Shop through a blogger's affiliate link to support your favorite writers!

Shopping this holiday season? Do it through a blogger's affiliate link! -- SpiritGrooves & Hobo MamaAs you buy the items on your holiday list this year, keep your favorite bloggers in mind!

If you're shopping online, particularly at Amazon.com, you can shop through your favorite writers' affiliate links and give them a little holiday gift, too!

Buying through an affiliate link works just the same for you as shopping by going directly to the Amazon (or another shop's) site. You don't pay any more than you would otherwise, but the store itself funnels a few cents over to the blogger as a thanks for the referral.

Do you know bloggers who are struggling this season to make ends meet? Are there writers you'd love to reward for being particularly timely and touching in what they share with readers? Do you just want to spread the holiday love and cheer?

Then make it a point to shop through an affiliate link this season and throughout the year!

To make it easy for you, we have a linky list of bloggers' Amazon affiliate links, as well as a linky of affiliate links to other popular online stores.

If you're a blogger, sign up with your links!

To help you remember to shop through an affiliate link, bookmark a few! Teresa shows how in her innovative tutorial. Simply drag two or three into your bookmarks bar, and name them "Amazon." Now anytime you want to go to Amazon, click on one, and you'll be set to give that blogger a little tip for being awesome!

Shopping this holiday season? Do it through a blogger's affiliate link! -- SpiritGrooves & Hobo Mama


#NaNoProgMo Profile: Crackerdog Sam

This is one in a series of profiles of our National Novel Progress Month authors and their works in progress. If you'd like to submit your own interview, please fill out the form, and I'll be in touch!

Today's author is Crackerdog Sam (that's his hobo name), my own dear partner and co-parent and a fabulous writer. I interviewed him over pizza with the kids — any insight and hilarity in wording are his, and any errors in transcription are mine.

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

#NaNoProgMo Profile: Crackerdog Sam
Sam hopes he finishes his WIP in time to read it to the kids.

What project are you working on?

I am attempting to flesh out or "write" [quote marks his!] the second half of my novel that is currently only outlined. Basically, I'm trying to get a draft out of it. It will be spotty with chunks missing or places that are rambling on too long, but just to get something concrete on the page.

What's the tentative title?

I'm not telling.

What's the genre?

I guess it's a mashup of old-time high adventure with modern conveniences. It follows the same rules as The Princess Bride, but it's set in modern day, which is to say it's romantic and adventurous and has a lot of fantastical creatures, but it doesn't have magic or the paranormal. I don't know what genre that is. There is also no villain, so it's kind of a mix of The Princess Bride and Spirited Away.

What's the target audience?

It's for 8- to 14-year-olds.


National Novel Progress Month: Join me in making progress!

National Novel Progress Month at LaurenWayne.com: Join me in making progress!

I don't know about you, but I could use another National Novel Progress Month.

I've decided once again to skip National Novel Writing Month, though I'm a huge fan and would love to encourage you if you're participating — as well as National Blog Post Month — since what I need right now is not more writing but more finishing, if you know what I mean.

Last time I hosted NaNoProgMo with the lovely Teresa from Spirit Grooves, but she's busy with holiday sales, so for this month, we're going to keep it low key and my husband, Sam, is hosting it with me. I mean, he's not blogging or anything (unless he wants to guest post), but … I dunno, we're just both doing NaNoProgMo, so that totally counts as a co-host. Tree and I would like to host an all-out ProgMo in January, so hang on to that if these next two months are not your style.

We started NaNoProgMo to support writers who need to finish, edit, research, polish, or publish a novel. I'm also totally happy to embrace writers who are working on non-fiction books, ebooks, articles, or blogging. If you need to make some writing or editing progress this month, come along!

I'd like to offer you some support as you work on your writing in November, in whatever form it takes!


Where to find free images for blog posts

Where to find free images for blog posts == LaurenWayne.com

You know that punching up your blog articles with pictures lends a thousand-plus words to your text — but you also want to make sure the photographs and drawings you find are legally yours to use under copyright law and ethical guidelines. You generally can't just grab a photo off Google Image Search or someone else's blog without permission.

There are many stock sites that will allow you to purchase photos, but bloggers rarely want to spend cash for their frequent and frequently ill-paid postings.

