How To Have A Best Diet When Facing Arthritis

rheumatoid arthritis hurtsPeople who feel pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis may make a plan about changing a diet. While making the plan, the nutritionist’s help will be necessary, as well as doctor’s advice. RA patients often feel tired and exhausted. That’s why they will need to eat food that will keep them healthy and vital. Rheumatoid arthritis diet should not be complicated, but rather simple. A person who feels pain in hands does not have enough strength to cook complicated meals, so eating simple foods is of great importance here. And not only the preparation is what counts, but the healthy results that simple cuisine is offering. For example, eating raw food is sometimes much better then eating processed food. It will keep all the nutrients. When we fry food, we destroy many nutrients. There are some veggies that can’t be taken raw, so it’s best to cook such vegetables such as beans. But avoid frying if possible. If you’d do fry sometimes, use olive oil because it’s best for frying. Palm oil is often used for healthier frying, but try to avoid this type of food preparation. Raw is simple and healthy and it will not take you too much time like some other food preparations.

Natural Treatments Being More Popular Recently

Physical therapy is often prescribed among treatments for rheumatoid arthritis patients. The fatigue such patients often feel in hands and legs should be removed somehow, so physical therapy is good solution for this, especially if the therapy uses water and massage. Some rheumatoid arthritis treatments can be done at home after the physical therapy ends in a medical center. Natural treatments are very popular recently because more and more people would like to return to living a more natural life. For example, hydrotherapy becomes rediscovered again and the good thing is that it can be done at home. If you have the RA symptoms, then prepare yourself a warm bath. Add some essential oils to the bath and relax in it often. Hot water may ease the stiffness in your hands which will also cause better mood. After taking the bath, dry yourself and wear soft and warm clothes made of organic cotton. Take a glass or two of fresh water and start the detoxification process. Try to drink a lot of water, at least 7 glasses each day. Also, include fresh juices and salads into your diet. Studies have shown that vegetarian or vegan diet may help people who fight with RA symptoms. Also, being physically active may help. Consult with your physician or therapist on what type of physical activity to choose.

Water May Heal Many Diseases Or At Least Reduce The Pain

Water may help in healing variety of diseases. Hydrotherapy is well known in Europe because doctors have developed this type of therapy there. Traditional medicine knows benefits of hydrotherapy, so if you have arthritis, you may try to use water in your treatment and help with rheumatoid arthritis. Once in awhile prepare yourself warm bath and lay in it to relax your body. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which joints are hurting, but warm water may reduce the painful feeling. You may prepare a bath for your hands as well. Take a big bowl and pour hot water in it. You may add essential oils as well. Soak the hands and take them out because hot water will scald you. Then soak the hands again and apply this method for about 10 or 15 minutes. Dry your hands with cotton towel and make sure to remain on warm place. If you can, purchase cotton gloves which will keep the warmth in your hands. After soaking the hands, try applying the natural cream or balm for easing the pain in hands and then put your gloves on. You may use this method for healing the pain in your feet as well.

Say Yes To Face Food!

wcDo you want to look younger? Well, why not try out the best wrinkle creams? Anti wrinkle creams can be either prescribed to you or be bought in stores. From what studies show, even the cheap anti wrinkles cream work as good as those expensive prescribed anti wrinkle creams. It also depends on what the cream contains. The ingredient is also important because some of the ingredients have a better effect than others.

Can the best wrinkle creams be used by both genders? Even though most of the anti wrinkle cream commercials on TV target women, the anti wrinkle cream can also be used by men. There is no rule that states only women can use it. Men also get wrinkle not just women. Are the best wrinkle creams better than getting plastic surgery or getting botox? Both surgery and botox are both very expensive. If you want to save more money, go with buying an anti wrinkle cream. It won’t be as good as getting a plastic surgery or getting a botox but it sure would save you a lot of money. But if you have a lot of money to spend and have no trouble paying for a plastic surgery or even a botox injection treatment, might as well go for that one instead of buying the cheap anti wrinkle creams that might not even work.

Can Home Remedies Help With Skin Tags?

Skin tags can be very disturbing, especially if they are placed somewhere where everyone can see them. That is why more and more people ask around “how do I remove my skin tag”, and they are hoping to get the solution that can be natural before anything.

