Category Archives: 2015

Happy Easter

be blessedHappy Easter to those of you who believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each of us, believers and unbelievers of the miracle of the resurrection, can use this special day in the Christian faith to pray to a power greater than ourselves and ask for the spirit of forgiveness; to forgive someone who may have offended or harmed us. To do so will help us be free from the pain of resentment, a poison to the soul.

Whether you believe in a power greater than yourself or not, let the day be special by being grateful for the life you have, perfect or not. Just know that you are loved for being who you are, regardless of the way you believe or don’t believe: You don’t have to do anything to receive it, the love is free that flows from a special place in our hearts where the spirit lives. I hope you get to experience love’s pleasure today and everyday. Wayne

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SOUTHERN PRIDE-WAVING A CONFEDERATE FLAG

July 4, 2015, Independence Day

by Wayne T. Dowdy

confederate flag for blog

This blog may contain issues sensitive to some.  I am sorry if you are one of them.  If so, I do thank you for stopping by but maybe it is best for you to scroll on to read my many other blogs available for your pleasure, or otherwise find something else to read.  My words Straight From the Pen are not written to please everyone because I know that is an impossible task. A lot of people enjoy politically correct, sugarcoated BS.  That is not my style.  I fly a different flag called Truth.  My intent is not to offend anyone but some things are unavoidable.  So be it!

CIVIL WAR:  I raise the Confederate Flag in this blog to rebel against all of the politically correct BS in the news about issues surrounding Southern Heritage.  Some politicians want to stop the celebration of the Confederate Memorial holiday, and to remove from state buildings and grounds: Confederate flags, monuments, statues of Confederate heroes, and other remnants of the American Civil War (1861-1865) because some people find those things offensive.  I find it offensive when people lie about history to support their agenda, such lies as the main reason for the Civil War being slavery.

Was it slavery or was it the economic edge Southern plantation owners had over competitors in Cotton markets, due to the slave labor?   Economics.  Was slavery more of an ideology used by the Union to get the poor to fight their battles?  If the Civil War was fought over slavery, wouldn’t President Lincoln have signed the Emancipation of Proclamation to free all slaves before the war began on April 12, 1861, instead of on January 1, 1863?  Weren’t the slaves used by the president to fight off Confederate forces who had proved to be a more formidable force than expected by slaughtering his troops in numerous battles?  Yes, is the most logical answer based upon the facts and history of the rich using the poor to fight their battles.

I find it offensive for politicians to use the Charleston Church Massacres that I wrote about in “Love and Evil Are Color-Blind,” as justification to remove evidence of the bloodiest and most gruesome war fought on American soil.  The war where smaller bands of Southerners held their own against larger troops of Union Soldiers, until the advent of the repeating rifle, which tilted the war in favor of the Northern troops who had more food, guns, ammunition, and other supplies, because of the economic embargoes placed on the South.  The North won the war but never defeated Southern Pride.  The Confederate flag is a reminder of that, rather than slavery, as has been used to manipulate the masses to take down the flag.

Six-hundred thousand Confederate Soldiers fought against 2,213,363 Union Soldiers.*  The southeastern states were the last to fall.  When the war ended with the surrender of the last Confederate troop on May 26, 1865, there were 646,392 Union casualties, with 140,414 of those casualties being battle deaths, compared to the 133,821 Confederate casualties, 75,524 of which were battle deaths.  After their imprisonment for their part in the war, another 26,000-31,000 Confederate personnel died in Union prisons.  With my long history as a prisoner of such forces, I suspect that most of those died due to disease, lack of medical care, mistreatment, and overall poor living conditions.

REBELS WITH A CAUSE:  Rebels, those Confederate Southern Soldiers were called, the proud label worn by those who refused to conform to ways established by a government not of their choosing.  Rebels, a  part of Southern history and Southern Pride for those who died fighting for a cause; not because of slavery or why the politicians decided to fight the Civil War.  It was about fighting to keep what was theirs, fighting those damned Yankees who come down to take their land, who raped their women, murdered their children, and burned their homes in the name of Justice–the same as had been done to Native Americans by several Union troops.

