Duly Chastised

Am I a lazy blogger or what?

I haven't written since the first day of Spring and I'm lucky to post once a month. Why, you ask? Well, there's this little thing called writing a book that I am always more drawn to, have more passion for, and just want to get done. Blogging gets in the way of that.

But, honestly, no one is going to read my book when it's finally done if I don't cultivate a readership, and more importantly, friends.

That's the big lesson I learned when I attended the Arizona Dreamin' Building the Dream Romance Writers Conference. I normally would not have gone outside of Utah for a conference. Utah has a very large, supportive writing community and there are tons of very fine conferences here, many of which I've attended, learned a lot, and met new writers and friends. 

But Arizona Dreamin' had Camelia Miron Skiba attending and I couldn't miss the opportunity to meet her. 

There she is on the far left. Here we are together . . . on cell phones. Typical, but not really. We were sending each other such stupid, laughable stuff and sharing with our fellow writer Sherry Gammon who couldn't be with us.

Why? Well, she's one of my online critique partners. She calls me her "floater" because I'm not actually in her regular critique group. My sister, the author Juli Caldwell, suggested that Cami and I critique each other's work. She said we wrote similar kinds of stories and that we'd be good for each other. I was game for that, knowing how important it is to vet one's work before publishing. Cami and I have spent the last couple of years giving each other feedback and I have grown to adore her. Needless to say, I was very excited to meet her. It was also my sister's 40th birthday weekend and I knew another writer, Cindy Bennett, was going to be there. Girls weekend out, or what?

Cami, Cindy, Shantal, and Juli. All smiles.

I am an utter failure at the duck face. I think Cindy wins this hands down.

There's my sis accepting the award for best children's fiction for her book Secrets of the Mine in the Gates of Atlantis series.
We spent a lot of time hanging out, mostly late at night, getting silly and punchy and more ridiculous with every moment that passed, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. One morning at breakfast, Cami started talking about her blog and how she attracted so many followers. This really piqued my interest because, well, I don't have that many, to put it mildly. I realized during that conversation just how open, giving, and gracious she is as a person and as an author. She was going the extra mile to help me understand how to start gaining a readership.

So, I am Duly Chastised and have a renewed vigor to be much better.

I just looked at my total hits for this blog. It's almost to 10,000!!! I know, not much. Obviously, some people are dropping by to see what's up. They deserve better from me. I'm thinking a big time give away is in order when I hit that milestone.

Stayed tuned!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Donna. You're always so awesome to me and I appreciate it more than you know.

  2. OMG, Shantal, you put a HUGE smile on my face with this post, girl! I'm humbled by your friendship and support! I'm so glad Juli introduced us; together we are on this awesome journey of having a ton of imaginary friends and sharing them with the world through our novels.

    I wish you nothing but the best and hopefully you'll grow into liking to blog. It'll be really fun as soon as you look at it as something fun rather than a chore. Baby steps, that's also the key.
    Sun and smiles!

    1. I'm smiling, too! Thanks for your support and friendship. I'm looking forward to more of it:)


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