Counting Up To Networking

Summer?  It’s here?  Where?

It seems that summer is upon us.  At least, it is in some places!  Personally, I’m not convinced.  The weather here certainly doesn’t suggest it.  Anyway, judging by the stats, a fair number of people are now able to get out and about in good weather, and maybe even have vacations.  There’s definitely been fewer people looking around the blog over the last week or two.  Hopefully they’ll wander back when they aren’t off enjoying themselves LOL!  In the meantime, while the summer months may not get the same volume of traffic, I’ll maintain posting daily, if possible.

Numbers

Anyway, I was delighted to discover, this morning, that the blog has still managed to reach a total of over 7.000 views since I started it!  The vast majority of those views, more than 6,300 of them, have come since the beginning of 2013.  The blog also has just over 370 direct followers – kind folk who have either clicked on the ‘Follow’ link if they use WordPress.com too, or subscribed by email.  I would like to thank all of you who have done so!  When the Social Networks are added in, that’s a lot of followers or people who at least receive notifications of what’s happening on the blog.  In fact, there are 1280 Twitter and 370+ Facebook followers.  I also have way over 500 LinkedIn connections, 200+ fans and friends on Goodreads, and links with folk on Google+, Pinterest, tumblr, etcetera.  Of course, there’s duplication, but it’s still an awful lot of very good people!

The Same Old Advice?

I have seen a few posts recently extolling the virtues of Social Networks.  It still intrigues me that the message is still being pounded out that Social Networks are not only nice to be a part of, but fundamentally essential to success, despite my own recent findings to the contrary.  Don’t mistake me!  I have no intention of abandoning the Social Network scene!  What concerns me is the forceful claims.  Surely these must impact on those newest to writing and self-publishing?  If that’s true, just how useful, or damaging, is the advice?  Active participation in, for example, Facebook soon leads folk away from the matter in hand into strange lands, where peculiar graphically enhanced (GE rather than GM) quotations – many of dubious authenticity in regard to the alleged sources, humorous photographs of animals and other matter, status messages where folk have hit the panic button having read a piece of ‘news’ proven entirely false some years previously, invitations to participate in (fake) competitions for products that are too good to miss out on owning, invitations to join groups/like pages/play games… well, you get the idea!  So, the one absolute certainty of devoting significant time to Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter is that there’ll be no hope of ‘distraction free’ writing!  Other networks can be approached with a little more confidence, but even they have their dangers, circling like sharks, ready to strike.  For example, Goodreads.  There is, in my honest opinion, nothing to compare with Goodreads!  It is a superb system for readers, authors and reader/authors.  But, there are perils, mostly in the form of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of ‘special interest groups’ and more generalised forums.  Join more than a handful, and you will be pulled and pushed, poked and prodded, to be active in them.  And that’s when the trouble starts – just like Facebook and Twitter: overload!  So the potential damage to the actual writing process is obvious.  What about benefits?  Well, I guess there are some.  When an author’s website or blog is very new, then the Social Networks may bring a few visits from the curious, and I do mean a few!  The evidence simply can’t be disputed.  A more significant benefit is in finding other authors!  But even there, it’s good to be wary.

Mistakes in Social Networking

Believe it or not, many authors who have been using the Social Networks for a significant amount of years are actually abusing the system, deliberately or otherwise.  It may be that they simply haven’t got the message, or they may have ignored or discarded it.  There is, however, a very simple truth that must be given heed to!  It is very bad practice to issue post after endless post advertising your book(s)”!  Don’t believe it?  Then you evidently enjoy being continuously Spammed via email, social network sites, and so forth.  More, you enjoy Spamming others!  Because that’s what it is.  If all you ever post is advertising your work or you, then people will flock to the doors – the exit doors!  Apart from the Spam aspect, it’s just bad manners to do it.  If you blog, then let your blog system post updates about your blog.  Don’t repeat the effort.  Social Networks exist to keep people in touch with each other, in a sense that sees constant advertising as an evil.  If you do the same to people you know in real life, then I pity them, and the chances of you having many real life connections are very low indeed.  No, you have to work at it properly!  You have to provide interesting, humorous, sometimes informative information, with only the occasional advertisement for your work, almost as an aside.  This is true at all levels – from blog to network.  Anything else, and the only visitors you’ll have in any numbers will be Spambots and worse – and many of those won’t bother with you, either, because your statistics are so shockingly low.  Everything is open to abuse, intended or misguided.  If you’re determined to use the available facilities, learn to look beyond yourself, beyond your work.  If you’re not inclined to provide ‘informative’ posts, at least try to amuse your readers!  It’s like any social situation.  You have to ‘court’ your audience, even if you don’t appear to have one.  If you get it right, people will find you!  More, if you truly engage in a friendly manner with both readers and fellow authors, others will support your efforts – not just in direct responses but by Tweeting, posting to Facebook, and numerous other ways.  But I’ll sound another note of caution here: if you set out to use others, they will find you out!  In other words, just be a real, ordinary, sociable person – willing to help others not because you want something in return, but simply because

