May 24, 2013 by Lillie
In honor of the occasion, Dougal Campbell suggested a 10th anniversary blogging project. This post is my contribution to the project.
When WordPress was released in 2003:
- I had been online for more than five years, using Publisher to create my early sites, then progressing to FrontPage, then to Dreamweaver.
- I had a page called “news,” which I updated manually with information about my books and events.
- The closest thing to social media I knew about was a web ring, in which the members were linked to each other and visitors encouraged to travel from site to site.
- It never occurred to me that it was possible to have an interactive website where visitors could communicate with the site owner.
- If I had even heard of blogging, I wasn’t sure what it was, and I had no interest in learning.
When I first started using WordPress in June 2006:
- My blog was an addition to my Dreamweaver website, and WP was a blog platform, not a content management system.
- I used Fantastico to install and update WordPress from cPanel; I often had to wait weeks after a new release for the update to appear in Fantastico, but that was much easier than having to download WP to my computer and then upload it to my server to install it.
- I didn’t get my first comment for months.
- Memes and group writing projects were popular.
- I took seriously the advice to visit other blogs and comment, and I made a lot of great blogging friends.
Since I’ve been using WordPress:
- DoFollow has gone in and out of fashion, in a large degree based on Google’s changing algorithms.
- I’ve written 1400 posts, received nearly 25,000 comments, and contended with more than two million spam comments.
- The popularity of memes and group writing projects has declined.
- Many of my blogging friends from the early days have quit blogging or have significantly reduced their blogging as they spend more time on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and the ever-expanding social media landscape.
- My entire site has been built on WordPress for several years now, and my associate Jan McClintock and I have created WordPress sites for our author clients and won’t even consider using any other platform or program.
My 7th blog anniversary is coming up June 11th. Jan is working on a new WordPress design to be unveiled for the anniversary. Be sure to come back to see the updated site. I’m very excited about it.
When I think back to the days of creating a website in Publisher and having to go in every couple of weeks to update the “news” page, I really appreciate the flexibility and functionality of WordPress! No matter what you want to do, there’s probably a plugin for that.
May 19, 2013 by Lillie
PRAY WITH ONE VOICE
A Prayer for the World
Almighty God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
We gather with believers all over the world,
to glorify You as Creator of heaven and earth.
You alone are holy and righteous.
We submit to Your authority.
We praise and adore You alone.
Father, we honour You
Lord Jesus Christ, we honour You
Holy Spirit, we honour You
Our Father in heaven,
Thank You for loving the world so much
that You gave Your only Son, Jesus Christ,
to die on the cross for our sins
so that we could be reconciled to You.
Fill us with your love as we faithfully intercede for the lost,
the hopeless, the helpless and the world.
Thank You Father, for adopting us into Your family.
Lord Jesus Christ,
You died on the cross and
redeemed us to the Father by Your blood.
You are Head of the Church
and Lord of all heaven and earth.
Let Your kingdom be established in every nation of the world
bring transformation among peoples of all tribes and languages
so that righteousness and justice will prevail.
May Your Name be great, from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Jesus Christ, You are Lord of all.
Father of mercy and grace,
We have sinned.
Our world is gripped by the power of sin.
Our hearts are grieved by injustice, hatred and violence.
We are shamed by oppression, racism and bloodshed in our land.
We mourn all loss of life in murder, war and terrorism.
Our homes are broken and our churches are divided by rebellion and pride.
Our lives are polluted by selfishness, greed, idolatry and sexual sin.
God of mercy, forgive our sins.
Pour out Your grace and heal our land.
Spirit of the living God,
Transform Your Church into the image of Jesus Christ.
Release Your power to bring healing to the sick,
freedom to the oppressed and comfort to those who mourn.
Fill us with compassion
for the homeless and the hungry
for orphans, widows and the elderly.
Give us wisdom and insight for our world’s problems
to use the resources of the earth for the well-being of all.
Holy Spirit, guide us and lead us.
Lord Jesus Christ,
You destroyed sin, conquered death and defeated Satan.
Remove the veil of darkness that covers the peoples.
Restrain the evil that promotes violence and death.
Deliver us from demonic oppression.
Break the hold of slavery, tyranny and disease.
Help us to tear down strongholds and ideologies
that resist the knowledge of God.
Almighty God, deliver us from evil.
King of Glory,
Come and finish Your work in our cities, our peoples and our nations.
From all continents and islands we cry:
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Be lifted up ancient doors
so that the King of glory may come in!
Come fill the earth with the knowledge of Your glory
as the waters cover the sea.
The Spirit and the Bride say:
Amen! Come Lord Jesus!
