Conundrum: Should Authors Wear the ‘Reviewer’ Hat? (Part 2)

Hello again, and thank you for stopping in a second time this week. Here is where we left off (should you be a blog-post behind and want to catch up 🙂 ).

I’ve posted plenty of ‘thoughts on books’ at this blogsite. (They’re categorized under ‘Reviews’ and ‘Thoughts on Books”, but I no longer consider them formal ‘reviews.’ Perhaps I don’t feel qualified to ‘review’ someone else’s work. MHO maintains that critiquing someone else’s story implies I know something more and maybe that just ain’t so. )

Aside: Remembering to post my thoughts at bookseller sites is a whole ‘nother ball-of-wax. Kind of messes with the reasons why one writes them in the first place. 🙂

Like Carrie Rubin, if I do blog about a specific book, I’m going to keep it positive. Most authors invest a lot of time, effort and heart into their works. It’s no fun to feel all that input trashed by someone who didn’t like it.

I know first-hand how it feels to be on the receiving end of some really nice reviews. I’ve also had lower-number-star reviews. These were generally kind, but suggested my debut novel was just okay. (I appreciated the kindness and took the positive out of the reviewer’s thoughts.)

So how do I handle it when my (Ahem!) constructive feedback outweighs the encouraging thoughts?

One: If the book just doesn’t do it for me—even if I promised a review in exchange for a copy of the book—I’ve gone one of two ways. If I can get through it, I’ll keep it positive and hone in on the good stuff. Recently though, I emailed an author with my concerns and why I couldn’t FINISH his/her particular book. (Not that I received a response. Shoulder shrug.)

Two: I will voice my issues with a story in a blog post. I plan on doing so next time—namelessly. Not to trash the author or the book, but to offer suggestions to other writers about tactics, etc, that put me off as a reader, but as a reader-turned-writer too.

And this is where things get mucked up for those of us who wear the author/writer/reader hat. Is it a conflict of interest to consume the very product I produce? I’ve yet to meet a writer who wasn’t an avid reader. (I imagine most of us remain the latter.) My problem: my increasingly critical writer/editor side has messed with my willingness to slog through work that isn’t up to the standards I’ve learned—or have been told—should exist.

Finally, if the reader/writer ‘reviewers’ take that step back and don’t offer their opinions on fellow authors’ works, I think we’d be losing a host of highly insightful thoughts into what makes a book palatable. After all, I’m thinking we be the toughest nuts to crack when it comes to deeming a story a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ read.

Should we post constructive thoughts, or just the glowing positive thoughts—at our blogs, review and/or bookseller sites?

If the constructive feedback is not terribly discouraging, disparaging and not necessarily overriding the good in the story, sure. I.e.,  ‘this worked for me, but I might have preferred if the author had…”

Hain’t ya glad I didn’t dump all this into a comment on your blog, Carrie?

Your turn, friends. Can’t imagine we’re lacking for thoughts on this. Let ’em ride! 😀

Happy rest of the week and weekend,

Joanna

 

 

 

Linking Up and a Blog-Reveal Too

Hi everyone! Hope you enjoyed the weekend and the NFL championship games. All due credit and congratulations to the Seahawks, for pulling off the improbable, but what a heartbreaker for those of us rooting for the Packers. 😦

Australian Open Tennis Championships are underway! Yay!

The reveal: I’ve been working at developing speaker workshops for the past year or so, the mainstay of which will be parenting-related. To go with it, I started a new blog/website, where I will be posting all future parenting posts (among other related topics). Promise I won’t turn down any of the love or support any of you care to show by following it and/or sharing about it. (Just sayin’! 😉 )

Linking up: Figured I’d take the opportunity to hook y’all up with some of my most loyal supporters. Check their blogs out. Bet you’ll find something you like!

Carrie Rubin: The Write Transition–today she’s got a list of books you might be interested in reading. She also blogs on many different topics, typically infusing each with her unique style of humor.

At How the Cookie Crumbles, Tess is currently taking us on a virtual trip to China via a series of posts based on her current trip. She’s also awesome at 100-word shorts.

Young adult fiction author Stacey Wilk offers her take on parenting, growing up Italian and other topics.

