Dear Twitter, Will You Be My Blog’s Valentine?


Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day to your blog

“If my Valentine you won’t be,

I’ll hang myself on your Christmas tree.”
~Ernest Hemingway, 88 Poems

After publishing yet another post on my blog, I decided to take a well-deserved break. I grabbed Slyvester and started to tickle his tummy.

Suddenly he stopped purring, his eyes widened with fear, and he shrieked, “I think I see a Tweety bird!”

I turned around saw a bird, as blue as the cloudless summer sky, grinning at us.

“Hello, I’m Tweety bird.”

Seeing my look of dumb incomprehension, it explained, “From”

Slyvester cowered behind me and asked tremulously, “And to what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?”

The bird looked unblinkingly at us and then squeaked, “I’ve come to ask you three questions. You need not ponder before you answer the first two because you’ll neither be rewarded if you are right nor punished if you are wrong.”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Those are my favorite kind of questions.

Fire away, sweet Tweety.”

First Question

“What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

I’d heard this one before, so I didn’t waste any time in my reply, “I dunno.”

Tweety smirked and said, “Your blog without Twitter.”

Wise guy. I counted ten slow breaths to calm myself down.

Second Question

The insufferable bird continued, “If you say something on your blog and no one reads it, will it make a sound?”

“Pass.” I said coldly.

I found it hard to tolerate this bird’s snarky comments about my blog. Slyvester, my knavish cat, was making loud choking noises, as if he had a fishbone stuck in his throat.

Tweety said gently, “Please don’t resent the first two questions. They are like a bitter medicinal potion. But the third question is like nectar – not only is it sweet but it will also heal the illness afflicting your blog.”

“Then ask your third question and leave us in peace.” I was mollified though not fully.

Third Question

Tweety cocked its head to the right and asked coyly, “Will you let me be your blog’s Valentine?”

I shook my head sorrowfully, “I’m awfully sorry but I just don’t have the time to tweet or twitter.”

Tweety was unfazed, “Can you spare about five minutes today?”

“Well, yes,” I said grudgingly, and Slyvester stopped caterwauling.

“That’s all you need to start! And surely, you must have heard that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. All you need to do is register here to gain entry to Ali Baba’s cave of treasures. It’s free, today and forever.”

“Yes, that’s all very well but then what?”

“Well, it’s completely up to you. If you wish, you can log in and tweet, favorite, or retweet for a few minutes a day. Or once a week. From my side, there are no strings, no expectations, and no attachments.”

“Hmm. One last question. What’s the benefit if I use Twitter for just a few minutes a day?

Tweety rubbed its tiny wings together, produced a golden lamp and handed over to me. “Rub this magic lamp and it will help you to find the solution to every problem.”

I grabbed the lamp with both hands.

Tweety flapped its wings impatiently and asked, “For the last time, will you let me be your blog’s Valentine?”

“Heck, yes,” I said, with a new-found confidence.

Tweety disappeared with a beatific smile and Slyvester started purring again.

When I rubbed the lamp, it instantly turned into a signboard called… Free Resources

The Ultimate Twitter Guide to Crush Your Competition
How You Can Use Twitter to Land More Freelance Gigs
Use This Twitter Technique to Make Big Things Happen
How to Boost Your Blog Traffic With a Twitter Contest
Twitter Marketing with Stephanie Montreuil (podcast)

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

(Do you use Twitter? How does it help you to promote your writing? Let us know in the comments below.)


[Originally published at How to Tell a Great Story]


How James Chartrand Helped Me Publish 6 Kindle Books in 5 Months


Damn Fine Words contest

Damn Fine Words – the best writing course for business owners

“The problem is not the problem.

The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean




(Official entry: Damn Fine Words Contest)

My life changed on April 4, 2014.

Correction: it didn’t change—it was transformed by two events.

The first event was the epiphany I gained by reading the following post by James Chartrand:

Why some people make money writing and others never will

In this must-read post, James says that writing practice is essential but not enough to be a successful professional writer.

She goes on to define the Four Secret Keys of a Successful Writing Habit:

Key #1: Specific, writing-centric goals:

According to James, “If you want to make money with words, you need to constantly set, work towards and achieve specific writing goals.”

Repeatedly; day after day, week after week.

Key #2: Community

Spending time with other writers, exchanging notes and critiques and gaining mutual support is crucial for success as a writer. Most writers try to go it alone and wonder why it’s such an uphill struggle.

James echoes the words of the Buddha who taught that noble companionship is indispensable for spiritual progress.

Key #3: Accountability

All successful writers know that writing is hard work. To succeed as a writer, you need to be disciplined, diligent, patient and persistent.

However, you can’t do it alone. You need an accountability buddy.

But your accountability buddy should be someone who sets high standards for your success and makes sure you stick to them. Otherwise, it just won’t work.

If you want a top-notch professional accountability coach, check out this free video course – Commit Action.

(You have to opt in but it’s totally worth it.)

Key #4: a Mentor

Most writers (and that included me before I read this article) don’t realize that success is impossible without a mentor. You have to select your mentor with care. So how do you choose your mentor?

James says that a few minutes of conversation with your mentor should create more direction, clarity and progress for you than weeks of even the best comradeship with a mediocre teacher. (More on this, later.)

James stresses that all these four keys—specific goals, community, accountability and mentorship—are essential if you want to progress from a wannabe amateur to a successful professional writer. Miss one and you will probably find yourself forever in permanent aspiring writer hell.

The second life-transforming event:

This was great but the real game-changer happened because of an online conversation with James in  the comments section of the above post.

It demonstrates the essence of effective mentorship.

