Tattoos, Killers, Psychics and The Delicious Decadence of The Big Easy…

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Inspired by Kristen Lamb
+ Leigh K. Hunt

Researching
The Tattooist

So I have seen a few posts on various blogs, facebook statuses and twitter where writers give the world a glimpse into their google searches. I was mostly inspired by the post by Leigh. K. Hunt.

As a writer I tend to do a lot of research. I do it the old fashioned way by taking out library books. Believe me I have lived down my fair share of raised eyebrows by blue-rinsed-haired little old ladies at the check out counter. Sometimes I am tempted to ask them what they are thinking as they stamp my books of nefarious themes.

But I probably do about 60% of research with the help of Google. Google is my friend. Although sometimes that friend takes me to places I may not want to go. Did I mention I Love to research. When I get started with a new W.I.P (Work in Progress) it becomes both an obsession and an addiction to research. Let me preface this by saying, for those who don’t know me, I don’t write romance. I write about serial killers, unsolved murders and the paranormal.

Unlike actors who like to use The Method school of acting, it is unadvisable for a thriller writer to try this method to better get into their character’s minds. Unadvisable because it would mean breaking quite a few laws, committing crimes, having to evade the law by obtaining a false identity and skipping the country to some tropical island where nobody speaks your language (preferred), where cocktails are the preferred beverage (goes without saying) and where there is no internet (less likely to be caught by the law).
Although in the interests of being open and honest, I have placed my body in weird death positions to see if it is physically feasible to lie in that way. As I reread what I just wrote I realise how ridiculous my logic is because after all if you’re dead it does not matter if it is “physically feasible” to be in your death position.

I have been a thriller and crime reader since I can remember. For me the thriller especially gives the deepest insight into what makes the Homo sapiens tick and more importantly what makes the ticking manic enough to give into a darker nature. I follow true life crime stories too because of this same fascination. So naturally it was natural that I fell into writing about the darker side of human nature.

Of course by now we are all aware that every little thing we do online is seen somewhere by someone, usually a worker drone at some international alphabet lettered company. If you’re online, you’re not private. I have often wondered what people would think about my google history.

So first let me repeat that I AM A PARANORMAL THRILLER AUTHOR.
It is vital that in the interests of authenticity, I must know about what I write. Which is where Google comes in. Just like the saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”; Don’t judge this writer by her google search history nor by the books she chooses to write.

Let me ensure you:
I am sane.
I do not have mental issues.
I do not want to nor have I murdered anyone.
I do not keep a list of people who annoy me.
I do not own a weapon of any sort.
I do know how to take an intruder or person with bad intent down.
I do know how to take a weapon off someone.

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    My Google Search History

Tattoos
History of Tattoos
Mythology of Tattoos
Tattooists
Serial Killers
Understanding Serial Killers
Serial Killers, Motives, Crimes
Profiling
Psychopaths
Sociopaths
Psychopaths vs Sociopaths
Narcissists
The Nature of Evil
Unsolved Murders
Buried bones
Homicide Investigations
CSI and Forensic Investigations
Autopsies
Psychics
Psychic connections
Psychic links
Paranormal
Future Foretelling
Clairvoyance
Twin Connections
Telepathy
Telekinesis
Buried Memories
Schizophrenia
Multiple Personality Disorder
Dissociative Identity Disorder
Nurture vs Nature
Adopted Children
Being Adopted
Orphanages
Foster Homes
New Orleans
Crime in New Orleans
Old New Orleans
The History of New Orleans
New Orleans Mardi Gras
New Orleans Jazz
French Quarter, New Orleans
Convents
Catholicism
Streets of New Orleans
Famous sites in New Orleans
Food in New Orleans
Crime in New Orleans
Crime Investigation in New Orleans
Bayou
VooDoo

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So what’s in your Google Search History?
Do you make the cut for any Big Brother Suspects list?
What is the weirdest thing you have searched for on Google?

Posts of Interest

Ink & Blood
A Tendency to Obsess
Kick-Ass Heroes. No! – Make that Kick-Ass Heroines
The Haunted, Voodoo & The Haunting Magic Cocktails

Books that I recommend to hide those weird search subjects from Big Brother:

I just recently found the books below and now I swear by them. I have not given up Google yet but these books answer so many questions about forensics in fiction, many I had not even thought of. Both books are in question/answer format. The questions come from fiction authors and the answers come from experts in the forensics/medical/criminal investigation/legal fields.
Highly Recommend adding these two books to your book shelf. Even if you are not an author the books are intriguing enough to keep anyone interested.

