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Social Media, Screwtape-Style

I know I just posted something by my daughter Laura, but then she came to me with this. She had to read C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters for a class she’s taking and her assignment was then to write her own similar entry. What follows is a letter from one demon to another. 

Folks, Laura is fifteen. This is some timely stuff and needs to be shared. I’m doing my part.

*     *     *

Dear Viperweed,

Your last letter concerns me considerably and part of me hopes it was one of those jokes you love to play. It seems you have forgotten your duties and instead have decided on doing whatever you wish with your patient, not thinking of the consequences. So, I will educate you. You are to cure your human, that’s why we call them patients. We are to rid them of the sickness that consumes them and instead inject sin, our golden ticket to power. Once sin overrides the love and kindness we can destroy the enemy. But do not let all this go to your head, that’s the big picture, you need to focus on the small things, everyday happenings that can be twisted towards our cause.

You say she loves people of cultural influence, the people who she sees on TV and in magazines. Make them a main focus. Have her thoughts about a certain person or group of persons consume her thoughts. She needs to know every little detail about them and make sure images of them are always present in her mind. She needs to start out with a fairly good role model and then slowly pull her towards ones who are progressively more and more vile and provocative. If you do this soon they will be her idols and their thoughts and opinions will become her own. She will clothe herself to please their taste and speak their words.

To do these things she will need social media. Make this another idol, a part of her. The connections to her idols through Twitter and Instagram need to be vital to her mental health. Selfies and inward focused texts need to be part of her daily life. Make her self-esteem rest in the hands of strangers who in reality don’t care about her the way her real family and friends do. The influence they have on her thoughts need to be able to make or break her. Texting needs to be her chief means of communication, without it she is lost. Her involvement and emotions towards the people in her real life needs to be put on hold. The people in her second life, the one on her phone, need to be the focus.

Since these actions will push her family and friends away she will become lonely. Though she has hundreds of “friends” and followers on social media websites the lack of emotional and physical support from people she sees every day will wear on her and cause her to dive deeper into meaningless, unhealthy obsessions and selfishness. All humans have this crippling need for each other that if not satisfied, weakens their mental health. Work with other patients’ mentors (for that’s what you are) and make it seem as if her family and friends are against her so she is truly alone. She needs to doubt her purpose and meaning in life. These thoughts may lead her to consider another option of escape: death. Suicide is the lowest of selfish actions. This will help us out tremendously for she will be ours and her evil essence will be added to the many others we have reaped and result in more power. Follow these instructions and you are sure to succeed.

With the most evil of intentions, yours truly,

Onyxrose

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Why I Hate/Love Facebook

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Facebook and I have a strange relationship. I love it. I hate it.

Let me explain. Whenever someone says they have good news and bad news I always choose the bad news first so we can end on a good note. So let me begin with the bad news.

Why I hate Facebook:

It’s a time waster. Seriously, did Zuckerberg build in some kind of time vacuum? Time goes way too fast when you’re scrolling down that blasted news feed. I swear it’s some kind of conspiracy to get people’s minds off things that really matter. Think about that. I’m guilty of this one.

It makes your mundane life seem, well, mundane. Everyone is posting about their great vacations, their accomplishments at work, how advanced their children are. They have photos where they’re smiling and laughing and splashing in the Caribbean, eating at some great restaurant, showing off their new car. And you? Well, you just had an argument with your spouse after sending your daughter to her room for the evening. Loser. I’m guilty of this one, too.

(Okay, this one is going to step on toes so I’m apologizing in advance.) It encourages narcissism. Ever notice how many selfies there are? For those of you who don’t know, a “selfie” is a photo taken of oneself by oneself. You know, those shots of someone either in the mirror or holding the camera at arm’s length.

Typically these photos fall into two categories. The I’m-taking-a-photo-of-myself-at-some-special-location photo and the I’m-too-sexy-for-this-camera photo.

The first one I get, I really do. We all like our picture taken while on vacation or while visiting some special location or at the ballgame. It’s great for family, great for memories. And it’s a whole lot easier to just snap a shot of yourself rather than track down some stranger walking by and ask him to take a photo of you or your family. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about those other selfies. The ones in the mirror, the ones holding the camera and making some I’m-trying-to-be-sexy face. What’s the point? Sure, they get lots of comments. “You’re so beautiful!” “Wow, you look great!” “Aw, what a cute outfit!” “Hey man, bet you drive the ladies crazy, huh?” Oh, maybe that’s the point. I’ll be honest, I’ve only ever taken a selfie once or twice with a webcam and it was a very boring shot of myself sitting at the computer, but I’m guilty of using Facebook to satisfy that narcissistic lean we all have. For more on this selfie craze and how it negatively impacts your relationships, check out this article in the New York Daily News.