The best advice I have to give?  Be ‘good people’.

~ Steve

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To Be A Writer

Book Promo Days

Two things.  First, I’ll be abbreviating Book Promotion Day to Book Promo Day – and yes, I’m going to leave out the apostrophe!  I know it’s the wrong thing to do, but it suits me in this case.  I’m sorry of I upset any apostrophe lovers out there.  Second, a reminder that you need to get your submissions in by 9pm BST (British Summer Time) on a Wednesday!  Remember – this is free advertising!

To Be A Writer

I was asked, recently, to write a recommendation for a fellow author, on LinkedIn.  Now I would normally refuse such a request, unless I knew their work, had worked with them or knew them personally, rather than through the internet.  On this occasion, however, the request got me thinking.  Those thoughts are given below.

It only takes a whim to want to right a book, or say you would like to.  It takes far more to actually write a book!  And writing is far from the end of the affair.  Tenacity, emotional strength and faith in yourself are essential.  Without them, a book remains a pile of paper or a computer file, never seeing the light of day.  That a person has the three essentials should tell you much about them!  There’s something else that’s true of many writers – they’re chasing a dream, often one that they have held for many years.  That puts an enormous burden of desire on them.  I say ‘many writers’ because there are writers less interested in the written word than in the profit it could bring them.  Particularly since the internet came into being, the world has been subjected to a constant stream of books about how to make huge sums of money, achieve every dream you could possibly hold (including some you never knew you had), become the epitome of ‘the body perfect’, cure every disease known to Man (and then some) and various other such matters.  It seems that we could cure the world of all its ills and create a perfect species out of ourselves, if only we would read, and follow the advice of, these hundreds,or thousands, of books!  Of course, there’s really one objective in the vast majority of these writer’s minds: making a fortune for themselves.

On a personal level, I admit to being a dreamer.  I have been since before I discovered the need to write.  A fairly solitary child in much of my play activities, absolutely anything could be imbued with a being.  I had a large number of toy soldiers, from the delightfully numerous 1/72nd scale sets to the ordinary large, moulded plastic, toys.  Despite this, I was too young to enjoy how long it took to move them for battles.  As a result, nearly every battle my ‘puppets’ were involved in didn’t actually feature the toy soldiers at all.  Instead, I would divide my excellent collection of marbles into two armies.  Oh, how wonderfully swiftly they could move!  Outdoors, in the seemingly endless heat of summer, I would occupy a very small patch of grass in the back garden.  This had suffered, at some time, from being waterlogged, so that it was more patches and tussocks of grass than a lawn.  The hard, clay soil that existed between the grassy patches (and there many of them, all interconnected) made wonderful roads for my toy cars to use.  Now, my Dad is an accomplished gardener (he and his brother once worked for themselves as landscape gardeners) and always took a pride in the garden looking good, with neat lawns beautifully mowed and clipped.  Seeing me play as I did on this scrap of grass, though, he never did anything to make it fit the character of a lawn, however small.  There were many times that my imagination did more to occupy me than the toys I had at my disposal.  When I discovered writing what I wanted to write, the consequences were inevitable!

