Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Capricorn!

The sun enters the sign of Capricorn at the Winter Solstice and stays there until app. Jan. 19.

This sign is represented by the goat and the wise old man, like the symbol of Father Time we sometimes see at New Year's. Capricorns are sometimes thought to be "born old" as they tend to be very serious minded. They're also known for their ambition. No one climbs to the top of the mountain quite like the goat!

The planet Saturn, father of the gods in Roman mythology, rules Capricorn, and the Romans celebrated the Winter Solstice as Saturnalia. Saturn is the taskmaster of astrology. Hard work is rewarded and luck plays no part in it, a lesson Capricorns usually learn at an early age.

Capricorn is a cardinal sign, meaning an initiator of action, and an earth signing, meaning down-to-earth, practical action. You won't find many dreamers here, unless, perhaps, the natal moon sign is in Pisces or conjunct Neptune. Of course there's always an exception. John Denver, Elvis Presley, Rod Serling and J. R. R. Tolkien were Capricorns.

When it comes to romance, Capricorns are considered to be most compatible with other earth signs, Taurus and Virgo, or the water signs, Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio. Of course, much depends on other aspects of the chart.

More famous Capricorns include Clara Barton, Robert Bly, Humphrey Bogart, Pablo Casals, Benjamin Franklin (talk about a wise old man!), Barry Goldwater, Alexander Hamilton, Lady Bird Johnson, Isaac Newton, Mao Tse Tung, Richard Nixon, Louis Pasteur, Edgar Allen Poe, Albert Schweitzer, Denzel Washington, Woodrow Wilson, and Loretta Young.

Happy Holidays!


Saturday, December 15, 2007


I'll confess. I've been suffering from EPPIE envy for some time now.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, the EPPIES is a major e-book contest sponsored by EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Connection, an organization of e-book authors and publishers.

I first saw the EPPIE statue at the 2003 EPICon in Tampa Beach, Florida, where my dear friend Helen Haddad won the EPPIE in the Romantic Suspence category for her wonderful book, Picture of Guilt. A year later at the EPICon in 2004, I had the honor of accepting two EPPIES for my friends, Catherine Snodgrass and Bryndis Rubin, in the same category, for their novel, Judging Ellie.

Since then, I've been lusting in my heart after an EPPIE. I've entered the contest year after year, hoping to make the final round, but to no avail. Until now.

Imagine, then, my delight at learning that Finding Jason, written under my pseudonym, Lyndi Lamont, is a finalist in the GLBT category. I am both thrilled and stunned by the honor of being an EPPIE finalist. My only regret is that Helen is no longer with us to share in my excitement at being a finalist. She loved Finding Jason and I know she'd be as happy for me as I was for her.

I'm also thrilled that Caitlyn Willows, my friend (and roommate for the upcoming EPICon) is also a finalist, in the Erotica category, for One To Grow On. We'll sit together at the EPPIE banquet and quiet each other's nerves while waiting for the announcements, console each other if we don't win and celebrate if one of us does win.

Wish us luck in March.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Different Points of View

A while ago, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Seal Beach Leisure World Writer's Club on the subject of point of view. During the talk I read excerpts from my historical romance, Rogue's Hostage, to illustrate the points I wanted to make.

Imagine my surprise and delight afterwards when I received a note from the club president, Shirley Roberts, containing a poem she had written based on my talk. I asked her if I could post it to my blog and she graciously agreed.


by Shirley Roberts

Linda spoke of Point of View
An idea not so new
But when applied to love and sex
Can often reader's mind perplex.

First she-view tells of handsome face,
Firm muscles, smile and strident pace,
Eyes that probe with deep desire
Sure to set her own on fire.

He-view sees innocence, temptation
Filling him with contemplation.
Holding her within strong arms
Victim of her female charms.

There are no sublime surprises.
Transpires just as one surmises:
He - the hunter, she - the prey
Or they reverse another day

Depicts a short vicarious fling
Providing sense of the real thing.
But what you feel is up to you -
It all depends on point of view.

c. 2007

I think Shirley did a marvelous job and I can't thank her enough. Her poem brightens my day whenever I read it.


