Tag Archives: blogging

Blogging Swan Song

You may have noticed that my posts here have dwindled lately. Months ago, I decided to take a break from blogging (originally, I thought I wouldn’t blog past June but my vaca got in the way of me posting these final hurrahs so now it’s nearly mid-summer and I’m just getting around to my bloggy swan song).

Why I’m Stopping

Mostly, because I want to focus on my books more than my blogging.

And it’s good to shake things up every now and then – to take a break and/or try something new. I think it’s been clear from the beginning that my goal was a casual, eclectic site where I could discuss things that I think are fun and neat and invite other writers to share their thoughts on the same.

It was important to me when I first entered the crazy world of social media that I be seen as a whole person and not just the author who wrote books about a world where the demons had won.

But now that four years and three books are behind me, I think lots of you know who I am and those that don’t… Maybe they just want books, not blog posts! :-D

I’ve achieved my goal, which was TO BLOG. Period. (Admittedly, I had some loose secondary goals like “at least once a week” “add guest bloggers” “increase traffic” “learn how to use WordPress” “reach 100 countries” … that sort of thing). But I’ve reached those goals too now.

I’ve loved the quirkiness of blogging, the random connections, how blogging isn’t perfect and no one expects it to be. I’ve loved its serendipity.

Who remembers that one of my top referrers for years was Sir Jog A Lot (a marathon runner!) or that one of my top posts in 2014 was my review of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (bc, it turns out, lots of people search the internet for… well… if not the meaning of life then at least the meaning of ghost cat metaphors) or that a vintage aircraft/WWII researcher contacted me with info about my grandfather seventy years after he died bc of a Veteran’s Day post I did back in 2013?

IF YOU HAVEN’T BLOGGED YET, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

That feeling of being part of a larger whole and using your blog as a tool to connect with others is powerfully addictive stuff.

I’ll miss it, that’s for sure.

But I’ll still be around (see below). And there’s nothing stopping me from starting up again in the fall. (Although, if I do, this blog may become more of an author newsletter with info about my upcoming releases, contests, cover reveals, and the like.)

Thank You for Following!

I very much appreciate everyone’s support with this blog. All the shares and comments, all the tweets and RTs, all the follows and likes. You guys are TRULY AWESOME!!! (Over the years, I’ve received many compliments about different posts. One reader told me she printed out all of my Disney park reviews so that she could save them for future trips. More recently, lots of people have told me how much they enjoyed the Five Photographs author interview series.) I always say I’m a novelist first and a blogger second, but it’s been fantastic hearing people say how much they’ve enjoyed blog posts that I wrote or hosted.

Final stats:

If you are a Noon Onyx fan, or if you want to know more about my future writing projects, stay tuned… I don’t expect to post any news this summer, but hopefully I’ll have an exciting update in the fall. In the meantime, I’ll be writing!!

If you are a writer, I’ll still be lurking on RWA’s FF&P loop (and occasionally PAN). And who knows? I just might storm the gates of SFWA’s forums this summer… ;-)

Other Places You Can Find Me

Brought To You By…

the Noon Onyx Series

Gotta give a final shout out to my Noon Onyx series…

If you’ve enjoyed ANY of the posts I’ve written here over the last four years or so and you haven’t yet bought the books, PLEASE do so now! :-D

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE

NOON ONYX #3

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover art

One out of every two hunters who follow the Old Trail will not return…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race. Noon’s task, however, is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse – and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

“High stakes and powerful magic collide” —Publishers Weekly
“Demanding, powerful, full-flavored and utterly destructive” —Bitten by Books
“I was hooked from the beginning.” —Night Owl Reviews (TOP PICK)
 

Amazon Barnes and Noble  Books-A-Million

Powell’s Books  Book Depository  IndieBound


FIERY EDGE OF STEEL

NOON ONYX #2

Fiery Edge of Steel  Final

When traveling into the unknown, sometimes the biggest danger is the one you bring with you…

