Thursday, April 24, 2014

Unbelievable - Such a Great A - Z Challenge This Year!

by M. J. Joachim

Unbelievable! This has been one of the best A - Z Challenge’s I’ve ever been privileged to take part in! And as you know, it’s been my first year as a Co-Host - shout out to our unique and unified team!

Of course, it couldn’t have happened without all of you amazing bloggers out there, signing up, helping promote it, writing phenomenal posts, hopping like crazy and leaving truly fantastic comments. Here’s to you! My hat is off, my glass is raised and my bow is low. I'm truly humbled by your talent, friendship and unwavering support and encouragement.

You guys are the best! On behalf of our entire team, THANK YOU! 

…and see you at the finish line. Only five more days to go…

Best to all! Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Review: Ten Busy Brownies by Talia Haven

by M. J. Joachim

Ten Busy Brownies is such cute and playful children’s counting story, I’m certain many little ones will enjoy. The creatively artistic and colorful pictures, illustrated by Sytiva Sheehan, make it all the more delightful.

If you have little ones around, I’m sure they will really get a kick out of this book, undoubtedly reading it multiple times. Between the rhymes and the pictures, this one is sure to be big hit with them.

Thank you so much for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today. I’ll see you again tomorrow.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to Make a Hyperlink Signature

by M. J. Joachim

Note:  Blogger is not recognizing my tutorial, because of the html. I'm trying, but this is becoming way too frustrating, way too fast. So instead, I'll try to do step by step. You can follow it, and see if it works for you. 

Step 1: Type < + a
Note, remove + sign and space (good old blogger, ahem!)

Step 2: Make 1 space with your spacebar

Step 3: Type href=

Step 4: Type a quotation mark "

Step 5: Copy and paste your URL next to the quotation mark

Step 6: Type another quotation mark

Step 7: Type >

This will close your URL link

Step 8: Type the words you want linked that will show up highlighted and able to be clicked on.

Step 9: Type < + /a + >
Note, remove the spaces and + signs for step 9 - blogger won't show it in my tutorial any other way...

This will close and finish your signature.

Follow these steps when you comment on blogs or add special links in your posts. I tried to include what your lines will look like between steps, but blogger was attempting to link everything, in the process deleting some of my tutorial. If you follow these steps, however, you should be able to make a hyperlink signature without any trouble. I know, because this is what I do too.

I've had the worst time preparing this post. It seems to be doing some very glitchy things, and I'm sorry for any confusion this is causing. Hopefully it is resolved now, because I just manually retyped every word, after looking at it when it went live, and discovering it turned into a miss-mash.

Also, I haven't been visiting and commenting as much as I'd like lately. Quite unexpectedly, I was diagnosed with pneumonia last week, and have been a bit laid up. I'll be back to commenting and visiting like I usually do, as soon as I am able. Please be patient. My lack of energy and need for rest must take priority these days. 

Anyway, I hope this works, as I'm about to make this post live again, and I really don't want anymore problems with it. S - the letter of the day...yes, I'm feeling it, especially when I'm removing and fixing posts, to attempt to make them do what they're supposed to do. 

Thanks for visiting and commenting today, 

M. J. 

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: Chris Downer, Uphill view through the letter S, CCA-Share Alike Attribution

Monday, April 21, 2014

Poetry Analysis: Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson

by M. J. Joachim

Under the wide and starry sky, 
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be, 
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.


Perception is reality in this seemingly harsh remembrance for the man who died. There is no fondness, no heart-felt mention of good character, loving family man or loyal friend. In death, this man is remembered as one who was absent, not only because of the work and duties, which rightfully kept him away, but also in spirit. The very first line of his epitaph so declares, “Her he lies where he longed to be.”

Human connection is lost in the translation, with a tombstone engraving that leaves one cold. Clearly the man himself felt deserving of more - simple recognition perhaps that he was glad in life, with a possible inference that he was also peaceful in death.

