Monday, December 31, 2007

Clean, Clean, Clean and Paying It Forward

I've been cleaning out the office, sending invoices, shredding, throwing old stuff away all morning, preparing for tomorrow's 1/1/1 stargate and new start to a new year (see Stellar Shaman or The Cosmic Path for more on the stargate).

So now I'm looking at my blog and wondering if cleaning it will help. The most common areas that need cleaning in a blog are the sidebars.

Obviously, most of the items on my right sidebar are for monetization sake, but does anyone ever look over there? I've got some great coupons that offer affiliate payments, the offer from Widget Bucks that gives me a referral fee (and you $25!), links, Technorati favorites panel, sign up for email and RSS feeds; but is there too much?

I recently took off the WidgetBucks items for sale because it seemed to make my page load very slowly. So I did clean that. And I think I'll get rid of the Auction Ads all the way down there at the bottom. Maybe it would be better to go to a 3-column that lets me separate linkies from monies.

I did sign up for Crazy Hip Blog Mamas and their link roll after seeing it on another site, and it does give you lots of reciprocal links and is easy to install. And for the New Year, I'm going with a pay it forward method.

Some of my Blogging Goals for increasing popularity and monetization include:

1 - Comment more on other blogs. I signed up for the group Commit to Comment on Blog 365, and I think it is a great idea.

2 - Visit those who visit me. Again, an idea from Commit to Comment, but also holding up your end of the bargain.

3 - Share the Link Love. Send me a note if you want to link up!

4 - Donate to sites I read regularly. I just sent a PayPal to What's Up On Planet Earth, and plan to donate to one of my regulars at least once a month.

5 - Take advantage of coupons/affiliate offers on other blogs. I did use a 10% off coupon on another blog during the holidays, knowing full well that the blog owner would get an affiliate fee. But it didn't cost me anything and in fact saved me 10%! From now on, when I purchase online, I'm going to try to find a coupon on one of my blog buddy's sites.

6 - Number 5 includes books! As a writer who hopes to publish a book one day (Soon), I'm going to purchase at least one book per month.

If you'd like to share your monetization strategy for the new year, leave a comment, or let me know if you'd like to guest post.

And don't forget to sign up for email or RSS feed : )


Sunday, December 30, 2007

I Can't Believe How Old I Am : (

It isn't that I feel old. Well, I do sort of, in a weird way that I never expected, like how achy my body is when I get out of bed. Or especially if I sleep in a hotel or something, in a bed that my body isn't used to. It isn't even the gray hairs that I've covered since I was 27.

I can't believe that I have to say the number 41 when someone asks. Wow, that seems like a big enough number, but the other day my 5-year-old (Ok, I started late) asked me to count all the way to 41 with her. Ouch.

But just now, I had a few minutes to kill that I couldn't get really involved in anything because the baby (Yes, and starting late didn't stop me) is on a new sleep routine and wakes up screaming every minute or two, so I did something I've never done and just browsed the profiles of other Blogger bloggers who had something in common with me. I picked Battlestar Galactica because I'm in withdrawal waiting for the new season, and about half way through I realized that I'm older than almost everyone who chose to let his or her age be displayed. Really.

Now I have to finish my novel before I'm too old for the book tour.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ten Top Fiction Markets for Moms

Hi there, yes, it is supposed to be Fiction Friday, but I'm tapped out. I have nothing in my brain that would be worth the space it would take up to write. Besides, I'm going to spend the next hour after this working on my novel.

Which brings up an interesting point. I recently visited a blog where some days were open reads and others were only for subscribers. I'm considering making my novel posts only for subscribers, or something similar. If you've tried this, I'd love to hear about it.

So for today, to stay on the fiction theme, I'm going to review some markets. It is one of my major goals for 2008 to see my fiction in print. I do love the online markets and am so thankful to Long Story Short and Lip Service for all that they do, but I want my fiction in print. Paid for in dollars print would even be better. Lately, I've been submitting to publications. I'm starting a running list here, please add to it in the comments, of best fiction (or creative non-fiction)markets for mom (or anyone) writers.

