The Helpful Health Hubs contest: in the final stretch!

Three weeks ago, would you have guessed that we would have had over 2,000 great Hubs published on the topic of health?

If you’ve been health-hubbing, congratulate yourself on a job well done…and keep it up in the final week!  If you haven’t been health-hubbing, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do. 😉

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We’re in the final stretch now. With one full week to go, you have only seven days to submit Nutrition-themed Hubs to the Helpful Health Hubs contest. Today’s topic is Vitamins & Supplements.

Time to vote for the next People’s Choice Award on the health page! There are 10 impressive hopefuls to consider. Please have a look at them and vote for your favorite. 48 hours later, voting will end and a winner will be named, and they’ll receive a $100 prize!

At the same time, our panel of judges are choosing their favorite exercise and fitness Hub, and we’ll announce who will be the winner on Wednesday. That winner will also be awarded with $100, and be in contention for the grand prize of $1,000 at the end of the month.

Again, this week’s topic: Nutrition

Today’s (specific) topic: Vitamins & Supplements (you can begin an auto-categorized Hub using this link)

Remember! Your vitamins & supplements hubs (up to 3) must be published before noon tomorrow (Pacific) to be eligible. At noon every day, the topic changes. See the full calendar here.

Helpful Health Hubs Contest – Final Week!

Hey Hub folks.

I just wanted to remind everyone that we are entering the final week of the Helpful Health Hubs contest (has it been three weeks already?).

We have seen some really impressive hubs on all the topics so far, and frankly, I wish we could award more prizes on a daily basis. Thanks hubbers!

Starting Monday, March 22nd, we will be starting a new category. It will be Nutrition, and given the diverse perspectives on HubPages, I think all of us here are expecting some great new hubs.

And if that isn’t enough to get you interested, let me also add that we there will also be a drawing for a $1000 grand prize winner!

So if you haven’t created a hub yet for the contest, now’s the time to start hubbing! The contest ends on the 28th.

Thanks everybody! Keep on hubbing!

Cheers,

Jacob

It is almost St. Patrick’s Day again

The following is a personal viewpoint from HubPages Staffer Norah Casey on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day, and my green is all packed away.  This is quite intentional. I don’t particularly like celebrating St Paddy’s with the general public, and I avoid cheesy “Irish pubs” at all costs. However, as a proud Irish-American on the HubPages staff, I thought I should write a post on an Irish holiday that is both widely celebrated and mostly misunderstood.

The holiday was originally established to reflect upon and honor Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick was born into a wealthy family in Briton, far from the shores of Ireland. He was kidnapped as a teenager and sent to Eire as a captive slave, until he escaped some years later. He claimed that a vision demanded he return to Ireland, which he did after becoming a bishop. Saint Patrick travelled throughout the country as a remarkably talented missionary. He incorporated symbols of reverence used by the ancient Irish people into Christian contexts, such as a sun (a strong symbol in ancient Irish customs) combined with a cross to form the signature Celtic cross. The three leaves of the shamrock was used to depict the Holy Trinity. Bonfires were burned on Easter, similar to a local tradition of burning great fires to honor the gods.

One of the most frustrating aspects of historical study, especially when dealing with a time frame as remote as the fifth century, is a lack of primary documents from the individuals being studied. Fortunately, Saint Patrick left behind a rare wealth of information for our study. There are two pieces of writing from Saint Patrick which details his life, thoughts and visions (though without dates). His book Confession tells of his enslavement, visions, and missionary work. A letter to the soldiers of Caroticus relays information on his rather ordinary missionary existence. One of the great legends associated with Saint Patrick has to do with his divine miracle of driving the snakes from Ireland. In fact, there have never been snakes in Ireland. Or in Iceland or Greenland, for that matter. First, Ireland is an island and snakes have a bit of trouble swimming long distances. Secondly, the only time that a snake could have made the crossing, it would have been killed by the glaciers that covered the land during the recent ice ages. The snakes of the legend are presumably a sneaky reference to the Druids.

This is all very interesting to a historian or history student (such as myself), but these facts don’t matter much to an average Irish-American. Or really any American of drinking age, as the holiday has become associated with dyed beer, ‘kiss me’ stickers, green shiny shamrock decorations, and parties. While some Irish and Irish-Americans still consider this holiday a time for reflection, solemn worship, and perhaps a family get-together, others prefer enjoying large quantities of alcohol from bottles adorned with harps, Gaelic-style script and Celtic symbols. Such exuberance began in Ireland many years ago, leading to legislation in 1927 that prohibited the sale of alcohol on Saint Patrick’s Day to keep the partying down. This was lifted in the 1960s to promote tourism, and now festivities can be found throughout the island. For many Irish-Americans, Saint Patrick’s Day is the one day out of the year when one can proudly assert their Irish roots at the local bar, no matter how small the fraction of ancestry. Personally, I’d much rather watch “The Quiet Man” at home and enjoy good drinks and great company with family. And I won’t be wearing green.

