How and why should we use hashtags in social media?

To make a hashtag, simply add a # sign before the thing you wish to tag. Example: #hashtagexample – If you want to tag something longer than one word, there can be no spaces. Usually, they are all lowercase letters, unless it becomes hard to read. Example: #AskAlice vs. #askalice

Hashtags are useful in two ways:

  1. First and foremost, they are helps to aid when people are doing searches for tweets/posts about a certain subject. Example: “What would #Jesus say about #marshmallows?” would show up in someone’s search for “Jesus marshmallows”. Hashtags are the things that “trend” on Twitter.
  2. To be used as an aside, usually snarky or sarcastic but often honest. This is a use popular with younger generations. Example: Going to watch movies and eat ice cream all night. #soworthit

Hashtag positioning, two choices:

  1. Within the sentence, which some people find kind of annoying. Example: “Want to learn some tips about #healthyliving?”
  2. At the end of the post, which is less annoying but takes up more characters. Example: “Learn 10 tips to start eating healthier today! #healthyliving”

Hashtag Etiquette

Try to avoid the following two practices, and you should be okay:

  1. Over-tagging occurs when too many tags are assigned to a post and become a serious eyesore. Three should be the utmost maximum for hashtags. Usually only 1-2 are necessary for good SEO. Example: A photographer uploads an image of a rainbow accompanied by this post: “Gorgeous rainbow over Lake Tahoe – #LakeTahoe, #photography, #rainbow, #colorful, #lake, #water, #beautiful, #photo, #image, #RGBIV, #pretty, #scenery, #Nevada, #SierraNevada, #landscape

  2. Meaningless hashtags do nothing to help search engines find your post and will not make you look witty. Example: “Learn 10 tips to start eating healthier today! #goodarticle, #fun”


Be smart with your hashtags; they should always have a purpose that serves you well. Hope this has been helpful!

Q vs. Stone Glory by Inkaholics 13

We are finally coming around to the part of the show where the 2012 Inkaholics books are being wrapped up! Here’s the first of a few books that should be coming out before the summer groups begin: Q vs. Stone Glory by Inkaholics 13. The cover art is an original commission by Rachael Selk; coloring and design done by me.

Q vs. Stone GloryQuarlla desperately wants to join the Public Enemy Terror Alliance, but they haven’t even noticed her…yet. All she has to do is find a minion, commit some evil acts of villainy, and maybe kill a guy or two.

Unfortunately, someone wants to stop her. Will Q fulfill P.E.T.A.’s list or will the Super League of Super Heroes succeed in stopping her efforts?

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

2012-07-22 18.10.15

A Paradelle called “Serenity”

I was going through some old files to find an old, old template when I stumbled across a file called Paradelle.doc. Being always interested in mocking my archives of writing, I opened it up and was surprised to find that it was a poem…and that I actually liked it. o.O

A Paradelle is a poetic form that was invented by Billy Collins. He originally said the paradelle was invented in eleventh century France, but he later admitted that he invented it himself to parody strict forms of poetry, particularly the villanelle. {source} Anyway, here it is:


By MangyCat

Clock is ticking blissfully quiet
Clock is ticking blissfully quiet
Nothing stirs the air of house
Nothing stirs the air of house
House of nothing blissfully stirs
Quiet is air ticking the clock

Light shines in as afternoon breaks
Light shines in as afternoon breaks
A simple shaft of soundless motes
A simple shaft of soundless motes
Shaft shines as motes of afternoon
Simple breaks in a soundless light

Silence is more than golden beauty
Silence is more than golden beauty
Palpable serenity surrounds my soul
Palpable serenity surrounds my soul
More beauty than silence surrounds
My palpable soul is golden serenity

Soul is a house as nothing breaks
Soundless air shines blissfully
Motes of beauty ticking in afternoon light
Shaft of my golden clock stirs
Surrounds the palpable silence
Serenity is more than simple quiet

Inkaholics 18: In Progress

We finally got the group picture taken for Inkaholics 18, the middle school group that is over halfway through our six sessions. We have a seriously talented group in this one, and everyone is working really hard to make their scenes awesome.

The story? We’ve got a science fiction, off planet tale about an android who runs into a stranded time traveler on a planet that was supposed to be uninhabited. They are swept into a war between two factions that are soon threatened by an even greater enemy. So far, our hardest obstacle (other than having too much sugar and access to Sharpies) is putting our poor characters into impossible situations that they can’t seem to escape from.

