Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

February 16, 2022

Last week I traveled to Guatemala as part of The World Orphan Fund team. It had been exactly two years since my last international trip, which was to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda in February of 2020. As we returned home then on the eve of the pandemic, the many masks being worn in the airports were a harbinger of what was to come, but we could never have imagined how the pandemic was about to disrupt our world.

The 2020 Africa trip was for the World Orphan Fund, so it is fitting that the first trip outside the USA since then was also as part of a team visiting children’s homes in Guatemala—some where we have ongoing projects and others where we were assessing potential areas of need. If you don’t know the... Continue Reading

January 30, 2022

Welcome to the 2022 Author Series. Here we will continue to share the knowledge (often hard-won) from published authors as they tell us what they wish they’d known before they published or what they wish they could tell their prepublished selves. Our February author is Sherrill Joseph, creator of the delightful Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries for middle-grade readers!

As a mother, grandmother, retired teacher, and now children's author, Sherrill Joseph has made kids her life. She wishes they ran the world. She believes it is incumbent upon every children’s fiction author to promote antiracism. The author created The Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries series for tweenagers, for posterity, to stay connected to kids, and to offer to them characters... Continue Reading

January 25, 2022

World Reading Habits 2021

The Year of More Author Reach

2022 Publishing Trends and Predictions

Why Now is the Best Time to Be an Author


As one would expect January brings a flurry (pun intended) of year-in-review and year-to-come articles for every industry. Here are some that help make sense of the crazy world of publishing.

World Reading Habits in 2021 – from Sandra Beckwith

Check out the infographic in this article for “interesting facts and stats” for reading habits in 2021 that tell us graphic novels were the fastest-growing book genre in 2021, the favorite type of book overall is still romance, and shows reading... Continue Reading

January 4, 2022

Welcome to the 2022 Author Series! Here we will continue to share the knowledge (often hard-won) from published authors as they tell us what they wish they’d known before they published or what they wish they could tell their prepublished selves.

Our first author of 2022 is Jessica Marie Baumgartner. I was fortunate to meet Jess when we were both on a fantasy writing panel at the Untitled Town Book and Author Fest in 2018. Her positive energy was contagious. I love her writing and appreciate her blog (which you can catch up on here.) If you follow my book reviews closely, you may remember my review of her 2021 release... Continue Reading

December 15, 2021

Writer Burnout: 19 Tips for Recovery and Prevention

Reigniting Your Passion for Your Author Career

How to Feel More in Control as an Author

A New Year - A Fresh Start: Sign Up Now


Writer Burnout: Tips for Recovery, Prevention, and Reigniting Your Passion

As often happens, at the end of the year there are often a number of articles devoted to getting your writing career back on track in preparation for the new year ahead. This year is no different. The first of these articles on Writer Burnout comes from Jason Hamilton on the Kindlepreneur site helps you to identify what burnout really is and gives tips on how to overcome it and even... Continue Reading

November 29, 2021

The December installment of the 2021 Author Series wraps up our first year of asking published authors to share the advice they would give to their pre-published self along with what they wished they'd known before they published their first book. But this is not the end! I will continue featuring published author wisdom in this space in 2022!!

Author and literary agent Tina Schwartz joins us this month. I first met Tina as a fellow author, long before she began her agenting career, but back when she was negotiating her own book contracts. I'm guessing a number of my blog readers pitched their work to Tina at the UW-Madison Writers' Institute through the years. (Indeed, that's how I ended up joining Tina's literary agency as a client myself!)  

ABOUT TINA... Continue Reading

November 21, 2021

Acquisitions & Mergers in Publishing – 3 Big Stories

NaNoWriMo’s Not for Me! - Alternatives


Penguin Random House – Simon & Schuster Merger

On Tuesday, November 2 the Justice Department sued to block Penguin Random House from acquiring Simon and Schuster saying that, “this acquisition would enable Penguin Random House, which is already the largest book publisher in the world, to exert outsized influence over which books are published in the United States and how much authors are paid for their work.” Here’s the full DOJ press release.

Follett Sells Baker & Taylor... Continue Reading

November 17, 2021

When I began my professional writing journey about thirteen years ago, I really didn’t know any other writers or publishing industry folks. Indeed, I wrote rather in secret that first year before attending my first writing conference, the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute. I’ve previously talked about how that conference changed my writing world—allowing me to find “my people” for the first time. I’m still connected with so many of those fine writers today, which is especially important now that the conference (along with the entire UW Continuing Studies writing program) is no more. I penned an ode to this conference here. But that conference was just the beginning of building a writing... Continue Reading

November 9, 2021

The November installment of the 2021 Author Series, where a published author shares the advice they would give to their pre-published self along with what they wished they'd known before they published their first book, features Barbara Britton. I think I met Barbara at my very first writing conference more than a decade ago. Since then, it has been fun to watch her writing career take flight! I have often featured her books, celebrated her book launches, and interviewed her about her publishing journey in this space. I love all of her books--her Biblical Fiction titles are just delightful! Scroll down to see the gorgeous covers--including the one for her... Continue Reading

November 2, 2021

I just finished reading Where Echoes Lie by Shannon Schuren last night . . . at midnight  . . . as the clock ticked over to the beginning of All Souls Day. How perfect! 


Because this is a story about a lost soul -- a ghost story -- a fabulous, eerie, page-turning ghost story. 

But what makes this book so special is the rest of the story surrounding the legend of the ghost bride and the modern-day characters who interact with her. What does she want? What does she need? Will she harm them to get it? Shannon Schuren does a fabulous job of intertwining a coming-of-age story with the secrets of the past. As a stellar storyteller, Schuren creates characters we immediately care for,... Continue Reading