The ten top markets in no particular order:

1. Parents magazine, Tips from Writer's Market say to keep in mind that they are a national publication so stories with a broad appeal work best. Also, they are interested in compelling human-interest stories and cannot consider stories that have appeared in competing national publications. Writers guidelines are online.

2. Writer's Digest, They are 70% freelance written, so there's a good chance! Also, their best sections to break in are InkWell (short pieces) and Markets. They are also looking for non-fiction "How-to" articles. Writers guidelines are online.

3. Family Circle Magazine, Even better, 80% freelance written. Break in with "Women who make a difference." They also accept short humor (750 words) pieces.

4. Glimmer Train, Submit through contest options, listed on website. Has categories for Short Fiction (up to 2000 words) and New Writers.

5. Brain, Child,, the magazine for thinking mothers. 90% freelance written. They publish fiction that has a strong motherhood theme.

6. The Chattahoochee Review, While they publish a number o Southern writers, they do not consider themselves a regional magazine. They publish personal essays, creative nonfiction, fiction, and photos.

7. Chicken Soup for the Soul, They have a Chicken Soup book for almost every possible genre. Books are 95% freelance written, submission is online, just do it. Send in that heartwarming story now.

8. The First Line, Don't know what to write about? Check their website for the current opening line and submit a story in just about any genre. But you have to start with the first line provided. Pay is only $10, but sounds like a fun idea.

9. Modern Haiku, Because so many bloggers seem to love Haiku, here's your chance. Also accepts articles and book reviews relating to Haiku and Senryu.

10. Country Woman magazine, Main character in the story must be a country woman, setting must be country, must be positive and upbeat. They include fiction in every issue and would include more if more were sent their way (HINT, HINT). Also accept poetry.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thankful Thursday and Blog365

Whew! Can't believe it has been a whole week since I last posted. Christmas was a blur, with an almost-2-year-old and a very excited 5-year-old who saw Santa running through our yard! I guess this Thursday I'm mostly thankful that we pulled it all off, managed to see/talk with family and friends, and generally enjoyed the entire exhausting time.

I'd planned to look back at the year and remember all the many things that I have to be thankful for, but M. has strep throat, so it has been a little sleepless the past couple of nights.

So to inspire me to continue blogging into the future and get back on schedule, I've joined Blog365 - won't you join too? Ostensibly, we're going to blog every day (although the rules do allow you to count any post to any of your blogs, so RMB will get the bulk and Stellar Shaman, Simply Grant Writing, and LockBoxDeals will get intermittent posts). Luckily, 2008 is a leap year, so we do get a day off!

Here is my abbreviated list of thanks in 2007:
-general good health of my little family
-the tree that finally flowered beautiful white snowball flowers outside my office window
-enough to eat/place to sleep/clothes
-my shamanism community
-no hurricanes (I do live in Miami)
-meeting new friends
-our vacation to the beach
-M.'s unabashed optimish
-S.'s hugs
-time to write

Feel free to add yours to the comments.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gratitude Thursday

I hadn't designated Thursday to be a regular themed post day on RMB, but I'm inspired to see if a day of gratitude works out here.

Yesterday, as I was going through my Technorati favorites, I was surprised by the number of posts about depression. I started with Sweetney's post Waving and Drowning , then to Suburban Oblivion's Crashing, and finally Dooce's Because I couldn't say it on the Phone. Three of my favorite moms feeling more than just a mild case of the holiday blues was one thing, but 1125 comments on Heather's post at Dooce by moms feeling the same thing was even more striking. I'm so impressed by these strong women who have the courage to face their demons and talk about it so that they can help others.