The apple cider vinegar can used for many purposes, and removing the skin tag is one of them. It would be enough to keep the tag in warm water for half an hour wipe it out and put the vinegar on it, and eave it for fifteen mi minutes. This procedure can be repeated every day, and at last, the skin tag will fall off. The potato can also be beneficial, but one should not eat it, but put in on the skin tag, and keep it overnight, and after some time the problem will turn black and disappear completely. Another great way to get rid of this problem is by dissolving the aspirin in the water, and putting that on the skin until the skin tag disappears. It would not be enough to ask how to I remove my skin tag, it is time to do something about it, and get back your confidence.

Basics In HDD Recovery

bihdrYour hard disk is a site that is used importantly in storage. There are times when you may go through the disadvantage of a crashed hard disk. There are a number of causes of such an occurrence, and most of the time, you could actually be pleased to realize that it can be recovered. There are some things, which you need not do if there are chances that this storage location could still be recovered. First, if you are not well skilled in the ways of HDD recovery, you need not try doing it alone. This is because of the fact that you could make the damage even worse if there is something salvageable.

There are times when people insert the drive into the freezer in a bid to get it back to life – as shown here. Whereas this may sometimes work, it could be very detrimental to your chances of even getting back the disk ever. There are people who heat the oven a little then insert the HDD and this usually works. However, if the process should not succeed and offer full recovery, you need not insert it into the freezer, as this is usually much more risky. It would be better to call on a qualified professional before you ruin every chance of its recovery.

What You Should Know About HDD Recovery

Technology is a great thing and it is massive for overall world development. However, it comes with its problems of which it can also solve. Consider an employee stealing from his own company and deleting evidence from the company computers but later on to realizing the same deleted evidence will be presented before the court. With HDD recovery as data deleted accidentally or lost through crushing of a computer’s hard drive can be retrieved in most cases.

So if one has not kept any backup of the files in the hard disk, they should not throw in the towel that everything is gone as it might be recovered. HDD recovery could be possible by the use of software available or manual repairing of the hard drive. These would be time consuming and the worse part of it is that it is costly although it depends on the degree of damage. Usually one keeps all their important documents on their computers for easy retrieval whenever they want to use them. They could be photos of friends and family that they would not want to lose or academic work. Therefore, one has to ensure their PC is always safe from any damage physically or internally by keeping uncorrupted files. Also important is to have a backup for any eventuality.

Can One Prevent Data Loss?

pdlSometimes, data loss is inevitable, and the user finds himself in situation where he does not have any information left to rely on. Luckily, there are some steps one may consider in order to prevent getting into this problem. Even the best RAID servers may run into serious troubles, and may need a RAID 10 recovery, or some other kind.

The most usual problems one may face are related to viruses, physical damages, hard drive failures, data loss or even multiple hard drive failures. However, there may be cases when the data is not lost for good, and here are some tips to protect the data from home. The first thing to do is save the data somewhere else, on CD, USB, especially the critical files. There are many anti-virus programs one may install, and they can protect the files successfully. It is recommended to be careful with diagnostic programs, because some may cause more serious problems, especially with data recovery. Even the physical damage of the computer can cause data loss, so it is better to keep the computer in good surroundings. The most important thing is not to try anything alone, especially when it comes to difficult operations, such as RAID 10 recovery.

The Essence Of RAID Recovery

There are a number of benefits when using RAID arrays as storage disks. The main advantage is usually seen in the use of this array in server environments. However, they do not have immunity towards malfunctions. When they happen to break down for a reason or the other, you will need to carry out RAID repair. This is because repair will make it possible for you to access any important files and even save them to other hard disks. When part of a RAID array fails to work, it may imply that the files stored in it may not be found.

The good news is that people can carry out such recovery fairly easily when using recovery software. These are applications that have been made bearing in mind the need for users to enjoy easy use. Thus, when choosing a recovery tool to download, ensure that it has an interface, which you can navigate through. Definitely, you will have to scrutinise the features and provisions of the RAID repair software to be sure that indeed, the app you have can be used in its recovery. The best thing about such software is the fact that in most of them, the first priority is to help you recover and back up your data before you fully proceed to repair. Click here for more information.

