Don’t Take Bernie’s Voters for Granted

Don’t Take Bernie’s Voters for Granted

One of the reasons that this election has me on tenterhooks is not knowing how the vote will split among the 4 candidates. The media focuses mainly on the two traditional parties, Democratic and Republican. I worry that a significant portion of the voters are disillusioned enough to vote 3rd party.

How the Libertarian and the Green Party votes play out is a scary part of the equation. The mainstream media seems to look at the two major candidates and assume that when it comes to the crunch the errant voters will return to voting Republican or Democratic.

I think media has underestimated the disillusionment of Bernie’s voters with the Democratic Party. This is not something that Bernie fostered, but it exists. Hillary Clinton hasn’t made much effort to woo them back into the flock.


Formerly, the Berners in the Facebook groups cheered each other on in making phone calls and donating to Bernie’s campaign. They flocked to his rallies. They shared stories of converting family and friends to Bernie and took pride in how long they stood in line to vote in the primary.

Now, the tone is rancorous with comments like this: “You green party/libertarian f—-rs just need to stop. There is NO WAY in hell Johnson or Stein will win. All you will do is make yourself feel warm and fuzzy at the polls, but not change anything. COME BACK TO REALITY!! Pick one, Trump or Clinton!!!”

Such interactions on Facebook and other social media aren’t creating any unified voting blocks. Trolls haunt the groups sowing doubts and being contentious. Bernie’s followers feel abandoned and most remain dubious about Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary and uncertain about what they should do.


I’ve shared these screenshots and comments so you can see for yourself that much of this election is up-in-the-air. Don’t take Hillary’s lead in the polls for granted. There is much work to be done for anyone to win on November 8th.

I’m scared.

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Posted by on October 23, 2016 in Elections, Politics



Escaping to LaChance

Escaping to LaChance

If you’re in Missouri in the autumn, take the chance to tour some wineries. It makes a lovely outing with friends as you drive the country roads enjoying the colorful scenery.

We were slightly south of Saint Louis, so we visited the Wild Sun Winery near Hillsboro and enjoyed it so much, that we went on to the LaChance Winery near DeSoto.

Both sites had patio areas where you could enjoy their great views while you sip your wine. You could get a sampler or buy a glass or bottle of wine. They had food as well but we were saving our appetites for a special dinner that evening.


A red wine, the sangria and a white wine at LaChance Vinyards in Missouri.

My husband tried the Special Reserve, a cabernet sauvignon, and liked it so well that he bought a bottle to take with us. The friend who was showing us around opted for a white and I chose a glass of the sangria to try.

All were quite satisfactory and gave us an excuse to loiter in the autumn sunshine, telling stories and relaxing. It was a treat to escape the hustle and bustle for these moments in the country.

Later that evening, we shared the bottle of cabernet while eating tender venison. Hours of slow-cooking resulted in the most savory, lean meat with potatoes and its own gravy. The LaChance wine was a perfect accompaniment for the tasty meal.

Both wineries had glasses that you could buy for souvenirs. Whenever we use our LaChance glasses, we’ll think of that perfect autumn afternoon on the patio and the lovely dinner later that evening.


Grass plumes by the deck of the winery.

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Posted by on October 19, 2016 in Travel


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Facebook + Amazon = $$$

Facebook + Amazon = $$$

Free ebooks seldom paid off in sales, as I wrote about in yesterday’s post. I then tried featuring some that weren’t free by presenting them to special interest groups I belong to on Facebook. The Civil War and genealogy group members had liked my free postings and were willing to buy a few books on their topic.

Books just didn’t give enough commission to be worth the time, but I’ll still share them on Facebook as a service to my friends and fellow enthusiasts.

Next, I tried sharing more expensive products. To avoid being a spammer, I coordinated these to times a friend mentioned a specific product. I’d simply comment, “I see they have these on Amazon” and post the link. No one took offense since they were already talking about it.

Here’s where you get the link to post (if you are an Amazon affiliate). Also, notice the SHARE option in the stripe below. That gives you the ability to post on your Facebook timeline, to a friend, or in a group and also to Twitter. It includes your affiliate link.

Sometimes, I’d feature a product on my status if I bought a new garden wagon or other product. If I was already sharing about my activity and included the link, it fit in fairly well.

Still, my friends and family were not large enough numbers to result in many sales. They weren’t a targeted audience, and it was merely by chance that a product would hit the spot and result in a sale.

Then, I noticed the paid ads that littered my timeline on Facebook. There were ads for hair products, suitcases, massagers, scanners and other pricey products. I looked at the comment section where hundreds of people said they really needed and wanted these items. BINGO!

I checked on Amazon for a product just like the one in the Facebook ad. When I found an exact match, I put the link with a comment on the Facebook advertisement. My comment usually is “I see some very positive reviews on this on Amazon.” People saw the comment and click on the link to read the reviews. A few went ahead and bought the product while they were there, possibly because they trusted Amazon more than the Facebook vendor or because they had a Prime membership or because the price was better.


The green bars are Amazon sales. The red line shows the number of clicks and the yellow line shows orders.