Most Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War never owned a slave and most likely never knew why they had to go out and fight, other than to defend their land and heritage.  Firing a gun, running through the woods, and working hard to survive came more natural to the Southern man who grew up hunting and fishing to survive, than it did to the Union troops. You can believe that when Union forces heard the rebel yell and saw those southern soldiers waving the Confederate Flag and charging like bulls, that it made adrenaline and cortisol levels soar, instilling fear in everyone’s heart before the battle began with a brutality not known to the men and boys who stood fighting for their lives.  Early into battle, Union troops learned to retreat or die when overran by Confederates who fought with a passion to defend their land against the invaders.

No wonder politicians want to remove remnants of the Civil War.  The real reason for wanting to remove the Confederate Flag and other historical relics, probably does not concern the murders of nine innocent people by a gunman who waved a Confederate flag.  Governments do not like Rebels.  The Confederate Flag reminds them of those who refused to conform to their laws and relinquish control of their southern land.

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA:  Forty-two delegates from South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida gathered in Birmingham, Alabama and formed the government for the Confederate States of America in February of 1861, by electing a provisional president, vice president, and adopting a provisional constitution to secede from the Union.  Other states followed and the Civil War began two months later in South Carolina.

CONFEDERATE FLAG:  The flag adopted by their Congress in 1861 consisted of a “[r]ed field with a white stripe and blue jack with a circle of white stars. Later the more popular flag was the red field with blue diagonal crossbars that held 13 white stars for the 11 states in the Confederacy plus Kentucky and Missouri.”  [THE WORLD ALMANAC AND BOOK OF FACTS, page 507, 2009]  That is the flag in the news that some want to remove from history.  Since the Civil War began at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, where rebel forces took the fort after two days of fighting, it seems absurd that politicians want to remove the flag from state grounds, as if that will somehow cover the history of a town that attracts tourists who come see where it all began.  If removing the flag would stop hate and racism, then I’d say take it down and burn it, but hate and racism comes from a dark place in the minds of humans, usually from the minds of those who point their fingers at others to call them racists.  The true racist stands behind the pointed finger.

As a child who grew up in the southern state of Georgia, most of us considered the Confederate flag as the Rebel Flag.  I never knew of any peers who waved a Confederate flag in association with slavery or racism; some may have, but most of whom I knew liked the Rebel Flag because of just that, it showed that we were Rebels who refused to conform to the rules of the government, which is why many of us ended up in their prisons.  We fought the law and the law won.

AMERICAN FLAG:  Should we take down the American flag in the name of political correctness because it offends people?  No.  History is just that: history.  We can’t change the past, we can only use it to better the future.  If we are concerned about offending people with our national history, how about all of the evils done in the name of justice by people who waved the American flag?  Do we take down the flag because it reminds them of the evil done by the villains who waved it?  Of course not!  How about those Native Americans who the American flag reminds of the murders of their ancestors and the desecration of their sacred land and places of worship?  How about all of the promises made to their people by government representatives during negotiations that the United States reneged on, repeatedly?  How about those who waved the American flag and put a bounty on a primary food source of many tribes–American buffalos–by claiming to need buffalo hides, but really wanted to starve Native Americans while buffalo carcasses rotted on the plains?  Do we return their land to make amends for our transgressions?

FLAGS:  The above facts are a terrible part of American history that I am a part of by being American, which I am ashamed of in one sense, but proud of in another–being American that is.  I am not proud of the atrocities committed by those before me.  I am proud to be an American and feel we have the best country in the world.  I am equally as proud of being a Southerner who will always wave the Confederate flag on an emotional level, but not physically.