Highly Accessible And Customizable Open Source Help Desk

haosYou would think that open source help desk software is pretty self-explanatory. By very definition, these four words indicate that the source is open and hence, accessible to anyone and everyone. By source, I mean the coding that was used to develop this software. A help desk brings to mind the enormous support required by customers of every single product on the market be it household articles or different types of software. When you purchase an item, it comes not only with a user manual but also a customer service number. In effect, this customer service is offered through raising help desk tickets. We have all gone through the effort of calling the customer service number and enduring endless recorded messages by the automated software. We have also been very frustrated with the time it takes to get through to personalized service.

If the companies that sell these to us also use open source help desk, I imagine the same service requests would get resolved much quicker. At least, that should be the objective of every company.  So, we have open source help desk that allows this possibility wherein the company can either scale up or down as the case may be because he can make a few changes to the software itself, and offer better customer service to the consumer.

Need For An Open Source Help Desk

With technology, people have been able to make life a lot easier. Even in the workplace, meeting customer demands has been made more satisfactory. The help desk is a crucial element in the management of a business. A help desk is the place where a company gets its interactions with customers. People may wish to get more information concerning products or services, shipments and even make complaints concerning a few issues. They will usually channel these through to the help desk from where assistance by the customer care staffs will be accorded.

An open source help desk provides an organized approach towards responding to these issues. There will be a centralized means of handling any issues from customers or any other person who may have the need to contact customer support. In this way, the company will not ignore some requests for information or worse, lose customer details when references to clients’ communications are written on paper. Moreover, it is pretty easy with such a help desk to direct customer issues that a representative cannot handle to higher levels. The good news is that there are applications which will make it possible for a company to implement such a help desk in a company.

Benefits Of An Open Source Help Desk

An open source help desk is a resource that many companies will seek to implement because of the various benefits it has. The help desk is usually a great point of communication with the company.  Customers and other shareholders may wish to find out a lot of information concerning several issues. At the same time, a company needs to know any complaints that may be leveled against its services and products. In this way it can make improvements on the areas that need to be changed. By having an organized and responsive help desk, the end users will find communication with the company easy just as much as the company will benefit from feedback concerning its operations and services.

Usually, there are different channels through which customers or prospective clients of a business will try to communicate with the representatives. They may choose to use such means as email, telephone and even instant messaging on the company website. If there is no proper method of handling all these forms of communication, it is obvious that some customer requests may even go unattended. The open source help desk, often seen in the form of customer support software will make it possible for the company to organize itself in handling of all issues regardless of the means of communication used to contact the help desk.

How To React When Your Partner Snores

Snoring can be very annoying, not only for a partner, but it also does not let the snorer sleep normally. However, if someone snores, the bed partner usually gets angry and goes to another room, and that can only lead to cold relationship; or partners splitting up. In order to help the snorer it is not enough just to look for stop snoring pillows or chin straps; instead the partner must follow some steps in order to make sure the snoring does not stay between them.

different-pillowsThe first step is to help the snorer understand his problem, and if he is in denial, the non-snoring partner can always record the other partner’s sleep. After that comes finding the cause of the problem. It is crucial to support the snorer when he visits the doctor, and results will show if it is only about simple snoring, or sleep apnea, for example. The bed partner must understand that snoring is not intentional, and the snorer suffers as well. So both people must look for an answer. After some detailed research, the bed partner and the snorer will understand why the problem occurs, and if it can be solved with stop snoring pillows or other devices. If snoring is consequence of other health issue, the doctor can prescribe medications and lead toward lifestyle changes.

Snoreless Pillow Review: How Effective Is It?

Several websites are creating Snoreless pillow reviews in order to raise awareness to people who plans to purchase this kind of pillow. Some of them find these reviews helpful especially because it is not as affordable as a regular pillow. Aside from that, it gives them an idea whether the pillow is effective or not at all. Basically, the Snoreless pillow is not considered a treatment to snoring; rather it is only a tool that improves the anatomical position of the throat when sleeping. This means that sometimes, snoring takes place when sleeping position obstructs the airway.

