Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Blog Spa

Ever feel the need to get away?  

Susan J. Reinhardt and I were discussing how we felt a little burnt out with blogging, trying to keep up with writing posts and visiting blogs and whatnot. Blogging, entangled with work, commitments and life can seem extra challenging at times.

Don't misunderstand - we love blogging. Because...

  • You meet great people. Susan and I first connected through blogging and became good friends. And of course, we've met you too. :)
  • It provides exposure for our writing and other pursuits.
  • It acts as a forum to interact with other writers. 
  • It's an opportunity to give back to the writing community.
  • It offers a way to sharpen writing skills.

The perks are great! It's an amazing experience to be part of such a wonderful group of people.

But still, week after week, especially with other commitments, blogging can bog you down sometimes. During our discussion, I mentioned the need for a Blogger Burnout Spa to refresh the tired blogger. We discussed a spa equipped with chocolate and good reading material, nestled in a secluded location. The peaceful atmosphere, of course, would provide much needed rest and rejuvenation.

Never one to miss a writing opportunity, Susan came up with this post where she elaborates on her ideal spa.  

Which of course, made me think. My perfect blog spa would include:

  • Chocolate
  • Tea
  • Good books
  • Wonderful mountain views
  • Hiking paths
  • My husband :)

Then I started thinking again. How can we avoid blogger burnout?

Anyone who has been blogging a while knows that it's not for the faint of heart. It takes time and effort. A good blog doesn't happen by accident, and it isn't just about posting. Maintaining the site, returning comments, visiting others' blogs, etc. are part of the package too.

Here's my short list to avoid burning the candle from both ends:

1) Take regular breaks. Stepping away frees time for other activities. This change of pace can offer much needed breathing room and inspiration.

2) Share guest posts. The occasional (or frequent) guest post offers a reprieve for the host and a bit of variety for the readers.

3) Consider post frequency in light of other priorities. Blogging can consume more writing time (as in, you don't get to other writing) than one might think   For example, I post twice a week, but am seriously considering going down to once a week for a season so I can focus on pending projects.
How about you? Do you ever need a break from blogging? What do you do to avoid burnout in any area of your life? What would your perfect blog spa offer?

Have a great weekend!

Happy writing,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday's This and That

Some of This, a Little of That...

What's your take on book reviews? Will you purchase a book based on a review? Do you think reviews are just for new books? Dana Lynn Smith shares her insight on 6 Common Myths About Book Reviews over at C. S. Lakin's blog Live Write Thrive.

Raise and rise - not sure which one to use? Check out Brian Klems' post for the lowdown on this tricky question. Don't worry, Klems offers an easy solution.

Nina Amir's guest post, How to Build an Author Platform by Blogging a Book over at Pen and Prosper, discusses how to take blog content and turn it into a book. Talk about a great idea! She also discusses the the importance of blogging as a means to build an author platform. Check it out here.

Have you jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon yet? Not sure where to start? Jean Fischer offers insight on what Pinterest can do for us in this post, Pinterest for Writers.

Today, November 15th, is I Love to Write Day! If you missed the post with the info on his wonderful holiday, click here.

Thank you! :)

This time of year causes me to reflect on things I am thankful for. Please know that I count you among my blessings. You have enriched my life in so many ways. Your unfailing support is a great encouragement. Thank you so very much, dear blogging friends!

For those of you in the United States, I wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving! To those of you outside of the US, have a wonderful week!

I am taking a blog break to visit with family and friends. See you on November 29.

Happy writing,

Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review - 2013 Guide to Literary Agents

2013 Guide to Literary Agents 

by Chuck Sambuchino

Have you heard? There are over 1000 literary agents seeking new clients. And did you know that the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents contains the current contact and submission info for them? Not only that, but this handy book is packed with helpful information, tips, and resources for writers of every genre.

Writers have questions about agents like, What does an agent do? How do I connect with an agent? Craft a good query? Create a platform?  I’m happy to report that this book supplies the answers and a whole lot more. Each user-friendly section helps writers navigate this tricky process. Chapters cover the agent hunt from start to finish. Mr. Sambuchino has you covered – sort of like your very own “agent coach”, I’m thinking.