Personally, I don’t care if they take down and burn all flags.  But oh, that would offend someone.  Okay, let’s take down the American flag and put up the Rainbow flag in its place to show the evolution of equal protection rights.  But, oh, that will offend someone, too.  My solution:  Fly all flags with pride that people fought and died for to protect their interests.  Cut the politically correct BS.  Let whiners grow up and deal with their emotions to learn that life doesn’t revolve around feelings.  It takes strength to survive.

My level of political correctness shows when I use BS in place of bullshit and in minimizing the use of profanity in my writings to avoid offending readers.  I feel that the Politically Correct agenda breeds passivity that causes some people to not fight because they have been taught not to offend, sometimes with troubling results when faced with predators who prey on weakness and innocent victims.  I am reminded of the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech Massacre when college students waited in a line inside of a classroom for a killer to systematically shoot each of them, rather than to fight for their lives by throwing desks or doing what they could to avoid the inevitable.  I did not fault the young adult victims.  I wept for them and their families.  I fault the system that taught them to be passive.  I do not promote violence.  I do promote standing up to fight to protect what is yours.  After all, I am a rebel waving the Confederate flag with Southern pride.  Rebels fight against the odds.

CONCLUSION:  Well, where do we go from here?  Regardless of what one does someone will find a flaw or be offended; someone will complain and want it “their way”; others will give praise over the same action, while some will never be satisfied no matter how hard you try to appease them.  How about diverting our energy and resources towards trying to find and eliminate the root cause in our society that cause people to commit horrendous crimes, like those committed by Dylann Roof who murdered those nine people at the Emanuel AME Church.  People who want to kill will always find a way to carry out their plan.  Politicians would best serve the people by focusing on a solution to eliminate evil minds.  The worse lies are told in silence, not by those waving a Confederate flag.  Taking down the flag will not accomplish anything other than creating more turmoil.  Telling the truth about the real reason the Civil War was fought and what the Confederate flag represents might ease tensions as much as removing it.

I wave the Confederate Flag to honor those brave men and women who died defending their land, the same as I wave the American flag to honor the same type of men and women who defend this country, not to honor those who have committed evil acts in the name of justice.  I apologize if that offends someone but I stand behind all I have written in the name of Southern Pride, straight from the pen.

Wayne T. Dowdy, (waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com)

_______________

*statistics as reported in the 2009 WORLD ALMANAC AND BOOK OF FACTS.

For other Civil War related readings, go to thelastcharlestonconfederate.weebly.com

SNAKE vs POLITICS

Reprint permission granted by the author.
May 13, 2015

SNAKE VERSUS POLITICS
by
Wayne T. Dowdy

Whether to put more emphasis on the topic of Politics or Snakes was my dilemma. Snakes won by a landslide; however, I will also write on Political Promises and Incarceration.

To be specific, what changed my mind was a foot-long, reddish-brown, coppery-looking snake, with black patterns and a white underside. Several of us prisoners stood gathered around, some saying it was a poisonous copperhead because it had struck at the first person who reached his hand down toward it, and because the shape of its head resembled a diamond when it lay poised to strike at the terrorists who taunted it.

It was a lively little creature, which struck at a folder filled with paper that I held near its head; I examined its markings and physical characteristics to determine whether a deadly reptile lay before me, or a simple non-poisonous one here to do its job of ridding the world of pesky insects, and rats too, after it grows large enough to eat them. I determined the latter to be true, based upon my experience at dealing with snakes earlier in life.

The colorful snake was a juvenile in fear of its life from the world’s greatest predator: human beings; a human who held an object close to the nose of the serpent to see what type of response he got from the venomous creature. Okay, I confess. The snake was not mean and vicious; the harmless baby was just trying to survive in a world no one understands, its instincts telling it to strike to deter the enemy from harming it. Hey, snakes do what snakes do. No harm no foul.

After three futile strikes it turned docile, portraying the message that it wanted to be left alone so that it could continue its sunbathing. That’s what it was doing before we rudely interrupted it by towering above it to gawk, while it lay on the ground not bothering anyone, just being a harmless snake.

