Friday, May 8, 2020

Book World Changes

Book World Changes as observed by Beth and Carrie of Seekerville

Hello, friends! Beth and Carrie here! Since our identities have frequently been mistaken for one another, and we practically live on the same brainwave to the extent that we might actually be sharing a brain, we’ve decided to join forces today and y’all can just use your imagination to figure out who says what.

We mustache you... who is who? (see hint)
Stories have our hearts (well, Jesus AND stories but since He told stories it’s another reason to love them)! A life with books is far richer than one without them. Perhaps storytellers feel the same way about penning their tales. We’ve even read that avid fiction readers possess more empathy than the poor souls who don’t read (we truly feel awful for them, bless their hearts).

Perhaps we're feeling a bit sentimental since celebrating our blog birthdays last month on Faithfully Bookish and Reading Is My SuperPower (4 and 5 years, respectively) but now, more than ever, we realize life is always changing. We’re learning, we’re growing (older, stronger, wiser, softer, you name it), and we’re constantly, even subconsciously, adapting to the dynamics of the world around us.

We want to encourage y’all despite or perhaps because of the uncertainty surrounding us, to embrace the story. Good times, bad times, different times, make time to read (or write), and may the Holy Spirit minister to your story-loving heart no matter what season you find yourself in.

That said, we’re sharing some ways our reading/reviewing/blogging/publicity-ing worlds have changed over the last few weeks, some helpful workarounds if you’re in the same floating-aimlessly boat, and a bit of insight for authors who are wondering why certain formerly dependable readers seem to have fallen off the book planet. :)

Reading 


The world has shut down, we are staying home, we have endless reading time, right?! Unfortunately, no. Introverts have been social distancing since before it was celebrated as a life-saving act and those of us who work from home are literally professionals. Not only do we need to continue doing our work (more about that later) but we now have the added distraction of additional people or inevitable cabin fever to contend with. If you are reading more right now, we are delighted for you and if your reading time has taken a hit, know that you are not alone.

Life is Always ChangingWe recommend injecting stories into your day with audiobooks (these are also great for those “distracting other people” as well) or set aside time for a mental health break (yeah, that looks like reading for us). Need a family activity? Gather everyone around (on the couch or via video chat) and read aloud to each other!

There’s a binding of hearts and something healing about sharing stories during stressful times. Too tired for something new? Revisit a book on your “favorites shelf.” Give yourself permission to avoid certain titles due to emotional fatigue (or author pictures with poultry) or stinky binding adhesive.

Reviewing


Let’s be honest, writing reviews can be challenging under any circumstances. How do we find words to express the beauty of a reading experience? The swoofness is elusive, y’all! (btw, we’re talking about “Squeezing Words Out Of Feelings” if this is the first time y’all have heard of swoof) If a reader who shall not be named happened to be devouring books as a coping mechanism to diffuse stress caused by an inability to swoof, well… it’s a vicious cycle, friends. Heaven sakes, I’m stressing myself out just thinking about it! Talk me off the ledge, Carrie!

(Repeat after me, Beth. The swoof will return. Trust the swoof.)

Let’s all take a moment and just breathe deeply. We need to give ourselves permission to read a book and occasionally only leave a couple-sentence review on retail sites. Something like, “This book is so beautiful I can’t even put my feelings into words. Except to say, ‘Read it. You’ll thank me.’” Not every review has to be a full swoof, friends. If you’re reviewing on your blog and need to fill in more space than 2 sentences, talk about a couple of favorite quotes to flesh out a longer review. In other words, employ the Dory method - Just keep swoofing!

Blogging


We love to introduce our fellow readers to books and authors but it’s not as easy as Carrie makes it look! (Note from Carrie - ha! Not easy at all!) There’s so much to learn and consider with search engine optimization and social media promotion and giveaways and updating old posts and site navigation and newsletters and sometimes this introvert gets stuck in overload. Have you ever heard of stress paralysis? (Where are my Moms’ Night Out fans?!) It’s a thing.

Give yourself grace and permission to have fun or step back
One of the first things my big sister blogger taught me was the “my blog, my rules” principle, and years later, it’s still a good reminder. If you’re struggling, know that you’re not alone and give yourself grace and permission to have fun or step back as needed. Throw together some spotlights or quick lists if you’re all out of creativity or time but still want to show love to some authors & books.

