Thursday, 29 November 2018

November Musings

PhotoCredit: cmpsiegen at Pixabay

Welcome readers! Can you believe we’re rushing into the end of November already? Christmas will be upon us in the blink of an eye and the cold is descending upon us.
For me the late fall has been about repairing the backyard fence and gate, prepping the furnace and getting ready for a forecast of a cold winter ahead. As temperatures drop one of the first things I notice is how dry everything gets, especially my already dry skin, so my night table has a jumble of pots and jars of skin hydrating and moisture sealing creams. We get -20 degrees through January. That’s really cold! So I'm looking for serious, heavy duty skin protection. 
Summer 2017 I chanced upon an interesting 2015 Raquel Welch interview with Piers Morgan in which she divulged a simple beauty secret. Then 75 years of age she looked amazing! I can’t find the original full interview but there’s an article Here that shares this information she let out during that interview. 
You won’t believe what’s in the simple product she uses called Bag Balm. It’s a mix of lanolin, petroleum jelly and paraffin wax! We're familiar with lanolin which is a waxy sebum secreted by sheep and other animals into their wool for protection against the elements. I need something really effective for the cold and lanolin is the most unctuous and seriously heavy duty moisturizer I’ve found (I might try a liquid version in future too). Make sure to get 100% pure and be aware that you'll need to mix/melt it into shea butter, or Vaseline, or coconut oil or similar. PipingRock makes an inexpensive pure lanolin and they have great customer service.

Ideally we would want to source lanolin from unsprayed and non-GMO fed sheep (that’s a topic for another discussion) but at this time this looks to be very difficult if not impossible.

The other ingredient I think in Bag Balm that’s probably very effective is paraffin. I’m not that keen on it though it would probably be an excellent sealant, maybe too effective and I’d want my skin to breathe easily. It sounds great if you work out of doors during the cold months though!
As the year is winding down I'm busy working on new directions for 2019 to help me achieve greater goals for independence, some for my writing and some in skin care. To get an early peek visit SkinCare101. 
November Mood Collage
Merry Christmas from Cat!
So early season’s greetings all! If you’re looking for ideas, check out 900HedgehogBrand for cute and classic greeting cards, gift bags and tags, iphone cases and more.
May the best of friends, family, health, food, and contentment fill your life and home through Christmas and into 2019!

Monday, 15 October 2018

Hauntingly Romantic Winter

Welcome readers!  Autumn is here, and my most favourite month of the year, October.  It’s great for snuggling in fleece-lined socks, close to your sweetie, up to a cup of hot cocoa, and especially reading.
I’m excited to be participating in A Hauntingly Romantic Winter: A Fairytale Collection, a beautifully illustrated anthology of previously unpublished fairy tales (fractured and otherwise) compiled and published by Tamara Rokicki and D. Fischer.  These entrepreneurial authors head up The Other World, an online community of writers and readers who love fantasy, paranormal, and dystopian reads.

I’m thrilled to team up with other talented writers and photographic/illustrative artists in this gorgeous publication out November 1, 2018 some of whom are Lucille Moncrief, H.M. Gooden, Tabetha Waite, Martin Wilsey, Erin Casey, Lecia McDermott, and more for this gorgeous winter publication.  This is being offered as a paperback for the beautiful visuals as well as ebook format. 

Cursed Ice Prince is a tale I’ve been working on that is inspired by traditional fairy tale, The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen.  I love this story for its magical winter qualities and wanted to do a fairy tale re-telling so this was the one for me.  My idea was, what if Kai and the Snow Queen like each other?  What might draw them together, and what elemental problems would come between them?  Could they ever come together, really, a human and an elemental?  Some big questions but I’ve got a pretty active imagination! 
The blurb:
Anyu is the Sovereign of Snow since the beginning and for eons, always alone, yearning for connection, maybe even the love that humans prize so much. But she reaches out to human men only to kill them with her frozen kiss of death.
The hobgoblin Rhaznomr’s evil magic mirror has splintered into a zillion pieces, lodging in the hearts and eyes of humans all over the world. Perhaps a man with mirror splinters could withstand her cool brand of love with such black magic to keep them safe and alive.
Anyu’s trail of frozen lovers comes to a fantastic resolution with Kai as Anyu is determined, even if she must enlist the aid of the evil Rhaznomr himself, to make him her Ice Prince.

