Riches and Rhymes

The Poetry and Writing of Janis Gaines

Category: Blogging 101

Reject A Hit: Much Ado About Nothing

I’ve submitted this for the Writer’s Digest series called Reject A Hit. The idea is to pretend to be an editor who rejects a famous book, which sadly, happens all the time! Don’t let it discourage you if you dream of publishing. All of the best writers have received dozens of these.

I chose the play Much Ado Bout Nothing by Shakespeare. If you know the story, you’ll recognize lots of puns here.

RejectAHit_Fotor

Dear Mr. Shakespeare (if that really is who you are),

We’ve heard the rumors about your cast of characters in Much Ado About Nothing. This is all just smoke and mirrors and surely no one would have a ball to read it. Beatrice is far too brazen. Don’t you know a woman of her time should be seen and not heard? How fitting that her love interest is Benedick, who has really been a dick. Don John is a jerk. You have a dingleberry for a cop. And how presumptuous to name one of your main characters Hero! We’re all aware of the Hero’s Journey, but this is arrogance at its finest.

Marry, Sir, you have committed falsehood; moreover, you have written untruths; secondarily, you are fabricating lies; sixth and lastly, you have belied the scoop, and to conclude you are an ass.

We were ready to dump this rotten orange of a manuscript in the trash, and truly we wish it had never been written. The garbage can is the only fair covering for this drivel, but on the suggestion of our lawyer, we would like to keep it in the rejection pile for just a short while, and if it can be proven virtuous, we would be willing to consider it again. Otherwise, there really is nothing here at all for us to publish.

Much Adieu,
Funky Cold Messina
Editor

credits-by-visitrenotahoe© June 13, 2015
Asheville, NC

Day 5: Love Your Theme

cropped-seal_v2-04I’m participating in Blogging University’s Blogging 101 course, sponsored by The Daily Post on WordPress. Each day they give a topic, along with blogging tips. I think I know how to use most of WordPress fairly well, but I’m always looking to refocus and learn new things.

Day 1: Introduce Yourself to the World
Day 2: Title and Tagline
Day 3: Say Hello to the Neighbors
Day 4: Identify Your Audience
Day 5: Love Your Theme

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I have really enjoyed the FREE Manifest Theme for my poetry blog for the past three years. I like the central column with minimal distractions. I like that the entire post shows in the window without having to click on something to read the whole thing. I feel like it showcases the writing very well. Not sure I like the widgets being at the bottom, but that’s the default for this theme. Also, when reblogging someone else’s work, it will still say “by Janis Gaines” and I don’t care for that; not sure if it’s possible to change that. I found these tips helpful for choosing a theme.

The challenge today is to try on some new themes for size. I have thought of upgrading to a premium site (paid) to be able to upload personal video directly from my computer or phone; I use the WordPress app on my phone quite a bit. So, I scrolled through some new themes, not really expecting to find anything better, and I came across the Linen theme (premium) — which I like very much. It has all the things I like about this current theme, plus some extra creative color customizations, which could be fun, as well as having widgets on the sidebar instead of in the footer. It’s $79. May consider this one, but still browsing. The Preview tabs are seriously great to see how the theme would look with your current content.

It also makes me want to have a business eCommerce site for my teaching/tutoring job. This has been a dream of mine for a few years now, but I’m often overwhelmed with the idea of setting it up myself. I’ve always thought I would have to hire someone and not sure I’m ready to spend that kind of $. I think if someone helped set it up for me, I could maintain most of it on my own. A business site is $299, which is reasonable in my opinion. Also, I found out that there would be a WordCamp in Asheville next month! How lucky is that?! So, I will probably try to attend that and hone some of my business ideas between now and then. I already keep a separate blog for teaching, but it’s mainly a “dummy” how-to blog for my students and I’d like to possibly expand it for a wider market.

Some theme contenders…

Linen $79
Organization $69
Elemin $129
Vagabond $75
Choco FREE
Blissful Blog FREE
Misty Lake FREE

© June 13, 2015
Asheville, NC

Day 4: Identify Your Audience

cropped-seal_v2-04I’m participating in Blogging University’s Blogging 101 course, sponsored by The Daily Post on WordPress. Each day they give a topic, along with blogging tips. I think I know how to use most of WordPress fairly well, but I’m always looking to refocus and learn new things.

