The Blog Tour and Staying Relevant: I Hope


I need to thank Sandra over at quirkybooks for tagging me in this exercise. As usual, I have a love/hate relationship with these blogging “pats on the back” events that we indulge ourselves in every so often. They are, for the most part, quite fun and it gives us a chance to pass on our admiration for those whose work we admire. The Blog Tour is yet another of these attempts to help bloggers in their battle to stay relevant and I hope my severely truncated answers to the very short, only four, questions posed suffice. I will, as usual, have problems choosing other’s to tag since I have very little interaction with fellow bloggers at the moment. As I feel incredibly guilty for having to turn down two very dear friends who tagged me quite some time before this iteration, I decided to accept this and respond, however quickly, to show my deeply felt gratitude at being chosen, I hope justice will be served by my response.

Firstly there is the matter of the four questions, which I’ll address in the order that I read them:

1. What are you working on?

Not a book, that’s for certain! Although I write around two to five thousand words a day in my attempt to keep getting paid and to improve my ability to put two words together in a sentence and not sound like I’m high, mentally challenged, writing in a language that is not my “mother tongue” or someone who uses a spinner to put my articles together. I’m currently the Deputy Managing Editor/Senior Entertainment Editor for the Guardian Liberty Voice. A position I took up last year near the end of April. For the next several months, I wrote around eight to 15 articles a day which were, at a minimum 500 words long. I pulled rusty editing tricks out of my moth eaten bag and soon became the highest paid writer for the company. My output has slowed down to three to five articles a day while I get acclimatized to living in the American Western Desert area of Las Vegas. I write about the fluff of the world, Miley Cyrus’ sexualization of herself, Kim Kardashian’s wardrobe malfunctions and Justin Bieber’s bad boy behavior. I have written “real” news, but it is the entertainment field I adore.

2.How does my work differ to others of its genre?

Again, as I’m not currently writing a book, manual, tome, novel, or short story, although I will, oh yes indeed, and not too far in the distant future either friends and neighbors; I have a good many tales from working in Her Majesty’s Prison Service just screaming to be told. I have no real genre apart from news. However, if I had to label what I do, it is news versus the more “Perez Hilton” type of “blogging” news. I’ve nothing against the man, he has found his niche and filled it very well. He has also worked very hard to become a brand. He also writes about entertainment, or more accurately celebrity which is not the same thing. Picking upon Lady Gaga until she calls out her “little monsters” on you is not my idea of a good time thank you very much. I’ve dealt with some really talented folks, Marlon Wayans for one, and I didn’t pick on him once. I did, however, make him laugh. It surprised him. It also made us connect and it was a lovely moment. Do I ever see myself as the next P.H.? God, I hope not. I try to write all my articles from my personal curiosity, if it is that type of story, or to just present the facts and a little “history” if possible. I am not, nor do I wish to be a brand. I just want to be the best I can be at what I do and enjoy it in the process. So far? I’m having one hell of a good time.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

This one is easy, to get paid and to be read by more than 60 to a 100 people. One of the great things about writing for the paper is that some of my articles have passed the million view club. These stories have accumulated over one million views by folks who read what I’ve written. Even if I did not get paid for my toil, I’d keep doing it just for that buzz alone. I started blogging to brush up on long forgotten rules and styles in the hope to get good enough that I could, one day, write the next great American, or at that time, English novel. Once I started writing, I could not stop and still haven’t. Like I said earlier, I write about entertainment because it is my passion and one that I still hope to participate in more than just write about. Anyone needing an older, slightly balding chap with a raspy voice for TV or film projects… I also should say that now, for the first time in my life, when someone asks me what I do for a living, I can proudly say, “I’m a writer.”

4. How does your writing/creating process work? I get up at around 10:30 to 11:00 each morning, after being up till almost three in the morning, and the first thing I do is turn on my laptop. After taking the first of my many heart pills of the day, I read emails, when I can remember, and start cruising the Internet for all things in entertainment that interest me. Quite frankly if it doesn’t irritate, amuse, upset, or surprise me, I won’t write about it. I have to constantly remind myself to present everything in the third person and to avoid writing what I think about the individual I’m writing about. As I am not a “brand-name” no one cares what I think! As a rule, once I’ve written the story and read it aloud to see if I messed anything up, I post it and move on. If the article does well, I am given a boost and rush on to the next story. If it sinks, I get angry and do the exact same thing as when it does well…I rush on to the next story.

