Blog, Website, or Hybrid? What’s an Author to Do?

Being relatively new to the publishing game, I’ve come across many discussions about creating a separate website from my blog. Now these talks are between other authors mind you so I thought I would put the question out there to them.

What’s the difference between the two?

Silence…yep. That’s what I got. Oh I got great advice that I should have both and that a website would make me appear more professional than a blog, but not one of them told me WHY this is so and what’s the difference between the two. Well, I went searching with good old Dr. Google (to borrow the term from my veterinarian alter ego Tammy) to see what I could come up with. Guess what? Most of the folks out there can’t answer that question either!

So what’s a girl to do?

Don’t freak out! I did find a few great articles that put it all into perspective. Jeff Korhan wrote a very concise and easy to understand article about it HERE.  For those of you who already know the difference between the two, please bear with me as I go through this for those of us who were confused.  A blog is actually a specific type of website (shocker I know!) that has content that changes on a regular basis. A blog’s home page will have the most recent post at the top followed by the older ones. Think of it as an online magazine.  An actual website can be looked of as a storefront. It’s selling a product (you as an author and your work) or service. The content is dedicated to that product you’re presenting for purchase. Of course you can manually update the pages of your website, but they don’t update on a continual basis with each new post like a blog would.  Here’s another article comparing the two and their basic features. Oh what the hell, here’s another one for those of you who need just a bit more convincing.

Still confused? Don’t be!

After reading the articles, I’ve decided the best option for me is to have a combination of the two like Tammy has with Behind Closed Doors. When you click on that link, you are taken to her static “About Me” page on WordPress.com.  Yes, she’s allowed comments there, but for the most part, the information is static showcasing her book covers, information about her, a few banners, and of course the tabs at the top will take you to one of her blogs, her poetry, guest author guidelines, etc.  With WordPress it was easy to do that and set up another page as the blog for Behind Closed Doors. I won’t get into all of that here, but as a whole all of my alter egos like Blogger better. Why? It’s a bit more user friendly when it comes to the fonts, colors and basic set up when dealing with the free services. WordPress has specific fonts for each free template. Of course you can purchase more and custom design your own, but for today’s discussion, I’m sticking to the freebies.

So how can I set up my “website” here with Blogger and connect it to the blog? Easy! I’ll make it a static page. Right now it’s just my About Me section but as I get published, I’ll add more content. I may add it to that tab or even…get this…start up ANOTHER page to showcase my titles with their buy links.  Okay, I’m being a smart ass here, but you get the point. I’ve freaked myself out for far too long thinking I had to get a separate website and keep it separate from my blog in order to appear more professional to readers and others in the publishing world.  Why? Because someone else said I HAD to that’s why.

Isn’t the whole point of having an online presence is to be noticed? If you start doing everything according to some cookie cutter template like everyone else, how will you stand out? How will you attract those folks just randomly searching the Internet to first stop in and look at your site and then STAY there, maybe even follow you for future updates and posts?

I’m going to follow my own drummer here and make my blog/website combination as professional and welcoming as possible. I want this to be a spot where my friends, fans, fellow authors and the curious to stop in and relax checking out what’s here on the pages. Hopefully they’ll all like what they see and keep coming back. That’s the sort of thing that keeps me going back to my favorite blogs.  How about you?

~Steph
   ♥♥♥

364 total views, no views today

Introducing the Characters of The Do Over

Hello all! I’m excited to share with you my cast of characters for my most current WIP and one I hope to have out before the end of the summer. This character description also serves as a basic story outline for me to follow. Of course the characters will take over and change things up here and there…especially the Goddess Rhiannon. Can’t you just see her meddling a bit more with Claire and her men? Let me know what you think of the characters and the basic story so far. I found pictures of the actors, models and singers who gave inspiration for the characters. They are who I see in my mind while I write, not necessarily who you will see so just go with it! 

