I have received the Sunshine Blogger Award from Jeri Walker-Bickett! This award is passed on by bloggers to fellow bloggers who "positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” Jeri is one such blogger. You can visit Jeri's blog and read her great author interviews, book reviews, and notes on the writing craft, review etiquette, writing and editing tips, and musings in general. Jeri is also writing a novel entitled "Lost Girl Road," and she posts regular updates about her progress. Now as part of the Sunshine Blogger Award I am supposed to answer the following 10 personal questions and pass on the award to other bloggers of my choice. First the questions: What is your passion? Coming up with new ideas be it in my day job, writing, or in anything else. Favorite time of the year? I would have to say Fall. The colors are amazing, but it's a bit sad. Favorite book? There are so many, but I will go with The Lord of The Rings by Tolkien. Favorite movie? Again, so many, but I will go with Star Wars. Favorite animal? A tie between cats and dogs. Favorite time of the day? Dawns and Sunsets are special for me. They are beautiful and full of metaphors. Favorite Flower? I like roses and meditating about why they have thorns. Favorite nonalcoholic beverage? Used to be coffee, but I gave that up for health reasons. Now it's milk. Favorite physical activity? Walking around a local lake. Favorite vacation? I went on a trip out West with my family for several weeks. We drove around most of the National Parks, had many great adventures, and took amazing pictures. Now I bestow the Sunshine Blogger Award upon the following bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere:
Adrienne Joyce Jeff Whelan Lia London Marilou George Mary Yuhas Molly Greene If the above bloggers choose to accept the award, they should publish a post accepting the award and answering the same questions I answered. Additionally they should then pass on the award to other bloggers (maximum of ten) that they deem worthy of this award. Once they have done that, they can proudly display the picture of the Sunshine Blogger Award on their blogs! Thank you bloggers and congratulations; you bring sunshine to the blogosphere! Here is a list to copy and paste of the questions you should answer if you accept the award: 1) What is your passion?2) Favorite time of the year?3) Favorite book?4) Favorite movie?5) Favorite animal?6) Favorite time of the day?7) Favorite Flower8) Favorite nonalcoholic beverage?9) Favorite physical activity?10) Favorite vacation? ***If you like this blog you can have links to each week's posts delivered to your e-mail address. Please click here.
Every blogger eventually gets to the point where he/she begins to get noticed. Unfortunately, I am not talking about the kind of attention bloggers want. I reached this point with my “Indie authors are rude, pushy, completely self-absorbed, and their books suck” post in December of last year, which got a lot of people talking about it. Almost immediately I began getting comments like this one by a character named Coach Factory O: “Hi, this is my first visit to your blog! Our group of volunteers and start a new initiative in a coHi, this is my first visit to your blog! Our group of volunteers and start a new initiative in a community in the same niche.Your blog provides us with useful information to work on.You have done a good job.” This was a weird comment that said nothing related to my post and used mangled English. I deleted it but I got more such comments and then they spread to other posts in my blog. I realized it had finally happened. I had attracted the forum spammers! Forum spammers can be either persons or robots that leave comments on your website. The robots are programs that search the web for relevant blogs and other outlets with comment sections and leave comments at random. The comments sometimes don’t make sense such as the following one by “Tory Burch” which I got in five of my posts in one day: “detection of data errors or abnormal first notify the relevant technical personnel” Usually the comments are more coherent and designed to flatter you like the following comment by Technic: “It constantly shocks me exactly how blog web page entrepreneurs for example your self can discover a while plus the commitment to bring on creating exceptional articles. Your website is amazing and one of my own ought to study blogs. I basically want to say thanks.” And some are even funny, like this one by Corset Wholesal: “Great information, First of all many thanks to the author who wrote this article. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck!” It looks like these comments were translated into English from another language with one of those web translators. Forum spammers can have two purposes. The first is that by leaving a post on website “A” with a link to website “B” the spammer artificially increases the number of websites that link to website “B” and thus increases the visibility of website “B” for search engines (search engine optimization: SEO). It is a way to make a website more noticeable. The second purpose is that sometimes the link in the comment leads to a phishing site with the intent of identity theft. The spammer problem not only turned into a bit of a nuisance for me, but also it is a bit depressing to get back to my blog and learn that my readers left ten comments only to find out that all of them are spam. I have now switched to comment moderation. This means I have to approve every comment before it appears on my site. Unfortunately this destroys any chance of back and forth discussion among my readers. There are tens of thousands of spammers both robot and human roaming the web nowadays. The programmers of the robot spammers are locked in an arms race with anti-virus/spam companies. There are anti-bot programs like those hard to reach CAPTCHA recognition codes that were successful for a while, but a new generation of spambots has arisen that can surmount this barrier. So far I can recognize the comments left by spammers from their nonsense words, their mangled English, their repetitiveness, or their lack of relation to the particular blog post. But spammers are getting more sophisticated. What happens if I get a single comment like: “Great post, thanks for sharing!” The content of this comment is very general; it could make sense within the framework of many posts. Should I accept it or delete it? Sometimes people don’t have the time to write a long post making specific references to the subject matter of the post. I don’t want to shut readers out of my blog, but at the same time I don’t want to approve comments with links to potentially malicious sites. What do you do? ***If you like this blog you can have links to each week's posts delivered to your e-mail address. Please click here.
