Is Your Blog As Friendly As You Think It Is?

A great reminder from Hugh, to check out how friendly your blog is… besides these are just good habits to have in our community. ❤

Hugh's Views & News

Just imagine it’s your first day here on Planet Blog and you and everyone else with you hears the words “Hands up all those that want 1,000 followers.” What percentage of people in your group do you think would put up their hand?

When we start our journey in the world of blogging, getting as many followers as possible is very important to all of us.  Why write and blog if nobody is going to read what we have to say?

So we’ve managed to gain lots of followers and we want more, yet we seem to also be losing followers.  I wonder why?

I learned very quickly that building and maintaining your very own blogging community is an important aspect of blogging and one of the easiest ways to start losing followers is by not acknowledging those followers that leave comments.  In my time as a blogger I’ve seen this…

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Book Of The Month – The Heart Stone Chronicles: Book 1: The Swamp Fairy – by Colleen M. Chesebro @ColleenChesebro

I am honored to be featured on Hugh’s Views & News as his Book of the Month for February 2017. Thank you, Hugh! ❤

Hugh's Views & News

A very warm welcome to a brand-new, fellow first-time published author, Colleen Chesebro, who has lived her dream by publishing her first book.

Over to you, Colleen…

What’s the name of the book?

The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy

The Heart Stone Chronicles - Book 1: The Swamp Fairy by Colleen M. Chesebro Colleen’s first book – The Heart Stone Chronicles: Book 1: The Swamp Fairy

What inspired you to write it?

At the time, we lived north of Pensacola, Florida in a rural area where most mornings, I walked along a country road for exercise. One foggy November morning, I saw something in the bushes at the side of the road next to the swamp that I will never forget.

I thought I saw a ruby-throated hummingbird, but as I peered inside the bushes, I  I was bearing witness to a magical event. It was something else entirely. I saw a tiny green being which I now believe was a swamp…

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39 Weeks: 39 Blogs Everyone Should Follow In 2017 – Week 1: Chris, The Story Reading Ape’s Blog @Storyreadingape

Hugh has a new feature on his blog! Our own Story Reading Ape is the first one listed as a BLOG TO FOLLOW! Check it out! ❤

Hugh's Views & News

Welcome to the second new feature, for 2017, on Hugh’s Views And News. You can check out my first new feature by clicking here.

During the next 39 weeks, I’ll be showcasing and recommending blogs everyone should follow.

39 Weeks: 39 Blogs Everyone Should Follow In 2017

To get us started, I’d like to introduce Chris, The Story Reading Ape’s Blog.

Many of you may already know and follow Chris’s blog, but for those that don’t already do so, Chris promotes authors and their books as well as offering a platform on his blog for authors and writers to promote themselves by writing guest posts. Check out Chris’s ‘about me’ page by clicking here.

Chris also offers authors his book cover and book promo trailer design services, 3D book promo display options, as well as other promo designs and graphics services. Check out the full details by clicking here. He also offers a selection of free editing…

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Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 8 – Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge

My dear friend Hugh (who looks great as an angel on Silver’s Tree) from Hugh’s Views and News is sponsoring his Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge again this year. Last year’s challenge was a great success!

Do you want to join in? Here is all you have to do:

From Hugh’s blog: “Here’s how you can all join in and help Angela, Macy, Toby, and I raise £250 for The Dogs Trust.”

1. Take a photo of what sits on top of your Christmas tree.
2. Create a new post on your blog entitled “Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 8 – Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge.”
3. Add the photo(s) you have taken to the post and tell us a little about what you are showing.
4. Create a pingback to this post or leave a link to your post in the comments section below so that other participants can view your post.

I will donate £1 to The Dogs Trust for every Christmas Tree Topper photo that is posted here on Planet Blog up to a maximum of £250.  The challenge is open until Tuesday 5th January 2016 and I will publish a post on Twelfth Night, January 6th, showcasing everybody who participated in the challenge and letting you all know how much we all managed to raise.

Whilst I will be making the donation, please do not hesitate in making your own donation to The Dogs Trust and let me know about it by leaving details in the comments section. There’s absolutely no pressure in making a donation but please do consider joining in the fun and showing us all what sits on top of your Christmas tree.  Please click on the link The Dogs Trust to make any donations directly to The Dogs Trust.

