What is a Hashtag? #writerslife #MFRWauthor

What is a Hashtag? #writerslife #MFRWauthor @kayelleallenWhat is a hashtag? I’ll share a simple definition in a moment, but to understand you need to know what they were created to accomplish. Do you know what the abbreviation “etc.” means? It’s the word et cetera which is Latin for “additional unspecified odds and ends; more of the same.” It’s intended to reduce the number of characters (or sentences) needed to explain an item.

That abbreviation is a perfect example of not wasting time. We don’t write an entire list, or even the entire word. Although, here’s a question: why is the word abbreviation so long? Hmmm. Another post for a different day.

Since 2012, I have hosted over 350 authors a year on my Romance Lives Forever blog, and I’ve seen trends come and go. One that’s endured is adding hashtags to the subject. Why is this valuable? Because when the post is shared on social media, those hashtags will enable people to find it. Here’s an analogy that might help you understand.

What is a Hashtag

This symbol: # is called a hashmark. It’s also the abbreviation (there’s that word again) for number. On Twitter (and most other social media) when you add that symbol in front of a word, it changes the word to a search program.

Let’s say you want to look up the word “tweet” on Twitter. In the Twitter search box, you type #tweet. The URL that pops up is this: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23tweet&src=typd and all the tweets with that hashtag are listed.

Why Do I Need Hashtags

I’m a busy person. I know you are too. Imagine if you needed to pick up something at the grocery store, so you run in, grab a cart, and head for the produce department. When you get there, you discover a case for milk next to the lettuce. Not the milk you buy, unfortunately. Then next to the milk is a shelf with bread, but the brand you prefer isn’t there either. Then comes oatmeal. The quick cooking type–but your kids like the instant version.

At this point, you stop, look around, and realize the entire store has been completely rearranged. There is no rhyme or reason to its layout. It’s just whatever the store received that day in the back went out onto the sales area. No more aisles with bread, or aisles with canned veggies, or aisles with cereal. You have to walk up and down every aisle hoping to find what you need. How fast would you push that cart back to the exit and go elsewhere? Yeah. Me too.

Twitter is a store for information, news and opinions. It puts out whatever comes in as the info arrives. There is no order. You get what you get. If you want to find something on Twitter, you either look for a person who interests you, or a hashtag that does.

Hashtags are to Twitter what aisles are to a store. They are the “departments” where you can find what you need and what you’re looking for. I recommend having 1-2 hashtags in the title of a blog post, near the end of the subject. Use 1-2 in a tweet also. Generally, using over 3 hashtags is considered “spammy.”

What is a hashtag that works well for certain genres? That depends on what you want. Are you looking for suspense books with romantic elements? Try #romanticsuspense #suspense and also #romance #suspense together. What is a hashtag you can use to find info on your favorite TV show? Many times it’s the name of the show. Try #BigBangTheory #TheFlash #Arrow or initials, such as #TVD for The Vampire Diaries.

You could just scroll on Twitter and read, but what if you went there to find out if others are watching the same TV show you are? What is the show’s hashtag? Enter that in the search box and pow! There are all the show’s tweets. How cool to discover the cast is live tweeting! You can interact with fans, actors, and writers. Without a hashtag, you’d be lucky to stumble across even one tweet.

In the banner above, I use the hashtags associated with my writing, so people can watch those and find my books. What do you use when you search for books? When you browse Twitter the next time, click on a few hashtags and see what you find.

If you’ve used specific hashtags to find info, what are they? I follow #Thranduil #ThranduilThursday #LeePace and #Fanart – what do you follow? Please share in the comments.


Want to hear about a new book every day? Visit Romance Lives Forever. Our hashtag is #RLFblog which means posts by our guest authors are easily found on Twitter and Facebook. Check it out!

Coming next week – Best Hashtags for Writers

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Popular PNR Themes #PNR #paranormal #romance #MFRWauthor

Popular PNR Themes (paranormal romance) #PNR #paranormal #romanceBefore we discuss popular PNR themes, let’s look at what PNR is. It’s also known as paranormal romance, which is a mix of romance and speculative fiction. It involves elements beyond scientific explanation and focuses on romantic love. On the MFRW (Marketing for Romance Writers) Yahoo Group and our Facebook page, this genre is discussed often. Here’s a look at categories and popular PNR themes.

