Please pardon my absence…be back soon!

Hi Everyone,

Please pardon my absence from the blog. Between NaNoWriMo, reading, working and getting ready for Thanksgiving, I’ve been short on time. I will be back on the blog soon, to visit you and with new posts.

Thanks for your patience!

Celebrating eight years of blogging

This month I’m celebrating eight years of blogging on WordPress. I want to thank everyone who has visited, liked and commented on my blog. As I’ve said many times before, these gestures are like gold to bloggers. I occasionally wonder why on earth I’m doing this. I originally started my blog to keep track of what I read and what I thought of a book. But now it’s mostly to catch up with readers and the blogging community. And I’m talking about people from all over the world. That’s so fun!

Sometimes life gets busy and hard and it’s challenging to put out posts and visit other blogs, but I know we’re all in the same boat. In fact, it’s a boat full of great friends and I feel lucky to know you all.

Today I’m sharing my most popular posts by number of views and number of comments. If someone can tell me how to find the most liked posts on their WordPress blog, please leave a comment. I have a feeling that’s not an option for the free sites.


Top Ten Most Viewed Posts

I’m a little embarrassed by this list because I feel like high schoolers are reading these short stories, looking them up on the internet and landing on my blog. Who knows if my opinions are good ones or if I even “got” the stories right.


Top Ten Most Commented on Posts

One thing is for sure, my author friend Jill Weatherholt deserves all the attention she receives because she gets around to other people’s blogs more than anyone I know. And she always leaves an enthusiastic comment. Hurray, too for these and all indie authors because they belong in the spotlight.

How long have you been blogging? Leave a comment and let’s add up the years!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Club Mom’s Author Update: News from Pamela S. Wight

Author name: Pamela S. Wight

Book to feature: Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary

News to share: Flashes of Life is a fun “flash memoir” that includes light-hearted short stories about the (ordinary) wonderful aspects of life: kids, parents, grandparents, dogs, even plants. Watercolor-washed black and white photos begin each section on subjects such as “Fun Family Drama,” “Relationships,” For the Dogs,” and “Time Off.”

Wonderful 5-star reviews include comments like these from blogger/author Jill Weatherholt:

“Being a long-time follower of author Pamela Wight’s blog, I was so excited to get my hands on her latest release. This wonderful collection of true short stories is one you never want to end. For several weeks after it was delivered, I leisurely devoured each story outdoors on our patio. The wonderful thing about it, I felt like my friend, Pam was sitting with me sharing her stories as we watch the hummingbirds snatch sips of nectar from the Salvia. I loved so many of these stories, but one that really touched my heart was ‘A Renewal. I highly recommend this emotional collection.”

The 140-page softback, designed beautifully, is a perfect gift for a special woman in your life: mom, sister, daughter, friend, and especially, to yourself.

Pamela writes for children and adults as a multi-genre author. Her romantic suspense novels The Right Wrong Man and Twin Desires are available as softback and e-book on Amazon. Her two hard-cover illustrated children’s books – Birds of Paradise and Molly Finds Her Purr – are sold at Borgo Publishing and on Amazon. Flashes of Life is available on Amazon and through Borgo Publishing as softback and e-book.

Website and social media links: Pamela writes a weekly popular blog called Roughwighting. She can be found on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.


Are you working on a new book? Have you won an award or a writing contest? Did you just update your website? Maybe you just want to tell readers about an experience you’ve had. Book Club Mom’s Author Update is a great way to share news and information about you and your books.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for more information.

Open to all authors – self-published, indie, big-time and anything in between. Author submissions are limited to one per author in a six-month period.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Blog views and other obsessions – generating a free QR code

Last week I learned how to generate free QR codes for work and it’s easy and kind of fun to do, so I thought I’d share what I learned here. First of all, do you know what QR means? I had never thought about it much, but it stands for Quick Response.

We’re going to use a QR code for print materials and I’m still figuring out how it would be useful in the digital world for bloggers versus just using a link, although the code definitely works online. This article from Wasp Barcode Technologies talks about using QR codes for print and something like that on Facebook, Snapchat and Spotify. For authors who use print materials, even a business card, it’s a simpler way to direct people to your work. Anyone with a phone can use the camera function that recognizes the codes and takes you directly to your site.

Paid versions let you track stats and customize your code even more. I think the free one I made looks pretty good and although I love tracking stats, I don’t think I would upgrade to be able to access them.

It’s a wild idea, but I’m thinking of having a t-shirt made with my blog’s QR code on the back!

Anyway, here’s the link to the QR code generator I used. It’s called QR Code Monkey.

And here’s the QR code I made for Book Club Mom. See? You can even upload your logo onto the code. Isn’t that fun?

Have you used QR codes for any of your work or for your blog? What types of things have you done? Leave a comment and let me know!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

You’ve seen the books in my bag, now see what everyone else is reading!

I received a lot of great comments and book suggestions on my recent post about summer reading. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read and comment. Now’s the time to see what everyone else is reading!

