Sally Cronin has done it again . She’s come up with another wonderful holiday season series at the Smorgasbord Invitation. Sally invites writers to join her Christmas Bookfair to showcase your books and stories.
Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – The Christmas Book Fair with Guest Writers – starting November 18th 2019
I know that this is a tad early but the series will be starting on Monday November 18th to ensure that every author that is in the Cafe and Bookstore is featured before Christmas.
Each author in the Cafe and Bookstore will have one of their books showcased, and I will usually pick the first in a series, with links to the other books, or the author’s latest release.
I will include the best review for that particular book and the usual links to Amazon, Goodreads and social media.
If you are on the shelves, you don’t need to do anything, but I would be grateful if you would share the post on your own social media to help promote, not just your books, but the other authors that are featured.
Guest posts for the Christmas Book Fair.
This year I will also be running a separate series alongside the book fair. I will be inviting some special guests along to talk about various aspects of writing, proofreading,editing, formatting and design as well as those who write within a specific genre such as non-fiction, romance, crime thrillers and fantasy.
And I will ask some book reviewers to share the key elements they look for in what they consider to be a four or five star rated read.
New Books on the Shelves of the Cafe
If you have a new book coming out between now and Christmas then please let me know. For those already in the Cafe and Bookstore, all I will need is the link on Amazon either as pre-order or available.
There will be other promotions in the run up to Christmas including A Christmas Blog Party on Friday 20th December that everyone will be invited to.. food, drink and music… and an opportunity to promote your blog in the comments.
In the meantime.. do not forget to let me know about new books due out before Christmas…thanks Sally.
Today’s post is about sharing – not just sharing on blogs, but sharing from just about any page you come across on the internet and find an article of interest you’d like to share or capture to potentially use in a blog post or social media. The two options I’m going to write about today are the ‘Add Any’ Chrome extension and the ‘Press This’ marker.
I know I’ve written on these topics before, but it’s come to my attention many times through the years that some bloggers are still not aware about how to use these must have tools to capture reblogs and/or any articles from anywhere on the web, as well as to be able to share an article from any page – including articles that don’t offer share buttons on their posts.
Add to Any
Let’s start with the Chrome extension. So what is that? On the top right-hand corner of your computer you will find the 3 vertical dots. If you click on that you will get a drop-down box. Move your mouse over ‘more tools’ and you will see the option to click on ‘extensions’. You will now be offered a list of extensions you can add, and the one you want to click on is the ‘Add to Any’. If by chance you don’t get that option, just type it in the above search bar. Once you’ve downloaded the extension, you will then discover the tiny blue blue icon with a plus sign in the middle, now resting on your top right-hand corner of the page. By clicking on that icon you will get a long drop-down box of social share buttons you can use from anywhere on the internet to share the current page you’re on.
I find myself using the ‘AddAny’ extension multiple times a day on many sites I visit – especially blogs. With the advent of the new Gutenberg editor, which I still haven’t endeavored into switching over to, I have noticed that approximately 40% of the blogs I now visit no longer display a Twitter share button to me. I’ve questioned many of my blogging friends about the missing button, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s me, not their blog that no longer can see a tweet button, and in some cases even a Facebook share button has gone missing.
Enter the ‘AddAny’ extension. With this extension I now have the ability to click on the little blue icon and share that blogpost via the extension to any social media by clicking on. The only drawback I find with using it is that it doesn’t tag the author of the post as it does from clicking that share button directly under a post. So what happens is I have to either remember that blogger’s Twitter handle or hop over to Twitter to obtain their handle. This is a bit of a time suck, but still a great sharing option. I can share to anywhere with this extension whether I choose to add a tag or not, which is a huge help for me when reading articles I wish to share from anywhere. I love to share posts and articles I read to various platforms so this little tool is invaluable for doing so.
