Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Post: What I’m Focusing on This Holiday Season


Happy Wednesday Everyone! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is excited about the holiday season. I celebrated with my daughter, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s family. It was very special.

Posting: The first Wednesday is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

I’m excited to be a co-host this month with Joylene Nowell Butler, Chemist Ken, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!

Optional Question: It’s holiday time! Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall back on writer goals?

I don’t worry too much about writing goals during the holidays. It’s more important to me to be excited about the holidays and enjoy them with family and friends. My daughter and I always like to spend an afternoon baking around the holidays too. I wouldn’t give up any of the holiday joy for my writing, though I try to write when I can.

This is in line with a big life change I’m going through. This was a super hard year where I was overcommitted with producing two plays and being co-coordinator of the Michigan SCBWI critique carousel. At the same time, I was also dealing with my boyfriend breaking up with me and moving across the country to be near his kids and taking care of my mom in hospice for four months until she passed away in early October. I miss her but am glad she’s not withering away from not eating anymore and is at peace.

I’ve done some soul-searching and plan to cut back on being so busy volunteering so I can slow down and focus on healthy living and enjoying all the things—including writing—that are important to me. A friend told me her mantra is “I only do what I want to do.” As much as possible this next year, that’s what I’m planning to do as well.

What about you? Are you focusing on the holidays or writing this month?

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Monday, December 12 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kelly Dyksterhouse and a query critique giveaway

Friday, December 16 I’m participating in the Dashing December Giveaway Hop

Monday, December 19 I have an agent spotlight interview with Savannah Brooks and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, January 4 I have an agent/author guest post with Emily Fortney and Kaylie Smith and a giveaway of Kalie’s YA fantasy A Ruinous Fate and a query critique by Emily

Monday, January 9 I have an interview with debut author Tamika Burgess and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Sincerely Sicily

Monday, January 16 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kortney Price and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!



Liza said...

Natalie, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. Sounds like you are accepting, yet there is always a hole. So glad you are enjoying your time with your daughter.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

You had a rough year, Natalie. So sorry about your mom. You're smart to focus on your health and what's important to you.

Nancy Gideon said...

(((HUGS))) Natalie!! What a dreadful set of circumstances to overcome but it sounds like you're taking them on with determination and grace (because that's always better than the alternatives!). Good for you for concentrating on your creative side. Let it spin its magic and help heal your sorrows. Thanks for helping me as co-host this month.

Jennifer Lane said...

Thank you for co-hosting, Natalie!

I'm impressed that you are responding to painful crises by reflecting and committing to rest and care for yourself better. I hope your writing goes well in the new year.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

My deepest sympathies over the loss of your mother, Natalie. It's never easy losing a mother. The coming year will be hard, so I'm glad you have your daughter close. Take extra kind care of yourself and only hang out with people who make you feel good about yourself. Merry Christmas.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Natalie, I'm so sorry for all you went through this year.

I love your friend's mantra, and will be thinking about a version of it for myself and your post here as we move into the new year. I wish you all the best going forward!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry your boyfriend split.
Doing just what you want to do sounds like wise words to me.
Merry Christmas and thanks for co-hosting!

Debs Carey said...

Natalie, I'm so sorry that you've had such a rough time of late. Your friend offered you wise words and I'm so glad to hear that they resonated with you. Time for you and for your self-care to be the priority.

I hope you get to have a lovely and enjoyable festive break, and I'm so glad you were able to have lovely family time for Thanksgiving.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Natalie, I'm sorry you had such a rough year. It's definitely time to focus on YOU.

Jemi Fraser said...

Sending all the hugs your way, Natalie - that is a lot for the year.
I like your mantra and tend to follow it pretty well - as I get older, the less time I spend on stuff that doesn't fill me up!
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

Bish Denham said...

That's a lot to have to deal with in one year. Mine was pretty rough, too, but look at us. Here we are plugging away and carrying on.

Here's to a calm and peaceful Christmas and may the New Year be inspiring.

Thanks for taking the time to cohost.

Loni Townsend said...

Yeah, it sounds like a rough time with the overcommitments. My best friend and I were just talking about the art of saying "no". It's a tough art to learn, especially for people who want to help others. I hope this next year is better for you!

Computer Tutor said...

What a lot of difficulties, Natalie, and you handled them quietly. Kudos for your strength. I can see why you'd find it all recentering. Have a wonderful holiday.

Chemist Ken said...