Meant originally to be a novella size read (and will be completed into winter 2019/2020), I’ve trimmed Cursed Ice Prince to a short story for this anthology but with key points about the plot.
If you’re looking for the magic and myth about the Snow Queen, be sure to check out Cursed Ice Prince and the entire fabulous anthology to cuddle up to on a cold autumn or winter night to whisk you away to another world!
Pre-Publication Reserve Orders and Orders Here  
Check out The Other World Here to learn more.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

How to Join a Group Board on Pinterest

How to Join a Group Board on Pinterest
Hello Readers!
Today I’m going to blog a quick guide to joining and pinning on a group board on Pinterest, mostly because I believe there’s a great marketing opportunity on this growing platform, especially for writers/authors/self-publishers, that inherently is a great tool for selling and in my own efforts to get on group boards and now creating one of my own, it took a bit of work to get a clear notion of how it’s done. So hopefully this short list will help others interested in getting on group boards but struggling to make sense of the process.
Group Board:  A Pinterest board owned and managed by one person who invites others on Pinterest to join and pin onto that board. This occurs by invitation only. You can tell a group board by the multiple person image icon at the bottom left of the board.
Why a Group Board:  The power of increased activity/exposure to the marketplace also leveraged by the help of others. Aside from pinning to just your own Pinterest page, to pin and re-pin on active group boards will really up the number of times your pin is seen and possibly re-pinned by many others, further increasing exposure. The other members of the group board may also re-pin your pin their own boards considering that you have a common interest.
Quick Steps
·        Identify a suitable group board that you want to join.
·        “Follow” the main page of the owner of that group board (a must).
·        Message the owner (once you’ve followed someone a “Message” option becomes available top right of your screen to communicate with them and which starts a dialogue box that later shows up bottom left of your screen) that you would like to join their board unless they note differently in the description of the board.
·        In order to actually become a member of the board you will need to receive an Invite from the owner. The owner must also ‘Follow’ your main board first.
·        You will know you’ve been invited when you receive a message in your Inbox (top right icon on your page). The invitation will show either a ‘Decline’ or ‘Accept’ option. Choose ‘Accept.”
·        Refresh your Pinterest main page.
·        Look back onto your main page and you will find a new board, the group board you’ve just joined! You can now click on the board and pin away (allowing for board rules). This extra board on your main page may be the only downside depending how you feel about the number of boards on your page. When you subsequently go to pin on this board, depending on whether you have 100 boards of your own, this will add to the list of boards to choose from when you place your new pin.  I’m now involved with about 10 group boards and find this manageable.
·        You can later ‘un-join’ if you change your mind by clicking on +people icon which will then show a drop down menu of all the collaborators. When you find your name you can remove yourself and the board will vanish from your home Pinterest page.
·        Be aware that if the owner of the board finds that you’re pinning inappropriately they can delete your pins and remove you from the board.
Both parties get a win~win as you both get more followers and more activity/views on Pinterest.
On the other hand I find that Pinterest overall moves slowly (I’ve heard the term ‘slow burn’ applied) in terms of response (sales) and re-pins. This may be due to many factors including I likely have limited reach at this time, I haven’t been active enough or don’t know important facts to making pins go viral, etc. Still, I think the opportunity is too valuable to pass up. Consider that with every pin you can add a URL to your sell site. When you think about Instagram, for example, you cannot put links into your posts or comments (Facebook I won’t address as I refuse to go there, especially now after the Cambridge Analytica etc. scandals.) but on Pinterest you can with every single pin.
I find it interesting that Pinterest has removed the ‘likes’ function for pins. At first this annoyed me but as I think about it, if someone really likes your pin they will re-pin it if they have a suitable board. I think Pinterest is more of a marketplace versus social media because it’s really a search engine for finding something that you want. It’s sort of like a giant store that you search visually for either items you want or ideas.
As the world is going more mobile, a recent stat I saw that Pinterest has 80% mobile traffic is important. It’s also growing with increase in male participation (article HERE).  
And consider that you can not only pin book covers (authors/writers/indies) but create a variety of advertising type pins that include snippets from your book (example to left is of a recent pin for Fated for Sanchez), promo pins for discount days, etc. The possibilities are endless.
To get an idea of what types of pins are getting lots of re-pins, check out this page from Pinterest stats (study the construction of these pins!) HERE.
As with everyone, the time demand to participate in and research/learn ‘social media marketing’ is crushing. I’m currently only on Twitter and Pinterest as an indie author and Zazzle designer. From a business perspective I’m thinking Pinterest may evolve into a very good online marketplace that is not too mired in privacy and other scandals that is definitely worth considering, especially for indie authors/writers as I don’t see a huge presence there yet (I’ve done a trial of Tailwind Tribes) meaning huge growth potential.
So come and join my Fiction Reads group board for writers already HERELet’s grow a hopping writer’s community on Pinterest.
I would love to hear your comments about experiences, successes and failures about Pinterest in comments below.