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Morning Meanderings… Setting A Pace


Wednesday morning here in Minnesota.  Yesterday I had lunch with my Aunts and they were chatting about an article I had written for a local magazine that had just come out that day.  I was unsure what they were talking about until they explained further and it was something I had written in early March when life was well… not this one.  I had completely forgotten about the article although I knew I would have written the magazine release date down in my agenda.  My agenda that I lived by day to day with all my “to do’s” and my “where I should be’s” and my “don’t forgets”.

Now that agenda lays under a pile of papers on my kitchen table.  I only open it if I must to check on the dates of something.  Now I can’t stand living by an agenda because it reminds me of the me who filled up all my time DOING DOING DOING and honestly for whatever reason it reminds me of who I was and this new and fragile me doesn’t like that busy person.

Even though I know it does not change a thing.

Now I live by a rule of if it gets done – it gets done.  I want to complete things, I do… but my focus is not there.  I am careful with my heart right now and I know I am not strong enough to charge ahead and make things happen.  Perhaps someday, but hopefully not to the extent where I was… living by an agenda.


Today I have a friend coming over for coffee.  This after noon another friend is coming over to work on my hosta garden with me and plant the two bleeding hearts I bought for Mother’s Day.  Tonight I have the City Library Board meeting…. my first one since…

That’s enough of an agenda for me.

Many of our bookish friends are at the Book Expo that opens up today in New York.  I am excited for them as this event has been one of the highlights of my year every year since 2010.  I hope this one is also amazing.

Have a good day everyone.

Morning Meanderings…. In The Quiet


It was with a heavy heart this morning that I read the email of my confirmation of my flight out this morning from the Minneapolis Airport to New York for the Book Expo.  The flight left, but I was not on it.

2015 would have been my 6th year in a row of attending the expo.  I love the people, the pace, the books, the friendships, the general buzz of the publishing world.  Yet  I knew a week ago that as much as I wanted to go and be that person – for this year I am not her.  Thank you to my wonderful roommate Candace (Beth Fish Reads) for being so understanding. I absolutely will miss hanging out with the good friends that I have met in the years of doing this event and I am hopeful that we will all be together in 2016.

Bitter sweet?  You bet.  Yet I know I am making the right decision as hard as it is. For those of you attending, please take lots of great pics and send them my way – I want to feel like I am there even if I am not.

My house…

is quiet.

The dogs are sleeping in random spots around the house and I am at my laptop with my COFFEE and wondering what this day will bring with it.  I woke up in tears but that is not really unusual these days other than the fact that I am amazed that I have the tears to cry every single day.  On the flip side of that, as I look at Justin’s picture… I know he is worth every single tear and many many more.  If I cry for every bit of love I have for him.. then I will cry forever.

Over the weekend Al and I went to our cabin on the North Shore.  It was nice to go but as you can imagine also another hard step as the cabin is filled with so many memories.  I read and I slept.  I had no cell phone coverage in the area so I had nothing else to do but just BE.  I finished the Butternut Lake series which turned out to be just the right level of read for me.  I am now working on William Kent Krueger’s Tamarack County.  With William (Kent) being a Wine and Words author this year I wanted to read more of him.

I hope to put up some reviews this week.  I have quite a few to write and like the little “mind breaks” that talking books creates for me.  In the meantime know that I am still here on the other side of the screen – maybe not at full capacity, but I am here.

BEA: Author Breakfasts


The continuing Book Expo 2014 posts.  If you missed any the others were: Blogger Con/BEA Bloggers,   Harper Collins Gathering and Party


One of the little bonuses of the Book Expo is you have an opportunity to attend Author Breakfasts.  These breakfasts are charged above the Expo fees, however if it is an author that you are really interested in, it is a fun time.  You can pay a breakfast that includes seats that are closer to the front, or you can pay a smaller price to sit in the farther back seats without a breakfast.  When I go, I sit in the farther back seats as to get good seats at the breakfast you need to wait in a line for an hour or more and I am just not that great at line waiting :D

On Thursday Morning, the breakfast line up was Neil Patrick Harris (the draw for me), Angelica Huston, Tavis Smiley, and Lisa Scottoline.  Neil. was incredibly funny and engaging.  He was everything I felt he would be so really made this breakfast pop:

Really, take the time to listen to this clip – it is AWESOME.