You may find, like our book sisters Rachel (@bookwormmama14) or Annie (@justcommonly), that bookstagramming will get your creative juices flowing. A little less writing, a little more space for artistic expression, and a whole lot of cover love, Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular platforms for spreading the book love! Whether you bookstagram as part of your book blogging or instead of (even for a season), we think you’ll continue to benefit and bless the bookish community with your enthusiasm.

JustRead Publicity-ing


Even the world of online book promotion is not immune to Covid19. At JustRead (and I’m sure other tour groups would say the same thing), we’ve had to cope with various shipping issues & delays in getting books to our instagram hosts. There have also been several delayed release dates which means long-ago-planned tour dates have to be shifted around and squeezed in on new weeks in an already-full calendar.

Communication snafus are inevitable in a world where everybody else is now adjusting to working from home too. All of these are necessary adjustments in this ‘new-for-now normal’ on top of all the ‘still normal’ to-do tasks involved with running a publicity company. And of course, we are willing to do whatever is needed right now to support the authors & books & publishers we love so much. But if we seem more frazzled than usual (because let’s face it, we’re always a bit frazzled), that’s why!

Here are a few tips which apply now more than ever! Schedule early and keep the lines of communication open. Please meet deadlines; publicity companies must juggle several tours in various stages of planning at once in a neverending cycle so the domino effect of not having what we need when we need it impacts your tour and other tours and our sanity in unattractive ways.

Play This or That with us! 

Let’s check your reader life pulse! Share your answers in the comments.

Right now I want to read…
Nearly All the Time or At Least Regularly
Lighthearted with Laughing/Swooning or Deep Pondering/Suspense
Shorter Stories or Big Books
New Release or Old Favorite
Familiar Genre or Out of the Ordinary
Pandemic Reads or Anything But


What changes or challenges have y'all faced over the last several weeks? How have you made the best of these trying circumstances?



Carrie and Beth
Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She also loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers' Retreat and JustRead Publicity Tours, Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric.
She can be found lurking at various blogs and websites (because she can't stop talking about books) but her main home is the blog she started in 2015 - ReadingIsMySuperPower.org.

Beth Erin is a Christian fiction enthusiast, book reviewer, blogger, and JustRead Publicity Tours co-owner. She strives to edify and connect with readers and authors at Faithfully Bookish and on social media.
Beth also contributes to the Seekerville, Hoarding Books, and Diversity Between the Pages blogs. She is passionate about promoting authors and their entertaining, encouraging, and redemptive stories.

54 comments:

  1. Happy Friday, friends! I've brought some fresh warm cookies and chilled fruit and lots of chocolate to share! I had my first Walmart Grocery Pickup experience today so that was new!

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    1. We did our first Walmart pickup recently, too, and have had our first deliveries from a local grocery store. It's a whole new world!

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    2. YUM! If those cookies are snickerdoodles, I'll take the whole batch, thanks. Everyone else can have the fruit and chocolate ;)

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  2. When the Coronavirus started, I was glued to the news which really cut into my reading time for several weeks. Now that we've settled into a new normal, I'm giving myself grace to read more and worry less about my "to do" list because I'll probably have many months to get all of my house projects done. :)

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    1. It's certainly looking that way, Ellie! Too much news can get us down in a hurry these days.

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    2. definitely, Ellie! A wise plan :)

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  3. Beth and Carrie are the BEST! Loved working with you guys in my release of Border Breach. Highly recommend this team!

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    1. Thank you, thank you, Darlene! We (including Rachel and Annie) loved working with you too and we so appreciate the recommendation!

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    2. yes! Everything that Beth just said! Thanks so much, Darlene! :)

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  4. The biggest change for me is not going to church. For me it just isn’t the same online or TV. Another change is not receiving books I’m scheduled to review and receiving ebooks instead. It is very hard for me to read them as I have eye issues. Have a blessed weekend.

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    1. Lucy, I conmpletely agree, church from home was tough for me too (fortunately, we've graduated to drive-in services). Do you have an ereader? If you don't and you're able, I would recommend getting your hands on a Kindle ereader for your eyes... it's as close to paper as I've experienced in an electronic device and you can email your ARC copies directly to it. I'd be happy to help you locate the right one for your budget or look for a refurbished older model if it might improve your reading time.