Hubs:

Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipes For St. Patrick’s Day
A fantastic set of Corned Beef recipes from HubPages Community Manager Maddie Ruud

How to Cook Irish Food and Prepare a St. Patrick’s Day Dinner
This is a great hub with a recipe for soda bread and a great list of reasons to drink Guinness.

St Patrick’s Day Shots and Shooters
What link list on St Paddy’s would be complete without mixed drink ideas?

Other sources:

Patricia McDonagh, “Exemptions from Good Friday alcohol-sale ban,” Independent.ie, 09 March 2010.

Promocodeslady, Weekend Sale and Coupon ie, 11 March 2010.

James S. Donnelly, Jr., “Religion: The Coming of Christianity.” Encyclopedia of Irish History and Culture. 2 vols. Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.

The Helpful Health Hubs contest: the halfway point!

Although I’m not here right now (I’m at my partner’s brother’s wedding), through the magic of WordPress‘s timestamp feature, this post should be published at precisely noon (Pacific), at the halfway point of the Helpful Health Hubs contest.

Two weeks down, two more to go!

Right now, voting for the next People’s Choice Award begins on the health page! There are 10 excellent contenders up. Please have a look at them and vote for your favorite. 48 hours later, voting will end and a winner will be named, and they’ll receive a $100 prize!

At the same time, our panel of esteemed judges are determining their favorite diet and weight loss Hub, and we’ll announce who will be the winner on Wednesday. That winner will also be awarded with $100, and be in contention for the grand prize of $1,000 at the end of the month.

Those of you who have been health-hubbing, kudos on a job well done. Haven’t started yet? It’s not too late!

This week’s topic: Exercise & Fitness

Today’s (specific) topic: Choosing a Workout (you can begin an auto-categorized Hub using this link)

Remember! Choosing a Workout Hubs must be published before noon tomorrow (Pacific) to be eligible. At noon every day, the topic changes. See the full calendar here.

Week 2 of the Helpful Health Contest begins!

It’s been one week, and with hundreds of top-notch alternative and natural health Hubs published over the course of this past week, the Helpful Health Hubs contest has gotten off to a fantastic start.

Today (as in, right about now) voting for the People’s Choice Award begins on the health page! There are 10 excellent contenders. Please have a look at them and vote for your favorite. 48 hours later, voting will end and a winner will be named, and they’ll receive a $100 prize!

At the same time, our panel of esteemed judges are determining their favorite alternative and natural health Hub, and we’ll announce who will be the winner on Wednesday. That winner will also be awarded with $100, and be in contention for the grand prize of $1,000 at the end of the month.

If you’ve been health-hubbing all week, please give yourself a pat on the back. And, keep in mind that the effort you expend today should garner you years of readers ahead. 🙂

This week’s topic: Diet & Weight Loss

Today’s (specific) topic: Weight Loss (you can begin an auto-categorized Hub using this link)

Remember! Weight Loss Hubs must be published before noon tomorrow (Pacific) to be eligible. At noon every day, the topic changes. See the full calendar here.

HP Success Stories: Cindy Vine uses Hubbers’ help for her third book

One of the things I love about HubPages is that people find all sorts of personal rewards by Hubbing. Naturally, the most obvious and well-known reward is the money that you make via ads. But there are some Hubbers who have used HubPages to get writing work and to even publish a book!

Cindy Vine (cindyvine), interviewed in a newsletter earlier this year, shared her good news that her third book had been recently published, and she thanked the HubPages community for helping to bring the book to fruition. Cindy generously answered a few questions I had about the authoring process and how Hubbers’ collaboration helped.

1. Your story of publishing your book, The Case of Billy B, is a really inspiring one, and really underscores HubPages as a community of writers. Tell us a little about the basis of your third book and its title character, Billy B.

I had just published Stop the World, I Need to Pee! and was looking at ways to market my book online.  This led me to HubPages, and I thought if I became a part of the community there, then I could start to build an author platform.  At that time, there were some Hubbers who were full of fun and into hubjacking hubs.  Some of those Hubbers have become my dear friends.

Anyway, one of the hubjackers, a hubber called Pest, sent me an email telling me a little of his amazing life story.  We chatted a bit on Skype, he told me a little more, and I suggested that he write a book.  Although I thought he was a good writer, he told me that he was too lazy, didn’t believe in himself and I should do it.  I realized that I had the basis for a really good story.  However, I needed more details, and Pest slipped off the planet and I struggled to get hold of him, remembering that at that time I was in China and Pest was in the US.  Anyway, I posted some questions on the HubPages forums and other Hubbers gave me answers I needed.

One hubber, Ralwus, offered to edit the book and help me to make it more American.  Billy B is a little boy who was abandoned by his mom at six months.  His father, Chris, is forced into single parenthood, which he finds quite difficult.  He goes from job to job, ends up in Michigan and finds a woman to care for Billy at night while he is doing nightshift.  Chris gets romantically involved with the caregiver, and she starts abusing Billy.  Things go from bad to worse for Chris and Billy, there are some twists and turns, and little unexpected bits.  It’s a really good story, and told from different perspectives.