Baydreamer – check out Lauren’s musings and creative writing. A big fan of Elin Hilderbrand, she just finished Troubles in Paradise.

Cathy at 746 Books – follow Cathy as she works through the 746 books on her shelf and her 20 Books of Summer challenge, including Like Life by Lorrie Moore and Little by Edward Carey.

D. Wallace Peach – Myths of the Mirror – Take a look at Diana’s recent reviews, including Eternal Road by John Howell and Wings & Fire by Dan Alatorre.

Derrick J Knight – Derrick is working through his Charles Dickens collection this summer. Derek’s blog shares photos of excursions with his wife, Jackie and scenes from their garden. He’s currently reading Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens.

Jill Weatherholt is one of the most supportive and enthusiastic bloggers I know. She’s also the author of inspirational romance and recently reviewed Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary by Pamela Wight.

Jacqui Murray’s World Dreams – Jacqui gave this courtroom drama 5 stars: A Matter of Life and Death by Philip Margolin.

Jan M. Flynn’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals and anthologies. She blogs about writing, teaching, current events and life. She’s currently listening to The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee and reading Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards.

LA at Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50  – read LA’s posts on a wide variety of thought-provoking topics. Heading on vacation, she’s packed her bag with The Guncle by Steven Rowley, People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, and The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren.

The Light Behind the Story – Alethea Kehas is an author, poet, reader, yoga instructor and proponent of a better world. She writes about meditation, mindfulness and nature and is a frequent commenter on my book review posts.

Lynette d’Arty Cross is a super supportive blogger over at In the Net! – Pictures and Stories of Life and shares her bookish thoughts in her comments on my blog. She’s interested in reading The Fox and I, a book I want to read.

Marian Beaman – Plain and Fancy – Marian’s love of books began as a young girl. Like Jill Weatherholt, Marian recently reviewed Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary by Pamela Wight.

Parenting is Funny – the Blog of Author Betsy Kereks – Betsy has a great parenting blog. When she’s not herding her kids, she’s listening to Malcolm Gladwell on YouTube.

Priscilla Bettis is a reader and author. She’s looking forward to reading My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones, to be published August 31, 2021.

Roberta Writes is a creative writing blog for Robbie Cheadle, a South African writer specializing in historical, paranormal and horror novels and short stories. She recently reviewed Weathering Old Souls by James J. Cudney & Didi Oviatt.

Stephanie’s Book Reviews – I enjoy reading Stephanie’s thoughts on these and many other books. She just finished On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn and The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish.

I hope you will pay these terrific bloggers a visit. Will you add any of their recent reads to your list?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

YouTuber here!

Hi Everyone,

I know I’ve been talking a lot about YouTube, so please forgive one more post about it. I spent the weekend working on my channel and cleaning things up, including updating my YouTube page here on my blog.

I learned some cool things. If you’re also a YouTuber, you may already know them, but I thought I’d share them here. I’m definitely not trying to be an expert.

I basically went into the YouTube world knowing nothing. Just like blogging, really. And I have been learning as I go along. My videos were kind of all over the place, but working on my channel forced me to define myself and my brand more. That’s also just like blogging, isn’t it?

I’m really lucky to have kids who are way more in touch with YouTube and social media because they have helped me tremendously.

One of the things I learned yesterday was that you can design your own thumbnails instead of using the best of three possible ones YouTube gives you. I haven’t learned to edit my videos yet, so this was a great discovery because sometimes my face looked crazy in all three! I designed the thumbnails in Canva and I spent the whole day yesterday doing that, plus uploading them to YouTube, then putting them on my YouTube page here on my blog. It’s so tedious, but very satisfying once it’s done. And, thanks to the family member who gently reminded me that they are thumbnails, not thumbprints! Getting old is tough.

Last week I learned how to place social media widgets in my YouTube banner because, you know, getting the word out everywhere is the goal, just like everything.

The other thing I learned was how to make YouTube playlists so that your videos get more exposure. It was fun organizing the videos into different categories, which also helped me think about my brand.

And getting back to the blog, I have to say that I think I like the new block editor better. It’s a lot more powerful and I discovered a lot of new features today. That said, it’s definitely not obvious how to do things with the block editor.

Also, I can’t believe how great Canva is. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it. They figure out so much for you and the free version has seemingly unlimited options and features.

So if you’re interested in seeing all my videos and their links (plus the thumbnails), you can do that here.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Blog views and other obsessions – Facebook pages and the news feed feature

One of the things I’ve found frustrating about Facebook pages is that the news feed feature disappeared one day without explanation and the pages I liked through my pages wound up on my personal news feed. That feed is now a mess. I barely look at it and never interact because it’s just too complicated to switch back and forth between my personal account and my pages.

I recently got a tip (thank you A!) that if you change your pages to business pages, you can access the news feed so I jumped on Facebook to check it out. At first, after I switched them to business pages, I had trouble seeing the news feed, then I found a hack that instructed me to add /news_feed to the URL. Voila! It was back, or so I thought. When I went through my feed, I only found posts from a few pages I liked, but most of the feed looked like paid posts.