And now for the tags. Firstly, I have to tag Marilyn over at Serendipty. A friend whom I lost touch with as I continue to rush through each repatriated day trying to earn enough money to eat and enjoy my “later years.” This lady has been a rock and given me a lot of food for thought when I believed I was on an intellectual and moral diet. Stop by her site and tell I sent ya.

Secondly, John over at Written In Blood. Another who continues to drop by and leave a comment or two on my links. He writes great reviews and has a passion for films of the scary variety.

Thirdly, and lastly, Natasha over at Films and Things. This young lady took a gamble and cast me as the lead in her first professional short film. I am forever in her debt, not only for casting me, but for introducing me to her talented team of friends. She helped an old actor back into the saddle and she is another to whom film is a passion.

I’ll finish for now, I know that for Sandra over in England it is already tomorrow so I am, in essence, late. Thanks matey for thinking of me in this blog tour. Sorry it took me so long to reply properly.

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Michael Smith
Las Vegas, Nevada
May 19, 2014

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD to Break Whedon TV Curse

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD to Break Whedon TV Curse

Joss Whedon has become an icon in terms of television as well as the big screen. His 2013 film Marvel’s Avengers Assemble confirmed what Whedon fans already knew after his first foray into feature films with Serenity in 2005. The Serenity film is a perfect example of the Whedon TV curse as it was a fan’s “closure film” for his doomed space series Firefly.

I’m a Versatile Blogger…Again!

versatileblogger11

Just when I thought I was through with dodging the award bullets, I got “zinged” with another one from my good friend Marilyn over at Serendipity. She has given me the Versatile Blogger award!

If you haven’t checked out her great blog, stop reading this and head on over via the link above. She has a great site and (like me) she posts a lot! She is a great photographer who shares her work willingly on her site and she asks a lot of pertinent questions. Not to mention that she is one of the most erudite blogs going.

And she and her husband Garry are amongst the few on the net that I consider great pals! Check her out…okay?

Now as with all the other awards that are flying about in the WordPress blogging verse, there are penalties, sorry; rules that must be adhered to, or at least you are supposed to. I tend to vary them a little, just because variety is the spice of life and (in case I’ve not mentioned it lately) because I’m lazy and a bit of a rebel.

I have to mention here that I love getting awards! Ever since I got a Best Supporting Actors Award in 1976 I’ve been hooked on getting any type of “special” recognition. I know, I could change my blog title to Ego’s are Me. It is a tiny personality flaw that I’m aware of and I’m trying to address it.

Okay??

So without further ado, here are the rules involved when you receive the Versatile Blogger Award:

*These have been copied shamelessly from Marilyn’s blog post. See! I told you I was lazy!*

These are the traditional rules for The Versatile Blogger Award:

  • Thank the person who gave you this award.
  • Include a link to their blog.
  • Next, name the bloggers to whom you would like to pass the award and send them a link to tell them you’ve selected them.
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

So! I’ve thanked the person who nominated me! (Thanks again Marilyn!!!). I’ve included a link to their blog. Now I have to name the bloggers I’m nominating.

*Drumroll please*

And the nominees are:

Written in Blood

Hard Ticket to Home Video

Claratsi Movie Review

myfilmviews

RobbinsRealm Blog

It Rains… You Get Wet

Cinematic

I’ve only done 7 nominees (aka winners). The reason? Well, I’m not going to do the 7 “things about me” drill. So at least I’ve made an attempt at the rules by utilising the number seven. (Does anyone else hear the Sesame Street thing in their head saying, “Today is brought to you by the number seven?”)

What I’m going to do instead is post a picture of “moi” holding up my first coffee of the day (and amazingly it’s after I wrote this blog) and toasting not only Marilyn over at Serendipity and the nominees, but, everyone who follows my little blog!

Cheers, all the best!
Cheers, all the best!

I’ll also add a few more pictures from “yesteryear.”

My family. Brother Randy, Dad, Mom, Me, and in the front, my son Donovan. 1980
My family. Brother Randy, Dad, Mom, Me, and in the front, my son Donovan. 1980
Me. 1979.
Me. 1979.
My daughter Megan, 1990 aged 9 months.
My daughter Megan, 1990 aged 9 months.