To give you an idea of what your top tool bar will look like after you’ve added these extensions, I’ve captured a screenshot of my top tool bar. Notice the ‘press this’ I have there for easy access at top left, for when I want to capture something to reblog. On the top right is the blue ‘addany’ icon for sharing on social media when there are no share buttons offered. And at the very top right are the 3 little dots you can click on to add the extension. (Note: you will have to enlarge the toolbar to see as I couldn’t enlarge the screenshot itself.)
The Press Thistool is another invaluable tool we should all have access to, especially for reblogging someone’s post and there is no reblog button offered under the post. This happens mostly when I’m on self-hosted blogs like my own, where we don’t get an option to add a reblog button (more on this later). This saves a lot of time from having to open a new post in your dashboard, copying a link to a post and having to copy and paste everything over to that post.
When you download the ‘press this’ marklet from your blog’s dashboard in ‘Available Tools’, it will send an icon to your top toolbar for easy access when you’re on any web page and wish to reblog it. You only have to click on the icon and a draft editor will open up with the link to the post you wish to reblog. Once it’s opened you have the option to type whatever you want to the draft and hit save, or just hit save with the link to the post embedded. This will now become a saved draft in you dashboard. You can also hit ‘publish’ right away in that draft box, which I prefer not to do because I’d rather save it and be able to elaborate on it before publishing.
Once you have that link in a blog draft, it’s easy to go back to your drafts and view. Just open the post, click on ‘preview’, then click on the link you’ve saved in that preview. Now the article you wish to share will open up for you on a new page. You can then copy and paste whatever you wish to share from that article back into the drafted post. And voila!
Now that I’ve alerted you to some helpful extensions to make your blogging and sharing life easier when you’re visiting other blogs, I’m also going to introduce you to another valuable plugin you can add to your own blogs to make it easier for visitors to share YOUR posts:
If your blog is a free blog with WordPress – meaning your blog’s URL address ends with ‘.wordpress.com’ then you don’t have the option for plugin add ons, but WordPress made sure they gave you a reblog button as a means for others to share your posts. But for those of us who are self-hosted or on the WordPress business plan, you have the option to add your own plugins. I highly recommend for those bloggers who don’t have the option for bloggers to reshare your work that you add the plugin ‘Add to Any’, which is available to install from your plugin page in your dashboard. You only have to open the page and click in the ‘find new’ search box and it will come up. Now you can add the ‘add any’ plugin and activate it. You can click on the blue ‘plus sign’ on the page and the drop-down box will offer you a multitude of share buttons you can add to your posts. And with that, I’ll now list some of the advantages and disadvantages you will encounter with these new sharing buttons:
Below is a video to demonstrate how to add the ‘Add to Any’ share buttons to your blog:
When someone shares from the ‘add any’ share buttons, the only disadvantage, as I mentioned earlier, is that the writer’s name of the post is not automatically tagged like it is with regular share buttons. So if you want the poster of the blog to be accredited and alerted to the share, the only way is to add their tag name manually – such @ so and so for Twitter. Still, at least a great option to share if you don’t decide to tag.
A great advantage of adding these buttons are that now people can share your posts to more of their social media outlets.
You will be able to add the ‘W’ button – one of the only means of having somewhat of a ‘reblog’ button for self-hosted blogs!
Yes, it’s true! I finallyyyyyy have a sort of reblog button now on my blog!!! So many bloggers have asked through the years why I don’t have a reblog button that has been out of my control until my recent discovery of the ‘addany’ button!
