Spring Arrives in in Kentucky with Royal Splendor

Hurrah for Spring!  She has arrived and she wears flowers in her hair!  All hail Queen Spring!

Queen Spring arrives with flowers in her hair!

Queen Spring arrives with red Spring flowers in her hair.Bundles of red and white spring flowers for Queen Spring.

Pink Azaleas fit for Queen Spring.

Pink and pretty for Queen Spring

I saw you knock out roses and little ground cover preparing to bloom. I will celebrate your colors very soon.

 

New Anthology is out and Sojourner McConnell has 1 story included.

I am excited to announce the publication of the latest anthology in which Sojourner McConnell is a collaborator.  Right in time for Easter and Passover, this book is filled with uplifting stories and stories that share the power of forgiveness.

The Book Blurb:

Have you ever been faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to forgive someone? Did you decide to do it? Or was what that person did to you just so unforgivable that you held on to your grudge, even years later?

These are some of the questions that the writers in this anthology explored in this fine selection of short stories. Through a short story, poem, or reflective essay, writers from the Goodreads.com Writers750 Group were asked to consider what forgiveness means, either from the perspective of the one being forgiven, or from the perspective of the one doing the forgiving.

This collection of stories covers a range of topics for your reading pleasure; from stories of forgiveness for property theft, to renditions of familiar biblical stories, to tales of survival from past hurts, and even a few non-traditional gems as well!

These stories were written by; C. Baely, Stephanie Baskerville, Cora Bhatia, Christene Britton-Jones, F.F. Burwick, Rejoice Denhere, Lynne Farley, Patricia Fuqua Lovett, Sojourner McConnell, Lena Pate, Glenda Reynolds, David Russell, Heather Schuldt and Joanne Van Leerdam.

Embark on a journey with these fourteen authors, who take you inside their own view of the power of forgiveness.

 

I hope you find this book enjoyable and worthwhile. It was not an easy work, but it is a valuable one.

John Macdonald Shares his Vision in Photos and Words

I have read and reviewed several of John McDonald’s Photographic books both here and on amazon. His photos really show Michigan as a diverse and picturesque state. Today, he and I decided to share his photos with you in a rare sneak peek.

I am also going to show you where you can pick up this jewel with the hopes that you will review it and share his name as an up and coming author and photographer.

So let’s show some of these beautiful photographs and see what Mr. Macdonald has to say about his own work.

Deer Lake Pano John MacDonald
Deer Lake Panoramic view

Continue reading “John Macdonald Shares his Vision in Photos and Words”

Climbing down the Family Tree and meeting some amazing Characters.

My name is Vicki Turner-Goodwin, but I write as Sojourner McConnell. That seems innocent enough and I have shared the reason for my pen name before, so I shall do it again on a larger scale here.

 

Mama Kate and Grandpa with Mama McConnell
Mama McConnell, Mama Kate, and Grandpa

 

My grandmother was a massive influence in my life.  She was a supremely intelligent woman that believed in women’s rights back in the earliest days of women stepping out into the workforce. Of course,  I had met her brothers and sisters, strong strapping Scottish looking men. With reddish tints to their hair, they were all tall rangy men. They had booming voices and they loved to laugh.  My grandmother was Annie Kate McConnell Dunning.  She had married young and had two children a son, Arthur Benjamin Dunning Jr. and a daughter, Anne Katherine Dunning. Anne is my mother. My grandmother, “Mama Kate” as we called her would regale us with stories of being a highly valuable member of the girls’ basketball team of her high school. It so impressed me that she was athletic and a star of sorts at her school. I also knew her mother, Readie Delilah Nichols McConnell. The thing about Mama McConnell was her ability to outlive every one of her children and remain a sweet docile yet independent woman until the age of 103.

Mama Kate as we called her would regale us with stories of being a highly valuable member of the girls’ basketball team of her high school. It so impressed me that she was athletic and a star of sorts at her school. I also knew her mother, Readie Delilah Nichols McConnell. The thing about Mama McConnell was her ability to outlive every one of her children and remain a sweet docile yet independent woman until the age of 103.