How did the snake change my mind about what to write? The term “snake” fits scandalous politicians who tell lies to get votes, so there is a correlation between both topics. On this occasion, the serpent reminded me of my youth, when I loved to ramble through the woods with any device capable of sending a projectile into the body of some innocent creature (I would not consider harming anything today); or to trudge around a body of water to see if I could find fish, frogs, snakes, crayfish, salamanders, or some beautiful formation of rocks, trees, or plants.

I loved nature, even though I lost touch with that aspect of my life and became a destructive person who harmed people and the environment in which we live. I allowed my life experiences to turn me into a cruel person by becoming a product of my environment. Now I focus on becoming the person God created me to be.

My essay collection* contains several essays and poems about my life and some of the experiences that shaped me. In response to my childhood experience of growing up in a neighborhood across the street from the world’s busiest airport, I wrote “REMEMBER,” a poem which coincides with what I wrote in “An Airport Ate the Neighborhood,” (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy) ($0.99).

REMEMBER

Remember walking through woods,
Playing in creeks, catching crawdads,
Watching for snakes, frogs, fish, turtles.

Remember roaring jets, planes,
Spewing toxins, shaking trees,
Poisoning streams with spent fuel.

Remember neighborhoods,
Poisoned by noise,
Structures cracked by sound.

Remember houses on the trucks,
Men on top, moving power lines,
Helping houses move on roads.

Remember walking with nature,
With thick woods protecting creatures,
Life thriving under its cover.

Remember where I once lived,
Nature near, full of pleasure,
Before Jets and Planes came.

I wrote another essay with an environmental theme, “We Are the Cancer,” first published by Surepleasurez Promotions. You may read it in the March 2015 Archives (https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com/). I write such essays with the hope of effecting a small change in the lives of those who read them, and as my way of trying to compensate for the damage I caused during my youth and the early years of adulthood.

Back to the snake that changed my mind. The snake reminded me of the first time I captured one when I was twelve-years-young. In elementary school and at home, I read books on insects, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians. As a disruptive student, most teachers encouraged me to sit and read all I wanted as long as I did not cause trouble. I was not a good student (if interested in my education, read “Life from ‘F’s to ‘A’s,” (03/28/15); published by PrisonEducation.com on 09/18/14).

My family owned a nice collection of encyclopedias, World Books, and Science books that my parents bought for my older brother and two sisters to have for school assignments. Even before I could read, I enjoyed looking at pictures in the volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica and any type of book or magazine about science or animals. All a book needed to entertain me was photos of things that walked (especially on four legs), crawled, flew, or swam, and looked different than humans. That’s how I learned to capture a snake.

That first snake taught me a lesson. I did not adhere to what I knew on how to catch one by grabbing it behind its head, at the rear of its jaws to prevent it from turning to take a bite. It was a harmless green snake, with its head stuck in some weeds, its body stretched across a trail me and a friend walked on while playing “hooky” from school that morning. Since the head was not visible, I reached down and grabbed it at the portion of its body closest to the weeds. It turned and bit me on my hand to remind me of the proper way to handle a snake. The bite only hurt my pride.

POLITICAL PROMISES & INCARCERATION

Reading proved valuable for me in many facets of life. I sympathize for those who cannot read due to issues beyond their control, and those who may never have an opportunity to learn how to read due to their social, geographical, or economic status. Maybe American politicians will focus more on funding education, and less on making laws to incarcerate its citizens for more crimes than any human has the capacity to comprehend. For several years, governments spent millions more on incarceration than on education at state and federal levels in the United States.

Read my essay, “Education, the Prisoner, and Recidivism” (03/28/15, first published in May of 2013 by PrisonEducation.com), to see where statistics prove education reduces recidivism (the return to old habits or behaviors). Politicians still continued to vote on Mass Incarceration policies until recent years. I show reasons for that in “The Truth About Incarceration, Part II” (04/05/15), where I address the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and private prison companies on high incarceration rates.