Noon Onyx is the first woman in memory to wield waning magic. Her unique abilities, paired with a lack of control and reluctance to kill, have branded her as an outsider from her peers. Only her powerful lover, Ari Carmine, and a roguish and mysterious angel, Rafe Sinclair, support her unconventional ways. When Noon is shipped off to a remote outpost to investigate several unusual disappearances, it seems Luck is not on her side. But when the outpost settlers claim that an ancient and evil foe has stepped out of legend to commit the crimes, Noon realizes that she could be facing something much worse than she ever imagined…

“Excitement and action leap from the page” —Publishers Weekly
“A fresh and fascinating series!” —RT Book Reviews (4 Stars)
“Danger, adventure, magic, love, and the quest for truth.” —The Qwillery

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Books-A-Million

Powell’s Books  Book Depository  IndieBound


DARK LIGHT OF DAY

NOON ONYX #1

Jill Archer's Dark Light of Day

Into the darkness, we bring light…

Noon Onyx has been accepted into the prestigious St. Lucifer’s Law School where her mother hopes she’ll be trained as a Maegester. But Noon doesn’t want to control demons, set fires, or destroy things. She wants to become a Mederi so she can grow gardens and heal people. Noon’s best friend, Peter Aster, is an angel spellcaster who thinks he has the answer to Noon’s predicament: an ancient, mysterious, lost spell that can turn Noon into the Mederi she always wanted to be. Only one person stands in the way of Noon’s dream – Ari Carmine, a fellow classmate who seems fascinated by Noon’s fiery side.

“A spectacular debut novel.”—USA Today bestselling author Faith Hunter
“Set against the backdrop of university life, there is an abundance of adventure, mystery and passion!”—RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Books-A-Million

Powell’s Books  Book Depository  IndieBound

 

*****

STAY TUNED FOR MORE NEWS IN THE FALL!! HAVE A FANTASTIC SUMMER, EVERYONE!!!


Another “Why I Blog” Post (this one’s good, I promise)

Every now and then I share vintage pictures here. Some have been childhood pics, but a handful have been of my grandfather, who was a WWII pilot. He died in Okinawa after his plane crashed. About six weeks ago, I received an email from another writer who’d stumbled across a Veteran’s Day post I had written back in November 2013. (In that post I’d shared a picture of my grandfather and an excerpt from a local Oklahoma newspaper about his death).

The writer who recently contacted me is writing a book on the type of planes that my grandfather flew and he’s been researching, among other things, my grandfather’s squadron. Turns out, he not only knew who my grandfather was, but he had some information to share — one item being a very sobering photograph of my grandfather’s plane after the crash. It was a picture I’d never seen before. Needless to say, opening that email attachment and seeing the wreckage was a mildly profound moment for me. I’ve grown up hearing about the way my grandfather died, but hearing about something and seeing it are two different experiences. I showed my family the photograph and my father-in-law summed up why I think the blogging part of this story is so incredible:

I gotta say that is amazing.  A somber picture.  But what it took to get it here.  The internet had to be invented, the army had to archive pictures, the pilot’s granddaughter had to be an author & another writer had to read a blog she created, recognize the aircraft & contact her over 70 years later.

I’d share the photo here, but it’s not my photo. And it’s not a happy picture. The story of how it made its way to me, however, is inspiring.

In honor of Memorial Day, I spent a few hours yesterday going back through my grandmother’s album so that I could scan some old photos and war dept. letters for this researcher/writer. As I looked through everything, it was impossible not to wish that the crash hadn’t happened. How different my grandmother and my mother’s life would have been. That said, I’m aware that other families have suffered much more recent losses. And their Memorial Day this year was probably more sad than reflective.

That’s why I’m going to end this post by simply saying thank you to all those in the armed forces, past and present, and their family members too. I’m sorry for your losses and I deeply appreciate your loved ones’ sacrifices.

Island Command Cemetery  Southern Okinawa 1945

Island Command Cemetery
Southern Okinawa
1945

General Marshall Sympathy Card


Blogging Milestone: My 300th Post!

I mentioned earlier that I was nearing my 300th post and THIS IS IT!