I'm so blessed, and aware of it, by good mental health. My partner says I am the most emotionally stable person on the planet, and this from someone who lives with me. But several people close to me are getting by only with the help of anti-depressants, so I'm fortunate enough to know how absolutely lucky I am. To be able to depend on my mind and spirit to react in a way I can predict or have some measure of control over is a rock to anchor to when circumstances get crazy.

For this, I have to thank Mama. Whether by genes or nature, her unflappable positivity sustained me all my life until I developed my own positive outlook. Hardships in her life would have broken a lesser woman. Widowed by her fourth husband, my father, she survived the death of her first child while an infant, being forced to give up her son in a custody dispute, and marriages to men who included a wife beater (as it was called in those days), a compulsive gambler, and an alcoholic. She divorced when it just wasn't done, she worked and supported herself despite never having a high school diploma, she bought her own house and raised her two daughters.

When my father died unexpectedly, without life insurance, without savings, when I was 15, I saw her sadness, I watched her grieve, but I never saw her give in to fear. She insisted that we would be fine, and we were.

When my cousin Joyce had a terrible car accident and broke her neck, we went to the hospital to see her on the first day, while she was in one of those big traction wheels that they used to use for spinal injury patients. Mama told me that we were going there to cheer her up and to talk about happy things, to not be afraid because she was going to be well again soon. We walked in, and she was face down on the wheel. Mama told me to lie down on the floor so I could look up at her and to smile while we were there. Joyce says that we were the only people she saw smile at her during those days in the hospital.

I cannot remember a time in my entire life, until Mama passed away when I was 34, that she indicated any overwhelming worry, any sense that the undertow would carry her away, any idea that she feared something that would overcome her. Even when health problems started to ebb the life from her, she never talked of being afraid of dying.

Now that I'm a mom, I'm acutely aware of the importance of instilling this gift in my children. Especially as I'm an adoptive mom and can't count on genetics, I want to be conscious of helping them to look for the silver linings, to be confident in their own abilities to perservere, to know triumph over adversity. I want to be their rock, their stable foundation, their springboard. And if they need more help than I can give, I want to encourage them to find the help they need to live mentally healthy lives.

Today, I am so grateful for the opportunity of being their mom and all of the wonders and challenges that come with it.

I'm grateful that we are all healthy.

I'm grateful that we have enough food to eat.

I'm grateful for the surf and the sand.

I'm grateful for the way S. laughs, hearty, from head to toe.

I'm grateful for the way M. dances, always, everywhere.

I love you both so much.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Many Worlds, One Planet

I read a book once that changed my perspective on life, as great books are bound to do. An old, very geeky text, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings started as a class project to retrofit ancient map fragments to actual geographical landmarks and features and determine the system of coordinates used to make the maps. It was an unlikely place to derive spiritual wisdom. But as they say, when the student is ready, the teacher will come.

While the premise of the book itself was rattling enough, that these ancient maps proved the existence of an advanced civilation who could navigate the seas with mathematical precision during the Ice Age, the part that has remained with me was the general givenness of the conclusion. Of Course They Existed, Why Wouldn't They Have?

We consider ourselves, the First World inhabitants of planet Earth in 2007, as the humans that evolved in intelligence through a building block process that eliminates the possibility of more highly advanced civilizations before us. We write off the existence of the Pyramids for example as some forgotten trick of balancing and moving heavy objects, or as something anyone could do with a large enough forced work team.

But Sea Kings pointed out that at any time in the history of the planet, there have co-existed civilizations of vastly different technological ability. Even right now, at this very moment, there exist Aborigines, Amish, tribes who know nothing of electricity, indigenous cultures who live as they have for hundreds of years, religious sects who follow beliefs that set them far apart from what is considered mainstream.

If you are reading this, you are probably comfortable with technology. But imagine, you could be alive right now, your same age, and be in an entirely different world. You could be driving a horse drawn carriage to your neighbor's house for the barn raising. You could be sleeping on a grass mat under the jungle canopy. You could never have seen television or a light bulb. You could be hunting your dinner with a spear, and not for sport.

