Friday, August 27, 2010

Meanderings and Muses - where's it going from here ?

Who would have ever thought this blogging thing might ever become a bit of a problem?!

On July 25, 2008, I was guest blogger at The Stiletto Gang Blogspot - - I wrote a piece called "Smoking and Not Smoking"  At that time I had just quit smoking.  It was just the most fun writing that piece.  I had no idea I had words inside me that wanted to pop out. (still not smoking, by the way.  I haven't had a cigarette since May 2008.  I don't know the exact date 'cause I didn't want to get caught up in saying out loud (even to myself) "this is the very last one," and being disappointed in myself when it wasn't.)

Then in September, 2008 I was guest blogger at Murderati - - JT Ellison invited me to share thoughts about "A Virtual Montparnasse."  JT had no idea, I'm sure, that she was a party to building a monster.

Then, in October I made my first trip to Bouchercon

the rest, as they say, is history. 

It was an incredible experience and all the emotion needed an outlet.  With the help, and seemingly, the blessing of Evelyn David of The Stiletto Gang, and JT Ellison, I now knew there was a perfect outlet for me.  Blogging was born with me in mind, I'm sure of it!  The monster was unleashed.

When I first started playing around with blogging, I had not a clue.  Truth be told, I'm still doing it by the seat of my pants.  I knew I had some things I wanted to say.  One of the things I will always remember my friend Vickie saying is "if you don't really want to know Kaye's opinion, don't ask."  After poo poo-ing blogging in general for a couple of years, I was now not only a convert, but one with a mission.  I knew I didn't want to blog every day.  Even if I could think of something interesting to say every single day, I knew I wouldn't have time.  Not and say it the way I really wanted to say it.  So, thought I.  How about tapping on a few shoulders and see if maybe some friends in the mystery community might want to come play?  I wanted my new on-line home to be similar to Bouchercon.  A whole group of people, many of whom know one another, but many who may not - hanging out and enjoying one another and their one known commonality - crime fiction.

Next I wanted my on-line home to look pretty.  We always want our homes in the best shape possible when company comes to call, right?  Why not extend that same respect and care to our on-line homes for our on-line friends and family.  It took me (a non-techie) a long time to come up with what seemed to work.  I had no idea what I really wanted, so I browsed around in Blogger knowing I would know what I wanted when I found it (sorta like that perfect pair of shoes).  As time went on, I stumbled onto a lot of  different backgrounds and designs, played with a few of them for awhile, then with the newest version of Blogger designs I made yet another little change, which is where we are now.  I'm sure, though, that, like life - we'll see more changes while we're here.  Along the way, I had to ask a lot of questions and count on several experts to get me to a point I was happy with.  A major snag in the very beginning was learning the name I really wanted for my new home wasn't available.  Someone else had already snagged it.  The nerve!  So I just had to play around with the words until I was able to place them in a way that someone else had not yet stumbled upon.  Hence, we have Meanderings and Muses.  And that picture of Harley is a nice fit, and seems to sum things up quite nicely, don't you think?  He had wandered meandered down our driveway, and appears to be thinking musing about whatever he sees down the bank around our pond.  Probably a bunny, possibly a deer.  Or maybe he just had a thought he wanted to ponder a bit while he sat in the snow. I do like "Meanderings and Muses" loads better than "Wandering and Thinking" don't you?

So,  then I made a list of names of people I'd like to have as guests in my new home.  I was heartened and gratified when so many of them graciously agreed.  I had initially hoped for 12 responses, thinking that if I could get one guest a month, it might prove enough to keep some folks interested enough that they'll be willing to drop in every so often to see who might be visiting.

Suffice to say, I got a few more than 12 responses.  And now, by golly it's grown.  A lot.  I now have two guests every week; one on Mondays, and another on Thursdays.  Additionally, I also have guests on the occasional Saturday.  And this past year I received some notes from people who were interested in participating.  Some of whom I just was not able to accommodate, but not because I didn't want to.  If I didn't have this pesky little full-time job, it would be a different story.

