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Showing posts from 2012

New Year... New Mission - Self Publish Mental Pause!

What a wonderful day yesterday with family gathered together reminiscing about 2012 and talking about what's in store for 2013.  The next generation of my family are just the type of young adults who are going to change the world!  Really... I'm not biased... they're brilliant!  Okay, maybe just a little but I'm allowed to be a proud auntie, especially since I don't have children of my own.

Anyway... During the past year, I had some great projects to work on, including assisting in the launch of the corporate division of 'embers of the world' as well as working with the Dubai office of DBM as they merged with Lee Hecht Harrison (as of January they will be LHH Gulf).

I also started on my journey to find an agent for my for my first novel, Mental Pause and it's been a year now.  I've had a little interest, many asking for the first few chapters and one NY agent who actually asked to see the full manuscript... three months ago.  My follow up seems to …

Basic Business Writing to Capture an Audience

With the explosion of online content development driven by the evolution of social media, I thought it was time to talk about back to basics business writing to capture and engage an audience.   I wrote this article a while back for Suite101 and thought it was timely to resurrect it...

With the rapid fire communications coming at consumers, information is being weeded through and tossed out at a great rate.What makes them stop and read?
 Brilliant Business Writing

In the book Brilliant Business Writing-How to Inspire, Engage and Persuade through Words, author Neil Taylor says that good business writing should be clear and concise but can be livened up by adding stories, rhythm and the odd metaphor.These are the elements that bring business writing from good to brilliant, says Taylor and will increase the likelihood that the purpose of the communication (to help, inform or influence) will be met.
The challenge in the information age is to cut through the noise and actually reach and engage…

Relevant Socializing in Your Social Media

I spent a long time yesterday writing a comment in a LinkedIn discussion on a social media marketing group that I thought I would share here.  The group facilitator had invited members to post all their links but included a long list of guidelines on what to do and what not to do...  to make it a more useful discussion rather than a dumping ground.  I thought I would share it here because I think, in their desperation to 'connect' and be 'liked' so many people are totally missing the point...

Here's the comment I wrote:

I'm sad to say that even though you (the facilitator) painstakingly outlined the guidelines for this discussion I have already been bombarded in my LinkedIn inbox.

I will simply delete those messages and continue merrily on my way.

I would like to thank everyone who has begun following all my social media but would like to plead with those who are blindly following, liking and connecting with everyone on this string, to please use a little…

Eating My Way Through Singapore

I thought I would do something a little different since I've been a little derelict in my blogging duties lately.  It's still in keeping with my mission to write about writing in that, I find that the pure act of exploring a strange (to me) Asian city on the hunt for the best street vendor, flogging the most compelling local dish, gives me so much experiential fodder to draw from when describing any sense in my writing - sight, sound, smell, taste (and even touch when attempting to successfully wield the series of utensils presented to us).  I attentively watch the locals who surround us and try to mimic their motions as they make it look so effortless and never end up with the spicey juices flowing down their chins, which is fortunate for them as there often seems to be a serious lack of materials with which to mop the drips from one's face!

So, here is a pictorial meander through the flavors of Singapore from a recent trip I took with my husband.  I threw in a few visual …

Managing Your Online Reputation

I wrote this originally for Suite101 on August 2, 2010 but I think it's so important that it deserves to be re-posted. It's amazing to me how many people just don't realize (or care) the damage they can do to themselves by not 'minding their Ps & Qs" as my mom always said,  So, with my permission (and as per the copyright of the piece which allows me to repost any of my work from Suite101 one year following the original post) here are some thoughts on protecting yourself while taking advantage of the awesome power of Social Media!

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Organizations and individuals in the past benefited from years of experience, a certain level of maturity and often a paid professional to guide them through the intricacies of creating and maintaining a positive corporate or professional image.
With the explosion of social media, an individual’s online reputation now starts to be built at a very young age. Today’s generation has grown up online and these “digital nati…

Super Swe-e-e-e-e-t Award

I'm flattered to have received a Super Swe-e-e-e-t Award from Jeanette Anderson http://jeanettesandersen.blogspot.com/ on September 20 (sorry for the delay in getting this up Jeanette but it is greatly appreciated)!  Her mission is to make people laugh, cry, shout, smile, frown and just enjoy reading so check out her blog and see if it works!

The Guidelines:

So, once I accept this award, the guidelines state that:

First:  I must thank the person who nominated me... of course, that's the proper thing to do! Thanks Jeanette!

Second: Answer the Super Sweet Questions (that follow below).

Third: Nominate a baker's dozen (13) to receive this award (if you can't find 13 that's okay... just find as many as you can).

“Super Sweet” Questions:

1. Cookies or Cake?   Cookies. Especially my mother-in-law's special oatmeal cookies!  Even tastier when eaten at the cottage.

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?    Vanilla, with lots of fresh berries.