Is it so far removed to consider the circular, rather than linear, nature of time? That history repeats itself not because we are unable to learn from our mistakes, but because another group of students is ready to enter the classroom. The lesser advanced civilizations need their opportunity to develop themselves.

Is it so hard to imagine a civilization that existed, with an apparently recorded history, that was wiped out by a geological catastrophe? Do you think they knew it was coming too?

Thanks to Andrew Edgington, this week's winner of Wildcard Wednesday photo carnival and the administrator of the excellent blog Edit Your Digital Photos, for submitting the photo at top. Andrew's blog teaches how to use Photoshop to give your photos an Old-time look, and many other tips.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Guest Post: A Child By Any Other Name

Thanks to Patti for answering my call for guest posts! Enjoy.

A Child by Any Other Name…
By P.I. Barrington

Finding the right name for someone whether it’s a fictional character or your own newborn can seem like a daunting task. Some people pick favorite names from before the time they can even think about having children. I used to do the same thing. That is, until I became a writer. That’s when any dreams I might have had about my beloved favorite names coming to life shattered like so many crystal champagne glasses unfortunate enough to be located within the vicinity of a toddler.
My characters many times leap right off the page screaming their names at me and waving what look like dangerous rolling pins. They will have the names they want no matter what I, their creator, decide. Sometimes I’ll be pounding away at a story and suddenly realize the name I’ve typed over and over is what that character wanted to be called instead of the name I wanted to use. Many times, my characters will surprise me by using ethnically oriented names that leave no doubt as to what race they are. And, yes, I describe these characters in present tense. They won’t allow anything else.
Names are important in human life, obviously, and for obvious reasons. That is the single most important identifying reference to you not only by yourself but by everyone else. It also is one of the oldest practices in human communications. Have you ever watched those old movies where two people of differing cultures or languages try to communicate? The first thing they do is point to themselves and say their name. Names are the beginning form of communications.
So, it’s no wonder parents go through a similar type of experience that writers do. Some parents will go to sometimes ridiculously extreme measures to find the appropriate name for their child. And this is no joke, my readers.
Here in Southern California, (and only in California) there is a new type of job that has been developed to “help” new parents or parents-to-be choose exactly the name that will portent success, fame, or character of their coming child. “Nameology” and “Nameologists” have now cropped up in this very lucrative trade.
For $300 an hour, the Nameologist will come to your home, office, or other meeting place of your choice and explain or suggest baby names to you.
Personally, I find this rather insulting. To me, this indicates that one is incapable of going out and buying an actual book of baby names for under $5 and choosing for oneself or with much more ease, search the Internet which has virtually an unlimited amount of free baby names sites with every conceivable name, its meaning, and country of origin. Not only that, but there are no apparent requirements to become a Nameologist other than being able to read any of the above name-helping suggestions. Oh, and the gall to charge $300.
The only thing more disturbing than that is the fact that there are parents who have actually paid the $300!
So, how does one pick out the perfect name? Well, rhythm and rhyme have a lot to do with it. The names have to sound good and have a natural cadence. “Annie Ralph Curmudgeon” may have a rhythm to it but you have to admit it’s not the prettiest or most portentous of names. And please, I beg you all future parents, resist the urge to give ridiculous names to your children! This not only makes life miserable for the child who has to deal with playground mockery and derision but it makes everyone else uncomfortable when having to use it in serious situations. I know you probably are rolling your eyes at this age-old warning, but I’ve still met enough people whose parents gave them the worst, corniest names in an effort to be witty.
“Hello? Yes, may I speak with Iva Payne?” Imagine yourself having to explain to the irritated operator that no, it’s not a joke. In fact, please imagine yourself saying your child’s future name over the phone just to make sure. My sister once had a friend who thought it was funny when giving a name for the waiting list in restaurants to use the last name of Krayzee. So when the host or hostess called out the name of the party, it would sound something like this:
“Krayzee party of four, Krayzee, party of four, your table is ready!” (Sound it out if you must!)
This is the type of thing that should be avoided. At all costs.
What I have done over the long, long years of working at being a writer, is to search thrift stores and used book stores for the rare “Unusual Names for Baby” type books, just to have on-hand should I ever be without the Web while scratching out character descriptions by hand. Some of us do still practice longhand. And sometimes, not only is it just nice to have a hard copy reference of names to look at while curled up in bed, but also to be a little more green about it. Why use up paper printing all those name lists, when you can find for pennies, already printed copies of the same basic lists? Save a tree if you can!
You can devise any system of naming you want. Go ahead and be creative! Come up with your own original plan of choosing names. However you do it, just make sure it’s a name you and your child will like if not downright love!

