Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Build 25 Unique Backlinks to Your Pages Every Single Day, FREE!

Introducing SocialMonkee... Your FREE Instant Backlink Builder!

Building backlinks to your pages is an essential part of SEO (short for Search Engine Optimization) for two reasons. The first reason is that it helps your pages get indexed faster, which is very important because you want the search engines to find them as soon as possible and crawl them regularly. The second reason is that it helps your pages get higher search engine rankings for the keywords of your choice. The more backlinks you have, the better. Period.

However, building backlinks can be a time-consuming, boring process. You can outsource the process to an agency and pay a lot of money... Or you can do it yourself with SocialMonkee! SocialMonkee is an instant backlink builder allowing you to build 25 unique backlinks, every day, FREE! All links are on unique C-Class IP addresses and domains. Imagine being able to create 25 unique backlinks every day, with the click of a button, FREE! Well, you can stop imagining...

So, 25 unique backlinks every day... That's a total of 175 backlinks every week, 750 every month. If you upgrade, you will be able to build 100 uniques backlinks, 3 times a day! That's a total of 2,100 backlinks every week, 9,000 every month! The good news is... you can get a Premium Account, FREE! All you need to do is to refer 12 members, and your account will automatically be upgraded. If you're not really into referral marketing, you may upgrade right now for a low one-time fee.

Submitting a page to SocialMonkee via the members area takes under two minutes, but there's an even faster way! They created a Firefox plugin that allows you to submit your page to up to 100 sites in just a few clicks, using nothing else than Firefox! If you have a Premium Account you will also get access to link reports and RSS feeds, which are great to keep track of your backlinks and get them indexed fast. Submitting your RSS feeds to RSS submitters is actually a very important step in link building.

So what are you waiting for? Join SocialMonkee now while it's still free!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

No More Excuses

No More Excuses

As I stand at the sink washing what seems like my millionth soiled glass . . .

I hear myself urging my daughter to follow her dreams and not to let anything or anyone tell her she can't, and it feels hollow somehow.

I fade into myself and all the dreams I have had in my life that were put on a shelf because I listened to someone's discouragements. I recall my dream of singing for a living and my need to express my deepest emotions through song. What stopped me?

The answer comes to me (as it did back then) as I recall the night I sat in my car in the parking lot, staring at the door to the studio I was to audition to sing lead for an established local band. Fear of failing, I started the ignition an drove slowly away. The knowledge that I would be standing naked, defenceless and raw before a band of strangers who could totally reject me was too much to bare.

At the time,

I felt that allowing myself to be that vulnerable was worse than living with the knowledge that I gave up before I began. I never fully returned to that dream. My heart just wasn't in it enough to do all the hard work it would take to get where I want.
My thoughts fast forward twelve years.

     My marriage is falling apart because I can't deal with the pain, loneliness, and unhealthiness of my environment. I see several advertisements for auditions for modelling and acting agencies.
The first cattle call is held at The Docks in Toronto and I quickly discover  that it is actually a feeder audition - a front - for pornographic film productions. The call me and ask if I would be interested in doing films which will make me $1500 a piece. I decline the offer, regardless of how lucrative and in-obtrusive they made it seem. It is just something I am not interested in doing so I cross that off the list.
The next was for a management agency for film and commercials. The agency was IN Group. They seem somewhat legit so I pay for head shots and  get the full make up and photo shoot experience. My heart wasn't really in this either so I didn't wow them. My gut kept telling me this was not all that it seemed. After the shoot was complete and I met with them to pick up my head shots, I learned that there were more fees and then they would take a commission on top. They were an agency who makes their real income from their clients who pay hundreds of dollars to have them represent them and not in the film or advertisements.
So I go home and cross another hopeful off the list.

The next was a modelling agency.

As I sit in the lobby reading their propaganda and listening to the other hopefuls speak with the "agents" (I use that term loosely), I quickly realize that this was just a fly-by-night scam agency.

They were just there to make money from the dreams of many.
They told a little girl (and her mother) that she had potential but needed modelling training which would cost thousands of dollars and a portfolio which would cost hundreds of dollars . . . and then there was the agency fees and on and on but always with the promise of stardom.

Reeling from the dollar signs, I left that place.

I later learned from someone in the film industry that the real agencies don't charge you to get involved but will take a commission (referral fee) when you work. They make their money keeping you busy.

I was informed of a local agency who just asked for a headshot, short bio including height, weight, hair color, eye color and birth date and an enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope for them to send your info back to you if will not represent you.

