Digging In the Dashboard: Three Features to Discover

Part I of a great tools-use series for Bloggers on WordPress. Follow her!

The WordPress.com Blog

Features abound in the WordPress.com dashboard. When you first got started at WordPress.com, you likely identified a handful of tools that you used every time you posted and then ignored the rest.

But after you’ve been blogging for awhile, you might discover some parts of the dashboard you’ve ignored have just the features you need! Here are three awesome features in Posts → Add New that you might have overlooked:

Request Feedback

Do you have a post or page lingering in draft stage that you aren’t quite sure about publishing?

Maybe you’ve been sitting on the hilarious story of what happened to you at senior prom, but you’re just not sure if it’s too embarrassing to post. Or maybe you interviewed a blogger you admire, but you want to be sure they’re happy with what you’ve written before you publish it.

In these cases, you can use the Request Feedback feature…

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Digging In the Dashboard, Part II: Features for Longform Posts

Very useful for newbies like me or even self-taught bloggers who just never got these memos! Follow this blog!

The WordPress.com Blog

As we discussed in the first installment of Digging in the Dashboard, WordPress.com has so many great features that it’s tough to be familiar with them all. I’m still discovering new ones myself! Let’s keep the discovery going with three more features that might be new to you.

This time, we’ll cover three features that can help you break up and organize longer posts, so that they display more cleanly and are easier for your readers to digest. Many of you might be ratcheting up your word count in anticipation of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), so we hope these tips come in handy!

Pagination

Longform posts are all the rage these days. We want content, and more of it! But sometimes long, uninterrupted blocks of text can overwhelm your readers. If you sometimes have posts that run on for paragraphs, consider paginating…

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Amazon Kindle Fire Giveaway!

Amazon Kindle Fire Giveaway!

fall kindle fire

This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT!

Bloggers can enter to win a 2nd Kindle Fire by putting up a post about this giveaway on their blog.

To Enter
Put up a post on your site sharing this giveaway then enter the direct link to your post into THIS FORM to be entered.

Simply copy and paste the HTML that is below or you can grab info off of these links:
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Giveaway Information Post:
http://www.iamareader.com/2013/09/fall-kindle-fire-giveaway-sign-ups.html

1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7″ HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International).
 
There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire.
 
Ends 10/31/13
 

Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7″.

 

 
 

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7″ Kindle Fire HD (US Only)

 

Or $199 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)

Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

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Author Interview on Shah Warton’s website TODAY Sept. 23!

Author Interview on Shah Warton’s website

TODAY September 23, 2013, and after, please view, share, comment, on my first Author’s Interview, getting the buzz for This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, pre-publication in November, 2013! 

http://shahwharton.com/

First full-read review for “This Changes Everything” from fellow author, Mary Josephine O’Brien

Here are some excerpts from my first full-reading review, from Mary Josephine O’Brien, a new author and avid reader who found This Changes Everything on authonomy.com (She gave permission for me to quote her pre-uploading the review.):

“It’s an amazingly complex and challenging book for a reader (not a bad thing). You have managed to create a wonderfully original style. The whole idea of watching the novel be written is excellent.

“At times, I felt as if I were being lectured at, but then this was interrupted, just at the right time, by a dialogue-driven scene or another person’s viewpoint entirely. The juxtaposition and entanglement of the writer’s personal life, faults, failures, friends, hopes and dreams turn this into a very warm and believable journey. The extraordinary mix of formal meeting minutes, diaries, personal logs, newspaper reports, radio excerpts and telephone conversations serve to give a rounded view of the whole arrival-of-aliens scenario.

“The time-hopping took some getting used to, as in I had to re-read a few times or look back to see if what I remembered was accurate but it all held together. Clever weaving of historical fact and alien explanation. The what-if re-sets had me sighing ‘if only’!

“You have created your characters very well. I feel for Clara, I imagine her alienating a lot of people because her enthusiasm and drive and ability to push herself makes her someone who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. I would have liked more of the reporter’s life and I didn’t like Epifanio at all. He sounded arrogant and selfish.