It is an honor to have been nominated for the Booker Award by Kindle Book Reviewer Marilou George. Please visit her website “Confessions of a Reader” for some thoughtful reviews of books that are both great and fun.I am now supposed to list my top five favorite books and pass the award on to five other bloggers who share the passion for reading books. However, instead of just merely listing single books I will list books or collections of stories that form part of a world-building series. Quote: One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, one Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. J. R. R. Tolkien created the fantastic world of Middle Earth with its many complex languages and creatures delighting us with the quests of Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit” and Frodo Baggins in “The Lord of The Rings.” The triumph of Frodo and his comrades over the evil Sauron and his minions is an uplifting tale full of stories within stories and legends within legends weaved together into a masterpiece of storytelling brilliance. Quote: Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. So beings “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” the first volume of the epic journey of a boy wizard inhabiting a world right next to ours but carefully hidden from our view. The fantasy J. K. Roling created became a phenomenon that touched the lives of millions of children as well as adults. The adventures of Harry, Ron, and Hermione in their fight against the evil Voldemort and his Death Eaters will endure for ages. Quote:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2) A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. These are the three laws of robotics created by Isaac Asimov as the cornerstone of his Robot Novels which were complemented by his Foundation novels where he lays out his vision of the future of humanity guided by the science of psychohistory. This is one of my favorite authors because both in his novels and his life Asimov believed in the eventual triumph of science and rationality over folly.
Quote: And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? Dan Simmons with the Hyperion series of books (the Hyperion Cantos) created not a world but dozens of them to which humanity has expanded only to face some formidable enemies attacking from within. The vastness of his vision that spans both time and space blending science, religion, and the work of poets like Yeats is truly formidable. Quote: That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die. And we end with the master of horror, H. P. Lovecraft, who in his stories imagined humanity as an insignificant latecomer to a world once ruled by Gods and other formidable creatures that are still worshipped by obscure cults in bizarre rituals. His vision of the sheer terror that arises when people come in contact with the remnants of this world has inspired many other writers from Robert Bloch to Stephen King. And I nominate the following bloggers for the Booker Award: Jeff Whelan, the inspired wordsmith behind the science fiction saga “Space Orville.” George Angus, author, all-around nice guy, and self-described “Tumblemoose” with a new book on Amazon “Talkeetna Trouble.” Carlie M. A. Cullen, a writer who can write for hours on chocolate and wine alone. Author of the soon to be published novel “Heart Search.” Laura Novak, a former career journalist turned blogger who put out her excellent debut novel “Finding Clarity” on Kindle last year. Laura Zera, a unique and optimistic globetrotter, Canadian expatriate, and student of the world. Author of the book “Tro-tros and Potholes, West Africa: Solo.” Congratulations! If they choose to, the above bloggers can now add the Booker Award picture to their websites. For this they must post a list of their top five favorite books and pass on the award to five other deserving bloggers. ***If you like this blog you can have links to each week's posts delivered to your e-mail address. Please click here.
I am honored to receive the Versatile Blogger Award from Jeri Walker-Bickett (thank you Jeri!) who passed it on to me. I am now supposed to reveal 7 things about myself and then pass the award to other deserving bloggers. Here I go: 1) I was born in Cuba one year before Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista dictatorship, and went on to establish a dictatorship of his own. My parents finally decided to leave the country when I returned one day from elementary school singing the Internationale. 2) As you can figure out from #1, my first language is Spanish. This is probably why I write and read English slower than the average person. 3) I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry. 4) Each of the last 3 generations of my immediate family has ended up resettling to a different country for one reason or another. 5) I myself have lived in a total of 5 countries throughout my life: Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Mexico, and the United States. 6) I played chess in my youth (that is what nerds did at the time) reaching first class player status. 7) The first time I lived surrounded by snow was here in the U.S. I arrived in New York State during winter to pursue graduate studies. I had a cold, and that day there was a fire alarm at 2 AM. We had to leave the student residence, and outside it was snowing. There I was coughing under this strange, cold, fluffy, white stuff falling from the sky while the Americans around me where dancing and yelling, “Party, party, party!” All in all an interesting cultural experience. I am passing this award on to other bloggers. If they accept the award they are supposed to publish a post on their blogs with the “Versatile Blogger Award” picture, where they reveal 7 things about themselves and then pass the award on to other deserving bloggers of their choice. The bloggers I have chosen are:Adriene (Sweepy Jean) posts her amazing poetry on her blog and examines multiple facets of life and society.Barbara Alfaro is the author of the books "Mirror Talk"and "First Kiss." She blogs about writing, theater, and poetry. Barbara is so expressive and writes so well that many of her posts are works of art themselves. Christine Macdonald is a survivor. She survived a disfiguring skin disease, working as a nude exotic dancer, drug addiction, cancer, and other trials that taught her many life lessons. She blogs about these and other related issues while working on her memoir.Lia London deals in her blog mostly with writing, but she reaches deep within the act of writing to the underlying reasons and their interconnectness to many things. She is the author of the book: "Circle of Law." Jennie Rosenbaum paints superb nude artworks and blogs about it. She also addresses censorship and other issues related to nudity in our societies. I have interviewed Jennie on my blog. Molly Greene writes insightful and helpful posts in her blog about social media and writing. Her debut novel “Mark of the Loon” was published recently on Amazon. Robert David McNeil is the author of the top rated Science Fiction novel on Amazon “Iona Portal.” He blogs about writing, social media, the e-book revolution, and his ongoing adventure. Sunny Lockwood in her blog Onword, is (as she puts it) mining life's golden moments from California's Mother Lode. Her posts are a delightful blend that ranges from the personal to the communal within the context of her California neck of the woods and the writing life. She is the author of the books “Living the Velvet Revolution” and "Shades of Love."