book blogs, CanLit

Hello Again, Plus Simon & Schuster’s Winter Survival Pack

It embarrasses me to say I haven’t posted here in almost a year. I wanted to, but I didn’t know how all of a sudden. Aside from freelance work, writing short stories, and teaching creative writing, I was having an existential crisis as a book blogger. I goggled at the piles of books sent me that I hadn’t yet read, was overcome with guilt, and also, unrelated to the guilt, began to wonder why I was reviewing. Which then made it increasingly difficult to review. I asked myself who really cared, who really read, what it really meant to be a book blogger in the grand scheme of the book world. Was it worth all the effort? Certainly, from blogging came new and exciting jobs, and a shitload of wonderful new acquaintances and pals, and of course, the great books. I’m very thankful.

But it’s hard to keep up, man. There are so many books, so many people. It’s a cool but overwhelming world. As for blogging, I do it for free, but it’s still a lot of effort and time because I want to give you consistent quality, and I’m a perfectionist who’s always trying to anticipate what everyone might respond. I fear sounding dumb or like a fraud or that I missed something essential in the writing. So I started lagging in motivation. In the meantime, I gained a sister, a dog, and ten pounds. I started smoking (after 13 years of having quit!) and drinking coffee. (Never mind the Jack Daniel’s and Southern Comfort and Gibson’s. Hard liquor has always been a given.)

But I missed blogging, after I stopped feeling guilty for not doing it. I’m not promising that I’ll be back every week, but I’d like to still contribute in some meaningful way to the book world. I may not publish long reviews anymore, but whatever I write, it will still be thoughtful.

UPDATE: One thing before I get to the fun stuff: it is completely coincidence that I decided to say hello again on the day that CanLit author and enthusiast Chad Pelley decided to shut down his popular site Salty Ink. Just so you know, he’s got a new endeavour called The Overcast. Check it out. I’m following it, even though I don’t live in the area. Newfoundland is an exciting contributor to CanLit and the arts scene.

To push off again, I’m starting light. Simon & Schuster created their Winter Survival Pack to promote some of their new books but also treat readers with other goodies in appreciation. What fun! And you, dear reader, can win this stay-warm kit!

The Kit includes:
– 1 pair of mittens
– 1 pair of reusable hand warmers
– Scented candles
– 1 pair of socks
– 1 hot water bottle
– 1 Simon & Schuster Canada signature mug
– 1 Sower’s Blend tea
– The Ultimate Survival Guide (Canadian Edition)
– The Demonologist
– The Troop
– The Best Cook Book Ever
– Chicken Soup for the Soul: Wonders of Winter

– Hyperbole and a Half
– Octopus’s Garden
– Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants

Go to S&S’s site Five Ways to Stay Warm for Winter and enter the contest. Good luck! PS. Hyperbole and a Half is a laugh and a half, I swear!

S&S Stay-Warm Prize Pack
S&S Stay-Warm Prize Pack



  1. I’m happy to see you back – and I’m right there with you. My own blogging has been so erratic over the past year or so, and I was surprised by how guilty I felt for not posting. And yet I just couldn’t get into the rhythm of posting regularly – or even frequently. I finally found some oomph a couple of weeks ago and am trying to keep up the momentum – I owe a writer friend a post that is shamefully overdue, at the very least.

    1. Steph Author

      Thank you! And I’m happy to hear that you’re back too! I’m going to check out your blog right now. I was a regular reader! But yes, I completely understand how it goes. It’s almost harder not posting than posting! I couldn’t find that rhythm either, and not just that but I also couldn’t shake the feeling that it was becoming something more for myself than others and thus kind of a waste of time. I’m still not certain that many find it valuable or even simply entertaining or whatever, but I do think there’s something valuable in it for us, as bloggers, with regard to finding and having a voice and getting to share a passion we love. :)

      I’m glad you commented. Thank you!

  2. I’m so glad to see you’re back! I know exactly what you mean about “blogging guilt”. It happens to me all the time. I think one of the reasons I continue to blog (infrequently) are the same reasons you listed. I’ve made such great connections and had so many great opportunities come from it. So maybe, we can be cheerleaders for one another when it comes to the blogosphere in 2014 :)

  3. Hi Steph: I just discovered your blog, and totally get what you have to say about that weird sudden feeling of sounding like a fraud and freezing. It’s like waking up with a sore throat and then instantly the sudden rock slide of a bad cold and the guilt over staying in bed :) I also blog and have started an interview series with other Canadian writers (other b’c I am one too) and guest posts, also, to try to get more of a dynamic community happening over there on my site. Blogging can sometimes seem so isolating. I hope you write more! I really like your voice :)

    1. Steph Author

      Hi Lauren,

      I’m so glad you commented. Thank you. And thank you for encouraging me to keep going. I wait for a good day and then something comes up, but I hope to post again soon.

      Your analogy is bang on! Yes, you get it. I think most bloggers would, but then there are those who blog like clockwork and, like any good habit I wish to have that someone else manages to make look easy, that can not only make me feel guilty but also create self-doubt (if it was truly important to me, I would be doing it…).

      Anyway, ironic that blogging can seem so isolating; I think even more so than writing, since with blogging you await feedback immediately.

      I like what you’re doing with your blog! Thanks again for commenting and letting me know about it!

  4. I’ve been checking periodically to see if you’d return. (I figured, heh, life is busy…) I was glad when I decided to pop in today and there you were! I always enjoy whatever you write…however often you write it.

    1. Steph Author

      Christie! Thank you. I still check into others’ blogs, like yours, when I get a chance, too. Your words are encouraging. And it’s so lovely to see peeps pop out of the woodwork and tell you that yes, indeed, people are reading! I hope to post again soon!

  5. So glad to ‘see’ you again! I kept your blog in my feed ‘just in case’ and am so delighted you’re blogging with us again. I really feel you on the pressure to keep up a blog — I’ve started scheduling review-free days on my calendar because last year, if I had a free day, I was scheduling something, and I was dangerously close to just, well, bailing!

  6. Penny @ LiteraryHoarders

    Glad to see you come back – even if it’s only every once in awhile!! And wha? Out of touch – no more Salty Ink? Thanks for the updates and looking forward to reading you again!

  7. Steph Author

    Thank you, Penny! And yeah, he’s taking a hiatus from Salty Ink, perhaps permanently, to commit to providing Nfld with an arts and culture magazine! It’s a great venture.


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