Visalia Taste of the Arts: How to Turn a Profit

#Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost, Cee’s Oddball Photo Challenge

 Paint on a wheel…

Paint on a wheel to turn a profit.
Paint on a wheel to turn a profit.

or a hubcap! Eighty degrees and sunny, a perfect day to walk through an artist’s market set up in downtown Visalia. Vince walked straight down the street, but I veered right immediately. Shirley Keller picked my favorite color for her art.

There's no turning back!
There’s no turning back!

The least expensive horse in the West is right on this table, and you are welcome to him! or welcomed by him!  🙂

This artist can run/paint circles around everyone else here!
This artist can run/paint circles around everyone else here!

These critters must have been at a hoedown. They might have been down on their luck. They could have used a lucky horseshoe. I thought I saw a saw. I did see a saw!

A horseshoe for good luck?

So many talented artists, this was just a taste.

Cee's OddBall

For more of Cee’s Oddball Photo players click here.

Twenty-Two Quick Tips to Improve Time Management

time management – most popular topic

HELP!  I want to blog, but I’m out of time! My life is a roller coaster!  What can I do?

To get followers I need to blog consistently.

There is hope, and I’ll share not ten, but eleven ideas that have helped me.


time management

When I started blogging, I drove myself to do publish daily, and life became a balancing act, not to mention some of my posts were kind of cruddy.

time management and better posts!

Did I just say that? Yeah, I own up to it!

Not to mention the bags under my eyes took over my face. Bag lady?

Even so, I am passionate about blogging because it has changed my life. But just like you, I struggle to keep up a balance between blogging and the rest of life. 

These tips help me make the most of the hours I have.

Blogging Habits that Save Time

  1. Blog consistently using an editorial calendar. I print out my calendar and write on it. Writing is sometimes more efficient than digital. YIKES!
  2. Blogging is you. Write several posts when you can, and schedule them using Word Press. Then you do not beat yourself up when your life interferes.
  3. Write shorter posts. Break long posts into shorter posts and schedule them to post later.
  4. Julie from Filling the Jars allows about four hours to publish a post 300-800 word post with pictures or illustrations.
  5. Publicize the posts you’ve already blogged using Hoot Suite, Buffer or another service. The free services only work for three social medias. If you have pages or groups within those services, then you either have to pay or post them manually. I have so many groups and organizations for whom I post that I find it saves time to do it manually to the groups.
  6. Rewrite the posts you’ve already blogged. Write better titles using the Coschedule headline analyzer. Once you learn what works, it saves lots of time writing.
  7. Write about what you are doing.
  8. Publish your to-do list so bloggers are busy and want to know how YOU do it.
  9. Blog (either reading and writing) as a reward to yourself after you complete important life tasks instead of a chore.
  10. If you can’t read all the blogs to which you subscribe, visit those who have troubled to comment on your blog.
  11. Scroll the reader, scan articles, and at least press like on blogs you enjoyed.
  12. Write several posts when you have time, and schedule them spacing them several days apart.
  13. Make draft posts of your ideas, instead of writing your ideas on a scrap of paper. Then you’re ready to go when you start writing again.
  14. Smart blogger saved my life when he told me that daily posting is a silly strategy.

Life Habits that Help

  1. Shop for the best and fastest internet service. Poor Internet service can discourage your blogging quicker than any other obstacle. I’m happy to report that our rural service has improved over the years.
  2. My friend Connie Smith show me how to share my iPhone calendar with my husband. That was a life-changer! Try it!
  3. Prioritize, unless blogging is your job, not just your passion, it sometimes has to take second or third place. But if it is your job, other things have to go.
  4. Say no to some favors. Do you HAVE to be the Union secretary or the Rally Treasurer? Meetings usually have added chores. Write to Done in “How to Get Your Life Back” agrees with me on this one and has several other tips as well.
  5. Drive less ride more. Janice Wald from Mostly Blogging came up with this one, and it works. Take public transportation or carpool and read blogs between conversations on your phone. She has about 16 more tips, too.
  6. Keep a to-do list handy when you have deadlines so you can cross off what you accomplished and celebrate. Carol, the Eternal Traveler,  suggested not to add ten items for every chore you cross off. She has time to work full-time, travel, write, sew, cook, and do family things.
  7. Life Hack advises you to manage your email and has some tips to help you do this.
  8. Vacation or relax. The Bible says to work six days and rest on the seventh. Our bodies do need a break to work well.

your best tips

How are you keeping up with blogging and life? Tell us your time-saving tips.

A Selection of Non-Fiction Top-Selling Bargain Books

Top-Selling Bargain Books for Gifts

If you search Amazon for “non-fiction” you will turn up 3,429,300 results. How do you choose which ones to read? Which ones are top-selling bargain books? This week features guest blogger, Yvette Prior’s review of three of her non-fiction favorites.