Check out P.I Barrington's funny urban fantasy story: Urban Elf coming in Issue #268. If you like cities and Elves, this is for you!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Inspiration from the Greatest Thinkers of our Generation

Often when we think of monetizing our blogs, we are concerned with small details; which advertising system should I use? Should I accept this review assignment? Should I sign up for this traffic generating site?

But the post at Dosh Dosh today has me thinking of the bigger picture. I'm not sure where RMB is headed, but I'd like for it to someday sooner rather than later pay the bills, and then some. Pay for travel with the kids. Provide an audience for my novel. Create positive change in the world.

Pretty big goals for the little blog that could, but that's what TED seems to be about. If you too would like to set some big goals for your blog and need some inspiration, take a visit to the TED site.

"TED started out as an annual conference in Monterey devoted to Technology, Entertainment and Design. The content has broadened in recent years, but this annual event is still the main engine that drives TED's success, bringing together 1000 of the world's most remarkable people. The format is fast-paced, with 50+ speakers over four days (plus short talks, performances and evening events). In 2005, an additional conference, TEDGlobal, was inaugurated. It's held every other year, in a different location, focusing on a different theme.
All upcoming conferences through March 2008 are sold out. However, the best content from all TED events is made available through this website."

You can visit their site and view FOR FREE video of some of the best speeches given, by the likes of Seth Godin, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Clinton. Talk about thinking big.

With the new year coming up soon, it is a great time for goal setting. Where do you want your blog to take you? Shouldn't you take a few minutes to learn from the best minds in Business, Technology, Arts, and Global Issues?

Now get busy on your own plan!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Sorry, but this story has been moved to my new ebook, The 10 Best Short Stories in the Universe Written by Me. Please see the right sidebar to order.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Peaceful Protest

Today I have to thank sincerely Dave from Living in the Now. Had he not been my first entrant for Wildcard Wednesday, and had I not been so endebted to him for his support of RMB since our early days, I was prepared to abandon my Carnival entrants and go off on another topic entirely.
Our local paper, The Miami Herald, ran a photo today that was so haunting, so enraging to me as a parent, of a terrified little Iraqi girl who had been wounded in a mortar strike. I cannot get her eyes out of my mind, and I was on the verge of swiping Maya Allerruzo's photo and going off on a political rant.
But thanks to Dave, I was brought back to my center by his unknowingly appropriate photo to consider one of my central beliefs. I try to follow the tenet that if you truly want peace in the world, it is not enough to think about peace, not enough to wish for peace, not even enough to pray for peace. If you truly want peace, you have to be peace. You have to stand in the center of your own being, in your own place of silence, and be the peace that you would have in the world.
Parents know this in its simplest form as the count to ten rule. When your child has just trampled your last nerve, count to ten and find your own peace before responding, and answer your child with all the love and caring available at the center of your soul. Even if the answer involves a punishment, administer it from a place of peace. We've all seen it on our family level; one person, be it mom or dad or any caregiver, standing in absolute peace will dissolve the anger of the most hysterical child. One person ranting only adds to the escalation of violence.
When you consider it, isn't this season all about peace? Doesn't everyone want peace on Earth, goodwill towards men? It isn't tied to which church you attend, or don't attend, although many are able to leave behind worldly concerns and access peace in church. It isn't tied to one religion or another, and in fact religions have been invoked as reasons for most wars.
We seek the peace that passes all understanding, the peace that speaks no language and every language. For each of us it is important to take a few moments every day to connect with peace and send that peace out into the world.
I remember a story I heard about a person who had a near death experience. She had been in a horrible car accident, in the middle of rush hour, and died while waiting for help as the ensuing traffic jam prevented a quick rescue. As she floated out of her body, she could hear all of the people in the other cars, angry and upset at how delayed they were due to the accident. But then she heard one person praying for the stranger who was in the accident, praying for that stranger's family, sending love and kindness out to a total stranger.
Be that person who in the midst of the angry crowd, in the situation that ruins your schedule, in the moment that could bring out your worst, be the person who is peace.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Go It Alone or Join The Crowd?