And speaking of Rogue's Hostage, I recently produced a video book trailer for that story. A video trailer gives a different point of view of a book, say a blurb or excerpt, as it can convey the overall tone of the story, whether it be adventurous, menacing, romantic, sexy, etc. I used more urgent music for Rogue's Hostage than I've done for other video trailers, since the story is darker and more adventurous than most of my work.

I hope you enjoyed the poem and video.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sagittarius!

(Note: Due to time restrictions, this is a slightly revised reprint of my Sagittarius post from last year.)

If sun signs had theme songs, the Archer's would be "Don't Fence Me In". Or perhaps, "I've Gotta Be Me", sung by Sagittarian Sammy Davis, Jr. Or Billy Joel's "It's My Life". Sagittarians hate to be tied down and they don't like being told what to do.

Sag is a fire sign and people born under this sign tend to be warm and generous, enthusiastic, more than a bit restless, and occasionally a little too truthful. Satittarius has a reputation for putting his foot in his mouth, albeit unintentionally. He never means to hurt or offend, but as it is thought, it is often spoken. (Aries sometimes shares this tendency, as I know all too well.) If you ask a Sagitarrian for an opinion, prepare to hear the truth as she sees it. You'll get nothing less.

The ninth sign of the Zodiac, Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the planet of luck, and represented by a centaur carrying a bow and arrow. In the natal chart, the ninth house represents long distance travel, higher education and religion. Sagittarius can be quite spiritual, though not always in a traditional way. They usually love to travel and can be impatient.

When it comes to matters of the heart, Sagittarius considered to be most compatible with the other fire signs, Aries and Leo, and the air signs of Libra, Aquarius and Gemini. (In nature, air fans a flame, while earth and water can put it out.) In real life, things are never quite so simple, of course.

Famous Sagittarians include Beethoven, Maria Callas, Andrew Carnegie, Winston Churchill, Noel Coward, Sammy Davis, Walt Disney, Mary Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Mark Twain.

For more on the sign, go to:

Linda / Lyndi

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Autumn's Glory

From the time I was a child, autumn has always been my favorite season. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the fall leaves in my neighborhood regularly changed color from green to shades of gold, orange or red. Every fall, my father would load us all in the car then drive out of town on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to see the dramatic colors of the trees in the Allegheny Mountains. I never grew tired of nature's autumn glory, and I still haven't.

For many years now my home has been Southern California, where fall color, what little we get of it, often arrives in December if at all. It's now that I miss my home state and long for some of that beautiful color.

For your enjoyment, ere are two of my favorite autumn poems:

The Name Of It Is "Autumn"

by Emily Dickinson

The name of it is "Autumn"
The hue of it is Blood
An Artery upon the Hill
A Vein along the Road

Great Globules in the Alleys
And Oh, the Shower of Stain
When Winds upset the Basin
And spill the Scarlet Rain

It sprinkles Bonnets far below
It gathers ruddy Pools
Then eddies like a Rose away
Upon Vermilion Wheels

A Vagabond Song

By William Bliss Carman

THERE is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

What's your favorite season?


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Scorpio!

Congratulations, you were born under the influence of the most fascinating (and misunderstood) of all the signs. Scorpios are said to be passionate yet controlled, sexy, secretive, vengeful and strong-willed. I once heard a Scorpio woman say, "I don't hold a grudge; once I get even!"

Is Scorpio's reputation justified?

Well, yes and no. In astrology, the sun sign is never the whole story. The other planets and Rising Sign or Ascendant (the sign ruling the first house of your individual chart) will modify the influence of your sun sign.

Scorpio is the eighth sign of the Zodiac and is represented by the Scorpion, a creature whose sting can paralyze its victims. Astrologers also list the eagle and the gray lizard as symbols of Scorpio. The eagle represents the noble side of this complex sign.

Originally Scorpio was ruled by Mars, the planet named for the Roman god of war. Though modern astrologers now say Pluto rules scorpio, it's true that a number of famous warriors were born under the sign of Scorpio, including General George Patton and his chief rival in North Africa, Feld Marshal Erwin Rommel.

The eighth house of the chart rules sex, among other things, and there's no denying the sexual aura of some Scorpios. Welsh actor Richard Burton was a Scorpio with a mesmerizing screen presence. It was partly his marvelous speaking voice, but there was something about his eyes that drew your attention. My mother was crazy about him, despite his personal problems with womanizing and alcoholism. She called him "a fascinating devil" and I have to agree.

