Wednesday 19 February 2020

Domain Name Not Working without WWW When Pointing at Blogger - SOLVED

Blogger Domain Issues Solved

Domain Name Not Working without WWW When Pointing at Blogger

So as I have mentioned previously, I have been busy setting up everything for my alter ego Virginia Waytes and her Sexy Stories Podcast. I purchased the .com and domains for the name as soon as I decided on the nom-de-plume, but had not yet decided exactly where to point them.

This week I finally made the choice to point them at Virginia's presence on Blogger because everything else is linked from there and I can host everything there as well so its all in one place. IMHO it also looks nicest on mobile.

Anyway, this was a little trickier than I expected, even when following their instructions to the letter. As you can probably guess from the title of this post, it didn't completely work. is a great free service where we can check such things. It does a lot more than that, but after putting in a URL for them to check, we can scroll down to the section called "Indexing" and it will tell us if anything is wrong.

N.B I have "HTTPS availability" and "HTTPS redirect" turned on on my Blogger, because Google down ranks sites that don't have HTTPS activated.

I used these instructions to point my domain at Blogger: Google's Domain Instructions

What is boils down to is that after putting in our domain name on Blogger, we will see this:

Image showing the layout of the instructions on Blogger for setting up the domain name.

Under the black bars on the image is information specific to our Google account and will be individual, but it will be in the same place.

We then have to go to our domain name provider and put in the following record into the CNAME section - wherever that happens to be for them:

Host NameTypeResult
Bit under black box
Other bit under black box

And we have to set up out domain forward to point to our Blogger URL (e.g. in my case

However, when I did this the first time, as I said above, everything worked except the https:// without the www.

Thanks to this article: Solved GoDaddy Domain Not Working without WWW in Blogger I managed to sort it out, even though my domain is with not GoDaddy.

Turns out I had to do the following:
  1. Remove the A records above and save.
  2. Put the A records back in and save (this refreshes the DNS records).
  3. Take out the domain forwarding.
  4. Put the domain forwarding back in making sure all domain version forward the same way.
And it all sorted itself out. It can take up to 48 to propagate, but it took mine less than a minute.

And that's it. For a while there I was very confused, but thank heavens someone else had the same issue and worked it out. Hence the reason I decided to share.

Thursday 13 February 2020

Stretches for Authors and the Pomodoro Technique

Stretches for Authors and the Pomodoro Technique

Okay so I know, as authors/bloggers/desk jockeys, we are all guilty of sitting ๐Ÿ’บ still too long and, I don't know about you, but this plays havoc with my shoulders and neck. However, I have found a solution. Hence I have come to share.

Now this isn't a complete cure if you're past 30, sorry, we all know age is not our friend when it comes to odd aches and pains, but I have noticed a huge difference since changing my routine.

What We Need:

  • Focus To-Do ap - a Pomodoro technique ap available for most devices - has a free and paid option
  • A water bottle or other receptacle
  • A little space to walk around/move


Pomodoro is a focusing technique involving work elements and break elements. This idea is we:
  1. Do some work for a certain amount of time (I use 25min, but the Focus To-Do ap lets you choose)
  2. Take a break for a certain amount of time (I use 5min, but again the ap lets you choose)
  3. Repeat and every 4th time the break is longer. (I pop down and have a little peddle on the exercise bike๐Ÿšด‍♀️ during the longer break, but I realise this is impractical for those who don't work at home ๐Ÿ˜‚).
Focus To-Do also lets us set up lists of tasks in projects, so we can work our way through our list as we use the technique. It also stores what you have been doing and how many Pomodoro sessions it took,

Now I know that working and then deliberately taking a break just because the machine tells us too seems counter intuitive, especially with authors. Surely it will break the flow, I hear you say. And actually, it doesn't.

Personally I can bang out more words using this technique than by just writing non-stop, and it helps when doing covers or blurbs or even social media. Of course if I happen to be in the middle of doing something really important I can keep going for a minute or so, but I have learned to trust the timer. 

The good thing about Focus To-Do is we can use the timer strictly and have it move from work to break to back again automatically, or we can opt to do so manually. I use the manual option so I have the flexibility, but most of the time I simply click the start button straight away so I don't cheat too much.

