Blog Topics

Blogs are mini-essays consisting of about 300 to 500 words.  The host may suggest a topic or allow authors to choose their own.  I have written eight such blogs.

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The blog sites are listed below.  In addition, I have selected two of my writings to give you a quick look.

Bea's Book Nook

Blog Topic Directions:  Topic of your choice.  (300-500 words)

Murray's Blog Title:  Under the Spell of Love:  Ellen's View


Broken Teepee (Featured below)

Blog Topic Directions:  Topic of your choice.  (300-500 words)

Murray's Blog Title:  A Writer's Senior Moment on Facebook


I Read Banned Books (Featured below)

Blog Topic Directions:  Your publication journey or your thoughts on adults and reading/literacy.  (300-500 words)

Murray's Blog Title:  My Publication Journey for Meet Me on the Paisley Roof


Life in Review

Blog Topic Directions:  Topic of your choice.  (300-500 words)

Murray's Blog Title:  Going to Church:  Worldly Matters Matter


Minding Spot

Blog Topic Directions:  Something related to the holiday/winter season that in some way is related to your writing/books.  (300-500 words)

Murray's Blog Title:  Close Family or Close to Being Family?  A Christmas Answer


Proud Book Nerd

Blog Topic Directions:  Topic of your choice.  (300-500 words)

Murray's Blog Title:  A Christian Theme in Meet Me on the Paisley Roof


Reviews by Molly

Blog Topic Directions:  Topic of your choice.  (300-500 words)

Murray's Blog Title:  Something Borrowed, Something New:  Writing the Autobiographical Novel


Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Blog Topic Directions:  Why you became a writer or Why this setting for this story or Your outlook on the digitalization of reading.  (300-500 words)

Murray's Blog Title:  Why Columbus, Georgia is the Setting for This Story

Sample from the Blog Topics

Blog 1

My Publication Journey for Meet Me on the Paisley Roof

         During the final stages of completing my manuscript, in the late '90s, I began attending writers' conferences and workshops to find out about the publishing possibilities for fiction.  I found The Harriet Austin Writer's Conference, held annually in Athens, Georgia, where I live, to be an especially informative venue, attracting nationally recognized and locally known authors, agents, editors, and publishers.  Here's the message I came away with after several years of listening and interacting with presenters and participants.  (1) Get an agent.  You have virtually no chance of finding a publisher unless you have an agent.  (2) Getting an agent, unfortunately, is harder than finding a publisher.  Although their literary acumen may be close to that of the black-bellied whistling duck, agents know what will sell and the language of contracts.  (3) Women rule!  They write the books.  They buy the books.  So think feminine, guys!  (4) Don't talk about the quality of your manuscript.  Talk about the sales potential.  Develop a marketing plan.  Remember you are writing to make money, among other things.  If you don't know how to make money, find out.  (5) Have some plans in mind for your next book.  You are truly a gold mine of new books.  (6) Keep those query letters (a.k.a. clay pigeons) to agents, editors, and publishers flying.  Many agents, editors, and publishers see themselves as overworked heroes who must do battle with the noisome masses of wannabe authors.  Amazingly, some don't even hide their contempt.  (7) Occasionally, you may find an agent or editor who will actually read part of your manuscript and even like it.  But, try again next year.  (8) Cherish those rare moments when someone of true merit, such as a Terry Kay, speaks.

         By the mid 2000's I had given up on the mad merry-go-round described above.  And fortunately, by then, a new option, self-publishing, was beginning to stir.  The book that introduced this new world to me was The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine, who had also started a new company, Mill City Press.

         After a careful search process, I decided to go with Mill City Press.  I selected the services I needed, paid for them, and ultimately retained all of the book royalties.  During this process, I interacted with a dozen or more individuals, each one of whom was cordial, competent, and helpful.  To facilitate this interaction, they provided an author coordinator to keep the ball rolling and an author website where tasks to be done were identified and tracked.  This was a first-class operation.

         The self-publishing world is rapidly changing and also swelling the market with new titles.  If you are considering self-publishing as a possibility for your manuscript, do your homework very carefully.  I would especially recommend contacting authors who have recently published with the company you are considering.

         What are the chances of getting your work to the masses or making any money?  Slim.  But slim is better than none.

Blog 2

A Writer's Senior Moment on Facebook

         After Meet Me on the Paisley Roof was published in 2009, I wanted to quit for a while, maybe head for Maui and take that crazy drive along the Hana coast as my wife Dorris and I had done many years ago.  After all, I did my job.

         But, wrong!  Now suddenly I had to become the great communicator.  So I did the traditional book-hyping things for a year or so.  Then, early in 2010 I began to hear about "social media" and a place called Facebook.   It was the wave of the future, I was told, and all writers (even a seventy-year- old such as myself) needed to have a Facebook page.  I found a creative designer in Brooklyn who would help me with the book page, but first, he said, I would need to set up my personal page by myself because of privacy issues.  So I quickly read a few books on the subject and alerted my daughter-in-law Lynn, a Facebook user, I might need some help.  Anyway, I just plunged ahead.

         Setting up the personal page was sort of like taking a quiz on your own life.  Facebook asked you to list information such as your favorite movies, TV shows, and books.  Well, I decided to be honest; after all, this was for my friends.  I had just read The Sex Lives of Cannibals:  Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost, so I put it on my list of recent books, along with War and Peace (as a hoot to balance things out).  It didn't take long to complete the Facebook quiz, so my page was activated, and I was in business.

         The next day I could see that Facebook had been busy and had a list of potential friends ready for me to consider.  Most I knew, but one lady in particular I had never seen before.  And why was she (please remember the picture was very small) posing with her elbows showing like that?  Strange.  I didn't know her.  I called Dorris in to see what she thought.  "Those are not elbows," she said.  "Oh, really!  I can't believe it," I sputtered.

         Well, actually I did believe it and removed her post.  But soon I got more photos of topless women with "friending" requests.  Where are these people coming from, I wondered?  The phone rang.  It was Lynn. "You forgot to set your privacy controls!  The whole world can see your profile!"  Quickly I set the privacy controls and guess what?   The friending requests from topless women gradually declined, then stopped.  Apparently, there are people who make a living scanning available Facebook profiles for keywords, then selling that information.  So, for good measure, I deleted Troost's book from my list.  Too bad; his book was not about sex or cannibals, just a well written, enjoyable book with an eye-catching title.

         I now have a Facebook page for my book (which you're on now) and I enjoy adding new posts and responding to queries.  If you have multiple books or anticipate such, you probably should consider an author page for yourself rather than a page for a single book.  But, whatever you do, remember that Facebook constantly changes and that the scanners are mining for gold, especially for small, three-letter nuggets.