Scorpio is a fixed water sign, and as my maternal grandmother used to say, "Still waters run deep and the devil's at the bottom". Fixed water can mean a calm pool or an iceberg. Scorpio Grace Kelly always seemed cool and composed, regardless of circumstances. And speaking of sexual aura, Grace had it in spades. Other self-contained Scorpios, like Senator Hillary Clinton, are sometimes accused of being cold when they don't open up easily to strangers. Marie Antionette, of "let them eat cake" fame, was a Scorpio.

Did I mention that Scorpios don't trust easily, and once their trust is betrayed, they find it hard to forgive? Scorpio's prayer is: Forgive our trespassers, even if the bastards don't deserve it.

I grew up with two Scorpios, my dad and his mother, who occupied the lower floor of our duplex. Their birth dates were a week apart, and being Scorpio, they both wanted to be both. Living in the same house meant a constant power struggle between them, with my poor Taurus mom caught in the middle, playing peacemaker. Not that Grandma was overt in her attempts to control my dad. That wasn't her style. My mother often described her as "the iron fist in the velvet glove". An Aries like me may go at things full tilt and damn the torpedoes, but Scorpio usually takes a more subtle approach.

When I was little, my dad decided to make wine in the basement, which horrified my grandmother who was a member of the WCTU. "What will my friends say?" she asked my mother. "Can't you do something?" My mother just shrugged and said, "Have you ever been able to stop him when he's made up his mind to do something?" LOL, Grandma said no, but that wasn't exactly true. There were times when she was able to exert control. Like a said, a constant power struggle. It wasn't that they didn't love each other. They were just too much alike to live together comfortably.

When it comes to compatibility, conventional astrological wisdom says that the best choices for Scorpio are the other water signs, Cancer and Pisces, and the earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. It's interesting the Scorpio Prince Charles married two women born under the sign of Cancer. (Yes, believe it or not, Princess Diana and Camilla Parker-Bowles shared the same sun sign.) Fire and air signs are considered astrologically incompatible with water signs, which may help to explain a little about the marriage between Scorpio Hillary Clinton and her Leo husband. In addition, Leo and Scorpio are in a natural "square" (90 degree) aspect, a classic sign of conflict. But we romance authors believe love conquers all, and their marriage has certainly endured more tests than most.

Famous Scorpios include US President Theodore Roosevelt, Newsman Dan Rather, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, writer Shere Hite, scientist Marie Curie, actresses Sally Field, Katherine Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, Vivien Leigh, Bo Derek and Demi Moore, authors Sylvia Plath and Voltaire, director Martin Scorcese, and Senator Robert Kennedy.

For more on the sign, go to

So what's your sun sign? Any Scorpios out there?


(Note: This was cross-posted at Servants of the Muse.)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Practice Makes Perfect... Or Does It?

When a writer friend, Adrianna Dane, wrote on Tuesday about her problems blogging, I suggested that practice might make it easier, like taking piano lessons.

That reminded me of all the years I spent at the keyboard learning to play. I've always needed some kind of creative outlet, and as a child, it was music. I started piano lessons when I was in elementary school and continued through high school. I had some natural advantages, esp. my long fingers, which made it easy to reach an octave, even as a child. I also loved music.

I didn't do so well with other instruments, though. In the fourth grade, we were all tested and those of us who had musical ability were selected to learn an instrument. I was one of the students, and since piano wasn't offered, I chose the violin. Big mistake. For nine months my parents suffered through my weekly screeching and squawking as I tried to coax music from the recalcitrant instrument. My folks were very happy when I gave the violin back to the school. :) To this day I'm in awe of anyone who can play violin. I know first hand how hard it is to do well.

So I scurried back to the piano, which was a more natural fit for me. My other experience with a string instrument came after I finished school and took an adult ed class in guitar playing. I could hum and strum with the class, though my singing isn't any better than my violin playing. But when the teacher decided to add a little Spanish guitar styling, I was out of luck. I just didn't have the manual dexterity for that, I suppose. Back to the piano again.

I haven't played now in about twenty years, but I think about it periodically. I was even salivating over an electronic keyboard in Costco last week, thinking I could make my own music for my book trailers. My DH was even ready to plunk down hard cash to buy it for me. Then I thought about yet another drain on my precious time, and said, "I'll think about it."

