Guest post: Pinterest by Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of Pinterest, is brought to you by multi-genre author and interviewee Phyllis Zimbler Miller.

Spending the Day Creating Pins and Boards on Pinterest

After spending time learning about the relatively new social media site Pinterest (still in beta so you need an invite from a friend or the site itself), I am beginning to appreciate its attraction.

Perhaps I’m helped in this understanding because the site is apparently skewing towards women in the Midwest, and I’m a woman who grew up in the Midwest.

I do think that the sharing of photos without the need to friend people as on Facebook is a huge draw. And the site itself is very attractive without all the distracting bells and whistles of Facebook.

And, yes, I’ll admit I had to first watch the video on how to install the “Pin It” bookmarklet.

Once I did install the bookmarklet, though, I “went to town”, as the saying goes, creating boards and pins. (Basically, a pin is one photo with a description and a link while several pins go on one board, which has a theme, such as “My Books and Ebooks”)

I can also see that pinning can become addictive. And, yet, for book authors, service professionals, and business owners, pinning can also become a strategic part of an integrated online marketing strategy.

Here are two uses of Pinterest that I tried:

1. I often write guest blog posts, although I do not link to these posts from any of my websites because I do not want to take people off my own sites. Yet I like the guest posts I have written.

With Pinterest, as long as there is at least one photo (besides my headshot) used on a guest post, I can pin the photo with its automatic link to the blog post to a board on my Pinterest account. You can see the result of this in “My Guest Blog Posts” (I only pinned my most recent guest posts that had photos accompanying the posts.)

2. I have two relatively new blogs, each of which promotes my books and ebooks. I created separate boards for these – “LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDER Blog Posts” and “PZM Blog Posts” – and pinned all the posts of each blog to the blog’s board.

Future efforts:

I have to decide if I want to go back and create a board for my Miller Mosaic Social Media Marketing blog posts. If I do, I will pin only the most recent blog posts.

I did, in a way, get around this by creating a board labeled “My Blogs” that board has a link to each of my major blogs but not links to individual posts.

Question of copyright:

The one area that I am pondering in connection to Pinterest is copyright protection.

I know when I pin a photo from my own blog posts that I have legally obtained the photos I use with my own blog posts. And if someone puts a guest post of mine on his / her site and adds a photo, I see no reason to worry about how that photo was obtained as the photo is not being used on one of my own sites.

But, if I create a pin from someone else’s site with a photo that accompanies a guest blog post of mine, what is my responsibility to the possible copyright holder of that photo?

I am NOT a lawyer so I am only pondering the question of copyright. If anyone would like to weigh in on this question, please do so below in the comments section.

… and / or click on the ‘like’ button if you enjoyed this article. Thank you Phyllis. I knew nothing of Pinterest until you offered me this post and now I know. 🙂

This article originally appeared on Phyllis’ blog and was replicated with her permission.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter and @ZimblerMiller on Pinterest) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company, which is now WBENC certified and helps clients effectively use social media and other online marketing strategies.

Check out Phyllis’ books and other projects at


If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with romance author Sarah Fredricks – the three hundred and ninety-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Author interview no.301 with writer Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Welcome to the three hundred and first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with multi-genre author Phyllis Zimbler Miller. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.

Morgen: Hello, Phyllis. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.

Phyllis: I’m based in Los Angeles although I grew up in the Midwest (Elgin, Illinois) where I spent a great deal of time writing.  I then majored in journalism at Michigan State University and later worked as a journalist.  My husband and I were stationed with the U.S. Army in Munich, Germany, from September 1970 to May 1972.

Morgen: Ah, Sie können Deutsch sprechen. 🙂 It’s lovely that you knew so early on what you wanted to do. I didn’t have a clue so went to secretarial college, handy now for my typing speeds. What genre do you write?

Phyllis: I write both nonfiction and fiction.  The protagonist in fiction is usually a strong female character.

Morgen: Yay! 🙂 What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?

Phyllis: I write under my own name and I co-wrote the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION with Rabbi Karen Fox in 1992 and I’m currently working on an ebook series for teens and young adults.  My self-published novel MRS. LIEUTEUANT was a 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semi-finalist and I have since self-published the book FOUR COMEDY SCREENPLAYS (two of which were written with my husband Mitchell R. Miler) and the ebook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS written with my husband.  See

Morgen: Ooh, your husband’s a writer – does he do interviews? 🙂 Have you had any rejections?

Phyllis: I self-published MRS. LIEUTENANT after many rejections because I truly believed in persevering this slice of women’s fiction from 1970.

