Helping HubPages’ Rising Stars

Many discover talented new Hubbers by chance, but by keeping tabs on each week’s Rising Stars, you can find our best new members in a jiffy.

The Rising Star Program on HubPages nominates eighteen Hubs each week, which are selected from three different Topics. These Hubs are showcased on their native Topic Pages for five days in special carousels, which invite visitors to vote for their favorites. The three Hubs from each Topic at the end of each week that win the most votes win their authors Rising Star Accolades, and are also featured in our weekly HubPages Newsletter (weekly winners are also announced on Wednesdays in the Forums).

By keeping tabs on each week’s new winners, you can discover which up-and-coming Hubbers are most worth watching. You can also spread the love and make these new Hubbers feel more welcome. Just drop by their Hubs and congratulating them on their accomplishment! 🙂

Discovered by a Greeter: Haunty Interviews Dirling

Our Discovered by a Greeter series continues with a look at another promising new Hubber discovered by the ever-dedicated Greeter Haunty.

Dirling, called Lisa Simpson by her friends, describes herself as an activist, historian, and world traveler. Though she has only published a small handfull of Hubs so far, they are exceedingly fascinating. Of course, we can only know so much about this promising Hubber from her short bio and small (but growing) collection of Hubs, so Haunty asked her some fun interview questions to give us a better peek at this history-loving Hubber.

Your profile on HubPages is brief, but that much more intriguing. Could you tell us a little about yourself? Why do they call you Lisa Simpson?

I studied Library and Information Science for my masters degree, with a focus on archives and records management. I am tremendously excited by historical materials – personal papers, photographs, official documents – in an archive, your collections are not only unique, but also often haven’t been seen in years, sometimes decades. It’s endlessly fascinating.

I was born in Hollywood, Florida, and moved to Colorado when I was six years old. I absolutely love living here; the beauty of this state is incredibly inspiring. When I’m feeling weighed down, a drive to the mountains is all I need to feel once again that wonder and awe of nature, of life itself. I’ve traveled all over the world, but there’s no place like home.

As for “Lisa Simpson,” well, it’s better than Cliff Claven. 🙂 “It’s a little known fact…” is definitely one aspect of my personality. I have a gift for obscure trivia, dates and names, and quotations. I worry that I can come across as an insufferable know-it-all, but those who love me seem to enjoy benefiting from my random knowledge.

How did you find HubPages and what is your impression of the site and the community so far? Have you set any goals in regard to publishing on HubPages?

I stumbled on HP while I was looking around at freelance writing options and just thought I’d see what kind of reception I get. Writing is a little scary, as you know; you never know how your work will be received. I haven’t set any goals yet, but I have a lot of ideas I’ve always wanted to explore, such as Women in History. There are so many great stories waiting to be told! It’ll be interesting to see how much of an audience I have for that.

As someone who has joined us recently, how easy do you think it is for a new Hubber to navigate HubPages and find the information he or she needs to get started quickly? Is there room for improvement?

I found it easy to get started. I published my first post within a few hours of joining, and messed around quite a bit with the text and photo capsules to get it formatted just right. I couldn’t figure out how to put photos where I wanted them initially, but was able to get an answer to that easily enough with the FAQ page.

As you know, I’m fairly new here, but I’ve noticed a few Hubs with errors in grammar and spelling that would be easily caught by a proofreader. The overall quality of Hubs might be improved with the addition of a place where contributors can have their work checked before posting – pointing out that sort of thing isn’t the kind of remark I want to leave in comments, who likes a grammar Nazi? (Maybe such a place exists right now, and I just haven’t seen it?)

Your first Hubs are some of the best descriptive essays I’ve read recently. They are carefully planned, packed with information, and extremely well-written. What inspires you to write? Can you teach me the process of writing such amazing pieces?