I posted my first blog article – a review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – in September of 2011. At the time, I’m fairly certain only my agent saw it. Since 2012, I’ve averaged about a hundred posts a year (many of them written by fabulous guest bloggers), which means I’m once again celebrating a fun blogging milestone.

NEARLY 125 COUNTRIES!

One of the things that continues to amaze and delight me is the international nature of blogging. This year, people from nearly 125 countries visited my blog. Pretty darn cool, huh? :-D

Where are you all from? The Top Twenty

United States
Canada
United Kingdom
Australia
Brazil
France
Germany
India
New Zealand
Spain
Italy
Netherlands
Argentina
Philippines
Singapore
Romania
Belgium
Sweden
Mexico
Poland

WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE? MOST POPULAR TOPICS

No surprises, but it was nice to see what the most popular categories and tags were because they nicely sum up what I want this blog to be:

CREEPY AND/OR FUN” posts about “WRITING” “BOOKS” and/or “FANTASY” stuff.

WHICH POSTS WERE YOUR FAVORITES? THE TOP FIVE

Fun “What’s Your Reaper Name?” Quiz by Boone Brux

7 Tips for Preparing for a Marathon (Oscar Movie Marathon, that is!)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

King’s Quest: Vintage Gaming on an IBM PCjr

Is there a market for #NewAdult Fantasy?

My Oscar Movie Marathon post is a perennial favorite, which always makes me smile because I never would have guessed that it would be one of my most viewed posts when I wrote it. Like last year, a lot of the credit goes to Sir Jog A Lot. I linked to a great post he wrote back in 2009 (5 Tips for Running a 10K Race) and there’s a trackback to my post in the comments section of that post. What did this experience teach me? One, to love the serendipitous nature of blogging. Two, to be grateful for trackbacks! Three, I should do more posts linking to others in fun (even better, meaningful) ways.

As for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty… I should rename that post “The Secret Sauce of Blogging is Discussing Ghost Cat Metaphors.” :-D

WHY DO I STILL BLOG?

Reaching post 300 was a natural point in time to step back and take stock. Why do I blog? Should I still blog? To help me decide, I took a Writer’s Digest webinar with Jane Friedman on “How to Blog Meaningfully and Grow Your Audience.” If you’re new to blogging, trying to decide if you should start blogging, or just a casual blogger like me who’s wondering what it would take to push your blog to the next level, I recommend it. I watched it in the car on Thanksgiving during a two-hour car ride. Here are a few of the things I decided after watching it:

Things I Do Well

  1. My name is in the header. :-)
  2. I share my posts on Twitter and Facebook.
  3. I USE WORDPRESS! :-D

Things I Don’t Do Well

  1. My brand is a little muddled. My focus is not as tight as it could be. (You’ve heard these confessions before.)
  2. Lack of consistency in the timing of posts. (Although Jane did mention that once a week was probably ok for those of us who aren’t super-serious bloggers).
  3. Vague headlines (perhaps my most egregious sin; I’ve been trying to do better but make no promises about permanent abstention… ahem, just look at these subheadings!).

Things I’m Not Sure About

  1. Adding personal updates to the end of guest posts. I tend to do this when I haven’t posted something in a while and I just feel like updating everyone or saying hello with a little bit of news. But it detracts from the focus of the guest blogger’s content.

Things I Might Do/Should Do

  1. Add author interviews. I’ve done a few, but not many because I feel like there are lots of interview opportunities for authors out there. But it could be fun if I can think of a unique list of questions or an interesting interview angle.
  2. Add metadata to my images. Sometimes I do this, but I don’t always remember and sometimes I’m in a hurry and skip it.
  3. Add a newsletter option for readers who just want to know when my next novel or story is coming out.

 Things I Probably Won’t Do

  1. Monetize my site: This was one of the biggest reasons I took the webinar. To decide this. (You know, it’s the whole “Go big or get out?” question). But, nope, not gonna do either right now. (Good to know, however, that if I change my mind and want to “go big”, it would be relatively easy to switch from wordpress.com to a self-hosted site and start following blogging best practices instead of knowingly and willfully ignoring them. :-) )
  2. Nix the guest blogs: Structuring guest blogs as intermittent, themed series really works for me.
  3. Mix up the content: For now, I’m going to continue to blog about writing, movies, books, day trips, and whatever else I think might appeal to fantasy fans. It’s what I’m into. It’s the type of content I can sustain for the long haul (or, ya know, at least the next six months ;-) ).