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    2. yes, I agree with Beth - and I increase the font size on that baby to give my poor eyes a break from all the reading i do!

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  5. For various reasons my reading has decreased a lot in the last few years, but I've definitely been writing more consistently this year than ever before. Stories are an awesome distraction and right now all I want are happy endings, great characters, and quote-worthy dialogue.

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    1. Oh and aren't we thankful for those silver linings?! Happy writing, Glynis!

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    2. yes please! Yay for more writing because that means more for us to read later :-D

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  6. HAPPY BELATED BLOG BIRTHDAYS, BETH & CARRIE, AND love THE mustache pic, gals -- my first big smile of the day, so thank you!!

    I'm almost ashamed to say that I haven't made a lot of changes except maybe talking on the phone a lot more as quarantine is pretty much my basic lifestyle, pounding away on a laptop on my covered deck overlooking a lake no matter the weather. Oh, and cleaning all groceries/packages (which my hubby picks up) before they come into the house. I like to joke I'm a recluse who has the misfortune of having an outgoing personality, so my poor hubby practically has to dynamite me out of my chair to go out. I do miss dinners out and playing dominoes with friends, but I got to spend a week with my grands in Omaha when my son and DIL had a new baby and with my daughter, SIL, and their 15-month old, so that was a real bright spot in the midst of this awful situation.

    Oh, and praying a lot more for friends and loved ones and our nation, to get past this and for revival to cover the globe.

    Have a great day, all!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Thank you and we're honored to be your first smile of the day! No shame, dear friend! Even those of us with minimal logistical impact are impacted emotionally by this uncertainty. I'm glad to hear you've been able to spend some time with your loved ones, that is a priceless blessing!

      Keep praying and writing, Julie! The world needs both! HUGS!

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    2. Julie, your life mirrors mine. The quarantine hasn't changed much, except for going out to eat. I still remain tucked in my little house in the woods, pecking away at the computer. ;)

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  7. Beth and Carrie, thank you both for what you do for writers. Carrie was a big help to me last year with "Westward Hope."
    I'm gearing up for the release of the sequel, "Settler's Hope," this fall but I don't have a pub date yet. The galleys are done but the world is in turmoil so we'll see. Finished the draft of the third book, encouraged about that, and will begin rewriting and working with my crit partner in June.
    My local PR outlets have pretty much dried up, considering that they were libraries and bookstores. When they open again I'll take another shot. I had a gig lined up at a local Historical Society to talk about the Oregon Trail, but we agreed to put it off till fall. They have a really small auditorium and most of their members are older, so it just made sense.
    I'm not reading as much as I used to. Haven't found anything that will "grip" me. I am watching more television than I used to, mostly because there's no place to go at night. Right now I'm obsessed with classic Westerns -- "Wagon Train," "The Virginian," "Gunsmoke" and the John Wayne marathons on INSP. I write it off as research for my Western novels. I can rationalize anything. You should hear me with chocolate.
    I haven't cleaned a lot of closets or done a lot of yard work during my isolation, but that's okay. Those things will still be there. This much time to write, maybe not.
    This is a catch-up day for me so I will probably be back.
    I appreciate this connection during stressful times.
    Kathy Bailey
    Your Kaybee

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    1. Kaybee, I love the way you rationalize and I will completely back you up (especially on the chocolate)! It's a joy to spend time in Seekerville. I haven't MADE the time lately with all the juggling and plate spinning but eventually I tell myself I'll get used to it and retun to my former internet socializing ways! Write or read or watch or listen, you're getting your stories in there! Thanks for visiting with us!

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    2. "I can rationalize anything. You should hear me with chocolate." - I knew I liked you, Kaybee ;-)

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  8. Great post ladies. I have been off both of my jobs since the end of March, so I have had a lot of time to do whatever I need to. That doesn't mean I always make the best use of my time. I have made it through most of my household cleaning projects. I have read lots of books! And I am getting back into my writing. But it will be nice to be able to get out and about again.

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    1. Sandy, that's wonderful! I'm so glad to hear this has been a productive time for you! Eventually, I think we could all use at least a small dose of other people!

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    2. Hi Sandy! Hopefully you'll be able to get back to your jobs, if needed, as well as being out and about again. But also hopefully you'll still be able to preserve that extra reading & writing time!

