Bella Vida by Letty


Blogging Tips & Social Media Tips Round Up

BVBL Blogging Tips

Today’s post is about the business of blogging. Here’s a roundup of helpful blogging tips and social media tips  I’ve written about previously on this site. Bookmark this page and feel free to peruse.

Blogging Tips
I’ve been blogging for over seven years and these are some useful things I wish I would have implemented from the very start.
5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging 

The more you develop your voice the more successful you will become with your readers. Infusing your writing with your personality helps engage your audience. Revealing your personality gives you authenticity making you a reliable source to your audience.
10 Steps to Finding Your Blogs Writing Voice
10 Benefits of Guest Posting 

Some legalities you should know about advertising and endorsements.
Blogging Ethics & FTC Requirement of Full Disclosure 
Writer’s Block: 25 Things To Do When You Can’t Write

Top Reasons to Own A Domain 

Social Media Tips
100 Pinterest Tips & Ideas for Artists Photographers Creatives 
How to Embed an Instagram Photo 

Networking Tips
Blogging conferences are the perfect place to connect with people and keep up to date on what’s new in your industry.
How to Get Ready for a Blogger Conference 

Life & Business Tips
Regardless of industry or career, developing your style demonstrates mastery and professionalism.
Style is a Way of Life ~ Design Yourself 
Creating New Goals & Objectives 

How can I help you? Do you have any blogging or social media questions?

Leave them in the comments below. I’d love to help.

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging

5 things i wish i knew when i started blogging

I’ve been blogging for many years and it doesn’t seem like I will get tired of writing anytime soon.  This May will be the one year anniversary of Bella Vida by Letty .com.  Thinking about that made me want to share some tips that sure could’ve helped me way back when I first began blogging. 

Self Host

If you plan on blogging seriously the main piece of advice I wish I would have taken was to begin with a self hosted WordPress site.  I was on blogger for years cultivating a steadily growing following but when I moved from Blogger to WordPress I lost all of my followers and subscribers.  I had to begin all over again.

Domain Name

When you decide on a name purchase the domain name. It shows professionalism and authority.  Here’s a previous post where I list several more reasons why it’s important to own your own domain name.


Set up Google analytics right from the start.  It is the most trusted and reliable.  You can learn all sorts of helpful information like what keywords bring in the most visitors and who your audience is.  That is exactly who you are writing for.

Quality Content

The quality of your content matters.  Everything you post lives online forever.  Take your time to write a proper thoroughly researched post with great photos.  It will receive much more traffic than a hurried one and it will likely get shared because of its useful information.  Don’t worry the more you write, the better you get.  That has been my experience.

Grow Organically

I’m happy to report the site has been steadily organically growing since day one.  I don’t believe in paying for followers, hits, likes, etc.  The main reason is a major factor to measure a blogs success is engagement.  You might not have a lot of subscribers but if you are steadily growing a community who replies and shares your content you are well on your way.  All it takes is time.


Build a Community

It’s easy to get caught up in wondering why another blog might have more traffic, ads or sponsors but you shouldn’t compare yourself to them.  You are your own unique voice and it’s up to you to cultivate your brand.  Connect with other bloggers you admire and build relationships with them.  I belong to several different communities which you will find on my sidebar.  Reach out, makes friends and build your community.

 Your turn.  What things have you learned from your years of blogging?  If you had to pick your greatest lesson what would it be?


 “We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” Anaïs Nin

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”  C. JoyBell C.

“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.” Heath L. Buckmaster

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I’m Uploading My Story to Wattpad

31 Day of Rougarou Cover

Wattpad is a social network where readers and writers can interact. Writers can post stories, chapters, working versions, entire novels or excerpts and share them with readers for free. As of December 2013 Wattpad has over 18 million users who can access stories posted via their phones and mobile devices. Of the many genres on Wattpad the most popular are Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I signed up awhile ago but never took the time to explore and interact on the platform until recently. I’ve been working on a new adult dark horror novel and have decided to post chapters of the work in progress every Friday. If you enjoy being taken into a mag

Why am I posting my story for free on Wattpad?