Forensics and Fiction by D.P.Lyle
More Forensics and Fiction by D.P.Lyle

Related Posts as suggested by my good friend: Google

Be Careful What You Google
Writing is weird and so are my Google searches
In Which I examine my Google Search History
One day my Google search history will get me arrested
It’s ok I’m a Writer

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The Darker Side of Blogging: A Spooky Roundup, Part One

Walk on the dark side…Wordpress in all the shades of strange and horrific…Part 1

The WordPress.com Blog

All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, Samhain, and the Day of the Dead are nearly upon us. What better time to take a look at the darker side of WordPress.com?

Our bloggers cover the spooky spectrum, from horror film reviewers to Wiccans to Halloween crafters to bioarchaeologists (they study bones!). This weekend we’re bringing you a double dose of the heebie-jeebies, with Halloween and witchcraft bloggers today, and other offbeat spooky topics tomorrow.

If you’re a fan of fright or just want to explore something new, get ready for the creepiest holiday season with these eerie entries:

Halloween Howlers

Are costumes and crafts more your speed than monsters and mayhem? There’s no shortage of inspiration on WordPress.com, with tons of bloggers dedicated to getting you and your little ones ready for an epic night of trick or treating.

DIY Halloween

The bloggers behind D.I.Y. Halloween take October 31st very seriously:

Every year…

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The Darker Side of Blogging: A Spooky Roundup, Part Two

Walk on the Dark Side this October…a spooktacular offering of dark blogging…Part 2

The WordPress.com Blog

We started getting into the Halloween spirit yesterday, with Halloween craft and costume blogs and a look at some of the real-life witches on WordPress.com.

Today we continue the Halloween Spooktacular with some less Halloween-y but no less creepy content: horror film buffs, zombie aficionados, and cemetery guides, oh my!

Frightening film and fiction

If you prefer that ghouls stay safely in movies and books, there are plenty of WordPress.com authors ready to guide you to the scariest of scary movies, like the team of eleven bloggers behind Mutant Reviewers.

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Led by Head Mutant Justin, the Mutant Reviewers team is dedicated to cult classics, watching the worst so you don’t have to. Visitors looking for recommendations can check out their movie of the week, helpfully highlighted with an image widget in the left sidebar. This week’s offering is 1979’s The Prophecy.  (Conclusion: “Simply, if you are looking…

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Sharing some love…

This week, I received the Liebster Award from StrawberryIndigo’s Picture’s in Living Colour.

This is a gorgeous site dedicated to celebrating colours and sights all around us through the lens of StrawberryIndigo’s camera. If you have not come across her site yet, go check it out now and let your sights be lifted by the beautiful images. Thank you StrawberryIndigo 🙂

So I am passing on the award and sharing some love to the following bloggers…

Aditi Sarin’s Adobe Passions & Art Creations

I am going to copy her latest post to give you a taste of what you will find in this blog…

Art is anything that you create with a passion. No matter if your lines are not straight, if your circles look like eclipses or your portraits of human being look like an alien who just landed on the earth. As long as you see beauty in it, others find it interesting/absolute nonsense and/or as long as its been talked about, trust me you have created an art. Art needs no justification, let them judge if they want to…

You can read the post here.

MaryBeth Coudal’s The Connected Life

This is a woman who celebrates creativity and balances it with her family, her faith and life itself. I always enjoy MaryBeth’s posts because they are tinged with a simple honesty that strips away any pretenses. Check out her site and show her some love by following her blog.

Peter Weis

Peter Weis is a composer, a dabbler in short stories and prose, a reader and an observer of life. His posts are filled with thought and always leave me with a smile. He interjects all the posts with a great sense of humor and honesty that always have me coming back for more of a read. Check him out and let him inspire you.

Adam Bird

He is a husband, father and writer. He shares his posts, his photographs and his thoughts in a black and white blog. Adam does not hold back on anything he may be thinking at the time. His dry British humor infuses the blog with bursts of colour. Check him out. This blog will not disappoint.

Julie Jordan Scott’s Julie Unplugged

This lady will astound you with her focus on creativity and blending it into her daily world to create an artistic life. Her posts are filled with raw beauty and honesty. Check her site out. Be inspired to live an artistic life.

I met all 5 bloggers above through the WordPress PostaDay2011/PostaWeek2011 project… this is where you sign up to post every day or at least once a week on your WordPress blog. I am thrilled that by signing up to this challenge, not only did I set myself a blogging schedule but I met fellow bloggers from all walks of life and all corners of the world that have only added to my 2011. So thank you to each blogger but a special love and thanks to the five bloggers I have mentioned in this post.