When snoring persists for a long time, it is recommended to seek consultation from a physician or at least a well trusted website about snoring remedies. A healthcare professional usually prescribes a certain medication or treatment in order to solve the airway obstruction that caused snoring. Meanwhile, other remedies may improve the snoring condition of the person but it is still best not to rely solely on this product. It may not be available anywhere but the Snoreless pillow can improve the alignment of head and spine when sleeping. Many people do not know about this pillow, but it does work for a lot of snoring sufferers.

Successfully Querying Publications Can Work For You

mfyYou’ve done everything right. You’ve scouted a magazine for a year, analyzed its content and formulated solid article ideas. You’ve researched which editor responds to a query. You have three perfect ideas (and three back-ups) for the magazine you most want to break into. But you’re conditioned to pick your best and develop it in a formal query.

So you send it.

They reject it.

No matter how marvelous your idea–or how well you know a magazine–you’ll never know the internal discussions within a magazine’s editorial offices. Though the magazine may never have published an article similar to the one you’re proposing, yours could get rejected for a number of other reasons, among them:

* it’s already been assigned to another writer (good idea, bad timing)

* it’s a subject editors won’t trust to a first-time freelancer (good idea, bad timing)

* it was done maybe three or four years ago, long enough ago that you’re not expected to know but short enough that the magazine won’t want to repeat (good idea, bad timing)

* it’s a subject that the editor personally despises and has told his or her staff that the magazine will never touch (bad idea)

There are more reasons, and all of them add up to this conclusion: One of the most effective ways to break into a magazine is through a multi-topic query letter.

mfy1The strategy is this: Give the editor five or six solid story ideas. Vary the stories in tone, subject matter and length. You never know what story is the perfect one. As an editor, I’m more likely to assign a story to a qualified writer who has pitched six good ideas. That’s not necessarily because the writer gave me six ideas, but because I might love the sixth idea–an idea that never would have been proposed in a formal query. Plus, I’m less able to have a “we’ve done that” or “not right now” excuse. Most likely, one of out of six or eight ideas is worth learning more about.

From a writer’s perspective, I feel I have a better chance selling an article idea when I pitch several stories. Sure, editors will ask for a more developed outline, but it shows they’re at least initially interested. Twice, I’ve pitched a half-dozen articles to an editor, rounding out the list with two or three ideas that I felt were marginal. Twice, the editors accepted ideas at the bottom of the page.

In a pitch to one health magazine several years ago, I sent a letter with about six ideas. The first three, I thought, were strong. My surefire idea was about training for ice hockey and learning skating skills (a subject the magazine hadn’t done to that point). I threw in several others, including an unfocused one on the psychological aspect of playing goalie in any sport–the superstitions, the preparation, the responsibility. The editor liked the throw-in idea and asked for more development. I developed it, they assigned it, I wrote it, they published it.

Of course, my definition of a marginal idea was subjective, and the editors viewed the goalie idea as fresh, or at least mildly provocative. That reinforced the fact that I’ll never know what’s in an editor’s inventory or the hundred other factors that go into an editor’s decision about assigning stories to freelancers.

The fictional query shown here–written as an example using my experience as the former editor of Delaware Today–illustrates some key points to remember when drafting a multi-topic query. I try to keep the tone light and conversational as well as let the editor know that I’m ready to outline something in more detail.

The disadvantage to the multi-topic query is that you risk an editor tossing it if he or she likes a single, developed idea upfront. Of course–even in shorter pitches-the same rifles of writing a query should apply. You should:

* give facts and details that support the story’s theme

* know the market and magazine

* avoid pitching obvious ideas or ones that would likely be done inhouse (don’t pitch a profile of Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell to Philadelphia magazine; they’ve thought of it)

* focus on obscure, quirky and creative ideas

An original idea is always your point of entry into an unfamiliar market. And a multi-topic query doesn’t necessarily guarantee an assignment. But in many cases, six ideas may be better than one.

The Poetry Of Memory

More than any other type of writing, poetry and memory are intricately linked.

Memory can trigger poetry, and vice versa. You mourn the loss of a loved one and feel compelled to compose an elegy. Or you pen a line about joy and remember the first time you held your child.