Accent the positive and be inspired at Lewar’s blog–my latest find.

Have a wonderful day!

Joanna

 

 

 

 

Release Day: Christine Warner’s SECRET LOVE!

Happy Monday after the French Open final, folks!  Can you say it ten times fast? 😉  Hope all is well in all of your worlds!

Congrats to the record-setting NINE-time champion, Rafael Nadal! (Good thing the match didn’t go to a fifth and deciding set. The champ and his opponent, World  No. 2 and highly likable Novak Djokovic were morphing into the injured playing the ill, respectively.)

Tour-Banner-Secret-Love

I’m taking a break from my regularly scheduled blogging to share about online friend and author Christine Warner’s latest romantic release, SECRET LOVE. Congratulations, Christine! All the best to you in your latest endeavor!

Christine-Warner-Author-Pic

Bio: Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her husband, three children, one laptop and a much loved assortment of furry friends. Besides laughing and a good round of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmetic.  A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines. A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, she enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on Facebook, Twitter and her website at christine-warner.com.

(Psst! Christine can be found at Goodreads, too!)

Secret-Love-Hi-Rez

* Genre: Sweet Nostalgic Novella

*   Length: 69 Pages

*   The Sweet Fifties Series {Book 1}

Please note: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Christine Warner’s Secret Love for review and promotional purposes.

Christine Warner’s sweet romantic novella immediately landed me in the mid-1940s and 50s. This highly nostalgic short story did not lack for character development. Perhaps the story moved along a tad quickly, but in all fairness to the author, Ms. Warner provided enough backstory to seamlessly cut into the novella’s present. The prose is concise and the text well-edited. Detail is appropriate to the period. Like the songs of old Ms. Warner mentions throughout the story, nostalgia flows effortlessly via lively descriptions and dialogue, readily giving present-day life to a time long past.

Thirteen-year-old Lizzie Tarleton is a bit of a spit-fire. I happened to very much like her soap-eating ‘younger version.’ Not that I disliked her 23-year-old self, when the story proper picks up ten years after the reader meets her.) I was particularly fond of Lizzie’s willingness to jump out of her comfort zone to speak her mind, during a time period when girls were not raised to be forthcoming with their thoughts, let alone their feelings toward a boy.

Seventeen-year-old Wayne Whitmore is Lizzie’s brother’s best bud. His compassion toward Lizzie immediately endeared him to this reader, how he cared enough to spare her feelings in that first scene.

Ms. Warner does a nice job bringing her characters together ten years later. Lizzie is now a teacher at the high school where Wayne is the principal. (I did have a bit of a hard time trying to accept him in that role so young.) I didn’t find the story’s conflict to be terribly powerful, but I had no problem buying into it as real or universal. Ms. Warner took what could be a situation in any couple’s world, and built it into an engaging tale of how they overcame it to embark on their happily ever after.

The Story:

Lizzie Tarleton has always done things her own way—including the time at the tender age of thirteen when she confessed to her brother’s best friend she loved him. But now she’s a new teacher at the local high school, and independent enough to know that you can’t force love. She’ll find love when the time is right—even though her parents are adamant the time is now. The only downfall to her idyllic life is the fact that her childhood crush—who broke her heart—is now her boss. If only she could stop daydreaming about him.

Wayne Whitmore grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and worked hard to get where he’s at in life. Even though he enjoys being principal at the small town high school, he dreams of coaching baseball. When his best friend asks him to watch over his little sister at her new job at Wayne’s school, he agrees. What he doesn’t count on is how she’s grown from the pig tailed kid who told him she loved him, to the woman who breaks his concentration with her beauty and smile. Unable to get over his fascination, and afraid he’ll ruin his friend’s trust, Wayne applies for his dream job—one that will take him far away.

One night while decorating the school gymnasium for an upcoming sock hop, Lizzie and Wayne find themselves alone. They share a kiss and Lizzie realizes her childhood crush for Wayne has never died. Wayne decides he doesn’t want to let Lizzie get away.

Can they come to terms with their secret love and then overcome the other secrets they are hiding in order to get what they each want? Or is their timing for love still off?