Original Short Stories for a Quick Read

Our Christmas break Eight Players writers group wrote a short story entitled Let Them Eat Cake (but not chocolate), and the final version is now available at Lulu.com. I just received the writers’ copies in the mail this week, and they look great! Here’s a brief synopsis of this quick read:

Mister Y is a criminal mastermind with a weakness for red velvet cake. When his great-granddaughter posts his illegal chocolate recipe on the internet for all to see, he is forced to change his priorities.

Meanwhile, back at the dental office, a llama and an elf wage a war against their boss and each other, entangling with Mister Y’s devious plot when their fight takes them to a nearby pirate bakery. 

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

For an even shorter (and free!) read, you can download my short story, The Question, on Lulu as well. It’s even formatted for e-readers!

Eustace has an important question for his 6th period science teacher. But will he ever get up the nerve to ask?

Download it for free HERE.

NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 30 – WON

NaNoWriMo 2011 is in the books! I finished this afternoon with a validated word count of 50,830. And guess what? I STILL love the story. (That’s something that has never happened in my NaNo history; I usually despise everything about my novel by the last day.)

I am totally smitten by Beckon, and I can hardly wait to start editing it. This is most definitely something special, and I have a publisher in mind already.

I leave you with a final excerpt from this novel that I love:

My eyes scanned the landscape. The village was in a shambles. The buildings, even though they were on fire, were very unlike the buildings in my world. I wondered what had started the fires, and automatically looked to the skies for dragons.

Soaring high above, through white rain clouds and black soot columns, giant stiff birds with strange wings and noses flew in a V-formation.

I touched Beck’s shoulder, where he crouched on the dirt. “What are those birds? Did they start the fire?”

He looked up and squinted at the shapes. “Those aren’t birds.” His eyes widened.

I turned back and saw that the birds were dropping what looked like little dots from where we stood.

“Chan, we have to go.” He grabbed my hand.

“Where are we going?”

“Away from here!” He pulled on my arm, urging me to run.

I lifted one side of my dress and ran after him.

Oh yes. This is something special indeed.

NaNoWriMo 2011: Dude. It’s ON.

National Novel Writing Month. A.K.A. NaNoWriMo. A challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Been there, done that. Five times. Even got the t-shirt. Thrice.

But this year, I’ve kind of got it in my head that I want to lead out the local young writers who are attempting to do NaNoWriMo–whether through the Young Writers Program or on their own, with a mission to reach 50K.

This idea has been stirring in my head over the last couple months, and it has finally reared its sparkly head. Hopefully there are some young writers out there who are interested in doing some write-ins. I will most definitely be hosting some writing events for all writers 18 and under! (And anyone who is brave enough to come support some borderline-insane, creative teenagers.)

Young Writers Write-Ins:

Bribery is not above me. No, not at all…

If you’re 18 or under and you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year, please sign up either on the NaNo YWP site or the main NaNoWriMo site. If you do the latter (that means you use the main site), then GO HERE to visit the forum and introduce yourself. Include your personal word count goal (if you’re in the YWP) and/or share what crazy lengths you plan to go to in order to hit that 50K mark.

As for me–yes, I do plan on writing a novel. There has been an entire series simmering in the back corner of my brain, tucked under the silk slippers and wrapped with a tangle of copper wiring. Perhaps NaNo is just the thing to get the dust blown off and breathe some life into those tiny, trembling ideas.

Undead Sparkles by Inkaholics V

I am thrilled to announce that Undead Sparkles, the book composed by the Inkaholics V Writers Group last August, is now published! This was an extra special group where my dear friend MightiMidget assisted in writing and leading while on an extended visit to Colorado. Having her in one of my writers live groups was wonderful. She had a great time with us, and with my awesome local young writers, who wouldn’t?

Paclo’s simple life as a Flor-Mart greeter is interrupted when a co-worker slips him the zombie virus as a joke. Rejected by the public and his parents, Paclo takes refuge at a mortuary. His only friends are his brother Smith, a vainless alien blob named Phyl, and a duct tape-obsessed robot called Mac.

Before Paclo can even accept his new undead fate, the Earth is attacked by a scintillating foe riding upon clouds of delectable depravity. Against all sensibility, the misfit friends garner up the courage to squelch the sparkly adversaries. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.