Clearly he died with a will. My first inclination is to believe “will” refers to an inheritance for those he left behind. However, it cannot be dismissed that “will” is also desire. Was the man happy to die?

My personal analysis approves both meanings of “will” in this poem, determining that he was ready to go and put his affairs in order accordingly. This makes his epitaph all the more chilling, because those he left behind apparently didn’t know how much he meant to them.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Poetry Analysis: Quiet Waters by Blanch Shoemaker Wagstaff

by M. J. Joachim

Our lives float on quiet waters…
Down softly flowing streams,
Where silvery willows
Shadow calm waves.
Gentle bird-songs
And murmuring freshets
Leap from the woodland

In snowy circlets.
Green embowers us,
And fragrant mosses,
Spicy odors
That drift in the languid
Swaying breezes…

Our lives float on quiet waters…
And my Love and I
Wonder at twilight,
When flaming banners
Spread in the heavens,
How long this Beauty -
This stately silence…
E’er once again we shall drift
On the turbulent, open sea.


Picturing two lovers in a canoe was easy for me as I read this poem silently, and then aloud. Becoming entranced with this poem was practically unavoidable, as I toyed with my diction, tempo and tone, until I found myself staring up at the sky and figuratively drifting on the lake.

Sunsets have always intrigued me, whether they are vast and endless over the wide blue ocean, or ferociously fiery in the Arizona desert.

It was nature’s whisper that caught my attention in the first stanza - the excitement of the day beginning to settle down.

Transitions in this poem are subtle, yet intricately stimulating and vibrant - filled with detail, action and a certain futuristic fate. For night will come, and with its arrival, the silence of sunset will disappear.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host

Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Review: Public Relations for Authors by Babs Hightower

by M. J. Joachim

Public Relations for Authors, Take Hold of Your Own Promotions by Babs Hightower is one of the sloppiest books I’ve ever read. Considering this book is supposed to be written by a (self-proclaimed) Public Relations expert, I was shocked by the lack of editing and careless workmanship shown therein. 

The information shared is elementary enough that I wouldn’t waste my time or money reading it in this book, which seems to be nothing more than a self-promotional ploy, attempting to lure unsuspecting authors in with its appealing title. After reading this book, I certainly would never consider hiring Babs Hightower to work on my own PR campaign, if the writing in this book represents how she might run my promotions and campaign.

Much of the book appeared to be nothing more than notes she forgot to draft into clear and concise thoughts. There were punctuation and spelling errors too, something I don’t enjoy finding in published books, and certainly wouldn’t want sent out in any press releases.

Another oddity was her reference to using landlines instead of cell phones for radio interviews. Call me crazy, but I don’t know a whole lot of people who have landlines or house phones anymore. Needless to say, I strongly urge you to avoid purchasing this book, as a valid reference to help you publish and promote your own book. Sorry Babs, but when you represent yourself as a professional, you should at least do us the courtesy of editing your book.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today. I’ll look forward to seeing you again soon.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Open-minded Writing Increases Popularity

by M. J. Joachim

Open-minded writing is such a positive force in this world. It is writing capable of making an audience digest and think about the words and ideas being shared. Expressing opinions in one’s writing is perfectly fine, provided these opinions are expressed in a balanced and non-judgmental way.

No one I know likes to be told what to think, do or say. People would rather contemplate and discuss things, than listen to someone preach to them. Tone is so important in writing; an open-minded tone, one that values the reader, knowing each and every reader comes from different places and experiences in life, is welcoming and friendly, as well as a joy to read.

One of my favorite sayings is, “Don’t kill a fly with a sledge hammer.” This philosophy holds true in so many circumstances. Sharing your point of view in your writing is one thing. Imposing it on your readers, as if they haven’t the ability to think for themselves is quite another. That’s why it is so important to keep an open mind, not only when you are writing, but also when you’re doing your research, because if you do, you’ll be able to engage your audience, and if you engage your audience, you’re more likely to be popular with it.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today. I really appreciate you stopping by.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host