Which brings us back to…

WHY BLOG?

Every blogger has to decide this for themselves. For me, my reasons haven’t changed too much from when I first started. And they can be summed up in one word: CONNECTIONS. With readers. With other writers. My blog is the hub of everything I do online. Sometimes, this blog is a quiet place. But that’s ok. Because I’m a novelist first and a blogger second.

THANK YOU!

I am ever appreciative of all of my followers. Just as with a story, a blog isn’t complete without readers. Thank you to all of you that take the time to read these posts, leave comments, like them, share them, or tell me in other ways that you value the information and stories you read here.

Click here for my 100th post (includes a silly little 100-themed quiz & a 1975 pic of me with my bro and a snowman) and here for my 200th post.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

P.S. another thing I do well is add images to my posts… although sometimes they have zippo to do with writing, books, or fantasy. :-D

My brother and me, standing by the Mississippi River circa 1979

My brother and me, standing by the Mississippi River circa 1979


How to Blog (Do As I Do, Not As They Say)

#1 MAINTAIN A CONSISTENT BLOG SCHEDULE

THEY say to get the most out of your blog, you should maintain a consistent blog schedule. You should blog every day or, at the very least, blog every week on the same day.

I say blog five times a week or more for a few months and then, with little to no notice, cut back to once a week or less.

EXAMPLES:

Five of my posts from the end of April this year:

Noon Onyx Series: Fun Tweets and Fantasy Book Giveaway (4/24)

Disney World: Magic for Everyone! (4/25)

White Heart of Justice: Great PW Review! (4/28)

Urban Fantasy Settings: Marcella Burnard on Remodeling Reality (4/29)

Disney World: Beyond Movies and Magic (5/2)

Five of my posts from the end of May this year:

RELEASE DAY PARTY: WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE! (5/27)

One to Grow On: Noon’s Mom + Cover Lovers Chat (5/28)

The Devil and His Fiddle (and the original titles of my Noon Onyx books) (5/29)

Fictional “Feast Masters,” Maleficent and Miscellaneous (6/3)

Auralee Wallace: An Exploration of Alpha vs Beta Heroes and Some Pretty Tasteless Fun (6/4)

My three posts for August this year:

C.L. Wilson: Ten Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Writing (8/8)

#Writing: Buildingbuilding – Overwhelmed by Worldbuilding? Try a more focused approach… (8/18)

MIND MELD: What’s Your Take on Author Legacies? Should Unfinished Series Remain Unfinished? (8/20)

#2 HAVE A GREAT HEADLINE

THEY say a blog headline should be like a news headline – attention grabbing, full of good key words that will aid SEO, and, if at all possible, have a number in it.

EXAMPLES:

17 Things To Do Before the End of Summer

40 Ways To Make An Amazing Ice Cream Sundae

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly

I say write whatever headline pops into your head first. No numbers, no key words, just a vague phrase that probably only means something to you.

EXAMPLES:

Life (6/4/13) (What was this post really about? Picture of a Life cereal box looking like rabid baby wolves had gotten to it (my kids) and some Noon Onyx updates)

Everything but the… (fav flav of Ben & Jerry’s… and all sorts of Other Stuff) (7/31/13) (What was this post really about? Among other things: the movie DANGEROUS BEAUTY, Rachel Neumeier’s HOUSE OF SHADOWS, HBO’s THE NEWSROOM.)

All Sorts of Good Stuff (5/24/14) (What was this post really about? Some pretty pictures from a hike I took, some links re: WHOJ, and a picture of my grandparents when they were young.)

Last Monday in May (5/26/14) (What was this post really about? Invitation to my online WHOJ release day party, a B&N eGC giveaway, and a story w pics about us being stranded in a broken down boat on the Chesapeake.)

