My Tips for Writers Using Pinterest

I mentioned in another post that I had a new obsession. The social network Pinterest is growing quickly as users post images and links to a virtual pinboard.

The official definition from Pinterest:

"Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests."

Here are my top ten tips for writers in particular, although many will apply to anyone learning to use Pinterest.

1. Post your favorite books on your personal Pinterest page by adding images
of all the books you love in your life.

You will probably want to have one board devoted to your books. That's fine, but be sure to have other boards devoted to books and authors you like and different topics that interest you. Avoid giving the impression that your Pinterest profile is being used solely to promote yourself. Be sure to follow the site's rule: "Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you're proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion."

2. Find other writers on Pinterest and follow their examples. Use a board for characters, clothing, research, and scenes.

3. Someone said a Pinterest board is like your high school locker (remember those?) as it is a way to show your readers what interests and inspires you as well as what you're working on right now. 

4. Look for book recommendations or comment on other boards in the Film, Music & Books section.

5. Share writing tools, stationery, journals, books and writing-related items in the "Gifts" section.

6. Use #hashtags and keywords. Much like on Twitter, tagging your pins with trending hashtags or keywords will help you find new followers. Searching for other pins and boards using hashtags will also help you find similar brands on Pinterest to follow.

7. Add the Pinterest bookmarklet to your browser's bookmarks bar. This is a time-saver, because it allows you to easily pin things you find while browsing without going to the Pinterest website first. To get it, visit the Pinterest "Goodies" page and drag the "Pin It" button to your browser toolbar. Now, when you see something you want to pin, click the bookmarklet and you'll be prompted to create a new pin. Be sure to scroll to the correct board for each pin.

Another vital tip from Pinterest - "If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Google Image Search or a blog entry."

8. This tip has saved me a lot of time. If you're pinning an image from a website using the Pinterest bookmarklet, you can highlight some of the text on that page before you hit "Pin It" and the text will automatically show up in the description box. Still edit and add hashtags.

9. You can also tag other Pinterest users by using the @ symbol with their Pinterest user name. You have to be following at least one of their boards. That user will see the pin, and it will link to their Pinterest profile. Use this tip to help promote each other on Pinterest.

10. And finally, follow me! I'm at http://pinterest.com/donnashepherd. My boards are a hodgepodge of recipes, crafts, interesting and funny pictures (Bonus tip - funny pins gets re-pinned more often!), and of course, a couple are dedicated to my books. I hope you'll check them out.

Be Your Best


My quote for you today: 
"Never accept acceptable. Strive for superb!" - Donna J. Shepherd

Colossians 3:23-24 -Today's New International Version (TNIV) -"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Even at MY Age!

In the grocery the other day, I commented on the high price of blueberries to a woman about my age or slightly older. She looked at me like I might mug her, turned her cart and practically ran.

Later on, when I looked like I couldn't find something in another aisle (and couldn't! Where DO they hide coconut flour?) a young couple helped me find the item and asked if they could get anything else for me.

So what does this mean? Am I the old lady that youngsters (yes - I said youngsters, so that proves my point!) help now? Or did I simply run across some exceptionally sweet people who happened to be younger than me? Sometimes older people will lament how rude this 'younger generation' is, but I have not found that to be the case. 

The other day on Facebook, I posted a picture that said, "Live your life and forget your age." Most of the time, I don't think about age or aging. I'm the absolute worst at guessing someone's age, usually guessing far younger. But when the young couple jumped to help me, I did momentarily ponder whether they thought of me as a dotty old women wondering the aisles of the grocery store looking for odd things. Like coconut flour!

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Selah

 By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life. - Proverbs 22:4

I'm tired. Dog-tired. Drained. Every now and then I go through this. Who knew that marketing was such a big part of writing? It's exhausting!

I think I need a break. Perhaps God is working on getting my attention.  I'm going to work on some of my devotions for a while. I need to get back to the reason I started writing to begin with, and let God take care of the promotion. And you know what's funny? It's doubtful anyone will even notice I'm gone. For all my promotion, I'm like a raft in the ocean. A minnow in the sea. A grain of sand on the beach. And that's okay. I know God knows me, where I am, and even my thoughts and the desires of my heart. And that means everything.

Selah.


Image: Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Scree-e-e-e-ch!


Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
   but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. - Proverbs 19:21 niv

Good Monday! Got up bright and early this morning ready to start my day and my Internet wouldn't work. Scree-e-e-ch! That will put a crimp in your plans, won't it? I'm not on the web much on Sundays, so I look forward to catching up with everyone first thing Monday Morning.

