Welcoming All Readers

I’m discovering that joining Instagram was one of the better social media moves I’ve made. It’s quick and visual, and we all do like that. I should’ve signed up to it ages ago.

Screen capture of Instagram.
Screen capture of Instagram.

Thus how we learn. Using Instagram has also reinforced something else to me. Instagram is mostly photos, whereas a blog like this is naturally mostly words.

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The Unpredictable Visitors

That “Fun With New Zealand’s Flag” post – from the (northern hemisphere) summer of 2015 – has in the last few days brought in tons of Kiwi visitors. It continues to do so. Until it suddenly “reappeared” within my “top visits” post list, frankly I’d almost forgotten about it.

I am no “expert” on New Zealand. (I have been there once, 15 years ago, to Wellington and Rotorua, and did like the country a lot and would go back, but that’s about it.) I read now that the flag change referendum is due to start March 3. (Those in favor of keeping the current design are polling well out in front – for now at least.) I’m guessing amidst the approaching vote there, my modest post must have ended up sorta “highly-ranked” in Google or something:

Screen capture of my Top 5 visitor countries on Sunday.
Screen capture of my Top 5 visitor countries on Sunday.

That “top country” visitor breakdown is perfectly “normal” – except for New Zealand.

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Geography Questions (With No Incorrect Answers)

Good morning! A group participation post. Don’t you just hate those?

Don’t groan, I won’t be going around “the room” looking to each of you individually, putting you on the spot. No need to avert your eyes or slide down in your chair; there are no wrong answers to these two simple questions. You may share your replies in the comments if you wish – which would seem obvious, I suppose, given naturally I can’t compel you to answer, of course.😉

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Don’t Think You Aren’t Missed

Ahem. While I’ve got your attention, I’d like to say this. I think it needs saying.

I admit it, I can become “attached.” If I don’t see posts for too long from those I check regularly, I find I feel a bit down. I wonder, where did you go? Is something wrong?

If you are going on hiatus, perhaps to take a cruise….

Cruise ship. Key West, Florida. [Photo by me, 2014.]
Cruise ship. Key West, Florida. [Photo by me, 2014.]

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I Think It’s All Correct Now

Authoring and social media – inseparable these days. Getting them right is really important. My main social media links on the final page of Distances – published only a month ago – have always been correct:

Screen capture of last page of "Distances," on Kindle for iPad.
Screen capture of last page of “Distances,” on Kindle for iPad.

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I Can “Like” That At Last!

As you may know, this blog has been the center of my authoring universe since my very first post back in (what seems so long ago) 2013. I’m only (again) starting to come to grips with my official Facebook page, which has been up a few months. Up to now, Facebook has really been mostly just an extension of this blog:

Facebook page screen capture.
Facebook page screen capture.

I’m visiting briefly with Dad again – after driving down from the Catskills here to the Poconos in Pennsylvania, 2 and 1/2 hours away. Last night, he was having a snooze in front of the television. When he sleeps, I don’t disturb him. (Understandably, he’s often miserable and stressed since Mom’s death.)

Earlier, a commenter on a several months’ old post on here got me to thinking. So with Dad sleeping, I thought why not FINALLY figure out how to “Like” Facebook pages from my Facebook author page?

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Vanished “Stars”

With the flick of a switch, Twitter changed an entire social media convention that had arisen since the site opened: the favorite “star” has been replaced suddenly by a “heart.”

Left to right on Twitter below on a tweet:
Left to right on Twitter below a tweet: “Reply,” “Retweet,” “Heart” (which used to be a “Favorite” star), and a drop down menu for more.

As you know if you visit here regularly, my mother and my crime novelist uncle both died in October. So I’ve not been using Twitter much in recent weeks, of course. But last night, as I browsed it, I noticed quite a few people aren’t happy about the change.

And I agree. My biggest complaint about the change is it’s retroactive: all of my past “stars” are now suddenly “hearts?”

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In Shock

On Wednesday, it was discovered that my mother, who had recently developed hypothyroidism that was being treated, had something far worse that had gone totally undetected: what appears almost certainly to be cancer, likely lymphoma.

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Blogs I Follow

I got a bit of a shock the other day in the form of an automatic WordPress email informing me an aunt-in-law here in England had followed this blog by email. She already knew about my site. It’s just I’m surprised that – out of the blue – she has subscribed.

I get many interesting “likers” and “followers.” So you know, I do try to have a look at everyone who stops by, but I can’t “follow” everyone back. I’d be overwhelmed by the reading.

You may have seen that I added the “Blogs I Follow” widget near the bottom the sidebar. If you use WordPress too, you may know it. I’ve chosen to display the maximum number allowed: 50 blogs.

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Across The 3rd Novel Finish Line

The finish is no longer somewhere off in the, uh, nebulous “distance.” It’s done. The draft Distances manuscript is finished:

Screen capture of the top of the final page of the “Distances” manuscript.

And, whew, in a way I am about finished now, too. I crossed the finish line yesterday afternoon. After I did, I sat for a few moments staring at the computer screen in semi-disbelief.

What remains now is the final proofing for spelling, grammar, and any other errors. Doing that will take a month or so: it’s nearly 93,000 words. I already found a few mistakes in rereading part of it last night.

Tourists at the Eiffel Tower. [Photo by me, July 1996.]
Tourists at the Eiffel Tower. [Photo by me, July 1996.]

As I wanted it to be, Distances is similar in scope to Passports and Frontiers. Based on how long those each took me, I’m actually over a month ahead of where I had expected to be with Distances about now. I’m not quite sure how I managed to so outpace my planned “timeframe.”

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