Posted in Publishing, Reading, Writing

I’m sure there’s a better way to do this

Someday, I am going to learn all about blogging. (Should have done that before I began, eh?) I know there are ways to link my blog to other people’s blogs, but I’m not only unsure how to do this, I suspect that there is some sort of protocol — a secret handshake or other ritual — required before one takes such a step. So, since I don’t know how else to do it, I’m going to paste links to a couple of blogs I have been featured on lately:

Romance Novel News (they interviewed me about self-publishing, but if you’re already reading this blog you’re probably heartily sick of the subject) and Heroes & Heartbreakers, who posted an absolutely lovely article about my work called “The Return of Diane Farr.”

Okay, I’m diving back into my writing cave now. For all of you who were expecting a sequel to Wicked Cool prior to Halloween, all I can say is … believe me, I’m disappointed too. Augh!!

Posted in Writing

Dude, Where’s My Sequel?

I’m working on it, okay? Don’t rush me.

Seriously, I’d love to blame my on-again, off-again blogging efforts on the fact that I’m writing a sequel to Wicked Cool, but the truth is, I’m just a lazy blogger.

I’m also a painfully slow writer. And I really, REALLY want to have Scary Cool out in time for Halloween. So what little writing time I have, I am devoting to the book. Understandably, I hope.

I’ll check in when I can, though. I promise.

Posted in Other Stuff

Five Fascinating Features that Make Lists Irresistible

What is it with all these “list” blogs? Why are they tweeted and retweeted, perused and shared and fired all over the web? I’ll tell you why. In fact, I’ll give you a list of Five Features that Make Lists Irresistible. Oh, even better — I’ll make them five fascinating features. Because alliteration is an irresistible feature all its own.

1. EASY.

Before I began this blog entry, for example, I didn’t have my five “features” figured out. I still don’t have them figured out. I just started this list believing in my heart that the “features” would emerge. And lo and behold, one has. So, first and foremost, lists are easy. That’s probably the feature that makes them irresistible to bloggers.

2. CONCISE.

If a list sounds like it might be long, and even if it also sounds like it might be dull — 100 Reasons to Eat Oatmeal, or something like that — the very fact that it has a number attached to it is reassuring. Hey, how dull could it be? It won’t go on forever. There are only 100 entries in the list. And look, they’re all numbered.

3. CHECK-OFFABLE.

No, that’s not a word. But you know what I mean. The great thing about a list, especially a “to do” or a “tips” list, is that you can check the items off as you do them. There are few sights more satisfying than a completely checked-off list. So if somebody offers you a list of The Ten Books You Must Read Before You Die, or Six Steps to a Flatter Belly, or whatever it may be, checking the items off, one by one, gives a pleasant illusion of accomplishment … even if you don’t end up dead or thin once you’ve checked them all.

4. MYSTERIOUS.

At the heart of every list is a mystery. A question. A puzzle that the list promises to solve. The title is a teaser, if you will, much like a movie trailer. As soon as you read the list’s title, your brain engages. (“I didn’t know there were 100 reasons to eat oatmeal. What could they possibly be?”) And as you begin to read the blog, your brain continues running on a parallel track. (“I bet one of them is the cholesterol thing.”) When you reach the end of the list, your sensations resemble those experienced when reaching the end of an Agatha Christie tale. (“Well, I’ll be darned.”)

5. MEMORABLE.

It’s much easier to digest lists than essays. There’s something about those little bite-sized nuggets marching down the page in numbered, generally short, paragraphs that makes a list adhere to our neurons. Or something. Whether it’s opinions or advice, information, handy tips, must-read, must-do, must-see, anything and everything that is compilable into a list becomes … well … readable. A list enters your brain in short bursts, like Morse Code. As opposed to a newspaper article, for instance, which glides past your eyeballs in long sweeps interrupted by complicated page-turnings (involving hunting, page-counting, folding, and a distracting rattling noise).

So there you have it. Five things we love about lists.

And yes, I was grinning evilly as I typed this.

Posted in Other Stuff, Writing

At Sea in the Blogosphere

Oh, dear. I’ve done it again.

I seem to make a habit of leaping before I look. Or, rather, I glance around and think that I have looked, then leap and find out I haven’t. With luck, my latest impulsive move (blogging) won’t turn out to be as disastrous as, say, marrying my first husband was. But my blithe plunge into the blogosphere without a compass, an adequate supply of fresh drinking water, and a change of socks is just so typical of me. And now here I am, high and dry on my tiny beachhead, and from this new vantage point I can clearly see that I should have, you know, subscribed to a few blogs before beginning one of my own.

This week I learned about subscriptions. (Please note the handy-dandy link to the right.) Apparently there are also linking opportunities, and “blogrolls,” and networked blogs, some of which may be redundant. There are dashboards and stats and a momentous decision that must be made: does one reply to comments always, occasionally, or never? If “always,” do you inadvertently drive readers away by seeming creepy and desperate and like you don’t have a life? If “occasionally,” do you offend those whose comments you have seemingly ignored? (Or, worse, offend those whose comments you answered?) If “never,” do people assume you don’t read their comments, don’t like their comments, or don’t care whether they comment or not?

For the record, I read ALL your comments and they always make me smile. Some even make me laugh. I appreciate them more than I can say — I just haven’t read enough blogs to know what the heck to do about it.

I will get better at this.

Another rash promise, you say? Probably. But if I didn’t make rash promises, I might not make any at all.

Posted in Other Stuff, Publishing, Writing

April Fool’s Day …

…seems an appropriate day to start a blog. Especially one with an over-the-top title like “The Best by Farr.”

I can’t believe I’m doing this. I have put it off until the last possible moment — or close to the last possible moment — because I am keenly aware of all the Very Bad Consequences that could ensue.

That sounds idiotic, I suppose. (“She fears blogging? Call a doctor.”) But seriously. Yes, I do. I do fear blogging.

See, I have a book coming out next month. The last time I had a book coming out, it was a reprint, so that doesn’t count. The time before that — the last time I really, truly had a book coming out — was so long ago that blogging wasn’t even an issue. I mean, some writers were doing it (it wasn’t that long ago), but not everybody. Now? Blog or die.

Well, that’s what they’re telling me.

OK, maybe they’re not telling me that, exactly. Not in those words. They’re saying: “You’re not blogging? Really? Wow.” and “You should totally be blogging.” and “I can’t believe you’re not blogging.” And I’m hearing: “Blog or die.”

If it’s that important, it must be difficult. What if I do it wrong? What if I offend somebody? What if I don’t blog regularly? (What is “regular” blogging, anyway? If I turn out to be an irregular blogger, is there a pill I can take that will make me regular?) What if my blog is stupid, or childish, or inadvertently political, or — the worst nightmare of all — boring?!

I can be mildly amusing when the occasion calls for it. But consistently? Can I, in fact, come up with entertaining and/or insightful things to say on a “regular” basis? Can I be clever, or wise, or poetic, or just plain useful, and do it every day?

I think not.

Let’s face it, my life isn’t that interesting. So I can’t blog about my life. Besides, a published author is just close enough to fame that she worries about exposing her life to public scrutiny. (And far enough from fame that she still can’t get a good table in a restaurant. But that’s another story.) I don’t have a lot of deep thoughts, so I can’t blog about those. I have no expertise in anything, so I can’t give my readers useful tips on gardening or cooking or sketching or TV repair or, well, anything. I don’t climb mountains or wrestle alligators or travel to destinations nobody’s ever heard of. What on earth am I going to blog about?!

I guess we’re going to find out.