I decided a big cup of coffee was in order before I called the cable company, and while I poured that first cup, it was like the Holy Spirit whispered to me and said, "God doesn't need the Internet to talk with you for a while."

That's right! I know that, of course, but sometimes in my haste to 'get things done,' I forget. I had a nice time with Jesus. An even BETTER way to start my day. No, the BEST!

And obviously, I figured out what was wrong. Well, I guess I should say - I did the first thing any computer-savvy person does - unplugged everything and restarted it, and voila! I'm back online. Maybe God had plans for me this morning, too!   

Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Is Pinterest?

My new obsession - that's what it is! I joined Facebook a while back and what I enjoy most are the pictures everyone posts between all the updates and conversations. Then I found Pinterest and it is ALL pictures ALL the time!

According to the website:
Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
Here's a screenshot of my boards.



I have boards for things like my books, coloring pages and activity sheets for the kids, humor, recipes, decorating ideas, gadgets. You get the idea. The possibilities are endless. I've seen all kinds of boards and it's fun to see the personality of the persons 'pinning' reflected in their boards. You can 'follow' people if you find their boards interesting and when you open the home page, you'll see all the new pins of your favorite people. If you see a pin you especially like, then you can 'repin' it to one of your own boards.

Now, I've got to back to pinning!

For more info, visit:
http://pinterest.com/about/help/
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/blog/archives/6977
http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/852875/pinterest-what-it-is-how-to-use-it-and-why-youll-be-addicted
http://www.themomcreative.com/2012/03/10-tips-for-using-pinterest-well.html

Oh, DEER!


The other night, my husband and I visited one of the precious members of our church in the hospital. Afterwards, we stopped at the grocery. Instead of both of us going in, I hopped out, intending to only grab a few things in a few minutes. Well, you know how that goes. A half hour later I wheeled out my half full cart.

Of course, my husband couldn't help himself and had to carry on about how long he'd been waiting. I responded by reminding him how often I sit and wait for him, which didn't make him feel one bit better. I wonder why?

We pulled out of the parking lot onto the main road and picking up speed, when BOOM! Something big hit the car. I screamed and ducked right after I saw that my entire view of the road had been blocked out with body of deer as it slid across the windshield. It slid off the other side and we continued on down the road. My husband hadn't even had time to hit the brakes.

I'm am so thankful we weren't going any faster. I'm sure if we had been, the windshield would have shattered. I told my son I was glad I didn't have a deer in my lap. He replied, "Mom, you could have had a deer head hit your head. You'd be dead."

Just that quickly we could have been hurt very badly or even killed. God protected us, and for that, I'm thankful. We don't know what happened to the deer. My husband felt terrible. He has deer pictures, figurines, and all kinds of deer-related items in his office at the church. Immediately, he said, "But I love deer." I drove past the same spot the next day and didn't see any evidence of our close call. My husband said that it might have just stunned the animal, and it's already off scaring other drivers half to death.

We thought our car had escaped any damage until we got home. It looks like it hit the side then used our side mirror to catapault across the car landing on the windshield before sliding across. We ended up with a good dent on the side and no other damage. Thank God!

Maybe I should have taken longer to get my groceries.

Image: Ohmega1982 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Out of Control Social Networking

If you don't see me as much on sites like Facebook and Pinterest as often as you're used to, it's because I'm putting limits on my time. I check in, set the timer for one hour, and then I allow myself to check in again.

I was getting to where I'd check Facebook, Pinterest, and Amazon way too often. I talked to someone who just finished a Facebook Fast. I'm not going that far, but this is a start. I'm not sure how long this discipline will last, but I do like that I'm getting more work done. Lord knows I need to!

How about you? How do you limit your social networking time?

Love Under the Bubble Wrap Review


Wow! I'm so honored when someone takes time to write a review and post it on Amazon. And when it says such nice things, my day is made! Here's a snippet of what Mary Busha said about Love Under the Bubble Wrap - a novelette:
I love the way Donna wove humor, disappointment, deep love, and even sarcasm into her story. Her characters are so real they seem to step right out of her story and intersect with the lives of her readers.
Thank you, Mary. I'm tickled pink you liked it.

My First Novelette - Love Under the Bubble Wrap

I'm excited - and more than a little nervous - to announce the release of "Love Under the Bubble Wrap" - my novelette for readers who love romance. I hope you'll check it out! Jack Foster is the cover artist.