Wallflower or Social Butterfly? | Part 1

Are you a shy & retreating Wallflower?

Or

Are you a Social Butterfly and the Life of a Party?

In real life you may fall into one or the other category but what about in the virtual and digital world of social media? Are you a shy and retreating Wallflower or are you the life of the party and a Social Butterfly? You may wonder what it matters whether you are shy in social media or not but if you want to network and you want to make connections – you need to become a social butterfly if you aren’t already.

Social Media is called “Social” for a very good reason.

You must be social for it to accomplish its task.

Not only has social media changed the business world but it has changed and continues to change our personal lives. If you meet someone new at a party and you want to meet up later in the week, how do you get in contact with them? You ask if they are on Facebook. There are two reasons why people are more willing to give out their Facebook profiles rather than their home address or even mobile phone number. If you friend request them they can learn all about you from your Facebook profile before choosing to accept. Secondly it is safer to give out your Facebook profile than it is to give out more personal information, like your home address, to a virtual stranger.

In this modern day and age more networking and more connections are made and forming through the social media and social networking sites. There is no point in being an ostrich and sticking your head in the sand hoping that life will just go back to being simple.

Most industries rely on marketing savvy and promotion savvy. Everyone and every business has something to sell. Whether this be a service, their name or a talent. The way this is accomplished in 2011 is through social media and social networking. It simply has the largest exposure without a very high monetary cost. An effective and engaged social presence on the internet is more beneficial and powerful than advertising copy in a magazine or on tv.

So what is your presence in social media? Do you have a presence or are you scratching your head as you read “social media”? If you do have a presence, is it effective and engaging? Are you using social media to your best advantage? Do you know why you need social media and what you want from it?

If you are a creative; a musician, an artist or a writer, social media can be either your friend or your foe. This is even more important for a relative unknown or an up-and-coming-not-quite-there-yet star. The creative industries are one of the most difficult industries to get a foot in the door. They are completely subjective industries where most times you are judged on yourself and the impression you give before they will give you a chance to be judged on your talent. This brings us to the old scenario where a young and hopeful graduate is ready to enter the work-world but in countless interviews is told that though they have the qualifications and the look, they don’t have the experience to get the job? This always leaves the young graduate despondent because how does he/she get experience if they can’t get a job in the first place?

So as a creative wanting to break into your chosen sphere, how do you get the bigwigs – these are usually corporates who think with their wallets and guard their time jealously – to sit up and pay attention to you?

You get online! You could do a number of other cost and time consuming activities to engage their attention but at this point your cost and your time is probably limited. So the easiest way is to build an effective and engaging social media that is market-savvy to your specific industry. How? Below is the set of tools available to you in social media…

Your social media tools

Now you may be looking at this and think there are way too many options up there and counting away the hours it will take to build a social presence in each of these media tools…Fear not! These may be all the tools available to you but you do not need to use every one of these tools. You need to choose which are the best tools. When considering that, you need to focus on these factors:

  • What is best for you as an individual?
  • What is best for your talent/service as a marketing tool?
  • It is all about who you know in this world so what is best for your talent/service as a networking tool?
  • What are the most popular social media sites used by your future colleagues in your industry?
  • What are the most popular and watched sites by the bigwigs and decision makers in your industry?

So before reading on, take a notepad and a pen and write down these 5 factors. Then answer them.

Are you starting to form a picture of your social media presence yet?

I am going to tell you about what I use in social networking. I am a writer and my product is my words. So the social media sites are perfect for someone in my industry. I am however also an experienced sales and marketing manager so I have a little more of an insider track on how to sell a product and how to market it.

The social media/networking sites I am listed on are, from longest running to newest:

  • E-mail/SMS
  • Facebook (personal profile)
  • WordPress – Blogging
  • Twitter (personal profile)
  • Facebook groups (related to writing)
  • Facebook group admin / creator (related to writing)
  • Website
  • tumblr
  • Facebook Fan Page
  • Twitter (writer account)
  • Facebook (separate writer profile)
  • GoodReads
  • Blog Hops
  • Linked In
  • Google+
  • Google+ Hangouts
  • Twitter chat host (a weekly writing craft chat)

Now from the above you will see that I have two Facebook profiles and two Twitter accounts. I also have 4 WordPress blogs. Now although writers and most creatives can be accused of having multiple personalities this is not the reason why I have different profiles / sites on the same social media/networking sites. I have a private life and a professional life. I use my personal profiles for personal networking with friends and family and not necessarily friends who are in the same industry as me. I use the professional profiles for anything and everything related to my writing business.