I've always needed some kind of creative outlet. In my 20's it was international folk dancing. It was lots of fun and great exercise, and I've never been thinner. In my 30's, it was needlepoint, cross stitch and crewel embroidery. I used to do beautiful needlework, if I say so myself, back in the day when I could still see to put the needle through those little holes. LOL, that's not an option any more.

Then I started writing in my 40's and discovered the old truism about practice makes perfect wasn't working so well any more. Except for string instruments, I'd always found it to be true, whether I was learning a new piano piece, intricate dance steps or tackling a complicated cross stitch pattern. OK, some things got easier as I learned the writer's craft: how to plot a story, write description, etc.

But every story presents a new challenge. Some are easier than others, but there's never any guarantee that things will go easier or that the results will be better. Maybe that uncertainty is what keeps the writing process from getting stale or boring.

Now my creative outlet is my writing. So as much as I'd love to take up the piano again, or try my hand at an electronic keyboard, I think I'd better stick with creating my stories.


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Return Of The Muse

A month ago I wrote a blog called Muse On Vacation, lamenting the absense of my muse. Well, last week she returned with a vengeance, and none too soon, since I had a story that needed work. I'm happy to report that on Thursday I finished my current WIP and got it off to my editor.

It still set me to wondering why my muse is so fickle when other authors' muses seem to be much more reliable, constantly sitting on their shoulders, whispering words and story ideas in their ears. Caitlyn, Adrianna and Lacey all have muses they can count on. So what's the difference?

Maybe it's a personality thing. I'm not a Type-A personality. In fact, I have a lazy streak. It's not that I'm not goal-oriented, I am, when there's something I want to accomplish. But I want to have fun along the way.

I think it goes back to my teenage years. I did well in school and knew I wanted to go on to college. But I also knew my parents really couldn't afford to send me unless I got a scholarship. So I worked very hard to get good grades and had no social life to speak of. Then came college, living off campus (at home) and working to pay for my books and gas. I enjoyed it, but didn't have much time for a social life.

My first chance to play a little came in graduate library school, of all places. (Trust me, librarians aren't nearly as stuffy as they're portrayed in the media.) We had some great parties that year, LOL. Anyway, by the time I got my master's degree, I'd had my nose to the academic grindstone for a long time. I decided two things when I left school. One, no more degree programs. I'd had enough. And two, it was time to enjoy life.

I guess that was when I gave my subconscious permission to goof off. I went to work, of course. Hey, a girl's gotta eat. But in my spare time I went dancing and took evening classes in fun stuff like yoga, astrology, and learning to play the guitar (badly). No MBA for me, thank you very much.

When I decided I wanted to write romance, my muse came out of somewhere, but I think now she'd been forged in those carefree days of my twenties. And since it was the 1970's, she's more free-spirited hippie than domineering taskmaster.

I do hope she sticks around for a while. I've got another story to write, then another one after that, and then that other one in the back of my mind.

Wish me luck!


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Banned Books Week Begins Today

Today is the beginning of Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, an annual event sponsored by the American Libraries Association.

As a librarian and a life-long library use, I'm a big proponent of freedom of choice in reading. Book banning has been with us for centuries, and alas, still is, although these days it's called "challenging" whether or not a book should be allowed in a public or school library.

Historically, books have been banned because of content or language, usually sexual or political in nature.

I've recently been reading the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana, a Sanskrit sex and etiquette manual written 1700 years ago, but not translated into English until 1883, by the famous explorer Sir Richard Burton. His edition was quietly published by the Kama Shastra Society and remained "underground" for another eighty years. It wasn't legally published in the U.S. until the 1960's.

Fanny Hill or The Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland is widely regarded as the first erotic novel. First published in 1749, it depicted the life of a young courtesan with more detail than seen before. More scandalous, perhaps, is the fact that Fanny is "of a warm nature" and doesn't seem to mind being a woman of pleasure. The most shocking scene for the time is one in which Fanny observes the activities of two gay men, a scene Cleland swore he did not write, but which he claimed was inserted later in a pirated edition.

Both author and publisher were arrested for "corrupting the King's subjects", but were cleared and released. Fanny Hill was banned in the United States in 1821 and not cleared until 1966 when the Supreme Court decided it did not meet the standard for obscenity, i.e. "without redeeming social importance".

