Confessions of a Quasi-Novice Blogger

I confess!  I know not how to respond to a Google reply/notification!  I have trouble replying to a Facebook message!  I struggle (still) to figure out Instagram!  <LMAO>

Is it an age thang?  Or a simple lack of knowledge?  Maybe a bit of both.  I love technology, though I [often] curse it.  Social media I totally get and attempt to pursue as regularly as limited time will allow, but—another admission—some sites/applications [to me] are as nebulous as clouds of dust.

I should probably find a social media expert who works [super] cheap, someone who can explain it in layman’s—er, layperson’s—terms so it’s understandable and doable.

Another bit of a digression today.  When ideas/thoughts pop into the ol’ noggin, you sometimes yearn to share them—maybe because, when you let others in on what you’re thinking or experiencing, the process provides a bit of that warm and fuzzy feeling (and that’s kind of ni-ice).

Blogging: what an awesome platform.  It enables us to open up, confess, entertain, instruct . . . sell . . . meet and greet.  We can reveal dreams, worries, and inexperience/naiveté.  We can expose ourselves to the world, something many of us may never previously have considered, much less done.  In essence, we’re able to wear our hearts on our sleeves (and that’s kind of ni-ice, too). blogsun1

Departures from the norm are a good thing now and again.  But next post, it’s back to the straight and narrow.  . . . Maybe.  Who knows what may catch my fancy the next few days?  <ROTFL>

Thanks for letting me in, my friends.


L’amour du Fromage or The Love of Cheese . . . y

Love cheese.  It’s nummy, as P.I. Rey would say, and full of calcium and protein, which is a good thing (we’ll overlook the cholesterol component).

Love cheesiness.  Not in a vulgar or crummy way, but as in silly and fun.

This blog certainly leans toward cheesy.  Many of the photos are stock and are “manipulated” by yours truly.  I’ll readily admit that they lean toward amateurish, which is fairly evident, but I’m okay with that . . .  ‘cause I love cheese-y.


Sure, I’d like this blog to look professional, but that would require paid-for services, which equals $$$, which I simply don’t possess [at this time].

But what’s wrong with a blog looking homemade?  Muffins and cookies prepared by a loving hand are 10X better than store-made bought.

I’m off on a bit of a tangent today and, therefore, not offering any bona fide advice, observations, or findings.  Merely having a bit of fun, doffing my layperson hat, and patting myself on the back for having gotten this far.

As I grow and develop, gain knowledge from other blogs, and learn through [a lot of] trial and error, A Writer’s Grab-Bag will undergo some tweaking.

In the meanwhile, I’ll stick with cheesy, because as a lover of le fromage, I’m fine with that.

Don’t take life [and blogging] too seriously.  Our time on this planet is incredibly short, my friends.  Have / poke some fun now and again, in an entertaining harmless way of course.  What’s meant to be, will happen . . . in its sweet, blessed time.

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Who Wants a Review or Two? I Do, I Do (Yes-sir-ree-Dooooo)!

No question.  This is the era of reviews.  We need them and we certainly want them.  (Because this blog revolves around writing/blogging, that’ll be the focus but, truly, the basics here could hold true for any business.)

I’ve had a couple of good ones for the first Triple Investigation Agency ebook, The Connecticut Corpse Caper.  My goal was to get several for it, as well as the subsequent mis-adventures of my P.I. trio.  Shame on me.  I’ve not actively/avidly pursued this (due to circumstances not quite in my control), but I will—that, my friends, is a wholehearted, determined, steadfast, unwavering promise.

I touched upon Google Reviews several days ago, but there are numerous online review websites—some are free, some not (know what you’re getting into before you commit).  Strive for independent reviews; they tend to be truthful.

Feel free to ask followers for reviews and check to see if it’s okay to post them online.  Also, take a look at blogs and sites that offer free ones.  Be aware, though, many reviewers (if not most) are inundated with requests.  It could prove tricky getting someone to agree to provide one, but persistence and perseverance do bring rewards.

Don’t pay for reviews, tempting as it may be (in earlier days, when none the wiser, I certainly considered it).  Many would view this as unethical . . . and really . . . how much faith could you put into something you shelled out money (or bartered) for?

Never generate fake reviews.  You don’t want to sully your reputation.  As an FYI: they’re also illegal and [often] pretty easy to recognize by readers; a great one amid oodles of so-so ones is going to stand out like the idiomatic sore thumb.  If most folks are anything like me—doing that due-diligence thang—they’ll scrutinize a number of reviews to get the broader picture.

Recognize (accept) that you might receive negative reviews.  People have different tastes and what one person may have found “amazing”, another may find “mediocre”.  Hopefully, those that aren’t as keen, will state so in a professional manner.