Categories in PNR

Paranormal romance encompasses themes from fantasy, science fiction, horror, and speculative fiction subgenres such as urban fantasy, time travel, ghosts, witches, demons, vampires, were-creatures, and fairies (or fae). Although some say vampire romance is on its way out, the fascination for this subgenre is holding strong.

Popular PNR themes

In romance, as in filmmaking, a broad trend seems to be extensions of pre-existing properties. In other words, books that revolve around a universe peopled with specific characters or locations. If you read series romance or you like trilogies and boxed sets, this is likely your favorite. Sequels and prequels are the order of the day. If one story set in a specific world is popular, chances are another one will be too. When an audience already knows the “rules” of the universe (i.e., whether vampires sparkle), they are set for the next story to unfold.

Many popular PNR themes offer glimpses of paranoia, fantasies of power, and stories based in parody or satire. The themes involve scenarios that pit “us against them” and showcase heroes/heroines who protect the family, tribe, or world from outside threats. There are also “love overcomes” themes in which the love between two people (romantic love and/or love of a sister for sister, mother for child, etc.) drives the story. Another popular type shows how banding together wins the day by pitting society or a tribe or family against an individual threat such as a monster or demon. Sometimes, these types of stories involve quests to obtain an item of importance or to complete a ritual.

The forbidden fruit in PNR

One of the most enticing aspects of the paranormal romance realm is the forbidden. Falling in love with a blood-sucking vampire or a soul-sucking demon? Crazy! Or helping an otherworldly being defend those in this world? Scary! But that’s part of the charm.

Not so popular PNR themes

Overemphasis on supernatural aspects
If the character’s abilities or supernatural gifts are the most important part of the story instead of the plot, there is little to hold the interest of the reader.

Unwarranted gore
Why must a story open with a scene of horrific death or torture? There are surely better ways to establish the evil and/or dangerous aspects of a monster or villain.

Saving the World – Again
If every story puts saving the world (or tribe or family, etc.) at stake, then the stake becomes commonplace. Ho hum, world saved. Check.

Mary Sues
The perfect character. Mary Sues have no faults, but many talents. They are usually princesses, princes, or the children of powerful beings who hold such titles.

That’s quite a list. What did I leave out? What genre bending books have you read (or written)? What are you currently reading? And what are your least liked aspects in a paranormal romance? Please share it in the comments. Like this post? You’re welcome to share it on social media.

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An Immortal’s Guide to Tarth: Ariana Cover Award Finalist #graphicdesign #scifi #gamer

An Immortal's Guide to Tarth: Ariana Cover Award Finalist #graphicdesign #scifi #gamerAn Immortal’s Guide to Tarth: a Handbook for Immortals Relocating to the Tarthian Empire is a finalist in the Electronically Published Industry Coalition (EPIC) 2017 Ariana Cover Awards. Members of EPIC vote to determine the shortlist and winners. See the full cover and longer excerpt here.

My son, Jamin Allen, created the planets on the front. I did the rest. I share this award with him.

The guidebook is a tongue-in-cheek look at what relocating to the Tarthian Empire would be like for the immortals in other books. A bit of fiction, written in a non-fiction way, the book offers guidance from Joss Avaton, one of the immortals. Provides dire warnings about who not to cross, and what to do about pesky Mundanes (namely, those annoying humans), and who among the Chosen is not to be trusted.

The role playing game of Peril is spelled out, with downloads for character sheets and rules. Includes a who’s who among the immortals, and stats of the players, with never before revealed secrets about Luc Saint-Cyr, Pietas, and others.

Review: “A must have for fans of the Tarthian Empire series. This handy guide will inform, entertain, and provide peeks behind the curtain.”

The guide to Tarth was inspired by the game Peril, played by the immortals. Once their game-life ended, they would have to move on. I thought a guidebook would be something they’d all like to get upon arriving in their new place.

