Thursday, December 8, 2011

Winners...and an Update

Can I just humbly admit that I have been the biggest slacker this week?  Please?  Confession is good for the soul, or so I've been told. :o)

I should've announced the winners from last week's Birthday Bash a whole...three...days...ago.  But I've sorta kinda taken an internet break this week, spent some time evaluating my blog goals (more on that later), and choosing the winners was the last thing on my mind.

But I know you're anxious to see if you won something, so here we go!  :o)

The winner of Vickie McDonough's latest book, Long Trail Home is...Julie W!

The winner of Pack One of books from the Giveaways Galore post is...Kathy C!

The winner of Pack Two of books from the Giveaways Galore post is...Melanie D!

The winner of Pack Three of books from the Giveaways Galore post is...Beth M!

The winner of Ginger Garrett's latest book, Desired, is...Julie L!

The winner of Lori Copeland's latest book, Lost Melody is...Carol W!

And last, but not least, the winner of any one of Julie Lessman's books is...Sandy A!

All of the winners have been notified, and have 48 hours to respond with their mailing addresses.  Congrats to all you ladies!  You're in for some real good reading!  :o)


Oh, right...I promised you an update here, too, didn't I?  Well, here goes.

I'm in a rut.  An all-encompassing rut.  

I still love reading, but I don't know how much I love blogging about reading.  There is so much time and effort that is required when there's a deadline to review a particular book.  I know I'm not alone here, but I feel enormous guilt when I haven't gotten something read by a tour date, or when I promised someone, or close to a release date, etc.  Don't get me wrong...I love the camaraderie of blogging, meeting new people, comparing what we love and don't love, the occasional recommendation from a friend, and so on. 

But is that enough to continue, considering the dedication it takes to keep it going?

I read a blog post this week from my dear friend Casey about how after she finished with one week jam-packed with blog posts, she was simply exhausted.  And she's right...being on "go" all the time will wear you out quicker than you can blink.  Last week was like that for me.  Don't get me wrong...I had so much fun, I could hardly stand it, but by the end of the week, I was flat exhausted.  I was spending an hour or more every night gearing up for the next day's post. 

So, all that leads me back to whether or not it's worth the effort.  How much of an impact is being made with the content on this blog?  A little?  A lot?  None at all?  Do the reviews here convince anyone to go out and buy a book?  Do people really enjoy meeting Christian fiction authors through the weekly interviews on Southern-Style Meet & Greet?  Did you enjoy this post when I did a little twist on an author interview?  Do people think I'm crazy because I'm a Southern girl who sounds like she's from the sticks once in awhile?  Or do people just come because of the book giveaways?

These are the things that have been running through my head all week long.  At this point, I just don't know which direction I want to go.  I know this much...I don't want this blog to become stagnant.  But on the flipside, I know I don't have as much time as I use to for promoting, tweeting, facebooking, etc.  Does a happy medium really exist?

What are your thoughts?  Have you gotten in a rut before, and if so, how did you get out of it? 


  1. I can tell you I definitely don't come for the book give-aways (I only entered one last week :)). I come more for the reviews themselves than anything else.

    As far as the rut goes, when that happens to me, I just flip what I'm doing - I tweak it, change it, dismantle it, examine it, etc. Running a blog is hard work (I typically post 4 - 5 times a week on mine), but so rewarding, if you're writing about what you love. That's why I have so many different "series" on my blog - recipes, crafts, finance, etc. I love a lot of things, so I just encompass them all on my blog.

  2. Thanks, Jess.

    I know I can't commit to posting that often every week anymore (no matter how much I may love any particular topic), but a change is definitely on the'll just be a matter of what it is.

  3. Christy,

    First of all, I know what you mean! I saw Casey's blog post, too, and I appreciate that we can all be honest with each other - and understand. :)

    I don't know if I'm qualified to say much of anything this week... "Dead week" here is not a week without classes and/or homework before finals - at least not here, anyway. It's the last week of classes when all those big papers and such seem to be due!! I probably didn't pick the best week for my "Love Finds You" blog party... But it's been nice to read people's comments and have something else to think about besides scary deadlines! :)

    I love blogging and I consider it part of my "platform" should I ever go professional with my love of writing. :) But I get what you're saying regarding blogging about reading - sometimes you just want to be able to tell people "no," and I have a hard time doing that! And I confess that I love getting free books and getting to share my thoughts on them, but I have so many books piled up that aren't for review that I wonder if I'll ever get to...

