My Christmas Wish

book-tree

Love this tree – fabulous creativity!

Dear Santa,

For Christmas what I’d love more than perfume or books or bubble bath is for people in this shared world to spread their love, instead of their prejudices and hate.

Compassion instead of animosity.

Peace instead of war.

Warmth instead of cold.

Tenderness instead of hardness.

Solidarity instead of division.

Construction instead of destruction.

Light over darkness.

Hope over fear.

We are all vulnerable and we have our worries. The world needs more people who nurture and care.

I know this is a lot to ask for but I just wanted to put it out there into the world. Maybe you could make my wish come true.

If you can’t, well that’s OK. You’re a busy guy. I promise to do my little bit in 2015. I’ll do my best to spread hope and optimism. My impact on this great big world may not be much, but it is something. I have to try.

I’d just like to say a Merry Christmas and a blessed, safe new year to each and every person.

Love Alana x x x

p.s Thanks everyone, I truly appreciate that you take the time to drop by and read my blog. Peace and love to you all.

Finding the Motivation to Change Your Entire Life

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What do you really want to do? You have to make it happen…

 

Extract from Zen Habits:

Almost exactly 8 years ago today, I ran my first marathon and soon after I started Zen Habits. I’d changed a dozen or so habits, lost weight, was getting out of debt, quit smoking.

And almost 7 years ago, I quit my job.

That was a period of intense and profoundly scary life changes for me, but they were all of my choosing. I decided to make them happen, and I pushed until they did.

Today I’d like to share a few things that worked for me, in case you’re considering changing your life. Maybe you want to quit your job and start a business, or start an organization that will change the world in some way. Maybe you want to change your eating and fitness habits and become healthy. Maybe you want to finally start creating that art, that book, that blog that you’ve been meaning to start someday.

Someday is today.

Let’s look at how you find that motivation to finally start changing — and then to keep going when the changes inevitably get tough.

What Gets in the Way

None of these are insurmountable, but they can often cause us to put off major changes. So be aware of them:

  • Fear of change
  • Not wanting to be uncomfortable
  • Fear of uncertainty
  • Being tired
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Not having time
  • Being busy with all kinds of things
  • Waiting for something to happen
  • Perfectionism
  • Being overwhelmed with all that you have to do
  • Not knowing how

We all have these fears and reasons for not taking action.

They’re all bullshit.

Yes, the fear of failure and change and discomfort and uncertainty are real … but they’re not good enough reasons for inaction. They can all be overcome. I’ve dealt with them, and so have thousands, millions of others. You’re no worse than me or anyone else — you can face these fears.

Yes, you’re busy, tired, overwhelmed, lacking time … we all are. I would get up at 5 a.m. to go for my runs or write my blog, because I knew I’d be busy later in the day. I didn’t have more time or energy — I was motivated, and I prioritized. You can make that happen too.

So let’s look at how to overcome these fears, find motivation, and prioritize. All with one small set of actions.

The Make It Happen Actions

These are the set of actions that I’ve found to help overcome fears, find motivation, and prioritize:

  1. Find a purpose. You might already know what your purpose is, but it’s good to review it and keep it at the forefront of your thoughts. If you don’t have a purpose, start here: what will you want to look back on at the end of your life? What will make your life feel significant? What will give your life some meaning? If you don’t have an answer to these questions, it’s worth spending a little time here. Go for a walk and think about it.
  2. Embrace your desire. You’re reading this article because you have a desire to do something positive in your life. Embrace that. Isn’t it wonderful that you have this desire? See this as the first positive step, one you’ve already taken. Now use it and take action.
  3. Create the space. You won’t make any changes if you don’t create a small space for the change. When will you start making the change? In the morning, in the evening, during your lunch break? Don’t wait for the change to happen — make it happen. Block off some time on your calendar each day, even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes. If you don’t have the time, think about how long you spend each day on Facebook, TV, games, or doing smaller tasks that aren’t as important. Push those back for just a bit, and do what’s most important to you first.
  4. Surround yourself. The best way to make change happen is to surround yourself with others making a similar change themselves, others who will support your change. Find a few people online or off, and create a support team that will check in with each other regularly. Yes, this might take some work. Yes, you can do it.
  5. Make the accountability. Find at least one person who will hold you accountable for making this change. It might be the support team mentioned above, or a coach, or an accountability partner. Tell them not to let you off the hook.
  6. Take a small action. If you’re overwhelmed by a large change, or a bunch of large change, just focus on one small step. What small action can you take today that will move you forward? It might be something as simple as “do an Internet search about selling my quilts online”, or “call Freddie to ask him to hold me accountable”. Take a small step, and get moving. Movement begets movement. Now take another small step. This is how change is created.

Poverty in the UK

No one should go hungry, let alone in the sixth richest country in the world. Yet in Britain one in five people live below the poverty line and life expectancy in some areas is lower than some developing countries.

Please take the time to watch these video’s about poverty in the UK today. You can also check out Oxfam to find out more.

The Curse of the Expat – Trying to Establish Roots…

I have a confession to make. I’m missing Australia. Like, a lot.

We moved back to Scotland in April 2014, and it has been great, really great.

Apart from, this most days….it does rain a lot in Scotland. Ah, no wonder it is so green and lush!

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Yup, that’s rain alright! The view from my living-room.

 

The curse of the expat is this – once you start moving, it is kind of difficult to stay in one place forever and ever. Expats are like (friendly) sharks, we have to keep moving forward. We like to explore every corner of the ocean.

Have you ever moved to another country, moved back home and then actually felt ‘homesick’ for the country you left behind? No doubt the ‘honeymoon’ period is well and truly over and the reality of dark, rainy nights is biting.

We have children, and we feel we must establish roots now. It’s hard though when you’re not too sure where those roots should be. I have some doubts that the UK is the best place for us in the long-term. Were we too hasty to leave Australia? I guess time will tell.

Hmmmm….it is tough. We adore our Scottish family, but we do certainly miss the daily life of living down under. We are so lucky to have such a dilemma.

Calling inner voice, can you hear me inner voice? Do you read me? Hello? Gonna give us a wee clue!

Anyone moved around a bit and had similar feelings? I guess it is harder to settle once you start moving? What tough questions did you ask yourself to make your life changing decision? Did you just dig your heels in and make it work, or did you long for your other life?

