Saturday, February 25, 2012


Another social network I’m “supposed to” do? According to marketing folks, anyway. Okay, I’d seen some of my Facebook friends posting some cool images from the new Pinterest site. I saw people hoping they would be accepted to the site and hoping it wouldn’t take long to be accepted so they could start pinning.

I’m thinking, yeah it might be kinda cool, but … one MORE thing to keep up with?  *sigh*

Hm, okay I caved. I’m a very visual person (wouldn’t be good not to be since I’m an artist of sorts) and the idea of stuff sorted by image was intriguing. I have a plethora of interests. I find it interesting to know what interests others. So thought I’d give it a go and I could always back out if I decided it wasn’t worth the time.

Yikes! I’m hooked! I’ve only started building my boards and I think I have 16 of them already! I did say I have a lot of interests.

It’s also extremely easy to use. Go to, request an invitation, wait for the email giving you access and your own page (it took a few hours for the email to arrive) and go set up your boards! They start you off with suggestions but you can name them as you please and move the boards around on your page. I haven’t found that you can move the pins on each board – that seems to be last-pinned-first-on-the-board, but that’s okay.

To find things to pin, either search the site using the search bar on top left, or install the pin (as they suggest when you sign up) to your favorites bar, and when you’re out browsing and see something you like, click the Pin It link, choose the image you want, and Pin it to the board you already have set up or create a new one right then and there. So, so easy to use! I like easy. I do enough that’s not easy. So that’s a big plus to me for any social network.

You can put your own stuff up there if you’re a writer with published books – pin your book covers! – or a crafter, painter, etc. They do have to be posted somewhere online first, but a blog works. I grabbed some of my images from my travel blogs for my Places I’ve Been board. (It’s very scant at the moment, but I’ll add to it now and then to catch up with my places.)

They do ask that you don’t go there only to promo your own stuff. Be a courteous networker. Show people your personal interests. Show off stuff you like that other people do. But by all means, add your own stuff, also.

I have a board for each of my books. I absolutely love that I can add images from the story with my book cover – kind of a visual poster board of what each book is about. Very cool.

Here’s the one for Finishing Touches so far:
Pinterest-FinTouches1I have images of art, mothering, Peoria, Chicago, riverboats, the Glen Oak zoo, even the architecture cruise mentioned in the book.

By the way, Finishing Touches is still currently a free read in ebook version. Find it on Smashwords,, and many other ebook sites (for kindle, you’ll have to download from Smashwords in mobi format). Note: when you search for my books under my name, don’t put punctuation in the LK. It’s just LK Hunsaker (like EE Cummings). Some places do have it listed with the punctuation so try that if the correct way doesn’t work. I’m trying to get them all correct on every venue.

Oh, as you pin each image, or after you pin it, you can edit the description to tell what it is or why you like it or where it was taken or such. Then people can comment on it, like it so it shows on their like page, or repin it on one of their boards.

The image up top is of two of my interest boards as they currently stand. If you want to see my interests by image, go check out my new and developing page!

And let me know if you’re already there so I can go look. Smile


Of course I also

Friday, February 17, 2012

If no one loses, who wins?

Remember a few years back when youth sports decided to start a new trend? They decided not to keep score so no child would lose at the games they played.

While the idea of this is fine and dandy, and what parent wants to see their child’s team lose when they put so much effort into it?, why did it not catch fire and spread until no scores were kept for any games, big or small?

Simple. Who would keep watching? And more important, who would keep playing? Isn’t the point of a game to try to win? If you can’t win, why bother?

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit that most famous sports arena on earth: the Coliseum in Rome. Magnificent. These days you can see down beneath the “floor” to the maze underneath. You can walk around and imagine it full of spectators, fighting gladiators, filled with water for “sea” games. You can feel the power of the place.

Games used to be to the death. The one who lived won. Fortunately, they changed that and scores were kept instead. Still, the idea is the same. Humans are competitive. We have to be competitive in order to survive. It’s what keeps our skills sharp, our brains working, and our society improving.

Recently, I’ve read many comments by authors who say reviewers should never be publicly critical. If they can’t be nice about a book, they should say nothing about it.

I have to disagree. Why? Because if no one loses, no one can win, either. Just like in those youth sports games, when scores were thrown out, the fire to win diminished, if we veto any “bad” review, we veto the fire for authors to improve enough not to get those bad reviews, and we head into the idea of: Hey, the author put a lot of work into it, so it’s worthy of publishing and reading. Hm. No, I can’t buy into that. Kids put a lot of effort into winning their games, also. Sometimes they don’t. It’s a good lesson when they don’t. It tells them it’s okay to lose if you get back up and try again and try to figure out what you’re doing wrong so you can do better. It leads to improvement, to goals, to challenges.

Authors need to get honest reviews, good or not. They have to know when something isn’t up to par and when readers are not happy with their work. If they get a bad review, they need to take a couple of days to pout, and then they need to look again at the review and consider the points the reader made. Most often, there are valid points that can help the author if she will let it help her. Fine. Get back up and try again. Toughen your skin. Admit you’re not the most wonderful writer in the universe (if there is such a thing, and I tend to think there isn’t). Read books that are getting honest five star reviews and figure out why they are. And make the next one better, or revise the one that’s sinking if you can.

There will always be those nasty reviews that look like the reader didn’t even read the book and instead has some kind of personal vendetta. It happens. If it happens in a place the author can counter, maybe she should do that, politely!, with some such response as, “Interesting how you found something in the book that wasn’t there, but thank you for your thoughts” and then let it go. Or don’t answer it at all, which might be even better. Readers – those who love reading and aren’t looking to be nasty – will recognize those for what they are. Ignore them.

There’s also a penchant for authors to give fellow authors 5 star reviews for anything they write. I don’t do that. I almost never give any book a 5 star review whether or not I know the author. It has to be stand-out, hands-down excellent in both story and writing to get 5 stars from me. I do tend to give indie and small press authors more leeway in my reviews for the simple fact that they don’t have big time editors going through and helping to sharpen the way those pubbed by the big guys do. And I judge different genres differently, for the same reason you don’t judge classical music the same way you judge pop. Apples and oranges, as the cliché goes.

I do give 3 star reviews. Often. It means I enjoyed the book averagely well. It was worth the time to read. But there were either errors that detracted from the story or the story wasn’t as strong as I like. I always say why I give the rating I give. A 3 is not an insult. It’s average. And it leaves room for those who stand out. (I don’t give 1 or 2 star reviews to indies or small press authors. I’ll not review it instead. I will at times give them to big traditional pubbed authors who are widely read enough my opinion isn’t going to prevent sales enough to notice, and if it does, if I dislike it that much, I can’t care about lowering its sales.)

I believe in competition. I believe it’s what keeps us strong and successful as a whole. Those kids who learn how to fail gracefully and keep going will be successful adults. Those authors (and every other profession) who don’t succeed as well as they like with one book (or project) and keep going and keep improving will be successful authors. They will contribute excellent literature (or cool electronics or safer cars or….) to society.

Excellence matters. Learning how to get to excellence, or at least how to try to get there, matters more. We can’t do that if no one is allowed to come up on top.

When I point out in reviews, or otherwise, what I don’t like, it’s because I care enough to be honest, because I care about achievement and self-worth and the value of getting back up and trying again. Because I believe in the human spirit and in what we are capable of if we get enough encouragement to try.

"There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect." Ronald Reagan

”When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” Thomas Sowell