    Sorry for my ramblings! I love your blog, Christy - especially with your new design and "Southern Style Meet & Greet" interviews! So classy and fun!

    As for me, I just can't wait until my Civil War class papers are done and I can sleep more and maybe get back to reading this weekend...


  4. I personally really love your Southern theme. It's a place we all want to go and of course, who can't but help lovin' some Southern accent. ;-)

    I actually do not FB and tweet all my posts. Mainly because I don't want my twitter stream to be a push about my blog. I guess I've just decided that what will be will be and who comes, comes. But I do LOVE blogging. I hit slumps where I don't know what to post, but having a schedule helps me what to post when. It's better than trying to be creative every day and not knowing what to post. For example I know Wednesday is always my devotional day, so I'm already tossing a few ideas around. T/Th are book reviews. Monday is book giveaway. Friday are often my hardest days. I try to be light hearted and casual and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. :)

    I visit your blog for more than the giveaways and think you're very creative with your interviews. I struggle with that!

    Your blogs moves a bit slow for me (the way it loads, not your content!! ;-) so I don't visit *every* time you post, but I enjoy my time when I do!

    Hang in there, Christy. Whichever way you go, I still think you're doing great. :)

  5. Amber,

    Bless your heart, girl!!! I took college classes part-time for 2 years, and finals week would exhaust anyone...I don't care how much they love school! :o) I'll be thinking about you and praying that you can get everything accomplished.

    You're right, too. I have a hard time telling people "no," too, but I think that's gonna have to change. Right now, I'm thinking about not having a "schedule" for book reviews. More specifically, I want to be able to read books when I want to read them, not when someone tells me to. There will occasionally be an exception to this b/c we all have our favorite authors whose books we absolutely must read as soon as they hit the shelves. But aside from that, I want to get back to reading being fun for me. Lately it seems like a chore. :o(

    And thanks for sharing the love for the SSM&G's! I've been wondering what to do with those in the future, i.e. whether I want to change it up some, or even drop them altogether.

  6. Ack....evidently, I didn't proofread my last comment, or I wouldn't have said "too" twice in one sentence! Looks like my bedtime may need to be sooner than I thought tonight...

  7. Casey,

    Thank you so much for coming over! Your post this week really spurred me on to make some decisions, and at the same time, helped me know that I wasn't alone. :o) You are such a blessing to so many (me included), and I know that a lot of people get a great deal of encouragement from you and your blog. *wink*

    While I know I just said not two comments ago that I wasn't going to have a "schedule," there are some things that must be scheduled (such as interviews). I would like to keep those a once-a-week deal like they are right now, but it's still a question of whether I want to jazz them up or not. Currently, the SSM&G's are every Monday, and if I do decide to keep those (or go with a different interview format entirely), I'd like to move them to a different day of the week. Mondays seem to be one of the busiest days in the blogging world, and I want the authors that are here to get some good exposure, but not be drowned out by all the noise elsewhere. Make sense?

    Thank you, too, for the compliment on the interview questions! Truthfully, I have always felt like my questions were rather dull, so it's great to hear that others really do find them interesting! :o)

  8. P.S. to both Amber and Casey...

    I wish y'all could just come visit down here! I'd make us a mess (more commonly known as "a lot"...not a literal "mess") of fried chicken and sweet tea, and we could have ourselves a good ol' chat.

    So, thanks for liking my Southern-ness. I'm rather fond of it myself. *grin*

  9. I personally love the Southern Sass. I'm a Yankee who doesn't get out much so a taste of the south is always fun! I agree with Case in that your interviews are so fun and creative. My feeling is if blogging is taking a lot out of you and you don't feel like it's fun anymore, take a break!!!! The past few months I was posting everyday, sometimes twice a day and I was on blog overload. Since I cut back on review books I've requested it's been crazy trying to figure out what to post, plus since it's the holiday season it's doubly difficult to balance life and blogging. I really enjoy your blog so I hope you don't give it up!!!!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  10. Renee,

    You gave me a chuckle with the "doesn't get out much" because I'm constantly using the line "I/you need to get out more!"