I sent in my info and received it back in a few weeks. I was impressed by their integrity and professionalism but not surprise in the least. I expected as much because modelling and acting were really not dreams of mine.

It was not the path for me.

I was still avoiding my real dream. . . the one I have had since I was young. . .

My thoughts drift to another dream . . .

. . . a more true to me kind of dream. The dream of being a published writer. I have been writing stories and poems from the time I learned the magical power of taking a writing implement and forming letters and words on a page.

Writing with a pen and paper is meta-cognitive. The words and story flow from my subconsciousness through my arm to my hand and onto the page in a mystical and almost spiritual way. Like my reader, I don't know the story until it takes shape on the page, much of the time.

In my youth, I called these sudden impulsive bursts that I have to write down - because they eat at me and take over all my thought processes until I do - brainwaves.

These brainwaves come to my attention as a phrase or even just an image accompanied by anxious energy. It is that sense of urgency that compels - no forces - me to write it down. I learned over the years, that if I fight the urge and do not put pen to paper while that feeling is strong, it will fade and eventually disappear along with the words. There is no writing that piece later. The thought is lost and so is the story.

     In my teen years and young adult life, I wrote prolifically. The brainwaves flow also during times of trouble. I even made a personal oath that when I began to write professionally I would use the first name my mother wanted for me as my pen name.
That's exactly what they were:  brainwaves. They still happen but for many years, I stopped putting a pen and pad by my bed and in easy reach . . .
I had stopped writing.
Much of the last thirteen years of my life have been filled with raising children, returning to school and struggling to make inroads into an incredibly stable career. A career that would, I thought, allow me the freedom to return to my writing.

At every decade year, my reflections remind me of this longing . . .

. . . longing to write something substantial and be able to say "I am a writer" when asked what I do and for it to be true and not just a hobby I do in my spare time.

Fast forward to the present.

I have been struggling to make it in the teaching profession

doing whatever I can to earn that coveted holy grail

called a permanent teaching position for four years now

and from what I know it could be five more years

before anything opens up.

In a deep funk and faced with disappointments, 

I began doing personal inventory . . . looking at my dreams and personal ambitions. 

I have done this so many times in my life but this time it was different. 

I was approaching it differently. 

I have cast this dream aside for too long. 

Every path I take in life brings me back to it . . . everything.

and my love of it. I decided to seriously pursuit writing and see where it will take me. 

Deciding that writing professionally was something I can do and will do turned on a switch 

inside me.  The ideas are flowing and I have set a goal to write at least one book and send it

 out to publishers by the years end. I have decided to stop doubting myself and follow my 

heart and trust that everything else will fall into place. 

Believing in my own success is hard for me.

Believing I deserve success and what that brings is even harder. 

I am my toughest critic and have expected so little of myself all my life. I realized that I have 

been punishing myself for never seeing anything through so heavily that it has prevented me 

from completing things and giving anything a real solid committed effort. It's that self-

fulfilling prophecy working against me instead of for me that I needed to change. 

I am making those mental changes and setting goals that are attainable but challenging 

enough to push me forward. 

I have the time to write and have nothing to lose.
I am at the lowest I want to be.

I am again feeling the desire to write and make it my life and career. . . 

 . . . only this time I have made the mental switch and changed this dream from a wish to a want . . .

I search the net for opportunities to give this writing professionally dream a fair and diligent 

shot. I know that the novel is at least a year away from completion. Hell! It hasn't even 

progressed beyond the research and incubation stage.

I have so many ideas.

Narrowing in and focusing on just one thing has never been a skill of mine.

I look at the life I have and what I am unable to provide for myself or my three children and know I have to make a change and fast.

I decide to work on my writing and see where it can take me.

I began blogging daily here in the Empower Network

(where I also am provided with a great venue to promote my own writing, learn about effective marketing, and earn 100% commission while I am at it . . . it's a Win Win)

and elsewhere because practice makes better.

I also created a website where I publish some of my writings and share in my journey to becoming a published writer.

I know that writing is what I need to do to feel complete and accomplished. Writing is what I was born to do. I love it and need to do it.

Writing is one dream that won't let me go.

It tugs at me and pulls me to opportunities that I have ignored so often. Well, not anymore.

I have nothing to lose because I am near bottom and refuse to go any lower. I have been at my bottom and will fight with everything in me to keep from going there again.

