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Love is All Around: Valentine's Day Interview with Susie Bright

Susie Bright is an author, editor, blogger, podcaster, performer, and lecturer on all matters of sex, sexuality, and erotica. And she's been an extremely popular TypePad blogger since 2004. Out of personal and professional interest, we asked her a few questions as we scramble get ready for Valentine's Day.

What makes Valentine's Day special?
SB: It's a pre-Christian Holiday with such a dramatic history you can't help but throb and weep!

Here's a glimpse from one of my favorite books, Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things:

"In Rome in A.D. 270, Valentine had enraged the mad emperor Claudius II, who had issued an edict forbidding marriage. Claudius felt that married men made poor soldiers, because they were loath to leave their families for battle.

Valentine invited young lovers to come to him in secret, where he joined them in the sacrament of matrimony. Claudius learned of this "friend of lovers," and had the bishop brought to the palace.

The emperor attempted to convert him to the Roman gods. Valentine refused to renounce Christianity and imprudently attempted to convert the emperor. On February 24, 270, Valentine was clubbed, stoned, then beheaded.

But while Valentine was in prison awaiting execution, he fell in love with the blind daughter of the jailer. Through his unswerving faith, he miraculously restored her sight. He signed a farewell message to her "From Your Valentine," a phrase that would live long after its author died."

Now is that romantic or what!

How should people keep the sparks of Valentine's all year long?

SB: The traditional gifts of Valentine's tell you everything you need to know. Surprises that smell good, taste good, silky and sensual, declarations of affection, flirtations, and most of all, generosity of spirit.

I also think of Valentines as a family and children's holiday. There is nothing more fun that throwing a Valentine party for a bunch of scissor-and-glue-happy kids. —Of all ages! 


What would you change about Valentine’s Day?
SB:
The "swan/consumer" role model of  romance. It's not a day for bitterness and comparisons. It's a hot pink 24 hours to embrace sensuality, let your freak flag fly, love for love's sake. 

I also miss my mother's valentines, now that she's passed. She was the first one to ever "send" me a Valentine card and her exuberance was contagious...Never missed a year.

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day story?
SB: Erotic: Well you'll have to visit my blog for some of those stories.

Mommy/Baby: My daughter's mushy valentines to me, every year. She writes a poem, draws a picture of me, and I melt.

Parties: My friend Scottie throws a massive crafty Valentine Party each year, turning his whole house and garage into a Warholian Love Factory. It goes on all night; there are people welding outside and glue-gunning, water-coloring in the kitchen, glitter-spewing, collaging with old National Geographic's and National Enquirer's. You bring your own scissors and stuff to add to the 20-year supply closet. Love is All Around, baby!


OK, it’s last minute, and I don’t have anything for Valentine's. Help! What should I do!?
SB:
Two ideas:
  • My lover game,  Dare Cards, will give you so many fun ideas they will make your head spin. —Maybe other parts too.
  • Print out the lyrics to one of your favorite songs. Come up to your sweetheart and just sing your heart out! It does NOT matter what your pipes sound like; just go for it... Guaranteed to make both of you fall madly in love all over again.


Editor's note:
Thanks, Susie, for answering our questions during a very busy time of year. Let us know your favorite Valentine's stories below.


Turn Your Blog Into A Book

Our friends at Blurb, the book printers, have a special New Year offer just for bloggers who want to convert their blogs to books. So if you are ready to make the leap from the computer screen to the coffee table make sure you grab one of the discount codes.

French-word-a-day Naturally they featured a TypePad blogger, Kristin Espinasse of French Word-A-Day, for the promotion.

Kristin chronicles her adventures in France in this beautiful blog. Check out the interview with Kristin at the Blurberati blog and learn her secrets to success. Her number one tip is familiar to all bloggers: just get started, don’t wait to be perfect!