    The last few weeks have felt somewhat like a break, but not a true break, I guess. I've come to the conclusion that there's no way I can post daily. With my old job, I got an hour for lunch every day, and occasionally, I would post during my lunch break. With the new job, I get 30 minutes, and that's barely enough time to get food warmed up in the microwave and eaten or taking a trip through a fast-food lane and driving back to work. So, the blogging that I have done in the last month or so has been at night, and I just can't see myself spending every night on something for the next day.

    Ultimately, I'd like to get it down to two or three days a week, with as much as possible set up in advance. That way I've got time for real life, plus reading review and non-review books. Guess I need to start formulating a plan...

  11. I think your blog is one of the more unique ones out there. Your interviews are definitely unique. I met someone the other day who wanted to know about how to set up a unique book blog, and I sent her your URL.

    Blogging about reading is hard work. As a writer who is working on her own WIP and critiquing the work of writing friends, I can completely understand the pure exhaustion that all of it takes on. Sometimes it feels like just one more thing to add into the crazy mix of life.

    A trick that I use to manage my time with blogging is pretty much the same one I use with writing. A calender. The first Saturday (or last Saturday of each month), I compose all my posts for the entire month. I pre-format everything, type interview questions, and even pre-format my book reviews. It can take up to an entire Saturday, but it's worth it. I put everything in draft mode, then set out my month's calendar. When it's time for to post, I hit publish.

    Of course, when I finish reading a book, I go ahead and write the review, but keep it in draft mode until time to publish it. To give myself enough time to work on the review, I try to read all my books a month ahead. It doesn't always work out, but most of the time it does.

    Something like that might work for you. Every one is different, so you'd have to tailor a plan to your own needs and family, but it might work.

  12. I forgot to mention that it's always handy to have some guest bloggers who are willing to compose something. This can sometimes remove the burden, too.

  13. Congrats all!

    I feel ya on the rut thing. I think it happens to each blogger from time to time. Some respond by cutting back on reading. Some respond by cutting back on visiting other blogs. Some (like me) cut back on the number of requests they take in. Good luck finding your balance.

  14. I visit your blog for your take on the books and to get reading recommendations. I am from the south too, so I like your "southern" take on things. I have only been blogging for 2 years, but I am already feeling some of the pressure. In 2012, I am determined to cut down on the "required" reviews and read more things that I choose. From my calendar, I see I failed in January (note it is still 2011!). But I am not giving up. Don't be discouraged, I love your blog.

  15. I'd be there in an instant and to share it with Amber? Even better. ;)

    Mondays are a busy day. You've got a great point there to kind of change the schedule a bit in that direction.

    Sometimes it's just a matter of re-figuring out why you want to blog and what you want to do with it. :)

    (and thank you so much for your sweet comments :))

  16. I understand the rut part of doing something you love. I have loved horses all my life and all I ever wanted to was ride, train and show. When I finally reached that and had to work so many horse per day, the riding lost the "fun" part. I rode whether I felt like it or not.

    As far as whether your reviews have any influence on people buying books, it certainly does with me. I depend on your reviews to decide whether or not to buy a book for our church library. You have "sold" quite a few books that way! You write a very good review without telling the story which I like. It helps me to know if it will fit in with what my people like to read and the values of our church. You are doing a great job, but I can understand the time problem with having something left for your husband and personal time.

    I would say to pray about it and see what the Lord says about it.


  17. I've read two posts this morning(one of them yours and when I read Casey's, that will make 3, I'm sure) that has really hit home with me! While I don't post 5 times a week or anything, I've still struggled with finding a balance.

    I've been debating a break, just to catch up with some "casual" reading, and get some projects done around the house. I've wanted to quilt and craft, and with blogging and reading so many review books, I just don't have time. I completely know how you feel, though. I've cut WAY back on reviews and it's still a struggle. I was just discussing with Jonathan a couple of days ago about having one day a week to write posts. If I get them done, great. But, if not, Lord willing, there will be next week to work on them. And the same with commenting and visiting other blogs. It's harder being a book reviewer than it seems! ;)

    And about your reviews and SSM&G, I love them! Being a Southern girl myself, I greatly appreciate you embracing and sharing what I love so much about living in the South!

