Monday, July 29, 2013

Is Multitasking a Myth?

How do you define multitasking?

As a mom, I've been multitasking for years, like doing a load of laundry while making dinner, or folding clothes when talking on the phone. That variety of multitasking, I think, is good.

One thing I've learned over the years, though, is when it comes to writing and office work, multitasking is not a great idea. I've tried sending an email while talking on the phone, for example, and couldn't focus on either. I shortchanged one or both parties in the process.

It sounds good in theory. Multitasking gets more accomplished in a day. Or does it?  I've heard it said that multitasking means doing many things but none of them well. What do you think? 

I wonder if the multitasking mentality, in part anyway, comes from a society driven to "do". We must accomplish something all the time, it seems, and multitasking acts as a means to that end.

In this Harvard Business Review Blog Network article, How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking, Peter Bregman shares his observations. He says we are 40% less productive when multitasking, and noticed his productivity increase significantly in his week long experiment not to multitask. 

Do you think multitasking is a good way to get things done? What kind do you do?

Have a great week!

Happy writing,

P.S. I was interviewed recently by Grace Conyers at Insanitek. The topic is home education, so if you or anyone you know is homeschooling, I invite you to check it out.  For the record, Grace coined the "guru" title in her kind intro. Had to smile, never thought of myself as one! :)

Photo image: Stock Exchange

Monday, July 22, 2013

Self Publishing Forum

Please join me in welcoming authors Cathy Bryant and Tyrean Martinson. They've graciously agreed to share their insight on the self publishing journey. 

Cathy's latest book, entitled The Way of Grace, is the third in The Miller's Creek Series, and can be found here.

Champion in the Darkness, Tyrean's debut novel and the first in The Champion Trilogy, is available here.

Cathy Bryant
Welcome Cathy and Tyrean! So glad you both could join us. What motivated you to self publish?

Cathy: Thank you! It's great to be here. The main reason I decided to self-publish was because I felt it was the direction the Lord wanted me to go. It wasn't an easy decision; at the time, self-publishing was writer suicide. Around that time I was devouring novels and would find scenes that seemed tacked onto the storyline for shock value. I really didn't want publishers and editors doing that to my stories.

Tyrean Martinson
Tyrean: Thank you Karen, it's a pleasure to be here! There were four areas that pushed me toward self publishing.

Research - I researched both traditional publishing and self publishing for several years and I discovered that most of the Christian fantasy authors published by the big, traditional Christian publishing houses had been previously published in another genre first. I looked up author and publishing house info, and agents, but I didn't see any easy "breakthrough" area for new Christian fantasy authors. I realized not long after I went with self publishing that I hadn't dug deep enough into the world of small press publishing. I'll be doing more research into that area in the next year or so, as I consider where to send future projects.

More Research - I researched independent authors and looked at their process. I found that I liked the idea of independent publishing and I added it to my bucket list of writing goals.

The Bucket List of Writing Goals - This list includes triple goals of getting published by a traditional publisher, by a small press, and through independent publishing.

Control - From content formatting to cover art, I wanted to experience creating a whole book and making my own decisions over everything. Not every piece went the way I thought it would for my first project, but I leaned a great deal through each part of the process.

I applaud and admire your motivation. I know it's no easy task! What were the biggest hurdles of the process?

Cathy:  The stigma of being self-published was a difficult hurdle for me personally. I've always been a people pleaser and my decision upset and distanced some of my writing friends. Plus it's a TON of work. In addition to writing the story, you're responsible for editing, formatting, book cover, marketing, etc. Get ready for loooooooong days.

Tyrean: A back up system that backfired took me by surprise, and I tried to push my way through to my self-appointed release date. This caused some problems, since the first 40 or so copies had some serious errors in them. I thought, even though I had lost my copy edited version just two weeks prior to my release date, that I had fixed everything in a second copy edited version. I was very wrong, and a bit embarrassed by that. My backup system had been dismantled because my computer underwent some repairs and the backup system wasn’t put back into place, and then my computer crashed and my most current files were fragmented. My solution now: new backup system, check on the backup system every week, and e-mailing myself and my husband current work. Plus, I learned that I need to hold off on setting a release date until I’m in the formatting stages of my book. My second project, a collection of fantasy short stories and poetry called Dragonfold and Other Adventures, didn’t get a set release date until I had my proof copy in front of me.

How did you publish your book, through a publishing service or other means?

Cathy: Printer. I cannot recommend going through a publishing service. Many companies out there are quick to take your money and give you nothing in return. My advice? Do your research!!!

Tyrean: I went through Create Space, which is Amazon’s self-publishing service, and Kindle. I also used Smashwords, Kobo, and PubIt for Nook originally, but currently my projects are only available in e-book format through Kindle Select. I’ve heard some great things about Lightning Source for print publications, so I’m peeking into that for potential future projects. 