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That’s me in the white and sun hat, with my son. Woah, seems a world away now! Magical experience…

 

Guest Post: Looking into the Very Heart and Soul of Creativity

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The universe consists of Yin and Yang – two polar opposites that complement,

nurture and balance each other out with their respective strengths and

weaknesses. There are men and women, night and day, ebb and flow. And in

creative writing, we can find these two polar opposites as well.

Here is what might be, in my opinion, the biggest secret to creative output: In

order to bring out your best writing, you have to carefully balance creativity

(which represents chaos) and rationality (which represents order)! Lack in one

of these two, and you will have a very hard time bringing out an inspiring and

well-rounded story.

 

The Creative Side

On one hand, you have creativity. Creativity is giving birth to something new,

it’s risk as in non-calculation, it’s the odd straw. A truly creative mindset is a

relaxed and very, very playful one: Ideally, you are sitting down to write like a

little kid toying around with his toy blocks, self-absorbed, fascinated, totally

amused by what you are doing, forgetting about the outer world.

Now this is the important part: In creative mode, you can do whatever you

want and your mind is not constricted by any rules whatsoever! You could

write about a bloody murder, which is something that would repel you in real

life; you could write about flying pigs; you could even deconstruct words and

sentences and assemble an abstract poem – or an abstract novel (see how I

constricted myself here for a moment by assuming that if it was abstract, it had

to be a poem?). You can do anything. You are the big kid!

Creative mode is a state of extreme freedom that most people don’t get to

experience very often in their lives – which might be the reason why we like

writing in the first place. It’s a free-floating, curious, roaming state of mind, and

that freedom occasionally brings out great creative results. Curiosity,

experimenting and crossing limits lead to innovation. No maps, no boundaries.

No rights or wrongs. This is creativity.

We are not questioning ourselves in any way in that state, we just follow our

gut feelings. No inquiries accepted – in fact, questions seem outright

distasteful!

By the way, that’s also the reason why during brainstorming sessions nobody is

allowed to make derogatory comments: The mood has to be kept non-

judgmental to not asphyxiate creative thinking.

 

The Rational Side

Then, on the other end of the seesaw, we have the rational mind. That’s the

thinking most people use overwhelmingly each and every day of their lives,

above all in their jobs. The creative state might be mercifully allowed to come

out a bit after finishing time to have a beer with, but mostly we are too

occupied with checking phone calls off our lists, organizing transportation for

our kids and filing tax returns to give it the time of day.

There is also a good amount of social pressure on us to keep our creative side

well locked up in its ungrateful basement: Getting naked in the middle of the

street for a round of expressive dance is generally not appreciated within our

society. If it was, society would come apart at the seams, so there must be an

evolutionary reason why we don’t let that kind of behavior slide.

Rational thinking is very logical and streamlined. Everything has its place and

rights and wrongs are clearly defined. If something isn’t right, by default it must

be wrong. There is no room for ouside-the-box; in fact, the box is all that

counts. Rational mode is about executing things the right and logical way and in

the right and logical order. It’s a problem-solving mindset. As we have many

problems (or at least we think we do), we have to employ it very often.

This kind of thinking leads to measurable results. We would be lost without it

–it lets us steer towards clearly defined goals and manage our daily duties. It

separates the successful from the failed and it lets us question and therefore

improve things. It’s judgmental. And in this life, more often than not, we need

to judge in order to be able to take well-informed decisions.

 

The Balance

Now where does all of this come together for our, the writers’, purposes?

Here is the trick: To bring out your best writing, you have to establish a healthy

balance between your creative and your rational side!

You depend on your creative side to make your stories fruitful, imaginative,

mesmerizing. Without creativity, your story might read “technically” correct,

but totally bloodless and dull. You might avoid using quotative verbs with

adverbs during dialogue exchanges, the rhythm structure of your language

might be well calculated, your characters’ psychology might be structured

logically, so congratulations – but your writing will still put even the most avid

reader to sleep! What are you even writing this for?

Somebody with the mindset of an accountant might have that problem,

especially if he has been working as an accountant for three decades and has

thus trained his mind to rational thinking.

Then again, look at the other extreme: Without rationality, your writing will be

frayed at the edges, shapeless, not compact. It’s like it’s too much, not cut at

the borders where needed, and the selective and user-friendly element is

missing. And what happens if you don’t select, if you don’t judge and separate

the successful from the failed? It all ends up out of shape and overshooting the

mark – in other words, a big mess.

Selectivity gives you a chance to check if the story is following rules that have

proven effective. That means cutting a scene if it’s overwhelmingly long and

running out of juice, crossing out a metaphor if it has missed the mark,

trimming back a character trait if it doesn’t fit with the rest of the character. It’s

trimming everything back to levels that make sense, just like you would cut a

bonsai into a rectangular shape to fit it into a box, which is to say, between the

covers of a book…

This “trimming” part can be difficult to do, especially for inexperienced writers.

They often love to put their stories to paper, their creativity is overflowing, but

they haven’t developed a sense for the “complete shape,” for the rules of the

trade yet. It will come with practice. It will come if during editing they will

question their writing and think about story elements and whether each one is

in the right place or not.

Don’t question yourself during the original writing process though; while

writing the first draft, give yourself permission to do anything – just like that

little kid gives himself permission to do anything! During revision, be more

present with your logical mind and challenge yourself.  And this is exactly what

Hemingway would have meant, had he indeed said: Write drunk, edit sober.

Creativity is chaos. Rationality is order. If you find the right balance between

the two of them, people will not only be fascinated by your stories, but will also

want to read through your entire tale. And Yin and Yang, which are essentially

just two slightly distorted happy smiley-faces at peace in themselves, will shine

down on you knowingly.

***

Alexander Limberg is based in Austria and runs a blog about creative writing at

www.ridethepen.com. Ride the Pen performs the trick of taking apart the texts

of famous authors to take a close look; in the end, you will always find a writing

prompt. Alex likes polar bears and rainbows.

Alexander Limberg, Photo 1*Thanks Alex for your piece. Be sure to check out his inspiring website.

