Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, July 29, 2011

Giveaway

If you'd like to win a signed copy of my memoir, Following the Whispers, please leave a comment and please give me your email address, too.

Today, we are auditioning an "understudy" for Sugartime. Who could believe we've gotten to a place where we can't cancel a gig because someone is sick or can't make it. We need to show up. I never could have imagined when I broke my ankle in January/2006 and started taking singing lessons that I'd end up here. But it sure is a blast.

Did I tell you we're singing at the State Fair?

Blessings,
karen

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My first giveaway

Over the course of the last several months, starting with the A-Z challenge, my blog has grown to more than 400 followers. I meant to do a giveaway to celebrate, but life has a way of....well, you know.
So, without further ado, I am going to giveaway 4 signed copies of Following the Whispers. I wasn't sure how to go about this, but I think I'll do it an old-fashioned way. I will make a list of all those who comment between now and 8/1. Then I'll cut up the names and draw four.


So, if you'd like a copy of my memoir, simply leave a comment with your email address. And to all of you who have chosen to follow me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It has been a joy to share my thoughts and my journey with you and in turn, to get to know you as well.

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday - Thoughts on book blog tour

 I first began blogging in May of 2009, three months after my book was published. I realize now that it makes a great deal of sense to build a presence on the web prior to publishing a book because then you already have a following. But my blog presence has built slowly,  just as the sales of my book have happened one person at a time. It's that kind of book - not for everyone. And I think it's that kind of blog as well.

Here is what I learned from my book blog tour, in no particular order:


  • The blogging community is one of the most supportive communities I have encountered. With a very few exceptions, people are supportive, want to help one another, give advice when needed, and generally just have a good time together.
  • Alex Cavanaugh's ninja army really does rock. The dude has 850+ followers and gets an average of something like 90 comments per post. I find that quite intimidating, don't you?
  • As with everything else in life, one probably should let go of any expectations about results when doing a book blog tour.
  • Choosing blogs to guest on is key to a good tour. I think a combination of blogs in your genre, plus some in a different genre makes sense. I've purchased books by author friends in genres I don't normally read and have enjoyed them tremendously.
  • Be prepared to spend many hours per day during your tour. Checking in frequently on the blog where your guest post appears is super important.
  • It was extremely helpful to get all my guest posts written prior to the beginning of the tour so that I could concentrate on responses. That took a good deal of time, as well. 
  • Communicating with hosts prior to the tour to ensure they have everything they need makes it easier on your hosts. Hopefully I didn't cross over into nagging.
Is a blog tour worth the effort? Unquestionably. It was the one thing I felt unfinished in terms of whatever marketing I was going to do for Following the Whispers. It just took me this long to understand everything I needed to understand and to make the connections in bloggydom necessary to make it work.

I'd like to give a special shout out to Dani Greer. She taught the book blog class I signed up for (it was free, I might add). It is where I met so many of the writers/bloggers I am connected to today, like Helen Ginger, Diane Wolfe, Elizabeth Spann Craig...I know I'm forgetting some. It was there I learned the basic tools of blogging and how to set up a tour. Thank you, Dani.

Anyone out there who has done a tour, please add your thoughts. Till then,
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Musings: Gratitude

I am filled with gratitude today.

To those who hosted me on their blogs:

Sylvia Ney/Writing in Wonderland
Diane Wolfe/Spunk on a Stick
Ann Best/Author
Joane Demaio/Whole Latte Life
Pk Herzo/Writer
Karen Gowen Jones/Author
Jessica Bell/Author
Elizabeth Spann Craig/Mystery Writing is Murder
Mason Canyon/Thoughts in Progress
Arlee Bird/Tossing it Out
Helen Ginger/Straightfromhel
Alex Cavanaugh/Author

You guys are all amazing and I thank you so much for helping me launch Following the Whispers as an e-book.

To everyone who made the effort to follow me as I whizzed around bloggydom--a heartfelt thanks.

To honor my writing buddies, I have added a new feature to my blog: My Fabulous Author Friends and Their Books. If you have a book out and I missed you, please email me and I'll be happy to add it to my page.  I copied this idea from Alex because I think it's something we all can do to help each other.