Now those annoying Facebook ads don’t bother me anymore. Instead, I see them as opportunities. I look forward each day to checking my Amazon sales to see what luggage or overpriced product people couldn’t resist. It has boosted my commissions quite nicely.

A friend sent me some of the fine print from the Amazon Affiliate guidelines. Now, I’m trying to puzzle out how to post my affiliate disclosure information with each link so the FCC doesn’t get upset with me.

Here’s what I’m currently doing:



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Posted by on October 16, 2016 in Internet Earning


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Sharing Amazon Books on Facebook

Sharing Amazon Books on Facebook

My online writing friends and I share anecdotes on how tough it is to make sales on various websites. Most of us are Amazon affiliates and a variety of other affiliates as well. Sites like Squidoo (now defunct) and Hubpages don’t have the earning power that we would like.

Some months ago, I started sharing Amazon links for free ebooks. I posted these on my Facebook status and my friends and family told me they liked hearing about these. When I put the link, I always included my affiliate code.

That may seem a waste since the ebooks were free. Now and then, someone would click-through for the free ebook but then go on to shop for additional items. In those cases, I earned a commission from Amazon.

Even when they bought another book at $2.99 or even $8.99, the commission was pretty low. Now and then, someone would go on a shopping spree after clicking through on my free ebook link. I really appreciated it when someone bought a big batch of Christmas gifts for their kids after clicking through on my link.

Then, I had an epiphany and changed my pattern of Facebook posting of products. My earnings went up from $10 or $20 a month from Amazon/Facebook links to 10 times as much. I’ll do a follow-up post on this one with steps so you can try it too.


Increasing my Amazon affiliate earnings (photo by Virginia Allain)


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Posted by on October 16, 2016 in Internet Earning, online earnings


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Self-Publishing a Book with Blurb

Self-Publishing a Book with Blurb – A Way for Authors to Self-Publish

What is Blurb? It’s a wonderful discovery for an aspiring author or someone who just wants a few books for a special occasion or to share with their family. When a writer chooses to self-publish their content, there are a number of Print-On-Demand sites like or Create Space, but let’s focus on here. I’ve used it a number of times with varied books and found it quite versatile.

Made using

Gail Lee Martin shows off her books with family memories. I used Blurb to publish both of these books for Mom and Dad.

The wonderful thing about Print-On-Demand (also called POD) is the author doesn’t have to buy hundreds of dollars worth of books to get the book published by a traditional printer or face rejection over and over from a traditional publisher. The way that POD works at Blurb is the author uploads the book content to the Blurb website. At that point, the only obligation is to buy one copy of the book. Anyone else wanting the book can order it directly from Blurb’s online bookstore. The author sets the price and keeps any income above the printing cost set by Blurb.

How To Do It

  1. Sign up with Blurb. It’s free and you put the usual information (username and password).
  2. Click on DOWNLOAD THE BOOKWRIGHT SOFTWARE at the Blurb site. This downloads Blurb’s software to your own computer. You work offline at your own pace. Use the Blurb BookWright Guide to learn more about it.
  3. Start a new book using the software. Choose a title, paste in the text and get the pictures from your own computer files.
  4. Rearrange the text and photos until you are satisfied with the book.
  5. Edit, edit, edit… run the spell check and review the text and photos one more time. It’s best to actually print out the pages and review it that way. Somehow one sees the errors more clearly in a printed copy.
  6. Once you have it perfect, upload the book to Blurb.
  7. Now you have 15 days to order the book or they will remove it from their site. Don’t worry, it’s still saved on your own computer.
  8. Start promoting the book. Potential buyers go to Blurb’s online bookstore to preview a part of the book and to order copies.

You can preview the various books I’ve published using Blurb. My sample books are featured in my online bookstore. Click on a book cover to read more about it and to PREVIEW a portion of the book.


Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Books, Self-publishing


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Taking Spider Web Photos

Taking Spider Web Photos
Orange spider blends in with the dry grasses.

Orange spider blends in with the dry grasses. (Photo by Virginia Allain)

Nature buffs and camera enthusiasts find spiders and their intricate webs fascinating. Photographing them is challenging. Here are some tips to improve your digital photos of spider webs.

 Things You’ll Need:
  • digital camera with close-up mode
  • outdoor area to find spiders
Spider webs with dew on them are more visible in photographs than a plain web. This means getting out early with the digital camera before the sun dries everything out.
spider web

Spider web after a light rain shower. (photo by Virginia Allain)


Use the macro setting (close-up) on your digital camera. Often this setting is represented by a flower icon.


canon camera powershot

Canon SX 20 IS Powershot that I use

Keep your hands very steady or use a tripod for macros. Avoid windy days when slight movements of the web will blur your picture.

Be cautious if the spider is on the web.

Look for plain, uncluttered background to show off the web better. Dirt, mulch, or sky work well as a background. The close-up setting on the digital camera helps by putting the background out of focus.
Take multiple shots from different angles. Try getting the whole web, a section of the web, different sides of the web. Then see what turned out the best.