Okay, enough of the negative. Now, why I love Facebook:

It’s an easy way to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. There’s a whole world of people out there on Facebook and it’s a convenient platform to catch up on how others are doing. And let’s face it, we bemoan the current trend in online “socializing” and say how fake it is and all that, but I’ve established relationships with people and maintained them wholly through Facebook. If it wasn’t for Facebook I never would have met that person. Our paths simply would never have crossed. And, truthfully, I’ve been blessed by many folks via Facebook.

It’s a convenient medium for spreading the word about something, anything. Word can spread quickly in Facebook Land and when that’s the intent, it’s a good thing.

It’s a convenient way to connect and share your life with family and friends. We all have family who live a distance away. Facebook provides a platform for sharing photos and news and updates in an easy, convenient way. You snap picture, you post picture, Mom and Dad 500 miles away can view picture . . . all in a few minutes, seconds really.

For businesses, it’s another medium to connect with your customers and promote your work/product. And that’s a good thing. Oh, and it’s convenient.

Did I mention that Facebook is convenient?

I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of wasting time on Facebook. Too much time. I’m guilty of feeling like my life is mundane after scrolling through someone else’s photos. And I’m guilty of Facebook induced narcissism. I’ll admit all of that.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the purpose of Facebook. It can serve a purpose. I’m working through what those purposes are and how to use them to better my life rather than tear it down.

So what do you say? What do you love and hate about Facebook? What do you see as the purpose of Facebook? How do you keep from allowing it to dominate and control you?

Changing Social Media Lanes

I’ve been making some changes.

English: The logo of the blogging software Wor...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, I changed the look of my website/blog. I use WordPress because of its ease of use, functionality, and wide array of themes to choose from and options to use. This weekend I changed everything over to the Mystique theme. I needed a change and this theme offers more flexibility and options than my other one did.

Second, I’m taking the plunge and beginning this week will be moving most of my Facebook activity to my author page. If you haven’t LIKED it yet, please go to the page and LIKE it. Then stop by often as I’ll be posting comments, opinions, questions, and updates there. Also, check out The Darlington Society sign-up page (and please considering joining us) and my new book page on Facebook.

I hope to see you at both these locations!

 

WINNERS Announced . . . Thanks for the HELP!

Thank you all so much for your help and input. Your opinion is invaluable to me. And from your comments I gather I need to stick with Facebook and this blog. My challenge now is to find a method that works for me and is engaging for you. I have some ideas and will  begin to implement them in the next month or so. Some big changes will be taking place.

Okay, I promised there’d be some winners and here they are. Four winners . . .

James Franklin
Jillian Kent
Troy Tennard
Stephanie Craig

Congratulations! I’ll be emailing you privately to see which short story/book you’d like.

And thanks again for the help!

Drowning in Social Media . . . HELP!

Social Media Outposts

Social Media Outposts (Photo credit: the tartanpodcast)

It’s no surprise that social media is all the rage. For authors, it’s expected that we’ll be engaged in different types of social media, interacting with readers, sharing ourselves, passing along information, and generally spending a lot of time at the keyboard NOT working on our books.

Myself, I have several social media outlets I frequent: this blog, Facebook (two pages), and Twitter.

And, honestly, there are times when I just get tired of it. There are days when I don’t have anything interesting or pithy to say. Days when I don’t feel like sharing anything. Days when I sit and stare at that question on Facebook, “What’s on your mind?” and I say “Absolutely nothing. Nothing is on my mind. Is that okay?”

Don’t get me wrong. I like social media. I think it’s interesting. I think it’s a great way to connect with readers en masse, something authors of the past rarely had an opportunity to do.

I’ve just been thinking that I need to reboot. I need to focus my efforts, concentrate on one or two outlets, and let the other ones go.

So here’s my question for you . . . which outlet do you frequent most? Blogs, Twitter, or Facebook? If I had to focus on one to get the most bang for my buch which one do you think should I go with?

I have my own ideas about which one I’d LIKE to focus on but that may not be the most popular one.