Morgen: So many people are self-publishing because they’ve battled the traditional way and it almost seems to be becoming the norm. I did it and I love the fact that, with an editor, I have total control. Are all your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?

Phyllis: MRS. LIEUTENANT and LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS are available in Kindle, Nook, and iPad versions.  I work with a professional ebook converter as I want the ebooks to look as good as possible.  I have just gotten a Kindle as a gift and I am really looking forward to not having to hold up heavy books as I read.

Morgen: 🙂 I still read paperbacks (I have a few hardback but they’re mostly writer biographies or anthologies) but love the fact that I can have 400+ books with me when I go out. Most authors have to do their own marketing these days anyway. How much do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?

Phyllis: The online marketing company I co-founded with my younger daughter Yael K. Miller began when I started marketing MRS. LIEUTENANT.  I’ve been developing my online brand ever since.

Morgen: Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?

Phyllis:  The ebook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS began life as two screenplays about the same character.  Catherine Zeta-Jones would be one possibility for the leading role.

Morgen: I know I’m biased because I’m British, but I like her. 🙂 Did you have any say in the title / covers of your book(s)? How important do you think they are?

Phyllis: For SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION Karen and I had very little say – and I am not a big fan of the cover.  For MRS. LIEUTENANT I had a lot of say – and I do like the cover.  For FOUR COMEDY SCREENPLAYS – Yael and I tweaked a template from CreateSpace – and we could have done better.  For LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS – I really like what Yael created.  And even more I like what she created for my ebook thriller-in-progress – CIA FALL GUY.

Morgen: Progress. Perhaps you could have an opportunity to change the ones you’re not so keen on in the future. What are you working on at the moment / next?

Phyllis: Besides CIA FALL GUY I’m considering whether to turn the sequel of MRS. LIEUTENANT – MRS. LIEUTENANT IN EUROPE – into a memoir instead in order to tell the true story of being part of the occupying force in West Germany during the Cold War.

Morgen: War books are always popular – fiction or non-fiction. Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?

Phyllis: I do not manage to write everyday but I also do not suffer from writer’s block.

Morgen: Me neither 😦 and me neither. 🙂 Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?

Phyllis: My stories are plotted and I try to make the actions as realistic as possible.

Morgen: Do you write anything other than your books?

Phyllis: I also write numerous blog posts for my own blogs and for the blogs of others.

Morgen: So you might consider a guest blog for me. 🙂 Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?

Phyllis: I always edit – in fact I love making changes after I have gotten the first draft written.

Morgen: Do you? I’m not keen. Editing and researching are my least favourites. Do you have to do much research?

Phyllis: For LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS Mitch and I did considerable research.  For MRS. LIEUTENANT I relied on my own experiences and the original documents I saved from 1970 (with a little fact-checking help from Wikipedia).

Morgen: 🙂 What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?

Phyllis: I like close third person for fiction and first person for blogging.  I haven’t tried second person.

Morgen: Oh, do! I’m biased because I love it but I’d urge everyone to have a go and see how they get on (an acquired taste so some of us get hooked :)). I’ve written some for Tuesday Tales if anyone reading this isn’t sure what second person is. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?

Phyllis: I wrote several mystery novels in the 1990s that someday I may evaluate as to whether I should publish these as ebooks.  I think the mystery parts of the novels are good; it’s the character development I’m not sure about.

Morgen: But now you have the experience to put it right. Mysteries are hugely popular so may well be worth revising. What’s your favourite aspect of your writing life?

Phyllis: My very favourite aspect is having a computer as I started out writing on a manual typewriter.

Morgen: Doesn’t it make life so much easier (especially researching). What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Phyllis: Keep writing – and keep continuing to learn.  I spent years studying different aspects of fiction writing after I had been a journalist – I still find certain aspects of fiction writing difficult.

Morgen: There’s quite a lot I don’t do – science fiction and fantasy for instance. I don’t read it so I don’t really write it, although there was a short piece I wrote for my Story a Day May collection that one of the purchasers said was his favourite so I can’t be that bad at it. 🙂 Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?

Phyllis: I love the opening lines of the prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the English he wrote in.

Morgen: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Phyllis: My company Miller Mosaic LLC works with clients including book authors on developing WordPress websites / blogs and using social media for marketing.

Morgen: WordPress is great. Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful?

Phyllis: Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I have a free download of blogging advice for fiction writers at

Morgen: Ooh, great. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?

Phyllis: I find social media sites very valuable – and I especially love Twitter.  You can follow me at In addition, I founded and manage the Book Marketing group on LinkedIn –

Morgen: Do you? I love LinkedIn. I’ve met some wonderful authors that way. What do you think the future holds for a writer?