Day 1: Introduce Yourself to the World
Day 2: Title and Tagline
Day 3: Say Hello to the Neighbors
Day 4: Identify Your Audience

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So, I’m trying something new today. I’m excited to think I have learned something new already — thanks, WordPress! I’m using a shortcode to create a list of poems all with the topic (tag) of love; directions and examples here and here. These are two different codes. An interesting note: I used the same word “love” in both shortcodes, but the lists are completely different; not sure why.

I think this is a great way to compile a list without having to do it manually. If you’ve tagged your posts well, then this is a real time saver! I thought this would be a neat, new way for my audience to see who I am and what I generally write about at a quick glance. I think I like the paragraph blurbs best. Which one do you prefer? The short, simple list or the longer preview style?

  • That Mistake - I saw that mistake you made That flub for all to see How embarrassing to turn pink From cheek to cheek You should have been there But you weren’t You let people down Who were counting on you You knew And now everyone gives you that look For that mistake you made That one mistake […]
  • Taking Up Arms - I’m taking up arms Against all the world’s harms And holding the flag of victory High enough for all to see So many fallen by my side And yet faith, hope, and love abide Shouting loud and standing strong Believing truth will right the wrong Opposing love comes at a cost But Love will gather […]
  • Climbing Jacob’s Ladder - Angelic tones Ascending and descending From here to there And back again A love song from my friend Soft-spoken and beckoning He says, “Come” In every language ever known to man And while I can’t make out all the heavenly tones I am swept away in the symphony of sound So readily transported and transparent […]
  • Dance - My fingers danced on the keyboard With lightening speed and grace Beauty, capturing time in space But they skipped a step tonight And couldn’t make sense or word Out of all the jumbles there And every rhythm of love composed Every mental measure and beat Fell dormant at the pretty dancer’s feet © March 31, […]
  • Fall Down - Fall down water from my eyes Holy father, hear my cries Fall down chin upon my breast Till the last sin is confessed Fall down knees too weak to stand Dependent on my father’s hand Fall down flat, face to floor My broken spirit please restore Fall down mercy from above Evidence of a matchless […]
  • Heartbeat - Heart beats open Beats closed Red rhythm of my soul Beats open Beats closed Center of the whole Beats open Beats closed Life flows through Beats open Beats closed From me to you Beats open Beats closed Tender words embrace Beats open Beats closed Rhythms full of grace Beats open Beats closed Constant come and […]
  • I Wish - I wish I could’ve told you so And made you believe All the things that meant so much All the love received All the gifts and lavish graces Alive and living on Though you walk a different path Seeking a new dawn And you’ll find it cause you’re you And have so much more than […]
  • Journey Onward - Journey onward Take my hand I’ll lead you homeward To the Promised Land No need to worry No need to fear I am your lover And I am right here So won’t you…take my hand, You know I understand the pain you’ve been through Don’t turn and walk away Don’t lose the faith that brought […]
  • Let’s Skip the Moonlight Tonight - Let’s skip the moonlight tonight And forsake its bright beams To find greater light In each other’s dreams Let’s skip the moonlight tonight Fair prince among stars For the love in the sky On earth can be ours Let’s skip the moonlight tonight And burn candles instead While you sing to me softly As we […]
  • Love Never Fails - Waiting here so patiently I hear him say so quietly “I paid the price for your sorrow” The work I do is to believe The fruit of faith I will receive And walk with my head high into tomorrow The love of God never fails So welcome all the wood and nails Let them hammer […]
  • My Beloved - You are my beloved You shall be my bride You are my beloved I want you by my side You are my beloved I have chosen you You are my beloved And all you have to do …is believe in my love, my love Receive my love, my love I want you here, I want […]
  • One Tear - One tear, two tear, three tear, four And I will offer many more Though I break and though I bend I know that tears are not the end Though love may tarry and healing same I bear a mighty Savior’s name And Him I trust with all of me With wrestled faith of a mustard […]
  • Paintbrush - You have turned my insides out And colored them in pretty hues The makings of a masterpiece How could I refuse? The touch of a brush with a palette of paint With richness I’ve never seen You have washed all the gray and dark colors away And have painted a much fairer scene Full of […]
  • Placebo - I didn’t know where we were going When I took your hand And led you down this slippery slope Only that slipping was a release From that steady place you hated so much And sliding brought relief From being so sure of yourself Finally free falling In tandem And somewhere we found ourselves at the […]
  • Sentiment - It hurt so badly So I erased it all today It was almost gone anyway Faint sounds of laughter and love songs That one thing I forgot to tell you And one thing I wish you’d say No need for it now Precious memories Taken and tossed away Plundered by another Like thieves who rob […]