Here’s a short excerpt from the first chapter:

By order of Pietas, humans and other people groups may not be killed for sport. That does not mean you can’t annoy, manipulate, and use them for your own purposes. However, the rule about killing is strictly enforced. You can be banned from the Empire for killing even one Mundane. Justifiable homicide must be proven in Mundane courts as well as before the throne of Pietas.

It has nothing to do with their inherent worthiness. Mundanes have none. However, we must coexist here and the worlds in the Tarthian Empire are filled with these creatures. They farm, raise fish, cattle, sheep, and other animals used for food, create cities, technology, transport, and other items which we find useful and helpful. Since we take full advantage of these things, it behooves us to let them exist. Therefore, the golden rule is “Live and let live.”

We cannot stress strongly enough the need to remember the golden rule when it comes to Mundanes, and especially humans. They tend to bring out the worst in us, so guard yourself against rash behavior in their presence. Pietas does not permit a “temporary insanity” defense. I know this chafes. You must learn to deal with it.

Any immortal moving into the area would have to abide by rules. The first of which, supreme above all others is “Because Pietas says so.” This little guide to Tarth makes that abundantly clear.

Joss Avaton is a major character in Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, which is a work in progress. She’s a master telepath who can crush a windpipe with one thought. Good thing she’s also patient and lives by a strict code of honor.

An Immortal’s Guide to Tarth is available at numerous locations, including Amazon and is also in print. You can get an autographed copy on this website. 

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An April Showers Hop Full of Romance #giveaway #romance

An April Showers Hop Full of Romance #giveaway #romanceWelcome to the April Showers Hop. This fun and quick hop will take you on a journey to meet fantastic authors who write amazing stories!
PRIZES
$50 Amazon Gift Card
$25 Amazon Gift Card
$10 Amazon Gift Card
Increase your chances to win by visiting all the stops listed below and leaving a comment with your email address.
Don’t forget to check out the MEGA April Showers Hop Giveaway
And have fun with the April Showers Hop authors by joining them on April 21st for their Facebook Party!
Thanks for hopping with us… have fun… and away we go….!
Visit all of the stops in the bloghop
by using this list below…
Laura Haley-McNeil  http://laurahaleymcneil.com/

The book I’m featuring for the April Showers Hop is For Women Only.
What he knows will destroy her family. Yet how can she leave him to suffer in the darkness that binds his heart?
His secret truth is her people’s darkest lie.

Publisher Romance Lives Forever Books https://bit.ly/bro-womenprint-kl
This book is free on Kindle Unlimited
Amazon https://amzn.to/1f7Ge0P
Amazon (print) https://amzn.to/2eFKee5
CreateSpace (Print) https://bit.ly/bro-women-csp
The prequel for this book is At the Mercy of Her Pleasure.
Bro is a free short story set before this book opens. Get a copy here: https://kayelleallen.com/bro
Grab both At the Mercy of Her Pleasure and For Women Only plus a third book all in one boxed set. Available on the on this website.

An April Showers Hop giveaway – download a free wordsearch puzzle with words from this book. Nothing to sign up for. Just click and download. For Women Only Wordsearch Puzzle https://kayelleallen.com/media/forwomenonlypuzzle.pdf  This wordsearch puzzle prints on two pages, with the answers on page two. You’ll find words hidden at all angles.

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6 Romantic Spring Date Ideas #hopelessromantic

6 Romantic Spring Date Ideas #hopelessromantic @kayelleallenWhy write about romantic spring date ideas? Because I believe in romance. The motto in my logo and on my website is Romance Lives Forever.

I’ve been married 43 years to the same guy and we still savor romance every day. We enjoy being together. Part of that reason is because we listen to one another and we laugh together. We don’t go out on the usual dinner and a movie type dates. We do enjoy going out to eat and we watch a lot of movies, especially at home. But to go somewhere and have fun without spending a fortune or wearing yourself to a frazzle with the travel… That’s tricky. With it being spring, I thought it would be fun to come with some ideas on what to do. I asked my husband for ideas. There were two requirements. A) They didn’t require a lot of money. B) They were things he’d enjoy doing. Here’s what we brainstormed.