Your poetic memory bank is richer than you think. It has the power to link you to the past via the voices of the masters, the power to save your life (or sanity), and the power to reconnect you to people and places now lost.

Memorizing the Masters

tpomGrowing up, many of us had to memorize poetry in grade school. (Sadly, the practice isn’t as widespread anymore.) When poets memorize works, they have access to great literature in their minds. When you recite a poem, to yourself or others, you also practice writing by feeling the cadence of verse or envisioning the poetic imagery.

In high school, I had to memorize Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Cory,” which taught me life-lessons as an adult. You probably re-member the cadence and rhyme: “Whenever Richard Cory went downtown,/ We people on the pavement looked at him:/ He was a gentleman, from sole to crown,/ Clean favored, and imperially slim. …” Of course, despite the blessings in his life, Richard Cory kills himself and shocks the town.

As a 17 year old, the poem meant little to me. Something I recited as I walked the long stretch between Lyndhurst and Rutherford, New Jersey, to go shopping or to a dance. But even then the meter and rhyme were drumming prosody into my head. Later the poem taught me not to be swayed by outward appearances. And most recently the lyric has enlightened me about the hardship of the human condition.

The beauty now, as a mature poet, is that I can memorize poems according to what I need as a person or want to learn as a writer. I don’t memorize the way I did in grade school–mouthing a line and closing my eyes, then doing the same with two lines and so forth–as homework, the night before a test.

Each morning before beginning work, I simply turn on my PC and pick a selection from American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century, a CD-ROM anthology from Voyager. The anthology, edited by poet and critic John Hollander, contains more than 1,000 poems by nearly 150 poets (including Robinson’s “Richard Cory”). Many of the selections are read by famous poets, critics and performers.

In fact, Hollander opens the anthology with a couplet by Henry David Thoreau, easily memorized by and of interest to all writers:

My life has been the poem I would have writ,

But I could not both live and utter it.

With CD-ROM technology, audio accompanies selections. The more you play a selection, the more you remember it. After a dozen plays or so, recite the poem along with the reader, the way you would sing along with a popular tune on the radio.

Before you know it, you will be reciting the work as easily as a song.

Reviving the Muse

pmMany of you know that poetry helped me overcome the loss of a child, the subject of my poetry collection, The Visionary.

My friend Saul Bennett, another journalist, similarly endured the death of a daughter and found solace in verse.

Bennett, now a public relations consultant, was formerly president of Robert Marston Marketing Communications in New York City. On July 14, 1994, his eldest child, Sara–a 24-year-old journalist–died suddenly of a brain aneurysm.

All mourning involves memory. And memory, especially about loss, generates powerful, publishable poems. In the first year after his daughter’s death, Bennett placed poems in such fine magazines as Amelia, The Christian Century and Eclectic Literary Forum. In the second year he wrote a full-length collection about his daughter, titled New Fields and Other Stones/On a Child’s Death (Archer Books).

Bennett’s comments about poetry and memory are as eloquent as a soliloquy. “I’d written prose my entire professional life, and for many months after Sara died, I kept a log,” he recalls. At the time he had not tried writing poetry. However, while writing in his log, he remembered an incident that struck him as poetic. “This was an awesome revelation for me.

“Days later, I attempted my first poem, based on how I felt when under a pocket magnifying glass I examined Sara in a photograph taken with her parents less than two weeks before her death, possibly the last photo in which Sara appeared.”

Here are beginning stanzas of “Measurements,” focusing on that symbolic magnifying glass:

With my pocket magnifier

just a complaisant slip

like a flattened tortoise head

lacking color,

from its narrow soft plastic

Navy case, a piddling tool

that now a half-year “afterward”

has discovered–what luck! –

permanent lodgings

in the shabby interior

of my wallet, I explore

impulsively again

my darling daughter’s

face ….

–reprinted from The Christian Century

Bennett continues: “To say that, since, writing poems has been important for me is to say that the act of breathing is said to play a role in the life process. For this parent of a wonderfully healthy child dead suddenly, poetry has provided healing, hope, utter transformation, reconciliation with aspects of my own childhood and a continuing `outer mind’ experience.”

Via poetry and memory, Bennett adds, he has felt physically reunited with his late daughter. “I am convinced Sara is alive in those poems. And why should she not be?”