This article is going to be about her husband and my search for his family.  Charles T. (Doc) McConnell was a boarder in Readie’s mother’s boarding house in the early 1900’s. Readie was a teenager and Doc was a handsome young man about fifteen years older than her. She was smitten and nothing would do but that they marry. He came to see the light by 1910.  She loved him so much and always shared how much she loved him with us freely. It was a testament to her love that she never looked at another man after he passed away, leaving her a young widow with a house full of seven children. She told my sister a long time ago, she never felt that way about a man after Doc died. So she spent the next almost seventy years alone. Sadly due to his home burning taking all her possessions and photos with her, I only have photos of her in her 90’s. I have no photos of Doc, but I do have a photo of his father, the Judge, Joseph A.P. and his brother Kindred Balatka McConnell and KB’s lovely wife Lillie May Alexander McConnell.

Joseph A.P. McConnell       Kb MCConnell    Lillie Mae Alexander McConnell

I found out some amazing details on the McConnell family as they lived in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. They moved as a group and the majority of the McConnells ended up in Cullman County Alabama. That city is about forty miles north of where Kate and Readie lived. They lived in Mount Olive on the outskirts of Birmingham. The rest were in the Atlanta Georgia area.  Doc’s father, Joseph Archibald P. McConnell was a judge and a liquor store owner in the Atlanta area. Now as we go back farther up the tree we find that the family began in the Americas in the South Carolina area. There was Joseph’s father, James, who was born in 1795.

His father before him, Joseph McConnell,  was born in Scotland and was the first McConnell in this line to immigrate to America.  He married Mary McCurdy from Ireland and they had seven children.  Joseph’s Father Samuel McConnell who married Eliza Russell is as far back as I can go. I will, of course, keep pecking away, hoping a little information comes forward. I have to form a solid connection, that last thread, may not be accurate. I just have to keep checking dates, links and more links.

The name McConnell comes from a very unique source. The name associated with McConnell is actually a misspelling.  I quote from www.mcconnell.com.

The surname McConnell is the closest pronunciation to the original Gaelic name, “MacDhomnhuill.” The “Dh” in the Gaelic pronunciation was like a hard C so McConnell is not far from the original Gaelic pronunciation. Early English documents usually refer to the MacDonalds as McConnells. McConnell is one of the more common of spelling variations of the original surname, which also include MacDonald, McDonald, McDaniel, and McDonnell and a huge number of variations of these names. Most variations of the original Gaelic name rely on translating “Mac” as “son of” and “Dhomnnhuill” as Donald into English. The differences that resulted after the translation to English did not exist when the MacDhomnhuills all spoke Gaelic.

This is how I find my days being spent when I am having a NaNo virus. I am supposed to be writing my novel, and here I am researching away on a totally different, but fascinating subject. All this is due to my daughter getting her DNA results from 23andme. From the moment she got her results, I was off. I am having such a wonderful time researching and looking at photos, wedding dates, and links, always one more link.  Now if only I can find out one single thread to the mystery that is called, Albert Nichols, born August 28,

I am having such a wonderful time researching and looking at photos, wedding dates, and links, always one more link.  Now if only I can find out one single thread to the mystery that is called, Albert Nichols, born August 28, 1855, and died January 1898 at the age of 42. Oh, these little mysteries that make research fun!

Now you know why I use the pen name, McConnell.  Sojourner? Oh, that one is easy, I love to take journeys with my characters, I am basically a traveler at heart.  Have fun reading and writing and beware the NaNo Virus that pulls you away from the word count.

 

Creating a Universal Amazon Link – One Link Amazon Sites in all Countries

Such a great tool. I had to share this too! One link all countries? Oh heck yeah!

Don Massenzio's Blog

I posted this tip a while ago and got some positive feedback. If you set up buying links for your books, many of you are probably posting Amazon links for each country that you think your book will likely realize some sales.

There is no need to do this.

I was getting frustrated when I ran a free book promotion weekend and experimented with placing a Facebook ad that reached out to multiple countries. My dilemma with doing this is that I didn’t have a way to post all of the links for the various Amazon sites in other countries on my ad without it looking clumsy.

I searched for a way to create a universal link for my book. A universal link, when clicked by a potential reader, is designed to take them to my book on the appropriate Amazon page for their country.

All they needed to do was…

View original post 160 more words

Cruising Alaska on a Budget by Melinda Brasher: Special Guest Post

I have been lucky enough to take several cruises to Alaska, and I hope to take more. It’s a fantastic place to visit, especially by water, and especially if you love nature. Though I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything, here are some of the highlights of my experiences.