The month of leaves and roses… and inclines, fountains, cakes, and columns… movies, mail, ducks, and dragons (6/30/14) (What was this post really about? A summer road trip to Pittsburgh, writing updates, my birthday, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, and a cute picture of my friend’s bearded dragon.)

#3 KEEP POSTS SHORT

THEY say write blog posts that are somewhere between 300-500 words – basically enough for the search engines to see it as a substantive, meaty post but not enough to overwhelm followers who have busy lives and limited time.

I say write LONG posts… 1,000-2,500 word posts… posts that touch on all sorts of things… posts that cram unbelievable amounts of info into them.

EXAMPLES:

Is there a market for #NewAdult Fantasy? (1,798 words)

The Business of #Writing: Books and Writer’s Groups (1,043 words)

What to Read and Watch: 3 Fantasy Novels + 2 Futuristic Movies + 1 Horror Show #SFF (1,139 words)

#Writing: Revisions and WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE Snippets #SFF (1,876 words)

Dog Days of Summer (1,026 words) (Oh, and btw, since this post also violated rule #2… it’s actually about my summer 2013 road trip to Tennessee)

Debut Author’s Year End Thoughts on Being Published (2,432 words – whoa!)

Interview with Shamus Williams, New Jersey State Trooper and “River Cop” (2,366 words – yikes!)

A Writer’s Perspective: Why Titanic’s Story Endures (1,078 words)

#4 USE POSTS TO CREATE A BRAND

THEY say your posts should have something to do with who you are or what you write.

I say nah, go ahead and muddy the brand. If you write a series about a twenty-something postgrad magic user whose name rhymes with moon, you should definitely blog about:

Day tripping, museums, aviation, boating, biking, and hiking (my “On The Fly” posts)

Movies and movie marathons

Generally wacky, creepy and/or fun stuff

And don’t forget to throw in the odd vintage pic or two every now and then!

Obviously, this post is tongue-in-cheek. It’s half reminder to those of you that blog to do as they say, not as I do and half apology to my followers that I don’t follow the rules.

Hey, but you know what they say about rules, right? I’m gonna keep up with my horrible blog habits and hope you all forgive me.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!


200th Post and Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

THIS is my 200th post! When I first started blogging two years or so ago, my goal was one post a week. And while there have been weeks when I’ve only posted once (and sometimes even less), other times I’ve posted daily. Lots of my posts have been articles written by my wonderful guest bloggers. Without them, my content would be less varied and I wouldn’t have been able to post as frequently. As I mentioned during my last post (Writer’s Water Cooler Round Up), I’m very grateful to them. But there’s another group, which is even more numerous and diverse, that I want to thank today for the success of this blog: YOU! Readers and followers, you are fantastic and awesome!

Over 120 Countries!

The international nature of blogging continues to amaze and delight me. I love that people from all over the world can come together online to discuss topics that interest them. Since February 25, 2012 (when WordPress first started tracking this stat) I’ve had visitors from 123 countries.

Top Ten

Here’s where most of the people who visit this blog are from:

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. India
  6. Philippines
  7. Germany
  8. France
  9. Jamaica
  10. Netherlands

Favorite Topics

Unsurprisingly, people’s favorite topics are WRITING, PARANORMAL ROMANCE, and URBAN FANTASY.

Most Popular Post

Surprisingly, my top post is one I wrote very quickly, for fun — this somewhat tongue-in-cheek article: 7 Tips for Preparing for a Marathon (Oscar Movie Marathon, that is!) Since we’re heading into Oscar season once again, I figured I’d post the link in case any of you are planning on squeezing in more movies this winter. AND, if you do check out the post, please be sure to check out Sir Jog A Lot’s blog (ESPECIALLY if you are a runner!) In writing the slightly silly Oscar Movie Marathon post I quoted and linked to a bunch of bloggers who blog about running marathons. They are the real deal. And today I’m giving a Sir Jog A Lot a BIG HUGE THANK YOU for referring so many people to my site as a result of my linking to his. This is blogging at its best, people. Swapping fun stories and good advice, even if you blog about completely different topics. :-D

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of us who live in the U.S., Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Naturally, it’s a time to be grateful for good fortune, friends and family, projects we feel passionate about, infinite cups of coffee, and WordPress. Wishing each and every one of you a wonderful week!