I wanted to add that this is the first year in quite a few years that Ron and I put up our Christmas decorations. In the past, much of why we did not decorate can be attributed to not having any family around during the holidays. I missed my kids and grandkids, and it just didn’t seem like a holiday.

Something special happened to me last year. Hugh made me miss Christmas and the celebration of the holiday. Even though we are Buddhist and Christmas is a Christian holiday, there is a feeling of goodwill that comes along with the holiday trappings.

If you feel alone for the holidays, put up some decorations and relive your memories of Christmas past. Mull over what was, and what is still to be. Share in the hope and joy of what the season means. Spread that joy where ever you go. In our case, this joy has multiplied tenfold!

Thank you, Hugh, for sharing your joy of Christmas! You have truly touched our hearts! ❤

Now, on to the good stuff! The photo below is our first Colorado Christmas Tree. I have plans for next year to add some additional nature themed items from around Colorado. I want to add some “silver” ornaments too. 😉

At the top of our tree is a star that we purchased in Arizona a few years ago. It has beautiful detail and I love the southwestern vibe.

Since Hugh’s charity is for The Dogs Trust in the U.K., I wanted to include an ornament that a good friend gave us years ago when Sugar and Spice were puppies.

Anytime Sugar and Spice hear that Toby (Hugh’s dog) is on one of his posts, they jump up and down until I add a picture of them!

Sugar and Spice smiling for the camera!

Don’t forget to get the biggest tree you can and join in to help Hugh raise funds for The Dog Trust.
Here in America, you could consider making a donation to the Humane Society of the United States
or a local Humane Society in your own hometown.

Thanks for stopping in today! I loved sharing my tree with you all!

Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 7 – Funny or Strange Signs

Hugh, from Hugh’s Views and News, asks us to share a funny or strange sign in his photo challenge this week:

This is a photo of our second oldest daughter, Mary pointing to the sign above which reads, “Batteries for Everything!” We had a good laugh over this one because I never have batteries when I need them. We took this photo in Salt Lake City, UT.

This is a photo taken while on the last leg of our journey as we were driving to our new home in Colorado. I know it is hard to see, but the signs say it is a “BEAR CROSSING!” Let’s hope I don’t run into any of those guys!

Many thanks to Hugh for his fun photo challenge.

Thanks for visiting. I’ll see you all again!

Take Care

Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 6 -Unused

Our fabulous host, Hugh, in his photo challenge, asks us to focus on the “unused.” I had to chuckle because after our recent move to Colorado I realized that I have too much stuff! To be exact, I have a glorious collection of teapots that sit in my china cabinet… “Unused.”

Such a shame too, as they are quite unique:

My china cabinet

I really should concentrate on taking out one of the teapots each month and having proper tea in them. Is it too early for New Year’s Resolutions?

Thanks for stopping by,


Hurry Up and WAIT… and Other Miscellaneous Bits

Come on in and have a seat. That’s right. There you go. I have bottled water, coffee, tea… your choice.

I thought it would be fun to just chat for a change. I figured it was time to explain all the crazy blog themes I have been experimenting with and to bring you up to date on my life.

First, the themes. My friend, Ron from Ronovan Writes wrote a great post about our blogs and widgets and all the things we think makes life easier for our readers on our blogs. Make sure to check out this post because it has some valid points worth considering when you are setting up your blog.

Silver is a little crazy!

I know many of you thought I was mad as a hatter for all the theme changes the last few weeks. Well, I am and that has not changed! Actually, I was playing with images and load times for the images. Many of my blog posts are heavy with images so this was something I had to deal with. I had a couple of people say it took a long time for my post to load so they could read it. I did not want to eliminate all the photos for my Writer’s Quote Wednesdays!

I finally settled on the Penscratch theme. I like the way this one loads my header. When I reduced some of the widgets I had, it started to load faster too. In addition, I like the “featured images” part of this theme. It allows you to feature a photo to attract the attention of your readers which is a nice feature.

I also took Ronovan’s advice and reduced the number of blog posts that load on my blog to only five at a time. I think that has made a difference in the quickness of the theme to load. If any of you see differently, please let me know.

Do not be afraid to experiment.