It’s a way for me to test out all of my crazy ideas. It will allow me to receive feedback from the people who matter, my readers. I have to admit I’m scared out of my mind placing my writing out there for everyone to read. It’s way more terrifying to me than making up these scary stories. But I have to find a way to get past the fear and just do it. Violeta, the main character is demanding to be let out of the box.

You can find me on Wattpad here:  If you have a minute I would truly appreciate your support with a read or follow.  Thanks.

Here’s a description of the story:

The blood tingling adventure of reluctant supersensitive, Violeta, who has managed to keep her supernatural magical abilities secret until she gets bitten by a legendary power hungry Creole shape shifter, a Rougarou. She has 31 days to learn how to use her psychic abilities to break the curse or lose all her powers.

Are you using Wattpad?

Do you have any tips for me?


“Today is the day to move past your past, move closer to your dreams, rise above your detractors, feel the fear and do it anyway, stoop below your ego, get out of your own way, and allow your life to amaze you.” Elissa Gabrielle

“We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.” Marilyn Monroe

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Frank Herber

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” Aristotle

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Ready, Set, Write! What’s Your Genre?

Horror Genre

It’s officially National Novel Writing Month and in addition I’m also participating in the South Florida Social Media 30 day blog challenge.  Now that’s a whole lot of writing.  I will do my best to write every single day.  Some days it will be blog posts in addition to the novel I’m reworking.  I’m a very slow writer and a novel is a huge project so I like to prepare as much as possible.  In preparation for diving back in I spent the week reading about story structure .

One exercise I found helpful was thinking about the genre of the story I’m trying to tell.  Readers have certain expectations.  For example horror genre readers will expect to be terrified at some point while in the Fantasy genre expectations are that something magical or supernatural will happen.  My story is a combination of both.  The main character has supernatural abilities and there are tons of monsters and magical creatures running around causing lots of trouble terrifying the heck out of people.

What is genre?

Genre is a classification characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.

Wikipedia has a crazy long list of genres you can check out HERE.  I counted sixteen subcategories under the Fantasy Genre alone: contemporary, urban, dark, fables, fairy tales, epic, high fantasy, heroic, legend, magical, mythic, sword, planet, science, etc.  Some subcategories of the Horror genre: ghost stories, monster, werewolf, vampire, occult, slasher, survival, etc.  Reading the list is a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

How to figure out your genre.

One way to figure out your genre is to find other stories similar to yours.  Clicking around on the Barnes & Noble website  made me realize they didn’t have a Fantasy section, they have a Science Fiction combined with Fantasy section.  After some more clicking it seems my story would fit under their Dark Fantasy section.  There are some really cool authors there like Anne Rice, Ray Bradbury, Clive Barker, etc.  You can do the same either online or in a real world book store.  Knowing your genre will help you figure out who your audience is and what that reader is expecting from your story.

Tell me about what you’re writing today.


“Don’t classify me, read me. I’m a writer, not a genre.”  Carlos Fuentes

“I am self-educated from genre books.”  Charlaine Harris

“Dismissing fantasy writing because some of it is bad is exactly like saying I’m not reading Jane Eyre because it is a romance and I know romance is crap.” China Miéville

“All fiction is a process of imagining: whatever you write, in whatever genre or medium, your task is to make things up convincingly and interestingly and new.”  Neil Gaiman

“Good writing is good writing. In many ways, it’s the audience and their expectations that define a genre. A reader of literary fiction expects the writing to illuminate the human condition, some aspect of our world and our role in it. A reader of genre fiction likes that, too, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the story.” Rosemary Clement-Moore

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Nanowrimo Countdown: Inspirational Quotes

writing quote isabel Allende

Will you be participating in this year’s National Novel Writing Month?  I didn’t get past the first week last year but I’m going to give a shot again this year.  Two very special peeps asked me to finish a story I started several years ago because they want to know how it ends.  Reluctantly I pulled it out of its beautiful storage box and was pleasantly surprised as to how much I had written and how much of a developed storyline I found.  This year I’m going to try working with an outline to keep me going.