When you attend these breakfasts, you usually get a copy of some of the speaking authors books and this breakfast included:

Neil Patrick Harris, Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey, Book Expo

We did not receive the whole book, it was a small sample of the book but one I will be interested in when it does come out in all of its glory :)


Angelica Huston, book expo, Sheila DeChantal, Book JOurney

On Friday, I attended the Children’s Author Breakfast.  I know right?  Why would I attend the Children’s Author breakfast?  I review few children’s books, I have no small children at home…. oh… I know why….

Jason Segel.

Do not judge me…. ;)

Another one worth watching.  I will wait….


Ok, awesome right?

The books included with this breakfast were:

Jason Segal book, Nightmares, Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal, book cover

Cute right???


baby bedtime, mem fox, Sheila DeChantal, book journey

And, I have to plug one more author, Jeff Kinney who is the author of The Wimpy Kid series.  Now these are not books that I have read, but after listening to Jeff talk at the expo – delightful, funny, and a bonus surprise for me… I may need to start watching his books.

Grad another cup of coffee… this one is well worth the watch as well:


Do I recommend the breakfasts?  I do.  If you are interested in any of the authors who will be speaking, you get a great seat to hearing them chat about their books and you get to hear some great insights into their lives (seriously, listen to Jeff’s BEA talk above… at the end he has some pretty amazing plans that all stem around his love of books).





Morning Meanderings: Bitter Sweet Days and a Whole lot of Happenings Here

Morning Meanderings, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

I interrupt the BEA posts for a quick update on a lot of great things coming up here, in life, and a bit of sadness too.

Let’s just get the sadness out of the way.  Today is the 18th anniversary of the loss of my mom and my step dad to a car accident.  Every year,I never know how it is going to hit me.  There have been times, this day has been while I was at the EXPO, and busy is good.  It’s the days like today where I am home, and planning what I will do today where it is a little harder.

Moving on.


What’s happening here?

The Book Expo books arrived yesterday.  That’s a SSSQQQUUUEEEE.  I have not opened the boxes yet.  I have a tradition where a friend of mine comes over with her daughter Camryn (the YA reviewer) I have tabbed above, and we go through the boxes together.  They help me sort and we chat books and the expo and I enjoy the experience with other book lovers.  I will be posting highlighted books soon.


Camp Benedict, book journey, Sheila DeChantal

Camp Benedict.  Camp starts on Monday.  I am off next week from Monday afternoon on.  This weekend I will be working on our “One Word” project which is our theme this year… positive thinking.  I love the theme and I look forward to a pretty amazing week.

blogiversary, Sheila DeChantal, Book JOurney

My 5 year Blogiversary.  Now that is exciting!  I am going to put the post up tomorrow – June 7th, and we (please come!) are going to have some fun as we have in the past years.  I will be having BIG giveaways and an all day celebration here of book goodness.  5 years wow…. how did that happen?



Audiobook month, Bookjourney

Audiobook Month.  YAY!  Did you know that June is audiobook month?  I am excited to kick off a lot of fun posts and giveaways next Tuesday thanks to a wonderful group of narrators who will be sharing some fun things here.  There will be giveaways, gift certificates, and more.  Audiobook lovers and those who are not there yet, this is going to be FUN. :D



I actually have so many posts to write I have a list!  Next up in book expo posts will be the Author Breakfasts, then a random picture post of the expo floor etc with wrap up thoughts.


Today while working on Camp Projects I will be listening to audio.  I hope to get in a bike ride today and possibly tonight see the Fault In Our Stars Movie with Friends.


What will you be doing with your Friday?


Wednesday Evening At The Book Expo in New York – Harper Collins

BEA BUZZ, new york, Book JOurney, Harper COllins

Here is the second of my Book Expo Week posts.  Yesterday I shared with you what the “BEA Bloggers” event was like, and today I want to talk with you about the amazing publishing company that is Harper Collins.

Harper Collins is one of the highlight events of the Book Expo.  They do such an incredible job on sharing what the “hot titles” will be.  I wish I had my notes from the Harper sneak peek of upcoming great reads but I am pretty sure I packed it into a box and the books… have not yet arrived. :)  I will have to share in more detail at a later date.

Basically what happens at this event is that the different divisions of Harper stand up in the front of the room and share 2-4 titles each of what they are excited about that is coming out.  There is something about someone gushing about a book isn’t there?  As I looked at the different titles and covers there may be one that does not really speak to me… but then when someone is sharing the excitement of the book… I pick it up again.  How can you not react?  :D

One book that really caught my attention was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, releasing August 26th of this year.

