Good news about my spam!

This is just a quick follow-up to let you know that the steps I took to tighten the security on my WordPress account have greatly reduced the number of spam comments on my blog. This morning I woke up to about 20 spam comments, easily deleted. I continue to get them throughout the day, but not nearly as many as I was (about 100). Hurray! Hopefully this continues. My fingers are crossed. 😊

I think the Two-Step Authentication may be the best thing I did. But I also changed my password and made it so I have to approve all comments. If you are having similar problems and want the details on what to do, you can check out my earlier post here.

Phew! Now I can go back to reading!

Thanks for reading about my spam angst!

Blog views and other obsessions – keep your blog secure!

Please forgive me! I promised I would not talk about my spam comments any more, but I have a few tips that might help other bloggers who are struggling with this same problem. A special shout-out to Hugh’s Views & News for offering moral support and tips. He’s an expert blogger and very willing to help so be sure to pay him a visit!

First of all, to clarify, these comments never make it into my comments. That would be a disaster! They go right to spam, but I can barely keep up with deleting my spam folder. Why do I bother? I let it go for a while, but I’m uncomfortable with all those questionable sites and links connected in any way to my blog. I just finished deleting 40,000 comments. It took me a week. I got 1200 more overnight so there was more work for me this morning!

Here are some tips that can help keep your blog secure:

  • First, reach out to WordPress. I got a response within an hour. The advice was pretty general. They didn’t address why I was getting so many spam comments, just steps to block spam. But it’s an open conversation, so I’ll continue to ask questions.
  • Change your password. Always good advice for all we do.
  • Change your settings so that you have to approve all comments. This could help my problem, but I’ll have to wait and see.
  • Activate Two-Step Authentication. This will give you an extra layer of security. You probably already do that with your online bank accounts. You can read how to do that here.

Some bloggers close comments after a certain period of time or don’t allow comments at all. I’ll never do that. I mean, comments are the heart of the blogging community!

So I hope these tips are helpful to you. Maybe you think these steps aren’t necessary because it’s just your personal blog, but I’m not going to take any chances.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Club Mom’s audio reviews and random thoughts now on SoundCloud!

Hi Everyone,

Thank goodness I have young people around me (you know who you are 😊) to provide me with endless ideas for my blog! Last night my consultants helped me develop the idea of jumping on SoundCloud to record book book reviews. So I figured out how to do voice recordings on my laptop, made a SoundCloud account and this morning I recorded my first audio review (My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni). It was so much fun I immediately did another recording – this one a random one, talking about blogging, the idea of making money on my blog, and taking breaks (stemming from my recent feeling that I was burning out a bit on on the blog). I hope you’ll take a listen!

You can check out my random ramblings here and you don’t need a SoundCloud account to listen:

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Blog views and other obsessions: the slippery slope when you stop blogging for a few days, and longer

Anyone who’s been blogging for a while knows that it’s not only necessary, but good to take blogging breaks. Some people plan them. Other times, life off the blog demands attention. And sometimes you burn out. There’s a certain tension and urgency that crackles through the blogging world and all social media. That can be exciting when you’re up and you have time. I love connecting with other people. But the same things that are exciting can also be overwhelming if you never take a break. There’s also the feeling that if you stop engaging, people will stop visiting and reading your posts when you do come back, that they’ll forget about you. How fragile is the blogger’s ego!

If you follow my blog regularly, you know that I recently finished a long book. I felt driven to finish it in a reasonable period of time. I mean, that thing could have taken me more than a month to read! I tried to stay engaged on WordPress while I was reading it. And in the beginning, I felt a nagging pressure to do that, to read other blogs, comment, share, and think of content to post. Those are things I love to do, when I’m not busy. But something funny happens when you stay off the blog for a few days: priorities shift. I didn’t read nonstop. I can’t sit still in a chair for hours on end. But I spent more time doing the things I needed to do outside of WordPress. Plus I read and I just chilled…

Then I finished the book and guess what? I didn’t want to do anything for a few more days! And then I had to get back into writing a review. It all took time and I felt no desire to rush. Part of me considered the idea of stopping entirely. I’m not going to do that, but these feelings make me realize how important breaks are. I may just try to schedule a few during the year.

So the question is, do you plan your breaks or do they just happen? Do you plan your comebacks or do they just happen too? Have you felt the same tension and then lack of motivation over time? Leave a comment!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Blog views and other obsessions – spam, way too much!

I’ve always been amused by my spam comments, though I don’t spend a lot of time reading them. Now, more than ever, that’s the case. Why? Because lately I’ve had to delete thousands of spam comments, every few days. Today, after not checking for a bit, I logged in to find nearly five thousand comments! Let me tell you, it takes forever to delete that many because WordPress times out and will only delete about three hundred at a time. So tedious!