If you look at the end of my post, you will see my ‘follow me’ on social media buttons where you can visit my pages on all offered buttons. Below the ‘follow me’, are the ‘share this’ buttons which will allow you to share my post directly to your social media. BUT NOW . . . look just below those share buttons (I still cannot find a way to keep all buttons together) and you will see my new row of share buttons. Yes, Twitter and FB buttons are an automatic, so I couldn’t delete them, but look what I’ve got now! I’ve added a share to: Gmail, Amazon, Mix,, MeWe, plus the ‘addany’ button for any other social sites I haven’t included but you may want to share to, and most of all, THE W BUTTON! Yes! If any of you aren’t yet using the ‘press this’ method to share a post without share buttons, you NOW have the ability to share my posts by clicking the W (WordPress) button! I’m so excited! All you need to do is click on the W button and fill in the URL to YOUR blog when prompted, and voila, you can open a draft post (you may have to scroll to bottom like I do). The only thing I’d advise is to copy the link to the URL of the post you’re going to reblog or draft before clicking on the ‘W’ button as it does open in a separate window and it doesn’t grab any text without you entering it. So open the draft and paste the URL you wish to reblog inside, title it (you can always change later) and hit save. Now the post will be in your drafted posts and when you’re ready to reblog, just open it, click on preview, then click on that link you’ve saved in post and the original post will open. From there you can copy and paste back in your draft having both posts open to work easily. Then save or post as your heart desires.
I hope you found these tips valuable. If you have any questions about these excellent tools, please leave them below in comments and I’ll do my best to help you with these tools. Is anyone here today using any of these tools?
NOTE: After posting this article, it came to my attention that some were having problems accessing the ‘add to any’. Here is a link to the WordPress instructions for those self-hosted https://wordpress.org/plugins/add-to-any/ .
The video I posted above will demonstrate a visual for you to add from your dashboard plugin page. I’ve also added an easier method to add the ‘Add to Any’ marklet to your toolbar for easy access to share from anywhere. Just click on the link and drag the marker up to your tool bar
Today I’m taking part in a #Blogshare to help promote Valentina Cirasola’s newest booklaunch – Red – A Voyage into Colors. As Valentina quotes below – “Color is the language of the listening eye.” In this book, Valentina takes us into the world of color and how color plays an integral part into our daily lives from the foods we eat, to the clothes we wear and our home surroundings. I hope you enjoy this beautiful and colorful post Valentina has put together.
Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 5 published books so far, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking, and travel. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. A couple of years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host. She produces shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire and inform, while she is living her passion. Her goal is to write a screenplay for theatre or TV.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble
Red – A Voyage into Colors – Second edition is a paperback, 124 pages, full of my colorful photography of things that attract me and some of my clients’ homes. After all, what is a book explaining colors, if it doesn’t include colorful pictures? The eyes want to see the beauty and the brain feeds on colors.
Often people refer to shades when they really mean the value, brightness or the darkness of a color.
What is a color without referring to its profile and character? Just like humans, colors have their own character. If we understand how to describe the emotions and sensations they provoke, we will always have a good reaction around the colors we choose, we will subconsciously feel the harmony inside of ourselves and in turn, others will see it and respond positively to us. How people perceive us through colors is very important, colors transmit a message and that is what others see.
What is your message when you get dressed? It doesn’t matter where you go. If you go to grocery shopping with rollers on your head and you are dressed in red, it means you don’t care what others think of you, you dare to be you, the red color will project you as having courage, and the rollers in your hair will pass in a second order. In the same scenario, rollers on your head and you are dressed in black, it means you are trying to hide from the viewers and protect yourself from their criticisms. The colors of your home have messages as well. If your front door is painted red, it means you are an upbeat person; if the front door is yellow, you are an inviting person, cheerful and sunny. My front door is burgundy… exactly…I like red wines and beyond that burgundy door, I added a bit of sophistication to my décor.
Can you sleep and wake up in your zodiac colors? Of course, you can, you were born under those colors, they are natural to your soul.
The moment you came “into the light” many planets revolved over your head making those colors your aura and affected your entire life since that moment. Often, people prefer totally different colors away from their zodiac sign and perhaps totally contrary to their character, simply because they are not aware of the beneficial effects of the colors they were born under or don’t believe it. Colors will determinate their actions, the troubled or unsettled souls living in the wrong colors will continue to feel troubled or unsettled.
