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A Happy Holiday Season to you and your loved ones

CynthiaHotelSnow2012Everyone,

Spun Stories will be going into hibernation for the next couple of weeks, as I try to deal with all the varied things I have to do this holiday season. But expect to see some book reviews in this space before I return after the first of the year.

I hope that you all have a happy and safe Holiday Season. And thank you all for your support during 2012!

 

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Spun Stories gets noticed!

Ten days ago, Nan Hawthorne of Historical Blogs Fiction &  Fact emailed me to say that she thought Spun Stories was “one of the most entertaining and interesting blogs out there”, and she’d picked me to be the featured blog on HB F&F for June.  In return, I have to pick a blog for July.

As you can imagine, I’m thrilled. Especially as Nan is such an active member of the Historical Novel Society and Independent Authors Guild. Thank you Nan for your kind words about my blog! And stay tuned to hear about the blog I picked.

Last week, I got an email from Laura Stanfill, who blogs at WordPress.com, telling me that she had just awarded me the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. In return, I have to do four things:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you. Thanks Laura for the nomination! I am thrilled. Those strawberries look luscious. Laura provides writing challenges for writers, and interviews for readers, and you can find out all about her gorgeous-looking blog by clicking here.

2. Share seven random facts about yourself.

    1. I like making plans.
    2. I’m a big fan of science, and love anything with either evidence or a good argument behind it.
    3. I’m English, but have lived in the US for nearly 30 years.
    4. I like teal. Don’t know why. Perhaps because it reminds me of the sea.
    5. As a child, I always had my nose in an historical novel. This used to exasperate my sister.
    6. I am happiest when I’m being creative. This is true whether I’m writing novels or attempting to play my violin.
    7. I love visiting England to see the beautiful English countryside, and those wonderful gardens that English people always seem to have.

3. Pass the award along to 15 deserving blog buddies.

Here are some deserving bloggers, in no particular order:

Katy of A FEW MORE PAGES

Loretta and Susan of TWO NERDY HISTORY GIRLS

Trish of TROUVAIS

Jenny Milchman of SUSPENSE YOUR DISBELIEF

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon of SCANDALOUS WOMEN

Jennifer of RUNDPINNE

MAYA RODALE

Mirella Patzer of HISTORY AND WOMEN

Alex, Ana, Kailana, Marg & Teddy of HISTORICAL TAPESTRY

Allie, Arleigh & Heather of HISTORICAL FICTION ROUND TABLE

4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them. Of course! Thanks, Laura for your support.

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN  is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Filed under About Cynthia, How to Publish Your Novel, Promoting Yourself

How I built a beautiful website in TWO days (with NO programming skills)

What a difference a week makes! Last week, I was completely miserable because I’d downloaded the Thesis theme to create a new site using WordPress open source software, and was struggling mightily with the code. My level of programming skills (basic) ensured that it was going to be weeks before my website was up and running, because I was literally able to do only one thing at a time, before getting onto the forum and asking a question.

I disabled the Thesis theme, asked for a refund, and set about building the best website I could using WordPress.com (the free site) as a platform.

For those of you who don’t know, WordPress.com is famous for being both easy to use and powerful. If you want to add a tab to the navbar (the thingy that runs across the tops of your posts, which usually says things like “Welcome” “About Cynthia” or “Contact”, you just go to add pages, type the title you want, and voila, it magically appears.

Why did I need a new website? What I specifically needed was something that would be more friendly to web spiders and crawlers, because that would make me visible.  I worked on the title of my site, being sure to include my name. (My site now reads Spun Stories, home of Cynthia Sally Haggard, Historical Novelist). A mouthful, to be sure. But it’s full of keywords, which is what you need to get a webcrawler’s attention.

I spent hours choosing a theme that was flexible and easy to use, and had lots of widgets. Why do I need widgets?  To make my site more interactive for the reader. I need a widget so that people can sign up for email notifications of my post. And I wanted a widget so that people can sign up for my newsletter.

If you are one of those authors who know they should have a website, but haven’t yet taken the plunge, take my advice. Sign up for an account on WordPress.com. It’s free. And you don’t have to blog if you don’t want to. Just don’t choose pages that have blog functionality. Let yourself play, and I think you’ll be delighted. I had great fun creating my website, which you are now on!

If you have any questions or comments, or want more information about how to start a website, just leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN  is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Filed under About Cynthia, How to Publish Your Novel, Promoting Yourself