Today, I am musing about gratitude and how an attitude of gratitude evaporates any negativity
What are you musing about today?
Blessings,
Karen

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Virtual Book Tour - a question

Yesterday was the last stop on my virtual book tour. The tour was awesome and I'll be posting more about that on Monday, but something odd happened that I'd like to ask all of you about. I guess I assumed if I was guest-posting on 11 different blogs that somewhere along the way, I might gain some new followers. And I did gain followers on the last day, but lost a few in the middle somewhere. Has that happened to anyone else who has done a book blog tour? Did I do something I shouldn't have? Did I not do something I should have. I try to connect with each person who chooses to follow my blog - sometimes they don't have a blog. If they do, I follow them and leave a comment. I respond to comments left on my blog and on blogs where I'm guesting. Thoughts, please?

Blessings,
Karen

P.S. On another note, I want to thank fellow blogger Michelle Fayard http://michellefayard.blogspot.com/ for honoring me with the versatile blogger award. However, since I've done this before several times, I am going to pass on passing it along for now while I recover from my whirlwind book tour.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Book Blog Tour/Last Stop: 10 Ways To Maintain Sanity While Writing

Alex Cavanaugh has what he calls a Ninja Army of 800+ followers. On his blog, http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/, you will find anything from movie reviews to techie stuff to support for other writers. He is wonderful and a great gift to bloggydom. He graciously said yes to hosting me for the last stop on my blog book tour. He had one caveat. I had to be funny. Well, that is not my strong suit, but I'm doing my best. Please stop over there, where I'm talking about "10 Ways to Maintain Sanity While Writing."

I would like to thank all my hosts:  Sylvia Ney, Diane Wolfe, Ann Best, Joanne DiMaio, Pk Herzo, Karen Gowen Jones, Jessica Bell, Elizabeth Craig, Mason Canyon, Arlee Bird, Helen Ginger, and Alex Cavanaugh for graciously helping me launch the e-book version of my memoir, "Following the Whispers."

Blessings,
Karen

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Blog Tour/Stop 10: Writing Memoir versus Writing Fiction - Is There a Difference?

Helen Ginger, http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com/  is a freelance novel editor, with an informational and interactive blog for writers and a weekly e-newsletter that has been going out to subscribers around the globe for ten years.  I first met Helen when I joined Dani Greer's blog book tour class, back in 2009. Helen's blog is interesting and informative and very funny, especially her disclaimers when she writes book reviews.


Today, I'm guest posting over there on "Writing Memoir versus Writing Fiction - Is there a Difference? Please come by and say hello.


Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Blog Tour/Stop 9: Do's and Don'ts of Memoir Writing

Arlee Bird is the magnificent creator of the infamous A-Z Challenge. He has graciously agreed to host me on stop 8 of my whirlwind blog book tour. You can find him (and me, today) at http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/ where I'll be talking about "The Do's and Don'ts of Memoir Writing. Please come say hi.

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Blog Tour/Stop 8: Finding Success as a Writer

Mason Canyon, over at Thoughts in Progress, http://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/ hosts an incredible blog for writers. She post reviews, does author interviews, and bends over backwards with giveaways and other incentives to help authors. Please come by and visit today, where I'll be talking about "Finding Success as a Writer."

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, July 18, 2011

Book Blog Tour/Stop 7: Finding Balance While Juggling Life

Today I am at awesome blogger and writer Elizabeth Spann Craig's blog, http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/ talking about "Finding Balance While Juggling Life." Elizabeth is one of the best things to have happened to me when I first published my memoir and started blogging. Not only is she a great cozy mystery writer, but she is a great friend to other writers as well. Please stop by and say hello to Elizabeth and me.

Blessings
Karen

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book Blog Tour/Stop 6: The Liberating Effects of Writing Memoir

If you'd like to know how cathartic writing memoir was for me, check this out at: http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/. If you don't already know Jessica Bell, you'll be happy you wandered over there. Jessica is a gifted writer and her blog always stimulates me.

Blessings,
Karen

Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Blog Tour/Stop 5: Making Good Choices: A Writer's Journey

Hi everyone,
Today you will find me at Karen Jones Gowen: http://karenjonesgowen.blogspot.com/, talking about making good choices. Please stop by and say hello. Karen's blog is awesome--I always learn something from visiting her.

