Stacey Blog

Indianapolis, born, bred and raised thriller author, Stacey Carroll is known for her unique perspectives on life and fiction. Influenced by Anne Rice, Stephen King and the Grimms Brothers, combined with the pure hatred of Disney endings, her novels are equally gritty and sexy with well-developed, realistic characters.

Additional influences on writing are her degrees. She has a Masters in HRD, a Bachelors in Aviation and a Computer science minor. All of these factors and her experience in flying Cessna 152s, 172s, King Airs and Piper Senecas have resulted in fiction novels that feature satisfying mature content emphasizing the characters.

 

If you would like to know more about blogging or how to blog, check out these books from Amazon:

 

 

If you need fresh content for your website or blog, you may be wondering if your chosen freelance writer or writers write the type of content you need. The good news is that most freelancers provide a list of topics and examples directly on their websites or in their content mill profile so that you can quickly check to see if they write on your topics.

Finding a Content Mill Writer

Many content mills, including Constant Content, Content Writers, CopyPress, nDash, Prose Media, Scripted, Steady Content, Textbroker, Upwork, Writers Access and Zerys, encourage their writers to fill out their profiles in detail. This means that upon searching for a specific set of writers and viewing their individual profiles, you will be able to see the content topics they write, the types of content they write and their preferred rates.

The challenge to finding a good content mill writer is the volume of writers available. Searching “construction” or “HVAC”, for example, may gives you results for 100s of writers, and searching through them may be a time-consuming task. However, once you find your preferred writer, you should be able to get your content written in a timely manner.

Finding an Independent Freelance Writer

Finding an independent freelance writer that isn’t part of a content mill may be a slightly more difficult task. You’ll have fewer to choose from as a whole, but the quality of your results depends on your Search Engine search skills and your willingness to page through results that may not be entirely accurate, depending on the search engine’s algorithm.

For example, searching “construction freelancers” pulls up a list of content mills not independent freelancers. The same is true if you search for “HVAC freelancers”. Needless to say, this doesn’t help you find an independent freelance writer that you can communicate with and work with to create your ideal content. Another option is to search your city, using a search term like “Indianapolis freelancer”. This should give you a good list of freelancers in your local area. Then, all you have to do is view their webpages.

The ideal independent freelancer will have lots of content on their website, including topics they write, prices, frequently asked questions and examples. They may even have on-demand content that you can purchase and use right away.

If your independent freelancer doesn’t list your particular topic, but it’s close to a different topic or industry that they do have listed, you can always email them or contact them via their contact form.

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Some of you may be wondering what character or who is Shadow Conn.  Shadow Conn is a character I created more two decades ago.  She made her first appearance in a telnet chat room sometime in the late 90s.  From there, I played her in the Camarilla (White Wolf) live action LARPs.  She is actively played in Vampire New Orleans, which is an online PBEM RPG.  She is also the character template I use for all my female main characters in my novels.  She's currently a character in the Blooddoll series.  She was the template for AVIA CONN BAYS in the AVIA series, and I still very much play her today in her original and advanced forms.

 

But here's the original, offical Shadow Conn character biography from 2003.

 

Character Name:

Shadow Conn LeSombra Tenebroso

 

Clan:

The Tenebroso Dynasty


Hierarchy Position:
Regent

Personal History:
In 2010, Shadow turned 108.  Long gone were the leather pants and weaponry that made her look like a tiny assassin.  In their place were the trappings of the gloriously filthy rich.  Most of her clothes bore no brand name and those that did were heavily tailored to her very small frame.

She found her way to New Orleans in 2002, and in eight years, she could boast some major accomplishments.  She was Bonded to the Tenebroso Elder and not for money or power, though he had both - She loved her Bonded.  She was Regent.  She had cleaned up Europe to point of a finely tuned machine and she didn’t openly war with any Tenebroso.  Though, whether that was her personality, her Bonded, her position, or her scary scary abilities, no one quite knew.  If asked, she probably would have responded that her blanket is better than their blanket.