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?   I really…

Back to ‘Normal’ Routine

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When you make a habit of straddling two countries sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly what is ‘normal’.Yesterday, as I sat on my balcony with my coffee and checked my emails I realized I was slowly getting back to ‘Thai normal’ after our summer in Canada.No, the jet lag hasn’t completely gone away as I’m only into the fifth day of what is going to be an 11 day recovery process for me according to all the literature on how long it takes…. one day for every hour of time zone change… but we’re getting there.
As much as I’m an adventurer and love to travel, I also relish my routine and when it’s out of whack for any length of time, I go through a sort of withdrawal.I'm now back at my desk, with my coffee and picture of my loving husband to my right and my trusty muse Zorro either to the left of me snoozing away on his ‘half’ of my desk or directly behind me so I have to pause to look around before I push my chair back.
Also to my right is the stack of notes and To Do’s fo…

Seeking a Literary Agent… Is There a Needle in that Haystack?

Several months ago I started to query literary agents for my first novel, which I wrote last year during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).At the time, I considered writing the odd blog to keep everyone updated on the progress… does the term wading through cold molasses mean anything to you?
Rejection hurts! Well, due to a variety of assorted reasons (excuses), the plan to write a series on agent querying ground to a halt after the first five polite rejections.It really doesn’t matter how polite the rejection is, or how stoic you’ve received them at the time, it still stings.Even though I kept reading on all my writer/author forums that so many very famous authors were passed over hundreds of times before a publishing company picked them up, I still didn’t want to publicly share my humiliation.
Then I realized how cathartic it would be to share with people who care or who have been through the process before and can reassure me that it’ll be worth it in the end.
Playing the Agent …

Is Your Website Content Dynamic or Docile?

This blog is re-posted here with permission from Roger Hicks (fellow Leadership Broward alum, Class XVII), client services director from Electrum Marketing.

Having a website that’s simply an electronic brochure is so 20th century.  With today’s technology, your website has the ability to be a high performing tool for business development, a valuable resource for your clients, and a means to engage the community.

Do you prominently feature current product or service promotions?
If you’re not promoting yourself, who will?  Place current promotions front and center on your home page.  Make them impossible to miss.

How often are you updating your content?
It is important to update regularly since fresh content not only helps in search engine rankings, but it keeps customers coming back to see what’s new.  When’s the last time your site was updated?  If you had to think about it, it’s been too long.

Does your content help your search rankings?
 In 2012, an estimat…

Watch What you Say on Social Media… You Never Know who’s Lurking!

I’ve had several people lately tell me that they don’t do much with their Facebook profile but that they’ve set it up just to see what people are up to. It’s what you would call ‘lurking’ and it’s fine when you imagine it to be family, friends and close colleagues but it’s a bit creepy when you think about the potential ripple effect.

It’s a well-known fact that there are people out there who use social media for nefarious purposes, like stalking you online (a friend of mine was just freaked out by a guy she had ‘met’ online only a week ago who was proposing marriage and sending rather shocking pictures of himself).

I’ve always been a proponent of not putting anything ‘out there’ on any social media you may be using whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest (which I haven’t truly tried yet but it’s on the To Do list), that you wouldn’t want to wind up in the news headlines tomorrow.
This goes double if you’re using social media for professional purposes (by…

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Artists Inspire Artists
 I was at my brother's piano recital yesterday and had a very interesting conversation with his 92 year old piano teacher and one of her students.  The student, who was an artist and had only started learning to play the piano, was talking about how she used sound to teach painting.  A long stroke was a 'shoosh' and making short, staccato brush movements went 'bup, bup, bup'.  I smiled and thought about how all creative types overlapped, embracing all elements of culture to enrich one's specific area of skill and passion.  A sculptor or painter often creates to music and, as a writer, I definitely pull from my cultural experiences, whether it's a symphony or an art gallery, to help formulate descriptions of feelings and senses to lay out on a printed page.

Nature Inspires
Creative types see the world around them just a bit differently, which leads to the creation of books, paintings, music scores and movies and a litany of other sour…

Pinterest Skeptic Turned Convert

Yesterday I decided I would participate in a webinar on Pinterest.  I have to admit, before yesterday I didn’t get it, didn’t want to and had enough on my plate, actually several spinning plates, that I didn’t need to add one more social media platform to my already crowded set of dinnerware. 
Really… who wants to see a mish mash of photos of someone else’s favourite products?  I went for a walk just before it started and didn’t rush because I was still averse to the idea of being part of the herd.  What a bunch of lemmings, I thought.  But, I couldn’t ignore that it had quickly entered the top three most used social media platforms and as a professional communicator, I could no longer resist.  So, I signed up for Melanie Duncan’s ‘How to use Pinterest for your Business to get Traffic and Customers,” hosted by Carl White of Social Marketing Animals.
I was late, but fortunately there were still spaces (it was being capped off at 1,000 participants).  Melanie’s infectious enthusiasm drew…

Do Not Touch

As I’ve been combing the streets of Paris I’ve been keeping all my senses at attention, as every good writer should.  Except, there's one missing… touch.  It’s interesting as I evaluate my experiences I realize I’m very good at seeing, smelling, tasting and hearing but I always forget to include the tactile experience (unless I come across an animal that needs patting).  I guess that’s a good thing in the city I am currently exploring since everywhere we go (I’m referring to the dozens of museums we’ve visited) there are signs that say “Ne Touchez Pas!”  It’s okay, really, since the sites, sounds and smells of Paris are spectacular enough.  

