Monday Musings: A Gold Mine on My Hard Drive

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by Kathleen Valentine

Over the last few weeks I’ve written about using social media to connect with potential readers and to promote our work. Believe me, this has been as challenging for me as it is for you. I am always astonished by the things I learn. Recently I’ve been trying to build my “brand,” whatever the heck that is, and I discovered something interesting. For years I have been creating content for my blog and for other social media which, when taken together, shows something interesting—I apparently have particular fascinations for:

  • folklore, legends, and mysterious places

  • handcrafts, particularly, sewing, knitting, and working with beads and shells

  • cooking—especially baking and making relishes and preserves

I am a fiction writer and most of my stories involve components of those things. Many of my stories incorporate folklore and legends. From The Old Mermaid’s Tale to my Marienstadt Stories and The Crazy Old Lady’s Secret, I have built these stories on a foundation of legends. In most of my books my characters do a lot of cooking—from Syd Jupiter teaching Tempest how to cook catfish in Depraved Heart, to the Dumpling Contest in The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall. And many of my ladies knit, quilt, and sew—especially the ladies in The Monday Night Needlework and Murder Guild! So, though I’m not sure what an author’s brand actually is, those three themes show up consistently as I write.

Quotes-AllisonAs I try to improve my use of social media, I have been trying to figure out how to better use Pinterest, which is a deliciously visual medium, and Twitter which is great because it is quick fast and easy to use. So, I started going through my files and I realized that I have close to a thousand of the little Inspirational Quotes for Writers (like the one on the left) that I have posted daily on Facebook for years. I post them on Facebook and then they just sit on my hard drive. So a couple weeks ago I started posting them to Twitter. Almost immediately I saw an increase in Likes and Retweets. People started adding me to lists and I even started picking up followers.

Giddy with the success of that, I went to my blog for which I have written over 2,000 posts. Some of them are silly or dated, but within a short time I had culled out over 30 posts I’d made about the subjects above—from less than a quarter of my posts. I crafted Tweets for them, including a picture, a link, and some hashtags and Tweeted those. Again, people responded. I checked my blog stats and my recipe for cooking a roast in my Ninja 3-in-1 had over 6,000 visits.

I started a DOC file that I keep on my desktop and every time I create a Tweet that people seem to like, I save it there. I can Retweet them periodically along with my writing quote memes and my normal Tweets. By using TweetDeck, I can schedule a days worth of Tweets in twenty minutes and then not think about it for the rest of the day.

Will this help market my books? It’s too soon to tell. But one thing it is doing is gathering Followers and getting me on lists for people who love the same things I do and since my books are full of those things, who knows? Next I have to conquer Pinterest but I am enjoying this and finally feel like I’m getting someplace.

Take a look at all those files you have been creating for years and see what may be lurking on your hard drive—there may be gold that you can use to attract like-minded folks.

Thanks for reading.

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Thursday Teaser: Each Day I Wake

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EachDay-KirbyBy Seb Kirby

That night.

Lying in bed next to Janet.

Wide awake.

Another bolt-lightning stream of memory. Vivid. Seeing myself doing these things.

Margot.

Athletic. Twenty. An illustrator.

We’re looking at one of her drawings for a children’s book. Her first real commission.

It’s good.

We’re in that room again, the one with the books lining the wood paneled walls.

I’m being unfaithful again. Unfaithful to Janet.

I know what’s coming next. A waking nightmare I don’t want to see.

I’m forcing Margot back down onto the couch, gripping her by the neck, squeezing the life out of her, listening to her last gasps.

I want to look away but I have to watch.

I can see the hands gripping Margot’s neck, the same hands that gripped Cathy’s neck, that gripped Rebecca’s neck. But now for the first time I see the forearms, reaching forward, struggling to exert the power to complete the act.

The nightmare vision continues. I’m killing Margot, watching her die.

But what did I see?

As Margot was being killed.

On the left forearm I saw a tattoo.

A single red rose.

I struggled out of the bed, put the light on in the bathroom and looked at my forearms.

No tattoos.

It wasn’t me.

It couldn’t have been me doing those killings.

If it wasn’t me, why was I seeing them?

Why were these memories the only ones I could recall?

I had to believe it wasn’t me.

I had to believe.

About Each Day I Wake ,

A gripping psychological thriller
Young women are going missing and only Tom Markland knows the terrifying truth. When he’s pulled out of the North Dock, he comes round not knowing who he is or how he got there. All he knows is that someone is killing young women. He sees them die each time he closes his eyes. The only way he’s going to recover his identity is to discover who is doing the killings.

Each Day I Wake will keep you turning page after page.

Exclusively on Amazon.

About the author

imageSeb Kirby was literally raised with books – his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He’s been an avid reader ever since.

Other inspirations include Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis and The Trial, George Orwell 1984 and Animal Farm, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Boris Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness At Noon, Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley …

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More, and the science-fiction thriller, Double Bind.

Visit his

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby

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Monday Musings: When You Get That Bad Review

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by Kathleen Valentine It happens to all of us. We notice that new review has been added to one of our books and we click on the link with anxious anticipation. There it is. One star. And a depressing sentence that says something like, “This is the … [Continue reading]

Thursday Teasers: Tomorrow’s bestsellers from today’s favorite authors

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This Thursday Teaser is a special treat for readers of BestSelling Reads authors: snippets of the upcoming works from your favorite writers. All these books will be out in the next few months — some within weeks. Keep watching BestSelling Reads to … [Continue reading]

Book launch today: Road Blocked

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A Reed Ferguson Mystery by Renée Pawlish Launching May 10! Reed Ferguson returns in a gripping tale! A dead body on a beach in Tahiti. A Medicare scam. A doctor who believes hired killers are after him. It’s all part of Denver private … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: More About #Hashtags

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by Kathleen Valentine In my blog post last week I mentioned learning to use hashtags and I got a couple emails from people asking me to say more about that. I am just learning these things myself so I may not have it all clear, but this is what I … [Continue reading]

Thursday Teaser: The Devil of Light

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You can win a free e-copy of Book 1 in the Cass Elliot Crime Series. Find out how at the end of this excerpt. By Gae-Lynn Woods GOOBER’S BREATH CAUGHT IN his throat as the lawn mower sputtered to a stop in the middle of Possum Creek Bridge. This … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: Putting the “Social” in Social Media

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by Kathleen Valentine Last week I blogged about how to maximize your social media time by inter-connecting the various platforms. This week I want to remind people that the operative word in “social media” is social. We have to interact to make … [Continue reading]

Thursday Teaser: Collateral Damage

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An Annie Ogden Mystery By Frederick Lee Brooke I sat without moving. My muscles weren’t reacting. He had invited me to his party. He had followed me around town, stalked me, and camped out in my sister’s apartment. He knew I was living with … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: Connecting Social Media

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by Kathleen Valentine Every time I read an article about book marketing one of the first things they tell you is to learn to use social media. One of the first things you discover when you start using social media is that it can suck the life out of … [Continue reading]