1. Pack a lunch and head to the airport. There is small airport not far from our house and we can park outside the fence and watch planes take off and land. Talk about where the various planes might be headed. For example, a large plane has a greater distance, so it might be bound for a more exotic location than a small, light aircraft. Talk about where it’s going and what you’d do if you were there.

2. Look through some travel magazines and pick a location. If you want a romantic spring date but it’s still cold outside, have an indoor picnic. Open the curtains to let in sunlight. Place a blanket on the floor and sit down together. Pretend you’re having a picnic in the location you chose and role-play what you see. “Oh look! There’s a dolphin pod out there past the waves!” Or, if you can go outside, have your picnic in a park and pretend you’re in a different place, like New York City’s Central Park.

3. Go to a museum and take turns picking the area to visit. It could be a firetruck museum, an art museum, a local historical museum — the site doesn’t matter. The idea is to be together. Hold hands and take your time. Remember, you’re there to enjoy the day and bond with each other.

4. Go on a photo safari. Take your cameras or smartphones and each of you capture images. It can be of each other, the backyard, the sunset, the park, or wherever you happen to be. Then share the photos with each other. If you both take pictures of the same thing, how are they each different? Did you like a particular image? Why not make it your desktop image, or print it in larger size for a poster? That would make the time even more memorable.

5. Go hunting for lightning bugs. When summer is just underway, go outside and look for lightning bugs. Try to count them. It’s just about impossible! They blink and they move, but give it a shot. No need for anything fancy to do this. Just a love of being together.

6. Puzzle night. Get an small puzzle (can even be a kids’ puzzle) and put it together. There’s not much to do while you’re searching for pieces except talk. Which, after all, is the point of a date, right? Getting to be together and sharing?

Here are some places for more ideas. (They open in new windows so you can save your place) Dating Divas offers a list of 40 fun things. Business Insider has some wonderful ideas too. I loved the ideas in this post on She Knows.

Bottom line, whatever you do, take time to show how you feel. Expressions of love never get old. At the end of your date, commit to your relationship and to each other, and make plans for another romantic spring date.

Which of these would appeal to you and your special someone? What kind of romantic spring date you have gone on? Have you been on a date that was different and special? Share in the comments.

 

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Irish or not, hop over and do this #bloghop #giveaway

Irish or not, hop over and do this #bloghop #giveawayIrish? Yes? No? No matter. Welcome to the Kiss Me, I’m Irish Romance Blog Hop.
This fun and quick Kiss Me I’m Irish hop will take you on a journey to meet fantastic authors who write amazing stories.

What’s a blog hop? It’s where a group of people get together and share blog posts on a similar topic. They link to one another so that anyone visiting one spot gets a chance to visit them all. Today’s blog hop is “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” and its point is to introduce new authors. Be sure to visit the ones listed below.

There’s no set order. Wherever you began, just continue until you end up back where you started.

Here’s a tip – if you’re worried about leaving your email, write it a different way. For example: maryATyahooDOTcom. Read to the end to get the #ReallyFree giveaway and links to the rest of the hop.

EXCERPT from For Women Only + Giveaway

In this scene from For Women Only, Khyff has received a notereader (a tablet-type device) filled with information about his mother, who died when he was three. More info is available, but at what price?

Khyff flung himself back in his chair. Every time he and his brother talked, they ended up arguing. He rubbed a hand across his eyes. The pleasant meal they’d started lay almost untouched and any appetite he’d had was gone.

It had taken seconds to read the all too short bio of their mother that his brother was perusing now.

Sileenya Antonello had run away from home on Trien at age ten and been arrested for theft at eleven. While still on probation, she’d disappeared at thirteen and been arrested at age fourteen for unlicensed prostitution. When her pregnancy test had come back positive, they’d placed her back on probation. She’d run away again and been fifteen when she’d given birth to Khyff.

Two years later she began living with an armada-enlisted man who transferred to Felidae, taking Sileenya and Khyff with him, but then he abandoned them. Her next boyfriend addicted her to drugs and prostituted her to newly recruited male Kin soldiers eager to spend their first pay to experience sex with a human female. When she became pregnant, he transferred off-planet, leaving them to fend for themselves.