At school, like all pupils, I was required to write essays.  I admit that my work was far from satisfactory to my teachers!  Very early on, I discovered that I just couldn’t write anything of any worth about a subject I had no feeling for.  Sadly, that was most of the time.  But, there were a few rare occasions when a subject caught my imagination or interest, and I would then write and write and write!  The customary barely filled one side of paper I handed in would now be sheet after sheet, though the longer I wrote, the worse my handwriting got, as excitement drove me on.  Eventually, I encountered an English teacher who recognised what was happening, and encouraged the creative spark, rather than trying to quench it as all others before had done.

Does this mean, then, that writing is painless and without effort for me?  Far from it!  There’s a very real pain involved in not writing, for one thing.  There’s also a feverishness involved in writing, something that’s capable of burning you up, driving you to utter exhaustion.  Even without deadlines, there come times when you just have to finish a part of your story.  Then there are those frustrating times when the words just don’t come, or are unsatisfactory.  There are moments when a word insists on being repeated too often and that wonderful thesaurus in your head refuses to help correct the situation, so you end up poring over a printed version to find much needed alternatives.  And that’s just the beginning!  When you write that last word and sit back, spent but happy, you have only a brief time to enjoy the accomplishment.  The rereading, editing, rewriting and such must begin.  And if you decide to go for publication… oh, the headaches are innumerable!

So can a writer recommend another writer, who they don’t know?  The answer is yes.  To a degree, that is.  You can write a recommendation that never actually addresses the questions of how good a writer is, or how well they may adhere to deadlines, or what kind of person they are.  It’s perfectly possible to write a recommendation that is based on the general character of any writer – on what it takes to be a writer.

~ Steve

Stats And What They Might Reveal

There’s always much made of social networking.  Some of it is useful, and that’s undeniable.  Whether it gets sales or not is another matter entirely.  I’ve done a quick analysis of the social networks and made some discoveries which may interest you.  I’ve also looked at the search engines and other ‘referrers’ to Imagineer-ing.

Since I started this blog:

1

WordPress Reader
(used by followers)
274 (5.5%)
2 Google Search 219 (4.4%)
3 Facebook 218 (4.4%)
4 Yahoo mail
(mostly from Yahoo Groups)
102 (2.0%)
5 Twitter 95 (1.9%)
6 Goodreads 83 (1.7%)
7 Bing 33 (0.7%)
8 Yahoo Search 30 (0.6%)
9 LinkedIn 18 (0.3%)
10 Windows Live Mail 16 (0.3%)
11 Tumblr 14 (0.3%)
12 StumbleUpon 6 (0.1%)
13 Pinterest 4 ( – )
14 Networked Blogs 2 ( – )
15 Ask Search 1 ( – )
Total of all above 1115 (22.4%)
All other referrers 3864 (77.6%)
The itemised referrers are the common ones most of us regard as being essential to our statistics.  “Surely,” we think, “these grand bodies are what drive traffic our way?”  The figures above suggest a different reality.  Less than a quarter of views are generated by people using these major sites!  More than three-quarters come from other sites, like the blogs of fellow authors and book lovers in general.  Personally I’m staggered by this revelation!  Considering the investment in time and effort involved in these sites, especially the social networks, I think the results are rather disappointing.
The fact that Facebook comes 3rd, Twitter 5th, Goodreads 6th, LinkedIn 9th, Tumblr 11th and Pinterest 13th would suggest that Facebook is the best social network to use, with Twitter and Goodreads as additional networks.  That said, it’s clear that we shouldn’t expect miracles in our blog growth by our use of these.  I find it most intriguing that Google Search just edges Facebook.
Of course, we need to be wary of these statistics, which is true of all statistics!  We don’t know how many of the WordPress Reader users originally came to the blog through one of the social networks.
Still, it’s all food for thought.
~ Steve

Excerpt of a New Tale Plus News

Twitter Frustrations

It’s very frustrating.  It drives me to distraction.  For a while now, I’ve been unable to Follow anybody new on Twitter!  I have, it seems, hit the maximum for the number of Followers that I have.  I’ve pruned out some who I was following but weren’t following me, but there are many I wouldn’t expect to follow me!  So I’m stuck.  Some kind folk have opted to follow me in this troubled time, but I can’t reciprocate.  It’s very disheartening, too, when I read that it can take months to reach the next level!  So, while there was a time I wouldn’t have believed I would say it: “Twitter, a first cap of 2000 Followers isn’t high enough, by far!”

