Blog Views and Other Obsessions – What’s new?

Here’s a mishmash of my current blogging experiences:

In my last post about blogging, I announced that I was tentatively happy because my spam comment problem seemed to be resolved. You may remember that my blog had been inundated with spam and it was even spamming email accounts connected to blogs that follow me. That was horrible. To fix it, I turned off pingbacks and trackbacks and closed comments after 30 days. IT’S WORKING! What a relief. Now I don’t have to spend time deleting spam. If you are having problems with spam comments, I highly recommend you turn off pingbacks and trackbacks and close comments after 30 days.

Have you noticed that the fonts have changed in draft mode? It doesn’t affect the final post so not really a big deal, but you know…change.

How’s everyone doing with the block editor? Are you using all the features? Have you converted your old posts from the Classic format? I’m doing pretty well and don’t find it hard to use, but I don’t use nearly all the features. I do like using the “Resuable” blocks when I write a post, though, and forced myself to learn how to create them. It saves a lot of time. As for converting from the Classic format, I have had mixed results. I’m not on a mission to change them all, but if I’m linking to an old post, I like to update it.

Did you notice that the Reader layout is different? At first, I thought, “Whoa, WordPress, enough with the changes” but I actually think it’s an improvement. IMO it’s easier to get an idea about the post and honestly, everything looks more attractive.

Now here’s something that I wish would happen. When I link my blog to something else, I have to manually set the link to open in a new tab. I would love that to be a default setting. Does anyone else think about this?

That’s about it for me. What are some of your recent blogging observations? I hope you’re having a good Saturday!

Thanks for visiting—come back soon!

In case you missed them! BCM post recap October 2022

Hey Everyone,

In case you missed them, here’s a quick look at Book Club Mom’s posts in October.

I read five books this month – all good reads!

Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg – 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book which explores the always-interesting theme of truth versus public persona in politics. A series of twists leads to an ending I did not expect and ties in nicely with how image is everything.

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy – 4 stars. Don’t be put off by the title. This is a fast, engrossing read, written in humble humor. It’s not the typical celebrity memoir in the sense that McCurdy focuses on her own battles and does little name dropping.

Fatal Rounds by Carrie Rubin – 4.5 stars. Wow, I really enjoyed this tightly-written story, Rubin’s latest medical/psychological thriller, the first in the Liza Larkin series. I loved getting to know Liza, a first-year resident who struggles with schizoid personality disorder. Why is a well-known trauma surgeon in the background of so many family photos?

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke – 4 stars. I love when I discover an excellent older book. First published in 2012, this is a suspenseful murder mystery set on a former sugar cane plantation in Louisiana. Made even better with well-developed characters and themes.

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah – 3.5 stars. A very readable historical fiction set in the Texas Panhandle in the 1920s and 30s, during the Great Depression, years of drought and continuous dust storms, and later in California during the great migration west. Not as good as The Grapes of Wrath, but still worth reading.

Miscellaneous posts

Book cover eye candy – similar, very similar, confusing, pretty and more book covers

Who’s That Indie Author? Priscilla Bettis

My Kindle is loaded!

A repost of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – 5 stars

The Great Depression and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

A repost of “The Oblong Box” by Edgar Allan Poe

Updated About Page: Read this, not that!

I hope you all had a great month. I’m still working on my “loaded” Kindle. New review on its way!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Updated About Page: Read this, not that!

Hey Everyone,

After a too-long time, I’ve updated my About Page. If you’re interested, you can check it out here:

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

In case you missed them! BCM post recap September 2022

Hey Everyone,

In case you missed them, here’s a quick look at Book Club Mom’s posts in September.

I reviewed three books this month. I just finished Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg so look for that review and a new YouTube video in the next couple days.

How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue – 3 stars. I was disappointed in this story about a fictional African farming village, Kosawa, and their fight against Pexton, an American oil company. My main complaint was that it was too heavy with its message and a little boring. It got a lot of hype. I should have known!