This photo could benefit from cropping. The grass background is not the best.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fog or a sprinkler or a light shower sometimes creates ideal conditions for photographing webs and can mimic morning dew.
  • Black construction paper held behind a web might work when the background is too cluttered.
  • Avoid disturbing the web when taking your photo.

(Previously published on eHow in 2008 by Virginia Allain)



Posted by on August 11, 2016 in eHow, Photography, photos, Uncategorized


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Will Bernie Sanders’ Voters Go Libertarian?

Will Bernie Sanders’ Voters Go Libertarian?

The short answer is a resounding “NO.” Here’s the longer answer straight from the mouths of dozens of Berners on Facebook on July 24, 2016. The question is “would you vote Libertarian?”

Karen W. – Libertarians are just republicans with a twist.

Carol V. – They are Twizzler Republicans. They are the worst of republicans. Richer guy beats the lesser rich guy! Hey, if you aren’t wealthy, with them in power, then change isn’t coming your way. Well, I guess you could get poorer!

libertarian platform

Chart comparing Bernie Sanders’ progressive stands and Gary Johnson’s libertarian stands (meme from the Bernie Believers group on Facebook)

Tom R. – They are Republicans that don’t want to be associated with all of the baggage. I’m going to vote for Bernie if he’s on the ballot but if he isn’t I’m voting Green. Not because I think they’ll win and not because I agree with them on most issues, I’m voting Green to send a message to the Democrats and to try to break the two-party tyranny.

 Raven H. –  Libertarians are literally Republicans… They’re against everything Bernie stands for. Why would you even ask that?
 Alice A. –  “If we boil down the libertarian ideology to its fundamentals, they essentially believe that we should have as minimal government as possible. Government protections of civil rights? Zip. Government regulations of large, unsustainable financial institutions that have already wreaked havoc on our economy? Nope. Government policies that preserve the environment and protect our natural resources? Zilch.”
 Ellen L. – They also eliminate environmental laws
Dakota R.Libertarians don’t believe in taxation… Which is cool and all, but that’s public roads, bridges and highways, law enforcement, public schools, national parks, the post office, hospitals and healthcare, the fire department, congress, the CIA, FBI, the president, etc…

And we kinda need some of those things. 

Eva W. – Oh, HAIL no! They are Republicans on steroids.

Lorrene B. – No way, I’m going Green, I saw Johnson in a town hall meeting, didn’t like his ideas at all

 Laura R. – No Gary Johnson is not a progressive, and doesn’t concern himself with infrastructure or SS or Medicare
Pamela C. – Not even closely related to progressives. Yechhh!

Ruth A. – While many Libertarian “values” may seem appealing, the Libertarian Party of the U.S. is a corporatist party in disguise. Please do more research. They defend Citizens United. They are for the TPP. The Libertarian party is very dangerous. They would burn the world to the ground in defense of the “liberty” to go after profit.
Shelley L. – Not me. He’s for the TPP. Bernie wouldn’t approve and neither do I.
Tom R. – God, Not me! Gary Johnson is worse than Trump!
Theresa Ann A. – NO! It’s nothing like Bernie ideology!
Christine L. – Libertarians don’t believe in taxation but neither does the top one-tenth of the 1% and look where that got us
Paul Michael B. – The Libertarian party is a neoliberal party just like the D’s and the R’s, and thus represent the very root of our problems. Libertarians salivate over the idea of corporations suing governments.
This is my favorite answer out of the batch:
Stephanie F. – Hell no! How could any real Progressive even consider that. They’re Republicans, possibly worse. Libertarians have no foreign policy. It’s basically, “Sucks to be you, not our problem.” Johnson wants to get rid of Medicaid. He could give a crap about environmental issues or infrastructure, so no money would go to those places. Also, Libertarians don’t believe in taxation so there wouldn’t be any money to go anywhere. They’re all for private corporations building wealth, and getting rid of all government oversight of them. Capitalism unchecked isn’t worth crap! I would vote Green Party before I’d ever vote for a Republican or Libertarian. Jill Stein is an intelligent, progressive, environmentally conscious free-thinker, who isn’t owned by lobbyists. She’ll probably get my vote if Bernie’s not on the ballot.
Lee O. – Why? Deregulate and privatize everything. Why the hell would anyone contemplate supporting that?
Erik O. – Are you high, the libertarian USA are nothing more than parasites
Melissa C. – Nope, no libertarians for me. I care about workers.
Joy H.  Gary Johnson is mostly for everything Bernie is against.
He wants to deregulate everything (food safety standards, environmental protections, social security), abolishment of the tax system. It’s a really, really bad idea; more extreme than the mainstream Republican platform.
Justin L. – Why libertarian? It’s the Koch Brothers’ brain child and while Johnson holds to some liberal social issues, his economic policy is Republican; that is to say, outrageously horrible and broken.

Shane K. – If you’re a libertarian you never understood Bernie’s message. We are progressives.

Zarra H. – Libertarian is about 100% opposite most of Bernie’s philosophy and also mine.


Posted by on August 10, 2016 in Politics