So now I have made the necessary mental shift: no more using my children, economic 
situation or pragmatism as excuses. I no longer fear failing because not doing is failure: 
failure to be true to myself; failure to show my children that they need to follow their dreams and stay true to themselves not matter what.

And so . . .

I begin my journey full of ideas and excitement. I can hardly wait to announce:

"I finished my writing first book."
Completing things has always been a challenge for me.

It took until my late 30s to finish my undergraduate degree and teaching certificate. The pride I felt when I received those pieces of paper telling me that I actually finished something I started was so exhilarating. I long to feel it again.

Stay tuned while I share my journey with you.

My children are my motivation and my inspiration. 

The deserve a better life and so do I. 

I want to teach them to never give up on their dreams. 

I had to learn it the hard way.


Monday, 9 January 2012

Top 10 Reasons to Buy Corel AfterShot Pro

Brand New Corel AfterShot Pro. Photo management software. Only $99.99

Corel AfterShot Pro - Buy Now

Top 10 Reasons to Buy

1. Lightning fast photo workflow solution

Corel® AfterShot Pro combines robust photo management, flexible workflow options, fast RAW processing and selective editing tools to give professional and enthusiast photographers the tools they need to organize, manage and adjust large numbers of photos quickly. Plus, AfterShot? Pro is optimized for multi-core computers to maximize the speed of onscreen preview, adjustment and output generation.

2. Flexible photo management

Whether you?re reviewing, adjusting or exporting images, Corel® AfterShot Pro gives you the freedom to work the way you want. Unlike other photo workflow applications, AfterShot? Pro does not require you to catalog your images. You can work with them wherever they are located: in folders on your hard drive, on a network or on a memory card. If you wish, create custom catalogs or even portable catalogs that can be moved to another computer.

3. Robust search tools

Browse and search your photos with ease using the powerful metadata features in Corel® AfterShot Pro. Add your own keywords, ratings, labels and tags or use industry-standard IPTC Metadata, such as captions and copyright. You can also search for images using metadata added by your camera. Tailor metadata sets to display only the information you want to see or use AfterShot? Pro Presets to attach information to your photos for easy searching.

4. Non-destructive editing

With the non-destructive editing tools in Corel® AfterShot Pro, you can refine and enhance your photos without ever altering your original image. Apply intelligent automatic or manual adjustments including complete exposure control, color correction, white balance, noise reduction, curves and levels, lens correction and many more?and revert to an earlier version of your image at any time.

5. Selective editing

The unique Regions and Layers capabilities in Corel®AfterShot Pro give you incredible control over image adjustments by letting you apply them exactly where you want. Just create a Layer and add a Region, then make your adjustment to the selected area. Your changes are contained in the Layer and the original image is preserved.

6. RAW power

Corel® AfterShot Pro is designed to help you make the most of the extra detail and data in your RAW images by offering very fast RAW processing and incredibly color-accurate images. By working with RAW photos in AfterShot Pro, you can take advantage of the many adjustment tools to manipulate almost any aspect of your image to get the look you want.

7. Batch processing

Corel® AfterShot Pro saves you time with some of the most advanced and flexible batch processing tools available. Rename multiple files, apply adjustments with the same settings to groups of similar files, or convert and export files to one or more pre-defined image formats and sizes.

8. Creative options with Corel® PaintShop Pro

For creative photo editing or advanced image manipulation, you can easily send your images to Corel® PaintShop Pro X4. A favorite of passionate photographers worldwide, PaintShop Pro offers hundreds of photo-editing features and pro-level effects to let you create breathtaking compositions.

9. Speed to output

When you are ready to create image files to print, share online or access in other applications, Corel® AfterShot Pro offers lightning-fast output generation. Plus, you can use Batch Output to quickly process multiple images with your pre-defined settings.

10. A multi-platform solution

Corel® AfterShot Pro runs on Windows®, Mac OS® and Linux, so you can take advantage of this powerful photography workflow software on the platform of your choice.

To see this software in action click here

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Child Brides - How We Can End Child Marriage

It Only Takes a Girl - How Education Can Change Everything

I recently was exploring the profiles of my friends on Facebook and found this:

It Only Takes A Girl

This reminded me of an article I read, while waiting for my daughter at the dentist, about a young girl Nujood Ali who was a child bride forced by her parents to marry a much older man who raped and beat her. She fled and petitioned the courts for a divorce. The divorce was granted and the child bride was able to return to her family home and go back to school. A short interview with Nujood Ali is in the CNN report below.

Watch this . . .

