A lot to share . . .

Hello, friends, and Happy New Year to all of you! I have several updates I want to share with you, but first off, I’d like to apologize for vanishing for most of the month of December.

On the ninth of the month I came down with a horrid sinus/bronchial infection, a repeat of what I had in the spring after my mother-in-law passed away, only worse. I was so sick I lost four pounds in four days, lost my voice for three days, and never got it completely back for a full two weeks. Fortunately, I didn’t have COVID, and I was mostly recovered by Christmas, so I was able to enjoy the holiday. But even now, in January, I’m still troubled by a cough and have an occasional rasp in my voice.

There is a lot of nasty stuff circulating around out there. I pray you all stay healthy and well!

jack russell dog sleeping in bed with high fever temperature ice bag on head thermometer in mouth covered by a blanket

In other news, most of you know I had a job change over the summer. Although I’m adapting, it’s been an adjustment, and I’m still undergoing training for my new position. My online presence has suffered—both my blogging and visiting blogs—and my writing has taken a hit. During the last few months, I’ve had to make some hard decisions.

My Search for A Literary Agent
I’ve decided to abandon this. I only submitted to six agents with mixed results, but the changes in my employment have made me realize I don’t have the time to invest. Some things just aren’t meant to be, and I can live with that. The problem is, I have two full completed manuscripts ready to publish. I’ve been sitting on them way too long.

Publishing Plans
I have thought about working with a small press again. There is one particular house that I’ve long considered a class act, so a few months ago I sent them a manuscript of my mystery novel, The Keeping Place. They responded by offering me a contract. Unfortunately, after reviewing it, there was one item we couldn’t agree on, so I declined the offer. I could look for another small press, but I think the better road at this point might be to embrace indie publishing. With that in mind, you may see two releases from me in the coming year.

A notepad with pen under the word Write in large letters


My Blog
I’ve always loved blogging, and have kept a steady online presence since 2012—up through late summer of this year when I had to step back. I’m really going to make an effort to get back in the swing of blogging for 2023, but with some adjustments.

I mentioned in the past that I planned to schedule posts but close comments—making my blog more of a newsletter than an interactive platform. I wish I had time to respond to comments, but if I hope to visit and comment on the blogs of my friends, then I need to cut engagement on my own—except when I’m promoting a guest. I will always be available when I schedule someone on my blog.

I already have two guests scheduled this month and I hope you’ll join me in welcoming them when those posts appear.

So that’s the plan for now. I know I’m not the alone in struggling to find balance between family, work, writing, and online commitments. It’s just gotten a bit more difficult for me of late.

My prayer is that 2023 will be kind to you in all aspects of your life. May you find enjoyment in all things, and may health and prosperity enfold you wherever your are. Tomorrow, I will be headed back to the office and plan to share the first of my comments-closed posts. I’ll be sharing my top five reads for 2022—a bit late, but hopefully, still intriguing!

83 thoughts on “A lot to share . . .

    • Thanks, Joan. It is really hard to juggle all of that, as you know. The addition of learning a new, more demanding position at my age, has made it so much harder. My energy level isn’t what it used to be!

      But it’s a new year so I’m approaching it with a new outlook. Fingers crossed I can find balance. And I’m wishing you all the best in 2023.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Thank you for sharing, Mae. It appears that the illness forced you to slow down and reevaluate. Sometimes we need to step away from our routine and truly look at what, how, and why we are doing what we do.
    Take care of your physical body, your spiritual self, and your emotional and mental heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is a lovely comment, Karen. Thank you! And you are so right about having to slow down and reevaluate. I believe I’ve reached that point in my life and I’m happy in finding satisfaction in what I have, rather than what I’ve been chasing (a publishing contract). Wishing you all the best in 2023!