I recently got an email from Akismet Support notifying me that I will need to subscribe to one of their Enterprise Plus plans to keep using their service. I ignored it because, you know, I’m using a free blog platform and although I’ve thought about upgrading to a paid site, I’ve resisted it because blogging is a hobby and I’m too busy to think about monetizing it, which to me should be the only reason to upgrade. At least that’s what I’ve thought in the past. Now I don’t know.

So my questions to WordPress bloggers are: do you run a free WordPress blog? Do you get a lot of spam? If you upgraded to a paid site, is your spam under control?

Leave a comment and if it goes to spam, I’ll look there too!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Who’s That Indie Author? Geoff Le Pard

Author Name: Geoff Le Pard

Genres: magical realism, mystery, relationship, thriller, comedy/coming of age, poetry, anthologies of short fiction, contemporary/ gritty urban and a memoir

Selected Books: Life Sentences (2022); The Art of Spirit Capture (2021); Booms and Busts (2020); Walking into Trouble (2020); Buster and Moo (2017). For more titles visit: geofflepard.com.

Bio: I started writing to entertain in 2006. I haven’t left the keyboard since. When I’m not churning out novels, I write some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blog, I walk the dog for mutual inspiration and most of my best ideas come out of these strolls. I also cook with passion if not precision.

What got you started as a writer? My wife suggested I join her at a summer school where she was taking a printing class. We ballroom danced in the morning and, in the afternoon, while she printed I took a creative writing class.

What is your writing routine? Mostly I start writing from about 4 pm, stop to cook dinner and begin again ending at any time between 9.30 pm and 1.00 am. I try and write daily

What route did you take to get your books published? I briefly flirted with approaching agents but thought better of it. I didn’t want to delay; I didn’t want to be told to make major revisions that I might well not agree with. Self-publishing is so straightforward these days I thought, why not go that route. Publishing has not been about kudos or sales but to stop myself tinkering with the latest book. Once it is published I leave it alone. Before that I’m always nibbling away at it.

What things do you do to promote your books? A bit on the blog I write. Occasional guest posts and pieces like this.

What is your favorite genre to read and why? Probably crime fiction. I like well plotted books with good characters and intriguing stories. After that it is comic fantasy.

Do you prefer to write dialogue or description? Dialogue

Have any of your characters ever surprised you? Did this change the plot of your book? Every time. It’s true they take over. If you let them into your subconscious they work away at you until you do what you’re told.

What is the most difficult thing you have accomplished in your life? Staying in the same job for thirty-five years—a quite extraordinary example of patience, determination and a supreme lack of imagining alternatives.

What three events or people have most influenced how you live your life? My wife is (and has been since we met in 1976) a constant source of guidance, surprise and ruthless criticism; being able to obtain a high quality and free education right through to my degree that allowed me to become a lawyer in the City of London just when the need for financial legal services exploded in the 1980s; and the example of my parents who combined humour, old fashioned manners, a love of literature and the spoken word, a deep affection, an utterly surreal take on some aspects of life, kindness and a love of cake and gardening.

What would you tell your younger self? Stop worrying and yes, your nose will always look too big.

Have you ever met up with a bear on a hike? If so, what did you do? If not, are you looking up what to do right now? I read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson who has a section on human-ursus interfaces and what to do. My main take away was not to eat Snickers. The nearest bear to me right now is a small statue of my ursine hero Paddington at the station he is name after.

You’re locked in your local library for the night with no dinner. Thank goodness you have water, but you only have enough change to buy one item from the vending machine. Choices are limited to: Fudge Pop Tarts, Snickers or Doritos. Which would you choose and why? Doritos. Pop Tarts are merely jam that has not had the packaging removed; fudge can only be eaten with tea or coffee or my fillings rebel at the excess of sugar and Snickers remind me of Bryson’s advice.

What’s the largest number of people you’ve had in your kitchen at one time? We have had several parties here so we’ve squeezed in a fair number but probably something like the seventy-two teenagers.

Closing thoughts: Having lived to be three score years and five, I have reached a few tentative conclusions about living life well: try most everything once; look up more than down or you will buy too many shoes; outdoors is better than in so long as you wear the right clothing; instant coffee never gets any better; failure is a myth—it’s just another example of ‘not yet’; everything will be alright in the end and if it’s not yet alright, it’s not yet the end; and there’s good in everyone.

Website and social media links:
Blog: TanGental
Twitter: @geofflepard
Facebook: Geoff Le Pard
Instagram: geofflepard1


Are you an indie or self-published author?  Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Book Club Mom’s Top 25 All-Time Favorite Books

I started with a Top 10 list, then I expanded it to Top 15. Now it’s grown to a Top 25 All-Time Favorites. Some of my earlier picks didn’t make it to the Top 25, but I had to make room for all the great books I’ve read in recent years! Here they are in alphabetical order. All links go to my reviews except one (The Kite Runner). I read The Kite Runner before I started my blog, but I plan to re-read it to give it a proper review. Also, I apologize for the short review of All the Light We Cannot See. It’s such a great book, I need to re-read that too and beef up my review!