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  9. There's Batman and Robin. Laverne and Shirley. Scooby and Shaggy - but my favorite delightful duo is Carrie and Beth :-) Happy Blog Birthdays!
    And yes, I am still reading, but mostly more lighthearted or sweet stuff, of course, that's what I usually read :-) I do have a few new authors I've venturing out on and few of my favs I'm rereading (Amelia Peabody)

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    1. We do love our Pepper! I'm rereading quite a bit and I'm feeling drawn to the lighthearted reads for now. I am looking forward to a deep thinker read but not quite yet.

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    2. Pepper, my Pepper! Love you BIG! Beth, clearly Pepper is saying here that we need our own TV show ;-)

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  10. My reading has been at an all-time low these last few weeks. And yep, I'm one of those introverts who works from home and now has routines completely thrown off. I do enjoy having my husband at home, and he is good at respecting my need for solitude. Nevertheless, the first few weeks I almost broke down crying from too much people time, just because so many people suddenly had to call and meet on zoom; it felt like no time was sacred anymore. Thankfully, that has tapered off quite a bit. I have accomplished a lot of actual work; it's just my reading time that has been consumed.

    This or that:
    Normally: Reading all the time, and big books.
    Right now: Struggling to read regularly, and I feel like I can't do a big book justice. And definitely anything but pandemic reads. Old favorites, new books, lighthearted or pondering -- all are still good. As always.

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    1. Oh Rachael, I feel your pain! After the first week of hubby working from home too, I had to send him upstairs to work for the duration ... while I work downstairs haha.

      And how is it that those of us who always work from home (and pretty much hibernate on the regular) don't have time to read anymore while everyone else is getting more reading done? I call 'unfair'! lol

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  11. Beth and Carrie, you sweet mustached duo, y'all are amazing. And we authors are so thankful for you. I love this little glimpse into the lives of book reviewers. There is so much to be learned from you. Keep up the good work!

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    1. haha thank you, dear Mindy! We love you :)

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  12. Hi Beth and Carrie:

    I think the best testimony for reading is seeing how happy you both are reading and writing about reading. How could anyone not want some of that too?

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    1. aww thanks, Vince! We do love all things reading-related :)

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  13. Lovely post, Carrie and Beth! Blog Birthday hugs and best wishes for more years of success!!! So proud of both of you!

    The days are zipping by, and it seems there's so much to do...or maybe everything takes longer. Case in point, ordering groceries on line, picking them up and then sanitizing them or quarantining them before they go into the house and/or fridge. I'm busy, but I'm not producing as much as I would like. Although I am staying current on world news and info on the virus. I'm cooking great meals, if I do say so myself! :) And eating those great meals, which means more food pickups and wipe downs. Daily walks. Housecleaning. Laundry. Hmmm! No wonder I can't find much time to write.

    I read Kristin Hannah's THE NIGHTINGALE, during this shutdown. So good! Reading THE ATONEMENT CHILD now by Francine Rivers. Just reading at night when the day's work is done.

    Stay safe, dear friends! Hugs and love!

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    1. thank you, dear Debby! "I'm busy but I'm not producing as much as I would like." - yes! this is me too.

      Both of those books have been on my TBR list for what feels like forever!!

      HUGS

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  14. Awww, this was such a fun post to read. Happy Blog Birthdays! With my three guys (hubs and 2 teenaged boy-men) home pretty much all the time, I have a lot less time than I used to for writing or reading. And, since my 60+ miles of driving is basically non-existent, which my listening to audiobooks is also much more challenging, my book consumption is minimized.

    But, what I am reading is lighter rather than heavy, and not similar to the COVID/pandemic circumstances we're currently living in.

    Thanks, ladies, for all you do for authors!

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    1. I think it's so important to be aware of your reading 'mood' (light vs. heavy, etc.) and allow yourself to adjust your pick of books accordingly.

      And how much are you cooking with 2 teenage boys at home all the time??? Surely you could get some audiobooks in during cooking sessions LOL

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  15. You nailed so much of what we're feeling! This was a post I needed <3 Love you two!

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    1. awwww HUGS sweet friend! We love you too!!! Thankful for you <3

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  16. Oh my gosh, this is such an awesome post and I'm laughing at the SWOOF!!!!!!