© June 13, 2015
Asheville, NC

Day 3: Say Hello to the Neighbors

cropped-seal_v2-04I’m participating in Blogging University’s Blogging 101 course, sponsored by The Daily Post on WordPress. Each day they give a topic, along with blogging tips. I think I know how to use most of WordPress fairly well, but I’m always looking to refocus and learn new things.

Day 1: Introduce Yourself to the World
Day 2: Title and Tagline
Day 3: Say Hello to the Neighbors

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say-helloToday’s task is to follow five new topics and five new blogs.

This is somewhat new for me, as I don’t have much time/brain space to read other work; I’m lucky to maintain my own blog. Truly, I don’t use the Reader all that much. If I do, it’s usually in a teacher capacity in mentoring my creative writing students, who are required to blog. And yet, I believe in the power of community and that’s an area I’m willing to grow in. So, in keeping with the spirit of the challenge, I have added some new topics (tags I follow).

My five new topics are…

1) Art

2) Poetry

3) Literature

4) Writing

5) Inspirational

I’m also somewhat hesitant to follow five new blogs. But, I’m willing to give this a try too. So, I have chosen one new blog in each new category! This took a little bit of exploring, and it was fun to see what else is going on in the blogosphere.

1) Art: Oldest Daughter and Red-headed Sister
They had a great photo that caught my eye in the post called “Light,” and it helped that it was paired with a beautiful poem. But that may be cheating for me for this art category! I’m also impressed that she has over 1,000 followers! And a cool theme that really showcases her work well. Wow, I feel like I’ve happened upon a real find. Check this one out.

2) Poetry: Kimemia Thinks
He’s writing a haiku a day – great challenge! I like the idea and look forward to reading future poems. Whew, hard time picking just one in this category. Lots of amazing talent out there! Humbling for me, and yet, good to know I can have a seat at the table. Reading so much tonight made me realize how much I have NOT written lately. I have had some stirrings, but have neglected them. Need to be faithful to the muse. Also, reblogging to give credit to these great writers!

3) Literature: Dana Johnson
Surprisingly, there was not as much to choose from in this category. Maybe the topic “books” would have been a better choice. Dana blogs about all things reading, books, and literature. ❤

4) Writing: B.F. Simone
So, this was also an eclectic category. A lot of poetry, lots of writing prompts, author promotions, etc, when I think I was expecting to find more how-to stuff. Giving a shout-out to B. F. Simone for her work; of all I saw, I thought hers was the best. She’s also recently published The Keeper’s Vow.

5) Inspiration: Happy Thoughts
This was a tough category. It was hard to find a blog that was dedicated to this topic. A lot of people have “inspiration” as an occasional tag. And a lot of the blogs that came up for this tag were uber religious, which is not always inspirational. Also, lots of art and poetry that grabs my attention, but I was looking for something a little different here. Perhaps I should have used the tag “beauty” as that is usually what is inspirational for me, but I bet that would yield a lot of fashion/makeup blogs — also not what I’m looking for. In the end, Happy Thoughts was the clear winner here out of all I read.

This was quite the adventure and learning experience for me! This post took me hours to compile, and I wasn’t expecting that. But I think it’s a good thing. I learned a lot. Apparently, my WordPress reader can be like Facebook crack, only with a bunch of strangers. I could seriously read for days. It’s good to be a part of the blogging crowd — lots of good stuff out there! You’ve all inspired me to write and read even more.