These are some of my favorite quotes that inspire me to write:

“Write what should not be forgotten.”  Isabel Allende

“I don’t have a method. All I do is read a lot, think a lot, and rewrite constantly. It’s not a scientific thing.”   Gabriel García Márquez

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”   Maya Angelou

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”    Toni Morrison

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”   Anaïs Nin

“Tears are words that need to be written.”   Paulo Coelho

“A story is a letter that the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.”  Carlos Ruiz Zafon

“All the stories I would like to write persecute me. When I am in my chamber, it seems as if they are all around me, like little devils, and while one tugs at my ear, another tweaks my nose, and each says to me, ‘Sir, write me, I am beautiful.”  Umberto Eco


I also created a vision board on Pinterest.  Images always spark my imagination.


Writing Resources:

25 Ways To Plot, Plan, and Prep Your Story by Chuck Wendig

Expanded Story Elements Checklist by Alexandra Sokoloff

The Future Of Storytelling free course

How to Make Sure Your NaNo Project Isn’t a Hot Mess by Jami Gold

How to Write a Novel by Nathan Bransford


Do you have a favorite authors quote to inspire you?

What tricks do you have to motivate you?

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Writing: How to Find Your Blogs Voice

Style is the perfection of point of view.

Style is the perfection of point of view.

The internet and blogging platforms are the greatest things ever invented in my opinion.  Previously we were stuck with only one view, the corporate owned media who generates content purely to sell products.  Most of which is harmful to our self esteem.  It’s not healthy to be bombarded with messages telling you how much you need to improve this or that.  The beauty of reading blogs is exposure to alternative perspectives.

Every blog has a particular voice.  Writing voice is the uniqueness of an authors writing style.  It’s not just the words they use but also the perspective they bring to them.  On this blog I write about subjects I care about.  One tends to write more passionately about things we find important.  I use certain expressions and certain styles which all contribute to my unique voice.

The more you develop your voice the more successful you will become with your readers.  Infusing your writing with your personality helps engage your audience.  Revealing your personality gives you authenticity making you a reliable source to your audience.

 10 Steps to Finding Your Blogs Writing Voice

10 Steps to Finding Your Blogs Writing Voice

10 Steps to Finding Your Blogs Writing Voice


  1. Name 10 adjectives about yourself.
  2. Name 10 favorite books and similarities between them.
  3. Determine your purpose for writing.
  4. Write down what your passions are.
  5. Is there something you would like to change in the world?
  6. Define your audience.  Who are you writing for?
  7. What skills have you mastered?
  8. Are you an expert at a subject?
  9. Tell your stories.
  10. Ask a friend.
Style is the perfection of point of view.

Style is the perfection of point of view.


The more you write the easier it will be to find your voice.  How would you describe your unique voice?

If you have a blog be sure to leave it in the links so I can visit.



“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”  T.S. Eliot 

“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”  Rumi

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”  Joyce Carol Oates

“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.”  Laurie Halse Anderson 

“If you hear a voice within you say „you cannot paint“, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”  Vincent van Gogh

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”  Steve Jobs

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Gothic Fiction: Growing Up With Vampires

My entire life has been infused with stories.  Since I was a child there were frequent trips to the library and the book store.  In addition nothing on television was off-limits.  My parents were strict in other ways but censoring stories was not one of them.  I’ve had full access to imaginary realms my entire life including gothic ones.

