Book Review of Dr. Who: The Drosten’s Curse by A. L. Kennedy

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Drosten’s Curse is one of a series of books written about the Doctor Who British television series. The Doctor has been entertaining audiences on both sides of the pond for a long time. For those who don’t know, the show revolves around the adventures of a Time Lord only referred to as The Doctor. He travels the universe in his space ship/time machine called the Tardis that looks like an old fashioned police call box. He tends to like company and picks up plucky female human platonic companions along the way to share his adventures. (No sex please, we’re British.)

Early on, to solve the problem of an actor playing Doctor Who leaving the show, the writers devised a creative solution. The Doctor became a kind of immortal. If mortally wounded, he doesn’t actually die, but instead conveniently transforms his old body into the new actor. I know, it’s dumb, but it’s science fiction, so just go with it. This book details a new adventure of one of The Doctor’s from the 1970’s played by Tom Baker. There are generally two types of Doctor’s; grumpy and slightly mad. Tom Baker was one of the best of the slightly mad.

The Drosten’s Curse attempts to recreate the feel of a Baker episode, and to a large extent it succeeds. The action takes place in the British countryside in 1978 at the Fetch Brothers Golf Resort and Spa. People are mysteriously disappearing. The owner, an old woman named Julia Fetch, has an unnatural obsession with octopi and two unusual grandchildren who may not be as human as they seem. Why, what this story needs is a plucky heroine. Fortunately, she comes along in the form of Bryony Mailer, just the sort of person to help The Doctor discover what horror hides under the links.

Books like these are really no more than elevated fan fiction. As such, they should be as well-written as the original with an engaging story and interesting characters. The author does well with that. Her recreation of the Tom Baker Doctor Who captures much of the appealing lunacy of the original and the plucky heroine is, well, suitably plucky. The story has a nice couple of twists and fits The Doctor Who mold well.

The major problem with the book is dithering. Doctor Who television episodes are about an hour long and proceed at a brisk pace. The action is naturally condensed, but is usually meant to span less than a day. The TV writing is brisk, intelligent, with a certain amount of cheek. Much of that is seen in The Drosten’s Curse, but the dithering gets in the way. Yow, it drips from every page and every character. On television, you only have an hour to get your point across. Dithering is kept to a necessary minimum. Here, paragraphs are spent in characters wondering if they should do this, or that, or the other, or maybe something entirely different. Sheesh. Just get a move on, already.  Dithering constantly interrupts the flow of the plot and is a major annoyance. The book is 361 pages long. Take out the dithering and you’d have a tightly written 200 page story more reminiscent of the fun of the TV show.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

Facebook Party Today Only: Chat with Authors and Win Prizes

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday, August 25
11 am to 9 pm Eastern Time Only!

An all-day Facebook Party to celebrate twelve novels being re-released under the Amazon Encore online with the authors, learn about their books, and win loads of prizes!

Join the Party! Encore Facebook Party

Release Day Sale for Second Chance City by L. A. Kelley

Friday, August 7, 2015

Publisher's New Release Sale for Second Chance City by L. A. Kelley

Only $2.50 at Wild Rose Press on August, 7, 8, 9
Regular price $4.99 at Amazon

Comic books can be the death of you.

Officer Nate Hammond had no regrets staying in his hometown of Coldwater Bay. He had a good life and a promising future with the police department. Then a chance meeting with a girl from his past drags him into an extraordinary adventure.

Elizabeth Parish had a plan than never included a return to Coldwater Bay. Small town life held nothing but bittersweet memories of an unhappy home, yet why was she possessed by the strange obsession to return? Did it have something to do with that mysterious comic book or its equally secretive author? Or could the real reason be the boy she left many years ago?

Sucked into a deadly comic book universe Nate and Libby find themselves in Second Chance City, home of Refractor and a league of murderous adversaries. Can a knowledge of comic books, a half-hearted super-hero, misunderstood villains, science gone horribly awry, and a magical flashlight help them find a way home or will their second chance at happily-ever-after only end in in death? 

