The Reblog Button

The easy to use reblog button seems to have disappeared. I just noticed that, when someone informed me that they had to cut and paste one of my posts, instead of being able to reblog.

Anyone got any ideas, or know the reason why?

Or is it just another famous WordPress glitch?


Thinking Aloud on a Sunday.

A-Z Posts

These posts are usually about serious thoughts, or something strangely random. But today it is just about Blogging, so not very interesting, I’m afraid.

I am currently running an A-Z series on film directors, so naturally I have been thinking a fair bit about that subject recently. I woke up today thinking about it again. Doing these self-imposed A-Z challenges can be time consuming, but also very enjoyable. Searching my brain for choices, researching dates and correct spellings online, and trying to produce a daily post that is relevant and readable.

The other plus is that they do attract a lot of comments, and interaction in those comments too. There are also other bloggers who are very knowledgeable on the subjects I have featured, and I have been able to learn a lot from them. That some regulars are put off by not being interested in the subject featured is inevitable, but they also attract new readers and followers who are keen to learn more about films, music, literature, or any subject chosen.

The potential is huge of course. You might add an A-Z of travel destinations, favourite foods or restaurants, or pick any subject you are interested in. These blog challenges are suitable for any blogger, whatever they like to do, or to write about. One thing to bear in mind is that interest does wane, as the alphabet continues. The huge increase in views at the start begins to diminish rapidly, perhaps as readers become less inclined to wade through 26 posts about the same thing. However, many followers enjoy sticking with it, often waiting for their own favourite letter, or adding their personal recommendations along the way.

So why don’t you think about doing one, on a subject of your own choosing?
I will follow along with it!

Blogging: The ‘About’ Page

Does your blog have an ‘About’ page? Have you added anything to it? Do you allow ‘Likes’ and comments on it? Does it tell readers and potential followers something about you, and why you are blogging? Is there a photo on it? Does it give some idea of the style and nature of what your blog has to offer?
If the answer to any of these is ‘No’, then I think you should reconsider.

In the world of Blogging, the ‘About’ page is often sadly neglected by so many bloggers. Many do not even put any information on it at all, or remove it from their theme. I would like to tell you why I think a good ‘About’ page is important, and suggest that those of you who are new to blogging might want to give those ‘About’ pages a revamp.

New readers can happen across your blog in many ways. They might search for a category that features on your blog, or a tag that gets a hit on one of your posts. More likely, they will see your comment on another post, or notice you from a ‘Like’ on one of theirs. If you decide to follow a blogger, the chances are they will check out your blog, to see what it’s like. Given that most people don’t name their blog something like ‘I like’, the clever and cryptic names we tend to choose for our sites rarely give a clue as to what content we publish.

This usually means that the first contact the new reader has with your blog is one of the posts featured on the notification email, or your ‘Home Page’. This may well be a photo of your cat, a post moaning about the weather, or a review of a restaurant you ate in last night. Unless your blog posts are all about books, sport, canoeing, or cookery, they will have no idea about you, your varied content, or what you are like. So, they look for the ‘About’ page, thinking things like, ‘Who is this blogger?’ Will I like their stuff?’ ‘Should I follow them?’ But your page is blank, or lacking in detail. Even if you have bothered to put anything on it, it is often something like ‘I am Mary and I’m a student. Please follow my blog’. That is unlikely to appeal to anyone, let’s face it. So, here are some tips.

1) DO use the ‘About’ page.
2) Put a photo of yourself on it. People like to see who they are talking to.
3) Allow ‘Likes’ and comments on the page. People will want to say something nice about you!
4) Tell us your general location, but don’t be too specific. Something like ‘Brazil’ is fine. It doesn’t matter if you live in Sao Paulo. It is interesting for bloggers to think about the exotic or unusual locations where their fellow bloggers reside.
5) If you are very young, and especially if you are a young female, do NOT state your age. There are some strange people out there.
6) Give a bit of background. Why you want to blog, what you hope to get from it, what your interests are. People will be drawn to those with a similar outlook.
7) Give lots of indication about what they will find on your blog, here’s an example of the sort of thing you might write.

“Hi, my name is Francisco, and I live in Brazil, close to the coast. I love to write about my travels, and to show my photos that I take on them. I also write about my job as a fireman, and the exciting things I get up to at work. I love films too, especially blockbusters, and will be posting reviews of all my favourites. From time to time, I will tell you about my family; my lovely wife Moeama, and my young daughter Nina.”
Imagine that, with a nice photo of a young family, against the backdrop of a Brazilian beach, and you will get the idea.