So: Here are my top 10 resources for royalty-free, payment-free, copyright-legal, fair-use images for your blog posts.


New Mummy Episode from Castle!

New Mummy Episode sighting:

Castle's Episode 110 from Season 6, "Time Will Tell," deals with oh-my-gosh-are-they-really-real time travelers.

Is this guy really from THE FUTURE?! Spoooky!

You can watch the episode online, so I won't spoil it except to say:

CLASSIC Mummy Episode. Classic.


Vary your characters' names

Vary your characters' names == LaurenWayne.com

I recently read a book in which the three main male characters' names were Rafael, Richard, and Robert.

Dude, I could not keep those suckers straight.

I fully admit I maybe read a little too quickly at times, and I also admit names are not my strong suit, but … but … c'mon, authors, throw your readers a bone and choose names that won't be easily confused.

Richard and Robert were the worst, because in my mind they're sort of interchangeable "nice" names that are both two syllables and start with Rs and have an R toward the end as well. As I'm skimming along, I can't distinguish them for beans.

At least Rafael is a little bit more unusual and with a different sound, and it was often abbreviated as Rafe (oh, for a Dickie and a Rob, too!), but is it too much to ask that if there are going to be three important male characters that they not have names that all start with the same letter?

Now, I know writers of nonfiction or fictionalized history might have no choice. And maybe there are certain occasions when sequels or prequels inadvertently force similarly named characters to collide. But, for the most part, you as the author are fully in charge of giving your characters names that won't give your readers fits.

To that end, here are my humble suggestions:

1. Don't name everyone with the same initial letter.

This is surprisingly tempting. Our brains work in logical trains, after all. When we've come up with one good name that starts with a certain letter, it's only natural to think up similar names first. Keep the wheels turning, and don't settle on your first choice.

Keep in mind letters that are different but sound alike: Corrie and Kerry. I'd suggest avoiding even letters that are the same but sound different: Celia and Chris — because in skimming, it might still be easy to mistake one for the other.

Remember last names, too: Mrs. Adamson and Mrs. Allison and Mr. Arlington would drive anyone to another book.


Sunday Surf: Social media ad tests & best posts for Facebook

Links to share, from Writing Tidbits:

Do social media ads really work? We put them to the test! | TechHive

Experimental ads across five services: Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon. 
4 DAYS AGO -  1
advertising Social media facebook google adwords Twitter linkedin stumbleupon marketing 1 note

Weaving Influence | More Eyes Means More Engagement

Challenging the ideas of what Facebook posts get the most views.
This is in line with my experiences as well (text = most, pictures = not as much). I haven’t tried the idea of a shortened link without a preview, so that’s next on my list!
via Ariadne
facebook facebook fan pages Social media marketing

Facebook Ad Types
(Photo credit: Search Influence)
Enhanced by Zemanta


The collaboration of creation: On letting readers shape your writing

I published this article originally on Hobo Mama, discovered it again recently, and loved the reminder that writing is a group effort.

The collaboration of creation: On letting readers shape your writing == LaurenWayne.com
With my grandfather's failing health, I wrote him a letter. I won't term it a "get well" letter, certainly — it was more a (possibly last) chance to say what I wanted to say.

Due to the vagaries of air transit and USPS delivery from one coast to another, I happened to be visiting when he received the letter. He let my mother read it, and as he is a soft-spoken gentleman, she ended up saying much more about it than he did.

I overheard her describe the contents to my father and to other relatives who were visiting, much as one would overhear her mother tell her friends what grades her daughter had received on her report card.

But, brownie points for writing her father aside, it was interesting to hear her misrepresent what was in my letter — to, in fact, rewrite it.


Sunday Surf: Blog income, where to place sharing tools, analyze your site

Links to share, from Writing Tidbits:

Pinch of Yum’s October Income Report - Making Money from a Food Blog - $4,237.45
Fascinating series with hard data and real numbers on how a food blog makes money.
I especially like the analogy in this post for what types of income you can hope to make blogging, by being a teacher (affiliate marketing), landlord (selling ad space), or inventor (creating a product), or all three.
Fascinating series with hard data and real numbers on how a food blog makes money.
I especially like the analogy in this post for what types of income you can hope to make blogging, by being a teacher (affiliate marketing), landlord (selling ad space), or inventor (creating a product), or all three.
monetizing blogging Finances advertising affiliate marketing ebook sales

3 Tips for Placing Tools on Your Page | AddThis Blog

Where to position tools for follow, share, and related content.
blogging blogs design

6 SEO Tools to Analyze Your Site Like Google Does

I especially appreciated the HubSpot graders.
seo blogging


Jive vs. jibe

Jive vs. jibe == LaurenWayne.com
Thumbs Up!
The copy editor is in.
I'm presenting occasional posts on the use of English,
not to be pedantic but just for the fun of language.