I just met Yvette recently, and love her style of writing and photography at the Priorhouse Blog. Like me, she is an educator, so she was hard to resist. She also loves top selling bargain books and sharing books with friends. I hope as an author you do not care if you get paid for each time your book is read. Sometimes my friends and I pass around our favorites. Read on to find out what Yvette likes.

Guest Post by Yvette Prior
Yvette Prior's top selling bargain books
Yvette Prior

Three Books from September

Someone recently asked me about my favorite book genre and I answered, “I prefer Delancey Place genre.” (a review of When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi Amazon ranked #21 in all books and #27 in Kindle books. MI)

Well, that means I mostly prefer non-fiction….

Anyhow, while on my trip to South Carolina in September – I stumbled upon brand new “dollar” books (and you know how it is – can’t pass that up – I mean, I need to help move along the close-outs….as a courtesy). Anyhow, I narrowed my selection down to six books and then after a realistic shake of the head, I picked only three.

top-selling bargain books

I was with my sweet momma and so Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou (2013) was an instant first choice.  This book felt like you were reading someone’s personal notes – with light thoughts, black and white photos, and short chapters – I found I knew a whole lot more about the late great Maya.

top-selling bargain books Maya
Maya Angelou

Then, because I was staying in the Paris Room at our friend’s southern home, The Road to Burgundy by Ray Walker (2013) was tightly in my grasp.  This super easy read was all about Walker’s personal adventure of leaving his job and going to France to make high-quality wine in Burgundy. I enjoyed this book, which informed as much as it entertained, and now it is in the giveaway bin for someone else to maybe enjoy.

My last selection was Everyone Loves You when You’re Dead by Neil Strauss (2011).  I have yet to read it, but it looked interesting when I was skimming it. The copyright page says “No names or identifying details have been changed to protect anybody.” In this book, Strauss gives us 228 stories from more than 3,000 articles he had written after interviewing musicians, actors, and artists.  Keep you posted on this one.

Ok, in closing, I need to tell you that today’s post was inspired a blog post I read earlier at O at the Edges (the full post is Here). The O at the Edges post reminded me that there are many of us who have to balance our book collections. This post also really helped me to feel better about the large batch of books I just gathered up to give away (along with saying goodbye to our Keurig – we are done with it. My, my, my – trends come and go – and after loving the Keurig we see that it has sat unused for most of this year – I guess we all prefer our grind-n-brew and the Italian espresso maker).

Anyhow, as I part ways with dozens of books (most were cheap or free) it helps me to think that my donating them might lead to someone else appreciating them right now.  I have some books I will never part ways with, but some of these sweet reads just need to go….

The 3 books I passed on……

Read more of her post here.

Yvette’s first pick of top selling bargain books


Yvette has good taste in reading according to Amazon. Of all the top-selling bargain books Yvette’s choice, Mom & Me & Mom ranks extremely high: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Always Write is an Amazon affiliate blog.

top-selling bargain books
A+ Book Reviews

Do you love to read?

Do you have any top-selling bargain books that are special to you this year?

If you write reviews, paste a link to your favorite non-fiction review in the comment section this week. I’d love to feature you and your review.



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Local Artist Renews Chamber of Commerce Membership

#blogboost #Woodlakevalleychamber Day 26 Ultimate Blog Challenge

Do you belong to your Chamber of Commerce?

Local artist, Linda Hengst, joined the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce in September 2015 and renewed this September.

So what?

The “so what” is that the Chambers of Commerce exist to get the word out about community businesses and support the community to make it better.

So today I’m going to brag about my friend, neighbor, Kiwanian, and Chamber member, Linda Hengst who paints and photographs this beautiful area in which we live. She gave me permission to share some of her work.

Art by Linda #1 Kaweah River

Linda’s art brags about our beautiful the foothill communities near the Sequoia National Park.

The Hengsts farm in the Woodlake area. Citrus and stone fruits grow well in this area. These are the views I drive by every day.
Art by Linda #2 Sierra Nevada & Foothills

The Hengsts farm in the Woodlake area. Citrus and stone fruits grow well in this area. These are the views I drive by every day. She works primarily in oil pallet knife paintings as well as water colors, and pen and ink.

Linda's Kaweah3
Art by Linda #3 Kaweah River on a Misty Day

This looks like the drive my husband and I took up the Kaweah River. It looks calm here, but with a little snow and rain…

Flowers inspire Linda.
Art by Linda #4 Red Rose

I don’t know where Linda found this rose, but it could be one of the beautiful 217 varieties of roses in the Woodlake Botanical Gardens.

Linda likes boats.
Art by Linda #5 Mandy Three

She paints when she travels as well.

Linda's mountain
Art by Linda #6 Linda’s Mountain

Linda’s husband, Robert Hengst, has lived in this area for generations. They often go to a cabin in the mountains and hike where she can paint her favorite views.

Linda's Kaweah
Art by Linda #7 Kaweah Winds Down from the Sierra Nevada

Kaweah Lake sometimes fills with life-giving water, and at other times you see the high water lines and the trees that grow under the water. Linda shares local stories as well as pictures of the area.