10 Query Tips from a Literary Assistant

Alana Munro - The Author Who Supports:

Happy Friday everybody.
Is it raining where you are? I don’t think it ever stops raining in Scotland!
Oh well, on days like this, it pays to be constructive with my time, I thought I’d share this useful blog post. If you have any more tips you’d personally add – please do leave a comment. Thank you.

Originally posted on Lane Heymont:

I’m a literary assistant at The Seymour Agency. Our agents, Mary Sue Seymour and Nicole Resciniti represent a range of genre: Christian/Inspirational, Fantasy/Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Women’s Lit, Romance.

As usual, this week’s tips come from my Twitter feed (@LaneHeymont). Enjoy!

1) Voice, voice, voice! As a writer you need to develop your own distinct voice. It separates you from authors also writing in your genre. Or any author. On top of that, your protagonist needs their own distinct voice. We should be able to tell who is speaking by the mannerisms in the character’s voice. Use catchphrases. People often say certain phrases like a mantra. I say “seriously” a lot. And “all right, all right, all right”.

2) A great voice can turn the mundane into awesomeness. ‘Nuff said.

3) Please include your name and email in your actual query. Agents are cool and all, but we can’t read minds.

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Featured Book – Words We Carry by D.G Kaye

DgBOOK

Blurb for Words We Carry

I have been a great critic of myself for most of my life, and I was darned good at it, deflating my own ego without the help of anyone else.”

What do our shopping habits, high-heeled shoes, and big hair have to do with how we perceive ourselves? Do the slights we endured when we were young affect how we choose our relationships now?

D.G. takes us on a journey, unlocking the hurts of the past by identifying situations that hindered her own self-esteem. Her anecdotes and confessions demonstrate how the hurtful events in our lives linger and set the tone for how we value our own self-worth.

Words We Carry is a raw, personal accounting of how the author overcame the demons of low self-esteem with the determination to learn to love herself.

To purchase head to Amazon todaywww.smarturl.it/bookwordswecarry

The Shame of Scotland – Friday the 19th

Alana Munro - The Author Who Supports:

I grew up in a small ex-mining town, not far from Glasgow. Often when I was a little girl, I was asked by other little kids ‘are you protestant or catholic?’ I never knew what to say. My family wasn’t religious and it wasn’t talked about. I sensed my answer was critical.
However, all around me other kids urgently asked each other which side they were on. At 6, I wasn’t too sure how deeply ingrained and damaging this daily interrogation was and how it would play a significant part in shaping the 2014 Referendum result.
This is Scotland’s dirty secret – below is a fascinating, disturbing and accurate account of life. A hidden world full of hate that can’t (and shouldn’t) be ignored if you live here.

Originally posted on MESSY REALITY:

The day after the Scottish independence referendum was a wild one in Glasgow. I happened by accident to witness some of the extraordinary scenes, and it’s taken me a while to write them down and share them. But I think Friday 19th September 2014 is still a day with relevant things we need to think about seven weeks later.

I’ll state up front what I believe I saw: an organised riot, an assault that desired to punish a city that voted Yes. It’s up to you whether you believe my version of events or not, I can only tell you what I and those I was with saw.

Two immediate prompts moved me to write this. One was when friends visited me here in the Netherlands from Scotland, and had no idea what had happened in the streets of our largest city that night, because it had gone unreported or…

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By Alana Munro - The Author Who Supports Posted in Uncategorized

Top Tips to Market your Ebook Online – Making the Most of your Amazon Free Days

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Keep going…keep pushing yourself

Your book may be published but there is much (ridiculously much more) work to be done! Books don’t sell themselves, it’s becoming more common (and essential?) for the author to market their work. Here’s the rubbish reality, if people don’t know your book exists, you’ll be lucky to sell 20 books. Yeah, even if your book is pretty darn brilliant!

Below is a list of sites that specialize in sponsoring your book, usually for a small fee. Why bother? Trust me, this is a clever way to market your work to people who are already ‘looking’ for interesting new books to download. Consider it target marketing – you’re targeting your readers thanks to these websites book loving subscribers. Give it a try. I’d suggest focusing on 2 or 3 at a time to gain the most impact on your book sales. You may be pleasantly surprised.

I jumped from relative obscurity to (paid) number #1 for my specific book category in 2013 thanks by and large to my sponsors telling their devoted book loving subscribers about my book. Not bad.

*Please note this list is of particular use for getting the most out of your ‘Free’ Amazon days. When you publish an Ebook on Amazon they allow the author a few ‘Free’ days to help the author gain much needed exposure. The ‘Free’ days are useful and if used wisely can help the author charge up the Kindle charts. Once your ‘Free’ days are over and you are back to charging a fee for your work, hopefully you’ll find more people are interested in your book after the ‘Free’ down-loaders leave their reviews. Reviews really are vital!

This was how it worked out for me. More and more people left reviews thanks to receiving their complementary copy and hey presto book lovers became more willing to pay. It’s not easy when you start out as an author, it truly is a challenge. But ultimately, ‘giving your book away for free’ for a few days may be the kick start needed until you gain traction and can charge for your hard work. We must somehow intrigue potential readers to give our book a go. A good review certainly helps. If authors can use their ‘Free’ days wisely and also be willing to seek out ‘sponsors’ who are happy to share your work – it just might take off. Good luck! 

 

Pixel of Ink

Pixel of Ink features daily publishing of Free Kindle Books and Hot Deals. On any given day, there are thousands of Free Kindle Books available. Each day there are hundreds of newly free Kindle Books that they sort through to bring you what you want – the best of the bunch! In addition to Free Books, they also share some really Hot Deals on other Kindle Ebooks.

Get started with Pixel of Ink here.

Ereader News Today

This platform features a book a day, at least. They feature Kindle accessories and great deals on Kindle books. The most important feature here, for you, is that they feature free books on their sites, sometimes daily, sometimes more than once. You can submit your free kindle ebooks to them to be featured and even advertise on it.

Get in touch with ENT here.

Freebooks.com

They claim to be committed to helping users find the best free ebooks available online and point readers in the right direction. Here you find downloadable e-books and textbooks in popular genres and topics such as christian books, audio books, horror, romance and many more.

Bargain Ebook Hunter

They claim to track the best ebook bargains, dedicated to hunting through the digital publishing world looking for eBooks at great deals (from FREE to $5.00) and putting them on their site to provide readers with a one-stop shopping experience.  They offer titles that comprise the full gamut of styles from short stories to novels and from all genres.