“I have to say that I found the book’s ending very satisfactory, and while this is a good thing in any book, I felt it didn’t leave me wanting more.

“I’m sure any traditional publisher will tell you to ‘tame’ it, to cut whole scenes, not to have it so choppy etc….[P]ersonally, I wouldn’t like to see it ‘prepared’ for publication. I imagine you will find a a lot of readers who won’t go beyond the first few chapters, as they’ll be resistant to the format, but equally I think you’ll find the people that will empathize with the book and your points both political and ecological.

“I loved that the aliens were chosen by lottery. You had so many good touches like that, which made the book a continuing surprise.

“The disjointed nature of both the book itself and the timelines in it pretty much mean that, apart from the first chapter (which, incidentally, is a very good opener), the chapters and sequences can be pretty fluid.

“Well done, Sally! A real tour de force, I wish you all the best with it and thanks for sharing it with me.”

4 new Boards on Pinterest

4 new Boards on Pinterest Writers I Love, Inspirations for the Locations for The Spanners Series, Space Shots I Like, The Spanners Series includes

“The Right Timeline”

I am submitting this story, “The Right Timeline,” to be published in an online new journal, Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly, by October 31. Wish me luck! And, good luck to Heather Massey, K.S. Augustin, Diane Dooley and others involved in launching this zine!
Venue: SFR Quarterly
Editor-in-Chief: K.S. Augustin
Co-ordinating Editor: Heather Massey
Fiction Editor: Diane Dooley
Launch Date: November 15, 2013
http://www.scifiromancequarterly.org/

“The Right Timeline”

I am submitting this story, “The Right Timeline,” to be published in an online new journal, Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly, by October 31. Wish me luck! And, good luck to Heather Massey, K.S. Augustin, Diane Dooley and others involved in launching this zine!
Venue: SFR Quarterly
Editor-in-Chief: K.S. Augustin
Co-ordinating Editor: Heather Massey
Fiction Editor: Diane Dooley
Launch Date: November 15, 2013
http://www.scifiromancequarterly.org/

First Author’s Interview posting on 9-23-13!

First Author’s Interview posting on 9-23-13!

On September 23, 2013, and after, please view, share, comment, on my first Author’s Interview, getting the buzz for This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, pre-publication in November, 2013!  http://shahwharton.com/2013/09/a-chat-with-sally-ember-sci-fi-spec-fic/

Working with Aidana WillowRaven as cover artist is so much fun!

I have never worked with a cover artist before, so not only is Aidana @WillowRaven providing me with amazing prototypes of my characters, Dr. Clara Branon, middle-aged Ph.D., and her “band” of 5 disparate-looking aliens, being brought to “flesh” for the first time, Aidana is training and educating me in the author-artist relationship and cover art production process.

It is exciting, challenging, interesting, frustrating, and fun, all at once: a lot like writing!  Thanks, Aidana! Keep going!  Check out her work at: http://WillowRaven.weebly.com  

Completion of the cover art is the final step before This Change Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, goes LIVE, in November, 2013. 

Another reviewer comments on 1st 20 pps., This Changes Everything

“…In a lot of ways I’m at a loss to critique this because it’s quite different than what I’m used to encountering. It’s a more immediate version of Stranger in Strange Land by Heinlein. Now, what I say next is strictly speaking off the cuff at 11 PM after a couple of rum and cokes, but as it stands I’d probably rate this either three or four stars, depending on how it develops. Once I got into the ideas behind it all, I found it personally fascinating. I’m not sure how that would translate to a broader readership, but it’s nifty stuff. I like alternate timelines and the like…”

New Chapter, inserted before Chapter 6, TCE! Epifanio’s Version

additional chapter to This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

insert before Chapter 6, please

 

EPIFANIO’S VERSION

 

Epifanio Dang Tells His Story

 

August 22, 2040

Clara asks me to write my version of “our” story, but, as you may already know by now, readers and listeners, there is not just one version of any story, especially “ours.”