Shadow was born to darkness in Terre Haute, Indiana. Her Sire moved her to Indianapolis, Indiana shortly after her embrace. For the first few years, she was under the care of her GrandSire, Jacques LeSombra Dark and had very limited contact with the man who actually made her. But that ended after 10 years.

Shadow stayed with her Sire for another 66 years. During that time she was beaten, drained, tortured and made to be nothing but a vampiric blood doll for her Sire's amusement. After all, this had been how it started, this would be how it ended. Shadow finally grew extremely tired of the abuse. She began to coerce the servants into letting her out more than once a night and she began plotting. Plotting for her freedom. Plotting to escape. Anything was better than the hell she was currently experiencing. Towards the end her Sire's humans started helping her escape at night to feed. Sometimes they just let her feed off them as long as she didn't kill them. They also began to plot with her.

Shadow snuck into her Sire's chambers early one evening before he awoke. The previous night she had drunk from many inebriated men knowing that her Sire would then feed from her taking in all of that drunken blood. While her Sire was still in a deep, drunken sleep she staked him through the heart with a pencil she found on his desk, and drained his blood completely, taking in all of his power. She then cut off his head with his own silver sword and burned his body along with the rest of his haven. The flames shot 100 feet in the air thanks to the humans leaving canisters of kerosene laying around for her easy use. The deed actually made the papers and the national news. The police are still searching for the arsonist in Indianapolis.

The drinking of her Sire's blood was both a blessing and a curse. Along with his advanced power over shadow manipulation and his knowledge, she also took in all of his thoughts and the atrocities that he had done throughout his life making her already nightmare filled days even worse.

She fled to New Orleans as a runaway, unaware of her family line or even that of their history. Her Sire had never bothered to tell her who she was or where she came from. She was nothing more than an accident. The only sign that she might be something more than a runaway is her unconscious and untrained manipulation of shadows far beyond that of any Tenebroso currently living.

The nightmare filled days are gone. Intense telepathic intervention by Cade solved that problem.

When New Orleans died in a fiery demolition of Werewolves and Believers, Shadow fled with Cade to San Francisco. Deciding instantly that she didn't like San Francisco, she left after spending less than 24 hours in the city. Her destination for the next two years was Terre Haute, Indiana. She went back to her hometown. During that time, she spent her nights researching her past, her Sire, and her Grandsire. There was no one that could help her with this task other than herself - and so - she dove into it. When she finished, she had everything she needed, and 10 bank accounts.

It was a little fraud and a little help from the Devious Queen of the Tenebroso that brought Shadow back to New Orleans six months before anyone else knew that it was reopening to the Vampires. What Shadow did then is subject to speculation, but the rumors of darkness and cool death surfaced. What happened to the King of the Tenebroso? Shadow doesn't know and doesn't care. She was never told and never asked. She was on her own assignments. The only thing that is known, is that whatever Shadow did, it earned her the position of Regent and six trips overseas to forcefully re-secure the businesses they had almost lost.

Upon arriving back in New Orleans, Shadow had hoped for a calm night. Instead, she was ordered by the Queen to kill Marek Tenebroso, Cade's Childe. For hours, Shadow attempted to garner Cade's attention, but aside from staring at her attire and collar bones, she couldn't manage the task. Finally, using the Bond, she asked for his help only to be delayed and denied.

Within minutes of her last plea, Marek was dead, but not by Shadow's hand. Accusations flew. Screaming matches ensued. Her own Bonded accused her of Betrayal. However, Shadow remained concrete in her words. She did not kill Marek Tenebroso. In fact, she hadn't killed much of anything. The reports had flown in to Carolina - royalty dead, king potentials assassinated. Yet, nothing pointed towards Shadow. Evidence mounted. Shadow even brought back the evidence of Gastone LeSombre Tenebroso's death - a ring. Yet, she swore to Cade that she had only killed a handful, and her reasons were not of the Queen.

