Invitation to a Twitter Book Launch Party

It’s easy even if you’ve never done this before.

Just go on Twitter your normal way and then click on the search function using the magnifying glass.

Type in hashtag #CSSAngelsAllAround so that you can see all the tweets at the party.

Be sure to include #CSSAngelsAllAround in all the tweets that you post. That way we all see everyone else’s posts.

It’s like a big cocktail party conversation!

See you at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (10:00 a.m. Pacific Time).


All About Information Overload Awareness Day

informationoverload2When a group of companies decided to establish Information Overload Awareness Day, their primary objective was to remind employees (and the general public) that there is simply too much information out there. Unchecked, this “infobesity” can have a negative impact on overall productivity and happiness.

Eight years ago, I had email and other correspondence under control. I was teaching full-time and would check emails and messages at most three times a day. Dealing with back-to-back classes, meetings, and extra-help sessions left with me with only small pockets of free time during the day. In the evenings, I disciplined myself to check email only after my marking and lesson preparation was complete.

Everything changed when I retired and started a full-time writing career. Suddenly, my in-box overflowed with messages from editors, publishers, and writers in different time zones. When I joined several national and international groups, I also had access to their Yahoo groups. Participating in Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media added to the constant flow of information.

My personal numbers:

• 8 Yahoo Groups
• Over 5K Twitter followers
• 500+ connections on each of the following: LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
• 70+ emails each day
• Following 30+ blogs
• Active participant in Twitter chats

Here are some tips that help me stay on track:

email-control-11. Schedule blocks of time for email, doing research, completing work-related tasks, and simply browsing. Do not simply jump on anytime you feel like it. If necessary, disconnect from the internet if you need to focus on a particular task. In his book, The Power of Less, Leo Babuta introduces the idea of an “offline hour,” which could be extended to an “offline day.”

2. Turn off email notifications. Most programs have alerts like a sound, pop-up message, or blinking icon that let you know when you have received a new email. This interruption can be disruptive and gives power to anyone who wants to email you.

3. Work your way from top to bottom, one email at a time. Open each email and deal with it immediately. Reply, delete, or archive for future reference. Whenever possible, limit your response to five or fewer sentences. This forces you to be concise and limits the time spent in the email box. Before deleting any email, ensure there will be no negative consequences.

4. Take your breaks away from the Internet. Instead of checking social media during lunch and breaks, get away from your desk: take a walk, meditate, practice yoga, meet with friends.

5. Eat the frog. This famous dictum comes from Mark Twain, who strongly recommended completing difficult—and sometimes unpleasant—tasks early in the day. e.g. Writing a synopsis, outlining a novel, completing a round of edits.


How do you deal with Information Overload?

Achieving F.O.C.U.S


While journaling (and complaining) about my lack of focus, I received an email inviting me to a webinar featuring best-selling author and educator D’Vorah Lansky. Intrigued by the title—“5 Time-Generating Secrets to Get More Done and Have More Fun!”—I signed up and took notes as I watched and listened.

I paid special attention to D’Vorah’s acronym for F.O.C.U.S.

Fine Tune Your Projects List

Optimize Your Email

Concentrate on What’s Essential

Unplug and Take Time to Recharge

Streamline Your Social Media Systems

Here are D’Vorah’s suggestions:

1. Gather all To-Do lists and create a Master Projects List. Set deadlines for completion and organize the items chronologically.

2. Schedule specific email-checking times during the time. Use a timer if you are easily distracted.

3. Create folders—Receipts, Writing Ideas, Publishers—and tag each incoming email accordingly. Only emails that require immediate attention should remain in the In-Box.

4. Identify your most productive times during the day. Do not check your emails during these times.

5. Clean your desk or work area at the end of each day and make a list of the six most important things that must be completed the following day. Leave the list on your desk and discipline yourself to attend to each item.

6. Factor in “fun time” each day. It could be as simple as taking a fifteen-minute dance break, playing with your cats, or having coffee at your favorite café. Setting aside time each week for a longer activity such as a movie, lunch with a friend, or “Blow with the wind” time is also important. When we recharge regularly, we can stay energized even during the toughest of times.

