Social requires an effort for me

Writing my blog over dinner at Tavee2 Guest House in Bangkok

by Christine Kling

Social media, that is. See, I know I should do it. But what I seem to do is I post in fits and starts. I’ll decide I need to share what I’m doing with the rest of the world, and then I’ll tweet and post on Facebook regularly for several days – or even weeks. Then I withdraw back into my cave again and I ignore Facebook, Twitter, et al.

Wait a minute. I think most of my friends and family would say I do the same in the real face to face world, too. When my son went off to college, he was the one who called me finally and said, “Mom, you never writer, you never call…”

I don’t know why social stuff is so difficult for me, but I have got to get over it. Every indicator shows that deft use of social media, including real interaction with readers, creates die-hard fans. Hey, I’ve been on both sides of that equation. I’m a fan of many writers, and I LOVE reading their thoughtful, quirky posts and seeing pics from their lives. But saying clever stuff is HARD!

I follow Amanda Hocking on Twitter and I consider her the queen of Twitter. She NEVER posts something like “Buy my books.” She’s just smart and quirky and funny. Her personality really shines through. I would love to be that good at this stuff.

So here’s my vow. I’m going to try over the next four weeks (while I’m traveling) to post on Facebook and Tweet every day (assuming I have access to the Internet). I won’t just send along a travelogue because that’s not what this blog is about. I’m on this trip to do research, and while I was in Reno, my sister asked me – what exactly does that mean?

You know when people say that the setting of their book almost became another character? It’s always been that way for me. Even the plot turns around the setting. But now, for the first time, I’m writing about places that I don’t know intimately. So that’s what I’m here for.

And at the moment, I am one tired puppy. It’s 6:00 p.m. Friday Bangkok time, which means it is 6:00 a.m. Friday, Florida time. I left my hotel in San Francisco on Wednesday morning and spent the whole day playing in the city, then caught my plane and 24 hours of flying and lay overs, I arrived here. I haven’t slept in two days, and I can’t believe I am actually typing this blog while downing my second Singha.

But back to doing research and sharing what I’m doing with you all. As usual, serendipity is already playing a big part. Anyone who read Circle of Bones knows that I have a thing for submarines. So, while wandering the waterfront in San Fran, I found a great Maritime Museum with a WWII sub, the USS Pompanito. I took the audio tour and tons of notes. It was fantastic standing down below next to the torpedo tubes and the engines and the radio room. Then I saw the size of the command center. Bingo – my plot took a new turn.

Then when I was walking the waterfront, I heard a head boat huckster calling out “Ride under the Golden Gate and around Alcatraz for $15! How could I resist? San Francisco was having one of her rare, beautiful sunny, windless days and the bay was calling to me. And during that cruise, the skipper said something about Alcatraz escapees that gave me another idea – and the plot changed again.

And now I’m sitting here eating my spicy Thai food, eyes watering, sniffling, and soaking up the atmosphere of the people out on the street. Tomorrow, I’ll head for the weekend market. I use Evernote on my iPhone to take audio notes and I snap loads of pictures. I’ll refer back to the photos later when I want to add local color.

So, it’s time for me to turn in and get ready for the upcoming days of exploring new places, taking photos, learning new historical details, and filling out the rest of this plot outline. And this time I promise I’ll keep my efforts updated on Facebook, Twitter and maybe even a post or two on my SailingWriter blog.

Right now, I just hope I can make it up to my third floor room before I pass out.

Fair winds!


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About Christine Kling

I have spent more than thirty years living on and around boats and cruising the waters of the North and South Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean. I’ve written articles and stories for many boating publications including Sailing, Cruising World, Motor Boating & Sailing, and The Tiller and the Pen. When I was married, I helped my husband build a 55-foot custom sailing yacht. After launching her, we sailed through the Panama Canal to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands where we chartered for over two years. While in the islands, I received my 100-ton Auxiliary Sail Captains license. It was that sailing experience that led me to set my first nautical suspense novel, SURFACE TENSION (2002), on the waterfront in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring Florida female tug and salvage captain, Seychelle Sullivan, the first book was followed by CROSS CURRENT (2004) and BITTER END (2005). The fourth book in the series, WRECKERS’ KEY was released in February 2007. At the end of the 2010-11 academic year, I took the motto of this blog to heart. I quit my day job as an English professor at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale (just when they offered me tenure, I said no thanks and took early retirement). I was living the dream of full-time cruising on board my 33-foot Caliber Talespinner on my very tiny pension and whatever I made from my books having parted ways with the big publishing establishment. I self-published two books on my own: a small collection of four short stories entitled SEA BITCH: Four Tales of Nautical Noir and my first stand-alone sailing thriller set in the Caribbean, CIRCLE OF BONES. In 2012 I was offered a publishing deal with Amazon's mystery/thriller imprint Thomas&Mercer and they reissued CIRCLE OF BONES. The sequel to that book, DRAGON'S TRIANGLE came out in June 2014. And as for me, I'm no longer a singlehander on my little boat. I met Wayne Hodgins in 2013 and after a whirlwind Skype courtship, I flew to meet him in Fiji and we sailed a nearly 2000 mile passage to the Marshall Islands for our "first date." We now sail together aboard LEARNATIVITY, a 52-foot motor sailor with our family including Barney, the Yorkshire Terror and Ruby, the Wonder Dog.
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2 Responses to Social requires an effort for me

  1. Great post, Christine! And oh, can I ever relate. My social media track record is abysmal at best, and my blog posts have once again fizzled off to sporadic at best. Meanwhile, courtesy of Sandy, life, crashing trees and smashed boats, (mine, thankfully, not one of them) has brought me a string of new connections and the strangest streak of serendipity, along with an abundance of plot twists and new characters. Social media? I don’t have time for social media. I’d barely have time to go on the computer if not for the fact that I had to be home while the chimney is rebuilt. How do the Amanda Hockings of the world do it? I’d love to know… in my free time.

    Enjoy your travels. If I don’t see you on social media — that is, if I have time to be there myself — I’ll just figure you’re too busy living life, doing research, writing, and, having a blast in the process.

  2. Garry says:

    I believe social media works best for outgoing extroverts. For us introverts (I’m guessing you’re one also), it’s nice to look out the window at the world via the internet and even post some photos. But sharing my thoughts with the world just doesn’t seem to work, it doesn’t meet a need for me. It takes a lot to let someone inside enough to share myself with her.

    Trying to post on Twitter and Facebook to help book sales just goes against some people’s character.

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