Sorry about all the life changes you've had to deal with. They're never easy.

Enjoy the time with your daughter!

C.D. Gallant-King said...

Sounds like you've had a hard year. May your new year be full of positive changes and more time for yourself. It's a time for new beginnings and new chapters!

cleemckenzie said...

Life seems to gang up on us at times, doesn't it? Just when you think you can manage, it says, but wait...there's more! You've handled a lot, and you've done it well. My wish for you in 2023 is some smooth sailing.

Pat Garcia said...

That's great. I love enjoying the. holidays too.
Thank you for co-hosting and have a merry Christmas and a safe crossover into 2023.
Shalom aleichem

Tyrean Martinson said...

I love your new motto. I think it's a good one. There is only so much time and energy to give, and it's good to give it where we find the most joy.

Kate Larkindale said...

Sounds like you've had quite a year! Take some time to re-group and make sure you look after yourself.

Chrys Fey said...

I haven't stopped in at your blog in a blog time, for which I'm sorry. And I am deeply sorry for your loss.

Cutting back in order to slow down sounds like the right thing to do. I've noticed a lot of people have been making that decision this year. It's time for us all to slow down. <3

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Natalie, I'm sorry you've had such a hard year. Sometimes they seem to come like that. Your friend's mantra sounds like a reasonable response, and maybe a little bit of what I'm trying to work my way around to, not in a slothful way, but as a way of focusing on what I actually want to do.

Here's hoping for a better 2023 for you.

Gwen Gardner said...

You did have a tough year! I'm sorry about your mom *hugs*, but now she is released from her health troubles. My grandmother quit eating because she had dementia and insisted that she had just eaten. It's tough when the mind no longer works as it should.

Sorry about your boyfriend, too. His loss. But when one door closes, another one opens.

I hope you do what you want to do in this coming year! Remember to be kind to yourself.

J.Q. Rose said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It's tough losing your mom, but she's with you in your heart always. And oh those wonderful memories. Keep your eye on the good times you shared to help find peace. Yes, you are wise to focus on you and give yourself permission to say no. You are a strong woman and a lot stronger now that you have faced and overcome that rough year. Wishing you a much happier 2023 and blessings during this holiday season.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Natalie, you are an amazing woman. I took care of my mother in her last days as well. So tough. And I can understand that we are content that they no longer suffer. I bake with my daughters and grandkids during the holidays, too. And I wouldn't give that up for the world. Have a beautiful holiday season. You deserve it!

Liz A. said...

At a certain point, it isn't worth pleasing others in doing things you don't want to do. Sounds like you've got your New Year's resolutions figured out.

Olga Godim said...

Sorry about your mom.
I like your friend's mantra. I should adopt it too.
Happy upcoming holidays to you and yours, Natalie.

Lynn La Vita said...

What an extraordinary life changing year. I know your mom is forever in your heart and in peace. Baking with your daughter sounds delightful. I'm with you, “I only do what I want to do.”
Thanks for co-hosting this month.
May Christmas bring joy and promise of new opportunities.
Lynn La Vita @ http://la-vita.us/

diedre Knight said...

Merry Christmas, Natalie!

That "boy" was no friend, my dear. I'm sorry that happened and glad that so many other, more pleasant things occurred. I'm not a baker, but how I love the way a kitchen smells with cookies in the oven ;-) Did your mom instill the baking tradition? I'm sure she's sending hugs from heaven. A slower pace may be just the thing for you - though your energy has no bounds. Thanks for co-hosting!

Judy Ann Davis said...

Natalie--Wow. You've had such a full year I am amazed you've done all you have. Losing a parent is, in itself, I very, very difficult thing to go through. Sending positive thoughts for the year ahead. And, enjoy the holiday season. My mantra: "Never let anyone steal your joy."

Jean Davis said...

Sorry to hear about your mother. It sounds like you had the year I had in 2021. It's hard to say no, and sometimes, in caregiver situations, no really isn't an option. I hope you have a more relaxed 2023 and happy holidays!

Fundy Blue said...

I'm sorry you lost your mother, Natalie! It is difficult going through hospice with a loved one, but it becomes a special memory because you could be with her and comfort her during this difficult time. I went through palliative care with my mother and hospice care in our home with my mother-in-law. It was difficult, but I cherish those memories. When they die, it is a relief because you know they are no longer suffering and are in a better place.

I'm with you; the holidays are family time and very important to me. Like you, I try to write when I can. It's been such a challenging time for me this year, and writing productivity has taken a hit for me. But that's life.

