Ruby Bayan is a freelance writer who likes to share her simple joys.
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    Ruby Bayan


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"What's New in This Writer's Life"

by Ruby Bayan

12/24/01 - Season's Greetings to all! I wish you and yours a new year of peace, prosperity, and simple joys. Be safe, be strong, and be happy, my friends!

12/17/01 - Read my latest feature at "Long-Lost Friends -- The year 2001 will hold a special place in my personal memory lane -- the dot-crash, the recession, Sept 11. My mother died this year, too. But one thing I will remember about 2001 is it was the year I reconnected with long-lost friends."

12/02/01 - Can you believe it, it's almost 2002! I remember thinking, back when I was a teenager, how real old I'd be at the turn of the century. Well, we're movin' along. Happy Holidays to all!

What I've been doing lately? Brushing up on my creative skills! Seeking out new life and new civilizations! I've been making candles, taken up knitting again, and recently stocked my pantry with some exotic ingredients for some never-been-tried exotic cuisine. It's that recurring phase in my life when I stretch my imagination, and poke my fingers into the unknown. Who knows what I'll discover! Ya gotta live life to write about it! And it's never too late to learn something new. Getting old? Who's getting old?

11/18/01 - Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate the holiday. And speaking of giving thanks, I just checked at and discovered that someone had recently purchased a good number of books from them through my affiliate link! I earned some commission money! But because there is no way for me to find out who my kind benefactor is, let me send a "blanket thank you" to all those who click the affiliate links (Amazon, AllPosters, and CafePress) scattered all over my site. I really appreciate your support.

10/29/01 - A little bit of good news: Aquarium Fish Magazine gave me a nod to proceed with the article proposal I sent them. It's on spec, and may not get published right away, but at least I got my toes in the door. Hoping to hear more good news soon!

10/17/01 - I had fun yesterday, browsing this smiley site: MySmilies. Here are some I picked up:


Thousands of smilies of all sorts! Check 'em out!

10/13/01 - Announcement! Suite101 Senior Manager Marna Gatlin has just appointed me *Managing Editor* of 18 topic areas in her Food and Drink category. I'm truly excited over this wonderful challenge! "Suite Managing Editor" -- wow!

10/05/01 - Kewlness! Got my copy of the first issue of Healthy Family Magazine where my "Blending Families -- Shaken or Stirred?" appears. Many thanks to publisher and editor, Dianna Griffis. Check out their web presence: -- you may want to subscribe... or submit material.

9/27/01 - I just had this brilliant idea -- I'll put together a book, maybe an e-book, a compilation of some of my inspirational articles. This book will be a collection of pieces that will surely sell these days because people are looking for ways to cope with the tragedies, the losses, and the changes we are now forced to deal with. Inspirational books will fly off the shelves as more and more people struggle with post traumatic stress. I'll be rich and famous!

Then I had a more brilliant idea -- I *won't* put that book together. Instead, I'll leave my articles available online, free, for anyone and everyone who needs the inspiration. I'll think of other ways to become rich and famous.

9/20/01 - A non-profit, non-commercial organization, The Foundation for a Better Life, has recently launched its Web site, carrying reprints of many of my inspirational stories. Let me quote from the organization's overview: "The mission of The Foundation for a Better Life, through various media efforts, is to encourage adherence to a set of quality values through personal accountability and by raising the level of expectations of performance of all individuals regardless of religion or race." I'd like to thank Angie Parkin for finding me and giving me an excellent venue to share my words and messages. Thank you, Angie, for this wonderful opportunity to "pass it on."

9/19/01 - The dust hasn't settled but the world has been trying hard to get back to work and to accept that the terrorist attacks have changed our lives in countless ways. Two new articles are up at my Inspiration/Motivation column at the Suite. Hopefully, my words can somehow help in the healing process.

9/14/01 - It's been four days since the tragic disaster in New York City. I had been literally frozen since -- listening, reading, analyzing, reflecting. What is happening to our world? No words. My next article is due at the Suite, and I want to write something... anything. I'll give myself another day. Maybe tomorrow I will have words.

9/07/01 - Sheesh, it's almost Christmas again! Argh! When you're so focused on having fun with life, you kinda lose track of time. Today, I received a set of pictures of Cha, Ariel, and their kids (Miguel and Gabriel -- angels, surely!), good friends who have migrated to Australia. My, the kids are all grown! Yesterday, I received photos of Alexis Patawaran, who's now three months old! Has it been three months?! And next month my son will be... oh gosh!... 23 years old!

Get a grip, Ruby. Okay. Here's the latest in my writing career: Market, Marketer, Marketing. I thought I had gotten away from it when I quit my day job. Not. Right now, while the dot-com arena is re-assessing its existence, I'm handing out my virtual flyers and business cards.

