If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency. emergency.cdc.gov
Subscribe to darkfictionmuse, my mailing list!
Interested in posting your reviews or guest articles at this site? Then fill out the form HERE.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Okay, our first amendment provides for the FREEDOM OF SPEECH! Folks get offended way too much. I'm tired of hearing celebrities voice their opinion and then have to apologize because some idiots took offense. Get a life, people! Not everyone will be for your beliefs. We all have our own thoughts and voices. Speak out, good folks.

Well, guess what? I get highly offended hearing people use the big "F" word, but is anyone apologizing to me? I'd like an apology from Hollywood for allowing such language to be on the big screen. I'd like those morons who use that sort of language in public to stop doing it. I work with a woman who constantly uses that word and it angers me so much. One of these days, I just might hit her. Apologies? Well, I'm still waiting...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Twitter Buzz by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Buzz About Twitter
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers
(Retailers are writers--think of all that blogging and advertising copy!
Writers are retailers--think of all those books we must sell!)

We think of spring as a time when tweeting is in the air. These days it's a year-round occurrence. Last I checked there were some 70,000 apps for Twitter. But I believe in making it easy. So let's cut some of the background chirping and go straight for Twitter essentials. Here are some tips from my Sharing with Writers newsletter (Subscribe using the sign-up form at the top of the column on the right.). There are enough tips here to get newbies started and give old-timers some new ideas.

Note: The stars denote an application or tips that I consider essential or use all the time.
Sign up (easily) at www.twitter.com.

Twitter Tip: To find appropriate people to follow on Twitter account, use http://search.twitter.com. It's as important to use Twitter to learn new things as well as to get your message out so try to be inclusive in who you follow.

Twitter Tip:  Wow! Here's a way to make your tweets do double duty, encourage you to keep your tweets focused, and refresh your e-mail signature as often as you tweet.  Use Wise Stamp Signature (http://www.wisestamp.com/email-ie ) to automatically feed your latest tweet into your latest e-mail signature.

Twitter Tip: Evaluate how you're doing on Twitter and how others are doing but do be careful 'cause stats can be misinterpreted. Try www.twittercounter.com .

Twitter Tip: Here's a great new Twitter aid. It will help you personalize your Twitter backgrounds or wallpaper: www.freetwitterdesigner.com

Twitter Tip: You can clean out your nonfollowers from your Twitter account with www.mycleenr.com --but only if you have 700 or fewer. They're working on more. My current favorite for unfollowing is www.justunfollow.com because it's easy to use—i. e., frugal of time.

*Emergency Tip: One of the major drawbacks to social networks like Facebook and Twitter is that your account can be suspended. After all that work building them! And sometimes through no fault of you own. Here's an article on what to do if it happens to your Twitter account: www.susangilbert.com/your-account-has-been-suspended/

Tweet Tip: Regarding HashTags at http://www.hashtags.org:Did you know that by using the # (hashtag) sign before a word, you can tag your tweets? This site tracks the most popular hashtags. As an example, I use a hashtag #Tweeps4Writers which indicates that the tweeter I'm recommending is a resource for writers. If you look that hashtag up right now, you'll find many authors, book marketers, and even some agents I've recommended in the past.

*Twitter Tip: -Put your shortened link in your tweet first so that when the tweet gets retweeted, part of the link doesn't get lost.

Tweet Help from author and marketing guru Tony Eldridge: Create an AddThis Button (Social Bookmarking) to your website or blog This one is fun because it's an easy-to-follow video! http://MarketingTipsForAuthors.com/ArchivedTips/3169/tipaddthis.html

Tweet Help: Here's another video from Tony Eldridge on TweetLater and other Tweet Scheduling Tools. http://MarketingTipsForAuthors.com/ArchivedTips/5189/TwitterScheduleTweetVideo/tipsscheduletweets.html

Twitter Tip: To find out who's following you, go to: http://dossy.org/twitter/karma/

Twitter Tip: Take a poll on Twitter: http://twtpoll.com/new.php

Fun Only Twitter Tip:  Have you seen this fun Twitter application? http://sxoop.com/twitter/  Wahhhh, I want a computer mat with my followers' faces on it!

*Twitter Tip: You can assure your tweets get more attention if you research the recent trends on
Twitter at www.twopular.com, then design a tweet or two accordingly and use hashmarks (#) to tag them.