Read it – her advice can be applied by any and all writers – it’s super-distilled wisdom. (I read it regularly.)

Free mentorship session with James:

In response to my initial comment about how I planned to implement the four success keys, James asked:

If you could pick three long-term goals (6 months tops) right now, what three would they be?

And if you could break those long-term goals down into bite-sized, 15-minute actionable tasks… what would you choose to work on right now, today?

I listed my three long-term goals for the next six months:

1. Publish six e-books on Kindle, Smashwords, etc. – one every month

2. Send 60 queries to blogs / publications – 10 every month

3. Develop my blog and email list – try to reach the magic figure of 1000 subscribers in six months.

(4. Join DFW.)

James replied:

“Looking at that list of goals and thinking about a six-month period to accomplish all that within… well, if someone handed me that list and said, “Go, James!” I’d either cry or have to clear the decks of everything in my life to work 80-hour weeks. (And then I’d cry.)

I’m VERY big on SMART goals: specific, manageable, action-oriented, realistic and time-based – and I think the realistic one is falling a bit short.

But I know that if you were to break these tasks down into 15-minute action steps, you’d quickly see that for yourself – the list of ALL that you have to do to achieve this would show you right away that it’s not very feasible.

So were this ME, I’d try for this:

1) 1 ebook – drafted and edited, ready to publish by the six-month mark
2) Send 1 query a week for 6 months
3) Strategize a plan to add new subscribers to the blog

But that’s just me.”

Her reply made me realize that my goals were too ambitious.

So I decided to focus on publishing six Kindle books on Amazon.

Five months later, here they are:

  1. How Merry Jones Married Princess Mercy
  2. Prince Merrifix and the Two Wizards
  3. The Secret of the Black Knight
  4. Kosey and the Four Tigers
  5. The Secret of the King’s New Clothes
  6. How Lucky Max Defeated Two Giants and a Dragon

To understand the significance of this achievement, you have to know how much I have struggled to write and publish anything over the past few years.

One of my earlier posts written in 2012 describes how I almost gave up writing:

A Giant Step in the Right Direction

(It was also my first entry for the Damn Fine Words contest.) (:-)

To conclude, if a couple of short messages from James can make such a huge difference, you can imagine what I can achieve if I joined the Damn Fine Words course.

It is a 10-week online copywriting course with 6 modules and 20 lessons where I’ll learn specific writing techniques in a logical, progressive order—with a group of other highly  motivated writers.

Most importantly, it includes mentorship from James, the founder, creator and course instructor of Damn Fine Words.

Once I complete the Damn Fine Words course, I plan to do the Damn Fine Ebooks course – James’s E-book Writing Course.

And life is going to be exceedingly sweet.

Thanks for reading, James. :-)

Over to you:

Who is your mentor and what is the best advice you have ever received from her / him?

Let us know in the comments below.

Damn Fine Words Enter Here


Quick Update: 

The Damn Fine Words Writing Contest for the February session is now open.

First prize is a full scholarship to the February 2015 session of Damn Fine Words (retail value $1,599). The runner-up will win a 50% scholarship applicable to their registration for the February session. For more details, click here: Damn Fine Words Writing Contest.

The Damn Fine Words writing course opens to new students on February 2, 2015. Check out the details here.

(NB Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.)


The Best Thing You Can Do With Your Lips

smile more

“A smile is such a little thing,
it does not cost a lot;
It’s free to beggars and to kings;
so why not smile a lot?”
Source Unknown

 Pause for a moment and think back to the last time you smiled.
When was it? Today? Yesterday? Can’t remember?
Do you need a reason to smile? Do you ever smile for no reason at all?

 You should smile as often as you can because when you smile, you automatically relax, and:

  • Your mood perks up
  • Your ability to deal with stress improves
  • Your immunity to illness increases
  • Your heart rate and blood pressure decreases
  • Your breathing slows down and expands
  • Your body releases “feel good” hormones such as serotonin and endorphins
  • Your facial muscles get a good workout, and as a result, you look younger

If you smile more, you’ll probably live longer and you’ll definitely be happier.

Continue reading


Simple Blueprint for Quick and Easy Publication of Your First Ebook

roadmap to publishing

After two years of procrastination, I finally published my first Kindle e-book on Amazon KDP as my entry for Nick Daw’s KindleFever contest.

 The main reason for my success is a tool that every writer must use:
a simple checklist.

 Here’s the checklist that I created:
Continue reading

Let Humor Accompany You Like The Shadow That Never Leaves

Let Humor Accompany You Like The Shadow That Never Leaves


Humor is everywhere.

if you look for it, you will find it everywhere.

It may be lurking among the bloodshed and gore of the daily news of your favorite newspaper; you only have to turn to the cartoon strips buried within deep within its pages.

The cartoon page is the place where perfect comeback lines abound:

There Hobbes the tiger tells Calvin the enfant terrible: “Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?”

And Calvin responds, “Life is too inconvenient.”

When Snoopy the dog gets a letter from the editor, “Please don’t send us any more stories. Please. Please. Please.” Snoopy says with a leer. “I love to hear them beg.”

Continue reading


My Ten Favorite Humorous Quotations

joker June 2013

I’ve been having a great time collecting humorous quotations for my e-book on Kindle – 200 Humorous Tweetable Quotations.

For my first blog post, I decided to list the ten I found the funniest. Some of them will make you laugh out loud, others may make you smile but all of them are sure to make you feel more cheerful.

So here goes – ten random booster doses of hilarity:

1. “You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 today and we don’t know where the hell she is.” Ellen DeGeneres

2. “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” George W. Bush

3. “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.” Will Rogers Continue reading