From a very early age the difference between reality and fantasy was very clear to me.  I was a voracious reader, even before the age of ten I was subscribed to several book clubs.  Some of those books included mentions of Dracula, Frankenstein and many other imaginary creatures though I always preferred vampires.  With little effort, you can find them everywhere; in series such as Goosebumps, cartoons like Scooby Doo and even Sesame Street had the Count.

Vampire Collage movies tv film

Television and movies had an even greater impact on me.  On weekends and late nights I watched hosted horror shows with funky characters like Svengoolie and Elvira.  Remember them?  Most of the movies featured on those shows were old, in black and white or Technicolor, low budget horror or sci-fi films.  I never found them one bit scary.  On the contrary, their cheesiness always made me laugh.  Their efforts at being terrifying were actually hilarious.

As I got older, I discovered heavier, more serious gothic tales and am still enamored of them.  I read Bram Stoker along with many imitations before stumbling across Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.  A Japanese anime series I enjoyed was the Vampire Hunter D.  It pushes the limits of the genre because it’s a wonderful mash up of western, science fiction, horror, and high fantasy.

Vampire 2 Collage

Gothic horror is a style of fiction which combines elements of horror and romance.  It’s an extreme form of romanticism set in gothic locations.  These stories demonstrate the duality of life, expose our vulnerabilities while inciting fear while demonstrating each of us has capability for great good or evil.

Quality’s of Gothic Horror:

  • The atmosphere provides fear and dread.
  • The hero is usually isolated.
  • High emotions.
  • Someone in distress.

Some of my favorite vampire stories are: The Anne Rice Chronicles, True Blood TV Series, Let the Right One In, The Lost Boys, Underworld, Blade, Coppola’s Dracula, Buffy the Vampire Slayer …


What is your favorite vampire story?

If you’ve written one please share your links in the comments below.

Vampire Lessons

5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Vampires


If you enjoy reading, Project Gutenberg has an extensive Gothic Bookshelf of books you can read online for free


“Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult.”  Anne Rice 

 “You will lose what you value most, so treasure it while you can.”  Richelle Mead 

 “When other little girls wanted to be ballet dancers, I kind of wanted to be a vampire.”  Angelina Jolie

 “It’s a good day to do great things!”  Randy Lipnitzky 

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La Respuesta Magazine ~ Reimagining the Puerto Rican Diaspora

la respuesta magazine logoLa Respuesta is an online magazine dedicated to the Boricua diaspora who aspires to be a significant resource for Puerto Ricans in the United States, offering a multitude of creative and provocative media. Guided by a collective of Boricua writers, artists, activists, and scholars in Chicago, with supporters, collaborators, and visionaries in New York City, Boston, Florida, and Rhode Island La Respuesta strives to produce a mosaic of the cultural, artistic, intellectual, spiritual, and political realities within the diverse Puerto Rican Diaspora. It moves towards building inclusive identities and perspectives that recognize the Diaspora as central to understanding the Puerto Rican people..

There purpose reads:

“For over a century, Puerto Ricans have lived and settled in the U.S. (the “Boricua Diaspora”), but now, for the first time, there are more acá than allá. In response to our growing presence and ongoing impact, La Respuesta seeks to invoke a claim to our histories and announce our stories. This will be done by highlighting our assets and distinct experiences, agitating discussion on the crucial issues, and addressing the obstacles that we face.”

chicago Puerto Rican day parade vintage photograph


I feel so honored to be a part of this project. My article about the Puerto Rican Day Parade in Chicago appears on the site.  I would love for you to check them out and leave your comments.  Be sure to look around as I’m sure you will find lots of good reading.


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Writer’s Block: 25 Things To Do When You Can’t Write

When the words don’t flow …

When the words don't flow

  1. Create a list.
  2. Read good writing.
  3. Listen to music.
  4. Write down ideas.
  5. Research.
  6. Read the news.
  7. Watch a good movie.
  8. Watch a terrible movie.
  9. Recite a poem.
  10. Phone a friend.
  11. Exercise.
  12. Take a walk.
  13. Read the dictionary.
  14. Visit a garden or do some gardening.
  15. Visit the beach.
  16. Go to the mall and people watch.
  17. Try free writing.
  18. Take a nap.
  19. Print out and edit previous writings.
  20. Write a letter to someone you admire.
  21. Meditate.
  22. Cook something.
  23. Imagine everything you would write if you had a limited time.
  24. Create an outline.
  25. Write anyway.