~Steph


The Do Over

By
Stephanie Ryan

Cast of Characters

Claire Dunning   42 year old chef from Michigan who now lives in California with her husband of two years.  Claire has long raven black hair and eyes to die for in the shade of jade. Not the blue green variety that seem to change color with what the person is wearing, but true green eyes, with a dark emerald green ring around the edges. The effect  often startled people when they first meet her and everyone asks where she gets her contacts.  She stands 5’ 8” in bare feet with curves to die for.  Usually wears her waist length naturally wavy hair up in some form of braid or clip to keep it out of her way while in the restaurant.
She’s been married to Sean Maguire for just over two years at the start of the story. They met through a group function 5 years before at Epcot. He was starting out in a brewery contest and she was entered in a catering contest. Both won their categories and each other in the process.  For the first two years they were always burning white hot for each other, barely able to keep their hands off each other, until their restaurant opened up.  They started drifting apart sending Claire into a “what if” mode and reconnecting with a love from long ago.
After a third and very emotionally painful miscarriage, Claire turns to a very unlikely friend from her past. The teenaged love bubbling up to the surface each time she talked to him, wishing she could just wrap herself up in his arms and forget everything and everyone else.  She would prefer to have that reaction for her husband, but he was always too busy for her and avoided her and her grief. His family, although trying to make her feel better, kept telling her it wasn’t in God’s plan for her to have children now with all that was going on in her life. She just had to keep trying.  Unfortunately it was getting too painful to go through the disappointment each and every month when there was no baby. Just when her hopes would be raised and that magical three month marker approached, she would awaken to a pool of blood in their bed and no baby.
Sean Maguire  36 year old hot shot brew master of the pub The Blarney Stone he runs with Claire and the rest of the Maguire clan. As the middle son, he always had to work harder to get the recognition from his father that he craved growing up. Now with The Blarney Stone taking off and becoming the hottest spot in San Jose, CA frequented by many local celebrities, sports celebrities and even the Food Network, Sean finally has the approval from his Da. In fact all of his siblings are thrilled for him and all work with him and Claire to make the place shine each and every night.
He’s ripped,  6ft 2” former football player who lost his spot with the pros after a near-fatal car accident. He wasn’t driving, but one of his teammates was. They were hit by a drunk driver. The teammate died instantly and Sean woke up after a three month long coma in traction with a broken back. With his football career over, he turned to his studies of brewing beer and wine, entering in every competition he could in order to learn his craft from the best.
It was his shoulder length dark brown hair and hazel eyes that had the dark emerald ring around the edges that drew Claire in. His mother said the matching eye rings meant the fae had marked them as mates.  It felt right the moment he kissed her. He couldn’t see his life without her and yet he knew she was pulling away.
The joy of their life…The Blarney Stone…was slowly tearing them apart. Struggling with infertility, Claire turned inward and shut him out more than not.  If he didn’t do something fast, he was going to lose the only woman who ever completed him heart and soul.
Nicholas (Nick) Brendan 43 year old police officer back in the Michigan town he grew up in. The place he spent all of his teen years trying to escape, he now called home and the town called him Chief. Living in the small town again after doing his 20 in with the Corps, was the furthest from his mind, but the chance to be near his kids and new granddaughter made the case. His divorce from his second wife was brutal, but luckily his first wife was still at least cordial and helped him rebuild his battered relationship with his kids. He missed a lot of the years they were growing up, but he wanted to be there for his grandkids now that he had his head on straight.
Partying every night and jumping into bed with any bar fly was no longer his thing. In fact he gave that up as soon as he had his discharge papers from the Marines. His tours in the desert took their toll, leaving him with shrapnel in his shoulder and back, and nightmares that could still put him in the fetal position.  It was the memories of Claire and her jade eyes that could pull him through all that pain. Seeing her wedding announcement in the local paper damn near killed him. He had always hoped she would come back home after her first marriage failed and maybe they could pick up where they never started.
From the tenth grade on he had nursed a serious crush on the raven haired beauty, but she was just always out of his league. It’s not like she was dating anyone back then, but she kept more to herself and was considered a “good girl.”  Now that he had a great job and could actually be considered a good catch, he went looking for her online. Through Facebook he learned about her first wedding, divorce and now second wedding. She looked so happy to him in those photos of her wedding to Maguire. Her eyes drew him in as always and made him want to be the one to put that glorious smile on her face.
Lately something had changed though. She seemed sad in her posts, not willing to chat with their groups, begging off for one crisis or another with the restaurant. Then she confided in him that she miscarried once again. He wanted nothing more than to put his arms around her and take away all that pain, but she was so far away. Maybe if they could see each other in person for the 25th reunion they could see if there was still that spark? 
If he could go back in time and relive any part of his life, it would be to take a chance with her. Maybe they would still be married now, with children and a grandchild on the way, with Claire in his arms and bed every night. 
Rhiannon the honey skinned passenger next to Claire on her flight back to Michigan for her reunion. Rhiannon’s laugh is soft and melodic at one moment, loud and bawdy the next bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. Her silver eyes pierce you to your very soul when you stare into them, and you can’t help but surrender to her charms.  She dresses in flowing mid-calf length dresses,  that do very little to hide her voluptuous frame.
There’s a reason this beauty commands the attention of all around her. She is a Goddess, sent to grant Claire her wish to live part of her life over again. Rhiannon didn’t want to do it for she thought it was foolish to allow humans to be able to rewind part of their life cycle without learning all the lessons they were meant to learn, but her siblings felt this Do Over would be the greatest lesson of all for sweet Claire.
Rhiannon’s wild, long curly hair was streaked with blondes, reds and light browns. No one could tell what her original color was supposed to be and that was how Rhiannon liked it. Keep them guessing and you will always be the one they dream about!
Claire’s heartbreak of her last miscarriage tugged at her own emotions and Rhiannon wanted nothing more than to just tell her to hold on. Her child was waiting to come to her very soon, but first things first. The clock must be turned back 25 years, to Senior Prom when Claire had her chance to give her heart to the one boy she would have given anything to be with.
©Stephanie Ryan and Sassy Vixen Publishing 2013

421 total views, no views today

Subscribe to our Behind Closed Doors Newsletter

  • Free Reads
  • Author Commentary
  • Sneak Peeks at WIPs

All FREE and delivered straight to your inbox!