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Twitter Tuesdays #5 More About Hashtags and Columns

So, the last time I did a Twitter Tuesdays post, I got several comments and messages from people, both on the blog and off, who, until then had NO IDEA you could do columns and searches with hashtags. And really, if you’re struggling to learn how to use Twitter, or you’re trying to build a platform and still feel like you’re fumbling in the dark, it is kind of life-changing news.

Keep the comments and questions coming, guys — I really would like to be as helpful as I can in my limited scope here. 🙂

Again, my posts now for the most part presume that you are using TweetDeck (if you’re not using TweetDeck or another app that you like, such as HootSuite, check out my post on why I recommend using something like TweetDeck.

Another question writers (and others who build platforms on Twitter) have is — “How in the heck do you keep up with your stream?”

I follow over 1100 people. I don’t keep up with everything in the stream every day. I do try to browse through the full stream a couple of times a day to look for interesting new things, but it’s definitely the part of Twitter I neglect the most. Once I find the interesting stuff, I use columns, hashtags, and lists to help me keep up with the rest.

Hashtags

I’ve already discussed these a little bit.  A hashtag is a little way of categorizing things on Twitter so that others can find it. One really important thing to know about hashtags, is that if you include one in your tweet, ANYONE who searches that hashtag can see your tweet, even if they’re not (already!) following you. Using hashtags, therefore, can make your tweets that much more visible and powerful (if done correctly!)

For example. I’ve already told you that #wordmongering is one of my very favorite hashtags. I LOOOVE these people, and am thankful everyday for the two awesome people who created it, and got it going. So I have #wordmongering saved as a column in my TweetDeck. I created the column by clicking the little + sign in the upper-left corner. When the search bar popped up, I typed #wordmongering, and then, like magic, I had a whole column filled with #wordmongering tweets!

Now, whenever someone tweets anything with the #wordmongering hashtag, I see it, whether I follow them or not. (And usually, if they like #wordmongering, I follow them!)

This same technique works with any hashtag you see someone tweet. If you see someone in your stream type a hashtag you’re unfamiliar with, but it looks interesting, ASK! Include the hashtag when you ask, too, so you might form a quick connection with someone new. It might look like this:

You: So @personIfollow, what is #wordmongering?

Someone new: Oooh! #wordmongering is a great group of folks who write for 30 minutes at the top of each hour, then post word counts and cheer each other on!

Person you follow: Want to join?

And the next thing you know, you’ve made some new friends and become a bigger part of the Twitter community.

Did you KNOW people CHAT using hashtags?

It’s true. Because of the nature of being able to search using hashtags, oftentimes, people use particular hashtags to create chats. These can be REALLY awesome, because they’re like a huge world-wide conference call in which anyone who adds the hashtag to their tweets can participate! The chats can be a bit harder to find, because they usually run on a schedule, but again, if you’re lost ASK!

So again … take a week (or two, I know it was two weeks — I was writing, which is better than blogging! I logged over 10k new words on Thorns of Decision last week.  Besides — have you SEEN the new covers?) and practice searching for new hashtags, making columns, and interacting with folks. 🙂

For Writers Especially:

Here are a few more hashtags you might like to try. And PLEASE, if you have others that you love, leave them in the comments.

  • #amwriting
  • #writingsprint
  • #myWANA
  • #writechat (On Sunday afternoons, particularly)
  • #FNTWP (Only on Friday evenings, but check it out!)
  • #row80
  • #wip500

A Final Plea …

Once you’ve learned how to harness the power of hashtags, it can be a little tempting to use them gratuitously as a way to get your message across. PLEASE be respectful of hashtag communities and what the “rules” are inside them. DON’T use hashtags to spam. It won’t work, and it will likely get you blocked by people (who might otherwise have liked you and eventually bought your book/product/whatever).  For example — #wordmongering is for people who want to WRITE together. Don’t hit them up with BUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOK #wordmongering. They won’t.

Besides, if you look around long enough, you’ll find plenty of #hashtags that are fine places to spam er, market … 😉

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Sample Sunday (#SampleSunday)

Happy Sunday, everyone. 🙂 Thanks for reading and following along. For those who don’t know, on Sundays, on Twitter, you can follow along with the hashtag #SampleSunday as authors post samples and excerpts of their work. It’s a great chance to find some new authors you like and find fun new things to read.

I’ve decided I’ll start participating in a new way, too, by posting #SampleSunday excerpts on my blog. 🙂

Here’s the first one …

An excerpt from the middle of Roots of Insight.

She stood there, still as a statue, consumed half by a paralyzing mixture of terror and anger, and the other half by another emotion entirely. Though she was rigid and unmoving, his arms still wound around her back, holding her tight. “We can’t think like that, Quinn. We don’t know what’s going on; let’s not make this worse by jumping to conclusions. Let’s assume, for now, that we’re okay. That she’s hidden us only for our safety, and we’ll find out what this is all about later.”