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

There There by Tommy Orange

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk

Do you have a list of your best all-time reads? How many are on it? Leave a link in the comments and I’ll pop over and say hello!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Thanks to everyone and these top supporters!

I want to thank everyone who takes the time to visit my blog. I appreciate your time and attention very much! Today I want to thank the following bloggers who regularly take time to read my posts and leave supportive comments. Go ahead and check out their blogs and websites – they are a fun and varied bunch!

LA  at Waking up on the Wrong Side of Fifty – LA describes herself as an aspiring curmudgeon. She posts thought-provoking questions about a variety of situations and shares pictures and stories about her life in New York.

Noelle Granger at Sayling Away – Noelle is Professor Emeritus at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she taught human anatomy and conducted research in developmental biology. She is the author of the historical fiction novel, The Last Pilgrim and the Rhe Brewster Mystery series. She posts book reviews and writes about a variety of fun and interesting subjects.

Jeff at Stuff Jeff Reads – Jeff is an avid and diverse reader of poetry, prose and comics and graphic novels. He’s a great interpreter of Shakespeare, philosophy and deep thinkers and welcomes comments of all sides.

Marian Beaman at Plain and Fancy – Marian is the author of Mennonite Daughter, a memoir that depicts her upbringing in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, along with revealing family secrets. She posts weekly about a variety of subjects on Plain and Fancy.

Pam at RoughWighting – Pam writes because she loves the written word, stories of fiction and lore. She shares that love on her blog. Pam is the author of Flashes of Life, The Right Wrong Man, Twin Desires and two children’s books, Birds of Paradise and Molly Gets Her Purr.

John Howell at Fiction Favorites – John is an active blogger and writes daily posts about his life in Texas, including amusing conversations between his dogs, Twiggy and Lucy. He is the author of five novels, including his most recent book, Eternal Road.

Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies – Lisa’s blog is dedicated to life, liberty, and the pursuit of excellent reading. You’ll find book reviews, a smattering of all sorts of book-related topics, random thoughts on what it means to be a reader, and healthy doses of unbridled fangirl enthusiasm.

Jill Weatherholt – Jill writes contemporary stories about love, faith, friendship and forgiveness. She is the author of six inspirational romance novels published by Harlequin Love Inspired. Her most recent book is Searching for Home, published in December 2021.

Derrick K. Knight – Derrick is a septuagenarian enjoying rambling physically and photographing what he sees, and rambling in his head as memories are triggered. He also rambles through a lifetime’s photographs.

Jennifer Kelland Perry at Jennifer’s Journal – Jennifer is a writer, devoted reader and animal lover. Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, she left the city in 2010 for the rural writing life and is loving every moment. She is writes about her life in St. Johns, Newfoundland and is the author of two Young Adult books, Calmer Girls and Calmer Secrets.

Colleen at The Chatter Blog – Colleen is a talented artist and author and posts creative sketches and prose about the human condition. She loves discovering new things and feelings and is the author of several books, including The Yellow Door.

Charley at Books and Bakes 1 Charley is a reader, blogger, bibliophile, explorer, educator, hot chocolate enthusiast, Griffindor Girl and much, much more! She reads across a wide range of genres and posts reviews regularly.

D. Wallace Peach at Myths of the Mirror – Diana didn’t care for reading as a child –she preferred Bonanza and Beverly Hillbillies reruns, Saturday morning cartoons and the Ed Sullivan show. Then one day, she opened a book titled The Hobbit. Diana is the author of children’s stories and fantasy novels and several series, including the Soul Swallowers, Legacy of Souls series and the Rose Shield Tetrology.

Donna at Retirement Reflections – Prior to retirement, Donna lived and worked in Beijing China for fourteen years as a Middle School Principal/Deputy Director. Leaving international life behind, she and her husband retired to Vancouver Island, Canada and she documents this transition on her blog.

Annika Perry – Annika is versatile writer whose books span various genres. She is the author of The Storyteller Speaks, a collection of short stories, flash fiction and poetry, and Oskar’s Quest, a children’s story of adventure and courage.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle at Roberta Writes – Robbie is a South African blogger writer and poet. She also blogs on Robbie’s Inspiration and Robbie Cheadle and is the author of A Ghost and his Gold, Through the Nethergate, and co-author with her mother, Elsie Haney Eaton, of While the Bombs Fell.

Darlene Foster’s Blog – Darlene created her blog for writers, readers, travelers, dreamers, friends and friends she hasn’t met yet. She is the author of the Amanda series about a spunky young girl who likes to travel. Her most recent book is Amanda in Malta.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Sharing some holiday link love!

Many thanks to these bloggers for the recent follows. Why not give them a follow and keep the link love going!

One Book More

New Classic Recipe

Jenny Lou’s Book Reviews

Tessa Talks Books

Books with Raven

J-Dubs Grin and Bear It

The Reading Bug

Cage Dunn

Thistles and Kiwis

David Astor on Literature

Deb’s World

Happy Holidays!

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!