I don't know why, but this is one of those word distinctions I relish knowing and wish more people did. Maybe it's that both words are so fun to say.

"Jibe" sounds made up, right? The reality is that "jive" is a much newer word.

If you want to say that something sounds about right, or that something resonates with you, which one do you use?


My new book: What Will We Learn Today?

I just had another baby! And it's a book!


What Will We Learn Today? More than 550 Easy Homeschooling Activities == Lauren Wayne

Seriously, though, I labored long and hard on this sweet thing, and I'm happy to introduce you to What Will We Learn Today? — an ideabook of more than 550 quick and simple homeschooling activities.

Language Arts: Have your child help you shop for groceries. Hand the list over — for a pre- or beginning reader, draw little images of all the items you need next to the words. Have your child read the list to you as you go and cross off what you've found.

Why homeschool activity ideas?

There are days when you want to do something fun — and educational — but you can't quite figure out what it is. I have good intentions of natural-learning activities to do — but then I don't always remember them.

Mathematics: Take the cover off an (unplugged) electric fan. Tape a different number to each blade, and put a piece of tape marking the top of the fan. Spin the fan by hand, and have your child make bets on which number will be at the top. Keep track of which number actually makes it to the top each time. Work out the probability of which number will be at the top — and the advisability of gambling on roulette…

So I wrote this ebook to be a collection of idea-joggers. You can keep it on your computer, phone, or tablet (it's a PDF, so easy-peasy) and then anytime you're having one of those "What should we do now?" moments, just pop that puppy open and choose an activity.

How? I recommend closing your eyes and jabbing randomly at the screen. Failing that, you could browse, and maybe highlight your favorites to come back to (you can do that with a PDF!). I've also organized all the activities by curricular subject, so if you really want to do something mathy or sciencey, or if you're dying to attack a different language or social studies, you could just hop to that section of the book. (I hyperlinked the table of contents, so it's an easy click!)

Science: Make raisins dance. Fill a glass with water. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and stir until it dissolves. Drop in 3 or 4 raisins. Slowly pour in 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and watch the raisins dance! Mixing baking soda and vinegar creates a chemical reaction that causes carbonation (carbon dioxide bubbles) in the water. Normally raisins would be too heavy to float or dance in the water, but the lighter-than-water bubbles adhere to their surface and carry them up. When the bubbles reach the surface and pop, the raisins sink again. Once the raisins are too soggy with water, they'll be too heavy to keep dancing.

Obviously, there's plenty of crossover between the activities (life isn't divided into key curricular subjects, after all, but is all of one piece), but it's helpful to consider what sort of variety you're using to spice up your children's educational life.

Life Skills: Walk or drive somewhere while letting your child navigate with a map or GPS device. Your child can tell you which way to turn and help you look for signs and landmarks.

What am I getting for the moolah?

These are fun, easy activities. I tried to keep most of them home-based, quick, and using little in the way of supplies (and nothing fancy). So if you have money to blow, that's great; you can buy kits and curricula and equipment and whatever you want. But for all of us who need to keep things frugal and simple, I've got you covered. I've even included bonus tips for home learning on a budget: keeping museum costs down, using libraries and other resources to their fullest, and even finding like-minded community (so your kids get socialized, dontchaknow).

Social Studies: Pretend you're from a different decade or century. Go through your house or neighborhood marveling together at all the newfangled things you can spot. Try to compare them to objects familiar to your own time.

I also was surprised when I counted to find I'd come up with over 550 activities (and am still thinking of more — I'm guessing a second edition will be in the works at some point!). Originally, I was trying to get to 100. Then I thought I was on track for 200 and was so proud of me. Then I counted the final version and was gobsmacked. But that's good news for you! Lots and lots of fun ideas!