Blessings,
Karen

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blog Tour/Stop 4: My Journey To Publication

Stop four on my book blog tour finds me at author Pk Herzo's blog: http://pk-hrezo.blogspot.com/. Pk loves fiction, but she willingly agreed to allow me to guest post over there, despite the fact that I wrote a memoir. Hope you'll stop by to read my journey to publication.

Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blog Tour/Stop 3: What I Love About Self-Publishing

Today I'm over at Whole Latte Life, http://joannedemaio.blogspot.com/ where my lovely host, Joanne blogs about creating the life you want. If you haven't met Joanne, please stop by and say hello. I'm talking about "What I Love About Self-Publishing."

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blog Tour/Stop Two: Writing and White Hair

Please join me over at Ann Best's blog, http://annbest-jen.blogspot.com/ the second stop on my blog book tour. Ann just published a memoir at 71 years old and it is getting rave reviews, which are well-deserved. I'm 62 and writing after a long career as a PR person. I'm talking about "Writing and White Hair," in case you want to know how it feels to finally do what you've always wanted to do.

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blog Tour/First Stop: Managing Expectations

Today I'm at Spunk on a Stick, http://circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com/ the first stop on my book blog tour. I'm talking about Managing Expectations. Please stop by and say hello to my host, Diane Wolfe. If you haven't already "met" her, you're in for a treat. Diane has a wealth of information and resources for writers and is a wonderful writer herself.

Blessings,
Karen

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blog Tour Preview: Writing in Wonderland

Hi everyone. Today you can find me being interviewed by the lovely Sylvia Ney at http://writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/. Please stop by and visit. It is the pre-cursor to my book blog tour, which officially begins tomorrow at Diane Wolfe's fabulous blog: http://circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com/

Blessings,
Karen

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Blog Tour Begins Sunday - July 10

My book blog tour begins Sunday, July 10 with an interview by Sylvia Ney, over at Writing in Wonderland http://writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/. I hope you take a few minutes to visit Sylvia's blog and that you will find the questions and answers interesting and informative. Till then,

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday - Celebrations

So much happens over the course of a lifetime. Hallmark and society dictate much of the way we celebrate things in our lives: Presidents Day, religious holidays, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving. Then we have birthdays, wedding anniversaries, anniversaries of special events. But how often do you celebrate the little things - like making an important decision, overcoming a huge fear, doing something you never thought you'd do?

Honoring those kinds of things is, to me, way more important than celebrating a holiday. I'm not knocking celebrating holidays. That's fine and fun. But taking a moment to stop and recognize our personal accomplishments is saying to ourselves, yes, yes, yes, we wanted something and we did something about it. The outcome is not the important factor here.

I'm learning to honor the small steps I take to make me a more content person in my life. So today, I'm celebrating that although it took me 2 1/2 years to do it, I am finally going to have a book blog tour (see tab page above for details).

What can you celebrate today?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day

To everyone out there, Happy Freedom Day, whether you live here in the U.S. where it is the day we celebrate our independence from Great Britain, or elsewhere, here's to freedom in all its glory.

Blessings,
Karen

Friday, July 1, 2011

Meeting blogger friends in person

Monday night I had the amazing experience of meeting a fellow blogger in person. It is the first time since I began blogging in 2009. Jody Hedlund blogged about whether online friendships were genuine here: http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/ and I'm here to say that, yes, for sure, they are.

Despite our age difference, the lovely Suze: http://girlwizard.blogspot.com/ and I found kindred spirits in one another. We've had very different life experiences and, of course, are in different stages in our life, but we share a love of writing and from that base, we were off and running. Or rather talking--non stop for two hours.

We met at Barnes and Noble Cafe. At one point, Suze said she wanted to see if they had a copy of my memoir so she could buy it and have me sign it for her right there. Well, of course, they didn't, but Page One, a large, independent Bookstore in Albuquerque does stock it. So we drove over there. What a kick!

The motto of this story? Connections that happen online can absolutely be the genuine, real deal friendship. It's just that all the communication takes place with words on a page instead of eye contact, inflection of tone, etc.

Thanks, Suze, for a lovely evening.
Blessings,
Karen

P.S.
I am sorry for not visiting your blogs today - I had a procedure yesterday and I'm still out of it.
Have a wonderful weekend, folks.
Karen