Betrayal. Staunchly stubborn in her answers, Shadow maintained her innocence.  The stress mounted.  Finally, unable to tolerate anything else, the appearance of Victoria Tenebroso sent her over the edge. Cade was her Bonded. In a flash of rage, bones were broken and Victoria was thrown from the Plantation. Surprisingly, Cade exited with his mistress, leaving Shadow alone with Joost and Giselle. Neither understood.

Giselle refused to believe that her Sire had shoved Shadow, gripped her, yelled. None of it. Joost and Shadow knew the truth.

Chaos and hours later, a mental yell from Giselle prompted Cade's return to the mansion. Unable to console Shadow or himself, Cade retired to bed.

Still distraught, Shadow spent hours on the phone with Sean only to fall asleep atop Cade. Denied at sunset and still upset, Shadow exited the Plantation to spend quiet time with Sean. Their location was a new art gallery. Shadow loved art. She loved paintings and statues and quiet. However, all the silence did nothing to alleviate her upset. Growing more withdrawn, she stepped outside only to be returned to the gallery by Sean.

Sulk evident, Cade finally turned his attention towards his extremely unhappy Bonded. The misery had to stop. The separation was killing them. Suddenly, Shadow found herself exactly where she belonged, Cade's arms. Exited to the limousine and a securely tucked away blanket, Shadow finally relaxed. She was home with her Bonded.

 It didn’t cure things, but it helped.  She no longer worried about sleeping in an empty bed.  It didn’t happen.  The affairs slowed considerably.  The turning point was in Cade’s office.  She’d come downstairs because she wanted to talk and she really wanted a hug.  She expected a pat on the head maybe a kiss.  She got several kisses, and they did talk.  It was business oriented, but it was something.  Then, they did something they hadn’t done in years.  The sex was brutal, destructive to the furniture, and intensely satisfying.

In the coming weeks, their lives slowed.  They had time to talk or argue as they were want to do in the beginning.  Communication was ridiculously hard for both of them.  It took them a couple weeks to resolve all outstanding issues.  The rest of the time was spent in the bedroom with brief exits to take care of matters that could not wait.

 

Why am I posting this here now after 23+ years?  Because someone is actively trying to commit intelectual property theft by stealing this character.  I am working on trying ot figure out who this entity is and on getting legal representation.

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Let me start of by saying that in 2014, I downloaded AutoTweetNG and loved it.  Aparently, I had no problems installing it or configuring it to send tweets and facebook posts.  That old review (that I don't remember writing) prompted me to try it again.  Either lots has changed since 2014 with this peice of software, or my needs have dramatically changed.  One of the two, because my overview of this program is not nearly so glowing. 

 

 

If you are like me, you have a lot of social media posts to get out, and you need to be able to schedule them far into the future.  The typical solution is to use something like Hootsuite or WoopSocial, but if you have a Joomla site, the most convenient way to do this is by installing a social media scheduler that you can use from the backend.  I will tell you right now that this is going to be an extremely difficult if not impossible task.  There are actually very few autoschedulers for Joomla available, and if you are looking for a free auto-scheduler, the only one you are going to find that might be worth a damn is AutoTweetNG.  Unfortunately, it's not all it's cracked up to be.

 

AutoTweetNG - Joomla Extensions Directory

The first thing you need to know is that the description is misleading.

 

Straight from JED: Social Autoposting. The social media content management tool. Simply, AutoTweet NG auto posts your content to social networks.

When you read that you are going to think - Fantastic.  I can load up all my social media accounts, including facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn and get all my articles posted really quick!

 

Not so Fast.

