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Fairy Tale Fortnight Giveaway Hop

Fairy Tale Hop Image

 

This hop is in conjunction with the 4th annual Fairy Tale Fortnight.  
Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop
Hosted by
April 22nd to May 3rd

I’m giving away an Amazon/Kindle ebook: winner’s choice of one of Jessica Grey’s fairy tale-based novels or short story collections.

Choose from:

Alexandra Martin didn’t believe in fairytales…

Alex has always been more interested in rocks and science than stories about princesses and magic. Now she’s far too busy with her summer internship at the Gem and Mineral Museum to think about children’s stories. Between avoiding her former best friend and high school baseball star, Luke Reed, and trying to hide her unrequited crush on her mentor at the museum, the real world is occupying all of her time.

…Until she walked into one.

It turns out fairytales aren’t all fun and games. A curse has turned her neat and orderly world upside down, and to break it, she bands together with a fellow intern and a recently awakened princess who’s been asleep for 900 years. Can this trio of unlikely heroines put an end to an ominous enchantment, discover true love, and keep an ancient and evil magic from being unleashed on modern-day Los Angeles?

Becca Ward knows that magic is real…

Two years ago not only had she and her best friend Alex found a real life sleeping beauty in the middle of Los Angeles, they also discovered that they were powerful in their own right. They’ve managed to keep both their fae powers and their friend Lilia’s identity as a medieval princess a secret and live a normal life. Now that normalcy is threatened by the return of their former advisor at the Gem and Mineral Museum, and Becca’s least favorite person, Nicholas Hunt.

And she’s about to find out that more than one fairy tale is true.

Nicholas has been obsessed with proving Lilia’s identity and the existence of magic. While working on an archeology dig he discovered an ancient Fae artifact – a mirror that is imbued with a powerful protection spell that twists his obsession, and his body, until he is more beast than man. In order to protect her friends, Becca is forced to help him and she is surprised to find that in spite of his outward appearance, Nicholas is no longer the beast she remembers. Will she let herself be the beauty that breaks the curse, or will she let her prejudice against him stop her from discovering true love?

Eleven enchanting fairy tale short stories:

After spending her whole life isolated in a tower, Rapunzel’s salvation is finally at hand, but she may have merely traded one form of captivity for another…

Special Agent Alice Harrison of the Office of Narrative Order should know better than anyone not to follow a suspicious (and suspiciously good-looking) man in a white rabbit suit down a hole…

Miss Lucinda Beacham is bored. The endless balls and dances she must endure as a debutante hold no enjoyment for her—that is until she finds a frog sitting on the edge of a fountain, a frog who just so happens to know her name…

Being a fairy godmother isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when you’re a junior in high school and your next assignment is your former crush…

Views from the Tower is a collection of short stories that offers new perspectives on some of your favorite fairy tales, including a trio of different takes on Rapunzel. Each story offers a unique foray into the exciting world of fantasy, as well as a golden opportunity to see some well-known legends in a whole new light.

View from the Tower: Captive
View from the Tower: Longing
View from the Tower: Hope
Chasing Storms
The Price of Beauty
Oh My Fairy Godmother
In Her Service
Mountain Rose
Down the Rabbit Hole
Magical Spell Support
Red

Also includes the first three chapters of Awake: A Fairytale, the debut YA fantasy novel by Jessica Grey

A mermaid willing to trade her life for love…

A young girl whose beauty can drive people mad…

Twelve sisters with a mysterious addiction…

A beast that can only be transformed by love…

Views from the Depths is a collection of four short stories told from perspectives of multiple characters. Each of these stories takes an in-depth and sometimes melancholy look at some of your favorite fairy tales.

Includes adaptations of The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Beauty and the Beast.

Views from the Depths is approximately 20,000 words in length.

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Syndication – Good, Duplicate Content – Bad. What to Do? by Donna Huber

Syndication – Good, Duplicate Content – Bad. What to Do? by Donna Huber

Ever since Google started cracking down on blogs that had duplicate content, I have wondered how syndication played into it. In legacy media, being a syndicated columnist was a huge feat. The columnist reached greater audiences with the same content.

Then there are the news stories that play over and over on every television station and every newspaper. Even as the legacy media moved online, the practice continued. Online news sites like Huffington Post even repost content from other sites.

I’ve asked around in various groups what makes syndication okay for sites like a newspaper, but not a general blog like mine? Early answers were that they were somehow exempt from Google’s algorithm. Not fully understanding, I searched the web and Google’s own information and all I got was some technical mumbo jumbo that all I took away from was syndication was okay but not duplicate content.

I got into another discussion yesterday with an author who read an article about the benefits of syndication, but wasn’t sure how it differed from duplicate content. It got me thinking and again I went searching for answers. I ran across the most helpful article to date on the subject at Search Engine Journal.

To bottom-line the article – it’s all about the quality. You really should read the article for yourself, but I’ll highlight a few things I took away from it and some thoughts on syndication as it applies in the book-blogging world.