7. Schedule fifteen-minute blocks of daily social networking time. On the weekends, set aside a one-hour block to roam online.

Any other tips?

Top 10 Twitter Tips

I’m thrilled to welcome Soul Mate author Linda O’Connor to the Power of 10 series. Today, Linda shares Twitter tips and her latest release, Perfectly Planned.

Here’s Linda!

lindaoconnorI love Twitter! It’s fast and fun and can be used to share ideas, educate, promote, and connect. I’m slowly building my following and thought I’d share ten tips I’ve learned!

1. Follow freely. It’s not like Facebook where you follow only close friends and family. Keep your number of follows slightly lower than your followers. Never pay to get followers.

2. Unfollow people who don’t follow you back after 1 week. Seems harsh I know, but you want to generate followers who are interested in you. People aren’t notified who’s unfollowing them, so they won’t take it personally (and you shouldn’t either).

3. Keep the ratio of helpful tweets to shameless promotion to 3:1. The helpful tweets can be retweets from other people or links to interesting posts.

4. Tweet regularly – I find I need to tweet at least 5 times a day. Use Tweetdeck or Hootesuite to schedule tweets. They’re both free services, but you have to change your tweets slightly to tweet them more than once in the same day.

5. Tweet about your blog posts/favourite sayings/pictures you love/what you’re up to. Recycle old blog posts.

6. Use to create shortened links (it’s free up to 5000 links a month). Use the statistics that are generated by bitly to see which links are most popular and lead to call-to-actions.

7. Link to a landing page (like your website) instead of linking to amazon in your tweets so you can draw readers to all of your books and all of their outlets.

8. Be professional and polite. Thank the person who retweets your tweets. Stay within your brand. For example my brand is upbeat, funny, romantic comedy. So I post upbeat, funny stuff (or at least try to!).

9. Pin a new tweet to your profile page every day or two – and even better make sure the pinned tweet is about your book. Twitter doesn’t like when people retweet the same tweet more than once so you need to change up the pinned tweet.

10. Use # (hashtags) in your tweets. It’s like putting a tag to categorize the information and increases the chance that someone will find your tweet. And you can make it catchy! #doinahappydance ~~~~~~ (It’s the moonwalk :D)

PerfectlyPlannedFlat2_850 (2)


She has it all Perfectly Planned . . .

Chloe Keay is on the hunt for the perfect sperm donor, but who knew it would be this hard? So many things to consider in a father – sure height and hair color are important, but what about the real issues. How does he feel about bagpipe music? Does he buy the extended warranty? Skittles or M&Ms? She doesn’t want an average Joe. She’s narrowed it down to two candidates and has the perfect plan to pick the heir and the spare.

Staff Sergeant Rip Logan, head of the elite Tactics and Rescue Unit, has a gut feeling that Chloe Keay is trouble. She’s a sexy little spark plug who radiates innocence, but it doesn’t jibe with her suspicious behavior and probing questions. The fact that he’s attracted irritates him. What exactly is she after? And should he go with his gut or follow his heart?

Planning for love – what could possibly go wrong?



Linda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at HomeSense. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories :D.

Where to find Linda…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

Chatting on Twitter

5737870_sWhat is a Twitter chat?

While many descriptions abound, I like the following: Imagine a business networking event without a dress code and with a keyboard instead of a bar.

Or to be more precise…

A group of Twitter users meet at a pre-determined time to discuss set topics using a designated hashtag (#) for each tweet contributed. The moderator of the chat poses questions (Q1, Q2, Q3,…) to prompt responses from participants (A1, A2, A3, …). Each chat usually lasts an hour.

When I first joined Twitter, I shied away from participating in chats. To be truthful, I found them intimidating. I tried to follow the flow of several conversations and wondered how anyone could keep up with the constant flow of information. I had read somewhere that participating in a Twitter chat is like trying to navigate rapids while white water rafting. Not something I’ve ever tried or even considered.<

Continue reading on SMP Authors blog.