Visit Bargain Ebook Hunter here.

 

That Book Place.

Thatbookplace.com aims to be a new home to an exciting world of books for the internet. They wish to make it a place where authors can come and meet their fans. Where readers can come and learn of new books. They first started as a small store in 2006 and for their fifth year anniversary they decided to add an authors fair to their outdoor tent sale. They branched out into small press and Hydra Press came into being.  They showcase free Kindle books, have a membership and have a ‘ free promo submissions’  tab in the menu up top.

Visit That Book Place Here.

 

Free Kindle Fiction.

They say to bring your dragons, aliens, vampires – even sparkly ones. They claim to love dystopian, steampunk, other planets, romances, who-dun-its and other things that your imagination can form! All the books featured on their site are free at the time of posting. They share stories about free books and even have gift cards available.

Visit Free Kindle Fiction here.

 

Indie Book of the Day.

Indie Book of the Day (IBD) is a user powered platform that recognizes the best among Indie Authors by honoring one awesome book everyday, with the indie book of the day award. They have a menu tab for free kindle books on both Amazon’s UK and US divisions.

Get in touch with Indie Book of the Day here.

 

Free Book Dude

For the lack of an about page, Free Book Dude seems to be a site dedicated to book reviews. He also has a special section for free ebooks and even promotes it on a list he has. There’s a page with a special form to list your ebook on.

Find Free Ebook Dude here.

 

Digital Book Today.

Digital Book Today tries to inform readers of limited time offers while weeding out the ‘we are selling something’ ebooks which seems to increase in numbers every day. Our hope is to recommend titles that are ‘good reads’. They also have a special section dedicated to free ebooks.

Visit Digital Book Today.

 

Author Marketing Club

When you become an AMC member you will have access to the a review request system where you can put your book in front of readers who want to read and review your book, a thriving community of authors willing to share their marketing tactics and lessons, and failures, helpful advice and resources for new and experienced authors alike, specials and offers for discounted services to help you publish your book.

Visits Author Marketing Club today

 

Addicted to Ebooks

A2B is a membership site where authors can submit their books for exposure, features books by genre, price and content as well as promoting free ebooks. The site also features ebooks they may think is good.

Visit Addicted to Ebook here.

 

Flurries of Words.

Flow is a blog hosted on the Blogger platform and do book reviews, flash fiction, interviews, bargain books and others.  Most importantly, they list free Amazon ebooks.

Visit Flurry of Words here.

 

Free Kindle Books n Tips.

Free Kindle Books and Tips claims to have a simple purpose; to provide a quick summary of the daily free book offerings from Amazon as well as the thousands of books, short stories, and more available for you to read on your Kindle for no charge from numerous sites in addition to the Amazon Kindle Store. This blog also provides insider tips, tricks, and information you need to impress your Kindle friends with your new-found tips, and save a little of your valuable time!

Visit Free Kindle Books n Tips.

 

Ebooks habit

They are a site dedicated to helping ereader readers find free ebooks. With thousands of books being free each day on Amazon, they work hard to curate a list of some of the best free ebooks, so their visitors don’t have to hunt them down themselves. Each day they produce 3-4 lists of great ebooks that are free at the time of posting, as well as some bargain books that day and other great sale prices and deals in the world of ebooks and ereaders.

Visit EbooksHabit here.

 

Anymore cool sites to add to this list? If you know of any other useful sites please do comment. Have you tried any of the above websites? Thanks!

My Book is now available in paperback…

I finally got round to it folks…

I got myself super organised and now my debut book is available as a traditional paperback via Amazon. High five!

I have a copy sitting in my house right now and every day I glance up at it and smile.

It’s a surreal feeling holding my own book in my hands, touching the pages and reading my own words. At the risk of sounding like a Disney movie, you’ve just got to believe in yourself and follow your dreams. If I can do it, with three kids, you can do it.

WomenBehavingBadly-Front*Available on Amazon.com and all other Amazon stores worldwide.

How did you get your creativity flowing again?

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I’m feeling a little ‘meh’ right now. My creativity seems to have dried up. My motivation slammed the door in my face, after rolling her eyes at me.

It’s just all part and parcel of being a writer, a blogger, a designer, or anything remotely creative…we can’t be expected to produce original ideas constantly week in, week out. Sometimes, it all goes a bit well…barren.

Don’t worry, don’t fight it they say. Just go with the flow, go for a walk, take a break…it will come back. Hopefully.

I love when I’m bursting with creativity. There’s a real buzz to daily life and I feel alive. I can’t get the words down quick enough.

But right now, my mind is blank. I’m staring into an endless, empty space. Honestly, It’s quite terrifying.

I’m sure you must know the feeling right? Oh please tell me I’m not alone.  How did you get your creative mojo back? Do share your own experiences and how you managed to ignite your inner flame. I’m sure your words will soothe many weary souls out there. Thanks guys.

Guest Post: Inside the Mind of an Addict – Negative Thoughts Addicts Must Overcome

Inside the Mind of an Addict: Negative Thoughts Addicts Must Overcome

Addiction to drugs and alcohol are unfortunately common, and many individuals from young teens to the elderly suffer from addiction to one or more substances. These are substances that can affect body chemistry, and there may be a real, physical craving by the body for the individual to use these substances. More than that, the individual may experience some sort of pleasure, relief or other positive feeling when using, and this can make an addiction even more difficult to overcome. In addition, an addiction can affect the mental state of an individual, and this may be one of the most challenging aspects associated with overcoming an addiction. By entering the mind of an addict and learning more about the common, negative thoughts many addicts have, you may be able to learn how to overcome these thoughts as a first step toward recovery.

***
I’m Going to Die An Addict.
There is often a sense of hopelessness felt by an addict. The addict may feel as though a life free of the drugs or alcohol is simply not possible. However, the addict may also be aware that the behavior is detrimental to his or her life or safety, and because of this, there may be a real fear that the addiction will result in his or her death. This thought may be combined with other negative thoughts to create a general feeling that the situation is hopeless and that recovery is not possible.