RELATED POST: 100th Post (small milestones can be fun to reach too!)


#Writing: Water Cooler Round Up ~ 13 Great Guest Posts

My latest guest blog series has wrapped. It’s been one of my favorites. A baker’s dozen of writers coming here to spotlight their favorite coffee shop, talk about their day jobs, post interesting pictures from day trips inspired by novels, and/or share their thoughts on writing life, the craft of writing or seasonal topics. Below is the list of writers and topics. THANK YOU to each and every one of them for participating. Everyone else, enjoy and stay tuned for more guest bloggers in 2014!

14 Fantastic Posts

  1. Karolyn James: “How Washing Dishes Put Her on the Bestseller Lists” ~ Bonus: Top 5 Turkey Day Foods!
  2. Michael S. Fedison: “Muses Versus Ghosts” ~ Perserverance
  3. KM Fawcett: “Can You Play Nice With Others” ~ Writing collaboration and working with a partner
  4. Casey Wyatt: “So You’ve Got A Doubt Monster” ~ Author Insecurity
  5. JC Hay: “Without Romance, Science Fiction Can Feel as Empty and Soulless as an Interstellar Void” ~ SFR
  6. Sapphire Phelan: A History of Witchcraft
  7. Debra Elise: Online Workshops
  8. Jami Gray: NaNoWriMo ~ “Opening Skirmish in One of the Toughest Battles You’ll Face”
  9. Kimberly Kincaid: “Give Me Some Space” ~ Why where you write is a big deal
  10. Isabella Norse: Bare Bulb Coffee Spotlight ~ “A shop with heart” in Kathleen, Georgia
  11. Lark Howard: “Pilgrimage to Marfa” ~ Road trip to small Texas town
  12. Cecilia Dominic: “A Writer on the Couch” ~ Psychologist by day, writer by night
  13. Celia Breslin: PNR Review ~ Larissa Ione’s ROGUE RIDER
  14. Jill Archer: Writers and Websites ~ 10 Neat “Extras”

Hope all of you are having a great Friday! I am writing/revising all day today and then tomorrow I’m meeting up with close friends I haven’t seen in far too long. We backpacked through Europe together back in 1995 (yikes! almost 20 years ago!). For fun, here are two pictures of us in Rome (at the Roman Forum and the Colosseum):

Rome I Rome II


Looking for #Writers (both pubbed and unpubbed)

Writer

In search of… Writers!

I’m putting together a new guest blog series for this fall. In the past, I’ve done guest blog series that focus on a particular type of story: romance, new adult, “dark stories” (UF, mystery, horror), but this time I’d love to do a guest blog series that unpublished writers could participate in too. I already have a handful of writers lined up with some great topics (interesting, different, and creative ones — love it!) but I’d like to find a few more, if possible.

Here are examples of the type of content I’m looking for in these future guest posts:

  • Writing craft / Writing process
  • Writing life
  • Speculative fiction/PNR book review (honest and fair, but generally positive)
  • SF/F movie review (especially ones that are adaptations from novels)
  • Product review (product needs to be related to writing or reading)
  • Spotlight your favorite Bookstore or Coffee Shop
  • Neat post about your day job (especially if it’s in an interesting career and/or something someone might base a character on)
  • Travel post related to books in some way – either a research trip you took or a trip to a place that was a setting in a book you read
  • Seasonal post related to Halloween: books, decorations, costumes, food, history, etc.

I’m NOT looking for posts about your WIP, current project, or published work but published authors can include their published work in their bio and I can share links to websites, blogs, FB, Twitter, etc. I’m hoping that some of you will think this idea is as fun as I do. I like blogging and am excited to see the posts for a guest blog series like this.

If you’re interested in participating, please e-mail me (archer at jillarcher dot com) and include the information below:

  • Title for the post
  • Description of what you want to talk about
  • Online contact info
  • Anything else you think is relevant

Please forward this post to anyone you think might be interested. Thanks, everyone!