The other thing I did was to eliminate receiving emails for all of your blog posts. Some days I was dealing with 300 emails a day and that is just too much. My phone receives all my email and it was ready to explode! I do not feel so stressed with all the mail since I decided to make another important change.

I have started using the WordPress reader exclusively. That is not exactly true, I do Google your blogs and find your posts that way if you don’t show up in the reader. This whole blogging adventure is meant to be fun but if all I do is go through emails I do not have time for writing and leaving comments. That was a huge concern for me.

Some of my other blogging friends, Hugh, from Hugh’s Views and News, and Judith, from Barrow Blogs have written some excellent posts about finding a happy medium with your blogging and the number of followers and who you follow back. Please read these posts and see if there is a way that you can reduce your blogging stress. (Just click on the bolded names of their blogs to read the articles).

Blogging is fun. Quit making it so much work!

On another note, we had an open house yesterday for our house sale. Only one couple showed up, although all the comments we received were favorable. Patience is something that I am dealing with along with the realization that this is an excellent house and someone will buy it. So, it is “hurry up and wait time.” I do feel a bit more peaceful about the waiting part. After all, everything in the South is slower and there is nothing you can do about it. Good things come to those who wait! J

Thanks for visiting with me and I hope your week is stupendous! If I have not visited you in a while, stop by and let me know. I want to make the people who visit and comment on my posts a priority. You are all important to me. Thanks for taking this great journey with me.

My Elf Killer Saga is Trending on ReadWave

My friend Hugh, from Hugh’s Views and News, shared his great news last week that his story, The Truth App, was trending on ReadWave.

This was a new platform for me, so I checked it out. I like the simplicity of the forum. It is easy to read and comment on other people’s writing. I joined and posted my Elf Killer Stories. Part II and Part III of the Elf Killer Saga is featured on the Trending page of ReadWave! My excitement overwhelms me! 😀 Thanks, Hugh for the great tip!

If you have the time, please check out ReadWave as another source for your writing.

Happy Monday!



A Workspace Blog Hop and a Writing Journal

My friend Hugh, of Hugh’s Views and News asked me to participate in his Workspace Blog Hop months ago. Shortly after Hugh’s invitation, I received another invite from another friend, Ali, of Chronicles of an Orange Haired Woman.

Suffice it to say, I am late for these important dates! In fact, Ali had an excellent commentary today about keeping a handwritten writing diary. I thought I would incorporate that into sharing about my daily writing workspace tour.

I spend my days in the smallest room in our house. I call it, “My Creative Room.” It is interesting to note that Sugar and Spice have their sleeping crates in this room and use it at night. During the day, Sugar is my writing muse. She faithfully lies (sleeps) by my side on the floor the whole time I am in here pounding away at my keyboard. My sweet girl had surgery months ago and the patch of fur is slow in growing back. However, it does not deter her from supplying me with additional brain power when I need it.

Here is a view of my writing workspace. I recently acquired a new touch-screen computer with built-in speakers to aid me in my writing and blogging journey. I have pictures of family, college certificates, and the usual motivational images strategically placed on the walls. If you look at the picture of The Buddha I have on the right facing wall, you will see an aura around it. What an interesting photographic phenomena!

I do have a window in the room that I glance out of for my daily daydreaming ritual. I hope to add a treadmill this winter. The idea is that I will walk while reading and commenting on blog posts. I have a tablet that will work fine for that.

I did want to talk about the idea of starting a writing journal like my friend Ali does, here in her post. I use various notebooks, spiral notebooks, etc. for my writing, in addition to the computer. I have recently purchased two new notebooks that I intend on using for my book. Inside I plan on outlining my plot line and deciding on characteristics for my characters. I will fill these notebooks quickly.

Ali suggests keeping a writing journal where we can pour out our thoughts, try new writing techniques, and pen our innermost secrets. I like that idea. The fact that penmanship is not being taught in many American schools really got me to thinking about leaving a written legacy to my family in my own handwriting (or printing because I don’t know if it will be readable in the future). What if my diaries eventually inspire my grandchildren to become writers? Now that is an idea I really like!

There is a totally different brain correlation to writing by hand then there is to writing with a keyboard. I prefer typing because it is faster, although I appreciate the brain workout that writing on paper gives us.