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© June 12, 2015
Asheville, NC

Day 2: Title and Tagline

cropped-seal_v2-04I’m participating in Blogging University’s Blogging 101 course, sponsored by The Daily Post on WordPress. Each day they give a topic, along with blogging tips. I think I know how to use most of WordPress fairly well, but I’m always looking to refocus and learn new things.

Day 1: Introduce Yourself to the World
Day 2: Title and Tagline

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Title: Riches and Rhymes
Tagline: The Poetry and Writing of Janis Gaines

I’m happy with my blog title and tagline. I chose the title quite randomly. It just came to me when I sat down to write. At first I thought it might be a little cheesy, but it has grown on me. It seems to fit the original purpose of why I started blogging. I was cataloging my poems, thus the Rhymes, and I believe that what we create from the heart are the true Riches. So, Riches and Rhymes has stuck.

The tagline used to say The Poetry of Janis Gaines, but I’ve since expanded what I post here, so I updated the tagline to reflect that: The Poetry and Writing of Janis Gaines. Pretty basic. It says what it is. Works for me. I also really like my chosen theme with the central text column and minimal distractions. However, the one drawback I’ve found is that when I want to post a quote by someone else, the post still labels it “by Janis Gaines” so I feel that is misleading. Oh well. Not sure there’s anything I can do about that. And sometimes I wonder if it would be better to have the widgets on the side; I don’t know how many people take the time to scroll all the way down to the bottom.

I’ve also recently thought about paying for a premium site where I could upload video directly from my phone or computer. Would be nice to be able to do that, and I think it’s probably affordable. Will look into. I wonder if I can keep the same theme if I do that? Anyone have experience with that?

blog-pic-b2c © June 11, 2015
Asheville, NC

Day 1: Why I Blog

cropped-seal_v2-04I’m participating in Blogging University’s Blogging 101 course, sponsored by The Daily Post on WordPress. Each day they give a topic, along with blogging tips. I think I know how to use most of WordPress fairly well, but I’m always looking to refocus and learn new things.

Day 1: Introduce Yourself to the World

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Why do I blog?

Mainly for me. I grew up writing so many things that have been lost over the years, things I wish I still had today. I didn’t have a good way to preserve my work, nor was I ever really encouraged to. When I started this blog three years ago, my main purpose was to catalog all of the poems and songs I had written over the years. I was moving at the time, and as I was going through boxes and trying to get rid of stuff, I found lots of scraps of papers and old poems that I had forgotten about. I actually discovered through blogging that I was a POET. When I was finally able to look at all I had in one place, I could see it clearly, but I had never thought of myself that way before. And it inspires me to write more. The year I first started blogging I wrote twenty-two new songs and poems — 22!

Eventually, I’ve added other types of writing to my blog: memoir, inspirational quotes, random writing prompts. I like having a diary, of sorts, that can’t be lost. I want to have an online portfolio of my work, so that it can be honored — the good, the bad, the ugly; it’s all here, hehe. I try to encourage my students to do this as well. I want them to know that their writing matters, and I don’t want them to ever lose it, as I lost so much of mine. I want them to be proud of their work and enjoy the creative process, and to experience the online writing community and be encouraged to do more.

I also write for my kids. I hope someday that this will be a meaningful legacy for them. Right now, I think they don’t know and couldn’t care less, but someday when I’m gone, my hope is that my words will live on for them and the next generation. Truly, I wish I wrote more, like every day, but I usually don’t make the time when I’m working. So my writing comes in spurts. I’m not very disciplined; I tend to wait for the inspiration to hit me.

And I think every writer also writes for posterity. I’d love to try to publish and put my work out there for a larger audience, but I’ve never really tried. I always receive great feedback when I share my songs and poems. That’s a timing thing for me and something I hope to work on this summer. I don’t have a huge desire for fame, but maybe some for recognition, to feel like your work is respected and valued and makes an impact. My words get to be my true account of my own life. One of my goals is to go back and write the story behind each song and poem I’ve written. It takes a lot of vulnerability to be so transparent, but I know that can also be where the real magic happens.

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© June 10, 2015
Asheville, NC