Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WEDS ROW80 Check in . . . and possums

Tasmanian Brushtail Possum
One of my characters in Years of Stone carries around a possum. I thought I knew what this small animal looked like, most likely something like a raccoon, though I was uncertain why anyone would want one for a pet.

Then I found there's a big difference between an opossum in North America and a possum in Tasmania.

In Tasmania, the possum is cuddly, somewhat chubby, a nice, long bushy tail; big eyes and cute ears that look almost like a rabbit's ears, though the possum still has those very sharp claws. In fact, the proper name for a Tasmanian possum is Brushtail Possum.

Virginia Opossum (Wikipedia)
In Virginia, the opossum looks feral in comparison with an elongated snout, nice sharp teeth, and a ratlike tail. Who'd want to cuddle with that? So once again, I'm grateful for the  internet and the ability to find comparative information -- even for what appears to be a walk-on appearance!

WEDS ROW80 UPDATE. I'm pretty pleased with this week's WRITING. The writing/revising comes along slowly, and Deidre is less wimpy by the day. I'm not counting words while revising because the process is somewhat sticky. Most days I delete as much as I add. I'm also making steady progress with READING other participants in the Ultimate Blog Challenge and ROW80, and using Facebook and Twitter. Kate Grenville's The Secret River is a sheer delight to read for her descriptive ability and nuances of character and plot. I'm also knocking down 2-3 writing magazines every other day. So far, so good.

The toughest area for me (as with many writers) is MARKETING. One example. With Blogspot, readers can sign up to receive e-mail notification whenever I put up a new post. But these e-mails are invisible to me. Enter MailChimp, a free service (can upgrade for $$$) that allows me to set up a way for readers to sign up for a newsletter. I can then write directly to my readers.

I'm experimenting with this on my travel blog (On the Road Again) to see how it works. Some of the marketing bloggers I've read through the Ultimate Blogging Challenge use something like MailChimp to offer their readers something for free. For writers, that might be a free story or an occasional newsletter or events announcement. If you have experimented with developing such reader lists and/or a follow-up campaign, I'd love to learn how and if this technique worked for you!

But what makes me still smile is that today I walked into my favorite used book store. Here, the owners kindly set aside shelf space for local authors. So after dithering for weeks, I took my book, The Mermaid Quilt & Other Tales, and asked if they would be interested in carrying my book. The response: Perhaps February (they rotate authors). Marketing. One step at a time.

More about Tasmanian Brushtail Possums at the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service site.
The image of the Tasmanian Brushtail Possum is a screen saver picture from National Geographic.

If you'd like to see what Scheherazade has in common with the Francolin from Tanzania (Africa), check out my latest blog, On the Road Again. As always, may your writing week go well.