By today's standards, Fanny Hill seems fairly tame. The sex scenes are full of florid language and the kind of euphemisms that are so often criticized in historical romances, but there's never any question of who is doing what to whom. Since Fanny's true love returns at the end to marry her, giving the book a happy ending and redeeming her in society's eyes, may be another reading for the original banning. She didn't pay for her crimes against society.

That's one of the reasons E. M. Forster cited for his inability to get his homosexual love story Maurice published when he wrote it before World War I. As Forster explained the situation: 'If it ended unhappily, with a lad dangling from a noose or with a suicide pact, all would be well... But the lovers get away unpunished and consequently recommend crime.' The book was finally published in 1971, four years after the English laws had changed.

According to the ALA site, a children's picture book titled And Tango Makes Three tops their 2006 list of most challenged books.

"Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s award-winning "And Tango Makes Three," about two male penguins parenting an egg from a mixed-sex penguin couple, tops the list of most challenged books in 2006 by parents and administrators, due to the issue of homosexuality."

Hm, what's the old saw about the more things change, the more they remain the same?

Similarly, books are still banned and challenged for political reasons. These include Salmon Rushdie's Satanic Verses and Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, among other classics. The Christian Bible has been banned in Malaysia and its publication and distribution are monitored and controlled by the government of The People's Republic of China. In recent years. Twain's classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been challenged for politically incorrect language.

So, celebrate your freedom to read this week. Pick up a banned book!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Libra!

Tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox, the first day of autumn as well as the day the sun enters the Zodiac sign of Libra.

That realization had me reaching for my copy of Linda Goodman's Sun Signs, a classic of astrological literature and an excellent introduction to the signs. (It can also be very useful to writers looking for help with characterization, esp. in showing how the signs relate to each other.)

Actually, until I first read Sun Signs, way back in the 1970s, I used to say astrology was bunk, because for an Aries, I was a pretty typical Scorpio. But when I read Linda Goodman's description of Aries, I was able to relate to much of what she said. So I read a bit more, then signed up for a class at the local Y and discovered I had Scorpio Rising.

LOL, when I registered for that first class, my thought was "six weeks and I'll know all about astrology". But that was only the first class of many, as I discovered that learning astrology is like peeling the proverbial onion. There are layers upon layers upon layers. Though I don't study the craft any more, I still find it fascinating, so thought I'd explore the subject a bit here on a monthly basis.

The sign Libra is represented by the Scales, leading people to think it is the sign of balance, when as every Libran knows, it is really the sign of imbalance. Librans are known for their indecisiveness. Years ago, someone circulated a list of Sun Sign prayres, many of which I've forgotten, but I remember Libra's prayer:

Lord, help me to be more decisive. On the other hand, do what you think is best.

Linda Goodman swears that Charlie Brown of Peanuts fame is a Libran.

Libra is a cardinal sign. Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) are "the initiators of the Zodiac" according to Cardinal signs are goal-oriented, though some (especially Arians) are better at starting than finishing.
However, Libra's cardinal quality is tempered by it being an Air Sign.

Air means thinking, and with reason comes doubt, hence Libra's reputation for indecisiveness. As an Aries (a fire sign), I'm used to making gut decisions. Aries and Libra are polar opposites on the zodiac which means they complement each other. IMO, the best decisions come from taking a look at all the options, pros and cons, and only then checking to see what your gut says.

Libra is ruled by the planet Venus. It's the seventh sign of the Zodiac, which corresponds to the seventh house of the astrological chart, the house of marriage and relationships. In general, Librans are lovers not fighters, who hate conflict.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Dwight David Eisenhower, commander of the Allied Armies during World War II, was a Libran. A Libra general may seem like a contradiction in terms, but Ike was not just a general, he was a diplomat, too. He managed to rein in his subordinates, including such well known prima donnas as Patton and Montgomery, and got them to work together as a team. As president, he projected calm and balance that comforted a nervous country in the midst of a Cold War and nuclear arms race.

Other famous Librans include Julie Andrews, Sarah Bernhart, John Lennon, Mickey Mantle, Eleanor Roosevelt and Oscar Wilde.

For more information on Libra, go to

Lyndi / Linda

Monday, September 3, 2007

Muse On Vacation

(Note: This blog was originally posted at

August wasn't a good writing month for me. I've decided my muse must be European, probably French, because she took the entire month off!