Thank you! I have loved writing ever since I was, oh, about twelve years old. I think a passion for your subject is probably the most important thing to have, but there’s no denying that the getting a handle on the mechanics of writing requires a great deal of practice. I wrote a ton of papers in college, where I was able to hone my research-writing style. For descriptive and informative essays, I feel it makes for a more exciting and interesting read if you have an opinion about your subject, and try to convey that without wandering too far into editorial or propaganda-type writing.

The Hubs you have published so far are concerned with historical figures. Where does your interest in history come from? When you study the history of different peoples are there any over-arching questions that you are looking to find answers to?

I’ve been fascinated with history ever since I did a report on Ancient Egypt in middle school. At that time, it was more an interest in how differently people lived, the kinds of clothes they wore, isn’t that weird how boys would shave all but one lock of hair from their heads? Yet the more I’ve learned, the more it’s become obvious that people really haven’t changed much since the very beginning. We’re still motivated in large part by our emotions, by fear and love and anger. To see how that plays out in world events, the stories of individual people – it’s fascinating. And the what-ifs, if things had happened differently, are equally intriguing to ponder. I’ve been on a Nazi Germany obsession for a little while now – talk about the characters in THAT story! Hitler always thought of himself as an artist – could it all have been averted if they’d just let him into art school?

What is the best or most curious thing that has happened to you in life and you would tell us about?

I participated in an anthropology/geology field school trip to Tanzania a few years ago. It was an incredible experience – five weeks living in a tent in the Serengeti. It made me realize how much we take for granted, the sheer abundance of what we have. Every day in the field when we stopped for lunch, some Maasai kids would turn up and wait to see if they’d be given anything extra. Seeing a boy of six or seven walking his cattle to the watering hole, using a Prestone jug for a water bottle – it’s a different world. Yet the strange thing is, it isn’t a bad world. It’s so simple. Our camp was next to a tiny village with a small hospital where the medical-anthro students were doing a malaria study, and it actually had a few computers and internet access; but the day to day life, just working from sunrise to sunset, taking dinner, and sitting talking around the fire – that’s a nice life in a lot of ways. I can’t make my life quite that simple, but it’s a good reminder to count my blessings.

Discovered by a Greeter: Haunty Interviews Sphinxs Sanctum

One of the frustrating things about discovering new Hubbers is that there is so little information about them! Most have only written a couple of Hubs, many haven’t yet filled out their profile bios, and some even don’t have a profile photo!

Charged with the nobile task of making new Hubbers feel at Home, our special team of Greeters is often frustrated by the enigma new Hubbers present, which is one reason why we’re launching the Discovered by a Greeter series.  Over the course of this series we will interview intriguing new Hubbers identified by Greeters to get to know them better.

Our first Hubber to be featured in the series is Sphinxs Sanctum, who was discovered by Haunty.  We can only learn so much from the small handful of Hubs she has published so far, but her interview with Haunty below offers a sneak peek of an abundance of fascinating Hubs to come.

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself without blowing your cover as a Sphinx, that is? What are your key features? What do you do and enjoy most about it?

My life is rather mundane, for the moment. I am your average American woman of my mid-thirties, living in the south. I live alone, never having had children and am newly single. I’m a country-girl, at heart, as I’ve lived partly in the country and partly in the city over my years. I greatly prefer the solitude, beauty and open space, that country living provides, to the busy, traffic-heavy, crime-laden city. Most people think I’m just crazy to want to live high atop a mountain, alone, with bears for neighbors, yet it’s my dream. Someday it will come true. In my perfect world, I wouldn’t hope for a private island or to travel the globe, just some beautiful farm-land in the hills where I could keep horses and take-in abandoned and injured creatures to rehome.

I live in a small home with a decent sized backyard affording me the ability to keep my animal companions happy. They are like my children and my best friends wrapped-up together and I simply couldn’t imagine living without them. They are another reason that I dream of having property. I’d like more room for my pack to run! I’ve loved animals for as long as I can remember and they’ve been a constant in my life; perhaps because I relate more to, and trust them before humans. Today I work in the animal / medical field and my hope is to return to college to move higher within the field. I was a “slow-starter” toward my career path for I was discouraged by family from following my heart. But now I think, I’m on the right track. Then again, who knows? I may change course again, as I learn something new about myself each and every day.