Absorbing Aromas and Art
Yesterday, I commented to my mother-in-law, with whom I’m traveling, that we’ve savored crepes in the gardens at Versailles, sipped wine on the Left Bank and swilled beer in a pub on the Grand Boulevard.  So, we had taste totally covered.  Any time I'm writing about eating in the future, I'll have loads of memori…

Keeping up with the Penguins and Pixels

One day a farmer, a panda and a penguin walk into a bar... Well, you know where this is going don't you?  It's no joke.  Things have changed - again.  The pixel size on your new Facebook timeline is having an identity crisis and the Google algorithm has gone north to catch webmasters practicing the dark art of Black Hat SEO and also target over optimization or web spamming.  The challenge has become to guess how they identify spam because there seems to be some differences of opinion between Google and the SEO experts. 


Changes in Social Media?  Of course!

I've finally resigned myself to getting used to it.  The only sure thing in life these days are death and changes in your favorite social media platform.  I really don't get why so many people keep resisting.  If you stand still and let moss grow in and around your feet you inevitably get left behind.  It's all about fresh and new and the smart folks are capitalizing on it by becoming experts like my Faceb…

The Very Small Expat World

Part of who I am includes a deep-seeded passion for giving back. It started when I was nine years old and did a craft sale with my best friend from which we gave the proceeds to Rainbow Haven a summer camp for poor kids. That passion has followed me through life and I really don’t feel complete unless I’ve got a volunteer gig underway. When I was in Dubai I started the local volunteer chapter of Room to Read with a fellow Canadian I had met at the American Women’s Association (no, there wasn’t a Canadian Women’s Association).

Naturally, after the dust settled following our move to Thailand, I set about finding the charity I would embrace as my own. After a quick Internet search I found the Phuket has Been Good to Us Foundation that does English language programs for children at a government school not far from where I live. The program started initially to serve orphans of the Tsunami but has expanded to include all students at two schools. I looked to see if any of the principa…

Book review: Laptop Entrepreneur by Nick Snelling and Graham Hunt

This book is such an amazing resource for anyone who works from home and uses the internet for marketing their business, or anyone who is contemplating doing so.  I've been working freelance for almost 5 years now (after almost 20 years in PR) and I started underlining and making notes in the margin on the first page!

Each page is chock full of advice and links to online resources and there are case studies at the end of each chapter of people who are not only making it happen but to a huge level of success.  I suggest you read this while sitting at your laptop so you can test things out as you go.

When researching how to make money on the internet the authors say themselves that "it's easy to drown in the shear quantity of this information." But, they chunk it up into digestable bits so you can just take it one chapter at a time and decide your next best step.  They outline loads of options and every one is not right for every "Laptop Entrepreneur".  Howev…

The Press Release - Meat and Potatoes

Lately I've been writing more about my new book (@Home in Dubai) and what's happening in the world around me in my new life in Thailand. I thought I would throw a business-type blog in as I myself am back to the 'main course' of what I do...writing copy for clients.

The Press Release
It doesn't matter how many new media crop up, the good 'old fashioned' press release (the meat and potatoes of PR) always seems to have a place.  It's the central tool that's used to share 'news' with any audience through the conveyers of information whether it's a blog, newspaper, magazine, television, radio or ezine.  Of course, there's always the pitch letter too but that's another blog!

Optimizing Releases
Of course, technology has hugely improved the possibilities for reach way beyond what the old 'pop in the mail paper press release' of a previous era did.  Then you had to rely on it reaching the right person and having a gripping enough …

10 Things Expats Get Used to

Living in a foreign country brings a litany of adventure and excitement, challenges, frustrations, elation and sometimes just downright weirdness!  After a while, for the veteran expat, the unusual becomes commonplace.
This thought occurred to me the other day while I waited at the Thai Department of Land Transport to take my driving test for the second time (driving on the left hand side of the road sitting in a right-hand drive car…So, what’s the big deal, my British friends would ask, right?). It did take a few tries but you’ve got to cut me some slack. It’s been 30 years since I’ve had to do a driving test so it sort of caught me by surprise.  After spending two full days at the licensing place in Phuket Town (getting there was a feat in itself) I finally walked away with both car and motorbike driving licenses in hand (or should I say ‘drove away’ on my Honda Click…finally legal to drive it)!  It was high-fives and smiles all around for the ‘farang’ (me…the expat or foreigner) as …