You will get it installed really quickly.  Then you are going to start configuring your social media channels.  You're probably going to do Facebook first, then Twitter, then you're going to get ready to install your third social media account.  You won't be able to find the "New" button.  It disappears after you configure your first two channels.  That's right.  You only get two social media channels with the free version.  If you're like me, you'd prefer to post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.  I had to pick my best two, which are Twitter and Facebook.  It's not ideal, but I can live with it just to get a scheduler on the backend of Joomla rather than going to WoopSocial or Hootsuite.

Now You Are ready to Test This Bad Boy!

You're going to write an article and click Save and AutoTweetNG is going to send it to the "request queue."  It's going to take a few minutes.  Some estimate that it can take as long as three minutes for that new post to go out to social media.  You can also force it by clicking the "yes" in the request queue.  That will send it immediately.

If you managed to configure your Facebook correctly, your post will go through to both Facebook and Twitter or whichever two social media accounts you chose.

And you are going to think - Fantastic!  It works.  Now, you're going to start digging into the details.  The first thing you are going to want to do after you've confirmed it sends posts is to get rid of the warning at the top of your AutoTweetNG screen that says; "You're using basic yadayada, please allow Cron Jobs."  It has a link, so you're going to click that link.  It will take you to the module.

At this point, you are going to start looking for Cron Jobs and the Red/Green button that allows Cron Jobs to run.  You are not going to find it.  It's not there.  I actually emailed them to ask where that button was to enable Cron Jobs and was told it is not there.  For those that don't know Cron is the repetative task thing.  You need this in order to scan the page for new tasks to complete.  In this instance, you want it to find all those posts you scheduled and trigger them to send.

Wait? What!?

You go back to the AutoTweetNG description and read it again - autoposts to all your social media accounts.  Well, you already know that it won't post to all your social media accounts.  It's going to post to two, and now you've just figured out that you can't schedule social media posts. So, maybe you dig a little deeper.  You click on the full descripotion and read it - Manually Publishes.

You're frustration level has probably gone from 50 percent to 150 percent by this point.  That's because it probably took you a couple hours to configure your Facebook, and if you didn't already have an app in Twitter, you also got hit there too.  You've spent hours on this application!  I spent a day and a half on it before giving up and cursing the fact that I didn't see those two words "manually publish" when I reviewed the features the first time.  had I seen that, I would have known that this program was never going to do what I needed, so part of this is my fault. In that long mess of a list, I missed the two most important words on it.

But You're Going to get It to Work Anyway!  You Can Beat My Skills!

NOW!  Let's say you are super determined to get this thing to work properly because you've just wasted a whole heck of a lot of time on this application.  I mean, you've waste so much time on it that you are starting to think about the hourly wage at your job and how much you could have earned if you were working instead of fucking with this thing.

There's only one way to do it.  You have to buy it, but buying it isn't so simple.  It's not a $25 or a $35 program.  It's a SUBSCRIPTION!  That's right.  You are gonna paypaypaypay for this thing, and you are going to pay out the ass.  It is $39 for a 6 month subscription and $72 for a year, and you will pay that forever if you want full functionality of this thing.  And you WILL be tempted to buy this after spending so much time configuring it and fighting with it just to prove that you didn't waste your time.  Resist the urge.  This is not a good way to attract customers, and it is not a good way to keep customers.

I made a mistake in downloading this software.  Please do not make the same mistake I did.  I know how important it is to get that social media presence.  I know how important it is to post multiple times a day.  Unforuntatly, after many days and hours of looking, I can honestly tell you that there is no program that's going to do this for you in the backend of Joomla.  Just go to WoopSocial.  They offer unlimited posts for free.  If you want analytics, you have to pay for that.  However, Woopsocial is going to get those posts scheduled for you and send them.

 

 

 

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The Importance of Book Reviews from a Readers Perspective!