The answers I leave here, may in-fact, “blow my cover” to anyone that is trying to find me on HubPages; but that’s okay. There is only one person I know who also writes here and was the one who introduced me to HP. I’ve been wondering if they’ll be able to identify me by my writings alone, as I didn’t inform them that I’d joined the party. It’s my secret game.

I’m curious about your Hubber name, Sphinx’s Sanctum, which has an air of such mystery about it. May I ask why you chose it?

I chose the name, “Sphinx’s Sanctum” for I felt an affinity with it. The Sphinx, of Greek mythology, was known as the great riddler. Where I have much to say, I sometimes hide my true meaning asking the reader to interpret the words for themselves. The Sphinx demanded a correct answer to her riddles and if not given, the one questioned was promptly and efficiently, strangled. While I don’t really wish to strangle anyone who doesn’t grasp what I’ve conveyed, I have been frustrated on occasion by those that have not taken the time to understand me.

For readers here who enjoy and know much of Greek Mythology, you’ll remember that the Sphinx, when she finally received a correct answer from Oedipus, threw herself from her perch, to her death. Does that mean if you don’t get the meaning behind what I’m trying to say that I’ll jump to my death? Of course not! Like the Sphinx, I do not wish for anyone to completely understand what I’ve put to paper for then I’d be far too vulnerable. Heart splayed open, waiting for the autopsy.

I am exceptionally protective of my mysteries, and I want each reader to take something away from my words that makes them feel exactly what’s taking place inside of me without revealing it. The Sphinx was said to have the head and breasts of a woman, the wings of an eagle, and the body and feet of a lion. She was a beast; a demon of arcane wisdom. I should only hope to someday possess some degree of wisdom, but like the Sphinx, I am made of many parts; as we all are. Wouldn’t it be a wondrous thing to have the physical power of the lion, the mystery of a woman and the ability to fly?

Writing takes me to a safe, secure, inviolable place; hence the second half of the pseudonym “Sanctum.” Also, what would the Sphinx’s Sanctum be? I believe it would have been a safe haven which contained an atmosphere, a barrier – preventing anyone from ever guessing the correct answers to her riddles. This haven would have protected her life; and now, my soul.

When did you start writing and what inspired you to do so?

This is a question that I fear cannot answer. I have been writing for so many years, off and on, that I could not begin to nail down a year, a specific time or age. If I were to guess, I’d say I have loved stories and the written word in general since I was very little; maybe one and a half or two years old. I was read to every single night, without fail. By the time I was three years old, I could recite every word, from every book, in perfect order. The family thought I was a genius because I would hold the book in front of me, know which page to look at while reciting and turned the pages with perfect timing. I fooled them – Haha! As for the start of my writing, all I can say is that I’ve put words to paper forever. Any time I had trouble communicating anything to family or had an overflow of emotion, the notebook came out. My family members used to make fun of the fact that if I was truly angry at one of them, they knew they’d be getting a letter. I had a turbulent childhood and needed the outlet that writing provided; so, I used it frequently. Other than my letters to family, until HubPages, I had never shared my writing with others; especially not perfect strangers.

Judging by the three poems you already have published on HubPages, you are incredibly talented. What sort of poetry do you enjoy? Can you teach me how to write a poem?

Wow, what a question! Since I’m not anywhere close to a “studied writer,” I’m really not familiar with the many different styles of poetry. Honestly, I must admit that the many types I’ve read, I’m not fond of. My “poetry” is no more than the way my brain translates what’s stirring inside my heart. It is not overly calculated and when I write, it flies forth like a bat out of hell. I don’t know that I have a particular style of writing, but if someone out there does know, I’d appreciate their insight!