From this short introduction on an ‘About’ page, we learn many things.
Francisco and his family live in Brazil.
They live close to the beach.
He works as a fireman.
He will be writing about being a fireman.
He is married, and has a daughter.
He likes to watch blockbuster films.
He will be writing film reviews.
He will be writing about what he does with his family.
He enjoys travelling, and photography too.
He will be writing travel posts, and adding photos.
We have seen a photo of him, with his wife and daughter, so can guess his rough age.

If you want your blog to be about one subject, you can still expand interest on your posts, by giving more information on your ‘About’ page. Here’s another example.

“This is Sophie’s blog, and it is all about Fantasy; Fantasy films, Fantasy books, and Fantasy art work, most of which I draw myself. If Fantasy is your thing, then you have come to the right place. I am Sophie, and I am a tattoo artist in the North-East of England. I live with my cat Rasputin, and my dog Gandalf. I adore Goth fashions, and the music of The Cure. Tattoos and piercings are my thing, but I also love to make my own clothes, and spend my spare time exploring flea markets and junk shops. Welcome along for the fantasy ride!”
A photo shows her heavily tattooed, wearing Goth clothing, and cuddling her dog.

From this, we learn a lot about her.
Sophie lives in England.
She works in the field of tattooing.
She likes Goth fashions, and the music associated with them.
She likes pets, and has a dog and cat.
She writes about Fantasy Films and Fantasy Books.
Her blog is going to feature Fantasy artwork.
She draws artwork, so will likely feature her own creations.
She likes to sew, and make clothes.
She likes to explore markets and junk shops.
From the photo, we can see that she loves her pets, and has an ‘alternative’ look.

Each introduction has less than eight lines of type, yet tells us a great deal about the blogger. Far more than just reading their latest post will ever do. Think again about what you have on your own ‘About’ page, and consider that a better one may well attract a lot more readers and followers.

Six a day

The last time I wrote about the band Jamiroquai on this blog was in August, 2017. Since publishing this original post about them in 2016, it has become one of the most-read posts ever on this blog, and one of the most popular too.

Since then, I have posted no less than twelve more posts about this blogging phenomenon, and its continuing success on my blog. (Sorry, Sarah) I know that many of you will be sick to death of it by now, and groaning at the thought of yet another post about about it. However, it just never goes away, and I feel that some extra information is in order.

Despite trying not to notice, I cannot help the fact that my attention has been drawn to the fact that never a day goes by, without views of this post. Even though the band resurfaced, and actually released an album in 2017, the thirst for news about them has never diminished. A quick look through the recent stats shows me that even two years after publication, that original post never gets less than six views a day, every day of every week. It has become the bread and butter post on this blog, and even on my quietest days for views, it still attracts attention.

I was sure (some of) you would want to know. 🙂

Tired, and emotional

I have reached one of those blogging impasses, yet again.
Tonight, I feel like the old newspaper quote, “He was tired, and emotional”.
That was usually a euphemism for being drunk, but I am not drunk tonight, though I might wish that I was. But I am surely tired, and feeling emotional to the brink of tears.

Why is that? I have no idea. Things in my life, never mentioned on this blog, are accumulating in their affect on my well-being. Good old Beetleypete is not what he might seem this evening, that’s for sure. Despite having had a very good ‘blogging weekend’, my heart is heavy. Inspiration has deserted me, and I feel adrift, in an ocean of thought and feelings.

Perhaps that is the way of things, as you get older? I don’t really know. But whatever the reason, it is no less disconcerting. Do I need a break perhaps? That’s one thing to consider. Or maybe I just need to disappear, and leave this world of blogging to everyone else?

As you can tell. It is a very strange evening indeed.

To be continued…

The Magic Pages: A story for Kim

This is a fictional short story, written especially for the lovely lady and great blogger, Kim. For any of you who follow her site By Hook Or By Book, you will know of her love for literature, libraries, and Pomeranian dogs. You will also be aware of the difficulties she faces, and her woes over the Trump presidency. This story is just for her, but I hope it will bring some joy to anyone who reads it.

Kim’s last day at the library was a far from happy occasion. Leaving behind her beloved books, her friends and colleagues, and most of all those thousands of children she had introduced to wonderful literature over the years. She had watched their discovery, fostered their love of language, and looked on as they gasped at amazing illustrations, and fantastic new worlds to explore. There was sadness and tears amid the celebration of her dedication, and the love she had given through her librarian skills.
But all those years of reading had taken their toll, and her health was not what it once was. Too many headaches, too painful, too often. She reluctantly decided she had to go, but her heart had never been heavier as she walked through the door for that last time.