 

The feeling of cracking open a new book that you are excited to read is one that goes unmatched. It is one of the best feelings in the world. Unfortunately, if you are anything like me, sometimes you purchase books based off of the description or author and end up a bit let down once you start digesting the story. It is easy to get sucked in by marketing propaganda and buzz, but your fellow book lovers have no problem spilling the truth. Before you buy, make sure it will satisfy! There are tons of sites and apps out there for sharing your opinions on literature, but some rise above the rest. Here's a list of five book review sites that will not let you down: 

 

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If you are in the market for website and blog content, you’ve probably heard of places like Constant Content, Ready2Go Articles and ClipCopy Content Solutions. These are places that offer ready-made articles that you can purchase, download and use immediately. Here at Stacey’s Freelancing, we also offer prewritten articles that you can purchase, download and use immediately on your website.

How Much Does On Demand Content Cost?

The costs associated with prewritten content depend on the site and the author. Some sites charge a monthly subscription fee that includes a certain number of free downloads. Other’s charge by the article. By the article prices can range from $20 to $100s with the average price ranging somewhere between $50 and $75 per article. Here at Stacey’s Freelancing in Indianapolis, we charge $20 for individual prewritten articles and webpages that range in length from 400 to 800 words.

What Do You Get When You Purchase an On Demand or Prewritten Article?

Here at Stacey’s Freelancing in Indianapolis, you get 100 percent rights. You get well-researched, well-written content, and you get a list of the sources that were used to create that content at the bottom of the .doc file. Each article is also checked for plagiarism using SmallToolsSEO’s Plagiarism Checker. Each article is also ran through Grammarly and optimized with headers and bullet points when needed.

How Do On-Demand Content Orders Differ From Custom Orders?

The quality of the On-Demand articles you purchase from Stacey’s Freelancing are no different than if you were to order custom content. The difference lies in the fact that you did not order the topic of your choice or provide any directions or specifics for that order, including SEO keywords. In other words, it wasn’t specifically written for your business in accordance with your specific desires.

 

For example, if you are looking for an article on “Car Insurance in California”, you may not find that specific of a topic in the car insurance section. What you would instead find are general articles on car insurance, like what is liability insurance, what is state minimum insurance, what is full coverage insurance and how do I purchase car insurance. What you would do in that instance, is choose the article that most closely aligns with the topic you were looking for. Then, you would customize part of the text with your city and state and add any pertinent details about your business to the bottom of the article.

 

What Are the Benefits of On Demand Articles?

 

The biggest benefit of purchasing an On-Demand Article is the fact that you can purchase it and download it right now. You can also customize the text as you see fit, or you can order article editing services and have it customized for you for much less than the cost of ordering a completely customized article. For example, if you were to purchase and download “2019 Home Remodeling Trends”, you’d pay $20 for that article. If you were to then submit a rewrite order, you’d pay another $50 for a total cost of $70.

 

By contrast, if you were to order a custom article on Home Remodeling Trends for 2019, you could specify the headers, the sources you want used, the keywords and the word count as well as providing the link to your business and business contact information. Once all that information is received, you’ll get a fully customized article with ability to ask for up to 3 edits for $500. So, by getting on-demand content, you’re saving between $430 and $480. Of course, if you need 11 or more articles, it’s about the same cost as purchasing prewritten content and ordering editing.

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If you have ordered content in the past, you’ve probably chosen a content mill or bulk content creation site. There are a plethora of them out there to choose from at a variety of price points. Some of them charge monthly subscription fees, and some do not. Your choice of content mill usually depends on your budget and ease of use. What you probably aren’t considering is custom content creation from an independent freelancer writer, but you really should.

 

Why You Should Choose an Independent Freelance Writer for Your Content Creation

 

1. There’s No Hoping You’ll Get a Good Writer

Content mills have thousands of writers available, and if you use the open order queues, you don’t get to choose your writer. Instead, whichever writer sees it first will grab it. This means that if you place 20 article orders, you may just get 20 different writers. While that ensures fast content creation, each writer’s style is slightly different, which means you could get 20 pieces of content that look like 20 writers wrote them.

When you choose an independent freelance writer, you are ensures that each piece of content is written by the same writer. This will give your website and blog a uniform look and feel, which will add to your business credibility.