What sort of poetry do I enjoy? Well, since I’ve already admitted that I’m completely oblivious to the many styles of poetry, I can only say that the writing I enjoy most is the kind that is honest-to-the-bone and paints me an undeniable picture; one saturated with imagery. I think that’s why I’m troubled by some forms of poetry. You’re offered a stanza full of words that don’t necessarily go-together and then expected to know their collective meaning. Sometimes if you contemplate long enough, you can find something about your life or experiences that the words remind you of; but certainly not always. Often times, they’ve just been a cluster of words; for me anyway. Then the readers’ talk of how deep, moving and beautiful the poem was and I’m left thinking, “Huh, just pull your head from the dictionary long enough to say what you mean.” “To each their own” and “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Maybe if I were a studied writer, I’d understand and find the beauty behind those “clusters.” But mostly, I think it’s a problem where writers are just trying too hard and forcing the words to come, rather than allowing an organic flow.

On your profile you mention that you have kept a journal off and on for some time. What is your dirtiest secret in the journal that you would never tell anyone?

Well, if I would “never tell, anyone,” what on earth would make me divulge the secret here? Remember – the one you’re asking is exceedingly protective of her mysteries. Sorry to disappoint you, I’m not that easy!

As a fairly new Hubber, could you share your impression of HubPages? Have you set any specific goals?

I view HubPages as a bottomless reservoir, providing sustenance to writers of all distinction; allowing them freedom of expression, creativity, knowledge, growth and camaraderie. Some are there strictly to create and grow as writers while others seem to be at the other end of the spectrum, trying to pump-out Hubs as quickly as possible, to make money. Many fall somewhere in between.

I joined HubPages to allow myself an outlet, where I no longer totally hide. I didn’t come to make money, although I’d love to; and I’m not here to find out if I “have what it takes,” to be a respected writer. My intentions are to do some self-reflection, grow as a human being, and see if others relate to my inner workings. If they don’t relate that’s okay, because I’m greatly interested in the way that others’ minds work and the way in which they experience and see the world.

I have not set any specific goals for my time at HubPages. I’m still so very new and trying to understand the ins and outs of it all. There is much to learn here! Really, I’m just thrilled to have been accepted by the many wonderful people who have welcomed me, taken the time to read my Hubs, and advised me. There’s so much wisdom within the pool of writers that I’d be insane not to follow them and their works.

HubPages might just be a wonderland for the imaginative mind. I’m going to enjoy watching the growth of HP and any additions to their already impressive format!

What would you advise prospective writers just getting started with HubPages to do first?

That would depend upon their motives for taking part in HubPages. In general though, I’d advise any prospective Hubber to read, read, and read some more! Review every piece of information within the Learning Center and if you don’t find your answers there, don’t be afraid to ask the old-timers. Most are more than willing to offer assistance.

When you’re primed to write and publish your first Hub, don’t! It can be very enticing and exciting when you have something to share, but hold yourself back. Edit, spellcheck, review your phrasing, and if you’re in it for money then you had better know a thing or two about creating search-friendly Hubs, for this is how you will draw visitors to them. I did everything backwards where I published my first Hub, knowing nothing about any of these things. I am now back-tracking, trying to read everything I can find related to SEO. Don’t make my mistake!

What was the best or most curious thing that has happened to you and you want to brag about?

This is not a question that I’m finding easy to answer, only because I’m just learning to be open with people; and while what I’m about to write will seem absolutely bonkers to some, every bit I swear is true. But, as far as bragging about it, that’s not really something I do and doesn’t apply here; this is just the first and some of the most curious things that have happened to me. I’m giving you more than one because it’s all of the same realm.

I have always been a fairly open-minded person with an extremely sensitive nature. My Grandmother used to say that she could look at me the wrong way and it would hurt my feelings. My Grandfather says that my heart is so big it’s dangerous; that it gets me in trouble. As a people watcher by both nature and nurture, I’ve learned to read people well and have always been empathetic. Now with that prelude, I’ll go into the meat of my story.