An Excerpt:

She blinked away the heat of tears forming at the back of her eyes. Their conversation had grown too serious. She needed to lighten things up a bit. “Remember when we used to play ‘What if?’”

He laughed. “What if Lizzie wore a dress?”

“Either she was going to church, or her mom was having a ladies’ social.” Lizzie giggled. “Ricky hated that game.”

“He’d get so mad when you’d start it.” He made the final cut on a small snowflake and added it to the pile before him.

“What if Wayne couldn’t throw his famous curve ball?”

“The school trophy case would be one trophy short. What if Lizzie wasn’t teaching here?”

She pouted. “She’d be sad. I have no idea what I’d be doing if I hadn’t found a job here. What does Lizzie have to do to show Wayne she thanks him?” She winked, enjoying their fun.

He cleared his throat. “What if Wayne said Lizzie owed him a kiss?”

Her belly trembled. What if?

“What if he stole one?” His voice lowered and he leaned in.

“Why don’t you find out?” she whispered.

Buy SECRET LOVE here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Christine’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Happy Release Day, Christine! And thanks to all of you who took the time to read through this marathon of a post! If you like what you read, would you kindly share and help Christine pass on the word!

Here’s to a wonderful week to all,

Joanna

 

 

Krista’s ‘Brilliant Disguise’ Prompted Me in Multiple Ways

Happy St. Patrick’s Day,  blogger buds!

Hope the weekend treated you well and that all celebrations were what you wanted them to be. I kept busy with a family birthday party; compiling related blog articles into booklets to go along with a workshop in-the-works; communicating with Debbie at The Cover Collection–see my rave about it here–and getting this post together (while working from an iPad and a laptop—I never wanted that first desktop, lol).

I’m also preparing my share of a St. Patty’s Day school breakfast: a cheese, pepperoni and cracker tray, oatmeal-raisin-cranberry-almond bars and a coconut cake with awesome cream-cheese butter frosting. (Yum.)

The above are just a few of the reasons I want to retire from school. Who has time to work?

leprechaun-card1

Clip art courtesy of clipartsandcrafts.com

Today’s post was inspired by a WordPress prompt. I subscribe to them and every now and again like the topic enough to pull together a response. I also believe it’s a great way to connect with other bloggers and possibly grow one’s follower base. (How it works: Comments are always closed on prompts. Pingbacks are enabled; if you link to the prompt post on your blog, your post will appear in the list below the prompt.)

This one was entitled Brilliant Disguise. Krista suggested writing about a time someone really pulled the wool over your eyes. (And just b/c I’m a distracted disaster my brain immediately started playing Bruce Springsteen’s title track to the CD by the same name—do we still call them CDs in this download-driven world?—and my favorite off that collection: All That Heaven Will Allow. If you’ve never heard that song, you HAVE to. Then make sure you come back, lol.)

Here’s my story: We were on vacation with another family at one of my favorite places on the planet: East Hill Farm in New Hampshire. (Fans of the movie Dirty Dancing will relate; this place reminded me of Kellerman’s.) We’d been out earlier in the day and passed a Harley-Davidson dealership.

Hubby was into motorcycles then. (Just a hair of background: we’ve always promised to discuss spending upward of a certain amount of $$ before doing so.)

Long story short, hubby went out with his friend for a while that afternoon, and came back in time for ‘cocktails’ on the lawn. This man, who could never-ever get a fib past me—I can tell from the way his lips look against his teeth whenever he tries; no I can’t explain it—told me he had a surprise and that he’d just purchased a brand new Harley.

Since money-rich is something we are so not, lol, I probably stared at this mouth and teeth looking for the fib. Maybe I was so floored at his ‘news’ I missed it. His buddy sat next to him, nodding and confirming what hubby said. Finally convinced hubby was telling the truth, and beyond hurt that he’d go there, I ran off, fighting back tears, as a romance writer would say.

I can still see his buddy calling across that giant lawn, and hearing his voice almost in slow motion: “Joanna! He didn’t do it!”

Hubby followed, dug me out of our room and told me the truth. (Might have been the first and only time he called me ‘sweetheart’ too. I usually go by ‘Babe’ or ‘Joey.’ When he calls me ‘Joanna’ it’s not necessarily for a good reason.)