She swallowed, trying to get past the fear and aggravation. Her fingers trembled. It wasn’t working, trapped here in the dark and silence.

“It’s going to be okay,” he murmured against her hair.

She snapped. “Since when are you so Susie Sunshine about everything?”

He was absolutely still for just a second, before his entire body started shaking, in great, heaving motions coming from his chest. She was startled, confused, and then the silence was broken by his snorting, and the laughter overtook her, too.

Once she started laughing, she couldn’t stop, and it was clear that neither could he. They both stood there shaking, trying to keep quiet, trying to stop, but every time one of them calmed down enough to take a breath, the other would snicker, and it would start all over again. Tears were rolling down her cheeks, her stomach was aching, and she could hardly breathe, but the laughter kept coming.

Finally, finally, she managed to pull in a breath at the same time he did. They clutched each other’s arms tightly, trying to regain control. They hysterical giggles kept threatening to break through, but at last they were calm.

William softly cleared his throat. “Only one of us can freak out at a time.”

She nodded. “Agreed.”

And then, somehow, his lips were against hers. Softly, at first, his bottom lip grazed her top one. She knew, in the part of her brain that was still capable of rational thought, that she should have been surprised by this, but it wasn’t thought that drove her now. Her mouth responded on its own, as did her hands, reaching around him, clutching the back of his thin shirt.

He pulled her body closer with one hand, the other finding the back of her neck, under her hair, his fingers gently caressing, twining in her hair …

There was a loud thud directly overhead. They jerked apart, as if shocked by a jolt of electricity. After an eternity, his hand found hers again, squeezing it tight as they listened to the footsteps crossing the floor above.

 

Don’t forget, you can always check out more samples from the Dusk Gate Chronicles by clicking on the menu bar above. You can also check out the books on Amazon by clicking on the pictures of the book covers to your right. Happy Sunday! 🙂

Five More Days! :)

To celebrate today, I invite you to pop over to Better Read than Dead, where Kristin has posted an awesome review of Seeds, and you can join the giveaway, too!

If, by chance, you already have a copy of Seeds of Discovery, and that giveaway wouldn’t do you any good… leave a comment on Kristin’s review mentioning that fact, and I will put your name in a hat to win an ARC of Roots of Insight! 🙂

Also, don’t forget to enter the drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card by clicking HERE.

 

I’m still looking for a few good bloggers to help me out with the scavenger hunt that begins on Monday — and a few authors who might be interested in donating e-copies of their fantastic books as prizes.

So far, we have some great hunts lined up! You can join the party, too!

Happy New Year! 8 More Days, and More Happy Hunting! :)

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you’re all as excited as I am about starting a new year fresh.

I’ve decided this year that resolutions are a bad idea. Most of them are about taking some part of yourself that you currently see as “bad” and trying to change it. For me, the new year is going to be about taking what’s good, and growing it.

2011 was monumental for me. It was the year I finally stopped buying into the myth of “security,” or doing “what I’m supposed to do.” The year I stopped believing in should be,  and started asking what could be.

My dream for 2012 is that it will be a year of exploring that further, and really coming to terms with what it means, and then, just living it.

One dream that came true this year was finishing a book and actually allowing people to read it. That has been more fantastic than I ever imagined it could be, and I am so grateful for everyone who has shared that with me. The writing community is AMAZING.

If you are a writer, and it’s part of your “could be” to see where that journey takes you, then something you NEED to check out is Cara Michael’s #WIP500. I will be doing this, starting today. Every day, growing at least 500 words closer to my writing dreams. 🙂

Tomorrow, starts my first ever blog tour! And you’ll be able to party right along with me!

Starting tomorrow, check back right here for a blog to visit, and a question to find an answer to! I’ll be giving away fun prizes to those who can answer the questions! 🙂

Speaking of prizes, don’t forget to enter the contest for

a $10 Amazon.com e-gift card by clicking here.

And, if you are a blogger or an author, don’t forget to comment below or send me an e-mail to participate in the upcoming blog hop scavenger hunt for the release of Roots of Insight! Bloggers … all I will need from you is a few questions about content you ALREADY HAVE POSTED on your blog, and I’ll be sending people over. Authors … I could use e-copies of your books or anything else you might like to give away (and links to your blogs, too!) 🙂

I might actually start freaking out here …

 

The last few days have been pretty exciting around here in book land. 🙂 Well, exciting in that teeny-tiny fish in the big huge ocean that is Kindle books on Amazon kind of way.

As you know from my previous post, I had been experimenting with using my free promotional days on Amazon, and it was going pretty well. Really well, actually. In the end, Dusk Gate: Seeds of Discovery made it all the way to being the #72 best-selling free book on Amazon.

The promotion expired at midnight last night, Pacific time, and my fun little book is now back among the ranks of paid Kindle books on Amazon. And I’m still having trouble staying in my chair today, because …

Well, let me start with a comparison. Last week, before the free promotion, Seeds of Discovery had been consistently ranking somewhere above #200,000 in the paid rankings on Amazon all of this month. And before today, the highest it’s ever hit has been somewhere in the high #20,000.