Gush worthy cover yes?

Gush worthy cover yes?


The cover is GORGEOUS.  And listening to the description of the book and the bidding war that went on to win this book (Harper won!) makes me sooooooo curious and EXCITED about this book.

And of course, at Harper is where I get a chance to see my BEA buddies!  I am always thrilled to see Kathy from Bermuda Onion, Julie from Booking Mama, Swapna from S Kirshna’s Books, Gayle from Everyday I Write The Book,  Nicole from Linus’ Blanket (who I was on the panel with), Candace from Beth Fish Reads (roommate) and of course, Alison from Alison’s Book Marks.  (I could kick myself for not getting more group pics!)

If you know my Alison story, you know that we met at the Book Expo at the Harper Collins Party in 2010.  We read a lot of the same books and on line, are always sharing audio book suggestions.  After that first year and having a picture taken together it has become a standing joke with us that we must get our “Harper Collins picture!”  And… we always do:

harper Alison

from left to right: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and  2014.  I change….she does not :D  Always a blast Alison!

And then of course there is the Harper Collins party… a combination of the publishers, authors, and bloggers.  It is such a BLAST!

Harper Collins, BEA, Book Expo, Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

Harper Collins, BEA, Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

Right up front left is Gail from Ticket To Anywhere and center is Kristin from Always With A Book!


Harper collins, Book Expo, Book JOurney

Adriana Trigiani, Dorothy Benton Frank, Stephanie Evanovich, Book JOurney Sheila DeChantal


So that is my Harper Collins recap for now.  More on the books coming up!

Have a super day everyone :D

What book has your attention today?

Wednesday At the Book Expo: Blogger Con – BEA Bloggers

BEA BUZZ, book expo, BEA, Sheila Dechantal, Book JOurney

Good morning!  As promised, there will be Book Expo recaps and this is the first one.

Last Wednesday was the Blogger Convention Day of The Book Expo.  This year they called it BEA Bloggers.  The whole point of this day, which is actually a prequel to the expo, is a chance for book bloggers to educate themselves on topics that are relevant.  Such topics this year were:

  • Design 101 Creating a Picture Perfect Blog
  • Design 201:  Taking Your Blog To The Next Level
  • Software 101:  Best Blogging Tools
  • Technology 201:  Ad Works
  • Beyond The Blog – Introduce Yourself To Vlogging and Podcasting
  • Blogging And The Law
  • The Publishing Process – How Bloggers Have Changed The Game
  • Engaging Your Readers – Taking Your Writing To The Next Level

The panels were combinations of bloggers, publishers, media….  trying to get a good mix of opinion.  The 101 sessions were designed for newer bloggers and the 201 more advanced.  I spoke at the final session of the day, Engaging Your Readers.



First off the Keynote Speaker was author and Twitter gal, Maureen Johnson.  If you are not familiar with Maureen’s work, she is a YA author who has written 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Name Of The Star, and Scarlett Fever just to name a few.


Maureen Johnson BEA Book JOurney

Maureen as always was funny, sharing some moments about writing, and engaging readers.


I then went into the The Design 201 group with Hafsah Faizal from Icey Designs.  Apparently (new to me) this is a site that helps you design amazing blogs… and they are beautiful – I checked them out.  I did not pick up a lot from this session.

Next up I went to Technology 201:  Ad Networks.  This is a subject I have been curious about and my pal Florinda from The 3 R’s Blog was the moderator.  If you know Florinda, she is this sweet gal and I believe… is 4′ 8″.  Yup…. she is short.  :)  Before her panel she said to me, “I wonder what I will look like behind the podium?”  I suggested we go find out before the people started coming in for the session.  We went to the front and she stood behind the podium.


Florinda 3 rs blog Sheila Book JOurney

We had a quick laugh together, and Florinda decided to moderate from the table:



Swapna from S. Krishna’s Books was also on this panel.  This panel discussed a few options out there for advertising on your blog – not that it will make you rich and you will leave your day job, but if you are considering bringing in a little money from your site.  Swapna has sold ads herself on her website and said it is a lot of work to keep up on.  Jason from Litbreaker was also on the panel (3rd one in) and he explained how Litbreaker works.  Litbreaker is the only ad I currently have here at Book Journey.  This panel did a wonderful job of answering questions and sharing insights.