How do you deal with writer’s block?




“If you can quit, then quit. If you can’t quit, you’re a writer.”  R.A. Salvatore


“If you can’t annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.”  Kingsley Amis


” Why would we write if we’d already heard what we wanted to hear?”  James Richardson


“A professional writer is someone who writes just as well when they’re not inspired as when they are.”  Philip Pullman


 Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.”  Madeleine L’Engle

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misrepresentation vs. misinterpretation

distortion, misreckoning, delusion; error, mistake, misunderstanding, illusion, miscalculation, misconstrual, misinterpretation , mistake, non sequitur, notion, paradox, perversion

**** All of these photos were taken by me during the Wynwood Artwalk in Florida earlier this year. None of the artwork is my own.  These are amazing pieces which fascinate me by other amazingly talented artists.****

wynwood artwalk 2011

I was thinking about how easy it is to misinterpret something said on the internet without the benefit of the author’s tone or expression.  As a writer my ultimate goal is clarity. An author has to communicate by using only the written part of language: words.  The best writers understand how important it is to chose the BEST word to convey an idea.  Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaimon and Truman Capote blow me away with their expertise. They make it look easy.  I wish I could master the ability to chose the right words. In the meantime it’s playtime with the thesaurus. 😛

When I’m painting I don’t feel this grand pressure to precisely communicate an idea.  I know what I am painting.  I know the feeling I am expressing with paints and I don’t have to think about it each step of the way.  I never worry about how my art will be interpreted.

Interpreting art may seem tricky to some.  I believe there is no wrong interpretation.  Art should stir some feeling inside of you and that feeling will be particular to each individual.

Look at the above photo of a gorgeous painting that caught my attention during the Wynwood artwalk earlier this year.  There is no doubt the artist (sorry I didn’t find a name) is skillful, the colors beautiful and eye catching.  It is the interpretation of the subject matter that will cause a debate. This is a good thing.  It’s how art teaches us to form  opinions.  Some people will be appalled, some people will be amused and others like myself will appreciate that the artist did a great job of stirring emotions.

What do you think of the piece? What do you think the artist was trying to say via those big beautiful innocent eyes?

wynwood art walk 2011
wynwood art walk 2011
wynwood art walk 2011

BS, baloney, bend, bias, buckle, coloring, contortion, crock, crookedness, exaggeration, intorsion, jazz, jive, lie, line

“Silence is a statement that is open to gross misinterpretation.” Craig Bruce

“I think my passion is misinterpreted as anger sometimes. And I don’t think people are ready for the message that I’m delivering, and delivering with a sense of violent love.” Charlie Sheen

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Writing a Young Adult Fantasy Serial Story ~ Letters to the 5th Direction

fantasy young adult serial story ya

I’ve been working on a Fantasy Saturday Serial titled Letters to the 5th Direction, with award winning author J.R. Turner. The story is the fantasy adventure of 12 year old Julie who inherits the 5th Dimension from her grandmother.

It has been a great experience collaborating with someone so talented who allows me to run away with my imagination. Jenny has also contributed the most fantastic illustrations to go with the story.

If you haven’t already you can catch up with the series at the following links.

I hope you enjoy reading them.

Episode 1: Fairy Flight North
Episode 2: The Rolling Trolls
Episode 3: Waves, Caves & Warriors
Episode 4: Merciless Dreams
Episode 5: Battle at Sky Bridge
Episode 6: A Royal Journey
Episode 7: Off to Grandma’s Castle

Episode 8: Coming Soon

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