Prisoners became a commodity due to the rise of Prisons-for-Profit, whose owners and representatives gave politicians hefty financial incentives to continue “Tough-On-Crime” policies. That trend changed because the operation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and state prisons began to consume the largest portion of criminal justice budgets. Too many prisoners became too expensive to house with rising costs of incarceration.

On a positive note, Daniel Malloy reported in the May 3, 2015, edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the “South Leads Push to Reduce Prison Populations.” In a well-written article about changes in the political spectrum on incarceration in America, he reported that several states changed policies and practices: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Mississippi, and others across the South, as did New York. All have shown favorable results at reducing state deficits and incarceration rates. Most importantly, some of those states began providing better substance abuse and mental health treatment for their prisoners, as well as implementing re-entry initiatives. Those states and politicians deserve praise, even if most of those policies and votes were likely based on financial concerns, instead of any moral convictions for decades of wrongs inflicted upon their citizens by previous policies.

According to a quote in Malloy’s article from an ALEC spokesperson, former Texas Governor, Rick Perry, started spending more money on diversion programs in place of prison beds in 2007. I respect him and Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal, for creating diversion programs as alternatives to incarceration for juveniles and other offenders. Gov. Deal implemented different phases to change Georgia’s failed criminal justice system (CJS). I am a Georgia native who spent numerous years of his life in their CJS. Last year, Gov. Deal focused “[o]n improving ways to rehabilitate inmates who are serving prison sentences and ease their transition as they re-enter society. He’s poured millions into education programs at the state prisons.” AJ&C, 05/03/15, under sub-heading of “Tide Swells Across the South.” That was an honorable act. Politicians such as Governor Deal and Rick Perry, are a rare breed who take a stand for what is right that may not be politically correct.

CONCLUSION

As a general matter, Politics are depressing. No wonder I chose to focus more on snakes that crawl over those who walk. Who wants to read about immigration, legalization of marijuana, or the politicians who deceive voters by campaigning on issues and then promising to vote a particular way if elected, who then votes contrary to their promises, after their voters put them in office? Not me. The Snake lying on a prison yard has more appeal to me than a politician lying when making campaign promises.

With statistics proving the over-incarceration of American citizens, and the cost of keeping them in prison for decades, the 2016 presidential candidates and other politicians are campaigning to reduce prison populations. The future will reveal which ones chose to be honorable by voting according to promises made and introducing bills to support the words flowing from their mouths, as well as those who engaged in political pandering to get votes, who are more slimy than any reptile crawling on the face of the earth.

Respectfully, I say to those who win the seats, represent the office upon which you are elected by being honorable men and women, whose words mean something. As I write, I have spent almost twenty-seven-years in prison for my role in crimes no where near as harmful to the nation as the policies that put me here for decades. Countless taxpaying victims have struggled to pay the cost of my incarceration, shelling out more than a million dollars for me to stay in prison for driving a second getaway vehicle in a serious crime.

I challenge all politicians to read my essay, “No Sympathy” (first published in my essay collection,* and then posted 04/09/15, to let people read it free to see the true cost of failed Criminal Justice policies. Read it and look at the facts to determine whether the damage caused by “Tough-On-Crime” bills have been worth the price paid by American citizens. Now “YOU” have the power to change what was done for the sake of a vote that came with the expensive price tag of human lives. Please vote to correct the policies that lead to mass incarceration rates.

Oh, BTW, a prison guard arrested the snake for posing a threat to the safety and security of the institution and for it being in an unauthorized area. We pled for him to have mercy and not execute the poor little snake for its crimes. The guard promised to help the snake escape the confines of the prison by carrying it home in his pocket. I hope he did.

The guard really did say he was going to carry it home with him and that it was a juvenile garter or king snake. The tiny one wrapped itself around his fingers as he walked away to end the terrorism of the snake.