The building was silent with the exception of a faint hum now emanating from the glow in the corner. Nate moved cautiously forward, shining the flashlight. “Debolt?” No one answered. “We’ll check the rest of the store…Libby?”
Libby had stepped from his side, her attention drawn elsewhere. She stood in front of the display stand filled with comic books. Her respiration sharply increased. “What is that?” she said. The eerie glow came directly from one of the books.
            Nate’s gaze widened. “I’ve no idea.” The glow began to fluctuate, pulsing with a bright green neon light.
            Libby squinted at the glare. She leaned in as if striving to discern the cover. “It’s the latest Refractor issue. Why is it doing that?” On and off, on and off, the hypnotic beat flashed.
            The light was oddly attractive. “It’s not some marketing gimmick?” Nate said.
“No way,” insisted Libby. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The tempo of the pulses increased, so did the hum. A little voice in Nate’s head bleated a warning. This isn’t normalYou should do something…do something…do something. His thoughts muddled with the incessant flash. The hand which had been resting on the gun, dropped to his side.
 Libby clutched the pencil light to her chest. As if drawn by an irresistible impulse, the other hand reached for the Refractor comic.
            Nate’s confusion vanished, shoved aside by a powerful protective urge. “Libby, don’t! It might be dangerous.” He grabbed her arm at the same time she touched the comic. For an instant, the world turned to green light.

Then total blackness enveloped them.

Buy Links
(sale price $2.50 until August 9): Wild Rose Press
(regular price $4.99): Amazon

Book Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Zach Lightman is a dreamer. He has no plans for the future other than to get through the last few months of high school and graduate. The teenager lives a lackluster life of dull routine, hoping for an indescribable something to give his life meaning.  Then one day he sees a spaceship outside his classroom window. Next thing you know Zach is recruited by a mysterious global organization to protect Earth from an alien invasion. World governments have been secretly training soldiers by the use of video games that mimic actual battlefield technology. One of the games is called Armada, and Zach just happens to be a top player.

Armada starts out surprisingly slow, the action doesn’t ramp up until the last two thirds of the novel. Meanwhile, the story is crammed with cultural references and video-game speak. If you don’t like sci-fy or have at least a passing interest in gaming then this book will bore you to tears. For those of us who’ve frittered away too many hours watching cheesy TV or playing video games the book also has few surprises. The plot will feel eerily familiar as if different parts of sci-fy venues had been strung together. As I read, I mentally connected plot points from old favorite books, TV, and movies. Yup, this theme comes from Star Wars...this twist comes from a Stargate episode...this is Star Trek...this is The Last Starfighter. It was actually kind of fun tying all the pieces together. That’s not to say the book is completely derivative or a total waste of time. It has the same appeal as summer superhero movies. You already know what’s coming, but you buy the ticket and order extra butter on the popcorn anyway.

The weakest part of the book is the characterization. You’ve met all these types before in dozens of different books and shows. Everyone has a role to play and doesn’t deviate; the misunderstood hero, the gamer dudes, the hacker chick who is (guess what?) beautiful, tattooed, snarky and drops the f bomb at every opportunity. Wow, I’ve never seen any of them before. No, wait, that’s my inner snarky hacker chick speaking. Yeah, unfortunately I’ve met them all before and they’re not any more interesting the hundredth time around.

Anyone who is a fan of the sci-fy genre can see the ending coming for the entire final third of the book. For that point alone, I didn’t find it particularly satisfying. It’s also pretty obvious who will live and who will die. The conclusion hints at a sequel. Again, no surprise. So does every other summer blockbuster.

Is this a terrible book?  No, but it isn’t terrific, either. It falls somewhere in between. A pleasant way to waste a few hours, but not interesting enough to look forward to more of Zach Lightman’s adventures.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

99 Cent Sale for Love's Battle by Angela Hayes

Friday, July 17, 2015

If love isn't worth fighting for, what is?