What advice do you have for writers who are interested in self publishing their work?

Cathy: Study the market, read lots of novels, research all the ins and outs of self-publishing.
Tyrean: Triple back up your work! Set your release date after you are either involved in formatting, or you have your proof in front of you. Do plenty of research into self-publishing options, and look beyond your first project to your next one – it keeps your writing habits healthy, and keeps you sane when doing final copy edits and formatting.

Great advice! Thank you both for sharing your experience with us!

Here's more info on these wonderful authors:

Cathy:  Cathy’s desire is to write heart-stirring stories about God’s life-changing grace. Her first novel, Texas Roads, was a 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis finalist. Her second novel, A Path Less Traveled, was published in 2010.  

The Way of Grace, the third book in the Miller’s Creek novels was released in 2012, and Pilgrimage of Promise was released in 2013. A native Texan, Cathy recently moved from the beautiful Ozark mountains of northwest Arkansas to the Sangre de Cristos of northern New Mexico. 

You can find out more about Cathy and her popular Miller's Creek novels at

Tyrean: Tyrean Martinson lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest, encouraged by her multitalented husband and daughters. She likes to write, read, teach, ski, bicycle, and walk. Using her degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in English, Tyrean homeschools her two daughters and teaches writing and literature classes at Harbor Christian Homeschool Co-operative.  

Tyrean has been published in print anthologies as well as e-zines like Every Day Poets, Every Day Fiction and Mindflights.  

Champion in the Darkness is a YA Christian Fantasy about Clara, who is ready to become a master swordswoman. She goes to meet with longtime mentor Dantor and is told she's destined to become the Champion, a fabled hero who arises in a time of need. Confused by this claim, Clara isn't sure she's ready to be a Champion. Whether she is ready or not, an evil threatens their land and Clara and her mentor Stelia must find the strength to overcome the darkness.  Champion in the Darkness is the first book in the Champion Trilogy. 

Visit Tyrean at

What do you think about self publishing? Do you think it's for you? Do you have any questions for Cathy and Tyrean?

Happy writing,


Monday, July 15, 2013

The Bucket List

A friend's family is planning a surprise celebration for her upcoming birthday. Their plan includes items from her bucket list, and sounds like a lot of fun.

It made me think about what I'd put on a bucket list.

Trip to Italy? 

Hike in the Rockies?

Write a best selling novel?

Snag tickets to the Stanley Cup finals?

Then of course, I wondered, what can the bucket list do for our writing?

Stretch our skills?

Provide ideas from A to Z?

Act as a catalyst to fulfilling big dreams?

What's on your bucket list? What can it do for your writing? Please share!

Have a great week! :)

Happy writing, 


Photo credit: Ink2 Stock Exchange

Monday, July 8, 2013

An Exciting Summer

There's good summer news popping up everywhere!

Author Jessica Nelson's self published ebook, Remember Love, was just released. You might recall Love on the Range, her historical debut novel, was published by Love Inspired last year. (It was very good, btw.) Congratulations, Jessica! Looking forward to reading the latest. :)

Young Adult novelist Michelle Isenhoff's mission is to write quality reading material for tweens and young adults. This is a cause I applaud and embrace, for I recall how difficult it was to find good books for my kids at that age. I love her philosophy. See if you agree with her thoughts:

"I write for kids.  In my books, you can expect adventure and substance, but I'll always respect the innocence of our children."  

Yes and amen to that! Her latest project sounds like a winner too. Here are the details:
Emblazon is a blog written by a collection of indie and traditionally published authors who care about producing high quality stories for kids. We have a particular focus on ages 11 to 14. We call them Tweens. The purpose of Emblazon is to celebrate tween literature. We want to draw attention to this fabulous genre, interact with other enthusiasts whether child or adult, and encourage new writers. Emblazon launches its first post on July 10. Click here for details.
Michelle and the others would be pleased if you'd like to join them or help spread the word for this fabulous new adventure.
What fun things are happening at your place this summer? Writing, writing, and more writing is happening here at my desk as my book Homeschool Co-ops 101, published by Helping Hands Press, is scheduled for release on August 15.

How is your summer going so far? Does the warm weather hinder or inspire your writing?

Have a great week,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange: swain

Monday, July 1, 2013

Writing for Freedom

"Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die." 

Dwight D. Eisenhower

As Independence Day approaches here in the United States, I'm wondering...

How does our view of true freedom and independence impact our words?  

As writers, what can we do to promote freedom of the heart and soul?

Do you have any special plans for July 4th?
Enjoy your week!

Happy writing,

Photo Image: Stock Exchange