Waiting outside, she saw the group she knew so well. The children of her Reading Club, trying to smile through the tears as they watched their friend leaving. Jay walked up to her, holding a notebook. She held it up to Kim, with a pen clasped in her small hand. “Write your wishes in this book, and we will make them come true, we promise.” Kim smiled down at the girl, and took the book and pen. On each page, she wrote a wish, using capital letters, and signing each page with a big heart design, and the letter ‘K’. She handed it back to Jay, and with a smile, simply said “Thank You”.

The kids took the book to where they liked to gather, in the clearing at the edge of the woods. Danielle took the book, and opened it. She read aloud to the rest. “Page One. I wish that I will always love books and reading.” She passed it to Michel, and he read aloud too. “Page Two. I wish that I will have so many friends that I could never meet them all”. Sophie and Rafael read the next page together. “Page Three”. I wish that the pain in my head would go away, and never come back”. Yesha could hardly read her page for crying, but she did her best. “Page Four. I wish that all my library children will never forget me, and always love books and reading.” Deanna and Robbie held the book together, and looked at each other, to see who would speak first. “Page Five. I wish that I will always read books, and tell the world about them too”. Laura, Vinnie, and Diane leaned over, and turned the next page. “Page Six. I wish that there will always be libraries, and they will have lots of books for children to enjoy”. Little Pete and Jay shared the last wish. “Page Seven. I hope that I will see my beloved dog again one day.”

The next day after school, they gathered again. Michel had a plastic bag, and Rafael had brought his father’s trowel. They dug a hole big enough to take the book wrapped in the plastic bag. Nice and deep, and marked with a special flat stone that Robbie had found nearby. Danielle spoke up. “Tomorrow, we will come back, and choose a page. We will wish for the wish on that page to happen, and know that it will. We must always be together, and stand by that pledge. Are we all agreed?” The rest of the group nodded seriously, nobody was smiling.

Soon after, Kim was sitting at home, thinking what to do. Now she no longer had to go to work, she had to do something with her time, as well as reading. “I know what I will do, I will start a blog about books, and spread my love of literature around the world, to people everywhere. Hopefully, they will become my friends too”. In the clearing by the woods, Michel tore up page two, and they all watched as he scattered the tiny pieces into the wind. Then they buried the book again, for another day.

Some time later, Kim finished reading her latest book, and took a while to think to herself. Finally, she spoke aloud, “I am always going to love books and reading, I just know it”. In the clearing, the children opened their eyes in time to watch Danielle scatter the pieces of Page One. Little Pete looked up, smiling. “Wishing this hard is tiring. Let’s go and get some ice cream”.

Kim often thought about the Reading Group, as the months passed by. She knew in her heart that all the children she had ever encouraged would always love books and reading. The rest watched, as Yesha tore up Page Four. This time there were no tears, she was smiling as she threw the pieces into the wind.

In the local paper, there was news of a new library opening. The first for years. The article said that books were making a comeback, and that children were reading as much as ever, if not more. The editorial concluded, “It is our contention that libraries will always need to exist, and that children especially should be catered for.” In the clearing, the smiling trio of Laura, Vinnie, and Diane each held one third of Page Six, before flinging the pieces into the air.

After two days of severe pain, Kim was tiring of the most recent migraine. It was hard enough to open her eyes, let alone read, and she was unable to enjoy writing her blog too. She decided to take a short nap, and was very pleased to wake up that afternoon, to discover the headache was gone. Back near the woods, Sophie and Rafael spoke to the others. They felt their wishing had not really worked, not as much as they had hoped. Everyone agreed that they should not tear up that page, but would come back to it another day. They put the book back into its bag, and buried it back in the hole.

The blog was going great guns by now. There were hundreds of followers, and the community extended all around the world. That made Kim very happy indeed, and she realised that she could still impart her love of literature, despite no longer being in her old job. Deanna and Robbie were pleased. They tore up Page Five, gazing up into the trees as the pieces swirled around.

Sitting quietly at home one day, shut in by the heavy winter snow, Kim looked at the framed photo of her beloved Pom. She smiled to herself, realising that in her heart, she knew she would see her little dog again, one day. Kneeling by the hole, Little Pete and Jay tore up Page Seven, throwing the small pieces out onto the snow-covered ground. The rest of the group looked at each other. “We still have Page Three” said Sophie, looking perplexed. Danielle reassured her. “We will come back to Page Three again and again until that wish is granted, have no fear”.

As Jay buried the book that afternoon, Little Pete muttered. “But what about the other pages, the ones with no wishes written on them?” Danielle and Michel exchanged a glance, and nodded to each other. She turned to Little Pete and told him, “They are for the wishes yet to come. We will know what they are when they are wished for, and we will come back until they are granted”.