If you want to create your own blog book then get cracking! The blogger offer ends on Sunday January 31, 2010.* Just type in the appropriate code below at Blurb checkout and click APPLY:
USD$ Promo Code: BOOKMYBLOG (save US$10)
GBP£ Promo Code: BOOKMYBLOG2 (save £6 )
EUR€ Promo Code: BOOKMYBLOG3 (save €8)
AUD$ Promo Code: BOOKMYBLOG4 (save AUD$12)
Here’s the Blurb team’s fine print:
* Offer valid through January 31, 2010 (11:59 p.m. PST). The discount is applied toward the product total on one Blurb book made by you. Maximum discounts for each code are listed above. Not valid toward items in the Blurb Gift Center. This offer is good for one-time use and cannot be combined with other promotional codes or used for adjustments on previous orders.


P.S. Don’t forget to leave us a link to your finished books on the Blurb book store in the comments – so we can all check them out!

P.P.S. If you know someone who *should* have there own book, get them started with their own TypePad blog.

Best. Gift. Ever.

My mom prints out some of my blog posts and emails to save, and for my dad to read. While that's adorable, it's doesn't hold a candle to how happy my folks would be if I made them a Blurb book from my blog, like Steve Garfield made his mom:


If you want to make someone special in your life happy this holiday season, why not make a book out of your blog with Blurb? It's easy, and they've got a special promo from now through November 24th for 20% off plus free shipping. Give the gift you know they'll love!


Crushing It with Gary Vaynerchuk

If you’re not familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV and the upcoming book Crush It!, you’re missing out on one of the most energetic, inspirational and entertaining bloggers and social media experts.

A couple of weeks ago some of the TypePad team caught up with Gary and talked about his upcoming book, TypePad bloggers and the TypePad Motion announcement. In true Gary fashion, he did a great video post to the TypePad community and to bloggers everywhere.


Gary is a perfect example of someone who dedicated himself to his passion and put the tools available to him – a blog, a video camera, his expertise, and his enthusiasm – to create a unique and successful brand. As a blogger, you have the same tools available to you to build your own compelling personal and professional brand.

And now Gary has a new mission: encourage people to follow their passion and to effectively use social media and blogs (and everything else!) to connect with an audience that shares their interests, whether it is food, football, scrapbooking, marketing, parenting, Star Trek collectibles, or anything in between. His book is a wake up call for everyone to realize their potential and take hold of the opportunity of the new digital world. 

If you want to see Gary in person, check out his upcoming book tour. Learn more about his new book, Crush It!, at crushitbook.com.

Check out the video and if you have questions for Gary, leave them in the comments below.


Need Help With Your Blog?

Do you want to improve your blog but you're not sure where to start? Need some extra help launching a new blog? TypePad's expert Blog Services team are here for you! We evaluate your blog and provide tips on best posting practices, branding, custom domains and banners, and more. Then we take care of the recommended changes for you. Find out more and sign up to purchase one of our Blog Services at TypePad One.


Adding Email Alerts to Your Blog

Want to use your blog as a newsletter? I asked our own Andy Wibbles how, and here's the scoop.

  • First connect your blog to your Feedburner account.
  • Log in to Feedburner and click on the feed you want to add email alerts to. The Dashboard for that feed will display.
  • Click on "Publicize" and then "Email Subscriptions".
  • Select Feedburner and click "Activate". Feedburner displays a success screen with your subscription form HTML.
  • Underneath that is a "Use as a widget in" menu. Select TypePad and click Go. Feedburner then sends you into TypePad.
  • Select the blog that you want to add the subscription form to and click Add Widget. TypePad adds the subscription form to your blog.
  • Click "View Weblog" to see it or click Change Content Ordering to change where the form appears in your sidebar.
  • Test it: Subscribe to your blog and then tomorrow you should get an alert if you write a new post.
  • Other options under Feedburner include: being able to configure the activation email for subscribers, the fonts and colors of the email alerts, adding a logo and what time of the day email alerts should be sent.

Looking For A New Job?

If you’re looking for a new job, or will be soon, check out our tutorial on how to build a professional blog and resume online. Make it easy for potential employers to learn more about your knowledge and experience, and get an edge on the competition. The tutorial shows you how to put your resume online, along with some tips for setting up a fantastic professional blog.

Build your resume this weekend!