Blog Readers: What’s Your Favorite Type of Content?

I blog for a variety of reasons: it’s a creative outlet, a way to connect with others online, and a way to update everyone on what’s up with me and the series I write. But it’s been a long time since I asked all of you what YOU want to see here. As I think about possible website/blog changes and a new guest blog series for fall, I figured it would be the perfect time to ask you…

Thanks, everyone! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Love Triangles, Swamp Tours, and the Noon Onyx Series

Jenn at Tynga’s Reviews interviewed me yesterday. She asked a lot of great questions – like why I named waning and waxing magic after the phases of the moon, my thoughts on love triangles, whether Noon and Ari would ever get a Happily Ever After ending, and whether we would see more of Peter and/or Noon’s family members in future books. If you haven’t read Dark Light of Day (what are you waiting for? :-D) the interview has some spoilers. Stop by to check out my answers and enter to win one of two prize packs which include copies of both Dark Light of Day and Fiery Edge of Steel and a $10 eGC.

Today, I’m over at Suzanne Johnson’s Preternatura blog discussing the swampy inspirations for The Shallows, one of the settings in Fiery Edge of Steel. Want to see a semi-vintage photo that my husband took on our first (and only) swamp tour together? Interested in seeing my eclectic collection of fridge magnets? Stop by for a chance to win a copy of Fiery Edge of Steel.

The Fiery Edge of Steel Goodreads giveaway that my publisher sponsored ended last night with almost 900 people requesting a copy. Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and/or added the book to their Goodreads shelf!

THE MOON'S PHASES = PARTIAL INSPIRATION FOR WANING AND WAXING MAGIC

THE MOON’S PHASES = PARTIAL INSPIRATION FOR WANING AND WAXING MAGIC

Hope everyone is having a great week! :-D


Snakes, Sharks, and Planes: Lesley Carter of Bucket List Publications Encourages Us To Dream BIG

Lesley Carter is a travel adventure blogger I discovered through WordPress. She has posted about traveling all over the world, extreme adventures closer to home, as well as sporting events, spa days, and the importance of friends and family. Her online magazine, Bucket List Publications, is still relatively new and yet has an impressive number of subscribers and followers. Her core philosophy (live life to the fullest) is inspiring no matter what your age or tolerance for risk. She’s currently competing in an online competition to win a trip around the world and hopes to spread the word about it. So I asked her if she’d be willing to answer a few questions and share a few photos. She happily agreed. That’s her, upside down, in the biplane picture below.

Biplane

Jill Archer: Your blog is all about embracing life. You’ve often said that some people have a bucket list because they are dying, but you want one because you want to live. When did you first discover this unquenchable thirst for living life? Were you an adventurous child?

Lesley Carter: While other kids were playing dolls and dress-up, I was playing airline attendant and explorer. The passion to see, explore, and experience more was always there. Even at 8 years old, I planned a trip for my brother and I to fly and see my aunts who lived in a different province. I went as far as contacting the airline to see if we could travel alone. It’s in my blood.

JA: You write about pursuing life’s dreams. Bungee jumping, sky diving, adventure travel, etc. But what about the dreams you have while sleeping? Want to share one of your funniest, or scariest, nighttime dreams with us?

LC: Those are the things I dream about while sleeping. In most of my actual dreams, I can fly; not like with wings, but just fly. It’s peaceful and natural. Sometimes I’m flying to save someone from a burning building or sometimes I’m flying to get somewhere. I have a recurring dream that I’m flying to school but when I arrive I can’t stop flying, literally. I guess I’ve mastered the flight, just not the landing.

Snake

JA: Many of my followers are bibliophiles and book addicts. #39 on your personal Bucket List for this year is “Be a Motivational Speaker at an Event.” If you were speaking to a room of library and book lovers, how would you inspire them to pursue their passion in a new and unique way? In your extensive travels, have you discovered a place which would be “the perfect place to read” or “the best bookstore in the world”?

