Category Archives: Blogging

Breaking Out of Your Box with Help

A Box You Created

Breaking out of the box is tough for some folks. It means taking chances on making a change. Change is just as scary. You meet it head on with panic or avoidance. A new year doesn’t mean a list of resolutions you can’t commit to; it means you’ve taken a deeper look inside to consider that you may do better by the end of the year.

As a writer, hopefully you’re moving ahead with your book plans. Maybe you’re looking at increasing time on a pet project you just haven’t penciled into the day planner. A guilty conscience can be motivational, too. Maybe a character in your head has taken you hostage and wants more time than you can give him.

In fact, characters knocking on your virtual door and demanding to be heard is a good sign that you need to reorganize your priorities now. It’s not funny when that knocking is your heartbeat. Change is coming. Are you frazzled, frustrated, wishing you could move forward with your writing?

Maybe giving up your complete ownership of your project to someone on the outside is a move you can do… Maybe getting yourself out of your mental abyss is actually stepping out of your box.

Creating 3 Problems

Selecting someone to help you is a scary step because now you have three problems:

One, Pick a stranger to share your book project with is like going to a shrink. They’ll want to know more than you want to divulge.

Two, what kind of price can you pay on a big project that isn’t anywhere near completion? It has no value or pre-sales as yet. How do you set prices?

Three, what if it doesn’t work out and you’ve spent money and time without results on a marketing or author advocate who you know you need but may not be the right one?

No doubt this scenario is real enough.

And there it is. Fear of change that you created. You chose a path with no known outcome. You’ve also drawn in another person to help you and you’re not sure if you should.

Welcome to the other world of investment. Investing in time, money, outlook, loss, exhilaration, future, and leaps of faith.

So here is a short list before you commit:
  • Talk to  our writers who have paid for help
  • Research the people whose name was referred
  • Shop for someone with a track record
  • Don’t chose a person out of your genre
  • Ask ahead for pricing, time slots and projected need
  • Ask for a contract so you’ll keep it moving forward as a business
  • Ask for a termination clause that let’s you stop but retain what you have
  • Make the process as friendly as possible, so even if you mutually don’t work on this project, you might need him/her for later
  • Your commitment to yourself and your accountability to your “partner” are now that cornerstone allowing you to break out of your box.

So when you face a change in your marketing for your new book, for instance, is an undertaking that you wish someone else could do for you?

What does breaking out of the box really mean to you? Can you do it?

A Calculated Risk

Since I’ve never considered myself as mainstream in most everything I do, when I break away from my norm, it’s a bit more “out there” than most people. Breaking out doesn’t mean tossing your life out the window. It means re-evaluating what your plan had been … if you had a plan.

It means taking a calculated risk like taking a class to up your game a bit. Really, when is the last time your took any course in writing a novel or what marketing your “brand” is all about?

If you’ve read along this far, then please consider talking to me to help you take that leap. I’m an author advocate, a ghostwriter, a marketing /proposal writer, a grant writer and more. I’ve written and edited books, magazines, news articles, and websites … and I even write poetry. And won a few awards.

I can apply what I know to help make you grow.

~~  Rusty LaGrange


So What Is The Definition of Quirky?

Definition of Quirky

quirky  [ˈkwərkē]

  1. characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits.
    “her sense of humor was decidedly quirky”

Is being quirky a bad thing?

Being quirky is not a bad thing. It embodies the essence of living your life to the fullest, accepting others as they are, and learning how to think outside of the box.

(chuckle) I like quirky.

Quirky Owls are known for Burrowing Nests Instead of Using Trees.

I wear a cowboy hat nearly everywhere I go. I get weird looks and smiles, but underneath it helps to fight a recurrence of skin cancer, where 2 years ago I lost half of my nose to a disfiguring mole. I hate to think what I may have lost without wearing a hat for 50 years.

What’s in a Name?

My other side of quirky is my nickname — Rusty — people want to figure out the reason that a grown woman has a man’s name. Some folks even try to spell it “more correctly” with an “i” replacing the “y”. Too bad for them. Rusty it is… If they ask me, I’ll tell them. If not, I just get those questionable looks.

Fitting In It’s Always Fitting

So quirky works for me. Did I mention I skin snakes and live on a 10-acre ranch in the Mojave Desert? My daughter grew up here knowing I was odd. She defends my right to be who I am, just as I defended her growing up wearing mismatched clothes, her own sense of style … to become a school district board member with better insights into how students think today.