Your Time to Shine

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Soul Mate Author Gay Yellen sharing her extraordinary journey from high school Economics class to literary publication via Hollywood.

Here’s Gay!

gayyellen1Thanks, Joanne, for inviting me to share my Second Act, though my journey feels more like a full-on odyssey. But I’ll try to keep it to two.

First Act: I’ve always written. Dr. Seuss was an early influence, and I still write silly verse for fun. In high school I wrote my best poetry in Economics class, to the chagrin of my teacher. But my writing career didn’t begin until after I got Hollywood out of my system.

The need for change: Performing came naturally to me. After college I moved to L.A. and began an acting career. While I managed to get film and TV work, I hated the life (yes, it’s as tough as the stories you hear).

First Act, Part 2: I decided to apply to the Director’s Guild, which led to a job behind the camera as the Assistant to the Director of Production at The American Film Institute. I worked with thesis film students on their productions, helped cast actors, secure and manage location shooting, arrange with major studios to use their back lots for filming, their props, costumes, etc., and facilitated editing and post-production.

The need for change: I loved working at AFI, but the pay was meager.

Second Act, Part 1: A friend heard that a magazine needed a last-minute substitute to cover a story over the weekend. I jumped at it, even though I didn’t know a thing about the subject, or about magazines, for that matter. After I turned in the article, the magazine offered me an editing position. It paid much more than the AFI job, so I took it. In a couple of years, I moved to another magazine, where a series I wrote won a national journalism award.

Second Act, Part 2: A book! I helped write an international thriller, Five Minutes to Midnight, which was my first taste of book publishing. Soon after, I fell in love, married, and thought I was finally free to try my hand at a solo novel.

Second Act, Part 3: I’d just completed the first draft of The Body Business when my husband asked me for help with the advertising for his new national marketing firm. “Can you come up to the office this afternoon and tell me why my ads in The Wall Street Journal aren’t working?” he pleaded. “You’ve been in magazines, so you know about advertising.”

I tried to explain that editors don’t normally deal with the ad department, but he was my husband, so I went. Fifteen years later, after creating countless marketing pieces, ads, and even investment prospectuses, we sold the company, and I retired as its V.P. of client and media communications, and advertising.

Second Act, Part 4: Finally, I was free to do my own work. I dusted off the old rough draft of my book and discovered that it had become a period piece, with pay phones, typewriters and snail mail playing pivotal roles in the action. I updated it to the 21st Century, put it through a critique circle and found Soul Mate Publishing. The Body Business was published in 2014.

Where are you now?

I’m working furiously on the sequel to The Body Business, and there are other projects in queue. I’m happy to finally affirm that writing is no longer my first, second or tenth act. It’s what I do.


Work to be as good as you can at what you do, and believe that your time to shine will come.

TheBodyBusiness3_850 (2)


A great career. Fantastic boyfriend. Samantha Newman has it all, until her best friend vanishes, and doubt creeps in. Forced to choose between the success she’s worked hard to achieve and the hidden truth behind it, she risks everything and discovers a dark secret that could destroy her life forever.

Where to find Gay…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Joanne here!

What a whirlwind! If you ever run out of ideas for novels, consider writing your memoirs. Thank you for an entertaining and inspiring post.

Hunting for Adventures

Welcome to my Second Acts series!

Today, we have Jodie Esch talking about a life jam-packed with adventures.

Here’s Jodie!

jodieeschAct 1— Schools, Schools & More Schools.

I appeared destined to become a teacher. Some people joked that I was born clutching a package of felt pens. I was the kind of child who constructed little classrooms around our house and dutifully instructed my baby brother and sister.

My Air Force family moved constantly. Vancouver Island, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec became my classrooms. Eventually, I took teacher training in Quebec and ventured out into the world of schools.

My college roommate and I decided we wanted to work together. In that era, there was a buffet of choices. We signed up for job interviews only in places that had access to skiing. Both of us landed jobs in Quebec City. This was our dream job because we skied every Wednesday night and every weekend.