So that’s what Brilliant Disguise at WordPress prompted me to write. How about you? BTW, comments are closed on these prompts but pingbacks enable you to connect with other bloggers responses. So, if you choose to share your story, just post a link to your blog in the comments as well, and maybe even connect to WordPress.

You never know where that could lead you. I’m still not convinced, but my follower base supposedly increased by at least 400 after I connected with one a little while back. Next week, I’ll share some links to some great posts I came across this week, simply to keep this one from getting any longer.

Have a great day,

Joanna

The Cover Collection–Stop By for Inspiration!

Hi all! Hope you fared a relaxing and/or productive weekend and got to do something special. I was thrilled to have found a nearby tennis court clear of snow, ice and puddles, where I played a couple of sets. Of course I lost (that’s just the way of it). Definitely had a rusty day (haven’t been out there since the fall), but I do find happiness in the spring-like weather swinging away at a little green ball.

Rowsy   Rowsy kittens

These photos are for Tess. On the left is my Rowsy, who lived at least 22 years. Under the tabby gray was evidence of calico mix. It certainly showed in her kitties. 

Special welcome to Robbie! She found me via a pingback at NYTBSA Bob Mayer’s blog (How cool is THAT?!) to a guest-post I wrote a while back for author Babette James, when indie publishing was starting to really make its mark.

Promise to work really hard to keep the rest of this quick. (The other writing-related/workshop projects are lined up and waiting patiently. And hubby is looking forward to the egg-wrap I normally make for him on the weekends. )

A couple of posts ago I talked about some inspiring articles at author Joe Bunting’s blog, The Write Practice. Recently, guest blogger, author Carlos Cooper, talked about how perusing pre-made cover art for ideas and inspiration led him to buying a cover that caught his interest and inspired a book to go with it. Since I’ve done well so far with applying some of what I’ve read at Joe’s excellent stop-on-the-web for writers, I figured I’d go for it.

Like Carlos, I did a search. Landed at UK-based The Cover Collection and immediately fell in love with a cover under the Romance tab. Lined up to pay the ridiculously reasonable costs—via PayPal—for ebook and CreateSpace covers for the follow up to my debut novel. BTW, the latter is a print-book front-only option TCC offers to help authors save $$. Older Son is savvy enough to do spine and back cover work.

Virtually met and began interacting with Debbie. She has been utterly WONDERFUL helping me customize the stunning cover I bought. (I promise the images appear to breathe.) She is very generous with her time, open to suggestions and somehow, totally “gets” what moves me visually. One of the versions she made for the sequel—based on my requests—resulted in big-time pay dirt: perfect theme/story-related cover art for my debut, No Matter Why!

So, two lovely covers-in-the-works later, I am taking steps in the direction I’ve wanted to go all along. No cover reveals today; we’re still working on them. (Yes, very patient Debbie is kind enough to put up with me. ;).

So I suppose this is short enough a post for me. (Please feel welcome to differ and say so, lol. No offense taken, pinky swear!) I know, there were a lot of links here. (That’s what happens when you drop in at Jami Gold’s virtual-web stop.) For those of you daring enough to check out each one and somehow wind up back here—you far more focused than I.

Hope this has been as inspiring for you as for me. Thanks for indulging me.

Have a great week,

Joanna

On A Virtual Visit with Babette James…

Happy first Friday in August folks–hey! Didn’t July start just the other day? Where did it go?

I’m visiting with fellow Liberty States Fiction Writers member Babette James today! She’s been kind enough to offer me the opportunity to share the topic of my recent talk at the Howell Twp Public Library in NJ. So if you couldn’t be there in person, here are the highlights of my chat with some very nice folks who took time out of their busy Saturday to hear what I had to say.

You’ll find a little sneak-peak there as well. Come on over: http://babettejames.com/2012/08/03/what-id-do-differently-by-joanna-aislinn/

Joanna

Are You Published or Want to Be?

Happy Friday, friends! For those of you in the area who might consider joining me, I’ll be at the Howell Library, Howell, NJ tomorrow! I’d love to see familiar faces and some new ones, too!

Here’s the flyer!