May 18, 2013 by Lillie
Today is Armed Forces Day, a day to honor all branches of the service and the people who serve. Thank you to all our military members and to their families.
May is also Military Appreciation Month, a time to show our appreciation to everyone who has served in the military, past and present. We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude.
May 17, 2013 by Lillie
When I started out, I didn’t know blogging would be so much fun. I hope my visitors enjoy visiting my blog half as much as I enjoy writing it!
May 16, 2013 by Lillie
Jan McClintock, my friend and associate—my editorial assistant and web developer—is also a blogger/book reviewer. She was recently interviewed by the Pittsburgh Examiner about historical fiction. I think you will find the interview interesting, especially if you like historical fiction.
May 15, 2013 by Lillie
Recently, I received a phone call from a former client. He is a former client because he didn’t want to take my advice. I edited his book and helped him self-publish it, but he didn’t believe me that he would have to do a lot of work to market his book.
He has since published a second novel without benefit of my help, and he’s very disappointed that his books aren’t selling. So he’s decided that he wants to get an agent and try to get his books published by a traditional publisher.
He asked me to help him understand a response he received from an agent he had queried. He had emailed an agent with a message like this: “I have written two books. Will you be my agent?”
The response he received was, “Please follow the submission guidelines on our website.”
I pointed him to the submission guidelines: a query letter, a synopsis, and three chapters submitted to a specific agent through the agency’s website.
After I told him what a synopsis was and explained that he needed to read the bios of the agents and find one who represented historical fiction , he said, “I don’t want to do all that. I’ll just call them.”
He didn’t get back to me after he made the phone call, but I can almost guarantee that he got nowhere. Most likely, he talked to a receptionist who told him to follow the guidelines to submit to the agency.
Traditional publishers and agents have specific guidelines for writers to submit proposals and manuscripts for consideration. From the standpoint of the publisher or agent, the guidelines are designed to make it easy for them to review the many submissions they receive.
They don’t want to waste time with reviewing historical novels if they represent or publish only mysteries and sci-fi. They want to know that the author has a real plot with a beginning, middle, and end, hence the synopsis (or a chapter summary for nonfiction). They want to “hear” the writer’s voice and to determine if the story captures their attention from the beginning, so they ask for a chapter or two or three. In other words, they want to know if the book is worth their time to read and consider.
An author failing to follow the guidelines complicates the process, usually meaning that the agent or editor will fail to review the submission. In addition, the publisher or agent will assume that a writer who can’t or won’t follow simple submission guidelines will be a difficult client. Like all of us, publishing professionals prefer to work with people who cooperate and make their lives easier, not more difficult.
When not in a “I”m a terrible writer and no one wants to read my junk” mood, every writer thinks his or her book is an exception. Why be stifled by arbitrary rules when submitting the great American novel? Even if you have written the great American novel, you have follow the submission guidelines or your book will never be read, much less published, by a traditional publisher.
And lest you think you’re immune because you prefer to self-publish, think again. While self-publishing does give you complete control over the process, you’re unlikely to be successful if you don’t follow publishing conventions.
Several years ago, my husband Jack and I were invited to a booksigning for a book written and published by a man Jack went to elementary school with and hadn’t seen for 60 years or more. Of course, we bought a book and had it autographed, but neither of us read it. One look at the cover convinced me that he had not hired a professional designer. The front cover had only the book title and author name in a common font, with no artwork or design. Obviously the author tried to save on printing costs—the margins were narrow, and the print was tiny. Had I been able to decipher the small print, I’m quite sure that I would have found that the author hadn’t spent money on editing either. The author sold quite a few books that day because he seemed to have invited everyone he had ever met in his life. His old friends, including Jack, were thrilled to reconnect after so long and happy to buy a book However, I would be surprised if more than a handful even tried to read the book because it was so unappealing and difficult to read.
So going the indie publishing route may save you from having to follow publishers’ and literary agents’ guidelines, but it won’t save you from having to pay attention to the things that readers expect in a book: an appealing cover, an easy-to-read layout, words that flow smoothly without significant errors. You can mix genres, write longer or shorter than typical books from traditional publishers, and cover topics that many consider taboo. But you must give the reader a pleasurable reading experience.
Have you submitted your work to traditional publishers? If so, did you follow the guidelines?
May 12, 2013 by Lillie
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! God bless all mothers and their children of all ages.
May 12, 2013 by Lillie
Today is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. I wrote in detail about fibromyalgia awareness and my experience with fibromyalgia last year. I have experienced the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia for more than 30 years.