While publishers are deliberating on whether they should continue to exist, and, therefore, publish my new material, I continue to tap some exposure opportunities. Reprints of my earlier pieces are now in: (Learn to Love Yourself) and (Energy -- That's the Key!). Thank you, Mark Farmer and Chuck Jones -- a couple of wonderful, truly professional gentlemen.

8/23/01 - I've just now released the second issue of the OurSimpleJoys Newsletter. Another longish issue that contains the full text of my latest Suite101 article and an unpublished humor piece entitled, "Bathroom Epiphanies." Feel free to subscribe by using the YahooGroups box on the left margin. Or e-mail me and I'll subscribe you directly. If you want a copy of this second issue, l can e-mail one to you in a flash.'s Wendy Maxey has just accepted a reprint of "St. Augustine -- A Blast from the Past." Yesterday, I received my copy of Imprint Magazine's Fall 2001 issue where my "The Comfort of Tears" appears. Thanks again, Sheri Layden.

8/14/01 - What goes around goes around and around, I always say. This week, almost simultaneously, I e-mailed a fellow Contributing Editor of Suite101 while another e-mailed me, about reprinting my articles in their personal Web sites. Three of my Suite101 pieces were picked up by Heike Boehnke-Sharp for her GoddessintheGroove site. And my "Florida Manatee" feature is now also at SpeciesInDanger, thanks to Editor Maria Christensen.

8/03/01 - It's up! Reprints of my "You Want to Be a Writer?" column are up at eWriteLife. Shai Manuel-Coggins, editor and publisher of Publications, invited me to join her group of professional writers and columnists. They all welcomed me today! I am so thrilled! Here's the link to eWriteLife's Columns Page. While you're there, check out the rest of the site -- Shai's done an outstanding job!

Now, let me share a story. A few nights ago, I prepared a real nice submission that I thought would fit the requirements of the Transitions Abroad Magazine. I sent the e-mail out, and crossed my fingers. The following day, the managing editor replied (very prompt!) -- not good -- no fit. So, I followed up with, "How about these?" and sent in two other articles. He said he'd let me know. A few minutes later, another e-mail came from him -- he had visited this site and, well, a copy of his message is now under "Heartwarmers" on the left column of this page. That was real cool! Thanks, Max Hartshorne!

8/01/01 - Yesterday, I had a very pleasant e-mail conversation with Loraine Page, Editor of Link-Up NewsMagazine. She's one of the best editors I've worked with (she does a fantastic job with the publication!), and she gave me my simple joy for the day when she wrote a very powerful combination of the words "impressive" and "talented" in her feedback about my Web site! Absolutely made my day!

Speaking of powerful words, how about "awesome" and "eloquent"? Angie Parkin of Foundation for a Better Life didn't really need to use them on me because regardless, I would've signed on to volunteer my inspirational articles to their "Values" project. Which I've done. I'll post updates as the project moves along. Angie, thanks sooo very much for all the kind words. I love these simple joys!

7/23/01 - The introductory/maiden issue of the OurSimpleJoys Newsletter went out last night. I immediately received congratulations and one "lucrative" feedback -- a friend is hiring me to build her personal site! How cool is that?!

GIFTSHOPS NOW OPEN: We've just opened two gift shops with, the 2001 Webby Award winner for commerce. Check out our shirts, mugs, mousepads, and caps! Here are our two (for now) online stores: FreshwaterAquaria Gift Shop and SoundnMotion Gift Shop. CafePress is giving $2 discounts on some items until Aug 1. Go!

7/01/01 - I finally did it. I've decided to send out a monthly OurSimpleJoys Newsletter. Over the years, I've gathered quite an armful of friends with whom I now find difficult to keep in touch. So, yes, once again, I am harnessing the power of the Internet.

I will be sending simple joys straight to your mailbox -- articles on the various topics I write about, milestones, stories and lessons, and messages from, about, and for friends. Just once a month. And I'll keep it short... and sweet.

To subscribe to the newsletter, you can either go to YahooGroups (OurSimpleJoys Newsletter) and subscribe there, or simply type in your e-mail address in the subscription box at the left margin of this page. I'd be glad to share simple joys with you (especially those I can't share with the general public).

6/22/01 - Imprint Magazine, a Canadian glossy is publishing one of my favorite inspirational articles, "The Comfort of Tears" -- thank you Sheri Layden!

Special: Today, my site is celebrating its 3rd month of online existence. I've posted 17 feature articles and 2 guest pieces. By the WebSeed stats, as of 11:15am EST, I've received 5541 pageviews. The site has gone up and down the Top100 Most Popular sites in the WebSeed network (of more than 700 sites), and is today logged at #93. It's not really making money, but the virtual dollars I get from heartwarming feedback (and subscribers) makes me very wealthy in other ways. Muchas gracias!