The Getting Started segment explains what the agent’s role is and details on how to assess credibility and write a great chapter one. Savvy advice from real live agents is also included, answering some of our most frequently asked questions. Contacting Agents illustrates how to create a great query and discusses how to get your foot in the door at the right place. Other topics include nonfiction book proposals and getting the most from conferences. In Perspectives, debut authors share their success stories and offer encouragement straight from the trenches. Memoirs, Copyrights and Wrongs, and the Writer’s Platform are covered too, as are GLA Success Stories, a listing of happy authors who took previous years’ GLA advice to heart.

The Resources section has a wonderful glossary of industry terms to help us avoid looking like a total novice at this game. The New Agent Spotlight offers more than a little glimpse into the new faces in the industry. This segment discusses how new agents provide fresh opportunities for writers seeking representation. Markets is a comprehensive index featuring literary agent and specialty listings. Detailed conference info (United States and overseas) is also included. 

Stuffed to the brim with craft and business advice, the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents is an indispensable tool. Even if you are not quite to the agent stage yet, the wisdom within will enable you to be prepared when the time comes.

For more info visit:

2013 Guide to Literary Agents

Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents Blog

Have you had any experience with agents? What are you reading this week?

Happy writing,


Please note: I received this book from Chuck Sambuchino for review purposes only. The opinions are my own and no compensation was received.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Book Review - At Every Turn

At Every Turn

by Anne Mateer 

Alyce Benson has a tendency to be impulsive, and it has landed her in hot water more than once. This time, she pledges three thousand dollars toward missionary work in Africa. Her wealthy father refuses to have any part of church related donations, so Alyce must rely on her own resources. Unfortunately, she can’t think of anything to do to raise the money. Except drive. Despite the fact that it is 1916, she has her own car and loves to drive.  She does manage to raise a bit of money by offering taxi and errand services. But it’s not enough. 

The light bulb goes on in Alyce’s head when she learns that her father decides to enter his race car in an event in Chicago. Alyce convinces her father’s mechanic Webster to let her drive in the race. For you see, the winning driver gets a large sum of money, plenty to cover her commitment to the mission fund. 

Lawrence Trotter, one of Alyce’s father’s employees, expresses an interest in courting Alyce. Her parents want to see her settle down and get married and encourage the match. Alyce likes Lawrence’s attention, for the most part. She also enjoys common interests and camaraderie with Webster, who somehow seems more down to earth than Lawrence does.

Readers may want to buckle up, for Alyce truly does face something at every turn, whether it’s a need in the community or overseas, or a race consisting of only male drivers. Or two young men that she admires. Her tender yet impetuous heart entangles her far beyond her means. 

Anne Mateer tells an engaging story with likeable characters and unexpected events. Her attention to detail is subtle, rich, and effective; I had no trouble imagining what Alyce’s world looked and felt like. It’s a fun read, yet one that makes you think about where your heart’s priorities lie. This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Mateer; it won’t be the last.

For more info on At Every Turn, click here.

This book was provided free of charge for review purposes from Bethany House Publishers.The opinions expressed are solely my own, and no compensation was received.

What new-to-you authors' books have you read lately?

Happy reading,


Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Love to Write Day

Did you know that November 15, 2012 is the 10th anniversary of
I Love to Write Day?

Author John Riddle created this wonderful holiday to celebrate writing and hold the "world's largest party for writers."

Mr. Riddle says his goal is simple, and "...people of all ages are encouraged to write something. A poem, a letter, an essay, start a novel, finish a novel...the possibilities are endless!"

So there you have it, whether participating in NaNo, penning an article, a story or blog post, or writing an email, you'll be joining the celebration. Chocolate anyone?

More info on I Love to Write Day is available at the official site.

And, if you happen to be looking for writing ideas to use with your children, grandchildren, or other amazing kiddos in your life, check out my guest article at Carol Alexander's Lessons From the Homestead. I share a few ideas on how to get imaginations primed to stretch those writing muscles. 

Did you know about I Love to Write Day? What did you think about writing when you were in grade school? Have any fabulous weekend plans?

Have a great weekend,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange