Twitter, Goodreads and Browsing For Books: The Key, by Pauline Baird Jones

Sheepishly, I must admit, I’m just your typical hypocrite who, on the one hand, bemoans the fact that I no longer have a local bookstore to sip coffee at and browse books; while, the next minute, I’m clicking over to Amazon to buy another book.

I miss being overwhelmed by a bountiful array of book covers—that sensation of so many books, so little time I used to get walking into a bookstore. I’d pick up one book and turn it over to read the back, only to have another glossy cover catch my eye. I’d look through the stalls searching for the perfect cover/back page combination that would make me say, “Enough—this the one!”

Online, my field of vision is limited to a page, a few square inches of Internet. I know there are thousands—millions of other books out there, but I can’t see them. I can’t grab them. What if one of them is the next book I should be reading?

That’s where Twitter and Goodreads come in.

I’ve just finished reading The Key, by Pauline Baird Jones, a book I never would have picked up, or known about, had I not met the author on Twitter. It’s actually the third book I’ve chosen this way. And it’s suddenly occurred to me that as my Twitter and Goodreads’ following grows, so does my field of vision. While Goodreads offers me lists and recommendations, on Twitter I actually get to interact (of course, in a limited way) with the author. So why did I pick The Key? On the author’s Twitter picture, she’s wearing this funky, steampunkie looking hat—a hat that intrigued me and prompted me to check out her books. I have to say, I’m so glad I did!

For me, The Key has all the sci-fi elements I love. It’s got tech and adventure; but most of all, it’s got great characters. There’s also humor and romance and, of course, most it takes place between humans and aliens with special abilities.

The main character in The Key is Captain Sara Donovan. We meet her after she’s crash-landed on a planet and been rescued by a good-looking, though not-much-one-for-words, alien named Fyn. Sara and Fyn quickly became two of my favorite fictional characters. Sara is strong, smart, sassy and, since this is science fiction, more than your average female. Plus, she can play piano, dance and sing! In short, she is everything I’d want my daughter to be. Heck – I want to be Sara! Fyn is strong, mysterious and humble. While he could easily be just another knight in shining armour, he falls for the one girl who, for the most part, doesn’t need one…or want one.

The Key isn’t great literature, but it is great fun. If you love Star Trek, Dr. Who and you’re looking for a book that takes you away from it all and leaves you smiling, this is the book for you.

I wanted to ask Pauline if she ever served in the military. Her ease with military lingo and battle scenes read to me like firsthand knowledge. Who knows, maybe she’ll honor me with a comment.

The Key is the first in Pauline Baird Jones’ Project Universe series, which includes: The Key, Girl Gone Nova, Tangled in Time, Steamrolled, Dreamspell Steampunk and the newest release, Kicking Ashe.

Read more about Pauline Baird Jones and check out some of her other books (she writes mystery and nonfiction too) at:


I Miss Writing!

Had to shut down my browser, take a deep breath, and STOP all social networking.


Unfortunately, being a writer isn’t enough these days. Not if you want someone other than your mother to read your book.

You may have noticed I’m launching a new book soon, My YA science fiction novel, WHEELS. (Okay truth be told, it’s already up for sale on Amazon, but the big announcement doesn’t happen until next week. I just needed a week to breath.) Anyway, since the other books I’ve authored are geared toward the younger set, I wanted to revamp my website, my blog and basically, my virtual author image. As such, I have been immersing myself in social networking with the goal that someday, SOON, I can sit back and have time to write again. And I’m close… I’m so close to being there. Not that I have the whole social networking thing down perfectly—far from it. No, I’m close because I’m at the point where I’m ready to say, enough is enough! I’m a writer, not a tweeter… dammit!

Did I just swear? I’m sorry. I was feeling very Leonard McCoy-ish today. 

That said, I have to say, I’ve met some great people on Twitter and Goodreads. In fact, one of the books I’m currently reading, The Last Great Wizard of Yden, was written by one of my new twitter friends. In the age where bookstores are closing faster than trendy boutiques, it’s great to have venues where you can get book recommendations., in fact, feels like a bookstore. I love, love, love the recommendations tab. If you love to read and you’re not on Goodreads–go there now! Sign up. Really, stop reading my blog immediately and go sign up.

The rest of you, well, bear with me. I will be talking about something other than social networking soon. By the way, I’m going to see Michael Grant, author of the Gone series, at my local library this evening. Maybe he’ll help remember what it is I do for a living. I write. Right?

Social Networking with Triberr

Original depiction of fictional anthropomorphi...

Original depiction of fictional anthropomorphic rabbit from the first chapter of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Journal Entry: 3.29.12

Spent the day trying to learn how to be a better social networker. (I can just imagine some mom of the future saying, “Johnny, no girl is ever going to date you unless you expand your social network. No one wants a guy with only 50 followers.)

Anyway, this means I spent the day staring at my computer, googling, reading, scrolling, clicking, and trying to decipher what social plan of action to take. This is what I learned: If you google, How to increase your following on twitter, it’s like jumping down a virtual rabbit hole. “Ahhhhh” T.M.I., Google! Way too much information!