With this book, I wanted to depict a colorful bouquet of information regarding home interiors, fashion, and food, all the subjects dear to my heart, each of these subjects thrive on colors. I also delve into explaining colors from a spiritual point of view and how to use them in a technical way. Nature is our best teacher, where all colors are mixed together and co-exist well without rules and prejudices. We can simply copy nature and feel perfect in our choice of colors.
If we live in a home reflecting our personality, if we wear colors becoming to our face and body and if we eat in the rainbow, we can only expect to exude positive energy, which in turn will captivate our surroundings.
Gauguin said: “Color is the language of the listening eye”. It helps our imagination soar with inner power and mystery”. Allow yourself to experiment with various color combinations and challenge your fantasy!
Let’s travel into the cosmos of colors with Valentina and RED
Starting on Oct. 25, 2019, for twenty days, I will travel with them to their planet of birth, I will write about them, their books and arts and they will receive something special about their zodiac sign. This will be a fun and unusual book launch! Some giveaway will happen as well. Anyone can participate in the giveaway by following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, MeWe, and commenting on the launch. The contest will start on Oct. 26th and will end on Oct.31.
For my Sunday Book Review today, I’m featuring my good friend and author, Sally Cronin‘s book – Media Training The Manual. I read this book some two years ago, but after going through my reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon, I discovered my review was either removed, or perhaps Amazon wouldn’t let me post it, but whatever the cause, after discovering this I felt compelled to share my thoughts on this fabulous book. Read my review below to find out why.
A quick reference manual for anyone who needs to deliver their message via “the Media”, TV, Radio, Print.
It is rumoured that the art of communication has been lost but actually it has simply been adapted and expanded to suit the new technologies. However, we still use our voices and radio and television are very powerful tools that can enable us to reach hundreds or even thousands of people in the space of a few minutes.
Those few minutes can have an enormous impact. By reaching out and engaging with an audience you can increase sales, sell your latest book, raise more funds for your charity or inform the public about an event or important community issue.
This guide to media training is about opening the door to that opportunity and making the most of the experience.
Reasons to build a relationship with the media.
– Whether you are in business, running a charity or are a writer, artist or musician, there is a great deal to be gained by obtaining free publicity. Whilst print, radio and television media are in business, they still require interesting and topical news stories.
– Having successfully obtained their attention, you then need to know how to deliver the interview that they will be looking for.
– This brief guide to building a relationship with your local media will show you how to get their attention and how to prepare yourself for an article or those important few minutes behind a microphone or in front of a camera.
My 5 Star Review:
Don’t be fooled by the 42 page count of this gem of a book, which is really a must-have manual with some of the best advice and in-depth examples and information detailing everything you need to know to help spread the word to market both, yourself and your work.
This book is a succinct little marketing guide for authors, but can apply to anyone wanting to learn how and where to get the word out. From learning how to step out of our comfort zones and enter the realm of marketing, to putting together a press release, preparing for interviews, and how to put good copy together for advertising, Cronin has created an excellent, jam-packed manual of instruction to help navigate marketing ourselves and our products or books. #Recommended.
Welcome to this month’s edition of #WATWB- We are the World Blogfest, where the last Friday of the month, we share some of the good things going on in the world to deflect from the negative. For this edition I wanted to shed light on a good deed doer who came up with a great idea to help give the homeless homes by converting old school buses into ‘skoolies’ – tiny homes.
Turning School Buses Into Tiny Homes for Homeless Families
Everyone needs a roof over their heads. It could be a villa, an apartment in the sky, a cabin in the woods, or a converted school bus.
For Julie Atkins, turning old school buses into tiny homes for working homeless families is a great solution. She came up with the idea when she was a freelance journalist living in Ashland Oregon when she began researching and chronicling the stories of homeless people according to People.
She spent two years pitching a tent and living alongside homeless people in Denver Colorado. What she found was, “They want to have a place to live that is their own, that’s safe — and they want to be mobile, so they can get better jobs,” Atkins told People.
