Goodbye Stupid Comcast (and Other Tidbits)

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Happy Monday, All! I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing weekend, unlike myself, who spent the last couple of days shopping for a mattress and a sectional. Until recently, I had no idea that mattress salesmen were just as fast-talking and (seemingly) shady as used car salesmen. I guess it’s hard out there on those mattress streets and you’ve gotta say whatever you have to to make a dollar.

But that’s not the good part: it looks like after months of rehabbing our house, our move in date is here! Woo-hoo! And hopefully, we’ll get things squared away with Comcast, the root of all evil and gray hair. Sidebar: this weekend, Comcast gave us two separate appointments for transfer of service: one on Saturday between 3 and 5 (and then mysteriously didn’t show up) and then one on Sunday between 8 and 8 (and then mysteriously, didn’t show up). We finally were able to get someone on the phone and discovered that:

1,. We’d been scheduled for a “customer self-install,” which means that we were expected to take the cable boxes from the old house to the new house. Well, guess what? We don’t have any cable jacks at the new house. So what were we supposed to do? Build them? You’d think “do you have cable jacks at the new location?” might be included in the list of questions they ask you, but whatever.

2. I spoke with someone on the phone to see if they could send someone out since this seemed like their mistake to me, and was told, “Well, we can’t really call dispatch but we can put in a ticket, but we can’t guarantee that someone will call you today.” Um, why can’t you call dispatch??? Wait, let me guess: they don’t have any phone jacks at their location. Insert expletive.

But don’t let the sour grapes fool you: I’m super excited about this move, but as you can imagine, we’ve been super busy this past weekend and will be in the coming week as well. I know my visits have been slow in the last few days and will be again in the coming week, so I apologize  in advance. But I will get caught up with all of you soon. Can’t wait to see what all of you are up to, and to all my A-Zers: rock on:)

What about others? Any experience with fast talking salesmen? Any cable company horror stories? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

*Update: The Comcast technician showed up on Wednesday, April 15 but couldn’t do the install because he “didn’t have the proper tools to install the cable jacks*

Dear Comcast: If I want to get an ulcer, I’ll just drive blindfolded through L.A. traffic. 

Sincercely, 

A former customer. 

 

 


A – Z Challenge – I is for Ibeyi

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My theme for the A – Z Blogging Challenge is music and today’s post is brought to you by the letter:

 

I

 

A few weeks ago I was over at author L. Penelope’s blog and discovered the group Ibeyi for the first time. They’re twins. They sing. And they can hold their breaths for a really really really long time.

The video for “River” is simple: one camera, one set of twins, and mysterious hands and arms (one tatooed) holding both their heads under water. The video is odd but captivating and the song gives me all sorts of story ideas.

If Edgar Allan Poe had twin daughters who sang, they’d probably be Ibeyi.

Here’s the video for “River.”

 

Have you heard of Ibeyi? Do you ever get story ideas from music?


A – Z Challenge – G is for Groove Theory

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Yesterday, I missed out on “G” for the A – Z Challenge but I had to bring it back just in case some of you aren’t familiar with Groove Theory. “Tell Me” has got to be one of my favorite songs of all time. It grooves, it bangs, and it most certainly knocks. And Amel Larrieux? #vocalsonfleek.

“Tell Me” came out in 1995 and you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t a certified superstar when that song came on! I would sing into my hairbrush like I was onstage at Showtime at the Apollo (never mind the fact that every time I sing, a dog howls somewhere in the wilderness).

Here’s the video for “Tell Me.”

And I couldn’t mention Amel Larrieux without mentioning “Don’t Let me Down” from the Beyond the Lights soundtrack. As soon as the song came on, I typed the lyrics into Google to find out who the artist was and immediately added the song to my Spotify list. Loves!

 What about others? What are some of your old school favorites? And what’s on your playlist right now?

 


A to Z Challenge – F is for Fuego!

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F

A few years ago when I lived in San Jose, I was a member of this gym called Club One. I walked into one of the Saturday morning classes thinking that it was kickboxing. The instructor said, “How many of you are new to Zumba?” Nobody raised their hand–inlcuding me, who had never done Zumba before. I was too embarrassed to leave so I stayed in the back rolling my eyes, thinking that I couldn’t possibly get a good workout from Zumba. Burn calories just from wiggling my hips? No way!

But I am here to tell you that this class made me a believer. I wore my heart rate monitor and I burned almost 700 calories in one hour. Yes. Almost 700 calories. More than I would burn in spin and kickboxing. I’ve been a Zumbaholic ever since.

And in that first class, the instructor, Theresa, God bless her, had Fuego on her playlist. The moment it came on everybody in the class started clapping and moving their feet. I’m not the best dancer but when this song comes on? You better clear the aisles. Take a listen at the song below (and watch this class get down) and see for yourself why it’s still my all time fave Zumba song.