I Don’t Want to Live Anymore.
Many addicts understand that their addiction is having a negative impact on their lives. They may realize that the addiction has led to problems with personal relationships, their job opportunities and more. The goals and dreams that the individual once had may no longer seem attainable, and the general zest for life may be gone. Giving an individual hope that there is a better future in store after recovery is a necessary step.

I Don’t Like Myself.
This is a thought that may have two sides to it. For some individuals, they do not like themselves unless they are using. They have be filled with self-hate, and they may only find the release from this feeling by using. Others may not like themselves when they are using, but they may feel compelled because of a physical addiction to continue to use drugs or alcohol. Learning more about what specifically the individual does not like about himself or herself is vital to the recovery process. This is because improving self-image is a goal of recovery and rehabilitation.

I Don’t Know How to Stop.
Many addicts understand that they have a problem, but they simply are caught up in a cycle that they do not know how to break. Drug and alcohol addiction can be challenging because it affects many facets of a person’s life, and rehabilitation often may take weeks or months to complete. When an individual wants to stop but does not know how, these is a sign that additional support from family, friends and a rehab center are needed.

There’s Nothing I Can Do to Get Better.
While an addict may realize that the addiction is a detriment to his or her life, it is common for the individual to feel as though rehab and recovery are not feasible. They may feel that their addiction is too strong or that they need the substance in order to function. It is important to point out the negative impact of the addiction on the person’s life. In addition, scheduling an interview or consultation with a rehab center may be beneficial. The fact is that rehab is successful for many individuals, and there is actually hope for a full and lasting recovery.

The thoughts that run through the minds of addicts are among the most difficult negative forces to overcome. By speaking in detail to the addict, you may be able to learn more about his or her goals, fears and desires.

For more support you could contact a professional – http://www.thephoenixrc.com/our-philosophy/

Bio: Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health, fitness, beauty and fashion. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.

paisley1

Paisley

Read This Book – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I’m determined to keep to my promise dear readers. I’m reading books, so many books. I believe any author worth her/his salt must spend as much time reading as they do writing. It’s slowing down my writing, but it is essential study. Lately, I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Wow, just wow. Have you read it? Put it on your book list.

Fault“I wanted to know that he would be okay if I died. I wanted to not be a grenade, to not be a malevolent force in the lives of people I loved.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Blurb: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Cry? Boy you will cry, I sobbed like a baby, clinging onto every word…but you’ll also smile and laugh as this young couple struggle to enjoy life and love despite their health. This isn’t just another modern day romance, this is a book that reminded me that life is precious and unpredictable.

Reviews

“In its every aspect, The Fault in Our Stars is a triumph.” -Booklist, starred review

“Luminous.” -Entertainment Weekly

“A smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance.” -Kirkus, starred review

A blend of melancholy, sweet, philosophical, and funny. Green shows us true love…and it is far more romantic than any sunset on the beach.” -New York Times Book Review

“One doesn’t like to throw around phrases like “instant classic” lightly, but I can see The Fault in Our Stars taking its place alongside Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret in the young-adult canon. Green’s book is also a good example of why so many adult readers are turning to young-adult literature for the pleasures and consolations they used to get from conventional literary fiction.” -Time

“Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. The Fault in Our Stars proves that the hype surrounding Green is not overblown.” -NPR

“A pitch-perfect, elegiac comedy…it will linger long and hard in the minds of teens and former teens.” -USA Today

“An achingly beautiful story.” -SLJ, starred review

“John Green deftly mixes the profound and the quotidian in this tough, touching valentine to the human spirit.” -Washington Post

My Book Cover – The Updated Design

WomenBehavingBadly-FrontAs most authors should really know, a quality book cover is absolutely vital.

Author fact #1 – a rubbish/average/rushed cover will inevitably slow down sales…It’s a tough fact. Readers will judge us on our covers.

I quite liked my original design, but I couldn’t help but mutter to myself, yes it’s OK but….my cover could be better.

Here it is folks! Taa-daa! I think my sales are already improving on Amazon. Woo hoo!

Other big news in my own booky wooky world? This book will also soon be available to purchase on Amazon and other shops as a paperback. I’m working on it. At the moment, it can be purchased as an e-book. Just click on the Amazon links to read the reviews.

Amazon UK

Amazon USA and beyond

Blurb:

Have you ever been hurt by a woman? Are you fed up with the constant bitching, gossiping and manipulation between the females in your life? Do you want happier and healthier relationships with females? Do you wish to weed out the toxic women and seek out only positive women?

If you have ever wondered why some women are complicated creatures this book will offer you straight talking answers. This book will highlight all the strange, controlling and spiteful behaviours that some females specialise in. This book attempts to understand what actually drives women to be cruel or bitchy to each other. It attempts to make sense of the huge expectations women place on each other. How can we avoid toxic women? What bad behaviours should we be looking out for? This book explores every cruel behaviour possible and attempts to understand what is really going on between the females in our life.

More about ‘Women Behaving Badly’,

Alana Munro takes us deep into the unnerving yet compelling reality of being a woman, revealing a world where females don’t nurture other females. Sharing many deeply personal and shocking tales about bullying, bitching, gossiping, power games, jealousy and much more – Alana explains what each hurtful episode taught her about females.

Women Behaving Badly shatters our assumption that all women are loving. It ruptures the delusion of sisterhood. It heightens our awareness of what goes on behind the sweet smiles. It liberates women from the emotional and often difficult prison that is womanhood. It exposes the harsh and fickle reality of friendship between women.

This book offers us nothing but the truth. Alana argues that the bonds between women are most often too fragile. She also argues that the ideology of sisterhood is optimistic but unrealistic. Women are human beings with profound emotional short comings.

Alana also looks at how we can weed out the negative women, pin point suspect behaviours and most importantly how to protect yourself from future hurt.

“The easiest thing to do is for me to feel upset and retreat to my bed, never trying to make another friend. Or I can dust myself off and learn from my stupid mistakes. I can even try to make sense of the ridiculous injustices thrown in my direction. My goal for this book? Simply to allow other women a chance to become more aware of the cruel games played by some females, allow women the opportunity to pin point hurtful (and often invisible) behaviours and find healthy friendships again”. Alana Munro.

Testimonials from happy customers.

“I found myself wanting to print this eBook out and highlight all the solutions that pertain my current relationships with women.”

“I woke up this morning after reading your book and actually felt liberated. I am not alone, I am not the only woman who has had so much crap from women, thank you!”