So how quirky are you?

Rusty LaGrange

photo credit: and Google Images (12.6.2019)

This Heat Driving You Crazy?

Many Things Can Drive You Crazy

I’ve been hearing that when the heat index in your area gets too high or too humid, it causes folks to think there is no relief. Heat begins to drive them truly crazy.

I’ve also known for years that people can find strange ways to cool down. Not just a pool, a garden hose, or the bathtub… but weird ways. I would rather attempt tp stay warm in Winter than cool in Summer.

toddler in basin of water
Cool in a Pool

Sticking a plastic bag of ice down your pants or under your armpits — well, that would work, but not much in public. Sucking on ice pops is only temporary and turns your tongue blue… or orange. Well, you get the idea. Standing with your head in the freezer is silly, but it does feel good until your eyebrows frost up.

Look For relief

Have a friend with a pool? Volunteer to clean it for swimming privileges. Find a cooling station in your closest town. Go to the movies — that’s a cool idea, although it can get a bit pricey if you go often. Many towns have teen centers or senior centers with massive Air Conditioning units. In my area we don’t have those with AC. The High Desert is equipped with evaporative coolers — those big water-guzzling “swamp coolers” that work when it’s dry and hot. It’s down side is the humidity levels — the higher it goes the worse the unit works.

The “Down Side” to Heat

Some folks have given up on creativity to cool down. They actually go crazy, berserk with the thought of immediate relief they can’t find. Their solution is to end it all.

It’s an extreme look at a one-time version of their solution. It’s not funny. And I’m trying not to be.

If you know of anyone who is suffering from the heat, the high humidity — and act as if they want to take themselves out of their suffering, please, call help for them.

resource list

The following list is gathered by public health administrators, like Veterans Affairs, who wish to stop the public health issue that can creep up on some folks. You think “Bullying” is bad… print and keep this list handy.

Suicide Prevention Resources

Warning signs of suicide

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

What to do if you see warning signs of suicide?

  • Do not leave the person alone
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional

 The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide but may not be what causes a suicide. Information from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

Have a great summer and stay cool,

Rusty LaGrange

Crazy Weather for Mother’s Day

Everyone is talking about this crazy Spring weather.

Driving rain
Crazy weather caught drivers off guard and hail topped it

I know it can get boring talking about the weather, but in this case, it’s crazy weather. Folks in So. California’s High Desert have been fried, dried, froze, then beat again by extremely high winds.


Desert Bloom
Desert Aster, a showy spring bloom

Everyone is talking about this crazy spring weather. So, I must admit, that yes, it’s been crazy. The rain brings such an abundance of wildflowers that it’s the prelude to a color explosion.

In a span of a few days, we went from Springtime conditions of 68 to 78 to 96 degrees, followed by high winds, a short rain shower and then torrential rains with hail, followed by wind and hail. Then only to be dusted by snow in the upper mountains.

Desert blooms
Buttery Yellow Beavertail

As with these crazy seasonal changes, we noticed over time that these series of weird weather patterns are just that — patterns that do come through every ten years or so.

White Frills
This one looks like a Whirling Dervish with white skirts and a yellow turban

With Mother’s Day coming in a few days, let me remind most of you that snow has been recorded on Mother’s Day about every ten years here, and with flurries of snow in the foothills. We usually don’t expect snow this late, that’s why we consider it so odd.

Yup, it’s crazy but that’s what we like about the High Desert.

So instead of talking about the wildflowers, why not go out for Mom’s Day and enjoy a nice breakfast followed by a refreshing walk through the wildflowers.

It will do you good.


new owner of

Let me know what you think

Why Using All Marketing Elements Gives You the Bigger Advantage

3 Elements of Savvy Marketing

If you’ve arrived at my Biz Blogger Nation post through another link, then welcome! At this location I have tried to divide the elements of savvy business marketing using WordPress posts, email, and the concepts of blogging and Social Media.

You see, many people lump all this marketing writing stuff into one category — blogging.img_0465

But that’s like saying all dogs are alike.

It’s true that blogging is an extension of the marketing side of what you are selling but the Social Media outlets at your fingertips are not the only methods through which to reach out.

So here’s the dilemma: email lists with active readers are as necessary as an active Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram account with the compounding effect of a well-written and active blog. You need all of these pieces to place your product in the face of your readers.