I rarely volunteer for anything. I was a big volunteer when I was working, and Terry begged me not to do it when I retired. I was going to continue a a state-level union leader. Fortunately I listened to him.

I love your friend's mantra. Kudos to you for focusing on doing what you want. You have given so much of yourself to everyone over the years. Now's the time to concentrate more on what you love to do.

Wishing you every success in the new year!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I also think it's more important to be excited about the holidays with family and friends.

And slowing down is always a good idea. Life zips past fast enough as it is!

Sandra Cox said...

Oh gosh, Natalie.I didn't realize this year had dealt you so many challenges. Here's hoping 2023 is as wonderful as 2022 has been challenging. If I can do anything to help you let me know. Hugs

Linda Browne said...

I'm writing a lot this month but will stop for the holidays to spend time with family and friends. I'm really sorry to hear about your mother. I too, remember the many months when I took care of my own mother and they were very difficult times and also led to some life changes along the lines of what you're describing.

You made it through. That's worth celebrating all on its own.

Jenni said...

Sounds like a really lovely Thanksgiving! That's so cool that you and your daughter enjoy baking together. It's one of the highlights of this season for us too.
That's great that you've made some decisions to cut back on what you're not excited about to focus on your writing.

Lidy said...

Thanks for co-hosting this month!

Glad to hear you plan on focusing on yourself. That’s a good mantra to live by “I only do what I want to do.” Good luck in living the mantra next year!

J Lenni Dorner said...

Congratulations on making it through an incredibly tough year. It takes a toll. It is difficult to cut back on volunteering to focus more on your own other goals.

Hope your IWSG day is inspiring.
“The only limit to your success is your own imagination” – Shondra Rhimes
I wish you a merry holiday ⛄ season, and a New Year full of peace, joy, and creativity.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Natalie, sorry to hear about your mom. I too have decided to not to worry about my writing goals during holidays, festivals or functions. Glad that you have decided to focus on yourself. It's something I too am doing a lot.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

I'm sorry to here about your mom passing away and you and your boyfriend's separation. I hope this holiday season will be a relaxing one for you. I do write through the holiday season but I ease off it a bit both to celebrate with family and friends and to recuperate.

My holiday baking is actually making greeting cards for the kids in the family. I'll do that no matter how busy I am with other things.

Jemima Pett said...

I bet this is a year you'll be happpy is over. At the same time, when you've been up to your eyes in alligators, it may seem a bit lonely when the new year comes. Yes, do what you want to do, but do make sure you do things. Make sure you get out, especially when you plan on writing a lot!

Thanks for co-hosting this month, and also thanks for visiting my blog so early in the day. Thanks for visiting it every time, in fact. I really appreciate it.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

So sorry to hear about your mom. I intend to follow your mantra also. I've been trying to cut back on my volunteering also.

Janet Alcorn said...

Oof, you've had quite a rough year. I'm so sorry about the loss of your mom and your breakup. That's a lot to cope with. I hope next year brings you more time for the things that matter most to you--and a lot less heartbreak.

Samantha Bryant said...

I'm sorry for your loss, and I'm sure that really impacts how you feel this holiday season. May you find peace and joy this season.

Beth Camp said...

What truly inspires us to change? Sometimes 'real' life sets us so many challenges that we need to look again at what we need. Your insights into this last year and the loss of your mother and that significant other (and you left out the news, Ukraine, politics, and general uproars), are already helping you to map a new way of living. Your consistently (truly amazing) ability to tackle much and accomplish much won't go away, but hopefully, will bring you back to yourself, appreciating anew all that is good in your life.

Tonja Drecker said...

I totally forgot IWSG this month thanks to life. This time of year is busy, and you've definitely had your fair share. Stepping back to reorientate and catch a breath is necessary, sometimes. Enjoy your holidays!

Shannon Lawrence said...

I' so sorry about the year you had, especially for your loss. I'm seeing quite a few people in my life realizing that they need to ease back on some things and focus elsewhere. I've been looking at what I need to do, as well. I do a meditation recording as I'm going to sleep each night, and one thing it has you do is state something you want to change as if you're already doing it. One of my go-tos is to say, "I focus on the things that matter most to me," because it's those precise things I tend to set aside for the rigors of life, and it needs to change. I hope you can find a better balance in 2023.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I like the mantra: I only do what you want to do. It's especially good during vacations! lol