Since some of my friends at Servants of the Muse have been naming their muses, I've decided to call mine Clio, after the traditional muse of history. As some of you may know, I'm a total history freak, but that's a topic for another day. Right now I'm trying to figure out how to get Clio back to work.

When we chose Servants of the Muse as the name of our group, we weren't kidding. We know who is in charge and it isn't us. It's those dang, contrary, whimsical, trickster muses of ours. And mine seems to be more erratic than others. I'd love to borrow Adrianna's muse, but I don't think she wants to share. LOL, it probably wouldn't work anyway.

This may sound crazy to a non-writer, but inspiration isn't something that can be commanded at will. At least not for me. I don't know where Clio really lives -- out somewhere in the ether or in the hidden recesses of my subconscious, but I do know that she has a mind of her own and a wicked sense of humor.

So what's a writer to do when her muse goes on vacation?

Sometimes meditation and/or affirmations help. Music is usually good at quieting my inner editor, but it has to be the right music for the story or Clio won't cooperate.

Last week I gave up on writing and played instead, creating a new book trailer video for my latest paperback anthology, Lusty Liaisons. I'm hoping that giving myself permission to play for a bit will help fill the well and call up some inspiration. Here's a link to view the video.


Today is Labor Day, which means it's time for Clio and me to get back to work. If anyone has any suggestions on how to locate an errant muse, please let me know.

In the meantime... Clio, call home. Please.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Visit to Sunshine Books

Yesterday I joined authors Barbara Clark and Janet Quinn for a signing at Sunshine Books, a new and used bookstore in Southern California. Sunshine Books in Cypress, Calif. has been a mainstay of local authors and readers for twenty-eight years. It's great to find an independent bookstore these days that is friendly to both romance and small press books. Nancy, the current owner, and her staff are great to work with and we all had a wonderful time.

Here's a photo of the three authors with two of our readers. From left to right: Aleane, Janet Quinn, Linda McLaughlin / Lyndi Lamont, Barbara Clark / April Reid, and Pam. My thanks to Nancy for taking the picture.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Web 2.0 Goes To The Dogs... Literally

Last night, ABC News did a piece on the ultimate in social networking: Dogbook and Catbook.

That's right, FaceBook has two animal networking sites for pets, well, really for their owners. Fluffy and Fido still have trouble using the keyboard, I expect. Sam Harris did the report and it showed him using the computer with his two cats, Ruby and Zoe. I kid you not.

Apparently in less than three months, with no ads, Dogbook and Catbook grew to 600,000 members. Lest you think I'm making this up, here's a link to the story at ABC News.

Are Mulder and Sherlock next? Only Melinda knows for sure!


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Taking advantage of Web 2.0

Since I'm part-time and pretty much out of the loop, it's hard for me to speculate on how the library can best take advantage of Web 2.0. I do think has some possibilities, esp. when for the reference librarians. Sometimes we manage to find a needed piece of information on the internet, but then are unable to duplicate the search later. Using might be of some help in avoiding that dilemma.


Metacafe better than YouTube?

Earlier we tried to embed videos into our blogs with no success using YouTube's code. I recently came across Metacafe, which is on the list of Web 2.0 awards. Metacafe claims to be able to embed video in blogs, so I'm giving it a try here. If this works, it's another Conan the Librarian video. I love this video! ;-)

Conan the Librarian-Return your books on time - Funny bloopers R us

Hoping this works,


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Google Docs

Today I saved a Word file to Google documents so I could edit it here at the library. I learned that there's no way to put tabs into this kind of document (at least not that I could find easily) so I'd have been better off cutting and pasting the document into Word before doing my editing. This is HTML, after all, not word processing. Pretty handy, though, if you're away from home and don't have access to MS Word or whatever program you regularly use.

I'm going to try cutting and pasting this into my blog as Ed suggested to see what happens. I suppose I should try to make it more interesting, but I'm really not inclined to do so.

I just opened Blogger and didn't expect to have to log in again, since I already had Google Docs open, but I did.

That's all for now.