Three Plans of Attack


If I wish to market a book I’ve just written then I need an informational post sent to my Social Media friends to let them know it’s available. I should talk about it, banter about the characters in it, and tease my friends about the storyline … just a bit. I should avoid selling the book due to restrictions of providers and avoid the sleazy, “used car salesman” pressure methods.

No one wants to be badgered by a friend to buy something they may not want. Awkward! I can place a hyperlink here to let them reach my page quickly. My words will disappear from the viewing screen in a day or so — that’s the nature o Social Media.


Then I should go create a nice friendly email letter with several follow-up emails  — maybe placed in an auto-responder service so my friends and readers will receive my info in their inbox. I know it won’t last forever in their email box, and they may not even read it. But I also know that a friendly letter written with a personal flair will be more readable than a heavy-handed sales letter. Be careful how you approach people.

My email might be saved for later reading, may be deleted, or may be flagged for a later look at the details. This is the life of an email.



Now I need a well-crafted blog post to introduce my book to anyone and everyone who visits my website. This is now the meat-and-potatoes of my selling campaign. I can share how the book was created, I can offer a sale, I can give my book away for a limited time, and I will know that all of my words will be archived on my site.

My professional looking blog post is composed of an urgency that my readers notice. They don’t wish to be left out of the premiere. They need to be curios enough to click on the link that will bring them to my new book “page” — not the blog post.

If my readers, and potential buyers, don’t have the time or money to stop and purchase my book, I know that I can send them a reminder email or an updated entry in Social Media to hopefully encourage them to return to my page. I also know that my page is stable and easy to find. It can be bookmarked and revisited.

It is archived on my website as part of my business element that keeps buyers coming to find my book. If I have a new book to add to my author library, then any visitor will see all of my books. More potential sales.


Hawking on the Corner

Do I want to stand on the corner of Maybe and Almost Streets? Is the weather too hot or cold or wet to let anyone stop and buy? Do I want my trunk full of books that I can’t sell because I didn’t use a blog post, an email, or a social media contact? Should I start advertising in magazines and newspapers as soon as I gain enough sales to warrant that expense? Does traveling to bookstores and book fairs give me the exposure I need? Can I afford to hire someone to help me sell my books?

Marketing is now part of your life. If you “self-publish” you must “self-sell.” It’s the difference in moving your product or using it as a doorstop.


If you want to learn more about marketing your book

go to:



Rusty wears a hat

Spring Cleaning Inside Your Blog Site

Things are changing for bloggers. Throughout the Internet forum topics are

Blog is a Four Letter Word
Blog is a Four Letter Word

bristling with anxious bloggers about Google Domains, Google rankings, and Blogger who originally hosted all web site blogs for free. Check out Google Domains and see how the dynamics of your blogs will determine if you wish to transfer over to Google Domains or manage the transition yourself.

It seems that free isn’t anymore.

Rather than pout about changes coming in the world of blog hosting and other Internet environments, I felt it was important to save all of my blog posts to an archive on my own computer. For those of you who thought of this in the early process of creating your blog, congrats, you are well ahead of us on archiving and cleaning house. I bet you never leave your Christmas lights up all year, either.

It would be prudent to begin copy and pasting all your individual blog posts to a personal folder on your computer. Although it is time consuming, the alternative is worse. I made a basic folder called Archived Blog and kept each title as the file name with its original published date plus the date I archived it. I began back in the 2008 with a simple journal and by 2011 I have several blogs to juggle.

I was either creating my blog posts directly into the Dashboard, like most of you do, or I was creating in MSWord then copy and pasting into the Dashboard. Sometimes my MSWord document fought me with its hidden document coding against the evil code shield that WordPress uses to protect itself. Other times, nothing was wrong, I created by post then I went to bed early.

In fact, WordPress’ updates and beta changes were good enough that I wasn’t panicking about loss of data. I was getting comfortable. Yet in the back of my mind was an itchy feeling that I should save and protect often. Was Archiving happening automatically? Well, I lost a few blog posts, thinking that all was well and good in the background. It wasn’t. I still save often.

What if you couldn’t access your blog page anymore? What if it happened overnight?

I highly suggest that you become the “motel maid” for your blog. Clean and search often for problems showing up in your view panes and the Dashboard, check you archive folders and see if you have any breaks in photos connections or active links that are important to you, and always make a backup file of each post. The housekeeping you do know will help eliminate any surprises later.

 Rusty LaGrange