I tell her I cannot do that, I do not have time, I have a lot to do that is more important. However, she insists. “Do it for my birthday!” she pleads. “They need to know how you feel, what you think, what this is all like for you.” Then she adds, “Oh, please? Also, could you write in present tense as much as possible, to be consistent with our new understanding of simultaneous time?”

I know her birthday is a big event for her, so I can tell I am going to have to agree to do something. She won’t stop nudging me until I do this, so I promise her: I write it today.

Present tense?

I start.

I walk away.

I come back.

All right, Clara. I am writing this for you. Use it as you wish.

When Clara and I first meet… No. Can’t start there.

When Clara first tells me about our possible future… Which time? Which future? Not there, either.

When Clara first tells me, around New Year’s of 2012-13, about her visits from the MWC, I feel a combination of fascination, disbelief, and irritation. I do not feel excited, glad, or trusting. (Sorry, Dear, but you ask me to be honest.)

Clara’s track record, so to speak, of telling me things about myself, or us or others, is that sometimes (percentages range from 0% – 100%, hence my wavering) her versions do not turn out as she predicts or believes. Aliens? Holograms? In her bedroom. I really do not think so.

Yet, something about the way she tells me: her descriptions, particularly of their physical appearances, and the detailed nature of their conversations, show me that these are different from her usual timult tales. I begin to pay closer attention.

As we now know how things unfold, I won’t go into my entire journey from disbelief to understanding. I’ll just say that even before I meet The Band myself, I am a firm believer.

I have more trouble with the permutations, alternate timeline versions, multiverse options, what we now know as the timultaneity of my relationship with Clara. Let’s lay that out first.

I do not love Clara in that way. For many years, and apparently in many timelines, we are not together as lovers, partners, husband/wife, or even close friends. I find out a lot later (remember, I’m writing this in 2040), which version “prevails” in her “fiction” books, which makes it even more problematic for me to write “my” version, here.

Clara is the timulting expert, but I can timult a bit, myself, after a while. Training, practice, some innate talent and motivation are all it takes. To sort through the various ways our relationship plays out because I want to have more than just her versions in my mind, I learn to timult. I tell her I learn it as a kind of mental karate; I often feel I need to defend myself around her. (Sorry, Dear. True, though. Need to find and stand my ground, keep you at leg’s length, so to speak.)

I enjoy the image of our 80-something-year-old selves standing in our living room, right here in front of the couch, in karate suits. We bow. Then, quite quickly, my leg is raised perpendicular to the ground, foot placed squarely in your belly; not as a kick, just keeping you at bay. Makes me smile. Wonder if my leg could make that move these days?

Nope. Hip flexors are too tight. Weak connective tissue in there. Need to do more yoga this week.

Continuing.

Do I love her? Of course, I do. (Happy, Dear?) Do I want to be with her, live with her, marry her? Sometimes. Usually, not. In most timelines, we do not have that kind of relationship.

Clara tells me that, in all the versions we “miss” connecting deeply, our failure to become intimate is due to my reluctance/recalcitrance. Also, my refusal to admit my actual feelings and stubborn resistance to her charms. She also condemns my apparent inclination (and successes, I remind her) to be with women I can dominate, am a lot older than, work less hard with, rather than be with a peer, a challenging partner like her. She makes even more critical comments I won’t repeat here, depending on her mood.

However, Mick tells me that, in some Re-Sets, when Clara and I are together, one of us dies a lot younger than in this version, or she is not even the CC, or other things go awry. Not that our relationship is the cause of those changes. It is somehow hinged to them, though.

I love her and she irritates me. I like and enjoy her and I have to get away to be alone. I am an artist, a writer, a meditator, often a hermit. So is she, she tells me–all of those things. Well, not an artist, but a musician. “Same thing,” she says. “Not really,” I say. She is definitely more of an extrovert than I, I prompt her. “Only when I have to be,” she claims. “Proves my point,” I state. “You love to dance” she cues me. “You need others to dance with.” “I don’t do partner dancing,” I point out. “You are my partner,” she responds. Off we go.