PS: It worked, but left three lines between paragraphs instead of just one.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Podcasting and interactive stuff

I searched through for "romance" and found the following:

Romancing The O.C. with Orange County Romance Writers of America, a series of podcasts done by my friend and fellow author Jina Bacarr.
I didn't get a chance to check out Second Life, but earlier this year I explored something similar in the software used by The Romance Galleria, a site that brings authors and readers together. This is free downloadable software where you can move your avatar from one room of the galleria to another. The rooms include an Exhibit Hall where authors have rooms exhibiting their books to a cafe and a theater where video book trailers play. It was kind of fun to try once, but I've never gone back.

This has been a difficult week for me. I've spent most of it where my internet access was a modem connection on an old computer with no speakers, so I wouldn't have been able to hear the podcasts, and I wouldn't even try downloading videos. Maybe next week will be better.


YouTube and Me

I discovered YouTube last year when one of my author friends told me about a video book trailer she had done for one of her books. In an instant I was hooked and couldn't rest until I'd made some videos of my own. This is so way cool.

I was extremely impressed by how quickly the videos downloaded on the library computers, much faster than at home on my DSL line. I wouldn't even try doing it on a modem hookup. I had to once, and it took thirty minutes for a three-four minute video to download. That is completely uncool.

Many authors are doing video trailers for their books, or having the trailers made for them by companies like Circle of Seven. I did my own using the free Windows Movie Maker that came with my computer. It's a powerful program, but buggy at times. It can do some cool stuff though.

Here's a link to a book trailer by author Linnea Sinclair who writes great romantic space opera:

One of my videos took off for some reason and has had an amazing (to me) 30,691 views! If only a fraction of them had bought it, I'd be happy. So much for the theory that books videos sell books!

I tried to embed it here. We'll see what happens.

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Nope, didn't work, but you can find all my videos embedded at my website: Click on Extras then on the videos graphic.

I watched some of the library videos Ed gave us links to and loved Conan the Librarian. Just who we need to make sure the books get returned on time. :D


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Social Networking

Except for MySpace, I found this week's sites somewhat less satisfying and fun to browse. Too many of them required users to set up an account before being able to use them, and I just don't want to set up that many accounts for sites I may never use again. I guess I'm about at the point of "enough is enough". :D

I did search for Fullerton Public Library and found the FPL YA page, plus Shirley's and Danny's pages. I already have a MySpace page for my writer pseudonym, so I'm familiar with how it works. However, being part-time, I have no interest in setting up a page for my library persona.

I searched on ebooks, a subject that intersts me and found nearly 10,000 hits. Obviously I needed to refine the search a bit.

Then I chose to look for the page of presidential candidate Mike Gravel, whom I have enjoyed listening to during the Democratic debates. He's a "tell it like it is" kind of guy, as is Ron Paul on the Republican side, and I greatly appreciate having a "truth teller" in each party's debates. Can you tell I'm just a little bit jaded where politics are concerned?

Here's the link for Mike's page at MySpace:

And in the interest of fairness, here's the link to Ron Paul's page, too:

That's all for now.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thoughts on technorati

This looks like a great tool, too, and I'd like to "claim" my blog and learn how to tag my posts.

The internet has become so enormous and complex, tools like this can really help people make sense of it, without having to rely on so-called "authorities" who may some private agenda. The web is a wonderful world-wide democracy, and I'd like to see it stay that way. :D


What I found to be

Okay, I have to admit I enjoyed a lot more than, even though I never could find the tutorial to watch. I think this has lots of possibilities, and I want to get an account. :D I regularly use three or four computers every week (personal desktops in two homes, my laptop and the information desk computer), so having my bookmarks available to me online would be extremely useful.

Just for fun, I did a search for writing, garnered 187,620 hits! Refining it to "writing+novels" brought it down to 1,384 hits and adding "+romance" narrowed search to 141, which is more like it.

Search results included online reviewers, the RWA (Romance Writers of America) website, publishers, author websites & blogs, yaoi, promo groups, and>this site on research flaws in romance novels - fortunately she doesn't name names!

I also found an interesting site about "American Women's Dime Novels, 1870-1920". I always thought most of the dime novels were men's action/adventure, Westerns, etc., but apparently not. Pretty cool, IMHO.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Another "book thing"

I heard about on one of my author lists and thought people might be interested in it. This is more for readers, though there is a group of Goodreads Librarians with 62 members. Not all of the site is accessible unless you have an account and log in, but I thought it was worth investigating.