Memory and the Muse

Bennett has tapped into a universal memory bank, popularly known as “the muse.”

Fact is, all great poets in every culture have written about the immortality of poetry. Shakespeare’s couplet to Sonnet #18 is, perhaps, the most memorized of works celebrating poetry and memory: “So long as men can breathe and eyes can see,/ So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

Like Bennett you, too, can use poetry to revive the muse too long in mourning. Elegies are thought to represent death, but they really give life. When you compose in memory of a loved one, ask yourself:

* What image–a watch, a wallet, a magnifying glass–hearkens memories of this person or somehow symbolizes his or her life?

* How, still, are our two lives bound together through that image?

* If the person were with me now, as I write, what would he or she say about the image from the vast beyond (where the muse dwells)?

In a word, the poetry of memory is expansive. It has the power to enliven your verse and voice–in small or substantial ways–whether echoing through the ages, through a CDROM, or through the muse that dwells within you.

Getting The Most Out Of The Web For Writers

The web can be a fantastic thing for writers, both on a research and a marketing tip. Check these points out, and get stronger with the web!

1. Locate experts to interview

wrQuite often, your online research will turn up just the person you need for an in-depth interview. Many experts host their own websites; others are often associated with universities, government organizations, and commercial and private agencies. Associations often list directories online, enabling you to locate experts both locally and globally.

If you know the name of the author of a book on the topic you’re researching, try searching for that author directly. If no website pops up, visit Amazon.com to see if the author’s book listing offers a link to a home page, or an e-mail address. Another option is to search a directory of author web-pages.

Once you’ve located an expert, it’s often easiest to make your preliminary request for an interview via e-mail. Some experts prefer to be “interviewed” by e-mail as well; you may also have the option of conducting an interview through an on-line chat session or via free “chat” software such as ICQ [www.icq.com].

2. Find new markets

Today, more and more magazines have websites as well as print editions. Many post archives of previously published articles, giving you an excellent way to determine what type of material the magazine prefers–and what subjects have recently been covered.

To locate a magazine, type its name as a URL (e.g., “www.mymagazine.com“) into your browser’s “Go To” section. If this doesn’t take you directly to the magazine’s website, you can try to locate it through a search engine, or through an “electronic newsstand” such as The Ecola Newsstand [www.ecola.com], which lists thousands of magazines, newspapers, and other media by name, category, and even by country of publication. Electronic newsstands are also an excellent way to locate English-language markets in other countries, to which you can try to sell reprints. Two good sources of British publications, for example, include Magazines in the United Kingdom [travelconnections.com/Magazines/ Unitedkingdom.htm] and Media UK [www.mediauk.com/directory/].

Several guideline databases are also available online, among them The Writers’ Guidelines Database [mav.net/guidelines/]. You can also find databases of specific genre guidelines, such as The Market List [www.marketlist.com], a guide to speculative fiction publications.

Finally, if you’re looking for electronic publications, check a directory of e-zines, such as John Labovitz’s E-Zine List [www.meer.net/ ~johnl/e-zine-list/index.html] or NewJour’s Electronic Journals and Newsletters Archive [gort.ucsd.edu/newjour].

3. Contact editors by e-mail

wmMany magazine editors find it faster and easier to respond to queries submitted via e-mail than those sent by traditional “snail mail”–no envelopes or postage required! Others prefer writers to make “first contact” by letter, but use e-mail to correspond with regular contributors.

To find out whether an editor accepts “e-queries,” check the magazine’s guidelines on-line. If a preference is not specified, send a brief note to the editorial c-mail address asking whether e-mail queries are acceptable. (If you receive no response, assume the answer is no!)

An e-mail query should be just as formal and detailed as a traditional query. The only real difference is that your name, electronic address, and date are automatically included in the header. (Be sure to all a subject.) Some writers include their postal address, telephone, and/or fax number, as well.

Many publications are also willing to accept solicited material by e-mail, enabling them to transfer it directly into their computer system. However, never e-mail unsolicited material until you know the editor is willing to accept it in this format.