“I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I could relate to her personal stories about females being so nasty to each other. Really good.”

“This book outlines what to look for in friends. What behaviours to avoid at all costs. It validated a lot of my pain. I think it is a good balanced approach.”

“She’s not attacking women, she’s trying to get to the bones of the bitchy and weird behaviour. Shocking. It is shameful how we can be.”

*Thanks for your support blog readers!

Book News – Twilight Visitor

Twilight Visitor Front

Blurb:

On a secluded stretch of beach girding the idyllic coastal town of Afife, Portugal, sits a lonely man enduring the harsh and blustery winds, hoping to escape the tragic reality of his mediocre life. His solitude is broken by the appearance of a strangely beautiful and mysterious woman who engages him in a bizarre dialogue. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a global crisis erupts, quickly mushrooming in just 24 hours into a worldwide event which threatens the very survival of all mankind. Mateus Cordozo has no idea that his dysfunctional life is about to radically change, and that this woman is in fact leading him down a road which will challenge his core values as he faces the crisis – one which he has the power to prevent, if he chooses to.

This book can be purchased on Amazon

To discover more about this author, please visit – www.booksbyreallaplaine.com

*Best of luck with your latest book release Real.

Guest Post: The Road Less Travelled

once upon a time

I had a story in my head.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I had people in my head – not in the worrying way – they were characters. I also had countryside and a stately old home. Gradually, as I let all this churn and roll, a story began to unfold.

This is where I made my first mistake: I didn’t start writing straight away.

As time went by, the story grew. It became a tale of friendship and loyalty, a family drama set against the backdrop of a violent war, and a bittersweet romance. I began researching, layering flesh over the bones and finally, finally, I began to write.

Mistake number two: I felt like a fraud, locking myself away pretending to be a writer, so I got the guilts up and wrote only sporadically; when no one was home, like I was doing something very naughty.

It took years before I could be open about my fantasy career. When I finally told my husband he was very supportive but most of all he was curious. He wanted to read it.

Ha! There was no way I would let that happen; I was writing for me, for the pure pleasure of writing, the freedom of expression, blahdie blah

Who was I trying to kid? Like so many people, I dreamed of seeing my book in a bookshop. But dreams never become reality unless you back yourself – right?

Right!

So I completed the book, and took the biggest step of all: I asked a trusted friend to read it.

She loved it – which led to mistake number three: I didn’t believe her. I put my manuscript away for a couple of years.

During that time, I grew more and more frustrated. I wanted to write but I didn’t believe I could ever produce something that others might enjoy reading. Finally – probably because he was sick of my moping – long suffering and endlessly patient husband held out his hand and said, “Give it to me. I’ll read it and give you honest feedback.”

Massive step, that one, letting my nearest and dearest read my work. Nevertheless, I gave it to him. It took him about a week to read and when he was finished, he came to me.

He loved it. Righto – I didn’t believe him either!

I gave it to another friend. She loved it. Naturally, I wasn’t going to believe her.

And on it went. Did I keep handing it out waiting for the negative feedback to come in? Probably – how else to prove that my opinion of myself was right all along?

A little scepticism is healthy, but there comes a point in time when you need to trust.

Who is the one person in a woman’s life who will always, no matter what, give her the most honest, brutal and heartfelt feedback?

Her mother – obviously!

So, one day, I said to my mum, “I’ve written a book.”

Oh?” she says.

I wait.

She waits.

I’d … um … really appreciate your feedback.” I tried not to cringe as I said it.

She nodded. “Alright, then. I’ll read it and I’ll tell you what I think.”

Yeah, well, that’s what I was afraid of but it was time to toughen up. I printed the manuscript all nice-like, put a fancy cover on it and bound it ready to hand it over.

Before I had the chance to give it to her, Mum was diagnosed with cancer – really advanced cancer. Her decline was rapid and only a month later we’d lost her.

She never read my book.

That was when I realised my biggest mistake: I lacked confidence.

Had I the confidence to write my book, get feedback on it a lot earlier, tell people about it, and step out, hand on heart and proclaim to the world, “I am a writer!” my mum would have read my book.

Mum passed away in 2012. 1 January, 2013, my new year’s resolution was to publish my book.

Fast forward to September 2014. My book, Torn, is on the bookshelves selling well and its sequel Inviolate is sitting proudly beside it. The media has been onto them, rave reviews are coming in and I am working my dream – I’m a full time writer!

So why have I told you all this? Simply because I have made some silly human mistakes and yet I’ve learned some things along the way too. Things I’ll now share with you!

Under the heading of “Lessons learnt:”

  • Trust myself and be more confident.

  • Trust those people who love me enough to be honest.

  • Avoid procrastination – it pretends to be my friend but is really my enemy.

  • Be realistic about my weaknesses and engage experts to take up the slack; I’m hopeless at self-promotion so I am working with a distribution team and a publicity team to take care of the yucky stuff.

That’s how my books ended up in shops and the media suddenly started paying attention – and I have taken the road less travelled: I live my dream.

A wise person once said to me that if it’s worth doing, it’ll take you out of your comfort zone. She was right.

Karen Turner is an Australian author, who discovered a passion for fictional prose as an escape from the corporate world, which led to a rather eclectic compilation of short stories, All That and Everything. First published in 2009, many of the short stories have won literary awards. Karen has also published two novels: Torn and Inviolate. Find out more at www.karenturner.com.au

Book News – Tangled Roots

TR - Blog-sized Cover - Lightened(1)

Blurb:

 

After eighteen-year-old Carrie Jacobson discovers she was a witch in a previous life, she seeks to reawaken the past part of her soul. With the help of an eccentric enchantress and a boy who is more than he seems, Carrie succeeds and is spellbound by the memories of her life in the 1600s. She reverts to her bewitching, more volatile form and sets out to break a curse she cast long ago. If she succeeds, she’ll unleash a powerful force, the likes of which has not been witnessed in centuries.

Carrie’s boyfriend Jack (A.K.A. Tree) cannot help feeling unease about the changes he sees in the woman he loves. When Carrie’s past clashes with the present and dark magic intoxicates her once again, Tree must take drastic matters into his own hands and attempt to save Carrie from herself.