“Writing business”? But you thought writing was a “creative” industry and not sullied with the muddiness of “business”? Wrong! If you are writing as a hobby then yes it is purely creative. But if you are in this for the long haul and hope to make a living from your creativity than you MUST look at writing just like you would any other job or any other Business. Believe me if you want to get noticed and make it in this business, you will need to work harder than at anything else you have ever worked at.

For me the most effective methods of getting noticed and building a readership/following as well as networking with decision makers has been Facebook, Twitter and Blogging. Facebook is still one of the most preferred and effective tools out there. As we hear constantly in the media, if Facebook were a country it would have the third highest population in the world. The next effective method, especially in the writing and publishing world is Twitter. With Twitter you can reach hundreds of followers as well as follow and connect with the who’s who in whatever industry you want to break into.

Then there is blogging. Blogging is incredibly effective to market your actual product – which in a writer’s world is our words and our ability to hold a reader’s attention so that they keep coming back for more.

I have 4 separate blogs that are all writing related but differently marketed. This blog is my creativity and inspiration blog. I blog here on creative exercises, creative tips and tools as well as spotlighting up and coming authors and creatives in the industry. In my other blog, Wrestling the Muse, I blog about my lessons learned while undertaking the adventures of full-time writing. Then I have a poetry portfolio blog, Soul Photographs,  where I blog poetry and all things related to poetry. Just recently I started my fourth blog, Amazon Wanderings, where I will be blogging about my adventure traveling. You probably wonder why I need 4 blogs and why don’t I use one blog with 4 different uses. I have done it very specifically to create niche blogs and niche readerships/followings for each blog. Yes it means I have more blogs to upkeep but this is when a blogging schedule comes in handy.

So in answer to my initial question: If you are a Wallflower when it comes to social media, why are you retreating?  How are you planning on getting noticed in your industry?

Watch out for Part 2 coming tomorrow on how to stop retreating and how to become an effective social butterfly…

Tell me in the meantime: What social networking do you find works best? What social networking baffles you? What social networking do you dislike or find unnecessary?

Join me here tomorrow when I share with you how to effectively market yourself. Remember writing and publishing is big business. Know what your strengths and weaknesses are. It is time to get market-savvy in social media….

Why Blog?

Blogging Readiness

Image by cambodia4kidsorg via Flickr

I am often asked two questions:

  • Why do I blog?
  • How and where do I find the inspiration for my blog posts?

A year ago I would have answered that I blog because I want to build a network and get my name out there on the world wide web. It was a way to build a readership and to connect with potential readers. It seemed to be the thing to do as a new writer. It was what more experienced writers advised me to do.

Six months ago I would have answered that it was to connect with other writers and other bloggers. Share and learn in experiences.

Now my answer is still both of the above but I also blog for my own benefit now. Yes I blog to connect with readers. Yes I blog to connect with other writers and bloggers. But more than ever I find that I am blogging for myself.  As for the inspiration part of the question: I blog about the topics closest to my own writing, being either quandaries or difficulties I am facing and moments of epiphanies.

When I blog, it is like first having a conversation with myself trying to work things out and then I invite in others to the conversation and hear their points of view. I also blog to create inspiration for myself. We all have those moments and those days when for whatever reason, we battle to drag ourselves to the computer to finish that next scene or untangle a plot element. Sometimes we just need a break from the current WIP. That is when I blog. Blogging still means I am writing. It is a way of “getting back on that horse” inspirationally and creatively speaking. The most important part of committing to writing is doing the actual writing: inspiration can be a fickle mistress and can come and go as the wind direction changes. It is in these times of inspirational lows that I like to blog. It keeps the thoughts churning and strangely enough blogging usually unlocks a hidden kernel of inspiration which leads me hand in hand back to my WIP.

Of course it could be argued that there are other forms of writing like journalling. I still journal. I also write Morning Pages, inspired by Julia Cameron‘s The Artist’s Way. But because blogging is in a public arena, one si held to a higher standard of writing. So blogging can be a teacher for your other forms of writing.

Blogging is also a reward system in of itself. When you write a post that connects in some way with at least one person and they are kind enough to comment, there is an automatic uplifting encouragement for the Blogger. One favour: If you do read a blog post that you connect with, comment on it. Let the blogger in question know that their post made you think or feel or just made you smile. It is also a great way to build online friendships and connections with like-minded individuals.