LC: In The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, my favorite author, he says, “The true value of time is that you’ve got to make your decisions in each day count, otherwise you could live forever and it won’t make much difference.” I try to reflect on that quote or at least that philosophy daily. We are only given one shot at this life, as far as I know, so it’s important to live life to the fullest. If you dream of visiting Italy, go! If you dream of skydiving, get up there and do it. Make this life count. Don’t ever wake up and say, “I wish I would have….” Your older, happier self will thank you.

As for the perfect place to read – the airplane! All you have is time. ;-)

JA: Although many of the things you’ve written about are extreme adventures (flying with a jet pack, swimming with sharks), some are about quieter moments (experiencing a spa day, seeing the sun rise)and some are just about the joys of being with family (giving birth to your daughter, returning to your childhood home, the importance of your husband and sister in your life). How do you stay so well-balanced?

LC: Each night, I reflect on what I’ve accomplished that day and what I’d like to accomplish in the days to come. I’ve learned that if I don’t find balance, I can’t truly enjoy the things that I love. For example, I wanted to swim with the whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium a few months ago. Athena was sick, though, and the drive to Georgia was frustrating. She was fussy and I was starting to feel terrible myself. Darren and I were up all night and I hadn’t really slept in a few days. I decided that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity so I went anyway. I got into the tank, started to swim, and passed out. If I would have changed the date, it would have been the most memorable, positive experience; instead, I had to be pulled out of the pool and miss the swim. The next weekend we went to Asheville for a spa day. I learned my lesson.

Sharks

JA: I think one of the neatest things about your blog is that you’ve not only encouraged others to pursue their dreams through your posts, but you’ve also organized a handful of bucket list adventures for others. Please share a bit about how you make OTHER PEOPLE’S bucket list dreams come true.

LC: In the last year and a half, I’ve gained a substantial following and support. I currently have 16,032,115 page views and 58,685 subscribers. I’ve used those numbers and klout to help others make their dreams a reality. People send me their bucket lists regularly and I do everything in my power to make them a reality. You can see examples by clicking here. I organized and found a way to offer these experiences for free for my readers. One reader drove a NASCAR and hung out in the pit with the crew, another reader went skydiving, and another went heliskiing at one of the top resorts in Canada. These are just a few examples.

Mud

JA: You’re currently competing in My Destination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List Contest. (And you’re currently in FIRST PLACE). If you win, you’ll have a chance to win a trip around the world and $50,000 to help you pay for expenses along the way. What is your tentative travel plan? What do you hope to accomplish with this trip? Of course, we’re happy for you! You sound amazing and inspiring! But what can we look forward to READING while you’re on tour? What’s your plan for keeping in touch with the folks that voted for you?

LC: Once the winner, me, is selected, My Destination will help make the travel plans. There are some countries that I haven’t seen that will definitely make the cut including:

  • South Africa
  • Kenya
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Austria
  • Iceland
  • Russia
  • Brazil

Darren will not be able to join me on the trip, but I plan to bring Athena. I have a great friend, Jessica, who I’ve traveled with in the past. She will join me as Athena’s nanny. Most days we will participate in activities together, but when I want to experience extreme adventures, Jessica will take Athena for a playdate. With a lot of planning and organization, it is all possible and who better to help plan it than My Destination? During the trip, I will continue to post daily or as much as possible. I want my readers to experience the world with me. Maybe you physically can’t be there this year, but I’ll make sure you don’t miss a thing. Like when I was in Fiji, I will utilize all forms of social media including WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and my website. After all, this is my wildest dreams come true. Traveling the world and sharing my experiences with others… it doesn’t get any better.

[JA: Darren is Lesley’s husband and Athena is her daughter. She blogs about them too. :-)]

QUICKIE QUESTIONS

  1. Favorite comfort food? McDonalds
  2. Best food you’ve ever had while traveling? Anything and everything in Italy!
  3. Favorite book? The Five People You Meet in Heaven
  4. Top resource for travel info (besides you ;-)) Other bloggers or travelers

If you enjoyed this interview, please consider voting for Lesley’s entry in My Destination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List Contest by clicking here so she can stay in first place, win the competition, and keep inspiring and entertaining us! :-D A big thanks to Lesley for doing this interview. Hope everyone is having a terrific week!


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