That’s our dance, apparently. On, off. In, out. With, without. Yes, no.

To be fair, I think it’s more my dance than Clara’s. She is steady in her love, dedication, commitment, belief, faith. I do not know anyone with more perseverance, patience, hope…. She has unshakable confidence in what she calls “the rightness of us,” unwavering love for me and steadfast faith in this version of our life.

In most versions, we are not together; in one I am aware of, I barely see her after she becomes the Chief Communicator. Clara says pieces of some of those ‘lines appear in her books, so I won’t go on.

Before I write this, I read the letter she writes me (which she puts later in this book) and my heart aches. The loneliness, the sadness, the grief she experiences make me weep for her. If I ever miss her as much as she misses me, I believe I would just stop breathing.

I don’t know how she carries all of these versions in her psyche. Whenever I timult, I have to make myself deliberately suppress alternative timelines, forget as much as I can about them, or it’s overwhelming. I know this: in the versions in which we’re not together, I don’t think of being with her at all.

I try to be here, in this moment, whatever it is.

I can’t say, exactly, how we get here. Too many ways. Maybe she drags me in, maybe I come willingly. Could be a trick, a seduction, a persuasion. Perhaps, fate just bops me upside the head and carries me over.

I am here. With her.

(Clara comes over and reads what I’m writing. She looks at me with tears in her eyes, then pulls me over for a deep, long kiss. And, more. It is her birthday, after all.)

(A while later, I return to finish this.)

I am passionately in love, glad and grateful to be with Dr. Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator of Earth for the Many Worlds Collective since 2013. We are having this amazing, unique adventure for the twenty-seven years we now have and however many more we get.

Despite what others might think, our marriage is mostly harmonious, delightful, interesting, sweet and wonderful.

Clara is correct about this. We are right together. (Happy Birthday, My Love.)

another reader comments

on authonomy.com: “Wow. I think this [This Changes Everything] is in a tie with one other book for the most creatively confusing book on authonomy! In case you can’t tell, I mean that as a compliment…. I love your sense of humor. I literally laughed out loud when Clara said that she had given him the name Led. I also like that this is an alien story where the aliens are helping, rather than trying to take over the world. It’s a refreshing angle.”

one reader comments

On authonomy.com, for This Changes Everything: “You have quite a unique and interesting story! Not like anything else on here….Overall, I applaud your creativity and novel approach.”

“The Right Timeline”

Just spent a wonderful day conceiving (from meditations, dreams, and visions) a short story, “The Right Timeline,” based on the same main characters and multiverse foundations as in my sci-fi series, The Spanners, to submit to a newly starting sci-fi/romance online quarterly. If it is not accepted, I’ll just include it a future volume of the series. It if is, whoopee! Stay tuned! Decisions later this fall (it launches in November; deadline for submissions is October 1). Want to meet these characters? Read the first 13 chapters of Volume I, This Changes Everything, right here! Then, please post a comment here, on Twitter, on your own blog, on authonomy. com, on wattpad.com, on Goodreads, and anywhere else you roam. Thanks.

One reviewer’s…

One reviewer’s prelim remarks after starting This Changes Everything, Vol. I of The Spanners Series: “I think it’s the most incredibly original concept- well done, that’s not an easy thing to come up with. I have only scanned up to page 60 or so, but it is extremely intriguing and exciting….Those pieces I’ve read are so believable and natural.”

One reviewer’s…

One reviewer’s prelim remarks after starting This Changes Everything, Vol. I of The Spanners Series: “I think it’s the most incredibly original concept- well done, that’s not an easy thing to come up with. I have only scanned up to page 60 or so, but it is extremely intriguing and exciting….Those pieces I’ve read are so believable and natural.”