When I was about seven years old, I was asleep on the family room couch which oversees a back porch through sliding glass doors. At approximately 1:00 a.m., something gently rustled me from my sleep. As I slowly opened my eyes and looked through the glass to the porch, I saw a man! I shrank further into the cushions, pulling the blanket tight to me, with eyes wide and wondering; yet not truly scared. This man was tall, thin, dressed in a grey, pin-striped suit and he had a wool fedora atop his head. He had recognizable, rust-colored, suspenders beneath his jacket. This man looked so very familiar to me but odd. He was nearly translucent. Not glowing, not see-through, nearly-translucent, cloudy, opaque. He knew I was watching, then smiled and waved. This gave me comfort and allowed me to realize that I was looking directly at my Great-Grandfather, whom I hadn’t seen in some time as he’d passed-on. I was hurried to get to my feet and run out the doors to him, but my feet became tangled in the blanket. As I was trying to free them, I looked up to make sure he hadn’t gone and then I saw him put his fingers to his lips and motion as if to say, “Shh.” With that he turned away, and disappeared. I wasn’t saddened by his departure for I understood that he had loved me enough to come say good-bye; the chance we didn’t get before he died.
About now, most of you are saying, “She was a young child, asleep and this was clearly, a dream.” Well this was what my family thought too; but I knew better. I always felt different, somehow.
Five years later, my Great-Grandmother did come to me in a dream. She walked up to my bed, appearing with that same near-translucency, then, pushed the hair from my forehead to kiss it. She whispered, “Don’t you forget, your Granny Loves you.” I awoke the next morning with her scent still fresh in the room. She always smelled of roses and baking. I thought it strange to have had the dream as I never had dreamt of her before; but I was quite content for my Great-Grandmother was the purest-hearted, dearest woman I’ve ever known. I pulled myself together and went on to school. Somewhere after lunch-time, my Grandmother (not my Great-Grandma), came to the school. When my name was called over the loud-speaker to come to the office, I turned to my friend and said, “I won’t be here for a while. We’re going up north to bury my Great-Grandma. She died last night.” I went to the front office and as soon as my eyes met my Grandmother’s, I said, “I’m so sorry your momma died. When will be leaving?” This shocked her to her core! I reminded her that before I left for school, I had told her that I dreamt of Granny last night. She began to cry and said that she should have known the terrible news right then. After that, my family began to believe that maybe I saw more than they were able to see.

Are you waiting for me to say that now-famous line, “I See Dead People?” Nah. Two years later, this happened again with the passing of my father, whom I hadn’t seen in seven years; and only three or four times ever. But that time, I was scared by it. He wasn’t standing upright, but instead seemed as though he had roller-skates on his knees, rolling up along-side, the length of my bed from the end. That incident haunts me to this day. It felt – supernatural, otherworldly and eerie.

Lastly, I’ve had many “psychic occurrences” over the years. I have foreseen events to come and found many a lost item. The greatest “find” was a good friend’s rather large diamond engagement ring she was given a few days prior. She called me crying hysterically to say the ring was missing! I hopped in my car and went straight to her apartment to help her look. On the way over, I got an impression that directed me to look near the kitchen, behind something dark. When she opened the door, I walked straight in, directly toward the kitchen and stopped at the end of her counter-top. There was a large, black waste-basket; and behind it, her ring! Her jaw dropped and then she began to jump and scream with joy! She couldn’t believe that I found her ring after she had searched for hours.

This type of “psychic experience” doesn’t happen as often to me as it once did. The mind of a child is far more open than that of an adult. I think I’ve had too many obstructions in my mind and spirit over the last ten years. I do still get “warnings” of sorts that others may simply call instinct, but the two feelings are separate for me. So, call it Heightened Intuition, Psychic Ability, Clairvoyance, Extrasensory Perception or whatever you like, I’ve experienced something of that realm.