Love's Battle is on sale for 99 cents July 17-July 31

Love Howard has more than a knack for matchmaking. Born from a forbidden passion and a twelve-hundred-year-old promise, she and her sisters can literally see true love. And while Love has no problem bringing other couples together, her own romantic life could use a little help.

Danton DeAngelo has always been well grounded in reality. So it throws him for no small loop when the woman he’s fallen for believes that she’s been reincarnated eleven times and can actually see true love.

Now Danton is faced with the biggest decision of his life. Accept Love for who she really is, or walk away from her forever.

Title: Love's Battle 
Genres: Time Travel, Paranormal, Fantasy 
Rating: Sensual (PG13) 
Page Count: 310

             The hand Love pressed to her brow was visibly shaking. “There’s something I need to tell you. I just need you to keep an open mind.”
            “What is it? Are you sick?” Danton asked.
            “No, I’m not sick.” Her voice trembled on a forced laugh. “It’s something else. Something I‘ve been trying to prepare you for. This would be so much easier if you believed in magic. If you could believe that what I’m about to tell you is the honest truth.”
            Turning, Love opened the iron chest, the hinges groaning with the effort as specks of rust littered the floor. From its depths she pulled out a clear plastic bag that she held tight to her chest, eyes closed, before handing it to a confused Danton.
            “This is my tartan, my plaid. Before it faded and was dinner for the moths, it was once patterned in checks of green, gray, and brown. The purple and white stripes that ran through the hem identified the wearer as part of the royal family.” Love tapped the plastic, her finger pointing out where each color should be. “It was a gift from my father. The first and only time my sister’s and I met him, he was on his deathbed, we were eighteen. A week later our mother died in the same moment he drew his last breath.” Needing the extra air Love drew a breath of her own. “That day was the thirteenth of February, eight-hundred and fifty-eight AD. My father was Cinaed mac Alpin, crowned king of the Picts and Gaels. He was Scotland’s first king.”
            “Eight- hundred and fifty-eight?” That couldn’t be right, she was only twenty-five. “Don’t you mean Nineteen-eighty-seven?”
            “No. I was born for the first time in Scotland during the middle of the ninth century.”

Buy links:

Book Trailer:   or embedded you tube link   :<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Author Bio:
A married mother of two, I split my time between bringing characters to life by computer, and yarn to life with needle and hook. You can find me at where I help connect readers and the author’s they love.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

Book Spotlight: Claire Fullerton talks writing Irish settings and her new release Dancing to an Irish Reel

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Truth in fiction?

I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. Now that my book, Dancing to an Irish Reel is out, I’m being asked the inevitable question, “How much of the story is true?” Everyone who knows me personally knows I picked up and moved to the west coast of Ireland without much of a plan, and that I stayed for a year. Add that to the fact that the book is written in the first person, that the narrator’s interior monologues in the story are unabashedly confessional to the point of unnecessary risk. I’ve been told the book reads like a memoir, and for that, I can only say I’m glad because this was my intention. I can see why readers might think the entire story is true. 

But writers make a choice in how to lay out a story, and in my case, I wrote the book based on the kind of books I like to read. I’m a one-trick pony kind of a reader. I want an intimate narrator’s voice with which I can connect. I want to know exactly whom I’m listening to so that I can align with a premise that makes the story’s swinging pendulum of cause and effect plausible. The way I see it, there are always bread crumbs along the path to the chaotic predicaments people find themselves in, and although many are blind to their own contributions, when I read a book, I want to be the one who divines how the character got there. 

