COM0014 – Blog Post #7 – Reflections

Picture by giphy.com

Communication is all about reaching your audience. It starts with listening and evolves into finding your voice and how you want to tell your story. Storytelling is a method of communication that dates all the way back to primitive times. Storytelling is an art. It keeps evolving over the years to include technology, and better ways to tell a story. With the age of the internet, it takes communication, and storytelling, to a whole new level.

Storytelling is universal. It is a clear method of communication that is easy for anyone to understand. For this reason, storytelling should be the basis of any on line communication. Your blog, your Facebook post, and your personal website should all tell a story. Without a story, your content becomes boring and flat. It is unlikely to strike a connection with your reader.

I am an author. I want to tell great stories that captivate and entertain my readers. What I have learned in this course is that everything I write needs to be in the same way. Every time I write a blog post, Facebook post, or Instagram post, I am telling a story. I am communicating who I am, and what I am all about. Communicating with my own authentic voice in a way that captivates my reader is the ultimate goal for me

COM0014– Blog #6 – Do People Know Your Story?

 

witchPhoto by me (a fan)

                 This blog assignment made me think about why I want to be a writer.  Writing is hard.  It isn’t lucrative.  I can’t quit my day job.  It takes time from other things. It is sometimes frustrating.  So what makes me want to continue with this craziness?  It goes back to my first published novel.  Don’t get too excited.  It was not as exciting as it sounds. I went with a small publishing company.  Long story short.  The company went under and there went my dreams of being the next JK Rowling.  Yet, the interesting part lies in how I came to write that story.  That is the real story. 

                My daughter was about 9 years old and struggling with reading.  She hated it.  I couldn’t wrap my head around that.  I loved to read.  I read everything I could get my hands on as a child.  I lived in the library.  I tried everything to help my daughter see books the way I did.  Nothing worked.  Finally, I decided to write something myself and get her to edit it.  I told her she could pick out all my mistakes.  A chance for her to criticize me.  She loved the idea.  So I started a story based around my own childhood and my imaginary friend.  The main character was a young witch.  Her imaginary friend was actually her guardian.  A metaphysical, magical being that lived in her amulet and helped her when needed. My daughter became mesmerized by the story.  She begged me to write more.  She even forgot about my mistakes. So The Witch Guardian was born.  That feeling of having my child so mesmerized by my own story, was magic all in itself.  There is no greater feeling for an author than to have someone love what you wrote.  That is why I continue down this path.  If I can help one child love reading as much as I do, it will be worth it. 

                So no matter what happens with my writing, I will continue to create the stories that I love to tell.  Hopefully, with hard work and perseverance, I will again publish another book.  And who knows, that elusive best seller isn’t such a far off dream.  I write because I love it. I have a story to tell.

                  So how about you? What is your story? Why do you do what you do?

COM0014- Blog Post #5 – The Many Faces of Me

I am what some would call…a functional introvert. It sounds kind of funny when you think about it. Most people would describe me as Strong, Dominant, Confident, Personable, Easy Listener, Empathetic and comfortable in my own skin. These are all true. But I am also an introvert. I find being around people exhausting. Most people don’t know this. They see what I want them to see. This is what makes it easy to do my job. I am able to blend into any role. I am a Mother, Writer, Manager, Cat Lover, Gun enthusiast, Tough Mudder Runner, Scrapbooker, Sewer, and a whole bunch of other things. I like people, and parties and other things that require social interaction. I am most comfortable with small groups and enjoy intimate things like dinner and movies. Being an introvert doesn’t mean I hate people. It means I find social situations exhausting and when I need to recharge, I prefer to be alone. Writing is perfect for me. I love immersing myself in a story and letting it take me wherever the magic takes me. I am more comfortable with books than people.

What makes me different?

Writing is my passion. I write because I have a story to tell. I don’t write to make me rich. I also work very hard at whatever task I undertake. That is what makes me stand out in my field. I work in Corrections. It is a tough job. I am good at it. I have a very empathetic nature, but I am also very fair and tough. I am also a Classic Type A Overachiever Personality. I get bored easily. Which means I take on new roles all the time. This makes me versatile in my field. It has enabled me to learn and grow.

What have you done to make yourself stand out?

I am in the middle of completing my Social Media Certificate at Algonquin College. I am looking to make the next step in my career. I want to work in Ottawa. I am also taking French classes at St. Lawrence College. I am also working with an Editor on my latest book.

What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

My colleagues say I am Hardworking and Reliable. I can live with that. I have a strong work ethic and expect others to be the same.

What about you? What makes you different from others in your field? Any Personality Traits that stand out or Contrast?

COM0014 – Blog Post #4 – Sephora has it!

