality.. Even if a review is from a verified purchase, a simple connection via a shared link can be enough to make them suspect that it’s not unbiased or from an unrelated party.

If the link used by multiple customers can be traced directly back to the author, that’s one of the reasons they will start flagging and eventually removing reviews. 

The simple solution is to ensure your links are clean before you post them.

A dirty link occurs…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round up – Waterford Castle, Romance, Great Food, Music and a few Laffs.

If your week has been like mine, and you’d like to catch up a bit, here’s Sally’s wonderful Weekly Roundup post from her Smorgasbord blog! It’s crammed full of good stuff! Check it out, and remember to pass it along, if you would. Thanks!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the weekly round up and I have been off on a jaunt this week. As a birthday treat we went down to Waterford, which is David’s home town for a couple of days and stayed at the Waterford Castle Hotel on its own private Island.

You reach the island by a chain link ferry which only takes two minutes and runs every 15 minutes during the day and 30 minutes at night. We had a suite overlooking the magnificent gardens and all the rooms have wonderful features introduced over the long history of the castle. Such as this fireplace with a Wedgewood insert.

History of Wateford Castle

Throughout the centuries, the Island’s strategic location, in a pivotal position near Waterford City, brought it historical fame playing a major role in the history of the region.

From the 6th century settlement of Monks to the Vikings in the 9th…

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Admitting Denial


DzdgFAeXcAAiTMq.pngIt’s funny because it’s true. If you agree it’s because you know.

If we were to talk about the elephant on the page, what color would it be? The funny truth so succinctly portrayed is that writing is a consuming obsession.

The man in the picture may have at least two obsessions, two powerful habits that impact his life and perhaps those around him, but why is it that only one of them is generally acknowledged as a bad habit? Only one of his habits has a tried and true twelve-step program that has been adapted and adopted by other quitters of other bad habits and depravities. Yes, he can find support and counseling for his addiction to alcohol and even his compulsive gambling. But his compulsive writing? All bets are off.

His inclination, (he might say destiny) is to seek other writers, (some might say enablers). Unlike the group…

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Today marks 33 years since Mark and I got married, on a little bridge that arched over the Wekiva River. We’d spent four years hiking, camping, and canoeing on that river and others in central Florida, so to us, it was the perfect place to share our marriage vows. 

I can still see the crystal clear, turquoise water from the springs flowing under the bridge, while a red-shouldered hawk made lazy circles across a blue silk sky above us. A mossy, green-backed turtle paddled by below, and the day couldn’t have been more perfect for an outdoor celebration. And guess what? We’re still chugging along after all these years, not quite as spry or flexible as we once were, but enjoying the ride, regardless.

Yes, we still love the river and woods, though we haven’t hiked  into the wilderness to camp lately. These days, we cruise the St. Johns River from the shaded comfort of an eco tour boat, instead of a canoe, but it’s just as beautiful as ever, and a lot easier on our backs. 

Mark stayed home from work today so we can spend the afternoon browsing antique stores–or whatever else strikes our fancy.  Yeah, we’re “old fogies” now, as my grandmother would have said, but we’re doing just fine overall, loving life and each other as much as ever. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Still Playing on #BookBrush

I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on writing today for all sorts of reasons, so I’ve been taking breaks to play on BookBrush again. As you can see, I made a new header (even though I don’t normally promote my books from there), and learned that the black borders on the theme I use make it difficult to get all the pieces in the right place. Still, I think I’ll leave it up for a day or so,just because.  The header for my writer FaceBook page fit much better.

Then I decided to show my last full-length novel some love and use the BookBrush project template sized for Tweets to make the above ad.  That one worked perfectly. In another couple of days, I think I will have mastered this site and will be searching for perfect images to use for each ad. But when I’m done, I’ll have a folder full to start with in various sizes and styles. And I promise not to spend the next three weeks sharing all of them with you. 😀 Still, for those who may have missed yesterday’s posts, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to give you the link one more time.



Tried Another #BookBrush Ad

An ad for my ebook novella, The Emissary, made
in just minutes!

I had about ten minutes to spare before I needed to head out to see the doctor, so I put together another very quick ad. This program/site is sort of amazing, if you ask me. When I have time to really hunt for some great images, and think about what I want to include, I believe it will do the job perfectly!

If you think I’m loving BookBrush, you’d be right. Oh, and I found out I can simply create 3-D books, even without setting them up as an ad. Whoa! I made a few like these  for my book of poetry, in less than 5 minutes.  I’m sold!


Creating Eye-catching Ads for Your Books

In my quest to conquer online marketing this year, I’ve been looking for ways to create easy, FAST images for various platforms–BookBub, BookGorilla & the like, Facebook Ads, Twitter posts, headers for various sites, etc. With the thought in mind that some of you might like easier ways to do this, too, I am sharing my latest find. Here is an article about creating perfect BookBub ads, with links to a great online site called BookBrush. It’s affordable, easy, and best of all, FAST to create nice looking designs with 3-D images of your book covers (using their selection of templates).