TypePad Bloggers on TV

Two of our amazing TypePad bloggers, Matt of mattbites.com and Meg of cuteoverload.com were on Martha Stewart's show recently talking about what else: blogging! Along with some other great bloggers - including the whole audience - Matt and Meg wowed Martha with their stories about how a "little four letter word sparked an internet revolution".  Check out some behind-the-scenes photos on Meg’s Vox blog, and watch Matt make cookies and talk about blogging with Martha (great job, Matt!):

Several other TypePad bloggers were featured in Martha’s Best of the Blogs list, including Senior Stylist at Martha Stewart Living Eddie Ross and these awesome design and lifestyle blogs:

Congratulations to our TypePad bloggers for getting a shout-out from Martha – high compliments, indeed!

Did you watch Martha's blogging show? Want to know more about how to get your own great-looking TypePad blog? Let us know in the comments.


Guest Post: The Smartphone Experiment

Smartphoneexperimentbookcover_2This virtual-book-tour guest post comes Pierre Khawand, who used his TypePad blog The 81-day-experiment as the launch point for his recently released book The Smartphone Experiment. In his post, Pierre talks about his motivation for writing the book and how his TypePad blog helped him gather feedback and build a community around the book as he wrote it.

We have two copies of The Smartphone Experiment to give away to Everything TypePad readers. Just leave a comment with your email address (it won’t be published) so we know how to get in touch.

Update: The giveaway copies have been claimed. The Smartphone Experiment is available for purchase at Lulu.com.

I have recently published The Smartphone Experiment book—how to select your smartphone in 5 easy steps, based on the 81-day-experiment blog (81dayexperiment.typepad.com) which I started on TypePad in August of 2006. In this blog, the focus was on using a variety of smartphones and reporting my daily observations about their features, plans, and usability, in order to help smartphone users make better decisions when it comes to purchasing a smartphone.

In this virtual book tour, and in the next few posts, my attempt is to answer many of the questions that I have been answering in my radio book tour, about smartphones and smartphone safety.

Question: “Why did you write this book?”

Because my focus is on productivity in the workplace (that is what my company, People-OnTheGo, trains in) and smartphones are becoming an important part of productivity. In addition, as more smartphone models are introduced and as technologies and wireless service plans become more complex, buyers are finding it more difficult to select the smartphone that meets their unique requirements. And with an average purchase price of $200-500, and several hours invested in setting up the device and learning it, a bad decision can be an expensive one.

I wanted to provide business professionals with a one-stop resource that provided them everything they needed to make the right decision.

Question: “How was the TypePad platform useful in this process?”

The 81-day-experiment blog, using TypePad, was the vehicle for creating The Smartphone Experiment book. It enabled me to easily have ongoing discussions with smartphone users and to form a community around this topic. I was able to start sharing my findings with the users starting from day 1, instead of waiting until I publish the findings at the end of the experiment. Most importantly, the ability to post the entries on a daily basis, and to get feedback frequently, gave me the motivation to keep going. It would have been a daunting project to write the book without the blog. The blog helped me break down this project into manageable and enjoyable smaller components.

Continue reading "Guest Post: The Smartphone Experiment" »


Guest Post: Why Did I Write the ABCs for Expectant Dads?

The following guest post is from author and longtime TypePad blogger, Todd Lieman, who wrote the reference book, ABCs for Expectant Dads.

Abc_3 “What the heck have I done?”

That’s one of the first reactions I had after sharing the “line on the stick moment” with my wife. (Which is shortly followed by, “I really hope it’s mine.”) When you see that line and know your partner is pregnant, there is (usually) immediate joy. Then fear. Then insanity. Then the questions. What do I do next? Who do I turn to? Will I ever play golf again? What the hell is an episiotomy? (Don’t even get me started on the “mucous plug.”

Becoming a father for the first time is an exciting time for any man (provided, you know, it’s on purpose, and that you and the woman carrying your baby aren’t in high school…or cousins). As the time passed (and my wife grew), I quickly realized that I didn’t know the first thing about pregnancy or what to expect. My wife, on the other hand, started studying for the pregnancy with all the vim and vigor of a Harvard educated med student. She had magazines, books, Web sites and friends to turn to, all of which were loaded with what seemed like great information. She was going to be prepared.

As for me? I had no idea what to think or expect.

Continue reading "Guest Post: Why Did I Write the ABCs for Expectant Dads?" »