A Sweet Milestone & a Giveaway

Celebration time! This post marks the 500th blog post I’ve published on this site. It’s a sweet milestone. One I wasn’t sure I’d ever reach. But big or small, bitterly won, or sweet–milestones should be celebrated.

image of fireworks to help me celebrate a sweet milestone.

Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.

–Nelson Mandela

Looking Back 

When I sat down to write about my 500th blog post, I reviewed this blog’s history.

Listing your personal milestones is like storing a pocketful of sunshine for a rainy day. Sometimes our best is simply not enough…. We have to do what is required. 

–Winston Churchill

I’ve learned a lot. About writing. About discipline. And about blogging.

Jump in With Both Feet

I took an online blogging class from the incomparable Kristen Lamb in the fall of 2011. I learned a lot. But some things I ignored.

She recommended we have a month or two of blog posts ready to go before posting. I couldn’t wait. 

My first blog post went live on October 14, 2011. Mostly because I had no idea what I would blog about from day to day.

It’s not a bad method, but you need to understand that you’ll experiment with lots of ideas. And many of those ideas will be failures.

Blogging and internet savvy experts would say get rid of those posts that were failures. I say that not all failures are the kind to hide under the rug. You can learn the most from your mistakes. At least, I know I do.

Life Happens

In 2013, life had several surprises in store for me. The good included an illuminating Master Immersion Class with Margie Lawson. The unpleasant surprises included my husband’s struggle with multiple health issues that grew larger and more life-threatening at every corner. Caring for and being there for him, maintaining a full-time job as a pediatric nurse, writing my novel, and writing a blog became too much. Overwhelmed and out of spoons, I quit blogging. Even my fiction writing slowed down. 

My husband’s health still has its ups and downs. And I’ve retired so I don’t have outside obligations. I’ve learned different ways to cope, and I’m kinder to myself when I miss a blog post or a day’s writing.

An Incredibly Support

Oh my gosh, my classmates during that blogging class were and remain an incredibly supportive group of individuals.

Some of them found that blogging wasn’t a good fit for them but have done amazing things. 

Others have unbelievably popular blogs. Many have found a level of success that works for them. Others, like me, have had to learn our lessons more slowly but are finding our own successes.

And many of them—big or small—continue to express their support, for which I am eternally grateful. Thank you WANA 2011—you know who you are.

Having Readers Is Motivating

Image of a first prize trophy--like the one I feel like I've won when you read my posts.

When I started building my email list (way later than recommended), I discovered that it’s easier to post regularly to the blog. I have readers! You may not keep track of every blog post, but I sure don’t want to disappoint you. It’s incredibly motivating. You give me strength. You make me feel like I’ve won a grand prize every time you click on a post, click on a link, or comment. Thank you.

Write to Your Strengths and Your Weaknesses

I love history and science and everything about reading and writing. Those topics are easy for me to write about. 

One of my favorite posts is when I talk about a flaw of mine. I am consistently inconsistent. I’m not proud of it, but I am human. 

I’ve also shared when I’m discouraged or my routine’s disrupted.

Blogging Helps You Know Yourself

It took several years for me to get to where I can blog about what I want to blog about. Is that selfish? Maybe. But I tried writing what I thought readers wanted me to write. That doesn’t work for me—or for most people. Through my mistakes, I’ve learned who I am as a blogger. An ongoing process, I assure you.

If you’re a blogger, especially when starting out, you have to do it for you. Readers and comments don’t come quickly. Maybe not at all. But, I’ll tell you what, when readers comment–that brings a special kind of joy.

Another Milestone

In addition to the 500th blog post, I’m celebrating my first time being interviewed. You might have seen this on Facebook if you follow me there. I was invited to be a guest on Mysterious Goings On, a podcast by Alex Greenwood. Alex is the author of the Pilate series of mystery thriller novels. His podcast focuses on reading, writing, and creativity much like my blog does. I was pretty nervous about doing it, but Alex is a great host.


Hands forming a heart over the pink & gold sunset symbolizing my gratitude for you--my reader.