Through all this and future changes, I want Meanderings and Muses to remain what it started as.  A group of people who love books, (mysteries and crime fiction mainly, but not exclusively).  I also want to continue the mix that, to me, keeps the mystery community the special place it is.  A lovely mix.  Writers who are well known, along with those who are not so well know.  Writers who are still working towards being published, along with fans who just enjoy reading good work (and who are the most loyal group of people on God's green earth).  All of whom truly enjoy one another; offering advice, assistance and words of encouragement to one another freely and without ego.  Mixing and mingling, sharing a hug, a laugh, and a memory. 

When I first started this adventure, I didn't give a thought as to where it was going, or if it even had a future to think about.  As the first year was drawing to a close, it dawned on me I had to make a decision as to whether we'd try again or just fade into oblivion.  The only way to find out whether we might have a go at a second year similar to our first was to send out some invitations and just wait and see if we were going to be able to fill enough dates with guests to move forward.  The calendar was filled within a couple of days.

Recently, I decided to try something a little different in an attempt to fill next year's calendar. First,  I really wanted to try to lasso in a few of my very favorite people who have not participated in the past.  Writers - well-known and not so well known, bloggers, reviewers, and readers.  So.  Here's the thing.  And I have to admit, it's been a bit of a surprise.  While trying to gather in some new voices, I've received a couple of notes from people who have been guests in the past asking why they were eliminated from my invitation list this year.  Not so.  Not so at all.  I'm just issuing invitations differently this year.  And right now, I'm really just getting started.  No one is being eliminated from my list of guests.  However,  truth be told, unless I want to have a different guest every single day (which I don't), I'm not going to be able to invite everyone I'd like to invite this year.  So, please be patient with me and let's see how this works.  If someone who has participated in the past does not receive an invitation this year, it's only because the calendar got full before I got to everyone I'd like to include (that has not happened yet).  The invitations (once I was able to contact several new guests), are going out in a totally random fashion.  I'm sure there's a better way of doing this.  But.  It's the way I've chosen to do things this year.  Randomly.  Totally Randomly As a name pops into mind, I'm sending them an invitation.  There truly is no rhyme nor reason to how these are being sent.  I'm not out to hurt ANYONE'S feelings, and I'm not passing over anyone intentionally for any reason.  I still have some dates to fill.  The invites will be continuing for several more days, maybe even another week - maybe two.  Next year, if Meanderings and Muses is still around, we'll see how the invitation process irons out then.  And chances are, if someone has participated in the past but doesn't receive an invitation to participate this year, they'll receive one next year (IF we're still around).  I may have to start staggering the invitation list from year to year.  But you know what, it's early!  Everyone who is interested "may" yet receive an invite.  Again, bear with me, please. 

I'm tickled pink so many have agreed to play.  Including some surprises.

I'm gratified beyond words that Meanderings and Muses has become a place that seems to have garnered your respect, and still maintain its uniqueness.  Some posters may find it disconcerting that there aren't a lot of comments left.  Me too!  But - I can assure you; we continue getting a lot of hits.  A LOT!  And as you know, many of you receive comments in your email, or on your Facebook page instead of here in the comments section.  I have a theory about comments.  I'm thinking there are a whole lot of reasons why some people don't leave them; one of which is just simply not feeling comfortable with doing that.  Another is that they just simply don't want to be viewed as someone who's bouncing all over the web leaving random comments far and wide; so they read and then just move on.  It's O.K.  We all, honestly, do a lot of that, I think.  But I think it's fair to say that what you're writing is being seen.  You do have an audience here.  A very appreciative one; including me.

I want Meanderings and Muses to always be a place of honesty, where we can speak our feelings freely while showing respect to those who think and feel differently than we might in our ideologies.

But mostly?  Hell, Honeys - I just want you to have fun !

When the 2011 calendar is complete, I'll be posting it right here.  I hope you'll keep checking back often.  I enjoy having you all drop by.  And I hope you'll enjoy all the terrific guests we have lined up for the coming months.


le0pard13 said...

May you and yours be around for a long time, Kaye! I so much admire what you write and do, my friend. If I haven't said it recently, thanks for this.

Anonymous said...

Well, I for one am glad you will be here for another year. That being said, who has time to comment on each and every blog post they read. It's a tough call. Sometimes I just nod my head and move on. Sometimes I just have time to skim. Sometimes I leave a comment. (like now) :-)

I have simplified my blog reading in the last month, which I have to do periodically because it takes on a life of it's own. And if I don't have time to read my lovely books, what's the point? LOL

Love you blog as always, Kaye! From another Kay.