What I Wish I’d  Known—and Done Differently—

 BEFORE I Got Published!

WHERE:     Howell Library   318 Old Tavern Road;    Howell, NJ 07731 (732) 938-2300

WHEN:         July 28, 2012    10 AM-12 Noon

That manuscript burned a hole in your hard drive. You prodded it, polished it to a blinding shine, then sent out query letters to agents and editors. Nothing to do now but wait for a response, right?

Maybe not.

New Jersey author of romance and women’s literature, Joanna Aislinn, has been there, done that and earned the tee-shirt. Armed with the knowledge and perspective only hindsight brings, Joanna will share important tips on what aspiring and soon-to-be-published authors should do while waiting for that first contract.

Joanna Aislinn’s debut novel, No Matter Why (originally published by The Wild Rose Press), was hailed by her editor as “…what a contemporary should be…an emotional journey…a beautiful story well told.”

When not working her day job or attending to a husband, two boys and two cats, Joanna is crafting sequels, planting seeds for future stories of love and commitment, judging contests, networking and expanding her writing and speaking horizons. Friend her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/joannaaislinn) and follow her on Twitter (@JoannaAislinn).

                                                                                                             

For a variety of articles and tips on craft, social media and so much more, check out Joanna’s blog (https://joannaaislinn.wordpress.com) and website (www.joannaaislinn.com). 

Best Compilation for a Writer Yet–and More!

Happy Thursday, friends; summer is upon us and so are the Wimbledon’s Tennis Championships! (I’ve got A LOT of papers to file–an entire school year’s worth, lol.) Nothing like plopping the laptop onto my desk and following the matches and my fave players while I grind through the tedious job of sorting through notes, reports, etc. I’m planning to go paperless on the reports next year.

I’ve been having issues with getting those next few wips off the ground, so today, I decided to share some pretty awesome resources that have been helping me in the brainstorming and story structure departments. Hope some/all of these will be of some help to you too! 🙂

This compilation by Margo Berendsen was so awesome, it needed a ‘pointing to’ all its own. Packed with tips and reference articles on writing and especially revision, I may be combing through this over the course of the next few weeks!  Thanks Margo!

21 Ways to Make Your Plot More Compelling

  Plotting Simplified–Eddie Jones–the BEST $0.99 you’ll ever spend. (Read my thoughts on this packed little gem here.)

  Break Into Fiction: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells–Dianna Love and Mary Buckham. This one seems particularly geared to those who like compiling lists and character sketches at every imaginable level. You’ll gain excellent insight into characters and conflict, with examples from three very popular movies included for every checklist!

  Yesterday, I picked up Roz Morris’ Nail Your Novel; currently working my way through her thoughts and exercises for reviving and revising that first draft or even seeing one through. I’m liking her style and approach: formal exercises via a bit of an informal approach–feel more my style at this point.

I’d love to know if you’re familiar with these resources. If so, how have you utilized them in any way? Did you find them helpful? If so, how?

As always, I thank you for stopping in, and taking the time to SHARE, assuming you care to do so!

Have a wonderful day,

Joanna

Healthy Snack–I’m Thinking Not–Part 2 (Makeovers)

Good day, everyone. Looking forward to a great day and weekend filled with tennis. The French Open is seriously sidetracking me from other things I should be doing, lol. Coverage for this tournament has seriously improved. (Thanks, ESPN, NBC and Tennis Channel. You’re all making one girl quite happy! : Maybe I’ll even get all that junk mail sitting on my enclosed front porch separated and ready for the mobile shredder–one can hope and set those lofty goals, right?))

For fellow blogger Janet S: See how the middle of the zucch blossom looks as if there are multiple stamens in there? That’s the bloom you DON’T pick! 😉

Back to business: Last time I went into a mini-rant about the hidden hazards of foods deemed “healthy” by one internet article I read. I also promised a few of my fixes for the problem. Please keep in my mind I AM NOT A HEALTH OR NUTRITION EXPERT. These are simply some tweaks that have worked for me. Check with your physician if you have any questions, and especially if you have any health concerns.

