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Bloggers Helping Bloggers

It’s one of the big surprises of my writing life.

Discovering that becoming a blogger meant I was joining a worldwide community.  A community that cares, and helps.

I became a blogger because my daughters thought I needed to “get myself out there”. I was struggling with the effects of a head injury and damage to my body; I’d become ashamed of myself and extremely reclusive.

Blog Photo - Pink Phlox and Butterfly

Blogging helped pull me out of hiding by giving me pen-pals all over the world.  As I read their stories — or their comments on mine — we started getting to know and care about each other’s projects and well-being.  They inspired and uplifted me.

Bloggers also help each other in practical ways:

Tweeting: Some bloggers often/routinely retweet my (and others’) posts. Take a bow, Wendy MacDonald, Sally Cronin, Sarah Vernon, Tina Frisco, Annika Perry, D.G. Kaye and all of you who do this!

Reblogging: It’s a great compliment when followers reblog a post. Props to Sally Cronin; Chris (The StoryReadingApe); Marcia Meara;  Bernadette; and many others who do this routinely.

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Sally Cronin

Helpful insights: Bloggers such as Gallivanta, Clare Pooley and Lavinia are likely to share a helpful insight, fact or contact in their comments. I always take note!

Writing Tips: Bloggers share tips to improve our writing — blogs or books. Props to Michael Dellert, Sue Uttendorfsky, and many others.

Connections: The best story I know is my own. Chris Graham connected me with Jo Robinson to illustrate Myrtle the Purple Turtle. A great partnership was born. I’ve been recommending Jo as an illustrator and editor ever since.

Author Services:  Jo, Kev Cooper,  Jeanne Balsam and others offer one or a range of services at affordable rates:  editing, design, illustration, publishing, promotions and promotional materials such as bookmarks and posters.

Recognition:  Blogger-reviewer-author Kev Cooper reads many books and started the Diamond Book Awards. Other bloggers give book/blog awards too.

Blog Photo - Diamond Book Award 2017

Promotions: Sally and Chris are the best I know, generously promoting what seems like hundreds of authors each year. How they find the time, I don’t know, but  — take a bow, you two!

Featuring other Bloggers: I do this on my blog, as do many others.

Blog Photo - Yvonne at Desk
Yvonne Blackwood

Blog Photo - Gift of memoir front cover

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Diane Taylor

Deliberately Buying each other’s Books:   All my purchases/requested Christmas gifts from family are books from small presses and especially by indie authors who blog.  I borrow books by the big-name authors from the library.

Blog Photo - Sally Cronin book

Blog Photo - Maya and the book of everything

Blog Photo - Donna K Mind Book

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Giving feedback on Manuscripts: When the draft is done but you’re still not sure and a blogger gives feedback, that’s a major gift.

Reading and Reviewing each other’s books: When a blogger reads my book then reviews it on Goodreads, Amazon or even better – their own blog — that’s a gift! Take a bow, everyone who does this! Thanks to bloggers who’ve done this for me.

Blog Photo - Lavinia Album cover

Spreading the Word:  We spread the word about each other’s books in circles beyond blogging. Lavinia Ross and Gallivanta: Thank you for spreading the word about Myrtle in your own circles and beyond.

Praying/holding faith for each other: We celebrate other bloggers’ “wins”. Invariably, we also learn about their life struggles. When my husband was critically ill, bloggers around the world expressed concern. Many were praying. And when my blogger friends or loved ones face troubles, I do the same.

Been helped by bloggers or helped? Please share!

 

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At Home With Author Paul Nicholas Mason

2015 isn’t even half-way through yet, but it’s already a big year for author-playwright Paul Nicholas Mason.

His third book, The Night Drummer, was launched to acclaim.

Blog Photo - Paul Nicholas Mason at book launch for The Night Drummer

He became a grandfather.

He retired from teaching.

He’s writing his fourth novel and his umpteenth play.

Wow.

~~

Paul lives north of Toronto. He writes in his study at home.

Blog Photo - Paul with TND book

“It looks out on conservation lands at the back of my property, so my view is of trees.  Trees are very important to me.”

Not surprising that one of his most favorite places is the Rotary Greenway Trail, near his home.

“During the summer I’m on the trail almost every day.  That trail, incidentally, is the setting for my first novel, Battered Soles.

The setting of an earlier home also provided inspiration — for the new book. The setting and some characters in The Night Drummer  are linked to Kingston, Ontario where he lived.

“Indeed, one of the characters – but only one – is based solidly on one of my high school classmates…  I don’t altogether understand my own creative process, but I can tell you that the character of Otis, the Aboriginal young man, came to me first.”

The Night Drummer tells the story of two teenagers in small-town Ontario: Peter Ellis, a white boy and Otis James, who is Aboriginal.

Blog Photo - Paul N Mason Book Cover TND

An excerpt from the Publishers Weekly review:

“Ellis’s memories of first loves and jobs and an endearingly oddball assortment of friends, including Otis, a preternaturally wise and kind Ojibwe boy adopted by devout Caucasian parents, give this portrait a welcome sweetness that draws attention to the innocence, sheer possibility, and blithe lightheartedness of youth. ‘Small towns can be ugly places,’ Ellis remarks, ‘but they can be warm communities too.’  Nostalgic but not sanitized, this novel shows the interplay of the two, with captivating results.”

Blog Photo - Paul in study

Paul taught high school students for 32 years.

“I loved the young people I taught, and I loved my colleagues. Teaching is a noble profession, but it is, at times, stunningly stressful.  I knew that I needed to get out while I was still whole.”

Having retired from teaching, Paul plans to write, of course.  He’s blessed with a deep and melodious speaking voice, so he’ll also do some voice work.

He’ll spend more time with family. For Paul, family is the real ‘home’.

“I am, first and foremost, a family man:  father to two children and two step-children;  grandfather to an infant granddaughter;  son to Michael and Muriel;  brother to Robin and Angie;  uncle to a niece and two nephews;  and partner to Denise.” 

Blog Photo - Paul with first grandchild 2

Underpinning the different parts of his life is what Paul calls his “moral scaffolding”. He describes himself as a liberal Christian.

“I’m the furthest thing imaginable from a Bible-thumper, but I am, quietly, a believer.  I don’t think a reader would necessarily pick up on that from reading any of my books, but my faith provides a kind of moral scaffolding.”

And his hopes for The Night Drummer?

“I hope it will move many readers to laughter and, perhaps, to tears.  And I hope, beyond that, that it will encourage them to be a just a little kinder to each other.”

Bravo, Paul.