Love Marriage by Monica Ali – 4.5 stars. This one was a winner! Set in London, it follows the lives of a young Indian woman, about to be married, and her fiancé, whose family background is much different and who comes to the relationship with a burdensome secret. I think the best part of the book is how what seems to be a simple story develops and reveals complex problems within and between its characters.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith – 5 stars. Another winner and an oldie but a goodie! Totally enjoyable mystery featuring Mma Precious Ramotswe who opens a detective agency in Botswana. The first in a series of twenty-two novels.

I made two YouTube videos and in one of them, I’m playing more Bach! I know, maybe Bach isn’t your guy but he’s fun to play! I have some ideas about how to make my piano videos more interesting, so stay tuned. My other video this month is another episode of Read React and Decide in which I select random books from the library, react to random lines from them, then decide which to read.

Book Club Mom is playing more Bach

New Episode of Read React Decide

I introduced two indie authors and published updates on two other indie authors this month. Make sure you stop by and read about their writing experiences!

J.Q. Rose

Heather J. Bennett

News from Leon Stevens

News from Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Miscellaneous posts

Thank you to these superstar commenters!

Books to relax with on Labor Day

Youngblood Hawke playlist on Spotify!

Blog Views and Other Obsessions – tentatively happy 🙂

Page to Screens I want to watch

Banned Books Week, challenges and bans

Free or For Free???

I hope you all had a great month. On to the next book!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Blog Views and Other Obsessions – tentatively happy 🙂

Last week I wrote this post about the problems I’d been having with spam. Followers had been receiving a lot of spam emails, as replies to comments on my blog. I was horrified. What a bad way to promote your blog! The weird thing was that I did not receive notifications through my blog about the spam emails. I want to thank those who reached out to me to tell me about the problem because I never would have known!

The problem started back in March and I wrote another post about all the spam comments on my blog. Akismet was doing their job catching them and rerouting them to my spam folder but they had become a nuisance to delete because the comments were coming in fast and furious. A couple people told me that the spam folders emptied automatically, so I let it go for a bit. Not true for my free blog because next time I checked, I had about 35,000 spam comments and it took me a couple hours to delete them all.

I tried to stay upbeat about it and made this video making fun of the insulting comments (some were pretty amusing), but the volume of spam bothered me! I contacted the Happiness Engineers at WordPress and they suggested I change my password, enable two-step authentication and consider closing my comments. I did the first two (did not want to close comments!) and for a while, the spam was under control…until recently.

Back to the Happiness Engineers who directed me to my blog’s Discussion settings, but they did not tell me what to do. So I made some decisions on my own: I turned off pingbacks and trackbacks and reluctantly closed comments after 30 days.

Since then I’ve received ZERO spam comments on my blog. I have not heard from any of you about spam emails. I hope they have also stopped. Please let me know if you are still receiving them. If you are having the same problems on your blog, I strongly recommend turning off pingbacks and trackbacks.

Now I am finished talking about spam and will resume reading. I hope you are all having a nice September Saturday!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Thank you to these superstar commenters!

These SUPERSTARS are awesome blog supporters. Stop by their sites to say hello and give them a follow!

Marian Beaman from Plain and Fancy

Robbie Cheadle from Roberta Writes

Noelle Granger from Sayling Away

Derrick J. Knight

Darlene Foster

Jacqui Murray from Word Dreams

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Club Mom’s Blog WOES and Other Obsessions

I’ve recently discovered that followers are receiving emails with spam comments replying to comments they made on my blog. Arrrrrggggghhh! As much as I hate to close comments, I’ve been forced to do it on a couple posts. I’ve notified WordPress and they replied with the suggestion that I tweak the discussion settings on my blog.

I made some changes, including closing comments after 30 days and will no longer allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks). This recent article made some good arguments for turning them off.

So I apologize if you are receiving these emails. What a nusiance for you! I hope you’ll be patient with me as I figure things out.

If you are receiving these emails please contact me at bvitelli2009@gmail.com and tell me which post so I can work to shut it down from my end.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you’ll come back soon!

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!