Then she came across families living in old school buses. She met a family with seven children who had ripped out the seats and were living on mattresses on the floor of the bus. “It was in disarray,” said Akins. “There was no toilet, shower, or kitchen.”
That’s when the idea for Vehicles for Change was born. Atkins thought that the buses have 240 square feet (22 square meters) of space and are retired from school districts when they are only 12 years-old so they are in good shape. You could add electricity, a kitchen, as well as a bathroom, and house a family in a “skoolie” converted bus. She launched the nonprofit in 2017. Please continue reading The Skoolie Bus Project
Below is a video where Julie Atkins talks about her idea to fund old school buses to convert into tiny homes.
If you’d like to be part of the #WATWB, you can visit our Facebook group, and add the link to your post there.
As some of you may know, I write a monthly contribution to The Sisters of the Fey blog, along with my other Fey sisters. This blog is a wonderful mixture of insights on all things spiritual, magical and mindful. Each of us holds our own special gifts. My articles are focused on angels, empaths and intuition. This article talks about Earth Angels and how to help you identify with what they do, and steps given to help determine if you too may be one.
We are all spiritual beings of light, but not everyone is deemed a Lightworker or an Earth Angel.
Earth angels are born into the physical world to become beacons for humanity and the earth to help spread light, love and peace. Earth angels are known as evolved spiritual beings and highly evolved souls who’ve spent time in higher spiritual dimensions of love and light. They vibrate with light and were summoned to earth to serve as lightworkers.
Angel studies tell us lightworkers originate from the 7th and 9th dimensions of angelics, incarnated into physical form with an appointed mission to awaken others with life lessons and by events to help share divine truth. Being an earth angel means to be called through the soul to help others by spreading messages of compassion and kindness to help make a difference on earth. You can also note that just because someone is an earth angel, doesn’t necessarily mean they are without faults of their own or that they grow actual angel wings. Earth angels still experience the same ups and downs in life as every other human.
Earth angels are helpers in the living world with a past history of helping and healing in a previous life and their gifts are used to raise vibrations of humanity. Many earth angels who are aware of their gifts were chosen to spread goodness during this sweeping period of change and growth, and to help deflect negativity by sharing alternatives to hopelessness and indifference. Earth angels are here in this transitional time to assist the world of merging eras, and to help bring mother earth and humanity into a higher vibrational place of love and peace through loving energy.
If you can answer ‘yes’ to most of these questions below, you may consider yourself an earth angel:
You are always willing to help others with ideas, solutions and support
You are one who seeks to better situations
You often aren’t comfortable with asking for help for yourself
Your senses are always tuned into high vibrational energy
You have the ability to lift other’s spirits
You always look for the good, even when it’s difficult to envision
You are gifted in the arts, writing or healing
You feel other people’s pain and are empathetic to those who suffer
You often attract needy people
You abhor confrontation
You sometimes struggle to remain grounded (angels don’t stand on their feet, they float)
You aren’t selfishly competitive and always wish others well in their endeavors
You are sensitive to energies
You often feel alienated from those who don’t understand you
You may feel overwhelmed in crowds because of too much energy emitted
You grew up feeling you could never relate to your immediate family, or that you were sent to an emotionally distant and dysfunctional family to teach them life lessons
People you’ve met briefly feel an openness to confide in you
You are a born teacher
You uplift others
You often feel like a lone wolf
Others often seek your guidance
You’ve had a difficult childhood
You abhor discord and can’t tolerate violence
You’re naturally intuitive
If you can answer yes to most of the above questions and strive to: enlighten others, often find yourself wondering why you were put on earth or feeling that you aren’t living in a place where your heart longs to be, you believe in magic, and allow your intuition to guide you, you can most definitely consider yourself a lightworker or earth angel.