Online Business Cards and LinkedIn

Following on from my post in which I spoke (briefly) about Spam, I am ashamed to admit that I got caught recently!  Years of being so careful and never taking anything at face value, and BAM!!  I am a member of LinkedIn, which has brought me into contact with some very good people, as well as adding new levels of links to some I connect with elsewhere.  When, therefore, I get a message asking me to rate somebody on their online business card, I have no problem.  Well, there’s the mistake!  I should have been more cautious.  No reflection on the person who made that initial request, but the whole thing stinks.  I rated them and clicked on a button, all very authentic looking, saying Log in with LinkedIn.  Now, I had no idea if the rating had been recorded.  It went to a screen with my own business card displayed – and that should have rung big bells!  I hadn’t set up a business card!  Oh no, I must have been really switched off that day.  I accepted the offer and did what it asked.  Yes, it was a mass message but it was just a one-off…  Want to bet?  Oh no, the website, mybizcard.co, has since sent two more such mass mailings (that I know of).  Apparently, it had used stealth mode to attach itself as an app on my LinkedIn settings!  I launched complaints to LinkedIn Support. After having to put up with replies from them, which made it all too obvious that they weren’t reading my comments/replies, or were trying to dodge the issue, I’ve finally put the saga of the online business card scam behind me – I hope!  Well, that’s after 72 hours have elapsed, I’ll be free of it, I’m told…  Trust me folks!  Don’t join mybizcard.co!  Don’t even go on their website!

*****

Writing

Yes, I do still write!  Following a couple of bad days, in health terms, and battling the internet demons, I haven’t actually made a huge dent in the things I’ve got on the boil at the moment.  That’s another frustration to add to those of recent times.  I can feel the ‘you have to write’ worm gnawing away at me and yet somehow the days still sneak past with nothing of significance achieved.  I think my novel is under a pile of dust in the darkest corner of my hard drive.  The rest pops to the surface now and then, only to sink under that dread word: Later.  I have sufficient reasons to get on with it.  There’s that beautiful paperback copy of Shade of Evil, and I’ve actually had one or two more sales of ebooks.  That should be plenty of inspiration!  Shouldn’t it?

If you’re wondering, I’m working on a third story in the G1: The Guardians series.  What length it will be remains to be seen, but it won’t be smaller than a novelette.  It follows on from the second, after a few months have elapsed.  Meanwhile, in the field of science fiction, Captain Duschelle is currently resting, awaiting his next adventure.  At the same time, I occasionally dip into a longer tale that I’m working on, using the authoring/publishing website, Pressbooks.  This is actually a WordPress based site, fitted out with some nice, useful templates for authors.  The tale I’m writing there, off and on, is an Alternate History, though I fear it may also incur the label ‘Steampunk’.  Apart from the Alternate History aspect, it’s a detective/mystery tale – another first for me.  To distinguish its alternate facet, the language is very different, and requires care – which is why I have to be in the right frame of mind to add to it.  Just as a teaser, here’s a teaser (the opening of Chapter 1):

Ronald Lowden had anything but the look of either the powerful intelligence he possessed or his profession as a detective.  He was, in fact, acutely ordinary.  Somewhat round of face, with thin brown hair, hazel eyes, and a pale complexion, he was of average height and slightly above his ideal weight.  When he walked into a crowded room, nobody stopped to stare.  In fact, most people didn’t even notice his arrival.  But that very ordinariness worked in his favour, much of the time.  A good detective should be invisible, when he’s on assignment.  Unfortunately, everything else tended to make him less than imposing when a confrontation with unsavoury types was unavoidable.  In essence, however, he was not entirely unhappy with his lot, other than for the fact that he was less than impressive in the eyes of women.  His liaisons on that score had been few and far between, and his employment had ensured that all ha ended unhappily.

Lowden was not a classic private investigator, in that he only ever took cases that intrigued him at a personal level.  He was, most definitely, not ‘in it for the money’.  When his penchant for mysteries of crime had first surfaced, his clergyman father had hoped that he would jin the police.  That was never going to happen, however.  The police held to certain requirements of physical fitness and obedience to orders.  Both were anathema to Lowden.  His only powerful ‘muscle’ was his mind, and that was extremely well developed.