2. You have Limitations in How You Can Communicate with Your Writers

Most content mills demand that you only communicate with your writer via the specific platform. This means that you have to log into the system, go to your messaging board, find the writer, and send them a message. Once you hit send, that message may or may not get read by a person at the content mill. It depends on the content creation site, but several have employees whose sole job is to read messages before they are sent to the recipient. They are looking for taboo information, like contact information and items that go against the site’s TOS.

When you send an email to a freelance writer, your email is going to get sent just like any other email. There won’t be a delay. You also have other communication options, like Facebook and Twitter. If your writer allows it, you may even be able to direct call them or send a text message to their cell phone. 

3. The Money You Intended for Your Favorite Writer Isn’t Making It There in Its Entirety

Your writer isn’t getting all the money you intended to pay, especially if you frequently bonus or tip your writers. If you pay $80 for an article on a content mill, about $40 actually gets to your writer. If you love the article and bonus another $50, your writer gets somewhere between 50 and 65 percent of that. That’s right, the content mill even has its hands in the tip jar. You just paid $130 for an order, and your writer got somewhere between $65 and $85.

Now, of course content mills need to take a cut of the proceeds. That’s understood. They need money in order to continue to remain in operation. What’s new is the content creation site taking a cut of the tips. This standard came about do to a few unscrupulous clients ordering low level content and offering to pay writers bonuses if the client loved the article. This means that the client probably paid about $20 for the initial article. The content creation site took 35% of that or $7. Then, upon acceptance, the client bonused another $50, which the writer got in its entirety. The $50 plus the $20 was probably the rate for the highest level available on the site, and the content mill lost $17.50 in fees for that order. If enough clients operate like this, you can see how the financial losses would mount.

When you hire an independent freelance writer, there’s no need to do all that math or think about how much you are paying and how much your writer is getting. The writer gets 100 percent of the money you pay, which means they are 100 percent motivated to give you the best quality content.

4. Your Writer Isn’t Working on 10 Other Articles for 10 Other Clients That Day

Independent freelancer writers don’t need to write 10 articles a day. Instead, they might write one or two. This means that your writer is always fresh when writing your content, and the content quality is more consistent. They’re also willing to go above and beyond. This often means you get detailed research, external and internal links to the article if they are needed and a fully formatted article that you do not have to extensively edit, rewrite or send back for a revision.

A content mill writer is going to go brain dead before they finish the 10 articles they have to write that day. If you are the first article of the day, you’ll get good content. If you’re the last article, you may get content that you have to send back for a revision or that you cannot use at all.

 

5. Your Orders Are Going to Get Sent Immediatey

When you order content from an independent freelance writer, your order topics and your directions are going to get sent immediately to the writer.  For most content mills, there is a verification process that each order must go through before it is sent to the writer.  This means that once you place your order, it is put into a verification queue until an employee can look over the order to determine if it needs work or if it can be sent to the writer or open order queue.  This can take hours, which means if you place your order at 8AM, it may not actually get to the writer until aftter noon or later.  If it's on the weekend, your orders may not get sent through until Monday.

6. Your Orders Won't Get Dropped

Many content creation sites allow writers to drop orders at any time.  This means that even if a writer claims your order, which implies they will write it before your deadline, they can stil ldrop that order at any time. this means that if you need your order in 24 hours, that writer can hold it until it times out, or they can decide at hour 20 that they don't really want to write it, so they send it back into the queue.  At this point, yo uhave to wait for a different writer to claim your order and write it.

By contrast, your independent freelance writer is not going to drop your order without talking to you first.  maybe they need additional clarification, or maybe they can't complete it by X date.  Whatever the reason, they are going to communicate with you before telling you they cannot write it.  They'll also do it in a timely manner.  Most professional freelancers will ask any questions or address any concerns within a few hours of you placing your content orders.

 

To order custom content from Stacey's Freelancing, click here.

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