Science backs me up with the following quote:

“Writing by hand strengthens the learning process. When typing on a keyboard, this process may be impaired. Neurophysiologists have examined research which goes a long way in confirming the significance of these differences. When writing by hand, our brain receives feedback from our motor actions, together with the sensation of touching a pencil and paper. These kinds of feedback is significantly different from those we receive when touching and typing on a keyboard.”

Thank you, Ali, for an incredibly wonderful idea. I am going to start a writing journal today.

I would like to ask a few of my friends to participate in the Workspace Blog Hop, but it is not necessary to do so. Please participate if you would like to.

Sasha Black

Rebirth of Lisa

Thanks for stopping by today. I look forward to seeing you all again!


“Here’s what’s on Top of my Christmas Tree – what’s on Yours?”

Hugh, from “Hugh’s Views and News,” is doing a special blog event.  Hugh, and the sweet angel Angela on top of his Christmas tree, would like us to help him raise up to £250 for charity.  If you’d like to take up Hugh and Angela’s challenge then here’s what you need to do.  Hugh SAYS:

“1. Take a picture of what is on top of your Christmas tree.

2. Start a new blog post called “Here’s what’s on Top of my Christmas Tree – what’s on Yours?”

3. Detail in the post that you are helping Angela and Hugh raise up to £250 for charity, by showing everybody what is on top of your Christmas tree.

4. Link your post back to this post by using a Pingback so other participants can see what is on top of your Christmas tree.  Pingbacks are easy to set up and I’ve given full instructions on how to set one up further down this post.

5. If you have problems with a Pingback, then just leave a comment with a link to your post in the comments section of this post.

You can take part in this challenge anytime between now and Monday 5th January 2015.  Then, on Twelfth Night (6th January), I’ll announce which tree topper Angela has chosen as her winner before she goes back in her box to sleep until next December.  The winner, if they accept, can then write a guest post for my blog.

I will give £1 to charity for every Pingback or comment, which includes a link to a post that shows what is on top of the author’s Christmas Tree, up to a maximum of £250.  I’ll announce which charity Angela and I have chosen, along with the amount raised, in my Twelfth Night post on 6th January.

How to set up a Pingback to Hugh’s post.

1. Include and highlight the words “Angela and Hugh” in your blog post.

2. Click on the icon that looks like a piece of chain (it’s the right hand icon underneath the “add Contacts Form” on the page you write a new post.  If you hover over it with your mouse, it says “Insert/Edit link”).  A new window will then open.

3. In the URL box of the new window which has just opened, enter the web address of this post.  You can copy the address from your web browser’s window/bar and then paste it directly into the URL box.

4. In the Title box enter “Angela and Hugh’s Christmas Tree Topper Challenge”.

5. Put a tick in the box entitled “Open link in a new window/tab”.

6. Click on “Add Link”.

The Pingback will then be set up.

Please don’t have any hesitation in contacting Hugh at Hugh’s Views and News if you are having any problems setting up a Pingback, as he will be more than happy to help.

Hugh said to please feel free to reblog this post so that others can also take part and, if you like, then why not join Angela and I and set up your own challenge and raise some money for charity over this Christmas and New Year season?  You can use the same challenge as Angela and I have chosen if you like.

If you don’t have a Christmas Tree or anything on the top of your Christmas tree, then why not write a post and include a picture about the best thing that has happened to you in 2014, and link it back to this post and help me achieve my target of £250 for charity.

I’ll leave you with a few other pictures of our Christmas decorations and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Hugh, I looked around for a few trinkets to add to my Florida Driftwood Christmas Tree.  Mind you it is not large, so my pictures are of a small space:

Angel on my tree                    2014-12-19 11.20.42

Here is my angel on top of my tree and a wooden teddy bear with Ron’s and my name on it from 1991. The Koala bear was something that my Dad and Step Mother brought back from New Zealand many years ago when I was a teen (so you know it is OLD). Smile

2014-12-19 11.21.07

This is a better view of our tiny driftwood tree.  I added the shells from Pensacola Beach because my grand children picked them up for me last Christmas.

Special thanks to Hugh for sponsoring such a great event.  So get busy! WHAT’S ON TOP OF YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE?

Thanks for spending some time with me today.  I will see again!

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