The truly unfortunate thing for Lowden was the fact that so few people knew of him and his choice of profession.  Consequently, he struggled financially.  He couldn’t afford an office and the tiny flat he lived in was not suitable for receiving visits from mice, let alone potential clients.  If it wasn’t for his mother’s generosity, which was always a bone of contention with his father, he couldn’t have afforded even that pathetic accommodation.  Contrary to his father’s oft stated opinion, however, Lowden was mortified that he had to accept the financial support of his mother.

Much was to change.  And soon.  He had no clue to what was going to occur, however, on the morning that he made his way from his flat to the tacky little café where he customarily breakfasted.  It was a very normal Thursday in early Spring.  Cool and bright at the moment, but probably destined to turn cold and wet.  He entered the café, an old bell clattering at the door, and took his usual seat in the window.  Why he sat there, he didn’t know.  The window was so grubby on the outside that it barely counted as a window.  He waited a few moments, until the woman on the counter deigned to approach, a tatty pad in one hand, pencil in the other.  It was the normal routine.  He made a show of reading the unchanging menu, sighed, and ordered the same thing as he had every Thursday.

Lowden was half way into a plate of scrambled eggs on (overdone) toast when a small, round blob of a man suddenly sat at his table, facing him.  Startled, and at a loss for words, all Lowden could do was stare blankly at the man.  The stranger was shorter than himself, by a considerable measure, and dressed in a black suit, white shirt, neatly knotted black tie.  His head was disturbingly close to being an almost perfect sphere.  His nose was a round lump, with scarlet pinpricks which suggested a drinker.  His eyes were small, black objects that glittered like polished jet but gave no hint of anything within their depths.  Tidy but thin eyebrows arched over his eyes.  Beneath his nose was a pencil line of a black moustache, then a small mouth with thin, pale  lips, and finally a perfect little goatee.

“You are Mister Ronald Percival Lowden?” the stranger almost demanded, in a surprisingly deep, but reedy, voice.

Lowden finished his mouthful of food and then slowly reached for the tall,thick, slightly chipped mug of strong tea.  He raised the mug, not looking at the intruder, and took a sip.  Only then did he return his gaze to the man.

“Who I am,” he said calmly, “is my own business, I believe.  What I am willing to divulge is that I am not kindly disposed to rude people.  How is it that you believe you may intrude upon a gentleman at his breakfast, without his consent?”

The stranger blinked rapidly.  “Your pardon, sir,”  he said, with no trace of sincerity.  “I am come upon a most urgent matter, and it has already cost me time to find you, having discovered that you were not in your… er… apartment.”

“Really?  Most extraordinary.  How did you come to know my address?  I do not advertise it.”

“By the kindness of your mother.”

“Remarkable.  But, sir, you have the advantage.  You have not yet introduced yourself.”  He again raised the mug of teato his lips, waiting.  ‘I must have words with dear Mother.’

“I am Humphrey Kingsley, of the Waterbridge Kingsleys.”

“Very pleasant for you, I am sure.  It is always advantageous to have a Name.”  Waterbridge was a quaint hamlet some three miles from where Lowden’s parents lived, and probably enjoyed his father’s rambling sermons on certain Sundays.  The area was renowned, unfortunately, for a certain snobbishness, where pecking order in ‘polite society’ was all-important.  “Now then, Humphrey Kingsley, what is this ‘most urgent matter’?  And how does it involve myself?”

“It is a most delicate affair,” Kingsley replied, glancing round.

The café was empty apart from themselves, and the woman at the counter, who was far more interested in reading a newspaper that rested over the pile of rolls that never seemed to change.

“I do believe we are safe from eavesdroppers,” Lowden said drily.