Stay posted. I plan to write more on politics based upon the AJ&C article. I thank those of you who follow my blog posts.

[This section updated January 29, 2019]

Wayne T. Dowdy
Email: waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com or wtdowdy57@gmail.com

*ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN, $8.95, Midnight Express Books (http://www.straightfromthepen.com). For those willing to do a book review, contact me at waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com and I will provide a free Smashwords coupon code to download the eBook; otherwise, download it as “Reader Sets Price” from https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy and pay what you like.

FAQs about author Wayne T. Dowdy

Thanks for inquiring about my writing.  Most people want to know answers to several personal questions.  ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN contains answers to many questions.  Purchase it at http://www.straightfromthepen.com or from your favorite online and offline distributors.   Purchase eBooks at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy.

(FAQs)

1) How many books have you written?

A) Four: 1-UNDER PRESSURE by Mr. D; 2-UNDER PRESSURE-MOTIVATIONAL VERSION by Mr. D; 3-UNKNOWN INNOCENCE ($12.95), and 4-ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN ($8.95) by Wayne T. Dowdy.

2) What is the difference between UNDER PRESSURE and the Motivational Version?

A) The Motivational Version contains “The Story Behind the Novel” and two chapters from the sequel (UNKNOWN INNOCENCE). I added “The Story Behind the Novel” to inspire and assist the aspiring writer by showing how I managed to put the book in his or her hands, and by listing several writer’s tools available for those fortunate enough to purchase them.

The setting for UNDER PRESSURE is the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, and even though the plot concerns the murder of a prisoner and other violence, the novel offers the reader much more than prison scenes and events.  It shows the life of the main protagonist before and after prison, and also enlightens the public about some of the draconian conspiracy laws and shows how easy it is for someone to end up in prison for a drug conspiracy.

3) Have you been published in magazines?

A) Yes. In print, THE SUN magazine published several clips I wrote in response to various topics, as well as an essay I wrote for their “Readers Write” column. In August of 2008 they published what I wrote for the topic of “Up All Night.” The ICONOCLAST magazine published two essays: “Fences” and “Fence Rows,” both of which I included in the essay collection. CONFRONTATION magazine published my essay, “State of Affairs” as a Letter to the Editor.

In 2018, the Savage Kick published “Guns, Drugs and Thugs: Drug Store Spree” in Savage Kick #9.

I’ve been published several times under the pseudonym Wayne D.

Online, PrisonLawBlog.com and PrisonEducation.com published several things I have written to educate and inform my readers. Those publications may now be read on my blog (https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com).

4) Were you a politician?

A) No. When researching who I am, if you add the “T” for my middle name, volumes of things will come up that I have had published.  I was in a state prison when I first heard about the Honorable Wayne Dowdy, who is a politician from Mississippi.  By adding “Wayne T. Dowdy” to your favorite search engine, it will allow you to yield numerous results.

Reading ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN will tell you a lot about my interest, beliefs, and convictions.  Most who have read it commented that it contained a lot of wisdom, and some stories that make you laugh, others that are sad, but well written.  It contains events that show the damage of incarceration on society and individuals trapped in the vicious cycle of imprisonment and recidivism.

Social Media for Writers

[January 11, 2019:  In the future I will update this blog post to make it current, now that I am a free man and am able to do the necessary research to make the content more useful to those of you who wish to improve your social media experience.]

I am sending this out to provide what I hope to be helpful information for interested persons, or for anyone willing to share the information with a new or aspiring writer, who will capitalize on the following social media outlets: Wattpad, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook Fan Pages, Blogs & Press Releases. Readers and social media socialites may equally find something helpful. Feel free to share this with others.

WATTPAD

Wattpad is the social networking site for writers and readers that provides an outlet for writers to post their writings for readers to read for free. Check it out. Wattpad recently started offering users the possibility to raise funds for their projects, like Kickstarter.