6/11/01 - Whew! I finally found time to fix my Gardening section. Had to pull out the links to my Themestream-based archives. I've created copies of some of the pieces I wrote for the office gardening project of You gotta check 'em out! Especially the humor articles (yep, tried humor, too, and Ben Swett, head honcho of Windowbox, said I was cool! Ha!).

6/10/01 - Dierdre Nutall's DreamJobsToGo e-book, "How to Get a Life By Living Abroad" is out! Why am I excited? Because my words are in the "Meet a Few Expatriates" chapter (Thank you, Dierdre)! The author invited me to an interview, and she printed my answers to questions like "why did you decide to live in a foreign country," "what were the most difficult aspects of settling in," and "do you have any advice to those thinking of moving," among others. Dierdre did a good job! Check out for Dierdre's book and a long line-up of career e-books and mentors. Thank you, Amy Crawford (Content Manager of, for the review copy!

Another reprint coming out soon: "Want to Write Non-Fiction? Get a Life!" was recently acquired by Web Editor Kristi Holl of the Long Ridge Writers Group. Thank you, Kristi!

6/02/01 - Managing Editor Wendy Maxey just accepted a reprint of my "Portland OR -- Where You Can See Forever." She sent out an e-mail yesterday looking for travel writers familiar with Brazil. If that's you, e-mail I believe they're still accepting travel pieces. Won't hurt to ask.

Here's a lead I think I'll explore: "Adams Media Corporation seeks true stories of remarkable friends and extraordinary friendships for publication in A Cup of Comfort for Friends, the second book in an exciting new series. We're looking for true stories that evoke emotion, insight, inspiration, compassion, memories, laughter, and tears. Compelling stories that touch your heart, make you think, and soothe your soul. Well-written stories that weave lessons of humanity into vividly told tales." The editor is Colleen Sell ( They pay $100-$200 per accepted story (even reprints). E-mail Colleen for the complete guidelines.

5/23/01 - It's working! It took several months, but now I know it's working! What am I talking about? I wrote this article about how to optimize Web sites for search engine placements some time ago [read article]. When I re-built this OurSimpleJoys pages on my personal domain, I made sure to employ the search engine placement strategies (specifically keyword relevency and prominence) I talked about. went live last December 23, so it's exactly six months old today. Last night I looked at my tracking stats to check how well I was doing with the search engines, and I discovered that when one types up a search for "freelance writer" on, OurSimpleJoys comes up as Number One of 1,775,790 results! Wow!

Now, if that can only translate to something I could take to the bank! Okay, I'm working on that next.

5/01/01 - Okay, it's the month of May... already... again. Time flies. I need to get my act together. Anyone want to buy a column (not the Doric, Ionic, Corinthian kind)? Ye, I figured, I have a site -- a "virtual storefront" -- why not sell my columns from here? So, here's my latest marketing pitch: "Columns For Sale!" Who wants to buy?

4/23/01 - Happy First Anniversary to! Congratulations, Rasheed, on an excellent job on your site! And thanks for including my online writing article in your anniversary issue.

4/22/01 - I'd like to thank Irene Togher, BellaOnline's SouthEast USA Host, for linking to my travel articles in her Florida features. Your Bella site's looking real good, Irene! Way to go, girl!

4/18/01 - Those of you aspiring inspirational writers out there, a reprint of my article, "Inspiring the Inspirational Writer," is currently featured at Writer's Resource Center. Thank you, John Hewitt.

4/16/01 - Hope everyone had a blessed Easter! I have a contest going on at the Suite for midlifers and baby boomers (to end May 10th). Check out the details at my Inspiration/Motivation site. I'm giving away hardcover copies of the newly-released book "If Not Now, When?: Reclaiming Yourself at Midlife" by Stephanie Marston. Excellent book!

And... my guestbook works now, in case you want to leave a note. Thanks.

4/13/01 - Themestream finally bit the dust. Well, it's not like we didn't expect it. Just a matter of time. What I think?

TS underestimated the power of the pay-per-click. In a discussion board I'm subscribed to, one writer said TS owes her 2000 bucks, and another said she was looking forward to a check (which she now won't get) of $4000! I mean, if writers can earn that much money in one quarter (from 2 cents a click!?), how does TS expect to make money at all? I think their business model was an experiment that fizzled out.

So, that's that with that. I'm exploring the print market. As a friend writer commented, the Internet is "spooked!"