Simple Way to Win a Copy of Poodle and Doodle



Just go here: http://mymcbooks.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/book-reviewgiveaway-poodle-doodle-ends-feb-11th/#comments and leave a comment and you're in the running to win. Can't get much easier than that!

New Website?

Bummer. I received notice yesterday that I will need to find another home on the web. With limited funds, but lots of imagination, I've found it challenging to design my blogs and website, but at my pace. This means I'm under a - dare I say it? - deadline. Yikes! Doesn't every writer love that word?

Don't Become Weary


Today the Bible verse on my calendar is Galatians 6:9-10

Galatians 6:9-10

New International Version (NIV)
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

I'm confident that God will help and strengthen us as we do His will, and He promises a harvest - a good crop, if we do not give up! I needed that verse today. How about you? 


Image: prozac1 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why Jesus?

Over a century ago, there was one man who began to speak of the “virtues” of Hinduism in the United States. As the decades rolled by, more gurus came and developed huge followings. Today, interest in eastern ideas in western culture seems to be at an all time high. Is Jesus still the answer even in this climate? Find out this week on Let My People Think as Ravi Zacharias discusses his new book, Why Jesus.
http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/let-my-people-think/player/why-jesus-251352.html

Blogging with Julie and Julia


Tonight I'm watching the movie, Julie and Julia. I love the scene where Julia and her sister are getting ready for a party. They stand in front of a full-length mirror and Julia proclaims that they look 'pretty good.' She pauses and then says, "But not great." I laugh every time.

Meryl Streep makes me forget she's Meryl. She's amazing. Amy Adams is cute as the modern-day Julie striving to be like Julia. It's also a dream come true that someone who wrote a blog ended up with a book contract and a movie made about it. Wouldn't that be something!

Although - when I think about it, my first job writing devotions came as a result of my Devotionals by Donna blog - such a blessing.

Julia Child's obsession with cooking and her persistence to write a cookbook is inspiring. She had a singular focus. That's one thing I have to say I'm lacking. I take multi-tasking seriously.



Proclaim Clearly - My Photo Inspiration for 2012

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. – Colossians 4:2-4

In the past, I have prayed for and chosen a word or phrase for the New Year, a small reminder of what I wanted to accomplish and work toward during the next twelve months. Sometimes, I found a Bible verse that became my inspiration. This year, my friend, Mary DeMuth, challenged her readers to choose a photo to inspire them. As a more visual person, I liked this idea very much.

I've recently found a website called Pinterest and started posting links. Here's my page: http://pinterest.com/donnashepherd (Watch out! It can be addictive!)

I browsed the photos on the web and on Pinterest. First I chose a picture of an eagle fishing. One of my favorite verses, and a chorus we sing in my church, is Isaiah 40:31.

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

That seemed like a great image for that verse, plus I imagined myself "fishing for men" as Jesus spoke of in Mark 1:17.

Then I saw a Ferris wheel. I thought perhaps that was appropriate for me as many times I seem to be going in circles!

But no – I want to find something that will inspire me for the future, not remind me of the past. I paused to ponder a few more before I finally landed on this one. Perfect!

Source: google.com via Dallas on Pinterest

Why? The door is worn and bit older - like me, but with age, hopefully, comes wisdom.

Who knows what's on the other side? I don't know exactly what year 2012 will be like. But I won't know what the Lord has in store for my life unless I open the door of my heart and life to God's leading.

While God has a plan for my life, I must participate fully, on purpose, and prayerfully follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. I must make the choice to reach out and turn that knob, or take that next step by faith, to find out what's on the other side.

What's on the other side may not be what I'm expecting – or even wanting. Many times, God's plans do not line up with mine. This coming year, I hope to be gracious in times of victory and what I might consider defeat. Of course – when God says "No," it might just mean that He has something better in store for my life!

I chose a verse from Colossians as my theme verse for the year. The apostle Paul is in chains as he writes this. Humbling, isn't it? He wants us to:

  • Continue in prayer – and steadfastly. Not that quick, throw-up-a-prayer type communication with God.
  • Watch with thanksgiving. Remember – Jesus will return to earth one day for His bride. Are you watching for Him?
  • Paul asked for prayer. I pray this now. Pray for me if you have nobody else to pray for today, that God will open doors for the words that He wants to speak through me, whether in a book, as a speaker, teacher, or in song.
  • Pray that I proclaim it clearly. The Amplified Version says, "speak boldly and unfold that mystery as is my duty." One of my favorite moments when speaking or teaching is that "Aha!" expression when someone in the class or audience 'gets' what I'm saying. Of course – the Holy Spirit brings light and understanding of the Word. Please pray that I am His conduit in a greater way this year. And I pray that for you, too.

That's my process for finding a Pic of the Year. Perhaps you'd like to find an image to inspire you. If you do, be sure to leave a link under this post so we can all be inspired.

Donna

A Milestone - 18,000 Times


One of my inspirational columns on Crossmap.com just passed the 18,000 mark. The title of that column is "Smelly Saints." My husband burning popcorn caused me to write a devotion on sin. Weird, huh? But that's the way my mind (and it may be true for all devo writers) works. Here's the link:

The Night Before Christmas

I love these lyrics that so beautifully capture the beauty of the Holy Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Be blessed and Merry CHRISTmas. Thank you for being one of my friends.

Merry CHRISTmas from Kit Grady and Me!


This greeting is drawn by the illustrator of Bradybug and many other sweet books, Kit Grady. I love the joy on these little animals' faces. Oh, that we might feel the same joy this Christmas season as we celebrate our Savior's birth! 

Pink Bibles pulled due to charity ties – USATODAY.com

This is a wonderful example of a company standing for Biblical principles even though it might hurt their bottom line. Here is a statement from Lifeway regarding the pulling of Bibles from their shelves when they realized they were donating to a foundation that also donated to Planned Parenthood:

"When our leadership discovered the overwhelming concern that some of Komen's affiliates were giving funds to Planned Parenthood, we began the arduous process of withdrawing this Bible from the market," stated a release by Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay. "Though we have assurances that Komen's funds are used only for breast cancer screening and awareness, it is not in keeping with LifeWay's core values to have even an indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood."

We should all support Lifeway for their stance protecting pre-born babies.

Lifeway on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lifeway


Pink Bibles pulled due to charity ties – USATODAY.com

The Annual Christmas Cold

Okay, I do it every year. I get a cold. I don't know if it's all the running around, being out in the stores, or what, but it seems to be like clockwork.  I had three parties (two that I hosted) last week and two more this week. I love it! But I hate it when I can't enjoy myself, and I don't want to pass this yuckiness on. Oh, wait a minute! That's how I got this - my husband had it last week. Thanks, Hon!

I took my Vitamin C and Echinacia last night and slept with a humidifier running. Anyone have suggestions for me?

Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Christmas Coloring Pages by Bella Sinclair, Jack Foster, and Kevin Collier

It's been a wonderful and productive year again. One of the books I thought might be out before the end of the year, "Ava's Secret Tea Party" will come out in 2012 along with another really fun book called "Miss Emma Ant." Jack Foster, the illustrator of "Poodle and Doodle" and "Where is Salami?" is working on it now. "Ava's Secret Tea Party" has the most delightful illustrations by Bella Sinclair. I'm sure any little girl will be thrilled to have a copy. At least - that's my hope!

Bella drew a sweet coloring page for Christmas you can find here:

http://asecretteaparty.blogspot.com/2011/11/coloring-page-ava-and-santa.html

And Jack drew a coloring page for Christmas featuring Poodle and Doodle:

http://asecretteaparty.blogspot.com/2011/11/coloring-page-ava-and-santa.html

Kevin brought his fun drawing style to Topsy Turvy Land:

http://sullystopsytale.blogspot.com/2008/12/coloring-page-for-christmas.html

As always, December brings many fun activities, parties, and catching up with old friends and making new ones. I wish you a very blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Enter the Exclusive NLT Giveaway


Starting on November 29th until December 24th at the New Living Translation Facebook page, they are giving away lots of great prizes and something free for you just for signing up.

By visiting the giveaway entry page and entering your name and e-mail address you'll be entered to win the following prizes:

One random person each day will win a Life Application Study Bible Family Pack (Guys Life Application Study Bible, Girls Life Application Study Bible, Student's Life Application Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible Large Print).

One Random person each week will win an Apple iPad 2!

Everyone that signs up gets a free download copy of the Life Application Bible Study – Book of Luke!
 
And here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/NewLivingTranslation?sk=app_121121694568521
 
Let me know if you win!

Twitter Chat for Children's Book Illustrators

#kidlitart chat is every Thursday on Twitter at 9PM EST. I'm not an artist, but it's always fun to get the illustrator's point of view.