Operating in a rather ‘abstract random’ style I then chose to work for the YWCA in Quebec City, studied Modern dance in Toronto and generally tried to find myself. I believed that the Canary Islands would be my next destination.

But I was running out of money, so I headed to Canada’s Arctic where I taught Grade 2 and discovered my husband-to-be. However, I had only two years of teacher training, so the writing was on the wall.  Change careers or sign up for more education.

I decided to follow my dad’s mantra, “When in doubt, go back to school.” And so I did. I acquired graduate degrees and continued to teach. I worked at Simon Fraser University and Vancouver Community college.

In the fullness of time, I found my perfect elementary school on Vancouver Island. Perfect staff, perfect students, perfect parents. It was a stellar experience.

But something was missing. Finally, I left school administration after a total of twelve years, loving the work but on the hunt for the next adventure.

Act 2—Looking Within

I dug deep and unearthed the lost link in the land of words. I decided to embrace fiction writing. I bought craft books, took classes, joined groups, entered contests, met with editors and agents and sent my work to publishing houses. And I continued to read and read. Very obsessive I know. But that has turned out to be my style.

I wrote and wrote, not really knowing what I was doing.  Everything was a thrilling venture. I tried romance, women’s fiction, romantic suspense and a middle grade novel. I finished all of these manuscripts, over a ten year period.

Finally I stumbled upon the Young Adult genre. Ah yes! I could utilize all the voices, all the drama, all of the compelling stories of my life with students.

And so, for your reading pleasure, I now have The Girlfriends Series –Best Friends Forever. (Available on Amazon). Less than a latte!

Book #1 Little White Lies

Book #2 Little White Pills

Book #3 Little White Magic (to be released at the end of Sept. 2013)

The moral of this story? It’s never too late to find what you’re looking for in your life. Embrace your own journey. You will discover what you want and need.

Thank you Joanne for inviting me to join your blog. I wish you all the best in your writing adventures.



In Little White Lies, Book # 1 of the Girlfriends Series, eighth grader Rachel Scott finally has the perfect boyfriend. He’s good looking, athletic and wealthy. The only problem is he doesn’t actually exist. Rachel’s escape into her fantasy world worries her parents and they insist she meet with the school counselor. Frustrated with her life and without her best friend’s approval, Rachel heads down a dangerous path, looking for love in all the wrong places.

Tenth grader Steph Baxter has it all, perfect looks, perfect grades and a perfect life. She’s a model high school student and a member of the cheerleading squad. But in her quest for excellence, she makes dangerous choices. Soon her simple solution becomes a complex problem. Follow Steph and her best friend Rachel as they cope with Steph’s unexpected journey. Can Steph find support before it’s too late?

Where to find Jodie…


Author Page:



A Journey of Self-Awareness

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Certified Life Coach Sandra Dawes talking about the experiences that have shaped her amazing life journey.

 Here’s Sandra!

Sandra Dawes 21897In my mid to late twenties I lived a very passive life. I lived to make others happy, often to the detriment of my own happiness. I was a constant people pleaser, a consequence of low self-esteem and self-confidence. In my heart, I didn’t feel like I was worthy of love, so I did whatever I thought I had to do to prove to the people in my life that I was worth the love I so badly needed from them. In doing this, I put my own dreams and desires on the backburner.

When my father died, my world shifted in ways I didn’t think were possible. While he had been diagnosed with cancer 6 years earlier, I thought he had beaten it. It came back with a vengeance in 2004 and he died on the operating table during hip replacement surgery. I wasn’t prepared for the consequences of my father’s passing. I was in denial that it was even a possibility! With all that happened after his death, I was left hopeless, believing that all that I had done for others was a complete waste of time and unsure if I was ever going to experience joy in my life again, or if I really ever knew what it meant!