Since I've learned that traffic is the holy grail of monetizing your blog, I've become addicted to my site meter. Sad, really, as RMB doesn't have thousands of hits per day (not yet anyway), but I check often. Remember when email first came out and there weren't those little popup notifiers or dinging announcements of mail received, and connection time was expensive, so you had to go and check whether you had anything new? So you checked all the time? That's how I am with my sitemeter. And if it has gone up, I practically dance around the home office here.

Because I'm so addicted, I know that the single day that I have received the most traffic is last Thursday, the day of the Confess Your Crush Crosspost. Now as revealing and exciting as that post was, I really doubt that RMB readers just had to find out who my childhood crushes were, or that an underground Doug Henning fan club sent all of their members over to thank me. I think it was because I was participating in a group project.

I've noticed the group aspect among some of my daily reads, but maybe not in such a blatant manner. For instance, last week Yaro Starak released a free sample from his Blog Mentoring Course on building traffic through conversation. Darren's post that day was more on the topic. Chris G's post was also along the same lines, and he referred to Liz in his post. I followed all the links in their chain, so one topic developed traffic for all of them.

I think there are several ways to use this idea of being part of a group to develop traffic flow:

-Join a casual group for a crosspost event, as I did. I found out about the event from Dave who I met through NaBloPoMo, and you can usually find out about memes and other types of crossposts by joining Yahoo Groups, or groups on social networking sites in your blog's topic.

-Develop a group of likeminded bloggers who support each other and refer to one another in their posts when appropriate. This may be just sharing the love between bloggers who really do like and agree with each other, and it is a little more than just including them in your blogroll.

-Convene a group to all post on a certain theme on a certain day or week, each adding a personal point of view and more indepth discussion. This could be an everyone post at once, or one member of the group could post with Authority and let the others discuss the post.

-Piggyback on the big guys with a post on a topic that they are all discussing and leave a comment on their blogs referring to your own site. Maybe not the best way to get invited to join the in crowd, so at least be respectful.

-Sponsor a contest or carnival and ask respondents to create a post on a certain theme to enter, with instructions to refer to your site.

The all-together-now method helps with traffic flow in several ways. Regular readers of other blogs are able to find yours and identify you as someone who is similar and perhaps worthy of a subscription. Search engine searchers could possibly find your post right up there with one of their regular reads or a respected voice on a particular subject (long shot for some of us, but hey, it could happen). You might find likeminded folks in the comment section of other bloggers and be able to form a new group of your own.

If you do decide to go with the crowd, remember to keep your own special and unique voice in your posts to develop your own loyal readers.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Peacock Paradise

But, as this piece once won an Honorable Mention from Long Story Short and I have a new piece published with them this month (look for Lisa Merritt under their Flash Fiction tab), there is a method to my madness.

Peacock Paradise

Sorry, this piece moved to my ebook The 10 Best Stories in the Universe Written by Me. See the right sidebar to order.