Picture by Murdock2013 | Dreamstime.com

I have to say I love how Sephora does business. They have the Business to Consumer model wrapped up in a nice bow. I am not one to spend oodles of money on cosmetics, but I will spend on something that lives up to the name. Sephora’s current social media slogan, Let’s Beauty Together has had great success. It is an amazing business model. This article by Forbes explains how they are changing their social media strategies. Sephora has adopted a two-way communication with their consumers. This allows the consumer a voice like never before. It is increasing their customer loyalty in a huge way.

When you log onto Sephora’s website, the first thing they do is ask you to fill out a profile on their Beauty Insider. They then tailor their products for you. You are not bombarded with product information you don’t want. Once you do this, they send you email updates with products that may interest you. Sephora is all about pleasing their customers. You can walk in the store at any time and walk out with a bunch of samples without paying for anything. Their products sell themselves because you can try before you buy.

Check out this article, How to get the Most Out of your Sephora Experience: By a Sephora Employee. It has everything you need to get the most out of Sephora. It shows exactly how much Sephora is in this business to please the customer. This company has the Business to Consumer model down to an art. I recently had a great experience with the company. I didn’t pick up my birthday package, however my daughter mentioned it had a good moisturizer in it. I went to the store a month after my birthday and asked about the product. It was an $85 bottle of moisturizer. They gave me the free mini sample to try before making the decision to buy the full product. No questions asked. That is excellent customer service.

Sephora is active on many social media sights: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn. Sephora uses social media to connect with their customers. It helps to maintain a good relationship with them. Sephora recently started an e-gift card campaign. It allows them to reward loyal customers with e-gift cards through their social media applications. See the details here. Sephora has maximized their social media engagement. They now make it easier for the consumer to share their experiences in real time. They can immediately fix any issues they might have.

What about you? Do you have any experiences with Sephora that you want to share?

 

COM0014- Blog #3 – Who is my Audience?

belleGif courtesy of rebloggy.com

I am a Young Adult fantasy writer. What exactly does that mean? Rachel Scheller, from Readers Digest, wrote this amazing article. It outlines what it means to write for a Young Adult audience. She says, “There is something crucial that I want you to remember about YA, and that’s the all consuming nature of being a teenager. It’s that sense of possibility.”

I write fantasy stories with fantasy elements that also contain a teenage protagonist.  My stories all contain witches, ghosts, demons, and any other magical type elements. It would make sense then, that my target audience are readers between the ages of 12-18. Young people, who enjoy fantasy and paranormal fiction. Publishers Weekly identifies in this article,  that more than half of the readers of YA, are adults. The largest segment is between 30-44 years old. That is important to keep in mind when targeting my audience. I also read YA, and not because I write in that category. I love the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, and the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, to name a few of my favorites.

So how do I reach such a diverse group of readers? The most obvious place is social media. Teens and Young Adults are following SnapChat, Instagram, and YouTube. Adults use Facebook and twitter. My biggest networking group would be bloggers who read/review Young Adult Fantasy. The followers of these blogs are also reading the books that they are all discussing. This seems like a great place to start. These bloggers also reach out to their reader’s social media sights. Sounds like a win-win to me.

As sited in the lesson plan, there are other methods for reaching the target audience group. Apps like Google trends, Facebook groups and pages are available with ease. These all help identify what my readers are looking for when searching for a book. I randomly typed into google, “What do young adults want to read now?” Cyndy Etler wrote the first article that came up.  She is an English teacher who writes about what she learns from her own teenage students. They tell her what they want to read. It doesn’t get any clearer than that!

So what about you? What do you like to read? Any interest in Young Adult?

COM0014 – Blog Post #2 : I Have an Amazing Story to Tell!

Look At Me Hello GIF by kate spade new york

I am passionate about writing. I want to write the next, Game of Thrones, or Harry Potter. The problem is how do I start? What makes a good story that people want to hear? This week’s lesson focused on my problem. To quote the lesson plan, I want to “Inspire, motivate, captivate and entertain my audience.” So, while that elusive best seller is out of reach, I will focus on my blog posts. I will read, write, learn and do it all over again until I reach my goal.

There are a few things in the lesson plan this week that resonate with me. Not only for this assignment, but for all my writing. The main point? Begin with the end in mind. I love this. It makes so much sense now. Social media is a fantastic tool to reach out to people. Blogging is new to me, and this one idea is so crucial. What do I want my audience to get out of my post? What do I want? Engagement. I want people to interact with me and get to know me as a person. I want comments, shares, interaction. Knowing this up front is a good way to understand how I am going to proceed.

The next thing I learned is the elusive passive voice vs active voice. Even while writing this post, my computer is yelling at me! I often write in the past tense, which has that troublesome effect of writing in the passive voice. It is usually the first thing I edit. Active voice makes the story more gripping to the reader. Lesson learned. Write, rewrite, edit, and proof read. Using a beta reader also helps to make sure you are creating your masterpiece as you intended.