With Tree’s help, will Carrie be able to resist the allure of her new powers? Or will she plunge into the deep end and give into them?

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Giveaway on Goodreads for a signed paperback and cool swag to go along with it. Here’s the link to enter: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22888663-tangled-roots?ac=1
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Rebekkah Ford grew up in a family that dealt with the paranormal. Her parents’ Charles and Geri Wilhelm were the directors of the UFO Investigator’s League in Fairfield, Ohio, back in the 1970s. They also investigated ghost hauntings and Bigfoot sightings in addition to UFO’s.
Growing up in this type of environment and having the passion for writing is what drove Rebekkah at an early age to write stories dealing with the paranormal. Her fascination with the unknown is what led her to write the Beyond the Eyes trilogy and Tangled Roots.

Rebekkah has an irreverent sense of humor, adores coffee, and yummy food makes her happy. She loves books, history, antiques, animals, connecting with her fans and other authors, and watching her favorite TV shows.

Visit her online at http://themusingwriter.blogspot.com and at http://www.Facebook.com/RebekkahFord2012

*Good luck with your latest book release Becki!

It’s Time To Transform Scotland

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Article from http://nationalcollective.com/2014/10/02/christopher-silver-its-time-to-transform-scotland/

Whatever had transpired on the 18th, Scotland was always destined to wake on the 19th of September as a land of massive contradictions. A land of stone built villas and crumbling social housing ghettos with generations of obscenely concentrated wealth and endemic poverty. A Trident submarine would still have been lurking somewhere beneath the North Atlantic, despite decades of protest. The long denied riches of this place would still have been obscured to the public eye: private owners would remain just as covetous. Untapped potential would still have been the glaring reality of this country.

To change any of these facts of modern day Scottish life an unprecedented effort would have been needed had a majority for independence been won. As it turned out, in the measuring of it, millions thought that transformation was needed, while still more thought that it could wait, or that this road was not for them. However, those simply keen to maintain a status quo that worked for them may be disappointed. After two weeks of reflection on the referendum result, it seems increasingly clear that those alive to the prospect of transforming Scotland are intent on doing so anyway.

The movement that grew around Yes has had to be resilient, it is mature, self-regulating and mutually inclusive. Last week, even as the results were coming in, a certain resolve could be discerned. For me, the following from Andy Wightman was an early signpost as to what would transpire.

 

Still, the awful finality of the result seemed like it had changed everything. Yet, in the context of the authentic experience that those engaged in the campaign shared, it changed nothing.

This is not to say that the experience of those long final hours was anything other than heartbreaking. As the results came through, I was in a room with terrible acoustics surrounded by inconsolable bright young things. The combined howls of incomprehension and STV’s blaring referendum jingle had the effect of slamming home every result with a horrible intensity. Revolts in the great workers’ cities of Dundee and Glasgow were not enough. A million small hopes were extinguished. This was not the country we thought it might be.

Something was silenced then. It was not the Tartan Army-like brigades that popped up in George Square or outside the Parliament in the final few days (they were still going long after the result was known) nor ever more wearied political soundbites. Rather, the result put to rest the quiet assumption, perhaps the fault of arrogance or sheer narrative potency that independence was simply an underdog waiting for its day.

The draw of any ethnic or cultural nationalism in these parts is severely limited. Our situation is clearly not comparable to demands for sovereignty in say, Quebec or Catalonia. In the 2011 Census 62% of people in Scotland identified themselves as ‘Scottish only’, only 18% opted for ‘Scottish and British’. If the referendum has done nothing else, it has exploded the myth that support for Scottish independence correlates with ethnicity. It never has and it never will.

For all that we may long for a simpler form of national identity, we remain a place of awkward complexities. Last Thursday’s result proved no exception. For all that the referendum seemed to light up public space and trigger mass dialogue, the silent majority won through in the end.

Indeed, for those more engaged with traditional media and passive political engagement, British nationalism briefly became the only game in town. Once that (possibly fatal) YouGov poll suggested that Yes might be in the lead, British identity was quickly taken down from the attic, dusted off and presented to the world as a functioning project once again. A splurge of ‘Rule Britannia’ from the press and politicians, promises of financial ruin, celebrity endorsement and well stoked fears provided No with that decisive boost it needed. Yet it managed to win without ever understanding what it was up against.

Independence was about the idea that power could be radically decentralized, from 60 million to five million and that a country could be transformed as a result. It was about a desire to take responsibility, a long overdue political response to a non-existent big society in which there remain no alternatives. This is why the networks the Yes movement created seem resilient. With independence off the table for the foreseeable future, a surplus of grassroots political energy is already being channeled into parties, campaigns and initiatives based on different models, transformation or the nurturing of a distinct polity in Scotland.

Clearly, several mistakes were made in the pursuit of that elusive Yes majority. At a strategic level continuity of process became confused with a vision premised on continuity. The SNP, by far the biggest players in the campaign, opted to present a future in which not much would change in an independent Scotland. The White Paper was an awkward mix of party manifesto and technocratic blueprint. That fudge, along with a relentless campaign of attrition on currency from the south, gave the high ground to the No camp. It also positioned media narratives and headlines to focus on independence as a policy to be refuted, rather than one of two competing propositions.

For as long as I can remember Scottish independence has been greeted by its opponents as something that would simply never happen. Either that or an act of economic harakiri, a petulant gesture to the globalized world (London) based on a crushing sense of inferiority. In the process of this referendum campaign we have established that the case for independence is neither and that will not be easily extinguished. As the polling station boards reminded us, we were literally asked to seize the opportunity and told it wasn’t worth the risk. To move forward, we have to accept that Yes failed to make that opportunity tangible, pervasive and compelling enough.

We now have two options: to work towards seizing every other opportunity that presents itself and transforming Scotland from below, or to retreat into accepting that no level of engagement can combat an army of mandarins, journalists, spin-doctors, celebrities and, improbably, Gordon Brown.

We all know that Scotland was subjected to an unprecedented campaign of threats, bribes and scares. How else did we expect power to react? The British state staged a rearguard action which, ironically, is one of the few things that it has excelled at over the years. It has a weak civic identity and is dysfunctional on many levels, but it is masterful at facing down existential threats: it has been doing so for three centuries.