HERE’S A BONUS: If you leave a comment you’ll be entered in a contest to win a copy of one of my short stories (Mirror Image or The Last Hunt) or one of my short non-fiction books (Writing Time! or Writing unBlock!) Yes, I’m bribing you. Unashamedly, too. I need your opinion!

FEARLESS is Coming!

FearlessCoverMy newest thriller, FEARLESS, releases next Tuesday, May 7. Folks, I know I’m probably a bit biased but you won’t want to miss this one. It’s a thrill ride from page one.

Join me next week right here, on Facebook, and Twitter, for giveaways galore. I’ll be giving away copies of FEARLESS, but I’ll also be giving away some of my other books, including A THOUSAND SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, which I wrote under the pseudonym, Michael King, and copies of my e-stories, THE LAST HUNT, MIRROR IMAGE,  and REARVIEW.

It’s going to be a giveaway bonanza!

Check back here Monday for the first round of giveaways. 

Yes, I Finally Caved in and Joined

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

First it was Facebook. I swore I’d never use it. I even used to mock my wife for using it (shame on me!). But eventually I saw the benefit of it or caved under the social pressure to use it and got myself a genuine Facebook page. A little later a fan page came along. Then a page for my other self, Michael King, then a fan page for him. Now, I manage four Facebook pages.

Then it was Twitter. Again, I scoffed, I smirked. What kind of guy “tweets”? Who wants to read that I had turkey and cheese for lunch? I didn’t understand the power of the tweet. Until I caved and got an account. Actually, two accounts now, one for Mike Dellosso, one for Michael King. I was slow getting started and still don’t use it the way I should or as often as I should, but I’m getting there.

And now, it has truly happened. Again, I swore it wouldn’t. Scorned my wife when she spends time on it (but she has gotten some amazing recipes from it). Laughed, mocked, saw no benefit in it at all. Until I read an article that said it was the third largest social media site in the world behind Facebook and Twitter. Yes, you guessed it, I caved and joined Pinterest (as Michael King). Now, mind you, this all just happened last night so I don’t have much pinned but please take a moment to follow me if you are also on Pinterest. And if you have any neat little secrets for using the site I’m all ears.

So there you have it, the trifecta of social media sites. I believe that will be it for now, enough to keep up with . . . until someone comes up with “the next big thing.”

What’s your favorite social media outlet? Which one do you most benefit from? Most enjoy?

Darkness Follows Release Day!!!

Today is the official release day for Darkness Follows.

Today it will show up on store shelves everywhere, there will be long lines outside bookstores, people fighting for copies, clerks scrambling to take care of eager readers. I’ll be on The Today Show, Good Morning America, and Oprah.

Don’t I wish.

Seriously, though, the book is available wherever books are sold, even select Walmarts. Check it out.

Darkness Follows is my fourth book, which releases two months after the birth of my fourth daughter, and the story is all about the love between a little girl and her daddy. How’s that for irony?

Also, head over to my Facebook author page and see who the winners of the big giveaway are. And there’s a little something extra there for my readers for reaching our goal of 300 “Likes” by the end of April. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

So celebrate with me today, I’ll be doing a happy dance on and off all day so if you live in my area and happen to see some strange guy doing a jig in the street, it’s probably me. And please, help me spread the word via Facebook and Twitter.

Darkness Follows Giveaway and Grand Prize

Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives

Image via Wikipedia

My newest novel, Darkness Follows, releases in less than a month (May 3).  For a description and review, check out Tim George’s site.

The book takes place in Gettysburg, PA and has threads of the Civil War running through it. So all this month I’m running a contest where I’m giving away 5 copies of Darkness Follows and a grand prize consisting of all 4 of my books and a copy of Gettysburg, the movie, on DVD. To enter just go to my Facebook fanpage and “Like” it any time during the month of April. Also, if you’re so inclined, please “Share” it with your other Facebook friends.

A New Presence and New Giveaway

We have a new presence on Facebook!

As we ramp up for the May 3 release of Darkness Follows we’ve developed a new fan page on Facebook. This will be the place to go for breaking news, updates on new books, contests, giveaways, links, discussions, polls, you name it. I’ll continue to post from my regular Facebook page but this new page will be where I do most of my hanging out for all things related to my books and writing.

You can do me a huge favor by showing your support and going to the page and “Liking” it. ALSO, if you do so any time during the month of April you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Darkness Follows (I’m giving away 5 copies) and a fantastic grand prize to be detailed later.

Hope to see you there!

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