And that’s me finished!! I’ll also take this time to thank all the folks who stop by, ‘like’ and follow my blog. You guys are the reason I keep forcing myself to sit down in front of my laptop and repeated strike the keys…and to write my blog posts.

You guys are the greatest!

The Dragon’s Loyalty Award: Mouthwash Not Required

Awarded from Marilyn from Serendipity!
Awarded from Marilyn over at Serendipity!

When I first saw that Marilyn over at Serendipity had graced me with this award, my first thought was, “Dragon’s breath?” But, no, it turns out that this “new” award is an amalgamation of the  Versatile Blogger Award  and the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Katrina Perkins came up with this wonderful idea and hence it is she who is ultimately responsible for this new and pretty cool looking award! I have left the links on the names of the site and the lady who started and passed this auspicious award along. Please feel free to click on these links and check these incredible and erudite sites out.

Now!

Just kidding…

But check em out…okay?

And just for information purposes, Katrina was the one who designed the logo for this cool new award. So giving credit to where it is due, I’ve made sure I mentioned it.

Now like every other “award” out there that we bloggers like to bestow willy-nilly to our fellow bloggers in an attempt to show our appreciation to those who follow, inspire, and other-wise move us; there are rules. I know, I know, no-one likes the rules bit, but really; what did you expect? Freebies?

So, on to the rules:

  1. Display the Award Certificate on your website
  2. Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented your award
  3. Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers
  4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post
  5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

I’ve displayed the Certificate, announced my win (via this post) and linked to the presenter.

Now I just have to present the award 15 times to “deserving” bloggers. I honestly, really, hate this part. I have tried pulling names randomly, picking the last (insert number here) followers, and picking those who comment or like the most on my posts. I think I’ll try a combination of the above and do my usual cry of, “If I missed you out, I’m sorry!”

All the nominees are folks that I follow and appreciate what they bring to the blogging world:

  1. http://vinnieh.wordpress.com
  2. http://lastroadreviews.wordpress.com
  3. http://claratsi.wordpress.com
  4. http://natashaharmeryr1.wordpress.com
  5. http://robbinsrealm.wordpress.com
  6. http://foxxiecinnamon.wordpress.com
  7. http://Www.hagiographic.com
  8. http://table9mutant.wordpress.com
  9. http://imalazyboy.wordpress.com
  10. http://terry1954.wordpress.com
  11. http://jackieeatworld.wordpress.com
  12. http://ckckred.wordpress.com
  13. http://www.filmhipster.com
  14. http://hardtickettohomevideo.com
  15. http://jmountswritteninblood.com

All the above listed folks have great blogs and they interact with the blogging community on a regular basis, check em out. You’ll be glad you did! I will be informing them as soon as I’ve posted this blog.

Now for the last part. I’ve been disclosing X amount of personal facts for quite some time now and I think I’m running out of things to disclose (at least things that won’t get me in trouble) so I’m going to borrow a page from Marilyn’s blog and share some pictures instead. It’s actually been on my blogger’s list of things to try for some time now and her post that nominated me and a slew of other blogger’s just jiggled my old memory box.

So here we go, just think of this as a Little Photo History of Mike:

My first Easter with my Dad!
My first Easter with my Dad!
Christmas 1965 me and my new brother. The one I took to show-and-tell a year or so later.
Christmas 1965 me and my new brother. The one I took to show-and-tell a year or so later.
Another Christmas, year unknown, smoking an Avon pipe dispenser of aftershave.
Another Christmas, year unknown, smoking an Avon pipe dispenser of aftershave.
My dad's horse, a part Tennessee Walker and huge! Great temperament.
My dad’s horse, a part Tennessee Walker and huge! Great temperament.
The 1975 Fayetteville High School Talent Show, I got honourable mention.
The 1975 Fayetteville High School Talent Show, I got honourable mention.
The 1976 Ice Cream Social I was the villain and wrote my own lines...we all did. Great show and great experience.
The 1976 Ice Cream Social I was the villain and wrote my own lines…we all did. Great show and great experience.
My first cowboy hat that went mysteriously missing a year later. I loved that hat! Circa 1975.
My first cowboy hat that went mysteriously missing a year later. I loved that hat! Circa 1975.
One of my John Robert Powers pictures - 1979.
One of my John Robert Powers pictures – 1979.