Enter for a copy of Baby Jesus Is Missing by Dixie Phillips


Phillips and Phillips Music is giving away a free copy of Dixie's book "Baby Jesus is Missing." To enter the drawing, visit this link - http://www.phillipsandphillipsmusic.com/free-christmas-book.html, click on CONTACT US and write your name, email, and tell us in 50 words or less how you plan to keep JESUS in Christmas this year. One lucky winner will be announced December 14th. They will cover the shipping too! Merry Christmas!

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day - Today!


Originally the brainchild of author Jenny Milchman, the idea has caught fire, and now many bookstores across the nation are participating. This Saturday would be a great day to take your child to a bookstore.

PiBoIdMo Twiends

I have a fantastic list of children's writers whose tweets you'll want to follow. Let's network!

#PiBoIdMo on Twitter:

Angela Peña Dahle: @AngelaPenaDahle
Beth Stilborn: ‎@lizannewriting
Bethany Telles: @BethanyTelles
Bonnie Adamson @BonnieAdamson
Brian Kramer: @Pkeod
Brook Gideon: @brookgideon
Catherine Johnson @CJohnsonWriter
Cindy Cornwall @artmom61
Dana Carey: ‎@danaFR
Dawn Mitchell: @DMReads
Diandra Mae: @DiandraMae
Diane Dawson Hearn @DDHearn
Donna J. Shepherd: ‎@donnashepherd (Me - of course!)
Ellen Ramsey: @SowingIdeas
Jarm Del Boccio @JarmVee
Jeanie Wogaman: @jeanie_w
Jim Hill: @jimhill
Julie Siegel Falatko: ‎@JulieFalatko
Kerry Aradhya: ‎@dancebooks
Kim Pfennigwerth: @kpfenni
Loni Edwards @LoniEdwards
Louise Nottingham @poeticlouise
Lynda Shoup @lyndashoup
M. G. King @mimking
Mindy Alyse Weiss: ‎@MindyAlyseWeiss
Serge Smagarinsky (aka Gary Masskin): @GaryMasskin
Stacy S. Jensen: @StacySJensen
Stephanie Nickel:‎@NickelStephanie
Tammi Sauer: @SauerTammi
Tara Lazar: @taralazar
Wendy Martin @WendyMartinArt

My PiBoIdMo Badge of Honor


I'm only one of many writers who participated, but it still looks nice to see 'winner' on that badge. Now to get to work on all those ideas!

PiBoIdMo and Facebook

The month of November flew by with me trying to keep up with all the other writers and coming up with 30 picture book ideas in the 30 days of November. I did it! Whew!

And I got to combine two of my favorite things - writing for children and Facebook. What fun! The PiBoIdMo group on Facebook was invaluable to my success. Writers posted how an idea came to them. Where they found inspiration. And their excitement of writing for children. I loved it!

With urging from all of us, Tara has promised to keep the group running. Although Christmas is upon us, and I, like many of you, will need to turn my attention to the many activities during December, I hope to get back to that same excitement and and creative state of mind I had in November just as soon as the clock strikes midnight ringing in 2012. Hmm....now what kind of idea can I come up with to start the New Year?

To be continued!

PiBoIdMo


This month I've participated in the PiBoIdMo or Picture Book Idea Month. The goal is to come up with 30 ideas for picture books by November 30. At first, I thought, why that's easy-peasy! I'm always coming up with fantastic ideas. Ha! At about idea 18 or so, I hit a wall. I would come up with what I thought was a brilliant concept, only to do a little research and find that someone else had already written it.

So, while I was on Amazon, I came up with a way to brainstorm. I would simply read titles. No descriptions. It's amazing how a good title can spark other ideas. Then I'd go back to read about the books, and rarely - simply from a title, did my idea match what the other author had written. It was fun way to research what was already out there while I brainstormed. As always - I'm multi-tasking.

The challenge is over for 2011, but if you write for children, you should consider participating next year. I'm glad I did!

Here's the link to the blog. Tara Lazar has posted many great interviews and tips from authors.






Kevin Scott Collier

I want to introduce you to a new page for kids who like to draw. Kevin Scott Collier has taught illustration classes, giving kids art tips for almost 30 years. Now he is taking much of that to the internet via YOUNG ARTIST WORKSHOP.

http://artistworkshop.blogspot.com/

Drawing Dotty!

This is SO cool. My good friend, Kevin, did a video where he draws Dotty for us. She looks sweet as always. Thanks, Kevin, for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at how you work. Fun!


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