The group walked away, thinking to themselves. None of them said any more. They just smiled.

Southern Belle: A story for Dani

This is a fictional short story with just a few readers in mind. Anyone who knows about Dani’s book blog will be aware of the interaction in the comments there, and how the names of some characters in modern novels never fail to make me crack up laughing.

I promised a story based around some of those, and here it is.

For everyone else, it is probably best to skip this, and read something else instead.

Dalton Kipper was something of a caricature, even he would admit that. A private eye of the old school, the sort that once only appeared in black and white films, and generally got the girl. But Dalton was long past getting any girls. His paunch connected to the steering wheel, and years of bad food and heavy drinking had made it hard for him to walk more than a few steps. It was hot in the car, but he didn’t want to run the engine to use the air-conditioning, and attract any unwanted attention. So he lit another cigarette, and tolerated the sweat pouring down his face from his round and very bald head.

The linen suit was crumpled from the hours sat in the car, and looked more like an old dish-rag than the once smart outfit it had been. Dalton raised the new camera, peering into the telephoto lens. He had the back windows of the big house in range, so would easily get the shots he required.

Dani had made her own dress. It had taken some time, but if she said so herself, she looked like a princess, with the perfect make-up, and hair just so. She didn’t go out so much these days, especially in the heat of a South Carolina summer, but this big social occasion was just too good to miss. Some English aristocrat had rented the old De Vere plantation for the summer, and had announced a big party, an old-fashioned good old Southern Ball. The Eighth Baron of Wickshire was known to be a real ladies’ man, and was reputed to be very rich, as well as handsome. Dani had been invited by her old flame, Blythe Sol, her big girl-crush from High School, who she hadn’t seen in years. Two young women arriving as a couple was sure to cause a stir, and Dani was excited by that prospect. The creaky air-conditioner in her bedroom was just about keeping the room cool, and she decided to wait in there until the cab arrived, still fanning herself with grandma’s old ivory fan, to stop her make-up running.

Lola Dodge was the epitome of a southern belle. Part of the landed gentry of the area, she could trace her family back to old Septimus Dodge, the famous Confederate general, and before that too. When her parents had died in a mysterious boating accident near Myrtle Beach, young Lola became a rich heiress, and the toast of Charleston society too. The word was that Baron Wickshire had set his cap on her, and organised the party just to get to know her. But Dani knew Lola’s secret, her passionate relationship with former jail-bird and all round bad boy, Dax Janner. Dax was a bad as he was handsome, and didn’t care who knew. Some said he was a drug dealer, others marked him down as an armed robber, but all the women who had ever met him had found themselves falling for his ice-blue eyes, and square jaw. Nobody really had any idea what he actually did. His reputation had followed him from his days in juvenile prison, mainly for fighting and busting up bars.

Kipper mopped his face with a soiled handkerchief, and took a big swallow from his hip-flask. Cheap bourbon was the best, as far he was concerned. No need to pay for famous names. Old Dalton knew a lot more than those saps arriving in their limousines for the party. This limey Baron was nothing of the kind. He was a grifter, a shill, a con-man of the highest order. His real name was Bastian Urso, and he hailed from some place in Europe with a name that Dalton couldn’t even pronounce. He was wanted all over, but managed to elude police forces everywhere he went. He was that good, at least he thought so.

But he had upset one man too many, and there was now a contract out on him from some Russian guy. Dalton had heard the word, and decided to do some digging. If he got a photo of the so-called Baron, he would get a great payday from the Russian, once he gave them the address of the old De Vere plantation house where they could find him.

But Dalton didn’t know everything. Dax had also heard about the reward on Urso, and had his own suspicions about the phony Baron. If he could get the guy alone, he would make the call, and get the payoff. He knew he could get into the party easy enough, as Lola was besotted with him, and wouldn’t dream of asking anyone else to be her plus one. She had even bought Dax a smart new tuxedo, and got her driver to collect him in the limousine. All he had to do was wait for the right moment, and the Russians would send some guys to do the deed, and pay him the cash. Besides, if this foreigner thought he could pull the wool over Lola’s eyes, he was very wrong indeed. She was no easy mark, just ask her parents.

The cabbie tooted his horn outside Dani’s house. She grabbed her evening bag, and scampered down the porch steps, eager to get out of the heat, and into the air-conditioned taxi. Once inside, she snuggled up to Blythe on the back seat. They held hands like the old days, and giggled together. All those years apart just melted away, and it was just like High School again. Dani could hardly contain herself.

It was going to be an interesting night…