Quality Matters

A lot of bloggers and authors are doing book blasts or sponsored giveaway posts. These posts usually only contain “canned” information. The whole point of the post is to be an advertisement. Ads = low quality. It is likely that Google will view these types of post more as duplicate content than syndication.

More: Book Blasts, Blog Blitz, Sponsored Giveaway

What is a high quality post? One that contains meaningful information is usually of high quality. Meaningful content may be timeless, usually answers a question the reader has on the subject, and/or provides insight possibly not found elsewhere. Interviews and guest articles usually are good examples of high quality content.

Quality

But content alone does not make the post high quality. It must be well-written: free of grammar and spelling errors, contain clear and concise language, structured to be highly readable.

How to Syndicate

After reading this post, authors may be thinking “Great! I have that awesome post I wrote on my tour last month. I can syndicate that.” Not so fast. You may be running into a rights issue. Who “owns” that content? When I developed my Submission Guidelines, I consulted literary magazines and other publications (both ones that have print issues and ones that are online only) to determine how they handled content submissions. Most had language detailing the rights and permissions. Even if money did not change hands over a post, it is still possible that a guest article you wrote belongs to the blogger. Just to avoid hard feelings if nothing else, I would advise authors to check with bloggers.

Intellectual property

Bloggers, should you give permission to have a guest article syndicated by the author? While the decision is up to you, I would tend to say yes, you should. Again if you look at my Submission Guidelines, I state I have exclusive use rights for a certain period of time, after that time the author may reuse the article, but a link back to the original post on my blog is required. Why? Getting other sites to link to your blog is good for SEO purposes also it means that more readers will see your blog’s name and since the post is of high enough quality to be reposted then it speaks well of the other content on your site.

Another option for syndication is to write an original article and then send it out to bloggers to post. You may first publish it to your own blog or you might not. Either way, make sure there is a bio and a link back to your website/blog. This option is open to more than just authors in the book writing sense. Bloggers can also have their own content syndicated. For example, most of my tips posts would make excellent content for syndication. I recommend including at the end of the article or somewhere unobtrusive, but visible, a statement to indicate it is a syndicated article. By indicating it is a syndicated article may encourage others who love the post to consider posting it on their own site.

Problems with Syndication

(or when does syndication cross the line to duplicate content?)

According to Google, duplicate content is not grounds for action against a blog. So why have I been told not to post duplicate content? Mostly because there is a fine line between white hat SEO techniques and black hat SEO tricks. Did I lose you? White Hat = Good. Black Hat = Bad. Anything that attempts to manipulate search engine algorithms is bad. Duplicate content can become black hat if it looks like a linking scheme (meaning you are more interested in having a site post a link to your site than the content you are providing in the article). That’s why the most important thing to remember is QUALITY.

Bloggers may be thinking, “Hey, I never have to write another post. I can just post syndicated articles all the time.” I’m not sure if that would be a wise move. I think that the algorithm looks at the ratio between original content and duplicate content when determining if a site is trying to artificially influence search engine ranking (how high on the list a site is when someone searches for a subject).  Adding in a few original posts will also keep your readers interested. It is no secret that many book blogs share the same readers so if you only have content they can also find on another site they may stop visiting your site all together.

SEO Puzzle Showing E-Marketing And Promotions

A third problem with using syndicated articles is related to the problem above. If 10 blogs post the same article then Google’s search algorithm decides which blog gets the top billing when returning search results. A couple of things play into it. One, the site that posted the article first may get pushed higher. Two, sites with better page rank get higher billing. I’m sure there are other factors, but you get the idea. The other sites may rank higher than yours in search and therefore your blog isn’t “found” by new readers.

Speaking of page rank… That is another problem you can run into with syndicated posts. If you have 10 blogs that have a lower page rank than you pointing to yours through a link then that might not be so good for you. And possibly worse you are linking to sites with lower page rank. What is page rank? It is a scoring system that Google uses to rank your site’s content. The better the content the higher the rank. You linking to a site is seen as an endorsement of sorts. I don’t fully understand page rank, so I’ll leave it at that. An option you have is to make the links “nofollow”.

More: Choosing doFollow or noFollow

Bottom line: syndicated content can be great for both bloggers and authors, if you used appropriately. Use it for good, not evil by devoting the extra time to making sure that one post is worth being syndicated.

donnahuberDonna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

Original post: http://www.girl-who-reads.com/2014/04/syndication-good-duplicate-content-bad.html

 

Kid Quotes: Trip Edition (4/16)

My kids are always coming up with crazy stuff, but being stuck in a car together for 10-12 hours provides endless opportunities for entertainment. Mine, not theirs.