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  2. I’ve been dealing with some kind of upper respiratory bug (not Covid) too. I haven’t had much of a voice for a week but it’s starting to show significant improvement. So 🤞. I know you will find a balance that works for you with blogging, work, and life. Happy 2023!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tessa, I hope you get over whatever you have quickly. I’m now on week four. It seems that the viruses circulating now are lasting a lot longer than they did years ago. I never remember being as sick as I was for as long as I was. Hopefully, I won’t have any repeats in 2023.

      And thanks for cheering me on about finding balance with all I have going on. Wishing you only the best in 2023!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the title of your mystery. I’m excited to read The Keeping Place whenever or however it’s published. I’m glad you’re recovering from that nasty illness, and I hope you get rid of the last of your cough soon! Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Priscilla. Your enthusiasm and good wishes mean a lot to me. I am so ready to kick this cough to the curb and come out the other side healthier than I’ve been in a long time. Fingers crossed!
      Wishing you all the best in the new year!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad you’re feeling better, Mae – you’ve really had a rough time with your health, personal life, and work life this year. I’m with Priscilla – I’m excited to read The Keeping Place however I can. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aww, thanks, Teri, that means a lot to me.
      And yeah, 2022, has been a really rough one for me. I’m convinced 2023 has to be better. That’s the attitude I’m taking moving ahead.
      Wishing you all the best in the New Year as well!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It seems the older I get, the more I have on my plate. I thought we were supposed to be weeding things out. You do what you need to do to stay healthy and sane. And best wishes on your job and your publishing journey.

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Staci, my husband and I often talk about that…how we thought things would get easier as we get older, but it’s a whole different set of problems. If I can just get my health in order, I can tackle the rest (I think), but being sick on top of it for so long has been miserable. I may not be 100% yet, but I’m darn close, and I’m running with that.

      I hope you’re able to find balance as well in 2023. Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for the update, Mae! I’m so sorry you’ve had such a rough time physically for all these weeks!! Nothing like trying to figure out your life’s challenges with jobs and blogs and writing while you are too sick to even talk, much less think straight! I’m really happy it has eased up a bit, and hope you are soon feeling 100% again.

    In the meantime, I fully understand your struggle to balance all the things in life you have to do with those you want to do, and figure out what you might need to cut. It isn’t easy. But remember, most changes you might try out aren’t carved in stone and can be adjusted if need be, or changed back later, when you feel more in control of your time. Like you, I had to give up a lot of things over the last year for various health reasons, but as I’m start to feel better again, I know I can add them back to my life once more, even if on a reduced schedule. And I’m sure you’ll find a balance that works for you, too.

    I’m glad you’re going to give indie publishing another shot. There’s enough work and stress involved with the writing process already, without having to go through the Literary Agent search. The most important thing is to do what you love,
    namely, writing great books that folks enjoy. I’m very happy to hear you are planning to do that, and I’m wishing you huge success with ALL of the above in the year ahead. I have a feeling 2023 is going to be a great year, and I’m betting on YOU to succeed in your new plan of attack! Sending you prayers and love, along with my very best wishes for a super year ahead, my Penderpal! 🤗❤️🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marcia, I love your comment. It makes so much sense to think the approach I’m taking isn’t set in stone, and as I find more balance in my life I can adjust my schedule to add in more of the things I want to do. I am going to embrace that idea and run with it.

      I know you’ve had a struggle with health this past year as well. I’m glad to hear you’re on the mend, and will be hopefully getting back to more of those things you want to do as well.

      And, finally, when it comes to publishing, it was always my dream to be a New York author. I’ve been chasing NY for decades, but a lot has changed for me in the last two years (even before the change in my job). It’s made me realize I can be content with what I have–writing the stories I love and sharing them with the those who enjoy them.

      Thank you for the lovely comment my friend, and for the love and prayers. I return them all in kind, my Penderpal! 🤗♥️🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Mae! And I’m glad my comment might help you as you plan your next steps. As for dreams, sometimes as we age and our perspective on life changes a bit, we find a bit of revision in our dreams can be a good idea. It isn’t giving up on them. It’s just tweaking them a bit to fit the direction our lives are moving in. Kind of like editing our WIPs. We aren’t tossing them … just refining them here and there.