I skipped out on the Vlogging session and the Blogging and The Law session.  These were at the same time and I do not see myself vlogging any time soon, and I have in on a law session before, although I did pop my head in to see if there was anything new they were discussing.


panel 3

Then, our group was up.  We had a fun panel.  Mandy Boles was our moderator, Nicole from Linus’ Blanket, myself and Jason from Mediander (which I need to look more into).  Our task was to share what other posts we wrote besides book reviews, different ways to format your posts to be more eye appealing, and how to use social media to enhance your posts.


Some of the highlights that came out of our panel was:


Have post titles that are engaging and make people want to click to see what you wrote.


Asking questions at the end of your post, or writing posts that encourage discussion will create comments


If you are looking for people to read and comment on your blog, you need to put yourself out there on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instigram, Storify, whatever works for you. Comment on other blogs. Join in on meme’s.


Make your comments on posts good. Do not say “nice review” and PLEASE do not add your links to your own posts or blog in the comment. Comments should encourage conversation. Mention your thoughts on the same book, or something you particularly found interesting about the post… if your comments are interesting people will go to your blog to check out what you are writing.


Keep your blog current – try to post at least 4 times a week.


Tag your photo’s that you use in your posts – do not leave them listed under 72.jpg, but change that to include your blog name, maybe your name, author and book title if it is a book pic… this will drive more traffic to your blog when people search images.


Write beyond the books – interesting bookish topics, book club discussions, author events, etc… If you do not know what to write about look up what people are searching for that brings them to your blog.
Break up posts with pictures – always when writing reviews add a picture of the book. Long posts should have another picture in it to break up the wording. We are a visual society.


Font matters, change it up in posts.


Posts should not be longer than 800 words. If you have a long post – consider breaking it up into a series.


Try to set up a tracking on your blog to see what is receiving the most attention.

Set your posts up to go automatically to Twitter when you write them, add them to other social media as well.


I am certain I am not recalling everything from this session this is just my recollection.  Everyone had such great input and I think we did ok. :)


So that was the blogger convention.  Next BEA post will be about Harper Collins… the books, the excitement… the party!  Stay tuned…. ;)

Morning Meanderings…. Check Out What Is Happening Here!



Good morning! SO much going on here I am just going to get to it.

After I get my COFFEE.

*pads over to coffee pot.  Returns*

Yea!  I hope you have coffee too!  Let’s have a cup together!


Did you know….

This is audio book month?  Oh yeah…. get ready for it Laurel ;)  I have some fun things coming up AND some great giveaways, stay tuned!  (lol… get it.. tuned… because you are listening…. ;) )

ALSO – June 9th is my 5 year Blogiversary!  I know right?  And if you have been here in the past years... you know I LOVE to make a big fat hairy deal out of it with giveaways and more…. as long as my BEA boxes are here by Saturday, I plan to set up the big celebration probably then.  Watch for it… it will be EPIC and worth your read. :D

AND a shout out to my dear friend Belinda who has a birthday today!  Yippy!!!!  Can not wait to hang out with you!  Cabin weekend plans need to be made!

And probably the big scary awesome news is that last night I went to .net.  Yes, yes…. 5 years it takes me but I am not addressed here at  SOOOOOO much easier to type!  LOL


If you did not get a chance to see my super cool new office on Facebook, here is a quick pic of it:


SQQQQUUUEEEEEE!!  This is where I will be working today.  SWEET!

Yes I will still be writing BEA posts, probably tomorrow.  Later today I have an author event coming up that I was at yesterday that I could not pass up writing about right away… but the posts are coming and they will be fun – pics, events, the expo, highlights, author pics, books… and more :D

Have a super awesome Tuesday! Sunny in Minnesota today – what’s happening with your day?

Morning Meanderings… Book Expo HaNgOvEr


Good morning from….. Minnesota!  Yes, I am back.  I landed in Minneapolis yesterday evening and had a treacherous drive home through the storms and extreme rain.  Twice I pulled over because it was raining so hard I could not see the road.  There were cars pulled over everywhere.  Talk about your EXTREME driving.

Now I sit in the comforts of my own home chilling with my COFFEE and feel up and thinking about my day of catching up on some household things but mostly…. lying low. I am wiped out but not as wiped out as I have been in the past which is nice.  My feet do not hurt from all the walking around the expo and the streets of New York however I do think my shoe of choice today will be “flip-flop”.  :D

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

As you can see, Sammy is not about to let me get away any time soon. ;)


Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

My agenda at least for part of the day – coffee, planning my agenda for the week, and back into my book The Three!