Blogging can also be a challenge tool. You can challenge your own beliefs, practices or thoughts by posting about different topics. Don’t limit yourself to just one rule of topic. Expand your horizons. Do research by reading other blogs. You may be surprised by what you learn from other bloggers and what you may be able to share and thus teach someone else. I have found the most useful resources through reading someone else’s blog. Blogging can be great research.

Words are powerful tools. They can be wielded for both good and bad. When we publicise our thoughts and share our experiences we cannot but help to touch another person either through informing them, inspiring them or finding points of empathy. It is up to us how we choose to wield this powerful tool. These are the questions we should be asking ourselves before we voice our thoughts whether it be in blogging or whether be in our own works…

  • Will we turn it into a positive or a negative?
  • Will we use our words to inform or hide?
  • Will we use our words to entertain or insulate?
  • Will we use our words to inspire or alienate?
  • Will we use our words to create or destroy?

So why do you blog? If you don’t, why do you read/follow blogs?

Blog responsibly knowing that what you write will be read and remarked on by other writers and readers. Be honest but remember to stand by what you blog. Even if it feels like nobody is reading your posts, people are. It is in the eye of the public. Your posts will be judged. But learn from each post, each comment whether the commentator agrees or disagrees. Reply to your comments and do the courteous thing by linking back to others’ posts. In this way you become  part of building a community.

Now: I blog for myself as well as connecting with readers and writers. I blog to understand my own thought processes when they have entangled me in a web of chaos. I blog to create inspiration for myself when inspiration seems veiled in the fogs of moods and emotions. I blog to inform and entertain. I blog to learn and share about the craft of writing. I blog to share my epiphanies and my Eureka moments. There is one rule I follow through on every time and that is to be transparent in honesty and truth. For me, a writer without truth is a fraud and a con-artist. For me words are art. Art is about finding the truth in life. Art is about creating simplicity from the complexity that is Life. For me, to be  a writer is to be a seeker of truth.

What is writing for you? Why do you write at all?

The better question is: Why not?

Kim

B.I.C | Just Write

Procrastination

Distraction and Procrastination are 2 of the largest bug-bears in the Writer’s World. Procrastination is a daily battle that needs to be fought aggressively but is purely up to the Writer for success. Distraction however is something that can happen if you use the computer for your writing.

“Hutchison’s Law:
Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction. ~ Robert Bloch

Thankfully there are some amazing programs out there that allow us writers to work in a distraction free focus environment.

If you are a WordPress user, you will now see that the lovely developers at WP have made our blogging environment distraction free too. They have now added a full-screen option to both HTML and VISUAL writing modes. I am busy writing in the full-screen right now. I love it. It is clean: Just my words and I on a pale gray background which is uncluttered and distraction free.

I have been using WP for just short of a year now. It is my blogging environment of choice. I have had very few instances of problems. When I started blogging, I had no clue as to what environment was the best so I trialled a couple. Of all the ones I tried, which included Blogger, WP covered all the options I needed. It catches all my spam with Akismet. It is easy to post a page/post. My 2 favourite options is: 1) that it keeps a subscription page of all my favourite WP sites so that my inbox does not need to be cluttered up with subscriptions. 2) it is simple for readers to comment on any part of my blog, no annoying hieroglyphics Capture phrases to enter in, unlike many other blogging platforms. Now I can add a 3rd favourite option: The Full-Screen Option. If you don’t use WP already, it might be time to make the change.

What programs do you use for a better focused, distraction free writing environment?

My favourite is OmmWriter Dana II. I have been using this amazing program for about 6 months and can sum up my experience with two words: LOVE and ZEN.

“Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind”                          ~ Zen Proverb

OmmWriter is software that was initially designed for Mac users and then adapted for PC users. It is a simple txt edit program that allows you to write in a full-screen mode. Mmmhhh… Sounds like a lot of other software out there, doesn’t it? What makes OmmWriter unique is that the developers have put the focus on creativity. There are 8 different full screen backgrounds you can choose from. All of them either improve your creative focus with colours that are easy on the eyes and decrease eye-strain or they boost your focus with subliminal creative messages that are put there to inspire you. Another great tool in OmmWriter is the 8 different soundtracks. These range from classical music to the sound of a simulated womb environment with added heart beat. Prefer working around the sound of people. Try the library environment option: this simulates the sounds of a library. Now you can write in whatever room you want in your own house/office but Omm puts you in a library. If you still need convincing, the best advice I can give you: Try it for yourself!

What helps you keep a distraction free writing environment?

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” ~Mark Twain

Now as for the other bug-bear: Procrastination. The best advice I can give you here is the simplest.

B.I.C (Butt in Chair)

Just Write

“The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.”
 ~ Mary Heaton Vorse

Kim