2. How did you do research via HubPages about the setting and language of your novel?

Dash, think I answered that above.  I posted questions on the forums and received many replies from helpful hubbers.  Ralwus helped me a lot, gave me information, told me when my language was not American, etc.

3. Tell us a little about the collaborative editing. How did that work?

I have a friend who edited my first two books.  He lives in London.  He’s an English literature teacher and gives creative writing courses.  As I finish a chapter, I send it to my friend Rob in London.  He edits, makes suggestions and sends it back.  With The Case of Billy B, as I finished each chapter, I also sent it to Charlie (Ralwus).  He also edited it, made suggestions and sent it back.  When I finished my first draft, I looked at both their suggestions and revised my novel.  Then they both edited it again, I did further revisions, and then one of the parents of a child in my class, Diane Bowe–she’s a journalist from Seattle who is also an editor–then did the final edit.  Found un-American phrases that Charlie had missed, gave a few more suggestions, and I revised it again.  Quite an intensive process!

4. You posted your first few chapters of your book on HubPages and solicited feedback from fellow writers. What sorts of insights did you glean from fellow Hubbers’ comments?

I posted the first three chapters on HubPages, calling them teaser part one, two and three.  I received positive comments and constructive criticism: advice on how to rewrite certain parts so that it sounded better, and pointing out parts that didn’t correllate, etc.  The feedback was all positive and very useful.  I also found it quite inspirational as they sounded just as excited about The Case of Billy B as I was.

5. How did the novel writing experience for The Case of Billy B compare to the process in writing your first two novels?

My first book, Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet, was a self-help one about breaking the cycles of bad relationships in your life.  A lot of it came from my own experience and research, talking to many different people to get their stories.  Stop the World, I Need to Pee! is almost autobiographical and was set in Southern Africa which I know well.  So, that was quite different.  The Case of Billy B was different in that it wasn’t my story, although I was able to give Billy some of the experiences I went through as a child.  I think whatever novel you write, you always give your characters some of you.

Billy B was actually easier to write even though it was set in a country I’ve never visited, because of the help I got from the HubPages community.  Hey, my books are available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

6. What advice would you offer to a novelist looking to a writer’s community such as HubPages for assistance during the writing process?

I would say that within the HubPages community you have so many experts in a variety of areas.  A community like HubPages helps with your research.  Pose questions on the forums, read Hubs, and you’ll find out far more than using Google search.  HubPages is not only an encyclopedia, but you can find out how people feel about different issues and you can use that in your writing.

7. Do you have any ideas about your next book? Any teasers you’d like to leave with us?

I am already busy on my next book provisionally called Not Telling.  It’s about two sisters who don’t get along.  The younger one is always bullied by the older one and gets abused and raped.  Years later, the older sister returns to her hometown bringing her fiance.  She wants to make-up with her younger sister.  However, the man she brings home is the one who raped the younger sister many years before.  So now there’s a dilemma.  Does she tell her older sister about the rape?

For this novel, I asked in a HubPages forum if anybody had interesting stories.  I received a lot of replies and could use parts of some of them to give me a basic plot line, which I have developed further adding in all kinds of extra twists that come from the dark areas of my mind.  I also posed the question in the HubPages forum: if you and your sister hated each other and she bullied you as a child, and years later she brought home her fiance and it turned out to be the man who had raped you, would you tell her?  I received an overwhelming response to this question, and surprisingly enough, most people said they would tell.  This of course has now influenced me to move my plot in a whole different direction.

Thank you, Cindy! If you want to read more of Cindy’s upcoming Hubs, become her fan!

The Helpful Health Hubs contest begins!

HubPages’ fourth contest, the Helpful Health Hubs Contest, begins right now!

You can publish up to 3 Hubs per day on each day’s health topic, a contest day beginning at noon at continuing until 11:59 am the subsequent day. Each day will have a different topic (or topics) within the realm of health and wellness.

Each day will have a daily drawing for $50, and every week there will be two $100 winners: one selected by our judges, and one selected by the HubPages community. Be sure to vote for the people’s choice winner for the week Monday-Wednesday on the contest page, beginning March 8th.

Please read the contest page for more details and for the official rules.

Our judges for this contest:

  • George Guerin, Blogger, Newark Star-Ledger, and Owner, PPTS Wellness
  • Tom Held, Reporter, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and Blogger, Off the Couch
  • Hemi Weingarten, Entrepreneur, Foodie, and blogger at Fooducate – eat a bit better™

If you’re not eligible for this contest (we’re sorry that we couldn’t extend it to residents of all countries, but hope to expand our eligibility list with each subsequent contest), please consider participating in the concurrent HubMobs, also on Health & Wellness during March. Visit the Hubber’s Hangout and look for the HubMob thread opened by Princessa! This week’s thread is here.

Good luck!