Child Brides

Click here to read the article on Nujood Ali, a child bride, in Glamour magazine.

The stats on child brides are astonishing, as you saw in the YouTube video - one is seven girls is married by the age 15 in the developing world. There are cultural, political and economic reasons for families marrying their children off at such young ages. Without an education these girls grow up and raise their girls who will in turn be child brides and the cycle will continue.

The only way this can stop is if education is given and girls and their families are shown another way. Most child brides won't have a family member who will support their decision to leave their husbands and stand before a court to gain permission to divorce. Most will be forced back to their husbands who will often punish them severely.

There are organizations dedicated to eradicating this:

International Planned Parenthood Foundation

We Day - Global Voices: The Right To Childhood

International Center for Research on Women

Are just a few that you can read about and get involved in.

I learn about these archaic traditions and how horrible most girls in the world have it and I am ever thankful that I was born and raised in a culture that allows women to follow their ambitions and make choices for themselves. I may not have a nice home with a comfortable existence but I have an education, the freedom to use my mind and follow my passions. For that I am eternally grateful.

I hope by sharing this with you, I am making a change in my own way by giving a voice to so many who are without.

Thank you for reading.

To read more from me

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Are You Making These 7 Dieting Mistakes?

As most of us know, the holidays are often riddled with sweets, treats, large meals, and libations. Many of us eat and drink to excess during this festive time and then spend New Years making resolutions to stop overeating and drinking. However, how many of us realize that we are making diet mistakes all year round that are far more damaging to our health and waistline than our one week binge over Christmas?

So . . .

if your resolution is to get healthy this for you but it is something we all can benefit from because these are accepted behaviors in our society that we need to change to improve our overall health - not just to reduce our waistlines!!

Anyone who wants to improve their health, please read:

Health Update:
Are You Making These 7 Dieting Mistakes?

You've started a new diet. You've been good all week, making sensible meals, managing your portions, even exercising a little...then the weekend hits. You eat too much. You drink too much. You give up.

Not so fast! A couple of slipups won't undo all your hard work. The key is to know the dieting pitfalls you¢re likely to make and plan ahead to avoid them.

Here are the top seven dieting mistakes. How many are you making?

  1. Skipping breakfast.Research shows that people who don't eat breakfast actually weigh more than those who do. There's a mistaken belief that if you skip breakfast, you're saving calories. Problem is you end up snacking and eating more at other meals because you're body is so starved for food. Always begin your day with a healthy breakfast. Black coffee, an egg, whole wheat toast and a half grapefruit has only 250 calories and will stave off hunger pangs till lunch.

  2. Too many liquid calories. Did you know that a regular soda can pack on 15 pounds in one year? Not to mention lattes, fruit smoothies and alcohol. These liquid calories do little to satisfy any hunger and the calories add up fast.

  3. Not exercising. If 30 minutes is too much to even think about, start with 10 and see how it goes. If exercising is a drag to you, try something fun like bowling, playing ping-pong, or dancing. The idea is to get moving and have so much fun you'll stick with it.

  4. Using extreme diets. These don't work and can be very detrimental to your health. When you deprive your body of food two things happen: your metabolic rate slows down to make up for few calories and your desire to binge increases. In addition extreme dieting may lead to the bloating of fat cells, shrinking of muscle cells, accumulation of toxic fats and fatigue. Rather than thinking "diet" think lifestyle change.

  5. Mindless munching. Even if it's not on a plate, it still counts. A couple of cheesy crackers before dinner, test-tasting a sauce, finishing food from your kids¢ plates while washing dishes, all adds up to more calories. On average figure 25 calories per bite. Do that 4 times in a day and you've just added 100 extra calories to your waistline without even realizing it.

  6. Going overboard on low fat. It's psychological. You pick a low-fat snack and you justify eating more of it because it IS low fat. Research backs this up. More food, even if it is non- or low-fat still means more calories.

  7. Not taking vitamins and supplements. In a perfect world, we'd get all the nutrition, vitamins and minerals from our three perfectly balanced daily meals. Truth is, few of us do. Even if you think you're eating right, modern food processing can deplete whatever nutrients were in the food originally. That's why many take daily vitamins and supplements. While it's important for everyone, it's especially important for those who are trying to lose or maintain weight. It starts with a good, high-quality multivitamin.

As quickly as the pounds add up, they can also come off. The key is knowing what your pitfalls are and how to avoid them.

For great vitamin choices, visit Botanic Choice.