How To Create Eye-Catching BookBub Ads

Now, I’ve done a lot of graphics over the years using PaintShopPro (a more affordable “version” of PhotoShop), but even though I’m very familiar with it, BookBrush is worth using just for the terrific selection of templates available. You can upload your cover image, choose a 3-D book, Kindle, or iPhone template, and voila! They’ve done the hard stuff. You can use your own background, including the cover of your book, or choose from a selection of theirs. AND they have templates for complete designs, too, ready for you to add your cover image, tweak their background a wee bit, and add your own text. All I had to with the template above was add my .jpg to both 3-D graphics, tone down their background to a more neutral shade of gray, and add my own text. It took me less than ten minutes.

Now, I haven’t yet found a way to save the result as a .jpg on their site, but if I save the image to my computer as a .png, I can open it up in my own program, merge the raster layers into one, and save as a .jpg from there. Another 60 seconds or so. I can also add frames or borders at that point, if I wish. But even left completely plain, the resulting image looks pretty good, and I’ve only BEGUN to play with options.

For me, those 3-D book images are GOLD! They are surprisingly annoying to create from scratch, so for that alone, I think I’ll be using BookBrush a lot.

The link to the BookBub article also contains the link to BookBrush, too. Hope some of you find this as useful as I think I will.

BTW, the above was my second creation, and I used their templates all the way. The one below was my first, using my own uploads, etc.  It took me about a half hour, being totally unfamiliar with the program, and that wasn’t bad, but I suspect I’ll often use their templates, because you don’t need to reinvent the wheel EVERY time, right?

And here is a framed out version of the first ad, for times when that might help it stand out more.

#Events Update #EnterpriseMuseum – Backyard Birds Part 1

I’m still here, honest! Had company last week, and a luncheon/tea to host this past Saturday, and a brand-new presentation on backyard birds to prepare for this coming Saturday. (Some days I have to wonder, when am I supposed to WRITE?)

At any rate, I wanted to share this event update with you, in case some of you local folks might want to come. I’m continuing my Central Florida’s Fabulous Wildlife series with a three-parter on Backyard Birds. I get asked about birds people see around their yards all the time, and decided this would be a fun “mini-series” to do. Part 1 is entitled “The Usual Suspects,” and features cardinals, bluejays, titmice, and the more common feeder visitors. Loads of good photos, help with identifying a few you might not know, and tidbits to share on feeding & nesting habits. I’ll be presenting this on Saturday (2/16) at Enterprise Museum, 1:00pm, and it’s FREE, no reservations required. Come on by, if you can.

On March 9, same time & place, I’ll be presenting Backyard Birds Part 2, entitled “The Tricky Ones.”  (Tricky in the sense that they are harder to spot, less common, or only seen during spring and fall migrations.

And on March 23, also same time & location, I’ll be presenting Backyard Birds, Part 3, Attracting Birds to Your Yard. This one will focus on various feeder types ( and which birds prefer which kinds), water sources (including bird baths, small ponds, and fountains), and landscaping to provide cover and additional food sources (berries, nectar plants, and seeds).

I know most of you don’t live here in Central Florida, but for those who do, just know it would MAKE my day to see some of you there this Saturday! 🙂 And if you can help me get the word out, I’d greatly appreciate it.

THANKS, you wonderful folks. I’ll do my best to be much more visible around here this week, I promise!

PS: Bet you’ve never seen a cardinal that looks like THIS! If you’d like to
learn more about him, come on by Enterprise Museum this Saturday. 

Backyard Birds Part 1: The Usual Suspects
Saturday, Feb 16, 1:00pm
Enterprise Museum, 360 Main St, Enterprise FL, 32725
(386) 259-5900


Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links

Don’t miss out on Staci Troilo’s latest Author Inspiration & This Week’s Writing Links post. Some of the best, yet! The one on creating an effective Book Bub ad caught my eye right away. Check it out, and pass it along! Thanks. (And thanks, Staci! Another great recap!)

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! As I write this, I’m waiting for my coffee to finish brewing. That means I’m once again in need of caffeine. But as I wait, I want to share a bit about my writing week.

I think I mentioned that I’m currently writing a sci-fi series. If I didn’t, sorry. Now you know. (They say the memory is the second thing to go.) I’ve written short sci-fi but never a novel, let alone a series. So far, it’s been interesting. I’m using an outline (of course I am) but I’ve veered from it more than ever before. Things keep coming to me to enrich the story, and I have to weave those threads in. It’s kind of freeing, but it’s also kind of terrifying to leave my outline as much as I have been.

Which brings me to Isaac Asimov’s quote, which really felt appropriate to me this week:

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3 Apostrophe Rules You Need!

Here’s a terrific post on when and how to use apostrophes–one of the best I’ve read. Check it out, and perhaps bookmark it for future reference. And don’t forget to share, thanks! (Thanks also to Virginia S. Anderson for posting this on Just Can’t Help Writing. Very helpful, indeed!)

Just Can't Help Writing

One of those dastardly little conundrums of self-editing is the apostrophe.

The five basic comma rules

Our writing center at the institution where I taught had a handout titled “Rogue Apostrophes,” in recognition of the way these nasty squiggles had a way of popping up here and there in student papers, wherever the mood seemed to strike them.

””””””’ !

As with many punctuation marks, misplaced apostrophes don’t always get in the way of a reader’s understanding. But they can. When readers encounter something that looks as if it was a possessive but turns out not to be, they’ll mentally backtrack to clear up the confusion. Sometimes the reader doesn’t even notice the glitch in his or her attention, but it’s there all the same.

And even the slightest glitch in attention means that the reader has been kicked out of your story, even if just for a moment. Not good.

There are only

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