The breaks allow me to rest my brain and my body regularly, which recharges both for the next element of work. It also means I don't think about twitter or email or anything like that, allowing them to distract me while I am working because I know a break is coming up and I will have a chance to look then.

Stretches and Stuff

So we have our break, but if we just sit there surfing email or twitter, it might help our brains, but not our bodies. Hence I have a little routine.
  1. Take a drink of water or beverage of choice.☕ (Of course you can drink at other times, but only refil during the break and make sure to drink as well because we all forget๐Ÿ˜‰).
  2. Do shoulder and neck stretches (see below for details).๐Ÿ’ช
  3. Walk up and down my stairs, twice (my office is in our converted loft, so I sit right next to the stairs, but any walking around is good).๐Ÿšถ‍♀️
Using this routine every 25mins during the day, I have noticed a huge difference in how I feel. I started with only the walking, which, although I am slow, has really made me feel better. I have an ankle condition that makes walking hard, but my measured up and down the stairs gets the blood pumping even though I take it gently. 

Then I added in the stretching, which is all done in my chair, which has helped my shoulders so much. When I am out of the house I use crutches to help me get around, and it plays havoc with my shoulders along with all the typing, but these help to keep everything mobile and mostly pain free๐Ÿ˜Š. Now these are not full stretches that have to be held for 30s or anything like that, they are just about keeping moving and not stiffening up.

The Stretches

[Edit: Forgot to mention, my PT gave me these stretches as part of my warm down routine]

Sit forward in a chair so nothing is in the way and hold each of this for a few seconds and then release, being gentle and slow so as not to pull anything. If you want you can hold them for 20s each, but I only do that when I'm using them after a workout ๐Ÿ˜Š. It also doesn't matter what order we do these in, we should all find our own rhythm.

1. Cross shoulder stretch
Hold one arm out straight and use the other to pull it across our body so that it remains parallel with the floor while stretching the shoulder. Repeat for other arm.

2. Overhead shoulder stretch
Place one hand on top of the other, lift arm directly about head and stretch upwards.

3. Front shoulder stretch
This is the same as the overhead shoulder stretch, but with our arms held out directly in front of us. Also, drop the head forward to stretch out the neck at the same time. (No doubt there will be some crunching and clicking from our over worked tendons ๐Ÿ˜‚).

4. Side shoulder stretch
Hold arms at right angles to body straight out at the sides with palms out, and push outwards to stretch. (This one is surprisingly hard, although the more we do it, the easier it gets).

5. Chest and upper arm stretches 
Arms pointing down at 5 and 7 o'clock positions, palms towards the back, thumbs pointing down, bring shoulder blades together and twist palms out to the sides at the same time.
Keeping shoulders back twist palms to the front as far as possible so thumbs are pointing up and slightly to the back, bending arms at the elbow.

And that's it, simple and easy to do, and it keeps everything moving.

My apologies for not having piccies for the last 3, but couldn't find any. I hope the descriptions are sufficient.

Do you have any tips on making sure we writers on't stiffen up while we're working, or lose focus?

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Another new cover - Myriad Imaginings - Paperback

Myriad Imaginings Cover Reveal Banner

Another new cover - Myriad Imaginings - Paperback

So we've been meaning to get the Giveaway Games anthologies into paperback for a while now, but there had never been time to sit down and give it them the attention they deserve. However, that time has finally come.

Myriad Imaginings is going through a new re-edit, to make sure it is perfect and, of course, every book needs a cover.

As you may recall I redesigned all the covers for the Giveaway Games anthologies last year, so I have a great start to work from in creating the paperbacks.

Now the current book blurb is fine for eBook descriptions, but it wasn't right for the blurb on the back of an actual book, if you see what I mean, hence I had to rewrite that too.

However, it is done and I have what I think is an almost definite cover. Just waiting for some feedback from Soph, but this is likely to be it. What do you think?

Paperback cover for Myriad Imaginings by Natasha Duncan-Drake & Sophie Duncan - Woman staring out of a window at night.

The big space on the back at the bottom is where the barcode gets put BTW. Just in case you were wondering ๐Ÿ˜„.