Having shared that disclaimer, here are some ways I “healthy up” a snack:

Flavored yogurts: unless they’re sugar-free (and usually sweetened with aspartame or sucralose), I’m looking at 26 gramsof sugar per 6-8-oz serving or the equivalent of 6.5 added measured teaspoons. On one container from the fridge (hubby likes them), sugar was the second ingredient listed; corn syrup the fourth.

Are you kidding me???? See what I mean about hidden diet dangers? I’ve learned to substitute a fat-free plain yogurt (Greek-strained is awesome), flavor it with natural daniva (i.e., vanilla, as my son used to say), sugar substitute or even some sugar-free coffee creamer.

I know, I know. Honey and fresh or frozen fruits (i.e., strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc) would be better sweetener choices.  Remind me to work on that. 😉

Cookies: no matter WHAT you choose you’re looking at starch. Starch—good or not—is bound to expand bellies, butts and thighs. I believe no food group should be eliminated, so how about oatmeal cookies or graham crackers? Both made from better grains than most store-bought chocolate chips or shortbread. (Ever do natural peanut butter and jelly on either of my preferred two? Guaranteed awesome snack, dessert or even breakfast. Sprinkle on some plain—preferably not instant—oatmeal for added fiber. (BTW, if you’re into baking, cookies made with whole wheat white flour—especially oatmeal-raisin—usually bake up really similar to their white-flour counterparts.)

Cereals: what a bummer this was for someone who probably made her career weight-gain chomping down on bowl after bowl as a kid watching soaps during summer vacation from school. If you’re under10 gramsof sugar for any box of pre-sweetened cereals, consider that one of your better choices. “Healthy” options (i.e., raisin brans, etc) are usually 15 grams/serving or more.

What’s a weight-conscious person to do?

My super-easy fix: measure half a serving of your favorite mixed with an unsweetened “filler.” Example: I love Honey-Nut Cheerios. I’ll buy a box of that and one of regular Cheerios (which really do have an awesome taste all their own with1 gramof sugar/serving). Mix equal parts of each, or even bump up the unsweetened counterpart—as long as I taste the sweeter one, I’m good! Another ready alternative: have that traditional oatmeal on hand and mix it with your favorite sweet cereal using the ratios I just listed. Takes a bit of getting used because of its chewiness, but easy to love in the long run.

Pre-packed oatmeal is another major trap (unless it’s plain) and easy to healthy-up with little to no effort. So much cheaper too! I stir milk, vanilla and sugar substitute into a serving of old-fashioned oats (the canister kind) and heat for one minute on high in the microwave. Breakfast is served. (Doing the cereal-mix here too, especially with plain Cheerios or shredded wheat makes for a seriously hearty whole/multi-grain breakfast. Add cinnamon, raisins, dried cranberries, bananas—whatever excites you—and you’re talking serious yum to start your day.

So how do you stay clear of pitfalls that look good enough to eat? Please share if you dare and maybe click a SHARE button before you go, too. As always, I thank you!

Here’s to a wonderful day to all,

Joanna

Quick FlashBack: Why WordPress Rocks

Ten Reasons (Okay, Eleven) Why WordPress Rocks

It’s been a busy weekend, folks. So, since I originally thought this was running at fellow Liberty States Fiction Writer Nathan Rudy’s blog today–it ran on the first Wed of April instead–I figured I’ll do another catch-up thing and run it here. If you’re here for the first time, welcome and to you this is all new!

So I was hopping through the blogosphere, dealing with some technical blog-post issues when I realized it might do many well —including myself—to sing the praises of WordPress: my blogging software of choice (WP, from here on in).

Disclaimer: I’ve never used another type of blogging software. This article is based solely on my experience with WP and not intended to take away from other brands, if you will.

First, please allow me to credit multi-published author and LSFW secretary Caridad Pineiro for introducing me to WP. Several years ago, this ever-generous-and-amazingly-patient soul gave several hours of her very packed schedule to this ridiculously green newbie writer. Caridad did her best to show me how to create a site and add content that evening. I took notes but may as well have written in Polish, Slavic, Chinese or some other foreign language; I couldn’t make sense of my own notes.

That was in the fall of 2008. Took until the following spring before the ‘a-ha’ moment happened. (I wrote about it on my first post, I was so excited.) I was at least a year into the process before it all started making real sense.