Anybody else tried Zumba? If you have, what’s your favorite song? And if you haven’t tried it, you should! Even if you think you have no rhythm, you can stay in the back of the class (like I do:)

 


A – Z Challenge – D is for DJ Jubilee

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For this A – Z Challenge I’m telling you all about some of my favorite musicians, and today, D is for DJ Jubilee! I grew up on New Orleans Bounce Music and DJ Jubilee is a staple where I’m from. In fact, if you don’t know these dance moves back home, you get your Looziana card taken away.

Check out this video of fitness instructors Lauren and Kelsi doing some cool choreography to DJ Jubilee’s “Get it Ready.” Takes off shoes to boogie in 3, 2, 1…

 

 


A – Z Challenge: C is for Cupid Shuffle

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My theme for this A-Z Challenge is music, and today, C is for “Cupid Shuffle”!

I’m particularly happy to tell you all about this song because the artist is from my neck of the woods: Lafayette, Looziana. My hometown, New Iberia, is a pebble’s throw away. Now, if you saw my post from yesterday, you’ll know that I love me some line dancin’, and Cupid’s songs are known to cause quite a few rugs to get cut in my house uponst their release. In other words: I be jammin’, ya’ll.

You might already be familiar with the “Cupid Shuffle,” but if you aren’t, check out this video of the Steve Harvey show audience doing the dance during a commercial break. Classic!

 

Cupid has another song that I heard during one of my dance aerobics classes. It’s called “Go Head Baby” and you should have seen us all in there gettin’ down with our bad selves! I would post a video of me dancing but I’m sure it would go viral for all the wrong reasons. So instead, check out these cool moves to the song. If I could move like that, I’d probably dance in the grocery store check out line to my car, lol. And listen to the way Cupid says, “Baby.” When people who don’t know me hear my accent, they say, “Girl, where are you from???” Looziana. Now go head, baby…

 


A – Z Challenge: B is for Big Mucci

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Step up with it-now move it on back
Step back with it-now move it on up
Now step-turn-step-turn
Now kick and cross and slide to the right…

There’s a largely popular song that some of you might not be familiar with: it’s called the Social Club (SC) Hustle, and it’s by an artist named Big Mucci.

I heard this song at a wedding a couple of years ago. Everyone rushed to the floor to do the dance and I just stood there thinking, “Hey! I never heard this song before!” (And secretly wanting to join the crowd and try the dance). The thing I remember most about that day was this elderly lady. There was a crowd of “young folks” and she stepped right on through them and hit a one-two step that put those youngsters to shame. She was gettin’ it!

A wedding just seems like the best place for line dancing. I’ve seen it all: The Electric Slide. The Harlem Shuffle. And one set to this zydeco song that involves turning and kicking up your heels and what not (too much work if you ask me). My grandmother used to run a catering business and at one wedding reception, I remember the bride on the dance floor, doing a line dance with her asthma pump in hand. 

I’m a HUGE lover of line dance songs so you’ll be seeing a few of them during my A-Z Challenge:) What about others? What’s your favorite line dance? Do you normally see them at weddings? Do you join in or are you shy like me?

And if you’re curious about how to do the SC Hustle, here’s a video (dance starts at about the 2:00 minute mark).

 

 


A – Z Challenge: A is for Adele

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So, I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! I wasn’t going to because I feared either running out of stuff to talk about or not having time, but this post by Arlee Bird (creator of the challenge) convinced me: I can write about anything and it doesn’t have to be “genius” or groundbreaking. *Breathes a sigh of relief*

What’s my theme, you ask? Well, I thought about this all day yesterday and since I’m signing up at the ninth hour, it makes sense for me to focus on something that I love and will be easy for me to write about: music!

So today, my friends, A is for Adele. I’m a huge fan of hers (and if you don’t know who she is, do yourself a favor and go listen to 21. Right this second) and have been ever since I heard her sing Hometown Glory on some VH1 program. Lord, that woman can sing! You’re probably familiar with the huge hit from her last album, Rolling in the Deep, but how many of you have heard the New Orleans Bounce Mix???

Confession: if this song is playing and I’m in my car, there’s a strong chance that I’ll be gettin’ down with my bad self. I’m not a terrific dancer, but what can I say? I grew up listening to bounce music so when I heard this mix, it immediately went into heavy rotation. Funny story: my brother thought this was the original!

Anybody else ever been caught dancing while driving? How many of you are Adele fans?