About 4:30 p.m. my dog, Henry, plopped his little furry behind beside me, looked up, and gave me that look that said I’d been ignoring him, I was bad dog owner, and I better take him for a walk or he’d call the Anti Cruelty Society. Woof, woof! So I did. I took him for a walk. Henry is so smart.

The walk cleared my mind and reminded of  my goal:

I’d like to spend a half hour in the morning on social networking.

  • Tweeting and scrolling through twitter to see what’s up.
  • Checking out interesting websites and links, people’s books and such
  • Posting on Pinterest.
  • Glancing at Facebook
  • And Triberr? (See more about this below)

Then, one half hour at the end of the day doing the same thing.

Is that unreasonable? I know-I know…if I don’t use a timer there’s no way that half hour plan of action will stick. However, as an author, whether you’re picked up by one of the big publishing houses (like I was for my first picture book) or a self-published eBook author (like I’m contemplating becoming in the near future), unless you’re one of the lucky .01 percent, the marketing falls on your shoulders. And, in today’s world, that means social networking. So… how to do it and still have time to write? I don’t know. However, today, I did take a baby step: I joined Triberr.

That’s I like the concept…I think? If it is what I think it is, by joining so-called “tribes” you add power to your tweets by having them automatically reposted by your tribe mates; thus, expanding your twitter exposure.

I’m still learning. In fact, right now I’m a bit overwhelmed. That said, if you want to join my tribe (is this sounding a bit like social gang talk?) comment on this post, adding your twitter account, and I’ll send you an invite.

By the way, my Triberr group is “Middle-Grade/YA Sci-fi and Fantasy Books and Writing” We’re all about: Writers and Readers who love everything from Tolkien and J.K. Rowling, to Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman…and more, so many, many more! Let’s talk about books we love, share writing tips, give support, blog about each other’s books, and maybe add a few laughs along the way. Go ahead, be a nerd, join our tribe–may the force be with us!

That’s it. I’ve had enough of staring at a little glowing screen for one day. Check out the links below if you want to learn more about Triberr. Also, comment. Tell me what works for you. Point me in the right direction. Better yet, invite me to join your tribe!

How Much Social Networking is Enough?

I have to admit, this post is aimed at other writers, artists, or anyone who needs to establish a presence on the web in order to sell something. However, you never know when you’ll need an extra 10,000 Twitter followers, so feel free to chime in.

It seems like every other day I hear people saying, you’ve got to be on twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Google+, have a website, write a blog, etc., etc., etc.… as the King of Siam would say. And there are all the groups associated with whatever your specialty is. In my case, writer’s websites, forums, and discussions I should join, blogs I should follow, and blogs I should blog on.

I recently created a Google+ page and invited a fellow writer to join one of my“circles,” as Google calls them. This talented woman is on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, keeps up a website and blogs. She is multitalented and has worked hard to create a presence for herself on the web. Anyway, she received my Google+ invite and immediately wrote back wondering if I had a compelling reason for her to set up an account. As she stated, “It’s time-consuming for me to do Facebook & Twitter & blog etc. etc. So I thought I’d ask why you like this Circles thing & why you think I should join.”

Honestly, I wasn’t sure how to respond. The truth, it’s a big wild web out there and I’m still learning out to negotiate it. Below are few thoughts and a few questions I thought I’d throw out for your personal pondering. I’d love to hear your thoughts in return. Here goes…

  • Like any effort, I accept that starting out, while building my presence, the time and effort will be greater.
  • Should I focus on building two or three really good followings–or do I need more?
  • Is there a manual out there that can tell me step by step what I need to do to be successful?
  • Finally, how much time should I expect to devote to keeping up this social presence as the years go by?

Of course there are so many other elements that go into this question; such as, what type of return am I looking for: a New York Times bestseller status or something more modest? Let’s keep it simple. What should one person/one artist be doing to develop a reasonably successful web presence? What are your thoughts? Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by it all. Are you?

Multitasking But Going Nowhere

Photo courtesy of:

As I lay in bed contemplating the next day’s post, it suddenly occurs to me: We are so busy trying to keep up with technology we no longer have time for warm-blooded, real live relationships.

  • I roll out of bed; I check my email (delete, delete, delete) and get coffee
  • I blog, I tweet, I post on Facebook
  • I log on, I link(ed)in, and I Diggit
  • I look at Facebook and I check to see if anyone has responded to my blog or retweeted my tweet

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Social Networking or Stalking?

First it was email, then my website, then Facebook, Twitter and now blogging. I’m a solitary person. I studied acting, but I love writing because it allows me to be creative and alone.

Or does it?

  • I see you!

    Or should I describe it as spying with a high-powered, rose-colored lens, for it’s like reality TV—except exactly the opposite. Reality TV draws us in by showing us the worst, while on Facebook we are privy to only the best of our friend’s lives. It’s like receiving the proverbial Christmas letter, only every single day! Don’t agree with me, check this out:, look what they’re doing!

  • Oh, looks like they’re on vacation again.
  • Isn’t that cute, they got a new dog!

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