I’ve been blogging with WordPress ever since. Back then, I learned first and foremost: write my posts in a word-processing application then copy and paste into my blogging software. (I’ve lost information and/or changes writing directly into the software. Plus, I have my own draft of the article on my hard drive and/or backed up otherwise. Although WordPress is most likely in no danger of this at all, I’ve read the horror stories of bloggers whose blogging companies shut down and all their posts lost.)

Okay, on to the reasons I’m very happy with WordPress:

(1) Support: (a) “Happiness Engineers” have always gotten back to me via email, usually within 24 hours of my query. Responses have always been helpful and subsequent questions always answered by the same HE; (b) tons of support articles and WordPress TV (video help) available with one click on ‘Help;’ (c) forum of fellow WP bloggers willing to chime in with their experiences on a given topic.

(2) A multitude of free themes designed to meet different blogging needs/likes. One click is all it takes to change the look and feel of your blog, and more custom options (i.e., headers) than I can share about. (This is great for someone like me who gets tired of the same look after a while.)

(3) Inexpensive domains ($24/year), though some folks have described the .me domain as ‘cheesy.’ (I’m still thinking about that one. My website costs a lot more than that to host.)

(4) Newsletter subscriptions of choice: I subscribe to fellow bloggers’ blogs and at least three of WP’s informational blogs. (The latter keep me updated on many things WordPress! J) I also subscribe to The Daily Post, “an experiment in blogging motivation from the folks atWordPress.com.” These lovely folks post blogging ideas and tips to help bloggers get the most out of their blogs. There are also daily and weekly post challenges, photo challenges—you name it. Each is delivered straight to my inbox.

(5) I LOVE this feature: number of comments, likes, etc feature posted at the top of my screen when I’m signed in to WP and reading mine or any other WP blog. Clicking on this lovely little number at the top shows me who “liked” and/or commented on my post. Best of all: this same feature shows responses to my comments at other WP blogs; this means I don’t have to remember where I commented in the event there was a response! Cool, right?

(6) Also at the top of my screen: access to a new post screen on the very WP site I’m visiting. If I’m inspired to write a post of my own, I don’t have to leave the article that inspired me! (For those of us who have the focus of a flea, this is a godsend. J)

(7) My favorite: Reblogging: An awesome feature recently re-introduced (and very similar to the PressThis! share button at the bottom of my post.

Here’s how it works:

I’m at someone’s blog and read an article that totally speaks to me. I hit reblog. I get the option of writing a little intro before hitting send. Now that write-up becomes my next post and is instantly delivered to my followers’ inbox as well. Easy-peasy promo for the fellow blogger and instant content for mine. Awesome, yes? (And on that note, check out the WordPress landing page. Freshly Pressed offers a page of thumbnails to a variety of blogs. Promo from the WP folks themselves to help get your name out there and drive traffic to your site. Ask social media maven Kristen Lamb what making Freshly Pressed did for her blog! Not sure what it takes to get picked but I’m hoping to get there one of these days!)

(8) Simple importing/exporting of content: more on that here.

(9) Maybe it’s coincidence, but seems like many of those making a name for themselves in the writing world (i.e., Kristen Lamb, Sean Platt, etc) recommend using WordPress. Honestly, I’ve yet to read different.

(10) This is the newest reason: badges for celebrating milestones. Cool and fun!

(11) Way more features, incentives and ideas that I’m by no means aware exist. BUT: go to WordPress.com and start looking around. Promise you’ll come across something that meets your needs.

So, there you have it. MHO of why WordPress is the way to go if you’re looking to start a blog or switch from the software you’re currently using. Now, the audience participation part: assuming you’re a blogger too, which software do you use? Are you happy with it? Why or why not? And as a blog reader, do you notice any difference between blogs hosted by different companies?

Again, I thank you, Nathan, for having me here! For those of you who liked what you read, won’t you please take a moment and help spread this content into cyberspace by clicking one of the share buttons below? Thanks for taking the time to read!

My thoughts on a great, romantic weekend read on Friday. Hope you stop in!

Have a wonderful day!

Joanna