But here is something worth considering. Thousands, perhaps millions, of Yes voters experienced an emotional journey that rarely takes place in the public realm. Having surrendered so much of ourselves in order that the idea of a new country might actually take shape, many experienced the referendum’s conclusion in profoundly personal terms. On polling day itself, Twitter was awash, not with nationalism, but with tributes to friends, family members, those who had helped, those who had inspired. This was a profound display of civic emotion. It felt like a national community long imagined, might actually be conceived in a moment of peaceful, joyous, participation.

In its handling of the Scottish question as a distinct and separate problem, the UK has given itself a bigger challenge than it reckons. The sanctity of devolution rests on very shaky ground: the Scottish Parliament receives limited media coverage, experiences significantly lower turnouts than Westminster elections and is widely resented throughout the rest of the UK. For all that people voted in droves last month, how do we ensure that the glaring 35% difference in turnout between the 2011 Scottish Parliament election and the referendum is not repeated in 2016?

The key challenge that the ’45%’ (I prefer the ‘1.6 million’) now faces, is in the first instance, not to encase itself in the virtuous armour of self-righteousness and chant, ‘we told you so’. There are far more important things to say to our two million No voting fellow citizens. Even as promises of more power evaporate, we must embed our new politics of transformation and maintain grassroots participation so that it becomes a definitive trait. We also have to build a truly civic national media or risk jeopardising the very existence of Scotland as distinct polity in the longer term.

Ours was not a nationalist movement. It was progressive, inclusive and premised on activism and participation. Such a movement does not stop or collapse in on itself because it failed to jump a hurdle. It continues until its vision of a better democracy is normalised and even then, it never really goes home. However, the entire exercise becomes pointless if we retreat into opposing, self-righteous minorities and echo chambers.

As it happens, something was different on the morning of the 19th. Millions had voted Yes. Most had been on a long and unique journey to that polling booth, while few imagined that they would see such a tangible glimpse of a new Scotland in their lifetimes. That decades of outrage at the UK state had transformed into a fragile hope was remarkable, to express it was a rare privilege. Those boxes cannot be un-crossed and to hold power collectively, even for a mere fifteen hours, is transformative. But those who are empowered, even fleetingly, have responsibilities. This is why we must now move beyond the referendum and change Scotland anyway.

Christopher Silver
@silverscotland
National Collective

This article was originally published on Christopher’s website.

How to Get the Most Reach Using Trending Twitter Topics

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Start today – click to follow me on Twitter.

 

How to Get the Most Reach Using Trending Twitter Topics

 

With only 140 characters at your disposal in a tweet, it’s important to send the right message every time. Unfortunately, a lot of people misuse the space they are given and completely ruin their chances for reaching a large audience on Twitter.

 

If you want to start improving social engagement with your tweets, it will be important to understand how people use Twitter and how you can use trending topics to your advantage. This will be especially important for any business that hopes to increase their number of both followers and customers, as a healthy approach to social media can lead to increased sales. Let’s take a look at how you can use trends and hashtags to improve your reach on Twitter:

 

Use Hashtags Properly

 

Although there has been much said about this little character, some people still don’t know how to use it or what it is used for. This isn’t just a method for starting and following trends, it’s a tool for categorization that can help the user to find information that they are interested in. Because of this and the limited space available in a tweet, it is usually frowned upon to use more than two or three hashtags in a post.

 

Another important factor to consider is how relevant the hashtag is going to be. If you want to choose the most relevant hashtags for categorization, it will be important to avoid using common words and instead specify the subject of your tweet. Thankfully, Twitter tells you which topics are trending in the bottom left corner and there are other tools such as Trendsmap that can show you what is trending all over the world. You can avoid misusing hashtags by sticking to trending topics and focusing your conversation where it is most likely to be seen.

 

Choose Only Relevant Trends

 

It can be tempting to jump into a conversation that doesn’t have anything to do with your business or brand, but it can also be detrimental to your social engagement on Twitter overall. Even if you do gain a few followers from talking about an irrelevant trending topic, chances are they will either unfollow you or ignore your posts when they find out that your account is not actually related to that topic. In order to avoid gaining followers who will not engage with your brand, it will be important to focus only on trending topics that are relevant to your business.

 

For example, if your company is trying to sell athletic shoes, it might make sense to follow trends relating to sports and discuss those topics. However, a brand like this probably shouldn’t get involved with trending topics related to politics, because it simply doesn’t have anything to do with what that business is providing to its customers. If your aim is to gain more followers who will engage with your brand, it will be in your best interest to follow and become a part of discussions relating to trends that will interest those specific followers.

 

Test Your Hashtags

 

Even if the hashtag is trending, it will be important to research the topic and find out why it is so popular. Before you start writing that tweet, click on the hashtag you plan to use and find out how other people are using it. If their reaction to the topic is negative, you might want to avoid using that hashtag, even if it is relevant to your brand. Don’t just find relevant trending hashtags and expect them all to be winners. If you really want to build social engagement with your business, it will be important to research every trend you are about to discuss before even thinking about entering the discussion.

 

 

Why is it so important to research trending topics on Twitter? Because not every hashtag is used for its intended purpose. For instance, a few years ago a popular company started a hashtag hoping to create positive engagement with their followers, but people who did not approve of their services used it instead to talk about how much they didn’t like their business. If you had simply seen this trending and started writing about a positive interaction with the company, your words either would have fallen on deaf ears or you might have drawn the ire of people who were against the company. Research every hashtag before you commit to using it in a tweet.

 

Attract the Right Crowd

 

If you’re trying to improve social engagement on your Twitter account by using trending topics, it will be important to focus on topics that relate well to your brand and will drive the right kind of traffic to follow you. Many would say that one follower is as good as another and there is no difference between two Twitter users, but that just isn’t the case.

 

When it comes to social media, an engaged follower who is interested in your brand is much more valuable than someone who just found your page because you happened to be talking about an irrelevant trending topic that they were interested in at one time. Don’t just focus on numbers, work to create a following that will truly help you to get the most out of your social media marketing efforts and you will benefit from an audience that hangs on your every tweet.

 

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Megan Ritter is an online journalist and tech enthusiast with a background in media. As an entrepreneur, her writing covers everything from start-ups and small business to global branding. You can find more of her writing by visiting her blog.

Thanks for your advice Megan.