Is there anything else that I left out and you would like to share with us?

No. I think I’ve said and revealed more than enough here for now! I’ve never been a woman of few words, when it comes to writing anyhow. I’m my worst editor. I wouldn’t know where to begin to cut this down so I’ll leave that to you, if it’s needed.

An Interview with Marcy Goodfleisch

Many Hubbers come to HubPages at the very beginning of their writing careers, using the publising platform as a place to experiment, and leveraging our supportive community as a sounding board.

Marcy Goodfleisch, on the other hand, has come to HubPages after working as a professional writer for years! She brings a unique perspective to our community that many Hubbers can learn from.

In the following interview, Marcy Goodfleisch shares some of the fascinating insights she has gained from being a long time professional writer, as well as some resources she has created for Hubbers and other amateur writers seeking to develop writing careers. Enjoy!

In addition to being a professional writer, you’re a mother of two, have worked as a Communications Consultant, and have held several senior management positions at places like the State Bar of Texas and the University of Texas at Austin, plus you enjoy travel, music, and volunteering. You’ve only been on HubPages for around two months, and already you’ve published 51 Hubs. What’s the secret to your amazing productivity?

The more you write, the faster you become at putting facts, thoughts, quotes and other things into words. I had several demanding writing positions (the newspaper and TxDOT, for example) that required productivity and the ability to meet short deadlines. It was excellent training, and I am thankful for that experience. Eventually, you can predict exactly how long it will take you to write a given piece, which helps in budgeting your time for family and other activities.

Many of our Hubbers hope to someday have their work published in magazines or books. As someone who has had over 600 articles published in newspapers and magazines, what advice can you give to those looking to get started?

It would be great to see every writer on HubPages realize their highest dreams! Because fellow Hubbers asked about this early on, I wrote several hubs about it. Here are a few that answer this question:

What first sparked your interest in writing?

Writing was important to me even as a child; I used to weave fiction stories for my younger brothers and for friends. Later I wrote for my college paper, which helped me become a fast keyboarder. Eventually, I knew I wanted a career in writing. I brazenly contacted the local paper one day, and it turned out they were actually looking for someone to write a small column.  Writing has been the backbone of my career ever since.

You share on your profile that you have been writing for over 30 years. Has your writing style changed much over that time?

Oh, gosh – I certainly hope my skills have improved over the years!  Most new writers need to learn to take themselves out of their writing and focus on the topic. That lesson greatly helped write with a viewpoint or a position without resorting to words such as  “I got upset about . . .” or  “It makes me mad that . . .”  However, when you write an editorial (by nature, an opinion piece), you can get blasted for it.  Many readers took a Hub I wrote about Rush Limbaugh personally, and some comments were fairly biting.

Many Hubbers struggle when considering writing as a purely fun pastime versus a source of income. As a professional writer, would you say it’s possible to walk the line?

Yes, but writers need to distinguish between practicing their craft as a business and writing for pleasure or as an artistic outlet.  When writing commercially, give the editor  of the publication what they want, which is a literate, well-written piece about a specific topic, often of a specific length. If you pay a landscaper to plant a few trees, you don’t expect to get roses just because the landscaper thinks those are prettier. Sometimes, writers are lucky enough to get paid for writing that is also a fun pastime  – HubPages somewhat offers that opportunity, if the ‘for fun’ writing also follows site guidelines. Otherwise, writing is like any other job; it’s work, but it can also be fulfilling and enjoyable.

On HubPages, you cover all sorts of topics- from advice on selecting digital cameras to tips on fighting germs during flu season and an exploration of the meanings associated with various flowers. What inspires all this varied coverage? How do you decide what to write about?

For years, I had to write about a wide variety of subjects (cat shows, zoning laws, belly dancers, bridge design, legal issues – you name it). That helped me see stories in just about anything, and to notice unique and interesting things in every situation.  I’ve actually written a Hub on finding inspiration in everything around you.