Health & Fitness: Toss a raw egg back and forth to each other outside as gently as possible, taking a step back with each successful catch. Try to get as far away from each other as possible before the egg drops or breaks.

Are these only for homeschoolers?

Not at all! We're unschooling, so I wrote it for people who've chosen a home-based method of education. But, seriously, as parents we all want to facilitate our children's learning. Even if your kids are pre-preschool or in regular school, you're still guiding their education and want to give them learning opportunities. These activities fill the bill. They're aimed at the primary grades, but you can adapt them to a variety of ages.

World Languages: Learn the body parts for the song "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" in your target language, and get singing and moving!

Plus, I love that when you do activities like this with your kids, you're really connecting with them, which you'll both appreciate.

Arts & Music: Visit an art museum and head first to the gift shop. Let your child choose a postcard of one of the artworks from the museum, and then go on a scavenger hunt to find it. Read any information about the work to your child, and talk together about what you like about it.


Sunday Surf: Inbox cleaning made fun, infographics, & popularity contests

Links to share, from Writing Tidbits:

Email Management Made Fun | The Email Game

A game for Gmail that inspires you to clean out your inbox — FAST!
gmail Email inbox inbox zero Time Management scheduling
blogging spam pr infographics

Strocel.com | Reflections on Blogging Contests

Here’s the truth, in my experience: these contests typically go to the best networker. You’re not going to win by voting for yourself as many times as possible. You have to get other people to vote for you, and advocate for you. If you’re not comfortable promoting yourself in that way, that’s fine. Many of us aren’t. We don’t want to pester people. I sort of feel that way, myself. And now I know that’s why I’ve never won these contests. Knowing that, somehow, has allowed me to make my peace with it. …
Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with calling on your network for support. There’s nothing wrong with telling your community that you’re in this contest and you’d love for them to vote for you. There’s nothing wrong with putting it out there, and seeing what comes back. 


Off to #BlogHer13!

Guess where I'm going with these:

BlogHer '13
This is not true at all.
I'm letting Sam take the kiddos
out around Chicago for the day.
But I can't resist babywearing-
themed blog bling!
I'm so excited to have my brand-spanking-new business cards folded and ready for my first blogging conference! (I sure hope I spelled everything right….)

I was going to be in Chicago anyway to visit family, so I just snagged a last-minute ticket for Friday of BlogHer 2013.

If you're going to be there and want to meet up, I'd love the chance to be socially awkward in person!

So what else do I need for the trip? I was reading blog posts on what to wear to make sure jeans were acceptable (they are, right? I hope they are), and there were these people talking about their heels and shapewear, and I realized: I just might be outclassed here.

But if you want to hang out with my flab-out, flat-footed self, please feel free!


Why monetizing a mom blog is ok

Why monetizing a mom blog is ok == LaurenWayne.com

I started writing this post two years into blogging on Hobo Mama and here. I think I let it falter in drafts because it was kind of a big topic and because it felt controversial to me. But I've finally edited it to be current and pulled it together, and here are my thoughts.

I've been thinking a lot about the subject of monetizing a blog in my six-plus years of "mommy blogging." I want to gag on that term, but it's one that's familiar to people and let's be honest — that's what my blog Hobo Mama is.

When I redesigned my site two years in, I started selling advertising space. I had (affiliate) ads on Hobo Mama since its inception, quite purposely, since I didn't want it to be something I transitioned into with my readers wincing at the change. I wanted it to be noted, right away: This is a blog whose purpose is to make money.

How have I done with that goal? Meh.

Some years I've lost money. Mostly I haven't earned a whole lot.

But somewhere around my third year, I tried to step it up. I love writing. I love writing about my mommy-blogging topics. But I don't want this to be a hobby. I want it to be a business.

I feel like a mommy blog traitor even saying that out loud.

Why does monetizing a mom blog get such a bad rap?

I think the backlashing against advertisements, sponsorship, and affiliate connections on mom blogs comes down to three aspects (deep breath):
  • Sexism
  • Classism
  • Elitism

Ready for me to break it down?

(By the way, remind me some time to point out that these are the same points of contention against romance novels. Really.)


This is the crux of the matter, as far as I'm concerned, so I'll start with it. Obviously it has to do with mommy blogging in particular, since most (not all) parent bloggers tend to be women. Even blogs that are not about parenting but are by women about personal topics are often lumped into the category of mommy blogging (and those bloggers can get pretty — justifiably — upset at the misassociation).