What fascinates me about people are their backstories. Oh, people will tell you their highlights, alright, but they rarely reveal their churning cauldron of attendant emotions; they rarely confess to carrying acquired fears. We all want to appear bigger than our own confusion, and the key word here is “appear,” because when it comes to faces, most people like to save theirs. This is the point I wanted to make in the story, but I also wanted Dancing to an Irish Reel, to be about discovery, so I started with a narrator who is a fish out of water: a twenty-five year old American ensconced in a specific culture she uncovers like the dance of seven veils. In the midst of this there enters an Irish traditional musician named Liam Hennessey. He is from the region, of the region, and therefore it can only be said he is because of the region in a way that is emblematic. From a writer’s point of view, the supposition offers the gift of built-in conflict, most poignantly being the clash of the male-female dynamic set upon the stage of differing cultures trying to find a bridge. And I can think of no better culture clash than America and Ireland. I say this because I happen to know to the Irish, we Americans are a bit brazen, we have the annoying habit of being direct. But the Irish are a discreet lot, culled from a set of delicate social manners that seem to dance around everything, leaving an American such as I with much guesswork.

No matter how they shake it, writers write about what they know, even if it has to be extracted from varying quadrants that have no good reason for being congealed. Dancing to an Irish Reel is a good example of this: it came to me as a strategy for commenting on the complexities of human beings inherent longing to connect—the way we do and say things that are at variance with how we really feel in the interest of appearances, and how this quandary sometimes dictates how we handle opportunities in life. In my opinion, there is no better playing field on which to illustrate this point than the arena of new found attraction. I’m convinced the ambiguity of new love is a universal experience, and since the universe is a big wide place, and since ‘”Dancing to an Irish Reel” has something to say about hope and fear and the uncertainty of attraction, it occurred to me that I might as well make my point set upon the verdant fields of Ireland because everything about the land fascinated me, and I wanted to take every reader that would have me to the region I experienced as cacophonous and proud: that mysterious, constant, quirky, soul-infused island that lays in the middle of the Atlantic, covered in a blanket of green, misty velvet.

(Blurb) On sabbatical from her job in the LA record business, Hailey takes a trip to Ireland for the vacation of a lifetime. What she finds is a job offer too good to turn down. Her new job comes with one major complication—Liam Hennessey. He’s a famous Irish musician whose entire live has revolved around performing. And Hailey falls in love with him. Although Liam’s not so sure love is in the cards for him, he’s not willing to push her away completely. And so begins Hailey’s journey to a colorful land that changes her life, unites her with friends more colorful than the Irish landscape, and gives her a chance at happiness she's never found before.

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton is the author of Paranormal Mystery, "A Portal in Time," set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (Vinspire Publishing) and "Dancing to an Irish Reel," Fiction, set in Connemara, Ireland, (Vinspire Publishing.) She is a three time award winning essayist, a former newspaper columnist, a contributor to magazines, and a four time contributor to the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series. Claire hails from Memphis,TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. Currently, Claire is writing her third novel, which is based on her award winning essay in the 2013 San Francisco Writer's Conference.

Book Review of Rain by Cynthia Barnett

Friday, July 10, 2015


Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett

I thought I knew rain. I’m not too proud to admit I cower in a corner during hurricanes. You try keeping your cool when screeching winds blow raindrops sideways from the sky. Seriously, sideways rain. I swear during Hurricane Ivan there were whitecaps in my toilet. Now, that’s rain.

However, storms are only a small part of rain’s mystique. Cynthia Barnett, an award winning environmental journalist, gives a fascinating account of rain’s cultural, historic, scientific, religious, and, yes, even musical effect on humankind. There’s a surprise on every page, beginning with the shape of a shower. Rain is not a conglomeration of droplets. Instead it falls like “tiny parachutes, their tops rounded because of air pressure from below.” Since there is no standard global measurement for rain, its description is often personal. That’s why it rains cats and dogs here, but “shoemakers’ apprentices in Denmark, chair legs in Greece, ropes in France, pipe stems in the Netherlands, and wheelbarrows in the Czech Republic.”

Barnett describes the important roles rain has played in such far flung topics as presidential elections, human evolution and fashion design. She even tackles the effect of a wet versus dry climate on spiritual development. Monotheistic religions were born in the arid climates of the Middle East while people of damp rainy lands worshiped many gods. In the dry desert it made sense that a god could create something out of nothing. While in rain-soaked lands, where flora and fauna abounded, life was seen in a continuous circle of birth, death, and rebirth.