        For myself, I’m hoping that now that I’m feeling better, I’ll be able to focus on writing again. But if that doesn’t pan out as well as I’d like, I will still be grateful for what I’ve managed to accomplish to date, and how much fun I have blogging and networking with other writers. And for the fact that … I’M STILL HERE!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Didn’t mean to hit “Post Comment” quite then, but that’s the gist of what I wanted to say. I have great faith in you and know that your path forward is going to work out exactly as it should! Happy 2023!!! 😀 ❤ 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love your positive attitude, Marcia. I’m going to run with it as well.

        You’re right that aging does make us look at things differently. Right now I’m doing as you suggested–tweaking my dreams to fit with my life changes. And surprisingly, I’m content with that.

        I know how much you love to write, so I hope you are to get back to it eventually, but if things don’t work out that way, I will be ever thankful that I was able to meet a boy named Rabbit, the Painter Brothers, Jake, Dodger, and so many more.

        And I’ll be looking for you online when you post too. I think we’re both approaching 2023 with the right attitude!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank, Jill. I do believe stress factored into me getting so sick–or at least not being able to bounce back the way I should have. And thanks for reinforcing my idea about going indie. I don’t have time to chase a big press, and many of the small ones don’t appeal to me. As long as I can write books and share them, I can be happy. I think it took this year and a lot of soul-searching for me to realize that.

      Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Selfcare is so important and sometimes we neglect it for the many “have to” things of life. With work and home and writing, there’s little time left. You’ve chosen wisely dear Mae. Your books will shine, they always do, and I look forward to reading them when they are published. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely comment! Thanks so much, Gwen. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to let go of some of the pressure in my life and that includes chasing New York. Somewhere along the line I think writing went from something I loved doing to something I wanted to succeed at doing. That’s still something I attain to, but my measure for success has changed, and I feel so much lighter in spirit for having embraced it.

      Happy New Year!

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  8. Happy New Year, MC! I think we are living parallel lives with our plans for the New Year. You could check out Realization Press, a small indie publishing company run by Drew Becker. It published The Last Pilgrim and if I ever get the dang PDF of my next book vetted and sent back to him (and to you), it will also be published by RP. Very reasonable fees.
    Waiting on your books with bated breath!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the information, Noelle. The Last Pilgrim was a classy book. Realization Press did a fantastic job for you. I’m pretty good with doing my own formatting and cover art. It’s just the time invested, but I will look RP up to see what they offer.
      And, yes–I’m still looking forward to receiving your latest when it’s ready!

      Like

  9. We’re all having to make some hard choices, Mae, and I totally understand your decision about your blog. I am here to support you in all your endeavors and look forward to new books from you! Hugs and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for the information, Mae. Time is one of the rarest commodities, and you should spend it in a way that most pleases you. I’m sorry you have been so Ill and hope 2023 is free of that concern. You have tons of fans so whatever you decide about publishing we will all be with you. I wish you a Happy 2023 (again).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such a wonderful comment, John. That means so much to me.

      I’m now in week four of being sick, but I’m around 98% so I’m ready to gear up and tackle 2023. I don’t want to give up writing or blogging. as I love doing both of them, so I’m going into the New Year with a different mindset. And I can’t wait to release my next indie book.

      Thank you again, and I wish you only the best in the year ahead!

      Like

    • I’m hearing all good things from indie authors, Jacquie. I think it’s time for me to stop sitting on my work, and just move ahead and share it. I’ve only released one indie novel (many years ago) and a few novellas, so I expect to have a small learning curve, but I’m looking forward to joining the ranks of so many talented authors.

      Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Everyone I know who’s gotten sick this year has gotten REALLY sick and it lasts a long time. I’m glad you’re starting to feel better. And I don’t care how you publish your books, I’m just excited to read them! I love your writing. Hope you find the right balance for everything in your life. It’s tricky to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is tricky, but I think I’m headed in the right direction. It’s been six months I’ve been struggling to find balance, but I think I have a plan going forward. And I’m thrilled you’re looking forward to my releases. Thank you! I hope to release both The Keeping Place and The Ghosts of Wingate Hall in 2023.

      And you are so right about people who’ve gotten sick getting REALLY sick this year. I’m seeing that all around me. There’s just a lot of nasty stuff out there. Stay healthy and have a great New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Happy New Year to you, May yer Lum A’ways reek. I hope that you feel better soon.
    Years ago, I lost the publishing contract I had and had to make a similar decision to your own. I fretted about it for ages, delaying publishing for three years but eventually thought, “why not?” and went ahead and self-published. I found the self publishing route very rocky and thought many times that I was foolish to have even considered it, but the deed was done, and I had to run with it. I was selling a small fraction of my published books and doing twice as much work to sell them but eventually you adapt and change, it is a vastly different marketplace. I now have both a publishing deal and I self publish under a pseudonym or two but make more money from my self published books. Life is strange indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Ray. I had to look up your greeting, and must say I love it! Thank you 🙂

      Thank you also for the info on indie publishing. I’ve found some programs (Atticus) that I hope will make things easier for me. I’ve also paid for a formatter in the past, for a novella I released and can go that route again if I find the time too much to invest. What I’m seeing from many of the small presses, however, is insistence that authors carry the bulk of promotion for their books. In the past my publisher did that for me, so I was okay with giving up a percentage of royalties. But if the burden is going to be on me (BTW, that isn’t the issue I had with the contract I mentioned), I might as well go the indie route.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m glad you picked up another publishing deal, and also glad you’re making more money from your self-rubbed books. That’s inspiring!

      Happy New Year to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have used Atticus but I prefer Canva and simple old “Word” for formatting and styling though it takes ages. But I am weird in that most of my readers buy paperbacks. Lol- probably because they are all old but then I am no youngster myself. The advertising and promotion for self published books is a bind and (to be honest) I do not enjoy it but I like my books to be read. Good luck with whatever method you choose.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Ray. In the past I used Word, then HTML but I need to find something easier. Like you, many of my readers buy paperbacks—at least in the local market. Online is mostly all Kindle.

        I may just end up paying a formatter, LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Mae, it’s nice to see you here. I am glad you are feeling better… so many bugs have been around and we have no choice when they creep into our body, silently!
    Happy New Year dear friend. I know this year is going to be better for all of us. Wishing you all the best with your new plans of publishing. Indie authors are doing fine Mae, it’s the content that matters. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a wise comment about indie publishing, Balroop. I so needed to hear that!
      I am really going to dive into indie in 2023 and not look back.

      I too feel 2023 is going to be better for all of us. Stay healthy and well, my friend. There is a lot of the nasty stuff circulating around. I look forward to being online again and seeing more of your wonderful poetry! 🤗

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  14. I’m glad you are feeling better, Mae, and hope the residual effects dissipate very soon. I had similar just after my birthday in December. It just so happened that I had a routine doctor’s check-up the very next day and was prescribed an antibiotic. My sinus didn’t get as bad as yours, but then my family came down with sickness, and they were afraid I’d catch that. We ended up Facetiming Christmas! We made it fun, though, and were able to celebrate the New Year together. I always admire the way you make your hard decisions. You make it look effortless, but I know it is not. Take care and much fondness and blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flossie, I’m so sorry to hear you were sick as well—and then your family! It’s sounds like you kept Christmas fun despite the hurdles, and I am so glad you were able to be together for New Years.

      Thank you for the kind words, my friend. I know I’ve done a lot of soul-searching and praying to reach my decisions, but I have peace with them, and that’s what counts. I’m excited for what the new year will bring. Wishing you much happiness, health, and success in 2023!