3/23/01 - It's up! My tropical fish tutorials have a new home (finally!): Thank you, WebSeed Publishing! Ahh, looks like I'm gonna be pretty busy!

3/17/01 - The "You Want to Be a Writer?" sub-section is up at my Writing page. Visit often for tips, tricks, and thoughts on the craft of writing.

3/15/01 - I am so excited! I just received a couple of very encouraging e-mails from editors of online venues that are looking for writers. Whether these projects actually take off will be anyone's guess but I've gone ahead and printed the editors' kind words and tucked them in my "feel good" folder. I call them "virtual dollars" -- wealth I can definitely carry with me everywhere, and treasure always, until I'm old and gray! Thank you, kind editors -- you shall remain anonymous for now. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Plug: I've put up a new side section (like a side dish?) -- Stream of Semi-Consciousness. It's my journal of some sort. Just jumping onto the bandwagon of online journal writing. We'll see how it pans out. You can let me know what you think. Or not.

3/13/01 - Bummer! A couple of friends called my attention -- my guestbook doesn't work. I tried it and it gave me an error message. I tried posting a complaint on the "Contact Us" form of, the host site, and that form gave me the same error message! Hmm. Have they gone down? Well, so much for free service.

And speaking of going down... Nasdaq says my Cisco, Intel, and Yahoo stocks have plummeted! Just kidding. I don't own tech stocks. It's just disheartening to hear the analysts say that things aren't looking good in the tech scene right now. Am I in the tech scene? I guess I am... cuz most of the online venues I've been writing for have been keeling over one by one. Bummer.

2/20/01 - Ah, a little facelift up there in the intro paragraphs. And a little promise to open a new sub-section in WRITING called "You Want to Be a Writer?" Notice that the sentence takes on a whole new meaning depending on which word you stress. We'll try to address all the various insinuations. This will be my way of trailblazing for my son and all of you who want to be writers.

2/10/01 - Thanks to a very dear cyberfriend, Bob Gardner of Bundok Philippines, who introduced me to this relatively new site,, I am now an MTG Guide for the Philippines! If you're a travel bug or maybe a travel writer, explore the MyTravelGuide community -- I'm sure you'll meet some interesting people there. Guides and Members get their own Web sites, ask each other questions, upload and rate travelogues and photos, and in the process earn "guidepoints" that can eventually be exchanged for travel stuff. I think it's fun -- my guide name is "MyRuby."

2/07/01 - Today has been a good day for me. They say good things come in threes -- well, today, I received four (!) heartwarming messages from fellow writers, all of whom I have not actually "met."

Renie Burghardt, my CyberSis and Contributing Editor of Suite101-Nature Sketches, sent me a lead by e-mail, said hello by MSN messenger, and left a short note in my new Guestbook! Rita Hess, a fellow contributor at and editor of, visited my Suite101 topic! Sue Barton, Contributing Editor of Suite101-Oregon, and fellow author at also came by to greet me at the Suite! And a total stranger, a 17-year old writer from India, Mayank Sharma, who writes for, dropped me an e-mail congratulating and thanking me "for putting up such a beautiful and useful site." Thank you, everyone!

That's four -- four encouraging compliments from fellow writers, young and... uh... mature. Ahhh. Life is good.

1/20/01 - We're having another cold snap here in Florida. Tonight was the nth time I covered my delicate patio plants with plastic bags. My tropical plants turn yellow, if not brown and withered, when exposed to very low temperatures for extended periods of time. I have to bring my Christmas Cactus, which is now blooming profusely, indoors before a forecasted chilly evening. Well, we're not expecting this freeze to last very long. Soon, spring will be here -- in fact, I'm getting ready to sprout my tomato and bell pepper seeds! My plants are my pause and relaxation from hectic writing tasks.

1/03/01 - The year is 2001 -- the 2001 in Kubrick's Space Odyssey. Y2K+1. Now everyone is officially into the third millennium. Are we all ready? Are we all set? Are we rockin' and rollin'? Onward to the future, one and all! No excuses! Now's the time! Be NUMBER 1! Power up those keyboards and hammer away! Those words are just aching to arrange themselves on the screen. So, write write write!

12/23/00 - Exactly two years ago, I launched my first personal Web page at the AOL Hometown community site. In two years I made about seven major design revisions, but this time, I not only revamped the site, I built a totally new set of pages using my own domain name and a paid hosting service. Am I glad we're finally spared from those banner ads!

It took me a whole week to choose and prepare photos, design my logo, banners and backgrounds, and write all the section intros. A singlehanded endeavor, indeed. And I'm so proud of myself!

I still have a long way to go, though -- resources to add, links to double-check, etc. But at the same time I need to keep writing. It's what I do. So, I'll see you in a bit!

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