John Lewis!

If you read WordPress blogs you usually see ads at the bottom of a post. We, the bloggers, have no control over those ads (that I’m aware of). They are bought by advertisers to appear on WordPress generally.

Frankly, many I’ve seen are just awful. They look at times like cheapo nonsense at best. They are often not the sort of stuff you would want to be associated with you or your content.

However, yesterday I happened not to be logged in and opened one of my recent posts for reference to something else I was writing. When I scrolled to the bottom, I almost fell off my chair. I couldn’t believe the ad!:

Screenshot of an ad below one of my posts.
Screenshot of an ad below one of my posts.

John Lewis!

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I Almost Relocated Yesterday….

…and in saying that I don’t mean moved here to Tenerife permanently. I’m referring to having almost stopped posting to this web site. In preparation to do so, I had already created a new blog home over at Tumblr:

Screen capture of my new Tumblr site.
Screen capture of my new Tumblr site.

Why? Because I’d had certain “technical difficulties” since Tuesday. They were related to my rjnello-dot-com domain. In the three and a half years since I had purchased it through WordPress, I had NEVER had even a SINGLE problem with it…. prior to Tuesday.

WordPress investigated it for me. The Help person was actually helpful, as well as friendly; but she came back to me saying there was nothing WordPress could do. It seems another company called, uh, it starts with the letter “G,” is at the center of it.

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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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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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During A Walk In The English Rain

We passed this on “a ramble” yesterday:

Outside Trowbridge, Wiltshire, welcoming drivers and walkers. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Outside Trowbridge, Wiltshire, welcoming drivers and walkers. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Just before I snapped that, we’d stopped for a break. I was thirsty. So I had one of these:

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We’ve All Had “Our First Post”

I’m still “in the zone.” Yesterday was the best example in this recent “burst” of creativity. I got through an entire chapter, start to finish, and added several other pages here and there.

With that, I’ve got almost 25,000 words now. Parts (of this in-progress third novel) are starting to read much more like a coherent manuscript and not nearly so much as a disjointed series of episodes in and among the outline.

As my uncle wrote me the other day, “Just keep going.” Indeed, I intend to do so. And I love days of accomplishment like that.

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“Time for a (no added sugar) Ribena”

I noted the other day that I felt I had been “in the zone” while writing. It was flowing pretty easily, and I hoped it would continue. And it has. I’m back on my daily treadmill pace of 3 to 5 decent pages minimum.

If you can keep that up within about “100 days” you’ve almost got yourself a book. (Proofing, editing, etc., follow of course.) I tend also to write in spurts of about 30 minutes to an hour, and recently read we’re most work productive generally in bursts like those. So I can now say that, yes, that does seem to apply to me.

From Psychology Today,  "Best Rest Practices for Optimal Productivity and Creativity," April 30, 2012 [Screen capture by me.]
From Psychology Today, “Best Rest Practices for Optimal Productivity and Creativity,” April 30, 2012 [Screen capture by me.]
I’m sometimes so focused I’m returned to the present day from my fictionalized mid-1990s only when I realize…. “Ouch, I haven’t moved in over half an hour and my right leg is now asleep from sitting on it.”

Then I think, what’s up on the iPad in social media world? I’ll take just a second and have a look….

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Why The Crowd?

Just a quick follow up after my regular, daily post. I’m doing this because for some reason my stats are telling me I’m seeing lots more of you than usual today. By that I mean a horde.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a woman clicking with a mouse attached to a house.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a woman clicking with a mouse attached to a house.

Obviously the polite thing to do is introduce myself: “Hello.”:-)

[Now – he wonders to himself, and taps his desk repeatedly – where are you all coming from? And why are so many of you suddenly so interested in “Béatrice”?]

TopPosts29January2015

[He shrugs.] Ah, the internet.😉

Thoughts To Start This Week

You may have noticed the new template. I really like how “clean” this one is. It’s very easy to read, and the rotating banner photographs make for a nifty feature.

Just saw this myself the other day. Given recent events, that “France” has moved up to be my top tag is probably not a huge surprise:

image

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Let’s have a moment of photographic serenity:

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Anna Maria, Florida. [Photo by me, 2013.]
Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Anna Maria, Florida. [Photo by me, 2013.]
Hope you had a nice weekend. On Saturday evening, our overnight-visiting friends (on both arrival and departure, she hugged and kissed me on the cheeks; he shook my hand) were pitching plot ideas at me over gin and tonics. Alcohol seems to bring out the potential author in everyone.😉

That said, unrelatedly (or perhaps somewhat relatedly, given in “relaxing” with them maybe my mind “opened up” a bit), I had a “major idea” knock me over last night.

As I have the main plot for the third book already laid out, it’s a great addition. It was one of those light bulb going off over your head moments that includes chastising yourself: “Rob, why the heck didn’t you think of that before?” It led “naturally” – and that’s what I love: I hate when subplots seemed “forced” or “contrived” – to other, related, necessary new bits as well.

I tap, tap, tapped the gist of it down as quickly as I could. That’s how this “game” is played. You never know when it – whatever “it” is – might hit you.

Have a good Monday, wherever you are.:-)

2014’s Top Views

A quick review. Happy January 1st!:

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Not a huge surprise to learn that. “Officially” it confirms what I had noticed. Those posts drew lots of views all year. (For several posts the comments noted in that snapshot seem “miscounted” though.)

If you’re interested, here are links to those posts: 1) “Shades”, 2) “Vampires”, 3) “Minitel”, 4) “Human Needs”, 5) “Movie Version”.

Now, we see what 2015 brings.:-)