 When we celebrate a milestone, we are reminded to give thanks for the rest of our everyday moment.

–John Stahl-Wart

Reaching the milestone of 500 published blog posts wouldn’t be possible without you. And what fun is celebrating without including you?

So From now until October 14th I’m running a giveaway at KingSumo. Grand Prize is an autographed copy of both My Soul to Keep and Fellowship with a surprise gift bag. There are also runner-up prizes. 

Current newsletter and blog subscribers are welcome to enter (No worries—you won’t get two copies of every email from me. And if you enter, you’ll be credited with having subscribed). Enter here:


ETA: Sorry early viewers. King Sumo didn’t allow me to start the contest earlier than 12:30 CDT.

Most importantly, please accept my heartfelt thanks for reading, for commenting, and making this a sweet milestone possible.

My One Year Anniversary and a Giveaway

One year ago today, my debut novel, My Soul to Keep, went live on Amazon and other online book retailers. It’s been a good year and I wanted to celebrate. I’m glad you came! There’s no better way to celebrate than with friends. Help me celebrate my one year anniversary and a giveaway! 

Image of champagne being poured into a champagne glass
Won’t you join me in a little bubbly?

One Year Ago

On this day (August 21) one year ago (2018), I pushed that publish now button. There’s nothing more disheartening than the push of an electronic button. There’s no sound. There are no balloons or flags or cheering crowd. I’d done very little promotion and had few sales beyond my friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate every one of those sales. But when the first person who was not a close personal friend posted a five-star review, I was beyond thrilled. There was dancing and laughing and, I’m not ashamed to admit it, tears of joy. They were nothing compared to the watershed when I held the print version  in my hands. 

The physical book was the culmination of years of working hard to learn to write stories. Millions of words written and trashed or put away in a drawer. A lot of people compare publishing a book to having a baby. There are some parallels, but it’s not the same. Writing a book requires a long gestation period and a lot of “labor,” but when you put it out in the world the creation part is done. There are things to do—marketing, book signings, and events. It’s not like holding or nurturing a baby from then on. 

The Ride

As a first book in a series, I decided not to promote My Soul to Keep much. It’s hard watching your book languish on the shelves.

So I did a few appearances and a couple of promotions. Both of which gave my novel a sales bump. A book club chose to review my book. That led to my first review from a reader in Great Britain. 

I had no real sales goals. Why? Fear that no one would like the book I think. About mid-way through the year I decided to see if I could sell 100 books in the first year. Without any advertising, I fell short of my goal. But I came close. 


Finally, I get to the good part: The My Soul to Keep One Year Anniversary Giveaway. A $32 value, winners will receive the following Kindle ebooks from Amazon:

Tribe of Daughters by Kate L Mary 

Image of cover of Tribe of Daughters by Kate L Mary one of the prizes in my one year anniversary and giveaway celebration.

My Soul to Keep by me, Lynette M. Burrows

Image of book cover for My Soul to Keep by Lynette M. Burrows one of the prizes in my one year anniversary and giveaway celebration.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler 

Image of Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler one of the prizes in my one year anniversary and giveaway celebration.

Red Clocks By Leni Zumas 

Image of the cover of Red Clocks by Leni Zumas one of the prizes in my one year anniversary and giveaway celebration.

To win, enter on the My Soul to Keep One Year Anniversary Giveaway page and follow the directions on links to click and share this giveaway. Points are accumulated by clicking the links or sharing the giveaway or signing up for my blog or newsletter.

Current subscribers to my blog and newsletter, don’t worry, there are daily bonus points available for you. 

The winner will be chosen by KingSumo.com and announced on this blog and Facebook and Twitter on September 6th.

Thank You

I appreciate each and everyone of you whether you’re a lurker or someone who comments on posts.Thank you for being part of my adventure into publishing and for helping me celebrate my one year anniversary and giveaway. ETA: This contest is completed and a winner selected. Thank you for your participation. Sign up for blog updates to get notification of future contests.