Less positive reviews needn’t be a bad thing, though.  Use the assessment to your advantage.  What’s being said?  How can you use that information to boost or better your writing or blog, service or product?

And if a review does lean toward the negative, don’t be contentious and write a seething response; respect the reviewer’s right to state how he/she feels.  If an erroneous statement or interpretation has been made, provide an [impartial] explanation or clarification.  Above all, if the review isn’t what you were expecting, don’t let it upset you.  Learn from it and move on.

Don’t hesitate to respond to reviews.  Reviewers will appreciate that (we all like to be acknowledged).  And who knows how the “relationship” will play out over time (I’ve made a few wonderful blogging buddies over the last year)?

To get you started—and to circle back to the first post re reviews—check out this YouTube vid re Google Reviews.

Here’s to an abundance of encouraging ones.

#1 . . . One . . . Won

#1 = single = first/firstly = one = sole = singular

The title, oddly, came in a dream.  What does/did it mean?  No idea!  But I felt a need to play with it.  Given this blog is related to writing/blogging and the gals (JJ, Rey and Linda) at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency, I’m simply going to type whatever pops into the ol’ noggin’.  Why not do one post without a pre-set plan in mind?

The first action I’m taking this (very early) morning is penning this post.  The second-first is taking a breather while enjoying a hot coffee (it’s really cold here right now) and a few cookies (orange-cranberry, in case you’re curious).

My single thought/objective re A Writer’s Grab-Bag: learn how to make and get the most out of it.  Utilize all the bells and whistles.  Make it happen.  That’s the #1 intention for the year.

My sole aim re the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series: get ”Forever Poi” completed and ready for Amazon, etc.  My one dream re the TTA P.I.s?  <LMAO>  Get a film/TV deal.

Maybe you’re new to this blog or blogs in general, or are thinking of starting your own.  That’s awesome!  You’ve got your #1 on the list nailed.

The #1 question on some folks’ minds perhaps: why create a blog?  We-ell, besides the fact it’s fun, blogging’s become a prevalent means of communication.  It’s an excellent way to share information.  Did you know money could be made at blogging?  T’is true.   It takes time, however, and commitment . . . and, as the saying goes, don’t quit your day job (at least not right away).

So, first and foremost, determine your niche/focus.  Who will you blog for?  Make it a sole priority to become familiar with “Blogging 101”.  Don’t be daunted by the plethora of information out there; embrace it.


It’s been on your mind, on your tongue, and in your heart—so, commit to it.  And Day One: set up that blog (it’s neither difficult nor time-consuming).  It’s Establish goals.  Get a domain name and blog host, install a free blogging platform, add an opt-in form to collect subscribers/followers, start posting (take a look at last year’s posts).  And after you’ve got that marvelous eye-catching blog up and running, one thing you’ll want to do: keep it interesting, keep it fresh/current.

We all have it within us to do well.  You (and I) can be top bloggers—#1s!  It’s merely a matter of applying ourselves and managing each objective as if it were the first and foremost one.

We’ve won when even one (no matter how small the goal is) is done, because—kudos to us—we made a decision and saw it through to fruition.

Ones have run into some, but they’re still single units in the grand scheme of it all.  And now, the single thing I’m going to do is give thought to the weekend post while munching more of the aforementioned cookies.  Nummmmm.

Have one heckuva day, my friends!



Huh? Can’t Hear Ya

Okay, audio probably isn’t that important when it comes to a blog post—but then it depends on what your blog’s about, doesn’t it?

I got so stoked about succeeding with video embedding last time, I felt a need to attempt the audio counterpart . . . and now sweat beads are beginning to trickle.

One day, when The Triple Threat Investigation Agency series becomes a full-time blogging-writing-promoting venture, the plan is to utilize auditory effects.  The crucial phrase: one day.  <LOL>  Everything in its time.

The reasoning behind the plan to use audio: to make my private-eye gals come alive . . . share Hawaiian sounds (coz JJ, Rey and Linda would love for you to hear “aloha” as much as see it) . . . for me to talk to you as a blogger/writer.  Maybe I’ll even include a P.I. playlist.  The sky’s the limit.  It’s easy to envision; it’s merely a question of finding the time.  That crucial phrase again: one day.

Evidently, adding an audio file or music to a blog post is super easy.  They’d said that about video, and they were right (relatively).  I won’t list the steps here, but there’s a quick vid at the end of the post on how to accomplish this [another pat on back to moi].


So, that doesn’t look too appealing, does it?  Poop.   . . . Ah, okay.  Looks fine in Preview.  Whew.  Awesome!  Yeah, the sky’s the limit.  I’m loving this.

Ya know . . . maybe I’m not so technically challenged, after all.