The best writers on nature and the environment weave words with a lyrical skill. Barnett is no exception. You will never hear a rainstorm the same way again after reading her description of a walk through the Hoh Rain Forest in western Washington State. “Drops strike a muffled plunk in the moss, a gentle splat on the muddy trail, a solid thwack against the mammoth logs and tree roots, a quiet pluck on fern fronds, and a louder snap when they hit the maple leaves scattered on the forest floor.” Nice, huh? Makes you want to ditch the umbrella.

Good science books are not dull and preachy recitation of facts. Barnett comes across with a cheeky sense of humor. (Global rain patterns are described as Mother Earth’s Bikini.) An entire chapter is even devoted to rain’s effect on entertainment; from the artistic use of rain wands in movies to the development of grunge rock. Could Kurt Cobain have written Nirvana’s angst-ridden songs in sunny Miami Beach? Would there have been any grunge rock at all if Seattle’s climate wasn’t so dreary. Barnett argues convincingly that rain “can create a mood and inspire a melody.”

This is a lovely book with an ecological lesson that falls as gently as a summer shower. Humans plow native grasses and settle in floodplains and expect rain to behave. Instead of craving mastery over the elements, it’s time we learned to live in harmony with them. I highly recommend this book for anyone. Save it for rainy day and you’ll never look at the sky the same way again.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

A Heavenly 99 Cent Sale for Heavenly Desire by J. L. Sheppard

Friday, July 3, 2015

Heavenly Desire by J. L. Sheppard
99 Cent Sale thru July 10th

Will he sacrifice his wings for a woman he loves but can never keep?

Clyde, an angel, battles the one thing he believes will lead to his fall from heaven—his new found emotions, forbidden among his kind. Nonetheless, the Angel Lords promise to promote him to warrior when he completes his last assignment—to find Jade. When he does, emotions he never knew possible arise. For the first time in two thousand years, he cursed his existence. Knowing she can never be his, will he sacrifice his wings for a woman he loves but can't keep?

He bent toward her, wrapped one arm around her waist, the other around her back, then buried his face in the crook of her neck and inhaled. Relishing the feel of her body melded against his, he forgot the worries consuming him. She soothed his ache with a mere touch, with a mere embrace.

Exactly what he’d wanted, exactly what he needed.

She then pressed her full lips against his cheek, kissing him lightly. An innocent kiss. There was no passion behind it, but an unconscious consuming need, one he’d never felt, swelled inside him—desire. It was exciting, overwhelming and terrifying, blocking logic and reason. All he wanted now was a single kiss. All he could think about was how her soft lips would feel pressed against his.

Marvelous, he concluded.

It was absurd to want what he did and feel what he felt, for he was an angel. Carnal desires even as insignificant as kisses were for others, for all others except his breed, and yet he felt it so deeply it seared him.

The desire that gripped him didn’t release him even after she unhooked her arms from around his neck, and the warmth of her body melted away. There he stood, immobile, battling the desire she’d sparked. He didn’t want to leave yet knew he had to before he’d acted out his longing.

He willed his body to move. Finally, he placed one foot behind the other, stepped back and strode away praying the yearning he had no right to feel for a woman who would never be his would soon subside.

Buy Links:

Author Bio:
J.L. Sheppard was born and raised in Miami, Florida where she still lives with her husband and son. As a child, her greatest aspiration was to become a writer. She read often, kept a journal and wrote countless poems. She attended Florida International University and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors in Communications. During her senior year, she interned at NBC Miami, WTVJ. Following the internship, she was hired and worked in the News Department for three years. It wasn’t until 2011 that she set her heart and mind into writing her first completed novel, Demon King’s Desire, which was published in January of 2013. Besides reading and writing, she enjoys traveling and spending quality time with family and friends.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

Guest Post: Time Warp Writing, Part 5:
Putting Away Childish Things
J. H. Bardwell

Monday, June 29, 2015

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

Our childhoods provide a rich tapestry of resources which we can weave into our fiction.  A child's perceptions are more unfiltered, their motivations are simpler, and their emotional ties more direct.  Strip your adult characters down to their core and you essentially have the template of a small child: what primal goals and dreams buoy them up and what primeval fears and horrors shackle them down?  Eventually, we must add nuance and subtlety and a job and romantic entanglements and we are no longer talking about children, but don't lose sight of the inner child.