What inspired you to join HubPages? What are your future HubPages plans?

For the past few years, I’ve wanted to write about topics that appeal to me rather than whatever editors currently need. I also wanted to begin writing online as well as in other venues.  I saw an ad about HubPages in my local paper, and immediately signed up. I’m very glad I did; this site has allowed me to accomplish both goals and to meet other writers, whom I already consider good friends.  My goal is to build a solid inventory of hubs, and of course to make HubPages a significant player in my income stream.

An Interview with JKenny: A Hubber with a Flair for Fiction, History, Nature, & More

JKenny may have joined HubPages a mere two months ago, but don’t let his newcomer status fool you! This inquisitive Hubber, whose real name is James, has already published 45 Hubs on a wide range of fascinating subjects- and shows no sign of slowing down!

In an attempt to discover more about the man behind some of HubPages most interesting new Hubs, we asked JKenny for an interview. The following exchange reveals a Hubber well worth following.

How did you find HubPages? What inspired you to join?

I’ve harbored a passion for writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember, and was desperate to try and turn my passion into a career. I was on the internet one evening and decided to conduct a search for ghostwriting jobs on Google; after a little browsing, I came across this site called HubPages and clicked on it out of curiosity. After taking the time to investigate what the site was all about, I thought ‘Wow, what a great idea.’ So I signed up and started writing straight away.

You share in the bio on your profile that your main passions in life revolve around natural history, flora, fauna, and environmentalism.

Yes, like writing and storytelling my passion for the natural world harks back to my early childhood. Whenever I study, write or simply immerse myself in the natural world, it helps lift my spirits, especially when feeling low. I love how you can go to the same places loads of times, and yet see or witness something you’ve never seen before. The biggest thing I love about nature is that you never quite know what to expect, it makes you want to go back more and more.

You also express an interest in history- particularly the Classical, Medieval, and Napoleonic eras. What about these particular time periods attracts you?

My fascination with the Napoleonic era derives from reading about the adventures of Horatio Hornblower and Richard Sharpe. I loved the stories, the locations, the weapons, and the way people spoke and dressed back then.

Living in England means that I’m never too far from a medieval castle, and as a child my imagination used to run wild whenever taken on a day out to one. I’m fortunate enough to live within ten miles of three famous English castles, Warwick, Dudley and Kenilworth Castle. I used to enjoy watching reenactments of jousts and sword fights, and then holding my own pretend sword fights with my brother; I’d always have to let him win though.

My interest in Classical history centers mostly on the Romans. I studied certain elements of it at school, but it wasn’t until I watched the film ‘Gladiator’ and taken a trip to Rome to see things like the Coliseum for myself, that my interest really fired up. I loved learning about legendary characters such as Caesar, Mark Antony, Claudius and Nero and reading stories originally written down 2000 years ago.

In addition to writing, you’re an avid reader. Do your reading and writing lives overlap?

Yes, definitely; I read almost as much as I write, if not more. One of the things I love about being on HubPages is reading books and articles for research that I normally wouldn’t have given a second look at. Every time I learn something new, it’s as though I’ve uncovered my own personal mystery, and the sense of enlightenment it gives you is awesome.

You have been publishing some creative writing on HubPages- namely your Temple of Cabal series, which you’re releasing in chapters. Could you tell us more about this?

The Temple of Cabal is a novel that I began working on before I joined HubPages. It’s a fantasy novel about how an ordinary student and his eccentric professor end up journeying into a fantasy world, full of weird and wonderful creatures that exists within a mirror in the professor’s basement. They have to rescue a family being held captive in the Temple of Cabal by an evil dark spirit. My inspiration comes from a variety of sources, but is mostly drawn from stories that captivated me as a child like ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,’ and ‘The Lost World’ by Arthur Conan Doyle.

