Friday Favorites – Links and a Whole Lot More

It’s time to share some of my favorite things from this past week or so. Enjoy!

What Makes a Man Sexy? Part 1 and Part 2: Those who know me probably find it odd that a post with this name is on my list, but this isn’t about shirtless men with rock hard abs. Imelda uses some famous examples of men who are sexy in the ways that matter, at least to me. (The fact that Dr. Who gets some love in the posts makes me just a bit partial.)

Marcy Kennedy’s Blog: Yes, I know. I just gave you the link to an entire blog. That’s because I rarely miss a post by Marcy. She writes about writing (and knows her stuff) and geekery, sometimes combined, and has the ability to entertain and teach at the same time. She’s also a pretty cool human being.

Where in the World?: Ingrid’s post asks where you would go if you could take a sabbatical, then shares photos of where she would head. I have to admit, it got me daydreaming about where I could go. In the end, I spent some time browsing vacation properties in Scotland and emailing them to the hubs. Fingers crossed for a future anniversary.

How (Not) to Write Great Characters: An amusing take on writing characters in your story by Ava Jae. I totally need to go edit that twirly mustache now.

When Famous People Are on Trial: Mary is new to the blogging world and writes with authority as a former Federal Prosecutor. Being a fan of all things law, I am super excited to see what posts she has simmering.

Who’s Ready to Stop the Insanity?: Bella is a total sweetheart of a blogger. Don’t believe me? Check the girl’s comments. Readers can’t help but get into a conversation with this girl. Her post on women and defining pretty is worth talking about.

Games You Should Be Playing: If you love games, you should be following Jen Kirchner’s series. She tells you what is worth playing in a very amusing way. I may never get anything done ever.

New to blogging and can’t seem to figure out what you’re doing? Been blogging for a while, but running out of ideas? Check out Liberty Montano’s Novel Blogging. Totally meets my criteria for educational and entertaining without an ounce of condescension.

And of course, for all things TV related, check out my Wednesday writing partner, Tiffany White. This week she told us who the most slapworthy characters are on TV.

On the non-blog front:

I think board games are pretty awesome. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to play too many since the kid came along (tiny pieces and toddlers don’t mix). The new web series Tabletop on Felicia Day’s Geek and Sundry Channel is geekery at it’s finest. The show teaches you how to play a new game each week, care of Wil Wheaton and a few interesting guests. Check out this week’s Settler of Catan.

When I am writing, I always have music playing. This week I discovered the sounds of Pale White Moon. The fact that they hail from New Haven, CT may have something to do with my attraction (since, a number of years ago, a little baby was born in a hospital there who’s name is ME). You can learn more about them here. Check out the track Heirlooms.

A big thank you to all of my readers, particularly those who have been following my Tell Me a Story series. I’ve received some fantastic messages both public and private and it means a ton to me that you all are enjoying the story. If you are one of those enjoying the tale, the next time you think to forward that funny cat video to your coworkers, family, or friends, why not shoot them a link to the series? :)

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’m off to figure out how to make this happen:

Yet Another Google+ Post

You needed someone else to tell you about Google + , right?  Someone else to tell you why you need it and can’t live without it.

There’s a lot of information swirling about out there, and surprisingly, I’ve been asked more than once what I think.

I’ll keep it brief.

Google yourself.  Go on.  Do it.

Now, wanna see what I see when I Google me?

Look! It's me!

Notice what shows up in the search?  That’s right.  Your Google+ profile.  And it’s number one.  Awesome.

Now, before you go peeing on yourself in excitement and looking for an invite, let me point something out.  If you are logged in to Google (Gmail, G+, Docs, anything) your search results are awesome.  I mean look at that up there.  I’m the most popular Amber West in the world, thanks to Google+.

Then I log out.  And I don’t see myself until 4 pages in.  And that’s my blog, not my Google+ account.

The point is, for those of you interested in being found, say, writers/photographers/illustrators, being on Google+ is another way to throw your name out there.  It isn’t a magical tool that suddenly sends your name to the top, though.  Just in case you’ve heard otherwise.

Having said that, I do believe that Google+ will be a valuable social media tool, mainly because it gives you more control over who you send information to.  If I want to post about my word count for the day, I can choose to broadcast that to my “Writers” circle, rather than every friend I have (who probably doesn’t care about my word count).

If I want to post pictures of my kid and talk about his poopy dance, I can broadcast that to my “People that like hearing about the kid” circle, instead of annoying those that despise kid updates in their feed.

I can make a “Snark” circle, a “Family” circle, a “People from High School I Didn’t Hang Out With but Friended me Anyway” circle…you get the idea.  The possibilities are endless.  And the process is super easy.

I should also mention that you can view information based on these same circles.  If I just want to jump in really quick and see what my “Family” circle is up to, I click on that feed and, voila!  All I see is what cute thing my nephew said yesterday, or what Uncle Bob caught on last week’s fishing trip.

The key to loving Google+, like anything else, is knowing how to make it work for you.

To that end, I give you lots o’ links.  These were originally compiled by Debbie Ridpath Ohi so be sure to go give her site some love.

If you aren’t on Google+ and need an invite, let me know in the comments.  Those of you on there, what do you think so far?


Overview of Google+ from Google

Google Plus: Ultimate Quickstart Guide: from Eugene Teplitsky

Getting started with Google+ – Chris Brogan

Google+ Info site: Unofficial info about Google Plus, regularly updated

Mashable Google+ Complete Guide


How To Use Google Plus – by Dan Rowinski

Collaborative Google doc:


Why Writers Should be on Google + – Marcy Kennedy/Girls with Pens

Master Google+ Literary List (my list of literary/book/publishing directories):

11 Google+ Tips for Writers – Robert Brewer

Why Google+ Is Awesome For Cartoonists: Ryan Estrada

5 Way Illustrators and Artists Can Use Google+ – by Lea Woodward

4 Reasons Artists Are Loving Google+ – Rebecca Rosen

Why I’ve Drunk the Google+ Kool-aid… And Love It (for Writers) – Steff


Google Plus Tips & Shortcuts: Andrew Shotland keeps this list updated

Google+ Cheat Sheet: one-page list of shortcuts
Also translated into other languages:

Ultimate Google+ Tips and Tricks: Tech Exclusive

Don’t disable Google+ notifications – Filter them!: Google+ Info

10 Google+ tips to help you get off to a good start: Deb Ng


How to Use Google+ Hangouts (wikiHow): basics, with screenshots

How To Use Google+ Hangouts

Where To Hangout At Google+: user-maintained directory of current G+ Hangouts

How to Have a Writers’ Hangout in Google+ – Mary Robinette Kowal


Google+ Privacy: 5 Settings You need To Know


What are Google Circles and how do I use them? by John Haydon

Taming your Google+ Circle madness in 3 easy step: Vincent Mo

How To Make A Private Circle: Kimberly Castleberry





7 Ways Google+ Users Are Using Circles