We are not children anymore.  Sometimes that inner child gets buried under career decisions, tax paperwork, family concerns, and civic duties.  It is easy to put away your childhood as something irrelevant when you are snared in the trappings of adulthood.  And childhood is certainly not the only source of inspiration for fiction, but I would argue it is at the core of most of them.  Behind almost every super hero is an origin story of a wronged child overcoming adversity.  Behind almost every villain is a kid who was bossed, teased, or spent his time pulling the wings off flies.  Look behind the man or woman you see in the mirror today to the child who made you who you are.

Do not put the ways of childhood behind you.  Use them.  Delve into the myths and fairy tales.  Seek out old inspirations.  Dive deep for those forgotten memories.  Give free reign to your inner child and see where he (or she) takes you.    

Thank you for joining me on this fun journey these last few weeks.  I hope you've enjoyed reading my guest blogs as much as I've enjoyed writing them.  I'd like to thank The Book Cove for providing this opportunity to reach you.  If you've enjoyed these weekly prose snacks and hanker for a full course meal, I encourage you to check out my upcoming first novel, Appalachian Monster, a coming-of-age story set in the Appalachian Mountains.

Thanks for reading!

J. H. Bardwell

Monster Mug Contest

The first 50 people to purchase the novel Appalachian Monster, post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, sign up for my newsletter, and email me their address with a copy of the review will receive a free mug with a flattering picture of the adorable fanged, hairy "monster" featured in the novel.  Grrrrrowl--scary!

The contest begins July 4, 2015 at 8:00 am and ends July 31, 2015 or when I run out of mugs, whichever comes first.  The winners will be the first 50 emails sorted by email time stamp with confirmed reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.  Please feel free to post reviews on your blogs as well.  

Coming July 4: Appalachian Monster

Hungry for more?  Check out my new coming-of-age novel Appalachian Monster available for pre-order today and remember: this is a work of fiction.


Author Biography
J. H. Bardwell was born with stories in his heart and a pencil in his hand. To this day, he retains an odd black birthmark on his neck where he says the pencil poked him as they both left the womb. Raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the young man fled to see the rest of the country before the ink dried on his high school diploma.

Besides writing engrossing works of fiction, the author also enjoys aquaponics, making cheese, gardening, performing theater, and wrestling with hand tools. When not writing fiction or enjoying his hobbies, J. H. Bardwell works at a university where he teaches students to think critically and question everything. Then he teaches them to write. He keeps his degrees skinned and mounted on the back wall.

Blog Talk: New to the book blogging world? Here is what you need to know to get started

Friday, June 26, 2015

I'll generalize here and say that book bloggers start out one of two ways:
1. They have followed book blogs for a while and after some thought they decide that they want to give it a try
2. One day they (randomly) decide that they want a book blog

I fell into the second category. I didn't know that "book blogging" was a highly active subset of bloggers. I knew they existed because I'd happen upon their reviews every now and then. But I didn't realize all of the extra activities and such that a majority of book bloggers took part in, and I had no clue what a lot of the terminology floating around out there was. Google was my friend (as it is every day in life). Life's a lot easier when someone puts it all in one spot for you :-)

Some are self-explanatory, but since there are a variety of readers and bloggers from different backgrounds, I thought best to cover everything. 

Basic Lingo

DNF - A book that you did not finish. Typically used to describe a book that you didn't like rather than one you set aside for other reasons.