Early in the trip, we had a discussion about radio signals and why we have to switch stations frequently while driving.
Several hours later, Blake asked how we were getting “our station” so clearly.
It took me a minute to understand what he was asking.
B: How is the station so good?
Me: We’re in Memphis. There are probably twenty stations here.
B: No. How is our station so clear here?
Me: This isn’t our station.
B: But one day we were going to the grocery store, and I heard this song.
I adore this kid.
Jack said something snarky to him, and I said, “Quit. He doesn’t understand.”
“How could he not understand?”
“He’s five.”
Instantly, his voice went from “He’s an idiot” to “He’s so cute”. “Yeah, he’s five.”
I’m pretty fond of that kid, too.

After driving for 12 hours, we got to my parents’ house around 12:30. Blake woke up at 4am throwing up. He and I were sharing the lower bunk, so while I was cleaning him, me, the bed, the floor, and half the bathroom, he asked, “Do you think it got on Jack’s bed?”
“Uh, no. His bed’s way up there.”
“Well, sometimes when you throw up, it goes up.”
Not that far, son.

Last night going to sleep (the first time), Blake didn’t want to snuggle up to me. A few minutes later, he got upset because his teddy bear was in the way and he couldn’t snuggle with me(???).
“I thought you didn’t want to snuggle.”
“Well, now I *do*.”
Then oh, so seriously, “People can change their minds, you know.”

B: So there are firstendary colors and secondary colors?

B: I know clouds are for rain, but what else are they for? Cotton balls?

We stopped at Wendy’s to eat, and I got a salad a baked potato. The tomato fell off Blake’s “chicken burger”, so I gave him my fork because he didn’t want to touch the tomato with his hands. As we were packing up his leftover sandwich to finish in the car (his lack of urgency wasn’t cooperating with my desire to find a bed), he handed me the plastic fork and said, “”We can’t take any equipment out of here.”

Blake fell asleep while Jack was in the shower one night, and the first thing he said the next morning was, “Did Jack take a shower for the whole night?”

B: Why do these peanuts taste funny?
Me: They’re cashews.
B: Oh! Well, they’re good.

#100HappyDays Day 37

Nothing is as good as Ritz Crackers, but I finally found a decent gluten-free substitute!

#100HappyDays Day 37

TOS Review: Curiosity Quest

Curiosity Quest Review
Learning should be fun, don’t you think? I think so, and the folks at Curiosity Quest think so, too! We were excited to review two DVDs: DVD Combo Pack – Produce and DVD Combo Pack – Swimmers of the Sea. I was as fascinated by these shows as the kids were.

Curiosity Quest is a show that answers those niggling questions we all have about everyday things. Joel Greene is a fabulous and entertaining host who dives into the types of adventures we’d all love to experience. He takes us inside factories, farms, and salvage yards to learn how it’s done. The show airs on some PBS stations, and is available on DVDs. Episodes are approximately 30 minutes each.

Each episode starts with a viewer question, and goes onsite to meet someone with a related occupation. Every few minutes, we are shown a “man on the street” interview segment in which people (often cute kids) answer questions related to the show’s subject. This segment is quite entertaining, as some of the people come up with totally off-the-wall answers. There are also a few “Fun Fact” segments thrown in. The show is geared toward kids ages 7-14, but my five-year-old and I both watched them along with my twelve-year-old, and we all loved them. They’re funny and informative – quality “edutainment”!

The DVDs are great on their own, or as the starting point to a unit study. You can watch the episode then spend some fun time doing your own research to learn even more! We didn’t go that far, but as we watched the videos, we paused several times to google our own questions. Sometimes the questions were answered later in the episode, but we didn’t know that when we looked them up. LOL We watched two episodes a day for three days, and one morning, the first thing the five-year-old said when he woke up, was, “Have we watched the orange thing yet?” Which somehow ended up with us googling what vitamins and nutrients are in oranges before we even got out of bed.

Continue reading TOS Review: Curiosity Quest

TOS Review: Supercharged Science

Supercharged eScience Review
Today’s review is for the e-Science Program from Supercharged Science. Do you worry that you don’t know enough to help your kids learn science? Or are you just looking for a fun and interesting way for the whole family to learn? Aurora Lipper is a for-real rocket scientist with a knack for breaking things down and explaining complicated concepts in such a way that anyone can understand them. My brain doesn’t “do” science, and even I am captivated by the site. I could totally sit and watch these videos all day!

The program is set up so that students can work on their own. They can watch videos, read the lessons, and conduct experiments. Many of the experiments have a “how-to” video, so you’re not just looking at a picture trying to figure out how you’re supposed to get your stuff to look like that.

Supercharged eScience Review Continue reading TOS Review: Supercharged Science

#100HappyDays Day 36

Every spring a bird builds a nest in this pitcher. No, I have no clue how a Tupperware pitcher ended up sitting on the carport shelf. Probably had something to do with a man who has no concept of how much things cost. I couldn’t get close enough to see if there are eggs, but nothing has hatched, because we can hear them after they’ve hatched.
#100HappyDays Day 36