Glaciers

Glacier Days generic Marjerie
Marjerie Glacier, Glacier Bay. Photo by Melinda Brasher

The first time I heard the “white thunder” of a glacier calving, the first time a seal looked up at me from an iceberg, the first time our ship broke the ice in front of us to get closer to the glacier–all those moments were magical, but so was the fifth time I sailed into Glacier Bay and so will be the next time. The magic never dies. Be sure to bundle up and spend plenty of time on the outer decks enjoying the magnificence of nature.

Skagway

sugar mama
Tall facades on Skagway buildings. Photo by Melinda Brasher

I grew up in a mining town, so when my first Alaskan cruise didn’t go to Skagway, I was like, “Oh well. Mining…yawn.” Not yawn. My second (and all subsequent) cruises have stopped in Skagway, and it’s probably my favorite of all the common ports. Buildings: cute. History: fascinating. Free walking tours from the Park Service: awesome. Hiking: spectacular. Surrounding mountains: massive. The cruise in through Lynn Canal’s blue-green water: gorgeous. Then there’s White Pass and the famous railroad. The whole place is magical. Just be prepared for literally thousands of other tourists and you’ll love it.

Marine Mammals

BOOK SEAL photo by Melinda Brasher
Seal on an iceberg. Photo by Melinda Brasher

I love the humpback whales spouting in the distance, surfacing gently every once in a while near the ship, showing their unique tails as they dive. Perhaps my favorites are the sea otters floating on their backs and rough-housing with each other. I get a thrill watching seals, sea lions, porpoises, and orcas. And I’ll never forget the time, late at night, those dolphins played in the dark alongside our ship, jumping in the wake and racing us. No one else was around. Just me and the dolphins. I felt indescribably blessed.

Salmon

BOOK Sockeye Mendenhall Mine
Sockeye Salmon at Steep Creek, Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau. Photo by Melinda Brasher

I’m not talking about eating salmon—though most cruise lines will give you at least one chance to indulge in the delicious Alaskan specialty. I’m talking about the actual fish. Their life cycle is awe-inspiring. Born in fresh water, sometimes far inland, they move out to sea to spend most of their lives until instinct drives them back to the place of their birth to spawn and die. The journey home can be a long and rigorous one, swimming against rapids, jumping up cascades. Some species have been found 200 miles upstream in the Yukon. And after this epic journey, they die, sacrificing their lives for the next generation. It’s tragic and beautiful at the same time, and you can see some of it first hand on an Alaskan cruise, especially if you go late in July or August.

Creek Street in Ketchikan during the height of a salmon run is like a freeway at rush hour, and watching them struggle to the top of the little falls always humbles me. I’ve seen the water froth with tiny shark-like fins outside a hatchery in Sitka. At Mendenhall Glacier, we watched a beautiful red and green female sockeye scooping out a nice egg-laying spot while a male defended her from his competition. In Anchorage, you can watch people “combat fishing” for them. It’s a huge part of not just the nature of Alaska, but the culture.

Hiking

IMG_1147
Upper Dewey Lake, Skagway. Photo by Melinda Brasher

I love hiking, and by “hiking” I mean getting out in nature and walking, be it short and easy or long and steep. Alaska’s a great place to do it, even if you’re only in port for a few hours. Here are some of my favorites. The often-wet and mysterious Deer Mountain Trail in Ketchikan takes you to some nice views of the islands in the strait. You can play in and around the blue-green waters of Lynn Canal on the easy stroll to Yakutania Point in Skagway. Portage Glacier Pass Trail in Whitter takes 45 minutes to get from the ship to the tree line on a trail that may still have patches of snow in late summer. At the top, miniature alpine plants, dwarf trees, and tiny pools of clear water compete in glory only with stark-white Portage Glacier in the distance. The hike above Exit Glacier to sprawling Harding Icefield in Seward is nothing short of spectacular. Plan enough time to do it justice.

Perhaps my favorite is the steep and rigorous climb to Upper Dewey Lake from Skagway. The lake is serene, the views breathtaking, and part of the trail follows a waterfall-like section of stream. I went on a sunny day, and I really don’t know if anything could be more beautiful.

Your Highlights

If you’ve been on an Alaska cruise, share your highlights below. If you haven’t, I encourage you to go and see some of this beautiful land for yourself. Only then will you know what your highlights will be.