ARC - Advanced Readers Copy. A book that is available to reviewers but not yet available to the public.

Follow back - The act of following someone back on a specific site that they have followed you on.

Button swap - Bloggers can create an avatar (button) that is representative of them and then other bloggers can keep that button in their sidebar with a link to that site and vice versa. It's a way to promote each other's blogs.

Interactive Happenings

Meme - A weekly activity hosted by a blog(s) where you post on a certain topic. E.g., Top Ten Tuesday (list your top ten reads) and Waiting On Wednesday (talk about an upcoming release that you're excited about). For a very comprehensive list of memes visit Bookshelf Fantasies.

Challenge - Like a meme but sticks to a topic for many consecutive days. E.g., 10 Day Book Blogger Challenge, 30 Day Blog Ahead Challenge, 15 Days of Quotes

Blog hop - An organized event where you go from blog to blog and comment and follow other bloggers. Interchangeable with meme.

Blog tour - An organized event where an author posts excerpts, giveaways, promotional material, guest posts, etc. on a different blog each day, and followers go to each one and take part in the activities.

Linky - A list of bloggers that are on a blog hop/meme or blog tour. You enter your name and site via the host site or from the site of others who are already listed. Each site shows up as a clickable link for easy hopping.

Book blitz - Can be part of a blog tour where one book is featured, or it can refer to the promotion of a single book without a book tour.

Author spotlight - To highlight one author and their body of work.

Rafflecopter giveaway - A way for followers to enter their name for a chance to win something. To enter you must follow a request by the site (e.g., follow on twitter, comment on a post, subscribe) and winners are chosen at random.

Guest Post vs. Co-blogger

Guest post - Having someone from outside your blog write a post for your blog.

Co-blogger - Someone who is affiliated with your site and writes posts.

Site Analytics

SEO - Search engine optimization. A complex mix of factors that determines what position your site shows up as when people search key words using search engines.

Alexa - A web analyzer that shows your site's ranking by country and overall world ranking. It integrates SEO, visitor numbers, time visitors spend on site, bounce rate, and other website analytics.

Visitor number - The number of people who visit a site. Visitors can be counted more than once. E.g., if someone visits a site 5 different times in a day, then they are counted 5 times

Unique visitors - The number of different visitors to a site. The same visitor is not counted more than once for any given period of time. E.g., The same person visits 5 different times in a day, but is counted as 1 unique visitor

Bounce rate - A measure of how quickly visitors are leaving your site. E.g., 45% bounce rate means that 45% of people are clicking on 1 link to your site and leaving after viewing that link rather than continuing on to other posts. FYI - This can be misleading if many visitors are entering at your home page and your home page displays full posts and they don't have to click on  individual posts to read the material.

It is not terribly important to know the ins and outs of all of these in order to "operate" a blog in its basic form. But you will inevitably want to change a layout or add a gadget and it is important  to know which types of codes to use where.

HTML - Hypertext Markup Language. This is the structural foundation of a page. It is how certain elements are built into a page using universal codes. E.g., creates links, lists, menus, inserts media, etc.

XHTML - Extensible Markup Language. The upgraded version of HTML that uses more precise language to add different functionality.

CSS - Cascading Style Sheets. The fine tuning mechanism for defining a sites presentation (e.g., color, font, layouts) and how it adapts to different devices. It is like HTML in that you can personalize it to do a variety of things but it is kept separate from HTML so that these more superficial features can be easily changed without disrupting the main structure of the site.

Blog Maintenance

Blog backup - To download all of your blog in its entirety.

Template backup and restore - To down your template so that if later coding changes cause a problem then you can restore the template to it's last saved version. This does not backup, change, delete, or restore posts. Those are left alone.

Gadgets (Blogger) - Features that you can add to your sidebar

Widgets (WordPress) - Features that you can add to your sidebar

Favicon - Favorite Icon. The little icon that appears next to your web address in the address bar. It's what is saved as an identifier when a site is favorited. Many are left as the generic browser icon.

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