The third tidbit of advice is the importance of Grammar, spelling and punctuation. Nothing annoys me more than an unedited book, article, post or anything that I am reading. It not only makes it hard to read, but it makes it look unprofessional. I try to put my piece away for a bit and come back to it later. A fresh set of eyes makes all the difference in proof reading your own work. Writing is easy. Writing well is hard. Writing compelling stories people want to read is demanding and difficult.  It is a gift, and worth all the effort it takes to achieve it.

So how about you? What is your struggle with writing? What stands out when you are reading?

COM0014 – Blog #1: Bring on Disney – Now this is a vacation!

 

Photo courtesy of gify.com

Everyone always talks about how fast your kids grow up.  Take it from an expert. (Mother of 4 girls)  Blink and they’re gone.


This past Oct, I  realized my girls would soon be heading to all corners of the world…well Ontario anyway.  My oldest was in her third year university at Queen’s. (Bragging rights) and the next was ready to head off to University of Ottawa. (Make way for the proud mom).  My younger two were in grades 10/7 respectively and seriously, I blinked and couldn’t figure out where the time went.  So, in my infinite wisdom, I planned one last family trip before my babies scattered to the wind.

Years ago, my husband and I would take the kids every year to Disney.  My older two have fond memories of this time, but the younger two, not so much. So…. Road trip!  Seriously,…we drove to Florida. (24 hrs in a van!)  But the ride was part of the fun and makes the trip much more affordable.  We also picked up a kid.  My oldest’s BF had never been to Disney and when we told him we were going…well the look on his face made me invite him along.  This was actually a good idea since he has a driver’s licence!  Ulterior motive? Maybe.  But he’s actually a good kid and we all like him a lot.  He fits in well with the group.  The son I never had, the big brother they never had.  It all worked out.

 

First up….Hollywood Studios

The thing I learned.  Take lots of snacks.  Disney is expensive!  I thought I packed enough food for the day and only planned to buy dinner.  We were staying from open to close to maximize the park and the limited time we were staying in Florida.  I ran out of food about noon! Luckily, Disney has lots of water fountains and we didn’t need to buy $5 water.  Food total for the day was about $200 American.   Yikes!  Oh and make sure you do the Tower of Terror! Amazing thrill ride.

 

 

Next up…Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom has a new area dedicated to the Movie Avatar.  Hint:  use your Disney fast past for this and book early…I mean like 6 months early not 2 weeks early.  The wait time without it was 2 hrs!  Luckily, I brought lots of snacks. Oh, make sure you do the Dinosaur ride!  It is probably the best ride in the whole Disney Park…I kid you not!

 

What I learned from this trip

Memories are precious. I wish I had of thought of this before now.  However, live and learn. I am already planning my next family vacation with just the two younger ones.  The other two can come of course. (And any add ons J)  But just because they may not be able to come, doesn’t mean I am going to forget making memories for the other two.  One more blink and they will be gone as well.

 

Here are a couple of links to help you plan your trip to Disney. click here, and here. Oh and don’t forget, Disney often offers discounts to Canadian residents at different times of the year.  Make sure you check out their website for dates and offers. I also found this wonderful in depth blog post for the economical Canadian traveller.

So what about you? What is your favorite vacation spot?  Any hints for making each trip memorable?

Fortnite: Battle Royale – What happened to good old games like Super Mario?

      

photos courtesy of giphy.com

Ok when you put them side by side, I can see the appeal of Fortnite. I’m not much of a gamer, but when I heard that Fortnite: Battle Royale was all the rage with all the kids,  I decided to check it out and do some research.  What I learned, is that anyone between the age of 8-18 knows what this game is, and what it’s all about.  Since I don’t fit in that demographic, I had no clue! Shocker!  Lol  I come from the Nintendo generation and never really got into fighting games.  But I do like games. So with an open mind, I gave it a shot and downloaded the game.

Keith Stewart, from the Guardian wrote a really neat post on it here, calling it “a bright, brash multiplayer shooter… It was released last year, and is now one of the biggest online games out there, drawing mounting concern from the mainstream media.”

The premise: 100 players drop out of a bus that’s hanging in the air (yup you read that correctly) and they fight till there is only one player left. Yikes! Can we say Hunger games anyone? I pictured gory, bloody, massive amounts of violence. I don’t want my kids playing this game! But again I decided to see for myself. I am an open minded person who does not prejudge. Well except when it comes to food. Beans! Blech! I digress…

Check out this YouTube trailer of the game…

 

What makes this a great game?

  • Its free
  • Bright graphics
  • Silly fun to watch and play
  • Can team up with other players
  • Always adds new stuff
  • cool dance moves
  • Anyone can play, not just for gamers. It is free for download on PC/Xbox/PlayStation/Smartphones and Switch.