By and large, I read two types of blogs: parenting blogs and — well, I'm stumbling around for a term here. Just, regular blogs. Big blogs. Professional blogs. The second category tend to be run by either companies or men. The first category tend to be run by women, as noted above. The second category? No hesitation about monetizing out the wazoo. They're in this for cash and aren't afraid to let you know it. Whereas the women-run blogs? They tiptoe around the subject. They declare their allegiance to being ad-free with cute little pretentious buttons. They call out other women bloggers for daring to put ads on their blog, or for having them be too prominent, or for accepting paid posts or giveaway products. The disclosures women bloggers write are apologetic, defensive: I didn't get paid for this! I swear! I got a free product, is all — I wouldn't do this for money!

Allow me to point the finger back at myself a tick, will you?

I married at 22, fresh out of college. I took a contract job at the same nonprofit company where my husband worked. They wouldn't hire me full time because they made up had a rule about spouses not being able to work together. Of course, um, we still were working together, and from a home office to boot. We could get up to all sorts of mischief (and did! ha!).

I didn't challenge the rule because — well, it was a rule. My husband had found the job first, because he had graduated a year before I did. I could have tried to find a better, "real" job, but what I really wanted to do was start my own editing business and write novels on the side.

I never did get around to writing the novels on the side, but I did start the freelance editing business. I looked at what the going rates were at the time, and I made a bold and/or stupid strategic move: I would price myself below everyone else.

I was young, after all! I was just starting out! Who would pay me the going rate when they could get better quality for the same price?

So I would be the cut-rate editing service, doing it all for cheap.

You know what? I worked my butt off editing. I was good. I was conscientious. I caught mistakes. I memorized APA styling. I did all the tedious crap no one else wanted to do.

And I earned bubkes.

I tried half-heartedly to increase my rates, both in my contracting work for the nonprofit and in my editing, but I felt guilty about it, every time. I didn't feel like I deserved to make a lot of money.

I was a woman, after all, and a good Christian girl at that. It was allowed, if still a little embarrassing, that my husband made more than I did. It would have been more shocking the other way around.

I think as women we're constantly selling ourselves short. We believe the lies told about our worth. I want this to stop, and I want it to stop with me, in me. I deserve to make good money, dangit. My husband could (and would) enjoy being a kept man. It's totally valid for women to earn money, and decent money at that.


There's also a taint against mommy bloggers who dare to blog beyond hobby status. Blogging as a hobby is something a financially stable person can do. Blogging as a business, if you're a woman (see above), must mean you need the money. And if you need the money…shame on you for not being well-off! How sad that you don't have a husband keeping you in the style you deserve.

There's a lot of snobbery toward filthy lucre. You can almost hear Miss Bingley's snide voice: "Oh…they blog for money? They must live in Cheapside…." There's something untoward about being in trade that still permeates our culture, even though most of us are. There are still these unspoken rules that we shouldn't talk about money out loud. There are hierarchies of what jobs are valuable and which are demeaning.

And for whatever reason, writing — by women, especially — is deemed one of those jobs people should do for fun. On the side. Like amateur sleuthing when you have a family fortune to back you up. Being a policeman? Too obviously blue collar. But being a consulting detective for no monetary reward? Now, that's a (literally) noble calling.

So women can write, and they can blog, but when they try to make money, it had better be as a hobby, for a little spending money, not to buy groceries for their kids or pay for the repairs on the washing machine or fund the family vacation. It should be the amount of money you could blow on hats. If it's your livelihood, well…that's just a little cheap, isn't it?

I'm done with this point of view. I'm finished with people telling other people the way they earn their money is less valuable than the way someone else does, or that earning money at all is less valuable than simply having and spending it. As another independent but well-paid detective would say, "Phooey."


Then there's writing as art. Ah, my words are so precious that no monetary value could possibly be attached! That's why Michelangelo agreed to paint the Sistine Chapel for free. Oh…wait…he didn't? That can't be right.