So there you have it. A very tiny pictorial history of me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed digging through the old stack of pictures that I have scattered here and there. I do apologise for the rather random way that the photo’s have been arranged, I’m not really very of-ay with the picture side of these blogs!

Thanks Marilyn for thinking of me for this neat new award!!

Blogging Part 3: Comment Etiquette

Image courtesy of dab-oracle.com
Image courtesy of dab-oracle.com

I find myself hopping back on my soapbox this morning so I can pontificate about blogging and comments. Well, specifically about comments left on blogs and a sort of code of etiquette. A long time ago, in a land far away, I had another blogging site (I actually still do, as apparently you can be inactive on the site for a millennium and still keep the account) and I had a blog I followed quite religiously.

I got in the habit of leaving “semi” long comments. The lovely lady who owned the blog I was commenting on sent me a “sharp” rebuke for being too wordy. My response at receiving this email of displeasure was two-fold.

I was upset that I was breaking some sort of comment etiquette and irritated that she did not want my input after inviting people to comment on her blog. After a bit of thoughtful deliberation and a conference with my daughter (who’d been blogging much longer than I had) I stopped following the lady’s blog and dropped her from my email contact list.

A short while later, I got an email from her (in my spam bin) saying that she was sorry. She told me she was wrong about my comments being too long and she missed my feedback. By then, unfortunately, I’d moved house and was living in another blogging site, WordPress. I never bothered following her blog again, as I don’t ever visit that particular blogging site since my move.

But as time has gone by and my experience grows on blogging and the interaction it requires, I can see her point. I also read a great blog post from Marilyn over at Serendipity a while back where she posted about inconsiderate commenters. By the way, if you have not had the extreme pleasure of reading this fascinating lady’s Blog just click HERE. You will not regret stopping by.

I decided that as a “not-so-regular” commenter on other people’s blogs (I have a hard time fitting in reading and liking them) and the fact that I have a lot of folks who  do leave comments on mine, that perhaps a short list of don’ts might not hurt. It might save you that cringe worthy moment when the blog owner that feels like you are “taking the Mickey” with your comment and  upbraids you on it. *Taking the Mickey is an English phrase for making fun of or being tacky towards someone or taking liberties.*

Comment Etiquette:

1) Don’t leave an entire page worth of  comment. Most blogger don’t appreciate your version of a comment that resembles Gone with the Wind. Keep it short, but if you want to engage more fully, send an email to their contact email address.

2) Don’t link back to your blog site. Nothing is more offensive to a blogger than if you use the comment section to advertise your blog post. Social media is for self promotion, not someone else’s blog comment section.

3) Don’t argue with other commenters on the post. It’s cool to interact (that’s why we blog) but do not get into a protracted war over an issue. I once had two people carry out a full paged campaign on a blog post I’d written. Don’t do it.

4) Play nice. This really could be an addendum to 3). If you disagree with someone, just say so and try to make your point as succinctly as possible. Don’t get tacky. It’s not appreciated and can result in getting you blocked.

5) Don’t NAG. This, along with the GWTW type comments are my pet peeve. If you don’t know what constitutes nagging, here’s a clue. If you leave repeated messages (comments) talking about the same things? It is NAGGING. Stop it.

6) Don’t be negative. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

7) – This is the last one, I promise – DO feel free to express yourself and commit to your comment. Remember, other people are reading what you have left on someone else’s blog post, if you do it “right” they will follow you back to your blog. It is a great way to self-advertise without being offensive.

So that’s it. The MikesFilmTalk’s Comment Etiquette Guide. I would like to point out that this post is not “aimed” at anyone in particular. I had the idea for this post while pondering a response that someone left on another blog site. It made me think of my cringe worthy moment over two years ago, when I got diarrhoea of the keyboard.

We all love to interact with each other in the blogging world, let’s just try to do it politely and positively.

So how about you? What sort of comments can you do without or make you see red? Do you have any commenting etiquette that you think should be followed?

Let me know, but to paraphrase Captain Spaulding in The House of a 1000 Corpses, “Don’t go all Margaret Mitchell on my ass.”

Cover of "Gone with the Wind"
Cover of Gone with the Wind