It took years of self-help books and a journey of self-awareness to understand that I am the creator of the reality that I experience and that if I wanted different experiences, I needed to make changes in the way I lived my life. I now understand I am worthy of love and don’t need anyone to prove that to me. I just need to believe it in my own heart and love myself the way I wanted others to love me. Instead of allowing life to happen to me, I’m doing what I need to do to make things happen in my life. My self-esteem and self-confidence are stronger than they have ever been and I’m no longer afraid to step outside my comfort zone and try new things and put myself out there in ways that would have made my knees weak just a few years ago!

No matter how bad things may seem right now, or how impossible your dreams might look, the belief that anything is possible is a necessary requirement if you want to live a better life than the one you’re currently experiencing. Belief in your dreams, a plan to make them a reality and taking action each and every day towards making those dreams real, are important steps in living the life that you’ve dreamed about. You have to believe without a shadow of a doubt that you are worth all of the amazing things that you want for your life. Yes, there will be obstacles and challenges along the way, but when you want something bad enough; you can’t let anything deter you from your goals!

Wayne Dyer says “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” How do you want to experience life? Do you want to live your life believing that you have no control over your circumstances and live a mediocre, unfulfilling life, or do you want to experience life where anything is possible and you can achieve your heart’s desires as long as you are committed to do whatever it takes to make it happen? I’ve chosen to live my life without regret and pursue my passions to the fullest. It’s scary at times, but every milestone I encounter reminds me that it’s all worth it, and so am I!

Where to find Sandra…

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Joanne here!

Sandra, your clients are truly blessed to have such a caring and insightful coach in their lives. Thank you for sharing your triumphant story.

One Year on Twitter


It’s hard to believe a year has passed since I joined Twitter. Looking back, I can only shake my head at all the excuses I gave for resisting social media.

It would take too much time.

What if no one followed me?

What would I tweet?

All my fears were short-lived. I was hooked after the first day and was amazed by the number of Twitter-worthy topics that emerged. I always had something to contribute from my favorite quotations to posts and articles about writing to inspirational chats…

Over the past twelve months, I have tweeted almost every day and encountered a new set of friends and interests. I have participated in a number of chats, among them #SpiritChat, #PoCchat, #PFWchat, #InspireChat and #LeadfromWithin.

My numbers, to date…

6509 tweets | 2146 following | 2472 followers

Inspired by Intrigue Media


Community building.

An unexpected perk from the workshop, “Attract and Engage Customers with Social Media,” offered by Intrigue Media.

In addition to delivering an excellent presentation chock-full of information about Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Online Marketing Specialist Vanessa Young succeeded in creating a sense of community among the four participants.

Photographer. Lawyer. Furniture Store Manager. Writer. Under normal circumstances, we would never have connected, let alone supported each other on our respective journeys. But that’s exactly what happened yesterday evening in the warm, inviting house at the corner of Westmount and Speedvale in Guelph, Ontario.

As Vanessa outlined fifteen key points to social media success, she included personal anecdotes and examples. We also shared and felt comfortable enough to ask questions and solicit advice throughout the presentation. So much so, that we went thirty minutes overtime!

My favorite nuggets…

  • Diversify and connect the different social media tools.
  • Use contests, deals and giveaways to create more buzz. Several examples were shared, among them Amazon and Starbucks gift cards, free e-readers and book donations to a charity of choice. Contests centered on creating captions and slogans were highly recommended.
  • Post and share relevant content, with the emphasis on quality.
  •  Less is definitely more. Don’t annoy followers with too many posts. Vanessa recommends no more than three Facebook posts a day. Keep the messages short and sweet. Twitter has a built-in limit of 140 characters. For Facebook, keep the posts under 180 characters.
  • Keep the hashtags down to two per tweet.
  • Most important of all—Interact and engage with your friends and followers.

Driving home, so many possibilities whirled through my mind.

  • A Facebook contest to celebrate the launch of the book cover.
  • Caption contests for Isabella, the protagonist of Between Land and Sea.
  • Joining LinkedIn.
  • Revamping my website.

Molte grazie Vanessa Young & Intrigue Media!