  18. Wow...I can't believe all the comments since last night! Y'all are doing my heart so good with your encouraging words (but please overlook my intentional bad grammer just then). :o)

    Holly, girl...

    You've got the program! Wow!! To be *that well organized* would be incredible, but holy's a lot of work for one day! I may have to try something like that, and just blitz through it all in one lump time chunk. The only exception would be the reviews. If I don't write them immediately after I read a book (because I don't take notes), I forget a lot of the crucial things that really caused me to enjoy the story.

    Candace, you are spot on, too. There have been times when reading really felt like an absolute chore, and I never thought I would say that because it is such a love of mine. I want to get back to reading some of the books that have been sitting on my shelves for weeks and months and years (and more years)! Prayers have been going up, too, so we'll see what shakes up. And thanks for appreciating my reviews as much as you do. I hope some of your library patrons have discovered some new favorites! :o)

  19. Tammy,

    Thank heavens I'm not alone in this boat! Sometimes I wonder when I see other people's blog and think, "Wow, they must be on 'go' all the time! How can they keep up?!" But maybe they don't have a day job, or don't have a family, or don't have a spouse, or any number of things that simply take time and devotion.

    And like you, I'd like to spend some more time on craft projects and such, and I just need to carve out the time. I'll say New Year's Resolution list is gonna be a PLAN for it all! :o)

    Hope you find your niche, too, because I love to visit your blog. *wink*

  20. Blogging IS a lot of work, and sometimes I get in the same jam--I have several book review deadlines coming up and I find myself cramming time to read them all in time. I think it was just a month or two ago (or three) that I signed up for WAY too many things, and was about outta my head trying to get everything completed by the dreaded "due date".

    One thing you might want to consider is cutting back. Not stopping all together, but just getting out of certain review programs and such. What I plan to do for this coming year, so I have more time to write instead of blog, is select a certain number of review programs I want to stay in...and then getting out of the others. That way there is less chance for me to sign up for thirty different tours, book review dates, and such in one month! :-P

    And as for your blog -- I LOVE how unique it is! I don't follow any other blogs that put in the southern sass the way you do. I just love it! Visiting your site is such fun and I eagerly look forward to each and every post you publish (even if I don't comment).

    Seriously, I always make sure to read your reviews, as if you say it's a good book...I usually end up loving it too! Your recommendations mean a lot to me. (That's how I came to read To Die For and become a fan of Sandra Byrd, through your review of TDF!)

    Okay, I'll stop rambling now! :-) Just some of my thoughts after reading your post!

    ~ Katie

  21. I just found your blog and really enjoy it. I do enjoy giveaways but also love reading review blogs like yours to get ideas of new books to read!

    I do know what you mean about a blogging rut though. I really fell behind on my blog in the summer & early fall. One of my friends invited me to join NaBloPoMo with her in November and although it was a challenge to come up with 30 blogs, it was a great way to get back in the groove a bit!

  22. Christy!!!

    I am so with you girl! I've been in a rut for a couple of months now. You are not the only one!

    I don't have any ideas on how to get out of it, other than I do not want to give up posting all together.

    There are two popular blogs I've been following for a year and both of the bloggers are in ruts right now and stopped posting. I totally understand why someone would do that, but I hate it when I see bloggers fall off the face of the earth.

    I am trying to get through this rut by reading outside of my normal genre, mixing things up a bit. Romance all the time can be a little much (I can't believe I just typed that! LOL)

    I try to visit my 10-15 favorite bloggers once a week to touch base, but other than that I have stopped reading most of the 300+ blogs I follow. It was just such a huge investment of time.

    But to answer your question, book bloggers are so important! They are still my go to sources for what to read next.

    I love your unique style and your southern sassy interviews rock! They seem like a huge time commitment. What if you cut them back to once a month? That might help you get out of the rut.

    Take care my friend!


I love your comments!! They make me happier than cold sweet tea on a hot summer day! :o)