Twitter Tip: Poets can treat their fans to Haiku on Twitter? It's a focused way for poets to focus and still connect with followers. Use www.makeliterature.com/twihaiku/twitter-poetry. It also provides reviews, critiques and opportunities for your work to get retweeted by others.

 *Social Network Tip: Check the biography on your social network sites. They say 82% of unsuccessful twitter accounts have no bio. Even if you use Facebook, as an example, for your personal friends only, it is only a courtesy to introduce yourself. You'd do that at a party, right?

*Twitter Tip: To delete people not following you go to:http://friendorfollow.com/frugalbookpromo/following/ Why would you want to do that? 

Generally you don't want to follow people who aren't interested in a two-way conversation and you certainly don't want your stats to show you following hundreds of people more than follow you!

*Twitter Tip: If you think your tweet might be worthy of a retweet, keep it to 120 characters. That leaves room for the retweeter's own @username in it. Your followers are more likely to retweet if they don't have to work too hard at it.

Twitter Tip: Learn where a tweeter lives by using real-time tweets at www.twittervision.com. It's valuable for author or retailer events confined to a specific area. Watch it for a minute to find people in your area or to find twitterpals in other places in the world.

Twitter Idea: Did you know that Twitter is increasingly being used in ways related to search engine research? If not, turn to CNN for just one evening's news and you'll get it. How can you turn this into something that will help position you as an expert?

Tweet Tip: This Twitter tip is for those trying to reach folks in other parts of the world. It's a twitter translation tool. http://www.tweettranslate.com/

Twitter Retweet Tip: One of the tricks to getting wide exposure on Twitter is to get other people to retweet your tweets. Here are two articles that will tell you how to do it: How to Get Retweeted by @GuyKawasaki: http://blogs.openforum.com/2009/02/18/how-to-get-retweeted and The Science of Retweets by Dan Zarella: http://mashable.com/2009/02/17/twitter-retweets  .My favorite method is to give information that people are likely to want and need. The other is to occasionally ask to be retweeted.

*Social NetworkTip: Tell your friends and/or followers about the success someone had because of a service you offer or information in your book. An example would be, "Sharing with Writers subscriber (www.howtodoitfrugally.com) received a working computer from a fellow subscriber when she was out of work after surgery."

 TIP: For a really big list of Twitter aids go to John Kremer's Twitter Tools page: www.bookmarket.com/twitter-tools.htm

Twitter Tip: Find who is mentioning you or your book's title on Twitter by going to www.tweetvolume.com. Also, www.twittterholic.com .

Twitter Tip: Add you blog to Twitter by using Twitterfeed.com.

Twitter Tip: Don't add your Tweets to Facebook using RSS feeds if you tweet frequently. Your Facebook pals may get tired of you when ten tweets a day appear on your Facebook page!

For the last two: You can use the lists links or by tweeting Jennifer Tribe (http://twitter.com/jennifertribe) with your title and expertise.

*Twitter Tip: TweetBeep (http://tweetbeep.com )is a service that alerts you anytime your name, book title, product, or company is mentioned or Tweeted about!

Twitter Tip: Extend the reach of your Twitter efforts at www.Twellow.com  Put yourself in all relevant categories. It may just be "Authors and Writers" but you may fit other places, too, depending on your area of expertise. Like "Teaching." Or, in my case, "Marketing" and "Publishing." You can categorize yourself in up to ten of them.  

*Twitter Tip: Back up your Twitter account and records with www.TweetTake.com .

Carolyn Howard-Johnson collects Twitter tips for her newsletter. She says, "people keep asking me how Twitter can help sell books and other merchandise. Maybe it can't. But it will brand you if you keep your tweets content laden and on target instead of talking about going to bed and what you ate for breakfast. Great branding leads to sales of all kinds. When I hadn't been tweeting long my Twitter Promo record included: Three blog interviews. Two podcasts. And a new friend who helped me to plan my first trip to the New York Stationery Show when I spoke there--frugally! (-: My Twitter address is www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo."

Thanks, Carolyn for a great article and some excellent tips on using Twitter. Please visit Jennifer Gladen's blog at http://jgladen.blogspot.com on June 17th when I talk about writing great dialogue for fiction.