    And I love seeing simple reviews. Good or bad, don't feel like you've got to be wordy.... It's like a guy seeing a girl in a G-R-E-A-T dress and simply saying "Wow."

    I BROUGHT A BLOG BIRTHDAY CAKE BUT I CANNOT GIVE IT TO YOU BECAUSE WE MUST STAY DISTANT.... so I'll eat it and tell you how it was.

    'Tis the least I can do, darlings!!!!!!
    :)

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    1. isn't 'swoof' a great word? Beth came up with it :)

      I've always told other readers that a simple review is better than no review! Even "I loved it" works in a pinch.

      And the birthday cake doesn't seem quite fair AT ALL!! lol. But please do enjoy it and don't feel badly in the least that we can't have any. Seriously. ;-)

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  17. I just finished editing my third book and sent it off. Until I get it back, I'm going to dive into reading.

    I have learned the importance of leaving reviews the last few years. Often I keep is short and simple, maybe because I mostly read the short reviews.

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. yay for finishing the edits & yay for a third book, Jackie!!! :)

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  18. I LOVE it when you two are together...and I get to come along! :) This season has been hard. There's an underlying tension and anxiety that make it hard for me to get into that creative space required to write. I'm so easily distracted!

    So I'm trying to do other things, marketing a new release (BTW, JustReads did a FANTASTIC social media takeover tour for The Lost Lieutenant, and we're gearing up for a blog tour, too!) sewing, watching way too much tv. :)

    To answer your questions: Right now I want to read…
    At Least Regularly
    I'm going to go with cozy mystery, a bit lighthearted, but with some suspense to it
    I don't care how long as long as it holds my interest.
    Rereads are always fun!
    Old favorites
    Anything but a pandemic read!

    I'm listening to audio books more and more these days, too!

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    1. aww yay! thanks, dear Erica :) (We had a blast with your takeover tour!) And i think that uncertainty and tension/anxiety DOES make it so hard to be creative, to squeeze words out of feelings - whether it's on a blog or a book or a review.

      I've definitely been binging on cozy mysteries/suspense lately too. Bring on all the cozy right now!

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  19. What a great post!! I'm so sorry I didn't get by sooner. (And sorry I posted the FB post so late as well!)

    I've actually had a hard time reading over the last few weeks. However, my book club is still meeting (Zoom), so I've read my books for that. Once I finally sit down with the book, I really am glad I got to read. For some reason, it's just tough to get me to settle in to focus.

    Here's my This or That! I want to read:

    At Least Regularly
    Lighthearted with Laughing/Swooning
    Shorter Stories
    New Release
    Out of the Ordinary (but that's mostly because our book club books are not my usual genres)
    Anything But a pandemic read

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    1. So thankful for the great lighthearted reads we have at our fingertips for such a time as this - and for the heavier, more emotional reads that are waiting for us when we're ready.

      Really glad you've been able to keep 'going' to Book Club during all of this too - fellowship & books is a great heart lifter :)

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  20. I love you guys!!! Personally, I’m still working and it seems the work load has tripled, so I definitely am not reading ad much as I’d like to. I envy those who get to stay home with their families right now. But there’s always the weekends for family time, and I sneak some reading in on lunch breaks 😜.

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    1. Right, Jessica?? I haven't figured out yet where all this extra time is that everyone keeps talking about haha!

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  21. Thanks for the fun post!
    I WANT to read more
    Light hearted or swoonworthy reads
    Bigger books
    New releases
    And I really don't care genre as long as it is an inspirational read with a good story

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  22. Lovely post, ladies! Still working from home here, as is my usual approach, but now with more interruptions from my people! My reading has taken a hit and I'm finding the book needs to be REALLY good to hold my attention, and I'm still blogging away (with my wonderful in-house reviewer, Necee Lomelino), creeping up on 14 years of Relz Reviewz. I agree with you, Carrie, hard, hard work, but I love it all the same. Stay strong, lovelies!

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    1. Yes - hard, hard work but so worth it in the long run to help readers find the books & authors we love so much :) And FOURTEEN YEARS!!!! Wow! What an awesome accomplishment. Dear Rel, you are one of the very best & we are privileged to consider you a friend & mentor. Here's to fourteen more - and then again - and again - and again again :) THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!

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