Kingsley took a deep breath.  “Very well.  The matter is just this:  Yesterday, at approximately ten fifteen in the morning, my superior vanished.  He was known to be in his office, from which there is but one exit, passing through his secretary’s office, which is, in effect, the anteroom to the large room occupied by my superior.  He was seen to enter his office at ten minutes past ten.  At twenty past ten, I sought to speak with him on an internal matter of no consequence to this affair.  The secretary, a most dependable woman in her forties, a Miss Alice Roach, went to the door and opened it to gain acceptance of my request.  She returned to me in a state of some considerable confusion.  When she stated that my superior was missing, I immediately grew concerned and entered the office myself.  There was definitely no sign of my superior.  Fearing some dreadful event, I checked the windows, but found them all securely closed and fastened.”

“Which Department do you work for?” Lowden asked suddenly.

“I am with the Foreign Office,  as….  How do you know that I am in government?”

“Your evasion of using any name or title for your superior suggests one who may be well knwn to the public at large.  Also, you have never once mentioned where you are employed.”

“Remarkable,” Kingsley said.  “Well, you have heard my tale.  Do you believe that you can help solve the riddle?”

“I do think that I may be able to solve the puzzle.  Come, we shall go to your offices and investigate the scene.”

Lowden stood up, Kingsley hurriedly following suit,  and paid his bill at the counter.  The pair of them left the café, stepping out into a hot day that threatened the dreaded Smog.  A short distance away, Lowden hailed a steam-cab and they were soon trundling through the narrow streets of the old city, a trail of steam left behind.  The driver sat up front, in a high seat, watching his gauges and occasionally feeding small lumps of coal into the little firebox.  Similar vehicles were everywhere, all in bright colours and most sporting the liveries of cab companies.

~ Steve

Author Interview – Marie Lavender

I’d like to offer a warm welcome to Romance author Marie Lavender!  I feel confident that you will enjoy the following interview.  Personally, I can relate to so many things Marie has to say.

Marie Lavender - Upon Your Return When did you first discover the desire to write was so strong in you?

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be an author. I began writing stories at the age of nine and really never stopped. I had a pretty big imagination, and even when I was a small child, I entertained myself with play worlds including characters and plots. It’s no wonder that’s what I ended up wanting to do.

Do you usually write in the same genre you tend to prefer to read?

Yes, for the most part. I love reading romance novels, and I definitely write them. Though I read a lot of different sub-genres such as contemporary, historical and paranormal. I have written in these sub-genres as well.

When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks?

Though I am coming to accept the prevalence of digital technology, I have a definite preference for traditional books. I love the texture, and I love collecting them. I want a huge library at some point!

Have you been influenced and/or inspired by another writer, or writers?

Of course! I have been influenced by Catherine Coulter, Jennifer Blake, Nora Roberts, Emma Wildes, Tessa Dare and Nicholas Sparks. These are some of my favourite authors as well. I have also been inspired by classic authors such as Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte.

Do past or current events in your life have an influence on your writing?

I believe that my experiences have fashioned me as a writer, in a way. Sometimes I can look back through what I’ve written and track where I was in my life based on what is there. So, I think events, either past or present, have a definite effect on an author.

Have you got a favourite author, who stands well ahead of all others?

For historical romance, I would choose Jennifer Blake or Catherine Coulter. For contemporary romance, probably it would have to be Nora Roberts. For paranormal romance, I definitely love J.R. Ward.

Have you got both printed and digital books published?

Yes, I do. I have published sixteen books under various pen names. Nearly all are available in print and digital forms. My last release, Upon Your Return, is available in e-book format, and the print version will be coming out in May or June. You can find information on the rest of my books at marielavender.webs.com.

Do you try to write to satisfy what is fashionable, or do you write pieces that you would want to read?

Though I have wondered if there is a niche for some of my works, I mainly write what comes out, what makes me passionate to write about. My ideas just come to me randomly so I just write and hope that someone will want to read it. After a manuscript is finished, then I can worry about whether there is an audience for it. Someone told me once, “You do what you have to do. You write for yourself, not to please anyone else.” I didn’t get into it for money or anything trivial. I just write because I love writing.

How do you fit writing into your life? Do you have set times for writing?

That is an interesting question. My life feels so hectic sometimes! The best thing to say to that is that I just try. I try to set aside time every day to write, no matter when it is. I am a night owl so I do end up writing in the evening quite a lot, but I have been known to write during the day as well. Sometimes the mood just strikes me, and I have to write or it will drive me crazy.