Even if you're not Irish, hop over and do this #bloghop #giveaway @kayelleallenAn Elder of the Ruh clan found Sileenya huddled in an alley during a thunderstorm, holding the nearly lifeless Khyff in her arms. A scant month later, the Tzesar of the Kin ordered the halfbreed newborn destroyed, but the elder intervened and sold Senth to slavers to save his life.

Sileenya and Khyff had been cast into the streets.

Days later, she was dead by her own hand and Khyff was a slave. Senth ended up at an orphanage where he was later adopted by Luc Saint-Cyr.

Senth poked at the notereader’s buttons. “This thing is encrypted. What if the Empress knows who my father is? Don’t I have a right to know that? You have to talk to her. Find out what she wants. Maybe she’ll give you the key.”

“Destoiya’s not going to give me information without demanding a favor. I have nothing left to give that woman. She’s already taken way too much.”

“Khyff, that’s unfair. I need this. You can’t ice up and go all mental.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

His brother growled, a predatory cat sound that made the hair on Khyff’s neck stand up. He scrambled out of his chair and stepped back from the table.

“That”–Senth pointed a finger at him–“is what I mean. I do anything Kin-like and you freak. Get hold of yourself, Khyff. You’re falling apart. The brother I knew two years ago would’ve done whatever it took to find out who his father was. He would’ve helped me find mine.”

Khyff shoved his chair under the table and leaned over it. “Don’t lecture me about doing whatever it takes. If it wasn’t for me interceding with Destoiya, you’d be dead.”

“I’d be dead? I rescued you, in case you don’t remember.”

“NarrAy rescued me. You were unconscious. I carried you in my arms when we transported back aboard the ship. You had nothing to do with it.”

Senth stood. “If it hadn’t been for me, we wouldn’t have gotten in the palace and found you.”

“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have been a captive in the first place!” He stepped around the chair and set a hand on the corner of the table. “I got my freedom and the next day Destoiya held me hostage to control you.”

For Women Only – Antonello Brothers 2
Publisher Romance Lives Forever Books
Author Kayelle Allen
Genre science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, sweet romance

When Mehfawni Ruh, a Kin ambassador, visits the capitol planet of the empire, she meets security expert Khyff Antonello, a human. A death in her family forces Fawni to return home, but she can’t bear to part with Khyff and takes him along. Her family demands she cast out the human, or abdicate her future rule.
When Fawni searches for an alternative, she stumbles upon Khyff’s secret. The cover-up, if exposed, will betray her world to its enemies and bare her family to open shame. Her duty is clear. Yet how can she leave Khyff to suffer in the darkness that binds his heart?
His secret truth is her people’s darkest lie.

This book is free on Kindle Unlimited and only 99 cents until March 31st
Amazon https://amzn.to/1f7Ge0P
Amazon (print) https://amzn.to/2eFKee5
CreateSpace (Print) https://bit.ly/bro-women-csp
The prequel for this book is At the Mercy of Her Pleasure.
A free prequel, Bro, is available on this website.

Kiss Me I’m Irish Hop Giveaway from Kayelle Allen

Grab a free adult coloring book on this website. There are 7 to choose from! Nothing to sign up for. Just download and enjoy. https://kayelleallen.com/coloring/

HOP PRIZES

$50 Amazon Gift Card
$10 Amazon Gift Card
To be eligible to win our prizes you must visit all the stops (listed below) and leave a comment as well as a valid email address so that we may contact the winner.
Courtney Hunt www.courtney-hunt.com/blog
Tarah Scott http://tarahscottromanceauthor.blogspot.com/
Kayelle Allen https://kayelleallen.com/
Charmaine Gordon http://authorCharmaineGordon.wordpress.com
Sherri Hayes http://www.sherrihayesauthor.com/blog.html
Trevann Rogers http://www.trevannrogers.com/living_after_midnight_blog/
Danita Minnis http://blog.danitaminnis.com/2017/03/dark-love-rising-mfrw-blog-hop-2/
Jennifer Theriot http://jennifertheriot.blogspot.com/
Laura Haley-McNeil http://laurahaleymcneil.com/
Dani Haviland http://danihaviland.blogspot.com/
Thanks for hopping with us in the Kiss Me, I’m Irish hop. Have fun… and away we go!

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