And there’s still time to sign up for the A-Z Challenge! You can do so here. It’s also IWSG time! We meet every first Wednesday of the month to release our fears and insecurities onto the world without fear of appearing foolish or weak. To find out more about IWSG and to sign up, click here. Happy Wednesday! :)


Which Social Media Outlet is Most Effective for Authors?

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Happy Monday, All! Today I’m super excited because I have science fiction and fantasy author Violette L. Meier as a host today! Today Violette is giving us an overview of some of the most popular venues for anybody out here on these social media streets trying to build a platform. Enjoy!

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Social media marketing to writers is a Godsend! Never underestimate the value of a great marketing campaign. There are so many creative ways to get your book known to the world. Today I am going to tell you about seven social media outlets that can help you promote your book.

1. Facebook.
Facebook is an awesome place to build relationships with readers and writers, and promote your book events. Using it for free is effective, but since Facebook has been blocking many posts from friends, you may want to consider doing a paid promotion. Paid promotion is a good investment. It is a proven way to drive people to your website. You can set your budget and control its time duration. It allows you to tap directly into your demographic by using filters (age, location, interests, etc.).

2. Twitter
Twitter is a wonderful marketing tool, but Twitter calls for advanced craftiness. You can’t just tweet “Buy my book”. You have to come up with catchy phrases, tweet interesting articles, share news stories, and find a way to tie some of these things to your book. Make sure you use pictures and links. They are attention catchers, and more interesting to retweet.

3. Instagram
Instagram is a great source to post cool pictures and memes. It allows writers to post pictures of their events, characters, book covers, and all things visually stimulating.

4. Google+
Google+ is a social media outlet for intellectuals. Spam is frowned upon so make sure that your self-promotion isn’t overwhelming, and that you post it in the appropriate places. It is important that you tie your work into popular topics, news stories, scientific discoveries or paranormal activities. Join Google+ communities and be an active participant. Google+ is also a great way to tap into the international market.

5. Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a wonderful social tool that allows you to post to all of your social media sites simultaneously. It is a wonderful timesaver, and it allows you to schedule postings. I post event reminders months in advanced so I don’t have to worry about last minute promotions.

6. YouTube
YouTube is wonderful for those who are video savvy. Create book trailers, short films, or comedic commercials. You can also post interviews, events, and record informational videos. YouTube allows you to be up close and personal with the world.

7. SlideShare
SlideShare is a site where you can upload PowerPoint presentations to share with the world. You can create wonderful teaching tools while promoting your work at the same time.

Using social media as a promotional venue is the most economical and practical solution for most writers. However, it is important not to over promote. Build relationships with people and people are more likely to purchase your products. People support people that they like. Be likable, witty, compassionate, informative, and most of all offer great books so others will want to support you in the future.

book flyer

 

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Violette L. Meier, author of Son of the Rock, Angel Crush, Out of Night, et.al
www.violettemeier.com

Thank you, Violette!

So whether you’re an expert, novice, or somewhere in between: which social media outlet do you find most useful for building your platform??? Inquiring minds want to know!


About Those Annoying Auto Dms (And How to Respond)

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We had a discussion here a couple weeks ago about networking and building connections (and how that, as opposed to spamming folks from here to eternity) is better for your brand (and the world’s sanity).

During the discussion, blogger buddy Lidy Wilks mentioned something that I’m sure we’ve all come to loathe: auto DMs on Twitter. She mentioned how some people will send an auto DM saying like their FB page and they’ll like yours back, but then they never do it.

She is so right! That’s actually one of my pet peeves right now on top of the auto DMs: the promise to do something you have no intentions of doing just to get something. It’s not good “marketing.” It’s annoying and dishonest. If you have over 20,000 followers, you might reason that you just don’t have the time to return every like or comment. Well, maybe you shouldn’t be making promises you can’t keep. But that’s none of my business, though.

Here are a few that I’ve gotten recently and my initial thoughts after reading them:

I dare you to read the first chapter of my novel (sounds like a threat).

Read my shorts at ______________  (at first, I thought it said “eat my shorts”).

I’m on FB, too! (link to page). I like back! :) (Sure you do, hon. Sure you do.)

Remember that time you tried to sign your mama’s name on your report card? And you didn’t even know how to write in cursive? Remember that look your teacher gave you? Well, that’s the kind of side-eye I give those auto DMs.

The next time someone sends you an auto DM promising to “like your FB page if you like mine!” send them a Facebook page like for a like contract and see how they respond.

Here’s a sample you can use:

I, author spammer extraordinaire, promise to like your Facebook page if you like mine. If I don’t, I shalt be forced to write and publish Twilight fan fiction only for the rest of my literary days. This I swear, on this day, the 23 of March, the year of our Lord 2015, heretofore, heretofive, and all that jazz.

___________________ Date

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What about others? How do you feel about auto DMs? Let’s talk about it!