When writing material that you plan to e-mail, do not use any special formatting characters, and turn off “smart quotes” in your wordprocessing system. Otherwise, they will be transmitted in bizarre symbols that make your e-mail difficult to read. Whether e-mailing a query or an article, always include the entire text within the body of the e-mail; don’t rely on attachments.

4. Promote yourself

Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) offer free webspace as part of your monthly connection package. If yours does not, other sites, such as Geocities [www.geocities.com/main/info/], offer free space for noncommercial sites.

Through your own website, you can attract new readers, impress editors with “clips,” and interact with your audience. If you have a book in print, the Internet offers a host office promotional opportunities (see Promoting Your Book on the Internet [www.inkspot.com/feature/promotion. html]). You can also use a site to offer biographical information, announce booksignings and conference appearances, or market your writing services.

The cost of developing a website ranges from “free” if you do it yourself (HTML code is not difficult to learn), to several hundred dollars if you pay a professional designer. (For information on creating your own website, try Kevin Werbach’s Bare Bones Guide to HTML [werbach.com/ barebones/].) Keep in mind that content is, the key to a successful site: Snazzy design won’t hook readers, but good copy will.

5. Join a writers group

If you’d like to “meet” with writers who share your interests or who work in the same field, an online discussion group is a good place to start. Dozens of e-mail lists are available; members simply post messages to a central address, and those messages are forwarded automatically to the entire list. Other “groups” meet through “electronic bulletin boards” that are hosted on the Usenet and cue accessed through a news-reader (which usually comes with your browser).

Nor are your options limited to writers groups. You’ll find literally thousands of special interest discussion groups online, addressing every imaginable topic. Do you have a passion for Arthurian legend? A fascination with archaeology? A yen for oriental cooking? No matter what your interest, you’ll find a group that shares it (and may also be an excellent source of information and anecdotes for your research).

Several sites allow you to search for discussion groups by topic, and also to search for specific topics of discussion within those groups.

6. Join a critique group

Like writers groups, critique groups bring together writers who share an interest in a particular genre or subject, and who review and comment upon one another’s work. Some groups are open to writers of any level of experience; others prefer to bring together writers of comparable expertise.

Most critique groups operate by e-mail, but offer a website that provides information on membership rules and criteria. Members are usually expected to provide a certain number of critiques per month to remain on the active list (and to be eligible to post their own submissions).

7. Take a class

Dozens of universities and independent organizations host online writing classes, offering flexibility, the chance to work with established authors, and privacy. Many are less expensive than “real-time” courses, and allow you to “meet” with your professor and do homework on your own schedule.

Guidelines differ, but the general approach to online course work is simple: The instructor posts “lectures” and reading and homework assignments on a website. Students turn in writing assignments via e-mail and receive comments in the same way. They may also participate in e-mail “discussion sections” or (in some cases)in real-time “chat” sessions. One good source of information on “virtual universities” is the EdSurf Adult Distance Education Internet Surf Shack [www.edsurf.net/edshack/).

For less formal instruction, you might want to visit an "OWL" (Online Writing Laboratory). Dozens of university English departments host OWLs, offering handouts on various writing topics, grammar help, exercises, and even one-on-one instruction. An extensive directory of OWLs, with a link to a directory of OWL handouts and online tutoring sources, can be found at Colgate University's National Writing Centers Association [departments.colgate.edu/diw/NWCAOWLS.html].

The Art Of Giving Great Interview

Consider these points for interviewing people for your blog:

taogi1. Make the most of’ your interviewing time, and give your subject the maximum amount of time to talk. Prepare your questions in advance so that you don’t flounder. To create an atmosphere of easy conversation, don’t keep the list of questions in front of you. Tuck them inside the cover of your notepad or place them discreetly to the side to peek at now and then. Be familiar enough with your questions in advance to be flexible if new material from your subject’s comments and responses pops up, if your interview takes an interesting new slant, or if your prepared order doesn’t work. Although your prepared questions will help keep you on course, don’t be close-minded. Keep alert. You may find a whole line of discussion to pursue spontaneously.

2. Structure your questions around a preliminary outline. Try to keep the outline of your article in your mind before you go into the interview so that you ask your questions in sequence. This will make it easier later to work from your notes rather than facing a hodgepodge of information you have to organize.