Now, I get that there are concerns with ethics whenever words (=influence) and money (=influence) decide to hop into bed together. But that just requires strong ethics on the part of the writers (and the brands, but I can't hope too hard for that). It's one thing to deride certain writers or sources for being unethical; it's another to suggest that no writers ever should be paid because to do so soils the art. If you want to believe that, fine. But for those of us for whom writing is our job, the money part is sorta indispensable.

I don't think most of us look at authors we admire — particularly from times past — and thing badly of them for being professionals. Charles Dickens was a total sellout. Mark Twain got wealthy off his writing. Louisa May Alcott supported her head-in-the-clouds transcendental family. We admire them all, and we don't fault them for writing what sells, or for selling what they wrote.

I can have my artistic flourishes and my ads, too. I might not have the most easily monetized blogs in town, but I have the right to pursue that goal.

So that's my conclusion. If people talk down to you about monetizing your blog, ask them which of sexism, classism, or elitism they support. That'll stop 'em.

Best of luck to you with writing well, monetizing effectively, and earning some money for your art!


Sunday Surf: Awesome Facebook marketing, 404 pages, & schedules

Links to share, from Writing Tidbits:

29 Links to Make You Awesome at Facebook Marketing (So You Stop Spinning Your Wheels) | Constant Contact Blogs

facebook Social media blogging marketing

Best Time to Post on Facebook

It depends on your audience. Since most of my fans are SAHMs, I don’t think the ban on during the workday applies for me. The other tips were helpful.
1 DAY AGO -  1
facebook blogging Social media marketing 1 note


How I make money blogging

How I make money blogging == LaurenWayne.comThere's a subject everyone wants to know about but about which very few want to be the one to spill. Today I'm going to be that person!


I'm going to tell you just where my blogging income comes from, and give some tips for you to earn some cold cash for your cool words.

I admit it, I'm feeling too shy to disclose dollar amounts, but I've made up a couple helpful percentage charts for you, along with a list of advice on making more money blogging (some of which I have yet to take!).

A little intro to set the scene: I run a popular parenting blog, Hobo Mama; a review blog, Hobo Mama Reviews; and this here blog about blogging. I also co-run the fabulous Natural Parents Network. My income comes from monetizing all these sources, but the info below covers only my blogs.

I do not make enough blogging to quit my day job … of … um … blogging. And parenting. And writing unpublished novels and published poetry. I don't recommend blogging as a get-rich-quick scheme. It's a nice thing to try if you like writing anyway and if you want a little extra spending money. How much spending money depends on how popular your blog happens to be, which is partly a case of talent and hard work and partly dependent on old-fashioned luck. I think it's totally valid to pursue making money as a blogger (and as a woman and/or mother); I just don't want to give an inflated impression of income potential for most bloggers.


Sunday Surf: Take control of your to-do list & inbox, plus the truth about blogging conferences & safe FB sharing

Links to share, from Writing Tidbits:

BlogHer Tells WSJ the Rest of the Story About Blogging Business Trips - Elisa Camahort Page - Voices - AllThingsD

The answer is that the Journal has published the umpteenth article dismissing women who blog — even as we are using our expertise across social media not just to develop our own brands and businesses, but to symbiotically develop some of the hottest new companies in the startup economy (Pinterest, anyone?). MilitaryMoneyChica nails it in her post, “If Mom Bloggers Lean In Any More, They’ll Just Walk All Over Us. Thanks a Lot WSJ.”:
Let’s be honest. Do I have fun when I go to a blogging conference? Uh, yes. But I had fun when I went to conferences and professional development opportunities when I guess, according to this article, I had a “real job”…. Thanks for portraying my profession as a bunch of opportunistic, burnt-out moms who have to dress a vacation in business casual to get out of doing the laundry.
blogging blogging conferences conferences blogher women writers feminism sexism parenting
Brilliant article on How to Make Your To-Do List Doable:

When you’re wearing your Boss hat, it’s up to you to write down the instructions in such a way that your Assistant self can just do them without having to think - or stress. Taking the thinking out of the acting is one of the best ways to make your to-do list a cinch to finish off.
Brilliant article on 
When you’re wearing your Boss hat, it’s up to you to write down the instructions in such a way that your Assistant self can just do them without having to think - or stress. Taking the thinking out of the acting is one of the best ways to make your to-do list a cinch to finish off.
to-do list time management 1 note


Sunday Surf: Tracking submissions, mass PayPal, and traditional vs. self-publishing