The game looks to depict some really graphic violence, but it isn’t bloody and/or graphic.  Things blow up and you do die, so the concept is there, but it isn’t as graphic as some of the other games out there. I want to say sugar coated, brighter more colourful, less visually graphic, hunger games? Still sounds a bit alarming but it does come with an age rating of 13+, and when you consider the other games out there…well you should probably judge for yourself before letting your kids play.

My thoughts?

Meh, I’m not really into this type of game.  (I prefer Super Mario!)  It is a little technical and fast paced.  You have to find stuff to build a fort, and find weapons to fight with, all the while trying not to get shot at or blown up or anything else dramatic. I can see why it has an appeal for young players. The graphics are pretty cool and I did like watching others play. If you are interested in playing, I did find some cool hacks and tips for the slower (*wink- older) folks for keeping up with the kidlets.

 

What about you?  Have you played this game?  Did/do you like it? Any other games that you would recommend to us (*cough) older folks?

 Fortnite: Battle Royale…a game for the young or at least young at heart. https://wp.me/p3QRy0-jWS

 Fortnite: Battle Royale. A Jump, build, shoot, don’t die game! https://wp.me/p3QRy0-jWS

 

 

Do it yourself….Well Everything!

 

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Photo by animated graphics.com

The one thing I love about the internet and social media these days is how much DIY stuff there is available. DIY has been around for a long time, but it seems like it only really took off in the last decade or so. It is very empowering.  I mean you can practically google anything and figure out how to make it, bake it, fix it, whatever you want it! I recently had to replace a broken thermostat and I hate dealing with electricity (freaks me out!) but I googled it and wham…I installed a brand new thermostat all by myself!  🙂  And yes it really works! lol

Now I am also a sucker for DIY crafts, especially this time of year when Halloween is just around the corner.  Halloween is my all time favorite holiday. It practically throws up on my lawn every year…

Photo by me (Halloween 2017)

So…this year, I wanted to try some new things…you know, in with the new, out with the old.  So I searched the internet and found a tonne of DIY Halloween décor sights!  Scary outside, cool indoor ideas and lots and lots of other ideas.  There are simply too many to put on this blog!

Pinterest is the most amazing website for all kinds of things.  Social Media meets DIY in a most amazing, crazy, awesome and extremely creative way.  I love this site. Pinterest of course also has some really cool DIY ideas for Halloween and pretty much anything Yay!  🙂

So with my frantic search of the internet for some creative outdoor Halloween decorations this year, this is what my DIY creative looking found.  The winner is….

   Idea found on Tumbler

And my other winner to make it not quite so freakish for the kids!

Idea found on Sunset

So I am all set for Halloween decorating.  I can’t wait to get started.  What about you? Any crazy DIY ideas to help me out?  Any DIY stories that you would like to share?

Do It Yourself Halloween and more https://wp.me/p3QRy0

 

Crazy DIY Halloween ideas https://wp.me/p3QRy0

 

Update! …..  Halloween 2018 photos.

  

photos by me

Happy Halloween Everyone!

To Online Date or Not to Online Date…That is the question!

 

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Photo from Collegetimes.com

In todays dating world, on-line dating had become the norm.  Gone, it seems are the days of meeting someone at a bar, church, friends party etc.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, however but with all the dating websites out there how do you choose?

Well, I asked my 20 yr old daughter and her friends and they came up with a list of what is popular with millennials.  *I’m a little too old for dating websites…not to mention my BF wouldn’t appreciate the on-line research required 😉 

  •       Plenty of fish
  •    Bumble
  •      Tinder
  •     OkCupid

And the winner is…..Bumble!  

       

Photos courtesy of Jenn (used with permission)

  Why? Let’s review the positives about that site that push it over the edge of success…

1.      It has photo verification technology.  No more catfishing! How the tech works

2.      Girls make the first move. Remember the days of waiting for a guy to ask you out?  Well that’s not how Bumble works.  Bumble is empowering women to reach out (if they want) and approach the guy with a clever catch line.

3.      The men on Bumble make the effort to actually go on dates and not just get in your pants.  Tinder is more for hookups. (*as cited in an interview with Jen) 

4.      It’s not just about dating.  Bumble is an all encompassing app for dating, friend finding and career building in a single platform.

5.      Bumble is also for same sex connections not just heterosexual relationships.  This is a step in forward thinking.   

Need to know more about Bumble? Click the link to go to their FAQ page and discover why other young women are finding this site a step above. Tell me more

Before I leave I wanted to share some success stories with people using Bumble. Please click on the link to see Bumble love 

So what about you? Any stories (good or bad) about on-line dating that you want to share?  Have you tried Bumble? Or now want to? 

 

  Top Dating Website for Millennials.   https://wp.me/p3QRy0-jQr

Get in on the #Bumble Action.  https://wp.me/p3QRy0-jQr