      Like

  15. Hi, Mae! I’m so glad to get through to you today before you turn off comments. I applaud you for realizing that your plate is full. I’ve enjoyed your books and I look forward to your new releases. Best of everything in 2023.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Linda! Wow it is so good to hear from you! I hope life has been treating you well. I’ve missed interacting with you online and hope to be able to remedy that in 2023.
      Thank you so much for the kind words and wishes. I’m excited to attempt to find order and balance in 2023, and wish only the best for all of my friends. I look forward to new releases from you as well. Many blessings in the New Year, my friend!

      Like

  16. I don’t suppose you could share more about this small publisher and what the issue was with the contract? My ms is currently in front of two small presses. I’m wondering what words of wisdom you could offer about do’s and don’ts of small press contracts.

    Sorry about that awful sounding illness! Glad you seem to be on the mend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Betsy, my sticking point with the publisher is that they would not guarantee print. COVID set me back, but I have always done local book signings, and have enjoyed paperback sales of my books. The house I selected said they would only do print releases based on sales numbers, but when I asked what the threshold was for those numbers, they had no definitive answer. Print is too important to me, so I declined the contract.

      May I ask what houses you’re currently entertaining. I’m pretty set on going indie at this point, but I am also always looking for reputable houses.

      Thanks for the well wishes. I am defiantly on the road to recovery!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Happy New Year! Hey, taking care of health is the most important thing there is – every single other thing can wait/take a back seat. Really. I’m glad that you’re doing better (even if it’s not totally gone). When we went to Norway/Denmark in ’18 (I think), I was so sick that I literally was on three different drugs and had NO voice at all. I had to write everything. You do get through it. And there is nothing wrong with indie publishing. You. Do. You. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sue! It’s so good to hear from you.
      Wow, you really had it bad in ’18. At least I didn’t have to resort to writing my thoughts, though I can related to the three difference drugs. It got to the point I was so sick of taking meds I had to stop for fear of vomiting them back up.I am so glad to have that behind me.
      And thanks for the input on indie publishing too. I am motivated to move ahead in that direction.
      Happy New Year to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m glad you were feeling better for the holidays. I was able to keep up my blog while working but I wasn’t able to get serious about writing anything longer until I retired. I hope you find a way to release those books into the wild. I look forward to them. Happy New Year, Mae.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Dan! So great to have you drop in. Retirement is likely a few years off for me, unless I decide differently. I know when I finally reach that goal, I’ll find wonderful balance between writing and blogging. For now, it’s a challenge, but I’m tackling it fresh this year. Thank you for the kind words about my books, and I’m thrilled that retirement has allowed you to embrace writing more thoroughly. You’re a wonderful storyteller.

      Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

    • So sorry to hear you are struggling too, Jacquie. I’ve found blog breaks do help, but juggling everything these days seems harder than it used to be.

      I hope things work out for you as well. Here’s to a bright, shiny, and optimistic 2023! {{hugs}}

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow! That is a huge update! I’m glad you’re feeling better, though. I have a lot of problems with balancing my life and taking on way too much for me to handle.

    Thank you for sharing your blogs with us, and I hope things get easier for you in 2023 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Heartfelt post Mae and I am so glad that in 2023 you will be blogging in full swing that’s a positive and also I am sorry about the sickness that has befell you , I pray in Jesus name that you will be safe, healthy and active in 2023!

    Thanks for sharing this post and all the best with your goals this year💯🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Mae, I too am behind because of so many unforeseen events of late. I am having issues getting back to it as well. I know that I need to rearrange my time more efficiently as there is only so much that I can do.

    I wish you success in 2023.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michele, I wish you all the best in 2023, too. I understand how those unforeseen events creep up, and I know you’ve been dealing with a few. As you said, there is only so much we can do, and part of moving ahead is accepting that.

      May 2023 treat you kindly, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

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