Links to share, from Writing Tidbits:

Tracking Your Submissions - Triple Tracking Method -- Writers Write(R)

To collect better data, create 3 submission tracking spreadsheets: general, individual manuscript, and individual publication.
Submissions novel submissions manuscripts agents publishing

QueryTracker | Free Database of Literary Agents and Publishers

Free database for tracking your manuscript queries
Submissions novel submissions manuscripts query agents publishing


Explore your parenting through poetry

Explore your parenting through poetry == LaurenWayne.com / Hobo Mama

What I love about poetry is how it allows us to view our lives through a different prism: one that breaks apart the pieces of our experience into rainbow colors and then focuses them with clarity that can be blinding in its insight.

When I became a parent, it was natural — even necessary — to examine my new adventures (and misadventures) through the lens of poetry.

Did we dream you into existence,
or was it more mundane?

When you open yourself up to writing poetry, you open yourself to exploring and memorializing what was meaningful to you, even the hard moments.

Feeling you leave in a gush of pain and red,
in the blackest and loneliest part of the night …

Why were we led all that way, and never to see your face?

Explore your parenting through poetry == LaurenWayne.com / Hobo Mama


Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop: WINNERS!

In the month of April and into May, a group of intrepid poets and I explored parenting through poetry. It was a glorious, inspirational time, and I was so pleased to share the journey with these writers:


Put your children in danger: A guide for authors

At the same time as I am reading Virals, a young adult novel by Kathy Reichs, I have happened upon this YouTube video from Feminist Frequency (thank you to Our Feminist Playschool for the direct) reviewing the book The Hunger Games:

The whole video's very interesting, as are Anita Sarkeesian's other works, but I just want to pull out one teensy tidbit that relates to the novel Virals as well as the whole oeuvre of children's literature.

Anita says that she finds it unbelievable that the parents in The Hunger Games wouldn't stand up and refuse to let their children be sacrificed.

Oh, yes. Totally. But that's viewing it as an adult and being all reasonable and stuff. Young adult and children's fiction depends on adults — and parents in particular — being ineffectual, powerless, cruel, or entirely absent.


In celebration of a good novel: Kathy Reichs vs. Bones

Actor Emily Deschanel and author Kathy Reichs on the set of Bones (image courtesy Fox)

I just checked out Bones Are Forever, by Kathy Reichs, from the library and realized it had been a long time since I felt that pull of a well-written novel. I found myself seeking out excuses to slip away to read, and I carried the book around with me in hopes odd respites would present themselves and need to be filled with a good book.

The TV show Bones, based on Reichs' work, is so goofily overwritten that it's astonishing it came out of the Temperance Brennan novels. I even like Bones, but it's so cringe-inducing for how two-dimensional the characters are and how painfully obvious each emotional revelation becomes.

It was refreshing to dive back into the original world of Tempe and enjoy Kathy Reichs' dry, exhaustively detailed, but fascinating peeks into the world of forensic anthropology — with some shootouts and kidnappings along for the thrills, of course.


Poems for Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop — Week 5: Enjoy

Weekly Parenting Poetry WorkshopWe're sharing our final poems from the Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop:

Week 5:


This week — I can't believe it's our last! — we're embracing the camaraderie of parenthood and reveling in our children's joy and creativity.

If you have a poem or poems posted on your blog, link up below, or paste your poem(s) in the comments!


Prompts for Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop — Week 5: Enjoy

Today marks the start of the fifth and final week of the Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop! One last week of prompts to inspire your poetry.

We're each writing at least one parenting-themed poem a week on an overarching parenting theme, which I post on Mondays. On Fridays, I post a linkup so we can all share what we've been working on, and then we enjoy reading each other's work. It's been inspiring for all of us!

I also post daily prompts for the week in advance, both to give you more of an idea of what the theme represents, and for any overachievers who want to write more than one poem a week! Remember, anyone who writes and posts a poem for each day of the challenge automatically wins a signed prize copy of Poetry of a Hobo Mama, and anyone who writes and posts at least weekly will be entered into a drawing for one.

For full details and to grab a badge, see the intro post.

You can enjoy last week's poems here and link up your own if you haven't already! It was a beautiful week of poems on Trust.

Now it's time to get writing for this week! Ready?

The fifth week's theme is


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