If a Picture Paints a 1000 Words, then a Vid Must Paint a Mill

Eye candy’s everything when it comes to viewers/followers sticking with a post and site.  If it ain’t pretty or “fetching”, you’ll likely lose that potential follower.

A Writer’s Grab-Bag aims to be neat and organized, but from a purely personal perspective, I’d bet dollars to donuts many would claim it’s not overly professional.  That’s okay.  Blogs are often personal spaces—spheres filled with subjective thoughts or objective info, or maybe a combination of both, depending on the blogger’s focus/purpose.

Without repeating that photos, fonts, whitespace and other types of visuals make for an appealing site—oopsy, guess I just did—another effective tool to utilize is a video.  I’ve seen a few blogs that use them well—professionally, instructionally, and humorously (as it roll-on-the-floor funny).  It’s one thing I’ve longed to do, but haven’t yet [don’t ask].

For those of you who are new to blogging or technically challenged [intimidated] like me, Google “how to embed a video”.  The steps sound easy enough.  Let’s see if they indeedy-do are.

In my how-to-embed-a-vid voyage through the Google cosmos, I discovered that it’s not a great idea to host your own video.  Hey, I’m pleased as punch to get someone else’s uploaded.  I don’t need to attempt my own; that would mean I’d have to create one.  Yikes!  <LOL>  But if you’re interested in doing so, go for it: instructions abound.  As an FYI: Blogger, powered by our friend Google, is a handy tool for doing this.

Given the focus of this post is embedding a video and I’ve proven successful (it’s unfortunate you can’t see me doing cartwheels as I continue to shriek for joy) here’s a video on how to do just that.

Happy embedding.

Authoring an Author Blog . . . or . . . Whadya Wanna Write About?

We’ve touched upon blogging, landing pages, editing, proofing, and the list goes on.  What we (okay, I) haven’t yet “discussed” is an author blog—like the one I’m attempting to master.

You’re an author/writer and you want to blog about it . . . share your projects and output with the world . . . make some $$$ at it (I know I would).  So, let’s center on that, shall we?

What makes for a good author blog?  One that’s constantly updated—it’s fresh, factual, and maybe even fun.  Success will be contingent upon three main factors:

  • frequency (of posting/updating)
  • interest component, and
  • what and how well you write (how you convey thoughts/ideas).

The writing world’s changed big-time since I first set out to become a published (successful/prosperous) writer.  That, obviously, has not [yet] occurred.   <LMAO>  The methods/mediums have transformed drastically.  Change is good; stagnation is not.  Self-promotion is a necessity while sitting back, hoping for the best, is a cop-out (unless making sales or attracting followers is neither here nor there).

I digress.  What type of author blog should you go for?  That’s entirely up to you.  Consider how much time you want (can) devote.  Can you post daily?  If not, then weekly?  How often are you able to update your blog?  Truly, you don’t want to be inactive for too long; you want to generate—and keep—interest.

Whether you post daily or weekly, make sure to write from your heart about what you love and know, and do so with sincerity and confidence.  Maybe you’re not Ernest Hemingway or Voltaire, but you are you: a unique entity with a unique voice.  Take pride in that.

What’s the focus of the author blog, besides selling yourself?  Will you keep a personal blog journal?  Discuss world events?  Start a writing community—maybe a genre-specific one?  Maybe you’d like to do reviews?  The sky’s the limit . . . to a point.  You want to stay on point and not diversify too much.

Take a look at what others are doing; you’ll surely acquire a notion or two that will get the gray matter percolating.  You may get so excited, you’ll decide to get involved in a blog tour (kinda like a book tour and equally fun).

The one thing that’s sure to come out of all this is that—besides perfecting the art of writing/posting—you’ll gain a whack-load of blogging knowledge.

. . . It really is all good, fellow author.  Now, get out there and show us your stuff!




Rolling Along the Blogging Trail

This is exactly what I’m doing, rolling along the blogging trail . . . like a honey-coated golf ball . . . and progressing like a keen Monachoides vicinus (otherwise known as land snail).


“Forever Poi”, the fourth in The Triple Threat Investigation Agency mystery series, is taking forever to complete, but it’s all good.  Sometimes you just need to invest [more] time in a project than you’d initially anticipated.

Never rush.  Errors and sloppiness abound as a result (to this I can and will attest).  Take those baby steps I always [ad nauseam perhaps] refer to.  Some say have a plan or an outline; others say take it as it comes.  I’m a have-a-plan kinda gal (coz I am so not spontaneous), but do whatever works best for you.

Straightforward and simple advice for today (I’m counseling myself as much as you):

  • stay focused
  • be proactive
  • suck up as much information as you can, and above all,
  • believe in yourself.

Never give up or in.  It will come.