Phyllis:   More and more ebooks along with more and more control for writers over their own work.

Morgen: Isn’t that great. Where can we find out about you and your work?


Morgen: Thank you so much, Phyllis.

I then invited Phyllis to include a self-contained excerpt of her writing…

Aboard the USS Nimitz, Pacific Ocean: April 16, 0800 hours

She had arrived onboard only last night in the dark.  Immediately this morning she’d been asked to “help out” with target practice. No time to appreciate what she’d finally achieved – a transfer to ship duty.

Mollie stopped alongside a good-looking guy also in his early 30s.  His flight jacket said Witlow and he held the pistol like a gunfighter in a western.  Maybe his call sign was gun fighter.

“Two hands, cowboy,” Mollie said. “This isn’t the OK Corral.  And use the sights.  The object is to hit your target, not scare him.”

The pilot turned blazing eyes on her.  “And who the hell – “

Mollie pointed to the strip of white tape on her ball cap that said instructor.  That stopped his protest.

She held out her hand for his pistol.  He hesitated, then handed it over.

She assumed the perfect two-handed firing position – and in a blaze of fire emptied the magazine at the silhouette target.  Next to her the pilot said nothing.

Mollie hauled back the target.  All her shots converged in a three-inch group – in the target’s groin!

The pilot eyed the target and remained silent.

 “That’s the way to do it,” she said to him.  She cleared the pistol and handed it back to him. 

She walked to the next firing position, aware of his eyes sending death rays into her back. 

Oh, well, she wouldn’t have to deal with him again.  Today’s instructor role was a favor.  Tomorrow she’d be in her favorite spot in the whole world – up above the earth, free of entanglements, speeding towards a far-off horizon.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the co-founder of the online marketing company and the author of fiction and nonfiction books.

Her website and she can be followed Twitter. She also founded and manages the Book Marketing group on LinkedIn.


If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.

If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.

Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!


or for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel, which is being serialised on Novel Nights In!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. I welcome critique for the four new writing groups listed below and / or flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays. For other opportunities see (see Opportunities on this blog).

The full details of the new online writing groups, and their associated Facebook groups, are:

We look forward to reading your comments.

Guest post: Why you need a writing confidant by Lauren Bailey

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of writing partnerships is brought to you by Lauren Bailey (no relation!).

Why you need a writing confidant

Writing is a solitary activity. It’s a vocation that requires nothing more than your mind and a piece of paper (or more like a Word document) and sheer will power. After so much solitude, it’s only natural to fall prey to writing block or become anxious about the merit of your writing. Unless you work in journalism or for a literary magazine, it’s not often that you’ll share your writing with an editor or among your peers before you publish or submit it for review. To save yourself from the isolating nature of writing, I strongly recommend recruiting a fellow writer to be your confidant in the craft.

Having a writing confidant provides a mutually beneficial dynamic for two people who work in a traditionally solitary art. Your writing confidant could be someone whom you bounce ideas off of, or someone whose opinions you trust for constructive criticism. If you’ve ever attended a successful writing workshop or collaborated with another writer on a joint writing project, you’ll already understand the value of having another writer with whom to share your woes, ideas, and creative aspirations.

If not for any other reason, consider finding a peer to share your writing with for the sake of having a fresh pair of trained eyes review your work. Another writer’s perspective can be invaluable to your writing process. To put this in perspective, consider a rather simplistic example. Say that there are two budding short story writers who have ambitions to submit their work to small literary journals and magazines in an effort to start their writing careers. One of the writers shares their work with their best friend who has known them all their life. The other writer befriends a fellow struggling writer and chooses to share their draft with them. Who do you think will offer the more substantial criticism, the best friend or the fellow writer? I’d put money on the best friend giving nothing but praise and admiration to the first writer, whereas the second writer would receive at least a few critical words about their work.

The point is that writers understand each other’s struggles. Even if you aren’t looking for a peer review, the friendship of another writer could be a healthy one if just to have a set of ears that will truly listen to what you have to say. Writers exist as islands apart from the mainland continent of society, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t visit each other from time to time for a dose of perspective.

You need not look any further than the relationships between famous writers throughout the ages to understand the merits of such a pairing. Hemingway and Fitzgerald corresponded with each other a great deal, arguably to the benefit of their work. The British novelist Martin Amis and the British poet Philip Larkin similarly kept up a strong correspondence through their lives, and much of their discussion involved the vicissitudes of the craft. If you follow suit, I would bet that your writing could only improve.

Thank you, Lauren!

This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for Accredited Online Colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with multi-genre author Phyllis Zimbler Miller – the three hundred and first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. And I have a new forum at