Also a few books came in while I was away:

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Belly Up, MOUSEHEART, and The Search For Wondla are a win from Beth Fish Reads


Here and Again by Nicole R Dickson (audio)

The Collision Battle for Darracia by Michael Phillip Cash

Andi Under Pressure by Amanda Flower

The THREE by Sarah Lotz


Throughout this next week I will be posting Book Expo recaps so stay tuned :)  I am also still adding posts to Armchair BEA.  This afternoon I plan to be giving Book Journey a bit of a facelift… I came up with some ideas at the expo and am excited to get started.  I am not sure all what I will be doing, but my hope is that the final look will be fresh and professional looking.  Feel free to peek ;)

Morning Meanderings: Awkward Moments At The Book Expo


Good morning from New York!  I have not dropped off the face of the earth, I have just been running from morning to night at the Book Expo in New York.

I have MANY things to share with you once I come home about the expo, the books, the people, the events…  but for now… just a funny little story and a couple of pics for Saturday Snapshot. :)

So… on Wednesday at the Blogger Convention, author Maureen Johnson was the keynote speaker.  At the beginning of her talk she mentions the book 50 Shades Of Gray.  Alison from Alison’s Book Marks and I have a joke about that book so I put on Twitter “20 minutes in and already a mention of 50 Shades Of Gray” and tagged Alison.  (I did not realize due to poor internet reception that this tweet did not post but went into drafts instead.)

Anyhoo…. flash forward to yesterday morning and Alison and I are at the Children’s breakfast which was AMAZING with moderator, Jason Segel. (Yes!  That Jason Segel!) I put on Twitter that I am at the Children’s Breakfast at the book expo.   Then Twitter pops up on my phone and says

“you have drafts to send would you like to send them now?”


I click yes… and before I know it, following my “I am at the Children’s Breakfast at the book Expo” tweet is…

“20 minutes in and already a mention of 50 Shades Of Gray” 





Anyhoo… today is my last day at the expo.  I am heading that way in about an hour to wrap up a few things but for my Saturday Snapshot post I thought I would send a couple of pics your way….  also, please see my posts at Armchair BEA where I have interviewed a couple of authors and publishing houses. :D

zombie, New York, Book Expo, BookJourney, Sheila DeChantal

Outside… across form our hotel? Should I be worried? Is there where watching The Walking Dead pays off?


Harper Collins, Book Journey, Book Expo, Sheila DeChantal, Adriana Trigiani, Dorothy Benotn Frank, Stephanie Evanovich

The Harper Collins Blogger Party… from the left: Dorothy Benton Frank, me, Adriana Trigiani, and Stephanie Evanovich. Made my night!



Streets of New York


New York, Book Expo, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Walking back to our hotel – with (center) Alison from Alison’s Book Marks and (right) Candace from Beth Fish Reads


Catch you back in Minnesota!

LIVE! From New York! Day 1 Travel Day Woes


Hello from NEW YORK!  Egads Tuesday was A LONG TRAVEL DAY.  I left my home in Brainerd at 4:11 am and was at the hotel in New York at 6:45 pm.  GAH.  We had a bonus two hour lay over in Chicago due to poor weather.

My dinner consisted of a chicken black bean burrito that I grabbed from Laguardia airport before I caught my cab.  I want to complain about it but it was actually good…LOL and I am in New York so the “tude” needs to go away. :)

Anyhoo…. this morning I am on my way to the Book Blogger Convention where I will hang out and chat it up with other BOOK LOVERS and listen to the speakers, and take noted for posts when I get home and posts for Armchair BEA…. and then, I get to speak on the last panel of the day….


Engaging Your Readers: Take Your Writing to the Next Level


This all-intensive writing workshop will discuss how to create meaningful and engaging content outside of the classic book review and will take a closer look at ways to format and edit your blog posts.


  • How to captivate your readers with clever blog posts and improve your writing style
  • New ways to format your review and best practices for editing
  • Using social media such as Storify and Instagram as source material for blog posts

Mandy Boles
Mandy Boles

Nicole Bonina
Nicole Bonina
Linus’s Blanket

Sheila DeChantal
Sheila DeChantal
Book Journey

Jason Baker
Jason Baker
Mediander LLC

Watch Twitter for updates today from myself as well as many BEA attendees at #BEA14… this is about the only time of year that I really tweet.  :D


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