Childhood Crush CrossPost Day

Not a normal post day here at RMB, but I couldn't resist getting in on the Childhood Crush Crosspost. According to Dave at Living in the Now, the confessions of your childhood crushes was spawned as an idea by Gedeon Maheux during an exchange on Twitter last Friday. Here’s a list of all known participants. If you want to join with us and confess, just jump in! Leave your link in the comments.

So here are the ones I can remember from the hazy days of my youth in the, ahem, late 70's early 80's. It is scary typing in those dates as times when I was old enough to actually have a crush, because they seem so long ago now. But here goes, in order of least to most embarrasing:

Risky Business Tom Cruise, pre-Scientology
and Oprah outbursts. I know I'm not alone on
this one.

Andy Gibb. I think I had a poster of him,
one of those black velvet things that gathered
dust and cat hair as it hung on the wall. Can
you believe this one is for sale on eBay?

Of course, of course, Luke Skywalker.
I even went to see the horrible movie,
Corvette Summer, because he was the
lead (or at least Mark Hammil was).

Now it is starting to get a little weird.
Michael York. I saw Logan's Run at
a too-tender age, but I loved his
accent. I saw the movie years later,
and it was really a stinker, but
MY was still hot.

And now for the absolute most embarrassing one:

The magician Doug Henning. I'm not making this up.

I kept a photo of him under my mattress.

Whew. Glad that is off my chest now. Hope you haven't lost all respect for RMB. See you tomorrow for Fiction Friday.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Don't Despair Panda Bear

Sorry, this post moved to my ebook The 10 Best Stories in the Universe Written by Me. See the right sidebar to order.
Photo Credit: Gary M. Stolz, Washington DC Library, United States Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library System (, WO8465-002), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS,, United States Department of the Interior (, Government of the United States of America (USA)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Wildcard Wednesday Blog Carnival

During NaBloPoMo, I found so many great blogs out there. If you aren't familiar with Monkeys and Marbles or Busy Mom or Living in the Now, take a look.

But one thing I noticed is that they all have pictures, and Russian Mafia Babe does not. This is due in part to the fact that I am a lousy photographer. Also, any pictures I do manage to take remain trapped forever on my photo card, never to be uploaded.

So clearly I need help. That's why I came up with the Wildcard Wednesday idea. Any photographer, or at least anyone better than RMB, who would like to provide me with an inspiring photo for Wednesday's posts may do so through Blog Carnival.

Then I will write something inspired by the photo. Maybe fiction, maybe an essay, maybe haiku - what is it with blogs and haiku? I've read more haiku since I've been blogging than during my entire years of school. Maybe I'll try one. Then the photographer is welcome to use whatever I write on his or her blog, if so desired. One less post to write, yes? Or at least a free link and bio.

By inspiring photo, I have no idea what I mean. This is a mom blog, and I am an animal rescue advocate, so please nothing cruel or lewd. Other than that, whatever you want to send. I'll also consider graphics and anime. Be sure to include your link, short bio, and email address for credit.

Schedule Your Posts to Build Loyal Readership

A couple of my regular reads have posted about setting up your blog with a regular post schedule in order to build loyal readers. This allows readers who are not subscribers to know when to visit to get the information they want. Then you have to fulfill your part of the bargain to provide content on schedule.

As I am still developing Russian Mafia Babe, I think that this will be good for me as well. So the schedule that I am putting forth for us here is:

Mondays: Monetize Your Mom Blog (Alternate: Tech Tips)
Wednesdays: Wildcard Wednesdays (see Blog Carnival Announcement post)
Fridays: Fiction or Creative Non-Fiction

(Did you see how I used alliteration there to help me remember? That's because I'm a writer, and also because I'm a mom and my kids take up most of my brain cells.)

On Tuesdays, I will post to Stellar Shaman, and on Thursdays I'll post at Simply Grant Writing or LockBoxDeals.

Let me know what schedule you keep for your blog and how it works out for you.