This is my personal favorite. I love the colors of the boats dancing on the water.
Art by Linda #8 Tethered Boats Dance in the Water

Most of the time when I visit Linda, I come away with something. Look what I found this time.

Marsha's must buy!
#9 Art by Linda Marsha’s Must Buy!

If you are interested in purchasing any of these (except #9), let me know.

Vote for your favorite.

Want to learn about other businesses in the Woodlake area?

Come to the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce Mixer on Thursday evening, October 28th at 6:00 at the Woodlake Museum 140 N. Magnolia, Woodlake.


Help us welcome new and returning members, and honor the owners of the General Food Store, operated continuously by the Gong family since 1961.

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How to Increase Engagement on Your Blog

Increase Engagement With Sticky Friends

But not too “sticky,” right, Peter?

Casual, chatty sticky, Amy

Friends that stick closer than a brother?

Are you looking for sticky or clingy, Amy?

Sticky/clingy – hmm – maybe not…

increase engagement with sticky friends like Tiger

What do YOU want from a blogger friend?

  1. DON’T BE SHY! Grandma Golda always told me, “Reach out to OTHERS first.” If you’ve blogged for more than a few days, you’ve started reading some blogs. Now, take the next step. Paul Taubman II tells us in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to “Write a blog post titled, “Top 5 blogs you should be reading” and share your list. Let folks know which ones you read and why you choose to read them – it could be just a sentence or two about each site.” If you are keeping a blogging journal this will be as easy as cut and paste.
  2. Comment from your heart and personal experience on one or more of their posts. Tell them who introduced you. Begin building a relationship with the blogger the same way you start face to face friendships. Your words become the virtual handshake and casual conversation as you meet and greet during a party. According to Janice Wald, “This is important because they may keep YOUR writing in mind when looking for a post to reblog. This would lead to more eyes on your blog … Other readers will see your comments. If they find your comments insightful, they will have the motivation to come to your blog to see what else you’ve written that intrigues them.”
  3. Visit the readers who visit your blog and leave a comment. They have found something they like about you and you need to find out what it is and thank them for the visit. My new friend Yvette Prior suggests and practices reading several posts and leaving engaging comments. “I have started visiting less and then reading more posts in one sitting. But it depends on the blog!” Russel Ray calls this “camping out” on your blog.
  4. Janice Wald started a blogger collaboration group for St. Patrick’s Day. Bloggers wished for someone to visit a specific post, like their FB page, or whatever, and put a link in the comment box. Janice followed up on it.
  5. Jason Cushman hosted an amazing meet and greet during which people introduced themselves in the comment section. He posted a short intro, and let people toot their own horn. He got thousands of responses, but that was not what impressed me. What impressed me about Jason was that when I commented on his blog, I had a like and a response within just a few minutes.
  6. Time – Yes, only time will tell. Time is like a sieve or separator. Some sticky friends will last for years. Face to face friends you only know if they are what they seem after you see them in different circumstances. The same is true online, but you have fewer clues use to make relationship judgments.
  7. Darren Rowse from ProBlogger discusses hunting for readers for your blog. Oh yes! That reminds me, bloggers communicate SOMETHING! Rowse says, “Great blogs change their readers. How do you want your readers to change because of what you write?”  When we change lives, we attract sticky friends and develop trust. Not only that, our friends tell their friends about us, and eventually we become a community.
  8. Speaking of community, we form sticky friends when we write about and quote our friends. Trust me, I am not talking about malicious gossip. But suppose you are doing a post about a topic that your friend has already written about. Then link to their blog in your article. This is a sure way to become friends, especially if you do it more than once. As I prepared this post, I had several reference links. I read through my  Transformational Blogging Journal to see if I had posted any comments from blogs about building relationships online. I want to go back to these people to get ideas.
  9. Going back to community and time, I think about Cee Neuner and Photo Challenges as a way to build a community of friends. Bloggers can either host or participate in challenges to make friends. Cee hosts several challenges. She carved out space on her blog for people to commune about different topics. Each week she picks winners and encourages all participants, particularly the winners, to visit each other. I LOVE that! Once, someone named Mick actually did visit my blog because I was a winner. So did my long-time blogging friend, Sylvia, further cementing our friendship. Did Mick and I become sticky friends? Not yet. Did Cee and I become sticky friends? Yes!
  10. Finally, visit people over and over again.  The point is none of this happens immediately. It took a lot of time for my friends and me to become sticky friends. If you write interesting content and create space for people on your blog, they become “your people.” You take ownership of them, almost like a teacher does her class of students. I think Cee has taken ownership of me. She visits me every week when I participate in her challenge, and sometimes when I don’t.


So create a space on your blog for people YOU want to attract. Quote them often, linking to their blogs. Write about them, feature them, create link parties, promote them, and encourage them to promote each other. Write about topics that will change in your reader’s lives for the better.

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