When I interview someone for a feature, I structure my articles in a specific way. Drawing a picture in words of the gestures, appearance, or surroundings tells why this person is interesting enough to be written about. That’s how I try to capture the readers’ attention so that they will become interested enough to want to know more about this person–and keep reading.

I then go into the subject’s area of expertise give enough objective and colorful information so that readers say, “I didn’t know that.” (Editors often tell me that they found my articles very informative; they learned a lot.) Then I swing back to the person I’m interviewing and ask about his or her goals for the future.

Whatever your style, make a plan in advance so that you have a good idea where you want to steer your interview.

3. Dress for success. Making a good appearance begins with being on time. If you’re interviewing someone important enough to be interviewed, then his or her time is important, too. Respect it.

Dress in a way to put your subject at ease. Don’t underestimate this step. If you’re going to a corporation, wear a suit. If you’re going to a small business, try a sports jacket. If you’re going to a cowboy barn, try jeans. For a sports club, neat slacks. The idea is to make your subject comfortable enough to relate to you and want to help you write a good article.

aoggi4. Let your instincts take over. If for some reason you’re having a really hard time with the interview, let your subject know it. Some years ago, I was sent to cover a riding clinic at an out-of-state stable. The owner was very rode and cold. After trying to get quotes from him–to make him look good–and getting nowhere, I looked at him and lightly said, “Come on, give me a break. Help me out here.” Since he knew he was being obnoxious (but was probably never called on it), he immediately tuned in and stared talking.

Another time, I was asked to do an article on a whole family. The editor had tried to write a piece about them but had found them almost impossible to interview. Though they were willing to sit down with me, they found it hard to make anything other than the “name, rank, and serial number” types of comments.

When I walked into their house, to my horror I found the whole family sitting around the table. Self-conscious in front of each other, no one spoke. From the corner of the table, one person would meekly add a bit of information. I went home and waited for a few days, then phoned that person. I told him that he ,sounded as if he had so much background to tell me about (which he did), and I asked if I could meet with him alone so that I could write a “good” article. We met again at his house, sat under a lovely tree, and talked for an hour about the family history ,and their achievements in the horse world. The tree became the central symbol for the stability of the family, and the article turned out much better than I’d ever imagined it would.

Don’t be afraid to ask for more if you are not getting what you need, but do so tactfully and honestly.

5. Bring a tape recorder. Be prepared to take notes to back up what’s on the tape. The recorder is good for capturing the exact ways that people speak, as well as names and figures and other information that takes too much time to write. This is important in drawing a picture of your subject. Furthermore, the flow of your subject’s speech as opposed to yours in your writing will keep the rhythm of your article interesting.

A third and more subtle use of the tape recorder comes in when it is shut off. I’ve gotten some of my best quotes when the interview appears to be formally over and the people you’re interviewing tend to relax and open up.

Once, when I was interviewing a successful professional horseman, he walked me to the door of his stable, and looking out over his forty-acre farm, he waved his arm and said, “I’m so lucky. I’m so lucky. I’m forty years old and doing what I love!”

I began the article with that gesture and those words. Since the article showed that he had attained what he had through hard work and dedication, not luck, his humility endeared him to the readers. In fact, he said he never got so much positive feedback from any other article written about him. The fact was that he was a nice guy, and it showed–particularly when the interview was “officially” over.

6. Let your subject really talk. Ask your subject what he or she thinks is important, and what he or she would like you to write.

A few years ago when I was interviewing a man who had won at a horse show, I asked him what he would like me to say. He talked about his stable’s successful breeding program–something few people knew about, although it was highly successful.

Not only did it add more interesting information to the article, but it provided me with enough material for a second article on that stable–an eight-page piece I wrote the next year for a national magazine.

7. Show your appreciation. Get to your interview on time, leave on time, and be polite. Remember, you’re not the important person here; the person you’re interviewing is. Send a copy of your published article with a thank-you note.

8. Look inside yourself. If you’re not getting a successful interview alter careful preparation, then look inside. Were you sincerely interested in the person you interviewed? Dogs, horses, and kids know when someone dislikes them, but they warm up with people they know they can trust. People being interviewed do, too. Put your best foot forward, and you can’t fail.