What are your goals for the next six months on HubPages? What sorts of Hubs might we expect to see from you in the future?

At the moment, I’m simply enjoying the experience of writing about things that I’m truly passionate about, and having people appreciate and take pleasure in reading my work. I’ll admit that money was one of the reasons I joined HubPages, and I hope to be earning a fairly decent amount in six months. Other than that, I intend to simply continue writing quality Hubs about subjects that interest me and enjoying the feedback that I get from them. When I’ve gained enough confidence, I may give myself a real challenge and trying writing about a topic that doesn’t naturally draw me in.

Meet a Greeter: Mighty Mom’s Top Five Tips for New Hubbers

Mighty Mom is one of our most gregarious and friendly HubGreeters. In addition to being one of our special team of Hubbers who regularly welcomes new people to the site, Mighty Mom offers writing, PR, and editing services through her company, Mighty Pen.

Having been on HubPages for over three years, Mighty Mom has learned a thing or two about Hubbing, and has lots of sound advice to share with new Hubbers. Here are her top five tips:

  1. Post an avatar. It really helps establish your Hubber identity. You are fascinating and experienced and you want others to read your work and get to know you. Add that extra visual interest so your HubPages identity really pops!!
  2. Do not confuse HubPages with a blog. It is not a blog. Hubbing is not blogging. If you are unclear on the difference, read the many tutorials helpfully provided by the HP staff. There are also dozens of Hubs written by helpful Hubbers on the subject.
  3. Do not confuse HubPages with Facebook or any other social media/social networking site. It does not work the same way. Are there social networking benefits to HubPages? Absolutely. But that is not its primary purpose.
  4. You’re here to write. So write already! If you intend to make something of your HubPages account (e.g., $$$) then you absolutely have to write Hubs.
  5. The more you put into HubPages the more you get out. We are a writing COMMUNITY. Of course we all want to make money writing. We all want our Hubs to rank on page 1 of the search engines. We want to maximize our earnings. But unless you are already an internet marketing guru, there is much you can and will need to learn from others. Many Hubbers have been at this for a long time. We have lived through Panda and Amazon.com affiliate rules changes and the rest of it. The best advice I can give any new Hubber is to come here willing to LEARN. People here are more than willing to teach you. Be teachable.

There you have it! Thanks, Mighty Mom!

Meet a Greeter: 10 Tips from Easylearningweb

In our second installment of a short but advice-packed series of blog posts in which we introduce some of HubPages’ illustrious Greeters, I am happy to present easylearningweb. When not publishng fascinating Hubs, managing a blog, computer learning website, and online bookstore, and welcoming new Hubbers as an official HubGreeter, easylearningwebworks as a freelance Instructional Designer and Technical Writer.

Given her interest in education and e-learning, you know that easylearningweb can offer some very useful instructions to HubPages’ newest writers.

Here are her top ten tips for new Hubbers: 

  1. Write with passion about something you know a lot about.
  2. Read lots of other Hubs to learn what’s already out there and to get ideas.
  3. Make a list of 10 or more topics that you want to write about such as hobbies, subjects you have studied, or things related to your career.
  4. Remember to include keywords with each new Hub and read how to tips for keywords on HubPages.
  5. Remember to include a keyword-rich summary for each Hub which is created using Summary link on right side when you are in edit mode. This will boost your search potential.
  6. Write for HubPages because you love to write- not to advertise or make money. Success will come in time.
  7. Make your Hubs’ titles unique and not too general so they are searchable.
  8. Link to other Hubs with related content, from your own Hubs (via link within the Text Capsule as well as the Links Capsule).
  9. Keep HubPages upbeat and positive!
  10. Finally, make each Hub a masterpiece and include images (your own or ones those you have purchased or have rights to), well written text, nicely formatted paragraphs, and links to related videos. Include polls and Comments Capsules, and monitor your progress!

 

Big thanks to easylearningweb for sharing these useful tips!