Do you keep every jotting of ideas, just in case they might be developed at some later date?

I keep journals. I write everything down. I also keep files, digital and hard copy, even for my less developed ideas. I never seem to run out of ideas. They come to me all the time, even when I am focused on a specific project.

Do you write freeform or do you faithfully plan every piece meticulously before you start on a piece?

I write as I go. Scenes come to me in pretty much any order in a story, and I figure the rest out later. Though I might have a good idea about the main point of a book, what happens is just as surprising to me as the reader. Sometimes I go back and do my research and add those details in later. Sometimes I do research as I go. It depends on the book. Yes, I know preparation is best for some writers. But, I can’t turn off the muse.

When writing, most authors now use a computer of some description. Which do you find more satisfying: writing using any means available, using a computer, using a typewriter or using a pen/pencil?

Someone called me a Luddite once because I preferred writing in pen rather than composing on the computer. And some days, I still do. I like the texture of the paper as your pen goes across the page. I like to see handwritten documents. But, I have grown to accommodate myself to technology, and I just as easily compose on my PC.

Have you ever been somewhere and discovered a copy of a book that’s extremely difficult to find, and drooled over the discovery?

Yes, I believe I have. Since I was a kid, I’ve always been fascinated with the written word. I collect books, as aforementioned. So, I believe I did find something in an antique store once. It was only a 1947 copy of American folk songs, but I still found that interesting. I also visit used-book stores from time to time. My shelves are full of used-books with yellowed pages and crinkled corners. I find most of my rare purchases online though. I would love to purchase older books, like classic novels. I don’t know much about preservation, but I would definitely like to add them to my collection.

If you’ve had books published in print form, have you ever come across a copy of one of your own books by accident?

It’s funny you mention that! Fifteen of my books were published through Lulu Press. And my latest book is through Solstice Publishing. My books can be found on Amazon, Lulu.com or Solstice.com. Where was I going with that? I’m getting there. I found out that an independent seller was trying to sell two copies of my books through Amazon for an ungodly amount of money. I don’t know who it is, but I just found that kind of comical.

What is your greatest ambition in writing?

I’d like to see my books in stores someday. Just that satisfaction would be enough for me. I don’t have to make millions. The other thing is I just want to write, and I want to feel I have made an impact on someone’s life. Maybe something a character went through really made the reader think. If I got a response like that, that would mean a lot to me. My goal for now, though, is to complete The Heiresses in Love series.

Where can readers find out more about your works?

You can visit my website at marielavender.webs.com. I also have blogs at marielavender.blogspot.com and marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com. All of my books are on Amazon. You can also follow my pages or connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.


Author Bio

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats.  She has been writing for over twenty years.  She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.  At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories.  Her imagination fuelled a lot of her early child’s play.  Even growing up, she entered writing contests and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one.  She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a writer.  While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal.  After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.

Since then, Marie has published sixteen books. Marie Lavender’s real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories.  Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them.  Upon Your Return is her first historical romance novel.  free to visit her website at marielavender.webs.com for further information about her books and her life.  Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie LavenderUpon Your Return

Erica SutherhomeHard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom

Kathryn LayneA Misplaced Life

Heather CrouseExpress Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

Facebook – the faceless social network

This is unusual for me, posting twice in one day.  I wouldn’t feel compelled to do so but I’m annoyed with Facebook!

today, I obtained a nice, easy to remember domain name for Imagineer.  Great!  Naturally, it’s necessary to advertise the fact.  So, first things first, tell everybody on Facebook.  Simple. Or, well, no!  I enter the link info and it gets blocked,  It appears that I’ve fallen foul of a blanket ban on the provider, because a large (?) number of people misuse them.  I’ve no intention of spamming anybody, and my site doesn’t, as far as I know, contain anything offensive.  So, I send a message as Facebook suggests, to state that an error is being made,  The response?  Apparently Facebook don’t provide individual support on this issue, but thanks if it helps us improve Facebook!  SO I’m left stranded.  Fortunately, others like Smashwords  Goodreads, Twitter and LinkedIn don’t present the problem.

There are so many times I hate Facebook!

If you don’t know what the new URL is, it’s: http://www.imagineer.cu.cc/index.htm.