I hopped over to my Books to Pen page, did the hack and got an official welcome to the Facebook News Feed. Yay! I followed the steps that prompted me to follow pages I’d already liked and off I went, tapping Follow for each. About halfway through, I was bounced out of Facebook and had to log back in. When I got back on the Books to Pen page, I had a new button for News Feed and a pretty healthy feed, although I have no idea if all the pages I like will actually show up, since I wasn’t able to follow all of them. The same thing happened for my dad’s page.

Sometimes I get the News Feed button…

Today I went on Facebook to look at my pages’ news feeds and the buttons were gone. So I typed in the hack and got a message that the link was broken. Boo!

…and sometimes I don’t.

Well I fiddled around, jumping back and forth between my pages and using the hack and I eventually got the news feed button back for two of my three pages and I can access the third feed if I add news_feed to the URL.

I don’t know. Does Facebook even like us? And do they want us to interact with other FB folks?

Have you tried accessing the news feed for your pages? Leave a comment below.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Club Mom’s January 2021 Recap

We are in the midst of a winter storm and pretty much snowed in with more to come. I was just beginning to think we were going to have an uneventful winter.

January came and went! I only read three books this month, but I’m already on track to read more in February.

Here’s a quick recap of book reviews and other things:

The Searcher by Tana French

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders


Blog views and other obsessions – two great tools for your blog – I’ve been spending a lot of time on Canva, which I talk about in this post. I have much to learn, though.


I featured two indie authors this month and have more lined up. Look for new Author Updates too!

Who’s That Indie Author? Kaitlyn Jain

Who’s That Indie Author? Bruce W. Bishop


Based on all the comments, I think we all had fun with this “How Well Read Are You” challenge. If you haven’t tried it, hop over and see!

How well read are you? Take this challenge and see!

Books on my list – based on the above challenge


What’s happening now? After finishing The Woman in the Window, I was in the mood for another psychological thriller and recently finished The Perfect Wife by Blake Pierce. Keep an eye out for my review. Right now I’m reading a new biography by Scott Eyman – Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise. It’s long, but I’m enjoying it very much and will probably review that before I get The Perfect Wife review out. I have two more books lined up. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel and My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing.

Pretty soon, I’m going to get up from under this blanket and make some soup for dinner. Back to work tomorrow! What are you doing on this winter day?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Blog views and other obsessions – two great tools for your blog

Like everyone else, despite the tough year we’ve all had, I learned a lot of new things in 2020. Today I’m sharing two great tools that are great for blogging.

Canva

You’ll feel like a graphic artist once you get familiar with how Canva works. It’s a graphic design platform with thousands of templates to use on your blog (like my new banner and this blog’s graphic) on social media and for other print items. The free version has loads of options. I had to learn how to use it for work and I’ve started using it more for my blog. What I like best about it is that the images you create are custom-sized for posts on a blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. so you don’t have to worry if you have the dimensions right. And I also like how they suggest color schemes based on any images you upload. Really great!


Linktree

I learned about Linktree from my boss. You know how on Instagram you can only have one link in your profile and that any URLs you include in a post are not actually linked to anything? And on Twitter, even though you can include live links in your tweets, you can only have one link in your bio. Kind of frustrating. Well Linktree lets you put all your links in on one link – it’s clean and easy and the free version is all that I need. Thanks, Boss!

I hope these are helpful tips for you, too. What new things did you learn this year about blogging and social media?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Blog views and other obsessions – the block editor

After a lot of talk and several blog posts about the new block editor, I finally made the switch. That’s why my blog looks a little different. I have to say, I mostly like it, but I’ve been frustrated about a couple things. I figured one out, but I’m pretty sure there’s no way to do the second one.

Shortlinks

Anyone have trouble finding where they are? After clicking around and around I finally looked it up and discovered it’s easy:

In Edit Post, click on the greet Jetpack icon located in the upper right of your screen. The Shortlink is about half-way down the vertical scroll sidebar. Problem solved!

Look for this icon.

Wrapping text around images

This has really puzzled me. That was one of the features in Classic Editor I used a lot. There’s a block called Media and Text that lets you put text next to an image, but it doesn’t wrap when the text runs below the image. Here’s what happens:

Here’s a nice image of a Thanksgiving turkey that I downloaded from Pexels. I used the Media and Text block. I selected Normal size font and you can see that once the text block becomes longer than the image, it doesn’t wrap around it.

Has anyone else run into this problem? How would you fix it? I’ve tried looking it up and after about twenty minutes, I gave up. I’m wondering if I care enough to figure it out or if I should just adapt to the new way of doing things. I guess you could end your text block just as it reaches the end of the image…

In general, I like the block editor and I really like the star rating block. That comes in really handy and I like how you can use the half stars.

What has your experience been? Leave a comment below and thanks for visiting!