Today? Well … right this minute, it is number 2,270 overall.

It is also #41 in Contemporary Fantasy.

And #84 in Children’s Science Fiction and Fantasy … yes … 83 books below The Hunger Games.

We’re celebrating here tonight. It’s a small celebration, sure, but big for me! 🙂

And a huge, enormous, monumental, earth-shattering, THANK YOU to all of you who have supported me, and read the blog, and taken a chance on picking up the book. The success is really yours.

Number one Contemporary Fantasy and Children’s Fantasy

Wow! This has been a whirlwind day … a whirlwind month, really.

I just realized that I haven’t blogged since right before Thanksgiving, and I know that’s bad, LOL. In reality, a lot of it is because this is a challenging month for me personally, and it wasn’t long after Thanksgiving that another family member of mine passed away, and my thoughts have been in a jumble.

So, rather than post about my random introspection, I’ve been focusing my efforts on Dusk Gate. 🙂 Book Two is written! There will be some heavy editing over the next few weeks, and then it will release on January 9th! Some of you who have been helping me with my Amazon promotion of Book One will be receiving free advance copies!

In case you were wondering … the official title for Book Two (since, unfortunately, I can’t call it Book Two forever) is … *drumroll* Dusk Gate: Roots of Insight.

And now for the really big news…

Yesterday, I put Seeds of Discovery up for free on Amazon, intending it to be a one-day promotion. But when the day was close to over, the book had hit the top ten in both the Contemporary and Children’s Fantasy categories. So, I thought, what the heck. I’ll leave it free for another day, and see what happens.

Number. One. No, seriously. As of this exact moment — 10:07 P.M., the book is the number one bestselling free book in both of those categories. And, if I can actually type this without falling out of my chair … it’s #103 in free books overall on Amazon.

I am amazed and grateful and shocked, and a million other things right now. Oh, and my house is a TRAINWRECK because every single time the kids were happily absorbed today, you can guess what I was probably doing. LOL.

And, um … the book will be free tomorrow, too. 🙂 Tell your friends. (please!)

Let it Snow, Let it Snow …

We’re getting our first big snowfall of the year here in Denver. The ground is sparkling white and it’s beautiful.  Little Goose is desperate to get outside in her snow pants and snow boots to make snow angels and a snowman.

I don’t love snow, although I can appreciate the beauty of it much more when I don’t have to go out in it! 🙂 However, I still wish a pleasant, sunny walk to the park was in the plans for today.

So, for those of you who, like me, aren’t yet ready for summer to end … an excerpt from Chapter 19 of Seeds of Discovery!

Nobody said anything as William walked over to Thomas and Quinn and sat down.
“Gorgeous day,” William finally broke the silence. “A little warm, though.”
Quinn heard Thomas’ quiet sigh of relief. “Yes it is.” He answered. “Want to go for a swim?”
“Sure.” William was actually smiling.
“What? In the river?” Quinn was surprised.
“Where else?” Thomas asked.
“Is it … safe?”
“Definitely… it’s wide here, and the current’s not strong at all.”
It was William who caught her concern. “Water’s safe here, Quinn. No pollution in our world. You could drink right out of it. Warmer than Colorado, too.”
Quinn looked down at the brown short-sleeved shirt and woven pants she was wearing. “I don’t have a swimming suit.”
Thomas shrugged, “Wear your clothes. It’s warm enough today, you’ll dry. There’s some extra stuff packed, anyway.”
Quinn still wasn’t sure. “I’ll think about it,” she said.
“Suit yourself.” Thomas stood and pulled off his shirt, then waded into the river. William followed him.
Quinn stayed on the shore and enjoyed the sunshine as the brothers walked out almost to the middle of the river, into water up to their waists. Thomas, always the bolder of the two, was the first to disappear under the surface and bob up a second later, shaking his head and splattering William.
William responded by using his hands to send a huge wave of water rolling toward Thomas, who failed to move to the side quickly enough. Within seconds, it degenerated into a full-blown water fight, both boys laughing and splashing water. Quinn found herself laughing as well.

Read the rest of this entry

Daily Writing Progress, Week Four: Monday

Okay, so last week was an utter disaster in terms of word count. 🙂 I don’t know why. Maybe it was stress, probably distraction had something to do with it… and I think a big part of it was “incubation.”  I had all these ideas of where the story was going to go… I’ve had it mapped out for a long time, but they needed time. Time to sit, to “incubate” before they were ready to hatch. At least that’s the story I’m telling myself. 😉

Anyway, I spent the weekend in discussions and outlining sessions with my dear friend, and writing partner, Krysta Hunt, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back on track this week.  Any magic sparkling writing dust blowing my way would be much appreciated. I am really going to try for 10k this week.

How was your week last week? Did you meet any goals? Anything exciting happen?

What are your goals for this week? Anyone else need magic dust?

Book Two current word count: 25,979

Total word count from Week Three: 4,146