TWITTER

Twitter limits messages to 140-characters but has continued to grow in the fast paced world and seems to be a must for many who want to be noticed, as most writers and celebrities do. Mark Haverstock says, “Twitter caters to both the busy and the attention-challenged, with a 140-word maximum microblogging format.” (See Tumblr data for more from Haverstock.) These are links to get you started:

http://michaelhyatt.com/the-beginners-guide-to-twitter.html
https://support-twitter.com/articles/100990-signing-up-with-twitter#
http://inkygirl.com/a-writers-guide-to-twitter
http://www.mitaliblog.com/2009/08/getting-started-on-twitter-quick-guide.html
TUMBLR

According to the Writer’s Guide to 2014 ($23.95, Writer’s Institute Publications), in “Stepping Into the World of Social Media” by Mark Haverstock, “Tumblr is a social media site where users can share anything and everything–blog text, pictures, videos, music files, links, and more. … Tumblr is also chock full of inspiration. You can find anything from full-length blog posts, to poems, awe-inspiring pictures, music and links, to great sites all on this one social media resource. Tags allow you to give your posts a little extra exposure, so you can share them not only with people who follow you, but others who check out those tag threads–definitely a feature worth taking advantage of.” All links come from the same source, except for those in the last section (Blogs & Press Releases). The article lists these three associated links for Tumblr:

http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Tumblr-Account
http://www.tumblr.com/register
http://digitalsherpa.com/setting-up-your-tumblr-account-and-getting-started
FACEBOOK FAN PAGES

Most writers will probably benefit from having a Facebook Fan Page, along with their own personal pages on Facebook, which after creating a Fan Page, would conceivably benefit by letting their friends know about their Fan Page to gain more exposure. (I recently read that writers should not use their personal Facebook page for marketing their book, since people who sign on as friends are more interested in the writer’s personal life. It is supposedly okay for the writer to write about events in their life, how these events relate to their writing career or the book, but not to use the personal page as a sales platform.) As a writer who cannot access these sites due to being in prison, and thus cannot use the available tools for marketing books and writings as most writers do, I can attest to the difficulties in generating readers and customers for self-published materials by not having the social media forum I would otherwise have if able to access those sites. I have the skills and the technical knowledge to create web pages, blogs, etc.; however, I cannot actively engage my reading audience through blogging or posting my writings on a website, because I have to depend on others for connecting with the outside world, and none of the people I am currently involved with have the time or know-how to do what I need. (I am still in the process of finding ways to do all of the above.) Here is the info for creating a Fan Page:

https://www.facebook.com/about/pages
Ten-Step quick start: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Facebook-Fan-Page
Detailed instructions: http://computer-howstuffworks.com/internet/tips/how-to-make-fan-page-on-facebook.htm
Here are some writers’ Fan Pages you may view for ideas on design and content:

Stephenie Meyer: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephenie-Meyer/108380102517046?fref=ts (fan page)
John Green: http://www.facebook.com/JohnGreenfans?fref=ts
E.J. James: http://www.facebook.com/ELJamesAuthor
Gretchen Rubin: http://www.facebook.com/GretchenRubin
BLOGS & PRESS RELEASES

Two free blog sites are WordPress (www.wordpress.com) and Blogspot Platform (www.blogger.com). Since I see it used most often, I suspect that WordPress is the best choice. Both have templates and other accessories to help the writer set up their blog. Blogs are a must have social media platform for the aspiring writer to succeed at getting noticed and getting the word out. Some may choose to set up the blog to interact directly with their followers, while others may be too busy for that type of communication with their fans and, instead, elect to post sample chapters from a novel and post survey questions to engage their audience; e.g., which scene the reader liked most, who is their favorite character, what would they like to see happen, etc. By posting chapters in advance of completing the book, the writer is able to arouse interest in their product and have customers waiting to purchase it upon release.

For those who have a book release, try PRLOG (www.prlog.org), which is a free press release distribution service. Good luck. Wayne T. Dowdy (waynedowdy@StraightFromThePen.com).