I know for certain I am an earth angel, not only because I can tick off all of the above, but because I possess the sense of knowing. And it’s all been confirmed to me through the years and various past life readings. Are you an earth angel?
It’s Sunday Book Review time, and once again, I’m sneaking in a movie I recently watched – Ladies in Black, written by Madeline St. John. This movie is a story that takes place in the 1959 era, where women’s jobs consisted mostly of being a secretary or working in retail sales. The movie depicts the lives of 4 women who work in Goode’s Department store in Sydney, Australia at a time where European migration changes the landscape of Australia with cultural changes, a mixing of class structure, and the rise of Women’s Liberation. Lisa is a shy teen and aspiring writer who takes a part-time Christmas job at Goode’s, and befriends 3 women who open up a whole new world to her from her sheltered life at home. Once the movie began, I could totally understand the appropriate title chosen, but if you didn’t delve further than the title, one would have no idea what the movie is about.
“The book I most often give as a gift to cheer people up.” —Hilary Mantel
An irresistibly charming debut novel set in a department store in Sydney in the 1950s.
The women in black, so named for the black frocks they wear while working at an upscale department store called Goode’s, are run off their feet selling ladies’ cocktail dresses during the busy season. But in Sydney in the 1950s, there’s always time to pursue other goals…
Patty, in her mid-thirties, has been working at Goode’s for years. She’s married to Frank, who eats a steak for dinner every night, watches a few minutes of TV, and then turns in, leaving Patty to her own thoughts. She wants a baby, but Frank is always too tired for that kind of thing. Sweet Fay, wants to settle down with a nice man, but somehow nice men don’t see her as marriage material.
The glamorous Magda runs the high-end gowns department. A Slovenian émigré who met her Hungarian husband in a refugee camp, Magda is clever and cultured. She finds the Australians to be unfashionable, and dreams of opening her own boutique one day.
Lisa, a teenager awaiting the results of her final exams, takes a job at Goode’s for the holidays. She wants to go to university and secretly dreams of being a poet, but her father objects to both notions. Magda takes Lisa under her wing, and by the time the last marked-down dress has been sold, all of their lives will be forever changed.
Perfect for fans of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, this delightful and uplifting novel portrays the roles of women in the 1950s and the timeless importance of female friendship.
My 5 Star Review:
Sixteen year old Lisa takes a Christmas job in a fancy department store in Sydney, Australia, working with the ‘ladies in black’. The women wore black cocktail dresses as their work uniforms behind the counters of the women’s dress department. Lisa comes from a sheltered life background and holds aspirations to one day become a poet – or a an actress. Simple life experiences the ‘glam’ life. She befriends the two ladies she works with – Patty and Fay, who both have their own aspirations, and Lisa sometimes gets transferred to the ‘fancy, high fashion’ department where she is taken in under the wing of Magda, played by Julia Ormond, a Slovenian emigrant in charge of that department.
Lisa learns world politics and culture from Magda and her Hungarian husband Stefan who both migrated to Australia after meeting in a prisoner camp when escaping the war in Europe. Lisa’s parents have a difficult time of letting their daughter grow up, and as LIsa awaits her acceptance to university, her father disapproves. As we watch the relationship grow between Magda and Lisa, we learn that Magda’s strong affection for Lisa develops because Magda is preparing Lisa for the outside world that Magda says she missed out on.
Meanwhile, Lisa’s new friends at the counter, Pat and Fay have struggles of their own, Pat feels as though she’s in a stagnant marriage and wants a baby, and Fay seems to meet the ‘wrong guy’ all the time – that’s until she’s introduced to Magda’s nephew, Rudy.
I thought this was a most wonderful feel good movie involving the lives of these 4 women, a lovely mix of relationships, friendships. character growth, and underlying reference to politics of the times. The landscape footage is just exquisite and a treat for someone like me who has never been to Australia. This is definitely a movie that inspires me to read the book.
Best quote: “Nobody understands men, and they don’t understand themselves.”