Yet, fibromyalgia is an invisible disease—the pain can’t be seen. Often people think someone with fibromyalgia is lazy or a hypochondriac. Let’s make fibromyalgia visible.
May 9, 2013 by Lillie
On the liturgical calendar of the church, today is Ascension Day, commemorating the day Jesus ascended into Heaven. Before He left them, Jesus told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem, and He would send the Holy Spirit to them. The disciples stayed in Jerusalem and prayed for the next ten days, until the day of Pentecost. At that time the Holy Spirit came down, appearing like tongues of fire over the disciples. Peter preached to the crowd, and each person heard the words in his own language, and three thousand people were baptized that day.
The Global Day of Prayer is Pentecost Sunday, May 19th. On that day, Christians around the world will come together in repentance and prayer. Like the disciples who prayed continuously from Jesus’ Ascension to the day of Pentecost, believers will pray for the ten days leading up to the Global Day of Prayer. If you would like to pray with a specific focus for each day, download the 10 Day Prayer Guide and join Christians everywhere in praying for the nations of the world.
O LORD, we beseech thee, mercifully hear our prayers, and spare all those who confess their sins unto thee; that they, whose consciences by sin are accused, by thy merciful pardon may be absolved; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
O MOST mighty God, and merciful Father, who hast compassion upon all men, and who wouldest not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his sin, and be saved; Mercifully forgive us our trespasses; receive and comfort us, who are grieved and wearied with the burden of our sins. Thy property is always to have mercy; to thee only it appertaineth to forgive sins. Spare us therefore, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed; enter not into judgment with thy servants; but so turn thine anger from us, who meekly acknowledge our transgressions, and truly repent us of our faults, and so make haste to help us in this world, that we may ever live with thee in the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
TURN thou us, O good Lord, and so shall we be turned. Be favourable, O Lord, Be favourable to thy people, Who turn to thee in weeping, fasting, and praying. For thou art a merciful God, Full of compassion, Long-suffering, and of great pity. Thou sparest when we deserve punishment, And in thy wrath thinkest upon mercy. Spare thy people, good Lord, spare them, And let not thine heritage be brought to confusion. Hear us, O Lord, for thy mercy is great, And after the multitude of thy mercies look upon us; Through the merits and mediation of thy blessed Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O GOD, whose nature and property is ever to have mercy and to forgive; Receive our humble petitions; and though we be tied and bound with the chain of our sins, yet let the pitifulness of thy great mercy loose us; for the honour of Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Advocate. Amen.
May 6, 2013 by Lillie
I have written a lot about stroke during previous Stroke Awareness Months. Having had a stroke myself more than twenty years ago, I want everyone to know the symptoms of stroke. The quicker someone receives treatment, the more likely they are to make a good recovery.
My earlier posts cover a great deal about stroke, both my personal experience as well as links to other sites:
- May Is Stroke Awareness Month
- National Stroke Awareness Month: My Stroke – the Beginning
- National Stroke Awareness Month: My Stroke – The Next Three Days
- National Stroke Awareness Month: My Stroke – the Aftermath
- National Stroke Awareness Month: Stroke Risk Factors and Symptoms
- Stroke Awareness Month 2011
- Twenty Years Ago Today…
May is also National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. I have not posted about this previously. Generally, I write about causes that are close to my heart, often because I have personal experience. And this year, I have come to have personal experience with asthma and allergy. I’ve been diagnosed with asthma as well as a number of allergies—not only trees and grasses but also food allergies, to oats and bananas and a dozen or so of my favorite foods. I was surprised to be diagnosed with asthma at my age, as I had thought that asthma usually began in childhood. However, it can occur anytime.
I was glad to see that my hometown of San Antonio is now #24 on the allergy capitals list, down from #9 last year. Either we have fewer allergens this year or other cities have more. The situation is better for me as far as asthma triggers go—San Antonio is #66, down from #12 last year.
Asthma creates a huge impact on our society. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America:
Every day in America:
- 44,000 people have an asthma attack.
- 36,000 kids miss school due to asthma.
- 27,000 adults miss work due to asthma.
- 4,700 people visit the emergency room due to asthma.
- 1,200 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma.
- 9 people die from asthma.
I’m still learning about asthma and allergies, so I won’t try to educate you on asthma. However, I do encourage you to visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to learn more.
I knew I had “hay fever” or “cedar fever” like just about everyone I know. But I had no idea I had allergies to food I ate often, and I certainly didn’t know I had asthma. Since I have been diagnosed and started receiving treatment, I feel much, much better. If you or someone you love exhibits any of the symptoms of asthma (coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness), find out if asthma is the problem. You can’t improve the symptoms until you’re diagnosed and treated.