Alaska Cruising on a budget MarchFor more details on affordable things to see and do in Alaska, read my book, “Cruising Alaska on a Budget; A Cruise and Port Guide.” Available at a budget price on Amazon, or free to download with Amazon Prime.

For more pictures, check my website.

Happy Cruising!

Headshot-Alaska-for-e-book-600-40-72

Melinda Brasher fell in love with Alaska on her first cruise there. She spends her time hiking, writing, traveling, and teaching English as a second language in places like Poland, Mexico, Arizona, and the Czech Republic (Czechia). You can find links to her travel writing and plenty of posts about Alaska on her blog: www.melindabrasher.com

Marketing Tip for Selling Books on Facebook With No Personal Information Shared

I wanted to share with you a few options for marketing on Facebook even if you do not want to have an active Facebook account for yourself.

Facebook is a huge opportunity for authors that are looking for just one more book sale, one more reader and that elusive one more fan. Many people do not trust Facebook as a platform where they want to spend their time and do not enjoy sharing their personal information with the powers that be like Zuckerburg and other corporate entities. I have the perfect solution for you as an author.

Create a Facebook account. A master account as it were. You do not need to have friends, photos, locations or any of the other more intrusive information listed. It is enough to say Your name or Pen name and your occupation as Author.

Once you have that created you are able to build pages. These are simple enough to create you simply use the drop down arrow on the very edge of your facebook header and click Create Page.  create page Book Title on Facebook Vicki Goodwin

Next name your page The Title of your book. Once you have chosen the style and titled your page, you will want to add the book’s cover art, your blurb or back cover description and other information that you feel will help sell your book to potential readers. choose style of page for Book Title Facebook Vicki Goodwin The Page Turner

Now comes the tricky part.  This is where the images will come in handy.  On the top of your new page, you will go to settings. Click settings and you will see the settings options come onto the screen.  Book Page settings marketing tips for Authors on Facebook Vicki Goodwin

On the left-hand panel, you will find Edit Page as the third option from the top. Click Edit Page.  The Edit page screen will appear and you will be looking for Templates.

Edit Page for Boook Page on Facebook Marketing Tips by Vicki Goodwin

Click Edit beside the current template and you will be asked to choose which template you want to use on your new book page.   Choose Shopping. It is actually about half way down the list. When you exit the screen you will see your page now has a shop now button.

On the left-hand panel of your page, you will see the shop option has been added to the list. Click Shop. Add products to your Title page on Facebook Vicki Goodwin The Page Turner

Click add Products in the center of the screen. This is where you will add products to your page. Go to the Amazon or other Retail link and get the URL for your book. Add your book cover in the add photo slot.

Add Product URL area for Selling your book on Facebook Vicki Goodwin The Page Turner

Name your product the title of your book and the price that it is available on Amazon or another retailer. If the product is on sale, you are able to share that on this screen. Once again describe your product using genre and other keywords that describe your book. Add the retail URL in the space provided and slide share this product on your page.  Hit Save.

The last steps will take you back to the Book Title page and hover over Shop Now.  A drop down menu will appear and you will click Edit Button.  You will click Shop on your Website. Edit the Button on Title Page on Facebook Vicki Goodwin The Page Turner

 

 

 

 

Once you click Shop on your website, a box will come up that asks for the URL of the book once again. Add it again in the space providedAdd URL to Book Title on Retail Shop Vicki Goodwin Thr Page Turner and you are able to have people buying your book without having to hang around on Facebook giving personal information.

You are able to do this with each of your books. There is a second part that is just as important. When you find reviews about your books click share to facebook, use the drop down menu and share the post on your books page using hashtags like

There is a second part that is just as important. When you find reviews about your books anywhere on the internet remember to click share to facebook, use the drop down menu and share the post on your book’s pages using hashtags like #fivestarreview,  #mybooktitle, or #myauthorname.

Your posts are advertising for you, sharing your good news and keeping you off of the Facebook platform.  The sharing of posts to the Book’s Facebook page works even if you are active on Facebook. It keeps your book in the public eye and invites readers to take a peek at your work.  Share any book signing event posts or author interviews on the book pages too. It is a wonderful tool reaching potentially thousands (read millions) of new readers.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little trick about promoting your book. If so, leave me a comment. I will keep looking for special little-known tips and tricks for you.