This site uses Amazon to locate books readers want to enter, but information can also be entered manually. You create your own bookshelves and you can add your books to your blog, like I did with Library Thing, and you can import/export your books to a spreadsheet, which sounds like a great idea to me!



I couldn't think of anything I'd want to set up a search engine for, but I took a look at all the CSE's listed in the lesson and I submitted my blog to LISZEN, so we'll see if they add it or not.


Tea stamp

I used FD's flickr toys to create a "frame", in this case a stamp using the Tea Display photo I uploaded to Flickr. I think it looks pretty cute. :D

I like the way this works better than the image generator at the generator blog because with this one, I can download the framed graphic instead of relying on HTML to create the frame. I was able to upload it to my Flickr account:

I'm going to see what else I can generage with this tool.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

My Library Thing

Wow, what a great idea! Wish I'd known about this sooner. I love the idea of a personal online library.

I followed Ed's instructions to create an account and upload five books. I couldn't resist including two of my own, figuring this will be the first time they'll show up at the site. I added three others by author friends.

I see several groups I could join, but I will resist for the time being. I can barely keep up with the bloglines thing!
Ed, what are you doing to us? ;-)

I've been at this too long now so I'm signing off. Here's the link to my library:


Talk at you later,


SFP Week 4 - Image Generators, part 1

Since Ed emailed and posted this week's topics, I took the advantage of "car race Sunday" at my house to get a head start on the assignments. The DH is a long-time racing fan, and summer Sundays often find him glued to the TV set. :D

I'm using the slow modem again, so to start I just went to

and clicked on "Murphy" (the Slogan generator: Terrible things mixed with popular commercial slogans.) to see what I got. Most of them were unprintable, but there were a few I liked that I could share.

Sweet, sweet love.
All natural, no caffeine.
(This appeals to the romantic in me, and may end being used in some of my promotions. :D)

Chuck Norris
An army of one
(I think he'd like that one.)

The magic begins.
(Works for me!)

Dumb people.
Kid tested. Mother approved.
(After all, maternal love should be unconditional.)

Later this week I'll try some of the image generators. Hope everyone is having a good day. (Hope someone reads this some day.)


Check out my FunPix!

I discovered this weekend and created this picture by adding the "skin", i.e. the monitor border. You can do a lot of other stuff at, including make slide shows of your graphics, set up a guestbook, and add other effects to photos, like glitter and borders, etc. Kind of fun to play with.

When I found this clip art writer years ago, I thought she looked a little like me.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Some changes to my blog

I spent some time this afternoon revising my profile, playing with a new template and uploading a logo I created in Paint Shop Pro for my newsletter. I'll get the hang of this yet!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Flickr Favorite

I spent some time browsing Flickr and found this photo taken in Tasmania.

Many years ago, I visited a friend in Australia and we took a camping tour of Tasmania. This picture reminded me of the fabulous scenery near Port Arthur. It was hard to reconcile the natural beauty of the area with the brutality of the penal colony that existed two hundred years ago.


Fullerton Public at Flickr

I'm running late on this week's assignment, but I've finally got two photos uploaded to my Flickr account. Btw, my Flickr address is

This picture was taken in the board room before the Romance Tea author Janet Quinn and I spoke at in February, and they're the only pictures I have of the library. Kyle Samudio organized the event, with a lot of help from Laurel Twoomey and some of the other ladies, (to my discredit, I've forgotten their names - shame on me) who made the tea and sandwiches and served the attendees.

For more about the institution of afternoon tea, check out the article in my March 2007 Flights of Fancy newsletter at

That's all for now.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Off to a late start.

Well, after a non-starter last week, I've finally been able to participate in the library Summer Fun Program. The whole outlook thing was a problem for me since I'm a substitute librarian mostly working from home. Today has been fun, though.

I'd done some blogging before, but never started one of my own. The RSS info was completely new to me, however. The news junkie in me is jazzed beyond belief by my bloglines account, but the overworked author is groaning. I'm behind on my deadline for June already.

I took the name of this blog from the author newsletter I use for the books I write as Linda McLaughlin, my real name. (So much for privacy.) In the last newsletter, I wrote about Tea since another author and I spoke at a tea at Fullerton Public Library. Here's a link to the newsletter, if anyone is interested:

Dinner time now. More later.